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BY TERESE LOEB KREUZER | Block party planning: At last year’s 10th annual Battery Park City Block Party, Rosalie Joseph and Anthony Notaro who have led the block party planning for the last decade announced that they were retiring from that job. It turns out that they were sort of retiring. On April 19, both were present at a block party planning session held at North Cove Marina in the Manhattan Sailing Club’s handsome, floating clubhouse, the William Wall, to discuss this year’s block party. The evening was enhanced with an open bar courtesy of the Manhattan Yacht Club’s commodore, Michael Fortenbaugh, and with an array of food from Merchants River House courtesy of Merchants Hospitality. Then, after some schmoozing, the group of around 25 people got down to business. “We wouldn’t let the block party die,” Joseph said, “but it needs new people. If we had strong committees to do the work, it would be easier. There are always lots of great ideas. We need people to do them.”
The group broke up into two circles to toss some ideas around. The business owners sat at one end of the room and Battery Park City residents at the other – though it turned out that some residents are also small business owners offering a variety of services, and some business owners such as Abraham Merchant are also Battery Park City residents. One idea was to make it possible for the small business owners to have a presence at the block party – maybe a directory or a table where their wares and business cards could be displayed. Other ideas revolved around the possibility of extending the block party hours and venues so that the activities would not be mostly oriented toward kids.
Anthony Notaro discussed block party finances. He said that money is needed to pay for such things as insurance, a D.J. or a band, printing costs and decorations. “Whatever we decide we want to spend, I can usually raise the money,” he said — which didn’t sound like a comment from someone who had retired from the block party. But Notaro reiterated Joseph’s plea for fresh faces. He said that anyone who wanted to work on the block party should get in touch with him or with Joseph. Her email is firstname.lastname@example.org. His email is Anthony.email@example.com.
Battery Park City Authority board changes: At the Battery Park City Authority Board of Directors meeting on April 24, chairman William C. Thompson, Jr. opened by announcing that Robert Mueller had resigned from the board and had moved away. He then welcomed Battery Park City resident Martha Galloto the board. Gallo, who is head of global compliance and regulatory management for JPMorgan Chase, arrived on the B.P.C.A. board of directors in time to weigh in on the selection of a new insurance broker of record for the Authority, the selection of a contractor to repave Murray Street between West Street and North End Avenue and the selection of a firm to install plumbing and heating in Pier A.
Pier A is a perennially fascinating topic at the Authority. The questions of when the work will be finished, who will do it and how much it will cost have occupied many hours of staff and management time. The latest development, B.P.C.A. president Gayle Horwitz revealed at the meeting, has been that Delmar Plumbing, the firm originally engaged to do the plumbing and heating work at the pier, had informed the Authority in March that it was no longer in a position to complete the work because of construction delays. A new R.F.P. was issued and on April 12, two proposals were received for core and shell plumbing. The two were approximately half a million dollars apart in their bids and when asked to look at the numbers again, one of the firms, Olympic Plumbing and Heating, came in even lower than its original estimate of $1,022,200 with a bid of $999,000 to do the work.
“These numbers don’t make sense to me,” said board member Fernando Mateo.
Horwitz said that Olympic’s numbers were in line with what Delmar had charged. She also said that Delmar hadn’t started the bulk of the work when it pulled out.
Board member Don Capoccia, who is a real estate developer, suggested that it would be a good idea to sit down with both contractors to see where the differences lie and to make sure that Olympic hadn’t missed something. The contract with Olympic was approved by the board pending the results of that meeting.
Battery Park City Parks Conservancy programs: May 1 marks the official beginning of the Battery Park City Parks Conservancy’s programming season, which continues through Oct. 31. Starting the week of May 1-May 8, there will be pre-school play, Young Sprouts gardening, soccer for children from ages 5 to 11, wiffle ball, elements of nature drawing, figure drawing, tai chi, basketball for ages 5 and 6 and for ages 7 and up, and Explorers Club. Most of these programs are free, though pre-registration is required for some of them.
In addition to classes and recurring programs such as these (and the list above is only partial) the B.P.C. Conservancy schedules a multitude of special programs throughout the summer and fall. They include family dances with ethnic music, concerts, garden tours, fishing clinics, storytelling, birdwatching and more. You don’t have to be a Battery Park City resident to participate in these programs but it is certainly a great joy to the people who live in Battery Park City to have all this on the doorstep. For more information, call (212) 267-9700 or go to www.bpcparks.org.
To comment on Battery Park City Beat or to suggest article ideas, email TereseLoeb@mac.com