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PR- 319-10
July 21, 2010


New City-controlled Entity Will Guide the Future of One of New York City’s Greatest Waterfront Destinations

Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg today announced the board members of the new Brooklyn Bridge Park Corporation, the new City-controlled entity that will guide the future of the park. Earlier this year, Mayor Bloomberg, Governor David A. Paterson, State Senator Daniel L. Squadron, Assembly Member Joan L. Millman and Borough President Marty Markowitz announced an agreement on the long-term development, funding and governance of BrooklynBridge Park, transferring from New York State to New York City the responsibility to develop and operate the waterfront park.

“The first sections of Brooklyn Bridge Park that we opened this year are already some of our most popular waterfront open space, and that’s just the tip of the iceberg,” said Mayor Bloomberg. “When complete, Brooklyn Bridge Park will be one of the world’s great waterfront parks. The new Brooklyn Bridge Park Corporation will guide the park’s future, and the board members we’re announcing today have the background and range of experience necessary to transform the long-vacant piers on Brooklyn’s waterfront into one of New York City’s most extraordinary public destinations.”

The Brooklyn Bridge Park Corporation – to be known simply as Brooklyn Bridge Park – is the new City-controlled entity is responsible for the planning, construction, operation and maintenance of the 85-acre waterfront park. The first sections of Pier 1 and Pier 6 opened earlier this year. When completed, the park will stretch along the Brooklyn waterfront from Atlantic Avenue to Jay Street, north of the Manhattan Bridge. The Brooklyn Bridge Park Development Corporation will continue to operate as necessary to discharge its statutory obligations with respect to the General Project Plan. Regina Myer, who serves as President of the Brooklyn Bridge Park Development Corporation, will continue as President of the Brooklyn Bridge Park.

The Brooklyn Bridge Park board consists of 17 members, with nine designated by the Mayor, four designated by the Governor, and one each designated by the Speaker of the City Council, the 52nd District State Assembly Member, the 25th District State Senator, and the Brooklyn Borough President. The board will create a Community Advisory Council, as well as a Subcommittee on Alternatives to Housing, to explore potential alternative revenue sources to the planned residential developments on Pier 6 and at John Street. The City’s additional investment and final build-out of the remaining park is contingent on the approval of these developments – or mutually-agreed-upon alternatives – by the board, which must include approval by the appointees of the State Senator and Assembly Member.

Designees of Mayor Bloomberg:

  • Robert Steel (Chair) is Deputy Mayor for Economic Development. Previously, he served as Under Secretary for Domestic Finance at the U.S. Department of Treasury. Prior to that appointment, he spent 28 years at Goldman Sachs, ultimately rising to co-head of the U.S. Equities Division and Vice Chairman of the firm. He later co-founded SeaChange Capital Partners, a national nonprofit that helps to secure funding for other nonprofits. After leaving the Treasury, Deputy Mayor Steel became President and CEO of Wachovia Bank in 2008, leading its business-saving merger with Wells Fargo. He currently serves as Board Chair of the After School Corporation and the Aspen Institute.

  • PeterAschkenasy has been an active participant in the municipal and cultural life of New York City for more than 40 years. He served in the Lindsay administration as Deputy Commissioner of the Department of Parks, Recreation, and Cultural Affairs and as the Executive Director of the Mayor’s Commission on Youth and Physical Fitness. He subsequently owned numerous landmark restaurants in New York City, including The Oyster Bar, The Rainbow Room, Luchows, American Charcuterie, and Gage and Tollner. He served on Manhattan Community Board #5, Brooklyn Community Board #2, the Executive Committee of the New York City Restaurant League, and the New York City Convention and Visitors Bureau. He is a founding member of the Association for a Better New York. He is a board member of the Mayor’s Midtown Committee, Housing Works Food Service Board, and the Brooklyn Public Library, as well as the Vice-Chair of the Brooklyn Arts Council and BRIC Arts & Media. He serves on the board of the Brooklyn Bridge Park Development Corporation.

  • Adrian Benepeis Commissioner of the Department of Parks & Recreation. He has worked for nearly 30 years protecting and enhancing New York City's natural and historic beauty. Appointed Commissioner by Mayor Bloomberg in 2002, he has focused on improving park facilities and programs for children, developing new waterfront parks and greenways, and making New York City bloom with millions of new flowers and hundred of gardens. He serves on the board of the Brooklyn Bridge Park Development Corporation.

  • Anita Contini is Senior Vice President and Director of Corporate and Public Affairs and Philanthropy of CIT. Prior to joining CIT, Contini served as Vice President and Director of the Lower Manhattan Development Corporation, working closely with the Chairman and President of LMDC and key Board members to develop a process and implementation plan for the Memorial, Cultural and Civic Programs for the World Trade Center site and Lower Manhattan. She previously served as a First Vice President of Global Sponsorships and Client Events Marketing at Merrill Lynch.  Contini serves on the boards of The Mayor’s Fund to Advance New York City and The Drawing Center. She was the founder and President of the award-winning, nonprofit arts organization Creative Time. She serves on the board of the Brooklyn Bridge Park Development Corporation.

  • David G. Offensend is Chief Operating Officer of The New York Public Library. He co-founded Evercore Partners, Inc. in 1995 and co-headed its investment business. Prior to founding Evercore, Mr. Offensend spent five years in the investment organization of Robert M. Bass, a Texas investor. Before he joined the Bass organization in 1990, Mr. Offensend was employed by Lehman Brothers for 13 years and was responsible for founding and building the firm's merchant banking operations, and ultimately served as President and Chief Executive Officer of the $1.3 billion Lehman Brothers Merchant Banking Partnership. Offensend is a Trustee Emeritus of the Brooklyn Children's Museum (where he was President from 1991 to 1994), is a Trustee of Princeton University, and serves on the boards of the Bedford Stuyvesant Restoration Corporation, and the Brooklyn Bridge Park Development Corporation. He is a past president of the Brooklyn Heights Association.

  • Seth W. Pinsky is President of the New York City Economic Development Corporation. Appointed in 2008, Pinsky has helped spearhead the City’s Five Borough Economic Opportunity Plan. He oversees $2.5 billion in capital investments and the implementation of several ambitious area-wide redevelopment projects, which bring new housing, infrastructure, and job opportunities to underserved neighborhoods throughout New York City.

  • Nanette Smith is Special Assistant to the Mayor and Chief of Staff to First Deputy Mayor Patricia E. Harris. In this role, she manages the operations of the Mayor’s Office, and assists with oversight of Departments of Parks & Recreation, Cultural Affairs, Design and Construction and Consumer Affairs, the Landmarks Preservation Commission, the Mayor’s Fund to Advance New York City, the Mayor’s Office of Special Projects and Community Events, the Public Design Commission, and NYC Service. She worked for the New York City Art Commission during the Koch administration. She also serves on the board of the Brooklyn Bridge Park Development Corporation.

  • Matthew Wambua is Executive Vice President of Real Estate and External Relations for the New York City Housing Development Corporation. From 2006 to 2008, Wambua also served as the Vice Chairperson of the Housing Development Corporation’s Board of Directors. He previously served as Senior Policy Advisor for the New York City Deputy Mayor of Economic Development, where he coordinated and oversaw a citywide portfolio of economic development agencies, boards and commissions. He was also Vice President for Special Projects at the New York City Economic Development Corporation, and a senior investment officer for General Electric Capital Commercial Real Estate.

  • Joanne Witty is a lawyer and community activist who served as the President of the Downtown Brooklyn Waterfront Local Development Corporation, a precursor to the Brooklyn Bridge Park Development Corporation.  She was instrumental in developing a community process that supported the park during the late 1990s and early 2000s. She is a Trustee of the Environmental Defense Action Fund and a founding Board Member of the Fresh Kills Park Alliance.   She has served in the New York City Bureau of the Budget and the New York State Office of Court Administration and is a former Vice Chair of the League of Conservation Voters. She serves on the board of the Brooklyn Bridge Park Development Corporation.

Designees of Governor Paterson (one seat to be filled):

  • PeterDavidson is Executive Director of the Empire State Development Corporation, focused on improving the infrastructure and stimulating economic development in New York. He oversees the management of Empire State Development’s statewide subsidiaries and all large-scale urban development projects, as well as the corporation’s Division of Marketing, Advertising, and Tourism. Davidson has founded and managed six media companies in New York; from 1989 to 1999, he was owner and publisher of El Diario La Prensa, the leading Spanish-language newspaper in New York.  Prior to 1989, he was an executive at Morgan Stanley & Co. Since 2001, Davidson has also been Chairman of the J.M. Kaplan Fund, a leading New York-based grant-making institution. He serves as Chairman of the Brooklyn Bridge Park Development Corporation.

  • Henry B. Gutman is a Partner at Simpson Thacher & Bartlett LLP where he is the Chair of the firm’s Intellectual Property Practice Group, concentrating in complex, high-technology, intellectual property litigation. Gutman is a fellow of the American College of Trial Lawyers, and is a member of the Federal Bar Council, the American Bar Association, the Copyright Society of America, the AIPLA, the NYIPLA, and the Association of the Bar of the City of New York. He was appointed by New York's Governor Paterson to serve on the Judicial Screening Committee for the Second Department. A resident of Brooklyn Heights, he has served as President of the Board of the Downtown Brooklyn LDC. He serves on the board of the Brooklyn Bridge Park Development Corporation.

  • Daniel E. Simmons, Jr. is the Vice-Chairman and Co-Founder of Rush Philanthropic Arts Foundation, a New York-based foundation dedicated to providing disadvantaged urban youth with significant exposure and access to the arts, as well as providing exhibition opportunities to under-represented artists and artists of color.  Simmons is also the President of the Rush Arts Gallery, Executive Producer of Def Poetry Jam, the owner of the Corridor Gallery, and member of the executive boards of the Brooklyn Public Library and the Brooklyn Academy of Music. He is also an accomplished painter and curator whose work has been shown across the country. He is Chair of the New York State Council on the Arts. He serves on the board of the Brooklyn Bridge Park Development Corporation.

Designee of Assembly Member Millman:

  • Paul Nelson is Chief of Staff to Assembly Member Joan Millman supervising the operations of both the District and Albany offices and overseeing community outreach and constituent services.  Previously, he served as Chief of Staff to Assembly Member Sylvia Friedman.  Prior to that, he served as Program Director for Youth Service Opportunities Project where he planned and facilitated programs for more than 125 service projects for over 3,500 participants peryear in New York City and Washington, DC.  Mr. Nelson has a Bachelor’s Degree from Fordham University.

Designee of State Senator Squadron:

  • John Raskin is Chief of Staff to State Senator Daniel Squadron.  Prior to joining Senator Squadron, he served as the Director of Organizing at Housing Conservation Coordinators, a nonprofit affordable housing advocacy organization in Manhattan.

Designee of Brooklyn Borough President Markowitz

  • Martin E. Connor is an attorney specializing in election law counseling and litigation in voting rights, civil rights, ballot access, campaign finance, redistricting, criminal election law matters, and disputed elections. He served as the New York State Senator from the 25th Senate District from February 1978 to December 2008. He was the Minority Leader of the New York State Senate from 1995 to 2002, the Minority Whip from 1982 to 1984, and the Assistant Minority Leader from 1985 to 1990 and again in 1994. He previously served in the Office of General Counsel, Xerox Corporation, and as an associate in the litigation department of White & Case.

Designee of City Council Speaker Christine C. Quinn is pending.

Brooklyn Bridge Park is one of the nine waterfront destinations that comprise NYHarborWay, an initiative of the Bloomberg Administration to make the New York Harbor a major recreational destination for New Yorkers and visitors. Spearheaded by NYC & Company, the initiative eventually will connect the nine major waterfront points of interest by ferry or bike greenways. In addition, NYHarborWay will develop a cohesive programming, marketing and communications platform which will drive visitation to the nine waterfront sites. In addition to Brooklyn Bridge Park, the destinations are Governors Island, Hudson River Park, The Battery, Ellis Island, Statue Liberty Island, Atlantic Basin, the East River Esplanade and Liberty State Park.


Stu Loeser/Andrew Brent   (212) 788-2958

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