Under Cover, Jan. 23, 2013

No Authority Bill
Bill Thompson told us he will not take back authority of the Battery Park City Authority if he is elected mayor this year.

“Battery Park City functions very well right now, it’s a special community and I don’t think the structure needs to be changed, ” Thompson, who left as chairperson of the B.P.C.A. last year to run for mayor, said as he was leaving last week’s meeting of Downtown Independent Democrats.

Both Mike Bloomberg and Rudy Giuliani seriously considered taking control of the neighborhood from the governor for $1, as mayors are permitted to do, but apparently decided against because of questions regarding the neighborhood’s bonds.

Thompson also called the long delay in reopening the $4.1 million ballfields “tragic.”

During his club pitch to D.I.D., he said he chose not to run for reelection as city comptroller four years ago because he thought it would have been wrong — in an unstated but obvious dig at opponent Council Speaker Christine Quinn, who backed Bloomberg’s push to extend term limits on city officials.

Council Tidbits
One of the frequently listed occupations of donors to Councilmember Margaret Chin’s reelection campaign is “housewife,” a term we suppose is either quaint, dated, or sexist depending on your outlook.  Catherine McVay Hughes, best known as being the chairperson of Community Board 1, an unpaid position, opted for “homemaker’ instead.

We were also struck to see seamstress and street vendor on Chin’s donor list.

Liz Abzug, who has flirted in the past with running for the seat and who is the daughter of late feminist icon, Bella Abzug, also gave to Chin.

As for Chin’s almost certain opponent, Jenifer Rajkumar, we’ve been curious why she spells her name with only one “N.”

She told us that when she was born, her brother Rahul, then 4, wanted his sister to have an American name and he picked Jennifer. Her ever practical mother didn’t want too long a name and saw no phonetic reason for two N’s.

You know, Mother Rajkumar, you’re right: the second N is just for show.

Lovely Impressions
We finally had a chance last weekend to catch up with Bill Love, the sweet sounding southern native and former southern Battery Park City resident who moved down to Charlottesville, Va. in 2011 to be closer to his elderly mother.

Love popped up to New York at the end of December and got a few ovations from his former colleagues on Community Board 1, but we did not have a chance to converse then.

He said he sympathized with his former neighbors who endured the Occupy Wall Street drumming, and on this trip “it was nice to see Zuccotti Park open for everyone. There were no barriers.”

He saw the 9/11 Memorial for the first time and found it to be “very impressive. After all the turmoil and political fighting, it seems to have come out fairly well.”

Love, the first leader of Lower Manhattan Democrats, said his successor, Robin Forst, is “a better schmoozer than I am,” and has done well to get people like C.B. 1 chairperson Catherine McVay Hughes more involved.

Love is still in politics and was elected to be counsel to the Albemarle County Democratic Committee.

“There are a lot of Tea Party Republicans down here in control of everything ,” he said.

Had Barack Obama and Joe Biden needed a recount to carry battleground Virginia, they would have probably turned to Love for legal help.

An appreciative Susan Henshaw Jones said her “new favorite 4-letter word” was FEMA for all the help the federal agency gave to helping reopen the South Street Seaport Museum, which Jones directs.

Sounds like the agency is finally doing a “heckuva job”  after its much-maligned post-Katrina days under Brownie.

Jones spoke last week at a jam-packed museum event where there had been 8 feet of water not too long ago. Mayor Bloomberg came armed with a numbing number of sea “jokes” including praise for “Admiral Kate Levin,” the city’s Cultural Affairs commish, and “Commodore Seth Pinsky,” who runs the Economic Development Corp.

Publishers Row?
We hear HarperCollins is getting close to signing a deal to move into 195 Broadway, according to a source familiar with the discussions. Crain’s reported the book giant is looking for about 200,000 square feet of space.

With Condé Nast slated to go to 1 World Trade Center, it may not yet be a publishers’ clearinghouse out of Midtown, but Lower Manhattan is getting on the map.

Harold Reed
We bid a sad farewell to Harold Reed, a gentleman passionate about the arts and the Seaport. Harold was indeed the community activist he’s been described as, but we can’t recall another one who was more charming and warm than him.

He was a good friend and source to UnderCover and we wish we had attended more of his fun holiday parties where the famous and not were all treated with grace.

We never heard him raise his voice to anyone including us even if perhaps we deserved it.

For better or worse, we’ve heard many things said about noteworthy people in Lower Manhattan, but in all these years no one ever had an unkind word about Harold. There was none to be said.