Lower Manhattan’s Local News
Federal Court Dismisses Suits Against BPCA By September 11 Cleanup Workers
United States District Court judge Alvin Hellerstein has dismissed more than 100 suits against the Battery Park City Authority (BPCA), brought by rescue, recovery and cleanup workers who were made sick by exposure to toxins while laboring in the community during the weeks and months that followed the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001.
These actions were among the last of approximately 12,000 similar lawsuits, which alleged that the Authority failed to provide safe working conditions, necessary safety equipment, or adequate warnings of potential danger for personnel who helped to decontaminate Stuyvesant High School, or else used the building as a staging facility for cleanup work within the World Trade Center complex. (The suits hinged on the fact that the City leases from the BPCA the land on which Stuyvesant is located.)
Almost all of these workers had already been compensated for whatever injuries they have suffered, by a 2010 settlement, awarding them $712 million. On this basis, the BPCA argued that the suits against it should be dismissed, pointing toward a clause in that settlement that specifically banned any recipient from recovering damages more than once. The Authority also argued that the City had direct control over the Stuyvesant high School building, and all cleanup work within the World Trade Center complex. The BPCA additionally pointed to agreements it has with the City, requiring the latter to assume all liability in such cases.
Judge Hellerstein found these arguments persuasive, writing that “plaintiffs have already received compensation in full satisfaction of their claims against the City, the WTC, and its indemnitees. Plaintiffs stand to gain nothing further from further proceedings, even if successful, against BPCA,” and noting that the cleanup workers, “by their own earlier settlement agreement have no potential for additional recovery in the present action.”
This ruling amounts to a reversal of another opinion by the same Federal Court, issued in June, 2018, which allowed the same group of lawsuits to move forward. That ruling argued that, “the BCPA’s logic… would permit a public entity to challenge the constitutionality of any law that could potentially expose it to greater liability.” This was a reference to the BPCA’s argument that a State law, which originally allowed the suits to move forward (in spite of having passed the statute of limitations that would ordinarily apply), violated the State’s Constitution.
That statute is known as Jimmy Nolan’s Law, named for a carpenter employed by New York University who rushed to the World Trade Center site in the aftermath of the attacks to offer assistance. Mr. Nolan remained at Ground Zero for three weeks. Several years later, he developed serious respiratory problems, and the need for costly medications that imposed a crippling financial burden on Mr. Nolan and his family. The delay between his exposure and the onset of these symptoms put Mr. Nolan into the so-called “second wave” of victims, for whom health impacts did not begin to appear until months or years after exposure. But under the law that normally applies in such cases, people seeking compensation have only 90 days to file suit, a cut-off that is sometimes extended to 15 months. Under either of these deadlines, Mr. Nolan (and workers like him) were legally barred from seeking compensation.
For this reason, the State legislature in 2009 passed (and then-Governor David Paterson signed) a new measure, which carved out an exception to that statute of limitations. Once the law had gone into effect, more than 12,000 former Ground Zero workers filed suit against multiple defendants, including the BPCA. The vast majority of these suits were resolved by the 2010 settlement.
The Authority responded by asking a succession of State courts to quash the suits, arguing that Jimmy Nolan’s Law was illegal under the State Constitution, regardless of what the legislature said. The BPCA’s position appears to have been motivated not by any desire to deprive September 11 survivors of benefits to which they may be entitled, but by a fiduciary obligation to conserve assets until and unless legally required to pay a claim. This is underscored by the fact that, even if the plaintiffs had prevailed, the BPCA had no financial exposure, since the terms of all of its ground leases transfer liability to the lessees (in this case, the City).
A series of rulings in both State and federal courts mostly upheld in the BPCA’s position, in spite of the fact that, in 2014, then-State Attorney General Eric Schneiderman took the step of filing a court brief siding with the supporters of Jimmy Nolan’s Law and against the BPCA.
In 2017, however, the State’s Court of Appeals sided against the BPCA and with the plaintiffs under Jimmy Nolan’s Law, finding that the measure was “a reasonable response in order to remedy an injustice.” But the Authority continued to press its case in federal court. This led to the June, 2018 federal ruling that allowed the suits to proceed. But those actions came to an end with Judge Hellerstein’s dismissal, which was issued on August 30.
photos courtesy: NYPD
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Governor Taking a Shrine to
Battery Park City
Budget, Possible Locations, and Deadline for Designs Announced for Hurricane Maria Memorial
The administration of Governor Andrew Cuomo has narrowed down its initial list of six possible sites for a Hurricane Maria Memorial in Battery Park City to just two: The Esplanade Plaza (at the southwest corner of South Cove Marina) and the Chambers Street Overlook (at the intersection of Chambers Street and River Terrace).
To the editor:
As a former member of Tom Goodkind’s CB1 Affordable Housing Committee, I’m so saddened that he didn’t live long enough to see 90 West and 50 Murray Streets win their cases for Rent Stabilization.
But as I read 125 Greenwich Street is about to enter bankruptcy, perhaps the City can reclaim it, turn the entire horrid needle monster into affordable units and name it for Tom.
One can dream! Tom sure did. R.I. P.
To the editor,
The July 30 article (BroadsheetDAILY July30 “A Shore Thing HRPT Plans Beach and Historic Sculpture for Gansevoort Peninsula”) about the proposed design for the park on the Gansevoort Peninsular included the following statement: “The beach will be more for viewing the water than public bathing, owing to concerns about hygiene and safety”. In fact, the beach will have no direct contact with the water. The Hudson River Park Trust calls it an “upland beach”, which is just a fancy name for a glorified sandpit.
The arguments provided for not having a true beach are dubious, given that is there is a very popular public beach almost directly over the Hudson River in Hoboken. Thus it is unlikely that the harbor water in Hoboken is clean, while the water flowing past the Gansevoort Peninsular is not. Nor is it likely that the residents of Lower Manhattan are less safe when active on beaches than those in Hoboken.
The kayak launch proposed for the south side of the Gansevoort Peninsular is a shallow ramp, which means that persons launching or landing a boat will almost invariably have direct physical contact with the water in the Hudson River. It is unlikely that kayakers are somehow less sensitive to polluted water than the general public.
When the design for the proposed Gansevoort Peninsular Park was presented to CB2 on July 24 it was said that a beach would be hard to build on the south side of the peninsular because, absent a cove, any sand would quickly get swept away by incoming waves. It was not possible to dig into the land to create a cove because the nearby Spectra gas pipeline (coming from New Jersey and crossing the peninsular) needed to be protected by a certain amount of land.
The gas pipeline could easily have been positioned twenty feet to the north when it was installed a decade ago, but this did not happen. It is unfortunately too late to change the location now.
Greta Arrives, Carbon Free
On August 28, Lower Manhattan turned out to welcome 16-year-old Swedish climate activist Greta Thunberg to the U.S. after her voyage across the Atlantic fueled by solar cells, hydro-generators and the wind.
She is in town to attend the United Nation’s Climate Action Summit on September 23, and also to participate in events during Climate Week (September 23 – 29). Beloved by people of all ages for her plain-spoken commitment to address climate change, Greta has galvanized young people in particular.
In Battery Park City, many children from around the world gathered to meet her-hoisted onto their parents’ shoulders, chattering in different languages, chanting demands for social and political change.
Greta and U.N. Secretary-General António Guterres are calling on world leaders to produce immediate, practical plans to dramatically reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
Welcome, Greta, and thank you.
This year’s outdoor Fall Film Series at 28 Liberty Street (between Nassau and William Streets) will focus on uplifting athletes every Thursday, with a screening of The Legend of Bagger Vance on September 5 and A League of Their Own on September 12. Shows begin at 7:30 pm and admission is free. And so is the popcorn.
More movies under the stars are on tap on Saturdays at Tribeca’s Washington Market Park (enter on Greenwich Street, near Duane Street), where Crazy Rich Asians will be shown on September 7 and Spiderman: Into the Spiderverse will be screened on September 14. Shows begin at 7:30 pm and admission is free.
The Seaport Cinema series of rooftop films at Pier 17 continues with The Waterboy on September 16. Show begins at 6:30 pm and admission is free, but an R.S.V.P. is required. To register, please browse: www.seaportdistrict.nyc.
Finally, the Battery Park City Authority will present Moana on Wednesday, September 18 in Rockefeller Park (enter at River Terrace and Murray Street), starting at 7:00 pm. Admission is free.
Wednesday September 4
August 31 The beginning of the Swim around Manhattan photo: Dorothy Lipsky
Elements of Nature Drawing
Figure Al Fresco
Battery Park City Committee
Community Room, 6 River Terrace
1) West Thames Bridge and Rector Street Restoration Project – Updates by Len Greco, NYC Economic Development Corporation and Matt Krenek, Skanska
2) Pier A Outdoor Seating and Bar Alterations – Presentation by Paul Lamas, Principal of HPH Hospitality and Anthony Malone, Director of Operations, Pier A
3) Convene Community Impact Considerations – Discussion
4) Protecting Wildlife at Lily Pond from Future Harm – Presentation by Michelle Ashkin, Discussion and Resolution
5) Allied Universal Report, Year Over Year Comparisons – Presentation by Patrick Murphy, Director of Security, Allied Universal
6) BPCA Report with an Update on Rockefeller Park Renovation – Nicholas Sbordone, Vice President of Communications & Public Affairs, BPCA
Eighteen years later, the scars on the local landscape have mostly vanished, but the internal wounds persist for those who survived the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001.
For this constituency, author and Lower Manhattan resident Helaina Hovitz Regal, her father, community leader Paul Hovitz, and the Howard Hughes Corporation will host “Hope & Healing We Were There on 9/11 and We’re Still Here,” on Sunday, September 8, starting at 5:00 pm, at Eight Fulton Street.
The event will include a panel discussion, followed by a question-and-answer session, and reception. The discussion will be moderated by CNBC’s Contessa Brewer, and panelist will include Manhattan Youth’s Bob Townley, the Broadsheet’s Robert Simko, and Downtown Hospital responder and Southbridge resident Steve Vince.
“This evening is meant to show how recovery is possible over time and to offer hope in a world where tragic things like this continue to happen,” says Ms. Hovitz Regal. Admission is free, but guests are asked to register in advance. R.S.V.P. by browsing: bit.ly/2NxMPXx
Where Figs Ply
A Fig Aficionado’s Fest
Fig Fest, an annual gathering of local fig growers and aficionados, will take place at the National Lighthouse Museum (200 The Promenade at Lighthouse Point, Staten Island), steps away from the Staten Island Ferry Terminal at St. George on Sunday, September 15, starting at 4:00 pm.
A $5 donation is requested. For more information, please email
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EYES TO THE SKY
September 2 – 15, 2019
Seasonal change written all over the sky
As September begins, it seems abrupt that the dark of night comes early, the light of day comes late and a new chill in the air reverses embedded routines for how to respond to summer heat. All the while, when looking up to the universe of familiar stars and star patterns, sky watchers respond to the age-old markers of the passage of the year. The progress of the seasons is written all over the sky.
At nightfall the Great Square of Pegasus, harbinger of autumn, is sketched on the heavens above the eastern skyline. It is a star pattern, or asterism, shaped by four nearly equally spaced stars, three from the constellation Pegasus and one from Andromeda. The Great Square may be difficult to see with the naked eye in light polluted skies, however, the celestial lights that follow are yours to enjoy, city or countryside.
Summer, seen in the figure of the huge Summer Triangle, is found high above the Great Square in a southerly direction. The Summer Triangle, an asterism composed of the brightest stars of three summer constellations, climbed above the east-northeast horizon as darkness fell in June, close to the summer solstice, just as the Great Square precedes the autumnal equinox.
My springtime muse, distant sun Arcturus, appears in the chill of March nights around the time of the vernal equinox. Prominent as the brightest star in the summer sky,
Arcturus is now rather low in the west as darkness falls. Scan to the left of twinkling, golden Arcturus to gaze at brilliant planet Jupiter. Spot Arcturus nearing the western skyline through October. Winter stars and constellations are now rising before dawn.Click here
The Full Harvest Moon rises in the east-southeast at 7:21pm on the 13th. The autumnal equinox occurs on Monday, September 23.
Freedom of Impression
The Battery Park City Authority is offering two, separate series of free, outdoor art classes every Wednesday: Elements of Nature Drawing will be held in Wagner Park, starting at 11:00 am, and will draw inspiration from the expanses of Hudson River and New York Harbor, as well as the flower-filled and seasonally evolving palette of the park’s verdant gardens.
And at 2:30 pm, the Figure Al Fresco class will stretch the artistic skills of students by sketching live models. Both classes (which are meant for adults) continue each Wednesday through October 30, and each will be led by professional arts educators.
Participation is free of charge (with no advance registration required), and all materials will be provided. For more information, please browse: bpcparks.org.
CORRECTION: Art classes are held on Wednesdays through October 30, not Tuesdays
Today in History
476 – Romulus Augustulus is deposed when Odoacer proclaims himself “King of Italy”, thus ending the Western Roman Empire.
1282 – Peter III of Aragon becomes the King of Sicily.
1666 – In London, the most destructive damage from the Great Fire occurs.
1812 – War of 1812: The Siege of Fort Harrison begins when the fort is set on fire.
1839 – Battle of Kowloon: British vessels open fire on Chinese war junks enforcing a food sales embargo on the British community in China in the first armed conflict of the First Opium War.
1862 – American Civil War Maryland Campaign: General Robert E. Lee takes the Army of Northern Virginia, and the war, into the North.
1882 – The Pearl Street Station in New York City becomes the first power plant to supply electricity to paying customers.
1886 – American Indian Wars: After almost 30 years of fighting, Apache leader Geronimo, with his remaining warriors, surrenders to General Nelson Miles in Arizona.
1888 – George Eastman registers the trademark Kodak and receives a patent for his camera that uses roll film.
1923 – Maiden flight of the first U.S. airship, the USS Shenandoah.
1950 – Darlington Raceway is the site of the inaugural Southern 500, the first 500-mile NASCAR race.
1957 – American Civil Rights Movement: Little Rock Crisis: Orval Faubus, governor of Arkansas, calls out the National Guard to prevent African American students from enrolling in Central High School.
1957 – The Ford Motor Company introduces the Edsel.
1972 – Mark Spitz becomes the first competitor to win seven medals at a single Olympic Games.
1998 – Google is founded by Larry Page and Sergey Brin, two students at Stanford University.
973 – Al-Biruni, Persian physician and polymath (d. 1048)
1905 – Walter Zapp, Latvian-Estonian inventor, invented the Minox, a miniature camera (d. 2003)
1908 – Richard Wright, novelist, essayist, and poet (d. 1960)
1917 – Henry Ford II, American businessman (d. 1987)
1920 – Craig Claiborne, American journalist, author, and critic (d. 2000)
422 – Boniface I, pope of the Catholic Church
1063 – Tughril, Seljuq sultan (b. 990)
1907 – Edvard Grieg, Norwegian pianist and composer (b. 1843)
1965 – Albert Schweitzer, French-Gabonese physician, theologian, and missionary, Nobel Prize laureate (b. 1875)
1982 – Jack Tworkov, Polish-American painter (b. 1900)
1995 – William Kunstler, American lawyer and activist (b. 1919)
Cass Gilbert and the Evolution of the New York Skyscraper
by John Simko
Cruise Ships in the Harbor
Arrivals & Departures
Wednesday, September 4
Inbound 6:30 am (Brooklyn); outbound 7:00 pm;
New England/Canadian Maritimes/Quebec City
Inbound 6:15 am; outbound 4:30 pm;
Grand Turk, San Juan, PR/Dominican Republic
Friday, September 6
Adventure of the Seas
Inbound 6:30 am (Bayonne); outbound 3:00 pm;
New England/Canadian Maritimes/Quebec City
Saturday, September 7
Anthem of the Seas
Inbound 6:30 am (Bayonne); outbound 4:00 pm;
Sunday, September 8
Inbound 7:30 am Bayonne; 4:00 pm;
New England/Canadian Maritimes/Quebec City
Inbound 6:15 am; outbound 4:30 pm; Maine/Canadian Maritimes
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 tides, fog, winds, freak waves, hurricanes and the whims of upper management.
Anthem of the Seas Spins About
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