Mayoral Hopeful Proposes Casino Development on Governors Island
Above: The administration of Mayor Bill de Blasio plans a Center for Climate Solutions on the 33 acres of Governors Island currently available for redevelopment. Below: Mayoral hopeful Andrew Yang: “Who’s going to use that casino? A lot of tourists. It’s going to generate tons of money.”
Former Democratic presidential aspirant and current City mayoral contender Andrew Yang says he has found a way to help lift New York’s economy out of the pandemic-triggered recession, as well as to help fund his universal basic income plan, which would offer $2,000 annual payments to about half a million poor New Yorkers: He wants to develop a casino on Governors Island.
In a story first reported by Politico, Mr. Yang on January 14 told interviewers on the Breakfast Club morning radio program, “one way I think we can generate money, and also make New York City more fun [is that] New York City should have its own casino on Governors Island.”
“Who’s going to use that casino?,” he asked, rhetorically, before answering, “a lot of tourists. It’s going to generate tons of money. It’s going to be in an environment that right now is essentially unused. But you can see that becoming a major draw, generating hundreds of millions of dollars a year.”
“New York City needs to continuously develop new reasons to visit,” Mr. Yang continued. “It needs to continue evolving. That’s one of the things I think we can do in a way that can actually help dig us out of this hole. That casino would generate so much money it would be bananas.”
“If the City can get that in place, and harness some of that, it would be one of the engines of recovery,” he concluded.
The scale of the Center for Climate Solutions, City’s proposed project for the same site, is up to 4.5 million square feet, and has inspired opposition from Downtown community leaders.
Mr. Yang’s mention of an “environment that right now is essentially unused” appears to be a reference to a pair of large sites on Governors Island (comprising a combined total of 33 acres) that the City envisions developing for nonprofit, cultural, educational, or commercial uses.
Mr. Yang appears to be unaware that the deed under which the federal government transferred Governors Island to the City in 2003 specifies four “prohibited uses,” banning specific types of development. They include parking and power generation (except for use on the island), industrial facilities, residential buildings (except “as otherwise expressly permitted”), and casinos. This was affirmed last November, when the Trust for Governors Island presented plans to the Land Use and Economic Development Committee of Community Board 1. This presentation specifically noted under the heading, Questions Raised by the Community Board, a query, “Could a casino be developed as of right when the deed restrictions expire?” The Trust’s answer was, “No. Casinos are not allowed under the proposed rezoning.”
In addition to this legal bar, a Yang mayoral administration would have to contend with spirited opposition. City Hall is currently proposing a create a Center for Climate Solutions to study global warming, but even this public-service mission has aroused criticism from community leaders, who decry both the scale of the proposed project (up to 4.5 million square feet), as well as the lack of local input in devising the plan.
Annual Food Fest Puts Lavish Local Meals within Reach of Thrifty Epicures
New York’s annual food celebration, Restaurant Week, has been reimagined for the era of COVID-19. What’s new is that all meals will be for takeout or delivery. What remains the same is the deep discounts on fine food.
Starting today (Monday) and though next Sunday (January 31), those disinclined to venture above Canal Street can order from 35 participating restaurants located in Lower Manhattan for the bargain price of $20.21 (including a prix-fixe entrée and at least one side). To read more…
Plus, diners who pay with a registered Mastercard will get a $10 statement credit per meal, with a ten-meal ($100) redemption limit per customer. (To register, or find more information, please browse https://www.mcallinnyc.com)
At many of these eateries, the everyday prices are significantly higher than Restaurant Week offerings, which makes this value proposition a compelling opportunity to try places that might ordinarily be outside your budget.
You can order directly from each restaurant (via phone or their websites), or by using their preferred delivery app. Participating restaurants in Lower Manhattan include:
No judgment for those of you who will want to drop those new year’s resolutions (or whatever other health kicks you’ve got going on) after reading this PSA:
NYC Restaurant Week launched this week, as hundreds of hot spots citywide have been lining up special delivery deals through January 31.
Promotions include lunch or dinner with a side for $20.21, two-course brunches and lunches ($26) and three-course dinners ($42), mostly Monday through Friday. (Some participating restaurants are honoring those prices on weekends.)
Dozens of restaurants south of Chambers Street plan to take part in NYC Restaurant Week, including Brooklyn Chop House, The Fulton, Crown Shy, Stone Street Tavern, The Dead Rabbit and more.
The Restaurant Week website lists several more tempting options to treat yourself — even if it means playing it a little fast and loose with your commitments to fitness. (We won’t tell.)
Eyes to the Sky January 25 – February 7, 2020
Sirius, The Big Dog and Thor’s Helmet
Sparkling, blue-white Sirius the Dog Star, the brightest star in the night sky, rises in the east-southeast 20 minutes after sunset this evening and will rise simultaneously with sunset by month’s end.
As twilight deepens, Sirius – from the ancient Greek Seirios for “scorcher” or “glowing” – appears above the skyline leading one of winter’s most alluring constellations, Canus Major, or The Big Dog, into the sky.
January’s Full Wolf (or Hunger) Moon rises at 4:55pm on Thursday the 28th as the Sun sets on the opposite horizon at 5:02pm. Twilight gathers half an hour later.
Astrophotography by Mario Motta, MD. All Rights Reserved
Doyenne of the Estuary Departs
HRPT President Who Oversaw Build-Out of Waterfront Park to Step Down
Madelyn Wils, president and chief executive officer of the Hudson River Park Trust (HRPT) for the past decade, will step down February 5. In a January 19 letter to the Trust’s board of directors, she noted, “we are well on our way towards accomplishing our shared goals of completing the Park’s construction while ensuring it is also on solid financial footing.” She also cited a broad range of achievements in the ongoing build-out of the Park, including the September opening of Pier 26, in Tribeca, the beginning of reconstruction of Pier 40 (near Houston Street), progress on the development of Little Island and a plan for the Gansevoort Peninsula (both near West 14th Street).
Thanks so much for your coverage of a very important issue regarding bird collisions in BPC.
It is of much concern to me especially since this past fall alone there were so many collisions at Brookfield Place. In one week alone I picked up 6 injured birds within a 5 day period and several did not survive (see photo of warbler – found at the overpass on Liberty and South End Ave.).
I hope that the management at Brookfield Place will make a concerted effort to mitigate this issue so that we don’t see this happening in the future. Spring will be here very soon and the birds will be passing through on their Northbound trek. Time is of the essence. I appeal to Brookfield Place to do the right thing.
Stuyvesant Student Calls for Climate Justice Curriculum
To the editor:
As a student at Stuyvesant High School, one of New York City’s most well-funded, affluent public high schools, I’ve always been vaguely aware of the fact that I am incredibly lucky and privileged.
But I take for granted my new textbooks each year, how my teachers can devote individualised attention to each student, and that, due to the wealth of resources my school has access to, it is one of the most sustainable and eco-conscious schools in the city.
During my freshman orientation last year, much of it focused on the green team, the roof-top garden, and extensive recycling and composting systems; all sustainability efforts that go far beyond the basic requirements laid out by the Department of Education.
Before, I thought this was normal because I’ve always had access to sustainability opportunities. I do not identify as white, and although my privileged background has made it harder for me to see this gaping disparity, my identity has made it easier for me to see how the ability of a school to be sustainable is intrinsically related to the school’s economic resources.
However, these resources aren’t equal, and so most public schools in New York City are forced to make a choice between basic education and helping combat an existential crisis. Most schools who are able to be part of the climate movement encompass privileged populations which make the movement seem that it is only comprised of advocates from one demographic. As Leo Ramirez, a senior at Food and Finance High School, described, “the teen climate movement within NYC is very white washed and privileged” and that to “to accurately represent the melting pot of the entire NYC caucus” we must level the playing field for all students.
Schools in neighborhoods with majority Black and Hispanic communities have been found to be disproportionately lacking in funds to properly run their school compared to schools with predominantly white or Asian communities, yet the city only provides these schools with 15 percent more money than they do better-funded schools.
There is a simple solution that would allow all students in the NYC public school system to become climate justice leaders: a mandatory climate justice curriculum.
Wealthy schools have climate education integrated into some parts of their lessons, but there is no mandate that makes climate education as crucial to teach as math, science, or English. However, a climate justice curriculum would encompass the scientific aspects of climate change, the across-the-board impacts on environmental justice communities, policies, and much more. The climate crisis is one that brings together so many different fields, and it takes skill to learn and act on the intricacies of policies, science, and politics. New Jersey and Washington have already taken the leap into the revolution, and we need to do our part to train the next generation of climate justice leaders.
As an Indian-American teenager, I want to help make more space for people who look like me to take charge of their future.
For the Birds
New Law Aims to Play Fair with Fowl
The New York City Council recently enacted new legislation that will protect birds, who are killed by the thousands each year in collisions with the reflective glass on the facades of skyscrapers, including those in Battery Park City.
“There may be as many as one billion birds killed by window and glass collisions every single year in the United States,” explains Battery Park City resident Michelle Ashkin, who is licensed by New York State as a Wildlife Rehabilitator, and also serves as the co-director of education for the Wild Bird Fund. “In New York City alone, we estimate that there are anywhere between 90,000 to 230,000 bird collisions every year, so this legislation is a major step in the right direction, especially since there are so many bird-safe glass options.”
Questions about What’s In Store for Local Retail Point to Glum Answer: Not Much
Small businesses aren’t the only ones hurting in Lower Manhattan. Large national retailers are also shuttering their local stores in record numbers, according to a new report from the Center for an Urban Future (CUF), a public policy think tank that uses data-driven research to bring attention to overlooked issues. The analysis documents that the number of chain stores in Lower Manhattan decreased dramatically during the past 12 months, with a total of 63 national retailers shutting their doors permanently.