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COMMUNITY BOARD 2 - The Local East Village Blog - NYTimes.com


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COMMUNITY BOARD 2

Garage Might Be Demolished Next to Merchant’s House? Nobody Told Me, Says Garagekeeper


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cart ali tousirSasha Von Oldershausen Ali Tousir at his hot dog cart.

Just about everyone in the neighborhood knew about the plan to build a nine-story building next to the Merchant’s House Museum – that is, everybody but the guy whose business was in jeopardy because of it.

Nadir Ayub runs his storage business, Al-Amin Food Inc., out of the one-story garage located on 27 East Fourth Street. The lot, which currently houses 26 carts belonging to local food vendors, is also the site of a contentious development plan that has provoked the ire of many East Village residents.

And yet when The Local approached Mr. Ayub a day after the proposal was reviewed at a Landmarks Preservation Commission meeting last week, he seemed surprised to hear of it. He said he had signed a five-year lease with the garage’s owner in May, around the time he took over the storage business. That same month, unbeknownst to Mr. Ayub, representatives of the Merchant’s House, along with City Councilwoman Rosie Mendez, were complaining to Community Board 2 about a plan to demolish his workplace.  Read more…


At Landmarks Hearing, Outcry Against Hotel Adjacent Merchant’s House Museum


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LPC Merchant's House MeetingSuzanne Rozdeba

Preservationists, politicians, and neighborhood residents asked the Landmarks Preservation Commission yesterday to nix, or at least limit the height of, a proposed hotel that they fear will damage the historic Merchant’s House Museum.

Speaking to about 70 people at a public hearing at One Centre Street, City Council member Rosie Mendez, who said she had allotted close to a million dollars for museum renovations, asked that the nine-story, 32-room hotel be scaled back to three and a half stories, to match the height of the neighboring museum. The commission must approve the application because the proposed site is within the NoHo Historic District Extension.

“In this city, when we have great buildings, and it tells something about our history, and our communities, we landmark them,” she said. “And the Merchant’s House Museum is one of those buildings.” The councilwoman asked for a protection plan that would require the developer to pay for any damage as well as for the expense of moving artifacts during construction. Supporters of the national landmark, built in 1832, believe that any construction could cause damage to its interior Greek Revival architecture and its Federal-style brick exterior.

Edward Carroll, the project’s controversial designer, argued that the Bowery was already home to buildings that were taller than the hotel proposed for East Fourth Street, and said it would have a “tri-part design” that would “put it in context with the loft buildings that are typical to the late 1800s and early 1900s in this particular neighborhood.” He also pointed to Great Jones Street, one block south. “There’s a lot of similarities to be seen, with the heights of 100 feet, 80 feet, interposed between each other on one block.” He said the façade would be made of a dark-grey steel and surrounded by a limestone frame. Read more…


State Senate Candidate Brad Hoylman On Nightlife, Landmarking, Bad Landlords, and NYU


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hoylman 2Courtesy Brad Hoylman

Soon after Thomas K. Duane announced he wouldn’t run for re-election, the state senator all but endorsed Community Board 2 Chair Brad Hoylman, who has worked with him on many East Village issues. Over a plate of eggs over-easy, Mr. Hoylman told The Local the senator’s is “a huge legacy to live up to,” and that he considers it a “solemn responsibility to do so.” He also got specific on how he’ll carry the torch should he win in November, talking tenants’ rights, transgender equality and the new ideas that are at the top of his to-do list.

Q.

What parts of the Duane legacy do you plan to carry forward?

A.

Tom’s advocacy on tenant rights is something that I feel very strongly about. I have some background myself, in the area, not only working with Senator Duane over the years in that realm, but also as a former board member of Tenants & Neighbors, the tenants rights group. And I, as Community Board 2 chair, just launched an initiative where the board will now have a tenants clinic for the first time in cooperation with MFY Legal Services: tenants who meet income level requirements in the CB 2 area will be able to come to our tenants’ clinic and get free legal representation from MFY.  So that’s the kind of tenant outreach that I want to do, and continue to do to build on Tom’s legacy.

Read more…


Effort to Protect Merchant’s House Museum Gets Ratched Up


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Proposed hotel and existing lotLandmarks Preservation Commission The garage at 27 East Fourth Street, and the proposed building.

Community Board 2 beefed up its efforts to protect the historic Merchant’s House Museum last night, resolving to disapprove of a plan to build a hotel next to the historic building unless the proposed structure is scaled back.

Earlier this week, the board’s Landmarks and Public Aesthetics Committee issued a recommendation that the nine-story hotel be “in scale with the adjacent Merchant’s House, not industrial buildings on Lafayette,” meaning the new hotel should only be four stories tall. But last night, members of the full board objected that the recommendation failed to explicitly demand that the hotel’s construction permit be denied unless its developers agreed to downsize.

Nick Nicholson, the chair of the board of directors of the Merchant’s House Museum, felt that, without such a rejection clause, the recommendation wasn’t forceful enough in voicing concern that the demolition of a one-story garage next to the Merchant’s House and the construction of the hotel might jeopardize the structural integrity and delicate plasterwork of the 19th century landmark. And members of the board agreed. Read more…


Mile End Is Now Open, Just Five Blocks From Katz’s


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Photos: Lauren Carol Smith

Today, Noah Bernamoff and his wife Rae Cohen, the owners of Montreal-style deli Mile End, opened their first Manhattan venture – a sandwich-only storefront on Bond Street near Bowery. Don’t be surprised if it ends up luring fressers away from the lines at Katz’s.

The menu reprises many of the deli sandwiches (including the classic: smoked meat) that quickly gave the small restaurant instant golden-child status when it opened in Boerum Hill in 2010. There will also be hand-held twists on plated classics: instead of in a bowl, chicken liver will come loaded onto rolls with pickled eggs, duck jus and parsley salad. Read more…


N.Y.U. 2031’s Booers and Boosters Face Off Before Planning Commission


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museumNatalie Rinn

Critics and supporters of N.Y.U.’s planned expansion in Greenwich Village pleaded their cases before the New York City Planning Commission yesterday. The exchange was a critical one, since the controversial project must be approved by the Commission and then by the City Council before construction can begin.

For more than seven hours at the Smithsonian Museum of the American Indian, speakers gave three-minute testimonies in response to the university’s pending build-out of the school’s core campus south of Washington Square Park. With the museum’s stadium-style seating filled to capacity, President John Sexton faced hissing and intentional coughing as he explained why the university was in “desperate” need of additional space, and why so much of it needed to be located in Greenwich Village. Read more…


Local Leaders to Borough President: Hear Us Out About N.Y.U. Plan


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AndrewBermanProtestBeforeCB2MeetingNatalie Rinn Mr. Berman, right, at a protest on Thursday.

One of the most vocal opponents of New York University’s proposed expansion near Washington Square Park wants Borough President Scott M. Stringer to hold a public hearing before making an advisory decision about the controversial plan next month.

Andrew Berman, Executive Director of the Greenwich Village Society for Historic Preservation, drafted a letter to Mr. Stringer last Friday as the Borough President began his month-long review of the university’s proposal. The note, which came on the heels of Community Board 2’s unanimous advisory decision last Thursday against the expansion plan, was also signed by 15 community members, including block association leaders, preservationists, and Mark Crispin Miller of N.Y.U. Faculty Against the Sexton Plan. Read more…


Amid Cheers, C.B. 2 Votes Against N.Y.U. Expansion


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ProtestorsOutsideNatalie Rinn Protestors held a rally before the Community Board’s vote on the N.Y.U. plan.

The ambitious expansion of New York University faced its first formal rejection last night, as Community Board 2 voted unanimously against the plan, saying it would turn Greenwich Village into a construction site for at least 19 years and fundamentally change the neighborhood for the worse.

Not a single person spoke in favor of the plan during over two hours of testimony in the packed basement of St. Anthony of Padua Church on 154 Sullivan Street. After 115 locals, academics and students skewered the plan that would add four new university buildings and 2.5 million square feet of space just south of Washington Square Park, the board cast its vote in opposition to the expansion dubbed “N.Y.U. 2031.”

“We’re here tonight to firmly reject this plan,” said board chair Brad Hoylman. “It’s clear that there is no support for this insidious plan that would destroy the culture of Greenwich Village.”

Cheers went up from the standing-room only audience after the vote, though its impact is limited, given that it is only an advisory opinion. The project will next be considered by Manhattan Borough President Scott Stringer, the City Planning Commission and the City Council, which will ultimately determine the project’s fate. Read more…


C.B. 2 Committee Recommends Denial of Beer-and-Wine License at Mile End’s Sandwich Shop


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photo-161Daniel Maurer 53 Bond Street

As Noah Bernamoff, an owner of Mile End, expected might happen when The Local spoke to him before Tuesday’s meeting, Community Board 2’s S.L.A. Licensing Committee has voted, 8-0, to recommend that the State Liquor Authority deny the Boerum Hill delicatessen’s application for a beer-and-wine license at its forthcoming sandwich shop at 53 Bond Street.

“Generally, there were concerns about over-saturation in the area,” said C.B. 2 District Manager Bob Gormley, who attended the meeting. Mr. Gormley added, “There were some questions raised as to whether it was even allowable to have a liquor license at that location,” and said that the board is writing a letter to the Department of Buildings asking for clarification about the building’s zoning. Read more…


The Day | A New Aggregator


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DSC_0101Amanda Schupak

Good morning, East Village.

Lots of news and good reads from around the neighborhood this weekend and we’d like to start by presenting a tool that we hope can help with the process of sorting through it all. Dave Winer, a visiting scholar at NYU Journalism and a pioneer in all things digital, has developed an aggregator of East Village blogs. It’s another way, thanks to Mr. Winer’s good offices, that we’ve added a little more value to the local blogosphere. Here is his post on how it works and why he built it.

In other neighborhood news, EV Grieve has posts about the shuttering of Bull McCabe’s back garden and compelling images of a pedestrian who was struck by a car on Third Avenue Saturday night.

We’d like to remind you that the State Liquor Authority (SLA) and Department of Consumer Affairs (DCA) Licensing Committee is convening tonight at 6:30 at 200 East Fifth Street (at Bowery). This committee, a part of Community Board 3, which covers the East Village, Lower East Side and parts of Chinatown, makes recommendations regarding appeals for new liquor licenses as well as renewals, alternations, transfers and upgrades. We’d also like to call your attention to some comprehensive community board reporting about both the East and West Village on the Eater blog.

There’s a nice neighborhood-related read from Saturday’s Times by Colin Moynihan about one artist’s very distinctive tag. And with the news that another store was forced to close over the weekend because of bedbugs, we’d like to renew our call for your stories about the critters in the East Village.

Strong images of the East Village here and here and the above photo, by community contributor Amanda Schupak, is a shot of the Mary Help of Christians flea market, which re-opened this weekend at Avenue A and 11th Street and was also covered by EV Grieve and others.