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News and Events
in Lower Manhattan
Volume 2, No. 6  Jan. 3, 2015
Quote of the day:
"'The Museum will serve as a beacon of hope, to demonstrate to Jews and non-Jews alike that ... we are all, indeed, responsible for each other within a family whose embrace is world wide.'"
       - Dr. David G. Marwell, director of the Museum of Jewish Heritage - A Living Memorial to the Holocaust, quoting Mario Cuomo, Founding Chairman and Honorary Chair of the Museum.

* BPCA stations security guards at North Cove Marina to deny access to Fortenbaugh
* Bits & Bytes: Brooklyn, the first suburb; Woolworth lobby; Speaker Silver investigation
* Mario Cuomo: Tributes and the Battery Park City connection
* Downtown Bulletin Board: Christmas tree recycling; Stuy High School Community Center
* Community Board 1: Special meeting of Landmarks Committee on Jan. 5, 2015
* Calendar: Week of Dec. 29

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New Year's Eve fireworks. Jan. 1, 2015 (Photo: Terese Loeb Kreuzer) 



Michael Fortenbaugh at North Cove Marina on Jan. 2 talking with a security guard employed by the Battery Park City Authority. (Photo: Courtesy of Michael Fortenbaugh)

The standoff at North Cove Marina between the Battery Park City Authority and Michael Fortenbaugh, who has managed the marina for the last 10 years, has escalated.

On Jan. 2, the BPCA stationed security guards at the marina to keep Fortenbaugh and his supporters from gaining access.

In the afternoon, Fortenbaugh issued a press release that said that the BPCA was "defying Community Board #1 as well as state, local and federal officials," by closing down the marina.

According to the press release, "Members of the Manhattan Sailing Club, as well as current North Cove Marina operator Michael Fortenbaugh, were turned away by BPCA's security guards this morning, who informed Fortenbaugh and club members that they have been instructed to keep them, and the public, out of the marina."

The press release notes that, "BPCA's lock-out comes despite a unanimous resolution from Community Board #1 asking that the Authority withdraw a flawed RFP for a new operator that requires only minimal attention to community programming. The Community Board's resolution also asks for public input into the decision, as has been the case with other public facilities at the BPCA such as the [Asphalt Green] Community Center and the ball fields. The Community Board asked BPCA to extend the lease of the current operator for another season while a better RFP can be put together."

Around 10:30 p.m. on Jan. 2, the BPCA responded with its own statement.

"The prior license holder was made aware several weeks ago that the BPCA would assume responsibility for the North Cove Marina and its associated operations when his Term expired on December 31st.," it said. "As soon as the BPCA Board makes a final decision on the 2015-2025 licensee, arrangements will commence to ensure the upcoming sailing season at the North Cove Marina is as exciting and engaging as ever for the Battery Park City community."  

When informed of the BPCA's statement, Fortenbaugh said in an email, "BPCA has not talked to me about this at all, so it is reasonable to assume that BPCA plans on replacing us with some program devised by Brookfield and Island Global Yachting. We have spent 20 years being good neighbors and building up this sailing community. This is not just something you can duplicate or replace.  I am very sad and outraged today."

In his press release earlier on Jan. 2, Fortenbaugh had said that the BPCA has "been disingenuous in its recent statement that it had offered to let him stay in the Marina for 90 days." He said the BPCA had delivered a 'dockage agreement' to him "that allowed two vessels, but placed restrictions on access, use of the vessels, as well as other onerous requirements - including additional security deposits and a $10 million insurance policy on top of the policy he already has."

Fortenbaugh described the offer as one "designed to be refused, but [one that] allows them to say they have offered one. "Perhaps the most revealing clause in it is that they intend to show other potential lessees around the Marina. This is an exit agreement, not a chance to compete in an open and fair process," he said.

Fortenbaugh said that he had asked to meet with BPCA Chairman Dennis Mehiel and the other members of the Authority's board of directors, but that they had declined.

- Terese Loeb Kreuzer

North Cove Marina, Jan. 2, 2015, around 3 p.m. (Photo: Terese Loeb Kreuzer)


Bits & Bytes

A painting called "Situation of America" shows Manhattan as it would have looked from Brooklyn in 1848. Except for City Hall and church steeples, no building was more than four stories tall. Ferries enabled a bustling trade between Brooklyn and Manhattan until 1883, when the Brooklyn Bridge opened and ferries on the East River became obsolete. This painting was part of an exhibit called "Compass: Folk Art in Four Directions" that opened at the South Street Seaport Museum in June 2012. (Photo: Terese Loeb Kreuzer)

"How a Ferry Ride Helped Make Brooklyn the Original Suburb,"
New York Times, 12/29/14. "This much is known about the maiden voyage of the Nassau: The twin-hulled boat carried 549 passengers, one wagon and three horses. It was captained by Peter Coffee, who would remain with the company that operated the vessel for 50 years," says The New York Times. "Though Lewis Rhoda, the chief engineer, got tangled in the machinery and was killed on the first day, "'this noble boat surpassed expectations of the public in the rapidity of her movements' as those on board glided across the unpredictable river as gracefully as if they were 'passing over a bridge,' a newspaper account at the time said. What is unknown is the name of the first passenger - the man (and chances are it was a man) who on May 10, 1814, boarded the Nassau, the first regularly scheduled steam-powered ferry from Brooklyn to Manhattan. Whoever he was, he can justly be called America's first commuter. Since then, for fully two centuries, millions of his fellow travelers have arrived by bridge, railroad, trolley, elevated train, subway, automobile, bus, helicopter, bicycle and, more recently, by revived ferry service in the diurnal ebb and flow that arguably transformed Brooklyn Heights into the nation's first suburb, gave New York City what E. B. White described as its 'tidal restlessness,' inspired the terms rush hour, bedroom community and urban sprawl and now nearly doubles Manhattan's population on weekdays." For the complete article, click here.

"Woolworth Building's Grand Arcade Is Once Again a Sight All Can See," New York Times, 12/31/14. "The Woolworth Building long ago lost its title as tallest in the world. But its grand arcade, designed by Cass Gilbert, has never lost the distinction of being the most sumptuous office lobby in New York, with a dazzling mosaic ceiling that brings a delectable taste of the Byzantine Empire to Lower Manhattan," says The New York Times. However, says The Times, "The grand arcade has been off limits to the public for more than a decade." Now, tours of the Woolworth Building's interior are available to the public. For the complete article, click here.

"Loan for 45 John sealed on a handshake, now in dispute," The Real Deal, 12/31/14. "Investment sales deals often appear neat and ordered, certainly when announced in congratulatory messages and memorial tombstones. But a dispute over a small loan needed to buy a residential building in Lower Manhattan - a deal sealed by a handshake - reveals a different story," says The Real Deal. "A Brooklyn investment team including Chaim Miller and Samuel Sprei were closing a deal on March 7 to buy 45 John Street, a former loft building that was converted to apartments, for $60 million from  Josh Zegen's Madison Realty Capital. The building is located between Nassau and Dutch streets in Lower Manhattan. But Miller and Sprei needed another $1.97 million in cash to close the deal, information from a lawsuit filed this month in Manhattan State Supreme Court states. On the day of the closing, Miller phoned Jacob Deckelbaum, a real estate investor and managing member of the Brooklyn title company Reliable Abstract, to ask for short term loan of $1.97 million, a source familiar with the conversation, said. Deckelbaum agreed to the loan, with the understanding he would be repaid within a few days, the papers state. The deal was secured over the phone on a 'handshake,' however, and not set out formally in writing." The expected repayment did not occur. For the complete article, click here.

"Assembly Speaker Silver Was Scrutinized by Moreland Commission," Wall Street Journal, 12/30/14.  The Wall Street Journal reports that, "New York State Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver, now under federal investigation, was under scrutiny this year by a state anticorruption probe looking into the sources of his six-figure outside income, people involved in the probe said. The Manhattan Democrat and lawyer makes between $650,000 and $750,000 in outside legal work in addition to his $121,000 speaker salary, according to his 2013 state financial disclosure forms. But he seemed to do relatively little if any legal work to justify his earnings, said former members of the Moreland Commission to Investigate Public Corruption, which probed Albany lawmakers for nine months until it was disbanded in March.The Moreland Commission's aborted work has since been taken up by Manhattan U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara and the Federal Bureau of Investigation, which are looking into whether Mr. Silver didn't disclose income from a Manhattan law firm that challenges property-tax assessments, Goldberg & Iryami PC, according to a person familiar with the matter." For the complete article, click here.

"Ex-employee claims Peebles reneged on profit sharing agreement," The Real Deal, 1/2/15. A former top executive at the Peebles Corporation is suing his erstwhile employer, claiming that CEO Don Peebles personally reneged on a promise to compensate him with ownership interests in properties including 346 Broadway, and ultimately fired him to avoid the sharing agreement," says The Real Deal. "In a lawsuit filed Wednesday in New York State Supreme Court, Daniel Newhouse, a former director of development and investments at the Peebles Corporation, claims that Don Peebles assured him of a 5 percent ownership interest in properties for which he provided execution services. These included Tribeca's landmarked 346 Broadway, which Peebles bought for $160 million on an RFP from New York City and is developing into a hotel and condominiums in a joint venture with Israeli real estate company the Elad Group. Though Peebles has now closed the company's interest in the joint venture and made $60 million on the project, he has refused to pay Newhouse his 5 percent, which would amount to $3 million, Newhouse states in the complaint." For the complete article, click here.


The Museum of Jewish Heritage in Battery Park City. Feb. 14, 2014. (Photo: Terese Loeb Kreuzer)

Jan. 1, 2015 could not have been more poignant for New York State Gov. Andrew Cuomo. As The New York Times recounted the events of the day, "He was being sworn in for a second term not once but twice, in Manhattan and in Buffalo, with a stirring speech that heralded the accomplishments of his first term and laid out an aggressive agenda for the next four years. But even as Mr. Cuomo was being inaugurated in Buffalo, his father, Mario M. Cuomo, a former governor who was 82 and had listened to his son's first speech from his home, died of heart failure."

The day before, said The Times, "Governor Cuomo, 57, canceled the traditional New Year's Eve swearing-in in Albany to be at his [father's] bedside. There, he read his father a draft of his inaugural speech in what both men surely realized would be one of their last moments together." ("One Last Confluence for Mario and Andrew Cuomo, Proud Rivals," New York Times, 1/2/15.)

Tributes to Mario Cuomo poured in from all over the country. "Mario Cuomo was a man of unwavering principle who possessed a compassion for humankind without equal," said Mayor Bill de Blasio. "Gov. Mario Cuomo will be remembered as one of the great inspirational leaders of our time," said New York Senator Kirsten Gillibrand. "I learned from Gov. Cuomo's example and will always be grateful for his wisdom and generosity. His legacy continues to serve as a guide for me." Former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg called Cuomo "a friend" and said, "Mario Cuomo inspired millions of people around the country with his vision for a more compassionate and just society."

In Battery Park City, Cuomo was particularly mourned. Dr. David G. Marwell, director of the Museum of Jewish Heritage - A Living Memorial to the Holocaust, said, "It is with great sadness that we mark the passing of former Governor Mario Cuomo, Founding Chairman and Honorary Chair of the Museum. It is in no small part because of his leadership and vision that our Museum stands today in historic Battery Park overlooking the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island. In 1986, at the signing of the Museum's 99-year lease, Governor Cuomo said, 'The Museum will serve as a beacon of hope, to demonstrate to Jews and non-Jews alike that we will never forget the six million, that we will never rest in our fight against intolerance, that we are all, indeed, responsible for each other within a family whose embrace is world wide.'"

The museum's Chairman Emeritus, Robert M. Morgenthau, said, "We will always be grateful to Governor Cuomo for his dedication to building a Holocaust museum in New York. He understood the importance of New York as a center for Holocaust remembrance and education and worked hand in hand with us to turn the idea into a reality."

The museum's current chairman, Bruce C. Ratner, said that Cuomo was "very much committed to making sure the world did not forget what happened during the Holocaust, something that was at the forefront of his mind in the aftermath of the genocides in Rwanda and Bosnia. We are honored to continue his work."

The museum concluded its statement of grief on the death of this Catholic son of Italian immigrants with the traditional Jewish benediction, "May his memory be a blessing."

- Terese Loeb Kreuzer

Downtown bulletin board
Christmas trees piled up on Esplanade Plaza in Battery Park City. The Battery Park City Parks Conservancy will turn them into compost for use in BPC's gardens.
(Photo: Terese Loeb Kreuzer)
Christmas tree heaven: Through Jan. 26, the Battery Park City Parks Conservancy is collecting Christmas trees to turn into compost. Battery Park City residents are invited to bring their trees (minus all decorations and stands) to their street corner where BPCPC staff will pick them up daily. Trees will then be taken to Esplanade Plaza to be fed through a chipper.

"Recycling your tree is a great way to help your community by reducing waste, lowering carbon emissions and helping to keep the plants healthy," says the Battery Park City Parks Conservancy on its website. For more information about BPCPC's sustainable composting practices, click here.

Community Center at Stuyvesant High School holiday hours:
The Community Center at Stuyvesant High School, 345 Chambers St., is offering extended winter recess hours through Jan. 4, 2015. The Community Center will be open this weekend from 1 p.m.-9 p.m. For more information about the community center and its programming, click here.
Westside Commuter Ferry:
New York Water Taxi's Westside Commuter Ferry, which has been running between Pier 84 at West 44th Street and the World Financial Center ferry terminal, ceased service for the season on Wednesday, Dec. 30. It will be back again in the spring. The rush-hour commuter service started in May 2014 with three round trips each way, morning and evening. The ride takes 15 minutes and costs $4.50 for a single ticket, with weekly and monthly passes available. For more information, click here.

Fundraiser for Kerri Pedersen's children
: For more than two decades, Kerri Pedersen worked as a nurse practitioner at Tribeca Pediatrics. Eleven years ago, she was diagnosed with breast cancer, but continued living as normally as possible - working and and taking care of her two children. She passed away on Dec. 16 at the age of 44. "Kerri touched thousands of local parents and their babies and children with her gentle knowledge and her loving and inviting smile," said Manon Chevallerau, one of her many admirers. "Every one who knew her, loved her and is heartbroken with the news." Pedersen was a single mother. Her older child, Conrad, now 27, has become the legal guardian for her younger child, Gage, 11. Pedersen's many friends have established a fundraiser to help her boys. To learn more about this effort, or to contribute, click here.


A Howard Hughes Corporation rendering of the rooftop of Pier 17, from a presentation to investors. HHC described the pier as "The World's Premier Boutique Entertainment Venue - a world-class destination for events, concerts and promotions."

A rendering of Pier 17 and its roof as presented by The Howard Hughes Corporation to Community Board 1.

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.

The topics to be considered in the resolution include:
1. Tin Building: relocation and one-story addition
2. Pier 17 western edge/removal of headhouse
3. Pier 17 canopy and mechanical screen
4. Pedestrian canopy
5. Demolition of the Link Building
6. Construction of pavilions and lighting under FDR Drive
7. East River Esplanade
8. New building on Pier 16
9. Schermerhorn Row and new building on John Street
10. Wayfinding dynamic signs

Community Board meetings for January 2015:

Jan. 5: Special Landmarks Committee meeting, as described above
Jan. 6: Battery Park City Committee
Jan. 7: Financial District Committee
Jan. 8: Landmarks Committee
Jan. 12: Planning Committee
Jan. 13: Youth & Education Committee
Jan. 14: Tribeca Committee
Jan. 15: Quality of Life
Jan. 19: Office closed - Martin Luther King's birthday
Jan. 20: Seaport/Civic Center Committee
Jan. 26: Monthly full board meeting (to be held at PS 89, 201 Warren St., 2nd floor auditorium)

CALENDAR: Week of Dec. 29
The interior of the Woolworth Building, whose lobby has been described as "the most sumptuous office lobby in New York." Tours are once again available.
(Photo: Terese Loeb Kreuzer)
Ongoing: The Woolworth Building was designed by Cass Gilbert to house the offices of the F. W. Woolworth Company and was the tallest building in the world from 1913 until 1930. With its ornamental gothic-style exterior, it dominated the New York City skyline and served as an icon of American ingenuity with state of the art steel construction, fireproofing and high-speed elevators and it was dubbed "the Cathedral of Commerce." The building is still privately owned and operated, and has long been closed to the public. Tours of its magnificent landmarked lobby featuring marble, mosaics, and murals have only recently been made available and can be taken for 30-minutes, 60-minutes or 90-minutes. Custom and Private tours for groups of 10 - 35 can also be arranged. Place: 233 Broadway. Various times. Tickets: $20, $30 and $45, depending on the length of the tour. For more information and to buy tickets, click here.  

Ongoing: The Jewish Art Salon presents "Lashon Hara: On the Consequences of Hate Speech." This exhibit examines the power of words, both within hate speech and as "a catalyst for salvation" The exhibit features several mixed media textile works by Robin Atlas. Place: The Anne Frank Center USA (44 Park Place). Time: Tuesdays through Saturdays (except holidays), 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Tickets: $8 (adults); $5 (students and seniors 65 and over); Free for children ages 8 and under.

Through Feb. 27, 2015. For more information, click here.  


Ongoing: 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 Jan. 6, 2015: Trinity Wall Street's Twelfth Night Festival of early music at St. Paul's Chapel, 209 Broadway, and at Trinity Church, Broadway at Wall Street, continues through Jan. 6, 2015, with a variety of programs, some of them, free and others requiring tickets.  For more information, click here.

Ongoing: "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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