The pretty flower that’s strangling Stuyvesant Cove Park

July19 Bindweed flower

Growth of the vine-sprouting weed has exploded in the warm weather. (Photos by Emily Curtis-Murphy)

By Sabina Mollot

Though the blooming of a large, stinky flower at the New York Botanical Garden has been getting all the attention lately, there’s another plant in this city that’s starting to sound even more sinister than the aforementioned corpse flower.

A white-petaled menace that grows on vines has been described by the gardeners at Stuyvesant Cove Park as “an invader from far-off lands and nothing short of pernicious.”

That would be the field bindweed (also known as Convolvulus arvensis), a trumpet-shaped flower that looks very similar to a morning glory and has been growing like what it actually is — a weed – in green spaces across New York City. Along with parks and gardens, the hardy plant has also been sprouting up on traffic medians and vacant lots.

Environmental education center Solar One, which is located at Stuyvesant Cove Park’s north end, sent neighbors an email about the bindweed on Monday, while also making a plea for help in keeping its beastly growth at bay.

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Where to view the July 4th fireworks

pink blooms rain

This year’s display will have the biggest selection of fireworks since 2000. (Photo by Sabina Mollot)

By Maria Rocha-Buschel

With the mercury expected to rise into the high 80s for the next few days, the July 4th holiday is looking to be a scorcher, but at least residents on the East Side will be getting a good view of the annual fireworks display.

Fireworks will be shot off from seven barges in the East River for a 25-minute show beginning at 9:30 p.m. The 42nd annual celebration will feature a score performed by the West Point Band and in honor of the 100th anniversary of Irving Berlin’s “God Bless America,” pop star Kelly Clarkson will perform the song at the climax of the fireworks display. The West Point Glee Club as well as the band will accompany Clarkson’s performance.

The score for the fireworks will also include the national anthem and in honor of the 100th anniversary of Leonard Bernstein’s birth, a medley of his classical music compositions, performed by the glee club and band. The performances will be on NBC starting at 8 p.m. and will only be viewable by the public through the broadcast, but the music will be audible for spectators watching the fireworks.

The fireworks performance this year includes more than 75,000 shells, making it the largest display since the millennial celebration in 2000.

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Ferry service to start by end of summer

‘Stuy Town’ sign will be changed to ‘Stuy Cove,’ landings will offer some protection from weather

A completed ferry landing in Astoria (Photo courtesy of the Economic Development Corporation)

By Maria Rocha-Buschel

Service on the new Lower East Side ferry route, including at Stuyvesant Cove, is on schedule to begin at the end of the summer, representatives for NYC Ferry reported to Community Board 6’s transportation committee this past Monday, although spokespeople did not have a more specific date.

The ferry, operated by Hornblower Cruises and managed by the Economic Development Corporation, will run starting from Wall Street, making stops at Corlears Hook on the Lower East Side, Stuyvesant Cove and 34th Street before ending at Long Island City, Queens.

Because construction appears nearly finished at the Stuyvesant Cove landing near 20th Street, one Stuyvesant Town resident, Larry Scheyer, questioned why service wouldn’t be starting sooner.

In response, EDC Vice President of government and community relations Radhy Miranda said that even after the landings are built, there are additional protocols before service can actually begin.

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Mayor announces expanded ferry service

The ferry landing at Stuyvesant Cove Park (Photo by Thomas Rochford)

By Sabina Mollot

One year after the launch of NYC Ferry, Mayor Bill de Blasio announced that ridership along the city’s waterways could grow to as many as 9 million annual passengers by 2023. This is twice as many passengers as were initially projected, so in anticipation of commuters abandoning the subway and flocking to ferries, the city will be nearly doubling its fleet of boats. For this purpose, $300 million has already been socked away for use over the next several years.

The funds will go towards three new 350-passenger capacity ferries (by late this summer) along the busiest routes and a second homeport where ferries will be maintained and repaired. There will also be improvements to the two main ferry terminals, Pier 11/Wall Street and East 34th Street. These include wider gangways and new bow-loading locations to increase the number of vessels that can dock simultaneously. Infrastructure improvements and upgrades are also planned for existing barges and landings to accommodate larger crowds. Eight charter vessels will also be deployed this summer, each with capacity between 250-500 passengers.

Commuters will also see increases in service. Boats will be arriving every 20-30 minutes on weekdays and weekends on all four routes. Additionally, beginning on Memorial Day Weekend, Governors Island will be the last stop on the East River and South Brooklyn routes. This is aimed at increasing service to the popular summer destination.

No changes were mentioned specifically for the ferry stop at Stuyvesant Cove, although it, along with four other stops on the Lower East Side route, is expected to open late this summer, which would be on schedule.

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Solar 2 design released

This rendering, by Bjark Ingels Group (BIG), shows how the replacement building for Solar One will look, complete with a kayak launch accessible at Stuyvesant Cove Park.

By Maria Rocha-Buschel

Project architects have released renderings for Solar One’s new building that will be replacing the environmental organization’s original structure along the East River across from Peter Cooper Village within the next two years. The Economic Development Corporation, the city agency overseeing the project, presented the plan to Community Board 6’s land use and waterfront committee on January 22.

Although the project has been referred to as “Solar 2,” the new building will fully replace the organization’s original structure and the renderings show a “Solar One” sign on the building’s western face. According to the presentation, construction on Solar 2 is expected to be completed before the start of 2019 and construction on the additional flood protection in Stuyvesant Cove Park, which is part of the East Side Coastal Resiliency (ESCR) project, won’t begin until 2021 or 2022. The ESCR project includes a combination of berms and flood walls to protect the nearby neighborhoods from a possible flood event, and since Solar One’s building is expected to be operational before construction begins for the ESCR, that flood protection will be built around the new structure.

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Man and woman violently mugged near Stuy Town

Suspects wanted for additional incidents

The police are seeking three people they believe are behind three robberies, including one across from Stuyvesant Town.

In that incident, on Sunday, January 21 at about 1 a.m., three people, two male and one female, approached a man and a woman as they sat on a park bench on East 20th Street in Stuyvesant Cove Park. The suspect then threw the female victim, 28, to the ground by her hair and punched the male victim, 22. Together the muggers got a credit card and cash from the woman and a Samsung cell phone from the man.

Female victims were also targeted in the other known incidents.

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Winter has arrived, but gardens will still be blooming at local parks

Some plants can withstand bone-chilling temperatures, like hellebore flowers that have been planted at Madison Square Park. (Pictured) Hellebores that bloomed last winter (Photo by Stephanie Lucas)

By Maria Rocha-Buschel

Despite the deep freeze that has taken over the city for the last week, local parks are still expecting flowers to be blooming during the winter months. The resident plant experts for both Stuyvesant Cove Park and Madison Square Park told Town & Village that the prolonged cold shouldn’t have a lasting impact on the vegetation in the parks and both spaces have plants that not only can withstand the chilly weather but can also bloom in the frigid temperatures.

Stephanie Lucas, director of horticulture and park operations for Madison Square Park, said that there are a number of winter-blooming plants in the park but one of the most plentiful is witch hazel, which, while more commonly-known to consumers as an astringent available at Walgreens, is also a native plant to the northeast.

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National Christmas Bird Count

THESE BERRIES WERE FOR THE BIRDS.—On Saturday, Stuyvesant Town resident Barbara Bienenfeld spied this robin in a snow-covered bush with berries as she walked into the 14th Street Loop at Avenue A. The photo was taken on Saturday, the day before the National Christmas Bird Count.

On Sunday morning, a local group of birders participated in the national Christmas Bird Count, beginning at Stuyvesant Cove and then moving onto Stuyvesant Town.

Local team members were Pearl Broder, Wendy Byrne, Louise Fraza and Anne Lazarus, who passed along the list of bird species that were spotted, including Sharp-Shinned and Cooper’s Hawks attempting to hunt. “Lots of drama out there,” reported Lazarus, who compiled this list.

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Stuy Town bus terminal proposed for L shutdown

MTA graphic depicting proposed mitigation plans during the L train shutdown

By Maria Rocha-Buschel

A new temporary bus terminal may be headed for under the FDR Drive across from Stuyvesant Town and Peter Cooper Village, the MTA and the city have announced. The terminal will act as a transfer point for ferry riders during the 15-month L train shutdown, with more than 60 buses per hour going through the space under the FDR.

The Metropolitan Transportation Authority and Department of Transportation both discussed the plan while testifying at a City Council Transportation Committee hearing last Thursday. During the hearing, they provided information on the proposed terminal and other mitigation plans for the shutdown, including a new, also-temporary ferry route that will end at the planned Stuyvesant Cove ferry stop at East 20th Street and connect with the M14 Select Bus Service (SBS), which is expected to launch in time for the shutdown.

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Soapbox: Stuyvesant Cove Park going strong thanks to support from neighbors

Children planting flowers at the park

By Liza Mindemann, park manager at Stuyvesant Cove Park

Saturday, November 18 was the last community volunteer Day of 2017 at Stuyvesant Cove Park, and there couldn’t have been any better way to celebrate. A first in many years, the event was a partnership between Stuyvesant Town and Solar One — the rekindling of the collaboration between neighbors that will grow into next season. New York Cares, a strong partner of the park for quite some time, also joined for a healthy turnout of almost fifty people of all ages.

As part of Stuyvesant Town’s Good Neighbors Program, residents and employees joined the event to volunteer, and the group included several kids.

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Work to start soon on Stuy Cove ferry landing

Rendering released by Economic Development Corporation in May 2016 of what new ferry landing will look like

By Maria Rocha-Buschel

Winter is coming and so is construction on a ferry landing at Stuyvesant Cove. Construction on the 20th Street stop will likely begin this winter and finish by spring in order to be functional on the new Lower East Side route launching next summer.

Representatives from the Economic Development Corporation, the city agency that controls NYC Ferry, offered the information on the new landing at a City Council hearing for the economic development committee last Thursday.

EDC executive vice president Seth Meyers said that the work needed to be done during the winter because of restrictions that prevent construction from parts of spring into summer.

“There are times of the year, due to what’s called a fish moratorium while fish are breeding, that we can’t do work in the water,” he said.

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Letters to the editor, Aug. 3

Cartoon by Jim Meadows

Classroom condemnation uncalled for

In his “Ugly rhetoric on charter schools” (T&V “It Seems to Me” column, July 27), Christopher Hagedorn gave vent to what can only be described as a long-held gripe with the United Federation of Teachers and kids who saw that as a teacher, he, the emperor, wore no clothes. Those experiences, back in ‘68, seems to have lain and festered, and, I think, inhibited a more available and objective view of the teachers’ union and public schools.

Mr. Hagedorn takes us back to the time when men and women, charged with the care of kids for six hours a day, were securing for themselves a voice on the job, a grievance process, a salary scale commensurate with education, medical protection, and a measure of financial and medical security after 25-30 years on the job and into old-age — all while leaving dismissal for incompetence (absolutely) intact. Mr. Hagedorn’s rejection of these human needs-goals in ‘68, at the very outset of his own teaching career, indicates a disconnect from those working-people’s goals–if not an anti-union disposition.

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Section of Stuyvesant Cove Park inspires short dance film

Dancer Megan Nordle performs at Stuyvesant Cove Park.

By Sabina Mollot

Recently, a Stuyvesant Town journalist and artist found inspiration in a section of her neighborhood that’s so small it’s likely to get overlooked even by people who pass it by all the time.

That plot of land is a rocky outcropping of the shoreline that’s covered in sand and a known hangout for ducks and geese.

Karen Loew, who refers to the spot in Stuyvesant Cove Park as “the beach,” first found herself drawn to it for a simple reason. She liked it. But after learning about the controversial history of the location as well as the park itself from a neighbor, Loew knew she wanted to film it. She went on to put together an exhibition of photography as well as a short, dance film, called “No Man’s Land,” that will be shown at the 14th Street Y this summer.

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Letters to the Editor, Apr. 20

Cartoon by Jim Meadows

It’s only another local business

After 40 years serving high-quality food at reasonable prices, our neighborhood vegetarian restaurant, Angelica’s, is closing its doors.

Reportedly, the main reason for this sad event is the increase in rent to $26,000 a month. In order to meet this landlord-imposed hefty price tag, symbolic of the Trump Administration’s values or lack thereof, the owner, Leslie McEachern, would have to pay her employees the equivalent of the Chinese child-worker rate, probably a bowl of rice.

In addition, in lieu of serving fresh organic produce and helping local farmers support their families, Leslie would have to serve to her patrons the cheapest food available, food no doubt lacking in the nutritional value of organics. Although many business men are guided by the principles encapsulated by the phrase “It’s only business,” Leslie would never serve meals under these conditions.

Following in the bootsteps of the Trump administration, which intends to throw such humanitarian programs as Meals on Wheels under the bus, Angelica’s landlord has returned our earth Angel-ica to heaven much sooner than her patrons would like and if this landlord were asked, “Where is Angelica’s?” he’d no doubt reply, “She sleeps with the fishes.” I guess we are in the tyrannical age of “It’s only business.”

John Cappelletti, ST

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Letters to the Editor, Mar. 30

Cartoon by Jim Meadows

Making Stuyvesant Cove flourish

Re: “Spring is here: The proof is in the park,” T&V, Mar. 23

Kudos to Liza Mindemann, park manager at Stuyvesant Cove Park, for her work at the park and her T&V article about the park. And our thanks to her for mentioning that the park exists today because of sustained community advocacy.

Members of our community, some now gone, led the fight that succeeded in defeating the planned over-development that would have blocked access to the waterfront. It is so easy for this effort to be forgotten when area populations and demographics change as much as our neighborhood has over the last several decades.

Many people know the Stuyvesant Cove Park Association as the group responsible for presenting the free concert series in the park each summer. But the SCPA has a long history of assisting Solar One by recruiting volunteers, purchasing mulch, providing funds to replace plants swept away by Hurricane Sandy or paying for fencing to protect those plants as they took root and established themselves.

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