Tuesday, September 1, 2015

Permit plunge!

From Crains:

The great rush for housing permits in New York City to lock in the lucrative 421-a tax break for apartment buildings gave way to a precipitous decline in July.

The number of permits issued that month fell by 90% from June, according to statistics released last week by the U.S. Census Bureau. The fall-off was especially steep in Queens, at 98%, and Brooklyn, 97%. The terms of the tax break expired in mid June before state lawmakers renewed and revised the city's program effective in 2016, requiring 25% to 30% of units in 421-a projects be affordable citywide.

Leverich Family Burial Ground is being put to better use

The Leverich Family Burial Ground now has stewards who are taking care of it. Now if only they could get rid of that illegal chicken coop...

FMCP bathrooms in decrepit condition

"Two weeks ago i was at the park and after running 4 miles i decided to use the men's room located just outside the main entrance to the USTA Tennis Center (Willets Point ramp area). i have never been so fucking disgusted. The minute i walked into the bathroom my nose was hit with stench that i could only describe as homeless person smell mixed with urine,shit, and armpit funk. After going into one of the stalls to pee i nearly puked. i just kept on gagging and almost peed on myself because the stench was fucking bad. The lighting inside the bathroom was very poor which is perhaps why they keep the door wide open. The sink was old and the hand dryer machine was not even working.

Every summer thousands of people from Europe, Asia and the rest of the world flock to see the US Open. We all know that this single event generates so much cash for Queens & the city. Why isn't that money going towards fixing the walking paths around the park, landscaping, better signage, new benches and better lighting installed (i wont even mention the lake). Flushing Meadows Park needs it's own conservancy (if it doesn't already have one) that actively seeks out donors throughout the city to fund construction projects and BASIC MAINTENANCE of the park. Why doesn't this administration (and i will include our governor a.k.a 'King Of New York') do something about this. Tourism is one of the many things this is city is known for. People don't spend thousands to take their family on a vacation to let's say, Newark, Hoboken??. They all want to come to this city and in the summertime they want to come to Queens for the US Open.So much park land has been given to the USTA but what are we getting in return??" - Anonymous

Uber has some competition!

"I saw this ad while walking up 34th ave around 105th street in Corona, Queens. I'm pretty sure this type of cab service is illegal. Its worth looking into..." - anonymous

Monday, August 31, 2015

Is CB2 violating the law?

This guy seems to think so. Read the whole sordid tale and let me know what you think.

Former council member Al Stabile passed away

From the Queens Chronicle:

Former South Queens Councilman Alfonso Stabile died on Saturday morning of natural causes, Councilman Eric Ulrich (R-Ozone Park) said. He was 68.

"Al Stabile was a passionate and dedicated public servant who always put the community first. I grew up watching and admiring his career in politics," Ulrich said. "Al was a great councilman as well as a loyal and loving friend. Our city is a better place today because of him."

Stabile, a Republican, served as the city representative for the 32nd Council district, the same seat Ulrich holds today, from 1994 to 2001. He was born in East New York, but his family later moved to Ozone Park. He is an alumnus of John Adams High School.

His wake will be held at James Romanelli Funeral Home, located at 133-18 Cross Bay Blvd. in Ozone Park on Tuesday and Wednesday from 3 to 9 p.m. A funeral mass will be held at the Nativity of the Blessed Virgin Mary Church, located at 101-41 91st St. in Ozone Park, on Thursday at 10:30 a.m.

Forest Hills mystery accident

From Edge of the City. Anyone know what happened here? Looks like a doozy.

Not a smart move

From the Queens Courier:

A man attempting to cross the Long Island Expressway Saturday night was struck and killed by a car, police said.

The 34-year-old man was hit near exit 24 in Flushing at about 9:45 p.m. as he was trying to cross from south to north in the vicinity of 169th Street.

According to authorities, the pedestrian ran from the center wall of the expressway into the left travel lane and was struck by a Toyota Suburban. The driver attempted to brake and swerve to the right to avoid him.

Sunday, August 30, 2015

Shulman's pet project up for review

From the Times Ledger:

The Department of City Planning said it will release preliminary recommendations this fall for a project to revitalize the Flushing waterfront and bring affordable housing to the area.

In 2011, the Flushing-Willets Point-Corona Local Development Corporation got a $1.5 million state Brownfield Opportunity Grant to finance its Flushing Riverfront Project, which would clean up and rezone 60 acres on the Flushing waterfront. The project would create a planned community with waterfront access and housing and commercial space.

City Planning decided to integrate the corporation’s project with its study of Flushing West, part of Mayor Bill de Blasio’s 10-year affordable housing plan.

The agency plans to conduct outreach events in September, make some recommendations in October and start the environmental review process in November.

The review process would entail looking at a variety of environmental issues, including noise, air quality and the potential for any hazardous materials in the areas the agency rezones.

DeBlasio thinks he's doing a great job

From the Daily News:

The mayor attributed growing concerns about a surge in homelessness in part to “hyperbolic pundits and right-wing politicians with an ideological ax to grind.”

But he did acknowledge the sight of more homeless people this summer.

To reverse the trend, de Blasio said he would allocate $1 billion in additional money over the next four years to address homelessness.

Under his administration, nearly 15,000 people have left the shelter system and 20,000 people have avoided homelessness with city help, he wrote.

De Blasio’s commitment to tackle the problem head-on comes less than a week after his chief spokeswoman, Karen Hinton, tweeted that homelessness was a challenge inherited from former Mayor Michael Bloomberg.

“Who was mayor during time when NYC homeless numbered 25,000 in 2002 and jumped to 53,000 by 2013. Not @BilldeBlasio,” Hinton tweeted.

De Blasio touted his accomplishments in office — including universal pre-K and paid sick leave — while conceding there is “a sense that, despite the record-low crime statistics, the city is not as safe as it truly is.”

Affordable housing won't be affordable when it's done

From the Daily News:

When Mayor de Blasio held a press conference in May 2014 to debut his new affordable housing plan, his full-color presentation touted a project called Spring Creek in Brooklyn.

Spring Creek was flagged as a “case study” partnership between the city and developers to “create a strong, vibrant and self-sustaining neighborhood.”

But on Friday, the bulk of that project remained a big, ugly vacant field of weeds and abandoned roadway in East New York. More than 1,500 of 1,803 planned affordable units are now in a bureaucratic Twilight Zone — and may become less affordable as a result.

“There is no progress from the progressive mayor,” said the Rev. David Brawley, a leader of East Brooklyn Congregations, one of the groups sponsoring Spring Creek.

Brawley said the delays to Spring Creek caused by the de Blasio administration are particularly ironic given that the mayor cited the project in his promise to build or preserve 200,000 affordable units over 10 years.

The builders note the city knew all along the site was a former dump, and say the sewer changes were minor.

As a result, they now fear they’ll have to charge more for the houses and apartments they’re trying to build for low- and moderate-income families.

The income restrictions for a family of four, for instance, range from $25,900 to $112,190. The prices are lower due to taxpayer help. A single-family home that would go for $427,688 is reduced to $235,250, while a full price $616,000 two-family is cut to $415,000.

Because of delays, the builders say they’ll have to begin paying off the mortgage before selling a single unit. That will drive up the cost of the homes and apartments to homeowners.

Yes, we know

The NY Times is obsessed with the new US Open facilities:

Things were noticeably coming together. Promotional banners with big fuzzy tennis balls were hung on every post along the wooden-planked bridge from the subway stop to the tennis center. Construction workers were putting together a baggage-check area, and inside the grounds, larger banners, featuring tennis champions, past and present, had gone up. (It takes eight people to install the banners, Mr. Zausner said.)

Inside Ashe Stadium, Ashley Devolder, 26, from nearby Astoria, painted a fresh coat of blue on a wall near the players’ entrance and media center. Before this task, she said, she had been part of a team of 20 who freshened up the 34,000 armrests on the stadium’s seats. “We had to sand them, clean them, and paint them,” she said. “It took a week.”

Outside Ashe, rubble was removed and replaced by either grass or smooth asphalt. Lights were strung at the patio of Mojito, one of the Open’s sit-down restaurants, and a new bar had been built around one of eight hard-to-miss bright blue bases that support the new roof structure (Mr. Zausner’s idea). The main plaza was cleaned up, trees were replanted and colorful flowers were in place at the entrance.