Volume 20, Number 44 | The Newspaper of Lower Manhattan | March 16 - 22, 2011
Downtown Express photos by Terese Loeb Kreuzer
Kathleen Daly used a microchip reader to scan ownership information embedded on a chip the size of a grain of rice under her dog’s skin. If a dog or cat is separated from its owner during an emergency, the microchip can establish ownership.
Covering Battery Park City
BY Terese Loeb Kreuzer
Community Emergency Response Team (CERT) Drill
On Saturday morning, March 12, around 50 people assembled in the Battery Park City Authority Community Room on West Thames Street for a Community Emergency Response Team (CERT) drill simulating an emergency that would entail evacuating people and animals from Battery Park City to New Jersey.
The urgency of the drill was heightened because of the Japanese tsunami and nuclear explosions the day before. “We’re still the No. 1 terrorist target in New York City,” said Sid Baumgarten, head of the Battery Park City CERT, “and we also have to be concerned with flooding.”
CERT volunteers are trained to respond to a community emergency before professional firefighters and policemen can arrive on the scene. The Battery Park City CERT owns two-way radios, stretchers and other equipment. Volunteers go through nine weeks of training, one night a week.
During the drill, command teams were set up in the Community Room and volunteers fanned out between North Cove and South Cove to direct traffic, offer medical help to “victims” (who were also CERT volunteers), escort them to triage for evaluation and then transport them across the river on the Osprey, a trawler captained by Battery Park City resident Jim Chambers.
Part of the CERT deals with Animal Search and Rescue, so Roxy, a dog belonging to Kathleen Daly, was also transported to New Jersey. “Roxy had never been in a boat before,” said Daly, who accompanied her pet, “but she did very well.”
Chambers recalled what had happened on 9/11. “I was running the Spirit of New York and the Spirit of New Jersey,” he said. “We did multiple trips that day. We took thousands of people out of the city. I believe in training because it makes life better when the chips are down.”
Baumgarten said the drill was a success, though he wished that more people had attended. He hopes to hold another drill in June. He also expressed a wish for more Battery Park City residents to join CERT. “In a real emergency, if CERT volunteers lived in other parts of the city, they wouldn’t be able to get here,” he said.
For more information about the Battery Park City CERT and how to join, go to www.bpccert.org.
During the CERT drill on March 12, Kathleen Daly passed a white, plastic scanner over the back of her dog, Roxy. The wand emitted a faint radio signal that picked up information from a microchip the size of a grain of rice embedded in Roxy’s skin between her shoulder blades. Daly had registered the number transmitted with an organization called Home Again that has Daly’s contact information on file.
If Roxy and Daly were separated, the dog could be identified.
“I volunteered with an animal rescue group in Jackson, Mississippi, after the hurricanes of 2005,” said Paula Galloway, who with her husband, Jeff, runs the Battery Park City Dog Association. “A lot of the animals that came in were not microchipped.” She also noted that on 9/11, microchipping pets wasn’t common. “People either escaped with their animals, or the ASPCA and other rescue organizations, who set up at Pier 40, rescued animals and brought them there to re-unite with their owners. After 9/11, the push to microchip was even more important.”
Galloway explained that, “The person microchipping their dog or cat needs to fill out an application with all their pertinent information and get it registered with the microchipping company, Home Again. That way, if a stray animal winds up at a vet’s office or at Animal Care and Control - the city shelter — the personnel will have a scanner like the one used by Kathleen and will scan the pet. If a number is found, the dog or cat can be reunited with its owner.”
Galloway said that at the Battery Park City Block Party each year, “we have the Mayor’s Alliance (CERT is a member) come and set up a tent to microchip animals at the low cost of $25. The price can range anywhere from $45 to $85, depending on where you get it done. The vet’s office is usually a bit more expensive.”
Microchips are painless for the animal and last indefinitely.
For more information about microchipping, go to www.public.homeagain.com/how-pet-microchipping-works.html.
Otterness Lions for the Library?
The Battery Park City library will have lions if Community Board 1, the New York State Department of Transportation and the New York Public Library acquiesce. Tom Otterness, whose sculpture, “The Real World,” adorns Rockefeller Park with a cheerfully satirical band of workers, capitalists and animals has designed lions to go in front of the library on North End Avenue.
Otterness will present drawings of the lions to Community Board 1’s Battery Park City Committee on April 5.
The Otterness lions would be five feet tall, one male, the other female, with several cubs romping between them, chewing on some books. They would be made out of bronze. Otterness said it would take him around a year to make the lions once he gets the go-ahead. First, he would construct a small model in clay followed by a full-scale size. He might have the lions cast in a foundry in Walla Walla, Wash., he said. Why Walla Walla? “They’re a very good foundry and I just like hanging out out there,” he explained. Normally, Otterness can be found in Brooklyn.
The idea for the lions came from Community Board 1 member Tom Goodkind, who thought that the library’s North End Avenue façade was a little drab. Patience and Fortitude, the lions outside the New York Public Library at Fifth Avenue and 42nd Street were, of course, the progenitors of the Battery Park City lion family.
For several years, the project languished because, said Otterness, “we couldn’t seem to put the money together.” Now, a Battery Park City resident who collects Otterness’ work has come up with the funds to pay for them — Otterness wouldn’t say how much or name his patron.
Otterness said that he was going to make the library lions look as though they had taken a little walk from “The Real World,” endowing them with the same patina and using some of the same imagery in their surroundings. “There will be chewed up money bags,” he said, “as is my way, with pennies scattered around. Some of the little figures that are in the Penny Park will be part of this, crawling on the lions and the cubs and dragging pennies around.”
Art auction to aid Japan
Battery Park City resident and photographer Jay Fine has come up with an idea for raising some money to help the tsunami victims in Japan. He is auctioning a signed, framed, 13” by 19” print of one of his photographs of lightning striking New York harbor.
“The print is being professionally framed courtesy of the World Trade Art Gallery on Trinity Place in Manhattan,” he says, “with a white archival mat, archival hinging of the photo, archival foamcore backing, plexiglas and a wire hanging system. The value of the frame alone is $175.”
Bidding started on Tuesday, March 15 and will end on Tuesday March 22, at 11:59 p.m., New York time. To win, the bidder will have to agree to donate his or her bid to Doctors Without Borders to be used in Japan (www.doctorswithoutborders.org) and/or the Red Cross (www.Redcross.org).
When Fine has received proof of the donation, he says he will ship the print.
“I will pay for the print to be produced and pay for shipping,” he says, “so all of your donation goes straight to the cause.”
After bidding had been open for just a few hours, the high bid was $225.
To see the photograph or to place a bid, e-mail email@example.com.
Fine’s photographs have appeared in numerous newspapers, principally in the United States and Great Britain. He also has a two-page spread in the April issue of “Popular Photography.” It shows construction at the World Trade Center site as viewed from the Winter Garden in the World Financial Center.
To comment on Battery Park City Beat or to suggest article ideas, e-mail TereseLoeb@mac.com.