Covering Battery Park City


BY Terese Loeb Kreuzer


Trains will be running again in Battery Park City’s North Cove Marina from Dec. 16 through Jan. 1 — and maybe even a little longer, “depending on demand” said the marina’s commodore, Michael Fortenbaugh. The Lionel trains, which chug their way through a landscape with such recognizable Manhattan features as the Empire State Building, the Statue of Liberty and even North Cove Marina itself, are on the upper deck of the “Honorable William Wall,” — a barge docked in North Cove for the winter that serves as a clubhouse for the Manhattan Sailing Club.

The train display stretches from one end of the clubhouse to the other. First set up in 2005-2006, and then again in 2007-2008, the trains were put away for a few years “because of the recession,” said the commodore, “but we finally got the juice to do it again.” This year’s Holiday Train Garden is eight feet longer than before and has two more trains.  

The Holiday Train Garden is sponsored by North Cove Marina and organized by Project City Kids, a charity run by Fortenbaugh. Its other activities include taking kids and their families for free harbor excursions in the summer aboard a vessel called “Big Toot” and providing sailing lessons for children from ages eight to 18. Admission is free so that families can come as often as they want.

The Holiday Train Garden will be open from 4 p.m. to 8 p.m. Wednesdays to Fridays and from noon to 6 p.m. Saturdays and Sundays. “I’ll be there a lot in the evenings,” Fortenbaugh said. “I look forward to seeing the faces of the kids when they see the trains.”

The “Honorable William Wall” clubhouse debuted in 2002 and has been augmented ever since — most recently with extra insulation and heat. In summer the clubhouse is moored near Ellis Island and is used by members of the Manhattan Sailing Club.

Fortenbaugh named the clubhouse for one of his ancestors — the son of a ship’s captain who came to New York City from Philadelphia in 1830 and set up a rope-making business in Brooklyn. Eventually William Wall became mayor of Williamsburg and a member of the U.S. House of Representatives during the Civil War.

Wreath-making workshop:

Battery Park City Parks Conservancy’s wreath-making workshop on Dec. 11 attracted around 50 people. The Conservancy supplied evergreen wreaths along with a variety of materials such as shells, buttons, ribbon, sea glass, sparkles, pipe cleaners, glue guns and more. Abby Ehrlich, director of programming for the Conservancy, gave instructions for getting started. “Play with wild abandon,” she said, “ the wilder, the better.”

The wreaths that emerged were highly personal. Battery Park City resident Raina Schoen, 12, used shells and blue ribbon in her wreath, which she additionally decorated with blue sea glass and glitter. “It makes me think of when the sunlight shines on the water and the water sparkles,” she said of her wreath. She plans to give it to her grandmother, who lives in New Hampshire.

Battery Park City residents Julie and Richard Lam worked on their wreath as a team. Married 10 years, they have two children but came without them. It was Julie’s birthday, and they had a day of celebration planned, starting with the wreath making and ending with dinner. “I’m so happy right now,” Julie said as she and Richard held up their finished wreath, “because we got to do something together.”

The Spencer family — parents Tracey-Ann and Nigel and children Decklan, 7, and Bronwyn, 4, also got to do something together. They moved to Battery Park City 10 months ago from Australia. “It was such a fun workshop,” Tracey-Ann said. “Having only lived here for 10 months it’s nice to keep meeting friendly New Yorkers. It is such a great community and we are enjoying being part of it.”

P.S./I.S. 276 Winter Carnival:

After the wreath-making workshop wound down, the participants could, if they desired, have walked to the next block where P.S./I.S. 276 was holding its Winter Carnival. The array of food in the cafeteria was astonishing — most of it homemade by the school’s parents, of superb quality and representing countries from all over the world. The school has a student body of around 300, with “families from every continent except Antarctica,” said principal Terri Ruyter.

The Winter Carnival was organized by the school’s PTA, which will use the money raised to buy microscopes, art supplies, and hopefully, to fund the salary of a librarian. “We have a beautiful library, but no librarian,” said the PTA treasurer, Julie Wang.

On Sunday, Dec. 12, the Battery Park City Neighbors’ Association threw its annual holiday party at the Downtown Community Center, 120 Warren St. Music was provided by the Church Street School for Music and Art and food by Pan Latin Catering. Parents chatted on the periphery of the large room as kids, some of whom have known each other since babyhood, played in the center — or, as in the case of Addison Aarons, 2, sat in front of the musicians, transfixed by their playing and trying to keep time.

The party has been going on for at least a decade, said Anthony Notaro, president of the B.P.C. Neighbors’ Association. Like many things in Battery Park City, the party took on extra meaning in the aftermath of 9/11. Many of those in the room have been through a lot together and were happy to mark another year in the company of old friends.

Christmas Dinner at SouthWest NY:

SouthWest NY at 2 World Financial Center will be serving dinner from noon to 9 p.m. on Christmas day. The three-course prix fixe menu costs $32.95 and will include a choice of appetizers (winter lettuces with toasted walnuts, Stilton and port wine vinaigrette; Maine lobster bisque; or wild mushroom risotto), entrées (stacked wild turkey enchiladas; prime rib roast au jus; or pan-seared red snapper); and desserts (warm bread pudding or crème brulée cheesecake). Any of these dishes can also be purchased a la carte.

 There will be a community table for Christmas dinner, with seating at 4 p.m. that will include all of the above plus beverages. This will be an opportunity to share Christmas dinner with neighbors and make some new friends! For more information about the community table, e-mail infonyc@southwestny.com or call 212-945-0528. This is also the number to call for other reservations. If you want a seat at the community table, be sure to mention that when you reserve.