Thursday, March 31, 2016

Served up on a silver platter

Thank you to Patricia Dorfman

1% keeping the city afloat

From the Daily News:

It takes an income of $636,866 a year to make you a member of the one percent in New York City.

And members of that elite group paid 47% of city personal income taxes in 2013, according to new data from the Independent Budget Office.

IBO found that 36,851 tax filers fell into the top one percent — and they collectively earned $107.5 billion, 38% of the entire city population’s income. On average, they brought in $2.9 million in 2013.

The high rollers brought in 19% of the city’s wages and salaries, but a whopping 87% of its capital gains.

They paid $3.9 billion of the $8.3 billion the city brought in in income taxes — nearly half of the total, and an average of $105,924 each.

Is DOT ignoring graffiti due to Vision Zero?

From CBS 2:

A Queens lawmaker is calling on the city to do more to remove graffiti.

State Sen. Tony Avella told CBS2’s Hazel Sanchez that after requesting graffiti removal in his district, he discovered the clean-up on city property had taken a back seat to other priorities.

“The fact that now the city under Mayor de Blasio and the Department of Transportation has chosen not to respond to graffiti requests unless it’s a profane nature or racist nature, it’s highly unacceptable,” Avella said.

Avella said Transportation Commissioner Polly Trottenberg told him the city wasn’t responding to all graffiti complaints because the agency was concentrating all its resources on the mayor’s Vision Zero program.

Wednesday, March 30, 2016

Silver disbarred

From Politico:

Former Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver, who was convicted on felony corruption charges last year relating to the confluence of his work as a lawyer and a lawmaker, has been disbarred.

Silver automatically lost his Assembly seat upon his conviction, and on Tuesday, a state court revoked his ability to practice law.

Flushing police scandal gets bigger

From DNA Info:

Nearly two dozen NYPD officers are under investigation as a result of the recent arrest of a lieutenant and a detective involved in a protection racket for karaoke clubs and bar owners in Flushing, DNAinfo New York has learned.

Two captains, three lieutenants, three sergeants, three detectives and 12 police officers are now under a cloud in the aftermath of a two-year investigation that ended in December with the arrest of Lt. Robert Sung and Detective Yatyu Yam of the 109th Precinct, according to confidential NYPD documents obtained by DNAinfo's “On the Inside.”

The internal records include the names, photos and possible violations of department or criminal regulations each of 23 officers may have committed, but provide few specifics.

Sources say some allegations come from Yam, 35, who was arrested by Internal Affairs Bureau investigators and prosecutors from the Queens District Attorney’s Office, and taken to a secret location in a hotel where he was debriefed over two days.

The strongest evidence, however, was captured on recordings and surveillance tapes that shows Sung and Yam convincing fellow officers not to raid the clubs they were protecting or to free customers being handcuffed for using drugs there.

Sources say that instead of listening to Sung and Yam, the officers should have notified IAB or their supervisors about possible corruption, as is required by NYPD policies.

The Frankenhouse of Maspeth

"Hey Crappie please add this to your monster houses that are swallowing up Queens. This used to be a nice house till they started making "little" alterations all of which were legal according to the DOB.

Jay Ave. and 66 Street Maspeth."


Hmmm... these plans were approved on February 29th of this year. That was an awful fast construction job! And some nice violations as well.

Tuesday, March 29, 2016

CB7 wants affordable housing dedicated to its constituents

From the Queens Chronicle:

Community Board 7 voted to reject a special permit application to build an affordable housing site at 133-45 41 Ave. on Monday.

The main reason for the rejection, as was frequently mentioned at the hearing, was the proposed allocation of units. Though 50 percent has been offered to residents of the CB 7 area, where the site is located, the other half is split between constituents of CB 3 and CB 4.

The proposed structure is a nine-story, almost 27,000-square-foot mixed-use building with 232 affordable housing units and retail on the ground floor. An underground garage with 229 spaces at One Flushing would provide parking.

The lot is owned by the city, requiring the permit. The Department of Housing Preservation and Development aims to contract Monadnock Development and other partners to make it an affordable housing site that includes services for seniors.

If the city’s Mandatory Inclusionary Housing proposal is approved for the project, 25 percent of the site’s units would become permanently affordable, and it would be legally possible to make the remaining apartments market-rate.

The groups involved with the proposal —HPD, HANAC, Monadnock, and Asian Americans for Equality — gave a joint presentation about the project before the vote. The details of the One Flushing proposal were already familiar to many board members, though, as the panel’s Land Use Committee had already met several times with the city agency and its private partners.

A lot of Sandy damaged homes are still not repaired

Forgotten-NY recently visited Broad Channel and stumbled across this house. Many others are sill in disrepair, years after Sandy. Electeds are blaming the DOB.

Monday, March 28, 2016

Why didn't DOT inspect Ciafone's canopies?

You may recall recently that John Ciafone installed some canopies at several of his buildings. A reader noticed that this installation damaged the sidewalks. But when they reported it to 311, they got this response:

Service Request #: C1-1-1223937251
Date Submitted: 03/12/16 5:38:27 AM
Request Type: Sidewalk Condition
Details: Broken Sidewalk
Your Service Request was closed.
The Department of Transportation inspected the location more than six months ago and has notified the property owner of any defective sidewalk conditions. The property owner is responsible for maintaining, repairing and installing sidewalks adjoining their property, according to Section 19-152 of the New York City Administrative Code.

The canopies were installed in February, so what good is a 6 month old inspection? And was the sidewalk cracked back then or not?

Fund to keep businesses here

From the Times Ledger:

The mayor’s office hopes to entice new industrial development to the city with a $150 million fund for nonprofit and for-profit developers in an attempt to stem the gradual loss of industrial real estate and jobs throughout New York.

Two representatives from the city Economic Development Corporation presented details of the newly established Industrial Developer Fund to the Queens Borough Board Tuesday night at Borough Hall. Borough President Melinda Katz, who heads the board, attended the meeting along with the heads of each community board.

The fund will be a combination of $60 million in taxpayer money with an additional $90 million from private financing. The city wants to encourage the development or renovation of 400,000 square feet of industrial real estate, and the EDC contends the developments will result in as many as 1,200 new industrial jobs by the close of the decade.

EDC Senior Vice President Jeffrey Lee said the fund would be a positive fit for developers who could ensure that opportunities for a living wage job with potential for advancement would be available to members of local communities, including those without a formal education.

How about not rezoning industrial areas for condos?

Attendance not important to council members

From Gotham Gazette:

Gotham Gazette monitored 13 City Council hearings over a ten-day period, from late February into early March, collecting data that shows more often than not, the committee chair is the only Council member that remains to hear testimony from members of the public at the end of a hearing (7 of 13); more often than not, at least one Council member had two committee hearings scheduled for the same time (8 of 13); and committee hearings never start at their scheduled time, with the earliest start time nine minutes after the scheduled time and the latest start time 54 minutes after. The average start time of the 13 hearings was 23 minutes past scheduled start.

It can be frustrating for members of the public to miss work and spend hours at committee hearings waiting for their turn to testify, only to find that most Council members have left before they’ve had a chance to speak. Yet to Council members, leaving hearings early or arriving late is often seen as necessary, either due to conflicting hearings or meetings, or to take care of something in their home districts.

(Or to meet with lobbyists.)

Sunday, March 27, 2016

Happy Easter from Queens Crap!

Wilson: Who's Warren Wilhelm?
Miss Kelly: A pink rabbit, six feet tall.
Wilson: Six feet?
Elwood P. Dowd: Six feet five inches. Now let's stick to the facts.

Mr. Parker: He looks like a deranged Easter Bunny.
Mother: He does not!
Mr. Parker: He does too, he looks like a pink nightmare!

Big Bad Bill certainly laid 2 eggs this year that looked pretty on their surfaces but turned out to be rotten inside - just in time for Easter. And we didn't even have to hunt for them.

Coming soon to stink up a neighborhood near you!

Saturday, March 26, 2016

Middle Village project looking much better

Well here's some good news for a change. The project on 80th Street in Middle Village was not looking all that good when it was stalled last year.
But it's looking pretty good these days, and it's going to match the original building well. It's even sporting a new trim which looks fab.

St. Michael's Cementery?

Ad from

I can see the old ladies lining up with coupons in hand...

Friday, March 25, 2016

Bye bye Bayside service station

Dear Crappie,

I'm sad to report that the Mobil station at the corner of Northern Blvd. & Bell Blvd. closed this week and has been dismantled. According to area residents I've spoken to, this had been a service station for as long as anyone can remember.

The only clue I have as to what happened is a postcard I received in the mail (I had my oil changed there many times) saying that the service station had lost it's lease. If anyone has any information about what's happening to this site, I'd be interested to know.

So much has changed along this stretch of Northern in just the last few years. The BMW detailing facility is now a blue, multi-story building. Pier 25A is closed and Burger King is scheduled to close and be redeveloped. It's hard to think that this site won't be transformed as well. Hoping for the best.

-Mike in (what used to be!) Bayside

So far, there's only a permit to remove the underground storage tanks. But with R6B/R4B/C2-2 zoning, prepare to see a giant pile of crap built in its place.

Thursday, March 24, 2016

An end to developer loophole?

From Brooklyn Daily:

The city must repeal provisions letting Ridgites drastically increase the size of their houses, because homeowners are turning the neighborhood into a hodgepodge of McMansions, local leaders say. The Department of City Planning is considering no longer extending so-called “special permits” to residents who want to enlarge their one- and two-family homes bigger than zoning allows. The agency created such permits to help families grow in place — so homeowners could build an extra bedroom for a child instead of moving out of the neighborhood, for example. But in practice, greedy speculators use it to make a quick buck, one critic said.

“It is used rampantly by people to buy property, build it up, and flip it for a profit,” said Michael Bistreich, legislation and budget director for Councilman Vincent Gentile (D–Bay Ridge). “Repealing it will help keep neighborhood character and the housing market in the area intact.”

Community Board 10 opted into the program 20 years ago under the belief that the Board of Standards and Appeals — a city planning sub-agency that grants the permits — would ensure that any expansions would not “alter the essential character of the neighborhood,” and that the community board would have some say in what permits were granted, according to a 1996 board report.

But since then, the city has rubber-stamped wildly inappropriate home expansions, according to a board honcho.

NY1's dumb population analysis

From NY1':

The five boroughs added more than 55,211 people in the year that ended last July 1, bringing the city’s population to more than 8,550,000, according to an estimate released Thursday by the U.S. Census Bureau.

It's the first time in history that more than 8.5 million people have called the city home.

“It shows that we're a place that people want to be, want to come, want to stay, want to grow a family,” says Carl Weisbrod, chairman of the city’s Planning Commission.

The city's population has been on the upswing for some time. With the new numbers released Thursday, the city has grown by more than 375,000 people in just the last five years, an increase of 4.5% -- or more than the entire population of Pittsburgh.

For several years, Brooklyn led the five boroughs in population growth, but that changed last year.

According to the Census Bureau, Queens added the most number of people last year 16,700. Brooklyn was a close second, at 16,015, followed by the Bronx (13,687), Manhattan (7,552) and Staten Island (1,257).

The growth will inevitably put new strains on the city's infrastructure. But it's a relatively good problem to have, as the five boroughs continue to be the place where people want to live.

This is a good problem to have? It means taxes go up for everyone with infrastructure problems outpacing upgrades. Overcrowded schools, trains, roads. Busted sewers. What great problems to have!

One man's trash is another man's treasure

More from the NY Times.

Wednesday, March 23, 2016

Kim & Koo want filthy Flushing LIRR station cleaned

From the Queens Chronicle:

“This is one of the worst Long Island Rail Road stations,” Koo said. “Our station doesn’t match the quality of life we deserve.”

The grassy area below the station, as anyone who’s been to the depot knows, is littered with trash.

“So, I’m asking the MTA representative here to relay my message to the MTA: Keep the station clean! Maintain it!” the councilman said, looking at Baptitse. “Look at the trash here! It’s a disgrace to our community!”

Koo, who added that when he rides the train, other passengers complain to him about the station’s issues, clarified that his anger was not directed at the project manager personally.

“I know you’re just the messenger. I am not blaming it on you but please relay my concern,” the councilman said. “I have been talking about this since I came into office.”

After the press conference, Koo directed heated words at the station’s manager, too.

“This is a great disgrace to our community, that we have such a lousy station here,” Koo told the Queens Chronicle, adding that he would follow up with MTA. “I want to put them on notice that we want this station cleaned.”

Speaking to reporters after the photo op, Kim also expressed concern about the trash at the station, but voiced confidence that it will be fixed in the future.

“Flushing produces the most jobs than any neighborhood in the city of New York,” Kim said. “Once we upgrade the entire station, I’m confident that all of this stuff will go away.”

Still, he added, reaching out to the MTA to make sure that the station’s trash is cleaned up will be the “next move.”

“And then, we have to follow up with education and outreach and making sure people maintain it and making sure we have enough MTA workers to maintain it,” Kim added.

Interesting house to meet the wrecking ball

From Sunnyside Post:

A two-story house sandwiched between the 7 train tracks and Woodside Library has a date with the wrecking ball.

Demolition plans were filed with the Department of Buildings at 54-21 Roosevelt Ave. earlier this month.

A small home characterized by jutting features and a mix of windows currently occupies the property.

Here's who voted no

From Politico:

One man yelled they were breaking his arm, while another woman shouted, “We put the mayor in, and he’s destroyed the city!”

After the balcony was cleared, without any arrests, the meeting continued.

One council member after another described Mandatory Inclusionary Housing as historic and legacy-building.

In reality, it is unlikely to have the sweeping impact their rhetoric would suggest.

The Department of City Planning has projected it would be responsible for the creation of 12,000 low- to moderate-income apartments —15 percent of the 80,000 the mayor hopes to create by 2024.

The mayor and his housing officials made clear, particularly when they were pushing back against widespread criticism of the plan last fall, that it is not the primary trigger for low-income housing. Rather, it is the $8.2 billion in subsidies the city has budgeted to spend on rent-regulated apartments over a decade that will be mainly responsible for bringing the mayor’s housing plan to fruition.

The policy will also be hurt by the expiration of the 421-a development tax break, which many builders say is necessary for them to build any affordable housing. Without it, they argue, they will simply forgo the rezonings because it is not financially feasible to create below-market-rate housing without a tax break.

“Without 421-a, mandatory inclusionary is almost meaningless. Without it, the subsidies necessary to get any of the rezoned projects built would basically make them public housing,” one developer who would only speak on background said earlier in the week.

Council members Inez Barron, Jumaane Williams, Joe Borelli, Steve Matteo and Barry Grodenchik all voted against the Mandatory Inclusionary Housing proposal. Council members Barron, Borelli, Andy Cohen, Grodenchik, Matteo and Paul Vallone voted against the Zoning for Quality and Affordability proposal.

Will Toby finally get sunk?

From the Queens Tribune:

Democrat S.J. Jung, Flushing resident and former President of the MinKwon Center for Community Action, announced this week that he would make another run for State Senate in the 16th Senate District, setting up for another primary challenge against longtime incumbent state Sen. Toby Stavisky (D-Flushing).

Stavisky has survived competitive primary challenges in her last three races. Besides Jung in 2014, she held back a challenge from John Messer in 2012, who also received 42 percent of the vote, and she fought off two challengers – Messer and Chemist and former City Council candidate Isaac Sasson – in the very competitive 2010 primary.

The district was redrawn in 2010 and has an Asian American plurality, and includes Chinese American enclaves in Downtown Flushing, Fresh Meadows and Elmhurst, as well as heavily Jewish American communities such as Rego Park, Oakland Gardens and Electchester/Pomonok.

DOT's strange response to sign request

Hi Crappy,

DOT refused a request to put a No Parking sign (during school hours) in front of the new charter school here in Woodhaven. Currently it is the home for a school that has a lot of kids with special needs.

The reason DOT gave for rejecting the request is that there was a hydrant there, and they said the school should just use that. (It's actually in front of my house, not the school).

We went around and found seven schools in the immediate area with No Parking signs (during school hours) directly next to hydrants.

Hope all is well with you,

Ed Wendell

Tuesday, March 22, 2016

Glassy project will kick Buks to the curb

From QNS:

An entire block in Rego Park will be transformed into a 100,000-square-foot retail and medical office building by RJ Capital Holdings.

Located at 98-81 Queens Blvd., the building will take over Ohr Natan Synagogue, the site of the former Trylon Theater. After the theater closed down in 1999, preservationists tried to petition synagogue owners to retain some of the theater’s architectural features. The building was renovated in 2005, removing many of the historical features, according to a blog post by a local historian.

Ohr Natan Synagogue’s lease expires in February 2017 and Rabbi Nahum Kaziev said that talks between him and RJ Capital Holdings have dissolved, according to the Commercial Observer. The synagogue also acts as a community center for the large Bukharian Jewish community that resides in Rego Park and Forest Hills.

The moral of the story is that karma is a bitch.

UPDATE: Maybe they'll stay, but they probably won't.

Ozone Park half house

Here's half of a house that I stumbled across on 103rd Street in Ozone Park, just north of 101st Ave.
Well that excavation looks kind of unstable.
It seems that the DOB & FDNY agree.
This was supposed to be an enlargement.
But it became more of a nightmare.

Monday, March 21, 2016

NYPD recruits hogging up College Point parking

And whose fault is this? Let's see what the papers have to say:

From the Times Ledger:

Before the police academy in College Point opened up, the city had an agreement that residential parking would not be affected. I live on 128th Street between 23rd and 25th avenues. And there were several occasions when NYPD cadets would park on the very block I live on and would hop into their fellow cadets cars to be driven down to the Police Academy.

When I spoke to the sergeant of operations at the new police academy, he admitted, or let’s say he was very frank, that the city had plans for more parking areas, but they don’t have the funds to build them. I would now say that this agreement that the community had with the city was a lie.

So now, this agreement that the community had with the city was not to affect parking three-quarters to half a mile away, I would like an explanation for why we who live that distance from the police academy have to be affected by their parking problem.

Richard Erdey
College Point

Also from the Times Ledger:

Gene Kelty, chairman of Community Board 7, said the NYPD had promised that parking would not be an issue, saying the board expects the department to tell the recruits to either park onsite or take mass transit.

He said the board has forwarded the parking complaint to its contacts in the Police Department and noted that it is hard to address the parking issue because no one is entitled to a parking spot in a residential area.

“We wanted all parking on site because we didn’t want this to happen,” Kelty said.

He said the Police Academy project got scaled down into phases during former Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s administration, noting that the first phase was building part of the parking lot and the classroom area.

“It’s very nice,” he said. “We were happy that they got a state-of-the-art facility, it’s just that they were not supposed to impact the area.”

In a letter dated Nov. 20 to Police Commissioner Bill Bratton on behalf of Erdey, state Sen. Tony Avella (D-Bayside) asked Bratton to review the parking issue and get back to him with his findings.

Maybe Paul Vallone can work on this one.

M train riders to get screwed next year

From DNA Info:

The M train will be temporarily suspended in Ridgewood and Bushwick next summer so crews can do repairs ahead of the L train shutdown, MTA officials said Friday.

Service between Myrtle Avenue and Middle Village—Metropolitan Avenue will be disrupted so crews can mend a bridge and rebuild a viaduct, according to the MTA.

They hope to complete the M train work before commuters start using it more when the L line shuts down for its extensive Hurricane Sandy-related repairs, officials said. Transit officials were still weighing when they'll close the L and for how long.

M line work will kick-off with crews undertaking a two-month rehab of a bridge over a rail yard, officials said. During that time, the M won't run between Myrtle Avenue and Middle Village—Metropolitan Avenue.

Then, crews will spend eight months tearing down and rebuilding a viaduct, officials said. There will be a shuttle ferrying commuters from Myrtle—Wyckoff Avenue and Middle Village—Metropolitan Avenue.

The M will run over the J and Z lines on Broadway between Myrtle Avenue and Broadway Junction, officials said.

Too many kids in Francis Lewis zone

From the Times Ledger:

Public high schools in the northeastern area of Queens are continually some of the most popular schools in the city, and Francis Lewis High School in Fresh Meadows is at the top of the list. Aside from the city’s specialized high schools, it was the public high school with the highest number of applicants in the city in 2015.

Forest Hills High School in Queens was the second most popular high school in terms of the number of applications, according to information supplied by the city Department of Education. Midwood High School in Brooklyn was No. 3, while Bayside High School and Benjamin N. Cardozo High School, two other Bayside schools, rounded out the top five. According to the DOE data, there were 9,468 applications to Francis Lewis in December.

Marmor also stressed that there was no correlation between the school’s high number of applicants and its overcrowding. Francis Lewis, like several other nearby high schools, has long struggled with overcrowding in its facilities. The school is operating at about 190 percent of capacity, according to Marmor.

He said the high enrollment stemmed from Francis Lewis’ status as a zoned school, offering space to those from the community who apply. Marmor said that about 65 percent of the students were enrolled in the school because there was guaranteed space for zoned students.

College Point blockbusting?

"This home has been exposed for 1/2 month now with asbestos sticking out. I know DOB has been here and on March 7 they were turned down for a permit to build 3 stories.

This Chinese family bought it and had day laborers come tear off the siding and also told a fellow neighbor that construction will take a year. This family has called several homeowners and told the them they would buy their house with 1/2 cash down. This does not sound kosher in the least." - anonymous

Sunday, March 20, 2016

F'ed up on Fitchett

They want to build a McMansion here but the plans were rejected.

And then there's what's directly across the street...

The plans were revoked and it's been sitting in this condition for 2 years.
The neighbors must love it.

Saturday, March 19, 2016

Public toilets sit unused in warehouse for 10 years

From CBS 2:

If you are looking for a public restroom in New York City, you will find a dozen of them by walking down an off-the-beaten-track lane toward a warehouse in an industrial section of Maspeth, Queens. They are automatic and self-cleaning, and they have been sitting there unused for about a decade.

The public toilets are operated, or should be, by the JCDecaux company of France. But currently, there are only four of them installed on the streets of the city, and the one CBS2 found at Corona Plaza in Queens was not even working on Friday.

How brainwashed is the Queens press?

So remember a couple of years ago when reporters announced with glee that crime decreased after the Pan Am opened, relying on bogus stats from the NYPD and the DHS to make it look like there was hysteria over nothing?

Then came the problems that couldn't be hidden. One by one the reports piled up.

DHS' response? That a racial incident was perpetrated against an unnamed Pan Am shelter kid by unnamed assailants of a local school. No arrests were ever made, and the NYPD and DOE were never notified of the incident, yet it was reported as fact, because local journalists don't think DHS has a reason to lie.

Now the shit is really hitting the fan, as real journalists, like citywide reporters Courtney Gross of NY1 (5-part series) and Greg Smith of the Daily News (5-part series), absolutely rip the de Blasio administration apart over their mishandling of shelter problem.

When a community reports major problems with a shelter, maybe it's best that the local reporters take them seriously.

Please do your jobs and stop being shills for the mayor.

Friday, March 18, 2016

Malcolm Smith probe may not yet be over

From Lohud:

The FBI and U.S. Attorney's Office used an Orthodox Jewish radio program in an elaborate sting operation that helped the government convict Malcolm Smith and other New York politicians in a corruption scandal, a four-month investigation by The Journal News/lohud revealed.

It is unclear whether there are other targets, including New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman, who appeared on the show as a state senator prior to the 2010 election with Moses Stern, later revealed to be an FBI cooperator. Stern appeared twice on the show prior to election day using aliases, posing as both a political analyst and a resident from Brooklyn. He urged listeners to vote for Schneiderman.

Prosecutors disclosed little about the New York Jewish Communications Channel to defense lawyers for two people convicted in the sting operation. The show was hosted by longtime Orthodox radio personality Zev Brenner, who owns Talkline Communications Network, and registered with the state by Joseph Markowitz, whose name was linked to thousands in campaign donations to Schneiderman, who has not been accused of wrongdoing, and an illegal donation to Halloran. After the Smith arrests, Schneiderman pledged to donate the contributions from Markowitz and Markowitz's wife to charity.

Blessed Sacrament may pave over a lot of green

A parking lot for 63 cars? Where will that go?
Paving over the lawn or knocking something down?

Thursday, March 17, 2016

Let's celebrate a 30-unit building on the site of a 1-family house

There's an interesting interactive map over at Curbed showing the projects planned for Flushing. Take a look at it. It's not 100% accurate, but you do get the sense of how desperately developers and the city are trying to stuff 10 lbs of sausage into a 1 lb bag.

Destruction of Judge Garaufis' house proves need for landmarking

"This house, along with all of the houses on 40th Avenue from All Saints Church to 223rd Street, were included in a proposed historic district. It was ignored by then-Councilmember now-convicted felon doing jail time Dan Halloran. The current Councilmember, Paul Vallone, is also generally opposed to protecting our neighborhoods from destruction, as can be seen from his support to not allow the Douglaston Historic District Extension (along Douglaston Parkway north of the LIRR) to go forward. His press release stated that "landmark status imposes undue restrictions on the rights of homeowners to renovate, modify, or even sell their properties as they wish." This is total NONSENSE and typical of an elected official who got most of his campaign contributions from the real estate industry.

As for the specifics of this property: I just looked up what the plans are for "renovating" it. The house will be utterly destroyed. It will look like a brick box from the outside with an addition to the rear. Also, the property will be subdivided to include another detached brick box immediately next to it.

When Tony Avella, myself and the community worked to rezone Bayside a decade ago, it was only part of the story: if you don't landmark buildings or create historic districts along with it, zoning only has limited power to regulate what happens in your neighborhood. Yes, we stopped some of the worst abuses from occurring by changing the zoning in many areas from R3-2 and R4 (multi-family attached buildings) to R2A and R1-2 (detached one-family houses only). But, as can be seen, any property larger than the minimum like this beautiful house can immediately be subdivided and utterly destroyed." - Paul Graziano
More house destruction photos here.

And here's another example of the destruction of Bayside:
This is why something asinine like a "landmark compromise" as suggested by the Queens Chronicle won't work to preserve architecture that has historical and aesthetic value. The law needs to be have teeth to be effective.

Vallone punting problems over to Avella

It's interesting the conversations that people have on Facebook. I found this one in a community group and have anonymized the posters' names. Illegal conversions are generally a concern of the local council member as the council deals directly with the DOB.

Wednesday, March 16, 2016

NJ town doesn't want to be like Queens

Photo by R. Acosta, Saving Silverton Facebook Page
From BloombergBusiness:

Every home is big on glass in a Toms River, New Jersey, neighborhood called North Dover. Windows let in the sun, or show off chandeliers in multistory entrance halls.

These days, though, most homeowners draw the blinds, retreating from brushes with a fast-growing Orthodox Jewish community that’s trying to turn a swath of suburban luxury 10 miles (16 kilometers) from Atlantic beaches into an insular enclave. The rub, a township inquiry found, is “highly annoying, suspicious and creepy” tactics used by some real-estate agents.

They show up on doorsteps to tell owners that if they don’t sell, they’ll be the only non-Orthodox around. Strangers, sometimes several to a car, shoot photos and videos. When they started pulling over to ask children which house was theirs, parents put an end to street-hockey games.

Lakewood, once a rural destination for Rockefellers and other industry titans, is now a land of synagogues, religious schools, kosher groceries and residential neighborhoods in the grip of minivan gridlock. It’s also a place testing the limits of zoning enforcement for 95,000 people, at least half Orthodox, by Schnall’s estimate.

This month, after fire destroyed a single-family home, the Ocean County sheriff said that it was being used as an unauthorized dorm for as many as two dozen yeshiva students. Downtown, inspectors boarded up a commercial building four times, citing non-permitted use as a catering hall and Orthodox study center, only to see the plywood removed and the space reopened. The fifth board-up succeeded, backed by a planning-board ruling, said Steven Secare, the township attorney.

That’s unlikely, according to Michael Dedominicis, a 40-year-old construction company owner who leads a social-media group called Toms River Strong that urges the town’s 91,000 residents not to sell. His account of dropping by a neighbor’s open house and being denied entry by its Orthodox listing agent is included in a 16-page report on real-estate canvassing issued by township officials Feb. 5.

“Where is the law in this situation?” Dedominicis said in an interview. “I have homeowners calling me, saying, 'They’re converting a three-car garage into bedrooms!'”

The opposition, he said, has nothing to do with dislike of Jews, but with a fear that Toms River will become like Lakewood’s more tattered sections, with cars parked on lawns, overgrown landscaping, trash piled at curbs and residents crowding single-family homes.


Oh, come on now. In Queens, our elected official claim that this type of living is vibrant and diverse. What's wrong with these New Jerseyans?

Sanders drops out of congressional race

From the Queens Chronicle:

State Sen. James Sanders Jr. (D-South Ozone Park) announced Tuesday afternoon that he is ending his campaign for Congress and will instead run to defend his seat in the 10th District this fall.