Lower Manhattan’s Local News
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 (BPCA).
At the October 2 meeting of the Battery Park City Committee of Community Board 1 (CB1), 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.”
“Where conversions would require our consent because of ground-lease requirements or law, we will not support any such moves in that regard,” he continued. “And although some buildings have done initial filings, there haven’t been any buildings that have stopped being a rental in that time.” This was a reference to a package of New York State housing law reforms that went into effect in June, which include provisions that erect new barriers to condominium conversions, including a requirement that 51 percent of a building’s tenants agree to buy their apartments before the process can move forward. (Conversion of rental apartments to cooperatives is still technically easier, but there have very few of these in Lower Manhattan in recent years.)
This appears to have been a reference to multiple buildings in the community, such as RiverWatch (70 Battery Place), the Solaire (20 River Terrace), and Tribeca Pointe (41 River Terrace), where landlords have in recent years take some of the preliminary steps required to convert a rental building to owner-occupied apartments.
Mr. Jones added that, “the law is such that buildings can’t convert to condo if there’s less than 50 years on the ground lease, and we passed that hurdle in June.” This was a reference to exotic nature of property ownership in Battery Park City, where homeowners, landlords, and developers do not own outright the land they occupy, but instead lease the space (through June, 2069), in exchange for yearly payments of ground rent, as well as so-called “payments in lieu of taxes.” Concerns about this arrangement have grown acute in recent years, as more residents have come to realize that, under the current terms of the ground lease, their homes may disappear in 50 years, as ownership of all the real estate in Battery Park City reverts to the Authority. Unless the terms of this lease are modified or extended, for condominium owners, it may mean that their property is effectively confiscated, while renters might face the prospect of eviction. Both owners and tenants could be rendered homeless under this scenario. Neither of these outcomes is a foregone conclusion, but would be subject to the BPCA’s decision about how to move forward.
“So we have made some headway there,” Mr. Jones noted. While a commitment by the BPCA to oppose condo conversions in the name of protecting affordability appears to signal a bellwether shift in policy, and is likely to offer some assurance to current residents, the move follows more than 20 years of such schemes by developers, which forced hundreds of the community’s one-time residents from their homes. Three buildings, in particular — 225 Rector Place, 333 Rector Place, and 212 Warren Street (formerly known as 22 River Terrace) — were the focus of widespread fury on the part of displaced residents. In each case, developers claimed they were converting the buildings under so-called “non-eviction” plans, but ended up forcing all (or in the case of 225 Rector Place, nearly all) of the legacy rental tenants out before selling their apartments to new owners. All of those homes would have been saved if the new law that came into force in June had been on the books when these buildings were converted.
This policy change comes as Battery Park City is poised at a demographic turning point. In recent years, it has shifted to a nearly even split between rental and condominium apartments. As 2013 drew to a close, there was still a substantial majority for rented units, which totaled 4,773 apartments (or 56 percent of households), as opposed to 3,707 condo units (about 44 percent of the total).
But that margin was nearly halved when the rental building at 22 River Terrace (now known as 212 Warren Street) was converted into condominiums by its new owner. This tower has 324 units, which represented about four percent of the apartment inventory in Battery Park City, meaning that once the conversion was completed, the balance shifted to approximately 48 percent for condos and roughly 52 percent for rental units.
This is a striking about-face for a community that was once composed exclusively of rental buildings. Gateway Plaza, with more than 1700 apartments was the first development to open in Battery Park City, and remained the only place to live in the neighborhood for more than a decade. Even today, the giant complex encompasses more than 20 percent of all households in Battery Park City.
But it also represents a shift of another kind. Battery Park City was originally — asmuch by default as by design — an affordable place to live. Decades before Lower Manhattan had established itself as a fashionable residential enclave, developers needed to create an incentive for people to move to what was then perceived as a frontier. That incentive took the form of lower costs: For many years, a square foot of living space in this neighborhood cost less than equivalent footage in other Manhattan neighborhoods with access to the waterfront and plentiful park space. For middle class families, this became a place to live that was both desirable and economical.
But communities that are comprised of more owners than renters are different. They are less welcoming to people with limited financial resources. They tilt more to upper-, rather than middle-class residents. And for better or worse, they necessarily have fewer of the striving young families whose improvised campaigns of community-building helped build the district where so many more affluent people now wish to live.
Damascus on the Hudson
Lower Manhattan’s Old Syrian Quarter to Be Recalled in Sunday Walking Tour
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…
Build It and They Will Come ~ Monarch Butterflies Pause to Refuel in Lower Manhattan
Experience warm and meaningful high holidays at the Andaz Hotel.
Services will be in English (and Hebrew) blended with contemporary messages throughout the service and simultaneously
have an exciting children’s service.
* Fun Kids Program
* Lively, Meaningful and Enjoyable Services
* Warm and welcoming environment
* Rosh Hashanah Dinner at the Wall St Grill – FiDi’s newest Kosher Steakhouse
Location: Andaz Wall Street at 75 Wall Street in the Financial District
RSVP Required at theJLE.com/HighHolidays
Questions? Contacts us at Info@theJLE.com | 212-335 0613
CLASSIFIEDS & PERSONALS
Swaps & Trades ~ Respectable Employment ~ Lost & Found
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.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org
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 email@example.com 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, PREFER NON-WORKING
Mechanical pocket and wristwatches sought and sometimes repaired
If you would like to place a listing, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org
Court of Appeal
Local Leaders Urge Preservation of Justice Complex
Community Board 1 is urging the City’s Landmarks Preservation Commission to consider granting legally protected status to the Criminal Courts Building, at 100 Centre Street.
The case of 100 Centre Street takes on special urgency in this context, because, as the CB1 resolution notes, “the Manhattan Criminal Court building shares the same underlying City lot with the south tower of the Manhattan Detention Complex. This appears to mean that if City Hall needed extra space for the proposed new jail, it would face no legal obstacle in demolishing all or part of the historic building.
Monday October 7, 2019
CB1 Land Use, Zoning & Economic Development Committee
Manhattan Borough President’s Office 1 Centre Street, 19th Floor – South
1) Int 1701-2019: Community notification requirements for transfers of development rights – Presentation by Office of City Council Member Ben Kallos
2) 15 Cliff Street, application for City Planning Commission Chairperson certification to allow an existing café to be maintained as a permitted obstruction within an existing plaza – Resolution
3) District Needs Statement and Budget Requests for FY2021 – Discussion
CB1 Youth & Education Committee
Community Board 1 – Conference Room 1 Centre Street, Room 2202A-North
1) Trinity Place traffic study – Discussion and possible resolution*
2) “Parks over Plastic” and other programming at Manhattan Youth – Discussion
3) Support for Int. 0455-2018, Age limitations on school buses and replacing such school buses with all electric school buses – Discussion and possible resolution
4) District Needs Statement and Budget Requests for FY2021 – Discussion
5) Crossing Guards at Peck Slip and PS 276 – Update
6) Elementary school 2019 enrollment numbers – Report
Marwan Khoury Live in Concert
Tribeca Performing Arts Center
For the first time in the USA, the multi-talented singer, songwriter, and composer Marwan Khoury will be performing his all-time hits in a night to remember. $75, $100, $125, $210 199 Chambers Street. Tickets
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…
EYES TO THE SKY
September 30-October 13, 2019
Amateur astrophotographer soars: The Eagle Nebula
Looking through a telescope, we travel in light years. One light-year is equal to 9,500,000,000,000 kilometers or nearly 6 trillion miles. The Eagle Nebula, pictured here, is about 7000 light years away and includes a cluster of about 8,500 stars. To read more…
Steven Amedee Gallery
GRRR | Brad Greenwood
“GRRR is the noise of the street, the buzz-saw of the news cycle, the constant low growl in the throat. What is it like to try to live peacefully, contentedly, lovingly while the animals roar? Can there be quiet in the midst of these troubling noises? ~ Brad Greenwood
The exhibition runs through November 30 at Steven Amedee Gallery, 41 North Moore Street in Tribeca.
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.
Rapport to the Commissioner
CB1 Makes Exception to New Policy; Okays Naming Street for Former NYPD Commissioner
A public figure from the 1980s may soon be honored by having a street co-named in his memory, if Community Board 1 gets its way. The panel recommended that Benjamin Ward, New York’s first African-American police commissioner, be commemorated by rechristening one block of Baxter Street as Benjamin Ward Way.
This comes on the heels of a controversial decision by CB1 in 2018 to decline such a request on behalf of James D. McNaughton, who, on August 2, 2005, at age 27, became the first New York City Police officer to be killed in action while serving in “Operation Iraqi Freedom.”
Shattering the Lens
There isn’t anything unusual in a woman keeping a light in her window to guide men folk home, I just happen to keep a bigger light.” – Keeper Margaret Norvell
Shattering the Lens is an exhibit at the National Lighthouse Museum.
Artist Elaine Marie Austin, using her paintings of keepers and their lighthouses, sheds light on the dynamic impact of female lighthouse keepers.
It is inspired by the book Women Who Kept the Lights by Mary Louise Clifford and J. Candace Clifford.
The show runs through October 20, 2019.
National Lighthouse Museum
200 The Promenade at Lighthouse Point, Staten Island
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.
TODAY IN HISTORY
3761 BC – The epoch reference date epoch (origin) of the modern Hebrew calendar.
1691 – The charter for the Province of Massachusetts Bay is issued.
1763 – King George III issues the Royal Proclamation of 1763, closing Indigenous lands in North America north and west of the Alleghenies to white settlements.
1870 – Franco-Prussian War: Léon Gambetta escapes the siege of Paris in a hot-air balloon.
1919 – KLM, the flag carrier of the Netherlands, is founded. It is the oldest airline still operating under its original name.
1933 – Air France is inaugurated, after being formed by a merger of five French airlines.
1940 – World War II: The McCollum memo proposes bringing the United States into the war in Europe by provoking the Japanese to attack the United States.
1949 – The German Democratic Republic (East Germany) is formed.
1985 – Four men from the Palestine Liberation Organization hijack the MS Achille Lauro off the coast of Egypt.
1988 – A hunter discovers three gray whales trapped under the ice near Alaska; the situation becomes a multinational effort to free the whales.
1996 – Fox News Channel begins broadcasting.
2001 – The U.S. invasion of Afghanistan begins with an air assault and covert operations on the ground.
2008 – Asteroid 2008 TC3 impacts the Earth over Sudan, the first time an asteroid impact is detected prior to its entry into earth’s atmosphere.
1409 – Elizabeth of Luxembourg (d. 1442)
1471 – Frederick I of Denmark (d. 1533)
1635 – Roger de Piles, French painter (d. 1709)
1879 – Joe Hill, Swedish-born American labor activist and poet (d. 1915)
1885 – Niels Bohr, Danish physicist and philosopher, Nobel Prize laureate (d. 1962)
1917 – June Allyson, American actress (d. 2006)
1931 – Desmond Tutu, South African archbishop and activist, Nobel Prize laureate
1943 – Oliver North, American colonel
1952 – Vladimir Putin, Russian leader
1955 – Yo-Yo Ma, French-American cellist and educator
929 – Charles the Simple, French king (b. 879)
1772 – John Woolman, American preacher and abolitionist (b. 1720)
1849 – Edgar Allan Poe, short story writer, poet, and critic (b. 1809)
1894 – Oliver Wendell Holmes Sr., American physician, author, and poet (b. 1809)
1950 – Willis Haviland Carrier, American engineer (b. 1876)
1951 – Anton Philips, Dutch businessman, co-founded Philips (b. 1874)
1956 – Clarence Birdseye, businessman, founded Birds Eye (b. 1886)
1991 – Leo Durocher, American baseball player and manager (b. 1905)
2009 – Irving Penn, American photographer (b. 1917)
credits include wikipedia and other internet sources
Onetime Non-Profit Nursing Facility Sold to Anonymous Buyer for Five Times Original Price
If there is an Exhibit A in the case of fevered speculation in Lower Manhattan real estate, it must be Rivington House
After purchasing the block-long, 150,000-square-foot structure (located at 45 Rivington Street, near the Williamsburg Bridge), the developer, the Allure Group, paid the City an additional $16 million to remove the deed restriction that limited the property to its legacy use of non-profit, residential healthcare. To read more…
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.
Cruise Ships in New York Harbor
Arrivals & Departures
Monday, October 7
Inbound 6:15 am; in port overnight
Inbound 6:15 am; in port overnight
Outbound 5:30 pm;
Canadian Maritimes/Quebec City
Inbound 6:30 am; in port overnight
Wednesday, October 9
Bermuda/Eastern Caribbean/San Juan, PR
Inbound 6:00 am; in port overnight
Thursday, October 10
Anthem of the Seas
Inbound 6:30 am (Bayonne); outbound 4:00 pm
New England/Canadian Maritimes
Inbound 6:00 am; in port overnight
Friday, October 11
Outbound pm 102nd Global Voyage
(Quebec City/Transatlantic/Belfast, N. Ireland)
Inbound 7:15 am; outbound 6:30 pm
New England/Canadian Maritimes/Quebec City/Montreal
Outbound pm; Bermuda/Eastern Caribbean/San Juan, PR
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.
Cass Gilbert and the Evolution of the New York Skyscraper
by John Simko
If They Went Any Slower, They’d Slip Into Reverse
City Transportation Study Finds That Lower Manhattan Bus Service Is Among Most Sluggish in Five Boroughs
The annual New York City Mobility Report, produced by the City’s Department of Transportation, contains two data points that will come as no surprise residents of Lower Manhattan. The first of these is that the median speed for Downtown bus service ranks among the slowest of any community in the five boroughs. And the second is that this creeping pace is, if anything, getting creepier. To read more…
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