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After facing sharp criticism this week from almost all New York media outlets for missing the January 1st start date of Fair Fares, Mayor de Blasio and City Council Speaker Corey Johnson held a press conference this afternoon to officially launch the program. As of now, the joint initiative will provide half-priced MetroCards to approximately 30,000 low-income New Yorkers who are receiving cash assistance benefits from the Department of Social Services. In April, an estimated additional 130,000 New Yorkers receiving SNAP benefits will be able to apply. But as the Daily News’ City Hall bureau chief Jill Jorgensen mentioned on Twitter, limiting the program to these two groups means that no undocumented residents are eligible to apply.
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The dreaded 15-month L train shutdown, planned and studied for three years, is canceled. Or is it? Gov. Andrew Cuomo on Thursday presented a proposal for a new L train plan that would no longer require a 15-month closure of the Carnasie Tunnel, the link between Manhattan and Brooklyn and which was damaged by saltwater floods during Hurricane Sandy. During the news conference, Cuomo, along with a panel of experts, engineers, and the acting chair of the MTA, Fernando Ferrer, touted the project as being the shortest and best way to fix the tunnel. But in a conference call with reporters on Friday, the governor called on the MTA board to hold an emergency meeting to vote yay or nay on his new plan, of which most had heard about on the same day it was announced.
Knight in shining armor or kink in the chain? In an unexpected, last-minute announcement on Thursday, Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced that he is halting the 15-month L train shutdown in April, calling for a new tunnel design instead that would coincide with night and weekend work for 15 to 20 months. The news comes just a few weeks after the governor toured the Hurricane Sandy-damaged Canarsie Tunnel with engineering experts from Cornell and Columbia Universities. Though he said at the time he was “confident it cannot be done any other way and it cannot be done faster than the MTA is doing it,” Cuomo today threw a curveball saying he and the MTA have agreed on a new design that has never before been used in the U.S. and will mean that it “will not be necessary to close the L Train tunnel at all.”
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In a win for Airbnb, a federal judge on Thursday blocked a New York City law aimed at curbing illegal short-term rentals, the New York Times reported. The law, signed by Mayor Bill de Blasio last August and originally expected to take effect in February, would have required Airbnb and similar home-share companies to disclose the names and addresses of its hosts to the Mayor’s Office of Special Enforcement monthly. Soon after, Airbnb filed a lawsuit against the city claiming an “extraordinary act of government overreach.” U.S. District Judge Paul Engelmayer granted the company’s request for a temporary injunction against the law, which he wrote was likely unconstitutional.
A program to provide discounted MetroCards to low-income New Yorkers missed its target start date of Jan. 1, and the city has not provided any concrete details on its rollout, amNY reported Wednesday. The Fair Fares pilot program, which was agreed upon in June by Mayor Bill de Blasio and City Council Speaker Corey Johnson, would provide half-price MetroCards for those who fall below the federal poverty line. One day after the original launch date passed, the mayor on Wednesday told reporters that more information on how to apply for the program will be provided “in literally just a few days.”
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As a new year dawns, you may find you’re harboring illegal contraband that was–as recently as last year–the perfectly legal container for your takeout dinner. As part of Mayor Bill De Blasio’s Zero Waste campaign, manufacturers and stores may not sell or offer single-use foam items such as cups, plates, bowls, trays, or clamshell containers as of January 1, 2019. The foam ban joins more notable new legislation on the books as of 2019 including laws affecting minimum wage, cigarette sales, baby changing tables, paid family leave and gender options on birth certificates.
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The West 58th Street Coalition, a group of residents suing over the city’s controversial plan to open a homeless shelter on Manhattan’s Billionaires’ Row, has won a temporary injunction to halt construction at the former Park Savoy Hotel, the New York Post reported Thursday. The residents sued the city in July, claiming the proposed shelter posed a significant fire hazard and also fearing their new neighbors would usher in increased crime and loitering in the area as well as “un-quantifiable economic harm to the value of their property,” as court papers stated.
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The New York City Council last week unanimously voted to co-name streets in honor of three NYC music icons, Notorious B.I.G., the Wu-Tang Clan, and folk singer Woody Guthrie, Gothamist reported. If the bills are signed by Mayor Bill de Blasio, the block in Brooklyn where B.I.G. grew up will be called Christopher Wallace Way, after the rapper’s birth name, Staten Island’s Vanderbilt Avenue and Targee Street will be known as the Wu-Tang Clan District, and Woodie Guthrie Way will be found on Mermaid Avenue, marking where the singer lived in Coney Island.
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The third partial federal government shutdown of 2018 kicked off this weekend after Congress failed to pass an appropriations bill. As with the first two that occurred earlier this year, the government shutdown can affect New York City by temporarily closing its national parks and some of its federally-funded museums, leaving thousands of federal workers in the city without pay. But one major landmark will remain open throughout the duration of the shutdown. With help from the state, the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island will stay open during the shutdown, Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced Saturday.
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On Thursday, the City Council unanimously passed a rezoning of the Garment District in Midtown Manhattan. As part of a larger manufacturing strategy, the plan for Midtown is intended to preserve production space and ensure long-term stability for the fashion industry, while also supporting the other industries that are growing in the area. As 6sqft previously reported, the citywide plan includes the creation of a 200,000-square foot garment production hub at the Made in NY Campus in Sunset Park, Brooklyn.
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