ICYMI – Here is our monthly recap of recent NYC news you might have missed during the last few weeks.
As usual, our list is heavy on real estate and technology, gentrification and businesses going out of business because of it, restaurant and shopping news, the sharing economy, the growing tech corridors in New York City, and other tidbits.
We identify our sources, too.
No fake news, leaks, collusion, temper tantrums or witch hunts on NYCOTC.
Welcome Southwest Airlines to LaGuardia, starting this fall, when it deplanes from Newark and begins boarding in New York City. This is great news for travelers who love the bargain fares Southwest Airlines but hated getting to EWR early in the morning or returning late at night, when public transportation is not available and a taxi or car service can be well over $100. But it’s bad news for passengers aboard cruise ships docked at Port Liberty, who now have a longer and more expensive ride to their relaxing cruise.
It’s a fallout due to both what the airline describes as ticket sales “below expectations” and also to the grounding of the Boeing 737 Max 8 aircraft. Southwest has more than 30 of the planes, the most of any US carrier.
Delta is on schedule to open its all-new terminal at LaGuardia this fall, replacing the worn out and dated Terminal C and D. It’s a $4 billion project, part of the all-new airport replacing the worn out and dated LaGuardia, one of the first commercial airports in the USA.
The new Delta terminal is a spacious 105,000-square-foot light-filled, environmentally sustainable concourse that will feature floor-to-ceiling views of Citi Field and Flushing Bay, gates that can accommodate a range of aircraft sizes, and dining options from favorite New York chefs and eateries.
Delta currently operates 275 daily flights out of LaGuardia
- Read the full story in this official announcement from Delta.
Don’t want to be tracked? The City Council is on your side.
NYC is considering would make it illegal for cellphone companies and mobile app developers to share location data gathered while a customer’s mobile device is within the five boroughs.
The bill provides for steep fines, ranging from $1,000 per violation to $10,000 per day per user for multiple violations, while giving customers who have had their location data shared without their explicit permission the right to sue.
New York City is the Number One market in the USA for skilled freelance workers. The survey by Fiverr, reports that NYC is home to more than half a million freelancers earning estimated $25 billion.
Los Angeles, Chicago, Washington DC and Miami round out the top five, in order.
The survey rates technical, creative and other professional freelance workers – including freelance writers, editors and photograhers – not such freelancers as restaurant delivery workers.
One million. That’s the total of square footage Facebook is planning to lease for office space in a building now under construction in Hudson Yards. It i not known whether that will be in addition to or replacing close to 700,000 square feet of space it currently leases at 770 Broadway, the former Wanamaker Department Store building that’s part of the Noho Historic District.
Whatever, since it’s another giant footprint for Silicon Valley tech giants in here New York City, and part of the reason NYC is the #1 market in the USA for professional freelance workers (see above).
Google is planning a $1 billion expansion at St. John’s Terminal in the West Village, in addition to the major investment it’s made around its current HQ at 111 Eighth Avenue, the building which houses Chelsea Market.
And even though Amazon’s plans for a second North American headquarters in Queens fell apart, the company is reportedly eyeing office space in Midtown, in the Manhattan West megaproject—just across the street from Hudson Yards.
ICYMI in June
Months after Amazon pulled the plug on building a controversial office complex in Long Island City, Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos made a controversial real estate purchase in Manhattan.
The zillionaire plunked down a record-setting $80 million for three Fifth Avenue apartments, which he apparently intends to connect into a triplex.
The three apartments are the penthouse and two apartments below it at 212 Fifth Avenue, in Flatiron, which total one gi-normous 17,000 square foot bachelor pad that includes a gi-normous terrace overlooking Madison Square Park large enough for a private pool, and a seven-room master suite. The building dates to 1913, when it opened as a neo-Gothic office building.
It is expected that one of the richest men in the world will be able to buy this $80 million triplex apartment, plus renovation and decorating costs, without a mortgage.
Stay tuned to find out whether TV sports reporter Lauren Sanchez, whose romance with her broke up his marriage, moves in. There’s certainly enough space for the two of them.
Krispy Kreme is opening a 24/7 flagship store in Times Square, complete with a “glaze waterfall” that tumbles a sugary coating over freshly made donuts made around-the-clock.
You’ll be able to watch tne entire process from comfy stadium seats, like the ones in the best movie theaters.
There will also be a neon “hot light” that will glow red to let people on the street know when fresh donuts are coming out of the oven.
Museum of Broadway will launch in New York City’s Times Square in 2020.
The pop-up museum will focus on three main components: the expansion and evolution of the theater district from lower Manhattan to Times Square; the making of a Broadway show, spotlighting the multitude of behind-the-scenes roles that bring Broadway plays and musicals to life every night; and the “game-changers” — the landmark musicals through the decades that continually challenged and redefined the very idea of what a Broadway show could be.
So far, only the intention to open a Museum of Broadway has been announced, not the location.
The NYC Landmarks Commission celebrated the 50th anniversary of Pride by naming several significant sites related to the LGBTQ movement as city landmarks, inlcuding the former home of author James Baldwin home on the Upper West Side, and the longtime Staten Island home of Audre Lorde, the lesbian feminist writer and activist.
The addresses include:
The Caffe Cino (31 Cornelia Street, Manhattan): The cafe was where L.G.B.T. playwrights shared work well before it was embraced by Broadway. In 1985, The Times called Caffe Cino “the first continuous off-off-Broadway theater.”
The Gay Activists Alliance Firehouse (99 Wooster Street, Manhattan): Established six months after the uprising at the Stonewall Inn, the alliance mobilized supporters and confronted legislators. In 1971, The Times mentioned handbills that group members circulated: “Register and Vote Gay.”
The Women’s Liberation Center (243 West 20th Street, Manhattan): The Center occupied the building from 1972 to 1987. The center “concerns itself primarily with establishing consciousness-raising groups, but it also keeps lists of referral agencies,” The Times wrote in 1976. The center’s treasurer at the time, Janet Taubin, described consciousness raising as “absolutely the basis of all feminist feelings and the feminist movement everywhere.”
The Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Community Center (208 West 13th Street, Manhattan): The center has been at this location since 1984. It has been a focal point for countless organizations and events and is still operating.
The James Baldwin Residence (137 West 71st Street, Manhattan): It was his New York residence from 1966 to 1987. According to the commission, “It is the most significant surviving building in New York City associated with him.”
The Audre Lorde Residence (207 St. Paul’s Avenue, Staten Island): She lived here from 1972 to 1987. She was appointed as the state poet laureate in 1991, a year before her death. She wrote movingly about race, gender and her own battle with cancer, and once told an interviewer, “My sexuality is part and parcel of who I am, and my poetry comes from the intersection of me and my worlds.”
Months after Amazon pulled the plug on building a controversial office complex in Long Island City, Google has purchased a second building on the Meapo/Chelsea border to house its growing NYC presence, which already includes more than 8,000 employees.
“This purchase will help us meet our short-term growth needs in Chelsea-Meatpacking, the community we’ve called home for more than a decade, as we plan to double our presence in New York over the next 10 years,” William Floyd, a spokesman for Google, said in a statement announcing the purchase of the Milk Building, a huge eight-story office and retail space connected by a sky bridge to the Chelsea Market building, which Google purchased last year for a reported $2.4 Billion.
- Read the full story in Bloomberg News.
Who Needs Amazon, Part Two – Microsoft
Months after Amazon pulled the plug on building a controversial office complex in Long Island City, Microsoft is doubling down on its presence in New York City by adding more than 60,000 square feet of office space in a new building under construction in Soho.
The building at 300 Lafayette St., at Houston St., is in addition to its space at 11 Times Square, which is three times the size of the additional new space. Microsoft’s growing presence in town includes a retail store on Fifth Ave. The lease for the Soho space does not include the building’s ground floor retail space, that could change.
- Read the full story in the real estate trade publication Commercial Observer
Who Needs Amazon, Part Three – Amazon Needs New York City
Months after Amazon pulled the plug on building a controversial office complex in Long Island City, it is shopping for a gi-normus amount of office space in Manhattan. Amazon reportedly negotiating for at least 100,000 square feet of space in two new skyscrapers being built by Brookfield Properties at Hudson Yards.
The two buildings, with the easy-to-find addresses of One Manhattan West and Two Manhattan West, are due to open in 2022.
Amazon already has offices at 5 Manhattan West.
- Read the full story in the real estate publication The Real Deal.
Legendary New York hit radio station WPLJ 95.5 ceased to exist on May 31st. Oh, it’s still on the air, but the home of such famous disc jockeys as Jimmy Fink, Jim Kerr and Scott Shannon is has been reborn as K-LOVE, with a playlist of contemporary Christian music.
WPLJ has been a NYC favorite for 48 years. The station started on Valentine’s Day in 1971, playing rock music. In the 1980s, it transformed into a top 40 station and then morphed into “hot adult contemporary” format in the 1990s.
The station’s parent company, Cumulus, sold the legendary station and five others to Educational Media Foundation in February.
- Read the full story on WCBS Newsradio 880, whose sister station WCBS FM, still plays the old fashioned rock and roll music we know and love.
Beloved Bleeker Street indie bookstore Bookbook is closing after more than three decades. Bleecker between West 11th and Jones has been increasingly gentrified in recent years, and rising cmmercial rents have reflected that change. So, co-owners Carolyn Epstein and Chuck Mullen have decided to close the book on what began as Biography Bookshop in 1984.
Keeping La Marina Afloat
The trouble riverside restaurant and dockage in Inwood may not be re-opening, at least under its current ownership. The liquor license for La Marina has been revoked by NY State authorities, there does not seem to be anybody ready to take over a no-booze restaurant, and the current operators are bankrupt.
The latest is that NYC intends to kick out the current operators and find somebody to take over the space. The NYC Parks Department controls the outdoor restaurant and marina space at 348 Dyckman St., at the foot of the Hudson River.
The world’s tallest modular hotel is coming to Manhattan, in the newly-trendy NoMad neighborhood. The 168 guest rooms will be assembled in Poland, shipped overseas and trucked into NYC in the middle of the night, when the city streets can accommodate the oversized loads.
The modular concept will allow it to fully-built in 90 days, more or less, compared with at least one year for conventional construction methods, and save tons of money, which . Marriott has its fingers crossed that modular is the new thing, reducing construction costs and allowing hospitality companies to open new locations faster so they can rent rooms faster.
The 26-story hotel will be an AC Hotel, one of the many Marriott brands.
- Read the full story in Bloomberg News.
Brooklyn Point is now the tallest building in Brooklyn. The third tower of the huge City Point complex, still under construction, has topped out at 720 feet, changing the Brooklyn skyline, There are 68 stories of apartments and amenities inlcuding a game room, movie screening room and gym complete with a rock wall for climbing, a wine library, a playground, a stroller valet, and more.
Perhaps the most appealing “more” is and a rooftop infinity pool, one of the first for a residential building in Brooklyn, and the highest outdoor pol in the western hemisphere.
The design features one-bedroom apartments on the lower floors and larger ones above. Purchase prices in the luxury building will cost between $850,000 and $3.4 million.
It’s expected to be ready for moving vans some time in 2020.
- Read the full story on Business Insder
A legendary Paris patisserie known for its hot chocolate and pastries is heading to Manhattan in September.
Angelina Paris has signed a lease on the ground floor of ML House, a new luxury rental tower at 1050 Sixth Ave., between 39th and 40th Steets. It’ll be the first U.S. outpost for the famed teahouse and bakery, which is known in Paris for its densely sweet hot chocolate and historic fabulous-clientele like Coco Chanel.
The NYC location will include a full-service, sit-down cafe serving modern French cuisine as well as a grab-and-go coffee/bakery area.
- Read the full story in the NY Post
Instacart is bagging some 200 jobs in Whole Foods locations in NYC. They are all part-time employees who grab and bag groceries for shoppers, but do not deliver them. The first jobs to go are 44 Instacart workers at the Bedford Avenue location in Brooklyn, in mid-May, when an agreement between the two companies ends.
The lay-offs do not affect partnerships with other NYC brands, including Costco and ShopRite, along with such specialty shops as Zabar’s on the Upper West Side, Eataly markets and Brooklyn Harvest.
- Read the full story in Crain’s New York Business.
This is great news for lovers of fresh food at affordable prices, and not so great news for Trader Joe’s and Whole Foods.
The first NYC Wegmans is set to open in the fall at the Brooklyn Navy Yard, located on Flushing Avenue in the Admirals Row development. It will be massive – approximately be 74,000 square-feet, including a second-floor mezzanine market cafe with nearly 100 seats, plus a bar that will serve food, wine, beer and spirits.
Besides being a great place to shop, Wegmans is a great place to work. The family-owned company is looking to fill approximately 500 positions, including part-time and full-time. About 150 full-time positions will be available in areas including entry-level management, customer service, overnight grocery and culinary roles such as chefs and line cooks.
In 2018, the company, which has been in business since 1916, placed second on FORTUNE magazine’s “100 best companies to work for” list and has been ranked highly on the list for 21 consecutive years.
Full-time job applicants are invited to apply online at jobs.wegmans.com, or call 347-652-2424 for more information.
Read the full story, and see a short video, in this report from WPIX TV
It’s Electric – There will be more electric bicycles bikes on NYC streets come warm weather. Citi Bike is making a major expansion of its fleet of pedal-assist e-bikes, adding 4,000 of the speedier cycles over the next few months.
E-bikes have proven very popular since they were first introduced in NYC last summer, so popular, in fact, that it was hard to find one. With thousands becoming available by June, both Citi Bike and pro-bike Mayor Bill Di Blasio see them as a an important last-mile transportation option along with a dedicated mode of transport.
But it will cost you more to save sweating and grunting.
Using one of the e-bikes will cost an additional $2 per ride, or an additional 50 cents for those who qualify under the reduced fare program.
The current cost is $3 to take a 30-minute trip on one of bike-sharing services normal two-wheelers. Which means taking an e-bike will cost $5, which is still cheaper – and possibly still faster – than a taxi or app-based car service. Even those who have a Citi Bike membership will have to pay the $2 surcharge.
The extra cost is necessary to cover the extra costs of servicing the e-bikes, whose batteries need to be replaced every 45 minutes of riding. The good news is that Citi Bike will need to hire additional employees for e-bike maintenance.
- See the original story in Streetsblog
Manhattan may get its first actual public beach, along the Hudson River in Chelsea, on The Gansevoort Peninsula. That’s the name of an outcropping at Little West 12th Street that used to house a salt repository used by the Dept. of Sanitation, which was demolished in 2016, and is now little more than a vacant lot of prime riverfront real estate.
The Hudson River Park Trust now runs the 550-acre space stretching along Manhattan’s western coast, and has named a designer, James Corner Field Operations, to make a beach. Construction would begin next year. as the project’s designer.
Read the full story in Crain’s New York Business.
A ban on foam in New York City went into effect on Jan. 1, 2019. The ban means local stores and food service establishments cannot pack your take-out or eggs in those ubiquitous polystyrene clamshells, or your take-out coffee cups, in anything which cannot be recycled.
The Styrofoam ban also includes “packing peanuts” — those white, popcorn-like nuisances that make messes of hallways and building trash rooms — for shipping. Between now and then, the city’s health and consumer affairs departments will educate New Yorkers on the ban and on Styrofoam alternatives.
Once the ban goes into effect, there will be a six-month grace period before penalties can be imposed.
- NYC joins more than 70 other cities which already have banned foam, and the announcement comes on the heels of proposals to outlaw plastic straws at eateries across the boroughs, ban single-use plastic bags statewide, and prevent the sale of disposable plastic bottles in city parks.
- Full details on the official NYC website
- SEE ALSO United Airlines is first airline to ban styrofoam in flight
Terminal 8 at John F. Kennedy Airport is getting a multi-million dollar modernization, via a $350 million investment by American Airlines and British Airways.
The upgrade will add premium lounges for both airlines, improved baggage systems, premium check-in space, upgraded concessions, and five additional wide-body gates to allow for additional trans-Atlantic flights.
British Airways will be moving to Terminal 8 from Terminal 7, which is being replaced to accommodate the expansion of JetBlue.
It’s part of the $13 billion plan to transform and enlarge the airport announced recently by Governor Andrew Cuomo, and the multi-billion dollar program to modernize LaGuardia Airport that’s already underway.
- Read more in the NY Post.
Also at JFK, the old TWA terminal is a few months away from re-opening as a 512-room hotel with a sweeping rooftop observation deck. It will be called the TWA Hotel at Terminal 5.
JPMorgan Chase has filed an application to demolish its 52-story, 707-foot headquarters building, to build a bigger one.The filing is a pivotal step for the bank, which plans to replace the 1.5 million-square-foot Modernist tower with a 2.5 million square foot supertall skyscraper designed by Lord Norman Foster.
It would be the largest planned demolition in NYC history – bigger by far than the two largest NYC skyscrapers demolished on purpose – the 612-foot-tall Singer Building, torn down in 1968, and the 517-foot-tall Deutsche Bank Building, which was damaged beyond repair on 9/11.
The 270 Park Ave. glass metal tower was designed by Gordon Bunshaft and Natalie de Blois for Skidmore, Owings & Merrill, de Blois being one of the few senior female designers of the time. It was completed in 1961, and for nearly 50 years the tower held the record for the tallest building designed by a woman.
- Read the full story in CityRealty.com
Trump Tower, the office and residential condo tower where the Trump Organization has its headquarters, has an Energy Star score of 44, 30% below the median, according to energy data released by the city. An Energy Star score is based on a formula developed by the federal Environmental Protection Agency to evaluate energy efficiency while taking into account extenuating factors such as property type and how densely a building is occupied. The score is also used to rate consumer products.
- Read the full story in Crain’s New York Business.
And it’s not just the Trump Tower in NYC. The Trump Tower in Chicago is rated at the bottom of the city’s energy rankings. Full story here.
NYC school buses go green in September. Under a $1.25 Million pilot program, NYC gets four electric buses for the start of the 2019-2020 school year.
Recent research from the New York League of Conservation Voters shows that converting the city’s roughly 9,000 school buses to electric vehicles would be the equivalent of pulling more than 621,000 cars from the streets, reducing greenhouse gases by 2.9 million tons each year.
League officials also say a switch to electric buses would reduce the occurrence of asthma among city kids — the No. 1 cause of missed school days.
- Read the full story in the NY Daily News.
The new deadline for completing the new Grand Central Terminal tunnels, platforms and retail and food courts is Dec. 21, 2022 – four years from now.
The project will create a new, direct route for riders of the Long Island Rail Road to and from Manhattan’s East Side, alleviating traffic that currently flows through the chaotically congested Penn Station, on the West Side. It’s a massive undertaking, already underway for years, with massive cost overruns thanks to bureaucracy and politics. By some estimations, the new through-way could cut as much as 40 minutes from the daily commute of some riders, while also alleviating congestion at both Grant Central Terminal and at Penn Station.
- Read the full story in the New York Post
Cash Not Accepted – Cashless restaurants may be getting their just desserts. There’s a move in the City Council to require restaurants to accept cash, since that discriminates against low-income New Yorkers who may not have traditional banking options, which include credit cards Violators would face fines of up to $250 for a first offense and up to $500 for additional violations
The ban on cashless restaurants would hit high-end eateries along with more affordable ones like salad chain Sweetgreen, which requires payment via its own mobile app., which discriminates against those who don’t have smatphones or prefer not to pay via a smartphone app.
- Full story in the New York Post.
Shirley Chisholm Statue – She was the first Black female to serve in Congress, and the first female of any color to run for president. Now, Shirley Chisholm is to be honored with a stateue in her native Brooklyn. It will be in Prospect Park, and it will be one of the few statues to a woman in iny NYC park candidate for President, arriving some time in 2020.
- Read the full story here.
Banned in Brooklyn – Barclays Center is getting rid of plastic straws by the end of this year, making it NYC’s first sports and entertainment venue to make such a commitment. BSE Global, which operates the 18,000-seat home of the NBA’s Nets and NHL’s Islanders, said the ban would divert 3.75 million plastic straws a year from dumps.