East New York Brooklyn Landmark

Photo of 135 Pennsylvania Avenue by Zulmilena Then

A young junior architect who grew up in East New York is leading the fight to landmark more than two dozen of the neighborhood’s architectural icons.

Spurred into action by the destruction of the historic East New York Savings Bank and Mayor de Blasio’s controversial rezoning plan, Zulmilena Then founded Preserving East New York (PENY) last year. Now with six members, the fledgling organization has caught the attention of the preservation nonprofit Historic Districts Council, which named East New York one of its 2016 “Six to Celebrate” earlier this month.

Just to be clear, getting the recognition of the Historic Districts Council is like finding out you have a landmarks fairy godmother — HDC’s mission is to help out local groups like PENY, and they’ll work with developers, the Landmarks Commission, and community members to protect spaces that need it.

Brownstoner caught up with the 29-year-old to hear more about her plans to work with the Mayor’s rezoning plan — not against it — to revitalize the area while preserving its historic character. (more…)

Livonia Affordable Housing

The city’s sprawling Livonia Commons project will soon break ground on Phase II of its development. Architect Magnusson Architecture and Planning Wednesday filed applications for new-building permits for the construction of 292 affordable apartments at 481, 500, and 463  Livonia Avenue, as well as 463 Hinsdale Street, all in East New York.

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East New York Trolley Tour

Take an historic trolley tour through East New York this Sunday.

The event is being held by ARTS East New York, which has sponsored public art installations throughout the neighborhood. The Explore East New York trolley will bring straphangers to several of the installations, as well as stopping at the African Burial Ground.

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East New York Rezoning

Real Affordability for All — a low-income advocacy group and de Blasio ally — has released a new report critiquing the mayor’s rezoning and affordable housing plan (PDF) for East New York. The 13-page report asserts that de Blasio’s plan fails to address job inequality and will not assist East New York’s neediest residents, but will in fact lead to the “whitening” and further displacement of the neighborhood.

Made of a coalition of close to 50 tenant groups and community organizations, Real Affordability for All suggests that de Blasio’s rezoning plans incentivize developers to promote gentrification in East New York. Thus, the group believes, de Blasio’s mandatory inclusionary zoning plans will “fail to address the affordability crisis,” doing more harm than good in neighborhoods like East New York.

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Last year, Mayor de Blasio spoke in general terms of plans to change zoning rules to create more affordable housing in Brooklyn and beyond. Monday, the exact wording of these three proposals will be revealed, and Brooklynites will have the chance to comment on them.

At issue is the character of Brooklyn’s neighborhoods and the future of East New York — and, of course, the building of more affordable housing by private developers.

On Monday, City Planning will “certify” the proposals, which are complex and have many parts, kicking off the official and formal public review process known as ULURP, or Uniform Land Use Review Procedure.

The mayor is asking for three zoning-related changes: (more…)

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City Planning’s vision for a rezoned East New York

Whither East New York? As Brooklyn’s waves of gentrification lap at the neighborhood’s shores, it’s a question on a lot of people’s minds, including eager developers, city planners looking to site affordable housing there, and wary residents looking at what’s happened to nearby Bushwick and Bedford Stuyvesant.

It’s also the question at the center of a panel discussion at the Brooklyn Historical Society tomorrow night, called “A Biography of East New York.” The assertion behind the discussion is that the neighborhood “is where NYC’s future is going to happen,” but that it’s also a place that is “by geography, class and race a far distance from the city’s centers of power and influence.”

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491 Shefield Avenue1

The lottery has just opened for hundreds of affordable units in a new housing development in East New York. The complex of buildings, known as Livonia Commons, will have studio apartments starting at $500 a month, one-bedrooms units starting at $538, two-bedrooms at $655 and up and three-bedrooms at starting at $749. The most expensive unit is a three-bedroom for $1,196.

The opening of the lottery was first reported by Brokelyn.

A few details on the income restrictions: The least expensive studio unit is available only to someone earning between $18,515 and $24,200 a year. The most expensive units could go to a family of six earning between $42,892 and $60,120 a year. A PDF of the table outlining the income requirements can be downloaded here.

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