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Thread: Pier 57 - Hudson River Park

  1. #1

    Default Pier 57 - Hudson River Park

    The Villager

    Park advocates consider Pier 57's future uses
    By: Albert Amateau January 29, 2003
    The city bus depot is expected to leave Pier 57 in the third quarter of this year and neighborhood waterfront advocates want to have a say in how the pier, which is within the Hudson River Park, will be developed. *
    Community Board 4, along with the Friends of Hudson River Park, earlier this month called on the Hudson River Park Trust, the city-state agency developing the five-mile riverfront park between Chambers and 59th Sts., to begin a public dialogue on the future of the T-shaped pier between 15th and 17th Sts.

    Under the Hudson River Park legislation, several Hudson River piers are designated as park space, others are reserved for commercial development and a few are designated for a mix of commercial and park use.

    But the park legislation does not specify a use for Pier 57 except for a walkway on the perimeter of the pier. "That's the only bone thrown to public use," said John Doswell, co-chairperson of C.B. 4's waterfront committee and a founder of Friends of Hudson River Park.

    Only the general provisions of the H.R.P.T. legislation, city waterfront zoning and the Army Corps of Engineers permit process govern the future of the pier. Moreover, there is no funding in the H.R.P.T. budget for developing Pier 57.

    The Community Board 4 resolution notes that representatives of Chelsea Piers Management, the private-sector operators of the sports and entertainment complex on Piers 59, 60, 61 and 62 in the park, have toured Pier 57 several times in recent years.

    "We recognize that commercial development generates revenues for the park, but we have an opportunity to expand the park and we can do both," Doswell said last week. "The time for significant input is now," Doswell added.

    Connie Fishman, executive vice president of the Hudson River Park Trust, has spoken about the future of the park only in the most general terms. At a Jan. 16 Community Board 2 waterfront committee meeting, Fishman said that the superstructure of the pier cannot be dismantled, so "whatever happens, Pier 57 will have an indoor use."

    The original Pier 57, used by the Grace Lines, burned in 1947. The replacement was built between 1950 and 1954 at a cost of $12 million using techniques developed during World War II. Three concrete caissons - two of them 33 ft. deep and one 26 ft. deep - were built in Haverstraw, N.Y., and floated downriver to serve as foundations of the pier. Although the caissons rest on the river bottom, 90 percent of the pier's weight is supported by buoyancy. The pier has been found eligible for inclusion in the State Register of Historic Places.

    A Metropolitan Transportation Authority spokesperson, Adrienne Taub-Kane, said earlier this month that the Hudson Bus Terminal would move from Pier 57 this year sometime after September, but she declined to specify a date.

    Municipal non-water-related uses on the waterfront, such as the Department of Sanitation's garbage truck parking and salt pile on Gansevoort Peninsula and the garbage truck parking on Pier 97 (W. 57th St.), the city tow pound on Pier 76 at 35th St., as well as the Hudson Bus Terminal on Pier 57, are all supposed to move out of the park, according to the park legislation.

  2. #2

    Default Pier 57

    Pier 57 is located to the south of the golf range of Chelsea Piers (Pier 59). On the left, construction continues on Time Warner Center. 22 September 2002.

    The original Pier 57, used by the Grace Lines, burned in 1947. The replacement was built between 1950 and 1954 at a cost of $12 million using techniques developed during World War II. Three concrete caissons - two of them 33 ft. deep and one 26 ft. deep - were built in Haverstraw, N.Y., and floated downriver to serve as foundations of the pier. Although the caissons rest on the river bottom, 90 percent of the pier's weight is supported by buoyancy.

  3. #3

    Default Pier 57

    The city bus depot is expected to leave Pier 57 in the third quarter of 2003. On the left, construction continues on 10 Times Square skyscraper. 9 March 2003.

  4. #4


    October 15, 2003

    Hoping for a Waterfront Makeover Just South of Chelsea Piers


    The Hudson River Park Trust, which runs a five-mile sliver of waterfront, is seeking proposals to turn Pier 57 into something other than a bus depot.

    For the last three decades, Pier 57, a hulking three-story structure that juts more than 700 feet into the Hudson off 15th Street in Manhattan, has functioned as a parking garage for New York City Transit buses. And for the last three decades, the pier has not changed much, even though the landscape around it has been overhauled, most notably by Pier 57's next-door neighbor, the recreational behemoth Chelsea Piers.

    But soon, Pier 57 may undergo a major makeover as well.

    Yesterday, the Hudson River Park Trust, which operates a five-mile stretch of Manhattan waterfront from Battery Park to 59th Street, announced that it was seeking proposals to develop the site into something other than a bus depot.

    The trust also indicated a preference for a combination of cultural, educational, maritime and possibly artistic uses for a place that offers more than 300,000 square feet for development.

    If successfully redeveloped, Pier 57 would be the latest piece of that five-mile sliver of waterfront, dubbed Hudson River Park, to be transformed into a refuge of recreation and greenery for residents of TriBeCa, Greenwich Village, Chelsea and Clinton.

    In May, city and state officials dedicated the first portion of the park — a 10-acre swath in Greenwich Village near Pier 45 between Clarkson and Horatio Streets. And in June, the trust announced that it would build more playing fields and take over the operation of Pier 40 at the foot of Houston Street, which, at 15 acres, would be the biggest slice of the park.

    "Pier 57 has the potential to be a great destination for the people of New York, and a crowning jewel of the Hudson River Park," Gov. George E. Pataki said in a press release yesterday announcing the endeavor, formally called a Request for Expressions of Interest.

    Pier 57, built in 1952, is eligible for listing on the National and State Registers of Historic Places because of its unusual design, according to the trust's proposal.

    The pier is supported mainly by the buoyancy of three hollow concrete boxes, giving it the feel of "a lateral skyscraper laid down on its side," said Carter Craft, program director of the Metropolitan Waterfront Alliance.

    Since 1971, the pier has been called Hudson Depot, accommodating up to 165 buses. But on Sept. 7, the buses were moved to other parts of the city, paving the way for redevelopment, said Charlie Seaton, a spokesman for New York City Transit.

    Some people have offered suggestions on what they would like to see, or not see. Pam Frederick, co-chairwoman of Community Board 4's Waterfront and Parks Committee, would like to see the roof of the structure be used as a public park, and not see any big-box retailers. Mr. Craft finds promise in the idea that a part of the pier be used as a transportation hub for ferries and buses.

    Potential bidders have until Jan. 20 to submit their ideas. And already, Chelsea Piers says that it is looking forward to competing, said Erica Schietinger, a spokeswoman.

    But beyond the promise of Pier 57, the waterfront project as a whole still faces significant obstacles, said Albert K. Butzel, president of the Friends of Hudson River Park, an advocacy group. Only half of the estimated $400 million needed to finish all six park segments has been allocated, Mr. Butzel said, and the park's builders have yet to find places for the sanitation trucks and tow pound that occupy some piers now.

    Copyright 2003 The New York Times Company

  5. #5
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    Great spot for a Home Depot, maybe a Staples.

  6. #6
    Forum Veteran krulltime's Avatar
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    July 20, 2004

    Insiders say the two leading candidates to redevelop Pier 57 at West 15th Street are Original Ventures, which proposes a performing arts center, and the Pier 57 Preservation Trust, which would build a Cousteau Society visitor center and museum.

    The Hudson River Park Trust wants to revamp the pier, now used as a bus depot, for cultural, educational, maritime or possibly artistic uses. It solicited ideas in October, then invited four respondents to submit proposals.

    James Ortenzio--a former chairman of the trust, who now serves as Manhattan's Republican Party chair--is said to be championing The Witkoff Group's plan, which would create an Italian heritage center featuring shops, a marina and a Cipriani restaurant. A fourth idea, from Chelsea Piers Management, emphasizes a marina and incorporates recreational facets.

    Mr. Ortenzio says he's not backing any one proposal and would prefer to see key elements of each combined.

    Copyright 2004, Crain Communications, Inc

  7. #7


    Trust considers two plans for Pier 57

    By Albert Amateau

    Citing doubts about the financial feasibility of two of the four proposals to redevelop Pier 57 at 15th St., the Hudson River Park Trust this week eliminated from the project Original Ventures, a consortium of private and community groups proposing a Hudson River Performing Arts Center, and Discover 57, made up of community and environmental groups and private developers.

    The decision left Chelsea Piers Management and Leonardo at Pier 57 (a consortium of the Cipriani restaurant group with Plaza Construction Corp. and The Witkoff Group) as the only proposals presented to the public at the Trust’s Sept. 22 hearing.

    The 300,000 sq. ft pier, a city bus garage until last year, was most recently used to detain people arrested in connection with protests during the Republican National Convention. The Wednesday hearing was a step in the process to convert the pier into a mixed commercial and public destination in the riverfront park being built between Chambers and 59th Sts.

    Elected officials and some members of the local Pier 57 working group, which advised the Trust on the selection of the original four proposals, were dismayed at the decision to eliminate the two development teams that had significant involvement of not-for-profit agencies.

    Connie Fishman, president of the Hudson River Park Trust, said the two development teams were eliminated because they did not meet the financial requirements written into the Request for Proposals in July. The two teams also failed to respond to questions the Trust asked on Sept. 8 and Sept. 10 about financial details, Fishman said.

    The two surviving proposals, like the eliminated plans, include an array of community activities, berthing for historic boats and public walkways.

    Steve Witkoff, who owns Lower Manhattan’s landmark Woolworth Building, and Giuseppe Cipriani, principals in the Leonardo on Pier 57 plan, made the presentation Wednesday with a major change from an earlier public presentation: the addition of a pedestrian bridge from the High Line at 10th Ave. and 15th St. over the West Side Highway to Pier 57.

    The High Line, the derelict elevated railroad that runs from Gansevoort St. to 33rd St. along the west side of 10th Ave., is to be converted into a 1.5-miled elevated park as part of the redevelopment of West Chelsea and the Hudson Yards district to the north.

    Cipriani would also establish a floating swimming pool, which could serve in winter as an ice rink, on a barge at 14th St. just south of Pier 57. In addition, the barge now on the north side of Pier 63 and operated as Pier 63 Maritime by John Krevey, would become Pier 57 Maritime and move to the end of the swimming pool barge. Pier 57 Maritime would have a flotilla of historic ships including the Lightship Frying Pan, the Fireboat John J. Harvey and the sailing vessel Anne, whose owner and builder, Reid Stowe, testified on Wednesday for the Cipriani project.

    An Italian crafts, retail and cultural center in a two-story arcade simulating an Italian street is the central feature of Leonardo at Pier 57. The plan also has a restaurant, event space and a marina and nautical store. The plan also calls for parking for more than 300 cars, in the deep caissons that secure the east and west ends of the pier.

    The Chelsea Piers proposal for Pier 57 would have a covered tennis center with nine courts on the roof of the pier. Tentative plans call for a public area between the fourth and fifth courts, but the kind of structure has not been determined. It could be a fabric bubble or a solid structure, or even a combination of solid and fabric sections, Roland Betts, chairperson of Chelsea Piers, said.

    However, several Chelsea residents at the Wednesday hearing feared the tennis center would obstruct the view corridor.

    Chelsea Piers Management plans an aquatics center with a competition-size pool and a 16-ft. deep diving section. Boating, a row of art galleries, studios and a 40,000-sq.-ft. dance center is also part of the plan, along with an arts center with classes in plastic and visual arts.

    The Chelsea Piers plan also calls for parking in the caisson that supports the shore end of the pier. The caisson that supports the west end of the pier would be leased to the city or a federal agency like FEMA for use as an emergency center, according to David Tewksbury, vice president of Chelsea Piers.

    Assemblymember Richard Gottfried, co-author of the 1998 Hudson River Park Act that established the Trust as the state-city agency building the five-mile-long park, said at the Wednesday hearing that the two rejected applicants should be reinstated and given a chance to deal with financial feasibility questions again.

    Assemblymember Deborah Glick said in a prepared statement that although she is a member of the Pier 57 working group, she was not told until the day before the hearing that two proposals were being cut. The two teams, she said, should continue through the development process. The Trust has rushed the Pier 57 development process, Glick contended. “Instead of working to ensure that the most appropriate proposal is chosen, the Trust seems overly concerned with quickly developing Pier 57 so that they will no longer have to make monthly maintenance and operation payments for the pier,” she said.

    Congressmember Jerrold Nadler also issued a statement that he was dismayed and urged the Trust to reinstate the two bids.

    In private banter, Hudson River Park activists were saying this week that the contest between the two remaining contenders is a duel between two Republican power centers: “Ortenzio vs. Betts.”

    Betts, a former business partner of George W. Bush and a classmate and fellow member of Skull and Bones at Yale with the president, is a founder of Chelsea Piers Management, which has been operating the sports and entertainment complex on Piers 59, 60, 61 and 62 just north of Pier 57 for nearly 10 years. Betts is also an appointee of Governor George Pataki on the Lower Manhattan Development Corp. board of directors. He made the presentation on Wednesday of the Chelsea Piers Pier 57 proposal.

    James Ortenzio, a prominent Republican fundraiser and ally of Governor Pataki, was quoted earlier this year in Crain’s New York Business as supporting the Leonardo proposal. Perhaps only coincidentally, his park name, bestowed a few years ago by the then city Parks Commissioner Henry Stern, is “Leonardo.”

    Ortenzio, former chairperson of the Hudson River Park Trust board of directors, said in a telephone interview that the Crain’s quote was taken from remarks he made supporting any developer who offers the highest annual rent for Pier 57.

    “I would be in favor of a government of Finland proposal to keep reindeer or cheese on part of the pier if they paid $3 million or more a year. At the same time I’d convince them to include a lot of great public uses on the pier,” he remarked.

    The Leonardo financial package includes an extremely high offer of annual rent, and Ortenzio said he sees revenue from commercial uses on Pier 57 as vital for maintaining the entire Hudson River Park being built between Chambers and 59th Sts. The Pier 57 developer should be the one that offers the highest annual rent, Ortenzio said.

    Pier 40 is to be permanently redeveloped with at least 50 percent of its 14 acres for park uses and the rest for commercial uses that will also generate revenues for the entire park. But proposals for the Pier 40 redevelopment were rejected last year and the Trust is installing interim playing fields with public parking as the only revenue-producing source.

    However, even after Pier 40 is permanently redeveloped in the as-yet-unspecified future, it would not be enough to maintain the park, according to Ortenzio. “I’ve always seen Pier 57 as the second source of major revenue for the park. You don’t want to wait and go begging to the city or the state for money and a park like this requires maintenance,” he said.

    Nevertheless, the elimination of Discover 57 and Hudson River Performing Arts Center from consideration dismayed local activists.

    “Many of us are not completely surprised but we’re unhappy that two community-based groups have not made the cut,” Edward Kirkland, a member of Community Board 4 and head of the Pier 57 working group, said the day before the hearing.

    Hudson River Performing Arts Center, one of the rejected proposals, includes Hudson Guild, the National Maritime Historical Society and Riverkeeper, the nonprofit group headed by Robert Kennedy, Jr. Michael Kramer, a Chelsea resident and former member of Community Board 4, is a partner.

    Discover 57, the other rejected proposal, includes LCOR Development Services, Bovis Lend Lease as project managers and Meta Brunzema, a member of Community Board 4 as architect. John Doswell, also a member of Community Board 4 and a founder of Friends of Hudson River Park, is a partner.

    The Trust will accept written testimony on the two proposals until Oct. 18 and the plans will be on display from Sept. 15-Oct. 18 in the lobby of the Trust headquarters on Pier 40 at Houston St. A decision could come by the end of November.

    Downtown Express is published by
    Community Media LLC.

  8. #8
    Forum Veteran krulltime's Avatar
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    The Other West Side Story
    A new stadium isn’t the only waterfront boondoggle.

    By Greg Sargent

    The battle over the Jets’ stadium has been so noisy that it’s easy to forget about the other West Side throw-down: over developing Pier 57. That’s the 700-foot-long bus depot turned convention-protester holding cell (“Gitmo on the Hudson”) off West 14th Street. Duking it out are President Bush’s buddy Roland Betts, master of the Chelsea Piers super-gym, which he wants to expand south, and a coalition of the Witcoff Group, Plaza Construction, and the Cipriani restaurant family, who want to set up a theme-parkish celebration of all things Italian. A group appointed by the mayor and governor should annoint a winner by the end of the month.

    Illustration Courtesy of Hudson River Park Trust

    Chelsea Piers Extension

    Basic idea: Expand the jock wonderland with nine rooftop tennis courts, squash, a 25-meter pool, plus kiddie pools.
    Bonus features: Community roof garden, space for galleries and arts education, 40,000-square-foot dance center.
    Or possibly: An electrical-power-generating facility, new studios for WNYC, FEMA emergency offices, a seafood restaurant.
    The politics: Betts isn’t popular with some community groups, who feel bullied by his empire of sweat, so they’re backing Cipriani.
    Neighborliness factor: We’re already used to the big brown barns of Chelsea Piers.

    Illustration Courtesy of Hudson River Park Trust

    Leonardo at 57

    Basic idea: Little Italy supercenter with restaurants, a 70,000-square-foot event space, and a branch of the Triennale di Milano design museum.
    Bonus features: A DeLonghi appliance store with cooking classes, a rooftop park with a private pool and club, cheap artists’ studios.
    Or possibly: Glass-blowing demonstrations, floating swimming-pool barge, Fashion Week HQ, and an overhead link to the High Line.
    The politics: Politicos Jerrold Nadler and Richard Gottfried are backing it, but Betts and crew recently slammed Gottfried in a letter as “ill-informed, out-of-touch, and not credible.”
    Neighborliness factor: The meatpacking district goes to sea.

    From the January 24, 2005 issue of New York Magazine.

    Copyright © 2004 , New York Metro, Llc.

  9. #9
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    I favor Cipriani's plan, though if I'm familiar with the political atmosphere of construction in this City, Betts will probably have his way.

  10. #10
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    Both the projects are great and should be built out. I would like to see Chelsea Piers take Pier 57 as it is a logical expansion. The other proposal should be built out on one level of Pier 40, as that project needs to get moving. Why can't we have both?

  11. #11
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    The thing sticking out like a sore thumb in Betts' proposal is the the "FEMA emergency offices". What the hell?

  12. #12


    Betts > LMDC > FEMA.

    I don't favor the Chelsea Piers extension. If this is supposed to be a park, active recreation should be spread out, not concentrated in one area.

    There are opportunities for this at Pier 40 and Gansevoort.

  13. #13
    Forum Veteran krulltime's Avatar
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    an overhead link to the High Line
    I am beginning to like this myself... did someone said pasta?

  14. #14


    February 5, 2005

    On the Waterfront, Dueling Developers


    A vacant two-story building now occupies Pier 57, off 15th Street on the West Side; development would bring public access and commercial uses.

    he Ile de France and other grand ocean liners once tied up there before steaming off to Europe, and later the location served a far grittier purpose as a garage for transit buses. But Pier 57, a vacant finger of Manhattan jutting far into the Hudson River off 15th Street, is suddenly hot again, the focus of a furious rivalry between two powerful developers with ties to the mayor, the governor and even President Bush.

    One group, led by Steven C. Witkoff, a developer, and Giuseppe Cipriani, the banquet king of Manhattan and scion of the family behind Harry's Bar of Venice, wants to convert Pier 57's dilapidated two-story structure into what it calls the Leonardo. The plan would combine a branch of the Triennale di Milano design museum with stores, cultural workshops by Italian-owned companies and the largest banquet and event space in the city. They have also proposed a marina and a 46,000-square-foot rooftop park.

    The other group, led by Roland Betts, an owner of the large Chelsea Piers complex three blocks to the north and a friend of the president's, wants to turn the 880-foot pier into a family swimming center and a marina, with space for art galleries, studios for WNYC, the public radio station, and dance companies, as well as a tennis bubble on the roof and a small community garden.

    Local politicians and many residents in the neighborhood have lined up behind the Leonardo, but the heated debate over the relative merits of the two proposals has become entwined in speculation over the city's bid for the 2012 Olympics, allegations of mob ties and potential traffic snarls on the West Side Highway.

    The choice will be made by the Hudson River Park Trust, the city-state organization that oversees Pier 57 and a five-mile stretch of the waterfront from Battery Park to 59th Street. The pending decision has made the agency the target of intense pressure.

    Supporters of the Chelsea Piers proposal have been circulating testimony from the recent trial of Peter Gotti, the mobster, that Mr. Cipriani had paid a $120,000 bribe to settle a dispute with union waiters, an allegation that the restaurant owner dismissed as nonsense.

    Supporters of the Cipriani plan charged that Daniel L. Doctoroff, vice chairman of the park trust and the deputy mayor for economic development, is too close to Mr. Betts, who has assisted the city's bid for the 2012 Olympics and could put in a good word at the White House.

    A spokeswoman for Mr. Doctoroff said the choice between the proposals would be made strictly on the merits.

    Three board members said the trust was leaning toward the Cipriani proposal, but the matter was not on the agenda when the trust met on Jan. 27. Charles Dorkey, chairman of the trust, said that was because it was still scrutinizing a number of issues, including financial terms and potential traffic problems connected to a large banquet and event space.

    "We're trying to get the best possible project," Mr. Dorkey said. "Waiting a couple of months isn't a big deal. I look at this as a 50-year gift to the people of New York. I want it done right."

    Franz S. Leichter, who is also on the 13-member board, agreed, but added that politics is never far off.

    "There were just too many outstanding issues," said Mr. Leichter, a former state senator. "But I also think that the political decisions haven't been made yet in Albany or at City Hall."

    Jennifer Falk, a spokeswoman for Mr. Doctoroff, said that the Bloomberg administration had not made a decision on Pier 57.

    "While both finalists present strong proposals," she said, "they also present significant issues, including the impact on traffic, commitments from subtenants and issues related to design and open space that the trust needs to completely evaluate before making a decision."

    Both bidders said that the trust had asked them not to discuss their projects publicly.

    The Witkoff-Cipriani group appears to be offering a bigger economic deal. An internal review of the proposals by the trust staff indicates that the group would invest $154 million in the project and pay a starting annual rent of $1.5 million, rising to $2 million six years later. The Chelsea Piers plan calls for a $65 million project, offering annual rent payments starting at $300,000 and rising to $900,000 three years later.

    If successfully developed, Pier 57 would become the latest element in the development of a five-mile waterfront park along the Hudson River. But in opening up the waterfront to the public, tension has risen between the cultural and recreational uses the trust wants to promote, and the commercial uses needed to pay for them.

    The trust hopes that Pier 57 will generate enough rent to allow the group to maintain and expand Hudson River Park, even though board members say they prefer educational and maritime uses for the pier, which is as large as an 80-story building placed on its side.

    With the Leonardo group gaining momentum among board members, Mr. Betts and Chelsea Piers Management peppered the trust with a series of angry letters, criticizing the competing proposal as a "thinly disguised knockoff of the Chelsea Piers." At the same time, they commissioned a transportation study showing that the 3,000 or more people traveling to the Leonardo's "massive banquet halls will stop the West Side Highway in its tracks."

    Mr. Betts also chided the trust for even considering a proposal to build a huge banquet hall that would compete with his own, a few blocks away. The banquet hall at Chelsea Piers is one of the most profitable elements of the complex, but Mr. Cipriani's proposed hall would be roughly three times larger.

    While the trust assessed the traffic issues, an uglier issue surfaced. The board received letters describing the Dec. 8 testimony of Michael DiLeonardo in the racketeering trial of Peter Gotti, the head of the Gambino crime family. At one point, Mr. DiLeonardo, a Mafia turncoat, testified that he had met Mr. Cipriani through Mickey Rourke, the actor. He said that in the spring of 1998, Mr. Cipriani "wanted to know if we could help keep the unions off his back."

    According to a transcript of the testimony, Mr. DiLeonardo said he had Mr. Cipriani funnel $120,000 through Francis Leahy, a contractor known as Buddy who was doing work for Mr. Cipriani, in return for helping him with his labor problem.

    Mr. Cipriani, in an interview last week, dismissed the testimony as nonsense. He said he knew Mr. Leahy, a contractor who did work for him at three banquet halls. "It's true we gave him a lot of money," he said, "but it was for construction."

    The hotel and restaurant workers union did wage a bitter eight-month campaign against Mr. Cipriani in 1999, after he took over the Rainbow Room and fired hundreds of union workers. Peter Ward, the current union president, said the union stopped its picketing only because Mr. Cipriani gave in and agreed to rehire the workers and sign a union contract.

    Asked if Chelsea Piers had distributed the trial transcripts, Tom Bernstein, the company's president, declined to comment.

    According to a director of the trust, the testimony regarding Mr. Cipriani was referred to the city's Department of Investigation, which declined to comment.

    Copyright 2005 The New York Times Company

  15. #15

    Default stalemate?

    It looks like the Pier 40 RFP process all over again. Nobody gets the award after years of planning and lobbying until the next Mayor/Governor arrives.

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