Covering Battery Park City

[media-credit name="Downtown Express photos by Terese Loeb Kreuzer" align="alignright" width="600"][/media-credit]

Carlos Venegas is the manager of Artsee, an eyewear shop that just opened at 220 Murray St. in the Goldman Sachs building.

Boldface eyewear:
Artsee, as its name implies, is more than just a place to buy a new pair of specs. The optical shop, which opened on Nov. 16 at 220 Murray St. in the Goldman Sachs building, sells eyeglass frames that were designed to be noticed. It also sells art, with exhibits of photographs, sculpture and painting that change six times a year. Currently, photographs of Manhattan by David Nichols are on display, but eyeglasses are the main event.

“We consider our eyewear a form of self-expression,” said Oleg Rabinovich, one of the owners of Artsee. “We have customers who have had lasik surgery and who bring their glasses in for non-prescription lenses because they like to wear them.”

Frames at Artsee start at $375, plus lenses, coatings and other extras. Those who want diamond-studded eyeglasses can get them at Artsee for around $40,000, however, most of the store’s frames are under $1,200. Artsee designs some of them. Others come from manufacturers such as Oliver Goldsmith, Face à Face, Gold and Wood and Mykita.

Rabinovich and his partner, Julio Santiago, started Artsee nine years ago. In addition to their new location, they have stores at 10 Downing St. in Greenwich Village and in Miami Beach. The Goldman Sachs location is the only one with an optometrist on staff. In keeping with the shop’s ambiance, Dr. Veronica Ruelas has a consultation room with an examination chair custom-upholstered in bright red and special buttons on the equipment that displays the eye charts. They are coded with symbols of the third eye, the “protective eye” and “Ashram chic.” Dr. Ruelas, who was born in New York City but who has spent some time in India, said that she talks to her patients about “the importance of proper breathing and meditation – things that you don’t find Western doctors talking about.”

A Greenwich Village firm, OpenShop Studio, designed the store. “They were among our first customers,” said Rabinovich. The décor includes a chaise and hassock upholstered in a pale shade of gold velvet, which Rabinovich protected from the footprints of a small child who came into the store with his parents.

Artsee is open daily. For more information or to make an appointment with Dr. Ruelas, call (212) 227-2400. After mid-December, insurance will be accepted.

Rosalie Joseph, for the last 20 years, has headed the non-profit Stockings With Care, which provides holiday gifts for children in homeless shelters and other children in crisis.

Stockings With Care:
For the last 20 years, Battery Park City resident Rosalie Joseph has been celebrating Christmas by bringing a joyful day to children in homeless shelters or who are otherwise in crisis. She is co-founder of Stockings With Care, a non-profit organization that gets holiday wish lists from thousands of children each year and then finds people who go shopping to fill these children’s requests, donate money so others can shop for the kids or who volunteer to wrap and help distribute the gifts that pour in. Gifts are presented to the parents of the children so that they are the ones who brighten the child’s life on Christmas morning, letting the children know that despite hardships, Santa didn’t forget them.

“We have 1,700 New York City children on our lists,” said Joseph.  “They come from organizations like Women In Need, SCAN (Supportive Children’s Advocacy Network), Longlife, West Side Intergenerational Shelter and Healthy Families, Morris Heights. These all deal with families in crisis.”

Joseph said that it costs anywhere from $60 to $100 for each child. “We ask that the ‘Santa’ purchase at least two of the gifts on the child’s wish list. We also suggest that if the cost is too much, several people can go in together to buy gifts for one child.  We want the children to get what they wished for.”

Donated money is used for any child on the Stockings With Care list who has not been assigned to a Santa or for promised gifts that don’t arrive.

The Stockings With Care website, www.stockingswithcare.org, tells how to sign up to be a Santa, make a donation or volunteer. Drop off days for the gifts will be Thursday, Dec. 8 and Friday, Dec. 9 at a location to be determined.

On Sunday, Dec. 4 from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., the Vince Smith Hair Experience at 300 Rector Place will hold a special event to support Stockings With Care. For a $25 donation, those who have registered can get a professional photo with Santa Claus at the salon. They will receive a CD with the images and suggestions of websites that will print holiday cards.

The event announcement states, “We will be doing complimentary hair and makeup touch-ups to get you ready for your best Christmas portrait ever, while you enjoy holiday music, hot apple cider and refreshments. (Stylists will also be available that day for premium services at salon prices.)”

For more information, call (212) 945-1590.

B.P.C. Restaurant News:
Merchants River House on the Battery Park City esplanade between Albany and Liberty Streets has new menu items and is offering 15 percent off through Nov. 30. Among the starters, the new dish of bay scallops, Italian sausage and peppers with button mushrooms and red pepper coulis ($13) is a standout with an adept combination of sweet and smoky flavors. New side dishes include sweet potato mash ($3), loaded baked potatoes ($6) and glazed beets ($3). Pan-seared monkfish with curried mussels ($20) and breaded pork chops ($17) are also new to the menu. Merchants River House is open daily for lunch and dinner, and on Saturdays and Sundays, for brunch. Go to http://merchantsriverhouse.com/ or call (212) 432-1451for more information.

Picasso’s Pizzeria at 303 South End Ave. has closed. One of the owners, Michael Magliulo, who was seen departing the shuttered store on Nov. 21 carrying a case of plum tomatoes, said that Picasso’s had closed for renovations and would reopen the first week in January. However, the New York City Department of Health website states that Picasso’s was closed down for sanitary violations that included hot food items not held at or above 140º F, food workers touching food with their bare hands and evidence of mice or live mice and live roaches in food and/or non-food areas. Magliulo said that customers can get deliveries from Picasso’s Fulton Street location by calling (212) 321-2616. In addition, there are alternatives for a Battery Park City pizza fix: Merchants River House sells pizzas as does Inatteso Pizzabar Casano (http://www.inattesopizzabar.com/) at 30 West St. and Caravelli’s Pizzeria (www.caravellis.com) at 200 Vesey St. in the World Financial Center.

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

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