Thursday, October 29, 2020

de Blasio signs bill permitting retail stores to sell merchandise outside



Queens Post 

Small business owners will soon be able to expand their storefront onto the sidewalk as part of a new Open Storefronts initiative the City will launch on Friday.

Retail shops will be able to sell their wares on sidewalks in front of their storefronts from Oct. 30 through Dec. 31 — just in time for the holiday season, Mayor Bill de Blasio announced Wednesday.

In addition to retailers, repair shops, personal care services and laundry services can also use sidewalk space for seating, queuing or displaying dry goods under the Open Storefronts program.

The initiative aims to help more than 40,000 small businesses in a similar way that the Open Restaurants program helped thousands of restaurants across the five boroughs.

“Our Open Restaurants program … turned out to be something that really worked for New Yorkers,” de Blasio said during a press briefing. “Let’s apply that same idea to small businesses — retail businesses — all over the five boroughs that need additional business to survive.”

The program is modeled after the Open Restaurants program. Likewise, businesses located on existing Open Streets: Restaurants — that are cut off to most traffic — will be able to sell their products on the closed streets as well.

Multiple businesses on the same block can also join together to apply for an Open Street designation to turn their roadway over from car usage to ad hoc market usage, de Blasio said.

While this will (incrementally) help small businesses as long as this pandemic continues, this will wind up being counterproductive. It will just make the sidewalks more clustered which will make it harder to enforce distancing guidelines and also will make it more vulnerable to shoplifters and looters, which will require more NYPD presence. Not to mention that a lot of sidewalks where these stores are located aren't ample enough for those measurements detailed on that layout above.


Developer demands upzoning for apartment building where Shalimar Diner once was



  Queens Post

A developer has filed plans with the Department of City Planning to have a Rego Park site where the Shalimar Diner was located rezoned.

The application was filed earlier this year by David Koptiev, the owner of the Forest Hills-based company Platinum Realty, who is looking to construct a nine-story, 74-unit project on the 63-68 Austin St. site.

The plans were certified by City Planning on Oct. 5 and the public review process has begun.

The site had been occupied by the Shalimar Diner from 1974 through to the end of 2018. The corner property was purchased by two LLCs owned by Koptiev for $6,550,000 on Nov. 15, 2018 from Alderton Associates.

Alderton was owned by Hildy Limondjian, whose family had the property for decades.

The Austin Street site is currently located in a R4 zoning district—with a C2-2 commercial overlay—which typically allows for a three-story mixed use building, according to City Planning documents.


Board of Education comes up way short in daycare services in Holden's district



Queens Post

Council Member Robert Holden is calling on the city to make good on its promise to offer free daycare to working parents on days their children attend school remotely.

Holden penned a letter to Schools Chancellor Richard Carranza last week, calling on the Department of Education (DOE) to expand the child care program to more schools within his 30th Council district.

He said his office has received complaints from parents who don’t have access to the program known as “Learning Bridges,” which offers free daycare for public school children in 3-K through eighth grade on their remote learning days.

“The communities I represent are filled with essential workers and first-responders who worked hard during this pandemic…” Holden wrote in the Oct. 20 letter. “I find it inconceivable that so many families in my district seemingly have no access to such a critical program like Learning Bridges.”

The Council Member listed six public schools in his district — which covers Middle Village, Maspeth, Glendale, Woodside and Ridgewood — where parents don’t have access to the program. Many are in School District 24, he noted.

Queens Boat Crap



In the ongoing battle to clean up Jamaica Bay, Councilman Eric Ulrich joined members of the city’s Parks Department and the Jamaica Bay Ecowatchers for a demonstration that removed a derelict boat from its waters.

Earlier this year, Ulrich secured $55,000 in funding for a cleanup initiative that will remove abandoned vessels from the bay.

“Most people are not aware of just how widespread this problem is, especially in Jamaica Bay. Abandoned boats are one of the biggest problems in New YorkCity’s waterways,” Ulrich said. “Not only are they an eyesore, they present multiple ecological, transportation and safety hazards. I am proud to fund this cleanup initiative, which will target the most problematic areas in Jamaica Bay, a local treasure.”

Many vessels are abandoned when an owner can no longer afford to maintain them, and leave them adrift into Jamaica Bay instead of performing proper removal. Despite having removed about two dozen of these abandoned vessels from the waters and marshlands of Jamaica Bay over the past several years, the Parks Department estimates more than 100 abandoned boats remain in the city’s waterways.

Wednesday, October 28, 2020

New York City Board Of Elections are very shitty at math

The embattled city Board of Elections mismanaged key facets of its early voting program, The Post has learned, including allocating ballot scanners with little regard for demand and stuffing so many voters into balloting sites that it overwhelmed its system.

The examination of the BOE’s preparations comes as thousands of New York City voters again faced hours-long lines Wednesday to cast their votes in the hotly contested 2020 general election, giving the patronage-ladened agency its latest black eye.

Take two locations in Brooklyn: The BOE only sent five ballot scanners to the New York City College of Technology on Jay Street, even though it assigned more than 60,000 voters to the site for early voting. And Barclay’s Center was allocated the same number of scanners, despite being the early voting spot for another 32,000.

That pattern repeats in Manhattan. The Board of Elections provided only five scanners to the early voting polling site at the Church of St. Anthony of Padua in SoHo, despite assigning it nearly 81,000 voters — roughly one scanner per 16,000 voters.

Just a seven-minute walk away, BOE also set up its smallest early voting polling site in the city at the NYU Skirball Center for the Performing Arts near Washington Square Park. However, officials set up three scanners for the 8,300 voters who can use the site — roughly one scanner for every 2,800 voters.

The Post sent reporters to 15 early voting sites in the two boroughs and found the scanners were unevenly distributed and that even busiest sites had no more than seven such devices.

“It makes no sense, it shows you how poor their planning is and how unprepared they were for people to use early voting,” said John Kaehny, the executive director of the good-government group Reinvent Albany. “I think the BOE has completely misallocated resources and failed to the simple math to figure out how many poll books and scanners it needs based on the number of likely voters.”

Another supermarket Targeted for extinction

Key Food in Astoria closes its doors 1

Queens Chronicle

Key Food on 31st Street in Astoria has shut down despite months of rallying from the community and elected officials.

Maryam Shariat Mudrick, co-founder of the Astoria Mutual Aid Network, had tried to save the business and said the news was not well received on Astoria Facebook pages.

“Regardless of the political association of the group, everyone is frustrated and disappointed that yet another grocery store and place to access food has been shuttered,” she told the Chronicle.

She said many residents in the neighborhood are elderly and that there are “very few grocery stores” in the area.

“There’s just a void and people are worried as they’re getting into the colder months that they’re going to have to travel to get their basics for living,” Mudrick said.

Astoria Food Pantry co-founder Macaela Sears said she expects longer lines at the pantry. “That’s my first and main concern,” she said, adding that the closure means 150 lost jobs during a pandemic and an unemployment crisis.

“People are not only losing their jobs but they’re going to lose their healthcare for a union job and have to decide, ‘Am I going to pay for my healthcare or am I going to pay for my groceries?’” Sears said.

They said the next closest similar market is at least 10 blocks away. There is a CTown Fresh Astoria on 31st Street and 24th Avenue but it’s more expensive.

“The Key Food split the difference on affordability and quality,” Mudrick said. “There are cheap options in the neighborhood and there are boutique options in the neighborhood but Key Food had everything. It was accessible. You could buy everything you needed in one location. It was right by the subway. There’s nothing like that for sure.”

Target will come into the location, against the wishes of some in the area.

Twitter also censored Progress New York's services app


Progress New York

 The Twitter social media giant has censored the C’est Vrai app, an action that suspends the ability of the Web application from delivering programmable tweets over the Twitter service. The action by Twitter followed its demand to control the content of tweets delivered by the C’est Vrai app.

The C’est Vrai app is a multi-faceted, computer-assisted tool that provides research and information services to Progress New York. The dispute focused on recent content that the C’est Vrai app has been delivering, namely, the location of certain utility outages taking place at the apartment complexes of the New York City Housing Authority, or NYCHA. Twitter’s restriction prevents the C’est Vrai app from continuing to deliver such content, which was being served in the public interest.

Twitter had objected to the inclusion of the Twitter handles of public officials, in whose districts the apartment complexes were located, respectively. In response, Progress New York described that officials were only tagged for outages in their district and noted that several public officials had acknowledged the C’est Vrai tweets in some form without complaint, including, but not limited to, Borough President James Oddo (R-Staten Island) and New York City Councilmembers Steven Matteo (R-Staten Island), Carlos Menchaca (D-Brooklyn), and Helen Rosenthal (D-Manhattan).

This was not Twitter’s first action against the C’est Vrai app, and the number of censorship acts by Twitter are increasing, leading to the filing of Federal complaints, for example.

The restriction by Twitter began on 23 September, when the last programmable tweet was published by the C’est Vrai app. Despite arguments submitted by Progress New York in explanation for how the C’est Vrai app programs tweets, Twitter summarily objected to the use of public officials’ tags, writing, “We can only consider a request to reactivate your app after you agree to stop this behavior.” Because Progress New York interpreted Twitter’s response as extortious, Progress New York would not respond to a criminal threat that was intent on undermining Progress New York’s constitutional right to operate a free press. As a result, Progress New York replied, in relevant part, to Twitter, “Progress New York is a news organisation. Regrettably, this is not the first time we have faced extortion or attempts at extortion. We don’t respond to extortion or attempts at extortion.”

Thieves welcome themselves to Ozone Park sign


Queens Eagle

Southwest Queens has a sign-stealing scandal.

Thieves made off with a brand new “Welcome to Ozone Park” sign last night, hours after elected officials and civic leaders installed the refurbished marker near the Howard Beach border, Councilmember Eric Ulrich said Tuesday.

Ulrich and other community members joined workers from Cannon Signs & Awning to install the new sign near the corner of 149th Avenue and Cross Bay Boulevard Monday morning. The burgundy board replaced a famous, but weathered version of the sign that was first introduced in 2003.

The next morning, it was gone. 

Under cover of darkness, the thieves sawed through the wooden signposts near the base and fled, Ulrich said. He posted photos from the scene of the crime on Twitter.

“It’s probably the most selfish act that I’ve seen in a long time,” Ulrich said. “Somebody’s a real sicko.” 

Ulrich said he contacted the 106th Precinct to file a police report and also notified the Queens District Attorney’s Office. 

NYPD Spokesperson Sophia Mason said police do not yet have a suspect description, but the investigation is ongoing.

Ulrich said officers are pulling surveillance footage from a nearby hotel and private homes in the area.

He said he suspects at least two people were involved in the heist because the heavy sign required two people to carry off a truck on Monday.

Tuesday, October 27, 2020

421a-holes busted by A.G.  The Real Deal

 A new investigation into buildings that benefit from the 421a tax abatement by New York Attorney General Letitia James found that four developers in Brooklyn and Queens received the tax break but didn’t live up to the program’s requirements.

The developers’ misdeeds ranged from falsely reporting a full building was vacant to not offering rent-stabilized leases to tenants as the program requires in most cases.

“Rent-stabilization laws exist to protect tenants, and we will not let landlords or developers circumvent them,” James said in a statement. “The agreements announced today affirm my office’s commitment to promoting access to safe, affordable housing for all New Yorkers. This is a notice to all bad actors seeking to take advantage of tenants: Not on my watch.”

None of the developers named in the latest investigation return requests for comment.

The Real Estate Board of New York issued a statement in support of James, adding that such violations are rare, and underscoring the program’s importance for affordable housing.

“We applaud Attorney General James for taking action to ensure that 421a is used only as intended and required under State law,” said James Whelan, president of the Real Estate Board of New York. “The 421a program continues to play a crucial role in the production of much-needed below-market rate housing across New York City — and while bad actors are rare, it is always unacceptable for any developer to try to utilize the program without complying with its rent-stabilization requirements.”

One firm, Tuhsur Development, tried to evict tenants from its property at 63-36 99th Street in Rego Park even though a state investigation found it had overcharged those tenants $22,042.

Sunday, October 25, 2020

BLM retreats upon the singing of the National Anthem

Yesterday, the Ridgewood Tenants Union, under the banner of BLM, met at the Queens Center Mall in Elmhurst and then proceeded to march through Middle Village to scream at the people of that neighborhood, and Council Member Robert Holden in particular, that they were racist for supporting the NYPD and opposing a shelter that has been a shitshow from the get-go (and that RTU opposes).
RTU vehemently denied that their members were from outside the Maspeth-Middle Village-Glendale-Ridgewood area, yet met at a train station in Elmhurst - which is geographically on the opposite side of Midville, because that makes sense. After dilly-dallying for an hour hoping that reinforcements would show up, the group that dubbed itself "small but mighty" headed to their target - Holden's house - banging drums and chanting unintelligible phrases.

Hilarity ensued:
After scurrying away, the 90% white gentrifier crowd proceeded to the Metropolitan Avenue train station, which is odd since they allege to have so many members in Maspeth, Middle Village and Glendale who would not require a subway ride in order to return home. Let's also see what Mr. Moses has to say to the organizer of the counterprotest. I really don't think newspaper reporters are supposed to "respectfully disagree" with interviewees, but there you have it. So, let me explain how the Queens BLM people work, and why there is confusion about who did what...

The Queens groups coordinate with each other and promote each other's events. So, one group puts it out there and the others recruit their own members to attend. They also promote them via the centralized BLM Instagram account for greater exposure.
Case in point: the dopey Ed Mullins mistaken identity/flag burning party was technically promoted under Bayside BLM (the evidence of which they have since deleted), but it was mostly attended by other groups. In fact, it met at the Jefferson Street station, which is weird for a march led by a Bayside contingent but quite convenient for RTU members who wanted to participate.

Now, considering there are multiple groups involved, there should be a HUGE turnout for these events. But the most they have ever scraped together is a few dozen people. And it's mostly the same people at each event.

You'll also notice the language in the screenshot above endorsing flag burning. These folks are anarchists, not activists. Please don't be fooled. The language they use on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook is about destroying the government and causing chaos. And guess who stands with them?

Clown shoes, bro. 


 QNS came out with their report written by Angelica Acevedo.

Saturday, October 24, 2020

The lying monument of de Blasio's "Affordable Housing" program


 Impunity City

As everyone is aware now, Mayor William de Blasio Wilhelm has resuscitated his Housing New York program to provide way overdue affordable housing for your city’s most lower income earning residents in the niche, upper upper class towns of Soho and Noho (the latter of which is about 4 square blocks tops). Actually, only about 25% of 3200 apartments that are projected to be constructed will be earmarked for them. Which still doesn’t correlate with the hundreds of thousands of people who live check to check with 50 to 60% of that check going to rent and the near 70,000 people who don’t have a home at all.. 

But that’s going to be for the next post in process here. What this post is about is basically a spoiler alert for it and what de Blasio’s HPD plans will actually accomplish. Because this is unbelievable.

The building on the right from a picture taken in April last year is on 111 Varick St., which is also in Soho. Last year it gained local news attention when a construction worker got killed by a massive 7 ton concrete structure that snapped off a crane and crushed and dismembered his body while working in the early morning hours. For months it laid dormant because of building and worksite violations. Then passing by there back in January there was a peculiar site. A big banner for de Blasio’s HPD’s Housing New York was draped over the scaffolding. 




Gas outage continues at Astoria Houses

Lead found in 9000 more NYCHA apartments; three years after de Blasio thanked God when he lied that only a few were contaminated



Thousands more young children living in public housing were potentially exposed to lead poisoning than originally thought, officials revealed Thursday.

The city’s public housing authority has determined that the number of apartments believed contaminated with lead paint that house children under age 6 is triple the number it previously claimed.

NYCHA officials this week acknowledged for the first time that there are 9,000 apartments — not 3,000 apartments as they had asserted — that likely contain lead paint where youngsters live. Children under 6 are particularly susceptible to cognitive damage caused by exposure to lead.

The revelation was not made by NYCHA but by Bart Schwartz, the federal monitor appointed to oversee the nation’s biggest public housing authority after revelations by the press and federal prosecutors that the authority had for years deliberately hidden its failure to perform required lead paint inspections.

Late Thursday, NYCHA was unable to spell out precisely how many kids live in these apartments. The list of 9,000 includes apartments of relatives where children spent more than 10 hours a week.

Councilmember Alicka Ampry-Samuel (D-Brooklyn), chair of the public housing committee, blasted NYCHA for what she called yet another failure to confront its many failures.

“At this point in time, there is no room for excuses,” she said. “We should be at a place where we know the apartments that have lead exposure and who lives in them. Just that simple. To continue playing this game of paper shuffling is increasing the known risk of detrimental health hazards and brain damage in our children.

“If NYCHA cannot get it right and ensure these apartments are safe, people should lose their jobs and some should go to jail for reckless endangerment of a child,” she added.

Friday, October 23, 2020

The Blaz walks while city plans and services get burned


NY Post

 The coronavirus is still gripping the city, a fiscal meltdown looms and New York has been rocked this year by civil unrest, but instead of stepping up, Mayor Bill de Blasio has been stepping out.

Hizzoner has taken to regularly walking off the job — literally — in the middle of his workday for meandering, sometimes hour-plus jaunts, generally in his old Brooklyn neighborhood, while the city remains in crisis, The Post has learned.

The mayor’s latest regimen of distractions — which comes after he temporarily swore off his well-documented Park Slope YMCA workouts when COVID-19 shut down all gyms — also includes morning constitutionals running into the start of his daily press briefings, according to city sources familiar with his routine.

“This is the height of arrogance,” said one insider, who noted that the aimless walks have been commonplace for months. “While the city is falling apart, he is … walking in the park with his head in the clouds.

“I wonder if he ever heard of Nero,” the source added, referring to the Roman emperor said to have fiddled while his city burned.


A city Health Department annual report providing crucial insight into maternal deaths and health complications.

An update on Mayor Bill de Blasio’s five-year plan to combat homelessness.

Required biannual statistics on allegations of sexual assault against visitors to city jails and investigations of sexual abuse in local lockups.

These are among dozens of required statistical reports produced by city agencies that have failed to surface by recent deadlines, as flagged by the Department of Records and Information Services (DORIS).

The missing include periodic reports from the city Department of Health and Mental Hygiene, the Department of Homeless Services, Department of Corrections — and virtually every other city agency.

They also include the first progress report on de Blasio’s sweeping, self-proclaimed Green New Deal.

City Hall officials blamed the delays on the government response to the COVID-19 pandemic — including constraints brought on by remote work, layoffs and hiring freezes.

“Our city agencies have heroically worked to balance the urgent demands of the pandemic with non-COVID projects,” Avery Cohen, a de Blasio spokesperson, said in a statement on behalf of the mayor and the agencies. “In the interest of complete transparency, all agencies have been reminded to submit pending reports as soon as possible.”

The way he's eluding the press and also his job, The Blaz seems to be evolving (or devolving) into an urban Sasquatch. Or a Snuffleluffagus

Devouring their own...


 Queens Eagle

Queens candidates, activists and lawmakers have criticized Councilmember Daniel Dromm for a series of confrontational tweets directed at several candidates for City Council — predominantly women of color — who he says do not adequately highlight LGBTQ rights issues in their campaign platforms. 

Dromm, a pioneering gay rights activist, defended the tweets, calling them a deliberate strategy to put LGBTQ issues front and center in the 2021 campaign, and to galvanize younger New Yorkers who he said have taken the struggle for equity for granted. 

“What motivated me is that I’ve been a gay activist for the last 47 or so years. We’ve fought so hard for LGBTQ visibility in political platforms and to revert back to an era where you have the political platform that did not include LGBTQ issues is a setback for the community,” he told the Eagle.

But several activists, elected officials and candidates responded that the issues they champion are inherently LGBTQ rights issues. They also blasted Dromm for focusing his attention almost exclusively on women candidates.

District 22 candidate Tiffany Cabán, who identifies as queer, was one of the women of color who Dromm publicly questioned. Cabán said that LGBTQ rights issues cannot be isolated from other progressive goals.  

“Housing is a queer issue, incarceration is a queer issue, workplace protections, reproductive justice are queer issues…” she tweeted. “I walk into every space bringing my full brown, queer self, even when it isn’t safe to do so. My politics are rooted in radical queer tradition.”

JVB Photo Friday

 No man is an island entire of itself; every man 
is a piece of the continent, a part of the main; 
if a clod be washed away by the sea
And then we have JVB who stands alone in the river next to the Borough 
where no one wants him. 


Thursday, October 22, 2020

Breezy Point stands by the President

New York TimesJane and Ed Deacy, who both contracted the coronavirus this summer, say their support for President Trump has only been bolstered by the way he has handled the pandemic, and even by his own battle with Covid-19. Their loyalty has also not been shaken by the president’s style in his combative debate with Joseph R. Biden Jr. or at his recent rallies.

“I think he has done a phenomenal job dealing with an unknown virus,” Ms. Deacy said. “His record of the past three and a half years stands, and his accomplishments have not changed.”

Like most of their neighbors in their predominantly white, middle-class community, the Deacys voted for Mr. Trump in 2016, and enthusiastically intend to do so again on Nov. 3. But the Deacys do not live in a solidly red state.

They occupy an unusual slice of Trump country in New York City — Breezy Point, a private beach community in Queens where residents enjoy glimpses of the Manhattan skyline and display banners with slogans like, “Yes, I’m a Trump girl. Get over it!”

 The community has long been home to police officers, firefighters and other first-responders, many of whom own modest houses that have been in their families for generations. They embrace Mr. Trump, who hails from a wealthier part of the borough, and hold fast to local traditions that include conservative politics and outspoken support for the police and the military.

Their fealty to the president stems in part from a prevalent view that the city outside their gates is being driven into the ground by hopelessly progressive Democrats under whose leadership crime is rising and respect for law enforcement is dropping. The enclave has few residents of color, and skepticism of the Black Lives Matter movement is widespread.

While Mr. Trump’s claim that New York City has fallen prey to anarchy may be greeted with scorn by many New Yorkers, it resonates in Breezy Point.

Sex trafficking also took place at sordid and violent Kew Gardens hotel


Forest Hills Post

Local lawmakers are again calling on the city to shut down a crime-ridden hotel in Kew Gardens after it was discovered that a man was forcing a 16-year-old girl into prostitution inside its hotel rooms.

Council Member Karen Koslowitz and a representative from Assembly Member Daniel Rosenthal’s office denounced the Umbrella Hotel, located at 124-18 Queens Blvd., during a Community Board 6 meeting Wednesday night. They called yet again for the city to completely shut it down, noting the sex trafficking that took place inside its hotel rooms.

The hotel was the scene of a child sex trafficking scheme in September in which 30-year-old Jordan Adderley forced a 16-year-old to have sex with strangers for money, which he pocketed, according to a criminal complaint. Adderley, who was arrested on Oct. 1 on slew of charges, allegedly threatened to kill the young teen if she didn’t comply.

The Umbrella Hotel and the recent trafficking arrest was brought up by Koslowitz at the Community Board meeting.

“We have very serious problems in Kew Gardens with the Umbrella Hotel,” Koslowitz said. “They just arrested someone on child prostitution. There were shootings there, there were fights there, there were parties there and it’s been a very serious problem.”

She told the board members that she and other local lawmakers have been repeatedly trying to address the growth of crimes at the hotel, but City Hall has been “unresponsive.”