YOUR WEEKLY COMMUNITY NEWSPAPER SERVING CHELSEA, HUDSON YARDS & HELL’S KITCHEN
Brewer: Tenants Must Organize BY YANNIC RACK Instead of relying on the city to take care of predatory landlords, tenants in Chelsea must join together to fight back, Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer said last week. When at risk of being pushed out of their apartments, residents’ best hope is to form tenant groups and seek their own legal assistance, according to Brewer. “My experience for many years has been, when you have a building you can organize, Continued on page 2
Plan Has Palace Playing Off Broadway BY JACKSON CHEN A century-old Broadway theater will likely be lifted up 29 feet to make room for four floors of commercial space, having won conditional approval, subject to a peer review, from the city’s Landmarks Preservation Commission (LPC). The project involves the vertical move of the Palace Theatre at 1564 Broadway (at W. 47th St.), which was built in 1913. According to Elise Quasebarth, a preservation consultant hired by the development team, the theater was created as a vaudeville venue, and Continued on page 4
THIS CAT IS TOP DOG
A Boston Terrier may have snagged the larger front page photo, but 20-year-old domestic shorthaired cat Chloe gets top billing at West Chelsea Veterinary. See page 12.
Photo by Yannic Rack
Our Dogged Readers Are The Cat’s Meow Loyalty, intelligence, and good taste are qualities we recognize in all of our regular readers — but Chris Dietz and his eight-year-old Boston Terrier, Betty, are in a league of their own. See page 13.
Tenants Challenge Landlord Lies BY EILEEN STUKANE Over the decades, residents of 517-525 W. 45th St., a complex of five buildings of various heights, have outlasted a turnover of owners who thought they could harass tenants into leaving their grandfathered loft dwellings. The wave that is breaking over the city — tenant harassment by landlord construction — had already toughened the W. 45th St. residents, who were alert to change and ready for the new owner, Offir Naim, who purchased the complex in July 2014. They soon learned that his plan was to construct additional stories on their buildings to make them all taller — however, they felt the owner’s NYC Department of Buildings (DOB) application for this work contained fraudulent information. The burden of proof rested on their shoulders, but tenants say that even with proof in hand, their major difficulty is what seems to be a lack of
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interest by DOB officials to acknowledge falsified documents and halt an approval process, signaling a system badly in need of change. Led by Tom Cayler of 525 W. 45th St., residents have become involved in trying to correct falsified application information provided by the owner and his architect to the DOB — information that misidentifies the actual heights of their buildings. Being in the Special Clinton District, the buildings have a height limit of 66 feet or seven stories (whichever is less). When the owner’s architect, Daniel Bernstein of Kutnicki Bernstein Architects, submitted plans to the NYC Loft Board to comply with required codes for the eight Interim Multiple Dwelling (IMD) units — the grandfathered lofts in the 18-unit building complex — it was revealed that these plans
Continued on page 6 VOLUME VOLUME 07, ISSUE 07, ISSUE 43 | 22 DECEMBER | JULY 24 16 - 30, 22, 2015