Is Councilman Dan Garodnick the rarest of New York political creatures—a reasonable man? The Wall Street Journal profiles the councilman who might have been speaker, but despite being in the midst of his third and final term is far from a sitting duck, with his district at the center of two of the biggest real estate battles in the city: the Midtown East rezoning and the fate of Stuy-Town and Peter Cooper Village, where he is also a resident.
Speaking of affordable housing battles, Brooklyn real estate prices are increasingly on par with Manhattan’s, Crain’s reports, citing a Streeteasy study that finds residential rents in Dumbo hitting an average of $4,000 a month. Even Borough Park is averaging $1,500 a month. And when people can’t afford Borough Park, what hope is there for affordability in the city?
Especially, we might add, when the Post reports that there aren’t enough middle-income renters who want to move into Gotham West’s $2,509 one-bedrooms. Small wonder why when they’re only open to people making between $88,00 and $95,000 a year—a demographic who likely isn’t leaping for the chance to spend that much on rent.
Another development of ambiguous import: Spiderman and Batman got into a fight with a heckler in Times Square Saturday night, the New York Post reports. All three were arrested, but the reputational damage to the costumed characters, who are pushing against increasing city pressure for regulation, is likely to be far worse than a black eye or a night in jail.
On the topic of Spiderman: actress Kirsten Dunst is trying to rent her Soho pad for $12,500 a month, according to The New York Daily News.
There’s also this: New York real estate mogul Laurence Gluck is suing the architect of his 12-bedroom Southhampton home, according to the Post, claiming that he had the property built 5-feet too short, limiting both attic space and room to run the ducts through, in an error that counted the chimneys into the height limit. The architect says Gluck doesn’t know what he’s talking about.
In other fight news: Martha Stewart thinks that Gwyneth Paltrow should stop trying to be her. The queen of domesticity told Net-a-Porter, “She just needs to be quiet. She’s a movie star. If she were confident in her acting, she wouldn’t be trying to be Martha Stewart,” a snipe that was played up in the Post. Normally, we’d be delighted at such Goop bashing, but it’s been such a bad weekend for Gwyneth, with the revelation that Chris Martin, the husband she is consciously uncoupling from, is dating Jennifer Lawrence, that we only feel a dull ache.
The Wall Street Journal takes a tour of 5 Beekman St., checking out the status of the renovation that will transform the eye-catching beauty known as Temple Court, built as office space in the late 1800s, into a hotel and condo complex. Sales for the condos are set to kick off next week, though the development has rejected its historic moniker, thinking that people might confuse it with a synagogue.
In news of other things moving forward: two pricey beach bathrooms that were initially set to be installed in the Rockaways last year are finally going in, DNAInfo reports. Right in time for the winter?
In an editorial, Crain’s claims that “nothing has been more essential to the revitalization of neighborhoods across the city than the incredible drop in crime” and goes on to describe scenes of strollers, dog walkers and foodies in formerly depressed Brooklyn neighborhoods. But not every neighborhood, they note, has experienced this metamorphosis, which, we might posit, has less to do with a magical economic transformation than in exchanging economically disadvantaged residents for wealthier ones. New York has largely been remade in the image of wealthier denizens in these last few decades, but the city has not done well in remaining a place where all New Yorkers—rich and poor alike—can live in prosperity and safety.
But there is some hope: Community Board 1 in Williamsburg is withholding its approval of Starbucks’ liquor license because the corporate behemoth left its name off the application, Eater reports. Sneaky!
And this, too: a coalition of community activists, housing advocates and elected officials is launching its own anti-Airbnb campaign to counteract the company’s massive ad campaign claiming that “real” New Yorkers support it, The Wall Street Journal reports. Responding to the news of the counter-attack, Airbnb struck below the belt, claiming that “special interests” were trying to prevent “regular people” from “progressive” arrangements that would allow them to rent out the place where they live to strangers.