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No summer camp at Asphalt Green Battery Park City: There will be no summer day camp at Asphalt Green Battery Park City this summer. According to Christina Klapper, a spokesperson for Asphalt Green, “The Battery Park City Authority determined late last week that it is not feasible to open the facility and run camp before securing all of the necessary safety and occupancy certifications and permits.”
Klapper said that around 60 campers had been enrolled in Asphalt Green B.P.C.’s summer camp. She said that Asphalt Green is arranging for complimentary, counselor-staffed bus service for campers to attend day camp at Asphalt Green’s uptown campus on East 90th Street. Families that don’t choose that option, she said, are eligible for a full refund.
On May 31, B.P.C.A. president Gayle Horwitz said that the Asphalt Green facility would open in “a couple of weeks.” However, Klapper said that as of Mon., June 11, the B.P.C.A. had not told Asphalt Green when the facility would open.
The parents of children enrolled in the camp were informed by phone on Fri., June 8 that the day camp had been cancelled.
Matthew Monahan, a spokesperson for the B.P.C.A., issued a statement that said, “After careful thought and consideration, we determined that Asphalt Green Battery Park City Summer Camp is, unfortunately, not feasible.”
Monahan added, “While we hoped this would not be the case, we wanted families to be aware of the situation in order to make alternate plans.”
Bob Townley, executive director of Manhattan Youth at 120 Warren St., said he had received 10 calls on Fri., June 8, from parents seeking alternative summer arrangements for their children. Manhattan Youth’s Downtown Day Camps take children grades kindergarten through eight. Townley said that he was adding staff and readjusting schedules to accommodate additional enrollment and could also refer families to other camps.
Downtown Day Camps run from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., with an optional two additional hours daily. The cost for the full six-week season (June 29-Aug. 10) is $3,695. For more information, visit www.manhattanyouth.org or call (212) 766-1104.
Poets House’s annual Brooklyn Bridge walk: Around 200 people led by volunteers carrying blue-and-white pennants labeled “Poets House” walked across the Brooklyn Bridge, from Manhattan to Brooklyn, on Mon., June 11, marking the 17th year of the Poets House’s annual fundraising event. Ascending the gradually sloping walkway that leads to the bridge’s Gothic arches, the walkers seemed like pilgrims revisiting a temple that has inspired so many poems of admiration and reverie.
Under the first arch of the bridge, poets Tracy K. Smith, Sharon Olds and Thomas Lux read aloud poems of homage to New York City. Then it was on to the Fulton Ferry Landing in Brooklyn, where poet, teacher and translator Galway Kinnell read Walt Whitman’s “Crossing Brooklyn Ferry,” as he has for the last 17 years. The Poets House honored Kinnell with the Elizabeth Kray Award, presented every two years to a poet whose work and life embody Kray’s advocacy for poetry as a presence in everyday life. Kray and poet Stanley Kunitz founded Poets House in 1987.
The evening ended with dinner at Bubby’s Brooklyn. Actor Bill Murray, a great admirer of Poets House, showed up as he has done in previous years, to read a few poems — this year by Wallace Stevens — and to tell a few jokes.
To celebrate its 25th anniversary this past year, Poets House staged a series of 36 lectures by prominent poets and teachers running through the history of poetry from “Gilgamesh” to the Beats.
Two years ago, Poets House relocated from its quarters in SoHo to a two-story facility at 10 River Terrace in B.P.C. The main reading room, equipped with comfortable chairs and a view of the Hudson River, attracts scholars, writers and readers in search of a peaceful oasis of companionable silence. Poets House executive director Lee Briccetti said that the 50,000-volume poetry library and exhibition space received a total of 50,000 visitors last year.
Oaxaca opens on World Financial Center plaza: On Sat., June 9, Oaxaca, a new, modestly priced dining option, opened on the W.F.C. Plaza overlooking North Cove Marina. The eatery, which serves tacos, tortillas, soft drinks and beer, is open daily from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. It is owned by Merchants Hospitality, which also owns Quality Burger on the plaza. Ed’s Lobster Bar is the third food vendor. The kiosks will stay open through mid-October.
“Bang on a Can” marathon: For aficionados of contemporary music, the Bang on a Can marathon in the Winter Garden of the World Financial Center is a highlight of the area’s summer music programming. This year, the marathon will take place on Sun., June 17 — Father’s Day — starting at noon and ending at midnight. Bang on a Can’s first marathon concert of innovative music was held in a SoHo art gallery 25 years ago. It has since become an international force in the music world, with its programmers commissioning new compositions, performances and recordings.
This year’s marathon will include music by Bang on a Can’s founders, Julia Wolfe, Michael Gordon and David Lang. Also in the program are performances by the Bang on a Can All-Stars playing what advance publicity describes as “the near impossible works of Conlon Nancarrow; music by David Longstreth of Dirty Projectors and Thurston Moore of Sonic Youth; Steve Reich’s piece, “Six Pianos”; experimental pioneer Alvin Lucier performing his iconic ‘I am sitting in a room’; Pauline Oliveros’ Deep Listening Band transforming the Winter Garden into a mind-blowing underground cistern; and Michael Harrison’s new sonic exploration for cellist extraordinaire Maya Beiser, [accompanied by] a film by Bill Morrison.”
The marathon is free of charge.
Swedish Midsummer Festival: Transplanted from Swedish festivals celebrating the longest days of the year and the Feast of John the Baptist, B.P.C.’s Swedish Midsummer Festival has become an eagerly awaited occasion for dancing, eating, listening to music and making beautiful floral wreaths. This year, the festival takes place from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m. on Fri., June 22, in Wagner Park. As always, there will be a maypole — a tradition in Sweden that probably dates from the 16th century. Barnklubben Elsa Rix #1, a Swedish-American children’s club, and Swedish Folkdancers of New York will teach traditional folk dances from 6:30 p.m. to 8 p.m. Accompanying music will be provided by Paul Dahlin and musicians from the American Swedish Institute in Minneapolis.
The festival is co-sponsored by the Consulate General of Sweden, New York and the B.P.C. Parks Conservancy.
Battery Park City in bloom: Among the many handsome flowers adorning Wagner Park, an iris in shades of pale and dark purple highlighted with a splash of bright yellow stands out. Iris ensata ‘Activity,’ commonly called “Japanese iris,” is native to Japan, northern China and eastern Russia. Hybrids of this stunning flower have been cultivated in Japan for more than 500 years. It wasn’t until 1869 that the Iris ensata was introduced to the U.S. The Japanese iris had become a fixture in American estate gardens by the beginning of the 20th century. The Great Depression and World War II put an end to this flower’s popularity in the U.S. until relatively recently, when American hybridizers reintroduced it to the marketplace.
To comment on Battery Park City Beat or to suggest article ideas, email Terese Loeb Kreuzer directly at TereseLoeb@mac.com.
– by Terese Loeb Kreuzer