Thursday, April 30, 2015

Another Bayside corner turns to crap

This is the site of where Abbey Rent-all use to be. This property is located at the corner of Northern Blvd and 204th Street. Abbey Rent-All closed down early last year and what was built on one property that they owned was yet another Asian restaurant. Of course, it's a restaurant with a "parking lot" but the "parking lot" only holds 4 cars so the rest of the customers park on the street and block residents driveways.
It's gotten so bad that people have put up "no parking signs" in their driveways (as If that actually helps) and others have went so far as to draw yellow lines on both sides of their driveway into the street. Abbey Rent-All owned this other property across the street from where this restaurant is located as well.
They started work on the site recently and already had a stop work order filed against them which seems to have been lifted. Northern blvd already has enough crap on it, what crap will be next? The picture of how it is suppose to look is not too clear of what the site might actually become but looks like garbage to me (if that picture is suppose to be accurate).
Anyone have any guesses or knows what is being put up there? The anticipation is killing me! (Sigh....goodbye Bayside!) - anonymous

Katz against new congestion pricing scheme

From Capital New York:

Queens Borough President Melinda Katz is taking firm stance against Move NY, a congestion pricing plan that would raise funds for infrastructure repairs by implementing tolls on bridges over the East River, as well as on traffic crossing south over 60th Street in Manhattan.

In a statement co-signed by 18 Queens state senators, assembly members, and council members, Katz denounced Move NY as unfair to Queens residents. Under Move NY, Queens residents would be disproportionately taxed, with no promise of receiving benefits of the plan, the Queens politicians said.

“The ‘Move NY Fair Plan’ is far from fair and lacks any promise of returns. It is fundamentally unfair to charge residents a fee to travel within one city. It is certainly unfair to the families who live in the transit desert of Queens as it would landlock our Borough,” the pols’ statement said. “The ideas in the proposal for mass transit improvements are great. But without any direct connection between the revenues generated from the proposed tolls to those very improvements, there is simply no guarantee that this proposal will actually yield anything tangible or amount to anything more than just that: an interesting idea.”

The group acknowledged the need for more reliable funding for mass transit, but argued that Move NY would raise funds at the disproportionate expense of Queens drivers. “We reject the notion that there is only one way to generate additional monies for the Metropolitan Transportation Authority and our region’s infrastructure,” the group said, urging the city to find alternative funding methods.

Cuomo gives Pan Am shelter providers 1 week to clean up their act

From the Daily News:

Gov. Cuomo’s administration on Tuesday gave the city a week to clean up homeless shelters perenially plagued by code violations, including a Queens hotel that’s hosting a vermin colony.

In a letter obtained by the Daily News, Sharon Devine, acting commissioner of the state Office of Temporary & Disability Assistance, warned the city homeless services department it could be facing big fines.

Devine cited a city Department of Investigation probe that found multiple code violations at 24 shelters, plus a News report Tuesday about a rat colony behind the Pan Am Hotel in Elmhurst.

Noting that these conditions “are not isolated,” Devine also singled out the Pan Am Hotel report in the News:

“Published reports today highlight substandard living conditions existing at the Pan American hotel in Elmhurst Queens,” Devine wrote. “We have concluded an independent inspection of that facility and have confirmed several serious violations.”

Devine ordered DHS to fix the problems within seven days. If DHS fails to comply, the state could withhold payments, impose daily fines, ask a court to appoint a receiver or even close problem shelters.

In response, a DHS spokesperson faulted the state for not providing more money to address what has been a steadily growing homeless population in the city.

The Pan Am opened almost a year ago, so what is the excuse? Why does DHS need more money when they have contracts with providers who are supposed to be taking care of conditions at these sites? Please sign the petition I posted in the sidebar. Maybe we can get Stringer to give this slimy provider, Samaritan Village,s the boot.

City Council wants to decriminalize certain offenses

From CBS 2:

Turnstile jumping and public urination are still expected to be treated as crimes warranting an arrest, but a host of minor offenses such as drinking in public are expected to be treated administratively rather than criminally.

The changes would come under planned adjustments to the city’s quality of life laws being worked out by Mayor Bill de Blasio, police Commissioner Bill Bratton, and City Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito, sources said.

The last line of this report is classic. Why ask for ID? Use the honor system!

Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Why is de Blasio sending the homeless to NYCHA less often?

From the Daily News:

Homeless New Yorkers are getting a smaller share of Housing Authority apartments under Mayor de Blasio than under previous administrations, a report to be released Tuesday found.

De Blasio, who is grappling with record-high numbers of homeless people needing shelter, has pledged 750 NYCHA apartments a year for homeless New Yorkers, about 12% of the total NYCHA placements available.

That’s a sharp decrease from the number of units provided in prior administrations, when fewer New Yorkers were homeless, according to the Homes for Every New Yorker coalition report.

Former Mayor David Dinkins prioritized an average of 1,215 NYCHA units annually for homeless families, at a time when fewer than 25,000 New Yorkers were living in shelters nightly — as compared with 60,000 people today.

Under Mayor Rudy Giuliani, the shelter census was at about 30,000 a night, and the city set aside an average of 854 NYCHA units a year for the homeless, according to the report.

In his first term, ex-Mayor Michael Bloomberg continued with the practice of placing thousands of homeless in NYCHA apartments, averaging about 1,662 public housing placements a year through 2005. But he completely stopped giving homeless families priority, saying in 2004 that doing so creating an incentive for families to go to shelters.

Overall, there are about 270,000 New Yorkers on the NYCHA waitlist.

The report, to be released Tuesday, urges de Blasio to increase the number of homeless placements in NYCHA apartments to 2,550 a year.

Comprehensive cultural plan to be formulated

From the NY Times:

New York City is looking to join Chicago, Houston, Denver and other major cities by passing legislation to create its first comprehensive cultural plan.

The legislation, which the City Council passed by a vote of 49 to 0 on Tuesday, requires the city to analyze its current cultural priorities, assess how service to different neighborhoods can be improved, study the condition of arts organizations and artists, and plan how the city can remain artist-friendly in a time of high rents and other economic pressures.

The bill was introduced by the council members Stephen Levin (Brooklyn) and Jimmy Van Bramer (Queens).

“Administrations come and go; cultural affairs commissioners come and go,” said Mr. Van Bramer, who is chairman of the council’s cultural affairs committee and majority leader. “What we want is to have this ongoing prioritization of arts and culture.”

Tom Finkelpearl, the city’s cultural affairs commissioner, said he fully supported the plan. “We went back and forth and back and forth on improving the bill and I have completely come around to the idea that it’s going to be great for New York,” he said.

“Even though I spend all my time out looking at everything in all the boroughs, it still only adds up to an anecdotal idea of what’s happening,” he continued. “Are there parts of the city that are not adequately served by cultural resources or are there imaginative ideas for getting cultural resources to those communities?”

The plan requires the city to find out what arts groups in the five boroughs want and need and to incorporate these recommendations in a plan to be submitted by July 1, 2017.

Scarborough to plead guilty

From the Daily News:

Indicted Assemblyman William Scarborough is scheduled to plead guilty May 7 to two felony federal corruption charges, the Daily News has learned.

Scarborough was charged last year in an 11-count indictment by the Albany U.S. attorney's office with improperly claiming taxpayer-funded travel expenses.

As part of the tentative plea deal, Scarborough will cop to one count of improperly receiving money from a program that receives federal funds, a source with knowledge of the situation said.

He'll also plead to a count of wire fraud connected to transmitting of the ill-gotten gains into his bank accounts, the source said.

By pleading guilty to the two felonies, Scarborough will automatically be forced to give up his seat.

It's unclear whether the latest disgraced Albany lawmaker will face prison time.

He faces a maximum sentence of 10 years for improperly receiving money from a program that receives federal funds and up to 20 years for the wire fraud charge.

He could also be fined a maximum of $250,000 on each count.

JFK runway to be shut down for 6 months

From AM-NY:

The Port Authority has shut down one of four runways at Kennedy Airport for six months so workers can repave and expand it, officials said Monday night at a monthly meeting in Hempstead designed to address concerns about aircraft noise.

The $450 million project also includes lengthening the runway, known as 4L/22R, by 1,000 feet to meet federal safety standards and widening it from 150 to 200 feet to accommodate larger aircraft, said John Selden, the deputy general manager at Kennedy during a meeting of the Towns-Village Aircraft Safety and Noise Abatement Committee.

The Port Authority, which operates the airport, will also construct additional high-speed taxiways, which Selden told the committee would lead to fewer flight delays.

Middle Vilage coyote caught

Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Dutch Kills hotel looks very strange

From Sorabji:

27th Street near 39th Avenue in Dutch Kills is now the scene of this bizarre monstrosity: the Boro Hotel. I thought all the metal railings were some kind of scaffolding that would come off eventually. Nope. This jungle-gym façade is here to stay.

It’s not even open yet and the building is already showing signs of wear.
Seen from Crescent Street the hulking structure looks like some kind of industrial compound.

The destruction of the Steinway Mansion landscape from a better perspective

And more from George the Atheist.

New streetlights are headache-inducing

From WPIX:

It’s a bold plan: Replace all 250,000 city streetlamps by 2017 to reduce New York’s carbon footprint.

The $75 million plan, lead by the Department of Transporation, is already underway. For those who live in Windsor Terrace, Brooklyn, the new lights have already been installed. But residents say that when the sun goes down, it doesn’t quite feel like nighttime anymore, thanks to the new LED lights.

In fact, the lights are so bright, they are casting shadows and glare onto the houses themselves.

“Walking around at night, I have to wear sunglasses, otherwise the glare is blinding,” resident Jolanta Benal said.

Benal said her street looks like a movie set when the sun goes down and that she is losing sleep at night.

“In our bedroom, the light is ghastly , glaring, bright and invasive,” Benal said.

Dr. Jeff Gardere, a psychologist and frequent PIX11 Morning News contributor, said Benal’s troubles are real. Her trouble sleeping is directly connected to the amount of light hitting her bedroom.

The DOT told PIX11 News that “given the fixtures are different from previous fixtures, we are looking into ways to mitigate community concerns.”

Millions upon millions of tax dollars given to slumlords

From the Daily News:

In the past five years, the city has spent $241 million housing homeless families in hellholes rife with a catalog of code violations from vermin to lead paint, a Daily News investigation has found.

The money flowed to the operators of 24 fleabag hotels and rundown tenements that, despite being repeatedly cited by city inspectors, have become last-resort housing for thousands of desperate families.

All told, taxpayers have coughed up a stunning $1.7 billion to shelter a steadily rising tide of families since fiscal year 2010, records obtained under the Freedom of Information Law show.

Throughout that time, the city has consistently spent more on family shelters than it did on parks, libraries or senior programs.

During the last four years of the Bloomberg mayoralty and the first six months of Mayor de Blasio’s administration, the annual cost of family shelters rose 34%, peaking at $406.2 million in the last fiscal year.

As the number of homeless families seeking shelter rose from 37,000 in 2010 to top 60,000 in December, city inspectors kept citing many of the shelters for a long and horrific list of infractions.

Inspectors found dead rats and mice, bunk beds and cribs jammed up against windows leading to the fire escape, and numerous nonfunctioning smoke detectors. At one fleabag, staff claimed they weren’t allowed to turn on air conditioning without a doctor’s note.

The DOI found that the city Homeless Services Department routinely gave shelters with serious open code violations a “passing grade,” and in some cases did little to punish the nonprofits it pays to run these flophouses.

So, these places are run like hovels, but they are in the process of giving permanent contracts to the slumlords running them? Wouldn't it make more sense to ban them from providing services and finding new providers?

Check out what the Daily News found at the Pan Am.

Monday, April 27, 2015

Steinway Mansion trees destroyed

From Greater Astoria Historical Society's Facebook page. The images speak for themselves.

Katz's selective outrage

From the NY Times:

Michael Duvalle squared up in front of a two-story brick building on a quiet residential block in southern Queens and brought a megaphone to his lips. A retired security executive and local resident, Mr. Duvalle had a message for the commissioner of the city’s Administration for Children’s Services, Gladys Carrión.

“Commissioner, if you’re listening,” he began, his amplified voice ricocheting off the facade, “this is Mike Duvalle asking you to put this prison in your neighborhood, not in our neighborhood!”

Ms. Carrión was not in the building. Nobody was. But Mr. Duvalle’s bit of political theater on Saturday capped an hourlong rally by more than 40 residents of South Ozone Park, the latest action in a growing protest against the city’s conversion of the building, once a convent, into a center for adolescents who have committed acts of delinquency.

The center is part of the Close to Home program, an initiative started in 2012 by Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo, a Democrat, to place some juvenile delinquents — those who are not sentenced to secure facilities upstate — in group homes closer to their families. In New York City, the program’s centers are overseen by the Administration for Children’s Services.

The South Ozone Park center has set off vociferous opposition among some residents of the neighborhood who, since mid-February, have held weekly protest marches through the district to rally more critics. Last week, residents escalated their fight, filing a class-action lawsuit seeking to stop the opening of the center.

Residents have also marshaled the support of politicians who represent the neighborhood, including City Councilman Ruben W. Wills, who has been working with residents for months to block the project. And on Friday, the Queens borough president, Melinda Katz, another Democrat, stepped up her own opposition, sending a letter to Mayor Bill de Blasio requesting that the South Ozone Park location “be shelved” and that the city find an alternate site.

Critics say the South Ozone Park center raises concerns for the safety of neighborhood residents in the event that one of its charges escape. Furthermore, they contend, the center’s presence could lower property values.

Hmm, I can't help but notice the way the press frames these issues when it's a black neighborhood fighting something detrimental vs. a white or Asian neighborhood. I also like Melinda Katz's selective opposition. No letter was sent from her to de Blasio about the Pan Am or the Westway.

Flushing waterfront development: Ah, the smell of it!

From the Times Ledger:

A Flushing group and the Department of City Planning have teamed up to push forth a project that would redevelop the Flushing waterfront and bring more affordable housing to the area.

In 2011, the Flushing Willets Corona Local Development Corporation received a $1.5 million New York State Brownfield Opportunity Grant to fund its Flushing Riverfront Project, which would clean up and rezone 60 acres on the Flushing waterfront. The project would create a planned community with waterfront access and housing and commercial space.

City Planning decided to combine the corporation’s project into its study of Flushing West, which supports Mayor Bill de Blasio’s 10-year affordable housing plan.

The study area — whose lot area consists of 32 acres — covers Prince Street to Flushing Creek on the west, Roosevelt Avenue on the south and Northern Boulevard on the north.

“This was a great opportunity to join both efforts because the goals were aligned to create a new community and Flushing has a great need for affordable housing,” said Alex Rosa, a project consultant for the corporation.

The agency will put together a brownfield opportunity area report that will explain the challenges and opportunities for redeveloping the area and prepare rezoning recommendations.

“Flushing did have a lot of dynamics to it where it seemed to be growing towards the waterfront and we wanted to combine the idea of the downtown vibrancy, creating new jobs here and new housing and provide a market with a direction that would also include affordable housing,” said John Young, director of the City Planning’s Queens office.

In 2012, members of the Flushing Willets corporation found that the 60-acre area was mostly made up of industrial and unused lots, which could be used for numerous purposes.

Three-quarters of the study area is zoned C4-2, or a commercial and residential zone. The northern portion of the study has M1-1 zoning, which is light manufacturing. The northern portion along the waterfront is zoned M3-1, which is heavier manufacturing. The study will be introduced at a public town hall meeting May 21 at 6 p.m. at Flushing Town Hall.

So Claire Shulman's bogus lobbying group is pushing to to rezone more manufacturing areas for bullshit "affordable housing" that will do nothing but further enrich wealthy developers? Aren't we tired of this shtick already?

Sunday, April 26, 2015

Holy crap in Jamaica!

From Cleanup Jamaica Queens:

Never ceases to amaze me the blatant destruction of our borough and in Jamaica.

On a somewhat quaint small block of Jamaica that is residential and pretty uniform as far as the homes go, a small one family home has been bought by a church and the church is in the process of being built at 89-25 168 Pl. There have been issues with this property for years, stop work orders, damage to next door neighbor's property, etc (last year was some major damage done to the back portion of the house). Currently DOB stepped in again and put a full vacate order and stopped construction, but not until some bizarre damage was done to the home next to it (which that home at 89-27 168 Pl seems to have illegal apartments, but DOB has not looked into that). It seems the construction company for the church, cut a huge part of the eaves and the full length of gutters off the house on the one side. I mean how was this even allowed to happen.

I saw when it was first going up and wondered how they were even going to get the top part of the church to fit next to the house and then today I saw what was done. And why was another church (which Jamaica is littered with) allowed to be put up on this block to begin with. Never ceases to amaze me at the shit that goes on & the shit that gets put up in neighborhoods while our leaders do shit.

Weprin proposes youth hostel legislation

From the Queens Gazette:

Councilmember Mark Weprin has introduced Intro 699 to legalize the construction, regulation and operation of licensed youth hostels in commercial districts within the five boroughs. Presently, New York City does not have a law that legalizes youth hostels.

“Hostels are a popular component of travel all around the world owing to the unique community feel that they offer. A lot of young people do not have the money to stay at luxury hotels,” said Weprin. “We need a place for people on a budget to stay. This is an opportunity to offer young people clean, safe places to stay that are not as expensive as hotels.”

The new legislation would also advance the fight against illegal short-term sublets and rentals of residential facilities that affect residential communities and buildings across the five boroughs.

The Pan Am was supposed to be a youth hostel...

Carnegie Deli has illegal gas hookup

From the Daily News:

On Friday, officials discovered an illegal hookup in the basement at Carnegie Deli, officials said. The owners, 854 Carnegie Real Estate Corp., were cited for “work without a permit — illegal gas connection to Carnegie Deli,” documents show.

The department discovered “new gas piping fittings, hangers to commercial cooking,” the records state. Sources familiar with the matter said it appeared the device tampered with the meter and allowed owners to lower their bills.

Inside the shuttered restaurant, a man who identified himself as a manager declined to comment.

Saturday, April 25, 2015

Ridgewood - it's up and coming (or going)!

From the NY Post:

Strolling through Ridgewood, Queens, one doesn’t get a sense right away that change is imminent.

The main commercial corridors crisscrossing the neighborhood — Seneca, Myrtle and Fresh Pond avenues — are still a jumble of local businesses, discount retailers and mid-range, mall-style chain stores.

In keeping with Queens’ international character, the sidewalks teem with a cross-section of residents and vendors selling DVDs, mobile accessories and street food.

But in the tree-lined grid between the busy corridors, small things are percolating and creating a buzz that has put Ridgewood on the map as the next big thing.

Expanded M line subway service and lower rents are attracting those priced out of Brooklyn hot spots like Bushwick, Greenpoint and Williamsburg, and other gentrifying Queens neighborhoods like Astoria and Long Island City.

Samantha Zulch lived in Bushwick for four years moving to Ridgewood for “less rent and a quieter, better community.” She reduced her monthly nut by $150. Filmmaker Adam Kerchman pays $1,500 for a one-bedroom that he says “four blocks into Bushwick would be easily $2,000.” But more than the lower rent, Kerchman says he moved across the border for a more real neighborhood.

“There’s a lot of hipster nonsense in Bushwick, and there’s not too much of that in Ridgewood,” says Kerchman.

Not yet, anyway.

See, the thing is that the B.S. that Bushwick puts up with is not exactly welcomed in Queens. It appears that Ridgewood is going to miss out on a full-scale hipster invasion, because the rents are doubling and the types of new businesses that are opening are catering more toward the yuppie crowd than the youngsters.

City trees still suffer from Sandy's effects

From the Epoch Times:

Some of these bare-branched apparitions are still hanging on to life, but haven’t woken up to the season yet. Some are marked by the city for deletion using a green-painted “X” or small metal tags. Others are tagged “DEAD TREE” in white spray paint, probably the work of a rather literal-minded denizen.

Dead trees are the long-term blight left by the hurricane, a legacy that will continue to be felt in New York’s coastal communities for the foreseeable future.

In the immediate aftermath of Sandy, almost 11,000 street trees and 9,000 park trees were destroyed. That’s $28 million in day-of-storm tree damages.

In the years since Sandy, the work continues. In Brooklyn alone, 48,000 trees have been inspected, once in the summer of 2013, and again in the summer of 2014, resulting in the removal of more than 2,500 storm-impacted trees. The Parks department’s crews do their inspections during the summer, when trees would be at their peak leaf-out, to be sure of their vitality or lack thereof.

Monitoring the health of storm-impacted trees will be an ongoing responsibility for at least another two years, especially along New York City’s 520 miles of coastline.

Worker killed on Manhattan construction site

From CBS New York:

One person is dead after a boom-crane accident in Midtown Friday, fire officials say.

A stopwork order has been issued for 219 E. 44th St. after a truck operator unloading a flatbed was crushed before noon, 1010 WINS’ Al Jones reported.

“The victim was caught between the knuckle boom and the flatbed itself, we were able to mechanically raise the boom with our jacks and take him out,” Deputy Fire Chief Joseph Carlsen said.

The 40-year-old victim was pronounced dead at the scene.

MTA adding more trains to overcrowded lines

From DNA Info:

The MTA has proposed adding more trains on its most crowded lines to decrease waiting times, the agency said Friday.

Additional service would be added on the 7, L, 2 and M lines, mostly during off-peak hours, which showed the highest ridership growth last year, according to the MTA. The agency plans to add the new trains in December.

The most significant service increase would come on the L line, as it experienced the greatest ridership growth at all hours in 2014, the MTA said.

Under the MTA proposal, seven additional L train round trips would be added on weekdays between 10:30 a.m. and 2 p.m.

The 7 and 2 lines would also both get two additional round trips on weeknights under the plan. The new rides would be added between 8 p.m. and 10:20 p.m. on the 7 line, and between 8:30 p.m. and 9:30 p.m. on the 2 line.

The M line would also see one more round trip added on weekdays, bringing the wait time to roughly 7 minutes between trains running from 9 a.m. and 9.30 a.m., according to the agency's press release.

Friday, April 24, 2015

A job well done

The disaster at 65-11 Grand Avenue that was featured on these pages in August of last year has finally been completed after they got their act together. Bravo for removing the eyesore.

More charges for Silver

From the Huffington Post:

U.S. prosecutors unveiled new charges against former New York State Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver on Thursday, accusing him of taking official actions on behalf of an investor who provided access to a high-return, low-risk investment vehicle.

A revised indictment issued by a Manhattan federal grand jury added four new counts to three earlier ones facing the Democratic politician, who was first hit with public corruption charges in January.

Beyond charges of honest services mail and wire fraud and extortion, the indictment says Silver engaged in monetary transactions involving crime proceeds by investing money from the scheme in a private investment vehicle.

Silver previously pleaded not guilty. His lawyers, Joel Cohen and Steven Molo, said in a joint statement that the filing was "an attempt by the government to address defects in the indictment that we raised in our motion to dismiss."

Silver, 71, was previously accused of using his position at a law firm to conceal more than $3 million earned referring asbestos sufferers to the firm from a doctor whose research received secret benefits, including $500,000 in state grants.

Prosecutors say Silver, who remains an assemblyman for Manhattan's Lower East Side after resigning as speaker, also received $700,000 by steering real estate developers with business before the legislature to another law firm.

TV explosion damages Glendale homes

From CBS New York:

Residents of Glendale, Queens were complaining Wednesday night that a planned explosion for a TV drama show damaged their homes.

As CBS2’s Tracee Carrasco reported, the neighborhood around Doran Avenue is usually quiet. But residents said on Tuesday afternoon, it was anything but.

Dozens of Doran Avenue residents said they had their homes rocked by a controlled, planned car explosion during the filming of the NBC drama “The Black List.” A massive orange fireball shot into the sky, following a cloud of thick, black smoke.

And now, some say the explosion damaged their homes.

Broadway-Flushing's nightmare hotel

Today's Broadway-Flushing disaster comes courtesy of 35-20 156 Street. This one is an alteration to make a 1-family house into an illegal hotel. It will take you hours to read through all the permit applications and violations.
Here's what the place looked like back in 2007. The complaints go back to 1989.

Thursday, April 23, 2015

Nasty drug house blights Ozone Park street

From the Queens Courier:

An Ozone Park home in foreclosure, which squatters use to sell drugs, has been the target of police investigations and raids for years — yet it’s still terrorizing the neighborhood, while the process to reclaim the home is ongoing.

Residents have witnessed squatters exchange money for drugs from the house at 105-17 101st Rd. for about four years. As little as three weeks ago, on April 2, cops busted open the home around 6 a.m. with a search warrant and arrested five individuals from ages 25 to 42 after finding drugs, including marijuana.

Christan Henderson, Hasun and Judith Andino, Ebony Goggans and Troy James were all charged with criminal possession of a controlled substance, according to authorities. But as in the past, even after arrests, illegal activities haven’t ceased at the home, according to neighbors.

Neighbors say “shady” people rotate as residents in the home, so there is not a set family living in the house. Also, individuals come to buy drugs during the day and even late at night.

The property is noticeably falling apart from the outside and it has been cited with complaints and violations from the Department of Buildings, including illegally converting part of the kitchen into a bedroom.

Jamaica sty property finally cleaned

"Last week, the month's long stinking fiasco finally ended. The sanitation department cleaned James Fobb's sty. It took two visits for D.O.S to remove the volume of garbage mixed with furniture. It was also done after the Easter holidays.

Nonetheless, thanks to staff member, Andy from Councilman Miller's office. Andy took the time to visit the site with me a few Sundays ago. He said, "This place is worse than I thought."
Unfortunately, this fiasco will happen over and over again because the CHRONIC PROMISER, Borough President/Melinda Katz, is ONLY making awarding winning speeches. She and her staff are preoccupied with speeches, meetings and conferences.

Meanwhile, the primitive inhabitants will strike again. Soon they will discard of their furnishings, kitchen and other household garbage, at Fobb's site again.

The primitive inhabitants are confident that no one will bother them. They are sure that Katz will be on her next speech assignment. Therefore, she will have no time for law-enforcement.

During her campaign, she claimed to be a fixer; that will resolve issues from day ONE. Well, ONE YEAR has past. She has done very little.

Residents know that Joe & I are responsible for most of the clean-up in Jamaica. We will not allow the CHRONIC PROMISER to take credit for our hard work.

WE will hold KATZ, the CHRONIC PROMISER accountable because it is her damn job to deliver services. It is her damn job to bring agencies together to deliver services.

So far, she has delivered motivational speeches and no resolution.

As for the CHRONIC EXCUSE-MAKERS, Ms. Velazquez/ counsel and Ms. Boranian/liaison; at the B/P's office. Do your damn job. Make yourself available to receive residents' calls.

Other issues that need attention: the speeding, noise making trucks. The park at 109 & Merrick. The half done paint at the trestle and the dungeon bus stop.

No, you will NOT be allowed to sweep these issues under the rug, while voters are suffering.

Oh yea, What Ever The Hell It Takes."

Pamela Hazel: Social Media Journalist for Justice.

LiMandri's current gig is helping developers

From Crains:

The former head of the Department of Buildings is aiming to help developers adapt to the city’s new building codes, which were implemented late last year.

Robert LiMandri, who ran the city's Department of Buildings for five years before joining architecture firm Vidaris last year, has established a new division within Vidaris that will focus on assisting developers clear the requirements.

Mr. LiMandri said the codes have created an extra hurdle for builders at a time when construction is booming and the Department of Buildings is backlogged with projects waiting for approval.

“There’s confusion about the changes,” Mr. LiMandri said. “It has become a lot more stringent.”

A big element of the new codes include making buildings safer, but these changes have had a direct influence on design. Developers constructing glassy high-end residential towers, for instance, have to design and install enhanced fire-protection systems to compensate for the bigger window lines, which can feed a blaze. Additionally, emergency elevators, which are used to evacuate a building in the event of a fire, require a special design that will properly ventilate smoke.

“More and more, builders are looking for experts to help them vet their designs” before handing them to the Buildings Department, Mr. LiMandri said.

Making sure that projects are approved expeditiously has become a major concern for developers, given the rising costs of land, building materials and labor. There is mounting pressure to quickly get through the construction process in order to alleviate carrying costs. Developers also want to complete their projects while the real estate market is still hot.

Developer wants 203 units on Whitestone lot

From a press release:

State Senator Tony Avella today called on the developer of a vacant lot in Whitestone to immediately abandon recently-announced plans to construct more than 100 townhomes on the property.

Edgestone Group, LLC, which owns the 15-acre lot located at 151-45 6th Road, announced at a meeting Tuesday night that the company plans to build 107 townhouses on the empty site, formerly known as the Bayrock property. This plan would bring a total of 203 new residential units to the neighborhood, nearly four times the number of units that was agreed upon in 2008 when the community board and City Council negotiated a plan for 52 single-family homes to be constructed at the site.

Last month, Senator Avella issued a warning against developers who may be preparing plans to build high-density housing at this site. The surrounding community has joined Senator Avella in expressing strong opposition to any construction outside of the originally agreed-upon plan for detached, single-family houses that will coincide with the existing character of the area.

“This developer is declaring war on the community. When I was a City Councilman representing this area in 2008, the neighborhood made it very clear that they would not accept the construction of anything other than single-family homes at this site. That sentiment was supported by the Community Board and City Council when they approved a plan for 52 detached homes to be built. It is unacceptable for a developer to come in and challenge that plan, and this kind of threat to the neighborhood will not be tolerated. It is time for us to take a stand against overdevelopment once and for all. Enough is enough. We are prepared to fight this project proposed by Edgestone Group and will not stand to see another residential area succumb to overdevelopment,” said Senator Avella.

Here's more from the Queens Courier.

(I'm sure Paul Vallone is about to put his foot down. Just wait for it...)

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

de Blasio wants more folks on food stamps

From the Daily News:

More than half a million New Yorkers who qualify for food stamps don’t get them, officials say — and the city wants them to sign up.

With a new website and ad campaign, the de Blasio administration will encourage people who are hungry or struggle to afford food to seek help. It’s especially targeting seniors and immigrants, who are most likely to qualify for food aid but not enroll in the program.

Mayor de Blasio said 1.4 million people in the city struggle to afford food, 20% of them children. “This is not only a striking indicator of the inequality crisis we face, but a status quo we don’t accept,” he said.

An average of 1.76 million city residents were getting food stamps last year. But officials believe another 550,000 people qualify but aren’t signed up.

If people have managed to get by without government assistance up to this point, why are we telling them to become dependent on it? Don't we want to promote self-sufficiency? And do they really expect us to believe that someone who lost a "lucrative Wall Street consultant job" or someone else who had a struggling business will actually qualify for food stamps?

Comrie wants more tasteful alcohol ads

From CBS New York:

Is another battle at hand in the war over inappropriate advertisements? A Queens lawmaker is now taking aim at sexy inappropriate outdoor ads.

Sen. Leroy Comrie said he is acting on community complaints about alcohol ads – especially in family neighborhoods – on state property.

“We understand the right to free speech, we understand the right to advertise your product, but if you need to advertise your product in a friendly community, in a public space, then advertise it without the salaciousness,” he said.

The MTA does not comment on pending legislation and said its advertising standards ban the illegal, obscene and indecent.

Assembly speaker profited from mom's crime

From the NY Times:

When Carl E. Heastie leapt from obscurity to the top of New York State’s political power structure this year, he brought with him the potential of a new beginning in Albany. He vowed to bring accountability and integrity back to a statehouse that was reeling from the latest arrest of a lawmaker — the man he was succeeding as the Assembly speaker, Sheldon Silver.

But an episode from Speaker Heastie’s past that has never received public scrutiny casts new light on his claims of being a reformer.

About 16 years ago, when he had not yet run for public office but had already become entrenched in Bronx Democratic politics, Mr. Heastie was able to hold onto a home that prosecutors said his mother had bought with embezzled money and that a judge had instructed him to sell. Selling it years later brought what appears to be the only significant financial gain of his life.

An unusual string of legal lapses enabled Mr. Heastie to keep the home, an apartment in a three-story rowhouse in the Bronx. Carelessness of those involved in the case could be to blame, or something more questionable could have occurred given the Bronx Democratic Party’s influence on the court system and its long history of back-room deal-making.

In 1998, Mr. Heastie’s mother, Helene, pleaded guilty to writing checks to herself from the nonprofit organization where she had worked. Prosecutors said she used some of the money to buy her family a home in 1995 that cost $165,000. To stay out of jail, she and her son agreed to sell their home, which, by then, they co-owned, and relinquish the proceeds to her former employer.

“If it was purchased with moneys that were stolen, then no one should receive the benefit of that,” Justice Robert H. Straus told the Heasties during a hearing in January 1999 at State Supreme Court in the Bronx.

But Mr. Heastie did, indeed, profit from his mother’s crime.

Despite the judge’s instructions, Mr. Heastie was able to keep the apartment. His mother died at age 60 three weeks after being sentenced, and Mr. Heastie said he stopped trying to sell the property. When he finally did sell it — six years later for nearly $200,000 more than his mother had paid — he used the proceeds to buy a more expensive home.

Mr. Heastie said through a spokesman that his lawyer at the time told him his mother’s death freed him from any obligation to sell the apartment.

But Duncan Levin, a former chief of asset forfeiture for the Manhattan district attorney’s office who reviewed the case for The New York Times, said Mr. Heastie was “sitting on stolen money” that prosecutors should have recovered during his mother’s criminal case or after her death.

Overdevelopment has caused overcrowded trains

From AM-NY:

MTA officials have said overcrowding is partly to blame for deteriorating subway service and had assigned personnel to get people in and out of train cars faster; transit brass last month pledged to come up with an attack plan for smoother service that can recuperate from equipment malfunctions and disruptions more quickly.

But among the top 20 stations that changed the most in number of riders, all but three were in the outerboroughs, while each grew between 7.8% and Marcy Av's 23.8%.

Transportation and real estate experts attributed the growth to new residential and economic development, and people being pushed into neighborhoods further down a train line.

"The stations with the highest ridership growth are definitely the stations where there has been a lot of housing development, no doubt," said Joan Byron, policy director at the Pratt Center for Community Development.

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Fugliness on 80th Street

The things people do to their homes never ceases to amaze me. Here we are at 62-51 80th Street in Middle Village. The owner was hit with a partial stop work order last week because of the unsafe scaffolding.
The permit they have is for: NEW 2 STORY PLUS CELLAR BRICK & BLOCK ADDITION TO EXISTING 1 FAMILY RESIDENCE. This will in effect eliminate most of their yard.

Why not just buy a bigger house?

Missing C of O on Hillside

Every once in a while, something is brought to my attention that surprises even me. Take for example, this new building at 85-32 130th Street.

This 4-story structure appears to be fully inhabited, but there is no current C of O for it. And there's a nice Class 1 violation that hasn't been paid.

So it's a Class 1 violation, meaning a high hazard, yet the place is not vacated. I wonder what DOB considers to be really dangerous.

Hearing to help LIC developers get more air rights

From DNA Info:

The public will be able to weigh in on whether the Clock Tower building in Queens Plaza should be designated a landmark at a meeting on Tuesday.

After the Landmarks Preservation Commission agreed to consider the former Bank of Manhattan Building for landmarking last month, it's holding a hearing concerning the designation.

Local preservationists have been pushing to preserve the building at 29-27 Queens Plaza North, which they say is an iconic focal point in the rapidly-changing neighborhood.

"I think it's just so recognizable for that area," said Christian Emanuel, one of the organizers campaigning to see the building preserved, who's father currently works out of the Clock Tower building.

"This is a highly-decorated building that survived through a lot," he said, pointing to the rapid pace of development happening in Queens Plaza and Court Square, including thousands of new apartments.

"I think the old gets more beautiful when it sticks out more," Emanuel continued.

Fair warning

This sign was spotted on Eliot Avenue. The fact is that this has been going on for decades, yet people still let their dogs outside unattended. Worse, they tie them up outside stores while they go inside. Please don't.

Monday, April 20, 2015

Council looking to decriminalize quality-of-life crimes

From the Daily News:

City Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito’s office is working on a proposal that would make some of the most common criminal court summonses civil charges instead. Violators would get a ticket to one of the city’s administrative courts, such as the Environmental Control Board, instead of criminal court. Cops could no longer make arrests for those offenses, and missed court dates would turn into default monetary judgments instead of warrants.

Bratton appears cool to the idea, saying people wouldn’t take a civil ticket seriously.

A Daily News analysis shows the seven offenses that would be sent to one of the city’s administrative civil courts under the Mark-Viverito plan account for roughly 2.7 million, or 42%, of the summonses issued by the NYPD between 2001 and June 2014. They also account for more than 510,000 open arrest warrants, according to the analysis of data provided by the state Office of Court Administration.

The seven offenses under consideration are public consumption of alcohol, public urination, bicycling on the sidewalk, being in a park after dark, failure to obey a park sign, littering and unreasonable noise. The offenses under consideration for decriminalization are under the city’s administrative code — not the state penal code — making it possible to amend them without state approval, officials said.

Public urination and open container are the only two minor offenses for which fines can be paid by mail. But Lancman said many people have reservations about allowing people to simply pay online for criminal court summonses because they’d essentially be pleading guilty to a violation or, in some cases, a misdemeanor without having an attorney present.

“When it’s a civil offense we don’t have any problem letting people pay online or by mail without having to show up at all ... that would almost certainly mean you’d have a higher percentage of people paying a fine,” Lancman said.

He said that in criminal summons court, roughly half the people don’t show up, and of the people who do show up and are assessed a fine, a quarter of them don’t pay.

Who needs a demo permit?

Walking down the street whistling on a wonderful warm day. And what to my wondering eyes should appear? A rodent bait sign on the door. But there's no construction fence... Well, this obviously requires closer attention.
Ah, not just a rodent bait sign, but a stop work order is posted dated from this past January. Let's look into this.
So they apparently tried to hand demolish this brick building in January and after being busted, applied for permits in March. They got stopped before they could finish, but they left several open windows and holes in the place during the high snow season. Lord only knows what the inside looks like now.
The eventual plan is to replace this fine old structure with a "community facility" and 6 apartments.