Under Cover

Thompson’s new gig

Former city comptroller Bill Thompson won’t make any money as chairperson of the Battery Park City Authority, so this week he started a new job as chief administrative officer at Siebert Brandford Shank and Co., a municipal bond underwriting firm.

“I’m excited, and I don’t use that word lightly,” Thompson told UnderCover Tuesday, his second day on the job (though we imagine he spent most of that day doing interviews). “It’s a group of talented people,” he continued, “and I look forward to being part of the team.”

A minority-owned firm, Seibert Brandford Shank was just ranked the eighth largest municipal underwriter in the country. The firm grew quickly over the past five years, picking up workers who were laid off by Bear Stearns and Lehman Brothers, The Bond Buyer reported.

Thompson said his experience as comptroller will come in handy at his new job — before Thompson challenged Mayor Mike Bloomberg’s bid for a third term last year, the two politicians shared responsibility for the city’s debt issuance, Thompson said. In his new role, Thompson will not handle any work related to Battery Park City or the city as a whole.

We also asked Thompson how long he would be able to stay on the B.P.C.A. board, since he’s already planning a run for mayor in 2013 and some of the city’s most wealthy donors live in Battery Park City. Thompson said he would keep his fundraising separate from his role on the B.P.C.A. board, so he could do both at once.

“I don’t think I’ll have to leave anytime soon,” he said.


We’re still at least a few months away from Larry Silverstein and the Port Authority nailing down their general agreement to develop the World Trade Center into an actual contract, but we’ve already noticed much better relations between the two formerly warring parties.

Back in the day — actually as recently as a few weeks ago — we sometimes felt that we along with other media outlets were the communication vehicles for the two sides. But last week, one side tipped the other side off about one of our W.T.C. inquiries even before we had the chance to make the call.

We’re just saying… not complaining.

McNally Scared of Bowery Boys?

Keith McNally’s latest new eatery, Pulino’s Bar & Pizzeria, has glitzified the formerly dingy southwest corner of the Bowery and East Houston St. On the exterior, McNally has spiffed up the block quite a bit, installing rustic-style brickwork and white globe lights along Houston St. On its Bowery side, the place boldly beams out its presence in bright neon red. Actually getting inside, however, is no easy feat, requiring a minimum 45-minute wait, we’re told.

Working the pizza ovens is Nate Appleman, of San Francisco by way of “Iron Chef.” According to a source, Pulino’s is “not as laid back” as McNally’s Schiller’s Liquor Bar, on Rivington St., where there’s no wait, and patrons are packed right in. One neighbor who is taking a wait-and-see attitude on McNally’s latest is Billy LeRoy, proprietor of Billy’s Antiques & Props, across East Houston St. — who wants to see if the uber restaurateur will say hi.

“When you’re a bigwig restaurateur who moves into a neighborhood that has this much history and ghosts, one would think, ‘Hey, let’s get to know the guys across the street,’” LeRoy said. “Well, me and my Bowery Boys are still waiting. Daniel Boulud, owner of DBGB, came over and introduced himself. John Varvatos came in and introduced himself. Pat Field, when she came to the ’hood, came in and introduced herself. It’s just neighborly. But maybe Keith McNally is worried that my Bowery Boys will ask for freebies. Tell him Parisi Bakery already does [give us freebies] — and the pizza is better.”

Newsweek’s no Square

Less than a year after Newsweek moved into its plush new Hudson Square office, the magazine’s parent company is exiling Newsweek back Uptown.

With newsstand sales declining over 40 percent in the past year, Newsweek was not deemed profitable enough to occupy the 165,000 square feet at 395 Hudson St., according to reports. So The Washington Post Company, which owns Newsweek, is making the magazine swap places with the company’s much more lucrative Kaplan Educational Services, now at 888 7th Ave. in Midtown.

Several blogs said the Newsweek staff was already demoralized by recent layoffs, so the announcement of the August move comes at a particularly bad time.