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News and Events
in Lower Manhattan
Volume 1, No. 106  Aug. 18, 2014
* BPCA resumes making charitable contributions
* Downtown Dance Festival lights up BPC's Wagner Park
* Bits & Bytes: Broadway Week ticket sales; Dealing with identity theft
* Letter to the editor: Downtown resident criticizes pol's support of Israel
* Calendar

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Annamaria Mazzini dancing at the Downtown Dance Festival. Aug. 17, 2014.  
(Photo: Terese Loeb Kreuzer)


Dancers from the Isadora Duncan Dance Co. performing during the Downtown Dance Festival in Battery Park City's Wagner Park. (Photos: Terese Loeb Kreuzer)
Before the opening number of the 33rd annual Downtown Dance Festival on Aug. 17, two speakers briefly appeared on the stage that had been set up for the festival in Battery Park City's Wagner Park. The first speaker was City Council Member Margaret Chin, who donated $4,000 to help sponsor the festival. The second was Robin Forst, vice president of the Battery Park City Authority.
Robin Forst speaking at the opening of the Downtown Dance Festival.

This year, the five-day-long festival is appearing in Battery Park City for the first time. The program for the festival says that it is being presented by the Battery Dance Company in cooperation with the Battery Park City Authority.

This is news because for around a year, the BPCA had closed the door on its charitable donations.

The first inkling of a change in policy occurred on July 10, 2013 at the conclusion of a River to River concert in Rockefeller Park. Danny Kapilian, the music producer who had been hired by the BPCA to book the acts for the eight-concert series, announced that the BPCA would no longer be underwriting River to River concerts, as it had been doing for years. He asked the audience to ask the BPCA to reconsider.

By September, other organizations that had previously received BPCA funding found out that it would no longer be available. The beneficiaries ranged from Arts Brookfield, which the BPCA had previously been supporting with contributions of $212,000 a year, to Battery Park City non-profits such as the Museum of Jewish Heritage, the Skyscraper Museum and Poets House. The annual Battery Park City block party also took a hit.

Apparently, directives from New York State caused the change in funding. The BPCA understood that it could no longer use any of its discretionary funds for charitable donations.

The problems now seem to have been sorted out. The BPCA has come up with an application form that permits organizations to apply for funding support. Among other things, it asks for a statement of the organization's mission and goals and how they align with the mission and goals of the BPCA. The form also asks how the proposed donation will contribute to and/or impact the Battery Park City community.

On its website, the BPCA says that its mission is "to plan, create, co-ordinate and maintain a balanced community of commercial, residential, retail, and park space within its designated 92-acre site on the lower west side of Manhattan." It goes on to say that, "All decisions will reflect the public interest and support a public benefit to our stakeholders, the City of New York, tenants of BPCA, residents and workers in Battery Park City, the downtown community, and tourists/visitors to Battery Park City, in the development of properties, creation of spaces, and in the provision of opportunity to the M/WBE community to share in the economic growth of the Battery Park City community. As an integral part of the lower Manhattan fabric, the Authority will seek to cooperate with and support both public and private sector entities whose missions are in concert with that of the Authority, and whose efforts directly benefit furtherance of same."

Forst declined to say how much money the BPCA had donated to the Downtown Dance Festival.

To see the BPCA's charitable donation application form, click here.

- Terese Loeb Kreuzer

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


Dancers from the Isadora Duncan Dance Company performing at the Downtown Dance Festival. (Photos: Terese Loeb Kreuzer)

The Downtown Dance Festival, currently under way in Battery Park City's Wagner Park, has a number of superlatives attached to it. Now in its 33rd year, it is the city's longest-running free public dance festival. That it's free is, of course, a plus. That the performances are of the highest caliber would not necessarily be a given - but they are.

Jonathan Hollander, the founder of both the Battery Dance Company, which performs at the festival, and of the festival itself, attributed the festival's longevity to "stubbornness" and "love for the art of dance."

Hollander brings dancers from all over the world to participate in the festival. Some of them he met during the Battery Dance Company's international travels. It has performed in 60 countries on five continents.

This year's festival showcases Tangaj Dance from Bucharest, Romania; Entomo EA and AE from Madrid, Spain; the choreography of Kolisile "Theo" Ndindwa from Cape Town, South Africa, and on Aug. 20, an entire program of dancers from India, who come to the festival under the auspices of the Indo-American Arts Council.

In addition, the festival features the work of contemporary American choreographers such as the electrifying Annmaria Mazzini, who appeared with her Mazzini Dance Collective on Aug. 17, the opening night of the festival.

The festival also enables audiences to experience the work of some of the pioneers of modern dance such as Ted Shawn and Doris Humphrey, some of whose dances were performed on the festival's opening night by Adam H. Weinert and Logan Frances Kruger of In Situ Arts.
Logan Frances Kruger of In Situ Arts.

The remarkable Isadora Duncan Dance Company under the direction of Lori Belilove enthralled the audience on the second night of the festival. Duncan died in 1927 at the age of 50 but her dances have survived because she taught them to her adopted daughters, one of whom taught them to Belilove. Only one 22-second snippet of film showing Isadora Duncan dancing is known to exist. From that, it would be impossible to tell why audiences flocked to see her but the dancers who keep her work alive make it clear why her name has never been forgotten. This most fleeting of art forms is preserved in body memory.

The dances unfolded against the background of the Hudson River and the sunset. The setting could not have been more beautiful or more perfect.

 The festival continues through Thursday, Aug. 21, starting each night at 6 p.m. For more information, click here.

- Terese Loeb Kreuzer

Bits & Bytes
Broadway crowd. Two-for-one tickets are now on sale for 21 Broadway shows.
(Photo: Terese Loeb Kreuzer)

Broadway Week tickets on sale
: Two-for-one theater tickets went on sale on Aug. 18 for the 21 shows that participate in Broadway Week. Like "Restaurant Week," Broadway Week is actually a misnomer. The tickets are available for performances from Sept. 1 to Sept. 14.

The participating shows are A Gentleman's Guide to Love & Murder; Aladdin; Cabaret; Chicago; Cinderella; The Country House; If/Then; Jersey Boys; Kinky Boots; Les Misérables; The Lion King; Mamma Mia!; Matilda the Musical; Motown the Musical; Once; The Phantom of the Opera; Pippin; Rock of Ages; This Is Our Youth; Wicked and You Can't Take It With You.

Tickets are "subject to availability" and blackout dates may apply, according to NYC & Company, New York City's official tourism arm, which is producing the promotion in partnership with The Broadway League, American Express, AARP, Amtrak, NBC 4 New York and Radio Disney.

For more information or to book tickets, click here

Identity theft and what to do about it: In the last few weeks, we have heard of several instances of identity theft, so it seems worth republishing an article that first appeared in Downtown Post NYC on Aug. 6 -  New York State Attorney General Eric T. Schneiderman's advice on what to do about identity theft and how to minimize the chances of it happening. To read the Attorney General's advice, click here.

Letter to the editor

New York State Gov. Andrew Cuomo at the Museum of Jewish Heritage in Battery Park City on March 6, 2014. Cuomo was among the New York State elected officials who visited Israel this past week. (Photo: Museum of Jewish Heritage/Melanie Einzig)

To the editor:

(Re: "Downtown pols going to Israel this week to show support," DPNYC, 8/11/14) I was disappointed by the lack of balance and depth in the recent article about the New York delegation traveling to Israel as a show of solidarity. While the charter and tactics of Hamas are indeed deplorable, as are any acts of violence and vandalism motivated by anti-Semitism, the thousands of unnecessary civilian casualties and catastrophic damage to local infrastructure in Gaza - not to mention the continued occupation of the Palestinian territories - are also key parts of this complex conflict, and many other important factors were missing from the simplistic narrative offered by these politicians.

I expect the Downtown Post to challenge and hold accountable locally elected representatives on this issue no less than on neighborhood schooling or construction projects in the Seaport. This is especially important given the enormous role the United States plays in financing Israeli aid and arms and in supporting Israeli interests in the United Nations and peace negotiations. In this context, State Senator Skelos' remarks - that New York offers "unconditional support" for "whatever action" is deemed necessary by the Israeli state - appear at once facile and dangerous. Is he really willing to write a blank check for bloodshed in the Middle East? With what mandate and whose money exactly?

While New York has a large Jewish population whose individual members may or may not agree with Operation Protective Edge, it is also a cosmopolitan city, with many international citizens from countries critical of this campaign and of Israeli aggression more generally. The current conflict is being fought both in the media internationally as well as on the ground in the Middle East, and from some deeply entrenched ideological positions, so it is all the more vital that symbolic gestures and political grandstanding such as this visit are questioned. For example, will the New York politicians visit the occupied territories or meet with representatives from Palestinian or human rights organizations, and, if not, why not? And how many New Yorkers have families in Gaza affected by the conflict? These are just two questions I would genuinely love to hear addressed by local politicians.

Joe Sheppard

From the editor:
The article in Downtown Post NYC was simply to inform readers that some New York elected officials were planning to visit Israel. The reason for putting this article in DPNYC was that the group included New York State Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver, who represents part of Lower Manhattan, as well as Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer. The article quoted their stated reasons for going, but neither praised nor criticized their reasoning. Should any Lower Manhattan politicians decide to visit Gaza, DPNYC will inform readers of that as well.

The article also noted that Congressman Jerrold Nadler, who represents the West Side of Manhattan and parts of Brooklyn, had introduced a bill in Congress condemning growing anti-Semitism abroad. This seemed relevant to mention in DPNYC because Nadler is the Congressman for this district.

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


CALENDAR: Week of Aug. 18
Get your tickets now for the spectator boat that accompanies the annual Labor Day weekend tugboat race on the Hudson River. For more information, click here.
(Photo: Terese Loeb Kreuzer)

Aug. 19: The Battery Dance Company presents the 33rd annual Downtown Dance Festival, with five evenings of programming in Battery Park City's Wagner Park. Through Aug. 21. Dorrance Dance opens on Aug. 19 at 6 p.m. Free. For the complete program, click here.  

Aug. 19: Arts Brookfield presents New Directions in Solo Piano, with a different performer each day. Cuban-born Manuel Valera plays on Aug. 19. In 2012 Valera released New Cuban Express. This recording earned him a nomination for a 2013 Grammy Award in the category "Best Latin Jazz Album." Place: One Liberty Plaza (165 Broadway). Time: 12:30 p.m.-1:30 p.m. Free. For more information, click here.

Aug. 19: Capt. Don Chesley will offer a "celestial sail" aboard the South Street Seaport Museum's 1885 schooner Pioneer. Among other things, he will describe the significance of the celestial bodies over the harbor and show how to use a sextant to navigate by the stars. Place: Pioneer, leaving from Pier 16 in the South Street Seaport. Time: 7:30 p.m.-9:30 p.m. Tickets: $45 (adults); $35 (members); $25 (children); $10 (child under 2). For more information and to buy tickets, click here.

Aug. 20: The South Street Seaport Museum's schooner, Pioneer, will be dockside at Pier 16 from 1 p.m. to 2:30 p.m. and open to the public. Visitors will be able to explore harbor ecology with hands-on activities hosted by the museum's educators. They will show how to look for plankton and how to read a harbor chart and will talk about the history of one of New York harbor's most remarkable ships. This program is included in museum admission. Also, Aug. 27. Tickets: $12 (adults); $8 (students, 12-24/seniors); $5 (children, 2-11); free to museum members and for children under 2. For more information about Pioneer and to purchase tickets for these and other South Street Seaport Museum events, click here

Aug. 20: New Directions in Solo Piano continues with New York-based pianist and composer Vadim Neselovskyi, whose playing has been complimented in the The New York Times and the Los Angeles Times, among other places. While mostly known as one of the key members of multiple Grammy winner Gary Burton's Quintet, and as a featured pianist and composer on Burton's Concord Records release Next Generation, Vadim is rapidly gaining reputation as a bandleader. One Liberty Plaza (165 Broadway). Time: 12:30 p.m.-1:30 p.m. Free. For more information, click here.

Aug. 21: New Directions in Solo Piano concludes with Laszlo Gardony, who has performed in 25 countries and has released 10 albums. Dave Brubeck called him a "great pianist" and JazzTimes "a formidable improviser who lives in the moment." In 1987, Gardony won first prize at the Great American Jazz Piano Competition. He has been professor of piano at the Berklee College of Music for many years. One Liberty Plaza (165 Broadway). Time: 12:30 p.m.-1:30 p.m. Free. For more information, click here

Aug. 22: Brian Floca, who wrote a book called "Lightship" about the South Street Seaport Museum's historic lightship Ambrose, will talk about his award-winning story and read from "Lightship" while sitting aboard the museum's ship Peking. Both are berthed at Pier 16 in the Seaport. Floca will explore the book-making process and how an idea becomes reality (and fantasy) in a book. This is a family program for all ages. Bring a hat, sunglasses and sunscreen for this event, which will be held outside. Place: Aboard Peking on Pier 16 in the South Street Seaport. Time: 2 p.m.-5 p.m. Tickets: $12 (adults); $8 (students/seniors); $5 (children 2-11 and museum members). 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.

Upcoming on Sunday, Aug. 31: For the last 22 years, Labor Day Weekend has included the Great North River Tugboat Race and Competition in which some of the harbor's mightiest and smallest tugs and everything in between race each other down the Hudson River. The day's events also include a nose to nose competition (like arm wrestling except done with tugboats), a spinach-eating contest, a line toss competition and awards for such things as best mascot and best tattoo. A spectator boat accompanies the tugs as they parade up the river and then race back down to Pier 84 at West 84th Street. The spectator boat boards at 9 a.m. and leaves from Pier 83 at 9:30 a.m. Tickets: $25 (adults); $12 (kids). For more information or to buy tickets, click here.

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Editor: Terese Loeb Kreuzer

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