Who Scored a Piece of the $50 Million Pie?

On Friday, Governor Andrew Cuomo announced which 14 projects would benefit from a $50 million settlement that, “originally reached in the spring of 2015, marked the resolution of a lawsuit between LMDC and Lend Lease concerning the demolition of the Deutsche Bank Building. Lend Lease agreed to pay LMDC $40 million and to forgive more than $10 million in outstanding payments. […] To determine the best uses for this funding, the LMDC formed a Working Group consisting of state and city officials as well as Catherine McVay Hughes, who also serves as Chair of Community Board 1 and as a member of LMDC’s Board of Directors.”

Here’s what else got a pie of the pie, besides the $6 million for the Battery playground that I already mentioned. Notably absent is the World Trade Center Performing Arts Center. All of the following text is from the governor’s release.

The National 9/11 Memorial and Museum: Tribute in Light ($700,000)
Tribute in Light is an installation of searchlights that project the shape and orientation of the Twin Towers in remembrance of the 9/11 attacks. The illuminated memorial reaches four miles into the sky, and is the strongest shaft of light ever projected from earth into the night sky. LMDC has supported Tribute in Light over the past ten years, and $700,000 will cover the costs for an additional two years. [Home page photo by Augie Ray.]

Manhattan Youth Recreation and Resources, Inc.: Afterschool and Senior Programs ($500,000)
Manhattan Youth Recreation and Resources, Inc. (Manhattan Youth) provides childcare and academic, recreational and cultural activities to individuals and families who live or work in Lower Manhattan, regardless of their income. Currently, Manhattan Youth runs seven downtown after-school programs that are either free or offered at affordable rates serving over 1,200 children daily. In addition, Manhattan Youth runs a senior program offering activities including free swim to 600 seniors in Lower Manhattan. LMDC funds will support two years of Manhattan Youth’s afterschool and senior programs to keep those programs affordable and available to Downtown families and seniors.

Alliance for Downtown New York, Inc.: Lower Manhattan Headquarters ($300,000)
Lower Manhattan Headquarters (LMHQ) is a new 14,000-square-foot office space located at 150 Broadway, to serve as a central meeting place for members of the creative, tech, non-profit, civic and marketing communities in Lower Manhattan. Meeting space at the LMHQ, which opened in June 2015, is being made available to the public at below-market rates. The funding from LMDC will help offset start-up expenses.

Hudson River Park Trust: Hudson River Park Segment 3 ($10,000,000)
Hudson River Park Trust (HRPT) was created in 1998 to design, build, and operate a public park along the Hudson River waterfront. Hudson River Park begins at Battery Place and extends north for five miles to 59th Street. With these funds, HRPT will complete Segment 3 of Hudson River Park, which runs from Chambers Street to West Houston Street and includes two public recreational piers (Piers 25 and 26), an ecological pier, and an adjacent upland park. This project will cost $30,000,000 and will complete the unfinished areas of Pier 26, the platform between Piers 25 and 26, and the upland park area adding a new deck, landscaping and a new estuarium.

NYC Economic Development Corporation: East River Esplanade North ($10,000,000)
The East River Waterfront (ERW) project will redevelop approximately two miles of the waterfront on the east side of Manhattan from Peter Minuit Plaza at the southern tip of Manhattan to East River Park on the Lower East Side. LMDC will build on its past funding support for this large waterfront esplanade by providing public access to an area that has remained inaccessible and inhospitable for decades. Funds will improve access to the waterfront and enhance pedestrian connectivity, while facilitating construction of new sidewalk paving and curbs for a portion of the ERW esplanade running from approximately Robert Wagner Senior Place to Catherine Slip.

NYC Economic Development Corporation: East River Esplanade South and Brooklyn Bridge Beach ($5,000,000)
Similar to the East River Esplanade North project, the new funding will enable LMDC to continue to build on its past support for public waterfront access. These additional LMDC funds will help EDC pave sidewalks and construct curbs for the portion of the ERW esplanade running from Peck Slip to Robert Wagner Senior Place. The project will also include the installation of new railings and site furnishing while creating limited beach access near the Brooklyn Bridge.

NYC: Pier 42 ($7,000,000)
The Pier 42 project is part of the East River Waterfront master plan, and aims to create public spaces in underutilized and inaccessible or abandoned areas on the waterfront that will complete the greenway around Lower Manhattan. LMDC’s support will go towards landscaping, lighting and building a playground and comfort station area specified in the master plan.

NYC Department of Parks and Recreation F/B/O The Battery Conservancy: The Battery PlayScape ($6,000,000)
The Battery Conservancy (TBC) is a not–for–profit corporation created in 1994 for the purpose of rebuilding and revitalizing Battery Park, a 25-acre public park at the southern tip of Manhattan. TBC will use the LMDC funds on construction of the new and expanded playground (the “PlayScape”) at The Battery. The PlayScape will be located on the eastern side of the park, between State Street and South Street, which currently houses a playground built in the 1950s. The new design expands the playground footprint to 60,000 square feet (one of the largest below 42nd Street). The PlayScape will address the open space needs of thousands of children in Lower Manhattan, and is intended to serve as a model for the innovative integration of water management into flood zone playgrounds.

South Street Seaport Museum: Community and Educational Spaces ($4,800,000)
Founded in 1967, the South Street Seaport Museum is a non-profit cultural institution located in a 12 square-block historic district on the East River in Lower Manhattan. The Museum requests funds to support the development of a new 11,000-square-foot Educational Community Center; an elevator installation; and new electrical, lighting, HVAC, fire safety, and security systems at the Thompson warehouse at 213-215 Water Street. The proposed new Center will help support the Museum’s programs and exhibitions and provide flexible multi-use programmable community spaces to the Seaport and Lower Manhattan.

The Flea Theater: Performing Arts Theater ($2,500,000)
Founded in 1996, The Flea Theater (The Flea) is one of the leading Off-Off Broadway theaters. The Flea’s new three-theater complex located at 20 Thomas Street will increase the Flea’s capacity to support artists and draw audiences to its annual productions, and will enable the Flea to develop a new partnership initiative that will provide subsidized rental space to other performing arts and community organizations in Lower Manhattan. The funds for the Flea Theater will support the construction project, scheduled to be completed in 2016. The total project budget is $21,000,000.

University Settlement Society of New York, Inc.: Houston Street Center and Headquarters Offices ($1,126,850)
University Settlement (US) is dedicated to improving the life circumstances of low-income people living on the Lower East Side. It serves a largely immigrant community by providing adult literacy classes, mental health counseling, child care, housing assistance, job training, after-school and summer camp programs, youth development, senior services, arts programs, and a credit union. University Settlement will receive funding from LMDC to support improvements to the Houston Street Center, a 42,000-square-foot community center that is co-owned and operated by US and the Chinatown YMCA and the US headquarters offices at 184 Eldridge.

Jackie Robinson Foundation: Jackie Robinson Museum ($1,000,000)
The Jackie Robinson Foundation (JRF) was established in 1972 by Jackie Robinson’s wife, Rachel Robinson, to further Mr. Robinson’s legacy. JRF’s funding from LMDC will support the construction of a new museum in Lower Manhattan to serve as a permanent tribute to Jackie Robinson’s pioneering legacy and his role as a catalyst for the American Civil Rights movement. The 18,500-square-foot museum, planned for 75 Varick Street, will chronicle Mr. Robinson’s achievements placed within the context of United States history from Mr. Robinson’s birth in 1919 to the present.

God’s Love We Deliver: Michael Kors Building ($500,000)
God’s Love We Deliver (GLWD) is a non-profit organization in New York City that cooks and delivers meals, individually tailored by a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist, to people living with severe illness. LMDC’s assistance will help GLWD complete the construction of its new office space located in the Michael Kors Building in SoHo. LMDC funding will be designated for various capital improvements, including new technology infrastructure, kitchen equipment, and furniture.

Manhattan Youth Recreation and Resources, Inc. F/B/O Downtown Boathouse ($15,000)
The Downtown Boathouse is an all-volunteer, non-profit organization founded more than 20 years ago that is dedicated to providing free public access to the harbor in New York City through public kayaking programs. The Downtown Boathouse currently runs free kayaking programs on Pier 26 in Tribeca. The programs serve more than 20,000 people each year, including visitors from more than 130 countries. With funding from the LMDC, the Downtown Boathouse will purchase 25 new kayaks.



  1. Hi Erik, I’ve never written before, but have been a long-time reader and fan of TC-you do a great job! Something struck me in the “Who scored a piece of the $50 Million pie” entry, and I’m not sure you would even know the answer, but you do seem to know a lot of people and the neighborhood organizations, so…The first entry states that the Tribute in Light will receive..’$700,000 will cover the costs for an additional two years’… Now, I want to be clear, I’m a fan of the Tribute, but if I’m not mistaken (and I easily could be), it’s done just once a year (on 9/11), correct? So if my math is correct, the LMDC is saying it costs $350,000 a year to shine these lights once a year? I’m no lighting expert, but that would seem excessive, no? Again, I don’t even know if you could give an answer to this, but I hate to see a possible waste of funds, especially for something 9/11 related. Thanks again, and keep up the great work!