Queens’ first planetarium will open in Astoria, New York State Sen. Michael Gianaris announced on Thursday. Using a $1 million state grant, the planetarium will be built as part of a major renovation of the Variety Boys and Girls Club of Queens (VBGCQ). Construction on the planetarium will begin next year and is expected to be completed in 2026.
New York City residents are outraged after receiving electricity bills with astonishing price spikes, some by 300 percent of their normal rate. After receiving hundreds of calls from concerned New Yorkers over their skyrocketing electricity bills, elected officials are calling on the state’s Public Service Commission (PSC) to launch an investigation into the sudden price increase among ConEd customers.
A coalition of housing and tenant advocacy groups is calling for a statewide rent strike on May 1 with the goal of pressuring Gov. Andrew Cuomo to cancel rent for the duration of the coronavirus pandemic. Led by the Upstate Downstate Housing Alliance, the coordinated protest is seeking cancellation of rents for at least four months, a freeze on rent for every tenant, and a plan to house homeless New Yorkers.
Just 69 percent of apartment renters in the United States paid rent during the first week of April, according to a new report released this week by the National Multifamily Housing Council (NMHC). This a decrease of 12 percentage points compared to the percentage of households that paid rent last month. The data is one of the first looks at the impact of the coronavirus pandemic–which has put millions of Americans out of work– on the housing market.
Landlords would not be able to evict tenants for any unpaid rent that accumulated during New York’s state of emergency and for six months afterward, under proposed legislation introduced by state lawmakers Tuesday. State Sens. Brad Hoylman and Liz Krueger and Assembly Member Jeffrey Dinowitz announced the “NYS Tenant Safe Harbor Act” that would strengthen the current 90-day eviction freeze put in place by the state last month.
Evictions have been halted. Mortgage payments have been suspended. What about rents? New York renters, elected officials, and tenant advocacy groups are calling for a temporary rent freeze to provide financial relief to both workers and businesses impacted by the coronavirus outbreak. State Sen. Michael Gianaris, who represents parts of Queens, will introduce a measure on Monday that would suspend rent payments for 90 days for tenants and small businesses, as the Daily News first reported.
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Update 3/1/19, 1:10pm: According to Crain’s, Governor Cuomo said today on WNYC’s Brian Lehrer Show, “They have given no indication that they would reconsider. I have no reason to believe that Amazon is reconsidering. Would I like them to? Certainly. But I have no reason to believe that.”
Amazon’s Valentine’s Day breakup with New York City has been rough on Governor Andrew Cuomo; the New York Times reports that Cuomo has continued to beseech the retail giant to build one of its two new headquarters in Long Island City, Queens, as it had announced plans to do last November. According to the Times, Cuomo has privately assured Amazon officials that he would ease the company’s path to any needed approvals and is “working intensely behind the scenes”–including a personal pitch to founder Jeff Bezos–to get Amazon to reconsider.
Amazon said on Thursday it will no longer build a new headquarters in Long Island City, the New York Times reported. The online retail giant selected the Queens neighborhood last year for its “HQ2” campus following a 14-month nationwide contest. Amazon had promised to bring 25,000 jobs to New York City in exchange for nearly $3 billion in state and city incentives. In a statement, the company said it does not plan to look for another location at this time.
After facing months of intense backlash from residents and local officials, Amazon is rethinking its plan to open a massive complex in the Queens neighborhood of Long Island City, the Washington Post reported on Friday. Sources told the newspaper, which is owned by Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos, that executives at the tech company have had discussions to reassess the plan to open its “HQ2” in New York City. “The question is whether it’s worth it if the politicians in New York don’t want the project, especially with how people in Virginia and Nashville have been so welcoming,” a source told the Post.
State Sen. Michael Gianaris announced on Tuesday plans to draft legislation aimed at cracking down on insider dealing in real estate. The proposed law comes after a report in the Wall Street Journal found Amazon employees were buying condos in Long Island City before the company had publicly announced plans to build their second headquarters in the neighborhood. The legislation would prohibit anyone from using confidential government information to buy or sell real estate, according to Gianaris.