City Council Votes Against Landmark Status for 135 Bowery

Photo by Robert K. Chin.

This afternoon, the full City Council voted to reverse a decision by the Landmarks Preservation Commission to protect 135 Bowery, a nearly 200 year old federal row house. City Councilmember Margaret Chin sided with the building owner, a bank that wants to demolish the building and put up a new 7-story commercial structure.

Today, only one Councilmember, Rosie Mendez, voted in favor of landmark status.  In a subcommittee hearing last week, most Councilmembers deferred to Chin, saying they trusted her judgment about what was best in her district.

Chin said she was swayed by the bank’s promise to create affordable office space in Chinatown. Numerous preservation groups denounced Chin’s decision and have vowed to keep fighting for the historic building.


City Council Approves Chinatown BID

This afternoon, the City Council voted unanimously to approve a Business Improvement District in Chinatown. In a news conference before the vote, City Councilmember Margaret Chin, who fought vigorously for the BID, called the impending decision “an historic moment for Chinatown.” We’ll have a full report tomorrow morning.

City Council Committee Approves Chinatown BID

This morning the City Council’s Finance Committee voted 16-0 in favor of the Chinatown Business Improvement District. A vote of the full Council is expected this afternoon. Right now. we’re awaiting a news conference from Speaker Christine Quinn and Councilmember Margaret Chin on the BID vote (and other matters).


Free Open House at the Chinatown YMCA Saturday

If you’ve been thinking about joining the Chinatown YMCA, now might be the time. They’re waiving the standard “Joiner’s Fee” for new memberships until October 10th. 

Schools Chancellor at P.S. 188 This Morning to Promote Reading Program

A bit last minute, but here’s a news advisory concerning an event taking place later this morning:

Schools Chancellor Dennis Walcott will join of Reading Partners CEO Michael Lombardo at PS 188 (442 East Houston) on the Lower East Side at 11:45 am on Wednesday, September 21st, to highlight the volunteer-driven early-intervention literacy program’s success in redirecting troubled readers towards the path to academic success. Already operating in California and Washington, D.C., serving more than 2,500 students with one-on-one tutoring in 38 schools nationwide, Reading Partners is starting up in their first seven New York City schools—including PS 188 – after receiving a $3.5 million Social Innovation Fund grant from the Edna McConnell Clark Foundation.

Morning Reads: MTA on The Low Line, Rape Suspect Arrested, IHop Bouncer

  • Speaking about the plan for a park below Delancey Street, an MTA spokesman says: “We are open to exploring ways that the former Williamsburg Trolley Terminal could be developed… possibly in connection to the development of the Seward Park Urban Renewal Area.” A source adds: another possibility for the space is “a big box store.” (Metro)
  • A suspect is arrested in the rape of a woman in the East Village (Post).
  • More coverage of today’s anticipated City Council vote on the Chinatown BID (NYT).
  • The Tenement Museum opens its new Visitor Center (NYT).
  • Grace Church School has big plans at 38 Cooper Square (Curbed).
  • Morsels from CB3’s liquor licensing hearing (Eater, Local EV).
  • The new EV IHop has hired a bouncer (Post).
  • In honor of San Gennaro, a taste of Little Italy (NYT).


Decision Day for Chinatown BID and (Maybe) 135 Bowery Landmarking

File photograph; Council Speaker Quinn and Councilmember Chin at the New Amsterdam Market.

City Councilmember Margaret Chin may well have reason to cheer this afternoon. According to a media advisory released by Speaker Christine Quinn last night, the City Council will vote today on a proposal, sponsored by Chin, to create a Chinatown Business Improvement District.

It’s an idea Chin has been been championing for well over a decade, long before she became Lower Manhattan’s representative at City Hall.  Victory looks to finally be in her reach, assuming the Council’s Finance Committee votes in favor of the proposed BID in a morning hearing.  The panel’s approval would clear the way for a vote of the full Council in the afternoon.

Not everyone will be cheering the outcome.   Many property owners and community activists have voiced strong opposition and vow to keep fighting the BID, even after today’s vote (legal action is one option under consideration).

There’s a possibility another controversial issue, the landmarking of 135 Bowery, will also be voted on by the full Council today. Last week, the Landmarks Subcommittee, acting largely on Chin’s recommendation, overturned the Landmarks Preservation Commission’s decision to protect the nearly 200-year-old federal house.

Preservation activists are furious with Chin for siding with the owner of the building, Patrick Yau, one of the leaders of the pro-Chinatown BID campaignLast week, we posted a brief story on the 135 Bowery hearing.  This morning, we have a more comprehensive recap:

Good Morning!

NYC_Williamsburg 119

Photo by Bahram Foroughi.

Cloudy today with occasional showers this afternoon and a high of 75. Two big stories we’re following today. First, the City Council is expected to vote on the controversial proposal to create a Chinatown BID. Second, the team behind The Low Line, the proposed park below Delancey Street, present their idea to Community Board 3’s land use committee. We’ll have coverage throughout the day.