Volume 74, Number 36 | January 12 - 18, 2005


More affordable housing, and no stadium linkge

The Hudson Yards rezoning approved by the City Council’s Land-Use Committee on Monday represents definite improvements in its provisions for affordable housing and, significantly, severs links between the West Side’s redevelopment and the contentious, proposed West Side stadium that would be future home to the football Jets and potentially the 2012 Olympics.

The rezoning encourages creation of 3,500 affordable apartments. This represents an increase from 16 percent of the estimated 13,600 apartments that would be created to likely closer to 25 percent of the total. With programs for creating affordable housing becoming increasingly scarce, insuring the opportunity to build so many new units is truly laudable.

The other major change in the rezoning as approved by the Council committee is that it breaks all connections between the West Side’s redevelopment and the stadium. Critics of the stadium plan charge that the West Side’s redevelopment, as well as the Javits Convention Center expansion, are being used to piggyback the stadium project, the building of which they say is the Bloomberg administration’s true goal. However, the Council committee’s action insures that revenues generated from the Hudson Yards redevelopment won’t be funneled to the stadium project — an an extended No. 7 subway line won’t even be permitted to have an exit to the stadium.

The Council committee’s modifications follow the work of local Democrats in the State Assembly, notably Speaker Sheldon Silver, to insure that funding for the Javits expansion isn’t fungible to the stadium project.

In short, opponents of the stadium are sending a clear message to Mayor Bloomberg and Deputy Mayor Dan Doctoroff that their trophy — the stadium — is not what they want, and that they will use all means to block it from being built.

We agree. The Hudson Yards rezoning should not be used to assist the stadium project in any way or to hide the fact that the stadium is the administration’s real objective.

Field of Dreams

Tobi Bergman told The Villager on Tuesday that he had stepped down as president of Pier Park and Playground Association, or P3. He e-mailed a few sentences, modestly suggested to note it in Scoopy’s Notebook. Don’t make a big deal out of it, he said. However, Bergman deserves tremendous praise for all his work over the past decade fighting to get new sports fields for Greenwich Village’s youth. The Village, like most of Downtown, is seriously deprived in terms of park space, much less sports fields.

Basically, Bergman has been a man on a mission. During the Pier 40 redevelopment process last year, he even flew to France and Los Angeles to work on designs with the development groups’ architects. Although no developer was ultimately picked to overhaul the 14-acre W. Houston St. pier, a gigantic new sports field is about to open in its courtyard. Thanks to Bergman and those he worked with, generations of Village kids will now have more places to play ball and enjoy sports.

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