After 60 days on the table, the city’s offer to pay the former CitiStorage site’s owner $100 million for the final parcel of the long-promised Bushwick Inlet Park has officially expired. With Norman Brodsky’s default rejection of the offer (less than half the $250 million he was hoping for) questions emerge as to whether the Williamsburg waterfront park—which was first promised in 2005 as part of a rezoning deal that allowed for more high-rise developments in the sought-after neighborhood—will ever be completely finished.
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.
About 100 people came out to the Bowery today for a press conference, where 27 families living in 83 and 85 Bowery spoke out against poor living conditions, according to David Tieu of The Coalition to Protect Chinatown and the Lower East Side. The tenants say the new owner, Joseph Betesh of Milestone Equities, has allowed the buildings to fall into disrepair and is refusing to renew their leases, and they plan to fight back to remain in their homes.
Last week New York City’s Public Advocate, Letitia James, released the annual NYC Landlord Watchlist (established by Bill de Blasio back in 2010), which includes a long list of landlords who have accrued a significant amount of violations from the Department of Housing Preservation and Development (HPD). And lucky for us, we’ve got plenty of slumlords to call our own.
With its fight against the New York Attorney General simmering, a new campaign has been launched to fight Airbnb. is a group of community activists, organizations, elected officials, and others who went public today with an assault on the apartment-sharing service, which they believe is more of a disservice to the community.