Thursday, April 15, 2010

Let the overdevelopment begin!

From the Daily News:

Developers and people with serious real estate vision, start your engines. Renters looking for a cheap, up-and-coming place to live, get in line.

Oh boy! Sounds like we are preparing to invade and destroy a neighborhood. Which one could it be?

There’s a tiny neighborhood most of you never heard of just two subway stops from Lexington Ave. and 59th St., where the zoning was changed in October 2008 from strict manufacturing/commercial to residential development, lifting nearly a 50-year ban on all new home building.

It’s Dutch Kills, and it’s off the N/W subway line at 39th Ave. near Astoria.

Nice intro, eh? Aimed at Manhattanites who want to milk Queens for all its worth...

But prepare yourself. It’s not pretty. ­After 40-plus years dominated by warehouses, factories, small industrial businesses and automotive repair shops, these dead-quiet streets are a mishmash of two-story clapboard homes, giant warehouses, one-story garages and single-family ­houses that have seen better days.

My God! A mixed-use neighborhood? The horror!

The streets are peaceful and safe. Weekends and weeknights, it’s so quiet and empty you may not see a person for two blocks. On a recent Saturday, a group of motorcyclists burned rubber around corners, free of pedestrians and police. You could hear a child playing a xylophone from a quarter-block away.

Wow, actually, this sounds like an improvement over the vibrant, diverse overcrowded areas to the east.

On the neighborhood edge where the manufacturing section becomes residential, by 36th Ave. near the Dutch Kills Playground, one longtime resident said he rarely even walks “that way.” Paul ­Colella, 82, a retired baker from Bari, Italy, has lived on Crescent Ave. for 48 years.

“I go over there sometimes, but not ­really,” says Colella, who says he hasn’t seen a dangerous incident in over 45 years. “The only thing wrong with this neighborhood now is the lack of garbage pickup outside the public school across from my house.”

Where the hell is Crescent Avenue? And where exactly is "that way" and "over there"? We seem to have left something out here. If picking up the garbage outside the school is the only problem, then why does the area need a massive upzoning?

Renters can pay $1,100 for a one-bedroom apartment in one of the few prewar buildings. This is artist or musician heaven — inexpensive housing, dead quiet nights and lots of privacy with welcoming neighbors.

Not for long...

The new zoning reflects the Department of City Planning's approach to working with communities to better meet their unique goals. In the case of Dutch Kills, residential and mixed-use commercial/manufacturing development was applied at appropriate scale.

If it was drawn up by Mighty John Young, you can count on it not to be at appropriate scale.

On Northern Blvd. near major transportation hubs, up to 12 stories was allowed. Inland, up to seven stories on wider streets was approved, and on smaller, streets, downzoning was implemented to avoid any further out-of-context monstrosities like some recent hotels.

Inland? From what? Twelve-story & seven-story buildings in an area near ground zero for the blackout, near a closed firehouse, in a flood zone, served by only one hospital? Great plan. Not to worry - BSA will take care of those developers that don't want to conform with zoning. (And there should not be a comma after 'smaller' in that sentence, pal.)

Joey Florio grew up in the neighborhood. He lives there with his family now. He can’t walk two blocks without meeting half a dozen people he knows.

And after reading Jason's article, here I thought it was deserted.

You know, if you're going to write a bullshit real estate piece, the least you can do is be consistent throughout. My personal favorite:

“This zoning was meant to set the table to allow good things to happen, like reinvestment,” says John D. Young, director of the Queens office of City Planning. “Dutch Kills is two stops from Manhattan and it lies just north of the bustling subway and bus interchange that is Queens Plaza. This defines what we call transit-oriented growth, which allows the city to grow near transportation hubs in proximity to economic centers.”

“We need parking lots here,” says [Spiro] Chriss, echoing a common complaint. “This is a solid, working-class area.”


Anonymous said...

What a DISGRACE!!!! It is an absolute shame that some "investor" with absolutely no experience or training in real estate development or urban planning can be allowed to strip mine a community to pieces without any regulation.

Until somebody imposes proper regulations and requirements these scumbag "investors" who have no reard for anyone will continue to milk the communities to get rich quick.

Anonymous said...

It is beyond sad that the nice people that live here are taken advantage of.

All they wanted was to make their community a place once again for people and families and stop the enroaching blight of industry.

They were snookered by their leadership, snookered by their elected officials, snookered by their community board, and as we have here, snookered by the press, a civic organ that should call attention to this abuse, and as in this case, simply adds to it.

George S said...

"Ah, its just a pile of rocks... whats the big deal?"

George S said...


Anonymous said...

We believe that Dutch Kills Civic is has the best credentials for determining the historical importance of this area.

State Senator George Onorato
State Assembly Cathy Nolan
City Planning Penny Lee
Queens Civic Congress

Every newspaper in NYC

Anonymous said...

We don't

Everyone else

Anonymous said...

And try posting about how Dutch Kills doesnt need any six plus story condo monstrosities and see if the developers\brokers who run that blog leave you comment up.

Its nice and Quiet a bit and then its the congestion of Queens borough plaza furthered by the tall poorly built condos to the north with all the new residents driving. Just to the south of there there moving along with the overdevelopment of new luxury apts.

When are you going to post about that large office looking building going up where the MTA bus garage was I believe?

Anonymous said...

And try posting about how Dutch Kills doesnt need any six plus story condo monstrosities and see if the developers\brokers who run that blog leave you comment up that is on LIQcity I meant to say.

Anonymous said...

What DID happen to the $20,000 the Onorato gave the community, or should we say, Dutch Kills Civic?

Perhaps someone should write him a letter and ask. Include Cathy Nolan, too. She seems to be keeping her head down (and not being called to the carpet either?)

Is something like this in store for the other part of her district that now is undergoing Mighty John Young's tender mercies? Woodside? Sunnyside?