Councilmember Keith Powers and City Council Speaker Corey Johnson at the town hall on Tuesday. (Photos by Maria Rocha-Buschel)
By Maria Rocha-Buschel
Top priority for residents at a City Council District 4 town hall this week was affordable housing and transportation issues, in addition to addressing homelessness.
The town hall, hosted by Councilmember Keith Powers and City Council Speaker Corey Johnson this Tuesday, was held at CUNY’s Graduate Center and was attended by more than 300 residents.
Susan Steinberg, president of the Stuyvesant Town-Peter Cooper Village Tenants Association, brought up the issue of affordable housing and the new rent laws for the first question of the night.
“Right away landlords went into a tailspin,” she said of the strengthened rent laws. “Blackstone who are the owners of Stuyvesant Town, have decided that they had to regroup and re-strategize because their business model no longer worked. And the way they did this was to hit the pause button on renovating vacant apartments and making them unavailable, so it’s tantamount to warehousing. And we were very concerned about that.”
When Democrats take control of the House of the Representatives in January, we will have an opportunity to change the course of our country by pursuing a bold progressive agenda that serves all Americans and providing a badly needed check on President Trump and his administration.
In the next Congress, I will be the vice chair of the Joint Economic Committee, chair of the Capital Markets Subcommittee and a senior member of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee. Using these positions, I will fight to expand opportunities for all Americans, strengthen our health care system, defend our rights and liberties and make sure Congress acts as the check and balance envisioned in the Constitution.
The first order of business in a Democratic House will be H.R. 1, a bold reform package designed to strengthen our democracy. It will include campaign finance reform, similar to New York City’s system, that combines small-donor incentives and matching support — to increase and multiply the power of small donors — and requires all political organizations to disclose their donors. In addition, it will impose strong new ethics rules to stop officials from using their public office for personal gain, as well as election reforms to make it easier to vote by strengthening the Voting Rights Act, promoting automatic voter registration and bolstering our election infrastructure against foreign attackers.
‘Stuy Town’ sign will be changed to ‘Stuy Cove,’ landings will offer some protection from weather
A completed ferry landing in Astoria (Photo courtesy of the Economic Development Corporation)
By Maria Rocha-Buschel
Service on the new Lower East Side ferry route, including at Stuyvesant Cove, is on schedule to begin at the end of the summer, representatives for NYC Ferry reported to Community Board 6’s transportation committee this past Monday, although spokespeople did not have a more specific date.
The ferry, operated by Hornblower Cruises and managed by the Economic Development Corporation, will run starting from Wall Street, making stops at Corlears Hook on the Lower East Side, Stuyvesant Cove and 34th Street before ending at Long Island City, Queens.
Because construction appears nearly finished at the Stuyvesant Cove landing near 20th Street, one Stuyvesant Town resident, Larry Scheyer, questioned why service wouldn’t be starting sooner.
In response, EDC Vice President of government and community relations Radhy Miranda said that even after the landings are built, there are additional protocols before service can actually begin.
Attorney Arthur Schwartz (pictured with Edith Prentiss, a disabled rights activist) says disabled commuters aren’t being considered, nor are the neighborhoods that will be dealing with chaotic traffic. (Photo by Sabina Mollot)
By Sabina Mollot
On Tuesday morning, a coalition of neighborhood groups sued in a Manhattan Federal Court in an attempt to stop the planned L train shutdown starting a year from now. The suit accuses the Metropolitan Transportation Authority, the city Department of Transportation and the Federal Transportation Administration of ignoring the needs of disabled riders along the L line, and disregarding the communities who’ll be dealing with constant congestion from diesel-spewing buses.
According to the attorney representing the groups, dubbed “the 14th Street Coalition,” Arthur Schwartz, the FTA “has failed to enforce compliance with the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) even though the nearly $1 billion project is being federally funded.” The MTA and DOT meanwhile, he said have failed to prepare a required Environmental Impact Statement, which he said would have compelled the agencies to be more responsive to community input.
The suit aims to halt the work as well as its federal funding until the plans do something about the lack of elevators in each L station and about the expected environmental impacts from substituting the L train with significantly expanded above ground mass transit.
The plan calls for creating a 14th Street “busway” between Third and Eighth Avenues going west and from Ninth to Third Avenues going east. Car traffic will not be able to cross anywhere along the busway. Access-A-Ride will be included along with emergency vehicles. The plan is to enforce these rules during “peak” hours. A constant fleet of shuttle buses will be traveling from Brooklyn to Manhattan over the Williamsburg Bridge and there will also be a protected bike lane on East 13th Street.
A woman rides the N train, along one of three routes where the site-specific plays are meant to be listened to on a smartphone. (Photo courtesy of Erin Mee)
By Sabina Mollot
A Peter Cooper Village resident who once directed a play designed to be downloaded as an app and listened to on the Staten Island ferry has recently released a series of plays that, like “Ferry Play,” is meant to be experienced on one’s smartphone.
The new production, “Subway Plays,” is a trilogy of plays that are intended to be listened to on the L, N and 7 trains. Though they can be played anytime, the audio performance should be accompanied by a specific route: either Manhattan to Brooklyn and Queens for act one, or Brooklyn or Queens while headed to Manhattan. The site-specific plays, which are told in English, also include other languages such Arabic, Hindi, Mandarin, Russian and Colombian Spanish that would typically be heard along the route.
The plays come in the form of an app, which costs $2.99 and can be downloaded on an iPhone or Android.
Erin Mee said she first got the idea to do a downloadable play from a Canadian theater company that specialized in what was referred to as “pod plays.” She ultimately decided to refer to her own project as a “smartphone play,” since iPods have mostly gone out of use and she didn’t want people to get confused. Additionally, she stressed that this type of play is different from an old-time radio play or an audio tour one might hear in a museum. This is because it’s site-specific with the sights, sounds and smells of the environment factoring into the story and overall experience.
Council Member Carlina Rivera outside her district office in the East Village (Photo by Maria Rocha-Buschel)
By Maria Rocha-Buschel
Newly-elected City Council Member Carlina Rivera spoke with members of the community media in a round-table discussion this week, covering affordable housing, the plight of small businesses and the transit woes affecting District 2.
Rivera, who took over the seat from Rosie Mendez, who was term-limited after 12 years in office, previously worked with Mendez as her legislative director and is a long-time community activist working in the East Village and the Lower East Side.
One of the subjects she brought up was the new “tech hub” the city is planning on East 14th Street, and Rivera said she wants to make sure affordable housing is factored into the plan.
“In terms of the zoning, it’s going to be important to look at how we can incentivize affordable housing,” she said. “People are worried that this tech hub is going to be a purely commercial development and one of the most important things we need is affordable housing.”
SUSPECT ARRESTED FOR FIRING GUN IN FRONT OF STRAUS HOUSES
Police arrested 38-year-old Jamah Joseph for assault, weapons possession and reckless endangerment last Monday at 10 p.m. inside the 13th precinct. Police said that Joseph fired multiple shots at a group of people who were standing in front of 224 East 28th Street on January 18 at 10:25 p.m. with intent to cause serious injuries.
MAN CHARGED WITH ASSAULT WITH BROOMSTICK AT W. 28TH ST. STATION
Police arrested 22-year-old Adan Alverez for assault in front of 145 West 28th Street last Saturday at 7:18 a.m. Alverez and the victim got into an argument, during which Alverez allegedly pulled out a knife in a menacing way. The victim told police that he then chased Alverez to West 28th Street between Sixth and Seventh Avenues when Alverez allegedly picked up a broomstick and hit the victim on the left side of his head, causing bruising.
The victim was taken to Bellevue Hospital and told police that Alverez threw the knife, which he described as a silver blade approximately three inches in length with a white handle, into the tracks of the 28th Street station. Police searched the area but the knife was not recovered. Alverez was also charged with weapons possession, menacing and possession of marijuana. Police said that the two men did not know each other and did not have further information about what started the argument.
State Senator Brad Hoylman (pictured at right) spoke about the need for transit improvements at a recent meeting of the Stuyvesant Town-Peter Cooper Village Tenants Association. (Photos by Sabina Mollot)
By Sabina Mollot
State Senator Brad Hoylman, who’s been an outspoken critic of the bus used by many of his constituents, the M23 a.k.a. the turtle, is now setting his sights on the MTA as a whole, saying he’s sick of seeing funds intended for mass transit get steered elsewhere.
Hoylman brought up the subject on Sunday, November 19 at a public meeting held by the Stuyvesant Town-Peter Cooper Village Tenants Association during a Q&A period.
The topic was first brought up by a woman who, during a Q&A period, said she didn’t like that a fleet of 200 diesel buses have been announced as a solution to the looming L-Pocalypse in 2019, rather than hybrid buses.
At this, Hoylman said he agreed and wanted to help “wean Albany off of Diesel,” despite the pollution-spewing option being cheaper.