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News and Events
in Lower Manhattan
Volume 1, No. 49  April 7, 2014

Quote of the day:
"I think the developer and the City are listening now." - Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer on the deliberations of the Seaport Working Group, which is trying to hammer out consensus on the future of the South Street Seaport.

* Manhattan Borough President Brewer breaks the mold
* Downtown Little League's sunny opening day
* Bits & Bytes: Staten Island ferry safety; free bikes on Governors Island; Kids Academy
* Pen Parentis is an inspiration for writers with kids
* Community Board 1 meetings
* Calendar

For breaking news, go to

Opening day of the Downtown Little League season. April 5, 2014. (Photo: Terese Loeb Kreuzer)

Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer at a briefing session for online journalists covering Manhattan news. (Photo: Terese Loeb Kreuzer)

Not within anyone's memory had a Manhattan borough president invited journalists to pay a get-acquainted visit - and fed them coffee and Danish - and answered their questions. That's what happened on April 3 when Gale Brewer spent an hour with some of the people who cover the news of lower Manhattan, the Lower East Side, Harlem and borough-wide transportation.

This was not the first time that, Brewer, installed in January as Manhattan borough president, had done something unusual.

For one thing, fresh off of 12 years as a member of City Council representing the Upper West Side of Manhattan, she is continuing to partner with City Council members to introduce legislation - an activity that she described as, "One of the little known aspects of the Borough President's job responsibilities."

Currently, there are more than 35 bills that she is actively working to pass. The expansion of paid sick leave, recently enacted, was one of her projects. She also has been behind bills, now in chambers, that would provide harassment protection during building conversions, that would prohibit employment discrimination based on an individual's status as a caregiver, that would expand the number of accessible crosswalk pedestrian signals for the sight-impaired and more - much more.

The lack of much affordable housing is, of course, high on her agenda of issues to address. The problem in Manhattan is particularly acute. Compared with the other boroughs, "We have little land and it's expensive," she said.

She said that it was necessary to focus on land use and zoning, and that advance planning is critical.
"As borough president, we'd like to look at some of the big projects and say that we'd like to start planning now," she said.

She specifically mentioned the South Street Seaport, where a "working group" of residents, businesses, the city, the developer (The Howard Hughes Corporation) and elected officials are trying to hammer out consensus on the Seaport's future.

"We're hopefully optimistic," she said. "It's never been done before in this kind of way. The administration is participating. We've had presentations from different agencies and also we have Councilmember [Margaret] Chin."


Both Brewer and Chin would have to weigh in on a ULURP (Uniform Land Use Review Procedure) to enact the changes in the Seaport's zoning that would be necessary were Howard Hughes' initial proposal for a 50-story luxury tower on the site of the New Market building and other changes to be implemented. 


"I think the developer and the city are listening now," said Brewer. "The proof will be in the pudding, when it's all over, to see if we end up with a plan that we have consensus on."


She said that everybody has been working together. "Good information is exchanged. I'm hopeful. We want it to work, not just for the South Street Seaport and lower Manhattan but also because it would help with other [developments] such as Madison Square Garden and other places."


She said there was no time limit right now on the deliberations, but it wouldn't be years as was the case with Seward Park. "Everything is advisory," she said. "We're still working through everything. I think it's going to work out. I want the same thing that everybody in the neighborhood wants, but I want it in a way that everybody can agree to."


- Terese Loeb Kreuzer 



The opening day of Downtown Little League with Bernie Williams, who played for the New York Yankees. (Photos: Terese Loeb Kreuzer)

April 5, the opening day of Downtown Little League's 22nd season, was sunny, the speeches were short and the kids and many of their elders were thrilled to meet Bernie Williams, who played for the New York Yankees and was a four-time World Series champion and a five-time All Star. After Williams threw the season's opening pitch, he signed autographs at the annual opening day carnival on Warren Street. A man dispensing free hot dogs gave out 700 wieners before he ran out, but there was plenty of free popcorn and cotton candy to stoke the kids for their afternoon games.

Most of the Downtown Little League games will be played on the Battery Park City ball fields, but the league also plays in Central Park, on Piers 25 and 40, in Rockefeller Park and at Corlears Hook. The season will conclude on June 22 with the championship games.

There are 76 teams this year, and 1,073 players - the most ever. - Terese Loeb Kreuzer

For more photos, click here.

A girl hugged Scooter, the mascot for the Staten Island Yankees.
(Photo: Terese Loeb Kreuzer) 

Bernie Williams signing autographs on the opening day of the Downtown Little League season. (Photo: Terese Loeb Kreuzer) 


Bits & Bytes  

Staten Island ferries said to be unsafe. (Photo: Terese Loeb Kreuzer)


In back to back stories, the New York Post reported that there are serious problems with the Staten Island ferries. "SI Ferry captain warns: the ships are ticking time bombs," (4/6/14) stated that the eight Staten Island Ferry boats "that carry 60 million people every year are ill-designed, poorly maintained safety hazards," according to a ferry boat captain. The Post said that this captain alleged that "the ferries are plagued by poorly performing batteries, or phase cells. They often fail, resulting in the shutdown of one or more of the four 'drives' that are linked to propellers, making it at times impossible to slow, or even stop, the boat." The Post noted that, "In the past 11 years, there have been at least eight ferry mishaps, including six linked to mechanical failures." In a second article,  "Ferry riders shocked over boats' alleged unseaworthiness," (4/7/14), the Post quoted the ferry captain as saying that the vessels are barely seaworthy "and the most dangerous boats in the fleet are the three newest ones, which the city purchased in 2005 for $140 million. Ironically, the John F. Kennedy boat - the oldest, having been commissioned in 1965 - is considered the most dependable." The Post said that, "The DOT has said all ferryboats have been certified to run by the Coast Guard."

Governors Island will be open daily with free bikes:
This season, for the first time, Governors Island will be open daily with 30 acres of new parkland for the public to explore. Blazing Saddles has again been awarded a contract to provide bicycle service on the island. In addition, people can bring their own bikes to Governors Island if they wish. From 10 a.m. to noon, Mondays to Fridays, bicycles will be available free for one hour of use. Blazing Saddles has bicycles for kids as well as for adults plus tandems and quadracycles. Governors Island will be open this year from May 26 to September 28. There will be a charge for the ferry service this year. It will cost $2 for adults, round trip and $1 for seniors. Children under the age of 12 ride free. For more information, click here.

"De Blasio Taps New Cultural Affairs Commissioner," Wall Street Journal, 4/6/14. "Mayor Bill de Blasio has tapped Tom Finkelpearl, the president and executive director of the Queens Museum, as the city's next cultural-affairs commissioner," says the Wall Street Journal. "Mr. Finkelpearl, now 58 years old, served under Mayor David Dinkins and Mayor Rudy Giuliani as director of New York City's Percent for Art program, which supports artwork in city-funded construction projects. Later, as deputy director of the P.S.1 Contemporary Art Center in Long Island City, Queens, he helped broker the merger of P.S.1 and the Museum of Modern Art." Of direct relevance to lower Manhattan, as the Wall Street Journal notes, Finkelpearl may "play a key role in determining the fate of the South Street Seaport Museum, which has been in limbo since its board was taken over last year by Bloomberg administration officials, and the planned Performing Arts Center at the World Trade Center." For the complete article, click here.

RFP issued for Wavertree repairs: For people who keep an eye on the Wavertree, the South Street Seaport Museum's iron-hulled sailing ship, built in 1885, City Record states that an RFP has just been issued for the ship's stabilization and restoration. Optional pre-bid conferences will take place on April 28 and April 29 at the Wavertree, which is docked at Pier 15. Bids are due back on May 29 at 2 p.m. For more information, click here.

Old Seaport Alliance Launches 'Kids Academy': Kids, ages 5 to 12, can do something fun and constructive over spring vacation at the Old Seaport Alliance's Kids Academy. Under the tutelage of Old Seaport shop owners, they can learn how to "Build a Better Burger," "Know Your Gnocci," "Make Your Own Pizza" and other endeavors, most of which sound as though they will conclude with something very good to eat. The classes start April 12 and are one to two hours long. The cost is $25 per class. Parents can enjoy complimentary wine tastings while their offspring are in class, though kids under 7 will need an adult present. For more information, click here.


Milda De Voe, author, mother of two and co-founder of Pen Parentis.
 (Photo: Terese Loeb Kreuzer)

Pen Parentis is a forum for writers who are parents, founded in 2008 by Milda De Voe and her friend, Arlaina Tibensky, both of them, mothers and writers, and both of them at their wit's end "trying to keep creative having had children."

"Both jobs are 24/7," De Voe said. "If you get an idea at two in the morning, you'd better write it down or it's gone. And if your kid gets up and has a fever when you have a meeting with your agent, you'd better take care of the kid. So there's really a lot of conflict, over time, mostly, but also over your creativity, because, of course, your kids want you to be creative for them. If you spend your entire day being creative for your kids, then you're tired when it's time to work on your short story or your novel."

De Voe's children are now 11 and seven years old and things seem to have gotten easier in the time juggling department. De Voe continues to write and to publish her short stories. In addition, once a month between September and May, she is the impresario of a salon at which writers who are parents read excerpts from their work and talk about how they pulled it off.  


The salons are held at the Andaz Hotel, 75 Wall St. The next one, entitled "Writers on the Verge," is on Tuesday, April 8 at 7 p.m. with short story author and New York Fellow for the Arts, Sara Lippmann, Chicago writer Ben Tanzer, author of the novel "Orphans" and the essay collection "Lost in Space," and Caeli Wolfson Widger, whose debut novel, "Real Happy Family." came out in March. Julia Fierro, director of The Sackett Street Writers' Workshops and author of the forthcoming novel, "Cutting Teeth," will co-host.

The readings are free. Drinks are half price. All are welcome. For more information about Pen Parentis, click here.

- Terese Loeb Kreuzer 


On Tuesday, Community Board 1's Planning Committee will hear a report on the New York City Transit budget. (Photo: Terese Loeb Kreuzer)

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

April 8:      Youth & Education Committee
Meets at 49-51 Chambers St. in Room 501 at 6 p.m.

* The Office of Child Support Enforcement - Presentation by Dennis Frink, Outreach Specialist
* Build Schools Now - Update by Wendy Chapman and Buxton Midyette, BSN Volunteers
* CUNY BMCC Project REACH - Presentation by Chris Rosa, Ph.D., University Dean for Student Affairs
* Implications of the 2014 NY State Budget regarding Charter Schools - Leonie Haimson, Executive Director of Class Size Matters
* Church Street 72 Teen - Presentation

April 8:       Planning Committee

* World Trade Center Quarterly Update - Glenn Guzi, Port Authority of NYNJ
* Greek Church at World Trade Center - Update
* Seaport Working Group - Update by CB1
* NYC Transit Budget - Report by Zachary Campbell, Assistant Director of Government & Community Relations, MTA NYC Transit

April 9:        Tribeca Committee

* SoHo Rep Theater - Update by Cynthia Flowers, Executive Director
* Heritage of Pride June 2014 events on Pier 26, Hudson River Park - Update by Chris Frederick, Managing Director
* Hudson River Park safety - Update by Bob Townley and resolution
* 145 West Broadway, renewal application for a sidewalk café license for The Odeon Inc, d/b/a The Odeon - Resolution
* 22 Warren St., application for transfer of restaurant liquor license for LLC to be formed d/b/a TBD - Resolution
* Friends of Duane Park, street activity permit application for Duane Street between Hudson Street and Staple Street, Wednesday, June 18, 2014, 7 p.m. to 10 p.m., curb lane only - Resolution
* 50 Varick St., Spring Studios, request for a waiver of further notice - Vote
* 92 Laight St., application for Board of Standards and Appeals Special Permit for a physical culture establishment - Resolution
* 97 Reade St., application for Board of Standards and Appeals Special Permit for a physical culture establishment - Resolution
* 225 North Moore St. (boat docked at Pier 25), application for liquor license for Grand Banks LLC - Resolution
* 205 Hudson St., application for alteration of restaurant liquor license for AFNYC LLC d/b/a American Flatbread NYC - Resolution

The following notices have been received for renewal, upgrade, or transfer of wine and beer or liquor licenses or sidewalk cafe permits:
* 139 Duane St., application for renewal of restaurant liquor license for Strongfive LLC d/b/a Blaue Gans
* 135 Reade St., renewal application for a restaurant liquor license for The Reade Street Pub

CALENDAR: Week of April 7
An exhibit called "Smile! A Photo Anthology by VII" is in the Winter Garden at Brookfield Place through May 1.  (Photo: Terese Loeb Kreuzer)

April 8: Tuesday Talks at Asphalt Green Battery Park City continue with Dr. Seth Gopin discussing, "Cezanne, Van Gogh, Seurat, and Gauguin: Post-Impressionism and the East."  These influential late 19th-century painters reacted strongly against the art of the Impressionists and re-invented ways of portraying the world. All were greatly indebted to Japanese art. Their work laid the foundation for art in the 20th century. During his 30-year career at Rutgers University, Dr. Gopin was a lecturer in art history and dean of academic affairs. Place: 212 North End Ave. Time: Noon to 1 p.m. Fee: $22; $18 (members). For more information and tickets, click here.

April 8: A panel in conjunction with the International Stock Exchange Executives Emeriti (ISEEE) will discuss "Developments in the World Capital Markets" at the Museum of American Finance. The panel will be chaired by R. Cromwell Coulson, president and CEO of OTC Markets Group, and Nik Mohamed Din, former chairman of the Kuala Lumpur Stock Exchange. Panelists include Michel Maquil, Mohamed Abdel Salam, Ed Waitzer and Hannes Takacs. Place: 48 Wall St. Time: 5 p.m.-6:30 p.m. Free. For more information, click here.

April 8: Poets House presents "On the Edge" with Edwin Torres. A self-proclaimed "lingualisualist" rooted in the languages of sight and sound, Torres explores the tools poets use to extend past the seeming edges of language and to articulate the rich "between" spaces - between sound and definition, body and nation - that drive poetry in hidden, powerful ways. Place: 10 River Terrace. Time: 7 p.m. Fee: $10; $7 (students and seniors); free to Poets House members. For more information, click here.

April 10: On the eve of what would have been Seamus Heaney's 75th birthday, poet Tom Sleigh presents a discussion of the use of description in the beloved Irish poet's masterful poems, exploring and celebrating Heaney's humane marveling at the life of the senses and the natural surfaces of the world. Place: Poets House, 10 River Terrace. Time: 7 p.m. Fee: $10; $7 (students and seniors);  free to Poets House members. For more information, click here.

April 12: Leaving from Chelsea Piers, Classic Harbor Line offers Saturday and Sunday morning brunch cruises aboard its luxury yacht, Manhattan, from now through Oct. 12. The cruise of just under three hours, usually circumnavigates Manhattan. Passengers can sit in a cozy, glass-enclosed lounge or position themselves on the outdoor decks. A buffet includes bagels and pastries, fresh fruit, glazed ham, spring mix salad, stuffed quiche, a Belgian waffle station, smoked salmon, and turkey sausages.  One beverage in included (soda, juice, coffee, tea, beer, wine, champagne, Bloody Mary or Mimosa) with additional beverages available for purchase. Cost: $88/person. To buy tickets, click here.   


April 13:  In a series of six Sunday concerts called "Lamentatio," Trinity Wall Street presents  early Renaissance music juxtaposed with contemporary music. The sixth concert features the North American premiere of "The Passion of Our Lord Jesus Christ" by  Gabriel Jackson performed by NOVUS NY with the Choir of Trinity Wall Street and the Choir of Merton College Oxford,  Benjamin Nicholas conducting. Place: Trinity Church, Broadway at Wall Street. Time: 5 p.m. Tickets: $25. For more information or to buy tickets, click here.

Ongoing: An exhibit called "Smile! A Photo Anthology by VII" is in the Winter Garden at Brookfield Place. The exhibit of 84 photographs by award-winning photojournalists was drawn from work produced over a period of 30 years in 30 different countries. Place: 220 Vesey St. Time: 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. daily. Free. Through May 1. The public is invited to add smile photos to the exhibit by following @ArtsBrookfield on Instagram and Twitter and submitting your photo via Instagram and/or Twitter using hashtap #ShareMySmile. Also, answer in a few words, "What makes you smile?" Arts Brookfield will screen and add submissions on a rolling basis.
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: "Defining Lines: Maps from the 1700s and early 1800s" at the Fraunces Tavern
Museum. Twenty-seven maps provide a perspective on the evolving nation's place in history. A map from 1804, never before exhibited, shows the U.S. postal routes. Place: 54 Pearl St. Time: Noon to 5 p.m., daily. Admission fees: $7; $4 (seniors, students with ID, children, 6 to 8 years old. Children, 5 and under, free. Active military with ID, free. 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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