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News and Events
in Lower Manhattan
Volume 1, No. 67  May 19, 2014

Quote of the day:
"After emergency evacuations and transit strikes and blackouts, we've always relied on ferries."- Helena Durst, president of New York Water Taxi, explaining why she thinks ferries are of critical importance to New York City.

* New West Side ferry service links midtown and downtown
* Elizabeth Berger Plaza planted and painted
* Bits & Bytes: Hudson Eats delayed again; Condo craze; Fed takeover of 9/11 museum proposed
* Letters to the editor: National September 11 Memorial Museum
* Community Board 1 meetings: Week of May 19
* Calendar

For breaking news, go to

The Bluegrass Family Dance on Esplanade Plaza in Battery Park City. May 17, 2014.
(Photo: Terese Loeb Kreuzer)


The West Side Commuter Ferry, launched today, links Battery Park City and midtown Manhattan. (Photos: Terese Loeb Kreuzer)

As of Monday, there's a new way to travel between Battery Park City and midtown Manhattan, and it has a lot to recommend it: Cost, speed, scenery (iconic skyscrapers, the Palisades, other ships) and fresh air.

Depending on traffic, it can take 25 to 30 minutes to drive on the West Side highway between Battery Park City and West 44th Street. In a taxi, that trip can easily cost more than $20. That makes the Westside Commuter Ferry Service, launched on May 19, a bargain at $4.50 one way ($8 round trip). Plus, it's fast. The ferry can make the trip in under 15 minutes.

Commuting via the Hudson River.
From Mondays to Fridays, New York Water Taxi will be making three trips in each direction, morning and evening, to serve commuters - a total of 12 trips each day. In the morning, the first ferry will leave the terminal at Brookfield Place (World Financial Center) at 7:40 a.m. The first ferry will leave Pier 84 in Hudson River Park at 8 a.m. In the afternoon, the departures will begin at 4:45 p.m. from Battery Park City and will end at 6:25 p.m. from Pier 84.

If they wish, passengers can bring their bicycles on board at no extra charge.

The ferries are free this week, and even offer free coffee and donuts to riders.

Helena Durst, president of New York Water Taxi, said that the first weeks of the ferry service are a pilot to gauge demand. Eventually, she expects to offer a value package for repeat users.

Noting how successful the East River ferry service has been, she expects that the West Side ferry service will also be popular.

In addition, she observed that, "Ferry service is critical to New York City because after emergency evacuations and transit strikes and blackouts, we've always relied on ferries. You can't have a ferry service if you don't have the equipment in the water already and are able to deploy the ferries in an emergency type of situation."

Christine Berthet, chairperson of Community Board 4, said that the ferry service was greatly needed. She alluded to the apartment buildings that tower over Pier 84 and said that more than 3,000 people live in them. Hudson Yards will soon be opening residential buildings nearby.

"In the last 10 years, our neighborhood has grown by 18 percent," she said. "We really need transportation and linking people to their jobs. Personally, I spent 20 years commuting between here and Wall Street and I wish I had had that option."

She also noted that traveling by ferry was "healthy."

"You come back from your job and you can decompress," she said.

"We welcome the increased public transportation from midtown to Lower Manhattan," said Catherine McVay Hughes, chair of Community Board 1, who followed Berthet to the podium.

"These three round-trip ferries a day will provide a bit of relief to the congestion due to taxis, black cars and private cars in our dense neighborhood. This is good for our air quality. In addition, our subways on the western side of Lower Manhattan are congested, especially the 2 and 3 lines."

She said that during rush hours, the tracks are already handling the maximum number of trains possible, and most of the rush-hour trains are crammed with riders.

Though the Hudson was fairly placid on opening day of the ferry service, New York Water Taxi riders felt some chop from the wake of other boats, but, said Hughes, "We prefer the waves of the Hudson to what is called the 'the wave' in the subway where the slightest deviation in schedule causes a backup to all the following trains."

Durst said that the New York Water Taxis could handle almost any kind of weather but that commuters waiting for the ferries could use some protection from the elements, which she hoped would be forthcoming. In Battery Park City, they can shelter in the ferry terminal. At West 44th Street, there is currently no protected place to wait aside from a nearby restaurant - P.D. O'Hurley's.

While the ferry is getting its sea legs, that should be sufficient.

George Calderaro, a Battery Park City resident and a member of Community Board 1, was one of the first passengers on the ferry on opening day. He gave it a good review. "It's a fun, fast and scenic transportation alternative," he said. He also thought that it would be good for downtown if the millions of visitors lodged in midtown who might come to the National September 11 Memorial and Museum could be persuaded to take the ferry rather than loading onto tour buses that idle in the neighborhood.

But, he said, bringing up a topic much on the minds of Battery Park City residents who live near the ferry terminal, "I'm very concerned about adding to the ferry horns." As mandated by the U.S. Coast Guard, ferries must blow their horns three times when they back out of a dock. He said that the Community Board is "in communication with New York Water Taxi, New York Waterway and other ferry operators to ameliorate the situation."

- Terese Loeb Kreuzer

Fresh air and views.

The Paris Cafe | 119 South Street | 212.240.9797 | | @theparisnyc

Financial District

Urszula Glogowska and her daughter, Basia Panko, planted geraniums in the Elizabeth H. Berger Plaza on May 17. (Photos: Terese Loeb Kreuzer) 

After a cool rain the day before, the weather was glorious on Saturday, May 17, as around 100 volunteers turned out to help the Downtown Alliance plant 1,200 geraniums on the bifurcated plaza at Edgar Street and Trinity Place. It was the first official act of beautification for the plaza named on Dec. 16, 2013 for Elizabeth H. Berger, who headed the Downtown Alliance at the time of her death in August 2013.

Among the volunteers were Berger's children, Phoebe and Julian, who helped to paint the large, concrete planters, holding the geraniums.

Nyla Bencivenga, 5, fascinated by an earthworm. 
Community planting days were among Berger's many ideas for ways to improve Lower Manhattan. In addition to creating a beautiful environment, she saw them as a means of introducing people in the community to each other. That's what happened on Saturday as volunteers worked side by side with people they hadn't known until they started digging up soil together and wielding paintbrushes.

After Superstorm Sandy damaged the park at the foot of Wall Street, Berger was there on May 18, 2013 to help plant spring flowers. "It's a way to meet your neighbors," she said at the time. "It's a way to get your hands dirty. It's a way to really make a difference."

This year, Jessica Lappin, Berger's successor as president of the Downtown Alliance, worked alongside the staff and volunteers.

The Elizabeth H. Berger Plaza lies between historic Battery Park, which gets millions of visitors a year who want to see the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island, and the National September 11 Memorial & Museum, which also is a magnet for tourists. Berger saw the potential of that thoroughfare, once the heart of a thriving neighborhood called "Little Syria" because of the many immigrants from the Middle East who lived there. The neighborhood was destroyed in the mid-1940s when Robert Moses saddled it with access roads to the Brooklyn Battery Tunnel. Berger believed that it would again become lively and flourishing to serve the millions of people who would traverse it and live there.

The City's Department of Parks has allocated money to reunite the two islands that constitute Elizabeth H. Berger Plaza. The park is presently being designed. Construction should begin in 2015. 

In the meantime, the plaza's red geraniums glow in the Downtown Alliance color, so appropriate for the woman they honor.

- Terese Loeb Kreuzer

Liz Berger's children, Phoebe and Julian, helped paint the concrete planters.
 (Photo: Terese Loeb Kreuzer) 

Bits & Bytes 

A food truck near 250 Vesey St. (Photo: Terese Loeb Kreuzer)

Hudson Eats delayed again: is reporting that Hudson Eats, the upscale fast-food complex at Brookfield Place, won't open until after Memorial Day. In the meantime, there will still be food trucks stationed in the cul-de-sac at Vesey Street and North End Avenue. For the food truck schedule, click here.

"Condos Stack Up in Downtown Manhattan,"
Wall Street Journal, 5/16/14. "When $1 billion in condominiums goes on the market later this month at 30 Park Place, a tower halfway between City Hall and the World Trade Center site, it will mark another milestone in the rebirth of lower Manhattan," says the Wall Street Journal. "Since the city housing market crashed in 2008, developers and lenders have been shelving plans to build and finance condominiums in what were considered riskier and less-fashionable stretches of downtown below Chambers Street. Now condos are coming back. At least 650 of them-most in five major projects-are due to go on the market this year. That total contrasts with the 34 condo units completed below Chambers Street since June 2010, when the 58-story W Downtown Hotel & Residences opened a block from the World Trade Center construction site, according to a tally by the Alliance for Downtown New York, a business improvement district. The condos coming on the market this year will be in both historic buildings, such as the ornate Woolworth Building, and in new towers. At 926 feet, Park Place will rank as the loftiest, topping out as the fourth tallest tower south of the Empire State Building." For the complete article, click here.

"Sept. 11 museum expected to boost downtown,"
Crain's New York Business, 5/18/14. The National September 11 Memorial Museum will open to the public on May 21, when around 5,000 people are expected to visit it. "This summer, some 8,000 visitors are expected daily, and attendance is expected to reach 2.4 million in the first year-making it one of the city's largest cultural attractions," says Crain's New York Business. "It cost $700 million to construct the museum and memorial. (The latter opened in 2011.)" Crain's quotes Joseph Daniels, president of the museum and memorial, who believes that visitors will come to the museum from all over the world. "Mr. Daniels' enthusiasm about the museum's completion and the visitors it will draw is shared by many around the world, but it particularly resonates downtown, where scars of the attacks are finally healing," says Crain's. "Hoteliers, landlords, restaurateurs, retailers and the heads of neighboring cultural institutions expect the crowds to benefit their organizations and continue to spur the resurgence of lower Manhattan." For the complete article, click here.

"Gillibrand proposes federal take over of 9/11 memorial site," New York Post, 5/17/14. "Seizing on an outcry over steep fees for the new 9/11 museum, Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand is drafting a new proposal to have the feds take over the memorial portion of the somber site," says the New York Post. "The plan is to have the National Park Service run the memorial as a way to lop off substantial operating costs from the combined museum and memorial. With lower security and maintenance costs, the museum would be able to lower ticket prices from $24." For the complete article, click here.

"The 9/11 museum's absurd gift shop," New York Post, 5/18/14. The National September 11 Memorial Museum has generally been well received by visitors - except the gift shop. "The 9/11 museum's cavernous boutique offers a vast array of souvenir goods," says the New York Post. "For example: FDNY, NYPD and Port Authority Police T-shirts ($22) and caps ($19.95); earrings molded from leaves and blossoms of downtown trees ($20 to $68); cop and firefighter charms by Pandora and other jewelers ($65); 'United We Stand' blankets. There are bracelets, bowls, buttons, mugs, mousepads, magnets, key chains, flags, pins, stuffed animals, toy firetrucks, cellphone cases, tote bags, books and DVDs. Even FDNY vests for dogs come in all sizes." For the complete article, click here.

"British Cleric Is Convicted in Terror Trial,"
New York Times, 5/19/14. At Federal District Court in Lower Manhattan, a "fiery British cleric who prosecutors said had 'devoted his life to violent jihad' and had dispatched young men around the world to train and fight was convicted of 11 terrorism-related charges," today, says The New York Times. "Prosecutors had charged that the cleric, Mostafa Kamel Mostafa, a former imam at the Finsbury Park mosque in North London, helped to orchestrate the violent 1998 kidnappings of 16 American, British and Australian tourists in Yemen; had tried to create a terrorist training camp in Bly, Ore.; and had supported terrorism by sending one of his followers to train with Al Qaeda in Afghanistan. In the tourist abductions, four hostages were killed after their captors, a militant group allied with Mr. Mostafa, were used as human shields during a Yemeni rescue operation." Prosecutors charged that Mostafa "spoke approvingly of Al Qaeda's 2000 bombing of the American destroyer Cole in Yemen, called Osama bin Laden 'a hero' and said 'everybody was happy when the planes hit the World Trade Center.'" For the complete article, click here.


Letters to the editor
Behind the wall with a quote from Virgil at the National September 11 Memorial Museum are the remains of some of the victims. (Photo: Terese Loeb Kreuzer)

To the editor:
(Re "National September 11 Memorial Museum Opens," DPNYC, 5/16/14): I volunteered for the Salvation Army at the World Trade Center site from December 2001 to May of 2002. To recall the destruction of the World Trade Center area when I first got there and now observe this incredible transformation was overwhelming. The fact that I knew two people personally who died there and two others through friends made me quite emotional.

The 9/11 Museum is a masterpiece. My hat is off to the people who created and designed the museum. I got there around 5 p.m. and finally exited the building at 9:15 p.m. I have absolutely no idea where the time went.

I thought the café and the gift shop were questionable, but until someone or the government steps up to pay the annual budget, I guess every little bit will help. The books, the hats, T-shirts and videos are fine, but ash trays, coffee mugs, scarfs and other items I won't list here were ridiculous! The entrance fee is questionable as well, but for the time being, funding is needed to support this facility. 
I was glad to see the fences removed from the plaza area. People should be allowed to come and go at their leisure, especially, family members who might like to visit this area in less congested hours.  I saw this firsthand when I worked for the Salvation Army on the 11 p.m to 8 a.m. shift.  Many family members came down to look at the area where their loved ones simply went to work one day, never to return home.  The looks on their faces are something I will never forget! I could see some of those faces again when I walked around the museum. 

I thought that all the videos, including the controversial Islamic jihadist video, were well done.  We should never, ever forget, who was responsible for this terrorism and why they did this! Not once, but twice!

David Rocco

To the editor:
Great photos and story about the 9/11 museum! Thank you!!

Elizabeth Williams

To the editor:
I just wanted to say - what a great post today! I went to the September 11 Memorial with my husband just this afternoon and your story was informative and heartbreaking - wonderful stuff!  Plus your photos really did it justice.  Beautiful work.

Kelly Becker

From the editor:
Thank you. I am grateful to you for your compliments and glad that the museum management saw fit to open the museum for several days to the community most touched and affected by it. That was needed. For those who lived through 9/11, there will be no agreement about this museum and what it contains. The feelings are too raw, the losses, too great.

And now the crowds arrive.


The Brooklyn Bridge reconstruction project will be discussed on Tuesday at the meeting of Community Board 1's Seaport/Civic Center Committee. (Photo: Terese Loeb Kreuzer)

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

May 20: Seaport/Civic Center Committee
* Announcement of upcoming event: Lower Manhattan Community Reconstruction Plan - Wednesday, May 21, 5:30 p.m.-7:30 p.m., Pier 15, East River Esplanade at South & John Streets
* Seaport Working Group - Update by CB1
* Brooklyn Bridge Reconstruction Project - Update by NYC DOT representative
* Zoning and density in the Seaport area - Presentation by Richard Suarez, Department of City Planning
* Peck Slip clean-up, northwest portion - Update by Whitney Barrat, Executive Director, Old Seaport Alliance
* NYC Department of Small Business Services Superstorm Sandy Business Recovery Loan & Grant Program - Presentation by Katie Gordon, Program Director
* Blue School acquisition of 233 Water St. - Presentation by Blakely Braniff, Director of Development, Blue School
* 4th of July Pig Roast Block Party street activity permit application for Cliff Street between John Street and Fulton Street, Friday, July 4, 2014, 12 p.m. to 9 p.m. - Resolution
* R2R Living Room: DJ Nickodemus street activity permit application for Front Street between Beekman Street and Peck Slip, Sunday, June 29, 2014,  2 p.m. to 9 p.m. - Resolution
* 119 South St., application for an unenclosed sidewalk café for PC Restaurant Corp. d/b/a Paris Café - Resolution
* 146 Beekman St., renewal application for an unenclosed sidewalk café for Manhattan Island Group LLC d/b/a Fresh Salt - Resolution
* South Street Seaport/Uplands area, application for seasonal liquor license for B and T Fulton, LLC - Resolution
* 150 Centre St., application for change of method & operation for a restaurant liquor license for Mika Japanese Cuisine Bar & Inc. - Resolution
* South Street Seaport - Pier 17, request for one-time alteration of hours for Beekman Beer Garden - Resolution
* 49-53 Ann St., application for a hotel liquor license for Ann Street Hotel, LLC d/b/a Aloft Manhattan Downtown-Financial District hotel - Resolution
* Pier 17 Construction, Fulton Market Building and Seaport uplands - Update by Phillip St. Pierre, General Manager of the South Street Seaport, Howard Hughes Corporation (POSTPONED UNTIL JUNE)

The following notices have been received for renewal, upgrade, or transfer of wine and beer or liquor licenses or sidewalk cafe permits:
* 228 Front St., renewal application for a restaurant liquor license for Jeremy's Ale House Still, Inc.
* 101 Fulton St., renewal application for a liquor license for Chipotle Mexican Grill of Colorado, LLC
* 10 Reade St., renewal application for a restaurant liquor license for Albella LLC

May 21: NY Rising Open House
Place: Hornblower Space on Pier 15,  John and South Streets; Time: 5:30 p.m.-7:30 p.m.
      5:30 p.m. - 6:00 p.m. Open House
      6 p.m. - 6:30 p.m. Speaker and Presentation of Projects
      6:30 p.m. - 6:45 p.m./7 p.m. Questions
      6:45 p.m. - 7 p.m./7:30 p.m. Open House

May 22: Nominating Committee
* Discussion of Candidates for CB1 officer positions

CALENDAR: Week of May 19

The South Street Seaport Museum's lightship, Ambrose, berthed at Pier 16, welcomes visitors from Wednesdays to Sundays. (Photo: Terese Loeb Kreuzer)

May 20: "When Science Bites Back" at The New York Academy of Sciences features a panel of scientists who are learning more about how animals help shape our world. These researchers with expertise in the structure of animal societies and their survival strategies in extreme conditions bring tales from the field. And unlike the Internet, it's not all baby pandas and elephants making friends with puppies. These animal experts will discuss the real story of studying dogs, dolphins, elephants and many others. And in the process they'll go from your backyard to the aquarium to some of the most extreme environments in the world. Place: 7 World Trade Center. Time: 7 p.m.-8:30 p.m. Cost: $25 (non-members of the NYAS); discounts for members, students, post-docs. For more information, click here.

May 22: William W. Buzbee, Professor of Law at Emory University School of Law, talks about his book, Fighting Westway, at the Skyscraper Museum. From 1971 to 1985, legal and political battles raged over Westway, the multibillion-dollar highway, development, and park project conceived for the Hudson River edge on Manhattan's Lower West Side. The most expensive highway project ever proposed, Westway provoked one of the highest stakes legal battles of its day. Drawing on archival records and interviews, Buzbee probes beneath the veneer of government actions and court rulings to illuminate the political pressures and strategic moves that shaped the Westway wars. Involving all branches of government, environmental laws, scientific conflict, strategic citizen action, trials and court cases, the history of Westway illuminates how urban priorities are contested and how separation of powers and federalism frameworks structure legal and political conflict. Place: 39 Battery Place. Time: 6:30 p.m.-8 p.m. Free. RSVP to to assure admittance to the event.

May 22: Lisa Loeb, a Grammy®-nominated singer/songwriter, plays at the Tribeca Performing Arts Center. Loeb started her career with the platinum-selling Number 1 hit song Stay (I Missed You) from the film, Reality Bites. Loeb's career encompasses music, film, television, voiceover work and children's recordings. Place: 199 Chambers St. Time: 8 p.m. Tickets: $55, $45, $35. For more information or to buy tickets, click here.

May 24: Governors Island opens for the 2014 season with a Family Festival on Colonels Row and Liggett Terrace. Join the Governors Island Alliance in Nolan Park for arts and crafts, musical and theatrical performances, and harbor-education activities for kids. Time: 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. For more information, click here. Also, the Lower Manhattan Cultural Council hosts Open Studios in Building 110. Time: 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. For more information, click here.

May 19-May 27: Fleet Week 2014 events will include military aircraft flyovers, aerial demonstrations, and static/stationary exhibitions throughout the New York City area.  Beginning on May 19, the U.S. Navy will conduct familiarization flights with four (4) MH-60 helicopters in various citywide locations beween 1 p.m. and 2:30 p.m. and between 3 p.m. and 4:30 p.m. For more information, click here.

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: The South Street Seaport Museum's lightship Ambrose and its barque Peking welcome visitors Wednesdays to Sundays, 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Pier 16 (on the East River at Fulton Street). The Ambrose, launched in 1908,  once guided large ships through the Ambrose Channel into New York harbor. 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. The museum's Visitors Services associates explain 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.

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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