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News and events in Lower Manhattan

Volume 6, No. 78, Dec. 25, 2023

CONTENTS:


Letter From the Editor: This is an Emergency

Shopping at the National Museum of the American Indian

Bulletin Board: Price Gouging Warning From New York Attorney General James

Calendar: Holiday Events in Lower Manhattan


For the latest weather info: www.weather.gov/okx/.


Go to www.DowntownPostNYC.com for breaking news and for updated information on facility closures related to COVID-19 


MASTHEAD PHOTO: A black ash basket in the store of the National Museum of the American Indian has a sculpture on the lid depicting Sky Woman who, according to the Iroquois creation story, fell to Earth through a hole in the Sky World.

(Photo: © Terese Loeb Kreuzer)


LETTER FROM THE EDITOR: THIS IS AN EMERGENCY

Terese Loeb Kreuzer

Editor, Downtown Post NYC

If you live and/or work in Lower Manhattan, you may have heard that Mount Sinai wants to close Beth Israel Hospital at 281 First Ave. on the Lower East Side. In fact, Mount Sinai has already started closing beds and services even though this was not sanctioned as is required by the New York State Department of Health. On Thursday, Dec. 21, 2023, the Department of Health ordered Mount Sinai to cease and desist.


Perhaps you’ve had the good fortune not to require emergency medical care or substantive medical care of any kind and you think that what happens to Beth Israel Hospital won’t affect you. You may be wrong about that. Emergencies, by definition, don’t announce themselves in advance.


In July of this year, I found out all about that. I required four emergency room visits and ended up being hospitalized for five days during which time I had to have surgery.

Based on my experience, let me tell you that if you need to go to an emergency room in Lower Manhattan, this is what you can currently expect. The first ER that I went to was Lenox Health Greenwich Village, which is part of the Northwell Health network.


Although I was bleeding profusely when I walked into the ER a few minutes after midnight, it took two-and-a-half hours before a doctor came to see me. That was because there was only one doctor on duty and one physician’s assistant. I was told when I inquired that there were 30 patients in the ER that night and that my problem was not considered as pressing as that of some others needing help.


By the next morning, after some tests, the doctor wanted to send me to the Lenox Hill Hospital on the Upper East Side. I declined, not wanting to leave my neighborhood. I was discharged against medical advice.

A day later, I started bleeding again and that time I went to the Weill Cornell emergency room which is on William Street and is part of the New York Presbyterian network. I was seen promptly. Some tests were done that replicated what had already been done at Lenox Health, and I was told that the tests didn’t show anything that would explain my situation. I was discharged and told to return if I started bleeding again. That’s exactly what happened the next day.


When I went back to Weill Cornell the next day, the emergency room was packed. There wasn’t even a curtained alcove to put me in. For hours, I lay on a gurney in a corridor. Finally, a gurney was found for me behind a curtain. I was tested and was told that I needed to be hospitalized. There is a hospital next to and affiliated with the Weill Cornell emergency room but there was no bed for me there. I spent the night in the ER. Around 9 a.m. the next day, I was admitted to the hospital. I won’t go into the details of what happened to me there, but I will say that this hospital and Mount Sinai Beth Israel are currently the only general hospitals below 23rd Street in Lower Manhattan.


So consider what I’ve just told you when I say that Mount Sinai wants to close Beth Israel Hospital and is already actively moving in that direction. Beth Israel is part of the Mount Sinai Health System, a hospital network that was formed in September 2013 by merging the operations of Continuum Health Partners and the Mount Sinai Medical Center. And what is this “Continuum Health Partners?” The short answer is that Continuum Health Partners is the parent corporation for St. Luke’s-Roosevelt Hospital on the Upper West Side and for the Beth Israel Medical Center. The New York Eye and Ear Infirmary on Second Avenue at 14th Street joined Continuum in 2004. The merger with the Mount Sinai Medical Center in 2013 completed the Continuum Health Partners portfolio. All of these entities have been in financial trouble and all of them have been socked with lawsuits of various kinds having to do with contracts with Aetna insurance, overbilling Medicare, the improper disclosure of patient medical records and employment discrimination.


On its website, Mount Sinai Beth Israel explains that Beth Israel must be closed “due to the changing healthcare landscape and financial reality at MSBI.” Mount Sinai says this was a difficult decision but that “after closure, patients will still be able to access care from across the Mount Sinai Health System.” According to Mount Sinai, Beth Israel is on track to lose $150 million this year and fewer patients are attempting to get care there than ever before.


This news has already precipitated resignations from Beth Israel's health care staff.

On Dec. 14, there was a rally on the Lower East Side to urge that Mount Sinai Beth Israel not be closed. It was led by City Council member Carlina Rivera.


According to NY1 Spectrum News, New York State Assembly member Deborah Glick, who represents the 66th AD covering part of northern Battery Park City, Tribeca, SoHo, Greenwich Village and NoHo, has said that “she has deep concerns the closure will leave the area severely underserved.” She said that “They are shifting services that are needed downtown to other parts of their system, leaving lower Manhattan with a serious deficit in access to services.”

While all of this is going on, the residential population of Lower Manhattan has been increasing rapidly. The Downtown Alliance has stated that the 2020 Census indicated that Lower Manhattan now has almost 61,000 residents and is one of the fastest growing communities in New York City.


All I can advise if you live and/or work in this neighborhood, don’t have a heart attack or a stroke because time is of the essence in receiving treatment and given New York City traffic, it might take awhile to get you to a hospital. You might have to go a long way through narrow, crowded streets to get the care you need and you might not make it.


—   Terese Loeb Kreuzer

The Village Independent Democrats, a political club in Lower Manhattan, has organized a "Coalition to Save Beth Israel" with a survey soliciting opinions as to what should be done in regard to Beth Israel Hospital. The results of the survey will be sent to the Department of Health. If you want your opinion to be considered, fill out the survey no later than January 7, 2024. You can access the survey by clicking here.

Downtown Post NYC's website (www.DowntownPostNYC.com) 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.

HOW TO SUPPORT DOWNTOWN POST NYC: I made Downtown Post NYC free to subscribers so that no one who was interested in reading it would be excluded because of cost. Downtown Post NYC is largely supported by advertising revenue. In addition, some people have made contributions, which are much appreciated. For more information about how to contribute or advertise, email editor@downtownpostnyc.com.

SHOPPING AT THE

NATIONAL MUSEUM OF THE AMERICAN INDIAN

The store at the National Museum of the American Indian at 1 Bowling Green in Manhattan stocks a large variety of items including clothing, tote bags, kitchen towels and oven mitts, pottery, jewelry, sculpture, food, books, children's toys and more.

(Photos: © Terese Loeb Kreuzer)

The store in the National Museum of the American Indian, part of the Smithsonian Institution, isn't just stocked with things to buy. It's stocked with memories, traditions, history and the work of thousands of hands. Almost everything in the store was handmade by indigenous artists and craftsmen from the United States, Canada and Central and South America. The Smithsonian Institution has buyers who select merchandise for the store and who pay the artists and craftsmen up front for their work even before offering this merchandise to the public. The revenue from their work is a lifeline for many members of indigenous communities. According to an article published in January 2023 by the American Bar Association, "More than one in four Indians live in poverty, the highest rate of any racial group in the United States." ("Federal Policies Trap Tribes in Poverty")


Jake Johnson, the manager of the store, says "We are constantly looking for new partnerships to expand our selection."


Because 100 percent of the revenue from the store supports the Smithsonian's education mission, all items sold in the store are tax free. In addition, members of the National Museum of the American Indian receive a 10 percent discount on their purchases, up to $200.


The National Museum of the American Indian and the museum store are open 364 days a year, closing only for Christmas Day. Regular hours of operation are 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Admission is free. For more information, click here.

Each of these cross-body bags was hand-beaded by Darryl MacDonald from the Siksika Nation, whose territory extends from Alberta and Saskatchewan, Canada to the Yellowstone River in Montana. Each piece takes MacDonald approximately 70 hours to create. The bags cost between $2,000 and $3,000.

Navajo folk art birds cost between $20 and $50.

Beadwork

There are many differing Native American beading traditions. At one time, beads were carved from materials such as shells, coral, turquoise and animal bones. Glass beads were introduced from Europe hundreds of years ago. Today fine seed beads are the primary material used by most Native American beadworkers.


Navajo Folk Art

Folk art is non-utilitarian and non-ceremonial. It can be fanciful like these colorfully painted birds wearing red, high-top sneakers, (appropriate foot gear for a carved roadrunner)! These distinctive birds are recognizable by their crested heads and long tails. Roadrunners, who can run up to 15 miles an hour, live in Texas, Oklahoma, New Mexico, Arizona and California.

A carved and painted cowboy on his horse was made by Navajo folk artist, Delbert Buck.

Ronni-Leigh Goeman of the Onondaga nation in northern New York State, made the basket in the foreground.

She has been making baskets since she was 19 years old and for 25 years has been collaborating with Stonehorse Goeman, who carves the sculptures on the basket lids. Many of Ronni-Leigh's baskets tell a story. This basket tells a creation story about Sky Woman, who fell from the sky bringing life to Earth and its creatures. It costs $5,000. The award-winning basket in the background was made by Eric Bacon of the Passamaquoddy nation in Maine. It costs $6,800.

Jovanna Poblano's beaded necklaces often highlight a unique stone held in a setting of tiny crystal beads surrounded by a fringe of beads that might be made of crystals, stones or shells and sometimes of 22k gold. The necklace on the left in this picture costs $4,500. The one on the right costs $2,400.

Navajo Cowboy

Some of the Navajo folk artists sign their work and have a following. Among them is Delbert Buck. He is a self-taught wood carver and an electrician by profession. His carvings depict life on the reservation where he lives.




Black Ash Baskets

Black ash baskets like the one in the foreground by Ronni-Leigh Goeman and the one in the background by Eric Bacon are becoming increasingly precious and expensive as the supply of black ash trees dwindles due to a metallic green insect called the "Emerald Ash Borer" that was discovered in Michigan in 2002 and is systematically destroying all of the black ash trees in the United States and Canada.

Necklaces

Two striking necklaces by Zuni artist Jovanna Poblano are available in the NMAI store. Following in the footsteps of her late grandfather, Leo Poblano, who was one of the first Zuni fetish carvers, Jovanna Poblano is the third generation in her family to make her living as an artist. Poblano has said, "My mother, Veronica Poblano, and my brother, Dylan, and I have dedicated our lives to our art."

A zippered and capacious tote bag in the NMAI store comes from Guatemala and costs $50.

The National Museum of the American Indian store carries jewelry in varying prices. Some of it is by well-known designers and priced accordingly.

Textiles, bags and clothing


The store in the National Museum of the American Indian carries an interesting array of textiles and clothing. Scarves come in a range of fabrics, colors and prices. Bags of various kinds and backpacks are fabricated from distinctive textiles, or are adorned with them. A handsome black wool jacket from Guatemala is embellished with brightly colored textile patches on the collar, cuffs and pockets.


Jewelry

Although Tammy Garcia, a sculptor and potter from the Santa Clara Pueblo is primarily known for her ceramics, visitors to the National Museum of the American Indian store in Manhattan can see some of her work as a jeweler as well. Finely crafted jewelry from the renowned artists of the Santa Domingo pueblo is also carried by the NMAI store.

The NMAI store has recently started carrying food from indigenous sources. The selection includes syrups, sauces, seasonings and more. Native-made tea comes in four flavors, Juniper-Berry, an herbal tea accented with crimson hibiscus petals; Peppermint-Chamomile, which combines the digestive benefits of peppermint with the relaxing benefits of chamomile; Cinnamon-Apricot, which is a mix of dried fruits and flowers and is caffeine-free and Cinnamon-Cardamom, an herbal blend that can be served hot or poured over ice. Among the syrups are wild blueberry and maple syrup.



Food

An award-winning cookbook entitled "Food of the Americas: Native Recipes and Traditions" by Fernando Divina and Marlene Divina can provide a perspective on Native food along with information on how to cook it and use Native ingredients in recipes. When this cookbook won a James Beard award in 2005, a reviewer named Deborah Madison said, “This very important book will open the reader's mind to the culinary wisdom and ingenuity of the Native peoples of the Americas. Then it will open the reader's mouth to an enticing world of new flavors, which are in fact ancient and indigenous.”

The Navajo folk art sheep are handmade of wood and wool. They cost between $80 and $600.

Jake Johnson is the manager of the National Museum of the American Indian store at 1 Bowling Green in Manhattan. "This iteration of the store opened in January 2018," he said. He added that he has been "stationed at NMAI-NY in my role since April 2016." Johnson is standing next to a totem pole carved by Francis Horne, Sr., a member of the Coast Salish, whose once little-known art he has helped to preserve. A self-taught artist, he is also a carver who has created both major totem poles and sculptures for international commissions. He teaches carving and practices First Nation spirituality. This totem pole costs $20,000.

Children

The NMAI store has many items for children. These Navajo folk art sheep might decorate a child's room. The store also carries books and music for children, children's clothing and backpacks and dolls in native dress.





Store Manager with Coast Salish Totem

The Coast Salish are one of six nations in the Canadian Northwest to make totem poles. They tell the stories of First Nations families and clans and record important historical events. Like the totem pole next to which Jake Johnson is standing, most totem poles historically were carved from mature cedar trees, which resist rot. Although in the last century, traditional pole carving nearly died out, today's indigenous carvers are bringing back the crests and stories of the poles for families and clans to pass along to future generations.

The National Museum of the American Indian store is a wonderland of craft, artistry, history and fantasy. Much of what's in the store is handmade, using traditional materials but sometimes employing them in non-traditional ways. While the skills of individual artists of renown are vividly exemplified in their work, some of what's in the store represents not an individual but a cultural tradition.

Tea, Cookies and Other Gifts from Té Company


For information on gifts from Té Company, click here.

The tearoom is at 163 West 10th St.

Open Tuesday through Sunday. For hours, click here.



The Greek at Greca 

452 Washington St. in Tribeca


Greca is closed on Dec. 25


Otherwise breakfast and lunch are served daily. From Thursday to Sunday, in addition to breakfast and lunch, The Greek at Greca also serves dinner.


For hours, menus and photographs, click here

Email: info@thegreektribeca.com

Phone: (917) 261-4795


Bulletin Board


PRICE GOUGING WARNING FROM ATTORNEY GENERAL JAMES

The Hudson River during Tropical Storm Isaias on Aug. 4, 2020

(Photo: Terese Loeb Kreuzer)

On April 4, 2020, Channel 7 Eyewitness News reported that Tropical Storm Isaias had "unleashed tornadoes, dangerous winds, and heavy rain sweeping through the Tri-State area with nearly as much power as it had after making landfall as a hurricane near Ocean Isle Beach, North Carolina. More than 12 hours after coming ashore, Isaias still had sustained top winds of 65 mph (105 kph). By mid-afternoon a racing Isaias had crossed the state line just west of New York City, where winds forced the Staten Island ferry and outdoor subway lines to shut down."


Tropical Storm Isaias was a reminder that in addition to Superstorm Sandy on Oct. 29, 2012, we've had monster storms in New York City and will undoubtedly have them again. With that in mind, New York State Attorney General Letitia James has issued bulletins from time to time telling consumers that "price gouging of essential goods and services in the aftermath of heavy rainstorms that caused flash flooding and significant damages in New York City, Long Island, the Hudson Valley, and other parts of the state" is illegal.


"New York's price gouging statute prevents businesses from taking advantage of consumers by selling essential goods or services at an excessively higher price during market disruptions or emergencies," says AG James. She "urges New Yorkers who see higher price essential goods and services, including ride hailing, to report the issue to her office."


The goods and services in question include "food, water, gasoline, generators, batteries, flashlights, hotel lodging and transportation options," according to press releases from the Attorney General's office. "When reporting price gouging to the Office of the Attorney General, consumers should report the specific increased prices, dates and places that they saw the increased price and provide copies of their sales receipts and photos of the advertised prices, if available."


Price gouging violations can carry penalties of up to $25,000 per violation. New Yorkers should report potential concerns about price gouging by filing a complaint online or calling (800) 771-7755.


— Terese Loeb Kreuzer

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

To see the events and activities on the Battery Park City Authority's winter calendar, click here. Most events are free. For some, reservations are required.

CALENDAR

Spotlight: Holiday events in Lower Manhattan

A National Park Service guide pointing to a map incised into the outdoor memorial of the African Burial Ground showing the approximate boundaries of the original cemetery, which was used between the 1640s and 1794 to bury slaves and other people of African descent. Originally, the cemetery covered 6.6 acres. The memorial near Broadway and Duane Street is three-quarters of an acre. (Photo: Terese Loeb Kreuzer)

Dec. 26, 2023 to Jan. 1, 2024: The African Burial Ground at 290 Broadway in Lower Manhattan is the oldest and largest known excavated burial ground in North America for both free and enslaved Africans. It protects the historic role slavery played in building New York City. The site honors both the spirit of those buried here and those who fought for the respectful protection of this site for this and future generations.


Kwanzaa will be celebrated at the African Burial Ground National Monument with both in-person and virtual programming as follows: Dec. 26: African drumming, libation, performances, spoken word and a speaker from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. in the lobby of the Ted Weiss Federal Building, 290 Broadway. Dec. 27, 28 and 29: from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. cultural demonstrators will offer crafts in the park’s multipurpose room. Dec. 29: from 12 noon to 1 p.m. the park will host a Kinara-Side Chat in the park’s theater. Dec. 30: from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. there will be libation, African drumming, performances and a speaker in the lobby of the Ted Weiss Federal Building. Visitors should plan on arriving 15 minutes before the beginning of each event to go through airport-style security. From Dec. 26, 2023 to Jan. 1, 2024, rangers will offer daily programming that will include learning and understanding the Kwanzaa principles. For daily videos, go to www.nps.gov/afbg. Admission is free.

The Statue of Liberty in New York Harbor. (Photo: © Terese Loeb Kreuzer)

Holiday visit to the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island: Consider spending a day of your holiday visiting the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island. You would have to dress warmly to counteract the chill winds on the harbor, but you wouldn't have to fight the crowds as you would have to do in the summer. If this idea appeals to you at all, here are some details: Visitors arrive by ferry service. All ferry tickets include access to the Statue of Liberty Museum and the Ellis Island National Museum of Immigration. Separate reservations must be made for pedestal and crown access. Tickets are limited based on safety and security standards.


To visit both islands in one day, the National Park Service recommends an early ferry departure. Tickets are purchased through Statue City Cruises, the official ferry service provider. Ferries provide transportation to both Liberty Island and Ellis Island. One ferry ticket includes access to both islands. Purchasing tickets through vendors other than Statue Cruises may result in unnecessary additional charges. For more information, visit our Fees and Passes page.


General Admission: This ticket is the most widely available ticket. Visitors will have access to both islands, including entry to both the Statue of Liberty Museum and the Ellis Island National Museum of Immigration. This is the only ticket available when crown and pedestal reservations are full. General Admission tickets do not get you access inside the statue or pedestal.


Pedestal Ticket: Tickets are limited and reservations are required. Pedestal tickets allow visitors to access up to the top of the pedestal, which includes lower pedestal levels. These are purchased online only through Statue City Cruises.


Crown Ticket: Tickets are limited and reservations are required. Crown tickets allow visitors to access the crown of the statue, which includes a walk up 162 steps from the feet of the statue to the crown. There is no elevator access to the crown. These are purchased online only through Statue City Cruises.


The Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island are closed on Dec. 25 but will reopen on Dec. 26.


For more information and to book tickets through Statue City Cruises, click here.


For more information from the National Park Service, click here.



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Editor: Terese Loeb Kreuzer


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