Policy

Brooklyn, Crown Heights, Policy

960 Franklin Avenue

Rendering: NYC Department of City Planning

The City Planning Commission this week voted unanimously to reject a rezoning application that would allow for two high-rise towers in Crown Heights next to the Brooklyn Botanic Garden, ending the uniform land use review procedure for the project. First unveiled by developers Continuum Companies and Lincoln Equities in 2019, the plan called for a pair of 34-story towers with over 1,500 units of housing on a lot at 960 Franklin Avenue. The commission’s decision came after a more than a two-year campaign against the project by the garden, which claimed the towers would block necessary light from shining on its greenhouses.

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Policy, Transportation

The Brooklyn Bridge bike lane is finally open

By Devin Gannon, Wed, September 15, 2021

Photo by the New York City Department of Transportation on Flickr

A long-awaited two-way protected bike lane officially opened on the Brooklyn Bridge Tuesday. Advocated for years by cyclists, the new path replaces the innermost car lane of the Manhattan-bound side of the iconic bridge and leaves the existing elevated promenade for pedestrians only. Both foot and bike traffic on the bridge, nicknamed the “Times Square in the Sky,” skyrocketed in recent years, leading to dangerous, crowded conditions.

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Featured Story

Features, NYC Guides, Policy

Gov. Kathy Hochul tours a storm-damaged apartment in Inwood. The heavy rains of Tropical Storm Ida forced part of a parking garage to collapse and damaged a ground floor apartment, and vehicle, on West 218th Street. Photo: Kevin P. Coughlin / Office of Governor Kathy Hochul on Flickr

President Joe Biden on Monday approved a major disaster declaration for New York, making federal funding available to residents and businesses in counties affected by flooding last week caused by the remnants of Hurricane Ida. According to an early estimate from state officials, Ida caused $50 million in damage to public property and to more than 1,200 residences. In addition to the financial relief provided by FEMA, there are several resources available to New Yorkers who need help in the aftermath of the storm, including temporary shelter, food and basic needs, and cash assistance.

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Featured Story

City Living, Features, Policy

What you need to know about NYC’s basement apartments

By Devin Gannon, Fri, September 3, 2021

Photo courtesy of HPD

This week, Hurricane Ida brought record rainfall and historic flash flooding to New York City, which ultimately led to the deaths of at least 13 New Yorkers. A majority of the people killed lived in basement apartments, where water was able to get in and block the only way out. These “hidden” units have always been prevalent in New York City, which is home to roughly 50,000 basement apartments, although that number is likely much higher as many of them are considered illegal.

The tragic events of this last week have renewed calls from advocacy groups and elected officials to legalize basement apartments to make them safe for the more than 100,000 New Yorkers who live in them. Ahead, learn about the difference between a legal and illegal basement apartment, what can be done to protect tenants, and what the future holds for these homes, seen as a critical component of the city’s insufficient affordable housing stock.

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Policy

Photo courtesy of Gov. Kathy Hochul’s Office on Flickr

Less than two weeks ago, New York City experienced the most rainfall ever recorded in a single hour with 1.94 inches documented in Central Park on August 21. That record was smashed on Wednesday night when the remnants of Hurricane Ida hit the region, bringing 3.15 inches of rain to the park between around 8:50 p.m. and 9:50 p.m. The historic rainfall caused a flash flood emergency to be issued in the city for the first time ever, brought the subway system to a standstill, and ultimately left at least 12 New Yorkers dead.

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Policy

New York extends eviction moratorium until early 2022

By Devin Gannon, Thu, September 2, 2021

Photo by Avi Werde on Unsplash

The New York State Legislature on Wednesday extended a temporary freeze on evictions until early next year during a rare special session. Expected to protect hundreds of thousands of tenants who have faced financial hardships as a result of the pandemic, the move comes one day after the state’s eviction moratorium expired and a week after the United States Supreme Court overturned the federal moratorium. Lawmakers also modified the moratorium so it complies with the court’s decision, which found it inconsistent with due process laws. Most evictions in New York will now be on hold until January 15, 2022.

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Policy

Photo by Norbert Kundrak on Unsplash

Last night the Supreme Court voted 6-3 (three liberal Supreme Court justices dissented) to end the CDC’c eviction moratorium that covered renters in counties experiencing high levels of Covid-19 transmission, which included all of New York City. “If a federally imposed eviction moratorium is to continue, Congress must specifically authorize it,” the Supreme Court said in an eight-page opinion. And with New York State’s own eviction moratorium ending in just four days, there is much confusion and fear over what this means for affected New Yorkers.

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Policy

Photo: Michael Appleton/Mayoral Photography Office on Flickr

Between January and August, 0.33 percent of fully vaccinated New Yorkers tested positive for the coronavirus, according to new data published on Wednesday. New York City health officials say the data prove breakthrough cases of Covid-19 are rare, with unvaccinated people 13 times more likely to be hospitalized due to the virus compared to fully vaccinated people. “The vaccines continue to prevent the outcomes we most want to avoid: hospitalizations and death,” Dr. Dave Chokshi, the city’s Department of Health and Mental Hygiene Commissioner, said.

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Policy

Photo by Michael Appleton/Mayoral Photography Office

On her first day in office, Governor Kathy Hochul announced that all public school staff in New York State will be required to either be vaccinated against COVID-19 or participate in weekly testing. The news comes just one day after Mayor Bill de Blasio put a similar mandate in place for all teachers and staff, though there will be no test-out option in New York City.

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Policy

Photo: Michael Appleton/Mayoral Photography Office

New York City is requiring Department of Education employees to receive their first dose of the coronavirus vaccine by September 27, Mayor Bill de Blasio announced on Monday. The new mandate applies to the agency’s 148,000 employees, including teachers, custodians, and central office workers and comes three weeks before the first day of school for the city’s one million public school students. The policy takes away the option for DOE staff to submit for weekly testing instead of being vaccinated, which was part of a previous order announced last month.

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