B.P.C. Beat Covering Battery Park City


BY Terese Loeb Kreuzer

Volume 20, Number 40 | The Newspaper of Lower Manhattan | January 5 – 11, 2011

B.P.C. Beat

Covering Battery Park City


Garbage, not so much in B.P.C.

New Year’s Eve was not exactly quiet in Battery Park City — and not just because of revelers and fireworks. Late into the night, the Department of Sanitation was busily at work on South End Avenue with bulldozers and giant trucks, scooping up snow and carting it away. By New Year’s Day, cars and mailboxes had been disentombed and it seemed probable that slush puddles at the crossings would be pond sized instead of lake sized. 

However, since the Sanitation Department was occupied with snow removal, garbage collection got short shrift. On Monday, January 3, the super of one Rector Place building reported, “Our last garbage and recycling pickups were on the morning of Friday, December 24. The normal schedule is Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays. They were supposed to resume with garbage pickup today, but nothing as yet. So far, there’s no date set for recycling. We now have a cardboard mountain out back!”

But not all Battery Park City buildings were bursting with refuse. Currently, 17 of the community’s 25 residential buildings plus P.S./I.S. 89 participate in a trash compacting program that was started by the Department of Sanitation in Battery Park City in 2005. These buildings cart their trash to one of two locations — one in the North neighborhood and one in the South neighborhood. There it is compacted and stored until the Department of Sanitation picks it up. A third compactor will be installed when the Liberty Luxe and Liberty Green apartment buildings (on North End Avenue) are completed. 

“There’s no cost to the building to participate in the program,” said Battery Park City Authority spokesperson, Leticia Remauro. “Because the trash is ‘smushed,’” she said, “we can hold it as long as we need to. It’s fine if sanitation can’t pick it up right away.”

“We’re fortunate that we have community compactors,” said a building manager who is responsible for three buildings that do participate in the program. He said that they use “little tractor trailers” to transport their trash to the compactors. He noted that without trash compacting, garbage would have to be set out the night before the Department of Sanitation collected it, and that it presented a feast for rats. “The rat problem has been greatly reduced since we started this,” he said.

“Battery Park City Authority encourages every building to participate in the program,” said Remauro. But not every building finds it can. The super of the Rector Place building that was eagerly waiting for the Department of Sanitation to resume its rounds, explained, “The compacting stations were incorporated in the construction of the newer ‘green’ buildings, and serve the buildings closest to them.  We spent almost two years doing feasibility studies with the Battery Park City Parks Conservancy and the Department of Sanitation to find a suitable location for the Rector Place/Albany Street buildings. No luck. The compactors are big, noisy, and require power, water and shelter. Literally it was a ‘nimby’ situation. And the Visionaire (the compactor location for the southern part of Battery Park City) is just too far to lug all of our trash.”

Ellis Island was all but enveloped in fog last Sunday.


Fog, fog everywhere

When Battery Park City resident Jay Fine looked out his window on the morning of Sunday, January 2, he saw the harbor enveloped in fog. Ellis Island protruded through it, as did the Statue of Liberty but almost nothing else could be seen. “I heard the fog horns going off like crazy,” he said, as he took a few pictures.

Later that day, Classic Harbor Line’s yacht, “Manhattan,” set out for its last cruise of the season — a circumnavigation of Manhattan fueled with a delicious spread of sandwiches, pastries, fruit and an assortment of gourmet teas. All was well until the boat exited Spuyten Duyvil at the northern end of the island and turned south into the Hudson River. Looking north, buildings along the banks of the river were visible. Looking south, an impenetrable fog blanketed the river. The first mate of the boat stood in the prow, scanning for other vessels. Even the mighty George Washington Bridge was so swathed in fog that it seemed like an apparition. As the “Manhattan” proceeded cautiously down the river, headed for its berth at Chelsea Piers, the captain blew the horn repeatedly. By the time the “Manhattan” reached Midtown, the fog had lessened considerably.

“We don’t get something like this that often,” said Henry Mahlmann, president of the New York Sandy Hook Pilots Association, when asked about the fog. “It doesn’t normally warm up to the high 40’s in the middle of January.”

Mahlmann added that “barges, tankers and freighters are not allowed to go around Bergen Point if there’s less than half mile visibility, — so there were no ships going into Port Elizabeth and Port Newark during the fog on Sunday.”

Mahlmann said that fog typically occurs in winter when warm air and cold water collide. “The fog can be affected by the incoming and outgoing tides,” he said, “but you can’t write a book as to why it happens. It happens at different times and different places.”

 “What a great photo op!” said one of the “Manhattan’s” passengers, a visitor from Pennsylvania. “It was an adventure,” said another.

Birds okay with the snow

To feed or not to feed, that was the question. Some warm-hearted humans wondered how Battery Park City’s birds were faring in the record-breaking blizzard. “Nature provides,” said Vince McGowan, assistant director of the Battery Park City Parks Conservancy. “Feeding birds — throwing food on the ground — is feeding rats. The native plants along the Hudson River flyway, including Sandy Hook, Governors Island, historic Battery Park, Battery Park City, and Hudson River and Riverside parks, have an abundance of food for migrating and permanent birds to sustain themselves with.” McGowan said the birds would be fine.

The Cunard Line’s Queen Elizabeth 2 and Queen Mary 2 in New York harbor in 2007.

Cunard mania

 On January 13, three queens will visit New York City — Queen Mary 2, Queen Victoria and the Cunard Line’s newest ship, Queen Elizabeth, making her maiden call. The last time something like this happened was in 2008, when Queen Victoria was launched and Cunard’s beloved Queen Elizabeth 2 visited New York City for one of the last times after an ocean-going career of more than 40 years. She was decommissioned later that year and sold to Dubai as a tourist attraction.

If this year’s celebration is anything like the last one, it will be a showstopper. The Cunard ships will arrive on the morning of January 13; early risers will be able to see Queen Elizabeth steaming up the Hudson River to her berth in Midtown Manhattan, where she will be joined by Queen Victoria. Queen Mary 2, as usual, will dock in Red Hook, Brooklyn.

When the three ships depart later that day, they will convene in front of the Statue of Liberty, where there will be a fireworks display.

Statue Cruises is offering a “Three Queens Cruise” that evening aboard the J.J. Audubon, which will leave from Liberty Landing Marina in New Jersey at 5 p.m. and from historic Battery Park at 5:30 p.m. The cost of $129 per adult and $75 for children ages 4 to 12, includes dinner, live entertainment, and cocktails for the adults. Group discounts and culinary upgrades are available. For more information or to make reservations, go to www.StatueCruises.com.