Bill Would Impede Easing Restrictions on Use of Health Facilities
Rivington House, which operated for decades as a nursing facility, but was closed when purchased by real estate speculators who planned to convert the 150,000-square-foot structure into luxury condominiums.
A bill recently ratified by the State Assembly aims to make less likely any future reprise of the controversial 2014 sale of Rivington House, which served for decades as an HIV/AIDS care facility. The Lower East Side building (located at 45 Rivington Street, near the Williamsburg Bridge) was acquired by real estate speculators, who paid $28 million — a fraction of its market value — because of a deed restriction that committed the building to use as a clinic.
After lobbying to get this encumbrance lifted, Allure paid the City an additional $16 million to remove the covenant that limited the property to its legacy use of non-profit, residential healthcare.
With the building’s use thus unrestricted, Allure was able to sell Rivington House to another developer, two years later, for $116 million—a profit of $72 million. The new owners, a partnership led by the Slate Group, quickly announced plans to shutter the HIV/AIDS facility and convert the building into more than 100 luxury condominiums.
After a major scandal erupted over what was widely perceived as a giveaway of a vitally needed (and very valuable) public asset, multiple officials in the administration of Mayor Bill de Blasio claimed to have been unaware that the new owners could reap such a windfall or modify the building’s use. This claim was called into question when investigators discovered that James Capalino, a fund-raiser for Mr. de Blasio’s campaigns, who had begun a lucrative career as a lobbyist, represented several sides in the Rivington transactions, and had worked behind the scenes to get the deed restriction lifted. City Comptroller Scott Stringer described this web of deal-making as, “highway robbery.”
That saga continued last fall, when the Slate Group and its partners acknowledged that they had sold Rivington House, this time for $159 million—reaping an additional profit of $43 million. In this transaction, the new owners have deliberately sought to conceal their identities, cloaking themselves behind their attorneys and specially-created holding company. The new owners quickly negotiated a lease with the Mount Sinai Health System, under which that organization would occupy most of the building for the next 30 years, and with plans to create a $140-million behavioral health facility there.
In July, the lower house of the State legislature passed a bill, known as the Rivington Act, sponsored by Assembly member Yuh-Line Niou. The measure requires the State’s Health Commissioner to certify that community needs are met before approving any closures of nursing homes or residential healthcare facilities. The bill also creates a more transparent community engagement process, which includes elected officials, local agencies, and community boards.
Ms. Niou said, “I was shocked and disgusted when I learned that multiple backdoor deals allowed for this important resource to be sold so that it could be turned into luxury housing. When Rivington House closed, there was absolutely no community engagement and no fair warning.”
“We cannot let that happen again,” she continued. “This bill strengthens oversight by establishing a transparent process when nursing homes and residential health care facilities are threatened. This legislation is crucial in ensuring that New Yorkers are not at risk for suddenly losing vital resources in their community.”
The bill next moves to the State Senate and, if it passes there, to the desk of Governor Andrew Cuomo, for his signature or veto.
One Month Later, Election Results Are Official (Sort Of…)
Slightly more than a month after the contested primary between Grace Lee ( left) and Yuh-Line Niou (right) for the Democratic Party nomination to represent Lower Manhattan in the State Assembly, something resembling a final result is available.
Protestors Driven from City Hall Park Consider What They Accomplished, and What Remains to Be Done
The Occupy City Hall encampment, which was demolished by police.
In the hours before dawn on Wednesday morning, NYPD officers in riot gear swept through the pedestrian plaza at the corner of Centre and Chambers Streets (between City Hall and the Municipal Building) and forcibly removed more than 100 protestors who had been camped there since early June, under the rallying cry of “Occupy City Hall,” to demonstrate their support for the Black Lives Matter movement.
Later that morning, the Broadsheet spoke to a group from the encampment, who (using first names or pseudonyms) reflected on their time within the improvised commune they had come to call “Abolition Park.”
Thursday Meeting Reviewed Resiliency Plans for Northern Battery Park City
On Thursday, July 23, the Battery Park City Authority (BPCA) and Community Board 1 (CB1) co-hosted an online public meeting focused on the North Battery Park City Resiliency Project.
The meeting was a follow-on to a public discussion held last February, at which preliminary options and design concepts were reviewed by the BPCA, along with the team of engineers and architects who will be conceiving the measures intended to make the northern edge of the community resistant to sea-level rise, climate change, and future extreme-weather events.
Need a safe and breezy break from your apartment? Several cruise operators have reopened in North Cove and are offering opportunities to get out on the water, including Tribeca Sailing and Classic Harbor Line. All cruise operators are adhering to social distancing guidelines; check individual websites for details.
Who Got What: Battery Park City
Federal Loan Program Bails Out Local Small (and Not-So-Small) Businesses
The federal Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) has disbursed more than $600 billion in roughly 4.9 million loans to business around the nation, in response to the economic slowdown triggered by the pandemic coronavirus. In Battery Park City’s three zip codes, 285 businesses and non-profit organizations received loans totaling more than $10 million, based on the possibility of saving more than 2,900 jobs, according to data recently released by the federal government’s Small Business Administration (SBA).
Finalists Announced in Design Competition to Improve Pedestrian Access to Brooklyn Bridge
The City Council and the Van Alen Institute (a New York nonprofit architectural organization, dedicated to improving design in the public realm) have named the shortlist of contenders in a contest that aims incubate fresh ideas for better pedestrian access to the Brooklyn Bridge.
238 – The Praetorian Guard storm the palace and capture Pupienus and Balbinus. They are dragged through the streets of Rome and executed. On the same day, Gordian III, age 13, is proclaimed emperor, the sixth emperor of the year.
1565 – The widowed Mary, Queen of Scots marries Henry Stuart, Lord Darnley, Duke of Albany, at Holyrood Palace, Edinburgh, Scotland.
1818 – French physicist Augustin Fresnel submits his prizewinning “Memoir on the Diffraction of Light”, precisely accounting for the limited extent to which light spreads into shadows, and thereby demolishing the oldest objection to the wave theory of light.
1836 – Inauguration of the Arc de Triomphe in Paris, France.
1871 – The Connecticut Valley Railroad opens between Old Saybrook, Connecticut and Hartford, Connecticut in the United States.
1932 – Great Depression: In Washington, D.C., troops disperse the last of the “Bonus Army” of World War I veterans.
1958 – President Dwight D. Eisenhower signs into law the National Aeronautics and Space Act, which creates the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA).
1976 – In New York City, David Berkowitz (a.k.a. the “Son of Sam”) kills one person and seriously wounds another in the first of a series of attacks.
869 – Muhammad al-Mahdi, Iraqi 12th Imam (d. 941)
996 – Fujiwara no Norimichi, Japanese nobleman (d. 1075)
1867 – Berthold Oppenheim, Moravian rabbi (d. 1942)
1883 – Benito Mussolini, fascist revolutionary and27th Prime Minister of Italy
1904 – J. R. D. Tata, French-Indian pilot and businessman, founded Tata Motors and Tata Global Beverages (d. 1993)
1905 – Dag Hammarskjцld, Swedish economist and diplomat, 2nd Secretary-General of the United Nations, Nobel Prize Laureate (d. 1961)
1099 – Pope Urban II (b. 1042)
1108 – Philip I of France (b. 1052)
1890 – Vincent van Gogh, Dutch painter and illustrator (b. 1853)
1973 – Roger Williamson, English race car driver (b. 1948)
1974 – Cass Elliot, American singer (b. 1941)
1981 – Robert Moses, American urban planner, designed the Northern State Parkway and Southern State Parkway (b. 1888)
1983 – David Niven, English military officer and actor (b. 1910)
Edited from various sources including Wikipedia,and other media outlets