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News and Events
in Lower Manhattan
Volume 2, No. 2  Dec. 19, 2014
Quote of the day:
"People want to communicate with social media and be able to tell their friends and family instantaneously where they are." 
        - Jessica Lappin, president of the Downtown Alliance, introducing the world's only "selfie" kiosk.

* Downtown Alliance introduces 'selfie' kiosk at Albany Plaza
* Letter to the editor: Howard Hughes petition's signature collection 'a sham'
* Bits & Bytes: Court ruling on Mitchell-Lama; Chinatown bus service; Mondrian Soho auction
* Some New Year's Eve options on New York harbor
* Downtown Bulletin Board: Community Board applications; CERT training; Boot Camp
* Community Board 1: Special meeting of Landmarks Committee on Jan. 5, 2015
* Calendar

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Fireworks on the Hudson River. Dec. 18, 2014  (Photo: Jay Fine) 


Jessica Lappin, Downtown Alliance president, using the selfie kiosk at Albany Plaza as Sarita Dan, who came up with the idea for the kiosk, looks on.
(Photos: Terese Loeb Kreuzer)

Since Thursday, a kiosk sporting the red and white colors of the Downtown Alliance has been carefully positioned in the southeast corner of Albany Plaza at Greenwich and Albany Streets. The kiosk is angled so that people who push its "start" button will see themselves with 1 World Trade Center behind them. Then they can take a picture and transmit it by email, Twitter or Facebook.

This "selfie" kiosk is the only one in the world. Sarita Dan, director of strategic marketing and tourism for the Alliance, said that she saw "a lot of people struggling to take photos of themselves with 1 World Trade Center in the background" and thought there had to be a way to facilitate that.

The Alliance tried to buy a selfie kiosk but found they didn't exist, so it commissioned one.
The kiosk had to be impervious to the weather and simple to operate, in addition to being sturdy. 


"People want to communicate with social media and be able to tell their friends and family instantaneously where they are," said Jessica Lappin, president of the Downtown Alliance, as she demonstrated how the kiosk works.  


After taking her picture, she had a choice of special effects and messages with which to embellish it. One of them said, "Wish you were here."  A tag line popped up next to her picture with a hash tag for Lower Manhattan.  


In addition to its photo capabilities, the kiosk is equipped with information that can be queried about dining, shopping and places to see in Lower Manhattan.


"We hope that is a benefit to the tourists here," said Lappin. She thought it would also help the restaurants in the neighborhood and the nearby businesses.


The kiosk should bring some people to the plaza, which opened to the public in September with a Tuesday Greenmarket. Though the market could definitely use some more customers, in general, "the plaza has been doing nicely," said Lappin. During the warmer weather, a ping pong table and other games were popular. People came to the plaza to eat their lunch, she said, "so we think it's been a success."

The selfie kiosk took around seven months to develop at a cost of $7,000. Zivolo, a public computing technology company headquartered in Scottsdale, Ariz., created the hardware. National Media Brands, a digital agency based in Omaha, Neb., came up with the software.

The Alliance staff was touched to discover that someone from the design or construction team - the Alliance doesn't know who - had engraved the kiosk with the words, "We will never forget" in commemoration of 9/11.

The Alliance will be able to tell how much the kiosk is used, and by whom, because all of the pictures it takes become co-owned by the Downtown Alliance and can be used in future promotional materials.

If this first selfie kiosk is a success, there may be others, Lappin said.

- Terese Loeb Kreuzer

Letter to the editor
The Howard Hughes Corp.'s version of "the historic Seaport District." June 16, 2014. (Photo: Terese Loeb Kreuzer)
To the editor:
Outside Whole Foods in Tribeca on Tuesday, Dec. 16, a man and a woman were collecting signatures on a petition. They said it was to support the "historic Seaport district." I asked them if it was for the historic preservation of the Seaport and if they had a brochure. The man handed me one and I said, 'But this is for the Howard Hughes Corporation and the new tower they want to put up and not for historic Seaport preservation!' He took the brochure back and walked away from me. When I asked why he was not telling people that this was for the HHC plan, he said he didn't have any information and turned to the next person. I went over to the woman and asked her for a brochure to take with me.

My husband met me a half hour later and also was told the petition was to support the "historic Seaport." He asked if it was to preserve the historic area and was told "the Seaport is historic and this petition is to support it." When he asked who sponsored the petition, the woman said she didn't know and had no other information. This was clearly a lie as she had the brochures hidden.

I do not know the law but I do know the workers were misrepresenting the contents of the petition and refusing to let signers read the details in the brochure - all definitely unethical.

When HHC presents and grandly announces that they have so many supporters, it will be part of a sham as the people they employed were misleading the public. Most, if not all, who signed that petition did so under false pretenses.

T. Meltzer

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

In the 12/17/14 issue of Downtown Post NYC, we published some statements from members of the public regarding The Howard Hughes Corporation's development proposals for the South Street Seaport. If any additional Downtown Post NYC readers want to share their comments to Community Board 1 for publication here, email them to

Bits & Bytes
1 Beekman St. has just been sold for $52 million. (Photo: Terese Loeb Kreuzer)

"Court ruling helps Mitchell-Lama owners take complex private without paying tax," Daily News, 12/17/14. "It just got more profitable for owners of some of the city's subsidized apartments to bail on a successful affordable housing program," says the Daily News. "A state court ruled Wednesday that coop owners at a Coney Island complex don't have to pay a city tax levied when they took their 1960s-era buildings out of the Mitchell-Lama program in 2007. The state Court of Appeals ruling saves the 1,600 apartment owners $21 million - but will have far-reaching consequences for the 70,000 remaining Mitchell-Lama coop units in the city." One of those directly affected will be Southbridge Towers, a 1,651-unit Mitchell-Lama co-op in the South Street Seaport, which voted in September to privatize. The Daily News article quoted Stuart Saft, an attorney for the Southbridge Towers co-op owners, as saying, "Residents will be dancing in the street." For the complete article, click here.
"Troubled Chinatown bus service to resume trips to Boston," New York Post, 12/17/14. "The dirt-cheap but dangerous Chinatown bus service to Boston that was shut down by the feds is set to come back early next year," says the New York Post. "The lawyer for troubled bus line Fung Wah, Alex Linzer, said the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration had restored its operating authority."  For the complete article, click here.

"Mideast buyer grabs second hotel in a year," Crain's New York Business, 12/17/14. "The Bahrain-based investment group that purchased the Four Seasons Hotel in lower Manhattan earlier this year has struck again, snapping up a second hostelry in the neighborhood for nearly $150 million," says Crain's New York Business. "The Premier Group has purchased 170 Broadway, a 111-year-old, 18-story building that was recently converted from office use into a 228-room Marriott Residence Inn scheduled to open its doors in January." For the complete article, click here.

"Mondrian Soho headed for the auction block," The Real Deal, 12/17/14. "The Mondrian Soho - the trendy, 270-room hotel in Tribeca frequented by A-listers - is going to be auctioned off," says The Real Deal. "Following foreclosure proceedings launched in January 2013 by lender German American Capital Corporation, the hotel will be sold at a sale scheduled for January 7, 2015, according to court records." For the complete article, click here.

"She Really Likes It Here: How 'Annie' Wound Up at the World Trade Center," The New York Times, 12/17/14. "The contemporary version of 'Annie,' the 1982 film about a precocious orphan, opens nationwide on Friday with Quvenzhané Wallis in the title role and Jamie Foxx playing Will Stacks, the man who gives her a home," says The New York Times. "Like Oliver Warbucks before him, Stacks is a successful businessman, but his residence is nothing like Warbucks's 130-room Versailles-inspired limestone palace in the first film. Instead he lives in a power penthouse with 360-degree views of Manhattan. Marcia Hinds, the film's production designer, created the set on the 47th floor of the glass office tower at 4 World Trade Center - while it was still under construction. She recently explained to a reporter how her team managed to pull that off." For the complete article, click here.

"Larry Silverstein Feels 'Pretty Damn Good' About Downtown," Commercial Observer, 12/17/14. "Few people can sit in their office, crane their head slightly, and point out the window to the nearby skyscrapers they own. Larry Silverstein can," says Commercial Observer. "The 83-year-old chairman of Silverstein Properties and master leaseholder and developer of the World Trade Center site invited Commercial Observer into his office on the 38th floor of 7 World Trade Center, motioning both in the direction of the existing and rising towers on the Trade Center site and the almost-topped out condo and Four Seasons hotel by Robert A.M. Stern at 30 Park Place. 'It's exciting as hell,' Mr. Silverstein said with his signature enthusiasm." For the complete article, click here.

"Trinity Place Development Site Could Sprout This Tower,", 12/17/14. "Here's a blast from the past: the former Syms store at 42 Trinity Place - once described as 'comically depressing' - is being shopped around as a development site that could potentially birth the FXFOWLE-designed tower rendered above," says "But no matter what rises, it will be better than the fugly bunker that currently exists." For the complete article, click here.

"Urban Muse buys FiDi development site for $52M," The Real Deal, 12/16/14. "Glauco Lolli-Ghetti's Urban Muse bought 1 Beekman Street on the border of Tribeca and the Financial District for $52 million, according to property records filed with the city today," says The Real Deal. "This is the first trade of the development site in more than 40 years. Two low-rise buildings, together totaling roughly 25,000 square feet, currently occupy the location, also known as 33-34 Park Row." For the complete article, click here.

Dancing aboard Hornblower Hybrid as it cruised New York harbor on New Year's Eve of 2013. (Photo: Terese Loeb Kreuzer)
New Year's Eve can be a jolt, reminding us in no uncertain terms how quickly time passes. But somehow, being on the water on New Year's Eve softens the blow. Water, after all, flows seamlessly from streams to rivers to the ocean just as our hours and days and weeks flow into each other.

Several cruise lines ply New York harbor on New Year's Eve, with food, music and dancing. At midnight, most people are out on deck to watch the fireworks. Then there's more music and dancing until around 1 a.m. or a little after, when the boats return to their docks.

Though several of the cruises listed below say that they are nearly sold out, there's still time to line up a ticket. - Terese Loeb Kreuzer

Classic Harbor Line requests your company aboard its yacht, Manhattan, "in your finest formal wear" for New Year's Eve. The yacht is a luxurious replica of boats from the early 20th century that used to carry plutocrats from their estates along the Hudson River to their offices in Manhattan. For $346 a person, you can "Enjoy a short champagne/sparkling wine tasting class at boarding to set the celebration in motion," enjoy passed hors d'oeuvres, listen to a live jazz trio and watch the midnight fireworks. Beer, wine, soda and water are included in the price. Moet Champagne is available for purchase. The yacht leaves from and returns to Chelsea Piers at W. 22nd St.  For more information, click here.

New York Water Taxi has a New Year's Eve cruise for families. It includes a dinner buffet and a Champagne toast at midnight. In addition, there is a cash bar for beer and wine. For the kids, there are Wii games, party favors and noisemakers. Everyone is welcome to dance! Tickets: $200 (adults); $125 (children, 3-12 years old); $600 (two adults and two children). The boat leaves from Pier 16 in the South Street Seaport, with boarding between 9:05 p.m. and 9:20 p.m. For more information, click here.

Zephyr, a yacht that can hold up to 600 passengers, will have a dinner buffet and two cash bars. Champagne at midnight is included. Tickets: $250. After Dec. 22, $300 per person. Zephyr leaves from and returns to Pier 16 in the South Street Seaport, departing at 10 p.m. For more information, click here.

The Hornblower Hybrid offers a cocktail at boarding, gourmet hors d'oeuvres, a seated four-course dinner, a premium open bar, a Champagne toast at midnight and an on-board DJ. Tickets: $490. The boat leaves from Pier 40, 353 West St. at 9:30 p.m. For more information, click here.

The Hornblower Infinity is a 210-foot-long yacht that can hold up to 1,200 people. On New Year's Eve, there are a variety of packages, starting at $187 a person. That one includes a premium open bar, a dinner buffet, a Champagne toast at midnight, party favors, and dancing to a live DJ. The least expensive package is standing room only (that is, no table seating) but other packages are available that include table service. Boarding begins at 8 p.m. The cruise departs from Pier 40 at 9 p.m. and returns at 1 a.m. For more information, click here.

Downtown bulletin board
Community Board 1. (Photo: Terese Loeb Kreuzer)
Community Board seeks new members: Community Board 1 has been much in the news lately because of the negotiations with The Howard Hughes Corporation over South Street Seaport development. CB1 is one of 12 community boards in Manhattan. Each is composed of 50 volunteer members serving staggered two-year terms. For anyone wishing to serve on the community board, now is the time to apply.

Planning and reviewing land use applications such as those affecting the South Street Seaport are among a community board's most important responsibilities, but community boards are also responsible for monitoring the delivery of city services such as sanitation and street maintenance and for making recommendations for each year's city budget.

Community Board 1 has played a major role in advocating for more school seats, for monitoring the incessant construction in Lower Manhattan with its attendant problems, and for making recommendations to the Landmarks Preservation Commission on proposed changes affecting Lower Manhattan's many historic buildings.

Community Board members are officially appointed by the Manhattan Borough President. Half of the board members are selected unilaterally by the Borough President, and half with the nomination of the City Council members who represent the district. In Community District 1, that would be Councilmember Margaret Chin.

The Borough President must ensure adequate representation from different geographic neighborhoods in the district and must consider whether each community's constituencies are represented.

Applications to serve on the community board must be received at the Manhattan Borough President's office before 5 p.m. on Jan. 30, 2015 or postmarked with that date. The address is Manhattan Borough President Gale A. Brewer, ATT: Paola Liriano, 1 Centre St. South, 19th floor, New York, NY 10007.

For more information, and to apply, click here.

Battery Park City CERT:
The Battery Park City Emergency Response Team (CERT) will offer a new series of training classes starting on Monday, Jan. 5. The BPC CERT was the first FEMA-trained team in New York City and now has more than 500 trained responders.

The CERT team is seeking new members who are interested in learning important skills to help in an emergency. The 10-week course covers subjects such as search and rescue, fire suppression, medical triage and first aid, traffic and crowd control, radio communication and more.

Each class meets for three hours once a week. Classes are held in the Community Room at West Thames Street and the esplanade starting at 6:30 p.m.

If interested in participating, call Sidney Baumgarten at (212) 432-2428 or email him at

Boot Camp:
The Battery Park City Parks Conservancy is offering Boot Camp fitness classes, one in the morning from 6:15 a.m. to 7:15 a.m. and the other, in the evening from 7 p.m. to 8 p.m. Both are taught by Alan Courtenay, a Certified Personal Trainer and weight management coach. Classes are for all fitness levels. They utilize bands, ropes, ladders, trx, viper and kettle-bells. The morning sessions meet on Mondays and Wednesdays at 6 River Terrace. The evening sessions meet on Tuesdays and Thursdays at the Community Center at Stuyvesant High School. Fee: $176 for eight sessions (discounted to $150 for members of the Community Center who attend the evening sessions). For more information and to register, call (212) 267-9700, ext. 363 or email

Lifeguard certification training:
Teens can sign up now for American Red Cross Lifeguard Certification Training sponsored by the Battery Park City Parks Conservancy. The 40-hour course meets New York State Health Department standards for lifeguards and includes CPR/AED and first-aid skills. This would qualify a graduate of the course to prevent and respond to aquatic emergencies at swimming pools, open water and non-surf facilities. The course takes place at the Community Center at Stuyvesant High School, 345 Chambers St., on Saturdays from Jan. 10 to Feb. 7, 1 p.m. to 8 p.m. The fee for the course is $425; $400 (Community Center members. Youth memberships cost $75.) Applicants must be at least 15 years old by Jan. 10, 2015. For other requirements and for more information call (646) 210-4292 or click here.


Community Board 1 chair Catherine McVay Hughes conferring with Roger Byrom, chair of CB1's Landmarks Committee, during The Howard Hughes Corporation's Dec. 10 presentation to the Landmarks Committee of its proposals for Seaport development. (Photo: Terese Loeb Kreuzer)

Dec. 25: Office Closed - Christmas Day

Jan. 5, 2015: There will be a special meeting of Community Board 1's Landmarks Committee to discuss The Howard Hughes Corporation's proposals for South Street Seaport development and to vote on a resolution that will be presented to the City's Landmarks Preservation Commission. The meeting will be held at the National Museum of the American Indian, 1 Bowling Green, in the Diker Pavilion, starting at 6 p.m. The public may attend but will not be allowed to participate in the discussion.

CALENDAR: Week of Dec. 15
Conductor Julian Wachner and members of the Choir of Trinity Church and the Trinity Baroque Orchestra acknowledging the audience's applause after a performance of Handel's Messiah on Dec. 17. (Photo: Terese Loeb Kreuzer)

Dec. 20: Gibney Dance concludes its series, "DoublePlus," during which 12 emerging artists have been mentored by experienced choreographers. This week, Maree ReMalia and Abby Zbikowski will perform work that they developed under the wing of Bebe Miller. Place: 280 Broadway (entrance at 53A Chambers St.) Time: 7:30 p.m. Tickets: $20; $15 (seniors, class-card holders and students). For more information and to buy tickets, click here.


Dec. 20: Gelsey Kirkland Ballet's rendition of Tchaikovsky's Nutcracker comes to Pace University. Place: Schimmel Center, 3 Spruce St. Time:  2 p.m. and 7:30 p.m. Also, Dec. 21 at 2 p.m. Tickets: $39, $49, $59. For more information and to purchase tickets,  click here. 


Dec. 20: Twenty-five years ago, the "Charging Bull" statue arrived in Lower Manhattan. A one-day-only walking tour will highlight the bulls and bears of Wall Street and tell the story of how the bull statue arrived in the night and has since become a mainstay. Starting place: Museum of American Finance, 48 Wall St. Time: 1 p.m.- 2:30 p.m. Tickets: $15. Museum admission, $8 (adults); $5 (students and seniors); free on Saturdays. For tour tickets, click here.   


Dec. 20: First-grader holiday angst is in full feather when Tribeca Family Theater presents "Junie B. in Jingle bells, Batman Smells." For ages 4 and up. Place: Tribeca Performing Arts Center, 199 Chambers St. Time: 1:30 p.m. Tickets: $25. For more information, and to purchase tickets, click here.  

Dec. 20: The Museum of Chinese in America offers a hands-on workshop covering Fujianese folk art and the art of paper folding as part of its Mocacreate series. Participants will create craft projects inspired by the museum's Waves of Identity exhibition. Place: 215 Centre St. Time: 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. Tickets: Workshop is free with museum admission: $10; $5 (seniors and students); free (children under 12 in groups of less than 10). For more information, and to buy tickets, click here.

Dec. 21: Compline by Candlelight at St. Paul's Chapel brings a quiet end to the week, with music and meditation. The service will feature William Byrd's Vigilate performed by members of the Choir of Trinity Wall Street conducted by Julian Wachner. Place: 209 Broadway (at Fulton Street). Time: 8 p.m.-9 p.m. Free. For more information, click here.

Dec. 21: Trinity Wall Street presents Handel's Messiah, as performed by the Choir of Trinity Wall Street and Trinity Baroque Orchestra. Place: Trinity Church, (Broadway at Wall Street). Time 3 p.m. Tickets: $45, $75, $95. For more information and to purchase tickets, click here

Through Dec. 24: The Manhattan Yacht Club's room-sized Holiday Train Garden has seven trains running on different tracks, passing through vignettes of New York City and New York harbor. The train show is accompanied by holiday music and treats. Place: North Cove Marina in Battery Park City, William Wall floating clubhouse. Time: 4:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. on week nights and noon to 6 p.m. on weekends. Free.

Just opened
: An exhibit at Poets House called "Winter Wedding: Holiday Cards by Poets" is a compendium of imaginative and sometimes touching holiday greetings. The exhibit has been drawn from the Raymond Danowski Poetry Library at Emory University and was curated by Kevin Young and Lisa Chinn. See "Happy Holidays" greetings from Langston Hughes, "Seasons Greetings" from Seamus and Marie Heaney and handmade valentines exchanged by Alice Notley and Ted Berrigan. This exhibition explores the vibrant, often funny, and always fascinating portraits of time, affection and ties of love and friendship. The exhibition is on view during library hours through March 21, 2015. Place: 10 River Terrace. Free. For more information, click here.

Through Dec. 31: After the success of artist Anne Militello's 2013 installation "Light Cycles" in the Winter Garden at Brookfield Place, Arts Brookfield commissioned a new design called "Metamorphosis" featuring a unique palette of colors and light patterns to honor the holiday season. Each night, the installation illuminates the plaza through a harmonious interplay of colors, starting with a gentle flicker of candlelight and transforming into a brighter, more colorful display throughout December. Place: 220 Vesey St. on the facade of the Winter Garden facing North Cove Marina. Time: 7 p.m. to midnight.

: "Glittering World: Navajo Jewelry of the Yazzie Family" opened on Nov. 14 and continues through Jan. 10, 2016. The exhibit includes more than 300 examples of beautifully crafted jewelery, most of it made by the Yazzie family, with some from the National Museum of the American Indian's collection. Through a video, photographs and a handsome catalog, the exhibit shows how the jewelry expresses Navajo cultural values and way of life inspired by a majestic landscape of buttes, mesas and desert. The museum is open from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily and on Thursdays until 8 p.m.; closed December 25. Admission is free. 


Ongoing: The Skyscraper Museum presents "Times Square, 1984: The Postmodern Movement," on view through Jan. 18, 2015. Times Square today is bright and crowded - a tourist mecca, entertainment district, retail powerhouse and pedestrianized precinct that matches in vitality, both economic and populist, any decade of its storied past. But 30 years ago, the future of Times Square was in limbo - caught between a series of false starts at clean-slate urban renewal by New York City and New York State and an emerging philosophy of urbanism that favored history, preservationist values, electric signs and semiotics, and delirious diversity. Place: 39 Battery Place. Open, Wednesday to Sunday, noon to 6 p.m. Admission: $5; $2.50 (students and seniors). 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: 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.

Ongoing: "Give Me Liberty," a solo exhibition of new works by Brooklyn-based artist Sylvanus Shaw, is at the Fraunces Tavern Museum. In this site-specific exhibition, Shaw utilizes images from the Museum's permanent collection, invoking imagery of early American statehood in media ranging from oil on panel to collaged holograms, security envelopes, and other mediums.
Through March 16, 2015. Place: Fraunces Tavern Museum, 54 Pearl St. Museum hours: Mon.-Sat., noon to 5 p.m. Admission: $7; $4 (seniors, students, children 6-8); free (children under 5 and active duty military). For more information, click here.  

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Editor: Terese Loeb Kreuzer

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