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News and Events
in Lower Manhattan
Volume 5, No. 18   Dec. 9, 2018  

"One day as I was walking down the hall, Shabazz said 'I've got an idea for you! Did you know that they're stealing bicycles left and right?'"
      -  Manuel Mansylla, co-founder with Shabazz Stuart of Oonee, describing the origin story of the Oonee bicycle parking pod that is now installed on the corner of Water and State Streets in Lower Manhattan

* Calendar: December - Lower Manhattan lights

WEATHER INFORMATION: For current weather information, click here.
Go to for breaking news and for updated  Downtown Post NYC bulletin board and calendar information.

MASTHEAD PHOTO: Santa Claus arrived in Battery Park City on Dec. 6, 2018. (©Terese Loeb Kreuzer 2018)  

Terese Loeb Kreuzer, editor
Nov. 27, aka "Giving Tuesday," has come and gone with its deluge of requests for donations to worthy causes. But as Capt. Mary Hasbritt, Museum Director of the non-profit Lilac Preservation Project, said on the day after "Giving Tuesday,"Your opportunity to give to LILAC is not limited by the calendar."

LILAC, docked at Pier 25 in Hudson River Park, is the oldest and most intact lighthouse tender surviving in the United States. She entered Coast Guard service in 1933 and worked until 1972, carrying supplies to lighthouses and maintaining buoys. She is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

LILAC is now a museum ship visited by thousands of people every year. There is no charge to tour the ship, although donations are welcome.

As a museum ship, LILAC depends on volunteers whose contributions include greeting visitors, conducting tours and maintaining the engine room.  

"You can help by volunteering, making a donation, or coming by and learning more about the ship and maritime history," Hasbritt said. Although LILAC is now closed until spring, donations are still gratefully accepted. To donate to LILAC, click here

Lilac is only one of the organizations worthy of support in our community. A few piers north of Lilac, The River Project at Pier 40 shows students and community members what's going on under the surface of the Hudson River. In 2018, more than 3,500 students visited The River Project's Wetlab. In addition, around 1,500 community members stopped by and The River Project hosted five research projects from seven visiting scientists and organizations. To learn more about donating to The River Project, click here.

On the East River, the South Street Seaport Museum would welcome your support. With galleries on Fulton and Water Streets, a print shop and with a fleet of historic ships, the museum preserves and interprets the origins and growth of New York City as a world port. In 2018, the museum lost two of its long-time supporters - Jakob Isbrandtsen and Jack Putnam. The families of both men asked that donations in their memory be made to the South Street Seaport Museum. For more information about that and about other ways to support the museum, including volunteering, click here

Terese Loeb Kreuzer
The emailed Downtown Post NYC newsletter is appearing less frequently than formerly, however, Downtown Post NYC's website ( is updated daily. That's the place to check  for urgent messages, breaking news and reminders of interesting events in and around Lower Manhattan. So be sure to look at the website every day, especially if you want to know about breaking news.


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Clifford Franklin, CEO of Sabre Integrated, which designs and installs commercial security systems, inside the Oonee pod on Water Street at Whitehall Plaza, where there is storage room for 20 bicycles. (Photos: © Terese Loeb Kreuzer)

Brooklynite Shabazz Stuart had had three bicycles stolen in five years and had decided that enough was enough. The year was 2015 and he was deputy director of operations for the Downtown Brooklyn Partnership, a not-for-profit local development corporation that manages three Business Improvement Districts (BIDs) in Downtown Brooklyn.

One of his colleagues there was an architect named Manuel Mansylla.

"One day as I was walking down the hall, Shabazz said 'I've got an idea for you! Did you know that they're stealing bicycles left and right?'" Mansylla recalled.

Shabazz Stuart and Manuel Mansylla
Mansylla was not a biker so he didn't know.

"I want to build a bike cage!" Stuart said.

Mansylla thought that was an interesting idea but advised, "Don't call it a cage."

Out of this conversation, the Oonee bicycle pod was born. Mansylla and Stuart have become partners in a business enterprise that they hope will transform public bicycle parking in New York City. With support from the Alliance for Downtown New York, on Oct. 22, a prototype pod opened on Whitehall Plaza at the intersection of Water and State Streets, a location that the Downtown Alliance manages. The Alliance shepherded Oonee through the Department of Transportation approval process, which Stuart says can be complicated in New York City, and has been monitoring the pod to be sure that it remains in good shape, which so far, it has.

Based on statistics, the Oonee bicycle parking pod would seem to have a promising future. Daily bicycle ridership in New York City had increased by 156 percent between 2006 and 2016, according to the New York City Department of Transportation website (, and the number of New York City residents who cycle to work has grown nearly twice as fast as in other major cities. As the City strives to add and improve bike lanes and safety conditions, there is no doubt that these numbers will continue to grow.

Stuart and Mansylla's Oonee is a modular bike parking pod that can be custom-built to meet the needs of cyclists and pedestrians in a variety of environments. Their prototype pod can accommodate up to 20 bicycles but an Oonee pod could be created to park as many as 100 bicycles.

"We started to tackle all the possible barriers that would prevent this project from scaling," Stuart recalls. "What makes this pod different is that it has a unique and interesting design that integrates public space amenities like benches, seating, greenery and Wi-Fi. The business model is to keep it affordable, so we look for sponsors and advertisers to brand the infrastructure, in the same way bus shelters, Big Belly trash cans, and Citi Bikes do."

Among the innovative design features of the Oonee is the base, which uses water as ballast to hold the pod in place.  According to Stuart, the next iteration of the pod will have a self-irrigating roof with greenery at the top and a system to draw water to hydrate those plants.

When Stuart and Mansylla were deciding on a name for their startup, Mansylla, who had recently returned from a trip to Japan, suggested "Oonee," the Japanese word for sea urchin.

"We wanted the name to be fun and open and social," says Stuart. "Sea urchins come in all different shapes and sizes and colors and they're found in many different types of ocean water environments." The name stuck and seems apt, because like sea urchins, the bicycle pods will be able to adapt to many different environments.

Andrew Breslau, the Alliance for Downtown New York's VP for Communications and Marketing, believes that Lower Manhattan is the perfect spot to debut the Oonee bicycle pod.

"Lower Manhattan is a great biking destination because of where it sits on the East River and Hudson River Esplanades and its proximity to the Brooklyn Bridge," says Breslau. "This is a practical, beautiful and elegant solution to a perennial problem in New York, particularly with the growth of bikes as a commuting option. People need a safe place to park their bikes and we're very excited that this is the starting point of what we hope will be a solution for many bikers in this city."
Oonee member Matt Griffin is a big fan of the downtown pod. "A lot of the buildings down here don't have storage room for bikes. I changed jobs recently and my building doesn't have a storage room, so I was happy to find this pod."

Scooters and other small vehicles can also be parked in the pods. Spaces in the pod can be reserved through membership. The monthly cost for parking a bicycle in the Oonee pod is $4.99, with weekly off-peak passes for $2.50 and daily off-peak passes for $1.

- Debbi Honorof

For more information about Oonee bicycle pods and to sign up for email updates, go to

The Oonee bicycle parking pod on Water Street at Whitehall Plaza.


Franca Tantillo of Berried Treasures Farm in Roscoe, N.Y. brought wreaths and bouquets of pine needles and berries to the Stall Market in the South Street Seaport.
 (Photos: © Terese Loeb Kreuzer 2018)

A rainy, winter day is not ideal for an outdoor farmers' market, but that's what the weather gods delivered on Sunday, Dec. 2 when several dozen food vendors lined up in the South Street Seaport, mostly on the Water Street block between Fulton and Beekman Streets. The occasion was the first of four Sunday "Stall Markets" that are bringing vendors from some of New York City's iconic public food markets to the Seaport to sell their wares alongside vendors from the Seaport's own Fulton Stall Market.

The December 2nd market featured the Essex Market, the flagship of the New York City Public Market system. The Essex Market was founded in 1940 to serve the immigrant population of the Lower East Side. For decades, the market has been housed in a Depression-era building at 120 Essex Street. In the spring, the market will move to 88
Gheetha Jayaraman, who is from Malaysia, sells vegetarian food for snacking and as a catering business.
Essex Street and will welcome some new vendors selling cheese, meat, fish, baked goods, jams and preserves, ice cream, general grocery items, plants and floral arrangements, herbs and more.

On Dec. 2, some of the current Essex Market vendors and some of the new ones came to the Seaport to sell their wares. Although the day was chilly, they received a warm welcome. On the cobblestone streets, against a backdrop of 19th century warehouses and counting houses, the market recalled the old history of the Seaport when it was a renowned market district. That's what it had been for hundreds of years.

Angela Fuller, who makes vegan and vegetarian egg rolls, has been called "the egg roll queen of Harlem."
The Essex Market is one of three public markets that operate directly under the auspices of the New York City Economic Development Corporation (NYCEDC). The others are La Marqueta in East Harlem and the Moore Street Market in East Wiliamsburg, Brooklyn. More than just for the utilitarian purpose of selling food and crafts, they serve as focal points for their communities and allow entrepreneurs to get a toehold in the food production business without requiring a lot of capital. Many of these vendors are immigrants. Market visitors will likely find it interesting to talk with them about where they came from and the culinary traditions that they brought with them.

In addition to the three markets operated directly by the NYCEDC, there are other renowned public markets in the city, including the Arthur Avenue Market in the Bronx, which will be featured at the Stall Market on Sunday, Dec. 9. Arthur Avenue, in the heart of the Belmont neighborhood, was once crowded with pushcart vendors who catered to the needs of the neighborhood's largely immigrant population. In 1940 under Mayor Fiorello LaGuardia, a retail market opened on Arthur Avenue, giving 117 of the vendors a permanent home. That property, still owned by the City, remains as the hub of a thriving neighborhood known for its Italian foods, bakery items, dry goods and fresh produce as well as for its Italian restaurants.

On Dec. 16, there will be vendors from La Marqueta, where Hot Bread Kitchen provides professional kitchens and instruction to help immigrants bring their traditional baked good specialties to market. The final market in this Stall Market series will be on Dec. 23 and will feature vendors from "the best of New York City's public markets."

The hours are 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Along with the New York City Economic Development Corporation, The Howard Hughes Corporation is a major sponsor of the December Stall Markets in the Seaport. For more information about the markets, click here.

- Terese Loeb Kreuzer

 Bits & Bytes 
The Ear Inn on Spring Street near the Hudson River was built around 1770. It has been a bar and restaurant since 1817. (Photo: Terese Loeb Kreuzer)

"Act III for a Lower Manhattan Landmark," New York Times, 11/23/18. "Plenty of historic office buildings have been converted to residential use in recent years - especially in Lower Manhattan, where some of the oldest commercial structures in New York stand," observes The New York Times. "The latest building to undergo such a transformation is the Clock Tower Building, which is now being called 108 Leonard. Completed in 1898 as the headquarters of the New York Life Insurance Company, the 16-story building occupies an entire city block with its grandest portion, fronting on Broadway, designed by McKim, Mead & White - the starchitects of their day. The white marble facade is lavished with lion heads, balustrades and other flourishes drawn from Italian Renaissance palazzos, and the whole thing is topped by a three-story pavilion with a mechanical timepiece that gave the structure its nickname." For the complete article, with photographs, click here.
"SL Green lands $225M construction loan for Lower Manhattan apartment tower,", 11/30/18. "SL Green Realty picked up a $225 million construction loan for its planned rental tower in Lower Manhattan," says The Real Deal.
"Singapore lender United Overseas Bank and the German bank Helaba provided the construction financing for the 209-unit development at 185 Broadway, SL Green announced Friday. The company plans to go vertical on construction of the 31-story, 260,000-square-foot mixed-use building in the first quarter of next year." For the complete article, click here.

"The 200-Year-Old Bar Beloved by Book Editors and Longshoremen," New York Times, 11/13/18. "On Sunday nights, when the house band plays jazz at the Ear Inn, a bar over by the Hudson River on Spring Street, the whole building shakes," says The New York Times. "In the little apartment upstairs - once the home of the Ear's first proprietor and now used by the current owners for occasional gatherings - old Dutch gin jugs shudder, thick glass Champagne bottles rattle, and 18th-century apothecary flasks clink. But then this building, with its sloping floors and death-defying stairs, went up some time around 1770. It has housed a bar continuously since 1817. In its early days, water lapped at the front door, which was then just four feet from the river. The Ear is an amiable place: good music, good company, good drinks and food. ... At lunchtime, there are editors who come from the Penguin Books office around the corner, as well as a few locals, some execs from the UPS outpost across the street. Then the cocktail crowd comes: the groups of 20-somethings who gather on the sidewalk in good weather and the residents of the neighborhood's shiny new condos." For the complete article, click here
"Cult Favorite Noodle Shop Xi'an Famous Foods Will Finally Open in FiDi,", 11/13/18. "Downtown workers will soon have one of NYC's most beloved Chinese restaurants as a lunch option: Chinese noodle chain Xi'an Famous Foods has secured a location in the Financial District and is on track to open in less than a month," says "Owner Jason Wang confirms that the counter-service restaurant is headed to 8 Liberty Pl., between Maiden Lane and Liberty Street. He had been looking for a location in the neighborhood for quite some time, citing many requests to expand near the high-rise office buildings that define the historic area." For the complete article, click here. 

"Take a Tour of Lady Liberty's Torch (Right This Second)," New York Times, 11/13/18. "It took two years of worry and strategizing, but the day of truth is about to arrive for Doug Phelps," says The New York Times. "As part of a $100 million upgrade, his construction crew will be moving the original Statue of Liberty torch from its resting place inside the statue's pedestal, where it's been on display since it was replaced in 1986, and relocating it to a new museum nearby. Early Thursday morning [Nov. 15], a crew of 15 will move the 3,600-pound torch, made of copper and amber glass, from one side of Liberty Island to the other. ... As designed by Frédéric Auguste Bartholdi and delivered to America in 1885, the torch is more than 16 feet tall and 12 feet across. The doors of the museum are not quite eight feet high. The torch will need to be disassembled." For the complete article, click here.

"SEC on the lookout for a new home near Wall Street," New York Post, 11/14/18. "The Securities and Exchange Commission is on the prowl - not for inside traders, but for a new home near Wall Street," says the New York Post. "The SEC's regional-headquarters lease at 200 Vesey St. in Brookfield Place - the former 3 World Financial Center - is up at the end of March 2021. The fraud-busters are aggressively kicking the tires nearby to find a location in which to downsize from its current 250,000 square feet into a more efficient, 175,000 square-foot space, sources said." For the complete article, click here

Downtown bulletin board
"Fidler Afn Dakh" ("Fiddler on the Roof" in Yiddish) opened at the Museum of Jewish Heritage in Battery Park City on July 4, 2018 and was supposed to close at the end of August, however, it proved so popular that the run was extended four times. The last performance at the Museum will be on Dec. 30, 2018, but for those who miss it there or just want to see it again, there will be another chance. The show will transfer to Off-Broadway's Stage 42 (422 West 42nd St.) with previews that begin on Feb. 11 and with an official opening on Feb. 21. (Photo: Victor Nechay/ProperPix)
Manhattan Community Board applications: Community Board membership applications are now open. Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer says, "We're looking for passionate and engaged New Yorkers who are dedicated to making a difference in their neighborhoods. Community Boards play an important role in shaping the character of our city. If you live or work in Manhattan, you're eligible to apply for the 2019-2021 class of board members."

Community Board members are volunteers who, at a minimum, meet with the committees on which they serve and attend the monthly board meetings. Community Board members serve two-year terms after which they must reapply.

To apply online, click here or complete a paper application ( downloadable here as a PDF). The online application must be completed in one sitting. All applications are due by 5 p.m. on Friday, Feb. 8, 2019. After you apply, someone from the Manhattan Borough President's office will contact you about next steps in the screening and interview process. Appointments will be announced in the spring.

Holiday diaper drive: For the third year, Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer is helping to sponsor a holiday diaper drive. "For many low-income working parents, getting diapers for their children is a struggle," she says. "Day care centers often require parents to supply diapers when they drop off their kids, so if the parents don't have diapers to bring every day, they can't work. That's why my office, the Food Bank for New York City, and the Girl Scout Council of Greater New York are launching the third annual holiday diaper drive to collect these essential items for New Yorkers in need. We'll distribute the diapers we collect to emergency food pantries."

If you wish to help, bring new, sealed boxes of diapers in sizes 3 to 6 (sizes 4 and 5 are needed most) to either of Gale Brewer's offices: 1 Centre St. (19th floor South) or 431 W. 125th St. (storefront). If you're an Amazon customer, you can use this link to order from the Food Bank's Amazon Wishlist for delivery straight to their warehouse.

Donations will be accepted through Jan. 31, 2019.

Pet pictures with Santa: On Tuesday, Dec. 18 between 5 p.m. and 7 p.m., Dr. Charles Berk will play Santa at the Battery Park Veterinary Hospital while pets get their pictures taken with Santa. For a donation of $5 or more, get a printed photo of Santa with your pet (with photography by Marjorie Becker). All of the donations received for this annual event go to Animal Care and Control of NYC. Place: 21 South End Ave. For more information, call (212) 786-4444.

Weekend closures of PATH World Trade Center station: Beginning in January 2019 and running through December 2020, PATH's World Trade Center station will be closing each weekend, except for holiday weekends, to replace equipment and rebuild tunnels severely damaged during Superstorm Sandy. The station will close at 12:01 a.m. on Saturdays starting on Jan. 5, 2019 and will reopen at 5 a.m. after each weekend of work. Riders will be given free transfers to daytime weekend ferry service between Exchange Place and Lower Manhattan. Overnight service on the Journal Square-33rd Street line will be increased. 

Community Center at Stuyvesant High School: The Community Center at Stuyvesant High School (CCSHS) located at 345 Chambers St. in Battery Park City, offers a half-Olympic-sized swimming pool, basketball courts, a gym, fitness equipment and other amenities . In addition, there are a variety of classes including swimming lessons for children and adults, Tai Chi, Hatha Yoga, tennis for kids and total body boxing. CCSHS is open daily with hours that vary. Since the facilities are shared with the high school, the hours from September to June differ from those in July and August. An annual membership includes free programs and classes. The rates are $199 (adults, 18+) and $79 (seniors, military and youth). Battery Park City residents get a $20 a year discount on those rates. Walk-in passes are available for $15 (adults 18+) and $10 (seniors, military and youth). For more information, call (212) 267-9700, email or click here.

Audition for the St. Paul's Chapel Choir: The St. Paul's Chapel Choir welcomes volunteer singers from the parish, neighborhood and greater New York area to audition for this new ensemble launching in January 2019. Auditions will be held through December 20. Rehearsals will take place on Thursdays between 6 p.m. and 7:15 p.m. starting in January.The Chapel Choir, directed by associate organist Janet Yieh, will sing for morning services on the first Sunday of each month at St. Paul's Chapel and lead a congregational hymn-sing each season . For more information or to schedule an audition, click here.

Most of the Downtown Post NYC bulletin board listings are now on the Downtown Post NYC website. To see the bulletin board listings, click here.

Renuka Pinto, an Australian trained physical therapist with over 18 years experience, is now offering "quality care at an affordable price" at her new location, 915 Broadway, Suite 1106. She is a sports and spine specialist using technology, intensive hands-on therapy and custom-based exercise to help patients meet their needs.
A mother of three, she offers specialized services to pregnant and post-partum women to help them achieve their individual goals.

calendar CALENDAR: December 2018  
Spotlight: Lower Manhattan lights   

  The Battery Park City holiday tree at South Cove, festooned with hundreds of colored lights. (Photo: © Terese Loeb Kreuzer 2018)
Santa Claus in Battery Park City: Santa Claus arrived in Battery Park City's South Cove shortly after 6 p.m. on December 6 to the great delight of a throng of children and their parents. Much to the relief of Battery Park City Authority President B.J. Jones, right on cue the throw of a switch illuminated an evergreen tree decorated with hundreds of colored lights.
Although the night was cold, an ample supply of hot chocolate was on hand. Vy Higginsen's Sing Harlem Choir provided holiday music while Santa sat on a bench to talk with the children, who were touching in their wide-eyed certainty that he was the real deal. The children sat on his lap as he embraced them and waved while parents snapped pictures. One little girl hugged him and was hugged back.
Even for people long past the age of believing in Santa Claus, it was a beautiful night. "The joy is infectious!" said B.J. Jones. It was.
Although Santa has come and gone, the holiday tree remains in South Cove. For another spectacular light show, stop in the Winter Garden at Brookfield Place, where Luminaries are back. This extraordinary light show was created a few years ago by the LAB at Rockwell Group and was so popular that it remained up long after the time when it was supposed to be dismantled. Since then, this canopy of glowing lanterns suspended over the Winter Garden has become a beloved fixture of the Lower Manhattan holiday season - plus as a bonus, you may see Santa at the Winter Garden. The word is that he's in town. - Terese Loeb Kreuzer 

'Messiah' at Trinity Wall Street: Tickets are on sale for Trinity Wall Street's annual and very popular presentation of Handel's "Messiah" conducted by Julian Wachner, Trinity's director of music and the arts. This year, because of construction at Trinity Church, the performances will be at St. Paul's Chapel on Broadway at Fulton Street. St. Paul's is smaller than Trinity Church, so it would not be too soon to buy tickets for "Messiah" if you are interested in going. Some seats are limited view or monitor-only view; ticket prices have been adjusted accordingly. Performance dates and times are as follows:
Thursday, Dec. 13 at 7:30 p.m.; Friday, Dec. 14 at 7:30 p.m.; Sunday, Dec. 16 at 3 p.m. and Monday, Dec. 17 at 7:30 p.m. Tickets range in price from $25 (no direct view; monitor-only view) to $100 (orchestra front and front balcony with a full view). For more information and to buy tickets, click here.  
Santa came to Battery Park City on Dec. 6 and got a hug from a little girl.  
(Photo: © Terese Loeb Kreuzer)

For more calendar listings, go to the Downtown Post NYC website. Click here.


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Editor: Terese Loeb Kreuzer

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