July 2013

Condo City

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The West Village will soon see a major rise in construction of many new luxury condo buildings, some welcome, some not.

Real Estate Development Update, July 12: According to GVSHP, the State Legislature approved a measure allowing “… the ‘air rights’ from commercial piers within the Hudson River Park to be transferred for use one block inland. This was done without notice, analysis, or the opportunity for the public to comment, and will mean even greater development along our waterfront.

125 Perry Street The 40,000-square-foot Greenwich Village Garage at Greenwich PerryGarageStreet is set to be converted or demolished to make way for luxury housing, according to therealdeal.com.

Greenwich Lane  This project marks a sad loss that doesn’t add much to the quality of life in the West Village except for a donation to local arts organizations — promised as part of the contentious approval process. The former St. Vincent’s Site will offer 200 Condos in 10 buildings and will go on sale this Fall. It seems unlikely that anyone who currently lives StVincentsConstructionin the neighborhood would be interested in purchasing from the much-despised Rudin Group, but who knows? To see more of the project, go here

150 Charles Street  The old Whitehall Storage building is being remade into 16-story structure with setbacks, allowing for the continued circulation of air and light in the surrounding area. The low, wide building  was designed to include a massive amount of green 150CharlesConstructionspace, and will have red brick exterior walls, as did the old warehouse.

Steven Witkoff, the sponsor of 150 Charles Street Holdings, has made a concerted effort to make the future building and its residents become an integral part of the neighborhood. His love and passion for the West Village is evident when he discusses 150 Charles, and he has reached out to neighborhood groups to assure them that his company and the building will be involved in keeping our community a great place to live. For more information, go here

130 Seventh Avenue South The one-story structure at Seventh Avenue and 10th VerandaStreet, which was formerly home to Veranda Restaurant, has been purchased by Keystone group with plans to build a seven-story condominium with retail space at street level. Many in the neighborhood object to this project, and planned to go before The Landmarks Preservation Commission to raise their objections.

I Think That I Shall Never See…

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A Sight As Scary as a Falling Tree!

FallenTreeWe love the trees that line our sidewalks, but what do we really know about them?

A dramatic and frightening incident occurred on June 30, Gay Pride Day, when a large tree fell on West 10th Street between Bleecker and West 4th Streets. Fortunately, no one TreeInTrouble2was injured, but a car was crushed.

The 592,130 trees on New York City streets bring shade and fresh air to our environment, and a large, healthy tree removes a significant amount of air pollution. Without the trees, our city would be an ugly wasteland of unshaded sun and out-of-contol pollution. But those trees can also pose a danger.

We expect problems to occur during a storm, but even in fair weather large trees and branches fall more often than you’d think, causing damage to property and human life.

Do we know what care a tree requires to stay healthy? Can we recognize the signs of an unhealthy tree that may come down?

City trees face a set of unique problems. The roots have too little space in which to grow, and become cramped and twisted; they often find space by lifting the pavement which causes a different set of dangers.  A more common problem is that tree beds are often starved of oxygen and nutrients because of trash, dog waste and improper plantings.

TreeVsSidewalk2Janna Passuntino, a West Villager who has been trained and certified in TreesNY’s Citizen Pruner Tree Care Course, recommended these sources to learn more about the proper planting and care of our trees: Trees New York (http://www.treesny.org) and City of New York Parks & Recreation (www.nycgovparks.org/trees/tree-care/tree-pit-care).

Here are some of the recommendations from the Parks Department:


  • Perennials, annuals and bulbs are beautiful additions to a tree pit, as long as you remember that the tree’s health comes first.
  • Choose plants that require little watering.
  • Use small plants and bulbs – large plants require large planting holes, which damage tree roots. In addition plants with large root systems compete with the tree for water and nutrients.
  • Do not add more then 2” of soil to your tree pit. Raising the soil level will harm the tree.
  • Mulching a tree pit is always good for your tree and plants. Mulch keeps the soil moist and prevents weeds from sprouting in tree pits.
  • Never plant Bamboo, Ivy, Vines, Woody Shrubs, Evergreens. They are all major competitors for water and nutrients and can stunt or kill a tree.

Tree Care

  • The soil level around a tree should not be changed from the soil level at which it was planted. Adding soil (even 6 inches) can smother roots and rot a tree’s trunk. Digging soil out can damage shallow roots.
  • Keep dogs and dog waste (both liquid and solid) out of the tree pit. The waste will overwhelm a tree, burning its trunk, throwing the soil nutrients out of balance.
  • Remove unwanted competing plants, i.e. weeds.
  • Keep garbage and de-icing salt out of the tree pit. Try alternatives to rock salt (sodium chloride) such as calcium chloride or granular urea. In the spring, flush the tree pit with water to dilute winter salt buildup.
  • Don’t lock bikes to trees or leave decorative lighting on past February.
  • Remove supporting wires if they are left on more than one year after planting.

If you want to become involved in the care of city and neighborhood trees, you can become a citizen steward for Million Trees NYC by going here…  Or find out about  becoming a Citizen Pruner with Trees New York by going here

Baby’s Birth Buoys Brits

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TeaSympathyThe announcement of the royal birth was welcomed on the strip of Greenwich Avenue known as Little Britain. In  2011, Nicky Perry of Tea & Sympathy hosted a big street party to celebrate the wedding of William and Kate The window of Tea & Sympathy displays a line of Union Jacks and a banner saying “It’s a Boy”.

Piano Man

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PianoManThe sounds of piano chords will be wafting through the air
every weekend this summer at the Bleecker Street sitting area at West 11th Street and Bleecker. Pianist Johnny Marx transports his piano to the park on weekend mornings and plays through the day to the delight of all.

Preparing for the Next Sandy and More

bloomberg_zps2bcd6364Man of Action

He may be leaving office soon, but that hasn’t stopped Mayor Michael Bloomberg from continuing to put into action his ambitious plans to make the city a better place to live.

Many of his plans have been controversial and have met with initial opposition — such as legislating trans-fats, smoking and sugary drinks; transforming city streets into bike havens and pedestrian malls; and his latest proposal — composting for energy. At times he seems like a strict parent disciplining us into healthier habits and greener lifestyles, but his heart is in the right place  and most importantly, he gets things done. (continue reading by going here…)

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