On the Street
Primary Day: it is, for many New Yorkers, a time when the next mayoralty moves from the realm of the hypothetical to the realm of the real; the current administration recedes accordingly. But for a few hours at least, on a street corner in Bed-Stuy, the leaflet-brandishing volunteers seemed very far away, as Bloomberg administration commissioners, political appointees, local buinsess leaders and term-limited outgoing council member Al Vann gathered to celebrate a brand new pedestrian plaza. After all, what could be more Bloombergian than a new pedestrian plaza?
Grand visions have always been a part of our city’s DNA—and in the years ahead, City Hall and its partners must once again draw on that tradition to prepare New York for the growing threat of climate change. As Sandy all too cruelly showed us, we are at increased risk from climate change-driven events like Read More
Green Is the New...
We already know Mayor Bloomberg favors waterfront development, come hell or high water—literally—and so, too, does his former development czar Dan Doctoroff, now head of Bloomberg LP.
It was Mr. Doctoroff, in his capacity as deputy mayor for economic development, who thought up many of the schemes that have led to new apartment towers on the waterfront in Williamsburg and Hunters Point. Thousands of units have been built, tens of thousands have been planned. Mr. Doctoroff still believes that is a good idea, so long as appropriate measures are taken.
“I am obviously a believer in waterfront development,” Mr. Doctoroff said
Mayor Bloomberg has said that mayors should give up living at Gracie Mansion, which makes sense when you have not one but two multimillion-dollar townhouses of ones own. Still, it is comforting to know that the policies the mayor preaches take hold at home. At an announcement today about the city’s growing investment in solar power and other green technologies, the mayor took a moment to show off his own green credentials.
“We’ve got a green roof at the foundation and a white roof on my home,” Mayor Bloomberg told reporters
Imagine, if you will, the landscape of New York City 15 years hence. A drive to Citi Field in Willets Point takes you past a pleasant if overpriced cluster of residential buildings, rather than seedy chop-shops. Roosevelt Island is home to a sprawling $2 billion applied-sciences campus spinning out an army of developers to populate ping-pong-table-clad start-up clusters from Dumbo to Union Square. On Manhattan’s far West Side, the rezoned stretch of Hudson Yards offers millions of square feet for office space, housing and retail and 14 acres of open public space. You can already see traces of a more built-up, scrubbed-down New York in Luna Park’s freshly-painted Scream Zone, the first new roller-coasters Coney Island has seen in 80 years, and the rapidly-metastasizing arena at Atlantic Yards, which will soon play home court to the rebranded Brooklyn Nets.
It’s hardly a scenario Seth Pinsky could have imagined in September 2008, when Lehman Brothers collapsed just seven months into his tenure as president of the New York City Economic Development Corporation (EDC), a not-for-profit arm of the Mayor’s office charged with fostering economic growth across the five boroughs.
At the time, Mr. Pinsky was a 36-year-old former lawyer and investment analyst, only a few years removed from a private sector gig refinancing real estate deals for the big banks as an associate at Cleary Gottlieb. He had one big win under his belt—jump-starting the World Trade Center redevelopment project—but he didn’t have “a political bone in his body,” as one insider put it. “People kept saying to me, ‘Wow, you’re the head of the Economic Development Corporation? We’re in an economic meltdown!’’ Mr. Pinsky told The Observer.
“At the time it meant, ‘You must be really crazy.’”
Perhaps the best way to describe Angela Pinsky’s advocacy for the real estate industry is by saying that when she joined the Real Estate Board of New York almost two years ago, she didn’t see her job as much different from the one she was leaving in the mayor’s office.
“I work on a lot of the same issues,” said Ms. Pinsky, who married Economic Development Corporation head Seth Pinsky last summer. “The thing about the real estate industry, it’s very civic minded. Many owners are family businesses and there’s this strong tradition in the industry of wanting projects and policies that are best not just for the industry’s own interests, but for the entire city.