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New York City Plans to Topple Public Housing TowersNew York City - Philadelphia tore down 21. Since the 1990s, public housing high-rise buildings have come tumbling down by the dozens across the country as cities replace them with smaller suburban-style homes that do not carry the stigma of looming urban despair and poverty. New York City has long been the great exception, and red-brick towers still dominate the skyline from the Lower East Side to East Harlem, from Mott Haven, in the Bronx, to Bushwick, Brooklyn. In the past decade, the authority has chosen to renovate rather than tear down its aging housing stock, often at great expense. Prospect Plaza — three 12- to 15-story towers in Brownsville — is plagued by neither despair nor poverty: It has been vacant since 2003, when the last tenants were moved out with the promise they could return to refurbished apartments.
One recent evening, the sole occupant of Prospect Plaza — many of the windows on the upper floors have been removed, giving the buildings a hollowed-out look — was a security guard in a ground-floor office.
Agency officials say they want to tear down the 35-year-old buildings and erect new apartments in their place.
Ilene Popkin, the agency’s assistant deputy general manager for development, said it would cost $481,000 to renovate each of the 269 apartments. The authority has completed the first two phases of its Prospect Plaza redevelopment plan, involving not the actual housing project itself but 37 two-family houses and 150 rental units in four-story town-house-style buildings that were constructed on nearby lots formerly owned by the city. Several former residents of Prospect Plaza and groups that represent public housing tenants said they did not support the demolition, in part, because it was unclear to them that the authority intended to replace the old units with the same number of new public housing units. The cost of demolishing the towers and building the new apartments is estimated at $138 million. Michaels Development Company, a real estate company based in New Jersey, was hired in 2003 to rehabilitate the three towers, but the agency terminated its agreement with Michaels in 2007.
Michaels sued the agency in April 2008 for breach of contract, accusing it of mismanaging the project and of failing to compensate the company for $5.6 million in predevelopment and other costs. In court documents, the agency denied many of the company’s assertions, stating that Michaels breached the agreement by failing to obtain commitments from lenders willing to invest in the project. Even as the three towers sit vacant on Prospect Place near Saratoga Avenue, they continue to be a costly expense for the cash-strapped authority, which has paid a security firm $25,000 a month since 2005 to keep watch over the buildings. Preference for the new public housing units will go to former residents, many of whom were relocated to other public housing in Brooklyn. At the community meeting, Priscilla Davis, 40, a former tenant, said she would not believe anything the authority told her until she was handed the keys to her new apartment. When frum Jews get government money, it a good use of tax dollars.When anyone else gets government money, it is socialism. We've sent you a confirmation email, please click on the link in the email to confirm your subscription. While we tend to think of the history of New York City in terms of the English settlement, the truth is the city's foundation is decidedly Dutch. As a port New Amsterdam was as boisterous as New York City is today, and it wasn't long before the Dutch West India Company's Director-Generals felt they needed to instill law and order.
The colony was growing in leaps and bounds, and perhaps understanding early that to effectively run a colony with such a diverse population you needed to be in touch with its residents, Director-General William Kieft had a stone tavern constructed on the corner of Coenties Slip and Pearl Street in approximately 1642.
Of course, even in its early days, New York City was a place where progress was often cited as a reason for development. In excavating the site, additional glimpses into life in the early days of the colony have been revealed. I encourage you all to go out and learn a bit of the early European settlers in your neck of the woods—you might be surprised by their resolve. But now, for the first time in its 75-year history, the New York City Housing Authority wants to knock down an entire high-rise complex, Prospect Plaza in Brooklyn — a move that has surprised and angered a number of former tenants and advocates for low-income housing.

Its decision to demolish Prospect Plaza was not the result of a sweeping policy shift, but of the failure of a renovation project that became bogged down in years of administrative, financial and legal problems. The window frames and doorways on each tower’s bottom three floors were sealed shut with cinderblocks or metal gates.
Officials initially planned to leave the towers standing and reconfigure the apartments, by eliminating some units to create bigger living rooms and bathrooms, but those plans were scrapped by the authority’s new leadership because demolition made better financial sense. One was torn down in 2005; the plan was to use that space for a new community center, shops and additional housing. In 2007, the agency also knocked down a number of two-story buildings as part of the redevelopment of the Markham Gardens complex on Staten Island. Agency officials have not decided how many of the new apartments will be public housing, but they said that former residents and community leaders would help make that determination. Part of the financing will come from a $21.4 million federal grant the authority was awarded in 1999 to revitalize Prospect Plaza, of which about $17 million remains. The project stalled in part because it took the agency three years to finish the development agreement and because of turnover at the authority, according to the lawsuit.
An agency spokeswoman said Michaels was paid about $4 million from the federal grant for architectural, engineering and environmental review work.
The demolition, which must be approved by the federal Department of Housing and Urban Development, is planned for this fall, with construction scheduled to start in 2012. Milton Bolton, 50, a former resident and the president of the still-intact Prospect Plaza Tenants Association, held up a thick draft of a 1998 application for the federal grant and said, “It’s hard to have trust.” More than three dozen tenants have died since 2003.
I say this without any disrespect to the original inhabitants of the land that so enraptured the early Europeans, but it's true. Peter Minuit attempted to do this with a Thursday counsel in the rudely constructed Fort Amsterdam. At this time, taverns did more than just serve your favorite brew: They were meeting places, inns, and the den of politicians.
Stadt Huys served as City Hall until 1697, when Lovelace Tavern, which stood next door, assumed the honor.
An early 18th-century well was uncovered that is said to have resided on land belonging to longtime residents, the Philipse family, of the Philipse Manor. And for an amazing depiction of the colony of New Amsterdam, Russell Shorto's Island at the Center of the World is strongly recommended. Baltimore took down 21 as well, and when 6 of them came down in one day in 1995, it threw a parade. Kelly acknowledged “bumps along the road” for the project in the past, but they stressed their desire to rebuild the neighborhood. Subsequent Director-Generals, including William Kieft and Petrus Stuyvesant, conducted government business out of the Fort as well, which also provided a base for trade for the Dutch West India Company. Lovelace Tavern was constructed in 1670 by New York's second English governor, Francis Lovelace. The well extended down to the waterline, reminding us that the East River's waterfront once ran along what is now Pearl Street, and that a fair portion of downtown Manhattan was actually physically constructed as the colony grew. Popkin and other officials said the three buildings had deteriorated from vandalism and exposure to the elements, and were out of context with the neighborhood. It was definitely an important site in the development of the colony—providing a sense of protection and serving as a point of contact with the mother land. At that time, its name was also officially changed to Stadt Huys (literally, State House) or less formally, City Tavern. The English had seized the colony in 1664 and perhaps the movement to this site was in part to eradicate the Dutch hold on the colony in the minds of the residents, who were permitted to stay and hold on to their possessions after the transfer of power.

It provided water to the entire block, and when the waterline was pushed back and it was no longer used, it was filled with everyday items—it became a trash receptacle. Of course, tolerance should not be confused for equality; they did not accord everyone the same rights in the colony, though everyone had some rights. However, the yellow bricks in the foreground represent the foundation of City Tavern, which was reconstructed using old maps. The new apartments — including public and private housing, not only for the poor but also for low- and moderate-income families — are likely to be built in low-rise buildings. Agency documents describe the project as “mixed finance,” meaning it will be paid for with public and private dollars, with some of the money coming from the sale of federal low-income housing tax credits.
There were very few frum families where I lived.I played with kids of all colors, religions, and nationalities. And the truth is that had we solely been an English colony, the flavor of New York City would be immensely different today.
The colony itself had also at this point been renamed for the Duke of York (only history would ever know it as New Amsterdam again). That the cistern had been installed at this site by the early to mid-1700s tells us that the neighborhood was evolving.
The City Tavern was also less than a two minute walk from Fort Amsterdam, putting it within easy reach of the Director-Generals—and their guests. The apartments were a little small and very basic, but, as a kid I didn't feel I was lacking anything. While the English Puritans were establishing mono-cultures to the north in Boston and the surrounding areas and to the south in Virginia, New Amsterdam was already a bustling model of diversity.
However, long before it's official establishment as City Hall, it was a meeting place for organizers and activists, such as the Board of Nine, which included Adriaen van der Donck, who quite possibly conceived the term "American" and was perhaps the early colony's most enthusiastic supporter. It also underwent a transformation—when the Dutch temporarily reclaimed the city (which they then named New Orange), it had begun to resemble London faintly. In this rambunctious port city, Africans were some of the most stable residents of the island.
To the left, businesses now line Pearl Street where the East River once met settlers hunting for oysters and looking for Dutch ships.
Intermarriage between persons of different nationalities and religions also occurred here with greater frequency than other colonies.
It apparently burned down in 1706, and City Hall was then moved to the site of Federal Hall on Wall Street. Thus, it seems that while the landscape has evolved through the ages, the character of the city, that brisk business settlement where tolerance can be expected, remains. Check it out!) Though all physical traces of the original City Tavern have been lost, when construction for the building at 85 Broad Street commenced, the foundation for the neighboring Lovelace Tavern was uncovered in New York's first archaeological excavation.
The foundation was ultimately incorporated into a permanent display at 85 Broad in an effort to preserve the city's history. Did you know that in the seal or flag of Brooklyn still an Dutch sentence stays: Eendracht maakt macht.

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