City Hall to preserve some community gardens, build housing on others

For all of your NYC plumbing needs, contact Franco Belli Plumbing & Heating & Sons – the best Brooklyn plumber there is. Call us at (917) 410-4233 or contact us using the form to the right

The de Blasio administration is ending 2015 by addressing a long-standing controversy over the fate of 43 community gardens on city-owned land with a decision that has prompted mixed reactions among New Yorkers close to the divisive issue.

The administration is preparing to build more than 800 below-market-rate apartments on nine gardens — including two unused ones —while preserving another 34 gardens, according to several sources briefed on the plans.

City officials gathered representatives of the gardens at a meeting in City Hall on Wednesday afternoon to reveal the plans and distribute a list of which spaces will be preserved and which would be turned into development sites.

The city promised that when it builds on current gardens, it will create a new gardening space within a quarter of a mile of the original, but it is unclear whether the new spots would be the same size.

MORE ON POLITICO

The two sites already being prepared for low- to moderate-income housing are Sparrow’s Nest Community Garden in Queens and A Small Green Patch in Brooklyn. The other seven include one on East 111th Street, another in Coney Island, the Pleasant Village Community Garden II, Jackie Robinson Tenant Association, Mandela Community Garden, New Harvest Garden and space at Van Siclen Warwick, according to a list distributed at the City Hall meeting and obtained by POLITICO New York.

The city is promising that all apartments built on these sites will be entirely below-market rents.

Reactions to the news were predictably mixed: Those whose gardens are being saved by being given to the parks department for its GreenThumb Program were pleased, while those whose green spaces will be developed on land owned by the Department of Housing Preservation and Development were upset.

“They just walked in with a list of nine gardens that they were going to close and 34 that they were going to save. We don’t really know how that translates in terms of acreage,” Rene Calvo, leader of the Mandela Community Garden in Harlem, said in an interview after leaving the meeting.

He said city officials promised more engagment with community gardeners through the process. “Basically what they said is we’re taking this land back from the community and we’re going to hold your hand while we’re doing it,” Calvo added. “That’s how they’re better than the other administration.”

The Mandela Community Garden is about 10,000 square feet behind the famed Apollo Theater and has been in existence for a year. Calvo said the community was hoping to make it a permanent space through the parks department.

City Councilman Robert Cornegy, who has several community gardens in his district whose fates were in question, was pleased by the news.

“Preserving community gardens and increasing affordable home ownership opportunities are both priorities for Central Brooklyn’s rapidly changing communities and the two need not be in conflict,” he said in a prepared statement after the meeting. “Today’s decision is what I have asked for — that a balance be struck between those goals.”

He said six of the seven gardens threatened in his district will be preserved and the seventh, located on the largest space, “will be used to develop new affordable units, accessible to families eager to secure their roots in a community where homeownership is highly prized.”

Under the city’s housing department, which owns the land housing the gardens, home ownership is offered through a program for certain tenants.

Corney also said he was pleads that the city used “objective criteria to reach this decision.”

When asked how the administration determined which spaces to develop, a city official speaking on background said the housing agency assessed the popularity of each garden and the size of the space on a case-by-case basis.

Councilman Mark Treyger, who represents Coney Island, said he is awaiting further information from City Hall about plans for his district, where a garden is on the shorter list for sites to be turned into housing.

He said the garden serves as a popular gathering spot for local residents, but emphasized a pressing need for more commercial tenants along the nearby Mermaid Avenue as well.

“I understand that the mayor and this administration have a housing plan but my job and the job of local members is to represent and fight for the needs of our local districts and for me, Coney Island has many, many pressing needs,” he said.

Treyger said he was informed in recent days about the decision by a member of the mayor’s staff, and was told he would meet with city officials in the next week.

Community gardens have long been subject to emotional debates in New York City.

Controversy ensued when the Giuliani administration tried to build housing on these city-owned lots. During Michael Bloomberg’s first year in office, after then-attorney general Eliot Spitzer sued to preserve the gardens from being auctioned off to the highest bidder, the mayor agreed to preserve about 500 of them and use the others to build more than 2,000 apartments.

Mayor Bill de Blasio issued a public request last year for developers to submit ideas about building affordable homes on the gardens and other city-owned lots.

The bid spurred a protest, with some gardening aficionados in sunflower costumes. One person demonstrated on the steps of City Hall dressed as a human carrot.

A former parks commissioner under Bloomberg, Adrian Benepe, who now works at the Trust for Public Land, applauded the latest news.

“It sounds like a good Christmas present for the community gardening people,” Benepe said in an interview.

And in a prepared statement, housing commissioner Vicki Been described the move as a balance between finding space to build affordable housing in a city whose government owns a diminishing amount of land and a desire to protect open space.

“In trying to strike the right balance, HPD with the parks department crafted a plan that protects a tremendous number of gardens in perpetuity and provides support to gardeners, while ensuring that working families can afford to stay in their neighborhoods,” she said.

Not everyone shared her view.

“The gardens are what creates a community. Parks don’t create a community,” Calvo said. “The people who know each other in the neighborhood, the majority of them meet through the garden.”

Source: http://www.capitalnewyork.com/article/city-hall/2015/12/8586679/city-hall-preserve-some-community-gardens-build-housing-others

NYC Construction-Related Accidents and Injuries Surge in 2015

For all of your NYC plumbing needs, contact Franco Belli Plumbing & Heating & Sons – the best Brooklyn plumber there is. Call us at (917) 410-4233 or contact us using the form to the right

The number of construction-related accidents and injuries each climbed roughly 40 percent this year, according to data prepared by the New York City Department of Buildings for Commercial Observer.

There were 323 accidents (which can include multiple injuries and/or fatalities) this year compared with 231 accidents in calendar year 2014, the data indicate, a 39.8 percent spike. The number of injuries rose to 356 from 246, a 44.7 percent difference.

All boroughs saw increases in accidents and injuries, but for the Bronx which had one less accident in 2015, at 10. Of the five boroughs, Manhattan had the greatest number of accidents and injuries in both years. This year, the borough’s accidents increased 30 percent to 221 and injuries climbed 34 percent to 236.

DOB Commissioner Rick Chandler said in a prepared statement that many of this year’s construction-related accidents “were avoidable” and that “in response, the department has developed an ambitious plan to improve safety at construction sites.”

He further noted: “This year, we began an unprecedented effort to revoke or suspend the licenses of firms that repeatedly violated the city’s construction code, shutting down hundreds of job sites run by contractors who weren’t prioritizing safety.”

Between 2014 and 2015, the number of fatalities increased by one to nine, the DOB data show.

After a string of construction worker fatalities, 44 construction companies in May called for greater safety efforts at construction sites in the U.S. during the second annual Safety Week, as CO previously reported.

Meanwhile, with the New York City real estate market still going strong, the DOB issued more permits for new building construction (2,404 versus 2,035), major alterations (3,170 compared with 3,080) and building demolition jobs (1,882 versus 1,660) compared with last year.

“In 2015, New York City saw another year of strong growth in construction, including an 18 percent increase in permits issued for new buildings over last year,” Mr. Chandler said. “Increased development grows our economy, creates additional affordable housing, schools and business space, and provides tens of thousands of jobs throughout the five boroughs.”

Source: https://commercialobserver.com/2015/12/nyc-construction-related-accidents-and-injuries-surge-in-2015/

Real Estate Group Rebuffs Idea of Height Limits for Tall Towers

For all of your NYC plumbing needs, contact Franco Belli Plumbing & Heating & Sons – the best Brooklyn plumber there is. Call us at (917) 410-4233 or contact us using the form to the right

The Real Estate Board of New York has slammed reports that it needs to restrict the construction of supertall buildings, Real Estate Weekly reports. The retort comes following a report issued by the Municipal Arts Society of New York (MAS) that criticized the city’s zoning laws.

In its report MAS called for a halt on the construction of towers over 600 feet tall before extensive public review processes are undertaken for the construction. REBNY counters that all the construction operates completely within the law and that the economic advantages to the city outweigh the concerns.

“The latest generation of tall, slender and mostly residential towers positively contributes to our city architecturally, economically and environmentally,ˮ John Banks, president of REBNY, told REW.

MAS has focussed its attention for the most part on the supertall buildings under construction along 57th Street overlooking Central Park. Their principle grouse is the fact that some of the building codes that allow for the construction of these supertalls are over 50 years old, and that the public does not have enough of a voice in their construction. MAS is not against the construction of supertall buildings, but more about checks on the number of structures and the height.

Recently MAS released a ‘corrected’ list of city’s skyscrapers where the views these buildings offered have changed due to the other buildings coming up around them.

· REBNY dismisses demand for supertall building moratorium [Real Estate Weekly]
· See ‘Corrected’ Renderings of Midtown’s Supertall Buildngs [Curbed]

Source: http://ny.curbed.com/archives/2015/12/30/real_estate_group_rebuffs_idea_of_height_limits_for_tall_towers.php

New York’s Future Tallest Tower Begins Its Skyward Ascent

For all of your NYC plumbing needs, contact Franco Belli Plumbing & Heating & Sons – the best Brooklyn plumber there is. Call us at (917) 410-4233 or contact us using the form to the right

When we last checked in on the construction progress at Extell’s Central Park Tower, the forthcoming tallest residential tower in New York City, it was little more than a hole in the ground. But a few months have passed and work on the supertall is plugging away, as a new series of photos by NYConstructionPhoto shows; in fact, it’s finally risen above street level, with some of the steel support structure and actual floors visible. But that still doesn’t offer a clue as to the building’s final design: We know it’ll be 1,550 feet tall, and that its spire has been cut off, but the rest remains a mystery.

23782468250_e26ee47cb1_b.jpg

23449899254_16e1f6211c_b.jpg

23449899074_c1180265d3_b.jpg

· NYConstructionPhoto: 225 W 57th Street (Central Park Tower) [Flickr]
· All Central Park Tower Coverage [Curbed]

Source: http://ny.curbed.com/archives/2015/12/31/new_yorks_future_tallest_tower_begins_its_skyward_ascent.php

16 Predictions for New York City’s Housing Market in 2016

For all of your NYC plumbing needs, contact Franco Belli Plumbing & Heating & Sons – the best Brooklyn plumber there is. Call us at (917) 410-4233 or contact us using the form to the right

MANHATTAN — The year 2015 was all about records: new heights forsales prices, rentals … and thenumber of applications to affordable housing lotteries.

But the market began to shift late in the year: sales price growth cooled, and landlords offered more concessions amid rising vacancies for rentals. Both are trends some brokers predict will continue.

Affordability will also remain a big issue as the de Blasio administration’s controversial zoning rules, intended to spur affordable housing, wind their way through the public approval process.

Here’s what else experts are talking about for 2016:

1. Sellers will no longer have an extreme advantage.

Sellers will need to be more prudent about pricing as many buyers have reached their limit, many brokers said.

“By no means will buyers have critical advantage, but they will have more leverage than in 2015,” said Noah Rosenblatt, founder of UrbanDigs, a site that analyzes the Manhattan market.

2. Ultra-luxury condos will see price cuts.

There may be more condos breaking the $100 million mark, but as inventory of the high-end market — above $20 million — has expanded, its sales will become “sluggish,” said Daniel Hedaya, of Platinum Properties, predicting that new developments with unsold units will start seeing price cuts.

It’s already started at buildings like Zeckendorf Development’s 50 U.N. Plaza and theToll Brothers’ 400 Park Avenue South and 1110 Park Ave. When Zeckendorf dropped prices, sales immediately increased, noted real estate expert Jonathan Miller.

“It’s not as if these prices are far off, it’s just that they’re priced based on the market two or three years ago, without the competition,” he said.

3. One developers’ woes might be another’s opportunity.

High land costs are putting a damper on development, said Robert Dankner, of Prime Manhattan Residential, noting that the “furious pace of buying dirt $700 to $1,000 a foot” has since “grinded to a halt” since developers can’t charge $3,200 a foot.

“There are some signs of people overpaying,” said Roberta Axelrod, of Time Equities. “That may wind up in opportunities later” — for other developers.

4. Developers, in general, become more “cautious.”

With some big regulatory unknowns, like what’s happening with 421-a tax breaks and details of the city’s affordable housing plans still in flux, many developers feel unsettled about starting new projects.

“Over the course of last six months, we’ve become a lot more cautious,” said Matt Baron, of Simon Baron Development, which recently opened Upper East and Upper West Side condos geared toward the “mid-market” — $2 million to $10 million range — and also launched Ollie at select buildings to provide renters with “lifestyle-relevant services” like housekeeping and a social concierge.

Jody Kriss, of East River Partners, which is developing a group of properties in Fort Greene and the Upper West Side, plans to take on smaller projects in 2016, focusing on four to 20 units in Brownstone Brooklyn, noting that smaller projects take roughly 2 years to buy and complete, which is less time than large scale developments.

5. High-end rentals in Manhattan will steal thunder from pricey condos.

The luxury rental market “will go through the roof,” especially as “hedge fund guys” have had a down year and might want to rent rather than buy, predicts Darren Sukenik, a broker with Douglas Elliman.

“A lot of these finance guys don’t want to be the one to buy at the top of the market,” he said.

One rental that will likely get much attention is the Moinian Group’s Sky at 605 W. 42nd St., which, at 1.2 million square feet, will be the city’s largest residential building.

Mitchell Moinian, of the Moinian Group, believes the building will raise the bar for rentals.

“We’ve programmed the building to the nines, with everything under the sun: three swimming pools, indoor and outdoor; hair and nail salon, one of the largest health clubs; pilates, yoga, basketball court,” he said.

6. Hello Kingsbridge, Elmhurst and Sheepshead Bay?

As buyers have become more price conscious, expect them to look to neighborhoods like Kingsbridge and Grand Concourse in The Bronx and some “less loved ones in Queens and Brooklyn,” like Elmhurst and Jackson Heights or Sheepshead Bay and Brighton Beach, said Doug Perlson, of online brokerage Real Direct.

“These are places that are commutable,” he said. “They may take longer to get to Midtown, for sure, but they have a lot of new development or tight-knit communities that [buyers] find appealing.”

7. Affordable housing will get more creative.

If the de Blasio administration’s mandatory inclusionary housing and zoning for quality and affordability plans pass, expect an uptick of creative designs for affordable housing, predicts Claire Weisz, founding principal of WXY Architecture + Urban Design.

Source: http://www.dnainfo.com/new-york/20151229/tribeca/16-predictions-for-new-york-citys-housing-market-2016

Build it Back opening new construction centers

For all of your NYC plumbing needs, contact Franco Belli Plumbing & Heating & Sons – the best Brooklyn plumber there is. Call us at (917) 410-4233 or contact us using the form to the right

Brooklyn Daily Eagle

The city’s Build It Back program, established in the wake of Superstorm Sandy to help homeowners rebuild their houses, is moving toward its goal of completing its work by the end of 2016, according to officials, who announced that the program is transitioning its case management centers to put more of a focus on construction services.

On Jan. 1, Build It Back will be opening up new construction services centers in Brooklyn, Queens and Staten Island. At the same time, the program will be moving case management services from the old offices into the new centers so that applicants can access all services in the same location, officials said.

The Brooklyn Construction Services Center will be located at 1380 Rockaway Parkway.

Homeowners will be able to use the new center to review their project scope of work, sign grant agreements, receive temporary housing assistance and meet with program representatives to address questions and concerns.

Build It Back will maintain a satellite center at 1906 Mermaid Ave. in Coney Island. The satellite center is open by appointment only.

Coney Island is one of the neighborhoods that was hit hardest by Sandy, with many buildings heavily damaged by the storm. Sandy hit New York City on Oct. 29, 2012.

Councilmember Mark Treyger (D-Coney Island-Gravesend-Bensonhurst) said he was pleased that the satellite center is located on Mermaid Avenue, Coney Island’s main commercial thoroughfare. “This is the main shopping street in Coney Island. It’s important for people to know that Coney Island is more than just the summertime amusements. Real people live here,” he told Brooklyn Eagle.

Meanwhile, the city is looking to help Sandy victims in other ways.

In May, officials from the New York City Department of Small Business Services, the Mayor’s Office of Housing Recovery and Treyger announced the creation of a program in which vouchers for pre-apprenticeship training spots in the construction industry would be distributed to individuals in Sandy-damaged neighborhoods.

Source: http://www.brooklyneagle.com/articles/2015/12/29/build-it-back-opening-new-construction-centers

Opening Soon in NYC: 360 sq. ft Micro-Apartments for $2,900/mo

For all of your NYC plumbing needs, contact Franco Belli Plumbing & Heating & Sons – the best Brooklyn plumber there is. Call us at (917) 410-4233 or contact us using the form to the right

A New York City zoning code established in 1987 that prohibited the construction of apartments smaller than 400 sq. ft has been jettisoned to make way for smaller apartments for singles who prefer to pay more to live alone.

The New York City Council in November voted for two changes to the 30-year-old zoning code: 1. to allow for the build and sale of micro-apartments under 400 sq. ft; and 2. to loosen the density restrictions so that existing units can be broken into legal sub-divisions.

Officials say the changes are meant to help meet the needs of the number of growing singles in the city– which now accounts for close to 50 percent of the population– so that they do not have to double and triple up with roommates. The city’s very first micro-apartments will open on February 1, 2016, at Carmel Place, a nine-story, modular building located at 335 East 27th Street, reported The New York Times.

Carmel Place prefab houses being lifted into place

The micro-units were prefabricated in the Brooklyn Navy Yard and delivered by truck over the Manhattan Bridge. There are 55 prefab studios between 260 to 360 square feet, ranging anywhere from $2,540/mo to $2,910/mo– about the same rent for a regular one-bedroom apartment in that same area, but considerably more rent per square foot.

Carmel Place completed

Now Tiny Tim and other singles his size can live comfortably anywhere in New York City, while developers can get even more bang for their buck! The good news is, about 14 units in the building are designated as affordable, which is about half of the market rate costs. And already, the building is averaging 4,300 applicants per apartment.

The de Blasio administration is looking to expand the availability of these so-called micro apartments– next into the Lower East Side, other parts of Manhattan and then across the five boroughs.

As a single Brooklynite, how much would you be willing to pay for an “affordable” 300 sq. foot micro-apartment?

 

 

 

Source: http://www.bkreader.com/2015/12/opening-soon-nyc-360-sq-ft-micro-apartments-2900mo/

Hold Agencies Handling After-Hours Construction Permits Accountable: Pols

For all of your NYC plumbing needs, contact Franco Belli Plumbing & Heating & Sons – the best Brooklyn plumber there is. Call us at (917) 410-4233 or contact us using the form to the right

UPPER EAST SIDE — The city should end “debilitating” after-hours construction work and slow down the rate it approves permits, politicians said.

Roughly two dozen electeds wrote a letter to First Deputy Mayor Anthony Shorris on Dec. 16 urging the mayor’s office to create a construction liaison who would be responsible for overseeing coordination between the Department of Buildings, theDepartment of Transportation and the Department of Environmental Protectionregarding construction happening in their neighborhoods.

Upper East Side residents have long been complaining to officials about noise, bright light and air pollution stemming from building sites that operate late into the night and even on weekends.

Though it’s disruptive, they say there’s nothing that can be done because the DOB continues to issue contractors the necessary permits.

A recent boom in construction in the Upper East Side area has angered a lot of people, according to Councilman Ben Kallos who said that his office gets more complaints about after-hour construction work than any other district in the city.

Many complaints that come in concern developer Anbau’s Citizen360 luxury condo project on First Avenue and East 89th Street, he said.

“The DOB is granting after-hours variances as a right, so this is just something that is happening — people don’t get to rest of a weekend or get to sleep late,” Kallos said.

“Developers are building without any regulation or oversight, which the DOB should be doing.”

In November, Anbau was granted after-hours variance permits and was allowed to do work well into the evening, frustrating residents living across the street from the site who said the noise and lights kept them up at night and disrupted day-to-day life.

But Kallos said the number of grievances has gone down because the flood of complaints forced the DOB and Anbau to compromise and set the after-hours permits to end earlier and push back drilling to an hour later in the mornings.

The letter — which was also signed by Councilman Dan Garodnick, Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer and Assemblywoman Rebecca Seawright — also demands that the city reexamine how residents report construction complaints.

Currently the only way for residents to flag issues to the city is to call 311, but complaints often don’t get addressed or are sent to the wrong agency, according to the letter.

“The Department of Buildings is wielding a giant rubber stamp and approves these variances far too often and for unreasonable hours,” Garodnick told DNAinfo New York.

“When residents call to complain, everyone just points fingers and noone is held accountable for unreasonable or illegal construction.”

By creating a liaison in the mayor’s office, the permitting process could be checked by someone who has direct connections to the community, the letter explains.

The liaison would have full access to the permitting and complaint review processes of all three agencies involved and would be able to coordinate between them to make sure that issues are handled together. They would also have the authority to decide whether specific applications are reasonable or not.

“What we want is someone who can say, ‘The buck stops here,'” Garodnick said.

“We want someone who can balance the need for construction to progress with the quality of life of area residents. We also want to streamline the process on all fronts. It is unwieldy for builders and it does not work for residents.”

Garodnick, Kallos and Councilwoman Rosie Mendez are sponsoring a bill that, if passed, would streamline and clarify the process for granting these variances and add protections for residents, according to Garodnick.

The bill calls for better notification to the community of after-hours work and setting new standards for when variances can be granted, he said.

The mayor’s office said that it plans to address the issue, but would not comment on the letter’s demands specifically.

“We take very seriously the responsibility of ensuring construction sites are safe and present as little disruption as possible to the public,” said Wiley Norvell, the deputy press secretary for the mayor’s office.

“New York City is in the midst of a historic construction boom, which is delivering more jobs, housing and opportunity for New Yorkers. We’ll work closely with all concerned officials to make sure this unprecedented surge in activity is managed in the safest and least disruptive way.”

Kallos urges people to contact his office if 311 doesn’t seem to be doing the trick.

“We need somebody ultimately to be held accountable,” he said.

A request for comment from the DOB was referred to City Hall.

Source: https://www.dnainfo.com/new-york/20151223/upper-east-side/hold-agencies-handling-after-hours-construction-permits-accountable-pols

New York City Soon to Be Home to World’s First Underground Park

For all of your NYC plumbing needs, contact Franco Belli Plumbing & Heating & Sons – the best Brooklyn plumber there is. Call us at (917) 410-4233 or contact us using the form to the right

An abandoned trolley terminal in New York City will soon be home to the world’s first underground park. The Lowline, a lush underground forest powered by advanced solartechnology, is “one step closer to becoming a reality,” The Verge reported.

The ambitious project sits one story below Delancey St. and directly adjacent to the existing JMZ subway track at the Essex St. subway stop. It will be the size of a football field when complete.

Spearheaded by co-founders James Ramsey and Dan Barasch, the Lowline will host trees and plants such as philodendrons, dwarf snake plants, spiderworts, nettles and Spanish moss.

The coolest part? The flora will thrive off of actual sunlight in this underground arboretum thanks to solar technology designed by Ramsey’s firm, Raad Studio.

“The proposed solar technology of the Lowline involves the creation of a remote skylight, whereby sunlight passes through a glass shield above a parabolic collector, is reflected and gathered at one focal point, and directed underground,” the creators explained on their website.

“Sunlight is transmitted onto a reflective surface on the distributor dish underground, transmitting that sunlight into the space. This technology would transmit the necessary wavelengths of light to support photosynthesis, enabling plants and trees to grow.”

undergroundpark
This graphic shows how the team will bring actual sunlight underground. Photo credit: The Lowline

Ramsey and Barasch came up with the idea of a subterranean oasis in 2009 and made many headlines soon after. Ramsey, who is also an ex-NASA engineer, first conceptualized this design while building satellites for the space agency, The Verge reported.

The park was given a similar moniker to New York City’s Highline, a linear park built on a disused railroad. The Lowline makes use of a site that has unused for the past six decades and brings much-needed green space New York City dwellers, especially during in the city’s typically harsh winters.

“The site itself is located at the very heart of the Lower East Side, and today, it still remains one of the most crowded neighborhoods in the city,” as Barasch, a former Google strategist, said in his TEDTalk last year. “New York City has two-thirds the green space per resident as other big cities and this neighborhood has one-tenth of the green space.”

According to the project’s timeline, the Lowline team is currently negotiating with the MTA and the city to build and operate the underground park. After negotiations are finalized, a capital campaign to support construction will be launched.

The Verge reported that the founders are also working out certain kinks such as making the city’s “request for expressions of interest” Feb. 1 deadline and figuring out details for concessions and hours of operation, as well as raising funds for the expensive project. The Lowline is reportedly expected to cost between $44 million and $77 million to build, and $2 million to $4 million annually to operate.

The project completed a successful $223,506 Kickstarter campaign in October to construct their Lowline Lab, which is currently a research space for lighting and horticulture experiments, and is now open to the public for visits and community events.

The underground park is planned to open by 2020.

Source: http://ecowatch.com/2015/12/23/lowline-underground-park/

New York Today: The Year That Was

For all of your NYC plumbing needs, contact Franco Belli Plumbing & Heating & Sons – the best Brooklyn plumber there is. Call us at (917) 410-4233 or contact us using the form to the right

Good morning on this brightening Wednesday.

As we looked back over the past year in New York, we remembered just how much has happened since we raised our glasses to toast the start of 2015.

There was a prison escape, the stunning downfall of two major politicians,a deadly explosion in the East Village, and plenty more in this buzzing city of ours.

Here are some of our most popular stories of 2015, month by month.

January: Cadbury’s chocolate made in Britain will no longer be importedto our chocolate-loving shores.

February: Two teenagers were trying to shovel snow for money. Then the police came. So did national news media. And the State Legislature.

March: Robert Durst, the subject of the HBO documentary, “The Jinx,”was arrested on a murder charge.

April: A time-lapse video in the elevator at the One World Trade Observatory shows the history of the area.

May: A deep dive into the exploitive practices in the nail salon industry.

June: The second prison escapee was captured.

July: How the two inmates at an upstate prison pulled off their escape.

August: A story from our “Summer Love” series, about a woman who answered a man’s ad for a roommate, moved in and never left.

September: The police officer who mistakenly arrested the former tennis star James Blake had a history of complaints about his use of force.

October: The Lonely Death of George Bell.

November: An Italian marathoner who went missing after the race was found on the subway in his running clothes.

December (so far): A lawyer was refused boarding on a flight out of La Guardia Airport after a revolving-door mix-up.

Here’s what else is happening:

WEATHER

A bit sunny for most of the day, with a high of 47, but clouds scrambling in later in the afternoon could bring some rain.

And the winds have calmed down from yesterday.

Winter coat watch: It’s a safe bet.

IN THE NEWS

Police Commissioner William J. Bratton rebuked former Commissioner Raymond W. Kelly for claiming that the Police Department is doctoring its data. [New York Times]

As the chief judge on the state Court of Appeals steps down, he leaves behind a legacy of changes inspired by social justice. [New York Times]

A new program brings poetry to Rikers Island. [New York Times]

Former Gov. George E. Pataki dropped out of the race for the Republican nomination for president. [New York Times]

Dean G. Skelos, former leader of the State Senate convicted in a corruption trial this month, has filed for his pension. [New York Post]

Funding cuts to the state Department of Environmental Conservation have led to a decline in the state’s air quality, according to a new report. [Capital New York]

Cleanthony Early, a player for the Knicks, was shot in the leg and robbed after leaving a strip club. [New York Times]

Scoreboard: Islanders rattle Maple Leafs, 6-3. Devils quell Hurricanes, 3-2. Knicks stall Pistons, 108-96.

For a global look at what’s happening, see Your Wednesday Briefing.

COMING UP TODAY

Explore the Pinetum in Central Park on a guided walking tour. 11 a.m. [Free]

Play a “Deer Survival Game” and find signs of deer in Greenbelt Nature Center on Staten Island. 1 p.m. [Free]

Make a journal to record the events of 2016 during a workshop at the Museum of the City of New York. 11 a.m. [Free with $14 suggested admission]

Eat some spaghetti and watch some performances at Great Small Works’s year-end dinner at Judson Memorial Church in Washington Square. 7:30 p.m. [Donations from $5 to $25 accepted]

Nets at Magic, 7 p.m. (YES). Devils at Senators, 7:30 p.m. (MSG+). Rangers at Lightning, 8 p.m. (NBC Sports).

For more events, see The New York Times’s Arts & Entertainment guide.

COMMUTE

Subway and PATH

Railroads: L.I.R.R., Metro-North, N.J. Transit, Amtrak

Roads: Check traffic map or radio report on the 1s or the 8s.

Alternate-side parking: in effect until Friday.

Ferries: Staten Island Ferry, New York Waterway, East River Ferry

Airports: La Guardia, J.F.K., Newark

AND FINALLY …

The New York Public Library has released its most popular books of the year, those most frequently checked out across the system, which includes 92 branches in Manhattan, Staten Island and the Bronx.

(Queens and Brooklyn have their own library systems.)

Nine out of the top 10 books were written by women, including “Leaving Time,” by Jodi Picoult; “The Girl on the Train,” by Paula Hawkins; “Go Set a Watchman,” by Harper Lee; and “Not That Kind of Girl,” by Lena Dunham.

Marshall Karp and James Patterson, who co-wrote “NYPD Red 3,” were the only male authors on the list.

There was some variation by borough:

On Staten Island, three books by Danielle Steel made the top 10.

“Dead Wake: The Last Crossing of the Lusitania” by Erik Larson was quite popular in Manhattan.

In the Bronx, practical knowledge beat out literary smarts — the top book was “TASC: Test Assessing Secondary Completion: Strategies, Practice, & Review” from Kaplan Publishing.

Tim Herrera contributed reporting.

New York Today is a weekday roundup that stays live from 6 a.m. till late morning. You can receive it via email.

For updates throughout the day, like us on Facebook.

Source: http://www.nytimes.com/2015/12/30/nyregion/new-york-today-the-year-that-was.html?_r=1