Battery Park City, June 12, 2013

Downtown Express photos by Terese Loeb Kreuzer  Naglaa Mohamed, a Battery Park City mom, outside Miramar, a new neighborhood restaurant that she and her family own.

Downtown Express photos by Terese Loeb Kreuzer
Naglaa Mohamed, a Battery Park City mom, outside Miramar, a new neighborhood restaurant that she and her family own.

Miramar opens at South Cove:
Miramar, the Mediterranean seafood restaurant that opened on June 5 at 21 South End Ave. (facing South Cove), is a family enterprise. It is owned by Naglaa Mohamed and Tamer Abdelgawad, by Mohamed’s aunt and uncle, Una and Aldo Eskandar, and by two cousins.

Miramar is also part of the Battery Park City family. Mohamed and Abdelgawad have lived in Battery Park City for five years. Their son, Adam, 4, goes to the Battery Park City Day Nursery.

Mohamed, who has a Ph.D. in molecular biology, and Abdelgawad, an economist, have full-time jobs working for a pharmaceutical company, so are at the restaurant on weekends and sometimes in the evening. The Eskandars are running it day to day. They previously ran six restaurants in Manhattan and in Fair Lawn, N.J.

“We need this food in the area,” said Mohamed. “There are very limited options in Battery Park City, and with the water view, I thought we need seafood.”

Mohamed was born and brought up in Egypt. She came to the United States in 2003 to attend graduate school at the University of Maryland. She said she is passionate about food and often entertains at home.

“We have this thing in my culture,” she said. “We love to see people eating good food and being happy. I learned this from my mother. We always had people in our home. Always. She would be cooking food and waiting for the feedback.”

Some of Mohamed’s father’s family came from Sicily, so her cooking reflects both her Egyptian and her Italian heritage.

The recipes on Miramar’s extensive menu came from her and from her aunt Una.

For three years, they talked about opening a restaurant in Battery Park City and looked for a site. Finally, they found the perfect place, with its dramatic views of the harbor and the Statue of Liberty.

“When I made the menu, I put on it everything I liked and everything I eat healthy at home,” said Mohamed. “It’s very hard to find healthy food around here.” She said that she eats mostly vegetables and fish.

She said that since Miramar opened, the whole grilled fish has been popular ($29) and the kabobs (chicken kabob, $19; mixed grill kabob, $29; seafood kabob, $31).

At lunchtime, the restaurant offers soup ($8 to $14), salads ($12) and sandwiches ($9 to $14). On both the lunch and dinner menus, a platter of Mediterranean mezzes (falafel, baba ganoush, hummus, tabouli and pita bread) is $16. Desserts such as baklava, tiramisu, cannolis, tartufo and chocolate mousse cake are $8.

Miramar is still waiting for its liquor license, but in the meantime offers diners a complimentary glass of wine.

The restaurant can seat around 75 people inside and 75 people outside. It is open daily from 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. For more information, call 212-964-3000.

Linden trees on the Battery Park City esplanade, weakened by Superstorm Sandy last year, took a further hit when a powerful gust of wind and water assaulted them on May 11,. Some toppled over. Others appear to be severely compromised.

Linden trees on the Battery Park City esplanade, weakened by Superstorm Sandy last year, took a further hit when a powerful gust of wind and water assaulted them on May 11,. Some toppled over. Others appear to be severely compromised.

Esplanade trees:
The linden trees that line the Battery Park City esplanade between North Cove and South Cove are in trouble. Several large trees blew down on May 11 when a storm with heavy rain and high winds targeted that area.

In addition, some of the remaining trees have few leaves and numerous bare branches.

“We are doing an assessment along the Esplanade from South Cove to North Cove,” said Matthew Monahan, spokesperson for the Battery Park City Parks Conservancy, which maintains the neighborhood trees and most of the other plantings.

“It is a prudent approach for several reasons. There was salty water from Superstorm Sandy that covered tree pits and planting beds. Battery Park City Authority’s Parks Conservancy did a valiant job in ‘overwatering’ the trees in early November in an attempt to dilute the salinity of the soil. Much came back in the spring but there were some trees that did not fully leaf out, showing branches that stayed bare.

“The micro-burst of severe weather episode in early May blew over several trees that had to be removed. In addition, there have been several drenching rains of late, which are saturating the soil.”

Monahan said that it is premature to know for sure what the conservancy will do about the ailing trees, but one possibility would be to cut back the canopy as a precautionary measure.

“Such cutting would reduce the weight of the tree,” he said. “Public safety remains our overarching priority.”

Gateway Plaza windows and electric bills:

When Gateway Plaza, the largest residential complex in Battery Park City, opened in June 1982, monthly rents ranged from $615 for a studio apartment to $1,200 for two bedrooms. Though a two-bedroom apartment in the 1,705-unit complex now goes for $6,200 a month, there are major structural problems with the buildings.

According to many tenants, the windows leak and the walls are insufficiently insulated. They have complained for years about frost on the inside of the windows in winter and about electric bills of hundreds of dollars a month.

The Gateway Plaza Tenants Association surveyed residents in February 2012 and confirmed that the leaky windows were a primary concern. The survey led Gateway management to commission an engineering report so that Gateway’s owners, the LeFrak Organization, could consider what to do to fix the problem.

“An architectural firm has been contracted and is currently in the process of conducting site visits and engineering studies to propose a couple of different options to ownership,” said Glenn Plaskin, president of the Gateway Plaza Tenants Association.

In the meantime, many tenants are grappling with electric meters “that are erratic and inaccurate,” said Plaskin. “There’s no possible way that someone living in a one-bedroom apartment should get a bill for $900. And when this person went to the office and said, ‘this is a mistake!’ they said, ‘oh, yes. It’s a mistake. You can pay $100.’“

Gateway residents buy their electricity from their landlord rather than purchasing it directly from a utility company.

New Fish City:

Fishermen line up on the Battery Park City esplanade every day to try their luck in the Hudson River, but that’s not the only way to get hold of some fresh fins.

On June 13, some of the city’s top seafood restaurants will sell their wares on the Brookfield Place plaza (formerly the World Financial Center), overlooking North Cove marina.

BY TERESE LOEB KREUZER

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