Fight for Old Chelsea Post Office - meeting Thur., April 11
The United States Postal Service has announced plans to sell and close the Old Chelsea Post Office on West 18th Street. However, the USPS has been less than transparent in its public outreach to inform the community of its plans for the building. I believe the building should be preserved and the community should not be deprived of its local post office.
By law, the USPS is required to notify the public of this decision and provide a 60-day comment period for the public. USPS began its 60-day comment period on February 19th, well before anyone in the area knew there was anything on which to comment. The community found out about this proposal by happenstance as a small flier was posted in the lobby of the building.
I and the other local elected officials have called on the USPS to extend its public comment period. After much back and forth, it has agreed to hold a public meeting on April 11, 2013 at 6:30pm at the Fulton Center Auditorium, 119 Ninth Avenue.
USPS finally agreed to extend its public comment period one week, to April 26th, allowing community members just 15 days to comment following the April 11th presentation. The extension shows that USPS can extend the comment period if it wants to. We once again call for the full 60-day comment period to begin after the public presentation.
I encourage you to attend the public meeting on April 11 and be part of the fight to preserve the Old Chelsea Post Office.
Comments can be submitted via mail to: Joseph J. Mulvey, 2 Congress Street, Room 8, Milford, MA 01757-9998.
Landmark Underground Railroad House Update
The fight to remove the illegally constructed fifth floor atop the historic Hopper-Gibbons House at 339 West 29th Street has reached a crucial stage. Last month, the Board of Standard and Appeals rejected the latest claim by the owner of the landmarked house in his effort to permanently and illegally scar this Chelsea landmark. The unanimous ruling by the BSA sends the issue of the construction to the Landmarks Preservation Commission for review.
This is excellent news, but it is not over. The building owner's lawyer has gone to court to appeal the ruling. Nonetheless, the BSA ruling is a positive step in getting the illegal floor removed.
The Hudson River Park has a limited number of important commercial sites that are meant to provide financing for park operations and maintenance throughout the park, including Pier 40, Chelsea Piers, and the Circle Line and NY Waterway piers. Pier 57 is one of these commercial sites, and the Uniform Land Use Review Process has begun.
In January, I submitted testimony to the City Planning Commission at its public hearing for the Draft Environmental Impact Statement and ULURP actions. I share the concerns of Community Board 4.
Gun Control Moves Ahead in New York State
The horrible violence in Newton, CT is the most appalling in America's long series of assault weapon mass murders. More innocent lives have been taken by an individual who never should have had access to guns - especially assault weapons - in the first place. Our country, not just each state, needs to take strong action to limit people's access to guns and to outlaw assault weapons.
When the State Legislature's session began in January, our first order of business was the Secure Ammunition and Firearms Enforcement Act (SAFE Act). I am proud to have been a co-sponsor of the bill in the Assembly. It was swiftly adopted by the Assembly and State Senate and immediately signed by Governor Cuomo.
The law strengthens our assault weapons ban, reduces the size of ammunition clips, requires universal background checks for individuals to purchase a firearm, and requires mental health professionals to report to local mental health officials when there is reason to believe a patient is likely to engage in conduct that will cause themselves or others harm.
By closing existing loopholes and expanding oversight, the SAFE Act will help curb gun violence in our communities and prevent tragedies like those in Newtown, Connecticut and Webster, New York. I commend Governor Cuomo and the Legislature for moving quickly to make New York both a safer place to live and a national leader in progressive, responsible gun legislation.
The National Rifle Association's response to the tragedy was a call to have school staff carry guns. Putting more guns in our schools and on our streets is an assault on our safety and our right to live without the constant fear of being shot.
New York took a big first step in protecting our people. The country needs to act, too.
NYCHA Looks to Lease Land for Private Development
For several years, the New York City Housing Authority has been looking for ways to increase its revenue to fill budget gaps. Recently, NYCHA has said it will issue 16 Request for Proposals for the lease and development of land on NYCHA owned-sited in Manhattan.
I and many of my colleagues at the city and state level believe that NYCHA is moving forward too quickly in their quest in increase revenue. I have signed onto a letter to NYCHA asking them to delay the RFP process and asked for public hearings at each of the sites.
The letter is attached.
Victory for the Public in Union Square
In June of 2011, the City presented its plan for the pavilion at Union Square Park for approval to the City's Franchise and Concession Review Committee. I, along with then-State Senator Tom Duane and Assembly Member Deborah Glick, presented testimony opposing the plan, restating what we, Community Board 5, and other community organizations have said for six years. Putting a restaurant in this space takes away the use of the building for year round community use and use of the area north of the pavilion as well. It will undermine the area's historic role as a gathering place for rallies, protests, and other forms of public assembly.
The Union Square Community Coalition filed a lawsuit against the city to halt the issuance of a permit to operate a restaurant at the pavilion. I joined the Coalition as a plaintiff in the suit.
In January, State Supreme Court Justice Arthur Engoron granted our motion for a preliminary injunction and denied the City's cross-motion to dismiss. This was a tremendous first step in the court battle against the City's plan to privatize our public space.
The Parks Department has until April 5th to reply.
Summer Employment Opportunity
Each year the New York City Parks Department recruits hundreds of lifeguards for our pools and beaches. The Municipal Lifeguard Training Programs offers New Yorkers a chance at a job and a way to protect the lives of others.
The more lifeguards the Parks Department recruits, the more pools and beaches can be opened and offer programming to the public. The minimum qualifications to enter the course are that participants:
- Be at least 16 years of age at the time of employment
- Have eyesight no worse than 20/30 in one eye and 20/40 in the other
- Be able to swim 50 yards in 35 seconds with proper form
There is no cost for the program, and if you pass, you will be paid for your time. First year lifeguards will earn at least $13.57 per hour and likely work six days a week.
For more information, call 311 or visit www.nyc.gov/parks.
214 West 29th Street
New York, NY 10001
Albany, NY 12248