A Lifeline for the Upper High Line?
The public will soon get a long-deferred first look at Hudson Yards, the vast swath of rail depot and waterfront that Bloomberg once targeted for a Jets/Olympic stadium. Amid reports that the MTA has considered awarding the whole site to one nervy developer — remembering, perhaps, how much efficiency Larry Silverstein brought to ground zero — civic activists have demanded public review of the design rules for the site. And that's what they'll get: Last night, Hudson Yards Development Corporation president Ann Weisbrod said there will be a public presentation on May 8 at 6 p.m. Of course, this is a public-review sprint for a development marathon: MTA spokesman Jeremy Soffin says the transportation agency, which owns the land, will ask for bids by the end of May and then quickly go through the required public process, reviews by the local community board and so forth. But at least you'll get an early peek at what you'll have to live with for the next hundred years. —Alec Appelbaum
The pooh-bahs of nouveau Chelsea and the guardians of old Chelsea might want to start working together. The General Theological Seminary, situated in an elegant Gothic quad on West 20th Street, has been trying since 2005 to get approval to build a James Polshek–designed residential tower at the Ninth Avenue edge of its property. (With everyone else making money off the neighborhood's real-estate boom, the aspiring Episcopalians saw an easy way to finance a desperately needed renovation of its buildings.) But after being shot down by old-timers on the local community board in February, the seminary last night announced it was giving up its residential-tower dreams. Now it's proposing a much smaller, seven-story (but still Polshek-designed) structure along Ninth, with a library downstairs and co-ops upstairs. (The co-ops will help pay for at least some renovations.) And there will also be one more part of the new plan, according to seminary executive vice-president Maureen Burnley: During negotiations with the community board, she said, the seminary offered some of its land to the New York City Housing Authority for affordable-housing units. Score one for the old guard. —Alec Appelbaum
Park Slope residents continued to set the standard for urban self-regard last night at New York Methodist Hospital, killing a Department of Transportation proposal in overwrought style. The department had proposed making Sixth and Seventh Avenues one-way in order to reduce traffic accidents. Local outcry was so strong they suspected a cabal to hurtle Nets fans through the streets the proposal was pretty much dead before the meeting even started. Since the lecture room was packed with about 250 people, another 200 clogged an anteroom in hopes of telling off Deputy Commissioner Michael Primeggia and giving their children (many of whom were, of course, there) a civics lesson.
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