Last night, Governor Cuomo toured the Gateway Tunnel to survey its levels of corrosion and damage beneath the Hudson River. He was joined by the same experts from Cornell University’s College of Engineering and Columbia University’s Fu Foundation School of Engineering and Applied Science who toured the Canarsie Tunnel last week with the Governor. The purpose of the tour was to provide insight into rehabilitating the Canarsie Tunnel ahead of the L train shutdown. However, the tour may definitely have done double duty as a push to the Trump administration, reiterating the importance of this critical project which won’t be able to go forward without federal support.
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While the plan to shut down the L train for over a year to perform necessary repairs in the East River tunnel it runs through has been in the works for years, Gov. Andrew Cuomo decided this week to see the damage for himself, four months ahead of the looming closure. During a midnight tour of the Canarsie Tunnel on Friday, which connects Manhattan and Brooklyn, Cuomo said he saw “a very old tunnel that needed a lot of work,” the New York Post reported. The governor toured the tunnel with two engineering experts from Cornell and Columbia Universities to get a first-hand look and determine whether a 15 month-shutdown is the best-case scenario for commuters.
Too little, too late?
Via NYCEDC and Wiki Commons
This week the city’s Economic Development Corporation released documents of its detailed pitch to lure Amazon to move to the city, which included offering up prime real estate in four different New York City neighborhoods and nearly $3 billion in incentives. Another thing city and state officials pitched to the tech company, which chose Long Island City last month for its HQ2 complex, is the state’s famous “I love NY” logo. In their pitch, city and state officials swapped the iconic logo’s heart out for Amazon’s arrow-smile, which assumingly reads “I Amazon NY.”
Glaser’s thoughts ahead
Via Creative Commons
The New York City Housing Authority will sell its unused air rights to developers for the first time ever, Mayor Bill de Blasio announced on Wednesday. The authority said it will transfer a portion of its 80 million square feet of air rights to generate $1 billion in capital repairs for nearby developments. The air rights announcement is one part of a 10-year plan the mayor unveiled, called NYCHA 2.0, which aims to resolve $24 billion in necessary repairs at public housing. In total, the agency needs nearly $32 billion over five years for necessary repairs.
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A rendering of One Court Square, where Amazon will temporarily move in 2019; via NYCEDC
City and state officials lured Amazon to open its new office complex in New York with an extensive pitch, complete with four suggested neighborhoods and the promise of prime real estate, according to documents released by the city’s economic development corporation on Monday. In exchange for 25,000 new jobs, Gov. Andrew Cuomo and Mayor Bill de Blasio are offering Amazon nearly $3 billion in incentives and grants. And while last month Amazon selected the Queens neighborhood of Long Island City as its new home, officials had proposed bringing Amazon’s campus to the Farley Building, 3 World Trade Center, Brooklyn Height’s Watchtower building, Bjarke Ingels’ The Spiral, and even Governors Island.
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Rendering of Plaxall’s proposed (but not approved) mixed-use LIC project courtesy of WXY architecture + urban design
A majority of New Yorkers approve of Amazon moving to Long Island City despite opposition from Queens activists and politicians, according to a Quinnipiac University poll released Wednesday. Fifty-seven percent of all respondents said they support the company’s plan to build a waterfront office complex in Queens, with 26 percent disproving. And approval among Queens residents is even higher, with 60 percent supporting the deal. But the poll did find a more divided opinion about the potential $3 billion in public incentives and grants offered to Amazon by the city and state, with 46 percent approving of the subsidies and 44 percent disproving.
Via City Realty
In an effort to demystify property ownership and management company networks across New York City, JustFix.nyc, a Brooklyn-based tenant advocacy nonprofit, launched a new tool today to help tenants easily obtain the information they need to deal with difficult landlords. The free tool, available at WhoOwnsWhat.nyc, aims to cut through some of the opaque practices of landlords, like the tendency to use a shell company or LLC to preserve their anonymity. The platform makes it possible to connect dots that are often hidden and will provide tenants, housing advocates, and local officials with the information to fight speculative behavior, harassment, and discrimination.
Find out how it works
Roughly 80,000 for-hire vehicle drivers in New York City are expected to get a pay raise next year. The city’s Taxi and Limousine Commission on Tuesday voted to secure a minimum wage for drivers with ride-hailing companies, including Uber, Lyft, Via, and Juno, making New York the first city in the world to do so. Going into effect in 30 days, the new rule mandates a minimum wage of $17.22 per hour, after expenses. That hourly rate is equivalent to the city’s employee minimum wage of $15 per hour, which will be set at the end of this year.
Photo via Wiki Commons
Earlier today, the Landmarks Preservation Commission held a public hearing to consider landmarking seven buildings on Broadway between East 12th and 14th Streets, one of which many already recognize as an unofficial NYC landmark — The Strand bookstore. In advance of the hearing, The Strand voiced strong concerns that the designation would place crippling restrictions on the scrappy business and potentially threaten its future, as the New York Times reported. Referencing the recent tax incentives that Amazon received to relocate to Long Island City, Strand owner Nancy Bass Wyden said, “The richest man in America, who’s a direct competitor, has just been handed $3 billion in subsidies. I’m not asking for money or a tax rebate. Just leave me alone.”
Find out what happened at today’s hearing
Courtesy of Binyan Studios/ Snøhetta
The Department of Buildings this week rejected a challenge against the tallest tower planned for the Upper West Side, as first reported by Crain’s. Community groups argued that the design of Extell Development’s 775-foot condominium tower at 50 West 66th Street violated the city’s building code, but the department overruled those objections. Read more