June 23, 2023

NYC Council bill would require broker fees be paid by ‘hiring party’

The New York City Council will once again take up the issue of broker fees, a unique-to-New York system that allows real estate brokers to charge prospective tenants a one-time fee, usually between one month's rent and 15 percent of the total annual rent. Council Member Chi Ossé on Thursday introduced legislation that would shift the payment of broker fees to the party who hired them, which is often the landlord or building management company. The bill is similar to guidance issued by the state in 2019 that briefly banned broker fees, which was ultimately struck down by the court.
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June 22, 2023

NYC’s stabilized apartments to see rent hike for second year in a row

Rent will increase for the roughly two million New Yorkers who live in rent-stabilized apartments for the second year in a row. On Wednesday, the Rent Guidelines Board, the nine-member panel responsible for adjusting rent for the city's rent-stabilized apartments, voted 5 to 4 in favor of raising rents on one-year leases by 3 percent and on two-year leases by 2.75 percent for the first year and 3.2 percent for the second year. The rent increases apply to leases starting October 1, 2023.
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June 21, 2023

Greenwich Village block named for LGBTQ rights activists Edie Windsor and Thea Spyer

A Greenwich Village intersection has been co-named after the couple who won a historic battle in the U.S. Supreme Court for gay marriage rights. In a ceremony on Tuesday, the intersection of Fifth Avenue and Washington Square North, right behind Washington Square Park's Arch, was renamed "Edie Windsor and Thea Spyer Way" in honor of the couple who lived on the corner for 43 years. In 2010, Windsor, who died in 2017, sued the U.S. government over a federal policy that barred same-sex married couples from claiming the estate of deceased spouses, which led the Supreme Court to grant same-sex married couples the same right to federal benefits as heterosexual married couples, according to Patch. Tuesday's ceremony coincided with what would have been Windsor's 94th birthday.
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June 21, 2023

NYC to demolish and rebuild two NYCHA complexes in Chelsea

New York City will demolish two Manhattan public housing complexes and construct brand-new high-rise apartment buildings. The New York City Housing Authority (NYCHA) on Wednesday announced a $1.5 billion plan to demolish the Elliott-Chelsea and Fulton Houses and rebuild the more than 2,000 public housing apartments currently located there. Supported by a majority of tenants who voted in a survey on the proposal, the plan also includes new retail and commercial spaces and thousands of new mixed-income units, as first reported by the New York Times.
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June 21, 2023

Elevated pathway connecting the High Line and Moynihan Train Hall opens

A new elevated pedestrian path connecting the High Line to Moynihan Tran Hall opens to the public this week. The 600-foot-long High Line-Moynihan Connector consists of two bridges, one full of lush landscape that runs along West 30th Street and another made of Alaskan yellow cedar wood that is suspended over Dyer Avenue. Officially opening on June 22, the $50 million project connects Manhattan West's public plaza to a pedestrian pathway at West 31st Street, allowing commuters to easily and safely access the train station and the rest of Midtown West.
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June 16, 2023

Adams ends NYC’s 90-day shelter rule for homeless New Yorkers

Mayor Eric Adams on Friday ended a rule that had required unhoused people to spend at least 90 days in shelter before qualifying for rental assistance vouchers. The emergency rule change expands eligibility for the vouchers, called CityFHEPS, which will in turn house more New Yorkers and free up space in the shelter system for asylum seekers. The move by the mayor comes a few weeks after the City Council passed a comprehensive set of bills expanding rental assistance, including the end of the 90-day rule. Adams criticized the rest of the package, citing budget costs, but did not say if he plans to veto the legislation.
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June 14, 2023

NYC sets first-ever minimum wage for delivery workers

New York City has established the first minimum wage in the country for app-based delivery workers. Starting July 12, workers will be paid at least $17.96 per hour plus tips, with an increase to $19.96 per hour by April 1, 2025, Mayor Eric Adams and the Department of Consumer and Worker Protections announced this week. The new policy comes two years after the City Council passed legislation designed to improve labor conditions for delivery workers.
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June 13, 2023

Historic FDNY buildings in the Bronx designated as NYC landmarks

The Landmarks Preservation Commission on Tuesday designated two Bronx buildings associated with New York City's fire department as individual landmarks. Not only are the Engine Company 88/ Ladder Company 38 firehouse in Belmont and the Fire Alarm Telegraph Bureau, Bronx Central Office in West Farms architecturally significant, but they represent a period of evolution and growth for the city's fire department. The new landmarks also recognize a piece of Bronx history that has largely gone underappreciated.
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June 13, 2023

NYC delays enforcement of new Airbnb short-term rental rules

Following a lawsuit filed this month by Airbnb, New York City will delay enforcing new restrictions limiting short-term rentals within the five boroughs. The Office of Special Enforcement (OSE) said it will not begin issuing fines to hosts until September 5, pushed back from a July start date, according to a court filing. The agency, which has already delayed the enactment of the new rules twice, currently has a staff vacancy rate of more than 50 percent, preventing it from effectively enforcing the law, as Gothamist reported.
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June 9, 2023

New York lawmakers fail to reach a deal on housing

Despite New York lawmakers claiming they reached a deal on a comprehensive package of housing proposals, the state legislature has failed to pass any meaningful bills during this legislative session, as first reported by the New York Times. Negotiations between state Democrats and Gov. Kathy Hochul on Thursday fell apart as the two bodies failed to reach a deal before the end of the legislative session on Friday. Lawmakers blamed Hochul for opposing their housing proposals, including those that protect tenants from eviction and major rent hikes, and the governor claimed lawmakers never presented her with any housing bills to approve.
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June 8, 2023

Here’s what closed in NYC due to unhealthy air quality

As the smoke from the Canadian wildfires continues to blanket New York City with unhealthy air, many events and activities, especially those planned for the outdoors, have been canceled. The city broke its air quality index (AQI) record on Wednesday, hitting 405 out of 500, the highest record since the city started collecting air quality records in 1985. City officials have advised New Yorkers to stay indoors, and if they must go outside, to wear a high-quality mask. Ahead, find some of the places across the five boroughs that have announced closures and cancellations due to the air quality.
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June 7, 2023

New York issues health advisory over air quality from Canadian wildfires

New York officials are recommending residents limit outdoor activities on Wednesday as air quality across the state continues to deteriorate from the ongoing Canadian wildfires. The more than 100 wildfires currently burning in Quebec are creating hazy skies and unhealthy conditions, resulting in an Air Quality Health Advisory issued by the state's Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) and Department of Health (DOH) for the New York City Metro Area, Long Island, Eastern Lake Ontario, Central New York, and Western New York regions. The air pollution in New York City has ranked as the worst of any city in the world. The state extended the health advisory through Friday.
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June 5, 2023

50 houses of worship in NYC to house asylum seekers

Mayor Eric Adams on Monday announced 50 houses of worship and faith-based facilities across the five boroughs will provide shelter to asylum seekers. As part of a two-year partnership between the city and the New York Disaster Interfaith Services (NYDIS), the shelter program includes housing about 19 single adult men at each location, with 1,000 men total expected to be housed by August. The city said it will also open five daytime migrant centers to allow the worship spaces to continue normal activities.
Details here
June 2, 2023

Airbnb sues New York City over rules on short-term rentals

Airbnb sued New York City on Thursday seeking to block new restrictions that limit short-term rentals within the five boroughs. The lawsuits, filed by Airbnb and three local hosts, target a 2021 law designed to prevent illegal short-term rentals by requiring Airbnb hosts to register with the city. The city plans to enforce the new restrictions, which Airbnb has called "extreme and oppressive," in July.
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May 26, 2023

NYC Council passes legislation expanding rental assistance

The New York City Council on Thursday passed a set of bills that will help house more New Yorkers and free up shelter space for asylum seekers. The legislation ends a rule requiring unhoused people spend at least 90 days in shelter before qualifying for a rental assistance voucher, known as CityFHEPS, and expands the number of people eligible for the vouchers. Mayor Eric Adams, who may attempt to veto the bill, said the legislation will cost the city billions over the next five years.
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May 25, 2023

Citing influx of migrants, Adams looks to suspend NYC’s right to shelter rule

Citing the arrival of thousands of migrants in the city, Mayor Eric Adams wants to suspend a decades-old rule guaranteeing shelter to anyone. Adams on Tuesday filed an application with a judge asking to alter the city's right to shelter rule, which guarantees any homeless person looking for shelter access to temporary housing. The mayor is looking to rewrite the rule, which has been in place for 40 years, to allow the city to suspend the right for homeless adults when it "lacks the resources and capacity to establish and maintain sufficient shelter sites," according to Gothamist.
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May 23, 2023

NYC subway, bus fare to increase to $2.90 by end of summer, under MTA proposal

New York City commuters will likely pay more for subway, bus, and commuter rail trips by the end of the summer. The Metropolitan Transportation Authority on Monday unveiled its proposal for fare increases across the system. The cost of a single subway and bus trip would increase by 5 percent from $2.75 to $2.90, the first base fare increase since 2015.
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May 23, 2023

Manhattan’s only surviving ‘colored’ school is now a city landmark

The Landmarks Preservation Commission on Tuesday designated a building in Manhattan that serves as a reminder of racially segregated education in New York City. The former Colored School No 4. was a public school open to only Black students and teachers from 1860 to 1884. The remarkably-intact three-story building at 128 West 17th Street in Chelsea is the borough's only surviving school building that exclusively served African Americans. Not only does the new landmark represent the history of the Black community who lived in this part of Manhattan, but it also recognizes the many notable figures associated with the school.
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May 22, 2023

MSG should stay above Penn Station, says Manhattan borough president

Madison Square Garden should be granted a new operating permit and be allowed to stay put, as long as it gives up some of its space for the expansion of Penn Station, Manhattan Borough Mark Levine said on Monday. As first reported by Crain's New York, Levine's recommendation includes demolishing MSG's theater and replacing it with a new grand entrance facing Eighth Avenue, a new mid-block entrance, and a double-height concourse. To do this, Levine advises giving MSG a new five-year special permit, if the Garden works with the city, state, and railroads to redevelop Penn Station and the surrounding area.
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May 19, 2023

NYC sues architecture firm behind new Long Island City library over accessibility issues

New York City has filed a lawsuit against the architects behind the inaccessible Hunters Point Library in Long Island City, as first reported by Crain's New York. Filed in Manhattan State Supreme Court on Wednesday, the lawsuit claims Steven Holl Architects violated its contract with the city by designing an inaccessible building. The suit says that the architecture firm should be forced to pay $10 million to cover the renovations needed to make the building accessible for people with disabilities.
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May 19, 2023

Permanent outdoor dining in NYC takes major step forward

The New York City Council and Mayor Eric Adams reached a deal this week on legislation that would make the pandemic-era outdoor dining program a permanent fixture of city life. The Open Restaurants program launched in 2020 as a lifeline for city businesses and as a way for New Yorkers to gather safely. After over a year of debate over a permanent program, the Council introduced a bill on Thursday permitting outdoor dining structures, or "streeteries," on city streets, but only for eight months of the year. So-called "sidewalk cafes" would be allowed year-round. The bill is expected to be voted on by the Council next month.
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May 18, 2023

MTA unveils redesign of NYC subway turnstile as fare evasion solution

To deter the roughly 400,000 subway riders who don't pay the fare every day, the Metropolitan Transportation Authority plans to redesign the turnstiles for the first time in modern history. The agency on Wednesday unveiled a potential design of a new subway fare gate that includes glass doors that slide open, replacing the rotating turnstiles that have been part of the system since its inception. The new gates would remove the need for emergency exit doors, which the MTA said accounts for more than half of all fare evasion.
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May 16, 2023

New renderings show off NYC’s first professional soccer stadium

Renderings have been unveiled for New York City's first-ever professional soccer stadium. During a Queens Community Board 7 meeting last week, Related Companies, Sterling Equities, and the NYC Football Club (NYCFC) presented new renderings for the Willets Point Revitalization Plan, a massive mixed-use development planned for Queens that includes a 25,000-seat stadium, a 250-room hotel, a 650-seat public school, over 40,000 square feet of public open space, retail space, and 250,000 affordable housing units. The stadium is scheduled to open in time for the 2027 season.
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May 15, 2023

NYC’s historic Roosevelt Hotel becomes arrival center for asylum seekers

A historic hotel in Midtown that has been closed since the start of the pandemic will become the city’s first arrival center for migrants, Mayor Eric Adams announced on Saturday. Located at 45 East 45th Street, The Roosevelt Hotel will serve as a “centralized intake center” for all arriving asylum seekers, providing them with legal, medical, and reconnection services and up to 175 rooms for children and families starting later this week. The new shelter is the ninth Humanitarian Emergency Response and Relief Center opened by the city; more migrants are expected to arrive in New York after the end of the pandemic-era rule Title 42, which let the U.S. quickly expel migrants without documentation.
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