Wednesday, January 31, 2007

Queen Angers Her Subjects

Melinda Katz, coronated Queen of all that is Queens Crap on the first of this year, is ending the first month of her reign with a bang. MTA employees are saying she decided that she wanted parking in front of her office for her employees, so she asked for a bus stop to be moved, to the chagrin of her senior constituents. This sounds very Queen-like:

Seniors slam stop change on Q23 route

"My four staff members?" Katz responded, adding that only two of her four full-time district office employees, plus one part-timer, drive to work.

Hmmm...That's 3 spaces, Mel. The bus stop took up 4.

Did she or didn't she? Who knows? But this is what happens when hearings are not held and agencies do whatever the hell they feel like doing without public input.

Coney Island Developer's Threat

Don't you love how developers play the city like a violin? "Let me build exactly what I want, or I won't build anything!"

CITY THREAT TO BEACH CONEY ISLAND REVAMP

Wanna put money down on whether or not the city caves?

Photo from brooklyn.net

Another Construction Death

Another worker has died while doing construction because of his contractor's lack of safety precautions at the site:

Worker Killed in Fall

This story was buried in the NY Times. Later, it was reported on 1010wins.com. QC couldn't find mention of the incident in online versions of other area newpapers.

2nd Avenue Subway: maybe, maybe not


Will the 2nd Avenue subway be built at the expense of smaller but equally important projects?

Rising Costs Put New York Transit Projects at Risk of Delay

"Mr. Russianoff said he was concerned that officials might push ahead with such high-profile undertakings while sacrificing some of the smaller projects needed to keep the transit system in good shape, like buying new subway and rail cars and making station repairs."

Yes, Gene, it looks like they are pushing ahead: Second Ave. subway dig to begin in March

How far do you think they'll get before they say they have no money and stop?

Lots O'Landmarks

The LPC must be very proud of itself this morning:

TWO ITALIAN GOTHIC-STYLE ROMAN CATHOLIC CHURCHES IN HARLEM DECLARED NEW YORK CITY LANDMARKS

SEVEN OF STATEN ISLAND’S 19TH -CENTURY RESIDENCES AND COMMERCIAL PROPERTIES PLACED ON THE PATH TO LANDMARK DESIGNATION

COMMISSIONERS GRANT LANDMARKS STATUS TO THE FORMER HORN & HARDART AUTOMAT ON MANHATTAN’S UPPER WEST SIDE

The Day They Talked About Landmarking a Topless Bar

And a city council subcommittee unanimously approved the designation of 2 Upper East Side buildings. Hey guess what? Queens has lots of tenements older than 1915.

Coming Soon: Another House Too Narrow

The Ridgewood Gardens is a housing development which was built in the 1930s in Maspeth on what is referred to as the Ridgewood Plateau. A step street descends from 65th Place down to 64th Street.

Along this step street is Maspeth's only official landmark - a lamppost that the city forgot to remove back in the day. It's covered in graffiti and there is trash strewn all around it. Isn't it wonderful that the oldest community in Queens has nothing more than a beaten up lamppost as a landmark?

A small sliver of privately owned land is sandwiched between the step street with the lamppost and the Ridgewood Gardens complex. For decades, it sat vacant, but recently submitted plans call for a 3-family house to be built on a 15-foot wide lot. Yes, that's right - the lot is 15 feet wide, so you can imagine how narrow the house will be.
The builder of this property at 64-05 53rd Avenue says that the proposed house will be 3,677 Sq. Ft. City Planning's info for this property is:


Lot Area: 3,326 Sq. Ft.
Lot Frontage: 15'
Lot Depth: 221.75'

This means that they will probably build on property that is not theirs.

Furthermore, this is an R4 zone, and in R4 zones, according to DCP:

"Detached residences are limited to lots with a minimum of 3,800 square feet in area, and a minimum lot width of 40 feet."

So why was this application approved?

Last week, inspectors visited the site and a stop-work order was placed upon the property. We'll see how long that lasts.

Tuesday, January 30, 2007

Curbed on the Crapper

Hard to believe that this one got past the Crapper:

Meet the Queens Crapper

Notice the nasty comments from Curbed's "too-cool-for-Queens" audience.

Thanks to K.W. for bringing this oversight to our attention.

Brooklyn Matters

Brooklyn Matters is a documentary that chronicles the struggle of people to save their neighborhood from the Atlantic Yards project. The film will be screened at several locations over the next month. Crappy encourages you to watch. Hopefully the film will make its way across the border soon. Heck, maybe we'll even sponsor it!

Photo from brooklynmatters.com

There's also a "Laugh, Don't Destroy" comedy benefit for DDDB's legal fund scheduled for February 6th in Park Slope. These are real Brooklynites. The kind that dig their heels in and fight. They aren't lame-ass poseurs like Marty Markowitz. (Oy vey, Marty, your shtick has worn itself out!)

Poster thumbnail from DDDB's website

Quinn Hearing Tonight

Looks like tonight's hearing on budget priorities was changed to a more publicly accessible location. Could it be that City Hall reads Queens Crap?

Queens
Tuesday, January 30th
Event Time: 7:00pm
York College Performing Arts Center
Little Theater
94-45 Guy R. Brewer Boulevard
Jamaica, New York

Did any civic groups receive notification of this? Mine didn't. I guess there are some people they just would rather not hear from.

A Dirty Rat

Get this:

A woman was so afraid that her newborn would be bitten by rats in his crib that she took the baby to bed with her to protect him. Unfortunately, she accidentally suffocated him instead.

The building's owner lives in Trump Tower in White Plains and said he didn't know there were rats in his building. The Housing Preservation Department says the building has 378 open violations, including 20 for rodent infestation:

NYC mom, fending off rats, accidentally suffocates baby

The slumlord owner of this building needs to go away for a long, long time.

More $$$$ for Ratner

For the amount of money the city is kicking in for Atlantic Yards, it could have bought a number of historic properties on the endangered list, hired more staff at city planning, DOB, LPC...sorry to sound like a broken record.

CITY DOUBLE-COVER$ B'KLYN ARENA

Bloomberg Adding $226 million for Nets, Mets, Yanks?

Update on 88th Road Homes

From R.S.D.:

It's pretty ironic that a developer that seemed to do everything wrong is now selling the homes through a realty agent called "Do-Right Realty."

Notice the gas pipes in front that are extremely rusted.

After pressure from several local civic leaders and Senator Padavan, the developer has been forced to re-do the curbs in front to the version that was originally approved. Sorry, no more special curbs cuts for the monster SUVs.

This was one of the buildings featured in the original post called "Narrowminded," and a follow-up post called, "Revisiting 'The House Too Narrow.'" The permits for this house, and the one to its left, were both revoked by the DOB commissioner. So how is it that they are being sold?

Monday, January 29, 2007

District Disparity

The Municipal Art Society published a map which shows where individual landmarks are throughout the city and in which council districts they may be found.

New York City Landmarks and City Council Districts

3 council members have no landmarks whatsoever in their districts. 2 out of those 3 are in Queens.

LIC Renaissance Man

This one's from the NY Sun. We're sure he means well:

Activist Shapes Renaissance in Long Island City

"Unlike community leaders in other fast-changing neighborhoods, Mr. Baard welcomes towers, like the new 15-story office building by Citigroup, and three new condo complexes, the highest rising to 20 stories, that are on the way. 'They are efficient in terms of land use and energy use,' he said."

So is nuclear power.

Photo from LIC Community Boathouse

What's going on at the NY Times?

From a concerned Flushing resident:

"At the beginning of January, I noticed construction equipment being moved onto the New York Times printing plant property in the College Point Corporate Park. I called up City Councilman Tony Avella's office and was told that the councilman was unaware of any new construction and would look into it.

I then began an online search and although it was difficult to find out what was about to happen, I discovered that the Times was closing its New Jersey printing facility and is bringing all of its operations to Queens.

NYT picks Goss for College Point expansion

N.Y. Times to reduce page size, close plant and cut 1,050 jobs

Cutbacks At The New York Times: Shrinking Pages And Slashing Jobs

I believe that 800 jobs are being shifted to the College Point facility. While at the outset this may appear to be a benefit to the New York City economy, the impacts on environment and quality of life would be an affront to the people of north Queens who are already frustrated by the current overdevelopment and traffic in the area, especially on the Whitestone Expressway. With this new expansion, there will be many more delivery, supply, and service vehicles added to the mix. I placed additional calls to Councilman Avella's office and posted a video on YouTube so that they could see the construction activity which now includes piles being driven in starting at 7 a.m.!



When I did not receive any further communication from Councilman Avella's office, I then called Community Board #7 on January 19th to see what they knew of this addition to the College Point Corporate Park. Apparently I took the office by surprise. I found that the community board has an agreement with the New York City Economic Development Corporation, the agency that oversees the corporate park, that no new construction would be allowed without a review by the board, and clearly this had not occurred. The board sent a fax on the 19th to stop the construction until a meeting takes place. As of this writing, no meeting has been planned and the construction proceeds at a fever's pitch.



Where is the oversight? I requested to see copies of environmental reviews and traffic studies but no information has been put forth. The property sits on top of and adjacent to federally protected wetlands.

Also, why was there no public hearing or announcement? A few years ago, the Times added 4 external electrical generators for power generation during brownouts and blackouts and they placed a small ad in a local paper inviting the public in for comment. My next door neighbor and I attended, along with a representative from Councilman Avella's office. The turnout was low.



This expansion is much larger and I am disturbed by the way both the New York City Economic Development Corporation and the New York Times have gone behind the backs of the community. I also contacted State Senator Frank Padavan's office and they also were surprised by the news I related to them. It was only two years ago that this community fought off another big project proposed by the EDC that would have increased traffic and pollution in this section of Queens. It is my opinion that this is an affront that needs to be addressed immediately before construction is completed.

I have been informed that the NY Times bought the property from New York City and can do anything they want on it. This is a dangerous precedent and I can see the EDC allowing other large corporate entities to expand or create facilities without public oversight or review in other locations throughout the city.



This is an issue that must be addressed now or the needs of the citizens of this city will take a backseat to greedy corporate needs. For example, why hasn't anyone noticed that the Mets' new corporate stadium will seat 12,000 fewer fans than the stadium it is replacing? Shea Stadium may be old but its history and tradition will soon be a fond memory.

I think that the real issue here is who owns New York City? Where are the elected officials who took an oath to protect and defend the communities that they represent? I feel that I no longer have a voice in issues involving health and quality of life.

Queens was, as I recall, the bedroom borough where people who worked in Manhattan could retire to their peaceful homes and communities. Commercial and residential construction is proceeding with little or no master plan and it will be up to future generations to try and figure it all out. What a shame."

Bloomberg: Ending Self-Certification is a Bad Idea

Mayor Bloomberg is concerned that David Weprin's bill might hurt the bottom lines of his friends in the real estate industry:

Plan To Monitor Homebuilders Could Hinder Development, Mayor Says

Yes, Your Honor, that's the point!

Photo from audacity.org

The Big Squeeze

This report was written 8 years ago, but most of the findings are still relevant today:

The Big Squeeze

This particular passage jumped off the screen:

"The development Queens West is one example of the city's short-sighted land use policy. In the early 90s, city and state government and the Port Authority joined forces to develop the waterfront at Hunter's Point - a stone's throw from Long Island City - with residential units, retail establishments and a private tennis club. The project went forward at a time when the city's economy was in a slump and there was no significant demand for industrial space. If that land were available today, it would be ideal for industrial expansion. While the impetus behind Queens West was understandable, the city was left without a large well-located industrial site once the economy picked up and demand for that type of space grew."

Unfortunately, our city never learns from its past mistakes and thus redevelopment of industrial space for residential use continues.

Demolition Review Legislation

Wouldn't it be nice if NYC adopted legislation proposed by the National Trust for Historic Preservation that says that any building older than 50 years of age must be reviewed by a preservation commission?

Protecting Potential Landmarks Through Demolition Review

It will never happen, however, because the City Council has been bought with real estate money and the LPC never came across a Queens building that it felt should be spared from the bulldozer. Any effort to stop the destruction of our borough is always quickly squelched.

More on the forced gentrification of LIC

East Coast LIC

"LIC is a community of contrasts and transformation - landmarked brownstone blocks, smokestacks, converted lofts, galleries and waterfront parks - all features that have attracted a growing number of people."

CORRECTIONS TO ABOVE STATEMENT:
There is one landmarked block in LIC.
The famous smokestacks were dismantled to make way for the yuppie invasion.
There is one waterfront park in LIC that the newcomers might want to venture into, and that is Gantry State Plaza. The others are Socrates Sculpture Park (nestled against a Costco), Rainey Park (surrounded by factories), and Queens Bridge Park (across the street from the projects).
Note the conspicuous absence of people of color on this website. These newcomers are the ones who are supposedly going to "revitalize" Queens and drive out the Archie Bunker culture. Yet they are the types who don't want to mingle amongst people with a variety of backgrounds. At least that's what the marketing seems to be saying.
________________________________________________________

Fusion LIC

"Just outside Manhattan and far beyond expectations."

TRANSLATION: It's in Queens, so we realize you are expecting it to be a dump. But we added a bunch of bells and whistles and called it "luxury" housing and will convince you that you are smart for paying 845K for a studio apartment when the rest of the borough pays about 1/4 of that for the same thing.

"Breathtaking views of the Manhattan skyline."

TRANSLATION: Live here and gaze upon where you really want to be living.

"Floor-to-ceiling sound resistant windows."

TRANSLATION: Perfect for those exhibitionists and attention-seekers who want to show off their collection of expensive toys.

Photo from Curbed.

Catering Crap

50-21 69th Street, Woodside. This was a row of small warehouses & auto shops. Soon it will be a behemoth catering hall.
Work is done here on the weekends without a special permit. Also, permits for alterations (ALT1) were applied for and granted by DOB, yet demolition, excavation and the pouring of a new foundation were all conducted here. There is only a small section of the previous building's wall left, incorporated into the new piece of crap.

Sunday, January 28, 2007

Rundown Republican Club

Nancy Cataldi, president of the Richmond Hill Historical Society, fears that one of Queens' few landmarks, the Richmond Hill Republican Club, is in danger of collapsing:

Where Dignitaries Spoke, Bad Beams and Frail Walls

Vibrations from the demolition of the adjacent Simonson's Funeral Home are putting the structure in imminent peril.

LPC won't make Richmond Hill an historic district and doesn't seem to care if its individual landmarks fall down. By the way, this is in our friend Pinky's council district, and he is supposedly a Republican. What is he doing about this?

Photo from NY Times

Pfizer leaving, but still giving back

The NY Times reports on the sad reality that Pfizer is forced to leave Brooklyn, taking 600 jobs with it. However, it is not abandoning the community it first moved into in 1849:

Pfizer’s Birthplace, Soon Without Pfizer

We know many companies have left Queens, but are there any that have continued to do good deeds in the communities they left behind?

Nassau could give NYC a lesson in preservation

Our eastern neighbor has come up with a very smart way to preserve green space and curb overdevelopment:

"The county has $100 million in voter-approved funds to spend on land preservation and other environmental projects, and it wants the public to help make a shopping list."

"In all, 260 nominations were received for the 2004 funds and eight open-space parcels, totaling 118 acres, were bought or are being acquired."

Nassau residents asked to nominate parcels, projects for preservation

Kind of like Bloomberg's 2030 initiative, except that in Nassau, it seems to be more than just hype.

And speaking of forced gentrification...


Stories of some of the people who currently live in the Atlantic Yards vicinity and those who wish to obtain an "affordable apartment" after it's built.

Brooklyn's basketball city evokes fear, hope amid gentrification

Don't hold your breath, guys. You'll probably be priced out of the city before ground is even broken for those apartments.

Graphic from Develop Don't Destroy: Brooklyn.

"LIC? What a Dump!"

In case you had any doubts about what the Manhattan crowd thinks of Queens, the NY Post is here to set the record straight:

THE LONG WAY HOME


"WHY the hell are you moving there?"

"It was like they were thinking, 'Oh dear, they must not be doing well at all to be moving over there.'"


It also proves that the gentrification of Long Island City is not a natural event, but something forced upon Queens in order to prevent Manhattan yuppies with children from moving across the other river and taking their city and state tax payments with them.

Which is Worse?

A question for all those out there: Which is worse: Junk Food or Junk Houses?
The space next to the McDonald's on Grand Avenue in Maspeth was once a small parking lot. Now it contains a Fedders specimen that fronts on two streets.

Saturday, January 27, 2007

Cuomo Cuffs Contractors

"For too long, these unscrupulous contractors have failed to pay the prevailing wage on New York City Housing Authority housing developments," Attorney General Andrew Cuomo said in a statement. "We will not allow contractors to place millions of dollars in their pockets by exploiting their workers and the agencies for which they perform work."

Contractors Admit Stealing Millions From Workers in NYC Housing

A Case of Crap

The detective in the NY Times photo above is staking out people milking the rent regulation system. Apparently they live in a piece of Queens Crap:

Illegal Sublets Put Private Eyes on the Case

Queens? Where is that?

Check out all the landmarks in Queens proposed for calendaring on the LPC's 1/30 agenda!

Historic Districts Council Newsstand: Potential Landmarks to be Calendared on Tuesday

(Yes, the Crapper is being facetious.)

Well there is one. The house pictured at 41-45 240th Street in Douglaston. Alterations include: an enclosed porch with windows and door inset and a one-story wing on the south fa├žade.

You mean this one hasn't been "altered beyond recognition?" Why is that?

Photo from Douglaston/Little Neck Historical Society.

City Coffers Overflowing

Mayor Mike announced that we have a surplus budget exceeding even his expectations due to his strategy to surrender the city to the real estate industry. Photo from NY Sun.

Bloomberg Cautious Even as City Records $3.9B Surplus

With all that extra money, we could buy St. Saviour's, the Klein Farm, give more staff to the LPC, DOB, DPC...oh who are we kidding, those things would benefit Queens and that's not on the agenda!

Laments in the Ledger

All of these articles appear in this week's Times Ledger:

Playground cut from Sunnyside plan


VA shows plan to redo hospital but no blueprint for vacant land

Hotel building stirs anger

Jamaica landlord listed among city's 12 worst

Bloomy's property tax plan draws criticism in boro

Photo of St. Albans VA from Dept. of Veterans Affairs

A picture worth a thousand words

Mr. "From the Neighborhood, For the Neighborhood" has let his neighborhood go to hell. Just take a gander at his next-door neighbors. Yes these beauties lie in the shadow of the 7 train on Roosevelt Avenue, next to Mr. Gioia's campaign office. Just after they were built, "FTN x 2" high-tailed it to a luxury condo on the Long Island City waterfront. For it's more important to mix with people who might help you further your political career than to live amongst the feudal masses who elected you.

Friday, January 26, 2007

Tour of the Ridgewood Reservoir

If you have 28 minutes to spare, watch North Shore Magazine's interesting narrated tour of the Brooklyn Waterworks, which starts in Massapequa and ends at the Ridgewood Reservoir:

Brooklyn Water Works: How the Thirsty City of Brooklyn Got Its Water

The Ridgewood Reservoir is to be converted into a public park and nature preserve as per a 2004 announcement by Mayor Bloomberg and Parks Commissioner Adrian Benepe.

Dominick Now Domiciled!

Saved! Carroll Gardens codger finds a home

Builders seek weaker immigration laws

Yep, it looks like the redlining of Queens neighborhoods for new immigrants is indeed the plan, as evidenced by this piece in the NY Times:

Building Boom May Mean Jobs Can’t All Be Filled, Report Says

"According to the report, 72 percent of all of the city’s construction workers live in the city, most in Brooklyn and Queens, while most real estate workers live in Manhattan and most building services workers live in Staten Island and Queens."

Oh no! Let's open the floodgates so we have enough people willing to help make developers wealthier. Just cram 'em in Queens. DOB and city planning will help.

Photo from USA Today.

Inside Tierney's World


The New York Times today profiles Robert Tierney, Chair of the Landmarks Preservation Commission:

Distinguishing the Remarkable From the Merely Old

Some excerpts:

"Mr. Tierney was appointed commission chairman by Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg in 2003 despite his lack of a formal education in architecture or urban planning."

"Economic viability, he notes, has to be factored into landmark decisions."
____________________________________________________

The Landmarks Preservation Commission has been working overtime over the last few months to designate buildings in Crown Heights.

Doesn't the George and Susan B. Elkins House look like any of a few hundred houses left here in Queens? Maybe the key is to allow all but one to be obliterated, then LPC will landmark it.

Yes, Crown Heights North would make a nice historic district. So would "the finely detailed mansions, churches and other structures built during the 19th and 20th centuries" in Richmond Hill.

It's a proven fact that residential property values increase with designation. So is there a plan to gentrify this part of Brooklyn at the expense of landmark-worthy properties of Queens?

How to Save Street Trees

Since the topic has been a hot one lately, QC thought we would offer our tips for saving street trees from developers' chainsaws.

1) If you think a street tree is in danger, take a photo of it. This will serve as a "before" photo, a valuable piece of evidence.
2) If you see workers cutting down a tree illegally, don't call 311. Call the borough's forestry office at (718) 699-4289. These are Parks Police Officers, they have the power of arrest and will be dispatched to the scene.
3) Write down the name and address of the contractor removing the tree, if available, (it may be on the construction fence or truck) and take a photo of the crime in progress. The officers will use these to track down the offenders if they have left the scene.
4) You may be asked to sign an affidavit of what you saw if the perpetrators were gone upon the officers' arrival. Your name does not appear on it and you just have to sign your initials. The officers will visit you at home, you won't even have to go to their headquarters. This will be used in court. You may also be asked to testify in person, but this very rarely happens because the developer doesn't bother to fight the fine.

NYPD & DOB: Working Together

Last week in Middle Village, there was a meeting to discuss how the DOB is working with the NYPD to enforce stop work orders:

Residents: Lots Of Talk, Little Action On Buildings

Policing Development: DOB to Travel with NYC Sheriffs

104th cracks down on illegal building

Will this new tactic work any better? Crappy isn't holding his breath.

Photo from Queens Chronicle.

When Less is More

53-02 68th Street in Maspeth - a store that's off the beaten path. Hey, what's that in the backyard?
It looks like a ranch house or something.
Actually, it's an "addition" as per the permit issued by the DOB. Aren't there requirements for yard space?
Interesting how there is a staircase leading to a basement door in the addition.

Thursday, January 25, 2007

The Councilman doth protest too much, methinks!

"Each site has a history that goes back nearly 150 years."

Hey Pinky, Niederstein's was built in 1854, St. Saviour's in 1847. How the hell do you math?

And stop blaming LPC when the real problem is you.

This tripe was handed out at the City Council's June buildings hearing where community leaders were not allowed to speak about problems they experienced with the Department of Buildings. There is a column detailing the shenanigans here: Dennis Gallagher & Maspeth Federal Savings: Rewriting the U.S. Constitution

I agree with the writer's opinion that, "Queens has the same type of democracy that the Iraqis had in Baghdad under Saddam Hussein." But look what happened to him...

Southeastern Queens Fights Overdevelopment

The other "QC" reports that there will be a Meeting To Discuss Jamaica Zoning Plan next month.

Also, Springfield Gardens is a nice community and they want to keep it that way:

Overdevelopment Fears In Springfield Gardens

Springfield Gds. protest slams Buildings Dept.

And here City Hall thought that only the backwards backwoods Archie Bunkers of Queens were upset about overdevelopment...

Brownstoner Buzz

Brownstoner recognized Queens Crap today:

Thursday Linkerati

Welcome aboard!

Press Conference/Rally on Sunday

Council Member David Weprin invites you to attend a news conferences/rally to support legislation to be introduced next week (February 1) to:

1) Eliminate self certification for demolition and Type 1 Alteration permits, and
2) Require the same approval process for Type 1 Alteration permits as is currently required for Demolition permits.

[Info on both bills follow below]

*There may be a third bill that increases the penalties for violations involving both.

The City Hall news conference/rally takes place this Sunday, January 28, on the City Hall steps at 12:30 p.m. Please try to arrive at least 1/2 hour before. Be sure to bring identification if you come Sunday because their are police staffed security booths at City Hall.

Austin Shafran of the Councilman’s office is coordinating. Please RSVP to Austin at 718-465-8202, city hall: 212-788-6984 or by email if you have any questions.

LEGISLATION: To amend the administrative code of the City of New York, in relation to the process for applying for a permit for a major alteration.

SUBMITTED BY:
Council Member David I. Weprin

PURPOSE: Several developers have found a loophole in the building permit process. By initially leaving one wall of a property intact, while dismantling everything else except the property’s foundation, they are able to apply for a Type 1 alteration (which shall be defined as “major alteration” in this legislation), rather than a demolition permit. This bill will codify the process of applying for Type 1 alteration (“major alteration”) and demolition permits by subjecting both to the same requirements, specifically for Class 1 properties (which is defined as one, two, and three-family dwellings).

LEGISLATION: To amend the administrative code of the City of New York, in relation to eliminating self-certification of plans submitted to the department of buildings regarding demolitions and certain alterations.

SUBMITTED BY: Council Member David I. Weprin

PURPOSE:
This legislation will eliminate self-certification as a process of applying for permits relating to demolitions and Type 1 alterations (refer to LS 1783 and definition for “major alteration”). This bill will no longer allow for professional engineers (PE) or registered architects (RA) who are not employed with the department of buildings to self-certify any construction project that pertains to Type 1 alterations (“major alteration”) and demolitions.

It sounds like a positive thing. Maybe QC will go. Maybe we'll also pull the Councilman aside and ask him why he is accepting thousands upon thousands of dollars from developers?

Risky Water View

In Brooklyn, waterfront condos are being built in Sheepshead Bay and Plumb Beach. The problem is, in the case of a fire, they may become death traps.

Fire fears over new Sheepshead Bay condos

That's ok, keep building! Don't you know that the NYC economy is counting on this revenue? People become expendable in a city where developers have more rights than taxpaying residents do.

Photo is of the John J. Harvey, a historic and endangered former fireboat. (Photo from preservenys.org)

FNY in LIC

Forgotten New York has done a piece on the demise of the Hackett Building and the rest of the endangered neighborhood of Hunters Point:

Hackett Buddies

Crappy Condo

Back in Middle Village again. 66-11 71st Street. A one-family house demolished and replaced with a 10 unit apartment building featuring a totally uninspired design. They must think the contrasting red awning dresses it up. At least this developer didn't destroy the street tree in front. Instead they angled the driveway around it. Why is there only one balcony? Better yet, why is there a 15-year tax abatement on each unit? QC can't wait for spring when the trees bloom and partially obstruct the view of this bland piece of Queens Crap. Hopefully the bushes in front will grow quickly, too.

Wednesday, January 24, 2007

The Latest on Sunnyside

The Queens Gazette reports on the Second Sunnyside Gardens Landmarks Meeting Held.

The best part of the article is at the end where they misprint the name of the LPC Chair...

WARNING: The Conley photo is disturbing.

Poor Jeff Kroessler looks like he lost his best friend. Photo from the Queens Chronicle.

Sunnyside Debates Driveways, Democracy

Some Boos for S'side Landmarking

Foreign Money Fueling Overdevelopment

A report from the New York Observer:

City Tops for Foreign Commercial Real-Estate Investment, Survey Says

Check this out:

"Changes in US Property Type Preferences
1. Office buildings (unchanged from 2005)
2. Multi-family (missing first place by a fraction of a point)
3. Hotels (down from number two in 2005)
4. Industrial (unchanged from 2005)
5. Retail (down from number three in 2005)

Both globally and in the US, respondents say multi-family comprises 12% of their portfolio."

People living overseas and building in our city don't give a damn about overdevelopment, esthetics, or neighborhood character. The dollar is weak these days and they are taking advantage of that at our expense. And the city bends over backwards to accommodate them.

Yes, they start and end their trips here!

From the NY Times

Queens Is a Draw for Tourists

To the Editor:

While we applaud the kudos Bob Brody gives to our most diverse borough in “Queens, for a Day” (Op-Ed, Dec. 17), Queens is hardly “an afterthought” in citywide tourism and marketing plans.

NYC & Company has long championed Queens and all it has to offer.

Through events like the Jamaica Art and Music Summer Festival and the Hong Kong Dragon Boat Festival; cultural and educational destinations like the Noguchi Museum and the Museum for African Art; or its interesting pre-Revolutionary War history and Jazz heritage — plus spectacular restaurants, promoted through our Taste & Tour initiative — Queens is highlighted as a travel and tourism destination regularly.

NYC & Company is committed to a five-borough strategy to achieve Mayor Bloomberg’s tourism mandate — to attract 50 million visitors by 2015 — by highlighting all of our boroughs as unique, vibrant and essential parts of the greatest city in the world.

Tim McGuinness
Executive Director, NYC Visit
Midtown Manhattan

Ever notice how the directors of Manhattan-based agencies, like this one and the LPC get a bit defensive when the subject of attention to Queens is brought up?

Check out the NYC Visit Guide for yourself and decide if they give equal time to boroughs outside the Isle of Manahatta.