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Council Member Defends ‘Tech Hub’ Vote in Wake of Heated Criticism

Rendering of the Union Square Tech Hub at 120 East 14th Street. (Courtesy of the Mayor’s Office).

As you may have heard, the city’s proposed (and controversial) $250 million, 21-story retail and tech center off of Union Square moved forward last week. Council Member Carlina Rivera was key to the City Council’s unanimous vote, as her district will be most severely impacted by the so-called “Tech Hub.” During last year’s election, Rivera had even campaigned in part on the tech center, proposed for the site of the former PC Richard & Son at 120 East 14th Street. In a previous hearing on it, Rivera had said that without additional zoning protections south of 14th Street for local tenants and assurances that the building would indeed serve low-income earners, immigrants and residents of color—including tuition scholarships for tech training—that her vote was “seriously in question.”

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Carlina Rivera Is a ‘Shero,’ and Now She Wants to Be East Village and LES Council Rep

(Photo: Carlina Rivera on Instagram)

Lifelong Lower East Side resident Carlina Rivera is a frontrunner to be a City Council member representing District 2, where her current boss Rosie Mendez is on the way out. She’s racked up at least $176,000 in fundraising and she received praise and promises of votes when she attended an anti-Starbucks rally in the East Village last month. If Rivera wins the primary election on September 12, she’ll continue her campaign to represent the East Village, Gramercy Park, Kips Bay, Lower East Side, Murray Hill and Rose Hill. We met with her at Alphabet City’s Ninth Street Espresso to talk about her campaign, local issues, and her sheroes.

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Bitterness Over St. Marks Starbucks

(Photo: Shannon Barbour)

Hell no, we won’t Frappuccino. 

Nearly 50 residents, small business owners, activists and crusties alike attended an anti-Starbucks rally Thursday evening in the East Village.
The crowd gathered at St. Marks and Avenue A, where the chain plans to open a new store, to discuss what another Starbucks would mean for the community. Increased corporate presence, increased rents, increased tenant harassment, increased property taxes, increased vacant properties, decreased retail diversity, decreased community involvement– the list of fears went on.

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