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De Blasio’s Green New Deal to bar Hudson Yards–style buildings



hudson yards new york

Mayor Bill de Blasio wants to kick glass.

The mayor celebrated Earth Day by announcing a proposal that he claims would bar construction of many of the glass-and-steel towers that have joined the city skyline in recent years. The plan, which requires legislation in the City Council, is part of what he termed his own Green New Deal.

“Buildings got built that should never have been built to begin with, if we were thinking about the needs of our Earth,” the mayor said. “So we are going to introduce legislation to ban the glass-and-steel skyscrapers that have contributed so much to global warming. They have no place in our city or on our Earth anymore.”

The mayor described it as a ban, though he and his aides acknowledged that developers still would have ways to use lots of glass. They could, for instance, employ heat-retaining panes or compensate by reducing their carbon footprint in other ways. The aides cited as examples of proper “modern” use of glass walls the East Side’s American Copper Building apartments and the Cornell Tech campus on Roosevelt Island.

But de Blasio went on a tirade against the modernist structures that have risen over the streetscape. In particular, he highlighted some of the edifices at the Hudson Yards project on the West Side.

“Those buildings were inherently very inefficient,” he said. “You can imagine why: There’s glass everywhere. There’s, you know … everything they do to keep them hot or cold just goes right out through the glass, so you have to pump more and more energy to keep them at a certain level. Some of the ones at Hudson Yards are examples of the wrong way to do things.”

A spokeswoman for The Related Cos., Hudson Yards’ developer, touted the massive complex as carbon-efficient.

“Hudson Yards was planned as the largest LEED neighborhood in New York City,” she said in a statement. “A first-of-its-kind microgrid powered by two cogeneration plants is estimated to reduce greenhouse-gas emissions by 25,000 metric tons of carbon dioxide annually.”

She called 10 Hudson Yards, a glass tower, “one of New York’s most energy-efficient Class A office towers.” Its gas-fired micro turbines generate power, hot water and chilled water with twice the efficiency of standard systems, the Related spokeswoman added.

The mayor’s plan to allow builders to surpass emissions limits by offsetting them through other means was criticized by the NYC Environmental Justice Alliance. “While such projects such as land conservation and forestry are important, these projects should not be considered an excuse to continue local fossil fuel-based pollution or experimenting with an unproven energy efficiency trading scheme for buildings,” said a spokesman for the group in a statement.

But the problem with carbon-dioxide emissions is in the upper atmosphere, not local. It is not clear why a building that uses a lot of electricity or natural gas would exacerbate local air pollution.

The administration was otherwise light on details of its Earth Day package except to say that the legislation would amend the city’s energy code, which establishes standards that developers must meet in order to build.

Much of the rest of the Green New Deal consisted of the Climate Mobilization Act, which the City Council passed April 18, and which the mayor must hold a publicly announced hearing on before signing. The legislation imposes emissions caps on commercial buildings and market-rate cooperatives and condominiums of more than 25,000 square feet, obligating them to undergo aggressive retrofits and change their energy consumption pattern over staggered periods leading up to 2050.

The mayor also said all city buildings soon will purchase all their power from the Canadian company Hydro-Quebec, which is in the midst of running the new Champlain Hudson Power Express transmission line to the five boroughs.

He also promised the city would expand its program for recycling organic matter and make it both universal and mandatory. At present only some neighborhoods have brown bins to dispose of food and yard waste, and compliance is voluntary. Participation has been sporadic, and the Department of Sanitation has been compelled to scale back plans for the program.

De Blasio’s intonations about a Green New Deal—a term borrowed from left-wing Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, who herself cribbed it from the Green Party—coincided with Gov. Andrew Cuomo signing legislation banning plastic bags and the Metropolitan Transportation Authority announcing it would lease roof space to solar-power developers.

The MTA said its has identified more than 100 bus depots, train yards, repair shops and commuter lots suitable for solar development. Panels on all that space would in theory produce more than 100 megawatts of emission-free electricity, enough to power 18,000 households.

They would also generate revenue for the transit agency, which would lease the real estate to companies that would install solar panels and sell the electricity they generate back to the grid.


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9-year-old genius to graduate university




Laurent Simons

(CNN) – A child prodigy from Belgium is on course to gain a bachelor’s degree at the tender age of 9.

Laurent Simons is studying electrical engineering at the Eindhoven University of Technology (TUE) — a tough course even for students of an average graduate age.

Described by staff as “simply extraordinary,” Laurent is on course to finish his degree in December.

He then plans to embark on a PhD program in electrical engineering while also studying for a medicine degree, his father told CNN.

His parents, Lydia and Alexander Simons, said they thought Laurent’s grandparents were exaggerating when they said he had a gift, but his teachers soon concurred.

“They noticed something very special about Laurent,” said Lydia.

Laurent was given test after test as teachers tried to work out the extent of his talents. “They told us he is like a sponge,” said Alexander.

While Laurent comes from a family of doctors, his parents have so far not received any explanation as to why their child prodigy is capable of learning so quickly.

But Lydia has her own theory.

“I ate a lot of fish during the pregnancy,” she joked.

The TUE has allowed Laurent to complete his course faster than other students.

“That is not unusual,” said Sjoerd Hulshof, education director of the TUE bachelor’s degree in electrical engineering, in a statement.

“Special students that have good reasons for doing so can arrange an adjusted schedule. In much the same way we help students who participate in top sport.”

Hulshof said Laurent is “simply extraordinary” and praised the youngster.

“Laurent is the fastest student we have ever had here,” he said. “Not only is he hyper intelligent but also a very sympathetic boy.”

Laurent told CNN his favorite subject is electrical engineering and he’s also “going to study a bit of medicine.”

His progress has not gone unnoticed and he is already being sought out by prestigious universities around the world, although Laurent’s family wouldn’t be drawn on naming which of them he is considering for his PhD.

“The absorption of information is no problem for Laurent,” said his father.

“I think the focus will be on research and applying the knowledge to discover new things.”

While Laurent is evidently able to learn faster than most, his parents are being careful to let him enjoy himself too.

“We don’t want him to get too serious. He does whatever he likes,” said Alexander. “We need to find a balance between being a child and his talents.”

Laurent said he enjoys playing with his dog Sammy and playing on his phone, like many young people.

However, unlike most 9-year-olds, he has already worked out what he wants to do with his life: develop artificial organs.

In the meantime, Laurent has to finish his bachelor’s degree and choose which academic institution will play host to the next stage in his remarkable journey.

Before that, he plans on taking a vacation to Japan for an undoubtedly well-deserved break.

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New award to honor arts and activism named after Lena Horne




Lena Horne

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Gang members slam BMW into rival and his 8-year-old son in Harlem




Gang members slam BMW into rival and his 8-year-old son in Harlem

Two gangbangers aimed their BMW like a missile at a father and his 8-year-old son on a Harlem sidewalk in a horrifying incident captured by video distributed by police Thursday.

The BMW — driven by a man police believe is a member of the Gorilla Stone Bloods Gang — was zeroed in on the father, a rival gang member, said cops.

Around 3:45 p.m. Nov. 6, the boy and his father were walking on W. 112th St. by Adam Clayton Powell Jr. Blvd. when the BMW jumped the sidewalk and slammed into them both, said cops.

Father and son were both knocked through a gate.

The BMW driver then backed up — and its driver and passenger, also believed to be a gang member, jumped out of the car and ran toward the father and the son.

One of the attackers slashed the father, identified by sources as 32-year-old Brian McIntosh, who’s served prison time for robbery and bail jumping.

McIntosh and his son went to Harlem Hospital. Miraculously, the boy escaped serious harm.

McIntosh was so adamant about refusing to help police catch his attackers that the young boy’s mother had to file a police report alleging he was the victim of a crime, police sources said.

Cops released video of the attack, and ask anyone with information about the suspects to call Crime Stoppers at (800) 577-TIPS.


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