Brooklyn Commons is the new name of the Brookfield Properties 16-acre business and cultural campus between Flatbush Avenue and Jay Street. Once named MetroTech Center, Brooklyn Commons has everything: offices for rent, trendy eateries, cultural programming, lush parks, and inviting open spaces. With an investment of $50 million, three Brooklyn Commons buildings are being overhauled and outfitted with new lobbies, terraces, and retail spaces on the entrance level.
The renovations also include Brooklyn Commons Park, the 3.5-acre public park at the heart of the campus. With an ice skating rink that is open now, and new seating and lounging areas planned for the future, the space is already a great option for a day out. Brooklyn Commons also offers cultural programming for the public. The Arts Brookfield program at Brooklyn Commons has a robust schedule of educational lectures, art exhibits, film viewings, theater performances, concerts, food festivals, and holiday festivities.
Newly-elected New York City Mayor Eric Adams, and recently re-elected Miami Mayor Francis Suarez both want their first payments as mayor to be in cryptocurrency.
Adams made his announcement on social media, saying that he would like to have his first three months’ worth of salary transferred to him in the form of bitcoin. Since the currency’s launch in 2009 it has been extremely volatile—from about $1,000 at the end of 2013 to $66,000 in late 2021, with lots of ups and downs in between.
Both Adams and Suarez want to make their respective cities “the center of the cryptocurrency industry” and “a hub for cryptocurrency innovation.”
“In New York we always go big, so I’m going to take my first three paychecks in bitcoin when I become mayor,” wrote Mr. Adams on Twitter
“NYC is going to be the center of the cryptocurrency industry and other fast-growing, innovative industries! Just wait!”
Adams was elected in early November 2021 as New York’s second Black mayor.
Suarez established in August 2021 a new cryptocurrency called MiamiCoin, run by an non-profit organization called CityCoins. The group sends 30% of the value of the currency that is created on someone’s computer to Miami. So far the city has raised over $7 million in this way. Adams stated that he would like to create a similar non-profit as well.
When 25-year-old entrepreneur Neil Hershman decided last year to open a flagship branch of Dippin’ Dots/Doc Popcorn in midtown Manhattan, he made the decision with a generous dose of nostalgia.
“I grew up like many others eating Dippin’ Dots exclusively at an amusement park or sports game,” Hershman told QSR Magazine, a journal covering the food service industry. “I wanted to bring that same experience to the millions of young adults and families traveling through Manhattan daily.”
Nostalgia aside, however, the decision to invest time and money in the city was a business call and a vote of confidence that the city’s economy will soon begin to bounce back from the downturn that accompanied the coronavirus last year.
The new store, which is scheduled to open in early April at 1 Madison Avenue, adjacent to Madison Square Park, is not the only indication that things are looking up for New York. The real estate sector, too, is showing more signs of vitality than it has in years.
“It is a reach to say the city’s property markets are roaring back,” the Financial Times reported in early March. “But the beast is certainly stirring. The first two months of 2021 have been the strongest opening to a year in Manhattan since 2015, the height of the market. February alone saw more new deals than any single month since May 2013.”
Even more significant, said the FT, is the fact that the economic growth appears to be led by wealthy New Yorkers eager to get back to museums, Broadway, sporting events, ballet performances and more.
“I’m optimistic on the eventual return of normalcy to New York City within the next 24 months,” concluded Neil Hershman.
Business travelers spend lots of money during their peregrinations for their companies. Global business travelers spent more than US$1.3 trillion in 2017, with China and US businesses the top two spenders. Expedia, the on-line travel agency looked its annual data and discovered that out of a total of 405 million trips made for business by Americans, about 60% extended their stays for fun.
The following three cities were found be the best US cities in which adding a few days to your business stay is the most fun according to small business solutions marketplace Fundera.
In first place was Los Angeles. Strategically situated in one of the sunniest US cities, a visitor can count on great weather, but there is a lot more to LA than sunshine. Gorgeous beaches, fantastic restaurants, non-stop entertainment opportunities and world-class museums are just the beginning of what makes LA such a great place to chill.
What must have been a close second is of course New York City. One of the great cities of the world, despite cold winters and hot/humid summers, the Big Apple is unquestionably the go-to place for an exciting vacation chock-full of an almost endless variety of activities suitable to every taste. From Broadway shows to lovely parks, the city that never sleeps is good choice for an after-work break.
In third place comes Dallas; but it ranks first in US cities not along any coast. This city is a wonderful compromise in its size, convenience and culture. Since it is not a mega metropolis like LA or NY, it might have less by way of choices for restaurants and hotels, but it makes up for that in the calm, cool atmosphere created by a smaller, friendlier and easier to get-around in environment. Not to mention the Dallas airport is a hub for just about anywhere else you might want to travel to in the US.
Fundera says that an average stay in a Dallas hotel is just under $190 per night, lower than in less-populated cities such as San Francisco or Miami. The Dallas Fort-Worth Airport is 20 miles from downtown, but even during rush hour it will only take 40 minutes to arrive.
New York Mayor Bill de Blasio has presented New Yorkers with an ambitious challenge for the next few decades: to reduce the amount of greenhouse gasses the city emits by an enormous 80 percent before the year 2015 rolls around.
This daunting challenge has not deterred Big Apple denizens, but rather has inspired them to swing into action. In New York City about 71 percent of carbon emissions are produced by the city’s buildings, therefore a good place to look to reduce the city’s carbon footprint is in building construction. Through the retrofitting of older buildings, and the building of new structures with energy savings in mind, it has become possible to achieve de Blasio’s goal.
At the forefront of the energy savings revolution are what is known as passive housing. Brooklyn is at the forefront of passive home construction, with several projects already completed or under construction. One of the several builders engaged in retrofitting older homes and/or constructing passive homes is Rocco Basile of AVO Construction. Basile and AVO are currently involved in a project in Brooklyn’s exclusive Boerum Hill neighborhood in which sustainable design has enhanced the residence’s high quality-of-living standards. Located at 210 Pacific Street, some of the building’s many amenities include: enclosed parking with electric vehicle car charging capability, private terraces, rooftop cabanas, a fitness room and a common recreation space.
Basile, a Brooklyn native, is completely on board with New York’s long-term plans to reduce the city’s carbon footprint. “Having grown up in the city, it’s great to know that we are contributing to the future growth of residential properties and with as little environmental impact as possible,” says Basile.
The Boerum Hill project proves that a beautiful, high-end property can incorporate the passive home, sustainability model, and create a unique, desirable dwelling whose inhabitants can feel good about and comfortable in.
Passive homes maintain comfortable environments minimally influenced by outdoor temperatures without using active cooling and heating systems such as air conditioners or heaters, which need electricity to function. The passive model relies on many modalities to maintain comfortable temperatures, such as insulation, triple-glazed windows and more to create an airtight building envelope; plus an energy recovery ventilator, which extracts energy by exchanging interior and exterior air. In more temperate climates no active heating system is needed whatsoever, but in New York, where the weather is harsh, passive homes still rely on smaller heating and cooling units, which are only used when the weather turns extreme.
This new way of constructing dwellings can save homeowners in the vicinity of 75 to 80 percent on their energy bills, while at the same time drastically reducing the carbon footprint left behind by their home. One owner of a 3,140-square-foot passive house in Brooklyn Heights now pays $323 per year to heat his home with a gas boiler. The average cost of heating a similar-sized active house is about $2,500 per year.
Although it only adds between 1 and 6 percent to the cost of constructing a new home, many up-scale home builders are choosing to build passive homes for their well-to-do clients. The reason is not only that passive homes are good for the environment: passive homes also happen to be quieter, and generally more comfortable. The insulation not only keeps out heat and cold, it also keeps out street noise, which in New York can be a huge issue. Passive homes also eliminate or drastically reduce the use of noisy air-conditioners and boilers.