Cuomo faces deadline on Hudson River Park air rights bill

From left: Andrew Cuomo, Hudson River Park, Michael Bloomberg and Diana Taylor
From left: Andrew Cuomo, Hudson River Park, Michael Bloomberg and Diana Taylor

Governor Andrew Cuomo has until midnight tomorrow to decide whether to push through a bill that would allow the Hudson River Park to sell up to 1.6 million square feet of air rights. Though approval of the bill would bring much-needed funds to the cash-strapped park, located on the  Far West Side of Manhattan Between Battery Place And West 59th Street, environmental advocates have warned that it would usher in residential and commercial development that would mar the waterfront.

“We don’t want a wall of luxury towers separating us from Hudson River Park,” Andrew Berman, executive director of the Greenwich Village Society for Historical Preservation, told the New York Daily News. Other environmental groups have voiced the concern that future flood damage from major storms such as Hurricane Sandy would be exacerbated if the bill is passed, according to the paper.

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But the Hudson River Park Trust, the park’s managing authority chaired by Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s longtime girlfriend Diana Taylor, has powerful allies in the real estate community, according to the News, and also has the support of the mayor’s office.

“The Bloomberg administration has been committed to ensuring that the city’s waterfront is not abandoned, even as we address the growing impacts of climate change,” mayoral spokesperson Patrick Muncie said in a statement to the newspaper. “Any new construction would be required to meet all building codes.” [NYDN]  – Hiten Samtani