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

"Following this tragedy, we once again - as we have many times before - call on the FAA, the City and municipalities in New Jersey to ban helicopter flights over Manhattan and Brooklyn. Helicopter tourism flights are simply a bad fit for airspace above the most densely populated city in the U.S."
      -  Representatives Jerrold Nadler, Nydia Velázquez and Carolyn Maloney in a statement following the East River helicopter crash on March 11 that killed five people

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MASTHEAD PHOTO: A mourning dove in the Tribeca section of Hudson River Park.
 March 11, 2018 (Photo: Terese Loeb Kreuzer) 

Terese Loeb Kreuzer, editor
With news that comes barreling through social media at warp speed, it's difficult to know at times what to believe. Is the "news" factual? Is someone trying to slant the "news" to influence outcomes?

Fortunately neither of those problems besets local news, at least not in Lower Manhattan. There are several publications covering the territory south of Canal Street whose editors and reporters are grounded in this community. We've been here a long time. We show up at community meetings. You are likely to pass us walking down the street. If you have something to say to us, you can mention it when we meet or send us an email. You know who we are and where to find us.

I've only been writing about Lower Manhattan for 14 years. Some of the editors and reporters in other downtown publications have been here even longer. What we bring to this task is not only our presence but our archives and our memories. 

Today, for instance, when I wanted to write an article for Downtown Post NYC about the March 11 helicopter crash in the East River, I looked in my archives for background material. I had other articles that I had written on this subject going back more than three years and I had a copy of the contract that representatives of the City signed with the operators of the Downtown Manhattan Heliport in February 2016.

I know what happened and why and when.

I believe that this perspective is valuable. I hope you think so, too.

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Terese Loeb Kreuzer

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A helicopter hovering over the East River. (Photo: Terese Loeb Kreuzer)

The horror of a sightseeing helicopter crash over the East River that killed five people on Sunday, March 11 immediately elicited handwringing. At a subsequent press conference, New York Fire Department Commissioner Daniel Nigro called the accident "a great tragedy." NYFD emergency responders tried to save the passengers but were unable to cut them loose from the heavy-duty harnesses that anchored them to the helicopter for what was supposed to be a thrilling "doors-off" experience during which they would fly over Lower Manhattan's landmarks with unobstructed views for photography.

A statement on March 13 from City Councilmembers Margaret Chin, Helen Rosenthal and Carlos Menchaca also used the word "tragedy."

"As the authors of tough legislation to severely limit helicopter flights, we renew our demand for accountability from government agencies and the helicopter tour industry," they said.

The "tough legislation" to which they referred had resulted in an agreement signed on Feb. 2, 2016 between the City and FirstFlight Heliport, LLC d/b/a Saker Aviation restricting tourist helicopter flights taking off from and landing at the Downtown Manhattan Heliport on the East River at Pier 6. According to that contract, beginning on April 1, 2016, there were to be no more tourist flights from the Downtown Manhattan Heliport on Sundays.

However this crash over the East River did take place on a Sunday. That was because, as the City Councilmembers noted at the end of their statement, "the flight that crashed on Sunday departed from a heliport in Kearney, N.J., [so] it was not subject to current limitations on tourist flights taking off from Lower Manhattan."

The Chin, Rosenthal, Menchaca statement evoked anger from John Dellaportas, an attorney and president of a grassroots organization called Stop the Chop that has around 2,000 members in New York City and New Jersey. "Chin, Rosenthal and Menchaca have blood on their hands!" he fumed. "Without consulting the community, they negotiated a crappy contract in the backroom that had lots of loopholes." He said that one of the loopholes permitted the deaths of the five people in the helicopter that went down on the East River. "The contract that they negotiated was garbage. They should not have signed it. It had all sorts of loopholes that allowed people to fly on Sunday, like the people who died. They sold us down the river."

Dellaportas pointed out that this was only the latest in a series of helicopter tourism accidents dating back to 1997. Several of them involved Liberty Helicopters, which is based in New Jersey and which is the only company licensed to fly within 1,000 feet of the Statue of Liberty. Dellaportas enumerated six major accidents that caused 11 deaths, not including the five people who died on March 11. In addition, there were many injuries, some of them, serious.

The day after the latest accident, New York Senator Chuck Schumer asked the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) to suspend the license of Liberty Helicopters until the circumstances surrounding this latest crash had been fully investigated. 

On March 16, the FAA ordered an immediate cessation to all "doors-off" helicopter flights that attach passengers to the aircraft with heavy harnesses that can't be easily removed in case of an emergency. That directive applied nationwide.

Congressman Jerrold Nadler, who represents the 10th Congressional District, which includes the west side of Manhattan and parts of Brooklyn, has been saying for a long time that all tourism helicopter flights in New York City are dangerous and should be banned.

On March 13, Nadler, along with Representatives Nydia Velázquez and Carolyn Maloney (all Democrats from New York City) stated that "helicopter tourist flights pose significant public safety risks to our community." They asked for "an exhaustive review of the safety hazards of operating these flights in such a congested urban airspace." They also referenced the fact that these flights cause "significant noise pollution."

"Following this tragedy, we once again - as we have many times before - call on the FAA, the City and municipalities in New Jersey to ban helicopter flights over Manhattan and Brooklyn. Helicopter tourism flights are simply a bad fit for airspace above the most densely populated city in the U.S.," they said.

As they noted, they have asked for this many times before and the requested ban hasn't happened. As with gun control legislation, there's a lot of money at stake and as with gun control legislation, it isn't clear what it will take to move the needle. Five more deaths may not be enough.

- Terese Loeb Kreuzer



Daniel Lindsay and T.J.Martin, directors of "LA92," a film in the 2017 Tribeca Film Festival.
  (Photos: Terese Loeb Kreuzer)

In Lower Manhattan, the return of the Tribeca Film Festival is as predictable a sign of spring as the first daffodils and robins. Although the festival is a smorgasbord of films, television shows, music, gaming and online work of various kinds, for many people, the films take center stage.

There are always some blockbusters with big-name talent but many of the most interesting entries are lower budget films, some of them made by directors with substantial credits, but on topics that are not likely to break box office attendance records. After the festival, some of these films are picked up for national distribution. More likely, a film will be available subsequently for online download or streaming.  

What makes these films particularly interesting is that they often deal with topics that continue to resonate in the news, providing insights and perspectives not readily available elsewhere.

On the 2017 Tribeca Film Festival roster, for instance, was   "LA92," a documentary directed by Dan Lindsay and T.J. Martin. With an Academy Award among their credits (for "Undefeated," Best Feature Length Documentary in 2012), they were able to obtain financing for a film about how four white, Los Angeles police officers brutally beat a black taxi driver named Rodney King on March 3, 1991.  A witness filmed the beating as it was happening and sent his film to a local television station, causing a national furor. The police officers were tried in 1992. Three were completely acquitted. The fourth was acquitted of all but one charge. When the verdict was announced, riots erupted in Los Angeles, and continued for six days. More than 50 people were killed and more than 2,300 were injured. The rioting only came to an end when the National Guard and the U.S. military were called in.  

Lindsay and Martin were 14 years old and 13 years old respectively when all of this happened, but this was the subject that they chose to devote eight months of their lives to revisiting for the "LA92" documentary.

"One of the reasons we wanted to do this," said Lindsay, was that "this was the first moment when there was video of police brutality that became public and it happened to coincide with more and more people having video cameras and also the advent of the 24-hour news cycle. The thing that we were exploring was the inherent contradiction in the American experience. I'm referring to the idea that our country was founded on the idea that all men were created equal and the people who signed that document owned other human beings."

In the film, a representative of the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) remarks, "We get these calls all the time, but this time, we have the proof."  

"I feel that echo is happening today," said Martin, "yet have we seen any kind of systematic change? I venture to say that it hasn't been as dramatic as people would like to see. Two steps forward, one step back."

Other films on the 2017 Tribeca Film Festival roster examined issues that continue to be front-page news. Among these films was   "From the Ashes,"  produced in part by Bloomberg Philanthropies, established by former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg. The film is about the coal industry and its terrible effect on the environment and also about coal mining's terrible effect on the lives of miners, who suffer from black lung disease and other health problems, but who are treated as expendable by the mine owners. Following its world premiere at the Tribeca Film Festival, "From the Ashes" had a limited theatrical run and then was distributed by National Geographic to 171 countries.  

Bloomberg continues to be actively involved in addressing some of the problems raised in "From the Ashes." Coal pollutes the air out of all proportion to the electricity it generates and contributes significantly to climate change. Bloomberg was recently appointed the United Nations special envoy on climate change, where he will use his expertise, his contacts and some of his own money to mitigate the effects of greenhouse gas emissions.

Marc Grieco, director of "A River Below."
With far fewer resources at his disposal than the director of "From the Ashes," Marc Grieco, an independent filmmaker and photographer, chose as the subject of his second feature documentary the fate of the pink river dolphin, indigenous to the Amazon and hunted nearly to extinction by native populations along the river. They were able to make money by catching the dolphins and selling their flesh as bait for piracatinga, a carniverous catfish that is used as human food.  

Grieco worked for almost three years on   "A River Below,"  which follows the story not only of the dolphins but of the humans who have been trying to protect them and the people who depend on catching them for a living. In his documentary, Grieco raises questions about competing and irreconcilable needs that apply not only to what he observed during the months that he spent in the Amazon basin but to other situations where environmental considerations that affect large numbers of people are pitted against the livelihoods of a relative few.

For thought-provoking documentaries, the Tribeca Film Festival is a gold mine. The questions raised by some of the films linger long after the festival is over. Let's see what this year's crop of documentaries brings.

- Terese Loeb Kreuzer


This year's Tribeca Film Festival opens on April 18 and runs through April 29.
  (Photo: Terese Loeb Kreuzer)

The 2018 Tribeca Film Festival opens on April 18 with the world premiere of  "Love, Gilda," a feature-length documentary that explores the world of Emmy and Grammy-award winning comedian Gilda Radner, a trailblazer for female comedians, who died at far too young an age of cancer.

The festival closes on April 29 with the world premiere of a documentary called "The Fourth Estate," directed by Oscar-nominated filmmaker Liz Garbus.  It's about the journalists at the New York Times tasked with covering the election of Donald Trump, who had declared the majority of the nation's major news outlets to be "the enemy of the people." Garbus witnessed the inner workings of journalism and investigative reporting from the front lines during the Trump administrations' first history-making year.

After the movie there will be a conversation with the New York Times Executive Editor Dean Baquet, Washington Bureau Chief Elisabeth Bumiller, White House Correspondent Maggie Haberman, Washington Investigative Correspondent Mark Mazzetti, and director Liz Garbus.

In between these opening and closing events, there will be 96 films from 103 filmmakers. Nearly half of these films have been directed by women.

The lineup includes 74 world premieres, six international premieres, nine North American premieres, three U.S. premieres, and four New York premieres from 30 countries. This year's program includes 46 first-time filmmakers, with 18 directors returning to the festival with their latest feature film projects. Tribeca's 2018 slate was programmed from more than 8,789 submissions.

The films in competition will vie for cash prizes totaling $165,000, as well as artwork from the Artists Awards program, offering work from acclaimed contemporary artists in select categories. One of the first awards to honor excellence in storytelling by a female writer or director, the 6th annual Nora Ephron Award, presented by CHANEL, will award a $25,000 prize to a woman who embodies the spirit and boldness of the late filmmaker. 

Package subscriptions for the 2018 Tribeca Film Festival are now on sale. For more information, click here.

 Bits & Bytes 
56 Leonard St., the expensive and controversial condominium that towers over Tribeca, is having its share of trouble these days.  It has lost its 421a tax break and is being sued (for different reasons) by one of the owners of a $29 million penthouse.
(Photo: Terese Loeb Kreuzer)
"HPD suspends 421a for more than 1,700 properties. Here's who got hit the hardest,", 3/9/18. "Officials temporarily halted a tax break for more than 1,700 property owners, including every single owner at the luxury condominium tower at 56 Leonard Street," says The Real Deal. "The Department of Housing Preservation announced on Friday that 1,788 properties didn't comply with the requirements of 421a by failing to file a final certificate of eligibility. The property owners, along with more than 3,000 others, were warned in December 2016 that they'd lose the tax break if they didn't file the certificate within 13 months. They allegedly missed that deadline and, as a result, had their benefits revoked. Together, these owners avoided paying $66 million in taxes in 2018 thanks to 421a, according to HPD. They have one more chance to recoup the tax break. Based on data provided by HPD, the owners of all 145 units at 56 Leonard - the jumbled 60-story tower in Tribeca where a penthouse sold for $47.86 million last year - had their 421a benefits suspended." For the complete article, click here.

"Trucking exec sues for missing breakfast bar and private elevator at 56 Leonard," 3/12/18, "A New Jersey trucking mogul has sued the developers of 56 Leonard, alleging he did not get the private elevator access and breakfast bar he was promised in his $29 million penthouse," says The Real Deal. "Ronald Dana - founder of the Dana Companies - said Alexico Group and Hines failed to deliver on specific features that sold him on the Tribeca condominium, including soaring 14-foot ceilings, a private elevator, a breakfast bar and an integrated curtain system for the apartment's floor-to-ceiling windows. In addition, the sponsors attempted to 'conceal defects' in the unit - namely poorly-installed wood flooring, which began to crack and warp months after Dana took possession of the pad last year, the complaint said. In the suit, Dana also claimed Corcoran Sunshine Marketing Group 'knowingly and purposefully' lied about the state of the apartment during the marketing process." For the complete article, click here.

"New York City still hasn't decided what to do with 'Fearless Girl'," CNN Money, 3/8/18. "The bronze statue, which appeared one year ago opposite the iconic charging bull near Wall Street, is guaranteed a place only through Thursday - International Women's Day," says CNN Money. "Natalie Grybauskas, a spokesperson for Mayor Bill de Blasio, told CNN that the statue will probably stay in place for a few more days. Beyond that, she said, the city expects to announce its plans soon. State Street Global Advisors, the financial company, installed the sculpture of the defiant girl in front of the bull for International Women's Day 2017. At first, she was only supposed to be there a few days. But the sculpture won overwhelming support from the public, and the city decided to extend her permit for a year." For the complete article, click here.

"Overlooked," New York Times, 3/8/18. On International Women's Day, The New York Times wrote obituaries for 15 remarkable women who didn't get obits when they died. Among them was Emily Warren Roebling, who "oversaw the construction of the Brooklyn
Bridge after her engineer husband fell ill." The article begins, "It was not customary for a woman to accompany a man to a construction site in the late 19th century. Petticoats tended to get in the way of physical work. But when Washington A. Roebling, the chief engineer of the Brooklyn Bridge, fell ill, it was his wife, Emily Warren Roebling, who stepped in - managing, liaising and politicking between city officials, workers, and her husband's bedside to see the world's first steel-wire suspension bridge to completion. She would become the first person to cross the bridge, too - carrying a rooster with her, as the story has it, for good luck." For the complete article, click here.

"How Taryn Toomey, Fitness Guru, Spends Her Sundays," New York Times, 3/9/18. "Taryn Toomey, 39, the founder of the Class by Taryn Toomey, a mind-body workout that 'invites students to witness their resistance to discomfort,' has somewhat of a cult following," says The New York Times. "Students from across the metropolitan area are heading to her year-old TriBeCa studio to sweat, cry and scream, as she urges them to 'dig deeper.' On Sundays, Ms. Toomey cherishes quality time with her husband, Mark Toomey, 48, who works in finance, and their two daughters, Scarlett, 8, referred to as Lettie, and Finley, 6. The family lives in TriBeCa." In this article, among other things, you will find out where the Toomey family likes to eat, and what they eat. Taryn Toomey, the article reveals, goes for almond milk and protein powder while the rest of her family is scarfing up bacon, egg, waffles and hot dogs. For the complete article, click here.

"Gibney Dance Unveils New Space, and a New Name," New York Times, 3/7/18. "Gibney Dance, as part of a rebranding tied to its newly expanded home in Lower Manhattan, will now simply be called Gibney," The New York Times reports. "The organization's founder and leader, Gina Gibney, said that while dance was still central to its mission, the name Gibney Dance no longer captured the breadth of what it does for artists and its public outreach. The name change comes with the unveiling of 10,000 square feet of new facilities at 280 Broadway, one of two buildings Gibney occupies for a total of 23 studios and five performance spaces." For the complete article, click here.

Downtown bulletin board
The Battery Park City esplanade is a magnet for visitors and residents. The Battery Park City Authority is currently conducting a survey to find out who uses the BPC parks, what people do there and what improvements they would like to see. The data collected will help with planning. (Photo: Terese Loeb Kreuzer)
Battery Park City park usage survey: The Battery Park City Authority (BPCA) is working with social scientists from the Borough of Manhattan Community College to determine how people use Battery Park City's public spaces, what they think of BPC, how many people visit at various times of the day and times of the year and whether there are things that they would like to see done differently in the future. The data will help the BPCA with its planning. Teams of students led by professors Robin Isserles and Michelle Ronda have been interviewing people as they traverse Battery Park City but are currently supplementing these interviews with focus groups and are looking for volunteers to participate. Participants are asked about their history with BPC, what they like to do there, their views about the best parts of Battery Park City and where they see room for improvement. (As a token of gratitude, each participant receives a day pass to the Community Center at Stuyvesant High School.)

The next focus groups will meet on March 18 from 1:30 p.m. to 3:30 p.m. at the Community Center, 345 Chambers St.; March 20 from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m. at 75 Battery Place; March 23 from 3 p.m. to 5 p.m. at 75 Battery Place; March 24 from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. at 6 River Terrace and March 27 from 10 a.m. to noon at 75 Battery Place. For more information or to sign up for a focus group, click here.

Battery Park City Health Workshop:
On Friday, March 23, physicians from New York Presbyterian/Lower Manhattan Hospital will discuss brain and heart health. Dr. Joshua Weaver, Assistant Professor of Clinical Neurology, will talk about "Brain Health and Stroke Prevention," and Dr. Matthew Vorsanger will talk about "Cardiovascular Wellness: Risk Factors and Common Cardiac Conditions." Light refreshments will be served. Place: 6 River Terrace. Time: 12:30 p.m. to 2 p.m. Free. RSVP by March 21 to Joyce,

Jane's Walk submissions: The Municipal Art Society is the New York City host for an annual, worldwide event known as "Jane's Walk" in honor of the life and legacy of journalist and urban activist Jane Jacobs. During these walks, volunteers lead free tours of places of importance and interest in their communities. Anyone is welcome to lead a Jane's Walk, whether they are affiliated with an organization or just an impassioned individual. This year, May 4 to May 6 will be Jane's Walk weekend in New York City. Submissions for Jane's Walk events are now being considered and are due by April 2. The Municipal Art Society helps volunteers to plan and implement their walks. For more information about successful Jane's Walk topics and how to propose and lead a walk, click here.

Parent and Baby Yoga: Fees have been reduced for parent and baby yoga classes where parents learn exercises and poses suited for new parents and babies, newborn through crawling. Drop-ins are welcome. Mondays, March 5 to April 23. Place: 6 River Terrace in Battery Park City. Times: Session 1:  1 p.m. to 2:15 p.m.; Session 2: 2:30 p.m. to 3:45 p.m. Fee: 8 sessions, $120 or $20 drop-in. To register, email

Manhattan Youth raising funds for Puerto Rico: Manhattan Youth, whose Downtown Community Center is at 120 Warren St., was devastated by Hurricane Sandy in 2012 and by the destruction of the World Trade Center on Sept. 11, 2001. Remembering how helpful donors and volunteers were after those events, Manhattan Youth is now raising funds to help young people in Puerto Rico. The Manhattan Youth Tritons swim team has already raised more than $17,000 but wants to raise an additional $10,000 to assist two community organizations: the Club de Natación de Caguas and the Asociación Comunitaria LLanos Tuna. The community swim club in Caguas, Puerto Rico provides swim lessons to local children, much like the aquatics program at Manhattan Youth. Funding from Manhattan Youth will help complete necessary repairs for their pool and equipment so that children can continue to swim and participate in other programming. Asociación Comunitaria LLanos Tuna is a community center in Cabo Rojo, a remote section of the island that was destroyed by hurricane Maria. Manhattan Youth is helping the people rebuild this vital center of their community life and making sure the new community center remains viable during future storms and power outages. For information on how to donate, click here.

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.

Saturdays in March: The Fraunces Tavern Museum is offering a "Women of the Revolutionary War Tour" that explores the stories of women who played a pivotal role in the American Revolution, from patriotic women fighting for independence, to loyalist women who fought to suppress the rebellion; and African American and Native American women whose future and security were caught in the cross fire. As war played out in the streets of their towns and sometimes on their very doorsteps, the Patriots could not have defeated the British without the participation of women. Learn about women such as Agent 355 of the Culper Spy Ring, express rider Sybil Ludington, and Deborah Sampson, who, disguised as a man, fought bravely for the Continental Army. Place: Fraunces Tavern Museum, 54 Pearl St.; Dates: Saturdays March 24 and 31 and Sunday March 18. Time: 3 p.m. Free with museum admission. For more information, 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 last workshop date is 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.

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 
The New Market Building on South Street as it looked on March 12, 2018, with its canopy being demolished by the Economic Development Corporation. (Photos: Joanne Gorman)
To the editor: New Market Building update

On March 12, Downtown Post NYC received an email from South Street Seaport resident Joanne Gorman, who is a member of a group called Friends of South Street Seaport that has been working to preserve the architecture and history of the area. On her morning walk, Gorman saw workmen dismantling the canopy of the New Market Building, which opened in 1939 as the last building to be erected specifically for the Fulton Fish Market.

Although the New Market Building adjoins the South Street Seaport Historic District, it is just outside of it. For years, Community Board 1 and Seaport activists had tried to get the Landmarks Preservation Commission to landmark the New Market Building, but the request was consistently ignored or denied.

New York City's Economic Development Corporation has jurisdiction over the South Street Seaport. After the Fulton Fish Market decamped to Hunter's Point in the Bronx in November 2005, the New Market Building stood empty and was not adequately maintained by EDC. The pier beneath the building began to rot and the building itself began to crumble.

On Jan. 3, 2018, someone from EDC called CB1 to announce that it was going to tear down the New Market Building. This was the first that anyone from Community Board 1 had heard about this plan for which there were no engineering studies, no time frame, no consideration of other options and no indication whether needed City, State and federal approvals had been applied for and received. Nor was there any indication of what EDC's plans would be for the site.  

Against this background, Gorman's email of March 12 included a copy of a letter - not addressed to Downtown Post NYC - but to Borough of Manhattan President Gale Brewer and City Councilmember Margaret Chin. "FYI," Gorman wrote to Downtown Post NYC.

Gorman's letter to the elected officials stated, in part, that "Allowing EDC to proceed with the demolition of the New Market Building by demolition by a thousand cuts completely skirts required public review to determine the future fate of this valuable asset. Where is the public voice in all this?  Will it be like Rivington House, heard only when it is too late? Your input and help in seeing that public rights and interests are truly taken into account in decisions regarding the New Market site - what many of us consider a valuable contribution to the history of the Seaport - is sought."

So far, Gorman has not received an an answer to her letter, but then, answers to letters like this are not usually forthcoming. In fact, Brewer and Chin are, themselves, still waiting for an answer to a letter that they wrote on Feb. 13, 2018 to EDC president James Patchett, in which 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.

Patchett never answered the Brewer/Chin letter nor did anyone else from the Economic Development Corporation, at least not in writing. Perhaps it could accurately be said that the demolition that EDC has begun on the New Market Building constitutes an answer.

On March 14, Gorman sent out another email with photos attached "of today's latest New Market carve out."

Her comments reflected anger and a broken heart. "How many were taken in, or just didn't care, when EDC used the subterfuge of needing space for cranes to take down the Tin Building to allow EDC to turn those very cranes on the New Market Building?" she asked. "And what of the southern wall of the New Market Building - won't EDC soon let us all know that it, like the New Market canopy, is in the way, and needs its next pass -  before the public is given any real say?"

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

The New Market Building as it looked on March 14, 2018, stripped of its canopy.

calendar CALENDAR: March 2018  
Spotlight: Kurt Weill's 'Zaubernacht'

In "Zaubernacht" at the Museum of Jewish Heritage, the Toy Fairy danced and sung by Hai-Ting Chinn, brings nursery toys to life. (Photos: Terese Loeb Kreuzer)

March 18: An enchanting work for nine instruments and a troupe of dancers by Kurt Weill is on stage this weekend at the Museum of Jewish Heritage in Battery Park City. It's aptly called "Zaubernacht" ("Magic Night"). Weill was 22 years old in 1922 when "Zaubernacht" was first performed in Berlin. It's about the fears and triumphs of a little girl who dreams that her toys have come to life.

This weekend's production is being performed by the Knickerbocker Chamber Orchestra under Gary Fagin's direction, with choreography by Jody Oberfelder. Part of the enchantment come from the dazzling costumes and projected images behind the dancers, but "Zaubernacht" is not just pretty, nor is it cute. Oberfelder's choreography gives us a gripping and psychologically accurate rendition of a little girl's relationship with powerful adults, her sexual fears, her imaginary playmates and the dark forces that surround her in ways that she can sense but not understand.

Kurt Weill and Sigmund Freud were distant cousins, but whether or not Weill knew that, he would certainly have been familiar with Freud's ideas. In "Zaubernacht" they are brought to life in a way that is difficult to forget.

Place: 36 Battery Place. Time: March 18, 2 p.m. Tickets: $15; $12 (MOJH members); $5 (children 12 and under); $20 (families of four - discount applied at checkout). For more information and to buy tickets, click here.

A little girl, danced by Lyla Forest Butler, encounters her nursery toys brought to life in a production of Kurt Weill's "Zaubernacht" at the Museum of Jewish Heritage.  

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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