Saturday, June 24, 2017

Warning about Queens airbag thefts

From NBC:

Thieves are targeting mostly Hondas and Nissans on the streets. Lori Bordonaro reports.

Illegal conversion vacated in Brooklyn

From Brooklyn Reporter:

A number of people have been displaced after city officials issued an immediate vacate order on an illegally converted home in Dyker Heights on Thursday evening, June 22.

The property – 1317 73rd Street – was one of four sites initially reported by local residents that were visited Thursday evening by the city’s illegal conversions task force which, sources say, were able to gain access to the building and deem its living conditions an “immediately hazardous situation.”

According to a source who was at the scene, the property’s basement “was all chopped up [to create living quarters for its residents] with the exit from the basement in the front of the house sealed off.” In addition, the source said, the property’s driveway was lined with buckets, presumably being used by residents to relieve themselves as the basement had only two bathrooms.

Upon arrival, a spokesperson for the Department of Buildings (DOB) told this paper, inspectors observed an illegally constructed apartment in the cellar of the property with its own unpermitted gas and plumbing lines. The agency issued a vacate order “due to a lack of two means of egress, the illegal gas lines and insufficient ventilation in the apartment.”

According to DOB officials, five people were determined to be living in the basement unit of the building, all of whom were offered relocation assistance by the American Red Cross. The apartments on the first or second floor of the building did not need vacating.

Not a basement - an obvious cellar. When is the illegal conversions task force coming to Queens?

Friday, June 23, 2017

Replacing Rikers

From Crains:

The most feasible location to boost flights is LaGuardia Airport, by building a new runway on Rikers Island in place of the jail complex that the city hopes to close within 10 years. The plan, a recommendation of the Rikers Commission, would involve laying another strip of tarmac on the reclaimed isle and connecting it to a new terminal next to the existing airport. Because Rikers is more than 400 acres, other infrastructure uses often loathed by residential neighborhoods could be sited there with 
little fuss. A waste treatment, composting or waste-to-energy plant could help the city make serious strides toward its environmental goals, Torres Springer said, and a solar energy farm could produce and store hundreds of megawatts of power.

From DNA Info:

A plan to close Rikers Island unveiled Thursday won't happen without the support of local city council members willing to clear the way for local jails in their districts, the mayor said on WNYC's Brian Lehrer's show.

The 85-year-old jail has been plagued by concerns for inmate mistreatment and deaths, security issues and mismanagement, won't close without new satellite jails, Mayor Bill de Blasio, said Thursday morning.

While de Blasio's ten-year-plan included a combination of criminal justice reforms to drive down the city's inmate population by making it easier to pay bail, investing more in mental health programs and decreasing crime rates, details of the satellite jails are conspicuously absent.

The mayor put the onus squarely on neighborhood NIMBYs.

"We're going keep driving [the inmate population] down with every tool we have, but we can't get off Rikers, unless there are specific places where the local leadership accept a jail facility," he said. "It just cannot happen without a vote of the City Council."

In March of 2016, DNAinfo exclusively reported that the city was quietly eyeing several sites for new satellite jails including locations in Hunts Point in the Bronx, in College Point in Queens, at 287 Maspeth Ave. on a vacant lot owned by National Grid in East Williamsburg, at 803 Forbell St. in East New York and at two sites on Staten Island.

Water's Edge mystery

From LIC Talk:

In February of 2016 the City decided to develop the land in and around the former Water’s Edge Restaurant on 44th Drive by the East River. Given the prospective zoning variance the city was offering, a pair of 60-story towers were possible on this choice piece of property, so the proposed project is massive. RFP’s from developers were due that May and were required to include a new school, some affordable housing, and a few other stipulations most notably a set aside for light manufacturing.

After submission the proposals would be reviewed by the NYCEDC (Economic Development Corp) and I was under the belief that shortly after the New Year they would pick 2-3 of those they deem viable for a bake-off, during which time there would be some community review and recommendations and then a winner would be chosen. Now I’m hearing grumblings that the city is going to bypass the middle step and just render a final decision.

Which is really a shame because in addition to ignoring those who are in the best position to determine local needs, it will also completely cut-off the possibility of what could be a fully integrated grand master plan for the entire northern riverfront section of Long Island City. The most obvious piece of this puzzle, the large lot just north of the Water’s Edge, is already ‘in-play,’ and the group controlling it has submitted a proposal incorporating this piece of land. This group had previously been shopping a plan just for their property that would have included a pedestrian bridge to the Cornell Technion campus on Roosevelt Island.

I don’t know anything about the rest of their plan, but that bridge alone might be worth its weight in gold to Long Island City. As an interested resident I would very much want to see how their plan stacks up to whatever other proposals the NYCEDC chooses.

Thursday, June 22, 2017

Joe Crowley has a Dem challenger

From the Village Voice:

Before Crowley can get on with his ladder climbing, he needs to do something somewhat unfamiliar: run a campaign. For the first time since at least 2004, he will be forced to compete in a primary in the overwhelmingly Democratic district spanning northern Queens and a chunk of the eastern Bronx. Since Republican victories are all but impossible, the primary is where the action is — and where Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, a 27-year-old former organizer for the Bernie Sanders campaign, hopes to pull off her historic upset.

“What Joe Crowley represents is the floodgate between Wall Street and the United States government. He’s the clearing house, he takes millions and millions of dollars in funding from them,” Ocasio-Cortez told the Voice. “We see how he’s come to power locally — it’s totally undemocratic, machine-run, dynastic. He’s trying to spread this same model on the federal level.”

Ocasio-Cortez, attacking Crowley from the left, is just one of about a dozen candidates running on the slate of Brand New Congress, a political action committee founded by former Sanders staffers to elect more progressive members of Congress. She is the only member of Brand New Congress running from New York. A resident of the Bronx neighborhood of Parkchester, Ocasio-Cortez organized Sanders’s campaign in the South Bronx — Hillary Clinton, heavily favored in New York City, won the Bronx handily — and started thinking seriously about running for Congress after Donald Trump’s election. She learned quickly that people usually didn’t even contemplate running against Crowley, let alone start an actual campaign.

“A lot of progressive groups are coming out of the woodwork. They’ve been trying to find a challenger to Crowley for years,” Ocasio-Cortez said. “It’s literally political suicide for anyone with a semblance of a political career.”

Injured construction workers face multiple surgeries

From NBC:

Three construction workers are expected to survive after a building collapsed on top of them in Astoria, Queens. Marc Santia reports.

OSHA is investigating.