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DOWNTOWN
POST NYC 
 
News and Events
in Lower Manhattan
 
 
Volume 3, No. 6  Feb. 5, 2016
IN THIS ISSUE

QUOTE OF THE DAY:
"Today was a tragic wake-up call."
     - Catherine McVay Hughes, chair of Community Board 1, on the crane collapse in Tribeca that killed one man and injured several other people            

* Calendar: Week of Feb. 1

 
WEATHER INFORMATION: For current weather information, click here.

EMERGENCY PHONE NUMBERS IN BATTERY PARK CITY: To reach AlliedBarton "safety ambassadors," call  (212) 945-SAFE (7233). The Battery Park City Command Center is now located at the Verdesian at 211 North End Ave. In case of emergencies, call 911.

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MASTHEAD PHOTO: A detail of a portrait of George Washington by Gilbert Stuart. It is in an exhibition at the Museum of the City of New York called "Picturing Prestige: New York Portraits 1700-1860" that opens on Feb. 5. (Photo: Terese Loeb Kreuzer) 

craneCRANE COLLAPSE AT 60 HUDSON ST. KILLS ONE, INJURES SEVERAL 
60 Hudson St., where a crane collapsed around 8:30 a.m. on Feb. 5, killing one person and injuring several others. Neighboring buildings had to be evacuated.
 (Photo: Terese Loeb Kreuzer)

Shortly before 8:30 a.m. on Feb. 5, a 565-foot-tall crane that was being used to replace generators and air conditioning units at 60 Hudson St. collapsed, killing one person and injuring three others. David Wichs, 38, the man who was killed, was sitting in a parked car on Worth Street. Three other people were injured by falling debris, two of them, seriously.

The giant crane, owned by Bay Crane and operated by Galasso Trucking and Rigging,
spanned the blocks between Hudson and Church Streets.

Diane Lapson, who lives at Independence Plaza North, roughly two blocks away, said that the vibrations from the crash felt like an earthquake. Fearing gas and water main leaks, city officials have directed that the buildings near the site be evacuated.

Lapson said that 60 Hudson St. has been a source of concern to the community because fuel is stored there. "We're always worried about that building because we feel it should not be doing that kind of business in a residential area," said Lapson.

She added that she, along with many other people who live in that neighborhood, are still traumatized from 9/11. "In this neighborhood, when you hear noises and feel the earth shake, you don't know what to expect," she said. "Looking at that crane lying on Worth Street, reminded me of 9/11. Fifteen years later, it still brings out all of this stuff."

Community Board 1 called a hasty press conference for 10:30 a.m., just two hours after the crane crash, to protest the Department of Transportation's planned closing of the Lower Manhattan Borough Commissioner's Office, which had taken over the functions of the Lower Manhattan Construction Command Center when it was closed in February 2014. The Department of Transportation plans to merge the Lower Manhattan Borough Commissioner's Office into a borough-wide office, effective March 2016.

There are currently 90 construction projects in Lower Manhattan. In a resolution passed on Dec. 17, 2015, CB1strongly urged "the City of New York to reverse its decision" to close the Lower Manhattan Borough Commissioner's Office and to continue to fund it for at least one more year.

"Today was a tragic wake-up call," said Catherine McVay Hughes, chair of Community Board 1. "Community Board 1 and the residents want the answers of what went wrong."

New York State Assemblymember Deborah Glick, New York State Senator Daniel Squadron, and City Councilmember Margaret Chin attended the press conference.

Chin said in a statement, "This incident is a tragic reminder of the importance of coordinating an ever-increasing number of construction projects in densely packed neighborhoods downtown. In particular, we need to work together to stop the closure the DOT's downtown command center, which is needed now more than ever, as this tragedy so powerfully illustrates. I will continue to fight on behalf of downtown residents who are living every day with non-stop construction."
 
- Terese Loeb Kreuzer



Downtown Post Arts
ChinaWORLD TRADE GALLERY: CHINA AS SEEN THROUGH A NEW YORK LENS  
Doug Smith, owner of the World Trade Gallery in the Financial District, hanging a portrait of Mao Zedong by Andy Warhol. (Photo: Terese Loeb Kreuzer)

Chairman Mao is coming to the Financial District, just in time for the Chinese Lunar New Year. The World Trade Gallery at 120 Broadway is celebrating with a show called "China Through the New York Lens" that opens on Feb. 6. It features the work of six artists, including Andy Warhol who is represented by two silkscreens of Mao dating from 1972.

"He made a pop icon out of a historical figure," said Doug Smith, owner of the World Trade Gallery. "Now we think like that, but back then? That's what made Andy Andy. Someone suggested that Andy painted Mao's face green just in the way that Mao repainted world history."

The other artists in the show include Ding Lianfa, Rose Sigal Ibsen, Huiqing Liu, Hsu Dan and DonJ.

Smith loves all of them.

Hsu Dan, now deceased, was born in China but lived for awhile in the New York area. "He was well known for architecture, water color and calligraphy," said Smith. "He did the Astor Chinese Garden Court - the traditional Chinese room at the Metropolitan Museum of Art. He is also one of the architects who worked on Mao's memorial in China. So we have a pop piece beside a traditional piece and the two overlap. You have Mao and a guy who worked on Mao's memorial."

Visitors to the gallery will also find the calligraphy of Rose Sigel Ibsen - a Romanian Jewish artist who learned Chinese calligraphy in New York City and learned it so well that her work was accepted into the biggest calligraphy institutions in China.

"Where else in the world could that happen but New York?" Smith asked rhetorically. "I find that New York's perspective on China is so deep and there's so much understanding of Chinese culture through immigration into New York for more than 100 years. To me this show is exciting because I have put together a collection of what I feel are some pieces that could only be created in America and especially in New York about China."

Smith said that for him, Chinese culture is "a growing passion. If you go into my office, you'll see how much it's growing because it feels like we've left North America," he said. "I study kung fu, which we do here at the gallery. That was my main introduction - jumping in the deep end - and I just took to it very quickly. That was almost five years ago. It's a very different way of thinking about the world from the way that most of us who live and work here think about it."

Smith has been planning this show for around two years and will launch it with "a fun party" on Saturday from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. In addition to being the cusp of the Chinese New Year, the opening also coincides with the gallery's 35th anniversary. All are invited.

 - Terese Loeb Kreuzer

"China Through the New York Lens" runs through March 9. The World Trade Gallery is at 120 Broadway (entrance through Cedar Street) and is open daily. For more information, click here.




Letters to the editor
petitionOUTRAGED BATTERY PARK CITY RESIDENTS PETITION GOV. CUOMO
FOR SEATS ON BATTERY PARK CITY AUTHORITY BOARD OF DIRECTORS

Around 8 p.m. on Jan. 31 - their last night as the security force in Battery Park City - the Parks Enforcement Patrol (PEP) prepared to vacate their office on West Thames Street. PEP officers said they would be on duty until 11:59 p.m. at which time they said that the Battery Park City Authority would arrive to lock the door.
(Photo: Terese Loeb Kreuzer)

To the editor:
Recent decisions of the Battery Park City Authority (BPCA) board of directors have adversely affected our neighborhood. The most recent is the board's decision not to renew the Parks Enforcement Patrol (PEP) contract, replacing the PEP with the AlliedBarton "safety ambassadors" to patrol Battery Park City. 

We saw how ineffective these "Ambassadors" were when a gang attacked and seriously injured two teenagers on the terrace above the ball fields on Dec. 19, 2015. AlliedBarton "Ambassadors" allegedly did nothing to prevent, intervene or stop the attack. Instead they called their supervisor, who eventually called the PEPs and 911. 

At the Dec. 16, 2015 Town Hall meeting, the community made clear that it did not feel secure having these "Ambassadors" replacing PEPs, however the BPCA board totally disregarded the community's wishes and concerns.

In fact, there have been a string of bad decisions by the BPCA in the last year and a half: the North Cove Marina contract, which many in the community opposed; opening access to the ball fields to outside groups and then issuing nothing but quarterly permits, and firing Tessa Huxley as executive director of the Battery Park City Parks Conservancy.

Many of us - all long-time residents of BPC - have had enough. We have joined together to create a petition demanding Democracy for Battery Park City - Democracy4BPC.org. We have collected over 500 signatures so far - but our goal is to collect more than 13,000.

As a first step, we believe that having local residents and business owners appointed to the BPCA board would go a long way toward mending the disastrous relationship between Battery Park City and the Battery Park City Authority. That is what we ask in our petition to Governor Cuomo.

It is important to note that this is not the first time Battery Park City has called on a governor to stop taxation without representation. In fact, this month is the 10th anniversary of Community Board 1 first enacting a resolution calling for greater community representation on the BPCA board. But having said this before is no reason not to say it again.

And the time is right to renew this push for other reasons:
* Our Community Board and our elected officials have recently joined us in calling for a majority of BPCA board seats to go to residents and stakeholders.
* Senator Daniel Squadron's call in November 2015 to shut down the BPCA and transfer it to City control has definitely gotten the Governor's attention.
* The Battery Park City Homeowner's Coalition is on record as supporting BPCA board seats for residents.

We ask that you sign the petition at  Democracy4BPC.org and share the link with your friends and neighbors.

Justine Cuccia 
Crystal Aurnhammer
Sarah Cassell

To the editor:
There is now no doubt that the December Battery Park City Authority community meeting was nothing more than a PR stunt. Stakeholders need to pay attention. Decisions affecting Battery Park City quality of life are made behind closed doors without considering what the community wants. There is no doubt that we need both majority representation on the BPCA board of directors and need to seriously consider removing Battery Park City from State control. One option does not preclude the other. We need both a majority of the seats at the current table and to understand the positive and negative points of City control. 

We have enjoyed one of the safest neighborhoods in New York City and any increase in crime or decrease in quality of life are directly due to the decisions by the BPCA board. The board ignored the stakeholders who clearly stated they wanted to retain some part of a permanent parks enforcement group of officers full time and AlliedBarton alone is not enough! Now is the time to take action and write to the Governor. Even the revised mission statement of the BPCA  omits input by the community in what they value. They only value corporate partnerships.

Tammy A. Meltzer

To the editor:
You reported that Battery Park City's Parks Enforcement Patrol officers are no longer contracted to provide security in Battery Park City (DPNYC, 1/30/16). At a recent Town Hall, the Battery Park City Authority board and management misled local residents that the contract was being negotiated for renewal. We knew they were lying and now the truth is out. This is a neighborhood of parks enjoyed by residents, other New Yorkers and tourists alike. We who live here willingly pay extra for security that includes everyone. This is about money! What exactly is the Authority doing with its excess revenue? We know that these revenues are to be used for affordable housing in New York City. How much are these revenues?  How have the State and City used them over time?  Please investigate.

We urge everyone to sign our petition at http://democracy4bpc.org to put locals on the Battery Park City Authority board. We need people who care about this neighborhood to make decisions that affect our lives.

Maryanne P. Braverman

From the editor:
We welcome letters to the editor. Email them to editor@downtownpostnyc.com. We reserve the right to edit them for clarity and length.



Bits & Bytes
electionSPECIAL ELECTION SET FOR APRIL 19; CITY INKS HELICOPTER DEAL;
456 WASHINGTON ST. UNVEILS ITS LUXURIOUS APARTMENTS  
The Best Western Seaport Inn at 33 Peck Slip as it looked on Nov. 18, 2012 after it was closed down by Superstorm Sandy. The Howard Hughes Corp. has just purchased the property for $38.3 million in a bankruptcy sale. (Photo: Terese Loeb Kreuzer)

"Special Election Is Set for April to Fill Seats Left Vacant in Albany," New York Times, 1/30/16. The New York Times reports that, "Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo of New York said on Saturday that April 19 had been set as the date for a special election to fill four vacancies in the State Legislature, including seats left empty when Sheldon Silver, the former Assembly speaker, and Dean G. Skelos, the former Senate majority leader, were convicted on federal corruption charges last year. In addition to Mr. Silver's former district in Lower Manhattan and the Long Island district that Mr. Skelos represented, Assembly districts on the southern end of Staten Island and in southeast Brooklyn will be on the ballot in the special election, which Mr. Cuomo, a Democrat, announced in a proclamation." For the complete article, click here.

"Deal Restricts Tourist Helicopter Flights Over New York," New York Times, 1/31/16. "After decades of complaints about noise and air pollution from the tens of thousands of tourist helicopter flights that circle Manhattan each year, New York City announced a deal on Sunday that would cut their number in half by January 2017," says The New York Times. "In addition, the helicopters, as familiar a sight on the city's waterfront as sea gulls and joggers, will not fly on Sundays starting April 1 and will be banned from flying over Governors Island and Staten Island. In waterfront parks across the city, activists have measured noise readings in excess of 75 decibels, louder than a vacuum cleaner. The agreement, announced by Mayor Bill de Blasio, was intended to address the complaints while trying to keep aloft a multimillion-dollar industry." For the complete article, click here.

"New Renderings of 456 Washington Street As TriBeCa Development Nears Finish Line," New York YIMBY, 2/1/16. "The BKSK Architects-designed, Related-developed project at 456 Washington Street, in northwestern TriBeCa, is nearing the finish line," says New York YIMBY.  "Listings launched this morning, and now we have exclusive new renderings of its amenities. First, a bit about the project. 456 Washington Street is an all-new development on the site of what was 460 Washington Street, hence some past coverage referred to the site as such. The all-residential is 11-stories-tall, rising to 110 feet. It encompasses 141,058 square feet for 106 units, 84 of which will rent at market-rate." For the complete article, with photos, click here.

"RobertDouglas Advises on the $38,300,000 Sale of the Best Western Seaport Inn, New York, NY," Hospitality Net, 2/1/16. RobertDouglas, a real estate investment banking firm that specializes in the sale, financing and equity capitalization of hotel, resort and gaming properties throughout North America, announced that it had "advised 33 Peck Slip Acquisition LLC, a subsidiary of Gemini Real Estate Advisors, in the sale of the Best Western Seaport Inn," says Hospitality Net. "The sale, which closed on January 29, 2016, was the result of a Chapter 11 proceeding administered by the U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the Southern District of New York. The 72-key hotel, located in the heart of the Seaport District in lower Manhattan, was purchased for $38,300,000 by the Howard Hughes Corporation." According to Evan Hurd, a Senior Director with RobertDouglas, "A broad range of domestic and international investors expressed interest in the hotel, and the final sale price of over $530,000 per room is a testament to the property's appeal as an attractive long-term investment to capitalize on the neighborhood's anticipated growth." For the complete article, click here.

Gina Pollara appointed president of The Municipal Art Society: Gina Pollara, architect, author, and urban designer, was appointed President of The Municipal Art Society (MAS) on Jan. 28. Founded in 1893, The Municipal Art Society protects New York's legacy spaces,
Gina Pollara
encourages intentional planning and urban development, and fosters complete neighborhoods across the five boroughs. Pollara was formerly executive director of Franklin D. Roosevelt Four Freedoms Park, LLC,  where she oversaw construction of the memorial to President Franklin D. Roosevelt for the southern tip of Roosevelt Island in the East River. The project, now called Four Freedoms Park, was completed in October 2012.
 
More recently, she has been working with the Two Bridges Neighborhood Council and a large group of stakeholders on the South Street Initiative, an effort to create an entity to steward the development of the lower East River waterfront. She has also provided strategic planning and fundraising services to The River Project and the Hudson River Foundation for an estuarium to be built on Pier 26 in the Hudson River Park. Additionally, she was the New York City/East Coast representative for the Vancouver, Canada-based firm, Bing Thom Architects.

Pollara serves on the boards of the Four Freedoms Park Conservancy and the New York Preservation Archive Project, and is on the advisory board of the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory Fire Memorial. She has lectured widely and has been published on topics ranging from the Roosevelt Memorial to New York City's water system. She is a graduate of Bennington College and The Cooper Union Irwin S. Chanin School of Architecture.

"City consumer affairs chief shifts to glam gig," Crain's New York Business, 2/2/16. "Julie Menin, Consumer Affairs commissioner for the past two years, has been named commissioner of the Mayor's Office of Media and Entertainment," says Crain's New York Business. "The high-profile position oversees a booming local film and television production industry that has grown 21% since 2011 and employs more than 100,000 people. A recent study found that filmed entertainment contributes $8.7 billion in economic activity to the city every year. According to Tuesday morning's announcement by Mayor Bill de Blasio, the appointment will coincide with an expansion of the office's reach to include digital content and distribution companies, as well as the advertising and music industries. The office will also have more engagement with the Broadway and off-Broadway theater communities." For the complete article, click here.

Nadler advances prospects for Federal money to fund the 911 memorial:  On Feb. 3, the House Natural Resources Committee passed the 9/11 Memorial Act, cosponsored by Congressman Jerrold Nadler (NY-10), to bring needed federal funding to the 9/11 Memorial. To become law, the bill will have to pass the House and the Senate and be signed by the president. If the law is passed, Congress will determine what the appropriate amount of funding is each year as part of the appropriations process. The earliest that the memorial could receive funds is federal Fiscal Year 2017. Whatever the final sum is, the memorial would have to submit a report outlining how the funds are being used.

Congressman Nadler, whose district includes the 911 Memorial, said, "This federal funding will ensure that the World Trade Center memorial site is properly maintained, and it is my hope that this will help make the memorial even more accessible to the millions of visitors who come each year to visit and to pay their respects."

"City Controller Scott Stringer backs Yuh-Line Niou for Democratic nomination to replace Sheldon Silver," Daily News, 2/5/16.  "An Assembly staffer vying for the Democratic nomination to replace disgraced former Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver has won the backing of City Controller Scott Stringer," says the Daily News. "Stringer and state Sen. Brad Hoylman (D-Manhattan) joined former city Controller John Liu in calling for the New York County Democratic Committee to pick Yuh-Line Niou as its candidate for the April 19 special election called by Gov. Cuomo." The article quoted Stringer as saying, "Yuh-Line Niou's career has given her the opportunity to work for progressive change, supporting women, seniors, working families and children." For the complete article, click here.




Downtown bulletin board
tribecaNEW FINANCIAL DISTRICT NEIGHBORHOOD ASSOCIATION; MANHATTAN YOUTH SCHOOL HOLIDAY CAMP; FARM-FRESH PRODUCE
An Art Deco building at 111 John St. in the Financial District was designed by Ely Jacques Kahn of the firm of Buchman & Kahn. The building dates from 1930 and occupies a full block between Cliff and Pearl Streets. The Financial District is a mix of historic office buildings, retail and a rapidly growing residential population, with many people living in former office buildings, now converted into apartments.
(Photo: Terese Loeb Kreuzer)
Financial District Neighborhood Association: A newly formed group, the Financial District Neighborhood Association, will hold its first meeting on Feb. 11 between 6:30 p.m. and 7:30 p.m. at the Pine Street School, 25 Pine St. "Learn how you can make this growing neighborhood even better," say the organizers, Patrick Kennell, president of the association, and Sienam Lulla, its vice president. To RSVP for the meeting, click here.

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 minimates@seany.org or call (212) 748-8753. Place: 12 Fulton St. Time: 10 a.m. to 11:15 a.m.

Manhattan Youth School Holiday Camp:
From Feb. 15 to Feb. 19, Manhattan Youth's School Holiday Camp provides full-day coverage for K-5 graders from 8:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Camps are open to children from all schools and take place at Manhattan Youth's Downtown Community Center and at P.S. 89, where Manhattan Youth has a full gym, theater, cafeteria, schoolyard, art room, dance studio, library and classrooms. All students will swim every day. Breakfast, lunch and snacks are provided, but families may choose to pack a lunch that will be refrigerated for their child. Cost: 1 to 3 days: $100 per day; 4 or more days: $85 per day; Downtown Community Center members receive 10% off. For more information, call the Manhattan Youth office, (212) 766-1104 (ext. 404). To register, click here
 
Asphalt Green:
Asphalt Green Battery Park City at 212 North End Ave. 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. A one-year contract is required, with a cancellation fee of $125. For more information, click here or call (212) 298-2900, ext. 2910.

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.

New York City Audubon Winter EcoCruise:
At this time of year, seals return to New York
Gulls take flight above Swinburne Island, which once served as a place to quarantine sick immigrants arriving in New York City. Now the manmade island between Staten Island and Brooklyn  is a bird sanctuary and a place where numerous harbor seals hang out in winter. (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.

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 budget@manhattanbp.nyc.gov. 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 seaportartist@gmail.com 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. 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 editor@downtownpostnyc.com with your request for more information about sizes and prices.

calendarCALENDAR: Week of Feb. 1

The midtown Manhattan skyline, centered by the Empire State Building. "Ten Tops," an exhibition at the Skyscraper Museum, explores the architectural features of the top stories of the world's tallest buildings. The Empire State Building, which opened in 1931, was the first to be 100 stories or higher. For more information, click here.
(Photo: Terese Loeb Kreuzer)

Feb. 6: David Mills will give a dramatic performance of the works of Harlem Renaissance poet Langston Hughes at the African Burial Ground National Monument. 290 Broadway (on the first floor of the Ted Weiss Federal Building). Time: 1 p.m. to 2:30 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: The annual Battery Park City Parks art show displays artwork created by participants of all ages in the Battery Park City Parks art programs. Place: Battery Park City Parks Conservancy, 75 Battery Place. The exhibition will be on view weekdays, 2 p.m. to 4 p.m., through March 31. Free.

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 info@seany.org.

Buy tickets now:
Feb. 13: The Municipal Art Society celebrates Black History Month with a walking tour of Pierre Toussaint's New York. Toussaint, a 23-year-old slave, arrived in New York in 1797, a refugee from the revolution in Saint-Domingue. He went on to become a society hairdresser
A painting of Pierre Toussaint on exhibit at Gracie Mansion.
and philanthropist - a one-man social service agency. Word around town in antebellum New York was "go to Toussaint" if you were down and out. The Catholic Church says he practiced heroic charity and his cause for canonization is in progress. Join urban historian James A. Sullivan as he follows Toussaint's footpaths in Lower Manhattan, from Wall Street and Trinity churchyard to Reade and Franklin Streets. The tour will conclude at Old St. Patrick's Cathedral where Toussaint was buried in 1853. Time: 11 a.m. Meeting place will be sent with ticket purchase. Tickets: $30; $20 (MAS members). For more information and to buy tickets, click here.

Across the Hudson River: Liberty State Park, comprised of 1,212 acres, is easily accessible by ferry from Battery Park City. For more information about the park, click here.

Feb. 6: Winter bird walk. When the weather gets cold, numerous species of waterfowl head to the park. Walk along the river to see which birds have arrived for the winter. Meet at the Park Office on Morris Pesin Drive. Dress to be outdoors and bring binoculars if you have them, as the park has a limited number that can be borrowed. Time: 10 a.m. to noon. Free. Pre-registration required.

Feb. 20: Join Liberty State Park naturalists on a winter tree hike and "spruce" up your skills on identifying various species of trees as they appear during the winter months. Dress to be outdoors. Time: 10 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. Free. Pre-registration required.

For more information or to register for a program, call (201) 915-3400 ext. 109 or email lspic@verizon.net

The park office and visitor center, located at 200 Morris Pesin Drive, is open daily from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m.

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Editor: Terese Loeb Kreuzer

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2016