West Side Story
In a city where a prostitute-patronizing ex-governor and a pathological cybersexter can launch viable campaigns, Aaron Braunstein still manages to be one of the more singular candidates for public office this year.
Sipping a Red Bull and droning with a straight face about how he once won a Rolls Royce in a high-stakes Vegas card game, Mr. Braunstein is an unlikely City Council candidate for an even unlikelier district: the high-minded Upper West Side, where Mr. Braunstein, the father of Orange is the New Black actress Natasha Lyonne, lives alone in a cluttered apartment that once belonged to Mike Tyson.
“I talk to the biggest people in the world. I read Tolstoy, Hunter Thompson, I collect antiques … I mean, I’d vote for me,” Mr. Braunstein recently told Politicker, speaking in a Brooklyn rasp that conjured Godfather- era Marlon Brando. Mr. Braunstein was sporting a pencil moustache along with a three-piece suit, flowing scarf and silver tie peaking out from his vest. A gray ponytail flowed down his back, and on Mr. Braunstein’s plump ring finger was an ancient Roman coin the size of a silver dollar that he said had been fished out from the Mediterranean Sea.
NIMBYer than thou
Seven candidates vying to replace Gale Brewer as the Upper West Side’s voice on City Council—six Democrats and one Green Party member—gathered at the New York Society for Ethical Culture last night at the behest of Landmarks West to discuss, to quote the organizers, the overdevelopment of the neighborhood.
The moderator, Bruce Simon, started out by asking the crowd how they felt about the state of preservation on the Upper West Side—too much, too little or just right? Nobody dared raise their hand for “too much,” a few sheepishly copped to thinking it’s “just right” and the majority held up their hands for “too little.”
This morning on the cold, bright steps of City Hall, several photographers huddled, shivering, waiting for the Two Ten Footwear Foundation conference to begin. The charitable foundation of the U.S. footwear industry was gathered to kick off Two Ten’s Footwear Cares National Footwear Community Service Week (whoof, what a title) in New York, where 14 shoe companies would be dedicating their time and resources to packing meals for the New York Food NYC, God’s Love We Deliver, GrowNYC, and the Occupy Sandy Recovery group.
A smattering of unlikely bedfellows trickled in: Kenneth Cole, Katie Butler of Nine West, two mayoral candidates–Public Advocate Bill de Blasio and Comptroller John Liu–former Council speaker Peter Vallone, City Councilwoman Gale Brewer, along with several other representatitves from the fashionable footwear industry.
The Observer welcomed the Year of the Snake on the morning of Sunday, Feb. 10, leaning over railings and standing atop park benches to get as close as legally possible to 500,000 rounds of firecrackers, noisemakers and a snake-shaped firecracker display.
According to Chinese tradition, firecrackers frighten away evil spirits at the beginning of each Read More
Tomorrow, Durst/Fetner will go before the Zoning and Franchise Subcommittee of the City Council, one of the final stops in the months-long public approval process for the developer’s angular apartment building at the western edge of 57th Street. Councilwoman Gale Brewer has sent a letter to the developer outlining her demands ahead of the hearing. They largely follow concerns she has had from the start, namely the affordability of the project, community space and an enticing streetscape for the project.
THERE GOES THE NEIGHBORHOOD
The storefront crusade, which has gained immense support and traction over the past few weeks, might be spreading to a few other neighborhoods in the city.
Community boards in the East Village, Tribeca, and on the Upper East Side have looked into expanding the anti-big box policies in their own territory
In light of the recent news that the former New York IRT Powerhouse has joined the “Seven to Save” preservation list, notable builders and community members have spoken out about the historic value of the building.
To combat the city’s growing bed bug problem, the Department of Housing Preservation and Development has gone to the dogs. Say hello to Nemo and Mickey, the latest members of the department’s Maintenance Code inspection team. And rather than the vet, the two Beagles were fortunate enough to get their tags—we mean badges—from Council Speaker Christine Quinn and Housing Commissioner Mathew Wambua.
“Awww, look at their little jackets,” cooed Ms. Quinn when she first set eyes on the dogs.
A City Council vote is slated for Wednesday on the hard-fought fate of historic designation for the red-brick West Park Presbyterian church on 86th Street and Amsterdam, and the last-minute requests for support and opposition have come in.
Curbed has a letter sent out by the church’s pastor, Rev. Robert Brashear, who asks Council members Read More
AG candidate Eric Schniderman, whose opponents include at least one female candidate, is having a fund-raiser Friday featuring his prominent female supporters.
They include: State Senator Liz Krueger, Council Members Gale Brewer and Julissa Ferras, as well as former public advocate Betsy Gotbaum, former Council member Ronnie Eldridge, and major Democratic donor Susan Read More