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News and Events
in Lower Manhattan
Volume 5, No. 17   Nov. 6, 2018  

"Read the fine print!"
      -  City Councilmember Helen Rosenthal, speaking at a Town Hall meeting on Nov. 1 2018 to acquaint voters with the three City Charter Revision proposals on the Nov. 6 general election ballot

* Calendar: November - Kristallnacht and 'Messiah'

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Go to for breaking news and for updated  Downtown Post NYC bulletin board and calendar information.

MASTHEAD PHOTO:People lined up to vote in Lower Manhattan on Nov. 8, 2016. (©Terese Loeb Kreuzer 2016)  

Terese Loeb Kreuzer, editor
Today, Nov. 6, is Election Day. The polls are open in New York State from 6 a.m to 9 p.m.

The office of New York State's Attorney General, Barbara D. Underwood, maintains an Election Day Hotline, which is available to help troubleshoot and resolve a range of issues encountered by voters at the polls.

The Attorney General urges voters experiencing problems or issues at the polls to call the office's hotline at (800) 771-7755 or email at any time between 6 a.m. and 9 p.m. today. The hotline is staffed by attorneys and staff in the Attorney General's Civil Right's Bureau.

"All eligible New York voters should be able to freely exercise their right to vote," Underwood said. "If any New Yorker encounters barriers to voting or other problems at their poll sites, please contact my office immediately."

Voters registered in New York City can click to find their poll site. Voters registered in New York outside New York City can click to find their poll site.

The Attorney General's office has operated the voter access hotline since November 2012. During previous elections, the office fielded hundreds - and sometimes thousands - of complaints from voters across the state and worked with local election officials and others to address issues. Last year, the Attorney General's office sued and secured a consent decree with the New York City Board of Elections regarding voter registration purges.

Attorney General Underwood reminds all registered voters that they have the right to accessible elections. In addition, all registered voters have the right to vote free from coercion or intimidation, whether by election officials or any other person.

Terese Loeb Kreuzer
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Manhattan Borough President Gale A. Brewer and New York City Comptroller Scott Stringer conferring during a Town Hall meeting on Nov. 1 to discuss the three New York City charter revision proposals that will confront voters in the Nov. 6 general election. Both Brewer and Stringer are opposed to Proposals 2 and 3. (Photos: © Terese Loeb Kreuzer)

In the general election on Nov. 6, three proposals to amend New York City's charter appear on the back of the ballot. They have to do with campaign financing, the establishment of a "Civic Engagement Commission" and the imposition of term limits on Community Boards along with other changes in how Community Boards operate. The outcome of today's vote will have broad and perhaps grave consequences on how New York City is run. If voters approve these proposals, they will become law.

The New York City Charter, which these proposals seek to amend, defines the organization, functions and procedures of City government. It broadly defines the authority and responsibilities of City agencies and elected officials.

A New York City Charter was first drawn up in 1897 and went into effect in 1898 when what had previously been independent governmental entities were consolidated into one city with five boroughs. That charter was last amended in 1989 to redistribute power from the Board of Estimate to the Mayor and City Council.

Today's ballot proposals emanate from a Charter Revision Commission with 15 members that Mayor Bill de Blasio established. It had its first meeting on April 12, 2018 and in September submitted the three proposals on the ballot.

Proposal 1: Campaign Finance - The idea behind this proposal, as City Councilmember Ben Kallos put it, is to "Get big money out of New York City politics." As Kallos noted in a Town Hall meeting held on Nov. 1 to acquaint voters with the pros and cons of the three
City Councilmember Ben Kallos
proposals, "Since 2010, over $100 million has made its way into the pockets of politicians." Kallos said that over $70 million of that money came from a handful of people.

The ballot proposal would lower the amount that any one donor can give to a candidate for Citywide office from the present $5,100 to $2,000. Boroughwide candidates, who can now receive up to $3,950 from one donor would now only be able to accept $1,500. City Council candidates would see the maximum contribution from any one donor drop from $2,850 to $1,000.

At the same time, matching dollars from public funds would increase to make up the difference.

This may sound like a good idea on the surface, but as City Councilmember Helen Rosenthal said at the Town Hall meeting, "Read the fine print!"

"I'm all about low-dollar donations," she said. "You want voters to have skin in the game. So that's not the problem. The problem is the transition here. In 2021, they actually say to candidates [running for City offices], 'It's up to you. You can either follow the old rules or the new rules. And that, I think would be a nuance that would be lost on voters."

The ballot proposal, if approved by voters, would not become mandatory until 2022.

Proposal 2: Civic Engagement Commission - This would be a newly created commission reporting to the Mayor, that would implement a Citywide participatory budgeting program no later than the City Fiscal Year beginning July 1, 2020. This program, to be established by the Mayor, would promote participation by City residents in making recommendations for projects in their communities.

Among other responsibilities, the Civic Engagement Commission proposal would allow the Mayor to assign powers and duties of certain other City agencies to the Commission, which would have 15 members, eight of them appointed by the Mayor. One of the Mayor's appointees would be the Commission chair, who would employ and direct the Commission staff.

"Whoa!" said New York City Comptroller Scott Stringer at the Nov. 1 Town Hall meeting.

His exact words about this charter proposal were, "One of the goals, apparently, of the [Civic Engagement] Commission is participatory budgeting. But you're not voting for a participatory budgeting expansion. You don't know who the mayor is going to be, and he or she could turn around and say 'I can't stand participatory budgeting! My Commission members will have nothing to do with it, and that would be the end of that. So what we're really voting for in Civic Engagement is something where no one knows what the outcome will be. We don't know who the Commission members will be."

Stringer went on to say regarding the participatory budgeting clause, "I'm telling you. It's a lost leader and it sounds good, but there's no real plan so I would be very cautious. People should not think that they are voting for a five-borough, fully funded, participatory budgeting component. What they're voting for is a very vague Civic Engagement piece that will go hand in hand with a very unfortunate Community Board term-limit piece meaning that everyone should vote 'no.'"

Proposal 3: Community Boards - Borough of Manhattan President Gale Brewer believes that the Community Board term-limit of eight years spelled out in Proposal 3 would be more than "unfortunate," as Stringer described it. Brewer believes it would be a disaster that would diminish the power of Community Boards in significant ways and enable developers to run roughshod over New York City neighborhoods.

She said that it takes years to acquire the institutional knowledge that makes Community Board members (all of them volunteers) invaluable in protecting their communities from harmful zoning changes and development.

"City Council members rely on the expertise of Community Board members," she said. "I rely on the 20 years and 30 years of expertise on the Community Boards."

She also took exception to the establishment of a Civic Engagement Commission that would take over some of the Community Board advisory and development responsibilities now provided by the borough presidents.

The thrust of this and its related proposal on "Civic Engagement" seemed to be to increase and consolidate Mayoral control of City government.

"We don't need another Mayoral commission," Brewer said. "We need public discussion in City Council."

She summed up her take on the Charter Revision ballot proposals by saying that they were "well intentioned but with very bad execution." Like Stringer, she called them "vague," which is hardly surprising since they deal with complex issues and were cranked out over a period of five months.

Whatever happens with today's voting on City Charter proposals, this will not be the end of the discussion. The Mayor's City Charter Commission will be coming back with more proposals for voters to approve or reject. In addition, New York City Council has created its own City Charter Revision Commission with 15 members appointed by the Council speaker, borough presidents, city public advocate, city comptroller and Mayor de Blasio. City Council expects to have its proposals ready for voters to weigh in on during the election to be held in November 2019.

- Terese Loeb Kreuzer


 Bits & Bytes 

A granite memorial designed by Rodney Leon at the African Burial Ground National Monument in Lower Manhattan resembles the ships that, in the 17th and 18th centuries, brought millions of enslaved Africans to the eastern seaboard of what is now the United States. On Nov. 1, 2018, it was defaced with a racial slur. (Photo: © Terese Loeb Kreuzer)

"Racist Slur Defaces African Burial Ground Monument in Lower Manhattan," New York Times, 11/2/18. "The African Burial Ground Monument in Lower Manhattan, a treasured site for the nation's black community, was defaced with a racist slur on Thursday," according to The New York Times. "In black marker, a vandal scrawled 'Kill,' followed by the slur, on a plaque at the monument. The authorities said they did not have a suspect in the incident. Discovered in 1991 during construction of an office building, the six-acre burial ground is estimated to contain 15,000 intact skeletal remains of New York City's colonial African-American community, who were not allowed at the time to be interred in traditional church cemeteries. Many were slaves." For the complete article, click here.

"Some new tiny townhouses are on their way to Manhattan,", 11/2/18. "Developers in Manhattan are using bits and pieces of leftover space from the building boom to construct some new residences that are particularly tiny, even for Manhattan," says "On East 52nd Street in East Midtown, for instance, architect Gene Kaufman is planning to build a house on a 10-foot lot, where the widest rooms would span about 8.5 feet, according to the Wall Street Journal. And at 267 ½ Water Street by the Brooklyn Bridge in lower Manhattan, developer Andreas Giacoumis is about to put a $5 million house on the market where the widest room is 10 feet. Giacoumis is building his house on leftover land from a 20-foot-wide condo at 246 Front Street, while Kaufman is building his on leftover land from hotel developer Sam Chang's 2006 purchase of two East 52nd Street buildings." For the complete article, click here
"Father of Parkland Shooting Victim Puts Bulletproof Vest on Fearless Girl Statue to Protest Mass Shootings,", 11/2/18. "The Fearless Girl statue was cloaked in a bulletproof vest Friday," NBC reported. "The father of a student murdered during the school shooting in Parkland, Florida, earlier this year, placed a bulletproof vest on the Fearless Girl statue on Wall Street to protest mass shootings in the United States. 
Manuel Oliver, the father of, Joaquin 'Guac,' who was one of 17 people killed inside Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School on February 14, placed the vest on the statue to create "#FearfulGirl." For the complete article, click here.
"Hand-Pulled Chinese Noodle Shop Debuts to Long Lines in FiDi,", 11/2/2018. "Old Xi'an Delicacy has swung open in the Financial District with a menu offering hand-ripped noodles, lamb burgers, and dumplings in a fast-casual setting," says "Owner Steven Lam opened the restaurant last week at 164 Pearl St., between Pine and Wall Streets, and it has already drawn a crowd, with lines forming during lunch time on Friday. The menu is divided into appetizers, hand-ripped noodles served dry or in soup, burgers, and cold noodles - a collection that's reminiscent of popular Chinese noodle chain Xi'an Famous Foods, though the two are not related. Old Xi'an places four different kinds of hand-ripped noodles on the menu, including stewed pork, spicy beef, a vegetable option, and spicy cumin lamb. Like at Xi'an Famous Foods, burger options include a spicy cumin lamb burger and stewed pork burger. An employee tells Eater that the menu is flexible and will change in the following weeks depending on customer feedback." For the complete article, click here.
"Vanbarton lands $140M construction loan to remake former Tribeca Film Festival building,", 11/2/2018. "The Vanbarton Group is moving ahead with plans to convert the 100,000-square-foot building at 15 Laight Street into boutique offices," says "The Grand Central-based investment firm, which bought the property two years ago for $90 million, just secured a $141 million loan from the Paramount Group to finance the transformation." For the complete article, click here.

"Maya Lin-designed megamansion has found a buyer. All it took was a 43% discount,", 10/25/18. "The city's largest mansion - designed by architect Maya Lin - officially has a buyer," says " The Tribeca building at 11 Hubert Street - formerly a freight terminal - sold for $20 million. The New York Post first reported the sale. Hedge funder Adam Zoia previously owned the property, which went on the market last year for $35 million." For the complete article, click here
"Locals denounce Two Bridges towers at City Planning hearing,", 10/17/18. "A trio of skyscrapers slated to rise in the Two Bridges section of the Lower East Side were roundly denounced at a public hearing held at the City Planning Commission on Wednesday," says "The meeting concerned the discussion of the Draft Environmental Impact Statement (DEIS) for the three projects, which the Planning Commission had agreed to delay from earlier in the summer over concerns that local residents did not have enough time to study it. The developments have already received criticism from local elected officials and Lower East Side residents on the grounds that the buildings aren't going through a typical public review process. The developers don't need a rezoning for the proposed sites, and as a result aren't required to go through the city's months-long public review process known as the Uniform Land Use Review Procedure. City Council member Margaret Chin and Manhattan Borough President [Gale Brewer] have been trying to push forward a bill that would ensure a more thorough public review, but their efforts haven't gained much traction within the City Planning Commission so far. They tried to make their case again on Wednesday." For the complete article, click here

Downtown bulletin board

With Naima Rauam's drawings of the interior of Schermerhorn Row in the South Street Seaport behind him, Jack Putnam read from Joseph Mitchell's classic book "Up in the Old Hotel" on Nov. 21, 2010. Jack Putnam died on Sept. 9, 2018. A memorial service for him is scheduled for Nov. 17 in St. Paul's Chapel. (Photo: © Terese Loeb Kreuzer) 
Manhattan Youth's Adult Ceramics classes: Adult ceramics classes at Manhattan Youth start the week of November 7 and are designed for people with all levels of experience in pottery making. Classes cover both handbuilding techniques and the use of the pottery wheel. Instructors work individually with each student. Class times: Monday, Wednesday and Thursday evenings, 6:30 p.m. to 9 p.m. and Thursday mornings, 10 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. Registered students may also work on their own during open studio times on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday evenings, 6:30 p.m. to 9 p.m.; Tuesday mornings, 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. and Saturdays and Sundays, 12 p.m. to 4 p.m. Tuition: Each Section: (8 classes) $320 + a $45 minimum, non-refundable firing fee. For more information, click here or email .

Medicare enrollment information: On Nov. 9, City Councilmember Margaret Chin is sponsoring a meeting for people who are 65 years old and older to learn about Medicare eligibility, costs and coverage, changes that can be made during the fall enrollment period and how to apply for cost-saving programs, including Extra Help. Place: 6 River Terrace. Time: 1 p.m. to 2 p.m. Free.

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.

Jack Putnam memorial service: A memorial service for Jack Putnam, the unofficial historian of the South Street Seaport, who died on Sept. 9 at the age of 82 will be held on Nov. 17 at 10 a.m. at St. Paul's Chapel (Broadway at Fulton Street). After the service, there will be a reception at the South Street Seaport's Melville Gallery, 213 Water St.

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 between September and December. 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.

NYC Ferry fall schedule: The NYC Ferry fall schedule went into effect on Monday, Sept. 17. The new schedule includes changes to midday and weekend frequency for the Rockaway, East River, Astoria, and South Brooklyn routes. There were slight adjustments to the Lower East Side PM weekday schedule, but frequency for the LES and Soundview routes will remain the same until the winter schedule takes effect. For details on the scheduling changes, click here.

New Lower East Side ferry service: On Aug. 29, NYC Ferry added a Lower East Side route to its roster of ferries connecting New York City neighborhoods previously underserved by transit. The Lower East Side Route runs from Wall Street/Pier 11, to Corlears Hook, to Stuyvesant Cove, East 34th Street, and ends at Gantry Plaza State Park in Long Island City, Queens. The trip takes about 32 minutes from start to finish and costs $2.75 for a one-way ticket. This is the sixth NYC Ferry 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.

Letter to the editor
Members of Community Board 1's Waterfront Committee listening to a presentation from The Howard Hughes Corporation about plans for a concert venue on top of Pier 17. From left to right: Paul Hovitz, Paul Goldstein, Alice Blank and Andrew Zelter. Feb. 20, 2018
(Photo: © Terese Loeb Kreuzer)

To the editor:

I'm voting no on Charter Revision Proposals 2 and 3, on the back of the Tuesday November 6 ballot, and I hope you vote no, too.

The City Charter Revision Commission is proposing changes to the way Community Boards work. They're on the ballot for November 6th. Unfortunately, they're bad changes.

I served on Manhattan Community Board 1 for 20 years (half that time as Chair or Vice Chair) and stepped off two years ago.

Proposal 2 creates a new government body, a "Civic Engagement Commission" with a majority of its members, and chair, appointed by the Mayor. That body would supply "resources, assistance and training" to Community Boards - assistance provided now by Borough Presidents. Moving this away from the BPs and to the Mayor would mean more central control and would weaken the role of Community Boards as checks and balances on the executive and city agencies.

Proposal 3 term-limits Community Board members (who are unpaid volunteers, always from the neighborhood they represent) to eight years (four two-year terms). No exceptions. Community Boards, however, often work on long-term projects and need the experience and knowledge that only comes over long periods of time. Priorities like safety, resiliency, parks and resourcing - especially school seats and mass transit access - are always under threat. The ability to resist those pressures comes only with experience. Proposition 3 would erase the institutional memories and long-term perspective that cities need to stay livable and prosperous.

Those are some of the reasons why I'm voting no on Proposals 2 and 3 on November 6.

Together, we can keep Community Boards working for the people who live here.

- Catherine McVay Hughes

From the editor:

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

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: November 2018  
Spotlight: Kristallnacht and 'Messiah' 

Julian Wachner, director of music and the arts for Trinity Wall Street, acknowledging applause after a performance of Handel's "Messiah" at Trinity Church on Dec. 16, 2017. This year, because Trinity Church is under construction, "Messiah" performances will be in St. Paul's Chapel. Tickets are now on sale. (Photo: © Terese Loeb Kreuzer 2017)

Kristallnacht Commemoration at the Museum of Jewish Heritage: Kristallnacht, the "Night of Broken Glass," occurred on Nov. 9 and Nov. 10, 1938 in Germany. Nazis burned synagogues, vandalized Jewish homes, schools and businesses and killed almost 100 Jews. In the immediate aftermath, around 30,000 Jewish men were rounded up and sent to concentration camps. Kristallnacht marked the beginning of Hitler's implementation of his plan to eradicate Europe's Jews. He partially succeeded. Before World War II ended, six million Jews had been killed. In commemoration of the 80th anniversary of Kristallnacht, the Museum of Jewish Heritage in Battery Park City is offering free admission between Nov. 7 and 11 along with related programs and candle-lighting. (The museum is closed on Saturday, Nov. 10.) Place: 36 Battery Place. For more information about hours and special Kristallnacht events, click here.  
'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.  
Fall in Battery Park City: The Battery Park City Authority has released its Fall 2018 Parks Programming Calendar with more than 450 public programs and events between September and December. The full calendar of mostly free programs includes movie nights, concerts, tours, tournaments and games, art and nature events, fitness and exercise classes, and much more.  
For the complete calendar of Battery Park City events between September and December, click here.

In recognition of Internatonal Holocaust Remembrance Day, people lit candles at the Museum of Jewish Heritage in Battery Park City. Jan. 28, 2018 (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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