News and events in Lower Manhattan
Volume 6, No. 43, June 6, 2021

"It has to come from here, right this instance, my cry into the world.”
    - From a poem by Julia de Burgos entitled "Farewell from Welfare Island," inscribed on the Hurricane Maria Memorial in Battery Park City

Letter from the Editor: Milestones
Hurricane Maria Memorial in Battery Park City
Bulletin Board: River to River reservations; Kayaking at the Downtown Boathouse
Bits & Bytes: City Council candidates, District 1; Vestry Street high rise
Calendar: Battery Park City summer calendar

COVID-19 CASES IN NEW YORK CITY: As of June 5, 2021 at 8:21 p.m.
935,204 confirmed cases * 33,280 deaths * 4,329,591 vaccinated in NYC

Health alert: An air quality health advisory has been issued for Long Island and for New York City metro, in effect on Sunday, June 6, 2021 from 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. The pollutant of concern is ozone. Summer heat can lead to the formation of ground-level ozone, a major component of photochemical smog. This surface pollutant should not be confused with the protective layer of ozone in the upper atmosphere.

People, especially young children, those who exercise outdoors, those involved in vigorous outdoor work and those who have respiratory disease (such as asthma) should consider limiting strenuous outdoor physical activity when ozone levels are the highest (generally afternoon to early evening). When outdoor levels of ozone are elevated, going indoors will usually reduce your exposure. Individuals experiencing symptoms such as shortness of breath, chest pain or coughing should consider consulting their doctor.

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

MASTHEAD PHOTO: The Hurricane Maria Memorial in Battery Park City was erected by New York State in memory of the victims of the Category 4 hurricane that devastated Puerto Rico on Sept. 20, 2017. (Photo: ©Terese Loeb Kreuzer 2021)

As he has done every day for more than a year, yesterday (June 5, 2021) New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced New York State's Covid-19 statistics. At .54%, the 7-day, average Covid-19 positivity rate had dropped to a new record low, he said. Patient hospitalizations statewide were 868, down 48 from the previous day. There were 217 patients in an intensive care unit, down 15 from the day before. Nevertheless, fourteen people in New York State had died from Covid-19 since June 4, when Cuomo had announced that day's statistics.

Cuomo has been stalwart and unflinching in his leadership of New York State through this pandemic. He has saved us. Look at these screen shots from a press briefing that he gave on March 25, 2020.
As of March 25, 2020, New York State had 30,811 cases of Covid-19 — the highest infection rate in the United States. New Jersey was next on the list, with 3,675 cases.
Cuomo had been told by epidemiological experts that New York State would need 140,000 hospital beds to treat Covid-19 patients. No matter what he did, no matter how he sliced it, he was coming up short by thousands of beds.
At a press briefing on April 10, 2020, Cuomo showed newspaper headlines from January of that year that said, among other things, that the Covid-19 virus was probably not something to worry about. "New York State was ambushed," Cuomo said.
Cuomo told us on April 10, 2020 that we were in uncharted waters — that our actions would shape our future. More than a year later, despite much good news, he is still telling us that — that people are still dying from Covid-19 and that "to win the war against Covid," every one of us needs to get vaccinated against it.

Terese Loeb Kreuzer

At a press briefing on April 29, 2021 in Buffalo, N.Y., New York State Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced that New York State would provide 1,000 COVID-19 vaccine doses and establish a new pop-up site targeting 16 to 25-year-olds in Buffalo. The Governor also announced that the Niagara Frontier Transportation Authority would provide 1,000 day passes to help eligible residents reach the pop-up site. Cuomo has been touring the state with a similar message and has opened pop-up vaccination sites in churches, schools and even in subway stations and sports venues.
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.

Downtown Post NYC on Facebook: On its Facebook page, Downtown Post NYC has been providing information about the time of Governor Andrew Cuomo's daily press briefings and how to access them. DPNYC has also been highlighting some of Gov. Cuomo's announcements concerning COVID-19 statistics, reopening of various parts of the state for business and executive orders. Go to Downtown Post NYC's Facebook page by clicking here.

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The Hurricane Maria Memorial in Battery Park City is on an overlook above Rockefeller Park, at the western end of Chambers Street. Hurricane Maria, which struck Puerto Rico on the morning of Wednesday, Sept. 20, 2017, was a Category 4 hurricane with sustained winds of 155 mph. All of Puerto Rico's 3.4 million residents were left without electricity and many without clean water or food. Thousands of people died. (Photos: © Terese Loeb Kreuzer)
From a distance, the Hurricane Maria Memorial, erected by New York State and dedicated in March 2021, rises like a vibrantly colored island above the green shrubbery, the tree branches and leafy canopy of the surrounding landscape. It’s at the western end of Chambers Street, on an elevated site overlooking Battery Park City’s Rockefeller Park. The memorial glows with jewel-like colors when the sun shines through its glass panels, which are arranged in a spiral like a large, tropical shell. Words in English and Spanish whip across the panels as though tossed there by water and wind.

No one could fail to notice the memorial, although they might well wonder what it is. Signage embedded in the pavement explains. It says:

“On September 20, 2017, Hurricane Maria, the strongest hurricane to hit Puerto Rico in nearly a century, made landfall causing catastrophic damage and an unprecedented humanitarian crisis. New York stood in solidarity with Puerto Rico, providing immediate relief and helping to rebuild the island. This memorial honors those lost and stands as an enduring tribute to the resilience of the Puerto Rican community. The spiral evokes a hurricane and a shell, symbols both of destruction and protection. Rising from the center with hope is the star of the Puerto Rican flag. Throughout are words from Julia de Burgos’ poem, ‘Farewell from Welfare Island:’ ‘It has to come from here, right this instance, my cry into the world.’”

Hurricane Maria, the second hurricane to strike Puerto Rico within a two-week period, delivered a knock-out blow. Homes, roads and bridges were destroyed, weather stations and cell towers were smashed. Hospitals and schools were so badly damaged that they could provide neither care nor shelter. Generators ran out of fuel. Streets were flooded. The entire island lost electricity. Most of Puerto Rico’s 3.4 million residents had no access to food or clean water. Thousands of people died, whether from being pummeled by the hurricane or by the diseases and other hardships that followed it.

The federal response to the disaster was inadequate and slow. Two weeks after Hurricane Maria struck, former U.S. President Donald Trump visited the island, where he was photographed at a church, throwing rolls of paper towels into a desperate crowd. A year after Maria, Trump called the federal government’s response “an incredible, unsung success,” which, in fact, it was not.

Taking the lead, New York State Gov. Andrew Cuomo attempted to come to the rescue of the beleaguered island. Two days after Maria, he and a delegation from New York State were on an airplane packed with water and other supplies, headed for Puerto Rico. Their plane was the first to land in the San Juan airport after the disaster. In succeeding weeks, New York State sent more than 1,000 people to the island, including hundreds of utility workers and power experts to help restore electrical power and to stabilize the electrical grid. In addition, the state arranged for 156 volunteer physicians, physicians’ assistants, nurses and nurse practitioners to go to Puerto Rico accompanied by more than $1 million in critical medications and supplies.

Nor were the 11,000 or so people who left Puerto Rico for New York City after the hurricane forgotten. Gov. Cuomo allocated around $13 million for their support and resettlement. Much of the money went for employment, housing and benefits counseling and for health care.

In fact, assistance of various kinds went on for the next two years and was re-upped when a series of devastating earthquakes struck the island early in 2020.

New York State’s dedication to helping Puerto Rico is not just accidental. New York State is home to more than 1 million Puerto Ricans — the largest number in the Puerto Rican diaspora.

Exactly a year after Hurricane Maria had devastated Puerto Rico, Gov. Cuomo assembled a commission to recommend a site, design and installation for a memorial. A year-and-a-half later, plans for the memorial were announced. A Puerto Rican architect, Segundo Cardona, had been appointed to design the structure. Puerto Rican artist Antonio Martorell was tapped to design and paint the panels. The poem by Puerto Rican poet Julia de Burgos (1914-1953) was selected as the keystone of the memorial's message. However, these plans evoked controversy, including from some members of the Commission.

“Community and even committee members pushed back against Cuomo’s site selection, citing the multiple monuments already located in Battery City Park,” The Architect’s Newspaper reported (March 18, 2020). “Critics have also voiced concerns that the memorial should be built in a neighborhood with stronger Puerto Rican ties.” These objections were not heeded. One year later, the memorial was finished and was dedicated by Gov. Cuomo.

"New York continues to stand with Puerto Rico, and this monument will serve as testament to that enduring partnership today, tomorrow, and always," he said.

Now that the memorial is a fait accompli, it can safely be said that it’s not hogging a lot of space and that its site attracts a variety of people, including Puerto Ricans who intentionally come to see it and neighborhood residents and visitors who happen to walk by. Their curiosity aroused, they pause to learn about Hurricane Maria and to hear poet Julia de Burgos’ anguished “cry into the world.”

— Terese Loeb Kreuzer

On Sept. 22, 2017, two days after Hurricane Maria had leveled Puerto Rico, New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo traveled to San Juan bringing supplies and personnel on the first flight to land in San Juan since the hurricane. (Darren McGee- Office of Governor Andrew M. Cuomo)
The Hurricane Maria Memorial is inscribed with a poem by Puerto Rican poet Julia de Burgos. She wrote it when she was living in New York City, calling it "Farewell from Welfare Island." Julia de Burgos (1914-1953) is widely considered to be one of the greatest Latin American poets. She wrote "Farewell from Welfare Island" while being treated at Goldwater Memorial Hospital on Welfare Island (now known as Roosevelt Island), months before her death. (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

Greca in Tribeca

Open daily, 8 a.m. to 9:30 p.m.

Indoor and outdoor dining, bakery and Greek market

452 Washington St. in Tribeca
For more information, call (917) 261-4795
Bulletin Board
The Downtown Boathouse on Pier 26 in Hudson River Park offers free kayaking in the Hudson River. The boathouse is currently open on weekends and holidays from 10 a.m. to
 3 p.m., (when the last boat goes out) with timed reservations advised. Walk-ups can also be accommodated on a space-available basis. For more information and to make a reservation, click here. (Photo: © Terese Loeb Kreuzer)
Little Island Opens: Little Island, a new, free public park at 13th Street in Hudson River Park, opened to the public on May 21. It has been created on an undulating structure of 280 piles jutting into the Hudson River, on the site of historic pier 54. Components of the park include a 687-seat amphitheater, a central plaza where food and beverages are served from 7 a.m. to 11 p.m. daily and an intimate stage and lawn space. The park has been landscaped with more than 350 species of flowers, trees and shrubs. Beginning on June 14, Little Island will host a season of performances and educational programming, much of which will be free. The park is open daily from 6 a.m to 1 a.m., with timed reservations required between noon and 1 a.m. Children aged three and up need a reservation. For more information, click here.

River to River Festival reservations: The 20th edition of the River To River Festival runs from June 10 to June 27. The festival is free, but many events require a reservation. The festival includes music, film, dance, walking tours, participatory events and more. The events take place in Lower Manhattan and at The Arts Center at Governors Island. In addition to in-person events, some films in the Festival’s program will be streamed exclusively on LMCC’s website. For the full schedule, click here.

Request absentee ballot: June 15, 2021 is the last day that voters can request an absentee ballot for the June 22 primary election. An absentee ballot can be requested on the basis of a "temporary illness." The definition has been temporarily expanded to include "a risk of contracting or spreading a disease" such as COVID-19. In the primary election, voters can only vote for candidates in the party to which they're registered. To request an absentee ballot, click here.

Volunteer on Governors Island: Governors Island is a 172-acre island, 800 yards from Lower Manhattan and around 400 yards from Brooklyn. The National Park Service administers a small part of the northern side of the island as a National Monument. The Trust for Governors Island administers the remaining 150 acres as a public park. This part of Governors Island relies on volunteers for a variety of jobs. They include providing information for visitors, serving as tour guides on in-depth public walking tours, helping the horticultural staff to care for the island's meadows, forest groves, ornamental flower beds and landscaped hillsides and performing seasonal gardening tasks such as planting and pruning. Volunteers must be at least 16 years old. For more information and to apply, click here.

Governors Island ferry access: Access to Governors Island is by ferry, with timed ticket reservations required. Governors Island's Brooklyn ferries serve two locations on weekends: Pier 6 in Brooklyn Bridge Park and the Atlantic Basin in Red Hook. (Enter near the corner of Pioneer and Conover Streets and enjoy PortSide NY's Pandemic Pop-Up Park near the landing.) Ferries run daily from Lower Manhattan. The ferries are always free for kids 12 and under, for seniors 65 and up, for residents of NYCHA housing, for military servicemembers, Governors Island members, and for everyone on weekends before noon. Learn more about Governors Island ferries and book tickets by clicking here.

Battery Park City 'Wild': Battery Park City is home to many kinds of wildlife. Among them aare numerous species of insects, including native pollinators, that inhabit BPC's gardens and lawns. More than 100 species of resident and migratory birds use BPC as a safe haven along their journey. BPC's green spaces provide the food and habitat these animals need. Wildlife in BPC does not benefit from human interaction.

If you encounter a wild animal, please:
   •   Observe from a distance (both for your safety and the animal's).
   •   Do not feed it.
If the animal you encounter appears injured or distressed, contact the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) at:
   •   (718) 482-4922 Monday - Friday
   •   (877) 457-5680 Saturday - Sunday
To learn more 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.
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 Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays for tea and snacks to go. In addition, you can order tea and cookies (plus other gifts) online, For more information on Té Company, click here.
Bits & Bytes
Susan Lee, one of the nine candidates in the Democratic primary race for City Council, District 1, campaigning in Battery Park City. Margaret Chin, who has been the Councilmember for this district since 2010 is term limited. Whoever wins the Democratic primary election on June 22 is likely to be the next City Councilmember for District 1. (Early voting begins on June 12 and ends on June 20.) (Photo: © Terese Loeb Kreuzer)
Crowded City Council Race in Lower Manhattan District Devastated by Covid, Gotham Gazette, 6/4/2021. 'Nine Democratic candidates are running in the City Council District 1 primary for a seat based in Lower Manhattan," says the Gotham Gazette. "The district includes parts or all of Battery Park, the Civic Center, Chinatown, the Financial District, Little Italy, the Lower East Side, NoHo, SoHo, South Street Seaport, South Village, TriBeCa, and Washington Square. Governors Island, Ellis Island, and Liberty Island are also a part of the district....Given how heavily Democratic the district is, the winner of the crowded primary — which includes the use of ranked-choice voting for the first time — is all but sure to become the next Council member come January. With a concentration of public housing on the Lower East Side along with some of the most expensive real estate in the city in the Financial District and Tribeca, the district is extremely diverse economically as well as racially. ... The district’s diversity along with the implementation of ranked-choice voting makes it necessary for candidates to garner wide-reaching appeal to win the seat." For the complete article, click here.

House Judiciary Committee hears testimony from McGahn: On June 4, 2021, after a two-year delay, the House Judiciary Committee chaired by Congressman Jerrold Nadler (D-New York) finally heard testimony from former White House Counsel Don McGahn. Nadler, whose 10th Congressional District includes Lower Manhattan, released the following statement about the testimony:

"Under the terms of our agreement with the Department of Justice, we cannot yet comment on the specific details of Mr. McGahn’s testimony. We will release the full transcript as soon as we can.

"But I can say that Mr. McGahn testified at length to an extremely dangerous period in our nation’s history—in which President Trump, increasingly unhinged and fearful of his own liability, attempted to obstruct the Mueller investigation at every turn. Mr. McGahn was clearly distressed by President Trump’s refusal to follow his legal advice, again and again, and he shed new light on several troubling events today.

"In one sense, today is a great victory for congressional oversight. By securing Mr. McGahn’s testimony, we have made clear that the executive branch must respect our subpoenas. There is no such thing as so-called ‘absolute immunity’ from congressional testimony, and good congressional investigators will eventually secure their witness.

"On the other hand, two years is clearly too long to wait to enforce a valid subpoena, and the Trump era has taught us that Congress can no longer depend on good faith cooperation with our committees. Although I am grateful to the Biden Administration for helping us to hear this testimony, I also look forward to advancing legislation that would allow us to enforce our own subpoenas in a far more timely manner, no matter who holds power in Washington."

A transcript of the interview will be made available at a later date.

67 Vestry Street’s Residential Conversion And Expansion Progresses In Tribeca, Manhattan, New York YIMBY, 5/9/2021. "Residential conversion and expansion work is progressing on 67 Vestry Street, a 13-unit condominium building along Hudson River Park in Tribeca," says New York YIMBY. "Designed by BP Architects with Gachot Studios handling the interiors, the project involves a roof-level addition that will raise the structure from nine stories and 115 feet tall to 13 stories and 153 feet tall. Iliad Realty Group is developing the property, which it purchased for $55.5 million in 2017. Corcoran Sunshine Marketing Group was last reported to be the exclusive marketing and sales agent for the the 88,712-square-foot Romanesque revival edifice. For the complete article, click here.
Spotlight: Battery Park City summer calendar
Ned Smyth's "The Upper Room" on the Battery Park City esplanade at Albany Street. Some of Smyth's early sculptures and photographs are now on exhibit in the large, street-front window at the Shirley Fiterman Arts Center, 81 Barclay St., through Sept. 25.
(Photo: © Terese Loeb Kreuzer)
The Battery Park City Authority is one of the most impressive impresarios in Manhattan. Every year, the BPCA produces a cornucopia of free public programs and events, which are especially abundant in summer and fall. This year, the summer schedule (June through August) includes art, music, dance, comedy, walking tours, virtual screenings and more.

Among the highlights are the annual River to River Festival, which this year will bring a series of three outdoor processionals to Battery Park City. The first, on June 13, choreographed by Miguel Guitierrez, will be in Teardrop Park followed on June 20 by a processional choreographed by Okwui Okpokwasili in Rockefeller Park. The third, on June 25, choreographed by The Illustrious Blacks, will be at Belvedere Plaza.

Juneteenth as observed by the Federation of Black Cowboys. (Photo: © Terese Loeb Kreuzer)
On Juneteenth, which marks the official end of slavery in the state of Texas and in the Confederate States of the United States, the Federation of Black Cowboys will be bringing some of their horses to Battery Park City. African-American cowboys made up approximately 25% of the 35,000 cowboys in the Western frontier during the 1870s and 1880s. The Federation honors this legacy. This year the Juneteenth observance will be on Saturday, June 19 from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m. on Belvedere Plaza.
July brings the River & Blues Concert Series to Battery Park City's Wagner Park. The Hudson River and the Statue of Liberty provide a backdrop for the stage where concerts begin at 7 p.m. and end just as the sun is setting. This year, look for Nicole Atkins on July 8, Devon Gilfillian on July 15, Ranky Tanky on July 22 and Rev. Sekou & The Freedom Fighters on July 29.

All events will be held in accordance with New York State reopening guidance. For the complete schedule, click here.
Because of Covid-19, the last time when the Battery Dance Festival could be held in Wagner Park was in August 2019. At that time, members of Ballet Neplanta performed “Guerrero Suite.” This year, the Battery Dance Festival will be back in Wagner Park from Aug. 15 to Aug. 20. All performances are free. (Photo: © Terese Loeb Kreuzer)

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Editor: Terese Loeb Kreuzer

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