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News and Events
in Lower Manhattan
Volume 1, No. 53  April 16, 2014

Quote of the day:
"This was my legacy item in City Council." - Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer on the paid sick leave law that took effect on April 1.

* Battery Park City's Yoshino cherry trees in bloom
* Paid sick leave law takes effect
* Bits & Bytes: Water Street building to be razed for hotel; Dead whale; BPC real estate
* Community Board 1 meeting: Rat Academy on April 17
* Calendar

For breaking news, go to

Daffodils blooming in North Cove. April 16, 2014. (Photo: Terese Loeb Kreuzer)

The Yoshino cherry trees on the oval lawn. (Photos: Terese Loeb Kreuzer)

The cherry trees surrounding the oval lawn between Brookfield Place and Gateway Plaza are around three decades old, which is somewhat old for a cherry tree - and in the last 18 months or so, they have been through a lot. Nevertheless, these oldsters still have some life in them, and more or less on schedule, produced the white blossoms that enchant passersby every spring. The canopy of flowers is not as white and thick and robust as usual, but at least, it's there.

These trees are Yoshino cherries, (Prunus yedoensis), hybrids that occur naturally in Japan and have been exported to many parts of the world. They were introduced to Europe and the United States in 1902. Most of the trees surrounding the Tidal Basin in Washington, D.C. are Yoshinos, a gift to the United States from Japan. The first Tidal Basin trees were planted a century ago; additional trees have been planted in Washington since then, most recently between 1986 and 1988.

In other years, the weather in Battery Park City was warm enough to sunbathe on the oval lawn when the cherry trees were in bloom. Not this year, but sunbathing would be out of the question anyway. The oval lawn is more mud than grass at the moment.

A robin perched in the cherry trees didn't mind. It sang melodiously, flitting from one tree to another, serenading springtime.

Next to the oval lawn, under the river birches, thousands of tulips created a carpet of red-violet and pink. These flowers had not been subjected to this spring's harsh weather. They were uncrated and planted around a week ago by gardeners employed by Brookfield.

- Terese Loeb Kreuzer



As of April 1, New York City became a kinder, gentler place to work. On March 20, Mayor Bill de Blasio signed a law requiring all businesses with five or more workers to give paid time off to sick employees or to employees who need to care for a family member. These might include a child, grandchild, spouse, domestic partner, parent or sibling.

Sick employees will no longer need to make the difficult decision of losing pay if faced with a family emergency or showing up for work ill.

The law went into effect on April 1. It applies to full- and part-time workers, to employees in transitional jobs programs, to undocumented employees, to those who are family members of a business owner, (but not owners themselves), and to people who live outside the city and who work in the city.

Employees accrue one hour of sick leave for every 30 hours worked, up to 40 hours in a calendar year.

Businesses with one to four employees must provide unpaid sick leave. This, too, is an important protection. Previously, an employee might be fired who chose to take care of a sick relative instead of coming to work or who was too ill to come to work.

Gale Brewer, now Manhattan Borough President and a former City Council member, said that the paid sick leave bill was her "legacy item in City Council." She said a version of the bill that she had proposed was expanded upon by de Blasio. When he signed the current bill into law, she stood behind him. 

It had taken four years to get this law passed. Mayor Michael Bloomberg was opposed to it. City Council Speaker Christine Quinn backed him up. Eventually, City Council passed a watered-down version of the present law and Mayor Bloomberg vetoed it. City Council overrode him.

Under the new law, around 1.2 million workers in New York City will be eligible for paid sick leave.

The city's Department of Consumer Affairs is responsible for enforcing it. The DCA is offering training and conducting outreach throughout the city to educate employers and employees as to their rights and responsibilities. For more information, click here

  - Terese Loeb Kreuzer 


Bits & Bytes  

Liz Williams, sketching at a Battery Park City block party. Her book, "Illustrated Courtroom: 50 Years of Court Art," has just been released. (Photo: Terese Loeb Kreuzer)

"Water Street Building to Be Razed for Long-Awaited Hotel,", (4/16/14) "Plans for a hotel at 6 Water Street have been in the works since prolific developer Sam Chang purchased the property back in 2008, and it looks like they are finally moving forward-but Chang is no longer involved," says "No progress on a hotel was made until last year when Chang's company finally filed plans for a 29-story, Gene Kaufman-designed hotel. Construction permits were approved in February, but then in March, Chang decided to give up the project and sold the site to the Magna Hospitality Group for $44 million." For the complete article, click here.

"Experts probing dead whale found in NY harbor," Wall Street Journal, 4/16/14. "Mammal researchers are trying to determine the cause of death for a 60-foot-long whale that was found dead in New York harbor over the weekend," says the Wall Street Journal. The whale was towed to an Army Corps of Engineers station near Liberty State Park. The Journal says that, "Representatives from the Marine Mammal Stranding Center in Brigantine on the New Jersey shore are in Jersey City Wednesday examining the finback that weighs 55 to 60 tons." For the complete article, click here.

Battery Park City real estate: Lois Weiss of the New York Post is reporting that "Another of the gorgeous Battery Park City rental buildings is being offered for sale, and, with a condo conversion in mind, could fetch more than $300 million." She says the 396-apartment rental Tribeca Park at 400 Chambers St. and River Terrace is right next to the Hudson River. It was designed by Robert A.M. Stern and developed by the Related Companies. "The 325,365-square-foot dark red building has 1,786 square feet of retail and a 123-car garage in its 27 stories," she says. Tribeca Park is an 80/20 building, meaning that only 80 percent of it could be converted to condominiums. Weiss also says that, as she previously reported, 42-story Tribeca Pointe, an 80/20 rental with 340 apartments in 285,000 square feet, is being sold by Rockrose through Studley. This is also an 80/20 building. Finally, says Weiss, in the southern end of Battery Park City, the Ritz-Carlton New York-Battery Park hotel is being sold through Eastdil. "It was part of a portfolio but is such a unique asset it has been carved out," she say. For the complete article, click here.

Last ships' chandler stays in Tribeca: There are only 108 companies in the world supplying nautical charts. One of these stores is New York Nautical in Tribeca. For more than 100 years, the store has been in Lower Manhattan, moving from one location to another. Recently, because of rising rents, it moved again, from 158 Duane St. to 200 Church St. New York Nautical was originally called Kelvin-White, a ships' chandler, selling specialized marine supplies including compasses and binnacles needed for navigation. Since Erik Zibilich bought the company in 2002, it has become almost exclusively a nautical chart agent with 70 percent of its business devoted to supplying charts to commercial shipping customers around the world. Although computerized navigation was expected to eliminate the need for paper charts on ships long ago, the International Maritime Organization, a United Nations agency that sets safety standards for commercial ships, requires that ships over a certain size carry a set of paper charts and a paper logbook. Not all of New York Nautical's customers are in the market for charts, however. Zibilich's reasons for wanting to stay in Lower Manhattan included the fact that some of his customers come from Wall Street. They like to buy brass barometers and ship's clocks and travel books, he said. For more information about New York Nautical, click here.

"Capturing on Canvas the Downfall of Wall Street's Criminals,"
New York Times, 4/14/14. Wherever she is, Liz Williams is likely to start sketching what's happening. That's what she's been doing for three decades as a courtroom artist, whose work is needed because, until recently, cameras were forbidden in federal courtrooms. "Bernard L. Madoff was handcuffed and whisked into a cell. Michael R. Milken, head in palm, wept. Martha Stewart simply stared straight ahead," says The New York Times in an article describing Williams' work and her new book, "Illustrated Courtroom: 50 Years of Courtroom Art," that she wrote with Sue Russell. According to The Times, "Ms. Williams has covered the trials of terrorists and murderers, but she finds white-collar criminals the most fascinating." Some of the work from the book will be on display at the World Trade Center Art Gallery from April 22 to April 29. For the complete article, click here.


A giant rat outside 116 John St. protested the use of "substandard" workers for asbestos abatement. (Photo: Terese Loeb Kreuzer)

Community Board 1's Quality of Life Committee meeting on April 17 will be devoted to rat control. The two-hour-long "rat academy" will discuss how to safely and effectively manage rats and mice in your building and neighborhood. (Tip No. 1: Don't feed them. People who feed squirrels and pigeons are also feeding rats. Also, place all garbage in covered containers.)

The guest speaker will be Caroline Bragdon of the New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene.

The rat academy will take place at Independence Plaza North, 310 Greenwich St., 2nd floor Community Room, starting at 6 p.m.

Registration is required for the rat academy. To register, click here.


CALENDAR: Week of April 14
The Tribeca Film Festival always includes a free outdoor "Drive In" on the plaza overlooking North Cove Marina in Battery Park City. (Photo: Terese Loeb Kreuzer)

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. 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.

Save the Date: New York State Senator Daniel Squadron's Sixth Annual Community Convention takes place on Sunday, April 27 from 2 p.m. to 5 p.m. at the Seward Park Educational Campus (Formerly Seward Park High School), 350 Grand St. (Between Ludlow and Essex Streets). The keynote speaker this year will be New York State Attorney General Eric T. Schneiderman. Sen. Squadron started holding community conventions in order to be able to hear directly from constituents about issues they were facing and their ideas for solving community problems. There are numerous topic-driven breakout sessions at which everyone has a chance to speak. Transportation: Subways J/M/F to Essex & Delancey or B/D to Grand Street. RSVP: Mauricio Pazmino at (212) 298-5565 or 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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