Housing + Development

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What’s Up With the Lower East Side Ferry?

(image: Tara Yarlagadda)

On a cloudy May morning, maintenance workers were busy prepping the launch pad of the Stuyvesant Cove/Town stop on the Lower East Side ferry route. But the boarding ramp connecting the East River Bikeway along FDR Drive with the ferry launch pad remained roped off. An older gentleman named Bruce Goldstein, passing by on his Citi Bike, halted to inquire about this still-closed stop. More →

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Help Bring Cup & Saucer’s Storefront Back to Life in a LES Park

Mock-up courtesy of Karla and James Murray.

Last July, when Cup and Saucer closed due to a rent hike after more than 75 years in business, the throwback luncheonette was mourned by Lower East Siders. The mom-and-pop diner has now been replaced by a chicken and pizza joint, but its storefront, at least, will return to the neighborhood in the form of a tribute that will live in Seward Park for a year. Karla and James Murray, the East Village photographers whose Store Front books document some of the city’s iconic and evocative facades, are creating a structure displaying near-life-size versions of four of their photos. “Mom & Pops of the LES,” as the project is called, is described in a Kickstarter campaign as “an artistic intervention and a plea for recognition of the unique and irreplaceable contribution made to New York by small, often family-owned businesses.”

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Meet the New Yorkers Who Might Actually Benefit From the L-pocalypse

With the L-pocalypse nearly a year away, the MTA and DOT have assured those living along the L train line that they’ll boost service on the G and JMZ lines, create a “busway” on 14th Street, and make cycling between Brooklyn and Manhattan safer. But that hasn’t quelled the fears and frustrations of those living in either borough; anger has been directed toward MTA officials at public meetings, and a federal lawsuit has even been filed.

There are some New Yorkers, however, who stand to benefit as a result of the closure, which may come as a surprise to negatively-affected residents. Of the approximately 250,000 who are going to be impacted, the L train shutdown is providing rare and exciting opportunities for a lucky few. Play our video to meet the lucky few.

Video by James Fox.

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New Yorkers Demanding a Rent Freeze Told to Take a Hike; Board Votes For Increases

(Photo Dave Colon)

Protesters drowned out members of the Rent Guidelines Board last night following the defeat of a proposed rent freeze on rent-stabilized apartments across the city. Instead the board settled on proposed increases between .75 percent and 2.75 percent for one-year leases and between 1.75 percent and 3.75 percent for two-year leases, before leaving the stage to chanting and boos.

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Williamsburg Luxury Apartment Dwellers Get Ad-Blaring Cars to Survive the L-Pocalpyse

(Courtesy of Level bk)

Luxury apartment amenities tend toward the ridiculous, as if a wine tasting room is going to justify paying $3,000 for a studio. (And what exactly is an “arts and crafts atelier,” anyway?) But this one is admittedly pretty sweet. Residents of Williamsburg’s Level bk tower are getting access to e-cars. Hey, at least someone will survive the impending L-pocalypse.

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City Seeks to Streamline Landmarking Process, But Public Doesn’t Want to Be Shut Out

(Sign provided by the Greenwich Village Society for Historic Preservation)

The Landmarks Preservation Commission wants to speed up its approval of certain building modifications by eliminating public hearings, but preservationists argued yesterday that the move would silence New Yorkers concerned about the historic fabric of their neighborhoods. At a hearing replete with criticism, pleas, hissing, and head-shaking, the crowd spilled out into the hall, brandishing signs that read KEEP YOUR PRESERVATION HATS ON and DON’T CUT THE PUBLIC OUT OF THE PROCESS. More →

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Williamsburg’s Dime Savings Bank Is a Newly Minted Landmark

(Photo via CharneyConstruction.com)

Williamsburg’s Dime Savings Bank has been declared a New York City landmark. The unanimous vote at a Landmarks Preservation Commission hearing today was cast two weeks after a public hearing in which the historical designation was supported by individuals such as the property owner and City Council member Antonio Reynoso. As an LPC staff member noted, the building’s elegant design along with the history associated with Williamsburg’s historic financial center were significant reasons to justify the building as a landmark.  More →

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Lawsuit Temporarily Halts Controversial Development at Pfizer Site in Williamsburg

The developer of a controversial project in South Williamsburg was hit with a restraining order yesterday that temporarily bars the construction of eight buildings on the former Pfizer site. The move came after several Brooklyn residents and activist groups filed a lawsuit claiming that the city failed to protect communities of color when it cleared the way for the new buildings in the Broadway Triangle area. Plaintiffs claim that the city and Mayor de Blasio ignored their obligations under federal law when they approved a rezoning for the project.

The plaintiffs, led by a coalition of churches in the Broadway Triangle area, argue that the Pfizer project will raise rents in the surrounding area, causing residents of color, and especially Latino families, to be pushed out. Three of the plaintiffs have already suffered landlord harassment and are in danger of losing their homes, the suit claims. More →

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LES Landlord Sami Mahfar Settles Tenant Harassment Case

The State Attorney General has reached a settlement with Sassan “Sami” Mahfar, the embattled landlord accused of illegally harassing tenants of his Lower East Side buildings in an effort to displace them. As part of the $225,000 settlement, companies owned by Sassan “Sami” Mahfar and Sina Mahfar will pay $175,000 to the city’s Department of Housing Preservation and Development and its efforts to combat lead poisoning.

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