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Chelsea women’s prison conversion to community hub is a no-go

Plus, it’s ice-skating season in NYC (yes, really)—and more intel in today’s New York Minute news roundup

Will Femia

Good morning, and welcome to New York Minute, a new roundup of the New York City news you need to know about today. Send stories you think should be included to

Nonprofit drops plans for Chelsea women’s center in former prison

The long-planned conversion of a Chelsea women’s prison into a home for the global girls’ and women’s rights movements is dead, according to The City.

The NoVo Foundation, which was behind the push to transform the Bayview Correctional Facility into a hub called The Women’s Building, released a letter last week stating that “timelines and budgets for this project have far exceeded original estimates”; it estimated at least five more years and “hundreds of millions of dollars” to complete the project.

“Put simply, every dollar that goes to the future of this project could instead go directly to immediate work on the ground,” the letter reads.

Architect Deborah Berke won a design competition to reimagine the building, which was shuttered in the wake of Superstorm Sandy. Now, it’s unclear what will happen with the empty facility, which is under the state’s control. A spokesperson for the Empire State Development Corporation, which was working with NoVo on the planned conversion, said the state would work with the community to figure out next steps.

“While we are disappointed with this outcome, we understand and respect NoVo’s decision to refocus their resources on more immediate needs,” the spokesperson said.

And in other news…

  • Uber wants to bring more dockless bikes to Staten Island, but there’s a catch: It wants to include a forced arbitration rule in its agreements with riders—and the city is balking.
  • The MTA’s modernization plan could plunge the agency further into debt, which in turn could mean more service cuts or fare hikes down the line, according to a report.
  • Gov. Andrew Cuomo stepped into the mini-feud between Mayor Bill de Blasio and actor Chazz Palminteri over a statue of Mother Cabrini, one of the first Americans to achieve sainthood; the governor says the state will fund a statue if the city won’t.
  • Smorgasburg is moving its winter market into 25 Kent, the massive office building that recently opened near the Williamsburg waterfront.
  • How an Upper West Sider held on to his rent-stabilized apartment after his building went condo.
  • And finally, unbelievably, it’s ice-skating season in New York—the Rink at Rockefeller Center opened over the weekend: