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Articles in the Opinion Category

REBNY Watch »

[16 Apr 2014 | No Comment | ]

By Steve Spinola
The New York City’s residential sales market fared well city-wide during the first quarter of 2014. According to REBNY’s first quarter sales report, the only one of its kind that covers all five boroughs, average sales prices in Brooklyn and Manhattan have reached an all-time high, with residential sales in Queens and Staten Island significantly outpacing the volume seen in the first quarter of 2013.
REBNY’s Residential Sales Report is the most comprehensive quarterly review of recorded transactions available and includes data citywide, with information on each borough and …

Construction & Design, Opinion »

[11 Apr 2014 | No Comment | ]

By Robert Smilowitz, PhD, P.E., principal, Weidlinger Associates, Inc.
As the tallest building in the Western Hemisphere, One World Trade Center is both a landmark and a challenge to risk-takers.
It was to be expected that someone would eventually evade security guards and climb to the top of the tower. Last month’s apparent infiltration of 1 WTC security by a teenager has reignited a concern for security in tall buildings.
The precedent was set when Philippe Petit strung a tightrope between the Twin Towers in 1974 and successfully performed his high-wire act. In …

Brokers Weekly, REBNY Watch »

[9 Apr 2014 | No Comment | ]

By Steven Spinola
For more than three decades, The Real Estate Board of New York has actively sought to encourage collaboration among its members in the residential real estate market through the broker to broker Residential Listing Service (RLS). After years of planning and behind-the-scenes work, the RLS underwent a major upgrade last fall and exemplifies the residential real estate industry’s technological advances.
The REBNY RLS has, since its launch in 2003, allowed all residential REBNY member firms – both large and small – to view and share their exclusive listings. Within …

REBNY Watch »

[2 Apr 2014 | No Comment | ]

By Steven Spinola
This week, the State Legislature met the deadline for passing a State budget for the fourth consecutive year, which is the first time this has happened in decades.
Governor Andrew Cuomo, Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver, State Senate Leaders Dean Skelos and Jeff Klein deserve a lot of credit for this important accomplishment. REBNY is pleased to see that Governor Cuomo and legislative leaders have continued to maintain the economic revitalization of New York City as a top state priority.
The state budget agreement has extended for two years the following …

REBNY Watch »

[26 Mar 2014 | No Comment | ]

By Steven Spinola, president
Real Estate Board of New York
With residential contract negotiations underway between SEIU 32BJ and the real estate industry’s negotiating arm, the Realty Advisory Board, the atmosphere would appear ripe for conflict and general animosity between the two parties involved.
Far from it, the positive and productive tone of negotiations is a mark of pride not only for REBNY, but for the real estate industry as a whole.
As the business world evolves, so too must the people who comprise it, and the relationship between RAB and 32BJ …

Opinion »

[19 Mar 2014 | No Comment | ]
Squeezing out evidence of apartment overcrowding

By Adam Leitman Bailey
and Dov Treiman

For middle class American society, the idea of the minimum amount of space one would want to live in is vastly larger than standards accepted as absolutely normal in other times, places, and cultures.

Consider that a 64 square foot igloo is commonly said to comfortably house five adults. However, any New York landlord looking at five adults living in an 8 ft. x 8 ft. apartment would be on the phone with counsel to find out what kind of proceeding to bring for the apparent overcrowding.

And in that situation, the landlord would be correct. That would indeed be overcrowding.

Opinion »

[19 Mar 2014 | One Comment | ]
“Glow-in-the-dark” lights a lifesaver in emergencies

By Evan B. Lipstein

In the wake of super storm Sandy many NYC residents are still struggling to get their properties up and running.

The storm shut off the lights and flooded basements that were equipped with generators designed to offer redundancy to light the property’s hallways and common areas.

Owners are now tasked with re-examining their buildings’ safety systems. Everyone should be thinking not only about backup power and emergency lighting, but also the idea of what system redundancies and other methods might be used to improve safety.

Opinion »

[19 Mar 2014 | No Comment | ]

By Jay L. Hack
In law school, law students study a case called The TJ Hooper.
A federal appellate court, in 1932, decided that a tugboat operator was negligent because the boat didn’t have a radio, even though tugboats generally did not use radios at that time.
The court decided that those new-fangled radios were inexpensive and easily available, so as technology marched forward, the tugboat industry was required to march along with it.
The same principle explains why, regardless of your age, you have a little puff of air blown into your eye …

REBNY Watch »

[19 Mar 2014 | No Comment | ]

By Steven Spinola
As New Yorkers, we pride ourselves on many things. The diversity of our city, the safety of our neighborhoods, iconic cultural institutions, and efficient public transportation are just a few of the elements that make us proud to be New Yorkers.
We can also be proud of how New Yorkers accept the responsibility to help our neighbors in times of crisis.
In the aftermath of the explosion in East Harlem last week, I joined Mayor Bill de Blasio, REBNY chair Rob Speyer, the New York State Association for Affordable Housing, …

Opinion, REBNY Watch »

[12 Mar 2014 | No Comment | ]

Two of New York City’s top officials, Deputy Mayor for Housing and Economic Development Alicia Glen and City Planning City Planning Chairman Carl Weisbrod deserve a lot of credit for working out an agreement with Jed Walentas of Two Trees Management on the redevelopment of the old Domino Sugar site.
Thanks to their collaboration, New Yorkers will soon enjoy a set of quality improvements far sweeter than any treat ever produced at the old refinery.
The Domino Sugar site now sits empty and decaying on the Williamsburg waterfront since the plant closed …

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