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Opinion November 6, 2013- By Steven E. Greer
At the November 4th meeting of the CB1’s BPC subcommittee, CB1 member Bob Townley made the audacious claim, “I can tell you that Manhattan Youth serves more people in Battery Park City than any other organization.”. Mr. Townley is on a campaign to have the BPCA restore the free money that had been dolled out to his Tribeca Manhattan Youth community center for several years (Those funds were cut off after BatteryPark.TV reported).
On what basis does Mr. Townley have to claim that he “serves” BPC so well? His Manhattan Youth after-school programs do have a monopoly over the Department of Education, thanks to his supporter Sheldon Silver. But is that really altruistic “service”, or should Mr. Townley be profusely thanking the parents of BPC and the DOE for the business and revenue?
The Manhattan Youth after-school programs offered to parents are alternatives to $15/hr babysitting. The Manhattan Youth services prices range from $360 upward for one month of programs, five days a week, three hours per day. Therefore, the effective hourly rate is only $6 to $10 per hour. However, Manhattan Youth also receives large grants from the city and state to provide the after school programs.
In addition to the direct revenue generated for Mr. Townley from the after-school programs, the school programs provide essential referrals to the classes and programs offered on-site at the Manhattan Youth facility in Tribeca. Also, other enterprises run by Mr. Townley, such as his Belleayre Mountain Camp, benefit from local students signing up who are also part of the after-school programs. If Mr. Townley no longer had access to the schools within Battery Park City, the rest of his enterprises would suffer.
For Mr. Townley to take the high road and claim that he “serves” BPC is much like Gristedes claiming that they “serve” BPC with their inferior produce and high prices. Mr. Townley is interested in BPC for Mr. Townley.