Governor Paterson’s proposed budget deficit reduction plan includes a $300 million raid on the coffers of the Battery Park City Authority (BPCA), which would be required to issue new bonds and send the proceeds to Albany.   But BPCA board member Charles Urstadt and former authority spokesman Avrum Hyman have a better idea, which they describe on the op-ed page of today’s New York Times:

As two of the officials who helped carry out Gov. Nelson A. Rockefeller’s 1967 mandate to build a Lower Manhattan community on landfill in the Hudson River, and considering the unquestionable success of what he proposed evident in today’s vibrant Battery Park City, we believe that New York City, which has a little-remembered option to buy the entire property for $1, should hand over that dollar bill. Let’s finally make Battery Park City, with its 10,000 or so residents and 92 acres of businesses, housing and beautifully maintained green spaces, a part of the city to which it really belongs.

After repaying the $1.1 billion in bonds issued by the authority, Urstadt and Hyman suggest, the city could sell the commercial leases on Battery Park City for $2 billion—a profit of nearly $1 billion.  Furthermore, they assert the city could run the Battery Park City development, including park maintenance, for just half the $30 million a year the authority now spends on operating costs.   And, finally:

In addition, the development’s unused South Cove could be filled in for $20 million; the resulting land could be used for an iconic 2-million-square-foot building that would both mark the entrance to New York Harbor and net the city what we estimate would be $480 million in land value and $20 million per year in additional payments in lieu of taxes.

This is the kind of far-sighted and imaginative thinking New York needs if it is ever to fully recover from the current financial crisis.  By contrast, Paterson’s shortsighted budget plan comes with a massive opportunity cost for the city, not to mention the authority.

The ball is now in Mayor Bloomberg’s corner.

About the Author

E.J. McMahon

Edmund J. McMahon is Empire Center's founder and a senior fellow.

Read more by E.J. McMahon

You may also like

New York still lagging nation’s employment recovery

The national economy just missed a big milestone in May, when total private employment finally would have surpassed the February 2020 pre-pandemic level. Read More

New York’s Hospital Industry Ranks Near the Bottom of Two Quality Report Cards

New York's hospitals remain near the bottom of two quality report cards. The state's hospitals received the lowest rate of any state except Nevada and DC. Read More

As a Supreme Court Ruling Loomed, Cuomo Bent His Own Rules on COVID ‘Clusters’

In the midst of the constitutional showdown over his pandemic policies, Governor Cuomo made changes to a disputed Brooklyn 'cluster zone' that seemed to contradict his own declared guidelines. Read More

New York’s Post-Pandemic State Budget Picture Is Looking Worse

Governor Cuomo continues to burn while pols in Washington fiddle around the issue of providing more aid to states and localities in yet another federal stimulus bill. Meanwhile, New York State's plummeting revenues still haven't hit their post-pandemic bottom, according to the First Quarterly Update to the state's FY 2021 Financial Plan. Read More

New York Has Widened Its Lead in Per-Capita Spending on Medicaid

New York's per-capita Medicaid spending soared to more than double the nationwide rate in 2018, widening its gap with the other 49 states. Read More

Essential Plan surplus hits $3B

As Governor Cuomo pleads for financial help from Washington, one of his state's programs is sitting on $3 billion in unspent federal aid: the Essential Plan. Read More

Upstate escapes the worst

With the coronavirus pandemic hitting some parts of New York much harder than others, Governor Cuomo has signaled that he will begin to relax shutdown restrictions in low-virus parts of the state. Here's a closer look at how infection and fatality rates vary from region to region. Read More

NY is shorted on virus relief

Although New York is taking the brunt of the coronavirus pandemic – with 43 percent of the nation's known cases and 40 percent of the deaths – the state is due to receive only 5 percent of the $150 billion Coronavirus Relief Fund just established by Congress. Read More

Empire Center Logo Enjoying our work? Sign up for email alerts on our latest news and research.
Together, we can make New York a better place to live and work!