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New eateries for Brookfield Place:
Eight restaurants have signed up with Brookfield Office Properties, owners of Brookfield Place (formerly called the World Financial Center), to open eateries in the dining terrace now under construction at what used to be called 2 World Financial Center. The tenants have signed ten-year leases with Brookfield.
The dining terrace will be located above a food marketplace run by the Poulakakos family. Non-food tenants will be located primarily in the Winter Garden and what is now the Courtyard on the Vesey Street side of the building.
Most of the eight restaurants have other outposts in New York City. One is coming to New York from California.
Chop’t Creative Salad Company has ten New York City locations where it sells salads topped with 25 homemade, small batch dressings. Also from New York, the Dig Inn Seasonal Market sells health food made from vegetables primarily sourced from local growers.
Little Muenster specializes in “super fancy grilled cheese,” and currently has locations on the Lower East Side and in Brooklyn. Num Pang is a Cambodian-inspired sandwich shop, which now has stores on Union Square and in midtown Manhattan. Skinny Pizza hails from Long Island, serving whole wheat and gluten-free slices and pies.
Dos Toros, originally from the San Francisco Bay area of California, will be opening its fourth Manhattan location when it sets up shop in Battery Park City. Dos Toros serves Mexican food such as burritos, tacos and quesadillas.
For Sprinkles Cupcakes, which originated in Beverly Hills. Battery Park City will be its second New York outpost. It already has a store in Midtown Manhattan where it sells 20 kinds of cupcakes.
Umami Burger, another California import, will be brand new to Manhattan. It arrives from its native Los Angeles preceded by a stellar reputation.
Brookfield is looking to sign up six more restaurants. All are scheduled to open in January 2014.
Ball fields update:
The Downtown Little League hopes to hold its Opening Day on April 7, but the date is still tentative, according to Diane Rohan, who planned the opening day events for the D.L.L. in 2011 and 2012.
“We only know that the Battery Park City Authority is replacing the ball fields turf and hopes to open the fields in ‘early April,’ but they have not given us any specific dates,” she said. “We’ve still not heard if the fields will be ready by then. This year, a record-breaking number of Downtown kids registered to play baseball in the 2013 season.”
The opening day activities entail closing part of Warren St. This closure has been approved by Community Board 1. Rohan said that if the ball fields don’t open on April 7 as planned, she will have to go back to the community board to arrange a new date. There are many other arrangements that would have to be renegotiated as well.
Battery Park City in bloom:
In the third week of February, ice sculptors from the Okamoto Studio in Long Island City, Queens were demonstrating their craft on the plaza next to the Winter Garden while elsewhere in Battery Park City, witch hazel was already in bloom.
Shintaro Okamoto said that he first started ice sculpting when he and his family lived in Alaska. Now he and his craftsmen largely exercise their art form to create centerpieces for weddings, bar mitzvahs, parties of all kinds, fashion events and other special occasions.
In Battery Park City, on Feb. 21 and Feb. 22, they created a forest of ice vegetation that Okamoto called “Fantastical Botanical.”
The weather was very cold — a good thing for ice sculptures — but happily Brookfield provided free cups of chai tea and cupcakes for the crowd that watched the sculptures emerge. As Okamoto and his crew finished their work, the Hungry March Band entertained with music and dancing.
At the same time that the ice garden was under way, Battery Park City sported its usual assemblage of winter blooms. In South Cove and Teardrop Park, witch hazel burst into flower.
The witch hazel in South Cove at the Third Place cul-de-sac is called Hamamelis ‘Arnold Promise.’ A different kind of witch hazel blooms in Teardrop Park — Hamamelis ‘vernalis,’ with small, orange flowers.
The Teardrop Park witch hazel is native to the Ozark Plateau in central North America. It grows wild in Missouri, Oklahoma and Arkansas. It blooms from mid-winter to early spring (“vernalis” means “spring-flowering”). Its flowers tend to be strongly scented.
The South Cove witch hazel is a hybrid that was developed by the Arnold Arboretum at Harvard University and introduced in 1928. One of its parents, H. japonica, came from Japan, the other, H. mollis, is native to China.
The extracts of some species of witch hazel have medicinal uses as an astringent and to help heal acne, psoriasis and other skin conditions, but Battery Park City’s witch hazels have been cultivated for their ornamental value.
One way to cut automobile gasoline bills is to purchase a vehicle that runs partially or entirely on electricity. The newest thing in electric charging stations for automobiles will be unveiled at The Solaire, 20 River Terrace, on Monday, March 11 at 11 a.m.
It is part of the ChargePoint network, which offers 11,000 charging locations — the largest network of electric vehicle charging spots in the world. With the help of a $1 million investment from NYSERDA (the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority), it is expanding its network in New York State.
The Solaire has had an electric charging station since it opened in 2003. The newest iteration is able to charge more models of automobiles. For people with monthly parking in the Solaire garage, there is no cost for the service.
The Solaire, the nation’s first LEED Gold-certified residential building, is owned by The Albanese Organization, which also owns the Verdesian and the Visionaire in Battery Park City. Both of these buildings also have electric charging stations.
It takes three and a half to four hours to charge a car. Two cars can be charged at the same station at the same time.
New York City is one of the leaders in electric vehicle adoption rates with 2,598 registered vehicles as of January 2013.
To attend the unveiling of the new electric charging station at The Solaire, email email@example.com or call 408-481-4580.
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BY TERESE LOEB KREUZER