Saturday, April 30, 2011

East River Esplanade Update

Back in September of 2010, Congresswoman Carolyn Maloney and Council member Jessica Lappin established an East River Esplanade Taskforce to rehabilitate the East River Esplanade north of 63rd Street.

Progress on the planning phase for the improvement of the East River Esplanade has been moving steadily. Congreswoman Maloney secured at $475,000 earmark for the project. This earmark will be used along with federal funding from the Surface Transportation Program and state funding from the Department of Environmental Conservation, to fund a Request for Proposals (RFP) for the creation of a new esplanade along the East River. The RFP, issued by the New York City Department of Economic Development, solicits proposals for a feasibility study that would cover engineering, design, landscaping and other planning related to the new esplanade.

"This study will help us gain a better understanding of the costs and complications involved in building a new esplanade at this location,” said Congresswoman Maloney.

The Mayor’s Vision 2020 New York City Comprehensive Waterfront Plan specifically calls for the creation of a new waterfront esplanade along the East River from 38th to 60th Streets.

Thursday, March 31, 2011

Population Drop, Vacancies and Fewer Sales on the UES

The 2010 Census revealed that the population of the Upper East Side declined from 63,700 to 61,2007. In addition to a declining population, the Carnegie Hill section of the Upper East Side had the highest percentage of vacant housing units in the city, with more than 13% of vacant units. Over a 10 year time period, the vacancies increased by 26% while there was a simultaneous 3.8% decrease in the total number of housing units. Different theories are being discussed as to why this occurred. Some theorize that perhaps residents knocked down walls in multiple units to create larger homes. Others speculate that people were at their homes in other locations when the census was being taken. The census' definition of vacancy includes units temporarily occupied by people who have a usual residence elsewhere. While Carnegie Hill saw a decrease in number of housing units and the highest vacancy rate, Yorkville, by contrast, had a 1.3 percent increase in the total number of units, and a 5.4 percent vacancy rate.

Not only has the Upper East Side experienced a population drop and increase in vacancies in the Carnegie Hill area, but it is also experiencing a decrease in signed real estate contracts. In comparison with the Upper West Side,the Upper East Side is behind. Both neighborhoods have roughly 1,000 apartments on the market. The Upper East Side has a 3.6% decrease in signed contracts since January while the Upper West Side saw an increase in signed contracts of 15%. However, if last year's market trends are any indication, by the start of summer, the Upper East Side may end up with a larger increase in signed contracts. Stay tuned.

Monday, February 28, 2011

The UES Landscape: Fairway Sets Opening Date and the Yorkville Clock Ticks Again

Mark your calendars, Upper East Siders. Fairway is opening on June 22, 2011! Construction of the grocery began in October. Recently, Fairway posted help wanted ads. The much-awaited grocery store will include an in-house Kosher butcher and bakery, coffee roasted on the premises and more than 600 artisanal cheeses.

A more venerable neighborhood landmark, the Yorkville clock, was recently restored to its full ticking glory. Over the summer, the clock stopped at ten to nine. Thanks to the Friends of the Upper East Side Historic Districts, clock expert Robert Baird of Historical Arts and Casting, West Jordan, Utah, repaired the clock.

The clock, manufactured by the E. Howard Clock Company of Massachusetts, dates back to 1898 when it was installed by jeweler Adoph Stern in front of his jewelry store at 85th Street and Third Avenue.

On August 25, 1981, the clock was designated a NYC landmark. After a few moves damaged the clock, it was restored in 1998 as a result of fundraising efforts by FRIENDS, the Friends of Cast Iron Architecture, and Neighbors Restoring the Historic Yorkville Clock.

Photo courtesy of

Friday, January 28, 2011

Upper East Side 2010 Crime Update

2010 was a year of declining crime in NYC and the Upper East Side. NYC saw an overall crime decrease of approximately 1.4% while the UES overall crime declined by 4 percent. While the NYC murder rate increased by 13.4 percent, the UES murder rate decreased by 50% with just one murder in 2010. The number of robberies and burglaries also decreased on the UES. The number of robberies fell from 144 from 146 and burglaries from 231 from 314. However, not all categories of crime declined. The number of rapes and felonious assaults increased. The rapes were mainly "acquaintance rapes."

Grand larcenies compose approximately 75 percent of all crimes on the UES, but this crime category also saw a decline of 2.1 percent.

To track weekly crime statistics by precinct, visit:

Monday, December 20, 2010

Grant Awarded to Friends of the UES Historic Districts

The Friends of the Upper East Side Historic Districts was awarded a grant from the Robert and Elizabeth Jeffe Preservation Fund for New York City by the National Trust for Historic Preservation . The National Trust for Historic Preservation is a private, nonprofit membership organization dedicated to saving historic places and revitalizing communities throughout the United States. The grant will be used to create an architectural and cultural guide to the Upper East Side neighborhood, including detailed maps of the Upper East Side’s historic districts and landmarks.

The Friends of the Upper East Side Historic Districts was founded in 1982 and serves as an independent, nonprofit organization dedicated to preserving historical architecture on the Upper East Side. FRIENDS acts as both a community advocate for preserving archictural history and as a public educator.

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

UES Transportation Update: Taxi Ride Program Ends and Public Hearing for Second Avenue Subway Construction

After a short run of 7 months, the UES group taxi ride program ended after failing to attract riders. Taxi and Limousone Commissioner chief David Yassky pondered the reason why, "there’s not enough common routes from there to work or if it’s a chicken-and-egg problem, where passengers will only go there is there are taxis and taxis will only go there if there are passengers — and no one will act first."

While the construction crews are encountering delays from gushing underground streams, the Second Avenue subway construction continues to plague area businesses. So far, thirty one businesses between 63rd and 96th streets have gone out of business, and the income of the remaining businesses has been reduced by almost half.

Members of the community are pleading for legislation that would allow Second Avenue businesses to receive financial assistance, a real estate tax abatement, a sales-tax-free area, improved sanitary conditions, and more accessibility to the stores.

The government is responding by pledging to replace bent, unsightly fences; repave broken sidewalks, and open up sidewalks. The East 92nd Street area is the first section to undergo these repairs, which are expected to be completed shortly at a cost of about $70,000. In addition, the MTA plans to open up an office in a recently vacated retail space, where residents can stop by with concerns, and a Web-based timeline, to provide a block-by-block guide of the planned work schedule.

Today a public hearing will be held by the New York State Standing Commission on Corporations, Authorities, and Commissions to review the subway project. The hearing will examine problems associated with the construction and its delays, and what can be done to possibly mitigate those problems.

NYS Standing Commission on Corporations, Authorities, and Commissions Hearing on the Second Avenue Subway Project:
November 30th, 2010, 1:00 pm - 6:00 pm
250 Broadway, 19th Floor Senate Hearing Room
New York, NY 10007
Phone: 518-455-2441
Fax: 518-426-6809


Friday, October 22, 2010

Charity, Celebrity Style

The New York Junior League is a women's organization dedicated to community service. Founded in 1901, the New York chapter of the Junior League is the original chapter of the Junior League. Today some 3,000 NYJL volunteers devote their time to causes ranging from domestic violence prevention to health education to cultural enrichment. Several of the NYJL's committees serve the Upper East Side Community: assisting the New York Center for Children with abuse case tracking, providing instruction on infant care and child safety at The Grace House, and volunteering at the Stanley M. Isaacs Center. In order to fund its community-changing efforts, the NYJL hosts a number of fantastic fundraisers that are open to the public.

On Friday, October 15, the Junior League rolled out the red carpet for attendees at its Hollywood-style homecoming, "A Night with the Stars." The halls of the stately East 80th Street townhome the New York Junior League calls its headquarters were adorned with stars, balloons, and of course, a red carpet. Three floors of the headquarters offered different spaces to socialize and relax, each with different drinks- from a rum room to a wine room to a vodka room- and accompanying hors d'oeuvres A DJ kept the dance floor of the ballroom moving. After the main event, guests continued the festivities on the UES with an afterparty at Stir on First Avenue at 73rd Street. The evening's proceeds benefited the charitable activities of New York Junior League. As always with the Junior League, the event was well-attended and offered attendees the opportunity to socialize with a purpose.

To learn more about the Junior League and its charity events that are open to the public, visit