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News and events in Lower Manhattan

Volume 6, No. 82, May 28, 2024


Letter From the Editor: The end of the road

A newly designated landmark in Chelsea preserves part of Manhattan's Black History

Taste of Tribeca celebrates its 30th anniversary

Bits & Bytes: Combating anti-Semitism in New York City

Bulletin Board: Webinar will address the creation of Hudson River Park

Calendar: Poets House Brooklyn Bridge Walk

For the latest weather info:

Go to for breaking news and for updated information on facility closures related to COVID-19 

MASTHEAD PHOTO: The moon rising in the east, over a roof garden in Tribeca.

(Photo: © Terese Loeb Kreuzer)


After legal struggles of many years over the height of a building that the Howard Hughes Corporation wanted to erect at 250 Water Street in the Seaport Historic District, on May 21, 2024 the New York State Court of Appeals denied a motion on the part of the Seaport Coalition to grant a "leave to appeal" a previous Court of Appeals decision that gave HHC the green light on their proposed building.

In the next issue of Downtown Post NYC I will write about this development in detail and its implications not only for the South Street Seaport but for other historic buildings and enclaves in New York City — Terese Loeb Kreuzer

The Seaport Coalition commissioned a model showing the height of the 27-story tall tower proposed by the Howard Hughes Corporation for the lot at 250 Water St. compared with other historic structures in the Seaport Historic District. The lot was officially zoned for a 12-story tall building. (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.

HOW TO SUPPORT DOWNTOWN POST NYC: I made Downtown Post NYC free to subscribers so that no one who was interested in reading it would be excluded because of cost. Downtown Post NYC is largely supported by advertising revenue. In addition, some people have made contributions, which are much appreciated. For more information about how to contribute or advertise, email

Black History, Women's History Month, Mothers' Day and Voting


An unpretentious three-story building at 128 West 17th St. in Manhattan exclusively educated African-American students between 1849-1850 when it was built and 1894 when the public school system closed segregated schools. The school is the last known surviving school building in Manhattan specifically for African Americans and is a newly designated landmark.

Black History in February, Women's History in March, Voting (with a subset of the Right of Women to Vote) in April, Mother's Day in May, and coming up in June, another election and another opportunity to vote. We have found ways of celebrating events, causes and people that we should remember without burdening ourselves unduly. Most of us can stomach a day or even a month of celebration, especially if it frees us without being conscience-stricken to forget all these honorees and matters for the rest of the year.

Conveniently, an unpretentious, three-story building in Chelsea wraps all of these recurring calendar events into one package. Stand for a few minutes of solemn contemplation in front of 128 West 17th St. and you will have paid your respects to Manhattan's 19th century Black population, some of its trailblazing women, its suffragettes and its mothers.

On May 23, 2023, New York City's Landmarks Preservation Commission conferred landmark status on this modest building, bestowing on it an importance that many more ornate buildings can't claim. The landmark designation came with a $6 million grant from New York City to refurbish this City-owned building. It had been used by the City's Sanitation Department in recent years as a satellite office and locker facility.

Around 175 years ago when it was built, it had quite a different purpose. It was a schoolhouse utilizing a design for Primary Schools developed by the New York City Public School Society, an early 19th century predecessor of the current Board of Education. This school was built to educate Black students. It is the only known surviving school building in Manhattan that exclusively served African-American students.

During the 44 years that it was a designated school, it had various names. When it opened in 1850 it was called Colored School No. 4. In 1860, the name was changed to Colored School No. 7, reverting in 1866 to Colored School No. 4. In 1884, the school became Grammar School No. 81 when the Board of Education officially dropped the word "Colored" from public school names. Nevertheless, the school remained segregated. It was one of eight primary public schools in Manhattan for African-Americans. The total enrollment for all of these schools was 2,377 students. The West 17th Street school closed in 1894. Two years later the building was rented out by the City to veterans of the 73rd Civil War Regiment, who used it as their clubhouse.

During a time when the African-American population of New York City was only a few decades removed from slavery and many Black people struggled to land jobs that could support a family, the education provided by this little school was of great importance. In 1869, a publication issued by the U.S. Office of Education stated that the pupils of "colored" schools were primarily the children of laborers. Although they could earn very little, often these children were put to work at an early age. It wasn't until 1913 that a law was enacted in New York State prohibiting the employment of children under 14 years old in factories or tenement houses.

In that troubling and hostile environment, the little school on West 17th Street graduated some students who went on to important careers as musicians, business managers, union leaders and teachers.

Sarah Jane Smith Tompkins Garnet (1831-1911) was a teacher, a school principal, a suffragette who worked tirelessly for women's right to vote, a wife and a mother. She was twice married and twice widowed. Her second husband was the noted abolitionist, Reverend Henry Highland Garnet, who died in 1882. She devoted her great intellect, energy and skills to the education of African-American children and to civil rights.

Much of the success of the school can be attributed to its outstanding principal, Sarah Jane Smith Tompkins Garnet. She was the first African-American female principal in the New York City public school system.

She was born in Brooklyn on August 31, 1831, the oldest of 11 children. Her parents, Sylvanus and Anne Smith, were farmers and owned land in Queens County.

She came from a gifted family that believed in the importance of education. One of her sisters, Susan McKinney Steward, was the first African-American woman in New York State to earn a medical degree and the third in the United States.

Sarah Jane's destiny was to become a teacher but before she became a teacher, she became a wife and a mother. When she was in her late teens, she married Samuel Tompkins. A daughter named Serena Jane Tompkins was born to them in 1851. Samuel Tompkins died around a year later. Serena lived to be 47 years old and was an accomplished pianist and organist.

Two years after her husband's death, Sarah Jane became a teacher at the African Free School of Williamsburg in Brooklyn. Her experience as an educator led to her appointment in 1863 as principal of what was then called Colored School No. 7 on West 17th Street in Manhattan.

Sarah Jane Smith Tompkins Garnet served as principal of the school on West 17th Street almost until the time of its closing in 1894. In 2022, a school in Chelsea at 320 West 21st St. was renamed for her at the instigation of some fourth and fifth graders at the school who had discovered that William T. Harris, a former US Commissioner of Education for whom the school had been named, had worked for the forced enrollment of Native American children into government-run schools that suppressed and attempted to obliterate their Native American identity. Harrison had described these children as belonging to "a lower race." Sarah Jane Smith Tompkins Garnet would undoubtedly have been proud of the children in her namesake school for recognizing a wrong and doing what they could to correct it.

— Terese Loeb Kreuzer

Music and Dancing in Battery Park City

On May 30 at 6:30 p.m. on Belvedere Plaza, celebrate Asian American and Pacific Island Heritage Month by learning dance moves from Studio 245. For more information, click here.


On May 18, a precocious baby at Taste of Tribeca appeared to be engrossed in reading the map and restaurant guide for this year. This document revealed that there were 49 restaurants from which to choose and described the food that was available at each of them.

(Photos: © Terese Loeb Kreuzer)

Taste of Tribeca is more than an annual food festival. It's an exuberant community event that for 30 years has been run by parents from PS 150 and PS 234, showcasing Tribeca restaurants and raising money for art and music programs that are often the first to suffer when school budgets are cut.

Taste of Tribeca wouldn't be possible without the volunteers who work on this project throughout the year. Some of these volunteers are parents. Some of them come from local corporations and some are high school students. Children pitch in, too, helping their parents both before and during the event.

"It's great to have our children understand the importance of community," said Karen Arnone, who co-chairs Taste of Tribeca with Phil Chenery. She lauded the lesson that the children were learning about the importance of working to help others.

"Taste of Tribeca celebrates the neighborhood's diversity and creativity," Chenery said.

The diversity is exemplified in part by the wide range of cuisines on offer at Taste of Tribeca — Greek, Italian, Mexican, French, Indian, Japanese, Jewish (in the form of bagels and smoked fish), and quintessentially American hamburgers.

When the festivities ended on May 18, some of the volunteers described the weather as having been "perfect," — not too hot and not pouring rain as has been the case in some years. Although the crowd had largely dispersed, the work of the volunteers was not yet done. Unsold food was collected to be donated to charity.

Terese Loeb Kreuzer

Miguel Angel Sanchez, the head chef at TAQ and Ava Gaskins, a server, prepared and served barbacoa tacos with chips and guac during Taste of Tribeca, 2024. TAQ, located at 81 Warren St., specializes in chicken, beef, seafood and vegetarian tacos.

The Odeon, a restaurant at 145 West Broadway, offered ice cream sandwiches at Taste of Tribeca. The Odeon was one of the restaurants that participated in the first Taste of Tribeca, 30 years ago. Taste of Tribeca was founded to help raise funds for arts and music programming at PS 150 and PS 234. These programs currently include chorus, theater, drumming, ballroom dancing, chess lessons, storytelling workshops, museum outreach and more.

In addition to food, Taste of Tribeca featured music performed by the Church Street School of Music and by The Counterfeiters. Activities also included a "Kidszone" for the youngest children and a "Family Zone."

Six months ago, Il Giglio moved to its current location at 361 Greenwich St. At Taste of Tribeca, Il Giglio's offerings of Polpette di Carne (traditional veal and beef meatballs on a bed of ricotta and tomato sauce), Ravioli e Porcini and mini Pollo di Parma (chicken breast with Parmesan cheese) were so good that the restaurant merited a visit the next night. It did not disappoint. The food and the service were impeccable.

Two young girls eagerly eyed the warm chocolate cake "tastes" from Duane Park Patisserie, which is headed by Madeline Lanciani. She has been a generous supporter of Taste of Tribeca for the last 30 years.

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, menus and photographs, click here


Phone: (917) 261-4795

Bits & Bytes


The entrance to the Museum of Jewish Heritage, A Living Memorial to the Holocaust in Battery Park City, where all New York City eighth graders in public and charter schools will be going to learn about the centuries-old history of anti-Semitism and how it led the Nazis under Adolf Hitler to murder six million Jews. (Photo: © Terese Loeb Kreuzer)

N.Y.C. Public Schools Will Send 8th Graders to Visit Holocaust Museum, New York Times, 5/23/2024. "As tension continues to simmer over the Israel-Hamas war, New York City officials have embraced a privately funded initiative to send all eighth graders in public and charter schools to visit the Museum of Jewish Heritage," says The New York Times. "The program, part of a $2.5 million public-private partnership to address antisemitism, will be seeded with $1 million from a foundation run by Jon Gray, the president of the investment firm Blackstone. The citywide field trip plan, which was announced on Thursday, will center on the museum’s efforts to educate younger visitors about the Holocaust. The initiative comes as schools grapple with questions about how to approach the Israel-Hamas war and what to teach about the history of the conflict. It will be optional for schools and will start this fall." The article mentions that "New York is one of nearly two dozen states that are required to teach students about the Holocaust, and lawmakers included $500,000 in the state budget this year to review and update Holocaust curriculums in schools. The field trip program was created by Julie Menin, a Jewish city councilwoman from Manhattan whose mother and grandmother survived the Holocaust in Hungary. She said that she was worried about a rise in antisemitic attacks in the city. She was quoted in the article as saying, “We need a proactive approach to combat this hatred at its roots.'" For the complete article, click here.

(Photo: Darren McGee/ Office of Governor Kathy Hochul)

At a ceremony on July 11, 2023 at the Museum Of Jewish Heritage in Battery Park City, New York State Gov. Kathy Hochul announced the allocation of more than $51 million to improve the safety and security of organizations at risk of hate crimes — the most ever awarded by the State for this purpose. At the ceremonial bill signing, Hochul said that a hate crime take places about every 33 hours in New York State.

Antisemitism Notebook,The Forward, 5/23/2024: The Forward, a Jewish newspaper that was founded in the late 19th century, publishes a newsletter called "Antisemitism Notebook" by Arno Rosenfeld. A recent issue began like this: "How many of you remember when one of the NBA’s most famous players shared a documentary claiming that Jews had fooled the world into believing that they were God’s chosen people, including by fabricating the Holocaust? Kyrie Irving’s promotion of 'Hebrews to Negroes' came around the same time as antisemitic outbursts by Ye, the rapper formerly known as Kanye West, and caused only a relatively brief outcry. Irving alternately played coy — saying that sharing the link didn’t constitute promoting it — and inflamed tensions, denying that he could be antisemitic by hinting that, as the movie suggested, Africans were the real Jews. He was suspended, donated to the Anti-Defamation League, made more inflammatory comments, saw his donation get rejected, eventually apologized and returned to the court and then months later deleted the social media post containing his apology after being traded from the Brooklyn Nets to Dallas. Now he’s leading the Mavericks on a playoff run and concerns about his alleged antisemitism have all but disappeared....“I’ve forgotten about the antisemitism,” said Ben Calmenson, a 28-year-old who grimaced when Irving wore a keffiyeh to a recent press conference but quickly excused it." For more from The Forward, click here.

On Sept. 12, 2017, Pinchas Gutter, a survivor of six Nazi concentration camps, spoke at the Museum of Jewish Heritage about his experiences during World War II. He was featured in the Museum’s exhibition, “New Dimensions in Testimony,” which enabled visitors to the museum to have a virtual conversation with Holocaust survivors such as Pinchas. Pinchas answered approximately 1,500 questions for the creation of "Dimensions in Testimony." Unique questions from the audience prompted his recorded responses — made possible by specialized recording and display technologies and next-generation natural language processing. When asked questions by the audience, Pinchas — in the form of a pre-recorded projection — provided answers in real time. As the years pass, fewer and fewer of those who experienced the Holocaust in concentration camps are still alive. "Dimensions in Testimony" was created to ensure that future generations would still be able to speak with and learn from survivors. For more about this exhibition, click here.

Bulletin Board


Pier 26 in Hudson River Park includes a 2.5-acre ecologically planted extension into the Hudson River. The indigenous plants evoke Manhattan’s ecosystem prior to human development. A short habitat walk leads visitors through five native ecological zones: woodland forest, coastal grassland, maritime scrub, and rocky tidal zone, ending with the Hudson River. Pier 26 also includes a sunning lawn and a sports play area as well as the Downtown Boathouse (New York’s busiest non-motorized boathouse) and a popular restaurant called City Vineyard.

 (Photo: Terese Loeb Kreuzer)

May 29: The City Club of New York is holding a webinar about the creation of Hudson River Park and the challenges of waterfront resiliency. The speakers include Tom Fox, author, advocate and expert on the Hudson River Park, Amy Chester, Managing Director of Rebuild by Design, and Alice Blank, Chair of Manhattan Community Board 1’s Environmental Protection Committee. The discussion will be moderated by reporter Michael Oreskes.

Hudson River Park took decades to create, with Tom Fox playing a pivotal role. His book Creating the Hudson River Park: Environmental and Community Activism, Politics, and Greed (Rutgers University Press) tells the story of the park's creation and addresses waterfront resiliency issues.

Following the panel discussion, the panelists will answer questions from the audience.

Time: 6:30 p.m. To register, click here.

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.


Spotlight: Poets House And the Brooklyn Bridge

For the 26th year, on Monday, June 3, supporters of Poets House will again be walking across the Brooklyn Bridge to raise funds for what is now an 80,000 volume library of poetry books and an oasis of tranquillity at 10 River Terrace in Battery Park City.

(Photo: ©Terese Loeb Kreuzer)

June 3: The Poets House Brooklyn Bridge walk includes poetry readings and a gourmet dinner. During the walk across the bridge, this year's featured poets — Kaveh Akbar, Carmen Giménez, Ilya Kaminsky and Paisley Rekdal — will read poems that pay tribute to New York City. On the Brooklyn side, there will be another poetry reading at Jane’s Carousel in Brooklyn Bridge Park. From there, the group will walk a short distance to a celebratory dinner at 26 Bridge St. in Dumbo where the featured poets will read from their own work.

The Poetry Walk is Poets House's largest annual fundraiser. All proceeds support such programs as the annual Poets House Showcase featuring all the poetry books published in the previous year, and ongoing cultural events and readings that support emerging and under-recognized voices.

The bridge walk will begin promptly at 6:30 p.m. — rain or shine. Walkers gather in the park on the south side of the Municipal Building at 6 p.m. for registration. Readings take place at scenic points along the way. Tickets cost $300.

For more information about the Brooklyn Bridge walk and to purchase tickets, click here.

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Editor: Terese Loeb Kreuzer

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