Lower Manhattan’s Local News
Back to the Drawing Board
City Landmarks Agency Agrees with CB1 about “Disaster and Affront”
The City’s Landmarks Preservation Commission (LPC) has concurred with Community Board 1 (CB1) about a builder’s proposed plan for a new mansion at Hubert and Collister Streets, within the Tribeca West Historic District.
At its December 3 meeting, the LPC’s commissioners listened to a presentation from the builder and his team of architects for a new, 17,000-square-foot private home that will contain four bedrooms, ten bathrooms, a multi-car garage, and a basement-level indoor basketball court, as well as outdoor patio above street level. Because the existing structure sits within a Historic District, any new building project must seek the approval of the LPC.
When the presentation was done, the commissioners were unanimous in their disapproval. The LPC’s vice chair, Frederick Bland, said, called the design (which envisions a granite facade, in stark contrast to surrounding buildings), “chilling” and “Darth Vader-ish.” He added that designs for new buildings within a Historic District should, “approach the street in a friendly way.”
Commissioner Michael Goldblum said of the disconnect between the proposed design and the existing buildings nearby, “this too much about itself and not enough about where it is.”
Commissioner Anne Holford-Smith and Michael Devonshire both described the design, “fortress-like.”
And Commissioner Jeanne Lutfy said, “this is very disjointed,” and criticized the, “keep-me-out fence at the base.” She added that, “the mask-like facade is like ‘The Silence of the Lambs’ and the mask that Anthony Hopkins is wearing.”
All of these comments echo a resolution enacted by CB1 at its November 21, where Bruce Ehrmann, who co-chairs that panel’s Landmarks & Preservation Committee, began by saying, “this is one of the most egregious applications I’ve seen in Tribeca Historic District.”
He added that the design, “is like a prison, guarding the residents from us. The Collister Street facade is way above pedestrians heads. The architect said this way, the owners wouldn’t have to hang curtains or shades.”
The resolution enacted by CB1 at the November meeting says, “the new proposal, designed by Washington State architect Eric Cobb, is a disaster and an affront,” with, “a penitentiary-like garage door and front entrance, and frosted glass strung with cabling, vaguely recalling Renzo Piano on a very bad day.”
The resolution goes on to criticize the use of indentations in the proposed facade, “the same size as and suggestive of the actual windows, but actual blank indentations, perhaps for those in solitary confinement.” The measure also bemoans that, “the entire ensemble is belted at street-level by a brutalist black ‘keep out’ steel fence barricade extending high over pedestrians’ heads.”
It concludes that, “clearly, the architect has been tasked with designing a fortress on what is one of the most elegant passages in Downtown Manhattan, and the design in question bears not a scintilla of contextual reference to Tribeca’s historic districts, either graphically or ideologically,” before recommending that the LPC reject the plan, and asking the builder and architects to start again from scratch.
At its December 3 meeting, the LPC agreed. The panel voted to require the architects and builder to start over in their designs for the Hubert Street building.
Today in History
884 – King Carloman II dies after a hunting accident. He is succeeded by his cousin, emperor Charles the Fat, who for the last time reunites the Frankish Empire.
1781 – American Revolutionary War: Second Battle of Ushant: A British fleet led by HMS Victory defeats a French fleet.
1787 – Pennsylvania becomes the second state to ratify the United States Constitution, five days after Delaware became the first.
1862 – American Civil War: USS Cairo sinks on the Yazoo River, becoming the first armored ship to be sunk by a controlled mine.
1901 – Guglielmo Marconi receives the first transatlantic radio signal (the letter “S” [***] in Morse Code), at Signal Hill in St John’s, Newfoundland.
1915 – President of the Republic of China, Yuan Shikai, announces his intention to reinstate the monarchy and proclaim himself Emperor of China.
1946 – A fire at an ice plant in Hudson Heights, Manhattan spreads to an adjacent tenement, killing 37 people.
1985 – Arrow Air Flight 1285, a McDonnell Douglas DC-8, crashes after takeoff in Gander, Newfoundland, killing all 256 people on board, including 236 members of the United States Army’s 101st Airborne Division.
2015 – The Paris Agreement relating to United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change is adopted.
1574 – Anne of Denmark (d. 1619)
1685 – Lodovico Giustini, Italian pianist and composer (d. 1743)
1805 – Henry Wells, American businessman, co-founded Wells Fargo and American Express (d. 1878)
1845 – Bruce Price, American architect, designed the American Surety Building and Bank of the Metropolis (d. 1903)
Pipes at One
St. Paul’s Chapel
The weekly Pipes at One series showcases leading organists and rising stars from around the country in this year-round series at St. Paul’s Chapel, featuring its celebrated three-manual Noack organ. Today, Janet Yieh, organ.
Ten Crucial Days: Washington’s Vision for Victory Unfolds
Fraunces Tavern Museum
Lecture by William L. Kidder. On December 25, 1776, the American Revolution seemed all but defeated. Just six months after the Declaration of Independence was adopted, Washington’s army had suffered a series of defeats in New York, retreating to temporary safety in Pennsylvania. Kidder will discuss the ten crucial days in which Washington lead his upstart army in daring maneuvers that changed the course of history. 54 Pearl Street.
New York Stories: Preet Bharara
The War in Afghanistan is the longest in American history. Tamanna Salikuddin, a former diplomat, discusses current efforts to find a settlement that will allow the U.S. to withdraw from Afghanistan, including U.S. and Afghan talks with the Taliban.
https://www.911memorial.org/calendar/new-york-stories-preet-bharara 21449 talks-readings 911museum.jpg
DoublePlus: Alexander Diaz + Jennifer Harrison Newman
DoublePlus embraces the artist-as-curator format to present split-bill evenings featuring artists deserving of new or wider visibility, each curated by an established artist. Alexander Diaz presents “Getting closer to Coral,” which explores memories of being too feminine, not “manly” enough, and being instructed to love the normalized idea of masculinity. Jennifer Harrison Newman presents “topologies,” a meditation on the porousness of borders, real and imagined, natural and technological, internal and external. Using performance, video, and architecture topologies puts the body at the center of an environment in a constant state of slippage. $15, $20 280 Broadway.
EYES TO THE SKY
December 9-22, 2019
Venus and Saturn, Full Cold Moon Winter Solstice
Yesterday’s sunset, earliest of the year, down to the second, is at 4:28:30pm. Sunset time is seconds later beginning tomorrow, until it is nearly one minute later, 4:29:27 on December 15. Afternoons will be noticeably lighter by month’s end. Sunrise today, 7:08:02, is 12 minutes earlier than the latest sunrise, 7:20:13 on January 6. To read more…
Plan Floated to Span East River with Arch Containing Thousands of Apartments and New Transit Portal
To those who claim that the age of monumental public works and historic pieces of civic infrastructure has ended in New York, Scott Baker has a succinct answer: “Not if I have anything to say about it.”
Mr. Baker is the brains and the propulsive force behind an audacious new proposal to span the East River with a hybrid structure that would be part building, part bridge, and part mass transit conveyance, connecting the Dumbo/Vinegar Hill section of Brooklyn to the Manhattan neighborhood of Two Bridges.
Mr. Baker calls his plan, “RiverArch,” and describes it as, “a way to transform the skyline and the City with a structure like no other in the world, while also housing thousands of people and generating hundreds of millions of dollars per year in new tax revenue.”
What If All This Is Not Enough?
Pondering Whether $300 Million and 16.5 Feet of Protection Will Matter
At the October 29 meeting of the Battery Park City Authority board, Catherine McVay Hughes raised a potentially troubling question. As BPCA management reviewed plans to spend some $300 million on resiliency measures designed to protect the community against future sea-level rise, extreme-weather events, and climate change, she questioned one of the key assumptions upon which these plans are predicated.
“I think a lot of folks are looking at the depth-to-design elevation flood line,” Ms. McVay Hughes began. “And there was a report that was recently issued… [in which] this technical expert suggested that the 16.5 feet needs to be raised another two to three feet. So I just wanted to make sure that what the Battery Park City will be planning to do will be adequate, as well.”
The metric to which Ms. McVay Hughes was referring comes from the lower end of the mid-range of predicted coastal flood heights for Lower Manhattan by the 2080s. A 2014 report by the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority, entitled “Climate Change in New York State,” noted that middle range for such predictions at the Battery was 16.5 to 18.3 feet. (The lowest bracket was 16.1 feet or less, while the most extreme scenarios ranged up to 19.9 feet.)
A Friend of the Court
Landmarks Agency Says Justice Complex May Merit Protection
The City’s Landmarks Preservation Commission has responded to a resolution enacted by Community Board 1, calling for legal protection for the criminal courts building at 100 Centre Street.
CB1’s resolution noted, “the surprising and unfortunate fact that many of the Civic Center’s important historic buildings lie outside the existing neighboring historic districts and are not yet landmarked.
These include 80 Centre Street, 137 Centre Street, 139 Centre Street, and the Manhattan Criminal Court Building at 100 Centre Street.”
How a Nazi Sympathizer’s Tribeca Garage Could Become a Luxe Mansion
Community Board 1 is pushing back, in unusually emphatic terms, against a builder’s plans for a new mansion in Tribeca. The property in question is located at 11 Hubert Street, near the corner of Collister Street.
The existing structure at 11 Hubert Street has a tangled pedigree. It was built in 1946 by Dietrich Wortman, who was born in Leipzig, Germany, in 1884, and emigrated to the United States, where he studied architecture at Columbia University.
I have nothing against the Tribute Museum and I was angered when I heard that they were losing their lease. It is a good institution and should survive.
However, the National 9/11 Memorial & Museum doesn’t deserve to be put down in comparison to the Tribute Museum.
Cruise Ships in New York Harbor
Arrivals & Departures
Friday, December 13
Inbound 9:15 am; outbound 3:30 pm; Port Canaveral, FL/Bahamas
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.
Arts and Minds
Highly Regarded Local Arts Education Group Stays the Course
To stroll in Tribeca in 2019 is to apprehend what is happening throughout Lower Manhattan. Buildings – along with their occupants and uses – are in perpetual flux. Amid this tumult is a symbol of local continuity: the Church Street School for Music and Art.
Recently, the Broadsheet asked Dr. Ecklund-Flores, who has been the sole proprietor of CSS for many years, to reflect on the move north and the challenges faced in relocating to a new neighborhood. To read more…
CB1 to Consider Cutbacks in Number of Stops on Free Bus Service
Tonight (Tuesday, December 3) the Transportation Committee of Community Board 1 (CB1) will hear a presentation from the Downtown Alliance about planned cutbacks to the number of stops on its free Downtown Connection shuttle bus.
The plans include the elimination of six stops within Battery Park City.
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.
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.
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.
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
The Train to the Plane
A Convenient Connection to the Airport Visible from Lower Manhattan Rooftops May Be Less Than Ten Years Away
The Regional Plan Association (RPA) recently partnered with the Downtown-Lower Manhattan Association (DLMA) to build support for a proposed rail connection between Lower Manhattan and Newark Airport. A report the two organizations produced together, “Taking the PATH to Newark Airport,” summarizes the potential and the prospects for such a link, which local leaders have long pushed for.
A Tale of Two Museums
Community-Focused Cultural Center Faces Uncertain Future, as Tourism Magnet Thrives
The 9/11 Tribute Museum, a highly regarded local cultural institution, is grappling with a precarious outlook, according to a story first published in Crain’s New York Business, which says that the space housing the facility, located at Greenwich and Rector Streets, may be sold out from under the organization by its landlord.
“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.” To read more…
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. To read more…
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?
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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