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Curbed Cuts: NYC’s secret gardens, a new voting sticker, subway outages

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Four things you need to know today

Service outages will affect the N train between Long Island City and Astoria beginning next weekend.
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Welcome to Curbed Cuts, a tri-weekly digest connecting the dots between shelter, structure, parks, transportation, and more.

A more New York-y voting sticker

Getting an “I Voted” sticker is one of the (possibly few) joys of the voting process in New York City, and this year, more folks may be clamoring for one. (Our advice: get your butts out of bed and vote early.) The city’s campaign finance board revealed a new design for those stickers this week—the result of a contest that was open to the public—and it manages to be even more New York-y than the previous design, which featured the Statue of Liberty holding her torch high.

According to DNAInfo, designers Marie Dagata and Scott Heinz beat out more nine other finalists for their subway-inspired sticker, which has a cool, retro feel to it. The campaign finance board is also pretty pleased with the design: “We're hopeful that the sticker will inspire more New Yorkers to learn about the candidates in the citywide elections this year, turn out at the polls on Election Day, and show their neighbors they care about the future of their city,” CFB executive director Amy Loprest said in a statement. (And hey, if this year hasn’t made you realize the importance of voting in local elections, we don’t know what will.)

Gardens for the one percent

Sutton Square’s exclusive, hidden green space.

For the New Yorkers lucky enough to live in some of the city’s toniest enclaves—places like Sutton Square, or the townhouses in the MacDougal-Sullivan Gardens Historic District—the pricey real estate isn’t the only draw. As a New York Post deep dive (by Curbed contributor James Nevius) explores, these places also have access to hidden, beautiful gardens—yet another perk available to the wealthy that the hoi polloi will never quite understand.

In talking to some of the folks who get to use these exclusive spaces, the Post learned that “residents hardly ever use” the garden at Sutton Square, according to one of its former residents (insert angry emoji face here). They also looked at some of the real estate that’s currently available near these gardens—places like Maxwell Park in Forest Hills, Jones Wood Garden on the Upper East Side, and, of course, Gramercy Park—and unsurprisingly, most of it is stupid expensive.

Still, who doesn’t love a peek at how the other 99 percent lives? And the Post piece is filled with choice historical tidbits, like the fact that Sutton Place was originally a working-class neighborhood filled with factories and warehouses. Ah, how times have changed.

When hospitals become housing

On the other end of the “gee, New Yorkers sure live in some interesting places” spectrum, there’s a New York Times piece about apartment buildings that were once hospitals and other medical facilities. The main example they use is the Cherokee, a co-op on East 78th Street that once served as “a former tuberculosis sanitarium,” according to the Times.

The Cherokee Apartments circa 1975.
Edmund V. Gillon/Courtesy the Museum of the City of New York’s Digital Collection

And while you might think living in a building with that sort of history is weird or creepy, current residents are quick to dispel that notion. “When I walk into the building, I almost breathe a sigh of relief,” Amber Gallaty, a current resident, told the Times. “It just feels very comforting to be here. Even in this tiny little space, it’s so homey.” The building’s historic nature probably helps—unlike newer developments, apartments in these spaces tend to have more character, since many were built at the turn of the 20th century.

That’s not always the case, though: an accompanying piece namechecks other New York residences carved from hospitals, and some of the developments referenced—namely the Greenwich Lane, which replaced St. Vincent’s in Greenwich Village, and the newly christened River Park, rising on the former Long Island College Hospital in Brooklyn—are less about adaptive reuse and more about ripping the old place up and starting from scratch.

Trouble on the N train

Sorry, Astoria residents—if you’re hoping to leave your neighborhood on summer weekends, the MTA has some bad news for you. Service on the N line between Astoria and Long Island City will be suspended for eight weekends, beginning next Saturday. (And yes, that includes Memorial Day and Labor Day.) The work will not, however, be done over consecutive weekends—service is totally unaffected in July—so it could be worse.

The MTA says the work, being completed to the tune of $12.4 million, is necessary to replace switches, reduce noise, and “increase reliability and reduce delays” on the line. And per the MTA, there’ll be shuttle buses to ferry Astorians to their out-of-the-neighborhood destinations.

“This critical infrastructure improvement has been long-anticipated,” City Council member Costa Constantinides said in a statement. “The MTA’s commitment to replace switches, track panels, and steel girders will increase service reliability and will significantly mitigate noise from the overhead structure.” Get the full details here.