Friday, July 29, 2016

Woman insists she is legal guardian for 25 kids

From the Queens Chronicle:

Shu-Jing Cao, the legal guardian of the group of children that lives at her home at 202-12 32 Ave. in Bayside, says they are well taken-care-of.

“They call me mother,” she said. “I treat them like my own children.”

When asked, Cao did not confirm or deny that 25 children are living at the house, an allegation raised by a civic activist concerned about conditions there and their impact on the neighborhood. But there are two other adults at the property, she said, who also look after the children.

The children attend schools in District 26, one of the best and most overcrowded districts in the entire city.

“They are innocent children,” she said. “They have a right to have education in America ... They’re safe.”

Although the city has not taken any legal action against the house, land use expert Paul Graziano doubts that Cao could be the legal guardian for all the kids living there if there actually are 25.

“No way she’s guardian of 25 kids,” Graziano said in an emailed statement. “The city wouldn’t allow it.”

The land use expert also says that it would not be legal for such a number of people to be living together in the same home.

“Three unrelated persons are allowed in each unit, children or otherwise,” he added. Although the building has two units according to its most recent Certificate of Occupancy, if 25 kids are there, more than three unrelated persons would have to be living in at least one unit. “Otherwise, they would have to get a specific Certificate of Occupancy — which they couldn’t get in a 1- or 2-family zone to begin with, like an R3X zone where this house is located — that would allow them to run a business or charity taking in multiple children for residency.”

More U.S. families living with fewer bedrooms

From Curbed:

An analysis of home sizes in the country’s top 100 metro areas found that 26.4 percent of U.S. renters are in want of at least one extra bedroom. Using U.S. Census data, Trulia compared household size with the number of bedrooms in the home and found that across the U.S., homes are getting more and more crowded, with an increasing percentage of households having more family members than bedrooms. While the average size of the American home has ballooned over the years, renters are feeling more and more confined, especially in urban areas.

This "space crunch" is most evident in Los Angeles, where 29.2 percent of households have shared bedrooms—the highest proportion in the country. Roughly 67.9 of renters with children in L.A. were short on bedrooms. New York City is next, with 25.2 percent of households squeezed for space.

Thursday, July 28, 2016

NY delegation doesn't recognize Joe Crowley

Not too many people in the NY delegation are listening to Virginia Joe’s speech. Maybe he should move back home?

Smoking gun memo revealed

From Bowery Boogie:

The Department of Investigation, whose scathing report last week proved a mishandling by the de Blasio Administration in the Rivington House deed fiasco, released evidence late yesterday that the Mayor’s office deliberately covered up crucial information regarding the ongoing investigation.

Specifically, a deal memo from July 2014 that weighed the pros and cons of allowing the sale of the Rivington House nursing home and potential deed lifting that required use of the facility as a nonprofit. Take a look at “Option 2″ of the document (go to link),”transfer property to another nonprofit.” The advantage to keeping it so was listed as “maintaining property under city oversight and creates needed housing in a high value neighborhood.” But the drawback stated was “no revenue” presumably for the city.

The Allure Group purchased the Rivington House from VillageCare in 2015 for $28 million, paid the city $16.1 million to lift a restrictive deed, then sold the property to developers Slate Property Group, China Vanke Co., and Adam America Real Estate for $116 million earlier this year.

meanwhile, de Blasio was cracking jokes about it while attending the DNC.

City demolishing certain Willets Point properties

From DNA Info:

Demolition work began last week on a section of Willets Point, the first sign of progress on a multi-billion dollar overhaul from the city and private developers.

The strip of closed auto body shops along 126th Street between 38th and Roosevelt avenues was completely demolished by Tuesday morning by Tully Construction, the project's general contractor.

Workers at shops nearby that are still open said the work began about a week ago, but the main demolition started within the last two days.

The demolished shops have been empty for months, and construction fences for the project went up in April.

Demolition is expected to be completed by Aug. 31, according to the city.

Nice to see that the city is spending money when they don't even know yet what will happen with the property. Remember that pesky lawsuit that stopped the whole thing?

Maybe we should learn from China's mistakes, if not our own

From Forbes:

As the storm sewers of many of China’s cities have been pushed beyond their capacity, spewing deluges of water into the streets, many are blaming the disaster on the country’s breakneck pace of urbanization.

China has built cities faster and more extensively than any other civilization in history. In hardly 35 years, the country built over 450 new cities, urbanized 40,000 square kilometers of countryside, threw up hundreds of millions of homes, constructed a 19,000 kilometer high-speed rail network, dug 26 new subway systems, paved more than 60,000 kilometers of highways, and erected nearly a hundred new airports.

This urbanization push was backed by economic and political incentives. At the peak of China’s new city building boom urbanization was responsible for 16 to 25% of total GDP, 33% of fixed asset investment, 10% of urban employment, 15% of bank loans, and fueled 40 industries. Stimulating the local economy and complying with national urbanization goals were also core KPI criteria for the promotion of officials within the government. So China built and built, and are only now starting to realize the full impact of what they’ve created.

In this explosion of development, natural water management systems — rivers and streams, ponds and lakes, as well as the soil — have been asphyxiated with endless expanses of pavement and concrete. In Wuhan, a city that has been leveled by this year’s flooding, saw 87 lakes, two-thirds of its total, filled in or otherwise destroyed between 1949 and 2015. According to Kongjian Yu, the dean of Peking University’s College of Architecture and Landscape Architecture, heavily urbanized eastern China lost upwards of 50% of its wetlands in the past thirty years, which drastically reduces flood retention capacities.

These impermeable urban surfaces which have been replacing natural features in China’s cities at an astonishing rate prevent rainwater from finding its way into the ground below, funneling it instead into a Soviet-style system of pipes and drains, which are becoming more and more overtaxed and inadequate.

Wednesday, July 27, 2016

Elevator installed without permits kills worker

From DNA Info:

The small business where an employee was crushed to death by an elevator Saturday night was padlocked shut Monday — as officials look into whether the lift was installed illegally.

The shop, La Reguera Dominicana at 552 W. 182 St., where locals shopped for discounted home items and clothes, was ordered closed after Jose Fernandez, 43, was fatally pinned by the supply elevator Saturday night, sources said.

Yellow fire tape and a padlocked chain crisscrossed a fence outside the store and a pair of Buildings Department orders — in English and Spanish — announced that the property had been ordered vacated.

The Department of Buildings, which issued the vacate order, said they had no records of an elevator having been legally installed on the property.