Friday, February 28, 2014

Recipe for tweeding

and this is the result:
Public dollars going toward a place that the community board and community-at-large, oppose, that's not actually an arts center, but a niteclub for Brooklyn gentrifiers.

Could it be that I have it all wrong and the KDC is actually a place where Katz will hone her singing skills and Curtis will host erotic poetry readings? (BARF!)

Don't donate to Queens Council on the Arts. Or any elected official that gives them money, for that matter.

College Point should be so much more than this

"Hello Crapper,

Driving around College Point yesterday doing some errands. I saw some disturbing and awful sites. I particularly like College Point because of some of the historical sites, that it is secluded, some nice old homes and a small town feel. But I really think the Councilman and residents that live there (who still care and are not planning to abandon ship) start getting involved and clean it up. Somehow market this area to those who will appreciate it. Here are some pictures attached for your viewing. It's sad that this section of Queens can have so much more appeal and potential than it is right now."

- Anonymous

One last bill, thanks to Vito

From CBS New York:

The state Assembly has entered into two contracts worth $205,000 for an outside counsel to handle sexual harassment policy development and investigations after a high-profile scandal.

The state comptroller’s office says Tuesday the approval is for contracts with Rossein Associates. A spokesman for Democratic Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver says the firm was retained by the Ethics Committee as part of reforms announced in May.

Merrick Rossein is a law professor at the City University of New York Law School at Queens College.

Just embarrassing...

"Nice job of recreating the original tiles!" - Johnny

Crowley takes her time having vandalized office cleaned

From NY1:

You know your neighborhood has a graffiti problem when even the local councilwoman's office has been hit.

"It doesn't look good for her. You know, its not good for the neighborhood," said one resident.

The wall outside Councilwoman Elizabeth Crowley's office was vandalized about a week and a half ago, but some people who live and work in Middle Village believe it's a sign of the times.

They say they've noticed a lot more graffiti in the neighborhood in recent months and it is not just public or commercial property being vandalized.

"I think it's getting worse. I've been working here for 40 years and I've seen the neighborhood little by little deteriorating," said another resident.

"I think it's terrible," said John Killcommons from Juniper Park Civic Association. "It's a real disgrace for a great neighborhood like this."

Community activists like Killcommons are calling on the city and Councilwoman Crowley to do more to address the issue. Through a statement, Crowley shot back,
Crowley went on to say that her office is working with a private contractor to remove the graffiti, and come spring when the city's graffiti removal street teams are back on the street she will work with them to ensure that Middle Village is a priority. Some residents will be holding her to that promise because to hear them tell it, the problem is getting out of hand.

I like how she supposedly both notified the city's graffiti removal unit and is also hiring a private contractor. Why? Ten minutes with a borrowed powerwasher should do it. Wanna borrow mine?

Thursday, February 27, 2014

Disturbing sight by Muni Lot 1

"Hey there, today I was in Flushing by 37th ave where the the municipal lot is, and there is this car parked there that I have attached photos of. I understand that people died last week in a car crash but do you happen to know why they would park that there in downtown Flushing? It's very bloody and disturbing." - Tiffany
Answer: It was the closest open spot near the 109th precinct.

More photos were sent in by the Flushing Phantom.

Paying is for suckers

NYCUrbanScape on Flickr
From [to the turnstile bandits at the elmhurst avenue M/R stop] by Matthew Kremer:

he descends the stairs of the M/R line
and pauses for a minute
to survey the scene.
waits cautiously,
listening for the approach
of the eight-car manhattan train.
looks at all the gum splotches
beneath his rotting soles.
what was that noise? a radio?
over the course of three days--one
each in january, february and march--
clerks noted a whopping 329
fare-beaters at the station.

he makes a dash for it
like a wigged-out gazelle
over the turnstiles
down the stairs
and into the car.
a few stragglers see it
and shake their heads.
a photo of victoria saravia
flutters at the edge of the wall
in the gust of the departure.

Avella now part of Independent Democrat Conference

From Capital New York:

A decision by Queens State Senator Tony Avella to defect from the chamber's traditional Democratic faction to its Republican-allied Independent Democratic Conference is a coup for the I.D.C., boosting its ranks on the eve of major legislative negotiations and cementing its existence (and some type of Republican control) going into the November election cycle.

It is, first and foremost, a matter of numbers. After two retirements, the chamber is governed by a coalition of 29 Republicans, the now-five-member I.D.C., and Simcha Felder, a Brooklyn Democrat who sits with the Republicans. There are 24 members of the mainstream Democratic conference, as well as two Democrats under federal indictment—John Sampson of Brooklyn and Malcolm Smith of Queens—who remain senators but are not invited into private confabs.

It takes 32 votes to pass a bill.

Building collapse injures 8 workers

From the Daily News:

Eight workers were seriously injured in a construction accident while working on a decrepit Brooklyn building Wednesday afternoon, officials and witnesses said.

The men fell from the third floor to the first floor of 1916 Prospect Place about 1 p.m., Fire Department officials said.

Some of the injured were taken to Kings County Hospital, a department spokesman said. None of the injuries appeared to be life-threatening.

One neighbor said he warned the men that the structure was unsound on their way in.

Pastor convicted of immigration fraud

From the NY Post:

A Queens deacon has been convicted of helping Chinese immigrants seek asylum over bogus religious beliefs by coaching them in how to lie to the feds.

Liying Lin, a 30-year-old deacon at the Full Gospel Global Mission Church in Flushing, was found guilty by a Manhattan federal jury on Tuesday on three of the four counts of immigration-fraud charges she had faced.

The feds say she offered paid lessons on Christianity to immigrants and then coached them on how to falsely seek asylum by claiming they were persecuted by China for their religious beliefs.

She is one of 26 defendants indicted by the feds in 2012 for allegedly participating in separate but overlapping immigration-fraud schemes related to the submission of hundreds of asylum applications containing fabricated claims of persecution. Most of the defendants are law firm staffers, including six Big Apple lawyers and many paralegals.

Our underfunded roads are in bad shape

From Crains:

It's not just Old Man Winter that's caused foot-deep potholes and pitted roadways on bridges. Years of underinvestment in New York's infrastructure have led to unsafe and congested roadways that cost New York motorists a total of $20.3 billion annually statewide, and approximately $2,300 per driver in the New York City area, according to a new report released by TRIP, a Washington, D.C.-based national transportation organization.

Greater investment in transportation at the local, state and federal levels could relieve traffic congestion, improve conditions, increase safety and support long-term economic growth in New York, the report argued. Roads that are in disrepair add expense to the maintenance of cars, and the delays they cause cost businesses time and money.

Seventy-four percent of major roads in New York City are in either poor or mediocre condition, the report found. Traffic congestion in the area is deteriorating, causing 59 annual hours of delay for the average city driver.

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Frank Lloyd Crap outdoes himself in LIC

You know folks, it takes some special talent to keep coming up with vibrant and diverse pieces of Queens Crap. And Frank Lloyd Crap has such talent.
We had the chance to chat about some recent mentoring that Frank had undertaken. The project above, at 45-12 11th Street in LIC had been crappified by a young member of the Queens AIA. However, it just wasn't crappy enough. Until Frank got involved, that is!

"It was missing that special pizzazz," Frank said. "It just didn't disrupt the streetscape enough. If you want silly yuppies to think they're living in an avant garde piece of architecture, you can't just get by with a slightly out-of-character alteration," he explained. "I worked closely with the novice for a while and we came up with this."

"It's important to not only have an ostentatious design, but also to get creative with the reasons why you are undertaking crappification. I settled on, 'RAISE LOWEST FLOOR LEVEL OF EXISTING BUILDING ABOVE THE FLOOD PLAIN.' Of course, considering the damage wreaked by Sandy in this very community, raising the building up is common sense that the DOB can't refuse."
I suppose we'll just ignore the fact that there is still an apartment in the basement that is very much within the flood plain.

Photos of "Lego Building" from New York Shitty.

Sanitation says to put all trash in front of house during snow

From NY1:

When the city resumed trash pickup last week residents who share this alleyway between 28th and 29th streets assumed this garbage would be gone by the weekend, but it was still there Monday afternoon.

The Department of Sanitation is aware of the problem and says the alleyway is on a list of locations to be addressed.

The department also pointed out that garbage pickup in alleyways like these are suspended when there is snow and ice. They are not public thoroughfares, so they're not salted or plowed and that could make it dangerous for sanitation workers.

Residents are asked to put the trash in front of their homes during the snow season instead.

Natural rock a happy sight in Woodhaven


Just as the snow melted, I walked my dog past the giant white rock on Whiting Square, only to discover that the hideous white paint had been stripped off.

It had been painted white for a few years, and vandals got a chance at defacing the rock with black spray paint a few weeks ago. Fortunately, someone decided that rather than to paint over the graffiti, stripping the white paint would be a better idea... And it is!
I think it looks great!
Now if only we could get some benches in the adjacent street row island.


A Happy Woodhaven Resident

Queens-based photography

"I'm a long-time Queens Crap fan.

I'm a native New Yorker (grew up in Jackson Heights, Newtown HS, Queens College, now in Bayside) and have been bike riding through the five boroughs forever. About ten years ago I started bringing a camera with me.

I've recently started a website about my NYC bike riding and photography. As part of that, I have a blog that I use to record some of the humorous or offbeat things I see in my travels.

City Lights Photos

Please read over my bio on the site. I think you will see someone who loves Queens and New York as much as you do."


Mark Lutin

Could this honest politician?

From The Observer:

As the new councilman for District 34, which includes Williamsburg and portions of Bushwick in Brooklyn and South Ridgewood in Queens, Councilman Antonio Reynoso personally understands the issues of his constituents.

He was born, bred and still lives in Williamsburg, a neighborhood he hopes never to leave. Plus, Mr. Reynoso spent seven years under the tutelage of his predecessor, Councilwoman Diana Reyna, working as her budget director, legislative director and, eventually, chief of staff until he quit to campaign for her seat.

Q & A

Mr. Lopez gave tax breaks to developers while he was an assemblyman and the chair of the assembly housing committee. How do you propose to get on the good side of developers?
I don’t really care to be on the good side of developers. If a developer wants to do right by a community, absolutely we can work with them. All these developers come in, build, sell and then go. They build condos, not rentals, so they have no long-term investments in any of these communities. When they come into any part of my district, I’m going to give them hell. I’m going to make sure I can get the most for my community.
What do you propose to do to limit the amount of influence real estate developers have in politics?
There’s very little we can do. [East Side Councilman] Dan Garodnick has a great bill when it comes to campaigns. He’s requesting that anyone who does any work in campaigns has to state who they are. For example, Good Jobs New York was the real estate companies’ independent campaign expenditure, [through which] they spent millions of dollars on candidates that they thought were going to be good for real estate.
I read that you are working on a proposal to rezone parts of the rapidly gentrifying neighborhood of Bushwick to make it harder to build massive towers. Tell us about this.
I’m looking to rezone Bushwick, but we’re going to look at it comprehensively. We’re going to sit with community groups, scholars, government [representatives] and residents and talk about how we are going to preserve the character—I mean physical character. Some people thought I meant I wanted to keep the Latinos in Bushwick, and that’s not what it’s about.

Bushwick is a beautiful, beautiful neighborhood. Right now, there are small mansions in Bushwick that are gorgeous, and none of them are protected. Rezoning would state that a developer can’t knock down one of these mansions and build a six-story building, for example.
Would you consider yourself anti-development?
No. I’m not anti-development. I’m anti-irresponsible development, which is what we see in Williamsburg.
How has it been dealing with developers?
All developers are — how do I say it? — don’t judge a book by its cover, for sure. They’re nice when they meet you. They promise you the world, but once they build, they’re gone. There’s no accountability to anyone in the community. The Edge may be the worst affordable housing project that I’ve seen in my time as a liaison and as a councilmember. The poor [were put in a separate building] on one side. They also did a terrible job with marketing, which is insane.

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Wow, what a bargain!

I couldn't help but laugh at this ad on Brownstoner Queens:

There’s a new building renting at 37-53 75th Street, right off Roosevelt Avenue in Jackson Heights. There are six full-floor units, all three and four bedrooms. The three-bedroom units are asking $2,950 a month, four bedrooms are asking $3,600.

What idiot is paying that much to rent a piece of Steve Chon Queens Crap in Jackson Heights? This replaced a one-family home.

Goldfeder wants more $ for Aqueduct

From CBS New York:

A Queens lawmaker has introduced a measure that would require the New York Racing Association to pony up more funding for Aqueduct Racetrack.

As WCBS 880′s Jim Smith reported, New York State Assemblyman Phil Goldfeder is not happy with the current conditions at the racetrack.

“Aqueduct is downright disgusting,” said Goldfeder. “The building is falling apart, there’s facade issues. As has been reported multiple times, there’s been a tremendous amount of security issues.”

On Monday, Goldfeder announced legislation to require NYRA to use its share of casino money earmarked for capital projects only at Aqueduct.

Hopefully, less expensive = less ugly

From LIC Post:

Residents of the Hunters Point section of Long Island City will have to wait longer for their public library — perhaps several years.

Groundbreaking for the 21,500-square-foot, state-of-the-art waterfront library was supposed to take place last summer with completion scheduled for 2015, but now the entire project is in limbo.

In a letter to Friends of Queens Library at Hunters Point, Thomas Galante, the beleaguered president and CEO of Queens Library, wrote that the building project was vastly under-budget at $28.6 million with a construction budget of just $23 million. When construction bids came in, they ranged from $33 million to $42 million.

Galante wrote of “the overall complexity of the design and several unique, difficult to source, or expensive to procure, interior and design features.” Celebrity architect Steven Holl’s plans were too elaborate, with features that included a rooftop terrace, gardens and a gallery, he said. If and when the library is built on the parcel of land at Center Boulevard and 48th Avenue, next to Gantry Plaza State Park, it will not resemble the original plans.

In the letter, Galante said there would be significant design changes. Gone is the Geothermal Well system in favor of a more traditional heating and cooling system. The aluminum exterior facade will now be cement and glass and custom interior fixtures are replaced with standard fixtures. In all, the changes save $4.7 million.

The entire project will be open to rebids by “a new and more extensive list of contractors,” Galante wrote.

Someone needs a better hobby

From the Daily News:

An alleged firebug who ignited at least 8 small blazes at the Queens Center mall — including inside Macy's and Sears — was busted by cops on Monday, officials said.

The alleged arsonist went on a flame-sparking frenzy at the Elmhurst mall on Monday starting at 3:15 p.m. inside Macy's, cops said.

He then went on to light fires inside Sears, Bed Bath & Beyond, Old Navy and Burlington Coat Factory — where he was busted by cops as he tried to slip out the store, officials said.

About 60 firefighters raced to the shopping center to snuff the blazes out, officials said.

No one was injured and the mall was never evacuated, officials said.

The 23-year-old man, whose name was not immediately released, started terrorizing the mall on Friday, where he lit one small fire inside Sears and then got away, cops said.

He then lit two other fires on Sunday, one inside TJ Maxx and another inside Staples, cops said.

Officials are still trying to figure out why the man had sparked the fires.

HHC has gigantic budget gap

From Capital New York:

The city’s Health and Hospitals Corporation is facing a $430 million budget gap for fiscal year 2015, its president told the City Council’s health committee on Monday.

That gap is expected to triple to nearly $1.4 billion by 2018, said H.H.C. president Alan Aviles, who will soon be leaving the nation’s largest municipal hospital system.

The deficits can be attributed to damage from Hurricane Sandy as well as skyrocketing pension costs, but the most basic challenge is that H.H.C. treats hundreds of thousands of patients who can’t pay for the full costs of their care.

H.H.C. provides about $700 million in uncompensated care each year, and 80 percent of its patients are either on Medicaid or uninsured.

Monday, February 24, 2014

Slumlording in LIC

So here we are at 11-13 47th Road in LIC. You'll notice the wonderful banner across the top of the building.

Why, it's our old pal, John Ciafone!

If you spot one of these ads, chances are extremely good that you'll discover a whole bunch of violations for the property it's hanging on.

This one not only has a stop work order on it, but it has thousands of dollars in violations attached to it. It's also got at least one unanswered complaint.

Let's hope this chap runs for office again.

SI green space saga sounds like the same old story

From CBS New York:

Residents say the sale of Mount Manresa – a 15-acre parcel of land owned by the Jesuit Church – to Savo Brothers for $15 million was fueled by money and greed.

A property that also includes one of the city’s oldest water towers and trees dating back to the Revolutionary War era.

“It’s basically untouched land,” said President of Save Mount Manresa John Bolembach.

Protesters told Burrell their biggest gripe is that the developer has already submitted permits to build townhouses on the land, which could mean tearing down the century-old buildings as well as the greenery.

While the sale has already gone through, protesters are hoping that lawmakers will step in and turn the property into a public park.

“We were hoping for landmark status. We couldn’t get it. We were hoping to get a national designated area,” said Bolembach.

Now, some elected officials are joining the group’s cause, hoping their online petition with the more than 12,000 signatures will make a difference.

“I am urging the landmarks commission under the de Blasio administration to take a second look at Mount Manresa,” NYC Public Advocate Letitia James said.

Save Mount Manresa has appealed the sale of the land in court. It is awaiting a ruling in the case.

It's called eminent domain. It's used ALL THE TIME by the City to enrich developers, instead of for its intended purpose, which is for public use, like a park.

If this sounds like the St. Saviour's story all over again, it is. And we know how that turned out. The developers of this property have likely already lined the pockets of the local electeds, which is why none of them showed up for your rally. Once again, a similar story.

See previously.

Have fun moving your car & dealing with bums

From WPIX:

We’ve had to deal with the polar vortex, and snowstorm after snowstorm, but since February 1st New Yorkers haven’t had to worry about moving their cars. That’s about to change with alternate side parking rules back in effect.

The suspension ends officially starting Monday, February 23rd. The Department of Transportation needs to clean the snow, ice and remaining debris.

In Queens, we found many drivers with a lot of digging out ahead of them on Sunday night. Alternate side parking rules have been suspended in the city since February 1st, but that ends on Monday. It was a 22-day stretch.

Because of the ice, brooms haven’t been able to sweep the alternate-side routes.

From WPIX:

The MTA and the NYPD have to backed off a plan to “remove” the homeless who have been using the subways as shelter from the cold.

An MTA spokesman announced Sunday night the plan is on hold to prevent it “from being portrayed wrongly.”

The removal was supposed to start Monday at 3 a.m. on the “E” line.

But, due to a report from DNAinfo, the agency was forced to tone down its language, insisting the so-called “outreach program” was to be voluntary.

A transit official said, “We are not doing this to be cruel.”

Flushing residents love AirBnB

From the Times Ledger:

The house-sharing website Airbnb is a growing economic force in Queens, based on research done by Manhattan-based real estate consultant HR&A Advisors.

Flushing resident Linda Landivar has been using the service for two years, renting two rooms in her two-family house to more than 200 guests during that period.

“My husband Robert and I are 3-D freelancers in advertising and we’ve both been out of work since December,” she said. “I get $50 a night for one room and $65 a night for a bigger room next to the bathroom. It really helps pay the bills.”

Landivar took over as a caretaker of the house when her father retired to Florida.

“He’d stay here for a few months every year, but the rest of the time the room was empty,” she said.

Landivar tried the six-year-old service that connects hosts with guests for short-term apartment rentals and had a guest stay in her house the first week.

“We’ve had pilots who need a rest between flights, European travelers stay here a lot and we’ve had out-of-town travelers who have spent the night after missing their flight at LaGuardia,” Landivar said. “I’ve never had a serious problem with a guest.”

The tech firm may have a problem in New York where state Attorney General Eric Schneiderman issued a subpoena to Airbnb in October, requesting information on New York City’s 15,000 hosts and 25,000 listings. City laws make it illegal for a room or apartment to be rented out for under 30 days without a tenant present, Schneiderman wrote in the subpoena. There is also an issue with the city’s hotel tax that requires 14 percent of a hotel’s fees.

David Hantman, Airbnb’s head of global public policy, said, “The attorney general subpoenaed almost all of our hosts’ user data. We protested that demand in court, and now thousands of people have signed a petition demanding a new, better law in New York.”

Hantman speculated that the AG was after those hosts that abuse Airbnb’s platforms like illegal hotel operators and slumlords.

“The monkey’s on my back and I have feces floating around in the basement here"

From the Times Ledger:

After years of flooding problems and spending tens of thousands of dollars to repair his building’s sewer system, a Flushing building owner says his troubles are the city’s fault.

Frank Deutschmann first started experiencing flooding in the basement of his 70-unit residential building, at 40-04 Bowne St., in spring 2008.

“It’s an ongoing struggle,” he said.

The problem cut tenants off from their laundry room and cost Deutschmann a substantial amount of money to repair the building’s boiler as well as other damages. The flooding also caused headaches for some of the eight businesses that are housed on the first floor of the building.

“We had so much merchandise damaged,” said Soo Kim, who owns a pharmacy in the building. “Even when it was not a lot, we still had to stop what we were doing and get all the employees to clean rather than fill prescriptions.”

Deutschmann said he contacted the city Department of Environmental Protection every time the building flooded. He said DEP took action sometimes to clear the main sewer under Roosevelt Avenue, but many times he was told the problem was with the building’s sewer.

A DEP spokesman said the first calls the agency received about this location came in the summer of 2010.

“DEP’s inspections found a buildup of improperly disposed of grease in the sewer line, which can cause backups,” he said.

Sunday, February 23, 2014

Cameras coming to Forest Park

From the Times Ledger:

State Assemblyman Michael Miller (D-Woodhaven) and state Sen. Joseph Addabbo Jr. (D-Howard Beach) allocated $250,000 for surveillance cameras after the NYPD said police had linked the rape of a 69-year-old woman in the park this September to five additional rapes or attempted rapes over the past 2 1/2 years.

The legislators hope the seven surveillance units, which come with two cameras apiece, deter sexual predators from targeting parkgoers.

Miller’s office said the equipment is slated to be installed near the corner of Park Lane South and Woodhaven Boulevard, the intersection of 80th Street and Myrtle Avenue, the junction of Forest Parkway and Park Lane South and the corner of Freedom Drive and Myrtle Avenue.

Cameras are also coming to the park’s visitor center on Woodhaven Boulevard, the Buddy Monument near Myrtle Avenue and Park Lane South and the Forest Park Bandshell, according to Miller’s staff.

Eminent domain invoked for project that may never happen

From DNA Info:

The city recently launched eminent domain proceedings for a long-delayed six-acre East Harlem redevelopment zone where property owners say they are unfairly being squeezed off their land.

The city's Planning Commission approved the acquisition of the property via the use of eminent domain in August 2008 with the goal of building the $700 million East Harlem Media, Entertainment and Cultural Center, a 1.7 million-square-foot project that was supposed to include affordable housing, retail and cultural space, and create at least 1,500 permanent jobs.

But the developers have had struggles, with developer General Growth having gone bankrupt and Archstone being acquired by another company.

The delay left the land in limbo with rising property taxes but sapped the owners' ability to sell, develop or mortgage their land because of a blight designation, necessary for any eminent domain prococess.

The city would have lost the right to use eminent domain in the area on Feb. 16 without starting the proceedings, which they did on Feb. 12.

Officials with the city's Economic Development Corporation said the filing was made to preserve their right to use eminent domain in the area "only as a last resort," because they hope to negotiate sales agreements with the property owners.

Staten Islanders trying to rescue sad landmark

From DNA Info:

The Friends of Abraham Manee-Seguine Homestead started a petition this month asking Mayor Bill de Blasio to buy the home — which has a large hole in its roof and a crumbling chimney — from owner, Leonard Tallo, in order to restore it.

"It's in relatively good condition, it just needs some work," said Nick Matranga, 43, who started the group and petition. "It needs somebody to invest money to shore up the structure."

Tallo was sued in April by the Landmarks Preservation Commission because he failed to repair the historic home at 509 Seguine Ave., which was built in the 1670s. He blamed part of the damage on Hurricane Sandy, according to court papers.

Tallo said several engineers have told him that the house cannot be repaired and would need to be demolished, and the majority of the damage happened before he bought the structure in 2009.

"The damage didn't happen on my clock," he said. "They really put the whole burden on me."

Tallo's lawyer, Anthony Lenza, found an emergency declaration filed in 2008 by the Department of Buildings that said the house needed to be demolished. That was later rescinded.

Tallo said that was hidden from him when he bought the home.

"I bought it with a set of plans and it was to restore that house and build three houses," Tallo said.

Flushing Town Hall needs new crappers

From the Daily News:

Flushing Town Hall officials need a whopping $125,000 to gut and replace six toilets they say routinely clog up and overflow when the 152-year-old arts center draws crowds.

“We have schools coming for education programs and there are sometimes hundreds of kids in the building,” said Ellen Kodadek, executive director of Flushing Town Hall. “Over the last two years we have experienced a lot of clogs and overflowing. These repairs are incredibly costly.”

Town Hall also needs a better sound and light system, Kodadek said. But the new toilets are tops on its list.

“Infrastructure upgrades are core to our public service,” said Kodadek, who told The News that the $125,000 estimate includes gutting all six bathrooms by the theater and gallery and replacing the ancient connective plumbing.

It’s unclear how old the plumbing is. The building fell into disrepair before undergoing a renovation in the 1980s.

Don't be a postal jerk

"I'm sending these photos to you hoping I could get some help. This vehicle is here just about every day for hours, it's usually left blocking the crosswalk or into the entire street making passage difficult. I just spent over an hour trying to get someone on the phone from the Ridgewood office, I've got nothing and no one." - anonymous

Saturday, February 22, 2014

Crap replaces 1935 rowhouse

From the Times Ledger:

Flushing neighbors are fuming over a large house they say dwarfs the small homes around it and completely changes the character of their block.

The two-story house, which has been under construction since the fall at 146-15 56th Road, will replace a one-story dwelling that was built in 1935 in a row of townhouses.

“It has destroyed the neighborhood,” said Jose Fernandes, who has lived next door to the site of the new house for more than 22 years. “If they got permits to do that, what stops others?”

A number of community leaders and civic organizations have joined the residents to speak out against the building, which they say is one example of a wider problem that affects the whole borough.

“It’s getting more and more egregious,” Don Capalbi, president of the Queensboro Hill civic Association, told Community Board 7 at a February meeting. “If it’s not addressed now with the new City Council and new mayor, it won’t happen in the next 10 years.”

After the frustrated neighbors contacted him, Capalbi alerted CB 7, which forwarded the complaints to the city Department of Buildings. The agency said the development was completely legal and there was nothing it could do to prevent it from being built.

The new house’s owner, Min Lin, who bought the property in August, said her home’s construction has followed all city rules and zoning laws.

Councilman Peter Koo’s (D-Flushing) office will be bringing the issue to the Department of City Planning in the hope of getting a rezoning approved.

“I will not stand idly by while the character of our neighborhood is threatened by out-of-scale development,” Koo said. “I will be meeting with the Department of City Planning soon to discuss this issue and to explore all possible options, including rezoning, to prevent instances like this from becoming unsightly patterns in our community.”

I think the horse has already left the barn, Pete.

Legislation to keep sex offenders off beaches and out of parks

From CBS New York:

Parents are speaking out and demanding changes after a dozen registered sex offenders moved in and are living legally near parks and the boardwalk in the Rockaways.

As CBS 2′s Jennifer McLogan reported, police responded to Beach 116th Street following complaints from residents of Rockaway Park, Queens that two convicted sex offenders were living just steps from the boardwalk.

“We don’t want our kids playing on the beach in the summertime especially, knowing that these registered sex offenders could be even on the beach or on the boardwalk at the same time,” parent Delilah DeJesus told McLogan.

Community leaders are angry, saying they only recently learned that more than ten registered sex offenders – including those convicted of molesting, raping and abusing minors – have moved into their tight-knit community on the ocean.

Under current law, sex offenders are not allowed to live within 1,000 feet of a school. But there is nothing to stop them from living next to a park or near the beach.

All Queens subway stations to get wifi this year

From DNA Info:

Straphangers in Queens soon won't have to hang up when they go underground.

Wireless cellphone service and Wi-Fi are being installed at all of the borough's 29 underground subway stations in the coming months, officials announced Wednesday, part of the second phase of the MTA's plan to connect the city's transit system.

Transit Wireless, the company handling the project, said it will also bring service to 11 more stations in Midtown Manhattan, including Grand Central Terminal, 34th St. Herald Square and Bryant Park.

Those stations and the Queens stations should all be equipped by June, the company said. They'll join the 36 Manhattan stations that have already gone wireless.

Transportation projects delayed

From the Queens Courier:

Ridgewood residents were hopeful that reconstruction of the Metropolitan Avenue Bridge would finally start this spring, but it’s been delayed again.

The path, which is elevated over LIRR tracks where Metropolitan Avenue intersects Fresh Pond Road, carries major truck traffic and is long overdue for repairs. In 2007, city officials informed Community Board (CB) 5 it was in danger of collapse.

Financial troubles delayed its original reconstruction start date back in 2009, and at a recent CB 5 Transportation Committee meeting, it was said that it’s been pushed back yet again, because the project has to undergo review and redesign.

Developers are now considering building an abutment, eliminating one track under the bridge, to help the building process.

There is also the Grand Street Bridge project, which connects Maspeth to Brooklyn over Newtown Creek.

The 111-year-old bridge is so narrow that it can’t support two-way traffic, although it is a two-way span, with all the big rigs and city buses that traverse it. The new bridge would cost about $50 million.

The plan for a new bridge was ready to go when Sandy struck in 2012 and flooded the area. Now plans are being redesigned to meet new flood regulations.

Besides the bridges, major street rebuilding plans have also been set back.

Melissa dumps staffer connected to County

From Capital New York:

Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito laid off ten City Council holdovers today, her office confirmed to Capital.

The layoffs come as Mark-Viverito is on vacation in Puerto Rico.

Three council sources said among those being let go are Philip Monaco, a deputy chief of staff who earned $156,832 according to council records, and Scott Crowley, who earned $132,444.

Crowley works in the council's finance division.

Crowley is close to the Queens Democratic party, which backed Dan Garodnick over Mark-Viverito in the speaker's race.

Friday, February 21, 2014

DeBlasio leaves Queens like a bat out of hell

Lame photo-op precedes scandal

From CBS 2:

Just days after Mayor Bill de Blasio announced an aggressive plan to prevent traffic deaths, CBS 2 cameras caught the driver of a car carrying the mayor violating a number of traffic laws.

As CBS 2′s Marcia Kramer reported Thursday, the mayor’s two-car caravan was seen speeding, blowing through stop signs, and violating other traffic laws. Kramer reported that if the driver of the lead car, which carried the mayor in its passenger seat, would have racked up enough points to get his license suspended if he’d been ticketed.

When the mayor announced his 62-point safe streets initiative, which includes lowering the speed limit to 25 mph, he said, “We want the public to know that we are holding ourselves to this standard.”

But Kramer reported the mayor failed to practice what he preached Thursday.

CBS 2 crews found Mayor de Blasio’s cars going through a stop sign at a Queens intersection, and that wasn’t the only traffic violation caught on tape.

The safety violations came just two days after the mayor unveiled his traffic safety plan.

Isn't this the guy who's become famous for being late everywhere? What was the rush, Bill?