Mt. Sinai: Renovating Beth Israel would have cost $1.3 B

Brad Beckstrom, senior director for community and government for Mount Sinai, speaks at a meeting held by Community Boards 3 and 6 about the plans for a new Mount Sinai Beth Israel facility.

Brad Beckstrom, senior director for community and government for Mount Sinai, speaks at a meeting held by Community Boards 3 and 6 about the plans for a new Mount Sinai Beth Israel facility. (Photo by Maria Rocha-Buschel)

By Maria Rocha-Buschel

Following the news that Mount Sinai would be moving and downsizing Beth Israel, reps from the hospital network met with neighborhood residents to insist that simply renovating the First Avenue hospital was not an option.

Mount Sinai Beth Israel met with Community Boards 3 and 6 earlier this month to share details on the plan to relocate most of the campus on First Avenue to a much smaller facility at East 14th Street and Second Avenue, adjacent to the New York Eye and Ear Infirmary.

Brad Korn, director for community and government affairs at Mount Sinai, along with Brad Beckstrom, senior director for community and government affairs at the company, told committee members and residents of the community that the main reason for the downsizing is the advanced age of the facility on First Avenue at East 16th Street.

“This is an aging, outmoded infrastructure,” Beckstrom said. “We get the question, ‘is it possible to renovate?’ But it would cost $1.3 billion and would take many years.”

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Tenants and owners blast Airbnb at RGB hearing

Joanne Joemelti

An East Village resident, Joanne Joemelti, argues that tenants shouldn’t be punished because of the ones that use Airbnb. (Photos by Sabina Mollot)

By Sabina Mollot

With just a week to go before the mayor’s Rent Guidelines Board votes on the year’s increases for roughly one million people, the city’s stabilized renters, both tenants and landlords went before the board to argue why they needed a break — in rent rollbacks or rent increases high enough to cover operating costs, respectively. The usual reasons for both were mentioned: desperate tenants citing stagnant wages while rent increases have steadily been granted until last year’s historic freeze, and owners blaming soaring real estate taxes and other factors like water/sewer fees and building maintenance.

But one thing both sides had in common was a mutual loathing for the increasingly common practice of short-term rentals.

Tenants brought up owners who flout the law to rent vacant units to tourists since it’s more lucrative than monthly rent and doubles as a form of harassment to longtime renters who’ve lost a sense of safety and community. Meanwhile, equally frustrated owners lamented how tenants live elsewhere, while paying under market rent and earning a windfall through Airbnb.

The arguments were made at the auditorium of the Cooper Union building on Monday afternoon. Tenants and landlords lined up to speak along with several elected officials at an RGB hearing.

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Letters to the Editor, June 23

Cartoon by Jim Meadows

Cartoon by Jim Meadows

Still feeling the Bern, not trusting the Hill

To the Editor:

After asking rhetorically if the progressive presidential campaign of Senator Bernie Sanders is adopting the helter skelter strategy of the “warped revolution” of the murderous Manson cult family in 1969, Steven Sanders (no relation and no friend) writes that this veteran senator who has years and years of experience in the Senate actually believes that he can accomplish his populist program “immediately.”

What the senator meant was that a revolution of new voters could result in the Democrats taking control of the House and the Senate making it possible for his programs to be made into law swiftly. Steven Sanders also makes the “analysis” which he admits is “a bit outlandish,” that Senator Sanders hopes that Donald Trump will become the next President. Really? The Senator has repeatedly said that “Trump is a pathological liar…a danger to the entire world” who must never be elected. I believe that the senator means what he says; unlike his opponents, his whole campaign, indeed his whole career, has been forthright. He is the only candidate who has earned my trust.

Unlike his opponents, the senator has not flip-flopped on any of his principles or public policy issues. He has not let the polls dictate his campaign platform. In fact, he’s been saying the same thing over and over since he began his campaign and because of this single-minded purpose and his honesty, he rose from a low of 3 percent in the polls last year to within striking distance of the nomination now. And this despite millions of independent voters not being allowed to exercise their right to vote; despite the DNC chairwoman’s biased debate schedule (Clinton won’t debate him anymore); despite the handicap of President Clinton campaigning for Hillary which, according to President Obama, is like running against two candidates; and despite the elite superdelegate politicians influencing the voting process by manipulating the media to report over and over that Hillary is far ahead of Bernie in the delegate count even though 541 superdelegates could change their votes at any time.  

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