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News and Events
in Lower Manhattan
Volume 1, No. 104  Aug. 13, 2014

Quote of the day:
"Give the Seaport back to New York." - Comment on a petition called "The Vision for the Seaport" now being circulated by Robert LaValva, founder of the New Amsterdam Market
* Hotel construction starts atop Battery Maritime Building
* Bits & Bytes: Tribeca development site; El-Gamal's new Park Place plan; Vision for the Seaport
* Three days of yacht races in New York harbor
* In the farmers' markets: Week of Aug. 11
* Calendar

For breaking news, go to

Sunflower 'Velvet Queen' (Helianthus annuus) in Battery Park City. Aug. 13, 2014.  
(Photo: Terese Loeb Kreuzer)



The Battery Maritime Building as it looked on Aug. 10, 2014.
(Photo: Terese Loeb Kreuzer)

Construction has started atop the Battery Maritime Building at 10 South St. but a spokesperson for Nancy J. Friedman, the public relations firm representing the project, said, "We are unable to provide a comment at this time."

According to NYC&Co., the tourism arm for New York City, the structure atop the ferry terminal, which opened in 1909, will be a 61-room hotel, scheduled to debut in 2015. The Dermot Company and the Poulakakos restaurateurs have a 99-year lease on the building, with options to renew for five 10-year periods. When that deal was announced in July 2012, The Real Deal reported that in addition to a hotel, the space would house "restaurants, a live music venue, as well as a rooftop eatery and bar." (The Real Deal, 7/25/12).

The ferry building itself was restored by the New York City Economic Development Corp. (EDC) in 2005 at a cost of $60 million. It currently serves as the Manhattan terminal for Governors Island ferries.

A spokesperson for Marvel Architects (formerly Rogers Marvel) said, "Marvel Architects executed the design to obtain federal tax credit. We have not been involved in the Battery Maritime Building project since those credits were obtained." The Marvel Architects website shows renderings for the hotel and restaurant. So does the website for Rogers Partners, a firm founded by Rob Rogers (Jonathan Marvel's former partner) in August 2013. Ismael Leyva Architects also shows the Battery Maritime Building among its projects.

In February 2008, The New York Times reported in an article entitled "Pondering Public Uses for a Hall Named Great" that the Dermot/Poulakakos additions to the Battery Maritime Building would cost $150 million.

- Terese Loeb Kreuzer

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

Bits & Bytes

The New Market Building as it looked on Aug. 9, 2014. The Howard Hughes Corp. would like to demolish this building and erect a 50-story luxury hotel/apartment tower on this site. (Photo: Terese Loeb Kreuzer)

"ABS sells off Tribeca development site,"
New York Post, 8/12/14. "After decades of family ownership, Alan S. Cohen and Adam Maxson of ABS Partners have sold the development site at 353 and 355-357 Broadway between Leonard and Franklin streets," says the New York Post. "The $73 million price-tag includes the air rights from No. 359, which the family is retaining. It was the family's first building and, in 1853, the site of Civil War photographer Matthew Brady's studio." For the complete article, click here.

"Behind Sharif El-Gamal's new Park Place plan," The Real Deal, 8/1/14. "In 2010, developer Sharif El-Gamal sparked a national firestorm when he announced plans to build Park51, a 15-story Islamic cultural center at 51 Park Place," says The Real Deal. "His critics famously (or infamously) dubbed the project the 'Ground Zero mosque' because of its close proximity to the site of the September 11 attacks, and El-Gamal became a bulls-eye for anti-Muslim backlash." El-Gamal told The Real Deal that he found the events of that time to be "an eye opener." He went on to say that it is "deeply disturbing that we have such a bad PR issue as Muslims. I feel grateful to God that he allowed me to be a custodian of that baton for a period of time, but I also feel that it's important for us to reflect on the principles of this country - among them religious freedoms and freedom of speech." Four years later, says The Real Deal, "the furor has died down and El-Gamal's plans for the site have quietly changed. While he is still building an Islamic cultural center, it is a significantly scaled down three-story version. The centerpiece of his project is instead an adjacent 39-story, 48-unit residential condo tower, as TRD and others have reported." For the complete article, click here.

Save Our Seaport talks and walks: On Wednesday night, Save Our Seaport (SOS), a group that is working to preserve the historic South Street Seaport and its maritime heritage, hosted an information session in the community room at Southbridge Towers followed by a walk through the Seaport. Around 40 people attended to hear from Maureen Koetz, an environmental law attorney; Joanne Gorman, a Southbridge Towers resident and SOS activist; and Bridget Schuy, a real estate specialist in Lower Manhattan.

According to Julie Finch, a member of SOS, Koetz said that sight lines are considered environmental assets, which would apply to the 50-story tower proposed by The Howard Hughes Corp. (HHC) on the Seaport waterfront where the New Market Building now stands. That tower, if built, would block views of the Brooklyn Bridge. Finch reported that Koetz said that if and when HHC started digging holes for new piles in the East River, that would trigger an environmental review. Quoting Koetz, Finch said that, "A tall tower near a historic district trips an EIS (Environmental Impact Statement). It is the law."

The next Save Our Seaport "talk and walk" will be on Aug. 27 in Titanic Memorial Park at Fulton and Water Streets. For more information, click here.

New Amsterdam Market petition: Robert LaValva, the founder of the New Amsterdam Market that was held on South Street between Beekman Street and Peck Slip, declared the market closed as of July 14 but he has not been idle since then. He is circulating a petition entitled "The Vision for the Seaport" that he plans to present to Mayor Bill de Blasio and City Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito on Sept. 15. So far, he has collected around 800 signatures.

The basic premise of the petition is that "public assets must be used for public purposes, as determined via a transparent planning process."

The petition asks that there "be no further disposition of any public-owned properties in the [Seaport Historic] District to private developers, particularly the Tin Building and New Market Building, but also a number of other public assets that are not part of the 1981 'Marketplace' lease between the New York City Economic Development Corporation and Howard Hughes, as well as all assets now leased by the South Street Seaport Museum."

It goes on to ask that these assets "be restored with public and philanthropic funds, and retained for community and other civic uses, which will include a public market as envisioned and proposed by New Amsterdam Market, and a reinvented and robust Seaport Museum."

Since The Howard Hughes Corp. has proposed tearing down the New Market Building and erecting a 50-story hotel/apartment tower where it now stands, the petition specifically asks that the New York City Landmarks Designation for the South Street Seaport Historic District be extended to include the New Market Building.

Finally, the petition addresses a desire to wrest the governance of the South Street Seaport from the New York City Economic Development Corporation, which has repeatedly entered into secret deals with The Howard Hughes Corp. "All public properties in the Seaport District and along the East River waterfront in Lower Manhattan will be governed by a dedicated Local Development Corporation (LDC) or similar authority, as advocated by the 2006 SeaportSpeaks conference ," the petition says. "Future development, programming, and use of all city-owned properties in the South Street Seaport Historic District will be determined by this dedicated LDC via a transparent and comprehensive planning process that includes community input."

Many of the people who have already signed the petition have appended comments to their signatures. "New Amsterdam Market is crucial to keeping New York City special and a unique community," said one. "Save us from banality; honor our history and community," said another. "Give the Seaport back to New York," said a third. A fourth person simply wrote, "Good luck."

To see the petition, click here.


Downtown on the water
North Cove Marina in Battery Park City. (Photo: Terese Loeb Kreuzer) 

At 11 a.m. on Aug. 15, the New York City weather forecast predicts clear skies, temperatures in the high 60's and winds from the west northwest at 9 miles per hour.

This information should be of interest to the 19 teams of amateur club sailors from 14 countries who will compete between August 15 and 17 in the Sixth Dennis Conner International Yacht Club Challenge organized by the New York Harbor Sailing Foundation.

The races will take place on boats borrowed from the Manhattan Yacht Club, one of the largest community sailing organizations in the country with more than 900 members. It is based at North Cove Marina in front of Brookfield Place (formerly known as the "World Financial Center") in Battery Park City.

The hour-long races will start and finish at the Manhattan Yacht Club's floating clubhouse, tethered near Ellis Island. Each day, start time for the first race will be 11 a.m., continuing throughout the day.

"This is a great opportunity to bring together so many sailors from around the world to promote international goodwill through friendly competition," said Manhattan Yacht Club's commodore, Michael Fortenbaugh, who also serves as Executive Director of the New York Harbor Sailing Foundation. 

The New York Harbor Sailing Foundation, founded in 1994, organizes sailing programs in the harbor such as Operation Optimist, a junior sailing program for kids.

Founded in 1987, Manhattan Yacht Club has reintroduced recreational sailing to the harbor after a 60-year absence. It has two clubhouses and a fleet of more than 30 club-owned boats that are housed at North Cove Marina.

The Patron of North Cove is Dennis Conner who is best known for winning the America's Cup and was voted last year as America's Greatest Sailor. He has worked since 2005 with Fortenbaugh to help revitalize the Lower Manhattan waterfront after the devastation of 9/11.

The 19 teams from 14 nations include the Manhattan Yacht Club with two teams; Club Universitario de Buenos Aires, Argentina, with two teams; Norddeutscher Regatta Verein from Germany; Royal Melbourne Yacht Squadron, Australia, with two teams; Nissan Marina Tokai from Japan; Howth Yacht Club, Ireland, with two teams; Fenerbahce Sailing Club "Team Goblin" from Turkey; the Royal Cork Yacht Club from Ireland; the Societe Nautique de la Baie de Saint-Malo from France; the Royal Norwegian Yacht Club from Norway; the Royal Hamilton Amateur Dinghy Club from Bermuda; the Royal Danish Yacht Club from Denmark; Cercle de la Voile de la Société Nautique de Genève from Switzerland; the Shanghai Boat and Yacht Club from China and the Royal Cape Yacht Club from South Africa.

Summer apples and nectarines at the Tribeca Greenmarket.
(Photos: Terese Loeb Kreuzer)

On Wednesday, "Toigo Orchard's first summer apples, ginger gold, were available," said Jay Ledoux, manager of the Tribeca Greenmarket on Greenwich Street just north of Chambers Street, "and Jersey Farm had baby carrots and celeriac along with their usual veggies and heirlooms."

The Tribeca Greenmarket is open on Wednesdays and Saturdays from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. It is the largest of the Downtown Greenmarkets.

In Lower Manhattan, there are also Greenmarkets at Bowling Green, City Hall and the Staten Island Ferry Terminal. On Thursdays, there is a small farmers' market on the Andaz hotel plaza at Wall and Water Street and a "Youthmarket" on Fulton Street in the South Street Seaport.
Green peppers and eggplants at the Tribeca Greenmarket.

CALENDAR: Week of Aug. 11
Jamaica Bay. This Sunday, Aug. 17, the New York City Audubon Society aboard New York Water Taxi makes its last excursion of the season to the 18,000-acre bay between Brooklyn and Queens, much of it a wildlife preserve. (Photo: Terese Loeb Kreuzer)

Aug. 14: See "Au revoir Taipei" at the Seaport Food & Film Festival in the South Street Seaport. Free food served at 7 p.m. while supplies last, followed by a film. Directed by: Arvin Chen. Kai, a lovesick young man, wants to leave Taipei in hopes of getting to Paris to be with his girlfriend. Kai spends long nights in a bookstore studying French where Susie, a girl who works there, begins to take an interest in him. After one extra ordinary night, Kai finds the excitement and romance he was longing for are already right here in Taipei. "Au revoir Taipei" sponsored by: Taipei Economic and Cultural Office in New York and Taiwan Tourism Bureau. Place: Front and Fulton Streets. Time: Food at 7 p.m., film at 8 p.m. Free. For more information, click here

Aug. 14: 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

Aug. 17: Board the South Street Seaport Museum's 1885 schooner, Pioneer, for an "art sail." Passengers will be invited to sketch a number of possible subjects: live models, the harbor, the shoreline, other boats, and the Pioneer and her crew. "Bring your own materials," say the instructions, "bearing in mind that there will be no place for easels." Extra water, paper towels, a place to keep work till ashore and fixative for those who wish to use it, will be provided.  The event is being offered in collaboration with Draw-Mania! and the Art Students League of New York. Place: Leaving from Pier 16 in the South Street Seaport. Time: 4 p.m. to 6 p.m. Fee: $38 (adults); $32 (students and seniors); $28 (museum members). To buy tickets, click here.    

Aug. 17
: Aboard a New York Water Taxi, Gabriel Willow, a naturalist with the New York City Audubon Society, will lead an ecocruise to Jamaica Bay. The cruise is three hours long (6 p.m. to 9 p.m.).  Jamaica Bay, an 18,000-acre body of water that lies between Brooklyn and Queens, teems with wildlife. For more information and to buy tickets, click here.  

Ongoing: 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.  
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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