Policy

Policy, Transportation

Photo via Wikimedia

Mayor Bill de Blasio agreed earlier this month to fund half of the MTA’s $836 million emergency rescue plan for the subway, leading many to believe the feud between the mayor and Gov. Andrew Cuomo about the funding had simmered. But on Wednesday, de Blasio and City Council Speaker Corey Johnson penned a joint letter to MTA chair, Joe Lhota, laying out terms of the funding agreement, with plenty of subtle insults to the MTA included. While the city’s commitment of $418 million came with a “lock box” arrangement, to ensure the money goes to repairs and nothing else, the mayor and speaker are calling on Lhota and the MTA for even further transparency, better measurements of progress and frequent briefings about the plan.

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Policy, Upper West Side 

Photo via Nick Normal’s Flickr

In February of 2017, residents of Trump Place at 200 Riverside Boulevard voted to remove “TRUMP” from the condo building’s exterior. Neighboring buildings found at 140, 160, and 180 Riverside Boulevard had already successfully removed his name, following a petition with hundreds of signatures. However, the 48-story condo at Trump Place, located on the Upper West Side, has not moved forward with the removal of the president’s name because the Trump Organization threatened to sue.

In response to this threat, board members in January asked a judge to issue a declaratory judgment that the condo has the right to either keep or remove the letters without violating its licensing agreement. The president’s son, Eric Trump, who serves as a trustee of the organization, promised on Monday to “fight vehemently against rogue individuals” who want to remove the name (h/t West Side Rag).

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City Living, Policy

Image: Michael Kowalczyk via Flickr.

Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo introduced a bill on Monday to outlaw single-use plastic bags in the state of New York. The New York Times reports that Cuomo announced the three-page post-Earth-Day bill as part of the effort to fight the “blight of plastic bags” and their “devastating toll on our streets, our water and our natural resources.”

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Landmarks Preservation Commission, Policy

Photo via CityRealty

Earlier this year, the Landmarks Preservation Commission (LPC) unveiled a series of new proposed rules, which the group said would streamline the application process and improve transparency. But the regulation overhaul, as 6sqft recently reported, has caused concern among preservationist groups, who fear that more oversight by LPC staff but less time for public review won’t allow enough input for public opinion and limit the opportunity for testimony and comment on applications. Following a backlash from the rule change, it was announced today that LPC commissioner Meenakshi Srinivasan will step down from her post.

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Connecticut, New Jersey, Policy, Transportation, Upstate

A map showing T-REX’s new crosstown connections, via RPA

When NYC’s three commuter railroads–the Long Island Railroad, New Jersey Transit, and Metro-North–were built more than a century ago when the metropolitan area was less than half its current size. Today, the systems are crumbling, both in their physical infrastructure and politics. The latest suggestion for how to fix the issues comes from a new Regional Plan Association report that wants to take advantage of the fact that these railroads “share an amalgamation of rail lines” and thereby create one integrated regional rail network. Dubbed T-REX, short for Trans-Regional Express, the 30-year, $71.4 billion proposal would add 60 new train stations and more than 200 miles of new tracks.

We break it down

City Living, maps, Policy

It’s time to think about gardening–a seasonal rite that’s something of a challenge for most city-dwellers. Living Lots NYC is a clearinghouse of information that New Yorkers can use to turn vacant land into community spaces. Begun as a pilot project that ran from 2011 to 2015, which led to the to the official transformation of 32 vacant lots, Living Lots NYC was created by community organization 596 Acres as a database that New Yorkers can use to find, unlock, and protect the shared resource of the city’s vacant lots. According to the map, at this particular moment, there are 877 sites throughout 626 acres of vacant public land, 18 sites on 8 acres of private land opportunities, and 559 sites on 211 acres to which people have access.

Check out the city’s green opportunities

City Living, Policy

Image: Jazz Guy via flickr

Next time you hit your local bagel shop, know that if you get your breakfast sliced–or heaven forbid, with schmear–you’ll get smacked with an 8.875 percent sales tax. If you eat it in the store, (even if it’s still whole), boom, more tax. The folks at Turbotax explain that “the state adds an eight-cent tax to any altered bagels,” which includes, “bagel sandwiches (served buttered or with spreads, or otherwise as a sandwich)” or even just sliced for you.

In honor of Tax Day, we ask: What’s with this bagel tax?

Celebrities, Policy, Soho

Photo of George Clooney via Wikimedia

George and Amal Clooney’s rental at 116 Sullivan Street has been operating as an illegal transient hotel, according to Page Six. Richard Fertig, the owner of the 19th-century, red brick building in Soho was hit last month by the city with four violations for illegally converting the basement apartment to “transient use.” Authorities say the apartment does not have mandatory fire alarms, exits or a certificate of occupancy.

More details here

Policy, Transportation

Gov. Andrew Cuomo oversees an MTA worker testing a magnetic wand at the 9th Ave subway station in Sunset Park; photo via the governor’s Flickr

The Metropolitan Transporation Authority will deploy 700 additional “magnetic wands” to clean hundreds of pounds of steel dust from insulated joints on tracks, which accumulates when the brakes are applied. When dust builds up on joints, it can trip the circuit on the joint and cause red signals, sending a ripple of delays throughout the system. Gov. Andrew Cuomo on Thursday tested out the wands at a Sunset Park subway station and announced a plan to buy additional wands to clean all 11,000 insulated joints deemed a priority, using funds from the recently funded-in-full emergency subway action plan.

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City Living, maps, Policy

As of this week, New York City is home to 7,342 sidewalk sheds, totaling nearly 270 miles of sprawling eye-sores. Although this may sound like a lot, the number of sidewalk sheds has actually decreased from last year, when the Department of Buildings found over 7,700 sidewalk sheds throughout the city. The DOB on Wednesday released a new map highlighting the exact location of permitted sidewalk sheds. The map, which will update automatically in real-time, has a new feature that allows users to search sidewalk sheds by age, borough, community board and permit applicant.

Explore the map

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