Stringer On New Yorkers Being Priced Out of Their Communities
City Comptroller and mayoral hopeful Scott Stringer
New York City Comptroller, mayoral contender, and Lower Manhattan resident Scott Stringer took part in a candidates’ forum last Saturday, as part of the annual West Side Tenants’ Conference.
Mr. Stringer condemned the controversial plan by the administration of Mayor Bill de Blasio to move several hundred homeless men from the Lucerne Hotel, on the Upper West Side, to the Radisson New York Wall Street Hotel, in the Financial District, saying, “the mismanagement of this administration, who does it hurt at the end of the day? It really hurts the most vulnerable people. He is taking the men at the Lucerne and moving them around as if they are just collateral damage to a failed mayoralty and a failed housing plan. We have to do better.”
Offering context from recent history, Mr. Stringer said, “the de Blasio administration went to the Real Estate Board of New York,” an industry lobbying group, “and said, ‘we’ll give you more density and more access to communities of color through rezoning if you build us 30 percent affordable housing.’”
“The problem,” he continued, “is that this affordable housing is unaffordable to almost every community the housing was created in. Those rezonings gentrified neighborhoods and added to the homeless crisis. So we need to have a housing program that builds low-income housing—not affordable housing, low-income housing.”
“My plan is the following,” Mr. Stringer offered. “I would access the thousands of vacant parcels of land in this City that are City-owned, and I would give them back to the people [through] community-based organizations. And I would provide a subsidy by instituting a progressive real-property transfer tax that would raise hundreds of millions of dollars.”
“I would then say, ‘when you build this housing, build it for the people who need it the most,’” he added. “That would move 30 percent of the people living in homeless shelters into this kind of housing.”
“Second,” he said, “we also have to stop rezoning only in communities of color, and recognize that if we’re going to integrate our City and build out a new generation of affordable housing, we have to look at as-of-right development,” in a reference to building projects that do not require special variances, and therefore do not offer affordability provisions in exchange.
“I propose that 25 percent of units in as-of-right development be set aside for affordable housing. So you catch it two ways—in terms of as-of-right development, and in terms of City-owned properties,” Mr. Stringer explained. “We have to change this and stop fighting on the edges, because we are losing this fight in so many of our economically challenged communities.”
Look farther back in New York’s history, he recalled, “we need to build real low-income housing, finally. Mayor LaGuardia did it with the New York Housing Authority. And we saw what could happen with Mitchell-Lama,” the program that created thousands of affordable units in the 1950s, 60, and 70s.
Jenny from the Block
Veteran Local Activist Seeks City Council Seat
Jenny Low, a longtime Lower Manhattan activist and community leader, has entered the race for the City Council seat that will be vacated next year by Margaret Chin, who is required to step aside because of term limits.
“Iʼve spent my whole life fighting for Lower Manhattan, and Iʼm ready to put my skills and experience to work fighting for a recovery from this pandemic that puts working families, small business owners, and our Cityʼs most vulnerable first,” Ms. Low says. She is entering a crowded field. To read more…
Healthy nutrition, sleep, and regular exercise have long been known to boost the immune system and to promote longevity. But, what effect do these life style choices have on the brain? Certain foods are marketed as “brain foods”, promising to boost your cognitive function and stave off neurodegenerative disease such as Alzheimer’s. Other evidence suggests that exercise can boost memory and learning. However, what is the evidence behind these claims? This panel convenes experts in the fields of geriatric medicine, nutrition, and neuroscience to help illuminate this topic. $15-$35
When the pandemic made in-person experiences like video shoots and concerts impossible, the team at Genius—the internet’s most popular destination for song lyrics and music knowledge—quickly found a way to continue to engage their community: by adapting all of their video series to “At Home” editions; introducing a music creation program; launching a fully interactive live-streaming platform where fans get to control the show. In this virtual session, four key members of Genius’s creative production team will join Anastasia Wright, Owner of IMG Agency+Records, for a conversation about how they were able to work with artists and creators in new ways and adapt Genius’s brand ethos to introduce remote-friendly experiences—plus highlights and lessons learned this year. Free
Online discussion. Readings by three authors—Trey Ellis, Julia Glass, Patty Dann—followed by roundtable discussions. $10
Another Day, Another Court Ruling about 52 William Street
On Thursday afternoon, Justice Anil Singh of the New York State Supreme Court’s Appellate Division granted a temporary stay, which has the effect of halting once again the planned transfer of more than 200 men from the Lucerne Hotel, on the Upper West Side, to the Radisson Wall Street Hotel, located at 52 William Street.
This order is slated to remain in effect until at least December 14, when a five-judge panel of the Appellate Division is scheduled to hear further arguments, and decide whether to extend the stay, or allow the transfer to proceed while litigation continues. To read more…
Santa’s Secret Helpers
Imagine what it’s like to be a kid who, for some reason, isn’t on Santa’s list. Now, just imagine what a huge impact you can make in the life of a child and their parents by being their secret Santa.
Stockings with Care, a charity based in Lower Manhattan, steps in to help when parents cannot provide Christmas gifts for their children, so no child is left out. But the organization, which has benefited over 40,000 children since 1992, needs your help. The parents give the gifts that donors (such as you) provide to the child, preserving their dignity and connection, while ensuring the gifts received are the ones the child wished for. Stockings with Care has created five easy ways to contribute.
The Church Street School for Music and Art will continue a decades-long Downtown tradition (albeit, in virtual form, as a concession to COVID-19) by offeringGingerbread House Decorating Kits (priced at $85), now through Christmas week.
Each take home kit includes one homemade gingerbread house, a variety of candy, freshly made icing, and one foiled round to set your house up on. In addition to offering great holiday fun, this program is one of the most important fundraisers for the highly regarded non-profit institution that has brought enrichment to the lives of generations of Lower Manhattan kids.
Two separate residential towers planned for the Financial District are suffering from the local real estate slowdown. In developments first reported by the online real estate journal, YIMBY, the building now under construction at 161 Maiden Lane has undergone removal of pieces of its facade in recent weeks (the only recent activity on the otherwise-stalled project), while construction equipment has been removed from 45 Broad Street, which is the site of a planned 1,115 foot residential tower.
1660 – A woman (either Margaret Hughes or Anne Marshall) appears on an English public stage for the first time, in the role of Desdemona in a production of Shakespeare’s play Othello.
1941 – World War II: President Franklin D. Roosevelt declares December 7 to be “a date which will live in infamy”, after the U.S. declares war on Japan.
1941 – World War II: Japanese forces simultaneously invade Shanghai International Settlement, Malaya, Thailand, Hong Kong, the Philippines, and the Dutch East Indies.
1953 – President Dwight D. Eisenhower delivers his “Atoms for Peace” speech, which leads to an American program to supply equipment and information on nuclear power to schools, hospitals, and research institutions around the world.
1962 – Workers at four New York City newspapers (this later increases to nine) go on strike for 114 days.
1974 – A plebiscite results in the abolition of monarchy in Greece.
1980 – Beatle John Lennon is murdered in front of The Dakota on Central PArk West and 72nd Street.
2010 – With the second launch of the Falcon 9 and the first launch of the Dragon, SpaceX becomes the first private company to successfully launch, orbit and recover a spacecraft.
2019 – First confirmed case of COVID-19 in China.
65 BC – Horace, Roman poet (d. 8 BC)
1542 – Mary, Queen of Scots, daughter of James V of Scotland and Mary of Guise,(d. 1587)
1765 – Eli Whitney, American engineer, invented the cotton gin (d. 1825)
1813 – August Belmont, Prussian-American financier and diplomat, 16th United States Ambassador to the Netherlands (d. 1890)
1861 – William C. Durant, American businessman, founded General Motors and Chevrolet (d. 1947)
1886 – Diego Rivera, Mexican painter and educator (d. 1957)
1894 – E. C. Segar, American cartoonist, created Popeye (d. 1938)
1922 – Lucian Freud, German-English painter and illustrator (d. 2011)
1925 – Sammy Davis, Jr., American actor, singer, and dancer (d. 1990)
1939 – James Galway, Irish flute player
1943 – Jim Morrison, American singer-songwriter and poet (d. 1971)
1947 – Gregg Allman, American singer-songwriter and guitarist (d. 2017)
1292 – John Peckham, Archbishop of Canterbury
1913 – Camille Jenatzy, Belgian race car driver (b. 1868)
1942 – Albert Kahn, architect, Fisher Building, Packard Automotive Plant, Ford River Rouge Complex (b. 1869)
1978 – Golda Meir, Ukrainian-Israeli educator and politician, 4th Prime Minister of Israel (b. 1898)
1980 – John Lennon, English singer-songwriter and guitarist (b. 1940)
EYES TO THE SKY
November 30 – December 13, 2020
Full Snow Moon rises this afternoon, winter stars follow, planets delight
The Full Snow Moon rises above the east-northeast horizon this afternoon at 4:48pm, nearly simultaneous with sunset in the southwest at 4:29pm. See moonrise about an hour later every evening and sunset remaining within seconds of 4:29pm until the winter solstice, which occurs on December 21.
Mornings, awake to the intriguing spectacle of moonset in the west-northwest as the Sun rises in the southeast. Tomorrow, December 1, sunrise is at 7:01am, while the great orb of the moon will be visible in the daylight blue sky until 8:08am. See the moon higher and longer in the morning sky – in waning gibbous phase – everyday this week. The Sun rises about a minute later everyday through the 26th: Sunrise is at 7:12 on 13th.
Downtown Restaurants Brace for More Closure Orders
As New York wades deeper into its second wave of the coronavirus pandemic, some local restaurants are trying to get ahead of the curve of anticipated closures by voluntarily shutting down both indoor and outdoor dining.
Among these is Blue Smoke, in Battery Park City, owned by legendary restaurateur Danny Meyer’s Union Square Hospitality Group, which is also taking similar measures at the company’s Union Square Cafe and Gramercy Tavern.
Distressed Downtown Real Estate Indicators Point South
The first Baron Rothschild is said to have advised, “the time to buy is when there’s blood in the streets, even if the blood is your own.” If he was correct, this may be an auspicious moment to purchase real estate in Lower Manhattan, where the distress is acute. To read more…