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.
If the Olympics put you in the mood for serving and spiking, here’s some good news: The Henry M. Jackson Playground is getting a volleyball area. It’s just one of many perks coming to two Lower East Side playgrounds as part of a city initiative to modernize ailing parks.
Last night council members Margaret Chin and Rosie Mendez visited Community Board 3 to face the music and explain their votes on the mayor’s affordable housing and rezoning plan, which was approved by the City Council in March. The plan will allow developers to build higher in rezoned neighborhoods, but require them to include at least 25 percent affordable housing in all new buildings.
Democratic District Leader Alice Cancel picked up two more endorsements today in the run up to a special election on April 19 to replace Sheldon Silver’s seat in the New York State Assembly. Both Margaret Chin and Rosie Mendez, downtown councilmembers, said Cancel was the right choice for the job.
“Alice knows the community, she knows our schools, she knows our small businesses, she knows about public housing and she’s worked with the tenants,” said Chin in her endorsement. “She’s a district leader that works with the elected officials. When there’s a problem in the community, she calls them.”
That is not a Mucinex hallucination: I just used the words “quick and painless” about government bureaucracy. Thanks, Obama! Or: thanks, Rosie Mendez. The council member is part of a group of local officials that helped install a temporary ID NYC enrollment center in the East Village.
After finding out about the pop-up at 25 Avenue D and going online earlier this afternoon to discover there was an appointment available in just 10 minutes, I booked it and headed over there. I was in and out in about 15 minutes — no line, no wait, no nothing. All I had to do was fill out a one-page form, present the pertinent documents (in my case, a passport and a utility bill), and pose for a photo. Despite horror stories in the wake of the program’s launch about a year ago, it took me less time than it does to score a pint of Haagen Dazs at my corner bodega when there’s a drunk girl in front of me scouring her Marc Jacobs bag for nickels.
Karen Platt has been channeling her frustrations through the satisfying scrape of chalk across concrete. After years of living with dust, noise, and health hazards caused by construction, repeated and seemingly relentless service cut-offs, and what she says are intentional moves by her landlord to clear her (and other rent-regulated tenants like her) out of her longtime home at 522 East 5th Street in the East Village, Platt’s sidewalk messages reveal she has reached a breaking point: “Lack of services is harassment” and “Enough is Enough.”
As Platt explained to B+B, since Icon Realty Management bought her building, things took a turn for the miserable. “I’ve lived in New York my whole life and I’ve never, ever been treated like this,” she said.
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.
A little over two months after the Second Avenue gas explosion, local politicians and a small group of community members toured the still-smarting small businesses around the blast site.
“It’s been a long two and a half weeks,” City Council Member Rosie Mendez said today at a meeting with owners of East Village businesses affected by the gas explosion of March 26. Among those who’ve survived the aftermath of the tragedy are the owners of Italian restaurant Via Della Pace on East 7th Street, just across from the blast site.
While Community Board 3 is staunchly opposed to synthetic greenery, it’s doing everything it can to preserve actual greenspace. The board wants to designate all of the East Village and Lower East Side’s community gardens as parkland, so that they’re protected from future development. Last night, it overwhelmingly approved a resolution to request that the city officially name its area Community Gardens District.
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Mayor de Blasio received an unusual gift on Three King’s Day when picketers gathered outside City Hall to protest the loss of a beloved East Ninth Street community center. The protestors, backed by Councilwoman Rosie Mendez, collected more than 500 signatures to go along with nearly 2,000 holiday cards, all addressed to the mayor and asking for just one thing this holiday season: That the former CHARAS/El Bohio building be returned to the community.
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Don’t be that guy at the end of the bar muttering the word “gentrification” over and over again — do something about the anxiety-inducing state of housing and development (or at least learn more about how to do something) at these upcoming community forums.
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