Covering Battery Park City

William C. Thompson, Jr., chairman of the Battery Park City Authority and Anne Fenton, special assistant to the B.P.C.A. President Gayle Horwitz, joined B.P.C. residents at sunrise on Sept. 11, 2011 for a special commemoration. Downtown Express photos by Terese Loeb Kreuzer

September 11 sunrise:
It was still dark on the morning of Sept.11 when dozens of Battery Park City residents gathered on the esplanade at Rector Place and walked to Wagner Park for what Battery Park City resident Rosalie Joseph, who organized the event, hoped would be an “uplifting” way to start a difficult day. Joseph had pulled together quotations for people to read on the themes of love and courage and renewal, though some readers selected their own. They were interspersed with songs such as “Morning Has Broken,” “Lean on Me,” and “What the World Needs Now is Love, Sweet Love.” Jena Tumbleson, Rosalie Joseph’s niece, who had spent many of her growing-up years with her Battery Park City aunt, and Leticia Remauro, spokesperson for the Battery Park City Authority, led the singing accompanied by T. Fleischer, the B.P.C. Parks Conservancy’s head horticulturalist, on guitar.

Readers included Bill Thompson, chairman of the Battery Park City Authority, and many B.P.C. residents ranging in age from Jane Godiner, 10, to seniors. As the sun rose over the harbor, the Statue of Liberty glowed orange. In counterpoint to the readings about peace, the Coast Guard’s armed orange boats scuttled back and forth and then, as the formal proceedings of the sunrise observance ended, the massive battleship U.S.S. New York appeared and headed toward North Cove Marina, where it anchored. As he held up his phone to photograph the ship, Thompson remarked to a woman standing next to him that his father had served during World War II and that strength is needed to preserve the peace.

Joseph had provided yellow and white daisies along with song sheets, and she said it would be O.K. to keep the flowers or to cast them into the river with a thought and a prayer. That’s what many people did. As the battleship passed by, the daisies floated on the water between the ship and the seawall.

Then there was a breakfast of coffee, tea and pastries, and a chance to look at the “gratitude scroll” that many people still in the community had signed in 2002. Joseph had kept it, rolled up in her apartment. “We the residents of Battery Park City would like to express our deepest gratitude for the innumerable acts of kindness and compassion shown to our community by the people of the United States of America and the world on Sept. 11th and the days that followed,” the scroll said.

“What happened on Sept. 11 was a tragedy but it was also a blessing,” said Veronica Kelly, wife of N.Y.P.D. Commissioner Ray Kelly. (The Kellys have lived in Battery Park City for 20 years.) “A lot of goodness came from it. So much kindness was shown.”

Fashion’s Night Out:
Vince Smith has been involved in New York Fashion Week for several years doing hair and makeup for fashion shows throughout Manhattan and Brooklyn, but this year, for the first time, he brought the party home with “Fashion’s Night Out” on Sept. 8 at his hair salon on South End Avenue near Rector Place. “I think it will be fun to have a party to celebrate our clients and our neighbors in Lower Manhattan, especially at a time when a heavy cloud of sadness and anticipation rolls in over downtown in preparation for the anniversary of 9/11,” he said a few days before the party.

He said that this year was the third Annual “Fashion’s Night Out,” which he described as a “global initiative created in 2009 in a partnership between American Vogue, the Council of Fashion Designers of America, NYC & Company and the City of New York to celebrate fashion, restore consumer confidence, boost the industry’s economy, and put the fun back in shopping.”

Over the course of the evening, scores of people visited Smith’s salon for Champagne and margaritas (courtesy of West Street Wine and spirits), musical performances by Smith and “Latin diva” Krisny Kenton, airbrush tattoos and feather hair extensions. Smith sent them home with gift bags containing hair products and $10 gift certificates for services.

Ball fields opening for season:
Decked out in new artificial turf, the ball fields north of Murray Street between North End Avenue and West Street will open for the season on Saturday, Sept. 17 after all. Bill Bialosky, president of the Downtown Soccer League, said he was “very happy to hear this.” Between torrential rain and 9/11 observances, it had looked for a while as though the soccer season would be delayed and 1,200 kids would be disappointed. But calamity was averted.

Block party:
The 10th annual Battery Park City Block Party is scheduled for Saturday, Sept. 17 (rain date, Sunday, Sept. 18) from 11:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Esplanade Plaza next to North Cove Marina. Rosalie Joseph, one of the principal organizers of the party, said, “We still need volunteers and we still have a few family tables left.” She also mentioned that, “You can bake an apple pie for the bake off or join the Lady Gaga dress-up contest.” Email info@bpcblockparty for more information.

To comment on Battery Park City Beat or to suggest article ideas, email TereseLoeb@mac.com

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