Lower Manhattan’s Local News
Come Heck or High Water
Meeting Tonight Will Discuss Resiliency Plans for Northern Battery Park City
Tonight, the Battery Park City Authority (BPCA) and Community Board 1 (CB1) will co-host a public meeting focused on the North Battery Park Resiliency Project. This session will be held at the Richard C. Harris Terrace of the Borough of Manhattan Community College, at 199 Chambers Street (between West and Greenwich Streets), starting at 6:00 pm.
This evening’s meeting is a follow-on to a public discussion held last October, at which the BPCA introduced the team of engineers and architects who will be designing the measures intended to make the northern edge of the community resistant to sea-level rise, climate change, and future extreme-weather events.
At the earlier session, Garrett Avery, the project manager from engineering firm Aecom, said that, “we are entering an age when community assets that we rely on for protection, recreation, and for environmental and economic benefit are now at risk. The trend is headed toward storms much larger than Hurricane Sandy. And it doesn’t always take a hurricane. Sometimes high tide combined with heavy rain will be enough to cause flooding.”
“Our first goal is to manage long-term risk,” he added, noting that another priority, “is independent utility — a project that can stand alone, even though it’s part of a larger system.”
He continued that, “one of our strategies is to use elements in the landscape that, for the majority of their lives, actually function positively as other objects: benches, planters, and walls. These can be designed in a way that doubles or triples their use, so that for every dollar spent building them, you get several, additional dollars in return, while also attenuating wave action and reducing forces against the flood wall.”
Mr. Avery went on to explain that the Aecom design team is considering three “alignment options” for the eastern end of the new flood barrier, each of which would extend outside of Battery Park City, and into Tribeca. The need for such an accommodation is driven by the requirement to bridge between two high elevations, creating a flood bulwark between them.
“The first is the northern edge of Esplanade, and then along the southern edge of Chambers Street, most likely a block to a block and a half east into the City, reaching beyond Greenwich Street,” he said. “The second would turn left on West Street, instead of continuing along Chambers, proceed north along West Street to Harrison Street, and then reach inland. And the third follows a similar path, but extends to North Moore Street.”
In the months since the October meeting, the Aecom team has been conducting further studies to determine the specific height to which these barriers will need to rise. That elevation, along with a recommendation about which of the three alignment options outlined above they will endorse, and the unveiling of preliminary design concepts, will provide the focus of tonight’s meeting.
After the October meeting’s presentation, BPCA and Aecom staff took questions from residents. When CB1 member Justine Cuccia asked what would guide the recommendation about alignment options, Mr. Avery replied, “the hundreds of years of underground utility infrastructure beneath each of these streets will be a factor.”
CB1 member Alice Blank queried, “why is Canal Street not being considered, instead of Harrison or North Moore Streets,” as the northern terminus of the barrier. “This seems like an obvious demarcation, and would protect one of the most acutely affected areas.”
Gwen Dawson, the BPCA’s vice president for real property, replied, “our mandate and objective are to protect Battery Park City, which is why we can justify using Authority funds. We’re going to wind up protecting other assets in Lower Manhattan, because without doing that, we wouldn’t be able to protect Battery Park City. We are trying to determine most cost-efficient way of getting to that high point, achieve the greatest good and have the fewest negative impacts. But it’s difficult for us to go beyond that primary objective.”
Jordan Salinger, a representative of the Mayor’s Office of Recovery and Resiliency, observed that, “every time BPCA goes out of their jurisdiction, into the Battery or Tribeca, that entails additional cost, risk, and responsibility.” He added, “the City is looking at interim flood protection measures north to Canal and beyond. We are also working with the Army Corps of Engineers on their New York/New Jersey Harbor and Tributaries Study of coastal flood-protection measures, and we tentatively expect a plan from them in the spring.” (Earlier this week, the federal government announced — abruptly and without further explanation — that the Army Corps had suspended that study.)
Ms. Dawson continued, “the further north you take it, the longer it is, and the harder the time we have justifying the expenditure of BPCA funds. But these three options give us the best shot at achieving the project’s objective in the most efficient way possible.”
BPCA president B.J. Jones observed that, “these options are designed with Battery Park City in mind, even when we go outside the neighborhood, because we’re trying to get from high point to high point.”
When asked about the timeline and the cost for the project, Ms. Dawson responded, “we hope to begin construction in 2021 and end by 2023. And our initial, rough cost estimate is $85 million.”
This prompted Ms. Cuccia to ask, “who is paying for this?”
Ms. Dawson replied, “we’ll be using bond funds to pay for it.”
Ms. Cuccia answered, “kudos to the Authority for taking resiliency the farthest in protecting Lower Manhattan, but it infuriates me that it is falling to the BPCA to bear the cost. I am against my ground rent paying for this. Why not the City or the State? This plan is wonderful, but it should not fall to us alone.”
CB1 member Wendy Chapman urged the BPCA and Aecom to find vendors and suppliers, “who manufacture materials and equipment in New York State, or at least in the northeast. Please partner with our amazing engineering schools and bring jobs to our state.” Ms. Dawson agreed to make this a priority.
Noting that the various alignment options enclosed (and would thus protect) valuable Tribeca real estate belonging to large corporations, CB1 vice chair Tammy Meltzer asked, “if you’re going to protect property owned by for-profit companies outside of Battery Park City, and those companies pay zero for anything within the neighborhood, what kind of giveback can the City help the community get? Because there are many needs within this community, and it seems like it would be only fair.”
Ms. Dawson replied, “that is a fair discussion to have.”
A Flood of Ideas
On Monday, February 24, the City’s Economic Development Corporation and the Mayor’s Office of Resiliency hosted an interactive Community Open House at Pace University’s conference center to discuss the ongoing development of the Climate Resilience Master Plan for the Financial District and Seaport neighborhoods, as part of the broader Lower Manhattan Coastal Resiliency project.
The Open House was divided into different rooms, each one explaining separate aspects of future challenges to keep Lower Manhattan above water.
Participants learned about existing infrastructure, such as combined sewer pipes and outfalls, and how the City is understanding and coming up with solutions to deal with severe storms as well as sea level rise due to climate change.
Tonight, Community Board 1 and the Battery Park City Authority are holding a public meeting to report on their progress with the North Battery Park City section of this overall plan.
Tots Take Priority Over Traffic
CB1’s Youth and Education Chair Announces Plaza for Front of New Fidi School
Tricia Joyce, the chair of the Youth and Education Committee of Community Board 1 announced at the Tuesday night meeting of the Board that local leaders and elected officials had won a long-sought victory for Downtown school kids.
Enoteca on the Hudson
City Winery Prepares to Open at Pier 57
As Lower Manhattan has morphed into a residential community and dining destination, another ongoing evolution has attracted less notice: Downtown is becoming a performing arts district. The highest-profile illustration of this shift is the Perelman, which (thanks to the largesse of its eponymous benefactor) has become the shorthand name for the World Trade Center Performing Arts Center that is slowly rising out of the ground near the intersection of Vesey and Greenwich Streets. But the opening of this facility is still several years away. To read more…
Aversion to Immersion
CB1 Skeptical about New Performance Venue in FiDi
In a preliminary vote, the Licensing & Permits Committee of Community Board 1 has enacted a resolution calling upon the State Liquor Authority 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.
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.
North Battery Park City Resiliency Project
A public meeting sponsored by Community Board 1 and the Battery Park City Authority will present project updates followed by a Q&A session.
Join BPCA, CB1 and the AECOM project team at this meeting to hear the latest updates and progress regarding Lower Manhattan’s most vulnerable points for storm surge inundation and flooding.
The meeting takes place at 6PM, Borough of Manhattan Community College, Richard Harris Terrace, 199 Chambers Street.
Thursday February 27
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, Julian Wachner of Trinity Church Wall Street. FREE
New York Public Library
North Battery Park City Resiliency Project
A public meeting sponsored by Community Board 1 and the Battery Park City Authority will present project updates followed by a Q&A session. Join BPCA, CB1 and the AECOM project team at this meeting to hear the latest updates and progress regarding on the Lower Manhattan’s most vulnerable points for storm surge inundation and flooding. The meeting takes place at
Borough of Manhattan Community College, Richard Harris Terrace, 199 Chambers Street.
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.
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…
Today in History
1594 – Henry IV is crowned King of France.
1812 – Poet Lord Byron gives his first address as a member of the House of Lords, in defense of Luddite violence against Industrialism in his home county of Nottinghamshire.
1860 – Abraham Lincoln makes a speech at Cooper Union that is largely responsible for his election.
1922 – A challenge to the Nineteenth Amendment, allowing women the right to vote, is rebuffed by the Supreme Court of the United States in Leser v. Garnett.
1933 – Reichstag fire: Germany’s parliament building in Berlin, the Reichstag, is set on fire; Marinus van der Lubbe, a young Dutch Communist claims responsibility. The Nazis used the fire to solidify their power and eliminate the communists as political rivals.
1939 – United States labor law: The Supreme Court rules that sit-down strikes violate property owners’ rights and are therefore illegal.
1940 – Martin Kamen and Sam Ruben discover carbon-14.
1951 – The Twenty-second Amendment to the United States Constitution, limiting Presidents to two terms, is ratified.
1964 – The Government of Italy asks for help to keep the Leaning Tower of Pisa from toppling over.
2015 – Assassination of Boris Nemtsov occurs.
272 – Constantine the Great, Roman emperor (d. 337)
906 – Conrad the Elder, Frankish nobleman
1985 – Henry Cabot Lodge Jr., 3rd United States Ambassador to the United Nations (b. 1902)
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.
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Cass Gilbert and the Evolution of the New York Skyscraper
by John Simko
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