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News and Events
in Lower Manhattan
Volume 1, No. 71  May 28, 2014

Quote of the day:
"We're not in the business of competing with New York City directly." - Steven Fulop, mayor of Jersey City, discussing the July 4 fireworks show that Jersey City will put on since the Macy's fireworks have been moved to the East River this year.

* New Amsterdam Market this Saturday
* Community Board 1 fumes over food trucks in Seaport
* Getting ready for the Fourth of July
* Bits & Bytes: Port backs off from 3 WTC financing; 1 WTC cuts rents; Skinny Seaport tower
* Letter to the editor: Downtown Post NYC nears half-year anniversary
* Calendar

For breaking news, go to

Bread for sale at the New Amsterdam Market on South Street. (Photo: Terese Loeb Kreuzer)

South Street Seaport
The New Amsterdam Market on South Street. (Photos: Terese Loeb Kreuzer)

Like the New York Stock Exchange, the New Amsterdam Market opens and closes with a bell - in this case, a 19th century bell with a wooden handle that has been rung ceremoniously ever since the market first came to South Street in 2007. This year, on Saturday, May 31, the bell will be rung at 11 a.m. to mark the beginning of a new season in the parking lot under the FDR Drive.

The market is held between Beekman Street and Peck Slip in front of the New Market Building, which once housed part of the Fulton Fish Market. 

This year, the New Amsterdam Markets will take place monthly, with some of them on Saturdays and some on Sundays. "We're experimenting this year with Saturday markets because we feel that it's a better shopping day for people who are stocking up for the weekend and we wanted to be available for that," said Robert LaValva, the founder of the New Amsterdam Market.

There are 60 vendors coming to the May 31 market. Most have been there before. They will be bringing cheese and other dairy products from Vermont and the Hudson Valley, honey and maple syrup from the Catskills and Vermont, bread made with locally raised grains, organic fruit and produce, wild food from northern Vermont, fish and shellfish from Long Island and Maine, wild salmon from Alaska, coffee and tea and ciders and pies, olive oil and nuts, jams and preserves.

"All of our vendors, in one way or other, are concerned about issues that I think are important - environmental stewardship and fair trade and supporting small farms and purity of ingredients and the treatment of animals," said LaValva. "It's very hard to create and sustain a business supporting all these values. They work hard to do that. But in the end, they are business people as well, so when I see vendors returning, it's a sign almost more than any other sign that they see an untapped economic potential to creating a permanent market and they want to be in on it. They see what it could be and they know that if they're among the pioneers, they'll have a secure place in something that's going to be very viable for them."


Annie Myers, who founded a company called Myers Produce in 2013 is among the market's new vendors this year. Myers buys produce from farmers in Vermont, Massachusetts and Connecticut, and distributes it in New York City. "She has a number of wholesale accounts with some restaurants and some stores like Dean & DeLuca and Union Market," said LaValva. The New Amsterdam Market is her only retail venue.

In 2008, when Myers was a student at NYU, she was an intern for New Amsterdam Market. 


"Annie really represents the kind of vendor that we see becoming a mainstay of the New Amsterdam Market," said LaValva. "The old fish market site, which we're trying to save, is really at its heart a venue for distributors like that where they could have a headquarters and a storage space for their produce and then distribute it around Lower Manhattan. They could make the food available to local residents."


LaValva said he was "always looking for people who are expanding the range of regional products that they can bring into the city. An interesting vendor that we're excited to welcome this year is the Greenmarket Co. It specializes in regional and heirloom grains. Greenmarket is working with upstate farmers to plant a wide range of grains that grow well in our region." Greenmarket will be bringing various kinds of flour and whole grains to the market. 


The standard fee for a stall at the New Amsterdam Market is $125, which includes a table, signage and the set up. "We provide everything," said LaValva. "We charge a little more for the vendors of prepared food." But, he said, "We don't exclude anyone if they're not able to pay."


In addition to this revenue, the New Amsterdam Market relies on donations, which are tax deductible.  For information about how to donate to the market, click here.


- Terese Loeb Kreuzer    

Organic produce for sale at the New Amsterdam Market.

South Street Seaport
Food trucks and picnic tables on Fulton Street. (Photos: Terese Loeb Kreuzer)

At the end of the Community Board 1 full board meeting on May 27,  John Fratta, the chairperson of CB1's Seaport/Civic Center Committee, stood up to propose some new business. "The Howard Hughes Corporation has placed food trucks in the Seaport," he said, his voice laced with anger.

He wanted the Community Board to adopt a resolution and proposed some wording: "We are opposed to the way that The Howard Hughes Corporation has taken over public space without any consultation with the community, the Seaport Committee or this Community Board and we demand that these food trucks be removed immediately."


He called The Howard Hughes action "outrageous" and "appalling." 


Howard Hughes is a Dallas-based developer with a long-term lease on much of the Seaport. Prior to bringing in food trucks, it had installed shipping containers on historic Fulton Street and had covered some of its cobblestones with fake grass.


Catherine McVay Hughes, chairperson of Community Board 1, didn't seem to grasp how angry Fratta and other members of the Seaport Committee are about this.

At the next meeting of the Seaport/Civic Center Committee, she said, The Howard Hughes Corporation would be first on the agenda and the matter of the food trucks could be raised with them at that time.


"The problem with that is that we're going to go another month with them having these food trucks there and we're really opposed to the food trucks," said Fratta. "It's that simple."

McVay Hughes asked Jason Friedman, another member of the Seaport committee and a South Street Seaport resident, what he thought.

I'm against everything that's there," Friedman replied. "I think it's a terrible solution, temporary or not. There are so many amazing storefronts [on Fulton Street] that are actually being used for like, cutting lumber to make these temporary structures and they're falling apart more and it just doesn't make any sense! It's been 18 months [since Superstorm Sandy]!"


Friedman said that the food trucks are blocking all the space. "It's not pedestrian friendly," he said. "It doesn't make sense. It's a big parking lot with a construction site in the middle of it."  


There was no mistaking the anger and frustration with Howard Hughes. The Community Board unanimously voted to frame a resolution demanding that the food trucks be removed.


On May 28, they were still there.



- Terese Loeb Kreuzer 
Fulton Street with some of the shipping containers and picnic tables installed by The Howard Hughes Corporation. (Photo: Terese Loeb Kreuzer) 

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


July 4 in Battery Park. (Photos: Terese Loeb Kreuzer)

Of course it isn't even June yet, but it isn't too soon to start planning for the Fourth of July. That's what James Kaplan wanted to talk about at Community Board 1's full board meeting on May 27. He introduced himself as the chairman of the July Fourth in Lower Manhattan Festival Committee.

For the last 17 years, he has observed July 4th by giving an all-night walking tour for the Fraunces Tavern Museum. "In doing that, I noticed that the major event in New York City besides the Macy's fireworks festival was a hot dog eating contest," he said.

Several Lower Manhattan organizations propose to change that. They plan to join Fraunces Tavern to produce an all-day historical festival on July 4. The organizations behind this effort include the Downtown Alliance, the Museum of Jewish Heritage, Wall Street Walks, the Lower Manhattan Cultural Council and several others.

Kaplan's all-night walking tour will take place as usual and will end at 7 a.m. with a visit to Trinity Church's graveyard, specifically to the graves of Gen. Horatio Gates - the winning general at the Battle of Saratoga and one of Kaplan's favorites - and Gen. Alexander Hamilton, described by Kaplan as "the winning general at the Battle of Yorktown." (For the record, Hamilton was also the first Secretary of the Treasury and the founder of the Bank of New York, the New York Post and a predecessor of the U.S. Coast Guard.) Kaplan will also point out the grave of Marinus Willett, a Revolutionary War officer, who in the post-war years, became mayor of New York City.

Later on the 4th, to wake everybody up, the New York Veteran Corps of Artillery will fire off a 51-gun salute near Castle Clinton National Monument in Battery Park.

Also on the agenda, at Federal Hall (Broad and Nassau Streets), the National Park Service will present musical performances and a reading of the Declaration of Independence plus activities for children. Fraunces Tavern Museum will be open with an admission fee of $1. Wall Street Walks will offer one-hour walking tours of Wall Street.

"The purpose is to educate people," said Kaplan. "I am often shocked, and I will say appalled, at how little people know who live and work here about the history down here."

He suggested that people not go to the beach that day but stick around to learn "how important New York was during the Revolution."

There will be many other activities on the 4th. For more information, click here.

Fireworks on the Hudson, July 4, 2013. 
In the evening, there will be fireworks.

Mayor Bill de Blasio announced in April that he was "thrilled" that the annual July 4 Macy's fireworks would be returning to the East River after five years on the Hudson. The mayor was glad that people in Brooklyn and Queens would be able to see the fireworks. The people on the west side of Manhattan were probably less thrilled. But Jersey City is coming to the rescue.

The New York Times reported that Jersey City's mayor, "Steven Fulop, who was elected last year, has seized the chance to stage a fireworks show in Liberty State Park, with the Statue of Liberty itself as a backdrop. He even hinted that the display might be broadcast on television at the same time as NBC carries the Macy's show." ("With July 4th Fireworks Leaving the Hudson, Jersey City's Show Will Return," New York Times, 5/27/14). The Times quoted Mayor Fulop as saying, "We're not in the business of competing with New York City directly," though he saw "the window of opportunity opened."

Most of the boats that regularly cruise New York harbor also regard the Fourth of July as a window of opportunity. They offer July 4 fireworks cruises, preceded by plenty of food and drink.

Manhattan by Sail is one of the sponsors of the July 4th Festival in Lower Manhattan and is offering excursions on its boats, Shearwater and Clipper City.

Classic Harbor Line has July 4 cruises on its schooners, America 2.0 and Adirondack, and its yachts, Manhattan and Beacon.

New York Water Taxi sends out its yacht, the Zephyr, on the fourth of July.

There will be others.

- Terese Loeb Kreuzer

Boats on the Hudson River on July 4.  


Bits & Bytes
Durst has cut rents at 1 World Trade Center, which is only 55 percent leased. The Port backed off today from financing 3 World Trade Center. (Photo: Terese Loeb Kreuzer)

"Port Authority abandons financing plan for 3 WTC," Crain's New York Business, 5/28/14. "Officials at the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey said the bistate agency has abandoned plans to provide a controversial $1.2 billion financial guarantee that would allow a new tower to rise at the World Trade Center site and would pursue a deal to finance the soaring building instead with private funds," Crain's New York Business reports this afternoon. "Speaking at a Port subcommittee on Wednesday morning, Scott Rechler, the Port's vice chairman, said the Port was working with the tower's developer, Silverstein Properties, to structure a 'hybrid' arrangement that would bring the Port's commitment back in line with an agreement in 2010 in which the agency pledged to provide a $200 million backstop for the new building. Mr. Rechler did not discuss the details of the revised deal being sought, but suggested a reinsurance firm could take on the risk that the Port was initially contemplating." If Silverstein Properties wants to rescue the building, it might have to raise more equity "beyond the $450 million it has already pledged to reduce the loan it needs to build the $2.4 billion project," says Crain's. "In that case, it would also secure a larger portion of the tower's financing on its own, without the Port's loan guarantee or with the Port committing to the lesser guarantee. The Port had been expected to vote on the tower financing at a board meeting Wednesday afternoon, but will now postpone that vote to try to arrange the private-sector deal. Executives at Silverstein Properties have for months said that raising the necessary funds for the new tower privately has been unfeasible at a time when lenders have remained reluctant to provide money for speculative office buildings." For the complete article, click here.

"Office Rents Cut at One World Trade,"
Wall Street Journal, 5/27/14. "The owners of the tallest tower at the World Trade Center are cutting office rents just months before it opens because of slow leasing activity," says the Wall Street Journal. "No private office tenant has signed a lease at One World Trade Center in nearly three years. The 3.1-million-square-foot skyscraper, formerly named the Freedom Tower, is 55% leased. The owner-a venture of developer Douglas Durst and the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey-is cutting asking rents nearly 10% to $69 a square foot for larger tenants on the building's middle floors, down from $75 a square foot, Mr. Durst said in an interview Friday." Durst attributed the leasing problem to a slack economy. "The move adds to the financial challenges for the 1,776-foot building that is set to open its doors by the end of the year," the Journal says. "With a construction cost of $3.9 billion, it is set to be the most expensive office tower ever built and has little hope of proving to be a good financial investment in the short term." For the complete article, click here.

"1 WTC tenant looking to halve its commitment,"Crain's New York Business, 5/27/14. "The China Center, the first private-sector tenant to sign on for office space at One World Trade Center, is negotiating to halve its commitment there," says Crain's New York Business. "The downsizing would bring the group, which aims to give Chinese businesses a foothold in the city by providing them with offices and other amenities like conference and dining space, to about 100,000 square feet. The firm's decision to slash its space comes after news that the owners of One World Trade Center, a partnership between the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey and the Durst Organization, were slashing asking rents in the 1,776-foot tall, more than 3 million-square-foot tower, due to a lack of demand." Crain's observes that, "The China Center's desire to shrink its footprint coupled with falling rents adds new fuel to the debate over whether more office space should be built at the World Trade Center site at a time when millions of square feet of recently-built space sits empty. On Wednesday, the Port Authority is set to vote whether to approve a $1.2 billion financing guarantee that would allow Silverstein Properties to erect a third office tower at the World Trade Center site. That building, 3 World Trade Center, would be about 2.8 million square feet and 80 stories high. So far, Silverstein Properties, has only secured a 515,000-square-foot tenant for the property, the media and advertising company GroupM." For the complete article, click here.

"Fortis's Skinny, Twisty Seaport Tower O' Balconies, Revealed!", 5/27/14. "Zoning rules and neighborhood opposition may thwart (or at least hinder) Howard Hughes' plans for a proposed tower atop the New Market Building and a 100-story goliath on South Street, but the area is going to see at least one new skyscraper rise," says "Fortis Property Group's luxury condo building for 151 Maiden Lane between the river and Front Street is barreling ahead, with permits filed last week and new renderings posted on the developer's official website that afford some more views at the skinny skyscraper. First spotted by New York YIMBY, the renderings show the through-block site divided into two parts: first, on the eastern half, a balcony-laden 52-story tower with 74 apartments; on the western part, a shorter but equally terraced hotel. Hotel guests and condo owners will share the same 'high-end amenities.' One of those has got to be the 26th-floor rooftop pool mentioned in the permits, right?" For the complete article (with photos), click here.

"First Impressions: Bātard," Tribeca Citizen, 5/27/14. "While dining at Bātard, I kept coming back to Eater's anointment of it as the most exciting and anticipated restaurant to open this summer, the one that 'all the critics and fine dining enthusiasts of this city will be clamoring to get into,'" says Tribeca Citizen. Restaurateur Drew Nieporent is at work here with partner John Winterman, who had been at Daniel, and chef Markus Glocker, most recently of Gordon Ramsay at the London, according to Tribeca Citizen, which describes Bātard as "a fine-dining setting with European cuisine" and as "comfort dining par excellence." For the complete article, click here.


Letter to the editor
Lower Manhattan. (Photo: Terese Loeb Kreuzer)

To the editor:
What would we Downtowns do without your Downtown Post NYC?! Your timely news stories that dig deep into the information which seriously affects the important aspects of our lives is
available nowhere else. Please keep up the good and necessary work.

P. Ryan

From the editor:
Thank you so much. Your note is deeply appreciated.

Downtown Post NYC will be exactly six months old at the end of this week. With issue No. 72 (coming on Friday), there will have been around 90,000 words of original reporting plus links to articles in other publications, Community Board 1 listings, calendar information and hundreds of photographs that often tell more about our Lower Manhattan community than words could convey.

If you know of people who might like Downtown Post NYC, please tell them to go to and sign up for a free subscription.

CALENDAR: Week of May 26
Art historian Dorothea Basile leading a tour of Battery Park City's Teardrop Park.
(Photo: Terese Loeb Kreuzer)
May 31: Art historian Dorothea Basile leads a tour of Battery Park City's Teardrop Park whose stone structures are sculptures and whose plantings reflect the native vegetation of the Hudson River Valley. Place: Teardrop Park (Enter on North End Avenue or River Terrace between Murray and Warren Streets and meet at the rock wall). Time: 2 p.m. Free. For more information, 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.

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.

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.

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Editor: Terese Loeb Kreuzer

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