New York City to get 10,000 free public Wi-Fi portals

A link in the Flatiron District. (Courtesy CityBridge)

A link in the Flatiron District. (Courtesy CityBridge)

New York City is a city like no other. It’s lousy with things to see: architectural icons, world-famous parks, A-list celebrities, pigeons, food carts, and pigeons eating off of food carts. With so many sites, it’s a real bummer that so many New Yorkers walk around the city staring directly into the hollow glow of their phones. This isn’t going to change anytime soon, especially with the de Blasio administration announcing that, starting next year, the city’s dated payphone system will become “the world’s fastest municipal Wi-Fi network.”

Continue reading after the jump.

How New York’s “Poor Door” was allowed to exist in the first place

40 Riverside's facade. (Courtesy Extell)

40 Riverside’s facade. (Courtesy Extell)

In the past week, those two words—”poor door”—have quickly come to signify the vast inequality embedded in New York City’s housing market. At issue is a separate entrance for tenants living in subsidized rental units in a luxury condo building on the Upper West Side known as 40 Riverside. The property, developed by Extell, was financed through the city’s inclusionary housing program, which grants a tax abatement and additional bulk to developers who include a certain portion of “affordable” units in a project.

Continue reading after the jump.

Local Group Tries to Block Affordable Housing at Brooklyn Bridge Park

Development sites at Brooklyn Bridge Park. (Courtesy Brooklyn Bridge Park Conservancy)

Development sites at Brooklyn Bridge Park. (Courtesy Brooklyn Bridge Park Conservancy)

As AN covered earlier this month, Mayor de Blasio’s plan to bring affordable housing to Brooklyn Bridge Park has received steep opposition from local groups in neighboring Brooklyn Heights. They contend new housing development will eat up public space and that under-market housing would not provide necessary funding for park maintenance. Under a Bloomberg-era plan, revenue from private, market-rate development would help cover upkeep at the Michael Van Valkenburgh Associates-designed park. Under de Blasio, 30 percent of the two proposed towers for the park–one 31 stories and the other 16–would be subsidized. The groups opposing that plan have now formalized their opposition against it.

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NYC Transportation Head Outlines Priorities For Building Infrastructure & Public Space

DOT Commissioner Trottenberg announcing a Vision Zero "Slow Zone" in Brooklyn. (DOT / Flickr)

DOT Commissioner Trottenberg announcing a Vision Zero “Slow Zone” in Brooklyn. (Courtesy NYCDOT)

At a recent transportation forum hosted by the New York Building Congress, New York City Transportation Commissioner, Polly Trottenberg, laid-out her agenda for the city’s streets. She said implementing Mayor de Blasio’s Vision Zero plan to reduce traffic fatalities remains the department’s first priority, but made clear that, under her leadership, the NYCDOT will be doing more than safety upgrades.

Trottenberg praised her predecessor, Janette Sadik-Khan, for “cracking some eggs” and fighting for bike lanes, bikeshare, Select Bus Service, and pedestrian plazas when it was not politically popular to do so. She explained that Sadik-Khan’s commitment to these types of programs—and the Bloomberg administration’s ability to realize them—makes her job that much easier. The challenge now is keeping up with the demand for new public space.

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New York City Asks Citi Bike to Cover $1 Million in Lost Parking Revenue

Citi Bike station in NYC. (Flickr / JMazzolaa)

Citi Bike station in NYC. (Flickr / JMazzolaa)

New York City’s bike share system, Citi Bike has had a rough first year. The bikes are in bad shape, the docking technology is glitchy, and the system has been plagued with financial troubles for months. To make matters worse for the beleaguered program, New York City is asking Alta Bikeshare—the company which oversees Citi Bike—to cough up $1 million to cover lost parking revenue from the parking spaces the bike stations occupy.

Continue reading after the jump.

De Blasio Taps Queens Museum President for New York City’s Cultural Affairs Commissioner

Art, East, Shft+Alt+Del
Tuesday, April 8, 2014
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Tom Finkelpearl at the Queens Museum. (Courtesy ioby.org)

Tom Finkelpearl at the Queens Museum. (Courtesy ioby.org)

New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio has selected Tom Finkelpearl, the Queens Museum president and executive director, as the city’s next cultural affairs commissioner. De Blasio made the announcement at the museum, which recently underwent a significant renovation led by Grimshaw Architects.

Continue reading after the jump.

De Blasio Appoints “Tenant-Friendly” Members to New York City’s Rent Guidelines Board

Development, East
Friday, March 28, 2014
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New York City Apartments (MagnuMicah / Flickr)

New York City Apartments (MagnuMicah / Flickr)

Some much-needed rent relief could be in store for over one million New Yorkers. The New York Observer reports that Mayor Bill de Blasio has appointed five “tenant-friendly” members to the city’s Rent Guidelines Board, which oversees rent increases for rent-stabilized units. During the mayoral campaign, then-candidate de Blasio was quite critical of the Board. At the time, he called for a rent freeze on some units and slammed their decision to allow 4 percent increases on one-year leases. As with most of his appointments thus far, de Blasio is signaling a clear break from his predecessor, Michael Bloomberg. A spokesperson for the de Blasio Administration told The Observer “we plan to undertake an ambitious agenda that confronts the affordability crisis facing the city’s tenants.”

Michael Bloomberg Appointed UN Climate & Cities Envoy.  Michael Bloomberg Appointed UN Climate & Cities Envoy Just one month after leaving office, Michael Bloomberg (pictured) has been appointed a United Nations special envoy for cities and climate change. According to Reuters, U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-moon said Bloomberg will help “raise political will and mobilize action among cities as part of his long-term strategy to advance efforts on climate change.” The former mayor is Johannesburg, South Africa this week for the fifth biennial C40 Cities Climate Leadership Group Mayors Summit. Bloomberg is the President of C40’s board, which is a “a network of the world’s megacities taking action to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.” This year’s conference is focused on creating liveable and sustainable cities. (Photo: Spencer T. Tucker )

 

Breaking Bricks at Moynihan Station

East
Wednesday, October 20, 2010
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Moynihan Station Rendering (Courtesy Moynihan Station Development Corporation)

Moynihan Station Rendering (Courtesy Moynihan Station Development Corporation)

Moynihan Station might not be welcoming its first passengers for years to come, but a heavy-hitting group of officials gathered at the James A. Farley Post Office to sledge-hammer a cinder block wall and declare Phase I ground officially broken.

Read more (with renderings!) after the jump.

Parks Department Coopting NYC Skaters?

East
Thursday, September 2, 2010
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On Tuesday, the Parks Department cut the ribbon on the River Avenue pocket parks in the Bronx. It is the latest piece of the sprawling, long-overdue parks system promised by the Bloomberg administration in exchange for the parks sacrificed and taxes forgone in the name of the House That Steinbrenner Built (God rest his soul). But that is not what is truly interesting about the River Avenue park. What is is that it contains a skatepark. The fourth one to open this summer, in fact, preceded by new ramps and half-pipes at Hudson River Park (above), Flushing Meadows, and Robert Venable Park in Brooklyn’s East New York neighborhood. A very popular park opened last year as the first piece of the McCarren Park pool’s redevelopment. (This reporter saw young scalawags jumping the fence to get in even before it was finished, so eager were they to ollie about.) The Parks Department now has 11 skateparks under management, with more on the way. Read More

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