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The Paper of Record for East and West Villages, Lower East Side, Soho, Noho, Little Italy and Chinatown

November 12, 2015 • FREE Volume 5 • Number 19

Demanding data, pols say that Airbnb keeps flying under the radar BY YANNIC RACK


n a war of words at City Hall last week, Airbnb once again clashed with its critics, who accused the popular short-term rental company of making the city “ground zero for illegal hotels.” In two separate press conferences and during a hearing on a range of City Council

bills aimed at curbing misuse of the “home sharing” service, Airbnb was variously hailed as the lifeline for tens of thousands of New Yorkers and slammed as a threat to the city’s affordable housing stock. “This is not about regular New Yorkers trying to AIRBNB continued on p. 24


City pushing mandatory affordable housing plan BY YANNIC RACK


he Department of City Planning is moving forward with plans to both launch a new mandatory affordable housing program and modify the regulations in contextually zoned districts. Both initiatives are part of

Mayor Bill de Blasio’s ambitious 10-year plan for affordable housing. To lay out the details of the two separate programs — Mandatory Inclusionary Housing and Zoning for Quality and Affordability — City Planning officials recently sat down with the edHOUSING PLAN continued on p. 8

Cooper Union is working on trying to return to a tuition-free model — but is this model, above, the solution? Yes, downsizing to cut costs is always an option — but this much?

Gardens now seen as key part of future storm-defense plan BY SARAH FERGUSON


wo years ago, Superstorm Sandy swamped the East Village, turning basements into swimming pools and flooding the streets with rivers of water. On Monday morning, New York City Parks Commissioner Mitchell Silver and other city, state and federal officials gathered with scores of beaming gardeners at La Plaza Cultural on E. Ninth St. to announce a $2 million state grant to install rainwater-cap-

ture systems and other projects to mitigate storm runoff in the more than 40 community gardens in the East Village and Lower East Side. For New York’s gardening movement, the announcement marks a milestone. For decades, city officials considered community gardens as temporary oases, space savers for future development. Now, they are being recast as “green infrastructure” to make Downtown more resilient against flooding from major storms.

“This is a momentous moment,” declared Aziz Dehkan, executive director of the New York City Community Garden Coalition, which will be administering the grant in partnership with GreenThumb and the grassroots group LUNGS (Loisaida United Neighborhood Gardens). “We believe it might be the first time that the state has given money directly to community gardens. We’re finally being recognized as GARDENS continued on p. 6

WWW.EASTVILLAGERNEWS.COM Halloween Parade 4 | May 14, 2014


East Villager • Nov. 12 2015  


East Villager • Nov. 12 2015