Federal Loan Program Bails Out Local Small (and Not-So-Small) Businesses
The Museum of Jewish Heritage
(Editor’s Note: This is the first in an occasional series of stories detailing the impact of federal bailout funds on Lower Manhattan businesses.)
The federal Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) has disbursed more than $600 billion in roughly 4.9 million loans to business around the nation, in response to the economic slowdown triggered by the pandemic coronavirus. (These loans may be partially or fully forgiven if the business maintains its number of employees, along with their previous level of wages.)
In Battery Park City’s three zip codes, 285 businesses and non-profit organizations received loans totaling more than $10 million, based on the possibility of saving more than 2,900 jobs, according to data recently released by the federal government’s Small Business Administration (SBA).
About two-thirds of the loans to Battery Park City business were for amounts below $150,000, in which cases the federal government did not reveal the names of recipients. For loans greater than $150,000, the SBA disclosed brackets for amounts (such as “$150,000 to $350,000” and “$350,000 to $1 million”), rather than precise figures.
Among the beneficiaries in Battery Park City’s southern section (zip code 10280), were the Museum of Jewish Heritage (which got $350,000 to $1 million, based on the possibility of preserving 66 jobs) and the Folksbiene Yiddish Theatre, which is headquartered in the Museum, and received $150,000 to $350,000, to save 17 jobs.
The Liberty Cleaners laundry and dry cleaning service located at 225 South End Avenue appears twice in the federal database, as having received $350,000 to $1 million (under the corporate name Red Cap Valet Services) in exchange for keeping 32 jobs, and the same amount again (under the corporate name Red Cap NYC Services) for preserving another 34 jobs.
The parking garage at 250 Albany Street (under the corporate name CenterPark Services) received $350,000 to $1 million for maintaining an unspecified number of jobs.
The restaurant concessions that operate within the Hudson River Park at Pier 66 (near West 26th Street) and Riverside Park at Pier I (near West 70th Street) are both domiciled (under separate corporate names) at the same residential address in Gateway Plaza, and received $350,000 to $1 million, as well as $150,000 to $350,000, for preserving 25 and 30 jobs, respectively.
The Treadwell Park restaurant at Albany Street and South End Avenue (under the corporate name 301 South) received $350,000 to $1 million, for the prospect of maintaining 44 jobs. The same owner also operates Merchants River House restaurant on the Esplanade (under the name corporate 375 South), and received another $350,000 to $1 million for retaining 23 jobs.
In the 10281 zip code (which encompasses Brookfield Place), the Le District food and restaurant complex (calling itself Hanover Ventures Marketplace) received $2 to $5 million, based on its aim to keep 223 employees on the payroll.
In the same category, non-profit organization MDRC (which aims to reduce poverty, bolster economic self-sufficiency, improve public education, and boost college graduation rates), the National September 11 Memorial & Museum at the World Trade Center (which is domiciled in Brookfield Place), and the Institute of Culinary Education all received $2 to $5 million, for the prospect of saving 299, 343, and 211 jobs, respectively.
The largest PPP beneficiary within Brookfield Place, however, appears to have been the online financial publication, The Street, which received $5 to $10 million based on the possibility of saving 15 jobs. (Notably, the entire company was acquired last year for $16.5 million.) Slightly less lavish was the loan given to the P.J. Clarke’s restaurant: $1 to $2 million, in exchange for preserving 100 jobs.
In the 10282 zip code (which circumscribes Battery Park City north of Vesey Street), Pick-A-Bagel (applying under the corporate name Bagel on Murray Street) received $150,000 to $350,000 in exchange for maintaining 39 jobs, while Harry’s Italian Restaurant (calling itself Hip at Murray Street) was lent $350,000 to $1 million for saving 44 jobs, and El Vez Restaurant (under the name Havatequila Restaurant Partners) received $1 to $2 million for maintaining 138 jobs.
In “Greater Goods and Lesser Evils” (BroadsheetDAILY, June 30), the expiration of the rent-increase limiting agreement in Gateway Plaza is presented.
All residents of BPC have concerns about the amounts paid to BPCA (which impact rent and maintenance payments), and the amounts that go to the City and State. Your article published at the end of May (“It’s Like Deja Vu All Over Again”) reminded us of the $600 million that NY State and City extracted 10 years ago above and beyond the usual annual payments of unexpended BPCA revenue.
If I am misunderstanding this “cash grab” process, I doubt that I am alone. Maybe it’s time for a quarterly Zoom community meeting with the BPCA presenting what can possibly happen now that City and State are in serious need of cash. Details of how the pandemic-caused “pause” impacted BPCA’s budget — savings, losses and additional expenses — would be very interesting.
And while I have your ear, kudos to the Gateway Plaza Tenants Association for all the support that has been organized recently during this “pause.” Many Seniors have benefited from the help their neighbors provided. So, congrats to all at Gateway!
Astrophotographer Mihail Minkov’s Star Catcher placed first in the International Dark Sky Association’s “Connecting to the Dark” category of IDA’s first annual photography competition, “Capture the Dark”. Minkov accompanied the photograph with this statement: “I have a four-year-old daughter. She is fascinated by the planets, stars and the Milky Way. So I decided to make her part of the process and try to show her what it’s like to be out under the dark sky, and see the beauty of the night sky. I hope that one day she will remember that and this memory will make her care for the planet and the night sky.”
These starry summer nights, the picture could be of you or me or children in our care.
On a recent sojourn in the countryside, facing southeast over a meadow alight with blinking, streaming fireflies, I looked up to discover bright planet Jupiter close above the horizon. Barred owls exchanged their hooting bark “who cooks for you?” It was just before 10 o’clock. Today, the 13th, Jupiter (-2.73 magnitude) rises at 8:23pm; an hour earlier on the 26th. To Jupiter’s left, dimmer Saturn (0.12 m) rises at 8:43pm on the 13th; nearly an hour earlier on the 26th. Allow about an hour after sunset for bright celestial objects to be visible and an hour and a half to two hours after sunset for dimmer stars and constellations.
Whether stargazing from a window or setting out at nightfall, find a clear view to the southeast horizon. Or wait for the celestial show to come to you. The planets and stars are moving from east to west. Around midnight, the planets show up in the south; before dawn, southwest.
Above and to the left of the planets find the great Summer Triangle: Altair (0.75 m) appears 20 degrees above Jupiter; brighter Vega (0.00 m) a 30 degree leap above Altair and dimmer Deneb (1.25 m) a stretch to the left of Vega. Search out a bright star to the right of Vega, in the southwest, it is golden Arcturus (-0.07 m).
The star-like object the child in the photograph looks to could also be planet Venus, the third brightest object in Earth’s skies, after the Sun and moon. See Venus (-4.47 m), now the Morning Star, in the east between about 3:30am and 4:50am.
Finalists Announced in Design Competition to Improve Pedestrian Access to Brooklyn Bridge
On some weekends, as many as 15,000 pedestrians and 3,600 cyclists compete with each other and souvenir vendors for as little as 10 feet of width on the deck of the Brooklyn Bridge, creating an unpleasant and potentially unsafe bottleneck.
The City Council and the Van Alen Institute (a New York nonprofit architectural organization, dedicated to improving design in the public realm) have named the shortlist of contenders in a contest that aims incubate fresh ideas for better pedestrian access to the Brooklyn Bridge.
Local Traffic Monitoring Device is Part of City-Wide Expansion
A work crew installs a new traffic monitoring device at the corner of West and West Thames Streets.
Lower Manhattan residents may soon be slightly safer, if lighter in the pocket, thanks to a new traffic monitoring device that has been installed at the corner of West Street and West Thames Street. The camera and radar unit, mounted on a silver pole, combines red light monitoring with speed enforcement for vehicles proceeding south along Route 9A (West Street).
Open Space Advocate Wants City Hall Park Returned to Community
A local advocate for Lower Manhattan open spaces is sounding the alarm about City Hall Park, which has recently been closed and cordoned off by police, while the park’s paved plaza (near Chambers and Centre Streets) has been taken over by Occupy City Hall protestors.
Lower Manhattan resident Skip Blumberg, the founder and president of Friends of City Hall Park (FCHP), says, “our park is closed, commandeered by the NYPD inside the fences and by the occupying protestors on the Northeast Plaza. The park has suffered littering and destruction by irresponsible individuals within those groups, with trash thrown over the fence by both.”
1) New York Police Department Methods – Discussion & Resolution
2) The Impacts of the COVID-19 Pandemic on Affordable Housing, Rent Delay/Forgiveness, and Repurposing Vacant Commercial Buildings for Residential Use – Discussion & Resolution
3) Review of Financial District Temporary Homeless Shelter Operating Procedures – Discussion
4) Sanitation Impacts of the New Alternate Side Parking Regulations – Discussion & Possible Resolutions
Been There, Done That
Theseus Aweighs Anchor on Troubled Waters
WPA Photo Library of Congress
We’re only halfway through 2020, but already, many of us have the sense that we will someday regale the as-yet-unborn grandkids with tales of mythic adversity amid transformational times.
Most of us are grimly confident that our nation’s current afflictions are without precedent. And most of us are dead wrong. A pandemic that has killed more than 100,000 Americans, and may yet fell as many more? Been there. Times of bitter, seemingly irreconcilable division? Done that. Leadership that seems incapable of leading, and instead plays Americans off against one another? We have overcome that, too. All of these things we have faced down, in worse forms than confront us now, and more than once.
Appeals Court Considers Whether to Let Stand Decision About Two Bridges
A recent hearing before the Appellate Division court of New York’s First Judicial Department indicates that the controversial plan to erect four massive new towers in the Two Bridges neighborhood on Lower Manhattan’s East River waterfront may yet come to fruition.
Rent stabilization at Gateway Plaza expired June 30. Despite more than two years of behind-the-scenes negotiations between the Battery Park City Authority (BPCA) and the LeFrak Organization (which operates the complex), no agreement has been announced that will extend affordability protections at Battery Park City’s largest residential complex.
Negotiations are ongoing, and may yield such an agreement soon. In a recent statement, the BPCA said that, “the Authority and the owners of the Gateway residential complex remain committed to the extension of a limitation on rent increases for the pre-June 30th, 2009 tenants who reside in the complex. The proposed agreements may not be signed until after the current June 30th, 2020 expiration, but please be assured that the shared understanding is that they be retroactive back to that date and both parties are working diligently.”
City Plans Black Lives Matter Street Mural for Lower Manhattan
Lower Manhattan has a new piece of street art: the administration of Mayor Bill de Blasio commissioned a Black Lives Matter mural for Centre Street, between Worth and Reade Streets. The painting consists of large letters emblazoned on the roadbed, and is among five such installations, with one planned for each borough.
This project was inspired by the impromptu creation of a similar mural on Fulton Street, in the Bedford-Stuyvesant section of Brooklyn a week ago. When word spread of this project, Mr. Blasio showed up at the site and helped paint it. A few days later, he announced that this section of Fulton Street was to be closed to vehicular traffic for the remainder of the summer.
Pandemic and Economic Downturn Impact Local Leasing
A new report from brokerage Douglas Elliman and appraiser Miller Samuel indicates that rents are trending downward in Lower Manhattan, while the inventory of vacant apartments is ballooning. These tidal shifts appear to be attributable to the health crisis associated with the pandemic coronavirus, and the economic slowdown it has triggered. The monthly Elliman Report for May documents that new lease signings have fallen at an unprecedented rate, while vacancies have surged to a new record.
For all of Lower Manhattan, the report finds that the median rent is now $3,895, which represents a 7.3 percent drop from one month earlier when the median rent was $4,200, but a slight increase of one-half of one percent from last May, when the median figure was $3,875.
Fine artist and long time Downtown resident Adele H. Rahte has spent the stay-at-home period designing and creating these fabric collages representing the people in our community as a special form of thank you to the essential workers of our community and city for keeping us safe.
On display during the month of July at the Tribeca Community Window Gallery located at 160 West Broadway.
587 BC – Babylon’s siege of Jerusalem ends following the destruction of Solomon’s Temple.
1787 – The Continental Congress enacts the Northwest Ordinance establishing governing rules for the Northwest Territory. It also establishes procedures for the admission of new states and limits the expansion of slavery.
1863 – New York City draft riots: In New York City, opponents of conscription begin three days of rioting which will be later regarded as the worst in United States history.
1919 – The British airship R34 lands in Norfolk, England, completing the first airship return journey across the Atlantic in 182 hours of flight.
1977 – New York City: Amidst a period of financial and social turmoil experiences an electrical blackout lasting nearly 24 hours that leads to widespread fires and looting.
100 BC – Julius Caesar, Roman general and statesman (d. 44 BC)
1864 – John Jacob Astor IV, American colonel and businessman (d. 1912)
1903 – Kenneth Clark, English historian and author (d. 1983)
1024 – Henry II, Holy Roman Emperor (b. 973)
1893 – Young Man Afraid of His Horses, American tribal chief (b. 1836)
1946 – Alfred Stieglitz, American photographer and curator (b. 1864)
1970 – Leslie Groves, American general and engineer (b. 1896)
Swaps & Trades
Lost and Found
Stuyvesant HS graduate
available for SHSAT tutoring. $40/hr. Zoom or in-person.