Volume 20, Number 45 | The Newspaper of Lower Manhattan | November 3 - 9, 2010
Downtown Express photos by Terese Loeb Kreuzer
A moss and lichen-covered sculpture of blue stone by Ann Hamilton in Battery Park City’s Teardrop Park suggests the landscape of the Catskill Mountains and blends in seamlessly with the park’s other natural and manmade features.
Covering Battery Park City
By Terese Loeb Kreuzer
Teardrop Park Art Tour:
Every once in a while, the Battery Park City Parks Conservancy hires art historian Dorothea Basile to lead a walking tour of Teardrop Park, which is in the northern part of Battery Park City just off of River Terrace at Warren Street. This happened most recently on October 23.
Ms. Basile started the tour by leading her group to a grate in the ground near the River Terrace entrance. Strange, spooky sounds were being emitted — growls, chirps and whirrs spiked with reverb and echo. It wasn’t the sort of thing you would want to hear on a dark night unless you had a good grip on yourself.
This is audio artwork, Ms. Basile explained. She said there was a speaker under the ground that played “the sounds of birds and insects and instruments — digitally enhanced to make them sound even stranger and to make them stand out from the other natural sounds.” Ms. Basile said that the piece, called “Murmeration,” was the work of Ann Hamilton and Michael Mercil along with Ben Rubin, a media artist, and Ned Rothenberg, a musician, and was based on the songs of 350 birds plus the sounds of frogs, crickets and spring peepers.
There are five grates in the park from which these sounds emerge. They are turned on in the morning said Ms. Basile, and turned off at night.
The sound installation dates from 2009. The rest of Teardrop Park dates from 2004. The park was designed by Michael Van Valkenburgh Associates to suggest a landscape in the Catskills. Its most prominent feature is the curved, 27-foot-tall ice wall made of layers of bluestone from the Catskills. Water drips from it in summer and icicles in winter. The ice wall was built in Alcove, N.Y. and then the pieces were numbered and moved to the park, where they were reassembled.
The Catskill bluestone dates from the Devonian period, approximately 370 to 345 million years ago. Ms. Hamilton used some of that same bluestone to create a sculptural piece with the rocks set as though they were being thrust out of the earth. After several years in the park, they are now covered with a soft patina of moss and lichen.
“It doesn’t stand up and announce itself, ‘I’m a work of art!’” Ms. Basile said of the installation, “but in a much more subtle way suggests ideas about geological time.”
The park, which was once entirely flat, now has hills, curving paths and a lawn sloped toward the sun. A reading circle surmounts one of the hills. A 14-foot-long sliding board swoops down from another promontory. In summer, there’s a water pool for kids to splash in.
Adults are also welcome to play. “I encourage people to roll down the hill,” said Ms. Basile, as she led the group toward a secluded path that bordered the park’s mini-wetlands.
“It’s remarkable to think that in this urban environment between four apartment buildings and on 1.9 acres of land, that you have a natural experience where you can explore different types of landscapes and have different types of discoveries,” Ms. Basile said.
The World Financial Center Greenmarket at Liberty Street and South End Avenue will remain open on Thursdays until Dec. 23. Two vendors — Not Just Rugelach and Stony Mountain Ranch — have recently joined the market.
World Financial Center Greenmarket:
It turns out that the World Financial Center Greenmarket at Liberty Street and South End Avenue was never supposed to close on Nov. 24 as its banners advertised. (How did that happen?) No. The closing date was always Dec. 23 says Lela Chapman, Greenmarket’s regional coordinator in Lower Manhattan. In any event, Battery Park City’s Greenmarket will remain open on Thursdays from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. through the Thursday before Christmas. Here’s the current roster of vendors: Stony Mountain Ranch — grass fed Piedmontese beef; Not Just Rugelach — artisan loaves, savory lunch options, and pastries; Red Jacket Orchards — Finger Lakes orchard fruit, juices, and preserves; Migliorelli Farm - Dutchess County vegetables and orchard fruit; Beth’s Farm Kitchen — sweet and savory jams, preserves, chutneys, and pickles; Meredith’s Bread - fresh baked goods, pies, and pastries; MK Orchids - orchids and hydrangeas; New York Wine and Grape Foundation - wines from local vineyards; Valley Shepherd Creamery - cave aged sheep and cow’s milk cheeses.
The market got off to a strong start, says Ms. Chapman, and “then struggled a little bit. It needs the community’s support for the rest of the year.” In addition to staples, some of the vendors are selling items suitable for gift giving. How about jams and jellies, and maybe a bottle of wine or an orchid for someone on your list?
Downtown Culture Pass:
Lower Manhattan is packed with cultural attractions within walking distance of each other and now several of them have banded together to create the Downtown Culture Pass — a ticket, good for three days, that provides admission, shop discounts or other benefits at eight Downtown museums plus a tour company, all located south of Chambers Street. Two of the museums — the Museum of Jewish Heritage and the Skyscraper Museum — are in Battery Park City. The other participants are Fraunces Tavern Museum, the Museum of American Finance, the National Museum of the American Indian, The New York City Police Museum, the 9/11 Memorial Preview Site, Tribute WTC Visitor Center and Wall Street Walks. The ticket costs $25 for adults (18+), $15 for youths (13-17) and $5 for children (6-12). The pass can be purchased online at www.downtownculturepass.org or at the Museum of American Finance or the Museum of Jewish Heritage. The Downtown Culture Pass program will run from Nov. 4, 2010 through Feb. 28, 2011.
Dining Deals: Izzy & Nat’s at 311 South End Ave. has sandwich and dinner “specials” from Monday to Friday. The sandwich specials cost $10.95 and include homemade chips and a can of soda or a bottle of water. On Mondays, it’s pastrami on rye; Tuesdays, the “special” is Texas chicken meltdown (that would be grilled chicken with avocado, bacon and melted mozzarella on a toasted bagel); Wednesdays, Izzy’s offers chicken salad in a bacon, lettuce and tomato wrap; Thursdays, it’s a chicken parmigiano hero and Fridays, it’s Nat’s steak sandwich. The dinner “specials” start with South End pot roast on Mondays, Remy’s turkey meatloaf on Tuesdays, broiled wild salmon on Wednesdays, a half roasted chicken on Thursdays and fish and chips on Fridays. All dinner specials cost $14.95 and are served with a potato and vegetable. Izzy’s expects to be serving wine and beer very soon. For more information, call 212-619-5100 or go to www.izzyandnats.com.