Covering Battery Park City, Sept. 25, 2013

Keyboardist Marco Benevento and drummer Andy Borger performed with bassist Dave Dreiwitz for an enthusiastic audience at the Winter Garden on Sept. 19.

Keyboardist Marco Benevento and drummer Andy Borger performed with bassist Dave Dreiwitz for an enthusiastic audience at the Winter Garden on Sept. 19.

B.P.C.A. shuts down funding spigot:
Because of directives from New York State, the Battery Park City Authority can no longer use any of its discretionary funds for charitable donations. This means that the B.P.C.A. will no longer be able to help support the arts programming at Brookfield which it had previously been supporting with contributions of $212,000 a year.

Also, it will no longer be able to support the River to River Festival which, in previous summers, had staged concerts in Rockefeller Park.

“Our financial participation ended with the season just concluded,” said Matthew Monahan, authority spokesperson. “Local cultural institutions, sports organizations who use the ball fields, local neighborhood events and schools are likewise seeing a discontinuation of financial support, which in no way lessens our high regard for them.”

This development more than likely will affect funding that the B.P.C.A. has previously provided for the Museum of Jewish Heritage, the Skyscraper Museum and Poets House. It will probably mean that there will be no more funds from the B.P.C.A. for the Downtown Little or Soccer League or for the P.T.A.s at local schools or for the annual Battery Park City block party.

This will undoubtedly be a big blow to these organizations and activities, many of which operate on a shoestring.

Arts at the Winter Garden:
Debra Simon, the impresario of arts and events for Brookfield Office Properties, was pleased. She was about to introduce keyboardist Marco Benevento and his trio for a performance on Sept. 19 at the Winter Garden. “We’re doing it in the midst of construction!” she said proudly.

Backed by a kaleidoscope of colors and images projected on a screen, Benevento and his trio (drummer Andy Borger and bassist Dave Dreiwitz) played with Dionysian exuberance. People started to dance under the blood-red palm trees, illuminated by gel-covered spotlights. The Winter Garden shimmied.

Next up at the Winter Garden, the annual tribute to jazz great Thelonious Monk arrives on Oct. 10 followed by a two-day celebration of the music of Pulitzer Prize winner Caroline Shaw on Oct. 15 and 16.

Ice skating rink at Brookfield Place:
Ice skating will return to Battery Park City this winter thanks to Brookfield Office Properties. Brookfield has entered into an agreement with Kevin McCabe of Brooklyn Sports & Entertainment LLC, to open a rink on the upper plaza in front of the Winter Garden at Brookfield Place.

The announcement was made at the Battery Park City Authority board of directors meeting on Sept. 24.

Martha Gallo, the only board member who lives in Battery Park City, expressed some disappointment. “This will be a Rockefeller Center-like rink and it will be a touristy thing,” she said, “but it won’t be a neighborhood amenity. Let’s just be clear on that.”

Gallo thinks the rink should be large enough to accommodate hockey players as well as recreational figure skaters and should be situated on the ball fields, but Anne Fenton, assistant to the B.P.C.A. president, said that there had been no response to two R.F.P.s for a rink on the ball fields.

“None of the operators felt they could build a rink that size and operate it and make money on it,” she said. “We actually had hockey leagues come in and try to get the ball rolling, but we just couldn’t make it work.”

Gallo said that last year, when the rink was in Wagner Park, a lot of families in the community used it after school, every day.

The rink will open in November. The hours and the fees have not yet been announced.

B.P.C. block party on Sept. 28:
The 12th annual Battery Park City block party takes place on Saturday, Sept. 28 from 11:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Esplanade Plaza, just south of North Cove Marina.

Boats and boating trips in the harbor will be among the highlights. In the marina, there will be wine tasting aboard the historic schooner, Shearwater ($10 a person) and a cash bar on Manhattan Sailing Club’s luxurious sailing ship, Arabella, which will be open beginning at 1 p.m. Commodore Michael Fortenbaugh also is offering 45-minute-long circumnavigations of the Statue of Liberty aboard one of the Manhattan Sailing Club’s launches ($5 a person). The launch departs at 12:15 p.m., 1:15 p.m., 2:15 p.m. and 3:15 p.m. with reservations suggested. Email info@bpcblockparty.com.

The day after the block party, Sunday, Sept. 29, there will be a B.P.C. Neighborhood Sail aboard the Ventura, a 94-year-old sailing yacht. The BYO brunch cruise costs $25 a person. The boat will board at 11:15 a.m. and depart at 11:30 a.m. for the two-and-a-half hour cruise. Buy tickets at the Block Party Welcome Table.

For those who don’t like crowds, the Ventura will provide a respite from the approximately 20,000 people who will be descending on Battery Park City that day for the annual Tunnel to Towers Run. It honors Stephen Siller, a firefighter who died on 9/11 when he ran from Brooklyn to the World Trade Center, to help put out the fire following the World Trade Center attack.

One tube of the Hugh L. Carey (formerly the Brooklyn Battery) Tunnel will be closed from 10 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 28 through 3 p.m. on Sunday to accommodate the runners who start in Red Hook and retrace Siller’s steps.

The Tunnel to Towers Run raises money for charity.

To comment on Battery Park City Beat or to suggest article ideas, email TereseLoeb10@gmail.com

– BY TERESE LOEB KREUZER

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4 Responses to Covering Battery Park City, Sept. 25, 2013

  1. You missed the whole point of the "spigot" being turned off. There is an official investigation being conducted regarding the 250K a year annual pay out to Bob Townley. That is why the there is close scrutiny on donations. IF you ever looked at (or cared to report on) the actual BPCA budget there are line items for the not-for-profits you mention like Downtown Soccer League, Baseball league, PTAs. etc. The donations to these organizations are clearly indicated and rather insignificant from a few hundred dollars to 3K. Let me know if you are interested in mentioning the exact amounts in question. I would be happy to give you that info.

    • Jonathan.Neiley

      Robert Serpico got a raise in 2012, of over $26,000. Seema Singh got a raise of nearly $20,000 with his OK. The General Counsel hired three new lawyers with his OK. The Parks Conservancy got a half dozen people hired and promoted and got their budget expanded with his OK and he is good friends with their Executive Director, so they get all the new equipment and pad their hours. Lots of money and lots of raises for everyone except the desk workers at the finance and treasury division. There's a lot of money but no one can use it without Robert Serpico. He has been controlling everyone with the help of Parks and with the general counsel. He has all the secrets and is keeping them to keep himself safe for thirty years.

    • Not for profit basically means any excess gets passed either back to the companies that part own it, or into generating more revenue, it's effectively business in itself.

  2. IF you ever looked at (or cared to report on) the actual BPCA budget there are line items for the not-for-profits you mention like Downtown Soccer League, Baseball league, PTAs. etc. The donations to these organizations are clearly indicated and rather insignificant from a few hundred dollars to 3K. Let me know if you are interested in mentioning the exact amounts in question. I would be happy to give you that info.

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