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East River Ferry Ridership Reaches 1 Million
July 16th, 2012

Since its launch early last summer, the East River Ferry has carried one million passengers, Mayor Michael Bloomberg and City Council Speaker Christine Quinn announced today.

That’s more than double the predicted 409,000 riders a year, which the BillyBey Ferry Company cites as evidence of the program’s success.

Surpassing the one-million milestone is a testament to how popular our service has been with commuters, tourists and leisure travelers in the first year, BilleyBey CEO Paul Goodman said in a press release today.

After unexpected levels of ridership beginning last summer, the $9.3 million project now has larger ferries on weekends and concession stands on every ride.

To continue expanding and improving service for the remainder of the ferry’s three-year pilot program and beyond, Bloomberg announced a survey that will be available for riders to take online, on the ferry and by phone.

“Ferry service is only going to get better for the next million passengers,” he said in the release.

By on July 16, 2012, 11:22 am
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Developers Chosen for Brooklyn Bridge Park Hotel Complex
June 19th, 2012

The board of Brooklyn Bridge Park announced today the final plan for construction of a hotel and residency complex by the park’s Pier 1.

Toll Brothers City Living and Starwood Capital Group will collaborate on the approximately 550,000-square-foot complex, slated for completion in the fall of 2015, according to a press release from the mayor’s office.

Brooklyn Bridge Park has quickly become one of the most loved public spaces along our citys waterfront, Mayor Bloomberg said in the release. The major private investment is a vote of confidence in Brooklyn and its future as a great place to live, work and visit.

The $295 million project is set to break ground next summer, generating as many as 510 jobs, both permanent and temporary. The board’s aim is to keep the park financially sustainable with a series of hotels along the piers when completed, it will cost $16 million a year to run the park. They expect to take in $3.3 million yearly in rent and other payments, adding up to an expected $119.7 million net revenue by the end of the 97-year ground leases on the hotel and residential sites.

The mayor’s office also released four renderings of the proposed complex, showing its stone-and-glass facade and surrounding green space. Rogers Marvel Architects designed the 10-story hotel, called 1 Hotel, which will include 200 rooms, 18,000 square feet of banquet, meeting and retail space and a 6,000 square foot spa. There will also be a five-story building with 159 residential units.

Todays vote helps to ensure Brooklyn Bridge Parks future, NYC Parks Commissioner Adrian Benepe said in the press release.

By on June 19, 2012, 4:25 pm
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City Releases First Wetlands Strategy for Comment
February 13th, 2012

Parks Writer Anne Schwartz filed this story:

In its first effort to create a comprehensive policy for protecting New York Citys last wetlands, the Bloomberg administration released a draft Wetlands Strategy in mid-January. The City Council held a hearing on the draft on January 31, and public comments are being accepted until February 18 at planyc@cityhall.nyc.gov.

Of the estimated 100 square miles of coastal marshes that once lined the citys shores, just 14 remain. More than 90 percent of its freshwater wetlands have been lost. The wetlands that remain are key to the survival of waterbirds nesting in the harbor, migratory birds that funnel through the city in the spring and fall, and harbor fisheries. They also help prevent coastal flooding and soak up stormwater, an increasingly important role as climate change brings an expected rise in the number and severity of storm surges. Read the rest of this entry »

By on February 13, 2012, 2:09 pm
In category: Environment,Gotham City,sustainability,Waterfront | Comments Off

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Advocates Protest SWMP Delays (UPDATE)
April 12th, 2011

Five years after the City Council and Mayor Michael Bloomberg agreed to a solid waste management plan for the five boroughs – one that spread out the city’s garbage burden — council members and environmental justice advocates say the adminsitration is backpedaling.

In its preliminary capital budget, the adminsitration has delayed the construction of four waste transfer stations, three of which are in Manhattan. The cut, said Eric Goldstein of the Natural Resources Defense Council, could delay funding for these facilities between five and eight years. Advocates fear the stations will never occur. Five years from now, there will be a new occupant in City Hall — one perhaps with different priorities.

“We are very troubled,” said Goldstein.

The waste transfer stations are a crucial part of the 2006 solid waste management plan, which attempts to get garbage off of diesel-spewing trucks and onto rail cars and barges instead. The plan was also meant to spread stations throughout the five boroughs to ease the burden on communities inundated with city waste — like the South Bronx, Greenpoint and Williamsburg. The delayed stations in Manhattan are the only ones slated for the borough, which currently sends the vast majority of its trash to New Jersey.

We are waiting for a response from the Department of Sanitation.

Advocates also decried the administration’s recent exploration of waste-to-energy — a controversial technology that typically involves burning or heating trash to create electricity (We reported on it here two weeks ago). Laura Haight of the New York Public Interest Research Group decried the move.

“The types of technology they want to pilot have not been proven successful commercially anywhere in the country,” said Haight. “We believe this is a waste of energy.”

A conversation on the equal distribution of these types of facilities is occurring right now at a hearing of the Landmarks, Public Siting and Maritime Uses Subcommittee. Councilmember Brad Lander, the committee’s chair, blasted the adminsitration for refusing to testify (his letter appears below).

“We’ve concentrated those facilities in low-income communities, in communities of color,” Lander said this afternoon on the City Hall steps.

A spokesperson for the Bloomberg adminsitration said they would not send a representative, because “fair share,” as it’s commonly referred to, is currently the subject of litigation.

UPDATE: We just got this response from City Hall spokesperson Jason Post:

Because of the economy, the City has been forced to reduce all of its expenditures, including its capital program.

The preliminary capital budget for the Sanitation Department includes deferred spending on four Marine Transfer Stations.

The Administration remains fully committed to SWMPs principles of borough equity, using rail and barge to transfer solid waste, relieving the burden of waste receiving from certain communities, strengthening our recycling infrastructure and piloting new technologies to derive clean energy from waste.

We have made great progress on SWMP alreadylong term rail contracts are in place and two marine transfer stations are under construction, as is the Citys new recycling facilityand we are exploring cost-effective alternatives to expedite the construction schedule outlined in the preliminary capital plan. We will make a decision before the Mayors executive budget presentation.

CM Lander Letter to Mayor Bloomberg Re Fair Share Hearing(2)

By on April 12, 2011, 2:22 pm
In category: City Hall,Civil Rights,Community Development,Crime & Safety,Environment,Gotham City,Governing,Health,Land Use,nextNY,Waterfront | 2 Comments »

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Domino Moves Forward
June 29th, 2010

The large Domino Sugar factory project on the Williamsburg waterfront was just unanimously approved by the City Council’s zoning subcommittee.

The controversial project was supposed to be approved this morning, but further negotiations between the council and the developer held up the vote.

Councilmember Mark Weprin, the chair of the zoning subcommittee, said the changes to the application include: the two 40-story residential towers will be reduced to 34 stories, there will be a dedicated shuttle bus from the project to the Marcy Avenue station, any change in use to the project’s slated community facilities will have to go through the land use review process, and a community advisory board must be created to oversee the project.

By on June 29, 2010, 2:56 pm
In category: City Hall,Community Development,Gotham City,Land Use,Law,Measuring UP,nextNY,Waterfront | Comments Off

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1:30 and Waiting
June 29th, 2010

It wouldn’t be a budget day without delay.

It’s 1:30 and the council chamber is… well, empty. That is besides a few random reporters twiddling their thumbs waiting for the day’s hearings. This morning’s 11:30 a.m. zoning committee has yet to commence (they are scheduled to approve the massive Domino Sugar factory project on the Williamsburg waterfront).

And it would be safe to say the 1:30 finance committee hearing won’t be occurring anytime soon.

Stay tuned.

By on June 29, 2010, 1:47 pm
In category: City Hall,Economy,Electoral Politics,Environment,Gotham City,Governing,Land Use,Law,Measuring UP,nextNY,Public Finance,Waterfront | Comments Off

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Domino Moves Forward
June 7th, 2010

Domino

Photo (cc) 2009 Tach_RedGold&Green

The City Planning Commission unanimously approved a proposal to convert the landmarked Domino Sugar refinery on the Williamsburg waterfront into a mixed-use development.

Here is Commissioner Amanda M. Burden statement on the project:

The New Domino project will revitalize an 11-acre vacant and inaccessible waterfront site and adaptively reuse the recently landmarked sugar Refinery Building with 2,200 units of housing, including 660 affordable units, four acres of high quality public open space, 143,000 square feet of community facility space, and office and retail uses.

This development will, for the first time, create a significant publicly accessible open space along the quarter-mile South Williamsburg waterfront that has been closed to the surrounding community for decades.

The proposed architecture and site plan successfully accommodate the projects density with a variety of building types. The approvals granted would require the massing and materials as part of the grant of Special Permits.

The applicant has withdrawn the parking special permit application in response to input throughout the public process, and concerns raised by this Commission. In addition, changes made by the Commission to reduce the height of the northern-most commercial building will improve the relationship between that building and Grand Ferry Park. Further, provisions have been added to the projects Restrictive Declaration which will help facilitate the construction of a school in the Refinery Building, if warranted in the future.

This project will bring high-quality design and architecture, ample public open space, significant community facilities, and much needed housing, both market rate and affordable, to the Williamsburg community. I am extremely pleased to vote yes.

And for the other side, here is a statement from Councilmember Steve Levin:

“Assemblyman Lopez and I still firmly oppose the New Domino project as it is currently proposed. While I am pleased that the applicant withdrew the special permit for extra parking spaces and that the City Planning Commission reduced the height of the northernmost tower, the plan is still deeply flawed. The applicant has not adequately addressed the transportation and congestion problems associated with the project. The overall plan is simply too big. The height and density of the Domino plan will have a negative impact on the community.”

By on June 7, 2010, 6:24 pm
In category: City Hall,Community Development,Gotham City,Housing,Land Use,nextNY,Waterfront | 1 Comment »

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Divide in the Charter Commission?
May 10th, 2010

Some Charter Revision Commission members seemed split this morning over whether the commission could thoroughly vet the more serious issues scheduled for review and still get them on the November ballot.

The commission approved a resolution today outlining five issue areas to explore and scheduled public hearings and expert panels on those specific topics for May and June. The issues include term limits, voter participation (including nonpartisan elections), land use (especially the ULURP process), balance of powers (including the roles of community boards, the borough presidents and the City Council) and fiscal responsibility.

Just before approving the resolution, the Rev. Joseph M. McShane proposed an amendment to require the commission to revisit its timeline before proposing anything for November’s ballot. To get anything on the ballot this fall, the commission would have to solidify its proposals by September.

Commission Chair Matthew Goldstein rejected McShane’s amendment, saying it was already “embedded” in the document. The commission, Goldstein said, will have a deliberative process.

After the meeting, Goldstein told reporters, “I’ve always said that this year was a much better opportunity, because there will be more and more active participation because we’re going to have statewide elections. If I wanted to bring something or we wanted to bring something, it would make a lot of sense not to lose that opportunity. The opportunity cost would be higher.”
Read the rest of this entry »

By on May 10, 2010, 1:14 pm
In category: Albany,City Hall,Community Development,Demographics,Electoral Politics,Gotham City,Governing,Land Use,Law,Measuring UP,nextNY,Public Finance,Waterfront,Work and Labor | Comments Off

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Liu Takes on the EDC, Again
April 28th, 2010

Comptroller John Liu took another swipe at the city’s Economic Development Corp. today, accusing the agency of hoarding away $125 million in profits from so-called public deals.

In an audit released this morning, the comptroller alleges the corporation collected funds from the sale of city assets and lease payments and held onto the cash for its own purposes.

Officials at EDC say its well within their rights to collect and keep the funding — and they have an opinion from the city’s Law Department (seen below) to prove it.

“There are plenty of questions and even concern about what exactly the EDC does, as it deals with substantial amounts of City funds and publicly subsidized economic development,” Liu said in a prepared statement. “This episode only accentuates the need to reign in the EDC.”

This is not the first time the comptroller has gone after the EDC in his relatively short tenure. He has established a task force to look into the distribution of public subsides — including deals at the IDA (which we report on extensively here) — as well as community benefit agreements.
Read the rest of this entry »

By on April 28, 2010, 3:17 pm
In category: Albany,City Hall,Community Development,Economy,Eye Opener,Law,nextNY,Public Finance,Waterfront,Work and Labor | Comments Off

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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
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Waterfront Plan Kicked Off
April 13th, 2010

waterfront2

First they went green. Now they’re going marine.

Channeling their inner seafarer, Mayor Michael Bloomberg and Council Speaker Christine Quinn launched the city’s “Vision 2020″ this morning — a plan to create a blueprint for the city’s 500 miles of waterfront for the next decade.

The plan is part of an initiative Quinn announced in 2008 to hone in on the city’s shoreline.

Before the Brooklyn Bridge, before Robert Moses, and before Fiorello La Guardia, New York Citys waterfronts were integral to its bustling blue highways, said Quinn in a prepared statement. Hundreds of years later, we are standing on these same shores, launching a long-term collaborative initiative to reclaim our waterfronts and bring them into the 21st century. The City Council is proud to have passed the visionary legislation that requires City government to come up with an effective and responsible waterfronts plan, not once, but every ten years. Through this law, we will never turn our backs on our citys 578 miles of waterfront.
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By on April 13, 2010, 3:10 pm
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A Regional Market at South Street Seaport
March 18th, 2010

seaport

Photo (cc) 2006 David Reeves

Is the New York City Economic Development Corp. open to Council Speaker Christine Quinn’s proposal to create a regional market at the South Street Seaport?

Corporation President Seth W. Pinsky thinks so.

“We definitely agree that a regional market is a good use for the South Street Seaport,” Pinsky said this afternoon at a City Council budget hearing.

The corporation and seaport owner, General Growth Properties, had been working on a redevelopment plan for the downtown shopping area for several years. That plan included a specialty food market.

But when Properties filed for bankruptcy in April of 2009 — predominantly an effect of the real estate bust — the redevelopment proposal was abruptly put on hold.

Now that General Growth Properties appears to be emerging from bankruptcy, Pinksy expects the project to move forward. A hearing on the developer’s exit from bankruptcy will be later this spring.
Read the rest of this entry »

By on March 18, 2010, 3:10 pm
In category: City Hall,Community Development,Economy,Gotham City,Land Use,nextNY,Public Finance,Waterfront | 9 Comments »

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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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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
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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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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.
Read the rest of this entry »

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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The Manhattan Project's Legacy on Staten Island
June 4th, 2009

(This post was reported and written by Melissa Checker.)

Last week, I reported on the “toxic stew” surrounding Staten Islands North Shore. (For that article, go here.) That story was scary enough, but information obtained over the past week reveals that the scenario is actually much worse than initially reported. U.S. Environmental Protection Agency document reveal that a former warehouse on the North Shore played a significant part in the Manhattan Project — a role that went terribly awry, leaving levels of radium and uranium contamination nearly 10 times higher than allowable standards in some places.

Click here for the full story.
Read the rest of this entry »

By on June 4, 2009, 2:28 pm
In category: Albany,Environment,Gotham City,sustainability,Waterfront | 11 Comments »

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Coney Island Rollercoaster
January 20th, 2009

The city’s plan for Coney Island has not even been officially released yet — that’s to take place this afternoon — but opposition is already building.

A message on Coney Island.com says, “This process will determine whether Coney Island remains an amusement park or if it will become another shopping mall filled with retail, high rise buildings and hotels.” The message urges New Yorkers to make their preference known by showing up at today’s presentation. ” We want to put the city on notice that people are paying attention, and that we won’t let their plan be pushed through the zoning process without opposition,” the message says.

The Brooklyn Paper notes that Coney Island’s principal landowner, Joe Sitt of Thor Equities, opposes the city plan. And Dick Zigun of Coney Island USA, complained, the city is ” not doing what they could do to preserve truly historic structures.

Today’s release sets off a lengthy approval process. Next stop, the local community board.

By on January 20, 2009, 9:29 am
In category: Community Development,Land Use,Waterfront | 2 Comments »

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Brooklyn Community Board Removal Explained
January 15th, 2009

The ongoing saga over a bicycle lane in Williamsburg has included scantly clad women, bike clowns, and fake street signs. But the energy at the local community board’s Tuesday hearing was the result of outrage over the removal of Teresa Toro as chair of the board’s transportation committee. Although there was speculation over the reason for her dismissal, the board’s chair, Vincent Abate, had previously refused to elaborate on why.

Last night he revealed that Toro was deposed because of a correction she requested from a local paper, the Brooklyn Daily Eagle. She clarified to the paper that a letter from Abate expressing his personal opinion was interpreted as the opinion of the whole board. The letter, which was sent on the board’s letterhead and was also signed by District Manager Gerald Esposito, was sent to the Department of Transportation and it asked them to reconsider the bike lane.

The correction request lead to a contentious back and forth between Toro and other board members and ultimately resulted in her firing. The email exchange, which was accidentally forwarded to the Eagle, was between those who were upset by her “going to the press,” and those who supported her.

At the hearing, a motion was made by board members to reinstate Toro but was denied, according to Gothamist. Abate refused to say whether he would place her back in the chair, saying “Don’t worry about it.”

About 150 people showed up to the sometimes sleepy hearing, according to Streetsblog.

By on January 15, 2009, 8:21 am
In category: Land Use,Transportation,Waterfront | 20 Comments »

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Green Roofs, Walls, and the Sewers
August 13th, 2008

Advocates concerned about sewage overflowing into the city’s waterways are pleased with the new state law passed last week incentivising green roofs. Green roofs consist of vegetation and soil which absorb rain water, keeping it from overburdening the sewer system – among other benefits such as energy conservation and a reduction in the urban heat island effect. The law grants a tax abatement of up to $100,000 a year for certain buildings in the city that install such roofs.

“Each 10,000 square foot green roof can capture between 6,000 and 12,000 gallons of water in each storm event,” said Paul Mankiewicz, Gaia Institute executive director. “This is rainfall that will never enter the combined sewer.”

Some city agencies are already getting into the act. The Parks Department has started a pilot green roof project that has 12 systems, each of which has a different growing medium, plant type, or installation model.

So what’s next?
Read the rest of this entry »

By on August 13, 2008, 4:03 pm
In category: Environment,Land Use,Parks,Waterfront | 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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