The State Legislature votes to ban shark fins (Daily News).
How many parking spots will be created on the SPURA parcels? (Streetsblog).
The former Local 269 space is still up for grabs (EV Grieve).
For our regular feature spotlighting the people who live and work on the Lower East Side, we talked with longtime local resident and merchant Frank Arroyo of Frank’s Bike Shop on Grand Street. (This story was first published in the May 2013 edition of The Lo-Down’s print magazine.)
How long have you lived on the Lower East Side?
Why did you move here, or if you were born here, why did you stay?
I was born in upper Manhattan. My family moved to 120 Columbia St. when I was 9 years old and then we moved into the East River co-ops about twenty years after that. I like it here, it’s convenient. My friends and family are all here. One of my sons lives here in the co-ops, too. Continue reading My LES: Frank Arroyo
Thanks to Dina Weiss at Artist Alliance for this photo, which will be part of an interactive IDEAS CITY project (Ground Floor) based on the Seward Park Urban Renewal Area. Today’s weather: a mix of sun and clouds and a high of 54.
It’s been awhile since we checked in on the Seward Park Project. Developers have until May 6 to submit their proposals for the nine sites in the vicinity of Delancey Street. Every so often, the NYC Economic Development Corp. posts answers to questions that have been submitted regarding the Request for Proposals (RFP). Nothing too dramatic, but we wanted to give you a flavor of the online Q&A.
The RFP is quite lengthy, since it is both the reflection of a three-year long community-driven process as well as city development priorities. Some of the questions leave the impression that developers are struggling to understand how best to address the many objectives detailed in the RFP. The Economic Development Corp. and the Department of Housing Preservation and Development will select developers after consulting with a community task force. Continue reading Developers Seek Answers to Seward Park Questions
Artists have a chance to put their mark on SPURA before the Lower East Side landscape changes forever. The Lower East Side BID has extended a competition to design a 400 foot expanse along Delancey Street until May 1. The BID operates two parking lots that will become part of the Seward Park Mixed-Use Development Project in the years ahead. In the meantime, however, the organization is creating a Lower East Side Tribute Wall, paying homage to the neighborhood’s creative and cultural institutions.
The competition is being run through ArtHere.org. The winning artist or artists will receive a stiped/budget of approximately $5000. The installation is meant to cover two separate fences, each 200 feet long. The high-traffic area was recently turned into a pedestrian plaza. The BID plans to program the space on the southern side of Delancey Street this summer with entertainment and food vendors.
Click here to read more about the art project and check out the submission guidelines.
This past weekend, two candidates vying to represent the Lower East Side in the City Council made back-to-back appearances before one of the neighborhood’s more influential political clubs. Members of CoDA (Coalition for a District Alternative) heard from first-term Council member Margaret Chin and Jenifer Rajkumar, a downtown district leader.
Rajkumar has not officially announced she’s running, but the young West Side activist has raised nearly $67,000 and is almost certain to compete in the Democratic Primary for the District 1 seat. Lower Manhattan’s political clubs won’t make their endorsement decisions for awhile, but Saturday’s “Q & A” session was a chance for local activists to size up the candidates. Continue reading Chin, Rajkumar Seek Support in City Council Campaign
A long-running war of words between a LES-based advocacy group and City Council member Margaret Chin is becoming more intense. Yesterday, a protest took place outside Chin’s office, at 250 Broadway, orchestrated by the organization, National Mobilization Against Sweatshops. For some time, NMASS has been circulating flyers with the provocative headline, “Meet Your Greedy Racist City Council Member Margaret Chin.”
At issue is a stark difference of opinion concerning the Seward Park Mixed-Use Development Plan, which Chin helped push through the City Council last year. Developers are now preparing proposals for the mixed-use project near the Williamsburg Bridge. After years of contentious debate, Community Board 3 finally agreed to build 50% market rate and 50% affordable housing on the parcel, as well as a large amount of commercial space. Continue reading LES Group Calls Margaret Chin “Racist”; She Responds
Editor’s note: Last week, we published an op/ed from Jenifer Rajkumar, a district leader and prospective City Council candidate, concerning the Seward Park development project. Today, here’s a related opinion piece from Dominic Berg, who was the chairperson of Community Board 3 from July 2008 – June 2012. He continues to serve as a member of CB3 and is a member of the Seward Park RFP Task Force. This Op/Ed is not an official statement of Community Board 3:
As the former Chairperson of Community Board 3 who oversaw a community consensus on this project, I would like to provide recent historical context about the progress taken thus far on the Seward Park Urban Renewal Area (SPURA).
The deal that allowed this development to move forward after over 40 years of inaction was a result of true common sense community consensus on what is best for the Lower East Side. I often said that we knew we had a deal because everyone gave up something and all felt a little out of their comfort zone. Every vote taken by the full Community Board on this project was unanimous. Continue reading Op/Ed: SPURA Plan Reflects True and Unprecedented Community Process
Editor’s note: The following opinion piece was submitted to The Lo-Down by Jenifer Rajkumar, the Democratic District Leader for the 65th Assembly District and a prospective candidate for City Council in District 1.
We have waited 48 years to develop the Seward Park Urban Renewal Area (SPURA). Lower East Siders left their homes so we could develop this public land. The sacrifices have been enormous, and the potential moving forward is great. Our City’s elected officials should not miss this once-in-a-generation opportunity to do it right, just because they lack the political will or courage. Continue reading Op/Ed: Let’s Not Miss a Once-in-a-Generation Opportunity to Get SPURA Right
Development companies have a little over two months left to submit proposals for the Seward Park site, the 1.65 million square foot residential and commercial project at the foot of the Williamsburg Bridge. An information session hosted by city planning agencies last week drew more than 300 people, including representatives from some of Manhattan’s biggest development firms.
Today the Atlantic Yards Report focuses on one of the high profile companies in attendance and its close ties to both Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver and the Met Council on Jewish Poverty, one of New York’s biggest non-profit organizations. A story posted earlier today asks whether Forest City Ratner, the developer behind the controversial Atlantic Yards project in Brooklyn, could have an advantage in winning the Seward Park contract due to its Lower East Side political connections. Continue reading Does Forest City Ratner Have an Advantage in Seward Park Bidding?
Last fall, Massey Knakal listed 156-164 Delancey Street, a one-story commercial building, for $3,950,000. The property currently includes six storefronts (five occupied), plus lucrative billboard advertising space. Now look what’s popped up: an advertisement from Ashkenazy Acquisition, one of the city’s biggest commercial property owners (the firm owns the Barneys building among many others).
The new listing offers more than 2700 square feet of ground floor retail space for lease, plus the billboard advertising opportunity. “Be seen by over 111,189 vehicles and 200k people traveling the Williamsburg Bridge each day,” the accompanying promotional materials boast. According to city records the building is currently owned by “Delancey Street AE LLC,” a Delaware company. Continue reading Ashkenazy Aquisition Pitches Leasing Opportunities at 156 Delancey Street
It has been well over a year since the team behind the LowLine, the proposed public green space beneath Delancey Street, went public. In that time, they have held countless informational sessions and fundraisers, met one-on-one with many groups, staged a high profile demonstration project in the Essex Street Market and generated a huge amount of media coverage. But in spite of these efforts, co-creators Dan Barasch and James Ramsey know there’s a long road ahead if they are to succeed in transforming an abandoned rail station. City and state officials in a position to move the project from the “cool idea” to “real-life project” phase have yet to come on board. Even within the Lower East Side community, where the LowLine has been met with a lot of enthusiasm, Barasch and Ramsey have some work to do. It’s in this spirit, that they’ll be appearing tonight before Community Board 3′s land use committee.
In the past several weeks, they have been circulating a “preliminary vision and planning study,” detailing how the underground facility might be used, how it would be financed and what the impact could potentially be on the surrounding area. This evening they’ll share some of the study’s fine points with CB3, which voted last June to “officially support” the LowLine project. It would be an overstatement to say opposition to the Delancey Underground concept is now emerging, but in a community board meeting late last year, there were signs of new skepticism from some land use committee members. Since that meeting, various activists have hinted that they’re concerned about the potential of the LowLine to be an agent of gentrification. Recently, we sat down with Barasch to talk about that specific issue. Continue reading LowLine Team Returns to CB3, Addresses Gentrification, Funding Questions