Some rich New Yorkers prefer publicly bending the world to their will—those gauche billionaires make us laugh and run the city, but where's the romance? Where's the mystery? Where are the Feeneys? Today the Times hones in on New York City's shadowy philanthropist of the moment, 47-year-old Joshua Rechnitz, who recently donated $40 million to build a velodrome and fieldhouse at Pier 5 next to the Brooklyn Bridge Park, and also purchased a warehouse/illicit art space in Gowanus referred to as The Batcave for $7 million.

Rechnitz, who is "shy by nature" and, according to one of his friends, "One of the most frugal people I know," rents a modest apartment on West 74th Street and has enjoyed cycling since he was a kid growing up in New Jersey. The fieldhouse will include a 200-meter cycling track (like New York City's velodromes of yore) and enough room for "thousands of spectators." Rechnitz's spokeswoman said that her employer "wants to develop a space for artists to create and display art" in the Batcave, but knew little else about the project.

Not everyone is thrilled with the concept of a velodrome in Brooklyn: “It’s just so self-evident that this is his personal passion,” co-chairman of the Brooklyn Bridge Park Community Council, Peter Flemming says. “The track-cycling community is devout, I’m sure. The snowboard community is devout, too. There’s no sport that doesn’t have its devotees. He’s paying for his building, and then the city gets stuck with it.” Well if you've got a better idea for funding parks without sucking from the gilded teat, we'd love to hear it (seriously).

Here's video of Rechnitz being interviewed about his plan for a velodrome in Harlem in 2009. Sure he looks like a guy who makes windchimes out of wishbones in a Kent Avenue boutique (Rechnitz asked the filmographer, Suzanna Troy, to take it down. She declined: "It's authentic; you look like a Williamsburg hipster") but at least he's not pumping gas.