Lower Manhattan’s Local News
Next Week’s Installation of West Thames Bridge Sections Will Require Street Closures and Parking Disruptions
The installation of the long-awaited West Thames pedestrian bridge is now scheduled to begin next Tuesday (May 28) and continue through the following Sunday (June 2).
These plans were reviewed for the Battery Park City Committee of Community Board 1 on May 1, when Matt Krenek, an engineer with Skanska (the firm overseeing the bridge’s construction and installation) explained that, “the barge carrying the two spans of the bridge is in Brooklyn right now. The bridge pieces left Pennsylvania in various segments, and these super-loads were trucked down the highway, taking up two lanes.”
“We have begun installing temporary traffic and street lights,” he added, “because the wires for the permanent lights are in the way of bridge. These will be put back once the bridge is installed.”
“We’ll begin posting ‘no standing’ signs on Monday evening, Memorial Day,” he noted, explaining that the five-day process will entail street closures on Wednesday (during the late morning and early afternoon), as well as from 6:00 pm Friday through early Sunday morning. “Parking and standing will be temporarily eliminated on South End Avenue, from Rector Place to the cul-de-sac, and on West Thames Street, between West Street and the Esplanade,” for multiple days. During this period, the M20 and M9 bus routes, along with the Downtown Connection shuttle, will be detoured away from their stops on West Thames Street.
On Tuesday morning (May 28), “we’ll begin setting up,” Mr. Krenek noted. Starting that morning, the painted medians at the center of West Thames Street and South End Avenue will become staging and holding areas for the large vehicles needed to transport the bridge spans from the Esplanade to West Street. “During this time, the parking lanes will be used for emergency vehicles and building access,” he said.
On Wednesday (May 29), he continued, “we will, weather permitting, bring three large barges up the Hudson and tie them up where West Thames Street meets the Esplanade.” One of these barges will contain a 500-ton crane, while the remaining two will each hold one section of the bridge. (The span is divided into a pair of trusses, each of which will cross one half of West Street, and meet above the traffic island in its center.)
“On Wednesday,” Mr. Krenek said, “the crane will lift these over the Esplanade, to West Thames Street, and lower them onto large trucks, which will be driven to South End Avenue, where they will make a k-turn, and then back into our cordoned-off work area, between Battery Place and West Street.” During this process, trees on West Thames Street and South End Avenue will be protected by tying back branches that the spans (each of which is 16 feet wide, and will be lifted 25 feet into the air) might brush against.
The two sections of the bridge will remain parked on West Thames Street for all of Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday, awaiting the weekend, when reduced traffic volume will make it possible to lift them into place.
“On Friday, we have a land-based crane coming in,” Mr. Krenek explained, “which requires ten tractor-trailers worth of equipment to set up.” This crane will be used to lift the two bridge spans from the trucks on West Thames Street and into position, over West Street. “We’ll begin assembling this crane just after 6:00 pm,” he noted. From that time, through early Sunday morning, West Thames Street (between Battery Place and West Street) will be closed to vehicular traffic, although pedestrians will have intermittent access.
“On Friday night, he said, “West Street will become one lane in each direction, until after midnight. Starting at 2:00 am on Saturday morning, the Department of Transportation has given us permission to use ‘traffic holds,’ which close the street entirely, for periods of 15 minutes.” During these stoppages, southbound traffic on West Street will be diverted to Broadway via Chambers Street, while northbound traffic (coming from the FDR Drive or the Brooklyn-Battery Tunnel), will be detoured to Trinity Place.
“We’re allowed to close West Street temporarily,” he said, but then we have to flush out the traffic that has backed up, before we begin another 15-minute hold.” Friday night and Saturday morning have been set aside for lowering into place the half of the span that will traverse the northbound side of West Street.
On Saturday night, the schedule calls for placing the second half of the span, which will cross the southbound side of West Street. “For Saturday,” Mr. Krenek predicted, “the logistics will be very similar, except that we shouldn’t need to close the northbound side of West Street, since that section of the bridge will already be in place.”
“We should be done installing that second span of the bridge by sunrise on Sunday morning” Mr. Krenek anticipated, after which several smaller structural elements will also be hoisted into place. Once this work is done, “that same fleet of ten tractor trailers will come back, and the crew will begin taking down the crane and hauling it away.”
“By dusk on Sunday evening,” he said, “everything should be back to normal, except that there will be a new, 150,000-pound bridge crossing West Street.” At that point, street closures will end and parking regulations should be restored to their normal pattern shortly afterward.
“Please keep in mind that all of this is weather-dependent,” Mr. Krenek cautioned. “A storm on Wednesday would mean we delay bringing the barges in until Thursday. And bad weather on Saturday or Sunday would require us to wait until the following weekend to install the bridge over West Street.”
Although installation of the two trusses will mark a major step forward in the years-long process of designing and building the West Thames pedestrian bridge, several months of work remain before the span can open to the public. Mr. Krenek said that current plans anticipate a ribbon cutting around Labor Day weekend.
Poets House Celebrates 10th Anniversary
Journey with us across the Brooklyn Bridge, from Manhattan to Brooklyn, to celebrate Poets House and the poetry of New York City with readings by poets Robert Pinsky, Rosamond King, Gregory Pardlo, Jenny Xie, and Anne Waldman, whom we will present with our Elizabeth Kray Award for service to poetry. This year marks Poets House’s 10th anniversary at 10 River Terrace-as well as Walt Whitman’s bicentennial.
Recognition of Whitman’s 200th birthday will lend special significance to the evening as we gather to hear a reading of Whitman’s “Crossing Brooklyn Ferry.”
Afterward, we’ll continue with more readings, accompanied by wine, dinner, and dessert, inside a beautiful historic foundry in DUMBO. All proceeds benefit Poets House’s library, public programs, and class trips for children and teens.
Monday June 10
6:00pm: Walk begins in Manhattan, near One Centre Street
8:00pm: Seated dinner at 26 Bridge Street in DUMBO
For more information: poetshouse.org/poetrywalk2019
Questions? please contact Phoebe at 212-431-7920 ext. 2819or email@example.com.
Fleet Week Activities
The Fleet’s in town!
Welcome to the sailors and soldiers visiting Lower Manhattan, maps in hand, eating hot dogs and pretzels, walking the streets and looking up!
On the Waterfront
Governors Island Trust Considers a Plan to Activate the Island’s Perimeter
Visions for the future of Governors Island are beginning to come into focus, as various constituencies emphasize their priorities.
Earlier this month, the Waterfront Alliance unveiled its Maritime Activation Plan for the highly regarded island, which focuses on strategies for capitalizing on the unique waterfront assets located along the island’s 2.2-mile perimeter, while offering practical recommendations for meeting the challenges of being situated in the middle of New York Harbor.
Among the plan’s key recommendations is to expand ferry service to meet increasing demand, while launching routes from diverse neighborhoods located farther away than the current embarkation points in Lower Manhattan and Brooklyn. While new ferry routes require a significant investment, the Alliance also proposes some inexpensive fixes, such as adjusting the schedule of current ferries by as little as five minutes, to give Staten Island residents time to get from the nearby Whitehall ferry terminal to the Battery Maritime Building (where the Governors Island boat is located), without having to wait an additional hour.
The Alliance also proposes that Governors Island welcome recreational boaters with facilities such as a new marina, and expanding kayaking programs — already offered on Governors Island by the Downtown Boathouse.
The same report also touts the benefits of a resource that is chronically scarce in New York Harbor: water “touch points,” which allow visitors to come into physical contact with the local estuary. In this context, the Alliance notes that “a natural beach opens at low tide on Buttermilk Channel,” the side of Governors Island that faces Brooklyn. “This could be provided with minimal step-down infrastructure and an educator/attendant on station whenever the gate is open, for additional safety,” the report observes.
Less conspicuous, but still significant, would be, “new infrastructure for freight access,” the Alliance observes, noting that, “nearly all freight and trash is moved from the Island by trucks on the Lower Manhattan crossing, which share ferries with the public.” Establishing a dedicated ferry dock for freight would alleviate crowding on ferries and increase visitor capacity.
In a separate, but related development, the administration of Mayor Bill de Blasio announced that Clare Newman, who has most recently served as an executive at the Brooklyn Navy Yard Development Corporation, would take over as chief of the Trust for Governors Island in June, when outgoing president Michael Samuelian steps down.
In a story first reported by Crain’s, Ms. Newman will report to Alicia Glen, who recently departed from City Hall, where she served as deputy mayor. Ms. Glen, who has been appointed chair of the Trust, will take over from Carl Weisbrod.
Both Ms. Newman’s and Ms. Glen’s priorities are widely believed to focus on economic development on Governors Island (within two tracts set aside for this purpose, which total more than 33 acres), as a means of making the park financially sustainable.
Among the projects Ms. Glen is said to favor are a proposed gondola that would connect Lower Manhattan to Governors Island, and a plan to build a soccer stadium on the island.
Today in History
1218 – The Fifth Crusade leaves Acre for Egypt.
1626 – Peter Minuit buys Manhattan.
1830 – “Mary Had a Little Lamb” by Sarah Josepha Hale is published.
1844 – Samuel Morse sends the message “What hath God wrought” (a biblical quotation, Numbers 23:23) from the Old Supreme Court Chamber in the United States Capitol to his assistant, Alfred Vail, in Baltimore, Maryland, to inaugurate the first telegraph line.
1883 – The Brooklyn Bridge is opened to traffic after 14 years of construction.
1921 – The trial of Sacco and Vanzetti opens.
1940 – Igor Sikorsky performs the first successful single-rotor helicopter flight.
Local Elected Officials Say ‘Avast’ to Water-Borne Ads, But Company Claims City Is Out of Its Depth
The advertising barges that have become a pet bête noire for Lower Manhattan residents were the focus of a discussion at the April 23 meeting of Community Board 1 , where Paul Goldstein, who chairs that panel’s Waterfront, Parks, & Cultural Committee, offered an update, saying, “those floating billboards that you’ve seen on both the east and west sides — the good news is that the City is cracking down on them. Both the Mayor and the Council say they find it unacceptable. So they are imposing fines and enacting laws to restrict it.” To read more…
Anthem of the Seas Spins About
Battery Park City Residents, Partners & Friends:
The Battery Park City Authority has engaged 100 Resilient Cities, a program supported by the Rockefeller Foundation, to create the Authority’s first-ever strategic plan.
Using resilience as a lens, BPCA and 100 Resilient Cities will use our most recent Parks User Count and Study, community input from public meetings, and many other inputs to develop an action plan designed to ensure we’re addressing Battery Park City’s needs comprehensively and strategically.
As part of this ongoing outreach, we are also soliciting public input through the following brief survey, which will be available until May 26.
We invite you to please take a few minutes to complete it.
Thank you in advance for your input. We look forward to hearing from you!
Nicholas T. Sbordone
Vice President of Communications & Public Affairs
Shelter from the Storm
City Plans Temporary Flood Protection Measures for Downtown
The administration of Mayor Bill de Blasio is formulating short-term strategies to protect the South Street Seaport and the Financial District from sea-level rise and future extreme-weather events.
Still Tasty After All These Years
On May 18, thousands of hungry festival-goers noshed their way around Duane Park Triangle to sample the best of Tribeca’s culinary star power; scores of volunteers punched tickets, directed recycling, and served VIPs; and dozens of chefs recreated their finest efforts and arranged perfect little tastes on paper plates.
It was the Taste of Tribeca’s 25th anniversary, benefiting P.S 150’s and P.S. 234’s arts and enrichment programs for more than 800 children.
We caught up with David Waltuck, director of culinary affairs at the Institute of Culinary Education (7 World Trade Center), as he offered a Chinese pulled pork taco. Of the 18 or so restaurants that took part in the first Taste of Tribeca 25 years ago, he noted, only a few remain. His restaurant, the elegant Chanterelle, closed in 2009. Still, he was happy to return for the 25th anniversary of this popular event. “It’s nice to be here,” he said.
This Sand Is Your Sand, This Sand Is Our Sand…
Although Not Yet a Shore Thing, Proposal for Brooklyn Bridge Beach Takes a Step Forward
After multiple rounds of funding since 2013, the proposed Brooklyn Bridge Beach — a project supported by elected officials, community leaders, and the public — may be inching closer to reality.
The plan, backed by all of these constituencies, aims to create a crescent-shaped wedge of sand along the East River waterfront, just north of the South Street Seaport, where park-goers could wade knee deep in tide. If built, it would become the sole access point at which Lower Manhattan residents could step into the water that surrounds them, rather than merely looking at it.
Hudson River Park Trust Seeks Development on Pier 40
The Hudson River Park Trust (HRPT), in collaboration with local elected officials, is seeking to revise its enabling legislation to allow for commercial development at Pier 40.
“The major issue is that there need to be changes to the legislation that created the Hudson River Park, because Pier 40 is sinking,” explained Anthony Notaro, chair of Community Board 1 (CB1) at an April 26 meeting.
Tragedy Compounded by Delay
Renewed Concerns about Emergency Response Time in Lower Manhattan
“When I got the 911 operator on the phone, she transferred me to another operator, who asked for the location of the accident. I explained that we were in front of 325 South End Avenue, in Manhattan. But this operator kept repeating that help was on the way to 32 South Street in Brooklyn. I kept telling her this was incorrect, but she kept repeating ‘South Street in Brooklyn.’ Then she said they would call me back.”
A new study documents that response times for 911 calls are slower in the First Precinct, which covers Lower Manhattan, than in any other district south of Midtown (an area that comprises seven NYPD commands) and the third-slowest overall in Manhattan.
ARRIVALS & DEPARTURES
Cruise Ships in the Harbor
Queen Mary 2
6:00 am Brooklyn 5:00 pm Transatlantic
Many ships pass Lower Manhattan on their way to and from the midtown Passenger Ship Terminal. Others may be seen on their way to or from docks in Brooklyn and Bayonne. Stated times, when appropriate, are for passing the Colgate Clock and are based on sighting histories, published schedules and intuition. They are also subject to tides, fog, winds, freak waves, hurricanes and the whims of upper management.
CLASSIFIEDS & PERSONALS
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Able to prepare nutritious meals and light housekeeping
Excellent references 347 898 5804 Hope
NOTARY PUBLIC IN BPC
$2 per notarized signature
Text Paula at 917-836-8802
Dishes, windows, floors, laundry, bathrooms.
You name it – I will clean it.
Call Elle at 929-600-4520
IT AND SECURITY SUPPORT
Experienced IT technician. Expertise in 1-on-1 tutoring for all ages.Computer upgrading & troubleshooting.
Knowledgeable in all software programs. James Kierstead firstname.lastname@example.org 347-933-1362. Refs available
Experienced with BPC residents. Available nights, days, and weekends. Will cook, clean and administer medicine on time. Speaks French and English. Can start immediately. Please call or text 929-600-4520.
OLD WATCHES SOUGHT
Mechanical pocket and wristwatches sought and
If you would like to place a listing, please contact email@example.com
Cass Gilbert and the Evolution of the New York Skyscraper
by John Simko
Not So Alone
in Trinity Churchyard
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