Thursday, July 19, 2018

Real estate money flows into Cuomo's political pocket

From The Real Deal:

Donors from New York City’s real estate industry contributed more than $733,000 to the re-election campaign of Gov. Andrew Cuomo in the first half of 2018, an analysis of state contributions data by The Real Deal found.

That’s down from the more than $1.2 million property interests gave the governor during the previous six-month reporting period. Gov. Cuomo raised roughly $6 million in total contributions during both periods and now holds more than $31 million in cash for the duration of his re-election campaign.

As for Cuomo’s primary challenger, Cynthia Nixon, The Real Deal was only able to identify one New York City real estate business person among her top donors. Lawrence Benenson of Benenson Capital Partners, which is currently at work on a mostly market-rate rental building in the East Village, donated $10,000.

Dockless bike program hasn't gone as planned

From PIX11:

It's less than a week old, but some Rockaway residents want to put the brakes on a new dockless bike program after the two-wheelers started popping up in some very unusual and inconvenient places.

The great thing about the dockless bikes is that riders can pick them up anywhere. They just need to find the closest one by using the GPS built into each of the apps.

When riders are done, they can park them anywhere.

While that's convenient for the rider, it's also causing frustration for those in the community. On the Facebook Group Friends of Rockaway Beach, residents posted photos of Limebikes abandoned all over the neighborhood. One was ditched in the dunes, while others were left blocking driveways and sidewalks.

The problem is one Limebikes has experienced before. There's an entire Twitter account with the handle @DocklessBikeFail that showcases problems parking the bikes in Seattle.

Sometimes the bikes end up in trees, underwater or stacked on street corners.

Wow, what a great idea!

Wednesday, July 18, 2018

Jury still didn't buy the excuses of Skelos and son

From the NY Post:

Ex-Senate Majority Leader Dean Skelos was convicted Tuesday on eight counts of bribery, extortion and conspiracy. The jury agreed he used his power to muscle companies into providing his son Adam (also convicted) with $300,000 worth of no-show and low-show jobs.

It was the second guilty verdict for the pair, whose earlier convictions were overturned based on a Supreme Court ruling that narrowed the definition of official corruption. And it took place next door to the courtroom where Alain Kaloyeros, Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s economic-development czar, was convicted of bid-rigging just last week.

Since March, juries also have convicted Cuomo’s right-hand man, Joe Percoco, of soliciting and accepting bribes, as well as former Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver — Skelos’ fellow member of the “three men in a room” who controlled Albany — of corruptly abusing his office.

Looks like Albany’s swamp is finally being drained, one corrupt official at a time.

Though there was nothing new in the charges, the verdict was a fresh rebuke to the state capital’s culture of corruption — and its continued refusal to enact meaningful ethics reform.

Community beats back overdevelopment project

From the Queens Chronicle:

The controversial rezoning plan for 40-31 82 St. near the Jackson Heights-Elmhurst border has been withdrawn following months of community uproar, according to activists, Assemblywoman Ari Espinal (D-Jackson Heights) and the office of Councilman Francisco Moya (D-Corona).

In a press release issued Saturday, Espinal took credit for the withdrawal of the application, saying she successfully urged Councilman Francisco Moya (D-Corona) to withdraw his previously pledged support for the project.

In a lengthy post on the group's Facebook page a day earlier, activist group Queens Neighborhoods United cheered the news but said it will continue to fight against any plan to develop luxury housing on the site.

However, a Department of City Planning spokesperson told the Chronicle on Monday that the agency had not received a withdrawal letter from the developer, Sun Equity Partners.

Sun Equity Partners did not immediately respond to requests for comment on the demise of the proposed 13-story, mixed-use structure — dubbed The Shoppes at 82nd Street. But the group's spokesman, Hank Sheinkopf, confirmed the decision in a statement issued to Politico.

"After conversations with Councilmember Moya and Assemblywoman Espinal, and taking the borough president's recommendations into consideration, we have decided to no longer pursue this rezoning application," Sheinkopf said. "We are continuing with construction as permitted under the current rezoning."

Freight rail to be expanded

From Crains:

The city unveiled a plan Monday to invest up to $100 million in freight infrastructure, the opening step in Freight NYC, an initiative envisioned by the de Blasio administration to shift more of the millions of tons of food, products and materials that are carted into the city each year by pollution-belching trucks to trains and ships.

The city’s Economic Development Corporation said it will issue a request for proposal by the end of the year for a private partner to work with the city to build a five-acre barge terminal on city-owned land in Hunts Point. That project could cost between $20 to $30 million to develop and would be used to deliver food items and produce by water to the large constellation of grocery and restaurant distribution businesses in the South Bronx neighborhood. The city has not identified the specific site or sites where the terminal could be constructed.

The city is also seeking to create a 500,000 square foot distribution center in the Brooklyn Army Terminal in Sunset Park, which is located adjacent to freight rail, and build a 75,000 square foot ground-up air cargo facility near Kennedy Airport. By providing low cost space to rail and air freight businesses, the city is hoping to encourage the use of those transportation modalities rather than trucks. Solicitations for private partners to work with the city on those projects will be issued within the next two weeks, the EDC stated.

Another near-term goal in the report was to create as many as four small freight yards along an existing freight rail line that snakes through Brooklyn into Queens. The yards would provide new offloading points for goods carted by freight trains, potentially reducing the distance that trucks would need to travel to deliver that cargo the last miles to its final destination. Shorter delivery distances not only reduce vehicle miles, but also allow smaller delivery vehicles to be used in place of large, long haul trucks that currently rumble through the city.

It wasn’t immediately clear how much it would cost to build those small rail facilities, although they appear to be modest in scope, requiring the construction of short stretches of track parallel to the existing freight line to allow trains to park and unload without impeding the flow of train traffic along the route.

The steps could take thousands of trucks off the road and create freight-related jobs.

Tuesday, July 17, 2018

We should do this here!

From Metro:

...while these so-called “bandit signs” are actually illegal in Philadelphia, it’s a tough problem to fight. So Philadelphia’s Zero Waste and Litter Cabinet recently teamed up with 24 community organizations to form the city’s first-ever “Bandit Sign Brigade.” Over the month of June, some 8,000 illegal flyers were removed from the streets.

“We had groups representing every part of the city tearing these signs down,” said Nic Esposito, who is director of Philly’s Zero Waste and Litter Cabinet in addition to running an urban farm in Kensington and a local publishing house. “They find this a sign of disrespect, that you can come in my neighborhood and put these signs up and think that it’s totally fine to do that.”

The Bandit Sign Brigade amassed significant data on the location and types of signs being hung around Philly to aid the city’s Department of Licenses and Inspections in tracking down and punishing the people responsible for the signs.

The city is also offering a cash benefit, paying 50 cents per illegal sign removed to eligible groups, up to $500 in funds for community cleaning and greening supplies.

To learn more about the Bandit Signs Brigade, visit

Crappifying Ridgewood by hook or by crook

From QNS:

Two Ridgewood residences in historic territory are slated for redevelopment to make room for more apartments, according to Department of Buildings (DOB) records.

In March, a three-story, three-family building at 1663 Madison St. received a permit to add a fourth story to its existing structure, records show. Two months later, a three-story, six-unit building at 1664 Woodbine St. — directly behind the first building on the same block — received a permit in May to add a fourth story and a penthouse to its existing structure.

With both properties located on National and State Registers of Historic Places, the new developments set an “unfortunate” precedent for the blocks of attached brick homes and make local residents fear gentrification, said Ridgewood Property Owners and Civic Association President Paul Kerzner.

“In theory, you can take any building in Ridgewood, Glendale, Maspeth and Middle Village that is not part of the city landmarks and that can happen to any property,” Kerzner said. “I’m also concerned about gentrification, because to me it’s the artificial transfer of property value because of speculation.”

A lifelong resident of Ridgewood, Kerzner explained that national and state historic status does not protect a building from redevelopment. Only city landmark status has that power, and the areas in question haven’t been designated as landmarks yet despite Kerzner’s efforts.

Monday, July 16, 2018

Hope for the Lefferts Ave bridge

From the Queens Chronicle:

At a Wednesday meeting with elected officials and civic leaders, Long Island Rail Road President Phillip Eng said the MTA has devised a plan to save the Kew Gardens span and the handful of small businesses on top of it, according to multiple people who were at the gathering.

“It was a productive meeting. The LIRR came back and said there’s a way to fix the bridge to make it stable,” Assemblyman Daniel Rosenthal (D-Flushing) told the Chronicle on Wednesday. “There’s a very clear pathway forward to rehabilitate the bridge. Nothing is done until its done, but it was a very optimistic meeting.”

The MTA originally said last May that the century-old span had decayed to the point where it would have to be torn down come 2020 — the year the entrepreneurs’ collective lease expires.

But in the 14 months since, mass community outrage led to both the MTA softening its position and state lawmakers passing legislation calling for a bridge rehabilitation feasibility study.

Councilwoman Karen Koslowitz (D-Forest Hills) even allocated $1 million for one.

But shortly after Eng took over as the head of the LIRR, he met with area lawmakers and civic leaders in June to hear their concerns and discuss how to potentially save the span.

In the following six weeks, Rosenthal said, Eng stayed true to his word.

“I’m not an engineer, but there is a way to — underneath the bridge — remove the deteriorating concrete and replace it,” the assemblyman said. “Today, [the LIRR] came back and they showed it was more than just words. They showed they have a realistic, tenable plan.”

Illegal demo leads to garage collapse

From PIX11:

The owner, 1771 Weeks LLC, was ordered to “repair or replace” the garage.

Unfortunately, the owner, according to DOB inspectors, “hired contractors to unsafely begin demolishing the … rear garage … without a permit.”

The allegedly illegal work went on for two weeks.

On June 15, the birthday party was planned to take place at backyard picnic tables not far from the garage at 1771 Meeks. That’s when nearby residents heard what one man described as “sounding like a gunshot.”

The garage had collapsed and bricks came raining down on an area close to those picnic tables.

“It could have been fatal,” resident Marcel Sukhlall said, if the collapse had occurred just one hour later, when the party was scheduled to begin.

FDNY and DOB inspectors rushed to the scene. A stop-work order was issued for 1771 Weeks Ave. and vacate notices were put up on three surrounding buildings.

Hey, we can't impede progress!

Sunday, July 15, 2018

Homeless people are causing mayhem

From Sunnyside Post:

A homeless man has been arrested and charged with murder in connection with a fatal stabbing in front of Duane Reade on Roosevelt Avenue early Tuesday, police said.

The police arrested Antonio Cabrera, 45, on Friday for the fatal stabbing of Velibor Flores, also homeless, at 12:31 a.m. on July 10 by 60-02 Roosevelt Ave.

From PIX11:

Nail polish remover was thrown on a woman who was then set on fire during an argument at a homeless shelter in Queens, police sources said Friday.

The victim, 51, lives at the Verve Hotel, a women’s homeless shelter on 29th Street in Long Island City, according to police.

That’s where sources said the woman argued with another woman who threw nail polish remover on the victim’s face.

The attacker is accused of igniting the flammable liquid and fleeing.

Damaged sidewalks remain after 4 months

From CBS 2:

The huge slabs of concrete look like they belong at a construction site. Instead, the slabs are at the corner of 32nd Avenue and 168th Street in North Flushing.

Residents say the sidewalk has been destroyed since March when the city removed the trees damaged by winter storms, but never fixed the sidewalk.

Saturday, July 14, 2018

670 "affordable" apartments to be constructed in Far Rockaway

From Curbed:

Following the rezoning of Downtown Far Rockaway in September last year, the city has now announced the first new affordable housing developments that have come about as a result of that rezoning. Together these two projects will bring 670 affordable apartments to the neighborhood.

The first of the two projects will rise at city-owned lot at Beach 21st Street. The city has picked The Community Builders, Inc, a housing nonprofit, to develop 224 apartments at the site, 130 of which will be offered to those making 60 percent of the area median income. The rest of the apartments will be offered at different levels of affordability. In addition to the apartments, the project will also have 90 parking spots, 8,000 square feet of community facilities including an early childhood education center, and 24,000 square feet of ground-floor retail.

For the second project, the city’s Department of Housing Preservation and Development and Housing Development Corporation have secured construction financing for affordable housing developer Phipps Houses to build 457 apartments in the Far Rockaway Village. There, Phipps Houses is transforming an abandoned parking lot into housing, public space, and retail.

A glimpse of Queens in the 1960s

You can't help but wonder... WHAT THE HELL HAPPENED?

Oh yeah, tweeding happened.

Friday, July 13, 2018

Kew Gardens house dating back to 1899 is teardown-bound

From the Queens Gazette:

The three-story Tudor style home at 116-17 Grosvenor Lane was built in 1899—one of many homes located in a forest-like setting.

The Grosvenor Realty Group acquired the property in September, 2017 for $1.35 million and has announced plans to demolish the home in December.

The developer is planning to build a 65-foot-tall, seven-story residential building at the site that will feature 19 apartments and a first-floor residential lobby, along with a laundry room and parking in the cellar for an unspecified number of bicycles.

19 apartments and parking for bicycles? Great. Grosvenor Lane used to be one of the most lovely lanes in the borough. Now it's almost completely crappified.

Barriers proposed for NY Harbor

From WNYC:

In a series of public information sessions this week, the Army Corps is presenting five options for protecting the area's waterfront, four of which involve storm surge barriers:

- a five-mile long barrier at the southernmost border of the lower bay, between Sandy Hook, N.J., and Breezy Point in the Rockaways;
- a smaller barrier between Staten Island and Brooklyn, across the channel that the Verrazzano-Narrows bridge spans, accompanied by gates across the mouth to Jamaica Bay and Arthur Kill;
- a series of berms and sea walls along low-lying portions of the New Jersey and New York City waterfront, along with small gates across some waterways;
- and an option that would only use berms and sea walls.

Thursday, July 12, 2018

Queens now outpacing Manhattan in building permits

From Crains:

Brooklyn and Queens led the city in new building permits during the second quarter of the year, according to city data. Manhattan came in dead last.

The city's Department of Buildings approved more than 750 new building permits in Brooklyn over the second quarter of the year, according to the agency's Construction Dashboard. Queens saw the second most activity with 614 new building permits. The city approved more than 400 permits on Staten Island, which was roughly double the numbers of Manhattan and the Bronx, where a single building permit could yield more units than Staten Island's quarterly total.

The new building permits were concentrated in Williamsburg, Bedford-Stuyvesant, Flushing and the southern third of Staten Island—locations that were largely consistent with activity throughout 2017.

Slick Silverstein

From the Real Deal:

Last month, Silverstein Properties’ ground lease for Queensboro Farm Products’ seven-lot development site in Astoria, Queens hit public records. However, it turns out that’s only a piece of a larger assemblage: Queensboro is just one of four landlords Silverstein is working with who collectively own 315,000 square feet of ground. Together, all the sites could give rise to nearly 4,000 apartments.

The overhaul wasn’t originally Silverstein’s idea, but that of a pair of developers who struggled for years to bring an ambitious plan they dubbed “Steinway Square” to life. Now, Henry Wollman of Quadriad Realty Partners and investor Robert Gans, who is perhaps best known for owning strip clubs, are suing Silverstein and the Astoria landlords, alleging the developer squeezed them out of their dream project.

Wednesday, July 11, 2018

Another community fed up with illegally parked trucks

From NBC:

Scores of big rigs have been camped out on a Queens roadway, and residents are crying foul. Erica Byfield reports.

Tweeding routine backfired big time

From City & State:

Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez’s upset victory over Rep. Joseph Crowley shocked New York political observers, in part because Crowley was thought to have a strong foothold in his native borough of Queens, where he is chairman of the county Democratic Party.

At first, it was assumed that demographic turnover in his district, which spans northwestern Queens and the northeastern Bronx, had harmed Crowley, as the Italian and Irish populations have been supplanted by Latinos and Asians.

Demographic turnover was indeed to blame for Crowley’s loss, but not the kind that was widely assumed. But some of the election districts in which Ocasio-Cortez performed best were in mostly white neighborhoods in western Queens. The congressman fell victim to gentrification and that force may upend expectations in Democratic primaries throughout Manhattan and western Brooklyn and Queens. And the rise of younger voters who are newer to their districts and unattached to incumbents could power insurgent candidates throughout New York City.

So you had your minions usher in all this development for tower people and the tower people voted against you. How deliciously ironic!

Tuesday, July 10, 2018

King of the hill, top of the heap!

From Metro:

New Yorkers may feel like this is one of the best cities in America, but a new report has named New York City one of the worst-run cities in the United States.

New York City ranked as the third-worst-run city in the country according to a WalletHub study published on Monday.

This is the second year in a row New York landed near the bottom on WalletHub’s ranking of the best-run cities. Out of 150 cities measured on a variety of “quality of services,” New York came in at number 148, above only Detroit and Washington, D.C. Gulfport, Mississippi and San Fransisco came in above New York, rounding out the top five worst-run cities.

WalletHub's list looks at how effective the local leadership is, but how can that be measured?

"One way is by determining a city’s operating efficiency," per the report. "In other words, we can learn how well city officials manage and spend public funds by comparing the quality of services residents receive against the city’s total budget."

The study’s “quality of services” score looked at different details across several categories: financial stability, education, health, safety, economy and infrastructure and pollution.

New York fared well in the safety area, but its finances and economic issues dragged down its overall score. According to the report, New York has some of the highest long-term outstanding debt.

The report also dinged New York City when it came to education. The high school graduation rate here is 74.3 percent, Mayor Bill de Blasio announced in February.

Dopey DOT program is hurting small businesses

From the Times Ledger:

A city pilot program to ban curbside deliveries in Queens has small business owners warning that they may have to close their doors because customers unable to find parking have fled.

City Councilmen Francisco Moya (D-Corona) and Mark Gjonaj (D-Pelham Bay) along with the DOT Commissioner Polly Trottenberg and the NYPD toured the bustling thoroughfare of Roosevelt Avenue last Friday to speak with residents and small business owners affected by the mayor’s Clear Curbs Initiative.

Under Mayor Bill de Blasio’s Congestion Action Plan -- a series of steps designed to ease congestion in busy thoroughfares across the five boroughs -- the Clear Curbs Initiative six-month pilot program was implemented in March banning curbside loading along the Roosevelt Avenue corridor in Jackson Heights from Broadway to 180th Street in Corona during peak hours from 7 a.m. to 10 a.m. and from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m.

The rules allow for expeditious pick-up and drop-off of passengers and delivery trucks to off-street loading docks. NYPD staff were assigned to pilot locations to enforce the new restrictions of keeping curbs clear.

The tour was at the halfway mark of the six-month pilot program, which has crippled businesses, created perilous traffic conditions, and led to steeper ticketing for residents and delivery drivers along Roosevelt Avenue, according to Moya.

Monday, July 9, 2018

Developers love flood zones

From the NY Times:

Rather than retreating from flood-prone neighborhoods after Hurricane Sandy, some developers are wading deeper into waterfront markets, especially in Queens and Brooklyn, where they are finding large parcels of land close to mass transit. These are calculated risks, bolstered by years of flood-zone price growth and unwavering demand.

Whether these new apartment buildings can endure another major storm does not seem to be a concern for most residents, who are glad to have new options in inventory-starved markets. Critics, though, ask whether the neighborhoods can withstand the surge of new development and the stress it will add to an already strained infrastructure. These new buildings might remain unscathed in a flood, they say, but what about the damage caused by the torrent around them?

Waterfront building has continued apace since Hurricane Sandy, and it could soon accelerate. As of January, there were roughly 12,350 new apartments under construction or planned in the city’s worst flood zones, according to, a real-estate data website. That means 12.4 percent — or roughly one in eight new apartments — will be built in a high-risk flood zone, up from 10.7 percent in 2014, said Tal Rubin, the company’s vice president of research. And last year, 2,362 flood-zone units were completed — nearly double the number delivered in 2014, she said.

The largest share of these buildings is on the southern tip of Brooklyn, in areas like Brighton Beach, Coney Island and Gravesend, where a total of 45 projects — about a third of all flood-zone buildings — are rising. They represent a combined 1,571 units. Pricier precincts near Manhattan, like Long Island City in Queens, and Greenpoint and Williamsburg in Brooklyn, had the most units overall, with a total of 5,561 apartments in 20 buildings, accounting for 45 percent of new flood-zone units.

Jetsetting Bill!

From CBS 2:

Mayor Bill de Blasio is facing criticism for using the NYPD’s $3 million counterterrorism plane to shuttle him to and from his Canadian vacation for a street renaming in the Bronx.

“This is a bad use of resources. God forbid there’s an emergency somewhere in the city that needs this vehicle, and we have a big problem,” Joe Giacalone, a former NYPD sergeant, told CBS2’s Political Reporter Marcia Kramer.

Giacalone said it’s unusual to turn the sophisticated plane, which is outfitted with sensitive radiation sensors, into a commuter airline for one.

“This is something that I find very strange,” he said.

Data from the flight tracker website Flight Aware shows the Cessna Caravan left its hangar at MacArthur Airport and flew to Montreal, where it picked up the mayor at 9:09 a.m. Wednesday, then landed at Westchester County airport at 10:58 a.m. De Blasio was driven to a street renaming in honor of slain NYPD Det. Miosotis Familia, then back to the airport for the return trip to Canada, landing at 3:34 p.m., records show.

A City Hall spokesperson first directed questions to the NYPD, then said, “We don’t have a comment on the plane.”

Sunday, July 8, 2018

Yet another turd that won't stay flushed

From the NY Post:

Scandal-scarred former New York City Comptroller John Liu is attempting a political comeback — emboldened by the stunning upset pulled off last week by Democratic congressional candidate Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, sources said.

Liu and his hard-left supporters from TrueBlueNY are racing to gain 3,000 signatures so he can run against incumbent Sen. Tony Avella of Queens in the Democratic primary Sept. 13.

The deadline to submit the petitions is Thursday at midnight, according to the city’s Board of Elections.

Avella is the last member of the Independent Democratic Conference to be challenged by a Democrat, even after the mainstream party called a truce with the rogue group that aligned itself with the GOP in a power-sharing agreement.

They're always cited after it's too late

From CBS 2:

The New York City Department of Buildings on Friday ordered a Brooklyn laundromat to remove an illegal parking where a young girl was fatally struck by a vehicle last month.

Residents say they’ve complained about the parking lot before because cars have no driveway across to the street, forcing people to drive perilously onto the sidewalk to park.

The DOB called for the immediate removal of the parking lot, which the NYPD already has blocked off.

DOB records reveal that this laundromat was established in 2002. Since that time, the DOB has been visiting to cite the owner for an elevator violation. I guess they failed to notice the parking lot on the way in for all these years.

Saturday, July 7, 2018

Composting program not progressing as planned

From the Queens Chronicle:

The city’s Department of Sanitation is delaying plans to expand curbside collections of compostable kitchen and yard waste beyond the program’s current footprint.

But DSNY officials say neighborhoods that already place their waste in brown bins for recycling will continue receiving the service while the city looks to adjust some aspects of the program.

“We believe that for the program to be successful over the long term, we must ensure New Yorkers are getting the very best service when curbside organics collection reaches their neighborhoods,” the DSNY said in a statement to the Chronicle. “To achieve this, the City is evaluating its current service with the goal of increasing efficiencies and streamlining the program and has temporarily placed the schedule for expanding the curbside organics program on hold.”

The agency expects to have a modified expansion schedule in the coming months.

The DSNY said it is expanding its outreach effort in communities that are slated to join the program soon after it restarts.

Truck parking legislation sounds nice, but there's no enforcement

From the Queens Chronicle:

The Queens delegation to the City Council wants to ratchet up the economic pressure on commercial truck drivers who illegally park their rigs on the borough’s streets.

Three large trucks, including a pair of 18-wheelers, served as an unwitting backdrop on Springfield Boulevard in Cambria Heights last Friday as Councilman Daneek Miller (D-St. Albans) announced a pair of bills that have been introduced in the Council to try and rein in the big rigs.

The press conference, held one day after the Council passed a bill that significantly increases fines for everything from illegal dumping to throwing trash from a car window, was billed as a quality-of-life statement by Miller, Councilwoman Adrienne Adams (D-Jamaica) and Councilman Costa Constantinides (D-Astoria), chairman of the Committee on the Environment.

Their location on Friday, at the intersection with 121st Avenue, was no accident.

“There are a few trucks here now, but come here after 4 p.m., especially on Friday and the weekend,” he said, “you could have 20 trucks parked along this road. And they keep the motors running because they’re in the cabs and then need air conditioning in the summer and heat in the winter.”

Not to mention the taking of on-street parking, and, Adams said, the danger of having to walk on sidewalks behind large trucks, largely obscured from view, giving cover to potential muggers and attackers.

Intro. 1011, the Commercial Truck Abuse Reduction Act, would cut the time that a tractor-trailer combination, truck or semi trailer can be parked in half, to 90 minutes from the existing limit of three hours.

Intro. 1011 would increase the fine for a first offense from $250 to $400; and subsequent violations in the next six months from $500 to $800.

Friday, July 6, 2018

Close call in Bay Ridge

From CBS 2:

It happened without warning on 4th avenue near 95th street in Bay Ridge Monday afternoon. The two women were reportedly standing on the sidewalk waiting for the bus when the giant structure came down, burying one of victims and knocking down the other.

The Department of Buildings issued violations to the owner for failure to maintain the building. During their inspection, they also found an un-permitted demolition project inside and issued a stop work order.

“You can see the wood in the wood looks very old,” Bay Ridge resident Barbara Milo said while looking at the fallen awning left outside the damaged business.

The victim, who was thrown into the wall, is out of the hospital but has a concussion. The woman pinned under the debris is still in the hospital.

The new Astoria stations are spiffy

Thursday, July 5, 2018

54 years later, city seeks contractor to fix "temporary" structure

From AMNY:

Recent years have brought a resurgence of sorts for the structure, titled a “Modern Ruin,” in a 2014 documentary. City officials and preservationists have rallied together and secured $14 million for vital structural repairs and ambient lighting for the pavilion.

But finding a firm that is ready — and able — to take on the project has proved to be its own challenge, causing even more delays.

Only two construction companies responded to a bid that went out earlier this year. Neither were deemed viable by the Parks Department.

The city will again solicit bids later this summer, and are hoping for a better response.

“We certainly knew it was a complicated project, especially with the lighting element,” said Janice Melnick, administrator for Flushing Meadows-Corona Park. “We would have loved to have more bids come in. It’s such an important job and we want to make sure we get the right contractor to do it.”

Overdevelopment leads to shitty beaches

From the NY Post:

The waters at three beaches in southeast Brooklyn were festering with so much fecal bacteria, they were deemed unsafe for swimming on 101 days over the past two summers, according to city Health Department records.

The filthy surf plagued the roughly mile-long stretch covered by Kiddie, Manhattan and Kingsborough Community College beaches, which are concentrated around Rockaway Inlet.

They accrued more than triple the total bacteria warnings issued at the city’s seven other public beaches. Ocean beaches have less stagnant water than inlet beaches.

The Health Department attributed the bacteria uptick to “increased rainfall.”

A clean-water advocate explained that the city has 460 points along its shoreline where about 27 billion gallons of raw sewage and storm water are dumped into New York Harbor every year when combined sanitary-storm sewers overflow during heavy storms.

“That’s the product of hundreds of years of overdevelopment in the city,” said Dan Shapley, the water-quality program director for Riverkeeper. He explained that certain city sewer designs date back to “when people were dying of cholera and the goal was to get [the sewage] out and away from the neighborhood as fast as possible.”

Wednesday, July 4, 2018

"With liberty and freedom to build crap"

"This corner on Albert Road and Hawtree Street by the Aqueduct Train Station has been vacant for over four decades. (Hell, maybe more, I am going by how long I have been alive.) Anyway, suddenly this regal looking monstrosity has sprouted on that corner.
I cannot fathom any rationale why someone would build and some moron bureaucrat in the DOB approve building something on this corner which contains a very busy traffic corridor with the Belt Parkway exit that's maybe 30 yards away and an overpass from Howard Beach where the only direction is towards this properties path, much less build something this massive and garish.
This may be the holy grail of Queens Crap and may be the last straw when it comes to the issue of over-development and in the case of this neighborhood, incongruous and ludicrous house building."
JQ LLC, Impunity City (Your City)

It's all so convenient

From the NY Post:

Mayor Bill de Blasio’s $300,000 debt to his outside law firm is starting to cast a huge shadow over his staff’s decisions.

As The Post reports Tuesday, opponents of plans to expand the Frick Museum have gone to court, claiming in part that the Frick’s use of the firm — Kramer Levin Naftalis & Frankel — to represent it before the city creates a conflict of interest.

They’re right: Frick hired Kramer Levin to push its plans before the Board of Standards and Appeals and the Landmarks Preservation Commission. But the mayor chooses their members, and they’re all surely aware that he owes the firm 300 grand.

The BSA will also decide Tuesday whether to OK a 64-story East Side apartment tower. Who’s repping its developer, Jonathan Kalikow? Yep: Kramer Levin.

The firm reportedly lobbied two key mayoral aides, Deputy Mayor Alicia Glen and City Planning Commissioner Marisa Lago, to let the building reach its planned 64-story height — and the planning commission obliged.

The City Council later nixed that decision, but the BSA will now decide whether enough of the tower was built by then to shield it from the council’s action.

Even if de Blasio hasn’t tried to pay off his debt with political favors, his debt creates an appearance that the firm will be treated well by the city. What company lets a client not pay a bill (or even work out a payment plan, as de Blasio has yet to do) unless it’s getting something in return?

Tuesday, July 3, 2018

28,000 kids poisoned by lead - and no one seems to care

From the Daily News:

He had to be backed into a corner by this newspaper and the Department of Justice, but Mayor de Blasio is now correctly having the city use standards set by federal health experts to protect children from lead-paint poisoning.

City Hall’s assurances that only 19 children living in the Housing Authority have been poisoned by lead was devastatingly misleading. Health Department records obtained by the Daily News show 820 NYCHA kids since 2012 ingested quantities of lead sufficient to cause neurological damage. Citywide, nearly 28,000 children did.

They and their families have to live evermore with the tragic reality: lead poisoning in NYCHA, and beyond, is a far greater public health menace than the mayor has been willing to admit or act on, leaving it to special ed teachers to administer to minds forever stunted.

The coverup consists of two sins, one in the headlines and one behind the scenes.

Shouldn't this be a criminal investigation at this point? The FBI has been investigating a payment made to a porn star for more than a year but no one is sinking their teeth into this?

Disgraceful field conditions at FMCP

Dear Queens residents,

I have been involved and against the Flushing Meadows Park theft for several years. I am a founding member of Save Flushing Meadows Corona Park, I was featured on a radio call in show and in a video against the theft, I was a litigant alongside senator Avella and several other community activists in a winning lawsuit.

So you can imagine my disappointment when knowing, what I know about this park, and knowing that the Wilpons, and the USTA, make millions of dollars a year off of our parkland! I see the fields in this condition.

This is “field 6”. There are a few other fields in the same condition. This is appalling. Where is all the money going? We as a community deserve better, we expect better, we demand better.

Alfredo Centola
Community Activist

Monday, July 2, 2018

Ridgewood's new demographics reduce school enrollment

From QNS:

Despite School District 24 being the most overcrowded district in Queens, a huge decline in enrollment at one elementary school in Ridgewood could be indicative of a shift in neighborhood demographics.

On June 27, Department of Education (DOE) spokesman Doug Cohen confirmed that P.S. 88 on Catalpa Avenue will have to fire nine teachers due to a decline in enrollment of 100 students for the 2018-19 school year. Cohen explained that while enrollment for the 2017-18 school year was 941 students, that number is projected to fall to 841 next year.

Since schools receive budget allocations based on the number and needs of their students, the resulting budget cuts for next year meant that teachers had to be let go, Cohen said.

Yet, according to the DOE’s Fair Student Funding records online, P.S. 88 is far from the only Ridgewood school to be hit with budget cuts.

Records show that P.S. 68 will lose $212,675; P.S. 71 will lose $396,403; P.S. 239 will lose $217,822; P.S. 81 will lose $435,371; P.S. 305 will lose $102,968; and I.S. 77 will lose $33,374. That list includes all but one of Ridgewood’s elementary schools.

According to Pat Grayson, chair of the Community Board 5 Education Committee, the declining enrollment and budget cuts at elementary schools is a direct reflection of the changing age demographic in Ridgewood.

“In actuality, people got up and moved away,” Grayson said. “Millennials are the people who have children when they’re 42 … people who are buying here don’t have a family yet. The point is, the neighborhood is no longer an old person’s neighborhood.”

As this is part of District 24, which is supposedly the most overcrowded school district in the city, it's hard to fathom that this is going on. A lot of new schools have opened in Ridgewood in the past decade or so, but why?

Cuomo decision allows Claire to rezone Flushing waterfront

From QNS:

A 62-acre portion of land on the Flushing waterfront may soon see substantial redevelopment after receiving a special designation from the state.

Governor Andrew Cuomo announced the Brownfield Opportunity Area (BOA) designation for an area of land in the western area of downtown Flushing, bounded to the north by Northern Boulevard, to the east by Prince Street, to the south by Roosevelt Avenue and to the west by Flushing Creek and the Van Wyck Expressway.

The Flushing Willets Point Corona Local Development Corporation (FWCLDC) presented the application for the BOA, which is described as a vacant, underdeveloped and/or polluted area where, under the program, economic environmental conditions are examined and redevelopment opportunities are identified in an attempt to attract public and public investment.

The designation opens up several benefits for future developers, including support from state municipalities and a potential for tax credits.

“I thank our entire board for its support during this process and now look forward to the next phase which will include a formal ULURP application to implement the zoning recommendations included in our nomination study,” said Claire Shulman, president and CEO of the Flushing Willets Point Corona LDC said in a letter to the LDC’s board. “The LDC thanks the Department of City Planning for its stellar work on our nomination study and environmental assessment report. Our staff at the LDC also deserve thanks for their hard work in overseeing and ensuring completion of this critical phase of our work. The LDC will apply for funding for the next phase of our work (implementation) as soon as it becomes available from the state.”

Sunday, July 1, 2018

East New York to be a basement conversion "guinea pig"

From CBS 2:

“We’ll use East New York as the guinea pig of how this program can work and whether or not it will work,” said Councilman Rafael Espinal, who sponsored the pilot program. “If we’re able to create a successful program, then the hope is that we'll expand it citywide.”

The councilman said in East New York, 75 percent of basement apartments are being rented illegally, which he said is dangerous. So the pilot program will offer homeowners low-interest loans to renovate apartments to make sure they are safe.

Espinal told Kramer he worked with the FDNY and Department of Buildings to develop standards, making sure the apartments have sprinklers, adequate exits, windows and ventilation.

“There’s concerns about, for example, the fact that we have boilers and furnaces in the basement. The bill will allow for homeowners to wall-off those furnaces,” he said.

I'm sure East New York enjoys being referred to as a "guinea pig". Seriously, what elected official talks like this about a neighborhood, and to a reporter no less? And what 2-family homeowner is going to take out a loan to install sprinklers when they can just continue renting out their basements illegally for tax-free $$$ the way 75% of their neighbors do?

Did we land in Oz?

Glendale RV extravaganza!

From CBS 2:

A busy street in Queens has been a little more crowded lately – not with cars, but with recreational vehicles.

Glendale residents say the RVs have been parked there for a while, creating an eyesore in the community.

A worker for the moving company, Brian and His Van, that owns the vehicles said not to worry, they will be moved out of there in the next few weeks. He said three of the RVs are used for travel and construction, and one is being transformed for the community.

Carrington said it will soon be called the Multimedia Dream Machine, a mobile art and music studio for local students.

So, is this "establishment":

a) a moving company
b) for travel and construction
c) an art and music studio