Volume 22, Number 31 | The Newspaper of Lower Manhattan | December 11 - 17, 2009
All the best Barry, and thanks
When the first students enter the new P.S./I.S. 276 building in Battery Park City next fall, the man they perhaps will have the most to thank will likely be 1,000 miles away. As just one community board member, Barry Skolnick could never have made the school a reality by himself, but without his persistent advocacy, the powerful government forces needed to get it done may never have joined his fight. Skolnick is retiring and moving with his family to Rochester, Minn.
When Skolnick first suggested the B.P.C. school site in 2005, Gov. Pataki’s wife was planning to open a Women’s History Museum there. Most people thought Skolnick was tilting at windmills. But his questions and persistence helped reveal that the museum project was not going anywhere. Building the museum may be a good thing to do somewhere at sometime, but the school is needed now and there were no prospects for advancing the museum.
Skolnick served the last seven years on Community Board 1. Prior to that he was a non-voting public member, and prior to that he just showed up to community meetings with suggestions on how to make his neighborhood better. Simple, but important issues like having functional elevators on the pedestrian bridges so the handicapped and people pushing strollers have a safer way to cross the highway never escaped Skolnick’s attention.
We are a little disheartened he is leaving because this city is not as civil as it can and should be, but his family’s decision should be a reminder that we can all do something to bring a tiny bit of a small town feel to New York
We didn’t always agree with Skolnick, and we certainly wouldn’t want 50 Barry Skolnicks on a community board, but one made a difference Downtown. We wish the Skolnicks all of the best on their new adventure and we thank Barry for more than two decades of volunteer advocacy for our community.