Bill de Blasio

Harlem, Landscape Architecture

Rendering courtesy of Susan T. Rodriguez Architecture | Design and the Central Park Conservancy

The $150 million plan to build a new pool and ice rink at the northern end of Central Park is facing backlash from local swimmers and skaters. Last September, the Central Park Conservancy revealed a project to replace the aging Lasker Rink and Pool and create space for year-round recreation. But a group of hockey players and swimmers is asking the conservancy to revise its plan, which they claim would reduce the space they can use, eliminating some of the programs offered.

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affordable housing, Policy

Billionaires’ Row © 6sqft

Mayor Bill de Blasio on Thursday laid out his vision to “save” New York City, pledging to focus on affordability, climate change, and protections for small businesses during his last two years in office. “This city and everything it stands for must be saved. And we are the ones who have to save ourselves,” the mayor said during his State of the City address. De Blasio’s vision involves building on initiatives his administration has put forward during his tenure, including creating more affordable housing, increasing tenant protections, legalizing basement apartments, and launching the second phase of the Green New Deal.

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Transportation

Rendering via NYCEDC

The city is once again inching forward with its plan to bring a streetcar to run between Brooklyn and Queens, a problem-plagued $2.7 billion proposal first presented five years ago. The New York City Economic Development Corporation on Thursday launched a new website for the Brooklyn Queens Connector (BQX) with information about public community meetings planned for February and March. According to the website, the city expects a draft environmental impact statement (DEIS) on the project to conclude in the spring of 2021, with the final statement ready by that fall. But questions about the logistics of constructing the streetcar’s 11-mile route and its growing price tag.

It’s back

Midtown, Transportation

Photo by Javier Guiterrez Acedo on Flickr

After having been closed to car and truck traffic during the busiest times of day since November 29th, West 49th and West 50th streets between Fifth and Sixth avenues–the two streets on either side of the Rockefeller Center Christmas Tree–may become permanently car-free if some city officials have their way. Mayor Bill de Blasio said Monday that he believes the vehicle-free streets were safer for the estimated 750,000 pedestrians who were expected to traverse the plaza each day during the crowded holiday season, the Wall Street Journal reports.

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Policy, Transportation

Photo by Asael Peña on Unsplash

Next month, more New Yorkers will be able to buy discounted MetroCards. The city will launch open enrollment for its Fair Fares program on Jan. 27, allowing all eligible individuals at or below the Federal Poverty line to purchase half-price MetroCards, Mayor Bill de Blasio and City Council Speaker Corey Johnson announced Friday. Currently, the program, which began early this year, only applies to some residents of the city’s public housing, CUNY students, veteran students, or New Yorkers receiving city benefits like SNAP.

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Inwood, Policy

Judge overturns city’s plan to rezone Inwood

By Devin Gannon, Fri, December 20, 2019

Photo by kathryn on Flickr

A state Supreme Court judge on Thursday overturned land-use changes approved by the City Council in 2018 to rezone the neighborhood of Inwood. A group of local residents and preservationists filed a lawsuit against the rezoning last December, claiming the plan did nothing to protect the community from displacement, as well as other effects of gentrification. In the decision, Judge Verna Saunders said the city “failed to take a hard look at the relevant areas of concern identified by the public” and did not comply with a state environmental quality review.

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affordable housing, Policy

Photo credit: Michael Appleton/Mayoral Photography Office on Flickr

Mayor Bill de Blasio on Tuesday released a plan to get 3,600 homeless New Yorkers off city streets within five years. The six-point initiative adds new “safe haven” beds, creates 1,000 permanent units of housing, provides new health resources, and ramps up the city’s outreach response. Named The Journey Home, the $100 million plan comes as the number of those experiencing homelessness in the city has reached the highest levels in nearly 100 years, with more than 60,000 people currently living in homeless shelters.

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affordable housing, Policy

Photo by Daryan Shamkhali on Unsplash

The New York City Council and Mayor Bill de Blasio’s administration have reached an agreement to provide more housing for homeless New Yorkers. As first reported by Politico, the legislation, expected to pass next week, would require developers of new housing developments that receive city financing to set aside at least 15 percent of units for homeless individuals and families. The new law could create about 1,000 new apartments each year for those experiencing homelessness.

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affordable housing, New Jersey, Policy

Photo of Newark, NJ by Paul Sableman on Flickr

Update 12/10/19: After a long negotiation in federal court on Monday, Newark and New York have agreed to suspend the SOTA Program, Politico reported. “In the spirit of productive conservations and with the goal of moving toward an improved program, we will be temporarily pausing placements in Newark,” de Blasio spokesperson Freddi Goldstein said in a statement. New York City will also send Newark a list of participants of the program and their addresses once an agreement is reached. 

Newark officials are suing New York City and Mayor Bill de Blasio over the city’s controversial Special One-Time Assistance (SOTA) Program that provides homeless shelter residents with free rent for a year if they leave NYC. More than 2,200 families have been placed in 62 New Jersey cities through the program, with over half ending up in Newark. Recent investigations have found that some families end up in “illegal and uninhabitable” apartments and are essentially forced to become dependent on Newark social services. The lawsuit was filed in federal court Monday, as NJ.com first reported, just weeks after Newark passed a law to make the program illegal and ban landlords from taking more than a month’s worth of subsidized rent.

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City Living, Policy

Photo courtesy of the Department of Transportation

Nearly two million packages on average are delivered in New York City each day, causing vans and trucks to clog already congested streets. Looking to address delivery-related traffic, as well as cut vehicle emissions, the city announced on Wednesday a pilot program that would encourage companies to use cargo bikes instead of trucks to deliver parcels in Manhattan below 60th Street.

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