Saturday, October 21, 2017

Como resurfaces like turd that won't stay flushed

Former City Councilman Anthony Como, who served a whopping 5 months in office back in 2008, has resurfaced. He is trying to inject himself into the District 30 City Council race. Why? It appears to be sour grapes.

He started back in September, whining to the Queens Tribune:
“I was extremely upset and disenchanted when [Robert Holden] got the Conservative [Party] endorsement. When something like that happens, you know there is something behind the scenes going on,” Como said.
Oh no, Anthony is disenchanted! Well, Holden collected signatures to get on that line after the party agreed to back him - just like as Anthony did when he ran for City Council on the Conservative line. Como is not a registered Conservative but a Republican. Then he stepped it up by authoring this letter with this included:
On this November’s ballot, the Republican candidate will be an erstwhile longstanding Democrat who is little more than a pawn for party bosses.
I think Liz Crowley and every other candidate with Machine backing are the bigger pawns for party bosses, dontcha think? Hilarious. He is so upset that a registered Republican didn't get the party's nod that he endorsed Liz Crowley - who claims her opponent is really a Republican - because that makes perfect sense. Como lives in Merrick, LI now, by the way (Amy Fisher country).

Finally, he's giving quotes like this to the Queens Chronicle:
“It’s embarrassing. I don’t know what it is going to take for our party leaders to stop perpetrating these scams on the voters.”
So let's recall how Mr. Como tried to scam voters when he put out a palm card claiming that the Catholic Church endorsed him.

Let's also remember that Mr. Como had committed to run for City Council to try to reclaim his seat back in 2009, but was more than happy to step aside for a backroom deal patronage job.
A former Queens Republican councilman is in line to be appointed by Mayor Bloomberg as a $172,311 commissioner at the Housing Authority — considered a prime patronage post — just weeks after the county’s GOP endorsed the mayor’s re-election bid, The Post has learned.
His departure from the race cleared the way for Tom Ognibene to not have to run in a primary that year, yet the joke was on Como, because he never got the job.

Reviewing this guy's history was like a walk down nightmare lane without even getting into the infamous violations on his house.

De Blasio keeps hiding the homeless

From NBC

The homeless New Yorkers that were cleared out of an NYC park earlier this week for a Mayor de Blasio appearance have returned. Melissa Russo reports.

The beginning of the end for the Dulcken House

George the Atheist has the latest at the goings on at the Dulcken House in Astoria and it doesn't look pretty.

Friday, October 20, 2017

Ulrich alleges that Crowley put the squeeze on Broad Channel restaurant owner

From the Queens Chronicle:

Councilman Eric Ulrich (R-Ozone Park) dropped a bombshell on one of his colleagues this week, an allegation that could shake up her bitter race less than three weeks before Election Day.

In a Monday interview with the Chronicle, Ulrich accused Councilwoman Elizabeth Crowley (D-Glendale) of abusing her power as a lawmaker — claiming she sent a “SWAT team” of city agencies after a popular Broad Channel restaurant last year, not long after one of her sons, then an employee of the eatery, was injured in a fight nearby.

The establishment is in his district.

According to Ulrich and Bayview co-owner Anthony Martelli, Crowley’s two sons Dennis, 20, and Owen O’Hara, 19, were involved in a physical altercation about a block away from the restaurant on July 1, 2016.

Two sources with knowledge of the situation told the Chronicle that a criminal investigation into the incident is still ongoing.

However, Martelli said he believed Dennis O’Hara, who worked at Bayview at the time, to be the aggressor, while Ulrich said those who witnessed the incident “all know who kicked the kid’s ass and thinks he deserved it.”

“The irony here is that the kid and his brother are known for making trouble,” Ulrich said. “I don’t want to attack Crowley’s kids or anything, but her son got smart with his mouth and they followed him outside and kicked his ass down the street from the place.”

In response, the Republican lawmaker said his “idiot” colleague prompted a multiagency task force — including officials from the FDNY, the State Liquor Authority, the MTA, the Board of Standards and Appeals and the departments of Buildings and Health and Mental Hygiene — to be deployed to the restaurant on or around Sept. 2, 2016.

“There was never any underage drinking there,” Ulrich said. “But this is what she did. She did everything she could to shut this guy down. It’s like someone went in there with instructions to bang [Bayview] over the head until it got shut down.”


Well, the one thing we can all agree with Ulrich on is that Crowley is an idiot. How refreshing for a fellow tweeder to come out and say it, though!

In all seriousness, though, this is a lot to digest, and there are several more allegations at the original link, but let's stick with this for now. We already know that one of the Crowley boys likes to be verbally abusive and this fits in with that pattern. There was no press for some reason about this alleged incident at the time it happened. An assault this violent most certainly was a 911 call and the city's NYPD mapping tool confirms 2 felonious assaults at the location on that day. But if what Ulrich said - "all know who kicked the kid’s ass" - is true, then why have there been no arrests? And why would the mother of these 2 launch her own assault against the restaurant instead of the perp?

What's missing from this story is when Dennis O'Hara was let go from the restaurant. Was it that night? Was it because of this incident which was apparently witnessed by many and with an identifiable suspect? Who exactly did he piss off? It seems to be someone untouchable. A mother's natural inclination, one would think, would be to make sure justice was served to the punk that beat up her kid and not go after a business owner. She's hooked up real good with the PBA and other NYPD unions, so why haven't they arrested the perp?

Why were the MTA and BSA called in? What in tarnation do they have to do with any of this?

City suggests LIC to Amazon

From LIC Post:

Long Island City has been selected by the city as a proposed site for Amazon’s second headquarters, officials announced last night.

The bid, submitted by the city to Amazon on Oct. 18 in partnership with New York State, and just a day shy from the tech company’s deadline, includes four districts within the five boroughs that meet the “essential criteria” Amazon listed in its request for proposals announced early September.

In describing Long Island City within the proposal, the Economic Development Corporation noted the neighborhood’s legacy as an industrial innovation center and its proximity to transportation networks, including train lines and airports. The neighborhood’s restaurants, bars, cafes, and arts and culture institutions were also listed as attractive components to lure Amazon to the area.

The proposal also identified over 13 million square feet of real estate that could be used to fulfill Amazon’s RFP.

Other districts included in the proposal were Midtown West, the Brooklyn Tech Triangle, and Lower Manhattan. The districts were chosen from more than two dozen proposals submitted to the city. Letters of support for Long Island City as a possible site were also sent to de Blasio by Queens Borough president Melinda Katz and Assemblymember Catherine Nolan, with Council member Jimmy Van Bramer also expressing his support. All three signed a letter, along with more than 70 elected officials from the five boroughs, sent to Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos, on New York City’s potential as a home for Amazon HQ2.

Queens architectural photography exhibit

From Curbed:

In 2012, architect Rafael Herrin-Ferri began photographing low-rise houses in Queens not just to understand the differences in the borough’s low-rise housing stock, but to examine how Queens’s attached, semi-detached, and detached houses, along with its small apartment buildings, reflected the rich diversity of the borough’s population.

To date, he has documented one third of the borough in over 5,000 photographs, and now his work is the subject of a new exhibition by the Architectural League of New York titled, All the Queens Houses.

The exhibit, which opens October 20 and can be seen by the public at the League’s office gallery on Fridays, is comprised of 273 of Herrin-Ferri photographs. Herrin-Ferri focused on the buildings’ facades, side elevations, and any other distinct features in his photographs.

At the exhibit, the photographs are lined up in alphabetical order by neighborhood, starting with Astoria. In addition, Herrin-Ferri has decided to give his photographs humorous names, which the Architectural League describes as “part academic, part broker listing, part New York magazine caption.”

Thursday, October 19, 2017

Mayor suddenly notices dumping in SE Queens

From the Queens Tribune:

At a town hall on Monday in Jamaica, Mayor Bill de Blasio announced that he will address one of the biggest issues facing Southeast Queens for decades—illegal dumping.

For years, the streets of Southeast Queens have been littered with garbage and waste left behind by drivers. The dumping has long perturbed residents, who often find trash on their private property, reducing the quality of life in the area. While the city has relied on tickets to curb the issue, it has done little to crack down on those committing the crime repeatedly, residents have said.

“We will double the number of sanitation officers here in Southeast Queens,” the mayor said to loud applause. “We need to do a better job and put more personnel on it.”

The mayor said that the longstanding issue was brought to his attention by Community Board 12 and its former chairwoman and City Council hopeful, Adrienne Adams.

So as chair of the community board she noticed it and nothing got done, but now that she's the party pick, the mayor is listening? Doesn't say much about the mayor's respect for community boards, does it?

The MTA cost is way too high!

From AM-NY:

Extraordinarily high construction costs are keeping the MTA from meeting the demands of a growing city, elected officials who rallied for spending reforms charged on Monday.

The politicians from the city and the state — all Democrats — called on the MTA to create an independent commission of experts to study why the agency’s capital projects cost nearly three or four times that of projects in similar cities like London, Paris or Los Angeles.

The focus on costs comes in the wake of rising subway delays, as well as high-profile service failures that continue to plague morning commutes. On Monday morning, signal problems at midtown stations caused delays and service changes on eight lines, leading to the suspension of B and M trains.

“The MTA has the highest construction costs compared to any other city on the planet. The MTA regularly spends three to six to ten times more money for a capital project compared to anywhere else,” said Manhattan City Council member Helen Rosenthal. “New York City cannot afford to keep spending more and getting less as service delays and disruptions have been growing from bad to worse.”

Cy stops taking money from de Blasio's lawyers

From the Daily News:

By the time Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance Jr. met with the lawyer representing Mayor de Blasio in his year-old campaign finance probe of Hizzoner, the attorney’s firm and its partners had donated $70,000 to the top prosecutor.

But unlike Vance’s decision to return the donation of a lawyer representing Ivanka Trump and Donald Trump Jr. to avoid a conflict of interest, the DA kept the contributions from Kramer Levin Naftalis, the firm representing the mayor.

These donations by a law firm handling one of the DA’s most high-profile cases are yet another example of potential conflicts of interest that have dogged the DA in the last two weeks — scrutiny that prompted Vance to announce Sunday that he was suspending fund-raising.

Wednesday, October 18, 2017

Brooklyn roof collapse injures 6

From the Daily News:

Six construction workers were hurt, two seriously, when a load of cinderblocks sparked a partial collapse at a Brooklyn building Tuesday morning, officials said.

The half dozen hardhats suffered head, arm and chest injuries when the roof of the Crown Heights building gave out from under them about 9:45 a.m.

One construction worker suffered a compound fracture to his left leg and needed to be carried out of the building, a source said.

“A concentrated load of cinderblocks was placed on the roof level in a concentrated area and it was too much weight,” said FDNY Brooklyn Borough Commander Assistant Chief Dwayne Cartwright. “It collapsed into the basement.”

City to shelter providers: "Name your price"

From the NY Times:

Under pressure to shelter close to 58,000 homeless people on a daily basis, New York City has been paying widely varying rates to shelter providers and, until recently, had no set procedure for determining how much to pay, according to a new audit.

The state comptroller’s office could not determine whether the city is paying reasonable rates for nearly 750 shelters that have cost the city more than $1.1 billion annually, according to the audit, which looked at a sampling of contracts over a four-year period.

Examining 23 new contracts for shelters, auditors concluded that shelter providers named their own prices with little pushback from the Department of Homeless Services. The rates charged by two comparable shelters might differ by as much as $225 per person per day, according to the audit.

Fresh Meadows concerned about oversized day care center

From the Queens Chronicle:

About 75 concerned Fresh Meadows residents, many of whom are senior citizens, on Tuesday vehemently opposed the construction of Great Sunshine Daycare on 67th Avenue and 172nd Street saying, despite the center’s name, the site will cast a dark cloud over the suburban neighborhood’s already busy intersection, just one block from PS 173’s playground, and steps from MS 216.

Resident Cliff Hamburger — who presented at a town hall meeting held to discuss concerns about the proposed development — explained potential traffic congestion.

“You can’t unload a school bus in less than a minute,” Hamburger said at the meeting in PS 173’s auditorium.

The drop-off route for the day care will follow the already congested 67th Avenue, and exit from 72nd Street.

“[Or], the mother will have to drop off a toddler, take the child in, get him/her settled, resulting in idling engines,” Hamburger said, adding that staff will need “street parking, weekly deliveries and garbage collection.

“The DOT has agreed to finally conduct a traffic study,” Hamburger added. “So pending that, there is a stop-work order in place for the facility.”

The facility will be equipped with nine classrooms for approximately 290 students, and 30 staff members. It’s also proposed to have 11 parking spaces on the ground floor, one elevator and two staircases.

Rob Agnello, another presenter, discussed sewer capabilities for the facility, which currently only has one at 36 inches in diameter.

Tuesday, October 17, 2017

The mysterious and creepy abandoned nursing home

Hi Crappie, I was wondering if anyone knows what's going on with the Nursing Home that's on the beach in Neponsit. I remember that Mayor Giuliani ordered an evacuation in the middle of the night in the winter because of structural problems with the building.There was an outcry that some people died from the move and there was talk that the mayor was doing his developer friends a favor by condemning the property. Recently I was at Riis Park and noticed a police car sitting by the building all day. What's up?

The Nursing Home on the boardwalk at 116 street has a dead tree hanging over it's main entrance.The tree was half dead before Hurricane Katrina pushed the boardwalk against the building. You think someone would have removed the dead tree before it clobbers someone and they will sue the city for millions.


- Rich

State would make more money off filming if it ended subsidies

From the Village Voice:

When the D.C.-based subsidy watch group Good Jobs First released its analysis recently of the $1.2 billion that New York State hands out in tax breaks to private industries each year, one item stood out: $621 million in subsidies for film and TV shoots that take place in the state. That means every man, woman, and child in New York shells out an average of $31 a year in public money into the coffers of studios and production companies.

...though both the city and state film offices provide data showing that the film industry has grown here since Governor George Pataki instituted the state’s tax credit program in 2004, economic experts aren’t so sure, pointing to other numbers that show that film and TV shoots don’t employ many more people in the state than they did fifteen years ago — and that any gain is nowhere near worth the hundreds of millions of dollars a year that the state pours into it.

And even if a positive impact does exist, New York’s film industry spending may just be a way of treading water: a zero-sum game where states compete to throw increasing amounts of tax money at the same number of jobs. It’s a problem that corporate-subsidy experts in other industries have dubbed “the economic war among the states” — and it serves mostly to funnel money out of public treasuries and into private pockets.

How could one set of numbers show that film tax credits have led to a huge boom in production jobs, while others show little to no effect? One issue is that the state’s audits separately report each job stint, no matter how short, rather than converting to “full-time equivalent” jobs — a tiny footnote in the Camoin study indicates that “if one person is employed part-time for four months, then takes two months off and is hired again for four months that would be counted as two jobs.” As a result, the official state numbers double- or triple-count crew members who work on multiple productions in one year.

Thom says that a study by the California legislature estimated that one-third of production activity in that state would take place in that state with or without subsidies. If the same ratio holds true in New York, then even if the state cut off the subsidy spigot and two-thirds of productions hightailed it to more budget-friendly climes, the state would still collect more than $250 million a year in tax revenues on an expense of zero dollars. With the current program running about a $100 million annual return by the state’s own figures, this implies that New York state would bring in about $150 million a year more in net revenues if it cut off film credits entirely — money it could conceivably then spend on more effective job-creation programs.

Kew Gardens residents upset that their building became a homeless shelter

From the Queens Chronicle:

Tenants living in the apartments above the Kew Gardens Comfort Inn — where the city is renting 42 rooms and housing homeless individuals in 19 of them — only found out about the move through media reports, according to one resident who spoke at Community Board 9’s meeting Tuesday night.

“I myself found out watching the evening news,” said Jonathan, who only wanted his first name used. “And then my mother called me to tell me she saw it on the news as well.”

According to Jonathan, residents at The Kewl — the name for the apartments above the hotel — have been unable to get in contact with their management company about the situation.

“We know nothing,” he said.

He pleaded with board members to provide the tenants with any information they can.

“Help us know what’s going on so we can make decisions for our family,” Jonathan said.

Raj Rampershad, chairman of CB 9, said he, too, was irate at the lack of notice.

“We weren’t consulted on this,” Rampershad said.

A Department of Homeless Services source said the agency plans on using all of the 42 rooms it’s rented at the 123-28 82 Ave. Comfort Inn to house homeless individuals — despite Mayor de Blasio’s promise last year to reduce the city’s reliance on hotels to alleviate the homelessness crisis.

(Despite disrespect like this happening on a regular basis throughout the borough over the past 4 years, Queens will dutifully march to the polls in less 3 weeks and re-elect de Blasio.)

Monday, October 16, 2017

Liz Crowley claims her opponent is anti-LGBTQ, but her record is much worse

In our previous post, we cited the Queens Chronicle article about Elizabeth Crowley's candidacy which quoted her as saying her opponent, Robert Holden, has "a record of taking strong anti-woman, anti-LGBTQ stances" because of items published in the Juniper Berry, the newsletter of the Juniper Park Civic Association, of which Holden is president. Let's examine the anti-LGBTQ accusation this time.

We discovered an Op-Ed about gay marriage written by someone else on Juniper's website and also one by the Bishop of Brooklyn, but they are both clearly marked as opinion pieces. Newspapers print various op-eds all the time (like this one from Crowley), it doesn't mean they endorse the positions presented. There also was a letter to the editor printed in support of gay marriage which criticizes one of the original pieces. Basing her "anti-LGBTQ" accusation on this is a bit weak. We found nothing authored by Holden that broached this topic. A Google search came up empty as well.

Now, let's see what Crowley's record reveals.

Crowley denied that she supported gay marriage when asked about it, tried to dodge a question about it and defended taking money from a renowned white supremacist as per her own 2001 interview with the Juniper Berry - the same magazine she cites as proof that her opponent is unqualified for public office.
Q: In the Queens Tribune you said you support gay unions (marriages), can you tell me why?

A: Sigh...That was Frank [Borzellieri]. I never said that, I said equal rights for all people.

Q: Does that mean you do or do not support it?

A: {No comment} I'd rather not discuss this.

Q: Speaking of Frank Borzellieri, knowing his history, do you think you should have accepted his endorsement money?

A: We have only two things in common...same district and same beliefs. 
Q: So you have the same right-wing controversial beliefs as he does?

A: No, but he wants a hard working city council member. We don't agree on all issues.

Q: But that's not what you just said.
(Mr. Borzellieri, as member of the local school board, pushed for the removal of then-teacher Danny Dromm for being openly gay. Crowley's mother, Mary, was president of the District 24 board at the time.)

- In addition, Crowley is the only candidate in this race with a history of OPPOSING gay marriage.

- She lied to get the endorsement of an LGBTQ political club (then hid the fact that they endorsed her by refusing to put their logo on her mailers).

- She completely avoided answering questions from another LGBTQ club.

- Crowley had the most to gain from a mailer put out to disparage a past Democratic opponent for being openly gay which she never denied. She even went so far as to attack then-candidate Tom Ognibene for joining the victim, Charles Ober, in denouncing it and in the same statement called on Ober to drop his bid for office and unite behind her, which is pretty damn arrogant.

- Ober struck back in a press release.

- A strikingly similar flyer was dropped on people's doorsteps the night before the 2001 election that attacked Crowley's only opponent for supporting gay-friendly candidates, among other things, with the last 3 lines thrown in as a lame attempt at a smokescreen:

Voters in the district were not moved by either cowardly smear attempt and she lost both races.

Liz Crowley: Proud supporter of LGBTQ rights!

Since Crowley has spent most of her campaign complaining that her opponent "lacks Democratic values", we're happy to show you what Miss Crowley, a supposed "real Democrat", believes and practices. Bringing up your opponent's alleged anti-LGBTQ history when your own is this shitty is probably not a wise campaign move, Diz.

Why gay groups and self-described "progressives" have lined up to endorse someone who has a documented 16 year history of homophobia is a good question. Why other liberal candidates would seek a female Trump's endorsement is another. It all just proves what a joke Queens politics is.


Monday morning photo caption contest

Embed from Getty Images
Well, this weekend felt a bit dreary and now those of us fortunate to be gainfully employed have to return to work. Don't know about you but the Crapper feels like it's time for a photo caption contest. And what better subjects than a guy who was Anthony Weiner's mentor and another who actually did the things that Horny Tony just fantasized about on social media.

City ordered to turn over Maspeth shelter's RFP documents

From the Queens Chronicle:

The city is not planning to appeal a court ruling ordering it to turn over documents related to last year’s highly controversial planned conversion of the Maspeth Holiday Inn Express into a homeless shelter.

The Sept. 27 ruling, made by Justice Allan Weiss of Queens Supreme Court, stems from an Article 78 case brought against the city earlier this year by the civic Citizens for a Better Maspeth.

Under court order, the Department of Homeless Services must provide CBM with the city’s original request for proposals and the response documents from applying companies as it related to the proposed operation the 59-40 55 Road hotel as a shelter.

“It is ordered and adjudged that the petition is granted solely to the extent that respondents are directed to provide petitioner with copies of the Request For Proposals that were received in connection with the proposal to convert the subject Holiday Inn Express to a homeless shelter,” Weiss’ ruling reads, “and any and all plans submitted along with the RFPs which demonstrate that the space would be a conforming use under the zoning resolution.”

Zoning law only permits hotel stays of 30 days or less in manufacturing zones — the Holiday Inn Express is located in an M1-1 zone — and CBM alleges that homeless men have been staying at Patel’s building for months at a time.

Sunday, October 15, 2017

Questioning Cy's judgment

From NPR:

"If we could have prosecuted Harvey Weinstein for the conduct that occurred in 2015, we would have," said Karen Friedman Agnifilo, chief assistant district attorney.

But criminal attorney Matthew Galluzzo, who once worked in the DA's sex crimes unit, told The Associated Press he believed the audiotape, in which Weinstein acknowledges touching Gutierrez on the breast, could have been used to pursue a case.

"She can testify about what happened, and you've got him acknowledging he did something wrong," Galluzzo said.

Before this week, questions were also being raised about Vance's handling of a fraud investigation involving the Trump SoHo, a condo hotel built by the Bayrock Group. Some early buyers of units at the hotel sued Bayrock, arguing that they had been misled about the hotel's sales records.

The Manhattan DA's office had considered pursuing fraud charges against Ivanka Trump and Donald Trump Jr., who played a big role in promoting the hotel. An investigation by The New Yorker, WNYC and ProPublica said prosecutors wanted to pursue a criminal case, but Vance said evidence to do so was lacking.

The report also noted that Vance had received a $32,000 campaign contribution from one of Trump's lawyers shortly after dropping the case. Vance had also received an earlier donation, which he had returned.

"It was improper for him to accept it in the first place. He responded by returning those donations and then apparently accepted them again after the fact," noted Jim Cohen, a professor at Fordham University School of Law.

BDB compares Sharpton to MLK

From SI Live:

De Blasio said Sharpton has "stayed very connected" to the tradition of Martin Luther King Jr.

"You've carried on Dr. King's -- not only his message, but his approach to making social change," the mayor said. "You've shown that it's just as relevant today as it was 50 years ago."

The mayor also spoke about Sharpton's defense of young people brought to the country as children and here illegally, known as "DREAMers," after President Donald Trump said he would end the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program. Sharpton and Cardinal Timothy Dolan joined the mayor in a September rally at City Hall to support the so-called dreamers.

"That is another example, your activism is just as fresh, just as as powerful today as 50 years ago when you started," de Blasio said.

Wasn't this guy James Brown's tour manager 50 years ago?

Saturday, October 14, 2017

Cosmetic repairs on Calamus Avenue

The Department of Design and Construction is offering to fix sidewalk cracks on Calamus Avenue resulting from a 4-year long sewer installation project.
Meanwhile, people have damaged homes and foundations...

Perhaps Ms. Crowley or Comptroller Stringer can get the City to offer a bigger bone than this. (Sorry I am in a comical mood this morning.)

Queens' DOT disasters

From the Queens Chronicle:

Construction to accommodate Select Bus Service at the confluence of Cross Bay Boulevard, Rockaway Boulevard and Liberty Avenue will not be complete until next month.

But residents and civic leaders are already saying things appear to be as bad, if not worse, then they have feared.

“This,” said a grim-voiced Vance Barbour of the Woodhaven Residents’ Block Association, “is our ‘I told you so.’”

When completed, what was three travel lanes and a service road headed northbound will become two; bus stops along the curb will be moved across the service road to a median; the travel lane adjacent to the median will become a 24/7 bus lane; and the left turn from northbound Cross Bay to Rockaway Boulevard will be eliminated, along with the turning lane, forcing cars — and trucks — to take more roundabout routes.

Bus stops already are being installed on islands on the southbound side, with machines selling SBS tickets not far behind.

Residents long have complained that the intersection forms a bottleneck during rush hour, backing traffic up for blocks.

The city’s Department of Transportation has asserted that reducing the number of lanes will improve traffic by helping create a more uniform traffic pattern along the entire corridor.

A more uniform lane configuration, along with the elimination of some left turns such as the one at Rockaway Boulevard, are designed to reduce the amount of lane merging that is said to be responsible for a great deal of congestion.

The construction is nearing completion, even over the constant and strenuous objections of residents and community leaders such as state Sen. Joe Addabbo Jr. (D-Howard Beach) and Assemblyman Mike Miller (D-Woodhaven).

“Nothing makes sense,” Howard Beach Resident Joseph Cerbone told the Chronicle. “We didn’t OK any of this ... They did just what they wanted to do. It was nightmare and they’re making it worse.”

From the Queens Chronicle:

In his letter, Avella added that there was a dangerous lack of signage for drivers at the location, which is an active construction area because of ongoing work for the bike lane. The senator also urged de Blasio and the DOT to abandon the bike lane plan and take up a different proposal for Northern supported by Community Board 11.

The office of Councilman Paul Vallone (D-Bayside) said he too has been in touch with city authorities.

“In response to the accidents and the community’s concerns, we reached out to the DOT to ask them to expedite the installation of signage and reflective panels to both inform motorists of the change in the traffic pattern and make the barriers more visible,” Vallone’s office said in an email.

Vallone’s opponent in November, Paul Graziano, said the bike lane has created “an extremely dangerous situation” and that the city shouldn’t install them on “what is essentially a highway.” Graziano, who lost the Democratic primary to Vallone but remains on the Reform Party line, is an urban planner who helped design the alternative bike lane proposal now backed by CB 11.

“You do not create something unless it’s well thought out, well planned and won’t be a negative,” he said.

In a statement, the transportation agency defended the barrier.

“These barriers did their job to protect those in the bike lane from accelerating turning vehicles,” the DOT said in an email last Friday. More signs, the agency said, are coming.

“In the next few days we will be installing additional safety treatments like reflective tape and flexible delineators that have been part of the design from the beginning of this project, to increase protection and awareness for all street users,” the agency said.

Friday, October 13, 2017

De Blasio: Puerto Ricans who come to NY must have family here

From CBS 2:

Life after Hurricane Maria for thousands of Puerto Ricans could mean a new life in New York City.

As CBS2 Political Reporter Marcia Kramer reported, Mayor Bill de Blasio said there will be health and educational support. But he said finding a place to stay is up to those who arrive.

It was only a few weeks ago that Mayor de Blasio walked to a Brooklyn firehouse to donate diapers to people in Puerto Rico who were devastated by Hurricane Maria. And while the city certainly intends to help the displaced, there is a limit – they will have to stay with family members because the city will not provide housing.

Kramer asked de Blasio what if they are to do if they come to New York and do not have family – and whether they will have to stay in hotels or whether affordable housing might be allotted. She asked if the city has any money available if Puerto Ricans coming to New York need any financial assistance.

“Marcia, we do not have that plan, and I don’t want to encourage people to come here if they don’t have some family to turn to,” de Blasio said. “I think we have to be really clear about that.”

The chronic flooding of Hamilton Beach

Great photo essay at Curbed:

If you’d like to get a good picture of New York City’s struggle against sea level rise, head to Hamilton Beach and stand in the middle of the road.

Every month during the highest tides, the streets of this small Queens community are flooded by the waters of Jamaica Bay. At first, as the saltwater starts to trickle in from Hawtree Creek, the small puddles forming around curbs and storm drains don’t appear to be so bad. But as the tide continues to rise, the roads are quickly submerged.

Soon, tiny fish begin to swim across the concrete, and the water is above your ankles. Then swans start to paddle into empty lots, and the water has reached your calves. Suddenly, the flooding is knee high, and the nearest dry land is much too far away. It is a deeply disconcerting feeling, to be standing in seawater in the middle of a neighborhood.

Yet for those living in Hamilton Beach, and in many other neighborhoods around the city, street floods like this are a regular, everyday occurrence. “This is nothing,” says Ginny Dunker, looking out from her front door at a recent six-and-a-half-foot high tide that had flooded midway up her block. “Come back on a rainy day, and then you will see something.”

Hamilton Beach is just one of several New York City communities that are regularly flooded by high tides. Many of these neighborhoods are clustered around Jamaica Bay, including nearby Broad Channel and Howard Beach, and in each of these areas, saltwater has come up into the streets every month for decades. In recent years, however, residents have reported a dramatic increase in the frequency and volume of these floods.

Woodside Succeeds in Defending Against Megachurch in Larger Fight Against Gentrification and Displacement


In September 2016, the Universal Church, on 69th Street and Roosevelt Avenue, had proposed to expand itself right in the heart of the Woodside community. The proposed structure of the “megachurch” would stand 70-feet high, taller than any surrounding building in the area. Not only would such a development be out-of-context in Woodside, but it would also break New York City building code that limits the height of building construction. It would set a dangerous precedent for commercialization and future development in the Woodside Community. And as a result would encourage gentrification and the displacement of residents especially working-class immigrant families. Organizations in New York City, such as Queens Anti-Gentrification Project (QAGP), Filipino American Democratic Club of New York, National Alliance of Filipino Concerns (NAFCON), and Anakbayan New York (ABNY) had convened with the Woodside community in response and strong opposition to this proposed development. In turn, these progressive community organizations and allies formed the Coalition to Defend Little Manila, dedicated to fight against the construction and expansion of this “megachurch” and its threats of gentrification of Woodside and displacement of its working-class migrant residents.

On January 5th, Community Board 2 (CB2), representing the Woodside, Sunnyside, and Long Island City neighborhoods, held its regular meeting with the megachurch proposal on its agenda. At that time, ABNY mobilized its members alongside the Woodside community in a speakout and rally against the megachurch construction to emphasize that it is the community who will decide what happens in Woodside, and the megachurch proposal was pushed to February 3rd. On February 3rd, the Coalition alongside Woodside residents mobilized to voice their concerns and dissent against the megachurch, and CB2 unanimously voted against the proposal. The Universal Church had then submitted its application to the Board of Standards and Appeals (BSA), asking for a variance to expand the church beyond the jurisdiction of CB2 and bypassing NYC zoning laws and building code. ABNY had successfully submitted a request to BSA dismissing the application on June 7, 2017, making it even harder for the Universal Church to continue forward in their development.

We are humbled by the support of the community in this fight. It was not CB2 nor the BSA that had defeated the megachurch development. It was the Woodside community, its residents and business owners, that had voiced their concerns by petitioning against it, by attending Community Board meetings, and sharing with members of the Coalition how they opposed such a development in their community. It was the community, and it is only ever the community, who can truly lead in its own defense, protection, and development. We understand that this small victory is but one step in a larger struggle against gentrification and displacement and that only with the support of the people can we achieve real victories in this fight.

Thursday, October 12, 2017

NYC leads the country in traffic hot spots

From Crains:

New York's gridlock issues are getting worse, and a new study details just how widespread the congestion problem is. According to transportation analytics company INRIX, more traffic bottleneck points are scattered throughout the city and its surrounding suburbs than in any other metro area in the country.

On the bright side, New York's hot spots do not lead the way in the magnitude of adversity created by traffic. According to a measure from INRIX called "impact factor" that incorporates the frequency, size and duration of jams, Los Angeles drivers deal with the worst traffic conditions in the nation. The impact factor in the City of Angels is 42% greater than in No. 2 New York. When impact factor is evaluated on a per-capita basis, the metro area comes out looking even better: New York is ranked 17th, below Los Angeles, Atlanta and even Stamford, Conn.

But New York still has some of the country's worst locations for gridlock, including stretches across four local highways that rank among the country's 25 most miserable. That includes two Cross Bronx Expressway spots whose jams force vehicles to spend an average of 155 minutes traversing just 3.5 miles. Between the wasted fuel, lost time and damage incurred by carbon emissions, INRIX estimates that the pair of congested locations will impose a cost of $1.7 billion through 2026 if unaddressed. Overall, New York's thousands of traffic hot spots could lead to $63.9 billion in economic loss over the next 10 years.

Kew Gardens hotel flooded with water or DHS bookings?

From DNA Info:

Several guests who booked rooms at a hotel and luxury apartment tower in Kew Gardens where the city controversially began renting dozens of rooms to homeless people last month had their reservations abruptly cancelled, DNAinfo New York has learned.

A Kew Gardens resident said three of his family members, who are visiting for his daughter’s bat mitzvah this coming weekend, booked rooms at the Kew Gardens Comfort Inn several weeks ago.

But on Sunday, they received an email from the hotel stating that “Due to unfortunate circumstances recently at our hotel, we have had to cancel your reservation.”

"They said it was a flood," said the local resident, who did not want his name to be used but provided the email to DNAinfo.

An employee who answered the phone at the hotel Monday told a reporter that they “are having water damage on some floors,” but added that the hotel is open and that some rooms were still available. She did not elaborate about what caused the damage.

However, a caller trying to book a room at the hotel for Monday and Tuesday night was told there were no rooms available and was instead offered a room at a Comfort Inn in Jamaica.

A spokesman with the Department of Homeless Services — which alarmed locals by beginning to rent 42 rooms in the hotel on Sept. 29 — said Monday that there was no “water damage” impacting units used by the agency.

Wednesday, October 11, 2017

If you didn't watch it, you didn't miss much

From the Daily News:

Tuesday evening's mayoral debate was a particularly putrid taste of small-d democracy these days in our overwhelmingly Democratic city: Loud, stupid and basically pointless.

There was Mayor Bill de Blasio, up 40-plus points in the polls and towering in every sense over Republican Nicole Malliotakis, who went on, and on, and on about how New York (where crime is in fact at a record low) is collapsing into its blood-soaked streets.

She in turn towered over general creep Bo Dietl, who spent the night interrupting her and hurling non-sequiturs — "MOOSE! JAIL REFORM! TOUGH COP! BO DIETL!" — and random insults at the mayor.

All this as the crowd brought in by the campaigns yelled, hissed and chanted, giving our system in which few people vote and few votes matter that bread-and-circuses feel.

De Blasio's first words set the tone: "You know sometimes there are elections--" "BOOOOOOO!!!!!!"

Crowley, Van Bramer pretend to be shocked by the mayor they endorsed

From DNA Info:

...elected officials who represent the area said they were "blindsided" by the move, with several blasting the city for its lack of transparency.

"This community finds itself once again blindsided with the last-minute announcement of yet another hotel conversion," Congressman Joe Crowley wrote in a letter to Mayor Bill de Blasio last week that accused the administration of opening the site with "no prior notice, and zero community input."

City Councilman Jimmy Van Bramer, whose district also includes the hotel site, said he was told about its use only "a few hours before they started moving families into that shelter."

"That is a broken system," Van Bramer said at a contentious Queens Community Board 2 meeting Thursday, where representatives from DHS were in attendance. "It is wrong, it is absolutely absurd, to start moving families in before anyone in the community knows."

Hey guys, this was going on long before you endorsed the mayor for re-election and carried petitions for him to get on the ballot and sang with him last month. So please knock it off with the phony outrage.

Tuesday, October 10, 2017

An all-too-familiar problem

Hi QC,

I recently attended the Community Council meeting at the 105th precinct. I expressed my concerns about an illegal businesses being run out of a residential home on 107-16 Springfield Blvd in Queens Village. These individuals are fixing cars at all hours of the day right on Springfield blvd. In the process, they are dumping oil all over the street and sidewalks, and discarding oil down the sewer drains which eventually drains into Jamaica Bay. They have a tractor trailer parked in the driveway, and a full blown junkyard in the backyard! A couple residents at the meeting expressed concerns about this place as well, since it's bringing down the quality of life in our neighborhood and devaluing our homes. The community affairs officer told me that they'll be paying them a visit, and she'll contact the DEP. I also contacted the NYS DEC Police twice and they were very helpful. I also filed 311 complaints with the DSNY and DOB, for the messy conditions, illegal parking of the tractor trailer, and of course the junkyard in the back. I just want to show your readers some of the ghetto nonsense that we deal with in SE Qns on a daily basis. Thanks.

- Philster

Rezoning leads to jobs? Don't believe the hype

From Progress Queens:

In the neighborhood rezoning of Long Island City, the promises of jobs creation are being made by a Municipal agency, the Department of City Planning, raising some eyebrows. Despite the making of promises of jobs creation by a Government authority, some community activists have expressed skepticism. At the Department of City Planning community event promoting jobs creation in Long Island City on Thursday night, an activist group, the Queens Anti-Gentrification Project, scheduled an event to draw attention to the false promises of jobs creation being used to promote large-scale real estate projects. In the description of their protest event on the Facebook social media Web site, the activist group cast disbelief on the promises of jobs creation, stating that there was no evidence of truth to the promises of the creation of high-technology jobs for area residents, noting that, "Those jobs are not for us. The only jobs we can expect to see will be a handful of service industry jobs that employ low-income communities to serve the rich, deepening the class divide. The city has lied time and time again about jobs. Why believe them now ?," adding that, "Workforce development is the carrot they dangle in front of us, trying to get us to agree to the gentrification of our neighborhoods and our own displacement."

For this report, the City Hall press office did not provide any statistics that were requested by Progress Queens to show the track record of past promises of jobs creation in connection with neighborhood rezonings. The Department of City Planning has announced that community events about jobs creation will continue to into the fall, yet the de Blasio administration is refusing to make any commitments about the number of jobs it intends to create for Long Island City residents. A press official with the Department of City Planning did not immediate answer a press request for information about the record of jobs creation statistics for neighborhood rezonings.

Petition: Crowley, resign as Chairman of the Queens Democrat Party

Friend --

To stand up for Queens, we need to ask for integrity within the Queens County Democratic Party. That can’t happen when Joseph Crowley, as chair of the Queens Democratic Party, is in charge of his own endorsement and appoints friends and family to key positions throughout the borough. Plus, the chair of the Queens Democratic Party should actually reside in Queens—not live full-time in Virginia, as Crowley does. Asking Crowley to step down as Chairman of the Queens Democratic Party isn’t personal—it’s fair.

The move will help rebuild trust in a machine long seen as corrupt. Crowley must open up the Chairmanship to impartial leaders who will guarantee a free and fair election—and who actually live in the borough. We will not allow Crowley to distort the vote in Queens. Ocasio2018 will be there to challenge him in the New York primary, and put a stop to the establishment’s iron grip on Queens politics.

Can you help us re-establish trust and fairness in the Queens County Democratic Party?
Sign the petition to ask Crowley to step down as Chair.
When I first called for Crowley’s resignation, it created quite a stir in the New York political machine. Within hours, the announcement was shared over 50 times in NY political groups and reached over 14,000 people. The people of New York are riled up and ready to fight for a fair, open, and representative system.

As Chairman of the Queens Democratic Party, Joe Crowley pulls the strings of political power in the city and hand-picks party endorsements and appointments. This has led to serious questions over profiting off of constituent foreclosures and cherry-picking candidates to reinforce his power in the district. But here’s the kicker… the man who decides the fate of politics in Queens doesn’t even live here! Crowley plays Democratic party boss all while living in Arlington, Virginia to be closer to lobbyists, high-ticket fundraisers, and beltway politics. Crowley’s choice to live outside our district should disqualify him from local party leadership. Joseph Crowley serving as party boss isn’t just a matter of location—it’s a question of ethics.

It is unethical for candidates to have power over their own endorsements and the endorsements of their friends. Someone with such obvious bias should not be given the chance to tilt the Democratic primary in his favor.

Join Ocasio2018 to demand a fair primary.

Ask Out-of-Town Crowley to give up his Chairmanship.

As a powerful political boss who doesn't even live in the community, Crowley reinforces the influence of big donors and undercuts the concerns of local residents. Instead of fighting for working class needs, dignified healthcare, free education, and a $15 minimum wage, Crowley spends his time fighting for real estate deregulation to help his big-money donors. The time has come for real, unbiased leadership that lives in the district and cares about the issues of the community.

Sign the petition, demand that Crowley Step Down as Party Boss.

In solidarity,
Alexandria Ocasio

Monday, October 9, 2017

Pols support keeping Columbus in his circle

From the NY Post:

...the statue of Christopher Columbus in Columbus Circle was not built to herald the explorer’s subjugation of native people. If it had been, I would be the first to demand that it be torn down.

No, the Columbus Circle statue was erected in 1892 following a massive fundraising campaign by the nation’s Italian-American community in recognition of the 400th anniversary of Columbus’ landing in the Americas.

Hard-working men, women and families of Italian descent, along with businesses and various institutions with Italian or Italian-American ties, pooled their money to pay for the statue as a way to give something of value back to the city that had given so much to them. They were acting in the spirit of community and with a love of this nation and the dream it represents.

Across the city, there are statues and monuments to great men and great women who have made a significant impact on our world. Yet they cannot be judged fairly using only the standards of our time.

From the Observer:

A group of Italian American and Catholic organizations rolled out a list of 54 elected officials and candidates for office in New York City who want to keep the Christopher Columbus statues in the city.

The 41 groups — which include the Columbus Citizens Foundation, Italian American Museum and the New York State Commission on Social Justice — said their supporters include Senate Minority Leader Charles Schumer, Gov. Andrew Cuomo, Public Advocate Letitia James, City Comptroller Scott Stringer, GOP mayoral candidate Nicole Malliotakis, independent mayoral candidate Bo Dietl and Democratic mayoral candidate Sal Albanese, a former Brooklyn councilman who is now running on the Reform Party line.

Affordable housing activists to protest de Blasio

From the Daily News:

Four years after Mayor de Blasio was elected on promises of making the city more affordable, 5,000 people are expected to descend on City Hall and say he hasn't done nearly enough.

Metro-IAF will marshal supporters across the city at noon Monday to call on Hizzoner to go beyond his affordable housing plan and back their own.

The Metro-IAF plan calls for building 15,000 units of affordable senior housing on dozens of vacant lawns and parking lots owned by the New York City Housing Authority.

Seniors in NYCHA would get first crack at the units, freeing up their often large NYCHA apartments for younger families, some of them homeless. At the same time, Metro-IAF wants the mayor to spend big on NYCHA to repair deplorable conditions.

Council cracks down on hookah bars

From Brooklyn Daily:

A bill cracking down of the water-pipe watering holes passed the Council on Sept. 27, restricting the flavored “shisha” mixtures smoked in hookahs just like tobacco, tightly regulating existing hookah bars, banning the opening of new owns, and outlawing the practice for anyone under 21.

“Today we once and for all clear the air on the dangers of hookah smoking,” said Councilman Vincent Gentile’s (D–Bay Ridge), who sponsored the bill. “Any way you cut it, hookah smoke is no joke. It is not a safe smoking alternative, and restricting minors makes the decision to smoke up to those of adult age.”

Starting six months after the mayor signs the bill into law, even non-tobacco shisha will be subject to the city’s Smoke-Free Air Act — which bans most indoor tobacco smoking — making it illegal to smoke hookah indoors except in the bars that meet strict requirements for ventilation and other measures.

Existing hookah bars will have three years to bring their businesses up to sanitation, ventilation, and fire code requirements, and are forbidden to relocate or expand.

Hookah bars selling shisha mixtures that contain tobacco will have to obtain permits to continue operating, and all will have to prove that at least half of their profits come from shisha sales.

Sunday, October 8, 2017

NYC prefers millionaire's tax to congestion pricing

From AM-NY:

A majority of New Yorkers prefer a millionaire's tax over congestion pricing when it comes to funding fixes to the city’s crumbling transit infrastructure, a new poll found.

Sixty-four percent of registered voters who were surveyed said they support a proposal to increase taxes on the city’s wealthiest earners, while only 21 percent favored tolling motorists entering Manhattan, according to the Quinnipiac University Poll released on Friday.

Support for the millionaire's tax was strong in each borough and spanned across every listed party, gender, age and racial group, the poll found. Support was highest in Queens, with 71 percent of those polled favoring the millionaire's tax over congestion pricing.

From the poll:

A total of 28 percent of voters rate the quality of New York City subway service as "excellent" or "good," while 64 percent rate it "not so good" or "poor."

The best rating is among Manhattan voters - 5 percent "excellent" and 30 percent "good." The lowest score is among Queens voters - less than 1 percent "excellent" and 20 percent "good."

Metrocard machine placement is pretty dumb

From NBC:

New Yorkers are used to things on sidewalks --muni-meters, bicycle racks and the bygone phone stands -- but those are always close to the curb. So neighbors are scratching their heads over the SBS MetroCard machines right in the middle of the sidewalk near the intersection of Cross Bay Boulevard and Pitkin Avenue in Queens.

"Somebody must have been drinking and put it in the wrong spot," joked store decorator Eddie Cavuto.

Actually, the Department of Transportation says the kiosks were installed exactly where they were supposed to be.

"Okay, the worker didn't screw up, but the architect was drinking and he screwed up," cracked Cavuto.

The DOT says the kiosks are for a new bus lane and bus stop arriving there, and "our standard is to align the fare machines and other Special Bus Service amenities (like wayfinding totems) with the back of our shelter."

"These enhanced bus stop amenities needed to meet our minimum sidewalk clearance requirements," the DOT said.

Pols request restoration of Q75 bus line

From the Queens Chronicle:

Joined by City Council Transportation Committee Chairman Ydanis Rodriguez (D-Manhattan), eastern Queens lawmakers called on the MTA last Thursday to restore the Q75 line.

Before being discontinued in the agency’s 2010 budget cuts, the bus brought residents of public transit-barren Oakland Gardens to the F subway line on Hillside Avenue.

“We’re here today to call for the restoration of Q75 bus service from this very spot at 69th Avenue and 230th Street, which is long overdue,” Councilman Barry Grodenchik (D-Oakland Gardens) said. “In the midst of what we rightly call a transportation desert, this is really the worst part of the desert.”

But the agency told the Chronicle it has no plans on bringing back the line.

“Currently, the Q88 and Q17 bus routes cover the same operating area as the former Q75 bus route,” an agency spokeswoman said in an email. The bus, she added, had the fourth lowest ridership in the entire city.

The spokeswoman also said that people in Oakland Gardens who want a one-stop ride to Jamaica can just cross the pedestrian bridge over the Long Island Expressway and get on the Q30 bus adjacent to the intersection of Cloverdale Street and the westbound Horace Harding Expressway.

Saturday, October 7, 2017

New bike lane causing car crashes

From CBS:

Last week, the city installed the bike lane on heavily traveled Northern Boulevard between Douglaston Parkway and the Cross Island Parkway. It’s protected by a concrete divider, which some some say has led to accidents, including one Thursday.

The problem, opponents say, is that some motorists traveling along Northern Boulevard don’t know there’s a bike lane ahead, as the road narrows from three lanes to two. The bike lane and concrete divider appear to come out of nowhere, critics say.

There are no warning signs posted.

State Sen. Tony Avella said the bike lane is dangerous and needs to be scrapped.

“I think this is a nightmare,” he said.

Avella said the city Department of Transportation installed bright orange cones in front of the concrete barriers just Friday morning.

The senator said his office has received reports of four accidents there since the lane was installed, reports he is still trying to confirm. He said you can see scrape marks on the divider from where cars have apparently hit it.

“All of a sudden, you’re coming around a curve, and you’re hitting a concrete barrier,” he said.

Avella said the community board in the area wants the bike lane replaced with a lane built onto an expanded sidewalk off the road. Trottenberg said that would take too much time and money and that the current bike lane provides safety for cyclists now.

Has DOT ever listened to a community board?

Katz pushing for soccer stadium, "100% affordable housing" at Willets Point

From Empire of Soccer:

New York City FC remain in discussions with Queens Borough President Melinda Katz and city officials about building a stadium at Willets Point, Katz told Empire of Soccer on Wednesday.

NYCFC confirmed a report in The New York Times report that it was viewing two sites in the Willets Point area as potential locations for a stadium, and Katz did as well. At the moment, Katz said, the overall plans for re-developing the area are uncertain after a State Appellate Court determined that a part of the area west of Citi Field was parkland and could not be built upon without approval from the state legislature.

“The City has not determined how they want to move forward,” Katz said. “We’re in discussions with the developers and they’re also in discussions with legal teams as to what can be done there. It’s 23 acres that the City now owns outright and I have made it very clear that my first priority would be a soccer stadium there and affordable housing.”

At the moment, none of the parties are in agreement about where a stadium and potential housing would be located, Katz said. That’s largely because of the uncertainty surrounding the legal and zoning situation. NYCFC continues to pursue other venues while waiting for the Willets Point situation to be resolveedf, Katz said she didn’t mind that. Should any team propose a stadium in Willets Point, Katz said an affordable housing component would be ‘extremely vital.’ ”

“You need to have affordable housing there,” she said. “The City is in a crisis with housing. People are in desperate need of places to live and places they can afford to live in. The Mayor has made it a priority to build and retain 200,000 units of affordable housing and this has to be part of that resolution. I don’t think any body would argue that point and now that the City owns 100% of the property we’re building on, there’s no reason why it can’t be 100% affordable.”

“You keep assuming it’s NYCFC, which is nice,” she said, “but at the end of the day, I want to see a soccer stadium there. That can be a small one, it can be a larger one. I just think we just need to answer constituents’ calling to have soccer represented in a larger fashion in Queens.”

Another Queens hotel becomes a shelter

From LIC Post:

The Department of Homeless Services has been housing homeless families at the City View Inn in Long Island City since late July, residents learned at a community meeting last night.

The revelation was made during a heated Community Board 2 meeting on Oct. 6 while board members were questioning DHS officials on why the agency started using the Best Western hotel as a shelter without providing the community adequate notice. Some officials said they were given less than 24 hours notice before the decision to use the hotel at 38-05 Hunters Point Ave. as a shelter.

Claims that DHS lacks transparency grew in intensity when attendees were informed that it had been using the Citi View Inn, located at 33-17 Greenpoint Ave., to house 37 homeless families since late July.

A representative from DHS claimed that elected officials and the community board were notified 24 hours prior to the homeless moving into the Citi View Inn. CB2 officials, however, claim that they only learned about it being used as a shelter after the 108 Police Precinct notified them of some domestic disputes at the location — and they did some digging.

Representatives of DHS faced an onslaught of criticism at the meeting, with elected officials, board members and the public arguing that the agency acts in secret to the detriment of the public.

“This is a broken system,” said Councilman Jimmy Van Bramer, who spoke at the beginning of the board meeting. “It is wrong and absolutely absurd to start moving people in before anyone in the community knows or has an opportunity to talk about it.”

Some board members claimed that Community Board 2 is carrying an unfair burden, with four hotels in the district now being used to shelter the homeless–the Verve Hotel, Best Western, Quality Inn and Citi View. Many also wanted to know how many homeless people came from CB2.

Amanda Nasner, the Queens Director for DHS, said that 416 homeless people are being housed in Community Board 2. She said that 260 individuals who are part of the citywide shelter system come from CB2.

You know what's kind of funny? Amanda Nasner worked for years for Jimmy Van Bramer. Here they are at some kind of soiree together. Kind of amazing that she wouldn't give him the heads up on all this. (Or did she?)

Friday, October 6, 2017

No movement on Rockaway courthouse project after 5 years

From The Wave:

Concrete plans for the long-dormant courthouse on Beach Channel Drive hang in the balance as the back-and-forth between local residents and developer Uri Kaufman continues.

At a special Sept. 28 Rockaway Beach Civic Association (RBCA) meeting regarding the courthouse, members of the civic tore into Kaufman, president and CEO of The Harmony Group, as well as New York City Economic Development Corporation (NYCEDC) reps in an effort to clarify future uses for the space and vent their frustrations about the deplorable conditions of the site and adjacent lot.

The historic building, which formerly served as a Municipal and Magistrate’s court, was built in 1932. Save for a brief use by an arts group in the 70s, the 24,000 square-foot building at 90-01 Beach Channel Drive has remained dormant since 1962.

NYCEDC stepped in in 2012, issuing a Request for Expressions of Interest (RFEI) for the adaptive reuse and redevelopment of the Rockaway courthouse. According to NYCEDC, the RFEI aimed to assess options for the reactivation of the site that were “compatible with the existing neighborhood in order to ultimately improve the overall quality of life for the community.”

As reported by The Wave in 2012, “a proposal for the development of the courthouse into an ambulatory surgical facility was approved by Community Board 14, which allows the developer [The Harmony Group] to move forward with negotiations to obtain the property from the city.”

Fast forward five years and the space, to the surprise of some but not many on the civic board, has yet to go into construction or finalize tenants.