Saturday, November 30, 2013

Levin owes a lot of dough to DOF

From the NY Post:

He knows how to move legislation — but not his car.

City Councilman Steve Levin (D-Brooklyn), a persistent parking scofflaw, has run up another $665 in unpaid tickets since July, according to city records.

Last year, The Post found Levin owed so much in summonses — $630 — that City Hall wouldn’t renew his official parking placard.

When he finally settled up, the legislator quickly amassed another $595 worth of fines wheeling around his Greenpoint-Williamsburg district.

Levin said Tuesday he’s thinking about finally springing for a garage.

What's the magic number for getting your car towed?

Most vacant lots in outer boroughs (in other words, we're screwed)

So who owns all that vacant land that Bill DeBlasio wants to see buildings on, pronto? Crain's has a breakdown:

After removing some of the most questionable assessments, a general picture of the city's buildable vacant space emerges. The supply of apartments follows demand—yet people can be fickle in terms of where they want to live. According to the most recent data from 2011, the percentage of rental apartments that were vacant was 3.12%, well below the 5% mark that indicates a housing emergency. While Brooklyn and Queens show the largest number of vacant residential plots, the most acreage of vacant land available is in far-flung Staten Island.

Rego Park fruit store now flying American flags

From the Queens Chronicle:

The Family Fruit Farm grocery store at 94-01 63 Drive had featured the flags of 22 different countries flying above its awning, but not until recently have two American flags joined the row of nations.

The flags, nestled between the symbols of Russia and Mexico, are slightly smaller than the other banners. But they fly front and center, directly facing the intersection of 63rd Drive and Booth Street for all to see.

The previous lack of Old Glory had upset a nearby shop owner as well as Vietnam War veteran and Rego Park resident George Gardner, who called the lack of the American flag “ridiculous” and “astonishing,” when he called the Chronicle to complain about it in October.

Gardner says he was not involved in getting the two American flags placed on top of the store and does not know who is responsible.

He understands that lack of the banners in the first place may have just been an oversight, but the fact that the American flags now fly is “refreshing” to the military veteran.

Thanks for what, exactly?

The Queens Tribune goes above and beyond the typical pol ass-kissing by a Queens weekly, seeing fit to "honor" 4 term limited Queens pols in their latest issue, and also at an awards ceremony.

Apparently the fact that all 4 ran for a 3rd term against the wishes of the voters does not mean much to Mr. Nussbaum, et al.

"Thank you" for what? Giving us the middle finger?

Friday, November 29, 2013

Anti-pigeon measures seem to be working

From DNA Info:

Commuters at a subway station in Queens are now being greeted with more than just the sounds of a rumbling train.

The MTA is using recordings of "predatory bird calls," at the 52nd Street station in Woodside, one tactic in a multi-faceted $250,000 effort to keep pigeons from roosting — and pooping — there.

The feature was installed at the station earlier this month, an MTA spokeswoman said and the Sunnyside Post first reported.

The squawking, shrieking and chirping sounds are meant to mimic birds of prey, like a hawk, and are played randomly through small speakers underneath the station.

Crowley trying to cover up his real address

From the NY Post:

Queens Rep. Joe Crowley is apparently not proud of where he lives — Virginia.

A congressional staffer deleted from Crowley’s Wikipedia page a link to a 2011 New York Post story that revealed how he and his family have settled in the Washington suburb of Arlington, Va., 250 miles from his home district.

The congressman even sends his three kids to Arlington’s nationally renowned public schools, shunning New York City’s educational system, The Post revealed in the 2011 exposé.

The effort to scrub the news article made the BuzzFeed Web site’s list of the “13 more embarrassing Wikipedia edits by congressional staff.

Veteran GOP consultant Ed Rollins rapped Crowley for trying to delete an ­unflattering item from his personal history.

“The whole new social media is made for manipulation. At the end of the day, you have to be truthful or you’ll get caught,”said Rollins. “And that’s what happened to Crowley.”

BuzzFeed was able to link congressional staffers to the deletion from Crowley’s Wikipedia page by the IP address associated with the deletion.

House of Representatives offices share the same IP address, making it easy to trace the edits back to Congress — if not to an individual congressional staffer.

Crowley and his congressional aides refused to answer The Post’s questions about his sanitized bio or blame anyone else for the editing.

Many members of Congress move their families to the nation’s capital.

But Crowley’s living arrangement raised eyebrows because of his dual role as the Democratic Party chairman in Queens.

The revelation about Crowley’s long-distance relationship with his district has continued to be a sore subject for the congressman.

Cold cases building up in 108th Pct

From Sunnyside Post:

Police precinct 108, which covers Sunnyside/Woodside and Long Island City, is starting to become a hub for unsolved murder cases.

There are currently four murders that remain unsolved and details on how the investigations are faring are not known.

Police Captain Brian Hennessy, who spoke at the Police Precinct 108 meeting Thursday, said that he had no new information on the cases.

The unsolved cases, listed below, span the time period from October 2012 through September 2013.

1) Lou Rispoli was killed by a blow to the head on Saturday, Oct. 20, 2012.

2) On May 23, Young Joo Byun, of Flushing, was discovered in a black plastic garbage bag inside her blue Honda Civic near 61st Street and Queens Boulevard.

3) A man was fatally stabbed after trying to flag down a cab at 68-10 Roosevelt Ave on July 13.

4) A homeless man was beaten to death at Sabba Park, located at 49th Street and Queens Blvd., on Sept. 7.

In the past 23 months, there have been seven murders in the precinct. Four were reported in 2012, with 3 so far this year.

Leading Speaker contender already has ethics problems

From the Daily News:

A leading candidate for City Council speaker may have violated city ethics rules by accepting unpaid assistance from a prominent lobbying firm working to further her candidacy.

And the lobbying firm, the Advance Group, may have violated the rules by providing the free advice to the councilwoman, Melissa Mark-Viverito (D-East Harlem).

The Advance Group, run by Scott Levenson, helped Mark-Viverito prep for debate forums, set up meetings with county Democratic leaders and network with the Council members whose votes she needs.

The Daily News first reported last week that the assistance was being provided at no cost.

As a public servant, Mark-Viverito is prohibited by the City Charter from accepting a “valuable gift” from a firm that intends to do business with the city.

And lobbyists, in turn, are prohibited from giving those gifts.

The NY Times also points out the Advance Group's excessive spending in the election for mayor:

Bill de Blasio and his Democratic supporters had warned for months this summer that Republican boogeymen — particularly David Koch — would take advantage of a Supreme Court decision and loosen mighty rivers of money and turn our mayoral election inside out. “Don’t let the Koch brothers buy the election,” he said.

David Koch retreated in November to his Park Avenue co-op after spending a relative pittance. But New York City saw a spasm of unregulated campaign money, most of it unleashed by wealthy Democrats and unions. And no one channeled those rivulets of cash more aggressively than Scott Levenson and the Advance Group, the strategic consulting firm he heads.

The United Federation of Teachers dropped millions of dollars and Mr. Levenson took at least a $370,000 cut. A group putatively devoted to carriage horses but focused intently on defeating the speaker of the City Council, Christine C. Quinn, spent a golden lode, and again Mr. Levenson took a cut.

Now the Campaign Finance Board is investigating the Advance Group’s role. Outside groups can spend themselves silly, but they cannot coordinate with individual candidates.

Dinkins disses deBlasio

From the NY Times:

To punctuate an impassioned pitch for his signature plan to raise taxes on the wealthy, Mayor-elect Bill de Blasio went out of his way during a speech on Monday to praise a cherished political mentor and former boss watching from the audience.

The recipient of his warm words, former Mayor David N. Dinkins, did not exactly return the favor.

In an unscripted and cringe-inducing moment of political candor, Mr. Dinkins opined before a crowd of journalists and academics at Columbia University that Mr. de Blasio should consider a different approach to funding an expansion of prekindergarten programs, throwing a wrench into what was meant to be a carefully choreographed day of municipal theater.

Citing skepticism in Albany, Mr. Dinkins suggested that Mr. de Blasio could turn to a tax on suburban commuters, rather than the tax-the-rich plan that became a centerpiece of his mayoral campaign.

“I think we might have more success with the other one,” Mr. Dinkins said, referring to his commuter plan, a comment that prompted applause from some members of the audience.

Onstage, Mr. de Blasio kept a mirthless smile on his face. “I take your point to heart,” he said.

Thursday, November 28, 2013

The new first couple of Queens wishes you a Happy Thanksgiving

This Thanksgiving, they are thankful for stupid voters.

World's largest gingerbread village at Hall of Science

From the NY Times:

To call it a village would seem to diminish its Lilliputian sprawl, seeing as how it encompasses 164 structures and weighs in at slightly more than 1.5 tons, including a stuporous 2,240 pounds of icing.

Clearly this is no ordinary gingerbread village.

It is, in fact, the world’s largest such creation, built piece by piece by Jon Lovitch in a closet-size kitchen in his South Bronx apartment — a monument to the idea of working big on a tiny scale.

The exhibit, “Gingerbread Lane,” is on display at the New York Hall of Science in Queens. The Guinness Book of World Records last week declared it the world’s largest entirely edible gingerbread exhibit.

If the Guinness people saw how he made it, they might have declared it the world’s craziest project.

Mr. Lovitch, a 37-year-old chef, did all of the cooking and culinary construction work at home before assembling the village at the Hall of Science. Besides the icing, the village also includes 400 pounds of candy and 500 pounds of gingerbread dough.

All of the pieces — from the brownstones, to the two-foot-high nutcrackers made of many layers of royal icing — were made by Mr. Lovitch, usually late at night after returning from work as the executive sous chef at the New York Marriott at the Brooklyn Bridge.

Will the Queensboro Bridge get its original name back?

From CBS New York:

City Councilman Peter Vallone Jr. (D-22nd) has introduced legislation to remove late Mayor Ed Koch’s name from the Queensboro Bridge.

Vallone has objected to the placement of Koch’s name on the bridge at 59th Street since the iconic mayor’s name was added in 2011.

Speaking to WCBS 880’s Jim Smith in July, Vallone said it was nothing personal.

“From day one, I’ve said this is not about Ed Koch,” he said. “He’s always been a good friend to my family; a good friend to my father. He’s always supported me in the past.”

The issue, Vallone said, is borough pride for Queens.

“Can you imagine the people of Brooklyn being OK with the Brooklyn Bridge being renamed, or the Manhattan Bridge being renamed?” Vallone said in July. “Only in Queens were they allowed to get away with this.”

Vallone’s bill would move Koch’s name to a different city landmark. The Manhattan Municipal Building would be renamed the Ed Koch Manhattan Municipal Building.

Anti-scofflaw signs coming down

From the NY Post:

The city is scooping up its curb your dog signs.

All reminders to pick up after your pooch are being taken down by the DOT, which has dumped 1300 signs this year—saying they are mostly faded and illegible.

The Sanitation Department, who owns the signs, says they won’t be replaced—since the agency stopped putting up the new signs ten years ago due to budget cutbacks.

Nostalgia trains are rollin' in

From LIC Post:

The MTA is running vintage subway trains every Sunday from Queens Plaza.

The trains provide passengers with a feel of what it was like traveling the subways of yesteryear. The trains include advertisements from years ago and include straphangers. There are signs explaining the history of the cars.

Riders have the option to take the whole ride (a half hour or so, from Queens to Manhattan), or just hop on and off. Some enthusiasts dress up in clothes from the 1930s.

Departures from Queens Plaza are at:

10:44 AM, 12:14 PM, 1:43 PM, 3:14 PM, and 4:44 PM on Sundays through December 30.

Congestion pricing redux

From the NY Times:

There could be no more talk, transit advocates reasoned, of “congestion pricing,” a phrase Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg often used before his sweeping plan to overhaul New York City’s bridge tolling system was vanquished in 2008, and treated as political arsenic ever since.

Then, with a clean slate, supporters could move on to the hard part: sculpting a proposal that might succeed where the mayor failed.

And so, more than five years after Mr. Bloomberg’s plan died in Albany, a cadre of the city’s transit minds has primed a successor, fine-tuning a pricing model that might be more palatable to residents outside Manhattan, meeting quietly with former opponents and preparing to take its case early next year to a public that has grown accustomed to free, if traffic-choked, rides over the East River.

Political obstacles abound, including securing the support of the State Legislature. But in what the plan’s supporters have billed as the most significant change of heart so far, Councilman Mark Weprin, an outspoken critic of the old proposal, said in an interview last week that he was receptive to this reimagined version.

“I’d like to have a chance to talk to them again,” he said of his constituents, “and say this makes a lot more sense.” (Mr. Weprin, a Queens Democrat, is running for City Council speaker.)

Proponents said the arrangement, devised by Samuel I. Schwartz, a former city traffic commissioner, would increase tolls in areas with high congestion and ample public transportation, and lower or eliminate them in transit-poor pockets, suggesting that Manhattanites would be asked to contribute more than they had under past proposals.

The plan championed by Mr. Bloomberg would have “raised revenue to do a lot of good things,” Mr. Schwartz said. “To be fair was not the fundamental premise.”

Move NY, the group behind the campaign, has billed the new plan as “fair tolling and transportation reinvestment,” adding that its details would not be made final until after a series of public forums next year. It can be distinguished from Mr. Bloomberg’s vision, the group said, in part because its revenues would be used not only to fund the capital program of the Metropolitan Transportation Authority but also to upgrade roads and bridges — a nod to drivers who might be expected to oppose any congestion-based pricing.

While the toll amounts could change, an example on Mr. Schwartz’s website included $5.33 E-ZPass tolls on the Ed Koch Queensboro Bridge and the Brooklyn, Manhattan and Williamsburg Bridges — all of which are now free. The one-way rate to cross the Verrazano-Narrows Bridge would decline to $5.66, from $10.66, and tolls on the Robert F. Kennedy, Throgs Neck and Bronx-Whitestone Bridges would be $2.83.

Traffic should be eased, Mr. Schwartz has said, because the adjusted rates would discourage “toll-shopping,” which can currently lead commercial vehicles and private drivers to take circuitous but inexpensive routes through some of the city’s busiest neighborhoods.

Rates could also be adjusted depending on the city’s economic fortunes, Mr. Schwartz said, potentially falling during lean periods.

Move NY estimated that the plan would create 35,000 jobs.

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

It's who you know and who you...

From Crain's:

On his governmental website, Assemblyman Michael Simanowitz, who has represented a Queens district since 2011, calls himself a "full-time legislator." In fact, Mr. Simanowitz has in recent months been picking up quite a bit of outside work in the legal field, with some of his assignments coming via a connection cozy even by the standard of clubby Queens politics.

Since March, Mr. Simanowitz, who is not an attorney, has been appointed as "court evaluator" in nine Queens state Supreme Court cases. For the six that have yielded payments so far, he has received $11,225 in compensation, records show.

The assemblyman is among 936 individuals on a list of people eligible for such appointments in Queens. Though Mr. Simanowitz is new to the field, he has some helpful connections: Four of his nine cases have come from Judge Lee Mayersohn, who is the son of Mr. Simanowitz's mentor and Assembly predecessor, Nettie Mayersohn.

A staffer for Mr. Simanowitz told Crain's that Mr. Simanowitz was doing the work as a public service, and that it was not especially lucrative compared to other types of work doled out by judges, such as guardianship appointments. But the assemblyman is not eligible to do much of that lucrative work because he is not an attorney.

Mr. Simanowitz is also the treasurer of the Queens Democratic organization. Judges in Queens are almost always elected because they are nominated with the political support of the Queens Democratic machine.

Queens Councilman-elect Paul Vallone has landed 14 court evaluator appointments over the past year. But during his hard-fought Democratic primary for the northeast Queens council seat, Mr. Vallone said that he would be a full-time legislator. A spokesman said that Mr. Vallone would indeed be taking his name off the list of those seeking appointments in 2014. Paul Vallone is the brother of term-limited Queens Councilman Peter Vallone Jr. and son of former Council Speaker Peter Vallone Sr.

Queens College studying possible new rail line

From WPIX.

Council seeks to reduce speed limit

From The Politicker:

The New York City Council hopes to pass legislation that would reduce the speed limit on most residential and side streets to 20 miles per hour, Council Speaker Christine Quinn announced today.

“We are actively working on that bill and our goal is to pass it before the end of the year,” Ms. Quinn said during an unrelated press conference this afternoon before the month’s final council meeting. “We’re actively working on it right now.”

The bill, introduced by Councilman David Greenfield, is aimed at reducing serous pedestrian injuries and traffic fatalities. Last year, 148 pedestrians were killed in traffic accidents and crashes.

“We are working to fine-tune this life-saving legislation that will slow down automobiles on narrow residential streets. I am hopeful that we can get consensus on this important legislation, which will literally save lives once it is enacted here in New York City,” he said in response to the speaker’s comments.

But there are complications. The city’s Department of Transportation has argued the proposal would conflict with state law, which only allows limits that low if other traffic-calming devices are used. Last Friday, Councilman Jimmy Vacca, chair of the council’s transportation committee, told WNYC the bill was being “tweaked a little bit” and that members were “aiming for 25 miles per hour on narrow, one-way streets.”

In other traffic safety news, a problem intersection in Astoria is under scrutiny and Woodhaven Blvd solutions are being pondered.

NYCHA still needs millions of dollars for Sandy repairs

From Capital New York:

New York City's public housing developments devastated by Hurricane Sandy still need millions of dollars in upgrades and repairs to weather another disaster, a top New York City Housing Authority officials testified at a City Council hearing last week.

NYCHA general manager Cecil House told members of the council's committee on public housing last Wednesday the agency has received only $246.5 million from federal agencies and private insurance companies, and is $676 million short to complete repairs and install preventative measures after the October, 2012 storm.

"Without the money we need, we will have to make tough but unavoidable choices," said House."For instance, our equipment will simply be repaired and be put back where it was, putting it at risk for damage from future disasters."

House said the agency has identified $1.8 billion in Sandy—related expenses, including repairing electrical panels, elevating some structures and constructing new utility buildings such as boiler rooms. Most of the storm damage was at housing developments in the Rockaways in Queens and along the ocean in Southern Brooklyn.

House testified that the public housing also stock suffered damages from Hurricane Irene in 2011; and though NYCHA made repairs, Sandy destroyed most of the work.

Let the tweeding begin

From The Politicker:

One source said Rep. Joe Crowley, head of the Queens Democratic party, is warming to the idea of backing Mark-Viverito, in part because she would be the first Latina speaker and his congressional district is heavily Hispanic.

"It would be a feather for him," said the source, who is involved in Queens County politics, as well as the speaker's race.

Mark-Viverito often touts her early endorsement of de Blasio in the Democratic mayoral primary this year and has said she agrees with most of his political positions.

Mark-Viverito has been the target of some negative stories since entering the speaker's race, and is a polarizing candidate in her own right.

Several sources said Dickens, whose candidacy is considered a nonstarter, was the least impressive of the interviewees and did not have a firm grasp on the rules-reform package.

UPDATE: Councilman Steve Levin, a member of the bloc, said Weprin was impressive too. Levin said Weprin "exhibited a lot of passion. He was passionate. He was moving and he spoke about his experiences as a legislator and about his family."

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Ice skating rink proposed for Astoria Pool

From the Queens Courier:

Astoria Park could soon be the next site to go skating for the holidays.

Councilmember Peter Vallone Jr. sent a letter to Parks Department Commissioner Veronica White on November 19, asking the agency to develop the Astoria Park Pool area into an ice skating rink. The area being proposed for the rink is next to the pool and used for sprinklers during the summer.

“This area in the Astoria Park Pool would make the perfect space for an ice skating rink for the residents of Queens to enjoy during the winter months,” said Vallone. “With the addition of an ice skating rink to the existing skate park and upcoming amphitheater, Astoria Park will be a destination for every season.”

Vallone and White are both on their way out, so how is this even a "could soon" story?

Steinway going green

From DNA Info:

Steinway is playing a new tune.

A parking lot at the Queens headquarters of the famed piano-maker is getting a green makeover.

The nonprofit New York Restoration Project (NYRP) is transforming the 53,500-square-foot concrete lot by installing storm water capture systems that will help absorb about 404,000 gallons of water a year — a project the group hopes will inspire other property owners to turn their parking lots into green spaces.

"A lot of the surface area of western Queens is paved," said Christopher Vanterpool, NYRP's director of capital administration. "Whether it’s a parking lot or schoolyard or someone's driveway, a lot of the opportunities for trees…have been paved over."

The group is looking to bring more green to the borough's concrete spaces, working with the City Parks Foundation and the North Star Fund's Greening Western Queens Fund, a $7.9 million initiative that funds environmental projects in the Queens neighborhoods that were affected by the 2006 blackout.

The Steinway & Sons project will cost in the low six-figures, and is one of several similar NYRP projects the organization is undertaking that will cost a total of $400,000.

Once the project is complete in a few weeks, the lot at 18-1 Steinway Place in Astoria will have dozens of new trees, a thousand new plants, an irrigation system that waters the plants and 340 feet of bioswales — planted areas that absorb and filter rainwater — around its perimeter.

The new, porous surfaces at the parking lot will absorb rainwater, helping to reduce runoff that would otherwise end up in the sewer system and potentially cause overflows that end up polluting the city's waterways.

Chuck vs. telemarketers

From the Daily News:

Telemarketers and scammers who violate federal “do not call” laws should face harsher penalties, Sen. Chuck Schumer (D.-N.Y.) said Sunday.

Schumer says he will introduce legislation that would levy a fine of $20,000 for each so-called robocall. Repeated violations would be considered felonies, punishable by up to 10 years in prison.

“The penalties are so low, they’re almost an invitation to break the law,” Schumer said.

As of August, the senator said, the Federal Trade Commission logged up to 200,000 robocall complaints a month compared to 65,000 in October 2010.

I'm sure political robocalls will be exempt.

Recycling not all it's cracked up to be

From Crain's:

Mayor Michael Bloomberg told New Yorkers seven months ago, "If it's a rigid plastic—any rigid plastic—recycle it." But not all of the rigid plastic city residents have been bagging with their metal cans, beer bottles and juice boxes since that announcement is being recycled.

Nearly all of the rigid No. 6 plastic—commonly used in cups, plates and other objects—delivered by the city's trucks to its recycling vendor, Sims Metal Management, has been shipped to dumps because Sims can't sell it.

"Right now that is going to landfill," said Tom Outerbridge, general manager for Sims.

Last April 22 was Mr. Bloomberg's 12th and final Earth Day as mayor, and he doubtless wanted to announce something significant about recycling that week. But the expansion of recycling program to include all rigid plastic was ahead of its time—at least by a few months.

In December, Sims will open a Brooklyn facility that uses optical-sorting technology to automatically separate different kinds of plastic.

"With this plant open, I'm going to be able to start producing straight, segregated loads of [No. 6] polystyrene products and I'm told there will be some people who will buy it," Mr. Outerbridge said.

He acknowledged that it would have been better for Sims and the city to wait until the sorting technology was ready before expanding curbside collection of plastic.

The cost of sending waste to landfills is currently about $85 a ton. That number is expected to rise in the years to come, as landfill space becomes more scarce and transportation costs increase. If Sims continues to struggle to sell No. 6 plastic, it could ask the city to take action, such as encourage the use of PET, a more marketable type of plastic.

"I'm not 100% confident that we are going to have a reliable market" for rigid No. 6, Mr. Outerbridge said." If it comes to that, he said, "I would go to the City Council and say, 'Hey, we tried, and I don't like to be the person to say get rid of this material, but no one will buy this material on an ongoing basis, [so] we would like the city to advance some legislation to transition from [rigid] polystyrene to PET.' "

Now Bloomie is proposing banning styrofoam:

Illegal cabbies threaten green cabbies

From the NY Post:

Illegal livery drivers see red when they spot green.

The scofflaws are bullying the outer-boroughs’ new green-taxi operators — kicking, smacking and spitting on the apple-colored rides to scare them from what has been their prime turf, legal workers told The Post.

The illicit drivers “have been making violent threats — kicking cars and banging on widows,” said Jenny Ahmed, who runs a green-taxi base in Brooklyn. “They think they’ve been there longer and it’s their turf.”

At least three of Ahmed’s drivers have suffered through car-whackings and threats from angry drivers since the green-taxi program launched in August, she said.

Fights have flared up in front of the Target store on Flatbush Avenue near Barclays Center in Brooklyn.

One green-cab driver was forced to give up a prime parking spot near the Atlantic Avenue Terminal after a black-livery-car operator spat at him, the driver said.

Monday, November 25, 2013

Earth to Julissa: Willets Point businesses are NOT being relocated

At the Queens Borough Board meeting held last Monday, November 18, 2013 – just before voting to authorize the sale of 23 acres of Willets Point property to Sterling Equities and Related Companies for the price of $1 (yes, one dollar) – Council member Julissa Ferreras told the Board that "we've worked with the tenants that are still there, and they will be relocated".

Tenant businesses are mystified as to why Council member Ferreras would say such a thing – because in reality, the City is now evicting the businesses without relocating them. The New York City Department of Housing Preservation and Development ("HPD") has issued eviction notices and commenced court proceedings against businesses that are tenants of the City. Any business that voluntarily vacates the premises by November 30, 2013 (this upcoming Saturday) is being offered a paltry payout equal to 12 months' of its present rent. Not only is such a payment too small to ensure the relocation and survival of each business, but the City has failed to implement any group relocation plan for the businesses – they are being kicked out with nowhere to go.

This, despite the City's relocation consultant, Cornerstone Group, having been paid $700,000.00 by the City to provide relocation assistance to Willets Point businesses.

Moreover, at the City Council on October 9, 2013, Ferreras had announced an additional $3 million for relocation assistance. But a business is only eligible for a share of those funds if it relocates together with at least four other businesses – and with no group relocation properties offered by the City, or group plan implemented, no one is actually eligible to receive any of the additional $3 million touted by Ferreras. From the businesses' perspective, the "relocation" – and Ferreras' statements – are all smoke-and-mirrors.

And so, last Wednesday, two days after Ferreras stated incredibly that the tenants "will be relocated", the tenants rallied at City Hall with State Senator Tony Avella to set the record straight and call attention to what is actually happening now at Willets Point. Carrying signs that said "Earth to Julissa: We're NOT Being Relocated" and "All Talk; No Results" above a photo of Ferreras, tenant business owners and workers denounced their evictions without relocation, and called on the involved agencies and Mayor-elect de Blasio to hit the pause button.

Avella also revealed his request that the United States Department of Justice investigate the role of Cornerstone Group in the Willets Point relocation debacle. The following video shows excerpts of the tenants' and Avella's statements.

Video courtesy of LoScalzo Media Design LLC

Senator Avella has also written to HPD, NYCEDC and the Mayor, requesting that the time available to the businesses be extended.

P.S. Where the hell is the public advocate? You're still expected to work in that role until December 31st, Mr. de Blasio.

Who's responsible for cleaning seized properties?

From Clean Up Jamaica Queens:

...the place has been sitting empty for awhile, with a "Marshal's Legal Possession" sign on the door, several Department of Sanitation violation notices (courtesy of yours truly) and a shit load of garbage in the front yard, down the basement stairs and on the porch. As usual, the garbage still stays and more gets added every day and again no one is doing anything about this and the place looks like shit and the community again as a whole suffers due to this bullshit and nonsense.

So is this and other places like this going to get cleaned-up or as usual will it just stay like this, get worse and continue the deterioration of Jamaica?

So, is the marshal supposed to clean it since it's in their possession? Hmm...

Parks crime a numbers game

From the NY Post:

The NYPD is keeping the public in the dark about how many crimes are committed in city parks by releasing stats only from the 31 biggest, according to a top city pol.

‎Felonies in those 31 parks soared 44 percent from April to June this year, compared to the same period last year — and the jump would have been even more frightening if all the crime were accounted for, according to City Councilman Peter Vallone Jr.

As a result, the Queens Democrat said Friday, he is now pushing a new bill that would require the NYPD to provide statistics for crimes in all city parks larger than one acre.

The proposed legislation would raise the number of parks on which the NYPD must turn in figures to 870.

The 2013 April-to-June crime increase is the largest since the NYPD began disclosing the information in 2006 in compliance with a similar Vallone bill. Under‎ that original law, the number of parks on which the NYPD reports quarterly crime statistics to the council was supposed to have increased gradually to have encompassed all 870 parks by now.

But, Vallone said, cops continue to ignore incident numbers in smaller green spaces, citing lack of resources and technology.

“They’re not violating the law technically, but they’re violating the spirit of it, because we’ve given them seven years to be able to give us this information,” said Vallone, chair of the council’s Public Safety Committee, at a hearing unattended by any NYPD officials.

Representatives of the union representing Parks Enforcement Patrol officers say the new legislation, which would compile data for over 800 additional city parks, doesn’t go far enough.

“We need a true depiction of what’s happening out there,” said Joe Puleo, head of Local 983.

Puleo also wants the NYPD to maintain data on rec centers, pools, beaches and ice-skating rinks, as well as parks and playgrounds smaller than one acre.

“This is where the really violent stuff is happening,” Puleo said of small community playgrounds. “This is where the shootings, the stabbings, are happening.”

Parks Enforcement Patrol currently has only 160 officers assigned to the city’s more than 2,500 parks, playgrounds and facilities.

Pornographic sculpture at Socrates?

From George the Atheist's blog, which includes an objection letter to Veronica White, Parks Commissioner:
"...this narrative depicts a moment of shock and death." What? Death by tumescence?

"The wild bear looms over man while sinking his teeth into the man's shoulder." You see teeth here? I sense something else is being sunk into that poor fellow. Even his buttocks are bloody red!

Ms White, little innocent New York City School children visit this park quite often. Must they be subjected to such an offensive, disgraceful and outrageous depiction of bad taste, questionable "art", and obvious pornography? I submit this borders on child abuse. Just what is going on with the New York City Parks Department under your aegis which champions this blatant display of bestiality?
Do guys getting attacked by bears normally have erections? Just curious.

Briarwood is apparently full of grease

From NY1:

The city Department of Environmental Protection has launched a campaign to educate the public about the nasty and costly problems that cooking grease could cause. NY1's Erin Clarke filed the following report.

Nothing says the holidays like fried turkey and latkes, but if you pour your leftover cooking grease down the drain or toilet, you may get a gift you're not thankful for.

"The grease problems will cause backages, backups in the sewers that will cause blockages. That can impact the way the sewer works," said Jim Roberts, deputy commissioner of the city Department of Environmental Protection. "In worst case conditions, it can sometimes lead to backups in homes."

That could mean that just when everyone's over to celebrate, you might end up with a stinky situation that will ultimately cost you and the city a pretty penny.

"We've spent several million dollars a year on what we call degreasing," Roberts said. "To give you some frame of reference, it costs about $20 a gallon for the degreasing agent that we use, and we use sometimes as much as 20 or 30 gallons."

In an effort to educate New Yorkers about the problem, the DEP launched an outreach pilot program. They are handing out information and tools for getting rid of grease properly.

"We have a little cap in here that they can attach to their coffee can or soda can and put the grease in and let it go out with the regular garbage," Roberts said.

The program is starting in Queens because the borough has the highest percentage of reported sewage backups caused by grease. The Briarwood neighborhood was particularly problematic.

Sunday, November 24, 2013

Be careful out there today!

From DNA Info:

Two pedestrians were injured when the sign at a large discount store in Brooklyn fell from the building's facade Sunday morning.

The victims, who were not identified, were both rushed to Kings County Hospital in serious condition after being struck outside of the Fulton Street shop at 11 a.m., an FDNY spokesman said.

The sign was completely stripped off the storefront of M&S Bargain Hunters at noon on Sunday at the shop, which is located near Bedford Avenue.

DeBlasio plans to overdevelop the hell out of everywhere

From Crain's:

Call it Exhibit A. On part of an irregularly shaped block in the Highbridge section of the Bronx, a chain-link fence wraps around a three-acre property that has sat vacant for decades. Trees and weeds have run riot, in the process encroaching upon the sidewalks along University Avenue, even as the property's assessed value in the past decade has quietly soared from $716,000 to $9 million, according to city records.

And yet, because most of the property is zoned for residential use, and is assessed in the same low-density class as single-family homes, the Olnick Organization, which owns the land, pays less than $8,000 annually in property taxes on that residential portion.

Cases like that spurred Public Advocate Bill de Blasio in April to push for tax hikes on vacant land to force owners either to put it to use and build housing or to sell it to those who will. As mayor-elect, Mr. de Blasio is pledging to carry out his idea, which today would affect more than 10,500 lots in the five boroughs, with the largest concentration on Staten Island. The plan, after a five-year phase-in period, would hike yearly rates by an average of $15,300, according to estimates by the Independent Budget Office.

As for the long-vacant Highbridge lot, the city property taxes on the large residential portion would balloon to about $180,000.

By increasing the cost of inactivity to prohibitive levels, the hope is that more land can be put back into use and much-needed housing can be built. Many observers think it can work if the costs of holding land idle are driven high enough.

The measure could also produce another undesirable effect.

Mr. de Blasio estimated his plan would eventually generate $162 million annually.

"Maybe a guy says, 'I'm not going to pay these taxes, I'm going to build a taxpayer,'" said Eric Anton, a managing partner at investment bank Brookfield Financial, referring to a small development on a piece of property that generates just enough money to cover payments to the government.

Mr. de Blasio's plan targets not active developers, but what the mayor-elect brands as "speculators"—owners who sit on buildable land waiting for prices to rise. In the past, Mr. de Blasio has singled out booming neighborhoods like Brooklyn's Williamsburg as prime locations for people warehousing real estate—all while the city suffers a critical housing shortage.

Enter Exhibit B. In the middle of Williamsburg, where land prices have doubled and redoubled in the past 20 years, Frank Fristachi and Suzannah Matalon have clung to an 8,900-square-foot parcel of fenced-off land at the corner of South First Street and Driggs Avenue. The owners insist they do not fit into Mr. de Blasio's mold.

"It's not vacant—it contains a beautiful garden, trees, bushes and plants, and was rescued from being a dump owned by the city," Mr. Fristachi said. "I think I should get a tax rebate for supplying this neighborhood with clean air and light."

Mr. Fristachi also disputes the suggestion that he's a speculator, pointing out that if he were one, he'd have already unloaded the parcel and banked his fat profits. Nonetheless, he conceded that Mr. de Blasio's proposal has made him unsure about what he should do if his property taxes rise from about $6,800 annually to an estimated $17,000 under the mayor-elect's plan.

This will build nothing but luxury condos and the same crap we've been seeing all over Queens for decades, but at a faster pace. Notice that there's no mention of infrastructure improvements.

Saturday, November 23, 2013

Appeals court upholds stop-and-frisk ruling

From the Village Voice:

The endless volley between Mayor Bloomberg and appeals courts is over: Friday morning a federal appellate court denied the city's motion to vacate U.S. District Judge Shira Scheindlin's ruling that stop-and-frisk is unconstitutional. The ruling detonates Bloomberg's last hope of overturning the ruling before Bill de Blasio takes office January 1.

The Second Circuit Court of Appeals, the same three-judge panel that removed Scheindlin from the stop-and-frisk over partiality concerns, dropkicked the city's motions with a five-page opinion Friday morning.

Scheindlin ruled in August that stop-and-frisk was unconstitutional and imposed a serious of reforms on the NYPD aimed at curtailing the practice. But on October 31, the Second Circuit deemed that Scheindlin had acted partially, a decision based in part on the interviews she granted with the media in the weeks following the ruling.

On November 9, the city renewed its efforts to get out from under Scheindlin's ruling by filing a motion to vacate her decision. Today the Second Circuit said no.

Bodega owners busted in WIC fraud scheme

From NBC:

Homeland Security Investigations agents and police arrested more than two dozen store owners across the city Wednesday in welfare benefit fraud schemes totaling millions of dollars, authorities said.

Law enforcement officials say that instead of providing food and necessities, store owners allegedly cashed in Woman, Infant and Children (WIC) benefits and split the money with benefit recipients.

Some store owners allegedly cashed up to 20,000 vouchers per month, taking 20 cents on the dollar, law enforcement officials said. Officials said one store on Broadway in Elmhurst, Queens, processed more than 25,000 coupons in one month.

An average store usually collects about 200 coupons a month, authorities say.

Homelessness: Will deBlasio do any better?

From the Huffington Post:

New York City's homeless population rose 13 percent from 2012 to 2013, according to new federal statistics released on Thursday.

The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development's one-night study found 64,060 people living in city shelters. New York's uptick comes only second to Los Angeles', where homelessness increased a staggering 27 percent during the same period.

Meanwhile, homelessness at a national level dropped four percent from 633,782 to 610,042. New York was among five states -- including California, Florida, Texas, and Massachusetts-- that accounted for more than half of the country's homeless population.

Prior to the study's publication, the Coalition for the Homeless hosted a panel on Wednesday to discuss the city's unprecedented homelessness rate and outline possibly policy changes mayor-elect Bill de Blasio could enact to help bring the numbers down.

Court asked to force owners to clean up properties

From DNA Info:

The city is demanding that owners repair three abandoned buildings on Lafayette Avenue in Bed-Stuy that have caused flooding and rat infestations for neighbors, according to documents filed in Brooklyn Civil Supreme Court.

The city Department of Buildings issued summonses ordering the owners of 874, 876 and 880 Lafayette Ave. to fix unsafe conditions that residents said were plaguing their homes.

Each of the buildings was unsecured, with windows and basement doors being broken or completely missing, according to the summonses, leading to squatters who have caused damage to surrounding homes.

You may recall that a similar property on Lafayette was featured on this blog back in August.

Friday, November 22, 2013

Vibrant and diverse crew busted for counterfeiting

From Bayside Patch:

Residents from Oakland Gardens, Bellerose and Great Neck were among 19 people arrested in a trademark counterfeit ring bust, the Queens district attorney said.

Police dismantled four organized trademark counterfeit rings based in Queens on Wednesday and the defendants were arraigned before Queens Supreme Court Justice Richard Buchter.

The groups allegedly imported and sold counterfeit brand name apparel and other items from China to wholesale buyers throughout the United States and the Virgin Islands, Queens DA Richard Brown said. A total 19 defendants are currently in custody.

Among the defendants was Oakland Gardens’ Suk B. Yi, 18, who was charged with enterprise corruption and trademark counterfeiting. His ball was set at $100,000 and he was forced to surrender his passport. He will return to court on Jan. 28.

Bellerose’s Bobak Ahouraie, 23, was charged with trademark counterfeiting. He will return to court on Nov. 21.

And Great Neck’s Jan Sanandaji, 37, an alleged wholesale buyer, was charged with trademark counterfeiting and will return to court on Jan. 29.

Other Queens defendants included Flushing’s Jian Zhong Jian, 43, and Xiu Wei Ye, 43 and Woodhaven’s Samantha Defreitas, 26.

The alleged bosses of the operation include Brooklyn’s Izak Chaloh, 28, Yosif Mamrout, 33, and Yu Zhen Cao, 39.

Other Brooklyn defendants included Laureano Lopez, 29, Wei Feng Cao, 45, and Zhi Wei Liang, 53. Staten Island’s Xiu Yin Jin, 34, was also arrested.

The DA said the groups allegedly operated from self-storage facilities in Queens and Brooklyn, generating approximately $10 million in combined gross annual revenue.

Union Turnpike won't get a pyramid

From the Queens Courier:

A split community board narrowly approved a proposal last week to rezone a portion of Union Turnpike.

The controversial rezoning plan would allow developer Sam Zirkiev build a four-story residential and retail structure at 158-15 Union Turnpike. It barely cleared Community Board 8 last Wednesday, with a nail-biting 17-14 vote.

“It was definitely nerve-wracking,” Zirkiev said. “In the end, I’m happy with the outcome. Hopefully, it’ll get some more business and shopping in the area and more tax revenue. I’m hoping it’ll be an asset to the community.”

Under current zoning rules, developers can build a 10-story community facility building, shaped like a pyramid, within 70,500 square feet of the site. However, its height would be capped at 35 feet if residential units are planned, Lobel said.

Zirkiev reiterated his lack of interest in building the pyramid-like structure that would likely house medical offices — but he said he could, if rezoning plans are rejected.

Board member Kevin Forrestal said this was a “scare tactic” used to sway the board.

“We’re making more and more problems for ourselves, and we’re not addressing the infrastructure,” Forrestal said.

Because "progressives" love Bruce Ratner

From Atlantic Yards Report:

As part of his 60-member volunteer transition team, Mayor-elect Bill de Blasio yesterday named MaryAnne Gilmartin, President and CEO, Forest City Ratner Companies and Bertha Lewis, President and Founder, The Black Institute--and, more importantly, Forest City Ratner's partner on the Atlantic Yards affordable housing since she headed New York ACORN.

de Blasio has long had a relationship with Lewis--he owes her and the associated Working Families Party big-time for his entire political career. And it's understandable that he'd have a relationship with Gilmartin, given the importance he's placed in getting Atlantic Yards affordable housing done.

But her prominence confirms just how important that relationship is--one I suspect will pay off with carrots, not sticks, regarding Atlantic Yards.

His transition office issued a news release:

Mayor-Elect Bill de Blasio today announced the appointment of 60 experienced leaders and experts to his transition committee that will assist him in building a progressive, competent and diverse city government.

“These leaders are volunteering their expertise in every issue and area of municipal affairs,” said Mayor-Elect de Blasio. “Together, they will join Transition NYC Co-Chairs Carl Weisbrod and Jennifer Jones Austin in helping me to assemble a team that’s devoted to building one great city where everyone shares in our prosperity.”

“My charge to the transition team is to identify women and men from every part of our city and walk of life that share a commitment to progressive and competent city government,” said de Blasio. “They will be advising me based on their wealth of experience and knowledge of specific issue areas and government agencies.”

I'm not sure Forest City Ratner's "commitment to progressive and competent city government" trumps it's commitment to a "responsive and accommodating city government."

Illegal building encroaches on neighbor's property

Photo Caption (From Left to Right): Mr. John Hockenjos; Senator Tony Avella; Ms. Iriana Hockenjos
Senator Tony Avella was joined [yesterday] by the Hockenjos Family at a press conference protesting their neighbor’s possible illegal construction. According to the Hockenjos Family, the Department of Buildings approved and issued permits to their neighbors at 2372 East 23rd Street based upon allegedly fraudulent documents, including a site survey. The Hockenjos Family’s neighbor has subsequently claimed a part of the Hockenjos’ property as their own.

Avella stated, “As I have been saying for awhile now, the Department of Buildings (DOB) needs to do a much better job of reviewing and auditing the applications it receives. Otherwise, as is apparently the case here, applicants can submit fraudulent documents that allows them to build beyond what they are allowed. According to the Hockenjos Family, their neighbor submitted a fraudulent site survey, which subsequently led them to claim a part of the Hockenjos’ property. It is clear that DOB needs to conduct better oversight in order to prevent the situation that the Hockenjos Family currently finds themselves in.”

Afterschool brawling

From the Forum:

A 15 year old was arrested after he allegedly smashed another boy in the head with a wrench during a fight that broke near Maspeth High School last Wednesday, police said.

According to Capt. Christopher Manson, commanding officer of the 104th Precinct, students from another school came to Maspeth High School last Wednesday afternoon, after which a brawl ensued. After originally clashing outside the school, the teenagers moved to Elmhurst Park, located near the Long Island Expressway service road and 57th Avenue.

Police did not say what prompted the altercation.

“It got out of hand,” Manson said during a meeting with reporters at the precinct last Friday.

The student who was attacked by the teen with a wrench was not seriously injured, according to police.

Detective Thomas Bell, of the 104th Precinct, informed area civic leaders that the individuals not from Maspeth HS hailed from the Grand Street Educational Campus in Brooklyn. According to Comet Civic Association President Rose Daraio, Bell told her and others that the Grand Street teens assaulted some students at Maspeth. While one arrest has been made, police said the investigation is ongoing and Manson noted that there has been “chitter chatter on Facebook about retribution.”

Oh joy!

Thursday, November 21, 2013

Sad end for classic building

From Curbed:

The old Fox Savoy Theater just north of Eastern Parkway on Bedford Avenue in Crown Heights will be demolished to make way for a 114-unit residential development. The neo-classical building opened in 1927, and it's been used as a church since 1969. Last year it sold to a developer, who will now build a Issac & Stern Architects-designed 10-story, 90,806-square-foot apartment building with a rooftop terrace and underground parking.

Meng mugged

From the Politicker:

Queens Congresswoman Grace Meng was attacked Tuesday night in Washington D.C., her office announced today.

Ms. Meng was hit over her head and robbed of her Gucci handbag, but did not suffer serious injures, according to the account; she was left with a bruise on her chin and underwent a CAT scan at George Washington University Hospital.

In a statement, Ms. Meng said she would resume “normal activities” today despite the scare.

Illegal hotel settlement

From the Wall Street Journal:

New York City has reached a $1 million settlement with a firm it accused of operating illegal hotels, creating a restitution fund to help defrauded tourists.

Last year, the administration of Mayor Michael Bloomberg filed a lawsuit accusing Smart Apartments LLC and Toshi Inc., a related company that was dissolved, of operating illegal short-stay rooms in about 50 residential buildings in Manhattan and Brooklyn. The city considered the defendants to be among New York's largest operators of illegal hotels.

Also sued was Robert "Toshi" K.Y. Chan, principal executive for both companies. Mr. Chan, who appeared in an Academy Award-winning film, "The Departed," is known for throwing lavish parties in New York.

The settlement, signed Monday by State Supreme Court Justice Arthur Engoron, creates a restitution fund for tourists affected by what city officials described as "misleading practices." Tourists who rented from the company can now seek reimbursement for security deposits or rental payments that weren't refunded between May 1, 2011, and Monday.

According to the agreement, the firm has agreed to stop advertising illegally converted residential apartments for stays of fewer than 30 days. The city said its officials found the company operated hundreds of permanent residential apartments for short-term stays.

DOB fiddles while Jamaica burns

From Clean Up Jamaica Queens:

While dining at the wonderful Rocoto Restaurant at 178-27 Hillside Avenue yesterday, the owners Jesus and Jennie, told me that that Department of Buildings is going to fine them $5000 because their outside sign is bigger than 18 inches. Before they put their sign up, they had to get a permit and like all good quality citizens they did just that, as opposed to so many other questionable businesses in Jamaica. Then when the Department of Buildings came to do an inspection recently, they told Jesus and Jennie that the outdoor sign was over 18 inches and that they would have to spend thousands of dollars to change it or be fined $5000. Jennie told the inspector that if the sign was that small, no one would be able to see it since the subway entrance in front of their business would block it, but it did not matter, unless the sign changes they will be hit with a $5000 fine. Please tell what quality-of-life issue is being broken here?

In the meantime, the subway entrance in front of their building has become a hangout for homeless people, garbage is continually dumped in front of their area, a garbage can is constantly over flowing onto the ground, yet nothing is done about this, even though Rocoto calls the city daily in regards to this, plus cleaning up constantly in front of their business.

Tall order for the South Street Seaport

From the NY Times:

South Street Seaport, an often-neglected corner of Manhattan dedicated to enshrining New York’s seafaring past, has been battered by storms, recessions and poor management.

Now, there is a proposal for a major redevelopment of the cobblestone streets, 19th-century brick buildings and piers that would include the reconstruction of the landmark Tin Building and the addition of a marina and a 50-story hotel and apartment tower.

The Howard Hughes Corporation, which controls the seaport under a lease with the city, says it wants to enliven the area and establish a destination for both tourists and New Yorkers.

It is unclear how a glassy tower on the north side of Pier 17 would fit into the historical fabric of the area, but Howard Hughes contends that the building would be the “economic engine” that would allow for the rehabilitation of the crumbling piers and nearby buildings.

The proposal, the company said, will include a still-to-be-determined rescue plan for the financially ailing Seaport Museum, and the sailing ships at Pier 17, which are slowly sinking into the East River.

“The re-envisioned seaport district will transform the piers’ iconic waterfront setting into a vibrant, highly engaging area,” said David R. Weinreb, chief executive of Howard Hughes, “while providing a critical catalyst for the revitalization of Lower Manhattan.”

The company is to unveil its preliminary plan for the first time on Tuesday to local residents and members of Community Board 1, which includes the seaport.

Howard Hughes, which would triple the size of its operations, had hoped to continue negotiating in secret with the city’s Economic Development Corporation while it completed its proposal. But demands by local officials and residents for a more open design process forced the company to make the plans public.

The company’s proposal must be approved by the Landmarks Preservation Commission and the City Council before construction can start.

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Who could resist this?

From New York Shitty:

This. I have tried— and tried— to find the words to describe what you have just seen. Thankfully the owner of this apartment has been lavish with the photo-documentation. What these pictures have to say is way more than the proverbial 1,000 words. Note “the value-added” in the manner of a disco ball in the living room. Simply magnificent! Best to simply check out this listing and behold the, um, glory for yourself. You will not be disappointed!

From the ad:

Beautiful 2 bedroom apartment, but can be 3 bedroom if need be. Has living room, kitchen, 1 bathroom. Has a lot of mirrored walls looks like a upscale nightclub inside. 2 HUGE closets so you have plenty of closet place. This apartment comes fully furnished!!!! with raymour &flanigan furniture. King size bed, bunk beds, leather couch, bar, closed circuit tv, 2 big screen tvs, brand new refrigerator, brand new stove, blinds done for windows, you have everything you need in this apartment you can move right. Rent is $2,000 per month !!! you will need first months rent and last months rent and a $4,000 dollar security deposit for all furnishings, and a months security deposit. you will need $10,000 to move in to this apartment. (most of it is security and deposit. Apartment is in Ridgewood, queens, near pond road and myrtle avenue, near the m train. ONLY call if you have $10,000 to move in and have good credit.

To tear it down or fix it up?

From the Daily News:

The city needs $52 million to save the New York State Pavilion and restore the deteriorating iconic ruin of the 1964-65 World’s Fair to its original glory, officials revealed Monday night.

But tearing it down would cost just $14 million.

Parks Department officials told outgoing Queens Borough President Helen Marshall, elected officials and community board leaders that they have not decided what to do with the structure, which includes the Tent of Tomorrow and three observation towers that have been shuttered for decades.

“They are in need of repair but they are not immediately falling down,” said Queens Parks Commissioner Dorothy Lewandowski. “So we have time to have some really reasonable dialogue.”

Lewandowski said the city’s new report on the site includes several engineering studies and ambitious conceptual plan that could cost at least $72 million.

Other options include shoring up the site so it could remain as a ruin similar to the 19th century smallpox hospital on Roosevelt Island for a cost of $43 million.

If we can pay $100M for Donald Trump's golf course, why can't we pay to restore the Pavilion? Or better yet, why not use the funds from Julissa's new Flushing Meadows conservancy to repair it?

Final paint job for 5 Pointz

From Crain's:

Working under the protection of NYPD officers in the wee hours of Tuesday morning, a crew of more than a dozen people painted over in white every square inch of the distinctive graffiti that had made the 5Pointz building in Long Island City a local landmark in recent years. The move came as the building's owner prepares to replace the industrial buildings with residential towers.

"I got it over with, and believe me, I had tears in my eyes," said Jerry Wolkoff, owner of G&M Realty. "I love what [the artists] did, otherwise I wouldn't have let them do it for the last 20 years, but it was time and I just wanted to end it."

Mr. Wolkoff and his son David, who together run G&M, and have plans to demolish the complex housing light-industrial users as well as artists' studios. In its place they plan to erect nearly 1,000 units of housing in two towers rising 41 and 47 stories.

One last mural:

'Coming to America' site stalled

From DNA Info:

Plans to build a luxury condo on the lot of a former Wendy's made famous in the movie "Coming to America" have been delayed after the Department of Buildings denied the construction company's permit, citing dozens of objections.

The plans to build a seven-story, mixed-use luxury building on the plot of land between Broadway and Reeder Street were not approved after the DOB found 70 objections that need to be addressed, according to a department spokeswoman.

She said the objections are mostly minor, but include zoning issues and the need for clarification on exit signs and fire ratings.

A secretary at Tan Architects, whose developer, Jerry Pi, also built the luxury building The Elm East across the street from the empty lot — said this week that the company was "still waiting for approval."

But plans were still set for construction to begin on the latest residential complex, called The Elm West, on the busy corner, according to the secretary, Winnie Mok.