Sunday, May 31, 2015

REBNY and City Planning continue damage control effort

Deconstructing REBNY-speak in Crains:

In an effort to tamp down the hysteria, city planning czar Carl Weisbrod extended the comment period in April and this month wrote a letter conveying the goals of the proposal, which he described as "promoting affordable housing and better quality buildings." Last night his agency posted profiles to clarify what the rezoning would mean for each of the city's 59 community districts. And it is chopping 10 feet off height limits proposed for some residential districts so that 95% of medium- and high-density contextually zoned areas would see height limits increase by five feet or less, or by one or two stories if affordable housing is included.

Contextual zoning protections were strengthened during the Bloomberg administration to prevent out-of-scale development, such as a six-story apartment building in the middle of a block of two-story homes. The effect was to limit the potential for more density across much of the city, which was already coping with housing growth insufficient to meet increasing demand to live in the city.

Contextual zoning does not limit the potential for more density across much of the city. First of all, only about 17% of the city was contextually rezoned over the last decade. Second, much of that was balanced through MASSIVE UPZONINGS in the Far West Side, Williamsburg/Greenpoint, Jamaica, LIC and other areas.
While the Bloomberg rezoning pushed up property values in the downzoned areas, tenants of market-rate housing saw rents climb. Housing costs have drastically outstripped wage increases for low-income and working-class New Yorkers in the last decade.
The contextual rezonings DID NOT push up property values in downzoned areas. There was no net change in property values. Rents are climbing due to an unregulated market of housing.
But the contextual zoning does more than just freeze the scale of neighborhoods. In many cases it makes it difficult for architects to fit all the square footage permitted by zoning into building envelopes constricted by height limits. Builders have compensated by making ceilings low or excluding affordable units.
This statement is straight out of REBNY, literally. They have to make ceilings low??? No: they can make ceilings the 8' minimum or they can raise them up if they choose.
On built-out blocks in neighborhoods such as Park Slope, the effect of the de Blasio plan, unveiled in February, would be minimal—first, because there’s no money to be made by tearing down a building to erect one that is five feet taller, and second, because historic districts are under the jurisdiction of the Landmarks Preservation Commission, which is not in the habit of approving the demolition of stately row houses.
Most of Park Slope is NOT landmarked. And that extra five feet could be the difference in building an extra floor on existing buildings.

Take a look at the illustration above. This gives you an idea of what the administration is hoping to accomplish with this proposed rezoning. Instead of "existing" being a low-rise senior facility, imagine a row of 4-5 low-rise homes. They will be bought up by developers and replaced with 65' monster buildings under the guise of "affordable senior housing". It's all bunk and I'm glad there are some people in this town that are calling BDB and his crew out on it.

NYPD needs more officers to fight ISIS

From PIX11:

The New York Police Department and other law enforcement agencies around the nation are increasing their surveillance of ISIS supporters in the U.S., in part to aid the FBI which is struggling to keep up with a surge in the number of possible terror suspects, according to law enforcement officials.

The change is part of the fallout from the terrorist attack in Garland, Texas earlier this month. The FBI says two ISIS supporters attempted a gun attack on a Prophet Mohammad cartoon contest but were killed by police. One of the attackers, Elton Simpson, was already under investigation by the FBI but managed to elude surveillance to attempt the foiled attack.

FBI Director James Comey told a group of police officials around the country in a secure conference call this month that the FBI needs help to keep tabs on hundreds of suspects.

As a result, some police agencies are adding surveillance teams to help the FBI monitor suspects. Teams of NYPD officers trained in surveillance are now helping the FBI’s surveillance teams to better keep track of suspects, law enforcement officials say.

NYPD Commissioner William Bratton has said he wants to add 450 officers to the force’s counterterrorism unit, partly to counter the increasing domestic threat posed by ISIS sympathizers.

Fun times at Barnes & Noble

FREE SPECIAL EVENT at Barnes & Noble at 70-00 Austin St. on SUN, MAY 31 from 10:00 AM to 7 PM

Barnes & Noble and Author Michael Perlman (5 PM book signing) are proud to invite the community to Customer Appreciation Day. The eventful lineup will feature:

- A book “Buy-In” to help support Barnes & Noble, which is under threat of closing… Purchase any book all day long.

- Free food from Knish Nosh, Red Pipe Organic Café, & more

- Beginning at 10 AM: Raffle – Enter to win a Samsung Galaxy Tab 4 Nook 7” tablet!

Free B&N tote bag for the 1st 200 customers making a purchase.

- 2:30 PM: Children’s storytime with SKITTLES THE CLOWN, balloon animals & face painting

- 4 PM: Performances by notable musicians LOU MICHAELS & DOUG LEBLANG

- 5 PM: Author MICHAEL PERLMAN will have a book talk & signing of his new book, “Legendary Locals of Forest Hills and Rego Park” & notable magician MICHAEL CHAUT will leave his audience spell-bound

Barnes & Noble event listing:
More to come! Please invite your friends.

And… Don’t forget to sign the petition to save Barnes & Noble.

South Jamaica scam artists prey on Manhattan tourists

From A Walk in the Park:

A team of illegal ticket sellers has been preying on unsuspecting tourists for years, NYC Park Advocates has learned.

The ticket scalpers are working in some of the most heavily visited downtown tourist destinations - Statue of Liberty, Staten Island Ferry, and Pier 15, (South Street Seaport)

The unscrupulous scammers sell Statue of Liberty tickets for between $ 80 - 100 dollars: re-sell used Statue of Liberty tickets: Sell people tickets to the Staten Island Ferry and charge people $ 20 just to enter Battery Park, a public park on the tip of Manhattan.

The group wear dark blue official looking tourist operator vests that say, SJQ Sightseeing Tours.

SJQ stands for South Jamaica Queens.

They have been a fixture in lower Manhattan operating in broad daylight for years.

On Wednesday career criminal Gregory Reddick, 54, of 118 Road in Jamaica Queens, was busted after leading park police on a wild chase in lower Manhattan.

Parks Enforcement Patrol officer Jean-Baptist Joseph, 33, saw Reddick on Pier 15 as he was allegedly in the act of conning tourists out of cash.

The PEP officer approached Reddick and ask him for ID. He refused cursed at him and ran away.

The officer called for back up. PEP officers tracked him down a half mile away in Battery Park.

Another officer approached the con and asked him for ID.

"F*ck off off, I ain't givin you shit," he responded, according to an officer at the scene.

He ran, and the officers caught up to him. He resisted arrest and officers maced him twice in order to get him to comply.

A large group of Reddick's associates formed during the arrest, yelling and screaming.

An NYPD officer in the park said that on Monday - two days before Reddick's arrest - he had received a compliant that Reddick had sold two tickets to the Statue of Liberty to a Virginia couple for $ 409 dollars.

Saturday, May 30, 2015

DeBlasio not a fan of the first amendment

From DNA Info:

An electrician. A retired ConEd worker. A recruiter. A law enforcement officer.

These are just a few of the protesters whose messages are so disruptive to Bill de Blasio that his aides have been shooing them into a so-called "free speech zone" at the mayor's public events over the past few months — despite de Blasio's past defense of First Amendment rights.

The mayor's office has come under pressure for its so-called "free speech zones," which aides defend as a way to minimize disruption at de Blasio events.

First Amendment advocates, however, see the zone as an unseemly change for the formerly protest-friendly mayor, who has defended the right for people to protest issues ranging from Occupy Wall Street to the death of Eric Garner during an NYPD arrest on Staten Island.

The rules are different now that he's on the other side of the podium, many activists said.

Bushwick: the next Dutch Kills?

From Curbed:

Developers think that Bushwick will be the city's next tourist destination, and after the neighborhood was named one of America's coolest by Vogue, they're probably right. Case in point: three hotels are rising in the neighborhood, the most recently announced of which is a 10-story, 144-room hotel at 232 Seigel Street between Bushwick Avenue and White Street.

Also coming to the 'hood is a seven-story, 112-room hotel at 71 White Street between McKibbin and Boerum streets that's being developed by All Year's Management. Riverside Developers, also behind Williamsburg's bonkers, cantilevering William Vale Hotel, want to bring a 140-key hotel to 27 Stewart Avenue between Flushing and Johnson avenues.

The death of a pre-Civil war church isn't pretty

From Brownstoner:

Brownstoner reader brooklynverni snapped these dramatic photos Thursday of an excavator demolishing one of Bed Stuy’s oldest buildings, the pre-Civil War Carpenter Gothic church at 809 Jefferson Avenue. Demo for the St. Stephen and St. Martin Episcopal Church started in January.

Features such as the building’s stained glass and pews were removed, the interior was stripped bare, and then nothing much seemed to be happening for a couple of months.

As we have detailed in previous stories, the church struck a deal with Notias Construction, which plans to build 41 market rate apartments as well as a new two-story church building. The property includes a very large empty lot on the corner, where the church had planned a new house of worship for many years, although that never came to pass.

The church felt it could not afford repairs on the existing building, and had no choice but to sell, according to what we have heard from neighbors familiar with the situation. No sale has been recorded.

Reconstruction of LaGuardia's central terminal announced

From DNA Info:

The Port Authority of New York and New Jersey voted Thursday to move ahead with the first phase of a $3.6 billion project to replace the crumbling Central Terminal Building, known as Terminal B, with a new facility which will serve approximately 50 percent of all the passengers at the airport, officials announced.

The agency also selected the LaGuardia Gateway Partners to build the new terminal.
The Central Terminal Building, which first opened in 1964, will be demolished. The replacement will serve as LaGuardia's main entry.

The project also calls for linking the airport’s four terminals, which are currently disconnected, and a number of amenities such as a hotel and business center and a connection to the proposed AirTrain.

A master plan for the redevelopment will be unveiled in the coming weeks, officials said.

According to the Port Authority, construction will be funded by a public-private partnership.

Friday, May 29, 2015

Samaritan Village loves doing business with slumlords

From the Times Ledger:

The owners of Glendale’s soon to be homeless shelter have experience with owning residential buildings. They also have experience with complaints.

The city Department of Buildings approved permits in early March to turn the empty factory on 78-16 Cooper Ave. into transitional housing – a sore point for the surrounding Glendale community. Samaritan Village will run the shelter, but the owner of the building is the estate of Joseph Wilner.

The estate also owns a building in Kew Gardens that has amassed dozens of open, unresolved violations, according to the city agency Housing Preservation and Development. And many of these violations are considered hazardous by the city, which raises questions about how well maintained the homeless shelter will be.

Many of the open and hazardous violations issued to the apartment building on 119-14 Union Turnpike deal with rodent infestations, defective electric outlets and broken lights. Many of the violations were issued several times, yet the estate of Joseph Wilner has not fixed the problem.

Steinway Mansion excavation work underway

Photos from George The Atheist, who has a complete photo package on his own blog.

Bayside mansion is a real doozy

From Curbed:

This is a house in Bayside (fittingly, the Queens neighborhood that once gave an architecture award to this building). It is, according to the listing, "Newly Custom Built Contemporary With Finest Materials." It is...something. Rather than try to describe it as a whole, we're just going to list some of things in it:

· many white leather couches
· a recording studio
· a bedroom with multicolored recessed lights
· a bedroom (the same bedroom, in fact) with three fur throw rugs
· an elevator
· whatever that foyer is
· probably eight quarries' worth of marble
· a seven-by-seven grid of windows that takes up the entire middle third of the facade
· a Dali-esque melting clock

This house is asking $6.5 million, and by god, it should get it.

Avella introduces legislation to stop SCA stupidity

From the Queens Chronicle:

State Sen. Tony Avella (D-Bayside) is asking the School Construction Authority to do its homework when it comes to picking sites for educational facilities.

As the senator and Bayside residents rallied against the proposal to place a public high school at the former site of the Bayside Jewish Center, located at 203-05 32 Ave., Avella on May 14 introduced legislation that would require the SCA to give elected officials and community boards the reasons as to why a particular site was picked for an educational facility.

Avella said he has been working on the bill for a while, but introduced it two weeks ago after the city announced its plans to have a school at the 32nd Avenue site.

“You could say that was the straw that broke the camel’s back,” the senator said in an interview with the Queens Chronicle.

The bill, if signed into law, would require the city to give the reasons why a new school is required in the area, identify any other sites that were considered for the school and why the site chosen won over all other possibilities.

He also said he’s pushing for the legislation because his staff was told by SCA President and Chief Executive Officer Lorraine Grillo that they were not notified of plans for the site because the agency, “didn’t want to give him time to organize” against them.

Avella called that conversation “disrespectful” and said “I think it’s time for Lorraine Grillo to go.”

LIC parking garage space crunch

From CBS:

More than 100 people spent hours waiting on line Wednesday morning, for a special permit in a multi-level parking garage in Queens.

And as CBS2’s Alice Gainer reported, the people in the queue said they have to do it every month now due to a policy change.

The drivers at the Court Square Municipal Parking Garage in Long Island City were stuck going through a long wait as they tried to secure their monthly parking passes.

For some, the nearly three-hour wait paid off with a coveted $200 permit.

But others waited in vain. A man said those in charge at the garage cut off the line and refused to issue anymore permits after a certain point.

The old policy for securing a monthly spot was much easier, according to Jim Rohan. And it didn’t involve first-come, first-serve lines.

“I’ve parked here for seven and a half years, Rohan said. “I signed up. I had a monthly spot every month. I’d pay my 200 bucks, and I was renewed for another month.”

Making matters worse the loss of space, drivers said.

According to the website for the city Department of Transportation, the Long Island City garage has 703 spaces, about 320 of which are reserved for permit holders. But now, they are only giving out 211 monthly permit passes because the DOT is using the spots for other purposes such as construction equipment storage.

I guess the city would rather have these folks drive into Manhattan. Who needs parking?

Thursday, May 28, 2015

Proof that people will steal anything

From Capital New York:

A-train riders in southern Queens woke up [yesterday] morning to discover that their commute would be even worse than normal, after the M.T.A. abruptly suspended service between Broad Channel and Rockaway Boulevard.

The cause, as it turned out, was "a massive theft of copper cable from the A line subway tracks near Howard Beach," according to an M.T.A. release.

Roughly 500 feet of copper cable was removed, and some ancillary equipment damaged.

"We are working closely with the NYPD Transit Bureau to help them investigate this crime and identify the culprits responsible," said M.T.A. New York City Transit president Carmen Bianco, in a statement.

This theft did more than force thousands of riders onto shuttle buses and into their cars, which itself is said to have caused traffic jams through Broad Channel.

It also hampered service along the entire 31-mile line, since trains that are stored in the Rockaway Park rail yard for use throughout the city were inaccessible. Nor could trains turn around there or in Far Rockaway.

Cracking down on hydrant violators

From the Queens Gazette:

As summertime approaches with the promise of warmer temperatures, city officials are reminding Queens residents that they could face a stiff fine, or jail time, if they open fire hydrants without an FDNY “spray cap.”

Officials at the city Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) are again warning Queens residents that opening a fire hydrant without a spray cap can lower water pressure and make it difficult for firefighters to extinguish fires.

DEP officials also warned that the powerful force of 1,000 gallons per minute from an open hydrant could cause injury to young children.

DEP officials will be sending enforcement agents into neighborhoods throughout Queens as temperatures rise, to track down offenders reported to the 311 system and others caught using hydrants without the approved spray caps, agency officials said.

Crooked ex-Council Member to forfeit pension

From the Daily News:

Crooked former New York City Councilman Larry Seabrook must cough up his public pension payments to satisfy the $418,252 judgment against him, a judge ruled Tuesday.

Manhattan U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara recently moved to seize Seabrook's state and city pensions because he had yet to pay a cent of the forfeiture order.

The 63-year-old Seabrook, who also served as a state assemblyman and senator, had argued against the move, saying state law protected his taxpayer-funded pensions.

But U.S. District Judge Kevin Castel said federal law took precedence over state statutes.

Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Car crashes into Flushing Pathmark

From WPIX:

Multiple people were injured after an SUV crashed into a Queens Pathmark Tuesday evening.

Firefighters responded to the scene at 31-06 Farrington St. in Flushing around 6 p.m., for a car into the building.

The crash caused part of the ceiling to collapse.

Five people were injured in the crash. One person is in serious condition.

Vision Zero is a net zero

From the Daily News:

The News’ analysis focused on 12 major thoroughfares where many of Vision Zero’s high-profile policies — increased enforcement, improved signage and, in most cases, a reduced 25-mph speed limit — were first implemented.

The News compared the stats for the roads in the months following the rollout, from September through December 2014, with the same period in 2012, which was a statistically average year for traffic-related fatalities. The News found:

Some roads saw huge drops in the number of wrecks that resulted in an injury or fatality — such as a stretch of Broadway in Manhattan, from 125 to 95, and Forest Ave. on Staten Island, from 33 to 17.

But on half of the roads, the carnage actually increased. Fifty people were injured or killed on E. Gun Hill Road in the Bronx during the months following the speed limit reduction, compared with 33 during the same time period two years prior. On Southern Blvd. in the Bronx, casualties jumped from 21 to 31.

Overall, the number of wrecks remained virtually unchanged on those problem corridors, and casualties fell only 4%.

Citywide, The News found there wasn’t a marked decrease in the number of wrecks during 2014, compared with the prior year and a half. And March of this year was among the months with the most wrecks between July 2012 and March 2015 with 17,410 — including nearly 2,600 that resulted in an injury or death.

Real estate scam artist busted by Arnold Diaz

From PIX 11:

“I’m calling the police right now. I’m calling the police. You have no right to be here,” said Phivos Ioannou. He ordered PIX11 to leave his office at Astoria First Realty where we’d come after getting a complaint from Erica Rosen and her fiancĂ©, Marine vet Miguel Rodriguez.

The couple had seen a listing online for a two-bedroom apartment for $2,500 a month. They met with Dino Ioannou, Phiovos’ son, who showed them the apartment. They loved it and gave Dino a $5,000 cash deposit for security and broker’s fee. The couple says Dino told them “the apartment was ours.”

But when they didn’t hear from Dino for a week, Erica Rosen says “we got in contact with the owner of the building and the owner said he never knew anything about us, and the apartment was never ours and he has five other applicants for it. He said he wants nothing else to do with us.” Miguel says “at that point we asked for our money back and Dino never wanted to give us our money back.”

Yes, we've seen this guy before.

Juvie jail opposed in Queens Village

From the Queens Courier:

Residents and community leaders in Queens Village are strongly opposed to a plan to convert a former school into a facility for delinquent children who have committed crimes as part of the state’s “Close to Home” law.

The law, enacted in 2012 by the Cuomo administration, seeks to bring young offenders from facilities upstate closer to their families and lawyers in the city.

The city’s Administration of Children’s Services (ACS) has targeted the building at 207-01 Jamaica Ave., the former home of the Merrick Academy charter school, to be the facility for troubled city youngsters, who have been arrested before they turned 16 years old and are considered “at-risk.” The city agency is hoping to house 18 youth offenders at the site in a “group home” setting, and The Children’s Village will operate the site under a contract with ACS.

However, Queens Village residents said they have not been adequately informed about the plan and don’t want teens with criminal backgrounds in their residential neighborhood, fearing they could escape and harm the community.

Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Murder at Resorts World

From NBC:

A woman was shot and killed at the Resorts World Casino in Queens early Tuesday morning, according to police.

Authorities said a male suspect shot the woman multiple times in the body following some kind of confrontation in the casino parking lot in South Ozone Park at about 2:30 a.m.

The police sewed this one up quickly.

Regulating motorized scooters

From CBS New York:

Two New York lawmakers from Queens have introduced bills to regulate motorized bicycles used commercially with safety and insurance requirements.

Sen. Jose Peralta and Assembly member Aravella Simotas are pushing for the Department of Motor Vehicles to maintain a registry, establish safety regulations, and set minimum liability insurance coverage.

Under the bills, drivers would have to register them with the DMV and traffic infractions would be punishable by fines of $25 to $100.

The scooters, according to the lawmakers, have become part of the fabric of small businessesmaking deliveries throughout New York City. They said attempts to ban them haven’t worked, and accidents can create big liability issues.

Simotas said she’s heard from too many people about near misses and being hit by riders.

Peralta told 1010 WINS the City Council banned delivery scooters in 2004, but since then the number of scooters has actually increased.

Forest Park's memorial trees rediscovered and rededicated

"The story of the Memorial Trees in Woodhaven. With music from, royalty-free music. "Bullets and Bayonets" and "Comrades of the Legion" by John Philip Sousa. Special thanks to American legion Post 118; the Ladies Auxiliary; Junior Air Force ROTC of Franklin K. Lane Campus under the leadership of Air Force Master Sgt. Eddie Carr and Army Reserve Sgt. David Valentin; the St. Thomas the Apostle Woodhaven History Club led by teacher Patty Eggers; the Woodhaven Cultural & Historical Society; with special thanks to Allan Smith, Edwin Gardiner, Jr., CM Elizabeth Crowley, CM Eric Ulrich, Assemblyman Mike Miller, Senator Joe Addabbo, Pam & Walter Steffens, The Avenue Diner (Woodhaven), The Woodhaven Athletic Club, the NYC Parks Department, The Forest Park Administration at Oak Ridge and the Leader-Observer. Photos and video by Josephine Wendell."

(I apologize for not posting this yesterday. - QC)

Loud parties continue at Flushing Meadows

Hello Queens Crap,

I live near Bowne Park and every weekend in the summer from 11pm to the wee hours of the morning I hear LOUD, blaring, bass-filled reggaeton/rap/latin music. It is so loud that even when I wear ear plugs, I can still feel the base. I can even hear the lyrics!

This happens EVERY summer. You even have multiple articles on it. However, NOTHING is getting done. I emailed stinky aka Paul Vallone, but he said there is nothing he can do about it. What?! Why not? There has got to be some law against this! My 4 and 7 year old daughters wake up nearly every weekend complaining of the noise.

I have tried calling 311, using their app, and even calling the 110th Precinct. Nothing is getting done. A few times after I called, the music stopped and my 311 app said "multiple summonses were issued', but this is obviously not enough, because the next week, or even hours later it will begin again.

As you can see, I am desperate. PLEASE HELP!! It is driving me crazy.

Flushing is down the drain



Monday, May 25, 2015

Petition against new Flushing high school

Just wanted to make you aware of this petition against building a school in Flushing:

A new 481 seat High School is being planned for 30-48 Linden Place. This is where the Board of Education building now stands. The Mitchell-Linden Civic Association has already notified our legislators that this location is absolutely unacceptable for the following reasons: Directly across the street is a car wash, and two hotels. It is adjacent to the Whitestone Bowling Alley and only ½ block from an early child hood school. Within one to three blocks are two Nursery schools, two Senior Centers, and P.S. 214. This is the most congested and grid locked location in our entire community. It is also the pathway to the Pathmark Shopping Center.

I'm still trying to figure out why, since the birth rate has been low for quite some time, do we need a school built on every other block?

Maspeth church selling off excess property

Trinity-St. Andrew's Church in Maspeth has a for sale sign on its property. I believe it's just for the parish house, but would anyone be surprised if the whole shebang was developed?
Here's the listing.

Long Island fears becoming Queens

From Crains:

A surprising solution for city’s housing dilemma” (May 4) correctly addresses a growing regional cohesion forming across Nassau and Suffolk counties concerning transit-oriented projects. The issue, however, is that the transit-oriented approach isn’t a one-size-fits-all solution. Each Long Island Rail Road station and downtown that surrounds it has a variety of factors and infrastructure limitations—beyond a NIMBY mentality that fears "Queensification" — that prevent the allowance of density.

Long Island’s locally sourced zoning is in place thanks to our area’s reliance upon a sole-source aquifer system that provides our drinking water and limited wastewater treatment options. Density is being increased in areas that can handle such growth and kept to a minimum in places where our antiquated roads and cesspools cannot mitigate against the impacts of development.

Long Island historically has fueled city growth by providing suburban living and an educated workforce. By thinking regionally, we can cohesively deal with our affordable-housing shortage, but we must respect the factors that make Nassau and Suffolk both challenging to develop in and appealing to their residents.

Rich Murdocco
Syosset, N.Y.

Isn't it comforting to know that there's a term called "Queensification" that basically means "crap"? And it dates at least as far back to 2005...
We all know exactly what it means, and this person unfortunately nailed it.

Dopey lock fetish comes to Bayside

I'm not even going to pretend I understand the point of this.
Photos by the Flushing Phantom

Sunday, May 24, 2015

DeBlasio to be grand marshal for Queens pride parade

From the Queens Courier:

Mayor Bill de Blasio will make history in Jackson Heights next month as the first New York City mayor to serve as a grand marshal in the 23-year span of the Queens Pride Parade.

De Blasio will join APICHA Community Health Center as grand marshals of the 23rd Queens Pride Parade, which will be held on June 7 and runs from 89th Street and 37th Avenue down to 75th Street.

“When I founded the Queens Lesbian and Gay Pride Committee over 20 years ago, I was hopeful that we would increase the visibility of the LGBT community in Queens in a positive and impactful way,” Councilman Daniel Dromm said. “Having the mayor of the City of New York as our Grand Marshal shows just how far we have come.”

De Blasio became the first mayor to march in the parade last year, and even marched in 2013 while still serving as Public Advocate.

“The mayor’s presence is an acknowledgment that the LGBT community in Queens and throughout the city is visible, welcome and included,” Dromm said.

I wonder how many Memorial Day Parades these 2 will be marching in this year.

It's that time of year again

From DNA Info:

Police across the city reported an uptick in crime in the past month, NYPD statistics show — a trend officials are blaming on the warmer weather.

Sixteen precincts across the city reported an increase in crime between April 13 and May 10, according to NYPD data.

Police have long pointed to a correlation between weather and crime — including NYPD Commissioner Bill Bratton, who penned an op-ed in the Wall Street Journal in 2012 linking the two during a crime surge in Chicago.

A unique piece of architecture

Take a look inside Rockaway's wedding cake house, courtesy of the Rockaway Times.

Love it or hate it, it's story is pretty interesting.

Parks gives permit to bizarre booze bazaar in Rockaway

I don't know if you go to the beach, but I do. It's the Riis Park section of the article. For some reason the parks dept. gave a multiyear deal to some collective called the Brooklyn Night Bazaar to organize an all summer long market and concert series in a location that does not have the room for it. The worst of it is that they are going to provide patrons with apps so they can have food from their "bazaar" brought to them via an app, which will probably include booze.

I commented before on your site about the city's plan to gentrify rockaway and here it is. Despite the millenials interest in Fort Tilden, on the east side dubbed "the people's beach" the majority of beachgoers are black and hispanic. This has the makings of a culture clash, and will probably lead aggressive supposed quality of life enforcement against the folks who will not have an interest in what the Brooklyn Night Bazaar has to offer, who prefer to bring their own food, drinks (Booze and Soft) and beach chairs.

Sorry to bother you about this, but you're good at this sort of thing. I also plan to write to Walk in the park about this too and do my own research since their website is unreadable. Something stinks about this group, similar to those slimy scumbags that run the knockdown center.

have a good weekend.- JQ

Brooklyn Night Bazaar gentrified themselves out of Greenpoint, so their next frontier to help destroy is Rockaway.

No way to treat trees

Sonny's Auto Repair at 106-12 Atlantic Avenue in Ozone Park has been a bad neighbor since the day they moved in several years ago: sickening paint fumes, illegal parking, noise... Whatever they could do to be inconsiderate to their neighbors, they've done it.

Now they're being mean to the trees. On the tree closest to their shop they've used at least a bolts to attach a sign which reads "do not park on sidewalk". The irony being that they do this all the time themselves!

There was a healthy tree near the 106 Street corner that was taken down earlier this year. Rather than pay a few bucks to have the stump ground out, they chose to paint it yellow.

I have contacted 311 about this. But whether the city does something to correct the matter has yet to be seen. In the meantime, I thought that this might be of interest to your readers.

Rich Parkwood

Saturday, May 23, 2015

Peter Vallone to become a judge

From the Observer:

Peter Vallone Jr., who served as Astoria’s city councilman for 12 years, was nominated for a civil court judgeship this morning, he confirmed to the Observer. Term-limited out of office in 2013, Mr. Vallone had taken a position with the Cuomo administration.

Mr. Vallone is now the Democratic nominee in a judgeship election that will be decided in November. Judicial races are rarely competitive and the Queens Democratic Party’s decision to nominate Mr. Vallone could be tantamount to him winning the election.

As a civil court judge, Mr. Vallone can serve a 10-year term and earn $159,000 annually.

Rockaway gas pipeline completed

From The Wave:

For the past week or so, natural gas has been flowing underneath Rockaway’s beaches through a massive 26-inch diameter pipeline.

The activation of a new 3.2-mile pipeline on May 15 allows for liquefied natural gas to flow through the Rockaway Peninsula and into Brooklyn to satisfy the growing demand of 1.8 million customers in Queens and Brooklyn.

The fracked-gas transmission pipeline called the Rockaway Delivery Lateral has been controversial among anti-fracking activists and environmental groups since the inception phase in 2009.

The additional pipeline, which began construction on June 9, 2014, extends from the existing Lower New York Bay Lateral, which is in the Atlantic Ocean, running parallel to the coast of the Peninsula.

The Rockaway Delivery Lateral runs across Fort Tilden and Jacob Riis Park – wetlands and recreational areas – to a facility used to meter and regulate the flow of natural gas, located on Floyd Bennett Field in an abandoned airplane hanger, within the Gateway National Recreation Area.

Williams Partners’ Transcontinental Gas Pipe Line Co. LLC’s (Transco) pipeline project increases the compression at three existing Transco facilities in Pennsylvania and New Jersey and provides 100,000 dekatherms more per day to be transferred to the new meter and regulating station on Floyd Bennett Field.

“That’s the point where we kind of hand off the gas,” said Williams Spokesman Chris Stockton. “It measures how much gas flows through the line and it also regulates the pressure.”

In total, 647,000 dekatherms per day can be be transmitted through the new Rockaway Pipeline to the National Grid distribution system. From there, the National Grid Pipeline takes the natural gas up Flatbush Avenue and into other communities.

Documenting filth in Brooklyn

From WPIX:

When it comes to litter, Alexandra Larger says she understands how candy wrappers, cigarette butts, and empty soda cans end up on the street, but seeing chicken bones and rubber gloves littering the blocks near her home in Bed-Stuy just never made sense.

So now she’s started documenting the sightings on her blog “Streets of Brooklyn.”

“I can’t recall ever seeing anyone eating a fried chicken thigh in the middle of the street – can you? And as far as the rubber glove situation … I don’t even want to know,” Larger writes on her blog.

Larger says she never notices garbage like this popping up in wealthier neighborhoods around the borough. So she decided to start snapping pictures of the unusual sightings and posting them online.

Bayside opposed to high school at Jewish center site

From the Queens Courier:

Residents living near the Bayside Jewish Center rallied with state Sen. Tony Avella on Thursday against a proposed high school planned for their neighborhood.

Around 75 people showed up at the intersection of 32nd Avenue and 204th Street and largely complained of overcrowded traffic and buses due to the existence of several other schools in the nearby vicinity, including a number of elementary schools and Bayside High School, which serves a student body of more than 3,000 only four blocks away.

While the protesters agreed that new schools should be built for local students, they did not think that their community could accommodate a school with a planned capacity of between 800 and 1,000 students.

Avella said the School Construction Authority (SCA) has systematically chosen school sites without the support of residents and elected officials, citing an unsuccessful 2013 outcry against an elementary school being built on 48th Avenue. He is introducing legislation which would amend education law to require detailed analyses to be made available upon the proposed construction of a new school in a city of over a million in population.

Councilman Paul Vallone, however, indicated that while compromises with the community will have to be made in the process leading up to the school’s construction, he looks forward to seeing a new school in his district, whether it is installed at the former Jewish center or at an alternative site.

Steinway Mansion getting hemmed in

From the Queens Chronicle:

Paperwork dated March 28, 2014 says another proposed detail is a perimeter wall of 34 feet in height.

There are also DOB applications, most filed on July 30 of last year, to demolish existing structures on 11 sites in the mansion’s vicinity and construct two-story buildings; most have a representative from Caliendo Architects and either Loria or Lucchese listed. In some cases, such as at 18-30 42 St., 18-36 42 St. and 18-27 41 St., the same Steinway Mansion owners are not listed, but someone appearing to be of the Loria or Lucchese family is.

The owners listed for the proposed new buildings record the same address as that listed on the paperwork for the Steinway Mansion, while the business names are not identical.

The Friends of Steinway Mansion, which advocates for placing the building at the heart of a potential cultural district, speculated on its Facebook page that the warehouses could be rented.

Lucille Hartmann, district manager of Community Board 1, said that they have been receiving calls from residents asking, “What’s going on?” but stressed that the board knows nothing. She noted that as the mansion, while beloved, is a private property, owners are under no obligation to share with the public.

Friday, May 22, 2015

Be grateful you don't live next to this

Hi Crappie,

A couple weeks ago, one of my neighbors here in Elmhurst decided to decorate his lawn with one of those illegal garbage bins. I guess this is legal because the bin is on private property, so Sanitation cannot remove it (?!- I have reported it to 311, to no avail).
To make matters worse, this neighbor is a slob to begin with (see the attached photo of his front lawn on a given day). The bin is ALWAYS overflowing, even though he claims that the company picks up clothing regularly. Ugh!


Yearly inspections of catch basins now mandated

From the Queens Chronicle:

A bill passed unanimously by the City Council last week that would increase inspections and repairs to clogged catch basins is one step in fighting the problem of flooding in Queens, according to two borough councilmen.

The bill, introduced by Councilman Jumaane Williams (D-Brooklyn), would force the Department of Environmental Protection to inspect catch basins on a yearly basis rather than every three years. It would also require the DEP to report twice a year to the mayor and Council speaker about inspections, maintenance and repairs.

Councilman Rory Lancman (D-Fresh Meadows) said he fully supports the measure as another tool in preventing flooding. His district includes a part of Utopia Parkway that has a long history of severe floods due to heavy rainstorms and the topography.

In a telephone interview on Tuesday, Lancman said he had been surprised to learn that the DEP only inspects catch basins every three years.

“It should be every year and this bill does that,” he said.

He pointed out that the public can call 311 to report a clogged drain, but sometimes debris and sediment are underneath and can’t be seen.

Holiday Inn coming to Woodside

From Sunnyside Post:

The western Queens hotel boom has not neglected Woodside, with an eight-story, 135-room Holiday Inn Express planned to go up on Queens Boulevard.

The hotel is going to be located at 64-06 Queens Boulevard and is being developed by Century Development Group, a Flushing-based company.

The project will include a restaurant, recreation room and office spaces, according to city filings. There will be meeting rooms as well as 39 parking spaces and 21 bicycle parking spots.

While most of the 135 rooms are standard guest rooms, some will be booked for extended stays only, no less than one month.

On its website, Century Development Group heralds the hotel’s proximity to LaGuardia Airport and Manhattan, as well as Flushing Meadows-Corona Park, the Queens Museum and Citi Field.

Raymond Chan Architect of Flushing is designing the building, according to records. Century Development Group estimates that the hotel will be complete in 2018.

Trib honors Caliendo

From the Queens Tribune:

Gerald Caliendo’s architecture business started with four employees, but has since grown into one of the premier establishments in the industry.

Caliendo was one of the honorees of the Queens Tribune’s third annual Business Achievement awards, held on Monday at Queens College.

The company, Gerald Caliendo Architects, started in 1994 in Briarwood, looking to get established in the architect business.

Since then, it has grown to about 45 employees and work on projects citywide.

In an interview with the Queens Tribune, Caliendo partially credits that growth to working with Phil Agusta, former commissioner of the Boards of Standards and Appeals.

He said that working alongside Agusta enabled him to learn the ins and outs of zoning and variance laws, something other businesses know little to nothing about.

You can click the tag below containing his name to see his proud Queens Crap history.

This is my favorite Gerry story of all time.

Fireworks coming back to East River

From LIC Talk:

The Macy’s Fourth of July Fireworks extravaganza is finally returning to Long Island City this summer after a seven year hiatus. Four barges will be placed on the East River between 23rd and 37th Streets, so there will be no better viewing location than our own waterfront parks, balconies, terraces, and rooftops. For LIC, this will be where Mardi Gras meets New Years Eve in Times Square and the Superbowl of Christmases.