Bronx, Policy

Image courtesy of Ed Reed/Mayoral Photography Office on Flickr

After the fire that claimed 17 lives at a Bronx apartment building last week, elected officials are brainstorming strategies to prevent future tragedies. Rep. Ritchie Torres and Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand on Monday announced new legislation requiring the installation of heat sensors at federally-owned housing developments. Supported by Mayor Eric Adams, sensors monitor the heat levels within buildings, alerting authorities when they reach unsafe conditions. The monitors can also keep track of when temperatures drop lower than the legal limit.

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Noho, Policy, Soho

Photo by Vlada Karpovich from Pexels

Mayor Eric Adams last week vetoed legislation that would increase fines for residents illegally occupying artist housing in Soho and Noho, a measure passed by the City Council last month alongside the approved neighborhood rezoning. Sponsored by former Council Member Margaret Chin, the bill would increase penalties on non-artist residents of the Joint Living Work Quarters for Artists (JLWQA) zone, which was created in the 1970s to allow artists to legally live in the once manufacturing-heavy area, with fines starting at $15,000 for those without proper certification.

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Image courtesy of Billie Grace Ward on Flickr

Temporary sidewalk sheds are legally required to be installed at any construction site to protect pedestrians from falling debris. While they are seen as a safety necessity, the structures are eyesores that block sunlight and slow foot traffic. In New York City, the total number of sidewalk sheds has tripled over the past two decades, a new report released this week by the Independent Budget Office found. Looking at data from the Department of Buildings, the report found Manhattan was home to the most sidewalk sheds but noted the outer boroughs are starting to catch up.

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Image courtesy of Mari Small on Unsplash

New York’s eviction moratorium will not be extended after it expires this weekend, Gov. Kathy Hochul announced Tuesday. In the meantime, the state’s rent-relief portal will be reopened to give aid to New Yorkers facing eviction. The freeze on evictions was established at the beginning of the Covid pandemic by former Gov. Andrew Cuomo to give relief to struggling New Yorkers. Over the past two years, it has been extended multiple times, with Hochul extending it to January 15 during her first week in office.

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City Living, Green Design, Policy

Photo by Carlos Oliva from Pexels

Every year in New York City, tens of thousands of migratory birds are killed after being drawn from their flight paths by the city’s artificial light. To combat this, State Sen. Brad Hoylman and Assembly Member Patricia Fahy last week introduced the “Dark Skies Act,” a bill that aims to prevent the deaths of migratory birds and reduce light pollution. The bill would require the majority of non-essential outdoor lights to be turned off, covered, or switched to motion sensor activation after 11 p.m. Alternatively, lights could be set to shine downwards.

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City Living, gentrification, Policy

Photo by Clément Falize on Unsplash

New York City bodegas and delis are fighting back against 15-minute delivery startups. A group representing local grocers, the Save Mom-and-Pop Business Coalition, rallied on Sunday with elected officials, calling out the venture capitalist-backed services they say threaten the city’s small businesses. The rally took place outside of Stop 1 Deli, a Lower East Side bodega located directly across the street from GoPuff, one of the delivery services in question. Delivery services like GoPuff have moved into large spaces on commercial strips, morphing them into warehouses stuffed with groceries and other goods.

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affordable housing, Policy, Transportation

Image courtesy of Kevin P. Coughlin/Office of Governor Kathy Hochul on Flickr

Commuters will soon see more New York City police officers riding the subway, Gov. Kathy Hochul and Mayor Eric Adams announced Thursday. Hochul and Adams on Thursday laid out a new initiative to tackle homelessness by deploying teams of specially trained Safe Options Support officials. These “SOS” teams will consist of mental health professionals who will work with the city’s outreach teams to assist homeless New Yorkers. To combat crime in the subway system, Adams has ordered the mobilization of more officers who will patrol stations and board trains to make visual inspections.

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affordable housing, Policy

NYC skyline

Photo via Flickr

In her first State of the State address Wednesday, Gov. Kathy Hochul announced a sweeping agenda that would address housing affordability, equity, and stability by growing the state’s affordable housing stock and expanding the housing supply. She also proposed a set of initiatives to address homelessness and housing instability. Hochul called the state’s housing needs “a complex challenge that requires an all-levers approach.”

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More Top Stories, Policy, Restaurants

Photo of New Yorkers drinking on St. Mark’s Place by Eden, Janine and Jim on Flickr

Gov. Kathy Hochul announced on Wednesday plans to introduce legislation permanently allowing the sale of to-go alcoholic beverages. First permitted at the start of the coronavirus pandemic to support the restaurant industry during the lockdown, the state ended takeout cocktails last June, coinciding with the lift of Covid-related restrictions. Legalizing the sale of to-go drinks will help local restaurants and bars recover from the pandemic, according to Hochul’s proposal. “Cheers, New York,” Hochul said Wednesday during her State of the State address.

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Manhattan, Policy, real estate trends

Photo by Daniel Lee on Unsplash

New York City real estate made a major comeback to close out 2021, experts say. According to a new report from Compass, condo and co-op sales volume hit $7 billion in the last quarter of the year, the highest of any fourth quarter on record. More than 3,400 apartments were sold in this quarter, between October 1 and December 31, up 79 percent from the previous year and the highest total in a Q4 since 2013. After Covid crippled much of the market in 2020, 2021 saw an impressive turnaround in Manhattan, particularly with the sales of luxury properties, new development condos, and townhouses.

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