Lower Manhattan’s Local News
Ask and You Might Receive
Community Board Prioritizes Funding Requests to City Hall for Coming Fiscal Year
Community Board 1 (CB1) has completed its annual statement of District Needs and Budget Priorities, which is submitted every 12 months to the City government, to help set the agenda for policy and spending in the next fiscal year.
CB1 chair Anthony Notaro reflects that, “one of the mandates of a Community Board is input on the City’s budget. It is the best way for citizens to have a say in how their tax dollars will be spent, to benefit all of us. For CB1 to develop our budget request, we have a public session at the start of every monthly board meeting. Getting direct input from our neighbors is the best way to validate our needs.”
The document is divided between proposals for capital and expense spending, along with funding for ongoing projects. The capital section is focused on “hard” assets like new buildings (which are expected to deliver benefits for years to come), while the expense ledger emphasizes the cost of operations, such as salaries and supplies, which are confined to a single year. Both sets of proposals relate to the City’s 2021 fiscal year, which begins on July 1 of this year.
On the capital side, CB1 has already been granted one of its major requests: The City’s Department of Education (DOE) and School Construction Authority (SCA) have agreed to lease and build out an additional floor within 75 Broad Street, so that Millennium High School can expand. At the same location, along with two others, nearby, CB1 is also asking those agencies to renovate or replace the elevators serving school facilities within Millennium’s building, as well as within 81 New Street and 26 Broadway.
“It is true that on the capital side, CB1 has been successful in getting more space for our local schools and students,” Mr. Notaro notes. “I believe we will see more victories like that in the future.”
The Board has also submitted major asks for the City’s Economic Development Corporation (EDC), which focus on the South Street Seaport and Governors Island. At the Seaport, where the New Market building is slated for demolition this year, CB1 notes that, “there is no plan on what to build there,” and urges that EDC, “rebuild the New Market Building for public use, with community amenities,” an idea first proposed in the 2002 Downtown East River Waterfront Concept Plan, jointly sponsored by CB1 and the Downtown Alliance.” CB1 notes that such amenities could include a community center (with indoor and rooftop recreation space); rental and repair facilities for bicycles, boats and other recreational equipment; or a restaurant.
On Governors Island, CB1 wants EDC to provide funds to continue transformation of that highly regarded park, with a focus on the Island’s aging (or, in some cases, non-existent) infrastructure, and maintenance of historic buildings. The Board wants a role and a voice in formulating a new plan to create a 24-hour-per-day community on Governors Island, a envision that includes more public parks, nonprofit tenants, restaurants, and five million square feet of new commercial, office and education space.
Seeking to enhance public safety, CB1 also wants the City’s Department of Transportation (DOT) to budget funds for the installation of more speed cameras in Lower Manhattan, with priority given to intersections close to schools, and those that are the most dangerous in statistical and historical terms.
The expense category includes a request that more funding be allocated to the NYPD’s First Precinct for quality-of-life issues, including bus enforcement (with an emphasis on double-decker and tour buses), street vendors, traffic enforcement, and noise associated with disruptive bars and clubs. CB1 also wants more resources devoted to the Neighborhood Coordination Officer (NCO) program, with more officers assigned to more numerous (and smaller) sectors within the community. In a related request, the Board additionally asks that the First Precinct to increase the hourly rate it pays to school crossing guards, and offer them full-time positions.
The Board further wants the Department of City Planning to examine ways of inducing developers to provide space for storage of trash in their buildings, so that the narrow streets of Lower Manhattan would be less cluttered with trash waiting for pickup.
From the DOT, CB1 is asking for two studies: one focused on traffic impacts related to the planned demolition of the existing Manhattan Detention Complex, along with the disruption that will be caused by building and operation of its much-larger replacement. And the second will concentrate on traffic in Battery Park City’s north neighborhood, with an eye toward the problems associated with increased (and usually illegal) parking by commercial vehicles, and cars bearing government placards. (A related request: that DOT continue upgrading the technology, approval protocols, and enforcement on placards.)
The Board is also asking that the New York Public Library study potential opportunities to create a new branch on the east side of Lower Manhattan, while also restoring funding to existing Lower Manhattan branches, matching 2008 levels (when the financial crisis triggered drastic cutbacks in hours, services, and programs).
And the City’s Department for the Aging is the focus of a request to develop a program that would streamline the process by which buildings or neighborhoods that are home to large numbers of elderly residents can seek state funding as “naturally occurring retirement communities.”
The ongoing projects section contains a request for the City’s Department of Cultural Affairs to provide consistent funding for the South Street Seaport Museum, and to fund after-school and recreational programs throughout Lower Manhattan.
CB1 is also asking the City’s Department of Housing Preservation and Development to establish a program that aims to preserve affordable housing in Battery Park City.
And the Department of Parks and Recreation is urged to create a new or expanded amenity (such as a playground or athletic field) within the Battery, while also providing additional funding for the expansion and renovation of Elizabeth Berger Plaza (in the Financial District), and completing construction at Peck Slip Park (in the Seaport neighborhood).
Mr. Notaro observes that, “on the expense side, we have fought for continued funding for vital services and support of our infrastructure. We must also be vigilant on this side and need the help of residents. I encourage everyone to participate monthly or just send us a note or call so we can capture every idea.”
Another Food Hall Coming to Lower Manhattan, Amid Signs That Community’s Appetite Is Diminishing
A new food hall is coming to a historic (and long neglected) Lower Manhattan building: the former First National City Bank branch at 415 Broadway (on the corner with Canal Street), which dates from 1927.
The building’s owner is the development firm United American Land, a company that has established a niche in Lower Manhattan real estate by acquiring and repositioning historic structures, often transforming former office buildings and warehouses into apartments or retail destinations). To read more…
Community Board Applications Now Being Accepted
Every Community Board has 50 seats which are filled for two-year terms by volunteers, who are selected by the Borough President and local City Council members. Half the seats are up for appointment or re-appointment every year.
Community Boards get a seat at the table in high-stakes land use, real estate, and zoning negotiations, and they work directly with city agencies to influence how government services are delivered at the neighborhood level.
If you’d like to serve as a member of your Community Board, apply online here.
The deadline is February 14, 2020
Pipes at One: First Thursday
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, Alan Montgomery and Raphael Vogl of The Julliard School, New York. St. Paul’s Chapel.
Creative Writing Circle
New York Public Library
If you like to write and like to meet people who like writing, bring your creativity and personality to our creative writing workshop! All writers of all styles are welcome to participate in writing and editing exercises. New York City Public Library, Battery Park City branch, 175 North End Avenue.
Music and Storytime with Mandarin Seeds
New York Public Library
A three-week series of bilingual storytime with the group Mandarin Seeds. This week’s topic is fruit. Children learn all about fruit in Mandarin Chinese through stories, art projects, and puppets. Families dance while singing Mandarin Seeds’ original songs. New York City Public Library, Battery Park City branch, 175 North End Avenue.
Annual Gateway Plaza Tenants’ Association Meeting
55 Battery Place inside PS 276
AGENDA includes updating information regarding rent stabilization and other topics. Meet elected representatives and vote in the election for board members.
“Write Me” Poetry Workshop
Battery Park City Authority
“Write Me” Poetry Workshop
Museum of Jewish Heritage
Write Me (2019), a short film by Pearl Gluck, follows an older woman who joins other survivors in reclaiming the histories tattooed on their bodies. In part two of this four part-series, poets Deborah Kahan Kolb (author, After Auschwitz), Cornelius Eady (co-founder, Cave Canem Foundation), and Jennifer Jean (director, Free2Write Poetry Workshops for Trauma Survivors) will lead a workshop on using writing as a source of healing, resistance, and transmitting of personal histories. (Series Part 2 of 4). The film Write Me focuses on tattoos – an aesthetic choice for some, but a permanent reminder of harrowing past events for survivors of trafficking and the Holocaust. The series hopes to effect positive change by engaging diverse communities in conversations on art, social justice, history, and current events. 36 Battery Place.
Beginning this Friday, February 7th at 6pm, Church Street School for Music and Art located in partnership with Keyed Up! and International Contemporary Ensemble will begin a weekly concert series featuring renowned jazz musicians in the performance space at Church Street School.
February 7th – Tadataka Unno, piano; Phillip Harper, trumpet; and more!
Starting February 7th through mid June.
41 White Street 212-571-7290 churchstreetschool.org
Eyes to the Sky
February 4 – 16, 2020
Planet Venus dazzles, New York stargazers defy light pollution
While we were looking the other way, the dazzle of starry skies that we thought would always be there has been dimmed by a hazy scrim: when encountered, we feel as if a disease has overtaken our eyes. But the haze is accumulated wasted light from each of our trillions of outdoor lights – private and public – that are poorly designed and, in many instances, too bright for the purpose. The result is that the light scatters around and up to the sky, known as “light trespass” and “light pollution.” Excessive light is also wasted light and it is not only a wasted resource. While quick to light up our world, we have not only been oblivious to polluting our skies, but are discovering that light pollution is having deleterious affects on human health and the health of our environment. Look here.
‘A Complete Free-for-All’
CB1 Raises Concerns about Wave of New Event and Entertainment Venues Planned for Downtown
Members of Community Board 1 are expressing reservations about multiple new party and performance spaces slated to open in Lower Manhattan this year.
At the January 28 monthly meeting of the Board, Mariama James, who co-chairs CB1’s Quality of Life & Service Delivery Committee, described a production planned for a new theater space now being created within 20 Exchange Place, near the corner of William Street.
“It’s by a group called Emursive,” noted Ms. James, “and the show is called ‘Sleep No More,'” which draw ironic laughs from members who CB1, because the title neatly evokes their concerns for the surrounding neighborhood.
City Environmental Review of New Ferry Service to Battery Park City Springs a Few Leaks
The City’s Economic Development Corporation has released an updated version of the “draft supplemental environmental impact statement” for its plan to bring new ferry service from Staten Island to Battery Park City.
This document is meant to gauge the effect of the plan on metrics like noise, air quality, and greenhouse gas emissions that will result from implementing the NYC Ferry expansion planned by the administration of Mayer Bill de Blasio, which is slated to bring to the Battery Park City ferry terminal more than 60 new vessels each day, landing from 6:00 am to midnight, and carrying as many as 2,500 passengers per day.
One salient finding of the report may call into question the viability of the entire plan. To read more…
Panegyric to Paul
Veteran Community Leader Honored for Decades of Service
State Assembly member Deborah Glick has issued a proclamation recognizing Paul Hovitz, who stepped down as vice chair of Community Board 1 last June, for 27 years of effort and achievement on behalf of the Lower Manhattan community. In a pronouncement issued recently, Ms. Glick said, “Paul gained a reputation for being a powerful advocate for special education services, the allocation of funding for new school seats in Lower Manhattan, and the distribution of balanced educational programming.” To read more…
Plan for Lower Manhattan’s Highest Residential Tower Put on Hold
In what may be a harbinger of the decades-long Lower Manhattan real estate boom coming to an end, the planned “super-tall” residential tower at 45 Broad Street, in the Financial District, has been put on hold.
In a story first reported by the online architecture and design journal, Dezeen, developer Madison Equities acknowledged that, “due to short-term conditions in the Lower Manhattan market, we have decided to delay on constructing the building in the near future.”
This comes after years of delays in clearing the lot, which was acquired by Madison Equitietal worth (with more than 250 apartments, and some 13,000 square feet of retail space at its base) to be somewhere between $850 million and $1 billion, but realizing such a valuation may prove to be an elusive goal. And with fixed costs and debt topping out at more than $800 million, the margin for error on such a project is slim.
A Pooling of Interests
Would Floating Filtration System That Doubles as a Swim Facility Be a Net Plus?
A decade of grassroots advocacy may be gradually bearing fruit, as community leaders prod the administration of Bill de Blasio into serious consideration of a proposal to create a floating pool in the East River.
The idea, styled as “+ Pool” (and verbalized as “Plus Pool”) began in the summer of 2010, when three friends — designers Jeffrey Franklin and Archie Coates, along with architect Dong-Ping Wong — wondered why there was no facility that would allow the public to swim in the Hudson or East Rivers.
Researching the idea, they realized that 150 years ago, New York had more than a dozen such accommodations. To read more…
You Won’t Have John Catsimatidis to Kick Around Anymore
Gristedes Shuts Southern Battery Park City Location Amid General Retrenchment in Supermarkets
The number of grocery stores in Battery Park City is shrinking by one. In a story first reported by the Tribeca Citizen website, Gristedes Supermarket, a fixture at the corner of South End Avenue and West Thames Street for decades, is slated to shut down today.
Two Gristedes employees told the Broadsheet that they believe the store will reopen in several months, after an extensive modernization. But this narrative is contradicted by multiple reports that John Catsimatidis, the billionaire owner of the grocery chain, wants to put the 10,000-square-foot space to more lucrative use. To read more…
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.
Today in History
Thursday February 6
AD 60 – The earliest date for which the day of the week is known. A graffito in Pompeii identifies this day as a dies Solis (Sunday). In modern reckoning, this date would have been a Wednesday.
1685 – James II of England and VII of Scotland becomes King upon the death of his brother Charles II.
1778 – American Revolutionary War: In Paris the Treaty of Alliance and the Treaty of Amity and Commerce are signed by the United States and France signaling official recognition of the new republic.
1815 – New Jersey grants the first American railroad charter to John Stevens.
1843 – The first minstrel show in the United States, The Virginia Minstrels, opens (Bowery Amphitheatre in New York City).
1918 – British women over the age of 30 who meet minumum property qualifications, get the right to vote when Representation of the People Act 1918 is passed by Parliament.
1951 – The Broker, a Pennsylvania Railroad passenger train derails near Woodbridge Township, New Jersey. The accident kills 85 people and injures over 500 more. The wreck is one of the worst rail disasters in American history.
1952 – Elizabeth II becomes queen regnant of the United Kingdom and the other Commonwealth realms upon the death of her father, George VI. At the exact moment of succession, she was in a tree house at the Treetops Hotel in Kenya.
1959 – Jack Kilby of Texas Instruments files the first patent for an integrated circuit.
1959 – At Cape Canaveral, Florida, the first successful test firing of a Titan intercontinental ballistic missile is accomplished.
1978 – The Blizzard of 1978, one of the worst Nor’easters in New England history, hit the region, with sustained winds of 65 mph and snowfall of four inches an hour.
1695 – Nicolaus II Bernoulli, Swiss-Russian mathematician and theorist (d. 1726)
1726 – Patrick Russell, Scottish surgeon and zoologist (d. 1805)
1756 – Aaron Burr, American colonel and politician, 3rd Vice President of the United States (d. 1836)
1895 – Babe Ruth, American baseball player and coach (d. 1948)
1911 – Ronald Reagan, American actor and politician, 40th President of the United States (d. 2004)
1912 – Eva Braun, German wife of Adolf Hitler (d. 1945)
1913 – Mary Leakey, English-Kenyan archaeologist and anthropologist (d. 1996)
1932 – François Truffaut, French actor, director, producer, and screenwriter (d. 1984)
1685 – Charles II of England (b. 1630)
1804 – Joseph Priestley, English chemist and theologian (b. 1733)
1918 – Gustav Klimt, Austrian painter and illustrator (b. 1862)
1993 – Arthur Ashe, American tennis player and sportscaster (b. 1943)
2012 – Antoni Tàpies, Spanish painter and sculptor (b. 1923)
Photos and information culled from Wikipedia and other internet sources
Asking for the Millennium
City Announces Agreement to Expand FiDi’s Millennium High School
On January 15, jubilant elected officials, community leaders, and education officials toured the new space into which the Financial District’s Millennium High School will expand over the next two years. This was the culmination of a multi-year campaign to win approval and funding for the school’s growth.
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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…
Vicinage with Vigor
Lower Manhattan Ranked Among Healthiest Districts in New York
Two Lower Manhattan neighborhoods rank among the healthiest communities anywhere in the five boroughs of New York City, according to new research by RentHop, an online listings database.
The analysis gauged overall healthy by three criteria: the proportion of overall space within each community set aside for parks, the number of gyms (and other fitness facilities) in each neighborhood, and the tally of vegetarian restaurants in each area (relative to its number of households).
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…
Cruise Ships in New York Harbor
Arrivals & Departures
10:00 ~ 16:00
07:00 ~ 17:00
07:00 ~ 17:00
10:00 ~ 16:00
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.
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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