Mayor Announces Governors Island Board

A few months ago, the Governor and Mayor agreed to transfer Governors Island from an ESDC subsidiary whose appointees were half from the City and half from the State (with chairmanship rotating between the two sides periodically) to a new entity with the Mayor appointing a majority of board members. City Hall has just released the new lineup (full text after the jump).

Chaired by non-profit executive and former Deputy Mayor Ronay Menschel, the Bloomberg appointees indicate that the project has his attention, as they include First Deputy Mayor Patti Harris, DM Dennis Wolcott, CPC Chair Amanda Burden (who will eventually have to decide the Island’s future zoning, currently low-rise residential) and EDC president Seth Pinsky.

Rounding out the list are Doug Blonsky, the head of Central Park; Liz Berger from the Downtown Alliance; David Saltzman of the Robin Hood Foundation; and Carl Weisbrod, head of Trinity Real Estate and former EDC President. If my recollection is correct, Carl was part of an Urban Land Institute exercise in the 1990s evaluating potential uses for the Island and has had an eye on it ever since.

David Paterson’s appointee is Jeffrey Lynford, a private equity investment manager. The local Assembly Member –also known as Speaker Sheldon Silver- appointed his chief of staff Judy Rapfogel, signaling how important the Island is to his lower Manhattan residents. He played a key role in securing operating funding for the Island last year. Going forward, that will be a City responsibility, but State capital funding will be necessary given the scope of the Island’s infrastructure needs. State Senator Dan Squadron appointed Mark Costello, a lower Manhattan resident and private attorney. Rounding out the roster is CB#1’s chair, Julie Menin, representing CB#1.


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For a happy 4th of July try Governors Island with Rosanne Cash

Happy Independence Day! For those who may have forgotten what the fuss is all about, I recommend reading out loud the Declaration of Independence  which lays out the basic case for throwing off the King’s yoke as well as laying out key principles that are fundamental to the American idea.

For those of us in New York City today, a great place to enjoy the beautiful weather is by visiting Governors Island. This former military base is now open to the public for recreational, educational and cultural activities. It’s accessible by free ferry from the Battery Maritime Building in lower Manhattan and from Pier 6 at the foot of Atlantic Avenue in Brooklyn, in the new Brooklyn Bridge Park.

Any weekend is a great time to go to the Island for a picnic, or to tour the national monuments or see the artworks on display, but today you can also enjoy a free concert by singer/songwriter Rosanne Cash at 2PM. It’s sponsored by Trinity Church and the Governors Island Alliance (with which I am involved). We'll be there, so look for me on the lawn.

Recently, the Governor and the Mayor entered into an agreement transferring control of the Island from an Empire State Development Corp. subsidiary to a new entity to be controlled by the City. The agreement reflects both Mayor Bloomberg’s enthusiasm for the adaptive re-use of the Island, and the State’s present dire financial condition. Let’s all hope that this is a step forward(.pdf) for the Island’s momentum.