Saturday, April 05, 2014

Marty Markowitz lands at NYC & Co.; evidence suggests de Blasio deal over support for Council Speaker

When, in December, Brooklyn Democratic Party Chairman Frank Seddio switched his support--and that of several Council Members--from Dan Garodnick for Council Speaker to Melissa Mark-Viverito, the Daily News reported talk of a backroom deal, including patronage jobs for pols like departing Borough President Marty Markowitz.

The Daily News reported:
“No promises were made. I can tell you that very, very clearly,” de Blasio said at the time.
....Markowitz, who is close with Seddio, has been increasingly concerned about his future after 12 years as borough president, often becoming testy when asked what he plans to do next, Brooklyn insiders said.
Lo and behold, Markowitz got a newly created job (paying $180K a year, a $20K raise) at NYC & Co. as VP of borough promotion and engagement, aimed to promote tourism and economic activity in all of the outer boroughs. The Daily News reported it as a result of the deal cut in December.

"Marty is a tireless champion for Brooklyn and all of New York City, bringing a wealth of public sector experience to NYC & Company," de Blasio said in a statement. "He will be an outstanding asset as NYC & Company looks to further build on its efforts to expand five-borough tourism and encourage more travel to every corner of our City."

Markowitz's record

"We hired Marty because NYC & Co. is focused on growing our tourism in the boroughs beyond Manhattan," NYC & Co.'s Kimberly Spell stated. "Look at Marty's record: Brooklyn tourism is thriving."

True, though it would not be easy to untangle the contribution of Markowitz (certainly lively in the press and at ribbon-cuttings) to the overall boom in tourism, fueled by the popularity of neighborhoods, cultural offerings, and new hotels. 

I would note that, in the one area of tourism promotion, the Visit Brooklyn website, a Markowitz initiative, looks to be supplanted by ExploreBK, a project of the Brooklyn Chamber of Commerce.

Crain's reported:
He will also be expected to increase NYC & Company's membership outside of Manhattan, which accounts for the vast majority of the bureau's nearly 2,000 members, ranging from small businesses to large hotel chains.
A spokeswoman for the bureau said it hoped to attract more restaurants, nightclubs and tour operators from outside of Manhattan. Mr. Markowitz will organize borough tourism roundtables and expand the visitor kiosk locations among other initiatives, the bureau said.
...Unlike other city agencies, NYC & Company is a nonprofit commercially-oriented 501(c)(6) corporation with a board of directors. About 40% of its budget—or about $12 million—comes from the city with the rest coming from the organization's members and from advertising and sponsorship. In 2012, it had $34.6 million in gross receipts.
That FCR job?

More than a few people would joke that Markowitz had a job waiting for him at Brooklyn developer Forest City Ratner and/or at the Barclays Center he so relentlessly promoted.

Well, there may be more flex in the NYC & Co. budget. And, who knows, maybe de Blasio, who certainly maintains communication with Forest City, knows the appointment could be a win-win-win.

Adams weighs in

A statement from Borough President Eric Adams:
“I congratulate my friend and predecessor, former Brooklyn Borough President Marty Markowitz, on his new role as Vice President of Borough Promotion and Engagement for NYC & Company. There have been few who have connected with the spirit of this borough and this city like Marty. Now every neighborhood from the North Shore to the South Bronx, from East Elmhurst to the Upper West Side, will benefit from this energetic ambassador. Of course, I fully expect that his greatest contribution will be to his beloved borough of Brooklyn.
“Marty will add to the dynamism of NYC & Company, under the leadership of President and CEO Fred Dixon. Our offices have already begun a foundation for close collaboration. Borough Hall is keenly focused on growing the popularity of the Brooklyn brand, deepening our outreach to international audiences and promoting neighborhoods yet to be explored by the masses. I look forward to exciting announcements in the future on how we will further expand the Brooklyn tourism boom.”

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