REMINDER: TOMORROW – PUBLIC HEARING ON PROPOSED SHELTER, 306 West 94th St., Thursday, October 18th @10 AM

Alexander Hearing tomorrow (details below). Other news: Foundation Funds Fencing For Joan of Arc Park. Groundbreaking expected Spring 2019!; The Next Boom: Luxury Development Is Breaking Out All Over, Even As Shelter Battle Looms; Homeless Officials Seek Half-a-Million Dollar$ For Verbal Judo Training. And it’s a no-bid contract!



WHERE: 22 Reade Street, corner of Pike Street, SPECTOR HALL

WHEN: Thursday, October 18th * TIME: 10 AM

22 Reade Street is one block north of City Hall, between Centre & Bway at Pike. By train: 2 and 3 to Chambers St, go one block north to Reade, make a right, go 3 blocks.

If you’re coming to the hearing and wish to speak, drop a note to We have a list of pertinent topic


Foundation Funds Fencing In Joan of Arc 

The Achelis and Bodman Foundation has donated another grant of $50,000 to the Riverside Park Conservancy for further fencing around Joan. This fencing will be along the northern path, complementing the City’s re-design of Joan of Arc park, funded byCM Helen Rosenthal, which addresses the plaza and southern path. The grant is the result of a proposal written by our neighbor James Panero.

Construction on the Joan of Arc park is presently out for bidding. The new design by NYC Parks and Recreation master architect Margaret Bracken includes a new southern entrance, at the corner of West 92nd Street and the Riverside Drive Service Road.


Let’s put this crisis in perspective:
The Upper West Side: More Unending Battle

The Alexander controversy must be taken in perspective. James Panero captured our community’s zeitgeist in his City Journal article six years ago.

What is different is that our community is undergoing a massive boom in the development of luxury condos and rentals. Developers are looking past the City’s halting attempts to concentrate the homeless population in inappropriate settings.

It is ironic that the City’s use of SRO hotels for special needs shelter populations from the outer boroughs forces legacy SRO tenants, either out of the City entirely, or sometimes into the pool of homeless people.

The bottom line is that the area is already extremely expensive. The value of this neighborhood is sustainable for many years to come. This is especially true when the Williamsburg crowd experiences life without the L train, and Brooklyn Heights residents lose their promenade to BQE traffic for six years. The 96th Street 1-2-3 train service is seven minutes from Times Square.

Developers are creating new housing stock because they see a renaissance in our neighborhood.

Our community has a beautiful park in Riverside Park in the West 90s. It is being restored to its former glory, from Joan of Arc park, to the new Riverside Drive west walkway to the east promenade that will reopen in 2019.

On Tuesday, the Landmarks Preservation Commission approved the proposal by Brack Capital to restore 720 West End Avenue, at 95th Street, to its former glory. The property was once the Marcy Hotel, a proud Emery Roth brick façade building which will become luxury condos around 2021. The list of developments coming to our neighborhood soon include:

–West 96th and Broadway, a 20-story-plus residential tower with street retail by Extell

–West 93-94th on Broadway, a mid-block luxury residence, on the former site of EuroPan and Radio Shack

–212 West 95th Street, an 18-story luxury tower on the former Camden Hotel and Hertz Garage site:

–212 West 93rd Street, 14-story luxury tower with Shaare Zedek synagogue in its base

Besides 720 West End, there are other sites being eyed by market rate developers, including the decommissioned MTA substation on West 96th Street, just west of the Extell tower, and part of the 91st-92nd Street block on the west side of Broadway.

Those who have endured these battles over the long term, have a better neighborhood, and benefited from the stronger property values.

A $504,000 No Bid Contract:
Verbal Judo Training For City’s Homeless Agency

While we doubt many will hang around the contract hearings on Thursday, one of the more interesting contracts on the docket is a $504,000 no-bid contract with a non-NYC provider to teach Department of Homeless Services employees “verbal judo.” Please see below, from the City Record. We have of course experienced many years of public and elected officials engaging in verbal tap-dancing, but verbal judo? Who will they practice on? Homeless clients, the general public or themselves? No bids?

IN THE MATTER of a proposed contract between the Department of Homeless Services of the City of New York and the vendor listed below, for the provision of Verbal Judo Training to Department of Social Services (DSS) Employees.  The term of this Contract shall be for four years for the period from December 1, 2018 to November 30, 2022.

Contractor/Address                       E-PIN #                    Amount           Service Area

Tac Com, LLC dba                       07118S0002001        $504,000.00          Citywide

Verbal Judo Institute     

1402 Wynhurst Drive

Waxhaw, North Carolina 28173

The proposed contractor was selected by Sole Source procurement method, pursuant to Section 3-05 of the Procurement Policy Board Rules.


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