News and events in Lower Manhattan
Volume 6, No. 45, June 30, 2021

"‘Freedom is never really won. You earn it and you win it with every generation.’”
    - Tennis champion Billie Jean King on the occasion of the 2018 Gay Pride Parade in New York City for which she was one of the grand marshals

Letter from the Editor: Gay Pride
Some BPC residents protest Essential Workers Monument placement in their park
Bulletin Board: Skyscraper Museum reopens; In-home Covid-19 vaccination
Calendar: River & Blues in Battery Park City

Heat advisory: A heat advisory is in effect in New York City through 8 p.m. on June 30. People without air conditioning, older adults, and people with chronic health conditions are most at risk of heat-related health problems. They should avoid strenuous activity. In addition, active children, adults, and people with lung disease such as asthma should reduce prolonged or heavy exertion outdoors. An air Quality Health Advisory is also in effect for June 30 from 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. The pollutant of concern is ground-level ozone, a major component of photochemical smog. Automobile exhaust and out-of-state emission sources are the primary sources of ground-level ozone and are the most serious air pollution problems in the northeast. This surface pollutant should not be confused with the protective layer of ozone in the upper atmosphere. When outdoor levels of ozone are elevated, going indoors will usually reduce exposure. People experiencing symptoms such as shortness of breath, chest pain or coughing should consider consulting their doctor. Ozone levels generally decrease at night and can be minimized during daylight hours by curtailment of automobile travel and the use of public transportation where available. To find cooling centers in New York City, click here.

COVID-19 CASES IN NEW YORK CITY: As of June 29, 2021 at 8:19 p.m.
939,871 confirmed cases * 33,415 deaths * 4,635,568 vaccinated in NYC

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

MASTHEAD PHOTO: Photographs and Gay Pride flags adorn the fence surrounding the Stonewall National Monument in Greenwich Village.
(Photo: ©Terese Loeb Kreuzer 2021)

Although June is designated as Gay Pride month in New York and elsewhere in the United States this year's celebrations were muted because of the Covid-19 epidemic. Nevertheless, this is a year worth noting. Forty years ago, five young men became the first confirmed AIDS patients in the United States. The intervening decades have seen a non-stop effort on the part of many people to eradicate this disease and to ensure that no one is stigmatized or ostracized because of his, her or their sexuality.
Last year (2020) because of Covid there was no huge, hours-long Gay Pride Parade in New York City even though it was the 50th anniversary of the first parade. This year there was a small parade in the West Village. However, in 2019, the 50th anniversary of the Stonewall uprising which sparked the Gay Rights movement was commemorated with a massive parade that was described as "the largest LGBTQ celebration in the world."

I didn't see that parade but the previous year, I had been asked to report on the 2018 Gay Pride observance. What I wrote was never published, so I will place part of it here. The parade, I wrote, was "the culmination of 10 days of activities and events organized by Heritage of Pride."

I continued as follows:

Heritage of Pride (HOP) was founded in 1984, five years after the Stonewall riots, to take over the planning of NYC Pride events from the disbanded Christopher Street Liberation Day Committee, former organizer of the march and the rally. The first Gay Pride march took place on Christopher Street in Greenwich Village on June 28, 1970. By 1971, the march extended between Christopher Street and Central Park.

Over the intervening years, the parade route has changed from time to time. In recent years, it started at 36th Street and Fifth Avenue and ended on Christopher Street and Greenwich Street. But this year, the route was changed so that the parade started on 16th Street and Seventh Avenue in Chelsea and after traversing a couple of blocks of Christopher Street, headed north on Fifth Avenue, ending at 29th Street.

Reportedly, the new parade route was selected by the New York Police Department (NYPD) in consultation with HOP to make the parade shorter, although that didn’t work. The march started shortly after noon and ended around 9:15 p.m.

This year [2018], there were more than 50,000 marchers from 484 groups registered to participate in the parade. Almost two-thirds of the groups were from non-profit organizations, according to James Fallarino, media director for HOP.

The day of the parade was hot and humid — typical New York City summer weather — but that didn’t deter millions of spectators from lining the streets along the parade route, waving rainbow flags. And the millions of spectators brought out the local elected officials, some of whom marched with their families along with their colleagues and supporters.

New York State Governor Andrew Cuomo was there with his partner, Sandra Lee, and two of his children. New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio was there with his wife, Chirlane McCray. And Cynthia Nixon, who is running for New York State governor, hoping to unseat Cuomo, was there with her wife, Christine Marinoni.

Given Cynthia Nixon’s obvious Gay Pride creds, Cuomo had to do something extra to express his support for the movement, and he did. On the day of the parade, he and other elected officials unveiled New York City’s first official memorial dedicated to the LGBTQ community. It’s in Hudson River Park, roughly between West 12th Street and Bethune Street and honors those lost in the Orlando Pulse nightclub shooting in June 2016 and “all victims of hate, intolerance and violence.”

Anyone seeking political passion and righteous anger in the 2018 Gay Pride Parade would not have had to look hard. Amid the colorful corporate floats were people carrying signs, some of them homemade. “Twelve transgender people have been killed in 2018,” said a sign carried by one marcher. “This needs to stop.” “Bi-gender people are valid,” said another sign. The contingent from Lambda Legal carried signs with a picture of Trump and the word “sued” plastered over his face. A sign carried by another marcher had words superimposed over the colors of the rainbow flag. “Economic justice is LGBTQ justice,” it said, followed by environmental, disability, health care, housing, immigration, reproductive justice and racial justice — all forms of LGBTQ justice.
Some of the marchers expressed their views by their choice of T-shirts. One man wore a T-shirt bearing the message “This is My America. All people are equal, Love wins, Black Lives matter, Immigrants and refugees welcome, Celebrate diversity and respect disability, Women control their bodies.”
Another man was wearing a T-shirt with a picture of U.S. Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg.

But beyond signage and T-shirts, political passion was expressed in how the marchers presented themselves in this parade, with their husbands and wives of varying genders, with their children, in exotic and flamboyant clothing that revealed their inner selves, in no clothing except for the minimum required to walk through the streets of New York without getting arrested.

Kenita Placide, one of the grand marshals of the parade and a human rights, HIV and LGBT activist from St. Lucia commented before the parade that in the Caribbean, Pride marches are not permitted. “It gives a joy to know that there are people in different places making progress,” she said. “Trinidad is having a month of Pride events, so although they can’t necessarily march, they are doing something to celebrate. We are also seeing things happening in Belize, in Curaçao, in Surinam.”

Some of the silenced LGBTQ people of the world were represented in the parade, too. Among them, there were marchers from Nigeria and from the Middle East, bringing their messages of repression to New York City.

Since the Stonewall riots of June 1969, same sex marriage laws have been passed, however equal protection in housing, employment and public accommodation is still elusive in many places. President Donald Trump broke from tradition by failing to recognize June as LGBT Pride Month. Vice President Mike Pence opposes marriage except between a man and a woman. The U.S. Supreme Court ruled that a baker was within his rights to refuse to bake a wedding cake for a gay couple.

In the few days that have passed since the [2018] parade, the threat to the LGBTQ community has grown greater — not less — with the imminent retirement of U.S. Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy. He repeatedly voted in ways that helped the LGBTQ community. In 2005, he wrote the beautifully worded Supreme Court decision upholding a right to same-sex marriage in every state.

Billie Jean King, one of the grand marshals of this year’s parade, will be 75 years old in November. In remarks before the parade started, she said that she remembers the time before Stonewall.

“The annual Pride march is a reminder of how important it is for each of us to have the opportunity and the ability to live our lives with honesty and to be our complete selves in everything we do at home, at work and in the community,” she said. “It hasn’t always been that way and it is never easy. … We stand on the shoulders of others who came before us and to keep the values and ideals of the Pride march alive. Future generations will look to us for inspiration. …I will leave you with a quote from Coretta Scott King. ‘Freedom is never really won. You earn it and you win it with every generation.’”

Terese Loeb Kreuzer

A vendor, selling his Gay Pride wares at the corner of Seventh Avenue and Grove Street, across from the Stonewall National Monument in Greenwich Village. 
(Photos: © Terese Loeb Kreuzer)
On June 24, 2011, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo signed the state's Marriage Equality Act which allowed same-sex couples to marry legally in New York for the first time. Gov. Cuomo marked the 10th anniversary of the passage of the Marriage Equality Act by signing the Gender Recognition Act, removing longstanding barriers to equality under the law and ensuring expanded protections for transgender and non-binary New Yorkers.
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On June 25, 2021, construction workers barricaded off part of the Rockefeller Park lawn in Battery Park City preparatory to beginning work on the Essential Workers Monument that is scheduled to be placed in the park and completed by Labor Day.
(Photo: © Terese Loeb Kreuzer)
Many of the residents of Battery Park City whose apartments are near Rockefeller Park in BPC's northwestern corner were furious. Perhaps alerted on June 25, 2021 by an article in Tribeca Citizen, an online news source in Lower Manhattan, they envisioned bulldozers coming for their lawn and their trees. The article was headed "State breaks ground on huge monument for Rockefeller Park lawn."

The first of 68 comments on this article was dated June 25, 2021 at 4:41 p.m. It said, "I think I'm going to throw up."

The "huge monument" in question had been commissioned by New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo to honor the hundreds of thousands of essential workers who had risked their own health and that of their families so that other New Yorkers could survive the Covid-19 pandemic. These people included health care workers of all kinds, doormen and other building staff members; people who transported, sold and delivered food; people who collected garbage; police and firefighters; teachers; security workers; corrections officers; people who kept the subways, buses and trains running; people who staffed government offices, the National Guard and more — many more.

During the early months of the pandemic when New York State had the highest infection rate in the world, Gov. Cuomo often spoke of how it broke his heart to have to tell most New Yorkers to stay home while demanding that the essential workers report to their jobs as usual.

By the late spring of 2021 the pandemic was on the wane. On April 6, 2021 Gov. Cuomo announced that he had assembled an advisory committee to develop recommendations for the design and location of an Essential Workers Monument that would be a record for the ages of who the essential workers were and what they had done. The committee, which was composed of trade union leaders representing many hundreds of thousands of essential workers, recommended that the monument be situated in Battery Park City's Rockefeller Park and that it consist of a circle of 19 newly planted maple trees surrounding two flagpoles and an eternal flame, with benches where visitors could sit as they reflected or mourned.

On June 25, the governor announced that construction would begin at the end of June and that the monument would be completed by early September for dedication on Labor Day, Sept. 6.

Apparently this was a shock to many Battery Park City residents who live near Rockefeller Park. Some of them said that all of this had been done "secretively" and without community notification or input. They were incensed not only at what they believed was happening to their park but that they hadn't been consulted.

As soon as they got wind of the plans they started protesting. They said that the monument would "destroy our limited park space, paving over grass and cutting down massive trees," in the words of one. "It's infuriating and deplorable that Cuomo would take away any of the open space in Rockefeller Park," said another. "Removing beloved, highly utilized green space for concrete and flagpoles is absolutely absurd," said a third. "Further, it makes no sense to have a monument in BPC, which wasn't particularly at the forefront of the crisis."

Some of the protesters said the monument should go "near a hospital in Queens or Brooklyn or the Bronx that was hard hit by the pandemic" or by the Staten Island ferry or on Foley Square or in the southern part of Battery Park City if necessary, but anywhere other than Rockefeller Park where "innocent children" like to play and where residents like to sit in the shade and hold birthday parties.

One of the BPC residents organized a petition asking that the Essential Workers Monument be moved to another location in the state. "Stop taking away our children's open play areas," it said. Almost 6,500 people have signed the petition to date.

On Monday, June 28, at 7 a.m. when construction was scheduled to begin, around 100 people, many of them children sat down in front of the bulldozers. The NYPD arrived and finally directed that construction equipment be moved to a far corner of the park. The orange fencing came down. A generator that had been brought to the site was removed. The protesters rejoiced.

In addition to these measures, the protesters contacted their elected representatives, who weighed in. City Councilmember Margaret Chin urged "a halt" in the current plans and said "The project is on course to create serious quality of life issues for local residents." She also said the design "would require the removal and destruction of dozens of trees as well as 29,000 square feet of open space."

Actually, according to a spokesperson for Gov. Cuomo's office, the project is slated to take down six trees, not "dozens" and to plant 19 new ones. And rather than destroying "29,000 square feet of open space" as the Councilmember asserted, the Monument would occupy a total of 10,000 square feet of which 7,000 square feet would be green space (trees and lawn).

A letter dated June 28, 2021 from New York State Sen. Brian Kavanagh and signed by U.S. Congressman Jerrold Nadler and by State Assemblymembers Deborah Glick and Yuh-Line Niou was also predicated on misinformation. "Rockefeller Park contains some of the only open green space in Lower Manhattan," said the letter. In fact, of Battery Park City's 92 acres, 36 acres are parks and gardens. In addition, just south of Battery Park City is the 25-acre Battery whose oval lawn was recently large enough to accommodate an opening night Tribeca Film Festival screening of "In the Heights."

The Kavanagh letter went on to say that the monument "would require the destruction of numerous trees as well as 29,000 square feet of open green space" — the same erroneous information that Councilmember Chin had been told.

Kavanagh said that "locating a monument in Rockefeller Park will render it largely inaccessible to many of the workers whom it seeks to honor." That is clearly questionable since hundreds of essential workers managed to show up for work in Battery Park City under extremely difficult circumstances during the many months of the pandemic.

The facts are that the Rockefeller Park lawn consists of 3.25 acres and that the monument as planned would occupy 2% of the lawn space. In addition, it would not be on the central part of the lawn but on a small, tapered area to the south of it.

Whether the monument will get built is another question. The protesters might prevail. As of 5 p.m. on June 30, there is no word one way or the other. But what does seem clear is that the super-heated reaction to the monument has been based on incomplete and even erroneous information that generated anger before all the facts were known.

— Terese Loeb Kreuzer

This is a developing story. More information will be posted on Downtown Post NYC as it becomes available.
A view of the 3.25 acre lawn in Rockefeller Park, which would be unaffected by the Essential Workers Monument. Rockefeller Park as a whole consists of eight acres.
(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
Bulletin Board
BPC branch library
Marti Cohen-Wolf and Percy Corcoran checking out books on March 13, 2010, the first day the Battery Park City Library at 175 North End Ave. opened. All available locations in the New York Public Library system, which serves Manhattan, the Bronx and Staten Island, will reopen almost to pre-pandemic levels on July 6. (Photo: © Terese Loeb Kreuzer)
Downtown Alliance seeks volunteers: Help the Downtown Alliance restore Wall Street’s Mannahatta Park to its pre-pandemic appearance. The Alliance will be planting more than 80 shrubs and a few hundred smaller plants throughout the entire park and is looking for volunteers to assist with the planting and cleanup. Date: July 2. Time: 10 a.m. start until planting is finished. Per CDC guidance, the Alliance asks that unvaccinated participants wear masks while volunteering. If anyone needs distanced participation, inform the Alliance. To volunteer, click here.

In-home COVID-19 vaccine update: In-home COVID-19 vaccinations are now available to all New Yorkers ages 12 and older. For more information and to schedule a vaccination appointment, click here or call (877) 829-4692.

Art On The Ave NYC to showcase underrepresented artists: Lower Manhattan storefronts will be transformed into a public art gallery this fall with an exhibition that explores resiliency. The project is the latest installation from Art on the Ave NYC, a nonprofit community initiative whose mission is to spotlight underrepresented artists by exhibiting their work in storefronts. The installation will be presented by the Alliance for Downtown New York, Lower Manhattan's nonprofit business improvement district.

Art on the Ave NYC is currently seeking artist submissions through July 2. Submissions should be guided by the concept of “resiliency” meaning the ability to demonstrate adaptability and the capacity to thrive in changing or challenging environments. The work can reflect the artist's personal experiences, the city’s response to Covid, or New Yorkers’ responses to the uncertainties and thrills of urban life.

For more information and to apply, click here.

Perks for getting vaccinated: Covid-19 vaccination sites run by New York City are offering a variety of gifts and rewards for getting vaccinated. Among them is a chance to win $2,500. Each week during July, there will be 10 winners. For more information on the perks and for a list of City-run vaccination sites, click here.

Skyscraper Museum reopens: Beginning July 15 The Skyscraper Museum at 39 Battery Place will reopen its public galleries on Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays. Admission will be free, at least through January. The hours will be noon to 6 p.m. Visitors will be able to see the museum's long-delayed SUPERTALL! 2020 exhibition, now renamed SUPERTALL 2021! which presents a survey of 58 supertalls worldwide. The exhibition will also showcase a dozen recently completed towers that represent some of the most stunning new forms and innovative approaches to structural engineering around the world today. The Skyscraper Museum's virtual lecture series WORLD VIEW presented talks by the principal designers of these extraordinary projects. You can watch these programs on the museum's website or YouTube channel. For more information about the museum, click here.

NYC public libraries reopen: All available locations in the New York Public Library system, which serves Manhattan, the Bronx and Staten Island, will reopen almost to pre-pandemic levels on July 6. Some libraries in the system will be unavailable because they are under construction or need repairs. All other locations will offer unlimited browsing, desktop computer use, laptop loan and general library use, including open seating. Outdoor programs are being planned throughout July. In-person public programs and classes will begin to be rescheduled at various times in July. Pre-pandemic hours are expected to resume on July 19. Check for the most up-to-date hours. Masks remain mandatory at all NYPL locations.

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. Little Island is hosting a season of performances and educational programming, much of which are 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.

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.

Late hours on Governors Island: From July 4 weekend through Labor Day weekend, Governors Island will be open to visitors until 10 p.m. on Fridays and Saturdays. Ferry service will be expanded to accommodate the later hours. Many of Governors Island’s food vendors will offer evening food and drinks as part of the expanded nighttime hours. Blazing Saddles bike rentals will expand bicycle availability until sunset. Additional late-night vendors, activities and special programs will be announced throughout the season.

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.
Spotlight: River & Blues
Bettye LaVette singing at the River & Blues Festival in Battery Park City's Wagner Park on July 31, 2014. Subsequently, LaVette won many awards for her singing including several Grammy nominations. In 2020 she was inducted into the Blues Hall of Fame. Abby Ehrlich, who appears briefly at the end of this video clip, is still in charge (among other things) of booking talent for the River & Blues Concert Series for the Battery Park City Authority. She has proven over the years that she knows a lot of people whose work is worth hearing and seeing. (Video © Terese Loeb Kreuzer)

Coming in July to Battery Park City: 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.
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Editor: Terese Loeb Kreuzer

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