Monday Bulletin: Rogue Turtles, Resilient Real Estate, Park Tragedy

Photo by an_uptown_girl.

February 24, 2020 Weather: Partly cloudy, with a high of 55 degrees.

This week’s concerts, readings and other local events are on our calendar!

A non-native turtle species that carries salmonella has invaded New York because of irresponsible pet owners, according to National Geographic. “Red-eared sliders—so named for the brilliant red marks on their heads that look like ears—are consistently designated one of the world’s hundred worst invasive species by the IUCN. When pet owners realize the reptiles require large tanks and expensive filtration systems, and can live up to 50 years, they often dump them outside.” They‘re in Central Park, the Post reports. “Unlike native snapping turtles, the animals also ‘carry Salmonella,’ which can put park-goers who touch them at risk of illness, Allen Salzberg of the nonprofit New York Turtle and Tortoise Society said.”

Real estate prices on the UWS have risen in recent years even while falling in other areas of the city, wrote Financial Times, attributing the rise to “a high concentration of co-op buildings,” as opposed to new condos. The bad news is, “Buying in a Manhattan co-op is one of New York’s more nerve-racking property experiences.” Prospective buyers must be vetted by a resident-composed board, disclose personal and financial information, and may be subject to tough mortgage limits and restrictions on anything, including (gasp) pets. Said a man who experienced it, “It’s not for everyone.”

Early Sunday morning, a 48-year-old man was found hanging from a tree in Central Park, near 74th Street and Fifth Avenue, by a passerby who called 911, an NYPD spokesperson told WSR. “No criminality is suspected,” the officer reported. “There is reason to believe the man did this to himself, and that he was homeless.” “It makes you realize how fragile people’s lives are,” a witness said to the New York Post. Please, if you or someone you know are thinking about suicide, call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255).

A third teen implicated in the stabbing death of Tessa Majors, an 18-year-old Barnard freshman, is in custody. “Luciano Lewis, 14, surrendered to police early Wednesday,” according to the Daily News. He is charged with robbery and murder. This follows the arrest of Rashaun Weaver, also 14, who is believed to have done the stabbing. Lewis and Weaver will be tried as adults. A 13-year-old boy, who is also implicated in the crime and in custody, will be tried as a juvenile. “The [older] teens were arraigned in Manhattan Criminal Court, where, in low voices, they pleaded not guilty, as relatives, lawyers, prosecutors and Majors’ heartbroken father looked on.”

The developers and opponents of 200 Amsterdam Avenue are fighting not only in court, but in the press through their attorneys. “Developers who were ordered to chop floors off their already-built Upper West Side tower by a recent court decision contend that the ruling will create a logistical mess for at least 30 other buildings across New York City,” Patch reported. A lawyer for the opponents called the claims “a red herring,” “absurd,” and “a parade of nonexistent terribles.” “‘The real message here,’” he said, “‘is a message to developers to get the community on their side before they go ahead.’”

As the plastic-bag ban is set to go into effect in New York State on March 1st, The Guardian wrote of Greta Thunberg, the young environmental activist whose interest in the planet was spawned by a horror of the devastation caused by plastic. “She went on to become attuned to the climate crisis, with the pivotal moment coming during a film shown in class about rubbish in the oceans, ‘an island of plastic’ in the south Pacific.” Greta’s mother said, “She saw what the rest of us did not want to see. It was as if she could see our CO2 emissions with her naked eye.”

NEWS | 35 comments | permalink
    1. Michael says:

      I love the plastic bag and straw ban and I love Greta’s passion and activism, along with all of the youth but when is anyone going to hold China accountable? China and India are responsible for 70% of the O2 pollution increase, they are responsible for 85% of the plastic pollution in the oceans. Are $1 dollar t-shirts too hard to resist that we can’t hold them accountable?

      • Barb says:

        I agree a 100%. Also it is frightening to me to see especially young people in drones using paper and plastic cups in coffee places. I am all for being environmental but would wish the people who rally for this would be more pro-active themselves and not only blame large corporations. I was shocked to see our streets trashed after the climate march!!!

        • Ye Olde Englishe Teachere says:

          Re: “it is frightening to me to see especially young people in DRONES using paper and plastic cups ….”

          Hysterical typo.
          Proof positive that your iPhone’s spell-check is NOT your friend!

          As is said, Write Once, Proofread TWICE.

    2. ben says:

      I remain skeptical that any floors at 200 Amsterdam will actually be chopped off.

    3. Alex says:

      It’s a little unfair to call the turtles “rogue” when what they really are is “abandoned” by thoughtless former owners. The turtles aren’t aiming to cause destruction; their fate (and the fate of others who come into contact with them) is the result of irresponsible behavior of humans (maybe they are the “rogue” ones)

    4. Sherman says:

      Why would any developer want to build and invest in our community – or anywhere in the city for that matter – if a small but vocal minority of entitled malcontents can cause all this aggravation?

      If the developer of 200 Amsterdam was to actually agree to tear down these floors it will take considerable time and the construction site and all the interruptions it causes will continue to disrupt and inconvenience the community for a long time.

      How is this in anyone’s best interest?

      • GeorgeCPW says:

        It is obviously in everybody’s interest not to let a miscreant off with just a slap on the wrist. This ruling, if sustained, will prove that a developer can’t always argue against remediation on the ground that his building is a fait accompli. Here the developer went ahead knowing that it was at its peril. And it wasn’t the “malcontents” who caused this developer aggravation. It was the developer’s disregard of the law.

        • Sherman says:

          It is highly debatable if there was a “disregard for the law” by the developer.

          In any case this is almost besides the point. The heart of the matter is that a vocal minority are simply against the construction of this building for selfish and greedy personal reasons.

          They were willing to dredge up any nonsense to prevent the building’s construction.

          Furthermore, if these floors are dismantled it will be a mess that will impact the neighborhood for a long time.

        • Josh P. says:

          How is tearing down floors a bigger punishment than a fine (equal to the actual cost of tearing down the floors) and turning those floors onto affordable housing? Tearing down the floors is literally only punishing ourselves and does nothing to the developer.

      • Bob says:

        Profits can be made developing plain old 30 story luxury condos, not just 50 story super luxury condos.

      • AC57 says:

        Imagine converting the top 20-floors or equivalent square-footage into affordable housing…

        Or deducting the profits that would come from those floors


        Or wait, don’t because no one here, or barely anyone here endorses that idea, because it’s all about height and views

        • JeffFS of West 90th Street says:

          AC57, that is actually a brilliant thought. Spare the developer the pain of knocking down those 20 stories. Just tell him but he must offer those apartments to middle income residents with combined annual salaries no greater than $200,000. Let them enjoy those beautiful views in exchange for the developer’s avoidance of expenses and time wasted in deconstructing 20 stories.

          • John says:

            200 is middle income? Affordable housing should only be offered to 100K or less for a family of 4…..

          • AM says:

            It’s not a good idea for anyone to live in those top stories. There are several uninhabitable floors (not being used for apartments but rather other building components) that FDNY would have to pass through to respond to any type of emergency. While it allows the upper floors to have unobstructed views, it’s not a safe building to live in.

            • AC57 says:

              I believe you’re thinking of the wrong building. 50 West 66th Street is the one with an excessive amount of mechanical void space (Although that building too could’ve repurposed that space for affordable housing and the necessary additional mechanical equipment)

              While 200 Amsterdam does have a mechanical bulkhead/crown, it also only has one mechanical floor in the middle, which I would bargain is about only 15 feet in height

      • Weird That Way says:

        At this point, why not fine the developer a LOT of money and use it for infrastructure upgrades in the neighborhood?

        • Woody says:

          There’s no simple mechanism in the law to achieve such a result. What you’re suggesting is a fly by the seat of your pants solution that itself creates a lot of ambiguity. I can only imagine the protracted legal battles that would be created by multiple parties to get the result they want through a negotiation. That’s why a law exists that can demand either restoring the building to its proper height or not depending on its legal interpretation. You can’t claim that the height is illegal and then accept the increased height as long as it provides either affordable housing or fines for some other purpose.

      • Anya schiffrin says:

        Sherman: these ugly towers are making our beloved neighborhood ugly. When I look down Broadway, or out of my window, I see something bright, hideous and built for rich people. I’ve lived more than 50 years on the UWS and these towers are a blight and a manifestation of greed. Why on earth would you want to encourage them? Especially when they were built by twisting the rules to avoid regulations that had been agreed on?

    5. viki says:

      about plastic bag ban, doesn’t make sense. Now we’ll have to buy bags to throw out our garbage. The bags you buy (Glad, Hefty, etc) are worse for the ecology and the flimsey ones from the grocery stores and drug stores fall apart more quickly. The companies selling bags must have had a strong lobbyist working for them. How else can you discard your garbage???

      • Alex says:

        You can easily get 100% recycled plastic garbage bags, which is no worse than your re-use of a plastic bag from the store.

        (Better yet, we could start creating less trash, too.)

        Let’s not forget that while some people re-use these plastic bags *once*, the greatest majority are instant trash, and wind up in our rivers, the ocean, clogging pipes, and in our trees.

    6. Marci says:

      Anyone who doesn’t understand the 200 Amsterdam situation; read GeorgeCPW’s comment. He sums it up exactly.

    7. Chris says:

      The plastic bag ban is a joke. Now i will buy plastic garbage bags 4 times the size and throw those away with one days garbage resulting in 4 times the plastic from my household going to the dump

    8. catherine says:

      A thought about the plastic bag issue. Has anyone ordered in Indian food (or most any other cuisine for that matter) and been horrified at the amount of plastic used as containers? It is astounding. A meal for two amounts to about 1 pound of plastic! I’d rather force these restaurants to focus on using paper products before focusing on plastic bags. Better yet, let’s focus on both, but the take out is a far worse problem imo. At least the plastic bags get re-used as garbage bags.

    9. pjcpw says:

      Thanks to AC57 for suggesting such a sane solution, offering the “extra units” at 200 Amst. as affordable housing, to be available to those who qualify for AH following established NYC guidelines. We can spare the neighbors the tear-down chaos AND provide housing to those who truly need it. Perhaps Extell, if it ever resumes its plan to build to a wildly inappropriate height on W. 66th St., could be the next candidate to offer AH. So many are in need of this in our city of prohibitive prices.

    10. Chrigid says:

      Bad policy to ban plastic bags before a recyclable or biodegradable waterproof alternative exists.The parks and streets are going to be full of dogsht.

      • Lunabee says:

        If you own a dog you can purchase biodegradable poop bags. They come in a roll and are handy to carry. Yes they cost money, but that is what a responsible pet owner should do.
        And there are also biodegradable garbage bags in all sizes.
        you could also buy your produce at Trader Joes. THey provide biodegrable plastic bags. Those could be poop bags too.
        There is always a way to find a solution.

    11. EagleEye says:

      Michael, Time to grow up and take some responsibility for your actions. The carbon emissions PER CAPITA in the USA are 3x those in China and 10x those in India.
      India and China need to work on sustainability, but we, the USA, are the gluttons of the world.

    12. UWS Craig says:

      Paper bags are better for the environment because they are made from trees, which use photosynthesis to convert carbon dioxide into sugar. Plastic bags, on the other hand, are made from natural gas liquids, which are produced through a dangerous practice known as fracking.
      Science, and a little bit of common sense, justify the switch from plastic to paper.

      • Jay says:

        Transporting paper bags creates more greenhouse gases than plastic bags.

        Best thing for the environment is to use a reusable bag that can be reused for years.