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Battery Park City related news, events and items for the residents and community of Battery Park City, BPC, Batteryparkcity.com, BatteryParkCity

Building Vacancies Drop in Battery Park City and Tribeca

Battery Park City and Tribeca Vacancy Rates Drop

Rental Vacancies Dropped in April
Rental Vacancies Dropped in April

Signs of an uptick in the economy are showing. Rental vacancy rates in both Battery Park City and Tribeca/Soho are amongst the lowest in Manhattan. Battery Park City is shows only 1.04% vacancy rate while Tribeca shows half that at a o.52% vacancy rate — according to the Wall Street Journal. It should also be noted that the numbers for Tribeca also include a large section of the Soho area bordering the East Village boundaries.

The rates compiled from Citi-Habitats a real-estate brokerage the city wide vacancy rate was 1.23% of apartments in April were vacant which is a significant drop from April 2009 which was at 2.28%.

For those of us who live here, that’s fantastic news! For those who want to live here — the market is no longer on their side to find housing in our area.

The vacancy rate is inversely proportional to the job market. Lower rental vacancies indicate that there is strength in the job market.

One downside to a low vacancy rate in our area are longer lines at the grocery store. Still good news all around for the economy.

The Applebee's in Battery Park City is gone.

Applebee’s Battery Park City Is Gone!

The Applebee's in Battery Park City is gone.
The Applebee's in Battery Park City is gone.

Apparently we really do know how to “Eat Good In the Neighborhood.” So much so, it seems that Applebee’s has closed for business in Battery Park City.

We have been careful to report the closing of this restaurant after our peek-a-boo experience with Ciao Bella, who had momentarily closed down in a rent dispute with Brookfield.

However, it seems that the Applebee’s is really gone for good as the location has been taken down from its official website.

We’ve put together some reasons as to why Applebee’s never had a chance:

1. There are way too many superior burger and wing restaurants in the area to choose over Applebee’s.

2. The location right smack next to our local New York Sports Club, made going into the Applebee’s a highly guilt ridden experience.

3. The food was just terrible. New Yorkers are naysayers of large food chains. (All except for IHOP. For the love of God will someone please open one of those in Manhattan?!)

We feel for Applebee’s closing down but now that Goldman Sach’s is in town — it will be interesting to watch what ends up in that space. There are murmurs of Shake Shack coming down this way. If that’s becomes a reality — things are about to taste a little bit better in this neck of the woods.

Chairman Thompson’s Post Uncertain With NYC Bid on BPC

William Thompson Chairman of the Battery Park City Authority
William Thompson is the current Chairman of the Battery Park City Authority

That which the governor giveth, the mayor can taketh away. At least that’s the case for the Battery Park City Authority, which is facing a potential takeover at the hands of New York City.

It’s only been a month since William Thompson was appointed as Chairman of the Battery Park City Authority, but his days are already numbered. Ironically, his fate is in the hands of the same man who took away his shot at being Mayor, Mayor Michael Bloomberg.

According to the New York Daily News, Thompson said, “It’s not like I’m getting paid a lot in this job. If that happens in the end, so be it.”

Battery Park City has recently been under the scrutiny of New York City’s comptroller John Liu to start determining whether a takeover of the neighborhood is a financially viable step for the city, after similar and recent acquisitions of both Brooklyn Bridge park and Governor’s Island…

Historically, the city has had the option to take over Battery Park City for a mere dollar. Yet, behind that dollar comes great fiscal responsibilities — including assuming the Authority’s $1-billion-dollar debt, as well as the burden of keeping up the same impeccable park maintenance and services (events, art installations, etc.) to which residents have become accustomed.

The decision ultimately lies solely in the hands of both the mayor and comptroller. Liu has been quoted in several news outlets saying that he takes this decision seriously and would want to hear from the residents of Battery Park City before making a decision.

Longtime Battery Park City advocate, Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver, was also quoted in the article saying, “I’m not for it. I’m not against it. I’m cautioning at this point.”

If anything, Thompson’s announcement that he’s taking a new corporate job hints that he’s hedging his bets. Although Thompson and Bloomberg have a history as political rivals, they’ve also collaborated in the past, working together as comptroller and mayor for several years. While the decision about the Battery Park City Authority’s fate is far from final, the outcome is something neighborhood residents and property owners need to monitor vigilantly.

Battery Park to Have Fewer Art Vendors

Less Art Vendors in Battery Park
The city is seeking to limit the amount of art vendors in public parks.

New York City officials have announced plans to limit the number of art vendors who sell their works in several Manhattan’s busiest parks.

The new rules proposed by the Mayor’s office designate that the number of vendors peddling art and other creative goods would decrease by nearly 80 percent.

Art vendors seem to be more of a problem in Union Square, the High Line Park and areas surrounding the Metropolitan Museum of Art, specifically by Central Park as well as in our own Battery Park. Art vendors have been known to line up around the main entrances of the park, and are often looked at as public nuisances who have been abusing free public space for commercial gain.

Vendors argue that the decreasing the landscape is against their constitutional right. Hearings have been scheduled for sometime next week.

How do you feel about the restrictions being made for public art vendors?

Art Vendor Restrictions Affect Battery Park

Art Vendors Face Eviction from Battery Park

Art Vendor Restrictions Affect Battery Park
Art Vendor Restrictions Affect Battery Park

New York City has recently announced a proposal to limit the number of art vendors in city parks and public spaces. And Battery Park likely won’t escape the effects of these plans, which some are calling Bloomberg’s attempt to privatize public space.

The proposed restrictions would supposedly ease congestion in heavily trafficked areas, including Union Square, Central Park, the High Line and Battery Park. Last Friday a public hearing was held to hear the opinions of art vendors, their critics and their staunch advocates. According to the New York Times, the protest had some of the best looking signs you’d ever seen.

So we decided to check out the congestion ourselves. During a leisurely walk through Battery Park today, we counted north of 30 different art vendors. However, they seemed evenly dispersed amid the nearly 25 acres of land. The restrictions, should they be approved, would allow only nine vendors along the perimeter of the park between Pearl Street and West Street.

Here’s a quick look at the numbers based on the proposed restrictions:
Battery Park: 25 Acres | 9 Vendors
Union Square: 3.59 Acres | 18 Vendors
High Line: 2.15 Acres | 8 Vendors

Art Vendor in Battery Park
Art Vendor in Battery Park

If you do the math, or simply go for a stroll through Battery Park, it is painfully obvious that the the BP art vendors would be getting one helluva raw deal. For starters, the vendors don’t even come close to creating congestion on a weekday. And, while Battery Park could easily engulf both Union Square and the High Line combined, it would be allowed fewer than half as many vendors as Union Square should the proposal come to fruition.

We spoke with Asif Javed, an art vendor who has been selling his photography in the park for nearly 10 years, to get his take on the matter. For his part, Javed believes that the legislation should not be aimed towards the art vendors: “[The rules] are aimed at those people who are selling 9-11 disaster books on the streets who make congestion.”
It’s quite clear speaking with Javed that the situation in Battery Park would be dire should 35 to 50 art sellers have to pack up shop and move elsewhere. Since most vendors work solo, coming to a decision on who gets to stay and who gets the boot would be difficult indeed. “It’s going to be a big chaos,” warns Javed. “It’s my work. I don’t want to lose this job! Unemployment is already at 9 point something percent and going up. [Deciding] is going to be a big mess, and I don’t think we can manage it.”
Javed seems hopeful that a resolution will be found as art vendors have faced similar issues in past years. “Last year, the same thing happened. [The City] was against us, and we beat the city. We’ll take it to court again. Our leader Robert Lederman is already working with our lawyers and legislatures. We are hoping the mayor will reconsider.”
Javed says that he and his colleagues are hoping for an opportunity for discourse with legislators. “If we sat down with administrators we could come up with a solution for this problem easily.” Let’s hope that happens.

The pedestrian detour on the Liberty Street Bridge.

Pedestrian Traffic Patterns at WTC Change Today

The pedestrian detour on the Liberty Street Bridge.
The pedestrian detour on the Liberty Street Bridge.

The Liberty Bridge has survived many years of pedestrian traffic, not to mention the events Sept. 11. Starting today, daily users of the bridge will be forced to follow the new pedestrian traffic patterns.

The Port Authority has commenced construction on a pedestrian detour that will take people off the side of the Liberty Street Bridge and stretch all the way to Church Street on the east side of the World Trade Center (WTC) site.

Traffic patterns are changing to accommodate for the construction of a new underground parking facility. The annex and pedestrian detour will add some time to your daily commute, but will ultimately help commuters to completely bypass crossing the 16-acre WTC construction zone.

According to a report from 1010 Wins, “the change will pave the way for excavation to begin for the Vehicle Security Center, the main entrance to the underground parking and delivery areas at the trade center complex.”

Shrek Forever After

Tribeca Film Festival: Flicks and Free Events

Shrek Forever After
TFF goes green for 'Shrek Forever After' premiere.

What do Shrek, Robert De Niro and Beastie Boys band member Mike D have in common? They’re all descending upon Lower Manhattan this week to celebrate the ninth birthday of the Tribeca Film Festival, running April 21 to May 2.

The 2010 fest, which kicks off tonight at the Ziegfeld Theater with the star-studded red-carpet premiere of Shrek Forever After, has come a long way since its inaugural run in 2002. Back then, with Tribeca still trying to shake off the sorrow and dust of the unimaginable tragedy of Sept. 11, acting legend and Tribeca resident Bobby De Niro, his producing partner Jane Rosenthal and her husband Craig Hatkoff banded together to found the annual celebration of film, music and culture with one ambitious goal in mind: rejuvenate the neighborhood economically, culturally, spiritually.

Their gambit seems to have succeeded. What began as a modest forum for the work of indie filmmakers and documentarians has blossomed into one of the premier film fests in America, attracting tiny independent movies and gargantuan blockbusters alike. But, more importantly, the festival coaxes visitors to Tribeca, once again a vibrant community bursting with beautiful parks, exceptional restaurants and a bounty of things to do.

Continue reading Tribeca Film Festival: Flicks and Free Events

The award-winning Visionaire building

Visionaire Wins Prestigious Award for Battery Park City

The award winning Visionaire building
The award-winning Visionaire building

The Urban Land Institute (ULI), an organization that awards urban spaces for excellence, announced that The Visionaire is one of the Top 10 winners of the ULI’s Awards for Excellence: The America’s Competition.

Battery Park City’s Visionaire was one of the major developments in the neighborhood to receive the distinction of receiving LEED-Platinum certification for its use of solar panels, geothermic walls and an on-site water treatment plant, paving the way for green initiatives in city living.

The developers of the site are Starwood Capital and the Albanese Organization, the latter of which is also the developer of another green building in the neighborhood: the Solaire.

This is not the only award for the Visionaire, as the building and it’s sister building Solaire have also won the ULI’s Heritage Award.

Doorman Strike Averted: Doors Wide Open

NYC Doorman are set to strike
The NYC-wide doorman strike has been averted!

Residents all over the city let out a sigh of relief this morning when they were able to greet their doorman on their way to work today. The doorman strike, which threatened to cripple the privileges of the upper crust by way of losing the ability to having Fresh Direct sent to their door.

The Service Employees International Union, Local 32BJ that represents doorman and the property owners of nearly 3,2000 buildings which employ them were able to reach a resolution, averting a strike that was to start at 7am this morning.

The major point of contention was the proposed cuts in doormen’s health care and other benefits. Ultimately both sides agreed to a four year contract which includes a 10% increase and no cuts to benefits.

One can make light of the possibility of a strike as affected only the high brow parts of society, except that history proves the severity of a doorman strike. In 1991, a strike lasted for 12 days during which garbage had piled up on sidewalks and deemed a public health nuisance because sanitation workers refused to cross picket lines. A more serious aggravation as compared to losing the ability to have someone help you with your luggage.

NYC Doorman are set to strike

The Citywide Doorman Strike: How Does This Affect You

NYC Doorman are set to strike
What will life without your doorman mean for you?

For any New York City resident who calls a doorman part of their home, today is the fateful day for the settling of contract negotiations between the doormen’s union and New York City. If the two sides do not agree to a contract by midnight, doorman building residents will all turn into Cinderellas tomorrow, having to haul trash and accept their own packages (the horror!).

Here’s a quick rundown on how this possibly affects you — should you live in a doorman building. These are overall guidelines and may be different depending on your building.

(Honestly, in Battery Park City — most of us do.)

Continue reading The Citywide Doorman Strike: How Does This Affect You