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Thursday’s Headlines: ‘City of Yes’ Edition

12:05 AM EDT on June 2, 2022

Eric Adams channeled Joyce’s Molly Bloom at the ABNY breakfast yesterday. Photo: Mayor’s Office

It's much better than a long distance runaround.

Mayor Adams told the crowd at the Association for a Better New York yesterday that his new zoning plan is going to "turn New York into a city of yes. Yes in my backyard. Yes on my block. Yes in my borough," in order to juice housing development and job creation.

All the YIMBY affirmation brought the inevitable Yes jokes (for example, this nostalgic musical tweet by our own Dave Colon) and the occasional charge of inconsistency. City & State's Jeff Coltin, for one, pointed out that as recently as last summer, when Adams was Brooklyn Beep, he opposed a housing development on Atlantic Avenue, saying that the area was already too dense. A suburban-style McDonald's remains on the site instead — across the street from the Atlantic Yards megaproject, with its 15- to 30-story towers..

Still, our ears perked up when Adams said that he supports getting rid of some antiquated rules in order to "build more housing across the city." One of those rules is the 61-year-old mandatory parking minimums for new buildings that have so stymied housing development and kept the city mired in an outdated car culture, as Open Plans noted. 

Adams hinted in the speech that he might eradicate the parking minimums, but he didn't promise anything. He gave as an example a Queens family that wants to convert the second floor of their single-family house into a rental unit to help pay their mortgage, but can't because of a zoning requirement that they provide "an additional parking space."

"We're going to change that no to a yes, and help that Queens family stay in their home," he said.

In a press release, the city said that his plan would "reduce unnecessary parking requirements that add cost and take up space in buildings that could be used for additional homes" and "create flexibility for local businesses to expand without relocation and without triggering needs for additional parking."

Does that indicate Adams wants to change the code on outdated minimums or simply dole out endless variances? We'll see. Meanwhile, 26 of the 51 Council districts each average fewer than 100 new housing units a year.

The Daily News played the story straight. The Times jigged up a cabaret angle.

In other news:

    • Gov. Hochul made nice noises about her disgraced predecessor at the ribbon cutting for LaGuardia Airport's new Delta terminal. amNY gave us a tour of the facility.
    • The Daily News talked to the family of the tot who was mowed down by a driver on the Rock last week.
    • It was "Latte Gate" as the MTA selectively edited video in its continuing drive to highlight fare-beating. (NYPost)
    • "Gun detectors" in the subway? Could we start with working cameras? (AP)
    • Speaking of guns, the mayor is appointing a "gun violence czar." OK, but may we have a road violence czar, too, given that crashes (40,000 so far this year) outnumber shootings (roughly 500) by roughly 80 to 1?
    • Just in time for Pride Month, the Port Authority settled a suit alleging discrimination and false arrest by its cops during "undercover bathroom patrols" at its bus terminals. And we thought cops are supposed to look for real guns. (NYT)
    • Oh, not to mention, the mayor wants to spend money on ads thanking our cops. (Via Twitter)
    • Finally, here's a comment on who really rates in the "city of yes": motorists! (Via Twitter)

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