The New York City Council approved on Tuesday a bill requiring new buildings to be constructed with bird-friendly materials. Considered the most extensive policy of its kind in the country, the initiative mandates new glass buildings, as well as projects undergoing a major renovation, to be equipped with materials that are easier for birds to see. Each year, between roughly 90,000 and 230,000 birds die each year in New York City from colliding with glass buildings, according to the NYC Audubon. Learn more
Rendering courtesy of the Department of Design and Construction
The $1.45 billion East Side Coastal Resiliency Project (ESCR), designed to protect a section of Manhattan’s east side from flooding, was approved on Thursday in a full City Council vote. The vote is the final City Council approval of the project, which passed the city’s land use committee earlier this week and is the culmination of a long and at-times controversial process. As 6sqft previously reported, the project was born in the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy, and was designed to flood-proof over two miles of Manhattan’s east side between East 25th Street and Montgomery Street and improve waterfront access to waterfront space. According to the city, the ESCR project would protect over 110,000 New Yorkers.
The New York City Council on Thursday approved a plan that would close the notorious Rikers Island complex and replace it with four smaller jails across the city. The nearly $9 billion proposal, released by Mayor Bill de Blasio in 2017, pledges to shutter Rikers in 10 years by dramatically reducing the city’s jail population. It involves housing inmates in new facilities in Lower Manhattan, the South Bronx, Downtown Brooklyn, and Kew Gardens that are better integrated with the surrounding communities, as well as located closer to court systems.
Despite recent progress–and a federal lawsuit–only 23 percent of New York City’s 493 subway and Staten Island Railway (SIR) stations are fully ADA-accessible, a statistic which puts the city dead last among the country’s 10 largest metro systems for accessibility of its transit stations. The MTA has made a commitment to funding accessibility in its much-discussed Capital Plan, but hundreds of stations are still without without plans for ADA access. On Friday Speaker Corey Johnson and the City Council released a report showing that the use of zoning tools to incentivize or require private development projects to address subway station access could speed up progress toward the goal of system-wide ADA access–and simultaneously cut public expense. The report, and an interactive map, show the current system, future plans and what the use of zoning tools could accomplish.
Pets in Brooklyn may soon be able to wait more securely outside for their owners. The New York City Council on Tuesday approved a bill that asks the city to create a program for “pet harbors” on sidewalks next to commercial establishments. This will allow pet owners, for a fee, to leave animals in the climate-controlled, enclosed container, for no longer than an hour as they shop or get a cup of coffee.
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.
The Clinton Hill block where Notorious B.I.G. grew up has officially been named after the famous rapper, Tue, June 11, 2019
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.
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.
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.
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.