Seen & Heard: An Asphalt Green Theory

••• My call for an Asphalt Green Deep Throat led to a phone call from someone who said he/she had it on good authority that the BPCA is trying to renegotiate its contract with Asphalt Green so that Asphalt Green will not be able to compete directly with Manhattan Youth. (You might recall that Manhattan Youth was none too happy when Asphalt Green Battery Park City was announced.) While it would seem odd that the BPCA would spend constituents’ money renegotiating a contract it had already agreed to, especially to benefit an unrelated organization, stranger things have happened. I ran this theory by the BPCA (no response), Asphalt Green (no response), and Bob Townley of Manhattan Youth, who emphatically denied it. “The short answer is no,” he said. “It’s not about the interests of Manhattan Youth that that place is going through their changes.”

••• Paranoia, starring Liam Hemsworth, Gary Oldham Oldman, and Harrison Ford, is filming around Murray and Broadway tomorrow. The plot per IMDB: “A boss blackmails one of his young employees to spy on a rival company.”

••• A reader had this to say about my question about the storefront at 87 Leonard: “They are also working on the roof. I live across the street and I’ve been trying to figure out what they are indeed building on the roof (none of the building staff here at 88 Leonard seem to know either).” The reader sent this photo, too. Mysterious….

••• A press release from the 9/11 Memorial….

“The National September 11 Memorial & Museum today launched a planning guide to help communities, schools and individuals worldwide develop their own commemorations for the 11th anniversary of the 9/11 terror attacks. The downloadable guide, which is available at, includes tools and resources for honoring and remembering the nearly 3,000 individuals who were killed in the 9/11 attacks. […] The guide includes plans inspired by the official commemoration ceremonies in New York City and offers resources that allow organizations and individuals to organize tributes of their own. Resources to plan a day of remembrance include:

• A list of the 2,983 victims’ names inscribed on the 9/11 Memorial, which will again be read aloud for the official 11th anniversary ceremony at the World Trade Center

• Information about the 2001 attacks and their broader context, along with suggestions for how to talk to children about 9/11

• Interactive timelines that focus on the 9/11 attacks and the rescue and recovery efforts

• Select K-12 lesson plans with the theme of memorialization, which were developed by the 9/11 Memorial in partnership with the New York City Department of Education and the New Jersey Commission on Holocaust Education

• Ideas for sharing reflections through social media

For communities that are planning public events, additional materials are available to help spread the word and raise awareness, including templates for a news release and newsletter article. Organizations are encouraged to share their commemoration plans with the 9/11 Memorial. Those that do will receive an official certificate of recognition. The ‘Commemorate 9/11 in Your Community Planning Guide’ is available at Join the online commemoration using #Honor911.”



  1. Gary Oldman. My wife would never forgive you. Oldham suggests an aging actor of minor talent. Plans of the roof structure at 87 Leonard have been floating around architecture circles for a while – an arguably interesting design. I thought you were asking about the extensive reconstruction on the ground floor. I haven’t gotten a firm answer on that when I’ve asked people who usually know. Possible the storefront plans aren’t settled yet.

  2. ahhhh….maybe we are finally getting our own roof-top bar and disco like midtown all has…… 87 leonard…….lol lol

  3. Regardless of what they say publicly, I really don’t believe Manhattan Youth is not behind the delays at Asphalt Green. This is an organization that wanted to put a building over the dog walk across from Whole Foods and deprive 800 children at PS234 of their only access to a playground with a jungle gym – in the name of furthering their own ambitions. This is not an organization that is above looking out for its own interests to the detriment of others. Manhattan Youth has a monopolistic lockhold on providing after-school and children’s activities to many Tribeca and Battery Park youth and they want to maintain that without competition. If it is not Manhattan Youth behind this, why have they gone on the record in Downtown Express trying to redirect Asphalt Green’s mission and objecting to its proposed use of the fields? Where there is smoke there is fire ladies and genetlemen. I would be highly suspicious of anything they say. Please also see my previous post below from the Deep Throat post.


    My strong suspicion is that Manhattan Youth/DCC and those aligned with them have some role (small or large) in the attempt to stonewall and delay Asphalt Green’s opening. The objective is probably to get Asphalt Green to throw in the towel and then take over the space themselves and/or kill a potential competitor.

    Manhattan Youth/DCC’s leaders have gone on the record in Downtown Express questioning whether Downtown can support two community organizations saying, “There has to be some restraint imposed on them.” They have walked the tightrope in public (i.e., not calling outright to end Asphalt Green, but rather trying to gain support to redirect it primary mission towards young adults), but one has to ask themselves who is better off if Asphalt Green doesn’t open. For example, when Summer 2012 came upon us, Asphalt Green’s camps were cancelled. To whose benefit? Downtown Day Camp and Manhattan Youth. Was the community better off? No.

    If Manhattan Youth/DCC gets their way through underhanded, behind-the-scenes, backroom politicking we will not be better off. In fact, we will be worse off because Manhattan Youth/DCC will continue to rest on its laurels and offer middling services (see Downtown Day Camp) in what is a growing and thriving part of Manhattan.

    It is very troubling that Asphalt Green has not opened yet. It is even more outrageous that those who could provide rationale explanations have provided little to no information and basically stonewalled those looking for answers. I challenge Manhattan Youth/DCC and its leaders to publicly state and commit that they are not involved in any way trying to block the opening of Asphalt Green. Alternatively, if they don’t want the center, MAN up and admit it.

  4. if bob townley told you the earth was flat would you believe that too?

  5. Here is the real update on AG granted from pretty good 2 hand sources. First off, let me say that Townley has been whispering gleefully to confidants about the likelihood AGs ouster since the beginning of the summer. Sounds like he is running a free market competitor, not a community non-profit. I also saw calls for Silver to do something. Well, Silver & Townley are thicker than thieves when it comes to this AG effort. Mutual supporters and admirers of each other. I will admit and give credit that both have done wonders for the community. The after school programs and the fight for more schools have benefited the community in so many ways. But, then they just can’t help themselves to stoop so low now, licking their chops on the sidelines. It is BPC-ammany Hall! with Boss Silver. Well, ok, maybe it’s Boss Horowitz. Hopefully the new chairman will add a bit of sobriety here. One can only hope. But, now we are going to see AG lay off employees at the end of the month – yet the facility could actually open within a few weeks! Horwitz won’t let it happen. I understand the new BPC contract presented to AG is ridiculous and totally unaffordable. BPC has no interest in negotiating. I think it now requires AG to pay to lease the space versus manage it, and also take away the promised subsidies. Are they now after a Crunch Gym? Insane! Whatever happened to honoring the original agreement. How is it legal to change it. We are not dealing with Goldman Sachs after all. This is the very same organization that supported and trained an African American swimmer from Brooklyn to reach a bronze in the Olympics. Let’s see Manhattan Youth do that. We should do all we can to get this group in our community. It will be good and complimentary for all – including the objectives of Horwitz, Townley & Silver – but they can’t see that through their arrogance. Unfortunately, I don’t think AG will survive. It will end in an embarrassing law suit – or they will be just paid off to leave. Then, we will still have a nice community center – but at a price. BPC is betting the antics and accusations will simply fade away as a result. They are probably right. But, if joint effort of Manhattan Youth and BPC authority is running the place, you know what occurred underneath to make it happen. As I said before, disgusting. Hopefully, calmer and more forthright influential people enter this and get it done, prove me wrong. My prediction – unfortunately not.

  6. People should really bring this to a Community Board meeting, where it can be addressed openly.

  7. Where there is smoke, there is fire. These rumors have been very consistent and also inline with news articles that have appeared in downtown journals since 2010, when the legal agreement was signed between AG and BPCA.

    It also explains why BPCA is so secretive and lying to the public as well as government officials about the delays. If the downtown community was aware of what BPCA was doing to run AG out of the new community center, they would be outraged.

    Ask anyone downtown and we are all very tired of BobTownley’s “mediocre monopoly” on all programs south of canal. He already has possession of DCC, Pier 25, PS 89, PS 276, PS234 and probably some other properties as well.

  8. Rumor has it that a “60 Minutes” producer is on the case…..yeah!

  9. The asphalt green issue will be on the Battery Park Community Board Agenda Tuesday September 4th. The meeting starts at 6.30 pm and it’s the 3rd item on the agenda (6.45?)

    The Regatta (Tour at 5:30 p.m.)
    21 South End Avenue, Conference Room

    If you have concerns, please come and discuss them there.

  10. @Liat: Thanks for mentioning the meeting (I’m putting it in tomorrow’s email newsletter and will add it to the next Seen & Heard post). But the CB1 agenda email I got on Friday says that the CB1 Battery Park City Committee meeting starts at 6pm (after a tour of the Regatta at 5:30pm). Also, agenda items are known to move around, I’d suggest that anyone who wants to hear/talk about Asphalt Green should try to be there at 6pm.