Wednesday, February 28, 2007

Bloomie won't take calls

The Crapper was CC'ed on this e-mail:

You may contact me directly by writing, calling, faxing or e-mailing:

Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg
City Hall
New York, NY 10007
PHONE 311 (or 212-NEW-YORK outside NYC)

FAX (212) 788-2460


I hope you will visit regularly as we continue to update the site with information about new happenings throughout New York City.


Mayor Bloomberg,

The material above is from's, "Contact the Mayor" page.

It is either true or false.

If it is true, why is the 311 operator twice refusing to connect me to your line? They are telling me that you do NOT get messages via 311.

Who is lying?

Parable of the Mouse

A mouse looked through the crack in the wall to see the farmer and his wife open a package.

"What food might this contain?" The mouse wondered - He was devastated to discover it was a mousetrap.

Retreating to the farmyard, the mouse proclaimed the warning.

"There is a mousetrap in the house! There is a mousetrap in the house!"

The chicken clucked and scratched, raised her head and said, "Mr. Mouse, I can tell this is a grave concern to you but it is of no consequence to me. I cannot be bothered by it."

The mouse turned to the pig and told him, "There is a mousetrap in the house! There is a mousetrap in the house!"

The pig sympathized, but said, "I am so very sorry, Mr. Mouse, but there is nothing I can do about it but pray. Be assured you are in my prayers."

The mouse turned to the cow and said, "There is a mousetrap in the house! There is a mousetrap in the house!"

The cow said, "Wow, Mr. Mouse. I'm sorry for you, but it's no skin off my nose."

So, the mouse returned to the house, head down and dejected, to face the farmer's mousetrap -- alone.

That very night a sound was heard throughout the house -- like the sound of a mousetrap catching its prey.

The farmer's wife rushed to see what was caught. In the darkness, she did not see it was a venomous snake whose tail the trap had caught. The snake bit the farmer's wife.

The farmer rushed her to the hospital and she returned home with a fever.

Everyone knows you treat a fever with fresh chicken soup, so the farmer took his hatchet to the farmyard for the soup's main ingredient. But his wife's sickness continued, so friends and neighbors came to sit with her around the clock.

To feed them, the farmer butchered the pig. The farmer's wife did not get well; she died.

So many people came for her funeral, the farmer had the cow slaughtered to provide enough meat for all of them.

The mouse looked upon it all from his crack in the wall with great sadness.

So, the next time you hear that someone else’s neighborhood is facing a problem and think it doesn't concern you, remember -- when one community is threatened, all are at risk.

Sunnyside Split

NY1 is running a report today about the controversy over landmark designation for Sunnyside Gardens:

Queens Neighborhood Divided Over Landmark Status

Photo from NY1

A Bright Idea

Since the Crapper is always criticized for not liking any development projects, I thought I'd let you know about the latest one on the horizon that sounds like a good idea to me:

Beacon of hope for S.I.

Staten Island: Development Planned for Terminal Area

It would create a museum, stores and housing and restore the waterfront, which now is sitting there simply decaying.

Photo from the National Lighthouse Museum, which is what will be restored.

Parking Problems in Park Slope

The city is considering privatizing parking in Park Slope because the situation is so bad (it's as bad in Queens but we don't seem to generate attention here):


Slope's vicious circle

Councilman David Yassky (D-Brooklyn) cautioned that parking in Park Slope will only get worse once the $4 billion Atlantic Yards project - which includes an NBA arena and 16 skyscrapers - is built between 2009 and 2017 in neighboring Prospect Heights.

Really? And here the Crapper thought all those problems had been worked out...

Getting the Boot in Broad Channel

The city claims he dumped illegally, he polluted the waters, he used city land which he did not own. He says it's not true. Who do you believe?

Marina owner gets the boot

Photo from Forgotten NY

Big Bland Box

157-51 89th Street, Howard Beach. QC understands that McMansions are the rule rather than the exception in this part of the borough, but this thing looks like some sort of detention facility. What is with the obsession of some people to pave over every inch of their property with concrete?

Total Gross Area of Building: 5,304 Sq. Ft!

Tuesday, February 27, 2007

Bad Bad Bayside

This area of Bayside was originally known as Bayside-Flushing when it was developed a century ago. 45 years ago, the neighborhood was bisected by the Clearview Expressway. Because of its R3-2 multifamily zoning, a few brick boxes were built on its edges. However, the integrity of the area became more severely compromised in the first few years of the 21st century, as fly-by-night building operations demolished beautiful free-standing houses originally lived in by actors, producers and celebrities of the early 20th century for more Queens Crap. These multifamily disasters would be next to each other on 208th Street between 42nd and 43rd avenues were it not for the one nice house still standing in between them. The tragedy of all of this is that within six months of these buildings being approved, this area of Bayside was rezoned for single-family detached zoning which probably would have saved them from being destroyed in the first place. The house below belonged to Vincent Aderente, an artist who designed the historic murals in the Flushing Post Office. I'm sure that if he saw what replaced his house, he'd be painting something that would reflect that crappiness! - P.D.G.

Update, 1/22/09: Vincent Aderente's grandson has informed QC that the house depicted is not the one that he grew up in and that it still stands. Sorry for the mistake. - QC

Seaport makeover?

People think that because this blog is about Queens, that the Crapper hates Manhattan. The truth is that I love Manhattan and the other boroughs. I enjoy spending summer evenings at the South Street Seaport as much as the tourists do. It's therefore stressing to me that there is a proposal to replace Pier 17 with a tower:

Seaport may get dramatic makeover

Photo from AMNY

In charge of permits, but doesn't bother to get one

If you want a good dose of hypocrisy, read about the buildings commissioner on Long Island charged with failure to file his own renovations!

Queens (Crap) Boulevard, part 3

Here's a walk down Queens Boulevard in the Woodside-Elmhurst area.
Do you see any architecture here of redeeming value?
City planning recently upzoned this area because the G, R and V trains and the Q58 and Q60 aren't packed enough in the mornings.
Soon, the Boulevard will resemble a cheap, wide version of a midtown canyon.

Monday, February 26, 2007

Saving Civic Virtue

It’s not true that no one cares about Civic Virtue. Community Board 9 Queens is supporting the renovation of Civic Virtue. We sent letters to NYC Parks Commissioner Benepe on May 26, 2006 and held a meeting with representatives of local elected officials and the Borough President’s Office to request funding to at least repair it. Included in that meeting was Jonathan Kuhn, Parks Department, Arts and Antiquities with the exception of Mr. Kuhn we had very little support. At the Borough President's Hearings on the Capital and Expense Priorities for Queens, I spoke for Community Board 9, as District Manager and requested the Borough President’s support for the Board on this project. My plea fell on deaf ears.

We would welcome support for this project. If you are an art lover or a member of an organization and wish to see it restored kindly email us or better yet if you know anyone who would be interested in discussing its restoration with the Board, call me, Mary Ann Carey, District Manager at 718-286-2686

A Developing Story

A very interesting on-target Op-Ed appears in the NY Times today about the Atlantic Yards plan:

A Developing Story

...what do we Brooklynites — a diverse and even divided collective — want our borough to be? Do we want it transformed from a sunny, low-lying place into knots of vertical superblocks? Are we content to let our borough’s future be imposed on us by developers and politicians?

Even without Atlantic Yards, our neighborhood and others nearby are feeling the strain of poor planning for a rising population. Traffic and parking are problems already; Flatbush Avenue is a seething mass of vehicles that I dread crossing with my children. Morning subway trains are crammed, and the buses on DeKalb Avenue are often too crowded to pick up new passengers.

Shhhh!! Stop talking about these things!

Illustration from NY Times

Day at the Races

Fans of Aqueduct Racetrack will enjoy this article and slideshow from the NY Times:

Looking for Luck in Winter’s Chill

Love it or hate it, the track is a quintessential part of Queens.

Photo from the NY Times.

Your Tax Dollars at Work, Continued

Isn't it nice to see the City Council show its concern over the health of its constituents and fight against the Department of Health's recent decision to force certain food establishments to provide calorie and fat information to their customers?

Council May Well Step Into Fight Over Fast Food

City Council May Change Menu Rule on Calories

Looks like the fast food lobby got to 'em.

Photo of NYC Councilman Joel Rivera of the Bronx from

Starrett Bill in Albany

A little bad press and protests make Albany move fast:

Planned Legislation Would Boost Rent Regulation Eligibility

Lawmakers Promise to Push Starrett City Rent Protection


The legislation would prevent owners of buildings constructed since 1974 from leaving Mitchell-Lama and Section 8 programs unless they remain under rent-stabilization laws.

Bayside Blight

212-01 42 Avenue, Bayside. This is one of those NYC scenes that makes you feel as though you are in a third world country. This was built in the early 1960s, but look at the shape it's in now.

I am sure the neighbors are quite pleased at being forced to look at ugly, rusty balconies filled with junk.

It almost looks as though a wall is missing - that you are looking at a cross-section of a building rather than the outside. I am not aware of anyplace else in Bayside that looks quite this bad.

Sunday, February 25, 2007

Bobby Boo-Hoo

The Chair of the Landmarks Preservation Commission has taken a beating lately. So he has to defend himself:

The Sheriff of Landmarks

"Melinda Katz, the chair of the land-use committee—she is a superb chair."

"[Mayor Bloomberg] is committed to preservation. He is committed to great architecture and design, not only here but in other realms of city government."

Well, Bob, when you make statements like those, you're asking to either get laughed at or dropkicked.

Photo from NY Obeserver

Forgotten Woodhaven

Forgotten-NY's latest page is about the town of Woodhaven.

Forgotten-NY: Woodhaven

Builders rushing to beat the clock

The NY Post reveals that developers are in a frenzy trying to reap the benefits of 421-A before new laws go into effect which would force them to dedicate at least 20% of their units to affordable housing:


A Crap Above

"61-08 & 61-10 82nd Street, Middle Village.

Both are owned by the same person and both are one-family row homes that were built up one story to make them bigger one-family homes. Why? Don't know. They stick out like a sore thumb on the street." - J.B.

See also A Crap Above, Part 2, A Crap Above, Part 3, and A Crap Above, Part 4.

Saturday, February 24, 2007

Flushing Down the Tubes

A walk through Flushing, courtesy of Verdi.

Friday, February 23, 2007

The Real Deal

A blog called the Real Deal has a story about Citgroup's building frenzy in LIC.

Second skyscraper for LIC?

The small reddish building standing in the shadow of the second tower had been the tallest building in the area next to the original green glass tower just a year ago. Can you imagine how people living in that building must feel now having their sun and air blocked by a skyscraper?

Prime Design for Crap

70-20 to 70-38 57th Drive in Maspeth are owned by Prime Design Realty LLC. And they do design prime pieces of crap. All the standard elements are front and center on these 3-family mega crap pile, which has been under construction for 5 years now and counting. This may shock you, but the builder racked up site safety and work without permit violations. There was mostly open space here before they put this up, and it would have made a nice park, especially since the LIE is right on the other side. - Gina

Thursday, February 22, 2007

Rebuttal from the NY Post

This columnist makes some good points:


Christine, you have a lot more to do to seem above board in the eyes of NYC voters.

Astoria Overdevelopment

From the Queens Chronicle

Dear Editor:

As a third generation Astorian, I am in full agreement with Chris De Stefano’s letter to the editor about the “Relentless Development.” As residents and taxpayers, we are not benefiting at all from these changes. Many historical single family homes have been demolished to make way for these “vertical coffins,” which change the tenor of our neighborhood. It appears that the building glut has gotten out of control. There is a new structure on almost every block.

What does that say about our community services? Schools are now overutilized; trains and buses are overcrowded. Trying to park your car on a local side street is comparable to searching for a parking spot in Manhattan. Con Edison cannot keep up with the construction. Hopefully, the sewer system can.

Our local supermarkets have turned into gourmet emporiums with similar prices. But most importantly, the flow of people into Astoria has forced the price of housing skyward. How can the old timers live with all these increases? What can be done to help them maintain a quality and standard of living?

Somewhere, somehow, all the new construction has been approved. My question is: by whom? How much of a part does the community board play? Doesn’t the Department of Buildings and the City Planning Commission understand that our community is overutilized and underserved now? Where are their surveys and environmental studies? What plans have they made to accommodate a burgeoning population?

What will happen to our community in five more years? As a result of the heavy pollution (from local industry and air and ground traffic) that we have lived with for years ... the proof is that in our local schools, the rate of childhood asthma is approximately one in seven children. Everyone knows that the air quality in Astoria/Long Island City is one of the worst in the entire five boroughs. Can it possibly get worse? Does anyone care?

I am certain that De Stefano and I would like to remain “Astorians” for a long time ... but will we?

Andrea Pack,

Mad as hell and not taking it anymore

Whoa, there's quite a feisty bunch in southeastern Queens!

Future demonstrations on Grays’ agenda include one outside Deputy Mayor Dennis Walcott’s home in Southeast Queens, and one outside the Department of City Planning’s Queens office. “We’ve had it from these individuals who are hiding and ducking from us and not taking care of business,” he said.

Demonstrators Continue Overdevelopment Battle

Residents protest overdevelopment


Watch out, city planning, there may be a countywide turnout at a demonstration coming soon to a borough hall near you!

Photo from Queens Chronicle.

Latest chapter in 88th Road saga

It took awhile, but NYC finally admitted what the people of Bellerose knew all along about the houses on 88th Road:

City Concedes Houses Are Too Close Together

You can backtrack QC's log of this story, starting here:

Update on 88th Road Homes

Notorious developer damaged firehouse

It appears that someone we all know and love did damage to a Queens firehouse. Here's the story:

DOB inspected a firehouse located at Grand Avenue near Queens Boulevard on 1/17/06 after some work without a permit had been performed next door:

1/17/06 complaint

What did DOB find?


Sounds to me that the violation should be on the bastard who owns 84-16 Queens Blvd - who put NY's Bravest in harm's way!

Your tax dollars at work, continued

Councilman Simcha Felder of Brooklyn is up in arms because caffeine content is not clearly listed on food products:

City councilman buzzed over caffeine labels

QC's happy to see the councilman earning his 25% raise and tackling the hard issues.

Meanwhile, the NY Post has some HEART-ENING COFFEE NEWS.

Same owner, different crap

The person responsible for Sunday's controversial pile of commercial crap on Metropolitan Avenue in Middle Village is also to blame for this nearby eyesore at 69-62 Grand Avenue in Maspeth. He just had to build up an extra story and out to the curb. Also had to add those gaudy railings for a final vomit-inducing touch.

Wednesday, February 21, 2007

Kitschy Katz

The Forest Hills Times must have known that the Crapper was about to post "Scoop from the Katz litterbox" today. Because they provided this nice companion piece:

Profile: New York City Zoning & Land Use Committee and its Chair Melinda Katz

She came up with some real knee-slappers for this article:

“...the City Council has worked to make sure that the communities we care so much about are protected and remain the great, quality neighborhoods for people to want to live and stay in our great city.”

Under Katz’s leadership, the committee also affirmed the designation of two dozen new landmarks, including the Triangle Shirt Waist Factory building, Ralph Bunche House, Loew’s Paradise Theater, Estey Piano Company, Astoria Park Pool, Fire Engine Company No. 258, Richmond Hill Republican Club, Newtown High School, and the Williamsburg Houses.

While her reputation as a tenacious defender of her district grows, her respect in political circles citywide expands as well, and Katz is sure to play a vital role as New York moves ahead in the 21st Century.


Don't worry, I'll push Crappy off the bowl so you can upchuck into it.

Real estate roundup

These prices seem like real bargains. One could say that prices this low should be illegal! But these can't be illegal apartments. They are posted right out in the open on a very popular website. I'm sure our $112K/year elected officials would have done something about them if they were illegal. Yes, these ads definitely must be for spaces that are legit.

$750 New studio apartment includes utilities

$750 Uties Incl. 1 bedroom, Living room, bathroom, and kitchen close to sub

$850/1br - Renovated-Mint!!/Private house,basement with your own entrance

$1000 / 1br - Studio/BSMT APT - A MUST SEE!!

$750 / 1br - 1 bedroom basement apt in wakefield queens(close to jfk airport)


$625 / 1br - nice 1 bedroom basement apt in richmond hill

$1050 / 1br - Clean Quiet Cozy Furnished or Unfurnished Basement 2 room Studio pvt e


$750 Studio Basement Apartment

$850 / 1br - includes all utilities - 1/2 block subway, 45 min to city


$650 open studio

Going, going...

"The Plywood Fence of Doom has appeared on 43rd Ave and 161st Street.

When the family did repeated yard sales last year, I didn't suspect anything...I should have..." - K.W.

See: They're Coming for Blue.

Pile of Brooklyn crap named after Queens town

What luxury!

The Maspeth

Photo from

Whitestone's 20th Avenue

The NY Times did a story on Sunday about the street widening on 20th Avenue first reported in the Queens Chronicle:

Losing Ground to a Wider Road

“It’s like they never wanted to hear anything we had to say.”

No shock there!

Bloomie's history lesson

The Crapper can't wait to see what Bloomie thinks happened in Queens:

On Staten Island history, NYC mayor gets it wrong

Scoop from the Katz litterbox


Love the site.

This is what happens when a neighborhood which should be designated an historic district (Forest Hills) isn't. The building on the right of the picture is new - still unoccupied (108-10 72nd Ave). It was just completed a few weeks ago (I've included the 'before' picture that shows what was knocked down last year). The beautiful building in the center (108-12 72nd) is typical of others in the area. The building on the left is about three years old (108-14 72nd). Both ugly buildings are the product of Franklin Baharestani and easily break zoning FAR codes according to NYCPropertyresearch. Baharestani was the guy who somehow figured out a way to get a three family fedders build in Forest Hills Gardens a few years ago. He even warranted an article many years back in the NY Times about his buildings.

This is on 72nd ave between Austin St. and Queens Blvd. It is the true heart of Forest Hills. Those side streets make the neighborhood (I've included some pictures from the other buildings).

I always thought Forest Hills had some protection, since everyone comments on the beautiful look of the neighborhood, especially in ECon (east of Continental). It's like Bronxville or Greenwich. WeCon is mostly chain stores so it's already gone. Forest Hills really need some kind of protections since it is a truly unique part of NYC.

An anonymous tipster. . .

Tuesday, February 20, 2007

Daily News exposes Bloomberg lie

It appears the hype over the Mayor's "PlaNYC 2030" is just that - hype. This was sent in to the Crapper by a sharp eyed Daily News reader:

"This article proves that Bloomie has absolutely no intention of acting on his supposed goal to have all residents within 10 minutes walking distance of a park.

The city, said mayoral spokesman Jason Post, 'is working with members of the community concerned about the St. Saviour's site.'

The city is working with members of the community? Well that explains why the LPC withheld information about the site's archaeological potential from the group who is trying to save it.

'The city does not currently have plans to purchase the St. Saviour's site, which is privately owned. The community is served by nearby Frank Principe Park, formerly known as Maurice Park, and Reiff Park and Playground,' said Post.

Reiff and Principe Parks are both more than a 10-minute walk away from St. Saviour's (a Mapquest search shows they are both just under a mile away; .4 miles is considered a 10-minute walk by most standards). Both parks are good destinations if you want to play baseball or ride swings, but not the best places for the majority of park users to find respite.

This property is a ready-made park that is for sale. It contains historic structures and pristine land. And the city just reported an unexpected $3.9 billion budget surplus. There is no excuse for the city to drop the ball on this one except that perhaps the mayor is full of shit. Or maybe his TLC Commissioner, Harry Giannoulis, lobbyist for the Parkside Group, asked Hizzoner for a really BIG favor. And I like the way Gallagher is portrayed in the headline as being in favor of saving the site as a park. What a crock. They think we are stupid down here."

- J.S. from Maspeth