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News and Events
in Lower Manhattan
Volume 5, No. 4   Feb. 25, 2018  

"We have...repeatedly raised concerns that we not allow developers to functionally privatize this historic district [the South Street Seaport] through control of land or the ability to make unilateral decisions concerning programming for the neighborhood."
      -  Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer and City Councilmember Margaret Chin, in a letter to James Patchett, president of the NYC Economic Development Corporation

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MASTHEAD PHOTO: The keyboard of the Noack organ that has just been installed in St. Paul's Chapel at Broadway and Fulton Street. Feb. 19, 2018
(Photo: Terese Loeb Kreuzer) 

Terese Loeb Kreuzer, editor
A street sign at the corner of Spruce Street and Park Row in Lower Manhattan says "Elizabeth Jennings Place." The story behind that sign brings together some of the things that some of us have been thinking about recently: Black History, indignant and determined women, organ music and the power of young people to change the world.

Elizabeth Jennings was a 24-year-old, black schoolteacher who lived in Lower Manhattan in the mid-19th century. As The New York Times recounts, "On a sweltering Sunday morning in the summer of 1854" she "was on her way to play the organ at the First Colored American Congregational Church on Sixth Street in Lower Manhattan." She was late, and when a horse-drawn streetcar arrived at the corner of Pearl and what was then called Chatham Street, she tried to get on. The conductor told her that the streetcar was for whites only and ordered her to disembark. She refused. The conductor found a police officer who sided with him and who pushed Jennings to the street, "breaking her bonnet and dirtying her Sunday attire." Subsequently, she sued and was represented by a young lawyer named Chester A. Arthur, who later became the 21st president of the United States. Jennings won the lawsuit.

The Times says that "As a result of the ruling, within five years, the city's streetcars were largely integrated.

According to Womens ENews, the street sign commemorating Elizabeth Jennings is there because of some third and fourth-grade students from P.S. 361 on the Lower East Side. When they learned about Elizabeth Jennings, they wanted to honor her and spent a year attending meetings, circulating petitions and badgering elected officials. Finally, they got the street sign that they wanted. Womens ENews quotes one of the students as saying, "We actually took a stand in the world for what we thought was right."

With the uprising of students in the aftermath of the shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, that comment certainly resonates. So does the detail that Elizabeth Jennings was trying to get to church that hot Sunday in 1854 so that she would be there to play the organ. Music in Lower Manhattan has been dominated this week by the debut of the ravishing, newly installed organ at St. Paul's Chapel, which is being put through its paces by a succession of renowned organists. Finally, there's this to think about: a young woman who had no intention of being a heroine stood her ground and helped to change New York City in an enduring way.

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Terese Loeb Kreuzer

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On March 3, explore the music of Puerto Rico with an interactive drum and dance performance by Legacy Women, an all-women musical group rooted in Afro-Dominican and Afro-Puerto Rican traditions. Place: 6 River Terrace. Time: 4 p.m. to 6 p.m. Registration is required. To register, email


The New Market Building opened in 1939 as the last structure to be erected for the Fulton Fish Market. Now New York City's Economic Development Corp. says that it and its supporting pier have to be torn down.  (Photo: Terese Loeb Kreuzer)

As a glass-enclosed shopping mall and concert venue erected by The Howard Hughes Corporation nears completion on Pier 17 in the South Street Seaport, the fate of a neighboring 79-year-old building on South Street is causing anger, frustration and even anguish among people who care about the historic Seaport.

The New Market Building, on a site between Beekman Street and Peck Slip, opened in 1939 to serve the growing Fulton Fish Market. Now the New York City Economic Development Corporation (EDC), which has jurisdiction over the South Street Seaport, wants to tear it down.

"There are so many things about this building that could be saved!" said Barbara Mensch, a Seaport resident who has spent 25 years photographing the Fulton Fish Market. "That building survived Hurricane Sandy!" she said at a Community Board 1 waterfront and land use committee meeting on Feb. 20. "It was designed in the Art Deco spirit of the '30s, which was so prevalent in New York City architecture at that time. That structure breathes history."

The New Market Building still has Art Deco lettering on its facade and columned bays facing the street. At one time, it also had docking facilities in back for fishermen unloading their catch. The last time that happened was more than 20 years ago.

In November 2005, the Fulton Fish Market moved from the South Street Seaport to Hunts Point in the Bronx, and the New Market Building no longer served the purpose for which it was built. In the intervening years, it received minimal maintenance from the EDC. During a 2006 engineering inspection, the building was found to be in "fair condition." By 2010, an engineering report said the building and its underlying piers were in "poor" condition, although the piers could be salvaged at an estimated cost of around $3.5 million. This report noted that "No repairs have been performed to the support piles beneath the New Market Building since the 2006 inspection."

EDC's announcement in early January of its demolition plans was greeted with dismay by Community Board 1. An article in a publication that focuses on New York City real estate, (The Real Deal, " City moves forward with plans to demolish Seaport building," 1/4/2018), stated that EDC had told The Real Deal that the demolition had the support of the community board and elected officials. That was not true.

In a resolution presented at CB1's monthly meeting on Jan. 23, 2018 and approved by the community board, CB1's land use and waterfront committee noted, " On Jan. 3, 2018, EDC called the CB1 office to inform us that the City was moving to demolish the New Market Building while providing no engineering studies, no time frame, no information on other options they considered to address structural problems, no word on whether they have applied for or received any of the needed City, State and federal approvals to proceed with the demolition and nothing about future plans for this historic and sensitive site."

CB1 went on to note in its resolution that "many community members are asking that [the New Market Building] be saved and others [are] concerned about what will replace it."

Part of the concern has to do with The Howard Hughes Corporation (HHC), which at one time, had an option granted by the EDC to develop the New Market site. HHC proposals, first to build a skyscraper on the site and later, a hotel, were shot down by the community. It's not clear whether the HHC option is still valid since HHC missed some milestones built into its agreement with EDC.

On Jan. 23, 2018, Community Board 1 called on the City and EDC not to proceed with the planned demolition of the New Market Building until meetings could be arranged and held with CB1 and local elected officials led by Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer and City Councilmember Margaret Chin to review EDC's proposal and to take into account the desires of the community regarding the future of the site.

CB1 specifically asked Brewer and Chin to reconstitute the Seaport Working Group, a diverse group of Seaport stakeholders, which had met regularly in 2014 to formulate principles and guidelines for the future development of the South Street Seaport. EDC participated in the Seaport Working Group but failed to follow through on the Working Group's agreed need for information and transparency.

Councilmember Chin and Borough President Brewer responded to CB1's recent request to reconstitute the Seaport Working Group by writing to EDC President, James Patchett. In a letter dated Feb. 13, 2018, they said, "You are aware of the importance with which our offices view the South Street Seaport and the role we believe the Seaport Museum must play in this area. We are all also aware of the challenges this neighborhood faces, including climate change, aging infrastructure, and the after-effects of Sandy. We have also repeatedly raised concerns that we not allow developers to functionally privatize this historic district through control of land or the ability to make unilateral decisions concerning programming for the neighborhood."

Brewer and Chin continued, "In 2014, when the Seaport Working Group issued its guidelines and principles, the participants identified the need to create a process for ongoing community engagement. Without such a process, we have lurched from one unexpected challenge to another, learning of situations or events in the district from various sources, reaching out to EDC to confirm the facts and doing our best to troubleshoot any problems and get information to the community at large."

In their letter, Brewer and Chin proposed the creation of a community advisory board in partnership with EDC and Community Board 1. "We're interested in improving the level of communication among the stakeholders in the Seaport area. To that end, we are hoping to arrange regular meetings to increase the clarity and speed with which information is conveyed to all those interested in the future of this historic area," they said in a statement.

As of Feb. 20, Patchett had not replied to Brewer and Chin's letter.

Downtown Post NYC called EDC on Feb. 23 to ask if EDC would participate in the proposed community advisory board. Stephanie Baez, EDC's vice president of public affairs, said that she would get back about this, but no comment was forthcoming.

"Our offices will be in touch this month to coordinate with staff to discuss potential membership representation, a proposed schedule and start date, and group bylaws," Brewer and Chin had said in their letter to Patchett.

In the meantime, Seaport residents and community activists are weighing in.

"We know that EDC is full of surprises," said David Sheldon, a member of the steering committee of Save Our Seaport, a grassroots organization devoted to creating a new vision for the Seaport's future. "We need accountability."

Regarding the New Market Building, he said, "We have to distinguish between the pier supports and the building. I don't know whether it will be possible to salvage the building. I do believe that the pier supports are in bad condition and need work. I think we're entitled to a second opinion - how much work is required, to what end and at what cost is something we need to reassess. We need the engineering report!"

Paul Goldstein, chairperson of CB1's waterfront and land use committee, said at the committee's Feb. 20 meeting, that EDC had stated that it would cost $40 million to repair the pier and that the city didn't have the money.

"We're not going to take EDC at its word about this," said Joanne Gorman, a Seaport resident. She said that she was part of an informal task force formed to focus on the New Market site. "We're comparing this to other piers that have been renovated. We're not going to accept the $40 million cost! We'll also look at what can go into that building. There are air rights in play and we want any air rights to go to the replenishment of the building and not to a developer's private purpose."

- Terese Loeb Kreuzer



A map of the Downtown Alliance Business Improvement District.

The Alliance for Downtown New York has launched an experimental program to see if it can help storefront businesses within its Business Improvement District (BID) to bolster their online presence or to expand the digital tools within their stores. The Downtown Digital Innovation Grant of $10,000 will be awarded to one storefront business in the Downtown-Lower Manhattan Business Improvement District.

The recipient of this grant will be able to invest in digital and/or technological enhancements including but not limited to anything from digital advertising and social media strategy to outfitting in-store employees with mobile tools and smarter checkout capabilities.
The application form is now available online by clicking here. The deadline to apply is March 20, 2018 at 11:59 p.m. Additional terms and conditions are noted in the application. 

Among other things, applicants are asked why they need the grant and how they would use the money to grow their business. Those who are not awarded a grant are asked on the application form if they would like to attend free workshops provided by the Downtown Alliance on online enhancements or other topics of interest. 

To help small businesses, in addition to the grant, the Alliance has hired Heather Ducharme as Director of Storefront Business Engagement. Ducharme joined the Alliance six months ago after having worked for the Greater Holyoke Chamber of Commerce in Holyoke, Mass. where she counseled small businesses. In her current job, Ducharme serves as an advocate for local businesses and is out in the neighborhood to help shop owners navigate the sometimes complex and confusing issues their businesses face. She will be available to help with Downtown Digital Innovation Grant application, if needed.

- Terese Loeb Kreuzer

 Bits & Bytes 
WalkNYC is a City-sponsored program to install wayfaring signage in parts of the city frequented by tourists. The first WalkNYC signs went up on an experimental basis in 2013. This sign was recently installed on Greenwich Street in Tribeca near the corner of Vestry Street. A detailed map including street names points the way to Battery Park City, the World Trade Center and Hudson River Park. (Photo: Terese Loeb Kreuzer)
"Deal reached to bring long-awaited performing arts center to WTC,", 2/16/18. The Real Deal reports that "The Ronald O. Perelman Performing Arts Center will make it to the World Trade Center following an agreement between the Port Authority of New York & New Jersey and the Lower Manhattan Development Corporation, according to an announcement from Gov. Andrew Cuomo's office. Squabbles between the two groups had previously threatened to derail funding for the performing arts center, as the Port Authority had refused to relinquish control over the land for the center until it was paid for the below-grade work required to prep the site. The agency argued it was owed $67 million for the work, while the LMDC argued it was owed $45 million. Under the agreement, the Port Authority will accept $48 million in funding from the LMDC to cover below-ground construction costs. Work on the below-grade structure for the center should be finished by the end of the year." For the complete article, click here.

"HAP Investments buys Tribeca site for its next condo project,", 2/16/18. "HAP Investments has purchased a development site in Tribeca for $46 million, where it is planning to build a 40-unit condominium project," says The Real Deal. "The site is located at 65 Franklin Street, right by Broadway, and HAP purchased it from Miami-based Crescent Heights Realty, which was co-founded by Sonny Kahn, Russell Galbut and Bruce Menin. The property contains 64,430 buildable square feet, although this can increase to 77,000 with additional air rights. The price per square foot works out to about $714 for HAP. Crescent purchased the site in 2013 for about $23 million, according to property records." For the complete article, click here.

"An Organ - and Soon Another - Lands on Broadway," New York Times,2/16/18. "To hear Julian Wachner tell it, playing the organs of Trinity Church Wall Street in recent years has posed risks to both body and spirit," says The New York Times. Wachner called the Schlicker pipe organ in St. Paul's Chapel "tendinitis central." But, says The Times, "As part of a renovation of the chapel for its 250th anniversary last year, the Schlicker has left the building. Built in 1963 for St. Paul's in purportedly Bachian style, with an eye toward the then-burgeoning early-music movement, the organ has been replaced by a more versatile, well-used 1989 Noack pipe organ, which was fitted into the chapel's slightly expanded 1802 cabinet. And as part of another renovation, of Trinity Church itself, the 15-year-old digital instrument will be replaced by an $8 million pipe organ now being made by Rosales Organ Builders, which also produced the acclaimed example in Walt Disney Concert Hall in Los Angeles. The Rosales is projected to be in place by April 2021." For the complete article, click here.

"Rooftop Views & Interior Update on Supertall 175 Greenwich Street, aka 3 World Trade Center, As Opening Day Approaches," New York YIMBY, 2/21/18. "Last week, New York YIMBY was taken on a tour of 175 Greenwich Street, aka 3 World Trade Center, visiting the rooftop, the terrace and the lobby. The building, located in the heart of the Financial District, has made incredible progress, with the façade now complete save for windows connected to the exterior hoist, and interior work is also approaching the finish line. Despite the dirt ground right outside from the building's entrance, the lobby is nearly complete. Finishing touches are being put into place, with the reception counter now visible." For the complete article, click here.

"Tribeca site primed for mixed-use tower hits the market,", 2/20/18. "A development site with approved plans for a 45-story condominium-and-hotel tower overlooking City Hall Park is hitting the market," says The Real Deal. "The Roe Corporation is looking to sell the 131,000-square-foot development site it stitched together at 267 Broadway in Tribeca, the property's listing broker...Geoffrey Newman of Newmark Knight Frank said the site doesn't have an asking price. But HAP Investments recently closed on the purchase of a condo development site six blocks up Broadway at the corner of Franklin Street for $46 million." For the complete article, click here.

"FDNY union calls out Trump proposal to hit 9/11 responder agency," Daily News, 2/21/18.  "The city firefighters union is blasting a detail tucked into the President Trump's budget that would reorganize how the federal government handles health treatment for 9/11 first responders," says the Daily News....The White House fiscal year 2019 budget plan would upend health services for more than 83,000 first responders who rely on the World Trade Center Health Program, lawmakers and 9/11 advocates say. On Wednesday, the Uniformed Firefighters Association added its voice to the chorus of those asking Trump to reconsider." Gerald Fitzgerald, UFA president, called Trump's proposed changes "devastating" to firefighters who "fought through the 9/11 disaster and are still fighting through their health illnesses today as a result of the injuries endured during the World Trade Center attack." For the complete article, click here.

"A 190-year-old Tribeca townhouse is reborn with historic-and eclectic-touches,", 2/19/18. does not provide the exact address of the 190-year-old Tribeca townhouse whose interior remodeling is featured in this story, but it does appear to be one of the Federal-period houses on Harrison Street. Curbed does say, "On one small street in Tribeca, where this three-story house stands, it still looks something like the 19th century. But the changes this home has seen since it was constructed in 1828 are mind-boggling. When it was built the Revolutionary War had happened a mere 45 years before, and the Hudson River was just across the street (today, infill puts the water a couple of blocks away). A genteel family lived there initially, until the area became a wholesale produce market and the house was transformed into a spot where eggs and poultry were sold. In the 1960s the market moved, and vast swaths of homes in the neighborhood were demolished to make way for new development. City agencies such as the Landmark Preservation Commission stepped in and rescued this Federal-style home and eight others like it....The homes were given a cursory, modern remodel and put up for sale. An artist and his wife purchased this home and lived there for nearly 40 years. When it came up on the market again it had not changed since the 1970s, and time had taken its toll. That's when a new couple (a pair of artists) stepped in, and the home was reborn yet again....They hired Yun and Penelope August (who worked as the interior designer on the project) to make it happen." For the complete article with photographs, click here.

Downtown bulletin board
The Manhattan Sailing School, based in Jersey City, N.J. but with boat pick-up in Manhattan as well, has just opened registration for sailing programs for junior sailors.
 (Photo: Terese Loeb Kreuzer)
Sailing programs for junior sailors: Registration is now open for Manhattan Sailing School's programs for junior sailors. Operation Optimist is for kids 8 to 13 and the Teen Sailing Academy is for 13- to 18-year-olds. Boats for Operation Optimist can be picked up in Manhattan and Jersey City locations, with sailing instruction in the protected water southwest of the Statue of Liberty. The program teaches kids how to sail their Optimist dinghy by themselves. The Teen Sailing Academy has three levels of instruction beginning with Basic Sailing on J24 keelboats. Level 2 is dinghy sailing on 420s and Lasers. Level 3 is the new Coastal Cruising Adventure on a 36-foot-long sloop. This course involves three days of sailing from New York Harbor to Long Island Sound and back. For more information about Operation Optimist, click here. For more information about the Teen Sailing Academy, click here.

Free admission for families at the Museum of Jewish Heritage
: During winter break ( Feb. 16 to Feb. 25), families can visit the Museum of Jewish Heritage, 36 Battery Place, without charge. There will be daily tours from Sunday to Thursday at 3 p.m. and at 11 a.m. on Friday. Special family programs for visitors 8 to 12 during the week include "Illustrating Your Family's Story" on Feb. 20 at 11 a.m. and on Feb. 22 at 2 p.m. and "Mapping Your Family Tree" on Feb. 21 at 4 p.m. Mention code FAMILIES FREE at the front desk for your free admission or use it in the online checkout area to reserve tickets ahead of time. For more information, click here.

Battery Park City Open Community Meeting: On March 5, the Battery Park City Authority will host a meeting to bring Battery Park City residents up to date on BPCA activities and plans and to provide an opportunity for residents to ask questions of BPCA management. Questions can be submitted in advance to Place: 6 River Terrace. Time: 6 p.m. to 7:30 p.m.

Flu vaccinations available: With the number of reported cases of flu in New York State continuing to rise, Gov. Andrew Cuomo has signed an executive order allowing pharmacists to administer flu vaccines to children ages 2 to 18. Parents and guardians should call pharmacies ahead of their visit to ensure they are ready to receive patients in this age group. Children between the ages of 6 months and 24 months would have to see their primary care provider for the vaccination, and are encouraged to do so. To receive a flu shot, contact your local health care provider or pharmacy, or find information about vaccination clinics by contacting your local health department. Flu shots can also be found through the HealthMap Vaccine Finder at In addition to getting a flu vaccination, be aware that the administration of antiviral medications within the first 48 hours of developing flu can often mitigate the illness. Health insurers in New York State have been notified that prior authorization is not needed to prescribe antiviral medications. For more information about the flu, click here.  

Nutrition workshops: Registered dietician Lauren C. Kelly will conduct a series of nutrition workshops at Asphalt Green in Battery Park City on select Tuesdays. She will teach how to increase energy and reduce sugar and salt in the diet by preparing easy, fun recipes. Each week, she will offer tastings, research findings and shopping tips plus take-home treats. The next workshop dates are Feb. 27; March 6 and March 20. Place: 212 East End Ave. Time: 2 p.m. to 3:30 p.m. Free for adults. Pre-register for single/weekly or multiple sessions by emailing Drop-ins are welcome. The workshops are being sponsored by Battery Park City Seniors, Asphalt Green and the Battery Park City Authority.

Literary evenings with Pen Parentis: Book authors who are also parents of young children present their work at readings sponsored by Pen Parentis. On March 13, the topic is "immigration" with authors Susan Muaddi Darraj, Maruerite Bouvard and Katie Kitamura along with poet Sarah Gambito reading from current work and discussing issues that arise from writing about immigrants and immigration. Readings are followed by discussions moderated by M. M. De Voe and Christina Chiu centering around the balance of family demands and a creative career. Wine provided by Andaz Wall Street. Place: Andaz Wall Street, 75 Wall Street (Wall and Water, second floor). Time: 7 p.m. Free. (Must be 21+. RSVP strongly suggested. For more information, click here or email
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.

NoackDowntown Arts 

Julian Wachner, director of music and the arts at Trinity Wall Street, introducing a recital by Peter Sykes on the newly installed Noack organ in St. Paul's Chapel at Broadway and Fulton Street. The pipe organ was built in 1989 and formerly belonged to a church in Massachusetts. The organ case has been in St. Paul's Chapel since 1802 and is the oldest organ case in the city. (Photos: Terese Loeb Kreuzer)
With six days of concerts, sometimes at the rate of two a day, Trinity Wall Street welcomed its newly installed Noack organ to St. Paul's Chapel. The organ was built in 1989 and was formerly in a church in Chestnut Hill, Mass. that decided to part with it because it wanted an organ suited to playing modern music. The music at St. Paul's tends to be of earlier vintage - 16th to 19th centuries as a rule - although as the three-manual Noack was put through its paces throughout the inaugural week, the Noack showed itself equal to anything. Under expert hands, it thundered, maneuvered through intricate, overlaid melodic lines that remained distinguishable and intact and also expressed passages of soft delicacy.

St. Paul's Chapel, built in 1766 at Broadway and Fulton Streets, is intimate in scale and beautifully suited to its new organ, the sixth to be housed there. The preponderance of wood in the construction of St. Paul's acts as a sounding board. Much of the music that is played at St. Paul's could have been heard by the people who originally worshiped there - a congregation that included Gen. George Washington on April 30, 1789, when he went to St. Paul's to pray after his inauguration as the first president of the United States. 

The festival week started on Feb. 19 with an organ recital by Peter Sykes of Boston University and the Juilliard School, who played works by composers whose lives spanned the 17th and 18th centuries (Buxtehude, Chaumont and Johann Sebastian Bach). Excerpts from 19th-century composer, Johannes Brahms' Opus 122 rounded out the program.

The festival ended on Feb. 24 with a standing-room-only audience listening to two Bach cantatas performed by the Trinity Baroque Orchestra and The Choir of Trinity Wall Street, with Julian Wachner conducting. In addition, Wachner and Trinity's organist, Avi Stein, played organ solos by Bach - Sei gegrüßet, Jesu gütig BWV 768 and the famous Passacaglia in C Minor, BWV 582.

Although nothing can compare to the visceral experience of being present at St. Paul's for its music offerings, most of the festival week recitals can still be heard on Trinity Wall Street's website.

The recitals continue on Fridays at 1 p.m., starting on March 2 and running through Friday, June 8. In a series called "Pipes at One," New York's leading organists will sit down at the Noack organ to show what it can do.

- Terese Loeb Kreuzer


calendar CALENDAR: February 2018  
Spotlight: Chinese Lunar New Year Parade

Chinese New Year decorations. (Photo: Terese Loeb Kreuzer)

Feb. 25: Chinatown's Lunar New Year Parade, this year welcoming the Year of the Dog, is scheduled for Sunday, Feb. 25 starting at 1 p.m. and wending its way from Mott and Canal Streets to Chatham Square to East Broadway and turning on Eldridge and Forsyth Streets to Grand Street next to Sara D. Roosevelt Park. The parade features lion dancers and dragons and troupes of acrobats, dancers, stilt walkers and performers, marching bands and floats.
The weather is supposed to veer between cloudy and rain but the parade will go on, rain or shine. Suggested viewing locations include East Broadway and Grand Street near Sara Roosevelt Park. The festivities are scheduled to end at 4:30 p.m.

For more information, including a map of the parade route, 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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