Covering Battery Park City

Friendship of Salem in North Cove:
A dramatic-looking vessel with three tall masts and 55 miles of rigging visited North Cove Marina from Aug. 10 to Aug. 14. The 171-foot-long ship, Friendship of Salem, is a replica of a merchant ship built in 1797 in Salem, Mass. to carry cargo such as pepper, spices, coffee, sugar and other goods between New England and the Far East. The original ship made 15 voyages around the world before she was captured by the British during the War of 1812 and sold at public auction in London.

The replica belongs to the National Park Service and is its only working vessel of this kind. The trip to New York City from Salem, where the ship is berthed at the Salem Maritime National Historic Site was for the special purpose of giving students, ages 18 to 22, who are members of the Park Service’s Youth Journey on the High Seas program, an opportunity to help sail the ship and live aboard her for a few days. In New York, they were joined by young people from New York Harbor Parks and from Baltimore’s Ft. McHenry National Monument.

Rubby Wuabu, 21, a pre-law student at Simmons College, was one of the students. “The Park Service is trying to get new faces into the system,” she explained. “After three summers as a volunteer, you get preference in hiring.”

Manny Cruz, 19, a student who works for the Park Service during the summer as a guide said that the Park Service chose Friendship of Salem to replicate because much was known about her, even though she had been destroyed. A detailed, nine-foot-long model of the vessel had been created by a ship’s carpenter during a two-year-long voyage to China. The model is now in the Peabody Essex Museum in Salem along with several paintings of the ship and numerous documents such as logs of the ship’s voyages.

The replica was made between 1996 and 1998 by the Scarano Shipyard in Albany, N.Y., which also made the yacht Manhattan and the schooner Adirondack that belong to Classic Harbor Line and often ply New York harbor and the Hudson River.

West Thames Park lawn opens:
Despite near record-breaking rain on Sunday, Aug. 14 that might have seemed like an invitation to frolic in mud, the chain link fence came down around Battery Park City’s West Thames Park lawn on the morning of Aug. 15, as most recently promised by the Battery Park City Authority. The grass was as plush and springy as a kitten’s fur, tempting a couple of adults to try it out in bare feet. As dusk fell that day, several boys who seemed to be between the ages of six and eight were playing baseball on the lawn, and when the grandmother of one of them came to summon him home to dinner, he said he wasn’t ready to go inside. She didn’t argue.

The West Thames Park Task Force of Community Board 1’s Battery Park City Committee has been trying to figure out how to keep the lawn pristine. According to Anthony Notaro, a member of the task force, “We have not confirmed yet with the Battery Park City Authority and Hudson River Park Trust, but we are suggesting: No cleats at any time; no more than 50 percent of the area can be used by a single activity or group and any activity must minimize risk to others and be respectful of their safety.” Notaro said that the task force members agreed that no permits would be issued for the lawn area — which means no organized games. And as posted signs indicate, no dogs are allowed.

Meanwhile, on the neighboring playground, some people were overjoyed to see that the tire swing was back after having been banished for months. Two little girls were playing happily on the swing, taking turns riding and pushing. No injuries seemed imminent.

Sign up for Stories & Songs:
The Battery Park City Parks Conservancy’s popular Story & Songs programs for infants, toddlers and pre-schoolers resume on Sept. 12. Professional musicians teach and entertain each week through sing-alongs, action songs, movement and dancing. Rhythm instruments and other interactive materials are provided to use with guided instruction.

Space is limited and advance registration is required. The 40-minute-long sessions are held on Mondays and Wednesdays from Sept. 12 to Dec. 12 (except Oct. 10) and from Sept. 14 to Dec. 7. The fee is $214 payable by check made out to BPCPC or by Visa or MasterCard. Siblings enrolled in the program get a 20 percent discount. The programs are held at 6 River Terrace. To register or for more information, call (212) 267-9700, ext. 366.

Register for Hand in Hand:
With commemorative events at the World Trade Center site limited to family members and dignitaries on Sept. 11, Community Board 1 came up with a way for others to mark the 10th anniversary of the destruction of the Twin Towers. The plan is to have thousands of people grasp hands on the morning of Sept. 10, forming a human chain along the waterfront from the tip of Lower Manhattan heading north. “It will happen at 8:46 a.m. when the first plane hit the first tower,” said Community Board 1 chair w, who conceived of the event. “There will be a moment of silence and then people, if they wish, can walk down to Battery Park to the Wall of Remembrance” where they can post a message or memento. Portions of the wall will eventually be displayed at the September 11 Memorial and Museum. In the afternoon, there will be opportunities to work as a volunteer at service projects throughout the Lower Manhattan neighborhood

“The event is free and open to everyone,” said Menin, “but you must register on the website in order to participate. We can’t accommodate people who just show up. Residents of Battery Park City who want to make sure that they’re in the Battery Park City section should register early because the route will be set on a first-come, first-served basis. We can’t accommodate special requests.

Once logistics are finalized, each person who registers will be contacted with instructions on which Check-In station to report to on the morning of September 10. For more information or to register, go to www.handinhand911.org/

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