Lafayette St. Under Fire…Second Update

On Friday, April 11 we were informed that DOT planned to install the proposed protected bike lane on Lafayette St. in three days!

This, in spite of a Community Board #2 resolution and a letter from Councilmember Chin detailing aspects, not addressed, that should be coordinated with the community and specifically with NoHo-Bowery Stakeholders.  Well, so much for that !

Lafayette St at Houston

West crossing over proposed bike lane. Pictured 4-16-14

Again, we are NOT opposed to a protected bike lane. What we are opposed to is the hasty installation without regard to the safety of bikers or pedestrians and the imposition that this lane-without-a-plan will impose on the merchants and businesses along Lafayette St.

We have previously posted a detailed map showing the active construction sites along this corridor, including the massive reconstruction at Astor Place that will require re-make of the bike lane multiple times over the next 24-36 months (show us the money)…and in the interim provide very little additional safety for bike riders.  We have not even questioned the wisdom of a bike lane to nowhere.  It ends on the west side of 12th St.  where the only possible exit is east to a southbound Third Avenue or north, through an unprotected bike lane to 14th St. where there is no designated (or even possible) bike passage for blocks.  It seems that neither DOT or Transportation Alternatives have any interest in safety,  or any other factor that could make the vision of fuel-less transportation enjoyable or even practical.

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NoHoManhattan Tweets

twitter_newbird_boxed_whiteonblueWe have mentioned this several times before, but NoHoManhattan has its own Twitter account…and we are tweeting NoHo-centric headlines on it regularly.  You can see today’s selection in the column to the right.

What do we flag?  Anything that reflects our passions, interests and need-to-know:  real estate, design, art, data, trends, legislation, reviews and profiles of our restaurants, chefs, merchants.

Currently, we follow 107 sources including NYTimes City Room, Politico, City & State, DesignBoom, Cool Hunting, The Daily Beast, New York Observer, Dezeen, Wallpaper, The New Yorker.  We are followed by 110 bloggers and journalists, among them:  The Daily News, the NY Post, DNAInfo, Halstead Property, Curbed.com, The Villager, The LoDown, EVGieve, Bedford+Bowery.  Also on our watch list are all the tweets from our elected officials.

If you have a Twitter account (highly advised because it is a great way to drill down content from trusted sources on your PDA or Cell  - over breakfast, in a taxi, riding the bus, while sitting in a waiting room, while waiting for your lunch date to show)  follow us.  @NoHoManhattan

And, if you think there are some topics NoHo-Bowery neighbors should include, let us know.

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347 Bowery Another Annabelle Seldorf Design

347 Bowery

Image from http://ny.curbed.com/archives/2014/01/14/old_salvation_army_residence_on_the_bowery_will_be_razed.php

347 Bowery and 10 Bond tout Annabelle Seldorf

Posted April 1st on NewYork YIMBY  the saga at 347 Bowery, corner of 3rd and Bowery and opposite The Bowery Hotel, has taken a radical turn, Luckily fresh permits have just been filed for what will hopefully be the site’s ultimate incarnation — which is being developed by Giauco Lolli-Ghetti’s Urban Muse, which acquired the lot for $18 million — and the architect of record is Annabelle Selldorf.

But it seems the transformation has been discussed since January 17th in Curbed and followed pretty closely by bloggers EVGrieve and Bowery Boogie.

Seldorg at 10 BondProbably the best news is Annabelle Seldorf’s engagement as the architect.  As you know she has designed the building in construction at 10 Bond St.  We had occasion to visit the sales office next door last week and fondle the lush lacquered Terra Cotta cladding – more stunning than the renderings –  in copper-brown hue with deep curves.  The foundation has been set and the building is slated to finish in Spring 2015.

 

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383 Lafayette St. Slated for Restoration and an Addition

383 Lafayette St.383 Lafayette St., former home of Tower Video and recently the Student ID office for NYU will finally be getting some contextual attention and allowed uses in our M1-5b zone.

Its new use will be for NYU administrative offices.  The building will function as an academic and student support center for matters such as financial aid counseling, admissions and international studies. The primary occupants of the building will be professional staff who will be supporting all the services on the ground floor.  Based on previous community feedback, NYU has designed the entrance to be on the south end of the building on Lafayette Street.

On March 13th more than 25 residents of East 4th St., Lafayette St, and Great Jones St. met to review and discuss NYU’s plans for restoring the current building and the development of an addition on the adjoining lot on East 4th St.   In addition, NYU presented the concept of a single, setback 5th floor addition which is still being analyzed and explored. The intended uses and proposed FAR for Block 531, Lot 20 (the parking lot is part of it) are consistent with the M1-5b area zoning, and the proposed FAR does not utilize the allowable community facility bonus.

The new building addition designed by Ennead Architects LLP., formerly Polshek Partnership, is highly contextual to its parent building as well as the architecture along East 4th St.  Both restoration and the design of the new building will be reviewed at CB#2 Landmarks Committee (expected in May) and heard at the Landmarks Preservation Commission.

In addition to the discussion of the design there was considerable conversation regarding construction schedules, protocols and protection for the contiguous and adjacent buildings. Attention will also be made for the protection of the Merchants House Museum directly across the street from the new construction site.

In order for NYU to complete drawings for the interior fit out of the building they will need to expose several internal columns and structural members.  This work will require interior abatement and removal of existing materials.  Interior abatement of the 2nd, 3rd, and 4th floor is scheduled to start the week of April 14th. Removal of interior materials is scheduled to start late April/early May.

NYU, NoHo-Bowery Stakeholders, Inc. and other stakeholders contiguous and adjacent are working on a joint Memorandum of Understanding regarding the project, construction protocols and protections.

Posted in Construction, Design, East 4th St., Institutions, Lafayette St., Landmarks, NoHo | Tagged , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Lafayette St. Under Fire…UPDATE

Lafayette St at HoustonLafayette St. Bike Lane and more…UPDATE

With tremendous thanks to the many NoHo residents who signed and expressed their opinions regarding the new Lafayette St. Protected Bike Lane – we were granted most of our stipulations and have been promised more thorough consultation in the future.  Here’s the CB#2 Resolution.

But, before the ink was even dry, DOT marched into NoHo to scrape the Lafayette Roadbed for new surfacing…which was supposed to be complete by March 24, but of course we are still waiting.  The resurfacing-on-hold has disrupted commercial deliveries, of course.  Just in - the paving schedule for April 6 week.

Lafayette St at BondThen, we were informed that the Belgian Block on Bond St. between Jones Alley and Lafayette was to be repaired; only catch is that one half of that stretch is a construction site and will remain so till next spring !

We also noticed that the sidewalk and curb replacement on 4th St. between Broadway and Bowery has begun this weekend.  No actual work of course, just lots of no parking cones and yellow tape.  This does not promise to be speedy, either.

We did manage to send DOT pictures of the Belgian Block condition on Bond St between Lafayette and Bowery, however.  This is an exercise we have done in the spring for three years – without any response.  If you are interested, you can check out the conditions here.

Posted in Bond St., Construction, Dept of Transp, Lafayette St., NoHo, Traffic | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment

UPDATE: New Retail Liquor Store at 320 Lafayette Defeated

Application for New Retail Liquor Store_320 LafayetteOn Tuesday, March 11, the application for a new Retail Liquor Store at 320 Lafayette St. was heard at the NYS Liquor Authority.  We were well prepared with more than 116 signatures from local residents and property owners and a fine letter introducing our testimony from Sen. Daniel Squadron.  We won!

Here was our testimony (minus the visuals):

RE:  Case #2014-00580, Serial #1276016, Win Liquor LLC, 320 Lafayette St.

Dear Chairman Rosen:

NoHo-Bowery Stakeholders and their neighbors wish to express their opposition to the granting of this Retail Liquor license at this address.

  • There are already eight Retail Liquor Stores within 1665 feet of this location; 6 in the NoHo-Nolita neighborhoods. See Proximity Map and Report
  • There are large and small Liquor Stores located in very close proximity to all our major grocery stores.  Most of them small and neighborhood business-based for many years.  See Proximity Reports:
    • Whole Foods, 273 Bowery
    • Met Foods, 246 Mercer
    • Met Foods, 241 Mulberry
    • Morton Williams, 501 LaGuardia Place
  • This area is no shortage of establishments serving full liquor and this community is hard-put to manage the already-liquored commerce on our streets – especially weekends and holidays[i].  See Area Density Map
  • This location is at the center of the NYU Campus, with more dormitories (500 students) and classrooms (80 classrooms/200,000 sq ft) in development. We feel that an additional retail liquor store will only add to the unwanted complications and even tragedies experienced by the undergraduate population and in our neighborhood, as a result of overconsumption of alcoholic beverages.  See NYU Campus Map
  • As a major transit hub, this corner also serves as the gateway for people coming to The Village, NoHo, SoHo and the East Village for plentiful entertainment.  Providing yet another opportunity to purchase and consume alcohol is not in our area’s best interest.
  • 320 Lafayette has a large footprint (7900 sq ft.)  which could easily lend itself to increasing the proposed 1200 sq. ft. store to something much larger and geared to a discount liquor trade.  Indeed this merchant has steadily reduced the footprint of their primary business – Restaurant Supplies.  Without any required community review for an alteration application that would increase the size and liability of this license, we are left with no choice but to oppose it or suffer extreme disadvantage in the future.
  • The street at the back of the store, Crosby St., has recently been cut off from through traffic.  It is the location of the loading docks for Broadway stores and for the buildings on Lafayette St.  Without regular daytime and nighttime through traffic this street has functioned as an alleyway attracting people (tourists included) wishing to avoid the spotlight and detection.  The proximity of a liquor store to this hideway will only increase its use and the resulting burden on our safety.  See images of Crosby St. alley
  • Attached are over 116 signators of petitions from NoHo-Bowery Stakeholder members and neighbors, opposing this application.

The combination of these conditions demonstrate lack of any public convenience at this location and offers significant proof of any unique – or even ordinary – advantage.

[i] Binge Drinking: One in five city adults (ages 18 and up) engaged in “binge drinking” in the previous 30 days.  One-third of adults in Chelsea/Greenwich Village and Union Square/lower Manhattan are binge drinkers.  Source:  2012 Community Health survey, www.nyc.gov

 

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Graffiti

Graffiti

Tagging at 11 Bleecker St.

All of NoHo has been experiencing increased graffiti or tagging –

most of it on buildings directly, some directly on store windows (which requires entire glass replacement).  We have attended the 9th Precinct Community Council meeting last month particularly in regard to this, delivering 45 pages of pictures of the tags to help detectives identify known taggers and to use the images and locations as evidence for new taggers.

Though of some comfort, the tags documented were not gang identifications;  it seems that what we are experiencing is from would-be artists…another unique phenomenon to Greenwich Village.

If you have any graffiti on your building you can call 311 and ask for a free removal kit.  If you do not own your building, ask the owner to request it.

We will take some more pictures this month and will get them to the next Precinct meeting, scheduled for Tues., 3/18 @ 7:00 PM 9th Pct. Station House, 321 East 5th St. 2nd Floor.  Feel free to attend as well.

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Lafayette St. Slated for a New Protected Bike Lane – Update

Lafayette Construction

Update:  Beware NoHo

Lafayette Sts’ New Protected Bike Lane was the topic on Thursday, March 6th at CB#2′s Traffic and Transportation Committee. (Updated March 7)

http://www.dnainfo.com/new-york/20140307/soho/lafayette-street-protected-bike-path-gets-unanimous-cb-2-committee-approval

http://www.streetsblog.org/2014/03/07/cb-2-panel-unanimously-supports-lafayette-4th-avenue-protected-bike-lane 

The original plan called for the protected bike lane to run along the west side of Lafayette St from Broome to 14th St.  It has now been shortened and is now planned for Prince to 9th Sts.

We met with Nina Haiman from the Manhattan Borough Commissioner’s office regarding this plan last week for two hours. We were joined by two restaurant owners on the west side of Lafayette to gain their insight as regards the operation of their businesses and their observations about deliveries, pedestrian activity, garbage pick-ups, etc that are affected by the 12 ft occupation of bike lane and parking in the current Lafayette St. roadbed. Moving trafffic lanes will be reduced from 14′ to 11′.

While parking on Lafayette is supposed to be reserved largely for commercial pick-ups and deliveries,inspection revealed that the signage does not reflect that intention.  Ms. Haiman will investigate the correction of this situation.  Once that is solidified, the parking space in the protected bike lane configuration will be devoted to deliveries dropping off and picking up.  This will be helpful.

The most obvious impediment in the new configuration (cars on the outside, bike lane by the curb) would be the elimination of the buffer zone (cross-hatch area)  that helped to protect from moving traffic.  The affect of this elimination is that there will be no remaining neutral area for cabs to pick-up or drop-off passengers, meaning that anyone using a cab will have to enter or leave in a lane of moving traffic.  The experience of Laurence Kretchmer (restaurateur) is that this increases honking from cars unable to move in the traffic lane, in addition to subjecting passengers to increased danger.  Mr. Kretchmer has observed this from the several other locations of his restaurants in NYC.  Secondarily this configuration lengthens the time taken for deliveries and pick-ups because the service has to accommodate moving bike traffic before they can reach the sidewalk and the delivery entrance.  This can be a particular impediment where large volume goods are being transferred.

Assuming that this pedestrian/cab customer issue can be overcome, eventually, it is our recommendation that the capital investment for a protected bike lane be postponed until the Lafayette Construction Zone which now takes up the majority of space of the proposed bike lane configuration, and the Astor Place Plaza construction, is completed.  An earlier version of this plan showed the installation to begin at Broome St and extend to Union Square.  The REVISED plan, since last weeks CB#2 hearing begins at Prince St and extends to 10th St.  At least some neighborhoods get heard!

NoHo has no objection to eventually having a protected bike lane along this part of Lafayette St.  We have many resident bike riders, have welcomed bike racks, and Citi-bike installations but until the constructions are near completion around here, we feel it is irresponsible and premature to represent this area – protected lane or not – as a safe biking street.

Whatever could be jury-rigged now would have to be done over, maybe even several times. Between the closed sidewalks; blocked crosswalks; sidewalk sheds; large Citi-Bike rental installations; a significant increase in pedestrian traffic from NYU student population travelings by foot daily thru NoHo to and from east side dorms and classrooms, the additional impediment of a protected bike lane to safe pedestrian traffic is, to us, an issue.

Additional to the planning for this protected  bike lane should be the provision of a fire lane up Lafayette from Engine 33, Ladder 9 on Great Jones which will be the only means of reaching anything north, east or west from that station within its service area.

DOT’s standard seems to be to provide two lanes for moving traffic -
though NOW reduced from 14′ to 11′ . It is doubtful that even this is going to manifest particularly for traffic approaching Astor Place (one of several massive constructions underway for the next 3 years). . It would seem that a
lane (usually in the middle so large fire trucks can make corners) should
be a major consideration in determining even the sufficiency of two lanes.

This initiative needs considerable re-consideration before it is employed.

Next stop: (1)  Meeting for all NoHo Merchants, Property Owners, Residents, Sunday March 16th at 6:00pm at Lafayette Grande Cafe.  (2)  Testimony at this month’s CB#2 Full Board Meeting, Thursday, March 20th at 6:00 pm, 63 Fifth Ave, at the New School.

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25 Bleecker St. Tweaked Design

25 Bleecker_Situated

Landmarks pushes architect of 25 Bleecker to design compatibly.

25 Bleecker new facadeAt the March 4 hearing LPC Commissioners were more approving of the second try at the new-designed front of 25 Bleecker, but urged still more tweaking with brickwork and color and width of spandrels between windows to bring the facade closer to the still extant three-to four-story buildings on the northeast side of the block. (LPC staff will suggest the tweaks). Though improved, all the compromise has yielded a misfit – aesthetically and historically.

See Landmarks coverage at GVSHP

Excerpted from NoHo East Designation Report – 2003.  Bleecker St -The earliest developments were rows of Federal-style row houses that were constructed in the first decades of the nineteenth century for middle-class New Yorkers who were moving uptown as the lower Manhattan business district rapidly expanded into existing residential neighborhoods. While many of these houses were replaced or greatly altered later in the nineteenth century or during the early twentieth century, a rare group of Federal row houses survive at 7 to 13 and 21 to 25 Bleecker Street, as well as at 300 Elizabeth Street and 306 to 310 Bowery.

History at 25 Bleecker: This altered row house was built in c.1830 for David Chrystie at a time when this area was developing with homes for the city’s expanding middle class. By 1880, the building was occupied by a boarding house, and by 1890 had been converted to a factory. By the early twentieth century, the building was occupied by the fur industry which was centered in this area into the mid-twentieth century.  One fur dealer, Jacob Scholnick, moved his business into the building in the late 1930s purchasing the property in 1945.  Another long-term tenant was Heyman Sewing Machine Co., which was located here from the late-1930s through the mid-1960s. By then, the post-war decline in the city’s manufacturing base left much vacant commercial space, and loft dwellers began to take over the upper stories of this building. In 1984, the building’s facade was replaced.

Stay tuned though, we hear that 25 Bleecker’s  new owner sees a two-floor restaurant in its future.

Posted in Bleecker St., Bowery, Landmarked Districts, Landmarks, NoHo | Tagged , | Leave a comment

NoHo Building Update

NoHo building has sparked many meetings January through March at Community Board 2, Landmarks, Board of Standards and Appeals and City Planning Commission. Here’s an update.

Landmarks Preservation Commission 

Landmark App-25 Bleecker25 Bleecker St.:  On Tuesday, Feb. 4th, an application was heard to reconstruct the front and rear facade at 25 Bleecker St.  NoHo-Bowery Stakeholders and other Bleecker and Bond St. residents met Sunday, Feb 2 to discuss testimony delivered at LPC.    CB#2 Landmarks Committee denied the application. NoHo-Bowery Stakeholdeers letter.  LPC asked the applicants to reconsider their design feeling it was not contextual to the block.  There will be a presentation at Landmarks on March 4th, approx 10am of the new design.
27 East 4th St.: (next to the Merchant’s House Museum). An LPC hearing on Feb. 11th revealed altered plans, including a reduction to 10 floors or 91′ in height.   There were also design changes on the east side wall which the Commission viewed favorably since, being next to the Merchant’s House, it would always be exposed.  You can read more at GVSHP.

25 Great Jones St. 2014?

25 Great Jones St. 2014?

25 Great Jones/22 Bond St.:  The new design by BKSK Architects was approved at Landmarks in Nov. 2013.  It is close to approval at the BSA.  Construction is expected to begin in mid-march.  (See more below)

37 Great Jones St.:  Landmarks approved the conversion of this industrially used building in January.  Restoration at the front of the building will return it to its original details.  There will be a small roof-top addition and small temporary buildings in the rear will be removed to accommodate new windows at the rear and an upper-story balcony.

Construction

Building_688 Broadway688 Broadway: All systems go.  This new addition to NoHo designed by BKSK Architects (25 Bond, 25 Great Jones/22 Bond) has Landmarks and the City Planning Commission’s OK.  Work should begin in the spring.  We understand that a Memorandum of Agreement regarding construction protocols is being signed with contiguous building(s).

25 Great Jones/22 Bond St.: Construction is scheduled to begin March 14th.  SDS has yet to sign the Memorandum of Understanding with NoHo-Bowery Stakeholders regarding construction protections and protocols.  Hopefully there will be better news on this soon.

Posted in Bleecker St., Bond St., East 4th St., Great Jones St., Land Use & Development, Landmarks, NoHo, Zoning | Tagged , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

NoHo Offers Fond Farewells to 2013 – Hello 2014

A Fond Farewell to 2013

2013 was filled with meetings and record participation by residents and property owners and institutions with a relatively unanimous vision.  Congratulations NoHo !

Photographers:  Charle Cafiero, Zella Jones

 

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CB#2 Hearings for November, 2013

CB#2 Hearings for November 2013 – Updated

The following list has been updated as of Nov. 7th for CB#2 Hearings for November 2013 pertaining to NoHo and vicinity.  You can check this link for additional updates should they occur.

Wed., 11/6 @6:30 PM- Little Red School House (auditorium), 272 Sixth Avenue (corner of Bleecker St.). PARKS/WATERFRONT Richard Caccappolo, Chair.  Update on Elizabeth Street Garden.
Tues., 11/12 @ 6:30 PM- St. Anthony of Padua, 151-155 Sullivan St. (Lower Hall) Apps. to the State Liquor Authority (SLA) for New License to sell liquor on-premise:

Chef Club NY, Inc. d/b/a Chef’s Club by Food & Wine, 295 Lafayette St./275 Mulberry St. 10012
An entity to be formed by Starr Rest. & Joseph Caroll, 222 Bowery 10012
Entity to be formed by Scott Sartiano, 415 Lafayette St. 10003
 Renewals:  Forcella La Pizza Di Napoli, 334 Bowery (b&w);  The Wren, 344 Bowery (on-premise).  Let us know if you would like these items put on their agenda for discussion. Read more about licensing here

Tues., 11/12 @ 6:30 PM– Tony Dapolito Center, 1 Clarkson Street, 3rd Floor.  SIDEWALKS/STREET ACTIVITIES Maury Schott, Chair.  Renewal App. for revocable consent to operate an unenclosed sidewalk cafe for IL Buco Corp. d/b/a IL Buco, 47 Bond St., with 2 tables & 12 seats, DCA # 1109238

Mon., 11/18, 6:30 PM - Judson Church (Assembly Hall) 239 Thompson St., LANDMARKS & PUBLIC AESTHETICS 1st MEETING Sean Sweeney, Doris Diether, Co-Chairs

1.*       1 West 4th Street aka 669- 705 Broadway- Application is to alter the entrances and paving
2.*       718 Broadway-Application is to replace windows.
3.*       48 Great Jones St. Application is to replace storefront infill and remove cast iron vault lights.

Wed., 11/20 @ 6:30 PM- University Settlement at Houston Street Center, 273 Bowery CB 2/CB 3 BLEECKER/HOUSTON TRAFFIC STUDY PRESENTATION BY DOT.   NYCDOT will be holding a public meeting for the Bowery-Houston-Bleecker Transportation Study, which was initiated in response to community concerns regarding congestion, safety and other quality of life issues. The study, which focused on an area bounded by Clinton Street to the east, Mercer Street to the west, 8th and E. 4th Streets to the north and Delancey Street to the south, documents the various analyses and preliminary recommendations. The goal of the meeting is to receive community input on the improvement measures that are designed to address the traffic issues raised in the past.

Posted in Bars & Restaurants, Land Use & Development, Landmarks, NoHo, Traffic | Tagged , , , , , , , | Leave a comment