According to DNAinfo.com, there are currently twenty apartments sitting empty at Westbeth, some of which have been unoccupied for more than two years.
Formerly the site of Bell Laboratories (1868-1966), the 13-building complex was renovated to create 384 live-work spaces for artists and their families. The building opened in 1970, and has historically been a godsend for artists who could not otherwise afford to live in New York City, let alone the West Village. The ability to create and showcase their talents in this great city has been essential for many.
The waiting list for apartments is so long that it’s been closed for many years, and those who were fortunate enough to get on the list expect to have to wait decades before an apartment becomes available to them. The Director ofWest Village Word is an artist herself, has lived in the West Village for 34 years but has never been able to apply because the waiting list has been full every time she’s looked into it.
So what’s going on? Why is Westbeth apparently stockpiling apartments? According to one resident, management has said some units are still vacant because the estates of their deceased owners are being settled, or the apartments need repairs. But that doesn’t properly explain why some have been empty for so long.
The situation has moved local politicians into action, including State Senator Brad Hoylman, City Council Speaker Christine Quinn, Manhattan Borough President Scott Stringer, Assemblywoman Deborah Glick and Representative Jerrold Nadler, who all signed a letter to Westbeth’s executive director asking that the vacant units be made available to applicants as quickly as possible.
We hope that the units will be made available to artists who have been waiting patiently, and that with the recent publicity about the situation, the management of Westbeth will become more transparent about why these apartments are still empty.
Beautiful Weather, Wonderful Music
This year we get to see the Macy’s Fourth of July fireworks from our side of the island again.
Which brings about a lot of whining and complaining from everyone who lives in Brooklyn, Queens and the East side.
They do have a point— many more New Yorkers can conveniently see the display when it’s on the East River, but the original fireworks were on the Hudson River, starting in 1958. The show didn’t move to the East River until 1976, then moved back to the Hudson in 2009 to celebrate the 400th anniversary of Henry Hudson’s trip up the Hudson. And there it’s stayed, at least through this year.
The fireworks will go off in the middle of the river from West 24 Street to West 50 Street. There are a lot of great rooftop views from our neighborhood, but if you want to experience the show up close, go to Hudson River Park. The park and areas along the West Side Highway get very crowded, so get there early.
Posted June 20, 2013
Tomorrow, June 21, Make Music NY, starting at 10 am and going until 10 pm. Music of all genres by all kinds of musicians, will be performed on streets throughout the five boroughs. This marks the seventh year of this global event.
From 10 in the morning to 10 at night, musicians of all ages and musical persuasions including hip hop, opera, Latin jazz and punk rock take to the streets for free public performances.
For listings of all the performances throughout the city, go here…
For all the listings of performances that take place in the West Village, go here…