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News and Events
in Lower Manhattan
Volume 1, No. 4  Dec. 23, 2013
* New York Historical Society still in talks to manage the South Street Seaport Museum
* New Year's eve in New York harbor
* Downtown real estate
* Downtown food
* Bits & Bytes: Jay Fine's Sandy photo at the Museum of the City of New York
* Downtown in the news
* Calendar

Masthead photo: Snowdrops blooming in South Cove, Battery Park City, on Dec. 22, 2013. (Photo: Terese Loeb Kreuzer)



Pier 16 in the South Street Seaport is leased to the South Street Seaport Museum. (Photo: Terese Loeb Kreuzer)


As the South Street Seaport Museum searches for a manager to replace the Museum of the City of New York, which bowed out in July, the New-York Historical Society is still in the running.


"The City is still engaged in discussions with New-York Historical Society," said Danai Pointer, spokesperson for the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs, in an email dated Dec. 20. "Conversations will continue after December 31."


A spokesperson for the New-York Historical Society confirmed that information.


"New-York Historical remains interested in the possibility of providing cultural programming if a feasibility study supports the likelihood of success," said Laura Washington, vice president of communications in an email on Dec. 23. "We would be happy to move forward assuming the project has the support of the current and future Administrations as well as South Street Seaport community leaders."


The New-York Historical Society is the oldest museum in New York City. It was founded in 1804, shortly before the buildings on Schermerhorn Row in the South Street Seaport were finished. The South Street Seaport Museum holds leases on 12 and 14 Fulton St. in Schermerhorn Row as well as on several buildings on Water Street.


The New-York Historical Society's mission is to "explore the richly layered political, cultural and social history of New York City and State and the nation, and to serve as a national forum for the discussion of issues surrounding the making and meaning of history," according to its website. That mission would seem to dovetail nicely with that of the South Street Seaport Museum, which honors New York City's maritime history.


The Dutch established a port in what is now the South Street Seaport in the early 17th century. For years, South Street was called "the street of ships" because so many sailing ships docked there, their prows protruding over the hubbub of men loading and unloading wares from all over the world. The Schermerhorn Row buildings were constructed as warehouses and counting houses for this cargo. They date from 1811 and were among the most magnificent and ambitious buildings in New York City at that time.


While the South Street Seaport Museum awaits new, permanent management, Jonathan Boulware, its interim president, sent an upbeat end-of-year email to the museum's members and supporters.


"Although we're not back at full operation still," he said, "we've made great strides forward including opening some of our ships, major maintenance projects on several vessels, the re-initiation of shoreside education programs, the reopening of the Bowne shops and much more."

- Terese Loeb Kreuzer

Schermerhorn Row on Fulton Street in the South Street Seaport, dates from 1811. (Photo: Terese Loeb Kreuzer)

Downtown holidays
Revelers welcomed 2013 aboard the Hornblower Hybrid, which will be cruising New York harbor on Dec. 31 this year as well. (Photo: Terese Loeb Kreuzer)

If you want to party with food, drink and dancing but without a crowd, take to the water to welcome in the new year.

Several cruise lines ply New York harbor on New Year's Eve, gliding past the giant Colgate clock in Jersey City, (now back in business after several months of repairs), so that revelers can keep tabs on exactly how many hours and minutes are left of the old year and know precisely when the new year begins. Of course, that moment is also marked with a countdown and noisemakers. By then most people are out on deck to watch the fireworks. Then there's more music and dancing until around 1 a.m. or a little after, when the boats return to their docks.

Classic Harbor Line requests your company aboard its yacht, Manhattan, "in your finest formal wear" for New Year's Eve. The yacht is a luxurious replica of boats from the early 20th century that used to carry plutocrats from their estates along the Hudson River to their offices in Manhattan. For $346 a person, you can "Enjoy a short champagne/sparkling wine tasting class at boarding to set the celebration in motion," enjoy passed hors d'oeuvres, listen to a live jazz trio and watch the midnight fireworks. Beer, wine, soda and water are included in the price. Moet Champagne is available for purchase. The yacht leaves from and returns to Chelsea Piers. For more information, click here.
New York Water Taxi has New Year's Eve cruises that are adults-only as well as some for families with children. They include hors d'oeuvres, treats and sweets, and an open bar featuring beer, white wine, rosé and soft drinks. A champagne toast at midnight is included. The Family New Year's Eve cruise includes Wii games, party favors and noise makers and a special menu for children. Tickets are $175 per adult, $130 per child (3-12 years old) and $525 for two adults and two children. The boats leave from Pier 16 in the South Street Seaport. For more information, click here.
Zephyr, a yacht that can hold up to 600 passengers, will have hors d'oeuvres, treats and sweets, and an open bar featuring beer, wine and soft drinks. Champagne at midnight is included. There will also be coffee and tea service, and desserts. The cost is $250 per person. Zephyr leaves from and returns to Pier 16. For more information, click here.
The Hornblower Hybrid offers a cocktail at boarding, gourmet hors d'oeuvres, a seated four-course dinner, a premium open bar, a Champagne toast at midnight and an on-board DJ. The cost is $360 a person. The boat leaves from Pier 40, 353 West St. at 9:30 p.m. For more information, click here.

Circle Line cruises the harbor on New Year's Eve with a live DJ, a full open bar, hors d'oeuvres, party favors, and a champagne toast at midnight. Tickets cost $169. The boat leaves from Pier 83 at West 42nd Street. For more information, click here.


1 World Trade Center. (Photo: Terese Loeb Kreuzer)
"Dinner-and-a-movie theater headed for South Street Seaport," New York Post, 12/23/13. The Howard Hughes Corporation has finally revealed its plans for the old Fulton Market building at 11 Fulton St. where Bridgewaters, The Gap and an exhibit called "Bodies" were located prior to Superstorm Sandy. The New York Post reports that Hughes has signed a lease with "IPic, a chain of luxe theaters with seats and food and drink service comparable to those of first-class airlines."  IPic, headquartered in Boca Raton, Fla., is leasing 40,000 square feet, which it will convert into eight upscale movie theaters with upscale amenities. Tickets will sell for $14 to $28 a person. The more expensive tickets will allow ticket holders to dine on such items as filet mignon, Thai coconut shrimp and grilled lemon chicken satay as they watch a movie. The complex, which  is directly across from the South Street Seaport Museum, is expected to open in 2015. For the complete article, click here.

"Whoever Staged This 2 River Terrace Penthouse Did a Great Job," Curbed, 12/19/13. Check out for photos of a 4BR/5BA penthouse apartment at 2 River Terrace in Battery Park City. In the photos, the apartment is mostly empty. Who cares? It's the views that count. "The apartment is listed for $15 million after last selling for $7.9 million in 2009," says Curbed. For the article, click here.

"A Visit to the Top of the World Trade Center," New York Magazine, 12/20/13. Justin Davidson has been inside 1 World Trade Center and provides a glimpse of what's going on there. He saw "a battalion of lathers, ironworkers, and welders [who] lit the scene with blowtorch sparks and started up a hollering chorus. One man gripped a thick steel rod that another banged with a sledgehammer. It looked like a medieval engraving showing us labor - 'The Blacksmythe's Forge' - a reminder that this sleek, technological marvel was built by hand." Davidson reports that the 63rd floor of the building has been "kitted out" with sample offices and videoconferencing rooms. For the article, click here.

"Developer Karmely's suit over Tribeca condos revived," The Real Deal, 12/20/13. Millions of dollars are at stake as former business partners joust in court over a one-time office building at 443 Greenwich St. in Tribeca. According to The Real Deal, "Developer Shahab Karmely will get another chance to make his case that [his] two former investment partners cut him out of a Tribeca condominium development, for which he is seeking $40 million, a federal appeals court ruled." The partners had wanted to turn the property into a 118-room hotel and 40-unit condo. That was before two of the three partners - one of whom is the richest man in Israel - turned on Karmely and shut him out of the deal. For the article, click here.


Carol Willis, director of The Skyscraper Museum in Battery Park City.
(Photo: Terese Loeb Kreuzer)

"Seeing a Need for Oversight of New York's Lordly Towers," New York Times, 12/22/13. Writing about the tall, slender, residential towers that are now piercing the midtown Manhattan skyline, Michael Kimmelman, architecture critic for The New York Times, quotes Carol Willis, founder of The Skyscraper Museum in Battery Park City. These towers "capitalize on views of Central Park," he writes, "'the money shot,' in the indelicate phrase of Carol Willis, director of the Skyscraper Museum." Kimmelman notes that Willis has organized a show about these skyscrapers ("Sky High & the Logic of Luxury,") on view through April 19. He says that these sliver buildings "will cast long, literal shadows," over Central Park. He goes on to say that, "The city should put a limit on air rights that can be merged without public review. Exceptional height should be earned, not just bought. Let community groups and city agencies weigh in." Not mentioned in the article, The Howard Hughes Corporation has proposed a tall, slender residential building for the South Street Seaport - and community groups are weighing in, so far, with a resounding "no." For the complete article, click here.

"A Day of Music, and Movement Therapy, for a Conductor,"
New York Times, 12/20/13. Julian Wachner, director of music and the arts for Trinity Wall Street, maintains a schedule that would exhaust most people. In addition to his work at Trinity, he conducts at the Brooklyn Academy of Music and for the Juilliard Opera Theater. He is also music director of the Washington Chorus in the District of Columbia. (He chose his apartment in Tribeca in part for its proximity to the church but also because of its proximity to Penn Station.) Now, in an article that traces Wachner's activities on a typical Sunday, The New York Times reveals how he does it. For the complete article, click here.


"Daniel Boulud Eyes FiDi for Epicerie Boulud," Eater, 12/20/13. Daniel Boulud is looking to open a second location of his gourmet market and takeout cafe, Epicerie Boulud, somewhere in the Financial District. He told Zagat that he's currently in negotiations for a spot "in the World Trade Center area," which if all goes according to plan would open some time in 2015. For more on this story, click here.

"China Blue, Cafe China's New Shanghainese Sister,"
Eater, 12/23/13. In the wake of Superstorm Sandy, Jacques Capsouto was never able to reopen his restaurant, Capsouto Frères, at 135 Watts St. in Tribeca. But now China Blue has opened in that location with handmade dim sum ($12) and entrées that include "roasted duck Shanghai style" ($52) and "eight delicacies in spicy sauce," ($16), among many others. The decor is reminiscent of 1930s Shanghai, when the Bund along the Huangpu River bustled with international deal makers. Eater provides pictures. For the article, click here.

Bits & Bytes
The Hugh L. Carey Brooklyn Battery Tunnel on Oct. 29, 2012, the night that Superstorm Sandy came ashore. (Photo: Jay Fine)

Battery Park City resident Jay Fine took many dramatic photos of Superstorm Sandy in October 2012. A few months ago, the Museum of the City of New York held an open call for Sandy images. Fine was among more than 900 amateur and professional photographers to submit work for possible inclusion in an exhibit called "Rising Waters."

Since only a small number of those submissions were displayed in the exhibition, the museum is now holding a special viewing of some of the other photos. One of Fine's photos will be shown in "Rising Waters 2.0," a presentation of never-before-seen Superstorm Sandy images from 500 photographers.

Only on display for one weekend - Friday, Dec. 27 to Sunday, Dec. 29 - the viewing will be in conjunction with the "Rising Waters: Photographs of Sandy" exhibition.

The museum is located at 1220 Fifth Ave. (at 103rd Street). For more information on hours and admission fees, click here.

CALENDAR: Week of Dec. 23

Dec. 26: "A Ceremony of Carols," Benjamin Britten, sung by the Trinity Youth Chorus, Melissa Attebury, conductor. Trinity Church, Broadway at Wall Street. Time: 1 p.m. Free.

Dec. 27: "The Play of Daniel," Gotham Early Music Scene. Trinity Church, Broadway at Wall Street. Time: 8 p.m. (Also, Dec. 28 and Dec. 29 at 3 p.m.) Tickets, $20-$60.

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Editor: Terese Loeb Kreuzer

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