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A Renter's Market No Longer; WTC Tower Now Mr. Popular

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1) The gravy train that has been the Manhattan rental market may be stopping. As the annual influx of college grads arrives here for new jobs, landlords are ending concessions and testing out rent increases. The Times surveys what's available in a few neighborhoods: "The short answer to 'What can I get for $1,000?' is: Go to Queens. Or even Brooklyn." Burn! ['In Manhattan, Rents Are Creeping Back Up']

2) After years of feuding and negativity, the Freedom Tower 1 World Trade Center is stuff. Four bigshot developers are already vying for a minority stake in the project, and the Port Authority says it will choose one by June. ['Once Derided, Freedom Tower is Now Desired']

3) It was hate at first sight for this couple and their Yorkville co-op. They wanted a new place in Chelsea or the West Village, but spent five years looking for something within their budget. Finally, they found a 1,000-square-foot condo in a converted garage on Barrow Street for $899,000. They moved in last month with a rent-to-own arrangement, so they're temporarily stuck with black walls. [The Hunt/'A Condo in the Thick of Things']
4) It's not just 34th Street: the city might also be adding a pedestrian plaza to Union Square and another to East 17th Street. The plazas could be up by Labor Day, which should make coming back from summer vacation a little easier for enraged tabloid columnists. ['Pedestrian Plaza Is Planned for Union Square']

5) Center for Urban Innovation Director Julia Vitullo-Martin uses the Post's pages to ask whether New York City has too many landmarks: "Shouldn't the [Landmarks Preservation] commission seriously worry that that its own work is preventing the creation of new landmarks daily?that its regulations encourage a mimicking of the old while blocking the creativity of the new or the untried?" But Vitullo-Martin does want to see more houses of worship landmarked. Sorry, West-Park. ['Has landmarking in New York gone too far?'/NYP]