Who gets to clean up? – When snow leaves its footprint of sleet and slush and black ice on the sidewalks and passersby slip and fall, landlords and property owners are free to wait idly by for net-worthy tenants to occupy their empty storefronts, while the slippery sidewalks await clean up. It's not fair and it's not safe. Sidewalks become inaccessible to street traffic – pedestrians and splashing cyclists who share the sidewalk with strollers and the gamut of human activity that takes place on the city streets. It's bad enough to have to navigate curbside puddles and, oftentimes, steep curb inclines (a story for another day), but let those responsible for the clean up, clean up, including the landlord of the offending storefront. Since there's no business occupant, it's the building owner’s duty. The Dept of Sanitation, hopefully, will get there, but the public can't wait for the landlord to get a big-bucks tenant to pay the rent and assume the duty of getting the street cleaned up so that customers can get safely from the sidewalk into the store. Seems like a no-brainer.
Kinder power – Adults, pets, move over. The pediatric set wants in. More and more medical facilities are offering services exclusively for infants, children, and adolescents. The walk-in Urgent Care on 90th and Third, which was mentioned in last week's column as having returned, is now a walk-in Pediatric Care facility. And a few blocks away, on East 88th between Third and Lex, is a pediatric dental office. Kids, brace yourself for some growing pains.
Sign of the times – A woman and her service dog got on the bus. A young girl passenger asked the woman if the dog was a boy or a girl. Another passenger sweetly admonished the 10-year old that "You're not supposed to ask about a dog's gender." The bewildered girl looked up and said, "I don't mean sex, I just want to know if it's a boy or a girl." Growing pains for the ages.
Too good to go? – The battle between developers and preservationists goes on and on. The Greenwich Village Society for Historic Preservation is opposing the demolition of the five-story 20-unit apartment building, 14-16 Fifth Avenue, between Eighth and Ninth Sts., which will be replaced by a 244-foot tall, 18-unit apartment tower. In their newsletter, the GVSHP explains the nature of the matter to be decided by the NYC Landmarks Preservation Commission.
The buildings that would be torn down were built in 1848 in what is now the Greenwich Village Historic District. The new building will be four times the height of the existing building and there will be less housing. The existing building had at least 10 units of affordable rent-stabilized housing. The proposed building is 75 per cent taller than the average building on lower Fifth Avenue and four times the height of the average building on the block. Because the structure is within the historic district, the building can only be demolished and replaced if the Landmarks Preservation Commission determines that 14-16 Fifth Avenue does not have historic or architectural significance, and that the proposed replacement building is "appropriate" for the site and the historic district. In with the old, out with the new? Time will tell.