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News and Events
in Lower Manhattan
Volume 6, No. 17,  Feb. 10, 2020   

"Let us have faith that right makes might, and in that faith, let us, to the end, dare to do our duty as we understand it."
      -  Abraham Lincoln, speech at the Cooper Institute on Feb. 27, 1860  
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MASTHEAD PHOTO: Vernon Reid, guitarist and composer, at "Silent Films/Live Music," a three-day program of films and music at the Winter Garden in Battery Park City.   
(Photo: © Terese Loeb Kreuzer 2020)

Terese Loeb Kreuzer, editor
The postmortem on Donald Trump's trial in the U.S. Senate suggested that many Republican senators were convinced of his guilt but felt pressured to acquit him. In The New York Times, for instance, Ohio Senator Sherrod Brown (a Democrat) attempted to explain the vote to acquit by saying that the senators were afraid of retribution. ("In Private, Republicans Admit They Acquitted Trump Out of Fear.")

The pressure to fall in line and the fear of personal consequences must have been weighty in the extreme. I can only gauge it by my own experience decades ago as a juror in Manhattan's criminal court. A man from Spanish Harlem was accused of possession and sale of marijuana. Gov. Nelson Rockefeller's harsh drug laws were then in effect and the defendant would go to prison for years, if convicted.

The defendant, who spoke little English, needed a translator next to him during the trial and looked bewildered.

When it came time for us to deliberate, we were initially split, six in favor of conviction and six opposed. After a day of deliberations, we couldn't agree. Nine of us wanted to convict and three held out. We were sequestered in a motel for the night. (I doubt that this still happens.)

I was one of the hold-outs along with my roommate that night and a third woman. We were instructed not to discuss the trial, and we didn't. But I did discover that night something that neither the prosecuting attorney nor the defense attorney had asked about in the voir dire (the process that proceeds seating someone as a juror). It turned out that my roommate, a Polish woman, had spent part of World War II imprisoned in Auschwitz. She said to me that she wouldn't send anyone to prison unless she were absolutely sure that they belonged there.

My reasons for holding out were different. The defendant had been accused by a policeman. There was no corroborating evidence - none - and there were some clear inconsistencies in the policeman's testimony that, while not of major consequence in themselves, caused me to wonder whether the primary accusations were also flawed.

The next morning, we resumed our deliberations. The nine who wanted to convict became increasingly insistent that the three of us should just give in and let everyone go home.

I remember that the pressure was intense. I also remember this. There was a lavatory in the jury room. Around three o'clock that afternoon, I went into the lavatory and cried and after I had sobbed for I-don't-know-how-long, I resolved to hold out as long as necessary.

The jury continued to talk for another couple of hours. We went back into the courtroom to tell the judge that we couldn't agree. He refused to let us off the hook. He told us to talk some more. The third woman in our hold-out group went over to those voting guilty, leaving the Polish woman and me.

Finally, the jury reached a compromise that made absolutely no sense. We agreed to convict the man on the lesser charge of possession of marijuana and to find him not guilty on the sale of marijuana. The truth is that if the evidence were sufficient to convict him, it should have been for both charges, and if it weren't sufficient, he should have been acquitted of both charges.

We returned to the courtroom and delivered our verdict. Then we went home.

I never saw any of those people again. I don't know what happened subsequently but I learned a lot from that experience. I learned about social pressure and I learned something about myself.

So I can understand to some degree why the Republican Senators felt pressured to fall in line and give Trump a pass. And I can understand what it took to say no. As Rep. Adam Schiff said during Trump's trial, moral courage is rare. Then he added, "But it is never more essential than it is now."

Terese Loeb Kreuzer

The Federal Courthouse at 60 Centre St. in Manhattan. (Photo: Terese Loeb Kreuzer)  

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The annual Battery Park City art show opened with a reception on Jan. 26.
 (Photos: Terese Loeb Kreuzer)

The annual Battery Park City art show, a celebration of the work that was done in BPC's free art classes during the past year, always opens with a reception. It is as much a testament to the camaraderie of the students and their warm regard for their teachers as it is a display of art. It's a chance for neighbors and friends to get together, to schmooze, to see their dearly beloved t eachers and to have some nosh. This year, the reception took place on Jan. 26.

Art classes, sponsored by the Battery Park City Authority, have been going on for decades. In the spring, summer and early fall, they take place in BPC's stunning parks and gardens, with the Hudson River as a backdrop and inspiration. In winter, they move indoors to 6 River Terrace, where students draw from models.

People of varying levels of experience come to these classes. Some travel more than an hour each way to participate. Others are locals. Although some have had careers in the arts and are now retired, or semi-retired, many people are beginners.

Materials and instruction are provided. The instruction is non-judgmental, helping each student to explore creative issues and express thoughts and feelings.

When the classes are outdoors, enrollment is unlimited. Enrollment in the winter classes is constrained by space limitations.

A figure drawing class started on Feb. 5 and will continue on Wednesdays through March 25 from 2:30 p.m. to 5 p.m. Although there's a waiting list, it might still be worth inquiring. Call 212-267-9700 or email

The art show will be on display at 75 Battery Place on weekdays from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m. through March 27. (No viewing on Presidents' Day, Feb. 17.)

- Terese Loeb Kreuzer

Suk Semoon, with one of her paintings in the annual Battery Park City art show. Semoon has a degree in fine arts from Hong-ik University in Seoul, Korea and a master's degree in fine arts from the State University of New York, Albany. (Photo: © Terese Loeb Kreuzer)

Bits & Bytes
Nom Wah Tea Parlor on Doyers Street in Manhattan's Chinatown.
 (Photo: Terese Loeb Kreuzer)
"Sales at NYC's Chinatown Restaurants Plummet Following Coronavirus Panic,", 2/7/20. "There have been no confirmed cases of coronavirus in New York City, but that hasn't stopped misinformation and fear from spreading like wildfire throughout the boroughs, resulting in massive dips in business among some of the city's Chinese restaurants," says "Wilson Tang, the owner of the nationally-recognized Nom Wah Tea Parlor, told Grub Street that, on February 3, the restaurant saw an unprecedented 40 percent drop in business, while critically-acclaimed Sichuan spot Hwa Yuan also saw a similar, steep drop-off in sales this week....Other restaurateurs in Manhattan's Chinatown told the New York Times this week that they've seen sales plummet by up to 70 percent in the past 10 days." For the complete article, click here.

"85,000 Pieces From Beloved Chinatown Museum Likely Destroyed in Fire," New York Times, 1/24/2020. "The 85,000 items, some dating to the 19th century, told the rich story of the Chinese migration to the United States: textiles, restaurant menus, handwritten letters, tickets for ship's passage. All of them could now be destroyed," says The New York Times. Officials at the Museum of Chinese in America said Friday evening [Jan. 24, 2020] that thousands of historic and artistic items it had carefully collected and curated over decades were most likely lost after a fire tore through a Chinatown building where most of its acquisitions were stored. ... The fire broke out Thursday night at 70 Mulberry Street, in a former school that educated generations of immigrants before becoming a cherished cultural landmark in the neighborhood. In addition to the museum's storage, the building housed a senior center, the Chen Dance Center and a number of community groups." For the complete article, click here.

UPDATE: "Conservators work on items damaged in Chinatown museum fire,", 2/5/2020. AP News is reporting that conservators from the Museum of the City of New York, the Center for Jewish History and other institutions have been volunteering to rescue and restore the archives. "About 35,000 items in the collection had been digitized, and those files were backed up, said Nancy Yao Maasbach, the president of the museum. There are are signs that the loss may not be as great as originally feared, acting Cultural Affairs Commissioner Kathleen Hughes said in a statement last week." For the complete article, click here.

"The $119 Billion Sea Wall That Could Defend New York ... or Not," New York Times, 1/17/20. "A six-mile-long barrier would help protect the city from floodwaters during fierce storms like Sandy, but critics say rising seas make the option inadequate," says The New York Times. "Picture a storm charging toward New York City, pushing a surge of seawater like the one that flooded the region during Hurricane Sandy. But this time, man-made islands with retractable gates stretch from the Rockaways in Queens to a strip of land in New Jersey south of Staten Island....The giant barrier is the largest of five options the Army Corps of Engineers is studying to protect the New York area as storms become more frequent, and destructive, on a warming Earth. The proposals have sparked fierce debate as New York, like other coastal cities, grapples with the broader question of how and to what degree it must transform its landscape and lifestyle to survive rising seas....Catherine McVay Hughes, who led the community board in Lower Manhattan during Hurricane Sandy, supports the outer harbor barrier because, she said, protection measures built solely on the coastlines, yet high enough to ward off the biggest floods, would be unsightly. 'Do we want a 20- or 30-foot-wall between Battery Park and the river?' she asked." For the complete article, click here.

"2 World Trade Center getting revamped Norman Foster design," New York Post, 1/15/20. "Get ready for Two World Trade Center, Version 3.0," says the New York Post. "Larry Silverstein and architect Norman Foster are working on major changes to Foster's original vision for the still-unbuilt skyscraper....Foster's old design was scrapped in 2015 for an edgier one by Bjarke Ingels' firm BIG when it appeared that two media companies (including the one that owns The Post) would become the anchor tenants in the planned skyscraper. But now that BIG's quirky tower of stacked boxes has no takers, the old Foster design is being 'significantly modified to be more reflective of contemporary needs and taste,' Silverstein says." For the complete article, click here.
"After swimmers killed, call made for change," BVI Beacon, 1/8/2020. "After two tourists died in Virgin Islands waters within two weeks, police have provided few details, but friends and family members are calling for increased marine safety in the territory," says the BVI Beacon. "Zdenek Tesar, a 52-year-old tourist from Canada, died on Dec. 20 in the waters off Virgin Gorda. And on Friday, John LaGrassa and Elizabeth Barry were run over by a boat while snorkeling off Guana Island. Both sustained injuries, and Mr. LaGrassa was pronounced dead after being transported to the hospital. The Royal Virgin Islands Police Force ... declined to provide more details about the circumstances of either. Mr. LaGrassa's friend Jim Hedelston, however, told the Beacon that Mr. LaGrassa died after a powerboat named Sovereign ran over him and Ms. Barry while turning on full plane. The two were snorkeling hand-in-hand and were guests of the boat Arabella, owned by the Manhattan Yacht Club. Mr. LaGrassa was here with Ms. Barry to celebrate and officiate the wedding of the commodore of the Manhattan Yacht Club, where Mr. LaGrassa served as the vice commodore." For the complete article, click here.

"Elevated leukemia incidence is found in World Trade Center rescue and recovery workers," press release from The Mount Sinai Hospital/Mount Sinai School of Medicine, 1/14/2020. "Responders who worked at the World Trade Center site after the attacks on September 11, 2001, have an increased overall cancer incidence compared to the general population, particularly in thyroid cancer, prostate cancer, and, for the first time ever reported, leukemia, according to a Mount Sinai study published in JNCI Cancer Spectrum in January. Following the attacks on the World Trade Center, 50,000 workers were involved in rescue and recovery, with many of them caught directly in the dust cloud from the collapsing towers. From then until cleanup of the site ended in June 2002, workers were potentially exposed to an array of toxins later shown to cause adverse health effects, including cancer. This study examined cancer incidence in responders including law enforcement, construction, and telecommunications workers.... It is the first to show an increase in leukemia, which is known to occur after exposure to occupational carcinogens, including benzene fuel and other sources that existed at the World Trade Center site, in some cases at low levels of exposure and with a latency of several years from exposure. Researchers also found that neither the length of time that first responders and recovery workers worked on the World Trade Center site, nor the intensity of their exposure, had any bearing on the development of the elevated cancers." For the complete article, click here.

Vernon Hendrix

Vernon Hendrix, a former resident of Battery Park City and much beloved by many here died, as his obituary says, "a peaceful death in his home in the mountains of western North Carolina on February 5, 2020, after a long illness."

Vernon and his wife, Jeanne Dorle, moved to Battery Park City in 2008. They left for North Carolina in October 2015, when Jeanne became semi-retired and, as Vernon explained at the time, "the expenses of living in New York are putting too much strain on our retirement funds."

But Vernon didn't forget Battery Park City. Far from it. I greeted his news of the move with an email saying that I hoped he would continue his subscription to Downtown Post NYC and a request. "Please write to me if you have any printable thoughts about what's going on here."

He replied that of course he would maintain the subscription. "You can take the boy out of BPC but you can't take BPC out of the boy," he wrote. Then he added, "Do I ever say anything that's not printable?" -"Not so far!" I replied.

Over the next three years, Vernon kept in touch with a steady stream of emails. At first, he described with words and photos life in North Carolina. As the months went by, he sometimes commented on articles or photographs that I had published in Downtown Post. 

Gradually, most of his comments veered into political commentary. He wrote about Trump and the activities of the Trump administration. His observations were not complimentary.

His last emails arrived in August of 2018. "Trump's lawyers fear a Mueller interview," was the heading on one of them. The next one showed a Norman Rockwell painting depicting the Ku Klux Klan's 1965 murder of three young civil rights workers - James Chaney, Andrew Goodman and Michael Schwerner - who were trying to register black voters in Mississippi.

The last three emails were as follows: A joke about a nun in a monastery who was only allowed to speak when permitted, and that was every five years when she was allowed to say two words. Next an email arrived headed "Trump is nuts." Vernon's last email was also a joke. It was about a funeral. It was very funny, and not printable here.

Vernon, if you're reading Downtown Post NYC in heaven, I want you to know that I miss you. A lot. I know I'm not alone.

- Terese Loeb Kreuzer

Vernon Hendrix's obituary:

Vernon Hendrix, Ph.D., died a peaceful death in his home in the mountains of western North Carolina on February 5, 2020, after a long illness. Vernon is survived by his wife of 44 years, Jeanne Dorle, his daughter Abbie Martin, his son Volney Hendrix, and two grandchildren. Before his retirement, Vernon was a scholar, educator, and consultant with a focus on statistics and sampling design. He retired from the University of Minnesota after more than 30 years on the faculty. He was a skilled pilot, loved flying, and enjoyed living in Manhattan and North Carolina.

In lieu of flowers, Vernon would welcome donations in his name to the Southern Poverty Law Center or the American Civil Liberties union (ACLU).

Downtown bulletin board
  On Oct. 8, 2019, Borough of Manhattan President Gale Brewer (right) was joined by Jessica Lappin, president of the Downtown Alliance and Cora Fung of City Councilmember Margaret Chin's office in Battery Park City's Community Room where they helped to bag fresh produce, marking the expansion of the Fresh Food for Seniors program to Lower Manhattan. The program enables older New Yorkers to buy regionally grown fruits and vegetables for $8 a bag. (The program is in hiatus for the winter but will resume in early summer.) Brewer's office is currently working with the New York Academy of Medicine on an initiative to make Manhattan a better place to age. (Photo: Terese Loeb Kreuzer)

Jane's Walk seeks walk leaders:  Jane's Walk 2020 will be held from May 1 to May 3.  This annual event is a global festival of free, volunteer-led walking tours inspired by urban activist Jane Jacobs. During Jane's Walk weekend, people are encouraged to share stories about their neighborhoods and discover unseen aspects of their communities. Both new and seasoned walk leaders are welcome. Submit walk proposals through April 1 on the Jane's Walk website.

This year, there will be a special launch event with New York City Public Advocate Jumaane Williams. It will be held at the Hamilton Grange Public Library on Friday, Feb. 21 from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. Connect with past and future Jane's Walk leaders and learn how to bring Jane's Walk to your neighborhood. Light refreshments will be served. Free and open to the public but space is limited. RSVP by clicking here.

Community Board applications: Manhattan's 12 Community Boards are the grass roots of community activism, with 25 members appointed to two-year terms every spring (a total of 50 members serving at any one time). Community Board 1 represents Lower Manhattan. All Community Board members are volunteers. To learn more about Community Board service and to apply, click here. Applications are due by Feb. 14

Aging survey: Last fall, Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer's office launched "Making Manhattan Mine" an initiative to make the borough a better place to age. As part of that effort, Brewer's office has partnered with The New York Academy of Medicine to construct a survey about the nature and quality of resources and amenities available to older people in Manhattan - things like transportation, technology, healthy living, advance-care planning, and the arts. They are seeking input as they plan how to proceed.

To participate in the short survey online, click here. To request a printed copy of the survey, send your address to Shula Warren at or call (212) 669-2392. Responses are anonymous and confidential. 

United States Census 2020 is hiring: The 2020 U.S. Census will require a massive effort to document everyone in the country. The U.S. government is hiring census workers with a promise of "great pay, flexible hours, weekly pay and paid training." The jobs include census taker, recruiting assistant, office clerk, and supervisory staff. Applications can be made online at For more information, call 855-JOB-2020.

Ferry schedules: On Monday, Nov. 4, the winter schedules for NYC Ferry routes went into effect. These routes serve the Lower East Side, South Brooklyn, Rockaway, the East River, Astoria and Soundview, with connecting buses in the Rockaways and midtown Manhattan. A new, early departure has been added to the Soundview route. Ferries to and from Pier 11 at Wall Street and Governors Island ran on weekends through Oct. 27 but have now been discontinued until spring. As of May 20, NYC Ferry's Astoria route began serving the Brooklyn Navy Yard. For more information, 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.

calendar CALENDAR
Spotlight: Presidents' Day and Black History   

For many years, the National Yiddish Theatre Folksbiene's production of "Soul to Soul" has been performed on or near Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr.'s birthday. A celebration of Yiddish and African-American music, this year the cast was joined by members of the Impact Repertory Theatre, which is based in Harlem and offers young people a safe place to explore personal issues and receive leadership training. Impact Rep members perform in front of over 25,000 people per year at venues that range from the United Nations Headquarters, to NYC's City Hall, hospitals, public schools and penitentiaries. (Photo: © Terese Loeb Kreuzer)

On Feb. 17, we celebrate the birthdays of two U.S. Presidents - George Washington and Abraham Lincoln. February is also when we observe Black History Month. This is an interesting constellation of events.  
George Washington, a Virginia plantation owner, arrived in New York City in April 1789 to be inaugurated as the first President of the United States. He owned hundreds of slaves and brought seven of them with him. When the U.S. capital was moved from New York to Philadelphia late in 1790, Washington's slaves went there, too.  
In fact, slavery was completely legal in New York until 1799 when a law was passed that freed slave children born after July 4, 1799 but left them in indentured bondage until they were young adults. A new law passed in 1817 freed slaves born before 1799 but stipulated that they wouldn't be free of their masters until 1827. The census of 1830 listed 75 slaves in New York. By 1840, there were none. New York was among the last of the northern states legally to free its slaves.  
Abraham Lincoln, the other president whose birthday (Feb. 12), we observe this month, was one of only three U.S. Presidents who succeeded Washington in the 19th century who didn't own slaves and who had never owned them.  
Lincoln visited New York City only five times during his lifetime. Each time, his visits were brief, but one in particular was memorable. On Feb. 27, 1860, he gave a speech at Cooper Union (then known as the Cooper Institute) about slavery. He said that slavery should not be allowed to extend into the western territories and that the Founding Fathers would have agreed with this position. When he gave that speech, Lincoln had not yet been elected president. His Cooper Union speech helped him to win the election. With the Union in danger of being torn apart, Lincoln closed his speech with words that resonate to this day.
He said that he and those who agreed with him shouldn't "be slandered from our duty by false accusations against us, nor frightened from it by menaces of destruction to the Government nor of dungeons to ourselves. Let us have faith that right makes might, and in that faith, let us, to the end, dare to do our duty as we understand it."  
Black History Month events
The African Burial Ground National Monument on Duane Street with a visitor center at 290 Broadway is one of the most important sites in the United States relating to the history of Africans who came to this country in the 17th and 18th centuries as slaves. The site of nearly six acres is known to contain the remains of 419 Africans. It probably once sprawled out over what are now neighboring streets with an estimated 15,000 burials.  
Black History Month events at the Burial Ground include discussions and films, all of them free. Among them are these:
Feb. 11: "Struggle Against Segregation." Times: 11:30 a.m. and 2:30 p.m. A talk discussing the history of segregation and the struggle undertaken in the 1950's and 1960's to end it.   
Feb. 14: "Voting Rights Act of 1965." Times: 11:30 a.m. and 2:30 p.m. A talk about the history and importance of the Voting Rights Act of 1965, touching on Reconstruction, Jim Crow, voting restrictions, non-violent protests and more.  
Feb. 18: Film screening: "Slavery By Another Name." Time: 1 p.m.  
Feb. 22: Film screening: "Selma." Time: 1 p.m.
Feb. 26: Film screening: "Freedom Riders." Time: 1 p.m.
Feb. 27: 10th Anniversary Celebration of the Visitor Center. Time: From 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.  
For more information about the African Burial Ground National Monument and the events there, click here.   
Presidents' Day events
The Fraunces Tavern Museum is holding an open house on the weekend of Saturday, Feb. 15 to Monday, Feb. 17 to celebrate George Washington's birthday. Museum admission will be $1 for that weekend. There will be special guided tours at 1 p.m. and 2 p.m. on Feb. 15 and at 1 p.m. on Feb. 16. On Washington's birthday, Feb. 22, there will be tours at 1 p.m. and 2 p.m. Place: 54 Pearl St. The museum opens at 11 a.m. and closes at 5 p.m. For more information, click here.    
Feb. 15: Join the Museum of American Finance on President's Day weekend for a 90-minute walking tour of the Financial District, with an emphasis on George Washington, Alexander Hamilton and 18th century financial history. Tour meets outside 48 Wall Street (at Bank of New York sign). Time: 11 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. $15 per person; MoAF members receive one free walking tour per year. For more information, click here. 

 - Terese Loeb Kreuzer
Battery Park City event and class calendar:
Throughout the year, the Battery Park City Authority sponsors events and classes for children and adults. For the winter calendar, which runs through April 2020, click here.
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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