Planes Trains & Automobiles
Update 4:56 p.m.:Governor Cuomo just announced at an afternoon press conference that the A train shuttle in the Rockaways should be up and running by Sunday. He also announced that the N train along the Sea Line, between 59th Street in Sunset Park and Coney Island, resumed service today.
“The damage to the A line in Jamaica Bay is absolutely unprecedented, and so is the MTA’s response,” MTA Chairman and CEO Joe Lhota said. “Restoring the entire A train will take months, but the MTA is committed to doing it and to providing alternatives to our customers in the meantime.”
Original post: The Rockaways have been devastated by Hurricane Sandy, and that is not just the homes, but the infrastructure, the very fabric of the peninsula. But the city and the MTA have been working nonstop to return life to normal, and that goes for mass transit as well.
The MTA has been working all week to truck subway cars out to the Rockaways from a trestle in Brooklyn so that a shuttle service might be set up between Beach 116th Street and Mott Avenue/Far Rockaway. “We’re going to do what we can to get the Rockaways back to normal,” MTA chief Joe Lhota told reporters over the weekend, when the MTA was putting together its shuttle plan.
The shuttle became a necessity after Hurricane Sandy caused severe damage to the Broad Channel crossing, all but destroying the A train connection between Howard Beach and the Rockaways. The shuttle will help subway riders commute within the Rockaways, but they will still be forced to take a shuttle bus in Far Rockaway to connect to the A train in Queens to get into other parts of the city.
A better option for commuters might be a new ferry service the Bloomberg administration is launching.
In the Rezone
It took 40 years, but the transformation of the Seward Park urban Renewal Area, better known as SPURA, may finally be here. While everyone seemed excited at the prospect of this finally happening, the opinions were far from unanimous about what the city came up with for its plan for the seven undeveloped acres south of Delancy Street on four forlorn parking lots.
But there was unanimity today, when the City Council’s land-use committee approved the 1.65 million-square-foot plan for SPURA by a vote of 16-0. Attendees of last week’s public hearing on the development south of the Williamsburg Bridge will be relieved to hear that 50 additional affordable housing units (offset by another 50 at market rate prices) have been added to the project, for a total of 1,000 units, half of which will be affordable, half not. The administration also agreed to that now de rigueur piece of rezoning negotiations, a new public school.
on the waterfront
Much has been made of the transformation of the city’s waterfront, but it is usually tonier precincts like Manhattan and bourgey Brooklyn getting all the attention. Meanwhile, the Bronx waterfront has undergone a quieter transformation that has still managed to maintain its industrial character while introducing greenspace and recreation to the area.
Yesterday, the latest piece of this aquatic puzzle opened, a fun-looking 1.5-acre park in the Hunt’s Point section of the borough. It includes a new fishing pier, a kayak launch, and a restored shoreline with tidal pools that, according to the city’s Economic Development Corporation, will naturally absorb storm water runoff. The park is liberally sprinkled with large granite slabs of city history, remnants of the deconstructed Willis Avenue Bridge, which make up much of the comfortable looking boulder seating area and grass retaining wall.
The press release came in even before The Observer had seen the initial report that prompted it.
“We have not had any talks with Walmart about a location at Willets Point and we have absolutely no intention of discussing this site with them,” the email statement read.
Who knew! And yet it made perfect sense, as the company has been looking for any opening imaginable in the city.
You know them, you love them, and now they have a kid on the way. EDC president Seth Pinsky let slip in an interview with The Real Deal, that his wife Angela Sung Pinsky, a big over at REBNY, is now pregnant.
Planes Trains & Automobiles
All the haters can walk the plank.
East River ferry service has struggled for years, arguably because it lacked the critical mass, but that is clearly no longer a problem. The service has its six-month anniversary today, and in celebration, all rides today are free.
manifest destiny east
Last time The Observer swung by Willets Point, the news was Related and the Wilpons had teamed up on a bid for the first phase of the mega project, as we local firm TDC Development, which has projects throughout Flushing and the rest of Queens. Now, Silverstein Properties and AvalonBay are also eying the Iron Triangle, according to Crain’s.
Can We Get a Whit-Ness?
The Whitney Museum broke ground last week. Buried by all the fanfare was the fact that the august institution still has a good deal of money to raise before it finishes its Renzo Piano-designed museum in 2015, about $200 million, a little under one-third the cost of the new building. Any deals it can Read More
Caroline McCarthy from CNET has a terrific feature today about the EDC’s efforts to bolster the tech industry here in New York.
It covers some of the tension between the startup community and the EDC that the Observer highlighted a few weeks back.
One fascinating nugget is the idea that the city, demoralized Read More