Lower Manhattan’s Local News
Governors Island Caps a Banner Season; Faces Momentous Decisions in 2020
Governors Island has recently concluded a record-breaking season, and faces a year of both expanded amenities and milestone decisions in 2020, according to a recent discussion at Community Board 1 (CB1).
At the September 17 meeting of the Board’s Waterfront, Parks, & Cultural Committee, Clare Newman, the president and chief executive officer of the Trust of Governors Island, began by noting that, “as everyone knows, we are now open six months of the year, which means you can experience spring summer and fall on Governors Island.”
“We are in a very strong place today” she continued, “Governors Island has become part of New York City’s fabric. Our visitor numbers have skyrocketed, from around 8,000 [in 2006] to about 800,000 last year. And we expect to exceed 800,000 this year, which puts us on track for our best season ever.” She observed that 80 percent of the Island’s visitors are New York City residents, and half of this cohort is from Manhattan. “Also this year, we increased the frequency of ferry service, thanks to our new ferry, Governors I, which runs every 20 minutes, and takes the planning out of the trip. You can just show up and know you’re not going to have to wait too long,” she noted.
“This was our second season of late nights,” Ms. Newman added, “Friday and Saturdays until 10:00 pm, which allowed visitors to enjoy our spectacular sunsets, along with the film series we produced in partnership with Lincoln Center.” The evening hours attracted as many as 16,000 visitors each weekend, she noted. “We have also really expanded food and beverage openings, along with more than 80 cultural programs, 70 of which are totally free.”
She additionally emphasized the ongoing expansion of public space on Governors Island, saying, “we now have play lawns that accommodate soccer, football, and softball, with dedicated fields for baseball and softball. And we’re excited to have partnered with Downtown Little League and Downtown Soccer League to provide space.”
In September, the Trust also partnered with the Lower Manhattan Cultural Council (LMCC) to open 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. The project, which cost $12 million and was more than a decade in development, houses open-plan artist studios, two floors of galleries, performance and rehearsal spaces and the Island’s first indoor cafe. The building, located a 90-second walk from the Governors Island ferry dock, is also open to visitors during the park’s public season, which was extended to October 31 this year.
Capping a banner season, Governors Island was named one of six Great Public Spaces on the American Planning Association’s annual list, Great Places in America. This yearly compendium recognizes streets, neighborhoods, and public spaces that demonstrate exceptional character, quality and planning as attributes that enrich communities, facilitate economic growth, and inspire others around the country.
Looking ahead to 2020, Ms. Newman announced that Governors Island will be launching a free tram, “which is an important investment to help mobility impaired visitors get around.” She added that the tram, which is being made possible with funds allocated by City Council member Margaret Chin, “will be environmentally sensitive,” like many of the initiatives on Governors Island, such as food vendors who have committed to a zero-waste composting program.
Waterfront Committee member Wendy Chapman inquired about the desire of the Harbor School, a highly regarded public high school located on Governors Island, to expand into a nearby structure, known as Building 555. This 32,000-square-foot, brick-and-slate edifice dates from 1938, and is part of the Governors Island Historic District. The Trust has designated it for “adaptive reuse.”
“We have asked over and over again about expanding the Harbor School,” Ms. Chapman noted. “You’re not going to give that adjacent building away to anybody else?”
Ms. Newman replied, “we’re hoping that next time we are here, we will have a very clear and good news update about that building.”
Ms. Chapman also noted that the Harbor School has requested space since 2018 in which to build a swimming pool, deemed as essential for its maritime curriculum.
Ms. Newman answered, “we are planning to have the Harbor School’s capital team out this fall to walk around the island. And there’s a potential synergy there in terms of making it publicly available.”
More controversially, the Trust for Governors Island will be making decisions about development in 2020 that local residents will be living with — for better or worse — for decades to come. The administration of Mayor Bill de Blasio plans to build out two sections of the Island (totaling 33 acres), with as much as 4.5 million square feet of new development, in the hope that this will generate enough revenue to fund operations of the public sections of the park. This model is based, in part, on the example of the Hudson River Park Trust, where development within the footprint of the linear park along the waterfront of Manhattan’s West Side aims to subsidize public amenities. The City’s plan for Governors Island also draws inspiration from the success of developing the Cornell Tech campus on Roosevelt Island. But striking the optimal balance between private use and public benefit has become a contentious issue for all three projects.
This subject was raised by Waterfront Committee member, Alice Blank, who noted, “I don’t know that we’ve heard anything about that rezoning. This is millions of square feet that might be rezoned for mixed use. It is an immense project, probably on the scale of some of the biggest projects we’ll see. And this is within the jurisdiction of this Community Board.”
Ms. Newman replied that, “we are now in the process of understanding where we left off in the environmental review and zoning. We’re having internal conversations, and want to come back with something thoughtful that we can talk about.”
Ms. Blank pressed, “will the community be part of these initial — or maybe not so initial — conversations? It would be great if we could get in on the ground.”
“One hundred percent,” Ms. Newman answered. “We will absolutely be working with the community, over the course of the next months. We do not want to come and say, ‘here it is, and we’re certifying next week.’ That will not happen. We will be coming back to CB1 to discuss this.”
Ms. Newman (and the Trust’s chair, Alicia Glen, who recently stepped down as Mr. de Blasio’s deputy mayor) are widely believed to favor projects such as a proposed gondola that would connect Lower Manhattan to Governors Island, and a plan to build a soccer stadium on the Island. More recently, the City has begun soliciting proposals for a “major center for climate adaptation research, commercialization, conversation, and policymaking,” to be built in this planned development zone.
In September, 2018, CB1 enacted a resolution voicing grave reservations about the scale of development planned for Governors Island, which noted that the Board was, “very troubled by the scope and magnitude of development being assessed for the Southern island and believes that it is excessive. CB1 does not endorse many aspects of [the plan] and we look forward to working with the Trust for Governors Island to modify the final scope.”
For more information, contact Scott Baker at email@example.com
Gotham Girls Winter Futsal League & Formativo Training
Gotham Girls F.C. – the only NYC all-girls soccer club
is running our Winter Futsal League for girls ages 7 to 16.
(Our foundational development soccer – Formativo – is available for girls ages 7-10). Our dedicated coaches ref the fun, active 50-minute 4v4 indoor futsal games, and provide coaching to develop girls foot skills and knowledge.
Dates are December 7/8 – March 21/22.
Games are on Saturdays or Sundays (depending on age) at PS276 and PS234 gyms. Cost is $210 for 12 games.
To register for Winter Futsal or Formativo, please go to http://gothamgirls.org.
EYES TO THE SKY
November 12 – 24, 2019
Transit of Mercury yesterday, Venus and Jupiter meet on the 24th
Mercury, the smallest planet in our solar system – slightly larger than Earth’s moon – and closest to the Sun, was observed – through telescopes – crossing the Sun yesterday, November 11. Even if you observed the little planet transiting the Sun in real time, it is worth watching NASA’s phenomenal two minute time-lapse film that shows close-ups of the Sun during Mercury’s May 9, 2016 transit. Click here to view. The next Transit of Mercury visible in its entirety from our location will be in 2049.
When Mercury’s orbit takes the little planet out of the Sun’s glare, it rises as a morning star close to the east-southeast horizon. Normally elusive because close to the Sun and of low magnitude, Mercury brightens quickly in the coming weeks and rises higher in the sky before sunrise. It is furthest from the rising Sun on November 28 and continues to brighten into early December. At a horizon view location, look by 6am beginning next week, when binoculars may help, and be sure to enjoy naked eye appreciations later in the month.
Meanwhile, planets Jupiter and Venus are an alluring sight as they approach each other within the hour after sunset. Sunset is around 4:30. This week, find brilliant Venus, with bright Jupiter above, close to the southwest horizon. By next week, the 18th, Venus appears closer to Jupiter. As Venus climbs higher above the horizon, Jupiter loses altitude. Scarcely two weeks after the Transit of Mercury, on the 23rd and 24th Venus and Jupiter are in conjunction, or closest approach to each other. Brilliant Venus continues to climb into the evening sky, passing Jupiter. Jupiter will disappear from the evening sky by mid-December.
“A Fraudulent Scheme”
FiDi Renters Seek Recompense for Years of Rent Overcharges
In the wake of a June ruling by New York State’s highest court that tenants in Financial District rental buildings had been illegally deprived of rent stabilization benefits, a pair of apartment dwellers is litigating to recoup the money they lost by paying inflated, market-rate rents for years.
In October, Bruce Hackney and Timothy Smith, tenants at Ten Hanover Square, filed suit against their landlord, alleging that the owner’s, “failure to follow rent regulations was part of a fraudulent scheme to deregulate apartments in the building.”
CLASSIFIEDS & PERSONALS
Swaps & Trades ~ Respectable Employment ~ Lost & Found
LOCAL HIGH SCHOOL SENIOR AVAILABLE
FOR BABYSITTING OR TUTORING
17 year old young man, lifetime resident of Tribeca and BPC.
Went to PS 234, Lab Middle School and currently attending Millennium HS. This summer was a Councilor at Pierce Country Day Camp. Excellent references.Very experienced with kids under 10.
Available for weeknight and weekend baby-sitting and tutoring middle-schoolers in Math or Science.
Please contact Emmett at 917.733.3572
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.
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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
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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.
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OLD WATCHES SOUGHT, PREFER NON-WORKING
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If you would like to place a listing, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org
November 12, 2019
Join a fitness dance party with upbeat Latin music of salsa, merengue, hip-hop, and more! Enthusiastic instruction creates a fun community of dancers who learn new steps each week. Bring your friends and share in this fit and fun dancing community. FREE 6 River Terrace. Battery Park City Authority
CB1’s Youth & Education Committee
Community Board 1 – Conference Room 1 Centre Street, Room 2202A-North
Gordon Bunshaft and SOM: Building Corporate Modernism
Today in History
954 – The 13-year-old Lothair III is crowned at the Abbey of Saint-Remi as king of the West Frankish Kingdom.
1793 – Jean Sylvain Bailly, the first Mayor of Paris, is guillotined.
1912 – The frozen bodies of Robert Scott and his men are found on the Ross Ice Shelf in Antarctica.
1927 – Leon Trotsky is expelled from the Soviet Communist Party, leaving Joseph Stalin in undisputed control of the Soviet Union.
1936 – The San Francisco-Oakland Bay Bridge opens to traffic.
1941 – World War II: Temperatures around Moscow drop to -12 °C as the Soviet Union launches ski troops for the first time against the freezing German forces near the city.
1954 – Ellis Island ceased operations.
1979 – Iran hostage crisis: In response to the hostage situation in Tehran, US President Jimmy Carter orders a halt to all petroleum imports into the United States from Iran.
1980 – The NASA space probe Voyager I makes its closest approach to Saturn and takes the first images of its rings.
1981 – Space Shuttle program: Mission STS-2, utilizing the Space Shuttle Columbia, marks the first time a manned spacecraft is launched into space twice.
1990 – Tim Berners-Lee publishes a formal proposal for the World Wide Web.
1997 – Ramzi Yousef is found guilty of masterminding the 1993 World Trade Center bombing.
2001 – American Airlines Flight 587, an Airbus A300 en route to the Dominican Republic, crashes minutes after takeoff from John F. Kennedy International Airport, killing all 260 on board and five on the ground.
2011 – A blast in Iran’s Shahid Modarres missile base leads to the death of 17 of the Revolutionary Guards members, including Hassan Tehrani Moghaddam, a key figure in Iran’s missile program.
1729 – Louis Antoine de Bougainville, French admiral and explorer (d. 1811)
1795 – Thaddeus William Harris, entomologist and botanist (d. 1856)
1840 – Auguste Rodin, sculptor and illustrator, created The Thinker (d. 1917)
1889 – DeWitt Wallace, American publisher and philanthropist, co-founded Reader’s Digest (d. 1981)
1923 – Ian Graham, English archaeologist and explorer (d. 2017)
1929 – Grace Kelly, American actress, later Princess Grace of Monaco (d. 1982)
1934 – Charles Manson, American cult leader (d. 2017)
1943 – Wallace Shawn, American actor, comedian and playwright
1944 – Booker T. Jones, pianist, saxophonist, songwriter, and producer
1945 – Neil Young, Canadian singer-songwriter, guitarist, and producer
973 – Burchard III, Frankish nobleman (b. c.915)
1094 – Duncan II of Scotland (b. 1060)
1595 – John Hawkins, English admiral and shipbuilder (b. 1532)
1916 – Percival Lowell, astronomer, mathematician, and author (b. 1855)
1993 – H. R. Haldeman, Richard Nixon’s Chief of Staff (b. 1926)
2018 – Stan Lee, comic book writer, editor, and publisher (b. 1922
Need for Affordable Comestibles Inspires Tax Break Proposal and Deliveries to Elders
Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer and City Council member Margaret Chin are leading a push to help groceries stores remain viable.
Together, they have introduced legislation in the City Council to exempt affordable grocery stores from the commercial rent tax (CRT), which imposes an annual 3.9 percent surcharge on the rent paid by a store. Enacted in 1963, the CRT is currently imposed on businesses below 96th Street, but nowhere else in the five boroughs. To read more…
Quay to the Future
Hudson River Park Trust Hints at Estuarium Partnership with River Project
A discussion at the October 15 meeting of the Waterfront, Parks & Cultural Committee of Community Board 1 (CB1) pointed toward a possible resolution of a question that has remained unanswered for years: Will a highly regarded non-profit that has served Lower Manhattan for decades continue to have a home on the waterfront?
Rents Within Reach for 50 Years
Lower East Side’s Depression-Era Equivalent to Gateway Plaza Preserves Affordability Through 2069
City Council member Margaret Chin has brokered an agreement that will preserve affordability for rental tenants at Knickerbocker Village, a giant apartment complex in the Two Bridges neighborhood, which was built by a public-private partnership in the 1930s.
The complex bears striking similarities to Battery Park City’s largest residential development, Gateway Plaza. Both boast multiple buildings (12 on the Lower East Side and six in Battery Park City), surrounding a central garden. Each has a similar number of apartments: 1,590 for Knickerbocker Village and 1705 in Gateway Plaza. And the two projects were conceived as bulwarks of affordability.
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 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 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
Click to 30 seconds of morning sounds on the esplanade
Eighteen Years Later, What about the Children?
Schools Agency Begins Belated Outreach Effort to Former Lower Manhattan Students at Risk of 9/11 Illness
The City’s Department of Education is partnering with the United Federation of Teachers union for an unusual mission: tracking down former New York City public school students who were pupils at Lower Manhattan schools on September 11, 2001 (or in the months that followed) and informing them that their health may be at risk. The project will also seek to put these students in touch with the World Trade Center Health Program and the September 11th Victims Compensation Fund.
In September, the DOE began mailing out the first of more than 19,000 letters to the last known addresses of students who attended schools such as P.S. 89, I.S. 289, P.S. 234, P.S. 150, and Stuyvesant High School, along with dozens of other elementary, middle, and high schools below Houston Street.
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.
Steven Amedee Gallery
Jefferson Hayman : New Amsterdam
Exploring themes of nostalgia, common symbols, and memory, Jefferson Hayman invites the viewer to partake in the narrative process that is both intimate and deeply personal.
Each photograph is handcrafted as a silver gelatin, platinum or pigment print, capturing a delicacy in tonality reminiscent of early Pictorial photography as well as the subsequent modernism movement’s refined interplay of light and shadow.
Entitled New Amsterdam, this exhibition will focus in part on Dutch inspired still lives as well as images of the once Dutch colony New York City.
Thursday, November 14th, 2019 6pm – 9pm
Steven Amedee Gallery 41 N Moore Street in Tribeca
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?
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…
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.
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.
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…
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…
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…
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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