Covering Battery Park City

Following the earth quake on Tuesday, the World Financial Center buildings were evacuated. The Battery Park City Authority has offices on the 24th floor of 1 World Financial Center. Staff members were told to go to the B.P.C.A.’s Hugh L. Carey office in the Regatta on West Thames Street. Downtown Express photo by Jay Fine

According to news reports, a 5.8 magnitude earthquake whose epicenter was northwest of Richmond, Va. struck at 1:51 p.m. on Aug. 23. Perhaps reflecting the time it took for the tremors to travel northward, a panicked email from one Battery Park City resident to a nearby friend was sent at 1:56 p.m. “Something’s wrong. I think there was an earthquake. Are you OK?” Unaccustomed to earthquakes, many New Yorkers didn’t know what to do. Since it’s built on landfill right next to the Hudson River, Battery Park City seemed particularly vulnerable. “I was working from home,” said Battery Park City resident Jay Fine. “My chair moved and the walls moved. The closet doors opened and closed. My dog slept through it, however. I packed up my laptop, my dog and camera and got out of the building.”

The World Financial Center buildings were evacuated as was Goldman Sachs. People milled around on South End Avenue not knowing what was going on. Cellphones had stopped working. The Battery Park City Authority, which has offices on the 24th floor of 1 World Financial Center, sent staff to the Hugh L. Carey office on West Thames Street. Reports surfaced that City Hall had been evacuated as had government offices in Albany.

As the afternoon wore on and it seemed as though there would be no further repercussions, at least not immediately, people began to question what they should have done. The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) has guidelines that include advice to “Stay inside until the shaking stops and it is safe to go outside. Research has shown that most injuries occur when people inside buildings attempt to move to a different location inside the building or try to leave.” For the complete FEMA guidelines, go to www.fema.gov/hazard/earthquake/eq_during.shtm.

Casa Masa:
There’s a new food kiosk on the World Financial Center plaza overlooking North Cove Marina. Casa Masa, which serves tacos, guacamole, salsa and chips opened on July 21. The tacos are tasty and relatively inexpensive (two for $5 or three for $7). In fact, said Joe Trento, area manager for Blockhead’s Burritos, which owns Casa Masa, some offices send someone down to bring back lunch orders of 40 or more tacos at a time. Trento said that Casa Masa’s opening was delayed because of an unsuccessful effort to get a liquor license. “Next year we’ll have sangria,” he said. Casa Masa is open daily, weather permitting, from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. Casa Masa and the other kiosks will be on the plaza through Oct. 31.

Asphalt Green memberships:
Asphalt Green Battery Park City is now open for business. Though the facility itself on North End Avenue won’t open until November, a limited number of charter memberships are now on sale.

Regular membership rates begin at $105 per month for individuals and $175 for a family of two adults and two children. In addition, there are initiation fees. Charter members will pay $85 a month for the first year with no initiation fee. Seniors can get a 10 percent discount off of regular membership prices (but not off the special, charter membership rate). Contracts signed prior to the opening of the facility entail a two-month payment at the time the contract is signed.

“A limited number of financial assistance awards will be made available based upon the applicant’s financial need,” said Christina Klapper, spokesperson for Asphalt Green. “Guidelines and information on how to apply will be made available at a later time.”

All memberships include unlimited access to Asphalt Green’s fitness center, member lap swim, recreation hours in the pool and gymnasium, group and water exercise classes, full service locker rooms, and preferred rates and priority registration to fee-based programs.

The 52,000 square-foot facility will be equipped with a six-lane 25-yard lap pool, a warm water teaching and exercise pool, a complete line of Precor® cardio and strength equipment, an extensive free weight collection, a gymnasium equipped for basketball, indoor soccer and other sports, six multi-purpose studios and classrooms, a culinary center, and a 156-seat theater for lectures, film screenings and other activities.

Asphalt Green Battery Park City’s membership office is in the Verdesian at 211 North End Ave. and is open daily. For hours and more information, call (212) 586-8779.

Battery Park City in Bloom:
In striking shades of pink on tall, sturdy stems, Japanese anemones now bloom along the Battery Park City esplanade. The plant is actually native to China but was first seen by European botanists in Nagasaki, Japan in 1695, hence the name. In the 19th century, nurserymen in England, France and Germany hybridized several Chinese species, producing the plants we know today.

The name “anemone” comes from a Greek word meaning “wind.” According to one legend, the flowers sprang up from the blood of Aphrodite’s slain lover, Adonis. The wind opens the flowers and disperses their petals, suggesting the happiness of love and its loss.

Joyce Theater announces 9/11 programming:
The Joyce Theater Foundation, Inc. will be presenting two free performances on Sept. 10 and 11 at 5 p.m. in Rockefeller Park to commemorate the 10th Anniversary of 9/11. In addition to featuring performances by the Limón Dance Company with Voices of Ascension conducted by Dennis Keene, and the Paul Taylor Dance Company with Orchestra of St. Luke’s, the observance will also include A Song For You by Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater Guest Artist Matthew Rushing, a world premiere by Jessica Lang Dance created especially for this occasion (and featuring former Ailey dancers Clifton Brown and Jamar Roberts on alternating nights), Purcell’s Chaconne in G minor for strings performed by the Orchestra of St. Luke’s under the direction of conductor David LaMarche, and musicians Yacouba Cissoko (playing the kora) and Sam Dickey (playing the ngoni lute).

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