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The City Just Made It Harder For Your Landlord to Harass You

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(Photo: Tarika Roongsri)

Today Mayor Bill de Blasio signed three new measures into law to prevent the tenant harassment and shady practices that have become so commonplace among New York City landlords, particularly those who own rent stabilized units in rapidly gentrifying areas like North Brooklyn, the East Village, Bowery and the Lower East Side.

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Doe Fund Fights to Keep Sex Offenders Out of Bushwick Shelter, But City Presses On

The Porter Street Shelter, operated by the Doe Fund (Photo via Doe Fund Facebook)

The Porter Avenue Shelter, operated by the Doe Fund (Photo via Doe Fund Facebook)

A fight is brewing between the City and the Doe Fund, a non-profit dedicated to helping provide the homeless with shelter, temporary jobs, and vocational training. The Department of Homeless services has moved to place a number of sex offenders at the organization’s Bushwick facility, but the Doe Fund claims it lacks the resources for what it says is a fundamentally different type of homeless person. After filing a lawsuit against the city, the non-profit is now appealing to the community by way of a petition and a “town hall meeting” held yesterday at its Porter Avenue shelter. But City officials, including local Council Member Antionio Reynoso and Mayor Bill de Blasio’s office, are pushing back.

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City Adds Small Business Advocates; Critics Say It’s Business as Usual

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A bill signed into law today creates small business advocates to serve local entrepreneurs within the Department of Business Services. Sounds like something that might help stem the disappearance of beloved mom-and-pops, right? But members of the group Take Back NYC say that the bill is “phony” and a ploy to distract from the larger issues, like sky-high rent hikes and unfair lease agreements, that are putting local stores out of business.

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Council Member Stages a Sit-In to Try to Save North Brooklyn Community Centers

The Borinquen Plaza Senior Center, which isn't in danger. (Photo: Natalie Rinn)

The Borinquen Plaza Senior Center, which isn’t in danger. (Photo: Natalie Rinn)

This evening, Council Member Antonio Reynoso is planning to sit with seven others in the middle of Ainslie Street with the intention of getting arrested. “This is not something we would have wanted to have done at all,” says Jennifer Gutierrez, a spokesperson for Reynoso’s office. “We’re just frustrated.”

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City Council Unveils $2M Plan to Beef Up Enforcement Against Illegal Airbnb Rentals

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In response to complaints that illegal hotels, including Airbnb rentals that violate the law, are worsening New York City’s lack of affordable housing, undermining the city’s hotel market, and causing safety issues in apartment buildings, New York City Council members have announced a comprehensive plan to double the city department responsible for investigating violations.

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‘Community Gardens District’ Would Prevent Gutting of Greenspace

(Photo: Siempre Verde)

(Photo: Siempre Verde)

While Community Board 3 is staunchly opposed to synthetic greenery, it’s doing everything it can to preserve actual greenspace. The board wants to designate all of the East Village and Lower East Side’s community gardens as parkland, so that they’re protected from future development. Last night, it overwhelmingly approved a resolution to request that the city officially name its area Community Gardens District.
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City Council Passes Bill to Make Public Transit a Less Taxing Experience

(Photo: Ilyse Liffreing)

(Photo: Ilyse Liffreing)

The City Council passed a bill yesterday that would allow New Yorkers to set aside pre-tax pay for public transportation, potentially saving the average commuter hundreds of dollars a year. Just imagine how many Uber rides you could take with that, so as to avoid the miserable G train.
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Chinatown Buses Face Regulation and Riled-Up Residents

Passengers wait for their ride (photo courtesy of "Save Our Streets")

Passengers wait for their ride (photo courtesy of Save LES Streets)

After a two-year grace period, the city is finally moving to enforce legislation that aims to regulate the thriving (and some would say infuriating) Chinatown bus industry, in the hopes of mitigating the “wild west” atmosphere that the throng of ludicrously cheap long-haul carriers have introduced to the affected downtown zones.
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Public Housing Gets Millions to Beef Up Security, But Will It Be Enough?

Dorothea Knox, President of the Tenant Association at Berry Street- South 9th Street Houses (photo: Nicole Disser)

Dorothea Knox, President of the Tenant Association at Berry Street- South 9th Street Houses (photo: Nicole Disser)

Last month the city finally allocated $50 million to security upgrades and “anti-violence initiatives” in its ailing public housing complexes. But of the 15 developments that will see the long called-for funding, just one (Bushwick Houses) is in the Bedford + Bowery coverage area. Meanwhile, several developments in downtown Manhattan and North Brooklyn remain without any security cameras at all.
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This Greenpoint High-Rise Gets to Rise Higher, With More Affordable Housing

(Photo: Natalie Rinn)

The City Council has agreed to let the developer of 77 Commercial Street stack a total of 35 more stories onto two-high rises bound for the Greenpoint waterfront. In return, the neighborhood will get 200 more units of permanently affordable housing, funding for a park where an MTA parking lot now sits, and — among other concessions — assurances that a WalMart isn’t on the way, Council Member Stephen Levin’s office has announced.
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City OKs Parts of Greenpoint Landing; Developer Will Give Millions to Park, School

Stephen Levin at a City Council hearing last week. (Christopher DiScipio)

Stephen Levin at a City Council hearing last week. (Christopher DiScipio)

After a hearing that drew at least one celeb protester, the City Council has approved land use actions for several sections of the impending Greenpoint Landing development. The affected sites include a lot that has been donated by the developers for use as a pre-K-to-8th-grade public school. Greenpoint Landing Associates (GLA), the developers of the site, made several large modifications to their plan before the council approved it yesterday, due largely to negotiations with Greenpoint’s star Council member Stephen Levin.
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Guess Which Superbad Actor Tried to Fight Greenpoint’s New Towers Yesterday

A rendering of 77 Commercial. (Photo: Christopher DiScipio)

A rendering of 77 Commercial. (Photo: Christopher DiScipio)

Councilman Stephen Levin and around 20 others — including an actor you’ve seen in The Departed, Superbad, and Pineapple Express — showed up at City Hall yesterday to fight two massive towers bound for the Greenpoint waterfront.

Having reached the homestretch of the city’s Uniform Land Use Review Procedure, developers of Greenpoint Landing and 77 Commercial tried to sell the City Council’s Land Use committee on their respective proposals, which would add a combined 5,000 apartment units and more than 170,000 square feet of public open space to Greenpoint’s northern shores.
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