The ability to hail a taxi from your smartphone is probably in the immediate future for New Yorkers. NYC has been testing e-hailing so passengers can more easily retrieve a taxi. The city recently received the green light from an appeals court to keep moving forward.
A pre-arranged ride has been traditionally prohibited for NYC yellow taxis. When the city began developing the e-hailing system, car services sued, citing that they rely on pre-arranged rides for their income and that the new developments are unfair to their business. This ruling from the appeals court means city taxis are one step closer to being at your beck and call, even if you’re deep into Brooklyn and there isn’t a yellow taxi in sight.
Airbnb has been the subject of a recent spate of legal fire in New York City. The New York Attorney General, Eric Schneiderman, subpoenaed the guest-hosting company recently for data on its 15,000 NYC users.
Airbnb refused to meet those demands in an attempt to protect its users’ private information.
According to Airbnb’s CEO Brain Chesky via the NY Post, tourists who stay in NYC through Airbnb, as opposed to more conventional accommodations, spend more money.
Airbnb’s whole argument these days is one based on three major points:
1. Airbnb isn’t a collection of hotels and the experiences involved are much more intimate
2. Airbnb helps struggling middle-class people stay afloat in a city of ever-increasing expenses
3. Airbnb guests are good for the economy
I didn’t try to veil my opinion in my recent post about 5Pointz closing. I am one of the many who are disappointed in the decision to tear down the graffiti-covered building in favor of a new luxury condo. But before we all continue to mourn the giant art installation of a warehouse, it appears as though the lawyer for 5Pointz, Jeannine Chanes, may have found a loophole. According to ANIMAL, Judge Frederic Block ordered a halt to the demolition of the building by its owners in the form of a restraining order this week.The Visual Arts Rights Act (VARA) of 1990 contains a clause that prohibits the destruction or alteration of works of art that are inextricably installed on a building, unless authorized to do so, presumably by the artists behind the work or community at large. Chanes’ use of this law implies that 5Pointz may be able to stop the building’s owner from making the demolition decision in this type of case. We’ll keep you in the loop on how this develops.
The buzz about Brooklyn has been building for years and while newbies to the borough keep moving in and exploring, some lesser-known things to see in Brooklyn remain just that. Iconic Brooklyn is wonderful –- Prospect Park, Brooklyn Bridge, Coney Island and the like. But these lesser-known Brooklyn destinations are certainly worth the trek.
1. Green-Wood Cemetery, in Greenwood Heights, where you’ll see a large colony of wild monk parakeets living in the Gothic entrance gate.
2. Masstransiscope, the tunnel from the Dekalb Station to Manhattan is outfitted with panels that seem to make the wall come alive as you’re passing by if you’re looking.
3. Mosaic House, in Cobble Hill, where you can gaze upon a house completely decorated in mosaic art on its first floor.
4. Sunset Parkin Sunset Park, where you can take in one of the best views around of not only Manhattan, but Downtown Brooklyn and the Statue of Liberty.
5. Floyd Bennet Field, near Marine Park, where you can explore New York City’s first airport in its current abandoned and eerie state.
It was more than two years ago that I wrote about the possibility of 5Pointz, an artistic hub of a warehouse owned by the Wolkoff family, being demolished. I called the article 5Pointz Is Coming Down And It’s A Shame and I ranted about the pure audacity and soullessness of anyone who would rather see condos in its place.
All of that vitriol has been revived in me today upon learning that the City Council made a final decision to demolish the Long Island City building. That final decision was influenced in part by councilman Jimmy Van Bramer, who was previously opposed to demolishing the building, but changed his tune and helped damn the beautiful space to hell with comments about how there’s “not a way to save the building” and “the building is privately owned; the owners can knock that down and build a very large building.” (These quotes are from Animal.)
It’s not that he was necessarily wrong. Maybe the Wolkoff family really was going to tear 5Pointz down no matter what. It’s that the effort to preserve 5Pointz deserved support from our leaders.
%Slideshow-80364%The “deal” struck last night isn’t a deal at all –- unless you consider developers agreeing to allow curated graffiti on their shiny new buildings as an exploitation of 5Pointz under the guise of “keeping the 5Pointz legacy alive” a deal. That’s right, the residential buildings that will take the place of 5Pointz will so generously grant artists the ability to paint on designated panels and other areas in a clean-cut, not-at-all-representative-of-5Pointz way.
Look, despite my unabashed admiration of street art, I don’t consider myself a proponent of vandalism. But this is a Big Money way to add insult to the injury of local artistic culture and no matter the “special painting areas” that will be allocated to approved artists, the fact remains: 5Pointz is going to be destroyed and replaced by a luxury condo and I don’t think a luxury condo, no matter how you paint it, can preserve the 5Pointz legacy.