Gale Brewer sends strong message that her administration will be different

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February 26, 2014- By Steven E. Greer

At the February 25th CB1 meeting, elected officials made a rare appearance to discuss their new Seaport Task Force. Prior to the Fall 2013 elections, under the leadership of City Council’s Margaret Chin, Scott Stringer, State Assemblyman Sheldon Silver, and billionaire Mayor Mike Bloomberg, the Howard Hughes Corporation was making progress at developing a large commercial and residential development in the ghost town called the Seaport, by Pier 17. Many in the community had felt that Howard Hughes was hoodwinking them and not telling them the true story about some of the plans.

Now, things have changed after the election of Gale Brewer as the new Manhattan Borough President.

Ms. Brewer is shaking things up. She has temporarily halted the Howard Hughes plans, defying the Mayor’s EDC office. She and Margaret Chin announced at the CB1 meeting (held on Canal Street at a new Hunter College annex) a new Seaport task force, to be chaired by the actual elected officials rather than the feckless CB1. CB1 Chair Catherine McVay Hughes seemed to have been pushed aside, literally, standing a distance from the electeds, and receiving little verbal acknowledgment.

In March, Ms. Brewer will also be selecting new CB1 members to replace the ones with terms expiring in April. At the same CB1 meeting,the issue term limits for CB1 members was brought up. Just the mention of that sent a chilling shock to the CB1 members in the room, most of whom have served on the board for decades.

Term limits for CB1 being pondered

Gale Brewer puts a stop to Pier 17 plans, for now


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One Response to Gale Brewer sends strong message that her administration will be different

  1. Battery Park Dad says:

    While I applaud the effort to ensure that the community around the Seaport has a voice via the Seaport Task Force, I have to question the naiveté of the community leaders opposed to developing the Seaport. NYC is a tough place to get big projects done. While the idea of driving a community based effort sounds great, I fear it will fail and the Seaport continue to decay.

    Contractors cost money and money demands a return — unless that money comes from government coffers, which are looking lighter each day under this administration. Unfortunately, this is not the High-Line — with well financed supporters and a pretty specific end (i.e. a park). The Seaport is a costly development effort that will need to take some compromise from all parties.

    Residential needs inclusion — it creates stability and avoids the tourist trap that the Seaport became. It also funds commercial and parkland. Small businesses are the lifeblood of any neighborhood, but they need foot traffic to survive — without some larger scale development of some type, whether a residential tower, or destination marketplace, I fear that there just won’t be enough interest to keep the area afloat.

    A balanced approach seems most sound. Vilifying “big developers” or marginalizing the community does the real stake holders, those of us who live downtown, little good. We need an active Downtown filled with retail and residential, greenmarkets and green streets. I hope the current “anti-business” sentiment doesn’t cloud the notion that investment is what moves bulldozers, not good intentions.

    I don’t live in the Seaport, but as a Downtowner for the last 10 years I have slowly seen the Seaport fall apart, sadly. And what had potential with the Durst development that supported Jack’s, Bin 220, and others, now looks like it will whither away without another shot of adrenaline. I the Seaport gets it!

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