Seawright Takes on Extell Over 79th St. Site

28 Oct 2019 | 12:38

    Blights and plights at empty lots – The so far months-long, empty block-long stretch from 79th to 80th St. on First Ave., where developer Extell will be building a mega residential and commercial structure, has become a dangerous site in the community according to area residents, and their Assembly Member Rebecca Seawright is having none of it. In a letter to Extell dated Sept. 25th, Seawright informed the developer of growing problems at the location. Not having heard back from Extell by the end of Oct., Seawright held a press conference in front of the empty lot with community residents and CB8 Chair Alida Camp. Seawright described the danger to the neighborhood and public and cited a growing list of community complaints existing at the location - including "dark and dangerous sidewalks, rodent infestation, and related air quality concerns," as well as general neglect of the parcel.

    Contemporaneously with the press conference, held on Oct. 23rd, Extell apologized "for not getting back sooner" and said it was because they were "observing the Jewish holidays." They noted the steps they had taken, had not taken, or will take to address the problems, and denied any evidence of the rat activity noted by Seawright, stating that "there have been no complaints filed with 311." Please, Extell, the complaints went to Seawright directly, and she used her bully pulpit to get a response, and one that got a response from you, by email, the very same day.

    It should be noted that Seawright's letter to Extell was dated Sept. 25th, a Wednesday. The Jewish holidays weren't observed until the evening of Oct. 8th, two weeks later. It wasn't until Seawright went public that Extell had an immediate response. It's a good thing that the Jewish holiday Simchat Torah ended on Oct. 22nd, the day before the press conference, so the developer was able to respond the same day. Excuses aside, and in any event, it's unfortunate that Extell's response to the dangers and complaints at the property are CYA and woefully insufficient. And it's really too bad, because Extell properties are all over the East Side with more to come. A better relationship is in the interest of all.

    Lap time – Used to be a time when a seated bus rider traveling with a young child would have the child sit on their lap. Not anymore. Haven't checked out whether fare was paid for the child. Not the point here. The point is that, when there's a standing-room only crowd on the bus, the adult should hold the child on their lap or stand and let the child sit. Either way frees up a seat. Kids learn from doing and from being taught and it’s obnoxious IMHO for the adult not to do the right thing. And those kids who are too big or too old for a lap who are seated when the bus is crowded and the elderly are standing should get up and give them a seat. And not to worry kids, cellphones still work for those who stand up.

    Miles to go - An old saying, "As the crow flies," refers to a straight line, by the shortest route to get you someplace. As opposed to going by a mountain road. Well NY taxi drivers should be able to know that getting from 90th St. and Third Ave. to 13th St. and Third Ave. – an 87-block ride – doesn't necessitate a trip to the East River Drive to get there. When I asked the driver "Why?" he said "There's not so much traffic." Oh. That was before we got to the approach to the Drive at 90th St and didn't get onto the road for another 10 minutes and had to endure the traffic, accident, and construction that took us to an exit near 23rd Street. And not counting the traffic going from the Drive to the next avenue. It may have been worth the $27+ tip for the driver. Not for moi. Following the crow's route is the way to go.