Thursday, October 18, 2018

Say “NO” to the Mayor’s neighborhood jail proposal

Voice your positions using the contact information and link listed at the end of this newsletter.

Deadline for public comments is October 29th
, an email link and pdf form are attached below – please act now. This is urgent. Here’s what you need to know . . .


On August 15, 2018 Mayor Bill de Blasio’s office announced a plan to close the Rikers Island jail, replacing it with four gargantuan "jail" micro-cities in Queens, Brooklyn, Manhattan, the Bronx, each borough except for Staten Island. The proposed Queens jail would be constructed adjacent to Borough Hall, at the junction of Kew Gardens, Forest Hills and Briarwood.
Urgent Call to Action:
We must not allow this to happen – join us!

Public comments on the Mayor’s Borough Based Based Jail System proposal are due to the City by October 29th, 2018. Only emails or mailed comments will be considered.

Send emails expressing your views to:

Howard Judd Fiedler, A.I.A. 
Director of Design Unit, NYC Department of Corrections

Click this email link provided
to contact Mr Fiedler. A compose-email window to his office, will automatically open for you to easily compose and send your message.

To compound your effort, we suggest cc'ing or forwarding your email after you have sent it, to the below representatives as well:

Borough President Melinda Katz:
Council Member Karen Koslowitz:
State Senator Joseph Addabbo, Jr.: 
State Senator Leroy Comrie:
Assemblyman Daniel Rosenthal:
Kew Gardens, Richmond Hill - Community Board 9:
Forest Hills, Rego Park - Community Board 6: 
BriarwoodKew Gardens Hills - Community Board 8: 

If you prefer to print the comment form, please click this link for the pdf and post to:
Howard Judd Fiedler, A.I.A. 

Director of Design Unit, NYC Department of Correction
75-20 Astoria Boulevard, Suite 160
East Elmhurst, NY 11370  
Sign our petition, follow us on social media & more:

If you haven’t already signed our online petition please click here.

To join our email list for updates and future actions, 
click here.

Targeting Long Island's gang problem

From CBS 2:

Retired Suffolk County Police detective John Oliva specialized in gangs.

So why are gang members recruiting children as young as 10 or 11?

“It’s the age where can start getting into these kids’ heads,” Oliva said. “The recruitment sometimes occurs at home also. We’ve had it where three, four brothers in the same family part of the MS-13 street gang.”

Feride Castillo of the Empowerment Collaborative of Long Island works with young children in poverty.

“When we are talking about gangs, the dynamics are so complicated,” Castillo said. “We are talking about children sometimes even being born into families that are already involved in gangs.”

“It’s kind of hard dealing with the struggle and stuff like that, because, you know, you come from a gang-related home,” 13-year-old “Maria” said. “Like, oh I want to be popular, so I am going to be in the gang.”

Some females but mostly males make up Long Island’s estimated 1,000 gang members. Protection from bullying, a desperate need to belong and a yearning for respect are all reasons why Sergio Argueta joined at age 13 and led a gang for five years in Hempstead.

“A mode of survival is fight or flight, right? And oftentimes, kids are getting tired of being bullied, of getting picked on,” Argueta said.

Wednesday, October 17, 2018

One community's zoning victory

From the NY Post:

A state appeals panel has yanked the permit to build an Upper West Side nursing home, a controversial project with the mayor’s support.

Neighbors of the 20-story Jewish Home Lifecare project at 125 W. 97th St. had sued to block construction, arguing the area is already too densely populated.

In 2016, the mayor’s ­Office of Sustainability greenlit the project, even though a state environmental review had expressed concern about noise and hazardous material related to planned construction.

But on Tuesday the Appellate Division put the kibosh on the plan, saying it violated zoning regulations about open space.

Teenage inmates were safer at Rikers

From PIX11:

Teens were transferred out of the Rikers Island jail complex to the Horizon Juvenile Facility in the Bronx, but the mom of one teen now at Horizon believes her son was better off at Rikers.

The mother spoke with PIX11 on the condition of anonymity, she doesn't want anyone inside Horizon to retaliate against her 17-year-old son. His teen years have been spent in and out of courts and jail. She believes on Rikers Island he had access to more libraries and programs. The mom also said visits have been difficult at Horizon after several miscommunications.

"Nobody wants their child to be locked away, but what you want most of all, is that if they are, that they are being treated as a person," she said.

She isn't the only worried parent. Jimmey DeMoss, a single father from Queens, also has a 17-year-old son at Horizon.

“He’s in there to learn a lesson, but the lesson I think he's learning is the wrong lesson,” DeMoss told PIX11 News.

Tuesday, October 16, 2018

Bus shelters being inspected after collapse

From AMNY:

About 1,400 bus shelters across the city have been shut down for safety inspections after one collapsed earlier this month in Staten Island.

JCDecaux, which operates all of the city’s 3,500 bus shelters, discovered bolts in the Staten Island shelter that appeared to be corroded, according to company spokesperson George Arzt. No one was injured when the glass and metal shelter collapsed on Oct. 5, Arzt said.

About 3 percent of the first 1,000 shelters inspected revealed corrosion in bolts. He said those have been repaired and reopened.

Back in 2005, the city selected Cemusa to build and maintain street furniture including bus shelters and newsstands. JCDecaux acquired Cemusa several years ago.

The company is initially focusing on the first generation of shelters, but all 3,500 will be reviewed.

Hotel oversaturation about to hit its peak

From the NY Post:

New York City’s hotel-building boom has led to an oversupply of rooms — and enticing deals for aggressive acquirers who believe prices have finally hit a bottom.

In 2007, there were a mere 73,692 hotel rooms and just 357 hotels. By 2017, that number had jumped to 115,532 rooms and 632 hotels, according to NYC & Co. Another 18,960 rooms will join the already oversaturated market by 2020.

It seems we're going to have a major hotel-to-shelter conversion happening come 2020 when the city decides to bailout this industry. How many of these projects got zoning changes and variances for something the city doesn't need?

Monday, October 15, 2018

Joe Crowley trying to get back in the game

From the NY Post:

Veteran Rep. Joseph Crowley, defeated by newcomer Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez in a primary election that shocked the political world, is laying the groundwork for a comeback.

Crowley has formed a state campaign committee “Joe for NY,” and is holding a fundraiser Oct. 29 at the Fitzpatrick Grand Central Hotel in Manhattan, where the maximum suggested donation is $10,000.

According to an email sent to “Irish Americans & Friends Crowley” by Walter Swett of the firm Dynamic SRG, who is the Crowley committee’s campaign treasurer, the group was “established to position Joe for future opportunities in public service.”

Latest shelter news from Glendale, Ozone Park, Maspeth & Ridgewood

From the Queens Chronicle:

No one is saying for certain, but it appears that the on-again, off-again proposal to build a men’s homeless shelter at a vacant factory building on Cooper Avenue in Glendale is on hold, according to Councilman Bob Holden (D-Middle Village), who addressed a packed house at the Juniper Park Civic Association’s meeting on Sept. 20.

Holden said he received confirmation in July that negotiations were underway for a plan to erect a shelter at 78-16 Cooper Ave. The facility could house up to 200 beds, he said, the maximum number permitted by the city’s Department of Homeless Services.

At the time, according to Holden, DHS Commissioner Steven Banks told him that no contracts had been signed.

As things stand, Holden said Banks is open to discussing other possible locations for the shelter, leaving the Cooper Avenue site available for other purposes.

“I’m confident,” he told the estimated 150 concerned area residents in attendance. But, he added, “It’s not a definite. We have people who are ready to protest.”

He promised to “work out the political end on my part.”

“We’re getting close” to making a school happen, Holden said. “They just have to go through the [Department of Education]; they have to talk to other people.”

A school, he said, “seems more likely now, it’s safe to say, than a homeless shelter.” The comment elicited widespread applause from the crowd.

From QNS:

Assemblywoman Catherine Nolan said that rumors about a new homeless shelter in Maspeth has been confirmed to her office from an unknown source.

Nolan told QNS on Friday afternoon that the shelter could be placed at P.S. 9 on 57th Street — but other activists and politicians are holding their tongues. The assemblywoman also declined to disclose the identity of the source.

Although city officials have yet to confirm this, Nolan worries the de Blasio administration could act fast to divert students – many of whom are bused in – and place “hundreds” of homeless people in the building.

“I don’t want to see a homeless shelter on 57th Street, it’s an absolutely terrible location,” Nolan said. “The city hasn’t [followed through] on anything they said and we have homeless people in all the hotels in Long Island City on a small rotating basis. How many more area we going to take? I want to work with Councilman Holden, Assemblymen Barnwell and Miller… and I’m hoping we can all work together.”

In Maspeth, 57th Street only runs for about a block and a half between Flushing and Grand Avenues and is mostly lined with warehouses, about five row-houses as well as P.S. 9.

“When the city moves, it moves very quickly, and I don’t want to wake up next week and find beds in P. 9,” Nolan continued.

Nolan also spoke of concern about a potential shelter at Summerfield Street and Wyckoff Avenue in Ridgewood.

From the Queens Chronicle:

Ozone Park activist Sam Esposito made a Facebook post on Sunday evening in which he claimed a tentative victory in the Ozone Park Block Association’s crusade against the homeless shelter being constructed at the former Christ Evangelical Lutheran Church on 101st Avenue and 86th street. The shelter is being constructed to house 113 men with mental illness.

Esposito claimed that major work had stopped and that a change in plans by the city will be made public soon.

“In closing, nothing official has been announced yet, but all indications point to the fact that we are NOT getting the 113 men, and the whole idea of a shelter, in that location, right now, is up in the air,” the post says in part. “I sent out 2 letters, again, to the owners’ wives this week and I hope they will find it in their hearts to convince their husbands, to do something else with this site.”

Isaac McGinn of the Department of Homeless Services, however, said the city is going ahead with its plans to turn the church into a homeless shelter.

Sunday, October 14, 2018

Rally against Belmont proposal today

Hi Queens Crap,

Could you please write something on the proposed Belmont Arena project. This very large project is in Nassau County within walking distance to Queens will affect every surrounding community within miles of the arena. What they don’t tell you in this article is in addition to the 19,000 seat arena there is a 250 room hotel, a very large Retail Village (Mega mall) and NYRA is planning on making major renovations and changes to the race track. The project is to large, will create gridlock for miles, turn our residential streets into parking lots and devastate all the surrounding communities.

I am not a Islander fan but this project has very little to do with bringing the team back to Long Island. The Islanders will only use the arena 40-50 days a year. Between other events at the arena, racing at Belmont, seven days a week shopping at the mall we can expect easily an additional 30,000-40,000 people a day. Belmont Stakes day every day. Our communities are not against development at Belmont we are just asking for smart development.

There is a rally against the proposed arena on Sunday October 14th at 2:00PM on Hempstead Turnpike in front of the proposed site.



168-unit building to replace Astoria warehouse

From Queens Beans:

David Kronman of Astoria West LLC is working on a new Astoria project. The building will be addressed at 11-37 31st Avenue and it will be 91-feet tall and it will span over 110,000 square feet once completed. The designer for the project is Christopher Fogarty of Fogarty Finger Architecture. The development is a ground-up project set to replace an existing two-story building. There will be 168 residential units on site.

More affordable housing but less affordability

From Crains:

The city is building and preserving more affordable housing than ever, but federal programs remain the most effective tool for supporting the poorest households, according to a report released Thursday.

The Citizens Budget Commission analyzed a recent housing survey and found that around 44% of households pay more than 30% of their income in rent—after accounting for government subsidies such as the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program and Section 8 housing vouchers.

The 30% rule, the federal standard for being rent-burdened, is an imperfect measurement. High earners could spend a third of their income on rent and still have money left over for luxuries; but some low-income residents, who make up the lion's share of the rent-burdened, can be hard-pressed to pay for necessities if 30% of their earnings go toward rent.

As the report notes, many of the poorest residents spend an even higher percentage of income on housing. About 22% of city households, predominantly made up of low-income senior citizens and single parents, were found to be severely rent-burdened, meaning they devote more than half of every paycheck to rent.

Saturday, October 13, 2018

Lawsuit filed over rowdy group home

From PIX11:

Recording from their living room window, the Wlodys say they’re fed up with their neighbors. Right next door, sharing a wall with the Wlody’s in Howard Beach, is a group home for developmentally disabled adults, run by Birch Family Services.

Since 2013, the Wlodys say their home, once a sanctuary, turned to hell. They say thousands of photos and videos they’ve recorded themselves illustrate what occurs almost daily.

“It’s upsetting. It’s also traumatizing. The thuds, the crashes and the screaming that carries on for the longest time,” said Corinne Wlody.

The Wlodys say they have witnessed staff at the group home use abusive language and exhibit near violent behavior.

They say they’re concerned for the vulnerable residents and want the public and the families of the residents to know what is really happening behind closed doors.

Northern Blvd rework coming

From NBC:

Safety changes are on the way for a street that has been dubbed the new boulevard of death -- the Northern Boulevard in Queens.

Friday, October 12, 2018

Link NYC kiosks causing problems

From CBS 2:

More than 1,700 kiosks across the city offer free Wi-Fi calls and USB ports to charge devices.

But it turns out those ports are causing concern for some New Yorkers, who say the kiosks have become hangouts for the homeless, CBS2’s Reena Roy reported Wednesday.

Not a very good neighbor

From PIX11:

In a disturbing video posted on Facebook, a pack of dogs are seen running scared in a yard in Far Rockaway, Queens.

Their owner appears to verbally and physically abuse them on-camera, in broad daylight. It’s a scene too disturbing to show on television, but residents tell PIX11 it’s just another day at the Thursby Avenue home.

“He started beating all the dogs, I saw that the dogs were very skinny and bleeding,” Tamara Demkoff, a local animal advocate, described to PIX11.

Demkoff shot the disturbing video on her cell phone back in February. According to her, she’s one of many from the community who has pleaded with the dogs’ owner, identified as Terrance Alexis, to surrender the animals after receiving numerous complaints from neighbors.

“Everybody knows about this guy, but no one does anything about it because everybody is afraid of him,” she said.

Months after that video was taken, it appears the problems on the property have gotten worse.