Downtown Buzz

“Guess what? The Lower Manhattan Development Corporation just gave away $28 million to all sorts of groovy cultural groups downtown. They are really going to make that neighborhood exciting.”

“Oh, yeah. Let me guess. Was the Tribeca Film Institute one of them?”

“Uh, yeah. How’d you know?”

“Well, the C.E.O., Madelyn Wils is an L.M.D.C. board member, and the Institute already received $3 million back before there was any formal process for applying for funds, according to this Good Jobs New York report.”

“Well, yeah. They got another $600,000 today, for a free outdoor film series.”

“And how about the Alliance for Downtown New York ? Its chairman, William Douglass, just got appointed to the L.M.D.C. board, and its former president, Carl Weisbrod, has been on the board for a long time. The Alliance has received $4.8 million already for things like the River-to-River Festival.”

“Yes, them too, but they needed another million to do more cultural programming. They’re not going to keep that much of it, maybe nothing at all, just pass it on to other cultural institutions that are already receiving funding support from the L.M.D.C.”

“Oh, I see.”

“But don’t worry. There is no conflict of interest here because there was an advisory team that vetted these 100-plus applications before they even got to the board and Wils and Weisbrod recused themselves from the vote this morning.”

“Oh, well, what was the vote?”

“Nine-zero. But, really, the Tribeca Film Institute has brought $50 million into the local economy and the Downtown Alliance has done all sorts of great things with its money, like putting in bollards and other security devices. Really, these investments are going to help everybody downtown.”

“Everyone except those who work for groups that got nothing.”

“Yeah, well, there’s about $6 million that the L.M.D.C. hasn’t given out yet. Maybe they should try for that.”

Matthew Schuerman

Downtown Buzz