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DOWNTOWN
POST NYC 
 
News and Events
in Lower Manhattan
 
 
Volume 1, No. 86  July 2, 2014

IN THIS ISSUE

Quote of the day:
"I curate like a display artist. That's because it's my job to sell history." - Michael Levinson, curator of an exhibit called "Tattered and Torn (On the Road to Deaccession)" on Governors Island this summer. 

* Governors Island: Up close and touchable at 19th-century couture exhibit
* Bits & Bytes: Citi Bike bailout; 50 West St. pricing; Schools get new laptops and play yard
* Letters to the editor: Food truck fan; Civility is gone
* July 4 update: Things to do, places to go, street closures
* Calendar

Holiday weather: Thunderstorms and heavy rain are predicted for July 3, with possible flooding. For July 4, the prediction is light rain, clearing by evening. Saturday and Sunday, July 5 and 6, are predicted to be sunny. For up-to-date weather, click here.

The National Weather Service has issued a Heat Advisory for New York City from noon today until 5 p.m. tonight. Heat index values are expected in the mid-90s due to anticipated temperatures in the upper 80s. These conditions are dangerous to health. Avoid strenuous activity. People without air conditioning, older adults, and people with chronic health conditions are most at risk. For more information, call 311.

For breaking news, go to www.DowntownPostNYC.com

1 World Trade Center and Gateway Plaza in a thunderstorm. July 2, 2014.
(Photo: Terese Loeb Kreuzer)


 

Governors Island
UP CLOSE AND TOUCHABLE AT 19TH-CENTURY COUTURE EXHIBIT
Nineteenth-century wedding gowns in the exhibit "Tattered and Torn (On the Road to Deaccession)" on Governors Island. (Photos: Terese Loeb Kreuzer)

Michael Levinson's pug dog, Sylvia, was asleep. She was snoozing on the 36-inch-long train of the wedding gown worn by Mrs. John H. Linsley when she married on Oct. 23, 1877 in the Grand Union Hotel in Saratoga Springs, N.Y. - "then considered the most luxurious hotel in America with over 800 rooms," according to a nearby sign.

Levinson didn't mind Sylvia's choice of a resting place. Though Mrs. Linsley's cream-colored silk-satin gown trimmed with pearls and lace would have cost a fortune at the time, it is badly stained in back and too frayed for any museum to consider owning it.

It is part of an exhibit of 19th-century and early 20th-century couture that Levinson and his partner, Rodney De Jong, have assembled for display on Governors Island this summer. They call it, "Tattered and Torn (On the Road to Deaccession)."

All of the clothing in the exhibit was donated by major museums to Levinson and De Jong's non-profit organization, Empire Historic Arts. It came from the collections of the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Brooklyn Museum, the Saratoga Springs History Museum (where Levinson is in charge of acquisitions), the Schenectady Museum and the Hershey Museum.

There are five wedding dresses in the exhibit plus an assortment of other clothing including a purple velvet cape trimmed with ermine, a maternity costume, a summer gown and hat from c. 1780, ballroom fans, undergarments, shoes, blouses and more. All of it is exquisitely made.

The exhibit is being staged in a mid-19th-century home in Nolan Park on Governors Island that is one of several built to house officers of the U.S. Army, then quartered on the island. Levinson said that Gen. Ulysses S. Grant lived in that house before he was elected president of the United States.

Paint is peeling from the walls because of damage from a burst water main and because of the high humidity on the island. Swaths of netting suggest cobwebs. It looks like the house summoned up by Charles Dickens for Miss Havisham, the wealthy, middle-aged spinster in Great Expectations, who had been left at the altar and who wore her decrepit wedding dress for the rest of her life. The peeling paint is an expressive foil for the clothing. Both suggest the lives and dreams of people long dead.

"Tattered and Torn" occupies two floors of the house, with manikins in the otherwise empty rooms and even in the closets.

Levinson was trained at the School of Visual Arts and went on to a career doing display windows "for every couture house in New York - Bergdorf, Saks, Cartier, Bonwits, Tiffany's." He brings that background and that sense of drama to the "Tattered and Torn" exhibit.

"I curate like a display artist," he said. "That's because it's my job to sell history."

"Feel free to open doors," he tells his visitors. Touching garments is not prohibited. We encourage photos."

"Fantastic!" said Elizabeth Norment, an actress, as she descended the staircase from the second floor. "It's strange, wonderful and humorous," she said. "My friend and I just happened to wander in here. We opened this door to a magical world!"

Another visitor, Suellyn Friedel, who lives on the Lower East Side, said, "What an extraordinary exhibit!"

"Oh, my gosh! Well done!" said Monica DeLardi, a real estate broker in Lower Manhattan.

"Typically, that's the reaction I get when I curate outside of museums," said Levinson. "It allows me to break the rules. My focus is on entertainment and education."

Levinson knelt down to show two of his visitors the stiff, horsehair petticoat under one of the wedding dresses. They touched it with admiration and awe. Levinson told them that that dress would have cost around $125,000 in today's money.

Levinson explained the condition of the dresses by saying that most of them would have been packed in attic trunks. "They might have been on the top and the roof leaked, damaging the top garment," he said. "Garments below would have been in perfect condition."

The exhibit will be on Governors Island through Sept. 28. It is open on Saturdays and Sundays and holiday Mondays from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.

In the spring, the show will be staged in the Plumb-Bronson House museum in Hudson, N.Y. After that, Levinson and his partner plan to donate the garments to the Fashion Institute of Technology for use by students who are learning how clothing of this kind was constructed. There, it will be taken apart, the last stop on a long journey.

- Terese Loeb Kreuzer
 
Michael Levinson and Sylvia.



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

Bits & Bytes
CITI BIKE BAILOUT; MANHATTAN RESTAURANTS WRESTLE WITH HIGH RENTS; 50 WEST ST. PRICING; SCHOOLS GET NEW LAPTOPS, PLAY YARD   
Citi Bikes are popular but losing money. (Photo: Terese Loeb Kreuzer)

"Citi Bike To Be Bailed Out By Real Estate Interests," Gothamist, 7/2/14. Citi Bike, though popular, is on the skids financially says Gothamist. It is "faced with busted docks, faulty software, and a dearth of profit from 24-hour and 7-day users." Moreover, says Gothamist, "Its financial namesake won't grope between the couch cushions to support it, and De Blasio has declined to allot municipal funds for it either." However, a bailout is in sight. "Capital reports that REQX Ventures, an investment firm comprised of people affiliated with Related Companies and Equinox gyms, has agreed to buy a 51% share of Alta Bike Share, the company that operates Citi Bike and other bikeshare operations across North America and Australia." For the complete article, click here.

"Manhattan's Restaurant Real Estate Troubles Are Real: An Expert Explains," GrubStreet.com, 7/2/14. "Lately it feels like every restaurant in Manhattan is closing - or will be soon - because of real estate issues: Union Square Cafe will move when its lease expires at the end of 2015. Wylie Dufresne will shutter wd~50 later this year," says Grub Street. To find out what's going on, "Grub talked to Julian Hitchcock, an NYC real estate veteran who brokered all nine leases for Gotham West Market through KAM Hospitality, and recently started his own consulting firm, the F&B Group." Hitchcock told Grub that all is not lost. "Places like Gotham West and Brookfield Place...are getting really exciting tenants because those developers have additional reasons to not just put another Duane Reade or a bank there. If you own a gigantic building with hundreds of offices above it, then retail becomes more of an amenity. You'll care about what is in the space and you'll want the local, hip restaurants coming in," he said. For the complete article, click here.

"50 West Street Reveals Pricing, Condos Start at $1.615M," Curbed.com, 7/2/14. "When developer Time Equities launched the full marketing website for its highly anticipated condo tower 50 West Street, the only detail missing was how much the condos would cost," says Curbed.com. "But no longer! Eleven listings for the Helmut Jahn-designed building appeared on StreetEasy last night. The least expensive unit is a 1BR/1.5BA listed for $1.615 million, while the priciest is a 59th floor three-bedroom penthouse that's asking $18.63 million." For the complete article, click here.

Allocations for laptops and play yard: City Council Member Margaret Chin has allocated money to the Department of Education from the Fiscal Year 2015 budget to purchase laptop computers for PS 276 at 55 Battery Place and to resurface the outdoor play yard at PS 89 at 201 Warren St. Eight classrooms at PS 276 will receive 40 Macbook Air laptops. (cost, $50,000). They will be installed in four 2nd grade classrooms and four 3rd grade classrooms. A $60,000 grant will go toward the play yard at PS 89.

"New laptops for PS 276 will help second and third graders learn key technology skills while greatly enhancing their ability to explore subjects like math and science," said Chin. She said that resurfacing the play yard at PS 89 would help students stay active and healthy.

Classes at the Community Center at Stuyvesant High School: This is the time to register for yoga, summer tennis and babysitter's training classes at the Stuyvesant High School Community Center, 345 Chambers St. Babysitter's training is a two-day course for 11 to 15 year olds, run by the American Red Cross and offered on July 17 and 18 from 3 p.m. to 6 p.m. Graduates receive a certificate. Space is limited. $100; $75 (Community Center members). Yoga classes are offered on Mondays from July 28 to Sept. 22, 6 p.m. to 7 p.m. The instructor, Molly Heron, has practiced Hatha Yoga for more than 25 years and teaches at the Integral Yoga Institute in Greenwich Village. $144; $128 (Community Center members); $20, (drop ins). Summer tennis is for 8 to 14 year olds at all levels of experience and ability. The course runs from July 21 to Aug. 8 on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays, 4 p.m. to 6 p.m. $450 (for nine sessions); $60 (drop ins). For more information or to register, call (646) 210-4292. Click here for more information.

 

 
Letters to the Editor
FOOD TRUCK FAN; CIVILITY IS GONE   
Food trucks on Water Street in front of the South Street Seaport Museum's shops, Bowne Stationers and Bowne Printers. (Photos: Terese Loeb Kreuzer)

To the editor:
I have been enjoying the coverage that the Seaport has been getting of late. Please keep the focus on the changes happening and that will be happening. 

I, like some other commenters, am waiting to see how The Howard Hughes Corporation permanently enlivens the Seaport district while respecting its historic character. But unlike at least one commenter, I have no problem with the food trucks. Food will always be one of the best ways to enliven a public space in more than just a transient way. The "beer garden" and the food trucks, along with entertainment do a good job of enlivening the space along Fulton Street and the two side streets. Perhaps some more effort can be made to link the activities to Front Street and Peck Slip merchants and to the New Amsterdam Market monthly activities. 

A souvenir and T-shirt shop in Schermerhorn Row at 4 Fulton St. in the South Street Seaport.
I like that some of the vacant retail spaces have been activated -- some with food/drink establishments and some with boutique retail -- but I wonder what happens when it gets colder, and I want an assurance that the pop-ups and the retailers are local, not company professionals that move in and out at Howard Hughes' beck and call, and are not connected to New York City or downtown Manhattan (or nearby). 

It also remains to be seen how the final design for the waterfront will interact with the Seaport district, and I am concerned that the final design may be too intense or at least too tall. I have faith though, that a vocal and interested community such as we have, in concert with the resources of The Howard Hughes Corporation, will equal a successful, if not entirely loved by everyone, outcome.  Thank you for the opportunity to comment.

John Lynch

To the editor:
I applaud the movement by Lower Manhattan residents to stop the tourist helicopters and the ferry noise. I hope that when this battle has been won, these same residents will morph into a more general quality-of-life movement for Lower Manhattan.

We all know the noise blasts, thankfully just passing through, from party boats on the Hudson. Ditto, extemporaneous fireworks on the Hudson for private birthday parties - or whatever - sometimes as late as 10:30 p.m.

Today - a Saturday - a group was rehearsing outside Poets House for an outdoor "concert" this evening (with amplified sound, of course) in an asphalt canyon of apartment buildings. At minimum, a permit and time limits should be required for sound blasts that reach into people's living quarters.

Noise complaints to 311 must wait eight hours to be addressed; in the meantime, the message is  "Suffer." Civility that we used to take for granted is gone. "Me first. Tough luck for the rest of you" is the maxim we live by.

Dolores D'Agostino

From the editor:

We welcome letters to the editor. Email them to editor@downtownpostnyc.com. We reserve the right to edit them for clarity and length. If requested, we will publish letters anonymously but all letters must be identified to Downtown Post NYC with the writer's full name and contact information.


July 4 update
GOVERNORS ISLAND OPEN ON JULY 4; FREE KAYAKING ON PIER 26;
MUSIC AND FOOD AT THE PARIS CAFE; PECK SLIP OPEN; STREET CLOSURES
An eagle donated to the Waterfront Museum Barge by the Schatz family, who ran a marina and repair yard in Brooklyn. (Photo: Terese Loeb Kreuzer)

If you don't yet have plans for July 4 and the weekend, here are some possibilities:

Spend your July 4 holiday on Governors Island: Visitors can borrow a free bike through the Free Bike Mornings program and enjoy the new 30-acre park, great views of the Statue of Liberty and many free programs and events such as "Roadside Attraction," Third Rail Projects' dance-theater piece set outside in Nolan Park in a 1970's camper. Watch an open rehearsal on Saturday or see the performances on Sunday at 2 p.m. and 4 p.m. While in Nolan Park, also visit the New York Historical Society's exhibit, "The Civil War and New York City," opening July 4, or participate in a workshop at the Brooklyn ARTery house. Then head to Colonels Row to watch the World Cup Quarter Finals in Spontaneous Interventions' pop-up living room with food available from the island's many vendors. You can also take a free kayak out on the water at Pier 101 or bring your children to enjoy free hands-on art with the Children's Museum of the Arts.

Governors Island is open from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. on July 4, with extra ferries running every half hour. The Island is not open for fireworks viewing. Due to harbor closures, ferry service on July 4 will run between Governors Island and Manhattan only. On Saturday and Sunday, the Island will be open from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. and ferries will run as they normally do on weekends, from both Manhattan and Brooklyn. There is a $2 round trip fare for adults and children over the age of 12. There is no fare on the 10 a.m., 11 a.m. and 11:30 a.m. ferries from Manhattan on Saturdays and Sundays. There is also no fare on the 11 a.m. and 11:30 a.m. ferry from Brooklyn on Saturdays and Sundays. These ferries are free to all.

For full ferry schedules from Manhattan and Brooklyn, click here.

Go kayaking at Pier 26: After being closed for around nine years, the Downtown Boathouse's long-awaited reopening on Pier 26 (North Moore Street on the Hudson River) will take place on July 4. The Downtown Boathouse is staffed by volunteers and all kayaking is free. The hours are 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. For more information about the Downtown Boathouse, click here.

What's happening on and near Peck Slip: The western portion of Peck Slip will be open for fireworks viewing. There are no public lavatory facilities there, but there is public seating on the granite blocks surrounding the plaza.

Cowgirl Sea-Horse at 259 Front St., has rented two port-a-potties.

All of the restaurants belonging to the Old Seaport Alliance will be open. For a list of them and their locations, click here.

The Howard Hughes Corporation is providing attendants, maps, and information about the South Street Seaport district, as well as extra security to help guide people through the neighborhood, including the Old Seaport (from Fulton Street to Dover Street). The intention is to help reduce bottlenecks and to help with access to the FDR and to the businesses in the area. Howard Hughes is also hosting a First Aid/EMT station with an attached break facility for NYPD and emergency personnel.

Music and special food at The Paris Cafe: The Paris Cafe at 119 South St. is about as close to the Brooklyn Bridge as you can get without falling into the East River. The Paris Cafe is celebrating July 4 with music and menu specials. Here's the schedule: Irish Music live with Tony De Marco from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m.; brunch with July 4 specials until 4 p.m.; dinner with specials for fireworks until 11 p.m; bar menu until 2 a.m.; cocktail specials; a DJ from 10 p.m. until 1 a.m. in the bar. The July 4 specials include housemade corn dogs ($13); griddled crab cakes ($24); BBQ pork spare ribs ($24); chipotle-orange pulled pork sandwich ($15); grilled New York strip steak ($25); homemade desserts (New York cheesecake; triple chocolate brownie; mixed berry crumble) ($8). For more information about The Paris Cafe, click here.

July 4 street closures in Lower Manhattan:
    * FDR Drive between Brooklyn Battery Underpass and East Houston Street
    *    State Street between Whitehall Street and Battery Place
    *    Battery Place between State Street and West Street
    *    West Street between Battery Place and West Thames Street
    *    Fulton Street between Water Street and Gold Street
    *    Gold Street between Fulton Street and Frankfort Street
    *    Frankfort Street between Gold Street and Pearl Street
 

CALENDAR: Week of June 30
Last year's July 4 fireworks show on the Hudson River. (Photo: Terese Loeb Kreuzer)
July 3: The Howard Hughes Corporation is staging three days of free music and movies in the South Street Seaport (through July 5). For more information, click here.
 
July 3: Explore the military history of New York harbor aboard Classic Harbor Line's yacht, Kingston. The 2.5-hour tour takes in the Intrepid Sea, Air and Space Museum, the Brooklyn Army Terminal and the Brooklyn Navy Yard, Louis Kahn's Four Freedoms Monument on Roosevelt Island, the harbor forts on Governors Island and more. Place: Leaves from Chelsea Piers near 22nd St. Time: 2 p.m. Tickets: $68. (World War II veterans, free). Also on July 4 and July 5. For more informaiton and to buy tickets, click here.

July 4: 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.

July 4: 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: $325; $250 (South Street Seaport Museum members). To buy tickets, click hereTo become a member of the South Street Seaport Museum, click here.

July 4: 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.     

July 4
Federal Hall National Memorial commemorates July 4 with music, a reading of the Declaration of Independence, meetings with George Washington (as depicted by a living history enactor) and talks by National Park Service Rangers on the causes of the American Revolution as well as how the news of the Declaration was received by various populations in New York. Place: 26 Wall St. Time: 10 a.m.-3 p.m. Free. For more information, including program times, click here.  
 
July 4: 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.
 

July 5
: "Tugboats: Workhorses of New York Harbor," an exhibit of photographs by John Skelson aboard the Lilac, a historic lighthouse tender docked at Pier 25. Skelson's photographs document the powerful and colorful array of tugs that keep our harbor working. Opening party for the exhibit on Tuesday, July 8, 6 p.m.-9 p.m. Cash bar. (Those under 21 must be accompanied by a parent or guardian.) Exhibit runs through July 31. For more information about the Lilac, click here.

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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2014