Daily News from New York, New York on October 13, 2006 · 18
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Daily News from New York, New York · 18

New York, New York
Issue Date:
Friday, October 13, 2006
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' Jail joiilS sfodsnts' 4 fight for IS tests . ... 1 f ,,,rWe, .. .J. ' wsanat- --mit -.V' -Ms E o u xi (D 8 CN & o t; o it '. ' : . - i. " W ..' a li--- i -ii.t. mi i ii . n ii-h'iMi. .rJ TOGO MAJSEL DAILV NEWS Thankfully, these charred bodies are actually mannequins that got caught In a two-alarm blaze at the Kids Stop clothing store and a restaurant next door at 156-158 Delancey St. on the lower East Side yesterday morning. wm T: "he 25,000 tenants of Stuyve- sant Town and Peter Cooper Village have suddenly be come the most popular girl at the dance. After Metropolitan Life Insurance Co. announced this summer it would sell the 110-building middle-class housing development, tenants immediately launched a battle to prevent the whole complex from becoming luxury apartments. Few real estate experts gave them much hope. But the tenants soon corralled broad support from city politicians and labor unions and even cobbled together a $4.5 billion bid of their own last week in a daring move to compete head to head with a dozen of New York's most powerful developers. Under the tenant proposal, 40 of the 11,200 units in the complex would remain affordable either as below-market co-ops or as rent-stabilized units. Stuy Town tenants' offer making waves in market JUAN k:f:li GONZAlfZ Amazingly, the tenants' bid survived the first round of cuts by MetLife, with the company setting Monday as the deadline for a second round of offers from the half-dozen remaining bidders. Now some of the financial backers of the competing bids have even initiated talks with the tenants group this week about participating in their bid. The tenants are not offering the most money some bidders have reportedly offered more than $5 billion but their effort has already dramatically changed the process. "Suddenly all the bidders are talking about affordability of rents," said one city government source who talked with several of the bidders this week. In other words, the public pres sure organized by the tenants is certainly being felt by both MetLife and the other bidders. And this has happened despite Mayor Bloomberg's remaining inexplicably on the sidelines, insisting this is all a "private" matter. "This is a make-or-break deal for affordable housing in Manhattan," said Leonard Grunstein, the chief attorney for the tenants group. "Are we going to have some affordable housing on this island, or is everyone going to to live in luxury gated communities?" MetLife, which does a lot of business in this town, should think twice about being remembered as the company that helped drive the middle class out of Manhattan. "What's the value of goodwill?" asked Kevin Gallagher, director of the Housing Trust of the New York Central Labor Council. "They just picked up a big contract with the city to provide dis- Fashion Week leaves Bryant Park ice skaters in cold IN THE BATTLE over the future of Bryant Park, Mayor Bloomberg came down yesterday on the side of stiletto heels on the runway at least for now. Bryant Park lovers were hoping to evict Fashion Week from the park to make room for an extended period of free ice-skating, but Bloomberg decided the tremendously successful invitation-only fashion event can return in February. The twice-annual event has been in the park since 1993. Although Bloomberg said he agreed with Bryant Park fans that the fashion show "has outgrown" the park, he said yesterday in a statement that there wasn't enough time to find a suitable new home for the event before February. The city plans to work aggressively with the event's organizers to find a permanent home. As for the ice rink, park officials say plans to keep the rink open through the beginning of March will have to be curtailed. The rink is scheduled to open Oct. 27 and close in mid-January. A spokesman for Daniel Biederman, executive director of Bryant Park Corp., the park's management group, said Biederman is disappointed, but grateful the mayor committed to finding a permanent home for Fashion Week. Michael Saul ability insurance," Gallagher said. "Do they want to risk all that goodwill?" Meanwhile, City Council Speaker Christine Quinn (D-Manhat-tan) made it clear to several bidders this week that any new owner of Stuy TownPeter Cooper who fails to preserve significant affordable housing there can forget about any rezoning help from the Council in the future. The combination of all these pressures has suddenly given new life to the term "corporate responsibility." Grunstein, a real estate expert who has fashioned several successful efforts in recent years to preserve affordable housing at former Mitchell-Lama buildings, was confident yesterday that his group's long-snot bid may still prevail. That's because he believes he has found a novel approach that makes the tenant bid more valuable to MetLife than that of any competitor. Under his proposal, the tenants would lease the land instead of buying it outright, then turn the buildings into a housing cooperative. By retaining ownership of the land, Grunstein said, MetLife would achieve "significant tax deferrals that it could not realize through a normal sale. In the end, whether they win their bid or not, the organized campaign by the tenants of Stuy TownCooper Village has already shaken this city's real estate establishment. The biggest land deal in modern American history has been suddenly transformed into a public battle over the future of affordable housing. And in this battle, everyone, especially our mayor, will have to choose sides. jgonzaleznydailynews.com BY CARRIE MELAGO DAILY NEWS STAFF WRITER SEN. HILLARY CLINTON is fighting the feds on behalf of former Stuyvesant High School students who fear their exposure to Ground Zero toxins has harmed their health. Clinton fired off a letter yesterday to the regional administrator of the Environmental Prote -tion Agency, asking for a "con -prehensive testing and cleanuj program" in lower Manhattan. "The recent reports aboit Stuyvesant High School underscore the fact that the threat of indoor contamination is still a pressing problem," she argued. Students from Stuyvesant, who returned to the Battery Park City school less than a month after the attacks, have banded together using online , networking groups, including Facebook, to demand 91 1 medical screening and health insurance. The students were further galvanized in June when their ex-classmate Amit Friedlander was diagnosed with Hodgkin's lymphoma. About 200 alumni signed a petition charging that Stuyvesant kids were "canaries used to promote the revitaliza-tion of downtown." Lila Nordstrom, 22, said she was gratified that Clinton has joined the growing number of politicians rallying behind Stuyvesant students. "I was concerned that we weren't getting support in the Senate," she said. "I'm excited that she's picking up the ball and running with it." Friedlander, who is undergoing chemotherapy, said his illness was diagnosed almost by accident. He was undergoing therapy for a sports injury when a lump was discovered in his chest. Though he's not certain his illness was caused by his proximity to Ground Zero, he still believes students need to be monitored. "I am convinced that being down there will affect the health of everyone at Stuyvesant at some point in their lives," he said. An EPA spokeswoman said yesterday the health of New Yorkers has been its priority, saying special vacuum trucks removed harmful dust and the agency took more than 10,000 samples of air, water and dust after the attacks. "EPA is currently evaluating the appropriate next steps and will respond to the senator's letter directly," she said. cmelagonydaifynews.com

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