Park equity? Mayor Bill de Blasio is directing $130 million in public funding to 35 overlooked parks, according to The New York Times. And after battling for pre-K and living wage, the mayor seems okay with easing off his efforts to get wealthier parks to redistribute private donations. Though Bloomberg funneled money to restoring some older, less vaunted parks, like McCarren, de Blasio’s plan will specifically address the entirely unglamorous half-acre parks wedged between tenements that provide some of the only green space in densely-developed neighborhoods.
Speaking of unglamorous, Brick Underground looks at that least-sought-out category of housing: the post-war building. In possession of neither the pre-war grandeur nor the flash of new construction, the straight-forward buildings make up much of the city’s housing stock and are, for the most part, pretty nice: “the Honda Accord of New York apartments,” in the words of one broker.
Among the city’s many ho-hum post-war buildings is the Park Lane Hotel on Central Park South, which may not be long for this world after Community Board 5’s landmarks committee voted against landmarking the building last night, according to Curbed. Many community members were further dubious about the motivation behind the landmarking, which was suspected to be primarily motivated by a desire to stop a taller tower from rising in the recently-purchased tower’s place. The CB’s decision is merely advisory, of course, but it’s unlikely that Landmarks will rush to save such an undistinguished building, even if it was the jewel of Helmsley’s hotel empire.
Of course, who knows if something better will rise in its place. Consider the cautionary tale of HAP’s East Harlem development, which angered neighbors with its flashy bright turquoise balconies. After an initial outcry, HAP conducted a survey to ask what neighbors would prefer. The Wall Street Journal reports that they thought white with magenta trim would be alright.
At Ferry Point in the Bronx, a long-awaited golf course has finally replaced a dump at the foot of the Whitestone Bridge, Crain’s reports, and “residents, business owners and local officials are betting that the eyesore turned eye candy will trigger rises in property values, inject new life into the local economy and help turn an isolated slice of the East Bronx into a real draw.” But can acres of rolling green really set off a development boom a la Brooklyn Bridge Park or the High Line? And can rejuvenation really be underway in any place where locals boast about “the buzz around here” being “tremendous?”
At least it could soon be cheaper for New Yorkers to get there, and elsewhere in the city, if the city council passes a bill that would require businesses with 20 or more employees to offer the ability to take advantage of of federal public transportation tax benefits. The transit committee advanced the bill yesterday, according to The Wall Street Journal, and its passage seems likely, given that it simply allows workers to deduct pre-tax earnings to pay for metro and rail passes. However, some business owners complain that participating in the program will add administrative costs.
Four months after everyone else, The New York Times’ Michael Kimmelman finally decides to weight in on Upper Manhattan’s Sugar Hill Development. The verdict? He is very impressed with the ambitions of the David Adjaye-designed affordable housing complex/preschool, as well as its lack of concessions to “timid taste,” but like everyone else, finds this is a starchitect miss and concludes that “Sugar Hill turns out to be like an A student who crams for the big test and then forgets to bring a pencil.”
A worker was injured after falling 25 feet in the sub-basement of SOM’s under-construction luxury condo at 252 East 57th Street, according to DNAInfo.