Housing + Development

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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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Facing Pressure From Pols, Dr. Jays Mogul Backtracks on Evicting Bowery Tenants

Congresswoman Nydia Velazquez speaking (Photo by Kavitha Surana)

Congresswoman Nydia Velazquez speaking (Photo by Kavitha Surana)

Landlords are on notice–yesterday Steve Croman was charged with 20 felony counts and using illegal tactics to push tenants out of his buildings. Today Public Advocate Letitia James and Congresswoman Nydia Velazquez kept up the heat, using their clout to influence the outcome of a prominent tenant-landlord dispute in Chinatown. Standing outside the state supreme courthouse, the two railed against landlord Joseph Betesh (also owner of the Dr. Jays streetwear brand), accusing him of using “illegal practices” to evict 27 families at 83 and 85 Bowery.

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Landlord Steve Croman Charged With Criminal Fraud and Pushing Out Tenants

George Tzannes, a Croman tenant from the East Village last month (Photo: Luisa Rollenhagen)

George Tzannes, a Croman tenant from the East Village last month (Photo: Luisa Rollenhagen)

Just a month ago we followed faith leaders and tenants as they tried to meet their landlord, Steve Croman of 9300 Realty (and honoree on The Village Voice‘s New York City’s 10 worst landlords list twice–once in 1998 and again in 2014). They wanted to deliver letters from 32 different religious figures, decrying Croman’s alleged tenant harassment tactics, such as cutting gas and heat, dangerous construction, low buyouts, and threatening frivolous lawsuits.

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Owner of Bowery Bank Building to Pay $7 Million for Art Tax Evasion

Germania Bank (Photo by Scott Lynch)

Germania Bank (Photo by Scott Lynch)

Aby J. Rosen, owner of the gloriously graffitied Germania Bank building at 190 Bowery (soon to be outfitted as a high-end office building for fashion agencies and archives) is in the news today for something other than his disruptive real estate moves on landmarked buildings (in case you forgot, he also pissed off preservationists two years ago, when he displaced The Four Seasons restaurant and its Picasso curtain painting from the Seagram Building).

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Los Sures, a Time Capsule of Bygone Williamsburg, Gains Wider Distribution

via Metrograph

via Metrograph

Couldn’t get enough of Los Sures, the time capsule documentary of life in Puerto Rican Williamsburg back in 1984? You weren’t alone. The film, originally slated to run a week at Metrograph, the Lower East Side’s new arthouse film mecca, grossed $25,000 its first week and was extended for a second week. Playing mostly full houses, it eventually netted a holy-moly $60,000.

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Meet Fabrice Grinda, the Minimalist in the $6 Million LES Penthouse

(Photo by Kavitha Surana)

(Photo by Kavitha Surana)

As he rang in 2015, Fabrice Grinda, a 41-year-old tech entrepreneur from France, took stock of his life. He’d been living out of suitcases for the past four years, globetrotting and swinging between upscale hotels and top-notch Airbnbs. He decided it was time to “partially re-materialize.” Not settle down with a white picket fence (horrors!) — nothing drastic — but simply find a simple New York landing pad he could call his own.

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New Supertall Joining Extell on the Waterfront Draws Resident Ire

Courtesy JDS/SHoP

Courtesy JDS/SHoP

The area known as Two Bridges, below the Lower East Side, melting into Chinatown and hemmed in by the waterfront, has long been defined by its mix of mid-rise low-income public housing and affordable housing buildings. Now, within a matter of years it will suddenly have at least two towering skyscrapers in its midst.

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WNYC’s Gentrification Podcast Is a Wrap, But the Conversation Continues IRL

via WNYC

via WNYC

If you care about the gold rush sweeping Brooklyn and you haven’t been listening to WNYC’s There Goes the Neighborhood podcast…well, you must be living under a rock (or maybe in Tribeca). The eight-episode capsule podcast, hosted by The Nation‘s Kai Wright, is required listening. From studying landlord and developer tactics to understanding people’s complicated relationships with their homes and neighborhoods, it goes beyond the constant stream of tenant harassment cases to really try to make sense of the historical and social context around the recent developments in the changing the city.

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De Blasio Makes It Rain, Pours More Money Into East River Flood Protection

We all remember when superstorm Sandy plunged the East Village into darkness after a 14-foot storm surge caused an explosion at the ConEd station (in fact, there’s a movie out Friday set during that very historical moment in 2011). Luckily, we haven’t seen any storms of that scale since, but Mayor Bill de Blasio isn’t taking any chances. Today he announced more funding for the city’s climate resiliency plan as part of the 2017 city budget. The waterfront plans aren’t just going to protect Manhattan from more flooding– they’ll also double as a huge new public space. 
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Bushwickers Rally Against Gentrification as Pols Decry ‘The Great Rip-Off of Our Time’

Marchers in Bushwick (Photos: Daniel Hoffman)

Marchers in Bushwick (Photos: Daniel Hoffman)

A few hundred longtime residents marched through Bushwick this morning to protest fast-paced gentrification and demand stronger rent stabilization laws and an end to legal loopholes. Students, clergy leaders, business owners and families displayed signs in English and Spanish, loudly drummed on buckets, and chanted slogans such as “Fight, fight, fight, ‘cause housing is a right!” Halfway through the march, the crowd stopped on Knickerbocker Avenue for a common prayer for “more justice to save our community.”

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