City Council

affordable housing, little italy, Policy

Haven Green, Curtis + Ginsberg, Elizabeth Street Garden, senior housing Nolita

Rendering courtesy of Curtis + Ginsberg Architects

The New York City Council on Wednesday unanimously approved a plan to replace a community garden in Little Italy with an affordable housing complex for seniors. The project, first introduced by Council Member Margaret Chin in 2012, will rise on the site of Elizabeth Street Garden, a quirky green space created in 1991 by Allan Reiver, who owns the gallery next to the garden. The complex, dubbed Haven Green, will include 123 affordable apartments and ground-floor retail. Originally, developers agreed to keep 8,000 square feet of public space at the site, but on Wednesday Chin said she reached an agreement to incorporate more open space at Haven Green through a courtyard next door.

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Celebrities, Clinton Hill

Images via New York City Council on Flickr

Despite the rainy weather, hundreds of people gathered at St. James Place in Clinton Hill on Monday to honor the legacy of Christopher Wallace, better known as Notorious B.I.G. or Biggie Smalls. As amNY first reported, the block between Fulton Street and Gates Avenue—where the famous rapper grew up—will now also be known as “Christopher ‘Notorious B.I.G.’ Wallace Way.” Biggie’s mother, Voletta Wallace, was present at the event and she remembered the last time she saw a huge crowd on the street, the day Biggie was murdered 22 years ago. “It was a sad day,” Wallace said, “and when I saw the crowds, tears came to my eyes and I said to my friend, ‘My son was well-loved.’” This time around, seeing everyone gathered there for the unveiling brought “happy tears” to her eyes.

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Bronx, Policy

Photo of Hart Island via Flickr

One of the country’s largest burial ground may become a city park. The New York City Council is considering making Hart Island, an island located off of the Bronx coast where roughly one million people have been buried since the Civil War, more accessible to visitors. Because the city’s Department of Correction (DOC) currently maintains the site and hires inmates from Rikers Island to bury bodies there, access remains restricted. During a hearing Thursday, the City Council introduced a package of legislation aimed at improving Hart Island, including one bill that would transfer control of the land from the DOC to the city’s parks department.

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Policy

NYC Council votes to close mechanical void loophole

By Devin Gannon, Thu, May 30, 2019

Rendering of 50 West 66th Street; courtesy of Binyan Studios/ Snøhetta

The New York City Council on Wednesday voted to close a zoning loophole that has allowed developers to fill multiple floors of a tower with mechanical equipment without counting the floors as part of the building. The so-called mechanical void loophole enabled taller residential towers, and therefore higher, more expensive units, without actually creating more housing. The amendment approved by the Council will count mechanical voids taller than 25 feet as zoning floor area, as Crain’s reported.

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Policy

Via Flickr

The New York City Council on Wednesday passed a package of 17 bills intended to protect tenants from landlord abuse. The legislation includes closing the so-called “Kushner loophole,” which had allowed landlords to file false paperwork with the city’s Department of Buildings. The bill comes a year after President Donald Trump’s son-in-law Jared Kushner’s family’s firm, Kushner Companies, was found to have falsely claimed it had no rent-regulated tenants in dozens of buildings it owned when it actually had hundreds.

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Midtown East, Policy

Via Flickr

The New York City Council on Wednesday approved the first supertall to be constructed under the Midtown East rezoning. JPMorgan Chase will build a new 70-story headquarters at the site of its current offices at 270 Park Avenue. The rezoning, adopted by the city in 2017, affects more than 70 blocks around Grand Central Terminal and encourages the construction of taller, more modern office towers in the neighborhood. Designed by Norman Foster’s Foster + Partners, the 1,400-foot building is set to become one of the tallest structures in the city and the tallest office building by roof height.  More here

Celebrities, Staten Island

Photo by Jeff Reed, courtesy of NYC Council/Flickr

Following a unanimous New York City Council vote back in December, The Wu-Tang Clan was made a permanent part of New York City on Saturday when the Park Hill neighborhood of Staten Island was renamed The Wu-Tang Clan District. As CNN first reported, city officials, fans, community members, and several Wu-Tang members gathered for the unveiling of the new street sign—located at the corner of Targee Street and Vanderbilt Avenue, where the music video for “Can It All Be So Simple” was filmed—that makes it official. “I never saw this day coming,” Ghostface Killah said in a speech at the event. “I knew we were some ill MCs, but I didn’t know that it’d take it this far.”

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Green Design, Policy

nyc skyline, new york skyline, manhattan

Via Pexels

New York City is ramping up its fight against climate change with a plan to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from high-rise buildings by 40 percent over the next decade. The City Council is expected to pass on Thursday an eight-bill legislative package that has been called its own version of the Green New Deal. The most ambitious bill of the lot requires NYC buildings 25,000 square feet or bigger to meet new standards to reduce greenhouse gas outputs by upgrading them with energy-efficient technology.

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affordable housing, Policy

Image via Wikimedia Commons

Last June, the city committed $500 million toward a plan to construct 1,000 new apartments for low-income senior citizens, but now almost a year later those plans are moving forward much slower than expected, Politico reports. The plan had identified six potential sites—two at New York City Housing Authority properties Kingsborough Houses in Brooklyn and Morris Houses in the Bronx, and four on other city-owned lots—but so far the city has only requested developer proposals for one of those sites.

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Policy

Via CityRealty

A package of legislation being introduced in the City Council on Wednesday aims to make renting in New York City more affordable. The bills, drafted by Council Members Keith Powers and Carlina Rivera, would limit broker fees and security deposits each to one month’s rent, as first reported by the Wall Street Journal. The bills come after a report by City Comptroller Scott Stringer released last summer found that New Yorkers paid over $507 million in security deposits in 2016.

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