Close

How to Stop the Reckless Over-Building of Our City

Posted on by Laurie Garrett

Dear Friends and New York Neighbors,

At last I have GOOD NEWS to report. As you know I have been warning for months that New York developers are running amok, and our entire city is being transformed into a high-rise paradise for the super-rich of the world, leaving a smattering of affordable housing for the poorest New Yorkers and forcing the entire middle class to vacate the five boroughs. I've felt a bit like Chicken Little, as few citizens of the City seemed to share my fears or recognize that atrocities unfolding in their particular neighborhood were mirrored in every niche of the metropolis.


I am delighted to tell you that community organizations from every neighborhood of the City are now organized, in a nonpartisan save-our-city movement that spans from the northern-most corner of the Bronx to southern-most Staten Island and the Far Rockaways. The politicians (local and State, Democrat and Republican) have either been asleep at the wheel, or have actively encouraged this out-of-control development for people that can afford to plunk down $20 million for an apartment in the sky. Do not be deceived into believing that this development is for you or anybody that you know.

Please take five minutes to read the great news below, sign the Petition for a Human-Scale City, and pass this e-mail on to every friend and neighbor on your contacts list, post it on your Facebook page, Tweet it, spread the word. Time is running out. As the residents of Brooklyn Heights and DUMBO have learned, developers can flagrantly violate all legal and environmental agreements and get away with it, so long as they get brick-and-mortar, concrete-and-steel up before protests mount and judges review lawsuits.

And let's be clear about what's at stake: No neighborhood is safe. Bloomberg News reports that 30% of rent-controlled housing in New York is at risk right now, and is expected to lose its legal protection, allowing skyrocketing rents and wrecking ball destruction for development. Giant towers will loom over communities from Bushwick to Bronxville unless we all tell Mayor De Blasio and Governor Cuomo that enough is enough. Even neighborhoods that currently enjoy hard-fought landmark status face devastating changes.

The first landmarked neighborhood of New York, Brooklyn Heights, will by 2018 be ringed by gigantic condominium complexes designed for extremely wealthy households, located along the perimeter of the early 19th Century brownstone neighborhood, even inside the Brooklyn Bridge Park. (Indeed, it was recently revealed that two members of the Board of the Brooklyn Bridge Park Corporation bought condos in the PierHouse complex that has been the source of immense anxiety and lawsuits, and is in clear violation of community and environmental agreements. In other words, the people who were supposed to protect the Park have profited from violating all community agreements, and own condos that devour space illegally.) At 205 Montague will stand a 700 foot tower, dwarfing the existing One Pierrepont building (which currently houses Hillary Clinton's campaign headquarters), and followed along the block by a 441 foot tower to be built atop a site that currently houses the Public Library. Behind all that, across the street from Junior's will loom a pencil tower of more than 900 feet.

If you do nothing else to save your neighborhood and the City as a whole, please take a few moments to sign the petition below, and pass this e-mail on to friends, neighbors, your local politicians, your co-op Board or condominium association, your rent control organization, your children's school and PTA: Time is of the essence.

See below, and thank you,
Laurie Garrett
NYC Citizen

Dear New Yorkers for a Human-Scale City, Friends, and Neighbors:

Our on-line Petition for a Human-Scale City is now ready to launch.

Each person who signs it will generate a unique email that goes automatically to the Mayor’s office. That email will include the signer’s comments. So start now. Pass this petition link around. We will flood Mayor de Blasio with our signatures and messages. Let’s make him understand:  his own political future is linked to promoting a human-scale vision for our New York. We don’t want our city to end up a sea of glass towers like Dubai or Shanghai. We don’t want what’s left of the historic city and our parks to be covered in shadow.

Here is the petition:  http://www.humanscalednyc.net/

After signing, please forward the link and this letter to everyone on your organization’s email list. Send it to your spouses, your voting age children, your New York friends, your co-op/condo boards, your building’s tenant lists, and to all your neighbors. Link it to Facebook. Tweet it out. We aim for 100,000 signatures from voting age residents of all five boroughs. Because we now fifty organizations from the Bronx to Staten Island, such a number of signatures is feasible.

You may need to send out periodic reminders to your neighborhood list too, once a week if possible. Even people sympathetic to our cause sometimes need a few polite nudges to remember to sign. The deeper we reach into our own buildings and neighborhoods, the sooner we will reach our goal.

For those of you who plan to embed this link in newsletters, try to create a unique mailing with a single message. That way the call to action does not get lost amid your other important announcements. Feel free to edit and put this message into your own words. 

Thank you for your courage and insight. 

 

Lynn Ellsworth (Tribeca Trust)

Mario Messina (29th Street Association)

Mark Crispin Miller (NYU Faculty Against the Sexton Plan)

 

These organizations are sponsors of the Petition for a Human-Scale New York:

Art Loisada Foundation

Bedford Stuyvesant Society for Historic Preservation

Bowery Alliance of Neighbors

Citizens Emergency Committee to Preserve Preservation

Citizens Defending Libraries

Coalition for a Livable West Side

Committee for Environmentally Sound Development

Community Action Alliance on NYU2031

Concerned Citizens for Community Based Planning

Defenders of the Historic Upper East Side

East Harlem Preservation

Fiske Terrace Association

Friends of Brook Park

Friends of Bushwick Inlet Park

Friends of City Hall Park

Friends of Greenwich Street

Friends of Lamartine Place Historic District

Friends of South Street Seaport

Friends of Tribeca Park

Lower East Side Preservation Initiative

Historic Districts Council

Historic Park Avenue

Friends of City Hall Park

Friends and Residents of Greater Gowanus

Friends of Greenwich Street

LANDMARK WEST!

Madison-Marine-Homecrest Association

Movement to Protect the People in Crown Heights

North Avenue A Neighborhood Association

NYU Faculty Against the Sexton Plan

Preservation League of Staten Island

Project for Public Spaces

Save Chelsea

Save Harlem Now!

#SaveNYC

Save the View Now

Save our Seaport

SoHo Alliance

South Bronx United

South Village Neighbors

Lower East Side Preservation Initiative

Lower West Side Association

Sullivan-Ludlam-Stoddard Neighborhood Association

TakeBackNYC

TenantNet

Tribeca Trust

29th Street Association

Vinegar Hill Neighborhood Association

West 80’s Neighborhood Association

Women of Woodlawn

 

These organizations are sponsors of the Petition for a Human-Scale New York:

Art Loisada Foundation

Bedford Stuyvesant Society for Historic Preservation

Bowery Alliance of Neighbors

Citizens Emergency Committee to Preserve Preservation

Citizens Defending Libraries

Coalition for a Livable West Side

Committee for Environmentally Sound Development

Community Action Alliance on NYU2031

Concerned Citizens for Community Based Planning

Defenders of the Historic Upper East Side

East Harlem Preservation

Fiske Terrace Association

Friends of Brook Park

Friends of Bushwick Inlet Park

Friends of City Hall Park

Friends of Greenwich Street

Friends of Lamartine Place Historic District

Friends of South Street Seaport

Friends of Tribeca Park

Lower East Side Preservation Initiative

Historic Districts Council

Historic Park Avenue

Friends of City Hall Park

Friends and Residents of Greater Gowanus

Friends of Greenwich Street

LANDMARK WEST!

Madison-Marine-Homecrest Association

Movement to Protect the People in Crown Heights

North Avenue A Neighborhood Association

NYU Faculty Against the Sexton Plan

Preservation League of Staten Island

Project for Public Spaces

Save Chelsea

Save Harlem Now!

#SaveNYC

Save the View Now

Save our Seaport

SoHo Alliance

South Bronx United

South Village Neighbors

Lower East Side Preservation Initiative

Lower West Side Association

Sullivan-Ludlam-Stoddard Neighborhood Association

TakeBackNYC

TenantNet

Tribeca Trust

29th Street Association

Vinegar Hill Neighborhood Association

West 80’s Neighborhood Association

Women of Woodlawn

AHEAD IN 2015: VIRUSES, EPIDEMICS AND UNITED NATIONS HAGGLING—PART THREE: Racing To Meet The MDGs (And Create SDGs)

Posted on by Laurie Garrett

With fewer than 360 days left to meet the Millennium Development Goals, or MDGs, hundreds of UN agencies, nongovernmental organizations (NGOs), foundations, and governments are scrambling to reach the targets and prove with valid data that they have done so. Adopted by the United Nations General Assembly in 2000, the eight goals include three that are directly related to global health: numbers four, five, and six. Combined, these three aim to dramatically reduce the number of babies and children dying; improve the health and survival of pregnant women; provide universal access to treatments for tuberculosis, malaria and HIV; and reduce the incidence of those diseases.

Read More

AHEAD IN 2015: VIRUSES, EPIDEMICS AND UNITED NATIONS HAGGLING—PART TWO: Flu Strikes in Many Virulent Forms Across the World

Posted on by Laurie Garrett

The United States is now officially in the grips of an influenza epidemic, according to the CDC, caused primarily by a strain of H3N2 flu that is not akin to the form used in this year’s vaccine development. As a result, immunization is expected to offer protection against the other two or three strains in circulation, and may shorten the length and severity of disease for H3N2 sufferers, but will not prevent infection. Flu reports surged before Christmas across the Deep South and Mississippi Valley states...

Read More

AHEAD IN 2015: VIRUSES, EPIDEMICS AND UNITED NATIONS HAGGLING—PART ONE: The Ebola Epidemic in West Africa

Posted on by Laurie Garrett

Since this is the dawn of a new year let us begin with the good news: Liberia has brought its epidemic way down from the hideous highs of late September to a manageable number of cases. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control (CDC) worst-case scenario forecast1.4 million Ebola cases in Liberia, Sierra Leone, and Guinea, with more than nine hundred thousand deaths—was not realized, as the forecast was predicated on the assumption that no global mobilization of assistance would materialize in 2014.

But none of the three hard-hit countries has managed to reach Ebola eradication targets set by their leaders. President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf of Liberia forecast elimination of new cases in her country by Christmas—a target that clearly has been missed. President Ernest Bai Koroma of Sierra Leone predicted in October that his nation would be “containing the Ebola virus” by Christmas. Instead, group Christmas celebrations were banned nationwide amid an out-of-control epidemic, and many communities were on mandatory lockdown. Guinea’s President Alpha Condé, once optimistic that his government could contain the virus, now personally micromanages the national effort. Moreover, the late August World Health Organization (WHO) forecast for the size and horror of the epidemic was almost exactly correct: twenty thousand cases by mid-November with 50 percent mortality. By December 28, the cumulative case load officially topped twenty thousand with 7,842 deaths reported,according to the WHO. Given the cumulative death numbers do not include Liberia (see WHO chart below), it is safe to assume that the mortality toll has, as predicted, exceeded 50 percent. Assuming underreporting and delays in confirming and conveying data to the WHO, it seems the Geneva-based agency’s forecast was accurate, though off by about three weeks.

Read More

Polio and the CIA

Posted on by Laurie Garrett

It may long be debated just how much the CIA’s use of a vaccination ruse to identify Osama bin Laden’s children contributed, but on May 5, 2014 the World Health Organization declared polio a Public Health Emergency of International Concern. The WHO noted that by the end of 2011 only three countries still had endemic polio (Pakistan, Afghanistan and Nigeria), but by the end of April 2014 that number had soared to 10 nations. The world had been on the edge of polio eradication: It is now witnessing expansion of the virus’ territory and caseload.

Read More