info 03.26.10

Riverside Center
the skint

[Today's MUG is written by Marta Hallowell and originally appeared on The Huffington Post. Ms. Hallowell lives in the neighborhood adjacent to Extell's proposed Riverside Center.]

In less than two weeks the biggest real estate development in mid-town Manhattan since the creation of Lincoln Center will go before City Planning for approval. What? You haven't even heard of it?

That's because the Good Gray New York Times, The Daily News and the NY Post have hardly whispered a word about it. The World Trade Center site? All over it. Atlantic Yards? Ad nauseum. The largest remaining undeveloped plot of land near Lincoln Center, Columbus Circle and Central Park? Nada.

Oh wait! I think I hear the Gray Lady lifting her sleepy head off the desk. "Huh?" she snorts. "You mean the march of Soviet style architecture coming down the Hudson River from Trumpville? So what's new?" Yes, Good Gray Lady, the invasion will soon be complete. It will extend all the way to 59th St. And here's the catch — it won't just stretch down the riverfront, it will continue back two long city blocks to West End Ave. The biggest development in 50 years.

Let me see. Is there anything else the 4th estate in NYC might notice? Oh, yes. The site is being developed by Extell and its new partner, the Carlyle Group. (You know, the guys who just paid $20M to resolve their role in an influence-peddling scandal involving the state's pension fund.) And here comes the newsflash, boys: according to Extell's own admission at a presentation before Community Board 7 on Wed. night, they can only legally build 570 apartments on the remaining land (in addition to the 4500 or so already built north of it). The City figured, with input from the prestigious Natural Resources Defense Council and several community groups, that was plenty of density.

But Extell wants to build just a little bit more. How much more? Maybe 20 or 30%? Nope. Twice as much? Un-uh. Three times as much? No, Gray Lady & Co. Let me do the math for you. They're asking for nearly 5 times more space for apartments - amounting to at least 2,500, instead of 570. Because after all, we should reward for them for the overbuilding they've already done, right? And it doesn't end with 2500 more apartments. Then there's the auto dealership, the hotel and 1800 parking spaces.

Well, what do you think, Gray Lady & Friends? Time to wake up and wipe the drool off your mouths.

[Learn more about the Riverside Center plans at this Community Forum.]

Today on Wish You Were Here:
Hosier Lane

skint - adj. british slang (1930-35)
lacking funds, broke, bust, stone-broke, impecunious

Around town this weekend, courtesy of the skint: a daily listing of free and cheap things to buy, see, do and eat in New York.

1pm: learn about the history and architecture of one hanson (former williamsburg savings bank and now home of the brooklyn flea) from nyc and brooklyn historian prof. ken jackson and stuart blumin. [sat 1pm, free]

labyrinth theater company celebrates tennessee williams' 99th birthday with a 3-day non-stop (they mean it) festival of his work. featuring philip seymour hoffman, ellen burstyn, many more. the cherry pit theater [fri-sun, free]

bridgman/packer dance use live video and animation projected onto bodies to surprising effect at baryshnikov arts center [fri-sun, $20]

australia's circa company perform 46 circus acts in 45 minutes at the new victory theater. phew! [thru 4/4, tickets start at $12.50. save 15% with code tw4645.]

'veronica mars' meets 'evil dead' in the vampire cowboys production of 'alice in slasherland' at here arts center [every thurs-sun thru 4/10, $18]

delancey street station

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