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Swimming Pools in the East River? Maybe. But First, Marshes

UntitledKathryn Doyle A beach under the Brooklyn Bridge is
inundated with sewage waste and runoff
from South Street in rainy weather

Swimming pools in the East River? Manhattan Borough President Scott Stringer floated the idea in a video introduction to the Blueway, a project that would revitalize a stretch of the East River from the Brooklyn Bridge to Midtown East. And it’s not as farfetched as you’d think: the historically polluted waterway is perfectly swimmable by Environmental Protection Agency standards. There’s just one problem: sewage overflows.

Dan Tainow, education director at the Lower East Side Ecology Center, explained the issue to local residents yesterday during a tour of the East River that doubled as a discussion of the Blueway project. Due to the age of New York City’s sewer system, he said, wastewater from household sinks, showers and toilets shares the same set of pipes as runoff from city streets.

Most of Lower Manhattan’s wastewater travels through this pipe system to the Newtown Creek plant in Greenpoint, Brooklyn, where it is cleaned, filtered and released into the East River. But during the fifty to sixty rainy days per year when gushes of street water could overwhelm the pipe system and force sewage back up into homes, the sewage is diverted directly into the East River by Combined Sewage Outflows, or CSOs. Read more…

The Skinny on the Slimming of N.Y.U. 2031

Proposed AerialN.Y.U. A rendering of the original plan.

N.Y.U. announced today that, after negotiations with Manhattan Borough President Scott M. Stringer, it had agreed to reduce its ambitious expansion plans on two blocks south of Washington Square Park by nearly a fifth.

The revised plan includes significant changes for all four proposed buildings and the elimination of 377,000 square feet in the project, which originally called for 2,474,000 square feet of new space.

The new plan “strikes a balance between a great university’s need to grow and the importance of preserving Greenwich Village’s distinctive, historic character,” Mr. Stringer said in a press release. “There was nothing easy about this: Everyone had to give up something. No one got everything they wanted.”

The project, dubbed N.Y.U. 2031, will now go before the City Planning Commission and then the City Council. Community Board 2 voted unanimously to oppose the plan in February. Read more…

N.Y.U. Reduces Expansion Plan

Proposed Aerial

The Times reports that N.Y.U. has agreed to scale back its proposed expansion on two blocks south of Washington Square Park by roughly 16 percent after negotiations with the Manhattan borough president, Scott M. Stringer. The original plan called for 2,275,000 square feet of construction; the revised one reduces that number by 370,000 square feet. According to The Times, a 14-story building planned for the southern block will now be seven stories. The two buildings on the northern block will be “slimmed and shortened,” and the Zipper building will be further set back from Mercer Street. The plan must still be approved by the City Planning Commission and the City Council.

N.Y.U. Supporters Tout Economic Benefits of Expansion

P1000217Elizabeth Ferrara Gary LaBarbera, president of the Building and Construction Trades Council said the plan would create much-needed construction jobs.

In the first rally of its kind, advocates of N.Y.U.’s controversial expansion gathered yesterday at City Hall calling on Borough President Scott M. Stringer to approve the plan.

About 35 people, business owners, union leaders, and construction workers among them, attended the roughly 15-minute gathering in support of the university’s proposal that would add four new buildings south of Washington Square Park.

“We’re here today asking Borough President Stringer to recognize that N.Y.U.’s growth strategy is an essential part of securing the financial future of small businesses in Greenwich Village,” said Tony Juliano, president of the local Greenwich Village-Chelsea Chamber of Commerce, which represents around 200 businesses in surrounding neighborhoods.

It was clear that the approval for the plan dubbed N.Y.U. 2031 is getting down to crunch time. The event amounted to a formal endorsement from the Building and Construction Trades Council, which is led by the influential Gary LaBarbera.
Read more…

12-Year-Old Girl Killed On Delancey

Delancey Street has claimed another victim, resulting in further outcry regarding one of the city’s deadliest thoroughfares.

Police said that Dashane Santana, a 12-year-old resident of the Jacob Riis Houses, was crossing Delancey Street at Clinton Street at around 2:36 p.m. when a minivan traveling towards the Williamsburg Bridge struck and killed her. The 58-year-old driver stayed at the scene and has not yet been charged with a crime, the police said.

Both Borough President Scott Stringer and State Senator Daniel Squadron once again urged the city to make Delancey Street safer for drivers and pedestrians alike.
Read more…

St. Mark’s Bookshop Back From the Brink

Bookshop presserJamie Larson Owner of St. Mark’s Bookshop Terrence McCoy, along with Borough President Scott Stringer, Cooper Union President Jamshed Bharucha and others.

Cooper Union has eased the St. Mark’s Bookshop financial burden — somewhat.

A day after students from the school protested the possibility that they would have to pay tuition for the first time in more than a century (we’ve now added video of that demonstration to our initial post), politicians, community activists, school officials and the bookshop’s owners officially brought the two-month rent dispute to an end at a press conference this morning.

Under the agreement for the next year, Cooper Union will, as reported by The Times last night, cut the bookshop’s rent by $2,500 from its current rate, $20,000 a month.

Cooper Union will also forgive $7,500 of the shop’s debt and send a team of students to work with the owners on creating a new business plan. The agreement, which only last week seemed dead in the water, should save the store $40,000 over the next year, according to Manhattan Borough President Scott Stringer, who took credit for bringing an end to the standoff.
Read more…

A Groundbreaking Dance Number on East Fourth Street

For most Villagers, the FAB! Festival on East Fourth Street between Bowery and Second Avenue this past Saturday meant homemade kimchi from the 4th Street Food Co-op, choreographed dance performances (as you can see in our slideshow, the Rod Rodgers Dance Company‘s youth ensemble performed a number from “Chicago”), and shopping courtesy of MissWit’s Deborah Goldstein (her best effort: a T-shirt emblazoned with the text “The Unbearable Lightness of Bieber”). For a handful of local artists, the day was quite literally groundbreaking. Read more…

Stringer Cites ‘Chaos’ in Bike Lanes

Scott Stringer at Bike Lanes News ConferenceRobyn Baitcher Manhattan Borough President Scott M. Stringer called for more measures to protect cyclists in bike lanes.

Manhattan Borough President Scott M. Stringer held a news conference this morning on the corner of St. Marks Place and Second Avenue where he revealed the findings of a three-day observational study on the safety of bike lanes in the city.

The results?

“Unfortunately, chaos reigns in bike lanes across the city,” Mr. Stringer said.

Data collectors for the study cited a multitude of infractions involving bike lanes, Mr. Stringer said. They included instances in which cars encroached onto bike lanes and unmarked police vehicles cut across the lanes in non-emergency situations.

Mr. Stringer said that he chose St. Marks and Second for the news conference because it was the site of 173 traffic infractions involving bike lanes during a two-hour period. That figure makes the corner one of the most active locations for bike lane infractions in New York City, according to the study.

The intersection of 14th Street and First Avenue was also noted as being a particularly dangerous location; it tallied 76 infractions.

According to the study, the 22 hours of observation revealed over 1,700 infractions, including over 275 cases of motorists blocking bike lanes. But observers for the study reported that they only saw two tickets issued.

Mr. Stringer, who also called bike lanes “unpredictable and unprotected,” issued a set of recommendations designed to help make the lanes safer. Those steps include an awareness campaign about the perils of open car doors and creating reserved parking spaces to facilitate deliveries to businesses.

Tell us about your experiences with bike lane safety in the East Village.