Related's Jeff Blau says "Pay Your Rent!" (Or we might go broke)

David Goldsmith

All Powerful Moderator
Staff member

At Developer's Urging, NYPD Cracks Down On Hudson Yards Street Vendors​

Nearly a year after Mayor Bill de Blasio pledged to remove the NYPD from street vendor enforcement, a group of pushcart owners say they're facing a new police crackdown — the latest escalation, they allege, in an ongoing eviction campaign waged by the Hudson Yards developer Related Companies.

On two days this week, police officers issued a total of four summonses to cart operators on 33rd Street between 10th and 11th Avenue in Manhattan. In one video shared with Gothamist, an NYPD officer can be seen talking to a Hudson Yards security guard, before telling the angry vendors: "This has nothing to do with us. They don’t want you on their property."

While the Related Companies' mega-development spans an unprecedented 18 million square feet, it does not include the public sidewalk on 33rd Street. The width of that sidewalk is 13 feet, spacious enough to accommodate a food cart under city's law, according to planning documents from the Manhattan Borough President's Office.

In the view of Mohamad Awad, an Egyptian immigrant who has sold hot dogs and other street food on the sidewalk since 2014, the summonses are part of a pattern of harassment aimed at chasing the carts from Hudson Yards altogether.

The police and security attention started when Hudson Yards opened in 2019, he said, and has accelerated throughout the pandemic. Earlier this year, the vendors discovered that Related had installed a large planter on the corner, and had enlarged two tree pits — an apparent effort to landscape out the food carts from their longtime spot. In response, Awad built a four-foot long cart that fits between the two pits.

The smaller cart used by Awad, who alleges that Related has added new elements to the sidewalk to force him out
The smaller cart built by Awad, who alleges that Related has added new elements to the sidewalk to force him out PROVIDED TO GOTHAMIST
“I have a very simple message for the Hudson Yards management: Please stop playing God,” he said. “Just because you don’t like us doesn’t mean we don’t have rights to be here.”

At a press conference on Friday, street vendors and their supporters likened the glimmering office and retail complex, which received over $5 billion in taxpayer money, to a playground for the wealthy, disconnected from the needs of most New Yorkers. They held signs calling for “more churros, less cops” while comparing founder Stephen Ross to a shark feasting on small businesses.

“You built this property and these fancy glass towers. Good for you. But you have to accept New York City. You can’t change the rules,” said Mohamed Attia, the executive director of the Street Vendor Project. "No matter how weak the mayor is, no matter how corrupt the NYPD is, that’s not going to happen."

In an email, NYPD spokesperson Sophia Mason defended the officers, saying the vendors had been given repeated warnings about the cart's taking up "congested city space." She did not respond to questions about why the NYPD was involved in vendor enforcement. Emails sent to the Mayor's Office were also not returned.

Speaking alongside the vendors, Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer said the tickets were wrong, and likely the result of a new group of Midtown officers unfamiliar with the rules around street vending. She vowed to set up a meeting with the local precinct and the cart owners, while calling on de Blasio to stick by his commitment to remove cops from vendor enforcement: “If you make a policy stick with it.”

A spokesperson for Related declined to answer questions about their involvement with the NYPD, and the purpose of the landscaping elements.

In an emailed statement, the spokesperson said: “Vendors must operate legally and safely and the city has clear regulations that they enforce to ensure everyone is following the law. Hudson Yards, the High Line and the surrounding area experience extraordinary visitation and as a result, public open space needs to be managed for pedestrian safety and FDNY access.”
 

David Goldsmith

All Powerful Moderator
Staff member
Related sues Joseph Tabak for skipping rent in Hudson Yards
Real estate dealmaker hasn’t paid up on his $10K/month pad since since January, Related alleges

 

David Goldsmith

All Powerful Moderator
Staff member
The Shawarma of Death.
 

David Goldsmith

All Powerful Moderator
Staff member
Phase II of Hudson Yards where the majority of the public benefits were supposed to go, but has been postponed indefinitely, is apparently being proposed as a site for a casino.

Developers all-in on Manhattan casino push​

Hudson Yards, Times Square among sites being eyed​

Developers are putting their cards on the table in an effort to win the right to build a casino in New York City.

A handful of developers and gaming operators are mobilizing to bid for a license to operate in the city, the New York Post reported. The state’s gaming commission can award up to three licenses downstate and Mayor Eric Adams has expressed a desire for at least two to be in the city.

In Manhattan, Related Companies is eyeing a venue near its Hudson Yards megadevelopment on the Far West Side. Representatives from the company have already met with City Hall officials to discuss a proposal for the area.

Vornado and SL Green are also targeting Manhattan — specifically, Times Square. All three of those developers are looking to partner with casino companies, including Hard Rock, Sands and Wynn.

Interest in a casino stretches beyond the island. Hard Rock has been in discussions about partnering with New York Mets owner Steve Cohen for a Queens casino at Willets Point. Lobbying efforts for a casino next to Citi Field have previously been reported.

John Catsimatidis, whose developments include a Coney Island project, is also interested in opening a casino in the seaside neighborhood. He told the post a “casino would be a wonderful thing for Coney Island and Brooklyn.”

While the competition for a new casino is technically for three licenses, it may actually be a fight for only one. Resorts World/Genting at Aqueduct in Queens and the Empire City/MGM at Yonkers plan to apply for a full gaming license after operating for years as slots parlors; their history may give them an edge in the bidding.

Still, it could be an uphill battle to bring a casino to anywhere in the city. Significant political and community approvals would be needed, a possibility some politicians are already rallying against.

“I strongly oppose a Manhattan casino in concept,” state Sen. Brad Hoylman told the Post. “I don’t know one constituent who wants a casino.”

But the state does. New York could score at least $500 million for each license. The next big step in the process is the formation of a siting board by Oct. 4, which will then lead to a request for bids.
 

David Goldsmith

All Powerful Moderator
Staff member
And that's not the only proposal being floated to avoid building what was promised in return for billions of $ in subsidies.

Dolan rejected Stephen Ross pitch to move MSG​

Related floated Hudson Yards as home for Madison Square Garden​

Madison Square Garden this spring nixed a proposal by the Related Companies to move the Midtown arena a few avenues west.
The Hudson Yards developer pitched a design for a new arena, this time built above a casino in the fast-developing Midtown West neighborhood, but MSG directors disliked the idea, Crain’s reported Monday.

The news of Related’s rejected overture adds intrigue to the drama playing out in the Penn Station area.

Relocating the sports and entertainment arena would clear the way for a full renovation of the nation’s busiest transit hub. The relocation idea has been tossed around repeatedly over the years, including late last year, when it was dismissed by the Hochul administration as too complicated.

Gov. Kathy Hochul shut down any further talks between MSG and Hudson Yards this year in order to avoid additional complications to her Penn Station area development plan, according to Crain’s.
The governor’s megaproject, which would create 18 million square feet of commercial development and 1,800 residential units across eight sites around Penn Station, was approved by the Empire State Development board last week. The plan now goes to the Public Authorities Control Board for what is essentially a rubber stamp.
The state says it will use tax revenue from new development to help pay for Penn Station renovations. Vornado Realty Trust is slated to be the primary developer of the 10-tower project.

For now, MSG’s primary undertaking in the area is the redevelopment of its Vornado-owned headquarters at Two Penn Plaza, a block from the arena. MSG Entertainment signed a 20-year lease in November, amid Vornado’s renovations, to maintain its corporate headquarters.
Penn Station’s detractors have long called for relocation of the Garden to allow for light and air in the station, and perhaps fewer columns. Critics of that idea say it would cost several billion dollars to move the arena and the benefit would be little more than a giant skylight.
The Garden’s operating permit expires next year. The City Council had renewed it for 10 years in 2013 to give state officials time to negotiate a relocation, but MSG and the Cuomo administration showed no interest in the idea and neither has the Hochul administration.
 
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