Lower Manhattan’s Local News
Putting the Tension in Detention
City Council Approves de Blasio Controversial Plan for New Jail Complex in Lower Manhattan; Legal Challenges Likely
The administration of Mayor Bill de Blasio won City Council approval on October 17 for a modified version of its controversial plan to erect a new, skyscraper prison in Lower Manhattan, as part of a wider scheme to close the City’s notorious detention complex on Rikers Island, and replace it with four, large “borough-based jail” facilities-one in each county, except Staten Island.
At the session during which the plan was approved, City Council member Margaret Chin said, “to my constituents-I hear you. This was not a perfect process. From the beginning, we fought for greater transparency, community engagement, and a stronger plan that addressed your concerns about construction impact, public health, safety, and community investment.”
This was a reference to widespread criticism of the procedure under which the de Blasio administration pushed the scheme toward approval, which grouped all four borough-based jails into a single legal review, and offered far fewer details than is usually the case when publicly owned land is being committed to a proposal.
“But it’s helpful to remember,” she continued, “that the Manhattan Detention Center has co-existed with the neighborhood for decades. And the plan for rebuilding a new site is not creating a new jail, but will transform the Manhattan Detention Center into a more humane and safe facility.” This was a reference to the aspect of the de Blasio plan that envisions demolishing the current jail complex at 124 White Street, and replacing it with a larger structure.
“I want to thank my constituents for their passion and advocacy,” Ms. Chin continued, noting, “because of them, we were able to secure a health and safety plan for the senior residence at Chung Pak, funding for community space, and construction mitigation.” This was a summary of concessions that Ms. Chin negotiated from the de Blasio administration, including multiple upgrades to the Chung Pak complex, which includes 88 units of affordable housing for the elderly, 15,000 square feet of community facilities, and multiple retail spaces that are home to small businesses. (Ironically, the Chung Pak complex itself was built in the 1980s, as a concession to local community activists who opposed the creation of the current Manhattan Detention Complex.)
Under Ms. Chin’s plan, Chung Pak will receive an extension on its lease through the year 2078, along with extended affordability protections for residents, while small businesses housed within the complex will receive $1.3 million in rent credits. Ms. Chin also negotiated commitments from City Hall for $10 million in upgrades to the adjacent Columbus Park, a promise that local public spaces will not be commandeered for construction staging, and funding for a new performance space in the nearby Museum of Chinese in America, along with an elevator at a building of Mulberry Street that houses multiple non-profit organizations.
But perhaps the most significant giveback that Ms. Chin obtained from the de Blasio administration concerns the overall bulk of the structure. “Working with residents,” she explained, “we were able to secure a significant height reduction from 450 to 295 feet. This 155-foot drop ensures that the proposed jail will not be out of scale with the neighborhood.”
But it may be worth noting, that this compromise — although shrinking by about one-third the edifice the de Blasio team originally planned — still allows for a new prison that will tower over the current structure. (The existing jail consists of two towers: one nine stories and one 14 stories.)
“Today, we are offered a choice,” Ms. Chin reflected. “Do we finally condemn the moral stain that is Rikers Island to the history books? Or do we let this opportunity slip by? We can no longer tell those who are trapped in a horrific cycle of incarceration to wait. We must turn the page.”
“Today’s vote is not the end of our work to create a truly fair criminal justice system,” she observed. “We must continue to invest in our communities, move people with serious mental health needs out of our jails, expand alternatives to incarceration, and end the broken policies designed to target marginalized people of color. This is the right thing to do, and we are not going to give up.”
“Seizing this opportunity was not a decision I came to lightly,” Ms. Chin concluded. “I got called all kinds of names. But it doesn’t matter, because this is the right thing to do.” Critics of the de Blasio plan, who are unimpressed by City Hall’s concessions, or the compromises negotiated by Ms. Chin (about which they voice skepticism), reacted with fury to the City Council vote approving the project.
Nancy Kong, a Downtown community leader who has spearheaded local opposition to the plan through the grassroots organization Neighbors United Below Canal, and helped build a City-wide coalition in the group Boroughs United, criticized the Mayor, City Council Speaker Corey Johnson, and Ms. Chin for not having, “the courage or fortitude to work with the community and criminal justice advocates — the real advocates and not ones positioned to benefit financially from this $11 billion jail/real estate development and privatization plan — to truly come up with a viable solution that begins today, not 10 years from today.”
Ms. Kong added, “size was not the only issue with the siting of these facilities. The manner in which these sites were selected was negotiated by elected officials and predetermined, prior to communities being informed by the City. The City’s process to certify this plan was undemocratic and a farce.”
She continued, “the lack of accountability and ability to address the current conditions in Rikers and across all New York City detention centers today speak volumes about the lack of leadership, vision and understanding of real criminal justice reforms.” She characterized the plan as, “tone-deaf. Investing $11 billion to $33 billion in jails instead of investing in communities, in education, in mental health and drug treatment facilities, in diversion/re-entry programs fixes nothing.”
Opponents of the borough-based jails plan are now considering a court challenge based on multiple arguments, including alleged flaws on the legally required Draft Environmental Impact Statement that preceded the City Council’s vote of approval, and the de Blasio administration’s failure to hold new public hearings after they changed the site of the proposed jail complex from 80 Centre Street (its location in a earlier version of the plan) to 124 White Street.
Eyes To the Sky
October 28 – November 10
Worldview: Origin of our Sun, solar system, ourselves
During the dark time of year here in the northeast, our visual environment is more of the moon and stars than earthly phenomena. In this “Eyes to the Sky”, as in a post a few weeks ago, I offer you the opportunity to reflect on the natural world as revealed to us by astronomers and astrophotographers. I have the pleasure of presenting the words and images of astrophotographer and educator Terry Hancock, the creator of “Fly Like an Eagle” , the nebula image featured above.
The following description of nebulae is from the video preview the book, “The Armchair Astronomer: Volume I – Nebulae” by Brian Ventrudo and Terry Hancock.
“….nebulae (are) massive clouds of cosmic gas and dust set aglow by the borrowed light of stars… The color, intricate structure, and overwhelming beauty of a nebula becomes evident only in images taken through a telescope with a sensitive camera that, unlike the human eye, can collect light over many minutes and hours… While they seem like natural works of abstract art, nebulae … teach us about the composition and lifecycles of the hundreds of billions of stars in our galaxy… Our Sun and the planets and most of the objects in our solar system, for example, as well as the atoms in your own body were once embedded in a glowing reddish-pink nebula that faded more than 5 billion years ago.”
“The Armchair Astronomer” is available as an E-book, Kindle, PDF and in Hard Copy. See http://www.downunderobservatory.com/ Play the preview here https://www.youtube.com/watch?time_continue=10&v=gsqHStb90fY
Terry Hancock offers prints as well as one on one tutorials for people interested in learning astrophotography
About “Fly Like an Eagle“
Terry Hancock’s initiatives
by Judy Isacoff
Things That Make You Go ‘Hmm…’
Lawsuit Over Similarity Between One World Trade and Architecture Student’s Design Moves Ahead
One thing is reasonably certain: In 1999, Jeehoon Park, then a student at the Illinois Institute of Technology’s College of Architecture, created a design for a very tall building with a large square base tapering to a smaller square top. In Mr. Park’s vision, the square formed by the roof was rotated 45 degrees relative to the one at the ground level, so that the center-points on each side of the quadrilateral below corresponded to the corners of the one above, and vice versa. And instead of four vertical walls, the structure’s facade consisted of eight elongated triangles.
That structure was never built. Or was it?
Music to Our Ears
When she was ten, Julie Reumert was selected
to sing at a celebration marking the birthday of
Margrethe ll, Queen of Denmark. As a girl growing up in Copenhagen, Ms. Reumert performed with the Saint Anne Girls Choir as a soprano and a soloist.
October 28, 2019
Janis: Holly-George Warren and Anthony DeCurtis
Book reading Janis Joplin’s first transgressive act was to be a white girl who gained an early sense of the power of the blues, music you could only find on obscure records and in roadhouses along the Texas and Louisiana Gulf Coast. By the time she reached high school, she had drawn the scorn of her peers for her embrace of the Beats and her racially progressive views. Written by one of the most highly regarded chroniclers of American music history, Janis is a complex, rewarding portrait of a remarkable artist finally getting her due. FREE 4 Fulton Street.
William Bernheim: Survival Story And Artist’s Journey
Museum of Jewish Heritage
William Bernheim was born in Lodz, Poland and lived alone in the Lodz Ghetto from 1941 until 1942, after the Nazis separated him from his mother. Mr Bernheim will share his story. His artwork and story can be seen in his book My Story: From Hell to Rebirth. FREE 36 Battery Place.
Wildlife in Lower Manhattan
The dogwalking and jogging crowd on the esplanade yesterday morning had quite a show, when an unidentified Buteo (Buzzard Hawk) lazily flapped past a few heads and landed on a branch to enjoy his breakfast: a tasty pigeon.
Cruise Ships in New York Harbor
Arrivals & Departures
Monday, October 28
Inbound 8:15 am; outbound 7:30 pm
Eastern Caribbean/Miami, FL
Thursday, October 31
Inbound 6:30 am (Brooklyn); outbound 5:00 pm
Eastern Caribbean/Ft. Lauderdale, FL
Friday, November 1
Inbound 7:15 am in port overnight
Inbound 2:30 am (Bayonne); in port overnight
Inbound 7:15 am; in port overnight
Inbound 7:15 am; outbound 6:30 pm
Bermuda/Eastern Caribbean/Ft. Lauderdale, FL
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 tides, fog, winds, freak waves, hurricanes and the whims of upper management.
Climate Science on the Sand
Tomorrow, Tuesday, Oct. 29, is the seventh anniversary of Superstorm Sandy, a destructive storm that flooded Lower Manhattan and much of the East Coast, and sparked greater awareness of the inevitability of rising sea levels and storm surge.
Photograph courtesy of Waterfront Alliance.
CLASSIFIEDS & PERSONALS
Swaps & Trades ~ Respectable Employment ~ Lost & Found
CERTIFIED HOME HEALTH AIDE SEEKING
Full-Time Live-In Elder Care
I am loving, caring and hardworking with 12 years experience. References available. Marcia 347-737-5037 email@example.com
John Street Methodist Church Autumn Tag Sale
Thursday, Oct 24, 10 am to 4 pm
Friday, Oct 25, 10 am to 4 pm
Saturday, Oct 26, 10 am to 2 pm
Everything HALF PRICE on Saturday!!!
44 John Street
DO YOU NEED A PERSONAL ASSISTANT?
I am experienced, reliable, knowledgeable and able to work flexible hours.
CHINESE AIDE/CAREGIVER FOR ELDERLY
Cantonese/Mandarin-speaking and Excellent Cook for Battery Park City.
SEEKING FREE-LANCE PUBLIC RELATIONS PROFESSIONAL OR SMALL PR FIRM
Work with well-reviewed author of five E-books, developing and implementing outreach strategies. Includes writing, placement, research, new outlets and on-line advertising. Savvy social media skills a must. Downtown location.
Please send resume and fee schedule to: Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Available starting September for PT/FT.
Wonderful person, who is a great worker. Reference Available
Available for PT/FT elder care. Experienced. References Angella
DITCH THE DIETS & LOSE WEIGHT FOR GOOD
Call Janine to find out how with hypnosis.
EXPERIENCED ELDER CARE
Able to prepare nutritious meals and light housekeeping
Excellent references 12yrs experienced 347-898-5804
Call Hope email@example.com
NOTARY PUBLIC IN BPC
$2 per notarized signature Text Paula at 917-836-8802
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
OLD WATCHES SOUGHT, PREFER NON-WORKING
Mechanical pocket and wristwatches sought and sometimes repaired
If you would like to place a listing, please contact email@example.com
Today in History
312 – Constantine I defeats Maxentius, becoming the sole Roman emperor in the West.
969 – The Byzantine Empire recovers Antioch from Arab rule.
1492 – Christopher Columbus lands in Cuba on his first voyage to the New World.
1726 – The novel Gulliver’s Travels is published.
1864 – American Civil War: A Union attack on the Confederate capital is repulsed.
1886 – President Cleveland dedicates the Statue of Liberty.
1893 – Tchaikovsky’s Symphony No. 6 in B Minor, Pathétique receives its première performance only nine days before the composer’s death.
1922 – Italian fascists led by Benito Mussolini march on Rome and take over the Italian government.
1942 – The Alaska Highway first connects Alaska to the North American railway network at Dawson Creek in Canada.
1956 – Elvis Presley receives a polio vaccination on national TV.
1962 – Cuban Missile Crisis: Premier Nikita Khrushchev orders the removal of Soviet missiles from Cuba.
1017 – Henry III, Holy Roman Emperor (d. 1056)
1793 – Eliphalet Remington, founded Remington Arms (d. 1861)
1794 – Robert Liston, Scottish surgeon (d. 1847)
1903 – Evelyn Waugh, English journalist, author, and critic (d. 1966)
1909 – Francis Bacon, Irish painter and illustrator (d. 1992)
1914 – Jonas Salk, American biologist and physician (d. 1995)
312 – Maxentius, Roman emperor (b. 278)
1646 – William Dobson, English painter (b. 1610)
1818 – Abigail Adams, writer and second First Lady of the United States (b. 1744)
1929 – Bernhard von Bülow, German soldier and politician, Chancellor of Germany (b. 1849)
Damascus on the Hudson
Lower Manhattan’s Old Syrian Quarter
Today, the stretch of Greenwich and Washington Streets between Battery Place and Albany Street — bisected by the Brooklyn-Battery Tunnel entrance — is known by the forgettable name, “Greenwich South.”
By all appearances it is an orphan of a neighborhood that never quite coalesced. But nothing could be further from the truth. A century ago, before the World Trade Center or the Brooklyn Battery Tunnel (the two giant public works projects that decimated this once-thriving quarter), it was an ethnic enclave as vibrant as Little Italy or Chinatown. To read more…
BPCA’s Public Art Collection Represents Multiple Layers of Value
The Battery Park City Authority, has completed an inventory and appraisal of its public art collection. This is part of a broad effort to take stock of the Authority’s ongoing role as a patron and custodian of pieces that represent an integral thread in the fabric of the community, as evidenced by the fact that space and funding for public art were both set aside decades ago, in the neighborhood’s first master plan, before the first building was erected.
Residents Riled about Tribeca Tavern
More than a dozen concerned Tribeca residents turned out for the September meeting the Licensing and Permits Committee, which weighs in on the granting or renewal of liquor licenses.
They showed up to voice concerns about MI-5, a bar located at 52 Walker Street, which has been a source of local complaints as far back 2007.
Neighbors of the bar allege that it operates as a dance club (in violation of its current license, which is now up for renewal), and that loud music penetrates the upper floors of the residential building located above the bar as late as 4:00 am. To read more…
You Can Hit-and-Run,
But You Can’t Hide
Driver Alleged to Have Run Over Tribeca Pedestrian in May Indicted for Separate Manhattan Traffic Death
The New York County District Attorney’s Office has indicted Jessenia Fajardo, a resident of the upstate town of Walden in two separate incidents involving reckless driving that caused injury to pedestrians. The more serious of these took place on July 19, when Ms. Fajardo is accused of having run a red light on the Upper West Side and then slamming into an elderly couple in a crosswalk. One of these pedestrians, 62-year-old Alfred Pocari, was killed, while the second (whose name has not been released) was seriously injured.
When police took Ms. Fajardo into custody at the scene of the July incident, they discovered that she was also involved in a similar (albeit less gravely serious) incident two months earlier. To read more…
Adding Insult to Penury
Ridership Survey Indicates That Ferry Coming Soon to Battery Park City Primarily Serves Affluent Riders
An analysis of who uses the NYC Ferry service, which the administration of Mayor Bill de Blasio plans to expand to Battery Park City next year, shows that riders are primarily white passengers who earn more money than average New Yorkers.
Sin of Omission
City Agency Leaves Cash-Strapped Local Museum Off Roster of Cultural Institutions
The City’s Department of Cultural Affairs has omitted from its list of dozens of New York-based cultural institutions that receive public support the museum that chronicles the oldest community anywhere in the five boroughs.
BPCA Puts the Brakes on Conversions of Rental Buildings within Community
Residents of rental apartments in Battery Park City who fear being thrown out of their homes as developers plan to convert those buildings to condominiums can rest a little bit easier, according to the Battery Park City Authority.
At the October 2 meeting of the Battery Park City Committee of Community Board 1, Authority president Benjamin Jones said, “I want to talk about some of the potential condo conversions that people are concerned about. We have been very clear with developers over the last year, and then some, about our position — that we want to preserve the rental housing that exists in Battery Park City.” To read more…
Keep It Light
Condo Boards Question Need for South End Avenue Redesign After Installation of Traffic Signal
At the October 2 meeting of the Battery Park City Committee of Community Board 1, Battery Park City Authority president B.J. Jones was apprised by the leader of a coalition of condominiums along South End Avenue of that group’s ongoing reservations about the Authority’s plan to revamp the thoroughfare.
Pat Smith, the board president of the Battery Pointe condominium (at South End Avenue and Rector Place) told Mr. Jones, “before you go too far on South End Avenue, please remember that six condo boards, representing more than 1,000 households along South End Avenue, from Albany down to West Thames, don’t want you to do this.” To read more…
Out of Their Depth
Volleyball Players Rescued from Hudson, After Jumping Into River to Retrieve Ball
Two young men were pulled from the waters of the Hudson River on Saturday morning, after jumping from the Battery Park City Esplanade to retrieve a volleyball that went over the railing, near North Cove Marina.
The men, whose names have not been released, were playing volleyball on the court that overlooks that yacht basin at approximately 11:40 am, when a wild serve sent their ball into the Hudson. Impulsively, they both leaped in after it.
Costs to Rent or Own in Lower Manhattan Are Matched by Lofty Local Earnings
A slew of recent reports documents what everyone who lives or works in Lower Manhattan already sensed in their bones: This is a mind-numbingly expensive place to call home.
In September, RENTCafé issued a new analysis of the most expensive neighborhoods for renters in the United States that finds northern Battery Park City (zip code 10282) is the priciest enclave in America, with an average rent of $6,211 per month. Coming in at second place is zip code 10013, which covers western Tribeca, along with part of Soho. To read more…
From Bunker to Incubator
New Arts Center on Governors Island Will Provide Studio Space and Cultural Programming
Lower Manhattan has a new cultural hub. The Lower Manhattan Cultural Council and the Trust for Governors Island have partnered to create the LMCC Arts Center at Governors Island, a 40,000-square foot studio space and education facility, housed within a restored 1870s ammunition warehouse — a relic from the days when the island was a military outpost.
While They Were Sleeping
Battery Park City Resident Charged with Two Home Invasions, and Sexual Abuse
A Battery Park City resident has been arrested twice in the space of five days on charges arising from two separate (but related) incidents, in which he is alleged to have sexually assaulted one woman, and sexually menaced her roommate on another, prior occasion.
Breaking It Down
Composting Catches on in Battery Park City
You’re probably heard of the farm-to-table movement. Thanks to the Battery Park City Authority’s compost initiative, there’s a burgeoning table-to-earth movement in this Lower Manhattan community.
What happens to the scraps after you’ve dropped them in the bin? How do your apple peels and corn husks turn into rich, beneficial compost?
The Broadsheet set out to investigate. To read more…
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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