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News and Events
in Lower Manhattan
Volume 1, No. 91  July 14, 2014

Quote of the day:
"I was never able to raise the funding or attract the influential backers needed for our organization to thrive." - Robert LaValva, founder of the New Amsterdam Market, on why he is closing the market on South Street.   

* New Amsterdam Market closes on South Street
* Bits & Bytes: Saks expands downtown; 1 World Trade Center as lightning rod
* Seaport Working Group meets today to discuss community comments
* Letter to the Editor: 'Horrified' that New Amsterdam Market is closing
* Community Board 1 meetings: Week of July 14
* Calendar

For breaking news, go to

A daylily (Hemerocallis 'Pointsettia') blooming in Battery Park City's Wagner Park. July 10, 2014. (Photo: Terese Loeb Kreuzer)


South Street Seaport

The New Amsterdam Market, June 23, 2013. (Photos: Terese Loeb Kreuzer)

Robert LaValva, the founder of the New Amsterdam Market that was held on South Street between Beekman Street and Peck Slip sent out an email on July 14 saying that the market is closing.

His email is reprinted below:

Dear Friends:
I am sorry to announce that New Amsterdam Market has ended, and will no longer take place on South Street.

Founded in 2005, New Amsterdam Market was first staged at the site of the Old Fulton Fish Market in Lower Manhattan on December 16, 2007. Over the ensuing seven years, the market grew in frequency and scope while nurturing an evolving community of small businesses dedicated to sustainable food production, regional economies, and fair trade.   

Through our steadfast presence under every adversity, we also championed the preservation of New York City's oldest commons, where public trade has been conducted since 1642.  We held a total of 88 markets and numerous innovative celebrations of our region's bounty; supported nearly 500 food entrepreneurs; and contributed to the creation of more than 350 jobs.  
On May 1, 2011, City Council Speaker Christine Quinn, City Council Member Margaret Chin and Robert LaValva, opened the first market of the summer season on South Street at the site of the old Fulton Fish Market.

However, I was never able to raise the funding or attract the influential backers needed for our organization to thrive.  Furthermore, we were dealt a mortal blow in 2013 when Council Member Chin, who had long professed to support our cause, betrayed the community in favor of a suburban shopping mall developer, Howard Hughes.  As a result, Lower Manhattan has already lost more than one acre of beloved and irreplaceable public space and is now seeing its most precious public asset ruined by inappropriate programming and terrible waterfront design.

Our last market at this location was held on Saturday, June 21, 2014.

I thank all of you who supported this endeavor.


Robert LaValva, Founder
New Amsterdam Market

City Council Member Margaret Chin, responded to the announcement of the New Amsterdam Market's closing with this statement:

"Like many other members of our Lower Manhattan community, I was sorry to learn this morning that the New Amsterdam Market has ended. Aside from that, it would be an understatement to say that I am deeply disappointed by Robert LaValva's email attacking me as part of his announcement of the closure.

After speaking with a member of the New Amsterdam Market's board of directors, I quickly confirmed that Mr. LaValva's email this morning was sent without the approval or knowledge of the New Amsterdam Market board. In fact, I have a great relationship with the board, as its members will attest, and I look forward to continuing to work them in order to keep the market going for the good of our community.

Mr. LaValva's claim that I have "betrayed the community" regarding the market and the Seaport is false.

Instead, here are some facts: I proudly helped secure funding from the City Council and the Lower Manhattan Development Corporation in order to support the New Amsterdam Market. I made sure to provide Mr. LaValva and the New Amsterdam Market with opportunities to formalize his relationship with the City.

Now, Mr. LaValva is trying to publicly blame me for something that he could have prevented by working more collaboratively with my office and the City. That might make for an attention-grabbing email, but it's not the truth.

Once again, I look forward to working with the board of the New Amsterdam Market in order to find positive solutions that will help our Lower Manhattan community."

Robert LaValva on June 23, 2013 at the opening of that season's
New Amsterdam Market.

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

Bits & Bytes
Lightning striking 1 World Trade Center. July 2, 2014 (Photos: Terese Loeb Kreuzer)
"Saks Looks to Expand Downtown," Wall Street Journal, 7/13/14. Saks Fifth Avenue "is close to planting roots downtown," says the Wall Street Journal. "A year after being bought by Canadian department-store owner Hudson's Bay Co., Saks is planning both a department store and a Saks Off Fifth discount outlet in lower Manhattan, according to people familiar with the matter. In addition, Hudson's Bay is in talks for about 400,000 square feet of downtown office space that would serve as the consolidated U.S. headquarters for Saks, Saks Off Fifth, Hudson's Bay and department-store company Lord & Taylor, which combined with Hudson's Bay in 2008. In all cases, the landlord would be Brookfield Office Properties Inc., according to people familiar with the negotiations." For the complete article, click here.

"Industry Leader: 1 WTC a Lightning Rod," Commercial Observer, 7/11/14. "A week after
Lightning striking 1 World Trade Center. May 23, 2014
photos of lightning striking the steel spire of One World Trade Center made international news, experts familiar with the electric bolts pointed to the building's resilience against such dangers," says Commercial Observer. "The 1,776-foot skyscraper, the tallest building in the Western Hemisphere, sustained six lightning shocks since the end of June, said Rob Cooper, the president of top lightning protection system installer Associated Lightning Rod Company." Cooper said that 1 World Trade Center has lightning protection. "The needle on top is exposed structural steel that's attached to the structural steel core of the building, which goes all the way underground. Lightning protection is built into that structure," he said. For the complete article, click here.

"People Will Be Able To Cross Buttermilk Channel By Foot Again,", 7/11/14. "The channel between Governors Island and western Brooklyn was once walkable, and used as a place where farmers would graze their cattle," says "At a distance of only 1,200 feet, or about four city blocks, the now-dredged stretch puts Governors Island tantalizingly close. Enter public artist Nancy Nowacek, whose apartment views from Brooklyn Heights to Governors Island inspired her to create a manmade connection between the two pieces of land, a stretch known as Buttermilk Channel." She has come up with something that she calls "the Citizen Bridge, a collection of plywood planks that are fastened to buoyant shipping drums. The pieces will stretch across the channel creating a makeshift buoyant bridge between Red Hook and the island. Railings provide stability for the single day's worth of crossings." But don't look for this any time soon. Nowacek is still seeking funding. For the complete article, click here.

"Nonprofit, Insurance Company Sign Big Seaport Leases," Commercial Observer, 7/14/14. "The nonprofit Center for Reproductive Rights and the Allied World Assurance Company signed new leases for more than 53,000 square feet at Jack Resnick & Sons' 199 Water Street building," according to the Commercial Observer. "The separate deals will move the advocacy organization into a 36,985-square-foot space for 10 years on the 22nd floor of the 35-story tower by early 2015 and expand the insurance firm's space by 16,296 feet on the 29th floor for 15 years to a collective 159,593 square feet in the structure that's adjacent to South Street Seaport." For the complete article, click here.

Comments from the community on the Seaport Working Group guidelines.
(Photo: Terese Loeb Kreuzer)

Since it last met two months ago, the Seaport Working Group - a committee of elected officials, Community Board 1 members and Seaport residents and business owners - has been awaiting a formal presentation from The Howard Hughes Corp. about its proposal for the South Street Seaport. HHC has not yet submitted this proposal, although it has indicated that it would like to build a 50-story-tall tower on the site of the New Market Building, which it would like to demolish, and it wants to move the landmarked Tin Building and make other changes to the historic South Street Seaport.

Today, the Seaport Working Group will reconvene to hear what the community had to say about the principles for Seaport development that were laid down by the Working Group after four months of weekly deliberations.

At a forum on June 2, members of the public first saw the principles and were invited to comment on them. At that meeting, there were 530 responses, all of them anonymous. An additional 122 comments were submitted by email between June 3 and June 6.

"The high level of response is not surprising, as the lower Manhattan community continues to show it cares deeply about the Seaport and its future, said Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer, who was one of the principal organizers of the Seaport Working Group. "I am excited to work with community members and the developer to create a plan that best suits this historically significant neighborhood."

"The South Street Seaport is a City asset and the public needs to be at the table as an active participant in the discussion of its future," said Community Board 1 Chair Catherine McVay Hughes. "The Seaport Working Group had lively and lengthy discussions creating the guidelines and principles. Local residents and many others are passionate about the Seaport and this was seen when the public packed the community center and actively responded to the guidelines."

The Howard Hughes Corporation has long-term leases on parts of the Seaport, but not on all of it. HHC's landlord is the New York City Economic Development Corporation.
"I would like to thank the South Street Seaport Working Group for the many hours they have devoted toward soliciting community input and forming the guidelines, and I commend their collaborative spirit over the past four months," said NYC Economic Development Corporation President Kyle Kimball.

The nine Working Group guidelines are focused on maintaining contextual development at the Seaport - including a call for alternatives to the Howard Hughes Corporation's proposed tower, a sustainable funding plan for the museum - as well as revitalizing Seaport walkways, bikeways and businesses with a community-minded approach. To see the current draft of the guidelines, click here.

The Seaport Working Group's recommendations are non-binding.

A summary of community responses to the current draft of the development guidelines will be included in the final document, as the Working Group continues its efforts in advance of Howard Hughes' presentation of its revised development plans for the Seaport. With the Working Group's guidelines providing important recommendations, the Howard Hughes plans will also eventually go through the City's Uniform Land Use Review Procedure (ULURP), which will begin with yet another round of community review and input.

Letter to the editor

Fulton Street in the South Street Seaport, with picnic tables, a stage, shipping containers and fake grass installed by The Howard Hughes Corporation. (Photo: Barbara Mensch)

To the editor: 
I am horrified by the news that the New Amsterdam Market is ending. There are no words for me to express my rage, horror, and disgust over the stupidity of all those responsible for this, namely our elected officials, most of whom prove to be cowards. Lack of vision, of the "we-can-do spirit" that brought America to the forefront of the world with our innovative thinking... is no more. Years ago the fishmongers on South Street predicted the day when the corporation would emerge, above all, the omnipresent power that it is today. They manipulate the law, they lie, they do whatever is necessary to reach their end game, which is greed, greed and more greed.

Barbara Mensch 
Photographer and author of "South Street"

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


Pier 17 in the South Street Seaport as it looked on July 6, 2014.
(Photo: Terese Loeb Kreuzer)

Community Board 1 meetings take place at 49-51 Chambers St., Room 709, starting at 6 p.m. unless otherwise noted. All are welcome to attend. Bring photo ID to enter the building.

July 15: 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
* Sidewalk café regulations - Presentation by Michael Levine, CB1 Planning Consultant

July 16: Executive Committee
* Committee reports

July 17: Quality of Life Committee
* Construction update by New York City DOT
* Bellevue Hospital Center - Presentation by the Lower East Side Power Partnership Resolution
* Food and General Vendor Regulations - Presentation by DOHMH and DCA (TENTATIVE)
* NYC Coalition to Stop Credit Checks in Employment - Resolution

CALENDAR: Week of July 14
The audience at a Rhythm & Blues concert in Battery Park City's Wagner Park. The free concert series continues on Thursday nights through Aug. 7.
(Photo: Terese Loeb Kreuzer)
July 16: First night of the two-night Lowdown Hudson Blues Festival on the Waterfront Plaza at Brookfield Place in Battery Park City. The Festival features Sharon Jones & the Dap-Kings headlining. The No BS! Brass Band will open, followed by Lake Street Dive on the first night. The second night of the festival on July 17 brings together Grammy-winning powerhouse The Robert Cray Band, with the genre bending stylings of John Hiatt & The Combo, and jazz saxophone harmonies of the James Carter Organ Trio. Time: 6 p.m.-10 p.m. Tickets: Free tickets for seating will be distributed two per person, starting at 3 p.m. on day of show on the Waterfront Plaza at Brookfield Place. The house will open at  5 p.m. A ticket must be presented for admission to the seating section; standing room is not ticketed, but space is limited. Only one person admitted per ticket. Ticket holders must be in their seats at 5:45 p.m.; any unclaimed seats will be released at start of show. For more information, click here.

July 16:
The Museum of Jewish Heritage in Battery Park City continues its festival of Steven Spielberg films with "Amistad," starring Djimon Hounsou, Matthew McConaughey and Anthony Hopkins. The film follows the 1839 mutiny aboard the Spanish slave ship, Amistad, that was captured near Montauk, and the complex trial that it sparked. Place: 36 Battery Place. Time: 6:30 p.m. Tickets: Free with suggested donation. Tickets will be available at the box office on a first-come, first-served basis starting at 4 p.m. on the day of each screening. For more information, click here.

July 17: The Rhythm & Blues concert series in Battery Park City's Wagner Park continues with the Wiyos, whose repertoire is a blend of early swing jazz, rural folk, old-time blues and Appalachian music. Time: 7 p.m. Free. 

: Every Friday through Aug. 22, join a master drummer in Battery Park City's Wagner Park for Sunset Jams on the Hudson. Improvise on African, Caribbean and Latin rhythms. Drums provided, or bring your own. Place: Wagner Park. Time: 6:30 p.m. to 8 p.m. Free. For more information, click here.


Ongoing: "Tugboats: Workhorses of New York Harbor," photographs by John Skelson, are on exhibit aboard the Lilac, a historic lighthouse tender docked at Pier 25, through July 31. Skelson's photographs document the powerful and colorful array of tugs that keep our harbor working. The Lilac is open 4 p.m. to 7 p.m. on Thursdays and 2 p.m. to 7 p.m. on Saturdays and Sundays. For more information about the Lilac, click here.

Ongoing: An exhibit in the Lower Manhattan Cultural Council's arts center on Governors Island examines a pivotal time in Trisha Brown's early career as an artist and choreographer, as well as a particularly fertile moment for artistic production in New York City. With videos, photographs and installations, "Trisha Brown: Embodied Practice and Site-Specificity" highlights Brown's community of performers and artists, and the Lower Manhattan in which they lived and created. The exhibit shows Brown's investigation of simple movements such as walking or dressing, and the built environment, specifically through performances that took place on buildings inside and out, museum walls, parks, cobblestone streets, and other non-traditional performance spaces. 
The exhibition also bridges the transition in Brown's practice from site- and gallery-based work to proscenium stage work, for which she became well-known throughout the 1980s and beyond. Through Sept. 28. Times: Fridays and Sundays, noon to 5 p.m. Saturdays, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Free. For more information, 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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