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News and Events
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Volume 1, No. 70  May 26, 2014
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IN THIS ISSUE

Quote of the day:
"I think that Howard Hughes has recognized that that is an issue." - Richard Suarez, of the City Planning Department, commenting on a clause in the Brooklyn Bridge Urban Renewal plan that prohibits residential development on the section of the East River waterfront where Hughes had said it wanted to erect a 50-story-tall hotel/apartment tower.

* Urban renewal plan prohibits residential use of the East River waterfront north of Pier 15
* Battery Park City in bloom: Columbine
* Bits & Bytes: Seaport Working Group guidelines; Cowgirl Sea-Horse; Poulakakos dining
* Community Board 1 full board meeting: May 27
* Calendar

For breaking news, go to www.DowntownPostNYC.com

Memorial Day on the Hudson River with the South Street Seaport Museum's schooner, Pioneer, in the foreground and Manhattan By Sail's Clipper City. May 26, 2014. (Photo: Terese Loeb Kreuzer)


 

STUMBLING BLOCK FOR HOWARD HUGHES? URBAN RENEWAL PLAN PROHIBITS RESIDENTIAL USES OF WATERFRONT NORTH OF PIER 15

The East River waterfront near the Brooklyn Bridge. The New Market Building is on the extreme left-hand side of the picture. (Photo: Terese Loeb Kreuzer)

The Howard Hughes Corporation has been very quiet about what it plans to propose for the East River waterfront in and around the South Street Seaport. As a member of the Seaport Working Group, a task force convened in February 2014 to create guidelines for Seaport development, Hughes has listened, but apparently has said little or nothing.

The last thing that anyone in the public has officially heard from Hughes about its waterfront proposals was the bombshell that the Dallas-based developer delivered at a Community Board 1 meeting on Nov. 19, 2013. That night, Christopher Curry, executive vice president of Hughes, said that the company wanted to build a 50-story luxury hotel/residential tower on the site of the New Market Building, which Hughes wants to demolish. Unlike the nearby Tin Building, the New Market Building isn't in the Seaport Historic District.

That may still be what Hughes would like to do, but if so, there may be an obstacle. At a meeting of Community Board 1's Seaport/Civic Center Committee on May 20, 2014, Richard Suarez, a member of the City Planning Department, provided a fast and densely packed rundown of the zoning regulations affecting the Seaport. In addition, he happened to mention the Brooklyn Bridge Southeast Urban Renewal Plan for the area between Battery Park and the Manhattan Bridge. It was enacted in 1969 and will be in effect until 2068.

Under the Urban Renewal plan, south of Pier 15 (near John Street), there can be both commercial and residential uses on the waterfront, he told the committee. North of Pier 15, residential uses are not permitted. This area is to be dedicated to "commercial uses that are compatible with, and in character with, the Seaport." Suarez mentioned recreation facilities, parks, educational institutions and the Fulton Fish Market as examples of what is permissible.
 
Fifty story-tall hotel/apartment buildings wouldn't qualify. In fact, no hotel/apartment building of any height could be built on the site of the New Market Building or anywhere else on that stretch of waterfront unless the Urban Renewal plan were modified.  
 
The Urban Renewal plan comes under the jurisdiction of the City's Department of Housing Preservation and Development (HPD).

"I think that Howard Hughes has recognized that that is an issue," said Suarez. He said that modification would require a ULURP (Uniform Land Use Review Procedure) action - one of many that Howard Hughes would have to get enacted if it is to proceed with the proposals that it stated in November.  

The Urban Renewal plan proscription against residential waterfront usage north of Pier 15 might affect another Howard Hughes project. Hughes has an option on the low-rise building at 80 South St. that says "Sciame" on it. Hughes is looking into building a 100-story-tall residential tower on that site.

"Is 80 South St. north or south of Pier 15?" Michael Kramer, a member of the CB1 Seaport Committee asked Suarez.

"I think it's right there, and that's a commercial use," Suarez replied.
 
In March of 2013, when City Council approved the ULURP that enabled Hughes to tear down the existing mall on Pier 17 and undertake the construction of a new mall, Hughes tucked some zoning changes into the ULURP proposal. They were approved at that time, with the Community Board and others being under the impression that these zoning changes would keep Hughes from building a mixed-use, high-rise structure on the waterfront.

But there was an easy way around that, as Suarez explained to CB1's Seaport Committee. "Howard Hughes can choose to merge zoning lots," Suarez said. If several lots are merged, air rights from one could be transferred to another, enabling the construction of a tall building.

Such a merger of lots has not yet taken place, according to Suarez, but it could be part of Hughes' ULURP action.

Paul Hovitz, a member of the CB1 Seaport Committee, brought up another sore subject. Both the State Historic Preservation Office and the federal government have declared Piers 17 and 18 to be in the South Street Seaport Historic District, but the City so far has refused to landmark Pier 18, which is why the New Market Building has no protection from being demolished.

"Is there any chance that City Planning could intercede with the Landmarks Preservation Commission and get the historic district extended, as both the State and the feds have done?" Hovitz asked Suarez.

In reply, Suarez said something about Howard Hughes not yet having "officially started a conversation" with City Planning.

"This isn't about Howard Hughes," said Hovitz. "This is about City Planning and our Seaport."

The development guidelines created by the Seaport Working Group will be unveiled to the public at a meeting on June 2 at the Southbridge Towers community room. That meeting starts at 6 p.m.

On June 12, the Seaport Working Group will finally hear from Howard Hughes about its proposals for the Seaport.

- Terese Loeb Kreuzer

The Sciame building at 80 South St. is right next to Pier 15. The Howard Hughes Corp. has an option to build a 100-story-tall apartment building on this site.
(Photo: Terese Loeb Kreuzer)




Battery Park City in bloom
COLUMBINE: Eagle and dove
 
Aquilegia chrysantha 'Yellow Queen' (columbine). (Photos: Terese Loeb Kreuzer)

Several of the 60 to 70 columbine species are blooming now in the esplanade garden on Rector Place. Aquilegia chrysantha 'Yellow Queen' is particularly handsome, with large flowers that suggest fireworks or shooting stars. This species is native to the American southwest. Other species of columbines have been known in Europe for centuries. They are depicted in illuminated manuscripts from the 13th century.

The name "columbine" comes from a Latin word, "columbinus," meaning "dove-like." These flowers were associated with the dove of peace, but also with the fierce eagle. The genus name, "Aquilegia," comes from the Latin word, "aquil," meaning eagle. The five spurs at the back of the flower suggested an eagle's talon.

Native Americans used to eat columbine flowers in small quantities, and used infusions medicinally for ulcers, fever and as an antidote to poison ivy - though the seeds and roots of the columbine are themselves poisonous. Nevertheless, some moth caterpillars can feed on these plants without harm. Hummingbirds also like them.

- Terese Loeb Kreuzer





The Paris Cafe | 119 South Street | 212.240.9797 | thepariscafenyc.com | @theparisnyc

Bits & Bytes
SEAPORT WORKING GROUP GUIDELINES TO BE UNVEILED; COWGIRL SEA-HORSE; POULAKAKOS DINING; LIBESKIND OF LOWER MANHATTAN

Water Street in the South Street Seaport with 19th-century buildings housing part of the South Street Seaport Museum and kiosks and picnic tables installed by The Howard Hughes Corporation. (Photo: Terese Loeb Kreuzer)

Seaport Working Group guidelines: There will be an Open House on Monday, June 2 so that members of the public can see, read and comment on the guidelines for South Street Seaport development compiled by the Seaport Working Group. Place: Southbridge Towers Community Room, 90 Beekman St. Time: 6 p.m.-8 p.m. Session will start promptly.

"It's been 25 years, but Sherry Delamarter and her West Village eatery Cowgirl haven't been thrown yet," New York Business Journal, 5/21/14. Sherry Delamarter, a Lower Manhattan resident, launched the Cowgirl Hall of Fame in the West Village in February 1989. "It's still thriving 25 years later -- largely because its owner thinks 'small town' in the country's biggest town," says the New York Business Journal. "Most restaurateurs, particularly those in the tourist-packed West Village, aim to attract any patron who can pay the bill, but not Delamarter. She's carved out a particular niche to keep Cowgirl humming along. 'I target neighbors, anyone who lives near the restaurant. We don't target tourists or the bridge-and-tunnel crowd, just the people in my neighborhood as if I was in a small town in Middle America,' she said. Cowgirl has spawned spin-offs. Delamarter launched a second Cowgirl in Sante Fe, N.M. and the Cowgirl Sea-Horse in the South Street Seaport area. On her bucket list is opening a fourth in Paris." For the complete article, click here.

"Feeding the Financial District," New York Times, 5/23/14. The New York Times has discovered Peter Poulakakos, and his dad, Harry. "If you've spent any time in Lower Manhattan and
Peter Poulakakos (left) at a Community Board 1 meeting in 2011 explaining plans for Pier A as his father, Harry (center) and other members of the development team listened. (Photo: Terese Loeb Kreuzer)
had a cappuccino at a patisserie, a 10-inch pie at a pizza place, or a pint of Guinness in a wood-paneled pub, chances are you were patronizing an establishment owned by Peter Poulakakos," says The Times. "Mr. Poulakakos owns no fewer than 10 restaurants south of Chambers Street, with a few more notable projects on the horizon," The Times continues. Pier A at the southern end of Battery Park City, is one of Peter's latest undertakings. "Perched over the Hudson River on the west side of Battery Park, the 38,000-square-foot Beaux-Arts building that dates to 1886 had fallen into disrepair and sat empty and decaying for decades until Mr. Poulakakos stepped in," says The Times. "In 2011, with the Dermot Company, a residential developer, he signed a 25-year deal to lease the space from the Battery Park City Authority, the state agency responsible for renovating the city-owned pier, and is realizing a family dream. 'My father has had Pier A on his radar since the '70s,' he said." For the complete article, click here.

"Orignal WTC designer unveils Holocaust monument," The Real Deal, 5/25/14. Architect Daniel Libeskind, who has a studio on Rector Street in Lower Manhattan and who created the Master Plan for the World Trade Center site, had his "stunning design" selected last week for the 
Daniel Libeskind. (Photo: Terese Loeb Kreuzer)
National Holocaust Monument in Ottawa, Canada, says The Real Deal. "Libeskind, who is known for sharp, angular landmarks such as Toronto's Royal Ontario Museum and the original design for One World Trade Center, started his most famous work in 1989 at the Jewish Museum Berlin. The design of this museum, which looks like an exploded Star of David, seems to reflect the experiences of the Jews in Germany. Some exhibition spaces are light-filled and airy, while others - the spaces that memorialize the Holocaust - are dark, disorienting, and solemn." The Real Deal notes that, "Libeskind, who is Jewish, also designed a Holocaust monument in Ohio, the Holocaust and Liberators Memorial at the Ohio Statehouse, which will open on June 2nd. To reach this 1,029-square-foot monument, which also portrays the shape of a Jewish star, visitors will walk up a sloped pathway that is lined with inspirational quotes." For the complete article (with photos), click here.

COMMUNITY BOARD 1 MEETING: May 27

The monthly meeting of Community Board 1's full board takes place on Tuesday, May 27 at Asphalt Green, 212 North End Ave., starting at 6 p.m. All are welcome to attend.

A public session at which anyone may speak for up to two minutes opens the meeting. Guest speakers are Carol Tweedy, executive director of Asphalt Green, followed by Shari C. Hyman, President and Chief Operating Officer of the Battery Park City Authority. The meeting continues with reports from the chairperson, the treasurer, CB 1's district manager and each of Community Board 1's committees.  

 

 

CALENDAR: Week of May 26
Wild mushrooms for sale at the New Amsterdam Market. (Photo: Terese Loeb Kreuzer)
May 26-May 27: Conclusion of Fleet Week 2014. For more information, click here
 
May 27: In the last of this season's "Tuesday Talks" at Asphalt Green, child psychologist Tovah Klein talks about "How Toddlers Thrive." She will discuss what parents can do for children ages 2-5 to plant the seeds of lifelong success. Place: 212 North End Ave. Time: 9:45 a.m.-10:45 a.m. Tickets: $22; $18 (Asphalt Green members). For more information and tickets, click here.

May 31
: On Governors Island, Rite of Summer presents Dawn of Midi, Colonels Row. Dawn of Midi, an electronica influenced all acoustic trio, will perform original music under the shade of Colonels Row. It is the first Rite of Summer concert on the Island this season. Time: 1 p.m. and 3 p.m. For more information, click here. Vintage Baseball, Parade Ground. Visit the Parade Ground and enjoy America's pastime the way it used to be played! Time: 11 a.m. For more information, click here.

May 31: "From the Horse's Mouth" brings an all-male cast of dancers to Pace University's Schimmel Center for Tina Croll and Jamie Cunningham's theater/dance event. This edition honors the late Frederic Franklin during his centenary year. An international cast of renowned dance artists share their personal stories and reflections alongside original choreography. Also, June 1. Place: Michael Schimmel Center for the Arts, 3 Spruce St. Time: 7:30 p.m. Tickets: $26.50-$41.50. For more information and to buy tickets, click here.

May 31: The New Amsterdam Market opens for the season with more than 60 local and regional vendors on South Street between Beekman Street and Peck Slip. They will be selling fish and seafood, produce and fruit, meat, beverages, bread, pasta and grains, honey, syrups, candy, pies, and more. For a complete list, click here. Time: 11 a.m.-5 p.m.

June 1: The Museum of Jewish Heritage presents "Genesis: Truman, American Jews, and the Origins of the Arab/Israeli Conflict," with author John B. Judis in conversation with David G. Marwell, Museum Director.  Judis, a senior editor at "The New Republic," reassesses Truman's position on the creation of the State of Israel. The author argues that the country that came into being in 1948 was not the one the president had hoped for, and that Truman's experience was a disturbing portent for the future. Place: 36 Battery Place. Time: 4 p.m. Tickets: $20; $15 (members). For tickets, click here.

Ongoing: "A Town Known as Auschwitz" is an exhibit of photographs at the Museum of Jewish Heritage tracing the history of a town called "Oswiecim" in what is now Poland, where Jews and non-Jews lived side by side for centuries. When German forces occupied the town in September 1939, they renamed it "Auschwitz" and established a concentration and death camp there. More than 1 million people died at Auschwitz, including 90 percent of the town's Jews. The museum is at 36 Battery Place. For information the exhibit, click here. For information on the museum's hours and admission fees, click here.
 
Last call: 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.

June 1: The Community Center at Stuyvesant High School will hold an Open House from 2 p.m. to 5 p.m. with swimming, badminton, basketball and free demo classes in yoga and tai chi. For swimming, bring a towel. Swim caps are available for purchase. For more information, call (646) 210-4292 or click here.



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Editor: Terese Loeb Kreuzer

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