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News and Events
in Lower Manhattan
Volume 1, No. 24  Feb. 7, 2014

Quote of the day:
"Brooklyn was the country's first commuter suburb." - Julie Golia, public historian for the Brooklyn Historical Society in a talk at Asphalt Green Battery Park City about the Brooklyn Bridge. (2/4/14)
* Financial District will be construction site for years
* Carl Weisbrod named City Planning Commissioner
* Tuesday Talks: The story of the Brooklyn Bridge
* Bits & Bytes: FiDi residential rents; jackhammers in Battery Park City; judge nixes WTC suit
* Letter to the editor: Snow pix
* Seeing red: ideas for Valentine's Day
* Calendar

Masthead photo: North Cove and Brookfield Place, Feb. 4, 2014.
(Photo: Terese Loeb Kreuzer)


Construction workers on Nassau Street. (Photo: Terese Loeb Kreuzer)

The Lower Manhattan Construction Command Center (LMCCC) may or may not be around much longer, but construction projects in lower Manhattan are multiplying, not diminishing.

The LMCCC was initially established in 2004 by New York Governor George Pataki and New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg to coordinate and oversee public and private construction projects in lower Manhattan valued at $25 million or more. These days, the Financial District's narrow streets are getting more than their share.

Joseph Simenic, LMCCC's executive director, told Community Board 1's Financial District Committee on Feb. 5 that there are 11 new hotels either being built or planned in the Financial District alone between now and 2016. These hotels will add more than 2,200 new rooms to those now in lower Manhattan. 


In addition, there will be 2,800 new residential apartments by 2017, not including a huge building being built on Cliff Street or the tallest residential building in the western hemisphere, which will soon be erected on South Street at John Street. At 1,017 feet, it will be as tall as the Chrysler Building.


As for the future of the LMCCC, "We don't know yet if LMCCC is definitely sunsetting," said Ro Sheffe, chair of CB1's Financial District Committee. "Joe told us, 'I'll let you know as soon as I know, probably by the end of this month.' He's playing it very close to the vest because there are a lot of unknowns at this point."

Sheffe said that it had been reported that the New York City Department of Transportation might take over LMCCC functions, but that report has been questioned. "The word on the street is that that is just hearsay," he said.

- Terese Loeb Kreuzer


In news that will have repercussions for lower Manhattan, Mayor Bill de Blasio today appointed Carl Weisbrod to the chairmanship of the City Planning Commission. In his new role, Weisbrod will play an important part in deciding the future development of the South Street Seaport, among other responsibilities.

The press release announcing the appointment mentioned de Blasio's priorities. "From expanding affordable housing to growing local industry that provides good-paying jobs, Mayor de Blasio charged Weisbrod with using all the tools at the city's disposal to lift up working New Yorkers, keep neighborhoods affordable, and create stronger, more resilient communities," it said.

Weisbrod, who served as co-chair of de Blasio's transition committee, is well known in lower Manhattan. According to his official biography, "Mayor Bloomberg appointed him as a Director of the Trust for Governors Island and the Lower Manhattan Development Corporation, where he helped lead the post-9/11 recovery of downtown neighborhoods. That tenure overlapped with his 10 years as the founding president of the Alliance for Downtown New York, the largest business improvement district in the nation, setting in motion the evolution of the financial district from an area dominated by daytime office workers into a thriving 24-7 neighborhood.

"Weisbrod also served as the head of the real estate division of Trinity Church. He is a former Trustee of the Ford Foundation and the Urban Land Institute. He has been a partner at the firm HR&A since 2011, where he managed the successful rezoning of the Hudson Square area in Manhattan into a dynamic hub for creative industries and new housing, including up to 700 affordable units."

He was also the founding president of the New York City Economic Development Corporation. During the Museum of the City of New York's tenure as manager of the South Street Seaport Museum, Weisbrod was on its board of directors.

For an article from the City Hall press office about the appointment, including photographs, click here.

- Terese Loeb Kreuzer


Tuesday Talks

The eastern tower of the Brooklyn Bridge. (Photo: Terese Loeb Kreuzer)

This May, it will be 131 years since the Brooklyn Bridge opened, a suspension bridge whose engineering principles were so unfamiliar to most people that it took P.T. Barnum leading a parade of 21 elephants across it to convince the New York City populace that the structure was safe.

This and other facts about New York City's beloved icon were imparted on Feb. 4 by Julie Golia, public historian for the Brooklyn Historical Society, in a fascinating lecture at Asphalt Green Battery Park City, part of a series called "Tuesday Talks." The lectures take place on Tuesdays between noon and 1 p.m., covering many topics ranging from architecture and history to fashion, cooking and parenting.

As Golia explained, the Brooklyn Bridge came about because of massive growth in Manhattan and Brooklyn. "The bridge was a product of that growth and an impetus for it," she said. "Brooklyn was the country's first commuter suburb."

In the 18th century, it was difficult and even hazardous to cross the fast-moving East River. Some people, according to Golia, would never have crossed it in their lives. Then Robert Fulton founded a ferry company in 1814 that turned the trip between Manhattan and Brooklyn into a predictable 15-minute excursion. But even this was not good enough in the winter of 1856, when it was so cold that the East River froze over and ferry service came to a halt. In 1857, the Bridge Company was founded to build a bridge across the river, and the engineering of it, entrusted to a German immigrant, John Roebling.

In 1869, Roebling died in an accident connected with building the bridge as did an estimated 27 others before the bridge was completed in 1883. Roebling's son, Washington, who took over on his father's death, was permanently crippled by the bends as he worked on laying the foundations for the two stone towers that support the four massive steel cables that carry the weight of the bridge's roadway.

Then his wife, Emily Warren Roebling took charge of the project. "If anyone was responsible for building the bridge, it was likely Emily," said Golia. She schooled herself in engineering, but many people thought it was "preposterous" and would be "calamitous" if a woman were in charge, so Emily take great care to conceal her role. She was, however, the first person to cross the bridge on its completion. A plaque bearing her name is embedded on one of the bridge's towers.

- Terese Loeb Kreuzer

"Tuesday Talks" continue on Feb. 11 when author Dennis Gaffney will speak about the best and the worst U.S. presidents. Place: Asphalt Green Battery Park City, 212 North End Ave. Time: noon. For more information and tickets, click here.

Julie Golia talking about the Brooklyn Bridge at Asphalt Green Battery Park City.
(Photo: Terese Loeb Kreuzer)

Bits & Bytes 

The Financial District's residential population is growing faster than in any other part of New York City. (Photo: Terese Loeb Kreuzer)

"FiDi residential market on the rise post-Sandy,"
The Real Deal, 2/4/14. Though rents were slightly lower than last year, the Financial District remains a hot market for residential rentals according to a year-end report by local brokerage Platinum Properties.

"Young singles continued to flock to the area, with one-bedrooms the most sought-after apartment type, comprising 45 percent of the market. Rents for one-bedrooms dipped slightly from last year - a rarity in this red hot residential market - to an average of $3,661, down 1.75 percent from $3,726 last year," said The Real Deal, citing the report. For the complete article, click here.

Heads Up

Battery Park City residents within a few hundred yards of Brookfield Place aren't going to like what will happen on Saturday Feb. 15 and Saturday, Feb. 22, but at least they will have been forewarned.
On those two days between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m., they can look forward to eight hours of jackhammering as the courtyard between Vesey Street and North Cove Marina is demolished.
"We have implemented a number of mitigations to dampen the effects of this work and we will be closely monitoring these activities," said Christian Heimple, director of construction, in an email to Community Board 1's Battery Park City Committee and to the Gateway Plaza Tenants Association.  "We believe that we will complete all of the work necessary in these two days barring any weather-related events and will keep you updated."
Peter Krokondelas is the man to contact with questions or concerns. His phone number is (212) 285-1800. - Terese Loeb Kreuzer

"Judge Strikes Down Lawsuit from Residents Critical of NYPD WTC Security Plan," NY1, 2/6/14. "A state Supreme Court justice has struck down a lawsuit from downtown residents critical of the New York City Police Department's World Trade Center security plan," according to NY1. Despite protests from residents, "Police want to create a heavily guarded campus around the site, with walls, guard booths and traffic barriers to check vehicles for dangerous materials." For the complete article, click here.

"Falling Ice at 1 World Trade Center Disrupts PATH Service," NY1, 2/7/14. It's slippery underfoot but New York City pedestrians also have to be wary of what may fall from overhead. This morning, ice fell from 1 World Center, NY1 reported, causing crowds to be rerouted away from the building. For the complete article, click here.

Letter to the editor

Kenny Shane, who has been the super at 377 Rector Place in Battery Park City since before the building officially opened in May 1986, sent in this picture of a taxi cab on snowy Rector Place.

"This is a photo I've had in my mind's eye for years, but was never able to capture," he wrote. "As always photography has a lot to do with being in the right place at the right time.  I just happened to be admiring the snowfall from a vacant apartment when the cab pulled up."

His comment on the snow: "We deal with snow to some extent every year, but not these extended periods of sub-freezing cold. Snowstorms are not as much an issue as is the extreme cold temps we've had. Keeping everyone warm, making sure the pipes don't freeze up - that's been the challenge."

With or without attached pictures, we welcome letters to the editor. Send them to [email protected]/


A bouquet from Emily Thompson Flowers, whose store at 142 Beekman St. will open on Feb. 14, just in time for Valentine's Day.

"Liking" has taken on a whole new meaning since the advent of Facebook, but loving still means what it always did - a stew of rapture, affection, hope, regret and acceptance, or something like that. If you're thinking of observing Valentine's Day, here are some possibilities.

Go on a harbor cruise: Classic Harbor Line is offering "Champagne & Aphrodisiac" cruises on Feb. 13, 14 and 15 aboard its elegant yacht, Manhattan. The menu consists of caviar blini, oysters, seared filet crostini, and chocolate fondue served with fresh fruit skewers and whipped cream. Each cruise can accommodate 13 couples. Cost: $76 a person. Cruises last one and a half hours and leave from Chelsea Piers. For tickets or more information, click here.

Hornblower Cruises & Events has a Valentine's Day dinner cruise, leaving from Pier 40 at 7 p.m. on both Friday, Feb. 14 and Saturday, Feb. 15. You get a three-hour cruise, a four-course dinner, a Champagne toast, a red rose on your table, and an on-board DJ for $141.50 a person. The deluxe, VIP package on Feb. 14 includes a box of Jacques Torres chocolates, a bottle of Champagne, and access to the captain's lounge. That costs $219.70 a person. There's also an après-Valentine's Day brunch on Feb. 15 leaving from Pier 40 at 2 p.m. for $60 a person. For tickets or more information, click here.
Make your own valentines: "Love the Air," on Feb. 8, is for "artists and romantics of all ages who are 4 years old and older." Make your own aromatic valentines with dried lavender, rose petals, anise and other garden fragrances, as well as salvaged paper, lace and ribbon. If you wish, bring something to personalize your valentine card. All other materials are provided. Organized by the Battery Park City Parks Conservancy. Fee: $10 a person. Place: 6 River Terrace. Time: 10 a.m. to noon. Pre-registration recommended. Call (212) 267-9700, ext 342.

Also on Feb. 8, Valentine Block Party takes place at Bowne Printers in the South Street Seaport. Participants will make valentines on wood blocks that will be printed at the end of the workshop on Bowne's vintage Vandercook press. Each student will go home with their block, individual prints, and one poster of everyone's prints together. All materials supplied. Suitable for apprentices 12 & up. Fee: $50 (non-members); $45 (South Street Seaport Museum members). Place: 211 Water St. Time: 11 a.m.- 2 p.m. Registration required. 10 person limit. E-mail Bowne Printers
to reserve your spot. For more information, call (646) 628-2707.

Send flowers: Emily Thompson doesn't make run-of-the-mill bouquets. She and her staff make absolutely fabulous arrangements. Formerly in DUMBO, she is opening a shop at 142 Beekman St. just in time for Valentine's Day. Her hand-tied bouquets range in price from $78 to $235. Her arrangements start at $180. To sweeten the gift, the first 15 orders placed by Wednesday, Feb. 12 will also include a beautifully wrapped bar of dark chocolate and a message written by a calligrapher. For more information, call (347) 529-5145 or email [email protected]. Starting Feb. 14, the shop hours are Wed.-Sat., 11 a.m. to 7 p.m.; Sunday, noon to 5 p.m.

CALENDAR: Week of Feb. 3
Katie Raarup, 7, with a painting she made of a ladybug in an art class sponsored by the Battery Park City Parks Conservancy. (Photo: Terese Loeb Kreuzer)

Feb. 7: "My Daughter Keeps Our Hammer," a play by Brian Watkins, is at The Flea Theater. It's about two estranged sisters, their needy mother and a sheep. Through Feb. 15. The Flea, 41 White St. Time: 7 p.m. Tickets, $15 to $35. For more information and to buy tickets, click here.

Feb. 7: "Bikeman: The 9/11 Theatrical Experience" is a new play by journalist Thomas F. Flynn based on his book describing the morning of Sept. 11, 2001. Flynn, an award-winning writer and producer for The CBS Evening News with Dan Rather, was outside his Greenwich Village home when the first plane flew directly over his head. He immediately called into the news desk to tell them he was headed downtown. He jumped on his bicycle and began his ride to the towers. His harrowing story recounts his transition from reporter to participant. Now in preview at the Tribeca Performing Arts Center, 199 Chambers St. Opening night is Feb. 18. Time: 7 p.m. Tickets: $39-$79. For more information and tickets, click here.
Feb. 7: Popa Chubby with special guest French Cookin' Blues Band at Front Row/Stage in the South Street Seaport. Ages, 21+. Time: 7 p.m. to 11 p.m.. Free, but reservations are required. For reservations, click here.

Feb. 8: Bubble do the Beatles at Front Row/Stage, The Howard Hughes Corporation's heated music tent on Fulton Street. A Hard Day's Night To Rubber Soul 50th Anniversary Beatles In The USA Shows. Family/kids concert event. Times: 2 p.m. and 4 p.m. For all ages. Tickets: Free, but reservations are required. For reservations, click here.

Feb. 8: Hollis Brown at Front Row/Stage in the South Street Seaport. Ages, 21+. Time: 7 p.m. to 10 p.m.. Free, but reservations are required. For reservations, click here.

Feb. 8: The Tribeca Performing Arts Center presents Melissa Aldana, a tenor saxophonist and the winner of the annual Thelonious Monk International Jazz Competition. She is originally from Santiago, Chile and has been a working bandleader in New York since 2009. She is the first woman ever to win an instrumental Monk competition. Place: 199 Chambers St. Time: 7:30 p.m. Tickets: $25. For more information and to buy tickets, click here.

Feb. 9: "The Big Picture" at the Museum of Jewish Heritage, 36 Battery Place. Joined by other musicians, master clarinetist David Krakauer explores the intersection of music and Jewish identity in iconic movies of the last 50 years. They will play songs from films ranging from "Funny Girl" and "Fiddler on the Roof" to "Sophie's Choice" and "The Pianist." This is the third in a series of eight concerts on Wednesdays at 7:30 p.m. and on Sundays at 2 p.m. Time: 2 p.m. Tickets: $35; $30 (students/seniors); $25 (members). For tickets and more information, click here.

Feb. 9: The New York Audubon Society in partnership with New York Water Taxi offers a  cruise of New York harbor to see birds and seals that are only here in the winter. The two-hour cruise, "Winter Seals and Waterbirds of New York Harbor," takes place on Sundays through March 9, leaving from Pier 16 in the South Street Seaport. Time: Noon to 2 p.m. Tickets: $35, adults; $25, children, 3 to 12 years old. For more information and to buy tickets, click here.

Through March 28: Exhibit of artwork done in classes sponsored by the Battery Park City Parks Conservancy. 75 Battery Place, weekdays, 2 p.m. to 4 p.m. Free.

Ongoing: "Discovery and Recovery: Preserving Iraqi Jewish Heritage," is at the Museum of Jewish Heritage in Battery Park City. The exhibit details the dramatic recovery of historic materials relating to the Jewish community of Iraq in a flooded basement in Saddam Hussein's intelligence headquarters, and the National Archives' ongoing work in support of U.S. government efforts to preserve these materials. Through May 18, 2014. Place: 36 Battery Place. Varying hours. Museum admission fees: $12 (adults); $10 (seniors) and $7 (students). Members and children 12 and under, free. Free admission on Wednesdays from 4 p.m. to 8 p.m. For more information, click here.
Ongoing: The National Museum of the American Indian is open daily from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., with free admission. It offers free films, docent-led tours of its exhibitions and tours of its premises, the Alexander Hamilton U.S. Custom House, designed by Cass Gilbert. The building, which was completed in 1907, is a National Historic Landmark and is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. One Bowling Green. Phone: (212) 514-3700. For the museum's calendar, click here.

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Editor: Terese Loeb Kreuzer

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