Turning over the Port

The Lower Manhattan community has a special relationship with the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey. This was made clear when Community Board 1, upon hearing that Governor Andrew Cuomo, shortly after taking office, was thinking of removing Chris Ward from the Port’s helm, unanimously passed a resolution calling on the new governor to rethink his decision and to keep Ward on board.

The resolution, which we supported in an editorial, most importantly pointed out the fact that it was under Ward’s watchful eye that this community, this city and this country finally saw the “hole in the ground” disappear, and in its place, saw rising steel, towers of concrete, and memorial pools. For the first time, there were visible, tangible signs of progress.

But, as Ward pointed out to us last week in a very candid conversation in his office on Park Avenue, we are in the midst of a transition period as it pertains to the 16 acres worth of construction he helped move forward while serving as the Port’s leader.

Gov. Cuomo has now officially asked Ward to step down as executive director, as is his prerogative. We think the Governor made a wise decision in asking Mr. Ward to remain on board with the Port in an advisory role until the end of the year to help with transition issues.

And to Patrick Foye, the governor’s choice to replace Mr. Ward, we say ‘welcome to Lower Manhattan.’ If there is one piece of advice we would offer, it is to recognize the aforementioned special relation between the Port and this neighborhood. We hope Mr. Foye will pick up where Mr. Ward left off in terms of heeding the concerns of Downtown residents and business owners. Specifically, we hope the track record of transparency, communication, and the dedication to meeting construction deadlines at the W.T.C. site, will continue.

The rebirth of Lower Manhattan depends on it.

Saluting Manhattan Youth
As Manhattan Youth gets ready to celebrate its silver anniversary on November 3, with an event that is subtitled “Launching Our Next 25 Years of Service,” we wonder exactly where Downtown would be without its first 25 years of service.

As the neighborhood has changed, so has Manhattan Youth. As the number of families living in Lower Manhattan has grown, so has Manhattan Youth. Under Bob Townley’s direction the nonprofit has been able to address the needs of a community and provide its families with services that are not only essential, but of the highest quality.

The organization has been a model of success for nonprofits in terms of identifying, seeking out and receiving funds from myriad sources.

Since its inception, the organization has helped bring little league baseball and soccer to the neighborhood, it has helped teach children how to swim and it has given neighborhood kids both a local day camp for the summer as well as a summer get-away experience upstate. It has advocated for street safety and it has operated a cherished pier on the Hudson River, and following 9/11, made sure that pier was returned to the community, bigger and better than ever.

We salute Manhattan Youth for its devotion to Lower Manhattan over the last 25 years and we look forward to doing the same when it celebrates its golden anniversary.