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Architect selected for Titanic Memorial Lighthouse restoration
When, during its maiden voyage, the Titanic hit an iceberg in the North Atlantic Ocean and sank at 2:20 a.m. on April 15, 1912, the ensuing grief and shock were overwhelming. The Titanic was one of the largest and most luxurious ships in the world. It was supposed to be unsinkable. There were approximately 2,200 passengers and crew on board. Around 1,500 people died.
One year later, on the anniversary of the sinking, the Titanic Memorial Lighthouse was unveiled on top of the Seamen's Church Institute at 25 South Street. Money for the lighthouse had been raised by public subscription. Everyone from wealthy socialites to school children donated. The money that poured in was a communal expression of grief. So was the fact that the lighthouse atop a 12-story building overlooking the East River, was equipped with a green light that could be seen by ships from as far away as six miles out to sea as they tried to make their way through The Narrows.
There was something poignant and even poetic about the Titanic Memorial Lighthouse helping to bring ships safely into the port of New York. That was where the Titanic was headed when she went down. The lighthouse's task and very existence were a continuing reminder of what had happened.
In 1968, the Seamen's Church Institute moved its headquarters to 15 State St. and its original building on South Street was demolished. At that time, the lighthouse was accessioned by the South Street Seaport Museum and moved first to Pier 16 in the Seaport and then to a small park at the corner of Fulton and Pearl Streets, where it has been ever since — a mute reminder of the tragic loss.
Now it is about to get a new lease on life. The South Street Seaport Museum has selected the firm of Jan Hird Pokorny Associates to restore the lighthouse to its original state. The restoration will include making the lighthouse shine its lights again and restoring the "time ball" that still rests atop the structure.
At exactly noon every day, the ball would drop with such precision and accuracy that people would set their watches by it. The time ball mechanism was activated by a telegraphic signal from the Naval Observatory in Arlington, Va. After restoration, the time ball will work again.
The firm of Jan Hird Pokorny Associates is not new to the South Street Seaport. In the early 1980's, the restoration of the Schermerhorn Row Block was its first major historic restoration project. The firm's focus has increasingly been on architecture, and the planning and preservation of historic buildings and sites. Recent local projects have included the Morris-Jumel Mansion, the Battery Maritime Ferry Building, the Brooklyn Historical Society and the National Lighthouse Museum.
The full restoration of the Titanic Memorial Lighthouse to its original state is expected to be finished by the summer of 2024.
— Terese Loeb Kreuzer
Seamen's Church Institute: The history and activities of the Seamen's Church Institute are very interesting as are its online, digital archives. The Seamen's Church Institute explains its origins as follows:
In 1834, New York was a bustling port city receiving ships laden with cargo from around the world that powered America’s growing economy. Seafarers were vital to this trade, but these men, mostly first-generation Americans, recent immigrants from Europe, or foreign nationals, were ignored by the land-dwellers or were taken advantage of by “crimps” and unscrupulous boarding houses that saw these seafarers as easy prey. The Seamen’s Church Institute recognized an opportunity and embraced it as a mission, to offer these seafarers pastoral care (spiritual, emotional, and physical care) as well as provide for self-advancement through continuing mariner education training....Through our work, we endeavor to make the maritime environment safer for all seafarers and mariners. For nearly 200 years, SCI has met the emerging needs of mariners by improving upon existing models and through embracing new technologies to care for this often overlooked and underappreciated population of critical workers.
The digital archives include historic photographs, oral histories and an interactive timeline.
For more information about the institution's history, click here. To access the digital archives, click here.
"2 factors eyed in deadly Lower Manhattan garage collapse; building considered unstable,"abc7ny.com, 4/19/2023. "A four-story garage collapsed in Lower Manhattan Tuesday, leaving one dead, five injured, and cars crushed," Eyewitness News, ABC7NY reports. "Now investigators are looking at two reasons the collapse may have happened. While the cause is unknown and it is very early in the investigation, city officials are preliminarily looking at the weight of the vehicles on the roof, the Emergency Management commissioner said there were 50 parked on the roof, and the age of the building. During the controlled deconstruction of the building, city officials will attempt to remove the cars first, if possible. The vehicles contain potentially flammable materials, either gas tanks or electric batteries, that could be dangerous during the deconstruction. All utilities to the building were of course immediately shut off following the initial collapse. Ann Street remained closed Wednesday between William and Nassau Streets, right where the building is located....But the entire site remains unstable. Automobiles and slabs of cement have shifted, making it unsafe to enter the site. Authorities say the garage will need to be broken down and demolished-the cars will need to be cut up and removed in pieces. It will take days, maybe weeks, to clear the site." For the complete article, click here.
"NJ can withdraw from 1950s-era Waterfront Commission: SCOTUS,"New York Post, 4/18/23. According to the New York Post, "New Jersey can pull out of the 1950s-era commission it created with New York to fight the kind of Mafia corruption made famous in Marlon Brando’s 'On The Waterfront,' the US Supreme Court ruled" on Tuesday, April 18. "Empire State officials had sued to stop the move, arguing corruption still exists and that the agreement the two states signed 70 years ago establishing the Waterfront Commission doesn’t let one leave without the other’s consent, according to Politico. But New Jersey lawmakers — prodded by the shipping industry and powerful longshoreman’s union — have wanted out for years. Strengthened industry oversight has largely severed the tendrils of organized crime that once wrapped themselves around the docks, the pols argued. Now the two-member commission — which has its own police force and oversees licensing and inspections at the Port of New York and New Jersey — is little more than an 'impediment to economic growth,' New Jersey said." For the complete article, click here.
"Finishing touches underway on Google headquarters At 550 Washington Street in Hudson Square, Manhattan,"New York YIMBY, 4/19/2023. "Finishing touches are wrapping up on Google’s new 12-story headquarters at 550 Washington Street in Hudson Square," New York YIMBY reports. "Designed by COOKFOX Architects and developed by Oxford Properties, the 1.3-million-square-foot project involved the restoration and 232-foot vertical expansion of the St. John’s Terminal building along the Hudson River waterfront. The structure will serve as the centerpiece of the sprawling 1.7-million-square-foot 'Googleplex' master plan along with 315 Hudson Street and 345 Hudson Street. Gensler is the interior designer and Turner Construction was the general contractor for the property, which spans two full city blocks between West Street, West Houston Street, Washington Street, and the New York Department of Sanitation building to the south." For the complete article, click here.
Downtown Post Food
GREEK EASTER AT THE GREEK IN TRIBECA
On Sunday, April 16, the block of Washington Street just south of Watts Street in Tribeca was closed for a day in celebration of Greek Easter. Although most Christian observances of Easter are based on the Gregorian calendar, which was introduced in 1582, the Eastern Orthodox Church still bases its Easter on the Julian calendar, which dates from 45 BC. Greek Easter is the most important religious and cultural celebration in Greece.
Tom Galis, owner of the Greek at Greca, a restaurant at 452 Washington St. with a long history in the neighborhood, was the impresario for the Tribeca Greek Easter event.
Hours before the first guests arrived, Galis set up five spits on Washington Street in order to roast the lambs, which were the centerpiece of the menu. Side dishes included soup, salad, lemon potatoes, roasted vegetables, rice and greens.
The first course consisted of meze: tzatziki, tyrokafteri (spicy feta), hummus with pepitas
pita bread, carrots and cucumbers.
Among the desserts were baklava, spice cake and brownies.
Music was provided by a trio of musicians: a singer and two string players. They played non-stop for hours.
TICKETS NOW ON SALE FOR SEAPORT MUSEUM'S SUMMER SAILING SEASON; FREE TOURS OF THE BATTERY; BROOKLYN BRIDGE POETRY WALK
Tickets are now on sale for the South Street Seaport Museum's summer sailing season aboard the 1885 schooner Pioneer and the 1930 tugboat W.O. Decker. The season will begin on May 24 and run through October. Tickets range in price from $15 to $70. For more information and to purchase tickets, click here. (Photo of the Pioneer: Terese Loeb Kreuzer)
Pay what you wish at the South Street Seaport Museum: General Admission tickets to the South Street Seaport Museum are now Pay What You Wish during all regular open hours, Wednesday to Sunday, 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tours aboard the 1885 cargo ship Wavertree are available hourly and include access to the main deck and quarter deck. Also, at the museum's 12 Fulton St. gallery take in three exhibitions that explore the seaport’s contribution to the rise of New York, early twentieth-century ocean liner travel, and the beloved illustrations of Eric Carle. To learn more about the Museum’s Pay What You Wish tickets, click here.
In addition, free guided tours of the 1908 lightship Ambrose, a floating lighthouse, are available. Timed-entry tickets are required. For more information about guided tours of the lightship Ambrose, click here.
Services for aging New Yorkers: New York City Comptroller Brad Lander has published a questionnaire seeking input from aging New Yorkers on their experience with City services. The intent is to find unaddressed needs in order to fill in the gaps. As the City’s Chief Accountability Officer, the Comptroller's Office is responsible for ensuring that all New Yorkers have equal access to City services. To see and fill out the questionnaire, click here.
9/11 Memorial & Museum's Annual Run/Walk: Run or walk in commemoration of the nearly 3,000 lives lost on September 11 with the 9/11 Memorial & Museum, which is hosting its 11th annual 5K run/walk on April 30. You can sign up now by clicking here. If you are a 9/11 family member, local first responder, active U.S. military or veteran, you are qualified for discounted pricing. Email email@example.com for more details.
Free tours of The Battery: The Battery at the southern end of Manhattan has a rich history that includes landmarks and monuments plus the SeaGlass Carousel and the large perennial gardens that were designed by Dutch landscape architect, Piet Oudolf, who brought his knowledge of the plants that will flourish in a marine environment to The Battery. Tours are approximately 45 minutes. Arrive 10 minutes early as the tour will begin on time. Tours will not happen in the rain. The Battery staff will do its best to alert you in advance, but sometimes the forecast changes suddenly! Please reach out if you have questions about the weather forecast and its impact on your reservation. When: Tuesdays at 12:00 p.m. and Saturdays at 1:00 p.m.
RSVP by clicking here. Where: Meet at the Netherland Memorial Flagpole located at the entrance to the park near the intersection of Broadway, Battery Place, and State Street. It is across State Street from Bowling Green.
Bird Walks in The Battery, on Wednesdays at 8 a.m. beginning April 26. Many migrating birds find food and habitat in The Battery. The walks will be led by Gabriel Willow, an educator from NYC Audubon. Gabriel is an experienced birder and naturalist, and is well-versed in the ecology and history of New York City. He has been leading walks for NYC Audubon for more than 10 years, guiding new and experienced birders in all five boroughs and beyond. To protect visitors from the spread of COVID-19, the number of participants will be strictly limited. An RSVP is required for participation. For more information and to register, click here.
In April 1970, the first Earth Day rallies took place in Philadelphia, Washington, D.C., Chicago, Los Angeles and in many other American cities. In New York City, it was recorded that 20,000 people "packed Union Square" that day "to see Hollywood actor Paul Newman and hear a speech by New York City Mayor John Lindsay, who arrived on an electric bus." Today, Earth Day is observed by more than 500 million people in 174 countries. In addition, in many places, "Earth Day" has morphed into "Earth Week," as it has in Battery Park City.
The Earth Week events in Battery Park City started on April 17. The ones mentioned below are yet to come.
April 21: Earth Week: Family Birding
Learn the basics of bird watching in this fun outing for beginners, hobbyists and lifelong birders. Explore the parks of Battery Park City and see what makes them a hang-out for resident urban birds and migrating birds. Binoculars and field guides provided or bring your own. Place: Rector Park East. Time: 10:30 a.m.
Kids are invited to pick up S.T.E.A.M. (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Mathematics) at this special Earth Day themed open-air fair featuring engaging activities and a live performance from Mad Science. Place: Rockefeller Park. Time: 11 a.m. Free. To RSVP, click here.
April 22: Knickerbocker Chamber Orchestra
The Knickerbocker Chamber Orchestra will celebrate Earth Day at Brookfield Place in Battery Park City by performing "Music of Our Sphere." Originally scheduled to perform for the 50th anniversary of Earth Day in 2020, the Knickerbocker Chamber Orchestra will send music soaring into the majestic Winter Garden this Earth Day with a musical appreciation of the beauty of nature and a meditation on the spiritual and literal issues we face with our continued existence on this Earth. For more information, click here. Place: Winter Garden at Brookfield Place. Time: 7 p.m. to 8 p.m. Free.
April 22: Earth Day on Governors Island
Back for its second year, this free day-long celebration of all things ecological will feature environmental education activities for all ages, guided tours of the Island’s climate-resilient landscapes and unique Urban Farm, a bird walk focused on early migratory birds passing through Governors Island, a hands-on workshop on making your own seed balls with the Trust’s horticulture team, insect ecology activities, free bike lessons with Bike New York, an immersive performance by artist Seung-Taek Lee, and more.
The Island will host morning volunteer projects that entail hands-on, high-impact stewardship activities with Trust for Governors Island gardeners, Billion Oyster Project, National Park Service, Earth Matter, and the Bee Conservancy. Projects will focus on landscape care and are suitable for all ages and ability levels. Tools and materials will be provided.
EVENT SCHEDULE Events will take place at the Parade Ground unless otherwise noted. Pre-registration is recommended but not required for participating in volunteer projects. For the link to pre-register, click here.
10 a.m. to 10:30 a.m.: Volunteer project registration
10:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.: Island-wide volunteer projects
1 p.m.: Community Celebration with giveaways, performances, food trucks and more
1 p.m.: Urban Farm Tour with Earth Matter NY
1 p.m. to 3 p.m.: Learn to Ride kids bike class with Bike New York at the Oval
1:30 p.m.: Seeding Your Way to a Native Habitat seed ball workshop at the Urban Farm
2 p.m.: The Earth Performance: Reenactment by Seung-Taek Lee/Canal Projects
2 p.m.: Early Migration Bird Walk with NYC Audubon
2 p.m.: Introduction to the Circular Economy with Circular Economy Manufacturing
2:30 p.m.: Guided nature tour of The Hills with Trust’s horticulture team and an insect ecologist
Gary Fagin conducting the Knickerbocker Chamber Orchestra. (Photo: Terese Loeb Kreuzer)
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