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Coalition to Demand End to Hochul Plan for Penn Area, Call for Housing Over Offices

Pythia Public, Ana Hall, Posted: December 18, 2023, Event Date: December 19, 2023

JOIN US!!

11:OOAM, TOMORROW, DECEMBER 19, 2023

Outside of former Hotel Pennsylvania

401 Seventh Avenue, New York, NY 10001

Residents, housing advocates and good government groups to call on Governor to build thousands of units of affordable housing, not 17 million square feet of glitzy commercial towers

“End Hochul’s Hoax” Coalition formed in response to New York’s worst housing crisis in decades, which Governor has failed to address in the Penn Area

NEW YORK, NY — On Tuesday, a coalition of community members, small business owners, housing advocates and good government organizations will rally outside the site of the former Hotel Pennsylvania to launch “End Hochul’s Hoax”, a campaign demanding that Governor Kathy Hochul abandon support for her plan to prioritize more than 17 million square feet of luxury commercial space over urgently needed affordable housing in the neighborhood near Penn Station. Amid the city’s worst housing crisis in decades and a tanking market for office space, the Governor’s real estate deal would use executive authority to supersede New York City’s zoning laws and hand Vornado Realty Trust and its CEO Steve Roth the power to build six commercial mega-towers. 

Now, as the neighborhood sits in limbo while Vornado waits for better economic conditions that are unlikely to materialize anytime soon (if ever), coalition members will call on Governor Hochul to drop her support for the real estate handout and finally embrace a plan that puts affordable housing and community space over favors for her campaign donor.

Ana Hall (she/her)

Director

P Y T H I A

P U B L I C

914.874.9288

BOLD VISIONS FOR A NEW ABOVE-GROUND PENN STATION

(RETHINKNYC) Sam Turvey, January 20, 2023

A public forum at The Grand Hall, Cooper Union

6:30-8:30 PM, January 26, 2023 – The Great Hall at Cooper Union, 7 East 7th St, NYC – FREE ADMISSION BY TICKET

Register to attend live presentation

Register for Zoom meeting

Three eminent architects present their plans for a new above-ground Penn Station.  Followed by Q&A from a panel of architectural authorities as well as from the general public.

Architect, Vishaan Chakrabarti, PAU

Architect, Alexandros Washburn, Grand Penn Community Alliance

Architect, Richard Cameron, Atelier and Co, ReThinkNYC

Author, Lorraine B. Diehl,“The Late, Great Pennsylvania Station”

Moderator of the Archectural Panel, Cathleen McGuigan, Former Editor-in-Chief, Architectural Record

Panelist, Gina Pollara, graduate of the Irwin S. Chanin

School of Architecture of The Cooper Union, former executive director of Franklin D. Roosevelt Four Freedoms Park

Panelist, Justin Davidson, New York Magazine, Pulitzer Prize Winner

Panelist, Peter Schubert, FAIA, Partner, Ennead Architects 

Moderator of the Evening, Sam Turvey, Chairperson, ReThinkPennStationNYC.org

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Occupy Wall Street, 10th Universal Press Conference

MEDIA ADVISORY

Contact : Marni Halasa, marnihalasa@gmail.com, (917) 501-9444

OCCUPY WALL STREET, 10th Anniversary, Press Conference

DATE : Friday, September 17th, 2022

TIME : 3 pm to 4 pm

PLACE : Steps of Zuccotti Park, off of Broadway

New York, NY (September 17) — Occupy Wall Street activists will hold a press conference on

the steps of Zuccotti Park in downtown Manhattan to commemorate the 10th anniversary of

Occupy Wall Street, the social movement that gave a voice to the economic distress of the 99

percent. Ten years after thousands gathered to protest capitalism, activists say that the message and mission of Occupy Wall Street is still relevant today, and even more so given the pandemic which has exacerbated society’s inequities, the city’s growing homelessness crisis, affordable housing crisis and a federal, state and city government that is unresponsive to the adversity and hardships of regular people.

A decade ago, OWS catapulted messages like income inequality, student debt, medical debt,

excessive CEO compensation, unfair wages for workers and a rigged system of unregulated

capitalism on the national stage. Those ideas gave rise to remarkable mass movements, including local anti-gentrification movements, the Fight for $15, A Living Wage, Student and Medical Debt Relief, Universal Basic Income, Climate Justice and the unequivocal belief that human beings should and must live in dignity. Occupy Wall Street was started in a time of recession and corporate bailouts for financial services, and the main messaging was centered around the divide between the 99 percent and the 1 percent.

It was on Sept. 17, 2011, that a group of protesters launched the two-month-long rebellion calling for economic inequality reform. Hundreds of people set up camp in downtown Manhattan’s Zuccotti Park, and thousands joined in daily protests until being forced to vacate the area in November 2011. Yet it’s spirit could not be quashed. Versions of the protest popped up across the nation; according to the Guardian, over 600 communities in the United States and 70 major cities saw OWS initiatives. And although Occupy was short-lived, it gave rise to numerous mass movements, normalized protest forever and allowed candidates like who ran on progressive issues, to get elected. 

These important conversations continue today. Speakers include livestreamer Mark Apollo, Yippee and marijuana rights advocate Dana Beal, RIP Medical Debt and Let’s Rethink This founder Jerry Ashton, homelessness activist Scott Hutchins and former candidate Marni Halasa. Speakers have been involved with the city’s gentrification and rezoning battles, the fight to save public housing, the reformation of the police, the fight for more equity in public education, a living wage and a more dignified existence for ordinary people and our homeless neighbors. In addition, although Occupy always shunned politics, a number of Occupy activists have tried to make inroads in the electoral venue, making runs for local Congressional and City Council races.

This event usually lasts about one hour and a half. For more information, please contact Marni

Halas at 917-501-9444 or marnihalasa@gmail.com.

Public MTA Substation Meeting this Tues., Sept 13

(Public Coalition) Susan Immergut, September 11, 2022

Dear Neighbors, As many of you are aware, the MTA is planning to build a powerful electrical substation on West 28th Street between 8th and 9th avenues.

This major infrastructure project on a highly residential block brings up the following issues:

1. Construction is slated for 3+ years, 6 days per week. This will increase health and environmental issues in a neighborhood that is already inundated with construction, including a new apartment building on the northwest corner of West 26th Street and 8th Avenue, and the proposed Pennsylvania Station Area Development Project. 

 2. The proposed heavy construction will cause the following issues:

  • Drilling and other construction noise 
  • Dust and debris affecting air quality
  • An increase of rodents, water bugs, and roaches
  • Issues with traffic flow on 28th street
  • Accessibility issues for seniors and disabled residents
  • Possible destabilizing of the integrity of Penn South building structures

3. The project also raises long-term, health concerns on this highly residential block, especially dangerous levels of electro-magnetic fields. EMFs are widely considered to be a possible factor in cancer clusters, especially leukemia in children. Fire and explosions at a high-voltage electrical substation are also a potential hazard. And in the case of fire or explosion, the evacuation of a substantial elderly population, some in wheelchairs, and some with walkers and canes will be slow and difficult.
4. Digging deep under the ground poses the possibility of destabilizing the foundation of our buildings (causing cracks, etc). Penn South apartment buildings are built on rubble from the buildings that were demolished to make way for this 10-building residential complex. The same problem may occur with buildings in the 29th  street historic district. The MTA cannot risk a building collapse, like in Florida. 
5. The construction will make the park next to building 9 and the seated areas between buildings 7 and 8 unusable for 3+ years due to noise, congestion, and air pollution. Let’s join together as a community to protest a project that is planned for the worst possible location, according to ex-Speaker of the City Council Corey Johnson. Let’s insist that the MTA find a better location for the substation. 

Here’s How You Can Protest Immediately 

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Swimming In Mudd

(MSCC) Sharon Jasprizza, Posted Date: August 31, 2022, Event Date: August 22, 2022

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:

Swimming in Mudd Will Run for One Night as Part of the Emerging Artists Theater  

New York, NY – August 22, 2022: 

Swimming in Mudd is coming to the TADA! Theater for one night only as part of the Emerging Artists Theater New Work Series fall 2022. The solo performance will run on October 7th, 2022 at 7 pm at the TADA! Theater, 15 West 28th Street, New York, NY.

This dark comedy explores the depths of life through the eyes of Arthur, a 40-something year old man filled with anger, anxiety, and frustration over the injustice he sees in the world. An avid cyclist, he rides to the George Washington Bridge on a journey that takes him not only through the streets of New York, but through the muddy waters of his past, present, and future.

Swimming in Mudd was written and will be performed by John Mudd, and is directed by Geoffrey Owens. The show ran briefly in 2019, and was scheduled to run with Emerging Artists just before the pandemic hit. “This story came from an overwhelming need to find strength in defeat and find a reasonable way forward that felt purposeful,” says Mudd. 

Audiences will find Arthur’s plight as relevant today as ever!

Tickets can be purchased online at brownpapertickets.com or by calling 800-838-3006.

Emerging Artists Theatre’s New Works Series began in 2006 and focuses on new works, new talents, and new voices. Since its inception, numerous musicals, plays, solo shows, and dance pieces that were workshopped at the series have gone on to have full productions at the top festivals, Off-Broadway, as well as National and International productions. www.emergingartiststheatre.org

Press Contact:

Sharon Jasprizza

sharon@jasprizza.com.au

Call for volunteers: Empire Station Coalition needs you!

As part of our fight against the Governor’s plan to demolish 31st Street in favor of outdated Penn Station “improvements,” we’ve begun a weekly tabling campaign to inform commuters and residents. Despite all of the construction going on at Penn, many commuters and even residents don’t know about the destructive nature of the current plan. 

We will be tabling weekly on Thursdays, pegged to either the morning or afternoon commute, outside of the LIRR entrance at 34th St. and 7th Ave. To get the word out, we need volunteers! Our next tabling event is this Thursday, 7/21, from 8:30AM-12:30PM. 

  • Volunteers would: Attend tabling events on Thursdays. Tabling sessions would be accompanied by a short online training, to be scheduled in advance.
  • Help with simple set-up of materials (banner, folding table, folding chairs, flyers etc.).Pass out flyers to commuters entering and exiting Penn Station.
  • Discuss with commuters their concerns about the station and the ongoing construction, as the opportunity arises.
  • Help break down materials at the end of the day.
  • Have a quick debrief with our volunteer coordinator.

If you are interested in working our table this week or on a weekly basis, please email our volunteer coordinator Tyler Simeone at simeonetyler@gmail.com.

We need all the community support we can to win this fight!

howard

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— 

Howard Hemsley
hhemsley@gmail.com— 

Public Hearing: Pennsylvania Station Area Civic and Land Use Improvement Project

(COMMITTEE ON FINANCE) Posted: June 23, 2022, Event Date: June 24, 2022

Friday, June 24th Hearing on Penn Station Redevelopment Plans

One issue that I have been following are state plans for redevelopment of Penn Station and the surrounding area. This will be an even greater focus for me now that a significant part of that area will be in my new Senate District under the new district lines that go into effect on January 1, 2023. This Friday at 10 a.m. I will be joining my colleagues Senator Comrie and Senator Sepulveda in hosting a joint committee hearing on the project. The hearing will take place at 250 Broadway, 19th Floor in the Assembly Hearing Room, and also be viewable online at https://www.nysenate.gov/calendar/public-hearings/june-24-2022/joint-public-hearing-receive-update-penn-station.

As the Chair of the Senate Finance Committee, I have long been concerned about ensuring that there is transparency around the financing of this project, which relies in part on proceeds generated by a development plan for the area. This portion of the project funding will come from Tax Increment Financing (TIF), where the additional tax revenue generated by the new development will be dedicated to paying off bonds used to pay for the project. At this point, there are still many unanswered questions about that funding, including what liability the city and state may have for bond payments if the project fails to generate the expected tax revenue. In addition, with the growth of remote work, the assumptions about the need for additional office space that are assumed by the project plan need to be carefully considered. The New York City Independent Budget Office recently did a study of the project which raises these and other issues. That report is available at https://ibo.nyc.ny.us/iboreports/on-track-or-off-the-rails-new-york-states-plan-to-use-new-development-to-fund-penn-station-improvements-leaves-many-open-questions-for-new-york-city-and-state-may-2022.pdf.

The hearing will also address issues around how the plans for Penn Station address transportation needs for New York City residents and commuters both by increasing capacity and improving Penn Station. We will hear from the MTA and transportation advocates who will share their thoughts and concerns about the plans. There are also many questions about the impact of the plans both for the station and the surrounding development on those living and working in the Penn Station area. The hearing will explore issues around displacement of existing residents and businesses as well as the need for improving public amenities and services in the area.

I view this hearing as about providing an opportunity to get answers to important questions and increase transparency around the project.