Covering Battery Park City, Dec. 26, 2012

A Blue Jay (Cyanocitta cristata) at Rector Place on the Battery Park City esplanade. Dec. 26, 2012

M9 buses return to Lower Manhattan on Jan. 6:
The Metropolitan Transportation Authority has some good news for Battery Park City residents that may partially offset any groans over fare hikes coming our way in March. Beginning Jan. 6, the M9 bus will be back!

The route was truncated during 2010 budget cuts. In January, service will be extended north to East 29th St. and Second Ave. and south to Battery Park City. The southbound route will take the M9 across Barclay, Church, Murray, West and West Thames Sts., terminating at South End Avenue and Albany St.

The M9’s extended route will provide access to the V.A. Medical Center and Bellevue Hospital on First Ave. and a more convenient transfer to the M15 bus.

New York State Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver and New York State Senator Daniel Squadron were largely responsible for getting this important service restored.

Battery Park City in bloom:
A dusting of snow in Battery Park City on Dec. 26 did not seem to faze the blue jay, the robin, the starlings and numerous house sparrows that were foraging in the garden at Rector Place and the esplanade. A single, perfect, white rose gleamed against the dusky browns of sullen, winter earth.

Elsewhere in Battery Park City, snowdrops are blooming in South Cove, hellebore foetidus on the esplanade in front of Merchants River House, and winter heath on the Irish Hunger Memorial.

These are encouraging signs. Superstorm Sandy did the gardens no good, flooding them with salt water and sewage.

‘We experienced high water in the Wagner Park south display garden, in the lawns at Wagner, in the gardens along the Museum of Jewish Heritage esplanade, South Cove, the esplanade, Rockefeller Park lawns and garden beds — essentially all areas near the river,’ said Matthew Monahan, a spokesperson for the Battery Park City Authority. ‘The dedicated Battery Park City Parks Conservancy staff took soil samples in all these areas to determine salt levels, which came back at above acceptable levels,’ he said. ‘As a result, all of those areas were irrigated. A re-test of soil was undertaken and, happily, salt levels came in at acceptable levels. That gives us great optimism that we minimized salt damage, but time will tell as we will see in the spring if the temporarily elevated salt levels have a long-term effect.’

Megan Mayes and Jerry Glaab serving cocktails at The Black Hound, Battery Park City’snewest cocktail lounge and bar adjacent to SouthWest NY at 301 South End Ave.
Megan Mayes and Jerry Glaab serving cocktails at The Black Hound, Battery Park City’s
newest cocktail lounge and bar adjacent to SouthWest NY at 301 South End Ave.

The Black Hound opens:
A cocktail lounge is not a bar! A cocktail lounge is a place with a menu of beverages as varied as the imagination and skill of the person or persons who created them — in this case, Jeremy Strawn, (bar consultant) and Jerry Glaub (head bartender). A seat at the counter of Battery Park City’s new cocktail lounge, The Black Hound, at 301 South End Ave., provides constant entertainment as the bartenders whip up concoctions such as the ‘Concord Hymn,’ (subtitled ‘Ralph Waldo Emerson’) with Tanqueray gin, lemon syrup, Lillet blanc and rose water or the ‘Widow Douglas’ (a.k.a. ‘Mark Twain’) with Dewars & Islay scotch, ginger, honey, peach, lemon and peach bitters. It’s like having a seat in the kitchen to watch these drinks get whisked up, shaken, poured into the appropriate glasses and decorated. All of the drinks have literary names and all of the cocktails cost $13. Draft and bottled beer are also available ($7 to $19) along with a variety of wines. There are nibbles such as sliders, spinach dip and mac and cheese and a restaurant right next door, SouthWest NY, owned by Merchants Hospitality, which also owns The Black Hound. The Hound is open daily from 4:30 p.m. to midnight or later, depending on business. Call 212-945-0562 for information.

Brookfield offers free workspace:
Brookfield Office Properties is offering six months worth of free, WiFi-enabled space to nonprofit organizations and small businesses displaced by Superstorm Sandy.

The space is on the 26th floor at 250 Vesey St. in the World Financial Center, Battery Park City. So far, employees from 19 organizations are utilizing the 250 furnished workstations offered by Brookfield. While the space is currently filled, Brookfield is still accepting applications for spots that become available as groups move back to their former buildings. Interested organizations can contact Mark Kostic at [email protected] or 212-417-2516.

Brookfield is one of several organizations working with the city’s Economic Development Corporation, which has set up a program that allows businesses to donate their space, power, Internet and professional services to businesses in need. For a list of free temporary workspaces, including contact information, go to

New Year’s Eve:
There’s no need to leave Battery Park City to celebrate New Year’s Eve with all the trimmings (Champagne, a multi-course dinner, fireworks, etc. ) Atrio in the Conrad hotel at 102 North End Ave. is offering five courses for $155 a person. The price includes live music, party favors and access to the rooftop bar for views of the Statue of Liberty fireworks at midnight. The topnotch restaurant is under the direction of chef Anthony Zamora. Call 646-769-4250 for more information and reservations.

Downstairs in the Conrad, North End Grill’s New Year’s Eve tasting menu costs $95 for five courses with seating between 5:30 p.m. and 7 p.m. and $225 for its six-course ‘Grand Tasting Menu’ starting at 8 p.m. with two truffle courses and a Champagne toast at midnight. The Rob Duguay Quartet will be playing in the bar room beginning at 9 p.m. North End Grill is at 104 North End Ave. and is under the direction of chef Floyd Cardoz. Call 646-747-1600 for reservations.

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— Terese Loeb Kreuzer