Monday, February 20, 2017

Bronx parking garage collapses

From CBS 2:

Dozens of cars were damaged when a parking garage in the Bronx suddenly collapsed on Sunday morning.

Collapsed concrete crushed cars inside a two-story parking garage, with the wheels of one vehicle clearly visible coming down through the roof of 3000 Jerome Avenue in the Bronx.

Firefighters got the call just after 6 a.m. Sunday when part of the second story loaded with cars came crashing down on vehicles below.

One employee was inside at the time, but wasn’t injured.

The Department of Buildings ordered the structure to be vacated and issued the owner a violation for failing to properly maintain the building.

De Blasio jobs prediction is full of crap

From the Observer:

Nearly everyone noticed the lack of detail in Mayor Bill de Blasio’s State of the City proposal to create 100,000 “good-paying jobs”—and it appears that’s because it’s simply an extension of what the city’s mayoral-controlled Economic Development Corporation has done for the past 15 years.

The jobs proposal was the centerpiece of the State of the City address de Blasio delivered at the Apollo Theater in Harlem last Monday night. De Blasio vowed his policies would produce 100,000 positions over 10 years in a variety of sectors throughout the city, with salaries ranging anywhere from $50,000 to $75,000 a year or more.

The mayor promised work in film and TV, technology, life sciences and “advanced manufacturing,” though declined to offer much in the way of an explanation of how the city would generate these jobs.

“This new addition, this new focus on creating more and more good-paying jobs, this will be the new frontline in keeping New York City affordable,” he said.

For the mayor’s emphasis on what a “new” and ambitious undertaking this is, a 2016 report from the New York City Industrial Development Agency, a public benefit corporation that the EDC runs, credited its combination of tax incentives and bond financing with the creation and preservation of approximately 146,000 jobs since 2002. That would average roughly 10,428 jobs a year.

This would suggest that the mayor’s plan for 100,000 jobs between Fiscal Year 2018 and Fiscal Year 2028 is merely a projection of a pattern of growth the IDA and EDC established over the past decade and a half.

Sunday, February 19, 2017

Brooklyn house hole

Just wanted to point out that a construction fence around the side yard is not very effective for a house demolition...

Not sure what happened here; an application for mechanical demo was approved in 2014, yet this is what the building looks like today, vacate order and all. They want to replace it with an 8-unit building.

Saturday, February 18, 2017

Stink trains also a problem in Bayside

From the Queens Chronicle:

Sleeping while engines idle at the Long Island Rail Road’s yard in Bayside between 215th and 220th streets is not easy, some say.

“Our lives continue to be gravely affected by the Long Island Rail Road’s work yard, construction site junkyard and dump site,” neighborhood resident James Lollo said at last week’s Community Board 11 meeting.

“The stench” is so bad, he said, that it results in “eyes and sinuses irritated [and] throats sore.”

Lollo added that the LIRR officials responsible for the yard should be ashamed of themselves.

“I don’t know how they’re able to sleep at night,” he said.

Another Bayside resident irked by the idling engines also complained at the meeting.

State Sen. Tony Avella (D-Bayside) sent a letter to LIRR President Patrick Nowakowski two days after the meeting calling his attention to the matter.

“Residents state that diesel trains are left idling for hours during the day and evening hours sometimes until 1:00 a.m.,” the lawmaker wrote. “This has caused several environmental concerns for residents who state that the noise is unbearable and they are unable to open their windows due to the fumes that come from trains idling in the yard.”

The MTA’s LIRR press office did not respond to multiple requests for comment.

Push continues to legalize basement apartments

From Crains:

There are up to 210,000 basements and cellars across the city that could potentially be converted into legal apartments—enough to move the needle on the city’s housing crisis without pouring a single new building foundation.

But the legalization process is fraught with political and technical pitfalls, which is why a study released Thursday suggests that the de Blasio administration should start with a pilot program to capture the lowest hanging fruit: the roughly 38,000 basements in single-family homes that could be converted without any major changes to city or state law.

Trouble is, an interactive map provided along with the study shows that there is no ideal place to launch the pilot. While the simplest conversions can be found in Manhattan and parts of Brooklyn and the Bronx—neighborhoods where homeowners would not be legally required to provide an additional parking space for each additional housing unit—these areas are not flush with suitable basements.

Far more potential exists in Staten Island, southeast Brooklyn, Queens and the eastern portion of the Bronx. These are also areas with high rates of foreclosure, suggesting that homeowners there would benefit from supplemental rental income. The only catch? By law, adding an apartment to a single-family home in many of these areas would require the creation of an additional parking space, posing significant economic and logistical challenges.

The study suggests finding a community that both supports the concept and has the inventory of basements, and calls on the city to provide homeowners with financial incentives, a list of knowledgeable contractors, expedited permits and waivers or modifications for certain building regulations that could be changed without city or state approval.