November 17, 2023

NYC public libraries end Sunday service due to budget cuts

Public libraries across New York City will soon be closed on Sunday in response to budget cuts announced by Mayor Eric Adams this week. Under the updated fiscal year 2024 budget released Thursday, every city agency will see a 5 percent budget reduction, including the police, sanitation, and education departments, as well as the public library system. New York, Brooklyn, and Queens public libraries said seven-day service will be eliminated, including ending Sunday service at most branches that offer it.
November 7, 2023

Mets owner reveals ‘Metropolitan Park’ proposal for $8B casino complex next to Citi Field

New York Mets owner Steve Cohen on Tuesday unveiled new details for his plan to build a casino across the street from Citi Field. The billionaire hedge fund manager has teamed up with Hard Rock International on the proposed "Metropolitan Park," a sports and entertainment development planned for 50 acres of what is currently parking lots next to the Flushing, Queens baseball stadium. The $8 billion proposal includes a Hard Rock-run entertainment complex with a hotel, live music venue, restaurants, and a casino, 20 acres of public space, a Queens-themed food hall, a renovated transit station, and more.
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November 7, 2023

NYC holiday open streets return to Fifth Avenue and Rockefeller Center

Visiting Midtown during the holidays will be more festive and less stressful this year. Mayor Eric Adams on Monday announced plans to fully pedestrianize Fifth Avenue from 48th and 59th Streets on three Sundays in December, expanding the open street by three blocks to reach Central Park. Plus, certain streets around Rockefeller Center and Radio City Music Hall will be closed to cars every day throughout the holiday season, reducing crowds and making it safer for the hundreds of thousands of people visiting the iconic Christmas Tree, holiday window displays, and the Rockettes.
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November 6, 2023

Second Avenue Subway extension to East Harlem gets funding boost from Biden administration

The plan to extend the Q train to East Harlem received a funding boost this weekend. U.S. Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg on Saturday announced a $3.4 billion federal grant for the Second Avenue Subway extension, covering nearly half of the project's estimated total cost of $7.7 billion. The plan will extend the Q by 1.8 miles and connect its current endpoint at 96th Street on the Upper East Side to 125th Street in Harlem, with fully accessible stations between them at 106th and 116th Streets.
November 3, 2023

Construction officially begins on Hudson River tunnel project

Work to replace a decaying rail tunnel under the Hudson River is moving ahead after receiving $3.8 billion in federal funding. Gov. Kathy Hochul, United States Secretary of Transportation Pete Buttigieg, Sen. Chuck Schumer and other officials on Friday announced the start of the first phase of the $16 billion Hudson Tunnel Project, part of the Gateway Program. This early phase of the project will create concrete casings for trains to travel under the Hudson River and through to Pennsylvania Station and will raise a section of road in New Jersey that will feed into the mouth of the new tunnel.
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October 30, 2023

MTA rolls out OMNY card machines at select subway stations

The time has come. The Metropolitan Transportation Authority on Monday installed the first OMNY vending machines at select subway stations across the city, marking a major step in the retirement of the MetroCard. The new machines allow people who pay with cash to purchase a tappable card to use at the turnstiles, which are all equipped with tap-to-pay technology. The installation of OMNY vending machines, which will also accept cards and digital wallets, in all 472 stations will continue through 2024.
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October 30, 2023

New R211 subway cars taken out of service due to faulty gears

Due to technical issues, almost all of the subway system's new futuristic cars have been taken off the rails. The Metropolitan Transportation Authority last week confirmed that six out of the seven new R211 subway cars had been taken out of service due to malfunctioning gearboxes which caused the car's wheels to lock up, drag along the tracks, and flatten, as first reported by Gothamist. The cars are expected to be back in service in a few weeks after being repaired.
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October 26, 2023

Prospect Park reopens Fallkill Waterfall trail after nearly 30 years

New Yorkers can now access a waterfall in Prospect Park without having to hop a fence for the first time in decades. The Prospect Park Alliance on Thursday opened Fallkill Trail, a new woodland pathway leading to the scenic Fallkill Waterfall that has been behind fencing since 1995. The new trail was created by staff and volunteers from Prospect Park Alliance who worked to remove invasive plants, plant native species, haul logs, grade paths, and form the trail.
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October 25, 2023

New York approves three offshore wind projects in historic renewable energy investment

New York is making the largest-ever state investment in renewable energy in the United States. Gov. Kathy Hochul on Tuesday announced the state has awarded contracts for three new offshore wind farms that are expected to generate 4,032 megawatts of clean energy, lowering CO2 emissions by more than 7 million metric tons per year, the equivalent of removing 1.6 million cars from the road annually. The wind projects paired with 22 land-based renewable energy projects will create enough clean energy to power 2.6 million homes in New York, or 12 percent of the state's electricity needs.
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October 23, 2023

Midtown East casino proposal adds Bjarke Ingels and 500 affordable apartments

A developer hoping to build a casino near the United Nations is adding two components to its plan to appeal to New Yorkers: a famous architect and hundreds of affordable apartments. Soloviev Group last week announced its proposed mixed-use development in Midtown East dubbed Freedom Plaza will include 1,325 apartments with more than 500 of them permanently affordable. Plus, as the New York Times first reported, starchitect Bjarke Ingels will design the project, which includes a hotel, museum, public green space, and an underground casino.
October 20, 2023

NYC’s proposed outdoor dining rules ban enclosed structures

The city wants to shed its outdoor dining shacks. Under draft rules for the permanent outdoor dining program released by the city on Thursday, fully enclosed "streeteries" would no longer be permitted. Instead, structures on roadways can have umbrellas, awnings, or some other covering that can easily be removed. The city on Thursday launched a 30-day comment period to get feedback from restaurants and the public on the proposed rules. The first approved outdoor dining setups are expected to be installed in spring 2024.
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October 19, 2023

NYC on track to build just 11,000 homes this year, half of 2022 total, report finds

New York City will build just 11,000 new units of housing this year, a sharp decline from the year before and way below the number of homes needed to address the city's current housing crisis. According to a report released Wednesday by the NY Building Congress, construction of new residential units dropped by 62 percent in 2023, due to the expiration of the 421-a tax abatement in combination with high interest rates.
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October 13, 2023

NYC launches plan to expand greenway network by 40 miles

New York City will build more than 40 miles of new greenways in the outer boroughs. Mayor Eric Adams on Thursday announced that the city would fill the gaps in the existing greenway network with protected bike lanes and pedestrian-friendly infrastructure, bringing the citywide total of greenway corridors to 60 miles. The expansion, funded in part by a $7.25 million federal grant secured by the mayor last summer, will support existing greenway projects and the creation of new corridors, including the seven-mile Harlem River Greenway in the Bronx.
October 12, 2023

Last year’s holiday open streets in Midtown drove $3M in spending at local businesses

Banning cars on blocks around holiday hotspots in Midtown last year led to an additional $3 million in spending at businesses on the pedestrianized streets, according to a new report. Mayor Eric Adams this week announced the 2022 holiday-specific Open Street program, which opened 11 blocks to pedestrians during the busiest time of the year, created more foot traffic and led to an increase of 13.9 percent in transactions at local businesses along open streets. The study conducted by Mastercard found merchants on pedestrianized streets saw an average of $90,000 in additional spending per day. The success of the car-free holiday streets program laid the groundwork for a permanent redesign of Fifth Avenue, said Adams, who has selected a team for the design process.
October 11, 2023

Bed bugs in NYC: What renters need to know

Everyone's social media feeds have been flooded with startling images and videos of Paris streets filled with discarded mattresses amid a citywide bed bug infestation. New York City is no stranger to bed bugs, which faced a major outbreak a decade ago and currently ranks second on this year's Orkin's Top 50 Bed Bug Cities List. And now with reports that the infestation could spread throughout Europe and land in the Big Apple, New York apartment dwellers should know the best way to deal with the blood-sucking insects, from how to prevent an infestation and your rights as a tenant to the legal responsibility of property owners.
October 11, 2023

Nearly all New York City residential buildings will have to containerize trash

New York City's ambitious plan to prevent garbage from piling up on streets and sidewalks has a new target: residential properties. Mayor Eric Adams and Department of Sanitation Commissioner Jessica Tisch on Wednesday announced all buildings with nine or fewer apartments will be required to place their garbage in a secure container starting in 2024. This covers 765,000 buildings in the city, or 95 percent of all residential properties across the five boroughs.
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October 6, 2023

NYC ends credit checks for families with housing vouchers

New York City is making it easier for New Yorkers to get into affordable homes. Mayor Eric Adams and the Department of Housing Preservation and Development on Thursday announced households with CityFHEPS housing vouchers will no longer have to undergo credit checks when selected for affordable housing, speeding up the process of finding housing for more than 4,000 families a year. According to the city, vouchers guarantee a family can afford the rent, making credit checks unnecessary in the process.
October 3, 2023

12 acres of Central Park’s Great Lawn closed until April after damage from Global Citizen Festival

A large section of Central Park's Great Lawn will be closed through at least April after damage caused by the Global Citizen Festival and heavy rain. As first reported by West Side Rag, the "combination of heavy rain, foot traffic, and machinery" during the September 23 event destroyed one-third of the grassy area, leading to its immediate closure and need for re-seeding.
October 3, 2023

NYC’s curbside compost program expands to Brooklyn

Brooklynites, it's time to get your compost on! On Monday, curbside compost collection began in New York City's most populous borough. Brooklyn is the second borough to join the city's universal composting program after Queens, which rolled out a permanent, year-round program in March after a successful pilot last year. Between Queens and Brooklyn, the program will serve nearly 5 million residents, making it the nation's largest composting program.
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September 29, 2023

Major flooding disrupts NYC subway service as Hochul and Adams declare state of emergency

Nearly every subway line is experiencing service disruptions on Friday morning as extreme rainfall and flooding slam New York City. In a post on X, formerly called Twitter, the Metropolitan Transportation Authority said "there is only extremely limited subway service," with several lines suspended or partially suspended due to water on the tracks. In response to the heavy rainfall and extreme flooding, Gov. Kathy Hochul on Friday declared a state of emergency for New York City, the Hudson Valley, and Long Island.
September 27, 2023

New York seeks proposals transforming Chelsea prison into affordable housing

New York State is moving forward with a plan to transform a former prison in Chelsea into affordable housing. Gov. Kathy Hochul on Tuesday announced a request for proposals (RFP) to redevelop the Bayview Correctional Facility at 550 West 20th Street into a residential development with affordable and supportive housing. The proposals for the 100,000-square-foot site near the High Line must have a minimum of 60 supportive housing units and 15 short-term transitional residences, according to the RFP.
September 25, 2023

NYPD ‘robocop’ now patrols Times Square subway station

Late-night commuters fear not! A 420-pound, 5-foot-2-inch-tall robot is now patrolling the Times Square subway station overnight. During a press conference held at the 42nd Street subway station last Friday, Mayor Eric Adams announced a two-month pilot program to test the robocop, officially known as the Knightscope K5 Autonomous Security Robot. The robot will patrol the 42nd Street station from 12 a.m. to 6 a.m., recording video to be viewed in case of an emergency or crime, according to the mayor.
September 21, 2023

Mayor Adams unveils sweeping plan to create 100K new housing units across NYC

Mayor Eric Adams on Thursday unveiled major reforms to New York City's zoning code to make it easier to build more housing across every neighborhood. The "City of Yes for Housing Opportunity" plan could create 100,000 new apartments over the next 15 years by updating restrictive zoning rules. This could mean allowing new homes above commercial businesses and on campuses, accessory dwelling units, office-to-residential conversions, and other proposals to create "a little more housing in every neighborhood."
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September 19, 2023

All NYC businesses required to containerize trash

Roughly 20 million pounds of trash will be tucked away in containers instead of in trash bags piled up on New York City sidewalks next year. As part of the latest effort to curb the city's rat problem, all businesses will be required to put garbage in lidded containers beginning next March, Mayor Eric Adams announced Tuesday. About 25 percent of the city's businesses, including restaurants and grocery stores as well as chain businesses, are currently mandated to containerize trash; when the newest proposed rule takes effect, the requirement will apply to 100 percent of businesses.
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