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Lower East Side's SPURA Still Empty, Shameful, Lost

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Was it really almost a year ago that we last waxed rhapsodic over SPURA, the awkwardly named (Seward Park Urban Renewal Area) swath of empty land adjacent to the Williamsburg Bridge on the Lower East Side. Hey, it was! And so, like clockwork, comes the annual media check-in on SPURA, this latest by Tom Robbins in the Village Voice, bringing the news that—nothing's happening here! Still! And there's no real chance anything's going to happen here soon!

But, credit Robbins, he thinks he knows why the land sits fallow. So why hasn't the largest tract of vacant city-owned property below 96th Street been touched in decades? It's the handiwork of Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver. Writes Robbins, "Under his watch, this territory has remained desolate and empty for more than 30 years, held hostage to stubborn prejudice and fear of change." It's a bold charge, and, hey, probably as good an excuse as any, even if we can't quite find the meat in Robbins' story to back up the allegation. Meantime, the LES's last great archipelago of outdoor parking lots shines on. Oh, SPURA. You.
· The Shame of Speaker Shelly Silver [Village Voice]
· Visions of SPURA: Someone Build Something Already! Edition [Curbed]