Gotham Gazette

The Place for New York Policy and politics

Economic Development

Economic Development

  • How New York City Might Begin to Revive Its Decimated Tourism Industry

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    Visitors to the Statue of Liberty (photo: Spencer T Tucker/City Council)


    New York City’s tourism industry has a long road to recovery and a lot to learn from other cities like London, which has kick-started its economy through hyperlocal tourism, to come out of the coronavirus pandemic recession. During a virtual policy forum this week hosted by the Center for an Urban Future, top

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  • Our Chance to Get Queens, and the City, Working Again

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    The authors write about opportunity for Queens (photo: Michael Appleton/Mayor's Office)


    The last several months have taken a tremendous toll on our local economy. Over 20 percent of New York City residents were unemployed in June, a level not seen since the Great Depression. Thanks to our frontline heroes and the leadership of our elected officials, we’ve flattened the curve and New York is winning its battle against COVID-19. Now it’s time to get New Yorkers back to work.

    Through a community-centered process, with buy-in from local community

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  • How Development Should Be Decided in New York City

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    City Council (photo: Emil Cohen/City Council)


    We are at a critical turning point in New York City’s history. Large-scale development projects, pushed by big real estate interests and the business class after September 11, 2001, did not give New Yorkers the promised security to avoid the Great Recession, or the next crisis, COVID-19. Meanwhile, a lack of investments in social programs shredded the social safety net New Yorkers were told would save them if they lost their jobs or homes.

    If there is any time to insist on accountability before approving massive

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  • Now More Than Ever, New York City Needs Leaders to Welcome Jobs

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    Council Member Menchaca & Speaker Johnson (photo: John McCarten/City Council)


    All of us who care about New York City – and if you are a regular reader of Gotham Gazette that surely includes you – are worried about its future. COVID-19 has shuttered our economy and seriously impaired the lives and livelihoods of millions of our residents. It is clear that things will never go back to the way they were and that we must turn this disaster into an opportunity to bring back a different, better, fairer city. 

    But fear of change and the demonizing of ‘development’ risk

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  • Keys to 'Inclusive Economic Recovery' in New York City Include Investments in CUNY and Workforce Development, Experts Say

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    Considering an inclusive recovery in New York City (photo: William Alatriste/City Council)


    As the COVID-19 public health and economic crises continue, so does the conversation about recovery. This past week, the Center for an Urban Future (CUF), a nonprofit think tank focused on economic opportunity and equitable growth, hosted a digital discussion, “Ensuring an Inclusive Economic Recovery in NYC,” featuring several public policy experts.

    Jonathon Bowles, the executive director of CUF, opened the discussion saying “the immediate priorities are clear: keep people

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  • Looking Ahead to a New New York

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    New York must take learn key leassons as it moves ahead (Photo: Spencer T Tucker/Mayor's Office)


    Though it feels like an eternity, it was only about a year ago that Amazon walked away from plans to build a second headquarters in Long Island City. The online juggernaut was scared out of town by a short-sighted public debate that centered on legitimate concerns about gentrification and displacement but underplayed future-looking arguments about economic growth. At the time ...

  • The Amazon Delivery We Still Need: Invest in Public Infrastructure, Not Corporate Welfare

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    (photo: Kevin P. Coughlin/Office of Governor Andrew M. Cuomo)


    This week marks the one-year anniversary of the cancellation of the Amazon ‘HQ2’ Queens deal, which presents an opportunity for New Yorkers to reflect. That these types of destructive corporate welfare deals are still possible and that Amazon is still coming to New York City, albeit in a smaller footprint with fewer public subsidies involved, shows there is a lot still to be discussed around what - and who - our government prioritizes.

    With the quick success last

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  • Lessons from Amazon 'HQ2': Corporate Tax Incentives and Affordable Housing Need to be a Package Deal

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    The planned Amazon site (photo: Kevin P. Coughlin/Governor's Office)


    This week marks the one-year anniversary of Amazon’s contentious withdrawal from its Long Island City plans. Meanwhile, the construction of 'HQ2’ is making steady progress in Arlington County, Virginia, and

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  • Special Flushing Waterfront District: A Massive Giveaway?

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    Flushing Special Waterfront District protestors


    Most Flushing community stakeholders, including at least one Community Board 7 member, learned from a December YIMBY article that a massive waterfront rezoning and special district application had been certified by the City Planning Commission, initiating the seven-month ...

  • Final Signature Allows Implementation of Cuomo-DiNapoli Agreement to Restore Certain Contract Oversight Powers

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    Cuomo & DiNapoli (photo: Governor's Office)


    A resolution has finally been reached around how to deal with a thorny issue involving Governor Andrew Cuomo, contracting oversight, and the corruption that plagued some of the governor’s biggest economic development initiatives.

    As of December 31, all relevant parties have agreed to comply with an August agreement between Cuomo and state Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli restoring the comptroller’s oversight of some large contracts entered into by SUNY and CUNY and their affiliates, and by the Office of General

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  • Manufacturing is Alive and Well in New York City, But It Looks A Lot Different Than It Used To

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    (photo via the Mayor's Office)


    As the spring semester begins for New York’s high school and undergraduate students, many will soon shift their focus from studies to a career. Generations ago, the options were pretty straightforward for students without an advanced degree: build something or sell something. Today, the job market is quite different.

    The information age has opened up all kinds of new opportunities for young people. At the same time, the traditional industrial or manufacturing job has changed as a result. Those who “build something”

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  • Where Did Hudson Yards Come From? This Little-Known Report Helped Start It All

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    (photo: Hudson Yards)


    Today Hudson Yards is largely described as a billionaires’ fantasy, but in fact it’s a rare instance of the city, state and federal governments partnering to create a strategy to help ensure New York City’s position as the world’s commercial capital. And it has an interesting origin story few may be aware of.

    Three months to the day before planes were flown into the World Trade Center, a little-known, but important report was issued by a group convened by New York

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  • Neighborhood Equity Ownership Plans: How Would They Work?

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    (photo: Michael Appleton/Mayoral Photography Office)


    [This article is a follow-up to Dr. Goodman’s August op-ed: Replacing Unsuccessful ‘Community Benefits Agreements’ with Neighborhood Stock Ownership Plans]

    How can neighborhoods defend themselves against displacement, gentrification, and disempowerment in an age of corporate domination? How can communities fend off

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  • What's The [DATA] Point? $28.8 billion, the State's Four-Year Budget Gap

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    What's The [Data] Point? Episode 86 -- $28.8 billion, with Andrew Rein, Andrew Perry, and Ana Champeny of Citizens Budget Commission [You can download What's The [Data] Point? wherever you get your podcasts, including on iTunes]

    regional eco dev$28.8 billion is the cumulative four-year budget gap facing New York State between fiscal years 2020 and 2023. CBC President Andrew Rein joined the

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  • New York City Needs a Development Reset – Starting with Public Land

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    City-owned building at Vernon Blvd & 44th Dr (photo: Memo Salazar)


    2019 may go down in history as the year public disenchantment with New York City’s land use policies reached a boiling point.

    In June, protestors disrupted a meeting about a neighborhood study for a potential rezoning on Southern Boulevard in the Bronx, claiming that city agencies did not really want their opinions. In August, a judge heard arguments in a lawsuit challenging the 2018 Inwood rezoning, with groups in that Upper Manhattan neighborhood charging that the environmental impact study

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  • City Planning Chief on De Blasio Administration's Zoning for Growth, and the Need for More Housing in the Suburbs

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    City Planning Director Marisa Lago (photo: May Vutrapongvatana)


    In a Friday morning speech about how New York City’s limited space is used, Marisa Lago, director of the Department of City Planning, discussed some of the department’s approaches to the housing, employment, and equity challenges facing the city.

    The city has a population of 8.4 million and is “the only older U.S. city that has surpassed its 1970s-era population peak,” said Lago, who was appointed by Mayor Bill de Blasio to direct the Department of City Planning and chair the City

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  • Assessing Alicia Glen's Impact on the City's Physical Landscape - Part II: 'Chunky and Funky'

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    Alicia Glen cristens a ferry (photo: Ed Reed/Mayor's Office)


    This is part two of a two-part series on former Deputy Mayor for Housing and Economic Development Alicia Glen's impact on the "built environment" of New York City. Jump to part one here.

    Part one of this series focused on Glen's style and leadership broadly, as well as her legacy on housing, including the de

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  • Assessing Alicia Glen's Impact on the City’s Physical Space - Part I: 'We have completely changed the housing landscape'

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    Alicia Glen (photo: Paige Polk/Mayor's Office)


    This is part one of a two-part series on former Deputy Mayor Alicia Glen's impact on the "built environment" of New York City. Find part two -- on economic development, transit, and more -- here.

    It’s the year 2026 in New York City. Hundreds of thousands of new units of rent-restricted apartments have been added to the city’s housing stock as the

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  • Improving Opportunity Zones to Truly Benefit Needy Communities in New York City

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    Speaker Johnson, the author, at a construction site (photo: John McCarten/City Council)


    Opportunity Zones, which were part of the 2017 federal tax package, have the potential to improve low-income communities. But the way they are currently structured, they will only benefit neighborhoods already in the midst of building booms and gentrification.

    Here is how they are supposed to work: Investors get tax breaks if they invest in businesses and property development in low-income communities. In New York City, investors are eligible to save

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  • Preparing Our City’s Youth for the World of Work Through CareerReady NYC

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    (photo: Michael Appleton/Mayoral Photography Office)


    In recent years, New York City has racked up a series of impressive gains within the systems that prepare our youth for work and careers. The question is whether this progress will be enough for the city’s youth to navigate a rapidly changing labor market and achieve steady work and economic security. 

    While the economic expansion of recent years has swept many young adults into the workforce, most of these new workers are not on pathways to upward mobility. Part of that is the

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  • Cuomo’s Getting His Belmont Arena, But the Numbers Don’t Add Up

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    Belmont arena rendering (rendering: Sterling Project Development)


    Delayed appraisal, dubious benefits analysis, interest-free financing complicate rosy outlook

    Three lessons from the long battle over Atlantic Yards/Pacific Park and the Barclays Center in Brooklyn are that promises of huge financial benefits deserve skepticism, that independent studies trump promotional ones, and that scenarios should be presented as a range of outcomes, rather than just the best case.

    Unfortunately, those

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  • For Ruben Diaz Jr., a Booming Bronx and Plan to Run on Development

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    Ruben Diaz Jr. (photo: Diaz Jr.'s office)


    Development in the Bronx has defined Ruben Diaz Jr.’s borough presidency, now in its tenth year and coinciding with record economic expansion across the city and country coming out of the Great Recession. And Diaz Jr. has defined his borough presidency –– and plans to build his upcoming run for Mayor –– around economic and housing development.

    The Bronx has seen $18.96 billion poured into development since 2009, the majority of which has gone to residential units, according to the borough president’s ...

  • Experts Point to Anxiety, Short-Sightedness and Political Climate in Amazon Deal Demise

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    Announcing the Amazon deal that later fell apart (photo: Ed Reed/Mayor's Office)


    Current and former city officials and veteran city planners met Monday night to discuss the interplay of politics and policy in the notorious demise of the plan to site an Amazon campus in Long Island City.

    A central theme of the panel discussion, hosted by the Urban Land Institute in midtown Manhattan, was the balance the city must strike between articulating and acting on its long-term need for growth and the experiences of people

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  • Policymakers Can’t Have It Both Ways If They Want to Save Jobs

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    (photo: Emil Cohen/City Council)


    The number of jobs in New York City reached an all-time high this year, bringing the unemployment rate to record lows. We are the envy of the nation. But there is one key sector where jobs are declining. For the first time in more than a decade, we are seeing job losses among restaurants and food service establishments.

    In an attempt to halt some of these losses, City Council Members Brad Lander and Adrienne Adams introduced legislation to prohibit employers from firing fast food workers without just cause, meaning

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  • Film Studio, Tech Park, Yoga Retreat: Some Shuttered New York Prisons See New Life While Others Await Development

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    Former Camp Georgetown Correctional Facility is expected to soon become Camp Brihat Yoga Retreat (photo: Madison County IDA)


    As New York continues to drastically reduce its incarceration rate, many prisons have become surplus. The state prison population has fallen from its peak of approximately 72,600 in 1999 to 47,400 this year.

    Governor Andrew Cuomo, under whom 24 prisons and juvenile detention centers have already been shuttered, introduced and passed legislation as part of the new state budget that would allow him to shut down two or

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