City Council

Lower East Side, Policy

Coastal Resiliency, NYC flooding, DDC

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.

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Policy

Photo by Tim Rodenberg on Wikimedia

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.

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maps, Policy, Transportation

Photo via Carl Mikoy / Flickr cc

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.

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Brooklyn, Policy

Via Flickr

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.

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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

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