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Stand by for grass and tire swing access:
The grass looks juicy green on the West Thames Park lawn, but the Battery Park City Authority has issued a statement saying that it will continue to be off limits until Aug. 1.
“Although the sod knitting period is complete, B.P.C.A. agrees with the recommendation from both the New York State Department of Transportation and Battery Park City Parks Conservancy that limiting access to the grass for an extra week would be in the best interest of the long-term health of the turf,” said B.P.C.A. spokesperson Anne Fenton in an email. “We expect that the lawn will be re-opened for public use on August 1, 2011.”
Meanwhile, discussions continue between the Battery Park City Authority and Hudson River Park Trust over the long-term maintenance and ownership of West Thames Park. “While we continue to negotiate a mutually acceptable agreement, Battery Park City Parks Conservancy will be caring for the lawn, while H.R.P.T. will continue to provide Park Enforcement Patrol officers for security,” Fenton said.
South of the lawn, there’s still a gap in the play equipment that the D.O.T. provided for tykes. The hotly contested tire swing that was installed when the park opened on Memorial Day weekend of 2010 was taken down by an irate parent after his daughter banged her head on the support beam. It still hasn’t been put back, though D.O.T. representatives say that’s the plan. They’re not saying when.
Parental fears might be calmed by a recent New York Times article, “Grasping Risk in Life’s Classroom” (July 19, 2011). Citing a variety of experts, The Times reports that playgrounds that are free of challenges “may stunt emotional development, leaving children with anxieties and fears that are ultimately worse than a broken bone.”
Squadron’s Mobile District Office:
“Hi! Daniel Squadron. Nice to see you.”
New York State Senator Squadron was standing outside Gateway Plaza one evening last week greeting all passers-by and handing out a flyer with phone numbers for reaching key State government offices, including his own. In July and again in the fall, Squadron brings his Mobile District Office to various parts of the 25th Senate District, which he represents in Albany.
“It gives people an opportunity to raise issues,” he said, “getting out on the street and seeing how people feel.”
One man wanted to talk to him about State budget cuts that have caused the City’s criminal courts to reduce their weekend hours. Someone arrested even on a relatively minor charge can spend days in jail before appearing in front of a judge, the man claimed. A woman carrying a small dog wanted to know where Squadron stood on animal rights. Several people wanted to talk to him about affordable housing.
“I think that when you have a legislative session like we had, people are more enthusiastic than they’ve ever been about State government,” Squadron commented. “In Lower Manhattan, people don’t bring up personal issues. They bring up broader issues.”
Asked about how the budget crisis in Washington might affect New York State, Squadron said, “At the end of the day, Social Security and Medicare will be protected in the short term. But disability and programs for the aging will not be. Aging and senior support and disability support programs that come through the State are not headline grabbing but they are important, baseline responsibilities of government. As government is forced to retreat, these programs will suffer.”
A Battery Park City condo owner asked Squadron about her building’s P.I.L.O.T. fees (Payment In Lieu Of Taxes), which she said were high. Squadron told her that P.I.L.O.T fees are related to City assessments and that his office would arrange for someone from the Department of Finance to come to her building to discuss them.
Squadron’s permanent district office is at 250 Broadway, Suite 2011. The staff is prepared to help with such issues as landlord and apartment problems and also wants to hear from the senator’s constituents about concerns affecting the community. The phone number is (212) 298-5565.
‘Supertall!’ at Skyscraper Museum:
The exhibition “Supertall!” that opens at The Skyscraper Museum this week and runs through January 2012 is about the 48 tallest buildings in the world that have been completed since 2001, are under construction or are expected to top out by 2016. Our 1 World Trade Center, while not a dwarf, is far from the largest in the group. That distinction goes to Burj Khalifa in Dubai, which is 2,717 feet tall. 1 World Trade Center will be a mere 1,776 feet.
Ten of the world’s tallest buildings are in China, six are in the United Arab Emirates and four are in South Korea.
Supertall buildings have been made possible by advances in technology and engineering, according to Carol Willis, founder and director of The Skyscraper Museum. A long way from the elongated rectangles of the World Trade Center’s Twin Towers, today’s monoliths often are sinuous in shape or a medley of complex geometries sheathed in reflective glass. The museum at 39 Battery Place is open Wednesdays to Sundays, noon to six. For more information go to www.skyscraper.org.
Blues Festival at World Financial Center:
They’ll be singing the blues at the World Financial Center from Thursday, July 28 to Saturday, July 30 at the eagerly awaited Lowdown Hudson Blues Festival. Grammy-award winner Taj Mahal is the headliner on Thursday. He will be followed on Friday by James Blood Ulmer and the Memphis Blood Blues, and on Saturday, by Steven Bernstein’s nine-piece Millennial Territory Orchestra and New Orleans piano legend Henry Butler. The concerts are free. For more information, go to www.artsworldfinancialcenter.com.
To comment on Battery Park City Beat or to suggest article ideas, email TereseLoeb@mac.com
– Terese Loeb Kreuzer