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News and Events
in Lower Manhattan
Volume 3, No. 9  Feb. 24, 2016

"Are we building a waterfront for a large number of people or are we building a waterfront for a tiny minority of people?"
     - Graeme Birchall, president of the Downtown Boathouse, discussing the feasibility of turning the naturally formed beach under the Brooklyn Bridge into a public amenity             

* Calendar: Week of Feb. 22

WEATHER INFORMATION: For current weather information, click here.

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MASTHEAD PHOTO: A detail of the landmarked, Art Deco building at 21 West St.
Nov. 14, 2015 (Photo: Terese Loeb Kreuzer) 

Kayakers resting for a few minutes on the beach under the Brooklyn Bridge.
(Photo: Terese Loeb Kreuzer)

When Henry Hudson arrived in New York Harbor in 1609 and sailed up the river that is now named for him, Manhattan Island was forested and ringed with coves and beaches. Remarkably, there are still some left. One of them is under the Brooklyn Bridge - a natural beach of coarse sand and rock, littered with garbage but nevertheless favored by gulls and kayakers who seek a place to put in for a few minutes as they travel up and down the East River.

In August 2013, then City Council Speaker Christine Quinn and Manhattan Borough President
City Councilmember Margaret Chin speaking at a press conference on Aug. 1, 2013 during which City Council Speaker Christine Quinn and Borough of Manhattan President Scott Stringer announced $7 million in funding to expand Brooklyn Bridge Beach. (Photo: Terese Loeb Kreuzer)
Scott Stringer announced that they had allocated $7 million to turn that beach into a public amenity that they said would take three years to build.

 Almost three years have passed but nothing has happened except that the New York City Economic Development Corporation commissioned a feasibility study that was finished in June 2015 and released to the public six months later.

It was conducted by Ocean and Coastal Consultants/COWI under a contract from SHoP Architects, the designers of The Howard Hughes Corporation's Pier 17 mall, with EDC as the ultimate client.

The EDC's study maintained that a public beach under the Brooklyn Bridge wouldn't be safe because of the East River's strong current and wave action, and that it should be developed as a private urban beach concession. "This affordable amenity for the public would include restrooms, showers, changing areas, lockers, facilities to rent towels and a place to buy snacks," the study said.

On Dec. 10, 2015, the EDC hosted a meeting to discuss the feasibility study and to get feedback from representatives of Community Boards 1 and 3, City Councilmember Margaret Chin, the Manhattan Borough President's office and other stakeholders.

Whatever was said at that meeting about the dangers of unsupervised public access, CB1 remained unpersuaded. A week after that meeting, CB1 approved at its full board meeting a resolution that said that "the Brooklyn Bridge Beach should be developed in a way that permits unfenced, unfettered access to the beach for walking on the beach as soon as possible in lieu of any future study with regards to other types of activities."

In its resolution, CB1 pointed out that "Unfenced and unfettered public access to a similar beach is already available less than 1,000 yards away in Brooklyn under the bridge, and has become a favorite destination for park goers there."

Finally, said CB1, "Community Board One feels that Brooklyn Bridge Beach is a public amenity that the City, State and EDC must make available as a park to New Yorkers and the community as a whole."

Graeme Birchall
Graeme Birchall, president of the volunteer-run Downtown Boathouse, which provides free kayaking for the public at Pier 26 on the Hudson River and on Governors Island, heartily agrees.

Lest the topic of the Brooklyn Bridge Beach slip off the radar with many other pressing matters vying for community and political attention, he has been showing up at community board meetings to say that the issues raised by the EDC feasibility study are of no consequence or are easily fixable.

"Why would you do a feasibility study if you only study unfeasible solutions?" he asked when he made a presentation to Community Board 1's Seaport/Civic Center Committee on Feb. 16.

Among other things, he said that, "What was missing from the feasibility study was any analysis of neighborhood needs."

He pointed out that both Community Districts 1 and 3 have less recreational space than the New York City average. In addition, he said that more than 40 percent of the residents in Community District 3, which is just to the north of the Brooklyn Bridge Beach, receive public assistance. "For them, the only 'affordable' amenity is a free one," he observed. 

Swimming isn't an issue, said Birchall, because it isn't permitted in New York Harbor, but "wading is to be expected. It's a popular activity at every public beach in New York Harbor. There is no record of it creating a major problem."

Then he wondered why showers, lockers and towels would be needed if no one was going swimming. "No other beach in New York Harbor has such facilities," he said.

For Birchall, as for CB1, the bottom line is that he believes that public money shouldn't be used to build a private beach. "Are we building a waterfront for a large number of people or are we building a waterfront for a tiny minority of people?" he asked.

Recently, the New York City Department of Parks and Recreation launched an initiative giving the public an opportunity to voice its support for improved park access, including better waterfront access.

Birchall is urging anyone who believes that the Brooklyn Bridge Beach should be free and accessible to the public to go to the Parks Without Borders website, zoom in on Lower Manhattan, click on the East River Walkway where it goes under the Brooklyn Bridge and click on the "add a new entrance" button. 

All comments must be entered before Feb. 28. For the Parks Without Borders website, click here.

- Terese Loeb Kreuzer

Domenico De Sole, chairman of Sotheby's board of directors, on the witness stand at the trial in which he accused Knoedler Gallery of selling him a fake Rothko painting for
$8.3 million. (Illustrations: © Elizabeth Williams)

Psst. Want to buy the Brooklyn Bridge? No? Then how about a painting by Mark Rothko? So few come to market. You haven't seen this before because it previously belonged to a Swiss collector who bought it directly from the artist. Now his son wants to sell it but wishes to remain anonymous.

Minus the Brooklyn Bridge, that was roughly the dialogue that roped in some hugely wealthy art collectors who plunked down millions of dollars at the prestigious Knoedler Gallery to buy paintings by Rothko, Richard Diebenkorn, Robert Motherwell, Jackson Pollock, Willem de Kooning, Clyfford Still and Barnett Newman - all of them fakes.

In a trial that started on Jan. 25, 2016 and ended on Feb. 10, Domenico and Eleanore de Sole, two of the defrauded collectors, sued the Knoedler Gallery, its former director, Ann Freedman, and the gallery's holding company, 8-31 Holdings, for $25 million. In 2004, they had bought a bogus Rothko for $8.3 million and wanted their money back, plus damages.

The trial took place in Manhattan's United States District Court, 40 Centre St., in front of Judge Paul G. Gardephe and a 10-person jury.

In the absence of cameras, courtroom artists Elizabeth Williams and Victor Juhasz recorded the proceedings. Their drawings are now on exhibit and for sale at the World Trade Gallery, 120 Broadway, through Feb. 27.

"This was the largest art fraud trial of all time," said Williams. "It rocked the art world."

Knoedler took in roughly $70 million for fraudulent sales that started in 1994, Williams explained. A woman named Glafira Rosales appeared at Knoedler with a cache of Abstract Expressionist paintings that she sold to the gallery for a fraction of what they would normally cost. The first batch were a couple of Diebenkorns.

In February 1994, gallery director Freedman asked John Elderfield, chief curator of painting and sculpture at the Museum of Modern Art, and Diebenkorn's widow and daughter to look at the paintings. All of them expressed doubts to Freedman about their authenticity.

But that didn't stop Freedman from selling the Diebenkorns and the other paintings that Rosales brought to her. She assembled lists of people who had supposedly authenticated the paintings. During the trial, many of them testified that they had never authenticated anything or consented to have their names used.

"The crux of the trial was whether or not Ann Freedman knew the art was fake," said Williams.

Judge Gardephe believes that she knew. An article in The New York Times (Jan. 24, 2016) quoted him as saying that there was "ample circumstantial evidence demonstrating that Freedman acted with fraudulent intent and understood that the Rosales paintings were not authentic."

In fact, the paintings were created by Pei Shen Qian, a Chinese immigrant living in Flushing, Queens. Williams said that he was working as a street artist in SoHo when Rosales met him.

Qian was indicted on charges of conspiracy, fraud and making false statements and has fled to China. He has said that he didn't know that his work was being sold as authentic. He was paid a few hundred dollars to as much as $9,000 for work that Knoedler subsequently sold for millions.

Freedman has been sued but not indicted. Rosales pleaded guilty to federal tax evasion and money
Ann Freedman, former director of the Knoedler Gallery.
laundering charges in 2013 but has yet to be sentenced. Her former boyfriend and co-conspirator, José Carlos Bergantinos Diaz, and his brother Jésus Angel Bergantinos Diaz, have been charged with conspiracy to commit wire fraud and money laundering and are awaiting extradition from Spain.

The party came to an end in 2011. During a divorce settlement, Pierre La Grange, a London hedge fund executive, needed to sell the Jackson Pollock painting that he had bought from Knoedler. He took it to Christie's and Sotheby's to have it appraised and learned that it was fake. It used pigments that weren't commercially available until 14 years after Pollock's death.

Knoedler, founded in 1846, was the oldest art gallery in New York City. When La Grange sued Knoedler in November 2011, it shut down the next day.

That's what tipped off Domenico and Eleanore de Sole that their Rothko might also be a fake.

To date, the scandal has led to 10 lawsuits. Five were settled out of court. The de Soles' suit was the first to go to trial. The four others that are pending are not likely to be heard for at least a year.

When the de Soles had their Rothko painting displayed in their South Carolina home, they had it encased in expensive glass and protected by an alarm system. On Jan. 27, when the "Rothko" appeared in the courtroom, it was handled "much in the way that one might deal with an empty pizza box," according to an account in Art News (Feb. 1, 2016).

Domenico de Sole said that the painting was "worthless."

The de Soles' lawsuit was settled right before Michael Armand Hammer, grandson of industrialist Armand Hammer, founder of the Knoedler Gallery, was supposed to take the witness stand.

The de Soles said they were happy with the settlement.

Liz Williams said that she enjoyed being back in Courtroom 318 at the Thurgood Marshall Courthouse, which is where the trial was held. "It's one of three ceremonial courtrooms in that courthouse," she explained. "They have marble walls and wood. That's where the big trials take place."

She recalled having been in that courtroom in 1986 when she sketched Donald Trump, who was testifying on behalf of the U.S. Football League against the National Football League.

Her drawing of Trump on the witness stand is among the works now for sale at the World Trade Gallery. The drawings range in price from $1,200 to $3,800. All of them are authentic.

- Terese Loeb Kreuzer

The World Trade Gallery is at 120 Broadway (entrance on Cedar Street). It is open daily. For more information, click here.

Lawyers and the press with the "Rothko" painting after the de Soles' trial was settled.  

Bits & Bytes
The transportation hub designed by Santiago Calatrava is scheduled to open the first week in March. (Photo: Terese Loeb Kreuzer)

"Outsider wins race to provide city's new ferry service, sources say," Crain's New York Business, 2/18/16. "After a drawn-out battle between ferry operators to run the city's expanding water routes, the de Blasio administration has climbed aboard with Hornblower Cruises & Events, a new player on the local commuter-service scene," says Crain's New York Business. "The city's Economic Development Corp. chose the luxury touring company over a combined bid from Billybey, New York Waterway and the Durst-owned New York Water Taxi, which among them run the Hudson River and East River services." Crain's says that the "EDC had called for a bidder to 'seamlessly continue the existing ferry service.' The city must now negotiate that integration between Hornblower and the current operators. Three new ferry routes are due to open next year: one connecting Rockaway, Queens, to south Brooklyn and downtown Manhattan; another looping from Bay Ridge to Red Hook, Brooklyn Heights and Wall Street; and a third that hops from Astoria to Long Island City, Roosevelt Island and midtown." For the complete article, click here.

"Boondoggle or Beauty? A First Walk Through Calatrava's Transportation Hub," New York Magazine, 2/19/16. "In early 2004, the architect Santiago Calatrava stood beneath the palm trees of the World Financial Center's Winter Garden and drew a quick sketch of a child releasing a dove," Justin Davidson writes in New York Magazine. "That was the showman's prelude to unveiling his design for the World Trade Center Transportation Hub, a great white bird that charmed a roomful of skeptics. Finally, after all the earthbound squabbles and depressing compromises, here was an expression of upwelling joy....Like most critics, I waxed rapturous: Calatrava, I wrote, had conceived 'an optimistic emblem of flight as an answer to airborne disaster.'" Davidson goes on to note that in ensuing years, the project changed to meet security threats and ran way over budget. But, he adds, "After a dozen years, many doubts, and a walk through the nearly complete station this past week, I feel exactly the same. It seems miraculous that Calatrava's daydream should now finally exist, altered yet recognizable. ... What remains is an extravagantly idealistic creation unlike any in New York. It challenges the city's public architecture to rise above habitual cut corners and rectilinear repetition. The cost of beauty is often high." For the complete article, click here.

"World Trade Center's $4B transit hub is a lemon," New York Post, 2/21/16. "After 10 years of baiting the 'Calatrasaurus' - architect Santiago Calatrava's years-behind-schedule, billions-of-dollars-over-budget World Trade Center Transportation Hub - I finally visited the belly of the beast," Steve Cuozzo writes in the New York Post. "I strolled through the football field-length Oculus, which I'd ridiculed as 'elephantine excess' and likened to an 'LOL-ugly' sci-fi movie horror, and which The New York Times' architectural critic gently termed a 'kitsch stegosaurus.' And - surprise! - the Oculus, which will partially open to the public the first week in March, is as functionally vapid inside as it is outside. It's a void in search of a purpose other than to connect a bunch of subway and pedestrian corridors and concourses with one another. The ribs rising to a 22-foot-wide skyline frame an impressive ovoid space, for sure. How could a white marble floor 392 feet long, 144 feet wide and a ceiling 160 feet high at its apex not be impressive? But what will the public find on the vast, 56,448-square-foot floor? Nothing. Not a seat. No newsstands or snack concessions. No central information kiosk like the one that provides a focus to the main hall of Grand Central Terminal, to which Calatrava and the Port Authority presumptuously compare the hub." For the complete article, click here.

"Seas Are Rising at Fastest Rate in Last 28 Centuries," New York Times, 2/22/16. "The worsening of tidal flooding in American coastal communities is largely a consequence of greenhouse gases from human activity, and the problem will grow far worse in coming decades," The New York Times reports, citing scientific evidence. "Those emissions, primarily from the burning of fossil fuels, are causing the ocean to rise at the fastest rate since at least the founding of ancient Rome, the scientists said. They added that in the absence of human emissions, the ocean surface would be rising less rapidly and might even be falling. The increasingly routine tidal flooding is making life miserable in places like Miami Beach; Charleston, S.C.; and Norfolk, Va., even on sunny days." Though the article makes no mention of Lower Manhattan, much of Manhattan south of Canal Street is at sea level and therefore vulnerable. For the complete article, click here.

New South Street Seaport Museum Exhibit: When an exhibition called "Street of Ships: The Port and Its People" opens in the South Street Seaport Museum's 12 Fulton St. lobby on March 17, it won't be just another exhibit. Since Superstorm Sandy swept through the Seaport on Oct. 29, 2012, the museum's 12 Fulton St. galleries have been crippled.

In the aftermath of Sandy, which wiped out the museum's electrical system, jury-rigged heating was installed in the Fulton Street building but it wasn't possible to regulate the temperature and humidity sufficiently to protect the museum's artifacts. In addition, the elevator and escalator were out of service. So, for the most part, the 12 Fulton St. galleries were shuttered.

The new exhibition will showcase works of art and artifacts from the museum's permanent collections related to the 19th century history of the Port of New York. The objects to be put on display will illuminate the Seaport's decisive role in securing New York City's place as America's largest city and the world's busiest port by the start of the 20th century.

Wavertree Under Sail by Oswald Brett, 1969 (Courtesy of the South Street Seaport Museum Foundation)
Much of the exhibition will revolve around the museum's 1885 sailing ship, Wavertree. She is a full-rigged sailing ship like those whose prows once extended over South Street in such numbers that it was called the "Street of Ships." Carrying cargo, Wavertree circled the globe four times during her career. In 1910, she was demasted in a gale off Cape Horn, ending her usefulness as a cargo vessel. She was salvaged and served as a storage barge in South America before being acquired by the South Street Seaport Museum in 1968.

Since May 2015, she has been at Caddell Dry Dock and Shipyard on Staten Island for a 15-month, $13 million restoration funded by the city.

Capt. Jonathan Boulware, executive director of the South Street Seaport Museum, said of the Wavertree restoration, "It's unlike any undertaken in a generation." He also said that he was "thrilled to finally be bringing artifacts from the collection forward to the public for the first time since Sandy."

The exhibition was funded by Theodore W. Scull and the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs with additional support provided by Susan Kayser & Duane Morris LLP in memory of Salvatore Polisi, the museum's cherished woodcarver who loved to welcome visitors to his shop and talk to them about the museum and the Seaport.

The exhibition will be on view through 2016. - Terese Loeb Kreuzer

The Excelsior Power Company Building at 33-43 Gold St. was one of two buildings in Lower Manhattan that the Landmarks Preservation Commission designated as a priority for landmarks designation before the end of 2016. (Photo: Terese Loeb Kreuzer)

The Landmarks Preservation Commission's ax has fallen. Four Lower Manhattan buildings were on LPC's list of 95 that had languished for many years without being calendared for a landmarks hearing. At first, LPC was just going to wipe the slate clean but so many people protested, that LPC chose to have a series of public hearings in 2015 to decide which of the 95 buildings would be prioritized and allowed to be fully considered for landmark status.

315 Broadway
Two of Lower Manhattan's buildings made the cut. They are 315 Broadway, an Italianate-style mercantile building that was built as a speculative investment in 1861 by retired linen merchant Thomas Suffern and the Excelsior Power Company Building at 33-43 Gold St., a Romanesque Revival structure dating from 1888 that played an important role in the early electrification of Lower Manhattan. It was long owned by the Consolidated Edison Company, which strenuously opposed landmark designation in documents dating back to April 4, 1977.

 One of them stated that "the highest and best use of the entire property would eventually be the construction of a modern office building." That document stated that "the building's facade is not sufficiently unique, historical or extraordinary to warrant preservation of the building as an historic landmark."

That was 1977. For whatever reasons, the building's powerful brick arches and Art Nouveau signage still stand, drawing the attention of even a casual passer by. 

Two Lower Manhattan buildings on the LPC's list of 95 will not get any further consideration or possible protection from Landmarks. They are 143 Chambers St., a five-story Italianate store and loft building that was constructed as a speculative investment in 1860-1861 by the estate of Ellis Potter and 2 Oliver St., a federal style house, built in 1821, with a third story added around 1850. It was the home of James O'Donnell, one of the first trained architects in the United States. O'Donnell worked on the nearby Fulton Street Market while living at 2 Oliver St. He later moved to Montreal, where he designed the Basilica of Notre Dame.

In a press release, the LPC said that its decisions were based on "extensive outreach and research."

Some of the sites that were removed from consideration received "No Action" letters from LPC, which would allow them to be placed back on the calendar at a future date "should new information or historical interest in them arise."

- Terese Loeb Kreuzer

Downtown bulletin board
      Last call to see Luminaries, the light show that David Rockwell and the Rockwell Group devised for Brookfield Place's Winter Garden in Battery Park City. It will be on display through Feb. 29. (Photo: Terese Loeb Kreuzer)

Tribeca Alliance Partnership Business and Community Meeting: The first meeting of the Tribeca Alliance Partnership will take place on Feb. 24 from 6:30 p.m. to 8 p.m. at the Millenium Hilton, 55 Church St. The goal of the partnership is to build a strong, unified voice that will help conserve, grow and support small businesses in Tribeca.

The Tribeca Alliance was founded by Ann Bendetto, owner of a clothing shop called A Uno Tribeca. The Alliance hopes to create a synergy between businesses using its resources, and to come up with creative ideas to promote its member businesses.

Among the issues confronting small businesses in Tribeca according to the Tribeca Alliance website, are 100 vacant storefronts with rents that small businesses can't afford and ubiquitous construction and scaffolding. Real estate taxes are also a problem. "The Manhattan Borough President's Office, NYC Small Business Services and the Mayor's Office will support our efforts," says the website. "They are the ones who have encouraged us to organize and then they can address our issues. Our voices will make a powerful statement that our community is united." For more information about the Tribeca Alliance, click here.

Adult learning at the library: The programming at the Battery Park City Library leans heavily toward events for babies, toddlers and young children but around once a week, there are programs for adults.  On Feb. 25 at 6 p.m., John Crant will explain how to build a professional network on Linkedin and use it for a job search. On March 8 at 2 p.m., Krishna Dholakia, a registered dietitian, will talk about nutrition labels and how to use them to make healthy food choices. The talks are free. No reservations are required. The Battery Park City Library is at 175 North End Ave. It's open from Monday to Saturday. For more information, click here or call (212) 790-3499.

Free tax preparation:
If you earned $62,000 or less in 2015, you may qualify for free tax preparation services, either via online filing or in person with a certified preparer. There are two ways to file your taxes safely and without charge:

In person at your local free tax preparation site: For most sites, this service is offered to people with an annual income of $54,000 or less (with children) or $30,000 or less (no children). IRS certified preparers will help you claim credits such as the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) and NYC Child Care Tax Credit (NYC CCTC) to get the full refund you deserve. Some sites let you drop off your tax documents and pick up the completed return later.

There are more than 200 NYC Free Tax Prep sites in the city. In Lower Manhattan, this service is available through Beta Alpha Psi at Pace University, One Pace Plaza, 4th floor (call 212-618-6598 for more information) and at the New Amsterdam Library, 9 Murray St. (call 212-732-8186 for more information). For other free tax preparation sites, click here or call 311.

Online filing is for people with an annual income of $62,000 or less. The online service is quick, easy and secure. Step-by-step instructions make it easy to claim credits like the EITC and NYC CCTC. Experts are available by phone to help with questions.
For more information, go to or call 311 and ask for tax preparation assistance.

Harlem photographers honored with reception and film screening
: In celebration of Black History Month, Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer will host a reception and film screening recognizing the work of Harlem photographers on Monday, Feb. 29. The film,  "Through a Lens Darkly: Black Photographers and the Emergence of a People," is filmmaker Thomas Allen Harris' award-winning documentary exploring the role of photography in shaping the identity, aspirations, and social emergence of African Americans. Place: MIST Harlem, 46 West 116th Street, Harlem. Time: 6 p.m. (reception); 7:30 p.m. (film screening). Free. To RSVP, click here.

Winter 'specials' at Malaysian Kitchen: From Monday to Friday, Malaysian Kitchen at 21 South End Ave. in Battery
Karaoke at Malaysian Kitchen. (Photo: Terese Loeb Kreuzer)
Park City is offering discounts on food and beverages. Every day except Wednesday, there's a 20 percent discount on special menu items such as Peking duck with dumplings (on Mondays), sushi (on Fridays) or Malaysian specialties such as beef rendang (Tuesdays) or Melaka Hainanese chicken rice (Thursdays). Wednesdays from 7 p.m. to 10 p.m. are karaoke nights with Russell Targove. On Wednesdays, women, get their first drink of wine or beer on the house with any entrée. Dine-in only. For more information, call (212) 786-1888 or click here.

5K Run/Walk and Community Day:
Sign up now to participate in the National September 11 Memorial and Museum's 5K run/walk that will take place on Sunday, April 24, rain or shine. This is a "fun Run/Walk" for people connected with the memorial or who want to support it. The event will not be timed. It starts at Pier 26 in Hudson River Park, goes through Battery Park City along the Hudson River esplanade and ends at the 9/11 memorial with a free "Community Day." From 9 a.m. to 2 p.m., there will be activities for all ages, a kid zone, live music and opportunities to learn more about the memorial. Food and refreshments will be available for purchase. People with a 9/11 Memorial Run/Walk bib will get a 25 percent discount at the Memorial Museum ticket window if they want to visit the museum that day. The early bird registration fees (through April 1) are $40 (adults); $28 (students and youth); $20 (FDNY, NYPD, PAPD and for the U.S. Military); free (children). To register and for more information, click here.

Getting a South Street Seaport education:
At its next meeting, which will take place on Feb. 29, Save Our Seaport will be host to the South Street Seaport Museum Director of Education, Laura Norwitz. The discussion will address the educational opportunities that the South Street Seaport Museum and South Street Seaport Historic District have to offer surrounding communities. Place: Southbridge Towers Community Room, 90 Beekman St. Time: 6:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. Free. For more information, 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 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. 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.

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 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 hereDue 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. 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.

calendarCALENDAR: Week of Feb. 22

On March 3, the Choir of Trinity Wall Street and Trinity Baroque Orchestra with Julian Wachner conducting will perform J.S. Bach's St. Matthew Passion, BWV 244. Tickets are now on sale. (Photo: Terese Loeb Kreuzer)

Feb. 24: In "Fried Chicken and Latkes," actress-comedian Rain Pryor takes an irreverent and poignant look at growing up African American, Jewish, and the daughter of a famous father in her one-woman show. Place: Museum of Jewish Heritage, 36 Battery Place. Time: 7 p.m. Tickets: $35; $25 (members); $15 (students). To buy tickets, click here.

Feb. 29:
At the Knickerbocker Chamber Orchestra's "Supreme Justice Soirée-Fundraiser" hear a preview of KCO Music Director Gary S. Fagin's new musical drama, "Supreme Justice: The Battle for Gay Rights." The work is the story of the landmark Supreme Court decision to expand the definition of equal rights for all people, regardless of sexual orientation, and a tribute to the friendship of Supreme Court Justices Ruth Bader Ginsburg and Antonin Scalia. In addition, Grammy-nominated cellist Christine Kim will play a selection from the "Concerto for Violoncello and Orchestra" by Michael Bacon, who will join Ms. Kim for a duet. The music will be preceded by a reception with fine wine, "bubbly" and hors d'oeuvres. (All proceeds from the soirée will benefit the "Supreme Justice: The Battle for Gay Rights" concert at Pace University's Schimmel Center for the Arts on March 18.) Place: Pier A. Time: 6 p.m.-8 p.m. Tickets: From $125. For more information and to buy tickets, click here.  

: An exhibition entitled "Metamorphosis: The Collaboration of Poet Barbara Guest & Artist Fay Lansner" runs at Poets House through April 23, 2016. Beginning in the 1960s and continuing through the 1990s, this exhibition charts the creative collaboration and friendship between the New York School Poet Barbara Guest (1920- 2006) and painter Fay Lansner (1921-2010). Included in the exhibit are drawings, paintings, collages and portraits of Guest that depict the progressive transformation of the creative process. This is the first time that these works have been brought together in an exhibition. Place: 10 River Terrace. The exhibition is open during Poets House's regular hours. Free. For more information, click here.

Ongoing: "Cerámica de los Ancestros: Central America's Past Revealed" displays 155 ancient objects from the National Museum of the American Indian's rarely seen collections of Central American ceramics. The exhibition examines seven regions representing distinct Central American cultural areas that are today part of Belize, Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua and Panama, where Central America's first inhabitants lived. Dating back to 1000 B.C., the ceramics help tell the story of the innumerable achievements of these ancient civilizations, each with unique, sophisticated ways of life, value systems and arts. Through December 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. For a video related to the exhibition, 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

Buy tickets now:
March 3: Hear J.S. Bach's St. Matthew Passion, BWV 244, performed by the Choir of Trinity Wall Street and Trinity Baroque Orchestra with Julian Wachner conducting. Place: Trinity Church (Broadway at Wall Street). Time: 7 p.m. Tickets: $95 (premium center front); $75 (center rear); $45 (standard sides). Buy now and get a 25 percent discount with the code EMAIL25 at checkout. To buy tickets, click here or call (212) 866-0468.

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Editor: Terese Loeb Kreuzer

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