Bad Enough They’re Building The New York Wheel On Staten Island. But Did They Have To Call It A Wheel Estate blog?

Painting by Diego Rivera Mexican, 1886-1957): Portrait of Adolfo Best Maugard, 1913. Oil on canvas,

I’m not kidding. Here’s the link to the New York Wheel Estate blog.

http://newyorkwheelestate.com/tag/the-wheel-and-sandy/

It’s an update on their project after Sandy. And because neither rain nor sleet or loss of life and property can delay  a high profile NYC project (even one on the devastated shoreline of Staten Island) the hearings must go on as well. And this one did.

A November 15th  letter to Deputy Mayor Robert Steel blasting the timing of the scoping meeting.

“The fact that this hearing is still being held tonight is even more bizarre when we consider that the administration has been criticized by some conspiracy-minded individuals for allegedly attempting to rush the process,” the lawmakers wrote, adding, “Holding this hearing tonight, while so many Staten Islanders are still dealing with unimaginable tragedy, will continue to feed into this criticism.”–SIlive.com

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Landlordrocknyc Design: Superior Ink Still Not Habitable After Sandy; Marc Jacobs And Wealthy Neighbors Can’t Return For Months; 10 Most Expensive Rentals In Manhattan

Superior Ink

“Wealthy residents of posh West Village condo building Superior Ink, including Marc Jacobs, were upset to hear they won’t be able to move back into their apartments for months after it was flooded by super storm Sandy. A source exclusively tells us that at a heated meeting on Wednesday night, owners were told, “Seawater got into the pipes and is corrosive, so this must be cleared out. The West 12th Street building could be unlivable for months. Owners will not get help to relocate and should call their insurance provider.”–Page Six, NY Post, November 2012

“Everyone’s favorite fashion industry couple (or at least ours!), Marc Jacobs and Lorenzo Martone, have just closed on a $10.4 million townhouse at Superior Ink in the Village, Page Six reports:

The Bethune Street townhouse has nearly 4,400 square feet and comes with a private elevator, rear terrace and yard and a roof terrace, and connects to the garage for ultimate privacy.” Page Six, NY Post, March 2010

Superior Ink Condominium Lobby

Superior Ink Master Bedroom

Superior Ink Kitchen

Superior Ink Bathroom

Interiors at Robert A. M. Stern’s Superior Ink by Yabu Pushelberg…” were artfully designed to take advantage of the remarkable views offered by the prime, waterfront location. The floor plans delineate open, light-filled living spaces that were designed by clean lines offset by rich textures and fine finish”…Superior Ink Marketing Copy

What will tens of thousands a month in rent (try $150,000 at one joint) buy Marc Jacobs and  friends  in the new rental reality of life after Sandy?  It’s not pretty , even at these insane prices.

Astor Suite At The Plaza Hotel
$125,000 a month, reduced from $165.000 a month

.

http://ny.curbed.com/archives/2012/11/15/here_now_the_10_most_expensive_rentals_in_manhattan.php

As One57 Crane Hung in the Sky, a Drama Unfolded to Prevent a Catastrophe Below: NY Times; Dramatic Rescue Photos

Photos were taken by the rescue crew and are via
constructiongrafitti.com

Some terrific  reporting from the Times about the six dangerous days after the Midtown One57 crain accident.  It was all worse than we knew, with a very real doomsday possibility of a major gas explosion in the heart of Manhattan.

“High above him, a 150-foot crane boom next to the building, one of the tallest construction projects in North America, was dangling. It had twisted and crumpled in the 80-mile-an-hour winds and was now threatening to plunge 1,000 feet to the street, onto a natural gas main, and possibly cause a major explosion.

…Mr. Alacha, in an interview this week, said that in the hours after the accident, he estimated that there was an 80 percent chance that the 26,000-pound boom would plummet to the street.

The story of what happened next at 157 West 57th Street, where a billionaire has agreed to pay $95 million for the duplex penthouse, suggests how close the city was last week to a catastrophe at the site. The surrounding blocks were evacuated for six days and the crisis became a riveting symbol of the city’s wounded infrastructure.” NY Times

By Shayla Harris
Fred R. Conrad/The New York Times|Extell Development Company

Rescuing the Crippled Crane: For the first time since the storm, the developers, construction crew and city officials involved in the Midtown crane collapse share the panic-stricken moments in the effort to secure the machinery.

By
Published: November 6, 2012

Michael Alacha, a New York City buildings engineer, was racing up the stairwell of a 74-story luxury skyscraper being built in the heart of Midtown Manhattan. Hurricane Sandy was battering the region, and Mr. Alacha was trying to avert a disaster

Graphic

The boom of the construction crane atop 157 West 57th Street was damaged by Hurricane Sandy’s winds on Oct. 29. It took six days to secure before neighboring buildings could be reoccupied.

High above him, a 150-foot crane boom next to the building, one of the tallest construction projects in North America, was dangling. It had twisted and crumpled in the 80-mile-an-hour winds and was now threatening to plunge 1,000 feet to the street, onto a natural gas main, and possibly cause a major explosion.

The story of what happened next at 157 West 57th Street, where a billionaire has agreed to pay $95 million for the duplex penthouse, suggests how close the city was last week to a catastrophe at the site. The surrounding blocks were evacuated for six days and the crisis became a riveting symbol of the city’s wounded infrastructure.

Several serious crane accidents have occurred in the city in recent years, touching off investigations that have examined whether the construction industry is using aging equipment and poorly trained workers.

The accident on Oct. 29 has renewed such concerns. Questions have been raised about whether contractors and regulators should have done more to ensure the crane was secure in the days before the storm — and whether the city should revamp its policies to prevent future accidents.

But the crane was inspected a week earlier and considered in good shape. At least preliminarily, city officials are calling the failure of the boom a freakish occurrence. Still, they are carrying out an extensive inquiry into what happened.

Mr. Alacha, in an interview this week, said that in the hours after the accident, he estimated that there was an 80 percent chance that the 26,000-pound boom would plummet to the street.

“We still had another 6 to 10 hours of severe wind,” he said. “It was rocking. Usually, metal gets fatigued and it would let go.”

For Mr. Alacha, 54, the dangling crane became an obsession, even as his home on the Rockaway Peninsula suffered flooding and his family was forced to move in with relatives.

On Oct. 26, as warnings about the storm grew dire still three days before it hit, the Buildings Department issued an order to suspend outside work at buildings under construction in New York City.

Contractors were told to take special measures to secure about six dozen huge tower and crawler cranes. Most often, that meant putting the crane’s boom at a 67-degree angle so that it would swivel, or weathervane, with the prevailing wind, rather than try to resist it.

On the day that Hurricane Sandy arrived, Nicholas J. Grecco, a senior vice president at Lend Lease, the construction company at the site, returned to his apartment on Fifth Avenue at 62nd Street after an 11-hour shift at the building. He had been making sure that equipment, materials and hatches were tied down, he said.

As Mr. Grecco kicked off his boots at 2:35 p.m., he glanced out his window, which offered a view through the tree line of the 57th Street tower. Suddenly, he said, the crane’s boom disappeared from sight.

He bolted back on foot to the construction site.

At the time, Mr. Alacha was in the Buildings Department’s emergency command post at 280 Broadway, where he saw a newscast of the boom flipping over.

“It was something I never wanted to see,” he said.

He jumped in a car, sirens on, heading north.

By the time both men reached the site, Engine Company 23 of the Fire Department had cordoned off the scene.

Mr. Alacha, Mr. Grecco and Timothy Lynch, who leads the Building Department’s forensic engineering unit, took an inside elevator to the 20th floor of the tower and began hiking up the stairs.

Conditions above the 60th floor were dangerous, open to the raging storm. A heavy plywood door blew off its hinges on a higher floor. Mr. Lynch narrowly avoided an open shaft. The three men exchanged nervous jokes.

“It was the last time I laughed for the next three days,” Mr. Grecco said.

Firefighters were already at the 70th floor, linked by safety lines and examining the boom. The ties holding the mast appeared to have held up well. But the boom was another matter. Mr. Alacha told the firefighters to return to the street and set up an evacuation zone.

“In my mind, the boom was going to go,” he said.

For hours, members of the Fire Department, Consolidated Edison crews and other emergency workers labored to shut off the gas main below and clear people from surrounding buildings. They recalled that they hoped the boom would stabilize, giving them time to develop a plan for securing it with cable.

With the wind easing on Tuesday, Mr. Lynch, a dedicated runner, once more ascended to the top of the tower, where he determined that the mast was not in immediate danger of pulling away from the building, and the boom was holding.

It took several days for officials, construction executives and crane experts from around the world to figure out how to lash the boom to the building.

On Saturday morning, three riggers climbed inside the turntable at the top of the crane, where they disengaged the hydraulic motor before manually cranking the turntable counterclockwise, until the boom hugged the side of the building.

Workers then tied the boom with eight cables to building columns on three floors for stability.

At 5 p.m. Sunday, the city reopened 57th Street.

This week, a visitor to the 74th floor had a spectacular view of the damaged boom, its steel bars looking twisted and fragile. The bolts fastening newly installed beams tethered to the boom glistened in the sun.

Lend Lease, which brought in experts from Europe and Australia, intends to cut the broken boom into five-foot sections in order to haul it down from the tower in the construction hoist. The company plans to install a new crane to continue work on the building, which is scheduled to be finished next year.

“I hope it has a happy ending,” said the building’s developer, Gary Barnett of Extell Development. “I’m still not breathing.”

As The Trump Tweets: Macy’s Issues Statement ; ‘Another Miracle On 34th Street’ Commercial

There’s not much magic (or humor)  in this Macy’s Christmas  commercial featuring the tweeting  real estate mogul, Mr. Trump, and friends Talyor Swift, Justin Beiber, Tommy Hilfiger, Martha Stewart and Kris Kringle (Edmund Gwenn, 1947).

Unfortunately for the tweetosphere, Trump loves the free attention and 140 character format of Twitter so expect more outbursts:

Donald J. Trump ‏@realDonaldTrump Donald J. Trump

“Thanks- many are saying I’m the best 140 character writer in the world. It’s easy when it’s fun. 

“I love Twitter…. it’s like owning your own newspaper— without the losses.”

Meanwhile, Macy’s issued an elegantly crafted statement suggesting that the Trump sideshow will go on . Happy First Ammendment, everyone.

In an email to Businessweek, spokesman Jim Sluzewski stated that:

“Macy’s marketing and merchandise offerings are not representative of any political position. Many of the individuals associated with products sold at Macy’s — or at any retailer, for that matter — express personal opinions that are not related to the merchandise we sell or to the philosophies of our company.”

Feds Ask NYC Landlords For Their Generosity After Sandy; Will Pay $1,800 A Month To House Homeless

Have you ever heard anyone say (with apologies to Blanche Dubois): ” I  have

Snidley Whiplash
Jay Ward Cartoon

always depended upon the kindness of landlords.”? I am putting this whole situation on Snidley Watch. The situation being the Feds, Obama and Fema want NYC landlords to house Sandy homeless and will pay $1,800 a month

“Lawrence Migdale”, England, London July – August, 1976.
George Eastman House Collection

for 18 months. Enter rent stabilization and other legal issues (apts under $2,500 are stabilized and tenants can stay for life) ; historically low citywide vacancy rates; the highest rents in the country; landlord lobbyists seeking

Circus Tent
“Lawrence Migdale”, England, London July – August, 1976.
George Eastman House Collection

eviction a$$i$tance / indemnification for when those 18 months are up, and you have an “only in New York” housing emergency

and potentially sad circus.

As one reader commented on NY Mag’s blog: “They’re barking up the wrong tree. Has FEMA ever tried to rent an apartment in Manhattan?”

Circus Performer
“Lawrence Migdale”, England, London July – August, 1976.
George Eastman House Collection

Via Joe Coscarelli, New York Magazine:

“It may be beautiful in New York City today, but it won’t be for long, and with the winter most likely comes a “second surge” of Hurricane Sandy homeless. To prepare for those who may be holding strong for now but will eventually need heat and hot water, the government is looking to local landlords and hoping for their generosity, according to the New York Times. “You really need to help out,” the Secretary of Housing and Urban Development reportedly told real-estate executives at a meeting last week. After which, we imagine, there were a lot of sideways glances.

The tentative plan is to create “a clearinghouse that would match displaced families with vacant apartments,” but there are a few issues. First and foremost, vacancy rates across the city are already extremely low, and many building owners have been stretched thin by the storm. Then, of course, there’s the money:

In the New York area, FEMA provides about $1,800 a month in rental assistance for up to 18 months. That would cover most housing in Brooklyn and Queens, but developers said it would fall short of covering many units in Manhattan.

Those being asked to sacrifice also want to hammer out legal details regarding what would happen to their bottom line in the case of damage or eviction. “People want to do the right thing,” said Manhattan landlord Charles Dorego. “But they don’t want to inherit a pig in a poke.” In other words: We would love to, but do we have to?”- NY Magazine


Mini-Mayor Mike’s Big Edifice Complex: “Bloomberg Pushes a Plan To Let Midtown Soar”–NY Times

“Make Room, Old Timer. The skyline near The Chrysler Building  may get more dense”–
caption via New York Times

NYC’s  mayor is a man who prefers small drinks and big buildings–really big 2lst Century  buildings that will forever change our iconic New York skyline into some futuristic fantasy enabled by Mike and  his zoning partner Amanda Burden, Director of the City Planning Department.  The dynamic (and very rich) duo have already rezoned 116  New York neighborhoods.

My choice for a soundtrack to underscore  all this soaring ambition and mayorial desire to mark NY territory forever as his  own, the equally hideous anthem written and performed by John Ashcroft (former US Attorney General and a man who lost a Senate race to a dead man) “Let The Eagle Soar” (VIDEO):

http://www.nytimes.com/2012/10/07/nyregion/mayor-bloomberg-pushes-a-plan-to-let-midtown-soar.html?emc=eta1&_r=0

“London, Tokyo and other metropolises have created central business districts with forests of skyscrapers in recent years, seeking to meet the needs of globe-trotting corporate tenants.

But New York’s premier district, the 70-block area around Grand Central Terminal, has lagged, Bloomberg officials say, hampered by zoning rules, decades old,

“Lunch Hour And A Smoke” by Lewis Hine:  Building The Empire State Building, 1930-1931, Collection of The George Eastman House

that have limited the height of buildings.

Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg wants to overhaul these rules so that buildings in Midtown Manhattan can soar as high as those elsewhere. New towers could eventually cast shadows over landmarks across the area, including St. Patrick’s Cathedral and the Waldorf-Astoria Hotel. They could rise above the 59-story MetLife Building and even the 77-story Chrysler Building…”–NY Times

Chang W. Lee/The New York Times

A rezoning plan for the area around Grand Central Terminal, making it easier to build higher towers, has drawn some criticism.

Sarah Lowe and Her Grandmotherf Ruby Keeler, “42nd Street” (VIDEO):

“Massive new buildings could be constructed,” said Michael B. Gerrard, an environmental lawyer working with the Municipal Art Society to review the proposal.

“They’re proceeding at a breakneck pace,” he said, referring to Bloomberg aides. “The administration wants to get all this done before the gate closes.”–NY Times

By
Published: October 6, 2012.

“…Mr. Bloomberg’s proposal reflects his effort to put his stamp on the city well after his tenure ends in December 2013. Moving swiftly, he wants the City Council to adopt the new zoning, for what is being called Midtown East, by October 2013, with the first permits for new buildings granted four years later.

His administration says that without the changes, the neighborhood around Grand Central will not retain its reputation as “the best business address in the world” because 300 of its roughly 400 buildings are more than 50 years old. These structures also lack the large column-free spaces, tall ceilings and environmental features now sought by corporate tenants.

The rezoning — from 39th Street to 57th Street on the East Side — would make it easier to demolish aging buildings in order to make way for state of-the-art towers…”–NY Times

Trailer for Metropolis, Fritz Lang’s 1927 Sciene Fiction Masterpiece (VIDEO):

What The Future Will Look Like 1920 (VIDEO):