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News and Events
in Lower Manhattan
Volume 1, No. 79  June 16, 2014

Quote of the day:
"Those trucks are a blight to the area." - Community Board 1 member and Southbridge Towers resident Paul Hovitz on the food trucks in the South Street Seaport.

* South Street Seaport offers lawn chairs, food truck dining, souvenirs and free movies
* Brewer and Stringer ask Rent Guidelines Board for rent freeze
* Community Board 1 meetings: Week of June 16
* River to River Festival: June 19-June 29
* Calendar

For breaking news, go to

Dog photo op on Fulton Street in the South Street Seaport.  June 15, 2014.
(Photo: Terese Loeb Kreuzer)

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


Fulton Street and Schermerhorn Row as they looked on June 15, 2014.
(Photos: Terese Loeb Kreuzer)

Historically, the South Street Seaport has been one of the most visited sites in New York City during the summer, however, this summer, anyone from out of town who heads to Fulton Street may wonder what all the fuss was about. They will see little in the Seaport that they couldn't see elsewhere.

A souvenir shop in the Seaport selling Statue of Liberty models, sunglasses, and clothing with NYC logos opened today.
There are food trucks, picnic tables, kiosks selling such items as inexpensive jewelry and cookies and stores in historic Schermerhorn Row selling I Love NY T-shirts, Statue of Liberty reproductions, baseball caps, cheap candy and fake license plates inscribed with first names. Imitation grass covers most of the cobblestones.

Shipping containers, installed in front of the Fulton Market Building, house additional pop-up stores. One of them now displays an art exhibit consisting of mostly naked women donning
A man eating ice cream in front of one of the shipping containers on Fulton Street.
(or shedding) black stockings.

The South Street Seaport Museum's Fulton Street galleries remain shuttered, as they have been since Superstorm Sandy struck on Oct. 29, 2012 and knocked out the building's electrical system. The museum's galleries and stores on Water Street (Bowne Stationers, Bowne Printers and Sal Polisi's woodcarving studio) are impossible to see from Fulton Street because the food trucks are blocking the entrance to the street. The food trucks also obscure Titanic Park with its memorial lighthouse.

Food trucks on Fulton Street.
The museum still has historic ships Ambrose, Peking, Wavertree, Pioneer, W.O. Decker and Lettie G. Howard berthed at Piers 16 and 15. Ambrose and Peking are open for tours, and Pioneer takes the public for sails around New York harbor, but the objects on Fulton Street plus construction fencing around Pier 17 conceal the ships unless a visitor knows to walk to the waterfront and look for them.

All of this - the food trucks, the picnic tables, the imitation grass, the kiosks, the shipping containers and the stores in Schermerhorn Row - were installed by The Howard Hughes Corporation (HHC), the Dallas-based developer with a long-term lease on parts of the Seaport.

The shuttered galleries of the South Street Seaport Museum at 12 Fulton St.
"It seems like the promised efforts of the developer to revive the Seaport District are more designed to choke the life out of it," said David Sheldon, a member of Save Our Seaport, a group of volunteers that has been working for several years to preserve the historic South Street Seaport District.

At its May 27 meeting, Community Board 1 passed a resolution opposing the food trucks and "strongly urging" that HHC remove them "immediately."

The resolution was emailed to several Howard Hughes executives on June 4, with no response. In fact, on the evening of June 15, there were seven food trucks on Fulton Street - more than ever.

A food truck with the Titanic Memorial Lighthouse behind it.
"Those trucks are a blight to the area," said Paul Hovitz, a Southbridge Towers resident and member of CB1's Seaport/Civic Center Committee. "I have heard from at least three restaurants (Barbalu, Acqua and Trading Post) that they have lost business since the trucks appeared. Tourists simply stop there and do not seek out local restaurants. The trucks add to the air, noise, and visual pollution of the Seaport. It's typical of HHC not to understand our historic district and the businesses that depend on it."

"Since Superstorm Sandy, Community Board 1 has been on the record through numerous resolutions and testimonies that the uplands need to be restored and reactivated," said Catherine McVay Hughes, chairperson of Community Board 1.  "This is the second summer after Superstorm Sandy. Next summer, this temporary activation, blocking the view corridor for Fulton Street, cannot happen again."

Phillip St. Pierre, Howard Hughes' general manager for the Seaport, is scheduled to make a presentation to Community Board 1's Seaport/Civic Center Committee on Tuesday,  June 17 at 6 p.m. He is supposed to discuss construction on Pier 17, which HHC is currently demolishing, the Fulton Market Building, currently closed and blocked by the shipping containers, and the Seaport uplands.

The meeting at which St. Pierre will speak will be held at 49-51 Chambers St., Room 709. All are welcome to attend.

- Terese Loeb Kreuzer

Schermerhorn Row as it appeared in July 2009. The landmarked buildings are more than 200 years old and served as counting houses and warehouses for the busy South Street Seaport merchants.


Affordable housing?

More than half of New York City's renters are considered "rent burdened."
(Photo: Terese Loeb Kreuzer)

Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer and New York City Comptroller Scott Stringer appealed to the New York City Rent Guidelines Board on Monday to have mercy on rent-strapped New Yorkers.

"After years of consistent rent increases, I am pleased that this Board-for the first time in its 46 year history may enact a rent freeze," said Stringer. "One-year increases of zero percent to three percent and two-year increases of 0.5 percent to 4.5 percent were proposed just over a month ago in a nearly unanimous vote and I strongly urge you to follow your own recommendation and impose a rent freeze that will provide much-needed relief to households throughout the five boroughs."

Brewer thought that any rent increase was too much. "While you may view a proposed three or four per cent rent increase as minimal or reasonable, I urge you not to evaluate that percentage in isolation, standing alone, but in the full context of the last ten or fifteen years of consistent, relentless, substantial rent increases that have been imposed on tenants in this City," she said.

According to Brewer, "Within five of the twelve community districts in Manhattan, the median household income is below $42,000, and pursuant to generally accepted measures of budgeting, [these tenants] are able to pay just over $1,000 per month in rent. The median rents in those community districts now hover at or above affordability for thousands of families. Put simply, rents have risen beyond the point of affordability for average, working New Yorkers."

Citywide, more than half of renting households are considered rent burdened, she said.

At the same time, according to Brewer,  in recent years, annual adjustments have favored landlords. The Net Operating Income for most buildings has increased faster than expenses.

"The result is that tenants are made to stomach rent increases that do not simply cover the rise in building expenses-that would be a right reason to increase regulated units' rent-but also to increase the profit for landlords," she said. "This happened even during one of the toughest recessions in the City's recent history."

The Rent Guidelines Board, chaired by de Blasio-appointee Rachel Godsil, determines annual rent adjustments for the approximately one million apartments in New York City subject to rent stabilization. All members of the board are appointed by the Mayor. Two represent tenant interests, two represent landlords, and the balance of the members are supposed to represent the general public.

In addition to Stringer and Brewer, Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito and Public Advocate Letitia James testified today. The Rent Guidelines Board will vote on June 23.

- Terese Loeb Kreuzer


Fulton Street in the South Street Seaport. (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. Bring photo ID to enter the building. All are welcome.

June 17: Seaport/Civic Center Committee

* Pier 17 Construction, Fulton Market Building and Seaport uplands - Update by Phillip St. Pierre, General Manager of the South Street Seaport, Howard Hughes Corporation
* Brooklyn Bridge George Washington Plaque - Resolution
* Taste of the Seaport street activity permit application for Front Street between Beekman Street and Peck Slip, Saturday, Oct. 18, 2014, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Resolution
The following notices have been received for renewal, upgrade, or transfer of wine and beer or liquor licenses or sidewalk cafe permits:
·         146 Beekman Street, application for renewal of a liquor license for Manhattan Island Group LLC d/b/a Fresh Salt

June 18: Executive Committee
* Lower Manhattan Development Corporation - Update by David Emil, President
* CB1 procedures for review of applications to the NY State Liquor Authority - Update by Jeff Ehrlich
* Committee reports

June 19: Quality of Life Committee
            Location: Charlotte's Place, 107 Greenwich St. at 6 p.m.
* Tour bus management at the World Trade Center - Update by Luis Sanchez, Lower Manhattan Commissioner, NYC Department of Transportation
* Impact of 9/11 Memorial Plaza opening on pedestrian and vehicular flow - Discussion with government agencies and community members



The free River to River Festival takes place this year from June 19 to June 29 and includes music, dance, theater, visual art, film and "unique participatory experiences." One of the highlights is the annual Bang on a Can Marathon, this year on June 22 at Brookfield Place's Winter Garden.

The festival starts with a "block party" in Goldman Sachs Alley (between Vesey and Murray Streets in Battery Park City) on June 19 from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m. It will include discounts at area restaurants and retailers, performances by the dance troupe/rock band People Get Ready and family activities. It is co-sponsored by Conrad New York, Goldman Sachs, and area restaurants and retailers.

The Trisha Brown Dance Company will perform at the Lower Manhattan Cultural Council's Arts Center on Governors Island between June 20 and June 29. Times: Monday-Friday 12 p.m.-5 p.m., Saturdays 10 a.m.-5 p.m., Sundays 12 p.m.-5 p.m. The performances will examine the artist's early work, collaborative practice and relationship to New York City, showing how she affected audiences, and her significant influence on a new generation of artists.

The husband and wife team, Caraballo-Farman, will create "The Signs of Paradise" from June 20 to June 29, 8 a.m. to 8 p.m., in Battery Park. Every state in the United States has a town called Paradise. In this exhibition, 50 sign posts point to the 50 towns of Paradise - providing direction and mileage, and reflecting on the notion of the quintessential "American dream" and on the pursuit of paradise, freedom and happiness.

On June 20 and June 22 at 2 p.m., the dancer, Eiko, presents a duet with Japanese dancer Tomoe Aihara in a piece called "Two Women" at LMCC's Arts Center on Governors Island. The experimental performance focuses on their age difference and explores how two bodies sometimes mirror each other in parts or collide into one. The New York Times described Eiko as "the extraordinary Japanese dancer revered for her haunting collaborations with Koma, her usual male counterpart," and said that she would be shaking up her creative process by collaborating with Tomoe Aihara.

ETHEL playing at the Winter Garden in 2009.
(Photo: Greg Barrett)
On June 24 at the Brookfield Place Winter Garden, world-renowned string quartet ETHEL is joined by guest guitarist Kaki King to present a special performance of "...And Other Stories." The collaboration is anchored by a re-imagining of Bach's Brandenburg Concerto No. 6 and includes works from ETHEL's repertoire by Phil Kline and John Zorn, plus original compositions by Kaki King and the world premiere of a work by Serbian composer Aleksandra Vrebalov composed especially for ETHEL and Kaki King.

Last year's successful partnership with Original Music Workshop, a new music venue set to open in Brooklyn in 2015, continues with three more "Ex-Situ" concerts of contemporary music in site-specific locations. Curated by composer Paola Prestini, this year's series is dedicated to the music and influences of master minimalist composer Terry Riley. It begins on June 20 with "Terry Riley and Friends," a concert featuring works by the composer performed by musicians including his son Gyan Riley, Tracy Silverman and the Young People's Chorus.

Other notable shows include Piñata Protest, Kuenta I Tambu (KiT), Helado Negro and SLV at The Uplands, South Street Seaport on June 27; composer/percussionist Susie Ibarra (who just teamed up with Mirah for Ecstatic Music Festival) & Roberto Rodriguez on June 21 at India House (1 p.m.), Peter Minuet Plaza (3 p.m.), and Tear Drop Park (5 p.m.); Sergio Mendoza (Devotchka, Calexico) with La Orkestra and Rey Vellenato Beto Jamiaca on June 29 at The Uplands, South Street Seaport; and more.

For a complete list of River to River events, click here.

CALENDAR: Week of June 16
Battery Park City's Irish Hunger Memorial has stones from every county in Ireland and plantings from County Mayo, where the famine started that killed around one million people and caused another million to emigrate. (Photo: Terese Loeb Kreuzer)
June 17: Mercan Dede and Istanbul Tribe continue the Global Beat Festival at Brookfield Place in Battery Park City. One of Turkey's most influential and creative artists, Mercan Dede combines electronica with Turkish Sufi, classical, and folk music. He has released over 100 singles under nine different names (Arkin Allen, Poundmaker, Blueman). With his group Istanbul Tribe, Dede hovers behind his turntables and electronics, occasionally picking up a ney flute while his ensemble plays on kemance (fiddle), baglama (lute), ney (flute), clarinet, and percussion and spectacular female Whirling Dervish dancer twirls to trance-inducing effect. This is Dede's first New York City appearance in 10 years. On the same program, The Secret Trio creates new sounds based on Turkish, Oriental, and Balkan modes on clarinet, kanun (zither), and ud (lute). Place: Winter Garden. Time: 7:30 p.m.-10 p.m. Free.

June 18:
Join a Battery Park City Parks Conservancy horticulturist for a garden tour of Wagner Park. Meet at the Wagner Park Pavilion. Time: 1 p.m. Free.

June 19:
Juneteenth, also known as Freedom Day or Emancipation Day, is the oldest known celebration commemorating the ending of slavery in the United States. On June 19, 1865, Union soldiers, led by Major General Gordon Granger, landed at Galveston, Texas with news that the American Civil War had ended. General Order #3 proclaimed, "The people of Texas are informed that in accordance with a Proclamation from the Executive of the United States, all slaves are free."  Ilyasah Shabazz, the daughter of Malcolm X, will be the special guest at the African Burial Ground for the 2014 Juneteenth Celebration. This special presentation honors the Civil Rights Movement. Shabazz will also be available after the question-and-answer session of the presentation for a book signing of her children's book, "Malcolm Little: The Boy Who Grew Up To Become Malcolm X." Place: 290 Broadway, 1st floor. Time: Noon. Free. For more information about the African Burial Ground, click here.

June 20
: The Swedish Midsummer Festival takes place in Battery Park City's Wagner Park from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m. and it is not to be missed. It features a beautifully decorated midsummer pole, folk dancing, garland-making and Swedish food. Paul Dahlin and fiddlers from the American Swedish Institute in Minneapolis provide the music. The festival is co-presented by the Consulate General of Sweden and the Battery Park City Parks Conservancy. The food is for sale. Everything else is free.

June 22: Tour the Irish Hunger Memorial in Battery Park City with art historian Dorothea Basile. Meet at the west side of the memorial. Time: 2 p.m. Free.

June 22: New American Youth Ballet presents "Magical Moments of Ballet" with a live orchestra. Excerpts from "Les Sylphides," "Paquita," "Carnival of the Animals," "Let It Go," and "The Helen Keller Ballet."  Stuyvesant High School Theater, 345 Chambers St. Time: 3 p.m. Advance tickets, $28 (adults); $20 (children and seniors). Tickets at the door: $35. Call 212-945-2926 for reservations or email 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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