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News and Events
in Lower Manhattan
Volume 6, No. 14  Aug. 18, 2019   

* Letter to the Editor: In memory of Marilyn Gaull Howard

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MASTHEAD PHOTO:  Members of Ballet Neplanta performed "Guerrero Suite" at the Battery Dance Festival. Ballet Neplanta was founded by Andrea Guajardo, who is a dancer and artistic director for the company. The Battery Dance Festival is staged in Battery Park City's Wagner Park, across from the Statue of Liberty. Aug. 14, 2019 (Photo: © Terese Loeb Kreuzer 2019)

Terese Loeb Kreuzer, editor
Since I haven't been able to go on vacation this summer, I admit to pangs of jealousy when I look at photographs on Facebook posted by friends and acquaintances of beautiful landscapes and summer homes. But I shouldn't complain. I live in a building with a roof that overlooks the Hudson River.

In the late spring and early summer when I went up there, a mockingbird was singing his heart out. He was there every day, always on the highest perch he could find, singing to his beloved. A few weeks later, sprawled out in the sun on a chaise longue, I could watch butterflies and bees at work among the flowers in the planters. On warm summer nights, I could bring potatoes and vegetables to the roof to cook on the grill and meet some of my neighbors who were also dining al fresco while watching the sun set.

Then, one morning in early August, I decided to go up to the roof just after sunrise. I was alone. The air was fresh. I could smell the ocean. The rising sun pierced a misty sky and a rainbow appeared over Jersey City, across the Hudson from where I was standing.

The next morning, the light was completely different. Tall, cumulus clouds, tinted orange, billowed over the skyscrapers, diminishing them to playthings for a child.

Eagerly, I went to the roof on a third morning, wondering what it would bring. The sky was far less dramatic. A breeze was blowing from the south. I took a few pictures, thinking 'this is nothing special, compared with what I've seen before!'

Then I noticed a flock of birds coming up the river in what seemed to be a V-formation. I thought they might be Canada geese. They approached rapidly. I tried to focus on them with my camera, but was so startled that my first photograph was almost a blur. I steadied myself. I was not looking at Canada geese. I was looking at a flock of 15 Great Egrets and one Great Blue Heron. I had seen these birds, silently stalking their prey at water's edge or coming home to roost at twilight but I had never seen a flock like this before.

With powerful beats of their giant wings, they came up the river and then, somewhere over Soho, turned inland where I could no longer see them. I was exhilarated and in awe.

I sent my pictures to Gabriel Willow, a naturalist with the National Audubon Society, to ask him to confirm what I had seen. I have been birding with Gabriel on many occasions, up and down the East River, out to Hoffman and Swinburne Islands just beyond the Verrazzano Narrows Bridge, or even further, to Jamaica Bay.

"Very cool!" he wrote back to me. "Thanks for sharing! The Great Egrets breed on South Brother Island [in the East River] as you know, and commute over to the Meadowlands [in New Jersey] to feed, which is probably what is happening here."

I love to travel. I would still love to travel. But my roof is a good teacher. Wherever you are, there's something to see and learn from.

Terese Loeb Kreuzer

Part of a flock of 15 Great Egrets and one Great Blue Heron flying over Tribeca.  
(Photo: © Terese Loeb Kreuzer)

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The Bayonne Bridge as it looked in May 2016. Construction started in 2013 to raise the roadway of the bridge in order to allow large, Panamax ships to pass through to Ports Newark and Elizabeth on the far side of the bridge. The construction project was finally completed in 2019. (Photos: Terese Loeb Kreuzer)  

The Bayonne Bridge, which spans the Kill Van Kull between Staten Island and Bayonne, New Jersey, was an engineering marvel when it was completed in 1931 and it is an engineering marvel today. Once the world's largest steel arch bridge, it is still the fifth largest. But its roadway, 151 feet above the water, was too low to accommodate the giant ships now transiting the enlarged Panama Canal. Port Newark-Elizabeth, which handles most of the New York-area commercial shipping, is on the far side of the bridge. Approximately $200 billion worth of goods pass through this port every year. Something needed to be done to ensure that New York would remain a viable commercial shipping hub. And since around 3.5 million vehicles cross the Bayonne Bridge annually, whatever was done had to take this essential connection into account.  
The possibilities and costs were vigorously debated: tunnel under the Kill Van Kill? Build another bridge next to the Bayonne Bridge and tear the old bridge down? Or raise the roadway? The last option was the one adopted. The roadway would be raised by 64 feet and this would be done without closing the bridge to traffic completely or blocking the Kill Van Kull so that cargo ships would be unable to pass.  
The design process began in 2011. Construction started in 2013. On Sept. 7, 2017, the first Panamax ship - the T. Roosevelt - passed under the Bayonne Bridge's new, elevated roadway and entered the Port of Newark-Elizabeth. But work on the bridge was not over. The roadway, accommodating four lanes of traffic and a pedestrian/bicycle path, still had to be finished.  
On June 14, 2019, the Bayonne Bridge was rededicated at a ceremony attended by Port Authority and elected officials. The people who had designed and rebuilt the bridge were lauded for their work, which has been honored for its engineering excellence. The American Council of Engineering Companies called the bridge the best overall engineering achievement of 2017.  
The bridge has been rebuilt with materials and a design that should be good for another 100 years. And although the final cost of the project was $1.7 billion - $350 million over the original budget - the work had to be done. "Record cargo volumes are coming in and out of our port each year," U.S. Senator Bob Menendez said at the rededication. "After decades of effort, we have solidified our port as an engine for economic growth and jobs for the region and the nation."  
- Terese Loeb Kreuzer  

 A container ship going under the Bayonne Bridge's original roadway. June 20, 2015. 

Bits & Bytes

Ticket vendors have been congregating on Battery Place and State Street for years, sometimes using harassment or force to peddle tour tickets to unsuspecting tourists and commuters. This photo was taken in June 2014. Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer and Staten Island Borough President James Oddo are attempting to address the problem. (Photo: Terese Loeb Kreuzer) 
Liberty Island, Ellis Island and Staten Island ticket vendors: Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer and Staten Island Borough President James Oddo recently met with representatives of the Mayor's Office, city agencies and community stakeholders to address the illegal ticket vending issue that has been plaguing the Battery, Peter Minuit Plaza and the southern portion of Battery Park City for years. Vendors, frequently using harassment and occasionally force, have continued to peddle ferry and boat tour tickets to Liberty and Ellis Islands and to Staten Island to tourists who don't realize that the Staten Island ferry is free and that only one company - Statue Cruises - actually will take them to Liberty and Ellis Islands.

Brewer stated that at the first meeting, possible long-term solutions to the problem were discussed. "All of the stakeholders will continue to meet," she said, "with the ultimate goal of holding ferry and boat tour companies, as well as third-party ticket sellers accountable for their bad behavior."
Tickets often wind up in the hands of hawkers because they buy them in bulk and then resell them. Tour operators have not done much, if anything, to solve the problem, however, soon they may have an incentive. If they don't put the brakes on the bulk ticket sales, Oddo said that the New York City Economic Development Corp. (EDC) may revoke their city-issued licenses.  
Although the NYPD and Parks police patrol the areas where the ticket vendors are active, they can only issue a summons or make an arrest if they hear a solicitation and see money changing hands or if the ticket vendors are operating in unauthorized areas. They are not permitted to sell tickets in or outside of the Staten Island ferry terminal, in Battery Park, around the National Museum of the American Indian or by the Charging Bull.   
"Where to find affordable housing in NYC,", 8/8/19. "Affordable apartments aren't easy to come by in New York City, but one vital source of affordable housing is NYC Housing Connect-the city's one-stop-shop for available, affordable units," says "The lottery website is updated regularly with new listings. Some apartments are found in entirely below-market-rate buildings, while others are located in luxury developments." has compiled all of the lotteries that are currently open to New Yorkers but adds that there are caveats. "Applicants must make a certain percentage of the area median income (AMI), and as demand for affordable housing continues to climb so too has the number of applicants." For more information, click here
"David Chang Donates All Momofuku Profits Friday Following Stephen Ross's Trump Fundraiser,", 8/13/19. reports that "Every New York City Momofuku restaurant - including Ko, Noodle Bar, Ssäm Bar, Fuku, and Kāwi - donated all of their profits Friday to various organizations, including women's health care nonprofit Planned Parenthood, the Refugee and Immigrant Center for Education and Legal Services (RAICES), gun control advocate Everytown, and environmental organization Sierra Club, a rep confirms. The move follows controversy last week in which Momofuku's billionaire investor Stephen Ross hosted a fundraiser for President Donald Trump. Blowback online initially only targeted Ross's fitness companies Equinox and SoulCycle, but soon spread to his restaurant investments in Momofuku, Milk Bar, &Pizza, and Bluestone Lane. Momofuku owner David Chang responded by imploring Ross to cancel the fundraiser, saying that he 'fucking hates Trump.' Chang also noted that, 'Talk is cheap, we must show it in action.'" For the complete article, click here

"FiDi is seeing its best midyear lease numbers in nearly 20 years," New York Post, 8/12/19.  The New York Post reports that "FiDi landlords are celebrating the area's biggest midyear office leasing total since 2000 - about 3.8 million square feet, according to new data from CBRE reported by the New York City Downtown Alliance. Among the highlights: Relocations to FiDi from uptown accounted for 23% of all second-quarter leasing, including four large moves from Midtown South.The bulk of the leasing involved two giant deals at 55 Water St., including Justworks' move from the Starrett-Lehigh Building to 270,000 square feet at 55 Water." For the complete article, click here

"Winners of the Seaport Community Mural Project": Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer announced the winners of the Seaport Community Mural Project. The winning designs will be applied to structures that are part of the Interim Flood Protection Measures (IFPM) program, which will be installed along South Street in Manhattan's South Street Seaport neighborhood. Each winner will receive $1,000. For pictures of the winning entries, click here.

"FiDi office-to-resi guru Nathan Berman's next big project is AIG's HQ,", 8/16/19. "Nathan Berman's Metro Loft Management - the firm responsible for converting a number of the Financial District's office towers into residential buildings - has his sights set on AIG's headquarters for its next big project," says The Real Deal. "Metro Loft is in contract to buy the insurance giant's 31-story building at 175 Water Street for $270 million....Berman plans to convert the top half of the 684,000-square-foot building into residential once AIG's lease expires in 2021, by which time the company will have left the building vacant following its relocation to the former Time-Life Building in Midtown." For the complete article, click here.

Downtown bulletin board
The River Project on Pier 40 in Hudson River Park is seeking Environmental Education interns. (Photo: Terese Loeb Kreuzer)

River Project seeks interns: The River Project on Pier 40 in Hudson River Park is currently seeking Environmental Education interns for the fall 2019 season. They should be  students currently enrolled in college who are studying biology, ecology, education or another relevant field, and are interested in gaining environmental education experience. To apply, email a resume and statement of interest to Director of Education Melissa Rex ( For more information about internships at The River Project, click here.

Fiddler on the Roof in Yiddish cast album: The music of the National Yiddish Theatre Folksbiene's production of Fiddler on the Roof in Yiddish is now available for digital purchase on (and perhaps elsewhere), but if you wait until Aug. 23, you can buy a CD of this glowing, heartbreaking musical. For more details, here's a story from Playbill called "Inside the Making of Yiddish Fiddler on the Roof's cast album." It includes some video clips of the production that opened at the Museum of Jewish Heritage in Battery Park City and then moved off-Broadway, where it's still playing.

Equifax settlement: New York State is holding Equifax Inc. accountable for the 2017 data breach that exposed the sensitive financial and personal information of millions of Americans, including 8.5 million New Yorkers. Under a settlement, Equifax has committed up to $425 million to a consumer restitution fund. Equifax will provide New York consumers with credit monitoring services and free annual credit reports and will pay restitution to consumers affected by the breach. To find out if your financial and personal information was compromised and to file a claim, click here.

W.O. Decker harbor cruise schedule: The South Street Seaport Museum's historic tugboat W.O. Decker cruises New York harbor on Wednesdays, Thursdays, Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays. Most tickets include same-day Museum admission. Place: Leave from Pier 16 in the South Street Seaport. Times: Wednesdays, Thursdays, and Fridays: 2 p.m. and 7 p.m. Saturdays and Sundays: 1:30 p.m., 3 p.m., 4:30 p.m. and 7 p.m. each day. Tickets: $35 (adults); $29 (seniors and children. No children under 10 permitted.) Cruises at 7 p.m. do not include museum admission and are $25. Museum tickets alone are $20; $14 (seniors and students); children under 8 years old, free. Discounts available for museum members. For more information and to buy tickets, click here.

Essex Crossing Housing Lottery for seniors: Essex Crossing, Site 8 is an affordable senior housing building at 140 Essex St. (between Rivington and Stanton Streets) on the Lower East Side. The apartments, for seniors age 62+, have monthly rents ranging from $331 to $761 based on annual household income. The 84 apartments are designed to accommodate one or two people. Applicants will be interviewed based on a lottery with preference for 50 percent of the units given to current residents of Manhattan Community Board 3. Applications can be submitted online via To request an application by mail, send a self-addressed envelope to Essex Crossing Site 8 Senior Housing, Triborough Finance New Station, PO Box 2010, New York, NY 10035. Applications must be postmarked or submitted online by Aug. 20, 2019. For more information about the building and about income requirements to qualify for an apartment, click here. Essex Crossing Site 8 is part of a larger complex of nine buildings with over 500 affordable apartments for a variety of income levels. For more information, click here.

Emergency Food Service from Trinity Church: Every day, Trinity Church Wall Street serves free food to people in need. The food is distributed at St. Paul's Chapel, Broadway and Fulton Streets, Mondays to Saturdays at 12:45 p.m. and Sundays at 2 p.m. Volunteers pack the brown bag lunches and help in connecting guests with resources and benefits. For more information about this program and/or to volunteer to pack and distribute food, click here.

Free bicycle helmets rescheduled: Because of the heat wave, the Bike Helmet Giveaway that had been scheduled for July 21 has been rescheduled for August 25 when it will be held in conjunction with City Councilmember Margaret Chin's Annual District 1 Community Day on Governors Island. On Aug. 25, meet at the Battery Maritime Building, 10 South St., at 9:45 a.m. for the free, 10 a.m. ferry to Governors Island. To participate in the helmet fitting and giveaway, a parent or legal guardian must be present to sign a waiver for children under age 18. Anyone over age 18 must also sign a waiver.
For questions, email

Downtown Voices holds auditions: Trinity Church Wall Street's semiprofessional choir, Downtown Voices, is auditioning new volunteer singers to begin rehearsals in September 2019. Downtown Voices rehearses on Wednesday evenings from September to June with approximately six concerts a year. All applicants are required to submit a video sample of their singing and after a screening process, successful applicants will be invited to audition in person. These auditions will include sight-reading from a four-part hymn, singing a prepared choral piece, as well as performing an aria of the singer's choosing. For an audition application or for more information, click here.

The Trinity Youth Chorus is enrolling new students ages 5 to 18. Choristers receive group and individual training in vocal technique, music theory, sight-reading, and performance skills from a group of dedicated professionals. For more information, click here.

Whitney Museum open daily in August: The Whitney Museum of American Art at 99 Gansevoort St. is open to the public seven days a week during August. Ordinarily closed on Tuesdays, the Museum is open from 10:30 a.m. to 6 p.m. Sunday through Thursday. Extended hours continue on Friday and Saturday, from 10:30 a.m. until 10 p.m., and Friday evenings are pay-what-you-wish from 7 p.m. to 10 p.m.

Free kayaking: The kayaking season at the Downtown Boathouse on Pier 26 in Hudson River Park is in full swing with kayaking on Saturdays and Sundays from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. and on Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays from 5:30 p.m. to 7 p.m. The Downtown Boathouse has been offering free kayaking on Saturdays on Governors Island but that facility is currently closed for dock repairs. The Downtown Boathouse is run by volunteers. Kayaking is free (no experience required). For more information, click here.

Connection bus service changes:  Changes to the Downtown Connection bus service started on May 27 and will continue through the end of the summer season. Buses are running on a temporary limited route near The Battery to prevent the misuse of buses by aggressive ticket sellers. For more information, click here.

Ferry schedules: On Monday, May 20, the summer 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. As of May 20, ferries to and from Pier 11 at Wall Street and Governors Island are running on weekends . Also on May 20, NYC Ferry began serving the Brooklyn Navy Yard, with a new stop along the Astoria Route. 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.

letterLetter to the Editor


To the editor:

I regretfully write to say that dear Marilyn passed away on Wednesday, Aug. 14, following a courageous, 12-year battle with cancer.

Marilyn remained her feisty, defiant, engaging self until close to the end. True to her modest, Quaker nature, she asked that no memorial or other service be held for her, so I will only note, for anyone unfamiliar, that Marilyn was a brilliant scholar who taught at many fine universities (William and Mary, Temple University, New York University, Boston University), and published widely on many weighty scholarly subjects.  Among other things, she was the founder of the The Wordsworth Circle, a journal of Romantic studies, which lives on. (Marilyn focused much of her waning energy on ensuring its successful transition to new leadership.)  She was also active in community causes here in Battery Park City, particularly post-9/11, which is how I came to make her acquaintance. In her final decade, Marilyn's greatest joy came from her work with colleagues and students at the Editorial Institute and the Wordsworth-Coleridge Association, which brought her much happiness and fulfillment. In recent years, she was also a globe-trotting lecturer on matters large and small. The end was very sudden, while Marilyn still had much left to offer the world, and was cruel and unfair.  She drew strength from the kind messages and visits from those of you who knew of her illness.  

Marilyn is survived by her daughter Rachael.

John Dellaportas
Marilyn's Friend and Neighbor

From the editor:

A woman who loved William Wordsworth would certainly have known these lines from his poem, The Excursion:

And when the stream
Which overflowed the soul was passed away,
A consciousness remained that it had left
Deposited upon the silent shore
Of memory images and precious thoughts
That shall not die, and cannot be destroyed.

We welcome letters to the editor. We reserve the right to edit them for clarity and length. Email them to

calendar CALENDAR: August 2019
Spotlight:  Coming attractions 

The annual Great North River Tugboat Race & Competition takes place on the Sunday of Labor Day Weekend. (Photo: © Terese Loeb Kreuzer)
The official word is that these are the last days of summer. Labor Day comes early this year - on Monday, Sept. 2. But the joys of summer are not yet over. Here are some coming attractions:
Aug. 24: Go to Battery Park City's Rockefeller Park for "Colors & Rhythms of India," a family workshop celebrating Indian culture, art and music. It will be led by 2018 Grammy-nominated artist, Falu. Time: 11 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. The music performance begins at 11:45 a.m. Free.
Aug. 24: Family dances on Battery Park City's esplanade plaza (just south of North Cove Marina), are always joyful affairs where people who feel like dancing can get up and dance whether they're good at it or not, and everyone can listen to the music. Award-winning dancer/choreographer Kwabena Safo-Agyekum will demonstrate Afro-soca and teach novices how to execute a few steps. This colorful and rhythmic experience fuses the music and dance of soca, dancehall, Afro-beats and hip-hop with central African movement and Caribbean traditional dance. Time: 6:30 p.m. to 8 p.m. Free.  
Aug. 24: Blues BBQ will be back, this year on Pier 97 in Hudson River Park (at 59th Street). Even if you're a vegan or a vegetarian, you might break down when you smell some of New York City's best barbecue from Mighty Quinn's, Dinosaur Bar-B-Que and others. The alternative is to bring some carrotsticks with you and just listen to the music. Among the featured artists are Ruthie Foster, The World Famous Harlem Gospel Choir and Kevin Burt. Time: 2 p.m. to 9 p.m. The music is free. Food and beverages are for sale. For more information, click here.  
Sept. 1: The 27th annual North River Tugboat Race & Competition. As you may know, tugboats are not built for racing. They're built for power. But for more than a quarter of a century, that hasn't kept some of New York Harbor's mightiest tugboats and their intrepid crews from churning up the water on the Hudson River on the Sunday of Labor Day Weekend as they parade up the river, starting at Pier 83 and then race back. A spectator boat accompanies this frolic. Boarding begins at 10:15 a.m. at Pier 83, with departure at 10:30 a.m. After the race, there are tugboat nose-to-nose pushing and line-tossing competitions. Then there is a really gross spinach-eating competition (in honor of Popeye), which involves wolfing down a whole can of spinach as fast as possible. Also, stick around for the best female and male tattoo competitions, the best-dressed tugboat crew and the best mascot. (One year, a tugboat entered a small donkey in that one.) For more information and spectator boat tickets, 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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