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News and Events
in Lower Manhattan
Volume 1, No. 75  June 6, 2014

Quote of the day:
"This is our hope right now. This we can control." - Marco Pasanella, chairperson of the Old Seaport Alliance, describing the importance of Peck Slip to South Street Seaport residents and businesses.

To read the Seaport Working Group's guidelines, click here. Comments will be accepted through Friday, June 6.

* Old Seaport Alliance fundraising for Peck Slip plaza
* Free solar charging stations for cellphones and tablets
* Letter to the editor: Community's debt to the South Street Seaport Museum
* Free 'Night at the Museums' features 13 downtown museums and historic sites
* Poets House's annual Brooklyn Bridge walk on Monday
* Calendar

For breaking news, go to

Korean dogwood (Cornus kousa) flowering in Rector Park. June 4, 2014.
(Photo: Terese Loeb Kreuzer)

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


Gary Fagin sitting in the unfinished plaza on Peck Slip. (Photo: Terese Loeb Kreuzer)

The Old Seaport Alliance (OSA), a non-profit merchants' association founded in the wake of Superstorm Sandy by South Street Seaport businesses, is looking for some money. In the scheme of things, it's not a huge amount of money and it's for a worthy purpose. OSA wants to transform part of Peck Slip into a park.

On a sunny afternoon in June, Gary Fagin, conductor of the Knickerbocker Chamber Orchestra and a South Street Seaport resident, sat in the middle of the plaza on Peck Slip while his daughter romped around him. The only amenities were several large pots of plants clustered in one corner. There were no tables or chairs.

Jersey barriers separated the Fagins and their dog from passing traffic.

The scene was as persuasive an argument as any that could be made for the need to transform this asphalt turf into something more inviting.

Peck Slip is currently under the jurisdiction of two City agencies. The Department of Transportation is the manager of the plaza where Fagin was sitting. The Department of Parks supervises another plaza on the east side. Until recently, both sides were used to store construction materials and debris. Through community efforts, the western portion was cleared.

Ultimately, all of Peck Slip will become a park, but construction is not slated to begin for another year.

In the meantime, OSA would like to install tables and chairs at either end of the nearly one-acre space, leaving room in the middle for active play. OSA also envisions granite benches with the planters dispersed around the perimeter. The Jersey barriers would be carted away.

"Our goal is $46,385," said Marco Pasanella, owner of Pasanella and Son Vintners at 115 South St. and chairperson of the Old Seaport Alliance. "That will take care of the plaza for a year. To sign a maintenance agreement with the Department of Transportation, we need $15 thousand. This is the bare minimum to allow us to enter into the contract."

He said that the Old Seaport Alliance would still need to raise the rest. "We are willing to take the chance because we recognize the immediate need for the neighborhood, especially glaring as we enter the summer season," Pasanella said.

The Old Seaport Alliance has started a fundraising site at IOBY (In Our Backyard). To date, $3,000 has been pledged for the Peck Slip plaza.

Funds generated will cover the cost of plaza maintenance and related insurance, which will ensure that the plaza is clean, safe and well maintained. The Old Seaport Alliance also plans to create programming in the space, including markets, music, and classes for people of all ages.

With congestion and construction on Fulton Street, once the spine of the South Street Seaport district, Peck Slip takes on new importance as a community-friendly alternative.

"This is our hope right now," Pasanella said. "This we can control"

- Terese Loeb Kreuzer

For more information about the fundraising campaign, or to make a donation, click here.


The Elizabeth H. Berger Plaza at Edgar Street and Trinity Place, one of 10 locations where the Downtown Alliance has installed solar charging stations for cellphones and tablets. (Photo: Terese Loeb Kreuzer)

Access to hard-wired electricity is no longer necessary in Lower Manhattan to recharge a cellphone or tablet. In partnership with AT&T, the Downtown Alliance has just installed 10 solar charging stations. They are free to use.

The units work even when the sun isn't shining. During the day, three solar panels collect the sun's energy to charge up powerful internal batteries. This enables the AT&T Street Charge (#ATTStreetCharge) units to power up phones, tablets, and other devices as quickly as plugging into an electric outlet on a wall.

Up to six people can charge their electronic devices at any one time in any given location. The devices connect to the charging stations through standard IPhone and Android cables.

AT&T developed the technology in partnership with Goal Zero, a company founded in 2009 to create sustainable power systems. The Downtown Alliance asked them to expand to Lower Manhattan.

The City's departments of Parks, Transportation and the Economic Development Corporation helped to make the program possible.

There may be additional charging station locations in the future. "We'll review how they perform over the next months," said Andrew Breslau, spokesperson for the Downtown Alliance.

Cable replacement will be handled by the Alliance. AT&T will troubleshoot the charging mechanisms.

According to Marissa Shorenstein, AT&T's New York State president, "AT&T Street Charge grew out of a need for a sustainable power source during Superstorm Sandy and took on a life of its own when we deployed more than two dozen solar-powered units around the city last summer."

The Street Charge Units can be found at Water/Whitehall Plaza; Coenties Slip Plaza; Old Slip Park; Mannahatta Park; East River Esplanade; Pier 15; Bowling Green Park; South Street Seaport (outside the TKTS booth); and Elizabeth H. Berger Plaza


Letter to the editor
Lower Manhattan as seen through the rigging of the South Street Seaport Museum's four-masted barque, Peking. (Photo: Terese Loeb Kreuzer)

To the editor:
(Re: "Seaport Working Group's guidelines released," DPNYC, 6/4/14) I was dismayed at the strictly aspirational tone of the Seaport Working Group guidelines presented to the public on Monday night. I was also disturbed by the exclusion of South Street Seaport Museum from membership on the panel. I was further disturbed at the lack of analysis of the City's bargain giveaway leases of public property. The Howard Hughes Corporation is leasing thousands of square feet of space on Pier 17 and in the uplands for less than $3.50 a square foot. This community owes nothing to Howard Hughes. It owes everything to the South Street Seaport Museum. Were it not for the SSSM, the entire neighborhood and Historic district would be nothing but office towers today.

Capt. Robert Rustchak


A visitor to the National September 11 Memorial Museum looked at some of the steel beams that supported the World Trade Center before the Twin Towers were destroyed on Sept. 11, 2001. The museum is participating in "Night at the Museums" on June 24. (Photo: Terese Loeb Kreuzer)

On June 24, people who want to enlarge their acquaintance with Lower Manhattan's museums or revisit a favorite without paying an admission charge will have their chance. During "Night at the Museums," 13 Lower Manhattan museums, historic sites and cultural organizations will welcome guests as part of this year's River To River Festival 2014 (June 19-29).

But culture enthusiasts will have to do some fast looking and fast walking. The event will only last four hours, from 4 p.m. to 8 p.m.

The participating institutions will issue a special Night at the Museums Passport for the event, available at each venue that evening. It will provide a map of the area and information about the museums and historical sites to help visitors plan their evening. The brochure will entitle visitors to special discounts valid through Aug. 31, 2014 on museum admission and other services depending upon the location.

Participating museums and historical sites are:

African Burial Ground National Monument is dedicated to teaching about Africans of early New York and Americans of African descent. Visitors will be able to tour the museum, view the film "Our Time At Last," and speak to National Park Service rangers about the history of the site from its creation through its rediscovery to its designation as a national park.

The Anne Frank Center USA, a partner of the Anne Frank House, uses the diary and spirit of Anne Frank as unique tools to advance her legacy. The Center opens a new exhibition on the evening of June 24:  Anne Frank: A Family Photo Album, featuring more than 70 family photos, many of which have rarely been seen in public.

Federal Hall National Memorial serves as a museum and memorial to America's first President and the beginnings of the United States of America. Exhibits present the history of Federal Hall and artifacts on view include the Bible that George Washington used at his inauguration. National Park Service Ranger-led tours will be offered on the hour from 4 to 7 p.m.  

Fraunces Tavern Museum® is the only museum located in Manhattan that focuses on the Colonial period, Revolutionary War, and the Early Republic. Discover just how important New York City was during the birth of our nation.  Historical balladeer Linda Russell and The Tricorne Dance Ensemble will provide music and dance presentations throughout the evening.

The Museum of American Finance is the nation's only independent museum dedicated to American finance and financial history. In addition to the permanent exhibits, visitors can see special exhibits including The Fed at 100, which examines the nation's central bank and the role it has played throughout its history. Also on view is a jewel-encrusted 18-karat gold Monopoly set.

Museum of Jewish Heritage - A Living Memorial to the Holocaust offers the opportunity to explore modern Jewish history, life, and culture. Special exhibitions on view are: Against the Odds: American Jews & the Rescue of Europe's Refugees, 1933-1941 and A Town Known as Auschwitz: The Life and Death of a Jewish Community. Guided tours of the Museum's Core Exhibition about Jewish heritage, the Holocaust, and Jewish renewal, will begin on the hour from 4 to 7 p.m.

National Archives at New York City invites visitors to connect with history and to discover the many national treasures of the National Archives.  On June 24, visitors can meet the 26th President of the United States, Theodore Roosevelt as portrayed by James Foote, as well as participate in family activities, document discoveries, family history research, and more. Hear "The Life of Theodore Roosevelt" talk at 5 p.m. and 7 p.m.  All visitors to the 3rd floor Learning Center will receive a free "national treasure" giveaway.

National Museum of the American Indian, Smithsonian Institution will offer tours of the critically acclaimed permanent exhibition, "Infinity of Nations: Art and History in the Collections of the National Museum of the American Indian" from 4 p.m. to 5 p.m. and a screening of short films by Seminole/Creek director Sterlin Harjo at 6 p.m.

National September 11 Memorial Museum explores the implications of the events of 9/11, documenting the impact of those events and exploring 9/11's continuing significance. Entry is by ticket only - free tickets to visit from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m. may be reserved online at, and a limited number of walk-up tickets will be available.

9/11 Tribute Center, created by the September 11th Families Association, offers visitors a place where they can connect with people from the 9/11 community including survivors, family members, rescuers and first responders. Visitors learn about 9/11 through personal stories told by those who were there. From tragedy to survival to rebuilding, the visit connects people to the unforgettable experiences of our community.

The Skyscraper Museum celebrates New York City's rich architectural heritage and examines the historical forces and individuals that have shaped its successive skylines. Special activities for the event include a "Curator's Tour" at 5 p.m. with founding director Carol Willis of the Museum's exhibit "Times Square, 1984: The Postmodern Moment."

South Street Seaport Museum preserves and promotes this historic district along the East River. Special activities include a scavenger hunt through historic ships and the opportunity to make a nautical signal flag banner to take home. Bowne Printers, the Museum's working historic letterpress shop, will offer live demonstrations by its resident printers.

Wall Street Walks takes visitors through the historic capital of world finance: the one-square-mile of downtown Manhattan known as "Wall Street."  Mini-Walking Tours (half-hour duration) will take place  every 30 minutes, from 4 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. on June 24. Tours meet in front of 55 and 57 Wall Street and end at one of the museums or historic sites participating in Night at the Museums. Book in advance at Tours will fill up quickly. A small number of slots will be held for wallk-ups.

cultureNOW 's award-winning Museum Without Walls iPhone app provides nearly 1,000 sites, 560 podcasts by artists, architects, historians, and curators of New York, and eight self-guided tours of Lower Manhattan.  Find the app by searching for cultureNOW's Guidebook to the Museum Without Walls at the iTunes store.

For complete information, times and schedules for Night at the Museums, click here.

The National September 11 Memorial Museum and Wall Street Walks require advance reservation. Tickets are free.

Restaurant discounts

As part of the event, Night at the Museums-goers can take advantage of special deals at restaurants in Lower Manhattan.

Bar 75 at the Andaz Wall Street will give 20% off the food and beverage bill at when diners show their Night at the Museums Passport on June 24 only.

Merchants Hospitality and The Lure Group will offer a 25% discount for River To River audience members who mention "River To River" at the following restaurants on June 24 from 4 p.m. to 8pm: Southwest NY, Pound and Pence, Black Hound Bar, Merchants River House, Clinton Hall, Watermark Bar, and Ambrose Hall.

ReserveCut at the Setai will offer a 10% discount on June 24 upon presentation of the Night at the Museums Passport.


Poets House's annual Brooklyn Bridge poetry walk takes place on
Monday, June 9. (Photo: Terese Loeb Kreuzer)

Poets House is an oasis of tranquility and inspiration with many free and low-cost lectures, exhibitions and classes throughout the year. Located at 10 River Terrace in Battery Park City, it has a 60,000-volume poetry library and a sunny reading room equipped with WiFi, overlooking the Hudson River. Here, students, scholars, writers and people in search of a welcoming place to think, read and relax set up their computers on the ample tables or settle into comfortable chairs, with numerous books close at hand.

Poets House's annual Brooklyn Bridge walk helps to fund these activities and events.

The 19th annual Brooklyn Bridge walk takes place on Monday, June 9 beginning at 6 p.m. The walk starts from the park next to the Municipal Building. It is punctuated with poetry readings under the Brooklyn Bridge's dramatic, stone arches. Just as the sun is setting over Manhattan, the walkers arrive at Fulton Ferry on the Brooklyn side of the bridge. There, they listen to Walt Whitman's sonorous "Crossing Brooklyn Ferry." Its precise yet ultimately unplumbable language records exactly what they are seeing. Whitman himself seems a presence among them.

The Brooklyn Bridge poetry walk ends with a festive dinner in DUMBO, this year, honoring poet Naomi Shihab Nye. Transportation is provided back to Manhattan.

Tickets are still available for the poetry walk. They are $250 or $225 for Poets House members. Reservations are required.

To buy tickets online, click here. For more information or to make reservations by phone, call (212) 431-7920 x2830 or e-mail

CALENDAR: Week of June 2
A photograph from an exhibit now at the Museum of Jewish Heritage in Battery Park City shows a hotel in the Polish town that the Germans called "Auschwitz."
June 6: "Deepest Man" at 3LD Art & Technology Center, is a dark, new-age-science, multimedia theatrical production delving into the controversial and amazing properties of water. "Deepest Man" weaves a complex narrative flowing from the mind of a man teetering on the edge. Place: 80 Greenwich St. Time 8 p.m. Tickets: $20; $15 (seniors and students). From Wednesday to Saturday, June 4-June 7 and from Wednesday to Saturday, June 11-June 14. For more information, click here.

June 6: The Sunset Singing Circle meets in Wagner Park, Battery Park City, to sing folk songs led by folksinger Terre Roche. Music and words provided. No experience necessary. All ages. Time: 7 p.m.-8:30 p.m. Free.

June 8: The Almost Summer Celebration in Battery Park City's Wagner Park will include art (11 a.m. - 2 p.m.), storytelling (11:15 a.m.), a concert by Brad Rymer and the Little Band That Could (12 p.m. and 1 p.m.), and Hoop of Life Native American Dances (12:30 p.m.) Presented by the Battery Park City Parks Conservancy in partnership with the Museum of Jewish Heritage and the Smithsonian National Museum of the American Indian. In case of rain, the event will be held in the Museum of Jewish Heritage, with tickets released on a first-come, first-served basis, beginning at 10 a.m. Call (212) 267-9700 for more information.

Ongoing: "SKY HIGH" identifies a new form of skyscraper in New York and in the world: the super-slender, ultra-luxury residential tower. While Manhattan is the historical home to improbably slender spires, these buildings represent a new typology of trophy properties that use the city's system of transferable air rights and employ a development strategy of slenderness to stretch up 700-1300+ feet tall. The exhibition examines a dozen new examples that rise 50 to 90+ stories on tiny footprints and have slenderness ratios ranging from 1:12 to 1:23. Through June 15. Place:  39 Battery Place. Hours: Wednesday to Sunday, noon to 6 p.m. $5; $2.50 (students and seniors). For more information, click here.

Ongoing: "From Drills to Drums: Civil War Life on Governors Island." A program for kids, who will see first hand the lives of soldiers, civilians and prisoners on the island in the 19th century. No tickets or reservations required, but large school or day camp groups should call (212) 825-3045. Every Wednesday, Thursday and Friday. Place: Governors Island. Time: 10:20 a.m. Also at 11:20 a.m. Free.

Ongoing: Hike Through History. The most comprehensive tour of Governors Island National Monument takes in nearly every highlight in the historic district. No tickets or reservations required. Visitors should be prepared to stand for a full 90 minutes and walk a distance of about 1.5 miles. Wednesdays to Sundays. Place: Governors Island. Meet at Soissons Dock. Time: 2 p.m. For more information, 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.
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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