Lower Manhattan’s Local News
Quay to the Future
Hudson River Park Trust Hints at Estuarium Partnership with River Project
A discussion at the October 15 meeting of the Waterfront, Parks & Cultural Committee of Community Board 1 (CB1) pointed toward a possible resolution of a question that has remained unanswered for years: Will a highly regarded non-profit that has served Lower Manhattan for decades continue to have a home on the waterfront?
This dilemma focused on the Estuarium — a combination laboratory, public exhibit and learning space designed to offer hands-on programs in the urban ecology of New York Harbor and the larger Hudson River ecosystem — that was created by the River Project, in Tribeca, in the 1990s. For years, the River Project was housed on Pier 26, but the organization relocated to temporary quarters at Pier 40 when the Hudson River Park Trust (HRPT) began to redevelop that dock a decade ago.
The River Project’s relocation to Pier 40 was always meant to be temporary, and the move was made amid expectations by community leaders and elected officials that the River Project and the Estuarium would be welcomed back to Pier 26, once the rebuilding was complete.
The reconstruction of Pier 26 is now entering its final stages. But the assumption that the Estuarium would be welcomed back was cast into doubt at an April 2018 meeting of CB1’s Waterfront Committee, when HRPT president Madelyn Wils offered an update about Pier 26. Turning to the Estuarium, she said, “we have a very ambitious plan right now for a two-story facility that would house two kindergarten-through-eighth grade classrooms, three college or post-graduate classrooms, and a significantly sized technology exhibit — a museum-quality type of facility, with a small aquarium.”
“It’s a $50-million project, and we have $10 million toward it,” Ms. Wils continued. “We are currently looking for an anchor donation,” for the remaining $40 million. “So we’re looking for a significant amount. But, if we are not able to get the kind of anchor contributions that we’re looking at, then we will scale back the project.”
The prospect of raising $40 million in new donations to support the Estuarium appeared to be far from certain. That, in turn, called into question whether the River Project, would ever be able to return to its original home.
But on October 15, Rashi Puri, HRPT’s assistant vice president for real estate and planning, signaled a new direction in the agency’s direction on this issue. “Clarkson University was to develop the Estuarium,” she told the Waterfront Committee, referring to 2015 plan under which that research institution, based in upstate Potsdam, New York, would have taken the lead on the project.
“They had a very ambitious concept for programming and exhibits,” Ms. Puri continued. “But the Trust has informed Clarkson that we need to move ahead with a more basic program and that the Trust will be running the program ourselves. The concept is the same as it has always been: learning about the Hudson River and the animals that live in it, as well a modest lab for visiting scientists. This is inspired by the River Project’s wet lab.”
“With the simplified program, we estimate the need for $25 million for the building’s core and shell,” she added. “The Trust has raised $15 million of this amount and is actively trying to raise the gap funding for the project.”
She noted that, “HRPT’s estuary lab already serves tens of thousands of kids and adults, and conducts river science with a variety of partners. Our current capacity and partnership relationships are why we can now take the lead on the Estuarium program, unlike years ago when we issued an RFP [request for proposals] for an operator, when we did not have this capacity.”
“In the next few months, we will be issuing an RFP for a designer to help us understand operating needs and costs for the Estuarium’s tanks and the back-of-house systems needed to operate them. We have a pretty good handle on the costs for a standard block building, but not for this specialized area.”
“The goal of this RFP will be to get a better handle on the programmatic needs, to inform the future design,” she observed. “We do not have a building design, as of now. But the aquarium will include a touch tank with live animals, and back-of-house facilities, mechanicals, and utilities.”
Ms. Puri would not commit in advance to the River Project moving back to Pier 26 and being selected to operate the new Estuarium, saying only that, “once it is built, that could be a possibility.” But her acknowledgement that the program HRPT has in mind was inspired by the River Project seemed to point in that direction. Further, her attestation that the Trust has raised $15 million, and that this amount comes to 60 percent of the downsized project’s budget (rather than the original stake of $10 million, against a budget of $50 million) provided further encouragement.
Several members of the Waterfront Committee saw the Trust’s decisions to sever its partnership with Clarkson, scale back its plan, and issue the RFP as a significant step in the direction of bringing the River Project back to Pier 26 to operate the Estuarium. Bob Townley, a CB1 member who also serves on the HRPT Advisory Council, said, “that is big news we heard tonight about the Estuarium, that is huge. It’s a great idea. We have actual movement. After a six-year log jam, that’s what it should have always have been.”
He added, “we’re happy that the HRPT is now partnering with the River Project. That’s going to be the community piece, and not Clarkson. We’re happy that they’re running it.”
Lower Manhattan Forecast: It’s Getting Cloudier
Downtown Alliance and BPCA Expand Free Wireless Coverage by 1.5 Million Square Feet
The Battery Park City Authority and Downtown Alliance have teamed up to bring improved or new free WiFi service to an additional 1.5-million square feet of outdoor space in Rockefeller, Teardrop, and Wagner Parks along the Hudson River in Battery Park City.
The next phase of the project, slated for 2020, will aim to cover large swaths of the Battery Park City’s Esplanade. For more information about free WiFi coverage in Lower Manhattan, please browse: www.downtownny.com/wifi
A Bridge Too Few
Community Leader Rallies Support to Halt Planned Demolition of Pedestrian Span Over West Side Highway
A Battery Park City resident and community leader is mobilizing support to preserve the Rector Street Bridge, the pedestrian span that is slated for demolition as a newer overpass at nearby West Thames Street (which unofficially opened in September) is gradually integrated into the local streetscape.
Bob Schneck spoke during the public comment session of the Battery Park City Authority (BPCA) board meeting on Tuesday, pointing to a petition drive he has spearheaded, and noting that, “I have collected more than 1,800 signatures by residents who want to keep the bridge. Rector Street lines up with almost every subway line in Lower Manhattan, and ferries on both ends.”
November 4, 2019
CB1 Land Use, Zoning & Economic Development Committee
Manhattan Borough President’s Office 1 Centre Street, 19th Floor – South
1) Borough Based Jails/Manhattan Detention Complex Post-ULURP – Discussion with
Ecstasy and Terror: Daniel Mendelsohn and Vinson Cunningham
McNally Jackson 4 Fulton Street
“The role of the critic,” Daniel Mendelsohn writes, “is to mediate intelligently and stylishly between a work and its audience; to educate and edify in an engaging and, preferably, entertaining way.”
In Ecstasy and Terror, Mendelsohn once again casts an eye at literature, film, television, and the personal essay, filtering his insights through his training as a scholar of classical antiquity in illuminating and sometimes surprising ways. FREE
Upcoming Community Board meetings this week:
November 5 Office closed – Election Day
CB1 Battery Park City Committee
CB1 Transportation & Street Activity Permits Committee
Putting the Tension in Detention
City Council Approves de Blasio Controversial Plan for New Jail Complex in Lower Manhattan; Legal Challenges Likely
The administration of Mayor Bill de Blasio won City Council approval on October 17 for a modified version of its controversial plan to erect a new, skyscraper prison in Lower Manhattan, as part of a wider scheme to close the City’s notorious detention complex on Rikers Island, and replace it with four, large “borough-based jail” facilities-one in each county, except Staten Island.
At the session during which the plan was approved, City Council member Margaret Chin said, “to my constituents-I hear you.
The Subtle Art of Not Giving A Shoot
Chin Pushes Legislation to Rein in Production Permits
City Council member Margaret Chin is co-sponsoring a package of bills to clamp down on rampant film and television production in Lower Manhattan.
Although the new laws, if enacted, will have City-wide effect, their impact would be especially significant in the square mile below Chambers Street, where dozens of movies and TV shows commandeer local streets (sometimes for days at a time) each year.
Eyes To the Sky
October 28 – November 10
Worldview: Origin of our Sun, solar system, ourselves
During the dark time of year here in the northeast, our visual environment is more of the moon and stars than earthly phenomena. In this “Eyes to the Sky”, as in a post a few weeks ago, I offer you the opportunity to reflect on the natural world as revealed to us by astronomers and astrophotographers. I have the pleasure of presenting the words and images of astrophotographer and educator Terry Hancock, the creator of “Fly Like an Eagle” , the nebula image featured above. To read more…
by Judy Isacoff
Things That Make You Go ‘Hmm…’
Lawsuit Over Similarity Between One World Trade and Architecture Student’s Design Moves Ahead
One thing is reasonably certain: In 1999, Jeehoon Park, then a student at the Illinois Institute of Technology’s College of Architecture, created a design for a very tall building with a large square base tapering to a smaller square top. In Mr. Park’s vision, the square formed by the roof was rotated 45 degrees relative to the one at the ground level, so that the center-points on each side of the quadrilateral below corresponded to the corners of the one above, and vice versa. And instead of four vertical walls, the structure’s facade consisted of eight elongated triangles.
That structure was never built. Or was it?
You Can Hit-and-Run,
But You Can’t Hide
Driver Alleged to Have Run Over Tribeca Pedestrian in May Indicted for Separate Manhattan Traffic Death
The New York County District Attorney’s Office has indicted Jessenia Fajardo, a resident of the upstate town of Walden in two separate incidents involving reckless driving that caused injury to pedestrians. The more serious of these took place on July 19, when Ms. Fajardo is accused of having run a red light on the Upper West Side and then slamming into an elderly couple in a crosswalk. One of these pedestrians, 62-year-old Alfred Pocari, was killed, while the second (whose name has not been released) was seriously injured.
When police took Ms. Fajardo into custody at the scene of the July incident, they discovered that she was also involved in a similar (albeit less gravely serious) incident two months earlier. To read more…
Click to listen to the morning sounds on the esplanade
What’s In Store?
Amid a Booming Economy, Lower Manhattan Retail Space Languishes
A new report from City Comptroller Scott Stringer finds that in one Lower Manhattan zip code — 10013, which covers parts of western Tribeca SoHo, and the Canal Street corridor in Chinatown — there are 319 empty retail spaces, comprising almost 300,000 square feet of unused property. To read more…
Adding Insult to Penury
Ridership Survey Indicates That Ferry Coming Soon to Battery Park City Primarily Serves Affluent Riders
An analysis of who uses the NYC Ferry service, which the administration of Mayor Bill de Blasio plans to expand to Battery Park City next year, shows that riders are primarily white passengers who earn more money than average New Yorkers.
Cruise Ships in New York Harbor
Arrivals & Departures
Monday, November 4
Seven Seas Navigator
Inbound 6:15 am; outbound 5:30 pm
Tuesday, November 5
Mein Schiff 1
Inbound 7:00 pm (Bayonne)
in port overnight
Wednesday, November 6
Mein Schiff 1
Outbound 10:00 pm (Bayonne)
Norfolk, VA/Florida/Bahamas/La Romana, Dominican Republic
Inbound 12:15 pm
in port overnight
Thursday, November 7
Outbound 5:30 pm
Norfolk, VA/Charleston, SC/San Juan, PR
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.
Music to Our Ears
When she was ten, Julie Reumert was selected
to sing at a celebration marking the birthday of
Margrethe ll, Queen of Denmark. As a girl growing up in Copenhagen, Ms. Reumert performed with the Saint Anne Girls Choir as a soprano and a soloist.
CLASSIFIEDS & PERSONALS
Swaps & Trades ~ Respectable Employment ~ Lost & Found
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
ELDER CARE NURSE AIDE
with 17 years experience seeks PT/FT work. Refs available Call or text 718 496 6232 Dian
DO YOU NEED A PERSONAL ASSISTANT?
I am experienced, reliable, knowledgeable and able to work flexible hours.
CHINESE AIDE/CAREGIVER FOR ELDERLY
Cantonese/Mandarin-speaking and Excellent Cook for Battery Park City.
SEEKING FREE-LANCE PUBLIC RELATIONS PROFESSIONAL OR SMALL PR FIRM
Work with well-reviewed author of five E-books, developing and implementing outreach strategies. Includes writing, placement, research, new outlets and on-line advertising. Savvy social media skills a must. Downtown location.
Please send resume and fee schedule to: Email: email@example.com
Available starting September for PT/FT.
Wonderful person, who is a great worker. Reference Available
Available for PT/FT elder care. Experienced. References Angella
DITCH THE DIETS & LOSE WEIGHT FOR GOOD
Call Janine to find out how with hypnosis.
EXPERIENCED ELDER CARE
Able to prepare nutritious meals and light housekeeping
Excellent references 12yrs experienced 347-898-5804
Call Hope firstname.lastname@example.org
NOTARY PUBLIC IN BPC
$2 per notarized signature Text Paula at 917-836-8802
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 Kierstead email@example.com 347-933-1362. Refs available
OLD WATCHES SOUGHT, PREFER NON-WORKING
Mechanical pocket and wristwatches sought and sometimes repaired
If you would like to place a listing, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org
Today in History
1333 – Flood of the Arno River, causing massive damage in Florence as recorded by the Florentine chronicler Giovanni Villani.
1675 – Storm hits Western Europe: flood in Amsterdam
1841 – First wagon train arrives in California
1879 – James Ritty patents first cash register, to combat stealing by bartenders in his Dayton, Ohio saloon
1908 – Brooklyn Academy of Music opens
1922 – Howard Carter discovers tomb of Tutankhamen in Egypt
1939 – First air conditioned automobile, a Packard was exhibited, Chicago, Ill
1963 – John Lennon utters his infamous “Rattle your jewelery” line
1966 – Flooding of Arno River destroys countless art works, kills 113
1970 – Russian nuclear physicist Sacharov forms Human Rights Committee
1979 – 63 Americans taken hostage at US Embassy in Teheran, Iran
1980 – Ronald Reagan defeats President Jimmy Carter by a landslide
2003 – The most powerful solar flare as observed by satellite instrumentation is recorded
2008 – Barack Obama becomes the first African-American to be elected President of the United States
1649 – Samuel Carpenter, Deputy Governor of colonial Pennsylvania (d. 1714)
1879 – Will Rogers, American actor and screenwriter (d. 1935)
1912 – Vadim Salmanov, Russian pianist and composer (d. 1978)
1916 – Walter Cronkite, journalist, voice actor, and producer (d. 2009)
1918 – Art Carney, American actor (d. 2003)
1946 – Laura Bush, 45th First Lady of the United States
1946 – Robert Mapplethorpe, American photographer (d. 1989)
1428 – Sophia of Bavaria, Queen of Bohemia (b. 1376)
1847 – Felix Mendelssohn, pianist, composer, and conductor (b. 1809)
1847 – Thiệu Trị, Vietnamese emperor (b. 1807)
1856 – Paul Delaroche, French painter and educator (b. 1797)
1955 – Cy Young, American baseball player and manager (b. 1867)
1995 – Yitzhak Rabin, 5th Prime Minister of Israel, Nobel Peace Prize laureate (b. 1922)
2011 – Andy Rooney, American author, critic, journalist, and television personality (b. 1919)
Plant It and They Will Come ~ Monarch Butterflies Pause to Refuel in Lower Manhattan
To the editor:
Thank you, kind-hearted gardeners. We must all do whatever little bit we can to hold back the wave of extinctions that is a hair’s breadth from taking the last of our monarchs.
Damascus on the Hudson
Lower Manhattan’s Old Syrian Quarter
Today, the stretch of Greenwich and Washington Streets between Battery Place and Albany Street — bisected by the Brooklyn-Battery Tunnel entrance — is known by the forgettable name, “Greenwich South.”
By all appearances it is an orphan of a neighborhood that never quite coalesced. But nothing could be further from the truth. A century ago, before the World Trade Center or the Brooklyn Battery Tunnel (the two giant public works projects that decimated this once-thriving quarter), it was an ethnic enclave as vibrant as Little Italy or Chinatown. To read more…
Wildlife in Lower Manhattan
The dogwalking and jogging crowd on the esplanade yesterday morning had quite a show, when an unidentified Buteo (Buzzard Hawk) lazily flapped past a few heads and landed on a branch to enjoy his breakfast: a tasty pigeon.
BPCA’s Public Art Collection Represents Multiple Layers of Value
The Battery Park City Authority, has completed an inventory and appraisal of its public art collection. This is part of a broad effort to take stock of the Authority’s ongoing role as a patron and custodian of pieces that represent an integral thread in the fabric of the community, as evidenced by the fact that space and funding for public art were both set aside decades ago, in the neighborhood’s first master plan, before the first building was erected.
Keep It Light
Condo Boards Question Need for South End Avenue Redesign After Installation of Traffic Signal
At the October 2 meeting of the Battery Park City Committee of Community Board 1, Battery Park City Authority president B.J. Jones was apprised by the leader of a coalition of condominiums along South End Avenue of that group’s ongoing reservations about the Authority’s plan to revamp the thoroughfare.
Pat Smith, the board president of the Battery Pointe condominium (at South End Avenue and Rector Place) told Mr. Jones, “before you go too far on South End Avenue, please remember that six condo boards, representing more than 1,000 households along South End Avenue, from Albany down to West Thames, don’t want you to do this.” To read more…
Residents Riled about Tribeca Tavern
More than a dozen concerned Tribeca residents turned out for the September meeting the Licensing and Permits Committee, which weighs in on the granting or renewal of liquor licenses.
They showed up to voice concerns about MI-5, a bar located at 52 Walker Street, which has been a source of local complaints as far back 2007.
Neighbors of the bar allege that it operates as a dance club (in violation of its current license, which is now up for renewal), and that loud music penetrates the upper floors of the residential building located above the bar as late as 4:00 am. To read more…
Sin of Omission
City Agency Leaves Cash-Strapped Local Museum Off Roster of Cultural Institutions
The City’s Department of Cultural Affairs has omitted from its list of dozens of New York-based cultural institutions that receive public support the museum that chronicles the oldest community anywhere in the five boroughs.
BPCA Puts the Brakes on Conversions of Rental Buildings within Community
Residents of rental apartments in Battery Park City who fear being thrown out of their homes as developers plan to convert those buildings to condominiums can rest a little bit easier, according to the Battery Park City Authority.
At the October 2 meeting of the Battery Park City Committee of Community Board 1, Authority president Benjamin Jones said, “I want to talk about some of the potential condo conversions that people are concerned about. We have been very clear with developers over the last year, and then some, about our position — that we want to preserve the rental housing that exists in Battery Park City.” To read more…
Out of Their Depth
Volleyball Players Rescued from Hudson, After Jumping Into River to Retrieve Ball
Two young men were pulled from the waters of the Hudson River on Saturday morning, after jumping from the Battery Park City Esplanade to retrieve a volleyball that went over the railing, near North Cove Marina.
The men, whose names have not been released, were playing volleyball on the court that overlooks that yacht basin at approximately 11:40 am, when a wild serve sent their ball into the Hudson. Impulsively, they both leaped in after it.
Costs to Rent or Own in Lower Manhattan Are Matched by Lofty Local Earnings
A slew of recent reports documents what everyone who lives or works in Lower Manhattan already sensed in their bones: This is a mind-numbingly expensive place to call home.
In September, RENTCafé issued a new analysis of the most expensive neighborhoods for renters in the United States that finds northern Battery Park City (zip code 10282) is the priciest enclave in America, with an average rent of $6,211 per month. Coming in at second place is zip code 10013, which covers western Tribeca, along with part of Soho. To read more…
From Bunker to Incubator
New Arts Center on Governors Island Will Provide Studio Space and Cultural Programming
Lower Manhattan has a new cultural hub. The Lower Manhattan Cultural Council and the Trust for Governors Island have partnered to create the LMCC Arts Center at Governors Island, a 40,000-square foot studio space and education facility, housed within a restored 1870s ammunition warehouse — a relic from the days when the island was a military outpost.
Rapport to the Commissioner
CB1 Makes Exception to New Policy; Okays Naming Street for Former NYPD Commissioner
A public figure from the 1980s may soon be honored by having a street co-named in his memory, if Community Board 1 gets its way. The panel recommended that Benjamin Ward, New York’s first African-American police commissioner, be commemorated by rechristening one block of Baxter Street as Benjamin Ward Way.
This comes on the heels of a controversial decision by CB1 in 2018 to decline such a request on behalf of James D. McNaughton, who, on August 2, 2005, at age 27, became the first New York City Police officer to be killed in action while serving in “Operation Iraqi Freedom.”
Onetime Non-Profit Nursing Facility Sold to Anonymous Buyer for Five Times Original Price
If there is an Exhibit A in the case of fevered speculation in Lower Manhattan real estate, it must be Rivington House
After purchasing the block-long, 150,000-square-foot structure (located at 45 Rivington Street, near the Williamsburg Bridge), the developer, the Allure Group, paid the City an additional $16 million to remove the deed restriction that limited the property to its legacy use of non-profit, residential healthcare. To read more…
Breaking It Down
Composting Catches on in Battery Park City
You’re probably heard of the farm-to-table movement. Thanks to the Battery Park City Authority’s compost initiative, there’s a burgeoning table-to-earth movement in this Lower Manhattan community.
What happens to the scraps after you’ve dropped them in the bin? How do your apple peels and corn husks turn into rich, beneficial compost?
The Broadsheet set out to investigate. To read more…
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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