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News and Events
in Lower Manhattan
Volume 1, No. 52  April 14, 2014

Quote of the day:
"New York could not have become what it is today without the Seaport." - Archaeologist Alyssa Loorya, who has been excavating in the South Street Seaport for the last 10 years.

* Visiting Nurse Service withdraws financial support for TimeBank
* Battery Park City in bloom: Springtime in Rockefeller Park
* Bits & Bytes: Another WTC security breach; Jury selection for terror trial; Fireworks
* Archaeologists find hundreds of years of New York City history under the Seaport's streets
* Community Board 1 meetings: Week of April 14
* Calendar

For breaking news, go to

Crocus albus blooming in Rockefeller Park. April 10, 2014. (Photo: Terese Loeb Kreuzer)

A TimeBank Chinese tea party in Battery Park City. (Photo: Terese Loeb Kreuzer)

In a city where people are very busy and often don't know their neighbors, TimeBank filled a void. The premise of TimeBank is that members help other members when needed and ask for help when needed, with no money changing hands. The "bank" is simply the time exchanged. But now, after seven years, TimeBank has lost its financial support from the Visiting Nurse Service of New York and will close completely on May 31 unless another sponsor steps in.

"These are extremely challenging times in healthcare all around the country, with rapidly increasing costs and dramatic decreases of payments to healthcare agencies," said TimeBank's director, Mashi Blech. "It is with great regret that VNSNY has decided that it can no longer continue to operate the TimeBank."
In New York City, TimeBank members range in age from 4 to 100. TimeBank has been making a special effort to be a support network to older adults, many of them earning less than $15,000 a year. Approximately 70 percent of the members were born outside of the United States.

More than 1,000 people are affiliated with the Lower East Side TimeBank, with another 100 members in Battery Park City.

Battery Park City TimeBank events have included the "Foodie" group, that has been meeting in each other's apartments and sharing recipes, cooking skills and conviviality, a Sunday tai chi class, salsa lessons and potluck suppers. Members with carpentry skills repaired bookshelves for other members. Others gave computer and English lessons, visited the sick and homebound, taught memoir writing or took photographs on special occasions.   

Much of the TimeBank budget has been paying for bilingual and trilingual staff that recruit and screen members, fill individual member requests for service and arrange group activities. 

In announcing that the Visiting Nurse Service of New York was withdrawing its support, Blech asked for suggestions of organizations, corporations or individuals that might be interested in funding TimeBank. "Call 212-609-7811," she said, "or email" 

- Terese Loeb Kreuzer


Battery Park City in Bloom
Cornelian cherries blooming in Rockefeller Park. (Photo: Terese Loeb Kreuzer)

In a burst of color, spring has come to Rockefeller Park. Canada and brant geese have commandeered the lawn, fattening up for their flight northward. Crocuses in splashy hues turn toward the sun. Diminutive Puschkinia scilloides (striped squill) in pale shades of lavender parade among the green bushes.

Like many of Battery Park City's plants, Puschkinia have an exotic lineage. They are native to the Caucasus, Turkey, Iran and Lebanon and were named for Apollo Mussin-Pushkin, a Russian chemist and plant collector who lived in the 18th century.

Nearby, along the walkway bordering Tom Otterness' sculpture, "The Real World," Cornus mas (Cornelian cherry trees) are a mass of golden flowers.

These trees are particularly interesting. The wood is so dense that it will sink in water. Because of its strength, around 2,700 years ago, Greek craftsmen used it to make spears, javelins and bows.

The berries of Cornus mas ripen in mid- to late summer. In Eastern Europe and Iran, these berries are used to make jam or are boiled with sugar and bits of orange to make a sauce. The ancient Greeks, Romans and Persians wrote of these berries as being edible, with medicinal benefits. They are high in vitamin C. They were also known to the Chinese, who used them medicinally. And in Russia, they have been used to make wine and added to vodka.

Volunteers wanted: 
Battery Park City has 32 acres of parks and gardens. They are tended by the Battery Park City Parks Conservancy, which is renowned for its organic gardening methods. Volunteers are wanted to work alongside the Conservancy's horticulturists on Wednesday mornings from May 7 to Oct. 29, 7:30 a.m. to noon. For more information, call (212) 267-9700, ext. 364.

- Terese Loeb Kreuzer 

Puschkinia scilloides (striped squill). (Photo: Terese Loeb Kreuzer)


Bits & Bytes  

In a nod to Brooklyn and Queens, Mayor de Blasio announced that the Macy's July 4 fireworks will return to the East River this year. (Photo: Terese Loeb Kreuzer)

"Unauthorized Man Walks Into Secure Zone at 1 WTC: Officials,", (4/13/14) A fourth breach of security occurred at 1 World Trade Center this week. According to NBC News, a Port Authority spokesperson said that "a man with an appointment in the building walked through an open gate at 1 WTC where a construction truck was exiting just before 5 p.m. on Wednesday. The man, who was carrying a backpack, walked past a security guard who apparently was not paying attention. The man was stopped two minutes later by another guard, the building's second line of defense. He was escorted out of the area and no charges were filed." For the complete article, click here.

"Jury Selection to Begin for Second Terror Trial," New York Law Journal, 4/14/14. The jury selection in the trial of Mustafa Kamel Mustafa begins today at 500 Pearl St. in Lower Manhattan. Mustafa "is charged with exhorting men to train for jihad, or holy war, and taking part in kidnapping plots in Yemen," says the New York Law Journal. "His trial comes just two weeks after a jury took six hours to convict Sulaiman Abu Ghayth of inciting people to commit acts of terrorism in his role as Osama bin Laden spokesman (NYLJ, March 27). Like jurors in the trial of Abu Ghayth, the jury in the Mustafa [case] before Southern District Judge Katherine Forrest will hear speeches by the defendant and statements given in interviews in an effort to determine if he is guilty of material support of terrorism. As in the Abu Ghayth case, jurors will see images of the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks, the October 2000 bombing of the U.S.S. Cole and pictures of the late bin Laden, the architect of al Qaida's terror campaign to rid the Middle East of the United States and Israel." For the complete article, click here.

"July 4th Fireworks Show Returning to East River: Sources," New York Observer, 4/13/14. The New York Observer has learned that Mayor Bill de Blasio will announce the return of the July 4th Independence Day fireworks show to the East River. He is expected to make the announcement today (April 14). "In his former job as public advocate, Mr. de Blasio, a Brooklynite who campaigned as a champion of the outer boroughs, called on Macy's, the event's sponsor, to move the show back from the Hudson River so it could be seen by residents in Queens and Brooklyn," says the Observer.  "The display was moved to the Hudson, between Manhattan and New Jersey, in 2009." For the complete article, click here.

Fireworks this week: Heads up. There will be a fireworks display from NY Harbor Barges stationed off Ellis Island on April 15 at 9:45 p.m. The next barrage will be on April 18 at 9:15 p.m. from NY Harbor Federal Anchorage at Liberty Island. The sponsor is Lincoln Sports and Entertainment. Keep up to date on fireworks by clicking here.

"New York Prosecutors Open Another Front of Scrutiny for Port Authority," Wall Street Journal, 4/11/14. "Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance Jr. subpoenaed a broad range of records last month from the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey," the Wall Street Journal reports. "The subpoena, whose existence hadn't previously been disclosed, seeks correspondence among current and former authority officials and New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie's administration on topics including the rebuilding of the World Trade Center site, various projects in New Jersey and the PATH transportation hub in lower Manhattan," according to the Wall Street Journal's source. "The inquiries by Mr. Vance's office reveal a new front of scrutiny for the Port Authority, which has already been targeted by federal prosecutors and lawmakers in the wake of the George Washington Bridge scandal. The unannounced lane closures in September were orchestrated by Mr. Christie's aides and Port Authority allies, causing a five-day traffic mess in Fort Lee, N.J., allegedly as political retribution against the Democratic mayor of the borough." For the complete article, click here.

"Saying Farewell to a Business That Turned Into an Identity," New York Times, 4/13/14. By the time J&R on Park Row closed its doors last week, only a few dozen employees remained, says The New York Times. Marty Singer, the corporate sales manager, was the longest-serving employee left at the company. "He was 19 when he started, full of dreams and bravado, still wondering what life would bring. On Friday, his last day, he was 57. In between there were 37 years of climbing the corporate ladder. Love and marriage. Two children. The deaths of a father and a brother. An unflagging passion for classic rock and old-school soul. Life. Mr. Singer considered all of that as he walked into the lobby on Friday to pack up his desk. He took a deep breath and pushed the elevator button. Fourth floor. 'It's a part of me,' he said as he prepared to sort through his old files and memories. 'A part of me that's going to be gone.'" For the complete article, click here.

South Street Seaport 
Alyssa Loorya, president of Chrysalis, archaeological consultants, leading an archaeological tour of the South Street Seaport for Open House New York.
(Photos: Terese Loeb Kreuzer)

"When I look at almost any older neighborhood in New York City, I think, how has it changed? What was here before?" said archaeologist Alyssa Loorya as she led an Open House New York tour of the South Street Seaport on March 31.

The South Street Seaport is a particularly fertile ground for such ruminations. In fact, said Loorya, the Seaport and City Hall Park are the two richest places in Manhattan for finding artifacts from the city's early history.  

The Seaport was "prime real estate for the economic development of New York and the United States of America," Loorya remarked. "New York could not have become what it is today without  the Seaport."

Loorya and her company, Chrysalis Archaeological Consultants, have been rooting around in the Seaport for almost 10 years. In 2005, they got a phone call from the Department of Design and Construction, which was doing some utility work on Beekman Street, she recalled. They had found something. They wanted to know what it was. 


A stone marker in the South Street Seaport's Titanic Park shows where the shoreline of the East River would have been at low tide before landfill altered the area.
What they had found was a giant, wooden log that someone told them was a water pipe. Loorya was asked to come down and have a look. She said it was a water pipe. It was 13 feet long and was made from a hollowed-out tree trunk.  


 "The first running water system in Lower Manhattan was made from wooden water pipes laid by the Manhattan Water Company in the early 1800s," she said. People paid $5 a year for running water, but the service was very poor. The quality and water pressure were debatable. "Aaron Burr started the Manhattan Water Co. to get banking rights," she said. "Today, the Manhattan Water Co. is the Chase Manhattan Bank."  


After that initial discovery, Loorya returned to the Seaport again and again.


"Buried beneath the utilities are the remnants of the city's past - not perfectly intact - but enough to give us an idea of what life was like and the challenges people had to face," she said.  


She found abandoned storerooms, wells, foundations, the remnants of an 18th-century cobblestoned street. On Fulton Street, she uncovered the basement of a 19th-century
print shop, which had several hundred ink bottles, some still with ink in them. "We also found a glass container, which unfortunately cracked as we were removing it," she said. "It had some sort of essence in it. We had a fun smell testing going on that day. Some people said it smelled like vanilla. Other people said it smelled like sarsaparilla. Some said root beer. Everyone had a different opinion."

In front of 40 Fulton St., she found three foundation walls from different buildings and two water wells that could definitively be dated to 1718. A storeroom dated to between 1806 and 1815 yielded a couple of thousand items. 


Another cistern nearby contained thousands of artifacts including buttons from British military regiments. Based on the numbers on them, they came from soldiers who fought in the Battle of Brooklyn. In addition, there were thousands of alcohol bottles, pottery shards, sewing pins, buttons, candlewicks - all dating from the 18th century.   


Archaeology occurs as part of Section 106 of the National Historic Preservation Act, Loorya explained. Under that act, any project that uses public money must consider what impact that project is going to have on the historic fabric or cultural fabric in that location. "If they're going to be excavating, they have to consider whether they're going to impact an archaeological site, whether it be artifacts, foundation building, burials and so on," she said.


In the Seaport, it seems almost impossible to put a shovel in the dirt without turning up something from the city's early history.


- Terese Loeb Kreuzer 


The next Open House New York tour in the Seaport will take place on April 29 at 5 p.m. and will look at historic Front St. Registration will begin on April 22. For more information, click here.  



Christopher Ricciardi and Alyssa Loorya of Chrysalis Archaeological Consultants with some of the objects that they have unearthed under the streets of the
South Street Seaport. (Photo: Terese Loeb Kreuzer)



The World Trade Center campus security plan will be discussed at Community Board 1's Executive Committee meeting on Wednesday. (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 16:  Executive Committee

* World Trade Center Campus Security plan - Update by Deputy Inspector Kevin Burke, Commanding Officer, World Trade Center Command, New York Police Department
* S205-2013 - making the provisions governing liquor licenses consistent with respect to public interest factors - Presentation by Mary Cooley, Office of State Senator Daniel Squadron and resolution
* Committee reports
April 17: Quality of Life Committee
               Location: Independence Plaza North
               310 Greenwich St., 2nd floor Community Room
Committee Meeting 6 p.m.-6:15 p.m.
* Lower Manhattan Construction update by NYC DOT Representative
Rodent Academy 6:15 p.m.-8 p.m.
* Guest Speaker Caroline Bragdon, MPH, New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene


CALENDAR: Week of April 14
Lower Broadway at Bowling Green. On the right are the Alexander Hamilton Customs House designed by Cass Gilbert and the headquarters of John D. Rockefeller's Standard Oil Co. A walking tour on Tuesday will point out the clues to the city's history that can still be seen in the architecture and the streetscape. (Photo: Terese Loeb Kreuzer)
April 15: The Municipal Art Society's walking tour, "Hidden in Plain Sight: Lower Broadway" with guide, Peter Laskowich, points out the clues in the architecture and streetscape of Lower Broadway that reveal a bygone era in Lower Manhattan. This neighborhood is the oldest part of the city and the site of many events central to world affairs. Lower Broadway provides an extremely rich vein of overlooked features that tell who we are and where we are going, that suggest our ethics and values as well as the power and growth of this great city. Meeting place sent with ticket purchase. Time: 11 a.m. Cost: $20; $15 (members). To buy tickets, click here.  

April 15:
Asphalt Green's "Tuesday Talks" series continues with David Masello talking about "NYC's Great Public Art." Masello's "visual tour" will include the Irish Hunger Memorial in Battery Park City and the Mariners' Memorial in Battery Park; the Big Red Swing at 49th and Third; the painted murals in the Bemelmans Bar, which recall the prehistoric cave paintings in France; Nathan Hale's bronze face in City Hall Park and many more. Masello is the executive editor of Milieu, a new magazine about design. Place: 212 North End Ave. Time: Noon to 1 p.m. Tickets: $22; $18 (Asphalt Green members). For more information and to buy tickets, click here.   

April 15:
A film, "Happy Birthday, Duke" at the Tribeca Performing Arts Center, honors Duke Ellington, who was born 105 years ago this month. The film shows Ellington and his orchestra, going back to 1929. It is part of the "Scenes Through the Cinema Lens" series. Place: 199 Chambers St. Time: 7:30 p.m. Free. For more information, click here.

April 17: The Tribeca Film Festival at Brookfield Place presents free films and related programming on the plaza overlooking North Cove Marina. See "Mary Poppins" on April 17, "Splash," with Tom Hanks and Daryl Hannah on April 18 and "Next Goal Wins," about the American Samoan national soccer team, on April 19. Programs and seating begin at 6 p.m. Films begin at dusk, around 8:15 p.m.  

April 19
: 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.  

Reserve now: Bowne Printers, part of the South Street Seaport Museum, is offering a "Block Party Workshop" on Saturday, April 19, from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Printer Ali Osborn will teach the basics of carving and printing linoleum blocks. Arrive with a few ideas for images and Osborn will teach how to transfer them from block to paper. At the end of the workshop, he will pull prints of everyone's blocks locked up on the museum's vintage Vandercook press. All materials are supplied. Place: 211 Water St. Fee: $50; $45 (South Street Seaport Museum members). $15 non-refundable deposit for materials due by April 12. Email or call (646) 628-2707 for reservations.

Reserve now: Celebrate Easter on April 20 with brunch and a festive, two-hour cruise around New York harbor aboard Hornblower Infinity. The cruise includes bottomless cocktails, a full breakfast buffet and an Easter egg hunt for the kids. In addition, there will be a live jazz band on board. The ample menu features breakfast selections (eggs, sausages, bacon, home fries, French toast, fruit, muffins, Danish and bagels) a carving station, roast chicken, fish, salads, desserts, coffee and tea. The cruise leaves from Pier 40 at Houston Street. Boarding begins at noon and the ship sails from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m. Tickets:  Adults, $78.25 with tax and fees;  seniors/military rate, starting at $70.43; children, starting at $46.95. Children, 3 and under, free. This week only, Hornblower New York is offering a 25% discount on the Easter brunch cruise. Use promo code EGG25 at checkout for the discount. To book the cruise, 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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