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News and Events
in Lower Manhattan
Volume 2, No. 73  Nov. 5, 2015

Quote of the day: 
"It's a miracle that these buildings are still standing."
     - Roger Byrom, chair of Community Board 1's Landmarks Committee, on three 19th-century buildings in Lower Manhattan that, for several decades, have languished on the Landmarks Preservation Commission's calendar for possible landmarking.

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* Landmarks hearing on Nov. 5 will consider three historic Lower Manhattan buildings 
* Calendar: Week of Nov. 2
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MASTHEAD PHOTO: An autumn garden on the Battery Park City esplanade, with Solomon's Seal and other plants. Nov. 2, 2015. (Photo: Terese Loeb Kreuzer) 

 Roger Byrom, chair of Community Board 1's Landmarks Committee, addressing a full board meeting on Oct. 27 about an upcoming hearing at the Landmarks Preservation Commission to landmark - or not - buildings that have been on the docket for decades, including three within Community Board 1's jurisdiction. (Photo: Terese Loeb Kreuzer)

A five-story, Italianate-style building has stood at 315 Broadway for 154 years - since retired linen merchant Thomas Suffern had it built as a speculative investment and soon thereafter leased it to the importing firm of Loder Brothers & Co.

Twenty-five years ago, the Landmarks Preservation Commission considered landmarking the building, but nothing happened. The stone palazzo, meant to evoke Italy's merchant princes, became one of 93 buildings and two historic districts with pending landmark designations, some of which stretched back decades. In December 2014, the recently appointed chair of the LPC, Meenakshi Srinivasan, proposed disposing of the backlog by simply erasing it and starting fresh.

But this plan didn't go over well. Preservationists said that the structures would not have been calendared by LPC if they weren't worthy of consideration. And so a new plan was devised. Each potential landmark would get a public hearing preceded by a review period of at least three months during which background materials would be posted and the public could make comments.

After that, there would be four special hearings organized by borough when each property
A slide showing the building at 143 Chambers St. that dates from 1861 and is one of three buildings in Community Board 1's jurisdiction in the Landmarks Preservation Commission's backlog. It was first calendared in 1989.  
would be presented and considered. And that is what's happening now. On Nov. 5 at 9 a.m., 315 Broadway will have its day in front of the Landmarks Preservation commissioners along with two other properties in Community Board 1 - a handsome mercantile building at 143 Chambers St. of similar vintage to 315 Broadway and the Excelsior Power Company Building at 33-43 Gold St. whose red brick facade bears the date "A.D. 1888" along with intriguing terra cotta detailing.

"It's a miracle that these buildings are still standing," said Roger Byrom, chair of Community Board 1's Landmarks Committee, on Oct. 27 when he presented resolutions supporting the landmarking of these properties to CB1's full board for a vote.

The resolutions described each of the three buildings as "wonderful" and they passed unanimously.

At the LPC hearing on Nov. 5, the Community Board 1 resolutions will become part of the record along with testimony from other interested parties. Speakers were asked to register in advance, but walk-ins will be accepted. Each speaker will have three minutes to be used either to address all three of the buildings, just particular items or to add comments to support written testimony.

Representatives from Tribeca Trust, a group that has been trying to protect Tribeca's architectural heritage, said they will be there to speak on behalf of 315 Broadway and 143 Chambers St. "These two buildings are in the areas that ought to be included in an extension to Tribeca's historic districts," Tribeca Trust said in an email.

At public meetings to take place early in 2016, LPC staff will present summaries of the testimony and written submissions for each item. Then the commissioners will do one of three things: prioritize designation for some items by December 2016, remove some items from the calendar by voting not to designate them or remove them from the calendar by issuing a "no action" letter. This would mean that the items would be taken off the calendar without prejudice and could be resubmitted.

Because of the decades that have passed in some cases between the original calendaring of a property and the current hearings, it's possible that some of them have been heavily altered in ways that would no longer make them candidates for landmarking.

Although 315 Broadway now has nondescript liquor and pizza stores on a ground floor that originally functioned as an attractive showroom, the Community Board 1 resolution in support of landmark designation noted that "the inappropriate in-fill storefronts can be replaced over time as with other landmarked buildings." A passer-by need only look up to see the building's large windows surrounded by inventive detailing and carefully modeled stonework.

The dark brown sandstone facade and arched windows of 143 Chambers St. also display its good bones despite a fire escape and construction scaffolding. As for 33-43 Gold St., it would be unlikely that anyone with an interest in architecture would walk down that narrow street without doing a double take at the bold brick arches that surmount the Art Nouveau lettering on a building that has somehow survived 127 years in a city that is more likely to trash its history than preserve it.

- Terese Loeb Kreuzer 
The Excelsior Power Co. on narrow Gold Street was an early and short-lived electric supply company. However, its striking Romanesque Revival building survived and was converted to apartments in 1979. (Photo: Terese Loeb Kreuzer) 

Bits & Bytes
The Brooklyn Bridge is one of four East River spans for which some City Council members have proposed tolls to help fund the MTA. (Photo: Terese Loeb Kreuzer)

"City Council members tout East River bridge tolls as a way of funding MTA," Daily News, 10/29/15. "The City Council's progressives backed a congestion pricing plan on Thursday as lawmakers look for ways to fund the region's transit system," says the Daily News. "There were 14 Democratic lawmakers in the council's Progressive Caucus who backed the MoveNY plan from traffic engineer 'Gridlock' Sam Schwartz in an anonymous vote among the group's 19 members. Several Progressive Caucus Council members from around the city met on the steps of City Hall to tout ways that the plan - tolling the East River bridges and Manhattan at 60th Street, while cutting fees on outer-borough spans - would help their districts. Manhattan lawmakers wanted less congestion from car traffic, while a Staten Island councilwoman wanted the sky-high tolls on the Verrazano Bridge cut." For the complete article, click here.

"Mark Bittman brings New York Times foodie fame to startup Purple Carrot," New York Business Journal, 11/2/15. "Followers of food writer's Mark Bittman's columns in the New York Times know him as an advocate for healthy, fresh and ethically sourced food and their curiosity was surely piqued after Bittman wrote a farewell column last month, revealing that he would be working for a startup," says the New York Business Journal. "Now, the mystery is solved: His next foodie venture turns out to be with Boston-based vegan meal kit delivery startup The Purple Carrot, which touts itself as the first exclusively whole food, plant-based service. Bittman will be the chief innovation officer ... He will be curating menus for the delivery service from The Purple Carrot's test kitchen in New York's Tribeca neighborhood, where the focus will be on healthy, honest and humane cooking and eating with fresh, GMO-free, local, organic and seasonal ingredients." For the complete article, click here.

Menin goes after debt collectors: Department of Consumer Affairs Commissioner Julie Menin is no longer a constant presence in Lower Manhattan as she was in the years when she chaired Community Board 1, but she has not been forgotten by those who knew her then and worked with her. On Nov. 4, she and Mayor Bill de Blasio announced that City investigations into debt collection agencies had found that nearly two dozen agencies were operating without a license or violating other consumer protection laws related to debt collection. In 2015, DCA entered into settlement agreements in all of the cases and secured more than $1 million in consumer restitution for nearly 4,800 consumers, as well as $1.3 million in fines. A court ruling also determined that DCA is authorized to regulate law firms that collect on debts in New York City.

"Approximately one in three New Yorkers feel they have too much debt and our regulatory power over this industry allows us to ensure that debt collectors are not engaging in unscrupulous practices when they collect on debts from these New Yorkers," said Menin. She said that the settlements would "ensure that the debt collection agencies correct their illegal practices."

DCA's ongoing work has included investigations into 23 debt collection agencies located in 15 states that collected from New York City residents. The City found that eight of these agencies were collecting, or trying to collect, on alleged debts from New York City residents without a DCA license. Anyone seeking to collect debts from New York City consumers must be licensed by DCA, regardless of where the debt collection agency is located. DCA also found agencies not verifying consumers' debt, suing consumers without verifying the debts, sending consumers incomplete information about their debt, not keeping proper records of their communications with consumers, and/or illegally collecting on payday loans, among other violations.
Two of the most egregious offenders were National Credit Adjusters, LLC (NCA) and Midland Credit Management, Inc. DCA's settlement with NCA is the largest settlement case in its history, with more than 4,600 New Yorkers eligible for refunds. NCA was formerly licensed by DCA and collected on illegal payday loans. New York is one of 15 states that prohibit high-interest short-term loans, including payday loans, which typically come due on the borrower's next payday. Midland Credit Management, Inc. routinely sued New York City consumers in court, submitting "robosigned" affidavits based on incomplete and inaccurate information, and without properly establishing the validity of the underlying debts. The settlement agreement requires Midland to conduct an audit of the cases it filed against New York City consumers, revise their practices, refund any who were improperly sued, and pay DCA $670,000 in fines and investigation costs.

DCA currently licenses 1,415 debt collection agencies from 47 states and multiple countries. For several years, complaints about abusive debt collection practices have been one of DCA's top two complaint categories. This year, to date, DCA has received 572 complaints about debt collectors, many about debts the consumer doesn't actually owe. Consumers can download DCA's Debt Collection Guide, check if a debt collector is licensed, file a complaint, or find out about free financial counseling at or by calling 311.

For the Department of Consumer Affairs Debt Collection Guide, click here.

"Another Twist at Trade Center Hub: Water Leak Delays Opening of Westfield Mall," New York Times,11/4/15. The New York Times reports that, "Everywhere, the shopping season is about to begin. Everywhere, that is, except at 'the most complete retail destination in New York City, the most alluring retail landmark in the world,' as the luxury Westfield World Trade Center mall describes itself. A persistent water leak is among the problems that have delayed the opening of the mall, which was supposed to be operating by now, to the first half of 2016. It is the latest setback to bedevil the World Trade Center Transportation Hub, the $3.7 billion rail terminal that will also house Westfield's $1.4 billion shopping center. The problems of building such a complex, if spectacular, structure have swollen its price tag to nearly double the estimate when plans were announced almost 12 years ago. Once the hub finally opens, an awe-struck public may forget the tribulations. But at the moment, they seem never-ending." For the complete article, click here.

Bits & Bytes
Southern District Assistant U.S. Attorney Carrie Cohen on Nov. 3 making her opening statement at the political corruption trial of Assemblyman Sheldon Silver, far left, with his attorneys Joel Cohen, second from left, and Steven Molo. (© Elizabeth Williams)

"Sheldon Silver made millions while speaker-only he did it legally, his defense team claims," Crain's New York Business, 11/3/15. "Defense attorney Steven Molo spoke to the jury in opening statements Tuesday at Sheldon Silver's federal corruption trial," says Crain's New York Business. "He says the once-powerful Democratic politician never broke the law by collecting millions of dollars in referral fees from law firms. He claims the 71-year-old Silver has a record of protecting the rights of tenants, not developers. He says Silver, who's a lawyer, can earn an unlimited outside income under the rules of the legislature. Assistant U.S. Attorney Carrie Cohen began opening statements earlier in the day by saying Silver used his 'enormous power' to make about $5 million illegally." For the complete article, click here

"Sheldon Silver Corruption Trial Begins With Opening Statements,", 11/03/15. "Did former Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver sell his office in exchange for kickbacks and bribes, or simply make legitimate outside income that prosecutors just don't like?" asks the Observer. com. "Those were the two narratives presented to jurors today in the Manhattan federal courthouse where Mr. Silver, still an assemblyman and once among the three most powerful men in the state, is standing trial on charges of honest services fraud, extortion and money laundering for allegedly taking more than $4 million in bribes and kickbacks. 'Power. Greed. Corruption,' Assistant U.S. Attorney Carrie Cohen began her opening statement today. 'This is a case about a powerful politician who betrayed those he was supposed to serve to line his pockets.' But Mr. Silver's defense attorney Steven Molo said the government simply disapproved of the entirely legal fact that Mr. Silver and other state lawmakers can hold outside employment and, instead of trying to change such laws - which he said will present 'inherent conflicts of interest' - the government was 'leveling false criminal charges against one of the senior legislative officers, senior government officials in this state.'" For the complete article, click here.

"Lawyers Offer Contrasting Views of Sheldon Silver as His Corruption Trial Starts," New York Times, 11/3/15. "For two decades, Sheldon Silver was one of the most powerful men in New York politics, his control and demands as speaker of the State Assembly virtually unchallenged," says The New York Times.  "And throughout that reign, prosecutors said on Tuesday, Mr. Silver capitulated to greed, taking illicit payments and 'selling his office.' The Times quotes the prosecutor, Carrie H. Cohen, who said that, "Year after year after year, Sheldon Silver was on the take." The Times says that Silver's lawyers presented a different view of their client's actions. "The government, one said, had 'twisted'  the sort of actions that state legislators routinely take into 'some kind of a criminal charge.' Depicting his client as a champion of affordable housing and of finding cures for cancer, the lawyer, Steven F. Molo, said: 'Make no mistake. Mr. Silver did not sell his office.'" For the complete article, click here.

"U.S. Portrays Silver as Figure of Power and Greed," New York Law Journal, 11/4/15. "Two starkly different narratives were put before a federal jury Tuesday during opening statements in the trial of former Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver for an alleged kickback and bribery scheme that netted him almost $4 million in lawyer referral fees," says the New York Law Journal. In Southern District Judge Valerie Caproni's courtroom, Assistant U.S. Attorney Carrie Cohen told the jury 'This is a case about a powerful politician who betrayed those he was supposed to serve in order to line his pockets.' Defense lawyer Steven Molo said that Silver is not guilty. "Molo told the jury there was nothing wrong with Silver accepting some $3 million in referral fees from Weitz & Luxenberg, to whom he steered asbestos clients recommended by Dr. Robert Taub of Columbia University Medical Center, after Silver arranged for Taub to receive a pair of $250,000 state research grants. And Molo said there was nothing wrong with Silver collecting more than $700,000 in referral fees from the tax certiorari firm of Goldberg & Iryami for referring as clients two major real estate developers. The prosecution alleges that Silver delivered legislative favors for the developers." Molo said that, "'The prosecution has adopted a point of view through dirty windows. They look at conduct that is legal, they look at conduct that is normal' and try to criminalize it. ...  "Molo, a partner with MoloLamken, portrayed the prosecution as naive as to how the world works with a citizen-legislature where outside income is expected." For the complete article, click here.

"Doctor admits quid pro quo with Silver, steering asbestos cases to the former speaker in exchange for $500,000 in state aid," Crain's New York Business, 11/4/15. Crain's New York Business reports that, "A doctor testifying as the government's star witness in its corruption case against New York's former Assembly speaker says he was 'terrified' when investigators approached him. Dr. Robert Taub told a Manhattan federal jury Wednesday that he lied when two investigators asked if he had referred asbestos victims to Sheldon Silver for legal representation. Taub said he later admitted referring over 25 clients to the powerful Democrat in the hopes Silver would help his research center. Taub is testifying under a non-prosecution agreement. He said the 71-year-old assemblyman began arranging $500,000 in state aid to his center months after he referred patients. The 79-year-old doctor said Silver also helped his children get jobs. Silver's defense team has denied charges that the former New York Assembly speaker made his millions through bribes or kickbacks." For the complete article, click here.

At the annual Gateway Plaza Tenants Association meeting on Oct. 29, Glenn Plaskin, president of the tenants' association and New York State Senator Daniel Squadron listened to a tenant complain about noisy parties and urination in the courtyard at the rear of the six building complex.  (Photos: Terese Loeb Kreuzer)

Gateway Plaza, with 1,712 apartments housing around 4,000 people is the largest residential complex in Battery Park City meaning that its problems tend to be large problems that take a long time to fix. So leaky windows that ice over in winter on the inside and lead to huge electric bills as tenants try to heat and cool their apartments have been on the Gateway Plaza Tenants Association agenda for years.

At the Oct. 29 tenants' association meeting, held at St. Joseph's Chapel, Gateway Plaza Tenants
Gateway Plaza has 1,712 apartments and is the largest residential complex in Battery Park City.
Association president Glenn Plaskin finally had some good news. All windows would be replaced, he said, beginning in the spring of 2016. There are 10,000 windows in the six building Gateway Plaza complex, so this work will take awhile. If, as expected, 200 to 250 windows can be installed each week, the project will take around a year to complete. In the meantime, management will seal windows for the winter and service any broken windows or latches, Plaskin said.

All tenants will receive double-paned windows that are soundproof, waterproof and conserve energy, holding in the heat during the winter and maintaining cool temperatures in the summer.

Plaskin said that management is testing various prototypes and will decide on which company to choose within the next few weeks. New York State Senator Daniel Squadron, who attended the meeting, said that he would follow up with LeFrak management to insure that tenants see the window model chosen before installation. A concern was voiced that the windows should permit the installation of screens in addition to other features. After a model has been chosen, it will take around five months to manufacture the windows. The tenants want to be sure that this mammoth project is done to their satisfaction and really meets their needs.

In a second piece of good news, Plaskin said that all of Gateway's hallways will be renovated, also beginning in the spring of 2016. Prototypes are currently in place in each of Gateway's buildings.

In a development that affected only one of Gateway's buildings, Plaskin announced that the 400/500 building, which lost electrical power during Superstorm Sandy three years ago, has had its electrical equipment elevated from the basement to the ground floor -  "a move we've long advocated," he said, "which will improve safety for tenants should another weather emergency occur."

Though Plaskin took great pains to thank Gateway Plaza management for these and other improvements and to thank the Battery Park City Authority for its help in ironing out some problems at the complex, the list of what still needs to be addressed is long.

Security is a major concern. The three main Gateway towers each house around 1,000 people on 35 floors. At any given time, one doorman is on duty in each of them. "It's virtually impossible for one person to handle all packages and phone calls at the desk and help people at the door," Plaskin said. "Anyone could walk in and go to your floor. Many luxury buildings have two or more people as you enter."

The GPTA is asking Gateway management to add one more doorman during peak hours, from noon to 8 p.m. weekdays. Plaskin said that this request had been "endorsed by our elected officials, including State Senator Daniel Squadron, who will bring this matter directly to LeFrak management." 

Exacerbating that security issue is the fact that some Gateway residents are illegally renting their apartments through Airbnb. "This is not a bed-and-breakfast!" said Plaskin. "Dozens of Gateway Plaza tenants are advertising their apartments as nightly rentals. We could have everything from robberies to bedbugs. We don't want either."

He said to notify the management office at (212) 321-2000 if Airbnb usage is seen or suspected.

Although Gateway Plaza opened more than 30 years ago as middle-income housing, it is now being advertised as a "luxury waterfront residence" - and that raises issues of affordability and turnover.

"We currently have two categories of tenants," said Plaskin, "those who are protected by the June 2009 stabilization agreement that runs until the year 2020" and those who are paying market rates. The rent-protected residents have stabilized leases that mirror the increase of the New York City Rent Control Board. These tenants are also guaranteed renewals. But around 55 percent of Gateway's tenants have moved in since 2009 and are paying market rates without any regulation on rent increases.

"We have been pursuing a renewal of the 2009 rent stabilization agreement that would protect everyone," Plaskin said, "and all parties involved have been discussing this extension in an active positive way. We're optimistic that this can and will be accomplished. And as soon as we have more details we will announce them."

Many of Gateway Plaza's residents are seniors but although their apartments may be rent stabilized because of the agreement brokered in 2009 with management and the Battery Park City Authority, Gateway's seniors are not protected by the Senior Citizen Rent Increase Exemption (SCRIE) program that would apply if they lived in rent-stabilized apartments elsewhere in the city. Disabled residents are also not protected by the Disability Rent Increase Exemption (DRIE) that applies elsewhere.

Under SCRIE, people who are at least 62 years old, earn less than $50,000 a year and pay more than 30 percent of their income in rent are protected from any rent increase if they live in an apartment that is rent-stabilized because of city rules. City government pays the difference between what the tenant pays and market rates.

The tenants' association has come out in favor of both SCRIE and DRIE for Gateway Plaza.
Sen. Squadron addressed this issue at the annual meeting, saying that he was going to introduce legislation in Albany that would provide SCRIE and DRIE protection to private buildings like Gateway Plaza. "We will push like crazy for it," he said. "It's going to be a lot of work, but we're going to push it." The problem, Squadron explained, is that legislators from upstate New York don't care about how much elderly and disabled New Yorkers have to pay in rent.

The Gateway Plaza Tenants Association meeting lasted around three hours and covered a host of other issues including maintenance (poor), helicopter noise (intrusive), the likelihood of management providing updated appliances for Gateway's decades-old kitchens (not good unless the appliance is broken) and mold (not permissible. A health hazard. Call 311).

City Councilmember Margaret Chin talked about the helicopter problem saying that there will
City Councilmember Margaret Chin.
be a hearing about it on Nov. 12 at City Hall. She urged everyone who is upset by the constant barrage of tourism helicopters that fly over Battery Park City to come to City Hall to testify. "It's important for you to come out and [get your complaints] on record," she said. She also spoke about the disruptive tour buses that now usurp the streets of Lower Manhattan.

"Gale Brewer [Manhattan Borough President] and I have introduced legislation to cap the number of tour buses," said Chin. She pointed out that most of the double-decker buses have people sitting on top but otherwise are just vehicles for advertising. If the legislation proposed by Chin and Brewer goes through, no more than 225 tour buses would be licensed to operate in the city at any one time.

Around 300 people attended the meeting, which Plaskin said was "our largest gathering ever."

- Terese Loeb Kreuzer

Around 300 people attended the Gateway Plaza Tenants Association meeting.

Downtown bulletin board
 The National Park Service is soliciting public comments on a new museum that it is proposing for Liberty Island, replacing the current museum, which is in the Statue of Liberty's pedestal.   (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.

Proposal for a new Statue of Liberty museum: The National Park Service is gathering public comments on a proposal to construct a new 20,000-square-foot museum on Liberty Island. The proposed museum would be located in the northwest portion of the island adjacent to the Administration Building and would be built in cooperation with the Statue of Liberty - Ellis Island Foundation. A proposed temporary construction pier would also be constructed on the northern side of the island to facilitate the movement of construction materials to and from the island. After construction was finished, the pier would be dismantled and removed.

The purpose of the museum construction project would be to move the existing Statue of Liberty museum out of the Statue of Liberty's pedestal and into a new facility on the island. Recent life-safety upgrades at the Statue of Liberty have led to revised occupancy levels inside the monument. Currently, only about 20 percent of visitors to Liberty Island can explore the museum inside the Statue of Liberty and are required to reserve tickets in advance. The remaining visitors to the island are "grounds only."  While free audio tours add to their experience, there is limited space for visitors to sit or take shelter in foul weather. The new museum would provide a richer interpretive experience that would be available to all visitors, and provide indoor space for visitors during inclement weather.

Information about the proposal, including concept design renderings, is available on the project website. To see it, click here.

Comments will be taken throughout a 30-day public scoping period. During the scoping period, the public is invited to identify any issues or concerns they might have with the proposed project so that the National Park Service can consider them in preparing an environmental assessment (EA) for compliance with the National Environmental Policy Act. Comments related to historic properties will also be gathered in order to comply with Section 106 of the National Historic Preservation Act. Section 106 is the process by which federal agencies take into account the effect of undertakings upon historic resources in or eligible for listing on the National Register of Historic Places.

Comments can be submitted online by clicking here no later than Dec. 9, 2015.

Downtown's Lost Neighborhood: Friends of the Lower West Side have been fighting for years to protect the last remnants of what was once the most ethnically diverse neighborhood in New York City. In 1917, a news article noted the presence of 27 nationalities on Lower Washington Street and in streets that paralleled and intersected it. But the construction of the Brooklyn Battery Tunnel in the 1940s and the World Trade Center in the 1960s destroyed this vibrant community.

On Saturday, Nov. 14 at 2 p.m., the Friends of the Lower West Side are sponsoring a walking tour to explore what's left of this immigrant neighborhood and to raise money to fight for its preservation. This was once the heart of the Syrian Quarter, also called "Little Syria," the first major Arab settlement in the United States. Between the 1840s and the 1960s, Irish, German, an assortment of Middle Easterners and Slavic immigrants also lived there. Now, only a few authentic buildings remain. The tour will visit the former St. George Melkite Church, the Downtown Community House, some Federal-style townhouses and the few remaining tenements. Following the walking tour, there will be a reception. The tour will be led by Joe Svehlak, an urban historian, whose family lived on the Lower West Side in the early 1900s, and Esther Regelson, community activist and current resident.

Meet inside the Staten Island Ferry Terminal (South Ferry) at the bottom of the escalators, left side. A donation of $15 will help with the preservation efforts. RSVP to Joe at (718) 855-7374 or Esther at (212) 349-4396 or email

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 Wednesday, and Thursday nights, Nov. 4 and 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 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,"
SeaGlass Carousel in The Battery. (Photo: Terese Loeb Kreuzer)
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. SeaGlass Carousel will remain open through Dec. 31, 2015 but will close during January and February, with a reopening in the spring.

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.

Wavertree video: The South Street Seaport Museum's 1885 sailing ship, Wavertree, is currently at Caddell Drydock on Staten Island, where the ship is undergoing a $10.6 million refurbishment. The museum has created a video to show the progress of the overhaul. To see the video, click here.

The River Project caught a juvenile gray snapper on Oct. 13 for only the second time since sampling began in 1987. The gray snapper (Lutjanus griseus) is a tropical stray in the Hudson River Estuary, thought to be carried north by the Gulf Stream.
(Photo courtesy of The River Project)

A small, gray fish adorned with an iridescent blue stripe and orange fins caused great excitement at The River Project on Oct. 13. The staff of the marine science field station at Pier 40 identified the fish as a juvenile gray snapper, previously seen in the Hudson River only once since sampling began in 1987. The River Project put out a bulletin to say that the fish in its holding tank, the gray snapper (Lutjanus griseus), is a tropical stray in the Hudson River Estuary, thought to be carried north by the Gulf Stream as planktonic larvae or juveniles from spawning grounds around Florida. Gray snappers do not survive temperatures of 51degrees Fahrenheit or below and are not able to return south on prevailing currents.

Along the East Coast of the United States, juvenile gray snappers are found in southern eelgrass beds and further north, on shallow beaches with macroalgae. They are broadly distributed from Florida through the Caribbean and the Gulf of Mexico. There are only two records of this family in the Hudson, the other being the schoolmaster snapper (Lutjanus apodus).

Because the gray snapper caught by The River Project would be unable to survive in the Hudson as the water grows colder, it has been entrusted to the Brooklyn Bridge Park Conservancy.

One of the contestants in this year's Battery Park City Halloween puppy parade.
 (Photos: Jeff Galloway)

The Battery Park City Dog Association would like to thank the following people and businesses for participating in and donating to our 14th Annual BPC Halloween Puppy Parade on October 31st:  Phil Castiglia and Judy Passer of Le Pet Spa, our Co-Hosts and for providing the top prizes; all of the fantastic participants in the parade, both human and canine for their enthusiasm, creativity and support for our annual community event; ABC Blooming Nails; Battery Park City Pharmacy; Benvenuti Pizza & Italian Deli; Christina Craig of Nurture & Thrive Vinyasa; Deb Di Iorio; Downtown Veterinary Hospital; Gristedes; Inatteso Pizzabar Casano; Dr. Margaret Mei of Optimum Rehab & Wellness; Merchants River House Restaurant; Miramar Mediterranean Seafood Restaurant; New Fresh Cleaners; Pick-a-Bagel; Stanley's Cobbler Shop and The Vince Smith Hair Experience. 

Also a huge thanks to our esteemed judges: Sheila Rossi, Carole Chung and Rich Brotman (who was also our videographer).  Huge  thanks go to our Parks Enforcement Patrol - Capt. Paige Lenar and Officer Benjamin Ahmadi who kept us safe on the parade route. And of course, thank you to the BPCA for issuing our permit and to Bruno Pomponio for making our judging area safe and clean.  Pictures of the event can be seen at

Paula and Jeff Galloway

From the editor:
At the annual Battery Park City Halloween puppy parade, everybody wins, including the puppy-less spectators, who get to enjoy the show. But just for the record, here are the canines and their humans who officially took home the prizes:

Best Owner/Dog Combo: Emma as Hillary Clinton, with her Secret Service friend, and Roxy as Donald Trump; Best Dog Team: Roxy as a police officer, Buster as a prisoner, and Shirley Curly as Buster's pen pal girlfriend (owner is Jillian); Best Costume, Large Breed: Brigh as a pumpkin with a Mets bandana (owner is Mark); Best Costume, Small Breed: Oski as a gift of love (owner is Bella); Best Large Dog Tail Wagger: Sydney in a bacon costume (owner is Henrietta); and Best Small Dog Tail Wagger: Jillian's Roxy (the police officer in the best dog team).

Capt. Paige Lener of the Battery Park City Parks Enforcement Patrol (PEP) accompanying the annual Halloween puppy parade down the Battery Park City esplanade between South Cove and North Cove.

CommunityCOMMUNITY BOARD 1 MEETINGS: Week of Nov. 2 

Tour buses on South End Avenue in Battery Park City. On Nov. 5, CB1's Quality of Life Committee will hear a presentation about legislation to limit the number of active license plates the Department of Consumer Affairs can issue to sightseeing buses.
(Photo: Terese Loeb Kreuzer) 

All Community Board 1 meetings are held in the Municipal Building, 1 Centre St., in CB1's Conference Room, Room 2202A-North, starting at 6 p.m. unless otherwise indicated. The public is welcome to attend and to comment. Bring photo ID to enter the building.

Nov. 5: Quality of Life Committee
* CB1's subway stations - Presentation by NYS Senator Daniel Squadron's office and possible resolution
* Legislation to limit the number of active license plates the Department of Consumer Affairs can issue to sightseeing buses - Presentation by Vincent Fang, Legislative Director, Councilmember Margaret Chin's office and possible resolution
* City Council Environmental Protection Committee Hearing for Int. 858 and Int. 859 - Reducing noise caused by sightseeing helicopters that meet federal noise reduction standards - Presentation by Vincent Fang, Legislative Director, Council Member Margaret Chin's Office and possible resolution
* Discussion of rules and regulations on commercial and residential disposal, street corner litter baskets by Iggy Terranova, Community Officer, Department of Sanitation


CalendarCALENDAR: Week of Nov. 2

Some of the work of Henry Dreyfuss, part of "Designing Home: Jews and Midcentury Modernism," an exhibition at the Museum of Jewish Heritage in Battery Park City through Jan. 17, 2016. (Photo: Terese Loeb Kreuzer)
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 a guide from the South Street Seaport Museum to hear 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.

Nov. 5: All summer, the River Project has been studying Hudson River fish in its wetlab at Pier 40. Accompanied by prizes and refreshments, during "Release of the Fishes," it will return the fish to the Hudson River. Place: Pier 40 (at Houston and West Streets). Time: 4 p.m. to 7 p.m. Free. For more information, click here.

Nov. 5: Gomas, one of the artists represented in the World Trade Gallery's show, "Emerging Artists from the Streets of Brooklyn," will paint one of the walls of the gallery beginning at noon. The show 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.

Nov. 5: Canstruction, the annual pre-Thanksgiving exhibit of sculptures made from canned food, opens at Brookfield Place in and around the Winter Garden and runs through Nov. 16. Canstruction challenges teams of architects, engineers, and contractors to build sculptures made entirely out of unopened cans of food. The structures are placed on display and later donated to City Harvest for distribution to those in need. This year, there will also be cooking demonstrations by chefs from The Institute of Culinary Education (ICE), who will demo  tastings created with canned food. Look for them on Nov. 6  and on Nov. 12, from noon to 3 p.m. For more information about Canstruction, 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.

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.  Through Jan. 17, 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 November 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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