Lower Manhattan’s Local News
Lower Manhattan Forecast: It’s Getting Cloudier
Downtown Alliance and BPCA Expand Free Wireless Coverage by 1.5 Million Square Feet
The Battery Park City Authority (BPCA) and Downtown Alliance have teamed up to bring improved or new free WiFi service to an additional 1.5-million square feet of outdoor space in Rockefeller, Teardrop, and Wagner Parks along the Hudson River in Battery Park City.
The service now brings gigabit-speed connectivity to the entirety of each of these parks and their surrounding areas. At the same time, this upgrade brings Battery Park City into the broader #DwtwnAllianceFreeWiFi network (provided by the Alliance), which now spans six million square feet throughout one of the City’s most heavily-trafficked districts.
When the Downtown Alliance launched its public WiFi network in 2003, it was the City’s most extensive free connectivity initiative. In the 16 years since, it has grown to cover all the major thoroughfares in Lower Manhattan, along with multiple indoor and outdoor gathering places. It is accessed more than a half million times each year.
This was followed by the BPCA’s first foray into wireless service, in 2008. That project covered Wagner Park, with more access points in Rockefeller Park, Teardrop Park and portions of the Esplanade added in 2012.
The latest expansion in the service was made possible by support from the BPCA, while support for the existing network is provided by Wilmer Cutler Pickering Hale and Dorr, a leading international law firm located in Lower Manhattan.
“Our beautiful public spaces are host to hundreds of programs and thousands of parks users,” noted BPCA president B.J. Jones. “We invite you to enjoy this free service. Stay tuned for more to come!”
Downtown Alliance president Jessica Lapin said, “access to information is crucial in today’s connected world and as part of our mission to support Lower Manhattan we feel it’s vital to provide free and easy WiFi access to as much of the neighborhood as possible. We look forward to seeing more selfies of residents living their best life in Lower Manhattan.”
The next phase of the project, slated for 2020, will aim to cover large swaths of the Battery Park City’s Esplanade. For more information about free WiFi coverage in Lower Manhattan, please browse: www.downtownny.com/wifi
A Bridge Too Few
Community Leader Rallies Support to Halt Planned Demolition of Pedestrian Span Over West Side Highway
A Battery Park City resident and community leader is mobilizing support to preserve the Rector Street Bridge, the pedestrian span that is slated for demolition as a newer overpass at nearby West Thames Street (which unofficially opened in September) is gradually integrated into the local streetscape.
Bob Schneck spoke during the public comment session of the Battery Park City Authority (BPCA) board meeting on Tuesday, pointing to a petition drive he has spearheaded, and noting that, “I have collected more than 1,800 signatures by residents who want to keep the bridge. Rector Street lines up with almost every subway line in Lower Manhattan, and ferries on both ends.”
The Subtle Art of Not Giving A Shoot
Chin Pushes Legislation to Rein in Production Permits
City Council member Margaret Chin is co-sponsoring a package of bills to clamp down on rampant film and television production in Lower Manhattan.
Although the new laws, if enacted, will have City-wide effect, their impact would be especially significant in the square mile below Chambers Street, where dozens of movies and TV shows commandeer local streets (sometimes for days at a time) each year.
Re: Rector Street Bridge
Although I see the continued utility of the existing Rector Street Bridge, especially in how it lines up with subway entrances, I’d like to suggest a mitigation toward eventual removal of the bridge, combined with upgrading of the access to the subways from the new bridge.
The logical walk east from the new bridge is on J.P.Ward Street, the sidewalk through the Battery Parking Garage and Edgar Street. At this point, the expanded Elizabeth Berger Park will provide a direct connection to the southern entry to South Ferry on the #1 train.
From this entrance, there is an entry to the uptown R/W train right across Trinity Place, except, there’s no crosswalk; and there’s no entrance to the downtown R/W this far south. Oddly, this northbound entrance is a vestige of an abandoned plan (c.1990?) to combine all four subway entrances into one, the “Rector to Rector Connector (sic).” The work would have been paid for with developer fees for mitigating additional floor area at various sites. It stopped because all involved realized that the facility had no purpose.
I’m suggesting that the existing bridge remain until the subway access at the new bridge can be upgraded to be equivalent to the current convenience. This allows for the existing bridge to stay up, but not forever. In the interim, the stakeholders can work with MTA, DOT, City Planning and the development community to fund a reconfiguration of crosswalks and subway entrances to meet the walking path from the new bridge.
Re: Movie Production
It is hard to accept the local politicians that want to limit the business in Manhattan.
Both the proposed limits on movie production and the new traffic proposals by the City Council speaker. I live in Battery Park City and over the past year remember more than one movie production in the area.
Given the limited available parking in BPC and Soho allowing movie production to take parking and non-parking space is not a burden. I believe the economic benefit to the local areas and the city are of greater value. Both proposals will result in a loss that will cost the City tax payers. it is sad that the politicians don’t care about economic viability of the city.
Re: Storefront vacancies
I read your article about store vacancies in Lower Manhattan with interest.
While I do not dispute any of the claims regarding the store owners’ challenges, but I was disappointed that the article did not note that all of the photographed vacant storefronts had stairs or a step that made them inaccessible to shoppers or diners with a wheeled device.
As someone who relies on a scooter for mobility, I find that Lower Manhattan, and especially the zip code that your highlight, excludes me with stairs, hard to open doors, especially if I must stop on a ramped threshold, hard to navigate indoor space and displays, inaccessible restrooms, etc.
It should not be a surprise why people like me shop online or frequent chain locations, use food delivery services and ride share apps; small businesses exclude or overly challenge those of us with wheeled devices.
I do not wish harm to the business owners or taxi drivers, but those of us who cannot climb stairs, open heavy doors, perch on inclines and are too short and curb restricted to flag down taxis are happy that we have finally been recognized as customers with money to spend and needs to meet.
As the population ages and more families bring strollers with them, business owners and city policy makers really need to rethink this issue. Encouraging businesses without encouraging accessible and inclusive spaces would be bad policy and likely to fail.
I am fully in support of Gale Brewer’s proposal to tax building owners who leave storefronts vacant for long periods.
We have too many in our own and nearby neighborhoods.
Maybe, building owners pay less tax on an unproductive property, so charging them something on unrented space could provide some necessary motivation.
I will let my CouncilMember know my opinion on this issue, and hope others in the community consider doing the same.
Maryanne P. Braverman
November 1, 2019
Lance de los Reyes: Messages from Ghosts
Pop-up exhibit. Lance de los Reyes recognizes that an artist’s creative contributions are often representative of an attempt to express individual worldly sensations. Messages From Ghosts instead treats the artist as conduit, receiving ghostly messages and imagery from the afterlife, to be translated both through auditory and visual work. 26 Fulton Street. Now through November 17
The Opera Collective is a group of Opera singers throughout New York City, seeking to make opera accessible to the general public by presenting educational programs and free public performances of vocal music including opera, art song, operetta and musical theater in New York’s thriving subway stations. This group of singers performs with MTA’s Music Under New York program, bringing Bizet, Gershwin, and Puccini to subway riders. $25 199 Chambers Street.
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.
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. To read more…
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?
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…
What’s In Store?
Amid a Booming Economy, Lower Manhattan Retail Space Languishes
A new report from City Comptroller Scott Stringer finds that in one Lower Manhattan zip code — 10013, which covers parts of western Tribeca SoHo, and the Canal Street corridor in Chinatown — there are 319 empty retail spaces, comprising almost 300,000 square feet of unused property. To read more…
Click to listen to the morning sounds on the esplanade
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.
Cruise Ships in New York Harbor
Arrivals & Departures
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.
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.
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…
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.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org
ELDER CARE NURSE AIDE with 17 years experience seeks PT/FT work. Refs available Call or text 718 496 6232 Dian
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: email@example.com
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
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
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
Today in History
1179 – Philip II is crowned as ‘King of France’.
1214 – The port city of Sinope surrenders to the Seljuq Turks.
1512 – The ceiling of the Sistine Chapel, painted by Michelangelo, is exhibited to the public for the first time.
1520 – The Strait of Magellan, the passage immediately south of mainland South America connecting the Pacific and the Atlantic Oceans, is first discovered and navigated by European explorer Ferdinand Magellan during the first recorded circumnavigation voyage.
1570 – The All Saints’ Flood devastates the Dutch coast.
1604 – William Shakespeare’s tragedy Othello is performed for the first time, at Whitehall Palace in London.
1611 – Shakespeare’s play The Tempest is performed for the first time, at Whitehall Palace in London.
1683 – The British Crown colony of New York is subdivided into 12 counties.
1755 – In Portugal, Lisbon is totally devastated by a massive earthquakeand tsunami, killing between 60,000 and 90,000 people.
1765 – The British Parliament enacts the Stamp Act on the Thirteen Colonies in order to help pay for British military operations in North America.
1870 – In the United States, the Weather Bureau (later renamed the National Weather Service) makes its first official meteorological forecast.
1894 – Buffalo Bill, 15 Indians, and Annie Oakley were filmed by Thomas Edison in his Black Maria Studio in West Orange, New Jersey.
1896 – A picture showing the bare breasts of a woman appears in National Geographic magazine for the first time.
1911 – World’s first combat aerial bombing mission takes place in Libya during the Italo-Turkish War. Second Lieutenant Giulio Gavotti of Italy drops several small bombs.
1918 – Malbone Street Wreck: The worst rapid transit accident in US history occurs under the intersection of Malbone Street and Flatbush Avenue, Brooklyn, with at least 102 deaths.
1922 – Abolition of the Ottoman sultanate: The last sultan of the Ottoman Empire, Mehmed VI, abdicates.
1941 – American photographer Ansel Adams takes a picture of a moonrise over the town of Hernandez, New Mexico that would become one of the most famous images in the history of photography.
1944 – Donald Watson, an English animal rights activist, coins the term “veganism.”
1950 – Pope Pius XII claims papal infallibility when he formally defines the dogma of the Assumption of Mary.
1951 – Operation Buster-Jangle: Six thousand five hundred American soldiers are exposed to ‘Desert Rock’ atomic explosions for training purposes in Nevada. Participation is not voluntary.
1955 – The Vietnam War begins.
1960 – While campaigning for President of the United States, John F. Kennedy announces his idea of the Peace Corps.
1968 – The Motion Picture Association of America’s film rating system is introduced, originating with the ratings G, M, R, and X.
1973 – Watergate scandal: Leon Jaworski is appointed as the new Watergate Special Prosecutor.
1981 – Antigua and Barbuda gain independence from the United Kingdom.
1982 – Honda becomes the first Asian automobile company to produce cars in the United States with the opening of its factory in Marysville, Ohio; a Honda Accord is the first car produced there.
1984 – After the assassination of Indira Gandhi, Prime Minister of India on 31 October 1984, by two of her Sikh bodyguards, anti-Sikh riots erupts.
846 – Louis the Stammerer, Frankish king (d. 879)
1666 – James Sherard, English botanist and curator (d. 1738)
1838 – 11th Dalai Lama (d. 1856)
1849 – William Merritt Chase, American painter and educator (d. 1916)
1871 – Stephen Crane, poet, novelist, and short story writer (d. 1900)
1889 – Hannah Höch, German painter and photographer (d. 1978)
1940 – Barry Sadler, American sergeant, singer-songwriter (d. 1989)
1423 – Nicholas Eudaimonoioannes, Byzantine diplomat
1629 – Hendrick ter Brugghen, Dutch painter (b. 1588)
1972 – Ezra Pound, American poet and critic (b. 1885)
1985 – Phil Silvers, American actor and comedian (b. 1911)
2005 – Skitch Henderson, pianist, composer, and conductor (b. 1918)
2006 – William Styron, American novelist and essayist (b. 1925)
2007 – Paul Tibbets, American general (b. 1915)
2015 – Fred Thompson, American actor, lawyer, and politician (b. 1942)
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…
Plant It and They Will Come ~ Monarch Butterflies Pause to Refuel in Lower Manhattan
To the editor:
Thank you, kind-hearted gardeners. We must all do whatever little bit we can to hold back the wave of extinctions that is a hair’s breadth from taking the last of our monarchs.
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.
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…
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…
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.
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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