Blessings and big breaks

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Getting blessed — Join columnist Cindy Adams and her Yorkie, Juicy, at this year's 10th annual Blessing of the Animals at Christ Church, located at 60th Street and Park Avenue, from 2 p.m. to 3 p.m. on Sunday, Dec. 9th. No pets without people. No people without pets. Always SRO. The services include a procession of animals to the altar — there have been pigs and goats, llamas and horses. And there will be blessings at the altar for the family cats, dogs and birds by Christ Church's Senior Minister Stephen Bauman, and Rabbi Peter J. Rubinstein from Central Synagogue. No RSVP.

Speaking of blessings — The East Asian mandarin duck that found refuge in New York's Central Park should get a blessing by proxy to remain safe and stay in the park and not get deported, if it gets icy and it turns out that the duck is undocumented.

No news should mean no newsstands — Those silvery stands standing either mid-block or on the corner that claim to be “newsstands” but don't carry newspapers or magazines have been a pet peeve of mine. In a May 2017 column, I noted that the proliferation of the structures was taking up valuable street space to sell candy and soda and lottery tickets, but not newspapers. Not only are they operating under a misnomer, but they are crowding the sidewalks. Now Community Board 6 is tackling the issue after receiving an increased number of applications for new newsstand locations in Midtown East. Not only do these “newsstands” unfairly compete with existing brick and mortar businesses that sell the same candy, soda and lottery tickets, but they are also operating under a false premise. If they don't carry newspapers or magazines, they shouldn't be allowed to operate as newsstands. And they also take up precious sidewalk space for the privilege. The public outcry should continue. And the Department of Consumer Affairs, which approves the placement of newsstands, should not be complicit in permitting a misuse of the city's streets. Kudos to CB6 for taking a stand!

Tenant's right — It happened here in our town: a residential tenant at 160 East 84th St. won a new lower base rent after the landlord took advantage of the luxury decontrol provisions of the Rent Stabilization Law to deregulate a studio apartment. As reported in
New York Law School's "CityLand," the State Department of Housing and Community Renewal set the tenant's new base rent by using a sampling method. The tenant of the studio apartment challenged the new rent and “sought application of a more favorable [and] allowable formula which would have produced a lower rent.” The New York Court of Appeals agreed with the tenant, and ruled that the building (and others like it) at 160 East 84th St. is ineligible to use luxury decontrol provisions because it was receiving tax incentive benefits under New York City's J-51 Exemption and Abatement program.

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