Tuesday, July 25, 2017

Scammers sought in phony apartment rental scheme

From PIX11:

Several New Yorkers hoping to move into new apartments were the victims of a scam, police said Monday.

The culprits met with the victims over the last few months and identified themselves as apartment owners, police said. They took deposits from victims and gave them keys for already-occupied apartments.

The scam started on April 1 when a man took a $1,400 deposit from a 40-year-old woman in Jackson Heights. Subsequent ‘deposits’ by other victims were for even more money. A 25-year-old woman gave a man $1,800 for an already-occupied apartment on April 21.

And where will they build this?

From Curbed:

Development company Global Sports Ventures is making a play to woo Americans over to the traditional English game. They’re teaming up with the real estate firm JLL to build professional cricket stadiums in eight U.S. cities in the hopes of establishing the sport as a new professional league on par with the NFL or MLB. The stadium developments alone have an estimated cost of $2.4 billion.

The teams and cricket stadiums are likely to be located in California, Washington, DC., Georgia, Florida, Texas, Illinois, and New York or New Jersey—regions where cricket “already has an established following,” according to WXIA in Atlanta.

The league is set to launch in 2020—an ambitious timeline considering the build-out.

Monday, July 24, 2017

Avella backs Graziano in District 19 City Council primary

On Monday, July 17th, State Senator Tony Avella officially endorsed Paul Graziano in the Democratic primary for the 19th Council District seat, which covers most of northeast Queens including College Point, Whitestone, North Flushing, Auburndale, Bayside, Bay Terrace, Douglaston and Little Neck. It is rare for a sitting elected official to not endorse an incumbent, but Senator Avella is supporting Paul Graziano in this race over machine candidate Paul Vallone.

“As the former councilmember for this district, I know what it takes to effectively represent the people,” Avella said. “Paul Graziano is the right person for the job. I have worked with him closely for over a decade on multiple issues that have had great impact on the neighborhoods of northeast Queens. Paul understands what the people of the district want and need.”

“I am greatly honored to receive the endorsement of Senator Avella,” Paul Graziano said. “We have stood together to successfully fight many proposals and plans that would have negatively impacted our district and also worked closely on passing major legislation and actions that have been incredibly beneficial for northeast Queens, such as contextual rezonings, obtaining landmark status for individual buildings and historic districts and, just last month, stopping the giveaway of 45 acres of public parkland for the development of a megamall in Flushing Meadows-Corona Park. More than 95% of the 19th Council District is within the boundaries of Senator Avella’s 11th State Senate District; with both of us representing northeast Queens together, I believe we will be able to do that much more for our neighborhoods.”

For more information, please contact the Graziano campaign at 718-309-7522 or paulgraziano2017@gmail.com.

A transcript of the video may be found here.

DCAS director fired for complaining about conflict of interest

From the Daily News:

Mayor de Blasio avoided questions Sunday about his alleged intervention on behalf of a big campaign donor who threw two free fund-raisers for him.

The Daily News broke the story on its website Saturday, revealing that a former city deputy claims he was fired after protesting City Hall's interference for Harendra Singh, whose Queens restaurant owed the city nearly $750,000 in back rent.

The News revealed that de Blasio's campaign didn't bother paying the bill for fund-raisers in 2011 and 2013 at Singh's Water's Edge restaurant until the city Campaign Finance Board demanded documentation during an audit in 2015.

The News also revealed that de Blasio's top aide, director of governmental relations Emma Wolfe, personally intervened in the Water's Edge rent dispute with the city Department of Citywide Administrative Services.

Ricardo Morales, DCAS' deputy commissioner for asset management, was handling the Water's Edge negotiations and says he was fired in February because he complained that City Hall's "inappropriate involvement" violated city conflict-of-interest rules.

DeBlasio doesn't want to see the homeless

From the NY Post:

Mayor de Blasio ventured into the city’s decrepit subway system on Sunday — but didn’t have to face the foul-smelling and often crazy vagrants that ordinary New Yorkers are forced to contend with every day.

That’s because police were ordered to roust all the homeless people from two stations ahead of the mayor’s four-stop press event as he rode from his Park Slope gym to his new re-election headquarters in Downtown Brooklyn, law-enforcement sources told The Post.

The rank and file had until 11 a.m. to prepare the Fourth Avenue/Ninth Street and Jay Street/MetroTech F train stations for the mayor’s brief, underground publicity stunt, sources said.

One source characterized the directive — contained in an email from the NYPD’s Transit Bureau — as instructing cops to “make sure nobody’s hanging out” so that the stations “looked nice.”

Another source said the mayor’s office notified police brass of his schedule ahead of time “with the expectation that the subway stations would be free and clear of homeless people.”

“It’s too bad he’s only interested when he’s going to get on the subway,” the source said.

“I wish he had the same attention to detail when he wasn’t on the subway. Too bad he doesn’t care about quality of life for all passengers and not just himself.”

A newsstand manager inside the Jay Street/MetroTech station was shocked by the noticeable absence of derelicts on the uptown A, C and F platform surrounding his kiosk.

“I see a lot of homeless people in a week — up to 25. On average five a day. Today, I have seen only one,” Ali Imtiaz said.

Fake grass is not a solution

"Another one of those paved-over front lawns. But this one's a bit different. Not sure if the fake grass/Astroturf came before or after the complaint, but the DOB apparently wasn't too pleased with this "remedy."


New hotel coming to Jackson Heights

From Jackson Heights Post:

A developer filed plans with the Department of Buildings Monday to construct a seven-story, 22-room hotel in Jackson Heights.

The building, which would go up at 37-38 73rd Street, would be narrow. It would consist of five rooms per floor–from the third through sixth floors–and two rooms on the seventh.

The first floor would be the lobby area and there would be a community facility on the second floor. There would also be an outdoor recreation area on the roof.

Sunday, July 23, 2017

Kissena Park tennis courts need better maintenance

From CBS 2:

They claim the city has left their local tennis courts in disarray.

The Har-Tru clay courts require a lot of water to stay solid and safe. When they dry out, holes develop in the clay and nails start to surface.

Residents said the sprinkler’s timer system lasted only one season. Now someone from the parks department manually turns the sprinklers on, but the water doesn’t even reach the entire court.

CBS2 asked a parks employee to explain, but he wouldn’t say much.

“The people who put it in, they were supposed to – well, I don’t want to say,” he said.

Bait and switch leads to shelter

From NY1:

Another building is going up along a bustling strip of Broadway in Kingsbridge.

The community was told it would be market-rate housing that would complement a commercial boom in the area.

Then Friday: "The city calls and says, 'We're putting a homeless shelter in there,'" Bronx State Assemblyman Jeffrey Dinowitz said. "That means we were lied to."

The building developer, the Stagg Group, cut a deal with the city as part of the mayor's plan to house homeless people in their neighborhoods of origin instead of hotels and large shelters.

"Why are you picking on certain neighborhoods where they're middle income or lower income?" one local resident said.

Department of Homeless Services officials said there are 359 people from the area in shelters across the city.

Some of them will be among the 81 families who are now scheduled to move in the area next month.

"There's a lot of residents that are homeowners, they're co-op owners here," one local man said. "For some reason, they may feel that a shelter around here may bring down the value of their property."

Apparently, this isn't the first time the Stagg Group pulled this trick.