Like us on Facebook Follow us on Twitter 

News and Events
in Lower Manhattan
Volume 1, No. 30  Feb. 21, 2014

Quote of the day:
"It's wonderful to be able to hold and smell and touch and see all the materials before you buy them rather than having to do everything on some kind of abstract order list." - Florist Emily Thompson on why she loves New York City's historic 28th Street flower market

* Community Board 1 and pols uneasy about New York City DOT takeover of LMCCC functions
* Renowned florist Emily Thompson opens South Street Seaport shop
* Bits & Bytes: Condé Nast moving to 1 World Trade Center in November
* No weekend PATH train between World Trade Center and Exchange Place for one year
* Calendar

Masthead photo: Snow in Battery Park City's South Cove with Emily Thompson flowers.
Feb. 21, 2014 (Photo: Terese Loeb Kreuzer)


Luis Sanchez, lower Manhattan borough commissioner for the NYC Department of Transportation, listening to Joseph Simenic, executive director of the Lower Manhattan Construction Command Center, at a Community Board 1 Quality of Life Committee meeting on Feb. 20. CB1 chair, Catherine McVay Hughes, was sitting behind them. (Photo: Terese Loeb Kreuzer)

"We're not taking over the Lower Manhattan Construction Command Center," said Luis Sanchez, lower Manhattan borough commissioner for the New York City Department of Transportation. "We're inheriting it."

It was Feb. 20 and he was addressing Community Board 1's Quality of Life Committee, with LMCCC executive director, Joseph Simenic, sitting next to him. It looks as though the LMCCC will close and that Simenic will be out of a job by the end of this month, but that is not absolutely certain.

"We still have not heard from the City," said Community Board 1 chair Catherine McVay Hughes in an email. 
New York State Gov. George Pataki and New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg established  LMCCC in 2004 to handle post-9/11 construction. Its charter was renewed in December 2010 for three years.
Though the construction work continues at a hot pace in lower Manhattan, the LMCCC's charter has not been renewed, despite the efforts of all of the lower Manhattan elected officials to save it.

"The elected officials met with the Director of the Port Authority of New York & New Jersey on Christmas Eve to make sure that LMCCC was extended through the transition of the new mayor and agencies," said Hughes.  "None of the projects of the funding partners are yet completed from the World Trade Center to Route 9 to the Fulton Center or Whitehall Ferry. The in-kind contributions by the City is a top Community Board 1 expense budget request."

Amid this uncertainty, six elected officials wrote to Sanchez on Feb. 19. The letter was signed by Congressman Jerrold Nadler, New York State Senator Daniel Squadron, New York Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver, New York Assemblymember Deborah Glick, Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer and City Councilmember Margaret Chin.

They said in the letter that they understood that the LMCCC would be phasing out and transferring its responsibilities to DOT's lower Manhattan office. They said that their preference would be to retain the LMCCC, but that should the transfer occur, they felt it important that the level of service delivered by the LMCCC be preserved.

We have "questions and concerns about the transfer and DOT's operational ability to respond to residents' complaints, perform project coordination and do community outreach," they said in the letter. They asked to meet with Sanchez and his staff before the transfer occurred.

At the Community Board 1 meeting, Sanchez tried to reassure the committee that his department would be fully able to handle the construction issues that LMCCC has fielded for the past 10 years.

"We are already doing the majority of the construction coordination in Lower Manhattan. We attend the LMCCC meetings. We help facilitate. There already is a partnership," he said.

Hughes wanted to know who residents could call if there were noise and other construction issues. "Who will be our direct contact?" she asked.

"I think it would be more efficient if you went through our website," Sanchez replied. (The URL is

Formerly, residents could call the LMCCC and get help with construction-related issues.

"We're here to make everyone's lives better," said Sanchez. "We're not perfect. Mistakes happen. We'll hear about them and we'll address them immediately."

With the discussion about to turn to problems associated with idling tour buses, Simenic got up to leave. The committee applauded him as he walked out.

- Terese Loeb Kreuzer



Emily Thompson, whose commissions have included the annual holiday floral decorations at the White House, recently opened a shop at 142 Beekman St. in the Seaport.
(Photo: Kevin Ryan)
142 Beekman St. (Photo: Terese Loeb Kreuzer)
Earlier this week, snow was falling outside of Emily Thompson's newly opened flower shop at the corner of Front and Beekman Streets in the South Street Seaport, a counterpoint to the beguiling array of intense colors within.

Thompson, who trained as a sculptor at the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts and U.C.L.A., now sculpts with flowers that she combines with branches and objects such as bird and wasp nests, sinuous strings of dates, sea fans and other finds from the natural world.

She stumbled into the flower business around 14 years ago when she created the floral arrangements for her brother's wedding. Other requests for wedding decorations followed and soon she began to charge for them. "I found I had a strong idea of what things should look like from the beginning," she remarked. "I love working with foliage and branches. My love really is for the natural world in general."

Her artistry eventually led to commissions from the Museum of Modern Art, Lincoln Center, the Frick Collection and the White House, where she designed the annual holiday floral decorations.

"We do quite surprising installations," she said. "I think our work often falls into the art world, partly because that's where I came from." She mentions creating the floral decorations for a memorial to musician, artist and impresario Malcolm McLaren and for his Performa awards. But she and her staff of seven also make and sell small arrangements that could adorn a room or serve as a gift.

"We work with more fragile materials than standard florists," she said. "People are so familiar with deli flowers and flowers that are meant to last a week or more. They're often grown under horrible growing practices. They have no character. We try to choose materials that show the whole growing cycle. Hopefully, people will enjoy them as they fade and wilt and drop their petals. To me, that's a huge part of the romance of materials - loving them in different stages of their lives."

She likes to buy her flowers in New York's century-old flower district on 28th Street between Sixth and Seventh Avenues in Manhattan. "It's wonderful to be able to hold and smell and touch and see all the materials before you buy them," she said, "rather than having to do everything on some kind of abstract order list."

Thompson's arrangements can cost several hundred dollars but they start at under $30. "We work with expensive materials," she said, "but we want everyone to feel that there's something they can walk away with if they want to."

Thompson moved her business to the Seaport from DUMBO in Brooklyn. She says of her brick-walled space that "it's absolutely beautiful. We didn't find anything that came close in beauty and light and in the wonderful community here."

- Terese Loeb Kreuzer

The shop is at 142 Beekman St. It is open Wednesdays to Saturdays, noon to 7 p.m. and Sundays, noon to 5 p.m. and by appointment. The phone number is (212) 882-1384. For more information, click here.

An assortment of flowers with character. (Photo: Terese Loeb Kreuzer)

Bits & Bytes  

Condé Nast will be moving into 1 World Trade Center beginning in November.
(Photos: Terese Loeb Kreuzer)

"Condé Nast W.T.C. move begins November," Capital, 2/18/14. "Condé Nast is beginning the rollout of its upcoming move to 1 World Trade Center, the soaring skyscraper where it has agreed to live for at least the next 25 years," Capital reports. The move of the media giant from its offices at 4 Times Square will begin in November. Capital speculates that the arrival of Condé Nast will have "a transformative potential for Lower Manhattan, which has slowly but steadily been rebuilding its economy since the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks. Condé Nast's glamorous employees are expected to bring a new cachet to the area around the new World Trade Center, raising the bar for local food, retail and hospitality businesses." For the complete article, click here.

"NYSE trading down as space needs shrink," The Real Deal, 2/18/14. "The New York Stock Exchange is reducing its workforce in downtown Manhattan and with it, the amount of space it needs," says The Real Deal. "The exchange operates its trading floor at its iconic 11 Wall Street headquarters, and also leases the adjacent 27-story tower at 20 Broad Street. The lease for the latter property is set to expire in 2016. The owner of the exchange, IntercontinentalExchange Group, is considering moving some operations to its home base in Atlanta, according to Crain's." For the complete article, click here.

"Popular gym Trinity Box Club faces eviction ," New York Post, 2/19/14. "A Lower Manhattan boxing gym that draws a diverse crowd from Knicks forward Carmelo Anthony to Wall Street traders and even Manhattan DA Cy Vance's boxing club, is facing eviction by a scheming landlord, the club owner claims in a new lawsuit," reported by the New York Post. "Trinity Box Club owner Martin Snow, not one to go down without a fight, sued the owners of 110 Greenwich St. in Manhattan civil court on Tuesday. The Brooklyn-born Snow claims the landlord, Tom Jakobson of Jakobson Properties, fraudulently used a loophole in a lease agreement to boot the Golden Gloves finalist-turned-gym owner to the curb on Feb. 28." For the complete article, click here.

Downtown transportation
Exchange Place in Jersey City, N.J. (Photo: Terese Loeb Kreuzer)

The Port Authority of New York and New Jersey is closing down weekend PATH service between the World Trade Center in Manhattan and Exchange Place in New Jersey for one year in order to make repairs caused by Superstorm Sandy and to upgrade the PATH's signal system.

In its announcement of the closures, the Port said that the work will continue most weekends throughout 2014 with the exception of major holidays.

"PATH riders will be able to get between New Jersey and New York from all other PATH stations on weekends, including Grove Street, Newport and Journal Square in Jersey City. Riders from Newark and Harrison will need to transfer at Journal Square for trips into New York," according to the announcement.

"Jersey City residents and politicians are furious," said Graeme Birchell, a Downtown Post NYC reader who lives in New Jersey.

On Feb. 6, Candice Osborne, a Jersey City councilwoman, wrote to Patrick J. Foye, executive director of the Port Authority, to protest. She said in her letter that, "more than 10,000 people per weekend would be affected at Exchange Place and 30,000 at World Trade Center when this change goes into effect."

She noted that other transportation options would be lengthy and more expensive, and that the closure would have "potentially crippling impacts on Jersey City's economy."

In response to this letter,  the Port Authority agreed to cross-honor PATH SmartLink cards and MetroCards for travel on the Hudson Bergen Light Rail between Exchange Place and Hoboken on the weekends and to increase weekend service between Newark and 33rd Street to every 10 minutes during the day, and every 15 minutes in the evening.

Some ferry service is also available via Statue Cruises. New York Waterway, which services the area during the week, does not run ferry service on that route on weekends.

- Terese Loeb Kreuzer

CALENDAR: Week of Feb. 17

Elizabeth Alexander, who read a poem at Obama's inauguration, lecturing at Yale University, where she teaches African-American studies. On Saturday, she will talk at Poets House in Battery Park City about poet Lucille Clifton.  (Photo: Terese Loeb Kreuzer)

Feb. 21: "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
Where: the Tribeca Performing Arts Center, 199 Chambers St. Time: 7 p.m. Tickets: $39-$79. For more information and tickets, click here.

Feb. 22: Tivon Pennicott, first runner-up in the annual Thelonious Monk International Jazz Competition, plays his tenor saxophone with his combo, the Sound Quartet at the Tribeca Performing Arts Center, 199 Chambers St. Time: 7:30 p.m. Tickets: $25; seniors and students, $15. For reservations, click here.

Feb. 22: "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 eighth in a series of eight concerts.  Time: 2 p.m. Tickets: $35; $30 (students/seniors); $25 (members). For tickets and more information, click here.

Feb. 22: "Bubble do the Beatles" plays at Front/Row Stage, the Howard Hughes Corporation's heated music tent on Fulton Street east of Water Street. Times: 2 p.m. and 4 p.m. Free. For families and kids. For reservations, click here.

Feb. 22: Alexis P Suter Band 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. 22: Yale professor Elizabeth Alexander will talk about poet Lucille Clifton at Poets House. Her lecture is presented in conjunction with the exhibition "come celebrate with me: The Work of Lucille Clifton," featuring rare photos, letters, manuscripts and more, from Emory University's Danowski Poetry Library at the Manuscripts, Archives, and Rare Book Library, on view at Poets House through March 14. Place: 10 River Terrace. Time: 3 p.m. Tickets: $10; $7 for students and seniors; free to Poets House members. For more information, click here.

Feb. 23: "Bob Marley Kids Show" plays at Front/Row Stage, the Howard Hughes Corporation's heated music tent on Fulton Street east of Water Street. Times: 2 p.m. and 4 p.m. Free. For families and kids. 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.

Downtown Post NYC is emailed Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays. 
To subscribe, click here

Editor: Terese Loeb Kreuzer

We welcome comments, questions and letters to the editor. Send them to [email protected]

To advertise, email [email protected]

Previous issues of Downtown Post NYC are archived at

All articles and photographs in Downtown Post NYC are copyrighted and
may not be reprinted or republished without written permission.
© 2014