Residents, activists, community groups and their elected representatives gathered at the steps of City Hall yesterday afternoon with a Valentine’s Day message for Mayor de Blasio. Their request – to convert the long vacant P.S. 64 building in the East Village into a community center and disallow owner Gregg Singer from developing it into a college dorm.
East Houston street is currently a hotbed of development, as any casual stroll down the street will reveal. Endless scaffolding, boarded-up properties, fences, and signs announcing new things to come line the sidewalks of lots previously occupied by local shops, community facilities, and residential buildings. Although a 2008 rezoning was implemented, ostensibly to preserve the existing buildings and the affordable housing that many of them contained, developers who bought up a sliver of land at 255 East Houston Street may get a special rezoning through of their own.
After 60 days on the table, the city’s offer to pay the former CitiStorage site’s owner $100 million for the final parcel of the long-promised Bushwick Inlet Park has officially expired. With Norman Brodsky’s default rejection of the offer (less than half the $250 million he was hoping for) questions emerge as to whether the Williamsburg waterfront park—which was first promised in 2005 as part of a rezoning deal that allowed for more high-rise developments in the sought-after neighborhood—will ever be completely finished.
City Council members pushed Mayor de Blasio’s new rezoning plan to prioritize deeper affordability during a hearing yesterday on a key pillar of his effort to add 200,000 new affordable units over 10 years. If passed, Mandatory Inclusionary Housing would require new constructions in certain neighborhoods to set aside 25-30 percent of the units as permanently affordable.
“We’re strategically hitting landlords who’ve been displacing thousands of tenants every year,” said Brandon Kielbasa, lead organizer at Cooper Square Committee, a tenant rights organization running since 1959.
Protesters rallied against the development of Broadway Triangle in Williamsburg, saying the proposed housing heavily favors the Hasidic Jewish population over blacks and Latinos. But the property’s developer says it’s all the opposite: opponents of the affordable units are being anti-Semitic.
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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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