Saturday, May 31, 2014

Stumped in Hollis

From: Deen, Gibran A
Sent: Thursday, January 17, 2013 10:38 AM
To: ''
Subject: Hurricane Sandy Damage....

To Whom It May Concern……
Good Morning, my name is Gibran Deen and I live at 89-20 196 St. Hollis, NY 11423
Super storm Sandy wreaked havoc on many New Yorkers and I was one of those folks. My family and I did not suffer much significant damages, we were very lucky and fortunate. Nonetheless, the storm brought down a very big tree that was in the front of my home. It left us without power for several days, damaged me and my neighbors vehicles; fortunately our homes were spared. NYC parks personnel subsequently responded and removed the tree leaving behind the massive tree root / stump. The tree root is sitting above the road surface and my driveway making it very difficult for my vehicle to enter and leave. I reached out to the parks department but no response was provided as to when the tree root/stump will be removed. I’m writing to you in hopes that someone might be able to advance my request and have this obstacle removed as soon as possible.


Yes, it's still there...

Here's what Parks says: Stump removal

All stumps remaining from tree removal operations performed by Parks are recorded and registered. Stump removals are dependent on the availability of funding. We currently have a backlog of stumps awaiting removal. If you are a property owner who would like a City-owned stump removed, we have two options for you to consider:

You can request a new tree via 311 or our tree service request system, and if the stump is less than approximately 30 inches in diameter, our planting contractors will remove the stump during a new tree planting process.

You can obtain a tree work permit from Parks and hire a contractor to remove the stump at your own expense. If you prefer this option, permit applications and instructions are available on our Working On or Near Trees page.

Connecting the dots

This was forwarded by a reader:

"Happy Spring!

You may already be aware of Green Shores NYC’s groundbreaking efforts to ensure a greener, cleaner, more accessible and connected East River Waterfront in Queens.

In keeping with our tradition of being the voice of the community with regard to our waterfront and our goal of having a greener, cleaner, connected and united waterfront, we are excited to announce our new initiative called BRIDGING THE CREEK (BTC).

For BTC we will be working closely with the Newtown Creek Alliance and with support from the Hudson River Foundation. BTC will focus on bringing Queens residents into closer contact with the Newtown Creek and its environs through tours, workshops and a forum that will gather concerns and brainstorm solutions for environmental improvements and public access. A key goal of BRIDGING THE CREEK is to open up new opportunities for dialogue, collaboration and access. A celebratory event is envisioned later this year that will further encourage connections between neighborhoods on both sides of the Creek.

In the coming weeks, we will be reaching out to you to provide more detailed information.

Thanks so much for your time and we look forward to working with you on The Creek!"

Then they received an invite to take a survey, a screenshot of which is below:

You will notice the words "trailblazing advocacy work" used to describe Newtown Creek Alliance. Kind of over-the-top language, don't you think? Let's connect the dots:

1) City Parks Foundation is in charge of administering Newtown Creek Wastewater Treatment Plant funds.

2) GreenShores is a program of City Parks Foundation, which is the Parks Department's fundraising arm.

3) According to the above e-mail, GreenShores is a "partner" of Newtown Creek Alliance.

4) Newtown Creek Alliance supports the North Brooklyn Boat Club, mainly because the boards of both organizations contain the same people.

5) The boat club went from priority #3 to priority #1 after City Parks Foundation released the list.

Numerous other conflicts-of-interest here were explained in a previous post. There's a cabal that has a lock on a majority of the funding that has anything to do with the Creek.

It's kind of funny but sad how easily the dots can be connected, yet Attorney General Schneiderman is blind to what's gone on. Is this intentional, sir? Is it time to BRING IN THE FEDS?

Curtis and Melinda star in Miss Heather's latest snowglobe

This just in from Miss Heather. Her latest snowglobe is dedicated to our lovely borough. You will notice Miss Katz is taking a crap on Queens while Curtis watches in horror. No word if the woman standing next to him is the ex-Mrs. Sliwa. I'm proud to have at least partially inspired this assemblage.

This is actually for sale. I propose that a Queens civic organization purchase it and present it to her at their next event. Would make for a great centerfold photo in the local weeklies!
And while we're on the subject, why is "Queens Borough President" Melinda Katz headlining/hosting a Jewish function after giving a city chaplain the boot from borough hall, citing "separation of church and state"? Even a Jewish news organization said that was wrong.

CitiBike owes a $1M parking fee

From the Wall Street Journal:

The operator of New York City's bicycle-sharing program faces another hurdle as it tries to find a successful financial formula for the popular program—the city wants it to pay up for lost parking revenue.

A little-noticed provision of a contract with Citi Bike's operator, Alta Bicycle Share Inc., requires the company to reimburse the city for parking revenue, since some of the docking stations for the system's bikes take up former parking spots.

The city says Alta owes about $1 million in lost revenue through 2013, according to people familiar with the matter.

Alta, a Portland, Ore.-based company that runs Citi Bike through its subsidiary NYC Bike Share, has been in negotiations with New York City transportation officials and an outside investor, REQX Ventures, whose capital infusion would fuel an expansion of the program.

REQX Ventures and Alta have been seeking to remove the parking-revenue provision from the Citi Bike operator's contract with the city, according to a person familiar with the matter.

Parking revenue has emerged as a bargaining chip in the negotiations, but it is unclear whether the city would let Alta off the hook and remove the requirement in a reworked contract.

Tower people must settle for library van

From LIC Post:

The Queens Library will be starting a mobile library service in Hunters Point this Saturday, which is expected to operate until a physical library is built on Center Boulevard.

The mobile library will be parked next to Gantry Plaza State Park (Center Blvd at 48th Avenue) each Saturday starting May 31 and will operate between 8:30 am and 5:30pm. The service will offer books and materials for all ages, as well as two computers for public use.

Residents will be able to borrow and return books in a similar fashion as if they were going to any other Queens Library.

The plan is to have the mobile library operate all year round– although it will not be in service July 5. “We are likely to keep it there until the [Hunters Point branch] library is built,” said Joanne King, a library spokeswoman.

The Hunters Point Community library should have been completed by now. However, the project continues to face delays as builders have been unwilling to erect it for the $28 million on offer—and it could still be years before it is completed.

Friday, May 30, 2014

Forest Hills apartment complex has seen better days

Horticulturally challenged apartment building 67-70 Yellowstone Blvd. [the Ethan Allen], between 67th Drive and 68th Avenue, previously mentioned in Queens Crap with regard to cemented-over tree pits on both sides of the building, seems to be continuing in the same vein with its recently installed “Keep Off the Grass” signs. It looks as though they’ve [kind of] planted some sad shrubs, complete with tags attached, in the dusty and trash-strewn soil. We don’t seem to detect any “grass” on these areas, nor has the property had more than some tufts for years thanks to its neglected state. The signs have left many a pedestrian scratching their heads and taking photos, as have the cemented tree pits. We’re wondering who’s directing this pathetic “beautification” project.

The entire property, complete with beverage containers, discarded fruit, cigarette butts, dog waste and other gems, remains a blighted disgrace, in harsh contrast to its surroundings. Rocky debris covers all would-be "lawn" areas, most likely the result of a poorly executed 2013 facade project. [Neighboring buildings were treated to dust, dirt, and trash and garbage as a result of unsupervised masonry workers dining al fresco.] And while it's one of the few buildings in the area with a spacious yard, it's been allowed to deteriorate into a decaying and graffiti-covered embarrassment, with broken benches, crumbling concrete, a non-level, tarred surface with filled-in cracks on display, and tarred-over tree roots attempting to free themselves. [Torturing trees seems to be a motif at this address.] There’s a not-surprising notice regarding rat bait on the yard fence.

67-70 Yellowstone workers make a very loud, almost daily show of blowing leaves around but, apparently, not doing much else. What’s evident to all passersby seems to escape their notice. Deflated helium balloons have remained snagged in low-hanging tree branches for months, while other detritus has rotted in place for even longer periods. Broken windows adorn the property at cellar level on all sides. Cable wires, dead and alive, snake past apartment windows and fire escapes. A stroll up to the entrance reveals gaping fissures in the concrete path, cracked, rusted lamp bases, and an arrangement of cracked and broken bricks badly in need of replacement as a “step” at the entry. Dirty street-level screen doors and entrance areas don't exactly call out, "Great building, fill out an application."

The property didn't even have a legal sidewalk on the 68th Avenue side until last year. [The tree pits were cemented over as part of the "facade renovation."]

And now comes the 67-70 Yellowstone Blvd. version of landscaping. The owners seems to think that putting up a few signs, when they obviously couldn't care less about the condition of the property themselves, is the key to discouraging bad behavior. Signs might be effective if everything about the property didn’t currently suggest: “Abandon all hope, ye who enter here."

A shout-out to the owners and crew of this disaster area for pretending not to notice that almost every other building in Forest Hills offers an example of what basic property maintenance looks like, not to mention beautification, and it ain't this. If we do find any clean, healthy grass or even some genuine soil at 67-70 Yellowstone, we’ll be sure to "Keep Off."

- Forest Hills Wanderer

Gina Argento owes the City $30,000 just for one property

44-19 Broadway in Astoria. This property has been hit with an illegal sign violation for Ciafone's offensive banners that still hasn't been corrected. You'd think the psychic would have told him that was coming.

It also has a stop work order on it from 2010 and $30,000 in outstanding fines.

What would we do without the gruesome twosome? Well, we know the boathouse would be up shit's creek, that's for sure. It's ok to fraternize with slumlords so long as you can store kayaks on their property.

DeBlasio owns the message

From Crains:

From the first moments of New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio's administration, when he initially declared his midnight swearing-in off limits to the media, he has established a record of frequently conducting public business in private, with dozens of events closed to the press.

In nearly five months in office, Mr. de Blasio barred the media from 53 events and limited access to 30 more, an Associated Press analysis of Mr. de Blasio's schedule shows. On a handful of days, his entire schedule was off limits. All told, more than 20% of his listed events were closed to the media.

Events in which reporters were notified of their existence but prevented from attending ranged from meetings with government figures such as the mayor of Seattle and Israel's minister of foreign affairs to sit-downs with the NBA commissioner, the Rev. Al Sharpton and the Russian band Pussy Riot.

Often, the mayor's photographer later published images from those so-called private meetings, meaning that an official image of the event is the only one that exists. It's a tactic President Barack Obama has also used while restricting access to events in the White House and around the world. Several news organizations, including the AP, refuse to distribute such handout images from Mr. Obama or Mr. de Blasio.

Mr. de Blasio, a populist Democrat who campaigned with promises of an open administration, said in a news conference in Brooklyn on Tuesday that he "believes deeply in transparency" and that his administration could do better.

"We believe there is a whole swath of information that needs to be available to the public and we need to continue to do a better job on that," he said. "There is a lot of day-to-day government business that is appropriately disclosable that we need to be better at."

Mr. de Blasio's spokesman noted that any limits imposed on reporters are largely due to logistics, not secrecy.

But some media watchdogs worry that the restrictions in New York reflect a larger trend of government officials limiting access to the media while getting their message out to constituents directly via Twitter, Facebook and their own websites.

"It's easier to manage the message if you leave the media out of it," said Hunter College professor Jamie Chandler.

In other words:

How to get illegal clothing bins removed

From Clean Up Jamaica Queens:
If you are very observant like I am, you will have noticed a huge amount of various donation clothing bins in various colors (black, green, pink, etc) all over the community, some in front of apartment building, some in the middle of sidewalks and some in parking lots of business.
The Goodwill bins are actually going toward the charity Goodwill and more than likely are put there legally. Most of the others (pink, black, green, blue) are placed illegally without approval. With the exception of the Goodwill bins, the clothing from these bins are actually sold, not given to charity, so you might want to think before you put clothing in these bins.
These bins are becoming a major eyesore not only in the Jamaica community, but all over NYC and our people in charge are not doing a damn thing about this latest quality of life issue. Besides being eyesores and sometimes blocking sidewalks, they tend to have graffiti and stickers placed all over them and many have garbage dumped on the sides of them.
Until recently, the only way to have these removed were to print out a form from the Department of Sanitation's website and mail in in. Well, now you can just fill-out the form on-line and submit it. You can find the link here.

Our stupid immigration policy, perfectly summed up

From Forbes:

My cousin’s friend Phillip is a bright web designer with a knack for product. In 2013, he launched a mobile app with his friends called Tinypost which allowed users to rate restaurants quickly and easily on mobile devices. The app was well designed and garnered press from top technology blogs and eventually, Tripadvisor acquired Tinypost and hired the founding team which included Phillip.

Phillip went to Santa Clara University and earned a degree in Computer Science — he was in the top of his class and worked hard to assemble a team to create a great mobile product. It is impossible to tell, but Phillip is German. He grew up in Germany and decided to come to America to study because he felt he could build great products with other great people in Silicon Valley.

After Tinypost was acquired, Phillip applied for an H1B visa to stay in the US and work on the project at Tripadvisor. His temporary visa runs out in August and the US immigration service rejected his application to stay in the US and continue to work on Tinypost. In August of this year, Phillip will be deported to Germany.

Phillip is arguably in the top decile of Germany’s talent pool and eager to learn, work, and thrive in America. He made a choice to build his career and his company here over anywhere else in the world. Phillip has given us an opportunity and our response is to send him home.

Meanwhile, if you have no skills whatsoever but were able to make it here without authorization, you are welcome to stay as long as you like, you may seek refuge in "Sanctuary Cities" like NYC and asshole pols will bend over backwards to make sure that you can get a whole bunch of free services, courtesy of people who were actually born here and are so stupid that they keep returning these losers to office time after time.

Thursday, May 29, 2014

Dan tries to plead insanity

From the NY Post:

Former City Councilman and “pagan prince” Dan Halloran now says he’s crazy — but it’s only to stall his trial next week on charges that he aided in Rep. Malcolm Smith’s plan to rig the mayoral race, prosecutors say.

Halloran (R-Queens) notified White Plains federal Judge Kenneth Karas this week that he “underwent surgery to remove a brain tumor” in May 2012 and wants to use insanity as a defense for his alleged aberrant ­behavior.

Assistant US Attorneys Douglas Bloom and Justin Anderson fired back with a letter to Karas, accusing Halloran of doing whatever it takes to delay the trial.

“Pretrial motions were due six months ago” but Halloran waited “until the week before trial to request an insanity instruction,” prosecutors wrote.

“Brain surgery, in and of ­itself, is not a basis for an ­insanity defense. Halloran does not allege that the surgery — which, based on press reports, involved the removal of a benign tumor from
above his ear two years ago — affected his cognition in any way. To the contrary, at the time, he claimed to have recovered well.

“Given that Halloran’s request was filed simultaneously with his application for a six-month continuance, it appears to be nothing more than an attempt to ­delay the trial,” the prosecutors said.

North Flushing plastered with illegal signs overnight

Crappy -

On Monday night, a huge swath of North Flushing from College Point Boulevard to Murray Street / 28th to 35th avenues was hit at almost every intersection with these signs. They say "Cash for any Car" with a phone number below.
The problem is that the asshole that illegally put them up used *industrial strength adhesive* to attach them to the poles and's almost impossible to take them down without damaging them unless we can find a solvent. Sanitation and NYPD are useless, as are our lousy Councilpersons (Vallone & Koo).
Senator Avella has already been made aware and reached out to the agencies in question, but they haven't done anything to remedy the situation, much less give violations to these bastards.


- North Flushing Resident

code: E15
boro: 4-Queens
street: 35th Ave
between: College Pt Blvd Murray
request: Illegal Poster Violation Service Request
location: Telephone Pole
sign_description: On Monday night, a huge swath of North Flushing from College Point Boulevard to Murray Street / 28th
sign_number: 516 232-0007

Owning a home in Queens darn near impossible these days

From the NY Post:

“There are homes for first-time buyers, but you have to look around,” he says.

That’s what Ray DeWire and his wife, Brittany, both young middle-class professionals, recently did. They lived in Kew Gardens, where “we were having problems parking our car,” Ray DeWire said.

They wanted to stay in Queens, but “it was tough to find something in Queens,” namely, a one-family house at the right price and with the amenities that they wanted.

Jamaica Estates residents Mekale Jackson and his wife, Aisha, two young art-industry professionals with middle-class incomes, have a year-old daughter whom they want to grow up in a home. But it’s been rough.

“It’s a difficult environment [to buy in New York]. Queens is out of the question,” Mekale Jackson said. “You would have to pay $388,000 and then maybe more to fix up the house. We also want to find a home in a place where we are not going to pay for private school.”

It's ok, we know what you really mean. Let's continue:

One factor in the higher prices locally is that the supply of new units is not growing fast enough. Also, since the housing meltdown of 2008, it has become more difficult for many people to obtain a mortgage.

Another potential roadblock is the average down payment of 20 percent. That means the prospective New York City-area homeowner must have $97,225 up front. Obtaining a mortgage also requires an annual household income of just under $90,000, said.

Graffiti complaints are up

From WPIX:

According to the New York Post, New Yorkers filed 211 more graffiti complaints this year compared to last year.

That’s about a 5 percent spike.

An NYPD spokesman says taggers compete to have their graffiti seen.

The spokesman said the best way to curb the rise in graffiti is to paint over the tags.

Buildings marketed as "green" not really so

From the NY Times:

A dozen construction workers gathered around a flatbed truck in Long Island City, Queens, one recent Tuesday, marveling at the final piece of a new 15-story apartment building they had just finished assembling. As a mobile crane hoisted the 20-foot-long black contraption over Pearson Street, many of the workers used their phones to film its ascent.

What looked like a huge carbon-fiber strand of DNA strung around a 10-foot mast was the last of three wind turbines being installed atop the Pearson Court Square, a 197-unit luxury apartment building.

In an industry, a city and a society obsessed with being green, wind turbines remain scarce — only two apartment buildings in New York City harvest the skies for energy, with limited yields.

But in the past few weeks, two new installations have popped up, the one on Pearson Street and another atop what is now Brooklyn’s tallest building, 388 Bridge Street. At least half a dozen more are on the horizon.

As with most green innovations, L&M also had the government on its side. The New York State Energy Research and Development Authority helped pay about half the $100,000 installation cost, and will study the turbines’ efficacy.

For many sustainability advocates, that is precisely the issue. “A tiny windmill on a big building is just silly — it might as well be a pinwheel,” said Russell Unger, executive director of the Urban Green Council. “It’s a lovely idea, if people want to pay for it and test it out, but as far as return on investment goes, it’s a waste compared to more insulation and efficient building systems.”

L&M actually agrees. “We’re doing all we can to green the building, but it’s kind of hard to sell an apartment by showing people your high-tech boiler,” Mr. Dishy said. The three turbines should provide enough power, 12 kilowatts, to keep the lights on in all common areas, including the lobby, the hallways, the gym and a roof lounge from which the whirligigs can be seen.

What they do outside the building is even more important than what they do inside — the turbines are visible from the No. 7 train platform and the Long Island Expressway and surrounding streets. With dozens of towers on the rise in Long Island City, anything to help a project stand out is good.

So taxpayers are basically funding their marketing scheme. Great.

Providing adequate notice

From the Daily News:

A city councilman wants to shed some light on obscure government notices.

Under legislation to be introduced by Councilman Ben Kallos (D-Manhattan), the city would be required to post all government notices on its website — from announcements of a community board meeting to an application for a new sidewalk cafe.

“There’s literally hundreds and hundreds of places where the government has to make a public notice — but nobody knows what the government is doing, because the public notice requirements are so arcane,” said Kallos, chairman of the government operations committee.

“We can save a lot of paper and money and increase transparency,” he said.

The notices are physically posted in public buildings or published in the back pages of newspapers.

Another bill would require all records that the law says must be kept for public inspection to be posted online.

That would cover such documents as city contracts with private vendors and applications by developers for zoning changes.

This sounds like good government, commonsense legislation. Which is why it will probably die in committee.

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Ferry fail

From Capital New York:

A Seastreak ferry ran aground in Jamaica Bay this afternoon, forcing the fire department to remove all 29 passengers, none of whom were injured, according to an FDNY spokesman and news reports.

The ferry was not part of the regular Rockaways service, but was a private ride organized by a local ferry advocate to explore ways of expanding service, possibly to JFK Airport.

The ferry ride included, among others, representatives from the offices of Assemblyman Phil Goldfeder and Queens borough president Melinda Katz.

"There was no big thump," said Goldfeder, who wasn't on the boat, but spoke to people who were. He said passengers didn't even realize they were stuck until they tried moving.

Goldfeder said the incident shouldn't be used to paint ferry service as unreliable or prone to delays.

Like it or not, here they come

From CBS New York:

Your neighborhood might be getting greener as the city continues its program to plant 1 million trees.

But as CBS 2′s Maurice DuBois reported, some homeowners don’t want the trees, and despite their objections the city plants them anyway.

Assemblyman Phil Goldfeder said the Parks Department should consult first with homeowners, and he has a bill the would require them to do so.

“For any agency to dictate is just wrong,” he said. “This is a no-brainer. The Parks Department should want to engage the community.”

On Tuesday, Mayor Bill de Blasio stopped short of endorsing the legislation.

“I want to see the bill before I comment, but I certainly want to make sure we’re doing everything that we can do to communicate with homeowners,” the mayor said.

It costs a lot to take out the garbage

From the NY Post:

Almost everything costs more in New York City — including the cost of hauling away garbage.

The city’s trash came in as the most expensive in the nation to collect at $251 a ton in a survey by the Citizens Budget Commission.

By comparison, Washington, DC, paid $182.

At the bottom of the heap, ­Arlington, Texas, pulled off something of a fiscal miracle by spending a paltry $7 a ton on waste removal, though that was in 2009.

Still, that year New York City taxpayers shelled out $228.

Why is 911 so screwed up?

From the Daily News:

The city's top investigator isn’t sure if crooks or bunglers are to blame for the 911 system debacle.

“It’s premature now to tell whether we are going to find incompetence, misconduct, or some type of criminal activity,” Department of Investigation Commissioner Mark Peters said Thursday at a City Council budget hearing.

Mayor de Blasio ordered the DOI probe and a 60-day halt to the overhaul of the 911 system, which has fallen years behind schedule and gone almost $1 billion over budget.

Ecclesiastical architecture is threatened citywide

From the NY Post:

Preservationists are raising hell to protect the city’s historic churches as parishes in desirable areas close and developers snatch up the holy properties.

Chelsea neighbors are fighting a proposed 11-story tower above the 150-year-old French Evangelical Church, which has struggled to pay for repairs and sold its air rights to survive. Residents say the plans are “atrocious” and want the Presbytery of New York City to try a Hail Mary.

“It’s not just about the preservation of this block — it’s about all the city’s historic churches,” said Paul Groncki of the 16th Street Block Association.

“They’re an important part of the fabric of our neighborhoods, and we don’t want to see them disappear. This church will disappear if it’s encased in concrete.”

The New York Landmarks Conservancy surveyed 1,200 significant religious sites across the city and found that more than two dozen historically or architecturally important churches have been shuttered or destroyed in the past decade. And Brooklyn parishes are especially in danger, said Ann Friedman, who runs the conservancy’s Sacred Sites program.

“We are going to see a lot of development and loss,” she said. “We can’t just sit back and wring our hands.”

Unfinished Jamaica Estates castle is an eyesore

From the NY Post:

This man’s home is his castle — and a pain in the neck to everyone else.

The half-built remains of what looks like a medieval castle sit abandoned alongside the Grand Central Parkway in Queens, a testament to grand ambitions gone horribly wrong.

Joseph Jimenez and his wife Josette Said set out to build a dream home on a vacant plot of land in leafy Jamaica Estates, a neighborhood full of gracious tudors and colonials.

“We thought it was a good idea because the land was being used by vagrants,” said Martha Taylor, a member of the local community board and president of the Jamaica Estates Association.

Said, who bought the property in 2001, first applied for a permit with the city Department of Buildings in 2003, and began work in 2005.

The outline of a manor that would have made King Arthur feel at home, complete with turret-like accents, sprouted on the site, but then construction stalled.

Locals began catapulting complaints about the eyesore to the DOB and to local officials, who could do little other than scratch their heads.

“Unfortunately, the city does not have a mechanism to force people to finish building,” said Marie Adam-Ovide, the district manager of Community Board 8.

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Contractor nails advertising sign to tree

Last week I noticed that contractors were redoing the sidewalk and curb at the corner of 148th Street and Bayside Avenue.  They did a reasonable job, and left their calling card: a large plastic sign affixed to a street tree with a nail.  You stay classy, Valenza Contractors! Crappy, I hope you can get the Parks or Sanitation Department to give these bastards a fine for this.

- North Flushing Resident

Service Request #: C1-1-972688591
Date Submitted: 05/24/14 1:55:13 PM
Request Type: Illegal Tree Damage
Details: Trunk Damaged
Thank you for contacting New York City 311. Your Service Request has been sent to the Department of Parks and Recreation for action.

Mrs. Slumlord has her own thing going on

"So I recently came across your complaints against Ciafone, my former landlord. He refused to give my roommate and I our security deposit back, telling us individually that the other roommate used it for a month of rent. So we brought him copies of all the checks he deposited, with "Gina Argento" signature on the back. He avoided our phone calls for the next couple of months. Until finally we had a lawyer friend get in contact with him. He then proceeded to take down our new addresses where he would then be sending our security back to us. That never happened, and we could never get in contact with him again. During this whole process John would only tell us that he was NOT the landlord of the building, and when we asked who Gina Argento was (the person the checks were going to) he claimed he had no idea what we were talking about.

What do I do!! I want to catch this scumbag. Thanks!"


I inquired as to which building this person lived in.

"I lived in the one on Steinway, 25-59. Really run down, didn't have smoke detectors when we moved in. But we wrote the checks to Gina Argento and slid them under his door every month, and I still have copies of the checks."

Ah, slid them under his law office door...

Here's the list of 25 open violations for this property. And here's what you get on HPD's website:

Why isn't this building currently registered at HPD? It is, by all appearances, a rent-stabilized building. Do the tenants of this building realize they are living in rent-stabilized apartments, or is deception about that also part of the game?

I replied to this unfortunate individual that the best course of action would be a report to HPD and a small claims court lawsuit.


  • Why does the Brooklyn Borough President continue to allow Gina Argento to sit on Brooklyn CB1?
  • Why do politicians fawn all over her considering her history?
  • Why are DEC and City Parks Foundation allowing a boat house to be constructed with taxpayer money on a parcel she half-owns since her city-regulated properties have lots of unresolved issues?

Federal and state funds used to fund luxury high rise

Safety fail on Eliot Avenue

This seems like a trip and fall waiting to happen here at the corner of 60th Place and Eliot Avenue. I suppose we taxpayers paid through the nose for the purchase and installation of these safety devices, and are now also on the hook for repairing the damage left in their wake. So here we go:

Service Request #: C1-1-972691391
Date Submitted: 05/24/14 1:38:09 PM
Request Type: Sidewalk Condition
Details: Pedestrian Ramp Defective
Thank you for contacting New York City 311. Your Service Request has been sent to the Department of Transportation for action.

Water main work to begin in Briarwood

From the Queens Courier:

Officials from the Department of Design Construction recently began construction of a $15 million water main project that will replace nearly century-old pipes in Briarwood, and explained the plan to residents on Thursday in a community meeting.

The project stretches from 84th Road and 164th Street and will end at Hillside Avenue and Queens Blvd. The city’s water pipes, which have been in place since the 1920s according to a DDC representative, will be replaced with larger new ones, accommodating for the population growth in the last century.

The current pipes, some which are six inches in diameter and others that are eight inches, will be expanded to eight and 12-inch pipes respectively. The expanded diameter will also allow the opportunity to increase water pressure, DDC officials said.

Work on the pipes started a few weeks ago and will continue until November 2015. Workers will remove and replace pipes one block at a time during the year.

Monday, May 26, 2014

Memorial Field looks kind of trashy

A few years ago, the baseball fields just north of the Flushing High School Track and Field (around 26th Avenue and 149th Street) were renovated for the first time in a half century at a significant cost. The fields were actually closed off and locked for several months, even after they were completed. About two months ago, the gates opened. The place has remained pretty empty, which is pretty nice.
What's not nice is the increasing trash piles along the fence - as per the Bloomberg administration's "solution" to household trash being dumped in park trash cans, there aren't any! The "bioswale" that was built along the east side of the field is pretty well designed, but part of it is now becoming a dumping ground for also looks like the Parks Department is dumping branches and tree limbs on a newly planted area, which doesn't seem very bright.
Two days ago, I approached a Park worker cleaning up the south end of the Park at Bayside Avenue. I mentioned that there was an increasing amount of trash in the fields up by 26th Avenue and that people were about to contact the elected officials, 311 and the media. He sighed and thanked me for letting him know...and two days later, the trash is still there.

Crappy, please work your magic to get the Parks Department to do their jobs?


- North Flushing Resident

Service Request #: C1-1-972695462
Date Submitted: 05/24/14 2:47:40 PM
Request Type: Maintenance or Facility
Details: Garbage or Litter
Thank you for contacting New York City 311. Your Service Request has been sent to the Department of Parks and Recreation for action.

Return to 110 Frost Street

Ah, we're back at 110 Frost Street, one of my favorite John Ciafone-owned properties.
This is the one that had a yard shed turned into an apartment.
The signs are quite unattractive and visible to BQE traffic.
There are quite a few complaints about this one.

Stop speeding on 147th Street!

The following pics are of yet another accident that occurred in the corner of 147 street an 5th avenue in Whitestone. This area has been besieged by speeding cars and reckless driving for years.
The local boys driving the Cadillac are said to have been driving at a high rate of speed (normal for this corner). They are fortunate they did not flip over and or injure themselves or some poor innocent pedestrian.

We have been trying to get traffic devices that would improve safety for years. All of which has fallen on dead ears. We have requested a 4 way stop sign and were denied. We requested an one way west bound on fifth avenue (this would limit the amount of cars and trucks as well as curtail the highway speed most drivers continue on the block). We have repeatedly requested speed humps on 147 street in order to curtail speeding. What have we gotten instead? Nothing! Why must we continue to wait until someone gets seriously hurt?

Remedy this now please.

For our elected officials receiving this email, your help is desperately needed.

Alfredo Centola
Community Activist

Car break-ins happening near Forest Park

From DNA Info:

An increase in car break-ins in Forest Park has prompted police to warn residents not to leave their valuables in their cars.

Thieves are cracking windows to steal wallets, purses and other valuables, police said.

Law enforcement officials said they have noticed an uptick in car break-ins in the area in the past three weeks, during which thieves stole valuables from approximately half dozen cars, after the drivers parked their vehicles around Myrtle Avenue and Freedom Drive.

Thieves break into vehicles by smashing cars' windows and usually target vehicles on Sundays, between 9:30 a.m. and 11 a.m., authorities said.

'Thanks for helping us' from the Girls Scouts

Caretakers and local Girl Scouts placed flags at the graves of veterans in Cypress Hills National Cemetery, Brooklyn on Saturday, May 24, in time for Memorial Day.

Sunday, May 25, 2014

Council members propose ferry to NE Queens

From the Times Ledger:

City Councilman Paul Vallone (D-Bayside) is one of three representatives in Queens asking the city to consider expanding ferry service to two locations in the northeast part of the borough.

Vallone wrote a joint letter with his Council colleagues Julissa Ferreras (D-East Elmhurst) and Peter Koo (D-Flushing) addressed to Hannah Henn, director of ferry service for the city, asking the city Economic Development Corp. to conduct a pilot program that would test out the long-term viability of offering permanent ferry service from Manhattan to Citi Field in Flushing and to Fort Totten in Bayside.

The letter cites a variety of factors the Council members say support the idea of instituting a new route from Manhattan to both locations.

“We believe a combination of factors will lead to an overwhelming success of the proposed sites: the demand from local communities, economic viability, lack of transportation alternatives provided to northeast Queens and the availability of existing docks at the proposed sites,” the letter said.

The letter, officially sent from Vallone’s office, refers to a 2013 Citywide Ferry Study completed by the EDC, which mentioned Citi Field as a potential stop along a ferry route because of its vicinity to Flushing Meadows Corona Park and the World’s Fair Marina.

Divorce Fast
The letter also states that ferry service to Citi Field and Fort Totten would help alleviate some of the overcrowding on the No. 7 train, the only line to run from Manhattan to the northeastern part of the borough.

Prepare to be blockbusted

From the Daily News:

The City plans to attack economic segregation in its affordable housing plan — placing the poor in middle-class neighborhoods and the more affluent in high-poverty spots.

Housing Preservation and Development Commissioner Vicki Been said the plan to build 80,000 new affordable apartments and preserve 120,000 units would create a more diverse city.

“We really have to make economic diversity a cornerstone of that plan,” she said at a City Council budget hearing Wednesday.

“That means that in some neighborhoods that have mostly middle or upper-income housing, that we would need to put affordable housing at the very lowest income,” she said.

“But in some communities where we have a great deal of poverty . . . we would try to bring more moderate (-income housing) into those neighborhoods, to try to achieve the kind of diversity that we want,” Been said.