"The transformation of lower Manhattan has been an enormous team effort– with the city, state and federal governments working together, investing together, and forming partnerships with the private sector."

MICHAEL R. BLOOMBERG

CEO of Bloomberg LP & Former NYC Mayor
  • 10/04
  • BPC People
  • Community
  • Governance

Thank You, Battery Park City!

Departing BPCA President and Chief Operating Officer Shari C. Hyman’s farewell letter to the Battery Park City community follows. Ms. Hyman has moved on to become Vice President & General Manager, Westfield World Trade Center.

Thank you, Battery Park City!

As I take leave of my role as President of the Battery Park City Authority. I do so with a sense of gratitude and wonder for this incredible neighborhood and the people who call it home. And I would be unable to depart without thanking you, the Battery Park City community, for allowing me to serve.

In our time together we have done great things, always with an eye toward improving upon a neighborhood already head-and-shoulders above the rest. We have recovered from Superstorm Sandy with a rehabilitated and reopened Pier A Harbor House, and rebuilt electricals at the NYC Police Memorial. We’ve also planned for the future by taking a top-to-bottom look at Battery Park City and how to make it less susceptible to the ravages of storm surge and rising sea levels. The Irish Hunger Memorial, repaired now for its next generation of visitors, serves as an inspiration the world over as tribute to the perseverance of our ancestors – and how that spirit makes America better for having welcomed them.

We have continued the work of integration with the greater downtown community, while retaining our unique character. Liberty Park and Liberty Park Bridge provide a bucolic transition from the bustle of West Street to the tranquility of Brookfield Place; the same exists below-ground with a pedestrian underpass linking the Winter Garden to the Oculus and beyond. Further south, the West Thames Street Pedestrian Bridge will be rising next year – the final, poignant link in a long recovery from the September 11th attacks.

We have only further enhanced what has long been a Battery Park City staple: Parks Programming. Over the past year we’ve drawn roughly 50,000 guests to free and fun events for all ages, including field days and movie nights, as well as classics old and new like the Swedish Midsummer Festival, Dockappella, Strings-on-Hudon, River & Blues. While I’m proud to have decreased overall Authority spending each of the past four years, I’m even prouder that we’ve increased community programming by $1 million over that same period. It bears repeating: We focused on the community because the community makes Battery Park City what it is.

And with the community we have built strong bonds – stronger now, I should think, than at any time during my tenure. With Community Board 1 we examined the issue of bicycles on the Esplanade and developed workable concepts aimed at improving safety while maintaining access for all. Citi Bike valet service has taken root so that cyclists are never without a ride (or a place to dock their bikes when done). With the BPC Seniors we’ve increased programming options and met regularly to ensure we’re addressing any issues as they arise. We’ve partnered with Shearwater and Ventura for free community sailing options and to make sure those historic vessels stay moored right here in Battery Park City; this year, of course, North Cove Sailing offers free community sailing for all residents through October.

There were, too, unpopular decisions made. Know that our only intention, then as now, was to proceed as a public authority is required to do – through a competitively-bid process open to all, evaluated against a consistent, transparent set of standards. And we have been accessible to answer for those decisions, at Open Community Meetings, BPCA Board Meetings, Battery Park City Committee meetings, by phone, email, social media, and more. This will continue, as will our efforts to proactively engage the community on the matters most important to them.

In the end, I’m extraordinarily grateful for all of it – the complaints, the compliments (yes, there were a few!), the feedback, the relationships. It made me a better public servant.

So I thank you all, again, for a wonderful four years. It has truly been the opportunity of a lifetime in this, the best small town in New York City.

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