Commuter rail’s pandemic recovery continues – POLITICO

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Welcome to the weekly edition of the New York Real Estate & Infrastructure newsletter. We’ll take a look at what’s to come this week and go over what you might have missed last week.

We wrote earlier this month that there is great hope for the future of commuter rail ridership. Recent rider data shows that things continue to go well.

Metro-North surpassed 2019 ridership levels for the first time since the pandemic when 99,100 people used the system on Sunday, June 26. of the public health crisis, said MTA spokesman Michael Cortez. The surge coincided with the NYC Pride March.

It’s not a blip either. Metro-North weekend ticket sales were down at most 6% from 2019 levels for the month of June. The Long Island Rail Road also recorded its highest weekend ridership during the July 4 break, with a total of 208,452 people using the system that weekend.

Trends show that recreational activities, not business travel, continue to drive traffic on New York’s commuter trains.

“It was not what we expected when we looked back at the early days of the pandemic. We thought discretionary travelers would be some of the last to return to the railroad,” said Cathy Rinaldi, president of Metro-North and acting president of LIRR, in an interview.

While hybrid work schedules are still “establishing themselves,” Rinaldi said, there have been consistent weekend shift patterns, with Thursday being a peak day.

A desire to leave the house has been a major force behind the recent resurgence of commuter rail, but Rinaldi points out that the recent gains also coincided with an increase in service on Metro-North in late March.

“Really, since that time we’ve seen ridership come back very strongly on weekends and weekdays,” Rinaldi said. “Frequency is one of the most important factors that attract more people.”

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NUMBER OF THE DAY: 117,900, the number of runners on the Long Island Rail Road on June 11, the day of the Belmont Stakes. The LIRR became the first agency to break pre-pandemic ridership numbers that day (to 105% of its 2019 baseline).

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SYSTEM FAILURE IN BRONX APARTMENT FIRE — New York Times’ Anjali Singhvi, James Glanz, Weiyi Cai, Evan Grothjan, and Mika Gröndahl: “The main fire safety system failed disastrously in Bronx apartment building fire in January, killing 17 people, the New York Times found. The deaths were preventable, experts said. No one died from the fire itself, which was largely contained within the two-story apartment where it started, Apt. 3N. But when several self-closing doors failed to close properly, deadly smoke billowed from the apartment and quickly filled the building’s 19 floors, according to interviews, witness videos, call analysis to 911 and a 3D smoke simulation. The majority of those who died were at least a dozen floors above the fire….”

At Twin Parks North West, compartmentalization broke down in at least three locations on January 9. Not only the door of Apt. 3N, where the fire started, remains open, as do the two third-floor stairwell doors for extended periods. Doors to stairwells on at least two upper floors also malfunctioned, allowing smoke to seep into the building.

BROOKLYN LANDLORD FORCED TO RETURN SECURITY DEPOSITS – Holden Walter-Warner of The Real Deal: “Small security deposits add up to big problems for a Brooklyn landlord. New York Attorney General Letitia Jame announced Thursday a agreement with SGW Properties to return nearly $300,000 in security deposits to tenants. James discovered that the company, founded by Yeshaya Wasserman in 2008, failed to comply with a 2019 change to the tenancy law that required a written, itemized list of the reasons for a withheld security deposit. SGW will return security deposits to 129 tenants. The owner will also train his staff to comply with the law on the security deposit and pay an additional penalty of $10,000.

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THE THREAT OF THE NEW APARTMENT? ANTS — Dodai Stewart of the New York Times: “When Katie Guhl visited in late May — to a wedding in New Orleans and a Memorial Day rally in New Jersey — she left her 81st Street apartment spotless. So when she returned home to find swarms of ants in her kitchen, she was livid. “There were no crumbs to be had,” she said. She had never seen ants there before and hadn’t expected it: she lives on the 6th floor. Unlike the cockroach – the unofficial mascot of New York City apartments – ants aren’t as common in high-rise buildings, preferring dirt-filled parks and yards. But now scientists who study ants say a species from Europe has recently taken up residence in the city, and insects are now found in multi-story living spaces above the street.”

RUDIN BEGINS DEMOLITION OF NEW OFFICE TOWER – Natalie Sachmechi de Crain: “Rudin Management has begun demolition of its 24-story office building at 415 Madison Ave., where it plans to build a taller tower. According to plans, the the new 40-story skyscraper will contain 342,000 square feet of space which includes more than 285,000 square feet of office and retail space as well as a 35,000 square foot public lobby. The developer declined to discuss the cost of the project. The cost to build office space in New York City is around $600 per square foot, according to Statista, suggesting developers are likely spending at least $200 million on construction.

— The George Washington Bridge has got rid of its cash tolls.

— Environmental activists and trade unions applaud them collapse of an Amazon freight hub project at Newark Airport.

— A group of Bronx tenants are sue their landlord and property manager over nearly 500 violations in the rent-stabilized building, including hot water cuts and regular leaks.

— A catering supplier is sue restaurants in town on unpaid invoices.

—Steve Cohen, Mets owner is looking to sell his West Village mansion for over $150 million.

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