Marty (Markowitz) Names Marty (Connor) to Brooklyn Bridge Park Board

The Mayor’s Office today announced appointments to the governing board of the Brooklyn Bridge Park Corporation, a new entity established to plan for the future of the Park and to oversee construction and maintenance. Regina Myer, President of the Brooklyn Bridge Park Development Corporation, will serve as president of BBPC. The BBPC’s board consists of seventeen members, nine named by the Mayor, four by the Governor, and one each by the Speaker of the City Council (presently Christine Quinn), the 52nd District State Assembly Member (presently Joan Millman), the 25th District State Senator (presently Daniel Squadron), and the Brooklyn Borough President (presently Marty Markowitz). The Borough President made as his choice former State Senator Martin Connor, whose lengthy incumbency ended two years ago after he was defeated in the Democratic primary by now Senator Squadron.

Other appointees to the BBPC Board are:

By the Mayor: Robert Steel (Chair), Deputy Mayor for Economic Development and former CEO of Wachovia Bank; Peter Aschkenasy, civic activist, former restaurateur, and current BBPDC Board member; Adrian Benepe, City Parks and Recreation Commissioner; Anita Contini, Senior Vice President of CIT and current BBPDC Board member; David G. Offensend, Chief Operating Officer of the New York Public Library, past president of the Brooklyn Heights Association, and current BBPDC Board member; Seth W. Pinsky, President of the New York City Economic Development Corporation; Nanette Smith, Special Assistant to the Mayor and current BBPDC Board member; Matthew Wambua, Executive Vice President of Real Estate and External Relations for the New York City Housing Development Corporation; and Joanne Witty, lawyer, community activist, Brooklyn Heights resident and current BBPDC Board member.

By the Governor: Peter Davidson, Executive Director of the Empire State Development Corporation and Chairman of the BBPDC; Henry B. Gutman, lawyer and partner at Simpson Thacher & Bartlett LLP, Brooklyn Heights resident and current BBPDC Board member; and Daniel E. Simmons, Jr., Vice-Chairman and Co-Founder of Rush Philanthropic Arts Foundation, President of Rush Arts Gallery, painter, and current BBPDC Board member.

By Assembly Member Millman: Paul Nelson, her Chief of Staff.

By Senator Squadron: John Raskin, his Chief of Staff, and former Director of Organizing at Housing Conservation Coordinators.

City Council Speaker Quinn’s appointment is pending.

Update: The New York Post weighs in, noting that Squadron’s defeat of Connor was attributed largely to Squadron’s opposition to, and Connor’s support of, housing in the Park as a funding source. The Post then quotes Markowitz:

Markowitz defended his appoitment of Connor saying “Connor has been an essential force and architect of this plan from day one—making sure we turn this ‘urban emerald’ into a reality. Not only does Sen. Connor have a distinguished record of public service, but he has intimate knowledge of Brooklyn Bridge Park and is committed to realizing the vision of what will certainly become an icon for the 21st century and beyond. This will be a rigorous process, and it is a great way for Brooklyn to continue to benefit from Senator Connor’s passion and expertise.”

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  • bklyn20

    It’s very sad to see (for me and for a great many other people) that even though Marty Connor was soundly routed out of his State Senate Sinecure because he secretly ushered housing into BBP, Marty M insists on reappointing him to the park board. And most of the other usual suspects are there.

    With these members, soon they’ll be working on The Study on Alternatives to Alternatives to Housing. The same people keep coming up (and of course those people are also major donors to the officials who appointed them.)

    Meanwhile, two large squares of land just north of Pier Six’s playgrounds stand empty, now circled with chain link fencing. These, my neighbors, are two of the future housing sites — 16 and 30 stories respectively, I believe. Why not put more recreational space into these bald and sterile squares — since the Pier 6 playgrounds are already pretty crowded? Why aren’t these labelled “Future Luxury Condo Sites?” It seems they had to be fenced off to protect the precious empty dirt where children could be playing and adults could be relaxing.

    If you want more space for you and yours to “recreate,” get on the phone with your local electeds and the Mayor’s Office asap. Otherwise, it’s more asphalt and less green for us all.
    The confederacy of real-estate types is astounding here — why not some park designers who are not Starchitects? Why not some people who are adept at innovative ways to fund parks and public spaces? Why not include a community garden in one or both of the squares, with gardeners chosen by lottery?

    The deck is stacked against more park space for Brooklyn unless people wake up and realize what they will be missing if they let the park get taken away from them, all over again. We voted OUT those politicians who wanted to appropriate the park to create Battery Park City East. Why should they be allowed to do it all over again?

  • JM

    Excellent post bklyn20. People need to realize what a wolf in sheeps clothing this “ark” is and not become complacent because it can easily be re-aproriated for the big housing developement that it was always designed to be.

  • ClarknHenry

    Gee… how big do you think that park really needs to be?!? And what good will ANY of it be if there is no money to upkeep it? I never understood the fear of allowing residential buildings to defray the cost of park maintenance. I mean have you read about the MILLIONS it’s gonna take to keep that park operational? Pull your head out of the sand!

  • william

    How MANY hundreds of Millions of Dollars have been spent on this project already? Where did it all go? There is a great deal of public concern regarding the financing of this project. Many intelligent people believe that an independent audit would likely uncover massive fraud in spending. Appointing Martin Connors to the BBP Board doesn’t make anyone better about this, except the real estate players and their interested supporters. Oh, has anyone told the south facing condo owners at 360 Furman that they will have their million dollar views snatched away from them? Suckers!

  • T.K. Small

    I think that the concern about housing within Brooklyn Bridge Park is more than legitimate. If mega structures are allowed to go up, property values within Brooklyn Heights will go down. But in addition to the financial concerns of the individual, I do not think that public parks should be self financing. Does Central Park pay for itself? Perhaps we should build some condominiums on the great lawn. Public spaces should be publicly financed.

  • zburch

    Totally agree with you Brooklyn20. I will be contacting the Mayor’s office regarding this immediately. Tell me this, why weren’t boat slips considered to help pay for the park? Seems reasonable to me, certainly more so than more luxury housing. This land was supposed to be put aside for public use. The minute people live inside a park, they claim ownership of it and it is no longer real public space. And I stress inside, because there is always some idiot that wants to claim living on 5th Ave as the same thing as living inside Central Park….but then again people here are so apathetic, before we know it the entire waterfront will be lined with Towers like the UWS. Lets face it, this is officially a development and not a park, and that happened because no one really cared enough to force the issue. This is where the BHA and the BBPC failed us. Those that live between Remsen and Cranberry don’t care that much because they are eternally protected by the Promenade. I would love to see what happened if their precious protected views status began to be chipped away. These are the BHA constituents, those outside of that area are not very well represented. And now, let loose the housing apologists and BHA lovers!

  • william

    Three-term Bloomberg doesn’t care about you. He bought the Waterfront Project from the State for $55 million this Spring, and he is now giving it away to his real estate buddies as promised. And YOU can’t stop him. Blommie packed the BBP Board with people on his payroll. They will do anything he says or loose their jobs.

  • Doug Biviano

    Don’t forget Assembly incumbent Joan Millman’s role in protecting the new luxury skyscrapers in BBP, thereby delaying the park.

    The irony is with all the waste to build new housing, THE PARK WON’T BE DONE BEFORE OUR KIDS GO TO COLLEGE.

    Without all the pretext, infrastructure upgrades, hidden costs, and relentless PR, a just as beautiful but more modest and active park would have already been completed without phases (the space is inherently beautiful). The berms or 3 story landfills to run the length of Furman are exorbitant in cost i.e. tens of millions like the Pier 1 earthwork.

    The new luxury towers (not One Brooklyn) and the massive earthwork architecture are the enemies of BBP being completed now. And so are the Millmans, the Connors and all those who delay the park to keep the luxury skyscraper placeholders for their paymasters.

  • zburch

    Its eternally frustrating. People are more obsessed with a hole in the ground on Clark Street than something that will truly change the neighborhood and Brooklyn forever. Luxury highrises clogging up the waterfront, blocking views, sunlight and depreciating apt values, transforming what was supposed to be a park into a development? No problem! A hole in the ground in front of a diner…a real travesty.

  • bklyn20

    I don’t think it’s bad, zburch, that micro-issues are covered by the blog — that’s one of the things that a neighborhood blog is for. Still, I think that people don’t realize what a macro-life-changing issue the park will be. Whenever I am in the Pier 6 playgrounds or the Pier 6 dog run, MOST PEOPLE have no idea that the fenced-off areas will be housing — and tall luxury condos at that. Even people who OWN in 1BBP don’t know about the buildings.

    Look at the complaints about noise in the park from people in Columbia Heights. Those people don’t even live in the park, and they are unhappy with the changes the park has wrought. Imagine what will happen with yet more are people LIVING INSIDE THE PARK. They may be inclined to think that since part of their taxes/housing costs (the PILOT payments) go to park maintence and capital costs, they are entitled to dictate just what happens in the park.

    As for Joan Millman, yes — she did help help usher in the PILOTS and the housing — but the lead role was taken by Marty Connor. Millman has recanted, and her Chief of Staff (Paul Nelson) has been very helpful on eliminating additional housing in the park. So I hope that she will be a voice for a real park. I know that Doug Biviano is on board against the housing, and I think Chris Owens is as well. As for the other Assembly candidates… I would like to see some definitive statements regarding their positions.

  • ABC

    Marty Connor. Ugh. Can’t people who get kicked out of public office just get a job like r other citizens?

  • bklyn20

    Actually, the “other candidates,” including Chris Owens, are running for District Leader. Owens I’m pretty sure is against additional housing in the park, Hope Reichbach I know is against it. JoAnne Smon is in favor of the housing, and the others are not on the record about it. Simon is not on the record in favor of housing lately, but at the City Council debates last year, she added “oh, yes no additional housing” at the last minute of one of her statements, after all the other candidates had decried the housing in the park formula. She essentially damned the no-more-condos idea with faint praise. She has nothing on the record against building Battery Park City East on our side of the river.

  • zburch

    BK20, I don’t think covering micro-ssues are bad either, but it is frustrating when people have a hard time grasping or addressing much bigger long term issues. It is a universal problem. For example, the BHA would rather tackle smaller permit violations than fight high rise development in the nabe.