Sunday, December 5, 2021

It's not easy building green

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THE CITY

New York buildings are slowly becoming more energy efficient — but with nearly half earning Ds or Fs on city report cards, many are still struggling to make the grade.

That’s the conclusion of THE CITY’s analysis of preliminary data obtained from the city Department of Buildings, offering a glimpse into the grading system’s second year — even as the pandemic skews typical energy usage patterns.

Across the city, nearly 20% of buildings 25,000 square feet or larger received A grades, compared with about 16% in 2020, the data shows.

Like last year, lackluster Ds proved the most popular grade, though the share fell from 44% in 2020 to about 39% this year. And over 9% of buildings — up from about 7.5% last year — earned Fs, meaning the building owner failed to submit data to the city.

Overall, more than 20,000 buildings — from pre-war apartment complexes to skyscrapers — were graded. Poor grades carry no penalties, but failing to post the letter marks could mean a $1,250 fine.

Environment boosters saw reason for hope in the latest collective report card.

“Building owners care so much. We’ve never seen anything have as high an impact,” said Donnel Baird, CEO of the company Blocpower, which upgrades buildings for improved energy efficiency, mainly through electrification. “Even the threat of fines has not created as much of a reaction as these letter grades on the front of the buildings.”

On a per-borough basis, Manhattan’s building stock had the largest share of As compared to all its grades: 23%, up from almost 15% in 2020, when the borough came in third behind Brooklyn and Queens.

Gina Bocra, DOB’s chief sustainability officer, attributes the overall improvement to the visibility of the energy efficiency information, which motivates property owners to do better.

“Owners have been acting on that information, so the transparency is working, and we’re getting them to be more familiar with what’s happening in their building,” Bocra said. “They’re beginning to make alterations to the building to change what’s happening there.”

The grades and the focus on energy efficiency are part of the city’s effort to slash greenhouse gas emissions from buildings — the city’s largest source of emissions — 40% from 2005 levels by 2030 and 80% by 2050 in the race to mitigate climate change.

East Elmhurst mixed-use building left for dead




 

 

Saturday, December 4, 2021

The Blaz now wants full vaccination status for participating in society

 New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio 

NY Daily News

A day after announcing five people in New York State tested positive for COVID’s omicron variant, Mayor de Blasio said Friday he is considering tightening vaccine mandates when it comes to restaurants and concert venues.

Such a mandate could include a second shot of the COVID vaccine, as well as boosters shots.

“With all of our approaches to COVID, we’re going to update them because we’re dealing with some new challenges,” he said. “We’re going to keep updating policies regularly to meet this challenge.”

De Blasio was responding to a question from WNYC’s Brian Lehrer about whether the city would require people seeking to eat indoors or attend concerts to show that they’ve been fully vaccinated — as opposed to providing proof of just one shot, which is the current requirement.

“That will be looked at along with a series of other actions because it’s really dynamic right now,” de Blasio said.

The mayor also pointed out that it is not just omicron he’s concerned about, but the spread of COVID’s delta variant in the winter months as well.

De Blasio, who is contemplating a gubernatorial run next year after he is term-limited out of office as mayor, was speaking a day after appearing alongside Gov. Hochul at City Hall on Thursday to alert New Yorkers that the heavily mutated omicron variant had found its way to the Empire State.

This idiot wanting to do this in the last hours of his abominable reign as mayor confirms that it's his and Davey Chokshi's fault that he elongated the COVID era by letting the Delta variant spread with the initial mandate.

Meet Eric Adams agents of the city committee










 

Friday, December 3, 2021

Lesbian couple tormented by neighbors renting city financed house

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THE CITY

A Far Rockaway couple say they’re being harassed by their next-door neighbors who are accused of illegally renting a home purchased through a city program that requires the owners to live there for 25 years.

Dianna and Pam Prashad, who are in the same program, say that means they’re now stuck with “neighbors from hell” — and unable to move elsewhere.

“This home was our happy place,” Dianna Prashad, 45, said of the two-story, blue-and-white semi-attached home in Edgemere that she bought in 2007.

But since March 2020, just as the pandemic lockdown went into effect, the Prashads say they’ve faced harassment — including anti-gay slurs — from tenants next door. The neighbors moved in after the owner relocated to Delaware despite the requirement that she stay in the home for 25 years, the Prashads say.

The couple said they are receiving “constant threats” from the next-door neighbors, who they believe are targeting them because of their sexuality.

The alleged harassment began soon after the new tenants moved in, according to the Prashads. The couple say they called the police on April 22, 2020 after their next-door neighbors allegedly threatened to assault Pam while she was outside her home, they said.

“Come and get this ass-whooping, d---,” one neighbor allegedly yelled at Pam Prashad.

Another time, the same tenant said of Pam, “that b---- needs a good ass-whupping,” the couple said.

In April, the tenants began yelling at the couple for no apparent reason as they planted flowers in front of their home, according to footage captured on the Prashads’ security camera and reviewed by THE CITY.

“We’ve been directly targeted,” Pam Prashad, 50, said.

Thursday, December 2, 2021

Blazzy's Smack and Crack Houses

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NY Post

Smoking crack cocaine is officially sanctioned at the “safe injection sites” Mayor Bill de Blasio brought to Manhattan this week in a move that’s infuriated the centers’ neighbors — and has at least one business owner packing his bags.

“People are allowed to bring the substance that they prefer to use here and they are permitted to consume the substance in the manner of their choice,” East Harlem site director Kailin See confirmed.

“We are there to make sure that no medical emergency occurs and to connect them into care if they need that,” she said, adding that many of her clients use drugs laced with fentanyl including heroin, cocaine, crack, methamphetamine, amphetamine and K2.

The nonprofit is one of two in Upper Manhattan that became the country’s first legal shooting galleries when they opened Tuesday.

And they have had an immediate effect — but maybe not the one de Blasio, who has just four weeks left in office, was hoping for as business owners still left standing try and dig out from the pandemic.

One merchant near the second center, in Washington Heights, said the junkie haven is forcing him to move his retail shop out of the neighborhood.

“Now they’re going to promote the drugs and people don’t have to worry if they get sick or they’re going to die because they’re gonna have medical people that are gonna take care of them so that they don’t overdose and die so that they can do their drugs again tomorrow?” the shop owner said.

Wildin' Islanders

 

CBS New York 

  People living near the new UBS Arena in Nassau County say parking mayhem is driving them crazy.

They say fans going to Islanders games and concerts are taking their cars to the neighborhood streets of Elmont, CBS2’s Jennifer McLogan reported Tuesday.

UBS Arena opened amid much fanfare, yet locals say they have been saddled with something they didn’t expect.

“I cannot even get over the sidewalk, over the lawn, to get in because I’m completely boxed in with cars,” homeowner Patricia Romeo said.

Romeo said she has been trying to go to home from the hospital, where she’s a nursing supervisor. She shared videos she has taken of game night or concert night. She claims on Elmont streets there has been chaos and pandemonium, and out-of-control drivers.

She said people have been parking anywhere they want, urinating and cursing.

“They didn’t build a system,” homeowner Sheikh Islam said.

Islam and his family live across from the new arena.

“It’s the 21st century. They can have an app. They know how many people are coming, and they didn’t open the parking lot. They are just like, ‘Oh, I want to make my money,'” Islam said.

Hundreds of Rikers Island C.O.'s suspended following extortion mandate deadline

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NY Post 

Nearly 600 correction officers with the already depleted city Department of Correction workforce were expected to be placed on unpaid leave Wednesday for not getting inoculated against COVID-19, city officials said.

The roughly 570 uniformed members will be relieved of duty if they showed up for their shifts without getting immunized against the deadly virus following Tuesday’s deadline, according to DOC spokesperson Patrick Gallahue.

An additional 708 corrections officers have applied for an exemption from the vaccine mandate due to religious or medical reasons. They will remain on the job with weekly testing protocols as their applications are reviewed, according to Gallahue.

The figures were released Wednesday afternoon, hours after city officials came seemingly unprepared to the mayor’s daily morning press conference — in which DOC Commissioner Vincent Schiraldi quipped it would take “a level of math that is going to give everyone a headache” to provide a total number of officers on unpaid leave due to the mandate.

The DOC, whose employees have been among the city’s most vaccine-hesitant, did see a 31-point boost in its vaccination rate in the weeks leading up to the deadline for city jail workers.

 

Wednesday, December 1, 2021

Gimme safer shelter


 

QNS 

Victor Lopez, 59, has been struggling to hold a job for most of his life. Since the pandemic hit, he got passed around to different homeless shelters, where Lopez said he faced terrible violence. Now, all he wants is to find a safe haven at the Hungry Monk shelter in Ridgewood.  

Lopez said he’s been to many shelters throughout the city but never felt more unsafe than in Harry’s Place in Bed-Stuy, Brooklyn. Close to 50,000 people in New York City are experiencing homelessness and Lopez knows his situation is not unique.

“It’s terrible,” Lopez said. “It’s crazy in there. Why would they put me in a shelter like that? I didn’t give anyone any trouble. I’m out here trying to get better and get help, not to fight with people.”

Lopez has been trying to get a bed at the Hungry Monk facility, but unfortunately, no beds are available. Father Michael Lopez (no relation), who started the nonprofit, said they have rarely had a free bed since they opened in 2019.

Lopez’s problem is indicative of a larger issue faced by many around Queens and the rest of the city. Council member Robert Holden said Department of Homeless Services Commissioner Steven Banks is to blame. Holden said Banks had been an advocate for the large “warehouse” shelters that pack people in without privacy and barely any security, resulting in the dangerous conditions Lopez spoke of. 

Banks announced his decision to step down last week. Holden is hoping this will kick off a more responsible homeless response.

“I would much rather have smaller, faith-based shelters along with letting a community have a say in where they would be located,” Holden told QNS. “The organizations that run the big shelters for the city have contracts that they often do not fulfill, such as providing adequate security, etc. Banks did not hold them accountable. Residents of the shelter often harass neighborhood residents and shopkeepers, as well as steal from them. Banks also created a culture of corruption, with one scandal after another.”

 

Mario's other son gets whacked by CNN

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Variety 

CNN said it suspended Chris Cuomo “indefinitely, pending further evaluation,” following new disclosures about how he helped his brother, former New York Governor Andrew Cuomo, in the midst of a scandal over sexual harassment allegations, a move that leaves the WarnerMedia network without the services of its most-watched anchor.

“The New York Attorney General’s office released transcripts and exhibits Monday that shed new light on Chris Cuomo’s involvement in his brother’s defense. The documents, which we were not privy to before their public release, raise serious questions. When Chris admitted to us that he had offered advice to his brother’s staff, he broke our rules and we acknowledged that publicly. But we also appreciated the unique position he was in and understood his need to put family first and job second,” CNN said in a statement Tuesday evening. “However, these documents point to a greater level of involvement in his brother’s efforts than we previously knew. As a result, we have suspended Chris indefinitely, pending further evaluation.”

Breakfast with Tiffany

Queens Post 

Tiffany Cabán will be sworn into the City Council Wednesday to fill the vacant Astoria seat.

Cabán, a former public defender, will be sworn in by the City Clerk at noon — a month ahead of other council members-elect in order to fill the District 22 vacancy left by former Council Member Costa Constantinides.

District 22 — made up of Astoria, Rikers Island along with parts of Jackson Heights, Woodside and East Elmhurst — has been unrepresented in the council for nearly eight months since Constantinides left office on April 9 to take a job in the nonprofit sector.

Cabán, who had significant name recognition following her near-victory in the 2019 Queens district attorney race, will take over after winning both the June Democratic primary and November general election for the position.

She took 62.79 percent of in-person votes in the general election — ahead of Republican Felicia Kalan who took 31.1 percent and Green Party candidate Edwin DeJesus who took 5.84 percent.

Cabán, a staunch progressive, was endorsed by the Democratic Socialists of America and a number of high-profile elected officials during her campaign. She earned the first-choice endorsement of Constantinides ahead of the primary as well as the backings of Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and U.S. Senator Bernie Sanders.

Wednesday’s ceremony will be largely procedural and will be followed by a celebratory inauguration event on Dec. 15 at the Variety Boys & Girls Club of Queens, where Constantinides is now CEO.

 

Luxury public housing coming after limpdick movie theater demolition

 

The building that housed Sunnyside Center Cinemas on Queens Boulevard will soon be bulldozed to make way for an eight-story, 99 unit apartment complex.

Plans were filed earlier this month for an apartment building at 43-42 43rd St. that will contain 99 units, ground floor retail space and 138 below-ground parking spaces.

The site is located on the northwest corner of Queens Boulevard and 43rd Street and at one time housed a Dime Bank branch, Sunnyside Center Cinemas, P.J. Horgan’s and a dental office.

The proposed building will be 79-feet-tall and will yield 73,762 square feet, with 67,098 square feet designated for residential space and 6,664 square feet for commercial space.

John Ciafone, the owner, told the Queens Post that the plan includes approximately 25 affordable housing units. He will be receiving a 421a tax abatement—which will lower his property tax bill—in return for providing the affordable units.

The property does not need to be rezoned in order for the development to take place. However, Ciafone said that he is waiting for the Dept. of Buildings to approve the plans.

He said that upon approval, he would aim to start demolishing the building within 3 months. He said that it would likely take two years to develop the project.

Ciafone, who bought the property at the end of 2012, has been subject to fierce criticism over the years.

Shortly after acquiring the building he made clear that he would not be renewing the leases of the existing tenants—which led to the closure of long-time businesses such as Sunnyside Center Cinemas and P.J. Horgan’s.

All the tenants had left by 2015 and the building has been vacant since.

 Update: 

Forgot to mention the last movie feature that played at this theater earlier this year.