Gotham Gazette Gotham Gazette is an online publication covering New York policy and politics as well as news on public safety, transportation, education, finance and more. http://www.gothamgazette.com/component/tags/tag/new-york-city-housing-authority 2017-10-23T11:31:53+00:00 Webmaster webmaster@gothamgazette.com Wary of Gentrification, East Harlem Braces for Rapid Change 2016-03-31T05:00:00+00:00 2016-03-31T05:00:00+00:00 http://www.gothamgazette.com/?id=6253:wary-of-gentrification-east-harlem-braces-for-rapid-change Super User <p dir="ltr"><img src="http://www.gothamgazette.com/images/east_harlem_mural.jpg" alt="east harlem mural" height="450" width="600" /></p> <p dir="ltr"><span style="font-size: 10pt;">Hank Prussing's mural, The Spirit of East Harlem (via @ManhattanCB11)</span></p> <hr /> <p>Pearl Barkley moved to East Harlem in the 1950s, when she was six years old. Her family lived in the Jefferson Houses on 115th Street, where she lives today and works as an organizer with Community Voices Heard, an economic justice advocacy non-profit.</p> <p dir="ltr">“Many people remember the fires, the abandoned boarded up buildings, and the people who left,” Barkley said in an interview. Essential services began disappearing from the neighborhood in the 1970s, she said, due in large part to city and federal policies that encouraged <a href="https://www.nixonlibrary.gov/virtuallibrary/releases/jul10/53.pdf">“benign neglect”</a> of poor neighborhoods of color.</p> <p dir="ltr">“They left the neighborhood to fend for itself,” Barkley said. “And the community was strong, but it suffered.”</p> <p dir="ltr">“Now, East Harlem is a hot property,” Barkley said. “We have to bring the focus back to the people who were originally here and went through all of this. We have to make sure that the people who were here can stay here.” While she doesn’t necessarily take issue with newcomers to the neighborhood, Barkley emphasizes that preserving homes for long-term residents of the neighborhood should take precedent over new developments.</p> <p dir="ltr">Newcomers have been moving into East Harlem for some time, drawn by its upper-Manhattan perch, lower rents, and access to public transit. But now, El Barrio - like a variety of other low-income areas populated predominantly by people of color - is becoming increasingly desirable to developers hoping to accommodate waves of middle-class renters.</p> <p dir="ltr">In February, The New York Times named East Harlem one of <a href="http://www.nytimes.com/2016/02/28/realestate/new-yorks-next-hot-neighborhoods.html">New York’s Next Hot Neighborhoods</a>, noting that 21 development sites had recently “traded hands,” and pointing to its lower-than-average real estate prices, good transit options, and historic architecture.</p> <p dir="ltr">“If you want to stay in Manhattan,” the author wrote, “East Harlem may be your best bet.”</p> <p dir="ltr">To long-term residents who want to stay in their neighborhoods, this kind of attention from the real estate market is synonymous with anxieties about inequity, marginalization, and displacement. And rightly so, as rents have skyrocketed across the city, incomes have stagnated, and the affordable housing crisis tops the list of policy issues facing New York City.</p> <p dir="ltr">Now, as Mayor Bill de Blasio’s administration prepares to rezone <a href="http://www.gothamgazette.com/index.php/government/6191-a-closer-look-at-de-blasios-neighborhood-rezoning-plans">15 neighborhoods</a>, including East Harlem, as part of a plan to build and preserve 200,000 units of affordable housing in New York City, residents are bracing for further shifts that some believe will drastically change the landscape of their neighborhood, push long-term residents out of their homes as new residents move in, and threaten local businesses. In a word, gentrification: the force that has been sweeping through New York City neighborhoods and striking fear in places set for new investment.</p> <p dir="ltr">Even as policies like Mandatory Inclusionary Housing, which requires set percentages of rent-controlled units in new developments, move toward enactment in an administration-run rezoning process, some East Harlem stakeholders are making proactive attempts at steering their community’s future. Led by the Speaker of the City Council, Melissa Mark-Viverito, whose home district includes East Harlem, a broad coalition of residents and groups created a comprehensive plan to shape the rezoning of the neighborhood.</p> <p dir="ltr">Members of that coalition and other groups have organized to protect against displacement while also championing changes that will improve their community.</p> <p dir="ltr">It remains to be seen how successful residents will be in achieving control over the way their neighborhood changes -- and who will be left to enjoy the fruits of that labor. But one thing is certain: East Harlem - a low-income community populated primarily by people of color, imbued with deep-rooted history and culture, situated in an area ripe for speculation by developers, struggling amid an affordable housing crisis -- is at a tipping point.</p> <p dir="ltr"><strong>Community character</strong><br />The neighborhood of just over 123,000 residents hugs the northeast corner of Central Park along Fifth Avenue, runs South until 96th Street, and spreads east toward the Harlem and East Rivers, where large portions of the East Harlem Esplanade are crumbling into the water.</p> <p dir="ltr">East Harlem is one of the largest predominantly Latino neighborhoods in New York City, the result of waves of Puerto Rican and Latin American immigration to the area after World War I, followed by more South and Central American arrivals throughout the 20th century. In spite of demographic changes over the last decade, East Harlem is still mostly populated by people of color and an immigrant neighborhood, with Hispanic and black residents comprising 81 percent of the population, and about a quarter of residents foreign-born, according to <a href="https://www1.nyc.gov/html/doh/downloads/pdf/data/2015chp-mn11.pdf">U.S. Census Bureau estimates for 2013</a>.</p> <p dir="ltr">The dominant culture is reflected everywhere: Spanish is spoken on every corner, storefronts advertise Latin American food, music, and good, and large-scale, colorful murals pervade the neighborhood with images of Latin American activists and artists.</p> <p dir="ltr">It is no coincidence that this is where Mark-Viverito, born and raised in Puerto Rico, settled after coming to the United States in 1987 to attend Columbia University. After college, Mark-Viverito participated in a mentorship program for young Latinos, coordinated New York-based efforts to drive the U.S. Navy from the Puerto Rican island of Vieques, co-founded women’s economic justice group Mujeres del Barrio, and served on Community Board 11. Mark-Viverito was elected to the City Council in 2005, and re-elected twice before becoming the first Puerto Rican and Latina to win the Speaker’s office when her colleagues selected her in 2014.</p> <p dir="ltr">The Speaker is now at the helm of a City Council reckoning with an affordable housing crisis and scars and fears of gentrification across several neighborhoods; charged with the task of building and preserving affordable housing and improving neighborhoods while protecting communities’ cultures and livelihoods at a pivotal time. It is a struggle filled with economic and social tensions exemplified in East Harlem.</p> <p dir="ltr"><img src="http://www.gothamgazette.com/images/14337705347_c9f9ac4afe_z.jpg" alt="MMV shaking hands distrit" style="margin: 8px; float: left;" height="250" width="375" />“It’s an ongoing battle,” the speaker (pictured, left) told <a href="http://larespuestamedia.com/melissa-mark-viverito-interview/">La Respuesta</a> in a 2014 interview. “Longtime residents in our communities that are finding themselves with limited options to stay, and feel they have no other place to go and are being displaced, is obviously alarming. We have a responsibility to do as much as we can to try to figure out how to stem that tide, but we’re also faced with limitations.”</p> <p dir="ltr">East Harlem’s history as a stronghold of people of color and immigrants follows the arc of many other urban communities throughout the U.S. The neighborhood first felt the impact of urban renewal initiatives in 1938, when NYCHA began razing low-rise tenements and relocating residents to make way for <a href="http://www.6sqft.com/towers-in-the-park-le-corbusiers-influence-in-nyc/">“towers-in-the-park”</a> housing developments also seen in larger examples at Stuyvesant Town and Co-op City. The city cleared more land containing factories, stores, and community centers in the 1960s, but failed to attract investors to the area. The result was an abundance of overgrown lots and a fragmented urban landscape that set the scene for the increase in poverty, violence, and arson that plagued the neighborhood during the ‘60s and ‘70s.</p> <p dir="ltr">These policies, Pearl Barkley said, along with growing wealth disparity and disenfranchisement of low-income people of color, pushed East Harlem - its residents, infrastructure, and local economy - into the political periphery, and dramatically exacerbated socioeconomic problems that plagued the neighborhood throughout the second half of the 20th century.</p> <p dir="ltr"><strong>Housing East Harlemites</strong><br />Today, a lack of affordable market-rate housing all but defines the residential landscape of East Harlem, where the majority of residents rely on public housing, rental assistance, or rent stabilization to afford their homes. A <a href="http://www.arch.columbia.edu/files/gsapp/imceshared/East_Harlem_Studio_2011.pdf">2011 report</a> from Columbia University calls East Harlem one of the “last holdouts of undeveloped Manhattan,” citing its waterfront and public transit options as contributors to the neighborhood’s growing vulnerability to displacement. These factors, combined with the voracity of the real estate market and a concentration of low-income residents, have cranked up pressure on the housing stock in El Barrio, driving rents - and fears of displacement - ever higher.</p> <p dir="ltr">Enter <a href="http://www.nyc.gov/html/housing/assets/downloads/pdf/housing_plan.pdf">Mayor Bill de Blasio’s plan</a> to encourage more residential development all over the city, with affordable housing mandates, and to rezone East Harlem to add density and neighborhood improvements. De Blasio and supporters of his approach, including Council Speaker Mark-Viverito, believe that without this type of government intervention, the forces of the market will run wild over East Harlem as they have in Central Harlem, several Brooklyn neighborhoods, and elsewhere over the past two decades. With any increase in development, though, comes heightened fear as well as very real change.</p> <p dir="ltr"><strong>Not enough housing, not enough income</strong><br />With <a href="http://www.census.gov/housing/nychvs/">only 8 percent</a> of privately-owned units owner-occupied, East Harlem is a community of renters. And, over half of rental households are considered <a href="http://furmancenter.org/NYCRentalLandscape">rent-burdened</a>, paying more than 30 percent of total household income on gross rent, or severely rent-burdened, paying more than 50 percent of income on rent, and are particularly susceptible to the throes of the real estate market.</p> <p dir="ltr">The city’s Department of Housing Preservation and Development (HPD) and the Census Bureau <a href="http://www.census.gov/housing/nychvs/">reported in 2014</a> that 55 percent of rental units in East Harlem were either rent-stabilized or government-assisted, and another 28 percent are NYCHA units, leaving less than a quarter of the renter-occupied housing stock unregulated.</p> <p dir="ltr">While there is still a considerable concentration of regulated and subsidized units in East Harlem, this cache is shrinking as units age out of rent regulation and landlords evict or coerce tenants into vacating stabilized apartments in order to raise rents.</p> <p dir="ltr">The loss is considerable, with 2,500 rent-stabilized or subsidized units disappearing from East Harlem between 2007 and 2014, and a projected 4,200 more gone by 2030, according to <a href="http://www.nyc.gov/html/dcp/pdf/neigh_info/statement_needs/mn11_statement.pdf">Community Board 11’s 2016 Statement of Needs</a>.</p> <p dir="ltr">The mayor hopes to curb the loss of such regulated rental units through his <a href="http://www1.nyc.gov/site/housing/index.page">Housing New York Plan</a>, which seeks to preserve 120,000 existing affordable units throughout the five boroughs. To this end, the administration has doubled HPD’s funding and begun initiatives around landlord harassment, deregulation, and targeted investment in vulnerable communities, among others. The administration is more aggressively targeting opportunities to work with landlords to offer benefits in exchange for extending rent regulations.</p> <p dir="ltr">De Blasio said at a press conference in January that the administration is ahead of schedule, having preserved nearly 14,000 units in projects like Stuyvesant Town, Riverton Houses, and smaller buildings, and that the overall program was on track to build or preserve 200,000 units by 2024.</p> <p dir="ltr">While <a href="https://www.dnainfo.com/new-york/20160112/bed-stuy/de-blasio-says-his-200k-units-of-affordable-housing-are-ahead-of-schedule">critics of the plan assert</a> that not enough affordable units are targeted at very low-income New Yorkers, de Blasio said that 75 percent of the 40,000-plus units built or preserved over the first two years of the timeline have been for extremely low income, very low income, and low income residents.</p> <p dir="ltr"><strong>Concentrated public housing</strong><br />The New York City Housing Authority (NYCHA) plays a vital role in maintaining a large portion of East Harlem’s affordable housing stock, with 30% of residents living in NYCHA-owned properties. This is the second-highest concentration of public housing in the city - a result of urban renewal initiatives begun in 1941, when one of NYCHA’s earliest housing developments, the East River Houses, went up on 102nd Street. Another wave of renewal, led by Robert Moses and funded by the 1949 Federal Housing Act, razed existing structures and constructed the Thomas Jefferson Houses in 1959. Today, there are 24 public housing developments in the neighborhood. &nbsp;</p> <p dir="ltr">Over the last two decades, federal and state budget cuts have weakened NYCHA, leaving the agency with a $74 million deficit in 2015, and facing capital needs of about $17 billion over the next five years, according to the city. This shortfall has resulted in crumbling buildings, breakdowns in communication between tenants and the agency, increased violence in housing developments, and myriad other problems.</p> <p dir="ltr">Mayor de Blasio <a href="http://www.gothamgazette.com/index.php/government/5838-another-way-of-looking-at-infill-housing-development">launched last summer</a> the <a href="http://www1.nyc.gov/site/nycha/about/nextgen-nycha.page">NextGeneration NYCHA</a> initiative as part of a “ten-year plan aimed at preserving public housing for the future generations,” according to the city’s website. The administration describes NextGen as a long-term strategy to change the way NYCHA properties are funded, operated, and designed, and to revamp the way the agency engages with residents - all in an attempt to prevent the housing authority from being turned over to the United States Department of Housing and Urban Development - an acquisition that could result in the sale of housing sites.</p> <p dir="ltr">The most controversial aspect of NextGen NYCHA is a plan in which underutilized land within NYCHA developments will either be leased for housing development, with buildings half market-rate and half affordable. Opponents say that the plan <a href="http://citylimits.org/2015/11/18/does-nychas-development-plan-vindicate-john-rhea/">too-closely resembles</a> former Mayor Bloomberg’s attempt at infill on NYCHA land, which de Blasio vehemently opposed, and a step on the path to privatizing what is now public housing.</p> <p dir="ltr">NYCHA CEO and Chair Shola Olatoye <a href="http://citylimits.org/2015/05/20/de-blasio-administration-seeks-to-develop-nycha-land/">told City Limits in May 2015</a> that building affordable housing on NYCHA land is a way to reconnect public developments to surrounding neighborhoods.</p> <p dir="ltr">"Residents want improved playgrounds, basketball courts, things we do not receive funding for. One way I can deliver on that is to maximize revenue from development,” she said. "If people want their development to improve, they have to be flexible about what kinds of changes they're willing to accept."</p> <p dir="ltr">De Blasio said at the program’s launch that it would result in the construction of 10,000 new affordable units on NYCHA land. If the plan succeeds, it will eliminate NYCHA’s crippling operating deficit. The city’s argument is that this strategy will add affordable housing, new revenue, and community improvements.</p> <p dir="ltr">The first NextGen project in East Harlem led to the opening last fall of the East Harlem Center for Living and Learning, which occupies a parking lot once owned by NYCHA. The project includes an eleven-story residential building containing 100% subsidized units. The <a href="http://www.nytimes.com/2016/01/26/arts/design/how-to-build-affordable-housing-in-new-york-city.html">New York Times reported</a> in January that the development serves a “mix of working and disabled tenants, many from the neighborhood.” The building connects to the new Dream Charter School, which serves almost 500 students.</p> <p dir="ltr">While the Times reported “overwhelmingly positive reactions” to the Center, it remains to be seen whether similar “infill” initiatives will be welcomed by other NYCHA residents wary of privatization and gentrification - or if the program will even produce enough revenue to bolster the floundering agency. Olatoye <a href="http://www.capitalnewyork.com/article/city-hall/2016/03/8595005/nycha-chair-says-agency-budget-millions-red?top-featured-image">told the City Council on Monday</a> that while its financial situation is improving, NYCHA is still tens of millions of dollars in the red, but is hoping that programs like NextGen will ease the burden.</p> <p dir="ltr">“With NextGen, we can reduce NYCHA’s deficit by a total of more than $1 billion over the next five years,” Olatoye told the Council.</p> <p dir="ltr"><strong>Space to use</strong><br />The East Harlem housing shortage is exacerbated by vacancy of both city- and privately-owned properties, according to Comptroller Scott Stringer and area organizations.</p> <p dir="ltr">Stringer and HPD Commissioner Vicki Been <a href="http://www.nytimes.com/2016/02/18/nyregion/audit-proposes-using-vacant-lots-owned-by-new-york-city-for-affordable-housing.html">traded barbs in February</a> over a comptroller <a href="http://comptroller.nyc.gov/wp-content/uploads/documents/FM14_112A.pdf">report </a>indicating that, as of September of 2015, HPD owned 1,131 uninhabited lots throughout Manhattan, and chiding the city agency for what Stringer called a lax pace of transference for properties that should be developed into affordable housing. Stringer held a press conference for the report’s release outside of an HPD-owned vacant property on East 123 Street, one of over 50 vacant properties the comptroller’s office found in East Harlem.</p> <p dir="ltr">“This vacant lot has been owned by the city since the seventies, collecting garbage, attracting rats, and hurting the proud community of El Barrio,” Stringer said at the press conference. “We’re in an affordability crisis the likes of which we’ve never seen – yet our most valuable resource, vacant space, is readily available all across this city.”</p> <p dir="ltr">Stringer was joined at the conference by members of Picture the Homeless, an advocacy organization based on East 126 Street that has long campaigned for turning vacant lots into affordable housing sites.</p> <p dir="ltr">The organization <a href="http://picturethehomeless.org/project/banking-on-vacancy-homelessness-real-estate-speculation/">released its own report in 2012</a>, for which teams of homeless and formerly homeless PTH members and other volunteers scoured Manhattan neighborhoods in search of vacant buildings and lots. They identified 143 empty lots and buildings in East Harlem, and highlighted a block of East 116th Street between Lexington and Park as an example of the problem: nearly half the buildings were empty or boarded up. About 95 percent of all vacant properties surveyed were privately owned.</p> <p dir="ltr">Commissioner Been’s rebuttal, which was included in Stringer’s report, emphatically denied the comptroller’s findings.</p> <p dir="ltr">"Your assertion that HPD allows vacant City-owned properties to languish in the face of the affordable housing crisis is simply wrong,” Been wrote.</p> <p dir="ltr">Been went on to clarify that residential development is only feasible on about 670 of the 1,100 properties; the rest are unsuitable due to location in dangerous areas like flood zones, or lack adequate access to public transportation or sewage infrastructure. Of those 670 viable sites, Been wrote, “roughly 400 have been earmarked for developer designation within the next two years.”</p> <p dir="ltr">The remaining sites will either be developed for residential uses within the duration of de Blasio’s 10-year housing plan or turned over to the Department of Parks and Recreation for use as community gardens.</p> <p dir="ltr"><strong>An acute homelessness problem</strong><br />For those who have managed to hold on to housing, the rent - as in the rest of New York City - is going up. East Harlem’s median gross rent increased by 53 percent between 2000 and 2013, according to the American Community Survey (ACS) 5-Year Estimates for 2013.</p> <p dir="ltr">The data combine to paint a bleak picture for low-income residents of El Barrio. As of 2013, over a quarter of East Harlem households <a href="http://www1.nyc.gov/site/hpd/about/nyc-housing-vacancy-report.page">were considered in “severe need”</a> by HPD, based on the number of people who are rent burdened, entering homeless shelters, or living in overcrowded apartments.</p> <p dir="ltr">This grim combination appears to hit East Harlem residents particularly hard, resulting in the worst case scenario for a number of households. According to <a href="http://www.anhd.org/wp-content/uploads/2011/07/2015-ANHD-Affordable-Housing-at-risk-for-mkt-rate.pdf">data</a> from the Association for Neighborhood and Housing Development (ANHD), 306 families entering shelters in 2014 listed East Harlem as their last address - the highest rate of entry to family shelters from any neighborhood in Manhattan.</p> <p dir="ltr">Jazmin Berges, 32, has been living in Marcus Garvey Park for the past three years. Berges was born and raised in the Bronx, but moved to East Harlem with a partner. When that relationship ended, she was unable to find housing that she could afford.</p> <p dir="ltr">“Rent is going sky-high in the neighborhood,” Berges told Gotham Gazette. “The community is being restructured, small businesses are closing, and people who lose their jobs can’t afford their rents.”</p> <p dir="ltr">Berges, who works with Picture the Homeless, believes that rent regulation doesn’t go far enough, and emphasized that a <a href="http://citylimits.org/2016/02/05/advocacy-group-pitches-plan-for-nyc-homeless-housing/">community land trust</a> - a not-for-profit entity that acquires and holds property to preserve accessible housing - is the only way to keep permanent affordable housing in East Harlem. “Even low-income housing isn’t low-income housing,” Berges said.</p> <p dir="ltr"><strong>New land use rules come to East Harlem</strong><br />It is unsurprising that East Harlem was included on the list of 15 neighborhoods to be rezoned under Mayor de Blasio’s affordable housing plan. The plan targets lower-density and low-income areas where demand is or is soon expected to be strong enough to support new development. Over several years, beginning this year with East New York, in Brooklyn, the administration plans to rezone the 15 neighborhoods to allow for more density and neighborhood improvement through more green space, school seats, and transportation infrastructure. The big centerpiece, of course, is housing.</p> <p dir="ltr">Essentially, the city’s plans mandate that any area rezoned to allow greater housing density - neighborhood or individual plot of land - will require significant numbers of affordable units as part of market-rate development.</p> <p dir="ltr">The New York City Council overwhelmingly voted in favor of the two major components of the plan that the neighborhood rezonings rely on - Mandatory Inclusionary Housing (MIH) and Zoning for Quality and Affordability (ZQA) - on March 22. The passage was a considerable victory for the administration after months of pushback and protest from community boards and advocacy groups, and negotiations with the City Council to modify the plan to include more affordability and a few other tweaks.</p> <p dir="ltr">According to the plan, which was changed to include more units affordable to lower-income households, MIH requires that developers who build residential units in rezoned areas set aside 20-30% of new units as permanently affordable for households making 40-80% of the Area Median Income, or AMI. Under MIH, there are a <a href="http://www1.nyc.gov/assets/housing/downloads/pdf/mih-fact-sheet.pdf">variety of options</a> that will be chosen by City Council members, developers, and the mayoral administration. ZQA, which stirred less broad controversy than MIH, focused on changing parking requirements and height limits to encourage more senior affordable housing, improve retail space design, and streetscape planning.</p> <p dir="ltr">Mayor de Blasio said in a statement after the vote, “New York City is now one step closer to being a city where everyone can work and live,” and thanked Speaker Mark-Viverito for her efforts in passing the “landmark legislation.”</p> <p dir="ltr">City Planning Commissioner Carl Weisbrod said at a hearing on MIH in February that the program “will bring new affordable housing to neighborhoods where it otherwise wouldn’t be built, and act as a cushion against potential gentrification of communities caused by broad demographic trends we are seeing in so many neighborhoods, simultaneously freeing up city funds to provide even more deeply affordable housing at lower rents where economic need is great.” &nbsp;</p> <p dir="ltr">Some opponents of MIH see a flaw in that what the plan defines as “affordable” does not include the lowest-income residents in what are now largely low-income neighborhoods.</p> <p dir="ltr">Affordability levels are <a href="http://citylimits.org/2016/02/17/the-secret-history-of-ami/">determined by the area median income</a> of the five boroughs, plus Putnam, Westchester, and Rockland Counties, which comes out to about $77,700 for a three-person household. The AMI for East Harlem is $33,595, or less than half (43%) of the figure that serves as a baseline for affordability calculations.</p> <p dir="ltr">MIH mandates that a percentage of affordable units built in rezoned neighborhoods must be affordable to households of certain earnings - for example, one option sets aside 20% of units for those earning an average of 40% of AMI, or about $31,00 for a family of three. This is the lowest income band option in MIH, and one that the Council insisted on adding to the de Blasio administration’s initial proposal. Households in East Harlem’s poorest zip code, 10035, earn an AMI of just $24,000, which critics say puts new affordable units out of reach.</p> <p dir="ltr">The mayor, the speaker, and HPD Commissioner Vicki Been have stated often that a combination of HPD subsidies and other housing programs will address the gap of affordability for the lowest-income New Yorkers. This is where the neighborhood rezonings also factor in. Mark-Viverito has said repeatedly that she plans to get to 50-50 market rate-affordable for new development in her district.</p> <p dir="ltr">Community Board 11, which represents East Harlem <a href="http://www.citylandnyc.org/wp-content/uploads/sites/14/2015/12/MIH-ZQA-CB-Tracker-Final-ALL-VOTES-IN.pdf">joined</a> 43 other community boards across the city in voting against de Blasio’s proposal on November 23 of last year.</p> <p dir="ltr">"But in the end," the mayor said at a <a href="http://www.gothamgazette.com/index.php/government/6007-mayor-and-speaker-rezoning-plans-will-change-before-council-vote">press conference in November,</a> "the community boards aren't the final decision makers.”</p> <p dir="ltr"><b>READ ON - <a href="http://www.gothamgazette.com/index.php/government/6258-wary-of-gentrification-east-harlem-braces-for-change-page-two" target="_blank">PAGE 2 of 2</a> - <a href="http://www.gothamgazette.com/index.php/government/6258-wary-of-gentrification-east-harlem-braces-for-change-page-two" target="_blank">How East Harlemites are attempting to shape the future of their neighborhood and more</a></b></p> <p dir="ltr"><img src="http://www.gothamgazette.com/images/east_harlem_mural.jpg" alt="east harlem mural" height="450" width="600" /></p> <p dir="ltr"><span style="font-size: 10pt;">Hank Prussing's mural, The Spirit of East Harlem (via @ManhattanCB11)</span></p> <hr /> <p>Pearl Barkley moved to East Harlem in the 1950s, when she was six years old. Her family lived in the Jefferson Houses on 115th Street, where she lives today and works as an organizer with Community Voices Heard, an economic justice advocacy non-profit.</p> <p dir="ltr">“Many people remember the fires, the abandoned boarded up buildings, and the people who left,” Barkley said in an interview. Essential services began disappearing from the neighborhood in the 1970s, she said, due in large part to city and federal policies that encouraged <a href="https://www.nixonlibrary.gov/virtuallibrary/releases/jul10/53.pdf">“benign neglect”</a> of poor neighborhoods of color.</p> <p dir="ltr">“They left the neighborhood to fend for itself,” Barkley said. “And the community was strong, but it suffered.”</p> <p dir="ltr">“Now, East Harlem is a hot property,” Barkley said. “We have to bring the focus back to the people who were originally here and went through all of this. We have to make sure that the people who were here can stay here.” While she doesn’t necessarily take issue with newcomers to the neighborhood, Barkley emphasizes that preserving homes for long-term residents of the neighborhood should take precedent over new developments.</p> <p dir="ltr">Newcomers have been moving into East Harlem for some time, drawn by its upper-Manhattan perch, lower rents, and access to public transit. But now, El Barrio - like a variety of other low-income areas populated predominantly by people of color - is becoming increasingly desirable to developers hoping to accommodate waves of middle-class renters.</p> <p dir="ltr">In February, The New York Times named East Harlem one of <a href="http://www.nytimes.com/2016/02/28/realestate/new-yorks-next-hot-neighborhoods.html">New York’s Next Hot Neighborhoods</a>, noting that 21 development sites had recently “traded hands,” and pointing to its lower-than-average real estate prices, good transit options, and historic architecture.</p> <p dir="ltr">“If you want to stay in Manhattan,” the author wrote, “East Harlem may be your best bet.”</p> <p dir="ltr">To long-term residents who want to stay in their neighborhoods, this kind of attention from the real estate market is synonymous with anxieties about inequity, marginalization, and displacement. And rightly so, as rents have skyrocketed across the city, incomes have stagnated, and the affordable housing crisis tops the list of policy issues facing New York City.</p> <p dir="ltr">Now, as Mayor Bill de Blasio’s administration prepares to rezone <a href="http://www.gothamgazette.com/index.php/government/6191-a-closer-look-at-de-blasios-neighborhood-rezoning-plans">15 neighborhoods</a>, including East Harlem, as part of a plan to build and preserve 200,000 units of affordable housing in New York City, residents are bracing for further shifts that some believe will drastically change the landscape of their neighborhood, push long-term residents out of their homes as new residents move in, and threaten local businesses. In a word, gentrification: the force that has been sweeping through New York City neighborhoods and striking fear in places set for new investment.</p> <p dir="ltr">Even as policies like Mandatory Inclusionary Housing, which requires set percentages of rent-controlled units in new developments, move toward enactment in an administration-run rezoning process, some East Harlem stakeholders are making proactive attempts at steering their community’s future. Led by the Speaker of the City Council, Melissa Mark-Viverito, whose home district includes East Harlem, a broad coalition of residents and groups created a comprehensive plan to shape the rezoning of the neighborhood.</p> <p dir="ltr">Members of that coalition and other groups have organized to protect against displacement while also championing changes that will improve their community.</p> <p dir="ltr">It remains to be seen how successful residents will be in achieving control over the way their neighborhood changes -- and who will be left to enjoy the fruits of that labor. But one thing is certain: East Harlem - a low-income community populated primarily by people of color, imbued with deep-rooted history and culture, situated in an area ripe for speculation by developers, struggling amid an affordable housing crisis -- is at a tipping point.</p> <p dir="ltr"><strong>Community character</strong><br />The neighborhood of just over 123,000 residents hugs the northeast corner of Central Park along Fifth Avenue, runs South until 96th Street, and spreads east toward the Harlem and East Rivers, where large portions of the East Harlem Esplanade are crumbling into the water.</p> <p dir="ltr">East Harlem is one of the largest predominantly Latino neighborhoods in New York City, the result of waves of Puerto Rican and Latin American immigration to the area after World War I, followed by more South and Central American arrivals throughout the 20th century. In spite of demographic changes over the last decade, East Harlem is still mostly populated by people of color and an immigrant neighborhood, with Hispanic and black residents comprising 81 percent of the population, and about a quarter of residents foreign-born, according to <a href="https://www1.nyc.gov/html/doh/downloads/pdf/data/2015chp-mn11.pdf">U.S. Census Bureau estimates for 2013</a>.</p> <p dir="ltr">The dominant culture is reflected everywhere: Spanish is spoken on every corner, storefronts advertise Latin American food, music, and good, and large-scale, colorful murals pervade the neighborhood with images of Latin American activists and artists.</p> <p dir="ltr">It is no coincidence that this is where Mark-Viverito, born and raised in Puerto Rico, settled after coming to the United States in 1987 to attend Columbia University. After college, Mark-Viverito participated in a mentorship program for young Latinos, coordinated New York-based efforts to drive the U.S. Navy from the Puerto Rican island of Vieques, co-founded women’s economic justice group Mujeres del Barrio, and served on Community Board 11. Mark-Viverito was elected to the City Council in 2005, and re-elected twice before becoming the first Puerto Rican and Latina to win the Speaker’s office when her colleagues selected her in 2014.</p> <p dir="ltr">The Speaker is now at the helm of a City Council reckoning with an affordable housing crisis and scars and fears of gentrification across several neighborhoods; charged with the task of building and preserving affordable housing and improving neighborhoods while protecting communities’ cultures and livelihoods at a pivotal time. It is a struggle filled with economic and social tensions exemplified in East Harlem.</p> <p dir="ltr"><img src="http://www.gothamgazette.com/images/14337705347_c9f9ac4afe_z.jpg" alt="MMV shaking hands distrit" style="margin: 8px; float: left;" height="250" width="375" />“It’s an ongoing battle,” the speaker (pictured, left) told <a href="http://larespuestamedia.com/melissa-mark-viverito-interview/">La Respuesta</a> in a 2014 interview. “Longtime residents in our communities that are finding themselves with limited options to stay, and feel they have no other place to go and are being displaced, is obviously alarming. We have a responsibility to do as much as we can to try to figure out how to stem that tide, but we’re also faced with limitations.”</p> <p dir="ltr">East Harlem’s history as a stronghold of people of color and immigrants follows the arc of many other urban communities throughout the U.S. The neighborhood first felt the impact of urban renewal initiatives in 1938, when NYCHA began razing low-rise tenements and relocating residents to make way for <a href="http://www.6sqft.com/towers-in-the-park-le-corbusiers-influence-in-nyc/">“towers-in-the-park”</a> housing developments also seen in larger examples at Stuyvesant Town and Co-op City. The city cleared more land containing factories, stores, and community centers in the 1960s, but failed to attract investors to the area. The result was an abundance of overgrown lots and a fragmented urban landscape that set the scene for the increase in poverty, violence, and arson that plagued the neighborhood during the ‘60s and ‘70s.</p> <p dir="ltr">These policies, Pearl Barkley said, along with growing wealth disparity and disenfranchisement of low-income people of color, pushed East Harlem - its residents, infrastructure, and local economy - into the political periphery, and dramatically exacerbated socioeconomic problems that plagued the neighborhood throughout the second half of the 20th century.</p> <p dir="ltr"><strong>Housing East Harlemites</strong><br />Today, a lack of affordable market-rate housing all but defines the residential landscape of East Harlem, where the majority of residents rely on public housing, rental assistance, or rent stabilization to afford their homes. A <a href="http://www.arch.columbia.edu/files/gsapp/imceshared/East_Harlem_Studio_2011.pdf">2011 report</a> from Columbia University calls East Harlem one of the “last holdouts of undeveloped Manhattan,” citing its waterfront and public transit options as contributors to the neighborhood’s growing vulnerability to displacement. These factors, combined with the voracity of the real estate market and a concentration of low-income residents, have cranked up pressure on the housing stock in El Barrio, driving rents - and fears of displacement - ever higher.</p> <p dir="ltr">Enter <a href="http://www.nyc.gov/html/housing/assets/downloads/pdf/housing_plan.pdf">Mayor Bill de Blasio’s plan</a> to encourage more residential development all over the city, with affordable housing mandates, and to rezone East Harlem to add density and neighborhood improvements. De Blasio and supporters of his approach, including Council Speaker Mark-Viverito, believe that without this type of government intervention, the forces of the market will run wild over East Harlem as they have in Central Harlem, several Brooklyn neighborhoods, and elsewhere over the past two decades. With any increase in development, though, comes heightened fear as well as very real change.</p> <p dir="ltr"><strong>Not enough housing, not enough income</strong><br />With <a href="http://www.census.gov/housing/nychvs/">only 8 percent</a> of privately-owned units owner-occupied, East Harlem is a community of renters. And, over half of rental households are considered <a href="http://furmancenter.org/NYCRentalLandscape">rent-burdened</a>, paying more than 30 percent of total household income on gross rent, or severely rent-burdened, paying more than 50 percent of income on rent, and are particularly susceptible to the throes of the real estate market.</p> <p dir="ltr">The city’s Department of Housing Preservation and Development (HPD) and the Census Bureau <a href="http://www.census.gov/housing/nychvs/">reported in 2014</a> that 55 percent of rental units in East Harlem were either rent-stabilized or government-assisted, and another 28 percent are NYCHA units, leaving less than a quarter of the renter-occupied housing stock unregulated.</p> <p dir="ltr">While there is still a considerable concentration of regulated and subsidized units in East Harlem, this cache is shrinking as units age out of rent regulation and landlords evict or coerce tenants into vacating stabilized apartments in order to raise rents.</p> <p dir="ltr">The loss is considerable, with 2,500 rent-stabilized or subsidized units disappearing from East Harlem between 2007 and 2014, and a projected 4,200 more gone by 2030, according to <a href="http://www.nyc.gov/html/dcp/pdf/neigh_info/statement_needs/mn11_statement.pdf">Community Board 11’s 2016 Statement of Needs</a>.</p> <p dir="ltr">The mayor hopes to curb the loss of such regulated rental units through his <a href="http://www1.nyc.gov/site/housing/index.page">Housing New York Plan</a>, which seeks to preserve 120,000 existing affordable units throughout the five boroughs. To this end, the administration has doubled HPD’s funding and begun initiatives around landlord harassment, deregulation, and targeted investment in vulnerable communities, among others. The administration is more aggressively targeting opportunities to work with landlords to offer benefits in exchange for extending rent regulations.</p> <p dir="ltr">De Blasio said at a press conference in January that the administration is ahead of schedule, having preserved nearly 14,000 units in projects like Stuyvesant Town, Riverton Houses, and smaller buildings, and that the overall program was on track to build or preserve 200,000 units by 2024.</p> <p dir="ltr">While <a href="https://www.dnainfo.com/new-york/20160112/bed-stuy/de-blasio-says-his-200k-units-of-affordable-housing-are-ahead-of-schedule">critics of the plan assert</a> that not enough affordable units are targeted at very low-income New Yorkers, de Blasio said that 75 percent of the 40,000-plus units built or preserved over the first two years of the timeline have been for extremely low income, very low income, and low income residents.</p> <p dir="ltr"><strong>Concentrated public housing</strong><br />The New York City Housing Authority (NYCHA) plays a vital role in maintaining a large portion of East Harlem’s affordable housing stock, with 30% of residents living in NYCHA-owned properties. This is the second-highest concentration of public housing in the city - a result of urban renewal initiatives begun in 1941, when one of NYCHA’s earliest housing developments, the East River Houses, went up on 102nd Street. Another wave of renewal, led by Robert Moses and funded by the 1949 Federal Housing Act, razed existing structures and constructed the Thomas Jefferson Houses in 1959. Today, there are 24 public housing developments in the neighborhood. &nbsp;</p> <p dir="ltr">Over the last two decades, federal and state budget cuts have weakened NYCHA, leaving the agency with a $74 million deficit in 2015, and facing capital needs of about $17 billion over the next five years, according to the city. This shortfall has resulted in crumbling buildings, breakdowns in communication between tenants and the agency, increased violence in housing developments, and myriad other problems.</p> <p dir="ltr">Mayor de Blasio <a href="http://www.gothamgazette.com/index.php/government/5838-another-way-of-looking-at-infill-housing-development">launched last summer</a> the <a href="http://www1.nyc.gov/site/nycha/about/nextgen-nycha.page">NextGeneration NYCHA</a> initiative as part of a “ten-year plan aimed at preserving public housing for the future generations,” according to the city’s website. The administration describes NextGen as a long-term strategy to change the way NYCHA properties are funded, operated, and designed, and to revamp the way the agency engages with residents - all in an attempt to prevent the housing authority from being turned over to the United States Department of Housing and Urban Development - an acquisition that could result in the sale of housing sites.</p> <p dir="ltr">The most controversial aspect of NextGen NYCHA is a plan in which underutilized land within NYCHA developments will either be leased for housing development, with buildings half market-rate and half affordable. Opponents say that the plan <a href="http://citylimits.org/2015/11/18/does-nychas-development-plan-vindicate-john-rhea/">too-closely resembles</a> former Mayor Bloomberg’s attempt at infill on NYCHA land, which de Blasio vehemently opposed, and a step on the path to privatizing what is now public housing.</p> <p dir="ltr">NYCHA CEO and Chair Shola Olatoye <a href="http://citylimits.org/2015/05/20/de-blasio-administration-seeks-to-develop-nycha-land/">told City Limits in May 2015</a> that building affordable housing on NYCHA land is a way to reconnect public developments to surrounding neighborhoods.</p> <p dir="ltr">"Residents want improved playgrounds, basketball courts, things we do not receive funding for. One way I can deliver on that is to maximize revenue from development,” she said. "If people want their development to improve, they have to be flexible about what kinds of changes they're willing to accept."</p> <p dir="ltr">De Blasio said at the program’s launch that it would result in the construction of 10,000 new affordable units on NYCHA land. If the plan succeeds, it will eliminate NYCHA’s crippling operating deficit. The city’s argument is that this strategy will add affordable housing, new revenue, and community improvements.</p> <p dir="ltr">The first NextGen project in East Harlem led to the opening last fall of the East Harlem Center for Living and Learning, which occupies a parking lot once owned by NYCHA. The project includes an eleven-story residential building containing 100% subsidized units. The <a href="http://www.nytimes.com/2016/01/26/arts/design/how-to-build-affordable-housing-in-new-york-city.html">New York Times reported</a> in January that the development serves a “mix of working and disabled tenants, many from the neighborhood.” The building connects to the new Dream Charter School, which serves almost 500 students.</p> <p dir="ltr">While the Times reported “overwhelmingly positive reactions” to the Center, it remains to be seen whether similar “infill” initiatives will be welcomed by other NYCHA residents wary of privatization and gentrification - or if the program will even produce enough revenue to bolster the floundering agency. Olatoye <a href="http://www.capitalnewyork.com/article/city-hall/2016/03/8595005/nycha-chair-says-agency-budget-millions-red?top-featured-image">told the City Council on Monday</a> that while its financial situation is improving, NYCHA is still tens of millions of dollars in the red, but is hoping that programs like NextGen will ease the burden.</p> <p dir="ltr">“With NextGen, we can reduce NYCHA’s deficit by a total of more than $1 billion over the next five years,” Olatoye told the Council.</p> <p dir="ltr"><strong>Space to use</strong><br />The East Harlem housing shortage is exacerbated by vacancy of both city- and privately-owned properties, according to Comptroller Scott Stringer and area organizations.</p> <p dir="ltr">Stringer and HPD Commissioner Vicki Been <a href="http://www.nytimes.com/2016/02/18/nyregion/audit-proposes-using-vacant-lots-owned-by-new-york-city-for-affordable-housing.html">traded barbs in February</a> over a comptroller <a href="http://comptroller.nyc.gov/wp-content/uploads/documents/FM14_112A.pdf">report </a>indicating that, as of September of 2015, HPD owned 1,131 uninhabited lots throughout Manhattan, and chiding the city agency for what Stringer called a lax pace of transference for properties that should be developed into affordable housing. Stringer held a press conference for the report’s release outside of an HPD-owned vacant property on East 123 Street, one of over 50 vacant properties the comptroller’s office found in East Harlem.</p> <p dir="ltr">“This vacant lot has been owned by the city since the seventies, collecting garbage, attracting rats, and hurting the proud community of El Barrio,” Stringer said at the press conference. “We’re in an affordability crisis the likes of which we’ve never seen – yet our most valuable resource, vacant space, is readily available all across this city.”</p> <p dir="ltr">Stringer was joined at the conference by members of Picture the Homeless, an advocacy organization based on East 126 Street that has long campaigned for turning vacant lots into affordable housing sites.</p> <p dir="ltr">The organization <a href="http://picturethehomeless.org/project/banking-on-vacancy-homelessness-real-estate-speculation/">released its own report in 2012</a>, for which teams of homeless and formerly homeless PTH members and other volunteers scoured Manhattan neighborhoods in search of vacant buildings and lots. They identified 143 empty lots and buildings in East Harlem, and highlighted a block of East 116th Street between Lexington and Park as an example of the problem: nearly half the buildings were empty or boarded up. About 95 percent of all vacant properties surveyed were privately owned.</p> <p dir="ltr">Commissioner Been’s rebuttal, which was included in Stringer’s report, emphatically denied the comptroller’s findings.</p> <p dir="ltr">"Your assertion that HPD allows vacant City-owned properties to languish in the face of the affordable housing crisis is simply wrong,” Been wrote.</p> <p dir="ltr">Been went on to clarify that residential development is only feasible on about 670 of the 1,100 properties; the rest are unsuitable due to location in dangerous areas like flood zones, or lack adequate access to public transportation or sewage infrastructure. Of those 670 viable sites, Been wrote, “roughly 400 have been earmarked for developer designation within the next two years.”</p> <p dir="ltr">The remaining sites will either be developed for residential uses within the duration of de Blasio’s 10-year housing plan or turned over to the Department of Parks and Recreation for use as community gardens.</p> <p dir="ltr"><strong>An acute homelessness problem</strong><br />For those who have managed to hold on to housing, the rent - as in the rest of New York City - is going up. East Harlem’s median gross rent increased by 53 percent between 2000 and 2013, according to the American Community Survey (ACS) 5-Year Estimates for 2013.</p> <p dir="ltr">The data combine to paint a bleak picture for low-income residents of El Barrio. As of 2013, over a quarter of East Harlem households <a href="http://www1.nyc.gov/site/hpd/about/nyc-housing-vacancy-report.page">were considered in “severe need”</a> by HPD, based on the number of people who are rent burdened, entering homeless shelters, or living in overcrowded apartments.</p> <p dir="ltr">This grim combination appears to hit East Harlem residents particularly hard, resulting in the worst case scenario for a number of households. According to <a href="http://www.anhd.org/wp-content/uploads/2011/07/2015-ANHD-Affordable-Housing-at-risk-for-mkt-rate.pdf">data</a> from the Association for Neighborhood and Housing Development (ANHD), 306 families entering shelters in 2014 listed East Harlem as their last address - the highest rate of entry to family shelters from any neighborhood in Manhattan.</p> <p dir="ltr">Jazmin Berges, 32, has been living in Marcus Garvey Park for the past three years. Berges was born and raised in the Bronx, but moved to East Harlem with a partner. When that relationship ended, she was unable to find housing that she could afford.</p> <p dir="ltr">“Rent is going sky-high in the neighborhood,” Berges told Gotham Gazette. “The community is being restructured, small businesses are closing, and people who lose their jobs can’t afford their rents.”</p> <p dir="ltr">Berges, who works with Picture the Homeless, believes that rent regulation doesn’t go far enough, and emphasized that a <a href="http://citylimits.org/2016/02/05/advocacy-group-pitches-plan-for-nyc-homeless-housing/">community land trust</a> - a not-for-profit entity that acquires and holds property to preserve accessible housing - is the only way to keep permanent affordable housing in East Harlem. “Even low-income housing isn’t low-income housing,” Berges said.</p> <p dir="ltr"><strong>New land use rules come to East Harlem</strong><br />It is unsurprising that East Harlem was included on the list of 15 neighborhoods to be rezoned under Mayor de Blasio’s affordable housing plan. The plan targets lower-density and low-income areas where demand is or is soon expected to be strong enough to support new development. Over several years, beginning this year with East New York, in Brooklyn, the administration plans to rezone the 15 neighborhoods to allow for more density and neighborhood improvement through more green space, school seats, and transportation infrastructure. The big centerpiece, of course, is housing.</p> <p dir="ltr">Essentially, the city’s plans mandate that any area rezoned to allow greater housing density - neighborhood or individual plot of land - will require significant numbers of affordable units as part of market-rate development.</p> <p dir="ltr">The New York City Council overwhelmingly voted in favor of the two major components of the plan that the neighborhood rezonings rely on - Mandatory Inclusionary Housing (MIH) and Zoning for Quality and Affordability (ZQA) - on March 22. The passage was a considerable victory for the administration after months of pushback and protest from community boards and advocacy groups, and negotiations with the City Council to modify the plan to include more affordability and a few other tweaks.</p> <p dir="ltr">According to the plan, which was changed to include more units affordable to lower-income households, MIH requires that developers who build residential units in rezoned areas set aside 20-30% of new units as permanently affordable for households making 40-80% of the Area Median Income, or AMI. Under MIH, there are a <a href="http://www1.nyc.gov/assets/housing/downloads/pdf/mih-fact-sheet.pdf">variety of options</a> that will be chosen by City Council members, developers, and the mayoral administration. ZQA, which stirred less broad controversy than MIH, focused on changing parking requirements and height limits to encourage more senior affordable housing, improve retail space design, and streetscape planning.</p> <p dir="ltr">Mayor de Blasio said in a statement after the vote, “New York City is now one step closer to being a city where everyone can work and live,” and thanked Speaker Mark-Viverito for her efforts in passing the “landmark legislation.”</p> <p dir="ltr">City Planning Commissioner Carl Weisbrod said at a hearing on MIH in February that the program “will bring new affordable housing to neighborhoods where it otherwise wouldn’t be built, and act as a cushion against potential gentrification of communities caused by broad demographic trends we are seeing in so many neighborhoods, simultaneously freeing up city funds to provide even more deeply affordable housing at lower rents where economic need is great.” &nbsp;</p> <p dir="ltr">Some opponents of MIH see a flaw in that what the plan defines as “affordable” does not include the lowest-income residents in what are now largely low-income neighborhoods.</p> <p dir="ltr">Affordability levels are <a href="http://citylimits.org/2016/02/17/the-secret-history-of-ami/">determined by the area median income</a> of the five boroughs, plus Putnam, Westchester, and Rockland Counties, which comes out to about $77,700 for a three-person household. The AMI for East Harlem is $33,595, or less than half (43%) of the figure that serves as a baseline for affordability calculations.</p> <p dir="ltr">MIH mandates that a percentage of affordable units built in rezoned neighborhoods must be affordable to households of certain earnings - for example, one option sets aside 20% of units for those earning an average of 40% of AMI, or about $31,00 for a family of three. This is the lowest income band option in MIH, and one that the Council insisted on adding to the de Blasio administration’s initial proposal. Households in East Harlem’s poorest zip code, 10035, earn an AMI of just $24,000, which critics say puts new affordable units out of reach.</p> <p dir="ltr">The mayor, the speaker, and HPD Commissioner Vicki Been have stated often that a combination of HPD subsidies and other housing programs will address the gap of affordability for the lowest-income New Yorkers. This is where the neighborhood rezonings also factor in. Mark-Viverito has said repeatedly that she plans to get to 50-50 market rate-affordable for new development in her district.</p> <p dir="ltr">Community Board 11, which represents East Harlem <a href="http://www.citylandnyc.org/wp-content/uploads/sites/14/2015/12/MIH-ZQA-CB-Tracker-Final-ALL-VOTES-IN.pdf">joined</a> 43 other community boards across the city in voting against de Blasio’s proposal on November 23 of last year.</p> <p dir="ltr">"But in the end," the mayor said at a <a href="http://www.gothamgazette.com/index.php/government/6007-mayor-and-speaker-rezoning-plans-will-change-before-council-vote">press conference in November,</a> "the community boards aren't the final decision makers.”</p> <p dir="ltr"><b>READ ON - <a href="http://www.gothamgazette.com/index.php/government/6258-wary-of-gentrification-east-harlem-braces-for-change-page-two" target="_blank">PAGE 2 of 2</a> - <a href="http://www.gothamgazette.com/index.php/government/6258-wary-of-gentrification-east-harlem-braces-for-change-page-two" target="_blank">How East Harlemites are attempting to shape the future of their neighborhood and more</a></b></p> Wary of Gentrification, East Harlem Braces for Change 2016-04-01T02:22:42+00:00 2016-04-01T02:22:42+00:00 http://www.gothamgazette.com/?id=6258:wary-of-gentrification-east-harlem-braces-for-change-page-two Super User <p dir="ltr"><strong><img src="http://www.gothamgazette.com/images/mmv_ehnp.jpg" alt="mmv ehnp" height="400" width="600" /></strong></p> <p dir="ltr">&nbsp;Mark-Viverito at an East Harlem planning session (photo: William Alatriste)</p> <hr /> <p><em>CONTINUED from <a href="http://www.gothamgazette.com/index.php/government/6253-wary-of-gentrification-east-harlem-braces-for-rapid-change" target="_blank">page 1</a> - this is page 2 of 2</em></p> <p dir="ltr"><strong>Community calls for community planning</strong><br />City officials have not yet presented a timeline, much less a plan, for rezoning East Harlem, but that hasn’t stopped residents from preemptively organizing against “upzoning” that they believe will accelerate displacement of low-income people in their neighborhood. Two community-driven plans have emerged from El Barrio since November: one, an attempt at leveraging rezoning for a higher percentage of more deeply affordable housing and community benefits through collaboration with city officials; the other, an outright rejection of the mayor’s plan and a demand for better protections for immigrants and very low-income people living in regulated rental units.</p> <p dir="ltr">Speaker Mark-Viverito, who represents East Harlem and parts of the South Bronx, told NY1 in January, "The question is, do we want to let things stand and get nothing out of it, or do we try to get something, allow the density to happen, with a benefit to the community? To me, the answer is very clear. We have to get something for the community.”</p> <p dir="ltr">“Getting something for the community” seems to be the theme of the<a href="http://www.eastharlemplan.nyc" target="_blank">&nbsp;East Harlem Neighborhood Plan</a>, which was completed in February by a broad coalition led Mark-Viverito, Manhattan President Gale Brewer, and advocacy group Community Voices Heard.</p> <p dir="ltr"><img src="http://www.gothamgazette.com/images/22984956200_9ef6976220_z.jpg" alt="east harlem planning table" style="margin: 8px; float: left;" height="249" width="375" />The EHNP is the product of a 10-month process in which over 1,300 East Harlem residents filled out hundreds of community surveys, gathered for seven community vision workshops on 12 topic areas, and produced an exhaustive list of recommendations for neighborhood preservation and improvement. While it certainly won’t halt fear of gentrification and displacement, it may go a long way in influencing the rezoning plan put forth by City Hall, and, many believe, stemming the tide of displacement while improving the community in a variety of ways.</p> <p dir="ltr">The plan’s recommendations span 12 themes, ranging from improvements to NYCHA developments to arts and culture preservation to senior needs, but two issues took precedence over the rest: the preservation of affordable housing and job creation.</p> <p dir="ltr">The plan specifically calls for better enforcement of anti-tenant harassment laws, additional legal and educational support for tenants, and policy changes and increased funding aimed at preserving existing regulated units and bringing more units under regulation. The plan also recommends that the city build off of the affordability that will be required on private rezoned sites under the new Mandatory Inclusionary Housing rules. The plan recommends 100% affordable units on public sites, and asks that all tools, such as HPD subsidies and programs, be utilized to achieve deeper affordability for the lowest-income residents.</p> <p dir="ltr">Participants also heavily emphasize job creation, job training, and living wages as changes they want to see accompany increased density in their neighborhood.</p> <p dir="ltr">East Harlem’s distinction as the home district of the powerful City Council Speaker sets the area apart from other neighborhoods on deck to be rezoned. Still, other Council members took notice of the EHNP effort, even attending the final planning event, eyeing ways in which they can lead a local process to get ahead of a more centralized, mayoral administration-run plan for rezoning.</p> <p dir="ltr">The EHNP coalition sent the 134-page plan to the City Planning Commission and other city agencies after its release on February 25.</p> <p dir="ltr">Community planning in New York neighborhoods is not a new concept; the Department of City Planning has been organizing “place-based planning studies” in other to-be-rezoned neighborhoods to help develop recommendations for affordable housing, economic development and infrastructure investments, and assisting community and borough boards in the creation of&nbsp;<a href="http://www1.nyc.gov/site/planning/community/community-based-planning.page?tab=2" target="_blank">197-a community plans</a>.</p> <p dir="ltr">The city created the rezoning plan that is now being negotiated for East New York after a number of community meetings, and the process is playing out in Flushing and other areas slated for rezonings.</p> <p dir="ltr">But the Speaker calls the EHNP the first of its kind in the city, emphasizing a proactive, bottom-up approach.</p> <p dir="ltr">“We’re kind of doing it upside-down. Usually an application is presented and we respond to it, right?” Mark-Viverito said to the audience at an EHNP community forum on January 27, referring to the typical land use review process (ULURP), which is taking place in East New York. “The [East Harlem] application hasn’t even been submitted. We have a plan, we’re giving it to the city, and we’re forcing the city to consider and take into account those needs in the application process.”</p> <p dir="ltr">It remains to be seen whether the Speaker’s influence will fortify the plan once the rezoning process begins in East Harlem, but many people involved believe that the strength of the plan’s process and government-community partnerships have given the neighborhood the best chance of success as they both brace for and embrace the rezoning.</p> <p dir="ltr">"This is a document that we actually want to govern how East Harlem is developed and evolves over time,” said Sondra Youdelman, director Community Voices Heard, in a February interview with Gotham Gazette. “Now it's up to the city to figure out which policies and tools need to be coupled together to make this happen.”</p> <p dir="ltr"><strong>'Consulta del Barrio'</strong><br />Movement for Justice in El Barrio, founded in 2004, is an organization predominantly comprised of and led by immigrants - mostly women - who have lived in rent-regulated apartment units in East Harlem for decades. The organization claims over 1,000 members and organizing within 95 privately-owned buildings in El Barrio.</p> <p dir="ltr">MJB&nbsp;<a href="http://www.gothamgazette.com/index.php/government/5972-east-harlem-tenants-group-rejects-de-blasio-housing-plan-offer-its-own">released in November 2015 a 10-point plan</a>&nbsp;that roundly rejected the mayor’s zoning plans as they stood then and focuses almost exclusively on housing preservation for low-income residents in rent-regulated apartments, people of color, and immigrant communities, which the group says are disproportionately displaced by landlord harassment and gentrification.</p> <p dir="ltr">“Our members didn’t want to just reject the plan,” said Juan Haro, an organizer at Movement for Justice in El Barrio. “They wanted to put forward a concrete proposal to improve the housing situation in our neighborhood.”</p> <p dir="ltr">The document is also an indictment of what Movement for Justice calls a failure by HPD to enforce housing codes and protect tenants’ rights.</p> <p dir="ltr">“We believe that when HPD is not responsive to landlords breaking the local housing code, and their unresponsiveness allows landlords to get away with driving out tenants, which contributes to displacement and gentrification,” Haro said.</p> <p dir="ltr">Movement for Justice in El Barrio’s plan calls for increased and independent oversight of HPD; a public education campaign to inform tenants about HPD's role; a new body to collect fines levied against negligent landlords; publication of inspection documents in multiple languages, penalties for landlords who fail to make repairs within 24 hours of emergency violations; the establishment of an East Harlem HPD oversight team; and improvements to HPD’s inspection and follow-up speeds.</p> <p dir="ltr">According to Haro, over 8,500 East Harlem residents participated in 12 public meetings throughout the year-long “Consulta del Barrio,” or neighborhood consultation. Haro highlights the group’s bottom-up organizing strategy and pragmatic outreach effort, which targets very low-income residents and immigrants, and favors flyering over social media.</p> <p dir="ltr">“We know that there is a digital divide,” he said. “Many folks in the neighborhood don’t have access to Facebook or Twitter, so we focused on on-the-street outreach, and worked in the evenings and on weekends when more people weren’t at work.”</p> <p dir="ltr">Public meetings were “fluid and organic,” Haro added, and residents attended to learn more about the intricacies of the rezoning proposal and land use in general. Participants voted to reject the mayor’s proposals, and formulated the demands that would become the pith of the 10-point plan.</p> <p dir="ltr">The plan concentrates on protecting tenants of regulated, private apartment buildings, because those tenants have the most at stake as the neighborhood gentrifies, Haro said. “Landlords cut off basic services and violate local housing codes,” he said. “They offer buyouts to tenants to surrender their units. They threaten to bring in immigration authorities or ask for proof as citizens and threaten based on citizenship."</p> <p dir="ltr">The de Blasio administration has mounted an initiative to deter evictions and landlord harassment in rapidly changing neighborhoods with the creation of the Tenant Support Unit in August of 2015. The mayor announced in February that the unit had resolved its thousandth case since it began offering assistance to tenants.</p> <p dir="ltr">While&nbsp;<a href="http://citylimits.org/2015/07/21/citys-tenant-protection-effort-breaks-ground-and-ruffles-feathers/">reviews of the unit’s methodology have been mixed</a>, the administration touted a ten-fold increase in free legal services for tenants, for a total of $62 million in funding that will be fully implemented for the 2017 fiscal year, which begins July 1 of this year. &nbsp;As a result, de Blasio said, evictions by city marshals have decreased 24 percent since he took office, down from 28,849 in 2013 to 21,988 in 2015.</p> <p dir="ltr">While the new support measures and protections introduced by the mayor seem to be having a positive effect, members at MJB believe that they will still be forced out once rezoning takes hold.</p> <p dir="ltr">Movement for Justice in El Barrio members organized a series of protests against the mayor’s plan leading up to a Community Board 11 vote on MIH and ZQA in November.</p> <p dir="ltr">Sandra Cruz, a member, said at a rally before the meeting, “We are against the mayor’s ‘luxury housing plan’ because we know that 25-30% of the apartments that the mayor says will supposedly be constructed for low-income people will not be accessible to the poor people of East Harlem, because we don’t make enough money to pay those high rents.”</p> <p dir="ltr">CB 11 voted “no with conditions” on the mayor’s citywide zoning plans. This feedback, similar to that of community boards across the city, helped inform the City Council’s negotiations with the de Blasio administration over the final versions of MIH and ZQA.</p> <p dir="ltr">Movement for Justice sent its 10-point community plan to Speaker Mark-Viverito and Borough President Gale Brewer in November, but have not received a response, they said. Meanwhile, Mark-Viverito, Brewer, and a variety of other stakeholders, were in the process of creating the East Harlem Neighborhood Plan.</p> <p dir="ltr"><strong>Next for East Harlem</strong><br />With MIH and ZQA in place, East Harlem stakeholders are watching the neighborhood rezoning process as it unfolds in East New York, the first neighborhood rezoning being moved by the de Blasio administration, in consultation with the City Council.</p> <p dir="ltr">Like East Harlem, East New York’s population is predominantly Latino and African-American, and the neighborhood AMI is around $34,000. City Council Member Rafael Espinal represents much of East New York and remains adamant that the plan for the area not help in pricing out long-term residents.</p> <p dir="ltr">"Neighbors on my street are already jacking up the rents to $1,800 [per month]," Espinal said at a March 8 City Council hearing on the East New York rezoning.</p> <p dir="ltr">Parallels between East New York and East Harlem are undeniable, and many are watching the process for clues as to how the future may unfold in El Barrio. East Harlem may be slightly further along in a gentrification process as of now, but both neighborhoods are changing.</p> <p dir="ltr">Though some involved in the East Harlem Neighborhood Plan are skeptical as to how much of the document will be seriously considered by the city, the speaker hopes that the document will serve as a model for other communities down the road.</p> <p dir="ltr">“It would be great,” she said at the January 27 community forum, “if the administration established some sort of process to create neighborhood plans in every area that would be rezoned.” She followed this up by devoting a portion of her February State of the City address to the Council’s proposal that the city develop a Neighborhood Commitment Plan that would accompany all rezoning proposals, “describing and tracking commitments for housing, schools, infrastructure and other city services.”</p> <p dir="ltr">“Planning for the future of our neighborhoods should start from the ground up and infuse the voices of everyday New Yorkers into policy decisions,” Mark-Viverito said in her address. She remarked that the community planning process is an opportunity to discuss neighborhood concerns “from school overcrowding and pedestrian safety to sewers and public transit.”</p> <p dir="ltr">For community organizations in El Barrio, the work has only just begun. Leaders across groups and initiatives say they’ll continue to apply pressure to the city to respond to demands for deeper affordability, better protection of tenants’ rights, neighborhood improvements, and capital investments. Essential, they say, is community power in all processes.</p> <p dir="ltr">Even as the future of East Harlem seems unsure, long-time resident Pearl Barkley notes the surge of neighborhood civic engagement around rezoning as a silver lining.</p> <p dir="ltr">“I grew up in a time of social movements, with activism throughout the neighborhood,” Barkley said. “Right now, when I attend meetings, I see young people standing up, excited to talk about what they want for their city. That gives me hope. It makes me happy.”</p> <p dir="ltr"><em>This is page 2 of 2 - <a href="http://www.gothamgazette.com/index.php/government/6253-wary-of-gentrification-east-harlem-braces-for-rapid-change" target="_blank">return to page 1</a></em></p> <p dir="ltr">

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by Maggie Calmes, Gotham Gazette
     

Read more by this writer.

</p>
<p dir="ltr"><strong><img src="http://www.gothamgazette.com/images/mmv_ehnp.jpg" alt="mmv ehnp" height="400" width="600" /></strong></p> <p dir="ltr">&nbsp;Mark-Viverito at an East Harlem planning session (photo: William Alatriste)</p> <hr /> <p><em>CONTINUED from <a href="http://www.gothamgazette.com/index.php/government/6253-wary-of-gentrification-east-harlem-braces-for-rapid-change" target="_blank">page 1</a> - this is page 2 of 2</em></p> <p dir="ltr"><strong>Community calls for community planning</strong><br />City officials have not yet presented a timeline, much less a plan, for rezoning East Harlem, but that hasn’t stopped residents from preemptively organizing against “upzoning” that they believe will accelerate displacement of low-income people in their neighborhood. Two community-driven plans have emerged from El Barrio since November: one, an attempt at leveraging rezoning for a higher percentage of more deeply affordable housing and community benefits through collaboration with city officials; the other, an outright rejection of the mayor’s plan and a demand for better protections for immigrants and very low-income people living in regulated rental units.</p> <p dir="ltr">Speaker Mark-Viverito, who represents East Harlem and parts of the South Bronx, told NY1 in January, "The question is, do we want to let things stand and get nothing out of it, or do we try to get something, allow the density to happen, with a benefit to the community? To me, the answer is very clear. We have to get something for the community.”</p> <p dir="ltr">“Getting something for the community” seems to be the theme of the<a href="http://www.eastharlemplan.nyc" target="_blank">&nbsp;East Harlem Neighborhood Plan</a>, which was completed in February by a broad coalition led Mark-Viverito, Manhattan President Gale Brewer, and advocacy group Community Voices Heard.</p> <p dir="ltr"><img src="http://www.gothamgazette.com/images/22984956200_9ef6976220_z.jpg" alt="east harlem planning table" style="margin: 8px; float: left;" height="249" width="375" />The EHNP is the product of a 10-month process in which over 1,300 East Harlem residents filled out hundreds of community surveys, gathered for seven community vision workshops on 12 topic areas, and produced an exhaustive list of recommendations for neighborhood preservation and improvement. While it certainly won’t halt fear of gentrification and displacement, it may go a long way in influencing the rezoning plan put forth by City Hall, and, many believe, stemming the tide of displacement while improving the community in a variety of ways.</p> <p dir="ltr">The plan’s recommendations span 12 themes, ranging from improvements to NYCHA developments to arts and culture preservation to senior needs, but two issues took precedence over the rest: the preservation of affordable housing and job creation.</p> <p dir="ltr">The plan specifically calls for better enforcement of anti-tenant harassment laws, additional legal and educational support for tenants, and policy changes and increased funding aimed at preserving existing regulated units and bringing more units under regulation. The plan also recommends that the city build off of the affordability that will be required on private rezoned sites under the new Mandatory Inclusionary Housing rules. The plan recommends 100% affordable units on public sites, and asks that all tools, such as HPD subsidies and programs, be utilized to achieve deeper affordability for the lowest-income residents.</p> <p dir="ltr">Participants also heavily emphasize job creation, job training, and living wages as changes they want to see accompany increased density in their neighborhood.</p> <p dir="ltr">East Harlem’s distinction as the home district of the powerful City Council Speaker sets the area apart from other neighborhoods on deck to be rezoned. Still, other Council members took notice of the EHNP effort, even attending the final planning event, eyeing ways in which they can lead a local process to get ahead of a more centralized, mayoral administration-run plan for rezoning.</p> <p dir="ltr">The EHNP coalition sent the 134-page plan to the City Planning Commission and other city agencies after its release on February 25.</p> <p dir="ltr">Community planning in New York neighborhoods is not a new concept; the Department of City Planning has been organizing “place-based planning studies” in other to-be-rezoned neighborhoods to help develop recommendations for affordable housing, economic development and infrastructure investments, and assisting community and borough boards in the creation of&nbsp;<a href="http://www1.nyc.gov/site/planning/community/community-based-planning.page?tab=2" target="_blank">197-a community plans</a>.</p> <p dir="ltr">The city created the rezoning plan that is now being negotiated for East New York after a number of community meetings, and the process is playing out in Flushing and other areas slated for rezonings.</p> <p dir="ltr">But the Speaker calls the EHNP the first of its kind in the city, emphasizing a proactive, bottom-up approach.</p> <p dir="ltr">“We’re kind of doing it upside-down. Usually an application is presented and we respond to it, right?” Mark-Viverito said to the audience at an EHNP community forum on January 27, referring to the typical land use review process (ULURP), which is taking place in East New York. “The [East Harlem] application hasn’t even been submitted. We have a plan, we’re giving it to the city, and we’re forcing the city to consider and take into account those needs in the application process.”</p> <p dir="ltr">It remains to be seen whether the Speaker’s influence will fortify the plan once the rezoning process begins in East Harlem, but many people involved believe that the strength of the plan’s process and government-community partnerships have given the neighborhood the best chance of success as they both brace for and embrace the rezoning.</p> <p dir="ltr">"This is a document that we actually want to govern how East Harlem is developed and evolves over time,” said Sondra Youdelman, director Community Voices Heard, in a February interview with Gotham Gazette. “Now it's up to the city to figure out which policies and tools need to be coupled together to make this happen.”</p> <p dir="ltr"><strong>'Consulta del Barrio'</strong><br />Movement for Justice in El Barrio, founded in 2004, is an organization predominantly comprised of and led by immigrants - mostly women - who have lived in rent-regulated apartment units in East Harlem for decades. The organization claims over 1,000 members and organizing within 95 privately-owned buildings in El Barrio.</p> <p dir="ltr">MJB&nbsp;<a href="http://www.gothamgazette.com/index.php/government/5972-east-harlem-tenants-group-rejects-de-blasio-housing-plan-offer-its-own">released in November 2015 a 10-point plan</a>&nbsp;that roundly rejected the mayor’s zoning plans as they stood then and focuses almost exclusively on housing preservation for low-income residents in rent-regulated apartments, people of color, and immigrant communities, which the group says are disproportionately displaced by landlord harassment and gentrification.</p> <p dir="ltr">“Our members didn’t want to just reject the plan,” said Juan Haro, an organizer at Movement for Justice in El Barrio. “They wanted to put forward a concrete proposal to improve the housing situation in our neighborhood.”</p> <p dir="ltr">The document is also an indictment of what Movement for Justice calls a failure by HPD to enforce housing codes and protect tenants’ rights.</p> <p dir="ltr">“We believe that when HPD is not responsive to landlords breaking the local housing code, and their unresponsiveness allows landlords to get away with driving out tenants, which contributes to displacement and gentrification,” Haro said.</p> <p dir="ltr">Movement for Justice in El Barrio’s plan calls for increased and independent oversight of HPD; a public education campaign to inform tenants about HPD's role; a new body to collect fines levied against negligent landlords; publication of inspection documents in multiple languages, penalties for landlords who fail to make repairs within 24 hours of emergency violations; the establishment of an East Harlem HPD oversight team; and improvements to HPD’s inspection and follow-up speeds.</p> <p dir="ltr">According to Haro, over 8,500 East Harlem residents participated in 12 public meetings throughout the year-long “Consulta del Barrio,” or neighborhood consultation. Haro highlights the group’s bottom-up organizing strategy and pragmatic outreach effort, which targets very low-income residents and immigrants, and favors flyering over social media.</p> <p dir="ltr">“We know that there is a digital divide,” he said. “Many folks in the neighborhood don’t have access to Facebook or Twitter, so we focused on on-the-street outreach, and worked in the evenings and on weekends when more people weren’t at work.”</p> <p dir="ltr">Public meetings were “fluid and organic,” Haro added, and residents attended to learn more about the intricacies of the rezoning proposal and land use in general. Participants voted to reject the mayor’s proposals, and formulated the demands that would become the pith of the 10-point plan.</p> <p dir="ltr">The plan concentrates on protecting tenants of regulated, private apartment buildings, because those tenants have the most at stake as the neighborhood gentrifies, Haro said. “Landlords cut off basic services and violate local housing codes,” he said. “They offer buyouts to tenants to surrender their units. They threaten to bring in immigration authorities or ask for proof as citizens and threaten based on citizenship."</p> <p dir="ltr">The de Blasio administration has mounted an initiative to deter evictions and landlord harassment in rapidly changing neighborhoods with the creation of the Tenant Support Unit in August of 2015. The mayor announced in February that the unit had resolved its thousandth case since it began offering assistance to tenants.</p> <p dir="ltr">While&nbsp;<a href="http://citylimits.org/2015/07/21/citys-tenant-protection-effort-breaks-ground-and-ruffles-feathers/">reviews of the unit’s methodology have been mixed</a>, the administration touted a ten-fold increase in free legal services for tenants, for a total of $62 million in funding that will be fully implemented for the 2017 fiscal year, which begins July 1 of this year. &nbsp;As a result, de Blasio said, evictions by city marshals have decreased 24 percent since he took office, down from 28,849 in 2013 to 21,988 in 2015.</p> <p dir="ltr">While the new support measures and protections introduced by the mayor seem to be having a positive effect, members at MJB believe that they will still be forced out once rezoning takes hold.</p> <p dir="ltr">Movement for Justice in El Barrio members organized a series of protests against the mayor’s plan leading up to a Community Board 11 vote on MIH and ZQA in November.</p> <p dir="ltr">Sandra Cruz, a member, said at a rally before the meeting, “We are against the mayor’s ‘luxury housing plan’ because we know that 25-30% of the apartments that the mayor says will supposedly be constructed for low-income people will not be accessible to the poor people of East Harlem, because we don’t make enough money to pay those high rents.”</p> <p dir="ltr">CB 11 voted “no with conditions” on the mayor’s citywide zoning plans. This feedback, similar to that of community boards across the city, helped inform the City Council’s negotiations with the de Blasio administration over the final versions of MIH and ZQA.</p> <p dir="ltr">Movement for Justice sent its 10-point community plan to Speaker Mark-Viverito and Borough President Gale Brewer in November, but have not received a response, they said. Meanwhile, Mark-Viverito, Brewer, and a variety of other stakeholders, were in the process of creating the East Harlem Neighborhood Plan.</p> <p dir="ltr"><strong>Next for East Harlem</strong><br />With MIH and ZQA in place, East Harlem stakeholders are watching the neighborhood rezoning process as it unfolds in East New York, the first neighborhood rezoning being moved by the de Blasio administration, in consultation with the City Council.</p> <p dir="ltr">Like East Harlem, East New York’s population is predominantly Latino and African-American, and the neighborhood AMI is around $34,000. City Council Member Rafael Espinal represents much of East New York and remains adamant that the plan for the area not help in pricing out long-term residents.</p> <p dir="ltr">"Neighbors on my street are already jacking up the rents to $1,800 [per month]," Espinal said at a March 8 City Council hearing on the East New York rezoning.</p> <p dir="ltr">Parallels between East New York and East Harlem are undeniable, and many are watching the process for clues as to how the future may unfold in El Barrio. East Harlem may be slightly further along in a gentrification process as of now, but both neighborhoods are changing.</p> <p dir="ltr">Though some involved in the East Harlem Neighborhood Plan are skeptical as to how much of the document will be seriously considered by the city, the speaker hopes that the document will serve as a model for other communities down the road.</p> <p dir="ltr">“It would be great,” she said at the January 27 community forum, “if the administration established some sort of process to create neighborhood plans in every area that would be rezoned.” She followed this up by devoting a portion of her February State of the City address to the Council’s proposal that the city develop a Neighborhood Commitment Plan that would accompany all rezoning proposals, “describing and tracking commitments for housing, schools, infrastructure and other city services.”</p> <p dir="ltr">“Planning for the future of our neighborhoods should start from the ground up and infuse the voices of everyday New Yorkers into policy decisions,” Mark-Viverito said in her address. She remarked that the community planning process is an opportunity to discuss neighborhood concerns “from school overcrowding and pedestrian safety to sewers and public transit.”</p> <p dir="ltr">For community organizations in El Barrio, the work has only just begun. Leaders across groups and initiatives say they’ll continue to apply pressure to the city to respond to demands for deeper affordability, better protection of tenants’ rights, neighborhood improvements, and capital investments. Essential, they say, is community power in all processes.</p> <p dir="ltr">Even as the future of East Harlem seems unsure, long-time resident Pearl Barkley notes the surge of neighborhood civic engagement around rezoning as a silver lining.</p> <p dir="ltr">“I grew up in a time of social movements, with activism throughout the neighborhood,” Barkley said. “Right now, when I attend meetings, I see young people standing up, excited to talk about what they want for their city. That gives me hope. It makes me happy.”</p> <p dir="ltr"><em>This is page 2 of 2 - <a href="http://www.gothamgazette.com/index.php/government/6253-wary-of-gentrification-east-harlem-braces-for-rapid-change" target="_blank">return to page 1</a></em></p> <p dir="ltr">

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by Maggie Calmes, Gotham Gazette
     

Read more by this writer.

</p>
Bill Mandates Board of Elections Emergency Plan 2016-03-08T22:45:06+00:00 2016-03-08T22:45:06+00:00 http://www.gothamgazette.com/?id=6214:bill-mandates-board-of-elections-emergency-plan Carmen Russo <p><img src="http://www.gothamgazette.com/images/treyger_william_alatriste.jpg" alt="treyger william alatriste" width="600" height="450" /></p> <p>City Council Member Mark Treyger, left (photo: William Alatriste)&nbsp;</p> <hr /> <p>New York City is no stranger to calamity, be it natural or man-made, and many city agencies have emergency response plans for varying levels of crisis. On Wednesday, City Council Member Mark Treyger will introduce a bill to ensure that the Board of Elections, which administers voting in the city, joins these agencies in formulating its own disaster-preparedness procedures for conducting the polls.</p> <p>"We have to make sure that democracy perseveres through a crisis," Treyger told Gotham Gazette. The Council member represents parts of southern Brooklyn that were hit hard by Superstorm Sandy in 2012, just a week before election day. Treyger's experience with the storm and his role as chair of the Council's Committee on Recovery and Resiliency give him a unique perspective on the issue.</p> <p>"Every agency, NYCHA or DOE, are all in the process of updating their emergency response plans," Treyger said. "I'm curious to know what the BOE has done to better respond to emergencies post-Superstorm Sandy and what level of coordination exists between the City and the State."</p> <p>Treyger's bill would mandate that the BOE be prepared for extreme situations by working with the Mayor's Office of Emergency Management to create a reasonable plan to conduct an election amid a crisis. In the interview, Treyger emphasized that he is sensitive about the primary goal during an emergency of protecting life, but wants to make sure that the democratic process isn't lost in the fray "once emergency relief efforts are concluded and all lives are accounted for." It would require, he said, coordination between multiple agencies, and between city and state authorities.</p> <p>"Quite frankly, one crisis should not be an excuse for another crisis," Treyger said, citing New York's low voter turnout in past elections and how this record is worse in years when catastrophe strikes.</p> <p>Superstorm Sandy had the Board of Elections scrambling to ensure that people could vote. Many polling stations were damaged by the floods and had to be moved with little public notice, which Treyger said affected at least 250,000 people. In response, Governor Andrew Cuomo, a day before the election, issued an executive order that allowed affected residents to vote with an affidavit ballot at any polling site. Treyger said these affidavit ballots started to run out at many sites. He insisted that these issues could have been averted if there had been a contingency plan and poll workers were trained on how to conduct an election during an emergency.</p> <p>Of course, Sandy wasn't the first disaster to hit around election time. In 2001, the primary elections were scheduled for September 11, and were postponed by two weeks in the wake of the World Trade Center attacks.</p> <p>"There is no cost too high," Treyger said, "to make sure that democracy is administered in a fair and just way for all New Yorkers." When Gotham Gazette asked about the financial implications of the bill, he said that could be worked out once the proposal is considered and that this is the right time to do so. "It is budget season," Treyger said.&nbsp;</p> <p>

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by Samar Khurshid, City government reporter, Gotham Gazette
     

Read more by this writer.

</p>
<p><img src="http://www.gothamgazette.com/images/treyger_william_alatriste.jpg" alt="treyger william alatriste" width="600" height="450" /></p> <p>City Council Member Mark Treyger, left (photo: William Alatriste)&nbsp;</p> <hr /> <p>New York City is no stranger to calamity, be it natural or man-made, and many city agencies have emergency response plans for varying levels of crisis. On Wednesday, City Council Member Mark Treyger will introduce a bill to ensure that the Board of Elections, which administers voting in the city, joins these agencies in formulating its own disaster-preparedness procedures for conducting the polls.</p> <p>"We have to make sure that democracy perseveres through a crisis," Treyger told Gotham Gazette. The Council member represents parts of southern Brooklyn that were hit hard by Superstorm Sandy in 2012, just a week before election day. Treyger's experience with the storm and his role as chair of the Council's Committee on Recovery and Resiliency give him a unique perspective on the issue.</p> <p>"Every agency, NYCHA or DOE, are all in the process of updating their emergency response plans," Treyger said. "I'm curious to know what the BOE has done to better respond to emergencies post-Superstorm Sandy and what level of coordination exists between the City and the State."</p> <p>Treyger's bill would mandate that the BOE be prepared for extreme situations by working with the Mayor's Office of Emergency Management to create a reasonable plan to conduct an election amid a crisis. In the interview, Treyger emphasized that he is sensitive about the primary goal during an emergency of protecting life, but wants to make sure that the democratic process isn't lost in the fray "once emergency relief efforts are concluded and all lives are accounted for." It would require, he said, coordination between multiple agencies, and between city and state authorities.</p> <p>"Quite frankly, one crisis should not be an excuse for another crisis," Treyger said, citing New York's low voter turnout in past elections and how this record is worse in years when catastrophe strikes.</p> <p>Superstorm Sandy had the Board of Elections scrambling to ensure that people could vote. Many polling stations were damaged by the floods and had to be moved with little public notice, which Treyger said affected at least 250,000 people. In response, Governor Andrew Cuomo, a day before the election, issued an executive order that allowed affected residents to vote with an affidavit ballot at any polling site. Treyger said these affidavit ballots started to run out at many sites. He insisted that these issues could have been averted if there had been a contingency plan and poll workers were trained on how to conduct an election during an emergency.</p> <p>Of course, Sandy wasn't the first disaster to hit around election time. In 2001, the primary elections were scheduled for September 11, and were postponed by two weeks in the wake of the World Trade Center attacks.</p> <p>"There is no cost too high," Treyger said, "to make sure that democracy is administered in a fair and just way for all New Yorkers." When Gotham Gazette asked about the financial implications of the bill, he said that could be worked out once the proposal is considered and that this is the right time to do so. "It is budget season," Treyger said.&nbsp;</p> <p>

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by Samar Khurshid, City government reporter, Gotham Gazette
     

Read more by this writer.

</p>
Looks Matter, Especially in Public Housing 2016-02-18T05:00:00+00:00 2016-02-18T05:00:00+00:00 http://www.gothamgazette.com/?id=6176:looks-matter-especially-in-public-housing Super User <p><img alt="Looks-Matter-Especially-in-Public-Housing" src="http://www.gothamgazette.com/images/graphics/2016/Looks-Matter-Especially-in-Public-Housing.png" width="600" />&nbsp;</p> <p><span style="font-size: 12px; font-family: Cambria; vertical-align: baseline; white-space: pre-wrap; background-color: transparent;">Hammel Houses vs. New Affordable Housing; David Schalliol, </span><span style="font-size: 12px; font-family: Cambria; color: #0000ff; text-decoration: underline; vertical-align: baseline; white-space: pre-wrap; background-color: transparent;"><a href="http://www.hunter.cuny.edu/eastharlem-artgallery/exhibitions/Affordable%20Housing%20in%20New%20York%20The%20People,%20Places,%20and%20Policies%20That%20Transformed%20a%20City" target="_blank">Affordable Housing in New York</a></span></p> <hr /> <p>As time marches on, and NYCHA projects stay the same, the sense of public housing as an isolated, stigmatized part of the city has grown. When most NYCHA projects were created between the 1930s and 1960s, boxy red brick apartment houses were pretty typical for a wide range of the city's residents. Since the 1960s, however, the city's affordable and market housing developers and architects have better integrated their towers into existing neighborhoods and experimented with exterior treatments including stone veneers, glazed brick, multi-colored bricks, glass, tiles, metal accents, and much more. Today's affordable housing buildings, in neighborhoods like Melrose in the Bronx, are often as attractive, and often more carefully designed, than unsubsidized apartment buildings.</p> <p>NYCHA, by contrast, has preserved and renovated its red brick towers, mostly because to do anything else has been prohibitively expensive. In addition, because most NYCHA towers are fifty years or older, NYCHA's capital division is forced to go through a lengthy and expensive historical review process for basic renovation projects even when there is no architectural distinction at all to the towers undergoing renovation. Residents seem equally reluctant to embrace any changes, despite the longstanding sense among many residents that their apartments may be a good deal, but building exteriors are unattractive and isolating.</p> <p>If we have learned something over the decades it is that curb appeal matters, especially when it comes to affordable and public housing. If NYCHA is going to attract and retain working families in the long term, some updates are long overdue. How housing looks also plays a role in how much pride people feel in their surroundings and how they treat those environments. The institutional appearance of NYCHA arguably discourages pride of place among many residents and visitors alike.</p> <p>Appearance also has an even more important "other directed" quality that influences the politics and funding of housing. How the city's population as a whole feels about NYCHA is crucial as federal sources of funding, which have provided nearly all of NYCHA's subsidies for eight decades, dry up. Few non-NYCHA residents are eager to foot the bill to preserve the basic brick public housing towers in their neighborhoods, some of which also have serious social and crime issues that detract from neighborhood safety. If NYCHA projects, however, fit in better or enlivened surrounding neighborhoods, city residents as a whole might be more eager to subsidize the system out of their local taxes.</p> <p>In New York, nationally, and around the globe there are many efforts underway to alter the visuals of subsidized housing. Some of these strategies are worth considering or adapting for NYCHA. The creative approaches featured here share in a tradition of adapting existing towers without displacement of current residents. Many of these adaptations would be expensive, far beyond NYCHA's current budget capacity. The De Blasio administration, rather than NYCHA, could sponsor and pay for a few demonstration renovation projects of NYCHA projects out of the city's capital budget (or the "preservation" budget of the Housing NYC plan) that could point the way to a new look.</p> <p><strong>New "Skins" for Old Buildings<br /></strong>There are many good reasons to pursue a policy of "re-skinning" or recladding NYCHA buildings with panels of various materials. NYCHA's red brick towers are minimally attractive and expensive to repoint. New "skins" available today, overlaid on top the brick, could provide extra insulation and additional protection from elements. New mechanical systems could also be run beneath or through the new exterior panels thus improving water, heat, electrical, and even internet service to residents. In the Rockaways, for instance, private developers made good use of reskinning to rebrand and redevelop a <a href="http://www.nytimes.com/2016/01/26/arts/design/how-to-build-affordable-housing-in-new-york-city.html?ref=topics&amp;_r=0" target="_blank">decayed subsidized project</a> that had been poorly managed by its former owners. This approach could be adapted for NYCHA buildings as well.</p> <p><img alt="Looks-Matter-Especially-in-Public-Housing-2" src="http://www.gothamgazette.com/images/graphics/2016/Looks-Matter-Especially-in-Public-Housing-2.png" width="600" /><br /><span style="font-size: 10pt;">(L and M Recladding in the Rockaways)</span></p> <p>NYCHA, as part of the planning for Sandy Recovery projects, asked some of its participating architects to include with their basic repair plans more ambitious visions. The results are impressive and indicate the adaptability of the current NYCHA inventory—if costs were not such a limiting factor. The images make clear that new surfaces covering these places could work better for residents (in terms of mechanical systems and insulation) as well as make developments more inviting parts of neighborhoods.</p> <p><img alt="Looks-Matter-Especially-in-Public-Housing-3" src="http://www.gothamgazette.com/images/graphics/2016/Looks-Matter-Especially-in-Public-Housing-3.png" width="600" /><br /><span style="font-size: 10pt;">(Red Hook Houses Recladding Proposal, NYCHA Capital Projects Division + KPF, ARUP)</span></p> <p><strong>Finding "Lost" Details<em><br /></em></strong>Cosmetic changes, at more moderate costs, could deliver some powerful visual results that might be welcomed by both residents and neighbors alike. The Dearborn Homes on Chicago's South Side, for instance, have been renovated and given appealing Georgian details. These alterations would be particularly welcome in residential areas of Queens and the Bronx where NYCHA towers often form a strong contrast to surrounding homes and apartment buildings.</p> <p><img alt="Looks-Matter-Especially-in-Public-Housing-4" src="http://www.gothamgazette.com/images/graphics/2016/Looks-Matter-Especially-in-Public-Housing-4.png" width="600" /><br /><span style="font-size: 10pt;">(Dearborn Houses in Chicago Before and After, HPZS Architects)</span></p> <p><strong>Rediscovering Retail<em><br /></em></strong>The best of the early housing projects—First Houses, Williamsburg Houses, and Harlem River Houses—included stores and community facilities open and connected to their surroundings. Federal rules, and other factors, led to the elimination of most stores on NYCHA grounds from the 1940s to the 1960s, when most projects were built. The absence of vibrant street life and commercial, and the security stores provide for pedestrians, has been a major criticism of NYCHA design.</p> <p>Today's NYCHA leaders, for a mix of financial and social reasons, are considering the redesign of ground floor spaces with new stores that could add liveliness and much needed revenue.&nbsp; The example of Stuyvesant Town could serve NYCHA well, where new ground floor retail has helped perk up public spaces for a middle-income complex. More stores and street life on and around NYCHA might go a long way to creating safer public spaces as well.</p> <p style="text-align: center;"><img alt="Looks-Matter-Especially-in-Public-Housing-5" src="http://www.gothamgazette.com/images/graphics/2016/Looks-Matter-Especially-in-Public-Housing-5.png" style="display: block; margin-left: auto; margin-right: auto;" width="417" height="417" /><span style="font-size: 8pt;">(Stuyvesant Town New Café at Ground Level; David Schalliol,&nbsp;</span><a href="http://www.amazon.com/dp/0691167818?ref_=pe_584750_33951330" style="font-size: 8pt;">Affordable Housing in New York</a><span style="font-size: 8pt;">)</span></p> <p><strong>Signage and Balconies<em><br /></em></strong>New exterior adaptations have the potential not only to brighten up drab exteriors but also contribute directly to NYCHA's financial bottom line. The creators of public housing in the 1930s disliked commercial signage in residential areas, but today's urban neighborhoods are often enlivened by signs of all types. Architect Matthias Altwicker proposes that new exterior signage, some with advertising, could enliven the building exteriors. Some might hang off existing walls, while other signs might be part of new balcony systems.&nbsp;</p> <p><img alt="Looks-Matter-Especially-in-Public-Housing-6" src="http://www.gothamgazette.com/images/graphics/2016/Looks-Matter-Especially-in-Public-Housing-6.png" width="600" /><br /><span style="font-size: 10pt;">(Commercial Additions to Typical Red Brick Towers, Matthias Altwicker Architect)</span></p> <p><img alt="Looks-Matter-Especially-in-Public-Housing-7" src="http://www.gothamgazette.com/images/graphics/2016/Looks-Matter-Especially-in-Public-Housing-7.png" width="600" /><br /><span style="font-size: 8pt;">(System of Simple Applied Structures to provide sun shading for all types of orientation, advertising surfaces, and adding balconies where floor plans permitted.)</span></p> <p>Signage could also be applied to new structures rising on NYCHA grounds. FEMA is providing money for moving boilers and other mechanical systems above the flood zones. Most of the architects commissioned by NYCHA to create hurricane resistant buildings have simply matched the red brick boxes to their surroundings. Altwicker proposes, instead, that the new brick buildings instead become lighted beacons in their neighborhoods. These could provide a sense of orientation for the areas, brighten dark areas at night, and potentially feature community news and events along with space for advertisements to generate revenue.</p> <p><img alt="Looks-Matter-Especially-in-Public-Housing-8" src="http://www.gothamgazette.com/images/graphics/2016/Looks-Matter-Especially-in-Public-Housing-8.png" width="600" /><br /><span style="font-size: 10pt;">(Elevated Mechanical Buildings as new "Lightboxes" by Matthias Altwicker Architect)</span></p> <p>The examples of design strategies for NYCHA are provided here to get the city and NYCHA residents thinking about ways of refreshing dated housing projects; this quick set of examples is not designed to be an exclusive list of options. Around the globe and in New York, however, designers and housing authorities are giving <a href="http://www.archdaily.com/781132/slovakian-firm-gutgut-transform-a-cold-war-housing-block-into-a-sleek-modern-structure" target="_blank">new life</a> to aging public housing projects. New York should join in this tradition of renewal to make a more livable city—for both NYCHA residents and those in surrounding neighborhoods.</p> <p style="text-align: center;"><em>*This is part three of a three-part series on NYCHA from Nicholas D. Bloom and partners*</em><br /><em>Read part one:&nbsp;<a href="http://www.gothamgazette.com/index.php/opinion/6174-rebuilding-nycha-a-fresh-look" target="_blank">Rebuilding NYCHA: A Fresh Look<br /></a>Read part two: <a href="http://www.gothamgazette.com/index.php/opinion/6175-goodbye-to-first-generation-nycha" target="_blank">Goodbye to 'First Generation' NYCHA</a></em></p> <p>***<br />Nicholas Dagen Bloom and Matthias Altwicker are Co-Curators of the current exhibition at the Hunter College, East Harlem Gallery, <a href="http://www.hunter.cuny.edu/eastharlem-artgallery/exhibitions/Affordable%20Housing%20in%20New%20York%20The%20People,%20Places,%20and%20Policies%20That%20Transformed%20a%20City" target="_blank">Affordable Housing in New York</a>.</p> <p>

***
Have an op-ed idea or submission for Gotham Gazette? Email opinion@gothamgazette.com

</p>
<p><img alt="Looks-Matter-Especially-in-Public-Housing" src="http://www.gothamgazette.com/images/graphics/2016/Looks-Matter-Especially-in-Public-Housing.png" width="600" />&nbsp;</p> <p><span style="font-size: 12px; font-family: Cambria; vertical-align: baseline; white-space: pre-wrap; background-color: transparent;">Hammel Houses vs. New Affordable Housing; David Schalliol, </span><span style="font-size: 12px; font-family: Cambria; color: #0000ff; text-decoration: underline; vertical-align: baseline; white-space: pre-wrap; background-color: transparent;"><a href="http://www.hunter.cuny.edu/eastharlem-artgallery/exhibitions/Affordable%20Housing%20in%20New%20York%20The%20People,%20Places,%20and%20Policies%20That%20Transformed%20a%20City" target="_blank">Affordable Housing in New York</a></span></p> <hr /> <p>As time marches on, and NYCHA projects stay the same, the sense of public housing as an isolated, stigmatized part of the city has grown. When most NYCHA projects were created between the 1930s and 1960s, boxy red brick apartment houses were pretty typical for a wide range of the city's residents. Since the 1960s, however, the city's affordable and market housing developers and architects have better integrated their towers into existing neighborhoods and experimented with exterior treatments including stone veneers, glazed brick, multi-colored bricks, glass, tiles, metal accents, and much more. Today's affordable housing buildings, in neighborhoods like Melrose in the Bronx, are often as attractive, and often more carefully designed, than unsubsidized apartment buildings.</p> <p>NYCHA, by contrast, has preserved and renovated its red brick towers, mostly because to do anything else has been prohibitively expensive. In addition, because most NYCHA towers are fifty years or older, NYCHA's capital division is forced to go through a lengthy and expensive historical review process for basic renovation projects even when there is no architectural distinction at all to the towers undergoing renovation. Residents seem equally reluctant to embrace any changes, despite the longstanding sense among many residents that their apartments may be a good deal, but building exteriors are unattractive and isolating.</p> <p>If we have learned something over the decades it is that curb appeal matters, especially when it comes to affordable and public housing. If NYCHA is going to attract and retain working families in the long term, some updates are long overdue. How housing looks also plays a role in how much pride people feel in their surroundings and how they treat those environments. The institutional appearance of NYCHA arguably discourages pride of place among many residents and visitors alike.</p> <p>Appearance also has an even more important "other directed" quality that influences the politics and funding of housing. How the city's population as a whole feels about NYCHA is crucial as federal sources of funding, which have provided nearly all of NYCHA's subsidies for eight decades, dry up. Few non-NYCHA residents are eager to foot the bill to preserve the basic brick public housing towers in their neighborhoods, some of which also have serious social and crime issues that detract from neighborhood safety. If NYCHA projects, however, fit in better or enlivened surrounding neighborhoods, city residents as a whole might be more eager to subsidize the system out of their local taxes.</p> <p>In New York, nationally, and around the globe there are many efforts underway to alter the visuals of subsidized housing. Some of these strategies are worth considering or adapting for NYCHA. The creative approaches featured here share in a tradition of adapting existing towers without displacement of current residents. Many of these adaptations would be expensive, far beyond NYCHA's current budget capacity. The De Blasio administration, rather than NYCHA, could sponsor and pay for a few demonstration renovation projects of NYCHA projects out of the city's capital budget (or the "preservation" budget of the Housing NYC plan) that could point the way to a new look.</p> <p><strong>New "Skins" for Old Buildings<br /></strong>There are many good reasons to pursue a policy of "re-skinning" or recladding NYCHA buildings with panels of various materials. NYCHA's red brick towers are minimally attractive and expensive to repoint. New "skins" available today, overlaid on top the brick, could provide extra insulation and additional protection from elements. New mechanical systems could also be run beneath or through the new exterior panels thus improving water, heat, electrical, and even internet service to residents. In the Rockaways, for instance, private developers made good use of reskinning to rebrand and redevelop a <a href="http://www.nytimes.com/2016/01/26/arts/design/how-to-build-affordable-housing-in-new-york-city.html?ref=topics&amp;_r=0" target="_blank">decayed subsidized project</a> that had been poorly managed by its former owners. This approach could be adapted for NYCHA buildings as well.</p> <p><img alt="Looks-Matter-Especially-in-Public-Housing-2" src="http://www.gothamgazette.com/images/graphics/2016/Looks-Matter-Especially-in-Public-Housing-2.png" width="600" /><br /><span style="font-size: 10pt;">(L and M Recladding in the Rockaways)</span></p> <p>NYCHA, as part of the planning for Sandy Recovery projects, asked some of its participating architects to include with their basic repair plans more ambitious visions. The results are impressive and indicate the adaptability of the current NYCHA inventory—if costs were not such a limiting factor. The images make clear that new surfaces covering these places could work better for residents (in terms of mechanical systems and insulation) as well as make developments more inviting parts of neighborhoods.</p> <p><img alt="Looks-Matter-Especially-in-Public-Housing-3" src="http://www.gothamgazette.com/images/graphics/2016/Looks-Matter-Especially-in-Public-Housing-3.png" width="600" /><br /><span style="font-size: 10pt;">(Red Hook Houses Recladding Proposal, NYCHA Capital Projects Division + KPF, ARUP)</span></p> <p><strong>Finding "Lost" Details<em><br /></em></strong>Cosmetic changes, at more moderate costs, could deliver some powerful visual results that might be welcomed by both residents and neighbors alike. The Dearborn Homes on Chicago's South Side, for instance, have been renovated and given appealing Georgian details. These alterations would be particularly welcome in residential areas of Queens and the Bronx where NYCHA towers often form a strong contrast to surrounding homes and apartment buildings.</p> <p><img alt="Looks-Matter-Especially-in-Public-Housing-4" src="http://www.gothamgazette.com/images/graphics/2016/Looks-Matter-Especially-in-Public-Housing-4.png" width="600" /><br /><span style="font-size: 10pt;">(Dearborn Houses in Chicago Before and After, HPZS Architects)</span></p> <p><strong>Rediscovering Retail<em><br /></em></strong>The best of the early housing projects—First Houses, Williamsburg Houses, and Harlem River Houses—included stores and community facilities open and connected to their surroundings. Federal rules, and other factors, led to the elimination of most stores on NYCHA grounds from the 1940s to the 1960s, when most projects were built. The absence of vibrant street life and commercial, and the security stores provide for pedestrians, has been a major criticism of NYCHA design.</p> <p>Today's NYCHA leaders, for a mix of financial and social reasons, are considering the redesign of ground floor spaces with new stores that could add liveliness and much needed revenue.&nbsp; The example of Stuyvesant Town could serve NYCHA well, where new ground floor retail has helped perk up public spaces for a middle-income complex. More stores and street life on and around NYCHA might go a long way to creating safer public spaces as well.</p> <p style="text-align: center;"><img alt="Looks-Matter-Especially-in-Public-Housing-5" src="http://www.gothamgazette.com/images/graphics/2016/Looks-Matter-Especially-in-Public-Housing-5.png" style="display: block; margin-left: auto; margin-right: auto;" width="417" height="417" /><span style="font-size: 8pt;">(Stuyvesant Town New Café at Ground Level; David Schalliol,&nbsp;</span><a href="http://www.amazon.com/dp/0691167818?ref_=pe_584750_33951330" style="font-size: 8pt;">Affordable Housing in New York</a><span style="font-size: 8pt;">)</span></p> <p><strong>Signage and Balconies<em><br /></em></strong>New exterior adaptations have the potential not only to brighten up drab exteriors but also contribute directly to NYCHA's financial bottom line. The creators of public housing in the 1930s disliked commercial signage in residential areas, but today's urban neighborhoods are often enlivened by signs of all types. Architect Matthias Altwicker proposes that new exterior signage, some with advertising, could enliven the building exteriors. Some might hang off existing walls, while other signs might be part of new balcony systems.&nbsp;</p> <p><img alt="Looks-Matter-Especially-in-Public-Housing-6" src="http://www.gothamgazette.com/images/graphics/2016/Looks-Matter-Especially-in-Public-Housing-6.png" width="600" /><br /><span style="font-size: 10pt;">(Commercial Additions to Typical Red Brick Towers, Matthias Altwicker Architect)</span></p> <p><img alt="Looks-Matter-Especially-in-Public-Housing-7" src="http://www.gothamgazette.com/images/graphics/2016/Looks-Matter-Especially-in-Public-Housing-7.png" width="600" /><br /><span style="font-size: 8pt;">(System of Simple Applied Structures to provide sun shading for all types of orientation, advertising surfaces, and adding balconies where floor plans permitted.)</span></p> <p>Signage could also be applied to new structures rising on NYCHA grounds. FEMA is providing money for moving boilers and other mechanical systems above the flood zones. Most of the architects commissioned by NYCHA to create hurricane resistant buildings have simply matched the red brick boxes to their surroundings. Altwicker proposes, instead, that the new brick buildings instead become lighted beacons in their neighborhoods. These could provide a sense of orientation for the areas, brighten dark areas at night, and potentially feature community news and events along with space for advertisements to generate revenue.</p> <p><img alt="Looks-Matter-Especially-in-Public-Housing-8" src="http://www.gothamgazette.com/images/graphics/2016/Looks-Matter-Especially-in-Public-Housing-8.png" width="600" /><br /><span style="font-size: 10pt;">(Elevated Mechanical Buildings as new "Lightboxes" by Matthias Altwicker Architect)</span></p> <p>The examples of design strategies for NYCHA are provided here to get the city and NYCHA residents thinking about ways of refreshing dated housing projects; this quick set of examples is not designed to be an exclusive list of options. Around the globe and in New York, however, designers and housing authorities are giving <a href="http://www.archdaily.com/781132/slovakian-firm-gutgut-transform-a-cold-war-housing-block-into-a-sleek-modern-structure" target="_blank">new life</a> to aging public housing projects. New York should join in this tradition of renewal to make a more livable city—for both NYCHA residents and those in surrounding neighborhoods.</p> <p style="text-align: center;"><em>*This is part three of a three-part series on NYCHA from Nicholas D. Bloom and partners*</em><br /><em>Read part one:&nbsp;<a href="http://www.gothamgazette.com/index.php/opinion/6174-rebuilding-nycha-a-fresh-look" target="_blank">Rebuilding NYCHA: A Fresh Look<br /></a>Read part two: <a href="http://www.gothamgazette.com/index.php/opinion/6175-goodbye-to-first-generation-nycha" target="_blank">Goodbye to 'First Generation' NYCHA</a></em></p> <p>***<br />Nicholas Dagen Bloom and Matthias Altwicker are Co-Curators of the current exhibition at the Hunter College, East Harlem Gallery, <a href="http://www.hunter.cuny.edu/eastharlem-artgallery/exhibitions/Affordable%20Housing%20in%20New%20York%20The%20People,%20Places,%20and%20Policies%20That%20Transformed%20a%20City" target="_blank">Affordable Housing in New York</a>.</p> <p>

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Have an op-ed idea or submission for Gotham Gazette? Email opinion@gothamgazette.com

</p>
Goodbye to 'First Generation' NYCHA 2016-02-17T05:00:00+00:00 2016-02-17T05:00:00+00:00 http://www.gothamgazette.com/?id=6175:goodbye-to-first-generation-nycha Super User <p><img alt="Goodbye-to-First-Generation-NYCHA" src="http://www.gothamgazette.com/images/graphics/2016/Goodbye-to-First-Generation-NYCHA.png" width="600" /></p> <p>photo: David Schalliol, from <a href="http://www.hunter.cuny.edu/eastharlem-artgallery/exhibitions/Affordable%20Housing%20in%20New%20York%20The%20People,%20Places,%20and%20Policies%20That%20Transformed%20a%20City" target="_blank">Affordable Housing in New York</a>&nbsp;</p> <hr /> <p>Should NYCHA give up its controversial plan to generate revenue by adding mixed-income 50/50 percent (market/affordable) buildings at the Wyckoff Gardens and Holmes Towers public housing developments? Many residents and activists at these two sites dedicated for "infill" as part of NYCHA's NextGen Neighborhood initiative remain leery at the prospect of change, even if it means they won't get the renovated apartments and new community facilities that market-rate development can partially bankroll.</p> <p>Establishing a precedent for some market-rate housing on NYCHA grounds at these developments, despite resistance, remains one promising avenue to improving both public housing apartments and NYCHA's bottom-line. The fees from market development won't pay for a new utopia, but they could make a major difference in long-term quality of life. New York has, after all, finally reached the end of the compromised housing model we should refer to as "First Generation" NYCHA. Dramatic changes are long overdue, and probably essential, if NYCHA is to remain desirable housing for the city's working class.</p> <p>NYCHA has made its reputation on making the best of difficult situations rather than building utopia. The founders of the New York City Housing Authority in the 1930s, such as Mayor Fiorello LaGuardia and settlement house leader Mary Simkhovitch, wanted public housing to clear the millions of apartments in tenement slums. When money was no object during the New Deal they built America's greatest and most enduring public housing projects: Harlem River Houses and Williamsburg Houses. But when the press and federal government found out how much this high-quality housing cost, NYCHA was forced to economize on everything (such as no closet doors!) and it began to mass produce red brick, often bleak, "towers in the park" across the city's neighborhoods.</p> <p><img alt="Goodbye-to-First-Generation-NYCHA-2-images" src="http://www.gothamgazette.com/images/graphics/2016/Goodbye-to-First-Generation-NYCHA-2-images.png" width="600" /><br /><span style="font-size: 8pt;">(l-r: Harlem River House (1930s), Rangel Houses (1950s);&nbsp;David Schalliol,&nbsp;<a href="http://www.hunter.cuny.edu/eastharlem-artgallery/exhibitions/Affordable%20Housing%20in%20New%20York%20The%20People%2C%20Places%2C%20and%20Policies%20That%20Transformed%20a%20City">Affordable Housing in New York</a>)</span></p> <p>Even more important compromises followed. The founders had aimed for mostly working class families whose rents covered expenses, and they carefully screened applicants to choose those who would make peaceable, rent-paying tenants. But as the years went on federal directives and public pressure forced the agency to accept poorer families. The number of families on public assistance, many with multiple social and family issues, skyrocketed by the 1970s. NYCHA family incomes, even those with jobs, began to lag well behind those of the rest of the city. Weak rental returns were papered over with federal subsidies, but social problems in many projects became severe.</p> <p>Behind the scenes NYCHA leaders pushed back on federal rules as best they could, varying building heights, including community centers, adding more maintenance staff, constructing higher-income developments financed with city money (rather than federal), creating a housing police, building on vacant land, and prioritizing working families. But Robert Moses, whose top priority was slum clearance, and federal bureaucrats, who provided most of the funding (and still do today), called most of the shots. As a result, First Generation NYCHA (today's 178,000 units) became isolated physically and socially, with a more racially segregated population and fewer economic opportunities than the city as a whole. A quarter of NYCHA's tenants regularly fail to pay their (low) rents and crime is much higher on and around NYCHA projects than almost anywhere else in the city.</p> <p>Billions in federal dollars have been spent to maintain these complexes, now aging en masse. But today they suffer from years of federal cutbacks that began around the year 2000, which have led to deferred maintenance and other reductions in service. Energy and labor costs are out of line with rent/subsidy sources. Still fully occupied and low rent, NYCHA projects are about the best outcome that could be expected from a set of nearly debilitating compromises.</p> <p><img alt="Goodbye-to-First-Generation-NYCHA-2-images-2" src="http://www.gothamgazette.com/images/graphics/2016/Goodbye-to-First-Generation-NYCHA-2-images-2.png" width="600" /><br /><span style="font-size: 8pt;">(Polo Grounds Maintenance Crews; David Schalliol,&nbsp;<a href="http://www.hunter.cuny.edu/eastharlem-artgallery/exhibitions/Affordable%20Housing%20in%20New%20York%20The%20People%2C%20Places%2C%20and%20Policies%20That%20Transformed%20a%20City">Affordable Housing in New York</a>)</span></p> <p>Saving the system requires dramatic changes. While NYCHA's early leaders who built these places always intended to provide quality permanent homes, they would not endorse the notion that what they built should be preserved for another century without alterations or adaptations. They built what they could, where they could, as well as they could given limited funds. But they rarely built for the ages and their ideas evolved continuously based upon program, requirements, neighborhood opposition, and more.</p> <p>Nor would NYCHA's founders endorse the notion that public housing or new buildings proposed in the NextGen plan should be reserved only for the poor, as is the aim of many current critics. To the contrary, they believed in a working-class system that was mostly self-supporting and self-policing. NYCHA's founders endorsed the notion of mixed-income public housing projects and would find the resistance of today's residents to income mixture unwise from both a social and financial perspective. NYCHA had a much better rent collection record, and projects were safer, when the system housed a wider income range of New Yorkers.</p> <p>Today's residents and housing advocates are right to demand a voice in the process, and maybe even priorities for new apartments that rise on the grounds. But they also need to accept that financially and physically First Generation NYCHA is unsustainable without new sources of non-governmental revenue. No federal, state, or local official is promising to deliver the billions needed for additional renovation. Mayor de Blasio has committed only $300 million of the city's money to new roofs; federal operating and capital subsidies, which still provide the majority of NYCHA funding, have been in freefall since 2000; and Governor Cuomo's budget proposal provides $20 billion for new affordable housing and nothing for NYCHA.</p> <p>Rethinking NYCHA design, moreover, is long overdue. The plain brick buildings are, by and large, poorly integrated with their surrounding neighborhoods. The vast open spaces surrounding most towers are often underutilized, unsafe, or unnecessary, such as parking lots in Manhattan. Many NYCHA residents recognize that their complexes could use more income diversity; more units, especially for seniors who could be moved out of larger family apartments; new community facilities; and more stores to create variety and safety, through additional eyes on the street. Yet the cash to pay for these upgrades, including renovation of their own apartments, is more likely to come from a mix of market-rate and affordable development rather than new subsidies alone.</p> <p>First Generation NYCHA was a compromise solution that seems to have run its course. Housing advocates need to be honest with NYCHA residents about the realistic versus imaginary paths to a better system. Infill isn't the only option for rebuilding NYCHA, and NYCHA leaders are pursuing every source of funding they can find, but residents should take advantage of the fact that New York's overheated real estate market could help fund the renovation of their buildings. It is time for NYCHA residents to make peace with city leaders, and begin to welcome a mix of market dwellings with subsidized ones, so that another generation can benefit from public housing.</p> <p style="text-align: center;"><em>*This is part two of a three-part series on NYCHA from Nicholas D. Bloom and partners*</em><br /><em>Read part one: <a href="http://www.gothamgazette.com/index.php/opinion/6174-rebuilding-nycha-a-fresh-look" target="_blank">Rebuilding NYCHA: A Fresh Look<br /></a>Read part three:&nbsp;</em><em><a href="http://www.gothamgazette.com/index.php/opinion/6174-rebuilding-nycha-a-fresh-look" target="_blank"><em></em></a><em><a href="http://www.gothamgazette.com/index.php/opinion/6176-looks-matter-especially-in-public-housing" target="_blank">Looks Matter, Especially in Public Housing</a></em></em></p> <p>***<br />Nicholas Dagen Bloom and Matthew Gordon Lasner are Co-Curators of the current exhibition at the Hunter College, East Harlem Gallery, <a href="http://www.hunter.cuny.edu/eastharlem-artgallery/exhibitions/Affordable%20Housing%20in%20New%20York%20The%20People,%20Places,%20and%20Policies%20That%20Transformed%20a%20City" target="_blank">Affordable Housing in New York</a> and Co-Editors of the anthology by the same name available <a href="http://www.amazon.com/Affordable-Housing-New-York-Transformed/dp/0691167818/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&amp;qid=1447986558&amp;sr=8-1&amp;keywords=nicholas+dagen+bloom/" target="_blank">here.</a></p> <p>

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<p><img alt="Goodbye-to-First-Generation-NYCHA" src="http://www.gothamgazette.com/images/graphics/2016/Goodbye-to-First-Generation-NYCHA.png" width="600" /></p> <p>photo: David Schalliol, from <a href="http://www.hunter.cuny.edu/eastharlem-artgallery/exhibitions/Affordable%20Housing%20in%20New%20York%20The%20People,%20Places,%20and%20Policies%20That%20Transformed%20a%20City" target="_blank">Affordable Housing in New York</a>&nbsp;</p> <hr /> <p>Should NYCHA give up its controversial plan to generate revenue by adding mixed-income 50/50 percent (market/affordable) buildings at the Wyckoff Gardens and Holmes Towers public housing developments? Many residents and activists at these two sites dedicated for "infill" as part of NYCHA's NextGen Neighborhood initiative remain leery at the prospect of change, even if it means they won't get the renovated apartments and new community facilities that market-rate development can partially bankroll.</p> <p>Establishing a precedent for some market-rate housing on NYCHA grounds at these developments, despite resistance, remains one promising avenue to improving both public housing apartments and NYCHA's bottom-line. The fees from market development won't pay for a new utopia, but they could make a major difference in long-term quality of life. New York has, after all, finally reached the end of the compromised housing model we should refer to as "First Generation" NYCHA. Dramatic changes are long overdue, and probably essential, if NYCHA is to remain desirable housing for the city's working class.</p> <p>NYCHA has made its reputation on making the best of difficult situations rather than building utopia. The founders of the New York City Housing Authority in the 1930s, such as Mayor Fiorello LaGuardia and settlement house leader Mary Simkhovitch, wanted public housing to clear the millions of apartments in tenement slums. When money was no object during the New Deal they built America's greatest and most enduring public housing projects: Harlem River Houses and Williamsburg Houses. But when the press and federal government found out how much this high-quality housing cost, NYCHA was forced to economize on everything (such as no closet doors!) and it began to mass produce red brick, often bleak, "towers in the park" across the city's neighborhoods.</p> <p><img alt="Goodbye-to-First-Generation-NYCHA-2-images" src="http://www.gothamgazette.com/images/graphics/2016/Goodbye-to-First-Generation-NYCHA-2-images.png" width="600" /><br /><span style="font-size: 8pt;">(l-r: Harlem River House (1930s), Rangel Houses (1950s);&nbsp;David Schalliol,&nbsp;<a href="http://www.hunter.cuny.edu/eastharlem-artgallery/exhibitions/Affordable%20Housing%20in%20New%20York%20The%20People%2C%20Places%2C%20and%20Policies%20That%20Transformed%20a%20City">Affordable Housing in New York</a>)</span></p> <p>Even more important compromises followed. The founders had aimed for mostly working class families whose rents covered expenses, and they carefully screened applicants to choose those who would make peaceable, rent-paying tenants. But as the years went on federal directives and public pressure forced the agency to accept poorer families. The number of families on public assistance, many with multiple social and family issues, skyrocketed by the 1970s. NYCHA family incomes, even those with jobs, began to lag well behind those of the rest of the city. Weak rental returns were papered over with federal subsidies, but social problems in many projects became severe.</p> <p>Behind the scenes NYCHA leaders pushed back on federal rules as best they could, varying building heights, including community centers, adding more maintenance staff, constructing higher-income developments financed with city money (rather than federal), creating a housing police, building on vacant land, and prioritizing working families. But Robert Moses, whose top priority was slum clearance, and federal bureaucrats, who provided most of the funding (and still do today), called most of the shots. As a result, First Generation NYCHA (today's 178,000 units) became isolated physically and socially, with a more racially segregated population and fewer economic opportunities than the city as a whole. A quarter of NYCHA's tenants regularly fail to pay their (low) rents and crime is much higher on and around NYCHA projects than almost anywhere else in the city.</p> <p>Billions in federal dollars have been spent to maintain these complexes, now aging en masse. But today they suffer from years of federal cutbacks that began around the year 2000, which have led to deferred maintenance and other reductions in service. Energy and labor costs are out of line with rent/subsidy sources. Still fully occupied and low rent, NYCHA projects are about the best outcome that could be expected from a set of nearly debilitating compromises.</p> <p><img alt="Goodbye-to-First-Generation-NYCHA-2-images-2" src="http://www.gothamgazette.com/images/graphics/2016/Goodbye-to-First-Generation-NYCHA-2-images-2.png" width="600" /><br /><span style="font-size: 8pt;">(Polo Grounds Maintenance Crews; David Schalliol,&nbsp;<a href="http://www.hunter.cuny.edu/eastharlem-artgallery/exhibitions/Affordable%20Housing%20in%20New%20York%20The%20People%2C%20Places%2C%20and%20Policies%20That%20Transformed%20a%20City">Affordable Housing in New York</a>)</span></p> <p>Saving the system requires dramatic changes. While NYCHA's early leaders who built these places always intended to provide quality permanent homes, they would not endorse the notion that what they built should be preserved for another century without alterations or adaptations. They built what they could, where they could, as well as they could given limited funds. But they rarely built for the ages and their ideas evolved continuously based upon program, requirements, neighborhood opposition, and more.</p> <p>Nor would NYCHA's founders endorse the notion that public housing or new buildings proposed in the NextGen plan should be reserved only for the poor, as is the aim of many current critics. To the contrary, they believed in a working-class system that was mostly self-supporting and self-policing. NYCHA's founders endorsed the notion of mixed-income public housing projects and would find the resistance of today's residents to income mixture unwise from both a social and financial perspective. NYCHA had a much better rent collection record, and projects were safer, when the system housed a wider income range of New Yorkers.</p> <p>Today's residents and housing advocates are right to demand a voice in the process, and maybe even priorities for new apartments that rise on the grounds. But they also need to accept that financially and physically First Generation NYCHA is unsustainable without new sources of non-governmental revenue. No federal, state, or local official is promising to deliver the billions needed for additional renovation. Mayor de Blasio has committed only $300 million of the city's money to new roofs; federal operating and capital subsidies, which still provide the majority of NYCHA funding, have been in freefall since 2000; and Governor Cuomo's budget proposal provides $20 billion for new affordable housing and nothing for NYCHA.</p> <p>Rethinking NYCHA design, moreover, is long overdue. The plain brick buildings are, by and large, poorly integrated with their surrounding neighborhoods. The vast open spaces surrounding most towers are often underutilized, unsafe, or unnecessary, such as parking lots in Manhattan. Many NYCHA residents recognize that their complexes could use more income diversity; more units, especially for seniors who could be moved out of larger family apartments; new community facilities; and more stores to create variety and safety, through additional eyes on the street. Yet the cash to pay for these upgrades, including renovation of their own apartments, is more likely to come from a mix of market-rate and affordable development rather than new subsidies alone.</p> <p>First Generation NYCHA was a compromise solution that seems to have run its course. Housing advocates need to be honest with NYCHA residents about the realistic versus imaginary paths to a better system. Infill isn't the only option for rebuilding NYCHA, and NYCHA leaders are pursuing every source of funding they can find, but residents should take advantage of the fact that New York's overheated real estate market could help fund the renovation of their buildings. It is time for NYCHA residents to make peace with city leaders, and begin to welcome a mix of market dwellings with subsidized ones, so that another generation can benefit from public housing.</p> <p style="text-align: center;"><em>*This is part two of a three-part series on NYCHA from Nicholas D. Bloom and partners*</em><br /><em>Read part one: <a href="http://www.gothamgazette.com/index.php/opinion/6174-rebuilding-nycha-a-fresh-look" target="_blank">Rebuilding NYCHA: A Fresh Look<br /></a>Read part three:&nbsp;</em><em><a href="http://www.gothamgazette.com/index.php/opinion/6174-rebuilding-nycha-a-fresh-look" target="_blank"><em></em></a><em><a href="http://www.gothamgazette.com/index.php/opinion/6176-looks-matter-especially-in-public-housing" target="_blank">Looks Matter, Especially in Public Housing</a></em></em></p> <p>***<br />Nicholas Dagen Bloom and Matthew Gordon Lasner are Co-Curators of the current exhibition at the Hunter College, East Harlem Gallery, <a href="http://www.hunter.cuny.edu/eastharlem-artgallery/exhibitions/Affordable%20Housing%20in%20New%20York%20The%20People,%20Places,%20and%20Policies%20That%20Transformed%20a%20City" target="_blank">Affordable Housing in New York</a> and Co-Editors of the anthology by the same name available <a href="http://www.amazon.com/Affordable-Housing-New-York-Transformed/dp/0691167818/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&amp;qid=1447986558&amp;sr=8-1&amp;keywords=nicholas+dagen+bloom/" target="_blank">here.</a></p> <p>

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Rebuilding NYCHA: A Fresh Look 2016-02-16T19:58:02+00:00 2016-02-16T19:58:02+00:00 http://www.gothamgazette.com/?id=6174:rebuilding-nycha-a-fresh-look Super User <p><img src="http://www.gothamgazette.com/images/graphics/2016/Rebuilding-NYCHA-A-Fresh-Look.png" alt="Rebuilding-NYCHA-A-Fresh-Look" width="600" /></p> <p><span style="font-size: 12px; font-family: Cambria; vertical-align: baseline; white-space: pre-wrap; background-color: transparent;">David Schalliol, from </span><a href="http://www.hunter.cuny.edu/eastharlem-artgallery/exhibitions/Affordable%20Housing%20in%20New%20York%20The%20People,%20Places,%20and%20Policies%20That%20Transformed%20a%20City" target="_blank"><span style="font-size: 12px; font-family: Cambria; color: #0000ff; text-decoration: underline; vertical-align: baseline; white-space: pre-wrap; background-color: transparent;">Affordable Housing in New York</span></a></p> <hr /> <p>Over the past two decades the pages of New York City's dailies have been filled with a growing chorus of complaints about declining conditions in the New York City Housing Authority's vast system (178,000 apartments). Multiple reports by city officials, activists, and NYCHA's own <a href="https://eapps.nycha.info/NychaMetrics/" target="_blank">metrics</a>,&nbsp;have highlighted problems such as slow elevators, leaks, broken windows, delayed repairs, and unlocked lobby doors. Two decades of cutbacks have indeed reduced quality of life for residents when compared to the robust federal capital and operating funds of the 1990s. Fewer skilled staff, old buildings, higher energy costs, and late rents are just a few of the <a href="http://www.cbcny.org/sites/default/files/REPORT_NYCHA_06292015.pdf" target="_blank">challenges</a> faced by today's NYCHA administrators.&nbsp;</p> <p>It is easy to lose sight, in the face of so much bad news, of the reason why New York has these maintenance problems while so many cities do not: NYCHA and city leaders are preserving large scale high-rise public housing against the national tide. Federal capital and operating subsidies, which continue to provide the bulk of NYCHA's revenues after rents, have been slashed. Most American big cities took the comparatively easier road of knocking down aging towers, even if it meant losing thousands of permanent, low-cost, subsidized apartments.</p> <p>A new series of Geographic Information System (GIS) maps created by NYCHA document capital projects across the city and provide a revealing portrait of what is working today, and what still needs to be done, to upgrade "First Generation" NYCHA for the half a million New Yorkers who still live within its walls.</p> <p><img style="margin: 5px;" src="http://www.gothamgazette.com/images/graphics/2016/Rebuilding-NYCHA-A-Fresh-Look-map.png" alt="Rebuilding-NYCHA-A-Fresh-Look-map" width="600" /></p> <p>The maps, only a few of which are shown here, vividly illustrate that NYCHA is slowly rebuilding the thousands of aging towers in the system. The maps, and accompanying spreadsheets, indicate that many developments during the past decade or so have benefitted from new elevators, roofs, brickwork, parapets, electrical upgrades, security cameras, and updated mechanical systems.</p> <p>NYCHA's Capital Projects Division oversees and designs the various projects, but private contracting firms, selected through a competitive bidding process, do the construction on a for-profit basis. Rebuilding NYCHA - where 400,000 New Yorkers live - is not just about housing, then, but it is also a public/private partnership that has pumped billions into the local economy. Hundreds of NYCHA residents have also gained work experience through these renovation projects.</p> <p>The individual capital items are necessarily rendered as small icons on these maps but on the ground each icon represents a big and expensive undertaking because each individual NYCHA housing project is so large. A single icon on the map, for instance, usually involves multiple roofs, elevators, and brick repointing efforts at one project. These capital projects, moreover, are distinct from the millions of smaller repairs every year undertaken by NYCHA maintenance employees as part of everyday <a href="http://urbanomnibus.net/2015/04/maintaining-nycha-debunking-the-myth-of-unmanageable-high-rise-public-housing/" target="_blank">maintenance</a>.</p> <p>These large capital projects are not just being started, as the maps indicated, but also completed in a timelier manner than in the past. NYCHA has picked up the pace on its design, procurement, and contracting process. The NYC <a href="http://www.nyc.gov/html/ops/nycstim/html/tracker/infrastructure.shtml" target="_blank">Stimulus Tracker</a>, new staff and procedures, a recession (making NYCHA contracts more desirable for private construction firms that once dragged out the process), and public scrutiny are some of the factors in this speed up.</p> <p><img src="http://www.gothamgazette.com/images/graphics/2016/Rebuilding-NYCHA-A-Fresh-Look-map-2-b.png" alt="Rebuilding-NYCHA-A-Fresh-Look-map-2-b" width="600" height="392" /></p> <p>The maps also speak to baseline, long-term priorities: keeping out rain; delivering heat, electrical and water service; and installing safer elevators. The maps are thus full of roof, brickwork, parapets, and mechanical projects (plumbing, electric, and elevators) rather than apartment rehabilitation. Many residents, as reported in the newspapers, would likely prefer that NYCHA place an immediate emphasis on total apartment rehabs so that their lives improve now; the hundreds of thousands of monthly maintenance calls indicate a large, and possibly growing, number of defects per apartment.</p> <p>From a long-term perspective, however, and in the current pinched budget situation, the strategy of securing building envelopes first makes sense. Expensive apartment rehabs, and even smaller patch jobs, often make good press, but they can be quickly undone, and often are, by a faulty heating pipe or leaky wall. Most NYCHA residents are therefore likely to remain dissatisfied with the state and number of defects in their aging apartments in the short term even with new roofs or brickwork protecting them in the years to come. Doing the right thing—using funds in a strategic way—thus remains politically risky when so much attention is focused on apartment repairs today.</p> <p>This basic strategy of maintaining buildings envelopes is sound, but it is fair to say that even this prioritization of scarce resources is not guaranteed to secure NYCHA's future as a housing provider. NYCHA estimates that it needs an additional $17 billion in capital funds just for the next five years. A longer horizon on capital needs reveals an even larger capital need. Parsons Brinckerhoff, the global engineering and design firm, in 2011 estimated that NYCHA would face $30 billion in basic capital costs from 2011 to 2026—a figure far in excess of what was then or is currently available from city, state, or federal sources combined. When a roof project at Pink Houses costs over $37 million, an elevator project Roosevelt Houses demands $4 million, and brickwork at Glenwood Houses comes in at over $42 million—just a couple examples from hundreds—it is easy to see how NYCHA could still have billions in needed capital repairs over the coming decades. The cost of construction of all kind is expensive in New York and NYCHA is subject to both market pressure and federal labor regulations.</p> <p>Were NYCHA to generate similar style maps using icons to show the additional major capital projects needed, these maps of needed work would be far more crowded than the maps of ongoing capital projects today. The required work for one housing project, Marble Hill Houses (1682 apartments) is provided as an example below of the amount of money that would be needed to upgrade just one project from top to bottom. The figures from the 2011 <a href="http://www1.nyc.gov/assets/nycha/downloads/pdf/transparency-pna-2011.pdf" target="_blank">Physical Needs Assessment</a> indicate that renovating Marble Hill to a good state would absorb a significant share of an entire year's worth of NYCHA's federal capital budget (to be spent system-wide) despite counting only about 1% of NYCHA's total apartments. Marble Hill's needs, moreover, are fairly typical for large NYCHA developments.</p> <p><img style="margin: 5px;" src="http://www.gothamgazette.com/images/graphics/2016/Rebuilding-NYCHA-A-Fresh-Look-table.png" alt="Rebuilding-NYCHA-A-Fresh-Look-table" width="600" /></p> <p>The maps and data sampled here answer many questions about what is being done to secure NYCHA's future, the locations of major projects, and what it costs to just partially rebuild America's largest public housing system. The maps do not, however, answer more worrisome questions about future funding and projects. This uncertainty is why NYCHA leaders continue to pursue new routes to renovation such as converting traditional public housing units to Section 8 and generating revenues from new market-rate housing on public housing grounds. Many solutions, and many big ones, are going to be needed to secure this housing for another generation.</p> <p style="text-align: center;"><em>*This is the first of a three-part series on NYCHA from Nicholas D. Bloom and partners*<br />Read part two: <a href="http://www.gothamgazette.com/index.php/opinion/6175-goodbye-to-first-generation-nycha" target="_blank">Goodbye to 'First Generation' NYCHA<br /></a>Read part three: <a href="http://www.gothamgazette.com/index.php/opinion/6176-looks-matter-especially-in-public-housing" target="_blank">Looks Matter, Especially in Public Housing</a></em></p> <p>***<br />Nicholas Dagen Bloom is Co-Curator of the current exhibition at the Hunter College, East Harlem Gallery, <a href="http://www.hunter.cuny.edu/eastharlem-artgallery/exhibitions/Affordable%20Housing%20in%20New%20York%20The%20People,%20Places,%20and%20Policies%20That%20Transformed%20a%20City" target="_blank">Affordable Housing in New York</a> and Co-Editor of the anthology by the same name, available <a href="http://www.amazon.com/Affordable-Housing-New-York-Transformed/dp/0691167818/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&amp;qid=1447986558&amp;sr=8-1&amp;keywords=nicholas+dagen+bloom/" target="_blank">here.</a></p> <p>

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<p><img src="http://www.gothamgazette.com/images/graphics/2016/Rebuilding-NYCHA-A-Fresh-Look.png" alt="Rebuilding-NYCHA-A-Fresh-Look" width="600" /></p> <p><span style="font-size: 12px; font-family: Cambria; vertical-align: baseline; white-space: pre-wrap; background-color: transparent;">David Schalliol, from </span><a href="http://www.hunter.cuny.edu/eastharlem-artgallery/exhibitions/Affordable%20Housing%20in%20New%20York%20The%20People,%20Places,%20and%20Policies%20That%20Transformed%20a%20City" target="_blank"><span style="font-size: 12px; font-family: Cambria; color: #0000ff; text-decoration: underline; vertical-align: baseline; white-space: pre-wrap; background-color: transparent;">Affordable Housing in New York</span></a></p> <hr /> <p>Over the past two decades the pages of New York City's dailies have been filled with a growing chorus of complaints about declining conditions in the New York City Housing Authority's vast system (178,000 apartments). Multiple reports by city officials, activists, and NYCHA's own <a href="https://eapps.nycha.info/NychaMetrics/" target="_blank">metrics</a>,&nbsp;have highlighted problems such as slow elevators, leaks, broken windows, delayed repairs, and unlocked lobby doors. Two decades of cutbacks have indeed reduced quality of life for residents when compared to the robust federal capital and operating funds of the 1990s. Fewer skilled staff, old buildings, higher energy costs, and late rents are just a few of the <a href="http://www.cbcny.org/sites/default/files/REPORT_NYCHA_06292015.pdf" target="_blank">challenges</a> faced by today's NYCHA administrators.&nbsp;</p> <p>It is easy to lose sight, in the face of so much bad news, of the reason why New York has these maintenance problems while so many cities do not: NYCHA and city leaders are preserving large scale high-rise public housing against the national tide. Federal capital and operating subsidies, which continue to provide the bulk of NYCHA's revenues after rents, have been slashed. Most American big cities took the comparatively easier road of knocking down aging towers, even if it meant losing thousands of permanent, low-cost, subsidized apartments.</p> <p>A new series of Geographic Information System (GIS) maps created by NYCHA document capital projects across the city and provide a revealing portrait of what is working today, and what still needs to be done, to upgrade "First Generation" NYCHA for the half a million New Yorkers who still live within its walls.</p> <p><img style="margin: 5px;" src="http://www.gothamgazette.com/images/graphics/2016/Rebuilding-NYCHA-A-Fresh-Look-map.png" alt="Rebuilding-NYCHA-A-Fresh-Look-map" width="600" /></p> <p>The maps, only a few of which are shown here, vividly illustrate that NYCHA is slowly rebuilding the thousands of aging towers in the system. The maps, and accompanying spreadsheets, indicate that many developments during the past decade or so have benefitted from new elevators, roofs, brickwork, parapets, electrical upgrades, security cameras, and updated mechanical systems.</p> <p>NYCHA's Capital Projects Division oversees and designs the various projects, but private contracting firms, selected through a competitive bidding process, do the construction on a for-profit basis. Rebuilding NYCHA - where 400,000 New Yorkers live - is not just about housing, then, but it is also a public/private partnership that has pumped billions into the local economy. Hundreds of NYCHA residents have also gained work experience through these renovation projects.</p> <p>The individual capital items are necessarily rendered as small icons on these maps but on the ground each icon represents a big and expensive undertaking because each individual NYCHA housing project is so large. A single icon on the map, for instance, usually involves multiple roofs, elevators, and brick repointing efforts at one project. These capital projects, moreover, are distinct from the millions of smaller repairs every year undertaken by NYCHA maintenance employees as part of everyday <a href="http://urbanomnibus.net/2015/04/maintaining-nycha-debunking-the-myth-of-unmanageable-high-rise-public-housing/" target="_blank">maintenance</a>.</p> <p>These large capital projects are not just being started, as the maps indicated, but also completed in a timelier manner than in the past. NYCHA has picked up the pace on its design, procurement, and contracting process. The NYC <a href="http://www.nyc.gov/html/ops/nycstim/html/tracker/infrastructure.shtml" target="_blank">Stimulus Tracker</a>, new staff and procedures, a recession (making NYCHA contracts more desirable for private construction firms that once dragged out the process), and public scrutiny are some of the factors in this speed up.</p> <p><img src="http://www.gothamgazette.com/images/graphics/2016/Rebuilding-NYCHA-A-Fresh-Look-map-2-b.png" alt="Rebuilding-NYCHA-A-Fresh-Look-map-2-b" width="600" height="392" /></p> <p>The maps also speak to baseline, long-term priorities: keeping out rain; delivering heat, electrical and water service; and installing safer elevators. The maps are thus full of roof, brickwork, parapets, and mechanical projects (plumbing, electric, and elevators) rather than apartment rehabilitation. Many residents, as reported in the newspapers, would likely prefer that NYCHA place an immediate emphasis on total apartment rehabs so that their lives improve now; the hundreds of thousands of monthly maintenance calls indicate a large, and possibly growing, number of defects per apartment.</p> <p>From a long-term perspective, however, and in the current pinched budget situation, the strategy of securing building envelopes first makes sense. Expensive apartment rehabs, and even smaller patch jobs, often make good press, but they can be quickly undone, and often are, by a faulty heating pipe or leaky wall. Most NYCHA residents are therefore likely to remain dissatisfied with the state and number of defects in their aging apartments in the short term even with new roofs or brickwork protecting them in the years to come. Doing the right thing—using funds in a strategic way—thus remains politically risky when so much attention is focused on apartment repairs today.</p> <p>This basic strategy of maintaining buildings envelopes is sound, but it is fair to say that even this prioritization of scarce resources is not guaranteed to secure NYCHA's future as a housing provider. NYCHA estimates that it needs an additional $17 billion in capital funds just for the next five years. A longer horizon on capital needs reveals an even larger capital need. Parsons Brinckerhoff, the global engineering and design firm, in 2011 estimated that NYCHA would face $30 billion in basic capital costs from 2011 to 2026—a figure far in excess of what was then or is currently available from city, state, or federal sources combined. When a roof project at Pink Houses costs over $37 million, an elevator project Roosevelt Houses demands $4 million, and brickwork at Glenwood Houses comes in at over $42 million—just a couple examples from hundreds—it is easy to see how NYCHA could still have billions in needed capital repairs over the coming decades. The cost of construction of all kind is expensive in New York and NYCHA is subject to both market pressure and federal labor regulations.</p> <p>Were NYCHA to generate similar style maps using icons to show the additional major capital projects needed, these maps of needed work would be far more crowded than the maps of ongoing capital projects today. The required work for one housing project, Marble Hill Houses (1682 apartments) is provided as an example below of the amount of money that would be needed to upgrade just one project from top to bottom. The figures from the 2011 <a href="http://www1.nyc.gov/assets/nycha/downloads/pdf/transparency-pna-2011.pdf" target="_blank">Physical Needs Assessment</a> indicate that renovating Marble Hill to a good state would absorb a significant share of an entire year's worth of NYCHA's federal capital budget (to be spent system-wide) despite counting only about 1% of NYCHA's total apartments. Marble Hill's needs, moreover, are fairly typical for large NYCHA developments.</p> <p><img style="margin: 5px;" src="http://www.gothamgazette.com/images/graphics/2016/Rebuilding-NYCHA-A-Fresh-Look-table.png" alt="Rebuilding-NYCHA-A-Fresh-Look-table" width="600" /></p> <p>The maps and data sampled here answer many questions about what is being done to secure NYCHA's future, the locations of major projects, and what it costs to just partially rebuild America's largest public housing system. The maps do not, however, answer more worrisome questions about future funding and projects. This uncertainty is why NYCHA leaders continue to pursue new routes to renovation such as converting traditional public housing units to Section 8 and generating revenues from new market-rate housing on public housing grounds. Many solutions, and many big ones, are going to be needed to secure this housing for another generation.</p> <p style="text-align: center;"><em>*This is the first of a three-part series on NYCHA from Nicholas D. Bloom and partners*<br />Read part two: <a href="http://www.gothamgazette.com/index.php/opinion/6175-goodbye-to-first-generation-nycha" target="_blank">Goodbye to 'First Generation' NYCHA<br /></a>Read part three: <a href="http://www.gothamgazette.com/index.php/opinion/6176-looks-matter-especially-in-public-housing" target="_blank">Looks Matter, Especially in Public Housing</a></em></p> <p>***<br />Nicholas Dagen Bloom is Co-Curator of the current exhibition at the Hunter College, East Harlem Gallery, <a href="http://www.hunter.cuny.edu/eastharlem-artgallery/exhibitions/Affordable%20Housing%20in%20New%20York%20The%20People,%20Places,%20and%20Policies%20That%20Transformed%20a%20City" target="_blank">Affordable Housing in New York</a> and Co-Editor of the anthology by the same name, available <a href="http://www.amazon.com/Affordable-Housing-New-York-Transformed/dp/0691167818/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&amp;qid=1447986558&amp;sr=8-1&amp;keywords=nicholas+dagen+bloom/" target="_blank">here.</a></p> <p>

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Get the Facts Straight on NYCHA Attacks 2016-02-12T03:05:56+00:00 2016-02-12T03:05:56+00:00 http://www.gothamgazette.com/?id=6165:get-the-facts-straight-on-nycha-attacks Super User <p dir="ltr"><img src="http://www.gothamgazette.com/images/graphics/2014/03/18211908444_fdf4c92ffc_z.jpg" alt="bdb nycha" width="600" height="287" /></p> <p dir="ltr">photo via NYCHA</p> <hr /> <p>In a <a href="http://www.gothamgazette.com/index.php/opinion/6159-time-for-nycha-to-stop-wasting-our-money" target="_blank">recent op-ed</a> outlining opposition to organized labor and Project Labor Agreements, Associated Buildings &amp; Contractors Empire State Chapter President Brian Sampson paints an outdated and inaccurate picture of NYCHA. Let’s be honest, yes—there had been a long history of mismanagement at NYCHA. But with the new administration and under new leadership, we are taking NYCHA in a different direction that makes old arguments about NYCHA more political than factual.</p> <p dir="ltr">In the past two years, we’ve taken bold, but necessary steps to fundamentally transform how we do business. The Authority launched <a href="http://www1.nyc.gov/site/nycha/about/nextgen-nycha.page" target="_blank">NextGeneration NYCHA</a>, our ten-year strategic plan, to transform NYCHA into a modern, more efficient and effective landlord, while also getting our financial house in order. And while there is still work to be done, we are making <a href="http://www1.nyc.gov/assets/nycha/downloads/pdf/NextGeneration-NYCHA-Quarterly-Report-2015-Q4.pdf" target="_blank">solid progress</a> through action.</p> <p dir="ltr">Taxpayer waste was indicative of the old NYCHA. Today, we are committed to transparency as the best form of oversight and accountability of taxpayer dollars. NYCHA now posts work and performance metrics, contracts and awards on our website, and even launched an <a href="http://www1.nyc.gov/site/nycha/about/recovery-resiliency.page" target="_blank">interactive Sandy Transparency map</a>, where the public can access spending data and status updates on work related to the $3 billion in Federal Emergency Management Agency funding. This digital tool provides information on the scope of work, project phase (planning, design, and construction), estimated funding levels and timelines, renderings and contractor details.</p> <p dir="ltr">Swipes at NYCHA’s response to Hurricane Sandy or inventory and procurement may score easy political points, but don’t reflect NYCHA’s reality today. NYCHA created the Office of Emergency Preparedness in response to issues raised by Hurricane Sandy, so <a href="http://www.amny.com/news/nycha-better-prepared-for-emergencies-since-superstorm-sandy-report-says-1.11215720" target="_blank">we are better prepared</a> than we have ever been before. To that end, we issued a <a href="http://www1.nyc.gov/assets/nycha/downloads/pdf/nycha-2015-emergency-preparedness-report.pdf" target="_blank">report in 2015</a> outlining our progress.</p> <p dir="ltr">Additionally, NYCHA has made great strides to overhaul our supply and inventory management process, with a working group composed of independent leadership, supply chain experts, and the city comptroller’s office. Today, inventory is only disposed of after a systematic and thorough analysis. In fact, our reassessment of inventory previously slated for disposal resulted in more than $1 million of materials put back into use.</p> <p dir="ltr">The nonunion building trades’ real issue with NYCHA isn’t about money or management, it’s about NYCHA’s <a href="http://www1.nyc.gov/site/nycha/about/press/pr-2015/project-labor-agreement-release.page" target="_blank">Project Labor Agreement</a> (PLA.) NYCHA’s PLA, which applies to construction and rehabilitation work, isn’t unique and is widely employed by other city agencies. It allows for greater flexibility in work scheduling and shift hours, and NYCHA is already beginning to see the benefits of the PLA with faster, better, and cost-effective construction work.</p> <p dir="ltr">This <a href="http://www.crainsnewyork.com/article/20151030/REAL_ESTATE/151029808/nonunion-contractors-say-city-housing-agencys-plan-would-freeze-them-out" target="_blank">isn’t the first attack</a> by the Associated Builders &amp; Contractors Empire State Chapter and it won’t be the last, but the association should try to stick to the facts on NYCHA. No one is served by rhetoric, especially not NYCHA residents.</p> <p dir="ltr">***<br />Michael Kelly is the General Manager of the New York City Housing Authority (NYCHA). On Twitter <a href="https://twitter.com/NYCHA" target="_blank">@NYCHA</a>.</p> <p dir="ltr">

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<p dir="ltr"><img src="http://www.gothamgazette.com/images/graphics/2014/03/18211908444_fdf4c92ffc_z.jpg" alt="bdb nycha" width="600" height="287" /></p> <p dir="ltr">photo via NYCHA</p> <hr /> <p>In a <a href="http://www.gothamgazette.com/index.php/opinion/6159-time-for-nycha-to-stop-wasting-our-money" target="_blank">recent op-ed</a> outlining opposition to organized labor and Project Labor Agreements, Associated Buildings &amp; Contractors Empire State Chapter President Brian Sampson paints an outdated and inaccurate picture of NYCHA. Let’s be honest, yes—there had been a long history of mismanagement at NYCHA. But with the new administration and under new leadership, we are taking NYCHA in a different direction that makes old arguments about NYCHA more political than factual.</p> <p dir="ltr">In the past two years, we’ve taken bold, but necessary steps to fundamentally transform how we do business. The Authority launched <a href="http://www1.nyc.gov/site/nycha/about/nextgen-nycha.page" target="_blank">NextGeneration NYCHA</a>, our ten-year strategic plan, to transform NYCHA into a modern, more efficient and effective landlord, while also getting our financial house in order. And while there is still work to be done, we are making <a href="http://www1.nyc.gov/assets/nycha/downloads/pdf/NextGeneration-NYCHA-Quarterly-Report-2015-Q4.pdf" target="_blank">solid progress</a> through action.</p> <p dir="ltr">Taxpayer waste was indicative of the old NYCHA. Today, we are committed to transparency as the best form of oversight and accountability of taxpayer dollars. NYCHA now posts work and performance metrics, contracts and awards on our website, and even launched an <a href="http://www1.nyc.gov/site/nycha/about/recovery-resiliency.page" target="_blank">interactive Sandy Transparency map</a>, where the public can access spending data and status updates on work related to the $3 billion in Federal Emergency Management Agency funding. This digital tool provides information on the scope of work, project phase (planning, design, and construction), estimated funding levels and timelines, renderings and contractor details.</p> <p dir="ltr">Swipes at NYCHA’s response to Hurricane Sandy or inventory and procurement may score easy political points, but don’t reflect NYCHA’s reality today. NYCHA created the Office of Emergency Preparedness in response to issues raised by Hurricane Sandy, so <a href="http://www.amny.com/news/nycha-better-prepared-for-emergencies-since-superstorm-sandy-report-says-1.11215720" target="_blank">we are better prepared</a> than we have ever been before. To that end, we issued a <a href="http://www1.nyc.gov/assets/nycha/downloads/pdf/nycha-2015-emergency-preparedness-report.pdf" target="_blank">report in 2015</a> outlining our progress.</p> <p dir="ltr">Additionally, NYCHA has made great strides to overhaul our supply and inventory management process, with a working group composed of independent leadership, supply chain experts, and the city comptroller’s office. Today, inventory is only disposed of after a systematic and thorough analysis. In fact, our reassessment of inventory previously slated for disposal resulted in more than $1 million of materials put back into use.</p> <p dir="ltr">The nonunion building trades’ real issue with NYCHA isn’t about money or management, it’s about NYCHA’s <a href="http://www1.nyc.gov/site/nycha/about/press/pr-2015/project-labor-agreement-release.page" target="_blank">Project Labor Agreement</a> (PLA.) NYCHA’s PLA, which applies to construction and rehabilitation work, isn’t unique and is widely employed by other city agencies. It allows for greater flexibility in work scheduling and shift hours, and NYCHA is already beginning to see the benefits of the PLA with faster, better, and cost-effective construction work.</p> <p dir="ltr">This <a href="http://www.crainsnewyork.com/article/20151030/REAL_ESTATE/151029808/nonunion-contractors-say-city-housing-agencys-plan-would-freeze-them-out" target="_blank">isn’t the first attack</a> by the Associated Builders &amp; Contractors Empire State Chapter and it won’t be the last, but the association should try to stick to the facts on NYCHA. No one is served by rhetoric, especially not NYCHA residents.</p> <p dir="ltr">***<br />Michael Kelly is the General Manager of the New York City Housing Authority (NYCHA). On Twitter <a href="https://twitter.com/NYCHA" target="_blank">@NYCHA</a>.</p> <p dir="ltr">

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Time for NYCHA to Stop Wasting Our Money 2016-02-10T00:32:49+00:00 2016-02-10T00:32:49+00:00 http://www.gothamgazette.com/?id=6159:time-for-nycha-to-stop-wasting-our-money Super User <p><img src="http://www.gothamgazette.com/images/graphics/2014/03/23125737556_723d2d37f6_z.jpg" alt="nycha construction pic empty" width="600" height="400" /></p> <p>photo via NYCHA</p> <hr /> <p>In following the news over the past years, it has become readily apparent that the New York City Housing Authority (NYCHA) must either be severely underfunded or grossly mismanaged. Unfortunately it's the latter.</p> <p>There is no shortage of issues that have come up that demonstrate the ineptitude of NYCHA leadership. From failing to protect residents in advance of Hurricane Sandy to toxic molds to turning on the heat only if it gets to 25 degrees, NYCHA is failing its residents. To say that NYCHA is mismanaged and wasting our tax money is an understatement. Officials are throwing it away, literally - NYCHA actually recently threw away $550,000 of new supplies that were purchased but determined to not be useful.</p> <p>But wasteful spending doesn't end there. NYCHA attaches Project Labor Agreements (PLAs) to all of their rehab and construction projects. These costly provisions mandate that a vast majority of workers come from the union halls, leading to fewer contractors bidding on the work and diminished competition.</p> <p>Officials agree to these provisions even though studies show PLAs increase construction costs up to 30 percent. These additional costs come from reduced competition and antiquated jurisdictional work rules that prevent efficiencies. At a time when Mayor de Blasio has taken a stand for increased affordable housing in New York City by standing up to the powerful trades unions and telling them that they've out-priced themselves, NYCHA is acquiescing to their every demand, to the detriment of taxpayers and tenants alike.</p> <p>An increasing amount of work is being done throughout New York City by merit shop contractors, and with good reason. These men and women have found innovative ways to build the best projects in efficient, cost-effective ways, while still taking great care of their employees. Go to any private job site today and you will more than likely see a diverse group of professionals working together as a team to get the job done. There is no bickering among differing trades as to whose responsibility it is to do key tasks like you see on public or taxpayer funded job sites.</p> <p>Unfortunately, while these advancements have made construction better and cheaper, our union counterparts have been left behind, instead being forced to rely on their political influence to get publicly funded work such as at NYCHA. But as more and more of the general public is becoming aware of how this impacts their wallets and how much farther their dollar could go, this is changing too.</p> <p>These changes have spurred the unfortunate rhetoric and baseless claims from union bosses who see their empires slipping away.</p> <p>Imagine how much work could get done with 30 percent more capital to work with? Maybe those elevators could finally get fixed or the mold would finally be eradicated. Perhaps NYCHA could be more prepared for a disaster. And what if, not to be too bold, NYCHA could actually turn the heat on before it hits 25 degrees?</p> <p>As a public authority, NYCHA has a fiduciary responsibility to the taxpayers of this city. This should encourage its leaders to stretch tax dollars as far as they can to get the most bang for the buck. They also have a moral obligation to the tenants of their housing. This means they should do everything they can to get the best housing available at the most competitive pricing - making more housing available to those who need it.</p> <p>NYCHA needs to be cleaned up, and the corruption and mismanagement that have plagued the tenants and taxpayers of New York City needs to be addressed. The process by which NYCHA officials spend hundreds of millions of tax dollars is a start.</p> <p>Our message to NYCHA is clear: while you've gotten used to throwing our money away, you owe it to taxpayers and tenants to open bids up, create competition, and get the most bang for our buck.</p> <p>***<br />Brian Sampson is the President of <a href="http://www.abcnys.org/" target="_blank">the Associated Builders and Contractors</a>, Empire State Chapter. The Association was founded on the shared belief that construction projects should be awarded on merit to the most qualified and responsible low bidders. The Chapter represents nearly 400 members in the construction industry throughout NYS.</p> <p>

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<p><img src="http://www.gothamgazette.com/images/graphics/2014/03/23125737556_723d2d37f6_z.jpg" alt="nycha construction pic empty" width="600" height="400" /></p> <p>photo via NYCHA</p> <hr /> <p>In following the news over the past years, it has become readily apparent that the New York City Housing Authority (NYCHA) must either be severely underfunded or grossly mismanaged. Unfortunately it's the latter.</p> <p>There is no shortage of issues that have come up that demonstrate the ineptitude of NYCHA leadership. From failing to protect residents in advance of Hurricane Sandy to toxic molds to turning on the heat only if it gets to 25 degrees, NYCHA is failing its residents. To say that NYCHA is mismanaged and wasting our tax money is an understatement. Officials are throwing it away, literally - NYCHA actually recently threw away $550,000 of new supplies that were purchased but determined to not be useful.</p> <p>But wasteful spending doesn't end there. NYCHA attaches Project Labor Agreements (PLAs) to all of their rehab and construction projects. These costly provisions mandate that a vast majority of workers come from the union halls, leading to fewer contractors bidding on the work and diminished competition.</p> <p>Officials agree to these provisions even though studies show PLAs increase construction costs up to 30 percent. These additional costs come from reduced competition and antiquated jurisdictional work rules that prevent efficiencies. At a time when Mayor de Blasio has taken a stand for increased affordable housing in New York City by standing up to the powerful trades unions and telling them that they've out-priced themselves, NYCHA is acquiescing to their every demand, to the detriment of taxpayers and tenants alike.</p> <p>An increasing amount of work is being done throughout New York City by merit shop contractors, and with good reason. These men and women have found innovative ways to build the best projects in efficient, cost-effective ways, while still taking great care of their employees. Go to any private job site today and you will more than likely see a diverse group of professionals working together as a team to get the job done. There is no bickering among differing trades as to whose responsibility it is to do key tasks like you see on public or taxpayer funded job sites.</p> <p>Unfortunately, while these advancements have made construction better and cheaper, our union counterparts have been left behind, instead being forced to rely on their political influence to get publicly funded work such as at NYCHA. But as more and more of the general public is becoming aware of how this impacts their wallets and how much farther their dollar could go, this is changing too.</p> <p>These changes have spurred the unfortunate rhetoric and baseless claims from union bosses who see their empires slipping away.</p> <p>Imagine how much work could get done with 30 percent more capital to work with? Maybe those elevators could finally get fixed or the mold would finally be eradicated. Perhaps NYCHA could be more prepared for a disaster. And what if, not to be too bold, NYCHA could actually turn the heat on before it hits 25 degrees?</p> <p>As a public authority, NYCHA has a fiduciary responsibility to the taxpayers of this city. This should encourage its leaders to stretch tax dollars as far as they can to get the most bang for the buck. They also have a moral obligation to the tenants of their housing. This means they should do everything they can to get the best housing available at the most competitive pricing - making more housing available to those who need it.</p> <p>NYCHA needs to be cleaned up, and the corruption and mismanagement that have plagued the tenants and taxpayers of New York City needs to be addressed. The process by which NYCHA officials spend hundreds of millions of tax dollars is a start.</p> <p>Our message to NYCHA is clear: while you've gotten used to throwing our money away, you owe it to taxpayers and tenants to open bids up, create competition, and get the most bang for our buck.</p> <p>***<br />Brian Sampson is the President of <a href="http://www.abcnys.org/" target="_blank">the Associated Builders and Contractors</a>, Empire State Chapter. The Association was founded on the shared belief that construction projects should be awarded on merit to the most qualified and responsible low bidders. The Chapter represents nearly 400 members in the construction industry throughout NYS.</p> <p>

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The Week That Was in New York Politics, Dec 7-11 2015-12-11T18:25:28+00:00 2015-12-11T18:25:28+00:00 http://www.gothamgazette.com/?id=6031:the-week-that-was-in-new-york-politics-dec-7-11 Super User <p><img src="http://www.gothamgazette.com/images/graphics/2014/03/week_in_review_bus_readers.jpg" alt="week in review bus readers" width="600" height="409" /></p> <p><span style="font-size: 10pt;"><a href="http://blog.mcny.org/2012/04/24/a-ride-on-the-subway-in-1946-with-stanley-kubrick/" target="_blank">photo</a>: Stanley Kubrick via Museum of the City of New York</span></p> <hr /> <p>Gotham Gazette's Week in Review, Friday&nbsp;</p> <p><strong>PHOTO OF THE WEEK:&nbsp;</strong>Mayor de Blasio signs legislation creating the city's new Department of Veterans' Services, <a href="https://twitter.com/NYMetroVets/status/675034850584354817" target="_blank">via Joe Bello, @NYMetroVets</a></p> <p><img src="http://www.gothamgazette.com/images/BdB_vets_joe_bellow.jpg" alt="BdB vets joe bello" style="display: block; margin-left: auto; margin-right: auto;" width="400" height="533" /></p> <p><strong>TOP FIVE STORIES OF THE WEEK:</strong></p> <p dir="ltr"><strong>1. Skelos Guilty: </strong>Former state Senate Majority Leader Dean Skelos and his son, Adam Skelos were <a href="http://www.nydailynews.com/new-york/dean-skelos-son-guilty-corruption-case-article-1.2463065?utm_content=bufferd658c&amp;utm_medium=social&amp;utm_source=twitter.com&amp;utm_campaign=NYDailyNewsTw" target="_blank">found guilty on eight counts Friday</a>. They will be sentenced in March. [Read: <a href="http://www.gothamgazette.com/index.php/government/6029-tenant-activists-trace-road-to-corruption-trials-eye-elusive-reform" target="_blank">Tenant Activists Trace Road to Corruption Trials, Eye Elusive Reform</a>]</p> <p dir="ltr"><strong>2. Security Guards for Private Schools:</strong> On <a href="http://www.capitalnewyork.com/article/city-hall/2015/12/8584893/amid-opposition-council-approves-security-guards-private-schools" target="_blank">Monday</a>, the City Council passed a controversial bill to provide public funding to private and religious schools to pay for security guards. $19.8 million will be <a href="http://www.wnyc.org/story/city-council-approve-security-guards-private-schools/" target="_blank">spent</a> to place at least one security guard at every private school in New York City with at least 300 students that wants one. Mayor Bill de Blasio is expected to sign the bill into law.</p> <p dir="ltr"><strong>3. Cuomo’s Common Core Overhaul:</strong> A task force created by Governor Andrew Cuomo issued a <a href="http://www.nytimes.com/2015/12/11/nyregion/cuomo-task-force-signals-further-retreat-from-common-core-school-standards.html?ribbon-ad-idx=5&amp;rref=nyregion&amp;module=Ribbon&amp;version=origin&amp;region=Header&amp;action=click&amp;contentCollection=New%20York&amp;pgtype=article" target="_blank">report</a> Thursday which found that the state made a number of <a href="http://www.buffalonews.com/city-region/state-task-force-finds-common-core-needing-reforms-20151210" target="_blank">mistakes</a> in its implementation of Common Core learning standards and recommended reducing the tendency to “teach to a test,” giving shorter tests, and not linking test results to teacher evaluations until the 2018-2019 school year.</p> <p dir="ltr"><strong>4. Housing Developments:</strong> The Staten Island Borough Board became the fifth to vote against Mayor de Blasio’s zoning amendment proposals on <a href="http://www.capitalnewyork.com/article/city-hall/2015/12/8585339/de-blasio-defends-his-housing-plan-staten-island-votes-it-down?top-featured-1" target="_blank">Thursday</a>, adding to the significant <a href="http://www.capitalnewyork.com/article/city-hall/2015/12/8584435/de-blasio-official-defends-zoning-proposals-against-citywide-criti" target="_blank">criticism</a> the plan has received from community and borough boards. Creating more affordable housing is a signature issue for the mayor determined to make New York City more equal, and de Blasio's administration is now prepared to <a href="http://www.nytimes.com/2015/12/11/nyregion/mayor-de-blasio-seeks-to-rebuild-momentum-for-affordable-housing-plan.html" target="_blank">devise a new strategy </a>to regain momentum and secure support for a plan they believe has been poorly understood. On Thursday, AARP <a href="http://www.nytimes.com/2015/12/11/nyregion/mayor-de-blasio-seeks-to-rebuild-momentum-for-affordable-housing-plan.html" target="_blank">endorsed</a> the mayor’s plans (it has 750,000 members in New York City), adding to two significant union endorsements the plans have recently received. [Read: <a href="http://www.gothamgazette.com/index.php/government/6007-mayor-and-speaker-rezoning-plans-will-change-before-council-vote" target="_blank">Mayor &amp; Speaker: Rezoning Plans Will Change Before Council Vote</a> &amp; <a href="http://www.gothamgazette.com/index.php/government/6027-next-steps-for-the-mayors-controversial-zoning-proposals" target="_blank">Next Steps for the Mayor’s Controversial Zoning Proposals</a>]</p> <p dir="ltr"><strong>5. Public Housing Problem:</strong> A New York City Department of Investigation <a href="http://www.nyc.gov/html/doi/downloads/pdf/2015/Dec15/pr41nycha_nypd_mou_120815.pdf" target="_blank">report</a> found that the NYPD’s “systematic failure” to communicate required information to the city’s public housing authority, NYCHA, is partially responsible for the disproportionately high crime rates that have plagued public housing projects. In response to the report, the NYPD will <a href="http://www.dnainfo.com/new-york/20151208/midtown/nypd-failed-share-violent-crime-info-with-public-housing-officials-doi" target="_blank">create</a> an interactive database to improve information sharing about criminal activity in public housing with NYCHA officials.</p> <p><strong>THIS WEEK'S NUMBERS:</strong></p> <ul> <li dir="ltr"><strong>4,000-plus</strong>&nbsp;inmates are currently in solitary confinement in New York, despite vows by officials to limit its use, the&nbsp;<a href="http://www.nydailynews.com/new-york/state-inmates-solitary-confinement-surpass-4-000-article-1.2456485" target="_blank">Daily News</a>&nbsp;reports.</li> <li dir="ltr"><strong>4,747</strong> stop-and-frisks were recorded in New York City in July, August, and September - the lowest quarter since the numbers were first released in 2002, according to <a href="http://www.nydailynews.com/new-york/nyc-crime/exclusive-nypd-stop-and-frisk-drops-record-article-1.2459465" target="_blank">NYPD statistics</a>.</li> <li dir="ltr"><strong>93%</strong> decrease in the number of stop-and-frisks between 2011 and 2014, according to a <a href="http://www.nyclu.org/news/stop-and-frisk-down-safety-nyclu-data-analysis" target="_blank">report</a> released by the New York Civil Liberties Union.</li> <li dir="ltr"><strong>797</strong> fatal drug overdoses were recorded by the city Health Department in 2014, the most since 2006, the <a href="http://nypost.com/2015/12/07/drug-overdoses-killed-nearly-800-people-last-year/" target="_blank">New York Post</a> reports.</li> <li dir="ltr"><strong>20%</strong> increase in annual state spending for nonprofits is needed in order to fund a $15 per hour wage floor for nonprofit human services workers, according to a <a href="http://fiscalpolicy.org/wp-content/uploads/2015/12/15andFunding-Report-Dec2015.pdf" target="_blank">report</a> released by the Federation of Protestant Welfare Agencies, Fiscal Policy Institute and the Human Services Council.</li> <li dir="ltr"><strong>75%</strong> of incidents the FDNY responded to in 2014 were medical-related calls, and only 5% were fire-related, though a vast majority of the FDNY's resources are devoted to staffing fire units, according to a <a href="http://www.cbcny.org/sites/default/files/REPORT_FDNY_12092015.pdf" target="_blank">report</a> from the Citizens Budget Commission.</li> <li dir="ltr"><strong>$12 million</strong> will be added to the city’s budget to increase job training programs for homeless individuals in the shelter system in 31 shelters across the 5 boroughs, the <a href="http://www.nydailynews.com/new-york/exclusive-nyc-boosting-job-homeless-article-1.2460622" target="_blank">Daily News</a> reports.</li> <li><strong>6,217,621</strong> people rode the subways on October 29, 2015, according to the <a href="http://polhudson.lohudblogs.com/2015/12/10/straphanger-alert-subway-ridership-hit-record-high/" target="_blank">Metropolitan Transportation Authority</a> - about 50,000 more than the previous record reached last year.</li> </ul> <p><strong>THE GLORY AND THE GOAT:</strong></p> <p dir="ltr"><strong>It was a good week for</strong> supporters of raising the minimum wage, as a state appeals board <a href="http://bigstory.ap.org/article/06e14feee9d749d0ad1345a8f973a293/ny-board-upholds-15-minimum-wage-fast-food-workers" target="_blank">upheld</a> Governor Cuomo’s planned increase to a $15 per hour minimum wage for fast food workers, disputing arguments that certain factors weren’t adequately analyzed before making the decision to raise the wage.</p> <p dir="ltr"><strong>It was a bad week for</strong> Anthony Mangone, a former attorney whose cooperation aided in the conviction of three New York state senators, who was <a href="http://www.nytimes.com/2015/12/08/nyregion/prison-term-for-lawyer-who-cooperated-in-graft-cases.html?ref=nyregion&amp;_r=0" target="_blank">sentenced to 18 months</a> behind bars this week after a judge said the “dirty lawyer” had committed crimes too serious to escape incarceration.</p> <p><strong>THE FLASH:</strong></p> <p dir="ltr"><strong>Around this time 40 years ago</strong>, on December 9, 1975, President Gerald Ford <a href="http://www.ford.utexas.edu/library/document/factbook/chronolo.htm" target="_blank">signed</a> a $2.3 billion seasonal loan authorization to prevent New York City from having to default.</p> <p dir="ltr"><strong>Around this time 74 years ago</strong>, on December 7, 1941, in the panic that ensued after the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor, Japanese nationals living in New York were <a href="http://www.inconvenienthistory.com/archive/2012/volume_4/number_3/imprisoned_at_ellis_island.php" target="_blank">rounded up by FBI agents</a> and held on Ellis Island. They were later transferred to internment camps for the remainder of the war.</p> <p dir="ltr"><strong>Around this time 22 years ago</strong>, on December 7, 1993, Colin Ferguson opened fire on a Long Island Rail Road train, <a href="https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Long_Island_Rail_Road_massacre" target="_blank">killing six passengers</a> and wounding 19 others. Days later, a New York Times <a href="http://www.nytimes.com/1993/12/10/opinion/mass-murder-on-the-5-33.html" target="_blank">editorial</a> called for stronger gun control laws in response to the murders, pointing to the ease with which Ferguson obtained a handgun in California, which had one of the country's stricter gun laws at the time.</p> <p><strong>GOTHAM GAZETTE HIGHLIGHTS OF THE WEEK:</strong></p> <p dir="ltr"><a href="http://www.gothamgazette.com/index.php/government/6024-resignation-highlights-city-council-gender-imbalance">Resignation Highlights City Council Gender Imbalance</a>, by Ben Max</p> <p dir="ltr"><a href="http://citizensunion.us3.list-manage1.com/track/click?u=ca0fb41d668202ba6cc542ca8&amp;id=9a1853ad0f&amp;e=e35a0ce952">Cuomo Urged to Sign Executive Transparency Bills Before Looming Deadline</a>, by David Howard King</p> <p dir="ltr"><a href="http://www.gothamgazette.com/index.php/government/6027-next-steps-for-the-mayors-controversial-zoning-proposals">Next Steps for The Mayor's Controversial Zoning Proposals</a>, Christian Zhang</p> <p dir="ltr"><a href="http://www.gothamgazette.com/index.php/government/6029-tenant-activists-trace-road-to-corruption-trials-eye-elusive-reform">Tenant Activists Trace Road to Corruption Trials, Eye Elusive Reform</a>, by David Howard King</p> <p dir="ltr"><a href="http://www.gothamgazette.com/index.php/government/6025-little-known-commission-expands-access-to-city-government">Little-Known Commission Expands Access to City Government</a>, by Meg O’Connor</p> <p dir="ltr"><a href="http://citizensunion.us3.list-manage.com/track/click?u=ca0fb41d668202ba6cc542ca8&amp;id=5906c8d289&amp;e=e35a0ce952">Hearing to Examine ‘Efficacy’ of City Response to ‘Homelessness Crisis’</a>, by Ryan Brady</p> <p dir="ltr"><a href="http://www.gothamgazette.com/index.php/opinion/6028-in-zoning-amendment-one-size-does-not-fit-all">In Zoning Amendment, One Size Does Not Fit All</a>, by Council Member Donovan Richards (opinion)</p> <p dir="ltr"><a href="http://www.gothamgazette.com/index.php/opinion/6023-harmful-legal-reform-is-not-an-ethics-solution">Harmful Legal Reform Is Not an Ethics Solution</a>, by Joanne Doroshow (opinion)</p> <p dir="ltr"><a href="http://www.gothamgazette.com/index.php/opinion/6026-give-police-tools-to-reduce-arrest-and-improve-community-health">Give Police Tools to Reduce Arrest and Improve Community Health</a>, by Chelsea Davis (opinion)</p> <p dir="ltr"><a href="http://www.gothamgazette.com/index.php/opinion/6030-public-money-is-for-public-schools">Public Money Is For Public Schools</a>, by Ayishah Irvin (opinion)</p> <p><strong>MORE FOR THE WEEKEND:</strong></p> <p dir="ltr">Mayor de Blasio spoke with Errol Louis on NY1's Inside City Hall on Wednesday to <a href="http://www.ny1.com/nyc/all-boroughs/politics/2015/12/9/ny1-online--tonight-on-inside-city-hall-an-exclusive-interview-with-mayor-de-blasio.html" target="_blank">discuss</a> his first two years in office, and spoke about the city’s homelessness crisis, his affordable housing plan, and more.</p> <p dir="ltr">An in-depth report by ProPublica’s Marcelo Rochabrun and Cezary Podkul <a href="https://www.propublica.org/article/tenants-take-hit-as-ny-fails-to-police-huge-housing-tax-break" target="_blank">reveals</a> that city and state regulators stood by as developer Two Trees Management disregarded laws requiring rent stabilization in exchange for the large property tax break it received.</p> <p dir="ltr">Politico New York’s Bill Hammond <a href="http://www.capitalnewyork.com/article/albany/2015/12/8584822/cuomo-answers-silver-verdict-excuses-not-action" target="_blank">writes</a> that Cuomo is making excuses about not doing anything to stop Albany’s ongoing culture of corruption, and argues that there are many glaring weaknesses left in New York’s anti-corruption laws.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><em>***<br />NOTE TO READERS: we hope you enjoy this new Gotham Gazette weekly feature - please share it if you do; on Twitter, use our handle&nbsp;<a href="https://twitter.com/GothamGazette" target="_blank">@GothamGazette</a>.</em></p> <p><em>If you have feedback on this feature for us, you can email editor Ben Max:&nbsp;<a href="mailto:bmax@gothamgazette.com"></a><a href="mailto:bmax@gothamgazette.com"></a><a href="mailto:bmax@gothamgazette.com"></a><a href="mailto:bmax@gothamgazette.com">bmax@gothamgazette.com</a></em></p> <p><em>Watch Sunday evening for our latest Week Ahead in New York Politics, which gives you a preview of key issues and events to be aware of for the week about to start. In the meantime, catch up on&nbsp;<a href="http://www.gothamgazette.com/index.php/government" target="_blank">the latest original reporting from Gotham Gazette here</a>. And have a great weekend!</em></p> <p><em>***</em><br />by Meg O'Connor and Ben Max</p> <p><img src="http://www.gothamgazette.com/images/graphics/2014/03/week_in_review_bus_readers.jpg" alt="week in review bus readers" width="600" height="409" /></p> <p><span style="font-size: 10pt;"><a href="http://blog.mcny.org/2012/04/24/a-ride-on-the-subway-in-1946-with-stanley-kubrick/" target="_blank">photo</a>: Stanley Kubrick via Museum of the City of New York</span></p> <hr /> <p>Gotham Gazette's Week in Review, Friday&nbsp;</p> <p><strong>PHOTO OF THE WEEK:&nbsp;</strong>Mayor de Blasio signs legislation creating the city's new Department of Veterans' Services, <a href="https://twitter.com/NYMetroVets/status/675034850584354817" target="_blank">via Joe Bello, @NYMetroVets</a></p> <p><img src="http://www.gothamgazette.com/images/BdB_vets_joe_bellow.jpg" alt="BdB vets joe bello" style="display: block; margin-left: auto; margin-right: auto;" width="400" height="533" /></p> <p><strong>TOP FIVE STORIES OF THE WEEK:</strong></p> <p dir="ltr"><strong>1. Skelos Guilty: </strong>Former state Senate Majority Leader Dean Skelos and his son, Adam Skelos were <a href="http://www.nydailynews.com/new-york/dean-skelos-son-guilty-corruption-case-article-1.2463065?utm_content=bufferd658c&amp;utm_medium=social&amp;utm_source=twitter.com&amp;utm_campaign=NYDailyNewsTw" target="_blank">found guilty on eight counts Friday</a>. They will be sentenced in March. [Read: <a href="http://www.gothamgazette.com/index.php/government/6029-tenant-activists-trace-road-to-corruption-trials-eye-elusive-reform" target="_blank">Tenant Activists Trace Road to Corruption Trials, Eye Elusive Reform</a>]</p> <p dir="ltr"><strong>2. Security Guards for Private Schools:</strong> On <a href="http://www.capitalnewyork.com/article/city-hall/2015/12/8584893/amid-opposition-council-approves-security-guards-private-schools" target="_blank">Monday</a>, the City Council passed a controversial bill to provide public funding to private and religious schools to pay for security guards. $19.8 million will be <a href="http://www.wnyc.org/story/city-council-approve-security-guards-private-schools/" target="_blank">spent</a> to place at least one security guard at every private school in New York City with at least 300 students that wants one. Mayor Bill de Blasio is expected to sign the bill into law.</p> <p dir="ltr"><strong>3. Cuomo’s Common Core Overhaul:</strong> A task force created by Governor Andrew Cuomo issued a <a href="http://www.nytimes.com/2015/12/11/nyregion/cuomo-task-force-signals-further-retreat-from-common-core-school-standards.html?ribbon-ad-idx=5&amp;rref=nyregion&amp;module=Ribbon&amp;version=origin&amp;region=Header&amp;action=click&amp;contentCollection=New%20York&amp;pgtype=article" target="_blank">report</a> Thursday which found that the state made a number of <a href="http://www.buffalonews.com/city-region/state-task-force-finds-common-core-needing-reforms-20151210" target="_blank">mistakes</a> in its implementation of Common Core learning standards and recommended reducing the tendency to “teach to a test,” giving shorter tests, and not linking test results to teacher evaluations until the 2018-2019 school year.</p> <p dir="ltr"><strong>4. Housing Developments:</strong> The Staten Island Borough Board became the fifth to vote against Mayor de Blasio’s zoning amendment proposals on <a href="http://www.capitalnewyork.com/article/city-hall/2015/12/8585339/de-blasio-defends-his-housing-plan-staten-island-votes-it-down?top-featured-1" target="_blank">Thursday</a>, adding to the significant <a href="http://www.capitalnewyork.com/article/city-hall/2015/12/8584435/de-blasio-official-defends-zoning-proposals-against-citywide-criti" target="_blank">criticism</a> the plan has received from community and borough boards. Creating more affordable housing is a signature issue for the mayor determined to make New York City more equal, and de Blasio's administration is now prepared to <a href="http://www.nytimes.com/2015/12/11/nyregion/mayor-de-blasio-seeks-to-rebuild-momentum-for-affordable-housing-plan.html" target="_blank">devise a new strategy </a>to regain momentum and secure support for a plan they believe has been poorly understood. On Thursday, AARP <a href="http://www.nytimes.com/2015/12/11/nyregion/mayor-de-blasio-seeks-to-rebuild-momentum-for-affordable-housing-plan.html" target="_blank">endorsed</a> the mayor’s plans (it has 750,000 members in New York City), adding to two significant union endorsements the plans have recently received. [Read: <a href="http://www.gothamgazette.com/index.php/government/6007-mayor-and-speaker-rezoning-plans-will-change-before-council-vote" target="_blank">Mayor &amp; Speaker: Rezoning Plans Will Change Before Council Vote</a> &amp; <a href="http://www.gothamgazette.com/index.php/government/6027-next-steps-for-the-mayors-controversial-zoning-proposals" target="_blank">Next Steps for the Mayor’s Controversial Zoning Proposals</a>]</p> <p dir="ltr"><strong>5. Public Housing Problem:</strong> A New York City Department of Investigation <a href="http://www.nyc.gov/html/doi/downloads/pdf/2015/Dec15/pr41nycha_nypd_mou_120815.pdf" target="_blank">report</a> found that the NYPD’s “systematic failure” to communicate required information to the city’s public housing authority, NYCHA, is partially responsible for the disproportionately high crime rates that have plagued public housing projects. In response to the report, the NYPD will <a href="http://www.dnainfo.com/new-york/20151208/midtown/nypd-failed-share-violent-crime-info-with-public-housing-officials-doi" target="_blank">create</a> an interactive database to improve information sharing about criminal activity in public housing with NYCHA officials.</p> <p><strong>THIS WEEK'S NUMBERS:</strong></p> <ul> <li dir="ltr"><strong>4,000-plus</strong>&nbsp;inmates are currently in solitary confinement in New York, despite vows by officials to limit its use, the&nbsp;<a href="http://www.nydailynews.com/new-york/state-inmates-solitary-confinement-surpass-4-000-article-1.2456485" target="_blank">Daily News</a>&nbsp;reports.</li> <li dir="ltr"><strong>4,747</strong> stop-and-frisks were recorded in New York City in July, August, and September - the lowest quarter since the numbers were first released in 2002, according to <a href="http://www.nydailynews.com/new-york/nyc-crime/exclusive-nypd-stop-and-frisk-drops-record-article-1.2459465" target="_blank">NYPD statistics</a>.</li> <li dir="ltr"><strong>93%</strong> decrease in the number of stop-and-frisks between 2011 and 2014, according to a <a href="http://www.nyclu.org/news/stop-and-frisk-down-safety-nyclu-data-analysis" target="_blank">report</a> released by the New York Civil Liberties Union.</li> <li dir="ltr"><strong>797</strong> fatal drug overdoses were recorded by the city Health Department in 2014, the most since 2006, the <a href="http://nypost.com/2015/12/07/drug-overdoses-killed-nearly-800-people-last-year/" target="_blank">New York Post</a> reports.</li> <li dir="ltr"><strong>20%</strong> increase in annual state spending for nonprofits is needed in order to fund a $15 per hour wage floor for nonprofit human services workers, according to a <a href="http://fiscalpolicy.org/wp-content/uploads/2015/12/15andFunding-Report-Dec2015.pdf" target="_blank">report</a> released by the Federation of Protestant Welfare Agencies, Fiscal Policy Institute and the Human Services Council.</li> <li dir="ltr"><strong>75%</strong> of incidents the FDNY responded to in 2014 were medical-related calls, and only 5% were fire-related, though a vast majority of the FDNY's resources are devoted to staffing fire units, according to a <a href="http://www.cbcny.org/sites/default/files/REPORT_FDNY_12092015.pdf" target="_blank">report</a> from the Citizens Budget Commission.</li> <li dir="ltr"><strong>$12 million</strong> will be added to the city’s budget to increase job training programs for homeless individuals in the shelter system in 31 shelters across the 5 boroughs, the <a href="http://www.nydailynews.com/new-york/exclusive-nyc-boosting-job-homeless-article-1.2460622" target="_blank">Daily News</a> reports.</li> <li><strong>6,217,621</strong> people rode the subways on October 29, 2015, according to the <a href="http://polhudson.lohudblogs.com/2015/12/10/straphanger-alert-subway-ridership-hit-record-high/" target="_blank">Metropolitan Transportation Authority</a> - about 50,000 more than the previous record reached last year.</li> </ul> <p><strong>THE GLORY AND THE GOAT:</strong></p> <p dir="ltr"><strong>It was a good week for</strong> supporters of raising the minimum wage, as a state appeals board <a href="http://bigstory.ap.org/article/06e14feee9d749d0ad1345a8f973a293/ny-board-upholds-15-minimum-wage-fast-food-workers" target="_blank">upheld</a> Governor Cuomo’s planned increase to a $15 per hour minimum wage for fast food workers, disputing arguments that certain factors weren’t adequately analyzed before making the decision to raise the wage.</p> <p dir="ltr"><strong>It was a bad week for</strong> Anthony Mangone, a former attorney whose cooperation aided in the conviction of three New York state senators, who was <a href="http://www.nytimes.com/2015/12/08/nyregion/prison-term-for-lawyer-who-cooperated-in-graft-cases.html?ref=nyregion&amp;_r=0" target="_blank">sentenced to 18 months</a> behind bars this week after a judge said the “dirty lawyer” had committed crimes too serious to escape incarceration.</p> <p><strong>THE FLASH:</strong></p> <p dir="ltr"><strong>Around this time 40 years ago</strong>, on December 9, 1975, President Gerald Ford <a href="http://www.ford.utexas.edu/library/document/factbook/chronolo.htm" target="_blank">signed</a> a $2.3 billion seasonal loan authorization to prevent New York City from having to default.</p> <p dir="ltr"><strong>Around this time 74 years ago</strong>, on December 7, 1941, in the panic that ensued after the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor, Japanese nationals living in New York were <a href="http://www.inconvenienthistory.com/archive/2012/volume_4/number_3/imprisoned_at_ellis_island.php" target="_blank">rounded up by FBI agents</a> and held on Ellis Island. They were later transferred to internment camps for the remainder of the war.</p> <p dir="ltr"><strong>Around this time 22 years ago</strong>, on December 7, 1993, Colin Ferguson opened fire on a Long Island Rail Road train, <a href="https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Long_Island_Rail_Road_massacre" target="_blank">killing six passengers</a> and wounding 19 others. Days later, a New York Times <a href="http://www.nytimes.com/1993/12/10/opinion/mass-murder-on-the-5-33.html" target="_blank">editorial</a> called for stronger gun control laws in response to the murders, pointing to the ease with which Ferguson obtained a handgun in California, which had one of the country's stricter gun laws at the time.</p> <p><strong>GOTHAM GAZETTE HIGHLIGHTS OF THE WEEK:</strong></p> <p dir="ltr"><a href="http://www.gothamgazette.com/index.php/government/6024-resignation-highlights-city-council-gender-imbalance">Resignation Highlights City Council Gender Imbalance</a>, by Ben Max</p> <p dir="ltr"><a href="http://citizensunion.us3.list-manage1.com/track/click?u=ca0fb41d668202ba6cc542ca8&amp;id=9a1853ad0f&amp;e=e35a0ce952">Cuomo Urged to Sign Executive Transparency Bills Before Looming Deadline</a>, by David Howard King</p> <p dir="ltr"><a href="http://www.gothamgazette.com/index.php/government/6027-next-steps-for-the-mayors-controversial-zoning-proposals">Next Steps for The Mayor's Controversial Zoning Proposals</a>, Christian Zhang</p> <p dir="ltr"><a href="http://www.gothamgazette.com/index.php/government/6029-tenant-activists-trace-road-to-corruption-trials-eye-elusive-reform">Tenant Activists Trace Road to Corruption Trials, Eye Elusive Reform</a>, by David Howard King</p> <p dir="ltr"><a href="http://www.gothamgazette.com/index.php/government/6025-little-known-commission-expands-access-to-city-government">Little-Known Commission Expands Access to City Government</a>, by Meg O’Connor</p> <p dir="ltr"><a href="http://citizensunion.us3.list-manage.com/track/click?u=ca0fb41d668202ba6cc542ca8&amp;id=5906c8d289&amp;e=e35a0ce952">Hearing to Examine ‘Efficacy’ of City Response to ‘Homelessness Crisis’</a>, by Ryan Brady</p> <p dir="ltr"><a href="http://www.gothamgazette.com/index.php/opinion/6028-in-zoning-amendment-one-size-does-not-fit-all">In Zoning Amendment, One Size Does Not Fit All</a>, by Council Member Donovan Richards (opinion)</p> <p dir="ltr"><a href="http://www.gothamgazette.com/index.php/opinion/6023-harmful-legal-reform-is-not-an-ethics-solution">Harmful Legal Reform Is Not an Ethics Solution</a>, by Joanne Doroshow (opinion)</p> <p dir="ltr"><a href="http://www.gothamgazette.com/index.php/opinion/6026-give-police-tools-to-reduce-arrest-and-improve-community-health">Give Police Tools to Reduce Arrest and Improve Community Health</a>, by Chelsea Davis (opinion)</p> <p dir="ltr"><a href="http://www.gothamgazette.com/index.php/opinion/6030-public-money-is-for-public-schools">Public Money Is For Public Schools</a>, by Ayishah Irvin (opinion)</p> <p><strong>MORE FOR THE WEEKEND:</strong></p> <p dir="ltr">Mayor de Blasio spoke with Errol Louis on NY1's Inside City Hall on Wednesday to <a href="http://www.ny1.com/nyc/all-boroughs/politics/2015/12/9/ny1-online--tonight-on-inside-city-hall-an-exclusive-interview-with-mayor-de-blasio.html" target="_blank">discuss</a> his first two years in office, and spoke about the city’s homelessness crisis, his affordable housing plan, and more.</p> <p dir="ltr">An in-depth report by ProPublica’s Marcelo Rochabrun and Cezary Podkul <a href="https://www.propublica.org/article/tenants-take-hit-as-ny-fails-to-police-huge-housing-tax-break" target="_blank">reveals</a> that city and state regulators stood by as developer Two Trees Management disregarded laws requiring rent stabilization in exchange for the large property tax break it received.</p> <p dir="ltr">Politico New York’s Bill Hammond <a href="http://www.capitalnewyork.com/article/albany/2015/12/8584822/cuomo-answers-silver-verdict-excuses-not-action" target="_blank">writes</a> that Cuomo is making excuses about not doing anything to stop Albany’s ongoing culture of corruption, and argues that there are many glaring weaknesses left in New York’s anti-corruption laws.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><em>***<br />NOTE TO READERS: we hope you enjoy this new Gotham Gazette weekly feature - please share it if you do; on Twitter, use our handle&nbsp;<a href="https://twitter.com/GothamGazette" target="_blank">@GothamGazette</a>.</em></p> <p><em>If you have feedback on this feature for us, you can email editor Ben Max:&nbsp;<a href="mailto:bmax@gothamgazette.com"></a><a href="mailto:bmax@gothamgazette.com"></a><a href="mailto:bmax@gothamgazette.com"></a><a href="mailto:bmax@gothamgazette.com">bmax@gothamgazette.com</a></em></p> <p><em>Watch Sunday evening for our latest Week Ahead in New York Politics, which gives you a preview of key issues and events to be aware of for the week about to start. In the meantime, catch up on&nbsp;<a href="http://www.gothamgazette.com/index.php/government" target="_blank">the latest original reporting from Gotham Gazette here</a>. And have a great weekend!</em></p> <p><em>***</em><br />by Meg O'Connor and Ben Max</p> The Week Ahead in New York Politics, October 19 2015-10-18T05:00:00+00:00 2015-10-18T05:00:00+00:00 http://www.gothamgazette.com/?id=5938:the-week-ahead-in-new-york-politics-october19 Super User <p><img src="http://www.gothamgazette.com/images/graphics/2014/03/640px-New_York_City_Hall.jpg" alt="New York City Hall" width="600" height="450" /></p> <p><span style="font-size: 10pt;">New York City Hall</span></p> <hr /> <p><strong>What to watch for this week in New York politics:</strong></p> <p>Mayor Bill de Blasio was in Israel over the weekend, where he spoke at the Annual Conference of Mayors, met with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, visited recent terror attack victims, and made several other stops, including at the Western Wall and at a school educating a diverse student population. De Blasio spoke against a new wave of anti-Semitism and <a href="http://m.nydailynews.com/new-york/jerusalem-speech-mayor-de-blasio-decries-anti-semitism-article-1.2401818?cid=bitly" target="_blank">called for a "broken-windows" approach</a> to combatting hate.</p> <p>De Blasio is flying back to New York Sunday evening, he has no public events scheduled Monday.</p> <p>Coming up this week, <a href="http://www.gothamgazette.com/index.php/government/5935-the-mayors-media-blitz-de-blasio" target="_blank">the 'new' Bill de Blasio</a> will continue to show, with the mayor <a href="http://m.apnews.com/ap/db_268748/contentdetail.htm?contentguid=DwMmJjEm" target="_blank">set to hold</a> a joint press event with his predecessor, Michael Bloomberg, on Wednesday. De Blasio and Bloomberg have appeared together several times since de Blasio came into office, but have not held a joint event, as they will for the planting of the millionth tree in the "Million Trees NYC" program launched by Bloomberg in 2007.</p> <p>As always, there's a great deal happening&nbsp;all over the city, with many events to be aware of - read our day-by-day rundown below.</p> <p style="text-align: center;"><em>***Do you have events or topics for us to include in an upcoming Week Ahead in New York Politics?</em><br /><em>E-mail Gotham Gazette editor Ben Max:&nbsp;<a href="mailto:bmax@gothamgazette.com"></a><a href="mailto:bmax@gothamgazette.com"></a><a href="mailto:bmax@gothamgazette.com"></a><a href="mailto:bmax@gothamgazette.com"></a><a href="mailto:bmax@gothamgazette.com"></a><a href="mailto:bmax@gothamgazette.com"></a><a href="mailto:bmax@gothamgazette.com"></a><a href="mailto:bmax@gothamgazette.com"></a><a href="mailto:bmax@gothamgazette.com"></a><a href="mailto:bmax@gothamgazette.com"></a><a href="mailto:bmax@gothamgazette.com"></a><a href="mailto:bmax@gothamgazette.com"></a><a href="mailto:bmax@gothamgazette.com"></a><a href="mailto:bmax@gothamgazette.com"></a><a href="mailto:bmax@gothamgazette.com"></a><a href="mailto:bmax@gothamgazette.com"></a><a href="mailto:bmax@gothamgazette.com"></a><a href="mailto:bmax@gothamgazette.com"></a><a href="mailto:bmax@gothamgazette.com"></a><a href="mailto:bmax@gothamgazette.com"></a><a href="mailto:bmax@gothamgazette.com">bmax@gothamgazette.com</a>***</em></p> <p><strong>The run of the week in detail:</strong></p> <p><strong>Monday<br /></strong>On Monday, starting at 8:30 a.m., the City Council Progressive Caucus and allies are holding a conference to discuss progressive public policies and legislative priorities aimed at inequality and improving communities. Keynote will be given by City Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito, with panel discussions on defending workers' rights, expanding and modernizing democracy, moving toward a greener city, and community safety and empowerment.</p> <p dir="ltr">Afterward, at noon outside of SEIU 32BJ headquarters, Progressive Caucus Members and allies will “rally on their legislative priorities aimed at offering genuine opportunity to all New Yorkers, especially those who have been left out of our society’s prosperity.” Caucus Co-Chairs Donovan Richards and Antonio Reynoso, Vice-Chairs Helen Rosenthal and Ben Kallos, and other caucus members will be joined by “event sponsors Local Progress and Working Families Organization and advocates from SEIU 32BJ, VOCAL NY, Communities united for Police Reform, Bag It NYC, Streetwise and Safe and BRT for NYC.”</p> <p dir="ltr">At 8:30 a.m. Monday, <a href="http://www.gothamgazette.com/#sthash.fxiimyMW.dpbs" target="_blank">Black Live Matter / Fight for $15: A New Social Movement</a>, a discussion on the convergence of the two movements and the chances of them sowing the seeds “for a broader social and economic justice movement” - featuring Alicia Garza of Black Lives Matter and Domestic Workers Alliance; Jelani Cobb, Journalist &amp; Professor at UConn; Hillman Judge; and Kendall Fells, SEIU / Fight For $15. &nbsp;</p> <p dir="ltr">On Monday morning’s The Brian Lehrer Show on WNYC, City Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito will appear in one segment, discussing several topics, and Queens state Senator Michael Gianaris will appear in another to discuss his bail elimination proposal.</p> <p dir="ltr">At the&nbsp;<a href="http://legistar.council.nyc.gov/Calendar.aspx" target="_blank">City Council</a>&nbsp;on Monday:</p> <ul> <li dir="ltr">At 10 a.m. the Committee on Immigration will hold a joint oversight meeting with the Committee on Courts and Legal Services to evaluate Attorney Compliances with Padilla vs. Kentucky and court obstacles for immigrants in Criminal and Summons Courts.</li> <li dir="ltr">At 1 p.m. the Committee on Civil Rights will meet to hear several new bills related to protecting against discrimination; clarifying that any “person providing goods, services or accommodations” as stated in the Human Rights Law also includes government bodies; forbid any accommodation provider from discriminating based on income source; and make it unlawful for anyone who provides housing to refuse it to a person based the perception that the person is a victim of domestic abuse or violence.&nbsp;</li> </ul> <p dir="ltr">On Monday at 1:30 p.m. in Niagra Falls,&nbsp;Attorney General Eric Schneiderman "will discuss steps his office is taking with local officials to combat the use of designer drugs."</p> <p dir="ltr">At 5:30 p.m., New York City Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito, together with the Black, Latino and Asian Caucus of the Council will host a <a href="https://twitter.com/IDaneekMiller/status/653948332172161024" target="_blank">Hispanic Heritage Month Celebration</a>.</p> <p dir="ltr">Also at 5:30 p.m. Monday, Queens Borough President Melinda Katz will hold a Borough Board <a href="http://queensbp.org/event/queens-borough-board-meeting-2-4-3-2-3-2/?instance_id=1283" target="_blank">meeting </a>to hear details from the Department of City Planning (DCP) on the “Zoning for Quality and Affordability” and “Mandatory Inclusionary Housing” proposed zoning text amendments.</p> <p dir="ltr">At 6:30 p.m., &nbsp;Sanctuary for Families’ <a href="https://www.sanctuaryforfamilies.org/event/above-and-beyond/" target="_blank">13th Annual Above &amp; Beyond Pro Bono Achievement Awards &amp; Benefit</a>&nbsp;will be honoring Rosemonde Pierre-Louis, Senior Advisor on Gender Equity and&nbsp;former Commissioner of the Mayor’s Office to Combat Domestic Violence, and others.</p> <p dir="ltr">On Monday evening, Speaker Mark-Viverito will attend&nbsp;"the Little Sisters of the Assumption Family Health Services Gala."</p> <p dir="ltr">Monday’s City Council Participatory Budgeting <a href="http://council.nyc.gov/html/pb/events.shtml" target="_blank">events</a>:</p> <ul> <li dir="ltr">Mark Treyger (District 47, Brooklyn) 6 p.m.</li> <li dir="ltr">Steve Levin (District 33, Brooklyn) 6:30 p.m.</li> </ul> <p><strong>Tuesday<br /></strong>On Tuesday at 9 a.m., on the third anniversary of Hurricane Sandy, the Center for New York City Affairs at Milano School of International Affairs will hold a panel titled <a href="https://www.eventbrite.com/e/hurricane-sandy-3-building-resilient-neighborhoods-tickets-18611697087" target="_blank">Hurricane Sandy +3: Building Resilient Neighborhoods</a>. Conversation will focus on the state of the post-storm infrastructure in the areas where the storm hit hardest. The panel will include Daniel A. Zarrilli, director of the Mayor’s Office of Recovery and Resiliency; Joel Towers, executive dean, Parsons School of Design at the New School; Klaus Jacob, special research scientist at the Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory; Onleilove Alston, executive director of Faith in New York; Hugh Hogan, executive director of the North Star Fund;Shermane Margaret Stewart-Lester, lay leader at St. Mary Star of the Sea Church in Far Rockaway.</p> <p dir="ltr">At 9:30 a.m. Tuesday Queens Borough President Melinda Katz will hold a <a href="http://queensbp.org/event/queens-borough-cabinet-meeting-2-2-3-2-2-2/?instance_id=1281" target="_blank">Borough Cabinet Meeting</a>.</p> <p dir="ltr">At the&nbsp;<a href="http://legistar.council.nyc.gov/Calendar.aspx" target="_blank">City Council</a>&nbsp;on Tuesday:</p> <ul> <li dir="ltr">At 9:30 a.m. the Subcommittee on Zoning and Franchises will meet to discuss land use applications.</li> <li dir="ltr">At 1 p.m. the Subcommittee on Planning, Dispositions and Concessions will meet to discuss land use applications.</li> </ul> <p dir="ltr">At the&nbsp;<a href="http://assembly.state.ny.us/leg/?sh=hear" target="_blank">New York State Assembly</a>&nbsp;on Tuesday: at 10 a.m. the Assembly Standing Committee on Mental Health and Developmental Disabilities will convene for a public hearing on “The Adequacy of Supports and Services for Individuals with Developmental Disabilities.”</p> <p dir="ltr">On Tuesday, Public Advocate Letitia James&nbsp;chairs COPIC Commission meeting at Borough of Manhattan Community College (stream: http://livestream.com/BMCCMedia/events/4439178) at 10 a.m. Then, at 11:15, she is a panelist at "NASP's "The State of WMBE's Doing Business in NYS: From the Legislative Perspective" and at 6 p.m. she hosts "Staten Island Clergy Council Education Forum."</p> <p dir="ltr">At 11:15 a.m. Monday near Stuyvesant Town,&nbsp;Mayor de Blasio and "local elected officials and tenant leaders from Stuyvesant Town-Peter Cooper Village will hold a media availability" about the imminent sale of the property.</p> <p dir="ltr">On Tuesday at 1:15 p.m. from the 25th Police Precinct at 120 East 119th Street,&nbsp;"Mayor de Blasio – alongside Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito and Police Commissioner Bill Bratton – will sign Intro. 917-A, criminalizing the manufacture, possession with intent to sell, and sale of synthetic cannabinoids and synthetic phenethylamines; Intro. 897, allowing the City to apply public nuisance regulations to violations of the new criminal provision barring the sale of K2; and Intro. 885-A, allowing the city to revoke, suspend or refuse to renew a cigarette dealer license due to the sale of synthetic drugs or imitation synthetic drugs...After, the Mayor will appear live on Power 105.1 with Angie Martinez to discuss the K-2 legislation."</p> <p dir="ltr">At 4 p.m. Mark-Viverito will host a press conference "to celebrate $1.2 Million in funding for STARS Afterschool Initiative with Finance Committee Chair Julissa Ferreras-Copeland at P.S. 50 on 100th Street in Manhattan. Then, at 8 p.m., Mark-Viverito will host "#SheWillBe Twitter Party to Discuss the City Council's First In The Nation Young Women's Initiative...Join the conversation on Twitter by using the hashtag #SheWillBe."</p> <p dir="ltr">At 5:30 p.m. Tuesday Community Voices Heard will hold a rally titled “<a href="http://www.cvhaction.org/events/march-on-the-mayor-stop-privatization-start-funding-nycha" target="_blank">March on the Mayor: Stop Privatization, Start Funding NYCHA</a>.” The demonstration will demand a stop to increasing privatization and an increase in funding for the New York City Housing Authority by $2 billion starting this year.</p> <p dir="ltr">At 6 p.m. the Brooklyn Historical Society will host <a href="https://www.eventbrite.com/e/life-after-surveillance-in-bay-ridges-muslim-community-tickets-17898679432?utm_campaign=a1f9c65cf9-October+Programs+Week+2+(10132015)&amp;utm_term=0_556fa60cc0-a1f9c65cf9-[LIST_EMAIL_ID]&amp;utm_source=Brooklyn+Historical+Society+E-Newsletter&amp;utm_medium=email&amp;mc_eid=[UNIQID]&amp;mc_cid=a1f9c65cf9&amp;ct=t(October+Programs+Week+2+(10132015))" target="_blank">Life After Surveillance in Bay Ridge’s Muslim Community</a>, a discussion about the post-9/11 surveillance in Bay Ridge and how this surveillance sowed seeds of distrust in the neighbourhood. Panelists include moderator Jarrett Murphy, Executive Editor of City Limits; Linda Sarsour, Executive Director of the Arab American Association of New York; Moustafa Bayoumi; award-winning writer, and Professor of English at Brooklyn College, City University of New York; and Dr. Ahmad Jaber, an OB/GYN at the Lutheran Medical Center in Bay Ridge and a Muslim religious educator.</p> <p dir="ltr">Tuesday "evening, the Mayor and First Lady Chirlane McCray will host the Gracie Gala Dinner," according to de Blasio's public schedule.&nbsp;The Gracie Mansion Conservancy will hold an <a href="http://www1.nyc.gov/office-of-the-mayor/news/717-15/gracie-mansion-conservancy-public-re-opening-gracie-mansion-art-additions-and" target="_blank">invitation only fundraiser</a> to celebrate the grand re-opening of Gracie Mansion after recent repairs. The fundraiser will feature the mansion’s new art installation, Windows on the City: Looking Out at Gracie’s New York, curated with help of the Museum of the City of New York, the New York Historical Society, Brooklyn College, Brooklyn Museum, and the Metropolitan Museum of Art.</p> <p dir="ltr">At 7 p.m. Tuesday, Governor Cuomo will&nbsp;attend "the Nassau County Democratic Committee Annual Fall Dinner."</p> <p dir="ltr">Tuesday’s City Council Participatory Budgeting <a href="http://council.nyc.gov/html/pb/events.shtml" target="_blank">events</a>:</p> <ul> <li dir="ltr">Jimmy Van Bramer (District 26, Queens) 6 p.m.</li> <li dir="ltr">Eric Ulrich (District 32, Queens) 7 p.m.</li> </ul> <p><strong>Wednesday<br /></strong>On Wednesday in the Bronx: Mayor de Blasio and his predecessor, former Mayor Michael Bloomberg, will <a href="http://m.apnews.com/ap/db_268748/contentdetail.htm?contentguid=DwMmJjEm" target="_blank">meet</a> to plant the millionth tree in the Million Trees NYC program, a Bloomberg initiative begun in 2007.</p> <p dir="ltr">On Wednesday at 8:30 a.m. Comptroller Scott Stringer will hold a “<a href="https://twitter.com/scottmstringer/status/652511684121202688" target="_blank">Queens Hearing for Business Owners and Entrepreneurs</a>.” The event is the next installment of the Comptroller’s “Red Tape Commision Hearings” dedicated to listening to ideas and suggestion that would make it easier for entrepreneurs and business owners to grow their businesses, while partnering with the government. The event will bring together Borough President Melinda Katz; Queens Chamber of Commerce; Queens Economic Development Corporation; the Queens Tribune; and co-chairs of the Red Tape Commission Jessica Lappin and Michael Lambert.</p> <p dir="ltr">Also at 8:30 a.m. Wednesday, former NYPD Commissioner Ray Kelly will headline a Fordham University event “<a href="http://www.alumni.fordham.edu/calendar/detail.aspx?ID=4266" target="_blank">Governance in New York City: The Bloomberg Years</a>.”</p> <p dir="ltr">At the&nbsp;<a href="http://assembly.state.ny.us/leg/?sh=hear" target="_blank">New York State Legislature</a>&nbsp;on Wednesday:</p> <ul> <li dir="ltr">At 10 a.m. the Committee on Consumer Affairs and Protection and the Committee on Aging and the Subcommittee on Consumer Fraud Protection will hold a joint public hearing on “State resource funding to protect consumers, including seniors, from frauds and scams.”</li> <li dir="ltr">At 11 a.m. the Senate Task Force on Workforce Development will convene for a public meeting “To&nbsp;examine initiatives and determine best practices for job skill training and re-training programs, and provide recommendations to foster workforce development in New York State.”</li> <li dir="ltr">At 12:30 p.m. the Assembly Standing Committee on Mental Health and Developmental Disabilities will hold a public hearing regarding the “Transition of Behavioral Health Supports and Services into Managed Care.”</li> </ul> <p dir="ltr">At 6 p.m. Wednesday, Harry Siegel of The New York Daily News and Heather Mac Donald of the Manhattan Institute will try to answer the question, “<a href="http://www.sfc.edu/pagecalpop.cfm?p=357&amp;verbose=284093" target="_blank">Is The NYPD Doing Its Job?</a>” The discussion will be moderated by social critic Kay S. Hymowitz, author of Manning Up: How the Rise of Women Has Turned Men into Boys, and will explore the new tracking system aimed at reducing police brutality and assess Commissioner Bratton’s effort to implement the program.</p> <p dir="ltr">At 6:30 p.m. Wednesday, City Council Members Ydanis Rodriguez and Mark Levine will host the event <a href="https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=1673652976254484" target="_blank">"Jewish Poverty in New York City"</a> along with a group of civic organizations including YM &amp; YWHA of Washington Heights and Inwood, the Russian-speaking Community Council of Manhattan and the Bronx, Jews for Racial and Economic Justice, the Fort Tyron Jewish Center, the Jewish Community Council of Washington Heights-Inwood, the Hebrew Tabernacle, and The Workmen’s Circle.</p> <p dir="ltr">Also at 6:30 p.m., City &amp; State NY will be host its 2015 <a href="https://www.eventbrite.com/e/city-state-new-york-city-rising-stars-40-under-40-tickets-18745852349?aff=erelexpsim" target="_blank">New York City Rising Stars: 40 Under 40</a> celebration. The list features stars in government, advocacy, labor, and consulting.</p> <p dir="ltr">At 7 p.m. the Department of Education, the School Construction Authority, elected officials, and parents will meet for “<a href="http://ps10.org/wp-content/uploads/2015/09/Over-Crowding.pdf" target="_blank">Let’s Talk About Overcrowding</a>.” The event will focus on the issue of overcrowding in public schools in Cobble Hill and Caroll Gardens, in addition to addressing several other school-related issues. State Senator Daniel Squadron, State Assemblymember Jo Anne Simon, State Senator Velmanette Montgomery, City Councilmember Brad Lander, City Councilmember Steve Levin, and others will participate.</p> <p dir="ltr">At 3:30 Wednesday in Manhattan, Families for Excellent Schools is planning to hold another <a href="http://www.capitalnewyork.com/article/city-hall/2015/10/8579681/shifting-focus-unions-charter-group-plans-teacher-rally" target="_blank">rally</a> to support charter schools, this time featuring charter school teachers, about 1,000 of whom are expected to rally.</p> <p dir="ltr">Wednesday’s City Council Participatory Budgeting <a href="http://council.nyc.gov/html/pb/events.shtml" target="_blank">event</a> is via CM Mark Levine (District 7, Manhattan) 6 p.m.</p> <p><strong>Thursday<br /></strong>At 8 a.m. Thursday, <a href="http://www.summit.mas.org/why-attend/" target="_blank">The Sixth Annual MAS Summit for New York City</a> will commence. The Municipal Art Society summit will run through Friday evening and include two days of networking opportunities and one hundred speakers. Notable presenters include: Commissioner Vicki Been, of the NYC Department of Housing Preservation and Development; Commissioner Tom Finkelpearl, of the NYC Department of Cultural Affairs; Alicia Glen, Deputy Mayor for Housing and Economic Development; New York State Senator Chuck Schumer; Purnima Kapur, Executive Director for the Department of City Planning; and many more to speak about “The City We Want.”</p> <p dir="ltr">Thursday at 10:30 a.m. Borough President Melinda Katz will hold a <a href="http://queensbp.org/event/queens-borough-presidents-land-use-hearing-2-2-2-2-3-2-2-2-2-2-2-2/?instance_id=1328" target="_blank">Land Use Hearing</a>.</p> <p dir="ltr">At the&nbsp;<a href="http://legistar.council.nyc.gov/Calendar.aspx" target="_blank">City Council</a>&nbsp;Thursday:</p> <ul> <li dir="ltr">At 10 a.m. the Committee on Finance will meet to discuss the extension of credit against the unincorporated business tax and the general corporation tax.</li> <li dir="ltr">At 10 a.m. the Committee on Transportation will meet to hear several bills related to the TLC and commuter vans..</li> <li dir="ltr">At 11 a.m. the Committee on Land Use will meet, with agenda TBA.</li> <li dir="ltr">At 1 p.m. the Committee on Mental Health, Developmental Disability, Alcoholism, Substance Abuse and Disability Services will hold a hearing on new accessibility-related bills.</li> <li dir="ltr">At 1 p.m. the Committee on Recovery and Resiliency will meet for oversight on coastal storm resiliency in the city two year after the SIRR report.</li> <li dir="ltr">At 1 p.m. the Committee on Economic Development will meet on bills that would require the NYCEDC to submit annual job creation reports to community planning boards; require SBS to collect data on gender and racial diversity among “executive level employees” in city contractor companies.</li> </ul> <p dir="ltr">At the&nbsp;<a href="http://assembly.state.ny.us/leg/?sh=hear" target="_blank">New York State Assembly</a>&nbsp;Thursday, a “Budget oversight hearing for the Assembly Standing Committees on Local Governments and Cities.”</p> <p dir="ltr">At 6:30 p.m. Thursday, Public Agenda will hold “<a href="http://www.publicagenda.org/blogs/nyc-event-restoring-opportunity-the-role-of-education" target="_blank">Restoring Opportunity: The Role of Education</a>,” an event to discuss how the education policies of both New York State and the entire nation need to change in order for the country to truly offer the opportunities promised by the American Dream. Brian Lehrer, from WNYC, will moderate the discussion, interviewing Andie Puriefoy, the former president of the Public Education Network and Alison Kadlec, an expert of higher education reform.</p> <p dir="ltr">At 7 p.m. BRIC will host the panel discussion “<a href="http://www.eventbrite.com/e/breaking-down-the-walls-brooklyn-bheard-on-immigration-a-community-town-hall-tickets-18780118841?aff=estw&amp;utm_source=tw&amp;utm_medium=discovery&amp;utm_content=attendeeshare&amp;utm_campaign=social&amp;utm_term=listing" target="_blank">Breaking Down the Walls: #BHeard on Immigration, a Community Town Hall</a>.” The talk will be moderated by Brian Vines and feature City Council Member Carlos Menchaca; Linda Sarsour, Arab American Association; Adrian Carasquillo, immigration reporter for Buzzfeed news; Alina Das, NYU professor; and Shena Elrington, director of immigrant rights and racial justice at the Center for Popular Democracy.</p> <p dir="ltr">At their <a href="http://www.prideagenda.org/news/2015-09-28-empire-state-pride-agenda-present-25th-anniversary-silver-torch-award-governor" target="_blank">annual fall dinner</a> Thursday, Empire State Pride Agenda will award Governor Cuomo with the 25th anniversary Silver Torch Award for “his extraordinary efforts to make marriage equality a reality in New York — paving the way for the freedom to marry nationwide” and “his more recent commitment to ending the AIDS epidemic in New York.” Along with Cuomo, other speakers will be Senators Chuck Schumer and Kirsten Gillibrand,&nbsp;City Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito; City Public Advocate Letitia James; Pride Agenda Board Co-Chairs Norman C. Simon and Melissa Sklarz; and Pride Agenda Executive Director Nathan Schaefer.</p> <p dir="ltr">Citizens Union, the good government group,&nbsp;<a href="http://www.citizensunion.org/www/ud00/2/264f19babedf446a956b4911d258be18/Personal_Documents/CitizensUnionGala2015_InviteFINAL.pdf" target="_blank">will hold</a> its 2015 Annual Awards Dinner Thursday evening. New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman will give featured remarks. Citizens Union honorees include Mylan L. Denerstein (Public Service Award), Adam Flatto (Business Leadership Award), Haeda B. Mihaltses (Public Service Award), and Stephen P. Younger (Civic Leadership Award).</p> <p dir="ltr">Beginning Thursday evening and continuing through Friday, the Roosevelt House Public Policy Institute will host “<a href="http://www.roosevelthouse.hunter.cuny.edu/events/youth-jobs-and-the-future-responses-to-youth-unemployment/" target="_blank">Youth, Jobs and Future: Responses to Youth Unemployment</a>.”</p> <p dir="ltr">Thursday’s City Council Participatory Budgeting <a href="http://council.nyc.gov/html/pb/events.shtml" target="_blank">events</a>:</p> <ul> <li dir="ltr">CM Helen Rosenthal (District 6, Manhattan) 6 p.m.</li> <li dir="ltr">CM Paul Vallone (District 19, Queens) 7 p.m.</li> </ul> <p><strong>Friday and the weekend<br /></strong>At the <a href="http://legistar.council.nyc.gov/Calendar.aspx" target="_blank">City Council</a> on Friday: at 10 a.m. the Committee on Higher Education will convene for oversight on college testing access.</p> <p>"The next public meeting of the New York City Campaign Finance Board will be held on Friday, October 23 at 10:00 AM."</p> <p dir="ltr">At the<a href="http://assembly.state.ny.us/leg/?sh=hear" target="_blank"> New York State Assembly</a> on Friday: at 10:30 a.m. the Assembly Standing Committee on Corporations, Authorities and Commissions and the Assembly Standing Committee on Economic Development, Job Creation, Commerce and Industry will hold a joint public hearing on “Providing Affordable and High Quality Cable, Broadband, and Telephone Service.”</p> <p dir="ltr">Friday’s City Council Participatory Budgeting <a href="http://council.nyc.gov/html/pb/events.shtml" target="_blank">event</a> is via CM Carlos Menchaca (District 38, Brooklyn) 6 p.m.</p> <p dir="ltr">Saturday at 10:30 a.m., New Yorkers Against Gun Violence will hold <a href="http://nyagv.org/walk-over-the-hudson-for-gun-sense-saturday-1024/" target="_blank">Walk Over the Hudson for Gun Sense</a>, a march in response to recent bursts of gun violence across the US. The event invites citizens to show their “commitment to background checks, safe storage, and other common sense gun safety laws.”</p> <p dir="ltr">At noon Saturday, BetaNYC will hold an <a href="http://www.meetup.com/betanyc/events/226031486/" target="_blank">event</a> to improve CityGram.NYC, a website which allows New York City residents to subscribe to open government data based on their geographic location and areas of interest.</p> <p dir="ltr">Saturday’s City Council Participatory Budgeting <a href="http://council.nyc.gov/html/pb/events.shtml" target="_blank">event</a> is via CM Carlos Menchaca (District 38, Brooklyn), 2 p.m.</p> <p dir="ltr">On Sunday, the de Blasio family will open their doors to the public at a Gracie Mansion Open House. A ticket giveaway will take place on the <a href="http://www1.nyc.gov/site/gracie/visit/gracie-mansion-open-house-tickets.page" target="_blank">event</a> website. In celebration of the Mansion’s 35th anniversary, the open house will feature 49 new works as part of the “Windows on the City: Looking Out at Gracie’s New York” show.</p> <p>***<br />Have events or topics for us to include in an upcoming Week Ahead in New York Politics? E-mail Gotham Gazette executive editor Ben Max any time:&nbsp;<a href="mailto:bmax@gothamgazette.com"></a><a href="mailto:bmax@gothamgazette.com"></a><a href="mailto:bmax@gothamgazette.com"></a><a href="mailto:bmax@gothamgazette.com"></a><a href="mailto:bmax@gothamgazette.com"></a><a href="mailto:bmax@gothamgazette.com"></a><a href="mailto:bmax@gothamgazette.com"></a><a href="mailto:bmax@gothamgazette.com"></a><a href="mailto:bmax@gothamgazette.com"></a><a href="mailto:bmax@gothamgazette.com"></a><a href="mailto:bmax@gothamgazette.com"></a><a href="mailto:bmax@gothamgazette.com"></a><a href="mailto:bmax@gothamgazette.com"></a><a href="mailto:bmax@gothamgazette.com"></a><a href="mailto:bmax@gothamgazette.com"></a><a href="mailto:bmax@gothamgazette.com"></a><a href="mailto:bmax@gothamgazette.com"></a><a href="mailto:bmax@gothamgazette.com"></a><a href="mailto:bmax@gothamgazette.com"></a><a href="mailto:bmax@gothamgazette.com">bmax@gothamgazette.com</a>&nbsp;(please use "For Week Ahead" as email subject).</p> <p>***<br />by Colin O'Connor, Konstantine Beridze, and Ben Max<br /><a href="https://twitter.com/GothamGazette" target="_blank">@GothamGazette</a></p> <p><img src="http://www.gothamgazette.com/images/graphics/2014/03/640px-New_York_City_Hall.jpg" alt="New York City Hall" width="600" height="450" /></p> <p><span style="font-size: 10pt;">New York City Hall</span></p> <hr /> <p><strong>What to watch for this week in New York politics:</strong></p> <p>Mayor Bill de Blasio was in Israel over the weekend, where he spoke at the Annual Conference of Mayors, met with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, visited recent terror attack victims, and made several other stops, including at the Western Wall and at a school educating a diverse student population. De Blasio spoke against a new wave of anti-Semitism and <a href="http://m.nydailynews.com/new-york/jerusalem-speech-mayor-de-blasio-decries-anti-semitism-article-1.2401818?cid=bitly" target="_blank">called for a "broken-windows" approach</a> to combatting hate.</p> <p>De Blasio is flying back to New York Sunday evening, he has no public events scheduled Monday.</p> <p>Coming up this week, <a href="http://www.gothamgazette.com/index.php/government/5935-the-mayors-media-blitz-de-blasio" target="_blank">the 'new' Bill de Blasio</a> will continue to show, with the mayor <a href="http://m.apnews.com/ap/db_268748/contentdetail.htm?contentguid=DwMmJjEm" target="_blank">set to hold</a> a joint press event with his predecessor, Michael Bloomberg, on Wednesday. De Blasio and Bloomberg have appeared together several times since de Blasio came into office, but have not held a joint event, as they will for the planting of the millionth tree in the "Million Trees NYC" program launched by Bloomberg in 2007.</p> <p>As always, there's a great deal happening&nbsp;all over the city, with many events to be aware of - read our day-by-day rundown below.</p> <p style="text-align: center;"><em>***Do you have events or topics for us to include in an upcoming Week Ahead in New York Politics?</em><br /><em>E-mail Gotham Gazette editor Ben Max:&nbsp;<a href="mailto:bmax@gothamgazette.com"></a><a href="mailto:bmax@gothamgazette.com"></a><a href="mailto:bmax@gothamgazette.com"></a><a href="mailto:bmax@gothamgazette.com"></a><a href="mailto:bmax@gothamgazette.com"></a><a href="mailto:bmax@gothamgazette.com"></a><a href="mailto:bmax@gothamgazette.com"></a><a href="mailto:bmax@gothamgazette.com"></a><a href="mailto:bmax@gothamgazette.com"></a><a href="mailto:bmax@gothamgazette.com"></a><a href="mailto:bmax@gothamgazette.com"></a><a href="mailto:bmax@gothamgazette.com"></a><a href="mailto:bmax@gothamgazette.com"></a><a href="mailto:bmax@gothamgazette.com"></a><a href="mailto:bmax@gothamgazette.com"></a><a href="mailto:bmax@gothamgazette.com"></a><a href="mailto:bmax@gothamgazette.com"></a><a href="mailto:bmax@gothamgazette.com"></a><a href="mailto:bmax@gothamgazette.com"></a><a href="mailto:bmax@gothamgazette.com"></a><a href="mailto:bmax@gothamgazette.com">bmax@gothamgazette.com</a>***</em></p> <p><strong>The run of the week in detail:</strong></p> <p><strong>Monday<br /></strong>On Monday, starting at 8:30 a.m., the City Council Progressive Caucus and allies are holding a conference to discuss progressive public policies and legislative priorities aimed at inequality and improving communities. Keynote will be given by City Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito, with panel discussions on defending workers' rights, expanding and modernizing democracy, moving toward a greener city, and community safety and empowerment.</p> <p dir="ltr">Afterward, at noon outside of SEIU 32BJ headquarters, Progressive Caucus Members and allies will “rally on their legislative priorities aimed at offering genuine opportunity to all New Yorkers, especially those who have been left out of our society’s prosperity.” Caucus Co-Chairs Donovan Richards and Antonio Reynoso, Vice-Chairs Helen Rosenthal and Ben Kallos, and other caucus members will be joined by “event sponsors Local Progress and Working Families Organization and advocates from SEIU 32BJ, VOCAL NY, Communities united for Police Reform, Bag It NYC, Streetwise and Safe and BRT for NYC.”</p> <p dir="ltr">At 8:30 a.m. Monday, <a href="http://www.gothamgazette.com/#sthash.fxiimyMW.dpbs" target="_blank">Black Live Matter / Fight for $15: A New Social Movement</a>, a discussion on the convergence of the two movements and the chances of them sowing the seeds “for a broader social and economic justice movement” - featuring Alicia Garza of Black Lives Matter and Domestic Workers Alliance; Jelani Cobb, Journalist &amp; Professor at UConn; Hillman Judge; and Kendall Fells, SEIU / Fight For $15. &nbsp;</p> <p dir="ltr">On Monday morning’s The Brian Lehrer Show on WNYC, City Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito will appear in one segment, discussing several topics, and Queens state Senator Michael Gianaris will appear in another to discuss his bail elimination proposal.</p> <p dir="ltr">At the&nbsp;<a href="http://legistar.council.nyc.gov/Calendar.aspx" target="_blank">City Council</a>&nbsp;on Monday:</p> <ul> <li dir="ltr">At 10 a.m. the Committee on Immigration will hold a joint oversight meeting with the Committee on Courts and Legal Services to evaluate Attorney Compliances with Padilla vs. Kentucky and court obstacles for immigrants in Criminal and Summons Courts.</li> <li dir="ltr">At 1 p.m. the Committee on Civil Rights will meet to hear several new bills related to protecting against discrimination; clarifying that any “person providing goods, services or accommodations” as stated in the Human Rights Law also includes government bodies; forbid any accommodation provider from discriminating based on income source; and make it unlawful for anyone who provides housing to refuse it to a person based the perception that the person is a victim of domestic abuse or violence.&nbsp;</li> </ul> <p dir="ltr">On Monday at 1:30 p.m. in Niagra Falls,&nbsp;Attorney General Eric Schneiderman "will discuss steps his office is taking with local officials to combat the use of designer drugs."</p> <p dir="ltr">At 5:30 p.m., New York City Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito, together with the Black, Latino and Asian Caucus of the Council will host a <a href="https://twitter.com/IDaneekMiller/status/653948332172161024" target="_blank">Hispanic Heritage Month Celebration</a>.</p> <p dir="ltr">Also at 5:30 p.m. Monday, Queens Borough President Melinda Katz will hold a Borough Board <a href="http://queensbp.org/event/queens-borough-board-meeting-2-4-3-2-3-2/?instance_id=1283" target="_blank">meeting </a>to hear details from the Department of City Planning (DCP) on the “Zoning for Quality and Affordability” and “Mandatory Inclusionary Housing” proposed zoning text amendments.</p> <p dir="ltr">At 6:30 p.m., &nbsp;Sanctuary for Families’ <a href="https://www.sanctuaryforfamilies.org/event/above-and-beyond/" target="_blank">13th Annual Above &amp; Beyond Pro Bono Achievement Awards &amp; Benefit</a>&nbsp;will be honoring Rosemonde Pierre-Louis, Senior Advisor on Gender Equity and&nbsp;former Commissioner of the Mayor’s Office to Combat Domestic Violence, and others.</p> <p dir="ltr">On Monday evening, Speaker Mark-Viverito will attend&nbsp;"the Little Sisters of the Assumption Family Health Services Gala."</p> <p dir="ltr">Monday’s City Council Participatory Budgeting <a href="http://council.nyc.gov/html/pb/events.shtml" target="_blank">events</a>:</p> <ul> <li dir="ltr">Mark Treyger (District 47, Brooklyn) 6 p.m.</li> <li dir="ltr">Steve Levin (District 33, Brooklyn) 6:30 p.m.</li> </ul> <p><strong>Tuesday<br /></strong>On Tuesday at 9 a.m., on the third anniversary of Hurricane Sandy, the Center for New York City Affairs at Milano School of International Affairs will hold a panel titled <a href="https://www.eventbrite.com/e/hurricane-sandy-3-building-resilient-neighborhoods-tickets-18611697087" target="_blank">Hurricane Sandy +3: Building Resilient Neighborhoods</a>. Conversation will focus on the state of the post-storm infrastructure in the areas where the storm hit hardest. The panel will include Daniel A. Zarrilli, director of the Mayor’s Office of Recovery and Resiliency; Joel Towers, executive dean, Parsons School of Design at the New School; Klaus Jacob, special research scientist at the Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory; Onleilove Alston, executive director of Faith in New York; Hugh Hogan, executive director of the North Star Fund;Shermane Margaret Stewart-Lester, lay leader at St. Mary Star of the Sea Church in Far Rockaway.</p> <p dir="ltr">At 9:30 a.m. Tuesday Queens Borough President Melinda Katz will hold a <a href="http://queensbp.org/event/queens-borough-cabinet-meeting-2-2-3-2-2-2/?instance_id=1281" target="_blank">Borough Cabinet Meeting</a>.</p> <p dir="ltr">At the&nbsp;<a href="http://legistar.council.nyc.gov/Calendar.aspx" target="_blank">City Council</a>&nbsp;on Tuesday:</p> <ul> <li dir="ltr">At 9:30 a.m. the Subcommittee on Zoning and Franchises will meet to discuss land use applications.</li> <li dir="ltr">At 1 p.m. the Subcommittee on Planning, Dispositions and Concessions will meet to discuss land use applications.</li> </ul> <p dir="ltr">At the&nbsp;<a href="http://assembly.state.ny.us/leg/?sh=hear" target="_blank">New York State Assembly</a>&nbsp;on Tuesday: at 10 a.m. the Assembly Standing Committee on Mental Health and Developmental Disabilities will convene for a public hearing on “The Adequacy of Supports and Services for Individuals with Developmental Disabilities.”</p> <p dir="ltr">On Tuesday, Public Advocate Letitia James&nbsp;chairs COPIC Commission meeting at Borough of Manhattan Community College (stream: http://livestream.com/BMCCMedia/events/4439178) at 10 a.m. Then, at 11:15, she is a panelist at "NASP's "The State of WMBE's Doing Business in NYS: From the Legislative Perspective" and at 6 p.m. she hosts "Staten Island Clergy Council Education Forum."</p> <p dir="ltr">At 11:15 a.m. Monday near Stuyvesant Town,&nbsp;Mayor de Blasio and "local elected officials and tenant leaders from Stuyvesant Town-Peter Cooper Village will hold a media availability" about the imminent sale of the property.</p> <p dir="ltr">On Tuesday at 1:15 p.m. from the 25th Police Precinct at 120 East 119th Street,&nbsp;"Mayor de Blasio – alongside Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito and Police Commissioner Bill Bratton – will sign Intro. 917-A, criminalizing the manufacture, possession with intent to sell, and sale of synthetic cannabinoids and synthetic phenethylamines; Intro. 897, allowing the City to apply public nuisance regulations to violations of the new criminal provision barring the sale of K2; and Intro. 885-A, allowing the city to revoke, suspend or refuse to renew a cigarette dealer license due to the sale of synthetic drugs or imitation synthetic drugs...After, the Mayor will appear live on Power 105.1 with Angie Martinez to discuss the K-2 legislation."</p> <p dir="ltr">At 4 p.m. Mark-Viverito will host a press conference "to celebrate $1.2 Million in funding for STARS Afterschool Initiative with Finance Committee Chair Julissa Ferreras-Copeland at P.S. 50 on 100th Street in Manhattan. Then, at 8 p.m., Mark-Viverito will host "#SheWillBe Twitter Party to Discuss the City Council's First In The Nation Young Women's Initiative...Join the conversation on Twitter by using the hashtag #SheWillBe."</p> <p dir="ltr">At 5:30 p.m. Tuesday Community Voices Heard will hold a rally titled “<a href="http://www.cvhaction.org/events/march-on-the-mayor-stop-privatization-start-funding-nycha" target="_blank">March on the Mayor: Stop Privatization, Start Funding NYCHA</a>.” The demonstration will demand a stop to increasing privatization and an increase in funding for the New York City Housing Authority by $2 billion starting this year.</p> <p dir="ltr">At 6 p.m. the Brooklyn Historical Society will host <a href="https://www.eventbrite.com/e/life-after-surveillance-in-bay-ridges-muslim-community-tickets-17898679432?utm_campaign=a1f9c65cf9-October+Programs+Week+2+(10132015)&amp;utm_term=0_556fa60cc0-a1f9c65cf9-[LIST_EMAIL_ID]&amp;utm_source=Brooklyn+Historical+Society+E-Newsletter&amp;utm_medium=email&amp;mc_eid=[UNIQID]&amp;mc_cid=a1f9c65cf9&amp;ct=t(October+Programs+Week+2+(10132015))" target="_blank">Life After Surveillance in Bay Ridge’s Muslim Community</a>, a discussion about the post-9/11 surveillance in Bay Ridge and how this surveillance sowed seeds of distrust in the neighbourhood. Panelists include moderator Jarrett Murphy, Executive Editor of City Limits; Linda Sarsour, Executive Director of the Arab American Association of New York; Moustafa Bayoumi; award-winning writer, and Professor of English at Brooklyn College, City University of New York; and Dr. Ahmad Jaber, an OB/GYN at the Lutheran Medical Center in Bay Ridge and a Muslim religious educator.</p> <p dir="ltr">Tuesday "evening, the Mayor and First Lady Chirlane McCray will host the Gracie Gala Dinner," according to de Blasio's public schedule.&nbsp;The Gracie Mansion Conservancy will hold an <a href="http://www1.nyc.gov/office-of-the-mayor/news/717-15/gracie-mansion-conservancy-public-re-opening-gracie-mansion-art-additions-and" target="_blank">invitation only fundraiser</a> to celebrate the grand re-opening of Gracie Mansion after recent repairs. The fundraiser will feature the mansion’s new art installation, Windows on the City: Looking Out at Gracie’s New York, curated with help of the Museum of the City of New York, the New York Historical Society, Brooklyn College, Brooklyn Museum, and the Metropolitan Museum of Art.</p> <p dir="ltr">At 7 p.m. Tuesday, Governor Cuomo will&nbsp;attend "the Nassau County Democratic Committee Annual Fall Dinner."</p> <p dir="ltr">Tuesday’s City Council Participatory Budgeting <a href="http://council.nyc.gov/html/pb/events.shtml" target="_blank">events</a>:</p> <ul> <li dir="ltr">Jimmy Van Bramer (District 26, Queens) 6 p.m.</li> <li dir="ltr">Eric Ulrich (District 32, Queens) 7 p.m.</li> </ul> <p><strong>Wednesday<br /></strong>On Wednesday in the Bronx: Mayor de Blasio and his predecessor, former Mayor Michael Bloomberg, will <a href="http://m.apnews.com/ap/db_268748/contentdetail.htm?contentguid=DwMmJjEm" target="_blank">meet</a> to plant the millionth tree in the Million Trees NYC program, a Bloomberg initiative begun in 2007.</p> <p dir="ltr">On Wednesday at 8:30 a.m. Comptroller Scott Stringer will hold a “<a href="https://twitter.com/scottmstringer/status/652511684121202688" target="_blank">Queens Hearing for Business Owners and Entrepreneurs</a>.” The event is the next installment of the Comptroller’s “Red Tape Commision Hearings” dedicated to listening to ideas and suggestion that would make it easier for entrepreneurs and business owners to grow their businesses, while partnering with the government. The event will bring together Borough President Melinda Katz; Queens Chamber of Commerce; Queens Economic Development Corporation; the Queens Tribune; and co-chairs of the Red Tape Commission Jessica Lappin and Michael Lambert.</p> <p dir="ltr">Also at 8:30 a.m. Wednesday, former NYPD Commissioner Ray Kelly will headline a Fordham University event “<a href="http://www.alumni.fordham.edu/calendar/detail.aspx?ID=4266" target="_blank">Governance in New York City: The Bloomberg Years</a>.”</p> <p dir="ltr">At the&nbsp;<a href="http://assembly.state.ny.us/leg/?sh=hear" target="_blank">New York State Legislature</a>&nbsp;on Wednesday:</p> <ul> <li dir="ltr">At 10 a.m. the Committee on Consumer Affairs and Protection and the Committee on Aging and the Subcommittee on Consumer Fraud Protection will hold a joint public hearing on “State resource funding to protect consumers, including seniors, from frauds and scams.”</li> <li dir="ltr">At 11 a.m. the Senate Task Force on Workforce Development will convene for a public meeting “To&nbsp;examine initiatives and determine best practices for job skill training and re-training programs, and provide recommendations to foster workforce development in New York State.”</li> <li dir="ltr">At 12:30 p.m. the Assembly Standing Committee on Mental Health and Developmental Disabilities will hold a public hearing regarding the “Transition of Behavioral Health Supports and Services into Managed Care.”</li> </ul> <p dir="ltr">At 6 p.m. Wednesday, Harry Siegel of The New York Daily News and Heather Mac Donald of the Manhattan Institute will try to answer the question, “<a href="http://www.sfc.edu/pagecalpop.cfm?p=357&amp;verbose=284093" target="_blank">Is The NYPD Doing Its Job?</a>” The discussion will be moderated by social critic Kay S. Hymowitz, author of Manning Up: How the Rise of Women Has Turned Men into Boys, and will explore the new tracking system aimed at reducing police brutality and assess Commissioner Bratton’s effort to implement the program.</p> <p dir="ltr">At 6:30 p.m. Wednesday, City Council Members Ydanis Rodriguez and Mark Levine will host the event <a href="https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=1673652976254484" target="_blank">"Jewish Poverty in New York City"</a> along with a group of civic organizations including YM &amp; YWHA of Washington Heights and Inwood, the Russian-speaking Community Council of Manhattan and the Bronx, Jews for Racial and Economic Justice, the Fort Tyron Jewish Center, the Jewish Community Council of Washington Heights-Inwood, the Hebrew Tabernacle, and The Workmen’s Circle.</p> <p dir="ltr">Also at 6:30 p.m., City &amp; State NY will be host its 2015 <a href="https://www.eventbrite.com/e/city-state-new-york-city-rising-stars-40-under-40-tickets-18745852349?aff=erelexpsim" target="_blank">New York City Rising Stars: 40 Under 40</a> celebration. The list features stars in government, advocacy, labor, and consulting.</p> <p dir="ltr">At 7 p.m. the Department of Education, the School Construction Authority, elected officials, and parents will meet for “<a href="http://ps10.org/wp-content/uploads/2015/09/Over-Crowding.pdf" target="_blank">Let’s Talk About Overcrowding</a>.” The event will focus on the issue of overcrowding in public schools in Cobble Hill and Caroll Gardens, in addition to addressing several other school-related issues. State Senator Daniel Squadron, State Assemblymember Jo Anne Simon, State Senator Velmanette Montgomery, City Councilmember Brad Lander, City Councilmember Steve Levin, and others will participate.</p> <p dir="ltr">At 3:30 Wednesday in Manhattan, Families for Excellent Schools is planning to hold another <a href="http://www.capitalnewyork.com/article/city-hall/2015/10/8579681/shifting-focus-unions-charter-group-plans-teacher-rally" target="_blank">rally</a> to support charter schools, this time featuring charter school teachers, about 1,000 of whom are expected to rally.</p> <p dir="ltr">Wednesday’s City Council Participatory Budgeting <a href="http://council.nyc.gov/html/pb/events.shtml" target="_blank">event</a> is via CM Mark Levine (District 7, Manhattan) 6 p.m.</p> <p><strong>Thursday<br /></strong>At 8 a.m. Thursday, <a href="http://www.summit.mas.org/why-attend/" target="_blank">The Sixth Annual MAS Summit for New York City</a> will commence. The Municipal Art Society summit will run through Friday evening and include two days of networking opportunities and one hundred speakers. Notable presenters include: Commissioner Vicki Been, of the NYC Department of Housing Preservation and Development; Commissioner Tom Finkelpearl, of the NYC Department of Cultural Affairs; Alicia Glen, Deputy Mayor for Housing and Economic Development; New York State Senator Chuck Schumer; Purnima Kapur, Executive Director for the Department of City Planning; and many more to speak about “The City We Want.”</p> <p dir="ltr">Thursday at 10:30 a.m. Borough President Melinda Katz will hold a <a href="http://queensbp.org/event/queens-borough-presidents-land-use-hearing-2-2-2-2-3-2-2-2-2-2-2-2/?instance_id=1328" target="_blank">Land Use Hearing</a>.</p> <p dir="ltr">At the&nbsp;<a href="http://legistar.council.nyc.gov/Calendar.aspx" target="_blank">City Council</a>&nbsp;Thursday:</p> <ul> <li dir="ltr">At 10 a.m. the Committee on Finance will meet to discuss the extension of credit against the unincorporated business tax and the general corporation tax.</li> <li dir="ltr">At 10 a.m. the Committee on Transportation will meet to hear several bills related to the TLC and commuter vans..</li> <li dir="ltr">At 11 a.m. the Committee on Land Use will meet, with agenda TBA.</li> <li dir="ltr">At 1 p.m. the Committee on Mental Health, Developmental Disability, Alcoholism, Substance Abuse and Disability Services will hold a hearing on new accessibility-related bills.</li> <li dir="ltr">At 1 p.m. the Committee on Recovery and Resiliency will meet for oversight on coastal storm resiliency in the city two year after the SIRR report.</li> <li dir="ltr">At 1 p.m. the Committee on Economic Development will meet on bills that would require the NYCEDC to submit annual job creation reports to community planning boards; require SBS to collect data on gender and racial diversity among “executive level employees” in city contractor companies.</li> </ul> <p dir="ltr">At the&nbsp;<a href="http://assembly.state.ny.us/leg/?sh=hear" target="_blank">New York State Assembly</a>&nbsp;Thursday, a “Budget oversight hearing for the Assembly Standing Committees on Local Governments and Cities.”</p> <p dir="ltr">At 6:30 p.m. Thursday, Public Agenda will hold “<a href="http://www.publicagenda.org/blogs/nyc-event-restoring-opportunity-the-role-of-education" target="_blank">Restoring Opportunity: The Role of Education</a>,” an event to discuss how the education policies of both New York State and the entire nation need to change in order for the country to truly offer the opportunities promised by the American Dream. Brian Lehrer, from WNYC, will moderate the discussion, interviewing Andie Puriefoy, the former president of the Public Education Network and Alison Kadlec, an expert of higher education reform.</p> <p dir="ltr">At 7 p.m. BRIC will host the panel discussion “<a href="http://www.eventbrite.com/e/breaking-down-the-walls-brooklyn-bheard-on-immigration-a-community-town-hall-tickets-18780118841?aff=estw&amp;utm_source=tw&amp;utm_medium=discovery&amp;utm_content=attendeeshare&amp;utm_campaign=social&amp;utm_term=listing" target="_blank">Breaking Down the Walls: #BHeard on Immigration, a Community Town Hall</a>.” The talk will be moderated by Brian Vines and feature City Council Member Carlos Menchaca; Linda Sarsour, Arab American Association; Adrian Carasquillo, immigration reporter for Buzzfeed news; Alina Das, NYU professor; and Shena Elrington, director of immigrant rights and racial justice at the Center for Popular Democracy.</p> <p dir="ltr">At their <a href="http://www.prideagenda.org/news/2015-09-28-empire-state-pride-agenda-present-25th-anniversary-silver-torch-award-governor" target="_blank">annual fall dinner</a> Thursday, Empire State Pride Agenda will award Governor Cuomo with the 25th anniversary Silver Torch Award for “his extraordinary efforts to make marriage equality a reality in New York — paving the way for the freedom to marry nationwide” and “his more recent commitment to ending the AIDS epidemic in New York.” Along with Cuomo, other speakers will be Senators Chuck Schumer and Kirsten Gillibrand,&nbsp;City Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito; City Public Advocate Letitia James; Pride Agenda Board Co-Chairs Norman C. Simon and Melissa Sklarz; and Pride Agenda Executive Director Nathan Schaefer.</p> <p dir="ltr">Citizens Union, the good government group,&nbsp;<a href="http://www.citizensunion.org/www/ud00/2/264f19babedf446a956b4911d258be18/Personal_Documents/CitizensUnionGala2015_InviteFINAL.pdf" target="_blank">will hold</a> its 2015 Annual Awards Dinner Thursday evening. New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman will give featured remarks. Citizens Union honorees include Mylan L. Denerstein (Public Service Award), Adam Flatto (Business Leadership Award), Haeda B. Mihaltses (Public Service Award), and Stephen P. Younger (Civic Leadership Award).</p> <p dir="ltr">Beginning Thursday evening and continuing through Friday, the Roosevelt House Public Policy Institute will host “<a href="http://www.roosevelthouse.hunter.cuny.edu/events/youth-jobs-and-the-future-responses-to-youth-unemployment/" target="_blank">Youth, Jobs and Future: Responses to Youth Unemployment</a>.”</p> <p dir="ltr">Thursday’s City Council Participatory Budgeting <a href="http://council.nyc.gov/html/pb/events.shtml" target="_blank">events</a>:</p> <ul> <li dir="ltr">CM Helen Rosenthal (District 6, Manhattan) 6 p.m.</li> <li dir="ltr">CM Paul Vallone (District 19, Queens) 7 p.m.</li> </ul> <p><strong>Friday and the weekend<br /></strong>At the <a href="http://legistar.council.nyc.gov/Calendar.aspx" target="_blank">City Council</a> on Friday: at 10 a.m. the Committee on Higher Education will convene for oversight on college testing access.</p> <p>"The next public meeting of the New York City Campaign Finance Board will be held on Friday, October 23 at 10:00 AM."</p> <p dir="ltr">At the<a href="http://assembly.state.ny.us/leg/?sh=hear" target="_blank"> New York State Assembly</a> on Friday: at 10:30 a.m. the Assembly Standing Committee on Corporations, Authorities and Commissions and the Assembly Standing Committee on Economic Development, Job Creation, Commerce and Industry will hold a joint public hearing on “Providing Affordable and High Quality Cable, Broadband, and Telephone Service.”</p> <p dir="ltr">Friday’s City Council Participatory Budgeting <a href="http://council.nyc.gov/html/pb/events.shtml" target="_blank">event</a> is via CM Carlos Menchaca (District 38, Brooklyn) 6 p.m.</p> <p dir="ltr">Saturday at 10:30 a.m., New Yorkers Against Gun Violence will hold <a href="http://nyagv.org/walk-over-the-hudson-for-gun-sense-saturday-1024/" target="_blank">Walk Over the Hudson for Gun Sense</a>, a march in response to recent bursts of gun violence across the US. The event invites citizens to show their “commitment to background checks, safe storage, and other common sense gun safety laws.”</p> <p dir="ltr">At noon Saturday, BetaNYC will hold an <a href="http://www.meetup.com/betanyc/events/226031486/" target="_blank">event</a> to improve CityGram.NYC, a website which allows New York City residents to subscribe to open government data based on their geographic location and areas of interest.</p> <p dir="ltr">Saturday’s City Council Participatory Budgeting <a href="http://council.nyc.gov/html/pb/events.shtml" target="_blank">event</a> is via CM Carlos Menchaca (District 38, Brooklyn), 2 p.m.</p> <p dir="ltr">On Sunday, the de Blasio family will open their doors to the public at a Gracie Mansion Open House. A ticket giveaway will take place on the <a href="http://www1.nyc.gov/site/gracie/visit/gracie-mansion-open-house-tickets.page" target="_blank">event</a> website. In celebration of the Mansion’s 35th anniversary, the open house will feature 49 new works as part of the “Windows on the City: Looking Out at Gracie’s New York” show.</p> <p>***<br />Have events or topics for us to include in an upcoming Week Ahead in New York Politics? E-mail Gotham Gazette executive editor Ben Max any time:&nbsp;<a href="mailto:bmax@gothamgazette.com"></a><a href="mailto:bmax@gothamgazette.com"></a><a href="mailto:bmax@gothamgazette.com"></a><a href="mailto:bmax@gothamgazette.com"></a><a href="mailto:bmax@gothamgazette.com"></a><a href="mailto:bmax@gothamgazette.com"></a><a href="mailto:bmax@gothamgazette.com"></a><a href="mailto:bmax@gothamgazette.com"></a><a href="mailto:bmax@gothamgazette.com"></a><a href="mailto:bmax@gothamgazette.com"></a><a href="mailto:bmax@gothamgazette.com"></a><a href="mailto:bmax@gothamgazette.com"></a><a href="mailto:bmax@gothamgazette.com"></a><a href="mailto:bmax@gothamgazette.com"></a><a href="mailto:bmax@gothamgazette.com"></a><a href="mailto:bmax@gothamgazette.com"></a><a href="mailto:bmax@gothamgazette.com"></a><a href="mailto:bmax@gothamgazette.com"></a><a href="mailto:bmax@gothamgazette.com"></a><a href="mailto:bmax@gothamgazette.com">bmax@gothamgazette.com</a>&nbsp;(please use "For Week Ahead" as email subject).</p> <p>***<br />by Colin O'Connor, Konstantine Beridze, and Ben Max<br /><a href="https://twitter.com/GothamGazette" target="_blank">@GothamGazette</a></p>