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Pier A to get plaza and plantings:
At its April meeting, the Battery Park City Authority board of directors learned that core and shell construction on Pier A are nearly complete and that the time had come to discuss the 35,000-square-foot plaza to be constructed in front of the building.
Gwen Dawson, senior vice president of asset management for the authority, said that the Department of City Planning and the Public Design Commission had approved a design for the plaza created by Ove Arup Partners and Rogers Marvel Architects. On March 13, the B.P.C.A. issued a request for proposals for construction, to which four firms responded.
Though not the lowest bidder, D’Onofrio General Contractors was selected because it “had a very good understanding of the project and the complexities associated with it,” said Dawson. She said the work on the plaza would begin before the final completion of the core and shell work and that plaza construction would be concurrent with the tenant’s work on the fit-out of the inside of the building.
The construction contract is for $3.4 million.
Board member Martha Gallo asked what would be different about this plaza from what has previously existed there.
“Historically, it’s been just a very utilitarian space,” Dawson replied. It was used primarily as a parking lot, she said. Now it will be a forecourt and what she called “a tandem space for the building.”
The Poulakakos family, which will be running an oyster bar, a high-end restaurant and a catering hall on the pier, will be able to use some parts of the plaza for outdoor dining.
Dawson mentioned that there will be a raised planting bed that will arc around the wall that separates the plaza from historic Battery Park. The wall edge could be used for seating, she said.
The plaza construction will start in the beginning of May and is slated to be finished by November.
The B.P.C.A. board approved the expenditure for the plaza subject to necessary approvals from the New York City comptroller and the mayor’s office. Board chairperson Dennis Mehiel said that he would telephone the comptroller and the mayor’s senior staff to “see if we can fast track this thing.”
The Poulakakos family and its partner, the Dermot Company, plan to begin their part of the construction in June so that they can open by the summer of 2014.
More construction news:
As any homeowner can attest, when you own (or are responsible for) property, there’s always something to fix. The Battery Park City Authority is no exception.
The western stairs on the Rector Place bridge spanning West St. have been rusting for months. The B.P.C.A. maintains the bridge for the New York State Department of Transportation, which owns it.
Because of buckled treads, the stairs have been temporarily closed. Those who wish to use the bridge must go up and down the ramp that leads to Albany St.
“Shop drawings for the new stairs are being completed and an engineering review will follow before the stairs are replaced,” said Matthew Monahan, authority spokesperson. “We expect the removal and replacement of the stairs to begin next week and to take about five days to complete.”
The bridge also needs to be resurfaced, a process that will begin a few days later. While the stairs are being replaced the bridge will remain open, but the only access will be via the ramp. The project will cost around $94,000.
Elsewhere in Battery Park City, the B.P.C.A. is repairing decking and lighting at South Cove. The wooden walkway at the north end of South Cove and the wooden jetty at the south end were damaged by Superstorm Sandy. Signs for the construction work will begin appearing later this week, said Monahan. He said that the repairs will cost around half a million dollars and “hopefully” take three months or less.
South Cove’s distinctive blue lights are also being repaired — because of age, not because of Sandy, said Monahan. That project is supposed to be finished in May.
Tribeca Film Festival
Say prayers to the weather gods. There’s a chance of rain from Thursday, April 18 to Saturday, April 20 when Battery Park City gets to celebrate the annual Tribeca Film Festival with free outdoor movies on the Brookfield Place plaza overlooking North Cove Marina.
Each night, the festivities begin at 6 p.m., with the film screenings starting at dusk — around 8:15 p.m.
The first night’s offering is Alfred Hitchcock’s classic thriller, “The Birds,” starring Tippi Hedren, Rod Taylor, Jessica Tandy and Suzanne Pleshette. It was first released 50 years ago — and for those who somehow missed seeing it, it’s about a California community that is suddenly and inexplicably attacked by thousands of vicious birds.
Before the film, there will be movie trivia contests and prizes.
On Friday night, the movie is “Beetlejuice,” a comedy from 1988 directed by Tim Burton. It’s about some ghosts who don’t like the new occupants of their former house and the exorcist who is trying to scare them away. The film stars Michael Keaton in the title role and features Alec Baldwin, Geena Davis, Catherine O’Hara and Winona Ryder.
The pre-film fun includes a ghoulish costume contest, face-painting and family-friendly activities.
On Saturday night, the Drive-In premieres a documentary called “Lil Bub & Friends.” It’s a sweet story about a cat who was the runt of his litter and is actually deformed but who has a darling face that causes people to take to him. With his owner, Lil Bub travels across the country meeting other celebrity cats and the people who love them.
Battery Park City’s beautiful parks and gardens are beloved by more than the humans who live and work here. Particularly during the spring and fall migration seasons, they attract a wide variety of birds.
Recently sighted off the Battery Park City esplanade, a red-throated loon was diving for breakfast. “Wow!” said Gabriel Willow, who leads birding trips for the New York Audubon Society. “They winter south to Florida or so, and breed in the high Arctic. Some overwinter here, so that bird could’ve been here all winter. But what you can say for sure is that it’s heading north soon, and will fly all the way to the tundra.” That’s a trip of several thousand miles.
Battery Park City recently had other visitors headed to the Arctic for the summer. Brant geese paddled and honked in South Cove before departing for their summer breeding grounds.
Meanwhile on the esplanade, a downy woodpecker was busy climbing up, down and around the linden trees in search of insects. And, as usual, there were cardinals and blue jays sporting their gorgeous plumage — and numerous robins, who may have overwintered here but are always more visible in the spring.
Battery Park City Parks Conservancy seeks volunteers:
The Battery Park City Parks Conservancy, which maintains B.P.C.’s parks and gardens needs volunteers during the busy summer season. It’s a great opportunity to learn about organic gardening from the Conservancy’s expert horticulturists.
Volunteers work on Wednesday mornings from 7:30 a.m. to noon beginning on May 1 and ending on Oct. 30. Call 212-267-9700 for an application.
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