Jim Gill, chairperson of the Battery Park City Authority, resigned suddenly on Tuesday after leading the authority’s board for 14 years.
Political insiders had been speculating that Gill, 78, would be forced off the board after his term expired at the end of 2008. Gill was appointed by former Republican Gov. George Pataki, and some thought Democratic Gov. David Paterson would want to bring in a Democrat to replace Gill.
But when Paterson announced Gill’s resignation Tuesday evening, he did so without naming a new member to take Gill’s place on the seven-person board. There is also speculation that Gill’s departure is linked to the state inspector general’s investigation into authority staff. Paterson’s office and Gill did not respond to requests for comment.
Charles Urstadt, founding chairperson of B.P.C.A. and current vice chairperson, will temporarily take over Gill’s role on the board. Urstadt and the other five remaining members will have to vote to designate a new chairperson, said Leticia Remauro, authority spokesperson.
Urstadt may not be on much more solid ground than Gill was — Urstadt’s term on the board expired at the end of 2009, and Paterson is not expected to reappoint him.
Jon & Dave
Can satiric minds think alike? Our columnist Dave Stanke has a satiric piece this week about hosting the 9/11 terror trials at the World Trade Center site, similar to an idea suggested by Jon Stewart in his interview with Bill O’Reilly last week.
Although some might think Stanke got the idea from watching the “Daily Show” host, we’re pretty certain that each came up with the idea independently. Stanke first mentioned the idea to us before the O’Reilly showdown (Sorry Jon for “showdown” but even though UnderCover is not M.S.M., we do perhaps hype things a little.). Stewart, our Downtown friend from afar, of course didn’t get wind of Stanke’s thoughts beforehand.
This week, Stewart sat down with Newt Gingrich and expressed a Stanke-esque willingness to have the terror trials near his home.in Lower Manhattan as well as frustration with slow W.T.C. progress — although the second part is far from an uncommon sentiment.
We think it’s high time for a neighbor-to-neighbor meeting between the pair, but UnderCover is going to have to insist on being there, even if, gulp, it must be off the record.
Stay home, Santa
Janell Vaughan, manager of South Street Seaport, has a message for the hordes of drunken Santas that descended on Pier 17 the past two years: You’re not welcome.
The merry, crimson-clad group that trashed the Seaport in 2008 and returned last Dec. 12 was part of SantaCon, an informal mob of dressed-up Santas who take over the streets, drinking from morning ’til night. SantaCon first posed a problem for the Seaport in ’08, when the Santas destroyed Pier 17 owner General Growth Properties’ Christmas display, Vaughan said.
“We were completely blindsided by it,” she said.
So, when the fall of 2009 rolled around, Vaughan began tracking SantaCon chatter online, alerting the First Precinct and adding extra security for the day, which helped but didn’t stop the Santas from coming, Vaughan said.
G.G.P. has also stopped sponsoring alcohol-themed events like Brewfest that bring drunken crowds to the pier, Vaughan said.
“Post-9/11 we had to do whatever we could to draw people back,” Vaughan said of G.G.P.’s earlier sponsorship. Now, though, plenty of people are coming back to the Seaport — and Vaughan would rather that the inebriated masses stay away.
Wonder what the bankruptcy judge thinks about that?
Tribeca lost an institution at the end of January when Bazzini grocery, cafe and nut shop closed its doors on Greenwich St.
As soon as August, the space will reopen as a Sarabeth’s, a bakery and brunch spot that has several other outposts in the city and in Key West. Bill Levine, who owns the chain with his wife Sarabeth, said this week that design work is underway for the 4,800-square-foot street-level space.
Rocco and Electra D’Amato, who have owned Bazzini since 1983, will continue operating their nut factory in the Bronx.
It’s been more than a month since Barry Skolnick left New York City for Rochester, Minn., but the former Community Board 1 member is still being invoked at nearly every meeting of the board.
Jokes about “What would Barry do?” abound, especially when the subject turns to schools or Barnes Dance traffic signals or noisy construction equipment.
At a recent meeting of the Battery Park City Committee, B.P.C. Authority spokesperson Leticia Remauro said she thought she saw Skolnick in the hallway, only to realize it was someone else. And at a meeting of the Planning Committee, Skolnick’s name came up during a discussion of seniors who decide to leave the city and head south.
“Then there’s the exception like Barry that goes in the wrong direction,” joked Jeff Galloway, chairperson of the committee and Skolnick’s former neighbor.
“He’s still with us in many ways,” replied Tom Goodkind, another of Skolnick’s friends on the board.