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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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What Will Happen to Clinton Street, the ‘Toss-Up’ of the Lower East Side?

Clinton Ink next to Koneko Cat Cafe (Photo by Kavitha Surana)

Clinton Ink next to Koneko Cat Cafe (Photo by Kavitha Surana)

Lillian Melendez still remembers when Clinton Street was a destination for anyone planning a sweet sixteen, baby shower or wedding. “If you were having a party, you had to come to Clinton,” she said. “Clinton was famous, everybody knew Clinton.” As a child she spent afternoons playing in her mother’s shop, Genesis Party Supplies at 97 Clinton, packed with custom wedding and bridesmaids dresses, speciality balloons and centerpieces and themed baby shower chairs and pins. Back then, Genesis held court with three other Latino party shops on that stretch of the block alone– if a customer didn’t find what they wanted at Genesis, her mom would send them next door or across the street.

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As Vote Looms, Tenants Ask Rent Guidelines Board to Give Them a Break

RGB public hearing attendees protest embattled landlord Steven Croman. (Photo: Karissa Gall)

RGB public hearing attendees protest embattled landlord Steven Croman. (Photo: Karissa Gall)

How many landlords does it take to change a lightbulb? Metropolitan Council on Housing volunteer Mary Crosby posed the rhetorical question to members of the Rent Guidelines Board at last night’s public hearing at Cooper Union. “None, because everyone knows landlords don’t do repairs anymore,” she said. Here’s another one for you: how many owners does it take to change a lightbulb? You’ll never guess… it’s also “none,” she said, “because the owners have removed the light sockets during an eviction.”

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Breakthrough in Effort to Limit Height of Chinatown Buildings, But Some Are Torn

(Photo by Kavitha Surana)

(Photo by Kavitha Surana)

An opening for the Chinatown Working Group’s rezoning proposal may finally be on the horizon. Last night, Community Board 3’s chair, Gigi Li, presented a new development to the Land Use Committee– after two years of sending resolutions supporting the plan to the Department of City Planning, its director, Carl Weisbrod, responded on June 7th expressing willingness to engage in discussion. Still, some community groups remain frustrated that the rezoning process isn’t moving fast enough to keep up with the quickening pace of high-rise development, while board members warned that unity from various stakeholders would be key to achieve comprehensive changes.

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Attention, Dr. Jay’s Shoppers: Bowery Tenants Take the Fight to Landlord’s Store

(Photo by Kavitha Surana)

(Photo by Kavitha Surana)

This morning shoppers looking for American flag swimsuits or bright-patterned leggings at Dr. Jay’s streetwear store in downtown Brooklyn were greeted by a flurry of slogans and posters decrying the brand’s owner, Joseph Betesh, as a slumlord. Tenants from 83 and 85 Bowery were gathered with local activists out front, chanting against Betesh’s efforts to evict them.

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Thousand Dollar Listing Guy Gets Hired By Million Dollar Listing Guy

(Photos courtesy Noah Kaplan)

(Photos courtesy Noah Kaplan)

Take Million Dollar Listing New York, add some Lonely Island-esque musical comedy, subtract a few zeros, and you’ve got Thousand Dollar ListingCreated by and starring 30-year-old struggling apartment broker Noah Kaplan, the series pilot sheds light on the tough-sell conditions (no windows, no AC) that characterize low(er)-cost tenements in Williamsburg and Bushwick, and keep Kaplan from pocketing even relatively petty commissions. 

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Short Film Captures the Lower East Side Before Essex Crossing Changes the Fabric

via Off Track Betty

via Off Track Betty

With the streets of the Lower East Side reshaping themselves faster than any of us can keep track, it’s easy to become a wistful piner for the “good old days,” when a storied building with a 100-year-old storefront was your neighbor instead of all these fresh new high rises. (A teaser site for the Essex Crossing condo building on Broome Street was just released today; the first of its 10 buildings is expected to be finished in the fall.) One longtime resident, Clayton Dean Smith, decided to channel that urge to preserve the neighborhood into an artistic outlet. Maybe he couldn’t save all the buildings he’d come to love over his 16 years in the area, but he could use some of them for the backdrop of a short film that serves as a living time capsule of the neighborhood as it currently exists (or existed, only a year and half ago).

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Chinatown Advocates Demand Community Board Action on Push to Limit Building Heights

I’m here to tell the CB, please take a stand to support us, to be on our side, not on extell’s side not on the developer’s side

(Photo by Kavitha Surana)

You gotta give it to the Coalition to Protect Chinatown and their friends–they are persistent AF, despite long odds. In their eight-year quest to pass the Chinatown Working Group rezoning proposal, a plan that would create a new special district with more height restrictions and protections to fend off sky-high luxury towers, they’ve kept up a steady stream of rallies against new developments, marches in support of tenants, held town halls (trying to invite the mayor), and even hand-delivered a “gift” to Gracie Mansion.

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The Gentrification Art Show That Inspires ‘Intentional Awkwardness’

via Month2Month

via Month2Month

In New York dingy, overpriced studio apartments manage to command bidding wars, while longtime city-dwellers with sweet rent-regulated deals have come to expect landlord harassment. Meanwhile, archaic affordable-housing lotteries regularly have something like 56,000 people fighting over a handful of slots. We’ve all hear these stories (many times) before– but this city is so wildly unequal that it sometimes feels like we’re all living in separate bubbles, ones that are often completely different from the ones where our neighbors dwell.

But what if you could actually step into the shoes of (or slide into bed with) a New Yorker on the other side of the tracks, so to speak, for a few nights?

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Fat Radish Had their Building Sold, But Ain’t Growing Nowhere

via Eastern Consolidated

via Eastern Consolidated

This morning, real-estate brokerage firm Eastern Consolidated announced that the retail condo at 17 Orchard Street– otherwise known as homebase of The Fat Radish– was sold. The 2,500 square-foot space was snatched up for $2.5 million by Elijah Equities (a real-estate company that recently made headlines for leasing their 5th avenue storefront to a Chinese burger chain, Uncle Sam Fast Food).

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How an Apartment Guru Saved My Tiny Home from the Clutches of Clutter

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Some people can work wonders in small quarters. (Remember that beautifully organized, itty-bitty kitchen-shower apartment?) I am not one of those people. I’ve lived in a 350-square-foot Lower East Side apartment with my husband for four years, and during that time I’ve managed to keep it in an almost uninterrupted state of mess (except when guests come to stay).

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The Astor Place Cube Returns Next Month

The Design Pavilion being set up. (Photo: Daniel Maurer)

The Design Pavilion being set up. (Photo: Daniel Maurer)

It was a year and a half ago that the Astor cube got boxed up and carted away, and the city hasn’t been the same since. I’m neither a psychologist nor a geologist, but I’m willing to bet that the removal of the Alamo took the very earth off of its axis, causing the mass imbalance of brain chemistry that led to the imminent nomination of Donald J. Trump.

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