In the latest installment of the ongoing struggle against NYU’s huge expansion plan, the State’s highest court, the New York State Court of Appeals, has agreed to hear a case that was filed by petitioners in mid-November regarding public parkland. The lawsuit has passed through two lower courts, with differing results. Those following the dispute, especially park advocates, are awaiting a verdict that could have massive ramifications on the way that the City and the State deal with public parks in the future.
On October 14th, the Appellate Division’s First Department overturned a lower court’s decision that would have spared three parks—Mercer Playground, LaGuardia Park and LaGuardia Corner Gardens—from destruction under NYU’s current expansion plan. According to the lower court’s ruling, all three strips are public parks, and therefore entitled to protection, since the public has been using them as parks for many years, making them “implied” parkland, with the City funding, labeling and maintaining them as parks.
NYU and the City counter-argued that those parks aren’t really parks, since they were never “mapped” as parks (a bureaucratic technicality), and are nominally overseen by the City’s Department of Transportation. The First Department’s decision would allow NYU to raze those treasured parks to make way for its vast expansion plan, and set a precedent that could potentially threaten countless public parks throughout the City and the State.
Petitioners, NYU Faculty Against the Sexton Plan, Greenwich Village Society for Historic Preservation, Historic Districts Council, Washington Square Village Tenants’ Association, East Village Community Coalition, Friends of Petrosino Square, LaGuardia Corner Gardens, Inc., Lower Manhattan Neighbors’ Organization, SoHo Alliance, Bowery Alliance of Neighbors, NoHo Neighborhood Association, Assembly Member Deborah Glick and 10 other individuals, are represented on a pro bono basis by the law firm Gibson Dunn & Crutcher, with Randy Mastro as lead attorney.
Their motion papers make clear that “the First Department’s decision disregarded well-established common law principles for determining when municipal land has been impliedly dedicated for parks usage. In recognition of the unique value that public parks hold for children, families, and communities, the Public Trust Doctrine accords parkland special protection.”
The petitioners are asking the Court of Appeals to consider two issues: that the First Department’s decision actually conflicts with prior appellate court decisions, and prior decisions by the Court of Appeals itself, about this kind of “implied” parkland, and that the First Department’s decision, if left intact, will have the effect of abolishing implied dedication—a consequence with widespread negative effects, not just in New York City, but throughout the State.
Parks and open spaces are protected by the Public Trust Doctrine, which maintains that the government holds the titles to certain waters and lands in trust for the people. In New York State, if an entity wishes to develop or remove a parcel of parkland from public ownership and use, it must follow a legal process called “alienation,” which, among other conditions, requires approval from the state Legislature. This was not done in the case of the Village parks that NYU wants to destroy for its ill-advised expansion plan. The First Department’s decision flies in the face of this doctrine and of its own decisions, and would imperil all kinds of public and green spaces throughout the state; it would leave ordinary New Yorkers with no protection against the removal and abuse of open spaces and parks for development.
Since receiving the Landmarks Preservation Commission’s blessing in 2013, Gregg Singer may finally be moving forward with restoration work at former P.S. 64/ CHARAS – El Bohio. The landmarked school building has been vacant following the eviction of the former tenants of El Bohio led by CHARAS in 2001. The City reversed its short-lived approval for plans to convert the building into a multi-school “dormitory” this past September.
The project’s future is uncertain, but the exterior work may begin soon. The owner got the okay from Landmarks more than a year ago to perform restorative work to replace damaged architectural details and to install new windows. Two permits from the Department of Buildings issued in January allow for repairs to the dormers, mansard roof, roofing, and the facade. LPC also supported alterations to carve along the edges of the raised courtyards to create windows at ground level for dorm rooms. It does not appear that the permits issued allow for this component of the work.
While the permits are dated 2015, the owner set the start date for the work in August, prior to the project’s approval and subsequent Stop Work Order. The DOB maintains its objections to the dormitory plan, which Singer will need to resolve before moving forward with any interior work. We support the City’s objections to the project as presented and maintain that a dormitory is an improper use for the site.
Old P.S 64 has endured several major weather events while unsealed including Hurricane Irene and Superstorm Sandy. The condition of the building is not entirely due to wear-and-tear; at the time of landmarks designation, many architectural details suffered damage by the workers. Facade and architectural restoration work is welcome if it will protect this historic neighborhood gem. We will watch to see if, after years of decay, some restorative work begins here.
On January 15th, the CB3 Parks Committee unanimously passed a resolution in support of establishing a Community Gardens District. The full board will vote at their monthly item on Thursday, January 29th at University Settlement, Speyer Hall, 184 Eldridge Street (btwn Rivington & Delancey Sts). Supporters of the district are encouraged to attend.
Community Board 3 (CB3) is the birthplace of community gardens in New York City and New York State. In 1973, the first garden was established in CB3 by local activists who worked to reverse years of decline and neglect by public and private property owners.
At one time, there were fifty-seven registered community gardens in CB3, and dozens more operating independently. As the neighborhood evolved, however, numerous gardens were bulldozed as development proceeded.
Today, there are still forty-six community gardens located in CB3 – the highest density in New York City. Community Board 3 has been strengthened by the history of its community gardens, which provide environmental, cultural, aesthetic, ecological, economic, and artistic benefits to this community, and more.
While gardens located on City-owned lots are of indisputable value, they unfortunately are not permanent. We are asking that all community gardens in CB3 be mapped and designated as parklands by the City of New York, designated a special Community Gardens District, and continue to be managed by community-based volunteers.
SOCCC-64 (SAVE OUR COMMUNITY CENTER former CHARAS/El BOHIO P.S. 64) is writing & collecting personalized holiday cards to ask Mayor De Blasio to return our community center! Make your own card or use the downloadable template — just add your name and address!
JOIN US with the Three Kings and their camels
TO DELIVER our cards to the mayor
Three Kings Day – Tuesday, January 6, 2015
SCHEDULE: If it’s 40 degrees or above… 12:00 noon – Meet at 605 East 9th Street (btwn Aves. B & C)
12:30 p.m. – March or Take Public Transportation to City Hall
And/Or 1:30 p.m. – Meet Us at City Hall Plaza
NOTE: If it is too cold or wet, below 40 degrees…we will not march to City Hall
Gather at City Hall Plaza (across from the Brooklyn Bridge) at 1:30 pm
Our neighborhood boasts resident-serving retail outlets and unique offerings from creative merchants. The East Village is NOT a strip mall – thankfully the monotonous chain stores found in town after town are in short supply here. In an attempt to keep our neighborhood independent and unique, we publish our free Get Local! Guide to East Village Shops each year. The updated 8th Edition is available now!
Spending your money locally helps small businesses thrive in the East Village.
Local shopping also:
Keeps more money in our community
Creates local jobs with fair wages
Sustains small business owners who defend our neighborhood’s identity
Chooses creativity and personality over uniformity
The newly available 8th Edition lists more than 500 local merchants and is available in shops and cafes in the neighborhood. You can download the online version or pick up your free copy today!
We are working to preserve small businesses as an integral part of maintaining our diverse, livable community.
Thank you to supporters of the 2014 Get Local! guide:
Join the East Village Independent Merchant Association for an evening of special offers.
Stop by EVCC from 6-10pm to meet neighbors, participate in our toy drive to benefit the Women’s Prison Association and enjoy holiday treats.
Shamburger’s CHKA is the premier downtown martial arts school, training adults & kids in Kenpo Karate & Kickboxing for over 20 years in the East Village. Open 7 days a week. All classes are open to beginners!
Free drop-in martial arts classes at 6pm, 7 pm and 8 pm for first-time martial arts students only. Mention EVIMA for a free month of classes. Be sure to wear or bring easy to move in clothes.
For 40 years, Clayworks Pottery has been an East Village presence, providing finely crafted stoneware and porcelain for kitchen, tabletop and home decor. Vibrant, original, eminently useful mugs, plates, bowls, teapots, vases, goblets, espresso cups, pitchers and so much more wait here to delight the eye, entice the hand and warm the heart for the holidays and after.
Dinosaur Hill is a 30 year old store specializing in ‘Handmade Wonderments, Toys, Clothes and Gifts.” We are here to help you choose the very best thing you can find for friends, family, and …yourself.
If you sing a verse of your favorite song (or Row, Row, Row Your Boat), you will receive a 10% discount May have items suitable for WPA Teen Gift Drive
Dorian Grey Gallery celebrates the artistic history our neighborhood, carrying on to the present and future with a special emphasis on works by artists and subject matter from the East Village. Visit us to learn about, enjoy and collect works celebrating our neighborhood’s rich artistic legacy.
Original limited edition poster from artist John “Crash” Matos with every purchase above $200
Wendy and LaRae Kangas are the sisters behind the petite East Village boutique, duo nyc, which features vintage + modern clothing and accessories. Their aim is to introduce emerging independent designers and to provide a well-edited vintage selection. “We want duo nyc to be an inviting place for our clients and to express our own vision by filling our shop with pieces that are timeless and modern.”
20% off storewide + complementary drinks May have items suitable for WPA Teen Gift Drive
Dusty Buttons carries vintage and new US made or Fair Trade Certified dresses. Our heart is with the 1940s and 1950s so there is a definite nod to that era. We also carry new European footwear, a gal can never have to many beautiful comfortable shoes!
The Exit9 mission is to put a little fun, joy, diversity and diversion into daily life while adding flavor to the neighborhood. We hope you’ll find our creative selection of gifts and novelties fun. And every morning when we unlock and roll up the steel gates we know that, along with our fellow small businesses nearby, we are keeping up the vibe.
15% off all items (including those already on sale!)
Suggestions for WPA donation: hats, gloves, t-shirts, jewelry, wallets, handbags
Gallery Vercon features contemporary women’s clothing and accessories ranging from hats to scarves to locally designed jewelry. Unique materials and designs make this eclectic boutique an East Village must-see.
GOAT-MILK Kidware is a brand of basics for babies and kids. All our garments are made of 100% organic cotton. The line is made up of unique and simple pieces like thermal tops and bottoms and includes onesies, underwear and tank tops.
For over 16 years, Love Shine has been been making cool and eclectic bags that are both stylish and durable. Locally produced by hand, our canvas bags (adorned with a variety of ribbon trimmed images) can be seen all around city.
20% discount store wide + refreshments. Open till 9:30 p.m.
Parlor offers the elevated craft of hairdressing with a variety of specialties in all hair textures. Guiding you through superior customer service, utlizing the most current methods and trends we transform your image to where you want it to be.
Drop in and request a facial or make an appointment, and receive a complimentary lip saver.
Physical GraffiTea sells organic loose leaf teas and herbs by the ounce as well as tea pots and accessories. We also offer drinks to stay or to go, including hot or iced teas, lattes, matcha, and Kombucha on tap. We believe in using tea and herbs to support health and happiness in one’s life. We are located in the ground floor retail space of the historic “Physical Graffiti” buildings that graced the cover of the Led Zeppelin album of the same name.
The Shape of Lies is 98% pure Manhattan. We showcase small artists producing locally and offer unique designs & signature pieces. Opened in 1979 we’re now one of the last Mom & Pop live work storefronts in the East Village. As our neighbors know; when the lights on you can always knock for gifting emergencies….we live in the back!
Stop in and bring your coupon. OPEN 12 to 9 every day till Christmas. Shop 24/7 at ShapeOfLies.com
Nearly one hundred potential landmarks are protected after the Landmarks Preservation Commission withdrew its proposal to remove these buildings from its calendar for consideration. The vote planned for this week would have unilaterally “de-calendared” buildings in all five boroughs, leaving them open to alteration or demolition without review.
In the East Village, 138 Second Avenue is among the buildings that could have lost this crucial protective status. This 19th-century federal-style home was declared worthy of consideration in 2009. Without a vote in October, the neighborhood’s newest designated landmark Tifereth Israel would have also been removed from LPC’s calendar for consideration. The community achieved a swift victory in part because the building, calendared in 1966, was immediately eligible for a hearing and designation.
Former commissioners found the buildings on the list worthy of LPC’s consideration. If de-calendared, each building would need to be calendared again – a required step in the landmarks process – before coming before today’s commission for designation.
The LPC also drew criticism for failing to schedule public review of the controversial plan. We are grateful to be a part of a preservation community that created the awareness that successfully ended the proposal. We urge the LPC to dedicate its resources to hearing these structures individually for designation.
November 17, 2014
Casa Victoria, 308 East 8th Street (between Avenues B & C)
Join Council Member Rosie Mendez and elected officials, neighbors, and community organizations in an important discussion about the status of former P.S. 64 at 605 East 9th Street. Organize to return the building to community use!
Do you live in the East Village? Or love to visit? Don’t get here often enough?
Let us know what you think! Take our short surveyby November 22nd to help us determine where and how people are spending in the community.
Goals of the survey: Help to identify what types of retail are missing from the East Village Assess affordability of products in the neighborhood Determine how often people are spending money in the East Village
Capture information on neighborhood demographics and other retail factors
The survey is part of the of the organization’s retail diversity campaign, which advocates for increased diversity of available retail and local services for residents within the East Village. Learn more at our website: www.evccnyc.org.
The East Village Consumer Survey is made possible with the support of AvenueNYC, a program of the NYC Department of Small Business Services.