Covering Battery Park City

Asphalt Green Battery Park City in limbo: According to Anat Gerstein, a spokesperson for Asphalt Green, “The Asphalt Green Battery Park City community center has not yet received a confirmed date from the Battery Park City Authority as to when Asphalt Green staff can gain access to the facility at 212 North End Ave. We don’t have an official opening date.”

Gerstein said that Asphalt Green’s staff said it would need three weeks to move in, set up and test equipment but given the extensive delays, the staff is committed to working around the clock to open to members in two weeks or less once the Authority turns the premises over to Asphalt Green, which it hired to manage the community center. The facility was originally supposed to open in November. Then the opening was pushed back to January, but that deadline was not met. An opening announced for February was also cancelled.

Asphalt Green Battery Park City currently has an enrollment of 1,512 adult members and 860 children. Members are frustrated with the delays but few people have asked for a refund, said Gerstein. “Members want their community center — not their money back.”

The $55 million facility will have two swimming pools, a gym and a theater and will offer a large number of special classes for children and adults.

While awaiting a firm opening date, Asphalt Green Battery Park City is offering some free classes. On Friday, Feb. 24, there will be a free baby sign language demo class that will show parents and caregivers how they can improve communication with babies as young as six weeks old by using sign language. A demo class for infants from six weeks to eight months will take place at 10 a.m. followed by a class for babies from eight to 16 months at 10:30 a.m. Baby sign language author Lora Heller will teach both classes.

The classes will be held at the Asphalt Green Battery Park City membership office at 211 North End Ave. (between Murray and Warren Streets). To RSVP, call (212) 298-2980 or email agbpc@asphaltgreen.org.

 Groundbreaking for World Financial Center entrance pavilion: Construction seems to be on schedule for the World Financial Center’s glass pavilion that will connect the office complex with subways, the PATH train and the World Trade Center via an underground pedestrian passageway. Groundbreaking for the pavilion took place on Monday, Feb. 13. It is part of Brookfield Office Properties’ $250 million renovation of 2 World Financial Center that will also include new dining facilities and shops.

The pavilion, which is scheduled to open in the fall of 2013, was designed by Pelli Clarke Pelli partner Rafael Pelli. His father, César, was the original architect of the World Financial Center.

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New York Classical Theatre is bringing three one-act comedies by Moliere to the Winter Garden of the World Financial Center. The free performances run from Feb. 21 to March 11.

 Molière comes to the Winter Garden: Rehearsals are now under way at the Winter Garden in the World Financial Center for three one-act plays by Molière, the stage name of French actor and playwright Jean-Baptiste Poquelin (1622-1673), who wrote brilliant satires of hypocrisy and duplicity. Marking its third annual appearance at the World Financial Center, the 12-year-old New York Classical Theatre will give 18 free performances of the Molière plays from Feb. 21 through March 11. The actors will move through the Winter Garden with the audience following them in what New York Classical Theatre founder and artistic director Stephen Burdman calls “panoramic theater.”

Burdman said that he selected the Molière plays because they are “hysterically funny” and because they reflect “a lot of what’s going on now” in politics and society. Molière’s patron, the French king Louis XIV, “encouraged his courtiers to spend money on wigs and clothes to divert their attention from politics,” said Burdman. Molière saw through their social pretensions and made fun of his audience.

The Winter Garden lineup includes Two Precious Maidens Ridiculed, about two rejected suitors who revenge themselves on the women who spurned them; The Forced Marriage, featuring the protagonist of the previous play as a middle-aged man overcome with doubts about his impending marriage to an attractive young woman; and Sganerelle or The Imaginary Cuckold, the story of a husband who questions his wife’s fidelity but who fails to defend her honor.

Each actor in the company plays several roles.

“I think this will be a delight for Molière fans as well as for those who don’t know much about Molière,” said Burdman. “These are forgotten masterpieces.”

Rehearsals are open to the public and take place throughout the Winter Garden through Feb.17. For a schedule of rehearsal times, go to http://www.worldfinancialcenter.com/arts-events.

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A few weeks ahead of schedule because of the unseasonably warm weather, daffodils that go by the name of “Narcissus Rjinvelds ‘Early Sensation’” are blooming on the Battery Park City esplanade near Rector Place.

Battery Park City in bloom: The unseasonably warm weather has hastened the appearance of spring flowers in Battery Park City. Daffodils called “Narcissus Rjinvelds ‘Early Sensation’” have been blooming on the esplanade near Rector Place for about a week. These early bloomers were first marketed in 1943 and are known for their hardiness. Even if the temperature dips into the teens, they should be able to weather the cold.

“There are a few winter aconite (Eranthis hymelis) showing their heads on the esplanade and in Wagner Park,” said Eileen Calvanese, horticultural director for the Battery Park City Parks Conservancy.  “Quince (Chaenomeles) is still flowering on the esplanade at Rector Place and witch hazel is flowering at the entrance to South Cove (at the Third Place cul-de-sac). These are Hamamelis ‘Arnold Promise.’ Also in Teardrop Park there are Hamamelis vernalis [another form of witch hazel] with small, orange, fragrant flowers.”

Snowdrops have been blooming since December and several kinds of hellebores are blooming on the esplanade, in Rector Park and in South Cove. Most of these plants grow low to the ground with down-turned flowers, so even should we get some snow, they would not be harmed.

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

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