Watch Mayor de Blasio’s Reaction to Rivington House Accusations at Town Hall Last Night [VIDEO]
It was open season on Mayor de Blasio during last night’s “sold out” town hall assembly. Lower East Siders peppered Hizzoner with a barrage of questions and grievances related to myriad hyperlocal concerns. Councilwoman Margaret Chin served as moderator. And while many in the room saw opportunity for clarity, political challengers with a horse in the race saw red meat, dismissing the town hall as merely an election year stunt.
To get into the building, though, was an obstacle in itself. This was ground zero for activists and their causes (like a scene from PCU).
Several hot-button local issues were brought up, from the Lower East Side waterfront development to Rivington House.
On Rivington House…
Mayor de Blasio admitted that the lifting of a deed restriction at Rivington House, which led to the $116 million sale into condos, was a “mistake, and ridiculous.” He also admitted that there is no possibility of “recouping the property” for return to the community. Instead, he reiterated his commitment to creating 200 beds of senior affordable housing in a new proposed project on Pike Street as compensation since “it wasn’t right.”
The stop-work order was partially rescinded last week to allow for “exploratory work” on-premise.
Chin, meanwhile, repeated her alleged commitment to fighting the Rivington House luxury conversion.
On Two Bridges over-development…
Mayor de Blasio made clear that his administration is taking no responsibility for the over-development on the Two Bridges coastline. He admitted that he only now understands some of the nuance, due to preparation for the town hall. His argument was that Extell fell under the Bloomberg administration, and that the others were part of the past Urban Renewal area. The quick succession of four, as-of-right super-tall towers is not the way he “would’ve done things,” and “it’s not something we designed … or consistent with what we have.”
On the Clinton Street traffic clusterfuck…
A Grand Street resident mentioned the traffic nightmare in and around the intersection of Clinton Street. How access to the Williamsburg Bridge creates a bottleneck that backs up to the FDR daily. As previously reported, neighbors are fed up with the constant congestion and horn honking at all hours.
Said resident asked for an immediate study (and solution), but thought a traffic agent in the intersection would help alleviate matters. The mayor, 7th Precinct CO Steve Hellman, and Transportation commissioner Polly Trottenberg all pledged to dispatch one as early as tomorrow.
On Elizabeth Street Garden…
Neither the Mayor nor Margaret Chin have changed their stance on the issue of maintaining this open green space in Little Italy. de Blasio noted that the Elizabeth Street Garden location was “always meant to be affordable housing” and that’s what will happen. Floated the compromise of housing, plus a much smaller garden amenity to placate both sides of the aisle. Chin implored the room to “join with us to help create a beautiful open space and senior housing.” The alternative locations that garden advocates proposed were summarily shot down.