Monday, April 30, 2007

A fresh look at St. Saviour's

A painting showing the future of St. Saviour's has recently been made available. This looks really nice, guys!

More here: St. Saviour's plans unveiled

Not to be outdone, Pinky released his own rendering of the St. Saviour's property, showing the proposal he and Parkside have been working on with the developer to save the church and allow for building around it:

"There may not be much green left on the property after this is built, but there'll be plenty lining the inside of my pockets!" he is reported to have said.

Just who's driving?

The Daily News exposes which city residents are most likely to drive to work in Manhattan, such as this guy:

Joe Lee, a city engineer who lives in Whitestone and works downtown, said if he ditched his car he would have to take a bus and two subways each way. "To go by public transportation it would take an average of an hour and a half to two hours," he said. "If I take the car, it's a much saner commute."

Have a pro-pricing editorial by Gridlock Sam, who says the plan needs some tweaking, like:

Apply congestion pricing to transit. Reduce the bus fares in the subway-less neighborhoods to $1.

Report that average Londoners are split over whether or not the plan has been good for Britain.

And report that the boys and girls upstate are none too pleased with the plan:

"Nobody wants to cross the mayor right now in public," said one Republican legislative official. "But at the end of the day, is this going to go anywhere? No."

Meanwhile, the cost of taking public transportation is soon to increase, reports Metro:

Fare hike on track

"The MTA will unveil next year’s budget — and possible fare hike — in July"

And John Liu has his opinion:

$8 fee? Try more buses first - pol

Revealing news quote of the month

In an article about building on top of highways and railyards, Metro may have uncovered the real reason behind congestion pricing:

"Congestion pricing may keep construction costs down, according to Kathryn Wylde of the Partnership for New York City. For example, the faster cement trucks can get to their work sites, the less likely they will be to lose money."

Read the rest and you'll feel as though you've woken up in the land of Oz.

Home heating oil city's biggest pollutant

NYC air quality continues to get worse, and one critic charges that PlaNYC doesn't do anything to lessen the impact of the biggest offender:


While praising the overall thrust of the mayor's ambitious plan, Vetter said it doesn't adequately address the most common pollutant: home heating oil. Twenty-nine percent of all New York City emissions come from heating fuel - more than the amount from vehicle traffic and power plants combined.

Graphic from NY Post

You shook me all night long

Complaints for after-hours construction work skyrocketed 870 percent between 2001 and 2006, according to data obtained by The Post.

Spurred on by the construction boom and the ease of using the 311 system, complaints rose from 635 in 2001 to 6,160 in 2006. At the same time, the number of violations written by city inspectors increased only from 59 in 2001 to 249 last year.


In 2006, it took city inspectors an average 39.8 days to respond to a complaint - still an improvement over 65.8 days in 2001.

Your tax dollars at work, Albany edition

We pick on the City Council here. A lot. So now let's take a look at how our elected officials are wasting their time and our tax dollars up the river:

Bill Bans Teams Playing in NJ from Using "New York"

"At the very least, the location of the place where a team plays should be accurate, and reflect where they actually play their home games," Assemblyman Ivan Lafayette, of Queens, writes in the bill, as reported by The Record of Bergen County in Saturday newspapers.

Ivan, this may be suitable for a barroom debate, but not on the floor of the Assembly. And how would this proposed NY State law be enforced if the teams play in New Jersey?

Graphic from

Will Moondance make it to Queens?

The Moondance Diner is being forced to vacate its home since the 1930s to make way for what else - luxury condos. Whether it makes it across the river to Queens by May 15th, as its owner hopes, or is reduced to rubble, is a question that has yet to be answered:

In SoHo, a last chance for Moondance diner

Patrons Organize To Save Venerable SoHo Diner

Oldest Diner In NYC To Face Wrecking Ball

Goodnight, Moondance

There will be a fundraiser this Wednesday for those who are interested in saving it:

NEW YORK, N.Y. (April 29, 2007) – A fundraiser to save the historic Moondance Diner, will be held on Thurs, May 3, 2007, from 6 PM to 9 PM at artist Ruth Litoff’s studio at 80 Varick Street, #9E (one block west of Moondance). Diner owner Sunis Sharma, concerned patrons, artists, preservationists, & community groups, are coming together, as Ms. Litoff will auction off her artwork. We hope to spare the culturally & architecturally significant Moondance from demolition, since it is slated to be replaced with a high-rise condo. Possibly on May 15th, the diner will close its doors forever. Therefore, it is urgent to raise sufficient funding to transport the diner to another site within the 5 boroughs. Freestanding diners were erected on site in one piece, and manufactured to move.

The “1933” Moondance Diner, located at 80 6th Ave in SoHo, is a highlight in terms of its diverse patronage including celebs, and the motion picture, sitcom, & Broadway world (Spiderman, Friends, Igby, Sex in the City, etc). This is also where Jonathan Larson was employed for a decade prior to producing RENT. This railway car-inspired diner, formerly called the Holland Tunnel Diner, retains several original &/or distinctive elements; chrome detailing, a barrel roof ceiling, wrap-around windows, counter & stools, as well as a retro revolving moon sign.

During the 40's & 50's eras, freestanding diners numerously dotted the 5 boroughs, and brought together individuals of various occupations in a cozy, personable, & striking ambiance. Today, they are becoming an endangered species at an alarming rate, but the Moondance Diner can be salvaged. Please join us in solidarity to celebrate nearly 75 years of the Moondance’s diverse history, with hors d’oerves, cocktails, & music, and an art auction that will be integral in determining its fate.
Moondance Diner visuals:

Moondance Diner visuals (Courtesy of Michael Perlman)

**To start bidding on Ruth Litoff’s artwork prior to & post May 3rd, please visit:

Ruth Litoff's website

Photo from NY Sun

Golf club's a goner

Dear Queens Crap,

Kew Gardens has lost another landmark - the undesignated kind.

Before it became an upscale housing development in the early years of the 20th Century, Kew Gardens was the site of the nine hole Richmond Hill Golf Course. Using today's landmarks, the club house was located at or near Beverly Road between Audley Street and 83rd Avenue.

After the golf course closed, the club house was moved further down Audley Street where it survived in somewhat modified form as a private residence until 2005.

Sadly, new owners have renovated the old house out of existence. Feel free to use my name and web site if you wish.


Joseph De May

Well Joe, it looks like the owner of this property applied for an alteration permit but instead proceeded to tear the thing down to its foundation and build a brand new piece of Queens Crap in its place. But that's nothing $800 won't fix.

Sunday, April 29, 2007

'King of Queens' vacating his throne

In the 1970s, All in the Family portrayed Queens as a haven for racists. In the 1990s, The King of Queens put a kinder, gentler face on our borough. Now it's time for Doug and company to sign off:

Farewell to a 'King'

To Kevin James and crew: Thanks for the laughs. You'll be missed!

Mr. Ambition

Well it's clear that the NY Times thinks Mr. Gioia is simply the cat's meow:

Mr. Gioia is viewed as a bright, articulate councilman with a command of a range of issues.

His Race Not Yet Certain, a Politician Gets Set to Run

Overwhelmingly, Mr. Gioia’s colleagues describe him as bright and determined.

I am sure his colleagues think that. What about his constituents?

“I worked as a janitor, a doorman and an elevator operator to pay for school,” he said. He was an aide in the Clinton White House and then practiced law at Milbank, Tweed, Hadley & McCloy.

At least they managed to get the word "Tweed" in there.

Photo from NY Times

Hit the lights!

The suggestion that the Daily News had last week that the city turn out the lights in its buildings at night is already being put into effect.

City to workers: Last one out, turn out the lights!

On top of that:

The Friday memo details the city's plans to make floor-by-floor visits to the 53 buildings it manages "to identify areas where we can install energy-efficient light bulbs and also, where appropriate, add timers and sensors to cut down on unnecessary use of electricity."

Photo of Citywide Administrative Services Commissioner Martha Hirst from Education Update Online.

Telling Claire off

From this week's Times Ledger:

Willets Point plans won't help biz owners

With all due respect, former Queens Borough President Claire Shulman's claim in an April 12 TimesLedger story that a proposal concerning Willets Point holds the potential for Queens's future, this is political nonsense.

If Willets Point passes a legal challenge, it will almost certainly include an unnecessary hotel, a useless convention center, high-rise luxury housing and a paltry amount of so-called moderate housing.

What makes all this absurd is that the price for all this is that it will destroy an existing viable economic area that contains about 225 businesses, employing more than 1,400 people who serve a public need, support many families and pay taxes. That the area may need some cosmetic face-lifting is no excuse to destroy viable economic businesses. The Willets Point proposal will benefit special interests and not the little people of Queens.

Benjamin M. Haber
Kew Gardens Hills

Photo from Queens Gazette

Reopening the Rockaway rail line

People in CB6 were upset at the thought of a bike path running through their backyards... can you imagine instead reactivating the train line?

LIRR Line’s Reopening Debated

Photo from Queens Chronicle

Time to sink the stink!

If I lived in Howard Beach, I'd want this built ASAP:

City Continues Pitch For Basin Treatment

Photo from Queens Chronicle

Douglaston day care nixed

The battle over a city-owned lot next to an Armenian church that wanted it for a day care center continues at the community board level:

CB 11 fails to back city plan for day care site at vacant lot

"The issue has become a political football as well. State Sen. Frank Padavan (R-Bellerose) has supported the church's proposal and called on the city to make the nearby PS 98 playground a park that is open for longer hours. Councilman Tony Avella (D-Bayside) has called for a park on the vacant lot."

Photo from St. Sarkis church's website.

Crappy is blue and Tyler too

Here we have 51-49 64th Street, aka 64-09 Tyler Avenue in Woodside. This corner property was once the side yard to 51-45 64th Street. If someone can decipher the plan for this, please let us know.
Next door, on a fence, is this illegally hung advertisement for a realtor, which not only is an eyesore because of its garishness, but also because it has graffiti sprayed across it. These properties thankfully face a cemetery and not other residences.

Saturday, April 28, 2007

Doorman debating decision

It's funny...he doesn't seem to have a problem telling us how we should think on every other issue:

Gioia Is All Ears, No Stance On Sunnyside Gardens Landmarking

Jamaica Home Scam

A woman who thought she owned a corner lot in Jamaica was really the victim of a scam artist:

Jamaica woman says man scammed her out of home

"Makhani allegedly forged the signatures of homeowners on property records and artificially inflated the prices of the homes, flipping them several times through corporations under his control before selling the homes to legitimate buyers who were unaware of the scheme."

Screenshot from Windows Live Local.

Great Britain's great traffic debate

Think London's better off since it implemented congestion pricing?

London's traffic 'fix' nothing to write home about

Think again!

Forest Park tennis courts in crappy shape

Woodhaven residents complain about the condition of tennis courts at Forest Park:

Our tennis courts get no love!

In an interview with the Daily News, Queens Parks Commissioner Dorothy Lewandowski said the price tag could reach $1 million. But [Lana] Stein, who plays frequently at the courts, thinks those estimates sound inflated - and that the city is simply making up excuses to justify decades of delayed maintenance. "I'm not going to say it's graft, but certainly something crazy is going on," said Stein, 65.

Photo from Richmond Hill Historical Society

Always Fast is sometimes too fast

1920s houses are a frequent sight along the roads of Maspeth, but something else is becoming more increasingly common.
Just a few steps south of Maspeth Town Hall on 72nd Street, you'll find these cookie-cutter human warehouses at 54-09 to 54-13 72 Street, which replaced the homes pictured above. DOB records indicate that there was some trouble at 54-11 with unsafe demolition. Not surprisingly, the demolition company has a not-too-stellar reputation. Their neighbors aren't too happy. Even tore down the wrong building once...
Ample parking is available across the sidewalks. No need to pull the minivans into the driveways when you can just selfishly block pedestrian traffic. The vehicles won't fit down the alleys anyway.

Screenshot from Windows Live Local.

Friday, April 27, 2007

Fresh Meadows rally makes headlines

The local papers give their take on last weekend's protest against a 6-family house on a block filled with one-family homes:

Knock down 185th St. building: Avella, nabes

R You 4 Real? Nabe Protests 6-Family home

Fresh Meadows Rally Opposes Construction

Jack Friedman, chief of staff for Councilman David Weprin (D-Hollis), who represents the area, said his office had been working on complaints about the site since last fall. Weprin was not invited to Saturday’s rally.

Heh. Maybe the Fresh Meadows Homeowners Civic Association took a look at this and decided that inviting their own councilman to an overdevelopment protest was a waste of time...

Photo from Queens Chronicle

Happy Arbor Day!

This week's Times Ledger contains a column about April 27th, this year known as "Arbor Day."
Some green thoughts for Queens Arbor Day

More information about the holiday and what you can do to green our world available from the National Arbor Day Foundation and the NYC Parks Department

Photo from

Addressing repossession

This may be the second hottest topic in Queens:

Boro focuses on homes lost to sub-prime loans

The Time Is Now To Act On Foreclosure Crisis

Spike In Foreclosures Raises Alarms

Meanwhile, NYC has set up a number for people to call who are afraid of being victimized:

NYC Sets Up Hotline for Some at-risk Homeowners

Photo from Queens Chronicle

New blood center opens in LIC

Here's one development we don't mind the papers promoting:

New York Blood Center Opens Doors In L.I.C.

Photo from Queens Chronicle

Bills for better building inspections

New legislation is being proposed by council members to allow the DOB greater access to buildings in order for them to complete their inspections:

Bill would give teeth to building inspections

City Council bills could curb Department of Buildings' faults

Congestion pricing is Queens' hottest topic

It's the #1 story at the Queens weeklies:

Mayor would boost mass transit with Manhattan toll for drivers

South Qns. clamors for more transit

Worth consideration

Outer Borough Outraged by Bloomberg's PlaNYC

Congestion Pricing Unfair To Queens Drivers

Queens Pans Mayor's 'Congestion' Plan

Drivers, Business Owners Protest Congestion Plan

Queens pans congestion pricing plan

Boro Leaders Rip City’s $8 Car Fee

Photo from Queens Chronicle

A 2nd Walk Through the Meadows, part 3

QC sometimes like to have fun with photoshop - but we didn't need to do that here. Is Parks sure this isn't going to fall on someone?
This doesn't look very comforting. Good luck figuring out when it's open. From the Crapper's experience in the park it should just say: "Never when you need it"
This statue outside the hall of sciences is called Forms in Transit and dates to the 1964 Fair. It suffered so many years of neglect that part of it corroded and had to be removed ......and the rest of it may eventually follow. Upon close inspection, the statue looks like it is either deteriorating, or perhaps has a strange coating of gunk, as if someone had thrown hot tar all over it. Lovely.
The Parks Department went through all the trouble to emblazen this crapper (with a lower case c) with their symbol, and then doesn't bother to clean up the graffiti or repair the smashed windows.

Part 1
Part 2
Part 3
Part 4
Part 5
2nd Walk, part 1
2nd Walk, part 2

Thursday, April 26, 2007

Konichiwa, Katz!

In order to not show up the Japanese monarchy, Melinda left her Queens Crap tiara at home...

From Queens Times

Building collapse at Atlantic Yards

Curbed has the scoop:

BREAKING CurbedWire: Atlantic Yards Building Partial Collapse

Seems the parapet which was at the top of the building (duh) fell off following the start of demolition work on the building and heavy rains.

"Can the neighborhood look forward to this quality of work from Forest City Ratner for the next 20 - 40 years?"

An update from

Brooklyn Building's Facade Collapses, 350 Residents Displaced

Photo from Curbed

Forget Florida!

The New York Post writes about 2 Queens NORCs - short for "Naturally Occuring Retirement Communities" - in its real estate section today. Deepdale Gardens and the Big Six are featured:

ON GOLDEN PAD (We linked to page 2 because that's where the Queens communities are mentioned)

“Our goal is to promote successful aging,” says Gale Kolidas, director of Deepdale Gardens’ 6-year-old NORC program. “Some residents look at us as a safety net - some place for them to turn to.”

Photo from NY Post

The great abatement debate

New 421-A rules will be a bunch of hooey, developers tell the NY Post:


"According to developer Daren Hornig of SAXA, whose properties include The Prime in Chelsea, the change will hurt buyers and actually reduce the amount of affordable housing."

“If you take two comparable buildings side-by-side, one with and one without a 421a, yes, the prices do tend to be higher in an abated building,” says appraiser Jonathan Miller of Miller Samuel.

Photo from NY Post

Seeing the light

Mayor Bloomberg was humble enough to admit that the city needs to do a better job of conserving energy:

Well, watt-a-ya-know

"We can always do better," Bloomberg said. "You can rest assured my staff was on the phone early this morning finding out how we're going to make sure the lights aren't on going into the future."

It will be formally revealed today that we once again have a SURPRISE $4.4B CITY SURPLUS. This is because a Geyser of tax revenues has his the city. How about some more building inspectors? City planners? Ok, let me stop now.

A different angle

Interesting little story in the NY Daily News about houses askew:

Homes on side of angles

For Bob Singleton, a trustee of the Greater Astoria Historical Society, these houses have special meaning.

"Whenever I see a house turned from the street grid and still stubbornly facing forgotten country lane, I feel that time itself is giving me a nod, a wink and a reminder that my generation will, at some point be but a fragment of a future world," Singleton said.

Know of any houses like this?

Photo from Daily News

A 2nd Walk Through the Meadows, part 2

This is how the city treats perhaps the most famous building in Queens. The New York State Pavilion from the 1964 World's Fair has been disused and left to rust for the better part of the last 40 years.
The pavilion isn't the only thing rusting in the park. Crappy realizes that vandalism is hard to prevent, but just how long is it going to sit before someone decides to clean it up?
Open drain, about 6" in diameter - large enough to trip most of us, expecially the youngsters.

Crumbling brickwork by the Hall of Science.

QC's Walk Through the Meadows series:

Part 1
Part 2
Part 3
Part 4
Part 5
2nd Walk, part 1
2nd Walk, part 3

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

GOP Dance Party

Who's the better dancer - Bush or Bloomberg?

Old plan to fill in the East River

The following information is provided at the request of George the Atheist:

Fill the East River: September 2, 1894

The Proposition to Fill in the East River: September 7, 1894

Tides and the East River Isthmus: September 14, 1894

John S. Brooks' Proposition is Not New or Original: September 27, 1894

Satellite image with East River in red taken from Wikipedia's East River page

All links are to the Brooklyn Public Library's Brooklyn Eagle archives

More on congestion suggestion

This is starting to sound similar to a doctor prescribing Viagra for clogged arteries - It will cost the user big bucks and will do nothing to alleviate the problem:

Bloomberg's Congestion Pricing Plan: A Modest Proposal After All

"At just $8 a car (compared to twice that in London), traffic will diminish by a mere 6.3 percent; speeds will accelerate by 7.2 percent. If the average speed is 15 m.p.h., that means an increase to 16.08 m.p.h."

Here's more from

NYC Congestion Problem

Gridlock Sam weighs in too:

Is Congestion Pricing a Good Idea?

Map from NY Press.