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News and events in Lower Manhattan

Volume 6, No. 81, May 14, 2024


Spring and Summer Fridays are for Singing

Greek Easter at The Greek in Tribeca

Bulletin Board: Summer Plans for Little Island

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MASTHEAD PHOTO: The Farmers' Market in Union Square is beginning to gleam with the brilliantly colored flowers and produce that become available in the spring.

(Photo: © Terese Loeb Kreuzer)

Downtown Post NYC's website ( is updated daily. That's the place to check for urgent messages, breaking news and reminders of interesting events in and around Lower Manhattan. So be sure to look at the website every day, especially if you want to know about breaking news.

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Terre Roche leading the Sunset Singing Circle under the protective roof of the Irish Hunger Memorial in Battery Park City. (Photo: Fred Volkert)

For the past 22 years, on Friday evenings in May and June, singer Terre Roche has hosted the Sunset Singing Circle, a series of free outdoor singalongs staged in Battery Park City and sponsored by the Battery Park City Authority. With a half-dozen musicians by her side, Roche leads crowds of 50 to 100 people singing everything from “Red River Valley” and “Hey Jude” to “Jolene” and ABBA’s “Dancing Queen.”

As the Roches, Terre performed with her sisters, Suzzy and Maggie from the 1970s until 2011. At age 71, she's still recording new music, and she’ll introduce her latest album, “Inner Adult,” at a May 20 show at City Winery. But the Sunset Singing Circle holds a special place in her heart. She spoke with Downtown Post NYC about its history, format and how it’s evolved.

Q: How did the Sunset Singing Circle start?

A: My group, The Roches, used to do Christmas caroling every year at the Battery Park City tree-lighting. The summer after 9/11, members of the community wanted a singalong as their first communal event as they emerged from the trauma of what had happened. So I got a call asking, “Would you do this?” and I said, “I don’t really know how to run a singalong. But I know lots of folk singers; I can find you someone.” And they said, “No, the community knows you because of the tree-lighting. We want you to lead this thing.”

Now The Roches, we did our own songs; we didn’t do covers or folk songs. But I had a student who’d just started to study guitar with me the week of 9/11, Marian Wilson, and she said she’d help. I gave her Woody Guthrie's biography to read, and I read Pete Seeger's autobiography so we could get up to speed. The very first event, in 2002, was a cold day in May, and this little band of 12 to 15 showed up.

When I was first asked to do this, I was almost a little embarrassed. At that point, I was in a group that did concerts with 1,000 people in the audience! So at first I thought, with the Singing Circle, “I hope none of my friends see me.” But now it’s my favorite gig.

Q: How do you decide what songs to sing?

A: The first year we only had about 12 songs. I put lyrics on a big poster board and Marian held it up. I was sure I was going to get fired! But gradually people would suggest things: “Can we do this one, can we do that one?” So we began to collect songs. They weren’t all necessarily folk songs; they were just stuff people wanted to sing. And I’d gauge which ones worked well. At one point, we put an Adele song in, but nobody sang along. The problem was, it became a performance, and I try to steer away from that.

Now we have a book of about 150 songs and we hand out copies so everyone in the audience has the lyrics. The way we run it, people call out the songs from the book that they want to sing. We don’t decide, “Oh we’re going to do that one" — though we finish with the same song, “Goodnight Irene,” every time.

Q: Your audience is a real mix of locals, passersby, tourists, baby boomers, families and young people. How do people find out about it?

A: There’s a lot of word of mouth at this point. We post the dates on Facebook, and a lot of people say, “Oh, I’m going to be in New York, so I’m coming!” It’s more international than I would have expected. We had one person from China who sang “Red River Valley” in Chinese.

We have a couple of songs for little kids if they request it, like “Baa Baa Black Sheep.” But the Singing Circle is not geared toward little kids and I think that’s good. I think it’s good for children to be around adults singing like it’s a normal, natural thing, where adults are making music and kids watch and listen. Then they’re maybe more inclined to think, “Oh, maybe I’d want to do this.”

Q: Who are the people who play with you?

A: At first it was just me and Marian playing guitar, but then other people started showing up. Richard Sadowsky, who plays the 12-string guitar, lives downtown and he knows folk music. He’d email me and say, “There’s a couple more verses to ‘This Land Is Your Land.’” He really got me up to speed. Lisa and Lori Brigantino, they’re sisters, both multi-instrumentalists; Lisa usually plays the banjo and Lori the accordion, and they’re great harmony singers. Lisa first came about 10 years ago. She sat down with a banjo and I noticed she didn’t need to look at any chords. She has an amazing ear and knew all the songs. Her husband Tom Millioto plays classical guitar. And Michael Gilroy plays guitar; I met him when I was walking on 14th Street. He pulled up driving a UPS truck and said, “Hey Terre, I’m coming to the Singing Circle!” Colin Taber on guitar is our newest addition, and multi-instrumentalist Marlon Cherry sometimes shows up with a djembe drum.

Over the years it’s gotten to sound really good because all these people have put in time and come every year. People ask me, “What’s the name of the band?” because it sounds like a band. Richard Sadowsky calls us The Terretts. But we don’t rehearse. The rehearsals are just 22 years of playing together. I get paid by the Battery Park City Authority. It would be great if they got paid too, but they just do it because they love it.

Q: Can anyone bring an instrument to play along?

A: We don’t let everyone stand up with us. We’re not going to stop and teach you the chords. It’s not about that. And there are no electronics allowed, no amplifiers. But it’s a great place for people to sit in the audience with their instruments and practice. I have guitar students who bring their guitars and they sit in the audience playing along with the group.

Q: Did you do the Singing Circle during the pandemic?

A: They asked me to do a virtual singing circle in 2020 when everyone was on lockdown in their apartments. So I learned to use the O-rings and things people use to film themselves, and I’d send two or three taped songs a week, and talk into the camera, and people could sing along from home.

But the funniest one was the first event in person coming out of the pandemic. We sang with masks on, standing up, because everything was socially distanced. It was the only year I had a microphone and my guitar was plugged in. We have a tradition where we always open the first Singing Circle each year with “Red River Valley.” But that year I decided to do “Here Comes the Sun,” because, like the song says, it had been a long, cold, lonely winter. At that time we were holding the Singing Circle in Wagner Park; my back was to the river and people could see the Statue of Liberty behind me.

All of a sudden I felt a drop of rain on my head. This big, dark hailstorm was coming across the river. The next thing you know, as we’re singing “Here Comes the Sun,” everyone is diving for cover. I unplugged my guitar so I wouldn’t get electrocuted. We all ran to wherever we could until the storm passed. But everyone came back. It had been so long since you could go out and sing with people, everyone was like, “I’m not going to let a hailstorm stop me from doing this.” Now we hold them at the Irish Hunger Memorial, where there’s shelter from rain. And I’m never going to open with “Here Comes the Sun” again.


The Sunset Singing Circle will take place on Fridays from May 10 to June 28 with the exception of June 21. Place: The Irish Hunger Memorial (Vesey Street and North End Avenue in Battery Park City). Time: 7 p.m. to 8:30 p.m

—  Beth Harpaz

The Irish Hunger Memorial in Battery Park City commemorates the famine in Ireland between 1845 and 1852 that killed hundreds of thousands of people and drove hundreds of thousands to emigrate, many of them to New York City. The memorial is located on the eastern side of the Hudson River with a view of the Statue of Liberty. (Photo: Terese Loeb Kreuzer)


Despite some rain, Greek Easter was observed at The Greek in Tribeca on May 5 with a joyful afternoon of eating, dancing and music. A large tent pitched outside the restaurant at 452 Washington St. accommodated musicians, dancers, diners and cooks. Some of the crowd of more than 200 people ate inside the restaurant while others occupied every available seat in the tent outside.

Although most Christians celebrate Easter based on the Gregorian calendar, the date of Greek Easter is based on the Julian calendar, which originated in 45 BC. The date of Greek Easter changes from year to year because it always occurs on the first Sunday after the first full moon of the spring equinox and after Jews celebrate Passover. This is in recognition of the Biblical account that indicated that Jesus went to Jerusalem in order to observe Passover and that the Last Supper that preceded the crucifixion was in fact a Passover Seder.

The menu for Greek Easter always includes lamb with side dishes such as soup, salad, lemon potatoes, roasted vegetables and rice. The meal ends with a tempting array of assorted pastries.

Greek Easter 2024

Most of the pastries served at Greek Easter are made especially for this occasion. (Photos: ©Terese Loeb Kreuzer)

Greek Easter 2024

The Greek at Greca 

452 Washington St. in Tribeca

Breakfast and lunch are served daily. From Thursday to Sunday, in addition to breakfast and lunch, The Greek at Greca also serves dinner.

For hours and photographs, click here


Phone: (917) 261-4795

For the 30th year, Taste of Tribeca will return to Greenwich and Duane Streets on Saturday, May 18 from 11:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. to raise money to help fund the arts and enrichment programs at public elementary schools PS 150 and PS 234.

Taste of Tribeca features signature dishes from some of Tribeca's best restaurants. They include Michelin star recipients, neighborhood favorites, superb bakeries, and even the firemen of Hook & Ladder Company 8.

When: Saturday, May 18 from 11:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. Where: Greenwich & Duane Streets 

Cost: Tickets start at $65 for six tastes

For more information and to buy tickets, click here.

Bulletin Board



Little Island

(Photo: Terese Loeb Kreuzer)

Despite some protracted opposition, Little Island, a man-made section of Hudson River Park set atop concrete receptacles in the Hudson River near 14th Street, has now been part of the landscape for four years. After some growing pains having to do with the nature and cost of programming, plans for this summer are likely to strike many people as being just right.

This year for the first time there will be no retreads on Little Island's main stage, a 700-seat amphitheater where tickets will cost $25. During the summer season which opens on June 1, there will be nine world premieres starting with “How Long Blues,” a full-length dance with choreography by the great Twyla Tharp in collaboration with Grammy-award winning composer, instrumentalist and producer T Bone Burnett.

The season will close in September with three weeks of performances of a new version of Mozart's “The Marriage of Figaro,” where every leading role will be performed by countertenor Anthony Roth Costanzo.

Shows in Little Island’s smaller performance area, called “the Glade,” will be free and feature lawn and bench seating for 200 people.

The lineup for the free performances has not yet been finalized, but will include jazz and plays. There will be a show about the life and music of Paul Robeson, a giant of the Harlem Renaissance. Choreographer Pam Tanowitz will stage a new dance and there will be an adaptation of Henry Hoke’s novel "Open Throat" about a queer mountain lion in Los Angeles.

Zack Winokur, Little Island’s producing artistic director, said that in the four years since Little Island’s summer series opened, the organizers have learned a lot about how to operate the space considering its packed programming schedule. According to Winokur, the hope and expectation is that this summer's combination of new work offered at little or no cost will attract people to experience nature and art in a place that he describes as "unlike any other."

For the schedule of performances and to purchase tickets, click here.

— Terese Loeb Kreuzer

Some of the Downtown Post NYC bulletin board listings are now on the Downtown Post NYC website. To see the bulletin board listings, click here.

To see the events and activities on the Battery Park City Authority's summer calendar, click here. Most events are free. For some, reservations are required.

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Editor: Terese Loeb Kreuzer

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