Mayor Bloomberg Announces Board Members Of The Newly Established Trust For Governors Island

July 8, 2010

New City-controlled Entity Will Guide the Future of One of New York City's Greatest Public Places

First Board Meeting to Take Place on July 13 on Governors Island

Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg today announced the board members of the Trust for Governors Island, the new City-controlled entity that will guide the future of the island. Earlier this year, Mayor Bloomberg, Governor David A. Paterson, Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver and State Senator Daniel L. Squadron announced an agreement on the long-term development, funding and governance of Governors Island, transferring from New York State to New York City the responsibility to develop and operate 150 acres of the island.

"Governors Island can become one of the world's greatest public places, and we're committed to making it happen," said Mayor Bloomberg. "The new Trust for Governors Island will build on the success we've had on the island so far and lead its historic transformation going forward. The new board, a mix of public officials, non-profit and local leaders, and private sector professionals, will bring experience in civic affairs, public design, preservation and development, parks management, cultural programming and philanthropy that will help us to create a world-class destination that New Yorkers and visitors from around the world will enjoy for generations."

The Trust for Governors Island succeeds the Governors Island Preservation and Education Corporation. The new City-controlled entity is responsible for the planning, operation and redevelopment of 150 acres of Governors Island. The new entity will implement a comprehensive strategy to redevelop Governors Island, which includes the implementation of the Governors Island Park and Public Space Master Plan. The park plan will transform 87 acres of open green space on Governors Island, rejuvenating existing landscapes in the National Historic District, revitalizing the southern half of the island with a new 40 acre park and adding a 2.2-mile Great Promenade along the waterfront.

Governors Island is open every Friday to Sunday through October 10 for a wide variety of free activities, performances and programs for visitors of all ages to enjoy. Free ferries run to the island from the Battery Maritime Building in Lower Manhattan and, this year for the first time, from Brooklyn Bridge Park. In 2009, Governors Island welcomed a record 275,000 visitors over a 60 day public access season, and as many as 400,000 are expected this summer. Earlier this year, the Lower Manhattan Cultural Council opened artist studios on the island and more than two dozen artists are currently at work in studios open to the public. The Urban Assembly New York Harbor School, a new public high school, will open in September with 400 students in attendance.

The new Trust for Governors Island Board consists of 13 members, with nine designated by the Mayor and one each designated by the Governor, the 64th District State Assembly Member, the 25th District State Senator and Manhattan Community Board 1. Mayor Bloomberg appointed Phipps Houses Chair Ronay Menschel as Board Chair. Leslie Koch, who served as President of the Governors Island Preservation and Education Corporation, will continue as President of the Trust.

The board's first meeting will be held on July 13, 2010 at 3:00 PM in Pershing Hall on Governors Island. At the meeting, the board is expected to approve the transfer of Governors Island to City ownership, marking the final public approval needed. The meeting is open to the public. Those who wish to attend should arrive at the Battery Maritime Building at 10 South Street in Lower Manhattan by 2:45 PM with photo ID to ride the ferry to Governors Island. A ferry will return to Manhattan immediately following the meeting at approximately 4:00 PM.

Designees of Mayor Bloomberg:

  • Ronay Menschel (Chair) is Chair of Phipps Houses, a non-profit owner and developer of housing for low- and moderate-income families. Prior to joining Phipps Houses, Menschel served as Deputy Mayor, and subsequently as Executive Administrator, of New York City from 1978 to 1982. She is currently a director of the Museum of the City of New York, Municipal Art Society, Center for NYC Neighborhoods and the Public Art Fund. She is also a member of the Board of Overseers of Weill Cornell Medical College. She served on the board of the former Governors Island Preservation and Education Corporation.

  • Elizabeth Berger is President of the Alliance for Downtown New York, an organization dedicated to providing Lower Manhattan with a premier physical and economic environment, advocating for its businesses and property owners and promoting it as a world-class destination for companies, workers, residents and visitors. She is a member of the Municipal Art Society, The Battery Conservancy, Second Stage Theater, the New York Building Congress, Film Forum and the American Museum of Natural History. She served on the board of the former Governors Island Preservation and Education Corporation.

  • Douglas Blonsky is the President of the Central Park Conservancy and Central Park Administrator. Under Blonsky's leadership, the Conservancy has completed noteworthy restoration projects such as the Great Lawn, Harlem Meer, and Merchants' Gate and Oak Bridge, and it has developed and implemented the Neighborhood Parks Initiative, a program to train and mentor NYC Parks Department gardeners from underserved parks in all five boroughs.

  • Amanda M. Burden is Chair of the New York City Planning Commission and Director of the Department of City Planning.  Since her appointment by Mayor Bloomberg in 2002, Burden has spearheaded the largest planning effort in the city since 1961, setting the stage for sustainable development, reclaiming New York's waterfront, designing new parkland and public spaces such as the High Line and promoting great architecture and urban design in all five boroughs.

  • Patricia E. Harris is First Deputy Mayor of New York City. She oversees the Departments of Parks & Recreation, Cultural Affairs, Design and Construction and Consumer Affairs, the Landmarks Preservation Commission, the Mayor's Fund to Advance New York City, the Mayor's Office of Special Projects and Community Events, the Public Design Commission, and NYC Service. 

  • Seth W. Pinsky is President of the New York City Economic Development Corporation. Appointed in 2008, Pinsky has helped spearhead the City's five borough economic development strategy, including oversight of $2.5 billion in capital investments and implementation of several of the Bloomberg Administration's most ambitious area-wide redevelopment projects, bringing new housing, infrastructure, and job opportunities to underserved neighborhoods throughout New York City.

  • David Saltzman is Executive Director of the Robin Hood Foundation, a philanthropic organization that targets poverty in New York City. He was one of Robin Hood's five founding board members, and under his leadership, the organization has raised more than $1.1 billion to fight poverty in New York City. Previously, he served as Special Assistant to the President of the Board of Education of the City of New York.

  • Dennis M. Walcott is Deputy Mayor for Education and Community Development. He oversees and coordinates the operations of the Department of Education, the New York City Housing Authority, the Department of Youth and Community Development, the Mayor's Office of Adult Education, as well as reviews the activities of the New York City School Construction Authority, City University of New York, and the City University Construction Fund. Deputy Mayor Walcott is also responsible for collaborating with community-based organizations citywide and coordinating policies concerning youth programs and adult education. Previously, he was President and CEO of the New York Urban League. He served on the board of the former Governors Island Preservation and Education Corporation.

  • Carl Weisbrod is President of the Real Estate Division for Trinity Church and Executive Vice-President of Trinity Church-St. Paul's Chapel, an Episcopal parish. He manages and develops Trinity's real estate holdings in Manhattan, which total approximately six million square feet across 28 sites. Previously, he was the founding President of the Alliance for Downtown New York, Executive Director of the New York City Planning Commission, President of the 42nd Street Development Project and President of the New York City Economic Development Corporation.

Designee of Governor Paterson:

  • Jeffrey Lynford is Co-managing Member of Wellsford Strategic Partners LLC, a private equity investment firm, and Chairman of the Board of Directors of Reis, Inc., an internet-based business information firm that provides real estate data and analytics to commercial and investment banks and other financial institutions. He is the Vice Chair of the Polytechnic Institute of New York University and the Global Heritage Fund, a trustee of New York University and Lynford Family Charitable Trust, and a member of the New York State Council on the Arts.

Designee of Assembly Speaker Silver:

  • Judy R. Rapfogel is Chief of Staff to New York State Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver and has helped him serve the residents of Lower Manhattan's 64th Assembly District since he entered office in 1977. She has helped spearhead efforts to rebuild Lower Manhattan and has fought to improve education and the quality of life in local neighborhoods. Rapfogel has represented Speaker Silver at dozens of City and State boards over the last three decades.

Designee of State Senator Squadron:

  • Mark Costello is a lawyer and is currently an Adjunct Instructor of Legal Writing and Appellate Advocacy at Fordham University Law School. Previously, he served as an Assistant U.S. Attorney in the District of New Jersey. Costello is a member of Manhattan Community Board 1 and the Downtown Manhattan Little League.

Designee of Manhattan Community Board 1

  • Julie Menin is Chair of Manhattan Community Board 1, a position she has held since 2005. She has worked on numerous land use and zoning issues and has spearheaded a successful campaign to build new schools in Lower Manhattan, including New York's first "green" school. Previously, she was a regulatory attorney. She currently serves on seven government and civic boards including the Municipal Art Society, the Lower Manhattan Development Corporation and Citizens Union.

Governors Island is one of the nine waterfront destinations that comprise NYHarborWay, an initiative of the Bloomberg Administration to make the New York Harbor a major recreational destination for New Yorkers and visitors. Spearheaded by NYC & Company, the initiative eventually will connect the nine major waterfront points of interest by ferry or bike greenways. In addition, NYHarborWay will develop a cohesive programming, marketing and communications platform which will drive visitation to the nine waterfront sites. In addition to Governors Island, the destinations are Brooklyn Bridge Park, Hudson River Park, The Battery, Ellis Island, Statue Liberty Island, Atlantic Basin, the East River Esplanade and Liberty State Park.

Stu Loeser/Andrew Brent

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