Governors Island Hall of Shame
The City’s awful rezoning approved on May 27, 2021 was not necessary to bring in a climate solutions center, but the not legally required climate center concept was necessary to sell the high rise, high density largely commercial rezoning to the public.
Here is a partial list of players willing to sell out the bucolic southern area of the island to high-rise high-density development.
Mayor de Blasio – Bill has been burdening New Yorkers with a flurry of fast track upzonings (including Governors Island) to satisfy his economic recovery plan legacy among other reasons.
Alicia Glenn – Trust For Governors Island chair. Refers to Governors Island as “a nice piece of real estate” (New York Times 9/28/18). Former Deputy Mayor overseeing housing and economic development. Previously Goldman Sachs, Director of Urban Investment Group.
Margaret Chin – NY City Council District One representative. Because this city-wide resource is in her district, the City Council will follow her lead. She could have stopped this Penn Station 2.0. Instead she presented a severely inadequate set of modifications to the zoning proposal – giving the council an easy way out of seeming to care about the issues while not displeasing big real estate/big development.
Clare Newman – Trust For Governors Island president and CEO. Clare is the primary sales person for the upzoning and dangler of the climate research institution concept. Former Chief of Staff of Brooklyn Navy Yard Development Corporation. Named as a top female executive in real estate by commercialobserver.com.
City Council Land Use Committee (except Council Member Barron) – They could have, but didn’t stop this madness in their May 11th session: Rafael Salamanca Jr. (Chair), Carlina Rivera, Diana Ayala, Kevin Riley, Oswald Feliz, Vanessa L. Gibson, Ruben Diaz, Sr., Peter Koo, Francisco Moya, Barry Grodenchik, I. Daneek Miller, Adrienne E. Adams, Selvena N. Brooks-Powers, Stephen T. Levin, Antonio Reynoso, Mark Treyger, Joseph C. Borelli.
The other City Council members that approved:
Johnson, Powers, Kallos, Rosenthal, Levine, Perkins, Dinowitz, Riley, Gjonaj, Cabrera, Vallone, Gennaro, Dromm, Van Bramer, Adams, Koslowitz, Holden, Ulrich, Levin, Cumbo, Cornegy, Diaz, Menchaca, Eugene, Ampry-Samuel, Louis, Maisel, Rose, Matteo
The City Planning Commission (most of)
Merritt Birnbaum – Executive Director of The Friends of Governors Island. Given all that they’ve contributed to the evolution of Governors Island, it is extremely disappointing to see FGI backing a plan that allows 225-plus-foot-high structures to loom over parklands, a historic district, a school, and take over urban farmland.
Most of the groups in the Trust for Governors Island Community Advisory Council – These are groups reliant on the good will of the Trust for space on Governors Island. They, particularly the environmentally based projects, know better regarding the harmful nature of the Trust’s plan but have failed to step up despite the fact that key groups will eventually lose their space to developers. This group of organizations alone could stop the upzoning if they stood up to their landlord and united against it.
Community Advisory Council listed here https://gov-island-site.s3.amazonaws.com/pages/CPC-Special-Presentation-10-05-2020-FINAL-1.pdf – page 36
WXY architecture – The firm paid who-knows-how-much to design the slick marketing for the undoing of the south island.
Fried, Frank, Harris, Shriver and Jacobsen – The law firm representing the upzoning application. The largest law firm in the United States and a card-carrying member of the powerful REBNY real estate lobby.
The “Trust” for Governors Island and “Friends” of Governors Island – A Wall Street who’s who, many with real estate and development firms, one with ties to the financially disastrous Hudson Yards over-development. Others have current and past work with McKinsey and Company, the people who gave us the 2007 Enron scandal, the Purdue Opioid death epidemic, ICE scandals, and ties to authoritarian regimes, etc. Several are Goldman Sachs alumni. Some have ties to HR&A Advisors – the same players messing with East River Park. See: https://govislandcoalition.org/governors-island-boards-members-and-backgrounds
The city needs to retain the incredibly unique green open space quality of Governors Island and support more public amenities such as for the arts, athletic activities, playgrounds, waterfront access, urban farming, environmental projects, and “wild” less-formal spaces. The 225 ft plus heights currently considered by the City Council are three times the height of Outlook Hill on the South Island while many solid historic buildings lie unused. Any new construction should be kept to minimum and not exceed the four-story height of buildings in the historic district.
A M.A.G.I.C. Alternative South Island Visualization: https://govislandcoalition.org/a-magic-plan
co-founder Metro Area Governors Island Coalition (M.A.G.I.C.)
Community sign-on statement and signees:
#GovernorsIsland #TreesNotTowers #DefendGI #OpenSpace
#BilldeBlasio #AliciaGlenn #MargaretChin #ClareNewman #MerritBirnbaum #BigRealEstate #REBNY