Battery Park City, Week of May 29, 2013

 Pier A update:
The lights are on in Pier A but for the Battery Park City Authority, which has been charged by the city with renovating the historic pier at the southern end of Battery Park City, there does not yet seem to be light at the end of the tunnel.

The pier was well on its way to being finished when Superstorm Sandy set things back and added to the expense. Now, the core and shell work on the 1886 pier are almost finished and “we are on track to turn over the building to the Poulakakos Organization in June so they can fit out the space to their business specifications,” said Matthew Monahan, spokesperson for the Authority.

But there’s a glitch.

At the B.P.C.A. board of directors meeting on May 23, Gwen Dawson, senior vice president of asset management, noted that the board had approved an increase in the Pier A budget to $36.8 million.

However, she added in response to a question from B.P.C.A. chairperson Dennis Mehiel, “We are still awaiting ratification for that [from the mayor and city comptroller].”

She said that construction work on the Pier A plaza had not begun because the B.P.C.A. had not yet received approval from the City for the money to finance it.

“We had entered into a separate contract to allow the pre-construction activity,” Dawson said, “however the scope of that contract will expire in another two and a half to three weeks, at which time we will need to begin construction of the plaza in order to maintain our schedule.”
She said the plaza needed to be finished before the cold weather sets in and that the plaza had to be in place so that the tenant — the Poulakakos family — can open the following spring.

Dawson added that if the tenants were delayed in opening, the B.P.C.A. would be penalized. “If they cannot open the building and generate revenue, they would be looking to us for recompense,” she said.

“We are in discussions with the city for requisite approvals,” said Monahan.

Downtown Express photos by Terese Loeb Kreuzer Young dancer at Battery Park City’s bluegrass event.

Downtown Express photos by Terese Loeb Kreuzer
Young dancer at Battery Park City’s bluegrass event.

Family dances:
The Battery Park City Parks Conservancy’s family dances are joyful events for dancers and for those who just want to watch and listen. People of all ages dance with each other, with and without partners. The music is always terrific.

The first event of this year’s season was a Bluegrass Family Dance on May 18 with music by James Reams & the Barnstormers. It rained a little, but no one seemed to mind. Part way through the evening, the fireboat John J. Harvey passed by and spouted water, which caused some of the dancers to rush to the balustrade and wave. Then it was back to dancing.

The next similar event will be on June 9 from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. The B.P.C. Parks Conservancy is collaborating with the National Museum of the American Indian and the Museum of Jewish Heritage to present “Almost Summer” — a family day in Wagner Park. It will feature a concert by Dan Zanes and Elizabeth Mitchell and Native American stories. There will be lawn games, crafts and food for sale. In case of rain, the event (free except for the food) will be held inside the Museum of Jewish Heritage.

Poets House, Brooklyn Bridge walk:
For many people, Poets House’s annual Brooklyn Bridge walk is a not-to-be-missed event that ushers in the summer. On June 10, hundreds of poetry and bridge lovers will again meet in the small park outside the Municipal Building at 1 Centre St., and beginning at 6:30 p.m., stroll across the Brooklyn Bridge — 130 years old this year.

They will stop along the way to listen to poetry being read aloud, much of it about the bridge itself. Finally, as the sun sets over Manhattan, they will arrive at Fulton Ferry in Brooklyn, where the Pulitzer-Prize-winning poet, Galway Kinnell, will recite Walt Whitman’s “Crossing Brooklyn Ferry.” They will be able to see exactly what Whitman saw as Kinnell intones, “Flood-tide below me! I watch you face to face;

Clouds of the west! sun there half an hour high! I see you also face to face.”

Then they will go to a celebratory dinner where more poetry will be read. This year, for the first time, dinner will take place at the Tobacco Warehouse in DUMBO.

Actor Bill Murray and U.S. Poet Laureate, Natasha Trethewey will be among the poetry readers.

The Brooklyn Bridge walk benefits Poets House at 10 River Terrace in Battery Park City, where many activities are free. Tickets start at $250 ($225 for Poets House members). Reservations are required. For more information or to make a reservation, contact Krista Manrique at 212-431-7920, ext. 2830 or email krista@poetshouse.org.

Downtown Express photos by Terese Loeb Kreuzer This turkey spotted recently in Wagner Park appeared to be a little more plump than the famed Zelda, who has lived for a decade in neighboring Battery Park.

Downtown Express photos by Terese Loeb Kreuzer
This turkey spotted recently in Wagner Park appeared to be a little more plump than the famed Zelda, who has lived for a decade in neighboring Battery Park.

Talking turkey:
On May 20, a plump, wild turkey was noshing on the Wagner Park lawn. Could this have been Zelda, the famous wild turkey of Battery Park, who has lived there since 2003? Possibly. There’s so much construction in historic Battery Park right now that Zelda could have decided to retreat to more serene digs. But it didn’t quite look like Zelda. This was one plump bird. And Zelda has been seen frequently in her usual home. So maybe this was a new wild turkey. Perhaps he (or she?) will find Battery Park City attractive and stay awhile.

To comment on Battery Park City Beat or to suggest article ideas, email TereseLoeb10@gmail.com

–  by TERESE LOEB KREUZER

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