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Update September 3- The area north of the W Hotel was opened by a ribbon cutting ceremony led by Jessica Lappin, Catherine McVay Hughes, and Margaret Chin. The green market will be a part of the new area that will eventually become a skyscraper.
July 26, 2014- By Steven E. Greer
Catherine McVay Hughes and the other geniuses of the CB1 have helped make the newly vacated spot south of Ground Zero by the W Hotel, where the old Deutsche Bank building used to be, the newest location for a “Green Market”. Boy, that sounds so wholesome and needed. Aren’t they swell.
But the veteran Downtowners might be asking, “Wait, what’s in it for them, the CB1?”. A good rule of thumb is that anytime the Downtown Alliance and CB1 support something, the prudent person should see red flags.
GrowNYC is the “Doing business as” entity behind the farmer’s markets in New York. The parent company, a non-profit called the “Council on the Environment”.
Hmm. A non-profit in New York supported by CB1. This is getting interesting. 501-c’s are the tools of choice used to divert cash, or pay executives huge salaries tax-free.
The 2013 books of GrowNYC are now available. Surprise, surprise, the executives earn more money than most medical doctors or lawyers.
For 2013, the revenue is hard to determine, which is odd, since the top-line should be a very simple number. They list many forms of proceeds taken in. The “Gross receipts” were a whopping $9.665 Million.
Half of their revenue came from city and state gifts or grants, to the tune of $4.275 Million. $3.335 Million came from rental fees they charge the retailers to use their green market tent spaces.
How much of the booty did they pay to themselves? More than half of the cash goes toward salaries, for an amount of $5 Million distributed to 209 employees.
The Executive Director, Marcel Van Ooyen, pays himself $182,000. The Director, Michael Hurwitz, gets $113,800.
But they don’t spend it all. They have stockpiled $5 Million in cash, stock, and other liquid assets.
Employing 209 people to manage some tent spaces makes GrowNYC seem to be more of a jobs creation pork project like Alliance for Downtown. But that is unfair, they might say. After all, they have loftier goals.
Their website states, “GrowNYC was originally created in 1970 as the Council on the Environment of New York City. Born out of the spirit of the first Earth Day, the Council was initially a policy-based organization, writing comprehensive reports about quality of life issues like air quality, traffic, and noise. Over the past 40 years we’ve worked to become more engaged with New York City and its citizens. Whether it’s operating the world famous Union Square Greenmarket, building a new community garden, teaching young people about the environment, or improving recycling awareness, if you’re a New Yorker, GrowNYC is working near you!”.
This large pork project and diversion of state and city funds would be tolerable if the green markets truly delivered fresh vegetables and fruits. However, far too often, the produce sold is clearly imported from Mexico or California, because it is out of season in the Northeast. Also, the retailers are more and more selling packaged products, such as jams and or cookies.
Let’s see what this reincarnation of the green market looks like. Maybe our scrutiny will force them to sell genuine vegetables grown less than 1,000 miles away.
This has been another oversight report by BatteryPark.TV. No other local paper will say this stuff. We inform.