Week In Review, Jan. 21

State Senator Brad Hoylman called on telecommunications giant Time Warner Cable on Monday to improve access for blind and visually impaired customers by voluntarily instituting basic product standards, including television guides and documents written in Braille, font size options for on-screen menus, as well as “talking menus” and “talking guides.” In a letter to Chairman and CEO Robert Marcus, Hoylman noted that while “Comcast has already set an example with its simple to use and accessible technology,” Time Warner has yet to implement similar programs for its share of New York’s 400,000 visually impaired residents.
Hoylman learned of the issue from a constituent while visiting VISIONS, a nonprofit that offers rehabilitation and social services to the visually impaired, in his senate district with NYC Comptroller Scott Stringer.

Council Member Robert Cornegy (Photo by Sabina Mollot)

Council Member Robert Cornegy (Photo by Sabina Mollot)

The City Council voted unanimously in support of legislation to change the way that the city communicates with New Yorkers who qualify for the city’s Rent Freeze Program on Tuesday.
The legislation, sponsored by Council Member Robert Cornegy, requires the Department of Finance to include a notice regarding legal and preferential rents on certain documents related to the NYC Rent Freeze Program.
Specifically, the notice must include the rent amount on which the benefit calculation was based, an explanation of why that amount was used in the calculation, an explanation that the tenant may continue to pay a preferential rent even once enrolled in the program, A statement that the tenant can obtain a rent registration history and file a complaint with the State Division of Housing and Community Renewal and a telephone number and email address for that agency. In addition, by 2018, the legislation would require the Department of Finance to include both the preferential and legal regulated rents of applicants to the NYC Rent Freeze Program in its database and include the preferential rent amount in the notice described above.

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A peek at ST’s newest studios

A studio facing First Avenue built out of a former trunk room (Photos by Sabina Mollot)

A studio facing First Avenue built out of a former trunk room (Photos by Sabina Mollot)

By Sabina Mollot

Since last summer, five new studio apartments have popped up in Stuyvesant Town. At this time, though they’re not yet on the market, they will be soon, having finally completed their transformation from former trunk rooms and other spaces once used for storage.

The rents for the studios, which are bigger than the five studios built last year on Avenue C, haven’t been officially determined yet. A Blackstone rep said that won’t be decided until a city inspection. However, they will be market rate.

CWCapital had declined to comment on the units as they were being built at 250, 270, 280 and 300 First Avenue and 435 East 14th Street. Permits for their being built were approved on June 30.

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First Ave. lounge still noisy, say neighbors

Deputy Inspector Brendan Timoney (Photo by Maria Rocha-Buschel)

Deputy Inspector Brendan Timoney (Photo by Maria Rocha-Buschel)

By Maria Rocha-Buschel

Attendance at the first 13th Precinct Community Council meeting of 2016 was surprisingly high considering the event was on Tuesday, a bitterly cold evening.

But residents who live on First Avenue at East 18th Street above Visana, the relatively new pizza place that becomes a lounge at night, were motivated by what they complained is excess noise.

There have already been a couple of community council meetings in recent months to complain about the noise from this space. One resident was at the meeting this week with similar complaints, noting that on one recent evening, it was particularly loud because a party bus was parked in front of the establishment.

Owner David Jaffee, who has said previously that he wants to work with the community to resolve any ongoing issues, was at the meeting and said that this was the first time that there has been a party bus parked outside the business. Jaffee argued that he and his business partner are responsive to residents in the area but he noted that the resident who was at the meeting never reached out to him at the time to complain about the issue.

“We try to be proactive,” he said. “I went outside and spoke to the driver but the driver refused to move.”

But the precinct’s commanding officer, Deputy Inspector Brendan Timoney, who has held meetings with Jaffee on this issue in the past, wasn’t satisfied with the owner’s attempts to mitigate the noise problems.

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