Seen & Heard: Target’s Pop-Up Schedule

••• It was great seeing people out and about on Thursday evening for the inaugural Tribeca Art Night! I had to go to the 1st Precinct Community Council meeting, but I did make it to Art Projects International for the Il Lee show (love his ballpoint-pen works, some of which are below) and hpgrp Gallery.

il-lee-at-art-projects-international••• About that 1st Precinct Community Council meeting…. First, if you’ve never been inside the precinct house, you must go sometime—it’s like a set from a TV show. Second, deputy inspector Mark Iocco, who heads the precinct, answered my concerns about last weekend’s overamplified rally on Broadway without any polite deflection. He said that because of that day’s Tunnel to Towers run and another event, the NYPD didn’t have a community relations officer at the rally, which was unfortunate, because those officers are trained in the rules regarding public events and sound amplification. (As you can imagine, the NYPD doesn’t relish being sued over First Amendment rights. The officers who were there had no interest in telling the organizers to turn the volume down.) That shouldn’t happen again, he said.

Iocco also confirmed that event organizers can request a permit for basically anywhere they like, for any time except 10 p.m. to 9 a.m., and that he needs to take a closer look at the event-permit process. I think that would be a good idea, if this info from the New York Civil Liberties Union is accurate:

City rules prohibit the use of amplified sound within 500 feet of a school, courthouse or church during hours of school, court or worship, or within 500 feet of a hospital or similar institution. In many instances, the permit may specify a decibel limit on the level of permissible sound. City rules also prohibit the use of amplified sound between 10 p.m. and 9 a.m. in nonresidential areas; in residential areas, amplified sound is not permitted between 8 p.m. or sunset, whichever is later, and 9 a.m. on weekdays and between 8 p.m. or sunset, whichever is later, and 10 a.m. on weekends.

First, Broadway is now unequivocally a residential area (and soon, every side of City Hall Park will have residential buildings). Second, is the Tweed Courthouse still a school? That wouldn’t have helped last Sunday, but it will on weekdays. As for the decibel limit, Iocco said there is one but didn’t specify the number, and the NYCLU makes it sound like there may be some flexibility there. Iocco maintained that getting sound-measuring equipment would be prohibitive—he knows it’s too loud when he hears it—but another local pointed out that many decibel-reading smartphone apps are available, and cited an article saying that one, Sound Meter Pro, is considered by the city to be reliable enough to be used by law enforcement. [I don’t know if that’s linked to the right app; on my phone, I couldn’t find it.]

The takeaway, for me, was that I’m going to have learn more about the city’s event-permit process, which I may not do until the next rally. And perhaps I can share what I learn with the NYPD, because last weekend’s rally flouted another rule (per the NYCLU):

In conducting your event, you cannot block pedestrian passage on a sidewalk, so you should leave at least one-half of the sidewalk free.

The Broadway sidewalk had only a narrow passageway left for pedestrians. It’s another reason that that busy stretch along the west side of City Hall Park is an inappropriate spot for a public gathering. I respect everyone’s right to gather, but not to blast their noise into my home for 3.5 hours, and I hope the 1st Precinct can suggest to event organizers ways to avoid alienating everyone within earshot (or at least that they not point mega-speakers right at residential buildings). It’s in no one’s interest—not the organizers’, not the residents’, and not the NYPD’s—to have angry residents confronting amped-up rally attendees.

••• Target’s roll-out has been so weird…. The company announced that the grand opening will be Oct. 9, then whispered a soft opening of Oct. 5, and then came word of a pop-up on Sept. 30, but it’s actually a series of pop-ups that boil Tribeca down, perhaps not unfairly, to manicures, yoga, yogurt, and… gloves? (I happened to come across the rundown below.) It’s possible I’m just frustrated with having to re-explain the what-and-when with the store’s debut, but undercutting local, independent businesses by giving away goods and services seems like a misguided way to make a good first impression.

target-pop-up-events••• “Law & Order: SVU” is back yet again, taking up several blocks of parking on Broadway, Chambers, and Reade. Can’t they just bring a series of costume changes and do a bunch of scenes at once?

••• Downtown Alliance‘s annual plant giveaway is Friday, Oct. 7, from 10 a.m. to noon at Bowling Green. It’s handing out SunPatiens plants.

••• Thanks to Hudson River for the comment about the City Council meeting regarding Margaret Chin’s proposal to limit the number of tour buses. I’m reprinting it here in its entirety.

There was a lot of data but I zone out on numbers so this is what I got. The number of tour buses tripled from 2003-13. There are currently 237 buses operating, and the legislation would limit them to 225, so big whoop there. At one time there were many more bus companies but fewer buses; now there are only 5 companies. Some speakers were concerned about this and thought it should be easier for more companies to enter the market, but I think it’s the same as everything else–big companies driving out smaller ones.

Other trivia: *The people from the Bronx and Brooklyn who spoke are afraid that limiting the number will mean fewer buses going there, and they actually WANT more. *Someone from the DT Alliance counted 74 buses below City Hall in a short amount of time one day (sorry, not sure how many hours that was). *The Department of Consumer Affairs and CB2 speakers wanted to raise fines for traffic and parking violations and revoke licenses for having too many. *Another topic that came up were the “rolling buses”–the ones with the big ads and sometimes fancy lighting; when they’re empty they just drive around anyway so they can display the ads. *There were two different figures given for tour bus licenses: either $25 or $100 every two years per bus–the first figure may have been for an initial fee and the second for the license plate for the buses but the first wasn’t clear. At any rate, way too cheap. And a mere $115 per parking infraction. *Somebody read the legislation on the books re tour buses and it is so old that it includes horse-drawn vehicles. I don’t get why they’re not doing a complete re-do.

My two cents: Tourist buses are annoying, no doubt, but on Broadway and Church (and W. Broadway and Varick and Worth…) the bigger disturbance is from commuter buses making their way up and down through Lower Manhattan every weekday morning and night. The buses are older—noisier and worse for our air quality—than MTA buses. My guess would be that the Downtown Alliance’s count included a lot of commuter buses.

UPDATE: Hudson River posted a second comment with different numbers from Margaret Chin’s newsletter.

According to the state Dept. of Transportation, the number of double-decker sightseeing buses in the city more than tripled from 57 to 194 between 2003 and 2013. Today, there are approximately eight NYC sightseeing bus companies that operate a fleet of 229—with nine plates currently pending. The number of active, registered sightseeing buses was as high as 299 in September 2014.



  1. The Tweed Courthouse does not currently house a school. It did serve as a temporary home for the Peck Slip school.

  2. I would imagine that it would hold the incubator school for the new school to come at 77 Greenwich. It has served that purpose for both the Spruce Street and Peck Slip Schools.

  3. Based on those parameters, we shouldn’t have to endure the annual 5 Boros Bike Tour each year with amplified sound starting at 6 am on a Sunday. Yet, they always say they have a permit so I’m guessing that means waivers exist.

  4. Tweed Courthouse does house a school. It is the Universal Pre-K center.

  5. Tweed courthouse houses DOE headquarters and there are 3 classrooms (18kids each) there for Prek center at 52 Chambers. There are prek students going to school there. I know for a fact because my son was going to go there for Prek this fall til we got off the waitlist for our 1st choice school.

  6. Tweed Courthouse – named after a corrupt politician and convicted criminal. Classy. When do they break ground on the A. Weiner school?