Councilman Says Explosion Exposes ‘Dire Need’ for Infrastructure Improvements

The scene in East Harlem. (Photo: Rob Bennett/NYC Mayor's Office)
The scene in East Harlem. (Photo: Rob Bennett/NYC Mayor’s Office)

Today’s building collapse in East Harlem reveals the New York City’s “dire need” for infrastructure improvements, Councilman Ydanis Rodriguez declared this afternoon.

Mr. Rodriguez pointed to yesterday’s report from Center for an Urban Future that called for nearly $50 billion to improve the city’s infrastructure, including aging gas lines.  Continue reading “Councilman Says Explosion Exposes ‘Dire Need’ for Infrastructure Improvements”

Could More Flexible Air Rights Policies Facilitate the Growth of Affordable Housing?

During the 1970s fiscal crisis, the city acquired significant quantities of property by way of owner abandonment and tax foreclosure, which it used in subsequent decades to subsidize affordable housing development. Virtually none of that land remains available today, however, and as we recently noted, the now-stratospheric cost of privately held land poses myriad obstacles to new affordable housing production, particularly in neighborhoods with good public schools, ready access to transportation and employment centers.
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Is Manhattan for Everyone? The pied-à-terre and the ‘poor door’

Seven years ago, when the Westside mega-development known as Hudson Yards was but a twinkle in the collective eye of real estate moguls and Bloomberg officiates, grumbling had already begun about inequality among the neighborhood’s residents. Those residents, of course, had yet to arrive. And the complaints seemed stranger still given that Hudson Yards had, Read More

De Blasio Sets Deadline for Affordable Housing Plan, But Policy Details Remain Vague

In his State of the City address yesterday, Mayor Bill de Blasio pledged once again to “preserve or construct nearly 200,000 units of affordable housing—enough to house between 400,000 and 500,000 New Yorkers—to help working people by literally putting a roof over their heads.”

And, after announcing the remaining members of his housing “dream team” last Saturday—with Shola Olatoye heading up NYCHA, Vicki Been at the Department of Housing Preservation and Development, Gary Rodney as president of the Housing Development Corporation, Carl Weisbrod as City Planning chair and Alicia Glen as deputy mayor for housing and economic development—Mr. de Blasio has finally revealed when we can finally expect some details: May 1st.
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Prospective Mayors Spar on Transportation Policy

Bill Thompson and Anthony Weiner chatting at the forum.
Bill Thompson and Anthony Weiner chatting at the forum.

At a Democratic mayoral forum this morning focusing on New York City’s transportation policies, the candidates often agreed on many of the issues–stated support for bike lanes, for example–but starkly disagreed when it came to several topics, including school bus contracts.

Setting up the dispute, former Comptroller Bill Thompson, the leading candidate for the teachers’ union endorsement set to be announced later this afternoon, defended pricey school bus driver contracts and provisions that protect current employees.

Continue reading “Prospective Mayors Spar on Transportation Policy”

Mayor Bloomberg Guides Successor With New Post-Sandy Plan

Mayor Michael Bloomberg outlining his plans to protect New York.
Mayor Michael Bloomberg outlining his plans to make the city more resilient to future storms.

He may not be seeking a fourth term, but Mayor Michael Bloomberg will nonetheless have an outsized influence in the coming years on City Hall.

With just 203 days left of his administration, Mr. Bloomberg unveiled a far-ranging, 250-plus-point plan to harden the city against future storms like Hurricane Sandy, dumping a massive–and hugely expensive–$19.5 billion to-do list on his successor’s lap.

Continue reading “Mayor Bloomberg Guides Successor With New Post-Sandy Plan”

Mayor Bloomberg Says He’s No Canute the Great

canute1 Mayor Bloomberg Says Hes No Canute the Great
(photo: sealevelrise.info)

On his weekly radio show with John Gambling this morning, Mayor Michael Bloomberg delved into history to argue massive coastline protection projects are futile, at least in the face of future storm surges similar to Hurricane Sandy’s. Specifically, Mr. Bloomberg referenced the tale of Denmark’s King Canute, who stood before the waves and ordered the tide to recede.

“If you build a house on the water, there’s a chance of tsunamis, tidal surge, big storms that come off the water,” Mr. Bloomberg explained. “That’s why insurance is so expensive on the water. People have been doing this from time and memorial ever since civilization started. Why do people do it? Because living on the water, for a lot of people, is a great experience and they’re willing to run the risks. Nobody’s happy when nature comes to call and everybody screams we should have done something different. In a practical sense you’re not going to build a wall from the Florida Keys to the northern tip of Maine to protect the whole coast. In fact, you probably could not do that. There’ll never be a technology that can do that. If you remember, King Canute of Denmark tried to stop the tides from coming. It’s a classic story.”

Continue reading “Mayor Bloomberg Says He’s No Canute the Great”