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Thread: Lower East Side Development

  1. #76


    Quote Originally Posted by lofter1 View Post
    Most Chinese-run architectural firms have added little to the gloss of NYC at the scores of sites developed around town in recent years.
    Quote Originally Posted by BrooklynRider View Post
    Their design must figure in 30 residents per apartment with outdoor terraces easily converted to an extra bedroom using old boxes and blankets.
    And furthermore ... they're yellow!

  2. #77
    NYC Aficionado from Oz Merry's Avatar
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    Oct 2002

    Default ABC No Rio - 156 Rivington Street

    Grassroots arts center is rebuilding ‘green,’ from ground up on the L.E.S.

    By Lincoln Anderson

    A cross-section rendering of how ABC No Rio is expected to look
    and what uses it will contain after the two-phase rebuilding project is completed.

    In what’s being hailed as a sea change in City Hall’s attitude toward community-based arts groups, ABC No Rio recently received $1.65 million in government funding to rebuild its crumbling Lower East Side building.

    Steve Englander, ABC No Rio’s executive director and sole paid employee, said Borough President Scott Stringer had allocated $750,000 to ABC No Rio, while City Councilmember Alan Gerson and the Manhattan Council delegation each gave $450,000.

    Julie Hair of the band 3 Teens Kill 4 is a board member of ABC No Rio.

    “Hopefully, it’s a promising sign of robust support by city government for small- and mid-sized arts organizations,” said Englander, speaking to The Villager two weeks ago, the day after the government funding had been made official.

    The project’s first phase is budgeted at $2.4 million.

    “We’ve raised about half a million dollars, and we’ve got a couple hundred thousand to go,” Englander said of the center’s own fundraising efforts.

    The project was broken down into two parts to make it more feasible, he said. The first phase will involve demolishing the building, then constructing a deeper basement level and a longer first floor, which will completely fill the property’s current backyard. The new two-level space will equal the space ABC No Rio currently has. Work is planned to start in spring 2010 and take a year to complete.

    Phase two will see three more stories added, and is expected to take nine months to finish. The entire project is slated at $4.2 million.

    Initially, the plan was to construct a new building right inside the shell of the tenement building; but the old exterior would have needed repairs and ongoing maintenance, so it wasn’t worth keeping, Englander said.

    The front of the new ABC No Rio will resemble a “green waterfall,”
    with plantings covering a special screen.

    “There’s not enough there there to do a renovation,” he explained. “It’s a timber-frame building with brick infill. With the existing building, it would have been hard to put in an elevator. And the front stoop is up five steps — a community facility should be handicapped accessible. It was difficult for people to come to terms with our having to build new; people are attached to it. But ultimately, what’s important is what goes on in the building.”

    The new basement and first floor will host the public events that occur now at ABC No Rio: literary readings, art exhibits, punk music shows, forums, workshops and presentations, as well as, probably, the ’zine library and silk-screen-printing shop, Englander said.

    Originally a squatter building, 156 Rivington St. was sold to ABC No Rio by the city for $1 in 2006.

    The new arts center will be “green,” and quite recognizably so, since foliage will be growing like a leafy waterfall on its front wall.

    “It is literally a planted facade,” Englander said. “The way it works is the flora grow on screens.”

    Also, a graffiti work that the late Sane Smith painted on an abutting building’s wall will be incorporated into ABC No Rio’s new building; since ABC No Rio doesn’t own the wall, an aperture will be built through which the graffiti will be visible.

    The day after Englander told The Villager the news of the city funding, there was a Friday night open-house party at ABC No Rio. A largely young crowd checked out art displayed on the space’s ground-floor walls; next to tacked-up architectural renderings of the new building, there were thank-you cards — overflowing with penned notes of gratitude — to the politicians who allocated the dollars.

    “The heart and soul of this neighborhood is the tradition of arts that come from the bottom up,” said Paul Bartlett, chairperson of Community Board 3’s Arts Task Force, at the open house. Bartlett recalled, three years ago, when he heard the project’s then-projected cost had risen from $1 million to $2.7 million, “I got sticker shock — I didn’t think it was possible.”

    Bartlett said, at first, politicians doubted ABC No Rio could handle such large funds because it has a tiny annual operating budget — only $75,000.

    “But the thing is, there are so many volunteers,” he stressed.

    He added that Paul Nagle in Councilmember Gerson’s office, was “huge” in helping secure the funding. Nagle knows the neighborhood’s arts scene intimately from having been director of Clemente Soto Velez Cultural Center, Bartlett noted.

    Julie Hair, an ABC No Rio board member, played bass in two bands that performed there in the 1980s, Bite Like a Kitty and 3 Teens Kill 4, the latter which she noted is “actually thinking of regrouping.” She said she was “ecstatic” that the city funding had been secured.

    “I think it’s what had to be done,” Hair, also a sculptor, said of rebuilding from scratch. “I’m really excited about it. The building is falling apart. ... It’s going to be like a newer, cleaner space.”

    Asked if the new ABC No Rio would lose some of what made the old place special, Hair said, “You’re not going to be able to throw up wallpaper on the wall that you silk-screened that day. It’s scary that it’s going to lose the persona — or whatever you’d call the persona of a place like this. It’s going to be different.”

    Asked if the made-over ABC No Rio would allow graffiti, like that which abounds by the ground-floor bathroom, she answered, “I don’t know — I’ve wondered about that myself.”

    The current building has leaks in the fourth-floor silk-screen shop and is drafty in winter, she said.

    “But there’s no other place like it,” she added, smiling. “It’s our drafty building.”

    After getting out of art school, Hair worked at Printed Matter bookstore, where a co-worker advised her that the Lower East Side was affordable. Nowadays, though, many musicians and artists live in Brooklyn, instead of the Lower East Side, which has gotten too expensive.

    “Twenty years ago, this was a really cheap place to live,” she reflected. “It’s not like that anymore. We can’t really preserve what it used to be like. But it would be nice to preserve a little part of it.”

    Thanks to the funding from Stringer, Gerson and the Council, at least “a little part” of that Lower East Side arts scene will indeed be saved.

  3. #78
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    Default Jodamo - Orchard, Grand and Allen Streets

    On The Market: Lower East Side's Epic Pink Giant

    August 19, 2009, by Lockhart

    One hell of a real estate juggernaut is now up for grabs on the Lower East Side. The unique pink tenement building occupying 57-67 Orchard Street in BelDel is available for purchase. Cost: $25 million (down from $34 million, per the listing). The property is being advertised as an investment-slash-development site with frontage on three main streets—Orchard, Grand, and Allen—and the ability for subterranean parking. A developer's wet dream? Let's not go there. But sort of.

    What isn't mentioned in the listing, however, is any probable displacement from the forthcoming sale. Based on the brokerbabble, the situation doesn't bode well for residential and commercial tenants: "The property is fully occupied, and the leases are either short term or they contain 180-day cancellation clauses...These rents are less than 50% of market value, therefore there is tremendous upside for an investor." Barricades, riots, etc. to follow. —Bowie Boogie

    Listing: 57-67 Orchard Street [Massey Knakal]

    Slightly less pink :

    Thursday, August 20, 2009

    E. Ridley & Sons and the Murder of Edward Ridley

    The Ridley building as it appeared in 1874; it was expanded in 1886, badly damaged in a fire in 1905 after the store had been sold, and truncated in 1931-32.

    As guest blogger Bowery Boogie noted on Curbed yesterday, the pink Jodamo building on the Lower East Side at the corner of Orchard and Grand streets is for sale for a cool $25 million.

    In the nineteenth century, the building was home to E. Ridley and Sons, one of the biggest department stores on the Lower East Side. Though Broadway in the area we today call SoHo was home to most of the city’s high-end shops, including A.T. Stewart’s “Marble Palace,” the stretch of Grand Street east of Broadway was an important retail district in its own right. Many of the shoppers came from Brooklyn or New Jersey on the Grand Street ferry and were then transported by horse-drawn street car.

    Ridley’s was founded in 1849 by Edward Ridley Sr., an immigrant from Nottinghamshire, England, in a small building at 311-1/2 Grand Street. As the shop grew over the next two decades, Ridley began acquiring nearby lots and by 1883, he had built a store that encompassed the entire street-front on Grand from Orchard to Allen. According to some sources, it was the country’s largest retail store. (Today’s building is actually slightly truncated; when Allen Street was widened in 1931-32, a portion of the building was shorn off to accommodate the expanded road.)

    For the Jewish immigrants who began to flood in the neighborhood in the 1880s, Ridley’s became a destination for young Jewish women to window shop – and from which to occasionally purchase, a sure sign of upward-mobility. Understanding the need to appeal to the area’s new clientele, Ridley’s began to promote itself more to local residents, including a big push in December equating Hanukkah with the gift-giving of Christmas. The shop was also one of the first to send out a catalogue so that buyers could peruse and purchase their goods from the comfort of home. (In 1964, a request was delivered to 311 Grand Street demanding to know why the Ridley's catalgoue had not been sent out "for some time." The writer clearly didn't know the store had gone out of business--in 1901!)

    Edward Ridley died in 1883 and the store was taken over by his sons, Edward A. and Arthur Ridley. They continued in business until 1901, by which time they could no longer attract a enough clientele to fill the store. The building was sold and subdivided and both brothers went into real estate.
    * * *

    Now, here’s where the story gets weird.

    Edward A. Ridley was a bit of an eccentric, to say the least. He operated out of the subbasement of the old department store’s stables, a dungeon-like space 40 feet below street level. (The address is variously reported as 59, 61, and 63 Allen Street.)

    As the New York Times wrote in 1931:

    Ridley needed to wear rubber overshoes in his dank, cellar office and ultimately took to wearing them at all times. He allowed his beard to grow out, making him look like a wild-eyed Biblical prophet (“Whitmanesque” the Times called it), and he was rarely seen outside the office except going to and from his boarding house in New Jersey, always carrying an umbrella, rain or shine.

    Then, in 1931, Ridley showed up for work one day to find his assistant, Herman Moench, dead. Actually, Ridley read his mail for about an hour, then bothered to go to the other side of the 8x15 foot office and found Moench lying next to his desk. At first the police assumed that Moench, who had worked for Ridley for an astonishing 51 years (he’d started at the store when he was 9 years old) had died of natural causes. Only when the body was examined by the coroner were two bullet wounds discovered. No one who worked at the garage that surrounded the office, including its managers, Harry and Lee Weinstein (who leased the space from Ridley) had seen or heard anything and with no leads, the case soon went cold.
    Just a little over two years later, tragedy struck again. Ridley had hired Lee Weinstein from the garage to be his new assistant. On May 10, Lee’s brother Harry was unable to reach them in the office by telephone; he asked a garage employee to check on his brother and the man discovered that Lee Weinstein had been shot twice and Ridley beaten to death. The similarity of the two cases led the police to reopen the Herman Moench murder and ballistics tests immediately proved that the same gun had been used to kill both of Ridley’s assistants.

    At first, the police assumed Ridley had been killed trying to protect Weinstein. However, when the old man’s will was found, it showed a $200,000 bequest to Weinstein, making the police wonder if Ridley had been the intended target and if Weinstein had been involved in both murders. The next day, the police discovered that Weinstein had been secretly married and living with his wife under an assumed name at a midtown hotel.

    As the investigation continued, the police found an unused bootlegging room in the Allen Street garage where Ridley kept his office, but decided that illegal alcohol had nothing to do with the murders. More promising was the discovery that Lee Weinstein had purchased a $2,050 car—while only making about $40 a week. It soon became clear that the will was a fake, signed by Ridley unwittingly and “witnessed” by two fellow conspirators—both of them accountants who helped keep Ridley’s books—who had hoped to split the $200,000. Further investigation revealed that Weinstein and his accomplices had already stolen over $200,000 from his employer.

    But this discovery did little to shed the light on the killings and Weinstein's fellow thieves seemed to have nothing to do with the murders (and no connection to Herman Moench). The accountants were indicted for the theft and forgery but despite a $10,000 reward, no useful information came to the police. Ridley had owned many tenements on the Lower East Side and was said to be a miserly landlord, but none of his tenants was ever seriously looked at for the murders. To this day, the case remains one of the great unsolved crimes of the Lower East Side.

    The building at 59-63 Allen Street still stands – and is still a parking garage. Does Ridley’s obscure basement office still exist, as well? If you park in the building, check it out and let us know!

  4. #79
    NYC Aficionado from Oz Merry's Avatar
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    Oct 2002


    Flavor of a New York neighborhood changes

    The Lower East Side trades its pickle stores for upscale shops. Gentrification has been in the works for years, but Sept. 11 was a turning point.

    William Soo has worked at the Pickle Guys shop for 13 years.
    It will be the last pickle store in the area when its rival Guss',
    two streets over, moves. It's just timing and generations, says Guss' proprietor.

    By Tina Susman
    September 6, 2009

    Reporting from New York - If pickles were currency, it would take 100 of Pat Fairhurst's kosher sours to buy a buttery smooth leather wallet in the chic shop nearby, more than 200 to snag a dress off one of the neighboring boutiques' racks, and a whopping 1,000 to book a luxury suite at the Blue Moon Hotel across the street.

    That helps explain why Fairhurst's tiny store, Guss', an institution since 1920 in Manhattan's Lower East Side, is moving its red barrels of 50-cent pickles to Brooklyn.

    No longer the exclusive domain of scrappy immigrants or Jewish aficionados of Fairhurst's briny treats, the old neighborhood has morphed into one of New York's trendier districts, an evolution that is vexing to those nostalgic for the past but who admit that change can be good.

    On a hot summer Sunday, Stacy Soberalski remembered a real estate agent once warning her away from the area, citing drug dealing and other crime.

    "Now, six years later, it's Mister Rogers' neighborhood!" Soberalski said as her companion, Adam Hersly, chose from Fairhurst's fermented goods.

    Soberalski admitted to being torn about the change. "I liked the old school. It's what made the neighborhood what it was," she said.

    "But it's nice to have all these high-end shops here. Out with the old and in with the new, I guess."

    Even Fairhurst, who spends hours tending her barrels at the shop on Orchard Street, a baseball cap shielding her face from the sun, admitted that gentrification is inevitable, especially in a neighborhood that once was the first home for the poorest of America's new immigrants.

    As their fortunes changed, the populations changed. People moved up and out of the squalid tenements that are now renovated apartments fetching more than $2,000 -- or 4,000 of Guss' pickles -- a month.

    Change has been in the works for decades, but Fairhurst traces her store's sharpest downturn to the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks. Much of Lower Manhattan was a dusty wasteland for weeks afterward. When the mess was cleared up, people were afraid to come back.

    The newcomers who moved in were different than the old-timers, who had worked 9-to-5, stocked up on pickles and other Jewish favorites in advance of the Sabbath, and didn't have Whole Foods or Trader Joe's.

    "It's just timing and generations. Now, everyone has to work until late, and it's easier for them to get pickles in the supermarket," Fairhurst said.

    Her departure, planned for fall after the Jewish holidays of Rosh Hashana and Yom Kippur, will leave Alan Kaufman and his Pickle Guys shop two streets away the sole pickle proprietor in the neighborhood.

    Kaufman, whose large store boasts rows of barrels brimming with such fare as traditional kosher sours or jalapeño-stuffed olives, isn't celebrating.

    To Kaufman, who banters with his steady stream of customers while dishing colorful goods into containers, it's just a sign of the changes that have left the rival pickle peddlers with different sets of customers.

    Kaufman has expanded his product line to about 50 items, and he ships nationwide. Clientele can find pepperoncini to dress their salads, and creamed herring to line their arteries.

    Asked the biggest misconception people have about pickles, Kaufman didn't hesitate. "That all pickles are alike," he bellowed above the din of the Sunday crowd.

    His pickles are 25 cents more than Fairhurst's, but Kaufman said there's a reason. "Once you've bought these pickles, you can't buy store-bought pickles."

    Paul Shapiro, who lives a three-hour drive away in Albany and is a loyalist of the Pickle Guys, agreed. He grew up in New York City and always came to the Lower East Side for pickles.

    "There's not many traditional places left in the Lower East Side," said Shapiro, who said he wouldn't dream of leaving the city without stocking up at Kaufman's store.

    "For me, it's not so bad," he said of the change. "But it's life in New York. New York evolves."

    That's a good thing, said Morris Vogel, president of the Lower East Side Tenement Museum, explaining that successful cities are forever changing.

    "This neighborhood was an area of first settlements. That's not a role you can continue to play," said Vogel, a history professor at Temple University, as he led a walking tour along the narrow streets and pointed out remnants of bygone eras: the ornate facade of a long-shuttered theater; the faded pink building that housed one of the city's earliest department stores; bricked-up synagogues.

    "It's unrealistic of us to freeze this in a moment," he said, noting that many of the chic new businesses in the area are also run by immigrants -- just not the same immigrants who once ran the hosiery and pickle stores.,6569853.story

  5. #80
    Moderator NYatKNIGHT's Avatar
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    Manhattan - South Village


    That sucks, I used to walk all the way there for those pickles.

  6. #81
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    Default Allen Street Mall

    Stanton St. Malled Off

    September 8, 2009, by Joey

    LOWER EAST SIDE—Epic news for the Allen Street Mall, where years of promises of a renovation have shockingly come to fruition. Did you enjoy being able to cross Allen at Stanton Street, traffic? Well too bad! Writes a tipster, "This is a great day for the Allen Street Mall!" The first?

    Lower East Side's Allen Street Mall Getting Spiffified

    August 27, 2009, by Lockhart

    Just when outrage about Soho's Grand Street bike lane is dying down, a tipster sends along the above shots of work underway this morning on Allen Street, at the corner of Rivington, on the Lower East Side. Yes, friends, that's a brand spaking new protected bike lane that's coming to life alongside the Allen Street Mall—a bike lane that's going to reduce Allen Street to a mere two lanes, a move planners hope will curb excessive driver speed through Chinatown and the LES. To follow: "higher curbs, permanents planting beds, and post and chain fencing." Might the "Park Avenue of the Plain People" need an upscale rebranding after all?

    Coalition Gears Up to Defend Allen Street Mall Project [The Lo-Down]
    Allen Street: Park Avenue of the Plain People [Curbed]

  7. #82
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    The Evolution of Extra Place

    Kevin Walsh
    Creator of Forgotten New York

    Posted: September 15, 2009 09:47 PM

    The Bowery has figured heavily in Forgotten New York posts over the years -- along with Brooklyn's Williamsburg and Times Square, no other New York City neighborhood or street has been home to more rapid change over the last decade than has the old road to Peter Stuyvesant's farm, or bouwerij.

    It was extant in pre-colonial times as a Native American trail and once was a part of the post road to Boston (it remains, along with Broadway itself, one of the few roads left over from before the Commissioner's Plan of 1811 gridironed Manhattan Island). In the days immediately following Pegleg Pete's era, it was lined with stately mansions and fashionable shops; gave way to cheap entertainments, raree shows and hot corn girls; after they were shrouded by an El, the entertainments moved uptown, and the destitute, the desperate and the down-and-out moved in. "Bowery bums" remained even after the Third Avenue El was razed in 1955, and remnants of this past remain even during the Bowery's newest incarnation as Luxury Row, along with Bowery's sub-genre as the home of wholesale kitchen equipment, lighting, and cash registers.

    I could not help but feel a tinge of melancholy when, after an afternoon of flâneuring down Bleecker Street, gathering pictures for a future Forgotten NY page, I ended up at the Bowery, facing the spot where CBGB used to be. That very week I viewed a clip of Television performing "Little Johnny Jewel" in Central Park a few years ago. When Vin Scelsa first played it on WNEW-FM in 1975 I recognized it as a game-changer; this was an era when "Love Will Keep Us Together" and "Kashmir" ruled pop and rock radio, respectively. Forest Hills' Ramones quickly followed Television into Hilly Kristal's Country, Blue Grass and Blues club, and thousands of bands after them. I was a little sad to see, as I moved through this new Bowery, that the world inhabited by these bands of yore is utterly gone.

    In one photo from that era Johnny, Dee Dee, Tommy and Joey Ramone are standing alongside a wrecked car in a garbage-strewn alley; a truck emblazoned with the CBGB logo can be seen in the rear. This is Extra Place, a dead-end on East 1st Street a little east of the Bowery. CBGB's back door opened onto the alley.

    The story of Extra Place begins around 1800, when landowner Philip Minthorne divided his 110-acre farm among his four sons and five daughters. A tiny parcel was left over, which became "Extra" Street when the grid pattern was cut through. It remained a Street (as the 1891 map here shows) until around the turn of the 20th Century, when it became a Place. It led a sleepy existence for decades as a front for metalworking shops, garages, and in Prohibition days, speakeasies.

    By the late 1970s NYC had been in recession for years, many neighborhoods were in ruin, and large swaths in Brooklyn, the Bronx and the East Village were in desperate condition. My friend Bob Mulero's 1978 photo of Extra Place shows our alley in total disarray. Yet even here there are vital signs. The hand-lettered sign once marked a bust parking garage, and the alley shows through to a three-story freestanding house on East 2nd Street. CBGB was in full swing in 1978 and one of the doors on the left was it back door.

    In 2006, the buildings to the right of Extra Place have been torn down, and cranes are in position laying the foundation for luxury residences. Avalon Bay Communities purchased properties along the Bowery from East Houston Street to East 2nd, and commenced to knock down longstanding properties along each of the streets, including the notorious McGurk's Suicide Hall; run by saloonkeeper John McGurk, it attained its moniker from the prostitutes that ended it all by gulping carbolic acid on the premises. In 2007, Avalon set about building gleaming towers and ridding all trace of whatever color was still echoing through the decades. In 2006, Extra Place was still a dirt road, but the old garage was being spiffed and buffed for its new job of providing housing. The freestanding house on East 1st has given way to a residential tower.

    In 2009, the transformation is complete. Extra Place has been paved and the Department of Transportation has installed street and dead end signs; previously, Extra Place was identified by word of mouth. Avalon has acquired the dead end and plans to bring in retail establishments; two of them, Bespoke Chocolates and Montana Knox Apparel, have in fact already moved in.

    You cannot, with a clear head, say the new Extra Place is not vastly improved over the 1978 model, strewn with garbage, detritus and vomit. If the new Extra Place, lined with boutiques and boites, is a big success, the East Village will be better for it. But in the back of my head, I wonder what Sid Vicious would think.

  8. #83
    Disgruntled Optimist lofter1's Avatar
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    NYC - Downtown


    At this point it is just as dead now as it was then. Probably more so in terms of activity.

  9. #84


    ^ Thank you, Dr. Despair.

  10. #85
    Disgruntled Optimist lofter1's Avatar
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    NYC - Downtown


    I'm not despairing. But I have passed by that spot many a time. Nary a soul to be seen on Extra Place. So in terms of urban activity, for now it's dead.

  11. #86


    ^ So does that mean the shops won't rent?

    Or does it just mean the wisdom says "forget it" ?

    Looks pretty good to me (potentially).

  12. #87
    Disgruntled Optimist lofter1's Avatar
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    Jun 2005
    NYC - Downtown


    Shops down this way are emptying out like a bar at Last Call. Both Little Italy & Soho (not to mention Noho) are filled with recently departed retail tenants -- lots of spaces for rent.

    When the economy rebounds Extra Place will probably get some tenants. But as is it is this off-the-beaten-path stretch of alleyway has little charm, and no foot traffic -- deadly combo for the boutique types of shops they were hoping for.

    They would have been wiser to make it a No Vehicle street -- put down cobble stones and plant some trees. Invest to make it special. Right now it looks like a side street up in Trump-ville.

  13. #88
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    Oct 2002


    Old Seward Park Development thread

    McWater Threatens to Suspend Work of SPURA Committee

    David McWater, chairman of a CB3 committee charged with formulating a plan for the redevelopment of the Seward Park Urban Renewal Area (SPURA), threatened tonight to put the panel's work on indefinite hold. For months, the economic development committee has been working towards a goal that has eluded the LES for 42 years: a plan all of the neighborhood's constituencies can accept. But this evening, McWater told committee members he was unwilling to continue deliberations because some factions on the committee were "pursuing their own agendas."

    After a tense 30 minutes of debate, McWater agreed to add SPURA to the December agenda. But he vowed to walk away from the table if future meetings became a forum for protests and name-calling, rather than negotiation and compromise. McWater also said he was "100-pecent certain" city officials, who recently began collaborating with the committee, would end their involvement if they sense the community is not unified.

    SPURA consists of five parcels that were bulldozed in 1967. Since that time, repeated redevelopment efforts have been derailed. The most recent plan crumbled in 2003, when affordable housing advocates and residents of the Grand Street cooperatives clashed bitterly over the mix of market rate, middle income and low income housing to be built on SPURA. This time, the city and the neighborhood's elected leaders have mostly stood on the sidelines, waiting to see whether the community board could bring the feuding parties together.

    SPURA was not on the economic development committee's agenda tonight, but at the end of the meeting several members of the panel asked whether deliberations on the contentious issue would resume next month. At first, McWater did not answer directly. But pressed by committee members, he explained his concerns. Among them, an episode at last month's meeting, which McWater missed due to an illness. A group with ties to St. Mary's Church on Grand Street erupted in anger upon learning that a planned presentation by city planners had been canceled. He also raised questions about a rally on Sunday on the SPURA site, in which at least one committee member encouraged residents to begin attending the community board meetings.

    McWater said he felt as though the members of the committee (representing all of the major stakeholders in the community) "took a covenant," promising to "work in the spirit of cooperation." The events of the past month, he argued, signaled a lack of commitment to the collaborative process.

    Damaris Reyes, executive director of the affordable housing advocacy group, GOLES, said she was "floored" and she took "personal offense" at McWater's comments. In a heated back and forth, she defended a community visioning process and survey, known as "SPURA Matters." Reyes took exception to McWater's characterization of the report as advocating 100-percent affordable housing. She questioned why McWater had not accepted her offer to brief him on the contents of the report. She also argued that members of the larger community need to feel as though they can be involved in the process - and have an opportunity to offer feedback.

    Other members of the committee urged McWater to reconsider his threat. In the end, he agreed, and said he would arrange to meet with Reyes about the "SPURA Matters" survey. But acknowledging that everyone at the table possessed the political power to mobilize their supporters and kill any deal, he warned the committee to avoid "an arms race." McWater said he'd offered to resign as chairman many times, and would have no qualms about doing so rather than presiding over a "repeat of 2003."

    McWater said he believed the city's Economic Development Corporation would be willing to return next month for a briefing on the next steps in the process.

  14. #89
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    Together for Years, but I Just Don’t Know You Anymore

    A high-rise going up last year

    DEAR Lower East Side,

    I don’t know how to say this.

    It’s over.

    For years I defended you. I stood by you — faithful to a fault. When people said you were dirty or unkempt, I called it character. When they said you were running with a shady crowd and staying out too late, I said it was a phase. And when they shook their heads and said you’d sold out, I’d say you’d come back around.

    But I was wrong.

    Recently, on the corner of Rivington and Ludlow (the once-proud site of the Beastie Boys’ “Paul’s Boutique” album cover), a photo shoot was taking place. Two rugged men — shaved heads, chiseled jaws, cultivated stubble — were decked out in full prep-school regalia. Tweed plaid pants, sweater vest, looming crest. Pose, flash, pose. A bearded photographer angled for an incongruous blend of uptown couture and downtown street grit.

    Princeton ghettoway. Slytherin in the City. Call it what you like.

    At that moment, I knew two things were true: Somewhere, someplace, Lou Reed was crying. And you and I were finished.

    Sure, we’ve had our good times; you’ve been there for me. When I was coming off a breakup with a sleepier borough, you gave me your stripped-wire energy. I loved your pulse — the crackle and hum that only downtown Manhattan could provide (shut up, Fort Greene). Who needed pretty brownstones and an inferiority complex? I had your tenement castles. Forget backyard gardens; I had your grid of fire escapes, my own urban picket fence.

    I’ll always remember our early days. I wasn’t exactly promiscuous, but I’d been around — Greenpoint, SoHo, East Village, Boerum Hill. You reminded me of a gracefully aging rocker, grizzled and sage. I admit it, I liked the cougar in you.

    By the early 2000s your renaissance was well under way, but it was your past lives that spoke to guys like me. A simple walk along Orchard Street conjured nickel-and-dime vaudeville, turn-of-the-century Jewish grandparents, ’70s punk, bargain leather and the odor of garbage and sour beer. Richard Price once described you as a modern-day Byzantium. You were more like my very own Alexandria, richer for your rag-and-bone ruins. So, I nestled into a fourth-floor perch over Ludlow and listened to the street pop like a 45 track, like so many broken bottles.

    It was perfect. For a while.

    True, I’m no Reagan-era squatter. My forebears did not immigrate to your streets. But I know a thing or three about you now. Only a few years ago, you’d reserve your special mayhem for the weekends. Amateur nights in your arms — a beautiful mess. All trussed up like a ’50s-era pinup model, you were the Queen Bee welcoming one and all with a knowing wink. We were still O.K. then, you and I. I knew that the workweek was our time, when I could still catch glimpses of the real you: the Chinese ladies returning from the Essex Street Market, the local kids playing ball at Roosevelt Park, the tattooed cartoonist stationed in the window across the courtyard. Even the din of bands rehearsing in errant basements along Ludlow.

    Then they came — your new friends.

    You gussied yourself up with shiny new hardware: Thor, Fat Baby, Spitzer’s. Hordes of banker boys in J. Press checked shirt/chino uniforms and manicured necklines swarmed to you faster than to the promise of a government bailout. They enjoyed sausage-party dinners at Schiller’s (“It’s like Pastis, but edgy!”), used winter as a verb and eyed sun-speckled Germans and Australians “on holiday.”

    Toothsome Upper East Side girl packs (never fewer than four) tarted up in too-new Lilly Pulitzer dresses and slurped down sugar-free Red Bull and Grey Gooses at the Stanton Social. Hipster millennials, rocking extra-skinny jeans, oversize Elton John glasses and cocked-back fedoras, turned Pianos and Welcome to the Johnsons into their own private Thompson Twins video.

    Hold me now. Hold my heart.

    At first you shrugged, as if to say, “Can I help it if I’m so popular?” The truth is, you liked the attention. And who could blame you? Wasn’t it better than the heady days of strung-out junkies on every corner? So, I tried looking in the other direction. I took whole weekends away. I’d leave you to your affairs — the girls and the boys.

    I told myself that you’d get it out of your system, that you’d grow out of it.

    I visited neighbors — precious NoLIta, wizened East Vil — but I kept coming back to you, forgiving your indiscretions. Then, one day, I realized we had both changed. Truth is, you like the new you, this Guitar Hero version of yourself: the mallternative bands, the squeaky-clean beer halls, the rooftop parties at glass hotels. And me? Well, I could say that the ironic T-shirts have lost some of their charm (they have), or that I am not like them (I’m not). But, really, isn’t the awful truth that yours is a love only for the very young and carefree? And I am decidedly neither.

    So, as the new year dawns, I must vow to leave you, dear L.E.S.

    Not sure yet where I’ll end up. I should let you know that I’ve been seeing someone, someone a little less flashy, someone who isn’t trying nearly so hard, and — it must be said — someone who actually enjoys the company of an older man. No, it doesn’t matter who. What matters is that we’ve come to the end, my lovely Loisaida. I know I’ll miss you, and the spell you once cast over me. But as an old flame of yours named Lou Reed once said, “There’s a bit of magic in everything, and then some loss to even things out.”


    John Vorwald

    John Vorwald, a former editor at The New York Observer, has lived at the corner of Ludlow and Rivington Streets for six years.

  15. #90
    NYC Aficionado from Oz Merry's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2002


    High-end Rental Building Planned for East Houston

    Developers of a proposed apartment building envisioned on the northwest corner of Avenue D and Houston streets went before a committee of Community Board 3 last night. They came with renderings of the planned development, which would include 166 studio, 1 bedroom and 2 bedroom apartments, as well as ground-floor retail. A representative for the owner estimated (based on current market conditions) that the studios (600 sq/ft) would go for about $2800/month. There will also be 34 "affordable units," ranging from $460-$770/per month. The plans call for a 2500 sq/ft roof deck for residents.
    The development would be built on several privately owned parcels and one city-owned lot being purchased by the developer for over a million dollars. The developer's name was not disclosed last night - his representatives said only that he is a former beer distributor. Incidentally, the city lot is right next door to Houston Street Beer Distributors. Lenny Vasserman is listed as the owner.

    CB3's land use/zoning committee narrowly approved the proposal. One affordable housing advocate, Joel Feingold, said he found it "outrageous" that a luxury building would be allowed to go up right across the street from the Lillian Wald public housing development. One CB3 member expressed concerns that the neighborhood would be losing a community garden, located on the city-owned parcel. David McWater, committee chairman, said he believed the Houston Dee's proposal was the best deal the community was going to get.

    The resolution passed by the committee requires the roof deck to be closed after 10pm and it calls on the developer to hire local construction workers.

    Addressing the roof deck restrictions, the owner's representative said he did not believe it was the community board's role to "regulate human behavior." The full board will vote on the plan later this month.

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