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News and Events
in Lower Manhattan
Volume 1, No. 26  Feb. 12, 2014

Quote of the day:
"There's a tremendous variety of wildlife here." - National Parks Ranger Dave Taft, talking about the flora and fauna of New York City. (2/11/14)
* Old Seaport Alliance appoints executive director
* New York City is fertile ground for wildlife
*Morning commute: Watch out for falling ice
* Restaurant Week dining in lower Manhattan
* Seeing red: ideas for Valentine's Day
* Calendar

Masthead photo: "The Upper Room," by Ned Smyth in Battery Park City. Feb. 12, 2014.
(Photo: Terese Loeb Kreuzer)


Front and Beekman Streets, part of the territory represented by The Old Seaport Alliance, a consortium of merchants whose businesses have united to preserve the old Seaport and to assist in its growth. (Photo: Terese Loeb Kreuzer)
The Old Seaport Alliance, a consortium of South Street Seaport merchants that banded together in July 2013, now has an executive director. Whitney Barrat, formerly director of special projects for the Alliance for Downtown New York, started her new job on Feb. 3.

Whitney Barrat
She has been charged with getting more businesses to open in the Seaport. "I want to work with property owners, brokers, realtors and the current merchants and figure out the best way to populate the area with businesses that have real character and that will bring people back again and again," she said.

"We're trying to make sure that the Old Seaport Alliance's voice is heard as the oldest neighborhood in New York. It's a waterside district that was built around the Fulton Market and we want to preserve that old New York feel as best we can while also welcoming and assisting in its growth."

The Old Seaport Alliance defines its territory as stretching from South Street to Pearl Street and from Fulton Street to Dover Street.

It was funded initially with grants from the city's Department of Small Business Services and from Master Card. The Howard Hughes Corporation pledged $60,000 to the Alliance in October 2013.

Howard Hughes Corporation executives have stated that they would like to demolish the New Market Building on South Street and build a 50-story apartment/hotel complex on that site.

Asked what the Old Seaport Alliance thinks of that idea, Barrat replied, "We're developing a position on the New Market Building, but in everybody's fantasies, that market would be repurposed. There is a dire need for community use of any kind of space down there. So, I think that if there's a way to use the market as a community center that would bring people down here regularly, that would be wonderful, but we also understand that there are many constrictions and obstacles in that path."

The Old Seaport Alliance has an eight-member board of directors, chaired by Marco Pasanella, owner of Pasanella & Son Vintners at 115 South St. Pasanella is also vice-chairman of Community Board 1's Seaport Committee.

Barrat does not yet have an office. She can be reached at (917) 881-9783 or by email at [email protected].

- Terese Loeb Kreuzer

Downtown flora and fauna

National Parks Ranger Dave Taft with a photo of a "coy-dog," a hybrid between a coyote and a dog now to be found in New York City.  (Photos: Terese Loeb Kreuzer)
Dave Taft, site manager of the Gateway National Recreation Area's Jamaica Bay unit, has been enthralled with New York City's wildlife since he was a boy in Brooklyn. He's still enthralled. At a lecture on Feb. 11 in Battery Park City, he talked about some of the amazing plants and animals that he has seen in the city's five boroughs.

Because of the city's serendipitous geology and geography, "there's a tremendous variety of wildlife here," he said. New York City is near the Atlantic Ocean with the Hudson River estuary bathing its shores. It also happens to be the place where the glaciers of the last Ice Age stopped and began to melt, creating a large variety of habitats.

Taft mentioned a pine grove behind the Metropolitan Museum of Art where long-eared owls hang out. He talked about a delicate plant called "bloodroot" that folds its leaves around its fragile, white flower buds and that has orange-red sap when plucked. "It has antiseptic properties," he said. "It's used in some toothpastes."

He's seen these in the Bronx, in Pelham Bay Park, he revealed.

He discoursed on American eels that are born in the salt water of the Sargasso Sea and seek fresh water in which to mature. "They can climb up the sides of concrete, if it's wet," he said.

He showed a picture of skunk cabbage, which has a metabolism high enough to melt snow, and which attracts insects to its warmth.

He marveled at spring peepers, tiny frogs the size of a human thumbnail, that can physically freeze and thaw themselves back to life.

New York City, which has around 29,000 acres of open space in its 309 square miles, is a cauldron for wildlife of many kinds, according to Taft. Among the most intriguing animals are "coy-dogs" and "coy-wolves"- hybrids between a coyote and a dog and a coyote and a wolf. "In the vacuum left by eliminating wolves, a new kind of natural world came about," he said.  He called New York City "a melting pot" for all kinds of creatures.

Coy-dogs have been seen in the Bronx and occasionally even venture into Manhattan, where they "get a lot of media attention," he said.

Taft's lecture was held under the auspices of the Battery Park City Parks Conservancy. The Conservancy's next lecture, called "Remarkable Fishes of New York Harbor," will take place on March 25.

- Terese Loeb Kreuzer



On the morning of Feb. 12, commuters leaving the World Trade Center PATH station were directed away from 1 World Trade Center. Ice fell from the building beginning on Friday, Feb. 7. All the streets around the building are currently blocked off. (Below) 1 World Trade Center with 7 World Trade Center in the foreground. (Photos: Terese Loeb Kreuzer)

Ice fell off 1 World Trade Center on Friday morning, Feb. 7, and may have fallen off the building since then. Eyewitnesses say that yes, they have seen falling ice although the Port Authority denies that there have been any subsequent incidents. However, the Port is taking no chances. All of the streets around 1 World Trade Center have been blocked off and there is now a shed sheltering the entrance to the nearby PATH station.

Commuters can enter and leave the station via the underground connector that links it with Brookfield Place in Battery Park City, or they can go across Barclay Street.

However, 1 World Trade Center is not the only lower Manhattan building with ice issues. A sign on the plaza outside Brookfield Place warns of falling ice, as does one outside 333 Rector Place, an apartment building in Battery Park City.

This part of lower Manhattan is notoriously windy and tends to be colder than some other parts of the city.

Another heavy snowstorm is predicted for tonight, which is likely to compound the ice problem.

- Terese Loeb Kreuzer

"Ice falling off 1 World Trade Center prompts action to build protection for pedestrians," NY Daily News, 2/12/14. "Pedestrians now have some protection from the terrifying chunks of ice that have cascaded down from 1 World Trade Center," said the New York Daily News in an article on Feb. 12. "Construction has started on a covered entrance outside the World Trade Center PATH station that will protect commuters from the frozen blocks that started to slip off the sides of the towering building last Friday." For the complete article, click here.

A sign in front of an apartment building on Rector Place in Battery Park City.

Downtown Food  

'Restaurant week' offers discounted dining in some top New York City restaurants. (Photo: Terese Loeb Kreuzer)

During New York City's upcoming "Restaurant Week" (actually two weeks from February 17 to March 1),  participating restaurants are offering three-course lunches for $25 and three-course dinners for $38, plus beverages, tax and tip. Reservations can be made now by clicking here.

Twenty-three restaurants in lower Manhattan are offering Restaurant Week discounts.


Maureen Reilly, John Dixon and Liza Lagunoff looking at a print of their handiwork during a Valentine Block Party printing workshop at Bowne Printers on Feb. 8. Valentines made with antique type and printed on the South Street Seaport Museum's historic presses are for sale at Bowne Printers, 209 Water St. (Photo: Terese Loeb Kreuzer)

"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.  

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. 10

Helga Davis will sing love songs at the Winter Garden on Thursday evening, Feb. 13. (Photo: courtesy of Helga Davis)

Feb. 12: "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. 12: "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. 12: Live Band Karaoke with Bunnie England and The New Originals at Front Row/Stage in the South Street Seaport. Ages, 21+. Time: 6:30 p.m. to 9 p.m.. Free, but reservations are required. For reservations, click here.

Feb. 12: George Cables (piano) and Steve Turre (trombone) play a lunchtime jazz concert as part of "Voices of Freedom," a series honoring Black History Month in February and Women's History Month in March. Each performance in February will showcase a pianist paired with celebrated musicians from New York City's jazz scene. Place: Winter Garden at Brookfield Place, 220 Vesey St. Time: 12:30 p.m. Free. For more information, click here.

Feb. 13:  The Love Show brings internationally acclaimed singer and WNYC/WQXR/Q2 radio host Helga Davis, video artist S. Katy Tucker and a collection of powerful and soulful New York vocalists to the Winter Garden at Brookfield Place, where they will reinterpret classic love songs from Cole Porter to Marvin Gaye to Bill Withers. Place: 220 Vesey St. Time: 7:30 p.m. Free.

Feb. 13: Artisans from the Okamoto Studio demonstrate ice carving on the Brookfield Place plaza in Battery Park City. Ice carving, 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. Exhibition hours, 5 p.m. to 8 p.m. Also, Friday, Feb. 14. Exhibition hours, 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. Ice carving: noon to 1 p.m. Over the two-day exhibition, guests can enter a giveaway for a chance to win a $25 gift card to Hudson Eats, the new collection of eateries at Brookfield Place opening this spring. To enter, take a picture with the "Angel Wings" or "Picture Frame" ice sculptures, and post it to Instagram, Facebook or Twitter with the tag#ArtsBrookfield. For more information, click here.

Feb. 13: Upright Citizens Brigade presents 'Shuffle' 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. 14: Open Studios under the auspices of the Lower Manhattan Cultural Council. Artists Faye Driscoll and luciana achugar open their studios in Building 110 on Governors Island. Free ferries from the Battery Maritime Building at Whitehall and South Streets depart promptly at 2:15 p.m. and 4:15 p.m. with returning ferries at 5 p.m. and 6 p.m. Driscoll's studio will be open from 3 p.m. to 4:30 p.m. and achugar's from 4:30 p.m. to 5:30 p.m. An RSVP is required. For more information, click here.

Feb. 14: Williamsburg Salsa Orchestra at Front Row/Stage, The Howard Hughes Corporation's heated music tent on Fulton Street. Ages 21+. Time: 7 p.m. to 11 p.m. Tickets: Free, but reservations are required. For reservations, click here.

Feb. 15: The Night the Music Lived at Front Row/Stage in the South Street Seaport. Ages 21+. Time: 7 p.m. to 11 p.m. Tickets: Free, but reservations are required. For reservations, click here.

Feb. 16: 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.

Feb. 16: "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 sixth 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.

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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