Thursday, July 31, 2008

NYPD issues parade permit to Sons of the Revolution

The Evacuation Day parade is on. The Sons of the Revolution, New York's group of descendants of Revolutionary War veterans, will be able to hold its historic parade this fall in Lower Manhattan celebrating the 225th anniversary of the last British forces to leave the city, a police spokesman said.

In Reversal, Police Approve Parade Permit

The New York City Police Department's commissioner, Raymond Kelly, ordered another review of the group's application for a parade permit yesterday after learning that it had been rejected in May. The police department holds authority over parades in the city.

Mr. Kelly directed the chief of patrol's office to review the application, Deputy Commissioner Paul Browne said. The chief of patrol approved the application yesterday afternoon.

Photo from Evacuation Day history page, courtesy of Washington Heights & Inwood Online

Queens pols and bikini babes

One Tony received roses from a Baywatch beauty...

Avella said he "couldn't get over" receiving the flowers (once he figured out who they were from; he confessed that he is not an avid "Baywatch" viewer), and joked that he isn't used to being treated so nicely.

But another Tony is still striking out with the swimsuit crowd, despite really, really trying:

Then Weiner moves over to a boat along the beach and two female lifeguards - Jillian Bardo, 18, of Bay Ridge Jordana Cotillatta, 18, of Rockaway - pose with him.

Weiner says: "I decided who I want to be saved by...Whatever beach they work on – that's the one [for me]."

The 2009 mayoral hopeful appears to have some work to do to improve his name recognition on the beach. Asked if she had any idea who Weiner was, Cotillatta replies: "I know he helped us out with funds, and that's it."

From a White Tower to an Orange Hut

Gothamist has all the details:

The interior of Orange Hut in Woodside still has a lot of original details, such as the tiled backsplash, counter stools, and curved facade. Perhaps there’s some original signage beneath that vinyl orange up there on top and under the wraparound awning; a piece of hamburger history hidden in the architecture.

Free comedy show tonight on Eliot Avenue

Ladies and gentlemen, the Western Queens Republican dog-and-pony show only rolls into town during the rare months leading up to few-and-far-between competitive elections. Don't miss out on the free smoke detectors! (Be forewarned that they may go off during the meeting as these 2 try to blow smoke up your ass.)

How many thousands of taxpayer dollars did it cost to mail out color fliers for this event from Albany and City Hall to district residents and take out ads in the newspapers?

The official campaign slogan for the Como-Maltese November ticket: "Quick, look busy!"

Ridgewood Theatre price almost a bargain now

From Lost City:

The price on the 92-year-old Ridgewood Theatre is going down.

You can now have it for only $9.5 million. Guess old Vaudeville houses in out-of-the-way nabes aren't as hot as they once were.

It was originally listed for $14M.

WPIRA gains two more members; Helen approves of eminent domain abuse

Opposition to Mayor's Land Grab in Willets Point Grows Despite Borough President Marshall's Betrayal of Working Families in Queens

Two New Business/Landowners Join WPIRA

As Queens Borough President Helen Marshall today announced her support for Mayor Bloomberg's potentially illegal land grab at Willets Point, the landowners fighting to keep their family businesses issued a warning to Marshall and others who do not publicly denounce the abuse of eminent domain. "We will remember those who turn their backs on us and remind them that this fight will never be over so long as the City continues with its reckless plan to take our private land and give it to a politically connected developer," said Jerry Antonacci, WPIRA member. "Today, Helen Marshall demonstrated a callous disregard for the 2,000 men and women who work hard every day in Willets Point to provide for their families."

"This is clearly a situation where the emperor has no clothes," said Council Member Hiram Monserrate. "The land use process is designed to provide the community with the details of a proposed project. Yet, this is the second time the Mayor's Willets Point plan has been approved with the clear acknowledgment that it is absent necessary information. As their questions continue to go unanswered, the Queens community is disenfranchised from a project that will determine their future for decades to come. Unfortunately, the Queens Borough President chose to support this vague and noncommittal plan rather than question it. These questions will not be ignored in the City Council."

"This developer's boondoggle is little more than a blank check written on the backs of two thousand working breadwinners in Willets Point. Why all the secrecy about who will build it, for how much and for whom? In the midst of a City and State fiscal crisis, how can our City afford $3 billion for a deeply-flawed, pie in the sky plan?" said former Bronx Borough President Fernando Ferrer.

Despite the act of betrayal, the Willets Point Industry and Realty Association, a group of land and business owners fighting the Bloomberg Administration's attempt to steal their land, continues to grow stronger and larger. Today, SIJ Inc. and Dahlia Group joined the coalition, adding a combined 34,000 square feet to the more than 24 acres of private land represented by the group. That's more than 53 percent of the private land in Willets Point.

SIJ Inc. owner Irene Presti, who has been in Willets Point for over 25 years said, "The City has been lying to all of the landowners at Willets Point for decades. They have been collecting our taxes and promising us that they would take care of us and give us the basic services we were asking for. Now we realize they are a bunch of lying crooks and that's why we are standing together as a group to fight them."

Pictured: Hundreds protested against eminent domain abuse outside CB7 meeting last night.

Beachside bungalow preservation

A state judged recently ruled in favor of [Richard] George, deciding that a row of three-family apartment buildings on Beach 26th St. was improperly built, blocking a longstanding easement that runs parallel to the street and gives waterfront access to many bungalows.

But for George, who is president of the Beachside Bungalow Preservation Association of Far Rockaway, that ruling hardly marks the end of his mission.

"The public beaches are for the public ... not for the private homeowners," said George, 56, who grew up in the area when it was brimming with bungalow communities.

His cottage industry: preserving Rockaway bungalow communities

Chauffeur can now afford his own driver

A Queens man accustomed to chauffeuring around millionaires just hit the fast lane himself.

Marcos Penteado, 57, of Astoria, won a $1 million prize in the $20 lottery scratchoff game $500 million Extravaganza.

He was joined at a ceremony for winners on Tuesday by Sharon Miltz, 53, a stay-at-home grandmother from Flatbush, Brooklyn, who got the top prize in Win $2,000 a Week for Life, a $5 scratchoff game.

Penteado said he has purchased two scratchoff tickets every payday since he emigrated from Brazil 14 years ago. Still, he said, he "couldn't believe it" when he scratched the winning ticket.

He assumed he had hit for a modest sum, and then "more zeroes started to show."

"I always thought someday down the road I would hit it big," he said. "It happened sooner than I thought."

$1M chauffeur hits the fast lane

City redefines "street greening"

This is a little old but I doubt the DOT's position on this has changed. I really thought this was a Saturday Night Live sketch when I first saw it. When DOT commissioner Janette Sadik-Khan talks about "looking for opportunities to transform spaces to green oases" she is talking about painting the sidewalk a nauseating green color. No joke. (What's the term "cars and debreeze" mean? Anyone know?)

We have the DOT commissioner greening our streets with paint, and the Parks commissioner greening our parks with carcinogenic, hot-as-hell carpets.

You gotta love it.

Police Arrest 22 Alleged Gang Members In Queens

NY1 - Police recently arrested nearly two dozen people after a ten-month investigation of Queens gang members.

Richard Brown, the borough's district attorney, says 22 people were arrested on drug and gun charges as part of a large scale investigation focused on trafficking activities by members of the Bloods street gang.

Authorities say among those arrested were 19 alleged members, including the alleged leader and his wife.

"I think it's fair to say that this investigation is another example of police and prosecutors working together to reduce drug dealing and gang-based violence that all too often plagues our neighborhoods," said Brown.

The investigation also led to the arrest of suspects wanted in connection with two homicides and a robbery.

An Elmhurst eyesore no more

I made a little trip into Elmhurst and was on my way back down Broadway toward Queens Blvd. I stopped to admire the church in the distance. Then it suddenly dawned on me: WHOA, I CAN SEE THE CHURCH! That freakin' burnt-out eyesore building at the corner is gone! I had to stop and think for awhile about this...when did I last pass through here? Surely, it was after 4/1/08, when this shed expired.
The demo permit was only applied for 5/23/08 and was issued 6/23/08 so I'm not sure how the shed expired 4/1/08...

As previously mentioned on Queens Crap, the developer is building a 6-story, 83-unit apartment house along the Boulevard of Death.

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

City denies parade permit for American group

The Sons of the Revolution are stalled in their efforts to hold the 225th anniversary parade on November 22, a Saturday. The New York City Police Department, which has jurisdiction over parades in the city, turned down the organization's application for a parade on Broadway from City Hall to the Battery.

Sons of Revolution Appeal City's Denial of Parade Permit

"I'm concerned that every imaginable ethnic group gets to celebrate their pride, every year, on the main thoroughfares of this city. But we're not allowed to celebrate the end of the war that formed this nation and ensured our liberty as Americans. We only have this parade once every 25 years," the executive director of the Sons of the Revolution, Richard Gregory, said.

A spokeswoman for Mayor Bloomberg said that City Hall has no jurisdiction over parades in New York City, and that appeals of denied applications must be directed to the NYPD. Mr. Gregory said that the organization has formally filed an appeal with the police department's Investigation Review Section. As of last night, a spokesman for the NYPD said the Chief of the Department was reviewing the matter.

An editorial in The New York Sun last year reported that the city hosts annual parades such as the Million Marijuana March, as well as parades honoring Haiti, Turkish-American relations, and Philippine independence. In the past year, the Hare Krishna parade marched down Fifth Avenue. The largest parade in New York City occurs every June, when Puerto Ricans converge in Manhattan for their annual parade.

The Sons of the Revolution's frustration also stems from the fact that the city pulled out the stops for its last Evacuation Day parade on November 26, 1983, the event's bicentennial. The parade route was even longer in 1983: It started on Walker Street at Broadway and ended at the Battery.

Summer subways suck

Overcrowded trains have become an accepted part of the morning commute, as ridership continues to grow. Just two months after taking the helm at New York City Transit last year, Howard Roberts described the situation as “scary.” Since then, he’s resembled a man trying to hold back the ocean with his hands. “The 2, 3, 4, 5, 7, F are all pretty much running at capacity,” he said last week. Metro went underground to see just how bad it was during yesterday’s morning rush.

Everyone suck it in

L and 7 top Straphangers report... W is worst

Report finds more New York City subway car breakdowns


Queens street becomes fake park

In Western Queens, where the window to secure open parkland has been shut since the days of Robert Moses, street closings may be the most effective way to bring open, if not exactly green, space to a growing population.


Instead of coming out in favor of real access to the waterfront and a park at St. Saviour's, these schmucks advocate for play streets next to existing parks and a greenway through an industrial area and the press acts like these are great alternatives. Real smart. And we wonder why Queens is treated like a joke?

P.S. Does Peter Vallone know about the street vandalism happening at these events? At least the perps left their fingerprints...

Building inspection a lucrative field

Construction emergencies like the two Manhattan crane collapses had building inspectors working so many hours this year that two of them more than doubled their salaries with overtime.

Overtime windfalls in crane probes

It's the first time in years that the annual list, for overtime payments in the fiscal year that ended June 30, has buildings inspectors near the top.

Also near the top of the list from the city's payroll department are Fire Department electricians who, for two years, have been been upgrading the citywide alarm system used to dispatch crews in emergencies - and have been bringing home big checks to show for it.

Oakland Lake to get a facelift

A beloved lakeside pathway in eastern Queens is slated to get a much-needed makeover after repeated flooding over the years has plunged it into disrepair.

The pathway that circles Oakland Lake - a spring-fed kettle lake in Oakland Gardens - had been a favored place of refuge for locals before it fell on hard times.

Cleanup coming for once-popular Oakland Lake pathway, hit by floods

The steep slopes surrounding the 20-foot-deep lake contain wetlands that overflow when it rains, causing erosion and making the area muddy and difficult to navigate, Egers said.

The city Parks Department and New Yorkers for Parks - an independent watchdog for city parks, beaches and playgrounds - are researching designs to alleviate the persistent flooding.

A landscape architecture firm revealed potential designs at a recent community meeting. These included elevated wood decking, flat steppingstones with spaces between them that act like sponges and permeable screens placed parallel to the walkway.

Project to trace our ancestry

Some Queens residents - including a prominent City Councilman - may play a key role in a worldwide research project to track the ancient migratory patterns of humans.

The Genographic Project - a joint effort of National Geographic and IBM - aims to gather DNA samples from hundreds of thousands of people across the globe in an effort to find out more about who we are and where we came from.

Lured by the borough's diverse population and rich mix of cultures, scientists set up shop in Astoria during the recent 30th Ave. street fair.

One eager participant was Councilman Peter Vallone Jr., whose family has lived in Astoria for decades.

Councilman Peter Vallone, Jr.and residents join Genographic Project

Peter was disheartened to learn that his ancestry can be traced back one of the first graffiti artists at the catacombs of Rome and a guy who tested Da Vinci's flying machine by scaling and jumping off the Coliseum.

NY1 expands Queens coverage

New York 1 is making an aggressive move into Queens, opening a new bureau and promising hourly local reports on its cable newscast.

The Queens News Now programming is scheduled to start Aug. 4, company officials said.

New York 1 beefing up its coverage of Queens with new bureau and reports

"We are hoping residents in Queens will turn on New York 1 as they always do and be pleasantly surprised," said Steve Paulus, regional vice president and general manager at New York 1. "I think viewers will relate to it immediately. It's similar to what newspapers do with ... local editions."

The move expanding Queens coverage comes on the heels of a decision earlier this month to grant phone giant Verizon a franchise to offer FiOS digital TV service in the five boroughs.

Once an hour, the 24-hour news station on Time Warner Cable will air a block of local Queens news, Paulus said, noting the station may add other Queens-specific features in the future.

The mob in construction? No way!

A union local representing 1,500 crane and heavy-equipment operators has been put under federal prosecutors' control after more than two dozen members were convicted of mob-related corruption in recent years.

Prosecutors To Oversee NYC Construction Union

A consent decree between prosecutors and Local 14 of the International Union of Operating Engineers allows a federal judge to appoint two officers who can dismiss and appoint union officials, seize union assets and visit job sites to root out corruption.

The agreement resolves civil racketeering claims brought from past mob corruption cases, including an indictment that sent reputed acting Colombo family boss Joel Cacace to prison for 20 years.

When beer was king in Queens

On a hot summer night, the Bohemian Hall and Beer Garden in Astoria is one of the best places in Queens to knock back a few.

But what many Bohemian Hall revelers likely don't realize - whether they're besotted or just plain tipsy - is that the open-air, beer-drinker's paradise was once one of some 300 beer gardens dotting the Queens landscape.

A toast to Queens of past and its 300 beer gardens

There are three reasons why all but one of Queens' beloved beer gardens disappeared, [Debbie] Van Cura said.

First, they were a German tradition that became unpopular during World War I. Second, just like in modern Queens, developers gobbled up open land. The third reason was Prohibition.

"Nothing puts the kibosh on a beer garden like Prohibition," Van Cura joked.

Wheel-y bad theft

Letter to State Senator Serf Maltese:


My wife and I will not be available to make it to the Town Hall Meeting this month, but we both have a major concern and complaint in our community that we would like to have heard.

On July 3rd of this month at 59-22 69th Lane in Maspeth at 2:45am I was awoken to the sounds of my truck alarm going off. I went downstairs to deactivate my alarm, and to look at my vehicle to find all the wheels on my truck gone and my truck balancing on two cinder blocks. All of this happening only two houses down from mine. I proceeded to call the police who arrived in a matter of about 10 minutes. I was able to file my police report, but found it alarming that I was told by the officers and the local tow truck driver who was on the scene that this is the 6th incident in the last week to week and a half of this happening. When hearing this and also the cops arriving at a very reasonable time I found it odd that there was no attempt to cruise the area for a few minutes, or radio the precinct of a possible vehicle in the area. I am not in law enforcement, but to me that seems like the right thing to do.

Here are my family’s major concerns and complaints for our community;

- Before this incident I parked my truck in front of my house every night blocking my driveway. I own the two houses that this driveway is for and both houses are under video surveillance. There are of a total of three cameras that watch the entire front of both houses and the front of the driveway. The one night that I parked my truck two houses down out of range of these cameras is the night they vandalized my vehicle. This tells me one thing; these individuals are casing the entire neighborhood. They have to be driving around on a regular basis looking for vehicles and patterns and also security weakness. Bottom Line – We need more patrol cars cruising our streets.
- Since this incident I have been voicing my concerns to my neighbors and friends. I have also been keeping tabs on more incidents in my area. Almost one week after my incident they did the same thing exactly two blocks down from me on the same street and shortly after that one block up from me on the same street. This block has quick and easy access to the LIE which is maybe why they are targeting it. Bottom Line – We need more patrol cars cruising our streets.
- If there have been so many similar incidents of this kind why has this not been moved up to a detective’s squad or task force? Bottom Line – The 104 Precinct needs to step up and do something.

Senator I moved to this neighborhood 7 years ago when I got married and I enjoy living here, but when someone cannot even park their vehicle on their own block, let alone next to their own house, it is very disheartening. I am aware of all the staffing issues at the 104 Precinct, but I hope this can be added to their long list of concerns. I will make all the effort in the world to make it to the next meeting and voice any more concerns I have, and also see what has been done on this front.

Thank you for your time and support in our community.

Mike Giammarco

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Drunken homophobic idiots threaten reporter with physical violence

This comes in response to the story about public drinking and fighting at Juniper Park that we linked to last weekend:

In case you don't have 8 minutes to waste watching this dreck: they go on and on about how the story drawing attention to their lawlessness takes up more of the page than a story about a servicemember killed overseas.

Then they call the reporter a "streeted out street fag," one of them says "your dumb ass should be put in Afghanistan and my cousin would be more than happy to f*cking snipe you," and "Let me catch you in the street."

It's great that these goons actually taped their aggravated harassment. It's going to make the NYPD's job that much easier... Mike Reka and Billy Bottles will soon be finding out that a letter to the editor would have been a better choice. These two definitely seem like the type who wore "Thanks, John" baseball caps in the 1980s.

My favorite part was the recitation of the poem about how the soldier is the one who fights for our freedoms but then claiming his cousin in the army would shoot the reporter for exercising freedom of the press.

Patriotism is the last refuge of a scoundrel. - Samuel Johnson

Breezy Point chicks at the beach

There are some funky-looking chicks hanging out at Breezy Point. None of them have been observed drinking Budweiser, however.

Something fishy there as well.

LPC will be in landmarking overdrive

With less than 18 months left in Mayor Bloomberg's final term, the city's Landmarks Preservation Commission is in a race against the clock to approve historic designations for more than 1,000 buildings.

The number of proposed designations includes a planned new historic district in Prospect Heights with 860 of the buildings.

Last year, only 369 buildings were approved citywide.

"The clock is ticking, and we're trying to do as much as possible while we have the momentum and the resources," said Landmarks Preservation Commissioner Robert Tierney.


Gennaro promises you'll have more $ in your wallet

There's a pivotal election coming this fall, and it doesn't have anything to do with senators named Obama and McCain.

All eyes on Queens Senate race

Instead of a national stage, this one plays out in a little corner of Queens, and the candidates squabble over water rates, property taxes, and remediating local school sites.

But the outcome of the state Senate race between Republican incumbent Frank Padavan and Democrat Jim Gennaro will have a huge impact on New York City's future That's because Republicans hold a slender two-vote lead in the state Senate, and Democrats, who have been gunning for years to take over the chamber, say this is their year, and are promising to end Albany's stranglehold on the city.

"Take out your wallet and look in it," said Gennaro, currently a city councilman from Fresh Meadows. "After the Senate changes, you'll have more money in it."

"The local little league will no longer have to scrape by," said Evan Stavisky, a Democratic consultant. "The nature of politics is that the party in the majority has a better chance to secure things for their district. Democratic districts will benefit, and all but one or two districts in the Senate will be Democratic."

Little leagues might also have enough cash on hand now since Stavisky political rabbi Brian McLaughlin is going to jail for stealing $90,000 from them.

Sorry, Jim, we know better and we're not buying your schpiel.

Diplomats help out the vibrant diverse mosaic

Federal investigators have uncovered numerous cases of foreign diplomats - mostly in New York and Washington, D.C. - who abused their domestic workers without fear of prosecution because of diplomatic immunity, according to a government report to be released [today].

Probe: Diplomats abuse their workers, invoke immunity

At least 42 cases of suspected abuse by diplomats - including allegations of forced labor, human trafficking and physical abuse - have been uncovered in the past eight years, the Government Accountability Office study found, according to people who have seen summaries of the document.

GAO officials wouldn't release the report in advance of its scheduled unveiling... But congressional staffers familiar with the report's contents said the diplomats suspected of the abuses were assigned to various embassies and United Nations missions. In some instances the officials were involved with agencies like the World Bank, said the staffers, who added that the report doesn't identify specific countries involved.

Update: Report released

Another attempted sex assault in Queens

QUEENS (WABC) -- An unidentified woman fought back against and escaped a would-be attacker who tried to grab her on a Queens street early Monday morning, according to police.

Authorities say the incident happened just after 1 a.m. at Sutphin Boulevard and Yates Road in the Cedar Manor section.

Police say the assailant tried to grab the woman. She screamed and fought him off before he ran away without harming her. She refused medical attention.

At this point, police say they can't say for certain if this is part of a pattern of sexual assaults in the southern sections of Queens.

Investigators from the 103th Precinct are pursuing the case. Right now, they have no firm description of the attacker.

In the early morning hours of Sunday, a man reportedly dragged a 19-year-old woman into a backyard in Laurelton, Queens, and sexually assaulted her.

It happened near 133rd Avenue and Farmers Boulevard.

On July 9, a 16-year-old girl on her way to summer school in Queens was dragged behind an abandoned building and sexually assaulted by a blade-wielding attacker. Police say the assailant pounced at about 8 a.m. as the teen walked in St. Albans.

He reportedly put a box cutter to her throat and forced her to the back of 121-02 Merrill Street, a vacant church building, cops said.

Police said the suspect, who was described only as having a Caribbean accent, forced the student to perform oral sex on him before he ran off.

She was taken to an area hospital for treatment. Cops said she was not slashed or stabbed during the sexual assault.

Hotel Pennsylvania may be spared

It was kind of a bummer posting Pennsylvania 6-5-DEMO back in February. But now the economy is in the throes of collapse and we are hearing that the hotel Glenn Miller immortalized in song may be spared from the wrecking ball.

Rufus King Park gets controversial turf

The new field at Rufus King Park in Jamaica features controversial "crumb rubber" made of tiny bits of shredded tires, which acts as artificial dirt, or infill, between synthetic blades of grass. An average soccer field uses 27,000 recycled tires.

"It's obviously completely against [Mayor] Bloomberg's phony greening of New York," said Geoffrey Croft of NYC Park Advocates. "They're taking away grass. It's absurd. Grass produces oxygen - it cleans the air."

Astoria's St. Michael's Park - under renovation since September - was also slated for recycled tire turf. But in April, the Parks Department changed course and ordered infill made of virgin rubber for the 120,000-square-foot field, Queens News has learned.

Concerns grow over phony turf as Rufus King Park opens new field

The new turf costs 38% more, adding nearly $500,000 dollars to the price tag of the field, scheduled to open in September.

At last week's ribbon-cutting in Jamaica, Parks Commissioner Adrian Benepe said the upgrade in Astoria wasn't prompted by health concerns.

The city began installing synthetic turf 10 years ago. Queens now has 29 faux fields.

What not working looks like

See that sign that says men working ahead? It's a lie.
Despite the fact that the construction fence is open and there is a big mound of dirt on the sidewalk, there is no work happening here.
Backhoe shoveling dirt onto the property? Never happened.

How do we know this? There's a stop work order here posted last Friday for violating the previous stop-work order that was in effect. Since we all know how seriously these notices are taken by contractors and owners, we therefore have come to the inevitable conclusion that the previous 3 photos were nothing more than optical illusions. Unfortunately the Queens Crap houses are very real, however.

Photos submitted by Juniper Civic.

Monday, July 28, 2008

Jamaica Avenue renaissance?

Despite foreclosure woes in southern Queens, Jamaica Ave. is holding its own. Developments with new storefronts are moving forward.

Deep discounters draw busloads of shoppers to Jamaica

"You get an eclectic mix of stores you can't get anywhere else," said developer Ken Olson of Poko Partners, which plans to build a three-story glass building with 66,000 square feet of retail space topped with an 11-story middle-income rental apartment tower at 160-08 Jamaica Ave.

First, he'll demolish the long-vacant furniture store on the property he bought for $25 million in partnership with Ricky Cohen of Conway Capital, whose family owns Conway Stores.

At 162-10 Jamaica, shopping-center owner Wharton Realty Group plans to replace the stores and food court on the first floor and basement of Gertz Plaza Mall with big-box retailers.

This can either be a draw for the existing stores or be the beginning of the end if too many big boxers are ushered in (just take a look at East 86th Street in Manhattan). But this has been the city's blueprint for scrubbing clean neighborhoods that aren't full of yuppies and have good transportation in place.

P.S. I am not even going to comment on the rendering of the building which shows the type of architecture planned for the area. It speaks for itself.

Subsidizing lawmaker lifestyles

[State Senator Malcolm] Smith's Hooters excursion was one of several not- obviously- campaign- related ways in which state lawmakers used campaign money in the first half of the year, the spending records show.

Tens of thousands of dollars were spent on dinners, flowers, baseball games and even parking tickets.

"Basically, campaign contributions can be used to subsidize the lifestyle of lawmakers," said Blair Horner, the legislative director at the New York Public Interest Research Group. "So few of them face serious political opposition, so they just spend it."

Sen. Carl Kruger, a Brooklyn Democrat, spent $1,888.97 at Italian Tile and Design on Coney Island Ave. His spokesman, Jason Koppel, said the money bought ceramic floor tile for the senator's district office.

"It was an older floor and it needed to be replaced," Koppel said. "The safety of our constituents is important."

Assemblyman Adam Clayton Powell IV's campaign expenses included $97.20 to rent a tuxedo for a black-tie dinner and $117 for parking tickets.

"It's only fair," the Harlem Democrat said about the parking ticket reimbursement. "It's not on personal business. It's on official business or campaign business."

Campaign cash used to fund good times

Billionaires for Bloomberg

Big Apple business honchos want four more years of Mayor Bloomberg - and are preparing to do whatever it takes to help him stay in City Hall for a third term.

Sources close to the mayor say his deep- pocketed pals are "aggressively pushing" him to run again - his term ends in December 2009 - and are strategizing on how to change term-limits law to make it happen.


Although Bloomberg has publicly denied that he will run for public office again, he commissioned a private poll to quiz New Yorkers on the issues of term limits and his chances for a third term.

Sources say he is on the fence and will likely make a decision in the fall.

The business source close to the mayor called a third term a "serious possibility," and said, "We will keep pushing. We believe he will run."

Hey MTA, audit's coming your way!

N.Y. Comptroller to Audit Transit Agency Finances

NEW YORK (AP) -- New York's comptroller is going to audit the transit agency that proposed two fare hikes over the next three years to balance its budget.

State Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli's spokesman says the comptroller will release an initial report on the Metropolitan Transportation Authority's proposed $11.2 billion budget by September.

Spokesman Dennis Tompkins says the audit is intended to minimize the need for fare hikes.

The cash-strapped MTA last week proposed an 8 percent increase in 2009 and another 5 percent hike in 2011 for millions of subway, bus and regional rail riders. The agency says the fares are needed to cut deficits coming from rising fuel costs and shrinking real estate income.

The verdict is in: New bus shelters suck

From Lost City:

Whose responsibility is the upkeep of the City's new bus shelters? I know the Spanish company Cemusa put them here, winning the right to do so after stuffing a billion or so into Mayor Mike Success-o-Manic City Hall. But what happens after they've been propped up and slapped silly with ads? Is the City supposed to give 'em a hose-down every now and then? Is Cemusa supposed to fly over task forces once a week?

Our favorite open spaces in Queens is asking:

What's Your Favorite Outdoor Spot in Queens?

Mine is Jamaica Bay National Wildlife Refuge, where you can forget for a little while that you live in a borough full of Queens Crap.

16 stories below ground

Don't get too excited yet - this won't be finished until 2015.

A crap on the ranch - now complete

Our previous post entitled Crap on the Ranch chronicled two rare ranch houses in Middle Village in the process of demolition. They've now been replaced by these: 4 two-family (wink) houses with addresses ranging from 66-63 to 66-73 78th Street. Apparently there was one complaint for non-compliance with rear and side yard requirements, but the inspector found that the foundation was 90% complete and therefore vested, as if that makes it all okay.

Sunday, July 27, 2008

How to make it in America in 2008

How to make it in America in 2008:

1) Come here illegally
2) Pump out anchor baby
3) Repeat
4) Repeat
5) Repeat
6) Repeat
7) Drive drunk (no doubt unlicensed and uninsured)
8) Leave family behind while you run from immigration police
9) Have oldest anchor baby cry to Daily News about how unfair your situation is

Zoning change stops Brooklyn developer in his tracks

This is what you get when you live in a united activist community instead of a one divided along ethnic lines by pols or a temporary community that's more interested in the latest restaurant and bar opening:

The complaint that led to the DOB inspection was logged at 11:49AM yesterday: “CALLER STATES THAT NEW ZONING LAW HAS BEEN ESTABLISH YESTERDAY FOR CARROLL GARDEN AREA THEY ARE BUILDING UP TO 70 FT WHEN IN THISARE YOU ONLY ALLOW TO GO AS FAR AS 55 FEET PLEASE INSPECT.” An inspector found that only 20 percent of the foundation was complete and that the building was not vested under the old zoning. He issued a Stop Work Order, except for a railing to be placed around the excavation.

Congratulations, Carroll Gardens, and what your community made happen let no developer tear asunder.

Other 4 boroughs' pools are more cool

The Daily News has now visited outdoor public pools in all boroughs, and sadly, those in Manhattan, the Bronx, Brooklyn and Staten Island sound much better managed than the ones in Queens.

What a view!

There are balloon rides taking place in Central Park in celebration of the park's 150th anniversary.

Reservations: Only available early mornings (7am-10am). After 10am, rides are on a ‘first in line’ basis. For reservations, Please visit in person at Cherry Hill Central Park at 72nd St, west of Bethesda fountain, close to Central Park West and 72nd St. entrance to the park.

When: July 25 to August 22, 2008: 7am - 10pm, weather permitting

Where: Cherry Hill, Central Park at 72nd Street, west of Bethesda Fountain

Cost: Adults: $25; children: $17.50. Only children over 40" tall may ride. Under 16 must be accompanied by an adult.

Ride length: 10 minutes

More info here: AeroBalloon

Barricade situation at daycare center

QUEENS (WABC) -- In a story first heard on Eyewitness News, there were some frightening moments for parents in Queens after they were called to pick their kids up at a daycare center Tuesday.

In a detached garage next to the center, officials found drugs and guns.

Police have arrested the daycare owner and are looking into if she was running a legitimate business.

Hugh Thomas says he dropped everything when a daycare worker called and told him to pick up his daughter Sydney.

The woman would not say why but he felt something was wrong.

"They just told me to come get my child," says Thomas.

Police sources say the husband and wife who live in this house at the corner of Hannibal street and 113th avenue got into an argument and someone called police.
A man barricaded himself in a detached garage just feet away from the kids.

Once officers got inside the garage they found two fully loaded guns and marijuana bricks.

Parents say seven frightened children were trapped inside the home.

Police arrested another man in this incident, and are looking for the business owners' partner.

Bed-Stuy gentrification comes to a halt

Mr. Blair, 23, a software engineer from East Texas, pays $1,700 a month for a studio in what he calls the Yuppie Spaceship: a new luxury apartment building on an unluxurious corner in Bedford-Stuyvesant, Brooklyn. After nine months in the neighborhood, which New York magazine labeled the city’s “next hipster enclave,” Mr. Blair is considering moving out.

He figures that for $1,700, he could be living in Manhattan. There is a subway station down the street from his building at Myrtle and Nostrand Avenues, but it is for the G train, which does not go into Manhattan. Other neighborhoods eagerly anticipate the arrival of new cafes or restaurants, but on Myrtle Avenue, the biggest news is the opening of a Duane Reade pharmacy.

Growing Pains Come and Go in Bed-Stuy

Longtime residents concerned about the architectural and cultural fate of Bed-Stuy, the largest predominantly black neighborhood in New York City, relish the slow speed of change. But they still worry about rising rents and have become weary of living and working next to buildings that are new, sleek and, in their eyes, ugly.

Photo from Curbed

Bike accidents happen more often to immigrants

As the heat rose outside the Home Depot in West Hempstead on Long Island, small groups of day laborers gathered under short trees alongside the parking lot. Here and there, heavily used mountain bikes were locked up; their owners had already found work. Jorge, who said he came to the United States from Guatemala 20 years ago, was among three dozen men still waiting for a nod from a contractor, and he leaned on a bike he said he had borrowed from a friend.

“The gas — it’s too expensive to use a car — you got to use a bicycle,” said Jorge, who would give only his first name. “We do this because we don’t have a lot of money. A lot of people do this here.”

Bike commuting takes on a greatly different aspect in this dusty parking lot. No one talks about green living or exercise. There are no showers and no bike racks. The only place to clean up is at a spigot on the side of an empty house nearby, and to lock up, the trees.

“Overwhelmingly, Hispanics are more likely to bike to work,” said David Mejias, a Democratic Nassau County legislator from North Massapequa, “and they overwhelmingly make up the fatalities.

“They are going to work at odd times, coming home at night from working in restaurants and bars,” he added, “and they have no reflective gear, no helmets.”

For the Hard Core, Two Wheels Beat Four

In 2006, 45 cyclists were killed in 5,402 reported accidents across New York State.

Seems like bike advocates should be doing aggressive outreach in Hispanic communities since members of the Hispanic population are more frequently injured or killed in bike accidents due to their lack of safety equipment and knowledge of NYS traffic regulations concerning bikes. This would have a tremendous impact on the numbers of fatalities and accidents in NYC and NYS.

Bay-side crap in the Bronx

Read this and then look at the accompanying photo.

"This side of the bridges is more laid-back than the Queens side, with lower price points and a less suburban feel," says Maria Paleatsos, who owns MP Power Realty in nearby Pelham Bay. "I'm not sure you can find anything this price on the water where families can live so well."

"People don't realize we're 10 minutes from City Island and Orchard Beach with Pelham Bay Park even closer," says Paleatsos. "When they think of the Bronx they think of affordable housing. Then they come here and see these beautiful homes with perfectly manicured lawns and the water. I enjoy watching them get excited and start thinking they can really live here."

It looks like you have the same crap that we do over here and your "perfectly manicured lawns" appear to be covered with asphalt.

Ridgewood: Where front doors are overrated

Why put a door on the front of the house? It's much better to have it on the side so you can have a garage wide enough to fit your Hummer instead. And garages are no longer used to store junk; that's now the job of balconies. The only surprising thing about this place is the lack of Fedders.