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.

World Financial Center Stairs in the Winter Garden, Battery Park City

Saving the World Financial Center Stairs — But How?

World Financial Center Stairs in the Winter Garden, Battery Park City
Should the Winter Garden Stairs receive landmark status?

The World Financial Stairs, first erected nearly thirty years ago, served as an important — if merely utilitarian — gateway for those needing to travel between the Winter Garden and the World Trade Center. The stairs were built to endure and withstand the foot traffic of thousands of people coming to and from the train stations during the lunch and rush hours, as well as serve as impromptu colosseum seating for Winter Garden performances and events.

Like a great marble work of art, the World Financial Stairs have signified and become an unwitting relic of survival and an icon of restoration in the days and now years after September 11th. One cannot see, think, or remember the Winter Garden without the stairs as the backdrop of the minds eye.

These days, most of the steps taken up the stairs are to reach the viewing area where the entrance of the bridge used to be. For almost a decade, light has cascaded freely into both sides of the Winter Garden, helping to further highlight the marble stairs as never before. No longer merely hidden under the soles of the commuters and office workers, the craftsmanship and marble gleam.

Ok, I’m waxing a bit poetic here, but obviously by the title and tone of this article, I’m biased towards these particular stairs.

Despite this writer’s respect, however, the stairs are in jeopardy. Brookfield Properties, owners of the Winter Garden, are scheduling demolition of the stairs in an effort to expand their office and retail offerings.

In the first step toward saving the stairs, an unlikely proponent emerged. Last week, members of the 32BJ SEIU, a local union whose members work at the World Financial Center, began passing out flyers to bring awareness to the World Financial Center stairs. Why does the Union care?

A spokesman from 32BJ SEIU, Matt Painter, reached out to and had this to say,

“32BJ SEIU is involved because the Winter Garden is an important public space for the city and our members — many of whom live and work in lower Manhattan.  The stairs have a symbolic significance to our union as well.  As the city’s largest building services union, we have members who, as security guards, acted as first responders to the 9/11 attacks.  The restored stairs represent the city’s willingness to rebuild, and the removal of this important removal seems insensitive to the community’s needs and to this important memorial of that day.”

Are the stairs important enough for us as a community to try and save them? We have been able to get immediate response for a tire swing. We’re trying to find landmark status for a former Burlington Coat Factory. It’s time to put it out there, should the World Financial / Winter Garden Stairs receive landmark status too? If so, how? What can we do as a community? What do you think?

[poll id=”4″]

Friends With Benefits Set

Basketball Courts on the Esplanade?!

Friends With Benefits Set
Basketball Set for Sony Pictures "Friends With Benefits"

Before you run out and bring your trusty basketball today to live up your hoop dreams — this isn’t what you think it is…

…and for all the volleyball lovers, don’t worry your net is coming back.

Justin Timberlake fans, on the other hand, pay attention.

The esplanade space located immediately south of the North Cove Marina will be a film set for the Sony Pictures movie, “Friends With Benefits” starring Justin Timberlake. The basketball court will obviously not be for public use, but you can be sure to catch a glimpse of the actors putting up their best lay ups for the next two days.

The film purportedly stars Mila Kunis, Emma Stone, Cam Gigandet, Patricia Clarkson, Lisa Kudrow, Thomas Haden Church and Stanley Tucci.

Co written and directed by Will Gluck, Friends with Benefits is about the relationship between two good friends (Timberlake and Kunis) who take it to the friends with benefits level, who surprise surprise — are secretly in love. Which obviously ruins their good thing.

For those who live on South End Avenue, the taxi stand will be parking for the movie set trucks. Parking on either side of South End Avenue between Liberty and Albany Streets will be limited during the next two days.

Not quite sure how basketball plays into this, but if you happen to catch the filming of the scene between today and tomorrow, let us know in the comments!

DSW Battery Park City Closing

Goldman Puts Foot Down: DSW To Close September 3

DSW Battery Park City Closing
DSW Battery Park City Closes September 3

In our neighborhood, going to the “movies” was often a code word to go shoe shopping. However, Battery Park City shoe lovers will need a dose of retail therapy when their beloved DSW is slated to close September 3rd. Proving another store bites the dust to make way for the new Conrad Hotel in Battery Park City.

While this is terrible news for some, this is fantastic news for others. As Battery Park City husbands who have married shoe addicts are secretly rejoicing. No more requests to go to the shoe store before a movie.

Store employees confirmed with us that the store’s lease was not renewed and that another location was not planned for Downtown Manhattan. They also wanted to mention that customers could visit their Union Square and Downtown Brooklyn locations, but admitted visiting those locations is tantamount to a full contact sport and a “zoo.”

A formal sign had been placed in the lobby of the Union Square Theater on Sunday to further confirm the stores closing.

As a shoe lover, this one really takes a hit on my heels. How does DSW closing affect you?

DSW Battery Park City
Beloved Shoe Heaven
battery park city community response

Week In Review: You Said it (Community Comments)

battery park city community response
You said it! This week's comments from the site.

As we hope everyone has stayed cool this weekend, welcome to’s “Week in Review.’ Every week, we’ll highlight  selected comments from the site. We urge you to find and add more comments to all our articles as we hope that this keeps the conversation going! As always, feel free to leave suggestions/comments for the rest of us on the site and in our posts.

Battery Park City Bad Cell Service
Bad Service

In ‘Battery Park City Can You Hear Me Now? … Nope!
Diane wrote: “wow – does this resonate! I moved from 50 Murray Street west four blocks to the Solaire last year and it’s almost comical (when it’s not) that my AT&T blackberry NEVER EVER works in my apartment. I’ve considered getting the microcell but what’s the point? as soon as I walk outside – or up to my roof – I have the SAME PROBLEM. I did discover a 5 bar hot spot the other day while having a coffee at the new Pain Quotidien but generally speaking, this is a MAJOR problem which I’ve been told is related to our lovely green environment which doesn’t permit the installation of antennas in parks… something’s gotta give! and articles like these are key to getting the situation addressed as for respondents who claim their calls never drop, they’re lying! thanks for the forum. – Diane”

Tire Swing Saga in Battery Park City
Swing Saga

In ‘Op Ed: Tire Swing Saga: Media Outlets Call BPC Residents “Wimps”‘
Steve Getchell wrote: “When I was a kid, we swung on a steel barbell weight attached to a steel cable wrapped in barbed wire, hung over a dirt patch filled with shards of glass. But I must admit we never hit our heads on anything but the ground. Those were the days.”

Sarah Palin on Ground Zero
Sarah Palin

In ‘Sarah Palin “Refudiates” Ground Zero Mosque on Twitter’
john on west street wrote: “Americans & New Yorkers should welcome this mosque, masquerading as a community center, when Muslims invite America to build a community center or Dinosaur BBQ in Mecca/Makkah.
The America-hating, self-loathing political correctness that allows such an offense to materialize, is duplicitous, and to our own detriment.”

Bernard Kerik Ground Zero Comments
Bernard Kerik

In ‘Bernard Kerik Tweets About Ground Zero Mosque…In Jail?!
AB wrote: “Kerik is a criminal who violated the public trust. His opinion on matters of public concern is worthless.”

Battery Park City Cell Service Reception

Battery Park City Can You Hear Me Now?… Nope!

Battery Park City Cell Service Reception
How is your cell phone reception in Battery Park City?

Caller: Hello?

Me: Yes.. Can you..

Caller: You’re really breaking up.

Me: Yes I know… can you..

Caller: I can’t — You’re really breaking up.

No, this is not a scene from a bad romantic comedy, this is a seemingly every call occurrence made from my cellphone in Battery Park City.

Added to the litany of issues I have with my iPhone 4 and my ever super human “death grip,” I’ve had quite enough with the cellular service, or lack thereof in this neighborhood.

In an effort to find some answers — or at the very least attempt to find some maps letting me know where in Battery Park City one would have the best shot at making an important call, an interesting website surfaced. is a cell review site which does product and service reviews throughout the United States. Although it’s pretty rudimentary in collecting data (you have to sift through piles of comments), sometimes leaving you to wonder if the phone issues are actually more user error than cell reception dead zones.

Some Battery Park City related complaints I found on the Internet include:

A Verizon Customer:

“Verizon’s signal fades in and out, and there is no consistency. Very high probability of call being dropped.” – Person in Rector Place

A Cingular/AT&T Customer:

“My roommate has Cingular and can only get reception in 1 corner of our apartment” – Person in Battery Park Area

A T-Mobile Customer:

“I live in NYC, Battery park city and I have had little or no service the last year I have been living here, The customer service is Horrible, THEY REALLY DO NOT CARE AND CANNOT FIX THE PROBLEM! tried to switch to a new phon(which they made me pay for, LOL) PLEASE DO NOT GO WITH T-MOBILE IN NYC, THIS IS HORRENDOUS SERVICE AND RECEPTION.” -Christine from Battery Park City

In another cell reeption data study, the Wall Street Journal had published an article stating that the worst cell reception areas are located in and around the West Side Highway. In an included reception map, the area near Battery Park City suggests that no one in our neighborhood ever experiences dropped calls. Which I find incredibly hard to believe.

According to the recent Nielsen study, only 92% of all cell phone calls go through in New York City. Those figures are not enough, what I really want to know is how many phone calls actually go through in Battery Park City.

So now we ask you the question: How is your cell service?

[poll id=”3″]

Battery Park city Tire Swing Park

Op Ed: Tire Swing Saga: Media Outlets Call BPC Residents “Wimps”

Battery Park city Tire Swing Park
The "Tire Swing Saga" has media outlets calling residents "wimps."

For the past few months, the arrival of the new West Thames playground on Memorial Day weekend has been warmly received. An elaborate ribbon cutting was witnessed by dozens of parents and their children to open the long awaited new tire swing park. On that very same day, a couple of children swinging on the now vilified tire swing “conked” their heads, a term used by Curbed to describe the incident. Curbed went on to mock parents who continue to bring their children to the park by describing them as leading their “children to slaughter.”

As a former kid who enjoyed the original tire swing park, there will always be a soft spot in my heart for the old wooden structure and a little bit of sadness that the park is now gone. There are times where I’ve believed that  maybe all of this hullabaloo is a bit of karma from the tire swing gods in the sky — or is it?

Curbed writer Joey reported the story the way it should have been covered — with a bit of jest and humor. While other local news outlets have been reporting this situation with disconcerting seriousness, the candor and ribbing from Curbed is appreciated. Joey proceeds to call Battery Park City residents “wimps” for complaining about a tire swing that has been installed in the same manner in parks — including a dozen in Central Park — all across the city. To placate the controversy, new signs are being installed to warn parents with height-blessed children (of over 4 feet) to avoid using the tire swing.

Yet, there is another thread running through the “Tire Swing Saga.”

When the original tire swing park was slated for demolition (to make way for the extension of the pedestrian path last year), a coalition in support of keeping the original park surfaced. The “Coalition to Save Tire Swing Park” was lead by Matthew Fenton. Ironically, the same man whose own child was one of the very first to be injured by the new tire swing — on the exact day the park opened to the public.

I’m seriously not making this up. Here is an article in 2009 from the Village Voice quoting Matthew Fenton — a staunch and vocal opponent to the new park — in support of saving the original tire swing.

Nearly a year later, here is another article quoting Matthew Fenton regarding the injury of his child, calling for the removal of the tire swing.

(Matthew Fenton is a writer for the local paper, The Broadsheet — which has been following the tribulations of the on-going tire swing saga very closely. Mr. Fenton didn’t attribute himself as “one of those parents” within the article, but the connection was indicated by a small editors note at the end of the article).

In a recent hearing, Jeff Galloway, CB1 member and BPC resident asked, “Is there something peculiar about Battery Park City where we’re not prepared to take a risk everyone else is willing to take? Kids will get hurt in this playground. Kids get injured all the time. Is this risk greater than other risks?”

Truer words were never said, Jeff. Can we now put the Tire Swing Saga to rest and let what happens in the playground stay in the playground?

Sarah Palin Refudiates Ground Zero Mosque

Sarah Palin “Refudiates” Ground Zero Mosque on Twitter

Sarah Palin Refudiates Ground Zero Mosque
Sarah Palin Refudiates Ground Zero Mosque

Remarkably silent on her Twitter account after news of her daughter Bristol Palin’s engagement to ex-boyfriend and family nemesis Levi Johnston — America’s favorite soccer mom, Sarah Palin seems to have broken her silence on behalf of 9/11 families and opponents of the Ground Zero mosque at the World Trade Center site.

In a series of Twitter comments, Palin tweets:

“Peaceful New Yorkers, pls refute the Ground Zero mosque plan if you believe catastrophic pain caused @ Twin Towers site is too raw, too real”

“Ground Zero Mosque supporters: doesn’t it stab you in the heart, as it does ours throughout the heartland? Peaceful Muslims, pls refudiate”

“Peace-seeking Muslims, pls understand, Ground Zero mosque is UNNECESSARY provocation; it stabs hearts. Pls reject it in interest of healing”

Upon the news of her tweets, Palin was instantly mocked for using a word not in the English vocabulary, “refudiate.” Palin has since deleted that post and made light of her grasp of the English language.

“Refudiate,” “misunderestimate,” “wee-wee’d up.” English is a living language. Shakespeare liked to coin new words too. Got to celebrate it!”

It is clear that not all politicians are celebrating the momentum that the Cordoba Initiative’s Park 51 mosque is receiving. Sarah Palin joins Rick Lazio as the most vocal political opponents of the mosque, where as other politicians including current New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg is a strong advocate for the building of the mosque. Another strong advocate is our Community Board who oversees development in Battery Park City and at the World Trade Center site.

The current developer of Park 51 Sharif El-Gamal sees the mosque not only as a community center near Ground Zero, but as a future tourist attraction as well. El-Gamal was quoted in a recent Wall Street Journal article that he hopes that when tour buses come through the area, the mosque will become a monument as significant as the Empire State Building.

Battery Park City Ball Field Schedule

You Asked For It: Battery Park City Ball Field Schedule (Play Ball!)

Battery Park City Ball Field Schedule
Battery Park City Ball Field Schedule

We are constantly going through your comments and suggestions, and we were very excited when we received our first official site suggestion from Sabrina:

She asked: “It would be great if you could have a quick link or a box somewhere on your site that would let us know if the BPC Ballfields are open. thanks!”

A special thanks goes out to James Miner, the Ball Field Coordinator for the Battery Park City Parks Conservancy, who worked hard to get us some basic information on how to get the best out of the ball fields. We’re also working with James to get a complete schedule for the summer season, which will be posted shortly.

Here is what James had to share:

Adult Use of BPC Ball Fields
The months of July and August are the best times for adults to take advantage of the ball fields in Battery Park City.

Each year (between Jan. 1st and March 1st) I collect about 40+ permits that I then schedule on weeknights — Tuesday – Friday from either 4-6pm or 6-8pm.  For those interested in potentially permitting out the BPC Ball Fields they can get more information here:

For anyone looking to enjoy just a game of catch or  to kick a soccer ball around, they can use the fields as well, but should consider the following times for “drop-in” play.

  • Weeknights (Tuesday – Thursday, 4-6pm, and Fridays, 2:30pm-8pm)
    Weeknights are tough for “drop-in” play because they are permitted constantly by local businesses/companies.
  • Weekends (Saturday and Sunday, 9am-8pm)
    For those living nearby, weekends are a great time to come by for a pick-up game of soccer/frisbee/touch football etc.

There is almost always a BPC Staffer located at the ball fields who can loan out sporting equipment (soccer balls, gloves and softballs/baseballs, etc).

*During the Fall (September – November) and Spring (May – June) the fields are used heavily and on a daily basis by our Downtown Soccer League and Downtown Little League.  So, unless you can get out early, getting use of the fields is very tough.

** The new West Thames Park (by Rector Bridge) is great for games of frisbee or for light soccer use and not nearly as crowded as Rockefeller Park.

So thanks again to Sabrina and James — now, “Let’s Play Ball!”

Study says direct exposure to 9/11 plays a role in mental development

Children Exposed to 9/11 Found Developmentally Vulnerable

Study says direct exposure to 9/11 plays a role in mental development
Study says direct exposure to 9/11 plays a role in behavior development.

If your child was directly exposed to the traumas of 9/11, he/she may have been vulnerable to behavioral problems — according to a newly published report in the July/August issue of ‘Child Development.’

Researchers conducted two studies based on children living in Lower Manhattan who were directly exposed to 9/11. The exposure included being a direct witness to the attacks a well as living in homes where their mothers were suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder and depression. In this first clinical study, preschool children exposed to 9/11 were found to be directly vulnerable to behavioral problems.

Mount Sinai School of Medicine, the Jewish Board of Family and Children’s Services and the Bronx Department of Veterans Affairs Medical Center were part of the overall research team conducting the first study including the analysis of 100 moms and their children — directly exposed to the 9/11 attacks.

In a second study involved the analysis of adolescents and their mothers in our area. That study found that even a year after 9/11 both mothers and children reported elevated reports of post-traumatic stress disorder and depression.

The following research team included the University of Michigan, New York University and the Austin Independent School District, as well as the Sesame Workshop.

According to an article on, “Direct exposure to the events of 9/11 played a small, but significant role in explaining the severity of mental health symptoms.”

The Lower Manhattan families were part of a recruitment outreach program of those affected by the attacks from March 2003 through December 2005.

The findings indicate the need to further understand the effects of post-traumatic stress disorder and the parent child relationship.