CB1 Backs Stringer on Rescinding Mayor’s Emergency Authority
The guard posted to the lobby of the Radisson New York Wall Street Hotel (corner of William and Pine Streets, one block from Federal Hall). Requisitioning hotels as homeless shelters is among the $1.5 billion in contracts awarded by the administration of Mayor Bill de Blasio under emergency authority, and without the usual oversight provisions.
Community Board 1 (CB1) is taking the unusual step of demanding that the administration of Mayor Bill de Blasio alter a policy that is citywide in its breadth, and does not specifically apply to Lower Manhattan.
The policy at issue is Emergency Executive Order 101, proclaimed by the Mayor in March of this year as the pandemic coronavirus was beginning to threaten New York. The original rationale for this order was to suspend temporarily the cumbersome regulations that usually apply to purchases of goods and services by the City government. The Mayor argued that this discretion was necessary, in order to facilitate the rapid procurement of medical supplies, such as personal protective equipment (PPE) and ventilators.
While this authority was initially used to purchase supplies and services directly related to the public health emergency, it has since become the basis for “contracts from every mayoral agency, contracts with expiration dates years away, and contracts with purposes that have unclear direct relevance to the fight against COVID-19,” according to City Comptroller Scott Stringer. (Mr. Stringer’s office ordinarily supervises and reviews City procurement contracts, but this oversight role was suspended by Emergency Executive Order 101.) Since Executive Order 101 was put into effect, the City has paid out more than $1.5 billion on the emergency contracts that it made possible.
“As New York City emerges from the acute phase of the COVID-19 pandemic, the number of COVID-related emergency contracts has steadily decreased,” Mr. Stringer notes. “Yet the Mayorʼs Office of Contract Services continues to register both emergency and non-emergency contracts, defying the intention of the [emergency executive order] and bypassing the safeguard… established in the City Charter.”
“New York City is in a new phase of managing the COVID pandemic,” he continues. “With hospitalizations down 98 percent from their peak in April, the sweeping emergency procurement powers enacted in Emergency Executive Order 101 are no longer justified.” He adds that, “many of these contracts were with vendors that lack the necessary capacity or relevant experience, or even have criminal backgrounds.”
At its October meeting, CB1 weighed in with a resolution supporting Mr. Stringer, noting that, “the Mayor himself has admitted to the precarious state of the City’s finances and all agencies, including the 59 community boards tightened their budgetary belts in an act of fiscal need and civic solidarity,” and that, “the lack of true checks and balances over potentially specious, unchecked spending makes a mockery of the budget cuts that are born by non-politically connected New Yorkers that receive few services despite the weakened economy along with the twin specters of housing insecurity and sickness.”
This measure concludes that CB1 “joins New York City Comptroller [Scott Stringer] in calling on the Mayor to rescind Emergency Executive Order 101 at once and allow the public some comfort that one of the largest budgets in the United States is given the proper fiscal oversight,” and calls upon City Council member Margaret Chin and Manhattan Borough president Gale Brewer to, “establish and drive whatever legislative and charter-based options that are available to force the Mayor to rescind the order in question.”
Downtown Traffic May Ease with Split Verrazzano Toll
The Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) is poised to implement federal legislation (enacted in 2019) that will modify the tolling regimen on a bridge barely visible on the horizon from Lower Manhattan, but this may nonetheless reduce traffic congestion Downtown.
A federal spending bill ratified at the close of last yehttps://www.ebroadsheet.com/Home/Home/2018_PICS/vzbrdgewshipoutboundunder_DSC0231.jpgar requires that the Verrazzano-Narrows Bridge abandon its policy of charging double-tolls for eastbound drivers, while westbound vehicles cross free of charge. In a story first reported by the Staten Island Advance, the MTA has now settled on Tuesday, December 1 as the start date for the new tolling program.
Lunchtime program with author and professor Lawrence A. Cunningham, in conversation with financial correspondent Astrid Doerner, on Quality Shareholders: How the Best Managers Attract and Keep Them. Free
Join museum senior editor Alexandra Harris, co-author of Why We Serve: Native Americans in the United States Armed Forces, for a discussion about identity and the warrior stereotype of Native people serving in the military, as well as actual—and remarkable—traditions of peace and war within American Indian communities. Following Harris’s talk, museum historian Mark Hirsch, Why We Serve co-author, will host a Q&A with attendees. Free
1) 13 Harrison Street, application for rooftop addition to existing townhouse – Resolution
2) Trinity Church Wall Street, application for installation of two digital “poster box” signs located on the Broadway fence of the property – Resolution
3) 271 Church Street, application to replace historic window with new storefront and relocate previously approved bracket sign – Resolution
4) 250 Water Street, application to construct (a) a new building on the 250 Water Street parking lot and (b) a new building at 173-69 John Street for the South Street Seaport Museum and alterations to the existing Museum Buildings on Block 74 – Resolution
Downtown Voters Are Biden Their Time
Local Electoral Patterns Show Varying Levels of Enthusiasm for Presidential Contenders
The City’s Board of Elections (BOE) has released unofficial local results for last week’s presidential election, which offer some insights into voting patterns at the community level. The portion of the 65th Assembly District served by the Broadsheet (a jagged line running from west to east, roughly connecting Vesey Street, Fulton Street, Park Row, and the Brooklyn Bridge), is divided into 25 election districts, or neighborhood-level precincts.
The total for all of these polling places was 9,191 votes cast. The ticket of Joe Biden and Kamala Harris (running on the Democratic Party and Working Family Party lines) took a total of 7,059 of these ballots (or approximately 76.8 percent). The incumbents—President Donald Trump and Vice President Mike Pence, running under the Republican Party and Conservative Party banners—tallied 1,939 votes (or roughly 21 percent). To read more…
Local Small Business Swims Against the Tide by Reopening
In Italian, the word “inatteso” means “unexpected”—which is an apt adjective to describe what a small business in Battery Park City is doing. At a time when large enterprises, from the Century 21 department store to the restaurant, bar, and catering facility at Pier A, are shuttering, a spunky upstart is voicing optimism by reopening.
The Tale of the Ticker Tape, or How Adversity and Spontaneity Hatched a New York Tradition
What was Planned as a Grand Affair became a Comedy of Errors
New York’s first ticker-tape parade erupted spontaneously from bad weather
and an over-zealous stockbroker.
While the festivities in New York Harbor didn’t go as scripted that afternoon, the spontaneous gesture it generated from the brokerage houses lining Broadway famously lives on more than a century later.
On October 28, 1886, Liberty Enlightening the World was to be unveiled to New York City and the world as it stood atop its tall base on Bedloe’s Island. But the morning mist had turned to afternoon fog, blurring the view of the statue from revelers on the Manhattan shore and the long parade of three hundred ships on the Hudson River.
What was planned as a grand affair-with President Grover Cleveland as the main speaker-became a comedy of errors. The fog prevented efficient communication between the dignitaries on the island and the ships awaiting orders to fire their salutes and blast their horns at the given signal.
Even the dramatic unveiling moment itself went awry. To read more…
TODAY IN HISTORY
The aftermath of the 1993 bombing of the World Trade Center photo: Robert Simko
954 – The 13-year-old Lothair III is crowned at the Abbey of Saint-Remi as king of the West Frankish Kingdom.
1793 – Jean Sylvain Bailly, the first Mayor of Paris, is guillotined.
1912 – The frozen bodies of Robert Scott and his men are found on the Ross Ice Shelf in Antarctica.
1927 – Leon Trotsky is expelled from the Soviet Communist Party, leaving Joseph Stalin in undisputed control of the Soviet Union.
1936 – In California, the San Francisco–Oakland Bay Bridge opens to traffic.
1941 – World War II: Temperatures around Moscow drop to -12 °C as the Soviet Union launches ski troops for the first time against the freezing German forces near the city.
1979 – Iran hostage crisis: In response to the hostage situation in Tehran, US President Jimmy Carter orders a halt to all petroleum imports into the United States from Iran.
1980 – The NASA space probe Voyager I makes its closest approach to Saturn and takes the first images of its rings.
1981 – Space Shuttle program: Mission STS-2, utilizing the Space Shuttle Columbia, marks the first time a manned spacecraft is launched into space twice.
1990 – Tim Berners-Lee publishes a formal proposal for the World Wide Web.
1997 – Ramzi Yousef is found guilty of masterminding the 1993 World Trade Center bombing.
2001 – American Airlines Flight 587, an Airbus A300 en route to the Dominican Republic, crashes minutes after takeoff from John F. Kennedy International Airport, killing all 260 on board and five on the ground.
2011 – A blast in Iran’s Shahid Modarres missile base leads to the death of 17 of the Revolutionary Guards members, including Hassan Tehrani Moghaddam, a key figure in Iran’s missile program.
1729 – Louis Antoine de Bougainville, French admiral and explorer (d. 1811)
1795 – Thaddeus William Harris, American entomologist and botanist (d. 1856)
1840 – Auguste Rodin, French sculptor and illustrator, created The Thinker (d. 1917)
1889 – DeWitt Wallace, American publisher and philanthropist, co-founded Reader’s Digest (d. 1981)
1923 – Ian Graham, English archaeologist and explorer (d. 2017)
1929 – Grace Kelly, American actress, later Princess Grace of Monaco (d. 1982)
1934 – Charles Manson, American cult leader (d. 2017)
1943 – Wallace Shawn, American actor, comedian and playwright
1944 – Booker T. Jones, American pianist, saxophonist, songwriter, and producer
1945 – Neil Young, Canadian singer-songwriter, guitarist, and producer
973 – Burchard III, Frankish nobleman (b. c.915)
1094 – Duncan II of Scotland (b. 1060)
1595 – John Hawkins, English admiral and shipbuilder (b. 1532)
1916 – Percival Lowell, American astronomer, mathematician, and author (b. 1855)
1993 – H. R. Haldeman, American diplomat, 4th White House Chief of Staff (b. 1926)
2018 – Stan Lee, American comic book writer, editor, and publisher (b. 1922)
Downtown Dowager Gets Her Due
First Lady of Lower Manhattan Recognized, Half a Century On
If you live in Lower Manhattan, and are even remotely fond of the community, you owe a debt of gratitude to the woman who saved it from slum clearance and multiple highway schemes. The late Jane Jacobs (she died in 2006) was recognized last week with a plaque outside her longtime home at 555 Hudson Street, in the West Village. To read more…
Validating the Vision
CB1 Offers Qualified Endorsement to Plans for Brooklyn Bridge Revamp
The August designation of two winners in the Reimagining Brooklyn Bridge design competition has spurred Community Board 1 (CB1) to weigh in about the pragmatic implications of the vision contained in the proposals. To read more…
Contract One, Station One
The Jewel in
Just below the surface of City Hall Park sits one of New York’s architectural gems. Built during the City Beautiful movement, its design sought to uplift the spirits of New Yorkers on their daily commute.
City Hall Loop station—Contract One, Station One—was the flagship of New York’s first subway and the focus of the international press on October 27, 1904, when Mayor George McClellan connected the Tiffany-designed motorman’s handle to propel the first train north to its endpoint on 145th Street and Broadway.
The design of the other twenty-seven stations it stopped at that afternoon was dictated by the practical needs of subway efficiency—the architect’s only role was to choose the tile work that would cover the structural columns and walls. But the station below City Hall Park is different. Here, design and structure are one in the same.
City Hall subway station, was designed to be the showpiece of the new subway system with its elegant platform and mezzanine featured Guastavino tile, skylights, colored glass tilework and brass chandeliers.