Your Friendly Neighborhood Shark in New Jersey
This Friday news update is, of course, all Sandy related. As we sat down to write this, we attempted to create a news update talking about other relevant news going on in the world. But, like most New Yorkers, our lives are dominated by the impact of the storm and it’s quite difficult to think about anything else. Our own building at 120 Wall Street (right at water’s edge) is still flooded with water.
What is happening to the hundreds of tenants we work with? How have their homes held up during the storm? How will we help tenants to address the almost certainly disastrous water and wind damage in already distressed and ignored buildings? Like many others, our first concern is how to contact those we work with while our common means of communication are down.
- If you are interested in hearing stories of people directly impacted in Red Hook, Brooklyn, check out this interesting collection of interviews by the people at Housing is a Human Right.
- There are tons of volunteer opportunities for those who want to get involved with the relief efforts. We recommend joining up with the amazing work that CAAAV is doing in China Town. With no electricity or water, thousands of people are trapped in their apartments. Thanks to CAAAV’s dynamic organizing and immediate response, the community is responding and helping itself through this difficult period. Click here for more. Here’s some more info on how to help from WNYC. If you can, do.
- Grim scenes from New York City’s flooded subway system graced The Atlantic Cities today. All together now: “I solemnly swear I will never, ever, ever take the largest, most effective public transportation system in the country for granted ever again.”
- Finally, in an attempt at a non-Sandy related piece of information, check out these fascinating maps from Planet Money, illustrating where super PACs and outside groups spend their money to influence presidential campaigns.
As people remain stranded and missing, the death toll across New York City and New Jersey is still rising. Our thoughts and prayers are with the families of victims of this terrible storm. But given the widespread destruction, the death toll of this terrible storm has been relatively low, and we’re thankful to our emergency workers and first responders that are doing their jobs and doing them well.
Stay tuned and help if you can.
Friday the 13th! Avoid bad luck by reading our news round-up!
- “Why Can’t the Bronx be More Like Brooklyn?” Adam Davidson of NPR’s Planet Money contributed to this week’s New York Times Magazine with an article about urban development in the Bronx. Economic growth in NYC has far outpaced growth in the Bronx, and it has been somewhat impervious to the gentrification that is changing Western Brooklyn and Queens. But Davidson suggests the comparison between the only mainland borough and the rest NYC is less valid than we may think. He suggests we should be comparing the Bronx to rust belt cities like Buffalo and Detroit, cities whose growth is far more stagnant than the Bronx’s.
- The Bronx certainly struggles from a negative perception problem, but the northernmost borough is home many NYC gems! (If you haven’t, visit it!) Simply changing its perception doesn’t necessarily do justice to the real struggle that Bronx tenants face, as illustrated by this NBC News video inside the College Avenue buildings owned by Eli Abbott and featured on Bill de Blasio’s Worst Landlord Watch list.
- Chicago is challenging Obama’s Secure Communities program. In a new ordinance, Mayor Rahm Emanual has proposed barring police from turning anyone over to ICE unless they have been convicted of a serious crime or have an outstanding search warrant. Isn’t this what S-Comm was originally intended to do, anyway? (Not that we agree with deporting anyone with criminal records, but that’s another story.) An article in the NYTimes cites Emanuel as saying that he plans to make Chicago the most immigrant- friendly city in the country. Fighting S-Comm is certainly a good start.
- Unionized employees of Con-Edison, Local 1-2 of the Utility Workers Union of America (UWUA), are striking for better wages, better pensions, and affordable healthcare. Thirteen days ago, 8,500 union workers were locked out of Con-Edison during negotiations after the expiration of a 4 year contract. The lockout is particularly contentious due to the on-going heat wave, which is raising the risk of power failures and endangering New Yorkers prone to heat stroke. Christine C Quinn has voiced her public disapproval of Con-Ed’s lockout, calling on them to end it now in order to provide safe, consistent electricity to New Yorkers.
- On Monday morning, Amtrak unveiled plans for a Northeast High Speed Rail Line. The Atlantic Cities gives a brief overview of the history of trains in the Northeast, and describes how a high speed rail could truly impact (for the better) the smaller, struggling cities within a few hours of New York. “By shrinking the distance between vibrant urban cores and the smaller communities that lie between them,” Yoni Appelbaum writes, ” high-speed rail could spark an economic boom.” Don’t get too excited: the project is 10 years away at least.