Above: The Hurricane Maria Memorial at River Terrace and Chambers Street. Below: The Museum of Jewish Heritage – A Living Memorial to the Holocaust.
Battery Park City is blessed with a lot of memorials. But maybe too much is enough.
We have big ones, like the Museum of Jewish Heritage – A Living Memorial to the Holocaust. We have small ones, like the statue of Mother Cabrini. And now we have a brand new one, a memorial for the victims of Hurricane Maria in Puerto Rico.
I like these memorials. The Hurricane Maria sculpture is quite beautiful. The Irish Hunger Memorial reminds us of those who have so little while we can take in a view of those who have so much. The Museum of Jewish Heritage exhibits teach us about some of the worst humanity has to offer, while the lox at Lox presents some of the best.
The weekly farmers market at the World Trade Center Oculus
I also like farmers markets. But if Battery Park City had a farmers market every few hundred yards, well, I might suggest that we have more than our fair share. Perhaps another neighborhood could use some fresh vegetables, or a lovely memorial?
Governor Hochul has promised us another memorial, this time for the essential workers who saved us all during the pandemic. They surely deserve one. But might I respectfully suggest they build it elsewhere.
Of course, they won’t. Battery Park City is this unusual spit of land that exists in a legal limbo controlled by whoever sleeps in the Governor’s mansion, and because of that the Governor doesn’t have to deal with pesky local governments who might have something to say about where a memorial should go, a process that can take years. Instead, a Governor can order something to happen fast, like before-the-next-election fast. That can have its advantages, since everyone likes memorials, and usually each memorial appeals to a specific demographic group. (See if you can spot the target demographics in the examples above.)
The Mother Cabrini statue in south Battery Park City
When I first started thinking about this problem, I thought it made sense to build all future memorials in Battery Park City out of sugar, or, if in the winter, a nice ice sculpture. That way they could go up fast, look beautiful for the opening ceremony gubernatorial speech, and then nature would make way for the next one.
But that’s not fair. These memorials may on the one hand be cheap pandering, but they also play an important role in society. You know, like farmers markets.
So what to do? I suggest Battery Park City offer our memorials up as gifts to neighborhoods that don’t have any. The permitting could take years, but that’s OK. Every time one finds a good home, we’ll make room for a new one to quickly go up here, until it finds a nice home. Instead of Battery Park City being a memorial graveyard, it could be a memorial nursery. Governors could make their speeches on a short timeline, and then make them again when the memorial is moved. A political twofer. And a neighborhood that has a special connection to a particular memorial would get to host it, with the local politician becoming a hero for bringing the sculpture there.
All I ask is that someone send us a farmers market in return.
Above: Rector Park Lawn, courtesy of the Battery Park City Authority. Below: Rector Park Lawn courtesy of Richard Joffe.
To the Editor:
The Rector Park Lawn has suffered shameful abuse and neglect. I have lived on Rector Place for 28 years. Until recently, the Park lawn has always been a plush carpet on which residents could picnic, sunbathe or play with infants. Now, that carpet is in tatters, with large patches of bare dirt, and, when it rains, mud.
This past Spring, Community Board 1 forwarded my complaint about treatment of the Park to the BPCA, and on May 4 (i.e. five months ago), the Board forwarded to me a response from the BPCA. The BPCA stated that “a curb valve that supplies water to the area” needs replacing, that BPCA was “continuing to water the space,” but that it was “not as easy as it would be with a water source nearby,” and that BPCA was “keen to get this addressed ASAP.”
In addition to BPCA’s apparent failure to fix the watering problem, there is a second reason for the destruction of the lawn. Ball playing has always been prohibited on this tiny square of grass, but in the last few years there has been a significant increase in people playing sports on the lawn with baseballs, footballs and soccer balls. People, some of whom may not even live on Rector Place, do this despite the fact that, just a three minute walk away, at the east end of Rector Place, there is a large playground with astroturf provided specifically for the purpose of sports. In their note forwarded to me by Community Board 1, the BPCA told me that their Ambassadors “regularly monitor the area,” but I have never seen any Ambassador pay any attention to the ball playing on the park, or, indeed, to anything else about the park, except when I called them to complain about grown men having wooden sword fights on the tiny park. Moreover, just recently, the sign that always has been posted at each corner of the park stating that ball playing is prohibited has been removed, and replaced by a sign that applies generically to all of Battery Park City, and makes only a vague request that visitors treat the landscape respectfully.
The picture that I have here attached shows the result of the BPCA’s attitude.
To the Editor:
Battery Park City’s parks are second-to-none. In speaking with people all across this neighborhood, what continues to resonate is their love of its parks and public spaces – and with it a deep appreciation of the work our staff does in keeping them the most beautiful in New York City. This became even more pronounced during the pandemic, when our parks served as respite for escaping – if only for a few moments – the rigors of the day.
That’s why we opened our parks lawns early during the pandemic, and kept them open late. Usually accessible from mid-April to mid-November, our lawns opened up as the shutdowns began in mid-March 2020, and stayed open through December. And two of our most popular lawns, at Wagner and Rockefeller Parks, stayed open to the public year-round. This isn’t without impact – with less time to heal from months of heavy use, the lawns may not appear as plush this year. But in consultation with the community we determined this tradeoff was well worth the benefit.
Rector Park is no exception. The reduced lawn closure time was exacerbated by an extended, COVID-related delay in issuance of an NYC permit for repair of a valve supplying water to the area. Without the park’s regular irrigation system our staff nonetheless lovingly kept Rector Park – lawns, trees, and flowers all! – manually watered throughout. And what a job they did; the top photo was taken there on September 29, 2021 to more fully illustrate the park’s appearance. Yes, it will still take some time for the lawn to heal completely, but that valve is now repaired, the irrigation system up and running, and the lawn regularly attended to. BPCA is on it!
Here’s how you can help keep BPC beautiful:
Rector Park is for passive recreation only, and our BPC Ambassadors regularly monitor the area on their 24×7 rounds of the neighborhood. If you witness active recreation please contact them anytime at (212) 945-7233, by email (firstname.lastname@example.org), or in-person at the 200 Rector Place Command Center. They’ll use their judgment – many families with small children play games on the lawn, of course, and all are welcome there – to ensure the activity is appropriate to the area.
Four-legged friends are welcome too! But only on a leash and on the park’s hard surfaces, please. You can download our Dog Brochure to brush up on the rules and help spread the word.
Thank you for your love of Battery Parks City’s parks. We feel the same way.
Battery Park City Authority
Save a Bird During Migration Season
Turn Off Lights or Close Shades
New York is on the Atlantic Flyway, an avian highway in the sky. Millions of birds pass over New York City during spring and fall migration, and as many as 100,000 collide with buildings and die, each season.
Over the next few nights, Cornell Lab of Ornithology is predicting heavy migration through New York City and is calling for businesses, homeowners and apartment dwellers to turn off lights at night or close shades to try to reduce bird deaths. At least one local major property owner—Brookfield Properties—has asked its tenants to turn off their lights at night during this time.
Fall migration will last through October. During the day, birds see sky reflected in windows and crash into them. At night, birds are attracted to bright lights shining from buildings. Check real-time bird migration forecast maps for the latest updates at https://birdcast.info.
If you find an injured bird, bring it to the Wild Bird Fund at 565 Columbus Avenue (88th Street). Try to approach it from behind, gently cup your hands around it, and put it in a paper bag for the trip uptown. Log injured or dead birds you find at https://dbird.org, a national, crowd-sourced data collection project launched by NYC Audubon. Locally, you can contribute observations specific to Battery Park City at https://www.inaturalist.org/projects/battery-park-city-wildlife, and join hundreds of neighbors who have made thousands of observations about the flora and fauna in this neighborhood.
Due to habitat loss and pollution, there are many, many fewer birds in the sky. “We have lost three billion birds in the last 50 years,” said Jerome Ford from U.S. Fish and Wildlife two days ago. He was announcing that the Biden administration is reinstating laws (rolled back under Trump) that hold companies prosecutable for bird deaths.
Lights, Camera, Aggravation
Lower Manhattan Becomes Reluctant Hollywood on the Hudson with Most Film Permits in City
According to statistics made available by the City’s Open Data archive, Lower Manhattan has been the site of 27,298 film and television shooting permits in the past decade. This total is weighted toward Community Board 1 (a collection of neighborhoods encompassing 1.5 square miles, bounded roughly by Canal, Baxter, and Pearl Streets and the Brooklyn Bridge) with 15,955 total permits issued by the City. Not far behind is Community Board 2 (stretching from Canal to 14th Streets, west of the Bowery and Fourth Avenue), with a further 11,343 permits. Together, these two districts represent 38 percent of all the permits issued by the City, to film anywhere in the five boroughs, since 2011. This means that somewhere within the combined pair of districts, there have been (on average) more than seven production shoots each day, year-round, for the last decade.
This issue has long been an irritant for local residents, who complain of noise, street closures, bright lights shining in their windows until dawn, unnerving sounds from staged car chases and gun fights, lost parking, and sometimes-brusque production crews. To read more
Nutten Out of the Ordinary
Governors Island to Remain Open Throughout the Year
Since Governors Island opened to the public in 2005, the 172-acre greensward off Lower Manhattan has become Downtown’s equivalent of Central Park—with one crucial difference. The latter is open 365 days per year, while the quarter-square mile of hills and towering old-growth trees that was called Nutten Island by British settlers in the Colonial Era has, for more than a decade, been accessible to the public only in warm-weather months.
That all changed on Tuesday, when Mayor Bill de Blasio announced that, effective immediately, Governors Island will remain open 12 months per year. The extended season will begin November 1, the day after the facility was slated to close for the year at the end of October.
Vacant FiDi Lot with Troubled History Bought by Developer Specializing in Below-Market Rents
A real estate development firm that specializes in building affordable housing nationwide has acquired a site in the Financial District, where it plans to erect a 50-story residential tower. Grubb Properties, based in Charlotte, North Carolina, announced Monday that it had paid $89.15 million for the vacant lot at the corner of Washington and Carlisle Streets. The company plans to build a structure enclosing 340,000 square feet on the 11,000-square-foot site, known both as 111 Washington Street and Eight Carlisle Street.
Grubb specializes in building what it calls “essential housing” for people earning between 60 and 140 percent of the “area median income” (AMI) in locations where it develops residential properties. These projects are made possible, in part, by tax incentives and government-backed loan guarantees that aim to encourage builders and landlords to accept lower-than-market rents, while still remaining profitable. To read more…
Ars Gratia Artis
Church Street School Designates a New Leader
A Lower Manhattan cultural mainstay has new leadership. The Church Street School for Music and Art has named Piruz Partow to be the School’s executive director, where he has succeeded co-founder and longtime executive director Dr. Lisa Ecklund-Flores, who stepped down in August, after 30 years at the helm.
The School’s board chose Mr. Partow after a four-month nationwide search. He comes to Church Street from the renowned Brooklyn Music School, where he spent eight years as executive director, following a decade as a music instructor. To read more…
The Winds of Change
Sustainable Schooner, Carrying Comestibles, Makes Port in Lower Manhattan
On Saturday, September 25, the South Street Seaport Museum welcomed the Apollonia, a traditional gaff-rigged schooner, capable of carrying 20,000 pounds of cargo.
The Hudson River’s only carbon-neutral, wind-powered merchant freighter docked at Pier 16 and offloaded a shipment of New York State cider, maple products, wool, and other sustainable goods, for sale at the Fulton Stall Market.
The Apollonia sails regularly between New York Harbor and Hudson Valley towns such as Yonkers, Kingston, Ossining, Newburgh, and Albany as part of an emerging, regional eco-friendly supply chain. To read more…
The Annual Battery Park City
Blessing of the Animals
Sunday, October 3, 2021, 11 a.m.
Sirius Dog Run, Kowsky Plaza
at the end of Liberty Street, Battery Park City
A non-denominational service.
All people and pets are welcome.
This is a great opportunity to welcome the fall season with a show of love and appreciation for our beloved pets.
The tall ship Wavertree, the schooner Pioneer, and the tug W.O. Decker are open to the public. Explore Wavertree while she is docked; cruise New York Harbor on W.O. Decker and Pioneer. Wavertree visits are free; Pioneer and Decker prices vary. Check website for times, prices and other details.
What better time than Saturday mornings to practice your art in South Cove! Participants are expected to bring their own drawing and painting supplies, including drawing boards and containers of water if they are planning to paint. BPCA will supply drawing paper and watercolor paper only. Free
Architects can spend years designing their buildings, but trees have been perfecting their own architecture in response to their environment for eons. On a walk through Wagner Park, in Battery Park City, we will draw the trees around us to understand their likeness to skyscrapers! The structures of trees and skyscrapers have a lot in common and we will learn about how trunks and branches support their leaves or needles and how roots create strong foundations. Recommended for 2nd-5th grade.
Visit The House That Will Not Pass for Any Color Than Its Own by Mildred Howard for a talk about one American family’s history, migration, activism and creativity. The talk and workshop will be presented by the artist’s niece Teresa DeBerry, a Brooklyn artist and educator. Make colorful house sculptures to take home. Designed for all ages. Free
Sunday October 3
Battery Park City Blessing of the Animals
Kowsky Plaza, Battery Park City
All are invited to bring their pets to this non-denominational blessing and all pets are welcome.
All are welcome to the series of interactive Percussion Dance Workshops, no experience or tap shoes required! Participants will use rhythmic steps, clapping and an occasional shout out to explore sounds and create new dances or re-invent old ones. Workshops will be held from 1-1:50pm and 3-3:50pm.
Broadcast live from the deck of Wavertree, this month’s sing-along will include whaling songs and show-related artifacts from the Museum collection in honor of American novelist Herman Melville’s birthday. From our living rooms and kitchens, join a round-robin of shared songs featuring members of The New York Packet and friends. Listen in, lead a song, and belt out the choruses for your neighbors to hear on the first Sunday of every month.
This soulful, fun-loving powerhouse all-women’s klezmer sextet has toured from Vienna to Vancouver since 1998. The band, led by drummer Eve Sicular, approaches tradition with irreverence and respect and is known for its tight yet adventurous sound, lush arrangements, luscious compositions, and solos that swing the Yiddish stratosphere. The band also includes Pam Fleming on trumpet, Reut Regev on trombone, Melissa Fogarty on vocals, Shoko Nagai on accordion and piano, and Saskia Lane on double bass. Isle of Klezbos will be opened by Broadway actress and singer Stephanie Lynne Mason, known for her leading roles in Fiddler on the Roof and Fiddler on the Roof in Yiddish, accompanied by Bob Marks on piano. $10-$20
Three indicators paint an equivocal portrait of the economic outlook for Lower Manhattan. The most upbeat of these is the so-called Pret Index, a metric created by Bloomberg News, which tracks the sales of lattes at various outposts of Pret A Manger, a chain of sandwich shops that largely serves office workers in urban business districts.
Data released by Bloomberg on Tuesday indicates that, among Pret A Manger locations in the Financial District and Tribeca, sales of cappuccino drinks, “set a new pandemic high last week,” recovering to 45 percent of sales levels from January, 2020—just before the advent of COVID-19.
More sobering is data from Cushman & Wakefield, a global commercial real estate services firm, whose Marketview report for Manhattan retail in the second quarter of this year finds that fully 25 percent of ground-floor storefront spaces in Lower Manhattan are now vacant, and awaiting tenants. To read more…
Sufficient Unto the Dey
Lottery Opens for New Affordable Apartments in Financial District Building
Lower Manhattan’s meager inventory of affordable rental apartments will soon swell by 63 units, thanks to a new development nearing completion at 185 Broadway, at the corner of Dey Street. The building, which will be known by its branding address of 7 Dey, will contain a total of 206 apartments (the remaining 143 units will be market-rate rentals), along with several floors of retail and office space. In exchange for committing to affordability protections on the 63 units, developer S.L. Green received tax incentives worth many millions of dollars, which helped to build the $300 million project. To read more…
CLASSIFIEDS & PERSONALS
Swaps & Trades, Respectable Employment, Lost and Found
Providing Companion and Home Health Aide Care to clients with dementia.Help with grooming, dressing and wheelchair assistance. Able to escort client to parks and engage in conversations of desired topics and interests of client. Reliable & Honest
Reliable, trustworthy and caring Nanny looking for full time position preferably with newborns, infants and toddlers. I have experience in the Battery Park City area for 8 years. I will provide a loving, safe and nurturing environment for your child. Refs available upon request. Beverly 347 882 6612
HOUSEKEEPING/ NANNY/ BABYSITTER
Available for PT/FT. Wonderful person, who is a great worker.
Worked in BPC. Call Tenzin
SEEKING LIVE-IN ELDER CARE
12 years experience, refs avail. I am a loving caring hardworking certified home health aide
More Survivors than Responders Now are Submitting Claims
The September 11th Victim Compensation Fund (VCF) has released its annual report for 2020, which documents some significant developments.
Over the course of its ten years of operation thus far, the VCF has awarded $7.76 billion to more than 34,400 individuals who have suffered death or personal injury as a result of the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001 and their aftermath. The vast majority of these injuries take the form of illness caused by exposure to toxic materials that were released by the destruction of the World Trade Center.
Samascott Orchard Orchard fruit, strawberries from Columbia County, New York
Francesa’s Bakery Breads and baked goods from Middlesex County, New Jersey
Meredith’s Bakery Baked goods from Ulster County, New York
Riverine Ranch Water Buffalo meat and cheeses from Warren County, New Jersey
1857 Spirits Handcrafted potato vodka from Schoharie County, New York
SNAP/EBT/P-EBT, Debit/Credit, and Farmers Market Nutrition Program checks accepted
Silverstein Envisions Breaking Ground Within Months on New Skyscraper at Two World Trade Center
After two decades years of rebuilding, there remains one significant missing piece in the World Trade Center complex. It is marked by the placeholder “podium” of a building at the west side of Church Street, between Vesey and Fulton Streets, which houses entry points for the underground shopping and transit facilities beneath the plaza, along with some ventilation equipment.
Formally designated at 200 Greenwich Street, this site is slated to someday be the home of Two World Trade Center. But 20 years of false starts may soon give way to actual construction. In a development first reported by the Commercial Observer, builder Larry Silverstein says that his firm is close to securing a deal with a corporate anchor tenant, and may start construction soon, even if such a rent does not commit to the building.