Volume 20, Number 50 | The Newspaper of Lower Manhattan | April 27 - May 3, 2011
Downtown Express photos by Terse Loeb Kreuzer
Zoe Weiss, 4 years old, tried singing karaoke at the Tribeca Film Festival Drive-In before the screening of the movie, “Fame,” about students at the LaGuardia High School of Performing Arts.
Covering Battery Park City
BY Terese Loeb Kreuzer
Ground rents update:
The deal brokered by N.Y. State Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver with the Battery Park City Authority on behalf of the Battery Park City Homeowners Coalition — the 11 Battery Park City condominiums that were facing steep ground rent increases — has now been ratified by 10 of the buildings according to a member of the committee that negotiated on behalf of the Coalition. Ground rents are fees paid by Battery Park City condominiums to the B.P.C.A., which owns the land under the buildings. The agreement covers the period from 2012 to 2042, and if ratified by all 11 buildings, would save them a total of almost $280 million.
By a vote of six to one, the Board of Directors of Liberty House at 377 Rector Place was the most recent to accept the agreement. The Board of Directors of Liberty Court at 200 Rector Place is scheduled to vote on the agreement on Tuesday, April 26. Both Liberty House and Liberty Court previously had among the lowest ground rents in Battery Park City. The brokered agreement would raise their ground rents substantially but still bring savings to condo owners over what they would have to pay were the agreement not in place.
Tribeca Film Festival in Battery Park City: The Tribeca Film Festival’s “Drive-In” came to the World Financial Center plaza from Thursday, April 21 to Saturday, April 23 with free movies preceded by face painting, karaoke, carnival games, a variety of snacks and live entertainment.
On Thursday night, Anthony Evans, who composed the music for the 1980 movie “Fame” about students at LaGuardia High School of the Performing Arts, was joined on stage by some of the people who had appeared in the movie. Friday night, the Drive-In presented excerpts from “When the Drum is Beating,” a film about Septentrional, a band from Haiti that has been in existence for 62 years through political upheavals, financial struggles and most recently, the earthquake that devastated the impoverished Caribbean country. Director Whitney Dow said that he wanted to show that Haiti is about more than its beleaguered past and problematic present. Septentrional played before and after the screening to an enthusiastic audience. “The musicians were cold but happy,” said Dow. He said that he had been working on the movie for five years and finished it just two days before the festival. It will be screened again on Thurs., April 28 and on Sat., April 30. (Go to www.tribecafilm.com/ for details.)
Unseasonably cold temperatures and Battery Park City’s usual chill winds from the river challenged the first two nights of the Drive-In, but temperatures mitigated somewhat for the third night when the 1984 film, “The Muppets Take Manhattan” brought Kermit and Miss Piggy to Battery Park City.
Battery Park City in bloom:
An intriguing flower now endangered in many parts of its native European habitat blooms in Battery Park City on Rector Place near the esplanade. Fritillaria meleagris, a member of the lily family, has many common names including Snake’s Head, Chess Flower, Frog Cup, Leper Lily and Guinea Hen Flower. The flowers dip earthward on short, slender stems, suggesting the head of a snake, however, the scientific name, meleagris, comes from the Greek word for guinea fowl, a bird with patterned plumage that the ancient Greeks had domesticated.
In Greek mythology, the warrior Meleager was so mourned by his sisters that finally the goddess Artemis changed them into guinea hens, whose markings stem from their tears.
Most Fitillaria meleagris blossoms are patterned — like guinea hens or perhaps a chess board. Less commonly, they are white.
The Battery Park City Parks Conservancy is still looking for volunteers to help tend the gardens this summer. Volunteers work on Wednesday mornings from 7:30 a.m. to noon from May 4 to Oct. 26 alongside the Conservancy’s horticulturists. For more information, call Eileen Calvanese at (212) 267-9700.
On April 30, the Battery Park City Community Network is holding a benefit for Japan at SouthWest NY, 2 World Financial Center, from 8 p.m. to 11 p.m. Admission is $20, which will pay for hors d’oeuvres and a donation. Margaritas will be half price.
On May 1, the New Amsterdam Market on South Street at Beekman Street opens for the season with more than 40 vendors selling regional food. The hours are 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. The opening market will be a “Floralia” celebration in honor of May Day. For more information, go to http://www.newamsterdammarket.com/events.html
To comment on Battery Park City Beat or to suggest article ideas, email TereseLoeb@mac.com