Covering Battery Park City

 

Several of the buildings that face Rector Place now burn No. 6 heating oil — which contributes substantially to air pollution. Over the summer, five buildings in B.P.C. will convert to burning natural gas. (Downtown Express photos by Terese Loeb Kreuzer )

BY Terese Loeb Kreuzer

Dirty heating oil:
Battery Park City’s bucolic appearance conceals a dirty little fact: Five of B.P.C.’s residential buildings burn No. 6 heating oil, a pollutant that can trigger asthma, contribute to cancer and make breathing more difficult for people with heart and lung problems.

The good news is that these buildings will be converting to natural gas over the summer, in time for the fall heating season. The five buildings are Liberty House, Liberty Terrace, Liberty Court, Liberty View and the Regatta. All are managed by Milford Management and were among the first to go up in B.P.C. Most are around 25 years old.

Only 1 percent of New York City’s buildings now burn No. 6 heating oil, but they cause approximately 85 percent of the soot pollution in the city. As of April 21, 2011, the City’s Dept. of Environmental Protection has mandated that by 2015, buildings now burning No. 6 oil must switch to No. 4, which is less of a pollutant, or to an equivalent cleaner fuel.

Milford Management will change burners in the boilers and bring additional gas pipelines from Con Edison into the boiler rooms for the conversion. The cost will be $400,000 for all five buildings. Con Edison is giving rebates of $20,000 to $35,000 per building, depending on the location.

The new heating systems will be convertible from natural gas to oil, depending on the market price of each, which will be assessed monthly. No. 4 heating oil is still legal in New York City, as is No. 2 oil.

“The savings going forward will create value for the condominiums,” said Steve Rossi, vice president, Milford Management. Within one to two years, the conversion costs will have been paid back, he said.

For the last year, Milford Management has been working with the Battery Park City Authority on the heating oil issue and has the B.P.C.A.’s support for the conversion. (The Authority owns the land on which the buildings sit.) Within the last two months, Milford recommended to each condo board that the conversions go forward, and each board approved. There should be no disruption to the buildings as construction proceeds, Rossi said, and there will be no effect on common charges.

Ground Rents update:
The boards of directors of all 11 buildings that negotiated a new ground rents deal with the B.P.C.A. under the umbrella of the Battery Park City Homeowners Coalition, have now approved the deal. Liberty Court at 200 Rector Place was the last to acquiesce. The deal mitigates the substantial ground rent increases that were scheduled to go into effect in 2012 — saving the buildings approximately $280 million over a 30-year period. According to a member of the Coalition’s negotiating committee, the votes to approve were unanimous with the exception of one “no” vote and one abstention. The deal now has to be approved by the B.P.C.A. Board of Directors.

Fundraising:
Two fundraising events took place in B.P.C. last week. On April 30, the Battery Park City Neighbors Network threw a bash at SouthWest NY in the World Financial Center to raise money for the tsunami victims in Japan and the tornado victims in the South. According to Rosalie Joseph, who organized the event, 110 people attended. Local businesses contributed products and services for a raffle and SouthWest NY subsidized the food and drinks.

The party raised $1,500 for Bikes for Japan and $750 for tornado relief. Battery Park City Cares, which was founded after 9/11 to help people in need in New York and around the world, added to the kitty. The Japan charity will get a total of $2,500 and a total of $1,500 will go to tornado victims.

One of the raffle items was a pot to which the partygoers contributed with half to go to the winner and half to charity. Steve Rossi, who bought four raffle tickets, won $270 but gave it back for charity. “The margaritas were strong!” Rossi said afterward. Would he have given the money back if the margaritas hadn’t been so strong? “Sure!” he said.

Also last week, on April 28 an Audi A8, which sells for around $78,000, was parked on a red carpet in front of 1 Rector Park. It was there as part of a private fundraising party organized by Audi and Manhattan magazine to benefit the Orphaned Starfish Foundation, which helps orphans in South American develop vocational skills. The guests — mostly young and affluent — subscribe to Manhattan, a closed-circulation magazine deilvered to select zip codes. The party, which took place in 1 Rector Park’s lounge and in a ground-floor apartment now on the market for $2.4 million, raised $4,800 for the charity.

Coming up:
The coming week will be a busy one in B.P.C. On Fri., May 6 from 7 p.m. to 8:30 p.m., the first of the year’s Sunset Singing Circles will take place in Wagner Park. Accompanied by guitars, people sit on the grass and sing folk songs and standards (song sheets provided) as the sun sets over the harbor. The event is free.

On Sat., May 7 from 6:30 p.m. to 8 p.m. will be the first of the season’s family dances on the Esplanade Plaza by North Cove Marina. The theme is “Bluegrass” and the Ebony Hillbillies, a band consisting of fiddle, banjo, mountain dulcimer, guitar and washboard, will provide the music. Don Coy, from Louisville, Ky., will teach square dancing steps and call the dances — no partners or experience needed.

To comment on Battery Park City Beat or to suggest article ideas, email TereseLoeb@mac.com

 

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