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After missing two deadlines to fill the position, Mayor Bill de Blasio on Tuesday announced that Gregory Russ will be taking over as Chair of NYCHA. Russ, who is currently the head of Minneapolis’ public housing authority and previously led the Cambridge Housing Authority in Massachusetts, will receive an unprecedented salary of $402,628—more than even President Donald Trump makes. That figure comes out to roughly $1 a year for every NYCHA tenant he will represent, as THE CITY reports.
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Following the deadly crash of a helicopter in midtown last Monday, lawmakers are calling for greater oversight on helicopters flying over the city, the New York Post reported. “I think we need a full ban on any helicopters going over Manhattan itself,” Mayor de Blasio said on WNYC’s The Brian Lehrer Show last Friday, noting that “exemptions should be made for emergency responders, first responders, uniform services,” and news cameras. On Sunday, Senator Chuck Schumer urged the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) to include data recorders in all helicopters.
Image: Michael Kowalczyk via Flickr
As local politicians scramble to change decades of waste and bad habits, businesses are often in a better position to have an impact on the planet, and some are eager to oblige. Whole Foods just announced they’d be ending the use of plastic straws in their juice bars and cafes and packaging rotisserie chickens in bags instead of plastic cartons, the New York Post reports. And grocery megachain Wegmans says they’ll be bagging single-use plastic bags by the end of this year, ahead of a statewide ban. Recently Mayor Bill De Blasio weighed in with NYC’s own Green New Deal; the mayor announced in April that the city has passed an executive order intended to mobilize resources to combat climate change. In addition to addressing the more obvious plastic, the plan includes the phasing-out of processed meat purchased by government-run facilities like hospitals and schools–but not street vendors, restaurants or stores.
Hot dogs are safe, for now
Image credit: Paige Polk/Mayoral Photography Office
The city has officially renamed the intersection of West 63rd Street and Broadway in Manhattan “Sesame Street,” to honor the beloved educational program’s 50th anniversary. As part of a year-long celebration, Mayor Bill de Blasio was joined by Big Bird, Cookie Monster, Oscar, Elmo and other members of the “Sesame” crew at a renaming ceremony at the bustling West Side corner–the location of the Sesame Workshop offices. “We’re here because we believe in what Sesame Street means today and what it’s meant for half-a-century, what it’s done for our children.”
de Blasio and Big Bird: separated at birth?
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Mayor Bill de Blasio kicked off a new lead-based paint testing program today, to be implemented in NYCHA apartments. 135,000 apartments will be tested with portable X-ray fluorescence (XRF) analyzers as part of the mayor’s LeadFreeNYC plan to eliminate childhood lead exposure. The effort will determine whether lead paint is present and abate any hazards found in the tested units, which were built before the federal ban on lead paint in 1978.
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The mayor’s office announced this week that New York City’s residential evictions by marshals had declined by 37 percent since 2013, with approximately 18,000 evictions in 2018 compared to almost 29,000 evictions in 2013. In Manhattan, evictions are down 47 percent since 2013. What that means: Since 2013, more than 100,000 New Yorkers who might otherwise have faced evictions have been able to stay in their homes. And evictions decreased 14 percent in 2018 alone. Maps from the New York City Council show data on where the most evictions happen and allow you to search for a specific address in any borough to find out more.
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Concept rendering of Harlem River Greenway Link view toward RFK Bridge.
The NYCEDC, the NYC Parks department and NYC DOT announced today the results of a study on how to close the 32-mile loop of the Manhattan Waterfront Greenway along with plans to invest over $250 million to get the project started in Inwood, Harlem, East Harlem and Midtown. The Manhattan Waterfront Greenway announcement outlines a strategy for connecting open waterfront spaces that total over 1,000 acres that will add about 15 acres of quality open space and integrate the Greenway into surrounding neighborhoods.
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Inwood Hill Park; Image: Dana via Flickr.
On Wednesday the City Council approved a rezoning plan for a 59-block section of Inwood, a neighbhorhood often referred to as the “last affordable neighborhood in Manhattan,” the New York Times reports. The plan was approved last week by the city’s zoning subcommittee and the Land Use Committee. The Inwood rezoning is part of Mayor Bill de Blasio’s plan to rezone neighborhoods across the city as part of the push to create and preserve 300,000 affordable housing units by his goal date of 2026. Inwood is the fifth neighborhood–including the also-controversial East New York and East Harlem–to be approved for rezoning under the plan.
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Rendering via NYCEDC
The New York City Council voted Wednesday to approve plans to build a new tech hub on city-owned land at 124 East 14th Street near Union Square. As Crain’s reported, last Thursday the building received the go-ahead from the zoning subcommittee that was reviewing the development of the 21-story building that supporters expect will be a resource for the “tech-for-good” community and provide jobs for lower-income workers. The project is being developed jointly by the city’s Economic Development Corp. and developer RAL Development Service; it is expected to open in 2020. The proposed tech center, which the mayor hopes will nurture budding entrepreneurs in the technology field and bring over 600 jobs to New Yorkers, is planned at the site of a P.C. Richard & Son store, in an area already filled with new developments with more on the way.
Not everyone is excited, however
Aggregate barge on Newtown Creek. Photo Credit: Mitch Waxman via NYCEDC
Mayor Bill de Blasio and the city’s Economic Development Corporation (EDC) announced on Monday the launch of a plan for investing in updated transportation options for New York City businesses and dividing distribution among the five boroughs. Freight NYC is a $100 million plan to overhaul the city’s aging freight distribution systems through strategic investments to modernize maritime and rail assets and create new distribution facilities. The plan hopes to create 5,000 jobs as well as a more sustainable and resilient supply chain network.
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