Bramson's Armory "Competition" Commission Snubs Veterans, Save Our Armory Committee

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Bramson's Armory "Competition" Commission Snubs Veterans, Save Our Armory Committee

August 14, 2013 - 00:00

Ron Tocci of the Save our Armory Committee and American Legion Post 8 Commander informed me that they and Shop Architects were given notice that their proposal had been eliminated from the Waterfront Gateway Design Competition

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Sadly and predictably The "Jury" for the Armory "Design Competition" has informed Shop Architects and the Save our Armory committee that the most recent version of the Re-Imagine New Rochelle Armory Design concept they submitted was not selected for phase 2 of the competition. Besides being a continuation of the blatant contempt for the veterans;The problems with this are as follows:

1) WE DON'T KNOW WHO THE JURY IS!! The public has not been kept in the loop about the jury selection process or who they are, and have not been given clear criteria of what each design will be judged on. This information is not publicly available on the competition website. the only contact information available is this email address "[email protected]" to where entrants are supposed to email their submissions.

All we know is that there is supposed to be 4 Jurors appointed by the city and 4 by ArchPaper that is running the competition with the City. It was suggested that jurors be neutral to the proposals but more importantly if they are appointed are they neutral to Noam Bramson?

2) There was supposed to be an announcement made by August 9th. I am looking for it and the main competition website has has not been updated since it was launched. There is also nothing visible on the city website that I can find.

3) The public has no idea what the design entries are or which ones were chosen to go on to phase 2.

4) STUDENTS are allowed to submit their designs WITHOUT even being partnered with a developer.

SHOP ARCHITECTS IS A LEADING DEVELOPER that has even worked with Bramson's Echo Bay developer Forest City to build the Barclays Center in Brooklyn. Do the other entries even have a developer? Does the City have one for them that we don't know about?

5) The Designs DO NOT have to take the armory's history into account!!

According to Peggy Godfrey "When Councilman Lou Trangucci asked if the proposal would be consistent with the history of the site, [Development] Commissioner Aragon said he was leaving this open so that new ideas could be sought. "

5) For a Competition that's supposed to be transparent, neutral and a "creative new path" to get Ideas, this competition has NOT been transparent to the public. The public needs to know how the city council is deciding the fate of a public asset. Also Why does ArchPaper get to have more of a say with what is done with the Armory than the veterans and citizens of New Rochelle.

Now I was told that this phase might just be a suggestion and council will have the final call.


Tell them you want the Veterans proposal to be given fair consideration. If the Veterans proposal is not chosen let them know that honoring the History of the Armory and New Rochelle Veterans MUST be a requirement for the final design.

There are 15 Comments

Does anyone know who is on this committee? Has the city government recycled the same old, same olds?


No one I have spoken to knows who is on the jury. I have not been able to find a list of Jurors anywhere, as far as I know there has not been any public announcements for this process besides the initial announcement of the competition.

If anyone has this information please let us all know, this is just breaking and we are trying to find out as much as possible. The entire process has been shrouded in darkness from day 1.

The whole competition is a smoke and mirrors trick.

Bramson has wanted that armory destroyed from day one and it looks he is getting his way. I have a funny feeling this is a sign Echo Bay is going to pass as how could they design a new building for that site without first knowing what was going next to it.

Very sad for the veterans. They worked so hard to save it and weren't even given a fair chance at it. Bramson should be hung out to dry. Sue him.

When are we going to find out who these 3 finalist are in this competition? Will the public have any input at all as to whether the final design is acceptable to people of NR? Or is this something that only the city council will get to decide?

If you ask me, controversial decisions like Echo Bay and the Armory should be handled by referendum. that is basically the way the library tax was approved. Only they kept putting the library issue back on the ballot until they got the result they wanted. Is this how democracy is suppose to work? Exclude the people and put the same thing up for vote over and over again? Welcome to the world of Noam Bramson. New Rochelle Veterans and the Save Our Armory Committee. I read about the "elimination" of their proposal this morning, and talked with callers about it on WVOX.

Who are the four jurors appointed by the city? Moises is absolutely right. Who died and left the decision for the future of the Armory design to ArchPaper, whatever the hell that is?

College students are submitting designs? Did their drawings make it to the next round over the people who designed the Barclay Center? Seriously?

And of course, the final insult.

It's not necessary to be "consistent" with the history of the Armory sight, nor the fact that it's one of only two Naval Armories in the United States?

So says "Commissioner" Aragon? Well you know what?, the so called "Commissioner" deserves to be run out of New Rochelle on the same railroad Noam Bramson is using to ride over his fellow citizens on the way to getting his ticket punched for high office in White Plains.

What a disgrace. And what an embarrassment for regular citizens to observe their elected officials acting in this bitter and devious manner.

Noam Bramson: After those college kids finish with their designs for the Armory, maybe they could take a wack at styling your campaign for County Executive? I mean, unless they're busy next week sketching plans for Littoral Combat Warships or a new face lift for No. 1 Times Square.

Why not? It's good enough for New Rochelle.

It is indeed sad to see Bramson suffer from delusional thoughts. I am sure with the right medication he can achieve a full recovery.

I think it is time for the people of New Rochelle, if you aren’t already; you need to get on board with the "Citizens for a Better New Rochelle". Many of the people involved are/were supporters of the mayor and several of the current members of The New Rochelle City Council. This is not a democrat or republican issue; it is a New Rochelle issue. The time table and push for The New Rochelle Waterfront "Design Competition" and The Echo Bay Project is not acceptable. Stop this rush to push these projects through. If the city wants to rush something, it should be a referendum to get the true opinions of the citizens of New Rochelle placed on the ballot for a vote in November. Then we will see what the people want. Stop the politics. It is destroying the future of New Rochelle.

“Citizens for a Better New Rochelle” is a non-political/bipartisan group of New Rochelle citizens with various economic, ethnic, and professional backgrounds. They support transparency and fiscal responsibility in government.

I repeat, The City of New Rochelle keeps following the same path of No Path, make it up as we go along. Development with the same groups of developers, zoning changes for areas with no plan or agreement for construction, Bonding, Fees, disconnect from the citizens, powerless and useless committees and a City Council votes with the same predictable outcome. This must change!

First, New Rochelle needs an updated plan for the area. We don’t seem to follow the 1996 Comprehensive Plan and we haven’t finished the new Comprehensive Plan. We can’t fail again with yet another parcel of city owned property.

I ask everyone to look at some information from the past.I haven’t seen what has been submitted by any of the entrants. You can go back and read my past post from Talk of the Sound from May 3, 2013. ; It contains many links to information from many groups and The City of New Rochelle. It is called:

What ever happened to United We Stand, We need another stint in boot camp!

Look at the work done by The Re-Imagine New Rochelle Group comprised of The Committee to Save Our Armory, New Rochelle Opera and Local Veterans Groups.

The Veterans Center for the Performing Arts, a 500-seat, state-of-the-art theater, will serve as the official home of the New Rochelle Opera and any number of local arts groups. In addition to opera, the theater management will offer entertainment ranging from Broadway plays and musicals to musical concerts and a variety of performance showcase events. Complementing the theater will be space set aside for arts programs including studios for music, voice and dance lessons, actor training and smaller performance spaces.

Review the details, be informed. Let your opinion be known. Write The City Council Members, The City Staff that are involve and lastly write an e-mail to the man in charge William Menking as he is the only contact we have. Here is his email address along with the others:

William Menking [email protected]

The City of New Rochelle

City Council E-Mail Address List

Mayor: Noam Bramson [email protected]
District #6: Shari B. Rackman [email protected]
District #5: Barry Fertel [email protected]
District #4: Ivar Hyden [email protected]
District #3 Jared Rice [email protected]
District #2 Albert Tarantino [email protected]
District #1 Louis Trangucci [email protected]
Development Commissioner
Luiz Aragon [email protected]

The resident taxpayers should have a say in what is selected, but we have been left out of the process. Except for the web site, we have been given little to no information other than the submission requirements on the website:

Mr. Menking is the only contact listed. We don’t know who the members on the judging panel are. How and why were they selected? When were they selected? This should be posted for everyone to see. There needs to be transparency during this competition, no back room deals. Keep us informed, update the citizens and the competition website for the all the New Rochelle residents to see.

Mr. Menking has probably gotten caught up in more of the games we know as New Rochelle politics. I think all of the New Rochelle taxpayers need to have a say in the process. It is a shame that a proposal that was second on the list of the last RFP is not even in the running for the first phase of the competition. The last time the city used an RFP, Good Profit which was backed by the mayor never came through. I don't care whose proposal it was and feel that the Re-Imagine concept was very good. I am not involved with the Save Our Armory Group or with any of the other people involved. I am just an everyday citizen like many of you that wants to see something of value for that sight.

Step up and join in the conversation before we miss the last chance for New Rochelle. Don’t let yet another project be signed off on without the citizens ever having their say.

Will Mr. Menking or the four jurors from ArchPaper, have their taxes or lifestyle affected in any way by whichever plan they will be choosing as the winner of this competition?

And if not, just where is their skin in the game during this asinine process? Will they be moving into Bramson Acres-by-The Sewage Plant?

New Rochelle citizens:

Wake-The-Hell-Up and smell the coffee, before your railroaded.


I'd truly love to what plans were submitted for the Armory. You would think they would have published all of them so the public could have some input. I wonder if they are obtainable through the Freedom of Information Law?

I am also baffled as to how anyone could put together concepts for this armory with financial backing in such a short period of time. Anyone want to bet Forest City was part of the competition and they are going to emerge as the victors?

Bramson is a master at creating the illusion of fairness and democracy when in fact he screwing everyone.


I suggested using a referendum back in day when Ron Tocci had the tax cap on NR. The City was against using such measures to decide controversial issues because they wanted to have greater control over the outcome.

Like I said, you can complain all you want, but the decisions have already been made. Everything that has occurred--the competition, the public hearings etc--are just formalities that they need to get out of the way. This project is going to be approved before the end of the year just in case Bramson leaves for higher office. It's a done deal. Mark my words.

Bramson listened to what everyone had to say but HE feels this is a necessary project that is for the good of the City as a whole. How many ways does he have to say it? He thinks he knows best so there is no need wasting the council's time when there are such "important challenges" to confront. The discussions have ended, and it's time for a final vote.

Wasn't it Robert Moses who took peoples homes so he could build public projects? As he said, "If your going to make an omelet, you have to crack a few eggs." I believe Bramson lives by these words and we are the eggs.

As usual Bob, your comments are spot on. Lets take a look at the Bramson hypocrisy agenda. He has, on many occasions, touted the echo bay disaster as being the result of numerous meetings with residents, gathering their input and comments etc. Echo Bay is a culmination of community involvement. So, where's the community involvement when the Armory is on the table? Still looking? That's because there is none. Bramson will NEVER allow community involvement when it comes to this building solely because he has his own agenda for the property and damn you all if you try to get in the way of this pipe dream of his. C'mon people, follow the history, look at the timeline of events, there is no other conclusion. Decisions made behind closed doors, then find some stooge group to come out and support that predetermined decision.

Am I the only who finds it odd that former District 2 councilwoman Chris Selin is on the "jury" yet the current council representative whose district includes the Armory, councilman Albert Tarantino, was snubbed? I can't wait to see the 12 finalists who had better proposals than the Veterans. There is NO WAY there could be 12 visions better than a performing arts center with Veteran services. This is another example of Bramson's anal mania for total control. Once again the "jury" was stacked with a preconceived outcome as is Noam's MO.

Robert Cox's picture

Certainly Noam has many fans in New Rochelle because people vote for him and support him, mostly from the North End which is 1/3 of the population but more than half the voters.

But this latest example of Bramsonism once again shows why those who do not support Noam tend to hate him with a deep and abiding passion.

Noam contrives outcomes and then declares "the people have spoken".

As usual Noam stacks the deck, deals the cards and announces he is so pleased that he dealt himself a winning hand.

The reality is that few people who live in New Rochelle pay attention to City Council and so have no idea what is going on. Noam crows that he got about 80% of the vote in 2011 but does not mention that was only about 8,000 votes out of 43,000 registered voters so 35,000 voters either voted against him or sat on their hands and chose not to vote at all.

In this case, Noam has tried for years to TEAR DOWN the Armory so watching him pose as the DEFENDER of the Armory is sick-making for those who no better.

Maybe this will be the path to higher office for Noam but should he lose in November the level of euphoria in many parts of New Rochelle will be tempered by the knowledge that New Rochelle is stuck with a guy who is Mayor of a bedroom community/small city who thinks he is a ward boss in Chicago.

It seems Noam has stated the following about Playland:
All County residents deserve an honest discussion about the costs, benefits, and risks associated with any proposal, so that together we can make an informed choice.

I am open-minded about options that could secure Playland’s future, concluded Bramson, but the County must first perform its due diligence in analyzing choices and plans. The review process up until now has been badly broken. We all deserve answers from the County Executive.

Has he forgotten the answers he should be giving the citizens of New Rochelle about the Armory. Sorry I forgot, it's not about counting heads.