Neighborhood Chatter

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Soho Street Vendors Sue NYPD and NYC for Confiscating Wares Several lower Broadway vendors who were targeted by the NYPD in mid-May are taking their cases to court to get retribution for harassment and confiscated items. Back in May, NYPD officers took to the Soho streets, ticketing vendors for a variety of offenses and seizing items from their carts. Many of these tickets were ultimately dismissed and items were returned to their owners. Matthew Shapiro, a lawyer for the Street Vendor Project, called the raid an arbitrary action against people who are trying to make an honest living, and even keeping the streets safe for residents. These vendors are seeking damages from the NYPD as well as the City for their troubles. Districting Commission Releases First Draft of Citywide Districting Map The City Districting Commission just released an initial draft of the City Council district map at a City Hall meeting. The map is based on census data and adjusted for City prison populations. The new map is available to the public online, and a hard copy will soon be accessible in main library branches throughout the five boroughs, according to a statement released by the Commission. Commission members were shown the preliminary draft, on which the next cycle of hearings will be based. The next step is for members of the public to come forward and present testimony based on this first drawing. Chairman Benito Romano said many more views still need to be presented given the redistricting's significance in coming years. The Commission encourages members of the public to show up and express their views on the preliminary draft. Cooper Square's Grace Church School Opens High School Division Grace Church School, at Cooper Square in Greenwich Village, is opening a high school division this September. According to the description on Grace Church School's website, "The program supports experiential, community-based and multi-sensory approaches to teaching and learning." The school aims to be a part of an "inclusive and pluralistic community." The school's location, a four-minute walk from Grace Church School and one block from Astor Place, facilitates students' ability to eventually take classes at NYU and Cooper Union. Study Reveals Success in Union Square Plazas A study released by the Department of Transportation, measuring several aspects and indicators of quality of life, found the plazas in Union Square to be "an overwhelming success." The study reports that injuries-to motor vehicle occupants and cyclists alike-are dramatically lower since the addition of safety measures in 2010. Additionally, the area has seen an increase in cyclists, including a 49 percent increase in weekend ridership. Compiled by Alissa Fleck

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