Friday, October 24, 2014

Subways are bursting at the seams

From DNA Info:

The platform at the Jackson Heights/Roosevelt Avenue station — the second busiest in Queens with nearly 51,000 riders every day — is routinely packed during the early-morning rush as straphangers wait for the E, F, M and R trains.

Jason Chin-Fatt, a field organizer with the Straphangers Campaign, rides the F train from the station every morning and said the platforms are “excessively crowded,” especially if the 7 train, which is connected to the station along with several bus routes, isn’t working properly.

“It’s to the point that people are almost spilling over on to the tracks,” he said.

Hey, let's upzone and add thousands more people!

ICCC up for BSA vote

From the Times Ledger:

Now that another city Board of Standards and Appeals hearing is nearing, opposition is mounting again against plans by the Indian Cultural and Community Center to break ground in Bellerose to construct a four-story building on the site of the Creedmoor Psychiatric facility campus.

The group originally convinced lawmakers to sell the parcel to build a community center.

It soon changed plans, proposing to build two nine-story buildings instead of the original one-story community center and athletic field.

The new development plans irked the community, and the ICCC again changed its mind and argued in favor of building the two structures, but keeping them to only six stories..

The fourth and latest idea shrank to the one-building with a recreational center on the roof.

“We are not against the ICCC if they build what they said they would,” said Jerry Wind, president of the Bellerose Hillside Civic Association. “The latest incarnation of the plan is this one building.”

Community leaders, in collaboration with state Sen. Tony Avella (D-Bayside), are asking the city Board of Standards and Appeals to deny the variance needed for the ICCC to develop the site at 82nd Avenue and 242ns Street.The BSA was scheduled to hold a hearing on the fourth revised proposal Nov. 25.

“I hope the board reviews the latest proposal and looks at how they got here,” Avella said. The ICCC “didn’t get here with unclean hands.”

When will that project be done?

You may now look up the status of park construction projects by visiting the Capital Project Tracker.

Help sought to finish anti-graffiti project

From the Queens Courier:

Graffiti has been a problem in Hamilton Beach for decades, creating eyesores all around the neighborhood.

And the bridge that connects Hamilton Beach to Old Howard Beach over Hawtree Creek, known to residents as the “blue bridge,” is one of the most notorious spots for defacement.

But some residents, who are fed up with the look it gives the neighborhood, took clean-up matters into their own hands.

“One day, while hanging on my boat with some friends, we all started talking [about] how the bridge made the neighborhood look degrading,” said Laura Weiser, a resident of Hamilton Beach for 12 years. “So, I decided to do something about it.”

And she did.

As Weiser was starting to paint the southern portion, on her second day of painting, she slipped, fell and tore tendons and ligaments in her left wrist. Because of this injury, she could not finish painting the side and has left it a quarter of the way done.

She is now hoping that some residents will follow her good deed and help finish painting the concrete as she will not be able to do so for another six weeks.

Entire block to be demolished in LIC

From the Court Square Blog:

Demolition has moved into a new phase at 45-46 Davis Street, the former home of 5Pointz. The last time we checked in, construction crews had erected fences on Davis and Crane Street.1 More recently, they put up the scaffolding on the Jackson Avenue side, shown in the first photo. Demolition is moving along quickly in the middle section of the lot (see the second and third photos), and with the scaffolding up on the Jackson Avenue, it won’t be long before those buildings start to come down, as well.

Juvie jail to be placed in southeastern Queens

From the Daily News:

The city is searching for sites in Queens to place a “limited secure” facility for juvenile offenders, the News has learned.

Sources said locations in South Ozone Park and Jamaica are being studied.

But officials from the Administration for Children’s Services would only say they are planning to place six of these facilities across the five boroughs with 12 to 20 youngsters in each.

“We have heard a lot of talk about juveniles not bring in regular jails,” said Frank Dardani, chair of the 106th Precinct Community Council. “We want to make sure it would be secure and that they have the proper staffing.”

The 2012 state “Close to Home” law was designed to reform the troubled juvenile justice system that kept young offenders in remote upstate facilities.

Under the reforms, juvenile offenders who only need lower levels of supervision will be moved into the city to be closer to their families and support systems. So-called 'limited secure" will still be locked and fenced but will have less of a jail-like atmosphere,

Young offenders who need to be in the most secure setting will remain in upstate facilities.

Closed bridge has hurt Murray Hill businesses

From the Queens Courier:

The city’s extended closure of an overpass bridge in Flushing is set to end by 2016, according to a Department of Transportation (DOT) spokesman. But the long wait could continue to hurt local business owners.

LIRR train tracks cut through 149th Street, with an overpass bridge connecting the two sides of the street. The bridge has been closed since 2009, according to residents and business owners in the area.

According to a DOT spokesman, a new bridge was ready to open in 2012, but during a final inspection the department found cracks in the foundation, leading the department to keep the bridge closed.

The lack of a bridge in the area left several businesses on 41st Avenue disconnected from the other side. Traffic withered away as a result, business owners said, and led to a noticeable reduction in customers visiting the stores on 41st Avenue, near the 149th Street overpass bridge.

The city plans on completing a final design in 2014. And in the fall of 2015 the spokesman expects a construction contract to be hashed out. The new overpass bridge should be completed within six months after that.

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Council members order NYPD to ignore the Feds

From the Politicker:

The New York City Council overwhelmingly passed legislation today to stop the Department of Correction and the NYPD from honoring immigration detainers issued by the federal government unless they are accompanied by a judge’s warrant.

The council voted 41 in favor and 6 against on two bills that will largely end cooperation with the federal government when it requests an immigration detainer — which asks Corrections or the NYPD to hold a person for 48 hours when they might otherwise be released so that the person can be handed over the the Immigration and Customs Enforcement Agency. The requests are often made when an undocumented immigrant is being released from jail for another crime, or if they have been in NYPD custody for questioning.

Under the new legislation, which Mayor Bill de Blasio has said he supports, the city will honor immigration waivers if the federal government requests them with a judge’s warrant — and even then, only if the subject of the warrant was convicted within the last five years of a violent or serious crime, or is a possible match on the terrorism watch list.

So they passed a law that said the NYPD should ignore a federal judge's warrant? And only 2 Queens councilmembers (Vallone and Ulrich) voted against this? Holy crap, we're in big trouble.

Home sweet homes finally repaired

From CBS 2:

Nearly two years after Superstorm Sandy, two friends in a Queens neighborhood are finally back in their own homes.

As CBS 2’s Elise Finch reported, it took extensive repair work and help from volunteers and each other.

The homeowners credit the St. Bernard Project, Catholic Charities and Friends of Rockaway for donating materials and labor to get them back in their houses.

Alan Hevesi turns to public speaking

From Capital New York:

Alan Hevesi, who served as the comptroller of New York City and New York State before pleading guilty to state corruption charges, will speak next Monday in Queens about the corrosive influence of money in politics.

A notice for the event was posted online by the Central Queens Y, home of the Hevesi Library, which he helped co-found. Hevesi is also a former member of the New York State Assembly and taught public policy at Queens College for years.

The title of Hevesi's speech is “Big Money, Congressional Combat, and the 2014 Elections.”

Hevesi was considered a rising star in Democratic circles before he resigned.

In 2006, after winning re-election as state comptroller, Hevesi resigned from office and pleaded guilty to a felony for assigning a state worker to chauffeur his ailing wife, without reimbursing the state for the service. In 2010, Hevesi pleaded guilty to what the Times called “a sprawling corruption scheme” involving the state’s pension fund. Hevesi admitted he accepted about $1 million in exchange for steering $250 million to associates.

The event will take place at 67-09 108th Street, in Forest Hills, which Hevesi represented for many years, at 1:30 p.m. on October 27, with a suggestion donation of $5 for members, and $8 for non-members.

Crazy cost associated with 911 system

From the Daily News:

The city's 911 system still isn’t fixed and the costs are soaring out of control.

Problems with the Fire Department’s dispatch desk outlined in a city investigation Tuesday are just one flaw in the convoluted 911 emergency response system that officials have been trying to fix for years.

Back in 2004 the Bloomberg administration announced ambitious plans to modernize 911 by linking police, fire and EMS systems in one well-coordinated computerized network. The choreography soon fell apart, and a system that was supposed to cost $1.3 billion and be finished by 2009 is now expected to cost $2.03 billion and won’t be finished until August 2016.

In May, Mayor de Blasio froze the city’s 911 upgrade project and ordered a 60-day review. In August, his administration outlined what he called the “root causes” of delays, including the city’s overreliance on outside consultants and lousy communications between city agencies. De Blasio cut back on consultants and put just one agency — the Department of Information Technology and Telecommunications — in charge.

The Fire Department, meanwhile, made temporary fixes to streamline communications and will soon request more money for upgrades so EMS will be automatically notified of all “active fire” calls.

The supersizing of Astoria won't end any time soon

From Crains:

Another major residential development is now likely to join two other huge apartment projects in Astoria, Queens, that builders want to construct along the neighborhood’s suddenly booming waterfront.

Shibber Khan, the real estate investor and developer who operates the firm Criterion Group, has scooped up 11-12 30th Drive, a parcel that stretches from Vernon Boulevard along the Astoria waterfront to 12th Street. The property can accommodate residential buildings of up to 10 stories, and totaling 460,000 square feet, if a component of affordable housing is included.

Mr. Khan paid about $57 million for the land, which is now home to a sprawling low-rise warehouse occupied by wholesale grocer Bohea Associates. The deal follows a couple of others recently nearby.

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Someone is finally facing reality

From the Daily News:

Anthony Weiner is done with politics.

The disgraced former congressman issued his surest statement yet that his career in public service is finished.

“Realistically, my political career is probably over,” Weiner told in an interview published Tuesday. “The only job I ever wanted more than Congress was mayor, and I don’t think that either of those two jobs are going to be available.”

“So, no, it’s not like, ‘OK, how do I get back in?’ I’m not thinking that anymore. I think I kind of took my stab at that,” he added.

Something really needs to be done about Main Street

Photos courtesy of the Flushing Phantom

DeBlasio better at Building it Back

From the Queens Chronicle:

Approximately 6,400 homeowners across the city — half of those still actively seeking help from Build it Back — have been made offers for reimbursement checks or reconstruction. At the beginning of the year, that number was only 451.

That’s when the de Blasio administration overhauled the program, eliminating income eligibility requirements, embedding staffers directly in the communities affected by the storm and putting Amy Peterson in charge of the program, which the mayor said was “his favorite change” to Build it Back.

De Blasio said there have been 727 construction starts and 878 reimbursement checks sent to date. That’s several hundred more just since Labor Day.

At the beginning of the year, those numbers were zero ... and zero.

The mayor has also set new benchmarks for progress. By Dec. 31, his administration is aiming for 1,000 construction starts and 1,500 reimbursement checks cut.

Douchebag developer out to destroy LIC's manufacturing sector

From the Real Deal:

Investors in a far-flung corner of industrial Long Island City are looking for a way to transform a 300,000-square-foot development site into a property that will raise its neighbors’ values. Nigel Shamash, principal broker at the firm 5cre, is courting developers to see who can come up with the best use for a property in a gritty section of the neighborhood between Newtown Creek and the Long Island Expressway.

Shamash said he represents a group of owners who purchased the two-story warehouse at 30-02 Borden Avenue last week, and is issuing a request for proposals to develop the site into something that will help jump start the area’s gentrification.

The owners’ preference is for a hotel, but the broker said they’d also consider creative uses such as an office building or shared work spaces – anything that will breed new life into the area. Neighbors include Silvercup Studios’ east lot as well as the Fairfield Inn and Best Western hotels.

"Let us know if you want us to honor you"

LaborPress seeks council members to nominate themselves for this very important honor. And the minimum sponsorship is $3,000, because these days the unions and the council members they love both represent the little people.

Maybe if they were a little more selective, they wouldn't get screwed over so often.