Covering Battery Park City

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

Over the weekend of May 11, three 250-square-foot cottages were erected on the World Financial Center plaza facing North Cove Marina. Designated “2012 House of the Year” by Country Living magazine, “Room to Spare” cottages have been outfitted as a guest bedroom, an outdoor kitchen and an entrepreneur’s studio.

Country Living homes on the W.F.C. Plaza: For the second year, Country Living’s “House of the Year” is back on the World Financial Center Plaza overlooking North Cove Marina. This year, the magazine, dedicated to “the charm of easy living,” is presenting three 250-square-foot cottages that could provide homeowners with much-needed extra space without the cost of major construction. One of the cottages has been outfitted as a guest bedroom, another, as an outdoor kitchen, and the third as an entrepreneur’s studio.

Country Living editors worked with guest designers and experts to decorate the cottages. Even apartment dwellers without yards may get some ideas for how to make the most of small spaces.

Top Chef Masters winner Marcus Samuelsson, owner of the Red Rooster restaurant in Harlem, had a hand in the kitchen design. The guest bedroom was outfitted by designer Thomas Paul and Kreis Beall, owner of the sybaritic Blackberry Farm in the Great Smoky Mountains of Tennessee. Designer Barbara Kurgan worked on the studio with the assistance of Stephen Loidolt and Shauna Alterio, owners of Philadelphia-based Forage Bow Ties (a source for handcrafted neckwear) and the lifestyle brand Something’s Hiding in Here.

For each visitor to the exhibit, Country Living will make a donation to an organization called Nontraditional Employment for Women that trains and places women in the skilled construction, utility and maintenance trades that have traditionally been closed to them. Some of these women have been adding the finishing touches to the cottages.

Admission to the exhibit is free. It’s open from May 17 to May 23, Thursday and Friday from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m., Saturday and Sunday from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., Monday and Tuesday from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. and Wednesday from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.

Harry’s Italian eatery opened at 225 Murray St. in Goldman Sachs alley on Monday, May 7, the last of the food emporia to open on what has become Battery Park City’s “restaurant row.”

Harry’s Italian opens: Harry’s Italian, the last of the food emporia to open on what has become Battery Park City’s “restaurant row,” has been serving lunch and dinner in Goldman Sachs alley since May 7. Things were quiet on the first day according to manager Peter Messinis, but have been bustling ever since.

Restaurateur Peter Poulakakos and pizza chef Nick Angelis are behind the venture, their fourth pizza bar and the third outpost of the “Harry’s Italian” brand.

Harry’s Italian opened without a liquor license. In the meantime, patrons have been walking across the alley to Vintry Fine Wines, another Poulakakos enterprise, to buy wine to imbibe with their meals. When the expected liquor license arrives shortly, wine will be available by the glass or by the bottle.

The menu features pizzas and calzones, a variety of pastas priced from $11 to $13 at lunch (with somewhat higher prices at dinner) and Italian specialties, such as chicken and veal Marsala, chicken and veal saltimbocca and shrimp oreganato.

Delivery and takeout are available throughout the Downtown area, and brunch is served on Saturdays and Sundays.

Harry’s Italian Pizza Bar is located at 225 Murray St. and Vesey St. The hours are Mondays to Wednesdays, 11 a.m. to 1 a.m.; Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays, 11 a.m. to 2 a.m. and Sundays, 11 a.m. to midnight. The phone number is (212) 608-1007.

Library mishap: On Thursday, May 10, a two-year-old boy fell from the second-floor balcony of the Battery Park City branch library at 175 North End Ave. and was taken to the hospital for evaluation and treatment. He has since been released.

The balcony is edged by a clear, glass-like barrier around three-and-a-half-feet high. It appears that the child managed to slip around a column and through a small opening between the barrier and the wall that has since been closed with wooden braces.

The library is continuing to investigate the accident.

B.P.C. Parks Conservancy’s programs: The Battery Park City Parks Conservancy’s summer programs are in full swing, and this week, that means literally full swing. On Saturday, May 19 from 6:30 p.m. to 8 p.m., the Conservancy will stage the first of this season’s family dances with the Calpulli Mexican Dance Company.

Family dances are for everyone, with or without partners — and with or without families. Dance leaders demonstrate the steps and everyone is invited to join in. No one is judging! Some people would rather just watch and enjoy the music, and that’s fine, too.

Calpulli presents traditional regional dances of Mexico accompanied by coastal Mexican rhythms, Aztec drums, Mariachi music and singing. It has performed at Carnegie Hall and has an annual season at Queens Theatre in the Park.

Most family dances are held on Esplanade Plaza, just south of North Cove Marina, and like most Battery Park City Parks Conservancy programs, are free.

Upcoming family dances include the Swedish Midsummer Festival on June 22 (in Wagner Park because it is a prodigious event with a Maypole, crafts, food and revelers, who come from as far away as Minnesota to participate), a Brazilian family dance on July 14 and a Greek family dance on Aug. 11.

On the morning of May 19, people with kids (or people without them who like to hear stories) can stop by Teardrop Park at 11 a.m. for the interactive musical, “Play Me a Story,” performed by Maya Blank and Uri Shalin with a lot of audience participation. Children are invited to sing, dance and act out parts of the story. A hat-making workshop will follow the storytelling.

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