Layla Law-Gisiko, of Manhattan Community Board 5, said she was blindsided by Hochul's announcement that the state would move forward with Cuomo's controversial Penn Station plan.
Author: David Meyer
Published: 2021-11-04 06:00 pm
Land use chair ‘never heard of’ Gov. Hochul’s Penn Station plan
nypost.com

Gov. Kathy Hochul on Wednesday claimed her slightly-modified take on disgraced predecessor Andrew Cuomo’s controversial Penn Station plan had come out of discussions with the community — but at least one prominent neighborhood activist says she wasn’t consulted.

Layla Law-Gisiko, the land use chair for Manhattan Community Board 5, said she was blindsided by Hochul’s announcement that the state would move forward with Cuomo’s plan but reduce the overall size of its 10 new skyscrapers by 7 percent.

“The governor made an announcement referring to the community. I’m not quite sure which community she’s referring to because we had never heard of this new plan before she came up to the podium yesterday,” Law-Gisiko told The Post on Thursday. “We don’t know, really, what the proposal entails. From what we’ve seen from what she presented yesterday, it’s a modestly altered proposal.”

Under Hochul’s plan, the state would prioritize renovating Penn and delay — but not abandon — plans to expand track capacity there by demolishing an entire block of buildings south of the station.

(image)
Layla Law-Gisiko, the land use chair for Manhattan Community Board 5, said she was blindsided by Hochul’s announcement.
Mark Sagliocco for Rob Rich/Soci

“The expansion is excised from this particular proposal, but it will be reviewed at a later time, so what’s the difference, really?” asked Law-Gisiko. “The real estate portion of the project is something that should come last. Now is not the time to think about this total distraction. We’ll get to it later.”

Hochul’s plan, like Cuomo’s, would be paid for by taxes on 10 new skyscrapers built by Vornado Realty Trust. The project is expected to cost $6 to $7 billion.

Rachael Fauss of government watchdog Reinvent Albany warned that officials may regret tying the transit hub’s funding to development if that development fails to materialize.

(image)
Hochul’s plan would be paid for by taxes on 10 new skyscrapers built by Vornado Realty Trust. The project is expected to cost $6 to $7 billion.
AFP via Getty Images

“It still seems like it’s going to be a development-generated funding mechanism. That means that the city is going to have its taxpayer dollars siphoned off for a state project,” she said. “There are questions about whether the development can support the amount of money that’s needed. And if it doesn’t support it, who pays for it?”

The new towers would be vetted through something called a “General Project Plan,” a state process that circumvents the city zoning law by classifying the area as a slum.

(image)
Hochul’s plan would modify Cuomo’s and reduce the size of the new skyscrapers by 7 percent.
Getty Images

State Sen. Brad Hoylman, who voted against the General Project Plan in the state legislature, called Hochul’s modifications “a positive step.” He said he believes Hochul is sincere in her state commitment to community engagement.

“I take her at her word, and certainly she’s shown in the few months that she has been in office that she weighs local input,” Hoylman said. “Look at her decisions on economic development projects. They’ve been largely shaped by the response from local neighborhoods. So that does give me a confidence.”

“There’s a lot of work to be done, but the governor has pledged to pursue a collaborative approach with the local community boards, elected officials and other stakeholders,” he said.

Hochul’s office did not return a request for comment.

Read Full Story

Smoke shop workers fight off would-be robber in NYC

nypost.com - 3 months ago
A trio of workers at a Bronx smoke shop stood their ground and fought back against a would-be robber over the weekend, surveillance video shows.
Read More

Harlem cop shot while sitting in his car to be released from hospital

nypost.com - 4 weeks ago
The injured Harlem cop, who was identified by police sources as Keith Wagenhauser, 33, required surgery to remove the fragments from his skull Saturday at New York-Presbyterian Hospital.
Read More

FAA proposes $52K fine for man who tried to open cockpit door

nypost.com - 8 months ago
Federal airline regulators are ramping up enforcement actions amid a recent spate of unruly passengers, including one man who tried to open a cockpit door.
Read More

Crypto exchange developer Uniswap ‘in SEC crosshairs’

nypost.com - 5 months ago
One of the largest names in the burgeoning cryptocurrency space is in the crosshairs of a newly aggressive Securities and Exchange Commission, according to a report. The investigation of Uniswap, which is the developer behind the biggest so-called
Read More