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News and Events
in Lower Manhattan
Volume 1, No. 84  June 27, 2014

Quote of the day:
"The airspace above Manhattan and Brooklyn seems more like the Wild West than the airspace above one of the most populated cities in America." - U.S. Congressman Jerrold Nadler on why he thinks tourism helicopters should be banned in New York City.

* Helicopter and ferry noise plague downtown residents
* Downtown Boathouse to reopen July 4 on Pier 26
* Bits & Bytes: Honors for Ray Kelly; HHC's Fulton Market Building gets Landmarks OK
* Letter to the editor: Helicopter noise and dangers continue as de Blasio punts
* On land and sea, some places to celebrate July 4
* Calendar

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Hollyhocks blooming on Rector Place in Battery Park City. June 26, 2014.
(Photo: Terese Loeb Kreuzer)



The Downtown Manhattan Heliport on the East River. (Photo: Terese Loeb Kreuzer)

The noise from helicopters flying over the west side of Manhattan stops conversations. It causes windows to vibrate, and according to numerous studies cited by a grassroots group opposing the flights called "Stop the Chop," it leads "to a host of serious health problems including the impairment of cardiovascular and gastrointestinal function as well as reduced learning abilities in schoolchildren."

"The tourist helicopters take off from the Downtown Heliport every two minutes, 10 hours a day from Monday to Saturday and eight hours a day on weekends," said Delia von Neuschatz, 

president of Stop the Chop NY NJ.


Stop the Chop says that the heliport at Pier 6 on the East River is the busiest private heliport in the nation.


It is owned by New York City, administered by the New York City Economic Development Corporation (EDC) and leased to an operator called Saker Aviation.


U.S. Congressman Jerrold Nadler has been fighting for years to get tourism helicopters banned from New York City airspace, but without success.


"Sadly, the airspace above Manhattan and Brooklyn seems more like the Wild West than the airspace above one of the most populated cities in America," he said in an email. "It is long past time for the FAA [Federal Aviation Administration] to rein in low-flying helicopters and those that veer off of approved flight paths. These helicopters are both too noisy and too dangerous. I am working with local elected officials and speaking with City Hall to find a solution to the problems caused by the tourist helicopters in New York City."


On June 6, Nadler was joined by more than 20 other elected officials for a meeting with de Blasio Administration representatives to discuss the problem. Congresswoman Nydia Velazquez was there as was Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer, State Senator Daniel Squadron, Assembly Members Denny Farrell, Feliz Ortiz and Linda Rosenthal and City Council Members Mark Levine, Stephen Levin and Carlos Menchaca. Representatives from the offices of U.S. Senators Chuck Schumer and Kirsten Gillibrand attended as did Leslie Koch,  president of the Trust for Governors Island. 


"Every one of the two dozen elected officials in attendance called for an outright ban on helicopter sightseeing tours," said von Neuschatz. "The only ones opposed to the ban were Mayor de Blasio and  Michael Schlein, his EDC appointee."


She said the members of her group were "at a loss as to why City Hall is not complying with the wishes of so many New Yorkers, especially when the Mayor can put an end to this problem with the stroke of a pen. The concession agreement with Saker Aviation gives the City a tremendous amount of latitude in terminating it."


During the Bloomberg Administration, some people suggested that the heliport was being protected because Bloomberg himself was a helicopter pilot. De Blasio is not, so his reasons for not shutting it down remain obscure.


Though EDC claims otherwise, the heliport produces little revenue for the city according to Nadler's calculations. It doesn't generate jobs for New Yorkers says Stop the Chop. Saker Aviation is based in Nevada and most of the mechanics and pilots live in New Jersey, where the helicopters are parked overnight.  


Moreover, said von Neuschatz, the choppers are a security risk. "Anyone can board them," she said. "The TSA [Transportation Security Administration] is not involved at all. Walk-ins are welcome. These helicopters are all low-flying and fly close to dozens of buildings, not to mention major symbolic tourist attractions like the Statue of Liberty and the World Trade Center."  


In a report to his constituents, Assembly Member Herman D. Farrell, Jr., who represents the 71st Assembly District (West Harlem, Inwood and Washington Heights), said that Mayor de Blasio's staff promised a follow-up meeting after the complaints passed along by the group of officials had been checked and verified. "From our point of view," said Farrell, "the issue has been well studied and analyzed, and the City would be justified in ending the flights."  


Ferry noise

Nadler and Squadron have been busy on another front having to do with noise. Battery Park City residents whose apartments and playgrounds face the Battery Park City ferry terminal have been complaining about the blasts from ferry horns as they back out of the terminal into the Hudson River.   


"I have spoken with the Coast Guard together with my fellow downtown elected officials and Community Board 1 to see if there is a way to lessen the disturbance," Nadler said in an email, "but, unfortunately, the Coast Guard has informed us that the safety regulations in effect are clear on the signaling requirements for ferry operators. In the coming weeks, we are also hoping to meet with the ferry operators directly to explore any ways that they can reduce the overwhelming noise created by the ferry horns without jeopardizing safety on the waterways."


Squadron said he was also working on the issue, hoping "to find a solution that reduces the noise and interruptions and provides the relief Lower Manhattan needs."


- Terese Loeb Kreuzer 


A ferry approaching the Battery Park City ferry terminal. (Photo: Terese Loeb Kreuzer)


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

The Downtown Boathouse on Pier 26. (Photo: Terese Loeb Kreuzer)

The nondescript, gray structure at the end of Pier 26 on the Hudson River at North Moore Street is a boathouse, even though it doesn't say so, and it will open to the public on July 4 at 9 a.m. Graeme Birchall, president of the Downtown Boathouse, says so, and he ought to know.

The free, volunteer-run Downtown Boathouse had to leave Pier 26 in 2005 so that Hudson River Park Trust could demolish the old pier and build a new one. The reconstruction was supposed to take three years, but there were problems. A contractor went belly up, Superstorm Sandy came ashore, there were money difficulties.

Now, the long awaited reopening day is about to arrive. The new boathouse will house 200 kayaks for use by the public - about five times as many public kayaks as were in the old boathouse. There will no longer be facilities for private kayak storage.

For the time being, the boathouse will be open on weekends from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Birchall hopes that there can also be kayaking on weekday evenings after the dust has settled from the move.

He expects a flood of kayakers once the doors have opened and the word gets out. That's fine with him. "We want to prove to elected officials that the residents want to use the water and that they will use it safely," he said. The new boathouse facilities will double the amount of active recreation space in Lower Manhattan, according to Birchall.

The Hudson River Park Trust has entered into a contract with a white tablecloth restaurant whose name has not yet been announced, to occupy part of the newly built structure. The restaurant isn't slated to open until next year. In the meantime, says Birchall, there may be a snack bar or a juice bar in that space.

- Terese Loeb Kreuzer

Bits & Bytes
Gateway Plaza residents, Veronica and Ray Kelly. (Photos: Terese Loeb Kreuzer)

Gateway Plaza Tenants Association honors Ray Kelly: Former New York City Police Commissioner Ray Kelly doesn't smile easily. His wife, Veronica, is the one with the easy smile and the affable demeanor. Ray Kelly has seen too much criminal behavior and has had to think too deeply and constantly about terrorists to summon a ready smile even on the occasion of receiving a lifetime achievement award from the Gateway Plaza Tenants Association.

As GPTA president Glenn Plaskin presented Kelly with the award on the evening of June 26, he said that Kelly had done "more to keep New York City safe than anyone else." Plaskin said of Kelly, he created "the largest counter-terrorism force of any city in the world: he averted 16 attacks on New York City - the Empire State Building, the Statue of Liberty, Wall Street."

The Kellys are long-time residents of Gateway Plaza in Battery Park City, right across from the World Trade Center, and were directly affected by the Sept. 11, 2001 attack. "That day was a moment of clarity for me," Kelly has said. "I realized this was war, and I didn't want to be on the sidelines."

Kelly's stewardship of the NYPD came after service as a U.S. Marine in Vietnam. The son of a milkman and a dressing room attendant at Macy's, "He went to college at night," said Plaskin, became a lawyer, later got a degree from Harvard, joined the NYPD, and over the next 47 years, in more than 25 commands, he became the first person ever to rise from police cadet to Commissioner."

As Kelly accepted the award, Veronica looked at him with great affection. They have been married 50 years and have two sons. Afterward, they held hands and a trace of a smile crept across Ray Kelly's face. - Terese Loeb Kreuzer

"SHoP-Designed Makeover for Fulton Market Moves Forward,", 6/25/14. "After being shot down in April, the team representing the Howard Hughes Corporation returned to the
The Fulton Market Building, shuttered since Superstorm Sandy on Oct. 29, 2012, has shipping containers installed outside.
(Photo: Terese Loeb Kreuzer)
Landmarks Preservation Commission with a revised proposal to make over the 1983 Fulton Market Building at the South Street Seaport," reports. "The commission said SHoP Architects' edited design is 'less mall-y' than the first iteration, and it won their approval, putting it on the road to reality. Gregg Pasquarelli of SHoP Architects and Elise Quasebarth of the preservation firm Higgins Quasebarth & Partners led the presentation, pointing to how the new footprint better matches current conditions. Their new proposal retains the existing canopy and replaces old bluestone with new bluestone, not a substitute material. It also better keeps the idea of the old market stalls and includes replacement of the garage doors with echoing glass. Plus, a colored and illuminable scrim would be used behind the windows in the upstairs movie theater area." For the complete article, click here.

"The Last Three Condos Left at 56 Leonard Are All Penthouses,", 6/27/14. Anyone thinking of moving to 56 Leonard St. will have to pony up for a penthouse, says The rest of the building's 138 apartments are in contract. Three penthouses are still available. The most expensive has five bedrooms and is going for $33 million. For the complete article, with floor plans, click here.

"Here's the Menu for Grand Banks, a Floating Oyster Bar,", 6/27/14. "Next week former Diner and Marlow & Sons restaurateur Mark Firth will make his return to New York when he opens Grand Banks, an oyster bar aboard the historic Sherman Zwicker schooner," says "He's teamed up with Adrian Gallo of Double Happiness and Happy Ending for the project, and signed on Rene Hidalgo of Lantern's Keep as head bartender. Earlier this week, after a brief tugboat ride, the wooden ship docked at Pier 25, where it will stay through the summer. The bar, which opens Thursday (and hosts a Fourth of July party Friday), will serve a large selection of oysters, plus small plates like coppa with arugula, scallop crudo with grapefruit, hush puppies, and a lobster roll, all in the $15 range." (The Sherman Zwicker was built in 1942 to fish the Grand Banks of Nova Scotia. She came from the Smith and Rhuland shipyard, which also built the famous racing schooner, Bluenose. However, unlike Bluenose, Sherman Zwicker was always a working vessel and not designed for racing.) For the complete article, click here


Letter to the Editor

A helicopter hovering over the East River near Governors Island.
 (Photo: Terese Loeb Kreuzer)

To the editor:
It is well known that noise directly and negatively affects the health of a community and has a negative economic impact on a community through loss of productivity and increased health costs. (For one of many articles about that, click here.)

Yet Mayor de Blasio still supports the incessant and constant disturbance of helicopters buzzing our neighborhoods, often before 6 a.m. and after 11 p.m. I have to ask why.

He cites tourist dollars, yet I do not know of any tourists that won't come to New York City because they can't get a helicopter ride. They will still come and spend their money elsewhere in the city.  

The helicopter companies are not based in New York City and don't pay city taxes and yet have an enormous negative impact on the tax-paying residents of New York City. Most of the über rich tourists, who can afford these rides, don't pay taxes in New York City, either. (Tours cost from $145 to $260 a person plus a $30 per passenger heliport fee for 12 to 30 minutes aloft.)

We must stop being "reasonable" with self serving and unreasonable groups like the helicopter lobby, that enjoy profits as they destroy the quality of life in entire neighborhoods. I wonder why Mayor de Blasio is such an ardent supporter of the destruction of quality of life.

David Beatty

From the editor:
We welcome letters to the editor. Email them to We reserve the right to edit them for clarity and length.

July 4 celebrations

July 4 fireworks. (Photo: Terese Loeb Kreuzer)

Piers 15 and 16: On piers 15 and 16, there will be a"private party" sponsored by Macy's with food, non-alcoholic beverages and live music, with some of the proceeds benefiting the South Street Seaport Museum. Tickets: $275; $195 (South Street Seaport Museum members). To buy tickets, click here.

Pioneer: The South Street Seaport Museum's 1885 schooner Pioneer will take 40 guests for a sail on the East River as the fireworks explode over the Brooklyn Bridge. The fully catered event will include beer, wine and hors d'oeuvres. Tickets are now on sale for South Street Seaport Museum members. Tickets for the public go on sale at 9 a.m. on Sunday, June 29. Tickets: $325; $250 (South Street Seaport Museum members). To buy tickets, click hereTo become a member of the South Street Seaport Museum, click here.

Hornblower Cruises: Hornblower will be putting two ships in the water for July 4: Jubilee and Infinity. Both will offer food, alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages, cruising, an on-board DJ and prime views of the East River fireworks. Both leave from Pier 40 at Houston Street. Prices start at $185 a person (plus tax and fees) on Jubilee with add-ons for special amenities. Infinity is offering three different packages, starting at $201.59 a person, plus taxes and fees. All of Infinity's packages include an open bar. For more information, click here.

New York Water Taxi and Circle Line Downtown: View the fireworks from one of the jaunty, yellow New York Water Taxis or from Circle Line Downtown's plush yacht, the Zephyr. New York Water Taxi will offer hors d'oeuvres, a light buffet, dessert trays, soda, juice and water for $225 a person. A cash bar will also be available for beer and wine. The boat leaves from Pier 45, Hudson River Park, (Christopher Street and West Side highway), with boarding at 7:15 p.m. The Zephyr will serve hors d'oeuvres, a buffet dinner, dessert trays, soda, juice and water for $325 a person. A cash bar will also be available. The Zephyr leaves from Pier 25, Hudson River Park (between Franklin and North Moore Streets on the West Side highway) at 7:15 p.m. Both excursions will be approximately three and a half hours. For more information or to buy tickets, click here.

Classic Harbor Line: Classic Harbor Line's sailing ships and small yachts are sold out for July 4. However, Classic Harbor Line is offering a July 4 package aboard a five-deck yacht called the Aqua Azul, which can accommodate up to 350 guests. The 3.5-hour July 4 cruise includes beer, wine, sangria, water and juice, hors d'oeuvres and desserts. The cruise leaves at 7 p.m. from Chelsea Piers at 20th Street. Tickets: $352 a person. For more information or to buy tickets, click here.

Manhattan by Sail: Manhattan by Sail has two ships: Clipper City, one of the largest sailing ships in the harbor, and Shearwater, a classic schooner that dates from 1929 and can hold up to 48 people. At 158 feet long, Clipper City can accommodate up to 134 passengers. Both ships will serve an all-you-can-eat barbecue buffet with an open bar. Clipper City will depart from Battery Park at 5:30 p.m., returning shortly after 10 p.m. Tickets are $350 for adults and $275 for children, 12 and under. Shearwater leaves from North Cove Marina in Battery Park City at 5:30 p.m. Tickets are $450 for adults, $350 for children, 12 and under. For more information or to buy tickets, click here.

Federal Hall: An all-day event at Federal Hall National Memorial, 26 Wall St., commemorates the Fourth of July. Though the citizens of New York City first heard a reading of the Declaration of Independence at Bowling Green, George Washington was inaugurated as the first president of the United States on the site of what is now the Federal Hall National Memorial. Starting at 10 a.m. on July 4, visitors can meet Gen. George Washington (portrayed by a living history enactor), hear period music, and take part in a special reading of the Declaration of Independence. Those who participate in the reading will receive a certificate filled out with his or her name and signed by Gen. Washington. As there are only a limited number of spots for readers, advance reservations are being taken. To sign up, call (212) 835-6990 or email In addition, National Park Service Rangers will lead programs on the causes of the American Revolution as well as how the news of the Declaration was received by various populations in New York. For more information, including program times, click here.

South Street Seaport/See/Change: The Howard Hughes Corporation is staging three days of free music and movies in the South Street Seaport (July 3 to July 5). For more information, click here.

Viewing sites for the July 4 fireworks: The fireworks can be seen from any area with an unobstructed view of the sky above the East River. The public viewing sections will be the elevated portions of FDR Drive with the following entry points in Manhattan:

Montgomery and South Streets: From the north (viewing along the FDR between Manhattan Bridge and Montgomery Street). Brooklyn Bridge entry from St. James Place (Pearl Street) and Wagner Place (viewing both north and south of the Brooklyn Bridge). Broad Street and/or Old Slip at Water Street (viewing between Heliport and south side of Brooklyn Bridge ADA viewing area: Murray Bergtraum High School track and field facility, at the base of the Manhattan Bridge. Use the entrance at Market & Cherry Streets. Note: Piers 15 to 17 are not public viewing areas.

CALENDAR: Week of June 23
A poetry reading on June 26 inaugurated the 22nd annual Poets House showcase of all the poetry books published in the previous year. The reading was part of the River to River Festival. The showcase will be on view through Aug. 16.
(Photo: Terese Loeb Kreuzer)
June 28: The Trisha Brown Dance Company will perform at the Lower Manhattan Cultural Council's Arts Center on Governors Island through 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.

June 28: Block Party at Bowne Printers. In this three-hour workshop Resident Printer Ali Osborn teaches the basics of carving and printing linoleum blocks. Arrive with a couple of ideas for images and learn how to transfer and carve your design on a linoleum block. After inking and printing the blocks by hand, Osborn willl pull some prints of everyone's blocks locked up together on Bowne Printers' vintage Vandercook press. Each student will go home with his or her block, individual prints, and one limited edition poster of everyone's prints together. All materials supplied. Place: Bowne Printers, 209 Water St. Time: 11 a.m.-2 p.m. Fee: $50; $45 (South Street Seaport Museum members). For more information or to register, email

Ongoing: Poets House presents its 22nd annual showcase, a free exhibit featuring all of the new poetry books and poetry-related texts published in the United States in a single year from over 650 commercial, university, and independent presses. Through Aug. 16. Place: 10 River Terrace. Free. 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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