Covering Battery Park City

[media-credit name=”Downtown Express photos by Terese Loeb Kreuzer” align=”aligncenter” width=”600″][/media-credit]
At the Battery Park City Authority Board of Directors meeting on Dec. 20, Chairman William C. Thompson, Jr. announced a severance policy that would apply retroactively to those who were fired on Nov. 9 as well as to anyone who might be laid off from the Authority in the future.
New B.P.C.A. severance policy:
Five of the 19 people who were laid off by the Battery Park City Authority on Nov. 9 came to the B.P.C.A. Board of Directors meeting on Dec. 20 with a written request for “a fair and equitable severance package” and more. They also wanted their medical coverage to be extended and to have a retirement policy in place “that would allow vestment for those who were close to achieving it, time served for those who were months away from a plateau year, and a proper buyout package for those who were eligible to retire.”

They noted in their request that their previous letters to the Board had gone unanswered.

The five who had been laid off were warmly greeted by some of their former colleagues, who shook their hands and hugged them.

B.P.C.A. chairman William C. Thompson, Jr. called the meeting to order and then immediately called an executive session to discuss personnel and contractual issues, which meant that everyone but the board members had to leave the room. The executive session lasted for around two hours.

When the public session resumed, Thompson made a brief announcement. “We are asking the staff to develop a severance policy within the next week to 10 days,” he said. “The Board is authorizing me to approve that policy, and what we will do is officially ratify that policy at the next board meeting.”

“It sounded a little bit positive in that they’re going to develop a severance policy” said Hector Calderon, spokesman for the Battery Park City 19, as those who were laid off call themselves. “All we have to do is keep our hopes high.”

“I’m just going to see what happens,” said Danielle Fyffe, who had worked for the Battery Park City Authority for 28 years before she was laid off. “I guess we’ve done all we could do, and I’m so grateful for everyone’s support.”

“I’m very appreciative to this Board,” said Leticia Remauro, who was formerly the B.P.C.A.’s vice president of community relations. “I think people who are working at the Authority know that in the event that a future reorganization results in their separation, there will be a severance policy in place. That gives people peace of mind in the workplace, and I think that’s very, very important.”

Matthew Monahan, a spokesman for the Authority, indicated that any newly drafted severance policy would apply retroactively to the 19 people who were terminated in November.

Blue Smoke:
Danny Meyer plans a trio of restaurants in the retail space surrounding Battery Park City’s Conrad Hotel at 102 North End Ave. In June, Shake Shack at 215 Murray St. was the first to open, with burgers, fries, shakes, wine and beer. Now comes No. 2: Blue Smoke, with barbecue chicken, pork, brisket and ribs and Southern soul food such as braised collard greens and hush puppies. Sticky toffee pudding stars on the dessert menu.

“We will be opening beginning December 27 with limited service,” said Leah Herman, a spokesperson for Blue Smoke. She said that at opening, Blue Smoke would probably only be serving drinks. “We will open for dinner in early January, and for lunch a few weeks after that,” she said.

Blue Smoke is located at 255 Vesey St.

Winter Garden stairs:
The Winter Garden stairs in 2 World Financial Center are safe, Brookfield Properties vice president David Cheikin reported to Community Board 1’s Battery Park City Committee on Dec. 6. Some new retail stores will be installed in the back of the stairs, but otherwise, Cheikin promised, the Winter Garden will look much as it does now. The only change to previously presented designs for the interface between the World Financial Center and the World Trade Center will be that the glass cube that acts as an entrance way to the World Financial Center will have rounded corners instead of square ones. Construction at 2 World Financial Center is now under way and should be completed by 2013.

Trains and Champagne: North Cove Marina’s Holiday Train Garden will be open from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m. through Dec. 24 on the marina’s floating clubhouse, the “Honorable William Wall,” with a room-sized display of trains that wend their way through a landscape that looks a lot like Lower Manhattan. Admission is free.

A Champagne bar on the “William Wall’s” lower deck will open on Thursday, Dec. 22, closing on Dec. 24 and then reopening on Jan. 5.  “With SouthWest NY closed, there are fewer places in the community for people to socialize,” said North Cove Marina’s commodore, Michael Fortenbaugh.  He said the Champagne bar will be open from 5 p.m. to 9 p.m. on Thursday evenings throughout the winter. “It’s a nautical-themed space,” he said, “and it rocks when the ferries go by too close.  So for people who love the water, this will be a great place to hang out.”

The B.P.C. Parks Conservancy’s compost pile in Wagner Park. From Dec. 27 to Jan 27, the Conservancy will pick up Christmas trees deposited curbside and use them for mulch in neighborhood parks.

Bare, naked trees:
The Battery Park City Parks Conservancy wants your bare, naked Christmas trees. Just leave them on the curb and Parks Conservancy staff will pick them up between Dec. 27 and Jan. 27, chip them, and turn them into mulch for use in Battery Park City gardens and in historic Battery Park. “We only want naked trees,” B.P.C. Parks Conservancy director Tessa Huxley emphasized. “It’s amazing what people leave on the trees! Lights, ornaments, tinsel. Tinsel doesn’t compost well.”

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