Tag district issues

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.”

Village Voice: How the West Side Was Won: Will Port Authority Truce Yield a Better Bus Terminal?

By Stephen Miller, 9/21/16

After a standoff lasting months, elected officials and the Port Authority announced a peace accord yesterday over plans to replace the authority’s aging West Side bus terminal. The Port Authority has promised to include local representatives and the public as it studies all potential sites for a new terminal, backing away (for now) from its previous goal of building a replacement west of Ninth Avenue.

Politicians had spent all summer blasting the bi-state body for an insular process that, they said, prematurely jumped to conclusions about relocating Manhattan’s second-busiest transit hub. While hitting “reset” could lead to a more transparent process, there’s no guarantee it will include the large-scale thinking needed to find a better way of handling the crushing cross-Hudson commute.

Chelsea Now: A Shaken Chelsea Quickly Finds Its Footing

By Eileen Stukane, 9/22/16

BY EILEEN STUKANE | The windows were still missing on every floor of the building whose street level space houses the King David Gallery. Next door at the St. Vincent de Paul Church, shuttered since 2013, there was similar damage above. Below, shattered glass was strewn on the ground and wedged into the sidewalk cracks as far as the eye could see. Across the street, the tall windows normally affording passersby a clear view into the intense goings-on at Orangetheory Fitness sported the top-to-bottom duct-taped “X” mark familiar to anyone who’s ever prepped for a hurricane.

Three days after Ahmad Khan Rahami’s homemade bomb exploded near 131 W. 23rd St., a shaken Chelsea had weathered the storm and was standing tall, albeit on new footing.

Barricades lifted, traffic and pedestrians had returned to this block of W. 23rd St., between Sixth and Seventh Aves., which had a stronger NYPD presence. It was a time for attention and assurances from Mayor Bill de Blasio, and other elected officials, that life could return to normal. And so they came.

Damage to the King David Gallery was underway on the morning of Tues., Sept. 20. Photo by Scott Stiffler.

Damage to the King David Gallery was underway on the morning of Tues., Sept. 20. Photo by Scott Stiffler.

Chelsea Now: Fate of Hopper-Gibbons House Still in Flux

By Sean Egan, 9/22/16

L to R: Fern Luskin, State Assemblymember Richard Gottfried, Public Advocate Letitia James, and Julie Finch spoke out against the fifth-floor addition to the Hopper-Gibbons House. Photo by Sean Egan.

L to R: Fern Luskin, State Assemblymember Richard Gottfried, Public Advocate Letitia James, and Julie Finch spoke out against the fifth-floor addition to the Hopper-Gibbons House. Photo by Sean Egan.

BY SEAN EGAN | Preservationists who’ve rallied for years around the Hopper-Gibbons House (339 W. 29th St., btw. Eighth & Ninth Aves.) — the only documented Underground Railroad site in Manhattan — were left frustrated after the Landmarks Preservation Commission (LPC), at its Tues., Sept. 20 hearing, decided not to take any action regarding the building. At this hearing, the LPC could have required the owner to remove a contentious fifth-floor addition from the row house and restore it to its previous four-story height — the ultimate goal of advocates.

Controversy has surrounded the house because its owner, Tony Mamounas, has been trying to legitimize a fifth-floor penthouse he began building when in possession of erroneously issued permits from the Department of Buildings.

The building was landmarked in 2009 as part of the Lamartine Historic District, just after those permits were revoked and Stop Work Orders were issued — though work on the addition continued, according to locals. Court decisions in 2013 and 2015 upheld that Mamounas must gain approval from the LPC before continuing construction.

Daily News: Activists fight to stop Chelsea building owner from adding penthouse suite to Underground Railroad landmark

By Laura Dimon & Leonard Greene, September 20

Activists trying to save the last spot in New York where slaves were given shelter urged the city’s Landmarks Preservation Commission to block the building’s owner from adding a penthouse suite.

Chelsea’s Hopper-Gibbons House is the city’s last link to the Underground Railroad, and to the abolitionists who pushed to end slavery in 19th century America.

A building owner’s bid to add a fifth-floor, rooftop apartment to the renovated structure at 339 W. 29th St. would desecrate a piece of important history, opponents of the addition said.

The building received landmark status in 2010.

(Left-right) NYC Public Advocate Letitia James and State Assemblyman Richard Gottfried at a press conference discuss the fundamentals of maintaining Chelsea’s Hopper-Gibbons House

Chelsea Now – DHS Ducks Capacity Crowd as CB5 Cuts Shelter Info Session Short

By Alex Ellefson, September 7

BY ALEX ELLEFSON | Plans to discuss the use of an infamous Flatiron hotel as a months-long refuge for homeless single men and women awaiting long-term housing stalled last week when a conference room was unable to accommodate scores of irate residents intent on voicing their objections.

Neighbors packed shoulder-to-shoulder — with a line of people out into the hall — to hear a presentation on the proposed shelter at the Community Board 5 (CB5) Budget, Education & City Services Committee meeting.

Chelsea Now: City Prodded to Pick Apart Lockbox Problem

By Dusica Malesevic, 8/10/16

Since Chelsea Now’s July 20 article about key keepers on and around W. 21st St. (btw. Eighth & Ninth Aves.), several have been removed.

Pamela Wolff, a longtime resident of W. 21st St., said there has been a drastic decrease in key lockboxes — often used by those putting their apartment on short-term rental sites — on her block.

“There is only one left,” she said in a phone interview on Aug. 2. “They’ve all disappeared.”

Chelsea Now: Electeds Rally to Reboot PABT Design Process

By Sean Egan, July 21

L to R: Matt Green of Councilmember Corey Johnson’s office, State Senator Brad Hoylman, Congressmember Jerrold Nadler, Borough President Gale Brewer, CB4 Chair Delores Rubin, and State Assemblymember Richard Gottfried. Photo by Sean Egan.

L to R: Matt Green of Councilmember Corey Johnson’s office, State Senator Brad Hoylman, Congressmember Jerrold Nadler, Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer, CB4 Chair Delores Rubin, and State Assemblymember Richard Gottfried. Photo by Sean Egan.

BY SEAN EGAN | On the morning of Thurs., July 21, elected officials gathered outside the offices of the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey in order to formally call for the immediate halt of plans for a new Port Authority Bus Terminal (PABT) — specifically the design competition the Authority recently initiated, which they believe was launched prematurely.

Standing on the southwest corner opposite of 4 World Trade Center (where Authority offices are located), Congressmember Jerrold Nadler, Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer, State Senator Brad Hoylman, and State Assemblymembers Richard Gottfried and Linda Rosenthal lined up to deliver statements decrying the way in which the Authority has handled the project’s development thus far. Matt Green, Deputy Chief of Staff for Community Affairs representing City Councilmember Corey Johnson’s office, was also present to deliver a statement, as was Community Board 4 (CB4) Chair Delores Rubin.

Chelsea Now: Key Lockboxes Spark Safety Concerns

By Dusica Sue Malesevic, July 20

An increase in key lockboxes has some residents concerned about safety, as they point to home-sharing sites that use the key keepers so people can gain entrance to buildings.

A host can put the keys in a lockbox, giving their guest the combination to open the keeper. Those who make their residential spaces available to others via short-term rental sites — Airbnb, HomeAway, VRBO, Flipkey, and Craigslist — use the lockboxes if they cannot hand over keys in person. Realtors also use key lockboxes.

Last week, Chelsea Now counted 11 key keepers on W. 21st St., btw. Eighth and Ninth Aves. Some were discreetly placed, hidden behind bikes or garbage cans. Others were easily spotted, out in the open and affixed to tree guards and fences. In front of one building on the block, four key keepers dotted a tree guard’s perimeter.