Sunday, January 19, 2020

The BQX just hired a new friend


The nonprofit organization that has been advocating for a streetcar system along the Queens and Brooklyn waterfront since 2014 made a change in leadership just as the city launches a wide-ranging community engagement process.

The Friends of the Brooklyn Queens Connector recently named Brooklyn resident Christopher Torres as its new executive director to replace Jessica Schumer, who left at the end of the year to pursue a new opportunity.

“Jessica had a tremendous run with Friends of the BQX and we thank her for outstanding work over the past three years,” a Friends of the BQX spokesperson said. “With its environmental review in full swing and a public review process ahead, we’re glad to have Chris at the helm as we head into a big year for the BQX.”

Torres was an organizer for the Working Families Party, where he helped lead campaigns in Arizona, Wisconsin, and, most recently, for Public Advocate Jumaane Williams. Torres also worked with Make the Road New York Action Fund as its director of field operations, where he spent five years working to build electoral power in immigrant communities through grassroots and community driven campaigns in New York and Pennsylvania. He views public transportation as a social justice issue.

“It makes all the difference in getting your mother to her doctor’s appointment on time, getting your children to school, or in some cases keeping your job,” Torres wrote Monday to board members. 

“This belief must be the foundation of our work if we are going to change the landscape of NYC and build a robust transit system for all New Yorkers.”

The controversial proposal for the $2.7 billion state-of-the-art light rail system, which would run along an 11-mile corridor from Astoria to Red Hook, Brooklyn, would provide a crucial north-south transit option for the 400,000 people who live along the corridor and the 300,000 who work along the fastest-growing business corridors in the city. The city’s Economic Development Corporation has launched an extensive community engagement process that will include presentations to community boards and public workshops that will focus on community priorities, suggestions and concerns.

“There are myriad reasons why we want to see the BQX happen. For me, one stands out more than most: implementing quality public transit access for those who have been historically neglected by city planners,” Torres wrote. “From Astoria, Queens, to Red Hook, Brooklyn, no one feels the sting of walking more than a half mile on a rainy day to a delayed subway or bus more than the folks who live in public housing along the route. This year we will work to broaden and strengthen our support in NYCHA with the help of the resident association presidents who share our vision.”

Puh-leeze, the only reason why Jessica Schumer is gone and replaced with this young man is not to promote diversity or transit equity, but because this piece of shit trolley needs federal funding to pay for the cost of building it, which keeps rising every year. Also, Schumer is Senator Chuck's daughter and that would have been a huge conflict of interest, and it seems the Mayor and his developer overlord donors have had their fill with that. Or so it seems, the ferry's are still costing the city more money last time I/we checked.

Couldn't find a better guy to push your trolley agitprop NYC EDC. Have fun pissing away our tax dollars, Chris.

...Sorry mom, the developers have spoken

The gentrification trolley that refuses to die


 In 2016, Mayor Bill de Blasio announced that the city would begin working on the Brooklyn Queens Connector, a $2.5 billion streetcar that would trace the waterfronts of the two boroughs from Astoria to Sunset Park. The mayor's announcement came after a group of real estate developers somehow had the same idea, and donated nearly $250,000 to de Blasio's nonprofit, but the mayor assured everyone that the BQX would pay for itself, thanks to rising property values.

A year and many "visioning sessions" later, Sunset Park residents fought to take their neighborhood off the BQX's map, leaked documents and independent reports showed the city's funding scheme to be extremely dubious, the streetcar route was found to be susceptible to serious flooding, and the BQX looked to go the way of the carriage horse ban: a full-throated promise backed by stacks of cash that turned into a whisper in the wind.

But the BQX wasn't dead, just dormant. The de Blasio administration released a new plan for the streetcar in 2018 with a shorter, 11-mile route from Astoria to Red Hook and a bigger price tag, $2.7 billion.

This week the city's Economic Development Corporation and Department of Transportation pledged to start presenting their case to the public early next month, with the goal of coming up with a final design by 2023, and finishing construction in 2029—eight years after Mayor de Blasio leaves office.
In the short-term, the city is aiming to get a draft Environmental Impact Statement done by 2021, de Blasio's final year in office.

“From community board presentations and on-the-ground outreach to briefings with elected officials and public workshops, NYCEDC and NYC Department of Transportation are moving forward with a far-reaching process that provides multiple opportunities for feedback prior to the environmental review phase," the city said in a statement.

Hate to say that I told you so, but I told you so.


Thought this interview with the dope from park slope needed to be included, as the Blaz tells Errol Louis (who hilariously presumed that this was dead) that even though the city is earmarking another 2 billion to get the BQX started, it's going to need federal funding. Surely because everyone in the towns that it will traverse and the district council members are all dead set against it. Just quit it, Bill.

Mortality rates of homeless people went up


More homeless New Yorkers died last year than in any other in the past decade — despite promises by Mayor Bill de Blasio to make their lives better.

Homeless deaths from July 2018 through June 2019 totaled 404 — a staggering 39% increase from the previous fiscal year and the highest number since 2006, when the city began recording the deaths.
Sixty percent died in a hospital. The rest died outdoors or in other places that the city didn’t specify in its annual report, which is mandated by law.

The top five causes of the deaths: drugs, heart disease, alcoholism, unspecified accidents and cancer.
Ten people were killed; 15 killed themselves.

Far more men died than women — 313 to 91.

Even with the deaths, the homeless population spiked in fiscal 2019 — reaching an all-time high in shelters of 63,839 in last January, according to the Coalition for the Homeless.

The number of homeless has climbed nearly every year since the de Blasio took office, and spending on city homeless services has more than doubled.

This, despite the mayor’s repeated promises to “turn the tide” on homelessness.

“An ever-growing homeless population is unacceptable to the future of New York City . . . it will not happen under our watch,” de Blasio said days before his swearing-in on Jan. 1, 2014.
In response to the skyrocketing number of deaths, a coalition spokeswoman called on the state and the city to provide more affordable housing.

“No person should have to live — or die — without stable housing,” Jacquelyn Simone said. “This report should serve as a tragic reminder why Mayor de Blasio and Governor Cuomo must both step up with housing solutions at a scale to meet the need.”

Saturday, January 18, 2020

The Great NYC Ferry Subsidy Robbery and city bus austerity


NY Post

Ferries help the poor? That’s rich.
Mayor Bill de Blasio has insisted that his administration’s heavily-subsidized ferry service would help poor New Yorkers get around, but newly revealed data shows it’s been a plaything of the rich almost from the jump — figures the city sat on for months.
An internal survey taken in July 2017 — two months after the service’s inception — found that the median rider’s income ranges between $100,000 and $150,000, a trend that held as of another poll conducted in the winter of 2018.
The results of the surveys were obtained by The Post through an eight-month Freedom of Information 

Law battle with the Economic Development Corporation, the city-controlled non-profit that manages the ferry service and solicited the data.
The EDC for months rebuffed The Post’s requests as it claimed it was still searching for the records — but City Councilman Antonio Reynoso had a different explanation for it.
“The city was being misleading about what information they had, and also didn’t want to give the information because it would prove a point that many of us were already making,” said Reynoso (D-Brooklyn/Queens).

Impunity City

“The needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few”
                                                                                                S’chn T’gai Spock.

The NY Post reported the other day that the prime demographic that frequently uses the NYC Ferry are upper class people making six figures.

But we all knew it.

The fucking New York City Economic Development Corporation knew it.

The goddamn New York City Mayor knew it.

And both of them fucking spent every second of city time trying to hide it for two years.

The NYC Ferry is mostly used by the wealthiest commuters by the river towers that are owned and run by all of Mayor deFaustio’s developer overlord donors. Notably at the ports on the west Brooklyn coast line where it’s a leisure walk away from them (plus Hunter’s Point in Queens).

The current cost for each taxpayer for each $2.75 ride across the rivers and under the bridges is currently at $9.75. A seven dollar loss for each ride millions of people don’t take or don’t bother to take because they don’t live near the ports. And because they probably have no need and use for the boats because they are just plain inconvenient for where they are located and where they need to go.

If they are not the overvalued rental market rate rent paying tower people, it’s tourists and hipsters going to Rockaway Beach. Which is probably the most popular destination of the city gentrification yachts. Which is where some of this profligate spending on this boondoggle is located.

Because whats constantly overlooked about this obscene and overtly useless and consistently vacant aqua transit service is that there is a free shuttle bus service when you get off the ferry. Although ever since this started, you have to pay another fare to get on a city bus. 


 Now above is the Rockaway port, the picture was taken in 2017 late in the summer when it first started. It should be noted that these stylish shuttle buses weren’t available until late August and the city was actually using big ass charter buses to transport upper class denizens to the beach.


Above is the city bus stop for the Q22, now why are free ferry shuttle buses necessary when you can just set up a free transfer from the city bus to go to your desired destination, because both buses go to the same places east and west of the peninsula. Why clearly spend money irresponsibly on some private company buses when you got a long time city transit service right there in front of your face?

Use long weekend to watch the BP forum

It's a riot!

Schools Chancellor Carranza walks out on town hall following complaints to his face from parents with kids being bullied in his schools

NY Post

 Schools Chancellor Richard Carranza was jeered off the stage at a packed town hall meeting at a Queens middle school Thursday as anger over school safety boiled over.
The Department of Education boss faced the wrath of more than 500 parents at MS 74 Nathaniel Hawthorne in Oakland Gardens.

“What is happening here?” parent Katty Sterling yelled at Carranza. “We’re not getting answers! Nobody is giving answers!”

Exasperated, Sterling told school officials how her daughter had twice allegedly been assaulted by a female classmate at MS 158 Marie Curie in Bayside and is now too afraid to return to school.
Her daughter’s tormentor was never suspended and remains in class, according to Sterling.

“The other student is sitting in school getting all the privileges and what is my daughter doing? Sitting at home, sick, getting traumatized!” Sterling screamed at the dais just feet from Carranza.
MS 158, one of the district’s highly regarded schools, has been hit with a string of ugly incidents in recent months, including a vicious lunchroom fight last week and a classroom sexual assault last month. Both incidents resulted in arrests.

Tired of an attempt at reassurance by School District 26 Superintendent Danielle Giunta, Sterling had approached the dais to give Carranza and other officials a piece of her mind.
As she vented her frustrations, others in the audience joined in.

After several unsuccessful attempts to quiet the crowd, Carranza rose and exited the stage as the hooting continued.

Earlier in the meeting, after the superintendent spoke, a school dad whose daughter was allegedly forcibly touched in an MS 158 classroom in November, tried to address the panel.

But panel members told him they were answering only questions that had been submitted in writing before the meeting — and that he was out of order.

NY Post

A mom whose daughter was seen in a viral video being beaten at a Queens school and who tried to confront schools Chancellor Richard Carranza about it at a meeting Thursday ripped him for abruptly walking out while she and others were trying to get answers.

“I will be honest with you,” said Katty Sterling, whose daughter was attacked in a cafeteria by a bully at MS 158 in Bayside last week. “I really don’t think he cares. He didn’t say a word, he just sat there. He had no answers for what the parents were asking. And then he left.”

A crowd of more than 500 parents and teachers swarmed the meeting of Community Education Council 26 Thursday night to address concerns over what they say are spiraling classroom conditions.

MTA would like to keep congestion pricing plan a secret

The board that will recommend congestion pricing tolls to enter Midtown must deliberate in public and not behind closed doors, the state Committee on Open Government has ruled.

The MTA last fall claimed the Traffic Mobility Review Board is not covered by the Open Meetings Law, and therefore its meetings are not open to the public because it is an advisory board.
But the Committee on Open Government disagreed.

The panel’s meetings should be open to the public because it was established in state law to help create policy, Kristin O’Neill, the committee’s assistant director, said in a Nov. 21 ruling.
The MTA has yet to respond to the decision, transit advocates said.

 We want the TMRB’s meetings open to the public. Congestion pricing is going to affect millions of people and provide billions of dollars in revenue to the MTA,” said Lisa Daglian of the Permanent Citizens Advisory Committee to the MTA.

“There will be people who won’t like paying a congestion fee but at least they’ll know how the decisions were made,” Daglian said, adding that “there should be no back-room deals.”

Friday, January 17, 2020

Frank Seddio resigns from chairing Brooklyn Democratic Party

After nearly eight years as head of the Brooklyn Democratic Party, Frank Seddio has stepped down. "Good riddance to Brooklyn’s dirty, undemocratic Democratic boss," the Daily News editorial board proclaimed on hearing the news of Seddio's retirement.

Seddio was criticized during his tenure for perpetuating Kings county's powerful political machine, which is responsible for endorsing judicial candidates, choosing nominees during primary elections and setting party rules. So-called proxy voting plagued how meetings operated when they were held, and reformer club New Kings Democrats perpetually pushed Seddio to make the party operations more transparent.

"Let me just say that if I were any more transparent, I would be arrested for lewdness," Seddio told Gothamist in a phone interview on Monday. "I don't know what else to do. Should I take off my underwear and let them see the rest of my body?"

Despite how disgusting that would look, yes.

Maybe getting frogmarched out of his house in his britches by the feds might be in the future regarding his embezzlement case in New Jersey and where the money went from his debt in chicken restaurants in Kentucky.

Woman killed by plywood blown off building in Flushing

NY Post

A flying piece of signage from a Queens produce market struck and killed a 67-year-old Long Island woman Thursday morning, police said.

The woman, identified by police as Xiang Ji of Westbury, was walking outside 41-28 Main St. in Flushing about 9:45 a.m. when she was struck by what city building officials described as “an aluminum-covered plywood panel.”

The panel was part of a vertical sign that authorities believe was blown off the building’s roof by gusting winds.

Firefighters later removed the remainder of the sign.

Police from the 109th Precinct said cops responded to several 911 calls from the scene and found Ji “unconscious and unresponsive.”

She was taken to New York-Presbyterian Queens hospital, where she was pronounced dead, authorities said.

Building department investigators were dispatched to the scene and issued the property owners a violation for “failure to maintain building in a code compliant manner.”

“Following our full investigation, we will take aggressive enforcement actions against responsible parties as warranted,” the officials said in a statement. “We have ordered the owners to immediately erect a sidewalk shed around the building.”

The owners of the building, Kam Kee Realty Inc., have 18 open violations at the site, including for illegal work without a permit and “unpermitted business signs,” building officials said. The company could not be reached for comment Thursday.

Thursday, January 16, 2020

MTA holds first Queens bus route redesign proposal hearing in a basement and commuters are pissed

PIX 11 News

 Changing bus routes is a guaranteed way to draw a crowd in the city.
MTA New York City Transit is in the process of a complete redesign of all the routes in the city.

The proposal for Queens was released two weeks ago. Elected officials and riders calledfor a meeting with transit officials to discuss the plan.

Additional sessions will be held over the. next month. Comments can be made on line.

Read about the Queens proposals here .

The entire plan for all five boroughs can be found here

Looks like commuter rage resonated with Byford and his entourage. Those links are now 404's.

Tuesday, January 14, 2020

Tenant kills his landlord

NY Post

 A deadbeat, rent-owing tenant shoved his Queens landlord down their building’s front stairs so hard on Sunday that the man later died — and the whole thing was caught on the home’s security camera, the victim’s grandson and police sources told the Post.

Landlord Edgar Moncayo, 71, was trying to collect rent around 3 p.m. at his 102nd Street building in Corona when 22-year-old tenant Alex Garces allegedly pushed him down the stairs, cops said.
His grandson, Nicolas Jativa, 20, told the Post that Moncayo was pronounced dead at 12:30 p.m. Monday after being on life support with head trauma at NYC Health + Hospitals/Elmhurst.

“My grandmother wasn’t home when this happened, she was on her way back home already when she got a call from a neighbor telling her what had happened,” the grieving grandson said. “As soon as she saw my grandfather she just dropped to her knees and started crying. I didn’t believe it until I saw the video for myself and it’s horrible.”

Police attributed Moncayo’s injuries to a landlord-tenant dispute and were looking for Garces and possibly a second person for questioning, according to officials.

The tenant initially told cops the fall was an accident that happened as he tried to carry his mattress out of the building and hit the front door, causing Moncayo to fall, police sources said.
But the landlord’s family reviewed video from the Ring video camera installed on their door and saw a horrifying series of events unfold.

In the video, the victim can be seen standing in front of the building on the phone with his wife trying to hold the door shut to keep Garces from leaving, the grandson said. The tenant was able to get the door open, however, and allegedly pushed the landlord down the steps, where his head hit the concrete, he said.

Queens prosecutors got promoted despite repeated trial misconduct

 Infographic showing Queens prosecutors' issues

Gothamist asks in their headline if Katz will keep them in charge. On the Queens D.A. website under divisions and bureaus you get this:

 When you click press releases you get this:

When you click photos, you get this:

  So who the hell knows who's there. Transparency, the Queens Machine way

Interim Queens BP Sharon Lee recruiting community board members


 Acting Queens Borough President Sharon Lee is accepting applications from qualified and civic-minded individuals interested in serving on one of the borough’s 14 community boards, which play an important advisory role in considering land use and zoning matters in their respective districts.

The deadline for prospective and current community board members to submit completed, signed and notarized applications to the Borough President’s office is Friday, Jan. 31. For the upcoming round of appointments, the two-year term of service will begin on Monday, April 1.

“Civic engagement is a hallmark of our borough and city governance is only strengthened by the residents across Queens who make their voices heard and represent their neighborhoods and communities,” Lee said. “Government is more effective and accountable when it works in close partnership with active, dedicated residents and relies on them for their insights and broad expertise.”

The community boards each hold monthly full membership meetings that are open to the public. They also hold hearings and recommendations regarding the city budget, municipal service delivery and numerous other matters that impact their communities. All Queens community board members are appointed by the borough president, pursuant to the City Charter, with half of the appointments nominated by the City Council members representing their Community Districts.

Each board has up to 50 unsalaried members. All community board members who wish to continue serving are required to re-apply at the conclusion of their two year term and are subject to review and reconsideration.

Queens Borough President Melinda Katz announced on Nov. 13 the appointment of Sharon Lee as deputy borough president, effective Nov. 17. Lee, the former senior advisor and press secretary for John Liu when he was the city comptroller and a key figure in his failed 2013 mayoral campaign, will replace Melva Miller and become the first Asian deputy borough president in New York.

“Sharon has been a trusted member of my senior leadership team for years and I could not think of a more prepared or knowledgeable person to serve as deputy borough president,” Katz said. “Her vast experience in New York City government, her deep relationships across the full spectrum of Queens communities and her passion for inclusion, equal opportunity, fairness and justice will prove invaluable for the future and direction of our great borough.”

Monday, January 13, 2020

Keep on Obstructin' 2020, big rigs still being stored on the Conduit in South Ozone Park

Who's running Queens?

Shouldn't the acting BP be listed here? Or at least info about the upcoming special election?

If we're getting the "QT1" then why do we need the BQX?

Hi again,

If the MTA is redesigning the Queens Bus Network and including a limited stop Astoria-Downtown Brooklyn route (QT1), why the hell are we moving forward with the BQX (other than tweeding)? Non-brainwashed minds want to know.

Is the QT1 reserved for poor people?

"Baby box bill" and DHS fail to protect twins at homeless hotel

From Fox News:

New York City police have reported the tragic deaths of twin two-month-old babies at a shelter for homeless families that was once a LaGuardia Airport motel.

The father woke up from a three-hour afternoon nap and found the infants not breathing in separate cribs, WNBC-TV reported.

The cribs were filled with pillows, the station reported.

Doctors were unable to save them at the hospital, the station reported.

In 2017, Gov. Cuomo signed the "baby box bill." From The National Herald:

The baby boxes, which are designed for infants six months old or younger, will be distributed in areas of the state with the greatest infant mortality rates. They are designed according to the safe infant sleep guidelines of the Academy of Pediatrics and the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development and discourage high-risk behaviors on the part of parents that are associated with Sudden Unexpected Infant Death (SUID). Each baby box has a firm mattress with a fitted sheet which are two key elements for safe sleep.

Parents will also be given educational information on the dangers of co-sleeping and the risks when blankets, pillows, stuffed animals, and loose bedding are used. Many parents of newborns have no idea that these seemingly innocent items in a crib can put a sleeping baby at risk.

So... did DHS not get the memo about the bill? Did the state not supply them? What the f*ck happened here and why is it that it seems no one will be held accountable?

Sunday, January 12, 2020

MTA is being opaque about perplexing Queens bus route redesigns

Hello Queens Crapper,
By any chance will you share the MTA’s latest proposal on the Queens Bus Network Redesign on your blog? It will probably affect many readers’ school and work commutes especially with the elimination of many existing routes. The MTA doesn’t seem to be getting the info out to the riders/customers probably a calculated move.

It will be difficult for many seniors and families with small children that rely on bus service and are unable to travel by train (many stations are not ADA compliant and are without elevators).

Thank you!
Here’s the proposal:
Here’s the MTA online comment form:

Shithole Hunters Point library under federal investigation

NY Post

Books aren’t the only thing being checked out at this Queens library.

The feds are now probing the problem-plagued new library branch in Hunters Point, The Post has learned.

The US Attorney’s Office in Brooklyn hired an architectural expert to conduct a December survey of the $41.5 million book hub to look for violations of the Americans with Disabilities Act, new Brooklyn federal court filings in a lawsuit against the library reveal.

An attorney for the city’s Law Department blew the lid off the probe in documents filed for the pending suit, saying they needed more time because they’re still awaiting the investigation’s results.

The decade-in-the-making outpost of the Queens Public Library system was hailed by officials as a “stunning architectural marvel” when it opened in September.

But it has since come under fire for its stacks of design and construction problems — including a three-tiered fiction section, a rooftop garden and a reading space on the children’s floor that are all inaccessible for people who use wheelchairs.

The feds’ investigation was launched around the time a disability advocacy group and a Queens woman with mobility problems sued the library and the city, demanding they fix accessibility issues at the new, 32,000 square-foot branch.

Michelle Caiola of Disability Rights Advocates, which filed the suit, said: “We certainly welcome the US Attorney’s involvement as it brings more pressure to bear on the city to make the library fully accessible as quickly as possible.”

It is unclear what steps the feds will take if they find that the Hunters Point branch

The NYC EDC must be stopped
Queens Eagle

From Coney Island to Sunnyside; from Jerome Avenue to Bay Street; from newly created districts to forgotten neighborhoods, New York City is being irreparably transformed by the corporate interests that run this city.  At breakneck speed, we are witnessing the mass displacement of long-time residents and small businesses that have made this city great because our elected officials have handed the reins of city governing — what we elected them to do — to corporations and corporate lobbies whose insatiable greed puts their shareholders’ interests above New Yorkers’ when it comes to rezoning, jobs and many other matters in NYC. 

Unfortunately for the 99 percent, this is not just a city “gone rogue”, but by design and courtesy of a city agency known as the Economic Development Corporation. This group of unelected and unaccountable men and women, most of whom are “prominent in the financial, commercial, industrial, [or] professional…community of the City of New York” as mandated by the EDC, act as kingmakers to decide which industries, neighborhoods and projects should stand or fall.  Ostensibly created to drive and shape New York’s economic growth, the EDC ironically siphons off money from the budget of the city’s Small Business Services, and then either stands idly by as our mom-and-pop shops fall like dominoes, or precipitates changes that ultimately destroy them, as they did to businesses in the Garment District in favor of the tech sector. 

For those who don’t know, the EDC turns out to be a pretty powerful tool for Mayor Bill de Blasio, who directly selects or approves all 27 members of its governing board — with one important exception.  EDC’s bylaws require our mayor to consult with a group called the Partnership for New York City (PFNYC) before he selects the EDC’s chairman of the board.  Who makes up this group that calls itself, “The Partnership”, and whose chosen member sits atop the EDC?  They are private equity firms like Blackstone, media conglomerates like NewsCorp, pharmaceutical giants like Johnson & Johnson, controversial consultants like McKinsey and about 250 other “CEOs from New York City’s top corporate and investment firms” that make up its bulk, according to 2017 tax filings.  

What does this mean for us, and how are our needs being met in this supposed democracy? Well, while we go about our daily lives, “The Partnership” testifies on our behalf before the State Assembly that “gig workers” essentially prefer to live paycheck-to-paycheck rather than be hampered by health insurance, workers comp or other benefits that come with stable employment.  They also oppose commercial rent stabilization and aggressively promote real estate growth knowing that “truly affordable housing, schools and better transit has severely lagged the rapid pace of growth.”

Meanwhile, the EDC is busy deploying its 500+ employees to get the necessary “buy-in” from communities after it has decided how NYC should be shaped and supported with millions and billions of our taxpayer dollars, despite the fact that we may have other wishes for organic growth, or preservation of what is here now.  They hand out free canvas bags imprinted with not-yet-approved projects, such as the BQX in Queens, to signal to the community that such projects are “done deals” and that nothing can be done to stop them; they fill “steering committees” with our neighbors to get easy approval from those who would give it simply because of the involvement of a person they trust.  

Finally, without shame, the EDC holds public meetings encouraging earnest and unsuspecting community members to write their deepest wishes and darkest fears on yellow, pink and green Post-it notes, then uses them to build Trojan horses — “affordable housing”, “good-paying jobs”, “open spaces” — that instead deliver unobtainable luxury residential towers, part-time non-union jobs, and privately-owned public spaces, open subject to the whims of the private owners.

You see, if the EDC wanted to provide those things to us, they would have done so by now.  In a city teeming with global capital and tech start-ups, with city-GDP rapidly rising to an estimated $2.5 trillion by 2035, endless and unrealized promises of “good-paying jobs” from them sound hollow. They are shiny jewels meant to entice us into handing over more and more of our public land and resources for their investment and private use, until there is nothing left for us to control or enjoy.  

Alas, though our current system of governing may seem damaged and corrupt beyond repair, we can make our city work for us again.  We can dissolve the EDC. We can elect politicians who will take back the reins of city governing and listen to the people, not corporate entities.  We can do many things, but we should get started now and use the 2021 elections to get what we regular New Yorkers want.

Stingy Schneps Media stiffs Metro employees of their severence pay

NY Post

Freebie daily paper Metro Boston folded Wednesday while the ex-staffers of Metros in Boston, Philadelphia and New York learned this week they’re getting no severance whatsoever from their now-former employer.
Two of the papers — Metro New York and Metro Philadelphia — were sold last week to Schneps Media, which is keeping the Philly paper alive while merging the Gotham edition into amNewYork, which it already owns.
The new NY paper was renamed amNewYork Metro for the Jan. 6 edition.
Staffers at all three Metro publications were laid off on Jan. 3 by owner Metro US — only to learn this week they are getting stiffed on severance.
“I found out that I was out of a job by a two-sentence email this past Friday,” lamented a former Metro employee who worked there eight years. “I was expecting severance pay due … but when I got my separation letter from the company, it said I was getting a grand total of $0 in severance.”
Newsday, the former owner of amNewYork, laid off all its workers as well prior to its sale to Schneps. But it at least gave staffers three weeks’ severance for each year of work when the freebie daily was sold in October.
Only three staffers were offered jobs with the new owner. Schneps said this time it expects to make job offers to about 20 former staffers of the Metro papers it purchased.


 Earlier this month, Schneps Media announced that it had acquired Metro New York, the city's long-running freebie newspaper, along with its counterparts in Philadelphia and Boston. It was the latest in a string of purchases for the emerging local news behemoth, which recently snapped up amNewYork, then promptly gutted nearly the entire staff.

As of this week, the two ubiquitous subway papers—once competitors—have now been bundled into a single print product, dubbed amNewYork Metro. Two former editorial staffers from Metro, and none from the pre-Schneps amNewYork, remain employed at the new title. Daily content comes from both dedicated employees and stories published on Schneps' network of other hyperlocal sites, including its flagship Queens Courier, and other fairly recent additions to its portfolio like Brooklyn Paper, Downtown Express, the Bronx Times, and The Villager.

In contrast to the amNewYork acquisition, employees at Metro say they were informed this week that they will not receive any severance pay. Adding to their frustration, staffers said, they were told immediately following the sale that their jobs were likely safe.

"They completely misled us," said one employee, who asked for anonymity so they could speak freely. 

"To be working there for as long as a lot of us had—some people for nearly a decade—and to be treated with this level of disrespect is so unjustified and sickening."

Metro publishers Ed Abrams and Susan Peiffer did not respond to a request for comment. The owners announced just prior to the sale that Metro Boston would cease publishing after nearly two decades, while Metro Philadelphia will continue publishing under Schneps ownership.

“This is an exciting next step for our entire organization offering a unique opportunity to strengthen our position in the daily newspaper market and increase our readership to over 2.5 million readers in print each week and many more online,” Schneps Media CEO Joshua Schneps, a former investment banker who runs the publisher with his mother, Victoria Schneps-Yunis, said in a statement.

Exciting enough to hoard people's hard earned money for oneself too Josh. Yeesh.

Saturday, January 11, 2020

Neir's: It ain't over yet

Well folks, it takes a lot for me to come out of semi-retirement to weigh in on current events, but this whole Neir’s Tavern situation became such an unnecessary debacle that I can’t sit idly by and not call attention to some things.

Yesterday, Mayor de Blasio - himself a millionaire landlord and facilitator of citywide hotel-shelter slumlordship - decided to tell the owner of Neir’s that greedy building owners are awful. Where the hell was he when the LPC denied the landmarking bid for it back in 2016? A lot of the worry over the bar's fate could have been avoided if the LPC stopped doing what it always does to Queens history. And he can request that the “new” LPC (minus Meenakshi Srinivasan) take a second look at it.

Now, Loycent Gordon is not only an immigrant but also the black owner of a small business. This is EXACTLY the type of entrepreneur that fauxgressives want to be seen helping. But perhaps because Loy is also a lover of Queens history, and therefore a threat to development, he was totally disregarded for years. Except, that is, after he became so desperate that he felt forced to plead with the mayor on his radio program. How utterly sickening.

How the hell did we as a society get to this point?

And another question for those of you out there in Crapland… did you hear those January crickets yesterday? That sound was coming from every borough president candidate out there as an establishment dating back to 1829 almost went dark.

And why did the owner really have a change of heart? The NY Times explains:
Mr. Holden, a Democrat who represents the area, said the negotiations were tense until it became clear that a major problem for Mr. Shi was that he could not get a mortgage because the building lacked a proper certificate of occupancy and did not meet current zoning rules.

Mr. Holden said an agreement was reached under which his office would work to ensure that the building met all requirements; the city would make a small business grant available to improve the property; and Mr. Shi would raise the rent much less than he had proposed.

So while we can all celebrate that a piece of Queens history has been temporarily spared, keep in mind that the lease is only for 5 years and in 2026 this might happen all over again. And in the meantime, it's very likely that the next piece of Queens history that gets threatened won't have the stars align for it the way this one did. Because we keep electing the same lame tweeders over and over and over again and the rare ones who actually give a damn like Holden will be gone. (Why the hell did Michael Gianaris show up to the victory party when he did absolutely nothing?)

A big thank you and shout out to the media who realized the significance of this story and what it would have meant to lose Neir's and used the power of the press to call attention to it. All of the stories were pretty good (and I read or watched them all), but 2 really stood out to me: Corey Kilgannon's original NY Times piece and PIX11's story. Check out the reaction of the news anchor at the end. He totally gets it.

It's 2020, people. Wake up already, heh?

- QC

I like to add (again) that de Blasio's Landmark Preservation Committee refused to give Loycent and Neir's landmark status because they felt that a bar that has existed 190 years was not historically significant enough.

Congratulations to Mr. Gordon and the staff at Neir's and a great job done by Councilmember Holden and Assemblyman Miller (leave it to de Blasio to try to bigfoot credit for it). Here's to five more years, hopefully there will be better and moral officials running this city in the future.  


Friday, January 10, 2020

Two month old twins die in hotel homeless shelter

NY Daily News

Authorities are investigating the deaths of 2-month old twins who were staying with their family in a city homeless shelter, police said Friday.

Emergency responders found the twins, a boy and a girl, unconscious around 3 p.m. inside the lobby of the Landing, a Queens hotel that doubles as a city-funded family shelter.

Medics rushed them to Elmhurst Hospital Center where they were pronounced dead.

The babies’ father told cops he put the children down for a nap earlier in the day, but found them lifeless when he went to check on them.

Twin infants died Friday afternoon after they fell unconscious at a Queens homeless shelter, police said.

Cops were questioning the father Friday. No charges have been filed.

“This is a heartbreaking tragedy. We offer our condolences to the family and will provide them with any and all support that we can during this difficult time," said Isaac McGinn, a spokesman for the city Department of Social Services, which is responsible for the shelter system.

Small Business Congress lays blame for Court Square Library closing and delay of SBSJA on Jimmy Van Bramer

SBC - The Small Business Congress      
E-mail                Websites:
 Councilman Van Bramer’s  Favoring Big Real Estate over Commercial Tenants 
Is The Reason for Queens Closings!
Deadline NYC, Jan. 10, 2020:
Yesterday the Queens Public Library announced that their Court Square Library will close on Feb. 15, 2020 due to being unable to find suitable long term space and reasonable lease terms in an area with sky high rents.  Councilman Van Bramer disagrees with their reason for closing and blames the Library for dragging its feet in finding a new location. 
Councilman Jimmy Van Bramer made clear who was responsible, “This could and should have been avoided…...this is about the library failing to plan for this community.”  The truth is CM Van Bramer is fully to blame for this library closing as well as all Queens businesses willing and able to pay a reasonable rent but forced to close because they have no rights when their leases expired to negotiate reasonable lease terms. They have no rights because CM Van Bramer has fought against any legislation giving them rights. 
CM Van Bramer should be ashamed of the critical role he played in using his office to work to prevent a vote on the Small Business Jobs Survival Act, giving all commercial tenants rights when their leases expire.  Rights needed to remain long term in business and rights to equally negotiate fair lease terms that would allow owners to make a reasonable profit. Instead, CM Van Bramer actions has favored the real estate lobby’s interests and he has worked to “keep the status quo”, which is destroying the backbone of Queens local economy.
These are the facts CM Van Bramer does not want the Queens residents to know which shows how hypocritical his statement is, “This (closing) could and should have been avoided.”  All of the Queens business closings for the past decade could and should have been avoided, if not for lawmakers abandoning their progressive values and selling out to big real estate for their own political ambitions.
CM Van Bramer was the Majority leader of the City Council from 2014 thru 2017. A leadership role that offered a platform to be a strong voice for Queens small businesses.  Adding to this political influence was the fact the majority members of the Small Business Committee were Queens council members (5 of 9 members). Other than the Speaker, no council member was in a better position to influence legislation to save Queens small businesses than CM Van Bramer.  What did CM Van Bramer do with all this political power to
prevent the growing small business crisis from coming to main streets in Queens? 

For the entire term of CM Van Bramer he did absolutely “nothing” to save a single business, job, or give rights to businesses to survive.   Only once under the many Speakers in over 30 years has the Jobs Act not been allowed to have an honest hearing in council. That was under Majority leader Van Bramer’s term with the majority members on the Small Business Committee from Queens.  Not only was the Jobs Act denied a hearing but NO hearing was held under Van Bramer’s watch to address the sky high rents and the growing crisis forcing the closing of small businesses citywide, even when the crisis came to Queens. Just one honest public hearing on the Jobs Act would have shown the bill to be only solution to save small businesses.  The Queens desperate small business owners, especially the immigrant owners, would have NO Voice at City Hall under Van Bramer’s entire leadership. His recent sponsorship of the worthless Levin Commercial Rent Stabilization bill shows they still have NO voice.

CM Van Bramer is Chairman of the Arts and Cultural committee and not once as Chairman did he hold a hearing specifically on finding legislation to stop the closing of our city’s art and cultural tenants. 
Under CM Van Bramer’s watch no effort was ever made to have the Council’s legal department resolve any legal issues with the Jobs Act. For every legislation introduced in the council, the legal department will review and give recommendation to its legality and recommend amendments to resolve any real or potential legal issues. The one exception to this policy is the Jobs Act, whose unsubstantiated legal claims remain for over a decade.  CM Van Bramer claims he is a proud sponsor of the Jobs Act and yet never once did he use the power and influence of his office to insist that the legal department due their duty and treat the Jobs Act like other legislation by resolving any legal claims. During his entire tenure as Majority of Council, Van Bramer remained silent and complicit to the rigging by the Speakers’ Office and REBNY to stop the Jobs Act.

In May 2016,  87 Queens Associations signed a petition calling upon Queens lawmakers to stand up for small businesses as they face a crisis to survive caused by exorbitant rent increases. Community leadership signed this petition calling on Queens lawmakers to “ address the crisis quickly by passing the Small Business Jobs Survival Act,  which gives rights to owners to protect and preserve Queens’s businesses and jobs”. 
What was the Majority leader of the Council’s response to the largest Queens community groups’ plea to do something?  CM Van Bramer did not respond and continued his policy in the face of this crisis, to “do nothing.” 

CM Van Bramer should be embarrassed by allowing the Small Business Committee to have NO members on it representing Queens small businesses. It is bad enough to allow, without protest, CM Mark Gjonaj, a real estate owner and an anti small business chairman, but to also allow a vital committee that in a time of crisis will determine the future of every Queens small business owner and the future of their employees to have NO representative is a disgrace.  Clearly, CM Van Bramer is going along with the rigging by REBNY to stop the Jobs Act.
CM Van Bramer’s statement on the Court Square Library closing, “I believe they dragged their feet and now we’re in a crisis where this community is faced with the loss of a public library.”  No lawmaker has dragged his feet more than CM Van Bramer in pressuring the Speaker to make the changes in the Jobs Act and bring it to a vote.
On Oct 22, 2018 at the hearing on the Jobs Act, Speaker Johnson repeated many times the Jobs Act would be changed to not include or protect big Fortune Companies like Goldman Sachs, and then moved to a vote. In the face of a growing small business crisis Speaker Johnson, when questioned on the progress of the Jobs Bill repeatedly said, “it’s being tweaked and fine tuned.”  The changes to the Jobs Act that Speaker Johnson pledged to make would take one hour to make. A simple change in the definition of who the bill covers, one paragraph. Yet, 14 months after the hearing and no changes to the Jobs Act have been made!!  With Queens businesses closing monthly, why didn’t CM Van Bramer go to Speaker Johnson to encourage him to “ stop dragging his feet” and make the changes so the Queens commercial tenants, like the Court Square Library would have rights to renewal their leases for 10 years, which would stop the closings?
The reason CM Van Bramer did not “push” Speaker Johnson to make the changes to the Jobs Act and move it to a vote and begin saving Queens businesses was because CM Van Bramer was promoting another bill written by the real estate lobby.  On December 13th, Councilman Van Bramer held a rally in Sunny Side Queens proclaiming his endorsement of Councilman Levin’s new bill, Commercial Rent Stabilization.  A bill touted to save small businesses by having a commercial rent guideline board set rent increases for businesses,

This bill is an insult to every business owner in Queens and an affront to good government. What CM Van Bramer has done was throw Queens businesses under the bus by promoting legislation to kill the Jobs Act.  CM Van Bramer was promoting legislation that would substitute for the only real solution to save small businesses, and promote legislation that would keep the “status quo.” destroying small businesses.  This new bill was written by REBNY to keep all the rights solely in the hands of the landlords and would give NO rights to business owners.  CM Van Bramer along with CM Lander and CM Levin were serving big real estate interests by stopping a Tenants Rights Bill ( Jobs Act) and substituting a Landlords Rights Act (Levin Bill). 

How does CM Van Bramer explain why the simple change to the Jobs Act was never made and instead, 14 months later end up in another bill which was written by the real estate lobby?  How does CM Van Bramer explain how the council ends up with two bills at the same time dealing with Commercial Lease Renewal Process?  In the long 34 year debate on the Jobs Act, never once has two bills been in play, but today CM Van Bramer is promoting one of bills while he is a proud sponsor of the other.  The public may be confused by CM Van Bramer’s actions but the small business advocates who wrote the Jobs Act are not. Sung Soo Kim, Godfather of immigrant businesses, “ CM Van Bramer has joined in the rigging to stop the Jobs Act.”

How shameful that CM Van Bramer remains silent on the small business crisis for his entire term and only now speaks loudly in support of a Landlords Bill that was created for only one purpose, to kill the Jobs Act, and with it the hope for survival for countless Queens businesses.   

* Sung Soo Kim, recognized as the “godfather of immigrant businesses” and major advocate for over 30 years.  He is the founder of the oldest small business service center in NYC, the Korean American Small Business Service Center, and was chairman of the Mayor’s First Small Business Advisory Board, appointed by Mayors Dinkins and Giuliani. He is co-founder of Small Business Congress and sole creator of the Small Business Bill of Rights.  He has spent every working day for 30 years addressing the problems of immigrant small business owners. He never took a salary from government as Chairman of Small Business Advisory Board nor in consulting on numerous regulations. He turned down offers to run a BID in Queens and turned down government funding for his business service center.  In 30 years he has personally negotiated and re-negotiated an estimated 50,000-55,000 commercial leases for his Korean/Chinese members. He has gone to court twice a week for over 30 years to fight for his members in court.

Neir's not closing

Thursday, January 9, 2020

92-year-old woman murdered in front of her house in South Richmond Hill

NY Daily News

 A 92-year-old woman died after someone apparently strangled her outside her Queens home, police sources said Wednesday.

At first, police believed Maria Fuertes suffered a fatal fall on 127th St. near 103rd Road early Monday after being bumped in South Richmond Hill.

Investigators now, however, believe she was the victim of a homicide, and that someone strangled her on the street until she slumped to the ground.

A neighbor found her, and ran to alert her son, who was hanging out at a nearby deli.

“A guy came into the store and said, ‘I found your mother on the street,’” Ray Fuertes, her heartbroken son, told the Daily News Wednesday night.

 “I got into the ambulance with her. she was still conscious but she couldn’t talk. She had a gash on her head and some bruising near her chest,” the 52-year-old said.

He ran back into the family’s house to grab his phone, thinking his mother would pull through, and planned to meet her at the hospital, he said. But she took a turn for the worse.

EMTs rushed Fuertes to Jamaica Hospital but she could not be saved.

“The nurse said her heart stopped three times. And then they couldn’t revive her,” he said. “I never expected anything like this.”

Ray Fuertes said his mother has fallen a few times, and he couldn’t even conceive of someone hurting her.

“Homicide. I really find that hard to believe. Why would anybody do this to her. This is ridiculously crazy," he told The News. “I never thought I’d face anything like this. I can barely talk about it.”

The incident was captured on grainy surveillance video at 12:01 a.m. Monday, police sources said.

The bad days are here again.


The suspect was caught and he's 21 and homeless. He attacked her while she was collecting bottles and tried to rape her according to police and news reports.

Goodnight Neir's Tavern


Yesterday I was forced to make one of the hardest decisions I’ve had to make.

Sunday January 12th I will have to step down as owner of Neirs Tavern and I have no one available to replace me.

I’ve been unable to obtain an affordable long term lease to reach our goal of the 200th anniversary in 2029.

I’m operating month to month with an unaffordable rent and insufficient sales to overcome a year of losing money every month.

Due to increase personal obligations I’m unable to put in the time necessary to overcome increase business challenges I’m faced.

Everyday I pray I would find a way to dedicate more time to overcome these challenges until yesterday I had to face the truth.

Neirs Tavern is losing money and I don’t have the time to help to overcome it. I want to be a good father and husband.

I hope my Neirs Team will be here until Sunday in the event a miracle happens.

But I have no more money after Sunday.

I’m sorry i let you down.
I’m sorry I couldn’t get landmark status.
 I’m sorry I couldn’t buy the building.

but I’m grateful for all the memories we’ve created together saving Neirs Tavern the last 11 years I’ve been here.
Thanks to everyone past and present who made Neirs Tavern our 2nd living room for the past 190 years.

With gratitude,

Loycent, Neirs Tavern and the entire team

Even the late great Anthony Bourdain couldn't save it.
The city landmarks a Pepsi ad and they wouldn't give Neir's one.  

Greed is killing this city.


As everyone has seen, a miracle has happened and Neir's Tavern lives another day.

And greed is still killing this city

BP candidates mandated to return real estate donor lucre

The Real Deal

Real estate donors in the Queens borough president race will see some of their checks returned, but this time it’s not because the candidates don’t want their money.

The limit for donations is $750 for candidates seeking to receive the highest level of public matching funds. For City Council member Donovan Richards, the Queens Democratic organization’s endorsed candidate, that means he will have to return as much as $21,000 to real estate donors by January 15.

Richards, who chairs the City Council’s Subcommittee on Zoning and Franchises, pulled in at least $38,000 from real estate–related groups in his campaign — nearly 30 percent of his donations.
Richards’ largest real estate donor, the Real Estate Board of New York, contributed $4,850 through its expenditure committee, Taxpayers for an Affordable New York. Richards did not declare his run for borough president until much later. The campaign expects to return the surplus.

City Council member Jimmy Van Bramer, who has positioned himself as the progressive in the race, also received donations from the real estate industry. After The Daily News reported that he had yet to return them, he posted the returned checks on Twitter. But he has yet to return all of the donations bundled for him by real estate developer Shibber Kahn, who gathered nearly $5,000 from five donors one day in June 2018.

Astoria Council member Costa Constantinides received at least $25,390 from real estate donors, accounting for about 7 percent of his total donations through his latest public filing.

His largest real estate benefactor is the Astoria-based Scaldafiore Realty, whose personnel gave a combined $6,500 to the campaign.

Other large donors to Constantinides include Sal Lucchese, a manager at the Astoria-based The L Group, who gave $4,350; and his business partner, Astoria-based real estate attorney Philip Loria, who gave $1,500.