Mr. Ross' Neighborhood
It Takes a Village
Steve Ross sure knows his way around City Hall (part of the reason he has become one of the most successful developers of his generation). From his start in affordable housing to megadevelopments like the Time Warner Center, Hunter’s Point South in Queens and Hudson Yards, Mr. Ross, chairman of the Related Companies, always seems to get just what he wants when the city is involved. One sore spot was the fight over the Kingsbridge Armory, in the Bronx, which was unexpectedly rejected by the City Council three years ago.
The fight centered around whether workers at the armory project, which was to receive a considerable amount of public subsidies, would have to be paid more than minimum wage, something labor unions were lobbying heavily for. That fight led to the eventual proposal of a living wage bill. In an unexpected, if unsurprising, twist, it now turns out City Council Speaker Christine Quinn has carved a portion of Hudson Yards out of the living wage bill, according to The Times.
Happy hour had just ended at the Stonewall Inn on Monday night (2-for-1 well, beer and wine). Rob (dirty martini) and Steve (Budweiser) were sitting at a table discussing the merits of Tom Brady and Eli Manning.
“Brady is better in the pocket, he’s better by the numbers, but Eli just always pulls it out for you,” Scott said. “No pun intended,” he quickly added.
“I think Brady’s better. He’s just past his prime,” allowed Rob.
So they were in agreement, a rarity, they said.
Among the things they disagreed on—Thai food (Rob prefers pad thai, Scott pad see ew), books (Rob thrillers, Scott histories)—was a recent proposal for an AIDS memorial on a triangle of land across from the shuttered St. Vincent’s Hospital.
Upper Upper East Side residents have been locked in a development death match with The Related Companies for a few months now, ever since the company decided to exercise its right to build a residential tower on the site of a playground it has maintained for the past 25 years. Actually, 28 years.
Recently, Related decided to close Ruppert Playground, but the community is fighting back because there are no immediate plans to redevelop the site. Rather than let Related take its ball and go home, though, Council Speaker Christine Quinn has stepped up to the plate and potentially throwing up some hurdles that could bring greater oversight, and possibly concessions, to the site.