Friday, April 20, 2012

Who IS This Guy Who Donated $40 Million To Brooklyn Bridge Park? UPDATED

Josh Rechnitz, from the Hub Blog

As it slowly sinks in that someone has donated $40 million to build a year-round indoor recreation facility near Pier 5 in Brooklyn Bridge Park -- the biggest gift ever donated to a park in New York City --  many folks are asking: who is philanthropist Joshua Rechnitz?

Here's what we know so far:

* According to the Brooklyn Eagle, Rechnitz is the founder and chairman of the nonprofit group New York City Fieldhouse Inc.

* According to A Walk In the Park, Rechnitz's family has had a long philanthropic history of giving in the city.

* According to the Cobble Hill Association, Rechnitz is a competitive amateur cyclist, track cycling enthusiast and philanthropist "who is committed to establishing a world-class sports, cycling and recreation center in New York City."

* Rechnitz declined to be interviewed by the New York Times*. His spokeswoman, Maureen Connelly, described Mr. Rechnitz, a 46-year-old resident of the Upper West Side, as a “very private person who keeps a low profile.” Ms. Connelly told the Times that Rechnitz had researched sites for a field house for three years, looking in New York City and New Jersey.

* He is a partner of Hudson Urban Bicycles (HUB), a Manhattan bike store, and a longtime bicycle rider and racer, with a collection of bikes, according to the Wall Street Journal.

* According to a video posted by the HUB Blog, Rechnitz had dreamed of  building a Velodrome for bike racing in Harlem back in 2009. That dream apparently fell through. Watch the video to hear Rechnitz describe his goals.

* Amazon posts his wish list. (Hint: He likes books about cycling.) UPDATE: He seems to have removed his wish list.)

* Here he explains how to ride a fixed-gear bike in a velodrome. 

* IMBd lists his film credits. His work (he is an animator / director) has been in the Brooklyn Film festival.

Thanks for the donation, Joshua!

*UPDATE: The New York Times on Nov. 23, 2012 profiled Rechnitz here after speaking to his friends; Rechnitz himself declined to be interviewed.

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Airlink to NYC said...

I have yet to travel to New York but this sounds like a great gift to the city.
I have always found that the best philanthropists are the quite type. Those that boast about their charity work are not really doing it for philanthropy reasons they are usually doing it so they get a pat on the back or want fame for their generosity. Anyhow this will be a huge boost to the particular area of Brooklyn. I hope to hear more about the project itself as it improves New York as a whole. This man must love New York, good for him. Great blog, enjoyed.

Suzannah B. Troy artist said...

Maureen Connelly is a taxi lobbyist who suddenly is passionate about bicycles? Why is that? $$$$$$$$$$$$$$$. She had Josh call me and email me to remove the video.