In the News: Au Cheval Confirmed for Cortlandt Alley

••• Last we heard about the plan to open a branch of the Chicago “diner” Au Cheval at 79 Walker (Cortlandt Alley), owner Brendan Sodikoff announced that unless he could serve booze from 6 a.m. on, he wasn’t going through with it. From Eater: “‘Without the hours, no Au Cheval,’ Sodikoff writes. ‘It’s going to be a long process. Maybe it works. Maybe it doesn’t depending on our ability to operate. If NYC wants an Au Cheval in that location, [write] the community board and let them know to approve our hours.'” That was then…. Sodikoff just confirmed to the New York Times that the restaurant is a go: “It will have 75 seats, he said, and will share the space with a coffee bar. He expects it to open next year in late summer.” (Above: the Au Cheval burger.)

••• A bellman at the Conrad hotel helped cops identify the guy who attacked a woman in her car on River Terrace. —Tribeca Trib

••• Crain’s has an article about buildings charging “ransom” to neighboring developments. There is “a set of rules in the building code that requires firms to safeguard the properties of neighbors during construction or renovations. That can range from installing simple vibration sensors to erecting more invasive protections, including scaffolding, plywood and netting, around the building. Access is often also needed for activities like staging construction equipment. However, virtually none of it can be done without permission from the adjacent owner. And that permission is often granted only for a price.”

••• City Realty thinks that 79 and 81 Warren are going to be combined into one building, as had once been the plan, even though “Approved permits filed April 2015, do not fully reflect the scope shown in PACS’ renderings.” I honestly don’t know.

••• Governor Andrew “Cuomo may be exploring ways to implement NYC congestion pricing. But we’ll have to wait until January to find out for sure.” —Curbed



  1. The Crain’s article is a jumble of issues.

    The law mentioned, RPAPL 881, allows developers and owners to sue the neighbors for a license if they can show necessity to enter for reasons of providing temporary protection (NYC Building Code Chapter 33) or gaining temporary access to perform repairs or construction on their own property (such as fixing a leaking wall on a lot line or for Local Law 11 repairs). The key word is temporary.

    Courts readily grant licenses for necessary safety repairs to existing buildings with little compensation, as a matter of good public policy.

    Developers are little concerned with their neighbors’ safety in my experience; some have recently done tremendous damage to neighbors as the overheated market draws in amateurs looking to get in and get out as quickly as possible. Many developers fail to get licenses in Court when they fail to show necessity and other legally required items, such as approved plans by Department of Buildings.

    Further, if the developers are disturbing their neighbor in pursuit of their development profits, the neighbor never asked for the disturbance and deserves to be made whole.

    Lastly, underpinning is a permanent encroachment and not a temporary trespass. The courts in NY have repeatedly ruled that a neighbor can not be compelled to let a neighboring developer underpin. If the developer does not want to pay, and some neighbors don’t want underpinning at any price, the developer can design an alternative foundation and weigh the relative advantages in added cost and time.

    FYI – The law (RPAPL 881):

    When an owner or lessee seeks to make improvements or repairs to real property so situated that such improvements or repairs cannot be made by the owner or lessee without entering the premises of an adjoining owner or his lessee, and permission so to enter has been refused, the owner or lessee seeking to make such improvements or repairs may commence a special proceeding for a license so to enter pursuant to article four of the civil practice law and rules.  The petition and affidavits, if any, shall state the facts making such entry necessary and the date or dates on which entry is sought.  Such license shall be granted by the court in an appropriate case upon such terms as justice requires.  The licensee shall be liable to the adjoining owner or his lessee for actual damages occurring as a result of the entry.

  2. Yes to congestion pricing. The auto traffic in the city is out of hand. Use the income to subsidize infrastructure and public transit works.

    • Agreed that automobile traffic at certain times and in certain areas is absurd, but the Bloomberg plan for congestion pricing had one particular aspect that was particularly Bloombergian, and prevented me from supporting it. It would have required residents of lower Manhattan who wanted to leave the island through midtown, for example going upstate, to pay a fee in both directions. That means that a person of modest means in our neighborhood, say, renting a Zipcar for a pleasant drive in the country, would have to shell out an extra $32 or so. Though to people of means that’s negligible, it seems like an unfair burden to residents of the island.

    • The last iteration of congestion pricing was untenable for middle income lower Manhattan reaidents. To get uptown and back would be $32 round trip if in any type of car, ambulance, accessaride, etc… imagine needing cancer treatments uptown daily and paying an extra burdon to get there…smart minds can find an alternate solution to making it harder to live here unless you are a billionaire.

    • Here is how London addresses this matter:

      To qualify for the residents’ discount you must live within the Congestion Charge residents’ discount zone.

      Our location checker will confirm if your address is within the residents’ discount zone.

      You can continue to apply if you live within the Congestion Charge residents’ discount zone AND:

      Your name is shown on either the Parliamentary or local government electoral register
      Your main or permanent home is in the Congestion Charging zone
      The property is used for residential purposes
      You are at least 17 years old

      If you are adding a vehicle it must be registered with the DVLA in your name and at the address you are using to apply for the discount

      OR you can register a company or lease vehicle if it is for your sole use only

      OR if you don’t own a vehicle, you can register if you occasionally use a hire or recognised car club vehicle.

      Documents you need to provide

      You need to provide evidence of BOTH the address and discount vehicle.

      Address documents

      To show that you live in the Congestion Charge zone you need to provide an image or copy of 2 of the following:

      A current resident’s on-street parking permit or a parking permit approval letter (must show the Vehicle Registration Mark)
      A residential council tax bill (valid for the current year)
      Your income support entitlement letter (no more than 7 months old)
      A bank or credit card statement (no more than 3 months old)
      A formal tenancy agreement or housing association rent document (dated within the last 12 months)
      A current utility bill, for example a gas, water or electricity bill (no more than 3 months old, mobile phone bills are not accepted)
      Your driving licence (must contain the address you are using to register for the residents’ discount)

      Vehicle documents

      You will also need to provide an image or copy of 1 document from the list below:

      Your own private vehicle:

      Your V5C vehicle registration certificate (logbook). (The vehicle must also be registered with the DVLA or DVANI in your name and at the address you are using to apply for the residents’ discount)
      Company car:

      A company car authorisation letter – this must be on company headed paper, state your full name, the Vehicle Registration Mark and confirm that the vehicle is for your use only. (The vehicle must be registered in the company name with the DVLA or DVANI)

      Lease vehicle:

      Vehicle lease document – this is the document that you signed to lease the vehicle. (The vehicle must be registered in the lease company name with the DVLA or DVANI)

      A company car provided by a lease company:

      Your company’s vehicle lease document (this is the document that you signed to lease the vehicle)

      A company car authorisation letter – this must be on company headed paper, state your full name, the Vehicle Registration Mark and confirm that the vehicle is for your use only. (The vehicle must be registered in the company or lease name with the DVLA or DVANI)
      All documents must be clear enough to read easily. If we can’t read them we may ask you for more proof. This will delay the registration process.


      There is an annual £10 registration charge for this discount.

      Residents may find it quicker and easier to pay the Congestion Charge with Auto Pay (CC Auto Pay). This means you’ll only pay for the days that you travel in the zone, rather than paying for a weekly, monthly or annual charge in advance.

      • I understand the residents’ discount is 90%.

      • I still find this terrifically burdensome. No one should have to pay to leave the place they live to go elsewhere, period. Levying congestion pricing against those who live in non-adjacent areas where there is a way to avoid the congestion area _may_ be worthwhile debating, but I find even that very problematic.

        • One is not paying to LEAVE where one lives; one is paying to DRIVE where one lives, at a substantial discount. (People already pay a commuter tax to support the MTA just for living and working here, regardless of whether they ride any subways, buses, or trains. That’s also an anti-congestion measure of sorts, like those local car tolls that are used not to maintain roads and bridges per se, but to make up the shortfall in mass transit farebox recovery rates.)

          Owning a car in London or Manhattan adds to the congestion. Renting a Zipcar also adds to the congestion. Should one get free parking at City meters within the congestion zone as a resident?

          (Further, drivers don’t get the discount if they cheat and register their owned car elsewhere outside the congestion area to pay less on auto insurance.)

          • “Owning a car in London or Manhattan adds to the congestion. Renting a Zipcar also adds to the congestion. Should one get free parking at City meters within the congestion zone as a resident?”

            I favor Boston’s system. Residents can park on their block for free, and as a result visitors don’t even bother rolling around the streets looking for parking, but go right to ubiquitous municipal lots. I started by saying that the congestion is untenable, and yes, it’s obvious that every vehicle on the street contributes to that. But making it financially burdensome for one group and negligible for another is not the way to address the problem, imo.

          • Good, detailed op-ed piece in today’s Times:

            “New sources of revenue are needed to solve the M.T.A.’s crisis. Ambitious proposals like the one from Move NY have been around for years, but state lawmakers have been reluctant to pass them fearing political blowback from drivers, rich taxpayers and others. Some officials are also ideologically opposed to any taxes or fees, arguing that the cost of living in New York is already too high. But these arguments ignore the fact that congestion and a dysfunctional transit system impose a substantial and growing cost on residents and on the economy.

            “Move NY says its plan would generate close to $1.5 billion a year — or twice as much as what Mr. de Blasio hopes to raise from the millionaires tax.”