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B.P.C. ice rink:
With the steamy days of summer upon us, the prospect of a Battery Park City ice skating rink this year seems particularly inviting. The Battery Park City Authority issued an R.F.P. (Request for Proposals) to vendors who might be interested in running a rink. A bidders’ conference took place on June 24 with proposals due on July 1, but in answer to a question about how many firms applied, Leticia Remauro, spokesperson for the B.P.C.A. said, “We do not disclose information about proposals during the R.F.P. process.” So we’ll have to wait to find out if there will be home turf skating this year. Bidders had the option of basing their proposals on use of the B.P.C. ball fields, which lie between West Street and North End Avenue, just north of Murray Street, or of opting for other B.P.C. sites such as Rockefeller Park or Wagner Park. Artificial turf is currently being installed on the ball fields, which would obviate some siting problems but necessitate a shorter skating season than elsewhere in B.P.C. since skating would have to be squeezed in between the end of the soccer season just before Thanksgiving and the beginning of baseball in March.
Pops make River to River debut:
The TriBattery Pops, Lower Manhattan’s all-volunteer, “community band,” as described by its founder and conductor, Tom Goodkind, made its River to River Festival debut on July 2 at Zuccotti Park under the auspices of arts>Brookfield. The band played “Bad Romance,” “76 Trombones” (from “The Music Man,”), “Stars and Stripes Forever” and more. The most touching moment came when the Pops played the “Star Spangled Banner” and some people stood up and placed their hands over their hearts (as they must have been taught to do in grade school), with the buildings of the World Trade Center site rising behind them. In New York City’s version of venerable July 4 traditions, the concert included a mix of music, politics and food. Several vendors selling “halal” food (the Muslim version of “kosher”) were there with their carts, and so were some of the candidates for district leader representing the 64th and 66th Assembly Districts — holding nominating petitions for people to sign — from the Downtown Independent Democrats, a political club in Lower Manhattan. For added July 4 perfection, stilt walkers dressed as the Statue of Liberty, a sun goddess, a pirate and Uncle Sam sauntered through the audience.
Goodkind founded the band eight years ago. Five of the 23 members live in Battery Park City. The rest come from Tribeca and other parts of Lower Manhattan. Anyone may join.
July 4 grill stats:
In the suburbs, backyard barbecues are a traditional part of the July 4 holiday. QualityBurger, one of the food vendors on the World Financial Center plaza, was Battery Park City’s stand in. According to Abraham Merchant of Merchants Hospitality, which owns QualityBurger and several other eateries in Lower Manhattan (Merchants Café, Merchants River, House, SouthWest NY and Pound & Pence), over the holiday weekend, QualityBurger served 4,000 hamburgers, 3,000 hot dogs and 1,000 shakes.
Because of Brookfield Properties’ plans to reconstruct 2 World Financial Center where SouthWest NY has been located for the last 11 years, the restaurant will close on Sept. 25, but Merchant said that he hopes to reopen it elsewhere.
B.P.C. Block Party:
Plans for the 10th anniversary B.P.C. Block Party are shaping up. The event will take place on Sept. 17 from noon to 4 p.m. (rain date, Sept. 18) on Kowsky Plaza with some spillover to neighboring sites. The Block Party will recognize and celebrate many of the people who helped the community emerge from the World Trade Center attack, including local vendors who stayed on, the firefighters of Ten House, the principals of the local schools and of the B.P.C. Day Nursery, elected officials and community residents. In addition to dozens of vendors, a flea market organized by Battery Park City seniors, a pet parade, and sports activities and rides, musicians and dancers will troop across the Block Party stage. A talent search is now under way, coordinated by Janine Villano, who invites bands that want to perform to send her a recording of not more than three songs. The planning committee is also looking for an original B.P.C. song. Composers should submit a recording of the song to Villano. (Her email is firstname.lastname@example.org). The TriBattery Pops under Tom Goodkind will make a demo recording, if desired. Applications are due by Aug. 15.
B.P.C. in bloom:
Hollyhocks: Hollyhocks (Alcea rosea), a tall favorite of English cottage gardens, originated in China and were imported into Europe in the 16th century, where an English naturalist, William Turner (1508-1568), gave them their common name. Turner, a physician as well as the author of the first, clear, systematic survey of English plants and of the first printed book about birds, was undoubtedly familiar with the medicinal uses of this member of the Mallow family. Herbalists have used the flower and roots as an emollient and laxative and to control inflammation.
New England colonists were the first to grow hollyhocks in the United States, but they later became popular throughout the colonies. (Thomas Jefferson grew them at Monticello.)
In B.P.C., hollyhocks are flowering on Rector Place near the esplanade.
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