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About Tom

Tom is a writer and editor with a love of movies, books and all things Battery Park. He's also an avid runner with a soft spot for sunset runs on the Esplanade and sunset beers, well, pretty much anywhere.

Prince Harry and Queen Elizabeth Visit New York

Prince Harry, Queen Elizabeth to Visit NYC

Prince Harry and Queen Elizabeth Visit New York
Why are Harry and Liz taking a bite out of the Big Apple? (photo courtesy of

The British are coming! The British are coming! But this time it’s a very good thing. Both Prince Harry and Queen Elizabeth will visit New York City over the course of the next month, but for decidedly different reasons.

Twenty-five-year-old Harry is set to once again face off against Argentine polo stud — and Ralph Lauren model — Nacho Figueras in the third Annual Veuve Cliquot Polo Classic. The event, slated for June 27 on New York Harbor’s Governors Island, will benefit American Friends of Sentebale, the U.S. arm of a global charity founded by Harry to aid the impoverished children of Lesotho in southern Africa. Celebs such as Madonna and Kate Hudson attended last year’s match, so be sure to bring binoculars and your star-stalking A-game.

Sadly, Queen Elizabeth won’t be playing any polo during her stint in the States. Instead, on July 6, Britain’s 84-year-old monarch will make her first trip to America since 1976 (when she was here for the Bicentennial) to tour Ground Zero and pay her respects to the 3,000 innocent people who lost their lives in the 9/11 attacks.

According to the New York Daily News, the Queen will officially open the British Garden of Remembrance in Hanover Square, not far from the World Trade Center site, to honor the 67 British citizens killed that September day.

Bill Murray Joins Poetry Walk Across Brooklyn Bridge

Poets House
Bill Murray will be there... so it's got that going for it, which is nice.

What do $250, a love of poetry and a lifetime wish to meet Bill Murray have in common? Well, if you have all three, you might want to snag a ticket to tonight’s 15th Annual Poetry Walk Across Brooklyn Bridge.

Legendary actor Bill Murry will be joined by Brooklyn Poet Laureate Tina Chang, award-winning poets Anne Carson, Glway Kinnell and Thomas Lux, and (hopefully) you for a stroll across the famed NYC bridge. There, under the Roebling’s arches, you’ll be serenaded by the poetry of Walt Whitman, Marianne Moore, Langston Hughes and other stalwarts of poetic verse.

The annual pilgrimage, which raises funds for non-profit Poets House, begins at 6:30 PM tonight in Manhattan and culminates in Brooklyn with a celebratory dinner and readings in honor of Poets House’s 2010 Elizabeth Kray Award winner, Lawrence Ferlinghetti, known for such works as A Coney Island of the Mind, Americus and Poetry as Insurgent Art.

Tickets start at $250, though Poets House members can procure them for a cool $225. Reservations are required, so give Krista Manrique a holler at 212-431-7920 (ext. 2830) if you’re interested in letting Bill Murray make your acquaintance this eve.

National Scholastic Art & Writing Awards

Scholastic Art & Writing Awards Teen Exhibition Comes to BPC

National Scholastic Art & Writing Awards
Some of this year's award-winners (photo courtesy of

If you want to get a sneak peek at our nation’s next generation of great writers, painters, sculptors, fashion designers and filmmakers, here’s your chance.

The works of the teenage winners of the 2010 National Scholastic Art & Writing Awards — which are presented by the Alliance for Young Artists & Writers — are on display at the World Financial Center’s Courtyard Gallery, now through June 25. For the bargain price of $0 (yes, it’s free), visitors can see film, video, animation, writing, photography, painting, sculpture, fashion, drawing, graphic design and ceramics exhibits from some of the most talented young artists around.

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225 Rector Place

Developer Allegedly Plunders BPC Building’s Reserve Fund

225 Rector Place
Yair Levy accused of raiding the coffers of 225 Rector Place.

Andrew M. Cuomo, the New York attorney general, has a beef with real estate developer Yair Levy. The reason for that aforementioned beef: Levy allegedly purloined $7.4 million from the reserve fund of a luxury building he was developing in Battery Park City.

According to The New York Times, Cuomo filed a lawsuit in State Supreme Court on Wednesday, accusing Levy of leaving the 304-unit luxury building at 225 Rector Place, with a measly $70 in its reserve fund, probably not quite enough to cover the “capital repairs, replacements and improvements necessary for the health and safety of the residents” for which the fund was intended.

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Claremont Prep

School’s Out Forever for Claremont Prep Headmaster

Claremont Prep
Elite school excels at replacing its own leaders.

Claremont Preparatory School is in search of a new headmaster.

Administrators from the exclusive and very expensive for-profit school e-mailed parents on Wednesday, June 9, to let them know that headmaster Irwin Shlachter “is no longer with us.” In addition, the message, which was also posted on the school’s official website, announced that Kenneth Wrye, formerly of the United Nations International School, will step in as interim headmaster while Claremont hunts for a permanent new leader.

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World Center Hotel

World Center Hotel Opens at Ground Zero

World Center Hotel
WTC gets its first hotel (photo courtesy of

As of today, Ground Zero has its first hotel.

The World Center Hotel, which had already begun construction when the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks hit, is finally, officially open for business on Washington Street on the southern tip of the World Trade Center rectangle.

So what is the hotel like? For starters, it boasts unimpeded views of the Ground Zero construction, including the Freedom Tower and the National 9/11 Memorial & Museum, as well as breathtaking views of the Hudson River, the Manhattan skyline and the surprisingly beautiful New Jersey skyline (yes, you read that correctly). And for the weary traveler looking to drink in these views and a few tasty beverages, the World Center Hotel also has its own bar, the View of the World Terrace Pub, located on the top floor.

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Opponents of the Park51 mosque are found nationwide.

1,000 Gather to Protest Ground Zero Mosque

Mosque Protest
These New Yorkers aren't too pleased with the plans.

Unless you’ve been completely cut off from the outside world for the past couple of months, you’ve probably heard that there are plans to construct a mosque just steps from Ground Zero. Also probably on your radar: A lot of people aren’t too happy about it.

Proof of this was on display Sunday, when more than 1,000 protesters gathered on the corner of Church and Liberty Streets to rail against plans to construct a mosque and Islamic cultural/community center on Park Place, a mere two blocks from the World Trade Center site.

According to the Tribeca Tribune, during the three-hour demonstration, organized by Stop Islamization of America (SIOA), protesters endured 90-degree temps to listen to speakers — from family members of 9/11 victims to a former Muslim woman — denounce not only the construction plans… but often Islam itself.

The signs the protesters, most of them middle-aged or older, waved also bashed the religion. One read, “All I need to know about Islam, I learned on 9/11.” Another said, “You can build a mosque at Ground Zero when we can build a synagogue in Mecca.”

But the Cordoba Initiative, the Muslim group dedicated to fostering better relationships between New York City’s Muslim and non-Muslim communities, feels that this is exactly why a mosque and educational/cultural center would be so beneficial at 45 Park Place, a location it owns and plans to name Cordoba House when building is complete. The Cordoba Initiative opposes the radical Islam responsible for the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks and wants the opportunity to teach people the difference between those extremist violent sects and the vast, peaceful majority of Muslims.

The protesters who gathered on Sunday, however, remain unswayed. Their feeling is that there are plenty of mosques in New York already, and they believe it is inappropriate to build another one so close to the site of 9/11 devastation.

One protester, Joyce Boland, whose son died in the Sept. 11 attacks, told the Tribune: “I don’t think that a mosque should go up to loom over his grave, when they were responsible for what happened.”

While no violence erupted during the protest, there was definitely some pretty palpable hostility. An Arab-American TV crew, who were later revealed to be there to protest the mosque, had to be removed from the crowd by a police escort when protesters became agitated by their presence.

What is your feeling on the situation? Are those opposed to the mosque being to narrow-minded? Would a mosque near Ground Zero be a positive step in defusing prejudices toward Islam that were ingrained on the hearts and minds of many Americans on Sept. 11, 2001? Or is it just too soon and too close for comfort?

I.S. 89 students protest after-school cuts

IS 89 Students Protest After-School Cuts

I.S. 89 students protest after-school cuts
BPC students make their voices heard.

“Save my after-school! Save our future!” No, this is not the tag line of some new Heroes-esque show on NBC; it’s what I.S. 89 students, counselors and faculty shouted as executive director of Manhattan Youth Bob Townley led them up Warren Street and across the West Side Highway last Thursday.

The reason for their stroll: They’re protesting cuts to after-school and summer youth programs, the elimination of which is part of Mayor Bloomberg’s proposed plan to help offset New York City’s ballooning $3.5 billion deficit.

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Greenmarket coming to BPC

Greenmarket Coming to Battery Park City?

Mmm... green stuff.

Pretty soon, BPC residents may be able to buy fruits and vegetables so fresh they make the stuff at Whole Foods look the stuff from Gristedes (not that there’s anything wrong with Gristedes produce).

Yes, folks, Battery Park City just might be getting its own green market in the not-too-distant future. Michael Hurwitz, director of Grow NYC’s Greenmarket, recently met with Community Board 1’s Battery Park City Committee to discuss the prospect, and the committee was overwhelmingly supportive of his idea.

There is currently a green market in Zuccotti Park on Tuesday and Thursday, and Hurwitz proposed moving the Thursday night green market to a much bigger location in front of 2World Financial Center. The new area would allow for 15 to 20 tents for farmers to sell their delicious produce, while the Zuccotti location only provides room for seven tents. The committee ate up the idea like so many freshly picked tomatoes. So why hasn’t said market come to, um, fruition?

In a word: parking. The farmers need somewhere to park, sometimes for up to 10 hours a day. And as anyone who’s ever set foot in New York knows, parking here comes at a premium. Hurwitz tells Downtown Express, “Parking is crucial. If there wasn’t a parking consideration, then we’d start next week.”

But don’t fret. Hurwitz and some Committee members think they may have found somewhere for the farmers’ trucks to park on Liberty Street and South Street, where parking normally is not allowed. Assuming this solution gets enough support, the Thursday green market could become a reality as soon as next month. And, if that succeeds, a Saturday market could get a Green thumbs up very, very soon.

Governors Island Concert Series

Free Governors Island Shows All Summer

Governors Island Concert Series
Free concerts? We're there! (photo courtesy of She&

You know what’s awesome? Free concerts. What’s even better? Free concerts on Governors Island, in the middle of the beautiful (but let’s face it, unswimmable) Hudson River. And what’s even better than that? Free ferry transport to the shows so you don’t have to swim across the Hudson (you can if you want to, of course — that’s your prerogative).

You’ll get everything described above thanks to this summer’s Converse-sponsored Gone to Governors live music series — held, as always, on the Beach at Governors Island — and kicking off on June 5 with a performance by alt-rock darlings Yeasayer. Things get even better from there, with a lineup that features an array of musical talent, from the indie-rock awesomeness of She & Him (featuring actress Zooey Deschanel) to the psychedelic stylings of Dr. Dog.

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