Covering Battery Park City


BY Terese Loeb Kreuzer



For around a week, ice floes have been coming down the Hudson River when the current runs from the north, but have had little effect on ferry service in the harbor.

NY Waterway operates 33 ferries on 20 Hudson River routes. Two of them are upstate between Haverstraw and Ossining and between Newburgh and Beacon. Those routes are affected by the ice, sometimes necessitating the substitution of a bus for the usual ferries that take commuters across the river to a connection with Metro-North trains. However, for the remainder of NY Waterway’s ferries, it’s been business as usual.

“When there’s ice, there’s an occasional delay of a few minutes on a route, but it does not shut down,” said Pat Smith, a spokesman for NY Waterway. “We’ve run full service every day this week.” On January 26, for instance, when 19 inches of snow brought New York City to a near standstill, NY Waterway ferries and connecting buses continued to run.

Smith went on to explain that, “You might have ice build up overnight. It’s not so much the ice in the middle of the river. It’s what washes up at the edges where the terminals are. A tugboat breaks up that ice. Once the ferries start operating at 6 a.m., they’re so frequent that the ice can’t reform.”

However, there may still be ice-caused problems. Some NY Waterway boats are jet powered, sucking water in and blowing it out. If the water intake gets clogged with ice, the engine can overheat. This is what happened on January 27 to the Gov. Thomas Kean, a ferry traveling between Hoboken, N.J. and 39th Street in Manhattan with 20 passengers aboard. The captain shut down the engine while a deck hand swept the ice from the intake. After a delay of around seven minutes, the ferry went on its way.

New York Water Taxi also operates ferries in New York harbor. The ice “is not affecting New York Water Taxi right now,” said spokesperson Stacey Sherman a few days ago. “Everything is on schedule.” She said that “If conditions change, New York Water Taxi will post something on their website and Facebook page and send an e-blast to passengers.”



Amid the ice floes in Battery Park City’s South Cove on January 29, two pairs of mallard ducks were foraging for food. Mallards are the most common ducks in the United States and are the ancestors of most domestic ducks. Mallards can, and do, breed with other species. “We didn’t see the ducks over-wintering here until around 15 years ago,” said Vince McGowan, assistant executive director of the Battery Park City Parks Conservancy. “Now it’s becoming more common to see them.” He said that no one knows exactly why.

To protect themselves from the cold, several Mallards will huddle together for warmth. Standing on an ice floe or in the snow, they will lift one foot and then the other, into the recesses of their warm, downy breasts.

In past years, come spring, Battery Park City’s Mallards have raised their young in what has become known as the “duck pond” near Rockefeller Park. Females usually lay eight to 13 eggs. After mating, the males leave the females to incubate the eggs and raise the ducklings. The babies are born able to feed and swim, but it takes around two months before they loose their fluff and develop the feathers necessary for flight.



The related subjects of the Liberty Street bridge that spans West Street and the Winter Garden stairway in the World Financial Center were discussed at the Battery Park City Authority’s monthly board meeting on January 31. The bridge was damaged in the September 11, 2001 attack on the World Trade Center. Because of construction delays at the World Trade Center site, the anticipated reconstruction of the Liberty Street bridge (aka the “South” bridge) for which the Battery Park City Authority is responsible, was also delayed. In fact, it now looks as though work on a new bridge will begin a full four years beyond the originally anticipated date. This, of course, has proven costly in money as well as time.

As Kevin Finnegan, acting head of the Battery Park City Authority’s Construction Department, explained at the meeting, the contractor for the bridge, Tectonic Engineering and Surveying Consultants, had to rent storage space for the steel and treat it, and then treat it again at a cost of $80,000. The engineering firm, Thornton Tomasetti, had to rebid the job because of changes to the bridge access, which cost another $46,000. Tectonic also had to perform “critical weld inspection that was far beyond” what was originally anticipated.

“That will cost $130,000. Other delays cost $173,060 for overtime and extra analysis,” said Finnegan. “We’re currently having discussions with Port Authority about the $173,060 and the $46,000.”

It appears, at the end of the day, that the Battery Park City Authority will be in for the $130,000 and for the cost to store the steel, but the Port Authority should be legally obligated to cover the rest of the expenses incurred by the delays.

The Port Authority’s current schedule indicates that the Battery Park City Authority should be able to begin constructing the permanent bridge in January 2013.

With a new bridge and an underground tunnel connecting the World Trade Center and the World Financial Center on the horizon, Brookfield Properties, is trying to drum up acquiescence, if not enthusiastic support, for its plans to demolish the marble stairway in the Winter Garden. Brookfield plans to reconfigure 2 World Financial Center with a glass pavilion on the eastern side and new retail space. Lawrence Graham, Brookfield’s executive vice president for property operations in the United States, made a presentation to the Battery Park City Authority board in which he reiterated Brookfield’s position that demolishing the stairway is the only feasible option for handling anticipated traffic flow. Gayle Horwitz, president of the Battery Park City Authority, reiterated the Authority’s position that when Brookfield submits its final plans, the Authority will review them to see whether it agrees with Brookfield’s assessment and conclusions.


Super Bowl Special:

Battery Place Market, 77 Battery Place, is cooking up a feast of gourmet party platters and nibbles for Super Bowl Sunday, February 6. The platters include anti-pastas, charcuterie, smoked fish, gourmet cheeses and sushi, priced from $5 to $14 per person. Buffalo wings, fried potato skins, nachos, pulled pork sliders and Arborio rice balls are among the snacks and finger foods. Battery Place Market delivers. Call (212) 786-0077 to order or for more information. Those who order Super Bowl Sunday provisions will get a 10 percent discount on their next purchase at the market.


For comments about Battery Park City Beat or to suggest ideas, e-mail TereseLoeb@mac.com.