A $340,000 “Angelmobile” has started cruising the streets of North Brooklyn, handing out free meals in Williamsburg, Greenpoint and Bushwick. The state-of-the-art food truck– funded in part by Norman Brodsky, the entrepreneur who drew ire from community activists when he held out on selling his valuable waterfront property for parkland— is more than just a mobile soup kitchen. Inside, it has an office space where a rotating array of neighborhood organizations can dole out social services.
Anxiety over the 77-story apartment building coming to the Two Bridges waterfront multiplied last night as neighbors grappled with the possibility that two more towers will join it.
In addition to Extell’s controversial One Manhattan Square, L+M Development Partners are feeling out plans for two 50-story twin towers– one at 265-275 Cherry Street, at Lands End II (a pair of Section-8 housing complexes located on a site that was purchased for $279 million a few years back) and a second at Lands End I (257 South Street), which the firm bought last year. L+M has assured that the existing buildings will maintain their Section 8 designation, and preliminary discussions have indicated that the two new towers would likely go up in the parking lots parcels between the East River and Lands End.
In case you haven’t noticed the litany of passive aggressive, condescending, or otherwise ignorant status updates flooding your Facebook feed, it’s voting day for the New York primaries y’all! And the questions on everyone’s mind remain: Are we Cruzin’ for a Trump bruisin’? And, as Carolyn Hines, a poll station volunteer at Cooper Park Houses joked, “You wanna know if we feelin the Bern or if we Hillary Clinton? Because we can’t really say that.”
But not everyone who visited the East Williamsburg polling station today was in such high spirits, and that’s actually why we showed up on the scene. As we found out on Twitter this morning, some local voters arrived at their designated voting site at the crack of dawn (no doubt some of them hoping to cast their vote before work started this morning) only to find that they were SOL.
As Participatory Budgeting has been adopted here in New York City over the last few years, residents of each participating district can now vote on how to allocate a minimum of $1 million of the city budget to the local improvement efforts they they care most about. In North Brooklyn, the budgetary contenders chosen by neighbors include projects in schools, parks, playgrounds, transportation, and public housing. (Sorry, Lower East Side and East Village– you’re left out again this year.)
Mayor Bill de Blasio’s affordable housing proposal is one step closer to passing after he announced some changes earlier this week. The tweaks responded to many of the concerns expressed by city council members last month, including provisions for deeper affordability levels to help more low-income New Yorkers qualify for apartments. According to Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito, the plan is all but certain to pass when it goes up for a vote next week.
After a hopeful move to a new location, the beleaguered St. Mark’s Bookshop is once again in danger of closing due to a dispute with its landlord. This time, it’s facing possible eviction by the New York City Housing Authority, which alleges that the beloved bookshop owes over $62,000 in rent.
Mayor de Blasio still hasn’t identified the public housing projects that will be targeted for private development under a controversial new plan, but after a meeting last night, it’s clear that the Lower East Side is a strong candidate for the mix of affordable and market-rate housing.
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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A trail of self-praise has followed Citi Bike over the last week. Over 6,000 Citi Bikers pedaled through the city against the Polar Vortex and just yesterday the program announced that it had signed up its 97,000th member. So why is the docking station outside of the Lillian Wald Houses on Avenue D and East 5th Street so often chock full of bright blue bikes?