Friday, February 12, 2016

First responders on bikes at FMCP

London EMT bike
From DNA Info:

The EMTs from the Corona Community Ambulance Corps know Flushing Meadows-Corona Park like the back of their hands.

Starting this summer, his group will begin patrolling with the help of "ambulance bikes" — a supercharged vehicle he's dreamed of since taking over the volunteer group in 2014.

Perna said the bikes — which were made possible thanks to $8,000 in funds he received from Councilwoman Julissa Ferreras-Copeland — will make his staff more mobile and able to reach more people quickly, especially in the busy summer.

Starting this summer his team will have four bikes out in the park. The bikes will be equipped with oxygen, a defibrillator and other medical items to help teams of EMS workers assist patients wherever they are in the park, Perna said.

Two bikes will go out at a time, and will have an ambulance nearby as backup.

Ron Kim notices that Queens gets ignored

From the Queens Chronicle:

Perpetual Foreign Place Syndrome. That’s the term Assemblyman Ron Kim (D-Flushing) coined in a recent email to his constituents, lamenting that Flushing is not taken seriously by city or state agencies because it is viewed as a foreign place.

“Even despite this unfairness and mistreatment, Flushing continues to stay determined and resilient,“ Kim wrote. “But imagine if we actually overcame the Perpetual Foreign Place Syndrome and realize the return on investment toward Flushing?”

In a later interview, Kim explained the sentiment expands beyond Flushing, to places like Whitestone and Bayside, where middle- and working-class families, regardless of race or ethnicity, feel they’re brushed aside by the city and state governments.

“I think it’s all communities in the outer boroughs feeling like they’re not being heard, like every road leads to Manhattan,” he said.

City wants seniors to live in sardine cans, not have cars

Vicki Been
From AM-NY:

Relaxing requirements to have parking lots at senior and affordable residences within reach of subways would free up space and money to build apartments, city officials testified Wednesday at a second day of hearings on Mayor Bill de Blasio’s housing plan.

“Three unnecessary parking spaces are the equivalent of two units of affordable housing,” Housing Commissioner Vicki Been said. Officials said spots in parking structures can cost $50,000 to build, taking into account design, materials and labor.

But City Council members from the outer reaches of Queens and Brooklyn challenged how so-called transit zones — where parking requirements for developers would be waived — were drawn. They said public transportation options and other amenities must be improved before the parking is taken away.

“Senior citizens and other residents are not sardines,” Mark Treyger, a Democrat representing parts of southern Brooklyn that have seen bus line cuts, told Newsday. “They need to be mobile, they need to get to doctors’ appointments, they need to live out the golden years of their lives.”

From DNA Info:

The minimum size for a senior would be 275 square feet, which Queens Councilman Donovan Richards suggested is too small.

"I just know from my own grandmother, she couldn’t fit her hats in an apartment that size," he said.

Brooklyn Councilman David Greenfield flagged the issue of allowing senior developments up to 65 feet tall in low-density residential districts that currently have a maximum building height of 35 feet.

The residents of those neighborhoods "want their small little homes with their little driveways," Greenfield said. "They're not looking necessarily for that influx."

City Planning Commissioner Carl Weisbrod indicated he was open to negotiation, but Been balked.

"I completely understand the concern. I also just want to point out that seniors come from every neighborhood," both low rise and high rise, she said. "They want to stay in their neighborhoods but they don't want to be trapped in a building that doesn't have an elevator."

Greenfield suggested the administration require a special Board of Standards and Appeals permit for tall buildings in those low-slung neighborhoods so "there would be more review."

Been objected to adding in a community board review process.

"I feel very passionately about this, because I have to look seniors in the eye and say, 'I'm sorry, but we have a waiting list of seven years. That's probably longer than you'll be alive,'" she said.

Thursday, February 11, 2016

DOB transparency bill passed

Laurie Cumbo
From The Real Deal:

A new law requires the Department of Buildings to give city officials a heads up when a new building is proposed for a neighborhood.

Mayor Bill de Blasio signed a bill into law Monday ensuring that the department alert the City Council and Community Boards via email on a weekly basis after an application for a new building or for an alteration requiring a new certificate of occupancy for a building is filed. The bill also requires the department to email notices of rejected applications and also post all this information on its website every week.

Council member Laurie Cumbo, who co-sponsored the bill with Council member Fernando Cabrera, said that the law will increase transparency — a boon to neighborhoods like Downtown Brooklyn where new projects sprout up on a daily basis.

Behold the most beautiful yard you've ever seen!

You may remember this post from 2014 regarding the property located on 60th Drive in Maspeth. I was told at the time to wait until the owner was done because it would be the nicest yard we've ever seen. Well, here you go. That's a humdinger of a horizontal enlargement.

It's a good thing I'm getting my allergy shots what with all that green on the property!

How many garages does one family need?

Wednesday, February 10, 2016

Supersized building to replace Forest Hills restaurants

From DNA Info:

The so called Forest Hills' "Restaurant Row" could soon be demolished in order to make room for a new mixed-use development, a plan that has immediately sparked protests among local residents and business owners.

The new 12-story development is being eyed for a 1-story building at 107-18 70th Road, between Queens Boulevard and Austin Street, which houses several restaurants, including The Grill, Cabana and Moca Asian Cafe. An annual jazz series is also held on that block.

Two restaurants that closed on the block in the past 2 years — Santa Fe and Uno Pizzeria — have since remained vacant.

Currently the developer can build up to seven floors (roughly 70 feet), but according to elected officials they will be seeking a special permit from the city to build higher.

Of course they are!

Library sues Galante

From the Daily News:

The ex-CEO of the Queens Library expensed books he bought on Amazon for his Kindle, the library says in court papers.

The library filed the complaint about Thomas Galante in a countersuit to recover hundreds of thousands of dollars in personal expenses and legal fees it forked over to the ousted executive, the Daily News has learned.

In the scathing answer to Galante's breach-of-contract suit demanding $2.2 million in severance pay, the Queens Library seeks more than $200,000 in questionable expenses from 2009 to 2014.

Thomas Galante sits on the board meeting briefly before leaving for the evening. He was later voted on Administrative Leave with pay, September 11, 2014.
In addition, the library wants Galante to return $260,715 it paid to his attorneys after he and his consulting company were slapped with subpoenas by the Brooklyn U.S. attorney’s office.

Hazardous condition down below

I couldn't resist taking a peek at this document posted in the doorway of a giant crap pile at 1075 Seneca Avenue in Ridgewood. There is apparently an illegal cellar apartment here that was forcibly vacated.
Note the gorgeously landscaped parking area.
Interesting how there are no fines for this.

City Council threatens to kill zoning plan

From DNA Info:

Mayor Bill de Blasio must revamp his controversial rezoning plan to target lower income New Yorkers or risk the City Council killing it, Council members said at a public hearing Tuesday.

The hearing on Mandatory Inclusionary Housing, a key piece of the mayor's plan to rezone neighborhoods across the city, was the first time the Council had weighed in publicly on the rezoning plan.

But it has come under fire by activists and some city officials who say the income levels are too high for the very low-income communities who most need affordable housing.

"It's going to be very hard for this Council to support MIH without options for our communities," said Queens Councilman Donovan Richards, who chairs the zoning subcommittee.

They've got the 7 train blues

From the Daily News:

Fed up No. 7 train passengers on Tuesday called on the MTA to give Queens commuters a smoother ride.

At a rally underneath the elevated 40th St.-Lowery St. station, riders and Councilman Jimmy Van Bramer (D-Queens) called on the agency to give the line a top-to-bottom review — the kind of audit that led to improved service on the F, G and L lines in the past.

"What we have witnessed nearly every single day are significant delays, significant problems with trains bypassing stations, crowded platforms," Van Bramer said.

No. 7 train riders have been waiting for better service for years as crews repair equipment and install a modern signal system that would let the MTA squeeze more trains on the tracks — work that requires weekend disruptions.

In the meantime, the day-to-day commuting headaches continue to pile up, causing crowding along the busy line.

(While we wait, let's keep building.)