Public Advocate and mayoral candidate Bill de Blasio is not happy that the Rent Guidelines Board, which decides rules on allowable rent hikes for stabilized apartments each year, has, citing poor attendance, stopped holding meetings outside of Manhattan.
“This arrangement all but assures the working people most affected by the board’s decision will be unable to participate, and their voices will have no bearing on the final rent increase decision,” Mr. de Blasio told The New York Times last week. “This is not a mere inconvenience—it is a downright failure of the democratic process.”
Mr. de Blasio’s complaint taps into two very powerful forces in New York City politics—outer borough resentment at being left out of Manhattan-centric decision making, and the pervasive feeling that the rent is too damn high. But is it justified?
The End of the Movie
Despite the prevalence of iphones and macbook pros and the endless stream of streaming devices, the retro-loving hipsters of Kings county still love going to the movies. Williamsburg has welcomed two new movie theaters in as many years—Nitehawk and Williamsburg Cinemas. There are video bars/screening rooms (Videology) and resurrected video stores retooled as hubs of film culture (Video Free Brooklyn) and owners pouring cash ($1.8 million into aging, much-maligned Pavilion Theater in Park Slope).
The borough of Queens, however, is not faring so well. The Sunnyside Post reports that Sunnyside Center Cinema’s days are limited as a new owner has bought the building on the corner of Queens Boulevard and 43rd Street. The new owner has not announced plans for the building, but it’s most likely a teardown as the annual income of $326,000 barely covers the debt servicing. The Cinema’s lease runs through December 2014.
In the Rezone
Yesterday, the City Council voted to suburbanize another piece of Queens. This time it was the neighborhoods of Sunnyside and Woodside getting rezoned. The plan helps preserve the neighborhoods’ character by limiting new development to a few main thoroughfares, but as arguably two of the best neighborhoods in the city, limits newcomers. “The pace of development in Sunnyside and Woodside has increased in recent years for many reasons, including its attractive and well-kept streetscapes, bustling commercial corridors, and convenient mass transit to and from Manhattan,” local Councilman Jimmy Van Bremmer said in a release, which you can read in full after the jump. ”By taking this action today, we will prevent development that is out of character while protecting the low density nature of much of the area.”
Better get in while the getting is good.
The Biggest Boro
Last year, New York magazine, via the magic of stats wizard Nate Silver, declared Sunnyside, Queens, the third best neighboirhood in the city. The first two were obvious–Park Slope and the Lower East Side–but the choice of the (for how much longer?) working-class neighborhood just off the 7 train was a bit of Read More
Fall in love, start a family, buy a two-bedroom apartment in Sunnyside, Queens—not necessarily in that order.
“We’re getting married this year!” said Claudia Salazer, when asked why she was looking at a two-bedroom condo at an open house Sunday at 41-21 42nd Street.
Ms. Salazer, with a grin nearly as big as the 1,200-square-foot Read More
We’ve got more fun facts from the forthcoming book The Neighborhoods of Queens:
- Stockholm Street in Ridgewood is the only brick road in Queens.
- Woodside and Sunnyside host New York City’s only St. Patrick’s Day Parade open to gays and lesbians.
- Ground was broken on the Triborough Bridge the day after the Read More