Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Margery Perlmutter headed to BSA

From the NY Observer:

Mayor Bill de Blasio has tapped Margery Perlmutter, a land use attorney and architect, to be commissioner of the Board of Standards and Appeals — as well as swapping out a previous nominee for the Landmarks Preservation Commission due to potentials for her to recuse herself from votes.

Ms. Perlmutter’s name was submitted for approval to the City Council Monday night, the mayor’s office told the Observer, along with two picks for the LPC.

Ms. Perlmutter is a partner in the land use practice group at the law firm Bryan Cave LLP, where she helps shepherd clients through the city’s zoning and land uses processes, including the types of appeals she’ll soon oversee. She previously worked as an architect for two decades, and sits on the city’s Landmarks Preservation Commission. She did not respond immediately to a request for comment.

While it’s not the highest profile appointment, the BSA wields significant power — it can grant zoning variances, special permits, and reviews appeals to the determinations of the Department of Buildings.

The mayor’s office will also announce Tuesday two new nominations to the Landmarks Preservation Commission — and the rescinding of one prior nomination, Marcie Kesner. The firm where Ms. Kesner works, Kramer Levin, had enough clients with business before the city that there was concern she’d have to recuse herself from LPC votes often.

In the meantime, Mr. de Blasio has nominated Adi Shamir Baron and John Gustafsson for spots on the LPC.

Sand unswept in Far Rockaway

"Today, went to Beach 20th Street in Far Rockaway. Was oddly amused with the amount of sand on the boardwalk. As a lifelong resident of the Rockaways, I am acutely aware that at this point in time we have nothing else going for us except the beach. As you know, the city keeps dumping everything thay can imagine in the Rockaways. This particluar mound, which is one of four, is the largest and has been growing for the past two months. It's located nearby to senior buldings. The old folks have to navigate around the mounds along with the cyclists, joggers and beachgoers. I guess the parks department is too busy harassing beachgoers walking dogs and enjoying themselves than to sweep up the mess." - anonymous

Weekend park slobs leave a lot of mess

From PIX11:

Caring for NYC Parks is big and dirty job. After a weekend of summer fun, NYC Parks Department crews pick up an estimated 120 tons of litter and garbage.

After a recent number of improvement projects in parks across the borough, the city and neighbors want to keep things looking nice.

Elmhurst protests Pan Am; DHS takes kids to dinner & a movie

From COMET Civic:

Photos of Pan Am homeless shelter protest:

Videos of Pan Am homeless shelter protest:

In the meantime, the DHS took the kids to a movie and then to a restaurant that had been shut down by DOH a couple of times in the past few years. Your tax dollars at work!

This field trip was supposedly to protect them from "hatred". If you can find the hatred in the above photos/videos, then please let me know. I think the only people hated here are the owners of the Pan Am and leaders of DHS who lied to the community about their intentions.

I'm sure it's also a coincidence that the spot they were taken to is not only Asian, but a hop, skip and jump from the proposed Glendale shelter?

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Sometimes the photos already have the perfect caption

And here I thought Jerkfest was that fundraiser they have where the pols sing and dance and make bad jokes.

Astoria Cove developers offer more affordable units

From DNA Info:

The developers behind a plan to build thousands of new apartments on Astoria's waterfront said this week that the project will include 345 affordable units, up slightly from their last proposal but still short of what local leaders want for the development.

2030 Astoria Developers said last month they were working to increase the number of affordable housing units in their Astoria Cove proposal — five mixed-use buildings with nearly 1,700 apartments on a portion of the Hallets Point peninsula.

The developers — a group of investors which includes Alma Realty — had last proposed 295 affordable units, which attorney Howard Weiss said accounted for 20 percent of the residential floor area of the development’s waterfront parcel (three buildings) but only 17 percent of the entire project.

He says they’re now applying the city’s Inclusionary Housing Program to the entire site, including two other buildings, which will result in 345 affordable units, or 20 percent of the entire project.

That still falls short of the 35 percent Community Board 1 requested of the project last month, when the board presented a list of stipulations to the developer following a lengthy public hearing the week before, where a number of speakers said they were worried about affordability.

Rally in the works to bring Civic Virtue back to borough hall

From the Forum:

Time has not put a damper on the fight to bring Civic Virtue back to Kew Gardens and advocates said they were planning a major rally for the cause.

Richard Iritano, leader of the Civic Virtue Task Force, said he and his team were making hundreds of phone calls and emails to organize one a massive effort against the removal of the historic statue and call for its immediate return to the front of Borough Hall. After months of waiting for letters of support and other commitments from Queens elected officials, Iritano said he was ready to press forward alone if he needed to.

“We want this to be a democratic process and so far, we’re not getting any cooperation,” Iritano said. “Where are the letters of support? We will move ahead with this rally with or without them.”

Now, the activist said he hoped to see those same elected officials come back to supporting the cause as he and his task force assemble another massive rally for next month.

“The consensus has long been established. We want it back,” Iritano said. “There still seems to be all these delays and stall tactics coming from those in office.”

Robert LoScalzo, a documentary filmmaker and member of the task force, learned through a Freedom of Information Law Request that $49,464 city dollars went towards the restoration work of the statue and another $49,801 paid for its transportation.

Queens BP & Council Member "forgot" to fund Brinckerhoff Cemetery acquisition

A lot of money went to crap. None of it was allocated for the purchase of the Brinckerhoff Cemetery, which has a paltry asking price of $150,000. And now the owner is threatening to ask for a hardship in order to get the Landmarks Commission's decision overturned.

Way to go, Melinda Katz & Rory Lancman!

Monday, July 21, 2014

College Point finally seawall set for repairs

From the Queens Chronicle:

The long-neglected crumbling seawall at MacNeil Park in College Point is slated for restoration beginning next summer.

That’s the word from the Parks Department on the $2.5 million project that will involve reconstructing the most damaged portions of the esplanade and seawall, to include a step-down at the jetty, a fishing overlook and beach-kayak access.

The projects design is complete and the city agency is getting ready to submit the plans to the state Department of Environmental Conservation for approval, according to Parks spokesman Philip Abramson.

“It’s a long time coming,” said Community Board 7 Parks Committee Chairwoman Kim Ohanian. “It’s great, but it’s a project that needs to get done.”

Marilyn Bitterman, district manager of CB 7, said that the project has been on their budget request list since 1993. “They are constantly doing maintenance work on the seawall, but it’s only a stop gap measure.”

Additional fencing has been erected by the city and warning signs put up to protect the public. Sinkholes that have appeared on the path around the park have been patched with asphalt, but the surface is uneven.

CVS = Crappy Vile Store

I've written about conditions at CVS stores before. Now, every parking lot strip at their Fresh Pond Road store has disintegrated, making it look pretty bad. CVS certainly has the money to keep their properties in tip top condition, so there's no excuse for this.

Things not looking good for Mount Manresa

From NY1:

Despite protests and pleas to save it, demolition will soon begin at an historic Jesuit retreat center on Staten Island.

The Committee to Save Mount Manresa says homeowners in the area have received letters stating that work is set to begin, tearing down buildings on the 15-acre site.

The letter says Expedite Demo Inc. has been issued permits, and the demolition should take about two or four weeks.

The property houses an old water tower, a gate from the 1860s and a 1920s-era chapel and grotto.

A restraining order against the developers was rescinded back in April.

Don't worry, I'm sure those Staten Island pols, who are just about as useful as Queens pols, will step in any day now...

Tell us something we don't know

From The Forum:

As many political experts have pointed out, the questions surrounding the long-standing dominance and subsequent effects of party politics have never been easy to answer – perhaps because they are as varied and complex as Queens itself.

Some in the borough contended that dominant parties make it more difficult for political neophytes to enter the fray while others said that the traditional political machines have made strides to better represent Queens’ diverse and ever-growing population.

“Newcomers to politics often find it challenging to mount competitive campaigns for state elections due to the difficulty of raising funds without institutional support,” said Rachael Fauss, director of public policy for Citizens Union (CU). “The backing of the party continues to play a large role in elections, often making or breaking campaigns for office. And absent reforms to the state’s campaign finance system, voters will continue to have few choices at the polls.”

In 2011, a 22-year-old Queens student’s quest to run as an independent for retiring Assemblywoman Nettie Mayersohn’s seat was dashed when the city’s board of elections ruled that a technicality invalidated more than 1,500 signatures the student had collected. The party nomination was ultimately given to Michael Simanowitz, a former aide to Mayersohn.

In fact, statistics from CU underscored that when comparing state elections with city elections, voters have fewer choices, due to the strength of the city’s public matching system.

Some of the troubling stats showed that 21 percent of all state legislative contests in New York City went uncontested in both the primary and general elections in four cycles between 2006 and 2012 while only 8 percent of races were uncontested for the City Council during the three cycles between 2005 and 2013.

And, in primaries with incumbents, fewer than 20 percent of state legislative primaries in the city had three or more candidates from 2006 to 2012, while 59 percent of city council primaries had three or more candidates from 2005 to 2013.

Another parking pad turned garden!

From Cleanup Jamaica Queens:

Here is a somewhat bright spot in Jamaica. The apartment building at 88-23 170th which for years was using the sidewalk and side of the building for illegal parking spaces while no one did anything about it (till Sgt Cedillo and The Untouchables from the 103rd precinct stepped in) has made a complete turnaround.

Instead of a shitty-looking illegal parking space which destroyed all of the grass and just made a mess of this area, it has instead been transformed into a garden with a variety of vegetables and complete with a white picket fence. Nice, something that rarely is seen in these neck of the woods because the powers to be allow people here to do whatever the hell they want without consequences.

Kudos to Sgt. Cedillo and The Untouchable for enforcing the law, a round of applause for the owner of the building (shitty that is is) for putting something desirable in this spot and a big fuck you to the elected leaders and community board #12 for constantly doing so little with these types of issues that go on all over Jamaica.