Tuesday, January 26, 2021

Homeowner hangs banner condeming Joe Biden socialism



LIC Post

A local candidate for city council has taken issue with a large banner hanging in front of a house in Kew Gardens that claims Joe Biden’s inauguration marked the beginning of socialism.

Aleda Gagarin, who is running as a progressive to represent District 29, came across the banner at 82-28 Abingdon Rd. Sunday and posted an image of the house and the sign to Twitter.

The banner reads: “January 20, 2021, Death of Democracy, The Beginning of Socialism.” The date marks the day Joe Biden was sworn into office as the 46th President of the United States.

The banner also features a hammer and sickle as well as an image of Lady Liberty crouched over with her hands in her face. The banner drapes between two flag poles in the middle of the front garden that each fly the USA flag.

“It’s just so silly, the person is clearly misunderstood,” Gagarin told the Queens Post. “Joe Biden is certainly not a socialist.”

Gagarin noted that Biden doesn’t even support universal healthcare.

“The sign also uses communist imagery that shows a clear lack of understanding,” she added.

Michael Ricatto, who owns the house and put up the banner, disputed Gagarin’s claims and said he knows exactly what he is talking about. Biden’s policies are socialist, he said, and all hardworking taxpayers will have to pay more due to his left-wing policies.

Queens Is Burning: Restaurant owner torches his business



 The owner of Ignited Restaurant & Lounge in Astoria has been arrested on a federal arson charge, after fire marshals accused him of starting fires that had the Steinway Street enterprise living up to its name.

New Jersey man Asif Raja stands accused of using a flammable liquid to set a series of fires inside his hookah lounge the night of Aug. 4, according to the FDNY.

Surveillance video released by authorities shows a man dousing tables and chairs with the liquid, then running as they burst into flames.

The building's automatic sprinkler system put out the fires before firefighters even arrived, the FDNY said. No one was hurt.

"We are extremely grateful that no one was injured during this incident and for the collaboration between all the law enforcement agencies involved in bringing this individual to justice," Fire Commissioner Daniel A. Nigro said. 

 Authorities suspect that Raja, 54, set the fires due to financial woes related to the coronavirus pandemic, the New York Post reported.

The business has been closed since March, according to an Instagram post.

A post shared by Ignited Restaurant & Lounge (@ignitedlounge)

Monday, January 25, 2021

COVID vaccine stadium sites strike out

 NY Post

 Plans to convert Yankee Stadium and Citi Field into large-scale coronavirus vaccination sites have officially been postponed indefinitely — while 15 existing city inoculation hubs will remain closed as New York continues to struggle with a supply shortage, officials said Monday.

The setbacks are the latest blows to New York’s problem-plagued vaccine rollout, most recently hampered by a lagging supply of shots from the federal government and manufacturer Moderna — forcing the city to reschedule tens of thousands of appointments when it became clear there weren’t enough jabs on hand.

“We want to get those to be full-blown, 24-hour operations but we don’t have the vaccine,” Mayor Bill de Blasio said of Yankee Stadium and Citi Field during a Monday press briefing.

Hizzoner did not establish a new opening date for the venues, instead saying it was tied to when the city receives ample vaccine supplies to support the operations.

Sunday, January 24, 2021

Slumlord NYCHA deprives tenants of gas. Again.


More NYCHA tenants lack gas for cooking 1 

Queens Chronicle

Annie CottonMorris, who heads the tenants association at the 71-year-old Woodside Houses, lives just a block from the nearest deli but it takes her two hours to buy a newspaper these days.

“That’s how many people stop me now to talk about what’s wrong with their apartments,” she told an outdoor rally of angry Woodside Houses residents Tuesday.

The latest complaint sweeping the city-owned housing complex is a utility outage that has left 12 apartments without gas.

Some tenants have been cooking on hot plates since last November, CottonMorris said.

Six units were fixed last week, said the New York City Housing Authority, which manages the 1,350-unit complex.

Six other apartments are due for repairs starting this weekend, a NYCHA spokesman said.

“While we understand gas service interruptions are inconvenient, we also want to ensure our residents’ safety as we work to restore service as quickly as possible,” the agency said in an emailed statement.

The complex of 20 six-story buildings straddles Broadway between 49th and 51st streets and has had its fair share of problems.

At the height of last month’s snowstorm, the heat and hot water failed throughout the 22-acre complex for several hours.

Some 40 tenants — joined by an equal number of residents of other NYCHA projects, many with similar breakdowns — called the rally to dramatize what they said were other, more longstanding deficiencies.

“I’ve lived here for 30 years,” said Marie Richardson. “When I moved here, it was a paradise. Now, I pay $2,000 a month rent and I have no gas.”

Other tenants complained of water being turned off late at night, mold, broken doors and bathroom fixtures, mounting trash and vermin.

“You can see the mice play tag on the scaffolding,” said one angry tenant.

“This is an ongoing situation,” Tomasina Reyes, another resident, told the rally. “It just doesn’t stop.”

Middle Village nursing home withheld shots from patients because of state regs


NY Post

A Queens nursing home in the midst of a COVID-19 outbreak withheld potentially lifesaving vaccines from rehab patients, leaving a city councilman’s 96-year-old mother and others to catch the contagion.

Dry Harbor Nursing Home in Middle Village — where 44 residents have tested positive for COVID-19 since Dec. 22 — vaccinated its long-term residents shortly before Christmas, but not patients admitted for short-term care after being discharged from hospitals, Councilman Robert Holden told The Post.

Holden’s mom, Anne, and others finally did get shots in a second vaccination round on Jan. 13, but it was “too little, too late,” the furious Queens Democrat said.

Anne Holden, 96, was diagnosed with COVID-19 on Wednesday and admitted to NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital in Queens, where she remained on Saturday. 

“If she had gotten the shot before Christmas, she would have been eligible to get the second shot in January. The earlier the better,” Holden said.

“They knew the numbers were going up,” he added. “They should have done more –inoculated everybody as quickly as possible to stem the outbreak.”

Dry Harbor staff told Councilman Holden that it was following a state policy that gave priority for the vaccines to permanent nursing-home residents.

Saturday, January 23, 2021

Ridgewood EMS is coming to town

  Ridgewood EMS corps to expand 1

Queens Chronicle

The Ridgewood Volunteer Ambulance Corps recently announced that its plan for 2021 involves extending community-based volunteer EMS services to Woodhaven, Richmond Hill and Kew Gardens.

In December, the RVAC submitted a formal application of area expansion with the New York City Regional Emergency Medical Services Council to provide services into those communities.

A few years ago, the Woodhaven-Richmond Hill Volunteer Corps lost its right to operate due to administrative troubles, according to Kevin Mahoney, RVAC board vice-chairman. Eager to resume coverage, the board of the defunct South Queens volunteer group reached out to the RVAC to partner and get back up and running under the Ridgewood banner.

“It’s easy for us to put in an expansion as opposed for them to start over as a new ambulance service,” said Mahoney.

Mahoney said the group is hoping to get the expansion on the agenda in a February NYC REMSCO meeting, when the body would vote on it. If approved, the application would then head over to the state.

The move comes after a series of successful mergers for the ambulance corps.

In 2019, RVAC, which serves parts of Brooklyn as well as Queens, incorporated the Glendale VAC and Middle Village VAC. According to a press release the group sent out, the mergers have allowed it to centralize its clinical services and operational efficiency. The three entities now serve together as one unified EMS service.

The mergers have reinvigorated the RVAC’s volunteerism and allowed a stronger response to the pandemic, it said.

Homeless man prefers freezing elements and cold concrete than warmer but more dangerous city shelter

 Man refuses help, remains on street 1

Queens Chronicle

A homeless man underneath the train tracks at Myrtle Avenue and Fresh Pond Road in Glendale, only a block from the Community Board 5 office, has been refusing help for weeks, area leaders say.

Myrtle Avenue Business Improvement District Executive Director Ted Renz called his presence there “an ongoing issue.”

Community members say the man, Pawel, has refused help.

The Rev. Mike Lopez of All Saints Church said the city has done some cleanups of the man’s belongings but that area residents continue to bring him food, money, coats and blankets.

“I think it comes out of a good place from people who don’t want to see him get hurt,” Lopez told the Chronicle Tuesday. “He’s a rather charming gentleman if you’ve ever had the opportunity to deal with him.”

But the residents might be hurting more than helping.

“Our hope is to bring them indoors. As long as they’re being supported with their needs it makes it much harder to bring them off the street,” Lopez said of homeless people, though he acknowledged telling residents not to help “is almost impossible.”

Lopez has known the man for five years. Lopez said Pawel, who is in his mid-40s, was a working member of the community, a carpenter by trade, who became homeless three years ago.

Lopez said Pawel has family but declined to discuss that any further.

“He knows his rights,” Lopez said. “He knows he can’t be forced away.”

Accepting outreach efforts is voluntary. In accordance with the state Mental Hygiene Law, street homeless New Yorkers cannot be involuntarily removed from the streets unless they pose a danger to themselves or others.

A spokesperson for the city’s Department of Homeless Services said nonprofit service provider Breaking Ground canvasses the area more than 20 times a week and actively engages 24 verified homeless individuals encountered on the streets in an effort to offer them services and get them indoors.

“As the weather gets colder, our outreach teams continue to be out across the five boroughs, implementing best practices, latest health guidance and Code Blue protocols whenever appropriate, as they engage unsheltered New Yorkers and encourage them to accept services,” DHS said.

Councilman Bob Holden (D-Middle Village) told the Chronicle he visited Pawel with his chief of staff, Daniel Kurzyna. Holden said he stayed back as Kurzyna, who speaks Polish, approached him.

“We don’t want to gang up on him,” Holden said. “Dan said he looked white as a sheet.”

The lawmaker wants to see the city invoke Kendra’s Law, which allows courts to order certain individuals with serious mental illness to stay in treatment for up to a year.

“I didn’t examine him but it doesn’t take a genius to figure out that if this man would rather live under the trestle than be in a warm room then he can’t make rational decisions,” Holden said, adding, “Obviously it’s the wrong decision to pick being outside in 20 degree weather.”

But Lopez said Pawel has had bad experiences in shelters.

“They feel that it’s safer to be on the street and they wanted to be connected locally to their communities and I think that’s one of the reasons he stays,” Lopez said.

The reverend believes the city needs to improve its shelter system.

“Can you imagine choosing to live on the streets of New York City in January over a shelter because it’s unsafe?” Lopez said.

CB 5 Chairman Vinny Arcuri said Pawel told him “he’s just waiting to die.”

Bernie at the Pavillion


Friday, January 22, 2021

Lizzie Two Times


LIC Post

Former Council Member Elizabeth Crowley said Tuesday that she is thinking about making another bid for Queens Borough President.

“I feel like I have a lot to offer the borough in terms of what we have to do to get back on our feet,” she said. “I haven’t made the final decision yet, but it is something that I am strongly considering.”

Crowley, who represented Glendale, Maspeth, Middle Village, Richmond Hill, Ridgewood, parts of Woodside and Woodhaven in the City Council from 2009 to 2017, lost to Queens Borough President Donovan Richards in a June 2020 Democratic primary for the seat.

She came in second in the five-person primary.

It's BP Groundhog Day in Queens.

Homeless staffer for James Sanders got stiffed by N.Y. Senate


Queens Eagle

A former staffer for Queens State Sen. James Sanders Jr. says he is missing weeks of back pay, money he needs to buy food and do laundry while living in a Manhattan homeless shelter.

Larry Malcolm Smith Jr., 22, began working as a constituent liaison for Sanders on September 9, according to an email welcoming him to the district office team. He worked for the Queens senator until resigning in November, Sanders’ office confirmed.

Smith said he received two paychecks, one by mail and another through direct deposit, during his time representing Sanders in Southeast Queens and the Rockaways but is still missing about five weeks of pay. A Senate official confirmed the missing payment.

Smith said he has lived in a shelter for months and needs the money for pay for basic necessities.

“I have no money at all. I have no money for food. I have no money for laundry,” Smith told the Eagle.

“I was supposed to make $35,000 a year. I’ve been manipulated, I’ve been disrespected. I live in a shelter,” he added. “Nobody is helping me.”

Thursday, January 21, 2021

Jimmy Two Times



 Queens County Politics

City Councilmember Jimmy Van Bramer (D-Sunnyside, Woodside, Long Island City, Astoria, Dutch Kills) officially launched his bid for the Queens Borough President’s office on Tuesday morning. 

“We’ve got a once in a lifetime chance to fundamentally change Queens politics forever,” he said in a launch video released on YouTube. “That’s why I’m running for Queens Borough President.” 

Van Bramer is a term-limited decade long city councilmember. He will be up against a handful of candidates already filed to run in the borough-wide race including current Queens Borough President Donovan Richards. Richards assumed office late this fall after a special election to replace Melinda Katz, who left the office to serve as Queens District Attorney.

 Van Bramer has positioned himself as a progressive option for the borough-wide office citing his support for policies such as taxing the rich and reallocating funding away from the New York City Police Department.

Wednesday, January 20, 2021

The wealthiest New Yorkers are bluffing



After ten months of breathless panic over the state of Manhattan’s luxury real-estate market, the industry is sighing with relief as a surge in leases and rental prices suggests that the wealthy New Yorkers who left town at the onset of the pandemic are beginning to return. While Fran Lebowitz and other curmudgeons have cheered on the exodus of the rich, whether or not they return has big implications for the city’s budget and thus vital public services.

According to Douglas Elliman’s December rental report, rents for the biggest and most expensive apartments in Manhattan rose by double-digit percentages compared to the previous month. Rents on smaller apartments and in lower price tiers remained flat or declined slightly, remaining about 20 percent lower than a year ago. This pattern appears to be driven by demand, which is stronger at the high end and weaker below, with discounts of 20 percent compared to a year ago.

Manhattan’s vacancy rate dropped for the first time since the pandemic began, falling from 6.14 percent in November to 5.52 percent (it’s typically between 2 and 3 percent), which is as blunt a signal as you can get that people are returning to the city. The number of new December leases signed in Manhattan was up 36 percent compared to November and a whopping 93.6 percent from a year ago. The basic principles of supply and demand are at work here too; at some point, rents fall so much the deals are just too good to pass up, particularly in desirable Manhattan.

Taken together, these data offer a clear signal that the rich are coming back to New York. The idea that wealthy households would never return to the city was always a little suspect — mostly the fever dream of anti-urban conservatives who grabbed on to temporary post-pandemic migration trends in support of their biases against city life. But with the vaccine rollout underway, the rich are returning in time for what stands to be a memorably jubilant period: the reopening of New York City.

Donald Trump Has Left The White House


Impunity City