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Budget Hearings Breakdown
May 13th, 2010

The City Council kicked off its executive budget hearings this morning, and over the next month there will be dozens more.

This schedule is subject to change, but here is how it’s laid out now.

Friday, May 14

Human Rights Commission, 10 a.m.
City University of New York, 10:30 a.m.
Education and School Construction Authority (Capital), 12 p.m.

Monday, May 17
Citywide Administrative Services, 10 a.m.
Board of Elections, 10:45 a.m.
Campaign Finance Board, 11:45 a.m.
Aging, 12:30 p.m.
Juvenile Justice, 2 p.m.
Read the rest of this entry »

By on May 13, 2010, 6:00 pm
In category: Albany,City Hall,Community Development,Crime & Safety,Economy,Education,Electoral Politics,Eye Opener,Gotham City,Governing,Health,Housing,Land Use,Law,nextNY,Parks,Public Finance,Social Services,sustainability,Tech,Transportation | 1 Comment »

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Rose Plaza Moving
April 14th, 2010

Stop and smell the roses, looks like Rose Plaza is coming to Williamsburg.

Aaron Short of the Brooklyn Paper has the story here.

By on April 14, 2010, 12:05 pm
In category: City Hall,Community Development,Electoral Politics,Gotham City,Housing,Land Use,nextNY,Parks,Waterfront | Comments Off

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No Deal on Rose Plaza Yet
April 13th, 2010

Things don’t smell so rosy for Brooklyn development Rose Plaza on the River.

The approximately 800-unit Williamsburg mixed use development, nestled along the Brooklyn waterfront and south of the Williamsburg Bridge, was placed on the agenda for tomorrow’s City Council meeting. But according to a spokesperson for the councilmember who represents the area, Stephen Levin, the vote may not necessarily be in its favor.

“There are talks,” said Hope Reichbach, a spokesperson for Levin. But, she added, “nothing is final yet.”

When asked whether the council could reject the project, Reichback said, “It’s possible.”

When it comes to land use, the whole City Council usually defers to the member who represents the area. If he or she supports the project, it’s approved. If he or she doesn’t, well, you get the picture. Rose Plaza has become controversial, said Reichback, because of the amount of affordable units, around 20 percent, and the small number of apartments that could accommodate large families.

The council isn’t under the gun to vote tomorrow. Technically, it has to approve a land use application within 50 days of its approval at the City Planning Commission. City planning ok’d the project on March 8.

It’s not unprecedented for the council to vote against the sitting member. Just last year, the council approved the Dumbo Dock Street project — which happens to be in the same district as Rose Plaza. In that case, former Councilmember David Yassky opposed the project for fear it would obstruct the view of the Brooklyn Bridge.

By on April 13, 2010, 3:59 pm
In category: City Hall,Community Development,Economy,Gotham City,Housing,Land Use,nextNY,Parks | 2 Comments »

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Closing State Parks
April 9th, 2010

Gotham Gazette parks reporter Anne Schwartz filed this post.

The state’s plan to close dozens of parks is moving forward while legislators and Gov. David Paterson trade blame for the delay in reaching a budget agreement. Parks agency commissioner Carol Ash said on Thursday that without a final state budget the agency “has neither funding nor authorization” to open the parks and historic sites it had slated for closing.

The agency has canceled camping reservations at those parks, and is offering refunds to people who reserved sites in parks where pools, beaches and other key facilities will be closed. “Practically speaking, most of the parks and historic site slated for closure were already shut down over the winter, and they will remain that way for now,” she said. “Lifeguards and seasonal workers aren’t being hired; picnic tables will stay in storage; bathrooms will stay closed.”

Patersons budget proposal closes 55 parks and historic sites and reduces hours of operation, eliminates programs or shuts pools or sections in 22 other locations. It also relies on $5 million shifted from the Environmental Protection Fund to keep open an additional 34 parks and maintain full services at 18 sites. The Assembly and Senate budgets restore enough funding to keep all of the parks open, with a total of $11.3 million.
Read the rest of this entry »

By on April 9, 2010, 2:29 pm
In category: Albany,Eye on Albany,Parks | Comments Off

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Protesting Park Closings
March 4th, 2010

Gotham Gazette parks writer Anne Schwartz filed this post.

Gov. David Paterson’s plan to close state parks has generated an outpouring of voter outrage. The proposal would shutter as many as 91 of the state’s 178 state parks and 14 of its 35 historic sites, and reduce services at others, to save $20 million, a quarter of 1 percent of the states $8 billion-plus budget gap.

“In my 34 years with the legislature, I have never seen an issue that has resonated so much with the public, Republican Sen. Hugh Farley told the Albany Times-Union.

Several hundred people rallied in Albany yesterday outside the Capitol, while more than a dozen lawmakers from both parties spoke out against the closures, which could take effect as soon as April 1. Democratic Assemblyman Steve Englebright, chair of the tourism and parks committee, said he and other lawmakers are disturbed that the state parks agency has begun to cancel campsite reservations and issue refunds before the legislature has a chance to address the issue, the Times-Union reported.

Closing the parks would actually cause the state to lose revenue. A study by the nonprofit advocacy group Parks and Trails New York found that every dollar the state spends on parks and historic sites returns $5 to the state and local economies, amounting to $1.9 billion a year. Studies in other states, like one released a few days ago by state of Tennessee, have found similar benefits.

By on March 4, 2010, 4:53 pm
In category: Albany,Parks | Comments Off

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Green Gets His Park
March 3rd, 2010

For years Manhattan Borough Historian Michael Miscione has been telling city residents that Andrew Haswell Green may well have been the most influential New Yorker they never heard of. Now, though, Green is about to get, if not fame, at least recognition.

A new park along the East River from 60th to 63rd Streets will be named for Green, a 19th century planner and civic leaders who created the plan to consolidate the five boroughs into the metropolis we know today and played key roles in the creation of several City parks, including most notably Central Park, as well as the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the New York Public Library and the Bronx Zoo. And he helped turn around the city’s finances. Despite that record, though, his only monument has been a bench in Central Park.

(To learn more about this largely unsung — until now — New York, read Miscione’s 2003 article in Gotham Gazette: Honor Andrew Haswell Green!)

In an email, Miscione described the decision to honor Green with the park “very gratifying” and said it “fulfills a promise made by the parks department to christen a park for Mr. Green.”

While Miscione and other aficionados of local history may cheer the name of the park, local residents will probably pay more attention to what will be in the 1.29 acre space. The plan, revealed at a Community Board 8 meting last month, drew enthusiastic reviews, according to Our Town.

“I hate to say it, but its almost perfect,” Barry Schneider said. In other words, a fitting tribute to the man behind some of New York’s greatest parks.

By on March 3, 2010, 11:57 am
In category: Gotham City,Parks | Comments Off

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Gowanus Named Superfund Site (Update)
March 2nd, 2010

gowanus

In a blow to the Bloomberg administration, the federal Environmental Protection Agency has named the slithering Gowanus Canal in Brooklyn a Superfund site.

The designation would require parties responsible for the canal’s pollution — which is sure to include manufacturing companies and oil refineries that have lined the canal’s shores for decades — to clean it up. This almost always involves court proceedings. That clean up of the 1.8 mile long canal, according to the Times, will likely take between 10 to 12 years.

The decision, which has been years in the making, could set aside the Bloomberg administration’s own plans to clean up the canal, which includes dredging from the Army Corp of Engineers and sewer system upgrades.

Its disappointing,” said Marc LaVorgna, a mayoral spokesperson, in an e-mailed statement. “We had an innovative and comprehensive approach that was a faster route to a Superfund-level cleanup and would have avoided the issues associated with a Superfund listing. The project will now move on a Superfund timeline, but we are going to work closely with the EPA because we share the same goal a clean canal. Local residents and businesses raised concerns about the impact of a Superfund designation on their community and we hope that the EPA will work with us to address those concerns as they move forward.

Supporters of the designation see today’s decision as a long-awaited victory.

“After 150 years of abuse and neglect the Gowanus Canal will finally get the comprehensive cleanup that the residents of the area deserve, stated Josh Verleun, Riverkeeper Attorney & Chief Investigator. The toxic legacy of coal tar, PCBs, pesticides, and other contamination of the Gowanus can only be cleaned through a comprehensive Superfund cleanup; we are gratified to see the EPA stepping up to this task.

In addition to the mayor’s alternate plan, the designation will also likely destroy development plans from Toll Brothers, who planned to build an approximately 460-unit residential development along the Carroll Gardens side of the canal. The City Council has already approved the rezoning for the project. The developer has said in the past that if the Superfund designation moved forward it would abandon the project along the canal. Toll Brothers is already reportedly eying another location in DUMBO.

The EPA will be holding a meeting Thursday in Carroll Gardens to discuss the next steps.

For more on the designation, check out these stories we ran last year — one from Toll Brothers and one from environmental group, Riverkeeper, who was supportive of the canal’s designation.

UPDATE: David Von Spreckelsen, a Toll Brothers senior vice president, told Gotham Gazette this afternoon that Toll Brothers will not be “going forward” with its project along the Gowanus now that it’s a Superfund site.

“Obviously we are very disappointed,” said Von Spreckelsen. “We had hoped that the EPA would seriously consider the mayor’s alternative plan, and obviously they didnt. At this point, we dont see the possibility of going forward.”

By on March 2, 2010, 11:53 am
In category: City Hall,Environment,Gotham City,Law,nextNY,Parks,Public Finance,Waterfront | 1 Comment »

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Parks Slated to Shutter
February 19th, 2010

This just in from our Parks Topic Page Writer Anne Schwartz:

Governor David Patersons $11 million cut from the state parks operating budget would close parks for the first time in the systems 125-year history. Today, the Office of Parks, Recreation, and Historic Preservation released a list of 56 parks and historic sites recommended for closure as well as 24 locations where service would be reduced.

Among the parks that would be affected in the New York City area are Riverbank State Park in Harlem, where the outdoor swimming pool would be closed and operating hours reduced, and popular destinations in Long Island and Westchester.

In addition to the loss of recreational outlets for families squeezed by the recession, closing parks would actually result in a net financial loss for the state, according to one study.

State parks and historic sites generate $1.9 billion annually in economic activity statewide and 20,000 non-park jobs statewide, according to a 2009 study by the Political Economy Research Group. For every dollar the state spends on parks, it gets back $5 dollars in economic activity.

Closing parks would also erase decades of state investment, leaving buildings, bathrooms, trails, sports facilities and natural areas vulnerable to neglect and vandalism. Repairing the damage could be far more costly than keeping parks open. Once a park is closed, they could remain shuttered for years.

It makes more sense to invest in the parks and make them part of the plan to revitalize our economy, as the government did during the Great Depression.

By on February 19, 2010, 3:16 pm
In category: Albany,Environment,Gotham City,nextNY,Parks | 2 Comments »

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Broadway Walkway Here to Stay
February 11th, 2010

For all you Times Square revelers, the Bloomberg administration is going to give you a little more room to stretch your legs — permanently.
broadway
Mayor Michael Bloomberg and Transportation Commissioner Janette Sadik-Khan announced this morning the pedestrian plazas at Times and Herald Squares were here to stay. When the plazas were first announced in February last year, the administration said they would be made permanent if they improved traffic flow on 6th and 7th avenues and if it made the areas safer for pedestrians.

The results, according to the administration, will allow tourists and New Yorkers alike to sit back and relax in the plazas colorful furnishings for years to come.

According to the Department of Transportation, travel speeds for trips north in West Midtown improved by 17 percent from fall 2008 to 2009, compared with 8 percent in East Midtown. For trips south in West Midtown, travel speeds fell 2 percent. East Midtown had an increase of 3 percent, according to the transportation department.

Before this morning’s announcement, some speculated that the results would not be good enough to keep the plazas. A report in the New York Times said officials found the results “disappointing.”

Disappointing or not, Times and Herald Squares have officially been taken over by pedestrians.

Pictured above is Times Square now and below is a video from the transportation department about the project.

By on February 11, 2010, 11:56 am
In category: City Hall,Community Development,Crime & Safety,Environment,Gotham City,Governing,Health,Land Use,nextNY,Parks,Transportation | Comments Off

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The City's Nastiest Neighborhoods
January 27th, 2010

3411174211_05f48c0392_m

Photo (cc) 2009 Adrian Miles

Is your neighborhood spic and span or rife with refuse?

The Bloomberg administration puts most of the city in the former category and hopes to keep it that way despite a budget crunch. Last month, the Mayor’s Office of Operations reported 97.3 percent of city sidewalks and 96.1 percent of city streets were largely litter free.

But is the city right? The Huffington Post and Gotham Gazette want to know how clean you think your neighborhood is. Has the Bloomberg administration wiped noxious grime and garbage from city streets? Or does trash pile up on your street corner? Is your block cleaner or dirtier than other neighborhoods?

Visit The Huffington Post here to upload photos of your most frightening tales of city trash. Or you can comment below.

And check back later next week to see whether your block is a refuge for neat freaks or still grapples with garbage.

By on January 27, 2010, 11:55 am
In category: City Hall,Community Development,Crime & Safety,Environment,Gotham City,Health,nextNY,Parks,Waterfront | Comments Off

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Musical Chairs
January 19th, 2010

As promised, today starts the seat swapping in the Bloomberg administration.

For the next three weeks, first deputy commissioners will be assigned to another agency in the hopes of breaking down bureaucratic barriers. The idea was integral to the mayor’s inauguration address on New Year’s Day. Some assignments have been done with specific policy proposals in mind, such as the swap between Department of Consumer Affairs and the Department of Housing Preservation and Development, who are tasked with focusing on foreclosure prevention.

Here are the assignments:

Administration for Children’s Services (ACS) — DOE
Administrative Justice Coordinator (AJC) — CCPC
Business Integrity Commission (BIC) — DSNY
Center for Economic Opportunity (CEO) –CUNY
City University of New York (CUNY) — CEO
Citywide Events Coordination and Management (CECM) — NYC & Co
Civilian Complaint Review Board (CCRB) — CHR
Commission for the United Nations Consular Corps and Protocol (UN) — MOIA
Commission on Human Rights (CHR) — CCRB
Commission on Women’s Issues (CWI) — MOCDV
Commission to Combat Police Corruption (CCPC) — AJC
Community Affairs Unit (CAU) — CECM
Criminal Justice Coordinator (CJC)– Law
Department for the Aging (DFTA) — MOPD
Department of Buildings (DOB) — NYCHA
Department of City Planning (DCP) — HDC
Department of Citywide Administrative Services (DCAS) — SCA
Department of Consumer Affairs (DCA) — HPD
Department of Corrections (DOC) — DHS
Department of Cultural Affairs (DCLA) — EDC
Department of Design and Construction (DDC) — DCLA
Department of Education (DOE) — Parks
Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) — DOF
Department of Finance (DOF) — MOO
Department of Health and Mental Hygiene (DoHMH) — DOC
Department of Homeless Services (DHS) — HHC
Department of Housing Preservation and Development (HPD) — DCA
Department of Information Technology and Telecommunications (DoITT) — MOFTB
Department of Investigation (DOI) — MOCS
Department of Parks and Recreation (Parks) — DEP
Department of Probation (DOP) — ACS
Department of Sanitation (DSNY) — BIC
Department of Small Business Services (SBS) — HRA
Department of Transportation (DOT) — DDC
Department of Youth and Community Development (DYCD) — DOP
Design Commission (Design) — DOT
Economic Development Corporation (EDC) — SBS
Fire Department* (FDNY) — NYPD*
Health and Hospitals Corporation (HHC) — CAU
Housing Development Corporation (HDC) — LPC
Human Resources Administration (HRA) — DoHMH
Landmarks Preservation Commission (LPC) — DOB
Law Department (Law) — DOI
Mayor’s Office for People with Disabilities (MOPD) — DFTA
Mayor’s Office of Contract Services (MOCS) — CJC
Mayor’s Office of Film, Theatre, and Broadcasting (MOFTB) — DoITT
Mayor’s Office of Immigrant Affairs (MOIA) — UN
Mayor’s Office of Operations (MOO) — DCAS
Mayor’s Office of Veterans Affairs (MOVA) — CWI
Mayor’s Office to Combat Domestic Violence (MOCDV) — MOVA
New York City Housing Authority (NYCHA) — DCP
NYC & Company (NYC & Co) — DYCD
Office of Administrative Trials and Hearings (OATH) — TLC
Office of Emergency Management* (OEM) — FDNY*
Office of Labor Relations* (OLR) — OMB*
Office of Management and Budget* (OMB) — OLR*
Police Department* (NYPD) — OEM*
School Construction Authority (SCA) — Design
Taxi and Limousine Commission (TLC) — OATH

Those with an asterisk are participating in the second phase of the program starting February 1.

By on January 19, 2010, 2:32 pm
In category: City Hall,Civil Rights,Community Development,Economy,Education,Electoral Politics,Environment,Governing,Housing,Immigrants,Land Use,Law,Measuring UP,nextNY,Parks,Transportation,Waterfront | 2 Comments »

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Brooklyn Bridge Park: The City Steps In
December 8th, 2009

Gotham Gazette parks topic page writer Anne Schwartz filed this post.

Promising to spend an additional $55 million on the construction of the Brooklyn Bridge Park, the city is proposing to take over responsibility for the project from the financially strapped state. Parks Commissioner Adrian Benepe discussed the proposal at a town hall meeting last night sponsored by State Sen. Daniel Squadron, who was elected in part because of his opposition to the existing plan to bookend the park with high-rise condos.

While many in the overflowing room came hoping that city control would mean a fresh look at the design and funding mechanism, the city’s proposal — while adding active recreation and another access point, committing to building the park ahead of the development, and opening the door to more community involvement — looked very much like the current controversial plan.

Brooklyn residents have been asking for a park and active recreation on the downtown Brooklyn waterfront for 25 years, and many were angry when the final plan by the Brooklyn Bridge Park Development Corp., the city-state authority overseeing the project, greatly altered the original design developed with extensive community input. The most controversial change was the inclusion of residential towers to meet the requirement — set as a condition for creating the park — that upkeep would be paid for by commercial development on part of the site.

Squadron said he had asked the city to bring its proposal to the public while still in the discussion stage and added that he hoped the meeting would be a step toward “lowering some of the temperature,” and bringing people together for more of a shared vision. Several speakers in the audience made a point of noting that what they heard and saw at the meeting represented a step in the right direction, even though they would like to see further changes.

Audience member Dorothy Siegel summed up the reaction of the crowd with this comment to the commissioner: “We are hoping that you will take back to the mayor the overwhelming sentiment that we do not want housing and we want active recreation.”

By on December 8, 2009, 5:07 pm
In category: Land Use,Parks | 1 Comment »

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Urban Grime as History
October 21st, 2009

Incorporating the aesthetics of the natural reclamation of urban abandonment was part of the intent of the High Line park that snakes its way above the streets of the Meat Packing district. But street art wasn’t considered an essential element of that urban fabric, and graffiti that once adorned the walls along the park was replaced by the city with a solid slate of gray. But the actions have a number of people up in arms, calling it the destruction of history. And some are particularly worried about the “Revs” and “Cost” piece further down the line that remains for the time being. It’s not just graffiti, however. Metal sculptures that were once welded to a rusting cavernous area — now flooded with blue light — have also gone missing. Meanwhile, the city has made steps toward acquiring the High Line past 30th Street.

By on October 21, 2009, 6:13 pm
In category: Arts,Crime & Safety,Parks | Comments Off

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Newtown Creek, Here Comes the EPA
September 24th, 2009

Six months after the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency started exploring a Superfund designation for Brooklyn’s Gowanus Canal, they have launched a second investigation into Newtown Creek.

Today the agency announced it has nominated the creek for the controversial Superfund title, which will kick off a series of public hearings and discussion on the drawbacks and the benefits of being named a Superfund site. Already, several representatives of the area support the designation, including Reps. Anthony D. Weiner and Nydia Velzquez.

We covered the story of Newtown Creek (and other potential superfund sites) here.

In a prepared statement, Weiner said, “I am pleased to see that while the oil companies lag in their cleanup responsibilities and put the health and safety of Newtown Creek’s residents at further risk, the EPA has decide to take action and hold these companies responsible for their negligence. Newton Creek is the single most polluted waterway in New York City, a legacy left by more than a century of heavy industrial activity.

Just approximately 5 miles north of the Gowanus, Newtown Creek is the site of the country’s largest coastal oil spill, dating back to the 1950s when the site was the home of a refinery operation by Standard Oil — Exxon Mobil’s predecessor. Still, oil companies line its shores and putrid stenches typically overpower the adjacent neighborhood of Greenpoint.

When a site is designated as a superfund, the federal government officially takes over the cleanup of the area. They hunt down the responsible parties (in this case most likely oil companies) and make them pay for the entire cleanup. Most often, this means years of lawsuits.
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By on September 24, 2009, 11:09 am
In category: City Hall,Environment,Gotham City,Health,Housing,nextNY,Parks,Waterfront | 6 Comments »

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Breathing vs. Smoking in the Park
September 17th, 2009

Anne Schwartz, Gotham Gazette’s parks writer, filed this post.

People interviewed in a New York Times article about the citys proposed ban on smoking in the parks (and commenting about it online) derided the idea as an extension of the nanny state, an intrusion on individual freedom, harassment of smokers and ridiculous considering the much greater threat posed by car exhaust, among other things.

But if youve ever been on a crowded beach or at an outdoor concert next to people continually lighting up, you may be applauding the citys latest move to force New Yorkers to be healthier — although probably more because of a concern for your own health than for that of the smokers.

As one commenter noted, “Its not just a preference for me; cigarette smoke is the most powerful trigger of my asthma there is.”
Read the rest of this entry »

By on September 17, 2009, 3:31 pm
In category: Environment,Gotham City,Health,Parks | 21 Comments »

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Coney Island Vote Today
July 21st, 2009

<i>From City Planning</i>

From City Planning

The city’s plan to rezone Coney Island could be voted out of committee today at 10:30 a.m.

The City Council is expected to revise the plan, which would then have to go back to the City Planning Commission. If the revisions were approved there, it could be back at the council by the end of the month for a final approval.

The area’s councilmember, Domenic Recchia, is still opposed to the plan. He is specifically against a proposal to designate some of the land (including a parcel owned by developer Joe Sitt) as parkland.

Stay tuned to Gotham Gazette for updates throughout the day.

By on July 21, 2009, 8:57 am
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Espaillat Takes Rodriguez's Side
July 15th, 2009

Making his allegiance clear early on in the post-Miguel Martinez race in district 10, Assemblymember Adriano Espaillat is endorsing Ydanis Rodriguez right now in the embattled Washington Heights district.

The endorsement may come as no surprise to some. Even if Martinez had not been swept up in the council slush fund scandal and did not resign abruptly yesterday, it was common knowledge that Espaillat was not going to rush to his side with support. The two, who not too long ago were considered good friends, had a bitter fallout and faced off in last year’s Democratic primary for Espaillat’s assembly seat. Espaillat won.

Now the race is likely to heat up even more.
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By on July 15, 2009, 2:32 pm
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A New Randall's Island Plan
April 21st, 2009

<i>From the Randall's Island Sports Foundation</i>

From the Randall's Island Sports Foundation

More than 50 residents turned out in East Harlem last night to hear the details of the Bloomberg administration’s new plan for Randall’s Island.

But already many are skeptical that the mayor’s office and the Department of Parks and Recreation’s plan will more equitably distribute the 66 fields on the island for recreational activities. The fields are part of a large scale renovation of the whole island, which started in 2007, and were also the subject of a lawsuit that the city lost last year. Several Upper Manhattan residents and parks advocates charged that the city went around the ULURP process (or the uniform land use review process), which, they argued, should have been required before the renovation took place.

The city’s first plan — which has been struck down by the courts — slated about two-thirds of the island’s fields for private school use exclusively. Those private schools had agreed to fork over $45 million for the cost of the fields construction and renovation.

Last night was the first glimpse into the city’s new proposal for many of those that filed the initial lawsuit.

The new plan includes setting aside 50 percent of the fields for certain private school use, 40 percent for public schools (which would include a possible shuttle expansion to bring more schools onto the island to play baseball, soccer or any other sport) and leaves 10 percent for community organizations or recreational leagues. This ratio would only apply during the hours of 3 p.m. and 6 p.m., and for only certain more sports-heavy months of the year. The summer months would be a permit free-for-all, said members of the administration, which would allow anyone, anywhere to apply for a permit.
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By on April 21, 2009, 4:52 pm
In category: Gotham City,Land Use,nextNY,Parks | 12 Comments »

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More Parks, Less Parking
April 15th, 2009

As the Yankees set to play their first official regular season game in their new stadium, Gotham Gazette parks writer Anne Schwartz offers the following modest proposal to help the state budget. (For more on the delays in plans to replace parks in the Bronx, see her article, Yankee Stadium Is Opening, But Not the Parks.

The state is providing a capital subsidy of $65 million for the construction of four new parking garages for the new Yankee Stadium — more than the capital funding the state budget allocates next year for the entire state park system. (The garages are also receiving tax-exempt federal and state financing of $59.6 million.)

Three of the garages are either under construction or complete. The fourth is slated for Jerome Avenue and 161st Street, where the parks department built an interim synthetic turf baseball/soccer field and track for the community, pending the completion of replacements for the 22 acres of public athletic fields that were taken over for the new stadium.

The first partial replacement park - a football/soccer field ringed by a 400-meter track - should be finished this month. At that point, the interim field will make way for the fourth parking garage. Baseball teams in the neighborhood will have to wait for new fields until the old stadium is razed and a park is created on its footprint, two and a half years from now.

How necessary is all that parking for 81 days a year? (OK, plus a few more if the Yankees go into the post-season.) The stadium is served by two subway lines and a brand new Metro North station. Wouldnt taxpayer money be better spent on keeping afloat the mass transit systems essential to the functioning of the citys economy?

Why not at least postpone the construction of the last garage and leave a nice new playing field for the neighborhood kids?

By on April 15, 2009, 8:34 pm
In category: Albany,Parks,Public Finance,sustainability,Transportation | 1 Comment »

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Brooklyn Trash Taken By Train
March 10th, 2009

game

Check, northern Brooklyn.

The Bronx and Staten Island. Check, check.

These boroughs are now transporting their trash by rail or barge as part of the city’s Solid Waste Management Plan approved by the City Council in 2006. Mayor Michael Bloomberg announced in East Williamsburg this morning that about 950 tons of waste from Brooklyn Community Boards 1, 3, 4, and 5 will be taken by rail from the Varick Avenue transfer station daily. All of that trash had previously been taken by tractor trailers, which spew out far more noxious and harmful fumes in the area.

We took an in depth look at the city’s garbage plan with The Garbage Game. See if you can design the city’s solid waste management plan.

Read the rest of this entry »

By on March 10, 2009, 12:44 pm
In category: Albany,Environment,Health,Parks,sustainability,Transportation | 1 Comment »

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Gotham Gazette the Place for Politics and Policy

Gotham Gazette is published by Citizens Union Foundation and is made possible by support from the Robert Sterling Clark Foundation, the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, the Altman Foundation,the Fund for the City of New York and donors to Citizens Union Foundation. Please consider supporting Citizens Union Foundation's public education programs. Critical early support to Gotham Gazette was provided by the Charles H. Revson Foundation, Rockefeller Brothers Fund and the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation.

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