Fiscal Year 2006
2005 - June 2006
Manhattan Community District No. 4 (CD4) is comprised of two West
Side neighborhoods, Chelsea and Clinton/Hell's Kitchen. The District
generally covers the area between 14th and 59th streets - to the
west of Eighth Avenue north of 26th Street, and west of Sixth Avenue
south of 26th Street. CD4 shares borders with Greenwich Village, the
Flatiron, the Upper West Side and the Midtown central business
district. Portions of several other well-known areas exist within
CD4's boundaries: the Garment District, the Flower District, the
Gansevoort Meat Packing District, the Ladies Mile Shopping District
and the Theater District. Other notable sites in CD4 include
Restaurant Row, the High Line, Columbus Circle, Maritime Piers 56 -
99 including the Passenger Ship Terminal (Piers 88, 90 and 92), and
segments 5 - 7 of the Hudson River Park.
The total population of CD4 is approximately 100,000. Many
residents are long time residents; others are relative newcomers. An
estimated 10,000 new residents already occupy or are expected to
move into housing developments completed or begun since the last
Census. Chelsea and Clinton/Hell's Kitchen remain desirable
residential neighborhoods for their streetscapes, building types and
local institutions, as well as their proximity to world-class
cultural resources and amenities. It is the diversity of residents,
however, that is our greatest asset.
Currently, development of all types is considerable, but housing
production is predominant. In-fill construction, building
enlargements and substantial renovations have filled-in gaps and
improved the housing stock in core residential areas. Housing
development activities in less dense areas have preserved and
strengthened the character of existing neighborhoods (Hell's Kitchen
South and the Clinton Urban Renewal Area) and created new population
centers (42nd Street and far west 23rd Street). Major redevelopment
plans proposed for both neighborhoods will create opportunities for
capturing some of the value created through rezonings and for
revisiting policies to strengthen our diversity with permanent
CD4 is central to Manhattan and the region's core. The physical
character of CD4 is defined as much by its neighborhoods, as by the
infrastructure that supports the citywide economy. At the local
level, transportation infrastructure exerts the greatest impact as
it channels hundreds of thousands of visitors through CD4 every day.
Streets and avenues are exceedingly congested, trucks are an
increasing presence on residential streets, off-street facilities
for all types of buses and commuter vans are inadequate and
environmental pollution is a constant quality of life complaint and
threat to public health. These problems are a condition of the
sometimes competing goals of neighborhood protection and improvement
and the efficient flow of traffic.
A range of economic activities exists within CD4. Many reflect
the area's historical development as an immigrant, working-class
neighborhood once closely tied to an industrial waterfront and later
serving as a "backstage" community for the theater industry by
providing theater-related support services. Local businesses are
vital to the community. Many are an essential of part of or serve
the midtown central business district, the city's garment trades, or
nearby entertainment industries. Neighborhood shops, restaurants and
other enterprises serve area residents and workers, but are also are
widely known for high-quality goods and services and have become
important destinations for art, culture and recreation.
Recent growth in the Midtown central business district has
created pressure to expand commercial development westward into CD4,
especially in the area between 30th and 42nd streets. The area is
now a focus for large scale development designed to carry the city
over the long term into the next series of economic cycles. Local
goals for growth have been developed toward balancing the proposed
expansion of the central business district with the preservation and
expansion of Clinton/Hell's Kitchen and Chelsea residential
CD4 is defined by its homegrown, unique characteristics, both
physical and social; its symbiotic relationships with surrounding
neighborhoods; and our communities' reaction to the unique
characteristics, both physical and social, of those surrounding
neighborhood. In the current setting of growth and development,
Manhattan Community Board No. 4's priorities are (1) preventing
displacement, (2) maintaining neighborhood character, stability and
quality of life, and (3) attracting development that enhances
diversity and positive neighborhood relations among disparate
groups. Concrete efforts to realize these priorities include
advocacy for increased supply and access to affordable housing,
improvement of the area's physical infrastructure, and adequate
delivery of social and public
LAND USE PLANNING
The Chelsea 197-a Plan, now in effect for the traditional core of Chelsea,
has largely been effective in redirecting development pressures into areas that
do not threaten the essential character of historic Chelsea or entail
significant displacement. Conversions and new residential construction where
such uses were previously illegal are transforming the face of Chelsea while not
impinging significantly on the historic core. Nevertheless, it remains a source
of deep dissatisfaction that effective means have not yet been found to fulfill
the Plan's important goal of creating mixed-income housing on appropriate sites
in the community. The difficult issue of creating affordable housing where land
values are high must be addressed in order to attain social stability and social
justice in our communities. We look forward to working with the City
administration and elected officials as well as with private institutions toward
this goal when new funding sources may be available or when new programs or
mechanisms are developed.
CB4 has been undertaking planning for the remainder of the Chelsea community,
essentially the manufacturing districts west of the now rezoned residential
area. Among the goals are supporting the burgeoning arts community in West
Chelsea, preserving and improving the existing service base, and providing for
parks and open space and residential development where appropriate. Preservation
and expansion of the existing residential corridor along Tenth Avenue, including
provisions for affordable housing and for protection of existing housing and
appropriate scale, are major concerns of the Board. Adaptive reuse of
significant existing buildings, discouragement of nuisance uses, and linking the
community physically and visually to the waterfront should be promoted by
putting in place well-considered use and bulk controls. In many places buildings
and streetscapes of considerable distinction remain in the area and should be
protected by zoning or Landmark designation. CB4 is proposing a new Chelsea
Waterfront Historic District in the warehouse/industrial area north of 24th St
as well as identification and individual designation of significant structures
in areas to be rezoned.
City Planning's recent proposals to provide new opportunities for residential
development in West Chelsea and to create a mostly open corridor along a
transformed High Line are in large degree consistent with the CB4 goals. The
scales proposed for the new residential areas, however, especially along Tenth
Avenue south of 23rd Street and on the block bounded by 17th and 18th streets
and Tenth and Eleventh avenues, are inconsistent with such significant goals as
minimizing residential displacement, preserving the ambiance of the Chelsea
Historic District, linking the community with the waterfront, and even providing
a truly open corridor for the High Line. Such environmental problems as sewage
overflow will be exacerbated by major new development. CB4 is also deeply
concerned about the absence of significant proposals for affordable housing in
this sizable rezoning. CB4 hopes these issues can be resolved.
The Board cannot support any rezoning plan for this area that does not
provide effective measures for dealing with the spread of large nightclubs and
the growing impacts on residents and visitors from noise, traffic, drug use and
violence. Recent incidents at or near some clubs in western Chelsea are only a
part of a long-standing and worsening problem that is in serious conflict with
the growing arts and residential presence in the area. Big box retail and adult
uses are also inconsistent with such a presence.
West 14th Street Area
West 14th Street is the southern boundary of
CB4 and the northern boundary of CB2. For this reason, the two community boards
have developed planning goals for the area around and including our common
boundary. CB4 and CB2 have agreed on the following goals:
- Rezoning 14th Street, from Seventh to Ninth avenues,
as proposed in the Chelsea Plan, to more closely reflect the low-scale nature
of this street and its importance as a linkage in scale between low rise
Chelsea and Greenwich Village.
- Preserving the essence of the Gansevoort Meat Packing
District as a mercantile district where light manufacturing can co-exist with
commercial and retail uses, and where residential uses are prohibited.
- Creating open space on appropriate sites.
- Curbing the proliferation of unruly bars on the ground floors of
Hell's Kitchen/Hudson Yards
Over the past year, CB4 has provided extensive comment on community needs
related to the proposed No. 7 Subway Extension and Hudson Yards Area Rezoning.
In brief, CB4 questions the need for 35-40 million square feet of new
development in Midtown and the compatibility of mixed uses at such high
densities. The Board has joined with Hell's Kitchen Neighborhood Association to
support an alternate development plan that uses the western Rail Yards not for a
stadium but for a mix of uses including new high density commercial buildings,
hotels and community uses. This would allow redistribution of density from
sensitive areas such as the 42nd Street, Tenth Avenue and Eleventh Avenue
corridors. The eastern Rail Yards and the areas east to Eighth Avenue between
30th and 35th Streets should be established as the area's main high density
commercial corridor. 42nd Street should remain a primarily residential mixed-use
corridor and a buffer for the Special Clinton District to the north.
CB4's overarching goal for the area between 34th and 42nd streets, from
Eighth to Eleventh avenues is to have a residential neighborhood develop with
strong local identity. In this area, existing residential buildings should be
protected and development should occur in a fashion that reinforces the
community's historical identity and strengthens its connections with
neighborhoods to the north and south.
One of the stated objectives of the proposed rezoning is to
"reinforce the existing residential neighborhood and encourage new housing
opportunities." This must include providing affordable housing at low to
middle-income levels, as well as market-rate housing. Not less than 30% of all
housing units constructed in the rezoned area must be permanently affordable.
The rezoning must include specific mechanisms to accomplish this goal.
The up-zoning of the Hell's Kitchen/Hudson Yards area will lead to
significant increases in property values in CD4 and to heightened real estate
tax collections by the City. CB4 believes that every effort should be made to
capture some of this value toward creating affordable housing in our area
through such means as tax exemption, help in acquiring suitable property and
low-cost funding, modification of existing affordable housing programs, and
mandatory inclusionary housing. Indeed, this should be general City policy. In
conjunction with the proposed rezoning, the City must also commit to develop
additional affordable housing on targeted publicly owned sites, with stated
To preserve existing residential buildings and protect existing residents,
the Special Clinton District regulations concerning alteration or demolition of
residential buildings in the Preservation Area should apply in the Hell's
Kitchen/Hudson Yards area.
West Side Football Stadium
A stadium is the wrong economic
development tool for the West Side, and is incompatible with the development of
the dynamic mixed use community the City is seeking to facilitate. It would be a
30-story barrier to the waterfront, and would bring insurmountable traffic
Clinton/Hell's Kitchen continues to experience an explosion of commercial and
residential development. This has created opportunities in some areas, such as
the accelerated pace of redevelopment in the Clinton Urban Renewal Area, and
challenges in others, such as the increased pressure on affordable and
contextual residential properties in the Special Clinton District.
Clinton Urban Renewal Area
CB4 is pleased to note that the Clinton
Urban Renewal Area (CURA), which has long been the focus of the Board's land use
efforts in Clinton/Hell's Kitchen, has been part of this development boom:
- The renovation of six tenements at 52nd Street and
Eleventh Avenue in CURA Site 9A were completed in 2001 to produce 45 units of
- Tenements at 501 W. 52nd Street in CURA Site 8 were
renovated in 2003 to produce 26 permanently affordable family units; a
permanent home for Housing Conservation Coordinators, a Clinton-based
non-profit organization that plays a crucial role in stabilizing and improving
the quality of affordable housing; and a community garden.
- The Flats/Old School renovation at Eleventh Avenue
and 52nd Street in CURA Site 7A will produce 33 low-income family units and 53
low-income units for homeless adults and community residents. The development
will also include a community garden.
- The construction of an 11-story building at 52nd
Street and Eleventh Avenue in CURA Site 7A will produce 96 residential units -
70% low-income and 30% middle-income.
- The construction of an 8-story building at 755-765
Tenth Avenue in CURA Site 9C will provide 84 units of subsidized housing for
- The renovation and new construction at 501-505 W. 51st Street includes 27
mostly family units development through the inclusionary housing program. The
project also includes the preservation of a long term commercial tenant,
HPD has recently selected a developer in response to its
RFP for the undeveloped portions of CURA Sites 8 and 9C. The RFP calls for
mixed-income housing units (at least 20% of which must remain low-income units
for at least 30 years), commercial/retail space along Tenth Avenue, two new
theater spaces and substantial publicly accessible open space.
These developments reflect the cooperation that has developed between CB4 and
HPD with the assistance of the City Planning. The Board also acknowledges the
ongoing assistance of the Clinton CURA Coordinating Committee, a coalition of
not-for profits, in developing and sponsoring affordable housing in this area.
The coalition includes Clinton Housing Association, Clinton Association for a
Renewed Environment, Clinton Housing Development Company, Encore Community
Services and Housing Conservation Coordinators.
This partnership between the not-for-profits, CB4 and city agencies has made
remarkable progress toward realizing the goals established for the Clinton Urban
Renewal Area many years ago. We look forward to continued cooperation to
complete redevelopment of the CURA.
Consistent with the Board's past positions, we maintain that all city-owned
property developed in the CURA should maximize the number of units dedicated to
affordable housing. Other CURA principles adopted by the Board include a new
mixed-use zone to accommodate existing commercial, light manufacturing, cultural
and non-profit institutions on site; urban design controls to reconcile the
community's need for more housing with the preservation tradition and limits of
the Special Clinton District; and the maintenance and development of only
low-rise buildings on the west side of Tenth Avenue to match the low-rise
character of the District to the east. Any action by HPD to facilitate
development in the CURA must reflect these principles.
In addition, we note that the only acquisition parcel that has yet to be
acquired by the City in the CURA is Site 6, which is the western portion of
block 1082, on Eleventh Avenue between 53rd and 54th Streets. As such, this
property is not subject to the development restrictions of the Clinton Urban
Renewal Plan and, because it is located within the CURA boundary, it is also is
excluded from the height and bulk restrictions of the Special Clinton District.
This Board will oppose any future request to permit redevelopment of Site 6 for
a use inconsistent with residential use or at a density that exceeds what is
allowed in an R8A zoning district.
Special Clinton District - Preservation Area
The development boom
throughout Clinton has put considerable pressure on the Special Clinton
District, which was established in 1973 to, among other things, preserve and
strengthen the residential character of the community, and permit rehabilitation
and new development in character with the existing scale of the community and at
rental levels which would not substantially alter the mixture of income groups
then residing in the area.
CB4 is pleased that City Planning has proposed to amend the text of the
Zoning Resolution amended to clarify and restrict building heights on the
avenues in the Preservation Area. In a further effort to maintain the District's
goals, CB4 will continue to favor development proposals that will produce
substantial ratios (more than 30%) of permanently affordable residential units
and will include the preservation of commercial tenants that serve area
However, attention must be paid not only to new development but also to
enforcement of the protective provisions of the Preservation Area of the Special
Clinton District, the neighborhood's residential core. The proper training and
assignment of inspectors with detailed local knowledge is a must (see HOUSING
section, Special Clinton District). Without adequate and informed enforcement,
the goals district will not be fulfilled.
Special Clinton District - Other Area
The western area of the Special
Clinton District beyond the boundary of the Preservation Area, is primarily
zoned for light or medium industrial uses. CB4 will continue to study those
manufacturing zones with a view toward better understanding the uses, scales and
activities that are present and adapting the area for desirable development in
More and more vehicles crowd our streets and avenues each year. This creates
high levels of congestion in our district, increasing pollution, leading to
dangerous situations for pedestrians at street crossings, impairing the ability
for cyclists to safely travel, and raising competition for the limited curbside
parking space on neighborhood blocks. There are no easy solutions to these
competitions and conflicts. Remedies and amelioration call for a balanced and
thoughtful approach; efforts must be in a partnership among CB4, DOT, NYPD and
the Port Authority.
It is especially important, as plans develop to add considerable new density
in CD4, that DOT devote at least as many, if not more, resources to finding new
ways to encourage use of mass transit and non-motorized transportation as it
does to increasing capacity for private cars.
There is a pressing need for off-street parking sites for tourist and
commuter buses and vans. The parking and standing of these vehicles on our
streets brings with it serious traffic and pollution problems. Using the streets
as terminals for loading and unloading commuter vehicles is an unacceptable
problem which is aggravated by the loss of parking to development. Both the
location and prescribed routing to and from such facilities must be carefully
evaluated with input from CB4. Consideration must be given for the establishment
of off-street facilities for waiting "black cars" and for the provision of rest
stations for taxis and similar vehicles.
Parking/Standing regulations require clear posting, and even-handed constant
enforcement. No intervention from a single special interest user should hold
sway. All stakeholders must be considered when these regulations are adjusted.
The mixture of commerce and residential uses in our Board area makes imperative
budgeting for adequate signage and for enforcement staff.
Much of CD4's population uses mass transit. Keeping the City's system
operating at an optimal level is therefore a continuing basic need. In addition
to efficient movement of surface traffic, the accessibility of bus stops and
subway stations contribute materially to the usability of public transit. Subway
stations must be designed to be as accessible and friendly as possible for all
riders. Bus stops should have clear signage. Where feasible, shelters are
desirable, and standing vehicles must be kept away so that buses can "curb" for
passengers with mobility limitations. The Board must be kept apprised of
temporary and emergency changes in bus routes, subway station closings, and
schedule alterations. The Board must be consulted before implementation of
permanent changes in types of equipment used, schedule modifications, and bus
All areas of Chelsea and Clinton/Hell's Kitchen should be safe and friendly
for pedestrians and bicyclists. CB4 reiterates its request for DOT to extend the
Hudson Street/Eighth Avenue bike lane and buffer lane as far north as possible,
a request that has also been made to DOT by our neighbors on CB5. The Board
understands that restriping prior to repaving may require the removal of some of
the current lane stripes, which could leave a mark on the roadway. Given the
current status of Eighth Avenue street surface, which is already disfigured by
numerous cuts and patches, the marks left by stripe removal are of minimal
concern, compared to the substantial public benefit to be conferred on the
community by the restriping.
We recommend that DOT consider widening the west side of the Eighth Avenue
sidewalk between 30th and 38th streets by 6 feet. The pedestrian level of
service there is "F" (the lowest possible rating) during the morning and evening
peak periods. It is often so crowded that hundreds of people end up walking in
the street, creating very dangerous conditions.
DOT should construct secure bike parking at Port Authority bus terminal
similar to what is being proposed at Penn Station. It costs $100,000 to
construct state-of-the art, well-secured parking for 60 bikes, compared with a
$50,000 price tag of construction for a single car-parking space in Midtown.
Even these costs can be mitigated by DOT partnering with the local BID and other
groups, as it did for the Penn Station bike parking facility.
During any future roadway work, DOT should widen sidewalks within CB4's
district as much as possible, especially at corners to create "bulb-outs."
Bulb-outs increase pedestrian safety by increasing the turning radius around
corners, thus slowing motor vehicles. Bulb-outs also shorten the crossing
distance for pedestrians. Bulb-outs that were already created at various
intersections in the 40's are welcomed by the pedestrians who use them.
The Lincoln Tunnel traffic improvement plan, implemented earlier this year by
the Port Authority and DOT, has improved overall efficiency of the traffic
entering the tunnel, but some aspects of the plan ignore pedestrian concerns and
have created problems. Two particularly problematic locations are 42nd Street
and Ninth Avenue, where longer queues of vehicles (particularly buses) and
pedestrians increasingly compete for the use of streets; and 37th Street and
Ninth Avenue, where Tunnel bound traffic can be dangerously aggressive, though
often grid-locked. Sufficient enforcement by NYPD or Port Authority traffic
officers at these locations to manage traffic and ensure pedestrian safety has
not been consistently deployed.
As the primary entry/exit route of the Lincoln Tunnel, Dyer Avenue receives
heavy traffic and requires special attention to ensure pedestrian safety.
However, these basic concerns must be addressed:
- Intersection of Dyer Avenue and 40th Street.
Pedestrian signals have been installed at this location; however, pedestrian
crossings are still problematic. Two pedestrians were killed at this
intersection since 2001. Crosswalks should be realigned to avoid the columns
of the ramp leading to the Port Authority Bus Terminal. In addition, improved
signage is required to alert drivers that they have left the Tunnel and
entered the New York City street grid;
- 35th Street and Dyer Avenue. Not all pedestrian crossings are striped;
none are hatched. Vehicles associated with the Midtown South Police Precinct
Police are often parked in pedestrian crossing lanes.
Enforcing all laws regarding the proper use of bicycles substantially
contributes to pedestrian safety. NYPD should increase enforcement of bicycle
riding on the sidewalk and target businesses that are repeat offenders. In
addition, there is a continued need for bike parking racks throughout Chelsea
and Clinton/Hell's Kitchen to discourage chaining of bicycles to trees,
tree-guards, scaffolding and other inappropriate locations. There must be
vigilance to ensure that sidewalks are kept clear of unnecessary clutter and
obstructions. That goal requires a constant balancing of the needs of commerce
with human needs, and this Board requires the active help of various City
agencies to accomplish it.
As DOT engages in roadway repaving and reconstruction, we request that in
general avenues be rebuilt with narrower roadways wherever possible, using the
reclaimed space for sidewalks and greening; that DOT widen sidewalks at key
locations to provide additional bike parking; that DOT add bike lanes on the
planned network and all the avenues.
Vehicle speed limits and other traffic laws must be vigorously enforced.
Traffic-calming elements can be added on residential streets that are not
arterial routes intended for heavy through-traffic. All street crossings need to
be designed to be usable by blind and low-vision pedestrians as well as those
traveling in wheelchairs and with walking aids.
Major development projects at the northern end of our district, including
Time Warner Center, the Hearst Building, the John Jay College expansion, Durst's
mixed-used project on 57th Street, the new DOS garage at 12th Avenue and the
marine solid waste transfer facility at Pier 97, in addition to project just out
side our district boundaries - the museum at 2 Columbus Circle and development
at Riverside South, will create major traffic problems in upcoming months and
years. DOT must address the needs of surrounding residents and businesses as it
plans for congestion mitigation in relation to these projects during
construction as well after completion.
The Columbus Circle subway station is sorely in need of additional work
beyond the Subway Improvement Program being undertaken by the Hearst
organization. This involves moving promptly ahead with the remainder of the
improvements that MTA has committed to carrying out. These should include noise
abatement; improved lighting, ventilation and signage; and appropriate final
surfaces. Creating direct access to the downtown IRT platform from the west side
of Broadway, and addressing the dangerously steep stair at the entrance adjacent
to the Trump International Plaza should also be priorities. The Board believes
that the plans should include an escalator from the uptown IND platform to the
uptown IRT, since this is a very heavily used transfer. An effective location
should be found. It has been suggested that a passage could be created between
the north and south mezzanines via the now unused central IND platform. This
suggestion seems attractive to the Board as an inexpensive measure to improve
connections between the south end of the station and the uptown IRT and should
be further considered. It is time to complete planning and start
QUALITY OF LIFE
Responsibility for enforcement of traffic regulations has been shifted from
the DOT and the Taxi and Limousine Commission to NYPD. We note that a great
number of auto repair shops and taxi, bus and truck depots are concentrated on
the west side of Manhattan, where the 10th and Midtown North Precincts are
already responsible for nightclubs, prostitution, drug and other problems. Any
increase in precinct responsibilities must be balanced by an increase in the
number of officers.
We continue to welcome the community policing strategies implemented by the
Administration and NYPD. We are happy to see that these strategies have improved
the quality of life for our citizens and tourists. CB4 will continue to work
closely with our local precincts. We encourage the police to maintain their
sensitive balancing of the quality of life for the community with the rights of
individual citizens. We also recommend that care be taken to assure a consistent
presence of beat officers. Community policing has such a positive impact that
even a small lack of continuity in deployment creates a negative effect. We must
add, however, that the community policing beats in midtown have become too
large; smaller beats are more efficient.
We welcome the proposed legislation which would provide the first
comprehensive overhaul of the New York City Noise Code in over 30 years. Noise
complaints from CD4 consistently rank among the highest registered by DEP and
are rising in the Board area, especially at night. We are encouraged to learn
that the legislation focuses on reducing sound resulting from construction and
on a more flexible standard and enforcement schedule for bars, clubs, and
cabarets as well as a new standard to measure bass-level and vibrational sound.
We are also encouraged by the provision to simplify enforcement by using a
plainly audible standard instead of conventional decibel limits which require
use of a noise meter. We look forward to working for a solution to this growing
We request that the Manhattan South Borough Command closely monitor the needs
of precincts since the merger of the Housing Police with the NYPD. Precincts
such as the 10th and Midtown North, which contain a significant amount of public
housing, may now be facing a burden out of proportion with their current
Growth and development within CD4 and in surrounding areas increasingly
strains our under-staffed, under-equipped local precincts. We feel that it is
vital to bring all of our precincts up to strength both in manpower and in
communications technology. West Chelsea in particular has seen an explosive
growth of clubs and bars in the last two years. This has increased evening and
late night traffic on the streets and noise and congestion (which is further
exacerbated in some cases by the smoking ban) on the sidewalks in front of bars
and clubs. Clinton/Hell's Kitchen also is experiencing an increase in clubs.
Noise and disruption by unruly patrons leaving the bars and clubs is a growing
and disturbing nuisance in residential neighborhoods.
We ask for police enforcement of the Limited Truck Zone in Chelsea,
especially in view of the advent of Route 9A and its impact on Chelsea.
The increased demands on police enforcement make it urgent that staffing
levels in our precincts, the 10th, the 13th, Midtown South, and Midtown North,
be brought up to full strength. The recent addition of 35 new officers to
Midtown North is a much appreciated step in that direction.
Our district is diverse. People of all races, religions, and lifestyles live,
work and visit our neighborhoods. It is critical that all police agencies,
including NYCHA police, make their officers aware that bias crimes will not be
tolerated in any of our neighborhoods. We applaud efforts by the NYPD to
increase the membership of minorities and women in its ranks. This Board also
urges the City to reexamine the potential usefulness of allowing NYPD's Paid
Detail Unit to work outside bars and nightclubs.
Our precincts need more cell phone accounts for community affairs officers.
Cell phones play in increasingly important role in managing the increasing
number and size of demonstrations, parades, and public events and in responding
to emergency situations. Cell phone also enable officers to respond quickly to
calls from community members. Our local precincts have other specific needs. The
Midtown North Precinct requires an up-to-date computer system to give this most
important of city precincts a critical edge in the fight not only against crime
but also against threats of terrorism to the midtown area. The 10th Precinct
requires additional unmarked vehicles to conduct anti-crime patrols and street
In 1996, CB4 (along with neighboring CB5) requested a major revision of the
boundaries between Midtown North, Midtown South and the 10th and 13th Precincts
that would reflect the changing residential identification along the existing
borders. CB4 articulated this request again this year; we hope that some day
this change will be implemented.
The reduction in the number of litter baskets on our avenues and streets
together with a reduction in the number of trash pickups has substantially
increased the litter and filth on streets. If we want tourists and visitors to
feel safe on our streets we have to work at keeping the streets clean of litter.
Dirty streets are a health hazard, and the negative impact on everyone's quality
of life cannot be in question. Not every neighborhood has a Business Improvement
District with its own private sanitation crew; all neighborhoods need the City
to do its job in keeping our streets clean.
Improving Sanitation maintenance in the area is important, especially along
14th Street and the adjoining avenues, as commercial and tourist traffic has
increased dramatically over the past few years, leading to a constant
overflowing of wastebaskets. Increased foot traffic and a scattering of
undeveloped lots have also contributed to the worsening garbage accumulation on
the sidewalks along Ninth Avenue in the middle of CD4.
Mayor's Office of Midtown Enforcement
CB4 strongly affirms its support for the continued and strengthened existence
of the Mayor's Office of Midtown Enforcement, an office essential to the welfare
of the community - residents, businesses and visitors alike. No other City
agency can so effectively marshal the vital components - fire, housing, and
health inspectors, police and attorneys - often necessary to resolve illegal,
threatening or dangerous situations in our area. Immediately, OME needs an
additional attorney line and added support staff, including inspectors.
Department of Information Technology &
The proliferation of public pay telephones (PPTs) in our community is the
product of a quest for advertising revenues from booth walls. It is not a
response to public demand for additional stationary telephonic services. PPTs at
times are a great convenience and at times are essential for public safety.
However, PPTs can also attract socially unacceptable enterprises, are obtrusive
on most residential streets, constitute a negative element in the viewscape, and
present unnecessary obstructions to fluid pedestrian movement.
Over the past year and a half, this Board reviewed and provided substantive
comments to over 500 proposed new PPT locations in CD4. Site observations
determined that public demand is sufficiently met, and probably exceeded, within
the Eighth, Ninth and Tenth avenue corridors. While there may be other areas in
CD4 that are appropriate for new installations, without location-specific data,
there is no way of knowing where PPT service is needed.
It remains very important that Community Boards continue to be consulted with
regard to all installations of PPT's in public spaces. Further, Boards must be
respected when they determine that a particular location is inappropriate for a
new installation or that a particular booth should be removed in the public
Department of Consumer Affairs
We look forward someday to improved legislation in regard to licensing and
the oversight of night life establishments. The State legislature recently
passed legislation that would require applicants for liquor licenses to prove
that they are in compliance with the building's certificate of occupancy before
receiving a license. We support similar legislation with regard to the issuance
of cabaret licenses by the City.
At least 60 sidewalk cafés are licensed or have licenses pending to operate
within CD4. Storefront businesses also commonly use sidewalk space for
merchandise displays, signage, planters, informal seating and other business
related uses. When operated responsibly and within the law, these uses can
contribute positively to the vibrancy of our neighborhoods. However, as sidewalk
space is increasingly occupied by commerce and public street furniture, less
space exists for pedestrians. Given limited enforcement personnel and other
budget constraints, we encourage multi-agency enforcement by DCA, DOT, OME, DOB
and DOS to ensure that sidewalk space is maximized for pedestrians and that all
sidewalk regulations are upheld. We also repeat our request of DCA to implement
perhaps the simplest mechanism to ensure adequate sidewalk space for
pedestrians: striping of the perimeter of sidewalk cafés as required by the law.
While we have in the past coordinated efforts with the 10th Precinct, DOB,
OME and DCA to increase enforcement of parking lot regulations, these efforts
have recently been unsuccessful. When DOB or OME identifies faulty or expired
Certificate of Occupancy documents, it is essential that DCA follow through to
ensure that parking lots operate legally, especially with respect to capacity.
We look forward to working with DCA to tackle this difficult problem.
311 Citizen Service Center
The 311 Citizen Service Center has brought government information and
services closer to New Yorkers. 311 not only makes government more accessible,
but it also represents a valuable planning and management tool. However, now
that 311 is widely used by New Yorkers to report problems or to request
services, CB4 receives considerably fewer calls than it did a year ago. Since
the launch of 311, the overall number of complaint calls to CB4 has dropped by a
third, leaving the Board with much less information to support its thinking and
Without reports on 311 calls, the system stands to undercut our ability to
carry out Charter-mandated responsibilities properly and effectively and to
serve as representative voices in government. Regular and detailed reporting of
311 to Community Boards must be required.
CB4 is committed to the preservation and expansion of affordable (low-,
moderate-, and middle-income) housing within our district.
Today, CD4 is a mixed-income community offering a range of services and
resources to people of lower income that are not available elsewhere. Since its
inception, the Board has worked to create a community open to people of all
income levels. Unfortunately, the economic upswing of the last eight years has
made tenants in Clinton/Hell's Kitchen and Chelsea vulnerable to speculation and
displacement. The Board requests that the City recognize the long-term benefits
associated with mixed-income neighborhoods and mixed-income buildings when
considering the best use for the remaining government-owned property within the
district as well as when reviewing any zoning changes, variance requests or
The District's diversity is in danger. CB4 is primarily a rental community
that relies heavily on rent regulations, government subsidies and public housing
to maintain its affordable housing. To date, rent regulations have played a
large role in maintaining that diversity. However, the 1997 amendment to the
rent stabilization regulations that permits the deregulation of apartments once
rents reach $2,000 per month has resulted in a significant loss of affordable
In the near future, CD4 stands to lose a significant amount of affordable
housing due to expiring-uses. Programs such as Mitchell-Lama and Section 8 have
come up for renewal; property owners are considering opting-out of these
programs. The 20% affordable component in many 80-20 (80% market-rate-20%
affordable) developments will soon approach expiration, and all apartments will
revert to market-rate. The City must work to achieve a permanent solution to
prevent the displacement of these households. In the short term, the City must
ensure that rental subsidies (Section 8 Certificates or other programs) are in
place to meet the needs of these tenants faced with displacement by their
inability to afford increased rent due to opt outs.
CB4 supports the increasing of the Senior Citizen Rent Increase Exemption
(SCRIE) annual income limits from $24,000 per year to $30,000 per year to
reflect today's economics. Many seniors with income comprised of Social Security
and pensions totaling $30,000 are unable to afford their rents but make too much
to qualify for SCRIE.
CB4 believes significant government attention and investment are required to
ensure new permanently affordable (low-, moderate-, and middle-income) housing
is built in our community. We have been encouraged by the Mayor's focus on this
issue and are hopeful this will lead to varied and creative new mechanisms to
support this goal. Little, if any, new affordable housing has been constructed
in recent years, with the exception of the 80-20 Housing Program. However, the
affordable component of an 80-20 development is only for a limited-time, offers
no long term benefit to the community and does not respond to the need for
housing affordable to a range of low-, moderate- and middle-incomes. We strongly
believe that this program is not the best use of public funds.
Since the long ago demise of the Mitchell-Lama Program, most government
funding opportunities do not address the needs of middle-income housing. In a
community with a minimal supply of publicly-owned land, the best use for the
remaining government-owned property within the district must be affordable
housing. New means of creating and encouraging affordable housing on
privately-owned property must also be considered. Text and map modifications of
the Zoning Resolution, new funding mechanisms, and innovations in housing
type/construction must be explored.
Department of Housing Preservation & Development
CB4 continues to support HPD programs that fund the rehabilitation of
buildings and prevent the evictions and improve the living conditions of those
who live there.
Over the last 10 years, most city-owned residential property within CD4 has
been transferred to non-profit and tenant-ownership programs that have provided
opportunities for preserving and increasing the supply of decent, affordable
housing. Tenant ownership has been possible through HPD's Tenant Interim Lease
(TIL) Program. Several years ago, there were almost twenty buildings enrolled in
the program. Last year, the final TIL building was sold to its tenants, marking
the completion of the TIL program in the Board area. The complete renovation is
expected the fall. Since 1980, the TIL program will have produced over 500
affordable units of low-income cooperative housing providing homeownership
opportunities for families and individuals whose incomes do not allow them to
compete in the real estate market.
CB4 continues to support programs such as HPD's Neighborhood Revitalization
Program (NRP), which funds the rehabilitation the city-owned buildings. We
recognize that not every group of tenants is capable of, or desires, to assume
the responsibilities of home-ownership. Non-profit rental buildings are a
long-term stabilizing force in our neighborhood. CB4 also supports the continued
use of the Supportive Housing Program to preserve and expand the supply of
affordable SRO housing for homeless persons and community residents. This
housing, with onsite supportive services for tenants, has been a successful
model in housing very low-income persons. It is the sole HPD program that
provides funds for acquisition of privately owned property for conversion to
affordable housing, and provides a means to expand the supply beyond currently
publicly owned land.
CB4 strongly supports programs, such as the Community Consultant Contracts,
that preserve affordable housing through preventing evictions and working to
improve living conditions. These programs, among others, are critical to several
community groups in our District working to preserve and increase affordable
housing. As a result of their work deteriorated buildings have been restored to
excellent, long-term affordable housing and the rights of tenants have been
protected. Their funding sources, always in danger, should be increased.
General Code Enforcement
Residents of Chelsea and Clinton/Hell's
Kitchen continue to experience the negative impact of insufficient government
response to conditions that threaten life, health and safety. In the 1980s,
there were 685 housing code inspectors citywide. There re much fewer today. CB4
requests that HPD increase the number of its inspectors; fill the vacancies in
its Litigation Bureau; and step up code enforcement as well as increase the
number and timeliness of litigation against the most egregious violators of the
housing codes. We also request of HPD, DOB, and Corporation Counsel to pursue
with due diligence the collection of outstanding fines owed by repeat violators,
ensuring better enforcement and creating badly needed income for the City. An
atmosphere of lawlessness now exists because corrupt landlords know there will
be few consequences for disregarding relevant statutes and codes.
Code Enforcement - Special Clinton District
DOB and HPD inspectors,
and those assigned to the OME, do essential work in our area. Their work is
particularly important within the Special Clinton District (SCD), where we
depend on their skills to enforce arcane but essential provisions of the SCD.
The Board continues to see cases where owners have made renovations in SCD
buildings without first applying for a required Certificate of No Harassment.
The Board is concerned that the spread of self-certification by architects and
engineers in applications to DOB and other agencies has led to a lowering and
evasion of standards, particularly in areas like the SCD where special zoning
regulations apply. Close monitoring of the effect of self-certification is
Regulations are only as effective as the system in place to enforce them. We
therefore request that DOB, HPD and the OME dedicate specific inspectors to
concentrate on SCD enforcement. These inspectors must receive rigorous and
adequate training to ensure that they have the particular knowledge essential to
preventing the flagrant disregard of SCD regulations that continue to occur too
frequently. We also commit to taking such actions as are appropriate and
necessary to stop illegal conversions, and to ensure that tenants are not
harassed. We also call upon the DOB's Legal Department, Corporation Counsel and
HPD to begin prosecuting the most flagrant violators of the regulations of the
SCD and other housing codes and regulations. It is crucial that an on-going
procedure be implemented by DOB to meet regularly with the Board and the
community regarding these issues.
Single Room Occupancy Housing (SROs)
A large number of SROs
(including rooming houses, SRO hotels, and converted tenements) exists in our
District. However, SROs continues to disappear from the neighborhood at an
alarming rate, due to both legal and illegal conversions to transient hotels or
other uses. SROs have become the single most important source of affordable
housing for single adults and an important resource for the prevention of
homelessness. Affordable housing within our District is critical to house the
diverse population of artists, students, minimum wage earners and those on fixed
incomes. This mixed population includes the backbone of the service and cultural
economy of the city, as well as many of the most frail and isolated members of
The largest concentration of SRO housing in our community lies between Eighth
and Ninth avenues from 42nd Street to 57th Street. There are 62 buildings
containing nearly 2,200 SRO units in this area. Most SRO units are found on 51st
Street where twelve buildings contain 574 units. Most SRO buildings are found on
46th Street, where 21 buildings contain 289 units.
CB4 supports the acquisition, renovation and new construction of
sensitively-sited supportive housing developments to preserve and expand the SRO
The OME and HPD must strengthen the SRO anti-harassment laws and enforce them
to protect this valuable and essential community resource. Continued funding of
the efforts of the West Side SRO Law Project to protect tenants' rights and to
preserve of SRO housing is essential.
NYC Housing Authority (NYCHA)
Security and enforcement are issues
facing all property owners in the city. In particular, vandalism, drugs and lack
of security continue to plague NYCHA developments in both Clinton and Chelsea.
We encourage NYCHA to work with CB4 to help coordinate solutions using a
community-wide strategy instead of isolating developments and the people living
within from the resources that surround them.
HEALTH & HUMAN SERVICES
Tragically, homelessness, continues to be a terrible problem citywide and a
particularly visible one in the CB4 area. We applaud the Mayor's new,
comprehensive, and ambitious initiative to address aggressively the root causes
of homelessness and, especially, to provide critically needed affordable and
supportive housing. We urge the energetic implementation of this plan. Over the
years, efforts to "clean up" Midtown and other "high visibility" areas has only
driven a larger number of homeless people into other parts of our community.
Large public facilities located within our District, such as the Port Authority
Bus Terminal, are also a natural gathering place for people without homes. Many
homeless people need social services, in particular drug treatment and/or mental
health services. Inclusion of these services is essential in any effort to
address New York's homelessness situation as is increased funding to expand
Currently, two of the twelve citywide drop-in centers for homeless
individuals are located within CD4. While pursuing its new initiatives, we
encourage the City to continue funding these centers at adequate levels to
provide the comprehensive interventions that are needed. We are also deeply
concerned about the inadequacy of family shelter slots, especially for victims
of domestic violence, as well as the lack of adequate resources for homeless
youth. It is especially troubling that the needs of women, children and youth at
risk are still far from being met.
CB4 recognizes the need for residential facilities and has consistently
welcomed them into our neighborhoods, but we also realize that they can only be
successful if they are well planned and staffed and appropriate for the location
and population served.
Again, we are pleased to see the Mayor's plan focus on the provision of
permanent housing; we believe that, whenever possible, such projects should mix
supportive housing units with other low- and moderate-income units. Community
Boards must be given an opportunity to assess any proposal for residential
facilities in terms of the needs for specific facilities, the adequacy of the
plan, and the quality of the provider. The City should work with the community
to determine the size, site and design of each facility. Any facility must
provide adequate and essential social services as well as access to health
services and other necessary support services.
HIV / AIDS
New York City continues to account for a major proportion of the nation's
AIDS cases; CD4 is home to the nation's largest percentage of people with AIDS.
In order to slow and hopefully stop the spread of this disease, we actively
support educational programs, condom distribution and needle exchanges. For our
neighbors who are stricken with this disease, we welcome community-based care
facilities, supportive housing and other programs geared towards people with
AIDS. HIV/AIDS infection rates have long been increasing especially within
communities of color, and among women and youth, however funding for prevention
and services to these communities has not kept pace.
Core Support for the Young and the Old
CB4 is concerned that the youngest and the oldest among us have adequate
access to services necessary to assure their health, safety and security. For
young children, adequate, supportive, licensed and affordable day care must be
available for all those eligible, especially those newly moving into employment.
Easily accessible and responsive health services for children and pregnant women
are essential. For the elderly, a comprehensive range of services, including
community centers, in-home supports, transportation, supportive housing, and
preventive health and social services, are essential to assuring that they can
live out their lives with dignity within their home communities.
We call upon the city Human Rights Commission to increase funding for more
inspectors to investigate and enforce disabled accessibility building code
compliance. We continue to receive complaints about deficiencies in various
aspects of the paratransit system, including serious limitations in
Environment and Health
Residents of Clinton/Hell's Kitchen and Chelsea are faced with a variety of
health and environmental concerns. We are concerned about the negative health
effects that result from cuts to pest control. Cutbacks to DOHMH have aggravated
the problem of rat infestation in certain locations. There an adequate amount of
inspectors and exterminators to respond promptly to community requests for
inspections and baitings, in an effort to curtail the problem.
Concern remains over the condition of the sewer and storm drainage system
west of Ninth and Tenth Avenues. During heavy rains, basements and first floors,
as well as streets and sidewalks, tend to flood. The area west of Tenth Avenue
in Chelsea is increasingly residential, and this is also a health concern for
those living in the area. While there has been some improvement, the problem
continues to need study and monitoring from the DEP and DOT.
A significant population with the district is vulnerable to water-borne
disease. A recent survey indicates that almost one in four Chelsea residents has
a compromised immune system. Also, our community has a large senior citizen
population and a rapidly growing number of children. As a result, this Board is
extremely concerned about the quality of the City's water supply. In particular,
we need DEP to take immediate action to ensure that all our residents,
especially immune-compromised individuals, are informed of the danger of
water-borne disease and of appropriate ways of protecting themselves from these
CB4 has been working with the DEP to assign noise violations for music which
plays far above the allowable decibel level. DEP must work more closely with the
community boards and neighborhood residents to build cases against clubs, bars
and lounges that consistently commit quality of life violations.
Loud music emanating from nightclubs, bars and lounges and patron noise is
not the only quality of life disturbance to residential neighborhoods. The
district also has noise and odors from restaurants as well as noise and
vibration from large mechanical systems serving restaurants and other commercial
buildings; long hours of operations; garbage-pickup noise during early morning
hours; etc. We need to affect a workable co-existence with mutual respect of
businesses and residents in mixed-use neighborhoods.
Last year, total noise complaints from CD4 ranked among the highest
registered by DEP. In 1999, CB4 asked our elected officials to investigate
lowering the maximum decibel reading from 45 to 35. We still look forward to the
adoption of this proposal.
The Chelsea and Clinton/Hell's Kitchen community is home to more than 7,500
children under 18 years of age, more than 17% of whom receive public assistance.
The youth services have been woefully under funded for many years. While we
appreciate the focus given to this area by the Mayor's office, we are extremely
concerned that precipitous changes, without a concomitant commitment of
minimally adequate funds not only may not generate any improvements but may well
undermine some core quality, community-based services already in place.
While we understand current fiscal pressures, we also continue to be
concerned that youth services regularly shoulder more of the pressure than is
equitable. While we were very relieved to see some proposed cuts restored in
this year's, there are still serious areas of concern.
ACS is absorbing cuts both in its child welfare and child care divisions that
are of concern. In addition, the impact of potentially transferring the
school-age component of child care services to DYCD, and assuming a significant
cost savings, remains very unclear and potentially troublesome. Both ACS and HRA
have repeatedly acknowledged that it still needs to serve thousands of children
citywide to meet the needs of eligible families. In neighborhoods such as ours,
which includes many low-income working families, quality, city-funded day care -
including school-age child care - is a primary concern.
We continue to be very distressed by the virtual dismantling of the Summer
Youth Employment Program over the past few years as a result of extremely
delayed decision-making, cuts, redirections, and poor leadership. What has
become the annual ritual of an artificially created crisis related to this
program is unconscionable and must be ended. It is essential that we provide our
children and teens safe and well-staffed places for after school recreational
activities, homework assistance, cultural and social events and individual
enrichment. Many service organizations have been forced to curtail, close down,
or charge for the services once given freely to youth. Finally the allocation of
funding and contracts by DYCD needs continued attention to ensure the best use
of available funds in light of local needs and preferences. .
Cuts to city parks also greatly affect the youth of CD4 where recreational
opportunities and space are extremely limited. The Chelsea Recreation Center is
an especially important project. For over 30 years, CB4 and the Chelsea
community have anxiously awaited the opening of the Chelsea Recreation Center.
This facility will provide a positive, safe center for the young people in our
neighborhood. We look forward to working with DPR, community leaders and elected
officials to ensure that the necessary funds are provided and that this facility
reflects the needs and desires of the community.
We are also very alarmed by cuts in juvenile justice and housing. CD4 ranks
highest among all Manhattan districts in the number of felony arrests. We urge
that housing for homeless and run-away youth be maintained, that alternative to
violence and creative justice programs be maintained, and that job training and
placement programs be developed.
CULTURE & EDUCATION
CD4 has many schools of all grades serving local children as well as children
from other school districts and boroughs. We have always supported education and
are committed to developing and maintaining high standards for teachers as well
as students. We must also provide assurances to parents that their children are
in safe and healthy environments, both during the school day and during after
school programs; this means on the streets as well as indoors.
There exists a heavy concentration of high schools within CD4; therefore, we
would like to be consulted when new schools (provided through either new
construction or space rental) are planned. The reason for this provision can
best be seen in the case of Park West High School and Graphic Communication
Arts, which are within one block of each other. The 3,500 students attending
these schools come from all five boroughs. This has led to clogged neighborhood
streets at varying arrival and dismissal times, problems at subways and at other
transportation points, and disruptive situations affecting our residents and
In addition, greater consideration should be given to community residents in
terms of their needs, which include better sanitation around schools, cleaner
and safer streets for pedestrians, etc. Joint planning between the Department of
Education and CB4 can results in a more harmonious relationship, which will lead
to a better educational environment.
CB4 endorses the restoration of funds cut from NY Public Libraries in order
to continue six day service in all branch and research libraries, full funding
for books and materials and important programs like the Connecting Libraries and
Schools Project (CLASP). CB4 would also recommend that our libraries remain open
on Saturdays for those residents who are unable to have access to them during
We support increasing branch library funding to bridge the "digital divide"
through free computer training and broad access to the Internet. Ninety-eight
percent of all free public access computers in the City are in public
CB4 also believes library funding for expanded hours, and technology training
and services should be increased. This Board seeks funding for building and
technology infrastructure, which would serve to protect the investment that the
City has made in computers and electronic information resources while ensuring
well-maintained and secure libraries.
In regard to the libraries' challenge to recruit and retain qualified
librarians, and the severe levels of turnover, this Board supports efforts to
increase librarian salaries to levels in parity within the City, as well as the
surrounding metropolitan area.
CB4 is concerned about the continued loss of funding for small theatrical
companies within our community. Small theatrical arts groups develop new talent
in areas of writing, performing, and directing and this Board is pleased that
the new administration has made support for these companies a priority.
We must also keep in mind the secondary theater and other artistic services
that exist within CD4. For example, rental storage space for art, costumes,
scenery and lighting are located through Chelsea and Clinton/Hell's Kitche.
There are many dance companies and actively used rehearsal studios in our area.
The money generated from these industries provides jobs and maintains the
artistic life of the city. CB4 is also concerned with the loss of artists'
studios in the District and the displacement of working artists.
WATERFRONT & PARKS
Although approximately 100,000 residents live on CD4's 700 acres of dense
city blocks, the District has only 3 parks and 11 pocket parks or playgrounds,
totaling less than 16 acres. The addition of the Hudson River Park will of
course increase that total, but very little acreage is available now. Among the
59 community districts in the City, CD4 ranks 57th in terms of open space. We
have less than 1/5 of an acre of open space per 1,000 residents, compared to a
citywide average or 2-1/2 acres per thousand. Expense and capital budget cuts
and the dramatically low staffing levels of the Department of Parks and
Recreation (DPR) make it harder and harder for the department to maintain our
parks, threatening the quality of life.
Over the past 30 years, the DPR budget has fallen sharply. Between 1990 and
2000 the decrease was over 30 percent. As a result of less funding, DPR now has
less than half of the full time staff that it did ten years earlier. In total,
the number of full time staff declined from approximately 4,500 in 1990 to just
2,100 in 2001. As a result, parks are cleaned less frequently, fewer
recreational programs are offered and less security is provided. As examples of
impact, the number of recreation workers fell 78 percent, from 371 in 1991 to
just 80 in 2001; over the same period, the number of park workers decreased by
58 percent, from 1,600 to 670. According to the Parks Council, there is now on
average one recreation worker per 101,053 children, and each park worker
maintains 56 acres of parkland.
Meanwhile, private spending in parks by groups such as the Central Park
Conservancy, the Bryant Park Restoration Corporation and the Riverside Park Fund
contribute millions towards the improvement of large city parks. However,
developing a cash-endowed constituency for smaller parks, such most of the ones
in our district, is not possible.
And while the city has kept parks cleaner using Work Experience Program and
Park Opportunity Program participants, these workers cannot perform many repair
and maintenance duties, and the welfare list is dropping, making fewer workers
available for parks.
CB4 demands that the administration make a greater commitment to open space
in our community by restoring the Parks Department Budget.
Each park in our district should have a full-time,
on-site park keeper to address constituents concerns, provide security and
perform routine maintenance of that park alone. Funding must also be directed
towards full-time gardeners, maintenance workers, PEP officers, as well as
seasonal aides and playground associates for the summer.
All of our parks require some small capital
investment to make minor repairs, such as replacing a swing, painting bathrooms,
fixing water fountains. Funding for requirements contracts should be increased
so the Parks Department can maintain the parks in the best fashion. Funding must
also be dedicated to support Green Thumb Community Gardens and pruning for
Hudson River Park
To date, the state and the city have
promised $100 million each to build the park. The current financing plan puts
the total cost at $330 million (in 1998) but a realistic estimate today is
closer to $400 million. Commitments from both the state and the city must be
secured for the balance. Design or construction schedules must not be held up
due to a failure of political determination.
More acreage for Clinton Cove Park
The original park planned by the
Hudson River Park Conservancy for Clinton Cove, from 52nd to 57th streets,
included green space on 10-acre footprint of the current Pier 94 headhouse, now
leased by the Unconvention Center. However, the Hudson River Park legislation
left this parcel out of the park. As a result, northern Clinton was left with a
four-acre park north of 54th Street only. CB4 supports the community in its
pursuit of a better solution for Clinton. At the very least, the board would
like to recover the northern stub of the head house for public space, an
addition of two acres. This should be able to be realized without a significant
change in use of the headhouse for the Unconvention Center.
CB4 is pleased that work has begun on the 4-acre upland portion of Clinton
Cove Park, including the new boathouse. However, we are still disappointed that
the development of Pier 94 by ENK, in particular the head house portion,
occupies almost 10 acres of what was to be parkland in the original plan
released by the Hudson River Park Conservancy for Clinton Cove. We hope that,
when ENK's lease expires, the city will take a new look at this pier with a goal
of a development that does not need the head house, or at least the northern
extension of the head house - as well as use that might be more compatible with
a waterfront park. The removal of the northern extension of the head house alone
would add two acres of parkland without significantly affecting the portion of
Pier 94 that could be developed.
Passenger Ship Terminal
CB4 is pleased to hear that the city will
upgrade the PST in the near future. Currently there are two outstanding problems
that must be addressed - traffic and waterfront access. We understand that the
city is exploring ways to mitigate traffic by reducing traffic flow
inefficiencies and by creating taxi drop-offs on the east side of Route 9A.
However, as larger capacity ships begin to use the terminal, even more
aggressive measures will need to be taken to ensure that traffic associated with
the PST does not overwhelm the highway and neighboring Hudson River Park.
Waterfront access must also be improved as the terminal is being redesigned.
The current security barriers create the impression of a prison, a feature that
is undesirable for both cruise ship customers as well as the park.
CB4 is pleased that work has begun on Pier 84 as a public
park and we look forward to an opening in 2006 if not earlier.
Removal of Municipal Uses Park
Currently the Police Department
stores towed cars at Pier 76 and the Department of Sanitation parks garbage
trucks and stores sand at Pier 97 and the Gansevoort Peninsula. The Board
expects the administration to put solutions for the removal of these uses on a
fast track. The Hudson River Park Act requires that the salt pile at Gansevoort
be removed by 2003. We therefore expect that that space will be free for
additional use. We suggest that DOS move more trucks to Gansevoort, and
therefore allow Pier 97 to be developed as parkland in accordance with the
The Hudson River Park Act requires that the salt pile at Gansevoort be
removed by December 2003, as well as all DOS uses at Pier 97. At this time,
there is no solution for Gansevoort in the foreseeable future, and for Pier 97
for at least 4 years. Pier 97 depends on the completion of a new garage,
currently under construction at 57th street. CB4 continues to urge the city to
expedite the completion of this garage so that Pier 97 can be developed as
parkland as soon as possible. If possible, the trucks and other DOS uses should
be moved off the pier to an interim location before the garage is finished.
Further, some mitigation for the continued occupation of Pier 97 for some four
to five years beyond the legislated deadline is expected.
The situation at Gansevoort is even more grim, with the timetables for
building a new garage to free up this large peninsula ranging from eight to ten
or more years. Given this long span of time, some mitigation is not
Finally, legislation calls for the city to put forth its best
efforts to relocate the tow pound on Pier 76 as soon as possible. The Hudson
Yards plan calls for the relocation of the tow pound to a new facility south of
the western rail yards. The design of this facility, as well as the design of
the park to be built on its roof, must involve significant community input.
Resolution of commercial leases
Several commercial leases must be
resolved in order for park planning to continue. At Pier 63, planning must take
place immediately to ensure that Basketball City's commercial lease is not
renewed beyond December 2004, and that the building be demolished as soon as
possible so that soil testing can begin in preparation for building the park
planned for that area.
With regard to the very popular public access pier called Pier 63 Maritime,
which is a subtenant of Basketball City and which must also be moved when that
lease is terminated, CB 4 supports, in principle, moving Pier 63 Maritime (also
known as the Lackawanna Railroad Barge) to Pier 66A just north of Pier 64.
In addition, a resolution must be found with Circle Line/World Yacht parking
areas in order to free the upland area of Piers 81 and 83. The board has
supported the concept of allowing Circle Line/World Yacht to park cars on the
roof of its more southern pier. We urge the city to come to an agreement on this
issue in the near future.
While one bridge crossing Route 9A at 46th
Street to the Intrepid Museum is now complete, the bridge crossing the highway
at 54th Street planned as part of NYS DOT's project was never built. CB4
suggests that plans be made to secure necessary funds and public space on both
sides of the highway, especially in northern Clinton either at DeWitt Clinton
Park or 57th Street for the bridge. The tenant of Pier 94, the Unconvention
Center, has agreed to work with State DOT in finding an appropriate landing for
the western side of the bridge. Access to the park at its northern end must be
improved, especially at the highly trafficked intersections.
CB4 remains opposed to any heliport within Hudson River
Park. In particular, we are adamantly opposed to a heliport on Pier 76 as this
would ruin all efforts to develop 50 percent of this pier as public open space,
as stipulated by the Hudson River Park Act.
Now that the design for Segment 5 of Hudson River Park is
near completion, we urge that funds be allocated, through the mechanism of
Hudson River Park Trust, to construct this segment. However, even before this
segment is fully funded, we urge the Trust to begin removing the pier shed from
Pier 64 now, so that the views of the river in the area will be enhanced.
CB4 continues to pursue two potential sites for new parkland. The first, at
49th Street and Tenth Avenue, is currently held by the Department of
Environmental Protection for construction of the Third Water Tunnel. We ask that
the administration take action on this parcel, and execute a transfer of the
property for public use.
The MTA has indicated in the past that it will have no use for the Ninth
Avenue frontage of its Rail Control Center Project between 53rd and 54th
streets. The Board has asked the MTA to consider dedicating this space to DPR,
and asks the administration to pursue this possibility.
In addition, more parkland for the Chelsea neighborhood needs to be
identified and secured. The City should investigate the reuse of city-owned land
for pocket parks such as the Sanitation Department parking lot on the south-side
of 20th Street between Sixth and Seventh avenues.
Inland Parks and Recreation Centers
Clement Clark Moore Park
Recently, Councilmember Quinn organized
several community members concerned with the maintenance of Clement Clark Moore
Park, and together we have compiled a specific list of maintenance and capital
projects. We will not list them all now, but they include a horticultural master
plan for the park, several new plantings, a renovation of the children's spray
fountain, and a reuse of one corner of the park near a gate that is permanently
padlocked. We look forward to working with the Parks Department on improvements
to the park.
We are grateful that that DPR was able to reconstruct
the eastern end of Chelsea Park through requirements contracts. One last item
remains there, however. In discussions with DPR during the design phase of the
park, the committee had requested that Parks reposition the stone columns, which
date back to Tammany Days, to an appropriate location. However they still remain
stuck together in a random spot.
We also request that a broader effort be made between DPR, the Department of
Health and Mental Hygiene, the Department of Homeless Services and the nearby
soup kitchen to develop long-term solutions for ensuring the proper use of the
park by all its users.
DeWitt Clinton Park
CB4 is pleased that the Council Member Quinn
and EDC have budgeted capital funds for the improvement of DeWitt Clinton Park.
In addition to addressing general improvement needs, funding should be secured
for a tot-lot at the southeast corner of the park to replace an underutilized
paved area. There are plans directly across the street for new affordable
housing currently underway. Also, we ask that DPR and the Police Department give
greater attention to patrolling this park, especially on its western edge, to
prevent unwanted uses.
Hell's Kitchen Park
We are looking forward to seeing construction
begin on Hell's Kitchen Park, and we thank the Parks Department for its
thoughtful redesign and attention to our requests at reviews of the designs. We
also are grateful to Council Member Quinn for securing the funding for a full
renovation for this park, one of the largest in Clinton and also the one in
We are still startled and mystified to see that a toilet, which was planned
for this park, would cost $750,000, not far from the cost of renovating the
entire park, which does include the plumbing for the bathroom. We ask that Parks
find a creative way to build affordable comfort stations, especially since so
few of our neighborhood parks have them.
59th Street Recreation Center
We are looking forward to seeing the
RFP for the 59th Street Rec Center go through as soon as possible. We request
that the Parks Department now give this project its highest priority, and move
swiftly towards the beginning of a sorely needed renovation in the early parts
of 2005. We also hope to continue discussions with Parks to see how we can make
the most of this center now, while we are all organized behind the project.
Chelsea Recreation Center
What can we say, other than the opening
of the Chelsea Recreation Center, after a 30-year stall, was a great day for the
district. The center is fabulous. We encourage the department to continue with
its construction and to be careful with its maintenance, as well as find funding
to fully program the great spaces within the facility.