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News and Events
in Lower Manhattan
Volume 1, No. 35  March 5, 2014

Quote of the day:
"At stake is the future of this vibrant community." - From a white paper prepared by Community Board 1's Battery Park City Committee expressing its grievances with the Battery Park City Authority

* NY Rising meetings set priorities for lower Manhattan's share of Sandy recovery funds
* CB1's Battery Park City Committee attempts to mend fences with the BPCA
* South Street Seaport Museum: Tour the Seaport's Old Hotel
* Bits & Bytes: 55 Wall St. eyed for development; South Ferry subway station repair schedule
* Letters to the editor: The composition of the Seaport Working Group; a reader from Queens
* Community Board 1 meetings: Week of March 3
* Calendar

Masthead photo: Comments at one of the New York Rising meetings on March 1.
(Photo: Terese Loeb Kreuzer)


Jonas Siregar, a resident of the East Village, expressing his priorities at a New York Rising meeting for the $25 million allocated by New York State to plan for how and where to spend more than $500 million Community Development Block Grant-Disaster Recovery funds from the federal government. (Photo: Terese Loeb Kreuzer)


Three meetings in lower Manhattan this past weekend were convened to establish priorities for the $25 million allocated by New York State to study how to prepare for future storms in the communities most affected by Sandy, Hurricane Irene and Tropical Storm Lee. More than $500 million in Community Development Block Grant-Disaster Recovery funds from the federal government will be available to implement these plans. In addition, New York State will award at least $250 million of the State's FEMA-funded Hazard Mitigation Grant Program to New York Rising communities.


"There are more than 40 planning committees across the state," facilitator Cary Hirshstein told the people who turned out for the New York Rising meeting in the South Street Seaport, which was one of the communities most seriously afflicted.    

The New York City Region has 10 New York Rising Communities, distributed over four boroughs that sustained damage due to Superstorm Sandy. Five Communities are in Queens, three in Brooklyn, one in Manhattan and one in Staten Island.


The lower Manhattan district takes in the area below 14th Street from river to river. It covers Community Boards 1, 2 and 3 and neighborhoods that include the Financial District, South Street Seaport, Tribeca, Two Bridges, the Lower East Side, Alphabet City, Washington Square, Little Italy, Nolita, Chinatown, the East and West Villages, Greenwich Village, Soho, Hudson Square and the Meatpacking District.  


"People's priorities varied depending on where they live," said Catherine McVay Hughes, chair of Community Board 1 and co-chair of the New York Rising committee for lower Manhattan.  


Around 100 people attended the three planning sessions in lower Manhattan. They were asked to place red dots next to the items that they thought were most important. Emergency preparedness and small business resiliency topped the list, according to Hughes. Resident resiliency, storm water run-off improvement and flood mitgation/coastal protection were also deemed important.


The results of the planning sessions will be forwarded to the State next week.


- Terese Loeb Kreuzer 



Some of the members of Community Board 1's Battery Park City Committee.
(Photo: Terese Loeb Kreuzer)


Community Board 1's Battery Park City Committee used to have a good working relationship with the Battery Park City Authority, the New York State public benefit corporation that administers Battery Park City's 92 acres. That ended around three years ago, prompting the increasingly frustrated committee to prepare a white paper listing grievances for the board of directors and the senior managers of the BPCA to consider.   


At its March 4 meeting, the committee gave the paper to Robin Forst, the BPCA's newly appointed vice president of external relations, to deliver, asking for a response by May.   


The committee's statement said, "Our observation is that through its three recent troubled administrations, BPCA has exited the public arena and made decisions that could adversely affect the BPC community. At stake is the future of this vibrant community."   


The white paper noted that, "In 2010, the New York State Inspector General report outlined problems and abuses in the operation of the BPCA and since that time, there have been three BPCA CEOs. That turnover coupled with the completion of 25 years of development has left the BPCA ill prepared for its future role and mission."


Lacking information from the Authority, the committee said it "had no view of what projects the BPCA had funded and what impact its decisions will have on our lives."


Among other things, the committee asked for "an open process to redefine the mission of the BPCA with residents as key stakeholders" and an increase in the representation of Battery Park City residents on the BPCA's board of directors. At present only one member of the seven-person board actually lives in Battery Park City.  


The committee also asked for a review of the BPCA's new funding policy, which has cut off support from some local organizations that serve the community and have received funding in the past.


The question of affordable housing loomed large for the committee. Excess revenue from the Battery Park City Authority goes to fund affordable housing elsewhere in New York City. Within Battery Park City itself, the relatively few units of low- and middle-income housing will go to market rents within the next few years. "We need to preserve this local affordable housing by contributing our BPC funds to our own community," the committee said.  


Ironically, though the communication barriers erected by the Battery Park City Authority have been all but impenetrable in the last few years, Robin Forst's appointment already signals a change. In addition to being at last night's meeting, she has been accessible and responsive. She said she would attend future Community Board 1 Battery Park City Committee meetings whenever possible - a sign of a thaw - plus she has lived in Battery Park City for years.  


Moreover, Gwen Dawson, senior vice president of asset management for the Authority, was at last night's meeting to give a rundown on construction projects that she supervised in 2013 and the major projects on the agenda for 2014.


Though there were still many unanswered questions, this was a good beginning. "We are encouraged of late," said the committee in its white paper, "but much work must be done."


- Terese Loeb Kreuzer  



South Street Seaport Museum
The stairway in the old hotel, part of the South Street Seaport Museum.
(Photos: Terese Loeb Kreuzer)

Starting more than 200 years ago, the brick buildings on Schermerhorn Row in the South Street Seaport served the people of the "Street of Ships" - the tradesmen, the coffee and tea importers, the accountants, the ship owners, the seamen and salesmen looking for a cheap night's berth. They left their
Machinery for sorting coffee beans.

For decades, visitors to the South Street Seaport Museum's galleries at 12 Fulton St. were able to see the 19th-century graffiti on the walls, some of the old equipment for processing coffee, and most remarkably, remnants of Sweets Hotel and the Fulton Ferry Hotel, memorialized by the great Joseph Mitchell in his book, "Up in the Old Hotel."

As much as anything on display, the museum's buildings themselves were haunting and unforgettable.

Because of Superstorm Sandy damage, the museum's galleries at 12 Fulton St. have been closed since April 7, 2013, but this Saturday, March 8, museum members will again have a chance to see the faded wallpaper that covered the cubicles where the guests slept, the exposed lathes, the rickety, wooden stairs with a hand that points downward and the inscription, "Exit in case of fire." The laundry room is there and an old-fashioned mangle washing machine. A sign for the Fulton Ferry Hotel touts "bar & billiard & rooms."

The members-only guided tour will be led by Maria O'Malley, manager of the museum's collections. The meeting place will be provided with reservation confirmations. (The tour entails climbing stairs, with no elevator access.) To reserve, call (212) 748-8766 or email [email protected].

The Whaleship Essex: Just as most people today have heard about the sinking of the Titanic, in the 19th century, most people knew about the sinking of the whaleship Essex on Nov. 20, 1820 in the Pacific Ocean. The ship with a crew of 20 was rammed by an enraged sperm whale. The men set sail in three tiny boats for the South American coast, 4,500 miles away. They soon ran out of food and water, and drank seawater and their own urine. As some died, the others ate them. Eight men survived the ordeal, which inspired parts of Herman Melville's Moby-Dick.

Based on this harrowing story, "The Whaleship Essex" has been turned into a play with music at the Hudson Guild Theatre, 441 W. 26th St. It runs from March 6 to March 22, Thursday to Saturday at 8 p.m., Sundays at 3 p.m. and one Saturday, 2 p.m. performance on March 22. South Street Seaport Museum members can purchase tickets for $15. Use the SEAPORT promotional code. Tickets can be ordered by phone (212- 352-3101) with a $2 surcharge or online at

More programs for museum members are planned for April and May. For information about joining the museum, email [email protected]

- Terese Loeb Kreuzer

19th-century graffiti on the walls of the South Street Seaport Museum.

Bits & Bytes  
A natural beach under the Brooklyn Bridge on the Manhattan side will be transformed into a waterfront park. It is on an upcoming South Street Seaport walking tour organized by Open House New York.  (Photo: Terese Loeb Kreuzer)


"Developer wants to bring modernity to Broad Street tower," New York Post, 3/3/14: "Developer Bill Rudin is plotting the redevelopment of 55 Broad St. into a new, modern mixed-use tower," according to the New York Post. "Prompted by the diversification of downtown and a residential population beginning to pay top dollar for apartments, sources say the third-generation developer has already hired FXFOWLE to research the feasibility of redeveloping the current 35-story, 402-feet-tall office structure into a 53-story, 742 feet-tall mixed-use building. Such a building could include retail, technology-focused office space and ritzy apartments in an energy-efficient tower designed for the prominent site on the northeast corner of Broad and Beaver streets." For the complete article, click here.

Rebuilding the South Ferry subway station:
The South Ferry subway station was totaled by Superstorm Sandy on Oct. 29, 2012. In April, the Metropolitan Transportation Authority will issue a request for bids, with an award anticipated in July.  The MTA believes that the work will take two years and that the station can be reopened in the fall of 2016.

"The budget won't be finalized until the contract is actually awarded," said Kevin Ortiz, a spokesperson for the MTA. He said the money will come from federal Sandy Recovery funds.  

"The design is complete," he said.  "Contract documents are being readied for procurement."

Seaport Series: Repairing the Rift, a walking tour in the South Street Seaport organized by Open House New York (OHNY) won't take place until Saturday, March 15, but reservations will be taken starting this Friday, March 7 at 10 a.m. When the FDR elevated highway cut through the South Street Seaport in 1954, it had a profound impact on the feel and flow of the area. The tour will be led by WXY Architecture + Urban Design's Adam Lubinsky and artist and designer Yeju Choi. It will explore the proposed site of the Brooklyn Bridge Beach, part of the East River Blueway Plan, and the pop-up participatory installation Catch - & - Release, part of the Design/Relief initiative by AIGA New York, to understand how social and infrastructural strategies for addressing the void created by the FDR can work hand-in-hand to reconnect the neighborhood with its waterfront. Tickets,  $25; $15 OHNY (members). For more information and reservations, click here.

'Rilking' with Ariana Reines: Poets House at 10 River Terrace in Battery Park City is offering a special 10-week poetry-writing course with poet, playwright and translator Ariana Reines based on readings from poet Rainer Maria Rilke's extensive correspondence and works that will inspire the writing. The class is open to all levels. No application is needed, but registration is required; call (212) 431-7920 x12832 or email [email protected]. Register early - first come, first served. When: 10 Thursdays, March 13 to May 15, 6 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. Fee: $495. For more information about Poets House, click here.

"RFP for Operator of Battery Park's SeaGlass Carousel," Amusing the Zillion, 5/5/14. According to a blog called "Amusing the Zillion," the Battery Conservancy has issued an RFP (Request for Proposals) "for the operation and maintenance of the SeaGlass Carousel along with food and merchandise carts in Manhattan's Battery Park. There will be a recommended proposer meeting on March 11, with a due date for proposals on April 14." To download the RFP,  go to For the rest of the article, click here.

Letters to the editor
Fulton Street in the South Street Seaport, with an ice skating rink erected by The Howard Hughes Corporation in the foreground and landmarked Schermerhorn Row (built in 1811), where the South Street Seaport Museum has galleries, in the background. Howard Hughes is a member of the Seaport Working Group, but the museum is not. (Photo: Barbara Mensch)

To the editor:
(Re: "The Composition of the Seaport Working Group," Letter to the Editor, 3/3/14)
I second Beth Childs' letter. The [South Street Seaport] Museum and the [New Amsterdam] Market must be represented.

Eric Andersen

To the editor:
While I don't live or work in Lower Manhattan and only visit maybe six to 10 times per year, it is a most fascinating and dynamic community with its residential, commercial, historical, architectural, transportation and tourism components. This is why I like to receive news on events and developments there, including Governors Island.

I received my first issue of your publication tonight and enjoyed the content. One thing that I look for in email publication content is that it's not too lengthy. I didn't find that was the case in yours and I suppose, even if it was, it is the reader's choice whether or not to read it. I just like to keep my email inbox at zero (again, readers's choice).

The issues re: Battery Park, the SeaGlass Carousel, and the South Ferry Subway Station rebuild were all new news to me.

I wish you success in your latest endeavor.

David Abbey
Queens Village, NY

From the editor:
Thank you! If you know of others who might be interested in Downtown Post NYC, please tell them to sign up for a free subscription at 

The CB1 Financial District Committee hears about the National Parks of New York Harbor on March 5. There are 22 parks in this group, located in New York and New Jersey. They include Liberty, Ellis and Governors Islands, Coney Island, the Jamaica Bay Wildlife Refuge, Liberty State Park and more. (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 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
Dr. Ruth Westheimer, a board member of the Museum of Jewish Heritage in Battery Park City, at an exhibit called "Discovery and Recovery: Preserving Iraqi Jewish Heritage" that will be at the museum through May 18, 2014. (Photo: Terese Loeb Kreuzer)

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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