Author: NYLS BLOG

MTA Unveils Weekend Service Map

Sunday, September 18, 2011, by Bilal Khan0

theweekender.jpg
The MTA just rolled out The Weekender, their map for any and all weekend service changes. Nothing groundbreaking, but everyone loves a new subway map to look at! According to their site, “The subway keeps New York moving 24/7, and keeping the subway moving takes maintenance. We do most of that work on weekends, necessitating service changes that can sometimes be confusing. So to help you get where you want to go, we created The Weekender. You’ll find it at mta.info every weekend, starting Friday afternoons.” So, yes, weekend subway service will still be the bane of your existence.
· The Weekender [MTA]

New York City’s Bike Share Will Be 10,000 Strong, Stretch from UWS to Crown Heights

The city has been in the thrall of a bicycle backlash for the past year, after the city’s Department of Transportation ran lanes through the East Village, Upper West Side and, most controversially, along Prospect Park West, which led to a lawsuit filed by neighbors living on the thoroughfare.

Things seem to be finally calming down—the lane lawsuit was defeated, recent polls have put bike lane support north of 60 percent—but how will the city react when the Department of Transportation and its love-her-or-hate-her Commissioner Janette Sadik-Khan roll out a massive bike sharing program across Manhattan and Brooklyn next summer?

Comprising roughly 600 stations with 10,000 bikes, the scheme will, according to two people briefed on the plans, stretch from the Upper East and Upper West sides down to the tip of Manhattan and over the bridges into Brownstone Brooklyn, reaching as far as Greenpoint and Crown Heights. “The whole point is it needs to be dense,” a city official told The Observer. “It needs to serve a lot of different trips in order to be viable.”

Full Article Here:

Insuring Your Board’s Decisions

The ABC’s of D&O

By Lisa Iannucci

Good afternoon—and welcome to the board. Your mission should you choose to accept it is to make decisions to better your building. The residents may not like you and, more importantly, may not like those decisions. Nevertheless, keep doing the job you’re doing. In a worst-case scenario, you will be sued. Perhaps more than once. Should anything go wrong, don’t worry; you’re protected by the board’s D&O insurance. Good luck.”

On-the-Job Protection

You volunteer to be on your co-op or condo association’s board. You do your best to help make the right decisions and make your building a great place to live. Unfortunately, one of your fellow residents doesn’t like a decision you made and takes you and the rest of the board to court. They are suing for thousands of dollars—maybe even millions. Your home, life savings and other assets are at risk if you lose.

With stakes like that, it would be virtually impossible for co-op and condo boards to find volunteers if there wasn’t some form of protection from lawsuits resulting from the decisions made by board members in the course of doing their job. Fortunately, that protection exists, in the form of Directors and Officers, or D&O insurance.

Full Article Here:

Art Groups Preserve Chelsea by Buying, Not Renting

It is an all-too-familiar pattern in many communities: artists discover an inexpensive, underdeveloped neighborhood and move in, only to be ousted from the area by soaring retail rents once it catches on in popularity.

Chester Higgins Jr./The New York Times

About half of the units in the Chelsea Arts Tower on West 25th Street are art galleries. The rest of the building’s units are devoted to fashion- and arts-related businesses.

Many argue that it happened in Greenwich Village, and most point to SoHo as the quintessential example of the phenomenon. Now, the same pattern may be occurring in Chelsea, where an explosion of residential development along the High Line is attracting retailers serving new residents — retailers who are now competing for space with the hundreds of art galleries that are the backbone of the neighborhood.

But some real estate experts say Chelsea’s fate may be different, because a healthy number of the neighborhood’s arts businesses had the foresight to buy their gallery and studio spaces, rather than lease them.

“The difference between SoHo and Chelsea is that so many artists, or even art companies or art investors, bought condos in Chelsea, so they actually made investments as opposed to leasing,” said Barbara Byrne Denham, the chief economist at Eastern Consolidated, a commercial real estate brokerage.

“I think that will preserve their spaces, and the flavor of Chelsea as kind of an art mecca,” she said.

Ms. Byrne Denham said there could be as many as 350 art galleries in Chelsea. Enough of them own their space that in a recent report on the commercial property sales market in Chelsea, Ms. Byrne Denham said, “we had to separate them as their own property type.”

“I said, ‘There’s something in this that really stands out: the fact that so many properties sold as art studios, art condos and art buildings,’ ” she said.

Full Article Here:

New Tourism Campaign Puts Focus on Lower Manhattan

The campaign will spotlight downtown's recovery since September 11, 2001
The campaign will spotlight downtown’s recovery since September 11, 2001

Starting next month, a new large-scale tourism campaign will help drive more visitors to Lower Manhattan — spotlighting the area’s remarkable recovery in the nine years since the 9/11 attacks.

Set to begin June 1st, the global initiative will promote downtown neighborhoods, restaurants, shops, museums, and open spaces among local and international tourists in New York City. The campaign will include new tour itineraries, special offers at local hotels, multimedia advertisements, and discounts at shops, attractions, and the new “Downtown Culture Pass.”

Announced by Mayor Michael Bloomberg last week, the NYC & Company-designed campaign is launching in anticipation of a major tourism surge downtown — where the 10th anniversary of 9/11 already is drawing scores of visitors to the World Trade Center area.

“In less than four months time, the eyes of the world will be on Lower Manhattan, as we commemorate the 10th anniversary of 9/11 and open the Memorial,” said Bloomberg. “An important part of the story of 9/11 is how Lower Manhattan has come back in the past 10 years. Today Lower Manhattan is one of the most vibrant neighborhoods in New York City. Our new campaign will help ensure visitors from around the world know about that vibrancy and have an opportunity to take advantage of all that Lower Manhattan has to offer.”

Full Article Here:

Chelsea community board approves rezoning around FIT

By Jill Colvin  DNAinfo Reporter/Producer

MIDTOWN — Members of Midtown’s Community Board 5 endorsed a plan to re-zone the blocks surrounding FIT Wednesday night, despite concerns the new rules would eat up existing commercial and office space in the zone.

The Department of City Planning is hoping to spur development on the blocks south of Penn Station, which was once known as Manhattan’s “Fur District.” Today, the former manufacturing hub is home to a few remaining fur wholesalers, a smattering of small warehouses, and numerous parking lots, with little street life after hours.

The new “M1-6D” zoning designation, which would span West 28th, 29th and 30th streets between Seventh and Eighth avenues, would loosen regulations for new residential units to create what they hope will become “a more robust mixed-use, ’24/7′ community,” with more restaurants, services and retail, planners said.

The move in being spearheaded by Edison Properties, which wants to build a new 400-unit development between West 28th and West 29th on an existing parking lot. Twenty percent of the space would be reserved for affordable housing.

But members of Community Board 5’s Land Use and Zoning committee, which met to consider the plan Wednesday night, had serious reservations about the proposal, which was first presented to members at their meeting last month.

NYC Gets Key Willets Point Approval

By Jeremy Smerd May 5, 2011 1:25 p.m.

Late Wednesday, the Bloomberg administration took a significant step toward the redevelopment of Willets Point, Queens. The state Department of Transportation and the Federal Highway Administration approved the Economic Development Corp.’s environmental assessment of off-ramps proposed for the Van Wyck Expressway. The city, which has called the ramps essential to the massive Queens project, can now go ahead with a required public review process.

A handful of Willets Point property owners have been trying to halt the 61-acre redevelopment by arguing that the city reneged on a promise not to condemn any land until state and federal officials approved the two ramps. A court hearing next month on that question now appears moot.

“Receiving this approval allows us to overcome a number of procedural hurdles that have threatened to delay this important, job-creating project,” an EDC spokeswoman said in a statement to Crain’s. “Willets Point is now one step closer to becoming a center of economic growth and the site of a historic environmental cleanup.”

Once public comments are received, the city will resubmit its assessment for final state and federal approval.

In the meantime, the city said it will move ahead with the first phase of the project, which does not rely on the ramps. Splitting the project into two phases allowed the city to move ahead without acquiring the holdouts’ private property or getting approval for the ramps, which had dragged on for many months.