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DOWNTOWN
POST NYC 
 
News and Events
in Lower Manhattan
 
 
Volume 1, No. 113  Sept. 3, 2014
IN THIS ISSUE
Quote of the day:
"The residents have been clamoring for a Greenmarket." - Jessica Lappin, Downtown Alliance president, on the occasion of the opening of a Greenmarket and public plaza at Greenwich and Albany Streets
  
* Public plaza and Greenmarket unveiled on Greenwich Street 
* Bits & Bytes: FiDi's new condo tower; Smelliest neighborhoods; Trinity builds higher
* Downtown Bulletin Board: BPC Block Party; Trinity Youth Chorus auditions; Fire Safety Forum
* Downtown on the water: What it's like to own The Bronx
* Battery Park thriving behind construction fences
* Calendar

For breaking news, go to www.DowntownPostNYC.com

Peaches for sale at the new Greenwich Street Greenmarket. Sept. 2, 2014
(Photo: Terese Loeb Kreuzer) 




PUBLIC PLAZA AND GREENMARKET UNVEILED ON GREENWICH STREET
Jessica Lappin, president of the Alliance for Downtown New York, announcing the opening of a public plaza and Greenmarket at Greenwich and Albany Streets. The plaza was made possible through a one-year agreement between the Alliance and the Lower Manhattan Development Corp., which owns the space. (Photos: Terese Loeb Kreuzer)

David Emil, president of the Lower Manhattan Development Corporation (LMDC), sat on a bench under three oak trees on the newly opened plaza at Greenwich and Albany Streets, eating his lunch. Looking up at the trees, which were left over when oaks were planted next to the memorial pools at the World Trade Center site, he said that he was "grateful for small victories."

The plaza, which opened to the public on Sept. 2, was itself a small victory. It is a part of the World Trade Center's Site 5, formerly largely occupied by the Deutsche Bank building. Later it served as a queuing place for visitors to the National September 11 Memorial. When the fences came down around the memorial in May, a place to queue was no longer needed. The Port Authority of New York and New Jersey wanted to turn the 32,000-square-foot plaza into a parking lot for its construction vehicles. It erected Jersey barriers topped by a fence around the space, but LMDC, owner of the site, had other ideas. It contacted the Alliance for Downtown New York to discuss using the plaza for a farmers' market.

At noon on Sept. 2, the market opened - a Greenmarket with three vendors to start, but more will be added. The market, under the auspices of GrowNYC, will be open on Tuesdays from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. for the next year. Initially it will offer fruits and vegetables, baked goods and juices.

Heather Fuhrman and Lisa DuRussel playing Connect Four.
The plaza has been equipped with a ping pong table, games such as Connect Four and corn hole, chairs, tables and umbrellas and an information center staffed by the Downtown Alliance. The plaza will be open daily from 8 a.m. until dusk.

"The residents have been clamoring for a Greenmarket," said Jessica Lappin, president of the Downtown Alliance, as she led off a press conference for the plaza. Emil stood next to her along with Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer, New York State Senator Daniel Squadron, City Council Member Margaret Chin, Community Board 1 chairperson Catherine McVay Hughes and Cheryl Huber, assistant director of Greenmarkets for GrowNYC.

"It takes a village to make something like this happen," Lappin said.

Emil said that the site had been funded with money from HUD (the United States Department of Housing and Urban Development). "Ultimately, this site will be developed," he said, "but it remains to be seen what that will be." An office tower may eventually be erected on the plaza, but nothing could happen in the next year, hence the LMDC's arrangement with the Downtown Alliance to use the space for public purposes for a year.

"There's a big need for public open space," said Brewer. More than 10,000 people live in the area immediately surrounding the plaza and more than 310,000 people work in the area. Last year, 9.6 million tourists visited Lower Manhattan.

Squadron described the plaza as "a little oasis for everyone who works here and visits."

A Greenmarket vendor.
Much of the impetus for having a Greenmarket in this location came from Community Board 1. Chairperson Hughes, who lives in the neighborhood, brought a large shopping bag with her to the press conference. She bought some juice from the vendor for Red Jacket Orchards and said she would be back for more.

Minutes after the press conference ended, two women who work at 120 Broadway two blocks away from the plaza, strolled in. They were on their lunch break and soon were engaged in an energetic game of Connect Four. They, too, said they would be back.

At the press conference, Lappin said that the plaza will host "special events and programming the public will like." There will be many reasons to return.

- Terese Loeb Kreuzer



 

Bits & Bytes
FIDI'S NEW CONDO TOWER; CROWDFUNDING FOR JOHN ST. HOTEL;
SMELLIEST NEIGHBORHOODS; TRINITY BUILDS HIGHER; TRANSIT HUB   
 
A garbage truck in Battery Park City. According to a recent study, BPC is one of the least "smelly" neighborhoods in Manhattan. (Photo: Terese Loeb Kreuzer)



























 
"First Renderings of FiDi's Soaring 1,356-Foot Tower, Revealed," Curbed.com, 9/2/14. "Just one week after developer Michael Shvo closed on the $180 million deal that passed 125 Greenwich Street - known prior as 22 Thames Street - from former site developers Fisher Brothers and Steven Witkoff into his hands, the comeback kid has unveiled plans for the lot-sans-height-restrictions," says Curbed.com. "Together with Bizzi & Partners, Shvo plans to bring a 1,356-foot-tall tower of condos to the Financial District, making it downtown's tallest residential building, New York YIMBY reports. To put it another way, the 77-story building will stop just 12 feet short of One World Trade Center's roof, and 23 feet short of soaring Midtown creation 432 Park Avenue." For the complete article, click here. For the YIMBY article about the Shvo skyscraper, click here.

"Crowdfunding helps bag $85M building," Crain's New York Business, 9/3/14. "A real estate investment firm that raises much of its cash via crowdfunding, recently closed on an $85 million parcel downtown," says Crain's New York Business. "Nearly a third of that cash came from the 'crowd.' Prodigy Network announced Tuesday it closed its purchase of 17 John St., the 15-story brick building where it plans to erect a glassy eight-story addition on the roof. The result will be a 191-unit, extended-stay hotel. The buyer raised more than $25 million through crowdfunding, a process that nets smaller sums of equity from multiple investors, rather than larger amounts from just a few. The process has been billed as a way to open up investments in assets like high-priced Manhattan real estate to individuals who historically have been essentially locked out of that deal flow in favor of heavyweight institutional investors." For the complete article, click here.

"New York City's De Blasio Isn't Organizing Annual 9/11 Ceremony," Wall Street Journal, 9/2/14. "New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio and his administration are taking a backseat role in organizing next week's ceremony commemorating the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks-the first time City Hall hasn't led the event's planning," according to the Wall Street Journal. "Former Mayor Michael Bloomberg and his top aides were in charge of the planning of every 9/11 ceremony since terrorists toppled the Twin Towers 13 years ago. This year, for the first time, the National September 11 Memorial & Museum at the World Trade Center Foundation is calling the shots, according to city and foundation officials. Mr. Bloomberg is the foundation's chairman. Michael Frazier, a foundation spokesman, said the transition of the ceremony planning from City Hall to the foundation began in 2012, before Mr. de Blasio was elected mayor last year." For the complete article, click here.

"The Fragrance Files: New York's Smelliest Neighborhoods from Best to Worst," Brick Underground, 9/3/14. Tribeca, which habitually makes the lists of New York City's most expensive neighborhoods, now has a ranking on a list of another kind: New York City's smelliest neighborhoods. According to data compiled by AddressReport and released by Brick Underground, Tribeca comes in 8th among the smelliest Manhattan neighborhoods, behind NoHo and ahead of Little Italy and the Garment District. There were an average of 10 odor-related complaints per capita in Tribeca. Battery Park City is No. 2 among the least smelly neighborhoods, behind Roosevelt Island. In BPC, there were an average of 0.75 complaints per capita. In Lower Manhattan, the Civic Center also made the "least smelly" list with an average of two odor-related complaints per capita. For the complete article, click here.

"Permits Filed: 68 Trinity Place Gets Height Increase, Will Stand 44 Stories Tall," YIMBY, 9/2/14. "The first permits are up for a new 44-story mixed-use tower at 68 Trinity Place, which has apparently seen a height increase since Pelli Clarke Pelli was chosen to design, last July," says YIMBY (which stands for "Yes In My Back Yard"). "Trinity Church will occupy 93,180 square feet on the first seven floors, while 111 residences will split 157,185 square feet on upper levels. The tower's total scope will measure 250,995 square feet, and it will stand 499 feet tall. The 42nd and 43rd floors will each have one penthouse residence." For the complete article, click here.

"Complex Design, Political Disputes Send World Trade Center Rail Hub's Cost Soaring," Wall Street Journal, 9/3/14. "The most expensive train station in the U.S. is taking shape at the site of the former World Trade Center, a majestic marble-and-steel commuter hub that was seen by project boosters as a landmark to American hope and resilience," says the Wall Street Journal. "Instead, the terminal connecting New Jersey with downtown Manhattan has turned into a public-works embarrassment. Overtaking the project's emotional resonance is a practical question: How could such a high-profile project fall eight years behind schedule and at least $2 billion over budget? An analysis of federal oversight reports viewed by The Wall Street Journal and interviews with current and former officials show a project sunk in a morass of politics and government." The Wall Street Journal says that, "When completed in 2015, the station is on track to cost between $3.7 and $4 billion, more than double its original budget of $1.7 billion to $2 billion." For the complete article, click here.

New Greenmarket at Coenties Slip: Lower Manhattan will be getting yet another Greenmarket beginning Thursday, Sept. 18 when a market opens on the plaza at Coenties Slip. This was the site this past summer of two pop-up markets, one in June and one in July, that were organized by the Downtown Alliance and GrowNYC. They proved so successful that the Alliance and GrowNYC agreed to open a weekly market. There will be seven vendors selling local vegetables, orchard fruit, breads and pastries, honey, hard cider and wine on Thursdays from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. through Nov. 20. For more information about the market, click here.

Downtown bulletin board
BPC BLOCK PARTY PLANS; TRINITY AUDITIONS; FIRE SAFETY FORUM      
 
Stiltwalkers at the Battery Park City Block Party in 2013. Plans are now under way for this year's block party, which will take place on Sept. 27. (Photo: Terese Loeb Kreuzer)

























Battery Park City Block Party planning:
Plans are under way for the 13th Annual Battery Park City Block Party, which will be held on Sat., Sept. 27 from 11:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. on the esplanade just south of North Cove Marina. As usual, there will be vendors, food, a talent show and games for kids. "Talent" of all kinds is welcome. To participate, email Vicki Winters at vickiwinters18@gmail.com. Volunteers to set up and break down the Block Party and to keep it working smoothly are needed. Contact Tammy Meltzer at volunteer@bpcblockparty.com to find out more and to volunteer. Bob Townley, executive director of Manhattan Youth, is coordinating the children's rides and activities. He is looking for an assistant who could become the supervisor next year. For more information, email bob@manhattanyouth.org/

Trinity Youth Chorus auditions:
The Trinity Youth Chorus will hold one-on-one auditions for children ages 10-18 beginning Tuesday, Sept. 2 through Friday, Sept. 5. Performance opportunities include five annual concerts, Wednesday Choral Evensong, occasional Sunday services, and special events such as holiday caroling and recordings. This culturally diverse choir offers children and teens the opportunity to be part of the acclaimed choral program of Trinity Wall Street, led by experienced, dedicated professional musicians who teach vocal technique, sight singing, music theory, and history. The program also fosters the formation of character and engaged citizenship. No prior musical training or religious affiliation is required. Rehearsals are once a week on Wednesdays. The Trinity Youth Chorus can be heard in the movie Doubt and has been featured on Public Radio International, the CBS Early Show, at the Tribeca Family Festival, and at the Philadelphia Italian Market Festival. Auditions by appointment. Contact Melissa Attebury at mattebury@trinitywallstreet.org or call (212) 602-0798 to schedule. For an application form, click here.

Fire Safety Forum for highrise buildings
: In the aftermath of several news-making fires in high-rise apartment buildings in the last few months, Community Board 1 is hosting a fire safety forum on Thursday, Sept. 18. One of the recent fires took place on Aug. 11 at Independence Plaza North. Eight people were injured in that fire. The fire safety forum is being presented in partnership with the Independence Plaza North Tenants Association, the New York City Fire Department and the Borough of Manhattan Community College. Place: Borough of Manhattan Community College, 199 Chambers St., Richard Harris Terrace. Time: 6 p.m.-7:30 p.m. Free and open to the public but space is limited. RSVP to man01@cb.nyc.gov/


Downtown on the water
WHAT IT'S LIKE TO OWN THE BRONX
The Bronx at the 22nd Annual Great North River Tugboat Race on Aug. 31.
 (Photos: Terese Loeb Kreuzer)








 



Robert Apuzzo, 72, and his wife, Lucy Oxios, 71, own The Bronx. That's the name that they gave to a 25-foot-long tugboat that they bought in 2009. The tug was built in 1952 by the Island Dock Company of Kingston, N.Y. to install pier pilings around City Island and in Bronx waters.

The tug was in sad shape when Apuzzo and Oxios first saw her at a Bronx boatyard. "All her windows were broken, her wiring was outdated, she had only one working fuel tank, she hadn't been painted in many years, nothing worked, rust was everywhere," Apuzzo recalled. "Both Lucy and myself have always enjoyed tugboats.  I knew we had to step in and save this valuable piece of history from being scrapped."

That's what they did. After that, their lives changed dramatically. Both had retired several years earlier from jobs in social services with the City. As the new owners of The Bronx, there was no question about what to do with their time. They restored the vessel, known as the "Viking" during her working years, and brought her up to current standards.

"We are constantly greeted by people who come by and enjoy her," Apuzzo said. "Among our goals, apart from restoring the vessel, is to spread information about the maritime history of New York City, especially the Bronx."

Apuzzo and Oxios, who live in the South Bronx, keep their boat on Westchester Creek. Once a year, they take The Bronx up the Bronx River. This year, they made the trip on July 12, City of Water Day. "All the kids enjoy it," Apuzzo said. "It's a real treat for them. We had a small kid come aboard in July who refused to leave. She cried and cried. We had to promise her that we'll come back soon, and give her a ride."


For the last four years, they have also been bringing The Bronx down the Hudson to participate in the Great North River Tugboat Race & Competition, held on the Sunday before Labor Day. The Bronx is always a hit.

"When we come close to the pier and all those people cheer and wave their hands at us, it gives us a great feeling," Apuzzo said. "It's hard to explain. Maybe it's like a 'thank you' for all the hard work we put into it - all the effort, sweat and time, not to mention the money."

  
- Terese Loeb Kreuzer

The Bronx passing the cruise ship, Norwegian Breakaway, during the 22nd Annual Great North River Tugboat Race & Competition. 





BATTERY PARK THRIVING BEHIND CONSTRUCTION FENCES

Warrie Price, head of the Battery Conservancy, addressed Community Board 1's Financial District Committee on Wednesday, Sept. 3. (Photo: Terese Loeb Kreuzer) 
 
Ever upbeat, Warrie Price, the president of the Battery Conservancy, peppered her presentation to Community Board 1's Financial District Committee on Sept . 3 with words like "beautiful" and "incredible."

For the last 20 years, the Battery Conservancy has been working with the city's Parks Department to beautify and upgrade historic Battery Park at the southern end of Manhattan. The 25-acre park is used by more than five million people a year, some of them locals but many of them on their way to and from the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island.

For the last two years, access to the park has been limited by construction. Part of it is due to Superstorm Sandy, which trashed the South Ferry subway station. The MTA is in the process of rebuilding it, affecting the east flank of Battery Park. Necessary demolition work is almost completed. Reconstruction is supposed to start in October and theoretically will be finished by February 2017.

Elsewhere in Battery Park, a bikeway is being built that will link the east and west sides of Manhattan. At the southern end of the park, the Battery Conservancy is working hard to finish its SeaGlass carousel - a shell-shaped building that will be outfitted with giant fish in which people can ride. All of this entails construction fences.

But, said Price, the fences will be dressed up with photographs and signage printed on fabric. Moreover, she said, the SeaGlass carousel should be finished this winter and will open in the spring. The master horticulturist Piet Oudolf is coming from the Netherlands in October to supervise the plantings around the carousel and elsewhere in the park. And - more good news - the bikeway is being rebuilt with a seating wall that utilizes the same stone used in the pedestal of the Statue of Liberty.

Battery Park's Urban Farm, now in its fourth year, elicited some of Price's most enthusiastic remarks. "It's been incredible!" she said. "We're up to 3,000 children this year." They come to the Urban Farm to plant vegetables, watch them grow, harvest them, and learn about nutrition and horticulture. All of the local schools send their first grade classes to the Urban Farm.

This past summer, when the school children weren't around, for the first time members of the community were invited to sign up to harvest vegetables, flowers and herbs at the farm. Sept. 4 is the last day of this season to sign up for a harvest on Sept. 11. Registration opens at 10 a.m. and slots are limited. (For information on how to sign up, click here.)

"It would be helpful if you write to the Parks Commissioner," Price told the Community Board. "I want the Parks Department to know what an asset the Battery Urban Farm has been."

With the park getting reconfigured, the Urban Farm would likely have to be incorporated into a new lawn area. Price wants to make sure that happens.

She also would like a little help from the Community Board to raise $3 million to rebuild the comfort stations at the southern end of the park. "Maybe a resolution making this a Community Board priority?" she asked.

Thanks in part to a grant from Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer, the Battery Conservancy now has $1 million in hand toward those comfort stations - one-fourth of what is needed. "We can't have the public come to SeaGlass without adequate bathrooms," said Price.

The Battery Conservancy is about to announce an operator for the carousel. Seeds and bulbs are about to go into the ground around it, and just a few months after that, the incredible, giant fish will start glowing softly under changing LED lights while sea music plays in the background.

Bathrooms are definitely needed.

- Terese Loeb Kreuzer

CALENDAR: Week of Sept. 1
A late Victorian building on Nassau Street. On Sunday, Sept. 7, a tour under the auspices of the Municipal Art Society will explore the architecture of Nassau Street. For tickets, click here. (Photo: Terese Loeb Kreuzer)




















   
  
Sept. 5: "Erasing Borders Festival of Indian Dance" is presented by the Indo-American Arts Council in collaboration with Pace University. Pre-concert wine reception: 5:30 p.m.-6:30 p.m. Concert: 7 p.m.-9 p.m. Place: Michael Schimmel Center for the Performing Arts, 3 Spruce St. Tickets: $35; $30 (IACC members). For more information and to buy tickets, click here

Sept. 7: Tour Nassau Street in Lower Manhattan with the Municipal Art Society of New York. Before more of Nassau St. is lost to redevelopment, see this amazing collection of New York architecture with preservation activist, Joe Svehlak, whose first job over 55 years ago was working for an engraver on Nassau Street. Nassau Street between the Brooklyn Bridge and Wall Street contains examples of every style of architecture from the Federal and Greek Revival periods to International and Post-Modern skyscrapers. The busy Nassau Street corridor to the east of Broadway has several individual landmarks in a variety of Victorian and Neo-Classical styles. Many more of these 19th and 20th century buildings may be considered for landmarking as they are already listed on the National Register. Some early works of noted New York architects are to be found here along with some gems of cast iron architecture. Meeting place will be sent with ticket purchase. Time: 11 a.m. Tickets: $20; $15 (Municipal Art Society members). 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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2014