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News and Events
in Lower Manhattan
Volume 1, No. 28  Feb. 17, 2014

Quote of the day:
"I shall not easily forget the first time I ever saw Abraham Lincoln." - Poet Walt Whitman describing a glimpse that he caught of Lincoln during the president-elect's visit to New York City on Feb. 19, 1861.
* The Irish Hunger Memorial still awaits repairs
*George Washington and Abe Lincoln in lower Manhattan
* Bits & Bytes: More about 'Wolf of Wall Street'; City Hall subway station
* Letter to the editor: That underground connector
* Community Board 1 meetings, week of Feb. 17
* Calendar

Masthead photo: Norwegian Gem arriving in New York harbor at dawn on Feb. 17, 2014.
(Photo: Terese Loeb Kreuzer)

Battery Park City 

The Irish Hunger Memorial is leaking and needs to be repaired.
(Photo: Terese Loeb Kreuzer)

The Irish Hunger Memorial at Vesey Street and North End Avenue in Battery Park City was due for a tune-up last year after a stolen car smacked into the northwest corner on Aug. 12, 2012. Even before that accident, the memorial had sprung some leaks.

The Battery Park City Authority, which is responsible for the memorial's upkeep, fixed the car accident damage in October 2013 but the leaks are long past due for repair.

At a Battery Park City Authority Town Hall meeting on March 29, 2012, Gayle Horwitz, then president of the BPCA, said, "The Authority plans a major repair and rehabilitation of the installation, expected to begin in the fall of 2013. We have to time this with the planting season because the plantings that are there have to be delicately removed and replanted while construction is going on."

Superstorm Sandy on Oct. 29, 2012 caused that plan to be delayed. At the BPCA Board of Directors meeting on Oct. 22, 2013, the subject of the Irish Hunger Memorial came up again.

"I would love a historical view of what it cost to build and what it costs to maintain it," said board member Martha Gallo. "I remember that it was controversial in the first place and was poorly constructed and had to be ripped apart, and now we're spending another $2.5 million to fix it."

Gwen Dawson, who is senior vice president of asset management for the Authority and in charge of construction projects, said that she would be "happy to pull that information together." Chairman Dennis Mehiel also asked her to come up with an estimate of what it would require to maintain the Irish Hunger Memorial in the future.

The memorial commemorates the famine that killed a million people in Ireland between 1845 and 1852. Another million emigrated to the United States at that time, including the maternal grandmother of Gov. George Pataki, who was New York State governor when he and Timothy Carey, who was then president of the Battery Park City Authority, came up with the idea for the memorial on a trip to Ireland in 1999.

Pataki charged James Gill, then the chairman of the Battery Park City Authority, with getting the memorial designed. It cost $5 million to build and was dedicated on July 16, 2002.

In April 2003 it had to be closed for repairs. The materials holding the structure together were literally washing away because of poor drainage. A composite material used for the pathway became slippery when wet. The BPCA spent $250,000 to fix these problems.

"The Authority had planned to perform a waterproofing project, beginning this winter to address leak issues at the memorial," said Robin Forst, the BPCA's spokesperson. "An RFP was issued but the responses were deemed inadequate and as a result, the project will be rebid. Because the work must be scheduled to accommodate seasonal factors, the necessity of rebidding resulted in the deferral of the start of the project until later in 2014."

Forst said that there are no structural problems at the memorial, which is currently closed for the winter.

- Terese Loeb Kreuzer

A fieldstone cottage on the Irish Hunger Memorial was transported from County Mayo. Six generations of the Slack family had lived in that cottage, where they cooked over an open fire and drew water from a well. (Photo: Terese Loeb Kreuzer)


Downtown history  

The statue of George Washington outside Federal Hall at Nassau and Broad Streets marks the place where he was inaugurated as the first president of the United States on April 30, 1789. (Photo: Terese Loeb Kreuzer)

In honor of Presidents Day, here's a tip of the hat to George Washington and Abraham Lincoln, who once walked the streets of lower Manhattan. Washington lived here for 16 months. Lincoln just visited but one of those visits - his first - played a crucial role in his life, setting him on the road to the presidency.

Washington first saw lower Manhattan under terrible circumstances. During the summer of 1776, he was attempting to defend New York City from the British, who massed hundreds of ships in New York harbor - the largest naval invasion ever mounted until D-Day in Normandy. The confrontation came to a head on Aug. 27, 1776, when the Americans were defeated and Washington and his troops fled to New Jersey. Washington considered burning the city to make it unusable for the British but he was apparently dissuaded. However, on Sept. 21, a fire of unknown origin destroyed one quarter of New York City, which was then concentrated in what is now lower Manhattan.

The British occupied the city for the remainder of the war. Finally, on Nov. 25, 1783, Washington returned, victorious, riding on a white horse. There are numerous paintings and engravings showing the people of New York thronging the streets as he passed and waving to him from their balconies.

He didn't stay long. On Dec. 4, 1783, he said an emotional good-bye to his officers in the Long Room of Fraunces Tavern at 54 Pearl St. and then got into a rowboat and left for his home in Virginia.

He didn't return until 1789, when he was sworn in as the first president of the United States on the site of what is now Federal Hall at Broad and Nassau Streets. After his inauguration, he went to St. Paul's Chapel at Broadway and Fulton Streets to pray. His pew is still there.

George and Martha Washington lived in a house at 1 Cherry St. for the first 10 months of his presidency. It belonged to a Massachusetts politician and lawyer named Samuel Osgood and was located where Pearl Street now crosses under the Brooklyn Bridge. The house was demolished in 1856 but a plaque marks the spot where it stood.

Then they moved to 39-41 Broadway, a site that is also marked with a plaque. Finally, on Aug. 30, 1790, they moved to Philadelphia, which was the nation's capital for 10 years while the city on the Potomac was finished. Washington was too modest to refer to it by his own name. He called it "the federal city."

Washington never returned to New York City but he is remembered here in many ways. The Fraunces Tavern Museum contains drawings, paintings and memorabilia. He is depicted on the bronze doors of Trinity Church, and most affectingly, in a statue in front of Federal Hall, where he raises his hand in blessing.

Abraham Lincoln came to lower Manhattan in February 1860. He was then a relatively unknown lawyer from Illinois. The weather was awful. George Putnam, a contemporary, recorded, "Rain and snow made moving around the city difficult on Monday [Feb. 27, 1860], but Lincoln visited Know Great Hat and Cap Establishment at Broad and Fulton Street, where he received a free silk top hat. Then he went to Matthew Brady's framed photo studio at 543 Broadway and posed for his picture."

The weather grew worse by evening, according to Putnam. "It was snowing heavily. Nevertheless, fifteen hundred people came to hear Lincoln speak at the Great Hall of the brownstone building on Fourth Avenue and Eighth Street erected by the eccentric industrialist Peter Cooper for the betterment of the working class."

The audience heard Lincoln discuss slavery and say that it should not be permitted in U.S. territories where it did not then exist. This "moderate" position on an issue that divided the country propelled Lincoln into the presidency.

Lincoln left New York City to return as president elect on Feb. 19, 1861. Poet Walt Whitman caught sight of him that day. "I shall not easily forget the first time I ever saw Abraham Lincoln," he wrote. "It must have been about the 18th or 19th of February, 1861. It was a rather pleasant afternoon in New York City, as he arrived there from the West, to remain a few hours and then pass on to Washington to prepare for his inauguration. I saw him in Broadway, near the site of the present post office. He came down, I think from Canal Street, to stop at the Astor House."

Lincoln returned to New York City only once more - after his assassination on April 14, 1865, when his body lay in state at City Hall and the entire city mourned.

- Terese Loeb Kreuzer

Washington's Triumphal Entry into New York City on Nov. 25, 1783.

A plaque on a building at 39 Broadway in Manhattan marks the place where George Washington lived as President of the United States. New York City was the capital of the United States from 1789 when Washington was inaugurated until August 1790.
(Photo: Terese Loeb Kreuzer)

Bits & Bytes  

The New York Stock Exchange at Broad and Wall Streets. (Photo: Terese Loeb Kreuzer)

The conversation about "Wolf of Wall Street" continues. The film has been nominated for five Oscars, including best picture, Martin Scorsese as best director and Leonardo diCaprio as best actor. The awards will be announced on March 2.

Last week, Melena Ryzik interviewed diCaprio in The New York Times ("For DiCaprio, 'Wolf' Is 'Reflection of the Truth,'" 2/13/14) and quoted him as saying, "I don't think that [Wall Street fraud operators] were really thinking about their victims. I don't think that ultimately people in the world of Wall Street that have been so incredibly corrupt have gotten their due and proper [punishment]. So any time we tried to take a traditional approach, we'd just say, 'No, no, no, let's push it even further, because it's an accurate reflection of what their world is like.' It's been called a comedy, but we didn't set out to be like that. What is hilarious at times is the absurdity of the world that they created for themselves, where they just didn't have any respect for anyone except themselves."

William D. Cohan, who spent 17 years on Wall Street mostly as a mergers and acquisitions banker at Lazard, Merrill Lynch and JPMorgan Chase and who retired from that job to become a writer, said in an article in The Times called "The Tame Truth About the Wolves of Wall Street" (2/15/14) that Scorsese and diCaprio got it all wrong.

"My Wall Street was an endless-seeming succession of late nights, ruled by the demands of clients and bosses," he wrote. "My abiding memory is the drudgery of it all - none of which has ever been captured on film or in print. With good reason: much of what happens on Wall Street is terrifically boring."

Perhaps some readers of Downtown Post NYC have seen the film and have some thoughts about it and about diCaprio's and Cohan's take on it and on Wall Street. If so, and you want to share, write to [email protected].

For the Melena Ryzik article about "Wolf of Wall Street," click here. For William Cohan's article, click here.

"Inside NYC's Stunning Ex-Subway Stop, Now 'Open' For Visitors,", 2/14/14. The City Hall subway station, which opened in 1904 and closed in 1945, is still gorgeous. Sixteen times a year, the New York Transit Museum leads tours of this architectural marvel, designed by George Lewis Heins and Christopher Grant LaFarge. For photos and a description of a recent tour, click here.

- Terese Loeb Kreuzer

Letter to the editor 

An underground connection between the Fulton Transit Center and the PATH station near the World Trade Center is scheduled for completion in June 2014. This is how it looked in January 2013. (Photo: Terese Loeb Kreuzer)

To the Editor:
Wouldn't it be nice for all pedestrians if the MTA opened their underground passage from the PATH train to the Fulton Street station?  There would be less outdoor time in the nasty weather and safety undercover.  I think it's ready, but they didn't want to staff it with security personnel yet.

Maryanne Braverman

From the Editor:
It would be very nice to be able to walk underground all the way from the Fulton Street Transit Hub to Brookfield Place in Battery Park City in order to keep away from the cold and ice -- but that won't be possible until June, which is when the Fulton Street Transit Hub is scheduled to open. By then, we'll be dealing with the heat and humidity, so that underground connection will still be very welcome.


The members of Community Board 1. There are 50 volunteers who are appointed by the Manhattan borough president and by the City Councilmember who represents District 1. There is also a small, paid staff. (Photo: Terese Loeb Kreuzer)

All meetings take place at 49-51 Chambers St., Room 709, at 6 p.m. unless otherwise indicated. All meetings are open to the public. Highlighted in red are some topics that may prove to be particularly interesting or contentious.

Feb. 18:  Seaport/Civic Center Committee
* Street Co-Naming: Peck Slip and Harold Reed Way - report
* Brooklyn Bridge public space project by Pace University students - presentation
* 230 Canal St., application for a new liquor license for 230 Canal Rest. Inc. - report
* 150 Nassau St., application for a restaurant liquor license for Nassau 8793 LLC d/b/a Denny's
* 225 Front St., application for a liquor license alteration for Dona Gallo Inc. d/b/a Barbalu
* 111 Fulton St., application for a new wine and beer license for 111 Fulton LLC
* 27 Cliff St., reconsideration of an application for a restaurant liquor license for Dalglish 7 Inc.
* 150 Centre St., application for change of method & operation for a restaurant liquor license for Mika Japanese Cuisine Bar & Inc. - Resolution (POSTPONED)

The following notices have been received for renewal, upgrade, or transfer of wine and beer or liquor licenses or sidewalk cafe permits
220 Front St., application for renewal of liquor license for Bin No. 220

Feb. 19:  Executive Committee
* Downtown Alliance - introduction and briefing by Jessica Lappin, president
* Mayor's Community Assistance Unit - introduction
*  New York City Council Int. No. 28 to require that all community board full board meetings be webcast - Presentation by Yume Kitasei, Budget & Legislative Director, Office of Council Member Margaret Chin and possible resolution
* CB1 monthly meetings for 2014
* Committee reports

Feb. 20: Landmarks Committee at 6:30 p.m. at 49-51 Chambers St. in room 501         
* 44 Lispenard St., application for one-story plus penthouse addition - resolution
* 105 Hudson St., application for reconstruction of platform and installation of new handicap lift - resolution
* Governors Island, application for historic monument relocation - resolution
* 32 Avenue of the Americas, application for installation of emergency generator on setback roof at 22nd floor - resolution

Feb. 20: Quality of Life Committee
* NYC DOT - Update on LMCCC transition
* Bus parking and idling policy enforcement - Presentation by Luis Sanchez, NYCDOT, Lower Manhattan Borough Commissioner
* RoadRunners Half Marathon - Discussion with RoadRunners
* Community District 1 subway station survey by Pace University students - presentation
*  Police misconduct and citizen rights - Presentation by Carlmais Johnson, Manager, Civilian Complaint Review Board (CCRB)
* Rodent Academy - preparations
* Fire Safety Forum - discussion
* Concerns regarding radon levels in gas delivered to NYC home - discussion

CALENDAR: Week of Feb. 17

The Howard Hughes Corporation's music tent in the South Street Seaport at a Saturday afternoon performance of music for kids and families. (Photo: Terese Loeb Kreuzer)

Feb. 17: "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. 18: Alexandros Washburn, a professor at the Stevens Institute of Technology, talks about his book, "The Nature of Urban Design: A New York Perspective on Resilience," at the Skyscraper Museum, 39 Battery Place. Time: 6:30 p.m. Free. The gallery opens at 6 p.m. to view the current exhibit, "SKY HIGH." RSVP for the book talk by emailing [email protected] or by calling (212) 945-6324. 

Feb. 19: Aruán Ortiz (piano), John Beasley (piano) and Adam Rudolph (hand percussion) play a lunchtime jazz concert in the Winter Garden at Brookfield Place, 220 Vesey St., as part of the "Voices of Freedom" series, which honors Black History Month in February and Women's History Month in March. Free. Time: 12:30 p.m.

Feb. 19: "Dub is a Weapon" plays at Front/Row Stage, the Howard Hughes Corporation's heated music tent on Fulton Street east of Water Street. Time: 7 p.m.-10 p.m. Free. For ages 21+. For reservations, click here.

Feb. 19: "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 seventh 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. 20: "Gent Treadly" with Charles Neville plays at Front/Row Stage, the Howard Hughes Corporation's heated music tent on Fulton Street east of Water Street. Time: 6 p.m.-8:30 p.m. Free. For ages 21+. For reservations, click here.

Feb. 21: "Woodstock Revisited: Santana + Jimi Hendrix, featuring tribute bands Santanaria + Voodoo Child" plays at Front/Row Stage, the Howard Hughes Corporation's heated music tent on Fulton Street east of Water Street. Time: 7 p.m.-11 p.m. Free. For ages 21+. For reservations, click here.

Feb. 23: 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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