By Evelyn Levine
Linda Rosenthal and Scott Stringer addressed community concerns at a Town Hall meeting on Monday, at the Lincoln Square Neighborhood Center. We’ve divided them below into the various topics discussed.
A number of UWS residents registered concerns that developers in the area, who are receiving 421A benefits, are not fulfilling their obligations to provide some affordable housing and not registering the apartments, as obligated. Assembly Member, Linda Rosenthal, says she is seeking legislation, and harsher penalties, and that she recognizes there is now a “feeding frenzy for UWS developers” due to these benefits.
Another person questioned the naming rights of cultural institutions and suggested that names such as “Trump Towers” and “The David H Koch Theatre ” in Lincoln Center do not reflect the values of the community. Assembly member Linda Rosenthal said she will look into the relevant regulations and time limits on naming rights.
A resident of the Amsterdam Houses says she has been hearing rumors of Mitchell-Lama buildings using loopholes to harass and evict tenants; and asked “what is being done to preserve affordable housing on the UWS ?” Linda Rosenthal stated that “I hear of people facing eviction every single day in my office” and is working on this issue.
Another resident of the Amsterdam Houses said her elderly neighbor “cannot go out in the evening since she is terrified of the scaffolding, which seems to be unnecessary, anyway, since no work is even being done.” Linda Rosenthal said the scaffolding was put up too early but that work will soon commence.
Another NYCHA resident requested dumpsters in front of the buildings to keep them cleaner.
One person said “I have recently been diagnosed with back problems, and I cannot keep my posture erect as the sidewalks have become slanted.” Linda Rosenthal says that the city streets are in need of better upkeep and some need to be re-done.
One person questioned why one area of Riverside Park seems to be closed off for private use.
One dog lover insisted that she tried to adopt a dog from a shelter, and never got a response. The dog was later sent to a rescue through the DOH and suffered a painful death. After sending in complaints, she has been harassed by DOH to the point of someone entering her apartment by force because of a “bad smell.” City Comptroller, Scott Stringer, agreed that DOH is not concerned enough with animal safety, and should “get out of that business” and said that he is also investigating the Animal Care and Control agency.
One person asked “how can we move the needle” and advocate for more animal shelters – currently there are only 3 for the 5 boroughs. Scott Stringer said he is looking into a public-private initiative.
The recent traffic deaths were mentioned by Scott Stringer (pictured at left), who still insists that recent data he has seen suggests that “Vision Zero” (the recent NYC mission to end traffic injuries and deaths) is working; but he thinks the other agencies such as MTA and DOT needs do more to assist in maintaining safe streets.
One woman mentioned the entrance to Lincoln Center parking, where cars are routinely running lights, and is worried that “someone will eventually be killed.”
One woman requested signage regarding the NYC law of no turning on red lights, claiming out-of-towners do not know anything about this.
A resident of 303 West 66 Street says his corner needs a bus shelter since it is a very windy and cold and many seniors wait there.
According to someone who witnessed a recent accident there: West 64th and WEA, the lights are not bright enough (especially at dusk) which creates a blind spot for cars at that corner.
One person mentioned how glass buildings reflect the sunlight too harshly and that birds are killed by this type of construction.
One person complained of “incessant sirens going off at 2 a.m. – when there is no traffic – to and from Roosevelt Hospital.
One woman said she opened her door one morning and was shocked to find 25 bicycles parked there. She said “NYC needs every inch of its parking space and that this is too much”
Linda Rosenthal said she is looking into ways that the community can have more input, and more notice time, for any new bike lanes.
One resident claims she has been advocating for local restaurants to become more wheel-chair accessible and abide by ADA guidelines, and “has called the Assembly member’s Office many times” about one particular local restaurant, and was finally told the restaurant in question has obtained a grandfathered landmark designation. Linda Rosenthal said she will look into this matter.
Photos by Evelyn Levine.