In an attempt to make up for the loss of nursing home beds at Rivington House, Mayor Bill de Blasio on Thursday announced plans to build an affordable senior housing and health care facility in a city-owned building under the Manhattan Bridge.
First Deputy Mayor Anthony Shorris dropped the news while testifying before the City Council during an oversight hearing on the administration's controversial decision to lift two deed restrictions on Rivington House nursing home for HIV/AIDS patients — a decision that allowed the home to be hawked to a luxury condo developer for $72 million. The mayor's office later made a formal announcement of the plan.
But though Shorris claimed the new facility — a building operated by the Department of Environmental Protection at 30 Pike St. — will replace the "bulk of what was lost in Rivington House," the mayor's office has only said the home will provide housing for more than 100 seniors, while Rivington held 219 beds.\
From the Observer:
It was a fitting ending for a City Council hearing that was, at its heart, about failures to communicate: another miscommunication.
After two-and-a-half hours of questioning Deputy Mayor Anthony Shorris about the city’s decision to lift a deed restriction on Rivington House, which paved the way for the AIDS hospice to be sold for profit to luxury condo developers, his testimony ended with the City Council accusing the mayor’s office of misleading them about Shorris’ schedule.
“The administration misled the Council and the Speakers Office into believing that First Deputy Mayor Shorris’ availability for the hearing this morning would be limited because of events related to the U.S Conference of Mayors in Oklahoma City. This turned out to be false,” Eric Koch, a spokesman for Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito. “At a hearing which focused on government honesty and transparency this is particularly shocking and unacceptable.”
The miscommunication today played out in “real-time,” as City Councilman Ben Kallos, the chairman of the committee on governmental operations put it, when, during the hearing, he asked Shorris why he had to leave—”for the record.”
“I have appointments scheduled,” Shorris responded.