All posts by Michelle Cohen

Michelle is a New York-based writer and content strategist who has worked extensively with lifestyle brands like Seventeen, Country Living, Harper’s Bazaar and iVillage. In addition to being a copywriter for a digital media agency she writes about culture, New York City neighborhoods, real estate, style, design and technology among other topics. She has lived in a number of major US cities on both coasts and in between and loves all things relating to urbanism and culture.

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Events, Financial District, Top Stories, Upper West Side 

women's march on nyc

2017 Women’s March on NYC; image: mathiaswasik via Flickr.

The streets of NYC will fill once again this Saturday, January 19 for the third annual Women’s March on New York City. The first march took place in 2017, as a demonstration in support of women’s rights and in resistance to a growing list of gender-related injustices during the inauguration of President Donald Trump. Last year’s march drew an estimated 200,000 participants. As with any jubilant mass display of human resilience, there will be street closings. Read on for info on where to march, how to avoid traffic snarls and what makes this year’s march different.

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Meatpacking District, Urban Design

pier 55, barry diller, thomas heatherwick

Rendering by Pier55 Inc/Heatherwick Studio

Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s State of the State speech Tuesday included a $23 million pledge to go toward the completion of Hudson River Park. That nearly-hidden line item in the state budget represents the governor’s mediation efforts in a billionaire-vs.-billionaire feud involving Barry Diller’s 2.7-acre park at Pier 55 on the water near West 14th street (often referred to as Diller Park), Crains reports.

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Midtown East, New Developments

The existing 270 Park Avenue, MikePScott via Flickr

Demolition permits were filed Tuesday for the JPMorgan Chase HQ at 270 Park Avenue, CityRealty reports. The building will be the tallest planned demolition in history. The filing is a significant step for the bank on the way to replacing the 1.5-million-square-foot Modernist tower previously known as the Union Carbide Building with a 2.5-million-square-foot skyscraper, to be designed by British Pritzker Prize winner Norman Foster/Foster + Partners architectural firm.

Down with the old, up with the new

City Living, Long Island City

Amazon fuels HQ2 buzz with shiny new job postings

By Michelle Cohen, Wed, January 16, 2019

amazon, long island city, amazon nyc

A pair of job postings listed by online retail giant Amazon kicked the excitement level up a notch in anticipation of the company’s new “HQ2” headed for Long Island City, Queens. According to Bloomberg, the ads, seeking a software development manager and software engineer, referred to the company’s impending New York expansion by saying the new HQ would be the site of a 50-person team starting in 2019 as part of its Intelligent Cloud Control group. Following a flurry of press inquiries, Amazon quickly added that though they would begin hiring for HQ2 later in 2019, the listings were for positions in an already-existing office.

More Amazon excitement this way

Long Island City, Policy

long island city, LIC, FDNY, amazon hq2, engine 261

Google Street View of Long Island City’s engine 261

In 2003, when then-Mayor Michael Bloomberg shuttered six city firehouses including Engine Company 261 at 37-20 29th Street in Long Island City, the growing neighborhood was nowhere near its current density. Since then, a veritable mini-city of high-rise residential towers has sprung up in the once-industrial Queens neighborhood; the FDNY has been considering the need for more firepower to keep the mini-metropolis safe. The recent announcement of Amazon’s impending arrival with 25,000 jobs in tow has given more urgency to concerns about the increased demand for emergency services, according to the Wall Street Journal.

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

manhattan plaza, mitchell lama, mitchell-lama, affordable housing, lottery, midtown west

Manhattan Plaza (photo via LIHC Investment Group)

A lottery to snag a waiting list spot for Mitchell-Lama rental apartments in Manhattan Plaza at 400 West 43rd Street–where, according to the Hollywood Reporter, Alicia Keys was born and Samuel L. Jackson was the first security guard–has just opened (h/t CityRealty). Senior citizens and residents of all ages in Community Board 4 are eligible to apply for studio to one-bedroom apartments. Rents aren’t listed, but you can expect a significant discount from the neighborhood median of $3,000/month for studios and $3,600/month for one-bedrooms. There are four lists (community studio list, community studio elderly list, community one-bedroom list, community elderly one-bedroom list) with 500 spots available on each. The deadline to apply for all is January 31, 2019.

Get more info and see if you qualify, this way

Architecture, Landmarks Preservation Commission, Midtown, Starchitecture

550 Madison Avenue, AT&T BUILDING, LANDMARKS PRESERVATION COMMISION, OLAYAN, PHILLIP JOHNSON, SNØHETTA, LPC

In December, 6sqft reported that architecture firm Snøhetta had unveiled a preservationist-friendly revision to a controversial design for an updated AT&T building at 550 Madison Avenue. Now you can get a look at the full details of the Certificate of Appropriateness proposal that will be presented to the Landmarks Preservation Commission (LPC) tomorrow. The latest design is one of several revisions, each followed by controversy over being seen by preservationists as diverting too much from the building’s original design by Philip Johnson and John Burgee. In addition to comparisons to the original, new designs must consider the subsequent revamp that made it the Sony building in 1994, which replaced the building’s open Madison Avenue arcade with “Sony Experience” storefronts and covered a rear public arcade with a glass roof.

Compare the new with the old

gentrification, Noho, Policy, Soho

soho, noho, zoning, gentrification, artist in residence,

Image: Steven Pisano via Flickr.

The Department of City Planning, Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer and City Council Member Margaret Chin announced today the launch of a six-month public engagement process addressing the future of NYC’s Soho and Noho neighborhoods. The series of public meetings and consultation with local stakeholders are an early phase in outlining a vision for the future of those neighborhoods; the city’s plans include updating what many consider outdated zoning laws, including the removal of rarely-enforced restrictions on ground floor retail tenancy and Soho’s Artist In Residence law.

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Cool Listings, Midtown East

one beacon court, 1 beacon court, steve cohen, price chop

Everything goes on sale after Christmas, and that’s certainly true of hedge fund billionaire Steve Cohen’s Beacon Court penthouse at 151 East 58th Street. The SAC Capital Advisors founder bought the 9,000-square-foot duplex for $24 million in 2005 and hired noted architect Charles Gwathmey to give it a once-over. The condo hit the market again in April of 2013 for a whopping $115M (around the time Cohen received a wrist-slap to the tune of $1.2 billion for insider trading). No takers at that price. Or the next one ($82M). Or the one after that ($79M)–you probably get where this is going. Where the five-bedroom aerie on the building’s 51st and 52nd floors ended up today: Deeply discounted to $45 million after eight price cuts adding up to a $70 million drop, making it the heftiest haircut to happen in New York City history according to The Real Deal.

Take a closer look

Midtown East, Transportation

grand central terminal, amtrak, intercity rail service

Via Wikimedia

It was announced today that a $60.2 million contract to build the project that will bring the Long Island Rail Road service to Grand Central Terminal was awarded to construction and development company Skanska. The award represents the final heavy civil contract in the MTA’s largest largest capital project and one that marks the first expansion of the Long Island Rail Road (LIRR) in over 100 years.

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