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News and Events
in Lower Manhattan
Volume 5, No. 11   Aug. 3, 2018  

"I think the tide may be turning in favor of all of us who just want a moment near the water."
      -  South Street Seaport resident Joanne Gorman, commenting on Brooklyn Bridge Beach, which she has fought to save and open to the public.

* Calendar: August - Battery Dance Festival

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MASTHEAD PHOTO: A basket woven of black ash and sweetgrass by Ronni-Leigh Goeman of the Onondaga Eel Clan (Iroquois). It is decorated with moose hair and with an antler carved by Stonehorse Goeman, Ronni-Leigh's husband. (©Terese Loeb Kreuzer 2018)  

Terese Loeb Kreuzer, editor
A few days ago, Jake Johnson, manager of the store at the National Museum of the American Indian, 1 Bowling Green, unlocked the glass doors of a large display case at the entrance to the store and carefully rearranged the baskets inside. He was making room for one that had just arrived - a basket made of black ash and sweetgrass trimmed with moose hair dyed a delicate shade of turquoise and surmounted by a carved antler depicting a woman sitting on the back of a bird in flight. Below her, a turtle emerged from what suggested primordial mud.

The basket was the work of Ronni-Leigh Goeman of the Onondaga Eel Clan (Iroquois). Her husband, Stonehorse Goeman, carved the antler. It depicts an Iroquois creation myth about a pregnant woman in the Sky World who fell through a hole and was saved by birds who carried her to the Great Turtle. On his back, she planted roots and greenery that she had brought with her from the Sky World, praying as she worked and creating Earth.

That's just the beginning of the story. There's a lot more about the woman's warring twin sons, one of whom murdered the other, and about the conflict between good and evil, but the Goeman basket doesn't touch on that part of the story.

Goeman is a master basketmaker, but her baskets in the National Museum of the American Indian store may be among her last. An insect called the emerald ash borer is destroying the black ash trees that are essential to Iroquois basketmaking. This destructive insect is an invader, first detected in North America in 2002. Since then, it has spread through most of the range of the black ash, which is native to eastern Canada and the northeastern United States. Within a few years, all of the black ash trees will be dead and the centuries-old traditions of Iroquois basketmaking will be also be dead.

Given global travel, perhaps this was not a preventable loss. But other losses are preventable. There's a small, natural beach on the east side of Lower Manhattan, for instance, described in this issue of Downtown Post NYC. At one time, Manhattan was literally ringed with beaches, some of them rocky, most of them, sandy. This was the Manhattan that the Native Americans who once lived here knew. Because of years of landfill that have pushed the shoreline outward, the little beach that remains is not exactly where the original beach once was, but it's close enough.

As we consider what should happen to our shoreline, we should bear in mind that we are its custodians, not just its developers. The Lenni Lenape once traveled along our waterways in their dugout canoes. This was their home as it is ours. If we allow ourselves to go there, on our simple, little beach, we can be in touch with them and with our island's past.

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Terese Loeb Kreuzer
The emailed Downtown Post NYC newsletter is appearing less frequently than formerly, however, Downtown Post NYC's website ( is updated daily. That's the place to check  for urgent messages, breaking news and reminders of interesting events in and around Lower Manhattan.


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City of Water Day kayaking on Brooklyn Bridge Beach. (Photo: Terese Loeb Kreuzer)

Under the auspices of the Waterfront Alliance, the annual City of Water Day, this year on July 14, offered boat rides, a cardboard kayak race, music and dance, food and tours of various kinds, but probably the single most important event was the opening of Brooklyn Bridge Beach for the day.

Brooklyn Bridge Beach is a naturally formed sandy beach at the western foot of the Brooklyn Bridge. Community residents and elected officials have had their eye on it for years as a place that would allow people to walk on the sand, get their feet wet in the shallows of the East River (which is actually an estuary of Long Island Sound) and launch and beach kayaks.

On Aug. 1, 2013, then Manhattan Borough President Scott Stringer and Christine Quinn, who was then Speaker of New York City Council, announced that City Council was kicking
City Councilmember Margaret Chin speaking at a press conference on Aug. 1, 2013 during which City Council Speaker Christine Quinn and Borough of Manhattan President Scott Stringer announced funding to expand a naturally formed beach under the Brooklyn Bridge that is in Chin's district.  
(Photo: Terese Loeb Kreuzer)
in $3.5 million to add to $3.5 million already allocated by the Borough President's office to transform the beach into an amenity that could be used for fishing, human-powered boating and wading.

Although the beach looked a bit grimy at the time, Stringer and Quinn were starry-eyed about its prospects. "This is going to be an amazing part of Manhattan that people will flock to," Stringer said.

"Brooklyn Bridge Beach will transform what has often been an unused and forgotten stretch of waterfront into a premiere 'stay-cation' as well as a tourist destination," said Quinn.

Stringer and Quinn were vague about when the beach would be ready for public use. "As soon as possible," said Stringer. "This is a long-term project."

That proved to be an understatement. The New York City Economic Development Corporation (EDC), which has jurisdiction over the beach, wasn't interested in a simple public asset. In November 2013, The New York Times reported that EDC and The Howard Hughes Corporation planned to build a marina next to the beach on the north side of Pier 17, where HHC holds a long-term lease.

On Aug. 4, 2014, SHoP Architects, designers of Pier 17, commissioned Ocean and Coastal Consultants to do a feasibility study for Brooklyn Bridge Beach, with EDC as the principal client for this study.

Ocean and Coastal Consultants submitted its report on May 6, 2015. It found that unfortunately, for various reasons, Brooklyn Bridge Beach wouldn't work out in the way that Stringer and Quinn had imagined. In a 19-page report, Ocean and Coastal Consultants concluded that a simple, little beach wouldn't be safe. They proposed "amphitheatre-style steps from the esplanade to the beach" and shallow wading pools, utilizing filtered river water. "To ensure the active management and supervision of the site, the project proposes an urban beach concession, a lido, under the FDR viaduct adjacent to the pools. This affordable amenity for the public would include restrooms, showers, changing areas, lockers, facilities to rent towels and a place to buy snacks."

On the basis of this study, EDC decided there should be no toes-in-the-water public access to the beach. In a letter to Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer and City Councilmember Margaret Chin dated Dec. 15, 2016, Seth Myers, EDC's Executive Vice President and Director of Project Implementation explained. "The results of the study concluded that the beach concept is not recommended due to safety concerns, regulatory issues, and limitations of the current budget under those constraints," he said.

But he didn't close the door on building something on the site and said that he hoped "that the $3.5 million allocated by each of your offices from the Brooklyn Bridge Beach project can be applied in a way that addresses the overarching goal of the [East River] Blueway Plan and the original Beach concept." By that, he probably meant the amphitheatre-style steps and the wading pools with filtered river water.

It was this background that made what happened on City of Water Day seem almost miraculous. There were kayakers in the water and people loitering on the beach. A woman with a little girl held the child's hand while they both put their feet in the water. Gulls swooped down to see what was happening.

"I participated in the early morning cleanup of the beach with fellow volunteers," South Street Seaport resident Joanne Gorman wrote in an email, "filling many large bags with plastic bottles, foam and other debris and thoroughly enjoyed being in the sand at the water's edge. I think the tide may be turning in favor of all of us who just want a moment near the water."

"Consistent and permanent access to the water at Brooklyn Bridge Beach would be a resource for the entire borough and the city," said Paul Leonard, City Councilmember Margaret Chin's chief of staff. "Margaret Chin is grateful to the Waterfront Alliance for getting the beach open on City of Water Day, but this is just the beginning." He said there would soon be a meeting between Margaret Chin's office, Gale Brewer's office and EDC to reiterate that the beach is a priority. "Councilmember Chin's expectation is that it's going to get done," said Leonard.

"I was delighted to see the Brooklyn Bridge Beach opened to kayakers for the event on July 14 and I want to see the beach open for the kayaking season permanently," said Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer. "There are many issues involved, but I remain committed to the project."

A spokesperson for EDC confirmed that a meeting between Brewer, Chin and EDC will take place in the near future. "We are open to seeing future activations of the beach as long as those activations can demonstrate that all possible measures have been taken to keep people safe," the spokesperson said.

- Terese Loeb Kreuzer

City of Water Day kayaking on Brooklyn Bridge Beach. (Photo: Joanne Gorman)


The stage on the roof of Pier 17, with the Brooklyn Bridge as a backdrop.
(Photo: © Terese Loeb Kreuzer)

The weather cooperated on July 28 when The Howard Hughes Corporation unveiled the roof of Pier 17 in the South Street Seaport, previously advertised as "a world-class destination for events, concerts and promotions." It wasn't too hot, it didn't rain and a picturesque cumulus cloud hovered over the Brooklyn Bridge.

The one-and-a-half acre rooftop easily accommodated a large crowd and several food trucks for a free concert featuring Jon Batiste and the Dap Kings. The Brooklyn Bridge served as a backdrop for a stage framed in LED lights and flanked by two giant screens. The Empire State Building was visible to the north and west, along with the gold pyramid atop the Thurgood Marshall Courthouse. To the south, the Statue of Liberty presided over the harbor.

The moon rising over Brooklyn and the East River as seen from the roof of Pier 17. (Photo: © Terese Loeb Kreuzer)  

Jon Batiste, whose regular gig is on "The Late Show with Stephen Colbert," where he leads the house band, is a virtuoso musician who can perform pop, jazz, classical or anything he wants. He comes from a family of musicians in New Orleans and also holds a master's degree from the Juilliard School in New York.

For his Pier 17 debut, he movingly reached back to some Ray Charles favorites from the early 1960's and to Billy Taylor's "I Wish I Knew How it Would Feel to Be Free" and Sam Cooke's "A Change is Gonna Come" from 1967. At one point, when the TV camera recording the event cut to the U.S. flag fluttering over the Brooklyn Bridge, he launched into a jazzy rendition of The Star Spangled Banner. He also played part of the opening movement of Beethoven's "Moonlight Sonata" as the camera cut to a dramatic, almost full moon rising over the East River. But mostly Batiste and the Dap Kings delivered high-energy pop and jazz that had the audience eagerly asking for more.

Opening remarks from Saul Scherl and Gale Brewer.  
(Photo: © Terese Loeb Kreuzer)
The musical part of the evening was preceded by some short, celebratory remarks from Saul Scherl, executive vice president of The Howard Hughes Corporation, which has a long-term lease on Pier 17 and has been responsible for the architecture of the pier, for its tenancy and for programming the concerts on the roof. Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer also made a brief speech in which she praised the opening night concert for being free and said that she hoped that there would be many free concerts and events on the roof. She also said that she hoped that concert-goers would visit the South Street Seaport Museum and its collection of ships, which are moored right outside the pier.

The next concert in the series on the Pier 17 rooftop is tonight, Aug. 3, with Kings of Leon. The series continues through Sept. 28. Although the Jon Batiste concert was free, upcoming concerts are ticketed. Tickets for tonight's Kings of Leon concert started at $162. Next up, Trevor Noah on Aug. 12, is almost sold out. On Aug. 19, the Summer Ever After will perform with general admission tickets costing $45.

For more information and to purchase tickets, click here.

- Terese Loeb Kreuzer

Jon Batiste and the Dap Kings. (Photo: © Jane Kratochvil)

 Bits & Bytes 
The River Project at Pier 40 announced that an oyster almost nine inches long was found in late July by divers rebuilding Pier 40 in Hudson River Park. The oyster is the largest recorded in New York Harbor in modern times and is estimated to be 14 years old. "The oyster, named Glorious Big, is alive and well," The River Project said in a statement, "and we will keep her (probably a she, as they are protandrous hermaphrodites) in the river in a cage." New York Harbor was once world-famous for its oysters. Even Henry Hudson was impressed. When he sailed into the harbor in 1609 and up the river that is now named for him, he described the oysters as being "as big as dinner plates."
(Photo: Courtesy of The River Project)

"City mulls massive new jail in lower Manhattan as part of plan to close Rikers Island,"
Daily News, 8/2/18. "A towering new jail may soon be part of the lower Manhattan landscape," according to the Daily News. "The de Blasio administration is eyeing 80 Centre St. - now home to the city's marriage bureau - as the perfect location for a high-rise detention center as part of a sweeping plan to close Rikers Island. The plan was unveiled by mayoral aides at a hush-hush meeting with community leaders Thursday.
The block-long building adjacent to Foley Square would be totally gutted, sources said. The historic nine-story art-deco structure would serve as a base for a much bigger building that could reach 40 stories, according to sources." For the complete article, click here.  
"Room With Quite a View: Danny Meyer's Manhatta," New York Times, 7/17/18. "Simply entering the building to dine at Manhatta, the new downtown restaurant from Danny Meyer and his Union Square Hospitality Group (in partnership with Fosun International, a Chinese company), suggests that this will be no ordinary experience," says The New York Times. "Manhatta has its own street entrance and a plush lobby leading to dedicated elevators. Up you go to the 60th floor, the entirety of which is given over to the restaurant and the Bay Room, a spacious private event space (Mr. Meyer's first) that abuts it. It's worth going at least for a drink at the commanding 40-foot black walnut bar, which, like the restaurant, has sweeping views of the city and New Jersey." For the complete article, click here.

"Tribeca's celebrity-magnet 443 Greenwich offers $60K/month penthouse rental,", 7/18/18. "Tribeca's celebrity-magnet condo, 443 Greenwich Street, has just unveiled a sprawling, three-level penthouse rental that's currently on the market for $60,000/month," says "The apartment measures 5,000 square feet and comes with four bedrooms, and four full bathrooms. In addition, there's 1,000 square feet of outdoor space on the top floor of the triplex. Through a private elevator entrance, the apartment opens on to the lowest level of the condo, which features the unit's living and dining rooms, and the kitchen. The living room features a double height ceiling, seven south-facing windows, a marble-encased fireplace, and reclaimed wood beams." For the complete article, click here.

"Financial District will sprout a 35-story residential tower on Broadway,", 7/30/18. "A 35-story tower is set to rise on Broadway between John Street and Maiden Lane, in the Financial District," says "YIMBY was the first to report on the development, the latest residential project now proposed for the Financial District following the Moinian Group's plans to bring a 37-story residential building to 3 Platt Street, announced in March. The new building at 185 Broadway is still in the pre-filing stage, according to plans submitted with the city's Department of Buildings. If approved, the project will bring 279 apartments to the neighborhood. The units here will average about 600 square feet, which indicates that the building will have rentals." For the complete article, click here.

"Construction Wraps On 30-Story Moxy Hotel At 143 Fulton Street In Lower Manhattan," New York YIMBY,8/1/18. "Located at 143 Fulton Street in the Financial District, the new 364-foot-tall and 298-room Moxy Hotel is almost complete, with the final exterior finishes underway at the base of the tower," says New York YIMBY. "Two entrances to the building are located on Fulton Street and Ann Street, and up above, the project features a dark glass facade atop a four-story podium." For the complete article, click here.

Downtown bulletin board
On June 22 at Foley Square, House Judiciary Ranking Member Jerrold Nadler (D-NY), Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer and Congresswoman Nydia Velázquez (D-NY) joined immigration advocates and attorneys for minors who were separated from their families as a direct result of the Trump administration's "zero tolerance" immigration to discuss the administration's failure to reunite children with their parents and to demand that it happen. Congressman Nadler, who represents Lower Manhattan, will be at the Battery Park City branch of the New York Public Library on Thursday, Aug. 9 to talk with constituents about any issues of concern and about how his office can help.
Place: 175 North End Ave. Time: 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. 

Open House New York seeks English conversation volunteers: Open House New York announces a new collaboration with the International Center that will use the history, architecture and culture of New York City to help immigrants and other new New Yorkers build their English language skills and knowledge about the city. This 8-week program, culminating in Open House New York Weekend on October 13-14, will match an OHNY volunteer with an English learner to practice conversation once a week, on themes and topics related to the physical city. Volunteers will receive training, a curriculum and handouts covering different themes about architecture and the city, and ongoing support.
 OHNY volunteers must apply to participate in this initiative and we expect it to be highly competitive. Application deadline Friday, August 10. Selected volunteers will be notified by email by August 14. For more information, click here
Culture Pass: Culture Pass is a new service for holders of a New York Public Library card that enables free admission to dozens of museums and cultural institutions around the city. Participating institutions include the Brooklyn Children's Museum, the Frick Collection, the Museum of Jewish Heritage - A Living Memorial to the Holocaust, the Museum of the City of New York, Wave Hill, the Whitney Museum of American Art and many more. You must be at least 13 years old to reserve a pass. To get a Culture Pass, go to and follow the prompts. You can obtain passes for dates up to three months in advance and can have two pending reservations at any time. Each pass is good for two to four people.  
Community Paddle: Community Board 1 has organized a "community paddle" hosted by the Downtown Boathouse on Pier 26 in Hudson River Park. The Boathouse is supplying all equipment for the event on Aug. 17 between 6 p.m. and 8 p.m. (boats, life jackets, lockers, locks and sunscreen). No kayaking experience is necessary but all participants must be able to swim. Anyone under the age of 18 must be accompanied by a parent or legal guardian. To register, click here.

Most of the Downtown Post NYC bulletin board listings are now on the Downtown Post NYC website. To see the bulletin board listings, click here.

letterLetter to the editor
 A crowd beginning to assemble on the roof of Pier 17 for the Kings of Leon concert on
Aug. 2, 2018. (Photo: Lollo Bene)
To the editor:
The Howard Hughes Corporation promised us that the sound system on the roof of Pier 17 would keep concerts from disturbing neighborhood residents but I definitely heard last night's Kings of Leon concert in my apartment and from my balcony. Then I went down to South Street to walk some friends to the Pier 11 ferry. On South Street I could hear the band. Because of the dueling sounds, it became unpleasant as we walked past Industry Kitchen. Out of curiosity, on the way back I walked onto Pier 15 and experienced pretty much the same thing - the music from Watermark competing with the music from Pier 17 and the music from the Hornblower boats. It really was a three-ring sound circus. Then just for fun, I went over to the River deck on the north side of Pier 17 and again experienced an audio assault. Music from the bar was playing and there seemed to be two different sound tracks playing from speakers facing northeast toward the Brooklyn Bridge and another from the speakers facing the East River, both competing with the music from the rooftop. An audio nightmare, indeed!  
Lollo Bene
Southbridge resident   
From the editor:
We welcome letters to the editor. Email them to We reserve the right to edit them for clarity and length.

calendar CALENDAR: August 2018  
Spotlight: Battery Dance

The Mophato Dance Theatre of Botswana, which electrified the Battery Dance Festival last year, returns this year on Aug. 17 to Wagner Park in Battery Park City and on Aug. 18 to the Schimmel Center at Pace University. (Photo: © Terese Loeb Kreuzer)
Aug. 11-Aug. 18: Against the background of the Hudson River, Ellis Island and the Statue of Liberty, the 37th Annual Battery Dance Festival will be back from Aug. 12 to 17, 7 p.m. to 9 p.m., with free dance performances in Battery Park City's Robert F. Wagner Jr. Park. A closing event and reception will take place on Aug. 18, from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. at The Schimmel Center at Pace University.  
This year's featured artists include the best of New York City as well as dancers from Botswana, Canada, Gabon, Kazakhstan, Macedonia, Spain, and a collection of India's greatest Kathak dancers.   
In addition to the live performances, there will be a screening of the film "Moving Stories" held in Wagner Park on Saturday, Aug. 11 at 8 p.m. "Moving Stories," which recently premiered at the Museum of Modern Art Doc Fortnight Festival, follows Battery Dance's dancers as they travel to India, Romania, Korea, and Iraq working with at-risk youth through the Dancing to Connect program. With just one week to teach the tools of choreography and collaboration to the youth in preparation for a final performance, the film captures the struggle, frustration, determination, and transformation of both students and teachers.
Established by Battery Dance in 1982 the Battery Dance Festival (BDF) is New York City's longest-running free public dance festival. Audiences are traditionally drawn from the large downtown working population and residents, families, tourists, senior citizens and dance fans from the greater NYC metropolitan area. Each year, the Festival attracts a combined audience of over 12,000 people.
Tickets for the Aug. 18 performance at the Schimmel Center are now on sale. VIP tickets that include a reception, cost $65. Other tickets are free. For more information and to buy tickets, click here.
For day-by-day information on the programming, click here.   
Aug. 22 and Aug. 23: Battery Dance presents a dance theatre musical, PULA! Botswana on Broadway, sponsored by the Botswana Tourism Organisation, on Wednesday, Aug. 22 at  3 p.m. and 8 p.m. and Thursday, Aug. 23 at 8 p.m. Place: The PlayStation Theater, 1515 Broadway. Tickets start at $40 and are available at
Pula, or rain, is highly cherished in Botswana, a semi-arid country in Africa. This fictional play - anchored on the practical and mystical relationship that Batswana have with rain - traces how rain brings humans, plants and animals under one Botswana sky. 
For the complete calendar of Battery Park City events between May and August, 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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