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News and Events
in Lower Manhattan
Volume 1, No. 63  May 9, 2014

Quote of the day:
"A document summarizing the work of the last 10 meetings will be released at a date to be determined."- A statement from the New York City Economic Development Corporation about the recommendations of the Seaport Working Group, which has been working under wraps to come up with a plan for development of the South Street Seaport.

* Inside the Stuyvesant High School Community Center
* Downtown on the water: Champagne brunch on the Shearwater
* Bits & Bytes: Seaport Working Group; Adult coed softball; South Street Seaport Museum
* Downtown bulletin board: Many choices for May 15
* Calendar

For breaking news, go to

Basketball at the Stuyvesant High School Community Center. May 8, 2014.
(Photo: Terese Loeb Kreuzer)


The swimming pool at the Stuyvesant High School Community Center. (Photos: Terese Loeb Kreuzer)

When Stuyvesant High School opened at 345 Chambers St. in 1992, among its dazzling features was a 75-foot-long swimming pool. The community was supposed to be able to use it along with the school's two gyms, its weight room and dance studio, but that took a lawsuit against the Board of Education. It had promised community access in exchange for the right to build a high school in Battery Park City, and then changed its mind.  It took another hard-fought battle early this year to keep the Stuyvesant High School community center open after the Battery Park City Authority, which pays the staff, wanted to close it. But after the intervention of elected officials and a few words from Community Board 1, the Community Center at Stuyvesant High School is now back in business.

For a school, the facilities are astonishing. Many New York City schools these days have no gym at all - or if there is a gym, it doubles as an auditorium.

On Thursday evening, the pool was being used by four swimmers, with two lifeguards watching over them. There will soon be swimming classes, as there were in the past.

Upstairs in one of Stuyvesant's gyms, several hotly contested badminton games were in progress. The community center provides racquets and birdies though many of the players prefer to bring their own. When there's a line of people waiting to play, each player gets 15 minutes of court time or the game goes to 21 points, whichever comes first.

In another gym, big enough for a full-court game, four guys were shooting hoops. One wall of that gym is used for handball. A staff member of the community center keeps order when things get crowded.

Only one man was in the weight room and no one was in the dance studio.

The locker rooms at the Community Center are spartan. There are showers and lockers, but no saunas or steam rooms or hair dryers or hair products such as can be found at fancier recreation facilities. However, the prices to use the center are equally modest. It costs $500 a year for an adult annual membership (gym and pool), $150 for seniors, and $200 for students. Gym-only or pool-only memberships are $350 annually for adults. Day passes are $15 for adults and $12 for seniors, students and youth.

Classes are available for an additional fee, with discounts for members. Yoga for instance, which starts on May 12 and runs through July 21, costs $160 for members and $180 for non-members. Drop-ins are welcome and pay $20 per class. The instructor, Molly Heron, has practiced Hatha Yoga for 25 years and teaches at the Integral Yoga Institute in Greenwich Village. The yoga classes meet on Mondays from 7 p.m. to 8 p.m.

Foreman, Paul Diaz-Larui in the dance studio.
The center will host birthday parties that include the use of the dance studio and the cafeteria. That costs $275 for two hours (bring your own food and decorations, and clean up afterward). For an additional $100, a staff person will organize games for the kids.

The Battery Park City Parks Conservancy runs the center. Paul Diaz-Larui is the foreman, overseeing a staff of 10. He has been with the community center for 10 years, initially as the aquatics director. Jouli Yohannes, programming leader, is at the front desk, greeting people when they come in.

Jouli Yohannes.

The community center is open daily except for holidays such as New Year's Day or when there is a special school event. Through June, the hours are 7 p.m. to 10 p.m. on weekdays and 1 p.m. to 9 p.m. on weekends. In July and August, the hours will be longer.

For more information, click here or call (646) 210-4292.

- Terese Loeb Kreuzer


Downtown on the water
Sunday brunch on the Shearwater. (Photos: Terese Loeb Kreuzer)

May 4, 2014 was the schooner yacht Shearwater's 85th birthday. Literally. She was launched on May 4, 1929 in East Boothbay, Maine, but she didn't behave like an old lady. She skittered around the harbor under a stiff breeze as her passengers helped themselves to a brunch of sandwiches, wraps, quiches, muffins, sweet rolls, salads and yogurt. They washed this down with mimosas, beer and coffee and then lounged around on the Shearwater's deck, admiring the New York City skyline, the Statue of Liberty and the other boats in the harbor.

Shearwater, a national landmark, can carry up to 48 passengers. She was built as a racing yacht for Charles E. Dunlap of Oyster Bay, N.Y. Subsequently, she had a few adventures. Painted gray, she was a member of the U.S. Coast Guard's Coastal Picket Patrol during World War II. She transited the Panama Canal. She has been around the world, a voyage of two and a half years. In the 1970s, she belonged to the University of Pennsylvania's Institute of Environmental Medicine, where she served as a marine laboratory. Now she belongs to Manhattan by Sail, which also owns Clipper City.

As a true sailboat and not a motor yacht, Shearwater gives her guests an intimate view of the harbor. They are right there in the wind and spray, as the boat silently cuts through the waves or rocks up and down on them, sometimes trailed by seagulls who hover expectantly, sensing the possibility of food.

The admonition on the ticket receipt to dress in layers is a good one. It's cooler on the water than on the dock. When summer's heat descends, as it will, an outing on the Shearwater will be particularly welcome.

Shearwater is based in Battery Park City's North Cove Marina. In addition to its Sunday Champagne brunch sail, the Shearwater offers daytime sails to the Statue of Liberty, sunset and city lights sails, wine tasting and full-moon sails, happy hour outings and (once a month), a whiskey sail featuring a different micro-distillery each month.

For a schedule and prices, click here.

- Terese Loeb Kreuzer

Hornblower Infinity seen through the Shearwater's rigging.

Bits & Bytes  

The ball fields on Governors Island. (Photo: David Rocco)

Seaport Working Group finishes its deliberations for now
At the conclusion of each session of the Seaport Working Group - a committee composed of elected officials, neighborhood residents and businesses plus The Howard Hughes Corporation (HHC) and the New York City Economic Development Corporation - a trickle of information has emerged. Here's today's trickle: "The Seaport Working Group met to review the final proposed guidelines and principles for revitalizing the South Street Seaport Historic Area. A document summarizing the work of the last 10 meetings will be released at a date to be determined. The Seaport Working Group will now take a hiatus while HHC reviews and studies the guidelines before presenting their revised plan to the Seaport Working Group."

What to infer from this? For one thing, whatever Howard Hughes is proposing for the South Street Seaport will not be identical to what it proposed before - namely a 50-story tower on the site of the New Market Building, the landmarked Tin Building enlarged and moved, the creation of a marina and several other ideas. Many people will undoubtedly hope that the New Market Building will survive and that the waterfront tower will be abandoned. But how HHC's new plan will differ from its old one is anyone's guess. Secondly, it can be inferred that Howard Hughes is still in the driver's seat on the redevelopment of the Seaport. Either no alternatives were considered, or none were thought viable. Presumably, HHC's deals with EDC, the landlord for much of the Seaport, are still in effect and HHC is leasing much of the Seaport for around $3.50 a square foot in a district that is now commanding hundreds, or even thousands a square foot. - Terese Loeb Kreuzer

Adult coed softball on Governors Island
The Yorkville Sports Association, started 35 years ago by a guy named Al Morales who had a store in the city's Yorkville neighborhood, is doing something different this summer. Its coed summer softball league will play on Governors Island from June 19 to Aug. 28.

All games will be played on Thursdays with a first game starting at 11 a.m., followed by a second game at 12:30 p.m. There will be a total of 10 games throughout the season, including eight regular-season games and a two-game playoff.

David Rocco, the league's director, came up with the idea of using the Governors Island sports fields, newly available this summer. He thinks that there will be a lot of people who will want to tuck a softball game into the middle of their day and week - people who work night shifts, retirees and teachers who are off for the summer, among them.

He hopes that there will be at least five teams in the league this summer.

Registration will close on Thursday, June 5.. The league fee is $1,825 per team. This covers the games, 10 softballs, game officials and field permits. There will be single-game elimination for playoff games, with the top two finishing teams receiving prizes.

Ferry service from Manhattan to Governor's Island is available every hour on the hour, starting at 10 a.m. The ferries leave from the Battery Maritime Terminal at 10 South St. The round trip fare is $2.

To register, click here. For more information, email or call (914) 962-8390, ext. 10.

South Street Seaport Museum opens its 'Street of Ships'
The South Street Seaport Museum's lightship Ambrose and its barque Peking are welcoming visitors Wednesdays to Sundays, 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. The Ambrose, launched in 1908,  once
The galley on the Ambrose. (Photo: Terese Loeb Kreuzer)
guided large ships through the Ambrose Channel into New York harbor. The crew lived aboard the ship for months at a time. Visitors can see where they ate and slept, the galley with its coal-burning stove where food was cooked, the engine room and the wheelhouse, with its large, wooden wheel. A speaking tube in the wheelhouse allowed the captain to communicate with the men in the engine room, the windlass room that controlled the ship's anchor, and the radio shack. Ambrose got her first radio during World War I.

Peking was launched in Hamburg, Germany in 1911, one of the last commercial sailing ships ever built. She was used to carry goods from Europe to South America and to return to Europe with nitrate. Numerous times, she crossed the treacherous waters of Cape Horn at the southern end of South America, where the Atlantic, Pacific and Antarctic Oceans meet and where the waves would have washed over the great and powerful ship's decks. With a steel hull as long as a football field and masts as tall as an 18-story building, Peking is one of the largest sailing vessels ever built. Peking has been at the South Street Seaport Museum since 1975.

The museum's Visitors Services associates will be welcoming  visitors aboard and interacting with the public, explaining all of the fascinating details of the ships and their relevance to the history of New York as a port city. Cost: $12 (adults); $8 (students, 12-24 and seniors); $5 (children 2-11); under 2, free. To buy tickets, click here.

"Werther, Dubbeldam unload Tribeca townhouse for $15M," The Real Deal, 5/9/14. So you can keep tabs on what it costs to live in Tribeca, here's this: "Fashion entrepreneur Stephen Werther and architect Winka Dubbeldam sold their stakes in a mixed-use Tribeca townhouse at 11 Hubert Street for $15.3 million, according to property records filed with the city today," The Real Deal reports. "Werther, the owner of the WiNK boutique chain and now a partner with celebrity chef Anthony Bourdain on a Manhattan street food market development, held a 67.6 percent tenancy-in-common interest in the 14,500-square-foot, three-story property, while Dubbeldam held the remaining interest, according to city records. The buyer wasn't disclosed. The property, which hit the market in January asking $16 million, is configured as two offices on the ground floor and two duplex apartments, and boasts over 3,500 square feet of outdoor space. It can be converted into two separate townhouses or a large single-family home." For the complete article, click here.

Visit from a Tall Ship
Like a massive, white-winged bird, the Tall Ship Juan Sebastian de Elcano appeared in the mist of
Juan Sebastian de Elcano. (Photo: Jay Fine)
New York harbor on Friday morning, and sailed majestically up the Hudson River. The steel-hulled barquentine is a training ship for the Royal Spanish Navy. Cadets receive five years of training. During part of the third year, the entire class is assigned to the Juan Sebastian de Elcano for an eight-month cruise.

The ship was built in Cadiz in 1927 and was named for the fleet captain on Ferdinand Magellan's last voyage. Magellan was killed in the Philippines in 1521, but under de Elcano, in 1522, some of Magellan's men made it back to Spain after a three-year voyage - the first people ever to sail around the world. The ship carries the de Elcano coat of arms, granted to him by Emperor Charles I. It shows a globe with the motto, "Primus Circumdedisti Me" meaning "First to circumnavigate me."

The Juan Sebastian de Elcano is the third largest Tall Ship in the world. She carries 21 sails on her four masts and can go 17.5 knots an hour under full sail.  The cadets in training volunteer for the dangerous job of climbing the rope ladders on the sides of the ship to furl and unfurl the topmost sails at a height almost equivalent to a 16-story building. - Terese Loeb Kreuzer


Downtown bulletin board   

The boots of Capt. Patrick K. J. Brown of the Fire Department of New York. Capt. Brown was killed when the World Trade Center was attacked and destroyed on 9/11.
(Photo: Terese Loeb Kreuzer)

May 15 is going to be a busy day - too busy. For some reason, a lot of events have been scheduled for that day, mostly at the same time. Take your pick.

National September 11 Memorial Museum opens
On May 15, President Obama will help to dedicate the National September 11 Memorial Museum. Although it opens to the general public on May 21, Lower Manhattan residents and business owners, the families of victims, 9/11 rescue and recovery workers, 9/11 survivors, first responders and World Trade Center building partners can visit the museum from May 15 to May 20.

If you are part of one of these groups, you can reserve a free ticket to preview the Museum during the Dedication Period when the museum will be open 24 hours a day. Reservations are required and are available on a first-come, first-served basis. Children under the age of 6 do not need tickets for the Dedication Period but the historical exhibition may not be appropriate for visitors younger than 10. Adults accompanying younger visitors should exercise discretion before entering.

Click here for information on the Dedication Period.

When the museum opens to the public, tickets will be $24. For information and to buy tickets, 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

Knickerbocker Chamber Orchestra soirée
On May 15 from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m., there will be a fundraising soirée for the Knickerbocker Chamber Orchestra. It will be held 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.

CALENDAR: Week of May 5
One of the approximately 200 species of fish that live in the Hudson River.
(Photo: Terese Loeb Kreuzer)
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 10: Walking Tour: Women of Wall Street. Starting at the Museum of American Finance, this Wall Street tour focuses on women such as Victoria Woodhull, who ran for U.S. president and opened the first woman-owned brokerage in 1870, Muriel Siebert, the first women to purchase a seat at the New York Stock Exchange, and many of the women who are moving and shaking the financial world today. Place: Meet at 48 Wall St. Time: 1 p.m.-2:30 p.m. Cost: $15 (includes Museum admission). For more information or buy tickets, click here.

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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