Saturday, April 30, 2016

Abandoned corner house becomes a problem

Even the "nice" areas have problems with abandoned/vacant houses - this is on the corner of Union Turnpike and Commonwealth Blvd.

If you drive past it now, the front door is bent down and the front door is wide open. Since it's right next to both Creedmoor and the school complex on former Creedmoor land, I wonder if any kids hang out inside; or if squatters are living there. It's a disaster waiting to happen.

BTW, found a complaint made about it on 7/15/2015.


Bag tax coming soon

From Crains:

On Thursday, City Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito backed an effort to reduce plastic bag use and waste.

Councilman Brad Lander, D-Brooklyn, championed the legislation, which will charge a nickel for each plastic or paper bag New Yorkers use at supermarkets and shops. The fee is meant to encourage shoppers to bring reusable bags to stores instead of taking plastic ones.

The city spends more than $12 million a year dumping 91,000 pounds of plastic bags in landfills, according to the council. Lander had already amassed majority support for the bill, but it could be the tightest vote of the council's legislative season, he told Crain's.

Opponents of the bill say its yet another tax on city residents and burdens the poor. The proposed fee was reduced to 5 cents from 10 cents to address such concerns.

Mark-Viverito's support for the bill guarantees its passage next week by the City Council.

Christine Quinn wants more shelters

From the Daily News:

The number of families living in the city’s shelter system is now at record levels, with 12,302 parents and kids calling a city shelter home.

The city quietly reached the sad milestone Wednesday, according to stats from the Department of Homeless Services.

The previous high was in December 2014, when an average of 12,281 families a night slept in shelters.

Former City Council Speaker Christine Quinn, who is now president of the non-profit homeless advocacy group Women in Need, said the “troubling” surge showed the need for more shelters.

“The problem is growing and therefore the capacity of the system as it exists today is not sufficient,” she said.

(Women in Need runs shelters throughout the city.) The mayor is doing a bang up job on this issue, as usual.

Friday, April 29, 2016

Life in the fast lane

From CBS 2:

A proposed plan could add fast lanes to some bridges and tunnels around New York City that would let drivers bypass traffic for a price.

During a transportation panel discussion in Albany, Queens Assemblyman David Weprin said he would like to add express lanes on bridges and tunnels for drivers willing to cough up the dough for the quick convenience.

The plan would charge motorists for faster travel on bridges and highways that are already tolled, CBS2’s Hazel Sanchez reported.

“Say right now they’re $7.50 to go through the Midtown tunnel. Maybe we could reduce that to $5 or $6 and have the express lane for maybe $10 where people can pay more to have that fast service,” he said.

Trib notices that Flushing is dirty

From the Queens Tribune: the area’s population has surged and business is booming, infrastructure and city services have hardly kept pace with the growth. The MTA’s 7 Train, which terminates in Flushing, is severely overcrowded. Traffic is constant and parking is scarce, many roads are in poor condition and the sidewalks are hardly wide enough for the pedestrians that live, work and play in the area.

And the problems aren’t just transportation related. Schools in the area’s District 25 are among the most overcrowded. The sewer system regularly exceeds its maximum capacity and dumps untreated waste water into Flushing Bay.

Flushing residents will say that their quality of life does suffer as a result of some of these problems. And one of the most unsightly of them may be commercial garbage from some of the many restaurants overflowing into the street ahead of pick up time.

One of the worst areas is on 40th Road and Main Street, near the entrance of the Long Island Rail Road station. The high density of restaurants on the narrow street allowed the Queens Tribune, on two occasions, to photograph garbage or recyclables in that area spilling over into from the sidewalk into the street, blocking parking spots.

Elected officials and community leaders have taken note of the issue.

“It’s on our radar every day,” Scott Sieber, a spokesperson for Councilman Peter Koo, said. Sieber said he personally was once driving behind a trash compactor truck that picked up commercial waste when one of the bags popped and juice exploded over his car and several others.

“If the juice leaks out it collects on the potholes in the street,” he added.

They also noticed the overcrowding! Will wonders never cease?

DOB may revoke Garaufis house permits

From the Queens Chronicle:

The Department of Buildings has issued a 10-day notice of revoking permits to the owners of the property that used to host the house formerly owned by federal Judge Nicholas Garaufis in Bayside.

Issued on April 20, the notice informs the homeowners of the Buildings Department’s objections to the construction and gives them 10 days to respond. If the property owners do not resolve the agency’s objections, the permits are revoked.

The objections at the construction site, according to the DOB, are “Garage must be demolished,” “2nd floor joists to roof were demolished — revise demo and floor plan to match field conditions,” “Revise first floor layout,” “Revise asbestos report to ensure consistency with scope of work,” and “Aggregate width of balcony shall not exceed 50% of the width of the building wall it protects.”

The ALT-1 permit that the property’s owners were using to build requires that 50 percent of the original structure be maintained, a rule that has clearly been violated, as the house was torn down.

According to Flushing-based zoning expert Paul Graziano, the property’s owner will have trouble fighting the 10-day notice.

“The more likely scenario is that they will have their permits revoked and they will have to file for a new building,” Graziano said.

The new building permit, he added, is more expensive to apply for than the ALT-1 permit.

A scholarship exclusively for native New Yorkers


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For that reason, we have launched the $2500 NYC Born and Raised Scholarship for students who were born and grew up in New York City and personify the values of NYC.

We are hoping to get as many applicants as possible. It may be a bit off topic for you but if you could share our scholarship information with Queens Crap readers we would be extremely grateful.

(Application Form)

Thanks for your help.

Kind Regards,
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The Law Offices of Ivan M. Diamond

Thursday, April 28, 2016

Keep the subpoenas coming!

From the Wall Street Journal:

Some of New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio’s closest political allies have received subpoenas as part of coordinated federal and state investigations into his fundraising activities, people familiar with the matter said.

City Hall has also been subpoenaed and will cooperate fully, but Mr. de Blasio “has not been personally served,” Maya Wiley, counsel to the mayor, said Wednesday night.

The allies who received subpoenas include Emma Wolfe, the mayor’s director of intergovernmental affairs and his chief political aide; Ross Offinger, his top fundraiser; and BerlinRosen, a consulting firm that works on the mayor’s political campaigns and was co-founded by Jonathan Rosen, a top adviser to Mr. de Blasio.

Other political consultants and firms close to the mayor have also gotten subpoenas, the people said.

Neither the mayor nor his allies have been accused of any wrongdoing. A spokeswoman for the mayor’s office said Ms. Wolfe’s integrity shouldn’t be questioned and that she had followed all laws. Mr. Offinger declined to comment through a spokesman.

Mr. Rosen said, “We have acted appropriately and in accordance with the law at all times.”

The subpoenas are seeking documents related to the mayor’s unsuccessful effort in 2014 to bring the state Senate under Democratic control and fundraising for the Campaign for One New York, a nonprofit set up by Mr. de Blasio’s allies to advance the mayor’s agenda, the people said.

Wednesday, April 27, 2016

MTA says they never promised to mitigate noise in Sunnyside

From PIX11:

They have heard enough.

Sunnyside residents are asking the MTA to add noise mitigation aspects to the East Side Access project bringing the LIRR into Grand Central.

“Yet again, the MTA has failed to keep its promises,” said NYC Council Majority Leader Jimmy Van Bramer who lives in the neighborhood and represents the district. “Given the engineering challenges the MTA has faced in the East Side Access project, it’s difficult to believe they can’t build a simple noise barrier.”

The big interlocking and connection point is in Sunnyside, Queens. The $10.8 billion project has faced cost overruns and delays. It's set to be done by the end of 2022.

The MTA says a sound wall was not promised.

City bans 2 engineers

From Crains:

The city banned two construction engineers who submitted falsified plans to the Department of Buildings and signed off on unsafe blueprints—sometimes without even reviewing them—officials announced Tuesday.

"These individuals abused their privileges as licensed engineers, and put expediency and profit ahead of work-site safety," said Rick Chandler, commissioner of the department, in a statement.

Since last year, the Buildings Department has been cracking down on shady construction professionals. Its efforts have led to actions against 59 individuals. Stricter rules for construction sites were also implemented, including quadrupling fines for serious safety violations.

In this case, the two engineers, Yaakov Stern and Ashraf Ali, were caught in departmental audits and have had their filing privileges revoked.

A streetcar named de Blasio

From Politico:

A city-commissioned study of the proposal, which the city shared with POLITICO New York, fleshes out the projected travel habits of the communities through which the line would run, bolstering de Blasio’s argument that the $2.5 billion streetcar is theoretically doable, and underscoring some of the challenges ahead.

According to that study of the proposal — which originated in the real estate community — the administration projects 193 Red Hook residents would use the BQX daily to commute to DUMBO. Twenty-six would take a trip in the opposite direction.

Using projections based on 2013 data, the report also predicts that Astoria would send 51 commuters a day to DUMBO, and receive none in return. It is in Astoria, the streetcar's northern terminus, where the de Blasio administration will begin to seriously engage community members about its streetcar plan.

At the Variety Boys and Girls Club on 30th Road on May 9, city officials will lead the first of three-months worth of “visioning sessions” for people who live along the proposed streetcar’s route, which would run up to 17 miles from Astoria to Sunset Park at a pace of roughly 10.5 miles per hour during peak hours.

Wouldn't it be better to spend $2.5M to improve current bus service than to build a streetcar line that hardly anyone will use?

Tuesday, April 26, 2016

Anti-gentrification group: too little, too late?

From Sunnyside Post:

The quarter-page ad in Friday’s issue of the Woodside Herald is direct:

“Together we Stay, Stop the Phipps Development!”

The ad was placed by a new group called the Queens Anti-Gentrification Project that was formed eight months ago by a handful of Sunnyside, Woodside and Jackson Heights residents.

The group is opposed to the construction of a 10-story, 220-unit residential building proposed by Phipps Houses to go up at 50-22 Barnett Avenue (see details below). Its members will be holding a public meeting at the Sunnyside Community Services Center on Thursday to discuss ways in which to block the development.

Phipps needs to get the property rezoned in order to move ahead with the project. The company said that 100 percent of the units will be designated as “affordable.”

Dan Raymond, a co-founder of the Queens Anti-Gentrification Project, said the group is comprised of about six core members who believe that the gentrification wave is beginning to seep into Woodside, Jackson Heights and farther east.

He said his aim is to put the brakes on further gentrification in Sunnyside and the rest of Queens claiming that it is leading to higher rents, overcrowding and the loss of family-owned businesses.

He said that his group wants to make sure what has happened to residents in some parts of Brooklyn and Long Island City will not play out here.

Someone moved an Astoria Blvd bus stop

From PIX11:

Neighbors knew something was wrong along Astoria Boulevard at 100th Street.

The bus stop for the Q19 and Q49 bus moved randomly down the block. Reports were made to the city.

Councilmember Julissa Ferreras lives in the area and represents the East Elmhurst district. She noticed the sign and that the nearby vacant lot had been cleared.

Neighbors also made 311 calls and the the NYC Department of Buildings issued violations for work being done without a permit, including creating a new curb entrance to the vacant lot.

Vehicles from a store across the street were seen parking there. The grocery chain did not comment on the work.

Monday, April 25, 2016

Curtis Sliwa to run against Katz for Queens BP

From the Queens Chronicle:

The decision has been made. Guardian Angels founder and popular radio show host Curtis Sliwa will run for Queens borough president in 2017.

"Absolutely," Sliwa exclusively told the Chronicle after speaking at the Juniper Park Civic Association's Thursday meeting. "No doubt about it."

After saying he was considering a possible BP bid in a speech to the Queens GOP last week, Sliwa authoritatively declared he will run as a Republican against incumbent Democrat Melinda Katz, his longtime ex-partner and the mother of his two youngest children.

He added that his wide-ranging, passionate speech to the crowd of over 100 incredibly enthusiastic supporters in Middle Village was his first "unofficial" campaign stop in his quest to knock the "corrupt" Queens Democratic Party down a peg.

"It's nothing against Melinda," Sliwa continued, "it's just all roads that give the Queens County Democratic machine a badly needed colonic lead through the borough presidency because that's where the patronage is."

In his speech, Sliwa hammered federal, state and city Democrats who represent Queens for being more corrupt than others, claiming the county is more crooked than any other in the nation.

Well, he'll get no argument here.

What garbage?

Joe Moretti has a Monday morning funny:

"The Department of Sanitation investigated this complaint and found no violation at the location."

Well, it would be funny if it wasn't so infuriating.

College Point rectory rented out as hotel

This Craigslist ad was sent to me by an anonymous tipster.
This appears to be the rectory for St. Fidelis Church in College Point. It is also for sale, according to this ad:
So who now owns it and is renting it out illegally as dorms/hotel rooms "great for large groups" with a minimum of a 1-month stay?

Sunday, April 24, 2016

Proposal for community garden next to Cedar Grove

From the Queens Chronicle:

A Queensboro Hill family is pushing to make an unused city-owned lot at the intersection of 136th Street and 63rd Road a community garden.

And according to Alishia West, who is working with her husband, Zack Turck, and her daughter, Alyssa, to make the project a reality for the unused lot, the idea is popular.

“The people we talk to and the people we interact with, it’s easy to get them on board,” West told the Chronicle.

The lot belongs to the Department of Citywide Administrative Services.

Bayside Jewish Center to be bought by Korean services group

From the Queens Chronicle:

Korean Community Services of Metropolitan New York Executive Director Linda Lee spoke to the Northwest Bayside Civic Association last Thursday about the group’s plans to purchase the Bayside Jewish Center.

“We have the only Meals on Wheels program that serves Korean food in all of New York City,” Lee said, telling those in attendance about KCS at the meeting, which was held at the Grace Presbyterian Church of New York in Bayside. The agency, which has offices in Queens, Brooklyn and Manhattan, mainly provides programs for seniors, and mostly serves the Korean diaspora of New York City.

When Councilman Paul Vallone (D-Bayside) announced last May that the School Construction Authority planned to purchase the Jewish center, the congregation of which has largely dwindled in recent years, the plan was not greeted warmly. Citing the effect that the proposed eight-story school would have on parking, traffic, property value and other worries, many community members were livid. After a fight led by the civic and state Sen. Tony Avella (D-Bayside), the SCA dropped the plans last November.

If KCS buys the building, according to Lee, it will use it from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. on weekdays. And most of the seniors served by the nonprofit, she added, use public transportation.

When a member of the civic asked Lee if KCS plans to build onto the building, the nonprofit executive director said that it was not likely. “In our conversations right now, that’s not on our radar,” she said, while not saying outright that the agency would agree never expand the structure. “I don’t think we would even make plans to do that because we would have to have a good reason for doing that.”

However, Lee said, the building would have to be brought up to compliance and its kitchen would have to be renovated. And because handicapped individuals are served by the nonprofit, other changes would have to be made to the inside of the building to make it easier for them to move through it.

Saturday, April 23, 2016

Mandates imposed on building owners to reduce emissions

From Capital New York:

Mayor Bill de Blasio announced Friday that he will impose mandates on the commercial real estate sector to achieve dramatic greenhouse gas emissions among the city's building stock — by far the city's biggest contributor to global warming.

In an announcement tied to Earth Day, the mayor's office said the requirements, along with city programs and incentives, would help kickstart the mayor's goal of cutting building emissions dramatically over the next 35 years.

The mandates are a significant development for the city's real estate world. When de Blasio announced a plan two years ago to cut building emissions, he threatened mandates if private developers did not act quickly enough. After more than a year of meetings with a technical working group, the group submitted a report recommending the mandates.

The city estimates the measures will reduce greenhouse gas emissions from buildings by 2.7 million metric tons — the equivalent of taking more than 560,000 cars off the road. The mandates are also expected to save building owners approximately $900 million in energy costs each year and create an estimated 1,300 direct construction-related jobs, the mayor's office said.

We've always known that it's BUILDINGS and not CARS that produce the most pollution, which makes the city's focus on putting bike lanes everywhere to green the planet such a joke. I finally agree with de Blasio about something. Too bad he's probably going to be indicted soon.

Multiple investigations into de Blasio fundraising

From the NY Post:

Mayor de Blasio and his top aides coordinated an illegal fundraising scheme to help elect Democrats to the state Senate in 2014, the top investigator at the state Board of Elections accuses in a blockbuster memo that recommends the DA investigate City Hall.

In the damning eight-page report, delivered to the elections board on Jan.4, enforcement chief Risa Sugarman said the actions of the mayor, his political team and his state democratic allies led to “willful and flagrant violations” of state law.

“I have determined that reasonable cause exists to believe a violation warranting criminal prosecution has taken place,” Sugarman wrote in the memo, a copy of which was obtained by The Post.

From the Daily News:

The commissioners, during a closed-door vote, made the referral on Jan. 11, sources said, which is now part of a broader probe by the DA and Manhattan U.S. Attorney’s office.

Sugarman’s memo paints a picture of a coordinated effort by the mayor and his allies — dubbed interchangeably as “Team de Blasio” and “Team Coordinated” — to deliberately circumvent legal campaign donation limits in three upstate races in what turned out to be an unsuccessful effort to help Democrats win control of the state Senate in 2014.

The memo did not spell out exactly who could be charged. Deliberately evading campaign donation limits would constitute a felony.

Unions like the powerful Service Employees International Union Local 1199, SEIU 32BJ, the state Nurse's Association, and the Communications Workers of America were among those who gave big amounts to the county committees though they never had before. Developers and powerful businessmen who had business before the city like supermarket mogul John Catsimatidis ($50,000) and Alexis Lodde ($100,000) also gave mega contributions to the county committees.

Sugarman wrote that by serving as “straw donors” that simply passed through the donations to the candidate campaigns, the Senate Democratic Campaign Committee and the two county committees may have also violated the law.

From the Daily News:

A key donor to Mayor de Blasio’s fund-raising was subpoenaed Thursday, as it became clear the growing investigation is zeroing in on whether his campaign broke rules pursuing checks from powerful interests seeking favors from City Hall, the Daily News has learned.

The Manhattan U.S. attorney and the Manhattan district attorney both demanded documents from an anti-horse carriage group that has steered hundreds of thousands of dollars to de Blasio in its effort to ban buggies from Central Park, according to a source familiar with the probe.

Supporters of that group, New Yorkers for Clean, Livable and Safe Streets, NYCLASS, have written checks totaling $125,000 to Campaign for One New York, a so-called “independent spending” organization de Blasio formed to support his pet causes.

Late Thursday, Manhattan U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara and Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance Jr. demanded documents dating as far back as 2013 from the group, which steered $100,000 to Campaign for One New York in March 2015 and hundreds of thousands more to the mayor’s 2013 campaign.

From the Daily News:

On its face, it makes no sense.

A handful of sophisticated New York developers write big campaign checks to rural backwoods political committees miles upstate.

Upon closer inspection, however, it all becomes clear.

The developers were told the money wasn’t meant to help elect some yahoo constable in Moosebreath Corners, N.Y. Instead, it would help Mayor de Blasio in his quixotic quest to flip the GOP-controlled state Senate to the Democrats.

And the developers who chose to give just happened to be seeking — or had in the past received — lucrative benefits from the de Blasio administration such as zoning changes and tax breaks.

All of this is now under investigation by Manhattan U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara and Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance Jr.

Friday, April 22, 2016

Bike rack didn't help make things safer

From the Queens Gazette:

Civic leaders and Dutch Kills residents have a message for city transportation officials who installed a bicycle corral at a dangerous intersection to increase traffic safety in the Long Island City community.

“It didn’t work,” Dutch Kills Civic Association President Thea Romano said. Romano provided a photo of a recent collision at the intersection of 29th Street and 39th Avenue and said the crash is “proof of the ineffectiveness” of the traffic-calming measure installed at the site earlier this month by the Department of Transportation.

Eyewitnesses told police the driver of a yellow cab traveling eastbound on 39th Avenue at about 8 p.m. on April 13 slowed to a stop at 29th Street, to check for oncoming traffic.

As the cab inched forward, a speeding car tore through a stop sign on 29th Street and slammed into the cab, shattering glass as it screeched to a halt, the eyewitness said.

“It was a miracle that no one was killed,” Romano said. “How is a bicycle corral supposed to stop drivers from speeding up 29th Street? How many people will have to be injured or die here before someone takes steps to properly secure this intersection?”

Bill de Blasio will look into Mount Manresa for park site

From DNA Info:

Mayor Bill de Blasio will ask developers of the controversial Mount Manresa project if they'll sell the land to the city to turn it into a park.

The mayor was responding to a plea for campaigners at a town hall meeting in Staten Island Wednesday.

Loretta Drogon from the Committee to Save Mount Manresa asked him to find a way to turn the former Jesuit retreat house into a park instead of condos.

He promised to look into the possibility of purchasing the land from developer's the Savo Brothers — who bought it for $15 million.

"If there is any alternative, I may be the person who's in a position to do something," de Blasio said at the town hall.

"If you got someone who doesn’t want to sell, I don’t know what the options are. If you got someone who does want to sell, that’s a different discussion. So I will pledge you this one thing… we will make that inquiry and report back to you."

And how did this manage to happen?

From the Daily News:

A teetering Bronx school construction site sparked the evacuation of neighboring homes and shut down two underground train lines during rush hour Thursday morning, officials said.

Firefighters sped to the Southern Blvd. address near Freeman St. in Foxhurst just after 6 a.m. amid concerns that the new school, which is under construction, was unstable.

The building’s braces appeared to be bowing, a source with knowledge of the incident said.

First responders evacuated nine neighboring buildings. About 40 residents had to leave, officials said.

Officials from the Department of Buildings said that while it did not appear that the building would collapse, more inspections were scheduled.

Caps getting copped by metal thieves

From CBS 2:

New Yorkers are growing concerned about caps on fire hydrants mysteriously disappearing.

State Sen. Tony Avella told CBS2’s Ali Bauman that fire hydrants in Queens are missing their caps and putting residents in danger.

“It’s almost like a ‘Hardy Boy’ mystery, the case of the missing fire hydrant caps,” Avella told CBS2.

Avella has been on the case since November, sending letters to the Department of Environmental Protection and the FDNY. He said the letters have gone unanswered and each day without a solution puts the Queens community in danger.

“The firefighters have a two or three minute delay hooking up the hose, somebody could die,” Avella said.

However, the DEP said it responds to any reports to 311 of missing fire hydrant caps and the FDNY inspects every fire hydrant in the city and replaces any missing cap.

Avella said he’s seen this all over the neighborhood. CBS2 counted at least five hydrants missing caps.

Thursday, April 21, 2016

Permanent shelter for Dutch Kills

From the Queens Gazette:

The city is moving forward with a plan to keep a controversial women’s shelter located in the Dutch Kills community open through 2020.

The shelter for 200 women, located in the former Verve Hotel at 40-09 29th Street in Long Island City, was opened for a six-month period under an Emergency Declaration signed by Mayor Bill de Blasio on October 4.

The city last week proposed a four-year, $39.5 million contract between the Department of Homeless Services and shelter provider, Acacia Network, that would turn the shelter into a permanent facility.

Dutch Kills Civic Association officials said the proposed contract didn’t come as a surprise to neighborhood residents. Group president, Thea Romano, said the civic anticipated some sort of action by the city as the original six-month contract approached expiration.

Well it's a good thing the community went for that upzoning, otherwise, something as wonderful as this would never have been built there.

Strange activity at the Steinway Mansion

There's been some activity at the Steinway Mansion recently, and it looks like some kitchen equipment is being moved in.
There's no permits, however, to indicate what is going on.

Photos from George the Atheist

Wednesday, April 20, 2016

Council members spend more time with developers than constituents

If you don't read anything else this week, I suggest you read THIS.

And this is probably only the tip of the iceberg!

MTA will buy property in order to complete repairs

From CBS 2:

Dozens of people and businesses in Bushwick, Brooklyn are in an uproar over Metropolitan Transportation Authority renovations.

The agency said they have to leave their homes for months so crews can work on an elevated line. And the residents told CBS2’s Ali Bauman a lot of this is news to them.

The overhead maze of the subway off Myrtle Avenue where the M, J, and Z trains converge is unfortunate for residents who live in the middle of it all and will soon have to get out.

“We haven’t heard if it’s actually happening or if we’re gonna have notice to move,” one resident said.

But it is happening. The MTA said 26 homes and two businesses will have to relocate for six to 10 months during M Train renovations. The MTA Board green-lighted the relocation March 23, but weeks later many of the effected residents said the most they’ve heard are neighborhood rumors.

“I would like some notice. We’re just nervous they’re gonna throw it on us and be like, ‘Oh by the way, you have to get out in a month,'” tenant Abby Campbell said.

The MTA told CBS2 they notified residents last week. However, when the tenants at 1156 Myrtle Ave. were shown paperwork minutes from the board’s decision, they said it was news to them.

MTA officials said they plan to offer buying properties from the owners and resell once the project is completed.

Tuesday, April 19, 2016

Voters instructed to go to poll site that doesn't exist

Not sure if Democrats have same mix up. It appears Republicans have no place to vote in Astoria. When they received their notice, it told them to vote at PS 10 (NOT A SITE). When they go to PS 70, the actual site, they are being turned away.




Dromm co-sponsored dirtbag's program

From Progress Queens:

New York City Councilmember Daniel Dromm (D-Jackson Heights) was a co-sponsor of $300,000 in discretionary funding awarded to a sensitivity training program that was supported by Jona Rechnitz, one of two men reportedly the subject of a Federal corruption investigation tied to both the New York Police Department and the de Blasio administration.

Mr. Rechnitz’s support for the training program was revealed in a report published by The New York Post. Councilmember Dromm’s co-sponsoring of the funding was identified in the City Council’s Fiscal Year 2015 Schedule C, which details the awarding of discretionary funding.

According to the report in The New York Post, Mr. Rechnitz was introduced to municipal legislators during tours of the Museum of Tolerance New York, where the sensitivity training was reportedly held. The individual, who orchestrated the tours and introductions, was the lobbyist Michael Cohen.

It is not known if Councilmember Dromm took one of those tours or if he met with Mr. Rechnitz or Mr. Cohen.

Councilmember Dromm’s office did not answer several advance questions submitted to him via e-mail by Progress Queens, and a message left with his communications director, Michael Mallon, was not returned.

LPC rejects LIC Elks Lodge

From LIC Post:

The Landmarks Preservation Commission has notified this district’s elected officials that the Elks Lodge on 44th Drive is not worthy of being landmarked.

In a letter to Assemblywoman Cathy Nolan, the LPC wrote that the structure “did not rise to the level of an individual landmark.”

“The agency has determined that this property does not merit designation as an individual landmark due to its comparative lack of historic and architectural significance to other landmarked clubhouses,” according to the letter, dated April 14.

Monday, April 18, 2016

The crap on 56th Road

Hi Crappy,
"Rode my bike to Flushing Meadows today and on the way there I saw the "Crap" is spreading all along 56th Road.

I can't imagine what it could feel like living in between new homes like this and have my view and light almost entirely blocked out! When I got home and looked up the home on Google Maps that section of the block is blacked out on the street browse option.

Wonder why google would do this ? 146-19 56th Rd is surrounded by Queens Crap !" - Anonymous

Google Maps gives homeowners the option to block out their homes for privacy. - QC

What Tommy Huang did in Bayside

"Hi, My name is Wray Gillette. I thought I would share with you some more "Queens Crap"... It appears there was absolutely no enforcement of the CODES that are/were in place. If they are not going to be enforced, why have them?

This disaster was caused by one man... Tommy Huang. Have you heard of him. If not Google him. I hope he rots in jail. It is not just the fact that he tore ddown the house that my parents designed and built., but the crap he put back up, with SO MANY CODE VIOLATIONS. The aerial shot show it pretty well. They need to be town down and a single family home placed back on the property once again.

I have retired after a 30 year career with the US Coast Guard. I now live in Florida, but as they say.. my ROOTS are/were in Bayside. I hope you can prevent this for happening to other people. CODE ENFORCEMENT IS ESSENTIAL."

When is a passenger vehicle a passenger vehicle?

"Is it a cargo van, an oversized van, a dump truck? Mail to Inspectors Pilecki/Chan - NYPD Traffic Enforcement waste of time. Owners scam system, passenger plate but vehicle is utilized for commercial use. This allows vehicles to be parked overnight and all day on weekends in residential areas. If vehicle has commercial plate it would be ticket after three hours parked, called storage and definitely a ticket for overnight from 9pm to 5pm. In addition, scamming insurance companies paying lower rate and not informing carrier it is for commercial use. Lower registration fee paid to NYSDMV and upper level of 59th Street Bridge prohibits commercial vehicles yet everyday traffic is backed up, what is supposed to be an easy quick ride over the upper level is no different than lower level with trucks, vans. Cargo vans and oversized vehicles such as Connect use upper level with passenger plate. When will NYPD Traffic Enforcement put an end to this. There is a trailer house on 65th Place/Garfield, then down two streets a massive boat attached to a car parked 24/7 365 days annually and vans, vans and more vans everywhere, ambulette, vehicles which state hazardous material. Nothing is done to stop this practice. Look at photos taken today at 7am, THREE parked together, complete disregard for residents. Last one has commercial plate." - Anonymous

Sunday, April 17, 2016

Inside Compstat

From NBC:

This was the exchange the I-Team witnessed in an unprecedented look at Compstat, a crime-fighting innovation that helped make New York City into America's safest big city. It requires police officers to not just question suspects, but each other.

Too many auto shops ruin Bayside

From the Times Ledger:

Several Bayside residents testified at a land use hearing last week to express their displeasure about an auto dealership being proposed for Northern Boulevard. They also decried the overabundance of shops and stores dealing with automobiles in the neighborhood.

The Land Use Public Hearing, which took place at Queens Borough Hall March 31, was presided over by Borough President Melinda Katz. The meeting included details on two items that had been considered by Community Board 11 at its monthly meeting in early March.

Helms Bros. Inc. applied to extend and amend the terms of its variance, which would let the company turn its auto repair shop at 207-22 Northern Blvd. into an automobile dealership. In addition, the owners of the Staples building at 209-30 Northern Blvd. wanted to make changes to the property’s parking lot. Both variances were approved by the community board with conditions, although 11 board members voted against the Helms Bros. variance.

Community residents Henry Euler and Mandingo Tshaka spoke in opposition to the change in the variance. Euler and Tshaka both testified that the immediate area was already overwhelmed with auto-related businesses, and Euler said the auto repair work currently done on the property had a low impact on the surrounding residential area. He was worried that an auto dealership would be far more burdensome on the neighborhood.

Living near Atlantic Yards is no picnic

From the Daily News:

Welcome to life in the shadow of Atlantic Yards, the ambitious and divisive $4.9 billion real estate project that includes 15 high-rise buildings that will eventually tower over central Brooklyn as well as Barclays Center, the rust-colored 18,000-seat home of the NBA’s Nets and the NHL’s Islanders. When developer Bruce Ratner and his political allies — most notably then-Mayor Michael Bloomberg and former Gov. George Pataki, Ratner’s Columbia law school classmate — unveiled plans for a massive real estate project anchored by a Nets arena in 2003, they promised it would be a powerful economic engine that would bring jobs and affordable housing to the borough.

Community activists and longtime residents, however, say many of the promised benefits have yet to materialize — but the headaches and hassles they feared would be generated by the project, renamed “Pacific Park” in 2014 after years of controversy, have arrived right on schedule.

Howard and other residents say the neighborhood feels like it has been taken over by an occupying army. Noise from the construction sites around the Barclays Center is deafening, sometimes roaring on from dawn until well into the night. Traffic is snarled on streets narrowed by construction fences and clogged with trucks. The rat population has boomed and dust and diesel emissions foul the air. Confrontations with the 1,700 workers employed at the construction sites near the Barclays Center and the thousands of fans who regularly attend Nets and Islanders games as well as other events are all too frequent, the residents say.

Saturday, April 16, 2016

One woman may be cause for Glen Oaks burglary spike

From CBS 2:

Police have connected 16 burglaries, all following the same pattern in the 105 Precinct, since January. With the help of surveillance photos they have an idea of who they are looking for.

Police say the woman targets homes, typically enters through a window, or unlocked back door, and grabs cash and small valuable items like jewelry.

Neighbors believe there may be a common tie.

“As per Indian culture people keep a lot of gold in their house in case of an emergency,” Eldo Varkey said, “The crooks know that they have money and gold in their house.”

Cops can’t confirm that the thefts were racially motivated, but they do know that the suspect has been driving around in a van.

This is not a new building, Bushwick edition

Apologies for the poor photography on this one (I was a passenger in a moving vehicle at the time).

So the Department of Buildings has decided to okay this obvious new building project at 399 Knickerbocker Avenue as an alteration. There's nothing left here but partial walls.

Remember this as you get nickeled and dimed to death by the city with fines, fees and taxes for everything under the sun.

Alteration permits cost A WHOLE LOT LESS than new building permits. The city is throwing millions upon millions of dollars in revenue down the drain on a yearly basis in order to unofficially subsidize development.

Tell your elected official to stop using you as a piggy bank when there's so much wasted opportunity to collect real money to pay for needed services.

Friday, April 15, 2016

The LPC: As arbitrary and capricious as they wanna be

Hey Crapunzel,

You have probably heard that the Pepsi Cola sign in LIC has achieved Landmark status, but consider this from The NY Times story:

"The Artkraft Strauss Sign Corporation reconstructed the sign in 1993, after heavy damage was inflicted by a winter storm."

I am certainly not an expert on NYC Landmarks but this appears to be a contradiction of a previous decision by the landmarks commission concerning Old St. James Church of Elmhurst.

If the Pepsi sign was totally reconstructed and granted Landmark status why hasn't St. James, whose appearance has hardly been altered since the 18th century, been treated in the same manner?

I guess the Manhattanites have decided that an ancient Elmhurst church isn't as cool as a 20th century LIC commercial sign. Go figure.


philipe the confused

Yes, Philipe, I think you have nailed it.

Replacement of quaint Astoria homes will complete crap sandwich

From Curbed:

Two houses sitting side by side in Astoria will be demolished to make way for a five-story building with 23 apartments, YIMBY reports. The developer, George Elliott, recently filed plans with the Department of Buildings for the project at 30-70 38th Street. But first, it has to clear the Uniform Land Use Review Procedure (ULURP) hurdle.

It presents an interesting case in that the two houses that are to be replaced for this project fall under different zoning districts, even though they sit side by side.

The developers wants both sites to be under a higher density allowance, which would let him build up to 50 feet.

If everything goes according to plan, this T.F. Cusanelli and Filletti Architects-designed building will include amenities like bike storage, a parking garage, and a recreational room on the ground floor.

23 units to replace 2? Eh, that's ok, I'm sure the infrastructure can handle it (end sarcasm).

It takes more than a year to pave a parking lot

From the Queens Tribune:

After the parking garage behind Queens Borough Hall was demolished last summer, the project for a new parking lot was initially delayed and has now been put on the fast track.

Kenichi Wilson, chair of the Community Board 9 Transportation Committee, said the project went to bid on March 27 and will be closed in 30 days from that date. He added that the project is anticipated to break ground later this summer with an end date in summer of 2017.

Borough Hall’s parking garage being demolished last summer.

Some updates to the new 302 space parking lot is four spots for electric powered cars, LED lighting, a closed circuit camera system, and license plate readers. Wilson said the spaces for electric powered cars may increase depending on demand.

Thursday, April 14, 2016

Piece of Van Wyck collapses into Flushing Meadows parking lot

From CBS 2:

Some Queens residents said a popular parking lot is turning into a danger zone, and they blamed falling debris.

As CBS2’s Elise Finch reported, the parking lot sits under the busy Van Wyck Expressway, and near a popular recreation center.

People who frequent the area said they want to see long overdue repairs finally happen.

An enormous slab of concrete and metal has been all anybody visiting the Flushing Meadows Aquatic Center could talk a about lately. It looks as though it fell from the underside of the Van Wyck Expressway into the parking lot — just steps from the swim center’s entrance.

“This has become dangerous,” said Loida Papandrea of Little Neck, Queens. “You can see. You can see all the breakage. This is not the first time cement has fallen down if you just look at all the cracks.”

Shortly after noon on Tuesday, NYC Parks Advocates President Geoffrey Croft got multiple calls from people who work and play in the area. They said a huge chunk of debris fell 30 feet, narrowly missing several cars.

The slab measures 2 1/2 feet by 2 1/2 feet, and likely weighs more than 200 pounds.

Twenty-four hours later, it was still there.

Wednesday, April 13, 2016

Judge Garaufis' house completely destroyed

"April 7th Update. ....... Here's the skinny on what's happening with the Judge's house. Looks like they're dismantling the whole thing as you can see by the latest pictures though we did meet Lisa, the daughter of the people who bought it. She's a real estate agent herself and seems very nice and though she said it was just a remodel she confirmed that it's going to be a brick building.

Now you see it - Now you Don't.
Update for April 11th, 2016. Well, as you can see, it's gone
Walked by it today to see that it's 30 seconds from completely vanished."

Let's recall that this was supposed to be an alteration, with only a small part of the building to be demolished, as per the ZD1 diagram.

Above from Bayside, Queens Facebook group