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Thread: Lower East Side Development

  1. #61
    Build the Tower Verre antinimby's Avatar
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    What are you talking about? The church is need of cash and is the one looking to redevelop.

  2. #62

    Default Privatizing another street: Extra Place

    Friday, September 19, 2008

    Privatizing another street: Extra Place


    At the Housing committee of CB3, we learned that the Avalon development is arranging with the city to buy a little alley, once a street, called, wonderfully, Extra Place. The city demapped it years ago, leaving it technically an empty lot, which dumped it from the jurisdiction of the Department of Transportation (DoT) into the lap of Housing Preservation and Development (HPD). Now HPD wants to palm it off to Avalon -- the three hulking glass developments on the CB3 side of Bowery & Houston that have become architects' and urban planners' most preferred examples of bad city design. Avalon is eager to beautify the alley in preparation for a string of sidewalk cafes along its length which, Avalon says, will benefit the entire public! Which is why they want to buy it ... to benefit the public.

    If Avalon owns the street, the sidewalk cafes fall out of much city regulatory oversight, for which private benefit Avalon is willing to take on the burden of cleaning and maintaining the space. HPD doesn't want responsibility for this alley -- they handle housing, but Extra Place is really a street, regardless what the map says. So -- again, always for the public good -- the city wants to sell it to the trusted developer of New York's worst. Everyone is so interested in the public good, don't you feel pampered?

    Insert cartoon of a heavy-lidded, half-asleep, slovenly, unwashed and unshaven municipal authority holding the public in it's pudgy hand with the other palm outstretched for the pay-off saying, "You want it? How much you give me for it?" to a bright-eyed, prim-suited gal with a gleam in her Gucci glasses and a shoulder pocketbook popping with wads of cash.

    CB committee members were not so foolish as to buy this smartly wrapped bill of goods. Rallied into the field by Herman Hewitt, they went on indignant attack. Chair Fout and Militano and Prisant and Ratcliffe and Wieder -- each took an opportunity to whack Avalon for the sake of the public and against privatization. Inspiring. A Frank Capra moment. Over the orchestra the crash of cymbals: The representatives of the public defend the public realm!

    Made up in part for the truly depressing presentation from the Department of Buildings earlier in the meeting. DoB sent some low-level buffer to tell us that either DoB doesn't have the information we seek about 180 Orchard or DoB isn't responsible for having such information or he didn't bring the information, or you could get it yourself on the web -- in short, don't bother DoB because DoB is exactly what everyone says it is: useless. Did we need DoB to come tell us this? I guess it's good to watch the department itself provide living proof of exactly how useless it is, just in case there was any doubt.

    180 Orchard has been in construction for four years with only three stories built and nobody can say what is being built there, whether it has financing for completion, what it's status is or what the future might hold. Meanwhile, it's hell for the local businesses and residents. Classic case of Developer's Blight.

    Unfortunately, the committee tried to help DoB present its case. CB3 doesn't seem to have picked up the MO of the savvy political committee. When a failed agency under a cloud of scandal is called by a committee to present itself to the public, the committee members are supposed to sit forward in their seats, staring out at the public tight-lipped and grim-faced, while the publicly despised agency sweats it out in desperation. If the committee starts defending the agency or answering questions for the agency or even tries to show off that the committee knows more than the public about the agency, then the committee looks as if it's taking the side of a scandal-ridden crony against the public. That may impress the public with the committee's inside knowledge, but it sure as hell doesn't make the committee look good. It aggravates community distrust.

    It's hard to keep silent. There's the temptation to display knowledge and give an impression of control. But that's unnecessary and counterproductive. It doesn't matter that there are reasons DoB doesn't have the information the public needs and wants: this is not a Panglossian best-of-all-possible DoB's. Let DoB sweat. After all, their commissioner just resigned under a scandal that hasn't been resolved and that needs resolution. Their regulations and operations need revision. There's nothing to be gained by being extra nice to them or helping them out of a jam. Put blame where blame is due. It's their moment in the hot spotlight; they're up for change. They don't need to be attacked. Just let 'em sweat! And then thank them very kindly for their presentation.

    Watch how the U.S. congress does it. They are the jaded, cynical pros of Machiavellian silence. No one does it better.

    Posted by rob at 4:03 AM

    http://savethelowereastside.blogspot...tra-place.html

  3. #63

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    We really need to get rid of "community" boards. If some nut wants to blog this nonsense, that's obviously fine, but there's no reason to for taxpayers to subsidize a NIMBY, anti-everything group under the guise of "community."

    Nobody in their right mind would claim that CB2 somehow represents the people of the East Village.

    As for Public Place, it used to be a fenced-off, weed-choked alley. Now of course, it's vibrant, productive, and actually open to the public, which means the CB is furious and wants to make it as crappy and private as possible.

  4. #64

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    The Cooper Square development went through over a dozen public meetings in a three year effort to gather a concensus on what to build. Save for the affordable housing, the result is dismal.

    With the combination of height and context obsessed Nimby's, the affordable housing requirement, and Avalon Bay how could it not be bad. Just look how bad the luxury projects by AvalonBay are. I can't wait until these building are knocked down/blown-up.

  5. #65
    Build the Tower Verre antinimby's Avatar
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    I agree with you but you are forgetting which city and what time period we are living in. If it's the wrong path to go down, you can expect this city to choose just that path.

    Insteading of learning from the Avalon Chrystie mistake, they'll probably use it as a model for the future redevelopment of the parking lots near the Williamsburg Bridge (aka Seward Park Urban Renewal area). Modern day NYC just isn't very smart.

    Quote Originally Posted by brianac View Post
    "The city is interested in re-engaging and discussion about future uses. The community will be fully involved in any dialogue."

    Pushing hardest for that discussion is a group calling itself the Seward Park Area Redevelopment Coalition. A year ago, Harriet Cohen, the group's chairwoman, wrote Silver requesting a meeting.
    Last edited by antinimby; September 20th, 2008 at 01:00 AM.

  6. #66

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    True, and have you noticed that whenever the city rezones a low-rise neighborhood, the illustrations they provide of the future buildings are colorful squat brick boxes." World-class architecture is always last on the list of goals in their planning documents."

    But who can blame them if all the community board cares about is if the building fits in.

  7. #67
    Build the Tower Verre antinimby's Avatar
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    That is because height has been so ingrained into the heads of the people over City Planning by the constant public outcry against it, that they too now believe tall is bad.

    Hence, all the rezonings and supposedly "upzonings" now include height limits where there were none before. Just look at all the rezoning documents if you don't believe me.

    As for as architecture, there is no concern at all over architecture and design, just height and how high before there are setbacks.

  8. #68
    Disgruntled Optimist lofter1's Avatar
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    City Planning in NYC has never had guidelines about design or architecture -- it's always been FAR and setbacks.

  9. #69
    Build the Tower Verre antinimby's Avatar
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    Also one more thing. Besides height, bold architecture tend to draw more of your average New Yorker's ire than the uglier nondescript developments.

    I will use the Blue building as an example. A couple of doors down, you also have that recently built red-brick Asian-American Center.



    The Blue is constantly the target of most of the criticism but yet no one talks about that red brick box.

    Which building is more interesting and brings character to the LES landscape? Put your hand over the Blue building and imagine it wasn't there. How less impressive does it look.

    Now imagine brick boxes similar to the one above dotted all over the landscape. Is that supposed to be better for the LES or the city?

  10. #70

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    The Villager

    Allen St. ‘Champs-Élysées’ starting to take shape


    Villager photo by Matt Townsend

    The newly refurbished, one-block section of the Allen St. Mall, between Broome and Delancey Sts., includes grass, new benches, paths and even sculptures.

    The city calls the 25-foot-wide slabs of concrete that divide the north- and southbound lanes of Allen St. on the Lower East Side a pedestrian mall. But these wouldn’t remind anyone of the grassy fields between the U.S. Capitol and Washington Monument or the landscaped islands in the middle of Park Ave.

    For 13 blocks — from Houston St. all the way down to a block from the East River where Allen St. turns into Pike St. — this so-called mall is filled with garbage, rusted bicycles chained to rusty fences, cracked walking paths and few, if any, people. In a neighborhood that has experienced so much gentrification and population growth over the past decade, the Allen and Pike St. Malls have stood out as decrepit strips of cement that are rarely used. Even more troubling, the Lower East Side has one of the worst ratios of people to open space in the city, and these unused spaces have long left community leaders dismayed at their very sight.

    “People have lived too long with the eyesore,” said City Councilmember Alan Gerson, who represents the neighborhood. “It’s a blight. It’s decrepit. It’s dangerous. It’s detrimental.”

    This past spring, the city finished the renovation of a one-block stretch of the mall between Delancey and Broome Sts. as a demonstration of what could and might be done in the future with the Allen and Pike St. Malls.

    The refurbished block now has a brick path lined with benches, shrubs and sculptures. The Lower Manhattan Development Corporation, a government entity created after the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks to help redevelop the city south of Houston St., has supplied $5 million in funding for additional renovations to the mall, according to the city’s Parks Department.



    Villager photo by Matt Townsend


    One of the sculptures in the renovated block of the Allen St. Mall.

    The city has hired landscape architect Donna Walcavage of Edaw design firm. The Parks Department, which isn’t funding any of the renovations, said the design should be finished this fall and construction started by next year. The department has taken input from community groups, to be incorporated into the design.

    “It’s exciting to finally see it happen,” said Anne Frederick, excecutive directory of the Hester Street Collaborative, which has spearheaded community involvement in the mall renovations.

    Parks wouldn’t say which blocks or how many of them would be renovated. But people in the community involved with the project said they believed five of the remaining 12 blocks will next be beautified, and it would probably be the portion of the mall closest to the river, because that is a higher priority for the L.M.D.C.

    “We’re excited about what these malls can do,” said Roberto Ragone, executive director of the Lower East Side Business Improvement District. “We think it will create important leisure space and solitude space.”

    When city planners widened Allen St. in the 1930s, they envisioned a thoroughfare that would bring more shoppers and their cars from outside Manhattan to the neighborhood’s bakeries, food stores and clothing shops — a sort of Champs-Élysées of the Lower East Side that would lead to the waterfront. But that never happened as crime and urban decay stopped Allen St. from reaching its potential. The neighborhood, as anyone who’s walked through it in the past decade knows, has become wealthier and safer with an explosion in white-collar tenants and the trendy restaurants and luxury housing that have followed them. Allen St. has changed at a slower pace than other parts of the neighborhood, but the initial hope for it still remains.

    “This is part of the Lower East Side renaissance,” said Gerson, who has helped organize the mall renovation effort and secured $500,000 in funding from the City Council. “There’s a lot of potential on the Lower East Side.”

    During a lunch hour last week, people filled seven of the 10 benches in the mall’s renovated section, as others walked their dogs and strolled through. Don Light, an elderly man from Brooklyn, sat on a bench and filled out a crossword puzzle as cabs and buses whizzed uptown or rode their brakes to stop at the Delancey St. traffic light.

    “I used to never come over here [the mall], but now I do,” said Light, who visits the neighborhood a few times a week.

    Josh Peter, 27, of Brooklyn, scarfed down Chinese dumplings and noodles with friend Todd Kahler, 25, of Chelsea, on the next bench. Peter, who works at Dickson Hairshop just north on Allen St., said he often ate his lunch on vacant doorsteps before he discovered the mall.

    “It’s pretty. I wouldn’t have set foot over here before,” Peter said.


    © 2008 Community Media, LLC

  11. #71

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    Curbed.com

    EV/LES Get in the Rezone...Finally!

    Wednesday, November 19, 2008, by Joey



    The City Planning Commission's long-lasting effort to push through a major rezoning of the East Village and Lower East Side—a process that kicked off in 2005—has come to this: today the City Council approved the 111-block rezone, which runs from Grand Street up to 13th Street, and Avenue D to just shy of the Bowery. While it probably came a little too late for some Lower East Siders' liking, the controversial rezoning (Chinatown/Bowery residents think it'll just push big development to them) limits building height to 80 feet on side streets and 120 feet on main arteries, so it'll be a while before you see another Hotel on Rivington or BLUE or Thompson LES or [insert favorite neighborhood-dwarfing tower here]. Mayor Bloomberg released a statement, and it goes a little something like this:
    The new zoning of 111 blocks within the two areas will preserve the unique character of the neighborhoods by establishing height limits for the first time that will prevent new out-of-scale towers from undermining the existing building stock and established streetscapes. At the same time, the plan will create opportunities for new and affordable housing where appropriate on wider streets. It is expected to spur the production of 1,670 additional housing units over the next ten years, including 560 units permanently affordable to low- and middle-income families.

  12. #72

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    Thank god. A few highrises like Blue and the Rivington Hotel look fine among the tenements. But those were the pioneers, recently all they were building was crap like the SVA dorms, that grey pile on Houston, etc. The old neighborhood with all the discount clothing stores and ethnic restaurants and real and underground nightlife, and real artist galleries is long gone, but atleast it won't physically look like Chelsea.

  13. #73
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    6/1/2009

    This is the development on Delancey & Forsyth by Yang Tze River Realty.


  14. #74
    Disgruntled Optimist lofter1's Avatar
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    Most Chinese-run architectural firms have added little to the gloss of NYC at the scores of sites developed around town in recent years.

  15. #75
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    Their design must figure in 30 residents per apartment with outdoor terraces easily converted to an extra bedroom using old boxes and blankets.

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