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LAURELS & DARTS- Opinion from the Editors: Tuesday, December 14

DART to the MAYOR’S OFFICE, for refusing to study the Bushwick Community Plan, the vision put forth by Bushwick residents and community board members for the neighborhood’s rezoning. City Council members Rafael Espinal and Antonio Reynoso called on the city to study the community plan during the required environmental review process ahead of the rezoning, and the city answered Friday by declining, citing the BCP’s requirements for affordable housing and cap on the total number of new residential units as sticking points. Without the city’s concession to study the BCP, Reynoso and Espinal have said the rezoning plan is effectively tabled, and Bushwick will likely maintain its current zoning, which includes no height limits or requirements for affordable housing, for the foreseeable future. 

LAUREL to the QUEENS CHAMBER OF COMMERCE and local lawmakers who stepped in to save Neir’s Tavern, the 190-year-old Woodhaven watering hole that was on the brink of closing last week. The bar opened in 1829, making it the oldest to operate continuously in the same location in New York City, according to owner Loycent Gordon. Neir’s past patrons include Mae West, who may have gotten her start performing in the bar’s ballroom, and Fred Trump, father of President Trump. Due to rising rent and shrinking revenue, it appeared the beloved tavern was destined to close, until a call from Gordon to the Brian Lehrer Show’s “Ask the Mayor” segment prompted city officials to intervene. After negotiations between the landlord, the owner, the Queens Chamber of Commerce and local lawmakers, a deal was reached, and Gordon announced Sunday that he just signed a new five-year lease. 

DART to NYCHA, whose public housing developments logged nearly 60,000 reports of insect infestations in the first 9 months of 2019, according to data obtained through a Freedom of Information Law request by the Legal Aid Society. Harlem’s The Grant Houses saw the most bug complaints, with 981 reported infestations of roaches and bedbugs. The Pomonok Houses in Queens had the highest number of complaints for bedbugs, with 116 reports. In a somewhat positive turn, NYCHA’s average response time for pest complaints was just 9.5 days, a lighting pace for the notoriously backlogged and underfunded agency. 

DART to New York City’s PUBLIC SCHOOL SYSTEM, where 41 percent of schools do not reflect the racial and ethnic composition of their district’s overall student body, according to a new analysis from advocacy group Citizens’ Committee for Children of New York. With only 28 percent of the city’s schools considered diverse, New York City is one of the most segregated school districts in the country. Brooklyn’s Districts 13 and 15, Queens’ District 72 and Manhattan’s Districts 2 and 3 have the highest number of schools that aren’t representative of the overall school-aged population, according to the analysis.

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