Hoylman: Pied-a-terre tax is the right step

By Gabe Herman

As lawmakers in Albany are working to shape the budget for the 2019-20 fiscal year, state Senator Brad Hoylman’s pied-a-terre tax has been included in a Senate budget resolution.

Hoylman, whose district includes the Village, part of the East Village, Stuyvesant Town and much of Midtown, has been pushing for the tax since 2014. If approved, the measure would charge people with expensive homes that are not used as a primary residence.

The tax would raise an estimated $650 million annually for the city. It would apply to residences worth more than $5 million. Fees and rates would be charged on an increasing scale as properties increase in value.

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Presentan nueva iniciativa para combatir crímenes de odio en NYC

Por Raymon Frisneda

Los crímenes de odio siguen en aumento en la Gran Manzana. El en 2018, según cifras del Departamento de Policía de Nueva York (NYPD), se reportaron más de 350 casos en todos los cinco condados, y es por esto que activistas, organizaciones comunitarias y oficiales electos, incluyendo al defensor del pueblo Jumaane Williams, se unieron este miércoles para exigir a las autoridades de la Ciudad que cambien la estrategia para combatir este flagelo.

Durante una demostración en las escalinatas de la Alcaldía, en la cual se presentó la nueva Iniciativa de Prevención de la Violencia por Odio, los manifestantes criticaron a la Ciudad asegurando que ha sido inefectiva en responder cuando ocurren incidentes de violencia por odio, enfocándose más en las acciones policiales en vez de educar a la comunidad y tratar de curar las heridas dejadas por estos sucesos.

“Ningún grupo en la ciudad de Nueva York es inmune al alarmante aumento de los delitos de odio, y todos los neoyorquinos deben unirse para combatir esta epidemia. Necesitamos apoyar a las organizaciones de base de las comunidades que están en el terreno en las zonas afectadas, garantizando que tengan los recursos para ayudar a prevenir y responder a estos actos”, dijo el concejal Mark Levine.

Lea el artículo completo aquí.

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Community Holds Vigil For Woman Killed In Harlem Hit-And-Run

By Brendan Krisel

Community members, safe street advocates and local officials held a candlelight vigil Monday nightto offer support to the family of a woman killed in a Harlem hit-and-run and call for a safer Amsterdam Avenue.

Erica Imbasciani, 26, was killed Friday after stepping into the curb of Amsterdam Avenue and West 141st Street when an impaired SUV driver struck her and pinned her into a parked car, police said. The Staten Island native recently moved to Harlem.

Local City Councilman Mark Levine thanked Harlem community members for showing support to Imbasciani's family and standing with them "in a time of unfathomable pain," despite Imbasciani's short time living in the neighborhood. Levine said that five people have been killed on a dangerous stretch of Amsterdam Avenue during his five years in office and said the city " can and has to make this street safer."

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Evictions down in areas where tenants get free lawyers: analysis

By Ryan Deffenbaugh

A city program that provides free lawyers to low-income tenants in housing court has helped cut down on evictions, according to a new analysis by advocates for the program.

Home evictions declined five times faster in city ZIP codes where tenants are eligible for free legal counsel than in similar ZIP codes where the program is not available, showed numbers released Monday by the Community Service Society of New York. Tenant advocacy groups said Tuesday that the numbers show the effectiveness of the city's Right to Counsel law, which gives tenants with an income below 200% of the federal poverty level an attorney when facing eviction.

The city's fiscal year 2018 budget provided $15 million to implement the program in 20 of the city's more than 200 ZIP codes, with plans to expand the program to the entire city by 2022.

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Broadway Theatergoers Say They Were 'Eaten Alive' By Bedbugs During 'Harry Potter' Play

By Paula Mejia

The Broadway production of Harry Potter and the Cursed Child allegedly has some bloodthirsty freeloaders in the house. A woman who attended a performance of the play at the Lyric Theatre last week says she and her husband were attacked during the performance by the dreaded "You-Know-Who": bedbugs. 

The tipster, who asked Gothamist to withhold her name, says she and her husband had seats in the balcony, where they were "eaten alive during the play," she writes in an email. Afterwards, she says they found bites on their neck, arms, and hands, and sent us these triggering photos.

The two also apparently discovered a bedbug on one of their bags upon exiting the theater, which they bagged as evidence for the photo below.

Of course, bedbugs aren't strangers to our city's theaters, though anecdotal reports show them infesting movie theaters more frequently than Broadway houses. In December 2018, City Councilman Mark Levine introduced a bill that would require movie theaters to develop a program that would issue annual reports that they are indeed bedbug-free.

Read the full article here.

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Another Pedestrian Killed On Dangerous Stretch Of Amsterdam Avenue

By Christopher Robbins

Police have arrested the hit-and-run driver who allegedly killed a pedestrian in Hamilton Heights on Friday night. According to an NYPD release, 27-year-old Tyrik Cooper is charged with seven offenses in the death of 26-year-old Erica Imbasciani, including vehicular manslaughter, driving while impaired by drugs, leaving the scene of a serious crash, and driving without a license.

Imbasciani was killed on Amsterdam Avenue at West 141st Street, a stretch of road that the Department of Transportation has been attempting to make safer for two years.

According to NYC Crash Mapper, since February of 2013 there have been 549 crashes on Amsterdam Avenue from 110th Street to 162nd Street; three pedestrians and a motorist have been killed, 249 pedestrians and 84 cyclists have been injured.

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Emotional vigil held to remember young woman killed in hit-and-run in Hamilton Heights

By Lucy Yang

A vigil was held Monday night to remember a young woman struck and killed in Hamilton Heights by a hit-and-run driver who was allegedly on drugs. 

With candles in hand and tears overflowing, family and friends came to mourn 26-year-old aspiring artist Erica Imbasciani. 

She was innocently trying to cross Amsterdam Avenue at 141st Street Friday night when she was killed in a hit-and-run crash. 

Police say the driver of the SUV from the Bronx was on drugs at the time and was caught a few blocks away after ramming into another vehicle. 

Read full article here.


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City Councilmembers Propose $100,000 Fine For 'Hideous' LED Billboard Boats


By Jake Offenhartz

The allegedly illegal, unquestionably irritating LED billboard seen floating through NYC's waterways in recent months could soon incur a much steeper fine from the city — assuming, that is, authorities ever get around to enforcing the law the advertising company is believed to be violating.

The controversial barge was first spotted in the city's rivers in October, and has since attracted plenty of scorn from New Yorkers partial to a waterfront view that does not include an aggressively bright, 60-foot screen blaring ads for beer and private helicopter rides. After the Mayor's Office deemed it "hideous" earlier this year, the Law Department sent a letter to the company behind the boat, Ballyhoo Media, giving them a two-week deadline to demonstrate compliance with a local zoning resolution that prohibits advertising on local waterways

Read the full article here.

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Will Congestion Pricing Create Parking Problems at the Periphery?

By Jeanmarie Evelly

Dozens of residents filled the auditorium at Cooper Union Thursday night at a forum hosted by Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer, where attendees – some touting signs – offered their thoughts on congestion pricing, the proposal to charge cars a fee to drive into the borough’s traffic-snarled business district south of 60th Street.

Congestion pricing has been a central part of the state legislature’s budget negotiations, which are supposed to wrap up by April 1, though reports suggest lawmakers are still divided on the issue. So were speakers at Thursday’s forum, where proponents stressed the necessity of congestion pricing as a revenue source for the MTA, countered by opponents who expressed a litany of worries about the plan.

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Amtrak Angers Uptown After Blocking Views, Spraying Chemicals

By Brendan Krisel

Upper Manhattan residents held a rally Wednesday night to call out the transit company Amtrak for its poor treatment of uptown neighborhoods.

Residents held signs reading "stop Amtrak" near the site of a new billboard the company is constructing over its tracks on the west side of Manhattan. The billboard, located on West 155th Street between Riverside Drive and the West Side Highway, will block scenic views of the Hudson River.

"The view from 155th St up the Hudson to the GW Bridge is one of the most iconic views in NYC. And now it's about to be sullied by a giant billboard being erected by [Amtrak]. Our neighborhood is united in calling its removal," City Councilman Mark Levine said in a statement posted to social media.

Read the full article here.

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