Thursday, July 28, 2016

NY delegation doesn't recognize Joe Crowley

Not too many people in the NY delegation are listening to Virginia Joe’s speech. Maybe he should move back home?

Smoking gun memo revealed

From Bowery Boogie:

The Department of Investigation, whose scathing report last week proved a mishandling by the de Blasio Administration in the Rivington House deed fiasco, released evidence late yesterday that the Mayor’s office deliberately covered up crucial information regarding the ongoing investigation.

Specifically, a deal memo from July 2014 that weighed the pros and cons of allowing the sale of the Rivington House nursing home and potential deed lifting that required use of the facility as a nonprofit. Take a look at “Option 2″ of the document (go to link),”transfer property to another nonprofit.” The advantage to keeping it so was listed as “maintaining property under city oversight and creates needed housing in a high value neighborhood.” But the drawback stated was “no revenue” presumably for the city.

The Allure Group purchased the Rivington House from VillageCare in 2015 for $28 million, paid the city $16.1 million to lift a restrictive deed, then sold the property to developers Slate Property Group, China Vanke Co., and Adam America Real Estate for $116 million earlier this year.

meanwhile, de Blasio was cracking jokes about it while attending the DNC.

City demolishing certain Willets Point properties

From DNA Info:

Demolition work began last week on a section of Willets Point, the first sign of progress on a multi-billion dollar overhaul from the city and private developers.

The strip of closed auto body shops along 126th Street between 38th and Roosevelt avenues was completely demolished by Tuesday morning by Tully Construction, the project's general contractor.

Workers at shops nearby that are still open said the work began about a week ago, but the main demolition started within the last two days.

The demolished shops have been empty for months, and construction fences for the project went up in April.

Demolition is expected to be completed by Aug. 31, according to the city.

Nice to see that the city is spending money when they don't even know yet what will happen with the property. Remember that pesky lawsuit that stopped the whole thing?

Maybe we should learn from China's mistakes, if not our own

From Forbes:

As the storm sewers of many of China’s cities have been pushed beyond their capacity, spewing deluges of water into the streets, many are blaming the disaster on the country’s breakneck pace of urbanization.

China has built cities faster and more extensively than any other civilization in history. In hardly 35 years, the country built over 450 new cities, urbanized 40,000 square kilometers of countryside, threw up hundreds of millions of homes, constructed a 19,000 kilometer high-speed rail network, dug 26 new subway systems, paved more than 60,000 kilometers of highways, and erected nearly a hundred new airports.

This urbanization push was backed by economic and political incentives. At the peak of China’s new city building boom urbanization was responsible for 16 to 25% of total GDP, 33% of fixed asset investment, 10% of urban employment, 15% of bank loans, and fueled 40 industries. Stimulating the local economy and complying with national urbanization goals were also core KPI criteria for the promotion of officials within the government. So China built and built, and are only now starting to realize the full impact of what they’ve created.

In this explosion of development, natural water management systems — rivers and streams, ponds and lakes, as well as the soil — have been asphyxiated with endless expanses of pavement and concrete. In Wuhan, a city that has been leveled by this year’s flooding, saw 87 lakes, two-thirds of its total, filled in or otherwise destroyed between 1949 and 2015. According to Kongjian Yu, the dean of Peking University’s College of Architecture and Landscape Architecture, heavily urbanized eastern China lost upwards of 50% of its wetlands in the past thirty years, which drastically reduces flood retention capacities.

These impermeable urban surfaces which have been replacing natural features in China’s cities at an astonishing rate prevent rainwater from finding its way into the ground below, funneling it instead into a Soviet-style system of pipes and drains, which are becoming more and more overtaxed and inadequate.

Wednesday, July 27, 2016

Elevator installed without permits kills worker

From DNA Info:

The small business where an employee was crushed to death by an elevator Saturday night was padlocked shut Monday — as officials look into whether the lift was installed illegally.

The shop, La Reguera Dominicana at 552 W. 182 St., where locals shopped for discounted home items and clothes, was ordered closed after Jose Fernandez, 43, was fatally pinned by the supply elevator Saturday night, sources said.

Yellow fire tape and a padlocked chain crisscrossed a fence outside the store and a pair of Buildings Department orders — in English and Spanish — announced that the property had been ordered vacated.

The Department of Buildings, which issued the vacate order, said they had no records of an elevator having been legally installed on the property.

Tuesday, July 26, 2016

Bharara investigating de Blasio link to sale of closed hospital

From the Daily News:

U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara is looking into Mayor de Blasio’s involvement in the sale of Long Island College Hospital in Brooklyn, the Daily News has learned.

Bharara's office recently issued a subpoena to the State University of New York, which had owned the hospital, seeking all communications between the university system and City Hall regarding the sale of LICH dating to Jan. 2, 2014, when de Blasio took office, said two sources familiar with the matter.

One source close to SUNY confirmed the subpoena and said “the clear target seems to be de Blasio.” But the specifics of what Bharara is looking into were unclear.

The subpoena specifically seeks emails and other communication from de Blasio and top aides Tony Shorris, Emma Wolfe, Dominic Williams, Avi Fink and Henry Berger, the two sources said.

It also seeks all communication regarding the hospital dating to 2013 between SUNY and de Blasio’s campaign and his fundraiser Ross Offinger, as well as various groups tied to the mayor such as the Campaign For One New York, UPKNYC, and United for Affordable NYC, the sources said.

The subpoena demands emails and other communication between SUNY and de Blasio from 2013, when he was the city’s public advocate, they said.

Flushing plagued by excessive aircraft noise

From AM-NY:

Noise levels in the Flushing, Queens, neighborhood near LaGuardia Airport exceeded federal levels on one of every three days earlier this year, elected officials and community activists said Monday.

The maximum permissible Day/Night Noise Level — or DNL — of 65 decibels was exceeded on 32 out of the 92 days from March through May on a monitor on Franklin Avenue, state Sen. Toby Ann Stavisky (D-Flushing) said at a news conference.

The Federal Aviation Administration measures on a scale that averages all community noise during a 24-hour period, with a tenfold penalty for noise occurring at night and early morning.

“With this data, we now see what we’ve always known: parts of Queens are subjected to higher levels of sound than others,” Stavisky said.

She said the current DNL standards date to the 1970s and are obsolete. She and others at the news conference said the FAA should reduce the maximum allowable DNL to 55, the standard at most airports overseas.

Cameras finally installed in Forest Park

From DNA Info:

After numerous delays owing to red tape in Albany, NYPD security cameras have finally been installed around Forest Park, nearly three years after the last assault in a string of sexual attacks that terrified parkgoers.

In total, 14 cameras were placed in seven locations around the 500-acre park last week, including at the entrances to the park, near main trails used by bicyclists and joggers, and close to playgrounds, officials said.

The equipment was installed after Assemblyman Mike Miller and State Sen. Joseph Addabbo allocated $250,000 for the cameras to be placed in the park back in 2013.

Officials said they hope the cameras will serve as a deterrent to crime and that they will also help identify suspects in the future.