I know people say that “you can’t put a price on happiness” and “it’s relationships and human interaction that are truly fulfilling” and whatever, but if anyone ever asked how much money, exactly, it would take to make the rest of my life utterly free from worry and other negative feelings, I would probably have said “Oh, $50 million should cover it.” If your idea of happiness is “building an elaborate bike racing track in Brooklyn Bridge Park,” however, that won’t really cut it.
As such, plans for a new field house and velodrome in the park — funded with $50 million courtesy of mysterious philanthropist Joshua P. Rechnitz — have been scrapped after the location proved to be too expensive for the development project, even with significant cuts to the original design plan. Locals had complained about the plans, too, but objections from people who actually live there but aren’t in possession of untold millions are neither here nor there. The issue for developers was solely financial.
“You can’t build a facility of this nature, at this site, at this budget,” said an executive for the nonprofit running the project. “We’re very excited and eager to find a new home for this recreation center and velodrome. The funding remains intact.”
Rechnitz issued a statement reaffirming his commitment to bringing New Yorkers “a world-class cycling and recreation center” at a new, to-be-determined location, and a spokesperson for the park said they were “saddened” the project wouldn’t be happening. The area of the park will now likely become storage for park-maintenance equipment, recreational boats, and restrooms, which do seem a little more in keeping with what goes on in the rest of the park, than, say, an elaborate bike racing track. Still, if Rechnitz has any say in it, velodrome enthusiasts (you’re out there, yes?) will have their day in the sun. Just not for more than $50 million.
Follow Virginia K. Smith on Twitter @vksmith.