Williamsburg residents are pissed, enraged, and furious—and not just because the Foster the People Summerstage show is sold out. No, this is a problem with a park on this side of the river, namely one the city has refused to build.
It has been nearly 20 years—17, to be exact—since Senator Daniel Patrick Moynihan persuaded President Bill Clinton to sell Governors Island to New York for a buck. The transaction took place as the two men shared a helicopter ride over New York Harbor in 1995, just as the federal government was preparing to close its Coast Guard installation on the island.
In the years since, development of the island has been caught up in silly New York politics—a development which would not have surprised the late Senator, who, late in his life, was less than sanguine about New York’s ability to build memorable projects. Now, however, the island’s potential finally is being realized.
Design Within Reach?
Last month, Mayor Bloomberg stood in a shiny white conference room inside Department of Buildings headquarters on lower Broadway, two blocks from City Hall. He was surrounded by some of his top deputies and a giant flatscreen monitor mounted on the wall. Welcome to the Hub, a new high-tech system that allows the city’s architects and engineers for the first time to interface with plan examiners at the 17 different departments with oversight of their projects simultaneously.
“We all heard horror stories about delays in the approval process that cost time and money,” Mayor Bloomberg told reporters.
Standing at the podium beside the buildings commissioner and landmarks chair, closer to the mayor than the reps for the Real Estate Board and developer the Related Companies, was a striking woman in a black tweed dress and gray cardigan.
Margaret O’Donoghue Castillo, along with her members at the New York chapter of the American Institute of Architects, where she is currently serving as president, have told the city more of these horror stories than anyone else, and it was through their advocacy, their lobbying, that encouraged the mayor and the Department of Buildings to create the Hub.
The union representing school bus drivers may, or may not, be preparing to go on strike. City Hall is taking no chances. Schools Chancellor Dennis Walcott unveiled a well-thought-out contingency plan last week to accommodate the needs of more than 150,000 public school students who rely on buses to get to and from class.
Leaders of Local 1181 of the Amalgamated Transit Union won’t say whether or not—or when—they will walk off the jobs. The local’s president, Michael Cordiello, won’t rule out the possibility, but insisted that the union has no plans for such an action. City Hall has made it clear that it cannot offer the job guarantees that the union is seeking.
City Hall and the teachers’ union worked together to avert catastrophic layoffs of teachers a few months ago. Too bad the union representing support staff in the schools couldn’t figure out a way to repeat that success.
As a result of District Council 37’s short-sightedness, some 672 people are out of work. They received layoff notices a few days ago. Schools Chancellor Dennis Walcott expressed his sorrow over the plight of the laid-off workers, but he made it clear that the union was not so sympathetic. Had its leaders tried harder to find other savings, the layoffs would not have been necessary.
It’s hardly a secret that City Hall is pushing the benefits of two-wheeled, human-powered transportation. Janette Sadik-Khan, the city’s Transportation Commissioner, has become one of the Bloomberg Administration’s most reviled figures because of her insistence on creating a space for cyclists on the city’s streets, in parks, and in other public venues.
As part of her vision, City Hall is attempting to implement a bike-sharing network that would allow residents to rent a bike to get from place to place. Docking stations or kiosks would be constructed to house the rental bikes.
There was no shortage of heroic figures during the debate over gay marriage in New York. Governor Andrew Cuomo, advocates in the State Assembly and Republicans in the State Senate who came to see the issue as a matter of civil rights—they all received their fair share of congratulations.
One figure in the debate, however, Read More
While the city’s economy is showing signs of life, the real estate community knows all too well that property values remain far below what they were at the height of the market more than two years ago. It’s estimated that on a per-square-foot basis, property values have fallen by 38 percent compared with the pre-crash Read More
On the afternoon of June 1, the newly installed public advocate, Bill de Blasio, did what public advocates of New York city do, or should at least appear to do-he listened to The People. In a uniform of pinstriped pants, red tie and white shirt, Mr de Blasio stood at the corner of Read More
Deputy Mayor Ed Skyler told reporters at City Hall he felt it was time, after more than eight years with Mayor Michael Bloomberg, to leave and find work somewhere else. Skyler is heading to Citigroup to head up their communication operations, internally and externally, he said.
Surrounded by reporters in the Blue Room, Skyler declined Read More