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A teapot shaped like the Statue of Liberty is among the artifacts in the Statue of Liberty Museum that opened on Liberty...
06/25/2019

A teapot shaped like the Statue of Liberty is among the artifacts in the Statue of Liberty Museum that opened on Liberty Island on May 16, 2019. (Photo: © Terese Loeb Kreuzer 2019)

President Abraham Lincoln's Emancipation Proclamation freeing all slaves in the United States, became official on Jan. 1...
06/14/2019

President Abraham Lincoln's Emancipation Proclamation freeing all slaves in the United States, became official on Jan. 1, 1863, but the news didn't reach the enslaved people of Texas until June 19, 1865. That was the day when Union soldiers led by Major Gen. Gordon Granger landed at Galveston, Texas with the news that the Civil War had ended and all slaves were free.

Gen. Granger read a "general order" that stated in part that henceforth there would be "absolute equality of rights and rights of property between former masters and slaves, and the connection heretofore existing between them becomes that between employer and free laborer."

Even with nowhere to go, some of the former slaves left immediately in search of family in neighboring states or just with the general idea of heading "north."

The date of June 19 was not forgotten. It was referred to in subsequent generations as "Juneteenth." For many years after the initial proclamation, many former slaves and their descendants journeyed back to Galveston to pray and be with family.

As the years passed, Juneteenth became a day of celebration with barbecues, rodeos and baseball games as well as prayers.

Juneteenth will be celebrated in Battery Park City on Sunday, June 16 from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m. There will be an opportunity to make a Juneteenth flag featuring the Texas Lone Star and a starburst promising a bright future. The Federation of Black Cowboys will bring their horses and a guest from the African Burial Ground National Monument will share the history of free and enslaved African people who lived in colonial New York. Place: Pier A Plaza in Battery Park City. Time: 2 p.m. to 4 p.m. Free.

For more about Juneteenth in Battery Park City and about other events in Lower Manhattan, read the Downtown Post NYC newsletter, which is emailed to subscribers. Subscriptions are free. To sign up, go to www.downtownpostnyc.com

(Photo: A member of the Federation of Black Cowboys at Juneteenth in 2018 with his horse on Pier A plaza. © Terese Loeb Kreuzer)

With more than 1,700 apartments, Gateway Plaza is the largest rental complex in Battery Park City. It opened in 1983 exp...
06/03/2019

With more than 1,700 apartments, Gateway Plaza is the largest rental complex in Battery Park City. It opened in 1983 explicitly to serve as middle-class housing, however rents have been rising. At a rally on June 2, 2019, Gateway Plaza residents demanded that all tenants be rent stabilized until 2040, when the ground lease for Gateway Plaza will expire. (Photo: © Terese Loeb Kreuzer 2019)

The World Trade Gallery at 120 Broadway is holding an art sale. Many framed paintings and photographs are now 50% to 80%...
05/23/2019

The World Trade Gallery at 120 Broadway is holding an art sale. Many framed paintings and photographs are now 50% to 80% off. For more information, call (212) 619-2030.

The World Trade Gallery at 120 Broadway is holding an art sale. Many framed paintings and photographs are now 50% to 80%...
05/23/2019

The World Trade Gallery at 120 Broadway is holding an art sale. Many framed paintings and photographs are now 50% to 80% off. For more information, call (212) 619-2030.

80% ART SALE - https://mailchi.mp/wtgallery.com/80artsale

People who ventured into Hudson River Park this afternoon (May 20), perhaps hoping to commune with nature, were treated ...
05/21/2019

People who ventured into Hudson River Park this afternoon (May 20), perhaps hoping to commune with nature, were treated to the sight of a six-story-tall pink flamingo being pushed up the Hudson by a tugboat. The flamingo had a Pepsi-Cola logo on its chest, so presumably it was supposed to be an advertisement.

If so, the gambit was only partially successful. When I looked to the right and left of me to see what other park bench sitters thought of the pink flamingo, I found that they were either studying their cellphones or attentively eating their lunch. Either way, the pink flamingo wasn't doing the job for which Pepsi probably paid someone a great deal of money.

The flamingo did, however, remind me that on March 27, 2019, the de Blasio administration had filed a lawsuit in the United States District Court, Southern District, against Ballyhoo Media seeking "injunctive relief and civil penalties" against a company whose "business model is to operate Times Square-style billboards on a barge that traverses New York City waterways such as the Hudson River and the East River."

The City's complaint charged that the billboards were a nuisance and violated City zoning laws.

When the lawsuit was filed, it generated quite a few articles in the press and elicited bilious comments from people whose serenity and river views were being marred by the billboards. But in the intervening seven weeks, I had heard nothing more.

Spurred by the sight of the pink flamingo, I contacted the Mayor's press office to ask what was happening with the lawsuit. I waited several hours but the Mayor's press office didn't respond so I decided to try Adam Shapiro, Ballyhoo's CEO.

Mr. Shapiro replied promptly. He said that his company had had nothing to do with the pink flamingo. As for the lawsuit, he said that a federal judge had ruled about a month ago that "when in view of a highway, we are legally able to operate 1,500 feet from the shore and when not in view from a highway, we have no distance restrictions."

That sounded like an outright defeat for the City, so I asked a few more questions. Finally, it emerged that Judge Louis L. Stanton of the Southern District of New York on April 19, 2019 had affirmed the City's motion for a "preliminary injunction" directing Ballyhoo to operate its vessels as Mr. Shapiro had described to me.

A "preliminary injunction" is not the final word in the matter. It serves to set parameters while the underlying issues are adjudicated.

Trailing the pink flamingo up the Hudson River was a barge with LED billboards advertising various products.

I asked Mr. Shapiro if those were his but he didn't say.

I presume they were and I presume there will be some definite resolution of this matter that we will hear about eventually. In the meantime, keep watching the river. You never know what you'll see.

— Terese Loeb Kreuzer

(This article and others appear in Downtown Post NYC, a newsletter that is emailed free to subscribers. To sign up, go to www.DowntownPostNYC.com.)

The Statue of Liberty on Liberty Island in New York Harbor. May 8, 2019 (© Terese Loeb Kreuzer 2019)
05/09/2019

The Statue of Liberty on Liberty Island in New York Harbor. May 8, 2019 (© Terese Loeb Kreuzer 2019)

Yesterday, I stood next to the Hudson River at Watts Street in Tribeca and watched a double-crested cormorant swim towar...
05/01/2019

Yesterday, I stood next to the Hudson River at Watts Street in Tribeca and watched a double-crested cormorant swim toward some pilings that are all that are left of Pier 32, formerly the site of Moore-McCormack Shipping. The Moore-McCormack Lines date from 1913 where what became one of the world’s largest shipping lines started with one chartered ship, SS Montara, that traveled between the United States and Brazil.

Moore-McCormack leased Pier 32 in December 1939. It was described at the time as "a modern new terminal owned by New York City and said to be one of the best in the country." The pier had previously been leased to North German Lloyd, a German shipping company.

Moore-McCormack survived until December 1982, when it was bought by United States Lines and its remaining ships absorbed into the US Lines fleet.

When the cormorant reached the pilings, it flew on top of one of them and spread its wings to dry them out. Meanwhile a duck preened itself atop another piling (a mallard duck, I think) while gulls and other water birds swam nearby.

Contrary to what many people might think about Manhattan, it is home to a large variety of wildlife. You can read about New York City's wildlife and history in Downtown Post NYC, along with articles about politics, art, architecture, food, music and events in Lower Manhattan.

Downtown Post NYC is an emailed newsletter and a website (www.DowntownPostNYC.com) which lists upcoming events and where articles are archived. That's also where you can sign up to receive the emailed newsletter. Subscriptions are free.

(Photo: Pier 32, Hudson River Park © Terese Loeb Kreuzer)

Check out the Downtown Post NYC website (www.DowntownPostNYC.com) for upcoming events and breaking news. Today, there's ...
04/23/2019

Check out the Downtown Post NYC website (www.DowntownPostNYC.com) for upcoming events and breaking news. Today, there's this:

Michael Samuelian, the president of the nonprofit Trust for Governors Island, and Carl Weisbrod, the head of the Trust's board, are stepping down. Weisbrod will be replaced by recently departed Deputy Mayor Alicia Glen, a board member since 2014. Samuelian had led the Trust for Governors Island since being appointed to the position in 2016 by Mayor Bill de Blasio. No successor has been announced.

The Hudson River on a windy afternoon in early spring. March 22, 2019. (© Terese Loeb Kreuzer)
03/23/2019

The Hudson River on a windy afternoon in early spring. March 22, 2019. (© Terese Loeb Kreuzer)

City Lore, New York City's center for urban folk culture, has a gallery on Manhattan's Lower East Side, once a hotspot f...
03/12/2019

City Lore, New York City's center for urban folk culture, has a gallery on Manhattan's Lower East Side, once a hotspot for the city's multicultural immigrant population. Steve Zeitlin, who holds a Ph.D. in folklore from the University of Pennsylvania, founded City Lore in 1986 to preserve and foster the city's living cultural heritage through education and public programs.

On Thursday, March 7, City Lore turned its attention to New York City's maritime heritage with the opening of an exhibition dedicated to eight "Waterfront Heroes."

Selected for their work in sustaining and preserving the city's working waterfronts and nautical traditions, their contributions were depicted in photographs and videos and some artifacts. Artist Naima Rauam, for instance, who spent decades painting the boisterous Fulton Fish Market, created a painting of the market just for the exhibition. Conrad Milster, a collector of steam whistles and bells from ships that have long since gone to the nautical graveyard, lent one of his bells to the exhibition. It was accompanied by a sign inviting people to ring it — and they did.

In addition to Rauam and Milster, the honorees included Samir Farag of the Museum of Maritime Navigation & Communication; Ray Keenan of the Sandy Hook Pilots Association; Waterfront Museum founder David Sharps; Adam Green, founder and executive director of Rocking the Boat, empowering youth through boatbuilding and environmental stewardship; the South Shore Bay House Owners Association; North Oyster Bay Baymen’s Association; the South Shore Waterfowlers Association; Hurricane Sandy hero and kavi singer Seetha Wickramasuriya; and Carolina Salgeuro, founder and president of PortSide NewYork, a living lab for promoting better urban waterways.

The exhibition runs through June 21. The City Lore gallery is at 56 East 1st Street. It's open Fridays from 2 p.m. to 6 p.m.; Saturdays and Sundays from noon to 6 p.m. and by appointment. Admission is free.

(Photos: © Terese Loeb Kreuzer 2019)

The National Yiddish Theatre Folksbiene presented a concert of music and film clips depicting the trajectory of the Yidd...
03/12/2019

The National Yiddish Theatre Folksbiene presented a concert of music and film clips depicting the trajectory of the Yiddish theatre from Manhattan’s Lower East Side to Hollywood. The concert was curated by Motl Didner, who introduced it, and by Zalmen Mlotek, who conducted it. March 10, 2019 (Photo: © Terese Loeb Kreuzer 2019)

On Sunday afternoon (Feb. 24) at Pace University's Schimmel Center, the New Shanghai Circus put on an astonishing acroba...
02/25/2019

On Sunday afternoon (Feb. 24) at Pace University's Schimmel Center, the New Shanghai Circus put on an astonishing acrobatic display that defied the usual experience of what the human body can do. The performers turned somersaults as they catapulted high into the air, landing on a thin board. They balanced on one hand on perch poles, assembled themselves into tall pyramids, playfully tossed balls and hats into the air as they swapped them from one person to another, balanced a table on one foot and dove through hoops, stacked three high.

This athletic virtuosity was interspersed with scenes derived from centuries-old legends. The Monkey King endowed with supernatural powers was the first to appear on stage, displaying his ability to transform himself into an array of fearsome demons. A princess and her warrior lover were endangered by the demons, though at the end of this drama, they were joyfully reunited.

Magic was always possible and comedy, always close to the surface.

Historical records, carvings and mural paintings in tombs show that Chinese acrobatic traditions go back more than 2,000 years. What began as a simple display of skills, perhaps during rural harvest festivals, evolved into captivating performances of tumbling, balancing, plate spinning and more.

After the People’s Republic of China was founded in 1949, acrobatic troupes were created in every province and major city.

The training to become a Chinese circus acrobat is grueling and sometimes dangerous but those who stick with it are amply rewarded by the chance to travel the world and also with the knowledge that they are the world’s best.

(For more about events at Pace University's Schimmel Center and elsewhere in Lower Manhattan, read Downtown Post NYC, which is emailed to subscribers (The website where you can sign up is www.DowntownPostnyc.com). Subscriptions are free.)

(Photos: © Terese Loeb Kreuzer)

On Feb. 24, 2019 at Pace University's Schimmel Center for the Performing Arts, acrobats from the New Shanghai Circus per...
02/25/2019

On Feb. 24, 2019 at Pace University's Schimmel Center for the Performing Arts, acrobats from the New Shanghai Circus performed astonishing feats of precision, strength and balance — in this case with balls that they passed from one performer to the other. The Chinese circus tradition dates back more than 2,000 years. (Photo: © Terese Loeb Kreuzer 2019)

The second debate among candidates for New York City public advocate took place on Feb. 20 at the Borough of Manhattan C...
02/20/2019
Seven Candidates Qualify for Second Public Advocate Debate

The second debate among candidates for New York City public advocate took place on Feb. 20 at the Borough of Manhattan Community College. Seven candidates who had raised and spent $170,813 by Feb. 15 qualified to participate. They are Michael Blake, Rafael Espinal Jr., Ron Kim, Nomiki Konst, Melissa Mark-Viverito, Dawn Smalls and Jumaane Williams. Each of these candidates was also required to have received an endorsement from a New York City, New York State or federal public official, or from one or more NYC organizations with more than 250 members.

The special election for New York City Public Advocate will take place on Feb. 26.

To watch the Feb. 20 debate, go to this link: https://www.ny1.com/nyc/all-boroughs/politics/2019/02/21/second-nyc-public-advocate-full-debate

(Photos: © Terese Loeb Kreuzer 2019)

The Greene Space is a performance venue at 44 Charlton St. (in Soho) for concerts, lectures and panels under the auspice...
02/15/2019

The Greene Space is a performance venue at 44 Charlton St. (in Soho) for concerts, lectures and panels under the auspices of WQXR and WNYC. For information about upcoming events (some of which are free), go to http://www.thegreenespace.org/events/upcoming/

(Photo: Feb. 6, 2019 © Terese Loeb Kreuzer 2019)

This frightening Op-Ed from The New York Times begins like this:The rise of President Jair Bolsonaro of Brazil has put t...
01/30/2019
Opinion | Bolsonaro Wants to Plunder the Amazon. Don’t Let Him.

This frightening Op-Ed from The New York Times begins like this:

The rise of President Jair Bolsonaro of Brazil has put the environment and human rights in peril. His promises to open the Amazon for business could result in huge deforestation and the release of vast greenhouse-gas emissions. His threats to slash fundamental environmental and indigenous rights standards that help keep the Amazon standing are a threat to climate stability.

Mr. Bolsonaro, however, wouldn’t be the only one to blame for devastating the Amazon. Companies that accept his invitation to reap profit from Amazon destruction, and the financial institutions that provide the capital, will also bear great responsibility. And those poised to benefit from Mr. Bolsonaro’s reckless policies include American companies and financial institutions.

Two of the largest publicly traded agribusiness firms operating in the Brazilian Amazon — Archer Daniels Midland and Bunge — are American-based companies. Agribusiness, in particular soy and beef production, is a leading driver of forest loss and human-rights abuses in the Brazilian Amazon, and A.D.M. and Bunge are two of the largest soy traders in Brazil. As producers seek more and more land for growing crops and grazing cattle, they push ever deeper into the Amazon. According to a report published in 2014, an estimated 90 percent of deforestation in the Brazilian Amazon is due to agribusiness activities.

The Brazilian president’s pro-business agenda will be a test of American companies’ commitment to the environment.

In the latest issue of Downtown Post NYC, I wrote about the National Yiddish Theatre Folksbiene's production of "Soul to...
01/26/2019

In the latest issue of Downtown Post NYC, I wrote about the National Yiddish Theatre Folksbiene's production of "Soul to Soul." If you're not a subscriber to Downtown Post NYC, here's the article. You can become a subscriber and not miss any future issues by going to www.DowntownPostNYC.com and signing up. Subscriptions are free.

On Jan. 20, with consummate musicianship and contagious passion, the National Yiddish Theatre Folksbiene brought "Soul to Soul" to the Museum of Jewish Heritage, a tribute to Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. that has become an annual tradition. The souls evoked by the music were Yiddish and African-American as embodied by Dr. King and by his friend, Rabbi Abraham Joshua Heschel.

Rabbi Heschel's daughter, Susannah, introduced the program. She said that her father had been born in Warsaw, Poland and that his mother and sisters were murdered in the Holocaust, as was all of his extended family. Although Rabbi Heschel escaped to the United States, the world in which he grew up had been destroyed.

In 1963, he was invited to speak in Chicago at a conference on religion and race, which is where he met Dr. King.

At the conference, Rabbi Heschel gave a passionate talk, Susannah Heschel recalled. He said that "Racism is satanism. It's unmitigated evil. Religion and race can never be uttered in the same breath because they're absolutely opposed. If you believe in God, you believe that God created all human beings in God's own image. You cannot be racist and a believer."

Both Rabbi Heschel and Dr. King had witnessed and endured unspeakable tragedy stemming from racism. For this and other reasons, they immediately became close friends. Dr. Heschel was with Dr. King in 1965 during the nonviolent march from Selma to Montgomery, Alabama to seek voting rights for black people.

"When my father went to Selma to march, it was a very frightening time," Susannah Heschel said. "I can tell you that I remember that after Havdalah, my father went downstairs and he kissed me good-by and got into a taxi to go to the airport. I held onto that kiss because I was afraid he might never come back. And when he returned...my father said he felt there was something holy in that march, that it reminded him of walking with Hasidic rebbes in Europe. My father came back and what he said was, 'I felt my legs were praying.'"

It should be clear from that introduction that "Soul to Soul" was more than a concert. With songs and projected images, it evoked the American South, the Civil Rights struggle, the shtetls of Eastern Europe, the immigrant experience and the Harlem Renaissance.

Sam Cooke's "A Change is Gonna Come" was one of the first songs on the program. ("It's been too hard living, but I'm afraid to die/ 'Cause I don't know what's up there, beyond the sky/ It's been a long, a long time coming/ But I know a change gonna come, oh yes it will.") Cooke wrote the song in 1964 when he was turned away from a whites-only motel in Louisiana.

The Yiddish experience was represented by images of an impoverished shtetl, a burning synagogue and such songs as Sholom Secunda and Aaron Zeitlin's "Dana Dana" from 1941 that was popularized by Joan Baez in 1960 as "Donna Donna." ("On a wagon bound for market/There's a calf with a mournful eye/High above him there's a swallow/Winging swiftly through the sky.")

"Soul to Soul has evolved over the last 10 years," said Motl Didner, associate artistic director of the National Yiddish Theatre Folksbiene. "It began as a presentation for our annual Hamptons Synagogue Labor Day concert. Since that time the concert has grown to include a narrative structure that takes up the parallel journeys of Jewish and African-American struggle for liberation and equality, culminating in the historic partnership between these two communities during the American Civil Rights movement of the 1950s and 1960s."

The concert is accompanied by film clips of Dr. King's final speech from Memphis, Tennessee in 1968 and the 1965 Selma to Montgomery march as well as by imagery from leading African-American and Jewish visual artists such as Marc Chagall and Romare Bearden.

Though "Soul to Soul" references tragedy, it is also nostalgic, stirring and profoundly moving. By the end of this year's Museum of Jewish Heritage performance, the audience was on its feet, clapping and singing.

There was only one performance. Not surprisingly, it was sold out. But it should be back next year.

In addition to becoming a staple of the NYTF season, "Soul to Soul" has toured the world. Among other places, it has been performed in Bucharest, Romania and in Winnipeg and Toronto, Canada. In the United States, it has been staged in Baltimore, Detroit, Los Angeles, Denver, Boca Raton and Stamford as well as at various colleges bringing to them Dr. King's message that "Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter."


- Terese Loeb Kreuzer

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