Lower Manhattan’s Local News
and the print edition of the Broadsheet
will resume on January 6, 2020.
Happy Holidays to All!
Shutter to Think
Turns Out That Ignorance of the Law Is an Actually Pretty Good Excuse
A Tribeca building owner recently violated landmarks law by destroying metal shutters on a legally protected building, but both Community Board 1 (CB1) and the City’s Landmarks Preservation Commission (LPC) have decided that there isn’t much to be done about this.
The building in question is located at 315 Church Street, near the corner of Lispenard Street. This 1867 structure was built by lawyer and landowner Daniel C. Kingsland, who grew rich speculating in New York real estate in the decades following the Civil War. To design the building, he hired self-taught architect Isaac F. Duckworth, about whom history preserves few details, other than that he built a reputation during the second half of the 19th century creating store-and-loft buildings (a combination of factory and warehouse), with elegant, cast-iron facades, in the neighborhoods now known as Soho and Tribeca.
The owner was proud enough of the result, in the Second Empire style, to affix his name to the structure, which is still emblazoned, “The Kingsland Buildings.” As an architectural history website, Daytonian in Manhattan, notes, “above the storefront adorned with Corinthian pilasters, each floor was sharply delineated by its own cornice. The shallow pilasters and the elliptical openings echoed the design of the base. Close inspection reveals delicate rope molding framing each window
In the late 1800s, one tenant in the building was the firm of McCoun & Lee, which came up with a branding innovation that remains with us to this day. Instead of calling the garments it manufactured “shirtwaists” (the prevailing term at the time), its owners coined a new word: “blouse.”
During recent maintenance work, the current owners removed dozens of iron fire shutters that flanked windows on the buildings rear facade. When the work was finished, however, the metal covers were never replaced.
Lawyers for the owner explained to CB1 that their client “did not understand Landmarks law,” according to a resolution enacted that the Board’s October meeting. This provoked a chorus of derision from CB1 members, such as Joseph Lerner, who called the action, “horrific,” and described the lawyer’s explanation as, “nonsense!”
This sentiment was echoed by Roger Byrom, chair of CB1’s Landmarks Preservation Committee, who said, “this is a precedent that says, ‘don’t follow the rules.'”
The resolution enacted by CB1 acknowledged that, “it is pitiable to have lost this historic fabric, and without consequence to the applicant,” but also noted that, “the only way to replace the shutters now would be to duplicate them at enormous expense,” before concluding that, “there seems to be no remedy to the destruction.” The resolution closed by recommending that the LPC approve the building owner’s application to grant retroactive legal approval to the unlawful alterations to 315 Church Street.
When the matter came before the LPC on November 19, the Historic Districts Council (a non-profit that works to ensure the preservation of significant historic neighborhoods, buildings and public spaces in New York City, and uphold the integrity of New York City’s Landmarks Law) was less forgiving.
In testimony before the LPC, a Council representative said, “illegal removal of historic features… is a net loss for our historic districts. Fire shutters are endemic to districts like Tribeca, and once they are taken away they will never come back. Small erasures like this accelerate the scrubbing clean of our City’s former manufacturing districts, and eliminate evidence of buildings’ ages and fire proofing, a technology which drove the evolution of construction in New York as it led the globe in perfecting the art of urban building.”
In the end, however, the LPC agreed more with CB1 than with the Council. As an HDC spokesman noted afterward, “while the Commission was not happy to approve the illegal and inappropriate removal of historic fire shutters, they reluctantly approved this legalization. Commissioners could not identify any other course of action as the fire shutters had already been thrown away and were not able to be put back.”
Friday the 20th of December
St. Paul’s Chapel
Messiah and Trinity have a long history-Trinity presented one of the first performances in North America in 1770, and The Choir of Trinity Wall Street and Trinity Baroque Orchestra are still widely regarded as some of the greatest interpreters of the work. In 2018, The New York Times described Trinity’s presentation as “perhaps the essential New York ‘Messiah.’ With the church’s choir and the Trinity Baroque Orchestra, Mr. Wachner provides gritty, gutsy, edge-of-the-seat performances.” $25-$100
Today in History
69 – General Vespasian’s troops occupy Rome after defeating the Emperor Vitellius
1192 – Richard the Lionhearted captured in Vienna
1606 – Virginia Company settlers leave London to establish Jamestown, Virginia
1669 – First jury trial in Delaware; Marcus Jacobson condemned for insurrection and sentenced to flogging, branding and slavery
1699 – Peter the Great ordered Russian New Year changed-Sept 1 to Jan 1
1790 –First successful US cotton mill to spin yarn in Pawtucket, RI.
1803 – Louisiana Purchase formally transferred from France to US for $27M
1820 – Missouri imposes a $1 bachelor tax on unmarried men between 21 & 50
1879 – Thomas Edison demonstrates incandescent light at Menlo Park, NJ
1880 – NY’s Broadway lit by electricity, known as “Great White Way”
1891 – Strongman Louis Cyr withstands pull of 4 horses
1892 – Phileas Fogg completes around world trip, according to Jules Verne
1900 – Giacobini discovers a comet (will be first comet visited by spacecraft)
1915 – Russian troops overrun Qom, Persia
1942 – First Japanese bombing of Calcutta
1967 – “The Graduate” starring Dustin Hoffman and Anne Bancroft premieres
1978 – H R Haldeman, Nixon’s White House chief of staff released from jail
1984 – 33 unknown Bach keyboard works found in Yale library
1988 – Animal rights terrorists fire-bomb Harrod’s dept store, London
1990 – Pentagon warns Saddam that US air power is ready to attack on 1/15
1991 – A Missouri court sentences the Palestinian militant Zein Isa and his wife Maria to death for the honor killing of their daughter Palestina.
2005 – US District Court Judge John E. Jones III rules against mandating the teaching of “intelligent design” in his ruling of Kitzmiller v. Dover Area School District.
2005 – 2005 New York City transit strike: New York City’s Transport Workers Union Local 100 goes on strike, shutting down all New York City Subway and Bus services.
2012 – Apple is denied a patent for mobile pinch-to-zoom gestures by the US patent authorities
2012 – Intercontinental Exchange purchases the New York Stock Exchange, the largest in the world, for $8 billion
1876 – Hannah Omish, at 12 is youngest ever hanged in US.
Ocuish was a Pequot Native American girl with an intellectual disability who was accused of killing six-year-old Eunice Bolles, the daughter of a wealthy farmer, after quarreling with her over some strawberries. The primary evidence against her was her confession to the investigators. At her execution, she thanked the sheriff for his kindness as she stepped forward to be hanged. (wikipedia)
1968 – John Steinbeck, author (Grapes of Wrath, Nobel 1940, 62), dies at 66
1996 – Carl Sagan, scientist, dies at 62
To the editor:
The Destruction of the Rector Street Bridge
The destruction of the Rector Street Bridge is a victory of a government that imposes its will over the voices of the people. The people have asked to be heard — the government gangs up and says “no.”
What’s going on here?
Is the government trying to cover-up massive over-spending and gross mismanagement? Or simply superior force? Facts are unavailable and obviously distorted when “temporary” means 17 years.
Representatives of the government don’t answer their phones or their emails. They don’t even bother to acknowledge contact from the public. The representative of the Mayor’s Office offers apologies.
The government seems to be planning to close and destroy the bridge without public notice in a city where every liquor license application gets a notice and a fair hearing.
We are glib about imposing “inconvenience” on others in a city where every second counts.
We are glib talking about safety, but when a community is begging for safety, no one is responsible.
We are glib about democracy, but when we ask for “community engagement” — the bridge is closed.
If you wish to cast a final vote for the Rector Street Bridge, an “eyesore” that saves lives, you can add your name to the electronic petition at http://chng.it/5Vyjt4dk
Well, this is an interesting development: both the Hurricane Maria Memorial and a statue of St. Frances Cabrini gracing our neighborhood!
In my opinion, St. Frances will not be much of an intrusion – she won’t take much space and likely will not have crowds gathering in front of her.
Also, in my opinion, the Hurricane Maria Memorial will be, and should be, a much more active location. This terrible event happened recently.
Anniversaries will be recognized here attended by individuals who were directly affected by this sad occurrence, and sympathy and prayers will be offered at this location. Crowds will gather to remember and honor. For this reason, if it must be located in BPC, the better location is near Chambers Street.
Esplanade Plaza already is used for community gatherings, volleyball and other physical activity programs, and is close to Brookfield and its sometimes noisy programs.
A Memorial should be in a more quiet, less active location. Do any other readers agree?
Maryanne Palmieri Braverman
To the Editor,
Friday’s lead in the Broadsheet, “Doing Good While Doing Well” Howard Hughes Practices Citizen in the Seaport” requires a response from the SEAPORT COALITION (an all-volunteer citizens alliance formed by SAVE OUR SEAPORT, SOUTHBRIDGE TOWERS and CHILDREN FIRST).
Trying not to be cynical, but nothing speaks more to “giving from the heart” than issuing a press release puff piece in the hopes that the local community will take notice.
SEAPORT COALITION members have contributed thousands of unpaid hours advocating to the city and its tenant to plan responsibly for the South Street Seaport Historic District.
Helping the South Street Seaport Museum is commendable, and we strongly urge other companies and individuals to follow their lead in donating generously to bring the Museum back to life with its Street of Ships.
Respecting the South Street Seaport Historic District’s carefully crafted “height limits” at their newly acquired 250 Water Street (the former Milstein parking lot) is non-negotiable, as is the responsibility for safe remediation and development in such a “sensitive receptor” given its nearby schools and residents.
Imagining that there will be a “quid pro quo” deal to build a super-tall tower by showering the neighbors with amenities is a complete non-starter.
Happy Holidays to All,
The Seaport Coalition
Recalling Five Points
Epicenter of a Notorious Slum Proposed for Commemoration
In 1831, the City government considered a petition that warned, “that the place known as “Five points” has long been notorious… as being the nursery where every species of vice is conceived and matured; that it is infested by a class of the most abandoned and desperate character.”
A decade later, Charles Dickens, visiting New York, wrote of the same Lower Manhattan neighborhood that had inspired the petition, “what place is this, to which the squalid street conducts us? A kind of square of leprous houses, some of which are attainable only by crazy wooden stairs without. What lies behind this tottering flight of steps? Let us go on again, and plunge into the Five Points…. To read more…
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
Downtown Traffic May Ease as Congress Okays Change to Verrazzano Toll
The United States Senates is poised to enact federal legislation that will modify the tolling regimen on a bridge barely visible on the horizon from Lower Manhattan, but this may nonetheless reduce traffic congestion Downtown.
A separate study, commissioned by the Triborough Bridge and Tunnel Authority — the arm of the Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) that oversees the Verrazzano — earlier this year, predicted that imposing a toll in both directions on the span would largely eliminate this perverse incentive, and estimated that the bridge would gain an additional 4,361 New Jersey-bound vehicles each weekday. To read more…
Cruise Ships in New York Harbor
Arrivals & Departures
Friday, December 20
Anthem of the Seas
Inbound 5:30 am (Bayonne); outbound 3:00 pm
Port Canaveral, FL/Bahamas
Inbound 6:15 am; outbound 3:30 pm
Port Canaveral, FL/Bahamas
Saturday, December 21
Inbound 7:15 am; outbound 4:30 pm
Sunday, December 22
Queen Mary 2
Inbound 6:00 am (Brooklyn); outbound 5:00 pm
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 passenger and propulsion problems, 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…
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.
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.”
Bridge of Sighs
CB1 Meeting Tonight Will Be Last Opportunity to Support Preservation of Rector Street Bridge
Tonight (Thursday, December 19) at the monthly meeting of Community Board 1, the thousands of area residents and workers who have signed a petition to preserve the Rector Street pedestrian bridge will likely have their last chance to argue against its imminent removal. The span is slated to be demolished in January, once the new West Thames bridges becomes fully operational.
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.)
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.
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.
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 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.”
Cuomo Administration Decides on South Cove for Mother Cabrini Memorial
On Friday, Governor Andrew M. Cuomo announced that a planned memorial to Mother Cabrini — a 19th-century Italian-American who founded more than 60 organizations to help New York’s needy, and later became the first naturalized U.S. citizen to be canonized a Catholic saint — will be sited in the planting beds south of South Cove, the Battery Park City inlet at the foot of South End Avenue.
“This memorial will honor the legacy of Mother Cabrini — a great New Yorker and Italian-American — and the Commission chose a site that perfectly symbolizes her commitment to helping new Americans settle in the United States,” Mr. Cuomo said in a statement. “We want this memorial to pay tribute to the charity and goodwill she spread to countless others in her lifetime.”
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.
Doing Good While Doing Well
Howard Hughes Practices Corporate Citizenship in the Seaport
If the giving season is an appropriate time to take stock of local philanthropy, one Lower Manhattan stakeholder has amassed an impressive record of thinking globally and acting locally. To read more…
Back to the Drawing Board
City Landmarks Agency Agrees with CB1 about “Disaster and Affront”
The City’s Landmarks Preservation Commission has concurred with Community Board 1 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.
When the presentation was done, the commissioners were unanimous in their disapproval. To read more…
Cass Gilbert and the Evolution of the New York Skyscraper
by John Simko
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