Monday, May 30, 2016

Remember the fallen

Neighbor of state-owned zombie property gets vacate order

From CBS 2:

A Staten Island family was ordered to stay off their own property and even threatened with jail time all because of a problem at their neighbor’s home.

“I cannot use my grill. I cannot touch anything back here,” homeowner Keri Mullin told CBS2’s Brian Conybeare.

That includes her swimming pool on Moreland Street in the Midland Beach section of Staten Island. The ban is all because a neighboring house damaged nearly four years ago by Superstorm Sandy was abandoned and is in danger of collapsing onto Mullin’s property.

“I have a vacate order and buildings department violation on my door and I am being threatened with a $5,000 fine if I use my yard at all,” Mullin said. “My own backyard!”

The city Department of Buildings issued a violation on the zombie home at 1178 Mason Avenue on Friday. The chimney is precariously tilting and its roof is in danger of collapsing.

“Now I’m back to that point where the storm is affecting me because somebody else didn’t take care of their property,” she said.

Neighbors like Thea Friscia said they have been trying to get the former owner or the city to do something about the rat and mold infested home for years.

Sunday, May 29, 2016

Don't we have enough junk on the sidewalk already?

These streetside mailboxes have been popping up all over the place in front of newly completed development projects. Why are we allowing developers to take over our sidewalks? Why not make them provide a mailbox on their own property?

Saturday, May 28, 2016

Parks playing with PEP officer numbers

From the Queens Chronicle:

At a March 3 City Council hearing about the mayor’s planned increase of 67 Parks Enforcement Patrol officers for the fiscal year 2017 budget, Parks Department Commissioner Mitchell Silver spoke about the planned allocation of officers for Flushing Meadows Corona Park.

“We have six dedicated to the Flushing Meadows Corona Park; there will be an addition of eight, which will make 14,” he said.

According to a Parks Department spokesman, the park has 12 PEP officers reporting out of it, six of whom are dedicated to patrolling the park.

In addition, a department spokeswoman said, there are four city seasonal aid officers and three urban park rangers assigned to the aquatic center in the park, in addition to five job training participants who are assigned to the Al Oerter Recreation Center.

Behind only Central Park, which has a police precinct dedicated to it, FMCP has the second-highest crime rate out of any park in New York City.

But according to a supervisory officer, the numbers provided by the department are inaccurate.

According to the source, who preferred to speak on the basis of anonymity, there are two CSA officers assigned to the aquatic center and one assigned to the Al Oerter Recreational Center, three UPRs assigned to the aquatic center and three PEPs that report out of the park but don’t patrol it. (Though four normally report there but work elsewhere, the officer said, one has recently been temporarily reassigned to Rockaway Beach.) He also did not challenge the number of JTPs, as he “does not deal with them.”

However, he said that there are no officers whose patrol is focused solely on Flushing Meadows Corona Park as a whole, rather than specific sites inside of it.

“There aren’t any dedicated to the park,” the supervisor said, clarifying that he meant officers dedicated to the park as a whole, rather than the aquatic center or the Al Oerter Recreation Center. “It’s all smoke and mirrors,” he added, referring to the information given to the public by the park agency.

“They’re misrepresenting it,” Parks Enforcement Union Local 983 President Joe Puleo said, referring to the staffing levels claimed by the Parks Department. Elected officials, he added, may be getting the wrong impression of the actual situation.

NYC Park Advocates President Geoffrey Croft put it even more bluntly.

“That’s a bold-faced lie,” Croft said, referring to Silver’s City Council testimony about the park and its officer staffing.

Free newspaper hawkers banned from subways

From WNYC:

Earlier this year, the MTA announced an agreement with the publishers of amNY and Metro — both free dailies — that prohibits these modern-day "newsies" from working in the subway, and allows the newspapers to place self-service metal racks stands in stations instead.

The MTA argues that the hawkers contribute to excess trash in the stations, which is a continual struggle for the agency, and contributes to track fires. There were over 1,000 subway fires last year, according to a report from the MTA. This new agreement holds the newspapers accountable for the disposal of leftover papers at the end of each day. Metro has already begun to withdraw hawkers, while amNY is expected to follow, said MTA spokesman Kevin Ortiz. (A spokesman for amNY wouldn't comment.)

Though banned from the subway, the hawkers will continue to physically distribute newspapers in NJ Transit, LIRR and Metro- North stations, according to Metro's media kit.