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DOWNTOWN
POST NYC 
 
News and Events
in Lower Manhattan
 
 
Volume 2, No. 39  May 1, 2015
IN THIS ISSUE

Quote of the day: 
"We must protect the historic South Street Seaport and the museum."
      - City Councilmember Margaret Chin on April 25 during ceremonies marking the opening of the South Street Seaport Museum's 2015 season                   

* Southbridge Towers still in limbo as fur and feathers fly
* Sunny opening day for the South Street Seaport Museum 
* Bits & Bytes: Silver pleads not guilty; Shorto discusses 'Island at the Center of the World'
* Downtown Bulletin Board: Relief money for Nepal; Focus groups on aging
* Trinity Wall Street's Black Music Festival
* Calendar: Week of April 27
 
WEATHER INFORMATION: For current weather information, click here.

DONATIONS FOR NEPAL: More than 6,000 people are known to have died in the earthquake that struck Nepal on Saturday. The New York Times has published a list of organizations that are collecting money to help the victims. To see the list, click here.

DOWNTOWN POST NYC KUDO: Downtown Post NYC is honored to have been one of eight Manhattan publications to be included on Brick Underground's list of the "24 Best NYC Neighborhood Blogs." To see the article, click here.

BREAKING NEWS: Go to www.DowntownPostNYC.com for updates on breaking news.

All ads in Downtown Post NYC have clickable links. Click on an ad for more information.

The South Street Seaport Museum's 104-year-old barque, Peking. April 25, 2015. 
(Photo: Terese Loeb Kreuzer) 



SOUTHBRIDGE TOWERS STILL IN LIMBO AS FUR AND FEATHERS FLY


Southbridge Towers, a nine-building co-op with 1,651 apartments just north of the South Street Seaport. (Photo: Terese Loeb Kreuzer)
 
The Southbridge Towers board of directors has decided to reschedule the co-op's annual meeting from May 5 to June 29 and to hold an election for a new board of directors on June 28 and June 29 instead of in early May as required by the co-op's by-laws.

This, said a letter to the shareholders from SBT board president, Wallace Dimson, is to allow management to "deal with the issues relating to the reconstitution without having the additional task of conducting the meeting process."

The several thousand people who live in Southbridge Towers of course are interested in this development, but in a city where affordable housing is so scarce that thousands of people apply for every available affordable apartment, what's happening at Southbridge Towers affects many other people as well.

For anyone who has not been following the Southbridge Towers odyssey, here's a summary. The Southbridge Towers complex of 1,651 apartments just north of the South Street Seaport, opened in 1969 as a New York State subsidized Mitchell-Lama co-op for which shareholders paid as little as $5,000 per apartment. In December 2005, the shareholders of Southbridge Towers began talking about taking their low-cost apartments out of the Mitchell-Lama program and privatizing them so that they could be sold in the open market. With Manhattan real estate currently at a premium, these apartments would now sell for a half a million dollars each or more. Nine years after the privatization discussion began, in September 2014, the proposition was finally put to a vote, with passage requiring a two-thirds majority of eligible shareholders (each apartment, getting one vote). Privatization seemed to have passed by a margin of 10 votes. But some shareholders said that the vote was faulty - that some apartments were unfairly disqualified from voting.

Then the scuffle began in earnest, with recriminations and lawsuits. Nothing has been definitively decided to date.

A legal action filed by SBT Cooperators for Mitchell-Lama and the SBT Shareholders Association is scheduled to be heard before Justice Joan Lobis in the Supreme Court of New York on May 6. She will have written submissions from DHCR (the Division of Housing and Community Renewal, which administers the co-op) and the privatization Sponsor (the SBT board of directors) and from the plaintiffs as to the validity of the September 2014 vote. On May 6, she will decide whether to set a date for oral arguments or to decide the case based on the written submissions.

Meanwhile, the SBT Cooperators for Mitchell-Lama and the SBT Shareholders Association have been trying to get DHCR to weigh in on the postponed annual meeting and board of directors election, but DHCR has not responded. The Cooperators and Shareholders are saying that the postponement is not just a matter of convenience but an effort by the current board - some of whose members are term limited, including its president Dimson - to hold the board election after Justice Lobis has rendered a decision on the validity of the privatization election in the hope that she will rule in their favor and the co-op's current by-laws can be tossed out.

"Our present by-laws and our Mitchell-Lama status remain in force," says the SBT Shareholders Association. "In the by-laws of a privatized  SBT there are no term limits. The board wants to delay the annual meeting until after reconstitution, should it happen, so they can run for re-election without being term limited."

Dimson, in his president's report to SBT shareholders, minced no words. He said that responsibility for the delay in finalizing the privatization process "rests solely on the shoulders of the few disgruntled shareholders who filed litigation against DHCR and Southbridge, in what we  believe is a frivolous and divisive effort to overturn the result of the September election, in which shareholders voted overwhelmingly to reconstitute Southbridge as a private cooperative."

Dimson called the litigation "reckless" and referred to those who had brought the legal action as "a vocal and strident minority."

The SBT Shareholders Association responded that Dimson's accusations in his President's Report were "an opinion piece; it's a shareholder misusing his position as Board President to distribute his personal tirade."

Regardless of what Justice Lobis decides, it may take the Southbridge Towers shareholders a long time to put this fight behind them. Maybe they won't.

- Terese Loeb Kreuzer







SUNNY OPENING DAY FOR THE SOUTH STREET SEAPORT MUSEUM'S 2015 SEASON WITH GREETINGS FROM MAYOR DE BLASIO AND BELL RINGING


Pier 16 on the opening day of the South Street Seaport Museum's 2015 season. (Photos: Terese Loeb Kreuzer)
 
A sunny day - not too hot, not too cool - blessed the opening on April 25 of the South Street Seaport Museum's 2015 season and the crowd assembled on Pier 16 for the opening ceremony.

For the first time, Capt. Jonathan Boulware officially took the stage as the museum's executive director and not just its interim president.

"The trustees, the city administration - we couldn't be happier," said Tracey Knuckles, Deputy Commissioner of the Department of Cultural Affairs and museum board member.

  

Boulware read a letter of congratulations from Mayor Bill de Blasio, who said that he regretted that he couldn't be there himself. De Blasio referenced the museum's historic ships, its Water Street properties and the "bustling Schermerhorn Row." He spoke of the variety of programs that the museum organizes for children and adults and said the museum "brings the past to life," playing "a vital role in the city's cultural landscape."

  

"It's a heartening thing to receive from any mayor but certainly this mayor at this time for the Seaport Museum," Boulware commented.

 

The subtext of his remark were the tribulations that have beset the museum since Superstorm Sandy knocked out the electrical system at its 12 Fulton St. galleries on Oct. 29, 2012, forcing them to close. The electrical system still has not been fixed.  

 

On the museum's other flank, The Howard Hughes Corporation, a Texas-based developer with long-term leases on parts of the Seaport, has been eyeing the museum's properties.   

 

Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer and South Street Seaport Museum Executive Director Jonathan Boulware

"We're here for the future of the museum," said Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer, who has been a staunch and vocal supporter of the museum and of the Seaport Historic District. "We're here for the South Street Seaport in general to be a historic site, and we're here to make sure that the 60,000 families who now live in downtown in District 1 Manhattan have a place to go that is family friendly and at the same time conserves the history."  

 

City Councilmember Margaret Chin, who represents District 1 and who plays a pivotal role in determining what happens to land use applications in the South Street Seaport, echoed Brewer's sentiments. She said that she and City Council would "continue to work to make the museum stronger so that it will be here for years and generations to come.

 

"We must protect the historic South Street Seaport and the museum," she said.  

 

Boulware said that he had no illusions about the enormous task ahead but that he believed that with the help of the many people who cared about the museum, it could realize the vision of its founders.

 

"Peter Stanford, who founded this museum, said repeatedly - as often as anyone would listen to him - this museum is people," Boulware said.  "It's as true now as it was then, in fact, it's even more so. The volunteers, the staff, the crowd that is here today, our new members - are the crowd who will make this place what it can be."

  

City Councilmember Margaret Chin and the Ambrose bell.

In a moment in the ceremony that brought tears to the eyes of some of those who listened, Boulware invited Chin to ascend to the deck of the museum's lightship Ambrose and ring its bell.

 

The Ambrose was the first lightship to take a station in the newly deepened Ambrose channel in 1908 and the first lightship to have a radio-direction finder signal. "This meant that big ships were zeroing in their radio direction gear directly on this lightship," Boulware explained. "They could, with pinpoint accuracy, steer their steamship at 22 knots directly at the lightship and occasionally that meant that they continued right on on that course and didn't turn. In fog, lightship crews had a vested interest to make a lot of noise, so this bell had a very important purpose in the safety of the lightship itself and also in the safety of the ships that were using the bell to find their way into New York."

  

Using both hands, Chin pulled and pulled at the heavy bell and it rang with insistent solemnity. When she finished, neighboring boats sounded their horns and the crowd applauded. 

 

"To the extent that there is a sound that represents New York, that represents the growth of the port, this is it," Boulware said.

 

"This is where it started - between these ships here and those buildings there," he said, gesturing. "This is where New York as we know it today, began."

 

- Terese Loeb Kreuzer   

 


Pier 16 on the opening day of the South Street Seaport Museum's 2015 season.



Bits & Bytes
SILVER PLEADS 'NOT GUILTY;' SHORTO DISCUSSES HIS BOOK 'ISLAND AT THE CENTER OF THE WORLD;' BROOKFIELD IS LARGEST NYC LANDLORD


Brookfield Asset Management, whose properties include Brookfield Place in Battery Park City, is New York City's largest landlord. (Photo: Terese Loeb Kreuzer)

"Sheldon Silver Pleads Not Guilty to Newest Charge," New York Times, 4/28/15. "He appeared a bit more relaxed than he had at earlier courtroom appearances, his transition from longtime New York State Assembly speaker to criminal defendant perhaps becoming somewhat less jarring," says The New York Times. "Assemblyman Sheldon Silver joked with a courtroom artist, heard a possibly apocryphal tale involving George Washington and, once again, pleaded not guilty through one of his lawyers. The arraignment in Federal District Court in Manhattan on Tuesday capped a series of three pretrial court dates for Mr. Silver, a ritual extended by prosecutors' decision last week to add a new charge to the original indictment: an accusation that Mr. Silver hid illegal gains through investments. On Tuesday, Mr. Silver's lawyers, Steven Molo and Joel Cohen, signaled their intention to file additional motions to dismiss based on the expanded indictment. Judge Valerie E. Caproni set a trial date for Nov. 2." For the complete article, click here.

"Big City Book Club Discusses 'The Island at the Center of the World'," New York Times, 4/28/15. "The Big City Book Club is discussing Russell Shorto's best-selling and lively history of Dutch settlement in New York, 'The Island at the Center of the World,'" says The New York Times. The article is an assemblage of questions and comments beginning with these: "Q: Russell, as you lay out in the prologue, the book was essentially made possible because of the translation of thousands of pages of documents by a committed scholar, from an antiquated strain of Dutch, which had been sitting in an archive in Albany. Not every writer, necessarily, would have taken such a keen interest in all the arcana. Can you tell us a bit about your relationship to New York, and particularly its history, prior to this discovery?" Shorto's answer was (in part) as follows: " I loved New York and was living in the East Village, just down the street from St. Mark's in the Bowery, where Peter Stuyvesant is buried. And looking at his marker (which, by the way, has several errors of fact on it), I started to wonder about the reality underneath the cartoonish image I had of the Dutch who founded the place. Then, as you say, I got to know Charles Gehring, who has been translating and publishing the archives of the Dutch colony of New Netherland since 1974. And I learned there is a lively group of scholars who have grown up around his work." For the complete article, click here.

"New York Law School to launch joint programs with business school it's sharing TriBeCa space with," Crain's New York Business, 4/28/15. "The University of Rochester's Simon Business School is moving downtown to TriBeCa, where it will take space in an academic building owned and occupied by New York Law School," says Crain's New York Business. "The Simon Business School, which has about 200 students in the city, is relocating to 185 West Broadway, between Worth and Leonard streets, from 1601 Broadway in midtown. Its new space will offer students a more traditional academic environment - a library, dedicated classroom space and other amenities such as an auditorium and meeting rooms." The article says that, "Both schools will be able to occupy 185 West Broadway because Simon Business School's programs are offered only on weekends, while New York Law School runs classes during the week and on weeknights." For the complete article, click here.

"NYC's Top 10 Biggest Landlords," Commercial Observer, 4/29/15. "Any look at a power list should include a glance at the raw data. The city's four biggest landlords control nearly 20 percent of the market, blowing away the rest of the building owners, according to data compiled by CoStar Group," and reported in the Commercial Observer. "The list includes existing office buildings, as well as those under construction and under renovation. Brookfield Asset Management has the biggest market share of property in New York City (4.98 percent) with 27.5 million square feet, as ranked by rentable building area, followed closely behind by SL Green Realty Corp. (4.93 percent) with 27.2 million square feet. Vornado Realty Trust ranked third (4.46 percent) with 24.7 million square feet." The article notes that, "All together, the 10 top landlords control 30 percent of the city's properties." For the complete article, click here

"Eataly move put on hold after 4 WTC delay," New York Post, 4/27/15. "An expected move of Eataly's corporate headquarters closer to its flagship Italian market at 200 Fifth Ave. remains 'pending,' raising questions about whether it's somehow due to delay at its 41,000 square-foot satellite at 4 World Trade Center," says the New York Post. "The great Italian food market/restaurant complex is poised to move its offices to 45 W. 23rd St., next door to 200 Fifth. It will grow to 14,000 square feet from 3,000 square feet at 45 E. 20th St., and hopes to move this summer. The relatively small deal was widely expected to have closed by now. Could the fact that it hasn't be related to Eataly's continued, frustrating inability to take possession at 4 WTC, where Mario Batali, Joe Bastianich and company are itching to start work?" For the complete article, click here.

"The first Starbucks express cafe opens on Wall Street," Daily News, 4/30/15. "Starbucks offered a new perk for busy Wall Street workers on Thursday with the chain's first-ever express store," the Daily News reports. "Just don't expect to get a seat - or the Seattle chain's elaborate blender beverages, like Mocha Frappuccinos. The new café on Wall St. opposite the New York Stock Exchange is an 'espresso shot' version of the full-store experience, with no chairs or tables, and a menu limited to drinks and food that can be made quickly, including brewed coffee, espresso beverages and food items like breakfast sandwiches." For the complete article, click here.



 

Downtown bulletin board
FIDI LIONS COLLECT RELIEF MONEY FOR NEPAL; BEACH VOLLEYBALL; FOCUS GROUPS AND TOWN HALL MEETINGS ON AGING; SAILORS BALL

Tickets are still available for the 18th Annual Sailors Ball, a fundraiser for the NY Harbor Sailing Foundation, which will take place on Friday, May 1 at the Downtown Association. For more information and tickets, click here.
(Photo: Courtesy of the Mahattan Sailing Club)

Financial District Lions Club raises money for Nepal relief effort: Terry Paladini-Baumgarten,
president and founder of the New York Financial District Lions Club, vividly remembers what happened in Lower Manhattan on 9/11. Helplessly, she watched victims of the terrorist attack jump from the burning towers. "We are grateful for our lives, but all this motivated me to do something for others in need," she wrote in the aftermath of the attack. That's why she founded the Financial District Lions Club, part of an organization started in 1917 whose mission is to "empower volunteers to serve in their communities, meet humanitarian needs, encourage peace and promote international understanding." From funds collected around the world, Lions Clubs International has already sent $1 million to help the victims of the Nepal earthquake. The Financial District Lions Club is helping in this effort by collecting donations to aid the victims. Funds collected will be sent to the Lions Clubs International for distribution to where the money is most needed, with 100 percent of funds contributed going to the Nepalese. To donate through Pay Pal, click here. To donate through the FiDi Lions Club website, click here.

Focus groups and Town Hall meetings on aging: On June 3, the New York Academy of Medicine will be conducting a focus group on aging at the Battery Park City library, 175 North End Ave., from 10 a.m. to noon. The NYAM is looking for a maximum of 12 people aged 55 or older, to participate. Each participant will be paid $20. All information will be kept confidential. To sign up, call Anushka Gopilall at (212) 822-7237 or email agopilall@nyam.org.

 

In addition to this focus group, City Councilmember Margaret Chin, who chairs City Council's Committee on Aging, hosted a town hall meeting on May 1 and is hosting one on June 5 to discuss issues affecting the elderly. The May 1 town hall was co-sponsored by Community Boards 1, 2 and 3 and took place at the City Hall Senior Center, 100 Gold St.

 

The June 5 town hall will be held at the Educational Alliance, 197 E. Broadway from 10 a.m. to noon. To attend, send an email to Xiaomin Zhao at XZhao@council.nyc.gov.    

 

Beach volleyball at Pier 25:
Kids in grades 6 through 12 can sign up for Beach Volleyball instruction and games at Pier 25 in Hudson River Park. The League runs from May 15 to July 17 on Friday evenings from 6:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. The program is free for Downtown Community Center members. The fee for non-members is $25. Sponsorships are needed. Email jim@manhattanyouth.org to become a sponsor. To register, click here.

Charrette at Trinity Wall Street: On Saturday, May 2, Trinity Wall Street will hold the third of six charrettes in which all members of the community are invited to comment on the building that Trinity plans to erect at 74 Trinity Place. The design and use of the proposed building are on the table. Everyone who lives or works in Lower Manhattan is invited to participate in the conversation. Place: St. Paul's Chapel (Broadway at Fulton Street). Time: 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. Free. For more information, click here.

Battery Park City Parks Conservancy summer programming: The Battery Park City Parks Conservancy organizes free art, gardening, science, yoga, tai chi and sports programs that run from early May through late October in BPC's parks. The programs are for children as young as three years old to adults. Some are drop-in programs. Others require advance registration. For more information, click here.

Malaysian Kitchen grand opening:
The newest restaurant to open in Battery Park City,
Chicken satay, grilled and marinated with spices and served with a spicy peanut sauce.  
Malaysian Kitchen at 21 South End Ave., overlooking South Cove, held its grand opening on April 18. Malaysian cuisine reflects the historical influences of the English, the Portuguese and the Dutch, and the country's present connection to its Southeast Asian neighbors. Malaysian Kitchen is open daily from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. It will deliver. The phone number is (212) 786-1888. For more information about Malaysian Kitchen, click here.

Sailors Ball: The 18th Annual Sailors Ball, a fundraiser for the NY Harbor Sailing Foundation, will take place on Friday, May 1 at the Downtown Association. The Foundation, a project of Michael Fortenbaugh's Manhattan Sailing Club, created the first junior sailing programs in New York Harbor. All proceeds from the black-tie Sailors Ball go toward scholarships for the junior and teen programs. Dancing from 9 p.m. to 1 a.m. (tickets are $120 at the door) follows a sit-down dinner ($250 a person for those who choose to attend the dinner). This year, the post-dinner festivities will also include a casino with black jack, craps and roulette tables. Place: 60 Pine St. For more information and tickets, click here.

Mini Mates at the South Street Seaport Museum:
The South Street Seaport Museum will now have two classes for its popular Mini Mates program - Thursdays, April 16 to June 4 and Fridays, April 17 to June 5. The Mini Mates program enables children ages 18 months to 4 years and their parents or caregivers to engage in fun and educational activities under the guidance of a museum educator. Classes will be offered on two different days in order to minimize class size while allowing more families to participate. Both Thursday and Friday sessions will offer the same program. A typical Mini Mates class includes unstructured play time, music-making, hands-on learning activities, art-making, reading and snack time. Themes include holidays, the changing seasons, nature, and the Seaport neighborhood. Place: 12 Fulton St. Time: 10 a.m. to 11:15 a.m. Fee: $200. A deposit of $100 is required at registration. To reserve, email education@seany.org or call (212) 748-8753. Registration is now open.

I Love My Park Day at Hudson River Park: Join the Friends of Hudson River Park on Saturday, May 2 for the fourth annual I Love My Park Day. Hudson River Park is one of many parks throughout the state that are participating in the program, which was created to improve and enhance New York's parks and historic sites and bring visibility to the entire park system and its needs. From 10 a.m. to 1 p.m., volunteers will assist in general maintenance and park beautification, including cutting back grasses, planting, invasive species removal and mulching. Water and tools will be provided. All ages are welcome. Participants should bring a snack. Registration is required. For more information, click here.

Downtown Little League opening day photo gallery: The Downtown Little League kicked off its 2015 season on April 18. This year, there will be just under 1,100 players on 81 teams. For photos of the opening day, click here.

Whitney Museum of American Art photo gallery: The Whitney Museum of American Art at 99 Gansevoort St. opens to the public on May 1. On May 2, the museum will offer free admission and a block party on Gansevoort Street. For photographs of the Whitney Museum's new building and of its opening exhibition, click here.


TRINITY WALL STREET'S BLACK MUSIC FESTIVAL COMMEMORATES THE 150TH ANNIVERSARY OF THE END OF SLAVERY IN THE UNITED STATES
 

A display depicting a slave burial at the African Burial Ground National Monument. 
(Photo: Terese Loeb Kreuzer) 

On Jan. 31, 1865, slavery was officially abolished in the United States. Trinity Wall Street is commemorating this anniversary with four days of African-American music including anonymous spirituals and the work of some celebrated black composers. On the last day of the festival, vocalist and conductor Bobby McFerrin will perform with the Trinity Wall Street choir. All events are free. The schedule is as follows:

May 7: Composer Portrait: Mary Lou Williams. The Chris Pattishall Quintet plays Williams' "Zodiac Suite" (arr. Pattishall). Place: Trinity Church, Broadway at Wall Street. Time: 1 p.m.

May 8: Spirituals: Dett through Dawson and Hogan through Thurston. The Choir of Trinity Wall Street performs spirituals (By and by; Deep River, Go down, Moses; Nobody knows the trouble I see; Steal away) with Stanley Thurston, guest conductor. Place: Trinity Church, Broadway at Wall Street. Time: 7 p.m.

May 9: Composer Portrait: Trevor Weston. The Choir of Trinity Wall Street conducted by Julian Wachner performs Trevor Weston's Truth tones; O Daedalus, fly away home; The gentlest thing; My heart hath trusted in God; Visions of glory; Given sound; Rivers of living water; Ashes; Messe Ancienne; Maa'at musings. Place: Trinity Church, Broadway at Wall Street. Time: 7 p.m.

The concert will be followed by a Reggae Dance Party: Bob Marley's Soulful Celebration. Place: St. Paul's Chapel, Broadway at Fulton Street. Time: 9 p.m.

May 10: Choral Eucharist. Duke Ellington's Sacred Service will be performed by the Choir of Trinity Wall Street, Julian Wachner, conductor, at the 11:15 worship service. At 2 p.m., the festival finale will feature Circlesongs with Bobby McFerrin and the Choirs of Trinity Wall Street. Place: Trinity Church at Broadway and Wall Street.    



CALENDAR: Week of April 27


From May 1 to May 3, Save Our Seaport and the Metropolitan Waterfront Alliance will host walks throughout the historic South Street Seaport District both inland and along the waterfront as part of The Municipal Arts Society's Jane's Walk 2015 in New York City that celebrate the legacy of the great urban activist, Jane Jacobs. For more information, click here. (Photo: Terese Loeb Kreuzer)

May 1: This will be the 14th year that the Sunset Singing Circle has been held on Friday evenings in Battery Park City, led by singer/guitarist Terre Roche. As the sun sets over the Hudson River, novice and experienced singers sit on the lawn and sing folk songs (with words provided in the Sunset Singing Circle Songbook). Players of acoustic instruments are encouraged to add their skills to the mix. Place: Wagner Park. Time: 7 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. Free. For more information, click here.

May 1: Save Our Seaport and the Metropolitan Waterfront Alliance will host walks throughout the historic South Street Seaport District both inland and along the waterfront as part of The Municipal Art Society's Jane's Walk 2015 in New York City that celebrate the legacy of the great urban activist, Jane Jacobs. Save Our Seaport will conduct walks of the historic district, the museum, and the waterfront. The Metropolitan Waterfront Alliance will conduct a walk entitled, "Towering Masts to Towers: A Conversation about the Past, Present and Future of the Seaport. Walks will depart from the Titanic memorial lighthouse at Fulton and Water Streets. Save Our Seaport walks: Time: May 1, 7 p.m.-8:30 p.m. Also, May 2, 11 a.m.-12:30 p.m. Also, May 2, 2 p.m.-3:30 p.m. On May 3, the Metropolitan Waterfront Alliance's walk takes place from 2 p.m. to 3:30 p.m. Free. For more information about the Save Our Seaport walk, click here. For more information about the Metropolitan Waterfront Alliance walk, click here.

May 1: Meet Workspace artists-in-residence in LMCC's Studios at 315 Hudson St. Over a three-day Open Studio event (May 1 to May 3), wander through the 50,000 square feet of space that the Lower Manhattan Cultural Council adapted for use as temporary artist studios and meet 32 visual artists, performing artists, and writers who have been working since September. There will be everything from new media projects to contemporary dance to explore, plus great views of the city from the 8th floor. On Saturday evening, May 2, writers-in-residence will read selections of their recent work. Times: Friday, May 1, 7 p.m.-9 p.m; Saturday, May 2, 1 p.m.-6 p.m.; Saturday, May 2, 6 p.m.-8 p.m. (for Open Texts with Writers-in-Residence); Sunday, May 3, 1 p.m.-6 p.m. Free. For more information, click here.

May 2: After a tour of the Skyscraper Museum's exhibition "Ten Tops," young designers will create a wearable skyscraper top hat. Inspired by William Van Allen's costume design for the Beaux-Arts Ball of 1931, kids will make a funky top hat modeled after their favorite tower. Ages 6+. The museum hosts a rotating repertoire of Family Programs on Saturday mornings, in which children engage with an educator to explore the principles of urbanism, architecture, and engineering through hands-on activities. Registration is requested by Friday at 5 p.m. Email education@skyscraper.org or call (212) 945-6324. For more information about the Skyscraper Museum, click here. Place: 39 Battery Place. Tickets: $5 per child. Free to Battery Park City residents (presented in partnership with the Battery Park City Authority).

May 2: Bring the whole family to celebrate the exhibit "Cerámica de los Ancestros: Central America's Past Revealed" at the National Museum of the American Indian. Through print making, playing wind instruments, playing animal bingo and making pendents, children will learn about animal life in Central America. Also, May 3. Place: 1 Bowling Green. Time: 12 p.m. to 4:30 p.m. Free. For more information, click here.

May 3: Author Annette Libeskind Berkovits talks with her brother, architect Daniel Libeskind, about her new book, "In the Unlikeliest of Places: How Nachman Libeskind Survived the Nazis, Gulags and Soviet Communism." Nachman Libeskind, their father, was a Polish Jew who narrowly escaped two murderous totalitarian systems and made his way to Israel and ultimately, to New York City, where he built a new life as a Modernist painter. Place: Museum of Jewish Heritage, 36 Battery Place. Time: 2:30 p.m. Tickets: $15; $12 (museum members). To buy tickets, click here.

Through May 23: Poets House in Battery Park City presents Edward Sanders' "Seeking the Glyph." During the course of a long and diverse career as a poet, musician, historian, publisher, activist and pacifist, Sanders has invented a glyphic alphabet - a colorful script of hand-drawn characters, symbols, and graphemes. He says that, "A glyph is a drawing that is charged with literary, emotional, historical or mythic, and poetic intensity." This exhibition shows selected drawings and daybooks authored by Sanders between 1962 and the present. Place: 10 River Terrace. Time: Tues.-Fri., 11 a.m. to 7 p.m.; Sat., 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Free. For more information, click here.

Ongoing: "Cerámica de los Ancestros: Central America's Past Revealed" displays 155 ancient objects from the National Museum of the American Indian's rarely seen collections of Central American ceramics. The exhibition examines seven regions representing distinct Central American cultural areas that are today part of Belize, Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua and Panama, where Central America's first inhabitants lived. Dating back to 1000 B.C., the ceramics help tell the story of the innumerable achievements of these ancient civilizations, each with unique, sophisticated ways of life, value systems and arts. Through January 2017. Place: 1 Bowling Green. The National Museum of the American Indian is open daily from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., and on Thursdays, until 8 p.m. Free. For more information, click here.  

Ongoing: The Museum of Jewish Heritage presents "Designing Home: Jews and Midcentury Modernism," an exhibition that explores the cultural context in which many Jewish émigré architects and designers created a distinctly modern American design that still has wide appeal today.  Walk-up tours will be offered on Sundays in May (except May 24) at 12 p.m. with no reservations necessary. Through January 2016. Place: 36 Battery Place. For more information, click here.

Ongoing: The Skyscraper Museum's new exhibition, "Ten Tops," surveys all buildings in the world today, completed or under construction, that are 100 stories and taller. Of these 24 towers, the exhibition focuses on 10 (plus a few more), zooming in on their uppermost floors to see how they were designed and constructed. Through September 2015. Place: 39 Battery Place. Hours: Noon to 6 p.m., Wednesdays to Sundays. Admission: $5; $2.50 (students and seniors). For more information, click here.

Ongoing: Every Tuesday through May 9, Hudson Eats at Brookfield Place presents a variety showcase of live music, games, story time, magic, puppetry and more followed by a movie for the whole family. Time: Shows at 11 a.m. and noon. Movies at 1 p.m. Free. 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: "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: "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: "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: The lobby of the South Street Seaport Museum at 12 Fulton St. on Schermerhorn Row is open three 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 info@seany.org. Lobby access: Fridays to Sundays, 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.
 
Buy tickets now: On June 8 at 6 p.m., Poets House will once again embark on a poetic pilgrimage across the Brooklyn Bridge, stopping along the way to listen to NYC-inspired poetry and ending on the Brooklyn side of the bridge with dinner, wine and more poetry. This is the 20th anniversary of the fundraising event. All proceeds help make possible the hundreds of free and affordable public programs that Poets House presents each year. Tickets start at $250; ($225 for Poets House members). Reservations are required. To buy tickets online, click here. For details or to make reservations, contact Krista Manrique at (212) 431-7920, ext. 2830 or email krista@poetshouse.org
 

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Editor: Terese Loeb Kreuzer

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