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News and Events
in Lower Manhattan
Volume 1, No. 62  May 7, 2014

Quote of the day:
"The BPCA has been in discussion for a period of time to try to resolve the ownership of that strip."- Robin Forst, spokesperson for the Battery Park City Authority, describing a walkway along West Street between Battery Park and West Thames Street that has gone untended for months.

* Pier A opening delayed until July
* Knickerbocker Chamber Orchestra evokes a town called "Auschwitz"
* Bits & Bytes: Tree planting and trash pick-up; CSAs at the Seaport; Hudson Eats, but when?
* Battery Park City in Bloom: Narcissus poeticus, Ostrich ferns and Beach plums
* Downtown bulletin board: Statue of Liberty's summer hours; Manhattan Youth fundraiser
* Calendar

For breaking news, go to

Candlestick tulip (Tulipa clusiana var. chrysantha) blooming in Battery Park City on the esplanade.
May 6, 2014. (Photo: Terese Loeb Kreuzer)


Pier A will house restaurants, bars and a visitors' center. (Photos: Terese Loeb Kreuzer)

Peter Poulakakos, one of the partners in the group that is leasing Pier A  and converting it into restaurants, bars and a visitors' center, said that the hope is to open on July 4, but that may not be possible. The partners took possession of the pier in August, however this past winter's numerous storms have caused construction delays.

Pier A, on the Hudson River at the junction of Battery Park and Battery Park City, is the last surviving 19th-century pier in Manhattan. HPH, (Poulakakos' restaurant and development group),  The Dermot Company, Danny McDonald and Michael Jewell have a 20-year lease from the Battery Park City Authority, which in turn, leases the pier from the city.

The partners are installing a "Long Room" on the first floor, where they will sell oysters and other seafood, craft beers and coffee. On the second floor, there will be a sit-down restaurant with six dining rooms and two bars. The third floor will be used for exhibits, musical events and special events such as weddings.

A visitors' center will be on the first floor, near the entrance to the building.

The restaurants and bars will occupy a total of 29,000 square feet in the 32,000 square-foot building.

- Terese Loeb Kreuzer

Gary Fagin, founder and conductor of the Knickerbocker Chamber Orchestra.
(Photos: Terese Loeb Kreuzer)

Once upon a time, there was a town in Poland called Oświęcim. The Germans called it Auschwitz.

On May 16, the Museum of Jewish Heritage in Battery Park City will open an exhibit called "A Town Known as Auschwitz: The Life and Death of a Jewish Community." Two days later, the Knickerbocker Chamber Orchestra conducted by Gary Fagin will play a concert of Polish music at the museum.

"The KCO program includes two works by Chopin that were important touchstones for the Polish people during World War II," said Fagin, explaining his choice of music for that concert. There will be "a waltz by Władysław Szpilman that harkens back to a simpler era," he said, "a composition by Wojciech Kilar, the composer of the score for 'The Pianist,' the award-winning film about Szpilman; a wistful polka by Antonin Dvorak, who was raised in Bohemia, across the border from Poland and one of the first, and finest, modern violin concertos, by Karol Szymanowski, his haunting Concerto No. 1 from 1922, for which we are joined by the brilliant 19-year old violin virtuoso, Shir Victoria Levy."    


Fagin said that he found the theme "personally very meaningful." He is the son of a Holocaust survivor from Radomsko, Poland, about 40 kilometers from Auschwitz. "I am drawn to the music of Poland and particularly to the Jewish musicians who grew up in Poland prior to World War II," he said, mentioning pianists Arthur Rubinstein and Władysław Szpilman, violinist Bronisław Huberman and "other exceptional musicians, not as well known, who either emigrated from Poland prior to World War II or escaped the Holocaust. Many achieved greatness as performers, composers and teachers, and were among the preeminent interpreters of Polish composers such as Chopin and Szymanowski."


Fagin founded the Knickerbocker Chamber Orchestra to perform classical orchestral repertoire in Lower Manhattan and to offer interactive educational programs. The orchestra also provides classical music ensembles for downtown public and private events.


The orchestra's first concert took place at Trinity Church in October 2009, kicking off the fall season of the church's Concerts at One series. Since then, the orchestra has played several public concerts a year.


Tickets for the May 18 concert at the Museum of Jewish Heritage, 36 Battery Place, are $18; $15 (students and seniors); $12 (museum members). The concert starts at 2:30 p.m. For more information or to buy tickets, click here


On Thursday, May 15 from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m., there will be a fundraising soirée for the orchestra in the South Street Seaport at the home of KCO board members Lynda Davey and Alan Schiffres, overlooking the Brooklyn Bridge. Shir Victoria Levy will perform works by Debussy and Poulenc. KCO board member Sharon Phair Fortenbaugh is co-host for the event. Tickets are by donation starting at $125 a person. Click here for more information or to make a reservation, or call (917) 929-8375 and contribute at the door.


- Terese Loeb Kreuzer


Bits & Bytes  

Planting oak trees on the BPC esplanade. (Photos: Terese Loeb Kreuzer)

Battery Park City Parks Conservancy plants trees and takes out the trash:
Wrapped in burlap and tied with rope, 34 trees arrived in Battery Park City this week to be planted along the esplanade where Superstorm Sandy on Oct. 29, 2012 and a short-lived but violent storm on May 11, 2013 dealt a fatal blow to some of the old trees.

One of the new trees, a red oak (Quercus rubra).
The replacement trees were selected for their tolerance to salt water and for rapid growth. Most of them are Quercus rubra (northern red oak), a native of northeastern United States and eastern Canada. Tolerant of many growing conditions, Quercus rubra grows fast and can live hundreds of years.

Between Gateway Plaza and Rector Place, the Conservancy has planted Quercus acutissima (sawtooth oak), a native of China, Korea and Japan but widely planted in North America. This oak is of medium size and grows very fast. Though its acorns are bitter, pigeons and jays will eat them. Squirrels ignore them unless no other food is available.

A third kind of oak, Quercus robur (English oak), went into some of the planting beds in South Cove. This tree is native to most of Europe. There are already a number of specimens in Battery Park City, and they did well when flooded by Sandy. Like some other oaks, these trees are long lived. There are examples of Quercus robur in Lithuania and Bulgaria that are thought to be more than 1,500 years old.

The Conservancy expects that the tree planting will be finished on Thursday, May. 8.

Meanwhile, in addition to nursing young trees, the Battery Park City Parks Conservancy has another new responsibility. The Battery Park City Authority has undertaken the task of cleaning the trash out of the strip along West Street between Battery Park and West Thames Street. (Some older BPC residents refer to this strip as "Patakistan" after then-Gov. George Pataki, whose idea it was to build this thoroughfare.)

At Community Board 1's Battery Park City Committee meeting on May 6, Robin Forst, spokesperson for the BPCA, said that representatives of the Doe Fund have been cleaning the strip. She also said that, "The BPCA has been in discussion for a period of time to try to resolve the ownership of that strip." This discussion apparently involves "various City entities and the state." In the interim, the BPCA has an agreement with the City to maintain the area. She said that that began last Friday.

Hudson River Park Trust had maintained this strip until the end of 2013.

Forst said that, "As the weather started to get better and the ice and snow went away, we got reports of trash."

"It's more than trash," said CB1 committee member Tammy Meltzer. "It's maintenance of the trees, the bushes and the grass."

"We're not maintaining the trees, the bushes or grass at this point," said Forst firmly. "We're taking care of the trash." - Terese Loeb Kreuzer

Plums from Maggie Nesciur.
Fresh fruit and produce CSAs coming to the Seaport: Beginning on May 31, the New Amsterdam Market will hold monthly markets on South Street between Beekman Street and Peck Slip, but people who hanker for fresh produce and fruit at other times could consider joining a CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) program that will deliver to the South Street Seaport. Participants prepay for their food by buying shares in the program from participating farmers, who deliver what they grow on a pre-arranged schedule.

El Poblano Farm, a New Amsterdam Market vendor since 2012, is organizing a limited-membership CSA with Tuesday deliveries of fresh produce to Made Fresh Daily at 226 Front St. El Poblano Farm is an organic farm based in Staten Island. It will deliver 18 weeks of produce and herbs from June to September. A full share of six to nine items a week costs $505. A half share is $315. Sign up and pay online by clicking here.
Fruiterer Maggie Nesciur, who has been bringing her marvelous, carefully selected fruit to the New Amsterdam Market for years, is considering offering a "Fruit CSA" whose subscribers would be able to receive prime fruit gathered at peak ripeness. The pick-up location would be the Market Office at 223 Front St. To learn more, email

No food kiosks for Brookfield Place plaza: The weather has grown warm enough to sit out on the plaza in front of the Winter Garden at Brookfield Place in Battery Park City, but this year, there are no food kiosks in sight. Any day now, Hudson Eats - a collection of 14 upscale, fast food eateries - is supposed to open on the south side of what used to be called 2 World Financial Center, so no use having food kiosks on the plaza as well, the reasoning goes. "We still do not have a solid date [for the opening]," said Scott Cooke, a Brookfield spokesperson.  "It's in the hands of Con Ed." Anyone who gets peckish while waiting will find a small Financier coffee and pastry booth inside the Winter Garden. - Terese Loeb Kreuzer
"After Bridgegate: Cuomo, Christie create panel on Port Authority's future," New York Business Journal, 5/7/14. In the wake of the Bridgegate scandal, "New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo and New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie have agreed to create a panel that will re-evaluate the future role of the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey," the New York Business Journal reports.  "The panel will attempt to answer and address questions about the authority's management arising from the incident, and will be made up of both Port Authority figures and the governors' counsel. The panel has been charged with issuing a report within 60 days." For the complete article, click here.

"Mayor Bill de Blasio announces plans for flood insurance studies, homeowner education," Staten Island Advance, 5/7/14. The Staten Island Advance reports that, "The city is to launch a campaign to educate New Yorkers about the rising costs of flood insurance, and conduct two studies on the future affordability of the insurance in the city, Mayor Bill de Blasio announced Wednesday. The city released a request for proposals last week for a consumer education campaign, and will soon issue two other requests for studies of the costs of insuring both multifamily and one-to-four family homes." In making the announcement, de Blasio said that, "Hundreds of thousands of New Yorkers along the city's 520 miles of coastline face significant increases in their flood insurance rates - especially at a time when many can least afford it. Yet again and again, we see the impact of flooding on our communities." For the complete article, click here.

Sweetgreen coming to Tribeca: On May 15, Sweetgreen, a collection of organic, farm-to-table salad shops, will open its second New York City location. The shop at 413 Greenwich St. on the corner of Hubert Street in Tribeca will have a celebratory opening the day before (that would be May 14), during which customers can "Pay What You Want" from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m., with all of the proceeds going to benefit Edible Schoolyard NYC.

Sweetgreen was founded by three Georgetown University graduates Nicolas Jammet, Jonathan Neman and Nathaniel Ru, who wanted to serve food from local farmers. In August 2007, three months after graduating from college, they opened their first location, a 560-square-foot space in Georgetown. Over the next seven years, they  went on to open 24 additional locations in Washington, D.C., Virginia, Maryland, New York City, Massachusetts and Philadelphia. For more information about Sweetgreen, click here.

Battery Park City in Bloom
Narcissus poeticus 'Actaea' surrounded by Ostrich ferns in South Cove.  
(Photo: Terese Loeb Kreuzer)

Battery Park City's South Cove is a tapestry of spring flowers this week. Diminutive pansies glow on the dark earth under the honey locust trees. Several kinds of white and yellow narcissuses gleam on the rock-strewn slope next to the esplanade. Beach plum trees (Prunus maritima) bend towards the river, with lace-like drifts of white flowers.

Beach plum tree. (Photo: Terese Loeb Kreuzer)
One of the most striking of the narcissuses is called Narcissus poeticus 'Actaea.' Its white petals surround a yellow corona, trimmed in red. A young English farmer named George Lubbe bred this flower in 1900. It proved so successful commercially that he was able to start a bulb business that still exists.

The name "Narcissus" was endowed by the 18th-century botanist Carolus Linneaus, recalling the man in Greek mythology who so loved his appearance that he couldn't stop staring at his own reflection in the water. Eventually, he fell in and drowned. A flower bloomed where he perished.

In South Cove, the narcissuses are framed by a background of ferns. The Ostrich fern (Matteucia struthiopteris) got its name from its green plumes that can reach heights of more than five feet. This fern is common in eastern North America, growing primarily north of where glaciers stopped around 11,000 years ago during the last ice age. As it happens, they stopped and began to melt approximately where New York City is now.

In Maine and the Maritime Provinces of Canada, Ostrich ferns were considered a springtime delicacy. The tightly coiled fronds, called "fiddleheads" because of their shape, were boiled or steamed. The early European settlers of these regions learned about this from the Native Americans, who had lived there, and dined on fiddleheads, for thousands of years.

- Terese Loeb Kreuzer


Downtown bulletin board   

The Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island will have extended hours during the summer. (Photo: Terese Loeb Kreuzer)

Longer hours for Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island
The National Park Service announces expanded summer hours beginning Memorial Day weekend, Saturday, May 24, for Statue of Liberty National Monument and Ellis Island.  Departures from both Battery Park in New York City and Liberty State Park in New Jersey will begin at 8:30 a.m. daily.  An additional afternoon departure will leave from both locations at 5 p.m. each day.

The extended summer hours run through Labor Day weekend, Monday, Sept. 1.  Food service is available on both islands.

To visit the crown, pedestal observation deck and/or museum, advance tickets are required and can only be purchased through the park's concessionaire Statue Cruises at Online reservations are strongly encouraged for general visitors as well. All tickets provide access to Liberty Island's grounds and the museum of immigration on Ellis Island. Audio tours of both islands are included with all tickets and are available in multiple languages.  A child-friendly version of the audio tour is also available in several languages. For more information and updates, click here.

Manhattan Youth: Downtown Community Awards 2014 Event
An art student at Manhattan Youth. (Photo: Manhattan Youth)
At its annual Community Awards event, this year on May 15, Manhattan Youth honors seven people for their commitment to education in the Lower Manhattan community. The honorees are
Wendy Chapman, for her advocacy on behalf of children and education, and Michael Clark, Frank DiOrio, Derick Henry, Jose Velez, James Willie and David DiGiacomo, for their stewardship of the PS 89/IS 289 physical plant through 9/11, Hurricane Sandy and every school day, and their commitment to the community's children.

Invited guests include Mayor Bill de Blasio, Hon. Sheldon Silver, Hon. Scott Stringer, Hon. Gale Brewer, Hon. Daniel Squadron, Hon. Deborah Glick, Hon. Margaret Chin, and Community Board 1 Chair Catherine McVay Hughes.

Proceeds from the event will help Lower Manhattan working families obtain after-school and summertime childcare services of the highest quality regardless of their ability to pay. Manhattan Youth provides nearly $500,000 in childcare subsidies to families each year in addition to $500,000 in free programming, and has been the leading provider of after-school childcare, summer camp, recreation and enrichment programming in Lower Manhattan since 1986.

The Community Awards Event will take place at the Manhattan Youth Downtown Community Center, 120 Warren St.

The evening will begin with a cocktail reception at 7 p.m. featuring the piano stylings of Nate Andersen followed by an awards ceremony at 7:30 p.m., a buffet dinner and live music. The Manhattan Youth Players of IS 276 will present "It's a Hard-knocks Life" from their recent production of "Annie."

Click here for tickets to the event or contact Jim Hopkins at (212) 766-1104 ext. 232, or by e-mail Ticket prices start at $150.

Seaport Panel: Who Owns the Waterfront?
In the midst of negotiations about development in the South Street Seaport, a panel with deep knowledge about its past and with great concerns about its future will discuss "Who Owns the Waterfront?" on May 15 at Pace University.

Topics will include the history of the New York City waterfront, historic preservation, waterfront development and the public trust doctrine.

Panelists include Daniel E. Estrin, supervising attorney, Environmental Litigation Clinic, Pace Law School; Andrew Genn, senior vice president of ports and transportation, NYC Economic Development Corp.; Robert LaValva, founder and president of the New Amsterdam Market; and Roland Lewis, president and CEO of the Metropolitan Waterfront Alliance. The moderator will be Jason J. Czarnezki, Gilbert and Sarah Kerlin Distinguished Professor of Environmental Law, Pace Law School.

Date: May 15. Time: 7 p.m. Place: Lecture Hall North, Pace University, One Pace Plaza. Free, but space is limited. RSVP to

CALENDAR: Week of May 5
Folk singer Tom Chapin will play in Battery Park City's Wagner Park on Saturday.
(Photo: Terese Loeb Kreuzer)
May 8: The New York premiere of "Empire of Dirt," a film about three generations of women in an Anishinaabe family, who struggle with their anger, the fallout from their actions and their need for each other. Following the film, there will be a discussion with the producer and actor Jennifer Podemski, who has a leading role in the film, and with Shannon Masters, the writer. Place: National Museum of the American Indian, 1 Bowling Green. Time: 6 p.m. Free. For more information, click here.

May 10:
Under the auspices of the Battery Park City Parks Conservancy, master anglers introduce novices to catch-and-release fishing at Go Fish." In addition to fishing, there are art projects, birdwatching and a performance by folk singer Tom Chapin & Friends. Place: Wagner Park in Battery Park City. Time: Fishing, 10 a.m.-2 p.m.; Art project: 11 a.m.-2 p.m.; Birdwatching, 11 a.m.; Performance, 12:30 p.m. Free.

May 12
: "Street Scene," a black-and-white film from 1931 is the second in a series of three programs in which James Sanders, author of Celluloid Skyline, will discuss New York City as the scene and backdrop for more than a century of motion pictures.  On May 20, see "An Unmarried Woman." The programs are being presented under the auspices of the Historic Districts Council at the landmarked former Engine Co. 31, Downtown Community Television Center, 87 Lafayette St. (between Walker and White Streets) in Tribeca. Time: 6:30 p.m. Tickets: $10; $5 (Friends of HDC, seniors and students). For more information or to buy tickets, click here.

Reserve now: A three-hour Block Party Workshop on Saturday, May 17 at Bowne Printers (part of the South Street Seaport Museum) will teach participants how to carve and print linoleum blocks. Bowne's resident printer, Ali Osborn, will then use everyone's design to print a poster on Bowne's vintage Vandercook press. All materials supplied. Registration required. $15 non-refundable deposit for materials due by May 14. Place: 211 Water St. Time: 11 a.m.-2 p.m. Fee: $50; $45 (South Street Seaport Museum members). For more information or to make a reservation, email or call (646) 628-2707.

Ongoing: An exhibit called "Bright! Color in Three Dimensions" is in the lobby of 250 Vesey St., Brookfield Place. With the advent of digital and commercial technology, it has become easier to take the power of color for granted in two-dimensional mediums. The artists - Justin Adian, Caitlin Bermingham, Benjamin Dowell, Charles Dunn, Juan Fernando Morales, and Courtney Puckett - in Bright! take color to another level by manipulating it into sculptural forms. Whether made of plastic, textile, or paper, the artists use color as a foundation for the entire object, rather than the decorative finish to the piece. Time: 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. Through June 1. Free.

Ongoing: Poets House in Battery Park City presents "A Painter and His Poets," the first major retrospective show of George Schneeman's collaborative paintings, collages, prints, and books, with portraits of his poet friends, spanning 40 years. "A sort of utopia in the visual field filled with pleasure, quickness and wit" is how Schneeman himself described his collaborative work with poets. Exhibition on view through Saturday, Sept. 20, during regular Poets House hours. Place: 10 River Terrace. Free. For information about Poets House, click here.

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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