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Westminster Cares? Tenants of Trump Son-in-Law Jared Kushner Say Not So Much

One of Jared Kushner's buildings, 118 East 4th Street, where tenants have taken legal action against their landlord (Photo courtesy of Streeteasy)

One of Jared Kushner’s buildings, 118 East 4th Street, where tenants have taken legal action against their landlord (Photo courtesy of Streeteasy)

After months of pleading with Westminster City Living to restore cooking gas and address a litany of repairs in her aging East Village tenement building, Jennifer Hengen and other members of the 118 East 4th Street tenant association had reached their breaking point. “It was like waiting for Godot,” she recalled.

Not only had the building’s real-estate management company, headed by Donald Trump’s son-in-law Jared Kushner, neglected to fix problems in her building, and many more across the neighborhood, but tenants felt as if the problems didn’t really matter to management. “We’re invisible to them because we’re not millionaires,” she said. “I just don’t think we’re taken very seriously– number one, because we’re not in one of the big, shiny buildings and, number two, because we are rent-stabilized.”

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How a Bunch of Brave New Futurists Zapped the Old Pearl River Mart Back to Life

A booth dedicated to the old Pearl River Mart (Photo: Nicole Disser)

A booth dedicated to the old Pearl River Mart (Photo: Nicole Disser)

“Preservationist” has become something of a slur, used to denigrate the old-timers and neo-hippies who’d rather save ratty old tenant buildings and dusty mom-and-pop stores than make way for clean big-box stores with cheap stuff for everyone, and skyscraping mixed-use luxury complexes with their affordable housing pittance. It’s sorta like: C’mon, New York City is, by its nature, dynamic and changing. But the ever-faster pace of development and the lightyear rate of change have made for an urban landscape where transformation takes place exponentially and squeezes out the very people who have made this city vibrant and interesting in the first place.

Over the weekend, a slew of more than 40 local and visiting artists, as well as organizations like the Chinatown Art Brigade (a grassroots effort tackling the divisive issue of gallery-led gentrification in their neighborhood) demonstrated that preservation doesn’t have to be backward-looking.

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Protesters Urge Council Member to Curb Luxury Housing in Chinatown and LES

De Blasio as Monopoly man. (Photo: Nicole Disser)

De Blasio as Monopoly man. (Photo: Nicole Disser)

Perhaps you thought that the Coalition to Protect Chinatown and the Lower East Side sounded angry earlier this year when about 60 activists associated with the group gathered outside Gracie Mansion in the bitter February cold to protest the mayor’s “big scam” of a housing plan. But that demonstration was nothing compared to the one staged Thursday, when the Coalition led a large, supremely loud protest against the loss of affordable housing.

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The 11 A-holes You Meet in Renderings

120 North 6th Street

120 North 6th Street

Whenever we ogle the renderings of future buildings slated for construction, our eye is drawn to the aspirational humans within. They’re always pretty good for a laugh, and an idea of what the developers are after, despite their lip service to affordable housing and community spaces.

Where are the teens of color hanging out, street vendors selling fruit or tamales, Chinese seniors doing tai chi? Maybe architecture firms should take a cue from Barbie and diversify their paper dolls? Here’s a roundup of some of the “types” we’ve glimpsed traipsing through the future versions of North Brooklyn and the Lower East Side. Welcome your new neighbors!

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New Millennial-Friendly Hotel Threatens Historic East Village Tenements

Protestors organized against the new Moxy Hotel and demolition of historic buildings (Photo: Nicole Disser)

Protestors organized against the new Moxy Hotel and demolition of historic buildings (Photo: Nicole Disser)

Yesterday afternoon a group of vocal protesters gathered along East 11th Street, facing a row of historic brick buildings they’re intent on saving from demolition at the hands of one of the city’s most prolific developers. The structures in question are a streak of five residential buildings, all of them five-story, Old Law tenements that, according to the Greenwich Village Society for Historic Preservation, have changed little since they were built between 1887 and 1892.

GVSHP and the other preservation groups that organized yesterday’s protest– including the Historic Districts Council, the Lower East Side Preservation Initiative and the East Village Community Coalition– are appealing to the city’s Landmarks and Preservation Commission to come through with an eleventh-hour historic district designation that would thwart plans for a 300-room hotel.

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New, Upscale ‘Industrial Arts Complex’ for Bushwick Artists in Search of ‘Dynamic’ Spaces

(Rendering courtesy of Mann Group)

(Rendering courtesy of Mann Group)

We’ve known about the impending “injection of luxury” slated for Bushwick– the three- and four-story types have been popping up for a while now, and emerging residential plans are starting to look more and more like the glassy condominium buildings and fancy new high-rises of the Williamsburg waterfront and Lower East Side. The neighborhood got its very first boutique hotel earlier this year and continues to see the development of fancy-dorm-like compounds, Colony 1209 for one. Hell, Bushwick’s even getting its very own “European Village” (although not everyone’s ready to welcome the newcomers’ plans to “interrupt” the current order).

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New Report Shows Housing Inventory’s Up, Brooklyn Rents Drop (Barely)

(Photo: Daniel Maurer)

(Photo: Daniel Maurer)

NYC real estate firm Douglas Elliman published a report this morning, showing that the development boom in New York City has had a significant impact on the real estate market. According to the report, the available housing stock has increased dramatically over the last year: the listing inventory for rentals in Brooklyn went up by 29.6 and just slightly more in Manhattan that saw a 30.3 percent increase in the last year.

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With City’s Offer Expired, Sun Might Be Setting on Bushwick Inlet Park

(Photo: Matthew Caton)

(Photo: Matthew Caton)

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.

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Sparkly New Condo Smells Funny? Find Out If It’s Industrial Poison With This Map

(Screenshot via ToxiCity map, Neighbors Allied for Good Growth and Pratt)

(Screenshot via ToxiCity map, Neighbors Allied for Good Growth and Pratt)

Depending on where you look, North Brooklyn is still replete with rusty reminders of its fairly recent manufacturing past, but as that history recedes farther off into the distance, pushed along by developers mining the cityscape for residential conversions (and now, slick new tech office space too), the memory of what stood there before is fading too. The area’s transformation has proceeded so quickly and dramatically that many new residents have no idea that they’re living next to an old pencil factory, or in some cases a Brownfield site.

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Notorious East Village Landlord Uses Street Art to Paint a Prettier Picture

(Photo: Nicole Disser)

(Photo: Nicole Disser)

Earlier this year, when the East Village’s beloved Stage Restaurant closed in the wake of a dispute with its landlord Icon Realty Management, Brooklyn-based artist Gilf! plastered the diner’s former home with caution tape reading “Gentrification in Progress.” It wasn’t the first time one of the company’s properties was the site of artistic protest: Karen Platt, a resident of an Icon-owned building on East 5th Street, has been known to chalk up the sidewalk with messages like “Enough Is Enough,” and over July 4th weekend, someone spray-painted a message on the sidewalk in front of the now for-rent Stage space that advised, “DO NOT RENT HERE. DO NOT BUY HERE. BOYCOTT IN EFFECT.”

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Anarchists Aiming to Stop ‘Bushwick II’ Development in Its Tracks

The Base, Bushwick’s anarchist hub. (Photo: Karissa Gall)

The Base, Bushwick’s anarchist hub. (Photo: Karissa Gall)

It was difficult to ignore the fluttering signs at last week’s Bushwick Community Plan meeting. Sure, they were black-and-white, only about as big as two sheets of computer paper and just as flimsy, but there were tons of them. As City Council members Antonio Reynoso and Rafael Espinal touted their community-driven alternative to developer-led change, almost everyone sitting in front of them seemed to be holding a flyer reading: “EVICT THE RICH.” The rallying cry may have been more Mao Tse-tung than #BushwickBerners, but the Brooklyn Solidarity Network (BSN) couldn’t have been more serious. 

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Bushwickers Are Making a Community Plan Before Developers Make It For Them

Antonio Reynoso speaks at the Bushwick Community Plan open house (Photo: Nicole Disser)

Antonio Reynoso speaks at the Bushwick Community Plan open house (Photo: Nicole Disser)

A slew of city agencies and elected officials are asking Bushwick residents for direct input on how best to handle the rapid change that’s consuming the neighborhood.

“We’re here to make sure we give the people the opportunity to make a decision on what their neighborhood’s going to look like in the future,” City Council member Antonio Reynoso told the crowd at a Monday meeting at Ridgewood Bushwick Youth Center. Among the areas of concern: population growth, demographic shifts, the loss of affordable housing, an influx of luxury housing, private interests, and businesses that cater toward the moneyed. In other words, gentrification.

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