Covering Battery Park City

[media-credit name=”Downtown Express photos by Terese Loeb Kreuzer ” align=”aligncenter” width=”600″][/media-credit]

The Battery Park City Parks Conservancy’s annual holiday celebration took place on Dec. 8 with carol singing, hot cider and cocoa and cookies. As the crowd counted down, the lights on a tree facing South Cove were turned on.

Food trucks coming to B.P.C.:
The management of Brookfield Properties wants to make sure that Battery Park City residents and workers have plenty of food choices over the next few years while 2 World Financial Center is under construction, so if the Battery Park City Authority agrees, Brookfield plans to allow food trucks to park in the cul-de-sac between 4 World Financial Center and the New York Mercantile Exchange.

“One of the things that’s come up in New York over the last couple of years is the food truck revolution,” said Brookfield V.P. David Cheikin, when he explained the plan to Community Board 1’s Battery Park City Committee. “It’s not just bad food anymore and it’s at a good price point.” He said that Brookfield would work with the New York City Food Truck Association, which currently has 30 members, inviting five vendors a week to sell their wares in B.P.C. from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. daily. The five vendors would rotate from week to week. “They want to start as soon as possible,” Cheikin said.

In answer to questions from the committee about how much control Brookfield would have over the vendors, Cheikin said, “We would never let dirty-water dogs down here. We think it will actually be a good amenity.” He said the trucks would be selling items like waffles, steak sandwiches, healthy foods and shakes. And if the food trucks don’t work out? “I have the right to kick them out,” he said.

B.P.C. tree lighting:
Battery Park City’s annual tree lighting took place on Dec. 8 in South Cove. With Santa Claus presiding, the crowd counted down and at the right moment, lights festooning a Cedars of Lebanon tree on the southern flank of South Cove magically came on. “It’s a miracle,” said Tessa Huxley, director of the Battery Park City Parks Conservancy, which organized the event.

A group called “The Accidentals” sang holiday favorites like “Jingle Bells” while kids and grown-ups snacked on hot cider, cocoa and cookies.

A menorah at the base of the tree will be lit with one light each night beginning on Dec. 20.

Hanukah in Battery Park City: At one time, there were 15 Yiddish theater companies on the Lower East Side. Now, only one remains — the National Yiddish Theatre — Folksbiene — which will bring a special program of Hanukah music to the Winter Garden in the World Financial Center on Sunday, Dec. 18 at noon.

Folksbiene (the “Peoples’ Stage”), was founded in 1915 by the Workmen’s Circle. It became an independent non-profit in 1998, with the mission of making Yiddish theater accessible to a new generation. The Winter Garden concert will feature traditional melodies and klezmer music.

On Sunday, Dec. 25, the Museum of Jewish Heritage at 36 Battery Place plans a celebration of Emma Lazarus and the Statue of Liberty with crafts, tours and films. Starting at 11 a.m. with “An American Tail,” three films will be screened (“Saboteur” is at 1 p.m. and “Ghostbusters II” at 3 p.m.). At noon and 1 p.m. there will be tours revolving around the museum’s current exhibit, “Emma Lazarus: Poet of Exiles.” Craft activities for children from ages 3 to 10 will be offered from noon to 3:30 p.m. The museum’s Heritage Café will be open from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Go to for more information.

[media-credit name=”Photo by Terese Loeb Kreuzer ” align=”aligncenter” width=”600″][/media-credit]

Because of mild temperatures, in mid-December, Clematis paniculata whose common name is “sweet autumn clematis,” is still blooming at the Irish Hunger Memorial in Battery Park City.

Battery Park City in bloom:
Usually by mid-December, Battery Park City’s flowers are limited to snowdrops, but not this year. Mild temperatures have caused an efflorescence. In Wagner Park, camellias are blooming, as are lion’s ear and other flowers. And on the Irish Hunger Memorial, Clematis paniculata, whose common name is “sweet autumn clematis,” clings to the fence next to North End Avenue.

There are around 300 species in the Clematis genus. Most originated in China and Japan and most, like the specimen on the Irish Hunger Memorial, are climbing vines with attractive, star-shaped flowers. Clematis paniculata is particularly fragrant.

Though all parts of the plant are poisonous, Native Americans used Clematis extracts in small doses to treat migraines and skin infections.

“I expect the Clematis will keep going until the weather gets too cold,” said Eileen Calvanese, head of horticulture for the Battery Park City Parks Conservancy. At the rate we’re going, who knows when that will be.

B.P.C. dognapping:
Since food stores, restaurants and some other stores don’t allow dogs inside, dog owners frequently tie their pets outside while they shop, but the Battery Park City Dog Association warns against this. “If you need to go shopping, patronize only dog-friendly retailers or leave the dog at home,” the Association says in its “Tips for Avoiding Dog Theft.”

Around a month ago, there was an attempted dognapping in front of the Gristedes at West Thames Street and South End Avenue. A man made off with a 50 to 60 pound mutt. “With the help of the Battery Park City Parks Enforcement Patrol (PEPs) the owner was lucky enough to chase the thief down and get the dog back, but the guy who took the dog got away,” the Dog Association reported.

“There are usually four reasons that we know of why dognappers steal dogs,” said Paula Galloway, who heads the B.P.C. Dog Association. “They want to wait for a reward to be posted so that they can return the dog for money; they want to keep the dog for themselves or a relative; they want to sell the dog to a laboratory for experimentation or they plan to use the stolen dog as a bait dog in dog fighting. All four are horrible situations when an owner is beside themselves wondering what happened to their stolen dog and should be enough to deter an owner from tying up their dog[s].”

The Dog Association advises not to let a dog run off leash and not to leave it alone in a car, even if it’s locked. “And keep the purchase price to yourself,” it says.

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