Thursday, October 27, 2016

Students help the ecosystem of Jamaica Bay

From CBS 2:

It’s a new day for Jamaica Bay. Hundreds of volunteers will spend a week digging in to help shore up the coastline.

As CBS2’s Vanessa Murdock reported, their efforts may make the area more storm-resistant and keep local wildlife thriving.

Over one week, 400 volunteers will shovel the shoreline of the Jamaica Bay Wildlife Refuge to make room for 10,000 native trees and shrubs. They’re plant now to create a more resilient coast in the future.

“Our world is changing, sea level is rising. We’re having increased flooding in areas that were drier than before.” Chief of Resource Stewardship, Gateway National Recreation Area, Patti Rafferty said, “Sandy produced a surge of nearly 8.5-ft in Jamaica Bay – caused big problems for the ecosystem.”

Rafferty said the beach was breached. What was a freshwater source for hundreds of species of birds became brackish. Trees were uprooted, plants died, and invasive species took over.

Now, volunteers – led by the National Park Service, Jamaica Bay Rockaway Parks Conservancy, and the Nature Conservancy are taking it back.

They’re making room for natives like juniper and pitch pine.

East Elmhurst protests new shelter in their community

Last night members of East Elmhurst and Corona held a protest outside the Marriott Courtyard, just outside LaGuardia Airport. The area already has several shelters and hotels serving as shelters. They were joined by protesters from Elmhurst and Maspeth and announced that they are joining forces.

Stay tuned, folks.

Wednesday, October 26, 2016

East Elmhurst up in arms over plethora of shelters

I can't wait to see the propaganda video that results from this one!

Clerk rules that developers aren't lobbyists

From Crains:

The Office of the City Clerk, which regulates lobbying activities in the city, issued an advisory opinion to clarify "fuzzy" language from a 2013 update that had design professionals wondering if applying for permits from the Department of Buildings counted as lobbying. The clarification effectively exempts those activities. "It's very important for them to know if they are following the letter of the law," said Hannah O'Grady, vice president of the American Council of Engineering Companies of New York, a trade organization representing a wide variety of engineers who had sought guidance from the city this spring.

The lobbying law was designed as a transparency measure to disclose who is attempting to influence government. In the development world, developers and property owners—along with the architects, engineers, code consultants or other professionals they hire—are technically trying to persuade government employees in the DOB to grant permits. But Monday's advisory opinion states that any communication with the DOB "relating to the issue of permits, approvals or other construction-related documents" is not considered a lobbying activity.

The clarification was welcomed by O'Grady, but the development community is still waiting for guidance on other portions of the 2013 update. Specifically, the law is still unclear about whether architects who shepherd major projects and rezonings through the city's public review process would need to register as lobbyists. Engineers who perform environmental analyses to see whether these initiatives will have an adverse impact on the existing community are similarly confused.

Tuesday, October 25, 2016

Still no explanation for Bill's magical helicopter ride

From the Daily News:

Ten days after Mayor de Blasio took a helicopter ride from Brooklyn to Queens, his office still refuses to explain what he was doing on that fateful Friday and why he needed to fly between boroughs.

The Daily News is calling on our readers to help solve the case of the airbound mayor. We're asking anyone who has any information to please email the News at

His schedule isn’t much of a help.

Hizzoner had an 8:30 a.m. appearance at the Association for a Better New York breakfast in Midtown Manhattan, and called into a radio show at 10:30 a.m.

There’s nothing else on the schedule to explain why he was in Brooklyn and needed to take a chopper to his 6:30 p.m. speech at the opening of the New Electrical Industry Training Center in Long Island City.

His office won’t say what he was doing, except that he wasn’t at the Prospect Park YMCA, his favorite hangout, and that he was at a series of meetings in Brooklyn.

Why did he take a helicopter? Because he could.

Bioswale blunder in Maspeth

From CBS 2:

A city project intended to help the environment has a Queens resident upset over the destruction it has caused in front of her home.

As CBS2’s Valerie Castro reported, the project has cost the woman thousands of dollars.

“They destroyed the concrete,” said Jeanette Romano of Maspeth. “Destroyed it, destroyed it.”

Romano is not happy about the city’s recent installment of a rain garden in her sidewalk – a sidewalk she said she has paid to repair before.

“We got a notice to fix the sidewalk, which we did,” Romano said. “A year later, they came and broke it up to put a tree in, cracking all the sidewalk.”

Romano said after the tree was installed, she paid more money to repair the damage and spruce up the spot with concrete bricks.

As for the total cost, Romano said, “I can’t even tell you – thousands.”

A year later, the bricks were torn out for the rain garden, which will be made up of stones, soil and plants.

“It’s terrible. It’s absolutely terrible,” Romano said. “Every time I come out, I get very anxious and upset about this.”

The rain garden, or bioswale, on Romano’s block is one of hundreds installed across the city by the Department of Environmental Protection to keep dirty runoff water out of sewers and protect natural waterways.

The DEP said residents are given notice when a bioswale is going in, but it is not something a resident can choose to avoid.

Being mobilized helps

From DNA Info:

The low-income communities of the Lower East Side and the Rockaways both suffered extensive damage from Superstorm Sandy four years ago.

But advocates on the Lower East Side were able to engage more effectively in post-storm resiliency efforts than their counterparts in Queens because they already had a robust network of community activism in place from years of fighting gentrification, according to a recently published study from the John Jay College of Criminal Justice & the Graduate Center.

Researchers focused on the role of community organizations and being able to respond to the “climate change politics” of the city, which is increasingly important as the frequency of storms is expected to rise along with rising sea levels, noted Leigh Graham, John Jay environmental psychology professor and lead author of the study.

While both areas have high concentrations of public housing residents and low-income households, the Lower East Side’s pre-existing civic infrastructure of community based organizations and social services fighting against development pressures enabled residents to recover more quickly, according to researchers who spent six months interviewing community groups in the area and 18 months in the Rockaways.

The Rockaways, on the other hand, were at a disadvantage, not only because the area is more geographically isolated on the far edge of the city, but also because it’s more racially and economically segregated.

There’s a high concentration of poverty along the eastern part of the peninsula where the residents have suffered from decades of economic “malaise,” which in effect weakened and undermined their post-storm response, researchers found.

“The Lower East Side and the Rockaways had similar levels of exposure in terms of storm flooding,” Graham said, “but the Lower East Side groups were basically a partner in a lot of the resiliency efforts after the storm, in part because residents, who live there, have been fighting gentrification for 30 to 40 years and established a level of organization, trust and power, that they were able to get a seat at the table as important stakeholders.”

Community groups on the Rockaways did not have the same level of organization prior to the storm and remain more focused on meeting present economic needs than on pursing long-term resilience planning, she noted.