Tag district issues

Chelsea Now: Food and Fun in Chelsea at the National Night Out Against Crime

BY DUSICA SUE MALESEVIC, August 8

The temperature, like the chicken being grilled, was sizzling — but the mood was buoyant at the annual National Night Out Against Crime on Tues., Aug. 7.

The event — a way for the police and the community to come together — was held locally by Chelsea’s 10th Precinct, and took place at the Fulton Houses on W. 17th St., between Ninth and 10th Aves.

“I think it’s great for the community,” said Jennifer Beeks, 35, who has been living at the Fulton Houses for three years. “It gives the children a chance not to be fearful of the police.”

Chelsea Now: Vacancy Tax Would Fine Landlords Who Let Storefronts Languish

By Dusica Malesevic, May 1

As the specter of empty storefronts continues to haunt the city, Mayor Bill de Blasio’s floating of a possible penalty for landlords who leave properties vacant for long periods of time has been greeted by elected officials and advocates as an encouraging sign.

“I’m heartened [by] City Hall’s attention to the issue and the mayor’s personal interest,” State Senator Brad Hoylman said in a phone interview late last week.

On March 30, de Blasio told WNYC, “I am very interested… in fighting for a vacancy fee or vacancy tax which would penalize landlords who leave their storefronts vacant for long periods of time in neighborhoods because they are looking for some top-dollar rent, but they blight neighborhoods by doing it…”

He added, “That’s something we could get done through Albany.”

A vacancy tax falls under the state legislature’s purview.

Press Release: Penn Station Double Outrage as Governor Jams Legislature and Usurps City Government

3/302018
For Immediate Release

Penn Station Double Outrage as Governor Jams Legislature and Usurps City Government

Statement by Assembly Member Richard N. Gottfried

     “After the Assembly leadership made clear to Governor Cuomo that we would not agree to his effort to take control of the area around Penn Station, the Governor has jammed his Penn Station bill into the final giant budget bill delivered to the Legislature on a take-it-or-leave-it basis. This extraordinarily hostile gesture puts the Legislature in a position of accepting his plan or shutting down government.

“It is wrong for the Governor to try to take over urban planning, traffic management and real estate development in New York City. That’s what this bill is aimed at. A project in the middle of midtown that is this large, complex, and important must be a collaborative effort and vision, including the Governor as well as the Mayor, along with area residents and businesses, the community board, and the area’s elected officials.

“The area’s elected officials — City Council Speaker Corey Johnson, Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer, Representative Jerry Nadler, State Senator Brad Hoylman and I – along with Mayor Bill de Blasio all opposed this last-minute power grab against the City’s elected local government. None of this overwhelming local opposition mattered to Governor Cuomo.

“The closing days of the state budget process is not the time to do this. This proposal, which did not appear in the Governor’s original budget bill in January, has nothing whatsoever to do with the State’s fiscal plan and should be discussed outside of the budget process. I thank Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie for his strong support for my insistence on a full community input process on this issue.”

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The Villager: Gansevoort garage demo is in gear

By Lincoln Anderson, December 14

BY LINCOLN ANDERSON | As anyone who is passing by Gansevoort Peninsula on the Hudson River bikeway or lives within sight of it knows, the hulking former garbage-truck garage there clearly is being demolished.

What is less clear is whether the peninsula, slated to be redeveloped into a park, will eventually also be home to a marine transfer station for recyclable municipal garbage. And that question could impact the process of designing a park there.

Chelsea Now – Steps to Safer Streets Sought After Deaths of Chelsea Cyclists

July 19, 2017

BY JACKSON CHEN | At a July 17 stakeholders meeting convened in response to a pair of Chelsea-based fatalities involving cyclists hit by charter buses, the Department of Transportation (DOT) offered a list of preventative measures.

On June 17, Michael Mamoukakis, 80, was traveling down Seventh Ave. when a charter bus making a right turn on W. 29th St. struck him, police said. Mamoukakis’ death was less than a week following an incident where Dan Hanegby, a 36-year-old investment banker from Brooklyn, collided with a charter bus on W. 26th St. (btw. Eighth & Seventh Aves.) after swerving to avoid a parked van on June 12, according to police. The similar nature and proximity of the two deaths led to Councilmember Corey Johnson calling for an emergency meeting with the DOT, NYPD, other electeds, Community Board 4 (CB4), and bus companies immediately following Mamoukakis’ death.

Chelsea Now: Waterside Association Reels in Years of Hudson River Park Plans

By Winnie McCroy, 5/31

Nature’s power to invigorate and inspire, along with our stewardship of that resource, was the thematic river that ran through the annual meeting of Chelsea Waterside Park Association (CWPA), held on the evening of Wed., May 24, at St. Paul’s Church (315 W. 22nd St., btw. Eighth & Ninth Aves.).

“Urban parks are a critical intersection between nature and the city,” said keynote speaker Nicolette Witcher, who serves as both vice president and the head of environment and education for Hudson River Park Trust (HRPT). “They are so important,” she said of accessible green spaces. “I raised three children in Manhattan, and the playgrounds and dog runs are essential; they give us great joy and utility.”

Chelsea Now: Rent Tax Reform Would Exempt Affordable Supermarkets

By Jackson Chen, 3/1/17

Faced with a rent increase from $32,000 a month to more than $100,000, Associated Supermarket closed its doors after 27 years on W. 14 St. and Eighth Ave. This March 2016 rally drew dozens of loyal customers as well as Councilmember Corey Johnson (in tie), with State Assemblymember Richard Gottfried (at right) and Public Advocate Letitia James (at left). Chelsea Now file photo by Yannic Rack.

Faced with a rent increase from $32,000 a month to more than $100,000, Associated Supermarket closed its doors after 27 years on W. 14 St. and Eighth Ave. This March 2016 rally drew dozens of loyal customers as well as Councilmember Corey Johnson (in tie), with State Assemblymember Richard Gottfried (at right) and Public Advocate Letitia James (at left). Chelsea Now file photo by Yannic Rack.

BY JACKSON CHEN | City Councilmembers across Manhattan are calling for reform of a decades-old commercial rent tax they say is burdening many local businesses into extinction.

The commercial rent tax (CRT) was created in 1963 as a revenue generator that charges businesses paying more than $250,000 in annual rent a 3.9 percent levy. In the ’90s, the CRT was restricted to Manhattan businesses below 96th St., followed by another amendment that exempted part of Lower Manhattan after 9/11.

Chelsea Now: Forum Shops Strategies for Saving Small Businesses

By Sean Egan, 10/27 Penn South resident Gloria Sukenick alerted the panel that Fashion Design Books on W. 27th St. (across from the Fashion Institute of Technology) would be shuttering its doors soon. Photo by Sean Egan.

Penn South resident Gloria Sukenick alerted the panel that Fashion Design Books on W. 27th St. (across from the Fashion Institute of Technology) would be shuttering its doors soon. Photo by Sean Egan.

BY SEAN EGAN | “The fabric of this city is dying,” said Chelsea resident Roberta Gelb, while chiding the City Council and Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer for the decades-long stalling of a bill that would strengthen the rights of commercial tenants during lease negotiations with landlords.

Unambiguous and apoplectic, Gelb’s linking of political inaction to the loss of single- and family-owned businesses was a common refrain at Oct. 20’s forum (“The Death (& Rebirth?) of NYC’s Mom-and-Pops”) — sponsored by the Chelsea Reform Democratic Club (CRDC; crdcnyc.org) in order to address the issue and examine solutions — most significantly, the aforementioned bill, the Small Business Jobs Survival Act (SBJSA).

Chelsea Now: Block Association Commends Pols, Police, Peers

By Dennis Lynch, October 26

The 300 West 23rd, 22nd, 21st Streets Block Association honored and heard from local community leaders, pols, and law enforcement officers at their annual community meeting at St. Paul’s German Lutheran Church (315 W. 22nd St., btw. Eighth & Ninth Aves.) on Oct. 24. The block association gave each honoree a framed print of the buildings on the 300 block of 21st St., between Eighth and Ninth Aves., the same iconic image the association uses as its logo.

The association honored Assemblymember Richard Gottfried, State Senator Brad Hoylman, Councilmember Corey Johnson, longtime President of the Council of Chelsea Block Associations Bill Borock, and the NYPD’s Chelsea-based 10th Precinct.

DNAInfo: Underground Railroad Home Earns Landmarks ‘Victory,’ Advocates Say

By Maya Rajamani, 9/23/16

CHELSEA — The city’s Landmarks Preservation Commission has asked the owner of a historic house that served as a stop on the Underground Railroad to remove a controversial rooftop addition — a request longtime advocates are viewing as a “victory.”