Under Cover, Week of May 21, 2015

Photo by Louis Chan/Courtesy of BMCC Paul Shaffer and Billy Crystal at the B.M.C.C. gala last week honoring Crystal.

Photo by Louis Chan/Courtesy of BMCC
Paul Shaffer and Billy Crystal at the B.M.C.C. gala last week honoring Crystal.

Star & hard work
Comedian Billy Crystal joked about smoking pot and sleeping late (hey, so did at least two presidents) when he was at community college on Long Island several decades ago, but he also got serious at B.M.C.C.’s annual gala last week.

Crystal then got serious saying it was at community college that he got interested in performing, and the rest is history. Paul Shaffer, who until this week was David Letterman’s sidekick, introduced Crystal. Shaffer has been a big supporter of the college and was instrumental in bringing Crystal to the event, which has attracted the likes of Robert De Niro in the past.

The glitzy gala which was offering single malt Scotches for those in the know, took in a record $1.1 million for the Borough of Manhattan Community College’s scholarship fund, which educates many poor immigrants.

One scholarship awardee who spoke, Ya Rue Zie, was working 12-hour days in a Chinese restaurant and going to school part-time. She was looking to graduate in about a decade, but when she got a scholarship she was able to go full time, and hopes to be get a business degree and work to be a venture capitalist in the not so distant future.

Our old reporter friend Al Amateau, now semi-retired, used to say “I’m sending her my resume.”

Magee joins E.D.C.
Some may see it as poetry. We’re not sure about that, but we do think it’s at least noteworthy that Kelly Magee recently became spokesperson for the city’s Economic Development Corp., which manages the South Street Seaport’s city-owned properties.

Magee, was spokesperson to Councilmember Margaret Chin two years ago, when Chin backed the Howard Hughes Corp.-E.D.C. deal to rebuild Pier 17. At the time, Chin did not press the city and Hughes to talk about the firm’s intent to build a tower at the Seaport’s New Market Building site — a proposal that has dominated Seaport news since the end of 2013.

E.D.C. kept that part of Hughes’ plan hidden from the public until the Pier 17 plan was approved, as Downtown Express first reported then.  

At the time, Magee seemed to come down hard on any local critics of the plan. Robert LaValva, who at the time was running the Seaport’s New Amsterdam market, said Magee berated him after a City Council hearing in which he hinted at the secret part of the deal.

More recently, Chin has been a much harsher critic of Hughes, leading with Manhattan Beep Gale Brewer the opposition to the Seaport Tower.

We may get some flack for this but we did notice that perhaps only coincidentally, Chin did not take as hard a line this week at news that E.D.C. was going to start demolishing the cooler area of New Market Building, which Chin favors landmarking.

Magee did not respond as to whether she thought her Seaport experience helped her land the E.D.C. gig.    

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One Response to Under Cover, Week of May 21, 2015

  1. Spokesperson Magee does not return calls from a reporter? Some spokesperson!
    Typical M.O. for this harridan.

    It's fortunate there is a public sector, because it benefits those who would never be hired in the private.

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