A New School for The Lower East Side up in the Air.  Seward Park Urban Renewal Area (Photo Credit: Wikipedia/Yori Yanover) The massive development planned at the Seward Park Urban Renewal Area (SPURA) was unanimously upheld by the New York City Council Land Use Committee on Thursday, and the Lower East Side might be getting a new school. Or not. City officials won’t decide whether to build the project—part the 1.65 million square foot development at SPURA—for at least another five years, claiming initially that the community did not need a new school. According to City Councilwoman Margaret Chin, the city will set aside 15,000 square feet in the new mixed-use buildings in case a school becomes necessary in the future. The city will also reevaluate the funding available to build it and will keep the potential space available until 2023.

 

New York’s AIDS Memorial Approved by a Beleaguered Community Board 2

East, Newsletter
Friday, July 20, 2012
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The approved AIDS Memorial is on track for installation across the street from the former St. Vincent's hospital. (Courtesy NYC AIDS Memorial)

The approved AIDS Memorial is on track for installation across the street from the former St. Vincent’s hospital. (Courtesy NYC AIDS Memorial)

It was a week of devastating lows and mild highs for Community Board 2. With NYU virtually assured of getting their 1.9 million-square-foot expansion plan through City Council next week, in spite of vigorous local objection, the mood at last night’s executive board meeting was decidedly grim. But a new design for the AIDS Memorial, to be incorporated into the proposed St. Vincent’s Hospital Park across the street from the former hospital site in Greenwich Village, offered some hope. The new design was in response to a demand that the designers incorporate community input, providing hope for some that that the Uniform Land Use Review Procedure (ULURP) was not a waste of time. “With ULURP being ULURP, I didn’t think this would happen,” Village resident Robert Woodworth said of the memorial designed by Brooklyn-based studio a+i.

Continue reading after the jump.

Opening Salvo Aimed at NYU Expansion

East
Thursday, January 5, 2012
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Andrew Berman takes the mic before an overflow crowd at the Center for Architecture. (Stoelker/AN)

Andrew Berman takes the mic before an overflow crowd at the Center for Architecture. (Stoelker/AN)

It was the opening shot heard ’round the Village–and the East Village, and SoHo. An overflow crowd gathered at the Center for Architecture last night to rally the troops opposing NYU’s twenty year expansion plan. It certainly wasn’t the usual black-clad crowd found at the Center. No, these were some good old fashioned Village rabble rousers.

The event was organized by the Andrew Berman of the Greenwich Village Society for Historic Preservation, who assured the crowd that the NYU Core plan is “not a done deal.” On Tuesday, the university certified proposals with City Planning, thus kicking off the ULURP process for what is likely to become one of the most contentious development debates of 2012. The proposal is, after all,  in the heart of Jane Jacobs country.

Just across the street from the Center are the remains of Robert Moses’ failed attempt to build the Lower Manhattan Expressway through SoHo after Jacobs and Co. put a halt to the plan. Parcels of land assembled by the Department of Transportation to accommodate the failed highway are now parkland commonly known as the DOT strips. A substantial portion of the 1.3 million square feet NYU wants to build in the area would be placed beneath the strips. The university has proposed designating the strips as parkland after the construction is complete, with the new green space designed by Michael Van Valkenburgh Associates.

No matter the promises, this was not a crowd that trusts the university. The term “Midtown Zoning” got thrown about with on-message regularity. As did square footage metaphors, such as “bigger than the Waldorf-Astoria,” “the size of the Empire State Building,” and “three Jacob Javits Convention Centers.”

Council Member Margaret Chin was on hand to listen, but not to state her pro or con position–despite pressure from the crowd.

This month’s Community Board 2 subcommittee meetings will no doubt be unusually crowded as they’re all dealing with the proposal. If you want to see some New York zoning theater in action, here’s a selected breakdown:

Land Use:  Mon., 1/9 6PM at The Center for Architecture, 536 LaGuardia Pl.

Traffic and Transportation: Tues., 1/10 @ 6:30 NYU Silver Building, 32 Waverly Pl. room 520

Parks:  Thurs., 1/12 @ 6:30PM at NYU Silver Bldg. 32 Waverly Pl. room 520

Full Board: Thurs., 1/19 @ 6:00PM 116 West 11th Street, Auditorium

 

World Trade Update: Sneak Peak Inside Tower One

East
Thursday, March 10, 2011
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Thanks to Council Member Margaret Chin’s office, we’re able to get a peak out the windows of One World Trade. Yesterday, Chin and fellow Council Members of the Lower Manhattan Redevelopment Committee got a tour of the 49th floor with Port Authority Executive Director Chris Ward. While “sweeping” and “majestic” are terms that will no doubt soon be overused in the future to describe the views, we’ll use them here, just this once.

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