Hello. It’s Friday. We’ll look at the rent increases looming for more than two million New Yorkers. We’ll also preview the new look of the Times Square tower where the ball drops on New Year’s Eve.
The biggest rent increases in New York in nearly a decade appear to be underway. The panel responsible for regulating rents last night approved increases of 2 to 4% on one-year leases and 4 to 6% on two-year leases for rent-stabilized housing.
My colleague Mihir Zaveri, who covers housing, said the 5-4 vote by the powerful Rent Guidelines Board was the latest sign of the city’s struggles with housing affordability amid continued financial pressures of the pandemic.
The proposed figures are likely to intensify lobbying from landlord groups, who had called for bigger increases, and tenant advocates, who had warned that any increases would create new problems for tenants trying to regain their economic footing. Most rent-stabilized tenants earn much less than the citywide median household income of approximately $67,000.
[Panel Backs Rent Increases for More Than 2 Million New Yorkers]
The prospect of rent increases poses a financial challenge for tenants and a political challenge for Mayor Eric Adams, who effectively controls the rent commission and has been more supportive of the real estate industry than his predecessor, Bill de Blasio, who had an icy relationship with owners. Under de Blasio, the council allowed rents to increase by a maximum of 1.5% for one-year leases and 2.75% for two-year leases. He voted to freeze some leases entirely in four of de Blasio’s eight years in office.
After the vote, Adams released a statement saying it was good that the council “went down” from increases of up to 9% on two-year leases that had originally been suggested. The increases are to be officially approved next month.
Tenant advocates expressed outrage over the vote. Rent Board Tenant Representative Sheila Garcia participated remotely from the Bronx with a group of tenants holding signs calling for rollbacks. “The minimum 2% would be devastating to the people in this room,” she said.
But homeowners say they need increases to keep up with inflation, as evidenced by higher prices for fuel and maintenance materials, as well as higher property taxes.
“Housing has costs,” Robert Ehrlich, a landlord representative on the rents board, said at the meeting. “We need to make sure the buildings have the money to pay for these costs. If we don’t do things right, many could fall into disrepair. »
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Where the ball falls, a new look and new technology
“Times Square has had a streak of lives,” property manager Michael Phillips said, speaking of ushering in what he called “4.0 Times Square.”
It outlined a $500 million plan to be announced on Friday for One Times Square, the trapezoidal building that serves as the stage in the sky for the balloon drop on New Year’s Eve. Phillips’ company, the investment firm and of property management Jamestown, plans a top-to-bottom reimagining of the 118-year-old building.
“Augmented reality and virtual reality allow us to occupy the building in a way that hasn’t been as easy in the past,” he said, meaning people can visit virtually from nowhere. anywhere. One Times Square — built when phone numbers were only two or three digits — is “unique in its ability to jump into the metaverse,” he said. “It’s also the only building in the world with an iconic New Year’s Eve physical experience, complete with the falling ball.”
For visitors arriving in person, he provides a 19th-floor observation deck, overlooking the ever-changing spectacle that is Times Square. Inside, Jamestown, which was behind the redevelopment of Manhattan’s Chelsea Market, plans “branded experiences” for businesses looking for immersive, technology-driven displays.
But some things won’t change. The north-facing signs will operate during the building’s 27-month renovation, and the balloon will drop on New Year’s Eve this year and next.
Prancing for free in Brooklyn
Jane’s Carousel is ready for Jane’s Carousel Day. Todd Goings, who checked the bolts, bearings and cables, says so.
Jane’s Carousel is a century-old carousel located in Brooklyn Bridge Park that artist Jane Walentas spent over 20 years restoring. Jane’s Carousel Day on Saturday will celebrate her work and commemorate her with free rides. She died last July at the age of 76.
She and her husband, developer David Walentas, who spent years working to revitalize the industrial neighborhood that became Dumbo, bought the carousel for $385,000 in 1984 and had it shipped to New York. It manages to be garish and graceful at the same time, with the exuberant allure of a circus and the studied order of a horse show. It has 48 horses, wooden horses and two chariots, all restored in Jane Walentas’ workshop and installed in a modernist pavilion designed by architect Jean Nouvel. But the horses of Jane’s Carousel prance as they always have.
“We’re asking him to do the same thing he did in 1922,” Goings said. “It was carrying 52 people in a circle every 10 minutes, and damn it, that’s what we’re doing 100 years later. If you put a million dollars in an old car, it’s in a museum and everyone Look at her. This is different. This is an interactive piece of art.
What we read
I was in town for my high school reunion and was looking for a shoemaker. A doorman from West 57th Street directed me to a “downstairs subway”.
Going down a staircase in the station, I saw a small cafe.
“Do you know where the cobbler is?” I asked the man behind the counter.
“It’s me!” he said.
I lifted my shoes, broken strap hanging off.
He looked around and made a gesture that indicated he was alone in the store.
“Oh come on,” I said. “I’ll work behind the counter for you if you fix my shoes.”
I was kidding, but he nodded, took off his apron, handed it to me, and waved at me behind the counter.
I put on the apron while he explained the operation: Here is the register. Coffee and bagel are $1.75. Here are the milk and coffee cups.
Then he walked through the door and disappeared.
I was so surprised that I just stood there looking around. There was a grill, a sign advertising a special scrambled egg breakfast, a candy display, soft drinks.
A customer came in.
“Please don’t let her want the special,” I begged silently.
“I have a terrible craving for Peppermint Patty,” she said. “Do you have those?”