Monday, April 24, 2017

LIC residents want park, not another tower

From LIC Post:

A local development company filed plans to build a new 18-story residential and commercial tower in Long Island City yesterday, but a community group is looking to fight the project.

Rockrose Development, a company with several projects in Long Island City, filed plans yesterday to build an 18-story, 123-unit residential tower, with retail space on the first floor at 43-12 Hunter Street. The site is known by residents as ‘The Lot.’

According to the plans filed with the Department of Buildings, the project would have an outdoor terrace and amenity room for residents on the tenth floor, and another terrace and lounge on the 18th floor, as well as an exercise room. There would also be a lobby, laundry room, and mailroom on the bottom floors.

The new building would be 228 feet tall and would have 4,054 square feet of retail space. It would also have 86,562 square feet of residential space, meaning each apartment would average just over 700 square feet.

The Court Square Civic Association is attempting to fight back against the development, as the site has long been used as a public gathering space, despite the fact that it is privately owned.

The group has launched an online petition today calling for elected officials to work with Rockrose to save the property as open space and to generally create more open space and public parks in the area.

Towing company thinks they own public property

"Here is the Runway towing business. Very similar to other areas in Queens with cars parked on the sidewalk, cars parked on city streets with no license plates, their tow trucks parked on the street and sidewalk. It is located at 124-20 South Conduit Ave, South Ozone Park. If you want to Google Map it you will see all the illegal crap going on, but here are some pictures I took." - anonymous

Sunday, April 23, 2017

BDB can't take the heat

From the Daily News:

Mayor de Blasio tangled with callers to his weekly radio segment Friday, pushing back on criticism of his plans for new homeless shelters and to jack up the price of smoking.

Hizzoner treated callers to Brian Lehrer’s show on WNYC a bit like reporters — they were limited to the topic of public health and safety, and he repeatedly challenged the premises of their queries.

The most heated exchange was with a caller who identified herself as Fior, a Crown Heights resident opposed to the building of a homeless shelter who said her area has 1,700 beds already, while the mayor’s Park Slope has just 330.

“I myself have sons and I want the same opportunities that his son Dante had,” the caller said. “And I’m sure the mayor wouldn’t have raised his son around 15 to 19 shelters.”

De Blasio noted there’s a shelter about four blocks from his family home, and that his old neighborhood would get new homeless beds under his plan to house homeless people within their own community board districts.

But communities like Crown Heights have argued they’re already overburdened with social service facilities, and Lehrer asked whether the plan puts more burden on low-income communities with more homelessness.

“If they’re unwanted,” de Blasio said of the shelters, “then that’s a moral question. How can people feel that their very own neighbors and people who grew up and have lived in that community for a long time are quote-unquote unwanted? I reject that.”

The caller argued she’d not seen any data proving the people who’d live in the shelter were from Crown Heights — prompting de Blasio to say she “doesn’t know her facts” and calling the argument, used elsewhere in the city, “a smokescreen.”

The Whitestone Bridge is leaking big time



Back in the beginning of April we sent an email to MTABT and DOT regarding a serious flooding issue on the side of the Whitestone Bridge. Ever since they completed construction, the flooding has become much worse.
The DOT referred it to DEP. The MTABT stated that there was no issue and that ONE home along the route has drainage holes (AT LEAST 12 INCHES ABOVE THE GROUND) may be the cause.
So We sent pictures of the water marks and dirt marks from the runoff. NO RESPONSE.
Then this morning with a little rain we took more photos and video of the water runoff and the amount that now falls onto the road. In our opinion this has extremely exasperated the severe flooding issue.
The Whitestone Bridge is a proud representation of our community. To have the managers not take responsibility is an insult to the community. NOT TO MENTION THE LACK OF MAINTENANCE OF THEIR GRASSY AREA AS OF LATE. We take pride in our community and expect our neighbor the MTABT to do the same.
And of course let us not forget the mosquitoes and West Nile issues this brings.
Thank you.

Alfredo Centola
Founding Member

Illegal truck parking frustration continues in South Ozone Park

"Hello. This trailer has been sitting here for two weeks, I have done numerous complaints and it seems nothing is being done to address this hazard, maybe when somebody gets into a serious accident because they can not see oncoming traffic something will finally get done , this trailer is located on south conduit ave and 127th street in south ozone park.. this trailer is owned by a place called runway towing located up the block, I will send a separate email about that..." - anonymous


Saturday, April 22, 2017

Phony contractors are scamming the elderly

From CBS 2:

Con artists appear to be targeting elderly homeowners in sections of Queens.

The suspects convince people to get roof repairs and pay in cash — only later do residents learn the work is sub-standard.

As CBS2’s Dave Carlin reported, police in Middle Village posted signs warning residents of a door-to-door scam.

Police said sometimes, scam artists steal the identities of legitimate roofers, making them difficult to track down. They said they need neighbors to help spread the word and help them stop the scam with tips to avoid getting conned.

The warnings posted on trees and power poles are a heads up for homeowners to ignore anyone knocking on doors offering roof repairs or other fix it jobs.

Tip offs that the workers are not legit include vehicles with out of state plates and demanding cash payments for the work.

Another scam involves awning repairs. Con artists get money up front for the work, but never return.

Organized crime group flooded NYC streets with fake PA license plates

HARRISBURG — Attorney General Josh Shapiro today announced criminal charges against a dozen people accused of taking part in a major organized crime ring that fraudulently obtained more than a thousand Pennsylvania license plates and used them to fuel a massive criminal enterprise involving automobiles in multiple states.

By illegally renting the license plates in New York City and other locations, this crime ring profited significantly and allowed those who used the fraudulent plates to avoid paying more than $1 million in parking fines and EZ Pass tolls across several states.

The organized crime ring was headed by Rafael Levi, 50, of Brooklyn, N.Y., Attorney General Shapiro said at a news conference today at the Office of Attorney General in Strawberry Square. Charges were also filed today against 14 Pennsylvania businesses involved in the crime ring. The charges followed an extensive investigation by the Attorney General’s Insurance Fraud Section and a statewide investigative grand jury.

“This organized criminal ring used legitimate business tactics – applying for licenses and insurance, car loans and purchases – for completely illegitimate purposes,” Attorney General Shapiro said at today’s news conference. “From fraudulently-obtained license plates to washed car titles to multiple other frauds, they gamed the system to rack up millions of dollars in illegal profits. It’s widespread criminal conduct and today we brought a halt to it.”

According to a grand jury presentment made public today, here are the major elements of the fraudulent schemes perpetrated by the Levi ring:

  • License plates fraudulently obtained : Levi and his associates provided fraudulent documents, to the PA Departments of Transportation and State. As a result, they illegally obtained more than a thousand Pennsylvania license plates. They rented the plates for $400 a month or more. The people who got these plates avoided paying parking fines and EZ Pass tolls totaling $1 million in New York, Pennsylvania and neighborhood states.
  • Fake insurance cards: The Levi ring provided cars and vehicles with fake insurance cards. When accidents would happen involving any of these cars, motorists filed claims with insurance companies – but there was no legitimate policy to pay on.
  • Washed car titles : The ring issued phony letters to PennDOT which enabled them to get clean titles on vehicles. The Levi ring scammed $500,000 owed to financial institutions through this part of the scheme.
  • Fraudulent odometer rollbacks: The ring rolled back odometer readings on 35 cars – enabled them to sell cars for more money than they otherwise would’ve sold for.
  • Drivers’ licenses: The ring obtained Pennsylvania drivers licenses at an address in Pennsylvania that they defendants never lived at – another part of the scheme.

“Rafael Levi and his co-defendants used all these criminal schemes to live in the lap of luxury,” Attorney General Shapiro said, citing a prime example: Luxury autos which the ring obtained through fraud, including a red Ferrari.

Through this fraud, the ring would get one of their interlocking dealerships to “buy” a vehicle in cash. The ring then proceeded to wash the car through another of the Levi organization’s many dealerships. The ring avoiding paying more than $100,000 in PA sales tax in this manner.

Attorney General Shapiro said the investigation was ongoing, and investigators have notified law enforcement in other states of possible criminal conduct involving the Levi ring in other states.

This investigation began after the Attorney General’s Insurance Fraud Section received information from the Pennsylvania State Police. Agents from the Attorney General’s office worked closely with State Police and investigators from the office of New York State Attorney General Eric T. Schneiderman.