Mom-and-pop health food store reportedly saved from wrecking ball - August 20, 2010 - A beloved neighborhood store whose impending demolition spurred Upper West Siders to rally in its defense has reportedly been saved from destruction. Read more
Columbus Ave. renovation reportedly nixed - August 19, 2010 - An expansion of property on Columbus Avenue and West 95th Street that would have dramatically changed the block's landscape has been dropped. The Witkoff Group pulled its application to renovate a 248-apartment building on 95 W. 95th St. called Columbus House.
The plan called for building a two-story structure that would have wrapped around the base of the 33-story residential tower. That addition would have created 4,950 square feet of retail space along Columbus Avenue between West 95th and 96th streets. But it also would have closed pathways between buildings and have been built to the property line, eliminating a wide patch of sidewalk on Columbus Avenue. Read more
New voting machines spur concerns about confusion and fraud - June 29, 2010 - Going green is usually encouraged. However, in the case of new electronic voting machines, pushing the green button may result in your vote getting thrown out. Questions about the confusing nature of New York's new voting machines are at the heart of a lawsuit filed Monday. The Brennan Center for Justice at New York University Law School, which filed the lawsuit about the new machines, says the new machines could confuse voters and thousands of ballots could be thrown out as a result. Read more
UWS neighbors fight to save mom and pop health food store - June 24, 2010 - From the outside, Columbus Natural Food market at W. 95th and Columbus Avenue is a well-kept storefront with a cheery red awning. Inside, neighbors say, beats the heart of a neighborhood, one they worry is about to be ripped out. The store's landlord, The Witkoff Group, wants to tear down the store, a neighboring Chinese restaurant and Subway sandwich shop to make way for a larger retail development. Read more
June 28: Learn about NYC's new voting machines - June 10, 2010 - There is no more fundamental act of public participation than voting. New York City will be using the DS200 Ballot Scanner to count votes beginning with the September 14 primary election. Join Common Cause/New York and Westsiders for Public Participation at a community forum for a demonstration by the NYC Board of Elections of how these new machines will work. You may download and print an event flyer here.
NYC Planning Commission to review 95 West 95th Street expansion plan *again* - June 10, 2010 - On Tuesday evening, June 1, Community Board 7 passed a conditional disapproval of a revised proposal to enlarge the first and second stories of the existing building at 95 West 95th Street. After our announcement of Tuesday's CB7 meeting in the Weekly Participant, 33 neighborhood residents appeared before the community board to give public testimony.
Next, the New York City Planning Commission will discuss the proposal at a Review Session on a date to be announced. Although this session is open to the public, it is not a public hearing. Look for this item to appear on an upcoming Review Session agenda here.
Fear (and shopping) when big stores move in - June 4, 2010 - Mel Wymore, the chairman of Community Board 7, noted that there was more lamentation about the big stores than there were actual battle plans.
"Everyone complains about the mallification of the neighborhood, but there's not really a concrete approach to mitigate the problem," Mr. Wymore said. "They grumble - but use them. There's lots of mall-creep, but not a sense of outrage around it." Read more / Discuss
Jewish Home Lifecare replies to our open letter - July 1, 2010 -
On June 2, Westsiders for Public Participation published an open letter to Jewish Home Lifecare, in which we requested complete information about its proposed relocation to West 100th Street.
On July 25, we received a reply from Jewish Home Lifecare. Today we respond to that reply for the purpose of correcting the public record.
President and CEO
Jewish Home Lifecare
120 West 106th Street
New York, New York 10025
Dear President Weiner:
I have received your reply to my Open Letter to Jewish Home Lifecare (JHL) dated June 2, 2010.
The Board of Directors of Westsiders for Public Participation finds that your six-page reply provides no meaningful answers to any of the questions posed in the Open Letter, and sheds no further light on the activities of JHL that have been shielded from both public view and public participation.
Your letter states that JHL has held a series of meetings with Park West Village neighborhood stakeholders, but demonstrates the opposite.
Contrary to the statement on page 3 of your letter, JHL has never met with any representative of Westsiders for Public Participation, which has long been a vocal advocate for preventing the destructive overdevelopment of the Park West Village neighborhood. Your letter states that JHL has met with head of the Park West Village Tenants Association, but JHL has never met with the tenants themselves, who are the stakeholders whose lives would be most directly and permanently disrupted by JHL's proposal to construct a new residential health care facility on West 100th Street. JHL's meeting with the parents and administrators of P.S. 163 was not conducted at a public forum, but came to light only when disclosed by a local newspaper. JHL's meeting with representatives of the New York Public Library - which should have been open to all citizens who use the library - was not conducted publicly, and came to light only when reported by another local newspaper. JHL claims to have met with representatives of Trinity Lutheran Church, but no notice was given of an open meeting to apprise either Trinity's congregation or the residents of the adjacent Park West Village neighborhood of JHL's plans. Read the entire letter / Speak Out
New questions raised about Jewish Home Lifecare - June 17, 2010 - A recent letter from the New York State Department of Health to Jewish Home Lifecare (JHL) obtained under the Freedom of Information Law has left us uncertain of the status of JHL's real estate development intentions for West 100th Street. The letter concerns a "modification" to JHL's application to construct a new residential health care facility on West 106th Street. In order to acquire complete information for the use of citizens and to preserve their right to public participation, we have written a letter to the Department of Health. Read the letter / Speak Out
The new Columbus Village development has imposed adverse impacts upon the daily lives of Park West Village neighborhood stakeholders that are increasingly difficult and even perilous to bear. Speak out now about your own experiences of delivery trucks, traffic congestion, pedestrian safety, and whatever other adverse impacts you may have noticed.