Volume 22, Number 22 | The Newspaper of Lower Manhattan | October 9 - 15, 2009
“Marine Firehouse Gone, Fine Dining Coming”
By Alison Simko
October 12, 1992
Some blamed the closing of Battery Park’s marine firehouse at Pier A on former Mayor Ed Koch’s “passion for good food,” because Koch decided back in 1985 to move the firehouse elsewhere and rent the landmarked building to a restaurant.
The fire company was moved to the Brooklyn Navy Yard. The 32,000 square foot building at Pier A remained empty and full of debris, but renovation was set to begin in October of 1993.
Wings Point Associates development company said all they needed was two years to bring it up to par and house four tenants: a café with outdoor seating, two fancy restaurants, and a visitors center.
The projected cost of the project was $17.2 million under a contract with Wings Point, which was selected for the project due to their experience in historical preservation, waterfront development, and restaurant management. Community Board 1, the Parks Council, and the American Institute of Architects all got behind the project.
“Finally!” said Koch. “It’s an extraordinary place and it was lying there not being used the way it should be.”
After many years of false starts and delays, Wings Point was finally edged out of the project by the Bloomberg administration, and the city put the Battery Park City Authority in charge last year. The authority is now restoring the pier and is likely to try and bring in a restaurant or retail use.
“Battery Park Brawl Hushed Up”
By Matt Hawkins
October 12, 1992
A crowd of unlicensed Senegalese vendors were involved in a violent episode with park police in Battery Park in which two needed medical attention and 18 were arrested for illegal vending, all of whom were later let out on bail.
Mustafa N’diaye, a vendor on the scene, said the brawl began after a park policeman snatched his friend’s merchandise, and when his friend protested, the officer hit him in the face, using his handcuffs like brass knuckles.
More than a dozen vendors ran to the man’s aid, and the officer promptly issued a radio distress call summoning a host of city agencies which included officers from the First Precinct and the Housing Transit Police.
When Hawkins asked around for information the day after the incident, several officials said they didn’t even know about it, and attributed it to being all in a day’s work. First Precinct Community Relations Officer Mike Nasella said he’d heard about what happened, “but nothing was out of the ordinary.”
Those who witnessed the event begged to differ. Downtown Express Photographer Tom Lyles said he was shocked by the number of policemen who flooded the park, estimating 50 cars and officers on the scene.
N’diaye was advised by human rights to hold his tongue about the incident, as were the others involved, since the Senegalese were trying to strike a deal with the city over vending rights.
A similar incident took place in March of 1991 when Senegalese vendor Samba Diallo was arrested in Battery Park for illegal vending and was allegedly beaten by an officer who was convicted of assault in the Third Degree that May.
Prepared by Helaina N. Hovitz