September 5, 2012 By Steven E. Greer, MD
The September meeting of the BPC subdivision of the Community Board 1 met to discuss the Pier A status and other lesser issues. But the last topic of the drawn out, excessively long, poorly conducted, yet typical, CB1 meeting was what the large audience (by CB1 meeting standards) had come to hear: the continuing delays to the multi-million-dollar Asphalt Green pool and fitness center on Murray Street and North End Avenue owned by the Battery Park City Authority (BPCA).
Notably absent from the room for this political pariah of a subject were:
- CB1 Chair Catherine McVay Hughes
- Acting Chairman of the CB1 BPC subcommittee, and co-Chair of all of CB1, Anthony Notaro
- The CEO of the BPCA, Gayle Horwitz
- The staff of the BPCA in charge of the construction of the Asphalt Green
- Any elected official whatsoever representing BPC, other than one staffer from Speaker Sheldon Silver’s office
During the presentation from the BPCA, co-spokespersons Anne Fenton and Mathew Monahan, stood up, with Ms. Fenton, who is also an assistant to CEO Horwitz, doing most of the talking (see video). She proceeded to blame the long and complicated “paperwork process” of having the New York Fire Department approve the facility as safe for the delays. She also blamed Mayor Bloomberg’s other department, the Building Department.
When CB1 members and a person in the audience expressed skepticism that “paperwork” was really the cause for delays, Ms. Fenton hedged and said, “We are not blaming the fire department.”, then proceeded to blame the fire department paperwork process some more.
With the anniversary of the September 11th Ground Zero tragedy approaching, the blaming of the NYFD for what is clearly incompetence at best, and corruption at worst, by the BPCA is most distasteful and classless. Hundreds of firefighters lost their lives rescuing people.
Ms. Fenton and Mr. Monahan took the planned strategy to discredit BatteryPark.TV reporting as “rumors”. Yet, the duo was careful to not deny that the real reason the BPCA is delaying the opening of Asphalt Green is due to contract disputes between Asphalt Green and the BPCA.
Most BPC CB1 meetings have only a handful of non-member spectators because the events last for hours and the community, to which the CB1 is supposed to serve, is not encouraged to participate. The strong turnout to this event was a direct result of the exclusive reporting by BatteryPark.TV. Virtually all members of the audience were well aware of CEO Gayle Horwitz’s dispute with Asphalt green, and have emailed BatteryPark.TV about attending the September 4th meeting.