Hostel bill aims to combat illegal short-term rentals

By Maria Rocha-Buschel

New legislation from a Queens Councilmember about hostels may provide residents weary of transients with some relief.

Councilman Mark Weprin introduced legislation this month that would legalize the construction, regulation and operation of licensed youth hostels in commercial districts throughout the city.

City Councilmember Margaret Chin, who represents the Lower East Side, is cosponsoring the legislation and said she hopes that hostels will take some of the pressure off of residential areas flooded with illegal rentals.

“Opening fully legal and licensed youth hostels will allow young people to enjoy the hostel experience without ending up in an illegal short-term rental, which can be unsafe and cause quality of life problems for residents of my Lower Manhattan district and all across the city,” she said.

The legislation would allow for the construction of hostels only in commercial areas, in order to prevent illegal hotel activity in residential areas already overwhelmed by temporary subletters.

The city does not presently have a law that legalizes youth hostels. Former Assemblyman Jerry Kremer, who is an advocate for youth hostels, explained that legislation passed by Governor David Patterson in 2010 eliminating Single Room Occupancy (SRO) entities had the downside of eliminating hostels.

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Madison Square Park debuts its largest sculpture installation yet

Fata Morgana began construction in March and will be completed in May. (Pictured) The canopy installation as seen this week (Photos by Maria Rocha-Buschel)

Fata Morgana began construction in March and will be completed in May. (Pictured) The canopy installation as seen this week (Photos by Maria Rocha-Buschel)

By Maria Rocha-Buschel

Mad. Sq. Art will debut a new installation in Madison Square Park officially opening in June that is planned to remain in the park throughout the rest of the year.

Fata Morgana, by New York-based artist Teresita Fernández, will be the largest outdoor sculpture from the Madison Square Park Conservancy and will consist of 500 feet of mirror-polished discs that create canopies over the pathways along the central lawn. The exhibit will run through January 10, 2016, which Mad. Sq. Art curator Brooke Rapaport said is to allow park visitors to interact with the piece throughout all four seasons.

“The idea is that it will change and transform visually so it’s always a different experience,” she said.

The project has been partially installed with some sections currently open, but the entire installation is expected to be finished by the end of May. The opening reception is planned for June 1.

The metal sculptures will hover over the walkways and are perforated with intricate patterns that resemble foliage and will create a glowing, flickering affect as the sunlight filters through the canopy. The Conservancy said that the installation is the first project from Mad. Sq. Art to fully make use of the upper register of a visitor’s space.

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