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News and Events
in Lower Manhattan
Volume 1, No. 100  Aug. 4, 2014

Quote of the day:
"We challenged these girls and they responded with a state championship!!!" - Chris O'Mara, coach of the Downtown Little League Juniors softball team, that made it to the Eastern Regionals before finally being defeated


* New Amsterdam Market searches for new president
* Downtown Little League softball Juniors finally strike out after championship season
* Bits & Bytes: Shark accident in the Seaport; Critic disses Calatrava transportation hub
* Letter from the editor: Downtown Post NYC's 100th issue
* Where to get a (solar) charge in Lower Manhattan
* Calendar

For breaking news, go to

East River beach at Randall's Island. Aug. 2, 2014. (Photo: Terese Loeb Kreuzer)


South Street Seaport

The New Amsterdam Market had 45 to 60 vendors per market selling locally and regionally produced food and food products made from local sources.
(Photo: Terese Loeb Kreuzer) 

The New Amsterdam Market, founded by Robert LaValva, is looking for a new president, but LaValva has not washed his hands of the market, nor has its board of directors abandoned LaValva's quest to preserve the historic integrity of the Seaport.

The New Amsterdam Market hopes to reopen this fall in the Seaport, though other locations will be considered if necessary. LaValva will remain on the board of directors.

LaValva founded the market in 2005, and in 2007, moved it to the South Street Seaport, where he held it sporadically and then monthly, and finally weekly in front of the New Market Building on South Street between Beekman Street and Peck Slip. On July 14, LaValva abruptly announced that he was closing the market - but that proved not to be the last word.

The New Amsterdam Market board of directors wanted the market to remain open and so did the thousands of people who came from Lower Manhattan and from all over the city to buy food there.

"The outpouring of support from many, many people was really astounding," said Roland Lewis, chairman of the board of directors. "It affected Robert. It affected all of us on the board that so many people care about the market."

Lewis said that the board is currently interviewing people to find a new president for the market. Although LaValva never collected a salary to run the market, the new president will be paid.

Lewis said that the board was "thrilled" that LaValva would continue to be involved with the market. "His leadership has been unbelievable and he's brought us to where we are today," Lewis said. "He's given his all to try and create a Seaport that respects the history and is a true servant of the community. We hope that we can carry forward that energy and that legacy."

Speaking to that hope, Lewis was co-author along with Paul Greenberg and Joan K. Davidson of an Op-Ed article called "The War on New York's Waterfront" that appeared in The New York Times on Thursday, July 31. It decried the "advertising and clutter along Schermerhorn Row" in the South Street Seaport and the "commercialization of the district" and suggested alternatives.

"There are dozens of things the seaport could be," they said. They suggested a market district (which has been LaValva's vision) like Pike Place in Seattle and the Embarcadero in San Francisco. They proposed tearing down "the unsightly highway overpass that now bisects the seaport." They wondered if the seaport could become, in part, a campus of much-needed public schools or a port for sport and commercial fishing vessels "or all of the above."

Lewis said that the response to the Op-Ed has been overwhelmingly positive. Neither he nor anyone else on the New Amsterdam Market board has backed away from fighting for this vision for the Seaport, he said.

"A lot of sweat and blood and energy has been expended trying to do something important with the Seaport and with the market," Lewis said. "We're still very concerned about the entire district."

He also said that the New York Economic Development Corporation (EDC) has not withdrawn its option for the market to be where it's always been.

As for LaValva, he, too, continues to champion "the preservation and adaptive reuse of the Old Fulton Fish Market, an endangered and irreplaceable city-owned icon."

LaValva has been saying repeatedly that the Seaport was rescued from destruction with public funds and should not be given away to a developer - The Howard Hughes Corporation - that has a long-term lease on parts of the Seaport but not on all of it. Hughes has stated that it would like to build a 50-story-tall luxury hotel/apartment tower on the waterfront on the site of the New Market building, which it would demolish.

Hughes does not have a right to do this under its existing leases. Most members of the community, including the Seaport Working Group, which was convened to work out principles for development, have opposed this plan as well as some of Hughes' other proposals that would undermine the historic fabric of the neighborhood.

LaValva, far from being out of the picture, continues to state his vision for the Seaport. On the New Amsterdam Market website he says, "Our mission, then as now, is to support sustainable food systems, regional economies, and fair trade through an emerging small business community."

He goes on to say that a "massive expression of public support is now needed for this vision to be fulfilled."

He asks that those who concur sign their name to a petition that he will submit to Mayor Bill de Blasio and Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito on Monday, September 15, 2014.

In the first 72 hours after the petition was posted on the website, more than 400 people had signed.

- Terese Loeb Kreuzer


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

The Downtown Little League Juniors at the Eastern Regionals.
The Downtown Little League softball Juniors (girls, ages 12 to 14) had a magnificent season, but on Monday, it finally came to an end.

The girls beat all other New York State Little League teams in their age group to be named New York State champions. This victory took them to the Eastern Regional games in West Haven, Conn., where they played against teams from nine other states. On Saturday, Aug. 2, they lost to Maryland, 14 to 0 but came back the next day to beat the team from Delaware, 10 to 7. It was the New Jersey team that finally did them in.

"It was a 4-2 come-from-behind win for New Jersey," Chris O'Mara, the DLL Juniors' coach, reported. "The road ends here for our girls from DLL."

Though there were 14 girls on the team during regular season play, only 11 of them were able to make it to the Regionals. In the final game against Delaware, just 10 of the 11 were eligible to play because of League rules having to do with how many consecutive games competitors of a certain age may play. One of the team members was too young.

O'Mara has two daughters on the team, the twins Morgan and Ava. The team's manager, Joe Marino, also has a daughter on the team, Sophia Marino.

In the first inning of the seven-inning game against New Jersey, "DLL girls jumped out to a 2-0 lead on an RBI double by Sophia Marino, scoring sisters Morgan and Ava O'Mara," Chris O'Mara said.

"In the top of the second inning, Annalisa Valdivia was thrown out at the plate after Zoe Morrison singled up the middle." There were to be no further runs for the DLL Juniors.

Morgan O'Mara, making her first start at Regionals, held New Jersey scoreless for the first three innings. Morgan complimented catcher, Emily Samar. "She really called a great game as catcher," Morgan said. "We kept the ball outside and we were getting them to chase off the plate."

In the bottom of the fourth inning, New Jersey scored an unearned run, making the score 2 to 1.

Ava O'Mara took over as pitcher in the  bottom of the the fifth inning "with all the momentum in the world after having shut down a tough Delaware team the day before," said Chris O'Mara. "Ava has closed out teams all post-season," he said.

But it was not to be that day. New Jersey added another unearned run in the bottom of the fifth and two more runs in the bottom of the sixth inning to win the game.

"This game ends a historic run for our group of girls at the Eastern Regionals that would have given them the chance to advance to the Little League World Series," Chris O'Mara reflected. "Three years ago, they were just learning fast pitch softball. Congratulations to our Downtown girls for being the first-ever New York State champions from the island of Manhattan."

Four years ago, there were just 40 girls playing softball in the Downtown Little League. Next year, there will be more than 200.

Most of the teams against which the DLL Juniors were competing in the Eastern Regionals would have started playing softball when they were 7 years old, according to O'Mara. The DLL girls didn't start until they were 10 because this opportunity wasn't available to them.

"We challenged these girls and they responded with a state championship!!!" O'Mara said. "We are so proud of all the girls for their dedication to give up half their summer and put softball on the map in Manhattan, especially Lower Manhattan."

- Terese Loeb Kreuzer


Bits & Bytes
The "Shark" at the South Street Seaport, where an accident occurred on Monday afternoon. (Photo: Terese Loeb Kreuzer)
"Divers rescue 3 after unconscious man falls overboard," New York Post, 8/4/14. "A worker on the high-octane tourist boat 'The Shark' fell overboard at the South Street Seaport on Monday, prompting two good Samaritans to jump in after him," the New York Post reports. "About 20 people were aboard when a high-tension rope suddenly snapped and knocked the worker in the chest as the craft was pulling out at around 3:30 p.m., officials said. "Elan Bacharach, 18, who witnessed the unconscious man and thought about his own grandfather, who drowned in a pool four years ago... jumped off the dock and held the man above water until police arrived." For the complete article, click here.

"Cashing In on New Jersey Club Life," Wall Street Journal, 7/27/14. Battery Park City resident
The Wellmont Theater in Montclair, N.J.
(Photo: The Rosen Group)
and Community Board 1 member, Tom Goodkind, is CFO of the Rosen Group, subject of an article in the Wall Street Journal. "In 2007, a real estate company that focused primarily on office buildings in Manhattan's Chelsea neighborhood made a move into the entertainment business by buying a historic New Jersey movie house with plans to convert it into a concert hall," says the Wall Street Journal. "Now, the Rosen Group is bringing that strategy to a close by selling the 93-year-old Wellmont Theater, where Charlie Chaplin once performed. Rosen has hired NGKF Capital Markets to market the Montclair property with an asking price of $6.7 million." The article notes that B.B. King, Wilco, Elvis Costello and at least two groups made up of former members of seminal psychedelic rock band the Grateful Dead have performed at the theater and then quotes Goodkind. "'It's in tune with the demographic of the town a bit. It's a suburban town. We're trying to bring those acts that people saw at the Fillmore in the '70s or at Roseland in the '80s or '90s, and bring them to a place that's more convenient to the Jersey guys and gals who live there,'" said Tom Goodkind, Rosen's chief financial officer and a former denizen of the downtown Manhattan rock scene." For the complete article, click here.

"New York's $4B shrine to government waste and idiocy," New York Post, 8/2/14. Steve Cuozzo, a critic for the New York Post, doesn't like Santiago Calatrava's transportation hub, now under construction at the World Trade Center site. "Here comes The Calatrasaurus," he writes in an opinion article in the Post. He describes it as the Port Authority's "cyclopean PATH terminal onto which scary 'wings' have been grafted like plastic mutant terrors of 1950s sci-fi movies. Or do the wings, not plastic but steel, suggest teeth whittled down by a sadistic dentist? Or a giant fishbone? The Hub exhausts your capacity for cheap jokes. With each passing week, the embarrassing ugliness of this $4 billion boondoggle designed by Santiago Calatrava - a hideous waste of public money - grows plain for all to see." The hub is scheduled to open at the end of 2015, by which time, Cuozzo predicts, it will look even worse. "The wings will be twice as many as they are now. A planned white paint job of the now battleship-gray ribs beneath the wings will only sharpen the skeletal appearance," he says. He admits that he liked Calatrava's original design, which suggested a bird in flight, but, he continues, "the 'bird in flight' has bird-and-switched into a sharp-edged stegosaurus shorn of beauty by 'value engineering' - the cost-saving strategy which alters or replaces just enough of an architect's original vision to make it look cheap." For the complete article, click here.

Letter from the editor

Lower Manhattan, as seen from the Hudson River.(Photo: Terese Loeb Kreuzer)
From the editor:
This is the 100th issue of Downtown Post NYC. The first issue appeared on Dec. 16, 2013 with stories about the dedication of a new plaza at Edgar Street honoring Elizabeth H. Berger, the late president of the Downtown Alliance, and about a performance of Handel's "Messiah" at Trinity Church.

Since then, Downtown Post NYC has been published three times a week and emailed to an ever-growing number of subscribers. As stated in the first issue, "Lower Manhattan has proven to be an endless source of fascination because of its history, architecture, politics, parks, museums, marine environment, restaurants, shops, diversity and interesting people. You will find reporting about all of that in Downtown Post NYC."

Downtown Post NYC has proven to be a diary of life in Lower Manhattan, chronicling its pleasures, its anxieties and its battles. The future of the South Street Seaport and of Southbridge Towers have been much discussed as was the unsuccessful attempt by some members of the community to keep the Department of Probation from moving its office into a residential neighborhood. Gale Brewer, elected Manhattan Borough President in November 2013, has been everywhere, redefining the role of what many had seen as a bully pulpit with limited actual powers. Jessica Lappin became president of the Alliance for Downtown New York. Shari Hyman became president of the Battery Park City Authority. The residents of Gateway Plaza in Battery Park City shivered in poorly heated apartments as blizzards came and went and spring flowers appeared.

There were continuing (unresolved) complaints about helicopter and ferry noise and about the hazards of having kids walk to and from elementary school across an eight-lane highway when a partially empty school bus was available. School-overcrowding has been a continuing and ongoing source of concern.

The National September 11 Memorial Museum opened, attracting an increasing number of tourists in buses that have been clogging local streets and parking in places where only loading and unloading were permitted. Fleet Week returned after a hiatus caused by budget battles in Washington, D.C. The Stuyvesant High School Community Center, slated for closing, remained open due to protests from the community and assistance from local politicians. Hudson Eats opened with fanfare in Brookfield Place. Farmers' markets returned and then the largest and most beloved of them all, the New Amsterdam Market, announced that it was closing.

But that story continues (see the lead in today's newsletter) as do many of the other stories mentioned here.

To all who have helped Downtown Post NYC reach today's milestone - sincere gratitude.

If you are a subscriber and like Downtown Post NYC, please tell people about it and encourage them to subscribe (go to to sign up). If you are an advertiser, many thanks for your support.

Terese Loeb Kreuzer
Editor, Downtown Post NYC

Tourists on Pier 15 in the South Street Seaport sit next to a solar-powered cellphone charging station. (Photos: Terese Loeb Kreuzer)

Claire Weisz, principal of WXY architects, had a dilemma. She had just disembarked at Pier 15 in the South Street Seaport from an Open House New York boat tour of the East River on which she and two other experts spoke about the changing waterfront when she discovered that her cellphone was out of power. She didn't realize that there was a solar-powered charging station just a few feet from where she was standing.

In June, the Downtown Alliance in partnership with AT&T installed 10 solar charging stations in Lower Manhattan. The free stations can charge cellphones and tablets. They work day and night, regardless of the weather.

"During the day, three solar panels collect the sun's energy to charge up powerful internal batteries," according to the Downtown Alliance. "This enables the AT&T Street Charge unit to power up phones, tablets, and other devices as quickly as a wall, even when the sun isn't shining."

The Downtown Alliance credits the City's departments of Parks, Transportation and the Economic Development Corporation with helping to make the program possible.

The charging stations are located in the South Street Seaport (Beekman between Front and South Streets), on Pier 15, on South Street at Liberty Street, in Mannahatta Park (closer to Water Street), in Mannahatta Park (closer to South Street), in Old Slip Park, on the Liz Berger Plaza at Edgar Street, on the Coenties Slip Plaza, on Water Street/Whitehall Street Plaza and in Bowling Green Park.

"AT&T Street Charge grew out of a need for a sustainable power source during Superstorm Sandy," said Marissa Shorenstein, New York State President, AT&T. "It took on a life of its own when we deployed more than two dozen solar-powered units around the city last summer."

In addition to the 10 units in Lower Manhattan, solar-powered stations can be found elsewhere in New York City. There are currently 45 stations, with more on the way. They are located in parks, beaches and outdoor gathering spots. For a map of locations, click here.

- Terese Loeb Kreuzer

CALENDAR: Week of Aug. 4
Some of the ruined buildings on North Brother Island in the East River, the subject of a free book talk by Christopher Payne on Aug. 5 at The Paris Cafe.
 (Photo: Terese Loeb Kreuzer)
Aug. 5: "National Night Out Against Crime" provides a chance for police and the communities they serve to get to know each other. The First Precinct's Community Council is hosting the local gathering on Esplanade Plaza in Battery Park City. Representatives from the district attorney's office and other local organizations will attend. Capt. Brendan Timoney, who heads the First Precinct, will be there along with other NYPD officers. There will be hot dogs, burgers and music, with a short ceremony at 6:30 p.m. Time: 5:30 p.m.-8 p.m. For more information about National Night out, click here.

Aug. 5: Photographer Christopher Payne will talk about his book, "North Brother Island: The Last Unknown Place in New York City" at The Paris Cafe in the South Street Seaport. Once there was a hospital on the 20-acre island, but it was abandoned in the middle of the 20th century. Now, North Brother is a bird sanctuary that few people will ever have a chance to visit, with ruined buildings disappearing beneath thickets of vegetation. The program is sponsored by the Historic Districts Council and by Fordham University Press. Place: The Paris Cafe, 119 South St. Time: Doors open at 6 p.m. Talk is at 7 p.m. Free, but reservations are required. To register, call (212) 614-9107 or email Food and drinks are available for purchase.


Aug. 6: Join Jonathan Boulware, interim president of the South Street Seaport Museum, for an evening sail aboard the museum's 1885 schooner, Pioneer. The event is for museum members only. Museum memberships start at $40. For membership information, click here. The Pioneer is docked at Pier 16 in the South Street Seaport. Time of sail: 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. Tickets: $35. To buy tickets, click here.

Aug. 9: During Civil War Weekend on Governors Island, visitors will see reenactments of a typical day in the life of Union soldiers stationed on the island and their prisoners from the Confederate army. This is the 8th year that the National Park Service has invited living historians from the 119th New York Volunteer Infantry and the Liberty Rifles to come to Governors Island to help tell the story of its Civil War history. Also on Aug. 10, each day's events will begin with cannon firing demonstrations at 11:30 a.m. On Saturday, there will be a Civil War baseball game at 4 p.m. Free. For more information, click here. For information about ferry service to Governors Island from Manhattan and Brooklyn, click here.

Aug. 10: Aboard a New York Water Taxi, Gabriel Willow, a naturalist with the New York City Audubon Society, will lead an ecocruise to Jamaica Bay. There will also be one on Aug. 17. The cruise is three hours long (6 p.m. to 9 p.m.).  For more information and to buy tickets, click here.  

: The Seaport Music Festival, produced and partially sponsored by The Howard Hughes Corp., continues on Friday nights through Aug. 29. Place: Fulton Street at Water Street. Time: 7 p.m. Free. For more information, click here.  

: 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: 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.  

: 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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