Monday, October 22, 2018

BQX is not the plan favored by many

From AMNY:

As the de Blasio administration looks to move forward with the proposed Brooklyn-Queens Connector, called BQX, there’s renewed hesitation among local elected officials, experts and some residents about the merits and prudence of the project.

The latest skepticism comes after a summer report in which the administration outlined that the streetcar, now envisioned to run along the waterfront of Brooklyn and Queens from Red Hook to Astoria along an 11-mile route, would cost more and take longer than estimated to build while running a shorter route.

"We would be able to add additional bus service — bus lines, express bus, Select Bus — we’d be able to do that extremely quickly, much more efficiently and at much lower cost,” said City Councilman Jimmy Van Bramer, whose district includes Long Island City, Queens, which the streetcar would transverse.

Maspeth bioswales are a site to make eyes sore

Hello Crapunzel,

A couple of years ago the city in their infinite wisdom decided to place Swales all over the Maspeth area.

Few worked out okay most did not.

To see the ones that did not take a drive down 63rd Street between 59th Avenue and 59th Drive, right behind Reiff Park. You will be astounded, shocked, dismayed, appalled, sickened horrified and repulsed by how the city has maintained these, ahem, wonderful Swales.


Philipe the pissed

Sunday, October 21, 2018

Was the Nassau Coliseum deal a play-to-pay transaction?

From the NY Post:

One of Gov. Cuomo’s biggest donors has landed a $1 billion-plus contract to develop the land surrounding Nassau Coliseum — infuriating other bidders whose proposals were solicited, then discarded, by government officials.

“It’s pure pay-to-play,” said one of the developers frozen out of the mega deal who told The Post he wants a federal investigation.

The developer, along with 16 others, submitted proposals this summer at the behest of Nassau County, which was looking to finally transform the sprawling property around the newly renovated stadium, which is now mostly a parking lot.

But the county didn’t follow through with the proposals — making an unexpected announcement in early September that it would instead award the “Nassau Hub” project to a joint venture that included Scott Rechler’s company, RXR Realty Investments. The plan includes two hotels, 500 housing units and office and biotech research facilities, along with 200,000 square feet of retail space.

Rechler is a Cuomo-appointed member of the MTA board, and a former Cuomo pick on the Port Authority board, who — along with his family members and corporations — has donated at least $548,982 to the governor’s campaigns since 2009.

He is also a big donor to Nassau County Executive Laura Curran, and was a member of her transition team before she took office in January 2018. Rechler, his family and company have given $50,000 to Curran’s campaign.

Saturday, October 20, 2018

Amazon coming to Queens

From The Real Deal:

Amazon is opening its first fulfillment center in Queens at the site of the former Bulova watch company headquarters in Woodside, sources told The Real Deal.

The e-commerce giant signed a lease for 83,000 square feet with San Francisco-based Terreno Realty Corporation, which bought the three-acre campus near the intersection of Queens’ major highways in March for $25.17 million, according to sources familiar with the deal.

Representatives for Terreno and Amazon could not be immediately reached for comment.

The new fulfillment and distribution center marks a further expansion into the five boroughs for the e-tailer and provides a boost of confidence for investors betting that demand from e-commerce companies will boost industrial property values.

Friday, October 19, 2018

Cluster apartments cannot be rented by homeless

From Crains:

As the city phases out a controversial program that placed homeless people in often subpar private housing, a crucial question found its way to state Supreme Court in Brooklyn: Once the de Blasio administration stops paying rent for an apartment, are its residents entitled to lease it themselves?

Wednesday a state judge said no.

The jurist found that participants in the cluster-site program were not tenants in the apartments they occupied and thus have no right to a rent-regulated lease.

Unless the decision is overturned by a higher court, the ruling is likely to discourage future lawsuits by homeless people and to bolster the position of landlords, who did not want to be forced into an agreement with tenants who might have trouble paying rent.

Thursday, October 18, 2018

Say “NO” to the Mayor’s neighborhood jail proposal

Voice your positions using the contact information and link listed at the end of this newsletter.

Deadline for public comments is October 29th
, an email link and pdf form are attached below – please act now. This is urgent. Here’s what you need to know . . .


On August 15, 2018 Mayor Bill de Blasio’s office announced a plan to close the Rikers Island jail, replacing it with four gargantuan "jail" micro-cities in Queens, Brooklyn, Manhattan, the Bronx, each borough except for Staten Island. The proposed Queens jail would be constructed adjacent to Borough Hall, at the junction of Kew Gardens, Forest Hills and Briarwood.
Urgent Call to Action:
We must not allow this to happen – join us!

Public comments on the Mayor’s Borough Based Based Jail System proposal are due to the City by October 29th, 2018. Only emails or mailed comments will be considered.

Send emails expressing your views to:

Howard Judd Fiedler, A.I.A. 
Director of Design Unit, NYC Department of Corrections

Click this email link provided
to contact Mr Fiedler. A compose-email window to his office, will automatically open for you to easily compose and send your message.

To compound your effort, we suggest cc'ing or forwarding your email after you have sent it, to the below representatives as well:

Borough President Melinda Katz:
Council Member Karen Koslowitz:
State Senator Joseph Addabbo, Jr.: 
State Senator Leroy Comrie:
Assemblyman Daniel Rosenthal:
Kew Gardens, Richmond Hill - Community Board 9:
Forest Hills, Rego Park - Community Board 6: 
BriarwoodKew Gardens Hills - Community Board 8: 

If you prefer to print the comment form, please click this link for the pdf and post to:
Howard Judd Fiedler, A.I.A. 

Director of Design Unit, NYC Department of Correction
75-20 Astoria Boulevard, Suite 160
East Elmhurst, NY 11370  
Sign our petition, follow us on social media & more:

If you haven’t already signed our online petition please click here.

To join our email list for updates and future actions, 
click here.

Targeting Long Island's gang problem

From CBS 2:

Retired Suffolk County Police detective John Oliva specialized in gangs.

So why are gang members recruiting children as young as 10 or 11?

“It’s the age where can start getting into these kids’ heads,” Oliva said. “The recruitment sometimes occurs at home also. We’ve had it where three, four brothers in the same family part of the MS-13 street gang.”

Feride Castillo of the Empowerment Collaborative of Long Island works with young children in poverty.

“When we are talking about gangs, the dynamics are so complicated,” Castillo said. “We are talking about children sometimes even being born into families that are already involved in gangs.”

“It’s kind of hard dealing with the struggle and stuff like that, because, you know, you come from a gang-related home,” 13-year-old “Maria” said. “Like, oh I want to be popular, so I am going to be in the gang.”

Some females but mostly males make up Long Island’s estimated 1,000 gang members. Protection from bullying, a desperate need to belong and a yearning for respect are all reasons why Sergio Argueta joined at age 13 and led a gang for five years in Hempstead.

“A mode of survival is fight or flight, right? And oftentimes, kids are getting tired of being bullied, of getting picked on,” Argueta said.

Wednesday, October 17, 2018

One community's zoning victory

From the NY Post:

A state appeals panel has yanked the permit to build an Upper West Side nursing home, a controversial project with the mayor’s support.

Neighbors of the 20-story Jewish Home Lifecare project at 125 W. 97th St. had sued to block construction, arguing the area is already too densely populated.

In 2016, the mayor’s ­Office of Sustainability greenlit the project, even though a state environmental review had expressed concern about noise and hazardous material related to planned construction.

But on Tuesday the Appellate Division put the kibosh on the plan, saying it violated zoning regulations about open space.

Teenage inmates were safer at Rikers

From PIX11:

Teens were transferred out of the Rikers Island jail complex to the Horizon Juvenile Facility in the Bronx, but the mom of one teen now at Horizon believes her son was better off at Rikers.

The mother spoke with PIX11 on the condition of anonymity, she doesn't want anyone inside Horizon to retaliate against her 17-year-old son. His teen years have been spent in and out of courts and jail. She believes on Rikers Island he had access to more libraries and programs. The mom also said visits have been difficult at Horizon after several miscommunications.

"Nobody wants their child to be locked away, but what you want most of all, is that if they are, that they are being treated as a person," she said.

She isn't the only worried parent. Jimmey DeMoss, a single father from Queens, also has a 17-year-old son at Horizon.

“He’s in there to learn a lesson, but the lesson I think he's learning is the wrong lesson,” DeMoss told PIX11 News.

Tuesday, October 16, 2018

Bus shelters being inspected after collapse

From AMNY:

About 1,400 bus shelters across the city have been shut down for safety inspections after one collapsed earlier this month in Staten Island.

JCDecaux, which operates all of the city’s 3,500 bus shelters, discovered bolts in the Staten Island shelter that appeared to be corroded, according to company spokesperson George Arzt. No one was injured when the glass and metal shelter collapsed on Oct. 5, Arzt said.

About 3 percent of the first 1,000 shelters inspected revealed corrosion in bolts. He said those have been repaired and reopened.

Back in 2005, the city selected Cemusa to build and maintain street furniture including bus shelters and newsstands. JCDecaux acquired Cemusa several years ago.

The company is initially focusing on the first generation of shelters, but all 3,500 will be reviewed.

Hotel oversaturation about to hit its peak

From the NY Post:

New York City’s hotel-building boom has led to an oversupply of rooms — and enticing deals for aggressive acquirers who believe prices have finally hit a bottom.

In 2007, there were a mere 73,692 hotel rooms and just 357 hotels. By 2017, that number had jumped to 115,532 rooms and 632 hotels, according to NYC & Co. Another 18,960 rooms will join the already oversaturated market by 2020.

It seems we're going to have a major hotel-to-shelter conversion happening come 2020 when the city decides to bailout this industry. How many of these projects got zoning changes and variances for something the city doesn't need?