All posts by Devin Gannon

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Policy

airbnb, airbnb logo, short term rentals

With the announcement of Mayor de Blasio’s new executive budget on Wednesday, the shaky relationship between the short-term rental company Airbnb and New York City continues. As reported by Crain’s, the city plans to crack down on illegal short-term rentals by spending an extra $2.9 million over the next two fiscal years. For the fiscal year 2018, the mayor plans to pour $1.6 million into expanding the city’s Office of Special Enforcement, which inspects and fines landlords who rent entire apartments out for fewer than 30 days.

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Transportation

MTA electric bus, green buses, andrew cuomo

In recognition of Earth Week, Governor Cuomo announced a new pilot program to bring electric buses to New York City this year. The MTA board has approved to lease the first five electric buses, and the lease for the next five will be presented later this year. The program will cost $4 million for three-year leases, which includes six depot charging stations. A charging station will be located at the Grand Avenue Depot in Maspeth, where buses will charge overnight. The first leg of the pilot will also include one “en-route” charging station at the Williamsburg Bridge Plaza in Brooklyn, which will serve as the hub for nine routes.

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City Living, Technology

The sky is the limit for the popular ride-hailing app, Uber. The company announced Tuesday that it intends to roll out a network of flying cars, or VTOLs (aircraft capable of vertical takeoff and landing) beginning in Dallas-Fort Worth and Dubai by 2020. And as reported by the NY Post, one of Uber’s partners, Blade helicopter service, aims to make New York City a target for its plan within five years. If so, these vehicles, which travel at 200 mph, could take passengers from Manhattan to JFK Airport in as little as five minutes.

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History, Manhattan, More Top Stories, Technology

For most modern New Yorkers, it’s hard to imagine the city being anything more than a crowded, noisy, concrete jungle. However, with the website Unsung.NYC, users can now explore the natural sounds of Manhattan, present during the 1600s before European settlers arrived. As the Times reports, “Calling Thunder” lets listeners hear all the chirps, croaks, and laps of waves, all of which coincide with images from four main points in Manhattan—the Collect Pond Park, the High Line, the American Museum of Natural History, and the Inwood Hill Park.

learn more here

affordable housing, Bronx, housing lotteries

Crotona Park East via NYC Parks

Adding to the development boom in the South Bronx, eight newly constructed units are available to rent at 1417 Longfellow Avenue. Located in the Crotona Park East neighborhood, which was rezoned six years ago to allow more residential buildings in the former industrial area, the building contains 38 apartments that each are about 636-square units. New Yorkers who qualify can apply for four $1,348 one-bedrooms and four $1,521 two-bedrooms.

Find out if you qualify

Policy

Whether you want to know or not, NYC landlords may soon be required to tell you of any past or current bedbug infestations in your building when you sign or renew a lease. As reported by the NY Post, a new city council bill would force landlords to file infestation histories with the Department of Housing and Preservation Development and to either publicly post them in the buildings or distribute them to tenants. The agency would also require all histories to be posted on their website.

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navy yard, Policy, Top Stories, Transportation

BQX, Brooklyn Queens Connector, mayor de blasio streetcar

Although Mayor de Blasio’s proposed BQX project, which would connect the Brooklyn and Queens waterfronts via streetcar, received praise from many, finding money to fund it may be tougher than expected. Earlier this month, a leaked memo obtained by the Daily News laid out a tough assessment of the construction logistics and financial problems facing the project. And while the mayor admitted last week that his plan for the BQX to be self-funded through tax revenue from higher real estate values may not pan out, an article in Crain’s laid out an idea for the city to sell air rights in the Brooklyn Navy Yard neighborhood to raise money for the project.

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affordable housing, Bronx, housing lotteries

12 East Clarke Place, Affordable Housing Lotteries, Bronx

Located just a few blocks from Yankee Stadium, this affordable housing project with a beautiful shared courtyard is truly unique, as it was developed on one of the last vacant city-owned lots. Applications are now being accepted for one- and two-bedroom rentals at 12 East Clarke Place and 27 East 169 Street in the Highbridge section of the Bronx, including $963/month one-bedrooms and $1,166/month two-bedrooms. 

Find out if you qualify

History, Lower East Side, maps

Beerdom Map, LES bars, historic maps

While today’s Lower East Side has no shortage of bars and clubs, New Yorkers of the late nineteenth century may have imbibed way more than current Big Apple dwellers. Slate shared this map drawn in 1885 and published in the Christian Union that details the number of bars per block in the neighborhood. Although the coinciding article described the social effects of LES drinking culture, overall the report found residents to be quite happy. It may have had something to do with the 346 saloons found in the area, compared to today’s mere 47 establishmentsFind out more

Transportation

With the launch of the much-anticipated NYC Ferry quickly approaching, crews responsible for manning the boats continue to train in preparation. As amNY shares in a new video, before captains can operate the ferries, they must first master a digital simulation at SUNY Maritime in the Bronx. In a small room shaped like a ferry wheelhouse with wraparound screens that provide a 360-degree view of the New York Harbor, captains in training must steer past digital boat traffic and landmarks like the Statue of Liberty. Overseen by staff members from Hornblower Cruises, the simulator tests an applicant’s decision-making skills, navigational abilities, and understanding of Coast Guard Regulations.

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affordable housing, housing lotteries, More Top Stories, West Village 

100 Barrow Street, Affordable Housing, Housing Lotteries, Condos

Photo via Field Condition

Beginning today, qualifying New Yorkers can apply to buy seven affordable condominiums at 100 Barrow Street in the West Village. The luxury residential building, developed by Toll Brothers City Living and designed by Barry Rice Architects, has 26 units total and sits at the corner of Barrow and Greenwich Streets. Market-rate apartments start at $4 million, but those available through the lottery range from a $90,000 studio to $170,000 two-bedrooms for individuals earning no more than 125 percent of the area median income.

Find out if you qualify

Cool Listings, Historic Homes, New Jersey, Top Stories

Darlington, New York Metro Mansion, Mahwah, New Jersey Mansion

One of the most expensive residential listings in New Jersey recently hit the market at an asking price of $48 million. The 100-year-old, nearly 50,000-square-foot mansion sits on 12.5 acres in Mahwah with views of the Ramapo Mountains (h/t Wall Street Journal). The enormous house, originally built in 1907 by George Crocker, son of railroad tycoon Charles Crocker, was modeled after a Jacobean-style English castle and today boasts a 45-foot-tall organ, 29 bathrooms, 21 bedrooms, and two full kitchens, one equipped to serve an impressive 250 meals at a time.

See photos of the incredible mansion

Major Developments, Midtown West, Transportation

Moynihan Train Hall, Empire State Development Corporation, Amtrak, MTA, ANDREW CUOMO, EMPIRE STATION COMPLEX, JAMES A. FARLEY POST OFFICE, MOYNIHAN STATION, PENN STATION, Skidmore, Owings & Merrill, SOM, McKim, Mead & White, Madison Square Garden

This spring, the 650,000 commuters who travel through Penn Station daily may finally start to witness Governor Cuomo’s $1.6 billion plan to revamp what he called the “overcrowded, decrepit and claustrophobic” station into a more spacious and high-tech transit hub. As the Daily News reports, the first phase of the overall Moynihan Station Development Project will begin soon, extending Penn Station’s West End Concourse to reduce congestion. The second phase will transform the James A. Farley Post Office into the new Moynihan Train Hall, which will hold more than 112,000 square feet of retail and 588,000 square feet of office space, in addition to new ticketing and waiting areas for Amtrak and Long Island Railroad passengers.

More details right this way

New Jersey, Staten Island, Transportation, Urban Design

Staten Island, Aerial Gondola, Staten Island Economic Development Corporation

While the city continues to develop ways to quicken commutes between Manhattan and the outer boroughs (like the soon-to-be-launched NYC Ferry), the Staten Island Economic Development Corporation (SIEDC) has taken matters into their own hands and created an idea for an aerial gondola. Similar to the East River Skyway proposal, which would transport passengers across the East River to ease the inconvenience of the impending L train shutdown, the gondola would take commuters in the sky from the borough to Bayonne, NJ where they’d connect to the Hudson-Bergen Light Rail and ultimately the PATH. As WYNC learned, starting this week and for seven days only, the gondola will be touring Staten Island on the back of a flatbed truck to boost support from officials to fund the project.

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affordable housing, Brooklyn, Policy

Pacific Park Brooklyn, Atlantic Yards, Pacific Park master plan, Greenland Forest City Partners, Thomas Balsley Associates

In every state and major city in the country, extremely low-income renters face a shortage of affordable housing. Although low-income applicants in New York City display a higher need for affordable housing, policies created by Mayor de Blasio and his administration continue to set aside more units for middle-income applicants. In a detailed report, City Limits analyzed affordable housing in Brooklyn and compared the need for affordable housing to the actual number of allotted low-income and middle-income units. For just one building, the tower at 535 Carlton, nearly 95,000 households entered the lottery for its “100 percent affordable” units. However, only 2,203 applicants were eligible for the 148 middle-income units, and over 67,000 households applied for the 90 low-income units. The data shows low-income households in search of affordable housing face much tougher odds than middle-income applicants.

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History, Transportation

Peter Samson, standing in the center, and his teammates during the failed 1966 run. From the New York Herald-Tribune, via the Queens Borough Public Library

In May of 1940, electric railroad enthusiast Herman Rinke became the first person to tour the entire New York City subway system on a single token, putting in 25 some hours underground all for fun. After reading about Rinke’s journey, Peter Samson, a computer software engineer who later invented the world’s first video game Spacewar, decided to take a stab at making his own record. As the Times recounts, he formed the Amateur New York Subway Riding Committee (ANYSRC) to develop rules for the challenge. After one failed attempt in 1966, Samson, with the help of 15 volunteers and a computer program that tracked the fastest route, completed the trip in 25 hours, 50 minutes and 30 seconds on April 21, 1967. Since then, the subway challenge has taken off for puzzle and transit lovers worldwide.

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Cool Listings, Historic Homes, Starchitecture, Upstate

As any modern architecture aficionado knows, the Glass House is Philip Johnson‘s best-known residence. However, it’s not his first. That title goes to the Booth House, built in 1946 (three years prior to the New Canaan beauty) in rural Bedford, New York. Like the Glass House, it boasts Johnson’s iconic floor-to-ceiling glazing, location atop a grass podium, and internal organization around a central fireplace. But unlike the Glass House, now a historic house museum, the Booth House is not protected, and moreover, its title is in litigation which means it could very well face the wrecking ball. Therefore, Archpaper tells us that the long-time owners have listed the home for $1 million in hopes that a preservation-minded buyer will step up.

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Green Design, Products, Technology

Thanks to Growkit, a farming kit for beginners developed by Portugal-based startup Noocity, city dwellers short on time and space can still take a stab at gardening and harvest their own organic food (h/t Gearminded). The kit includes an entire gardening system–a Growbag irrigated planter, a Growpack with seasonal plants, potting soil, fertilizer, and step-by-step audio instructions–all delivered right to your doorstep.

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Architecture, Starchitecture, Technology

Google Earth, Frank Gehry, New York by Gehry

As part of its relaunch, Google Earth, a program that allows users to explore the planet virtually, now features guided tours of projects by various architects, like Frank Gehry and the late Zaha Hadid. As ArchDaily learned, the relaunch allows users to orbit the entire globe in 3D, instead of simply exploring isolated cities. It also enhanced the web application’s accessibility, with searches within the app providing snapshots of information about the places. Plus, using the app is free of charge and users do not have to pay or install any software.

Explore the Google Earth relaunch

City Living

times square, new york city, noisy neighborhoods

While loud noise has been found to be harmful, new research shows residents who live in the loudest NYC neighborhoods may be healthier than residents living in quieter nabes. According to a study by NYU Langone Medical Center, neighborhoods that called in the most noise complaints to 311 had residents with a lower body mass index and blood pressure (h/t Metro NY). While researchers do not believe the actual noise is behind the healthier numbers, the study points to an area’s walkability to be a contributing factor to the health of residents.

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Art, hudson yards, Urban Design

The Vessel, Hudson Yards, Related Companies, Thomas Heatherwick

First Piece of Vessel Installed 04.18.2017 – courtesy of Related-Oxford

The standard for public art spaces has officially reached new heights. Today, the installation has begun on Vessel, an innovative landmark designed by Heatherwick Studio at Hudson Yards. As 6sqft previously wrote, the project’s idea stems from Related Companies‘ chairman Stephen Ross, who chose Heatherwick to design the $200 million (up as of today from the original $150 million estimate) large-scale piece of art. After being fabricated and constructed in Monfalcone, Italy, the first ten pieces of the 150-foot-tall steel structure arrived in January at the Port of Newark via ship and then traveled across the Hudson River. And as of this morning, Ross was on site to mark the first of these massive components (they each weigh close to 100,000 pounds) being put into place by crane.

See photos from Vessel’s installation and watch a video of Stephen Ross’ remarks

Cool Listings, Interiors, Park Slope

258 11th Street, Townhouse, Park slope

Located just one block from Park Slope’s 5th Avenue hub, a beautiful, Miles Redd-designed townhouse is listed for $3,495,000. The South Slope home at 258 11th Street has been totally renovated and rebuilt, with custom wall coverings and custom-mixed Farrow & Ball paint, but it still boasts that Brooklyn brownstone charm. Plus, the 3,334-square-foot beauty has four bedrooms, a moody home theater, and a magical private garden.

See the Park Slope townhome

Hotels, Policy

airbnb, airbnb logo, short term rentals

With its value nearing $30 billion dollars, it’s hard to deny Airbnb’s influence and disruption in the American hotel industry. Since its founding in 2008, the short-term lodging company has serviced about 150 million travelers, in three million listings in more than 191 countries. And as the New York Times reported, the hotel industry has launched a plan to take action against the company’s growing market share. The plan includes a national campaign at the local, state and federal levels to counter Airbnb by lobbying politicians and attorneys general to reduce the number of Airbnb hosts and fund studies that show they do not collect hotel taxes and are not required to follow the same safety and security regulations that hotels must follow.

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City Living, Top Stories, Transportation

New York's first citywide ferry, citywide ferry, nyc ferry, hornblower nyc ferry

To celebrate the ahead-of-schedule launch of the Citywide Ferry service, Mayor de Blasio rode the first ferry (named “Lunchbox” by second graders from Bay Ridge) this morning into Brooklyn Bridge Park’s Pier 1 as part of an official dedication ceremony. Beginning May 1st, all New Yorkers can join in the revelry when the new Rockaway Route and the existing East River Route kick off. Service to South Brooklyn starts in June, and the Astoria route will be launched sometime in August. In all, there will be 21 stops added throughout the city as part of the expanded service. On top of today’s festivities, the city also released the official new ferry schedules.

See the NYC Ferry routes

condos, Long Island City, New Developments

44-30 24th Street, Long Island City, Court Square

With another skyscraper proposal approved, Long Island City moves one step closer to looking like a Manhattan copycat. The latest sky-high tower to get its site cleared and zoning approved sits in Court Square at 43-30 24th Street. As covered by CityRealty, the permits show this building, developed by commercial real estate firm Stawski Partners, will hold 921 condos and rise 731 feet, almost 75 feet higher than the borough’s current tallest building at One Court Square. And if it finishes before the Court Square City View Tower next door, set to rise 66 stories and become Queen’s tallest, it will briefly hold that title.

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affordable housing, Bronx, housing lotteries

Tremont Park via NYC Parks

As of today, qualifying New Yorkers can apply for 16 newly renovated, affordable apartments in the Tremont section of the Bronx. The units at 565 East 178th Street and 2089-91 Arthur Avenue–which are right near Tremont Park and just a short walk to the Bronx Park and Zoo–are available to those earning 50 to 60 percent of the area median income, ranging from $716/month studios to $1,292/month three-bedrooms.

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History

Why is New York City called the Big Apple?

By Devin Gannon, Thu, April 13, 2017

NYC Skyline, NYC skyscrapers

Most of the nicknames ascribed to New York make literal sense: Gotham; Empire City; the City That Never Sleeps; the City So Nice They Named It Twice. However, the context behind the “Big Apple” nickname isn’t as obvious. To help us understand the moniker, the New York Public Library detailed a history of the name, taking us through a tour of what “big apple” has meant throughout centuries.

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real estate trends

Once enticing New Yorkers with their cheaper rents and mortgages, the outer boroughs of Brooklyn and Queens have set record sales prices during the first quarter of the year. As reported by Crain’s, Brooklyn had a record-setting median sale price of $770,000, more than 16 percent higher than last year. This was driven by an increase in sales activity, with nearly 50 percent more transactions taking place this quarter compared with the beginning of 2016. In Queens, the median sale price was $485,000, but one- to three-family homes set a new record with both average ($697,946) and median ($650,000) sales.

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Landscape Architecture

Belvedere Castle, Central Park, Central Park landmarks, NYC castles

While the outside of the Belvedere Castle looks strong, the inside of the 146-year-old fortress is actually crumbling. The cracked pavement, leaking roof, and plumbing issues encouraged the Central Park Conservancy to start a 10-year $300 million campaign last summer to renovate its structures, as well as surrounding playgrounds. As DNAInfo reported, beginning at the end of this summer and early fall, the castle, the Bernard Family Playground, and the Billy Johnson Playground will be closed for reconstruction.

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affordable housing, real estate trends

Scoring a rent-stabilized apartment is a big win in New York City, as these regulated pads usually offer rent at below-market rates and provide tenants more protections against landlords. While more than 925,000 rent-stabilized apartments still exist in the city, these units turn over at a faster rate in certain neighborhoods than others, and their availability continues to dwindle (h/t WYNC). According to a new report by the city’s Independent Budget Office (IBO), the neighborhoods of Astoria, Morningside Heights and Bay Ridge all have high concentrations of rent-regulated housing built prior to 1974 and therefore, higher rates of turnover compared to other parts of the city.

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