Fight for Rivington House

Dear Neighbors,

We see the continuing displacement of our community members most in need to benefit those least in need.

We need answers, we need City Hall to find a way out of decisions made that would sell Rivington House to the highest bidder.

Send this simple message.

Call 311 (I’m hearing this is the most effective)

Email Tommy Lin <>

Come to the Community Board hearing on January 7th (see below for details)

Health, Seniors, & Human Services / Youth, Education, & Human Rights Committee Joint Committee with 

Public Housing & Section 8 Housing Subcommittee

Thursday, January 7th at 6:30pm — Chinatown YMCA Cornerstone at Rutgers – 200 Madison Street (btwn Rutgers & Pike Sts)


1.       Approval of previous month’s minutes

2.       Presentation by 3 Cornerstone program providers of their programs in CB 3

3.       Position on future of Rivington House nursing facility—replacement of beds and future of facility

4.       Request for support for new Admissions policy in School District 1

5.       Request for support for K-8 school at Essex Crossing

With thanks.

Read MoreFight for Rivington House
  • Post category:News

Peter Lambert 1936- 2015

We mourn the loss of a true friend: generous, funny, self-effacing, and kind. He had tremendous integrity. Old school.

“Bowery Pete”

From Jane Barrer Co-President of M’Finda Kalunga Community Garden:

“Dear Gardeners:

I am sorry to tell you that we lost our friend and gardener Pete Lambert early this morning.  Pete passed away shortly after midnight at Beth Israel. 

…We will all miss him.

Rest in peace, Pete.”


Read MorePeter Lambert 1936- 2015
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Women’s Environment and Development Organization (WEDO) on UN Paris Climate Agreement

WEDO Reflections on COP21

Since the final deal was agreed in Paris, we have seen numerous reactions from Governments, UN agencies, and civil society groups on what was achieved at COP21. Many voiced celebration of an historic agreement over 20 years in the making- an agreement that marks a turning point in the fight against climate change. Others hailed the ‘end of the fossil fuel era‘, and the start of a clear transition to a renewable energy future. And many climate justice advocates, including the members of the Women and Gender Constituency, were quick to provide a ‘reality check‘ to the world, of what this agreement does and does not do.

There is a sense that to move forward we must find hope in what is, in essence, the best outcome that could be achieved in an unjust and unequal world. However, at WEDO, our hope is not in the words agreed in Paris but clearly grounded in the determined activism and voice of a growing climate justice movement which is unafraid to challenge the Paris Agreement for the numerous ways in which the outcome failed to rise to the moment to ensure protection for people, communities and countries most vulnerable to climate impacts. 

We went to Paris calling for system change, not climate change. We went with determination to ensure human rights, gender equality, indigenous people’s rights, intergenerational equity, a just transition were securely anchored in the final outcome. 

We didn’t get system change in Paris. Far from it. Too much power (political, financial, media, etc) remains in the hands of the wealthy and connected. We are missing specific language to urgently phase out fossil fuels, to move from a floor of $100 billion to predictably and adequately finance adaptation and mitigation, to provide compensation for loss and damage already happening in places that had no hand in causing climate change, to ensure safe, environmentally and socially sound technologies. We are missing language on gender equality in mitigation, technology and finance. Our colleagues at Heinrich Boell Foundation – North America have provided an excellent issue by issue analysis of the final agreement. 

So where can we point to progress? We can and absolutely should recognize the significance of having an articulated temperature goal in the Paris Agreement of keeping warming well under 1.5 degrees Celsius, the point at which we know that communities in the Pacific will lose their homelands, and countries across the Global South will suffer increasing loss and damage. It is no easy feat to get countries to agree in multilateral processes, let alone recognize the need for a united ambitious goal. But it should be clear to all that while the Paris agreement gives us aspiration, it fails to follow through on action. 

The achievement of this goal is in the hands of our movement- to hold Governments accountable – to call out hypocrisy in policies which go against the achievement of this goal- such as two in the last few days, the lift of a 40-year oil export ban by the U.S., or the U.K.  slashing solar subsidies. We also must continue to hold leaders to account when they enter into unjust trade agreements, such as the Trans-Pacific Partnership, which allow for companies to potentially sue governments for policies made in the public’s interest- such as reforms in the energy sector. 

In an excellent piece on the next steps for an ever growing and inclusive climate justice movement- one which women, youth, indigenous peoples and workers are at the heart of- The Guardian’s Martin Lukacs quotes Amilcar Cabral, leader of the anti-colonial liberation movement in Guinea-Bissau, who reminded the movement to: “Tell no lies. Mask no difficulties, mistakes, failures. Claim no easy victories.” 

As the Women and Gender Constituency concluded in final hours of the closing plenary at COP21 on Saturday evening, “We will not be silenced from telling the truth to power, to highlight the lack of ambition and injustice in this agreement. We have used this space of international policy-making to raise our voices and embolden our movements. Together, we will continue to challenge injustice for the protection of the people and the planet.”

The climate justice movement is rising, with women at the center, unafraid to speak truth to power, and unwavering in our campaign for climate justice. This is where you can find hope that COP21 will be the turning point for a more just and sustainable world, as we are more determined than ever to push world leaders to keep their promises. 

Read MoreWomen’s Environment and Development Organization (WEDO) on UN Paris Climate Agreement
  • Post category:News

Lo-Down: Followup: “City Cleared the Way For Luxury Housing at Former Rivington Street Nursing Home”

Please link the Lo-Down for the latest on Rivington House.

“Department of Citywide Administration Services (DCAS) Last month, the city agency agreed to lift a deed restriction in place since 1992 requiring the Rivington Street building to be “limited in perpetuity to a Not-for-Profit Residential Health Care Facility.” The Allure Group paid the city $16,150,000 for the deed. Cathy Hansen, a spokesperson for DCAS said, “The deed restrictions were lifted after a request by the owner to allow the property to be run by for-profit and/or non-profit operators. The deed modifications were approved following a public hearing on June 24, 2015.”

A “public hearing” that no one knew about. Done on behalf of a corporation that did the same thing in Bed Sty. Bait and switch in order to get this goldmine of a public resource on the cheap?

Please read the article for more detail.

And please, let us not let this go by as just another crummy thing that we have to endure. This is going to cost us. It’s going to cost our elders and neighbors who will have no nearby nursing home to go to. And for some elders their need is imminent.

It’s going to increase pressure on lower income tenants and neighbors in the area.

Please write to the Mayor’s liaison and comment on the Lo-Down:

Tommy Lin

Director of Constituent Services

Mayor’s Office Community Affairs Unit

City Hall, Ny, NY 10007

The Lo-Down has our deepest gratitude for their investigative and factual reporting.

Read MoreLo-Down: Followup: “City Cleared the Way For Luxury Housing at Former Rivington Street Nursing Home”
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To the Mayor of “The Tale of Two Cities” we ask that you live up to those words

As many know, the former Rivington House, now Manhattan Center for Nursing and Rehabilitation, has been targeted for sale – yet again.

In June, unknown to anyone locally, including local electeds and the community board, the building was readied to be sold by NYC’s Department of City-wide Services Administration. 

We ask this Mayor to keep this a desperately needed nursing home, or for use as affordable housing, or to create supportive housing. We do NOT need more luxury housing in this neighborhood!

This building was promised to our community to be of benefit to the public and this neighborhood, in perpetuity.

We need to ask, demand, plead (whatever you are comfortable with!) City Hall to maintain the use of this building with its original intent intact.

Call 311 

And/or write a letter to:

Tommy Lin

Director of Constituent Services

Mayor’s Office Community Affairs Unit

City Hall, Ny, NY 10007

Sample letter:

Dear Mayor:

Please keep 45 Rivington Street a community facility—do not sell our neighborhood out to highest bidder. We need affordable housing, shelter beds, community services. In the midst of your affordable housing agenda it makes NO sense to lose this site for the many New Yorkers who need housing.

We restored our community when no one else would come into it due to the high crime here – not even City agencies and departments would come here.

Now that we have built a good, solid base for our neighbors, friends, visitors and families we are being pushed out, marginalized and priced out.

This building is an institution here – it has always served the public. First as a school, then as an AIDs Hospice (when those patients were not welcome anywhere else).

It has served, and should continue to serve, those most in need. The nearby co-op gave up a garden in the plot next door to let the nursing home have a co-generation plant installed in its location, volunteer gardeners worked for 3 and 1/2 decades building a garden in the park across the street – they made those sacrifices for the common goodnot to serve those who have no need of the largesse of the poor, working and middle class.

As you are the Mayor of the “Tale of Two Cities” we ask you to live up to those words.


(your name)

For more information

The Lo-Down has done excellent reporting and investigating of the situation.

Thanks everyone.

Read MoreTo the Mayor of “The Tale of Two Cities” we ask that you live up to those words
  • Post category:News

Hearing by the City Planning Commission about the Mayor’s plans to rezone across the city




Starting at 9 am

The City Planning Commission is the first of two bodies which must modify or approve the rezoning plans.  These plans have been rejected by the majority of our city’s community boards and borough presidents, though their votes are advisory.  If approved or modified by the City Planning Commission, these plans go to the City Council for a final vote or modification. 

Sign up to testify, come to learn and/or present your position.

Borough Board President Gale Brewer recommends

Yes (conditional approval) for the Mandatory Inclusionary Housng Plan (MIH) plan

The “positive recommendation on MIH plan came as a result of [MBP] office securing administration officials’ agreement to make several major improvements”

No – (conditional disapproval) on Zoning for Quality and Affordability (ZQA) proposal

And the letter from HPD and City Planning  :

“Attached to this letter is a list of items we agree on reflecting recent discussions between the DCP, HPD and you with respect to the consideration of the Zoning for Quality and Affordability and Mandatory Inclusionary Housing text amendments….”

Read MoreHearing by the City Planning Commission about the Mayor’s plans to rezone across the city
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Climate Conference in Paris IBON International update: Redefining vulnerability and dodging responsibility:

Climate Justice 

Posted on 8 December 2015


“(Paris, France, December 7,2015)–The 21 st Conference of Parties (COP 21) of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), meeting in Paris with the objective of coming to an agreement on global efforts that will respond to the increasing impacts of climate change, entered its second week of negotiations yesterday….

A draft Paris agreement is now on the table for Ministers to debate and to iron out by December 11 th…..with 900 text in brackets, showing deep divergences in views among the Parties.

There are a number of key issues with both process and substance that several quarters, including civil society, raise at this Climate Summit.

First, is the seeming systematic attempt by developed countries to undermine the principle of protecting the climate system on the basis of common but differentiated responsibility and respective capabilities (CBDR-RC) that lie at the core of the international climate regime….


Second, is the issue around the temperature limit goal. The United States, Germany and France joined the growing list of countries committing to having a 1.5 degrees temperature rise as a global goal. This may seem aspirational and bold, considering that developing countries have made their position on the need for a global temperature goal that would save people and planet. This goal is achievable, but is premised on developed countries committing to even deeper and more drastic emissions cuts, in line with the ‘fair shares’ principle, i.e. developed countries have already used up more than their fair share of the world’s carbon budget, and so would have to undertake more drastic measures to redesign their production…..


Third, the INDCs are more focused on lowering emissions, where there should be a balance between actions for mitigation and adaptation. While Parties agreed during COP 20 in Lima that INDCs would cover both areas, the draft Paris agreement is said to be leaning less towards adaptation.

Crucial to this is financing, which is a contested issue in the negotiations. A recent study from the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) that showed financing pledges made from COP 15 in Copenhagen as having nearly been met has been described by different quarters as inaccurate and misleading, and at best wanting with only around USD5-8 billion marked for adaptation.

Fourth, countries already agreed during COP 20 to provide support for ‘loss and damage’ for developing countries facing phenomenal weather events, long-term environmental impacts such as increasing salinity etc….. rich country negotiators are putting pressure on developing countries to agree to the condition that in exchange for this agreement they (developing countries) will not hold rich countries liable for losses and damages to be incurred.

Fifth, transparency of and inclusiveness in the negotiations is highly questioned. Negotiations are being done in closed-door sessions, and even those sessions where civil society have been previously allowed entry have been closed. This lack of transparency in the negotiations has raised a lot of concern and critique…..”

Read MoreClimate Conference in Paris IBON International update: Redefining vulnerability and dodging responsibility:
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From the Climate Talks in Paris -By Tetet Nera-Lauron from IBON International

IBON International Updates #8
Climate Justice
(In Filipino, ibon means bird. In evolving Philippine tradition, the image of a bird in flight has come to mean freedom and, by extension, an oppressed people’s struggle for freedom)



December 3, 2015, Paris, France) – Three days into the 21st Conference of Parties (COP) of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), negotiations are nearing fever pitch as the December 4 deadline for a revised draft text of the Paris climate agreement looms.

COP 21 is taking place in the French capital from Nov. 30 to Dec.11, with the objective of inking a global agreement that outlines actions that countries will undertake to respond to the climate crisis. Since Monday, negotiations have been taking place in smaller groups and often simultaneously, with a number of these closed to civil society and other observers. Some government representatives have been complaining of this hurried manner in which the negotiations are taking place, and noted that this lack of transparency in process puts in question the legitimacy of any outcome.
A new and shorter draft negotiating text was released today, but now comes the next challenge of Parties coming to an agreement on sticky issues. For instance, there remains the controversy on the long-term goal, i.e. whether global temperature increase should be put at 1.5. or well below 2 degrees; as well as how to translate this temperature goal into actual global emissions reductions.
Placing ‘human rights’ in the revised draft text was also highly disputed, as some developed countries did not want to see references that linked human rights and climate change.
Financing climate action is another contested issue, especially with a proposal from the United States and its allies that developing countries should contribute equally to climate finance, in total disregard of the principle of ‘common but differentiated responsibility and respective capacities’ (CBDR-RC) of the UN Framework Convention.
Underlying all this tension is the obvious divide between developed and developing countries particularly on the issue of ‘differentiation.’ Developed countries argue that the world has changed a lot since the time of the founding of the Convention and the adoption of the Kyoto Protocol, and that this changing global landscape and national circumstances must be taken into account when talking about commitments and actions to be undertaken under a new climate regime. Developing countries, on the other hand, contend that this line clearly undermines the founding principles of the UNFCCC, i.e. while acknowledging that climate change is a global problem, countries have different roles, capacities and responsibilities in addressing this, with developed countries legally bound to undertake emissions reductions, provide finance and capacity building to developing countries.
Malaysia, on behalf of the Like­?Minded Developing Countries (LMDC) group, said that ‘historical responsibility has not changed. Historical debt has not changed. You (developed countries) have created the problem, did not deliver on the commitments you made (under the Convention), and now you say you want us (developing countries) to share on an equal basis? Venezuela said the world has not changed at all, with inequality pronounced now more than ever. Meaningful negotiations are needed in order to save the world.
A climate agreement is needed indeed, but what the world needs is a just agreement.
Read MoreFrom the Climate Talks in Paris -By Tetet Nera-Lauron from IBON International
  • Post category:News

City gives former Rivington House to the highest bidder

News had been trickling in regarding the possibility of the sell-off of the health care facility at 45 Rivington Street.

Today thanks to the Lo-Down’s reporting we have confirmation of two transactions.

This community worked hard, went to meetings and lobbied for the protection of this building to remain in perpetuity a low-income health care facility.

AIDs patients were summarily removed in the last ‘sale’ and scattered to the winds (much like Bialystoker and Cabrini nursing home residents). The aging community here were hoping for a nursing home they could afford with visits from neighbors and family in their own neighborhood.

I’m sure they would all be thrilled with the possibility of rich people getting to enjoy a view that poor people built for them in the community garden opposite.

Read MoreCity gives former Rivington House to the highest bidder
  • Post category:News

Parks without Borders

Help Parks rethink SDR Park’s openness – to be both welcoming and safe. 

Help Parks Choose New Projects

Parks will select – and fund – the best eight parks to showcase the program.

On the map or through the search bar, find the park you’re interested in. Suggest ways to improve its entrances, edges, and park-adjacent spaces. Our suggestions will influence the design of the projects they select.

Parks is taking comments until the end of February 2016 and will announce the new projects this coming spring.

The more suggestions a park receives, the more likely it will be selected!

How It Works

Find out more about Parks Without Borders projects through their interactive map.

Parks Without Borders focuses on three areas of the park: entrances, edges, and park-adjacent spaces. Help unify the park with our neighborhood(s).

Make entrances more welcoming, clear and safe. Make park boundaries greener, more user friendly, and make the park safer by improving sight lines. Create new centers of positive community activity out of underused areas inside the park!

The Goals of Parks Without Borders:

Make parks more accessible and welcoming to everyone

Improve neighborhoods by extending the beauty of parks out into communities

Create vibrant public spaces by transforming underused or badly used areas


Good entrances are inviting, drawing you in and allowing you to see into the park. They are lovely and exciting, enhanced by things like plantings or art and are easy to find from far away. Good entrances also include amenities such as seating to make them destinations for relaxation and community.

NYC Parks can improve entrances using the following tools, among others:

Entrances and Gates
Widen entrances and make sure they are well-placed; lower or remove gates; improve access for all ages and abilities

Repair paving or add distinctive pavement

Add plants and trees

Site Furnishings
Add benches, tables, and other amenities


The perimeter or edge of a park belongs to the neighborhood. More open park edges allow better views into the park. They make nearby streets feel connected to the park and park spaces accessible to the neighborhood. Low fences make park edges friendlier and more attractive. Adding seating or other amenities to edges can improve the park and the neighborhood, providing new spaces to enjoy the beauty of a park and interact with neighbors. These improvements can also make parks and streets safer by improving people’s views of both spaces.

NYC Parks will improve edges using the following tools, among others:

Lower, redesign, or remove fences and gates

Repair paving

Add plants and trees

Site Furnishings
Add benches, tables, and other amenities

Parks Without Borders is an NYC Parks initiative to make parks more open, welcoming, and beautiful by focusing on improving entrances, edges, and park-adjacent spaces. As part of OneNYC , Mayor Bill de Blasio has dedicated $50 million to the program.  Visit our Parks Without Borders Information page  to find out more about how this program works – and scroll down to help us choose new projects.


Read MoreParks without Borders
  • Post category:News