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News and Events
in Lower Manhattan
Volume 2, No. 13  Jan. 26, 2015

Quote of the day:
We believe that it is a matter of urgency and necessity that the Battery Park City board reflects the local community."
       - Letter addressed to New York State Gov. Andrew Cuomo by U.S. Congressman Nadler, Manhattan Borough President Brewer, State Senator Squadron and City Councilmember Chin 

* New York State Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver will temporarily "step back" 
* Bits & Bytes: Sheldon Silver's legislative record
* BPCA taps Brookfield Properties to operate North Cove Marina
* Downtown Bulletin Board: Asphalt Green Summer Day Camp; Downtown deals
* Community Board 1 meeting: Week of Jan. 26
* Calendar: Week of Jan. 26

BLIZZARD WARNING: The National Weather Service has issued a citywide Blizzard Warning which is in effect from Jan. 26 at 1 p.m. until 12 a.m. on Jan. 27. The current forecast calls for 20-30 inches of snow, with higher amounts possible locally and snowfall rates of up to 2 to 4 inches per hour late Monday night into Tuesday morning. Northern winds of 30-40mph are forecast, with gusts of up to 65mph possible. Temperatures in the lower 20s are expected, with visibilities of one quarter mile or less at times. For current information, click here

SCHOOLS will be open on Jan. 26 but will probably be closed on Tuesday. After-school programs on Monday have been cancelled. The New York City Department of Education Facebook page carries up-to-date information.

PARKING: Alternate Side Parking Regulations will be suspended Monday, Jan. 26 and Tuesday, Jan. 27 to facilitate snow removal. Payment at parking meters will remain in effect throughout the City.

COMMUNITY BOARD 1 FULL BOARD MEETING: Community Board 1's full board meeting, scheduled for Monday, Jan. 26, starting at 6 p.m., may be postponed. Check for updates on this and other breaking news.
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A watercolor in the Battery Park City Parks Conservancy's annual art show. Jan. 25, 2015.
(Photo: Terese Loeb Kreuzer) 


On Jan. 22, New York State Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver was arraigned in the federal court at 500 Pearl St. on corruption charges. He was flanked by two of his attorneys - Joel Cohen, a partner at Stroock & Stroock & Lavan and Steven Molo, a partner at MoloLamken. (© Elizabeth Williams)

New York State Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver has successfully navigated the shoals of Albany for decades, but late on Jan. 25, he announced that he would temporarily "step back" as Speaker while he fights federal corruption charges. "The Speaker is not stepping down," said his spokesman, Michael Whyland.

"His decision came amid mounting pressure from his fellow Democrats in the Assembly, who worried that the criminal charges would impair his ability to carry out the duties of one of the most powerful positions in the state's government," said The New York Times. ("Sheldon Silver to Temporarily Relinquish Speaker Duties," New York Times, 1/25/15.) The Times explains that, "In an unusual arrangement, Mr. Silver would not quit his post. Instead, he would temporarily delegate his duties as speaker to a group of senior Assembly members."

The news of Silver's Jan. 22 arrest and arraignment on corruption charges made the headlines of every newspaper in town. The New York Times was the first to report it. "Sheldon Silver, New York Assembly Speaker, Faces Arrest on Corruption Charges," said The Times.

Within 24 hours, The Times and other newspapers had tried Silver and convicted him. "Speaker Sheldon Silver Should Resign From New York Assembly," said The Times in an editorial on Jan. 22. "As astonishing as it was to see Sheldon Silver, the speaker of the New York Assembly, surrender to the F.B.I. on corruption charges Thursday morning, it is even more incredible that he can choose to go on serving in his job while he defends himself against bribery and kickback charges involving millions of dollars."

"The Speaker must go," said the New York Post editorial on Jan. 22.  "Ever wonder why corruption remains endemic in Albany? Even as US Attorney Preet Bharara was unveiling a devastating array of charges against Sheldon Silver, his Democratic Assembly colleagues were pledging their support for keeping him as speaker."

The Daily News expressed the same opinion in its Jan. 23 editorial, "Sheldon Silver must go." "Sheldon Silver must step down as Assembly speaker - or be ousted from the post that makes him New York's second-most-powerful elected official," said the Daily News.

When Silver was arraigned at 500 Pearl St. on Jan. 22, no cameras were allowed in the courtroom - but four artists were there, to record what was happening. Among them was Elizabeth Williams, a Lower Manhattan resident, who has been a courtroom artist since the early 1980s and is one of the few still in the profession. "Silver was in shock," she said.

In her drawing of the arraignment, she depicted a brown area on the right of the picture. "That leads to the jail," she said. "That's the door from which he entered the courtroom."

Sheldon Silver leaving the courthouse at 500 Pearl St. on Jan. 22. (Photo: Elizabeth Williams)
After Southern District Magistrate Judge Frank Maas released Silver on $200,000 personal recognizance., Silver faced what Williams called "a scrum of photographers" when he emerged from the courthouse.

According to The Times, "Mr. Silver told reporters at the federal courthouse, 'I hope I'll be vindicated,' and his lawyers called the charges 'meritless.'"

In the days after Silver's arrest, some people defended him, including Mayor Bill de Blasio, who called him "a man of integrity."

"Mayor de Blasio Maintains His Support for Speaker Silver," The New York Times reported on Jan. 23. "Mayor Bill de Blasio is not wavering in his support for Sheldon Silver. Asked by reporters at a gathering of mayors in Washington on Friday about his belief in the integrity of Mr. Silver, the powerful speaker of the New York State Assembly who was arrested Thursday on corruption charges, Mr. de Blasio characterized his fellow Democrat as a staunch ally who had 'followed through on every commitment that he made' in pursuit of the mayor's legislative agenda for New York City."

According to The Times, de Blasio said, "This will be a distraction for everyone in Albany," adding, "I think it will change the nature of this session, there is no doubt about that. But in terms of the speaker's ability to do his job, I believe he'll continue to be able to do it while this plays out."

At first the Democratic conference in the State Assembly largely supported Silver, as the Lower Hudson News reported on Jan. 22. "After meeting for 90 minutes behind closed doors, members of the Assembly's Democratic conference pledged support for the Manhattan Democrat after federal prosecutors accused him of accepting $6 million from law firms without doing legal work in return," the article stated.

Assembly Majority Leader Joseph Morelle, D-Irondequoit, Monroe County, was quoted in the article as saying, "There is a strong feeling, as I think we should all reflect on, that there is a presumption of innocence. We have every confidence that the speaker is going to fill his role with distinction."

Even three days after Silver's arrest, with mounting pressure for him to resign as Speaker rather than to relinquish his office temporarily, some of his Democratic colleagues in the Assembly "were concerned that Mr. Silver was being unfairly condemned before standing trial, and were wary about seeking his ouster before he had a chance to defend himself in court," according to The New York Times. ("Sheldon Silver to Temporarily Relinquish Speaker Duties," New York Times, 1/25/15.)

In the meantime, the charges against Silver have been good for U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara's career. The Daily News ran an article on Jan. 22 entitled, "U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara sparks buzz about his political future after indictment of New York Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver."

"Bharara, the Springsteen-loving Manhattan U.S. attorney since August 2009, took center stage Thursday in charging the ultimate New York political insider as an inveterate liar and thief who took $4 million in graft," said the Daily News. "Taking down Silver, an elusive but inviting target for prosecutors across his two decades as Assembly speaker, created even more buzz about the corruption-busting prosecutor's future."

The article went on to say, "Silver is the biggest political fish snared yet in Bharara's wide net as the prosecutor targeted corruption in the Capitol hallways and on Wall Street over the last five years. The efforts landed the son of immigrants from India on the cover of Time magazine and set tongues wagging about a possible run for mayor or even governor down the road."

- Terese Loeb Kreuzer

Bits & Bytes
Glenn Plaskin, president of the Gateway Plaza Tenants Association, presenting New York State Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver with a Lifetime Achievement award on June 6, 2013. Silver played a major role in negotiating rent protections with the Battery Park City Authority and with the Lefrak Organization for the residents of Gateway Plaza. (Photo: Terese Loeb Kreuzer)

"Working Families Party issues statement of support for Silver,"
Capital New York, 1/23/15. "The Working Families Party issued a statement of support on Friday for Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver, who was arrested Thursday on charges he illegally used his position to earn millions of dollars from real estate and health care interests," Capital New York reported. "'Our justice system is based on the presumption of innocence,' said W.F.P. executive director Bill Lipton, in a statement to Capital. 'Reflecting on the speaker's career as a public official: When it comes to the issues that matter to working families, whether raising the minimum wage or protecting affordable housing, our public schools and the environment, Shelley Silver never flinches,' Lipton said. Silver, who has served as speaker since 1994, is arguably the party's most powerful champion in Albany for its liberal legislative priorities." For the complete article, click here.

Silver's legislative record: Over his two decades as Speaker of the New York State Assembly, Sheldon Silver has been instrumental in getting legislation passed that has profoundly influenced the lives of millions of people in New York State and in the 65th Assembly District, which he represents. Here are some excerpts from that record in recent years, as Silver reported them in a newsletter for his constituents.

Jan. 30, 2012: Raise the minimum wage: Earlier this month, I wrote to you and shared my vision to rebuild the ladder of success in New York State.  Today, I am pleased to announce that the New York State Assembly has introduced legislation that will increase the minimum wage to $8.50. This is one major step towards bridging the divide and rekindling the spirit of shared prosperity.

June 13, 2012: Protect victims of domestic violence: Yesterday, the Assembly once again passed important legislation to protect victims of domestic violence and toughen punishments for abusers. Domestic violence is a major problem in New York with more than 400,000 incidents reported annually. ... The measures passed yesterday include the creation of a felony-level offense for repeat offenders, requiring judges to consider additional risk factors such as access to firearms and previous violations when considering bail, and giving victims the ability to keep their address secret.

July 18, 2012: Restoration of M9 bus service: I am very pleased to let you know that the MTA has agreed to fully restore and expand service on the M9 bus into and out of Battery Park City. I know that the drastic service cuts that were enacted two years ago have been very difficult for our neighborhood and I have been persistently advocating for M9 service to be restored.  The new route, which is similar to the route that operated prior to 9/11 will begin operating in January.

Jan. 15, 2013: Gun safety laws: Every year, the Assembly Majority fights for and passes sensible gun safety measures to protect New Yorkers. We have long led this fight and today, with the Governor and Senate in agreement, we have a groundbreaking, comprehensive gun safety law that will make New York the nation's leader in cracking down on gun violence.

Jan. 24, 2013: Saving and restoring the Battery Park City ball fields after Superstorm Sandy: As you may know the Battery Park City ball fields that Downtown Little League uses were badly damaged by Superstorm Sandy and will need to be replaced. I have been working with the Battery Park City Authority (BPCA) to ensure that there are no unnecessary delays and that the fields are open in time for the upcoming season. I am pleased to tell you that the BPCA has agreed to expedite the repair schedule in an effort to save the league's season.

Feb. 4, 2013: Tax relief for property owners affected by Sandy: As part of our ongoing effort to help New Yorkers impacted by Superstorm Sandy, the Assembly today passed a bill I sponsored that would significantly reduce taxes for property owners who suffered storm damage. Hundreds of thousands of homeowners and business owners have been devastated and are still trying to recover. Many have lost almost everything and are facing catastrophic financial consequences.

March 5, 2013: Raising the minimum wage: As part of our continuing effort to help more working New Yorkers climb out of poverty and earn fair pay, I and the Assembly today voted to increase our minimum wage to $9 an hour and index it to the rate of inflation. Too many of our families are trapped between the desire for financial independence and the constant erosion of their wages.

March 6, 2013: Anti-fracking laws: As part of my deep commitment to the health and safety of all my fellow New Yorkers, I and the Assembly passed a moratorium today on the controversial gas-drilling practice known as hydraulic fracturing, or "fracking." I have made protecting our city's drinking water, as well as our environment, among my top priorities and I will continue working to make sure our community has clean water.

April 30, 2013: Early voting in New York State: The long lines we saw last Election Day, when many New Yorkers waited for hours, is simply unacceptable. I believe that all New Yorkers, regardless of their personal or professional time commitments, should be able to vote in every election. In order to encourage greater voter participation, cut down on excessively long lines on Election Day and expand access to the polls, the Assembly today passed a bill that would create early voting in New York State. Our Democracy thrives when as many citizens as possible are able to participate in the electoral process.

Feb. 14, 2014: New stop sign by PS 276: Many Battery Park City residents, particularly parents of students at P.S. 276, have expressed concerns about pedestrian safety at the intersection of Battery Place and First Place, where a school crossing guard was struck by a car last month. I am pleased to tell you that I have received word from the Department of Transportation (DOT) that a Stop sign will be installed at that intersection.

Feb. 25, 2014: Passage of the DREAM act: I believe that all New Yorkers deserve the opportunity to pursue higher education so that they can follow the path of their dreams. That is why, today, the Assembly has passed the New York DREAM Act, which opens the door for thousands of young people to go to college and improve their lives. With this legislation, students who have attended high school in New York would be eligible for state tuition aid regardless of their immigration status. It would also establish the DREAM Fund, a private scholarship program, and increase access to the New York State College Tuition (529) Program. It is a moral imperative that we provide these opportunities to the countless immigrant youth who have known no other home.

March 6, 2014: Child care subsidies and paid family leave: As part of an ongoing effort to increase support to New York's working families, Assemblyman Silver yesterday passed a package of bills that would provide for paid family leave and increase access to child care. These measures would enable workers to keep their job and receive some income while on leave to care for an elderly relative, manage a medical emergency or take care of a newborn or adopted child.

April 4, 2014: Subsidized child care for working families: Building on a long history of putting families first, the Assembly Majority fought for a 2014-15 state budget that makes critical investments to address the child care crisis in New York. The newly-enacted budget provides over $41 million to increase access to subsidized child care for working families. The agreement dedicates an additional $34 million for child care subsidies to support an increase of more than 4,500 child care slots available statewide.

Aug. 11, 2014: Bill to address school overcrowding: Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver and Senator Daniel Squadron announced today that legislation they sponsored to help address the severe overcrowding problem in New York City schools has been signed into law by Governor Andrew Cuomo. The law requires the city's School Construction Authority (SCA) to collect population data and use this information in connection with the authority's five-year educational facilities capital plan (A.10108 / S.07873). It requires the SCA and the New York City schools chancellor to account for how future population growth might affect continued overcrowding.

June 2, 2014: DREAM Act passes: The Assembly Majority has once again passed the New York DREAM Act to help thousands of young people go to college and improve their lives and contribute more to New York's growing economy.  The Assembly Majority is leading the way and fighting for passage of the DREAM Act so the New York's immigrant youth are provided with same opportunities to access public higher education as all New York children.  The DREAM Act would make all of New York's college ready youth eligible to apply for state financial aid, and increase the availability of financial aid options, including TAP, HEOP and EOP.

Dec. 17, 2014: Hydrofracking banned: As part of my deep and continuing commitment to the health and safety of all my fellow New Yorkers, I have helped pass in the Assembly, on several occasions, a moratorium on the controversial gas-drilling practice known as hydraulic fracturing, or "hydrofracking."  I am strongly opposed to risking the health of New Yorkers or the environment for the profits of the oil and gas industry. That is why today, I wholeheartedly commend Governor Cuomo and the state Department of Environmental Conservation, for the decision to ban hydrofracking in New York State. As public officials we have the incredibly serious responsibility of protecting the health and safety of those we serve.

January 16, 2015: Speaker Silver testimony on the city's Action Plan for post-Sandy resiliency: As the Assemblyman who represents Lower Manhattan, I believe the city's Action Plan contains many important plans that will benefit a great number of New Yorkers and help keep vulnerable parts of our city safe from future catastrophes. On the other hand, I am disappointed by the lack of funding for flood protection and resiliency measures along parts of the Lower East Side, the South Street Seaport and Financial District areas, as well as along the west side of Lower Manhattan. These communities were greatly impacted by Superstorm Sandy, especially the South Street Seaport, which was devastated. In fact, some residential and commercial buildings, as well as small businesses, have still not recovered from the damage they sustained.

The Action Plan ought to provide for increased protection in these low-lying areas that are home to tens of thousands of people and businesses, critical infrastructure, and tourist attractions that draw millions of people a year. Residents of Lower Manhattan suffered greatly for days, weeks, and in some cases, months following Sandy. We must do everything possible to ensure that they do not suffer again. Immediate resiliency measures for this part of Lower Manhattan must be identified and implemented.

The Battery Park City Authority board of directors meeting on Jan. 22, 2015 at which the BPCA voted on awarding a 10-year contract to BOP North Cove Marina, a wholly owned subsidiary of Brookfield Property Partners, to manage North Cove Marina.
(Photos: Terese Loeb Kreuzer)

The Battery Park City Authority board room was packed on Jan. 22 when the BPCA board of directors convened to vote on the award of a 10-year contract to manage North Cove Marina. Some members of the public who wanted to attend were reportedly sent away because there was no room for them.

Alix Pustilnik, general counsel for the Battery Park City Authority, whispering to BPCA chairman Dennis Mehiel during the meeting at which the BPCA announced that it was awarding a 10-year management contract for North Cove Marina to Brookfield Properties.
After a lengthy preamble to the vote, during which BPCA chairman Dennis Mehiel commented on the process for selecting a vendor and the extensive public outcry that this aroused, the board, as expected, voted unanimously to approve BOP North Cove Marina LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Brookfield Property Partners, as the marina manager.

There were four applicants - Liberty Landing Marina and Suntex Marinas, North Cove Marina Management Inc., Edgewater Resources, and BOP North Cove Marina.

North Cove Marina Management, Michael Fortenbaugh's company, had run the marina between 2004 and 2014 and had substantial support from members of the community, Community Board 1 and elected officials, who wrote to the BPCA urging that it issue a new RFP, giving more weight than the one on which the contract was awarded to community usage of the marina and to public and affordable sailing programs.

BPCA president Shari Hyman played an important role in the RFP process and described the criteria based on which the contract was awarded.
"An evaluation committee comprised of Battery Park City Authority staff reviewed and interviewed all proposers in order to select an experienced firm that could provide the highest quality of community programming, while demonstrating the ability to run a sustainable operation and increase revenues delivered to taxpayers," the BPCA said in a statement after the vote. "Throughout the entire process, the BOP North Cove Marina proposal consistently ranked the highest."

Because Brookfield has little or no experience in marina management, it will be working with Island Global Yachting Marinas, who Melissa Coley, vice president of investor relations and communications for Brookfield, described as "our operator."

IGY Marinas is owned by Andrew Farkas, who has contributed substantially to New York State Gov. Andrew Cuomo's election campaigns and who once gave him a job paying more than $2 million. The Battery Park City Authority is a New York State agency whose board of directors is appointed by the governor.

In his comments before the vote, Mehiel explicitly denied that any political pressures had influenced the outcome. "T
he State administration, the governor's staff, his political people, have had zero contact or discussion with this Authority or its staff about this request for proposals," he said.

He said that the BPCA felt that in awarding the contract to Brookfield, "we are doing the right thing for Battery Park City, for the residents, for the marina, for the community at large, and, of no small significance, for the taxpayers. This board and this Authority has a fiduciary responsibility to the taxpayers of New York. We take that seriously. That's the way we operate." 

"Brookfield's vision will align with the requirements of the Battery Park City Authority as outlined to all bidders in its RFP," Coley said in a statement. "Our vision includes a sailing school for the community, summer and learn to sail programs. Our vision is an active, attractive and sustainable hub for the community. We will look to our 25 years of experience at Battery Park City in programming free community activities and events. We will be working on a comprehensive plan over the coming months and reaching out to members of the community."

Mehiel's comments about the RFP process for the marina were interrupted by boos from members of the public, some of whom carried signs that said "Stop Albany Pay-to-Play."

After the vote, some of these people expressed outrage. 

"This is an utter failure of accountability to the citizens of this city," said Sara Burke, who lives on Staten Island but who described herself as "a citizen of New York City and of New York harbor."

There was a shocking lack of transparency in the Battery Park City Authority's process," said Jenifer Rajkumar, a Battery Park City resident and Democratic district leader. "It was a travesty. We need to come together as a community and decide how we're going to restructure the Battery Park City Authority so that it supports the community because that did not happen today."

Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer at the meeting.
Four elected officials sent a letter to Gov. Cuomo dated Jan. 22 referencing "great community dissatisfaction" regarding the North Cove Marina RFP. "The current situation raises larger issues over local representation," the letter said. "We believe that it is a matter of urgency and necessity that the Battery Park City Authority Board reflects the local community."

The letter noted that only one member of the board actually lives in Battery Park City. "Given that the Board has direct administrative and decision-making powers normally assigned to municipal government, we believe that the majority of the Board should be made up of members who represent the local community."

The letter was signed by U.S. Congressman Jerrold Nadler, Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer, State Senator Daniel Squadron and City Councilmember Margaret Chin.

Brewer attended the BPCA board meeting but arrived after the vote and did not speak.

"The BPCA held no public meetings, no hearings, allowed no comment period and completely disregarded the unanimous resolution of Community Board 1," said James H. Sinclair, a member of the public who said that he went sailing at North Cove every weekend from May to October. "At this point, the outcome of the bid is secondary. The real issue is - who does BPCA represent if they feel no obligation to consult the people of this great city?"    


"I don't think the BPCA board has any notion how many people consider North Cove Marina an important part of their experience of New York," said Tricia Lynch. "I'll be watching how closely Brookfield delivers on their promises in the coming years, but more importantly, I'll be participating in the public discussion from now on. Access to the water in New York City is, unfortunately, very rare for all but the wealthy. As a citizen and voter, it's profoundly discouraging to see a government agency completely unwilling to open their process up to conversation with their neighbors." 


"The original RFP should have had community input from the beginning," said Tribeca resident Wayne Turett. "It feels like my government is not acting in the taxpayer's best interest if it doesn't ask the taxpayer for input."


Michael Fortenbaugh, after the vote.

After the vote, his voice cracking with emotion, Michael Fortenbaugh said that he believed that Mehiel had "misunderstood" the community's reaction to the Authority's actions.    


"He's saying that I caused all this reaction," Fortenbaugh said. "I don't think I did. I think that the Authority is the one that never reached out to the public about this."


He said that he had no choice but to sign a lease elsewhere. "We've got to keep going," he said. He has signed a lease with Liberty Harbor Marina in Jersey City, where he plans to open on April 18, with a club commissioning ceremony on Saturday, May 7. 


- Terese Loeb Kreuzer




Downtown bulletin board
New York City's Five Boro Bike Tour takes riders through all five boroughs of New York City on a 42-mile course. Here, some of the riders pedal through South Cove in Battery Park City. Registration for the Bike Tour is open through Jan. 30.
(Photo: Terese Loeb Kreuzer)
Asphalt Green Battery Park City Summer Day Camp: Enrollment is now open for Asphalt Green's summer day camp for children ages 4 ½ to 15 years old. Asphalt Green at 212 North End Ave., has programs for age-specific groups: Pee Wee Camp (4 ½ - 6 years),  Junior Camp (6-8 years), Senior Camp (8-13 years) and Counselors in Training (14 - 15 years). Camp is in session from June 29 to Aug. 21, with five separate sessions. The fee to attend for the entire eight weeks ranges from $5,750 to $6,250, depending on age, however, scholarships are available. Scholarship applications are being accepted through Feb. 13, 2015. Click here for directions on how to apply. Asphalt Green is holding monthly open houses through May to introduce the camp program and staff. The next open house is on Feb. 5 from 6 p.m. to 7 p.m. Click here for more information.

Registration for the 2015 Five Boro Bike Tour: Registration for the annual Five Boro Bike Tour, which takes place this year on May 3, is open through Jan. 30. The tour is run by Bike New York, a non-profit organization that promotes cycling throughout the city by sponsoring education and public events. Around 31,000 riders are expected to participate in the bike tour. Funds raised go to support Bike New York activities. It costs $92 for a standard registration and $325 for a VIP registration. For more information and to register, click here.

Downtown deals: The Downtown Alliance website has a section listing "deals" in Lower Manhattan. These range from discounted hotel rooms to food and drink offers at places such as Smörgås Chef Restaurant on Stone Street and North End Grill in Battery Park City. Flowers are discounted by 10 percent at City Blossoms, 62 Trinity Place. Brand name and generic cold items and vitamins are discounted at the Battery Park Pharmacy, 327 South End Ave. The deals change frequently. To see what's on offer, click here.

Community Board applications:
Manhattan has 12 community boards, each with 50 volunteer members who serve staggered two-year terms. Community boards represent their neighborhoods on issues such as development, land use, historic preservation, liquor license applications and quality of life. The Office of Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer is currently accepting applications for Manhattan Community Board membership. This year, for the first time, 16- and 17-year-olds are eligible to join community boards. There will be a community board information session just for teens on Friday, Jan. 23, from 4:30 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. at the Municipal Building Mezzanine, 1 Centre St., North Entrance. Registration is required at
All applications must be received by 5 p.m. on Jan. 30, 2015. For more information and to apply, click here.

Electronics recycling:
As of this year (2015) it is illegal to discard electronics in the trash. New York City apartment buildings are eligible to participate in a program that provides them with a free service to pick up and recycle unwanted electronics. Click here for more information. Alternatively, electronics can be dropped off at Goodwill, the Salvation Army, Best Buy, Staples (no TVs) or the Lower East Side Ecology Center. For more information, click here. Working electronics can be donated for reuse at the New York City Stuff Exchange. For more information, click here.

Tribeca Film Festival passes: The Tribeca Film Festival, which takes place from April 15 to April 26, will have a new central hub this year at Spring Studios, an exhibition space at 50 Varick St.  It will host Tribeca Talks® panels and the Tribeca Hacks and TFI Interactive days, additional innovation talks and demonstrations, galleries, collaborative work spaces, and more. Spring Studios will also house lounges designated for filmmakers, industry professionals, and the press. The majority of the Festival's special events, including Tribeca's innovation offerings, Awards Night, panel discussions, and after parties, will take place at this venue. Tribeca Film Festival at Spring Studios Resident Pass and Day Pass will provide full access to all of the programs and offerings available at the Festival's Hub at Spring, including a resource center and creative workspace with food, coffee, and drinks. The passes will also provide reduced ticket prices for select special events.

Resident Passes are $400, discounted to $300 if purchased before April 15 and allow pass holders to invite a guest each day of the Festival. Individual Day passes are $50, discounted to $40 if purchased before April 15. The passes went on sale at on January 20.

Letter to the editor
The audience at Community Board 1's Landmarks Committee meeting on Dec. 10, 2014 at which some of The Howard Hughes Corporation's proposals for South Street Seaport development were presented. Many members of the audience were wearing yellow or blue T-Shirts supplied by Howard Hughes.  (Photo: Terese Loeb Kreuzer)

To the editor:
The Howard Hughes Corporation fears bad publicity so much that it packs meetings with its supporters, dominates the public input list and has its surrogates endlessly praise it as if it were some generous charity. This is shameless. So is trying to frame the entire South Street Seaport redevelopment project as if it were a discussion, as it has not been. The truth is that Howard Hughes is investing tens of millions of dollars into a development that almost nobody wants - except HHC itself.

If more people knew what Howard Hughes was really up to, nobody would allow it to happen. This is a land and money grab that can, and should, be stopped.

Public advocacy has been effective in the past. Developers sought to demolish the New York Public Library in midtown and then ship all of its books to New Jersey. Nobody wanted that to happen. As with the Howard Hughes proposals, that entire plan was flawed because 1) there was no need for it; 2) there was no vision and 3) there was no real consideration for the public or the character of the city.

Grand Central Terminal was almost destroyed to make way for a towering high rise in 1975 (not so different from the one Hughes is proposing for the South Street Seaport). The project might have gone ahead if not for the last-minute intervention of Jackie Kennedy Onasis. About Grand Central she said:

"If we don't care about our past we can't have very much hope for our future. We've all heard that it's too late, or that it has to happen, that it's inevitable. But I don't think that's true. Because I think if there is a great effort, even if it's the eleventh hour, then you can succeed and I know that's what we'll do."

It has been sickening to see Howard Hughes pretend for years that they didn't have a plan when, in fact, they planned all of the Seaport project years ago to maximize the profits of the builders, designers and developers with almost no regard for the actual historical significance of the area as a centuries-old market.

This was evident in the presentation they did at St. Paul's Chapel on Dec. 10, 2014 during which architects showed slides of proposed designs. Disappointingly, the proposals all looked like a mall that could be built in any city and had virtually no connection to the location. Even the proposal for a small space for the South Street Seaport Museum on Pier 16 seemed like an after-thought.

The saddest thing of all is that there is a history of public markets in the Seaport that goes back to the time of the Dutch, which will be erased if Howard Hughes continues to get its way. In addition, it is a historical fact that slave ships would dock along the South Street Seaport waterfront and unload human cargo and march these people to be sold down the street. Slaves were a big part of the maritime industry of colonial New York and they worked all along the seaport and Lower Manhattan. Their history, too, would yet again not be addressed.

As New Yorkers, we all know the script: developers move in, influence the city to sign a dumb contract, make elaborate, complex plans and hold sham meetings to pretend the neighborhood loves it. Then they manipulate the media and their thing gets built.

Howard Hughes already has its mall on Pier 17 under way. When it opens, there will be lots of fanfare. Then, in the not-so-distant future, it is likely to become a ghost town of empty shops that nobody can afford to rent and so only the biggest retailers will have an interest. Small businesses in the area will vanish, screwing the community out of its land, its culture and its history.

Manhattan is constantly changing and that's a fact of life. It is not a bad thing. It's not hard to find examples of developers and preservationists working together to create great projects to achieve win-win situations. Look at the High Line in Manhattan or at the creation of the African Burial Ground Monument to mark the site where 20,000 African slaves and freed men and women were buried. So it is possible for developers to work with the public - but Howard Hughes just doesn't want to. This is both offensive and disrespectful.

Anyone who really cares about the South Street Seaport should do everything in their power to protest this money and power grab.

Chris Cobb

From the editor:
The next meeting at which The Howard Hughes Corporation's proposals for the South Street Seaport will be discussed takes place on Monday, Jan. 26 at 6 p.m. Community Board 1 will be meeting at P.S. 89, 201 Warren St., 2nd floor auditorium.

At this meeting, the community board will vote on a resolution regarding the landmarked parts of the South Street Seaport that HHC wants to alter. This resolution will go to New York City's Landmarks Preservation Commission, which has the final authority to approve or disallow the Howard Hughes proposals. The public is welcome to attend the Community Board 1 meeting and to speak during the public comment period at the start of the meeting.

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On Monday, Jan. 26, Community Board 1's Landmarks Committee will discuss and vote on a resolution responding to The Howard Hughes Corporation's proposals for the landmarked parts of the South Street Seaport. These include changes to the Tin Building, Schermerhorn Row, the Link Building on Pier 17, the esplanade and more. This resolution will be forwarded to the City's Landmarks Preservation Committee.
(Photo: Terese Loeb Kreuzer)

Weather permitting, Community Board 1's monthly full board meeting will take place on Monday, Jan. 26 starting at 6 p.m. It will be held at P.S. 89, 201 Warren St., 2nd floor auditorium. The public is welcome to attend and to speak in the public comments section, that opens the meeting.

I. Public Session
   Comments by members of the public (6 p.m.-7 p.m.) (1-2 minutes per speaker)

   Guest Speaker: Kenneth Adams, President and CEO, Empire State Development Corporation
Governor's Cabinet Delivers Regional 2015 Opportunity Agenda
Cabinet Members Will Take Governor's Agenda Directly to Communities across the State

II. Business Session
A) Adoption of December 2014 minutes
B) Chairperson's Report - C. McVay Hughes
C) District Manager's Report - N. Pfefferblit
D) Treasurer's Report - J. Kopel

III. Committee Reports
A) Special Landmarks Committee R. Byrom
    Discusssion and vote on Howard Hughes Corporation proposals for South Street Seaport - Resolution

B) Landmarks Committee R. Byrom
1) 79 Laight St., application for replacement of entrance door and transom - Resolution
2) 152 Franklin St., application for handicapped access ramp - Resolution
3) 140 Broadway, application for entry infill and re-glazing - Resolution
4) 464 Greenwich St., amendment to storefront glazing - Resolution

C) Battery Park City Committee G. Calderaro
1) Traffic enforcement around West Street - Report
2) BPC Parks Enforcement Patrol - Report
3) Brookfield Place tenants and service providers - Resolution
4) North Cove Marina resolution - Resolution

D) Quality of Life Committee P. Moore
1) NYC DOT Construction update - Report
2) Sandy Mobilization, Assessment, Referral and Treatment for Mental Health - Report
3) 2015 United Airlines NYC Half - Report
4) Illegal Hotels - Resolution
5) Intro 585 which would amend the City Charter to impose term limits on Community Board Members - Resolution
6) James Zadroga 9/11 Health and Compensation Reauthorization Act - Resolution

E) Seaport/Civic Center Committee J. Fratta
1) South Street Initiative - Report
2) Thomas Paine Park: Temporary Public Artwork - Report
3) 2015 United Airlines NYC Half Marathon - Report
4) Rebuilding Brooklyn Banks Skate Park and other active recreation space underneath the Brooklyn Bridge - Report
5) 87 South St., application for wine & beer license for Tri-Elite Group Corp d/b/a El Luchedor - Resolution

F) Planning Committee J. Galloway
1) World Trade Center Performing Arts Center - Report
2) MTA fan plants and infrastructure storm hardening - Report
3) Status of FEMA Disaster Assistance Programs - Report
4) Rebuild by Design Public Hearing, Jan. 15, 2015 - Report
5) City-wide Zoning Text Amendment regarding stairwells in non-residential buildings - Resolution
6) Acquisition of office space for Department of City Planning at 120 Broadway - Resolution
7) City-wide allocation of Community Development Block Grant Disaster Relief Funds - Resolution

G) Tribeca Committee P. Braus
1) 11 6th Ave. sidewalk café - Report
2) Pier 26 Update by Madelyn Wils, President and CEO, Hudson River Park Trust - Resolution
3) Proposed changes to parking regulations in Tribeca - Resolution
4) Bastille Day 2015 Street Activity Permit application for West Broadway between White Street and Walker Street, Tuesday July 14, 2015, 12 a.m. to 8 p.m. - Resolution
5) 24 Harrison St., application for upgrade to liquor license for Terroir Tribeca - Resolution

H) Financial District Committee R. Sheffe
1) Broadway Reconstruction Project - Report
2) Pier 15 - Report
3) 23 Wall St., proposed new leasehold and use for property - Report
4) 140 West Street Condominium Flood Wall Barrier Project review - Report
5) Street activity permit for 911 Memorial Family Day on 04/26/2015 from 9 a.m.-7 p.m., Greenwich St. between Cortlandt Street and Liberty Street - Resolution
6) 20 John St., application for a wine and beer license for Dee Jing, Inc. - Resolution
7) Street activity permit for Coenties Slip Thursday Greenmarket on 07/02/2015 to 11/19/2015 from 8 a.m.-7 p.m., Coenties Slip between Water Street. and Pearl Street - Resolution
8) 102 Greenwich St., application for a liquor license for Riff Downtown LLC - Resolution

I) Youth & Education Committee T. Joyce
1) DCTV community space and programs - Report
2) North Cove Marina - Resolution

IV. Old Business
V. New Business
VI. Adjournment

All documents relating to the above agenda items are on file at the Community Board 1 office and are available for viewing by the public upon written request to
At all meetings, additional items may be raised as "New Business."

CALENDAR: Week of Jan. 26
A corbel in the lobby of the Woolworth building depicts Frank Woolworth, who commissioned and paid for the building, counting his money. Tours of the once-off-limits lobby are now, once again, available. (Photo: Terese Loeb Kreuzer)

Ongoing: The Battery Park City Parks Conservancy's 2015 Annual Art Exhibition of artwork created in the Conservancy's free art programs such as Figure al Fresco, Elements of Nature Drawing,  Art + Games, and Preschool Art. Place: 75 Battery Place. Time:  The exhibition will be on view weekdays from Jan. 26 to March 27, 2 p.m.-4 p.m. Free.

Ongoing: Mondays through Wednesdays in January, The Howard Hughes Corporation in partnership with and sponsor New York Presbyterian Lower Manhattan Hospital invites local families inside the Community Cube at the South Street Seaport. Children will have a chance to partake in music, arts, crafts, film and yoga for kids. For more information, click here.

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.

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 Feb. 15, 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 lobby of the South Street Seaport Museum at 12 Fulton St. on Schermerhorn Row is open four days a week with interpretive displays and activities. Access to the museum's upstairs galleries is by appointment or for education programs only. For private tours of Schermerhorn Row and its old hotels, email Lobby access: Thursdays to Sundays, 11 a.m. to 7 p.m.

Ongoing: The South Street Seaport Museum's lightship Ambrose and its barque Peking welcome visitors Fridays 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. In addition, a guide to the Ambrose can be downloaded from the Internet by clicking here. 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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