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News and Events
in Lower Manhattan
Volume 2, No. 72  Oct. 31, 2015

Quote of the day: 
"I spoke to the officers at the First Precinct. They say that they are overworked as it is. In their opinion, this would be a disaster because they would not have the resources to come down every time a violation is being committed. It's ludicrous."
     - Joe Puleo, president of Local 983, DC 37, commenting on the Battery Park City Authority's decision to replace most of the Parks Enforcement Patrol officers in Battery Park City with security guards from a private firm who (unlike the PEPs) would have no law enforcement powers 

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* Battery Park City Authority hires private security firm to replace most PEPs 
* Calendar: Weeks of Oct. 26 and Nov. 2
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MASTHEAD PHOTO: The trompe l'oeil floor in the foyer of Gracie Mansion. Oct. 23, 2015. (Photo: Terese Loeb Kreuzer) 

Sgt. Phuchon Srisuro of the BPC Parks Enforcement Patrol reporting to Community Board 1's Battery Park City Committee on Sept. 1, 2015. (Photos: Terese Loeb Kreuzer)

No one who reads the New York State Contract Reporter regularly or who studies the list of RFPs and business opportunities on the Battery Park City Authority's website would have been totally surprised when the BPCA announced at its board of directors meeting on Oct. 27 that it had hired a firm called AlliedBarton Security Services to replace most of BPC's Parks Enforcement Patrol officers.

But this was stunning news to many in the Battery Park City community. "The decision was out of the blue and it's not clear at all what the reason is," said Anthony Notaro, who heads Community Board 1's Battery Park City Committee. "Losing the enforcement power of the PEPs is a problem that needs to be explained and addressed."

PEPs have been handling security in BPC for more than two decades. There are currently around 42 PEPs charged with patrolling Battery Park City's parks and gardens. Parks Enforcement Patrol officers are sworn law enforcement personnel who have the legal authority to detain and question suspects, issue summons and make arrests when needed. Though otherwise unarmed, they are equipped with handcuffs, batons, and pepper spray.

The AlliedBarton personnel would have no enforcement powers or physical deterrents. The Battery Park City Authority is referring to them as "ambassadors."

"These Battery Park City Ambassadors will be dressed in clearly marked uniforms and will be trained in the rules of our parks and on courteous interactions with the public - the latter being of utmost importance to the Authority," said Robin Forst, the BPCA's spokesperson. "Ongoing training will be part of the program. AlliedBarton will be providing BPC with at least two supervisors per shift and an account manager. The account manager is a retired member of the NYPD."

Forst said that AlliedBarton would interface with the PEP officers, "who are expected to continue to be an important presence throughout Battery Park City. The numbers of PEP and AlliedBarton staff will be worked out over the next several weeks."

The Battery Park City Authority's contract with AlliedBarton is for one year at $2.1 million a year with an option to renew for two years. The current annual budget for PEPs is around $2.5 million, paid to the New York City Department of Parks and Recreation. The new arrangement would not save the Battery Park City Authority money as the difference between the total budget and what AlliedBarton receives would go to the remaining PEPs.
According to the Battery Park City Authority, "Allied Barton's Ambassadors will have hand held devices as part of their equipment that will be able to track complaints and incidents electronically with geocoding for even greater location accuracy. This will allow for rapid electronic notification of any issues to the Authority, the Parks Conservancy and the NYPD when necessary. This electronic tracking of complaints will also allow data analysis to assess where there may be issues of concern that need to be targeted for additional follow up."

Joe Puleo, president of Local 983, DC 37 - the union that represents the PEPs - said that this is a cockeyed idea and is not going to work. "The people who would be replacing the PEPs for the most part do not have any law enforcement powers," he said, "and the PEPs can't perform their function without it being implemented the way it is. You can't have an operation with a handful of individuals who are being asked to coordinate with another group who are operating independently."

Puleo said that the Parks Department would probably not consent to have PEPs officers work under these conditions because it would jeopardize their safety. He also said that the union was considering trying to get an injunction to keep the transfer to AlliedBarton from going through.

"If this does goes through - and we're trying to prevent it - AlliedBarton would run this operation in its entirety and the only help that they would get would be from the NYPD," he said. "I spoke to the officers at the First Precinct. They say that they are overworked as it is. In their opinion, this would be a disaster because they would not have the resources to come down every time a violation is being committed. It's ludicrous."

On Thursday night, two days after the AlliedBarton deal surfaced, Local 983 had staff members distributing fliers outside a meeting of the Gateway Plaza Tenants Association that was held at St. Joseph's Chapel. "Battery Park City residents demand public safety, not customer service," the fliers said. "We do not need 'Customer Service Agents' who are unable to enforce the law and will be unable to protect not only the residents of Battery Park City but the millions of people who visit our parks annually. Employing people with handheld devices, as the BPCA has contracted for, to pass along information to law enforcement is no substitute for sworn Peace officers in life-threatening situations."

The flier slammed the Battery Park City Authority "for once again making a behind-closed-door deal without asking the residents and the community."

Puleo said that Local 983's objection to the AlliedBarton deal was not because any PEPs would lose their jobs. If they are forced to leave Battery Park City, they will be reassigned, he said. But, he explained, "These people have been in the community so long that they consider the residents as part of their family. It's just a matter of them putting so much effort into this community."  

Battery Park City's relationship with the PEPs has not always been serene. In the past, some residents complained about lackadaisical policing and even harassment. But in the last year,
Capt. Paige Lener
under Capt. Paige Lener, the PEPs have generally been well received. Among other improvements, a PEPs officer has come to every Community Board 1 Battery Park City Committee meeting to answer questions and to report on the significant events of the previous month. There have been numerous quality-of-life interventions (alcohol and drug use, smoking in the parks, off-leash dogs, and the like) and some serious situations involving suicide prevention, a lost child and an occasional robbery.

"Why would you replace a proven law enforcement outfit with sworn officers with somebody that has limited capability?" Puleo asked rhetorically.

Moreover, AlliedBarton has a dubious reputation. On July 22, 2014, the Daily News reported that AlliedBarton had failed to give 143 employees, who were posted at New York City Transit office buildings, the correct wages and benefits and had been slapped by NYC Comptroller Scott Stringer's office with a $1.3 million settlement for back wages, interest and a fine.

Even without that underpayment, Puleo noted that AlliedBarton security workers earn around $12 an hour - or $23,281 in total annual compensation compared with the $37,000 annually paid to the PEPs. The low wages cause high turnover, Puleo said. He also said that the training that the AlliedBarton security staff receives is minimal and that background checks are perfunctory. The main requirement for getting a security guard job with AlliedBarton is to have a high school diploma or the equivalent.

In June 2015, AlliedBarton's owner, Blackstone, sold the company to Wendel, a French investment firm, for $1.67 billion. It remains to be seen what effect this will have on the way AlliedBarton is managed. Though the company posted revenues of $2.18 billion for the 12 months ending March 31, 2015, AlliedBarton's new owners were probably happy with the $2.1 million they will make annually from Battery Park City if the deal goes through as announced.

AlliedBarton is supposed to start working in Battery Park City in mid-November.

In the meantime, members of Community Board 1's Battery Park City Committee will be asking a lot of questions. "We need more information to understand the impact on our community," said the committee's vice chairperson, Ninfa Segarra. "It does concern me that government unionized employees with authority to patrol our parks are being replaced by outsourcing to a private firm." She wondered whether a private security firm would have the authority to require the public to respond to them on park land.

And New York State Senator Daniel Squadron has been wondering whether it's time for the Battery Park City Authority to pack its bags and leave. The AlliedBarton deal is just the latest in a string of BPCA decisions that have blindsided the community or gone against its widely expressed will. Only one member of the BPCA board is a Battery Park City resident and comments from the other board members have often made it painfully clear that they knew little or nothing about Battery Park City.

Squadron will be present at the next Community Board 1 Battery Park City Committee meeting, which is scheduled for Monday, Nov. 2 at 6 p.m. in the Municipal Building, 1 Centre St., in the 19th floor elevator meeting room. It's a fairly large room, but it may not be large enough. The public is invited to attend and to participate in the discussion.

- Terese Loeb Kreuzer 
Officers from the Parks Enforcement Patrol (PEPs) were present during a CERT drill on March 12, 2011 to help let passers-by know what was going on.

BitsBits & Bytes
Red Hook, Brooklyn. In the next few days, the fate of the iconic ocean liner S.S. United States will be announced. Will it have to be scrapped or can it be saved? John Quadrozzi, who owns the Red Hook docks, has taken an interest in the ship and may be the savior that it needs. See articles, referenced below. (Photo: Terese Loeb Kreuzer)

"The financial district's most bullish block,"
Crain's New York Business, 10/22/15. "William, Pearl, Wall and Pine streets form one of the financial district's most bullish blocks, whose buildings encapsulate capitalism's creative and destructive forces," says Crain's New York Business. "On one end resides New York's monument to the industry that revs its economic engine: the Museum of American Finance, which is located inside 48 Wall St., built 87 years ago originally to house the Bank of New York. In the middle, dominating the block, rises the massive 60 Wall St., built by JPMorgan Chase in the 1980s to be its headquarters, and acquired later by Deutsche Bank, which sold it for what was then the biggest sum ever in downtown Manhattan. American International Group made its headquarters in this area, too, with two adjoined buildings, one on Pine and the other on Wall; but the company had to unload them in the wake of the Great Recession, capitalism's latest great crisis, in which AIG played a leading role. Now, as has been the case with so many of the city's older buildings possessing architectural verve, developers have swooped in, converting one of the buildings into a high-end condo." For the complete article, click here.

"WTC Performing Arts Center Changes Vision To Match Budget,", 10/22/15. Citing the Wall Street Journal as its source, reported that, "The World Trade Center Performing Arts Center, or PAC WTC as it wants to be known, is adapting to its current financial situation changing its vision for the future. At one point, the center was to have a 1,000-seat auditorium. As of January, the plan was for three combinable theaters seating 550, 350, and 150 people. Now, with the budget cut from $350 million (or $400 million) to just $200 million, the plan calls for two combinable theaters seating 600 to 700 people and 200 people with two upstairs venues that could be either theaters or rehearsal studios. The building, located in between One World Trade Center and 2 World Trade Center, would be three- to four-stories-tall." For the complete story, click here.

"Two Manhattan Homes Connected by a Sky Bridge Seek $50 Million," Wall Street Journal, 10/22/15. "A three-story townhouse and a one bedroom apartment connected by Manhattan's Staple Street sky bridge are listing altogether for $50 million," says the Wall Street Journal. "Bridge excluded, the unusual Tribeca home offers about 6,300 square feet of living space, according to real-estate agent Kaptan Unugur of Nest Seekers International, who is listing the property with colleague Ryan Serhant. The roughly 4,400-square-foot townhouse has a roof terrace, Mr. Unugur said, while the one-bedroom condo measures about 1,900 square feet." For the complete article, click here.

"What's the Deal With This Wood-Covered Tribeca Loft?", 10/26/15. casts a critical eye on a three-bedroom Tribeca apartment, "which has wood paneling pretty much everywhere - on the floor, on the ceiling, on the cabinets, and even in the columns that are dotted throughout the space. Why all the wood? It's unclear - there's not much information out there on the owners of the space, but we can guess that they must have gone on a meditation retreat at some point. That's the only way to explain the rustic-chic interiors, with billowing curtains and Moroccan-style pendant lights, which extends all the way to the expansive outdoor space (which also has a wooden pergola)." The apartment is listed at $5.5 million. For the complete article with photographs, click here.

"Tribeca Townhouse Sells For 309% More Than In 2001,", 10/28/15. "If there was any doubt that the New York City real estate market is out of control, chew on this: a Tribeca townhouse that sold for $3.885 million in 2001 is about to close for $15.9 million," says "To say it another way, that's $12.015 million, or 309-percent more, than it sold for 14 years ago." For the complete article, click here.

"Stage Set for Silver Trial to Begin Next Week," New York Law Journal, 10/29/15. "The government's claim that longtime Albany powerhouse Sheldon Silver used his position to extort money and win undeserved referral fees from two law firms will be put to the test next week in a federal courthouse in lower Manhattan," says the New York Law Journal. "Less than 10 months after he was charged in a kickback scheme and forced from his post as New York Assembly speaker, Silver and his legal team will mount an aggressive defense to undermine charges he raked in some $4 million without providing legal services. Jury selection begins Monday before Southern District Judge Valerie Caproni on the fourth floor of the Thurgood Marshall U.S. Courthouse, where prosecutors are trying to win the biggest conviction yet in the steady stream of public corruption cases brought by Southern District U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara." For the complete article, click here.

"Fate of S.S. United States to be decided next week,", 10/29/15. "The conservancy that owns the S.S. United States, and which set a save-it-or-scrap-it deadline of
The S.S. United States.
Saturday [Oct. 31], expects to meet early next week to decide the future of the fabled ocean liner," says "The agency's board plans to gather Monday or Tuesday and make an announcement soon afterward, a spokesperson said Thursday." The fastest ocean liner ever built, the S.S. United States was designed by William Gibbs, whose office was at 21 West St. in Lower Manhattan. For the complete article, click here.

"A Red Hook Reprieve for the S.S. United States?", 10/28/15. "The S.S. United States - the greatest ocean liner ever built in America, and the fastest ever built anywhere - has been retired for 46 years, waiting for a second act. But its hazy future may just have been clarified a little bit," says New York magazine. A savior may have been found in "John Quadrozzi, who owns the Red Hook docks," says the article. "What he is offering would include not just a berth but time: Since he owns the dock, he will stop that ticking timer, allowing the ship to be parked in Red Hook rent-free while everyone figures out the particulars of the development scheme. The local berth is curiously appropriate: Throughout its life, the ship's home port was the West Side piers, so it's effectively headed home." For the complete article, click here.

DowntownDowntown bulletin board
 The SeaGlass Carousel in Battery Park remains open through Dec. 31. It will close during January and February. For more information, click here.  
(Photo: Terese Loeb Kreuzer)

Stockings With Care:  Stockings with Care (SWC) was created 24 years ago by casting director (and Battery Park City resident) Rosalie Joseph and producer Tom Fontana to grant the gift wishes of children at the holiday time while preserving the dignity of parents and caregivers. The children make their wish lists, and social workers provide SWC with the name, gender and age of each child along with their wishes. Individual donors (aka "Santas"), corporations and an army of volunteers come together to purchase and wrap the gifts. They are then delivered anonymously to the parents before the holidays, ensuring dignity and creating holiday magic. Last year over 1,000 children woke up to a miracle on Christmas morning. Since its inception in 1992, over 40,000 children have benefited from Stockings with Care.

To raise money for Stockings with Care, New York's television and theatrical celebrities bartend at the annual "Stockings with Care Celebrity Bartending Night." This year, it will be on Monday, Nov. 16 at Hudson Station Bar and Grill (440 Ninth Ave. between 34th and 35th Streets) from 7 p.m. to 11 p.m. (You must be 21 or over to attend.)

There will also be a silent auction and raffle. All monies raised from this event will support Stockings with Care's 2015 Holiday Drive. A $30 cover will be charged in advance and $40 at the door and all tips raised by the celebrity bartenders will be donated to Stockings with Care. Tickets can be purchased for a further discount in advance via the Stockings with Care website at or

This year's Holiday Drive will take place the weekend of Dec. 10 to Dec. 13.

For more information about Stockings with Care or to sign up to be a "Santa," go to, Be A Santa or Donate. For additional information, email or call (917) 991-5975.

Affordable housing opportunity: The Related Management Company has announced that a building that it is currently constructing at 456 Washington St. in Tribeca will have 22 apartments for low-income residents. Half of these apartments will go to residents of Community Board 1. There will be five studio apartments for one person, six one-bedrooms for one or two people, and 11 two-bedrooms for two to four people. Rents range from $800 a month to $1,041. Annual household income requirements range from $28,800 a year to $51,780. To apply and for more information about this building, known as Bridge Land West, click here. Applications are due by Dec. 14, 2015.

Protecting birds: New York City is hazardous for birds. During migration seasons, corpses litter the ground around some skyscrapers because birds collide with the glass. In fact, over 900 million birds are killed every year by glass collisions. On Tuesday, Nov. 17, a panel of experts will talk about this problem and what can be done to address it. Hear Assemblymember Deborah Glick, Senior Member, Environmental Conservation Committee; Susan Elbin, Audubon Society, Director of Conservation and Science and Guy Maxwell, Partner, Ennead Architects. Place: The New School, 63 Fifth Ave., Room UL104. Time: 6:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. Free.

Trinity's Family Choir:
People of all ages and musical levels are welcome to join Trinity's Family Choir. The choir is made up of community singers who come together on a regular basis for music making, performance opportunities, fellowship, and creative renewal. Rehearsals take place one Saturday each month for singing on the following Sunday at the 9:15 a.m. service at St. Paul's Chapel and the 11:15 a.m. at Trinity Church. The choir is directed by Thomas McCargar. No long-term commitment is required; come when you can for fun, community-centered music making. For the full  2015 rehearsal/service schedule, click here.

Knickerbocker Chamber Orchestra at the Melville Gallery:
The Knickerbocker Chamber Orchestra, founded by South Street Seaport resident Gary Fagin in 2008, brings orchestral and chamber music performances and educational programs to the downtown community. Now, the orchestra will be performing regularly in the South Street Seaport Museum's Melville Gallery at 213 Water St. The orchestra's 2015-2016 season was scheduled to open at the Melville on Nov. 19 with a soirée-fundraiser entitled "Soundscape of Historic New York" - a musical tour of New York City's most iconic 19-century architectural treasures: Castle Clinton, Niblo's Garden, Carnegie Hall, the theaters of the Great White Way, and more, but the concert has been postponed until Feb. 29, 2016 because of a scheduling conflict.

Music workshop series at Trinity Wall Street
: On Thursdays from Oct. 8 to Nov. 19, Trinity's music staff is offering a new series of classes focusing on vocal skills, sight-reading, musicology, hymnology and more. The first session was on Oct. 8 to introduce the 2015-2016 season with a Q & A with Julian Wachner, Trinity's director of music and the arts. Future sessions are as follows: Nov. 5: Freedom songs - led by Melissa Baker; Nov. 12: Sacred works of J.S. Bach - led by Julian Wachner; Nov. 19: Healthy hymn singing: Vocal technique for the congregation - led by Thomas McCargar. Place: Trinity Church. Time: 6:15 p.m. Free.

Battery Park underpass closures: To facilitate post-Sandy restoration, full and partial overnight closures of the Battery Park Underpass will occur as follows: On Monday night, Nov. 2, a single lane of the North Tube (FDR Drive to West Street) will be closed starting at 10 p.m. and the full tube will be closed starting at midnight.  Both lanes will reopen on Tuesday at 5 a.m. On Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday nights, Nov.  3 through Nov. 5, a single lane of the South Tube (West Street to FDR Drive) will be closed starting at 10 p.m. and the full tube will be closed starting at midnight.  Both lanes will reopen on at 5 a.m. the next morning. On Friday night, Nov. 6, a single lane of the South Tube (West Street to FDR Drive) will be closed starting at 10 p.m. and the full tube will be closed starting at midnight. The South Tube will remain closed all day on Saturday so that NYS DOT can proceed with crosswalk repair. For more information, click here.

More free Wi-Fi in Lower Manhattan
: The Alliance for Downtown New York recently announced that more than one million square feet have been added to its free Wi-Fi network, bringing plans to provide access for the entire Lower Broadway corridor halfway to completion. In total, the Alliance now provides more than 3.7 million square feet of coverage throughout the district. The most recent addition to the network provides uninterrupted service on Broadway from the Battery to Trinity Church. The Downtown Alliance's network is free. For more information about the network, click here.
Downtown Post Portfolio: Downtown Post Portfolio is a feature in Downtown Post NYC, showcasing artists and photographers who live and/or work south of Canal Street or who create images (paintings, drawings, photographs) of Lower Manhattan.

To have your work considered for publication in Downtown Post Portfolio, send up to seven high-resolution jpeg files attached to an email to (One of the photos should be a picture of you.) Several of these photos will be published in Downtown Post NYC, along with a short artist bio and a statement about the work submitted, including whether or not it is for sale and how to purchase it.

Not all entries can be published. Copyright remains with the artist. Before publication, each contributor will be asked to sign a release stating that Downtown Post NYC has the right to publish the work in the emailed newsletter and in the Downtown Post archives, and that there is no payment.

South Street Seaport Museum on Schermerhorn Row: To see photographs of some of the
An exhibit about the Titanic in the spring of 2012 showed how the ship was depicted in movies and other media.
(Photo: Terese Loeb Kreuzer)
artifacts inside the South Street Seaport Museum's premises on Schermerhorn Row and photos of past exhibitions, click here.

Downtown Post Portfolio: Jay Fine: Jay Fine is a New York City fine-art photographer and photojournalist, based in Lower Manhattan whose work was featured in Downtown Post Portfolio (DPNYC, 5/6/15). To see some more of Fine's work on the Downtown Post NYC website, click here.

SeaGlass Carousel: After 10 years of design and fundraising and a setback named "Sandy," the SeaGlass Carousel in The Battery opened on Aug. 19 to universal critical acclaim and rapturous crowds. Downtown Post NYC was there for the opening. Read about the carousel and see photos by clicking here.

Taste of the Seaport 2015: The 6th Annual Taste of the Seaport brought more people than ever to the South Street Seaport on Oct. 17 for a fund-raiser to benefit arts education at the Spruce Street and Peck Slip Schools. More than 40 neighborhood restaurants participated, doling out "tastes" to the hungry crowd. There were also activities for kids and cooking demonstrations. For photos of this year's Taste of the Seaport, click here.

Last year's Halloween party at Brookfield Place. This year's Halloween fest takes place on Oct. 31 from noon to 3 p.m. in and around the Winter Garden.
(Photo: Terese Loeb Kreuzer)

Brookfield Place Halloween Party
: The annual Brookfield Place Halloween Party will take place on Halloween Day, Saturday, Oct. 31, from noon to 3 p.m., offering families a fun afternoon of free pumpkin carving, puppetry, storytelling, magic, live music, spooky science, a costume catwalk, and a costume parade finale.
In addition to trick-or-treating at Brookfield Place's French marketplace Le District, Hudson Eats, and children's boutique Babesta, kids and families can participate in three hours of free festivities, including:
    *    Pumpkin carving demonstration with professional carver Hugh McMahon, who will show off his astounding pumpkin creations and share some tricks of the pumpkin carving trade, with pumpkins provided by Le District
    *    A Spooky Science Lab, including hands-on, Halloween-themed experiments, led by Carmelo the Science Fellow
    *    A Costume Catwalk where kids can strut their stuff in full costume, get interviewed red-carpet style, and have their photos taken by a professional photographer
    *    The annual Brookfield Place Costume Parade led by celebrated "teaching band" The Deedle Deedle Dees, who will also bring their "rock-n-roll classroom" to the Brookfield Place stage throughout the day
    *    Larger-than-life skeleton puppets, Fred and Ethel, a Brookfield Place Halloween favorite
    *    Scary tales spun by acclaimed storyteller LuAnn Adams
    *    Out-of-this-world magic by The Great Charlini
    *    Interactive Magic Mirror by designer Michelle Cortese and Imagination in Space

For more information, click here.
Día de los Muertos/Day of the Dead: The entire family can celebrate Día de los Muertos/Day
Day of the Dead. (Photo courtesy of the National Museum of the American Indian)
of the Dead on Oct. 31 at the National Museum of the American Indian.Traditional dances honoring the ancestors will be performed by Cetiliztli Nauhcampa around a community ofrenda, or altar. Participants are encouraged to leave photographs of those departed or small tokens, such as food or drinks, to ensure the souls both find their way and are properly greeted. Hands-on activities include embellishing paper skull masks, decorating skeleton puppets, creating paper flowers and painting plaster skulls. Place: 1 Bowling Green. Time: Noon to 5 p.m. Free. For more information, click here.

Halloween Puppy Parade in Battery Park City: The 14th Annual BPC Dogs Halloween Puppy Parade will be held on Saturday, Oct. 31, starting at noon on the BPC esplanade at the South Cove arbor. The parade will proceed from South Cove to the plaza near the North Cove Marina (where the volleyball courts are usually set up) where dogs (and people who have dressed up for Halloween) will be judged on their costumes. Prizes will be awarded for Best Costume Large Breed; Best Costume Small Breed; Best Owner and Dog Combo; Best Dog Team Costume. A Tail-Wagging Contest for Small and Large Dogs will be held again this year. There will also be a raffle with exciting, new prizes. All dog owners and their dogs in costume should meet promptly at 11:50 a.m. on the esplanade at the South Cove arbor. The rain date is Sunday, Nov. 1, same time and place. Check if the weather looks bad Saturday morning or call Le Pet Spa at (212) 786-9070 for up-to-the-minute weather updates.

Halloween Kidz Karnival: Go to Pier 26 near North Moore Street in Hudson River Park on Oct. 31 for magic, storytelling, face painting, cotton candy, rides and more. Most attractions will appeal to kids aged 2 to 8 years old, but all ages are invited. Time: Noon to 5 p.m. Free admission. Some activities are free, while some cost $2. For more information, click here.

FiDi Families Halloween Festival: On Oct. 31, FiDi Families is staging a South Street Seaport Halloween party on Fulton Street between Front and Water Streets. It starts at 11 a.m. with pumpkin decorating for the first 200 children in costume. At 11:30 a.m., there will be a photo op with the AmazeBooths photobooth and a music for Aardvarks sing-a-long concert. The event concludes with a kids' costume parade at 12:30 p.m. For more information, click here.

Hauntings at Poets House: Drop in during the day to listen to classic spooky poetry, make a monster mask and write a spell or incantation on "ancient" paper. Place: Poets House, 10 River Terrace in Battery Park City. Time: 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Free. For more information, click here.

ArtsDowntown Post Arts

A painting by Francis Guy depicting Wall Street and the Tontine Coffee House as they looked in the 18th century. The painting is among the highlights of the current exhibit at Gracie Mansion. (Courtesy of the Gracie Mansion Conservancy) 

Gracie Mansion at 88th Street and East End Avenue was five miles outside of the New York City limits when Archibald Gracie built the house in 1799 as a country retreat for his family.
Gracie Mansion. (Photo: Terese Loeb Kreuzer)
Today, it's the residence of the mayors of New York City (when they choose to live there. Bloomberg didn't, but the de Blasios are in residence). Beginning on Nov. 10, this historic mansion will once again be open for tours. Visitors will be able, not only to admire the elegant Federal-period architecture, but to inspect a newly installed art exhibit called "Windows on the City: Looking Out at Gracie's New York."

In addition to art and artifacts that were previously on display, the exhibit includes 49 newly acquired works from the original Gracie Mansion period - roughly from 1763 to 1825. And since the city at that time consisted of what we now call "Lower Manhattan," these paintings, historical documents and artifacts show us in some detail what our few square miles were like a few hundred years ago.

"The show explores what was going around the Gracies and what contributed to the culture and the commerce that they inhabited and benefited from," said Paul Gunther, executive director of the Gracie Mansion Conservancy.

Gunther pointed out a
painting called "The Tontine Coffee House" that hangs over a couch in one of the rooms near the mansion's entrance. It shows the corner of Wall and Water Streets.

"The pier was called the Meal Market," he said. "What it really was was the second biggest
Pierre Toussaint, who arrived in New York City as a slave and became a noted philanthropist after he gained his freedom. His portrait is on exhibit at Gracie Mansion. (Courtesy of the New York Historical Society) 
slave market in America. It was right at the foot of Wall Street. In Gracie's time, in 1799, the Tontine was where they started trading scrip - government bonds. It's now what we would call the New York Stock Exchange. The first president of that exchange, as designated by Alexander Hamilton, was Archibald Gracie."

Above the fireplace in that room is a portrait of Archibald Gracie Jr. and an early piece of Canton ware that hints at the opening to Asia and the Chinese influence.

"There weren't many Asian residents in New York City, but the trade was beginning and they were very quick to jump on the market," Gunther remarked. "They were clever." The Canton ware depicts the New York State seal as it looked at its very earliest in the late 18th century.

Reflecting the interests of the ethnically and racially diverse "first family" that currently occupies Gracie Mansion, the "Windows on the City" exhibit explores New York City's diversity from its earliest years. 

The new pieces included as part of the "Windows on the City" installation fit broadly into five themes: the early days of the nation's founding; the experience of immigration and the working class; the confluence of rural and urban life in a growing city; global trade; and the disparities between the city's free and enslaved inhabitants. 
Highlights include stoneware from a free African American, a portrait of the daughter of the then-governor of Connecticut, Native American artifacts and a painting of downtown Brooklyn as it looked in 1820 - and more.

The collection also features "An Act for the Gradual Abolition of Slavery," more commonly known as "The Gradual Emancipation Act." The document was loaned to Gracie Mansion from the New York State Archives, a program of the New York State Education Department. In 1799 the New York State Legislature called for all current slaves to remain in servitude for the rest of their lives and for all children born after July 4, 1799 to receive their freedom in mid-adulthood. The original draft document is fragile ink on paper and will be replaced with a replica on November 1.

The new pieces have been curated by Kalia M. Brooks, consulting curator to the Gracie Mansion Conservancy, to create a more historically accurate picture of life in New York City during the time of Gracie Mansion's construction.

"The New York City experience has always been one of many peoples and many cultures. I'm delighted that this new installation will reflect our vibrant history - and remind us all that this city is always at its best when we make room for everyone," said Mayor Bill de Blasio. 
"The energy of many traditions and cultures has always propelled this city forward," said First Lady Chirlane McCray. "When we look back, we are reminded that diversity is this city's DNA. We flourish when we celebrate and encourage our bounty of difference. That's the story this installation tells."

- Terese Loeb Kreuzer

For information about how to tour Gracie Mansion, click here.

The Gracie Mansion ballroom. 

CalendarCALENDAR: Week of Oct. 26 and Nov. 2

Elle, a street and graffiti artist based in Brooklyn, some of whose work is currently on display at the World Trade Gallery, 120 Broadway. In this photo, she is standing in front of some of her paintings.  (Photo: Terese Loeb Kreuzer)
Nov. 1: The Museum of Jewish Heritage has been screening a week-long series of features, documentaries and short films under the title, "The Unseen Holocaust: Recent Polish Films."
The fall of communism ushered in a new era of candid and artistically accomplished Polish filmmaking about the Holocaust. Discussions with experts follow the screenings. See "Birthplace," a gripping murder mystery documentary that follows Polish-Jewish author Henryk Grynberg, who survived the war in hiding with his mother. Years later, he returns to his village in Poland to discover who killed his father and younger brother. Also on the program, a short film called "Inventory" about the restoration of Warsaw's famed Jewish cemetery by young Poles. Place: 36 Battery Place. Time: 2 p.m. Tickets: $15; $12 (museum members). For more information and to buy tickets, click here.

Nov. 2: The Tribeca Chamber Players will perform Mozart's C Major String Quintet, K. 515 following a short, open rehearsal. Place: Manhattan Youth Downtown Community Center, 120 Warren St. Time: 6:30 p.m. Free.

Nov. 5: Playwright, poet and filmmaker Liwaa Yazji will discuss her art-making as a means of exploring the way people relate to the unknown and endure crisis, sharing work created this fall while in residency at Poets House as a CEC ArtsLink Fellow. To accompany her first book of poetry, "Peacefully, we leave home" (2014), she directed a documentary film that examines the reflexive relationship between individuals and their homes, particularly during wartime. Place: Poets House, 10 River Terrace. Time: 7 p.m. Tickets: $10; $7 (seniors and students); free (Poets House members). For more information, click here.

Nov. 5: The South Street Seaport Museum in association with Archtober Architecture and Design Month present a walking tour entitled, "Hidden History of the Seaport's Fourth Ward" - the wickedest ward in the 19th century. The Port of New York was teaming with transient sailors looking for a good time in the district of vice and crime. New York's newspapers focused attention on the depravity on Water Street. Places like Kit Burns' "Sportsmen Hall" and John Allen's place were sailor's favorite. There was the Meyer's Hotel on South Street where Butch Cassidy and the Sundance kid hid out. The buildings are still there with interesting histories. Walk with us as we reveal the unspoken history of these buildings of the fifth ward and you can let your imagination run wild. Place: Leaves from 12 Fulton St. Time: 12:15 p.m. to 1:15 p.m. Tickets: $10; $8 (museum members); $5 (children). For more information and to buy tickets, click here.

Ongoing: "Emerging Artists from the Streets of Brooklyn" at the World Trade Gallery continues through Dec. 1. The gallery is open daily.  Place: 120 Broadway (entrance on Cedar Street). For more information about the World Trade Gallery, click here.

Ongoing: Work by Trevor Winkfield showcases his visionary contributions to the overall aesthetic of poetry publishing. Place: Poets House, 10 River Terrace in Battery Park City.  Exhibition will be on view through Jan. 10, 2016 during regular hours for Poets House. Free. For more information, click here.
: "Spirits of the Passage: Stories of the Transatlantic Slave Trade" on the museum ship Lilac at Hudson River Park's Pier 25 discusses aspects of the maritime trade in African slaves combined with profiles of slaves, former slaves, abolitionists and others whose lives were touched by this global traffic. The exhibit was created by the Mel Fisher Maritime Museum ( in Key West, Fla. Lilac received key funding from the Sandy Hook Pilots' Association ( to bring this exhibit to New York. Through Oct. 25. The ship is open from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m. Thursdays and 2 p.m. to 7 p.m. on Saturdays and Sundays. Lilac is the last steam-powered lighthouse tender in America and is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Launched on May 26, 1933, she carried supplies to lighthouses and maintained buoys for the U.S. Lighthouse Service and then the U.S. Coast Guard until she was decommissioned in 1972. For more  information about Lilac, click here.

Ongoing: "America in Circulation: A History of US Currency Featuring the Collection of Mark R. Shenkman," an exhibition at the Museum of American Finance, showcases around 250 rare examples of American paper money accompanied by large, interactive touch screen displays. From Colonial times, American money has told a fascinating story of the country's struggles and successes. Often local and national currencies competed and coexisted with each other, while economic depression, war and counterfeiting drove constant advances in design. The exhibition spans the period from the Colonial era to the present day. Highlights include rare examples of currency bearing the signatures of signers of the U.S. Constitution and Declaration of Independence; a complete set of notes from the Educational Series of 1896, renowned for being the most beautiful paper money in American history; and rare examples of high denomination notes including $5,000 and $10,000 bills. Through March 2018. To see an online version of the exhibition, click here. Place: 48 Wall St. Museum is open Tues.-Sat., 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Admission: $8; $5 (students and seniors); free (museum members and kids 6 and under). For more information, click here.

: "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 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 October 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: 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: Fraunces Tavern Museum's exhibition, "Lafayette," opened in May to complement the docking of the Marquis de Lafayette's replica ship, L'Hermione at the South Street Seaport over the July 4th weekend. It includes 20 items from the museum's collection such as Lafayette's calling card and the his sash, splashed with his blood from a wound sustained at the Battle of Brandywine. Through December 2016. 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. Lobby access: Fridays to Sundays, 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. For private tours of Schermerhorn Row and its old hotels, email
Buy tickets now: On Nov. 14, the Municipal Art Society of New York is offering a tour called "When New York was Nieuw Amsterdam." It will show what's left of old Dutch New York. Where were the windmills, the canals, the first church, and the fort? Where did the girls go to do the laundry, and where did the boys go to graze the cattle? In conjunction with the Dutch Days celebration, join guide Joe Svehlak for a look at New York's Dutch roots in Downtown Manhattan over four centuries ago. Walking Downtown's old streets and the original shoreline, learn about the Dutch legacy of commerce and tolerance. Hear about the diverse immigrant population, the problems they faced, and the part they played in the foundation of our democratic society. Place: Meeting place is sent with ticket purchase. Time: 11 a.m. Tickets: $30; $20 (Municipal Art Society members). For more information and to buy tickets, click here.  

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Editor: Terese Loeb Kreuzer

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