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

"Our programs are about contributing and adding value to the community. They're not about generating revenue."
      -  Benjamin "BJ" Jones, president of the Battery Park City Authority, explaining why the BPCA has eliminated fees for some of its programming and reduced rates for others.

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MASTHEAD PHOTO: Legacy Women performing Puerto Rican roots music at "Celebrating the Caribbean," a family workshop produced by Battery Park City Parks. March 3, 2018 (Photo: Terese Loeb Kreuzer) 

Terese Loeb Kreuzer, editor
As Abigail Adams so famously wrote to her husband, John, in a letter dated March 31, 1776, "Remember the ladies!" She wanted him and the other members of the Continental Congress assembled in Philadelphia to keep women in mind as they argued if, when and how to separate from Great Britain.

 "I long to hear that you have declared an independency," Abigail wrote. "And, by the way, in the new code of laws which I suppose it will be necessary for you to make, I desire you would remember the ladies and be more generous and favorable to them than your ancestors. Do not put such unlimited power into the hands of the husbands. Remember, all men would be tyrants if they could. If particular care and attention is not paid to the ladies, we are determined to foment a rebellion, and will not hold ourselves bound by any laws in which we have no voice or representation."

That was throwing down the gauntlet. Although John Adams respected and often heeded his formidable wife, as it turned out, women would not gain the right to vote in federal elections until the 19th amendment to the Constitution passed on Aug. 18, 1920. That was an important step forward, but in the intervening century, women have not yet achieved parity in pay with men, and women's health needs are under constant assault.

Since March has been declared to be "Women's History Month," there are a number of events in Lower Manhattan recalling and celebrating the achievements of women. Check out the calendar in this issue of Downtown Post NYC for a listing of some of them.

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Terese Loeb Kreuzer

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Benjamin "B.J." Jones, the newly appointed president and chief operating officer of the Battery Park City Authority.  (Photo: Terese Loeb Kreuzer)

Benjamin "BJ" Jones was in a café in Tribeca recently when he was introduced to a woman who told him that she was a former resident of Battery Park City. After a question or two, it came out that Jones worked for the Battery Park City Authority. "And what do you do there?" the woman asked. "I'm the president," Jones said diffidently.

A longer conversation with Jones that morning revealed that that interchange said a lot about who he is - an idealist, a man dedicated to public service, approachable and wanting to do the best he can for the Battery Park City Authority and for the Battery Park City community. Although he still seems somewhat surprised to find himself the president of the Battery Park City Authority, he said that he is "delighted."

Jones came to the BPCA in 2014 and worked initially in administration. After a short while, his responsibilities expanded to include Battery Park City Parks programming. That remains a love, along with the BPC's 33 acres of parks and gardens.

"I think that maintaining the public parks is part of the Authority's core mission in sustaining the community," he said, when questioned about whether the BPCA budget would allow the parks to continue to flourish without commercialization and with the staff needed to maintain them properly. "The parks are beautiful but they're not just window dressing."

He added that he was interested in expanding free and affordable programming in BPC's parks. "Since I've had responsibility for the programming, we've invested more in the programming budget," he said. "We've also built out more community partnerships with Poets House and with the BPC Seniors and the Museum of Jewish Heritage. I really want to do more of that."

He also said that he was pleased with having eliminated or cut registration fees for a lot of the BPCA's programs and for the Community Center at Stuyvesant High School.

"Our programs are about contributing and adding value to the community. They're not about generating revenue," he said.

As Jones settles into his new role, he will be dealing with Battery Park City's resiliency and with what can and should be done to protect BPC from climate change and sea level rise. He said that designs are in the works to protect Wagner Park at the southern end of Battery Park City and the ball fields that lie between Murray and Warren Streets, which were gutted by Superstorm Sandy.

The resiliency issue is "considered a high priority by the Board and by the governor and by the broader downtown community," he said. "We do have some capital funding available and we'll have to get more. We'll have to go through another bond issuance, for example, to raise more funds for ongoing resiliency improvements. We're looking at the numbers now. Resiliency measures are not inexpensive. [The cost will be] in the millions of dollars. We're figuring that out now. I'm eager to show progress even this year. We have in the pipeline a North End Avenue resiliency RFP that will enable us to launch, I hope this year, design efforts that will help us figure out in conjunction with the City and with our neighbors to the north, how we can stem the tide from water that would flow in from the Hudson like it did during Sandy. I'm hoping that by us playing a leading role that will help to incentivize people to get a move-on with these efforts."

The issues are complex, but fortunately, Jones is a good listener. "It's important to me not only that we listen to our residents' concerns but that our residents feel heard," he said.

He indicated that that principle applied when it came to deciding what to do with Wagner Park and with South End Avenue, plans for both of which provoked a loud community outcry when they were broached around a year ago.

About Wagner Park, he said, "I think the Authority heard [the community's] objections and takes people's concerns seriously. The renderings and the ideas for Wagner Park were not set in stone. It was a process to get community input. We got some critical feedback. I think that's an important part of the process. I think as we continue on to the next stage of the design process, paying attention to comments that we've already received but also incorporating further input is going to be important."

As for South End Avenue, where a redesign was proposed that changed traffic patterns and entailed possibly filling in the arcades with expanded commercial space, Jones commented, "The Authority's conversations around South End Avenue were well intended but kind of got lost in translation and understandably got a lot of pushback. People were very concerned about building in the arcades, for example, which was not something that the Authority was set on. It was one of many things that we wanted feedback on, and boy, did we get feedback, but message received, which is why we asked. We're not moving forward on that. We're not interested in filling in the arcades. But many people have also mentioned publicly that pedestrian safety and traffic management on South End remains a concern of the community and of ours and of DOT [the Department of Transportation]. DOT at our behest has moved forward with a couple of enhancements that they thought were critically important - signage and some crosswalks at West Thames - but we have continued to talk to them about the pedestrian safety aspects of our plan based on the feedback we got from the community."

Jones realizes that many Battery Park City residents have more immediate concerns such as whether they will be able to afford to remain in Battery Park City, and he's working on that, too.

"I'm conscious of the rent reset that several buildings have coming up," he said. "Gateway Plaza is the big one where conversations are already under way. There are [condo] buildings that are looking at this, too, and have come to us and we're working with them now to figure out the best path forward. Many of the lease provisions change the calculations for the ground rent from being based on a percentage increase to a market value-based increase, which could have a dramatic effect on the ground rents. These are based on leases that were negotiated and agreed to a long time ago. I think that kind of increase is significant and probably one that people didn't anticipate would happen."

The next Battery Park City Authority open community meeting will be on Monday, March 5. The main topic for the evening will be the Battery Park City Authority's financing structure - "what the numbers look like," said Jones, "and where the money goes. I think it's important to communicate that. I'm hoping that we can find a way to be clearer about that with the public. I hope we're successful in providing meaningful information. I'm also hoping to take a step back and revisit what the Authority is about based on our enabling legislation and our responsibilities to more clearly communicate what we're trying to do and how we're doing it."

Come to 6 River Terrace on Monday, March 5 at 6 p.m. to meet the man in charge. He really would like to meet you and hear what you have to say.

- Terese Loeb Kreuzer

 Bits & Bytes 
Harry Poulakakos, famed restaurateur in Lower Manhattan. One of the restaurants that he founded, Harry's Café & Steak at 1 Hanover Square, has just reopened after an update by Harry's son, Peter. (Photo: Terese Loeb Kreuzer)
"Iconic eatery Harry's reopens after $1M upgrade," New York Post, 3/4/18. "Harry's Cafe and Steak, a Wall Street institution immortalized in classic New York-centric novels, from Tom Wolfe's 'Bonfire of the Vanities' to Bret Easton Ellis' 'American Psycho,' is back," says the New York Post. "Now named simply Harry's, the establishment reopened this month after a $1 million renovation by Peter Poulakakos, son of the founder, Harry. The original steakhouse, Harry's Cafe and Steak, opened in 1972 and closed its doors in February. The update is by the younger Poulakakos and HPH Hospitality - of Dead Rabbit, Blacktail, Le District and Michelin-starred L'Appart." For the complete article, click here.

"Famed chef Andrew Carmellini drafted for Pier 17 restaurant,"
New York Post, 2/26/18. "The Howard Hughes Corporation's South Street Seaport has gobbled up another marquee-name restaurateur for the Seaport District's crown-jewel Pier 17 - super chef Andrew Carmellini," says the New York Post. "NoHo Hospitality Group, where Carmellini is partners with Josh Pickard and Luke Ostrom, just signed a lease for an 11,000-square-foot space to open next year. Word of the deal first popped up in NYSE-traded HHC's fourth-quarter earnings report, which was released after the market closed on Monday. The still-unnamed restaurant will be part of a 'pier village' on the pier's first floor and mezzanine, which previously also signed up Jean-Georges Vongerichten and David Chang." For the complete article, click here.

"Investor wants Amazon to build headquarters in the Hudson," New York Post, 3/1/18. "Could the Hudson River soon be renamed the Amazon? That's the dream of real estate investor Charles J. Urstadt, who's best known as the Battery Park City Authority's first chairman, from 1968 to 1969," says the New York Post. "In an ad in The Post on Friday, Urstadt asks the city and state to sell Jeff Bezos' online retailing giant a 50-acre, underwater site immediately north of Battery Park City for Amazon's 'second headquarters,' or HQ2. Under Urstadt's plan, the Seattle-based e-tail giant would pay a nominal price, like $5 million, for the underwater land stretching 2,000 feet from north to south and extending 1,000 feet into the river. The city owns the eastern half, and the state owns the western half." For the complete article, click here.

"How Val Ackerman, College Basketball Executive, Spends Her Sundays," New York Times, 3/2/18. "March Madness is coming. To prepare, Val Ackerman, the commissioner of the Big East Conference, has been traveling to college basketball games nonstop," says The New York Times. "When Ms. Ackerman, 58, is not involved in the madness, she enjoys walking around TriBeCa, where she lives with her husband, Charlie Rappaport, 67, a retired lawyer, and their cat, Sam." This article describes some of their favorite places to eat, shop and hang out in Tribeca and in nearby neighborhoods. For the complete article, click here.

"Wolters Kluwer is in advanced talks to land at 28 Liberty,", 2/26/18. "Information-services firm Wolters Kluwer is nearing a deal to relocate its offices to Fosun International's 28 Liberty Street, where the company has a lease out for roughly 130,000 square feet," says The Real Deal. "The Netherlands-based multinational firm will be relocating from an address familiar to many in the real estate industry. Not only is 111 Eighth Avenue the headquarters for Google, it's also the home of Wolters Kluwer subsidiary CT Corporation, which serves as the registered agent for an untold number of real estate LLCs." According to The Real Deal, Fosun "is still working to fill thousands of square feet of vacancy at the former One Chase Manhattan Plaza that it bought all-cash in 2013 for $725 million. Since that time, the local arm of the Chinese conglomerate has signed deals like state Attorney General Eric Schneiderman's 345,000-square-foot lease and a 53,000-square-foot lease with travel website" For the complete article, click here.

During the 1930's, Georgia O'Keeffe transitioned from New York to New Mexico, a land she called "the far away" Ghost Ranch, with backyard mountain views of Pedernal, which became her landscape. On March 13, artist Marla Lipkin will lead a talk focusing on  O'Keeffe's life in the Southwest and the paintings that resulted. Place: 6 River Terrace. Time: 1 p.m. Free. For more information, click here.

Downtown bulletin board
New York City's historic Surrogate Courthouse as seen through the columns of the Municipal Building. The City's municipal archives are housed in the Surrogate Courthouse and are now open to the public on Saturday mornings. (Photo: Terese Loeb Kreuzer)
City's archives now open on Saturday mornings: One of the unsung gems in city government, the New York City Municipal Archives and Library (managed by the city's Department of Records and Information Services) is now open on Saturday mornings. The additional hours provide greater access to the historical and contemporary records of New York City. Visit to learn about your family's history; explore historical records, mayoral collections, and government publications; and tour the exhibition of Police Department surveillance materials, "Unlikely Historians." Specialized researchers should email in case archival records must be pulled from offsite storage. Place: 31 Chambers St., in the historic Surrogate's Courthouse. Hours: 9:30 a.m. - 4:30 p.m. (Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, and Friday); 9:30 a.m. - 7 p.m. (Thursday), and 9:30 a.m. - 12:30 pm (Saturdays).

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.

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 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.

calendar CALENDAR: March 2018  
Spotlight: Remembering the Ladies

Molly Pitcher at the Battle of Monmouth, a painting by Dennis Malone Carter. During the American Revolution, "Molly Pitcher" was the name given to Mary Ludwig Hays who brought water to the Continental troops on June 28, 1778 when the temperature exceeded 100 degrees during the Battle of Monmouth. When her husband, William Hays, collapsed either from heat exhaustion or from a wound, Mary Hays took his place at the cannon and continued to load and fire it.  (Courtesy of Fraunces Tavern® Museum, New York City)

Since March has been declared to be "Women's History Month," there are a number of events in Lower Manhattan recalling and celebrating the achievements of women. These are among them:

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 10, 24 and 31 and Sunday March 18. Time: 3 p.m. Free with museum admission. For more information, click here.

March 8: A book talk at the South Street Seaport Museum is entitled "Pirate Women: The Princesses, Prostitutes, and Privateers Who Ruled the Seven Seas." Author Laura Sook Duncombe explores the lives of women that lived as pirates, even including some from the South Street Seaport. Women took to the sea for many reasons: money, adventure, freedom, love, revenge. This first-ever comprehensive survey shares the stories of women, both real and legendary, that history has largely ignored. Most of the popular images of pirates come from a small segment of piratical history that spanned the 1650s to the 1730s in the Caribbean. But pirates have been known around the world, in every century, in every color, age, and creed imaginable. And women pirates have fought alongside men since ancient times, despite the belief in many cultures that women at sea were bad luck. In some cases, the female pirates even commanded the men. Place: Melville Gallery, 213 Water St. Time: Doors open at 6:15 p.m. Tickets: $10; free to museum members. Book sale and reception follows book talk. For more information and tickets, click here.

March 10: At the African Burial Ground National Monument, a movie, "Hidden Figures," tells the story of Katherine Jonson (played by Taraji P. Henson), Dorothy Vaughan (Octavia Spencer) and Mary Jackson (Janelle Monae) - brilliant African-American women working at NASA who were the brains behind the launch into orbit of astronaut John Glenn in the early years of the Space Race. Place: 290 Broadway. Time: 1 p.m. to 3 p.m. Free.

March 11: At the African Burial Ground National Monument, a movie, "Top Secret Rosies: The Female 'Computers' of WWII," takes place in 1942 when computers were human and women were underestimated. A group of female mathematicians helped win the war and usher in the modern computer age. Also, March 17. Place: 290 Broadway. Time: 2 p.m. to 3 p.m. Free.

March 19: At Castle Clinton National Monument in the Battery, meet Mary Pickersgill (portrayed by Kim Hanley of American Historical Theatre). In 1813, Pickersgill made the Star Spangled Banner that flew over Fort McHenry during the War of 1812. Francis Scott Key wrote what became the National Anthem after seeing this flag flying in "the dawn's early light." Place: Castle Clinton, a fort built to help protect New York Harbor from the British during the War of 1812, is on the western side of Battery Park at the southern end of Manhattan. Times: 11 am. to noon; 1 p.m. to 2 p.m. Free. Space is limited, so reservations are required. Call (646) 841-4289 to reserve.

March 20: Celebrate Women's History Month with Borough of Manhattan President Gale Brewer and her staff. Join them in the Municipal Building's Mezzanine for an evening celebrating Manhattan's women authors. Place: 1 Centre St. (North entrance). Time: 6 p.m. -8 p.m. RSVP at


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Editor: Terese Loeb Kreuzer

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