Lower Manhattan’s Local News
Aversion to Immersion
CB1 Skeptical about New Performance Venue in FiDi
In a preliminary vote, the Licensing & Permits Committee of Community Board 1 (CB1) has enacted a resolution calling upon the State Liquor Authority (SLA) to reject an application by Ermusive, a production company that wants to open a new performance venue in the basement of 20 Exchange Place, in the Financial District.
At its February 4 meeting, the Committee voted unanimously (with one abstention) to recommend that the Authority deny a permit for the five bars (spread across seven levels) that the applicant is requesting. This discussion will continue tomorrow evening (Tuesday, February 25, starting at 6:00) during the full, monthly meeting of CB1, which will be held in the auditorium of P.S. 234, located at 292 Greenwich Street (between Warren and Chambers Streets). At this meeting, the full Board may ratify, reject, or amend the Committee’s initial resolution.
More than 100 residents of the Financial District turned out for the February 4 meeting, led by Keep FiDi Safe (KFS), a new grassroots organization, founded by residents of 20 Exchange Place, as well as multiple nearby buildings, including Three Hanover Square, 55 Wall Street, 15 Broad Street, and 76 Pearl Street. KFS has collected more than 1,000 signatures from local residents on a petition, urging rejection of Emursive’s application for a liquor license. The group’s online petition (which can be found at: http://keepfidisafe.org) notes that, “our historic neighborhood is a quiet, residential enclave, home to thousands of families who already struggle with the significant challenges posed by a saturated nightlife scene on nearby Stone Street, noise pollution, garbage overflow, heavy foot and vehicular traffic and impeded emergency vehicle access.”
The production company’s “immersive” approach to performance fuses ‘promenade theater’ (in which the audience strolls at whatever tempo they chose through a succession of rooms) and ‘environmental theatre’ (in which staging takes place within physical spaces that resemble the play’s setting, rather than using a traditional theater layout). Emursive first gained notice in New York in 2011 with “Sleep No More,” an adaptation of Shakespeare’s “Macbeth,” infused with a 1930s film noir sensibility.
“They want to be open from 11:00 am for their cafe,” explained Mariama James (who chairs CB1’s Quality of Life & Service Delivery Committee) at a January 28 meeting, “then start performances at 6:00 pm, and stay open until 3:00 am. So they plan to be open far longer than they are closed — seven days a week, 365 days per year, with no holidays, and no breaks.”
KFS describes the liquor license application for 20 Exchange Place as an attempt to, “force a nightclub in our backyard” and argues that, “the narrow one-way streets, limited sidewalk space and quiet nature of the area make the corner of William Street and Exchange Place an incredibly irresponsible and ill-suited home for a nightclub.”
“Obviously that will have an impact on the neighborhood,” Ms. James observed at the January 28 meeting. “We need to know, how much can the people who live there take? And what will be the impact on the infrastructure — the transportation and the sanitation? How much can that neighborhood and the streets take?”
While Emursive has scaled back its original plans in response to community concerns, KFS member Michelle Barbeau notes that, “our concerns transcend the sheer numbers and hours an alcohol-fueled venue like this would present for our neighborhood’s safety, security and quality of life, as we are already at tipping point. It is just impractical for a venue of this kind.”
Flood of Ideas
Come to an Interactive Community Open House to learn about and discuss the ongoing development ofLower Manhattan’s Climate Resilience Master Plan
Today Monday (February 24), the City’s Economic Development Corporation (EDC) and the Mayor’s Office of Resiliency will host an interactive Community Open House to discuss the ongoing development of their Climate Resilience Master Plan for the Financial District and Seaport neighborhoods, as part of the broader Lower Manhattan Coastal Resiliency (LMCR) project.
This session will be held at Pace University’s conference center (157 William Street, near the corner of Ann Street), from 4:00 to 8:00 pm.
Participants, who are encouraged to arrive or leave at any point during the “drop-in” format, will be invited to learn about and share ideas on climate risks, and the City’s current plans.
Multiple New Bikes Lanes Coming to Lower Manhattan
A network of new bike lanes is planned for Lower Manhattan’s streetscape, with implementation for some of the project slated for later this year.
The first addition to Downtown’s bike grid will consist of dedicated cycling lanes on Broadway and Whitehall Street, extending from City Hall southward to Bowling Green and the Staten Island Ferry, where this route will link with the existing Waterfront Path, which connects the Battery to bike easements on the East River shoreline and in Battery Park City.
Monday February 24
Interactive Community Open House
Pace University’s Conference Center 157 William Street
The City’s Economic Development Corporation and the Mayor’s Office of Resiliency will host an interactive Community Open House to discuss the ongoing development of their Climate Resilience Master Plan for the Financial District and Seaport neighborhoods, as part of the broader Lower Manhattan Coastal Resiliency project.
Participants will be invited to learn about and share ideas on climate risks, and the City’s current plans. Light refreshments will be served. Admission is free. To register in advance, please browse: www.bit.ly/fidiseaport.
Environmental Protection Committee
Community Board 1 – Conference Room 1 Centre Street, Room 2202A-North
Render Unto de Blasio?
Municipal Think Tank Urges City to Weigh BPCA Takeover
The City’s Independent Budget Office, a publicly funded agency that provides nonpartisan information on critical issues confronting the City, is proposing that the administration of Mayor Bill de Blasio consider a municipal takeover of Battery Park City.
This recommendation hinges upon the unique, hybrid nature of the community, which was built on acreage newly created from landfill in the 1970s. To read more…
‘Blinded by Greed’
Tenants at Another Financial District Building Seek Class-Action Status in Suit Against Landlords
The wave of Financial District tenants going to court to demand restitution from years of illegally high rent gathered further momentum last week, when tenants at 90 West Street filed court papers arguing that they are entitled to rent stabilized leases for as long as they live in the building, because the landlord did not provide this benefit (as legally required) in the past. In a story first reported by the Real Deal, the same suit also asks the court to appoint an independent monitor with the power to audit and amended leases (without the landlord’s consent) to conform the legally allowed rents.
Ban on Broker’s Fee Will Impact Lower Manhattan More Than Other Communities
A new analysis from PropertyClub.com, an online real estate marketplace that eliminates middle-men for landlords, brokers and managers, indicates that Lower Manhattan renters will gain more than those of most communities from the recently announced ban on tenants paying broker’s fees.
A Plan to Warm Up the Frozen Zone
Alliance Readies First Steps in Master Plan to Balance Beauty with Security Around Stock Exchange
The Downtown Alliance is preparing to implement the first phase of a master plan unveiled in May, 2018, which aims to transform the “frozen zone” — a 3,000-feet security perimeter surrounding the New York Stock Exchange, which has enclosed (and limited access to) 19 acres of the Financial District since shortly after the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001. To read more…
Higher, Wider, Handsomer
City Council Announces Design Competition to Improve Pedestrian Access to Brooklyn Bridge
The City Council has partnered with the Van Alen Institute (a New York nonprofit architectural organization, dedicated to improving design in the public realm) in sponsoring a contest to incubate fresh ideas for better pedestrian access to the Brooklyn Bridge. To read more…
City Plans to Raise Esplanade in the Battery to 11 Feet Above Waterline
Among the myriad of resiliency projects that are now in the planning stages for various parts of Lower Manhattan, the City is planning to raise the level of the waterfront Esplanade in the Battery to an elevation 11 feet above the current waterline. To read more…
Longtime Residents, Neither Rich Nor Poor, Face an Uncertain Future Downtown
The administration of Mayor Bill de Blasio has released an updated version of its Where We Live NYC affordable housing plan, which contains some striking insights about Lower Manhattan.
The report finds that between 25 and 30 percent of all local rental units are rent stabilized, while market-rate apartments comprise between 35 and 42 percent of all units. To read more…
Today in History
1303 – Battle of Roslin, of the First War of Scottish Independence.
1582 – With the papal bull Inter gravissimas, Pope Gregory XIII announces the Gregorian calendar.
1803 – In Marbury v. Madison, the Supreme Court of the United States establishes the principle of judicial review.
1831 – The Treaty of Dancing Rabbit Creek, the first removal treaty in accordance with the Indian Removal Act, is proclaimed. The Choctaws in Mississippi cede land east of the river in exchange for payment and land in the West.
1854 – A Penny Red with perforations was the first perforated postage stamp to be officially issued for distribution.
1868 – Andrew Johnson becomes the first President of the United States to be impeached by the United States House of Representatives. He is later acquitted in the Senate.
1875 – The SS Gothenburg hits the Great Barrier Reef and sinks off the Australian east coast, killing approximately 100, including a number of high-profile civil servants and dignitaries.
1917 – World War I: The U.S. ambassador Walter Hines Page to the United Kingdom is given the Zimmermann Telegram, in which Germany pledges to ensure the return of New Mexico, Texas, and Arizona to Mexico if Mexico declares war on the United States.
1920 – The Nazi Party was founded by Adolf Hitler in the Hofbräuhaus beer hall in Munich, Germany
1942 – An order-in-council passed under the Defence of Canada Regulations of the War Measures Act gives the Canadian federal government the power to intern all “persons of Japanese racial origin”.
1983 – A special commission of the United States Congress condemns the Japanese American internment during World War II.
1989 – United Airlines Flight 811, bound for New Zealand from Honolulu, rips open during flight, blowing nine passengers out of the business-class section.
1103 – Emperor Toba of Japan (d. 1156)
1553 – Cherubino Alberti, Italian engraver and painter (d. 1615)
1743 – Joseph Banks, English botanist and explorer (d. 1820)
1836 – Winslow Homer, American painter and illustrator (d. 1910)
1922 – Richard Hamilton, English painter and academic (d. 2011)
1933 – David “Fathead” Newman, saxophonist and composer (d. 2009)
1934 – Bettino Craxi, 45th Prime Minister of Italy (d. 2000)
1955 – Steve Jobs, co-founded Apple Inc. and Pixar (d. 2011)
1910 – Osman Hamdi Bey, Greek archaeologist and painter (b. 1842)
1990 – Malcolm Forbes, American sergeant and publisher (b. 1917)
Photos and information culled from Wikipedia and other internet sources
Cruise Ships in New York Harbor
Arrivals & Departures
Sunday, March 1
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
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.
Ars Gratia Communitas
Battery Park City’s Annual Art Exhibit
Battery Park City’s annual art exhibition opened on Sunday, January 26.
The art will be on view at
75 Battery Place, weekdays,
January 27 to March 27,
2PM to 4PM (no viewing on 2/17).
People visiting should check in with our security desk on the ground floor, where they will be directed to the elevators to the 4th floor. The receptionist will direct them to the show.
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IT AND SECURITY SUPPORT
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The Greek Calends
After Two-Year Hiatus, Work to Resume at St. Nicholas Church
Governor Andrew M. Cuomo announced on January 2 that a newly formed non-profit organization will raise funds and underwrite the completion of the St. Nicholas Greek Orthodox Church, within the World Trade Center Complex.
The building, designed by renowned architect Santiago Calatrava (who additionally created the nearby Oculus, also in the World Trade Center) is slated to replace the histo precious parish church that fell among the victims of September 11. To read more…
They Didn’t Get the Memo…
Much-Touted Crackdown on Placard Parking Not All It Was Cracked Up to Be
Amid much fanfare, multiple City agencies recently announced that they would take part in a crackdown on illegal parking by government employees, whose personal vehicles bear placards that allow them to leave their cars blocking bus stops, crosswalks, fire hydrants, bike lanes, and lanes needed for use by fire trucks and ambulances.
By Tuesday, it appeared that dozens of law enforcement personnel who work in Battery Park City hadn’t heard, or perhaps knew better.
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…
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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