Friday, July 31, 2015

Playground equipment gets burning hot in summer


Condo renting couple was bad news

From the Forum (Part 1):

Police last week executed an early-morning raid and search warrant at a building in Ozone Park, arresting two men and effectively smashing an identity theft scheme based on credit card and gift card fraud, according to the NYPD and sources.

Jacques Joseph and Kaeshawn Kerr were rousted around 6:35 a.m. last Wednesday inside a second-floor residence in the Park Village Condominiums on Centreville Street.

Joseph, 32, was charged with 57 counts of second-degree criminal possession of a forged instrument, and two counts of criminal possession of a forgery device with the intent to use; both are D felonies.

Kerr, 21, has been charged with 59 counts of second-degree criminal possession of a forged instrument, and two counts of criminal possession of a forgery device with the intent to use.


From the Forum (Part 2):

In March 2014, Walker and Joseph were caught with 60 stolen credit cards after attempting to use one at a Garden City Ruth’s Chris Steakhouse. In May 2013, Joseph and another woman were caught traveling back home to New York from Charlotte, N.C., after allegedly ripping off stores down south by buying real gift cards with phony credit cards.

Walker is scheduled to be released on Sept. 29. Her Park Village lease expires at midnight on Sept. 30.

Until then, Mary Walsh, the owner of the condo, is left in real estate limbo—and to wonder how the Realtor she depended on to bring her proper tenant candidates could recommend someone with questionable credentials.

Walker allegedly claimed to work for a company at John F. Kennedy International Airport, and produced documentation attesting to such employment. However, The Forum’s investigation has revealed that Walker is not employed by the company, but instead is on government-assistance rolls.

“That’s why you go to a real estate office—to protect you from this,” Walsh said. “Even though I was na├»ve enough to get scammed, they didn’t do their job. They failed me.”

Disgusting shitbox to no doubt replace tasteful North Flushing home

Hey Crapper,

Must wanted to make your North Flushing readers aware that the house at 161-16 33rd ave is scheduled for demolition. Below is the NYC DOB job approving the demolition. This is a beautiful center hall dutch colonial and there is no need to tear it down. It was sold on 4/10/15 for $960,000.
Link to DOB.

Here is a link to some photos of the home.

- anonymous

Let's rethink that LGA AirTrain thing...

From AM-NY:

A new $450 million AirTrain to LaGuardia Airport from the Mets-Willets Point stop on the jam-packed No. 7 line wouldn't be worth the trip, transit advocates warned Wednesday.

"To put a new group of airport-bound travelers and their luggage on the already-overcrowded 7 line for 20 stops would be a disaster," said Andrew Albert, chairman of the Transit Riders Council and MTA board member. "You think the 7 is crowded now? Just wait."

The Mets-Willets Point stop would be the 20 station on the line if a rider boards at the new extension on 34th Street and 11th Avenue.

The MTA is modernizing the No. 7 train's signal system to run more trains in booming Queens, but the line is at 100% capacity during rush-hour.

Ass Hat At Rockaway Beach


How Smoking Is Affecting Young People's Brains

Thursday, July 30, 2015

Why the hell is this 18th century church in Elmhurst not landmarked?

Jim Henderson/Wikipedia
"St. James Church in Elmhurst is looking to develop its property where the old church (later parish hall) sits.

It was built in 1735 and is the oldest surviving Anglican building in the City of New York.

In all likelihood, it will be necessary to tear down the Old Parish Hall to make the property attractive to developers.

The property is on the national register, but does NOT have landmark status by the city, and could be torn down. The building is probably one of the oldest buildings standing in Elmhurst, and one of a few historical buildings left in Elmhurst." - anonymous

Ok, so if the Landmarks Conservancy and the state paid for a full restoration, then why has this building not been designated, Ms. Mary Beth Betts?

Robber steals Resorts World guard's car

From CBS New York:

Police are looking for a man who they said attacked a security guard at a Queens casino before taking off in the victim’s car.

The suspect walked up to the 66-year-old guard around 7 p.m. last Saturday near the Resorts World Casino and assaulted him, police said.

During the attack, police said the victim dropped the keys to his 2008 Lexus. The suspect grabbed the keys, jumped into the victim’s car and took off, police said.

Glendale homeless shelter permits revoked

From the Queens Courier:

Those fighting against the proposed homeless shelter at 78-16 Cooper Ave. in Glendale received a bit of good news last week, when the city’s Department of Buildings (DOB) revoked the floor plans for the shelter after a full audit of the plans.

The notice to revoke — which according to the DOB is pending until the plan review is completed — stalls the progress of the property owner, Michael Wilner, in renovating the former factory, which the nonprofit group Samaritan Village plans to use as a homeless shelter. The full audit found that the plans are not up to full code compliance, according to a DOB representative.

“The project at this site remains under department review, and at this time there has not been a determination of the plan’s compliance with all applicable codes or the zoning resolution,” said a DOB spokesperson in an email.

Why are we only raising the wage for fast food workers?


From the NY Times:

A proposed increase in the minimum wage in New York State will be substantial, but that’s really not what bothers some economists.

It’s that the raise would apply only to fast-food workers, and only if they work for a chain with at least 30 locations. A wage increase applying to such a narrow segment of the economy is bound to have unintended consequences.

“I have lots of concern with sector- and firm-size-specific minimum wages,” said Lawrence Katz, a labor economist at Harvard University whose research on the economic effects of minimum wages has led him to support higher ones that apply to all workers, both at the national level and especially in jurisdictions like New York, where average incomes and the cost of living are above average.

Some of the problems with a narrow minimum wage are obvious. They don’t do much to raise incomes for workers who don’t work at fast-food chains. And they impose higher costs on some businesses than others; in this case, much higher, as chain fast-food restaurants will be required to pay approximately $6 an hour more than their homegrown competitors.

Ruben Wills has worst Council attendance

From the Daily News:

A Queens pol accused of corruption and a Bronx pol accused of sexual harassment have something in common besides legal trouble - the worst attendance records on the City Council.

Indicted Councilman Ruben Wills (D-Queens) and Councilman Andy King (D-Bronx) each missed about a third of their required meetings, putting them in a tie for dead last in attendance on the 51-member body.

King, who was hit with a claim this year charging he wrongfully fired a staffer after she spurned his sexual advances, skipped 29 of the 89 hearings he was supposed to go to, or 32.6%, according to attendance records obtained through the Freedom of Information Law.

Wills missed 26 out of 111 committee and Council meetings during the fiscal year that ended in June - 23.4%.

Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Board of elections seeks to end long voter lines

From Capital New York:

Commissioners at the New York State Board of Elections are asking their New York City counterparts to develop an explicit plan to combat the long lines that have plagued the city’s polling places in recent elections.

New York City voters frequently have to deal with long lines that can run hundreds of people long or last hours. In 2012, these problems were exacerbated by Hurricane Sandy, though they have existed in most high-turnout elections held in previous years.

At the B.O.E. commissioners’ meeting Monday, co-executive director Bob Brehm described several discussions with the city B.O.E., in which they discussed plans to experiment with changes in the elections that will precede the presidential election in November 2016.


I'd love to know where these long lines are. When I go vote, it's generally a ghost town.

Jackson Heights Food Court closed

From DNA Info:

The Jackson Heights Food Court, which re-opened in the fall after the city closed it for health code violations, mysteriously shuttered its doors again last week, according to customers.

The restaurant and market opened in 2012 in the site of a former movie theater at 73-07 37th Ave. inside Diversity Plaza.

The food court first closed in October after inspectors discovered it was operating without city or state permits, officials said.

Officials later found the presence of mice and other vermin inside the market.

Does Fort Totten need better security?


From WPIX:

There is a call for increased security at New York’s military reserve bases.

For example, Fort Totten in Queens can have hundreds of army reservists training there on any given day but there are no armed guards at a checkpoint.

Fort Totten’s director of operations, Mac Harris, is worried. “To me, it’s just a matter of time,” he said.​ “We are just like sitting ducks here. Just waiting for something to happen.”

According to Congressman Steve Israel, armed guards were cut at Fort Totten in 2009. It was a budget cut.

Now it’s FDNY officers on light duty checking motorists’ identification. Pedestrians and bikers can walk right in.

A new LaGuardia on the horizon

From the NY Times:

La Guardia Airport, whose dilapidated terminals and long, unenviable record of traveler delays have made it a target of jokes and complaints for decades, will be completely rebuilt by 2021, Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr. and Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo of New York announced on Monday.

The Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, which operates the airport in northern Queens, estimates the overhaul will cost about $4 billion, most of which will go toward tearing down the Central Terminal Building, rebuilding it in place and augmenting it with a grand entry way.

The project “replaces the airport in its entirety,” Mr. Cuomo said at a Midtown Manhattan luncheon for the Association for a Better New York. He said that airport officials and planners had concluded that there was no way to fix La Guardia, that it essentially had to be torn down and rebuilt. With no place to create a substitute anywhere near Manhattan, they decided it had to remain crammed between Flushing Bay and the Grand Central Parkway.

Travelers would also have better options to get to La Guardia; Mr. Cuomo said the plan called for a rail link between the airport and a subway station in the Willets Point section of Queens, as well as re-establishing ferry service to the airport.

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Steinway Mansion for sale again?

This was posted on Craigslist.

Jamaica: not for the faint of heart

From Cleanup Jamaica Queens:

Betty Davis in the movie "Dead Ringer" had the famous line "What a Dump". Well, if she were alive and saw Jamaica, that is exactly what she would say, well she probably would say, "What a Fucking Dump" and the below photos do not deny this. I mean, doesn't anyone care...... elected officials, community board 12, Melinda Katz who all of a sudden is on the Jamaica bandwagon, but seems to care less about the quality of life issues and the many problems this community has, which many are brought on by bottom of the barrel folks who are the albatross around the neck of Jamaica. I mean don't any of you elected officials, church and community leaders have any fucking pride, are you not ashamed. I mean this shit has been like this so long, I think all of you are used to this ghetto mess and think it is totally normal. It is the same shit, over and over. I mean talk about keeping the black community down and by leaders of color to boot.

So, let's get to the fun stuff.

Even Manhattan is victim of bad zoning

From AM-NY:

New York City is known for its iconic skyline -- one that is changing rapidly, whether New Yorkers like it or not.

Aptly nicknamed "supertalls," a proliferation of buildings towering well over 800 feet have been cropping up in Manhattan and quickly: since 2005, 16 of the city's tallest buildings have broken ground in the borough, with more on the way.

And some neighbors aren't happy.

The area directly south of Central Park has six 1,000 foot-plus buildings complete or in the works, including 432 Park Avenue, currently the world's tallest residential building at 1,396 feet. The Nordstrom Tower on 57th Street plans to overtake it at 1,795 feet by 2018.

"It negatively impacts the infrastructure, because it adds density with no additional investment in the subway system [and] the big issue of the shadows these buildings are casting on Central Park," said Layla Law-Gisiko, who heads Manhattan Community Board 5's "Sunshine Task Force," which is looking into the surge in skyscrapers near the park.

These "supertalls" are possible due to zoning laws last updated in 1961, which don't limit building heights in the Central Park South neighborhoods, among others. Most supertall buildings currently in the works, like the Nordstrom Tower, don't require public input as they are built "as-of-right," and don't need approval from the City Planning Commission or Board of Standards and Appeals.

Transferable air space is also a major force behind the developments, according to Law-Gisiko.

City still shelling out hundreds of millions in judgments

From AM-NY:

Legal payouts by New York City are forecast to spike 17.5 percent by the 2018-19 fiscal year, even as Mayor Bill de Blasio's administration has pumped millions of dollars into a new war on so-called frivolous litigation.

By then, taxpayers could be on the hook for $817 million in judgments and claims, up from $695 million in 2014-15, according to City Council budget documents. About 28,500 claims are filed against the city every year.

The projection is "disturbing" said Carol Kellermann, president of the nonpartisan Citizens Budget Commission.

"Their explanations for why it's going up are counterintuitive to what they say about doing better management," she said.

A de Blasio spokeswoman, Amy Spitalnick, said the administration is being cautious -- projecting an increase of about 4 percent a year based on historical trends -- because of litigation fights it could lose.

Ridgewood community garden getting kicked out

From DNA Info:

A group of Ridgewood residents was so frustrated with a trash-strewn abandoned lot beneath the elevated M tracks that they decided to clean it up, replacing weeds with tomatoes, sunflowers and watermelons and turning the space into the area's first community garden.

But the MTA's New York City Transit Authority, which oversees the space, is now in the process of kicking the group out because its members were never given permission to use the land in the first place, the agency said.

The group said it decided to take care of the space, located between Woodward Avenue and Woodbine Street, not only because it had become been an eyesore and a vermin-attracting dumping ground, but also because the neighborhood lacks and desperately needs green spaces.

But in late June, after someone illegally dumped debris at the site, the New York City Transit Authority changed the locks on the garden's gate without warning and posted a sign that trespassing is a violation, Fitzgerald said.


Can plants grow under an elevated train? And how filthy is it with a train passing overhead sending debris down below?

Monday, July 27, 2015

Assi Plaza plan has to pass muster at CPC

From the Queens Chronicle:

Flushing West, the area designated by Mayor de Blasio for upzoning and more affordable housing near the Flushing Creek, just got a little more crowded.

That’s if a developer is allowed to proceed with a mega-mixed-use project announced last week that does not seem to include affordable housing.

A plan by a new development group, Triple Star Realty, calls for a waterfront complex with 360 residential condominiums, a 200-room hotel, a supermarket and other stores plus medical and other offices.

The site, at 131-01 39 Ave., is the former Assi Plaza, an Asian grocery store that closed last year. It is located off College Point Boulevard and is across the Flushing Creek from Citi Field.

But zoning experts on Flushing West said that the developer must reach out to City Planning — which is handling rezoning of the area — before proceeding.

As outlined by the mayor late last year, Flushing West includes a 10-block area along Flushing Creek. It is one of three neighborhoods in the city in which the mayor wants to create 200,000 affordable housing units.

The City Planning Commission chairman said at the time that it could take two to three years to implement. In the works is an environmental impact statement for the area. City Planning is also preparing the uniform land use review procedure papers.

Paul Graziano, a zoning expert from Flushing, said he believes it will take a year or two because of the lengthy ULURP process.

Dollar van legislation introduced

WNYC
From the Queens Chronicle:

The City Council is entertaining a pair of bills that are aimed squarely at operators of illegal “dollar vans” that have become a particular scourge in Southeast Queens.

The Commuter Van Reform Act was introduced Thursday by Councilmen Daneek Miller (D-St. Albans) and Rory Lancman (R-Fresh Meadows).

If adopted, one bill in the package would cause fines for illegally operating a van to skyrocket from the current $500 for a first offense to $3,000; and from $1,000 to $4,000 for second offenses and subsequent offenses within two years.

A second bill would require annual reports from the Taxi and Limousine Commission on the state of the legal and illegal van industries in the city.

In a joint statement issued by his office on Thursday afternoon, Miller said there are only 344 vans and 301 drivers licensed to operate in the city out of 46 bases.

Legal vans are not permitted to pick up fares along city bus routes, and must have special license places and decals.

A visit to the Parsons Boulevard-Archer Avenue bus and subway hub, however, will routinely show vans, usually white, going so far at to park in bus stops in an effort to pick up passengers.

Fake candidate invites himself to debate

From the Times Ledger:

The candidate debate for the City Council seat vacated by Mark Weprin was going to be a regular debate session organized by different Queens Village community organizations until Michael Foubister, a new candidate for District 23, showed up Tuesday night.

The 54-year-old Foubister was wandering around the basement room at the Bellerose Jewish Center, where the debate was about to begin, and walked up to the candidates table. “I am a candidate,” he said, waving his city Campaign Finance Board list of contenders.

Most of the candidates for District 23, which covers the neighborhoods of Hollis Hills, Queens Village, Little Neck, Douglaston, Bellerose, Floral Park, Glen Oaks, Hollis, Holliswood, Fresh Meadows and Oakland Gardens, had no idea who the latecomer was and a couple even laughed.

One of the candidates, Bob Friedrich, shook his head and said anyone can list themselves on the Campaign Finance Board.

“He is not a candidate,” Friedrich said. “You have to file a petition with the Board of Elections.”

Most of the candidates had similar answers on issues but the serious debate took a momentary comical turn after Foubister’s arrival.

Sunday, July 26, 2015

A wolf in sheep's clothing?

***MEDIA ADVISORY***
Ali Najmi to Announce Parkland Protection Act

Who:
Ali Najmi, Candidate for New York City Council, 23rd District
Daniel Altschuler, Make the Road Action Fund
Dr. Donovan Finn, SUNY Stony Brook Professor of Environmental Studies
Edwin Westley, Queens Parks Advocate
Park Advocates and Community Leaders

When:
Monday, July 27th, 12:00pm

Where: Cunningham Park, Queens, NY
(Enter at 196th St & Union Turnpike); parking is available at site

What: Ali Najmi will stand with park advocates, community leaders, and local activists to introduce plans for legislation entitled the “Parkland Protection Act,” which will amend the City Charter to prohibit the sale of, or construction on, any inch of parkland without a supermajority approval of the City Council. Najmi and other Queens residents want to prevent any future attempts to give away parkland, like the attempted 2013 plan for a Major League Soccer stadium at Flushing Meadows-Corona Park and the ill-fated “Willets West Mall,” which the New York Supreme Court Appellate Division unanimously deemed illegal last month.
________________________________________

Alrighty...so this fellow, who is a candidate for the 23rd district of the City Council, plans to introduce legislation to protect parkland, however...

Make the Road and Dr. Donovan Finn (of the fictional Queens Fairness Coalition which stopped being active 2 years ago) helped Council Member Julissa Ferreras strike a deal with the USTA to gobble up more Flushing Meadows parkland in return for cold, hard cash. And neither of these organizations signed on to be a plaintiff for the successful lawsuit that stopped development of a shopping mall on FMCP property.

How can this Najmi character be trusted considering the company he keeps?

Another supermarket closing

From the Queens Courier:

The Met Food market in Flushing will be closing its doors after Sunday, July 26, to make way for a new development.

After more than 30 years of operation, the independently-owned neighborhood grocery store, located at 41-62 Bowne St., is shutting down following a decision by owners Abel and Ahmed Saleh to sell the property.

In an interview, store manager Ziyad Saleh said the property has been purchased by a number of investors who plan to raze the building and existing foundation, which cannot support more than two stories. The property’s new owners plan to build a new foundation for a new, taller building.

However, that’s just about the only thing that’s certain about the future of the site. Rumors and speculation abound about what’s coming to the neighborhood next — many suspect the new structure will be an apartment building or condominium, while others believe it will become a new grocery store stocked with items to attract customers from the neighborhood’s expanding Asian population.

Sampson found guilty

From Crains:

A New York state senator has been convicted on federal charges he sought to sabotage an investigation targeting him for embezzlement.

A Brooklyn jury reached the verdict Friday in the corruption case against Sen. John Sampson.

He was found guilty of one count of obstruction of justice and two counts of making false statements.

He was acquitted on six other counts, including witness tampering.

Crane accident causes problems on 7 line


From Eyewitness News:

Service on the 7 subway line has currently been restored with delays after a crane-hoisting accident in Flushing, Queens.

The crane was lifting construction material to the rooftop of stores at about 1 p.m. when the hoist broke and the load was spilled onto the 7 tracks at Roosevelt Avenue and College Point Boulevard.

The debris apparently caused a small fire and smoke condition on the track.

Service was originally suspended in both directions, but resumed with residual delays just before 4:30 p.m.

Making an accessible city


From NBC:

This month marks the 25th anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). The civil rights law is celebrated for protecting people with disabilities from discrimination and assuring access to public places, like businesses, jobs and transportation -- but in a city that thrives on pedestrian culture, some say that important work remains to make our streets and sidewalks more accessible. Roseanne Colletti reports. (Published Friday, July 24, 2015)

Saturday, July 25, 2015

Millstones damaged yet again

From DNA Info:

One of the historic millstones on display in Dutch Kills Green had to be repaired by the Parks Department this week, after a piece of the stone fell off for the second time in the last few years.

The stones, believed to be relics from a nearby tide mill, have been on display in the Queens Plaza park since shortly after it opened in 2012 — despite calls from a local historian who worries the artifacts will be damaged in the busy outdoor spot.

One of the round stones was repaired Tuesday by Parks Department workers after a chunk of it that broke off previously came loose again, according to spokeswoman Meghan Lalor. Workers who made the repairs used a stronger adhesive to reattach the piece this time, she added.

This isn't the first time the stones have been marred — according to the Daily News, a chunk of one stone originally fell in 2012. Someone then tagged one of the stones with graffiti in 2013, as DNAinfo reported at the time.

The stones were repaired and cleaned in both instances, though local historian Bob Singleton of the Greater Astoria Historical Society believes the incidents are proof that the busy Queens Plaza park is the wrong spot for the artifacts. Their location makes them vulnerable to vandalism, pollution and the elements, he said.

Weiner lands a job

From the NY Post:

If you find yourself in a p.r. nightmare, there’s a swashbuckling new hero you can turn to — Carlos Danger.

A top “crisis” public-relations firm with ties to Hillary Rodham Clinton has hired the last person in the world that most people would call on to dispense advice on dealing with a scandal: disgraced, penis-texting former Congressman Anthony Weiner.

The man who destroyed his own promising political career by botching a 2011 sext-message imbroglio with bald-faced lies — and who then ruined his comeback by running one of the most disastrous mayoral campaigns of all time — will now get paid to dispense advice to high-paying clients of the MWW p.r. firm, sources told The Post.

About the only thing that makes sense about this is that one of the company’s clients is Ball Park Franks.

MWW is headed by Michael Kempner, a prominent New Jersey Democrat who has been a top fund-raiser for both Clinton and President Obama.

Zoning changes for Sandy affected communities

From the Queens Chronicle:

The City Council on Thursday unanimously passed a zoning text amendment aimed at easing restrictions for homeowners looking to rebuild their houses in Sandy-affected communities.

The Special Regulations for Neighborhood Recovery text amendment expedites the process for elevating houses in Community Districts 10, 13 and 14 in Queens and in parts of Brooklyn and Staten Island.

The new zoning rules:
• Allow homeowners to elevate or rebuild homes even if the structure doesn't comply with zoning. As it stands, homeowners cannot be approved for elevation if their property does not conform to code.
• Create a “zoning envelope” to allow homes to have a wider footprint than they have now. This is aimed at ceasing the construction of tall buildings with narrow lots, according to city officials.
• Permit homeowners to elevate parts of a structure even if it is below the adjacent grade level. As it stands, homeowners are not allowed to do that.

Con Ed uses interesting jerry-rigging in Sunnyside


From WPIX:

SUNNYSIDE, Queens — The hot temperatures can wreak havoc on the power grid — so much so that earlier this week, Con Edison had power outages.

Along 46th Street in Sunnyside, Queens, neighbors are being asked to conserve power after a breakdown.

Hans Von Rittern contacted PIX11’s Greg Mocker about the temporary repair. A wire is running across the road and it is suspended between two trees. The wire is tied to the branches.

Con Edison said it will review the work.

Animal cruelty complaints to go through Crimestoppers hotline

From DNA Info:

The city has now opened up its anonymous Crime Stoppers hotline to accept animal cruelty complaints from across the five boroughs, officials said.

The ASPCA announced a partnership Wednesday with the NYPD's Crime Stoppers program, which will now have its operators take down information about animal cruelty in the city the same way they do for murders, shootings, rapes and other major crimes.

Tipsters can call the hotline and will also be eligible for an award of up to $2,500 for tips that lead to an arrest and indictment for animal cruelty, the ASPCA said.

Previously, tipsters could report possible cruelty by calling 311 or 911.

Friday, July 24, 2015

Queens Village foreclosure turned into sex club

For over 2 years residents on the otherwise quiet block - 211th Place in Queens Village - have had to endure a violation of their peace and quiet. No longer can neighbors go to sleep in the summertime with their windows open to enjoy a cool breeze without worrying about being assaulted at any point between midnight – 5AM by the sound of large groups of men and women screaming at each either, bottles shattering, and yes eventually the police will show up, with legions of squad cars blocking the entire road to quell the madness until the following night.

Yes, there is one foreclosed property on this block: 99-27 211th Place that has been under the control of a ring of male squatters for so long, folks cannot remember what life on this otherwise quiet, unassuming side-street used to be like. At least 15 people live in the home at any given time. Strange men walk up and down the block all day and all night long. Note that the house in question has a vacate order.
If there is a shirtless, strange man with his pants falling off riding a bike, piece of paper in hand, looking lost, guaranteed this is the home he is looking for. Huge groups of men congregate in front of the home all day. A pair of old sneakers hanging from a power line marks the spot. The 2AM fights, legions of strange young men trolling the neighborhood (some of whom try to avoid being seen going into the home by crossing the street), and dozen+ undercover squad cars are an almost daily presence on the block.
You might be thinking only drugs or prostitution would attract such large groups of men to one home – you’re probably right, but in this instance the highlight is the prostitution. Referred to as “The Play House” the squatters are using this home as a brothel for prostitutes to bring their clients to, as well as an anything goes strip joint. Lucky clients are charged a $20 entry fee with $5 drink specials and $60 for VIP bottle service. I wonder if they pay taxes?

Advertisement here: http://websta.me/n/biga_hof

They are even recruiting for more strippers and prostitutes, how entrepreneurial they are! And what convenient hours, open Wednesday – Sunday from 12:30 – 5:30AM. Now that is what you call customer service!

Strippers, Entertainers, Ladies of the night wanted to work at underground parties in Queens NY. (After Hours) We are open Wed,Thurs, Fri, Sat, Sun 12:30-5:30am. COME MAKE BETWEEN $500-$1000 a night in a fun safe clean enviornment. Tip in is only $25 and all ladies first drinks are free. IF INTERESTED send Pictures and number to (646)930-5512 (All races, Sizes & Ages 18 & over) BIG PARTY TONIGHT!!! COME WORK & BRING YOUR TOYS.

They're getting pretty good at this "marketing" thing too:

WEDNESDAY JULY 15th !! MEET US FOR AFTERHOURS!!
X-RATED FREAK FEST
Free Shots Till 12:45AM!!!
EARLY ARRIVAL SUGGESTED!
Over 15 STRIPPERS
$5 Drinks/ $60 Bottles
$20 Door cover
PRIVATE ROOMS
THE PLAY HOUSE House building AFTER HOURS
12:30-5:30am
TEXT FOR SECRET QUEENS LOCATION Phone: text/ (646)930-5512
ALL NEW DANCERS WELCOMED

The police seem to be doing everything in their power, my question is why hasn’t the BANK kicked these lowlifes out? What more can be done to remove these people?

The Play House – coming to a friendly neighborhood near you.

Staten Island is in big trouble!

From the Daily News:

Staten Island wants to be the new Brooklyn.

An island that boomed with exiles who followed the Dodgers out of the borough is now poised for a new renaissance as investors and developers pour $1 billion into the North Shore in hopes of striking Brooklyn-style gold.

Sure, it’s long been considered the city’s least hip enclave, but these boosters believe it can finally be transformed into the borough’s answer to booming Long Island City or even Jersey City, with glassy high-rises geared toward young professionals.

“Young people want the same types of vertical living as you see in Manhattan and Brooklyn,” said James Prendamano of Casandra Properties, a Staten Island commercial real estate broker. “Not everybody ... wants to live in Uncle Joe’s one-bedroom apartment in a semi-detached home in Southeast Annadale.”

Developers are already building with an eye toward the hipster set that jumpstarted the gentrification of Williamsburg and Bushwick — neighborhoods that, in some ways, are more far flung for some than the island at the other end of the ferry.


I had to laugh at the notion that "Staten Island wants to be the next Brooklyn." No. Staten Islanders do not want to become the next Brooklyn. Developers are hoping they can gentrify the hell out of it so it becomes as unaffordable as Brooklyn. Let's get real.

I'm sure the Staten Island pols have no problem with this, however.

New notification procedure for permanent homeless shelters

From Crains:

...after many hushed negotiations with state Assembly members, DHS decided to change the approval process for shelters in a bid to improve frayed community relations.

Under the current policy, a company or nonprofit that wants to open a shelter must notify the community before submitting an application to the city. But it has no responsibility to follow up. After approving a long-term shelter application, DHS holds a public hearing near City Hall at the Mayor's Office of Contract Services.

But advocates assert there is little advance notice of the hearings, and that they aren't accessible to community members who live outside Manhattan.

The new policy requires DHS to give the community board and all elected officials who represent the district that receives a shelter a full 45 days' notice before the hearing in lower Manhattan. Within those 45 days, a representative of either DHS or the provider that proposed the shelter also will be required to attend a community board meeting in the district to discuss the project.

The new policy goes into effect immediately but does not apply to emergency shelters.

"We are looking into expanding and re-evaluating the current requirement as a means of improving the notification system" for emergency shelters, said a DHS spokeswoman.


In other words, expect more Westways and Pan Ams in the future.

Giving a Fedders house a makeover

From Brownstoner:

A reader writes:
I’m the proud owner of a recently purchased “Fedders building,” and would like to do what I can to make the exterior less generic and unappealing. Along these lines, I’m wondering if anyone has had experience removing and replacing Fedders a/c cutouts, and if so, what they used to fill the resulting voids. The obvious route would be to just install brick, but I’d like to attempt something more creative, if it’s practical. Would windows look weird? Any other thoughts? Thanks!
Anyone have any cool ideas? Please help out our reader on the Forum.

Dept of Agriculture looking to lift beetle quarantine

From the Queens Chronicle:

The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Asian Long-Horned Beetle Project reports no new sightings in the borough for the past five years and may recommend next year that the Eastern Queens quarantine be lifted.

That’s the latest word from Joe Gittleman, project manager with the program, during a phone interview from his Long Island office.

First discovered in Brooklyn in 1996, the insect pests spread throughout Queens, beginning in Maspeth in 2003. The beetles destroy trees and the federal government fears they will get upstate and damage New York’s hardwood and maple syrup industries.

The beetles are believed to have come here from Asia in wooden packing crates that were used to ship goods from China. The containers have since been banned.

Gittleman estimates about 16,000 trees have been destroyed in the city due to the beetles.

To help prevent the spread of the bugs, the USDA uses tree climbers to locate holes left by the beetles. Inspections are also made from the ground across the borough’s quarantine area. The inspectors are now concentrating their efforts in communities east of the Van Wyck Expressway.

That will be followed by inspections in Western Queens.

Thursday, July 23, 2015

Cleanup required for recently rezoned Ridgewood property

From the Queens Courier:

The latest site in an industrially zoned area of northern Ridgewood slated for redevelopment requires a serious cleanup, according to the state Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC).

A recent report found that there were several semi-volatile organic compounds (SVOCs) and metals above cleanup guidelines at the site, located at 175 Woodward Ave., which had been used for storage of wooden pallets and shipping containers. Two mixed-use buildings, with ground-floor commercial space and apartments above it, are slated to rise on the site.

Soil vapor samples taken from the location revealed chlorinated solvents above the monitoring/mitigation level ranges established by the state Department of Health.

Now that the extent of the contamination has been assessed, the DEC is drafting a Remedial Action Work Plan (RAWP) to propose remedial actions to clean the site for redevelopment.

Before any form of cleanup takes place, the Office of Environmental Remediation (OER) is accepting public comments on the draft RAWP.

Residents can submit comments to Amanda Duchesne, project manager for OER, at 100 Gold Street, 2nd Floor, New York, NY 10038, by phone at 212-341-2077 or by email at ADuchesne@dep.nyc.gov; and Shaminder Chawla, deputy director for OER at the same mailing address, by phone at 212-442-3007 and by email at SChawla@dep.nyc.gov.

The OER is accepting public comments on the draft RAWP for until Aug. 15.

Historical society seeks to rename Rikers Island

From DNA Info:

The head of the Harlem Historical Society wants Rikers Island renamed based on the namesake family's connection to slavery.

The embattled jail complex, which has been beset with scandal over poor treatment of inmates and calls to shut it down, gets its name from the family of Abraham Rycken, a Dutch immigrant who settled in New York in the 1600s, according to the New York Historical Society.

Jacob Morris, director of the Harlem Historical Society, recently started a petition to rename the embattled jail complex due to family member Richard Riker's history of helping send blacks into slavery during the 19th century.

Riker presided over the main criminal court in New York City, the Court of Special Sessions, in the early 1800s, and he used his authority in this position to send blacks to slavery as part of what abolitionists called the Kidnapping Club, according to historian Eric Foner.

Public pools have a bunch of health violations


From NBC:

Soaring temperatures and oppressive humidity sent New Yorkers in droves to the nearest swimming pool this week, but with the flood of water-seekers, some may wonder how city pools measure up in terms of safety and sanitation.

The I-Team reviewed records of pool inspections and violations for all New York City Parks and Recreation Pools for 2013 and 2014. The investigation showed dozens of public health violations are issued each year for problems like lack of supervisory staff, overcrowding and, in some cases, failure to operate filtration and disinfection equipment continuously.

For example, the Astoria Pool in Queens had 10 violations in recent years. Five of the violations were considered "critical," including failing to provide a valid pool operator certificate, having inadequate water test kits and improperly operating the flow meter.

One violation involving chlorine levels during use of the pool was listed as a public health hazard.

Get ready for "the sex shop next door"

From the NY Times:

On a stroll through the Times Square of today, a visitor can slurp a bowl of gumbo at Bubba Gump Shrimp Company, buy a tube of mascara at Sephora and snap a selfie with a fleet of Elmos.

But if the fever of desire is at hand, it is still possible to find, within a few blocks, all manner of erotica at businesses like the Playpen, Lace and Private Eyes. Despite over 20 years of laws and lawsuits aimed at sanitizing New York City of what are decorously called “adult establishments,” some have endured. This week, an appeals court in Manhattan ruled that they have a legal right to do so.

Such video stores, bookshops and topless dancing clubs are protected by the First Amendment as long as no more than 40 percent of their offerings contain sexual themes, the Appellate Division of State Supreme Court ruled on Tuesday. The legal battle has dragged on for two decades and has pitted the free-speech rights of the businesses against the city’s efforts to keep them from filling up heavily trafficked areas.

“It’s all about free speech and whether you can regulate businesses and the content of those businesses based purely on someone’s animus towards the type of expression being offered there,” said Erica T. Dubno, of Fahringer & Dubno, who represented a coalition of theaters, video stores and bookstores. “But under the First Amendment, you can’t regulate speech without showing some type of harm.”

Nick Paolucci, a spokesman for the city’s Law Department, said the decision was being reviewed.

Hudson Yards not a great bargain for taxpayers

From DNA Info:

The creation of Hudson Yards will cost the city another $368 million through 2019, bringing the city’s total payout to more than $947 million, according to projections from the Independent Budget Office.

The city has been footing the bill for Hudson Yards preparations — including most of the cost of the 7 train subway expansion — by floating $3 billion in bonds through the Hudson Yards Infrastructure Corporation (HYIC).

The cost of the project was supposed to be offset by revenue from commercial and residential taxpayers moving into the area. But the IBO found that taxes have yet to cover the cost of the project, leaving the city on the hook for hundreds of millions of dollars more than expected, as the Daily News reported previously.

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Synthetic pot is really bad news


From WPIX:

K2 is just one brand name among many types of synthetic marijuana flooding the marketplace in recent years — on the Internet, in gas stations, and at local delis. It’s packaged as potpourri or incense with warnings that it’s not for human consumption, but teenagers and poor addicts have been abusing it; sometimes, with deadly results.

Fifteen people have died in the United States this year from a bad reaction to synthetic pot with more than 4,300 calls made to poison control centers as of July 6. The reactions can be severe, with some users having psychotic episodes and exhibiting severely violent behavior.

Last year, federal agents raided stores in 29 states that were selling the phony pot, which is actually dried plant material sprayed with cannabinoids. The chemicals used to create the high are usually produced in China.

The feds were especially concerned about something else they found at a store in Birmingham, Ala. In Birmingham, the agents discovered $38 million worth of wire transfers to Yemen.

Yemen is known as a major base for terror training and plotting.

Why was all that money going to Yemen? Is the sale of synthetic marijuana a way to poison American youth—and finance terrorism at the same time?

Southern Queens is very buggy this year


From CBS News:

Beach areas in Queens hit hard by Superstorm Sandy and still recovering are dealing with a new issue this summer.

As CBS2’s Meg Baker reported, some residents are scratching their heads over a lack of action against what they call a pest explosion.

“Right around sunset they come out and overwhelm you,” Hamilton Beach resident, Christopher Jones said.

“The mosquito problem down here is insane,” Michael Hussey added.

Residents said the only way to combat mosquitoes is to stay inside. Bug spray and citronella candles don’t work.

“Candles don’t do anything,” Jones said.

Assemblyman Phil Goldfeder walked the neighborhood on Bayview and Broadway with CBS2’s Baker and explained that conditions were ripe for breeding.

“In southern Queens we are surrounded by Jamaica Bay, Sandy damage still not repaired, we are a target for mosquito breeding and West Nile,” he said.

Goldfeder is pushing the Health Department to spray the area of Hamilton Beach, Howard Beach, and Lindenwood.

Bringing tourists to Jamaica: good luck with that

From the NY Times:

A major stop on the AirTrain from Kennedy International Airport has long offered a troublesome first impression for travelers visiting New York.

Scarred by poverty, crime and blighted conditions, that transit hub in Jamaica, Queens, has generally been more of a place to contemplate from train platforms than to stroll through on the ground.

But sweeping plans are being made to rejuvenate the area with new hotels, stores and apartments, with hopes of persuading some of those travelers to step off the platform and stay a while.

“Our area has needed a face-lift for quite some time now,” said Adrienne Adams, the chairwoman of Queens Community Board 12 and a Jamaica resident for more than two decades. “And I think for the most part people will be quite pleased with the results.”

The effort to lure tourists is focused on a small slice of the area, around the intersection of Archer Avenue and Sutphin Boulevard.

Besides the AirTrain, the intersection is served by the Long Island Rail Road, three subway lines and more than a dozen bus routes. One result is the kind of bustling public transportation hub that has become catnip for developers who believe that people no longer want to be so dependent on their cars.

Adventures in blog poaching

Just wanted to mention that the Daily News, Gothamist, and DNA Info all ran with my Van by the River story. None credited New York Shitty or Queens Crap (although DNA Info reporter claims her editor took it out). This is the epitome of Lazy Journalism 101. The sad thing is that not only do I always give them proper attribution and provide links to their stories, but I often send their reporters tips on things that I don't put on the blog. (Thankfully, Curbed showed more professionalism and linked to the correct source.)

If these "reporters" had any talent as journalists, they wouldn't need to poach off amateurs. And what further info did they add? None of them called Jimmy Van Bramer, the Mayor's office or AirBnB to inquire as to how the hell this is allowed to go on in NYC.

And here's a dose of whoopass straight from the original source.

- QC

UPDATE DNA Info & Gothamist have corrected their stories to provide attribution.

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Fox visits golfers at Kissena Park


From DNA Info:

A young fox was spotted on the fairway at the Kissena Park Golf Course in Flushing Saturday by a group of golfers, and he wasn't too shy.

The fox came out from a grassy area surrounding the course near the 11th hole at about 1 p.m., the golfers said.

It spent a little time sniffing around a player's club before scurrying away, according to video.

Goodbye Pathmark & Waldbaum's, hello Stop & Shop

Queens Courier
From the Queens Courier:

Stop & Shop is looking to grab six Queens supermarkets off the clearance rack.

The company announced Monday it is acquiring local Pathmark and Waldbaum’s supermarkets from the struggling Great Atlantic and Pacific Tea Company (A&P), which filed for bankruptcy. In all, Stop & Shop is purchasing 25 Pathmark, Waldbaum’s and A&P locations in the tri-state area from the grocery giant for $146 million. The deal is subject to court approval, but is expected to be finalized before the end of this calendar year.

Stop & Shop currently has five locations in Queens, including on Myrtle Avenue in Glendale; on Union Turnpike on the Glendale/Forest Hills border; on Northern Boulevard in Little Neck; and on 48th Street in Long Island City.

The chain will more than double its presence in the “World’s Borough” with the addition of three Waldbaum’s stores on 26th Avenue in Bayside, Beach Channel Drive in Belle Harbor and Cross Bay Boulevard in Howard Beach, as well as three Pathmark locations on Farrington Street in Flushing, Atlantic Avenue in Ozone Park and Springfield Boulevard in Springfield Gardens.

Waterfront Crabhouse to reopen under new owner

From LIC Talk:

The restaurant group that owns Shi and Skinny’s Cantina will be re-opening the Waterfront Crabhouse in LIC that sits at the end of Borden Avenue. While we don’t know about the timing or details, we hear it will continue with the seafood theme and possibly the name in some sort of iteration.

The Crabhouse, which opened back in 1977, was closed this February soon after the original owner passed away. Despite undergoing extensive renovations due to Hurricane Sandy, it retained its cluttered nostalgic look, which featured lots of boxing memorabilia. Might a gut renovation be in the works?

Open hydrants pose safety hazard

WNYC
From AM-NY:

Opening up a fire hydrant to cool off is a longstanding New York tradition, but it's one with a high and rising cost.

There have been 4,458 complaints to 311 for open hydrants running in full as of July 6, according to public records, a jump from 3,845 calls during the same period last year and 4,020 in 2013.

The city's Department of Environmental Protection said it takes those complaints seriously because one hydrant can disperse 1,000 gallons of water a minute, risking lower water pressure for surrounding buildings and damaging the hydrant in real emergencies.

7 train extension still not open

From AM-NY:

The No. 7 train will finally begin running on the far West Side in September, the MTA said Monday.

A new, $2.4 billion subway stop on 34th Street and 11th Avenue will open by Sept. 13, officials said. It could open earlier that month, but is unlikely to open in August.

The city-funded extension from the Times Square station was set originally to open in December 2013. Former Mayor Bloomberg took a ceremonial subway run to 11th Avenue that month, but the station's opening has been snagged for years.

Monday, July 20, 2015

This is what AirBnB allows "regular New Yorkers" to do!

Dear Crappy,

Every so often I peruse the Airbnb listings hereabouts (Greenpoint) so as to get an idea of how much property (and money) is at stake. Among the usual stuff/suspects I found a real stand-out. This:


As you can imagine I found this quite interesting. I clicked--- and this is what I found:



Hence why I am emailing you. It would appear this "tenement on wheels" (sort of like this and this) gets around. I am guessing this is why this "vacation rental" purports to be less than 10 minutes from 50 major attractions. You can drive your "hotel room" right up to them.




Any/all takers should advised that one of the amenities offered is brand new carpet! READ: a $19.99 rug from IKEA. So keep your filthy-ass shoes outside, okay?

Please take the time to peruse the reviews. They're not simply illuminating; they're quite entertaining! Here are two of my personal favorites!



Inasmuch as I can guess the latter satisfied customers--- provided they were in Greenpoint--- had to be near either the American Playground or Barge Park (AKA "Greenpoint") Playground. These are the only parks hereabouts which sport bathrooms. What a wonderful use of our precious little public space! I hope against hope that William and his girlfriend did not flush those baby wipes down the toilet. But let's face facts. They probably did.

Of course there are also waterfront parks with East River views in Queens which sport bathrooms. You would know these better than I. In any case, I wanted to bring this "tip" to your attention. It would appear "Jonathan" has other listings. I'll leave those for you to parse and/or enjoy!

Sincerely,

New York Shitty

Link to listing: https://www.airbnb.com/rooms/6492663?s=h4yk