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News and Events
in Lower Manhattan
Volume 1, No. 109  Aug. 25, 2014
Quote of the day:
"The suggested donation for the meal is $1.50, but we don't turn anyone away."- Rachel Marotta, assistant director of the Greenwich House senior center at Independence Plaza North, describing the cost of a hot lunch served at the senior center from Monday to Friday.      

* More people are growing old in Lower Manhattan

* Bits & Bytes: City's top-selling buildings; New York City's 350th birthday party
* Downtown Bulletin Board: Seaport Town Meeting; BPC's Stories & Songs; Free kayaking
* Letters to the Editor: Risk and reward at Southbridge Towers; Lost produce exchange
* Downtown Periscope: Humpback whales near Breezy Point; Ravens in Chelsea
* Calendar

For breaking news, go to

Hibiscus blooming in Battery Park City's Wagner Park. Aug. 15, 2014.
(Photo: Terese Loeb Kreuzer) 

The Battery Park City Seniors' Chorus singing "Somewhere Over the Rainbow" at the 12th annual Battery Park City block party on Sept. 28, 2013.
(Photo: Terese Loeb Kreuzer)

The burgeoning number of baby carriages on Downtown streets make the frequently cited statistics about child population growth in Lower Manhattan visually apparent. Less apparent are statistics about the other end of the age spectrum. The senior population in Lower Manhattan (defined as people 55 and older) increased by 79 percent between 2000 and 2010 going from 4,613 people to 8,255. This compares to an average increase of 19 percent in the number of aged in Manhattan and 16 percent in all of New York City.

The statistics don't make for enticing reading but behind them are significant and sometimes tragic human problems - seniors, who are on limited and fixed incomes forced to move from homes and neighborhoods where they have lived for decades, "food insecurity," the euphemism often used for lack of enough money for food, unaffordable prescription medicine, lack of access to affordable dental care, isolation because of the death of friends and the indifference or the absence of families, mobility problems, mental health issues and more. 

The total population of Community District 1 is around 65,000 people. The district includes Battery Park City, the Financial District, the Seaport/Civic Center and Tribeca as well as Liberty, Ellis and Governors Islands.

The Financial District and Battery Park City saw the largest increases in the numbers of the elderly. In the Financial District, the senior population grew by 186 percent between 2000 and 2010. In Battery Park City, the growth was 145 percent.

Community District 1's Needs Statement for fiscal year 2016, submitted to the Department of City Planning on Aug. 4, states that "These trends create new needs for seniors with regard to housing affordability, amenities and services, street safety, ADA compliance and transportation."

The report goes on to say that, "CB1 is especially concerned about the ability of seniors to remain and age in place in our district. Fixed incomes cannot keep pace with rapid inflation in housing costs, especially rent and property taxes, that rise as neighborhoods become more desirable."

The report notes that in Community District 1, many units of housing were affordable or rent-stabilized because of tax credits that are now expiring. Some rental buildings that were previously rent stabilized have been sold and are being converted to condos.

If the elderly are less obvious than the young it is, in part, because many have mobility issues. They venture out of their apartments less frequently than parents with young families, headed for a park, or school or playground. If they are on limited incomes with no way to earn more, they are less likely to eat in a restaurant or go to a movie. Entertainment has to be low cost or free.

According to an article in the Wall Street Journal ("More Money for Seniors as City Grays," 7/25/14), "More than one in six people 65 and over live below the federal poverty line, pegged at $11,404 in annual income in 2011 in New York." This statistic came from the NYC Center for Economic Opportunity, a city agency.

Since the elderly are the city's fastest growing demographic, the Department for the Aging recently received an increased allocation from the city budget. The additional money will help to subsidize food served at senior centers such as the one at Independence Plaza North, 310 Greenwich St., where a hot meal is served from Monday to Friday. "The suggested donation for the meal is $1.50, but we don't turn anyone away," said Rachel Marotta, the assistant director of the center.

The Department of Aging's additional revenue from the city will also go to help subsidize increased costs for home-delivered meals.

In Battery Park City, usually considered to be a tranquil haven for the affluent, seniors now make up almost 15 percent of the population. Many live at Gateway Plaza, a "NORC," (Naturally Occurring Retirement Community), where they moved a few decades ago and raised their families.

In April 2009, New York State Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver, who represents part of Lower Manhattan, brokered a deal with the LeFrak Organization, Gateway Plaza's owner, to allow people who were tenants at that time to remain in their apartments at rent-stabilized prices until 2020. By the terms of the deal, new tenants would come into the 1,705-unit apartment complex at market rates.

According to one elderly resident of Gateway Plaza, who asked not to be named, "Many seniors, including me, are very concerned about what will happen when that agreement ends."

In the meantime, an ad hoc group called the "Battery Park City Seniors" run by neighborhood resident Ruth Ohman, arranges for exercise classes, museum visits, art history classes, lectures, luncheons, neighborhood excursions and theater trips. On Tuesdays in good weather, the group goes for an hour-long walk. It alerts its members to free, ongoing local programs such as the adult chorus run by the Church Street School for Music and Art, computer and e-book assistance for seniors at the Battery Park City branch library at 175 North End Ave. and the senior swim and senior water aerobics at the Manhattan Youth Downtown Community Center, 120 Warren St.

Membership in the Battery Park City Seniors group is free as are most activities. "Free" is about as much as many seniors can afford.

- Terese Loeb Kreuzer


Bits & Bytes
The National Museum of the American Indian is on the site of Fort Amsterdam, which the Dutch constructed in the 17th century to defend their colony. On Aug. 26, 1664, a fleet of British ships appeared in the harbor. A few days later, the British trained their guns on the fort and took over the city from the Dutch. (Photo: Terese Loeb Kreuzer)

"Herzog & de Meuron's Nearly Sold Out 56 Leonard Gets Glass,", 8/25/14. According to, Herzog & de Meuron's wildly successful Tribeca tower at 56 Leonard St. is almost 100-percent sold out. Just two penthouses remain in the 145-apartment, 60-story building. For the complete article, click here.

"New York City's 10 Best-Selling Buildings of 2014 (So Far),", 8/25/14. asked Property Shark, which compiles real estate data, for a list of the buildings that had sold the most apartments so far in 2014. "It's been a gangbusters time for real estate sales," says Curbed. Four of the 10 buildings on the list were in Lower Manhattan, including one in Battery Park City (2 River Terrace), two in the Financial District (15 Broad St. and 99 John St.) and one in Tribeca (93 Worth St., which topped the list with 73 units sold). For the complete article, click here.

"New York's 350th Birthday Party? Your Invitation Isn't Lost in the Mail," New York Times, 8/25/14. "On Aug. 26, 1664, 350 years ago Tuesday, a flotilla of four British frigates led by the Guinea, which was manned by 150 sailors and conveying 300 redcoats, anchored ominously in Gravesend Bay off Brooklyn, between Coney Island and the Narrows," says The New York Times. Thirteen days later, "two of the warships would sail to the Battery and train their cannon on Fort Amsterdam on the southern tip of Manhattan. Finally, on Sept. 8, the largely defenseless settlement tolerated a swift and bloodless regime change: New Amsterdam was immediately renamed New York. It would evolve into a jewel of the British Empire, endowed with a collective legacy - its roots indelibly Dutch - that distinguished it from every other American colony." Though the British takeover occurred 350 years ago, there will be no birthday party for the city. The Times explains why. For the complete article, click here.

"Tourist who climbed Brooklyn Bridge: I did it for fun," New York Post, 8/25/14. People are getting a workout on the Brooklyn Bridge these days. A Russian tourist was arrested after strolling up suspension cables to the top of the Brooklyn Bridge, said the New York Post. "He told cops his stunt was all for 'fun' - but authorities aren't laughing." The mayor said he was concerned. "Yes, we are the No. 1 terror target in the world," de Blasio said. "But we're also the most prepared of any city in the world to fight terrorism and stop terrorism." The tourist, Yaroslav Kolchin, 24, "nonchalantly walked to the top of the Brooklyn-side tower Sunday at about noon, court papers state." For the complete article, click here.

Downtown bulletin board
Fulton Street in the South Street Seaport as it looked on Sept. 5, 2009.
(Photos: Terese Loeb Kreuzer)

Seaport Town Meeting:
Roland Lewis, president and CEO of the Metropolitan Waterfront
Fulton Street as it looked on June 15, 2014.
Alliance and chairman of the board of directors of the New Amsterdam Market, and Victor Papa of the Two Bridges Neighborhood Council will discuss the future of the South Street Seaport on Wednesday, Aug. 27. After the speakers there will be a brief question and answer period with open discussion, followed by a walk through the South Street Historic District. Place: St. Margaret's House, conference room, 49 Fulton St. Time: 6:30 p.m.-7:30 p.m. Free. The Town Meeting is being held under the auspices of Save Our Seaport, which maintains that developing and preserving the South Street Seaport Historic District requires a responsible development plan that guarantees the economic viability of the District while also maintaining, preserving and celebrating its historic importance. The following SOS Town Meeting will be on Monday, Sept. 15.

Stories & Songs:
Under the auspices of the Battery Park City Parks Conservancy, newborn children, toddlers and pre-schoolers up to age 3.5 years enjoy music, parachute games, dancing, singing and music-making in sessions conducted by professional musicians. The classes last 40 minutes and take place on Tuesdays and Wednesdays at 6 River Terrace in Battery Park City starting on Sept. 9 for the Tuesday sessions and Sept. 10 for the Wednesday sessions. Advance registration is required. Space is limited. Fee: $315 for 14 sessions. For more information, call (212) 267-9700, ext. 363 or email

Auditions for Writers in Performance at BMCC: A 12-week workshop at the Borough of Manhattan Community College offers a chance for people of all ages, ethnicities, styles and levels of experience to create an original theater piece and perform it at the Tribeca Performing Arts Center, 199 Chambers St. The workshop utilizes writing exercises, theater games, improvisation, movement and ensemble work by all participants. Auditions will be held by appointment only on Wednesday, Sept. 17 and Thursday, Sept. 18 from 5:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. The free workshop is directed by Mario Giacalone, the program director at BMCC Tribeca Performing Arts Center. He has taught acting in New York City for over 10 years and has directed both stage and film. To schedule an audition, contact him at or call (212) 220-1459 on weekdays from Tuesday, Sept. 9 through Tuesday, Sept. 16. The performances will take place on Dec. 5 and Dec. 6.

Tribeca Greenmarket: "The market is full of summer fruits," says Jay Ledoux, manager of the Tribeca Greenmarket. "Loads of heirlooms, peaches, peppers and more and more apples are showing up," he says. "Besides that the newest items I've taken note of have been the yellow donut peaches on Wednesdays (a new crop for Toigo Orchards) and the very popular radicchio at Lani's Farm on Saturdays."  The Tribeca Greenmarket is located on Greenwich Street just north of Chambers Street and is open on Wednesdays and Saturdays from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. For more information, click here.

Free kayaking on Pier 26: On July 4, the volunteer-run Downtown Boathouse returned to its former home on Pier 26 at North Moore Street in Hudson River Park. Since then, thousands of people have gotten into one of the Downtown Boathouse's sit-on-top kayaks to row themselves around the embayment. In addition, there are free kayaking classes on Wednesdays from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. In the past, the Downtown Boathouse offered three-hour trips up, down and across the Hudson River for more experienced kayakers but these were temporarily suspended this season because the volunteers needed to work on settling into their Pier 26 home. The Boathouse is open Saturdays, Sundays and holidays from 9 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. through mid-October. For more information, click here.

Letters to the editor
Southbridge Towers. (Photo: Terese Loeb Kreuzer)

To the editor:
(Re: "AG raps Southbridge Towers board on knuckles for co-op offering," DPNYC, 8/22/14) In Friday's Downtown Post NYC, you quoted an unnamed shareholder from Southbridge Towers about the risks of re-constituting as spelled out in the Black Book. As a shareholder myself, I would like to point out that risk is a constant part of life, and that risk opens the door to opportunity.

With risk can come reward. Southbridge residents have pursued the idea of privatizing (according to the long-term Mitchell Lama plan) because they understand that investment in New York City real estate  has been enormously rewarding for those who have taken that risk. If Southbridge Towers re-constitutes as a private co-op, residents will have the opportunity to own a valuable asset without investing any additional funds, and will still continue to enjoy all the benefits of living in one of Manhattan's most attractive affordable communities.

Residents have been encouraged to consult their own legal and financial advisors to decide what course will be most beneficial to them. For most, it is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity, and well-informed residents will vote 'yes' to take advantage of it.

(Name withheld at writer's request)

To the editor:

(Re: "George Post's lost Produce Exchange and its Seaport survivor," DPNYC, 8/22/14)

Again, thanks for all your great Downtown coverage.

Produce Exchange.
As an impressionable 17-year-old messenger walking the streets of Lower Manhattan, it was unbelievable to me why such a great building like the Produce Exchange would be torn down.
Before that as a child, I had witnessed the destruction downtown caused by the construction of the Battery Tunnel and the Brooklyn Queens Expressway in Brooklyn Heights. Possibly these events awoke in me a need to preserve the best of our built environment.

Thanks for reminding me about the monumental presence that is now a void in what once was a complete complement of Classical American architecture surrounding Bowling Green.

Joe Svehlak

To the editor:
Dogs in our neighborhood are currently experiencing an outbreak of kennel cough. If a pup shows signs of a cough, it should be kept away from other dogs and taken to a vet immediately for further diagnosis and treatment. Kennel cough is highly contagious. Even if the pup has been vaccinated against kennel cough, it can still get it. It seems the strain that is going around is a new one that the vaccine doesn't protect against. Here is a great link from the ASPCA about kennel cough.

Krysty Vallejos
(Owner of Urban Pawz, a dog-walking and grooming service in the Financial District)

From the editor:

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

Downtown periscope
A humpback whale sighted in Antarctica. They are now to be found in New York harbor. (Photo: Terese Loeb Kreuzer)
(Note from the editor: Downtown Post NYC is mostly about Lower Manhattan, but sometimes things happen in our vicinity that seem worth mentioning. Downtown Periscope will be an occasional feature to bring these things to your attention.) 

"Humpback Whale: Look! Out in the Harbor!,"New York Times, 8/22/14. Dave Taft, who works for the National Park Service at the Jamaica Bay Wildlife Refuge and who writes for The New York Times, also sometimes comes to Battery Park City to lead bird-watching tours and to talk about wildlife. Most recently, he wrote in The Times about "The growing numbers of whales spotted recently in New York Harbor." He said that, "on a blue-sky Thursday afternoon in August, I boarded the American Princess at Riis Landing in Breezy Point, Queens. The anticipation surrounding the adventure was a familiar tonic. It was not long before we encountered our first humpback. Surface feeding on schools of thrashing silvery fish and plankton, the whale - with its broad back and inverted smile in full view - was in sharp contrast to alternating images of sea foam, the Manhattan skyline, the Coney Island Parachute Jump, the Verrazano-Narrows Bridge and New Jersey's Atlantic Highlands." For the complete article, click here.  

"Nevermore? Ravens Sighted in New York,"
New York Times, 8/24/14. Ravens have decided to return to New York City after an absence of more than a century. They have recently been sighted in Chelsea, and of course from there, it's only a hop, skip and a jump to Lower Manhattan. The Times recounts that Patrick Baglee was jogging around the Chelsea Park track in March when he noticed "a hulking, jet-black bird overhead. To the untrained eye, it looked like a run-of-the-mill crow. But to Mr. Baglee, a bird-watcher, the bird's considerably larger size, wedge-shape tail and distinctive flying style gave it away as a common raven, the highly intelligent species immortalized by Edgar Allan Poe, which typically prefers wild, mountainous regions. Since then, Mr. Baglee has been observing ravens regularly in the Chelsea section of Manhattan, where he lives, including three soaring together on a Sunday evening near West 25th Street and Ninth Avenue. Other birders in Chelsea and Greenwich Village, where Poe once lived, have also noticed them and suspect that they may have bred close by." For the complete article, click here.


CALENDAR: Week of Aug. 25
Some past competitors in the Great North River Tugboat Race on Labor Day weekend. This year, the race is on Aug. 31. For information about the spectator boat, click here.  (Photo: Terese Loeb Kreuzer)

Aug. 29: Joanna Gruesome and Big Ups conclude the Seaport Music Festival, which was produced and partially sponsored by The Howard Hughes Corp. Hughes' See/Change website describes Gruesome's music as "drawing inspiration from DIY scenes such as Riot Grrrl/noisepop/C86 /K Records as well as post hardcore like Drive Like Jehu/Converge and the art rock of The Velvet Underground and My Bloody Valentine." She displays "staggering diversity," according to the Seaport Music Festival website, "unexpectedly quiet and surprisingly loud." Big Ups "blends punk, post-punk, metal, and indie rock into a salty mash that gets stuck to the roof of your mouth," says the Seaport Music Festival website. Place: Fulton Street at Water Street. Time: 7 p.m. Free. For more information, click here
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
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, Nov. 15, 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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