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News and Events
in Lower Manhattan
Volume 1, No. 38  March 12, 2014

Quote of the day:
"It's very frustrating to have a very clear picture of what's happening, and to know that whatever the Department of Education is allotting us is so far behind." - Diana Switaj, CB1's director of land use and planning, on the inadequate number of public school seats in Community District 1

* A population increase and rising birth rates in lower Manhattan spell disaster for public schools
* Battery Park City in bloom: Winter aconite, witch hazel and snowdrops
* Bits & Bytes: Brookfield Place dining; real estate sales; a condo at the Ritz on the auction block
* Community Board 1 meetings
* Calendar

Masthead photo: A robin and snowdrops in Battery Park City. March 12, 2014.
(Photo: Terese Loeb Kreuzer)


Birth rates in Community District 1, south of Canal Street, are rising.
(Photo: Terese Loeb Kreuzer)


Like watching an approaching tsunami, Community Board 1 planners have been eyeing the population statistics and the birth rates in lower Manhattan and they know they're looking at a  disaster. Already, there are not enough public school seats for the district's kindergarten students. The Department of Education (DOE) has done nothing to mitigate the problem. In the next few years, the situation will get worse.


Diana Switaj, CB1's land use and planning director, made a presentation to New York State Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver's School Overcrowding Task Force on Feb. 27 that clearly spelled out what's going on. New York City Schools Chancellor Carmen Farina wasn't there but members of the Department of Education staff were present.  


"They didn't respond specifically to this presentation," said Switaj. "They were mostly there to listen."


This is what they heard.  


Community District 1 is roughly the area south of Canal Street, with a few cutouts. It occupies 1.5 square miles.


According to the U.S. Census, the population of Community District 1 grew 77 percent between 2000 and 2010. The next highest population growth in New York City's 59 community districts was 18 percent. "We have grown much faster than any other community district in New York City and faster than the New York City average of 3.2 percent," said Switaj.   


Between 2000 and 2010, the population of children up to age 19 decreased by 7.3 percent in New York City as a whole. In that same period, it increased in Community District 1 by 83.6 percent. The actual numbers increased from 5,092 children to 9,353 children in that age range.


There was particularly large growth in the number of children up to the age of 9.


Much of that increase took place in Tribeca and the Financial District. In Tribeca, the increase in the number of children aged 0 to 4 was 196 percent compared with an increase in all of Manhattan of 7 percent. The number of children aged 5 to 9 increased 69 percent in that same period, compared with a decrease of 16.4 percent in all of Manhattan.


In the Financial District, the statistics were even more unsettling. There was an increase of 242 percent in the numbers of children age 0 to 4 and an increase of 158 percent in the numbers of children age 5 to 9.


At one time, Community Board 1 thought that the DOE was going to build 1,000 new school seats in lower Manhattan in the next few years. The DOE changed its mind. Now there will be one new school, not two. 


"A school has been authorized for Community District 1, but we don't know where it will go," said Switaj. "We do know that there's a gigantic need in the Financial District." She said that the new school might open in 2018 at the earliest. 


There are now around 400 kindergarten seats officially available in Community District 1, but all of the schools are operating over capacity. A school on Peck Slip in the South Street Seaport is supposed to open in 2015, which would increase the official capacity to 475 seats.


The kindergarten enrollment in Community District 1 schools in 2013 already equals what the capacity will be in 2015. In other words, when the Peck Slip school opens, it will already have simply filled present needs and not the needs that are known to await in that year. "We're already behind," said Switaj. "By the time that school opens, we'll already have a problem."


Some birth data just released by the Department of Health add to the worries.   


In 2010 and 2011, it seemed possible that the number of births in lower Manhattan was leveling off or might even be dropping. "Now we know that it's not," said Switaj. 


There were 1,191 live births in Community District 1 in 2012 compared with 1,087 in 2011 and 1,086 in 2010.


The compound growth rate for births in Community District 1 is 8.6 percent - which means that in absolute numbers there will be many more births each year than in the previous year.


Projecting forward, when there's enough room for parents to send their children to school, it can be assumed that 60 percent of the children born in any given year in Community District 1 will apply to enroll in kindergarten when they are five years old, Switaj explained. This is known as the "birth yield rate."


"The birth yield drops when people are forced away because there's not enough room," she said.


Using the birth yield rate, there would be 778 children who needed kindergarten seats in Community District 1 by 2018, when a new school is projected to open. The capacity in 2018 will be 550 seats. So there is a shortage just in that year of 228 kindergarten seats.


"People are going to move away if there's no room for them in the schools," said Switaj. "It's very frustrating to have a very clear picture of what's happening, and to know that whatever the Department of Education is allotting us is so far behind."


 - Terese Loeb Kreuzer 



Battery Park City in bloom

Winter aconite blooming on Rector Place in Battery Park City.
(Photos: Terese Loeb Kreuzer)


It has been a long winter, but Battery Park City is finally awakening to spring. Winter aconite (Eranthis hymelis) is blooming on Rector Place. Witch hazel (Hamamelis 'Arnold Promise') is flowering at the entrance to South Cove at the Third Place cul-de-sac. Another species, Hamamelis

Snowdrops in South Cove. 

vernalis, with small, fragrant flowers, is growing in Teardrop Park. Snowdrops are ubiquitous  in South Cove and are popping up along the esplanade. Blue jays forage on the ground and then retreat to the trees. Robins search for worms. Pigeons, catholic in their culinary tastes, are courting. The world is warming up and aflutter.


Witch hazel is particularly interesting. There are three North American species. One of them, Hamamelis virginiana, has medicinal uses. As the Native Americans of this region knew, the leaves and bark can produce an astringent that can be applied to sores, bruises and swelling. It has also been used as a remedy for psoriasis, eczema, cracked and blistered skin and to treat insect bites and poison ivy.


- Terese Loeb Kreuzer


Witch hazel blooming in South Cove. 


Bits & Bytes  

Hudson Eats, with 14 food vendors, is slated to open at Brookfield Place next month.


"Behind the Plywood at FiDi Gamechanger Brookfield Place,", 3/11/14. "Le District" is the name of the 25,000-square-foot French food market now under construction at Brookfield Place, with an opening slated for later this year. "There is space for six new stand-alone restaurants, joining P.J. Clarke's, which is already open in the complex," says, whose reporter got a tour of the construction site. "Parenthetically, the Institute of Culinary Education (ICE) will be relocating its campus to Brookfield Place from the Flatiron District next year, bringing thousands of culinary students to the area. But first out of the box will be a collection of some of NYC's most celebrated fast casual and street food restaurants, which will share 35,000 square feet of communal space overlooking the Hudson River. The project, set to open next month, is called Hudson Eats" with 14 vendors." For the complete article, click here.    


"Harbor Group in contract to buy 55 Broadway for $157M," The Real Deal, 3/10/14. "Virginia-based private real estate investment firm Harbor Group International is in contract to buy the 361,000-square-foot office building One Exchange Plaza in the Financial District from Broad Street Development," according to The Real Deal. "Daniel Blanco - a principal at Broad Street Development, which develops, owns and manages properties - bought the 31-story building at 55 Broadway in 2006 for $82 million, property records show. The property, located near Exchange Place Alley, is now expected to sell for about $157 million, or nearly $440 per square foot, a source said." For the complete article, click here.

"Condo building flip: $13M in just four months," Crain's New York Business, 3/12/14. "A broken condo-conversion deal in lower Manhattan that was one of the last lingering casualties of the recession has turned into a quick-and sizable-profit for the firm that won the rights to buy it late last year," says Crain's New York Business. "Madison Realty Capital, a real estate lender and investment firm founded by Josh Zegen and Brian Shatz, sold the residential building 45 John St. for $60 million on Tuesday to an investor named Chaim Miller, who is acquiring the property with a group of partners. That's $13 million more than Madison Realty Capital agreed to pay in November for the building, which has 84 unfinished and unsold condo units that have been in limbo since the property went into default in 2009 during the depths of the downturn." For the complete article, click here.

"Jose Garces Opening Brookfield Place Restaurant,"
Grub Street, 3/11/14. A few decades ago, Philadelphia was a place where you could hardly get a decent restaurant meal unless you went to Le Bec Fin or Bookbinders. Now Philly is exporting its star chefs. Citing Florence Fabricant in The New York Times, Grub Street reports that, "acclaimed Philadelphia chef Jose Garces will open his first New York City restaurant at Brookfield Place, the enormous mixed-use complex about to debut in lower Manhattan." For the complete article, click here.

"Downtown Ritz-Carlton condo goes on the block," Crain's New York Business, 3/12/14. "A condominium at the Ritz-Carlton New York, Battery Park will be hitting the auction block next month, marking one of the few times a luxury residence goes out to bid in New York City," says Crain's New York Business. Crain's quotes John Cuticelli, chairman at Sheldon Good Luxury Residences, which is handling the sale of the 29th floor residence at 10 West St., near the corner of One Place as saying that "Luxury auctions have been extremely rare in this economic cycle." In fact, says Crain's, "Auctions of residential properties in the five boroughs are scarce compared to other U.S. cities." For the complete article, click here.


A kayaker on the Hudson River. Pier 26 formerly had a boathouse staffed by volunteers, with free kayaking. The boathouse is on the agenda of CB1's Tribeca Committee.  (Photo: Terese Loeb Kreuzer)

All Community Board 1 meetings are held at 49-51 Chambers St., Room 709 starting at 6 p.m., unless otherwise indicated. All are welcome to attend.

March 12: Tribeca Committee
* Pier 26 Boathouse - Update by Nicole Dooskin, Hudson River Park Trust.
* Heritage of Pride June 2014 events on Pier 26, Hudson River Park - Update by Chris Frederick, Managing Director
* Megu, 62-66 Thomas St. - Discussion about upcoming renewal of liquor license
* Chambers Street Reconstruction Project - Update
* Hudson Street Water Main Project - Update
* 56 Leonard St. - Update by Sharon Stern, Community/Public Relations Liaison, Project Management & Construction, Lend Lease
* 305 Church St., application for renewal of sidewalk cafe for Los Americanos - Resolution
* 353 Greenwich St., application for liquor license for liquor license for Dahlia's Mexican Restaurant Inc. - Resolution
* 65 West Broadway, application for alteration of operating hours for 65 West Broadway Restaurant LLC, d/b/a Saleya - Resolution
* Spring Studios - Discussion with David Hemphill, Spring Studios and Bradford J. Gonzalez-Sussman, Associate, Pitta & Giblin LLP
The following notices have been received for renewal, upgrade, or transfer of wine and beer or liquor licenses or sidewalk cafe permits:

460 Greenwich St., renewal application for restaurant liquor license for Tecton Café Inc. d/b/a Sosa Borella aka Estancia 460
121 Hudson St., application for renewal of liquor license for MC Tribeca, LLC d/b/a Mr. Chow
100 Lafayette St., application for tavern liquor license renewal for 100 Lafayette Street LTD, d/b/a Santos Party House
13-17 Laight St., application for renewal of restaurant liquor license for Tribeca Cinemas LLC
·         450 Washington St., renewal of restaurant liquor license for Pachanga Inc. d/b/a Fika
March 13: Landmarks Committee
* 15 Jay St., application for sixth floor addition - Resolution
* 136 Beekman St., application for rooftop addition - Resolution
* 18 Broad St., application for installation new door - Resolution
* 35 Lispenard St., application for storefront alteration - Resolution

CALENDAR: Week of March 10
Last call: An exhibit at Poets House in Battery Park City about the life and work of poet Lucille Clifton closes on Friday, March 14. (Photo: Terese Loeb Kreuzer)

March 13: A 90-minute walking tour of the Financial District: "History of Wall Street," leaves from the Museum of American Finance.  $15 per person includes the tour, admission to the museum and a Lunch and Learn talk with Eswar Prasad, Cornell University professor and a Senior Fellow at the Brookings Institution. Tour: 11 a.m.-12:30 p.m. Talk: Eswar Prasad on "The Dollar Trap: How the US Dollar Tightened Its Grip on Global Finance," 12:30 p.m.-1:30 p.m. Place: 48 Wall St. Tickets: $15. For more information or to buy tickets, click here.

March 16:
In a series of Sunday concerts called "Lamentatio," Trinity Wall Street presents six performances of early Renaissance music juxtaposed with contemporary music. The second concert features Golijov's Tenebrae for string quartet, clarinet and soprano; Barber's Adagio;  Nathan Shields' Tenebrae for harp and string quartet and Messiaen's Quatuor pour la fin du temps performed by the Choir of Trinity Wall Street, NOVUS NY, Decoda and the Choir of Merton College, Oxford. Place: Trinity Church, Broadway at Wall Street. Time: 5 p.m. Tickets: $25. For more information or to buy tickets, click here. Concerts every Sunday through April 13.

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.

Reserve now for Saturday, March 15:
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 should be made now. 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.

Block Party Workshop at Bowne Printers, 211 Water St., 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. On March 15, resident printer Ali Osborn will teach the basics of carving and printing linoleum blocks. Come to the workshop with a couple of ideas for images and learn how to transfer your design from block to paper. At the end of the workshop, everyone's designs will be locked up together (you'll find out exactly what that means) and printed on the South Street Seaport Museum's vintage Vandercook press. Each student will go home with their block, individual prints and one poster of everyone's prints together. All materials supplied. 10 person limit. Fee: $50; $45 (South Street Seaport Museum members). Email [email protected] or call (646) 628-2707 for reservations. $15 non-refundable deposit for materials due by March 12.


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Editor: Terese Loeb Kreuzer

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