Monday, February 3, 2014

The Greenpoint boathouse scandal: The truth finally comes out

From Curbed:

Dewey Thompson of the North Brooklyn Boat Club reached out to confirm a few details.

According to Thompson, the North Brooklyn Boat Club will likely be the occupant of the community space in the new building that's planned for 51 Ash Street. Broadway Stages has let the boat club operate on the site rent-free for several years now, and they are currently in talks to give the club a permanent home in this new structure. Thompson said no lease has yet been signed, but it's looking very likely. The new boathouse would have 8,000-square-feet of space on the ground floor for an education center, boat storage, and public access to the water.

Thompson also said that the plan for locating the boathouse in the Greenpoint Manufacturing and Design Center down the block fell through because they could not work out an agreement. They hope to finalize plans with Broadway Stages in the coming weeks. As for the "transient hotel" part of the new building, it seems like it will be lodging for production staff working with Broadway Stages (not a traditional hotel).

Well that certainly sounds like a load of crap. In other words, this is actually planned to be an apartment building, further gutting the Manufacturing/Industrial Business Zone, and to top it all off, next to a Superfund site. Who is going to make sure the occupants are transients? No one.

From the Daily News:

“It’s beyond sketchy,” Geoffrey Croft, executive director of NYC Park Advocates, said of the plan to use public funds to help build a for-profit enterprise, which was selected in 2011 and recently turned up on two local blogs, Curbed and Queens Crap. “No money from the city should go for a private hotel.”

“There’s absolutely no conflict of interest,” said Dewey Thompson, co-president of the North Brooklyn Boat Club. The club runs the boathouse at the mouth of the creek, near the East River.

“The grant money is going specifically and only to building the community boathouse facility within the commercial structure,” he said.

State Department of Environmental Conservation officials also said the money will be used for the boathouse, not for the hotel, and said the City Parks Foundation requested an extension for the project completion deadline, which was to expire on Feb. 18.

But Broadway Stages president Gina Argento told a different story, saying she plans to split the cost of the entire project, which will include about half a dozen hotel rooms, down the middle with the boathouse.

“Nothing is final yet,” said Argento, who has also been identified as an investor in the controversial Knockdown Center event space in Maspeth.

The City Parks Foundation would not comment. The city and state Health Departments and city Department of Environmental Protection did not return calls and emails.

Ah, so there we have it. Gina plans to use taxpayer money to build her fake hotel and has no problem saying so. Once again, this is someone found to be lacking good character, honesty and integrity, so there's no surprise here. The DOB filing says there will be 11 units in this building. She says "1/2 a dozen".

And embarrassingly, the City Parks Foundation will bend over backwards to help her build her hotel, going so far as to request an extension. This boat club hasn't been able to get its act together after several years, folks. They don't even have a lease or agreement for the new space at this point, and as Gina says, "Nothing is final yet." Take them off the list and redistribute the money to the other projects on both sides of the Creek that are ready to go.

Otherwise, it appears to be time to BRING IN THE FEDS.


Anonymous said...

Doesn't sound like anyone in this group has been forced to answer questions before and now it's coming down on them like an avalanche.

Anonymous said...

This hotel I sounds like anything but. Also Gina doesn't mention the stagehands as Dewey did. I guess they forgot to get their stories straight before they talked to the press.

Anonymous said...

Technically the North Brooklyn Boatclub does pay rent to the Argentos. It's $1.00 a year methinks. Or is it $1.00 a month?

Anonymous said...

Once again, this is someone found to be lacking good character, honesty and integrity, so there's no surprise here. ...

Wait - are you talking about Melinda Katz? It's allowed, almost encouraged, in politics, so why not in real estate?

Anonymous said...

A sham vote, a sham process, and a sham project, and now that it's been exposed, there's a huge "oh shit" emanating from the other side of the Creek. I hear there's going to be a big conference call this week to figure out how to make a diamond out of a pile of dung. I suppose inviting Polish immigrants and underprivileged children to paddle around for free in fetid waters will be one of their predictable tactics. Take a look at their website and you'll see immediately that they're more full of shit than Newtown Creek itself. "...we are the proud inhabitants of an interim site from which we and our associated partners run community-based programming; The Broadway Stages Boatyard. This beautiful strip of land..." The photo says it all.

Anonymous said...

Their community partners are a bunch of phony organizations made up of the same people to make it look like they have more support for what they're doing than they actually have. GWAPP also has a bunch of defunct groups listed as members.

Anonymous said...

Sounds like Queens Crap just hates these people and is happy to make a scandal where none exists.

Perplexing and sad. And a waste of a blog.

Anonymous said...

Oh, there's a scandal here all right. Even the board members of NCA didn't know what was going on. Sounds like a LOT of feathers have been ruffled. GOOD. These people need to be looked at under the microscope. Using public money for a private boathouse is stuff that Boss Tweed used to do. I agree, BRING IN THE FEDS.

Ned said...

No doubt all mobbed up !!

Joe said...

"Gina doesn't mention the stagehands"
That's because forget local jobs, its all closed door father and son union positions with a handful of broom pushing openings so all involved can pretend.
Many of those same Some of them union members will get those apartments

The feds need to get involved but they are likely been paid off too !!

Anonymous said...

The Feds?
Really? Under Bathhouse Barry and Eric Holdemup? Please...

Anonymous said...

Much of what NBBC volunteers do is excellent, but reasonable questions remain:

If Dewey Thomson is Co-President, who is the other Co-President, and who are the other officers? How are they chosen?

How were millions of dollars allocated to projects (not only NBBC) lacking secure agreements for land use or sale? Wouldn't something so physical be a central component of any application?

Over what issues did talks between the GMDC and and NBBC fail, and what would it take to bring both sides back to the table?

How is a new environmental learning center not redundant with what the NYCDEP has already (the department has a professional education staff), or could expand, within its existing site?

Is Bushwick Inlet, adjacent to the Monitor Museum or sharing a facility with it, a reasonable alternative NBBC site?