All posts by Lizbeth

About Lizbeth

Elizabeth has been a resident of Battery Park City since 1985, where she and her sister were beneficiaries of the neighborhood’s first school bus stop. She loves to travel, but loves even more to come home. The Battery Park Esplanade is her favorite neighborhood fixture, where you’ll often find her soaking up the sun, rollerblading, or simply enjoying the view.

Battery Park City South Skyline

BatteryParkCity.com version 2.0: Commitment to Community

Battery Park City South Skyline
Battery Park City South Skyline

When we first opened our digital doors to the community as Battery-Park.com, we knew that we wanted to help give a platform to our community by the time of the 10th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks. With very little money, but a lot of passion, we’ve worked hard to build the site and bring information to our neighborhood.

The core reason we launched BatteryParkCity.com was to create a digital community to connect the neighborhood that we love. In the past year, we’ve gotten to know our neighbors better through this site, Facebook, and Twitter.

Behind the scenes, we’ve been hard at work to make sure we offer better access to the growing online community at BatteryParkCity.com. Interestingly, we’ve watched a few things happen both inside and out:

  • A growing percentage of our readers are viewing the site through iPads and iPhones.
  • We’ve watched engagement grow from our Twitter (http://twitter.com/batterypark) and Facebook page (http://facebook.com/batterypark)
  • Our contributors and writers have experienced some speed bumps in terms of publishing posts.
  • Some of our favorite areas of the sites were virtual crickets — despite the personal attachment, love, and attention we gave those areas

So we went back to the lab and tried to accommodate for the growing pains and learnings. Today, as our way of honoring the community on the 10th Anniversary of September 11th, we mark the official relaunch of BatteryParkCity.com.

Some new features launched today:

  • BatteryParkCity.com is optimized for mobile viewing and commenting: Our site is now optimized for the growing lot of you that are viewing from tablets and mobile phones. (It’s a lot of you.)
  • Facebook Connect: We love all the Facebook comments we receive, and its become a huge part of what makes our site great. So we’ve enabled a way to offer seamless commenting for our FB friends.
  • Redesign of our Newsletter: We’ve redesigned and updated our newsletter to offer more news/alerts/events/promotions for those who want the information as fast as we get it. Please sign up if you aren’t already receiving it.

Last but not least — as our way of honoring the community at large and as our way of paying tribute to the last 10 years we have lived through together — we would like to make an announcement:

BatteryParkCity.com will be offering free advertising support for selected businesses who have served our community since September 11th, 2001.

As a community we rely on you to help serve our neighborhood. Several great and beloved businesses within our community have lost their fight to stay here. This year alone we’ve watched more than a handful of our favorite businesses shut their doors for good. We always envisioned BatteryParkCity.com as a means to help our community — residents and businesses alike — to stay committed to the resurgence of the neighborhood.

We hope to be able to lend a hand and provide support for those small business owners who share our unending commitment to Battery Park City. Interested businesses should contact us.

We were never here to make money: We’re here to make a difference. We hope that together we can do that.

–Elizabeth
Publisher of BatteryParkCity.com

Former World Trade Center Site

10 Years.

Former World Trade Center Site
Former World Trade Center Site

The fireworks set me off tonight.

For an eve that I’m sure most of us have reserved for quiet contemplation, arising with the dissonance of speedboats and now the thunderous boom of fireworks before we rest our heads. The commemoration seems a bit excessive.

It  has been voiced today that for most of us who have lived through the attacks on the World Trade Center – the spectacle is not necessary as much as the ability to have calm reflection with ourselves and our family.

Every year since the attacks — and now 10 years later — our neighborhood transforms into a media spectacle. Satellite trucks beaming the signal into the stars – the echos of the reading of names. Each syllable tears open old wounds. Yes, a decade old but surprisingly fresh – the way we celebrate and mourn is almost like pressing a rewind button back to 2002.

In 2002, for the first anniversary of the 9/11 attacks, the Red Cross was on hand – deploying an army of volunteers to simply hand out pocket tissues. They have not returned since, but in someway it probably wouldn’t hurt for them to come back tomorrow.

This year, will mark the launch of the 9/11 Memorial. Here is to the hope that  with this unveiling the commemoration events will change. Our neighborhood has been slow to recover — but inevitably the renaissance is around the bend. Would it be wrong to also call for a renaissance of the way we commemorate?

We should never forgetbut does that mean we have to relive?  The increased terror alerts, the carrying ID in and out of the neighborhood, the shutdown of access to the area, the reading of the names, the images, the interviews, the documentaries – to be parsed out every minute on 9/11 — for the rest of our lives? What will happen when the generation born today, will be the media makers of tomorrow? Will they be able to strike the balance and present to us the images and stories in a way that won’t offend the sensitivities of the generation that has lived it? To balance the equation of sensationalism, media, commemoration, ratings and patriotism – currently has no solution.

Tonight I will fall asleep and I will dream that tomorrow we will turn a corner in the way we remember – for a 9/11 commemoration that helps to heal more than hurt.

Park Place Subway Station

Death on World Trade Center Platform

Park Place Subway Station
Park Place Subway Station

A subway mugger fell to his death today after running from the police on an E-train subway platform at the World Trade Center stop.

The suspect was a man in his 20’s who had allegedly robbed another passenger of $150 at knifepoint early Thursday morning.

While fleeing between cars, the man had purportedly fell onto the tracks.

The victim had called 911 and asked officers to meet him at the World Trade Center stop. While under chase by the NYPD, the mugger fell onto the tracks and was hit by a northbound E-train, leaving the station.

According to WABC, “Police said he tried to jump from the platform to the train, attempting to land in the space between train cars.”

The mugger is believed to have been involved in another armed robbery yesterday near Pace University.  Authorities have not released the identity of either victims.

Lower Manhattan's Best Coffee Shops

National Coffee Day: Battery Park City’s Best Cups of Joe

Lower Manhattan's Best Coffee Shops
Battery Park City's Best Coffee Spots

Did you know today was National Coffee Day? Which is mind boggling to me because I quite frankly can’t live without the stuff, so everyday is national coffee day in my house.

Whether it comes from your house, from a cart or on the go, we’ve got a million different places in Lower Manhattan to enjoy a freshly brewed cup, but we’ve rounded up some of our favorites.

Several places around the city are giving away cups of Joe in celebration, including our neighborhood. Manon’s Cafe is holding special coffee events for the rest of the week at all three of their locations. To find our more, check out the event page.

Although it has long since shuttered,  an honorable mention to Oren’s Daily Roast which used to grace us in the North Cove area. Here are some other fantastic places to celebrate National Coffee Day.

La Colombe @ 319 Church Street (212) 343-1515
This Philadelphia based company set up shop in NYC and has quickly risen to be one of the top coffee shops in the city. If you like to grab and go, this place might not be for you as the art of the cup is in how you make it.

Bean and Bean @ 71 Broadway, New York (212) 422-8083
One of the great advantages of being a coffee lover in NYC is access to Porto Rico beans. However, if you can’t make it to any of the Porto Rico locations, you can quickly grab a cup from Bean and Bean on Broadway. The coffee shop serves Porto Rico beans as well as offering freshly roasted beans for anyone who wants to brew a cup from the comforts of their own coffee machine.

Kaffe 1668 @ 275 Greenwich St (212) 693-3750
A purveyor of some of the best beans available in the country, Kaffe is a great place to sit, chat and meet new friends. If you’re also interested, you can buy a wooden sheep. (Has anyone reading this actually purchased one of those?)

Dean and Deluca @ 100 Broadway (212) 577-2153
If drinking coffee is only as good as the donut it’s sitting next to, then Dean and Deluca is your place. Before you start clamoring, “But … what about Dunking Donuts?!” I’ll quickly explain. Dean and Deluca offers freshly made and seasonal Doughnut Plant donuts. Never had one? It’s worth the trip to Borders to check it out. They sell out everyday so your best bet is to grab the joe and the dough in the morning.

Financier @ Several Downtown Manhattan Locations
They used to brew Illy beans, but have since started serving up their special house blends. Honestly, they taste just like their former Illy brews, but we will trust they are special. Every cup comes accompanied by a bite sized morsel of their signature financier, a madeline type cake.

Dunkin Donuts, McDonalds, Starbucks, (Yada yada!)
You know where they are, and I know you know where they are — but the coffee is worth mentioning. 🙂

Hooray coffee! 🙂 If we’ve left out any of your favorite spots, let us know in the comments!

Stuyvesant High School

40% of Stuyvesant Students Live at Poverty Levels

Stuyvesant High School
Stuyvesant High School in Battery Park City

They are the best, the brightest and poorest students in the city.

Contrary to the overwhelming belief that kids who make it to Stuyvesant High School are often thought of as coming from families with a leg up in class and ability to pay for preparation for The Specialized High Schools Admissions Test, the federal government believes otherwise.

This year, the high school will be receiving federal support after being designated as a “high poverty school.”

An overwhelming population of students are receiving free or reduced lunches at the school, qualifying Stuyvesant as a high poverty school, prompting Title I funding from the federal government.

In a recent campaign to properly identify the students at need, parents have counted the declining economy and students from new immigrant families at the school, are some of the reasons for the increase of impoverished students at Stuyvesant.

The numbers are staggering.

A count of students at the poverty level in 2006 accounted for only 17%, where as in 2009, nearly 40% of the entire school were considered at the poverty level.

The federal aid will provide nearly $1.6 million, which accounts for 10% of the high school’s total operating budget.

For alumni or those who would like to donate tax deductible donations for student groups and resources can visit the Stuyvesant High School Alumni Association website.

Se Jah Meh in the financial district has closed.

R.I.P: Se Ja Meh – A Korean Restaurant Bites the Dust


Se Jah Meh in the financial district has closed.
Se Jah Meh in the financial district has closed.

As exciting as our food news has been this summer, another local restaurant has quietly bit the proverbial dust.

Having endured not one but 3 location changes before and after 9/11, the Korean restaurant Se Ja Meh on Greenwich street has closed down for good.

It’s always sad to see restaurants close, but it’s even sadder to see restaurants with interesting ethnic cuisines close.

Another restaurant on the way towards closing is Pan Latin Cafe on Chambers Street according to several news outlets in our area.

We wish the owners of both establishments well!

Future renditions of the World Trade Center

FUTURE: A Glimpse into the new World Trade Center

Future renditions of the World Tradde Center
The Future World Trade Center Site (Courtesy: Silverstein Properties)

As we remember what happened to our community and nation as a whole in the past, we look forward to the future of our neighborhood. Through the stunning renditions offered by Silverstein Properties, we are offered a glimpse into what our neighborhood will be when the World Trade Center site is completed.

See more views by clicking on the links below:


New World Trade Center by Day

New Downtown Skyline by Day

New World Trade Center View Looking South

New World Trade Center View Looking South at Dusk

World Trade Center Site at Night

World Trade Center Site from Midtown (Sepia)

New Downtown Skyline by Night

*Images Courtesy of Silverstein Properties

September 11th Anniversary Rituals

OpEd: To Stay or To Go? The 9/11 Conundrum.

September 11th Anniversary Rituals
The September 11th Anniversary Rituals (Credit: Cleveland.com)

Every year, the thought of September 11th, leaves me a little stunned.

Stunned in the sense that I’m a little too reluctant to leave my apartment to deal with the deluge of news trucks parked in our neighborhood, the restrictions and the reading of the names. A little unwilling to be around a television from 8:45 AM for exactly 102 minutes. Every year, I expect the Red Cross to be around the corner handing out small facial tissue packages to wipe away public tears.

The Red Cross is long gone, but the ritual has remained.

Although I am for the reading of the all of the victim’s name catharsis for 9/11 families — it still stings a bit much for me to endure all the names. The air in our area can be a gloriously crisp autumn day, but the air is always heavy.

The visual cues of the news trucks, the bagpipes, and the sounds from the loudspeakers transport me to yesterday. It can be a bit overwhelming sometimes.

Which leads me to wonder…

The environment and landscape in which we have bred this kind of grieving is quickly changing. In a few years, we will no longer have the construction site or the former Deutsche Bank building as a reminder of the injustice and terror will be long gone. What will happen to the rituals? Should they continue as they have for the past 9 years? Or will they evolve?

I was surprised after reading some status’ on our Facebook page, that some of you share these same sentiments. Unsure if it’s right to escape the neighborhood or stay.

It’s definitely food for thought and would love to know yours as we approach the anniversary of 9/11.

Imam Feisal Abdul Raif is leading the Ground Zero mosque building efforts

Pastor Jones Falsely Alleges Imam Will Move Park51

Imam Feisal Abdul Raif is leading the Ground Zero mosque building efforts
Imam Feisal Abdul Raif is leading the Ground Zero mosque building efforts

6:04PM UPDATE:

Park51 spokesperson confirms allegations made by Pastor Jones is false on Twitter.

“Official: It is untrue that Park51 is being moved. The project is moving ahead as planned. What is being reported in the media is false.”

————————–

5:53PM UPDATE: According to the NYTimes:

Mr. Jones claimed that Mr. Rauf “has agreed to move the location.” He added:

That cannot of course happen overnight, but he has agreed to do it…. The imam has agreed to move the mosque and we have agreed to cancel our event on Saturday. And on Saturday I will be flying up there to meet with him.”

Confirmation has not been received from Park51 spokespersons or the Imam himself. Story is still developing.

————————-

We have just received word that Imam Feisal Abdul Raif has just indicated that he will move the Park51 Community Center away from its initial local at 45-51 Park Place. The location was located 2 blocks from the World Trade Center site.

In light of the nationwide call for Koran burning, Imam Feisal Abdul Raif had asked what it would take to stop the burning, and thus agreed he will be move the planned Islamic community center and mosque.

Pastor Jones made the announcement in front of nationwide media, but has not yet been confirmed by the Imam himself.

Details are pending, please stay tuned to Eyewitness News right now for their breaking coverage.

Lower Manhattan gears up for Fashion's Night Out

Businesses Looking Forward to Fashion’s Night Out

Lower Manhattan gears up for Fashion's Night Out
Lower Manhattan gears up for Fashion's Night Out (Credit: A Uno Tribeca)

Lower Manhattan cannot be farther from the stilettos that will kick off Fashion Week catwalks, but that won’t stop business owners in our area from celebrating Fashion’s Night Out tomorrow night, especially not Jennifer Gandia of  Greenwich Jewelers.

“Jewelry IS fashion and we’re excited about participating!” says Gandia, “The number of stores participating this year is amazing — way more than last year. There is an event for everyone.”

Participation in an event such as Fashion’s Night Out is important to local businesses. As the global recession has taken its toll on every industry, Lower Manhattan businesses have endured a distinctly tougher economic climate.

The loss of pedestrian traffic from the original World Trade Center site compounded by infrastructural changes and the construction restrictions around the area have forced many businesses to close.

“We feel very disconnected from the rest of the West Side,” says Jennifer Gandia of Greenwich Jewelers on Trinity Place, which is only a few blocks south of the World Trade Center site, “We are ready for the [World Trade Center] site to be completed.”

As most businesses in our area still rely on the Monday through Friday patronage of nearly 300,000 daily workers that commute to our area, Gandia notes that there is a responsibility of business owners to connect with the growing residential population.

“There are many reasons small businesses in this neighborhood have closed. It’s important for the residents to patronize their local shops but its a two way street, the businesses in the area must serve the locals,” says Jennifer Gandia of Greenwich Jewelers, “That means being open when the people who live here are home. We had to change our hours and open on weekends to serve the residents of the neighborhood. In turn they come to use when they need something and know we are here.”

As businesses such as Gandia’s see this as just a bump in the road to recovery, leaders in our area acknowledge that these challenges to small businesses may last for another 5 years.

So much so, that  State Senator Daniel Squadron, Assemblyman Sheldon Silver along with the Lower Manhattan Development Corporation had announced The Small Firm Assistance Program earlier this week. The program seeks to offer aid to small businesses in Lower Manhattan affected by these infrastructural challenges all the way through sunset of December 31, 2015.

Handicaps aside, that doesn’t mean there aren’t signs of hope. According to a recent Downtown Alliance report, economic recovery is on an upswing as nearly 300 new businesses have relocated to Lower Manhattan since 2008.

According to Gandia, “We choose not to focus on the past and instead to remain present minded and plan for our future and the next 30-plus years of serving the downtown community.”

To find out more on how you can support Fashion’s Night Out events in our area, check out the complete listing of shops and their events here.

To see how you can take part in Greenwich Jeweler’s silent auction, view the pieces on auction and find out more details here.