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Thread: Pier 57 - Hudson River Park

  1. #46
    Banned Member
    Join Date
    Dec 2002
    Park Slope, Brooklyn, NY


    Quote Originally Posted by MidtownGuy
    The design calls for a two-story pedestrian street lined with Italian shops and crafts. High-end Italian companies are said to be ready to become part of the project and La Triennale di Milano, a museum and gallery, would establish a cultural center on the pier. Casa Sicilia, a Sicilian bureau promoting the art and products of Sicily, would be among the features. Milanostudio a fashion and photo studio in Milan, would also join the project with studios and classrooms."
    Envision EPCOT NYC.

  2. #47

    Default does anyone really think that this will happen?

    THE VILLAGER Volume 76, Number 10 | July 26 - August 1, 2006
    Cipriani may be sinking fast, but Witkoff says Pier 57 plan still afloat

    By Albert Amateau

    Steve Witkoff assured a July 20 public forum in Chelsea that his organization was ready to transform Pier 57 into a major feature of Hudson River Park with public and commercial components despite the Cipriani Organization’s withdrawal from the project at the end of April.

    “We’re completely committed to making the project happen,” Witkoff said.

    Connie Fishman, president of the Hudson River Park Trust, the city-state agency building the 5-mile-long riverfront park on the Lower West Side, told the forum that Witkoff’s current plan is “98 percent what it was” when Witkoff and Cipriani were tentatively designated last year as joint developers of the pier between 15th and 17th Sts.

    The approval process for the $200 million project is to begin in September and will eventually include an environmental impact statement, a city uniform land use review procedure and approvals by the state Department of Environmental Conservation, the State Historic Preservation Office and the federal Army Corps of Engineers.

    Leonardo at Pier 57 (the name has not changed despite Cipriani’s withdrawal) could hold its grand opening in late 2009 or the spring of 2010.

    For Chelsea residents, the main concern at the June 20 forum was the traffic impact of the project, which is to include a public event space to be known as the Grand Hall with a capacity for 1,800 to 2,000 people, an auditorium with capacity for more than 500 and a smaller theater.

    But in private conversation, the common topic was the indictment last week of Dennis Pappas, a Cipriani vice president, for defrauding insurance companies of more than $1 million, and for falsifying a city Department of Consumer Affairs application in 2005 as manager of the Rainbow Room, a Cipriani franchise. Pappas pleaded not guilty and the case is still being investigated.

    Witkoff’s Pier 57 project differs from the original plan in that the Great Hall event space will be smaller, a change welcomed by neighbor anxious about traffic.

    “We want the event space to impact as little as possible on the community,” Witkoff told the forum last week. The plan also guarantees 46,000 square feet of landscaped public space on the roof of the pier.

    A bridge to the High Line is another feature of the project. Witkoff said he has held several conversations with Friends of the High Line about the bridge, which would eventually lead from the pier to the High Line Park at 10th Ave. and 15th St.

    “If we can get it approved, we’ll spend the money to build it,” said Witkoff, but he acknowledged that the High Line bridge was not yet a done deal.

    Pier 57 will also include a marina and a Hudson River Museum. The pier will provide berths for the tall ships when they visit New York Harbor, said Jon Ostrow, a Witkoff associate. The tall ships berths and the provision of a Hudson River Museum on the pier were ideas taken from Discover Pier 57, a community-based development group led by John Doswell, a longtime Community Board 4 member and currently a consultant on the Witkoff project.

    The project will also include an open market with both indoor and outdoor areas totaling 9,000 square feet to be known as the Grace Line Market.

    “The market will have stalls like a Moroccan souk or a Parisian flea market,” Ostrow said.

    The pier was built between 1950 and 1954 by Grace Line to replace a pier that burned in 1947. In recent years, it served as a city bus depot and during the 2004 Republican National Convention the pier became a detention center for people arrested during demonstrations.

    Regarding the Great Hall event space, Witkoff said his organization has been “besieged” by event operators since Cipriani’s withdrawal was announced. An operator of the space will be chosen in two or three months, Witkoff added.

    The Pier 57 traffic management plan by Philip Habib Associates calls for a vehicle entrance to the pier on 15th St. and an exit on 16th St. Cabs and cars will be able to drop off and pick up passengers at a covered porte-cochere at the main-floor entrance. Parking for the private events will be in the three caissons, the hollow concrete chambers on which the pier rests on a gravel foundation on the riverbed.

    The Pier 57 Great Hall is expected to have about 20 events annually when 2,000 people are likely to attend. Chelsea Piers, which has an event space on Pier 60, submitted a traffic report by Sam Schwartz in 2005 that concluded that traffic from events at Pier 57 would have an overwhelming impact on Chelsea Piers operations and on the neighborhood.

    Pappas indictment

    Dennis Pappas, 59, of 55 W. 26th St., is a vice president of Cipriani U.S.A., which operates seven restaurants in Manhattan, including the Rainbow Room in Rockefeller Center.

    The day of his indictment, Pappas was taken to the hospital with a heart condition but was released July 21 and pleaded not guilty to defrauding three insurance companies of a total of nearly $1.5 million and the federal Social Security Administration of $90,000.

    The indictment charges that Pappas applied for and received disability insurance from June 2000 through July of this year claiming he was disabled because of a heart condition and could not work. While receiving the insurance, Pappas also received a total of $891,855 from Cipriani for his work. The payment included the use of an apartment that rents for $5,086 per month and a Humvee that he drove to work.

    He was also charged with concealing his employment and fraudulently receiving $90,000 from Social Security.

    Regarding the false statement to Consumer Affairs in 2005, the indictment says that in his application as Rainbow Room manager, Pappas said that he had never been convicted of a felony, when in reality he had pleaded guilty in 1998 to federal charges of extortion, pension fund fraud and income tax evasion involving the Colombo crime organization.

    Manhattan District Attorney Robert Morgenthau said last week that the investigation was continuing. An attorney for Cipriani, Stanley Arkin, was quoted in the New York Post on July 22 as saying that “a dozen and a half” Cipriani employees were issued subpoenas recently and the company is cooperating.

    The investigation began shortly after Giuseppe Cipriani was mentioned in two recent organized crime trials by a turncoat witness who said he took $120,000 from Cipriani for underworld help in quelling union protests at the Rainbow Room.

  3. #48


    Bridge to the High Line is this project's best feature, both from a business and an urbanistic standpoint: a lifeline that will bring in people without generating vehicular traffic. It will also help cause revisions in what seems like a tepid business plan. Flea market is way too small.

  4. #49

    Default access to pier 57

    They probably didn't realize this at the time (like much of the project they "borrowed" ideas from the other finalists). It is taking so long that it might have the same timeline as the High Line. Chelsea Piers is still fighting behind the scenes and have threatened a lawsuit over dueling traffic plans.
    I'm sure that they would like to re-open the process and Witcoff is desperately trying to hold on to the designation. Wonder if they've made any payments to the Trust?

  5. #50
    Disgruntled Optimist lofter1's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2005
    NYC - Downtown


    Seems the High Line will be completed well before Pier 57.

    Not so certain I'm crazy about the idea of the "bridge" from the High Line to Pier 57 -- hopefully if it happens it will be well thought out / designed but my concern is that the High Line in that area could become the lobby (or loggia, depending upon your preference) for the Pier activities.

    The High Line is not a huge space (long, yes -- but narrow for its full length) and unless an extension is built (ideally through a floor of the old Nabisco building at 10th Ave. / W. 15th St.) the "bridge" and intersection with the High Line could end up being a clog point as a couple of thousand people move out of the Pier at the end of an event there.

    Although that ^ might be preferable to trying to move those folks across the West Side Hiway at street level ...

  6. #51


    Yeah, it's not so bad, lofter; crowds are often exhilarating. It's one of the things visitors from Suburbia appreciate about New York.

    In Suburbia, it's sitting in traffic, which is not so exhilarating. In that context, freedom from congestion is devoutly to be desired, but we don't need to bring suburban notions with us to the city.

  7. #52
    Chief Antagonist Ninjahedge's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2003


    Nah, crowds suck too.

    You like to have a lot of people, just not all crushed. Makes you feel like cattle. (Well, make me feel like cattle).

    Crowds being forced along a given route is just liek livestock going to market, and I get uncomfortable images of a cultural abatoir when that happens!

  8. #53
    The Dude Abides
    Join Date
    Jan 2005
    NYC - Financial District


    The Villager

    Volume 76, Number 18 | September 20 - 26, 2006

    Related joins banquet hall bash in park at Pier 57

    By Lincoln Anderson

    The Witkoff Organization is on the verge of partnering with The Related Companies in its effort to redevelop Pier 57 in the Hudson River Park.

    Jim Capalino, a spokesperson for Witkoff, confirmed that conversations between Witkoff and Related have occurred.

    At the end of April, Cipriani pulled out of a partnership with Witkoff under which Cipriani was to have operated a spacious banquet and catering hall on the 15th St. pier in Chelsea as part of $250 million project, dubbed Leonardo at Pier 57. According to Capalino, Giuseppe Cipriani, head of Cipriani, had grown frustrated at the slow rate at which the project was moving forward.

    “Since Giuseppe Cipriani decided to leave the partnership and pursue other real estate opportunities, Steve’s been active in looking for partners,” Capalino said of Steve Witkoff, the organization’s chairperson. The spokesperson stressed, “Any partner that he brings in will be fully committed to public benefits and community amenities as part of the project. And, second, he’s never going to relinquish control of the project.”

    According to sources, the two parties have already shaken hands on the deal and their lawyers are now working up a contract. A formal announcement is expected in the next two weeks.

    Related, one of the city’s most active developers, is known for building projects from the ground up. Witkoff, on the other hand, is known for buying existing properties and upgrading them. Sources say Related would bring to the pier project its experience with retail tenants, as well as management of the design and construction process.

    Capalino confirmed that conversations have taken place between Witkoff and Related. He said Gensler Architects remains the project’s architect and that the plan still includes a large banquet hall as the anchor tenant. Capalino said Witkoff is seeking a top banquet hall operator.

    “Steven’s having a discussion with a variety of event operators,” he said. “It’ll be a company with a distinguished record of running event spaces — very experienced, in multiple locations.”

    Capalino assured that Witkoff will present the plan to partner with Related for approval to the Hudson River Park Trust, the state-city agency that operates the 5-mile-long Hudson River Park.

    © 2006 Community Media, LLC

  9. #54

    Default The lawyers are going to get richer again...

    Here is the verbiage from the original Pier 57 RFP:
    "Respondents may elect to submit RFP responses in substantially the same form as that provided to the Trust under the RFEI or to modify project components, but should make certain that matters set forth in this RFP are fully addressed. Respondents are encouraged to make revisions that strengthen and provide greater clarity and completeness to the earlier
    submissions. Proposals that include significant changes to an RFEI response that do not, in the sole judgment of the Trust, represent a material improvement, or which do not conform to the requirements of this RFP, may not receive full consideration.

    RFP respondents may choose to add and/or subtract one or more of the project participants identified in the RFEI submission, and/or to modify the specific roles and responsibilities of project team members. However, proposals may not receive full consideration should the Trust determine, in its sole judgment, that the controlling interest of a proposed developer is substantially different from that represented in the RFEI submission,
    or that the capability of the respondent is less than previously indicated."

    Common sense tells us that the original "Leonardo's" proposal is being
    re-invented "after-the-fact"...Where's the community outrage?

  10. #55

    Default 10.30.06 NY MAGAZINE "Ortenzio Targeted"

    Ortenzio targeted.

    If state Republicans didn’t have enough problems, here’s a new one: The leader of New York County’s GOP committee, James Ortenzio, is the subject of an ongoing investigation by the Manhattan D.A.’s office, law-enforcement sources say. A longtime Pataki confidant, big fund-raiser, and Mayor Bloomberg’s choice to run the host committee for a possible follow-up GOP convention (in ’08), Ortenzio has already met with prosecutors, who are trying to determine whether he misleadingly filled out financial-disclosure forms with the state—a potential felony. Specifically, prosecutors are trying to determine whether Ortenzio failed to disclose gifts he may have received from friends or business partners in exchange for helping them secure city contracts. Ortenzio did not return several calls but has told friends he believes the D.A.’s investigation is unwarranted and spurred by an overzealous, politically motivated city investigator. Sources say Ortenzio has also hired ex-Giuliani deputy mayor and GOP crisis manager Randy Mastro to deal with the matter. (Mastro refused to confirm this, saying it’s his policy not to reveal the names of his clients.)

  11. #56
    Disgruntled Optimist lofter1's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2005
    NYC - Downtown


    OK ... I'm guessing that there is some connection between Ortenzio + Pier 57, but can't for the life of me figure out what it might be.

  12. #57


    James Ortenzio was appointed chairman of Hudson River Park Trust in 1999 by Pataki. Held the post until 2004.

    I can't speak of the character of the present chairman, but he has a funny name:

    Charles E "Trip" Dorkey III.

  13. #58

    Default connecting the dots

    1. The Witkoff proposal for Pier 57 was called "Leonardo", which just happens to be Henry Stern's (who is still on the Board of Directors of HRPT) "park-name" for Mr. Ortenzio.

    2. The Witkoff proposal was by far the most "polished" proposal when first shown to the public back in early 2004...perhaps indicating that they had been working on it for much longer than the ninety days or so that everyone else had.

    3. Mr. Ortenzio represented Mr. Witkoff in conversations with other "small developers" (community and waterfront advocates) who eventually were persuaded to drop out and joined his team.

    4. Mr. Dorkey and Mr. Ortenzio raised significant NYS Republican monies for our current Governor as did most of his appointees to the Board of HRPT.

    5. Many heavyweight lobbyists were enlisted to "influence" the process.

    6. One day in September, 2004 the two "community" proposals were suddenly eliminated from the process overnight, despite the outcry of the local elected officials and community board.

  14. #59

    Default goodbye leonardo?

    counting the days...

  15. #60

    Default ortenzio pays the price

    November 16, 2007
    Former G.O.P. Official Admits He Evaded Taxes

    The former chairman of the New York County Republican Committee admitted yesterday that he had evaded taxes and violated state ethics law in connection with money he was paid as a consultant to a real estate company and as an arbitrator in a dispute over helicopter services on the West Side.

    The former chairman, James A. Ortenzio, said during a hearing in State Supreme Court in Manhattan yesterday that he had knowingly failed to disclose the income, totaling about $180,000, in 2004 and 2005, and pleaded guilty to tax evasion and to violating the financial disclosure law for public officials.

    He made the guilty plea as part of a deal with prosecutors, in exchange for a sentence of five years’ probation. But he must file amended tax returns and pay back taxes and penalties.

    Mr. Ortenzio is a millionaire businessman who has been a major fund-raiser for former Gov. George E. Pataki and former Mayor Rudolph W. Giuliani. He went from truck driver and butcher to owner of the Long Island Beef Company in Greenwich Village. He has been known as Mr. Meat among residents of the meatpacking district, now home to fashionable restaurants, nightclubs and boutiques.

    His lawyer, Randy M. Mastro, said after the hearing that Mr. Ortenzio was “a good and decent man who made a mistake that he regrets,” and who was accepting his responsibility for that mistake.

    Mr. Mastro stressed that the money Mr. Ortenzio had been paid in both cases was “perfectly legal,” and suggested that his “mistake” should be put in the context of “exceptional and dedicated pro bono public service that this man has given to New York.”

    Robert M. Morgenthau, the Manhattan district attorney, said yesterday that the investigation of Mr. Ortenzio grew out of an earlier investigation into the Cipriani family restaurant business. Mr. Ortenzio, who owns several meat processing companies, was a distributor of meat and other foods to Cipriani restaurants, Mr. Morgenthau said.

    The investigation began with an anonymous tip that Mr. Ortenzio was trying to use his influence to obtain a contract for Cipriani at Pier 57, Mr. Morgenthau said. From 1999 to 2003, Mr. Ortenzio was chairman of the Hudson River Park Trust, a public benefit corporation created to develop the park, which stretches from 59th Street to Battery Park. It covers both Pier 57 and the West Side heliport.

    It “started with an over-the-transom letter, an anonymous letter, alleging collusive bidding at Pier 57,” Mr. Morgenthau said. But no such charges were filed. He said there was other information in the letter that led to yesterday’s guilty plea. Prosecutors do not know who sent the letter, Mr. Morgenthau said.

    Mr. Ortenzio read a written statement in court admitting that in September 2004, while he was chairman of the Republican Party, he was paid $100,000 by Fisher Brothers Management Company, a Park Avenue real estate firm, for consulting services. He said that “with intent to deceive,” he did not report the payment on a financial disclosure form required of public officers by the state’s Ethics Commission.

    He also admitted that in June 2004, he was retained to mediate a dispute between Air Pegasus of New York and Sightseeing Tours of America over helicopter service in Manhattan. He said that in 2005, he was paid $80,000 for his services and that he filed false tax returns by intentionally failing to disclose the income.

    Asked by Justice Laura A. Ward whether there was any impediment to his understanding the nature of his guilty plea, Mr. Ortenzio replied, “No, Your Honor.”

    The proposal to redevelop Pier 57 at West 15th Street into an event and catering site was a joint venture of Steve Witkoff and Giuseppe Cipriani, but has been on hold since the investigation began, prosecutors said. Mr. Cipriani dropped out of the project in May 2006.

    Mr. Morgenthau said that prosecutors did not know exactly what kind of consulting services Mr. Ortenzio had provided to Fisher Brothers. “We’ve got ideas, but we don’t know,” he said.

    Mr. Ortenzio pleaded guilty to one count of violating the tax law by filing false returns or reports of personal income and earnings, a Class E felony, and one count of a violation of the Public Officers Law on financial disclosure, a Class A misdemeanor. He faced up to four years in prison on the felony count.

    Copyright 2007 The New York Times Company

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