It wouldn’t be Christmas without a good Grinch story, and this year that story comes in the form of Victor Einhorn, the new owner of the building housing the Swinging Sixties Senior Center in Williamsburg.
The center houses a daycare, an after-school and a senior program. Mr. Einhorn gifted the senior citizens and kids who use the building an eviction notice this year, giving them until the end of January to vacate the premises.
The move has been widely criticized as contrary to the holidays, and Community Board 1 member Jan Peterson claims “He knew what he was doing when he served those papers on Christmas Eve.” Mr. Peterson suspects that the center is being demolished to make room for condos.
The fight is on to save the building, and the outlook seems cautiously optimistic for advocates of the center. The programs housed in the center have received city funding for decades, and Mr. Peterson hopes that he can rally city politicians to talk down the current landlords.
The onset of winter brings an extra surprise for New Yorkers this year, who may want to prepare for some new, not-so welcome neighbors. Periplaneta japonica is a cockroach species common in Asia known for being able to survive outside in freezing temperatures, and they’ve just been identified by entomologists in Manhattan.
The new species was identified by an exterminator in 2012, and subsequent research confirmed the identity of the new cockroach species but researchers Evangelista and Wares say not to worry, “this species is very similar to cockroach species that already exist in the urban environment,” says Evangelista, “they likely will compete with each other for space and for food.” More time spent competing means less time spent breeding and harassing humans.
Concerns of cross-breeding to create a new super roach are also mostly unfounded, as genitalia between different species don’t match making interbreeding understandably difficult. Still not the greatest holiday season news, but at the very least your knowledge of insect biology is now a little expanded.
Some announcements have been made for the on-going redevelopment of Pier 57 in the Meatpacking District, the least of which that it has been rechristened with the title “SuperPier”. The $200 million project is currently being developed by Youngwoo & Associates and is scheduled to be completed in October 2015.
The project website is currently scant on details, but does feature a teaser trailer filled with vague but artfully presented descriptors and a clear message that that SuperPier is “not a mall” among other things. It also has some eye-catching digital artwork and a concept mock-up of the finished pier itself.
Several businesses have already laid claim to space on SuperPier, including a spa, a boutique and even an underground climbing gym. There is also discussion of constructing an ice climbing wall, which would be the only one in a major American city.
Other businesses have the option to use “Incuboxes”, basically modular and portable retail spaces ranging from 80-160 square feet and costing $600-$5000 per month.
The pier’s rooftop is envisioned to be a public park with a footbridge crossing the West Side Highway. Youngwoo is currently looking for approval to build a bridge to neighboring High Line Park as well.
The New York City Football Club (NYCFC) recently announced that they are “very, very close” to closing a deal with GAL Manufacturing to construct a soccer stadium in The Bronx directly south of Yankee Stadium. The stadium is estimated to cost $400 million and seat 28,000 people.
The NYCFC is still in its early infancy, having only just been formed earlier this year in May as a Major League Soccer Divison I sanctioned team. However, in that short time the club seems to be picking up steam and have appointed soccer veterans Claudio Reyna and Jason Kries as Director of Football Operations and Head Coach respectively.
Though current Mayor Michael Bloomberg has approved the deal, but the team reported that they will wait for Mayor-elect Bill de Blasio to weigh in. Assuming de Blasio gives his approval, the current timeline would have the NYCFC playing at Yankee Stadium in 2015 and hopefully playing in the new stadium in 2018 or 2019.
The announcement comes soon after other big events for New York soccer. The recent revival of the New York Cosmos as a Division II team and their recent win of the NASL 2013 Soccer Bowl has led to a triumphant first chapter in the team’s rebirth, and may help drive approval for a stadium of their own in Belmont Park.
In a joint proposal with local real estate developer Carl Mattone, the Cosmos are also waiting for the green light to build Cosmos Stadium, which would serve as a retail hub and a home base for the team.
Today’s survey of random world records found a new one fit for the holiday season. The Guinness Book of World Records officially recognized South Bronx’s Jon Lovitch as owner of the world’s largest gingerbread village, counting 164 structures made up of 500 pounds of gingerbread and 2,240 pounds of icing.
The project even has its own website, and is currently on display through mid-January 2014 in the New York Hall of Science. Mr. Lovitch, currently an executive sous chef at the New York Marriott, created every piece himself in his kitchen before assembling them in the New York Hall of Science.
The model candyland took around 8 months, with work starting in early February and continuing even as the exhibit has opened. Mr. Lovitch is currently making a second village at his workplace. In the Marriott’s kitchen, he is assembling a still impressive 75 building village with some buildings as tall as three stories in another fusion of architecture, civic planning and dental cavities.