Mayor De Blasio

November 1, 2017

Mayor de Blasio doubles planned senior housing to 30,000 affordable apartments

Mayor de Blasio announced yesterday a new housing program, "Seniors First," that aims to double the city's commitment to senior housing over the mayor's extended 12-year Housing New York plan, with the goal of serving 30,000 senior households by 2026. This isn't the first time de Blasio has turned his focus to the affordable housing challenges for seniors; earlier this year he announced plans for two initiatives, including an Elder Rent Assistance program that would provide 25,000 seniors with monthly rental assistance of up to $1,300. And jumping on the bandwagon, too, are private developers. The Wall Street Journal reports that a Florida-based private-equity firm purchased a high-profile Brooklyn Heights apartment building--previously belonging to the Jehovah’s Witnesses--for about $200 million with plans to convert it into luxury senior housing.
Read more about the plans
May 30, 2017

Redeveloping NYC’s armories: When adaptive reuse and community building bring controversy

Constructed between the 18th and 20th centuries to resemble massive European fortresses and serve as headquarters, housing, and arms storage for state volunteer militia, most of America’s armories that stand today had shed their military affiliations by the later part of the 20th century. Though a number of them did not survive, many of New York City’s historic armories still stand. While some remain in a state of limbo–a recent setback in the redevelopment plans of Brooklyn's controversial Bedford-Union Armory in Crown Heights raises a familiar battle cry–the ways in which they've adapted to the city’s rollercoaster of change are as diverse as the neighborhoods that surround them.
Find out how the city's armories have fared
May 30, 2017

With delays and long lines, some New Yorkers are frustrated with new ferry service

Mayor de Blasio’s citywide ferry service initiative, which launched May 1, was meant to provide commuters with an alternative to the problem-plagued subway. However, just under a month after the city launched the NYC Ferry service, passengers have faced delays, long lines, and overcrowding. As the New York Times reports, the ferry service transported roughly 26,000 passengers in total this past holiday weekend, with the East River Route carrying more than 9,600 people each day. In response to high demand, an extra three boats were put into service.
Find out more
May 3, 2017

City to develop 2,400 new affordable housing units in East Harlem

Mayor de Blasio and his administration have made progress in meeting their goal of building 200,000 affordable units over the span of a decade, as 21,963 new units were added in 2016, the most in 27 years. However, there continues to be a shortage in East Harlem. Out of the nearly 20,000 affordable units, the city brought to all five boroughs, just 249 units have been built in East Harlem, according to a new report by the Department of Housing and Preservation Development (HPD). To better accommodate these residents, the city plans on expediting the construction of 2,400 units of affordable housing over the next few years, as DNA Info reported.
Find out more
May 1, 2017

NYC’s Citywide ferry service officially sets sail today!

The much-anticipated NYC Ferry service begins today, lessening the commute to Manhattan for many outer borough residents. The first commuter ferry took off from the new Rockaway route at 5:30 a.m. Monday, picked up more passengers at Sunset Park and then arrived in Lower Manhattan in just about one hour. Newly renovated ferries will also launch today on the East River Route, which services Midtown and Financial District communities. On Sunday, Mayor de Blasio held a christening ceremony and took the first ferry ride from the Rockaways to Wall Street.
Find out more
April 28, 2017

Nearly 900 affordable housing apartments are currently empty

An investigation by Public Advocate Letitia James’ office found that nearly 40 percent, or 884, of the 2,322 apartments in the Tenant Interim Lease (TIL) program sit unoccupied. After hearing multiple complaints from constituents at town halls, the public advocate’s office launched a full review of the program and discovered it does not meet its goal of providing New Yorkers with self-sufficient, low-income rentals (h/t NY Post). Even more shocking, at one TIL building on 615 West 150th Street, tenants had to move out in 1996 for what was supposed to be a two-year renovation. Per a policy briefing by the public advocate, they still have not been able to return to the units, and their possessions are locked up without access.
Find out more
April 27, 2017

De Blasio’s new budget boosts funding for anti-Airbnb enforcement

With the announcement of Mayor de Blasio’s new executive budget on Wednesday, the shaky relationship between the short-term rental company Airbnb and New York City continues. As reported by Crain’s, the city plans to crack down on illegal short-term rentals by spending an extra $2.9 million over the next two fiscal years. For the fiscal year 2018, the mayor plans to pour $1.6 million into expanding the city’s Office of Special Enforcement, which inspects and fines landlords who rent entire apartments out for fewer than 30 days.
Find out more
April 20, 2017

Affordable housing lotteries fail low-income residents and favor middle-income earners, says new report

In every state and major city in the country, extremely low-income renters face a shortage of affordable housing. Although low-income applicants in New York City display a higher need for affordable housing, policies created by Mayor de Blasio and his administration continue to set aside more units for middle-income applicants. In a detailed report, City Limits analyzed affordable housing in Brooklyn and compared the need for affordable housing to the actual number of allotted low-income and middle-income units. For just one building, the tower at 535 Carlton, nearly 95,000 households entered the lottery for its “100 percent affordable” units. However, only 2,203 applicants were eligible for the 148 middle-income units, and over 67,000 households applied for the 90 low-income units. The data shows low-income households in search of affordable housing face much tougher odds than middle-income applicants.
Find out more
April 17, 2017

Mayor de Blasio christens New York’s first Citywide Ferry with a ride into Brooklyn Bridge Park

To celebrate the ahead-of-schedule launch of the Citywide Ferry service, Mayor de Blasio rode the first ferry (named "Lunchbox" by second graders from Bay Ridge) this morning into Brooklyn Bridge Park's Pier 1 as part of an official dedication ceremony. Beginning May 1st, all New Yorkers can join in the revelry when the new Rockaway Route and the existing East River Route kick off. Service to South Brooklyn starts in June, and the Astoria route will be launched sometime in August. In all, there will be 21 stops added throughout the city as part of the expanded service. On top of today's festivities, the city also released the official new ferry schedules.
See the NYC Ferry routes
April 6, 2017

Rockaway Ferry to take off in May, one month ahead of schedule

Mayor de Blasio announced today that the Citywide Ferry Service, now officially named “NYC Ferry,” will be launching two routes on the first day of May: the new Rockaway Route and the existing East River Route. As DNA Info learned, the Rockaway route takes passengers from the new dock on Beach 108th Street to the Brooklyn Terminal, and then Wall Street’s Pier 11. Expect service on the South Brooklyn Route with stops in Bay Ridge, Sunset Park, Red Hook and Brooklyn Bridge Park to begin on June 1. The Astoria Route will be launched sometime in August and the Lower East Side and Soundview Routes have a launch date set in 2018.
Find out more here
April 5, 2017

City Council proposes half-priced MetroCards for low-income New Yorkers

Although the recent subway and bus fare hike affects all New Yorkers, low-income residents are being especially hard hit by the jump in cost. As a way to ease this financial burden, the City Council has proposed a $50 million pilot program as part of the “Fair Fares” initiative which will provide half-fare MetroCards to New Yorkers living at or below the federal poverty line. As the Daily News learned, transit advocates say nearly 800,000 residents would be eligible for the discount under the full plan.
Find out more here
April 4, 2017

Trump buildings rank as some of the biggest polluters in NYC

With a federal budget proposal that strips significant funding to the Environmental Protection Agency, it’s not so shocking that President Trump and his son-in-law and close adviser, Jared Kushner, both own buildings that rank as the least energy-efficient in New York City. The Daily News shared a new report from ALIGN, a coalition of labor and environmental activists, which found that Trump Tower uses more energy than 93 percent of the city’s large residential buildings. Worse, the Trump Organization's Mayfair condo uses more than 98 percent. The report also revealed that a Kushner Companies' 666 Fifth Avenue (controversial for even more reasons as of late) uses more energy than 85 percent of large office buildings.
See the report here
March 24, 2017

432 Park would have generated $30M for affordable housing with de Blasio’s mansion tax

Outside of 432 Park Avenue, Mayor de Blasio held a press conference on Thursday to discuss his mansion tax. The proposal calls for a 2.5 percent surcharge on sales of city homes valued at $2 million or more, which would in turn fund affordable housing for 25,000 senior citizens. De Blasio fittingly positioned himself outside 432 Park because, according to the city, if the proposed tax had been passed, this residence alone would have generated $30.2 million since 2015 in support of housing for low-income seniors. "And that would have been based--and this is stunning to me--on the sale of just 62 condominiums. But it would have meant enough money to subsidize affordable housing for 2,000 seniors," he said.
Find out more here
March 17, 2017

NYC schools, housing, and transit to lose hundreds of millions in federal aid under Trump’s budget

Under President Trump’s first budget proposal, New York City will lose hundreds of millions of dollars for schools, housing, transportation, homeland security, and other city agencies. According to the Daily News, city schools and afterschool programs can be expected to lose $140 million, homeland security grants will be cut $190 million, and NYCHA will lose $370 million, which is on top of the $76 million cut they were already expecting. Ironically, the budget also slashes transit projects by $2 billion, which means completing projects like the Second Avenue Subway and the Gateway trans-Hudson River tunnel may be on the chopping block, despite the fact that they were specifically called out in Trump's previous $1 trillion infrastructure plan to receive $14.2 billion and $12 billion respectively.
Find out more here
March 9, 2017

As the Mayor weighs options for loss of public housing funding, Trump considers $6B in HUD cuts

Just two days after newly appointed Secretary of HUD (the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development) Ben Carson went along with plans to cut federal funding to NYCHA by at least $35 million, the Trump administration is reportedly considering decreasing HUD's total budget by a staggering $6 billion, or 14 percent, according to a leaked budget draft obtained by the Washington Post. Though it's not clear how the cuts will affect NYC specifically, previous estimates said cuts to NYCHA's federal aid could easily balloon to $150 million this year, and Mayor de Blasio was already weighing his options for how to deal with the blow. The Wall Street Journal reports that he said yesterday he plans to put aside city money to help fill the gap, but if the city is "cut on many, many fronts simultaneously," there won't be enough to cover the loss in federal funding.
What happens next?
March 9, 2017

Mayor de Blasio says Citywide Ferry will add 200+ jobs

For the first time in 100 years, ferry service will be available to all five boroughs as part of a two-year $325 million initiative by Mayor de Blasio.  As the Wall Street Journal reported, the plan will add at least 200 jobs to the city’s economy. Half of these available jobs will pay at least $50,000 per year or more, according to the mayor. The plan for the citywide ferry service, launching this summer, will be managed by the Economic Development Corporation and Hornblower Cruises, who will hire deckhands, captains and other crew members.
Find out more here
January 25, 2017

De Blasio to spend $384M renovating old city-owned office buildings

Despite "a backdrop of uncertainty," as he put it, Mayor de Blasio yesterday unveiled an $89.4 billion, 10-year capital plan that includes school construction, public housing repairs, paving roads, and a new NYPD training center. It also sets aside $384.2 million to renovate and rehabilitate aging, city-owned buildings. Commercial Observer tells us that the bulk of this allotment, $94.5 million, would go towards 345 Adams Street in Downtown Brooklyn. The 1920s office building is home to the Department of Finance, Department of Probation, Board of Elections, and Administration for Children’s Services. Others on the list are the Brooklyn Municipal Building ($39.1 million), 253 Broadway in lower Manhattan ($18.5 million), and the Manhattan Municipal Building ($16.7 million).
More details
January 23, 2017

De Blasio to allocate $300 million and accelerate construction of third NYC water tunnel

Mayor Bill de Blasio will officially announce Tuesday that $300 million will be allocated toward the completion of the city’s third water tunnel (known as Water Tunnel No. 3) which will bring drinking water from upstate to the city’s taps. The mayor’s announcement backs up assurances he made in April that the tunnel will be ready for activation in an emergency by the end of this year, and fully operational by 2025, Politico reports. The allocation, along with an additional $3 million to disinfect the Brooklyn/Queens section of the tunnel, is part of the city's 10-year capital plan and will speed up the timeline for completion of the project.
Find out more
January 12, 2017

The city added 21,963 affordable housing units in 2016, the most in 27 years

When Mayor de Blasio took office in 2014, he vowed to build or preserve 200,000 units of affordable housing over 10 years, and so far, he's made good on his word, despite the loss of the city's controversial 421-a program. The Times reports that today the Mayor will announce that his administration has added 21,963 affordable units in 2016, the most since 1989. Of these apartments, 6,844 were in newly constructed buildings and roughly 4,400, or 20 percent, were reserved for low-income New Yorkers earning less than $25,000 (much more than the eight percent goal). More than 30 percent were in Manhattan, followed by 29 percent in both the Bronx and Brooklyn.
More details
January 3, 2017

IDNYC adds 10 new institutions to its roster of free offerings for 2017

For the third straight year, IDNYC will remain free to all New Yorkers over the age of 14, despite concerns related to Donald Trump's request for data from sanctuary cities (h/t DNAinfo). Currently, more than 900,000 people are cardholders, which makes them eligible for memberships and discounts at 38 cultural institutions, 10 of which are brand new this year and include the Museum of Arts and Design, Museum at Eldridge Street, Film Forum, St. George Theatre, and the Jacques Marchais Center for Tibetan Art. Other perks include a 15 percent discount for first-time Citi Bike members, a five percent discount during certain times at Food Bazaar supermarkets, and up to 25 percent off select events at the Barclay's Center.
Find out more right this way
December 8, 2016

City will increase the number of hotel rooms housing homeless New Yorkers by more than 500

As he readies himself for reelection this coming year, Mayor de Blasio is looking to address the city's surging homeless population. Just this week, the city reported a record 60,686 New Yorkers in shelters, nearly 40 percent of whom are children. This number was closer to 51,470 when de Blasio took office in 2014, and despite the $1.6 billion he's spent on homeless services since this time (a 60 percent increase), the shelter system still can't support the growing population. Therefore, as the Times explains, he's looking to ramp up a controversial initiative that uses hotel rooms to fill in the gaps, earmarking more than 500 additional rooms for this portfolio.
Find out more on this issue
December 5, 2016

De Blasio asks feds for $35M to cover 73 days of Trump Tower security

White House North, Dump Tower--call it what you will, but Trump Tower has been causing a major headache for the city ever since the President Elect announced that he hopes to spend weekends in his penthouse at the Midtown tower and that wife Melania and son Barron will continue to reside there during his presidency. Initial estimates put the cost of protecting the building at $1 million a day, but after City Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito and Council Member Dan Garodnick launched a petition last week demanding that the federal government cover these costs, Mayor de Blasio has officially asked for a total of "$35 million to cover the 73 days stretching from the election on Nov. 8 to Jan. 20, inauguration day," reports the Post, a lesser amount of roughly $480,000 a day.
More details ahead
November 21, 2016

Cuomo sets aside $300M in tax-exempt bonds for NYC affordable housing

As of the summer, Mayor de Blasio was ahead of schedule on his ambitious plan to build or preserve 200,000 units of affordable housing over 10 years, having financed nearly 53,000 such apartments. His goal will now be even closer in grasp thanks to the additional $300 million in federally tax-exempt bonds the Governor has allocated to subsidize the cost of new construction, which brings the city's total bond capacity to $771 million, according to the Daily News, an 11 percent increase over 2o15.
Learn more
November 21, 2016

Shipbuilding companies work around the clock to meet 2017 ferry service deadline

City officials are pushing to have the $325 million citywide ferry service, helmed by Hornblower and managed by the city's Economic Development Corporation, up and running a few months before next November, when Mayor Bill de Blasio stands for re-election. As 6sqft reported in September, two bayou-based shipbuilding companies, Horizon Shipbuilding in Bayou La Batre, Ala. and the awesomely-named Metal Shark in Franklin, La., are racing to complete the 19 new boats scheduled to hit the water this summer. The ferry service will be the most extensive passenger ferry service of its kind in any U.S. city.
Get a sneak peek at the shiny new fleet-to-be