Covering Battery Park City

Final night at World Financial Center for SouthWest NY:
The decibel level and enthusiasm at SouthWest NY on the night of Oct. 27 made it seem like the scene of a boisterous New Year’s Eve party. But it wasn’t. After more than 12 years at 2 World Financial Center, this was SouthWest NY’s last night at that location. All of the businesses in the southern wing of the building had to shut down by the end of October to allow Brookfield Properties to begin its $250 million, two-year makeover of the Winter Garden and adjoining spaces.

“This is the second time we’ve closed,” said Abraham Merchant, the lead partner in Merchants Hospitality, which also owns Merchants NY Cafe, Merchants River House, Pound & Pence and Merchants Market in Lower Manhattan as well as several restaurants elsewhere in the city. The first time SouthWest NY closed, he said, was after 9/11.

Merchant said that the SouthWest NY staff had all been placed in his other restaurants, if that’s what they wanted. “Some are going back to school,” he said, “but everyone who wanted a job, has a job. We placed around 30 people.”

Early this winter, SouthWest NY will be moving to South End Avenue and Albany Street, the former location of the Gate House. Merchant said that the space will be completely renovated to accommodate the restaurant and a bar with a separate entrance. In the meantime, SouthWest NY cooks are setting up shop in other Merchants restaurants. Anything on the menu can be delivered by calling (212) 945-0538 between 5 p.m. and midnight. Mention of code 301 gets 15 percent off the price of the order. In addition, Merchants is offering a 15 percent discount for both dine-in and delivery at its other Downtown restaurants during the month of November.

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In the space at 6 River Terrace formerly occupied by Mercy Corps, the Battery Park City Parks Conservancy is now holding classes for babies and toddlers and lectures for adults. On Oct. 27, art historian Dorothea Basile talked about the Hudson River School of painting.

New uses for old Mercy Corps space:
The 4,000-square-foot space at 6 River Terrace vacated by Mercy Corps when it left Battery Park City on June 30 is now being used by the Battery Park City Parks Conservancy for a variety of programs.

On Oct. 27, art historian Dorothea Basile gave a slide-illustrated lecture about the painters of the Hudson River School and their importance to the development of landscape painting in America. As she explained to an audience of 20 people, America’s 19th-century landscape painters depicted the impact of settlement on the wilderness and produced dramatic images of the vast American West for those without the means to see it for themselves. Shortly after the Civil War, she said, the Hudson River school ended because “America had changed.”

The next lecture will be on Thursday, Nov. 10 at 1 p.m. when park educator Doug Van Horn will give an illustrated talk on Battery Park City’s most recognizable birds. That will be followed by a lecture on safety for seniors.

In addition, the space is being used for Pre-School Play and Art classes and for Parent and Baby Yoga.

In the future, it will also be available for rental, but Abby Ehrlich, director of Parks Programming for the Battery Park City Parks Conservancy said, “We’re not there yet.”

Amazing turf:
Suburban homeowners could not be more attentive to their lawns than the residents of Battery Park City, who fought each other vigorously over the prospect of having artificial turf on the ball fields north of Murray Street, between West Street and North End Avenue. Now, however, that the turf has been rolled out, the Battery Park City Authority, which paid for the $4.159 million installation, is kvelling.

“The artificial turf on the ball fields feels like grass,” said Gayle Horwitz, president of the B.P.C.A. at a recent Board of Directors meeting. “It doesn’t feel like plastic.” She explained that the field “functions to drain and to collect rainwater for use within Battery Park City. The rainwater filters through the field and is then pumped into a 100,000 gallon tank located in the adjacent community center, which we’re building, where it is stored until it is either needed to cool the surface of the turf or to irrigate the plants on the eastern edge of the field.”

She said that, “the field drains beautifully, as we discovered during Hurricane Irene, when we were installing it.”

Horwitz also praised the new lighting system at the ball fields, which she said, “is the most efficient system currently available. It uses the same wattage as the old system but offers increased light levels. The system controls light spills and glare, decreasing light pollution in the surrounding areas.”

Robert Mueller, the only member of the B.P.C.A. board who lives in Battery Park City, commented that the delays in changing from grass to artificial turf actually benefited the turf project because of improvements in technology. “It’s a fantastic surface,” he said. “It’s the best surface out there.”

Greenmarket recipes: The World Financial Center and Tribeca Greenmarkets will be giving out free fall recipe booklets in time for Thanksgiving, according to Lela Chapman, regional coordinator for the Lower Manhattan Greenmarkets. “We will include some of our recipes,” she said, “but we’re also inviting people from the community to submit recipes using fall produce for inclusion in the booklets.” The produce currently available in the Greenmarkets includes shell beans, beets, carrots, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cabbage, onions parsnips, potatoes, pumpkins, turnips and winter squash. Submit recipes by Nov. 5 including credit information and any notes or stories to Lela Chapman, lchapman@greenmarket.grownyc.org or to Kathleen Crosby kcrosby@greenmarket.grownyc.org. The World Financial Center Greenmarket in Battery Park City at Liberty Street is open on Thursdays. The Tribeca Greenmarket on Greenwich Street just north of Chambers is open Wednesdays and Saturdays.

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

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