(Audio) Candidate Forum – 65th Assembly District Special Election

Last night, there was a public forum at Educational Alliance featuring the candidates on the ballot in the special election to replace former Assemblyman Sheldon Silver in Albany. The election in the 65th Assembly District race will be held April 19. We were joined by Lester Chang (R), Alice Cancel (D), Yuh-Line Niou (Working Families Party) and Dennis Levy (Green Party). Cancel only took part in a portion of the event; she had other commitments.

The event was hosted by Asian Americans for Equality, Educational Alliance and Chinese American Voters Association. Our own Ed Litvak moderated with a panel of reporters from World Journal, China Press, Sing Tao Daily and SinoVision. You can listen to the whole forum here. As the recording begins, you’ll be hearing Educational Alliance President & CEO Alan van Capelle delivering opening remarks.

Essex Street Market, 1939.

Talk & Taste: Essex Street Maket Begins New Thursday Night Series

Essex Street Market, 1939.

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Lower East Side Links

–Council member Margaret Chin’s office tried to warn the mayor’s team about the Rivington House mess in December, alerting “a liaison to the Council who works in the mayor’s Office of Intergovernmental Affairs.” [Politico New York]

–More on the Allure Group’s denial to Community Board 3 that it had made a deal to sell Rivington House: “A spokeswoman for Allure declined to comment on allegations that the company lied to the community, but insisted it ‘followed all proper protocols” when it sold the building.'” [Daily News]

–The “mayor has been ignoring community boards quite a bit lately.” He “pushed (a rezoning) plan through, claiming that it was the only way to get hold of gentrification and rampant development in New York City and turn it into something useful. That’s just what didn’t happen here (at Rivington House).” [AM New York]

–Here’s an update on what the future might hold for the vacant lot next to First Park on 2nd Street. [EV Grieve]

–Lenny Kravitz will be designing the interiors at 75 Kenmare St. [Real Estate Weekly]

–Bernie Sanders’ socialist roots on the LES: His brother, Larry, “used to take Bernie to Manhattan’s Lower East Side to campaign against an urban renewal project that threatened to displace low-income residents.” [Jacobin]

Good Morning!

east river park

Thursday, April 7, 2016 | Here’s the view in East River Park near the Williamsburg Bridge | Weather: Periods of rain today and gusty winds with a high of 57 | If you would like to share a neighborhood picture with us, send it to: tips@thelodownny.com or tag us on Instagram at #LoDownNY.


Elected Officials, Community Leaders Keep the Pressure on de Blasio Over Rivington House

Local elected officials and community leaders stood across the street from the former Rivington House building this morning, calling on the mayor to stop the luxury conversion of the former nursing facility. …

WhiteBox Budapst Jewish Quarter

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Lower East Side Links

Happening Today: Don’t forget about tonight’s 65th Assembly District candidate forum, likely your last chance to see all four contenders in one place before the April 19 special election. Asian Americans for Equality, the Educational Alliance and Chinese American Voters Association have organized the event at the Manny Cantor Center, 197 East Broadway. It takes place from 6:30-8:30 p.m.  Our own Ed Litvak will be the moderator, joined by reporters from World Journal, China Press, Sing Tao Daily and SinoVision. We’ll be covering issues of specific importance in Chinatown, but will also address other general topics.

–More details about the subpoenas issued by the state AG in the Rivington House case. Metropolitan Valuation Services received a subpoena, said Martin Levine, the firm’s chairman. But Levine added that his company did not actually perform an appraisal to determine how much Allure should pay the city to have deed restrictions lifted. “We certainly don’t want the real estate community to think we came up with that price… That means the city came up with (the $16 million) number on their own. That’s kind of scary.”  Also, a source in the attorney general’s office said Allure never sought permission from the state to sell the property. [Politico New York]

–After approving an interior demolition permit, the Department of Buildings has now placed a stop work order on 45 Rivington St., the former nursing home facility. [EV Grieve]

–The mayor came to Tompkins Square Park yesterday to announce a new program to help the homeless. During the news conference, a homeless man was removed from the park. [Observer]

–Judy Rapfogel writes a letter to a federal judge, asking her to go easy on Sheldon Silver, Rapfogel’s former boss. She wrote: “I realize that Shelly was convicted and that the nature of his crimes suggests that he cheated or betrayed New Yorkers (but) “In my years of working with him, I have never known him to do anything other than work for the best interests of the people. He has always cared for and worked to help all New Yorkers. I ask that you take all of his good works into consideration when you sentence him.” Silver’s sentencing has now been pushed to May 12. [Times Union]

–Two muggings occurred in Chinatown on Monday night. [Channel 4]

–“Why New York’s most important art district is the Lower East Side.” In the last couple of years, “a broad swath of galleries—blue-chip galleries, established Chelsea dealers, European galleries, artist-run galleries, young curatorial projects, and deep-pocketed self-starters among them—have taken the plunge and moved downtown.” [Artsy]

–Dealers are interviewed about why they chose to open galleries on the Lower East Side. [Mutual Art]

–Pete Wells reviews Le Turtle, the Lower East Side’s trendiest new restaurant; “Sit inside Le Turtle, and you can almost hear a new page in Manhattan dining turning over. ‘Almost’ because you can’t hear much of anything above the Eurodisco and the Francophone covers of Nancy Sinatra and the Beach Boys.” [New York Times]

Good Morning!

eldridge street rooftop

Wednesday, April 6, 2016 | Here’s a rooftop view from Eldridge Street by David Sierra | Weather: A mix of sun and clouds today with a high of 48 | If you would like to share a neighborhood picture with us, send it to: tips@thelodownny.com or tag us on Instagram at #LoDownNY.

45 Rivington St.,

State Attorney General Opens Rivington House Investigation (Updated)

The state attorney general has opened an inquiry into the Rivington House matter, in which the city lifted a deed restriction on the former nursing home. …

45 Rivington St.

(Opinion) Dear Mayor: Find A Way to Make Things Right at Rivington House

This opinion piece was written by K Webster, a member of Community Board 3 and a leader of the Sara D. Roosevelt Park Coalition. …

Brewer and Chin at a news conference last year.

News Conference Scheduled at Rivington House Tomorrow

Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer, City Council member Margaret Chin and Community Board 3 Chairperson Gigi Li will be holding a news conference tomorrow in front of the former Rivington House nursing home. …


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KIDZ web logo

(Sponsored) For Kids: Watch a Virtual Tour of the New Smile Center

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Lower East Side Links

–The Allure Group finally releases a statement in defense of its blockbuster deal to flip the former Rivington House nursing facility. Partner Marvin Rubin says:  “We tried to make Rivington House viable as a for-profit skilled nursing facility,.. When it became clear that this was not possible, we followed all proper protocols and sold the building.” [Wall Street Journal-subscription required]

–The state health department had every expectation that the former Rivington House facility would coninue to operate as a nursing home. [Crain’s]

–Our own Ed Litvak was on the Brian Lehrer Show yesterday to talk about the Rivington House scandal and the special election in the 65th Assembly District. [WNYC]

–Developer Douglas Steiner unveils its new condo project on the former site of mary Help of Christians Church. [EV Grieve]

–A complaint has been filed with the Joint Commission on Public Ethics over City Council member Margaret Chin’s grants to a not-for-profit group advocating for her plastic bag legislation. [City & State]

45 Rivington St.,

Lobbyist James Capalino Speaks Out on Rivington House Scandal

The de Blasio administration is in crisis mode over the growing Rivington House scandal. Two investigations are ongoing to find out whether it was incompetence or something more sinister that led city bureaucrats to lift a deed restriction on the former nursing facility. …