The City Council took action on a number of issues Thursday, including a major expansion of the city's recycling program. But while the business may have been routine, the location was anything but. NY1's Bobby Cuza filed the following report.
The sign may have said City Hall, but in fact City Council members conducted business Thursday about a block away in a new temporary home inside the old Emigrant Savings Bank building on Chambers Street. The Council chambers at City Hall have been cleared out to make way for much-needed renovation work. So for the next year, Council members will work out of an office building across Broadway and hold meetings surrounded by bank teller windows. So far, they’re keeping any grumbling to a minimum.
"We’re all over at 250 Broadway together, which has been a nice thing. We’re all seeing more of each other, taking elevator rides together, seeing each other in the lobbies. I’m certainly saving me a few emails just asking staff members and colleagues questions as I see them," said City Council Speaker Christine Quinn.
Despite the unfamiliar surroundings, the Council passed a number of measures Thursday including beefing up the city's recycling law, which included the first major changes to the program in 20 years.
The legislation would more than double the number of recycling bins in public spaces, improve recycling at schools and city agencies, establish a citywide collection program for used clothing and textiles. Most significantly, it would for the first time require the city to recycle nearly all rigid plastic containers, including things like takeout containers, medicine bottles and yogurt cups.
"You no longer have to search the bottom of the recycling to figure out what number it is. It is all recyclable," Quinn said.
"This bill, by saying all rigid plastics can be included in the recycling pile, will make it much easier for new yorkers to participate, and it will boost recycling," said Eric Goldstein, Natural Resources Defense Council.
As expected, the Council also approved a major development project at the old Domino Sugar refinery on the Williamsburg waterfront, and a new development known as the Flushing Commons in Queens, on what is currently a municipal parking lot.
The council also weighed in on Arizona's controversial immigration law Thursday, voting to support the federal government's effort to block the law, and banning Council employees from using public funds to travel there.