Wednesday, July 28, 2010

what's land worth in Chinatown anyway? CCRC would like you to know.

click to enlarge this image.

Note the comment "projected signage rent of $150,000.00"   -  a bill board - oh joy.
and an anonymous poster on has this to say:
$150K per annum for that busy corner with lots of traffic is UNDERestimating it. $50K per month is reasonable.
There is a movement afoot coming from some entity called the Chinatown Working Group that is working with developers to change the zoning along Canal Street. There is talk of changing the zoning to permit high-rise development in this low rise neighborhood.
If this passes, this building could easily be torn down and replaced with a multi-million dollar luxe condo building.
The seller knows exactly what he is doing and why the price is so high. It may be a gamble but if the zoning is changed, it will be quit a windfall.
Of course, Chinatown will be fucked."

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Resistance to a Chinatown B.I.D. Website

 Coalition Against the Chinatown B.I.D. launches a website

A comment to this posting worthy of response:
"it's unfortunate they see this as a waste of money, keeping their own neighborhood clean. at the end of the day, the community is your own. yes, it cost 1000. but do they know what kind of imagine chinatown gives off to people outside of nyc and new yorkers themselves? i always dread going there, i used to go there for dentist, doctors, haircuts, dining out. now? forget about it. it's also the last place i'd bring my friends to. i don't see how investing this 1,000 a year can do them harm. " Nana

In response to "Nana" :
Firstly ,on the subject of "waste", let's define what has been wasted so far by the Chinatown Partnership Local Development Corp. whose #1 goal was to clean Chinatown.
Exec. Dir. Salary for 3.5 years : $ 458,000.00 and counting  - the majority of people in Chinatown feel THAT was a waste of 9/11 grant money from the LMDC, since CPLDC has only 3 staff members, and a cleaning crew of 10. 

Nana , If you are disappointed by the image Chinatown has, then you are as disappointed as we are with the poor quality of cleaning provided by "Block by Block" the FOR-profit company that CPLDC hired to clean Chinatown, portions of SoHo, Tribeca, and L.E.S. 
Since you "dread" Chinatown, then please continue to avoid our neighborhood, with your attitude, we don't miss you.

If you don't wish to bring your friends to Chinatown, then you clearly would agree that $7.2 million dollars for a street cleaning program and promotional campaign controlled by CPLDC has FAILED miserably.

Given that failure of the CPLDC, the progenitor of the Business improvement District, why would $1000.00 seem like a "good idea" to you?  As a matter of fact, where did you get this fixed amount of $1000.00 anyway? hhhmmm.....

Did you know a tax deductible donation to a local non-profit (NON-profit!) of only $30.00 per building per month would take care of cleaning both the streets and sidewalks of Chinatown as it does for SoHo? WITHOUT A Business Improvement District controlled by the Chinatown Partnership's Board of Directors.  
$30.00 per building, per month is fixed, which is different from a B.I.D. - which has the potential to increase, and increase, and increase its tax assessment.  
something tells us you didn't actually READ   

Friday, July 23, 2010

MTA fare hike threats means Transportation Alternatives aka: Bloomberg's running dogs, try again to advocate for CONGESTION PRICING - you can't argue the facts, London retail is decimated because of CONGESTION PRICING.

NYC should not go the way of London - 
Bloomberg is adamant about bringing back CONGESTION TAXING of NYC cars and trucks.  His professional lobbyists ,aka. running dogs "Transportation Alternatives", an overwhelmingly-white-hipster lobbying group of transients, are once again humming the "congestion pricing" mantra (so unimaginative , and oh-so-Bloomberg, and so-anti-small-business).running dog No demands from T.A. for the reduction of the Mayor's fleet of 26,000 cars, and no advocacy for "Fast Fleet" car sharing of government vehicles . In fact T.A. never criticizes the Dept. Of Transportation or the Mayor, probably fearing the loss of a bike lane for doing so.

Congestion taxing to rear its ugly head once more - if Bloomberg is not stopped - Here's what we're in for

As if trampling New York citizens' right to chose by referendum (re: term limits) isn't enough, this out-of-touch billionaire's pet congestion pricing tax is again looming now that the Bloomberg is Mayor once again.  

The below is extracted from Bloomberg's own news website.  Bloomberg will ensure that New York will be a mirror of London and the divide between the middle-class and rich will widen due to congestion pricing. How many more small businesses will Bloomberg kiss goodbye to? Congestion taxing is COSTING London businesses almost $500-million dollars a year, and we can bet it's the small businesses that are most affected. 

[Bloomberg News] The London Chamber of Commerce and Industry says it all - as they have said in the past (accents are mine): 

London's Mayor to Increase Underground, Bus Fares
The city's traffic-congestion charge also increases next year, to as much as 10 pounds a day from 8 pounds, the mayor said. “We are in desperate need of ... ]
London will introduce a new automated direct-debit system for collecting the congestion charge, and the fee will increase to 10 pounds [ that's $15.97 U.S. dollars!! ] by December 2010 for drivers who don’t use the system, and 9 pounds for those who do, he said.
The higher congestion charge “will mean less money in businesses’ bank accounts and fewer customers in the capital’s shops,” Helen Hill, director of policy at the London Chamber of Commerce and Industry, said in an e-mailed statement. The higher fares will place “even more financial pressure on London’s businesses and their employees as we try and make the jump from recession to recovery.”
Cost of Decline
The economic decline will cost Transport for London, the city’s transportation agency, a total of 300 million pounds this year [ that's $ 479,171,235 U.S. dollars!! ], mostly through lost ticket and advertising revenue, an aide to the mayor said. Passenger traffic is expected to fall by as much 6 percent in 2010 and won’t pick up before 2012, said Peter Hendy, London transport commissioner.

London Chamber of Commerce and Industry in 2005.

Bloomberg touts London as fine example of the benefits of congestion pricing. (New Yorkers, you have to be crazy to go for this, please read the numbers below - And, I've not news for you, it does not get better in 2006)

[Impact of the scheme on business

Our Findings

The LCCI firmly believes that any system to address congestion within London should
not have an adverse effect on London's businesses.

In order to ascertain the impact of the scheme on the capital’s key retail sector, we carried out three surveys of retailers, after
six, twelve and eighteen months of the scheme’s operation. Our results have shown that
congestion charging has created many problems for businesses.

The findings of our most(12)
recent survey show that:

• 84.2% of retail businesses have reported that their takings are down year on year
• 62.7% of retailers recorded a fall in customer numbers since the introduction of the charge

• 37% of respondents stated they had laid off staff specifically because of the
effects of the charge

• 33% of retail businesses within the zone say they are planning to re-locate because of reduced takings while 28% said they were considering closing their business

 92% of retail businesses do not believe the congestion charge has benefited their business

The London Chamber is very concerned that the current congestion charging scheme is
damaging businesses, and is, therefore, extremely worried that to increase the charge by
60% will only serve to increase the difficulties encountered by business. - From the London Chamber of Commerce and Industry - "Response to the Consultation on the Proposed Cost Increase to the Congestion Charging Scheme"Campaigns Team

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Chinatown Partnership LDC - Causing a rift with Chinatown's neighbors - NY POST reporting"

Chinatown clash

Border war over plan to expand

Proposed Business Improvement District borders drawn in 2002

Orange indicates the gross expansion of B.I.D. borders by CPLDC in 2010

From 2010 CPLDC BID map

A powerful civic association that's making an ambitious bid to expand the boundaries of Chinatown has created a Cold War turf battle.
If the Chinatown Partnership Local Development Corporation has its way, parts of Little Italy, SoHo, NoHo, TriBeCa and the Lower East Side would become subjects of the Middle Kingdom.

The group wants to create a Chinatown Business Improvement District that would affect all sides of busy Canal Street. But the proposed BID boundaries have neighboring civic associations seeing red.

The BID map originally wanted to take over the last two Italian blocks on Mulberry Street -- all that remains of once-sprawling Little Italy -- but it was met with resistance from longtime residents. "We didn't need it. We clean our own streets. We put up our own holiday lights. What good would it do for us?" said Ralph Tramontana, president of the Little Italy Merchant's Association, which has warned the Chinatown Partnership not to invade its turf.

Neighboring pockets of SoHo and TriBeCa, however, are still included -- over protests from residents, as well.

"Traditionally, Chinatown has always been considered to end at Centre Street, and Lafayette Street is part of SoHo," said Sean Sweeney, a member of the SoHo Alliance. "Yet if you look at the latest BID map from the Chinatown Partnership, they claim west of Centre Street as Chinatown, and it's not."

One intersection the Partnership wants to annex, Broadway and Walker, actually bears signs declaring the streets part of TriBeCa East's Historic District, Sweeney points out.
Property owners who live in the proposed BID area -- in SoHo, TriBeCa and along Canal Street -- will have to fund the organization through a new tax on the assessed value of their buildings.
Kurt Trenkmann, whose family has owned property between Broome, Grand, Centre and Lafayette streets for over a century, says the Chinatown BID will cost him an additional $22,000 a year in taxes, for services he doesn't need.

"Our staff of porters and handymen already clean and tend to the sidewalks adjacent to our buildings. The SoHo Partnership regularly sweeps and collects the small accumulation of residual litter on our block," Trenkmann wrote in a letter of protest to Mayor Bloomberg and city officials.

His block is a "well-established" part of the SoHo community, he added, noting that it was included in the SoHo Cast Iron Historic District created by the city two months ago.
Wellington Chen, head of the Chinatown Partnership, said his group is working to soothe unwarranted fears. 

"The reality is, we are surrounded by BIDs, from all sides. Chinatown needs its own BID," he said.

His group has funded its BID efforts through a $7 million grant from the Lower Manhattan Development Corp. -- awarded in 2004 and initially earmarked to create heritage trails and tourist signs for Chinatown.
Additional reporting by Joseph Goldstein

Saturday, July 10, 2010

NYers still living behind post-9/11 checkpoints - Washington Post - CCRC contributorsParlk

The Associated Press
Wednesday, July 7, 2010; 3:06 PM
NEW YORK -- The street below Danny Chen's window in lower Manhattan has changed over the last decade from a bustling four-lane thoroughfare to an empty road lined with police barricades.
To get home each day, Chen has to present his ID at a police checkpoint. When the officer lowers the metal gate into the ground to let him in, he drives through as quickly as he can. More than once, the barricade has risen too soon, lifting his wife's minivan into the air.
Following the Sept. 11, 2001, terror attacks, the New York Police Department barricaded off its headquarters on Park Row. About 2,000 residents in two apartment complexes found themselves living inside a security zone.
Nine years later, they still are.
Many vehicles, including commercial traffic, are forbidden on the street, which used to be a key link between the Financial District and Chinatown.
"This used to be a bustling area," said Chen, a 52-year-old software engineer. "Now, it's ghost-townish."
In big cities across the country, security planters, metal gates and the concrete slabs called Jersey barriers have sprung up near government buildings.
Washington, D.C., is littered with bollards. Nearly half of Los Angeles' financial district is now partially restricted, according to a study at the University of Colorado Denver. Roads across dams have been closed to traffic for security concerns.
"I don't want us to lose a way of life that we've had, but sometimes we have to consider security, too," said Pace University Professor Joe Ryan, whose daily commute has been rerouted because of a road closure over the Kensico Dam in Valhalla.

The restrictions are especially noticeable to those sharing a backyard with the NYPD.
Park Row residents say ambulance response times have risen and traffic has become bottlenecked since they began living behind barricades.
Business owners say foot traffic has plummeted. Paul Lee says his family's 113-year-old general store folded in 2003 because of the new security measures."The suppliers don't want to come down anymore, and you have no more customers," Lee said.

Those who live and work behind the barricades say 9/11 is when everything changed, but, in a way, their struggle started long before.
John Ost, who lives near Park Row, says community members opposed the arrival of the police headquarters in the 1970s. They fought the transformation of a public parking lot to a police-only lot. They filed a lawsuit against the NYPD for constructing a $30 million command center next door, which they say makes the neighborhood an even bigger terrorism target.
Local elected officials also want Park Row reopened. Last month, U.S. Rep. Jerrold Nadler, D-N.Y., and other politicians sent a letter to Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano urging that the street be reopened.
"Right after 9/11, you say, 'OK, fine,' but nine years later, people are saying, 'How much longer am I going to have to suffer?'" Nadler said.
Homeland Security spokeswoman Amy Kudwa said the department has received the letter and will respond directly rather than through the media.

Residents have had some wins, such as when a judge ordered police to stop using a park as a parking lot.
But for the most part, the interests of police - and ostensibly, public security - have won out. The eastern half of the street, from the Brooklyn Bridge to Chatham Square, has been closed to commuter traffic even as other spaces have reopened. Three other streets near headquarters have been blocked off entirely or partly.
Police officials say most of Park Row must be blocked off to protect its headquarters against terrorist threats, especially truck bombs.
One problem is that the security interests of police and the community don't always align.
The barricades, for example, stand right outside the Chatham Towers apartments. Resident Jeanie Chin, 61, said any bombing attempt to disable the barricades would occur at a safe distance from police headquarters - but right on her doorstep.
"They seem to be completely disregarding the safety of people who are living here and actually providing a human shield," said Chin, who works at a PR firm.

Police Commissioner Raymond Kelly said he understands residents' frustration, but the street will remain closed.
"People are burdened by it, they're inconvenienced by it," he said. "And we're sensitive to that issue, but unfortunately I can't see opening it."
Besides the practical inconveniences, some residents dislike the emptiness of the street. Park Row today has an abandoned air, with a rust-streaked median and thistles creeping out of cracks in the asphalt.
"It feels like a war zone," Ost said.
There are some residents who like the tight security. Elaine Nachanis, 76, has lived on the street for 48 years and says she feels safer.
"As long as there's the word 'terrorism' in the dictionary, we need it," she said.
But Ost says the police brought the security risks along with them when they set up headquarters in the neighborhood, about a mile south of their old home in Little Italy.
"We thought we could coexist with the police department, but they're making it difficult," he said.
Residents say they are angry that their neighborhood is being sacrificed for a greater security cause.
"If this were Park Avenue, not Park Row, this wouldn't have happened," said Chen, referring to the more prestigious Manhattan address.
Chen says despite the inconveniences, he isn't considering moving.
"My parents moved into Chatham Green in 1963," he said. "I got my own place here in '95. I'm just trying to defend home."
(This version corrects that politicians' letter was sent last month.)

  Previous        Next    
This Thursday, July 1, 2010 photo barricades placed in the middle of Park Row in New York. Following the Sept. 11, 2001, terror attacks, the New York Police Department barricaded off its headquarters. About 2,000 residents in two nearby apartment complexes found themselves living inside a security zone. (AP Photo/Mary Altaffer)
This Thursday, July 1, 2010 photo barricades placed in the middle of Park Row in New York. Following the Sept. 11, 2001, terror attacks, the New York Police Department barricaded off its headquarters. About 2,000 residents in two nearby apartment complexes found themselves living inside a security zone. (AP Photo/Mary Altaffer)(Mary Altaffer - AP)

Saturday, July 3, 2010

Cycling on Sidewalks may become a thing of the past - Legislation gaining steam


photo: NY TIMES Todd Heisler

(New York, NY) Earlier this week, Senator Liz Krueger (D-Manhattan) and her Senate colleagues passed S4528-A, a bill that will curtail the threat of commercial bicyclists’ reckless cycling in New York City.  This legislation, sponsored by Senator Krueger in the Senate and Assembly Member Brian Kavanagh (D-Manhattan) in the Assembly, provides for liability to be shared between the operator of the bicycle and the business employing or affiliated with the cyclist. City Council Member Jessica Lappin sponsored the home rule message that helped enable the bill to be passed in the Senate.

The intent of this bill is to address the growing problem that sidewalks in New York City’s most crowded neighborhoods have been taken over by speeding delivery bicyclists. By riding on sidewalks instead of the streets, these delivery bicycles pose a serious risk for community residents on foot -- particularly seniors and young children.  Currently the police can only ticket the bike rider, however under the new law the businesses that employee these reckless riders will face the fine.  When a business has a vested monetary interest in its employees following the “rules of the road,” they will be motivated to educate their delivery people to follow the law.  This will act as a very strong deterrent for the kinds of reckless activities which injure and sometimes kill pedestrians.

“This has been a growing problem in many of our neighborhoods. It’s evident by the large volume of calls my office receives on the matter, not to mention concerns expressed at local Community Boards and police precinct meetings” said Senator Krueger.  “I am a strong supporter of expanded, safe biking access but everybody needs to follow the rules.  This legislation will bring us far closer to a responsible public policy for the coexistence of  bike delivery persons and  pedestrians.”

S4528-A works to enforce Section 10-157 of the Administrative Code of the City of New York which requires all commercial bicycle operators to carry identification cards as well as wear an obvious visual means of identification with the name of the establishment or a registered number identified solely with a particular business address. 

 "The issue of sharing our streets among pedestrians, bicyclists and motorists is one of compromise.  We must all work together to ensure general public safety.  This legislation will go far in ensuring the proper regulations are in place so our community's public safety can be enforced.  I am pleased to see the Senate’s approval of this legislation, working toward a responsible policy for keeping our pedestrians safe by removing the threat of bicycles on our sidewalks.”

211 East 43rd Street, Suite #401
New York, NY 10017
Tel:  (212) 490-9535
Fax: (212) 490-2151