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Steven Madden threatens to ditch Queens headquarters

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Steve Madden’s shoe company is ready to walk away from its Queens headquarters — and take 400 workers with it — over a proposed affordable-housing development that will step on the company’s parking.

The designer’s eponymous brand uses two buildings on Barnett Avenue in Sunnyside for offices and shoe production and says it relies on a parking lot across the street for employees.

A plan by non-profit developer Phipps Houses calls for rezoning the lot to build a seven-story building with 167 units.

“Without the public parking, Madden would have no feasible way to maintain its Barnett Avenue presence,” Andrew Luskin, a lawyer for the shoe mogul, wrote in a January email to City Councilman Jimmy Van Bramer.

Luskin said the company rents about half of the 223 spaces in the lot and many company employees have been driving to work, rather than using public transit, during the pandemic.

He wrote that the company’s more than 400 workers patronize area businesses and that the company donates to local causes.

“Madden urges that the neighborhood would have much to lose if the company were compelled to relocate due to the approval of the proposed housing project and conversion of the Project Site from its present use as a public parking facility,” Luskin wrote.

Andrew Luskin, a lawyer for Steve Madden, says “the neighborhood would have much to lose if the company were compelled to relocate” if affordable housing is built on his company’s parking lot in Sunnyside, Queens.
Andrew Luskin, a lawyer for Steve Madden, says “the neighborhood would have much to lose if the company were compelled to relocate” if affordable housing is built on his company’s parking lot in Sunnyside, Queens.
Tamara Beckwith/NY Post

The project has already drawn opposition from some local residents who claim Phipps Houses, which has a nearby garden apartment complex, is a bad landlord, according to a report.

Luskin insisted to The Post that the shoe company, which has been in Sunnyside for 28 years, wasn’t against affordable housing or Phipps Houses.

“They just want their parking,” he said. “They just want to be able to remain in their place.”

Luskin said Van Bramer’s office put the company in touch with Phipps Houses to try to resolve the issue.

The parking lot where Steven Madden employees use at the company’s Sunnyside, Queens headquarters
The parking lot where Steven Madden employees use at the company’s Sunnyside, Queens headquarters
Lisa R. Kyle

The project advanced Thursday when the City Council approved rezoning for the development.

“We believe the Steve Madden folks did not realize the new development contains a very large parking lot. Of course the priority will be to serve the new building and our residents next door, but based on experience, there is likely to be ample surplus for the general population, including employees of Steve Madden,” a Phipps Houses spokesman said.

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Suspect arrested in fatal Brooklyn stabbing

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Police have apprehended a suspect in the fatal December stabbing of a Brooklyn man, cops said on Saturday.

The suspect, John Headley, 32, also of Brooklyn, was taken into custody Friday and charged with murder and weapons possession for the Dec. 12 knifing of Ken Baird, 37, police said.

Baird was stabbed multiple times in the chest following a dispute on Crown Street near Utica Avenue in Crown Heights at about 6:40 p.m., police said.

EMS transported Baird to King County Hospital, where he was pronounced dead, cops said.

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Man dies after jumping from Staten Island Ferry

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A 53-year-old man died Saturday after jumping from the Staten Island Ferry into the chilly waters of New York Harbor, police said.

NYPD Harbor launch officers pulled the man out of the water after responding to reports of a jumper near the Whitehall Ferry Terminal in Manhattan at around 2 p.m.

“He jumped off the ferry as it pulled away from the dock,” an NYPD spokesman told The Post. He jumped off the Ferryboat Andrew J. Barberi, police said.

The unidentified victim was removed to Pier 11 and transported to New York-Presbyterian Hospital, where he was pronounced dead shortly after 3:10 p.m.

A newsstand worker said there were “about 50 or so emergency people” at Pier 11 following a valiant effort — which included CPR — to save the man’s life.

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An NYPD spokesman says the 53-year-old man “jumped off the ferry as it pulled away from the dock.”

Michael Dalton

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The 53-year-old man was transported to New York-Presbyterian Hospital where he was pronounced dead.

Michael Dalton

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Kemp Lashes M.L.B. as Republicans Defend Georgia’s Voting Law

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Mr. Kemp, who is gearing up to run for re-election in 2022, has striven to re-enter the good graces of Republican voters after becoming a central political target of former President Donald J. Trump because of his refusal to help Mr. Trump overturn the state’s election results last year. A former secretary of state of Georgia who has his own record of decisions that made voting harder for the state’s residents, he is again a key G.O.P. voice leading the charge on the issue.

On Saturday, he repeatedly tried to paint the league’s decision as driven by Stacey Abrams, the voting rights advocate and former Democratic candidate for governor in Georgia who is seen as likely to challenge Mr. Kemp again next year.

Ms. Abrams, one of the most prominent critics of Georgia’s voting law, has pushed back on calls for sports leagues and corporations to boycott the state. She said on Friday that she was “disappointed” baseball officials had pulled the All-Star Game but that she was “proud of their stance on voting rights.”

In defending the law in Georgia, Mr. Kemp singled out two Democratically controlled states, New York and Delaware, and compared their voting regulations with the new law in Georgia. Those states do not offer as many options for early voting as Georgia does, but they have also not passed new laws instituting restrictions on voting.

“In New York, they have 10 days of early voting,” Mr. Kemp said (New York actually has nine). “In Georgia, we have a minimum of 17, with two additional Sundays that are optional in our state. In New York, you have to have an excuse to vote absentee. In Georgia, you can vote absentee for any reason.”

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