Fighting new tenements on the Lower East Side
BY MARK HALLUM
It was the second coming of the notorious tenement
days in the Lower East Side this August when city
offi cials discovered an apartment building split
into half-fl oors — some of which not tall enough for
an individual to stand upright in their own unit.
Even more perilous than the ceiling height at
the Henry Street buildings was the lack of proper
ventilation and egress, as well as the absence of
various fire safety measures.
But the landlord was nice enough to put bubble
wrap on the ceiling, according to the city Department
of Buildings (DOB).
Now, the DOB and FDNY is launching an outreach
effort to warn renters of the dangers of illegally
converted apartments in which unscrupulous
landlords set aside the safety of tenants in
favor of extra income.
Starting Oct. 7, the city announced, it will be
conducting outreach at the East Broadway Station,
Delancey Street/Essex Street Station, New
York Public Library Seward Park Branch and the
Captain Jacob Joseph Playground.
Educating residents on the dangers of illegal
conversions is critical to ending dangerous living
conditions, according to Buildings Commissioner
“The Lower East Side has long been a historic
hub for new immigrant communities coming to
our city, and the tenants living there deserve safe
and legal housing for themselves and their families,”
LaRocca said. “Every New Yorker deserves
a safe place to live, which is why we’re committed
to rooting out
wherever we find
them and issuing
landlords who put
their tenants lives
at risk. Spotting
and reporting an
before moving in
could end up saving
your life – that’s
why these community
campaigns with our
partners at FDNY
are so important.”
owners on Henry
Street were found
to be violating city
code by splitting
their floors horizontally down the middle making
single occupant units that could be seen from the
outside of the building from the windows.
Councilwoman Carlina Rivera chalked the illegal
Illegal conversions found on Henry Street in August.
subdivision up to a lack of affordable housing
in the city. The city warns renters to be weary of
apartments listed at significantly lower rates than
the surrounding area.
“As we work to address our city’s affordability
crisis, it’s important that we also ensure our
PHOTOS COURTESY OF THE NYC DEPARTMENT OF BUILDINGS
buildings are not being converted into dangerous
and unsafe ‘half-floors’ and other types of illegal
conversions. No tenant should be living in a home
without proper egress, windows, ventilation and
fire safety systems,” Rivera said.
Renters should also be on the lookout for windows
that are smaller than usual or if rooms and
units do not have any windows at all.
Renting basements and attics are also illegal
forms of conversions, according to the city.
Deal to develop part of Morgan No. Post Offi ce
BY GABE HERMAN
New development projects continue
in West Chelsea, as a
deal has been reached for a
real estate company to redevelop offi
ce space on the top six fl oors of the
old Morgan North Post Offi ce.
Part of the massive Art Deco
building, which was built in 1933,
is still used as a postal facility. It
takes up an entire city block, from
Ninth to Tenth Avenues and West
29th to 30th Sts.
Real estate company Tishman
Speyer entered into a 99-year lease
with the U.S. Postal Service for the
deal, which includes developing
630,000 square feet of office space,
according to the Oct. 2 announcement
by the company.
The building has Manhattan’s
largest private green roof, which
is 2.5 acres and will only be for
use by Tishman Speyer’s future office
tenants. The deal also includes
the company creating over 5,000
square feet of retail on the street
level along Ninth Avenue.
A rendering of the new interior office space.
The postal building used to connect
with the High Line train system.
The High Line park recently
opened the Spur, which runs east
on West 30 St. from the main High
COURTESY TISHMAN SPEYER
Line and follows the former tracks
right up to the postal building’s
Tishman Speyer President and
CEO Rob Speyer said the development
deal was a good fit
for the company in a
“With its West Chelsea location
on the High Line and just steps
from the Meatpacking District,
Morgan North resides at the crossroads
of Manhattan’s most vibrant
and dynamic neighborhoods,” said
Speyer. “Just as importantly, this
authentic New York City building,
with its limestone and brick façade,
high ceilings, massive open floors
and countless outdoor amenity options,
is ideally suited for today’s
creative, tech-oriented workforce.”
The USPS will continue operations
on the bottom four floors of
the building, which connects to the
Morgan South facility via a bridge
across West 29 Street. The twoblock
complex is a combined 2.2
million square feet, making it one
of the largest mail-processing facilities
in the country.
Tishman Speyer’s construction
for the new office development is
scheduled to start in late 2020 and
finish in mid-2022.
34 October 10, 2019 Schneps Media