Volume 22, Number 53 | The Newspaper of Lower Manhattan | May 14 - 20, 2010
Folks at the Battery Park City Authority are maintaining a stiff upper lip in the face of Mayor Mike Bloomberg’s exploration into a takeover of the neighborhood, but presumably they are not thrilled with talk of possibly shutting down the authority someday. But they have at least one thing to be thankful for from the “City.” Without it, the nabe would be just “B.P.” and perhaps be mistakenly linked to one of the worst environmental disasters ever. After all, a gargantuan oil spill would not add shine to Battery Park City’s green rep.
Speaking of Battery Park City takeover talk, authority C.E.O. Jim Cavanaugh says that even though the B.P.C.A. has no more undeveloped sites to award, there are no plans to reduce the staff significantly in the next year or two. He said there have been some reductions through attrition, but there is still a lot of work to do overseeing the last development projects.
A possible closure of the authority would clearly be a ways off. So it looks like the authority still has time to put up the picture of it’s new chairperson Bill Thompson. The former city comptroller wasted no time hitting the ground running at his first meeting two months ago, approving an $800 million deal to help his patron, Gov. David Paterson, who appointed him, and his nemesis, Mayor Bloomberg, who defeated him, as they try to climb out of their budget holes. But there is still a blank spot in the authority office where former chairperson Jim Gill’s picture used to be.
Cavanaugh said no one from the Bloomberg administration has contacted him and he presumes that would happen if the mayor were to start seriously considering shutting down the authority.
Regardless, Cavanaugh can’t imagine the neighborhood’s parks conservancy ever closing.
“Whether we cut the grass or someone else cuts the grass it’s probably going to pretty much going cost the same,” he said.
Pier 40 help
Speaking of the B.P.C. Parks Conservancy (and keeping our neighborhood stream going), Tessa Huxley, the conservancy’s leader, said they will be storing park cobblestones and other equipment way up north on Pier 40 near Houston St. through July while the conservancy’s new headquarters is finished, perhaps by June.
She told the conservancy board that “perhaps we’re overstaying our welcome,” perhaps forgetting how desperate the decaying pier is for cash. The conservancy board approved another $48,000 in rent to the Hudson River Park Trust, which needs tens of millions to repair the pier.
If only a few more thousand tenants were that inhospitable.
It can’t be easy working in the subway system. Straphangers are always complaining and Albany never provides enough money for maintenance and improvements. Now non-union workers are facing layoffs in addition to the doomsday service cuts coming. So maybe all M.T.A. staff should show up to Community Board 1 for a pick-me-up.
Uday Durg and other transit officials came to the board Monday night to deliver an update on the Fulton Transit Center, telling members that all of the contracts have been finalized and the station should open June, 2014 — music to the ears of Catherine McVay Hughes, the board’s vice chairperson.
“Nothing’s stopping the station — just what I wanted to hear,” she said.
Durg’s team was beaming in the elevator after their brief presentation was received so cheerily. “We should come here every week as a self-esteem booster,” one of them said.
If you build it, they will come
While members of CB1’s Battery Park Committee were watching a PowerPoint presentation on the new playground at West Thames Street last Tuesday evening, it was not yet common knowledge that hot-shot architect Frank Gehry was playing a game of top-that in the world of playground design.
Gehry’s playground could possibly open as soon as 2012 and carries a $10 million price tag. It will be shiny – but that’s not news because anything Gehry-related is shiny, and silver. There will also be a “green cooling station” – whatever that means.
CB1 Chair Julie Menin has reached out to other CBs to initiate a joint healthcare committee. Her goal is to make sure the ill-advised closing of St. Vincent’s will not spell doom for Downtown residents should they need emergency care.
Menin has also created a new committee for her own board, a crime committee. With the looming cuts in the mayor’s budget, and despite reports that crime has decreased in lower Manhattan, Menin is trying to cover all the bases. We whole-heartedly support acting in this unheard of proactive manner!