This process culminated on July 12, when Congressman Jerry Nadler led a rally at the lawns adjacent to the Irish Hunger Memorial, an alternate site proposed after the plan for Rockefeller Park had been shelved. Hours before this event, Mr. Tsunis announced a further compromise, saying, “we will put together a new and expanded advisory committee comprised of local stakeholders, essential worker representatives, and others to review options within Battery Park City to select a site and design for a welcome and world-class monument our essential workers so richly deserve. While this will move opening of the Essential Workers Monument beyond Labor Day, which we felt was a significant date, as essential workers are largely union members, there will be an essential worker recognition on Labor Day nonetheless. We want grieving families of lost essential workers to know that Battery Park City respects their sacrifice and contribution, but Battery Park City residents feel strongly and potential litigation by residents would further extend the process.”
The membership of that new Advisory Committee was announced on Tuesday. The panel’s 17 members, include Mr. Tsunis, and two other members of the BPCA board: Martha Gallo (the Authority’s vice chair, who lives in Battery Park City), and Catherine McVay Hughes (who lives in Lower Manhattan, and is a former chair of Community Board 1).
Also serving on the Advisory Committee will be nine Battery Park City residents and local leaders who are not affiliated with the Authority. These include three members of Community Board 1 (CB1): Tammy Meltzer (the Board’s chair), Justine Cuccia(who chairs CB1’s Battery Park City Committee), and Robin Forst (a public member of CB1, who also serves as vice president of the Gateway Plaza Tenants Association). They will be joined by Glenn Plaskin, a longtime Battery Park City tenant advocate. The panel will also have five members of the Battery Park City Neighborhood Association, the grassroots organization formed in the wake of the Pause the Saws protest: Tristan Snell, Kelly McGowan, Gregory Sheindlin, Rafael Torres, and Kavita Beren—all of whom participated in the Rockefeller Park protest.
Four labor leaders will join the ranks of the Advisory Committee. They are Stu Appelbaum (president of the Retail, Wholesale and Department Store Union), Kyle Bragg (president of the 32BJ local of the Service Employees International Union), Jahmila Edwards (associate director of District Council 37), and Gary LaBarbera(president of the New York State Building & Construction Trades Council and of the Building & Construction Trades Council of Greater New York).
Finally, RoAnn Destito, commissioner of Office of General Services (the State agency that handles real estate and construction), will also participate as a member of the Battery Park City Essential Workers Monument Advisory Committee.
The fact that a majority of this panel consists of Battery Park City residents may represent a significant step in the direction that protestors and community leaders originally called for, in terms of greater transparency and consultation with local leaders.