GOTHAM GAZETTE: SEARCHLIGHT 2002: District 3 JUMP TO YOUR DISTRICT
 
 

District 3
Greenwich Village, Chelsea, Midtown, Clinton/Hell's Kitchen



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District 3 - Christine Quinn
224 West 30th St (Suite 1206), 10002
City Hall: (212) 788-6979
District: (212) 564-7757
Fax: (212) 768-4380
Email: quinn@council.nyc.ny.us

Committee Assignments:
Health, Chair
Landmarks, Public Siting and Maritime, Chair of Land Use Subcommittee Finance, member
Governmental Operations, member
Land Use, member
Rules/Privileges and Elections, member


(Not) Keeping It Quaint

By Chung Han

When the residents of Chelsea looked at their neighborhood a dozen years ago, what they saw before them were quaint row houses full of history. What they feared was what they could not see, the future, a future in which a real estate boom would produce block after block of high-rise buildings that would interrupt their view, cast their streets in shadow, and drive out long-time residents.

That is what spurred Manhattan Community Board 4 to immerse itself in community planning.

At that time, some landlords were harassing tenants to force them out of their buildings. Ed Kirkland, chair of the Chelsea Planning and Preservation Committee recalls, "People would almost make a profession of this. Landlords would move them into a vacant apartment and then they would be as bad neighbors as possible."

So the board also sought to slow down gentrification of Chelsea, or, Strickland said, "at least slow up the process of getting rid of affordable housing."

The board was particularly concerned about such areas as the Ladies Mile Historic District between 9th and 23rd streets, the area around General Theological Seminary on 17th Street and 9th Avenue, and the Greek Revival and Italianate row houses that line 20th and 21st streets.

In an effort to advance its ideas for the community, the board set about to draft a community plan. After years of debate and revision, the plan approved in 1996 called for "prevention of significant displacement of residents and businesses, to preserve ethnic and economic diversity and preservation of the character and visual unity of Chelsea."

Limits were placed on building heights along Eighth Avenue between 14th and 23d Streets. Eastern Chelsea was designated for future development, such as new high-rise apartment buildings. This prompted large chain stores to come into that area. Also, the area's printers and the Giuliani administration agreed upon an $8 million dollar reallocation fund to compensate printers who left Chelsea. This paved the way for residential and commercial development along 6th and 7th avenues.

Not everyone in the community embraced the proposals. Organizations such as the Chelsea-Village Partnership believed they were excluded from the planning process. The Chelsea Housing Coalition thought the loss of low-income housing was not adequately addressed.

But Richard Barth, director of the Planning Commission's Manhattan office says, "the plan is a balanced rezoning proposal, reflective of a long and collaborative process with the community."

Now, five years later, the plan has met with mixed results. Gentrification has spread rapidly throughout the district, and people like Kirkland have stood and watched as tenants moved out and signs of "trendy" Chelsea seeped in. New apartment buildings have changed the face of the neighborhood and displaced many tenants from low-income housing. "When I first got here, you couldn't get a good meal, now you can't get a cheap meal," said Kirkland.

In the end, said Kirkland, "we didn't get the affordable housing we wanted." But, he said, the plan "guaranteed our existing residential community. New development has to be at an existing scale and there have been no applications for large buildings in the area we tried to protect."
Hard Lessons Learned

By Christine Quinn

On September 11, John Winter watched the twin towers fall. His partner, William, was working at Marsh McClellan in World Trade Center 1. "At that point, I knew that probably a lot of hope was lost and that I would never see him again," Winter said in a news article. "Death does not discriminate. Death actually transcends sexual orientation."

Unfortunately, the same can not be said of government and many of the private institutions that have responded to the tragedy. Instead of being able to focus on healing themselves, many lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgendered people who lost their loved ones on September 11 have had to fight through bureaucracy and discrimination to get the assistance they deserve.

After the attacks, some were turned away at the family center on Pier 94. The workman's compensation board, social security agency, and some private charities told others that their relationships "did not count." Still others were not invited to attend the memorial services for victims' families.

As a result, people lost their apartments, were unable to pay their bills, lost control of their partner's estates, or simply had insult added to their grief.

It is estimated that there are 22 domestic partners - in heterosexual and same-sex relationships - that survived victims of September 11. There are likely many more who have not made their situations public.

In June, the City Council held a hearing to push the mayor and governor to treat all victims of the tragedy equally. I pledge to continue to work with my colleagues in the council to do all we can to help domestic partners to get the recognition and aid that married couples have received.

The Bloomberg administration recently brought a bill to the council to seek domestic partnership pension benefits for a partner of the firefighter who died in August of 2001. When asked if the administration would support that kind of initiative for all domestic partners who survive firefighters or police officers, we were told that they had to do a cost-benefit analysis to figure out if they would support a bill in Albany that would be more comprehensive and affect everybody.

I found that answer offensive and unacceptable.

Since 1998, New York City has recognized same-sex domestic partnerships. Also the City Council and mayor recently passed Local Law 2, which prohibits discrimination against anyone based on the gender or sexual orientation. I have also introduced a bill (Intro 114A) which would extend the city's definition of domestic partners to include persons who enter civil unions or marriages not recognized by the state.

On September 11, the city also learned a great deal about how to provide health care services.

When the towers collapsed, the computer system for the city's welfare system failed when the World Trade Center collapsed. In the days after, the governor and the president instituted a program called Disaster Relief Medicaid; a plan designed to ensure that Medicaid beneficiaries were able to maintain their health coverage during the weeks and months after the crisis.

But Disaster Relief Medicaid had other benefits. Nearly 380,000 New Yorkers applied for Medicaid - eight times the normal number - in large part because it simplified the application process. In the past, applicants had to produce numerous documents and have an interview to enroll in programs like Medicaid, Child Health Plus or Family Health Plus and often waited months to get into the program. But with Disaster Relief Medicaid, only photo identification and a social security number was needed and allowed for same-day enrollment.

It is clear that there are ways we can improve health care access and make information about existing programs and services more available.

Helping New Yorkers gain access to quality health care is my top priority as chair of the City Council committee on health. Especially at this time, when New York is facing tough economic challenges, I want to ensure that the best possible care is available to those that need it most.

I was pleased to co-sponsor the first bill signed into legislation this year, which requires mayoral agencies to produce and distribute information on government-sponsored health insurance programs such as Medicaid, Child Health Plus, and Family Health Plus in seven different languages. With an estimated 1.4 million uninsured adults and children in New York City, this legislation will increase the numbers of people enrolled in public health insurance by having information more readily available. To hel

p the public better understand managed care health plans in particular, the City Council helped create the Managed Care Consumer Assistance Program. This program provides general information about managed care, information on health care plans, as well as counseling and advice when consumers need assistance getting specific services. Best of all, these agencies are not-for-profit organizations that are based in the communities they serve.

We must work together to ensure that all New Yorker's have access to the best possible health care and the aid that they need.

Posted June 24, 2002

Christine C. Quinn is City Council Member from District 3.


Community Boards for District 3
Community Board No. 2
3 Washington Sq. Village,
Rm. 1-A, NY, NY 10012
(212) 979-2272
Ms. Aubrey Lees, Chair
Mr. Arthur Strickler, District Manager
Community Board No. 4
330 W. 42nd St., Ste. 2618, NY, NY 10036
(212) 736-4536/7
Ms. Simone Sindin, Chair
Mr. Anthony Borelli, District Manager
Community Board No. 5
450 7th Ave., Rm. 2109, NY, NY 10123
(212) 465-0907
Ms. Kyle Merker, Chair
Ms. Kathy Kinsella, District Manager


Community Plans for District 3 (PDF format)
197-a plan for the West Village (Manhattan Community Board 2)

Comprehensive Community Plan (Hell's Kitchen Neighborhood Association)

197-a plan (Manhattan Community Board 4)

Open Space and Transportation Plan. (Friends of the Highline)

Waterfront Revitalization and Access Plan - Hudson River Park Design Guidelines Master Plan (Hudson River Park Trust)

Waterfront Revitalization and Access Plan - Comprehensive Manhattan Waterfront Plan (Manhattan Borough President's Office)

Transportation Plan - Auto-Free Light Rail Boulevard for 42nd Street (Institute for Rational Mobility)

Historic Preservation Plan -- Save Gansevoort Market (Greenwich Village Society for Historic Preservation)




Ethnic Makeup and Political Registration


Ethnic Makeup

Political Registration


Public Schools

Elementary Schools


Middle Schools


High Schools



To find out what school district you live in, call the Board of Education at 718-935-2000 or link to Public School Reports



Police Precincts

Although many precincts cover areas solely within one City Council district, there are many which overlap with other districts. In most cases the overlap of precincts among districts is no more than a few blocks. Wherever there is overlap, we have made sure to alert you.


City Parks
Click thumbnail for larger image of parks in this district

Learn more about the condition of the city parks in your district at the New Yorkers for Parks (PDF file).



Community Gardens



Click for larger image
Find out more about community gardens from
the Council on the Environment of New York City



Historic Districts and Landmarks
Learn more about the historic districts and landmarks in this area.


The Waterfront

A
map listing suggestions for use and improvement of the waterfront in this district from the Metropolitan Waterfront
Alliance. (pdf format only)