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News and Events
in Lower Manhattan
Volume 3, No. 5  Jan. 30, 2016

"The Battery Park City Authority has elected not to renew the contract with PEP, which expires January 31, 2016."
     - Battery Park City Authority Chairman Dennis Mehiel, announcing that AlliedBarton, a private security firm, would replace the Parks Enforcement Patrol in Battery Park City

WEATHER INFORMATION: For current weather information, click here.

ALTERNATE SIDE OF THE STREET PARKING: Alternate side parking (street cleaning) regulations will be suspended through Monday, Feb. 1, to facilitate snow removal. All other regulations, including parking meters, remain in effect.

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MASTHEAD PHOTO: Canada geese on Governors Island. Jan. 17, 2016
(Photo: Terese Loeb Kreuzer) 

At a Community Meeting on Dec. 16, 2015, Capt. Paige Lener, captain of the Battery Park City Parks Enforcement Patrol, listened to angry Battery Park City residents criticize the Battery Park City Authority for being oblivious to community needs and wishes when it hired a private security firm with no law enforcement power to patrol Battery Park City in lieu of the PEP. (Photo: Terese Loeb Kreuzer)

At its meeting on Wednesday, Jan. 27, the Battery Park City Authority board of directors voted to cancel its contract with the Parks Enforcement Patrol (PEP), which has provided security in Battery Park City for more than two decades.

The vote came in a secret executive session. As of Friday afternoon, Jan. 29, no one in the Parks Department knew what was happening, and Joe Puleo, president of Local 983, DC 37, the union that represents the PEP, also didn't know. But late on Friday, Puleo got a phone call from the Parks Department confirming that the contract had been canceled.

On Sunday night, Jan. 31, the PEP will depart and AlliedBarton personnel will take the place of the PEP. Unlike the PEP, who are sworn peace officers and empowered to issue summons and make arrests, AlliedBarton "safety ambassadors," as the BPCA has called them, can only dial 911 and ask for First Precinct assistance in case of a serious emergency.

Puleo said that there were 40 PEP personnel patrolling Battery Park City, and that they would be deployed elsewhere. "This is a great disappointment," he said. "The quality of life in the community will suffer with a force that has no authority to protect them."

He also noted that the severance of the PEP would have implications for the rest of the city. "The Battery Park City Authority was paying $2.5 million a year for this service," Puleo said. "That money will have to come out of the city's budget to compensate for the loss here."

AlliedBarton will be paid $2.1 million a year to patrol Battery Park City.

Puleo indicated that Local 983 would look into legal action to protest this development.

As recently as last month, the Battery Park City Authority was saying that a portion of the PEP force would be retained and would work in conjunction with AlliedBarton. At the Dec. 16 community meeting, board member Martha Gallo said, "We will have a blended security infrastructure for our neighborhood...we will complement the PEPs with Allied Barton..."

At that meeting, many Battery Park City residents said that they were uneasy and even frightened by having AlliedBarton replace the PEP.

Three days after that meeting at 10:22 p.m., these fears were realized. Two teenaged boys were attacked by several other teenagers on the terrace overlooking the Battery Park City ball fields, leaving one of the boys with a fractured skull and extensive bleeding in his brain.

The parents of the assaulted teenagers claimed that an AlliedBarton security "ambassador" was nearby but did not intervene. They said that he called his supervisor, who called 911. Apparently because of this delay, a half hour elapsed before the injured teen got medical help.

Late on Saturday, Jan. 30, a letter from Dennis Mehiel was posted on the Battery Park City Authority website explaining and justifying the firing of the PEP.

His letter stated that the agreement with AlliedBarton was made in October after a public bidding process "informed in large part by feedback from and communication with our residents, who expressed their desire to seek a more effective alternative to the service provided by the Parks Enforcement Patrol (PEP). As such, the Battery Park City Authority has elected not to renew the contract with PEP, which expires January 31, 2016."

On Oct. 27 when the agreement with AlliedBarton came to light, it was a shock to most Battery Park City residents, who, contrary to what Mehiel said, were unaware that a new security arrangement was in the works. There was no public discussion about this decision.

In his letter on the BPCA website, Mehiel went on to describe what the Battery Park City Authority believes are the strengths and advantages of employing AlliedBarton.

He said that "the firm has a staff of more than 1,000 in Lower Manhattan alone, ensuring a continuity of service we lacked with PEP." He went on to describe AlliedBarton as "our eyes and ears" with "the ability to electronically notify our parks operations departments of any hazards they may encounter." He said that the AlliedBarton personnel were equipped with what he called "electronic breadcrumbs" so that it would always be possible to find them.

"Battery Park City remains part of the First Precinct Command," Mehiel said. "AlliedBarton and our Battery Park City Ambassadors represent an added layer of service that works in cooperation with our police department."

Mehiel concluded by saying, "We are pleased with what we have seen so far, and hope to continue working with our residents to find innovative ways to enhance our community."

To read the entire letter, click here.

Whether Mehiel's explanation mollifies Battery Park City residents remains to be seen. Apparently many are dissatisfied with the Battery Park City Authority's make up, its modus operandi and its decisions.

Only one member of what is supposed to be a seven member board of directors lives in Battery Park City, and from their comments, the others seem to know little about it. There have been repeated efforts on the part of elected officials and residents to get more BPC residents on the board, but so far, all have failed.

 A week ago, two BPC residents, Maryanne P. Braverman and Justine Cuccia, launched a petition directed at Gov. Andrew Cuomo, who appoints the board, asking him "to give us the representation to which we are entitled."

"Democracy for Battery Park City!" the petition says. "No more taxation without representation."

To access the petition, click here.

After just a few days (which included a blizzard), the petition had garnered 350 signatures.

- Terese Loeb Kreuzer

Dennis Mehiel chairing the meeting of the Battery Park City Authority board of directors on Jan. 27, 2016 at which the directors voted to cancel the BPCA's contract with the Parks Enforcement Patrol. (Photo: Terese Loeb Kreuzer) 

A helicopter hovering over the Manhattan Bridge on the East River.
 (Photo: Terese Loeb Kreuzer)

Call them the "helicopter wars." They've been going on for years as residents of Lower Manhattan, Brooklyn and New Jersey have tried to get New York City to ban the tourism helicopters that utilize the Downtown Manhattan Heliport every day of the year.  There were petitions, letters from elected officials to the mayor (first Bloomberg and now de Blasio), legislative bills introduced and rallies - all to no avail.

But now, after having said that he opposed a proposed ban of tourism helicopters in New York City, (Daily News, 11/12/15) Mayor Bill de Blasio appears to be coming around. On Jan. 29, he stated that, "The non-stop din of helicopters has been a major quality of life issue for New Yorkers living near heavily trafficked routes. Today we're addressing it. We've reached an agreement that will significantly cut down on the number of helicopter tours near residential areas and major parks, while keeping this part of our tourism sector active and viable. Everyone gave a little to get to this outcome, but the solution will mean a more livable city for everyone."

According to Stop the Chop, a grassroots organization opposing the tourism helicopters, more than 300 flights a day take off and land at the heliport, which is on Pier 6. There are five tour companies that operate in Manhattan, flying for 10 hours a day from Monday to Saturday and eight hours a day on Sundays, says Stop the Chop. A Freedom of Information Request (FOIL) produced the statistic from the New York City Economic Development Corporation (NYEDC), which oversees the heliport, that "there were 33,378 tourist flights between April and October of 2013 alone. There is almost never a moment during daylight hours without a tour helicopter flying over New York Harbor and the Hudson River."

Details of the City's agreement with the tour operators will be released on Jan. 31. The information that has emerged so far indicates that the tour operators will reduce the number of flights to and from the Downtown Manhattan Heliport by 50 percent by January 2017. This should eliminate nearly 30,000 flights per year. In addition, operators have agreed to end all flights on Sundays and prohibit flights over Governor's Island.

Several elected officials who have long opposed the tourism helicopters reacted with guarded approval to the preliminary announcement of a cutback.

Congressmembers Jerrold Nadler and Nydia Velázquez, State Senators Daniel Squadron and Brad Hoylman, Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer, Assemblymembers Deborah Glick, Linda Rosenthal and Jo Anne Simon and Councilmembers Stephen Levin and Brad Lander said in a joint statement that they still favored a complete ban on nonessential tourist helicopters from the Downtown Manhattan Heliport but that the "Mayor's deal with the helicopter industry is a positive step in our years-long battle to eliminate this nuisance. We hope that it will have a real impact on the communities we represent.

"The near constant drone heard in parks, homes and neighborhoods has long been unacceptable. The impacts of tourist helicopter noise are a reality no affected neighborhood has ever found tolerable, going back to the 1990's. As a result, tourist flights at the city's other heliports have been shut down over the years, concentrating all tourist helicopter flights in our communities."
A lot of people will be watching the helicopter tour operators to make sure that they comply with the agreement. Operators will be required to provide monthly reports on the number of flights conducted, and if they are determined to have violated key terms of the agreement, NYCEDC will have the authority to mandate a further reduction in operations.

In addition, the elected officials say that, "We will continue to be vigilant, along with our communities, to make certain that the helicopter industry complies with these requirements and faces the maximum penalties outlined in the deal if they do not. And we will continue to advocate to stop the chop once and for all to ensure relief for our communities with a full ban. We thank Mayor de Blasio for this step on this serious quality of life problem."

- Terese Loeb Kreuzer

Carey Nava teaching a class in Italian cooking at Asphalt Green Battery Park City's Culinary Arts Center on Sept. 5, 2013. (Photo: Terese Loeb Kreuzer)

When Asphalt Green Battery Park City opened on June 15, 2013, the 52,000-square-foot community center at 212 North End Ave. touted its two swimming pools, its regulation-size basketball court and an exercise room furnished with top-of-the-line equipment. It also boasted about its 156-seat theater, a culinary arts center and three classrooms.

Visions for how the theater could be used included performance classes, movies and community meetings. In the classrooms, the Church Street School for Music and Art was going to provide music classes while Great Performances, a catering company, would be offering 15 cooking classes a week, according to the initial prospectuses.

But now there's been a change of plans. Asphalt Green no longer offers cooking classes or lectures or any of the other non-fitness "extras" that it offered when it opened.

"Their efforts at cultural and educational programs have not been successful," said Anthony Notaro, chair of Community Board 1's Battery Park City Committee. "They claim it's due to low demand, but we're not sure that they have the right mix and focus on this."

At the Community Board meeting on Jan. 5, 2016, Brian Beary, director of Asphalt Green Battery Park City, asked the committee to approve the removal of the well-equipped kitchen that was designed to accommodate cooking classes.

"We made it clear that this is not something we expect them to give up on and that we want them to work more closely with local partners," said Notaro.

Ninfa Segarro, vice chair of the CB1 Battery Park City Committee, said that, "People asked whether they [Asphalt Green] had partnered with groups to make the cultural part of the ledger successful. They admitted they do not have experience in this area. Anthony stressed that it is a priority for the community."

The Asphalt Green Battery Park City community center was originally budgeted at $55 million and was underwritten by the Battery Park City Authority. The price tag went up to almost $60 million because of construction delays and damage caused by Superstorm Sandy.

In a deal negotiated with Asphalt Green in October 2012, shortly after Dennis Mehiel became chairman of the Battery Park City Authority, Asphalt Green was given the freedom to spend its revenues as it saw fit without accounting to the BPCA. However, the BPCA was to receive  part of the community center's revenue starting in year six of the contract. The deal stipulated that should Asphalt Green's revenue projections be less than 90 percent of what was anticipated, the BPCA would get a check from Asphalt Green to make up the difference. Failure to pay that fee could result in termination of the contract.

In another clause of the contract, the BPCA was to pay an estimated $225,000 a year to replace and refurbish equipment, but just for the first three years. After that, Asphalt Green was to be on its own.

The three years will be up this June.

Asphalt Green Battery Park City is currently offering a promotion to attract new members. For a limited time, the initiation fee has been reduced to $29. The month of March would be free to anyone who works out six times in February. In addition, new enrollees would receive a free training session.

For a single person, Battery Park City residents pay $116 a month to use the facilities (swimming pools, exercise rooms, group classes) as opposed to the regular fee of $129 a month for non-residents. Prices for families are also slightly discounted for BPC residents.

Pilates Reformer classes are extra ($45 for one session, $400 for 10 sessions for Battery Park City residents as opposed to $500 for 10 sessions for non-residents).

A one-year contract is required, with a cancellation fee of $125.

- Terese Loeb Kreuzer

bitsBits & Bytes
Ludger K. Balan wearing the uniform of the 1st Rhode Island Regiment of Foot and Daniel Ulysse in the uniform of the Black Mariners from Marblehead, Mass. They were celebrating Evacuation Day, Nov. 25, 1783, when the last of the British troops left New York City and George Washington and the Continental Army marched into the bedraggled city in triumph. City Council has just rejected a proposal to honor the once-respected holiday by giving its name to a street near Bowling Green park. (Photo: Terese Loeb Kreuzer)

"Developer Moves Forward With Unknown Project At 23-32 Park Row, Financial District," New York YIMBY, 1/27/16. "M Development Partners is moving forward with an unknown development at 23-32 Park Row, in the Financial District," says New York YIMBY.  "Last week, YIMBY informers posted that demolition permits have been approved to take down the four-story building at 23-27 Park Row, the five-story property at 29 Park Row, and the five-story structure at 31-32 Park Row." For the complete article, click here.

"Trinity Place complex gets a new look - and a new name," New York Post, 1/27/16. "Plans have been crystallized for the redevelopment of the former Syms complex at 28-42 Trinity Place, which will now be known as 77 Greenwich St.," says the New York Post. "The upcoming 500-foot-tall glass condominium tower will also have a new grammar school at its base, as well as 7,000 square feet of retail. Despite other renderings and rumors that proclaimed the project as a super-tall structure of 1,000 feet, it will be just half that height and much less expensive to build, but still have river and harbor views." For the complete article, click here.

"Mayor de Blasio won't use $40 million annual surplus in Battery Park City funds to fix up dingy NYCHA apartments," Daily News, 1/29/16. "The Mayor is refusing to use $40 million a year in surplus Battery Park City funds to fix NYCHA's aging apartments - despite growing pleas from public housing tenants and local politicians," says the Daily News. "The plan to devote a total of $400 million from Battery Park to NYCHA over 10 years needs approval by the mayor, the city controller and the governor. This week Gov. Cuomo joined Controller Scott Stringer to support the plan, but Mayor de Blasio is balking." For the complete article, click here.

"New York Council Resists Renaming Effort to Honor Evacuation Day," New York Times, 1/29/16. "Evacuation Day was New York's biggest holiday in the 19th century," The New York Times observes. "Today, the anniversary of the British evacuation of New York in 1783 has been so forgotten that City Council lawyers are resisting efforts to name a street after the historical event the holiday commemorates. The British departure, after seven dismal years of occupation, was celebrated with mayoral sanction for the last time in 1916. On Nov. 25 of that year, about 60 uniformed veterans of the Old Guard of the City of New York rode the subway from their Midtown armory to City Hall and marched down Broadway for a flag-raising ceremony." But, The Times continues, by the early 20th century "Thanksgiving had overtaken Evacuation Day as the premier autumnal rite." According to the article, although City Council rejected Evacuation Day, Council press officers seemed to be at a loss to explain "why some of the other 40 streets that are candidates for renaming qualify for consideration. Those names include Diversity Plaza in Queens, Hip Hop Boulevard in the Bronx and Ragamuffin Way in Brooklyn (where there is already a Do the Right Thing Way)." For the complete article, click here.

Downtown bulletin board
A painting by Franz Kline called "Mahoning" hangs in the Whitney Museum of American Art, now located in the former meatpacking district of Manhattan. It is open with a "pay what you wish" policy on Friday nights. (Photo: Terese Loeb Kreuzer)

Brewer to hold 'State of the Borough' meeting:
Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer's "State of the Borough" discussion will take place on Sunday, Jan. 31. It will feature a panel of speakers with a variety of perspectives on youth, culture and other issues. 

The panel includes Marc Murphy, Manhattan-based chef and restaurateur and judge on the hit Food Network show, "Chopped;" Francisco Nunez, director of the Young People's Chorus of New York City; Kharry Lazarre White, executive director and co-founder of The Brotherhood / SisterSol, a nationally-recognized organization based in Harlem providing supportive programming and services to youth; and Sumie Okazaki, Ph.D., policy fellow at the Coalition for Asian-American Children and Families (CACF) and professor at New York University's Steinhardt School of Culture, Education, and Human Development. Place: New School for Social Research, 63 Fifth Ave., Tishman Auditorium (Entrance on East 13th Street). Time: Doors will open at 1 p.m., and the program will begin at 2 p.m. The New School's Tishman auditorium is wheelchair-accessible.

New miniMates sessions at the South Street Seaport Museum:
The South Street Seaport Museum begins a winter session of its popular miniMATES program with sessions on Thursdays and Fridays through March 25. Classes are limited to 12 students. Families can sign up for Thursdays and/or Fridays. This program, aimed at children ages 18 months to 4 years and their parents or caregivers, is designed to encourage adults to engage in fun and educational activities with their children while guided by a museum educator. The activities include music, art-making, sensory play, story time, and more! The Thursday program, "Seaport Sillies," is exploratory while the Friday program, "Seaport Junior Adventurers," is more theme based. The cost is $250 for the session, with a 10% discount for additional children from the same family. Family-level membership holders receive an additional $25 off total enrollment. To reserve space, click here, email or call (212) 748-8753. Place: 12 Fulton St. Time: 10 a.m. to 11:15 a.m.

Luminaries held over:
Luminaries, the light show that David Rockwell and the Rockwell Group devised for Brookfield Place's Winter Garden in Battery Park City, went on display in December and was supposed to come down on Jan. 10. But it has proven so popular that it will remain up until Feb. 29. For photographs of Luminaries, click here.

Join Tribeca Trust for an evening of talk and socializing: On Feb. 2
at 6:30 p.m., come to Girello's Bar/Restaurant at the southwest corner of Franklin and Varick Streets to meet the Tribeca Trust board and to meet each other. No charge. Cash bar. You can order light meals off the menu. This is not a fund-raiser and not a meeting -  just an excuse to be social and to talk about what can be done to make Tribeca better.

New York City Audubon Winter EcoCruise:
At this time of year, seals return to New York
A great cormorant, seen in New York City only in the winter time, sits atop a piling near Swinburne Island in New York harbor. (Photo: Terese Loeb Kreuzer)
harbor and birds come down from the Arctic to winter in New York City. The New York City Audubon Society offers wildlife-watching cruises aboard New York Water Taxi every Sunday through March 13 (except Feb. 7). They leave from Pier 16 in the South Street Seaport and cost $35 (adults) and $25 (children). Discounted family packs are available. For more information and to buy tickets, click here. For an article from Downtown Post about Audubon's winter EcoCruises, click here

GrowNYC offers discounted farm-fresh produce:
From now through May, residents and community members of all income levels can sign up for a bag of farm-fresh produce for $12 a bag. Cash, credit cards, debit cards, and SNAP (food stamps) can be used in payment. To participate, customers pre-order bags one week in advance of the designated distribution day. The next week, they can pick up their Fresh Food Box containing seven to nine seasonal fruits, vegetables, and grains, along with healthy recipes and tips on how to store and prepare the produce. All of the produce comes from family farms selling through GrowNYC's wholesale food hub and distribution arm, Greenmarket, Co. In Lower Manhattan, this service is available at 1 Centre St., 9th floor, South Building, Thursdays, 2 p.m. to 6 p.m. through May 2016. For more information, click here.

Governors Island ball field permits: The permit process to use Governors Island's sports fields opened on Jan. 15 for the 2016 season. The two natural turf ball fields can be easily configured for Little League baseball and adult softball or for soccer and other field sports. The fields will be open for permitted use during daylight hours every day from May 28 when Governors Island opens for the season to Sept. 25, when it closes. On weekdays, the Island is open from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., on weekends, from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. The permit process will be open until March 1 at which point The Trust will review all of the applications it has received. There is a $26 non-refundable permit fee. As with other public ball fields in New York City, preference will be given to youth groups, schools and leagues from across the City. Groups can apply for as many dates as they wish. Once the permit process is closed, The Trust will let groups know if they have secured field space and the dates and times at which they can use the fields. For more information about the permitting process to use the fields, click here.

Brewer's office accepting capital funding applications: The office of Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer is accepting capital funding applications from schools, cultural institutions and nonprofits for Fiscal Year 2017. The deadline for submissions is Feb. 12. In FY 2016, Brewer's office awarded $30 million for Manhattan capital projects. Representatives of organizations interested in applying for capital funding grants should schedule a meeting with staff from the Borough President's office. Email For more information on eligibility, click here

Friday nights at the Whitney: From 7 p.m. to 10 p.m. on Fridays, admission to the Whitney Museum of American Art at 99 Gansevoort St. is now "pay what you wish." The reduced admission charge has been made possible by a gift from The Donald and Barbara Zucker Family Foundation. Tickets usually cost $22 for adults and $18 for seniors. They are free to members and to visitors under 18. Current exhibitions include a Frank Stella retrospective and a show of the paintings of Archibald John Motley Jr. (1891-1981), who first came to prominence in the 1920s during the early days of the Harlem Renaissance. The Whitney Museum of American Art, founded in 1930 by Gertrude Vanderbilt Whitney (1875−1942),  houses the foremost collection of American art from the 20th and 21st centuries. For more information, click here.

Naima Rauam in the Seaport: Naima Rauam recently concluded her show "Remembering Fulton Fish Market," marking 10 years since the fishmongers left the South Street Seaport for The Bronx, but anyone who missed the show can still arrange to buy art from her. Her email is and her phone number is (212) 964-8465. In addition, she welcomes visitors to her studio, which is on South Street.

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.

Gracie Mansion: Artifacts and Tours: Gracie Mansion, the official residence of New York City's mayors at 88th Street and East End Avenue, was built in 1799 as a country retreat for financier Archibald Gracie and his family. At the time, the gracious, Federal-style house was five miles outside the city limits - and at that time, the city limits would have meant what we now call "Lower Manhattan." A recently installed exhibit of paintings, sculptures and documents called "Windows on the City: Looking Out at Gracie's New York" sheds light on what our neighborhood was like at the turn of the 19th century. Slavery was still legal, and there was a slave market at the foot of Wall Street. Clipper ships plied the harbor, taking cargo in some cases to and from Asia - a recently opened market. The streets were noisy with the raucous calls of vendors selling oysters, ice, charcoal, milk and many other goods and services. Immigrants began to arrive in greater numbers, many of them living in crowded tenements and working at monotonous, low-paying jobs. The city, already diverse from the time of the Dutch settlers in the early 17th century, became even more so. For more about Gracie Mansion and to see photographs, click here. Free tours are available on Feb. 2, 9, 16 and 23; March 1, 8, 15, 22 and 29; April 5 and 12. To register for a tour, 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. SeaGlass Carousel is currently open Sunday through Thursday from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. and Fridays and Saturdays from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m.  "Crowds are still coming, but wait time is typically minimal," according to a spokesperson for the Battery Conservancy. "The line is rarely longer than 15 minutes." Due to popular demand, the Battery Conservancy has extended operating hours for SeaGlass Carousel.  In February, SeaGlass will be open on Saturdays and Sundays, 10 a.m. - 6 p.m., weather permitting. SeaGlass will also be open during Presidents' Week, Feb. 15-19. For updates on changes to operating hours, follow The Battery Conservancy on Twitter and Facebook. Admission to SeaGlass Carousel is $5 per ride.  Access to The Battery is free and open to the public.

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.

Downtown Post NYC photos for sale: If would like to buy prints of a photograph that has appeared in Downtown Post NYC, email with your request for more information about sizes and prices.


Sean Ghazala, a National Park Service guide, pointing to a map incised into the outdoor memorial of the African Burial Ground showing the approximate boundaries of the original cemetery, which was used between the 1640s and 1794 to bury slaves and other people of African descent. Originally, the cemetery covered 6.6 acres. The memorial near Broadway and Duane Street is three-quarters of an acre. (Photo: Terese Loeb Kreuzer)

In 1991, when construction began on a federal office building in Lower Manhattan, the "Negro Burial Ground" was unearthed. It was a cemetery used by enslaved and free Africans from the 1640s until 1790s. In 1993, the site was preserved as a National Historic Landmark; it gained full status as a unit of the National Park Service by Presidential Proclamation on Feb. 27, 2006. The National Monument is part of an original 6.6-acre site containing the intact skeletal remains of approximately 15,000 women, men and children, making it the largest and oldest cemetery of Americans of African descent excavated in North America.

The African Burial Ground National Monument celebrates African-American History Month with five events in the month of February. Place: 290 Broadway (on the first floor of the Ted Weiss Federal Building). All events are free.

Feb. 3: World War I reenactors will celebrate the 100th anniversary of the "Harlem Hell Fighters." Also known as the 369th Infantry Regiment and the 15th New York National Guard Regiment, this racially segregated unit earned its nickname from German soldiers, who recognized the toughness of the regiment. An interpretive discussion and display will be available from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Feb. 6: David Mills will give a dramatic performance of the works of Harlem Renaissance poet Langston Hughes. Time: 1 p.m. to 2:30 p.m.

Feb. 17: The poet Ngoma will give a spoken-word performance with musical accompaniment. Time: 1 p.m. to 2 p.m. 

Feb. 26: A lecture and slide show will celebrate the history and legacy of the Buffalo Soldiers. Before the National Park Service was founded in 1916, "Buffalo Soldiers" protected some national parks, including Yosemite. Time: 1 p.m. to 2 p.m.

Feb. 27: Poet and performer David Mills leads a poetry workshop inspired by Dr. Carter G. Woodson, the "father of black history." Time: Starts at 1 p.m.

For more information, call (212) 637-2019 or go to the park's website at Please note that only the Visitor Center is open; the outside Memorial is closed for the winter and will reopen on March 1.

calendarCALENDAR: Weeks of Jan. 25 and Feb. 1

Take a workshop at Bowne Printers, part of the South Street Seaport Museum, and learn how to print stationary using one of Bowne's antique presses.
 (Photo: Terese Loeb Kreuzer)

Jan. 31: In honor of the 40th anniversary of the release of "Hester Street," the film will be screened at the Museum of Jewish Heritage. Carol Kane's portrayal of Gitl, a wife caught between two cultures, won her an Oscar nomination. Kane will be present for a post-screening discussion with director Joan Micklin Silver, moderated by film historian Eric Goldman. Place: 36 Battery Place. Time: 3 p.m. Tickets: $15; $12 (members and students). For more information, click here.

Jan. 31: The last day to see "Cerámica de los Ancestros: Central America's Past Revealed," which 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.  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

Jan. 31: Opening reception for the annual Battery Park City Parks art show, a display of artwork created by participants of all ages in the Battery Park City Parks art programs. Place: Battery Park City Parks Conservancy, 75 Battery Place. Reception: 1 p.m. to 3 p.m. The exhibition will be on view weekdays, 2 p.m. to 4 p.m., from Feb. 1 to March 31. Free.

Feb. 2: A panel at the Museum of Jewish Heritage will discuss the world refugee crisis, an agonizing issue that has become even more fraught with the recent attacks in Paris. Since the start of the conflict in Syria, more than 250,000 people have died and 12 million have fled their homes, making this the worst refugee crisis since World War II. Cautioning against indifference to the suffering of others, leading scholars examine whether or not we are doing enough. With Michael Abramowitz, director, USHMM Levine Institute for Holocaust Education; Elisa Massimino, president and CEO of Human Rights First; and T. Alexander Aleinikoff, visiting professor, Columbia University; moderated by Nadine Strossen, former president, American Civil Liberties Union (1991-2008). Place: Museum of Jewish Heritage, 36 Battery Place. Time: 7 p.m. Free but advance reservations are suggested. To reserve, click here.

Feb. 3: Claude Lanzmann's documentary, "Spectres of the Shoah," (2015, 40 min., English), nominated for an OSCAR as the Best Documentary Short, explores the arduous 12-year journey that led to the creation of the French iconoclast's Shoah, a nine-hour-plus examination of the Holocaust. Marking the 30th anniversary of the landmark documentary, the film features previously unseen outtakes and reflects on key moments in the 90-year-old auteur's life, revealing his hopes and expectations for the future. Post-screening discussion with director Adam Benzine and Stuart Liebman, Professor of the History and Theory of Cinema, CUNY. Place: 36 Battery Place. Time: 7 p.m. Free but advance reservations are suggested. To reserve, click here.

Feb. 3: Arts Brookfield presents Stephen Petronio Company on the Winter Garden stage at Brookfield Place. The groundbreaking dance company's midday presentation features "Locomotor/Non Locomotor," choreographed by Stephen Petronio with costumes by Narciso Rodriguez and music by Clams Casino, which was first presented in April 2015 at the Joyce Theater. The evening performance includes Merce Cunningham's "RainForest," with decor by Andy Warhol and musical score by David Tudor, from the choreographer's project entitled BLOODLINES, which traces Petronio's choreographic lineage through various postmodern icons. Place: Brookfield Place, Winter Garden, 230 Vesey St. Time: 12:30 p.m. and 7:30 p.m. Free. For more information, click here.

Feb. 6: At Bowne Printers, part of the South Street Seaport Museum, learn how to set lead type, lock up plates on a press and print a small edition of custom stationery using the museum's antique presses and typefaces. Place: 211 Water St. Time: 1 p.m. Tickets: $75; (discounts for museum members). To buy tickets, 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.

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 February 2016. 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: "Defining Lines: Maps from the 1700s and early 1800s" at the Fraunces Tavern
Museum. Twenty-seven maps provide a perspective on the evolving nation's place in history. A map from 1804, never before exhibited, shows the U.S. postal routes. Place: 54 Pearl St. Time: Noon to 5 p.m., daily. Admission fees: $7; $4 (seniors, students with ID, children, 6 to 8 years old. Children, 5 and under, free. Active military with ID, free. For more information, click here.

Ongoing: The National Museum of the American Indian is open daily from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., with free admission. It offers free films, docent-led tours of its exhibitions and tours of its premises, the Alexander Hamilton U.S. Custom House, designed by Cass Gilbert. The building, which was completed in 1907, is a National Historic Landmark and is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. One Bowling Green. Phone: (212) 514-3700. For the museum's calendar, click here.

Ongoing: The lobby of the South Street Seaport Museum at 12 Fulton St. on Schermerhorn Row is open three days a week with interpretive displays and activities. Access to the museum's upstairs galleries is by appointment or for education programs only. Lobby access: Fridays to Sundays, 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. For private tours of Schermerhorn Row and its old hotels, email

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Editor: Terese Loeb Kreuzer

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