Browsing Tag

Joshua Rechnitz

Billionaire Trumps Joshua Rechnitz’s $40 Million BBP Donation: $100M For Central Park

October 23, 2012

Philanthropist Joshua Rechnitz’s $40 million donation for the design & construction of a 115,000-square-foot year-round, multi-use recreation facility near Brooklyn Bridge Park’s Pier 5 has been trumped. In April, when the Manhattan-based Founder & Chairman of the non-profit New York City Fieldhouse announced the gift, it was deemed the largest donation ever for a New York City public park.

Now, make that the second largest. The New York Times reports that Tuesday, hedge fund billionaire John A. Paulson and his Paulson Family Foundation have donated $100 million to the Central Park Conservancy, more than doubling Rechnitz’s consistently controversial Fieldhouse gift.

Paulson, a lifelong New Yorker, said that as an infant he was pushed around in a baby carriage in Central Park and that he remembers going to Bethesda Fountain as a teenager and seeing it covered in graffiti, with no water flowing. The park’s current endowment stands at $144 million. Half of Mr. Paulson’s gift will go to the endowment, while the other half will be used for capital improvements.

“Walking through the park in different seasons, it kept coming back that in my mind Central Park is the most deserving of all of New York’s cultural institutions,” he said at a news conference. “And I wanted the amount to make a difference. The park is very large, and its endowment is relatively small.”

Perhaps 50 years from now, a prominent Brooklynite will recall being strolled around Brooklyn Bridge Park as an infant and pony up $100M for its upkeep. Imagine how magnificent it will be by then. (Photo: Claude Scales)

Source: Brooklyn Heights Blog

From the Web

Brooklyn Heights, Sports

Skeptic Deems Proposed $40M Fieldhouse A ‘Masquerade That Doesn’t Belong In BB Park’

July 26, 2012

The $40 million, 2,499-seat Fieldhouse/Velodrome proposed for Brooklyn Bridge Park has been personified as a community recreation center, with an indoor bike riding track as its centerpiece. But Peter Flemming, Co-Chair of the Brooklyn Bridge Park Community Council and a member of the Citizens Advisory Committee of the Park Corp., says the plan that’s been shared with the public is a ruse.

He tells the Brooklyn Eagle that the proposed Fieldhouse is actually “a specialized velodrome masquerading as a community recreation center—and it doesn’t belong in Brooklyn Bridge Park… Painting stripes on a horse doesn’t make it a zebra.”

Flemming says that the Velodrome will primarily serve specialized competitive track cyclists who come from around the world, accompanied by hundreds of vehicles and thousands of spectators, to the detriment of BBP: “It’s a pipe dream. The number of people who really want it you can count on the fingers of your left hand. What is it doing in our park? Why help the city build a huge stadium in a tiny waterfront park for this quaint, obscure, bizarre sport?”

The Eagle explains: “A velodrome is a racing track, banked 45 degrees or more at the curves, for competitive bicycle racing. Competitors ride special fixed-gear bikes without brakes, and must travel at least 16 miles an hour to avoid tipping over. There is only one other indoor velodrome in the United States, the Home Depot Center Velodrome in Carson, California, though there are dozens of outdoor velodromes.”

Brooklyn Bridge Park proponents say the Fieldhouse, backed by founder and chairman Joshua P. Rechnitz, is envisioned as a “flexible public indoor athletic and recreation center” that includes a public boathouse, restrooms and space for the park’s maintenance and operations.

Greg Brooks, executive director of New York City Fieldhouse, argues in the Eagle that the entire community will make use of the facility, and says it will “save the park millions in capital costs. That’s money for maintenance, restrooms, storage for kayaks, all capital costs the park will not have to spend or maintain.”

Regina Myer, President of Brooklyn Bridge Park, adds, “The proposed Fieldhouse will bring park users and the community the all-weather sports and recreation venue that has always been included in the General Project Plan for the park but was unattainable due to financial constraints. We will continue to work with the New York City Field House to address the community’s concerns and ensure that this project adds positively to the park experience.”

There’s much more to the story in the Brooklyn Eagle. See the article here.

(Photo: Brooklyn Bridge Park Conservancy via McBrooklyn)

Source: Brooklyn Heights Blog

From the Web

Public Meeting On BBP Field House: Monday June 25

June 19, 2012

There will be a public meeting at which you may state your views or concerns about the proposed multi-use recreation facility to be sited on the uplands near Pier 5 in Brooklyn Bridge Park (location shown in photo), supported by a $40 million gift from philanthropist Joshua Rechnitz.

This proposal has aroused some controversy, especially concerning possible increases in vehicular and pedestrian traffic. The meeting will be from 6:30 to 8:15 p.m. on Monday, June 25 at the Callahan Center, St. Francis College, 180 Remsen Street (between Clinton and Court streets).

Source: Brooklyn Heights Blog

From the Web