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News and Events
in Lower Manhattan
Volume 1, No. 34  March 3, 2014

Quote of the day:
"Maybe the water would go to Liberty Island. Maybe it would go to Staten Island. That's far enough away so that hopefully it would be a small slosh and not a big slosh." - Hope Cohen, chief administrative and finance officer of The Battery Conservancy, on where floodwater deflected from Battery Park by proposed berms might end up.

* Battery Park wrestles with Sandy, ice and MTA construction
* Bits & Bytes: Big office deals in lower Manhattan; big penthouse terrace
* New York harbor: John J. Harvey in shipyard for repairs
* Letter to the editor: The composition of the Seaport Working Group
* Community Board 1 meetings: Week of March 3
* Calendar

Masthead photo: Hellebore orientalis in Battery Park City. (Photo: Terese Loeb Kreuzer)


The Battery Conservancy in historic Battery Park celebrated the topping off of the SeaGlass Carousel on April 18, 2013. (Photo: Terese Loeb Kreuzer)


Though the topping off took place almost a year ago, the shell-shaped carousel still stands empty in historic Battery Park at the southern end of Manhattan, awaiting its fish-shaped steeds and its landscaping.   


"The carousel site work can't begin until the ground thaws," said Hope Cohen, chief administration and finance officer for the Battery Conservancy, which is building the carousel and funding and building many of the 25-acre park's other amenities. "This will delay the carousel's opening. Hopefully it will open in the fall."  


Hope Cohen. (Photo: Terese Loeb Kreuzer) 

Ice and snow are only the latest snags in the Conservancy's plans. It is responsible for the bikeway as it traverses the park, linking the east side and west side of the island. The bikeway along Battery Place and the Town Green on the north side of the park should be done by early fall, said Cohen, but the east side bikeway is another matter.   


The Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) told the Conservancy last week that it has sent out a Request for Proposals (RFP) for demolition work on the South Ferry subway station that was ruined by Superstorm Sandy, and that it expects to issue a reconstruction RFP this summer.  


"Their plan is to rip out everything in that station except for the platforms and staircases," said Cohen. "They believe that it will take two years to rebuild. This construction will probably impact the bikeway on the east side of the park. What exactly that impact will be, needs to be worked out."


At least there will be a chair to sit on while everyone is thinking about this. Last year, the Battery Conservancy sponsored a contest to design moveable, climate impervious chairs that could be placed on the Town Green (where Fritz Koenig's "Sphere" used to be. That was moved in December to a site near the Korean War Memorial on the northwest side of the park). 


"We are expecting prototypes of the five top chairs this month," said Cohen. "We will exhibit the five chairs at Castle Clinton this spring. People will be able to sit on them, try them out and vote for them."  


She said the Conservancy will mount a fundraising campaign to actually build a set of chairs. 

For budgetary purposes, the estimated cost is $1,000 a chair. The Conservancy would like to have 300 chairs, so will have to raise several hundred thousand dollars for this project.  


As for what would keep these chairs from migrating, Cohen said that the designers had to build in "security" as part of their design.


The Battery Conservancy is also trying to build in some security from future flooding. During Superstorm Sandy, water gushed from the park onto State Street, which borders it on one side.  


Now there is a proposal to build four- to six-foot-tall earthworks called "berms" through a portion of the park to deflect floodwater back into the harbor. "Maybe the water would go to Liberty Island. Maybe it would go to Staten Island," said Cohen. "That's far enough away so that hopefully it would be a small slosh and not a big slosh."  


Since the second phase of the bikeway has not been built, the thought would be to make the berms part of that construction contract.    


"This is just a small piece of what needs to be done," said Cohen, "but maybe something we can do quickly and efficiently and smartly now rather than coming back after everything is constructed and ripping it up and doing it then."


Superstorm Sandy has also affected another construction project in the park - the playground that was designed by Frank Gehry. An existing playground was severely damaged by Sandy and has not yet reopened.


"The Parks Department has been telling us all winter that they're going to put down a new safety surface and reopen the playground as is for temporary use for the next couple of years," said Cohen. "I don't know if the MTA reconstruction will interfere with that."   


Given what happened to the existing playground, the Conservancy is re-evaluating the Gehry design to make it more resilient. A technical architect hired to draw up implementation plans for the Gehry concept is "redefining the constraints," said Cohen. "They just shared that with the Gehry people so we'll be going forward with the Gehry people to adjust their design to take into account water management and storm surge. We're very excited about the direction this is going. We hope that the play space will ultimately serve as an educational facility for what the techniques are for water and storm management."


The original price for the Gehry design was $12 million, with $8 million of that already set aside from  public and private contributions. Cohen said that it was possible that the price tag would come down.


"The constraints created by the water management needs limit the number of items that can go in the space because you need to be able to sponge up the water," she said. "That might reduce some costs."


She said that she expects the new playground would open in 2017 or early 2018. But, as poet Robert Burns once wrote, "The best-laid schemes of mice and men gang aft agley."  


Snow, ice, flooding, the MTA taking longer with the South Ferry subway station than it currently anticipates? anything could happen.


 - Terese Loeb Kreuzer

Four- to six-foot-tall berms have been proposed for Battery Park.
(Photo: Terese Loeb Kreuzer) 


Bits & Bytes  

"Big tenants take huge shine to downtown," Crain's New York Business, 3/3/14. "The city's largest office tenants showed a marked preference for leasing space in lower Manhattan last year," says Crain's New York Business. "Of the 10 biggest deals of 2013, four came from downtown, according to a list compiled by CoStar Group Inc. That includes the largest of them all, Citigroup's renewal of its lease for 2.6 million square feet of space it occupies in a two-building complex on Greenwich Street in TriBeCa." For the complete article, click here.

This $2.7M Penthouse Is Dwarfed By Its Own Terrace,, 3/3/14: Whoever buys the 1,550-square-foot two bedroom, two-and-a-half bath penthouse at 59 John St. better invite the neighbors to their parties if they want to keep the neighbors from grousing. There are sure to be lots of parties, especially in summer. Why else buy a penthouse with an 1,821-square-foot terrace, larger than the apartment itself? According to, "it appears to be directly bordered by the windows from a dozen or so apartments in a neighboring building." For the complete article with photos, click here.

Construction continues at Brookfield Place:
Demolition of the facade of the south lobby of 225 Liberty St. (formerly known as 2 World Financial Center) starts today, March 3, and will continue on weekdays from 2 p.m. to 8 p.m. for the next four to five weeks if all goes well. The schedule is weather dependent. The work entails the demolition of existing glass, mullions and support steel. 

"It will not generate the amount of noise compared to the work over the past few  weekends," said Christian Heimple, director of construction for Brookfield Office Properties.  Contact Peter Krokondelas at (212) 285-1800 with questions or concerns.

"The Underground Railroad in New York City," Walks of New York, 2/25/14. "The Underground Railroad, a network of safe havens that helped American slaves escape captivity, ran directly through New York City," says a blog called "Walks of New York" written by Jeff Dobbins. Though slavery was outlawed in New York State in 1827, assisting a runaway slave was a crime. "Out of safety, New York's Underground Railroad was concealed," says Dobbins. Several stops on the Underground Railroad were in lower Manhattan, including David Ruggles' home at 36 Lispenard St. (at the corner of Church Street). The home of Rev. Theodore Wright at 235 West Broadway (at the corner of White Street) was also a refuge as was 143 Nassau St., which once housed the offices of the New York Anti-Slavery Society. "Harriet Tubman sometimes stopped there to obtain train or boat tickets while escorting her 'passengers' to freedom," Dobbins says. For the complete article, click here.

New York harbor
The historic fireboat, John J. Harvey (Photo: Terese Loeb Kreuzer)

John J. Harvey, the historic and heroic fireboat that came out of retirement to help douse the flames of the Sept. 11, 2001 World Trade Center attack, has been in serious need of repair for some time. With donations of $142,000 in hand, the J.J. Harvey went into a shipyard on Feb. 25, but is still $23,000 short of the $165,000 it would need to obtain a matching grant from Save America's Treasures.

However, that goal is within sight. Last week, the New York Landmarks Conservancy offered a $7,500 grant to restore the boat's main deck if the John J. Harvey can match that donation before the boat leaves the shipyard in mid-March.

John J. Harvey was built in 1931 and named for FDNY pilot John J. Harvey who was killed aboard fireboat Thomas Willett while fighting a fire aboard the North German Lloyd Line's SS Muenchen on Feb. 11, 1930. At 130 feet and 268 gross tons, she is among the most powerful fireboats ever in service, capable of pumping up to 18,000 gallons of water a minute. In addition to serving on 9/11, Harvey assisted during such notable fires as the Cunard Line pier fire in 1932, the burning of the Normandie in 1942, and the ammunition ship El Estero during World War II. She served the FDNY until her retirement in 1994.

For more information about the John J. Harvey or to learn how to donate to her restoration, click here.

The nozzles of the historic fireboat, John J. Harvey, pointing toward the World Trade Center and Brookfield Place in Battery Park City. On Sept. 11, 2001, the John J. Harvey came out of retirement to pump water on the World Trade Center fires for four days. (Photo: Terese Loeb Kreuzer)

Letter to the editor
The Seaport Working Group's first meeting on Feb. 27.
(Photo: The Seaport Working Group)

To the editor:
(RE: "Seaport Working Group holds first meeting," Downtown Post NYC, 2/28/14): I don't how any "Working Group" can be considered legitimate if two of the major players, e.g. the South Street Seaport Museum and the New Amsterdam Market, are not represented. Robert LaValva [founder of the New Amsterdam Market] and Jonathan Boulware [interim president of the South Street Seaport Museum] should certainly be a part of any legitimate Working Group that has even a non-binding input on the fate of the South Street Seaport neighborhood. It appears my worst fears are being realized, and it's only the first meeting. 
Beth Childs 

West Street aka Route 9A. CB1's Battery Park City Committee will get an update on West Street construction and access at its meeting on March 4. 
(Photo: Terese Loeb Kreuzer)

All Community Board 1 meetings take place in the CB1 office, 49-51 Chambers St., Room 709 unless otherwise indicated and start at 6 p.m. Bring photo ID to enter the building. All are welcome to attend.

March 4: Battery Park City Committee  

Place: Battery Park City Library, 175 North End Ave. Time: 6 p.m.

* Battery Park City Authority - Update by Robin Forst, Vice President for External Relations
* 22 Battery Place, application for liquor license for Pier A Battery Park Associates LLC - Resolution
* Downtown Little League, 2014 Opening Day street activity permit application for Warren Street between North End Ave. and West Street, Sunday, April 5, 2014, 9 a.m. to noon - Resolution
* Route 9A - Update by George Calderaro
* Noise from ferries in Battery Park City - Update

The following notices have been received for renewal, upgrade, or transfer of wine and beer or liquor licenses or sidewalk cafe permits: 28 West St., renewal application for a sidewalk café license for Osteria Casano LLC

March 5: Financial District Committee
* The National Parks of New York Harbor, Presentation by Commissioner Joshua Laird and Superintendent Patti Reilly, National Park Service
* Broadway Reconstruction Project - Update
* Hampton Jitney Bus - Update by Patrick Condren, Associate
* 50 West Street - Update
* 2nd Annual 9/11 Memorial 5K and Family Day - Presentation by Cathy Blaney, 9/11 Memorial Executive Vice President of Development
* Governor's Island, Liggett Terrace, application for wine and beer license for Salmon East Seven Corp d/b/a Little Eva's - Resolution
* Governor's Island, King Road, application for liquor license for Salmon East Seven Corp d/b/a Little Eva's - Resolution
* 8 Liberty Place, application for wine and beer license for 8 Liberty Place INC d/b/a/ Asia Saigon - Resolution
* Street permit application by Oysterfest on Saturday, September 20, 2014, on Stone Street between Hanover and Broad Streets, on Mill Lane between South William and Stone Streets, on Hanover Street between Pearl and Williams Streets - Resolution
* Street permit applications by Lead Dog Marketing Group Inc. (911 Memorial Family Day Block Party) on Saturday, April 27, 2014, on Greenwich Street between Cortland and Liberty Streets - Resolution

The following notices have been received for renewal, upgrade, or transfer of wine and beer or liquor licenses or sidewalk café permits:
* Battery Gardens, opposite 17 State St., renewal application for restaurant liquor license for Battery Wave, LLC
* 94 ˝ Greenwich Street, renewal application for restaurant wine and beer license for De Novo New York INC d/b/a/ Café de Novo
* 55 Liberty St., renewal application for restaurant liquor license for Liberty Knights LLC d/b/a/ Pound & Pence
* 55 Wall St., GC Ballroom Operator, renewal application for restaurant liquor license for Cipriani Wall Street
* 11 Wall Street, Compass LCS, LLC, renewal application for restaurant liquor license

March 6: Planning Committee
* Senior population update - Julie Sophonpanich, CB1 Urban Fellow

CALENDAR: Week of March 3
Victoria Woodhull (1838-1927) opened the first female-owned brokerage on Wall Street, fought for women's rights, started a newspaper and ran for President of the United States. Learn more about her on a walking tour sponsored by the Municipal Art Society
on March 8, International Women's Day.

March 3: Every Monday at 1 p.m., "Bach at One" at Trinity Church. A weekly service featuring the music of Johann Sebastian Bach's cantatas. These services present Bach's cantatas in a liturgical context, returning these miniature, oratorio-like works to their original purpose. Today: Bach BWV 232 Missa in H-Moll, (Credo-Agnus Dei), Marsh Chapel Choir and Collegium, Scott Allen Jarrett, conductor. Place: Trinity Church at Broadway and Wall Streets. Time: 1 p.m. Free.
For more information, click here.

March 4: "After the Music Stopped, a talk, book signing and reception with Wall Street Journal columnist and former vice chairman of the Federal Reserve Board, Alan Blinder, on his award-winning book on the financial crisis. Place: Museum of American Finance, 48 Wall St. Time: 5:30 p.m. Tickets: $15. For more information and tickets, click here.

March 5: "Unclean Lips: Obscenity, Jews and American Culture" with author Josh Lambert at the Museum of Jewish Heritage. Lambert considers how Jews, as opponents of censorship and champions of free expression, have played a key role in the history of America's decency laws. Place: 36 Battery Place. Time: 7 p.m. Tickets: $15; $12 (members). For more information, click here.

March 5: "Voices of Freedom" is a lunchtime music series in the Winter Garden at Brookfield Place honoring Women's History Month. Celebrating the life and work of jazz pianist and radio host Marian McPartland, hear Emily Bear (piano) and Peter Slavov (bass). Place: 220 Vesey St. Time: 12:30 p.m. Free.

March 6:
Jack Kleinsinger's Highlights in Jazz 2014 at the Tribeca Performing Arts Center presents a salute to Ken Peplowski with Bucky Pizzarelli, Houston Person, Derek Smith, Nicki Parrott, Chuck Redd and guest of honor, Ken Peplowski. Place: 199 Chambers St. Time: 8 p.m. Tickets: $45. For more information, click here

March 7: Brooklyn Women's Chorus at the Tribeca Performing Arts Center. The Brooklyn Women's Chorus is a community chorus that was formed in October 1997 by Park Slope resident and musician, Bev Grant. The chorus has a repertoire ranging from South African freedom songs to socially relevant songs by contemporary American songwriters like Garth Brooks, Jackson Browne, Pat Humphries and Bev Grant, herself. Place: 199 Chambers St., Room S110C. Time: 8 p.m. Tickets: $15. For more information, click here.

March 8: Walking tour with the Municipal Art Society: "The Hidden Impact of Women on Downtown Manhattan." Developed by the award-winning non-profit news service Women's eNews, this tour celebrates women's contributions to our city and society. Join guide Rita Henley Jensen, founder and editor-in-chief of Women's eNews, as she highlights pioneer writers, agitators, abolitionists, suffragists and those we now call activists, as well as three heroes who gave their lives on September 11, 2001. Meeting place provided on ticket purchase. Tickets: $20; $15, Municipal Art Society members. For more information, click here.

March 9:
"Purim Playground with the Macaroons," a family program at the Museum of Jewish Heritage, featuring Purim-related melodies and pop rock. Costumes are encouraged. For ages 3 to 10. Place: 36 Battery Place. Time: 2 p.m., concert. 1 p.m. to 4 p.m., crafts for children. 1:30 p.m., family friendly tours. Tickets: $10, $7 children 10 and under; museum members,  $7, $5 children 10 and under. For more information, click here.   
March 9: The last outing for this year of the New York Audubon Society's "Winter Seals and Waterbirds of New York Harbor" cruise, offered in partnership with New York Water Taxi. The two-hour cruise to see birds and seals that are only here in the winter leaves 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 14: 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. Place: Poets House, 10 River Terrace. Free. For more information, including hours, 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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