Lower Manhattan’s Local News
Ars Gratia Communitas
Battery Park City’s Annual Art Exhibit
Battery Park City’s annual art exhibition opened on Sunday, January 26. A fraternity of artists and art lovers mingled and munched while admiring and discussing the paintings on the wall, created by participants of the Battery Park City Authority’s art programs.
Sophisticated and yet homey, the annual gathering reflects the l’esprit boheme du quartier, where people of all ages are engaged by and with art in their daily lives. As in years past, the work is of two groups of artists within the Battery Park City community: Art in the Park (for children) and art classes for adults.
Art in the Park has been part of Battery Park City life for more than 20 years. Twice a week, between May and October, art educators gather in local parks to guide children through discoveries to be found within their own imaginations and realized through painting, sculpture, printmaking, and building objects.
The other half of the artists are adults who attend free art classes conducted around Battery Park City, mainly on Wednesdays and Saturdays.
Craig Hudon, Director of Parks Programing, and Doug Van Horn, Associate Director, spoke before the assembled crowd at the opening reception to thank the artists, the art educators, the models, and the parks staff who curated and produced the show.
In closing, Mr. Van Horn summed up by saying, “This really is a community of folks that are involved in the arts and care about the arts. We have people here today whose grandparent’s pieces are in the show. We have children whose pieces are in the show. I see people I’ve known for 20 years.”
Both he and Mr. Hudon emphasized the commitment by the Battery Park City Authority to support the community’s resilience and sustainability, which includes a strong commitment to the arts.
The art will be on view at 75 Battery Place, weekdays, January 27 to March 27, 2PM to 4PM (no viewing on 2/17). People visiting should check in with our security desk on the ground floor, where they will be directed to the elevators to the 4th floor. The receptionist on the 4th floor will direct them to the show.
A Pooling of Interests
Would Floating Filtration System That Doubles as a Swim Facility Be a Net Plus?
A decade of grassroots advocacy may be gradually bearing fruit, as community leaders prod the administration of Bill de Blasio into serious consideration of a proposal to create a floating pool in the East River.
The idea, styled as “+ Pool” (and verbalized as “Plus Pool”) began in the summer of 2010, when three friends — designers Jeffrey Franklin and Archie Coates, along with architect Dong-Ping Wong — wondered why there was no facility that would allow the public to swim in the Hudson or East Rivers.
Researching the idea, they realized that 150 years ago, New York had more than a dozen such accommodations. To read more…
You Won’t Have John Catsimatidis to Kick Around Anymore
Gristedes Shuts Southern Battery Park City Location Amid General Retrenchment in Supermarkets
The number of grocery stores in Battery Park City is shrinking by one. In a story first reported by the Tribeca Citizen website, Gristedes Supermarket, a fixture at the corner of South End Avenue and West Thames Street for decades, is slated to shut down today.
Two Gristedes employees told the Broadsheet that they believe the store will reopen in several months, after an extensive modernization. But this narrative is contradicted by multiple reports that John Catsimatidis, the billionaire owner of the grocery chain, wants to put the 10,000-square-foot space to more lucrative use. To read more…
6 River Terrace
Directed by Church Street School for Music and Art, the BPC Chorus is open to all adults who love to sing. Learn a mix of contemporary and classic songs, and perform at community events throughout the year.Battery Park City Authority FREE
Never Defeated: Two Women’s Epic Stories of Struggle and Success in Communist China
Lan Yan and Yan Mei are two of the most influential businesswomen in China-the former heads Lazard’s operations in Greater China, and the latter oversees Brunswick Group’s advisory work in China. Both hailing from prominent families, they have experienced firsthand the turmoil of Communist China’s history at the political center. 40 Rector Street. $5-$20
We Own the Future: Democratic Socialism, American Style
Book reading. Kate Aronoff and Mychal Denzel Smith discuss how capitalism and neoliberalism have failed the working class, particularly people of color and other marginalized communities. 4 Fulton Street. Free
Mengele: Unmasking the Angel of Death
Museum of Jewish Heritage
This new biography by former Museum of Jewish Heritage Director David G. Marwell describes the notorious war criminal’s training and early promise as a scientist; his wartime service in combat and at Auschwitz; and his postwar refuge in Germany and South America. Marwell will be in conversation with Thorsten Wagner, Executive Director, Fellowships at Auschwitz for the Study of Professional Ethics. 36 Battery Place. Free
The Art of Chinese New Year
The Art of Chinese New Year is a vibrant, interactive experience where visitors of all ages can explore the Chinese New Year holiday and the traditional visual and performing arts related to it. The installation captures the sights and sounds of the holiday through displays, artist workshops, and hands-on activities, leading visitors to a deeper experience, and a greater understanding, of traditional Chinese culture. In the visual arts, visitors will learn about nianhua (New Year pictures), spring couplets, and papercutting. A showcase on the art of shadow puppetry will feature antique puppets, a traditional shadow puppet theater, and a theater where children can create their own puppet shows. At a lion dance display, visitors can try on real lion dance costumes. 40 Rector Street. FREE
Assembly Member Niou to Host Constituent Symposium This Weekend
This Sunday, Assembly member Yuh-Line Niou will host her annual Legislative and Budgetary Town Hall to discuss priorities for the Albany lawmaking session that began earlier this month.
“Our annual legislative and budget Town Hall is one of our biggest events we hold every year. It’s another opportunity for our community to engage our government and play an active role in advocating for the changes we want to see in our state,” Ms. Niou says. “Inviting constituents to speak with me, our panelists, and each other is so important. The Town Hall promotes engagement and transparency in politics, which is critical in our political climate. We give our constituents information about the budget and our legislative plans and promote discussions on the issues that matter the most to them.”
Asking for the Millennium
City Announces Agreement to Expand FiDi’s Millennium High School
On January 15, jubilant elected officials, community leaders, and education officials toured the new space into which the Financial District’s Millennium High School will expand over the next two years. This was the culmination of a multi-year campaign to win approval and funding for the school’s growth.
To read more…
To the editor:
Re: Trestle Tussle The BroadsheetDAILY, January 7
Five members of the Transportation Committee voted against 3,700 community members to advance the demolition of the Rector Street Bridge rather than explore the possibility of community engagement to save it.
CB1 had repeatedly passed resolutions over the years on the Rector Street Bridge, but would not recognize alternative community resolutions beginning in 2014.
A survey, noted in local publications, was conducted of bridge users that determined that the Thames Street Bridge was not a replacement for the Rector Street Bridge and that they would be crossing West Street at the Albany intersection despite the danger. The safety of all is compromised.
District 1 Council Member Margaret Chin issued a letter calling for community engagement to consider preserving the Rector Street Bridge in August 2019. The Council Member’s representative presented a statement for community engagement at the Transportation Committee meeting that went unaddressed.
The community sent many correspondences to agencies, contractors and public officials — almost all went unanswered. Last spring a request was made by the Battery Park City Committee for an evaluation of keeping the bridge which was never provided. Every request to learn about the decision-making process or gain access to original agreements and waivers concerning the Rector Street Bridge went unanswered.
Now that the Rector Street Bridge is gone, we see that many commuters have diverted away from the Rector Street corridor and local businesses have begun to suffer.
All appeals to the electeds (including the Comptroller and the Public Advocate) were unsuccessful because their first point of reference on local issues is the community board — and here, the unchallenged string of resolutions had their force. Although the Transportation Committee resolution recommended that demolition be held up until safety precautions were taken at the Albany Street intersection, demolition commenced within days afterward.
Losses: The destruction of the bridge turns a cold eye on the blind man who uses the bridge to get independently to work; on the family that bought an apartment next to the bridge for the safety of their children; on the classroom students that cross the bridge to play in the sports field; on the person who is afraid of the turning traffic at West Thames Street; on the people who are forced to cross the glaring parking lot alone late at night; on the Battery Park City night laborers who cross the Rector Bridge directly to their subways after midnight; on the executives, lawyers, secretaries and workers whose lost time will never be calculated.
It is important that the public and the community board remember that the contract for the West Thames Street Bridge was awarded for an $18 million bid. The last available completion estimate was $45.5 million. At a Lower Manhattan Development Corporation Board Meeting ion 2018, a Deputy Mayor was quoted in Crain’s as saying, “We will make sure that all resources are thrown at this to make sure that we move expeditiously.” The Rector Street Bridge cost $3 million to build. The demolition along with the restoration will run to $12 million. It is highly important that the public and the community board track expenditures on local projects on a regular basis.
In the end, the Rector Street Bridge is being demolished, but at what immeasurable loss to the community?
Bright spot: The people of the bridge came together as an open and aware community with a cause, and now they know each other as neighbors and are familiar with their community board.
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The Greek Calends
After Two-Year Hiatus, Work to Resume at St. Nicholas Church
Governor Andrew M. Cuomo announced on January 2 that a newly formed non-profit organization will raise funds and underwrite the completion of the St. Nicholas Greek Orthodox Church, within the World Trade Center Complex.
The building, designed by renowned architect Santiago Calatrava (who additionally created the nearby Oculus, also in the World Trade Center) is slated to replace the histo precious parish church that fell among the victims of September 11. To read more…
Vicinage with Vigor
Lower Manhattan Ranked Among Healthiest Districts in New York
Two Lower Manhattan neighborhoods rank among the healthiest communities anywhere in the five boroughs of New York City, according to new research by RentHop, an online listings database.
The analysis gauged overall healthy by three criteria: the proportion of overall space within each community set aside for parks, the number of gyms (and other fitness facilities) in each neighborhood, and the tally of vegetarian restaurants in each area (relative to its number of households).
Hundreds of Local Storefronts Remain Rented to Corporate Brands
A new report from the Center for an Urban Future (CUF), a public policy think tank that uses data-driven research to bring attention to overlooked issues, documents that the proliferation of chain stores in Lower Manhattan has decreased slightly during the past 12 months, but at a slower rate than for the City as a whole.
Today in History
757 – An Lushan, leader of a revolt against the Tang dynasty and emperor of Yan, is murdered by his own son, An Qingxu.
1790 – The first boat specializing as a lifeboat is tested on the River Tyne.
1834 – President Andrew Jackson orders first use of federal soldiers to suppress a labor dispute.
1845 – “The Raven” is published in The Evening Mirror in New York, the first publication with the name of the author, Edgar Allan Poe
1863 – The Bear River Massacre: A detachment of California Volunteers led by Colonel Patrick Edward Connor engage the Shoshone at Bear River, Washington Territory, killing hundreds of men women and children.
1886 – Karl Benz patents the first successful gasoline-driven automobile.
1916 – World War I: Paris is first bombed by German zeppelins.
1967 – The “ultimate high” of the hippie era, the Mantra-Rock Dance,takes place in San Francisco and features Janis Joplin, Grateful Dead, and Allen Ginsberg.
2002 – In his State of the Union address, President George W. Bush describes “regimes that sponsor terror” as an Axis of evil, in which he includes Iraq, Iran and North Korea.
1499 – Katharina von Bora, wife of Martin Luther; formerly a Roman Catholic nun (d. 1552)
1843 – William McKinley, American soldier, lawyer, and politician, 25th President of the United States (d. 1901)
1860 – Anton Chekhov, Russian playwright and short story writer (d. 1904)
1874 – John D. Rockefeller, Jr., American businessman and philanthropist (d. 1960)
1880 – W. C. Fields, American actor, comedian, and screenwriter (d. 1946)
1905 – Barnett Newman, American painter and etcher (d. 1970)
1954 – Oprah Winfrey, talk show host, actress, and producer
1820 – George III of the United Kingdom (b. 1738)
1899 – Alfred Sisley, French-English painter (b. 1839)
1956 – H. L. Mencken, American journalist and critic (b. 1880)
1963 – Robert Frost, American poet and playwright (b. 1874)
1969 – Allen Welsh Dulles, American banker, lawyer, and diplomat, 5th Director of Central Intelligence (b. 1893)
2015 – Rod McKuen, American singer-songwriter and poet (b. 1933)
Photos and information culled from Wikipedia and other internet sources
Eyes to the Sky
January 21 – February 2, 2020
Cygnus the Swan Soars as Summer Triangle sets
The Summer Triangle’s long season in the evening sky ends this week, although one of its remarkable stars, Deneb, lingers for another month. The Summer Triangle is a star pattern known as an asterism; three outstanding stars shape it, one from each of three constellations. It is a commanding sight from its emergence in the evening sky in May through summertime and autumn. Now, stretched out on the skyline from west to northwest as darkness gathers, the great triangle is particularly impressive, but fleeting.
To read more…
Cuomo Announces Planned Expansion of Museum of Jewish Heritage
At his annual State of the State address, Governor Andrew M. Cuomo included on his list of dozens of proposals an announcement that he was directing the Battery Park City Authority to develop an expansion plan for the Museum of Jewish Heritage — A Living Memorial to the Holocaust, located within Wagner Park, on Battery Place.
They Didn’t Get the Memo…
Much-Touted Crackdown on Placard Parking Not All It Was Cracked Up to Be
Amid much fanfare, multiple City agencies recently announced that they would take part in a crackdown on illegal parking by government employees, whose personal vehicles bear placards that allow them to leave their cars blocking bus stops, crosswalks, fire hydrants, bike lanes, and lanes needed for use by fire trucks and ambulances.
By Tuesday, it appeared that dozens of law enforcement personnel who work in Battery Park City hadn’t heard, or perhaps knew better.
When a Deadline Becomes a Lifeline
Renewed Victims Compensation Fund Extends Cutoff Date for Registration
Following last summer’s passage of a new law that extends (and expands funding for) the September 11th Victims Compensation Fund (VCF), the Fund will be accepting claims until it sunsets in 2090. Another benefit of passage is that the cutoff date by which current claimants must register for the VCF has been pushed back to July 29, 2021.
Kimberly Flynn, the director of 9/11 Environmental Action, a non-profit advocacy group whose mission is to ensure that those who were affected by September 11 (physically or emotionally) get the specialized health care they need, commented, “the best possible news is that on July 29, 2019, the ‘Never Forget the Heroes: James Zadroga, Ray Pfeifer, and Luis Alvarez Permanent Authorization of the September 11th Victim Compensation Fund Act’ was signed into law.
Recalling Five Points
Epicenter of a Notorious Slum Proposed for Commemoration
In 1831, the City government considered a petition that warned, “that the place known as “Five points” has long been notorious… as being the nursery where every species of vice is conceived and matured; that it is infested by a class of the most abandoned and desperate character.”
A decade later, Charles Dickens, visiting New York, wrote of the same Lower Manhattan neighborhood that had inspired the petition, “what place is this, to which the squalid street conducts us? A kind of square of leprous houses, some of which are attainable only by crazy wooden stairs without. What lies behind this tottering flight of steps? Let us go on again, and plunge into the Five Points…. To read more…
Cruise Ships in New York Harbor
Arrivals & Departures
Sunday February 2
07:00 ~ 17:00
10:00 ~ 16:00
07:00 ~ 17:00
07:00 ~ 17:00
10:00 ~ 16:00
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 piers in Brooklyn and Bayonne. Stated times, when appropriate, are for passing the Colgate clock in Jersey City, New Jersey, and are based on sighting histories, published schedules and intuition. They are also subject to passenger and propulsion problems, tides, fog, winds, freak waves, hurricanes and the whims of upper management.
Death Came Calling at the Corner of Wall and Broad Streets, in Lower Manhattan’s First Major Terrorist Attack
As the noon hour approached on a fall Thursday morning in 1920, a horse-drawn wagon slowly made its way west down Wall Street toward “the Corner,” the high-powered intersection of Wall and Broad. Its driver came to a gentle stop in front of the Assay Office, where stockpiles of gold and silver were stored and tested for purity. But theft was not his motive.
Cass Gilbert and the Evolution of the New York Skyscraper
by John Simko
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