Frank Bisignano, co-chief operating officer at JPMorgan Chase & Co. until April, is settling into his job as chief executive officer of First Data Corp., a credit-card transaction processor in Atlanta.
“I have the same picture of Joe Namath in my office as I did at 270 Park,” Bisignano said last night at a gala for the Battery Conservancy, the private arm supporting Battery Park in Lower Manhattan.
The Brooklyn native, 53, called Namath, former Jets quarterback, a “boyhood idol” along with former Mets pitcher Tom Seaver.
“1969 was one of the great years for New York, when the Knicks, the Jets and the Mets all won championships,” he said.
The sports fan also appreciates U.S. history. He pointed to Castle Clinton, a fort built to defend the U.S. in the War of 1812. It later served as the entry point for immigrants before Ellis Island opened in 1892.
He’s made his own memories here too. “I walked through the park every day as I worked on the merger of Shearson and Hutton,” he said, of the Shearson Lehman acquisition of E.F. Hutton & Co. in 1988.
Bisignano lives in Battery Park City. With his new job, he now also has a home in the Buckhead section of Atlanta and a favorite restaurant there, Bistro Niko, where he orders “steak frites and mussels.”
The dinner at the gala by the Cleaver Co. featured spring pea soup, mahi mahi roasted in a banana leaf, and lavender panna cotta.
It was served in a tent on the water as the sun set and the Hornblower Hybrid yacht, in the Statue Cruises fleet, passed by.
Between courses, Bisignano, a board member of the Battery Conservancy, received the Battery Medal for Corporate Leadership.
Warrie Price, the president of the conservancy, and Bill Rudin, its chairman, praised Bisignano for his commitment to helping the Battery recover after superstorm Sandy; 46 percent of the plants in flooded gardens were lost, and the conservancy had to find new office space.
Fortunately the under-construction SeaGlass was not flooded. It’s a carousel-like attraction that will offer a ride inside one of 30 fish. Project manager Pat Kirshner said it will open in about five months.
Mark E. Almeida, president of Moody’s Analytics, and Jeffrey P. Hughes, vice chairman of the Cypress Group LLC, were among the co-chairmen of the event, which drew 400 guests and raised $1.1 million.
The evening ended with a light show at SeaGlass set to “Under the Sea” from “The Little Mermaid.” Standing along a fence on the site, guests saw swirls of blue and green light up the curves of the shell-like building.
“It’s the inky blue we first imagined,” said Claire Weisz, founder of WXY Architecture & Urban Design, who conceived and worked on the project.
Light patterns of pink and yellow fish scales were cast inside the structure, where the fish, arriving this summer, will be placed.
Ten of the SeaGlass fish are still available for “adoption” for $100,000 each -- the rest are already spoken for. To further help fundraising, the conservancy solicited sealed bids (due Friday) for a first-preview experience of SeaGlass, before it opens to the public.
(Amanda Gordon is a writer and photographer for Muse, the arts and leisure section of Bloomberg News. Any opinions expressed are her own.)