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November 14, 2013- Governor Cuomo finally signed A8031. The Villager reports, “On the same day that around 200 Lower West Side residents gathered to discuss their fears about a bill that would allow the transfer and sale of Hudson River Park’s air rights, Governor Andrew Cuomo finally signed the bill into law. Andrew Berman, executive director of the Greenwich Village Society for Historic Preservation, had just finished his introductory speech at Wednesday’s meeting, around 7 p.m., when word came that Cuomo had signed the bill. (It was The Villager that alerted Berman by e-mail after having been informed by a spokesperson for the Hudson River Park Trust that the governor had approved the bill. Assemblymember Richard Gottfried also confirmed to The Villager that the governor had O.K.’d the bill.)”
June 26, 2013- By Steven E. Greer, MD
The wide strip of real estate parallel to the West Side Highway (Route 9a), from Chambers Street down to Battery Place, also known as the “Pataki Highway”, has been a no-man’s land since it was owned by the Hudson River Park Trust, but poorly maintained by the Battery Park City Authority. This week, with the passage of an amendment to the HRPT Act, the BPCA has now been handed ownership and control of the land.
For many years, the BPC Parks Conservancy, Community Board 1, and the BPCA have discussed better uses for this strip. Plans that have gained the most acceptance have been to develop recreational spaces for kids and teenagers, such as basketball and handball courts, and a skateboard park similar to the one by Pier 26 (to prevent abuses in the regular park). The existing West Thames dog run was also ill-conceived in 2009 and viewed as a noisy kennel by the thousand of people who live in adjacent high-rises. It could be relocated farther south.
With new funds being raised this by the issuance of BPCA bonds, projects for the Pataki Highway are on the table again, according to sources close to the matter. The West Thames pedestrian bridge might also gain in popularity now that it falls on BPCA land. Stay tuned.
The immediate results of the transition of ownership could be better patrolling of the West Thames playground and grass field by the Parks Enforcement Patrol (PEP). There as been an ongoing territorial dispute between the BPC and HRPT PEP’s.