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Handouts to Big Real Estate, and a Festivus for the Rest of Us!

This holiday of Festivus was developed as an alternative to the commercialization of the Christmas season and is celebrated annually on December 23rd. First celebrated in the mid-1960s by author and editor Daniel O’Keefe (father of Seinfeld writer Dan O’Keefe) it was popularized on Seinfeld’s December 18, 1997, episode “The Strike” when Kramer refuses to work on Festivus and pickets his job at H&H Bagels.

Frank Costanza explains the origins of Festivus to Kramer

Seinfeld has a few links to the Village, including Kramer’s disorienting journey to 1st Street and 1st Avenue “the nexus of the universe” and Newman’s job at the Cooper Station post office. But Festivus has taken on a life of its own beyond Seinfeld.

The Nexus of the Universe- 1st Avenue and 1st Street

Festivus features a celebratory Festivus Pole made of unadorned aluminum (selected for its high strength to weight ratio), the Feats of Strength, and the Airing of Grievances. The Airing of Grievances takes place at the Festivus Dinner, where you gather your family and tell them all the ways they have disappointed you over the past year. As George Costanza’s father Frank eloquently stated:

The Airing of Greivances!

Councilmember Margaret Chin

Councilmember Margaret Chin has represented the 1st District since 2010. Previously, Chin’s most egregious land-use decision was her vote granting NYU unprecedented allowances to overdevelop wide swaths of the Village. More recently, Chin supported the illogical rezoning of SoHo/NoHo/Chinatown.

Our 2011 Halloween contest entry. We didn’t win.

Mayor de Blasio

Over the past eight years, Mayor de Blasio’s tenure has been marked by reported ethics violations and deep ties to the real estate industry. His attempts to subvert historic preservation have resulted in oversized commercial, residential, and hotel development in our historic neighborhoods.

He has regularly broken promises to the community such as his October 12, 2017 statement that the City would take steps to return the CHARAS-El Bohio to the community.

The former St. Denis has now made way for new commercial development.

Instead of a historic district south of Union Square advocated for by Village Preservation and neighbors, the city cherry-picked seven unthreatened buildings (3.6% of those proposed).

Thankfully, 2021 wraps up this reign of development for both Councilmember Chin and Mayor de Blasio due to term limits.

Councilmember Carlina Rivera

You may remember Councilmember Rivera from terrible land-use decisions such as the Tech Hub. Backtracking on her promise to not approve the Tech Hub without full neighborhood protections was just a precursor for her misguided support of the SoHo/NoHo rezoning.

The 14th Street Tech Hub built 40% larger than necessary

The Tech Hub could have been built with 100% of the public benefits promised WITH NO commercial upzoning, but Councilmember Rivera decided that somehow the community would benefit by developing 40% more market-rate only commercial space.

Projections of allowable development under the rezoning by the Municipal Art Society.

Similarly, Rivera approved the SoHo/NoHo Rezoning following the City’s promises of affordable housing even though there is no guarantee that ANY of the affordable housing ever gets built. I truly hope I am wrong, and hundreds of affordable units are responsibly developed in the targeted area. But if the past is any indication, as seen in this report, this will likely not happen and this rezoning will be part of our Airing of Grievances list for many years to come.

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