Lower Manhattan’s Local News
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).
This winnowing, which was made public via the Governor’s website in August, eliminates multiple other possible Battery Park City sites that were originally under consideration: three locations surrounding North Cove Marina (the northern and southern edges of the yacht harbor, and the nearby Belvedere Plaza), as well as a site on the Esplanade west of Stuyvesant High School, and the sliver of Wagner Park immediately adjacent to the Museum of Jewish Heritage.
“Hurricane Maria claimed thousands of lives and destroyed countless homes in Puerto Rico, yet the resilience of the Puerto Rican community has shown the world anything can be overcome when we all stand together in solidarity,” Mr. Cuomo said in a statement. “We want this spirit of strength and community to be reflected in the Hurricane Maria Memorial, and we look forward to seeing how the experts capture it in their designs.”
Battery Park City Authority (BPCA) president B.J. Jones said, “we are honored to site the Hurricane Maria Memorial in Battery Park City, made especially poignant as we proceed with our own resiliency infrastructure projects, designed to combat and overcome the threats presented by extreme weather. We look forward to working with Governor Cuomo, the Commission, and the winning artists/architects on a monument that honors and pays tribute to the Puerto Rican community and our collective resolve.”
Also announced in August was a September 19 deadline for final submissions by artists and designers (which appears timed to coincide with the third anniversary of Hurricane Maria), and projected budget of approximately $700,000 to complete the project. Given that this amount is a fraction of the cost needed to merely repair several existing pieces of public art and infrastructure within Battery Park City in recent years, whether that budget is realistic remains an open question.
Examples of costlier projects from the BPCA’s 2019 budget include $2.5 million to redesign the Police Memorial, $3 million to repaint the Tribeca Pedestrian Bridge, and $1.6 million for design and installation of way-finding signage. In 2018, the BPCA hired a contractor to repair the Pylons public art piece (between North Cove Marina) and the illuminated glass benches surrounding the Irish Hunger Memorial for $595,000, and estimated that restoration of the dozen-plus other public art pieces in the community would cost $1 million in the near future.
Both the original catalog of locations, and the shorter, final list appear to have been developed without the participation of local leaders, such as members of Community Board 1 (CB1), which has not publicly discussed the matter since enacting a resolution last December, calling upon the Governor to set up, “a process [of] communication and transparency with the community prior to the placement of any new memorials in Battery Park City — or anywhere else in Lower Manhattan.”
The resolution also observed that, “all public land within Battery Park City has already been designated for uses on which the community relies;” that, “Battery Park City has more memorials per square foot than any other neighborhood in New York City;” and that, “there are numerous locations within the State that could be better suited to locate the Hurricane Maria Memorial than Battery Park City.”
The measure continued, “CB1 insists on appointing a local Battery Park City resident to participate on the commission regarding the siting of the proposed memorial in Lower Manhattan;” and “CB1 requires a commitment from Governor Cuomo to allow meaningful participation by residents and community leaders in all phases of decision-making related to this project, including (but not limited to): voting membership on the commission that would determine final location, design and budget for the memorial.”
At the meeting during which this resolution was ratified, Tammy Meltzer, chair of CB1’s Battery Park City Committee, noted that, “Lower Manhattan has a higher density of memorials than anywhere else in five boroughs of New York City, with nine in Battery Park City alone.” Within the community, these include memorials to the Holocaust, Ireland’s Great Famine, New York City police officers, the Berlin Wall, and rescue efforts by Battery Park City Authority employees during the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001, as well as a tribute to employees to the American Express Corporation who perished on that day. Nearby, in the Financial District and surrounding neighborhoods, there are dozens more, including monuments to slavery, nearly every war from the American Revolution to Viet Nam, and the sinking of the Titanic.
Battery Park City activists and leaders have a record of opposing plans for additional memorials that they believed conflicted with the interests of the community. These include successfully derailing proposals to locate two relics of the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001 with the community: the so-called “Survivors Staircase” (a flight of 38 steps that once led from Vesey Street to the World Trade Center plaza above) and the Sphere (a metal globe sculpture originally located on plaza between the Twin Towers, and heavily damaged when they collapsed). Both were initially slated for relocation to sites within Battery Park City. But each was instead incorporated into plans for the new World Trade Center complex when the community objected to these proposals.
Ninfa Segarra, a Battery Park City resident who once served as Deputy Mayor, and more recently chaired the Battery Park City Committee of Community Board 1, said, “as one of the few Puerto Ricans who live in Battery Park City, I think placing a Memorial here is ridiculous. The Governor should identify who in the Puerto Rican community asked that it be placed here.”
Mr. Cuomo first announced that he would order the creation of a memorial to Hurricane Maria in September, 2018 — on the first anniversary of 2017 storm. There was little visible movement on this project until June of this year, when the Governor announced (at New York’s annual Puerto Rican Day Parade) that he was forming a commission to spearhead the project. Notwithstanding calls from local leaders for a meaningful role in decisions related to the proposed memorial, he included only one resident of Battery Park City on the ten-member commission that will oversee the memorial’s design and construction: Elizabeth Velez. A trusted confidante of the Governor’s, Ms. Velez served on the board of the Committee to Save New York, a controversial and secretive organization started by Mr. Cuomo in 2010, which was comprised mainly of real estate developers, bankers and lobbyists. The group was the State’s top lobbying spender in 2011 and 2012, but Mr. Cuomo shut it down the following year, after critics pointed to close ties between donors and State government. According the multiple sources with direct knowledge of the situation, Mr. Cuomo promised Ms. Velez a seat on the board of the Battery Park City Authority in 2016, but her appointment did not go through, for reasons that never became public.
In a separate, but related development, students at the University of Puerto Rico School of Architecture have created a series of designs to ridicule Governor Cuomo’s decision regarding a Hurricane Maria Memorial. In a story first broken by the Architect’s Newspaper, a group of architecture students at the school briefly considered participating in Mr. Cuomo’s design competition, but rejected this prospect in favor of creating protest designs that amount to a criticism of Mr. Cuomo’s plan. Architect, professor, and former dean Francisco J. Rodríguez-Suarez explains that the students, “unanimously felt the wounds had not healed enough and also questioned the appropriateness of the politics behind a memorial in New York.”
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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.
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
Freedom of Impression
The Battery Park City Authority is offering two, separate series of free, outdoor art classes every Tuesday: 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 Tuesday 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.
August 31 The beginning of the Swim around Manhattan photo: Dorothy Lipsky
Bird Walk at The Battery with NYC Audubon
Explore the diversity of migrating birds that find food and habitat in The Battery. The walk will be led by Gabriel Willow, an educator from NYC Audubon. Gabriel is an experienced birder and naturalist, and is well-versed in the ecology and history of New York City. Meet at the Netherland Memorial Flagpole, at the intersection of Broadway, Battery Place, and State Street. The Battery Conservancy Free, also Sept 10, 17, 24
6 River Terrace
Join a fitness dance party with upbeat Latin music of salsa, merengue, hip-hop, and more! Enthusiastic instruction creates a fun community of dancers who learn new steps each week. Bring your friends and share in this fit and fun dancing community. Free, also Sept 10, 17, 24
Community Board Meeting
Transportation & Street Activity Permits Committee
Community Board 1 – Conference Room 1 Centre Street, Room 2202A-North
1) Frankfort Street Bike Lane Project – Presentation by NYC Department of Transportation
2) Lower Manhattan Transportation Study – Presentation by NYC Department of Transportation
3) Street Co-Naming Guidelines – Resolution
4) Congestion Pricing Working Group – Discussion
The following notices have been received for recurring street closure permits:
Taste of the Seaport; Saturday, October 19, 2019; 4PM – 10PM
Front St between Beekman St & Peck Sl
LMCC Block Party; Saturday, September 28, 2019; 10AM – 1PM
Murray St between Greenwich St & West Broadway
Rooftop at Pier 17 Latin concert. $50
EYES TO THE SKY
September 3 – 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.
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Today in History September 3
36 BC – In the Battle of Naulochus, Marcus Vipsanius Agrippa, admiral of Octavian, defeats Sextus Pompey, son of Pompey, thus ending Pompeian resistance to the Second Triumvirate.
301 – San Marino, one of the smallest nations in the world and the world’s oldest republic still in existence, is founded by Saint Marinus.
1189 – Richard I of England (a.k.a. Richard “the Lionheart”) is crowned at Westminster.
1260 – The Mamluks defeat the Mongols at the Battle of Ain Jalut in Palestine, marking their first decisive defeat and the point of maximum expansion of the Mongol Empire.
1666 – The Royal Exchange burns down in the Great Fire of London.
1812 – Twenty-four settlers are killed in the Pigeon Roost Massacre in Indiana.
1838 – Frederick Douglass escapes from slavery.
1855 – American Indian Wars: In Nebraska, 700 soldiers under United States General William S. Harney avenge the Grattan massacre by attacking a Sioux village and killing 100 men, women and children.
1879 – Siege of the British Residency in Kabul: British envoy Sir Louis Cavagnari and 72 men of the Guides are massacred by Afghan troops while defending the British Residency in Kabul. Their heroism and loyalty became famous and revered throughout the British Empire.
1925 – USS Shenandoah, the United States’ first American-built rigid airship, was destroyed in a squall line over Noble County, Ohio. Fourteen of her 42-man crew perished, including her commander, Zachary Lansdowne.
Constructed at the Lakehurst Naval Air Station, the USS Shenandoah was the first of the U.S Navy’s experiment with rigid airships.The design was based on a Zeppelin bomber and its structure was made of a new alloy of aluminum and copper called duralumin. For lift it used rare and expensive Helium gas to fill the 20 gas cells. For navigation, Shenandoah was powered by five 300 hp eight-cylinder Packard gasoline engines.
1935 – Sir Malcolm Campbell reaches a speed of 304.331 miles per hour on the Bonneville Salt Flats in Utah, becoming the first person to drive an automobile over 300 mph.
Just last week Jessi Combs, the former host of a TV series “MythBusters,” was killed while attempting to reach a speed of 500 miles an hour in a jet-powered car on the Alvord Desert in Oregon.
1944 – Holocaust: Diarist Anne Frank and her family are placed on the last transport train from the Westerbork transit camp to the Auschwitz concentration camp, arriving three days later.
1950 – “Nino” Farina becomes the first Formula One Drivers’ champion after winning the 1950 Italian Grand Prix.
1976 – Viking program: The American Viking 2 spacecraft lands at Utopia Planitia on Mars.
2004 – Beslan school siege results in over 330 fatalities, including 186 children.
2016 – The U.S. and China, together responsible for 40% of the world’s carbon emissions, both formally ratify the Paris global climate agreement.
2017 – North Korea conducts its sixth and most powerful nuclear test.
1704 – Joseph de Jussieu, French explorer, geographer, and mathematician, (d. 1779)
1710 – Abraham Trembley, Swiss biologist and zoologist (d. 1784)
1856 – Louis Sullivan, American architect and educator, designed the Carson, Pirie, Scott and Company Building (d. 1924)
1875 – Ferdinand Porsche, Austrian-German engineer and businessman, founded Porsche (d. 1951)
1913 – Alan Ladd, American actor and producer (d. 1964)
1963 – Malcolm Gladwell, Canadian journalist, essayist, and critic
264 – Sun Xiu, Chinese emperor (b. 235)
618 – Xue Ju, emperor of Qin
863 – Umar al-Aqta, Arab emir
931 – Uda, emperor of Japan (b. 867)
1658 – Oliver Cromwell, English general and politician (b. 1599)
1962 – E. E. Cummings, American poet and playwright (b. 1894)
1970 – Vince Lombardi, American football player and coach (b. 1913)
1981 – Alec Waugh, English soldier and author (b. 1898)
1991 – Frank Capra, director, producer, and screenwriter (b. 1897)
2001 – Pauline Kael, American film critic and author (b. 1919)
2005 – William Rehnquist, 16th Chief Justice of the United States (b. 1924)
2007 – Steve Fossett, American aviator (b. 1944)
2012 – Sun Myung Moon, Korean religious leader and businessman, founded the Unification Church (b. 1920)
Cass Gilbert and the Evolution of the New York Skyscraper
by John Simko
Cruise Ships in the Harbor
Arrivals & Departures
Tuesday, September 3
Seven Seas Navigator
New England/Canadian Maritimes/Quebec City
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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