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News and Events
in Lower Manhattan
Volume 5, No. 15   Sept. 27, 2018  

"This Federation Park and this structure are dedicated to the successful efforts of the New Jersey State Federation of Women's Clubs and the men and women who aided in the opening years of the 20th century in preserving these palisades cliffs from destruction for the glory of God who created them and the ennobling of the generations which may henceforth enjoy them."
      -  From a plaque on a watchtower erected in 1929 in Palisades Interstate Park to honor the women who saved the Palisades from being destroyed by quarrying companies

* Calendar: October - Open House New York Weekend

WEATHER INFORMATION: For current weather information, click here.
Go to for breaking news and for updated  Downtown Post NYC bulletin board and calendar information.

MASTHEAD PHOTO: The retired fireboat John J. Harvey going up the Hudson River near Stony Point, New York. Sept. 6, 2018 (©Terese Loeb Kreuzer 2018)  

Terese Loeb Kreuzer, editor
For almost 30 years, I've lived next to the Hudson River or within a block of it in Lower Manhattan. I know the delta of the Hudson River pretty well - as well as one could know any river without living on it - and I'd been up the Hudson a few times as far as West Point and even a little beyond. But I'd never traveled the length of the Hudson - all 315 miles of it. I'd never seen the river towns of the middle and upper Hudson or talked with some of the people who live there. So when the retired fireboat John J. Harvey was anointed the "Tugboat of the Year" by the annual Tugboat Roundup in Waterford, New York (the JJH is a fireboat, not a tugboat, but never mind) and I had an opportunity to travel with the John J. Harvey from Manhattan to Waterford and back again, with a stop along the way in Kingston, I enthusiastically said 'yes!'

Waterford, by the way, is a town at the junction of the Erie Canal and the Hudson River. In fact, it's the southern terminus of the Erie Canal and also of the Champlain Canal, which goes north to Canada. The village of Waterford (population, 2,204) was incorporated in 1794 making it the oldest incorporated village in the United States. Obviously, this little village was very important economically and strategically at one time although it's less than one-half square mile in size (around half the size of Lower Manhattan, to put that in perspective). It has a historic district that dates from 1799 and is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

In the next few issues of Downtown Post NYC, I will be writing about my trip up the Hudson River and back and some of what I saw and thought about along the way, and since then. - Terese Loeb Kreuzer

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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. When heavy rain and thunderstorms caused cancellations for scheduled performances at the Battery Dance Festival this past week, this information was immediately posted on the Downtown Post NYC website along with news of other canceled events in Lower Manhattan. So be sure to look at the website every day, especially if you want to know about breaking news.


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The retired fireboat, John J. Harvey, leaving Manhattan at dawn on Sept. 6, 2018 at the start of a trip up the Hudson River to Waterford, N.Y. and back. (Photos: © Terese Loeb Kreuzer)

It was still dark around 5:30 a.m. on Thursday, Sept. 6, when I crossed West Street at 26th Street headed for Pier 66 on the Hudson River where the retired fireboat, John J. Harvey, was docked. Slowly, I made my way down the long pier, dragging my suitcase behind me, packed with clothes, food and other supplies for a six-day trip up the Hudson River to Waterford, N.Y. and back.  
The John J. Harvey's crew was busy preparing the boat to cast off. Her departure was scheduled for 6 a.m. and Capt. Huntley Gill was known to be punctual. In addition to the crew, most of them volunteers, there were already some passengers on board, seated on plastic chairs in the JJH's bow where they could look out over the river. The lights of Manhattan and Weehawken glimmered in the mist, with one of JJH's water-shooting cannon silhouetted against them. Although the sun was not yet up, the morning was warm and intensely humid. The air was dense and still. 
At 6 a.m., the crew loosened the JJH from her moorings, Capt. Gill sounded the boat's horn and we slowly pulled away from the dock into the river. The sky had grown perceptibly lighter as we turned right and headed north. On one side were the familiar landmarks of lower and midtown Manhattan. On our left, apartment buildings clung to the river bank at the foot of forested bluffs, with the lights of houses and a few apartment towers crowning the cliffs.    
The river stretched in front of us. As we sped north past Riverside Church and Grant's Tomb, I could see the George Washington Bridge in the distance, spanning the river between Washington Heights in Manhattan and Fort Lee, New Jersey. The bridge was the portal to our journey.
Both the George Washington Bridge and the John J. Harvey are 87 years old. When the JJH was launched in 1931 for the Fire Department of New York, she was the first fireboat to be powered by internal combustion engines. She was the largest, fastest fire-fighting machine of her time, capable of pumping 18,000 gallons of water a minute. She proved her capabilities when she was launched by shooting streams of water over the George Washington Bridge's roadway.  
The John J. Harvey served the FDNY with distinction until 1994, when she was retired. In 1999, a group of admirers bought her at auction and within six months had her in good enough operating condition to take on passengers as a preserved historic vessel.
We, on that September morning, were the beneficiaries of the people who had a vision for her and loved her and still love her and care for her despite her numerous idiosyncrasies and demands.   
At that early hour, we were alone on the river. On the far side of the George Washington Bridge, rocky hills opened up before us on both sides, like curtains parting on a stage. The rising sun tinted the eastern horizon with orange and then tried to shine through layers of clouds, creating long, dramatic fingers of celestial benediction. Gulls flew above us, looking for breakfast.    
 Sunrise on the Hudson River. Sept. 6, 2018 
In front of us, two small lights shone through the mist. As we got closer, we could see that they belonged to a tugboat pushing a tank barge down the river. For centuries, the Hudson River has served as a highway for commerce and industry. Bricks, cement, trap rock and ice, among other things, were shipped to New York City whose expanding population had an insatiable need for these materials while fuel and other goods were sent northward to the state capital in Albany and to the smaller cities along the way.
On our left, one of the great natural sights of the United States unspooled before us, mile after mile. The visible Palisades stretch for around 20 miles from Jersey City, N.J. to Nyack, N.Y. but are actually much longer than that. Vestiges of them go north to Haverstraw, N.Y. before what's called the Palisades sill turns inland. In the south, they duck under New York Harbor, and remnants of them emerge on Staten Island.  
They are around 200 million years old, formed by molten basalt that pushed its way through sandstone toward the surface of the Earth and then solidified. As the softer sandstone eroded, the pillars of hardened basalt were revealed. The Lenape, who lived in this area, gave them a name that meant "rocks that look like trees." Giovanni da Verrazano, one of the first Europeans known to have entered what is now New York harbor, marveled at them when he showed up in 1524. After he described them to mapmaker Gerardus Mercator as resembling a "fence of stakes," Mercator dutifully included them in the first known European map of the New World.   
The Palisades, on the western bank of the Hudson River, are around 200 million years old.  
Subsequently, as the Hudson River industrialized, many people stopped looking at the Palisades with delight and awe and saw them as an opportunity to make some money. The cliffs were blown up to build roads and docks, for paving stones and to produce concrete. Some of them were dynamited so vigorously that the basalt formations were completely destroyed.
The antiquity of the Palisades is probably well known. What may not be as well known is that a group of women saved them. The New Jersey State Federation of Women's Clubs, founded in 1894, lobbied the New Jersey and New York State governments to preserve the Palisades. The quarry owners responded by blowing them up at an even faster rate. In March 1898 alone, they eradicated Washington Head and Indian Head in Fort Lee with more than three tons of dynamite. Millions of years of history were reduced to rubble.
The women must have been disheartened but they didn't give up. Their work led to the creation of the Palisades Interstate Park Commission. Of necessity, it was headed by a man. Working with New Jersey governor Foster M. Voorhees, in 1900, New York Governor Theodore Roosevelt appointed George W. Perkins to serve as chairman of the commission. He was initially authorized to acquire land between Fort Lee and Piermont, N.Y. Ultimately, the Palisades Interstate Park grew into a 12-mile-long stretch along the river.
In 1983, the Palisades were designated a National Natural Landmark. 
The women remained anonymous but were not forgotten. A stone watchtower was erected atop the Palisades in 1929 to honor their work. A plaque on it reads, "This Federation Park and this structure are dedicated to the successful efforts of the New Jersey State Federation of Women's Clubs and the men and women who aided in the opening years of the 20th century in preserving these palisades cliffs from destruction for the glory of God who created them and the ennobling of the generations which may henceforth enjoy them."
As the John J. Harvey traveled up the river, I felt fortunate to be among those generations privileged to see the grandeur of the Palisades. I thought about the historic places of which we, in our time, are custodians and what we need to do to preserve them.   
The day had just begun. We had a trip of 140 miles ahead of us before we would reach Albany shortly after 5 p.m. It would prove to be a day of sunlight, thunder storms, Revolutionary War and 19th-century history, and majestic beauty.  
- Terese Loeb Kreuzer 
This is the first installment of what will be a multi-part series about the John J. Harvey and her trip up and down the Hudson River between Sept. 6 and Sept. 11, 2018. For comments or questions, email
Near Yonkers, N.Y., a tugboat pushing a tanker barge became visible  
through the morning mist. 

 Bits & Bytes 
On May 22, 2018, Chef Isao Yamada of Brushstroke, a restaurant in Tribeca, dished out Washu beef to be served with kale and rice at Dine Around Downtown, sponsored by the Downtown Alliance. On Sept. 24, the owner of Brushstroke announced that the restaurant will close because of a rent hike. (Photo: © Terese Loeb Kreuzer 2018)
"Rent Hike Forces David Bouley To Close Acclaimed Kaiseki Restaurant Brushstroke,", 9/24/18. reports that, "Chef-owner David Bouley's Japanese restaurant Brushstroke, which has garnered positive reviews for its kaiseki menu over the past seven years, will close this weekend due to a rent hike, according to its chef Isao Yamada.  The Tribeca restaurant opened in 2011 at 30 Hudson St., between Reade and Duane Streets, featuring a tasting menu and a full selection of sushi - a project born from a partnership with the Tsuji Culinary Institute. That partnership ended in late spring of this year, Yamada tells Eater via email. Brushstroke will serve its last dinner Saturday, September 29, according to a farewell message posted on its website. For the complete article, click here.

"Benny Fong buys Down Town Association digs in sale-leaseback deal,", 9/24/18. "Benny Fong's purchase of a private club is now public," says The Real Deal. "Fong's Great Empire Realty bought the Down Town Association building at 60 Pine Street in Manhattan for $28.3 million, property records filed Monday show. The company will lease the landmarked property back to the club, according to a memorandum filed with the city's Department of Finance." For the complete article, click here.
"Austrian Standby Blaue Gans to Shutter After 13 Years in Tribeca,", 9/21/18. "Thirteen-year-old Austrian pub Blaue Gans will shutter at the end of the month, with chef Kurt Gutenbrunner paring down to focus on his other three restaurants," says "Blaue Gans has been serving Austrian German classics such as schnitzel and sausage to Tribeca for over a decade. Austrian wine was a particular draw here too, as was its decor. The space once housed bistro Le Zinc, and some wall posters were kept from that era, while Gutenbrunner added more so that the walls are covered in them." For the complete article, click here.  
"Howard Hughes' Proposed Temporary Winter Rooftop For Pier 17 Receives LPC Approval," New York YIMBY, 9/19/18. On Sept. 18,"plans to install a temporary winter village on top of the recently built Pier 17 in FiDi went before the LPC, and were approved," says New York YIMBY. "The addition will bring an ice rink, warming hut, deck, and market space during the cold season. Howard Hughes is responsible for the $785 million development of the new shopping center and public space. David Rockwell of the Rockwell Group is responsible for the design." For the complete article, click here
"One Seaport Officially Tops Out Along The East River In Lower Manhattan," New York YIMBY, 9/18/18. "With a tall and slender profile visible from locations far and wide along the East River, One Seaport, aka 161 Maiden Lane, has finally reached its 670-foot pinnacle above the Financial District," says New York YIMBY. "The glass is also steadily climbing up the eastern and southern facade in between the numerous protruding balconies that offer spectacular views of Brooklyn and the morning light. The 60-story project is designed by Hill West Architects, while being developed by Fortis Property Group, LLC and constructed by Pizzarotti LLC. Interiors are designed by Groves & Co. The project was unexpectedly met with a series of construction delays and an unfortunate accident after work rose above street level. Now, it looks like work has finally reached the uppermost floors, with concrete for the parapet clearly visible." For the complete article, click here.

Downtown bulletin board
Duane Park in Tribeca was a favorite haunt of the late Oliver Allen. There will be a memorial gathering for him there on Sept. 27. (Photo: © Terese Loeb Kreuzer) 

Memorial celebration for Oliver Allen: In honor of Oliver Allen, Tribeca resident and historian of the neighborhood who died in April 2017, there will be a memorial gathering on Sept. 27 at 6 p.m. in Duane Park (Hudson Street at Duane Street). After an introduction by Lynn Ellsworth, speakers will include Carole de Saram, Hal Bromm, Andrew Dolkart, Susan Mareneck, Roger Byrom, and others. A reception will follow at the Hal Bromm Gallery, 90 West Broadway at Chambers Street. In case of rain, the event will be held in the gallery.

Tribeca Trust is raising funds ($3,000) to put in three tree guards, a new tree, and a memorial plaque on one of the three trees that front Morgan's Market along Hudson Street where Oliver liked to walk daily to get his newspapers. He always lamented the lack of care for those trees. Tribeca Trust will care for them in honor of his service to Tribeca. Contributions to the tree fund for Oliver Allen are welcome, payable via check or Paypal to Tribeca Trust. For more information or to donate, click here.
Audition for the St. Paul's Chapel Choir: The St. Paul's Chapel Choir welcomes volunteer singers from the parish, neighborhood and greater New York area to audition for this new ensemble launching in January 2019. Auditions will be held between September and December. Rehearsals will take place on Thursdays between 6 p.m. and 7:15 p.m. starting in January.The Chapel Choir, directed by associate organist Janet Yieh, will sing for morning services on the first Sunday of each month at St. Paul's Chapel and lead a congregational hymn-sing each season . For more information or to schedule an audition, click here.  

Workshop on spine and back health: On Friday, Sept. 28 at 12:30 p.m., there will be a free seminar on spine and back health conducted by Sadiah Siddiqui, M.D., Assistant Professor of Anesthesiology at Weill Cornell Medicine and an anesthesiologist at New York-Presbyterian. The seminar is being presented by the Battery Park City Authority, New York-Presbyterian and Weill Cornell Medicine. Place: 6 River Terrace in Battery Park City. Registration begins at noon followed by lunch, the presentation and Q&A.

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

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

City Charter Revision: A Charter Revision Commission resulting from a local law co-sponsored by Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer, City Council Speaker Corey Johnson and Public Advocate Letitia James is now holding hearings asking for public input. The plan is to spend a full year examining all aspects of the City Charter and then to propose changes on the 2019 ballot.

Brewer stated that the logic in proposing a fresh look at the city's main governing document was that a full-scale review hadn't been conducted since 1989 (except for minor tweaks).     

The 2019 Charter Commission is kicking off its inclusive process with a series of public hearings this month in each of the five boroughs. The hearing in Manhattan will take place on Thursday, Sept. 27 from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. at City Hall in Manhattan.
Although not required, reservations to testify at hearings are appreciated and encouraged. To make a reservation, send an email to with your name, organizational affiliation (if any), and contact information. Those with questions about the hearing and/or testifying should also email that account. 

'It's critically important that New Yorkers attend these hearings and let commissioners know what areas of city government can be improved upon," Brewer said. For updated information on these hearings, 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

Jack Putnam on the Kill van Kull. Oct. 4, 2008. (Photo: © Terese Loeb Kreuzer)

To the editor:

Jack was a real mensch. He was brilliant, warm, curious, gracious, generous, extremely well read, multi-talented - oy, I could go on and on. I was always glad to see him.

- Richard Dorfman

From the editor:

We welcome letters to the editor. We reserve the right to edit them for clarity and length. To submit a letter, email

An obituary for Jack Putnam entitled "John Putnam, the Melville of the South Street Seaport, Dies at 82" appeared in The New York Times on Sept. 25, 2018. It begins:

John Putnam, an expert on New York City's maritime and commercial history whose impersonations of Herman Melville delighted visitors to the South Street Seaport Museum for decades, died on Sept. 9 in Staten Island. He was 82.

His daughter Sara Putnam said the cause was cardiac arrest.

Mr. Putnam - Jack, as he liked to be called - joined the museum in 1982 as an office manager and cook for the Pioneer, the museum's schooner. He later worked as the retail manager of Bowne & Company Stationers, a small printing house owned by the museum, and then became the manager of the museum's bookstore.

Mr. Putnam may have been one of the few modern New Yorkers who could say they lived aboard a square-rigged ship. For more than a decade he was the shipkeeper of the barque Peking, docked at Pier 16.

He was, as The New York Times put it in 2008, "the official historian and unofficial conscience of the South Street Seaport Museum."

For the complete obituary, click here.

In the final scene of the National Yiddish Theatre Folksbiene's production of "Fiddler on the Roof" at the Museum of Jewish Heritage in Battery Park City, the residents of Anatevka pack the few belongings they can carry and leave the village where they and their families have lived for generations. (Photo: Victor Nechay/ProperPix)

The National Yiddish Theatre Folksbine has announced that its production of "Fiddler on the Roof" in Yiddish at the Museum of Jewish Heritage in Battery Park City has proven so popular that the run has been extended through Nov. 18, 2018

On Nov. 10 at 7 p.m. there will be a special event to mark the 104th show - celebrating NYTF's 104th season. It will include a champagne and dessert reception. Tickets for that show start at $95.
Directed by Academy Award-and-Tony Award winner Joel Grey, the Yiddish Fiddler on the Roof has received universal positive praise from critics, including landing a place as a New York Times' Critic's Pick."
The Yiddish language Fiddler on the Roof is based on the Tevye the Dairyman vignettes by Sholem Aleichem and was translated by Shraga Friedman. Tony Award-winning Fiddler lyricist Sheldon Harnick and producer/director Harold Prince have been consulting with NYTF on the production.
Playing the iconic roles of Yente, Tevye, and Golde are, respectively, comedian and Emmy Award nominee Jackie Hoffman (Charlie And the Chocolate Factory, The Addams Family, Hairspray, Xanadu), and Broadway veterans Steven Skybell (Fiddler on the Roof, Wicked, The Full Monty), and Jennifer Babiak (Fiddler on the Roof, West Side Story, Grease, Evita).

The 104-year-old Tony Award-nominated and Drama Desk Award-winning National Yiddish Theatre Folksbiene (NYTF) is the longest consecutively producing theatre in the U.S. and the world's oldest continuously operating Yiddish theatre. Led by CEO Christopher Massimine and Artistic Director Zalmen Mlotek, NYTF is dedicated to creating a living legacy through the arts, connecting generations and bridging communities.

For Downtown Post NYC's review of the production plus some additional photographs, click here. For tickets, click here.

Renuka Pinto, an Australian trained physical therapist with over 18 years experience, is now offering "quality care at an affordable price" at her new location, 915 Broadway, Suite 1106. She is a sports and spine specialist using technology, intensive hands-on therapy and custom-based exercise to help patients meet their needs.
A mother of three, she offers specialized services to pregnant and post-partum women to help them achieve their individual goals.

calendar CALENDAR: October 2018  
Spotlight: Open House New York Weekend: Oct. 13 and Oct. 14 

Although the Alexander Hamilton U.S. Custom House at 1 Bowling Green, now home to the National Museum of the American Indian, is always open to the public free of charge, the ornate Collector's Office is usually off limits. However, it will be open during Open House New York Weekend, Oct. 13-Oct. 14. The Collectors Office was decorated by Louis Comfort Tiffany's woodworking studio. (Photo: © Terese Loeb Kreuzer)

Oct. 13-Oct. 14: Open House New York Weekend takes place on Saturday, Oct. 13 and Sunday, Oct. 14 with 250 sites in the five boroughs that will be open to the public. Go to the Open House New York Weekend website to browse the lineup and create your itinerary. Some of the sites require reservations. Others are open access. Web listings include full site descriptions and information about dates, open hours and tour times.
Reservations became available on Sept 25 at 11 a.m. The most popular sites always sell out within minutes, however there are many sites for which no reservations are required. Among those in Lower Manhattan are Manhattan's historic City Hall; the Hall of Records at the imposing Surrogate's Courthouse on Chambers Street; the magnificent Art Deco lobby of the AT&T Long Distance building on Sixth Avenue in Tribeca; the display of historic maps in the Manhattan Borough President's office at 1 Centre St.; the ornate Collector's Office in the Alexander Hamilton Custom House, now the National Museum of the American Indian at 1 Bowling Green, and much more. Here's a link to the website:
Fall in Battery Park City: The Battery Park City Authority has released its Fall 2018 Parks Programming Calendar with more than 450 public programs and events between September and December. The full calendar of mostly free programs includes movie nights, concerts, tours, tournaments and games, art and nature events, fitness and exercise classes, and much more.  
For the complete calendar of Battery Park City events between September and December, click here.

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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