Expanded Evacuation Zones | Millionaire Tax Breaks | Foreclosure Violations

June 21st 2013

Rents/eligible incomes at The Ellicot-Chelsea, a new housing development built on NYCHA property and subsidized by city agencies

  1. In surprise, Quinn backs mere 10-year extension for Garden. Council Speaker Christine Quinn stole the show en absentia on Wednesday at a City Council hearing on whether to grant Madison Square Garden a new, permanent special permit to continue to operate in the heart of midtown. Just before the hearing concluded around 2 p.m., Ms. Quinn, issued a statement throwing her support behind a 10-year permit for the arena, at which point it is hoped the Garden would be well on its way to relocating nearby. She also called for the creation of a “Commission for a 21st Century Penn Station” to remake the cramped transit hub that lies increasingly uncomfortably in the Garden’s basement. [Crain’s NY – 06/19/13]
  2. City adds 600,000 people to storm evacuation zones. When Mayor Michael K. Bloomberg ordered residents to leave coastal neighborhoods of New York City before Hurricane Sandy made landfall, officials found they did not have much leeway. The evacuation map they used was divided into just three zones, containing a total of more than two million people. To address these concerns, the Bloomberg administration released new evacuation map on Tuesday that creates six zones. Officials said the zones would be numbered 1-6, replacing Zones A, B, and C. [New York Times – 06/18/13]
  3. Prospective mayors spar on transportation policy. 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 contract. [Politicker – 06/19/13]
  4. Same-sex couples face significant housing bias, study finds. A new study released Tuesday by the Department of Housing and Urban Development found that same-sex couples were treated less favorably than heterosexual couples in the online rental housing market. [MSNBC – 06/18/13]
  5. Alms for the upper middle class: subsidized apartments aim at $200K earners. Standing outside a red and tan brick building at 401 West 25th Street, indistinguishable from any other late-2000s new construction throughout the West Side, you can catch a glimpse of the future of housing if New York City’s Democratic mayoral candidates get their way. The Elliott-Chelsea, developed by Artimus Construction, rose on NYCHA property with the help of various government agencies. The bulk of the 168-unit complex is set aside for middle-income earners, a group that Democratic mayoral candidates are eager to court. Some of these units can legitimately be called middle-income apartments, with half a dozen one-bedroom apartments available to couples earning a combined $64,000 to $101,000 a year. But there are also 45 two-bedrooms that go for $3,421 a month, for households, no matter the size, ranging in income from $119,143 to $190,080. In the world of New York City affordable housing, this is what passes for middle-income. [New York Observer – 06/18/13]
  6. Stuyvesant Town, Peter Cooper Village tenants get to keep their affordable rent. Some good news on the affordable housing front. After a two-month investigation, the New York Attorney General’s office has gotten the owners of Stuyvesant Town and Peter Cooper Village to back off the midterm rent increases they sprang on tenants last May. [The Village Voice – 06/19/13]
  7. De Blasio offers ideas in policy book for election. If elected Mayor, the current Public Advocate wants to legalize thousands of basement apartments and secondary residences, to give tenants protections, and to enable landlords to make health and safety upgrades. Many of those apartments would be added to the city’s rent regulation system. [New York Times – 06/19/13]
  8. Big banks are violating national mortgage settlement, report says. A new study supports complaints by New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman that some of the nation’s biggest banks have violated the terms of the $25 billion national mortgage settlement, a landmark agreement to clean up shoddy foreclosure practices. The court appointed monitor of the settlement said in a report on Wednesday that Bank of America, Citigroup, JPMorgan Chase, and Wells Fargo have dragged their feet in processing homeowners’ requests for lower monthly loan payments. [The Washington Post – 06/19/13]
  9. Are global cities really doomed to become ‘citadels’ for the rich? Simon Kuper sketched a dismal picture in the Financial Times over the weekend of the end-game for what he’s calling the “great global cities” – places like New York, Paris, London, Singapore, Hong Kong – where the fortunes of a few have become entirely detached from the sputtering economy most of the world has experienced over the last several years. Elsewhere, manufacturing jobs have dwindled, agricultural work has disappeared, and wages have stagnated. Meanwhile, in the great global cities, increasingly only the very rich can afford to live. [City Lab – 06/17/13]
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