Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Queens native gives $100M to fix up Central Park

From Bloomberg:

Billionaire John Paulson and the Paulson Family Foundation are donating $100 million to the Central Park Conservancy, the largest parks donation ever.

Paulson, 56, is founder of Paulson & Co., a New York-based hedge fund that manages $21 billion across 10 funds. Paulson was worth $11.8 billion yesterday, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. His contribution will help renovate and maintain park facilities and pay for recreation programs, said Doug Blonsky, president of the conservancy, which is responsible for its maintenance and operations. Half will bolster the park’s endowment, which now stands at $144 million, Blonsky said.

Paulson was raised in the middle-class Beechhurst section of Bayside, in New York’s Queens borough. As a child, his parents took him through the park in a stroller, he said. He was valedictorian at New York University and attended Harvard Business School.

After working in risk arbitrage at Bear Stearns Cos., Odyssey Partners and Gruss Partners, Paulson founded Paulson & Co. in 1994, with $2 million from friends and family.

Why is it that people from Queens who do well for themselves never give back to Queens? Does Central Park really look like it needs $100M? No.
Does Flushing Meadows look like it needs $100M? Yes.

From A Walk in the Park:

Private organizations help raise money for some of the city’s other parks but their budgets are tiny compared with the Central Park Conservancy.

Some advocates of city parks have complained that other parks are neglected in comparison to Central Park, one of the city’s best-known destinations.

“It’s wonderful for Central Park, but there are thousands of other park properties in New York City that desperately need funding,” said Geoffrey Croft, president of NYC Park Advocates. “This gift is a reminder of the enormous disparities that exist between the haves and the have-nots.”


Anonymous said...

Just what Central Park needs: more money to add to the Conservancy's several hundred million dollar kitty and contract with the city.

Y'know, if he really wanted to make an impact, $100 million would go a loooooooooooooong way in Queens, because on a regular day, our parks look like a trash tornado touched down.

In Queens, any parks improvements is attached to some insane development proposal or, better yet, sports stadium in order to get basic maintenance.

Even then, there's no guarantee that our parkland will even exist for a long period of time because another stadium might come along and gobble up more of our increasingly rare public open space.

It's really shameful for that Beechhurst boy (BTW which is in WHITESTONE, not BAYSIDE) that he couldn't even spare a dime for our desperate, long-neglected parks in Queens.

You suck, Hedge-fund billionaire Paulson, just like all of those other Queens natives that have moved on over the decades and tried to re-invent themselves. Remember, you can't escape who you are and all the money in the world still puts you in the ground at the end of the day (and probably in Queens!).

georgetheatheist said...

Can you imagine $100 Million to FMCP? Estelle Cooper would have had to rent a UHaul to cart the dough away.

Anonymous said...

Maybe it's because...if Paulson gave major bucks to would wind up being squandered by our crooked pols to benefit themselves.

He's no fool. He knows Queens. Why invest in shit?

I've lived in Queens since 1955,
and I wouldn't give a nickel to FMCP.

That's no park. It's an ash dump-former fair ground!
It can NEVER and should NEVER be compared to Olmsted's world class Central Park.

Anonymous said...

You give money where it does the the best for NYC as a whole.
Donating to a Queens institution is like flushing your gift down the toilet.

If I had a choice between giving to the Queens Museum or the Metropolitan Museum of Art, guess which one I'd choose?

The Met inspires...whilst QM conspires!

I only live in Queens because I'm stuck with my champagne taste...but alas...I've got just a beer bankroll.

Anonymous said...

Oh....but he has escaped the stifling mediocrity and crookery of Queens...and that's what really matters.

Wouldn't YOU FLEE with a smile on your face, if you had that kind of money?

I certainly would! Hello Costa Rica!

Anonymous said...

Central Park is the Kohinoor diamond!
It sparkles in the middle of New York City's crown.

Flushing Meadows Corona Park?
It's a just a 1/4 karat zircon chip.

Instead of Claire Shulman having doled out MILLIONS
of OUR dollars fixing up Theater In The Park so that Jeff Rosenstock had a well paying should have gone directly into the park itself.

No now the local "natives" would have ruined FMCP anyway.

Anonymous said...

"if he really wanted to make an impact"

Depends on who he is trying to impact. The guy has gone "Manhattan" he prefers to impact his new friends.

Jerry Rotondi said...

The borough by borough philanthropic breakdown:

Manhattan is the star.

Queens has been assigned a small comedic role.

Brooklyn is the drama's co-star.

The Bronx has a great character part in the play.

Staten Island is the backstage crew.

Where should a savvy show investor put his money?

"Them's" hard facts to swallow. I don't like it either.

Anonymous said...

It's all about his name..."dedicated by John Paulson." More bragging rights giving to the wealthy Central Park...does nothing for his status donating to a queens park. It's ego.

Anonymous said...

True dat!

In the pecking order...Queens is slightly above Staten Island when it comes to its importance.

Anonymous said...

I've made arrangements to have my ashes scattered around Times Square (secretly of course).

I wouldn't be caught dead in Queens.

Anonymous said...

If half of you posters would put your backs, instead of your words, into some real work...maybe Queens wouldn't be getting screwed as badly as it's has been.

It's your local POLITICIANS and BOROUGH PRESIDENTS who have been butt f-----g you all of these years!

Talk is cheap, while action is very very expensive.
Some immediate action that's required is to dump all incumbents!

Goodbye Stavisky dynasty. Goodbye "Virginia" Joe Crowley. Goodbye phony "reformers" like Councilman Halloran.

Sigh...the rest of the list is way too long!

Replace these self servingc rooks with representatives that represent YOU, and not the real estate developers.

Anonymous said...

With Paulson's money he doesn't need the kind of immortality that's afforded by naming rights.

It's called upward friends.
You move to a better and bigger house and give your bungalow to your servants.

If YOU hit the lottery real big, where would YOU choose to live Manhattan or Queens?

The 'ol green eyed monster has been rearing its head in some of these comments.

Anonymous said...

If you're not happy with Paulson's philanthropy, don't hedge your funds with him.

Jerry Rotondi said...

You're wrong on the means, George.
Estelle Cooper would have just use her ATM card.

Anonymous said...

They may call us the BBQ zone, but NEQ has the highest concentration of brains in the city. But, Beechurst is in Whitestone, not Bayside.

Anonymous said...

Here is Queens' entire dilemma reduced to a single Cliff's Notes page.

Our borough breeds small town political crooks with backwater brains, yet it engages in big time corruption!

That's why our parks get squat.

Most of the money that gets collected by anyone for any worthwhile purpose, winds up being laundered and transferred into political campaign funds.

Let's see if China would fund turning FMCP into a spacious Oriental scholar's garden and displace the "jungle people" that currently use it.

That's could become a "win win" situation.

Calling TDC's Mike Meyers. Do you know any rich Chinese investors in Shanghai?

Anonymous said...

More money should go to Queens, no question. But if you read the articles, you'll understand why he gave to Central Park.

Anonymous said...

I learned of this about a year ago.
A family member worked for the Central Park Conservancy.

Now it's public knowledge.

And what is that ineffective FMCP "conservancy" doing?

FMCP is a very different kind of "park". It's "parkland" and not really a park, like Prospect Park or Central Park are.

We should be preserving those Philip Johnson icons.

How come there is no money for the NYS Pavilion?
That is well worth saving.

Anonymous said...

The Central Park Conservancy routinely gets big donations from the wealthy families that live along 5th Ave. and CPW. They see it as their front lawn.

What kind of families use FMCP for their backyard?

"There you have it Watson. It's elementary my dear friends"!

No beer and barbeques in Central Park!

The Flushing Phantom said...

But FMCP has its own wealthy "benefactors".
Haven't the USTA and the Wilpons given plenty already?

Anonymous said...

If we had benefactors like Paulson instead of brigands like Manes and Shulman, we'd have more green space.

Almost EVERYTHING that we have in Queens is 3rd rate. That's because our pols have been raping it!

i.e. The Queens Botanical Garden.

Let's compare it to Brooklyn Botanic Gardens or the New York Botanical Garden.

See what I mean?

Joan Firestone once indicated that they could do almost anything to FMCP because..."It's not an Olmsted park".

Anonymous said...

Review time...people.

Tommy Huang's lawyer, Jeffrey Chester, represented the USTA in the biggest sellout of FMCP to date.

Mayor David Dinkins presided over the land grab.

I believe that Jeff and Dave played tennis together.

Chester was employed by Davidoff (as in Sid "the political kingmaker") Mallito and Partners law firm.

Anonymous said...

Who, of sound mind and will, donates to a "park"... located near a junk yard, a stadium, a stinking river, a rail facility and an expressway...all in the fight path of an airport?

I could see a billionaire donating money to Forest Hills Park...certainly not FMCP.

Anonymous said...

Good for Central Park! Paulson didn't have to give anything to any park!

Anonymous said...

He didn't HAVE to. But since he did, it's fair to ask why Central Park, which is already rolling in dough. A real philanthropist would have given where the money is needed.

Anonymous said...

this is his family $$$$$,which he "built up". America has been a capitalist society , that enables one to earn and increase their fortune.

the limousine liberals as well as the G.O.P. wealthy on the U.E.S. keep their turf presentable. check out Park Avenue ,the CIVIC ASSOCIATION with resident donations , keeps it beautiful and green. the tulips are grand each year.

they also prevent vehicles ,like school buses, from parking on the high curbed medians. as the Queens pols. do not do on 42nd Avenue, from 205 st. to Francis Lewis Blvd, in Bayside,Queens.

shame ,shame,shame.

Anonymous said...

Central Park is rolling in dough because a certain very wealthy lady living on 5th Ave. put together a group in the 1970s called the Central Park Conservancy.

She sat with her Roladex file and picked up the phone.
"Hello, Mabel...hello Louise...yadda, yadda". By the end of a very short period, they had MILLIONS of dollars in the pot.

Pass the pot around Queens and our crooked pols fill it with their bull shit!

Jerry Rotondi said...

With crooks like Donald Manes and his obliging cur Claire Shulman, Queens got the royal shaft instead of the royal treatment, when it came to many things.

The sorry state of many of the borough's parks reflect their legacy to Queens.

Following in the footsteps of the Shul-Manes administration, their political spawn are doing very little in the way of protecting and improving our parkland.

Shame on you all!

Anonymous said...

Anon No. 27:

The only people who use the phrase "Capitalists" more than you are Communists. What's going on here?

Anonymous said...

Speaking of the Queens Botanical Garden....
they used to have a wealthy benefactor named Joan Bluestone (of Bluestone builders fame)....who used to give them a lot of money to plant tulips.

Apparently Mrs. Bluestone didn't like what its executive director, Susan Lacerte was doing with her tulip money so she stopped giving.

Did Lacerte do something else with all those $$$$$$ earmarked for planting tulips?

Anonymous said...

In a lot of Communist countries,the parks are in far better shape than here.

Anonymous said...

Queens can't have a lot of parkland. Where will we fit all the illegal aliens? They can't live in the parks. The politicians that are selling off our park space to the highest bidders will ensure that Democrates stay in power for life. It's called Job Security.

Anonymous said...

$100 million can easily restore the NYS Pavilion and make it a true destination.

Ah. If only.

Anonymous said...

#32...maybe you haven't figured it out yet , but NYC (a.k.a. MOSCOW ON THE HUDSON )is nearly ruled by marxist/progressives.
evaluate your social engineering dictatorship city council ? and your sanctuary city mayor ?the highest medicaid cost (welfare) and taxed state in the Nation.

why visit CUBA ?

Anonymous said...

Anon No. 35: and maybe you haven't figured it out yet, but the only Marxists that the guys in city government take after are Groucho, Chico and Harpo.

I don't know any, but I suspect that an real Marxists that are still around (we won the Cold War, remember?) get some big laughs out of that comment of yours.

Anonymous said...

And as far as visiting Cuba, probably to scout out the baseball players who are going to be the next ones to defect.

Anonymous said...

What RU smoking?

The NYS Pavilion wouldn't need $100,000,000
to restore...and I wouldn't waste that kind of money on it if it did.

Central Park is one of NYC's major tourist attractions. The pavilion IS NOT !
CP deserves the donation that's been given to it.

Oh, maybe a few rapes and muggings have occurred in the NYS Pavilion's shadow.

So we can affix a plaque to it denoting that.

Queens Crapper said...

How many tourists come to FMCP for the Mets, tennis, museums? An awful lot. In fact, the biggest money making event in the City is the US Open. FMCP is just as worthy of a donation to fix it up.

And why are we talking about tourists when this is a conversation about a native Queens man who wanted to give back? His main concern isn't tourism, but making sure the park looks nice.

Queens Crapper said...

And P.S. Central Park used to be as big of a dump as FMCP, until private donations cleaned it up. It could be done here as well.

Anonymous said...

Queens can only excel through autonomy. Otherwise the urbworms force us into medicrity. They took away the UN, they would take away the airports if they could. They took away QC Photonics to CCNY. NYHQ forced out CVA for overshadowing Wayne Isom. Time for Queens Secession. We are better than them.

Anonymous said...

But that big dump, before Central Park was envisioned, existed well over a century ago!

This kind of cooperative effort necessary to clean up FMCP isn't likely to happen in Queens, until it's government gets swept clean of corruption.

I live in hope to see it., though

Anonymous said...

Following that logical train of thought....then why not clean up the Willets Point junk yard....if the USTA tourists deserve a prettier looking environment?

I'm definitely against that kind of land grab!

???? director of a Queens institution said...

I contacted Paulson for a Queens hand out. Nadda!

Jerry Rotondi said...

There is no Santa Claus for Queens, so we've got to begin by seriously helping ourselves.

I've done much more than my fair share of grunt work on parkland issues.

I urge everyone to take up a little bit of the harness and put your backs into it. Maybe a donor will be impressed by our hard work and drop 50 million dollars on our borough.

Jerry Rotondi,
a former board member of the Fort Totten Conservancy, Inc.

Anonymous said...

I don't question the genuine motive of Paulson's gift.
However, he gets 2 birds with one stone.

Central Park is assured of being maintained well...and the wealthy residents surrounding it might be wanting to invest in Paulson's hedge fund....just to show their thanks for his generosity.

Anonymous said...

I can't believe you folks. It's not YOUR money, it's Paulson's money. He can spend it any way he wants to. You can complain all you want but it's not going to help. It's really a shame that FMCP is so crappy. The focus should be placed on outing those who've been using park funds as their personal bank accounts.

Alfredo C said...

Queens native gives money to a private group to help fix up central park!


Sir, do you have any to spare for your home borough?

I know in Whitestone we are looking to get 6 acres that once belonged to the children of the community, and is currently in foreclosure, back to the community.

One politician is looking into it while the other is on the record as saying the Virgin land "needs to be cleaned up, and will cost too much"

Our email is

Your help would be greatly appreciated from the people of Queens.

Thank you

Alfredo C said...

Mr. Paulson;

You remember the old Cresthaven Country Club AKA: Whitestone pool?

That is the property we are speaking of.


Jerry Rotondi said...

I think that Estelle Cooper has already been outed for stealing from FMCP. It's been in the newspapers.
There might even be a few other crooks lurking around who still remain undiscovered.

Now, it's time to move ahead and get real!

WHO will step forward to CHANGE things--insuring that this park gets improved, and continues to provide residents the relaxing, rejuvenating green space that they deserve?

Will it be those same politicians who've shared the responsibility for seeing it violated?

Can we depend upon borough hall or our community boards to get the job done right?

This is a dilemma with very sharp horns!