June 2013

Preparing for the Next Sandy and More

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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.

In the Face of Disaster

Last week, he held a news conference at the Brooklyn Navy Yard to announce the results of climate change studies and plans to protect the city from the worst results of future disasters. It was a long speech, but an important one which should have been a wake-up call for all New Yorkers. To read the full speech, or to see the video, go here

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He also announced the publication of a revised flood evacuation zone map put out by FEMA . To see the map and how it might affect you, go here

In 2007 Mayor Bloomberg created the program PlaNYC to study and implement ways to combat climate change in the city. An after-action review on Superstorm Sandy showed that urgent work needs to be done now and over the next decades to protect the city from future climate-related disasters. To learn more about PlaNYC, go here

In December, he and PlaNYC brought together groups of scientists, engineers, climatologists and experts in the fields of telecommunications, healthcare, utilities and insurance to report on the dangers from possible storms, heat waves, drought and other disabling events we may face in the future. The 400-page report they put out is thorough and predicts best-case and worst-case scenarios for New York City’s temperature extremes, coastal erosion, climate change and more. To read the report, go here

Sixty of the report’s recommendations are being implemented, but it will take many years to complete all of the proposed plans, so Mayor Bloomberg urges all of us, as voters, to make sure that his successors in office follow through.

Questions Raised About Vacancies at Westbeth

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Canopy 3According 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

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Keyboards

Make Music NY filled the streets with beautiful sounds yesterday, and the 178 Keyboard event on Cornelia Street was no exception. A Guinness Book of World Records was there to verify that 178 keyboards being played in one place at one time broke the world’s 
record, as the event did last year.

Everyone on hand was invited to join in, even if they had never played a piano, and many did, along with groups of schoolchildren, neighborhood residents and professional musicians.

Eat Your Hearts Out, East Siders!

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MacysFireworks

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.

The Streets Are Alive With The Sound  of Music

Posted June 20, 2013

mmny-logo_largeTomorrow, 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

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