Lower Manhattan’s Local News
‘I’m Asking for the Chance to Continue Fighting for This Community’
Assembly Member Niou Launches Reelection Bid with Broad Backing
State Assembly member Yuh-Line Niou won two key endorsements in recent days, boosting her reelection bid, which officially kicked off on February 23. That day, the New Downtown Democrats (NDD), a political club founded to give voice to Lower Manhattan residents, gave Ms. Niou their backing.
“We have to make sure that we are continuing our fight,” Ms. Niou said at the NDD meeting. “We need to stop the two-percent fake austerity that our Governor is proposing, which means huge cuts to education, Medicare and Medicaid, and more. We want to make sure State policy reflects the things that our community cares about. But we can’t do this without everybody at the table. We need to continue to push for that change. This community has gone through so much, from September 11, to Hurricane Sandy, to people being forced from their homes at 85 Bowery, to the fire at 70 Mulberry Street. I’m asking for the chance to continue fighting for this community, fighting to make sure that we have a voice at the table.”
In the 2019 legislative session, Ms. Niou was part of a coalition that pushed through real estate reforms that had been stalled for years in Albany. “We abolished vacancy decontrol, which was a big step. And one of the things we fought for in last year’s package was to make sure that broker fees can’t be charged back to renters. Right now, that’s being held up in court. But in other states, that doesn’t happen. People are so startled by broker’s fees here, and that renters, the tenants, have to pay them. When you’re talking about a broker’s fee, plus first and last month’s rent and a deposit, plus the mover’s fee, that adds up to so much that tenants will agree to almost any increase to avoid having to move.”
Looking to what she hopes to accomplish in the current legislative session, Ms. Niou said, “we’ve got to get rid of 421a, so we’re not rewarding landlords for what they would be doing anyway.” This was a reference to the controversial tax incentive program that grants developers a decades-long tax abatement on the increased value in property derived from (for example) demolishing a five-story tenement and erecting a 35-story luxury apartment building in its place. This subsidy to real estate developers costs the City more than $1 billion per year.
“The next-step is a bill for good-cause eviction, which says that landlords can’t kick tenants out or refuse to renew leases for no reason,” she added. This was a reference to the single component of last year’s package of tenants’ rights reforms that the real estate industry was able to block. Now under renewed consideration in Albany, it would prohibit “unreasonable” rent increases, defined as more than three percent or one and a half times the increase in the consumer price index (whichever is greater).
“This would be a step closer to universal rent control,” Ms. Niou predicted. “It would impact tenants right now in this community. If we had good-cause eviction, there would be no need to worry about renewing rent stabilization at Gateway Plaza, for example.”
Following this discussion, NDD voted to back Ms. Niou, along with a slate of other candidates for local, state, and federal office. NDD president Patrick Kennell said afterward that, “New Downtown Dems is so proud to endorse and support a great slate of candidates for federal, state and judicial offices this election cycle. Our political club’s motto is ‘diversity, inclusion, reform,’ and we could not be prouder to support this diverse group of elected officials and candidates, all of whom work so hard to make our community in Lower Manhattan the best in New York City and a desired destination for the rest of the world.”
Following the NDD meeting, Ms. Niou hosted a campaign kickoff event, at which she was endorsed by United States Congressman Jerry Nadler, City Comptroller Scott Stringer, and Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer.
Mr. Nadler said, “I served in the Assembly for 16 years, and I saw how difficult it is to effect change, and how difficult it is to stand up to the leadership and power, to the various lobbying groups and the real estate industry.”
“Yuh-Line has taken on power, she has taken on the real estate industry, which was the preeminent power in Albany for so long,” he continued. “She took on the Independent Democratic Caucus, which was such a great sellout for so long, helping to keep the Republicans in power.” This was a reference to a group of renegade Democrats in the New York State Senate who, from 2011 to 2018 (despite the fact that the Democratic Party repeatedly won the majority in that chamber of the legislature), caucused and voted with the Republicans, giving that party effective control of the Senate. For nearly a decade, this enabled Republicans to block legislation that Democrats had pushed for, such as rent reforms. Ms. Niou played a leading role in recruiting young candidates to challenge those Senators in Democratic Party primaries in 2018. This effort unseated a sufficient number of Senators from the Independent Democratic Caucus to restore actual control of that chamber to Democrats.
“She has stuck her neck out, shown courage and good judgment,” Mr. Nadler concluded. “And I am proud to stand by her and urge all of you to do what I know you will do: everything you can to get her reelected.”
Mr. Stringer said of Ms. Niou, “since her election, she has played a significant role in this state, speaking truth to power, in a legislature where it is very difficult to shine the light on struggling New Yorkers: people who are homeless, kids who need to be educated.”
“It’s a system that is, in many ways, rigged,” he added. “And this young Assembly women went to Albany and said ‘I’m going to change the rules of the game. I’m going to challenge the leadership of my party when I have to. And I’m going to challenge the powers that be to bring fundamental change.”
“The rest is history,” he observed. “Except for one thing: She’s been in the face of too many powerful people. She has challenged too many powerful people. She has gone up against the real estate industry in this community. She was a leader in the rent-law fight. She has led on campaign finance reform. She has had a real conversation about sexual assault and how we can fix that both in Albany and in New York City.”
“When you start talking about those things, and you are a relatively young member of the Assembly, something happens,” Mr. Stringer continued. “Different groups get together and create an opposition campaign. The reason Yuh-Line has to win is not only to continue her good work, but because we’ve got to send a message that our work is not done. And the way to prove that is to say to the big money, the special interests, the real estate community, the people who want her defeated: ‘No, there’s a new coalition in this City! It’s parents who have kids in the public school system, it’s parents who want to integrate the public school system. It’s people who don’t want to build luxury housing and fake affordable housing. It’s a coalition that believes we are better served when we elect more women and people of color to office.'”
“But Yuh-Line will not win this race by outspending her opponents,” Mr. Stringer predicted. “Because no matter what we do, she’s going to be outspent two- and three-to-one. When you have big money against you, you have to make up for it in how you go out and knock on doors. So it’s up to us — if we want to reelect her, it’s up to us.”
Ms. Brewer said, “I don’t endorse too many people, because I don’t like many politicians,” which elicited a round of appreciative laughter from the crowd. In reference to the established leadership of both parties in Albany, Ms. Brewer added, “people are nervous about elected officials who speak out. That’s a new concept for them. And when elected officials do speak out, they have to have backup from people like you. Because there are a lot of other agendas that people are going to push and press for.”
“But what’s great about Yuh-Line is that she doesn’t want it to be about her,” Ms. Brewer continued. “She wants it to be about you, and about the community. She wants dialog. You don’t pass legislation or get things done when it’s about you. You get things done by working with people. That’s what she’s good at.”
“If you want a worker, if you want somebody who cares about the community and the legislative challenges, and not somebody who is going to put some other agenda ahead of you, Yuh-Line has been a real partner and I know she’ll continue to be that. And I know she’ll need your support,” Ms. Brewer concluded.
Three days after the NDD meeting and campaign kickoff rally, Ms. Niou was endorsed by local 32BJ of the Service Employees International Union, the largest property service workers labor union in the United States, which has 175,000 members. This added to a growing roster of endorsements for Ms. Niou, including the Working Families Party, the Grand Street Democrats, and Empire State Indivisible.
Eyes to the Sky
March 2 – 15, 2020
Spring stars rising, NEAF
Spring stars appear in our evening sky as rhythmically as pussy willow and snowdrop blossoms emerge here on Earth in the northeast. As March begins, the constellation Leo the Lion, in full figure, stretches above the eastern horizon at nightfall. The expression “March comes in like a Lion” likely had cosmic roots before its familiar reference to fierce winds.
All the Lion’s stars, from brightest Regulus at its front foot to bright Denebola at its tail, come into view during the course of about 60 to 90 minutes after sunset.
Sundown is at 5:49 Eastern Standard Time today and about a minute later everyday through the 7th. Eastern Daylight Time begins at 2am on March 8, when clocks are set one hour ahead. Sunset by the clock does not coincide with actual sunset from March 8 until November 1, when we return to Eastern Standard Time. On the 8th, sundown is at 6:56pm EDT. The Full Sap Moon occurs on the 9th.
The most outstanding spring star, orange-hued Arcturus, is the second brightest distant sun in northern skies. Arcturus rises above the east-northeast skyline at 8:16 tonight, about two hours after Leo’s tail star, Denebola. Brilliant Arcturus appears 4 minutes earlier every evening. When I observe the golden star close above the east-northeast skyline, I stand tall as witness to nighttime’s quintessential harbinger of spring. I am swept into the rising of the new season.
Refer to the diagram to see, on the left, the Big Dipper’s handle ‘arc to Arcturus’. Notice hallmark stars and constellations of the winter season on the right. Brilliant Sirius, the Dog Star, the brightest star in the heavens, is descending toward the west as Arcturus ascends in the east.
Opportunity to Participate
Church Street School for Music & Art
Celebrates 30 Years
Church Street School for Music & Art is turning 30 and throwing a party to celebrate!
On Tuesday, March 10th from 6:30pm to 10:30pm Church Street School will be hosting The Event: a fundraising gala honoring the Kleiman family with Artist Chair Julia Stiles.
The evening will include music, dancing, cocktails, fine dining, and a live and silent auction. Don’t miss your chance to be a part of a cultural beacon in the downtown art and music community and to show your support for arts education.
The Fate of a Neighborhood
State Judge Rules Against City Hall on Two Bridges Developments
Opponents of four massive new towers proposed for the Two Bridges neighborhood on Lower Manhattan’s East River waterfront were handed a major victory this week, when the State Supreme Court tossed out the City’s 2018 approval for the buildings.To read more…
Community Board Meetings This Week
Tuesday March 3
Transportation & Street Activity Permits Committee
1) Water Street Streetscape Project – Presentation by Wil Fisher, Assistant Vice President, Government & Community Relations, Economic Development Corporation
2) Save Canal Street Initiative – Presentation by Adrian Mak, Transportation Alternatives & Resolution
3) Tribeca-WTC Bicycle Enhancements – Discussion & resolution
4) NYC Department of Transportation Lower Manhattan Study Kick-Off Meeting – Report
5) Curbside Permit application at 6th Avenue between Church Street and White Street – Presentation by Alison Klein Sherman, VP of Finance of Klein Transportation Inc. and possible resolution
6) Congestion Pricing Working Group Report on Tolling – Charles Komanoff, Contributor to Regional Planning Association’s Congestion Pricing in NYC: Getting it Right Report
Community Board 1 – Conference Room 1 Centre Street, Room 2202A-North
Wednesday March 4
Battery Park City Committee
1) BPC Homeowners Coalition, Bob Zack President- Discussion and possible Resolution
Metropolitan College 40 Rector Street (Entrance on West Street)
Today in History
537 – Siege of Rome: The Ostrogoth army under king Vitiges begins the siege of the capital. Belisarius conducts a delaying action outside the Flaminian Gate; he and a detachment of his bucellarii are almost cut off.
1657 – Great Fire of Meireki: A fire in Edo (now Tokyo), Japan, caused more than 100,000 deaths; it lasted three days
1791 – Long-distance communication speeds up with the unveiling of a semaphore machine in Paris.
1825 – Roberto Cofresн, one of the last successful Caribbean pirates, is defeated in combat and captured by authorities.
1855 – Alexander II becomes Tsar of Russia.
1859 – The two-day Great Slave Auction, the largest such auction in United States history, begins.
1877 – U.S. presidential election, 1876: Just two days before inauguration, Congress declares Rutherford B. Hayes the winner of the election even though Samuel J. Tilden had won the popular vote on November 7, 1876.
1882 – Queen Victoria narrowly escapes an assassination attempt by Roderick McLean in Windsor.
1903 – In New York City the Martha Washington Hotel opens, becoming the first hotel exclusively for women.
1933 – The film King Kong opens at New York’s Radio City Music Hall.
1946 – Ho Chi Minh is elected the President of North Vietnam.
1949 – Captain James Gallagher lands his B-50 Superfortress Lucky Lady II in Fort Worth, Texas after completing the first non-stop around-the-world airplane flight in 94 hours and one minute.
1962 – Wilt Chamberlain sets the single-game scoring record in the National Basketball Association by scoring 100 points.
1972 – The Pioneer 10 space probe is launched from Cape Canaveral, Florida with a mission to explore the outer planets.
1983 – Compact discs and players are released for the first time in the United States and other markets. They had previously been available only in Japan.
1998 – Data sent from the Galileo spacecraft indicates that Jupiter’s moon Europa has a liquid ocean under a thick crust of ice.
2017 – The elements Moscovium, Tennessine, and Oganesson were officially added to the periodic table at a conference in Moscow, Russia
1453 – Johannes Engel, German doctor, astronomer and astrologer (d. 1512)
1931 – Mikhail Gorbachev, Russian lawyer and politician, President of the Soviet Union, Nobel Prize laureate
1729 – Francesco Bianchini, Italian astronomer and philosopher (b. 1662)
Photos and information culled from Wikipedia and other internet sources
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 56
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.
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…
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…
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.
CLASSIFIEDS & PERSONALS
Swaps & Trades ~ Respectable Employment ~ Lost & Found
NEED A PERSONAL ASSISTANT?
ORGANIZED, RELIABLE, KNOWLEDGEABLE.
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
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 Keirstead email@example.com
347-933-1362 References available
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
NOTARY PUBLIC IN BPC
$2 per notarized signature Text Paula at 917-836-8802
ELDER CARE NURSE AIDE
with 17 years experience seeks PT/FT work. Refs available Call or text 718 496 6232 Dian
Available starting September for PT/FT.
Wonderful person, who is a great worker. Reference Available
Available for PT/FT elder care. Experienced. References Angella
EXPERIENCED ELDER CARE
Able to prepare nutritious meals and light housekeeping
Excellent references 12yrs experienced 347-898-5804
Call Hope email@example.com
If you would like to place a listing, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org
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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