News and events in Lower Manhattan
Volume 6, No. 36, Jan. 21, 2021

"The propitious smiles of Heaven can never be expected on a nation that disregards the eternal rules of order and right, which Heaven itself has ordained....The preservation of the sacred fire of liberty and the destiny of the Republican model of Government are justly considered as deeply, perhaps as finally staked, on the experiment entrusted to the hands of the American people."

    - George Washington's inaugural address on April 30, 1789

Letter from the Editor: What happened at Federal Hall
'Soul to Soul' returns online in observance of Martin Luther King, Jr. Day
Discovering New York on the Empire State Trail
Bulletin Board: Bowne & Co. pop-up shop; NYC primary election information
Calendar: Battery Park City classes and events online

COVID-19 CASES IN NEW YORK CITY: As of Jan. 20, 2021 at 4:56 p.m.
537,601 confirmed cases * 26,248 deaths * 318,329 vaccinated in NYC

Go to for breaking news and for updated information on facility closures related to COVID-19 

MASTHEAD PHOTO: The stone is preserved at Federal Hall at the corner of Wall and Broad Streets on which George Washington stood on April 30, 1789 when he was inaugurated as the first President of the United States. (Photo: Terese Loeb Kreuzer)

Yesterday, when Joe Biden swore an oath "to faithfully execute the Office of President of the United States" and to "preserve, protect and defend the Constitution" he was uttering words that were first spoken here in Lower Manhattan, almost 232 years ago. That is the very oath that George Washington swore on April 30, 1789 when he was inaugurated as the first President of the United States.

The words aren't optional. They are required by Article II, Section 1 of the U.S. Constitution.

Washington was standing on the balcony of Federal Hall when he gave his solemn word to do his best at what he knew was going to be a staggering task. In his inaugural address he said that he was overwhelmed with anxiety at being entrusted with this responsibility and that he was very aware of his own deficiencies. He implored the "Almighty Being who rules over the Universe" to bless the enterprise on which he and those who heard him that day were about to embark. He observed that "the propitious smiles of Heaven can never be expected on a nation that disregards the eternal rules of order and right, which Heaven itself has ordained." He said that the "preservation of the sacred fire of liberty, and the destiny of the Republican model of Government are justly considered as deeply, perhaps as finally staked, on the experiment entrusted to the hands of the American people."

The building where Washington's inauguration ceremony took place was not what we now know as Federal Hall, although it was on the same site at the junction of Wall, Broad and Nassau Streets. It was New York City's old City Hall, remodeled to house the new Federal government. That building was torn down in 1812 when New York City's current City Hall opened. But the stone on which Washington stood when he took the oath of office has been preserved as has part of the balcony railing. And the Bible on which Washington rested his left hand as he raised his right hand is also still extant. It was printed in 1767 and was the Altar Bible of St. John's Masonic Lodge, No. 1. George Washington was a Mason, as were a number of the other Founding Fathers.

Federal Hall is closed now because of the Covid-19 pandemic, but the Bible used to be on display there with signage that indicated that Presidents George H.W. Bush, Jimmy Carter, Dwight David Eisenhower and Warren Harding had also used that Bible when they were inaugurated.

There is a direct line between what George Washington said on April 30, 1789 and what we heard over and over in the days between Jan. 6 when the U.S. Capitol building was attacked and desecrated and Jan. 20 when Joe Biden was inaugurated. On television, contemplating the violence and destruction, many people wondered whether "the American experiment" as Washington had called it, was over. His assertion that "the smiles of Heaven can never be expected on a nation that disregards the eternal rules of order and right" seemed incontrovertibly true. More than the walls of a building had been breached. The "sacred fire of liberty" seemed in danger of going out.

However the events of Jan. 6 were only the culmination of a malignancy that had been festering for a long time. During the previous four years, the U.S. Constitution had been repeatedly ignored and violated by lawmakers who had sworn to defend it. Almost miraculously, it seems to have survived and that may be in part because of something else that happened here in Lower Manhattan at the old Federal Hall.

Amid four months of wrangling the Constitution had been framed in Philadelphia and signed on Sept. 17, 1787 but it couldn't become law until it was ratified by a minimum of nine of the 13 original states. Although New Hampshire provided that ninth endorsement on June 21, 1788 the founders were still not sure that the Constitution would be accepted. Vocal and highly placed critics of the document said that they opposed it because it didn't include a bill of rights. The Federalists, who wanted the Constitution to be ratified, promised to create such a document.

The first session of the First United States Congress met in New York City's Federal Hall on March 4, 1789. By September of 1789, the delegates had hammered out a Bill of Rights. Originally, they proposed 12 amendments to the Constitution to be submitted to the states for ratification. Of these, 10 amendments were ratified and became what we now refer to as the "Bill of Rights."

The first Amendment states, "Congress shall make no law respecting the establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances."

A free press, freedom of speech and the right of the people peaceably to assemble to petition the Government for a redress of grievances became the bulwark that protected the Constitution. In many cases, the journalists and protesters were abetted by the U.S. judiciary.

From where we stand now, we can look back on this and acknowledge that our democracy, or more accurately, republic, is more fragile than we had realized. But we also discovered that when the people for whom it was created are engaged in its preservation, our form of government as forged in Lower Manhattan and in Philadelphia is stronger and more resilient than we had realized. We must not forget.

Terese Loeb Kreuzer

A statue of George Washington stands on the steps of Federal Hall at Broad and Wall Streets in Manhattan’s Financial District. At this site, Washington was sworn in on April 30, 1789 as the first U.S. president. Tourists love to pose with the statue. (Photo: Terese Loeb Kreuzer)
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. So be sure to look at the website every day, especially if you want to know about breaking news.

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(Above) Lisa Fishman in “Soul to Soul,” a program of Yiddish and African-American music produced by the National Yiddish Theatre Folksbiene in honor of the birthday of
Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. (Below) "Soul to Soul" was conceived by Zalmen Mlotek (at the piano) and performed by Tony Perry, Magda Fishman, Lisa Fishman and Elmore James.(Photos: Terese Loeb Kreuzer)
For the last 10 years with consummate musicianship and contagious passion, the National Yiddish Theatre Folksbiene has been producing "Soul to Soul," a tribute to Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. that has become an annual tradition. The souls evoked by the music were Yiddish and African-American as embodied in part by Dr. King and by his friend, Rabbi Abraham Joshua Heschel.

Both Rabbi Heschel and Dr. King had witnessed and endured unspeakable tragedy stemming from racism. For this and other reasons, after they met in 1963, they immediately became close friends. Dr. Heschel was with Dr. King in 1965 during the nonviolent march from Selma to Montgomery, Alabama to seek voting rights for black people.

"Soul to Soul" is more than a concert. With songs and projected images, it evokes the American South, the Civil Rights struggle, the shtetls of Eastern Europe, the immigrant experience and the Harlem Renaissance. 

In the past, "Soul to Soul" was presented on stage at the Museum of Jewish Heritage with the musicians backed by graphics, photographs and film clips. This year, because of the Covid-19 pandemic, "Soul to Soul" is online. There are gains and losses because of this. Many of the graphics are no longer there, but watching "Soul to Soul" at home means that you can sing and dance to the music, and you might find that you want to!

Though "Soul to Soul" references tragedy, it is also nostalgic, stirring and profoundly moving. And now that it's online, you can watch it more than once. You might find that you want to do that, too.

— Terese Loeb Kreuzer

"Soul to Soul" is available online through Jan. 25, 2021. The program is 90 minutes long. Tickets are $12. To purchase tickets, click here.
Gifts and Snacks from Té Company

It's never too late to give someone (or yourself?) a gift. Té Company's tearoom at 163 West 10th St. is open from 1 p.m. to 6 p.m. on weekends for tea and snacks to go. In addition, you can order tea and cookies (plus other gifts) online. The Choicest Tea & Biscuits set, for instance, combines 2 oz of Oriental Beauty tea and delicious pineapple linzers. $60 plus shipping. Or maybe you'd like a Hario glass teapot that you can use to brew your tea as you watch the tea leaves unfurl? $35 plus shipping. For more information on the teapot, click here. For more information on the tea and cookie package, click here.


(Above) One terminus of the 750-mile-long Empire State Trail is at the corner of Battery Place and Little West Street in Battery Park City. (Below) The Empire State Trail passes through Kingston, the first capital of New York State and the site of the Hudson River Maritime Museum. (Photo: Terese Loeb Kreuzer)
You can now bike, hike, run or maybe even cross-country ski all the way from Lower Manhattan to the Canadian border, thanks to the new 750-mile Empire State Trail.

The trail’s southernmost point is marked by new signage at the corner of Battery Place and Little West Street. From there, the route’s first 12.5 miles run along the Hudson River Greenway on the West Side, from Battery Park City through Hudson River Park and Riverside Park up to Dyckman Street in Inwood. The scenic stretch offers river views on one side and Manhattan’s ever-changing cityscape on the other.

The map of the full statewide trail resembles a crossed T, with two chunks running north-south and one east-west spur in between. The Manhattan section is part of the Hudson Valley Greenway stretching north-south between New York City and Albany. The east-west route, called the Erie Canalway, goes from Albany to Buffalo (just like the famous song says). The Champlain Valley section runs north-south between Albany and Rouses Point on Lake Champlain at the Canadian border.

The Manhattan section is one of 20 pre-existing trails that were stitched together to complete the project. But making the full trail seamless also required linking 400 miles of disconnected segments and building 180 miles of new trails. The new sections not only fill in gaps but also provide safe crossings over high traffic areas, water and railroad tracks. Bike routes were also improved, and gateways, trailheads, signage, bike racks, and benches were installed. The project, first announced by Gov. Andrew Cuomo in 2017, was completed Dec. 31, 2020.

The Empire State Trail website includes interactive and downloadable maps with information on access points, distances, parking, public transportation options, restrooms, amenities and attractions, including historic sites and campgrounds. “Cue sheets’ for cyclists provide detailed directions for each leg.

The Empire State Trail is the longest multi-use trail in the nation — meaning you can bike or hike the entire thing (or, in theory, go by snowshoe or cross-country skis). The Appalachian and Pacific Crest trails are much longer, of course, as are several trails in other states, like the Florida Trail and Wisconsin’s Ice Age Trail. But those trails weren’t designed to be fully bike-accessible like New York’s.

As an outdoor experience, it’s an attraction you can even enjoy in pandemic times. “Not only does it provide an opportunity to experience the natural beauty and history of New York, but it also gives New Yorkers from every corner of the state a safe outlet for recreation as we continue to grapple with the COVID-19 pandemic,” Cuomo said in a statement. Once the pandemic is under control and the state fully reopens to travel and tourism, the trail is expected to attract 8.6 million users annually.

Some New Yorkers are already dreaming of conquering the trail, like Karen Imas, Vice President of Programs for the Waterfront Alliance, who said on Twitter, “2021 goals - bike the Empire State Trail! Well, maybe a few miles to start. Amazing open space accomplishment for NYS! Very exciting.”

For those who feel a little unsure about tackling a long bike trip on their own, organized bike tours are permitted under the state’s current COVID-19 restrictions. Gotham Bicycle Tours has scheduled group trips on portions of the trail in Westchester, Putnam and Dutchess counties for 2021, according to Gotham owner Lukas Herbert. For rides farther north or west of Albany, Gotham can also be hired for exclusive concierge-style tours for private groups or families.

For beer lovers, another fun way to explore the trail is through a virtual passport program for 200 craft breweries located within 10 miles of trail segments. You can check out the Empire State Trail Brewery Passport through the New York State Brewers’ Association New York Craft Beer App.

Each section of the trail has its own personality and history. For example, the Albany-Hudson Electric Trail overlays the route of an electric trolley that operated from 1900 to 1929. The Maybrook Trailway is a 23-mile rail trail on Metro-North Railroad’s inactive Beacon Line between Hopewell Junction and Brewster. Other segments include the Walkway Over the Hudson at Poughkeepsie and numerous wooded paths, including Appalachian Trail crossings.

But as travel guidebook guru Pauline Frommer points out, “unlike most long trails, this is not just a nature experience. Segments go through Buffalo, Kingston, Albany, and New York City.” She adds: “I can personally vouch for the section on the Manhattan Greenway, a delightful, protected ribbon of concrete that I frequently bike, between Hudson River views on one side and city views on the other.”

— Beth Harpaz

The Empire State Trail passes near Waterford, New York at the junction of the Erie Canal and the Hudson River. The village of Waterford, the oldest incorporated village in the United States, was incorporated in 1794 before the town was formed.
(Photo: Terese Loeb Kreuzer)
Disaster Loans & Grants
Unemployment Assistance - available for W2 and Schedule C clients
Mandated additional sick pay and associated tax credit
Paycheck Protection Program; Extended tax loss carry-backs
Bowne & Co. pop-up shop; New York City Primary election information; Open enrollment for health insurance extended
Bowne & Co. online pop-Up Shop: The South Street Seaport Museum announces that its Bowne & Co. Pop-Up shop is open for orders through Jan. 31, 2021 with pick-up available through Feb. 3, 2021. The Pop-Up Shop has a special selection of core offerings such as journals, writing paper, books, house-designed notecards and broadside posters. Seaport Museum branded merchandise is also available for purchase. Bowne & Co. is located at 211 Water St. To shop, click here.
(Photo: Richard Bowditch)
Battery Park City Library reopens: The Battery Park City Library at 175 North End Ave. has reopened for limited grab-and-go service. Patrons can access a small area of the branch to pick up, check out and drop off library materials requested online or over the phone. Additionally, patrons who had reserved materials before the branch temporarily closed to mitigate the spread of COVID-19 will be notified when their items are ready for pick-up. For more information about hours and accessing the branch, click here.

Primary election update: To vote in the New York Primary Election, you must be registered to a political party. You can only vote in the primary for candidates running in the party for which you are registered. New York's primary for mayor, city council, and state-level officials is on June 22, 2021 but the deadline to confirm or change your party affiliation is Sunday, Feb. 14. Make sure that your information is up to date. For more information, click here.

Apply for Community Board membership: Community Boards are New York City's most grassroots form of government. Manhattan has 12 Community Boards, each of which is composed of 50 volunteer members plus a small paid staff. The Boards are pivotal in shaping their communities, weighing in on such issues as land use, quality of life problems, landmarking, schools and education, transportation, restaurant and liquor applications, and much more. The Community Boards work to enhance and preserve the character of the city’s many unique neighborhoods.

In order to be considered for appointment, a complete application must be submitted online or postmarked no later than 5 p.m. Monday, Feb. 1, 2021.

After you have successfully submitted your application, you will receive an automated email receipt from "Office of Manhattan Borough President Gale A. Brewer," This will be your application confirmation. Following the submission deadline and an internal review process, a member of Gale Brewer's staff will contact you regarding next steps, which may include an interview. Appointments will be announced in late spring.

For more information and application forms, click here.

Open enrollment period for uninsured New Yorkers extended: Through March 31, 2021, New Yorkers without health insurance can apply for coverage through NY State of Health, New York's Official Health Plan Marketplace, or directly through insurers.

Extending the Open Enrollment Period will help to align New York with the federal Public Health Emergency which was recently extended to April 20, 2021. This extension allows anyone eligible for Qualified Health Plan insurance additional time to enroll for coverage in 2021 and means that enrollment remains open for all NY State of Health programs, which is especially important during the ongoing public health emergency. Coverage start dates will vary:Enroll by February 15: Coverage starts March 1; Enroll March 15: Coverage starts April 1; Enroll by March 31: Coverage starts May 1.

Anyone eligible for other NY State of Health programs such as Medicaid, Essential Plan and Child Health Plus can enroll year-round. As always, New Yorkers can apply for coverage through NY State of Health online at, by phone at (855) 355-5777, and by connecting with free enrollment assistance.

For additional information on NY State of Health insurance options during the COVID-19 emergency click here.

For NY Department of Financial Services information and resources during the COVID-19 emergency, click here.

Eviction moratorium extended: On Dec. 28, 2020, Governor Andrew Cuomo signed the Covid-19 Emergency Eviction and Foreclosure Prevention Act of 2020. The Act places a moratorium on residential evictions through May 1, 2021 for tenants who have experienced Covid-related hardship. Tenants must submit a hardship declaration, or a document explaining the source of the hardship, to prevent evictions. The declaration can be sent to the tenant's landlord, the court, a sheriff, marshal or city constable.

Upon receipt of a declaration, landlords are prohibited from starting a new eviction case or continuing with an existing eviction case until at least May 1 2021.

The Act also places a moratorium on residential foreclosure proceedings through May 1, 2021. Homeowners and small landlords who own 10 or fewer residential dwellings can file hardship declarations with their mortgage lender, other foreclosing party or a court that would prevent a foreclosure.

For more information about the Emergency Eviction and Foreclosure Prevention Act and about how to file a hardship declaration, click here.

Lower Manhattan Greenmarkets: There are Lower Manhattan Greenmarkets in Tribeca (at Chambers and Greenwich Streets) and at Bowling Green, City Hall, the Oculus and the Staten Island ferry. GrowNYC asks that shoppers wear a face covering inside the market space and maintain a six-foot distance between themselves, Greenmarket staff, farm stand employees and other customers. Dogs and bicycles should be left at home.

Click here for a list of the fruits and vegetables now in season.
Many of the Downtown Post NYC bulletin board listings are now on the Downtown Post NYC website. To see the bulletin board listings, click here.

Greca in Tribeca

Greca's outdoor space is fully winterized

Open daily from 8 a.m. to 9:30 p.m. for brunch, lunch and dinner

To reserve a table, click here
For more information, call (917) 261-4795 or email

Spotlight: Battery Park City classes and events online
Suzi Shelton is an award-winning NYC singer/songwriter. Some of her stories and songs for children are available on the Battery Park City Authority's YouTube channel.
Every year, the Battery Park City Authority calendar includes hundreds of programs and classes. Usually these take place in Battery Park City and are open both to residents and people from other parts of the city. Most of the events and classes are free.

After a regular start to the programming year, the Battery Park City Authority transitioned to an all-virtual lineup of events beginning in April. The BPCA is utilizing its YouTube channel to share more than five dozen videos produced by the BPCA's Parks Programming team. Topics include music, art, athletics, nature, cooking, culture, and more. To view the selection, click here.

Some recent additions include
-         Senior Fitness – Breathe & Bounce
-         Children's Art – Painted Paper
-         Stories & Songs with Suzi Shelton
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Editor: Terese Loeb Kreuzer
Contributor: Beth Harpaz

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