Wednesday, July 31, 2019

Hevesi's son is pissing off Mario's son regarding donations from his sister's homeless shelter provider

NY Daily News

  A Queens assemblyman is accusing Gov. Cuomo of turning a blind eye to the state’s growing homeless problem while deep-pocketed donors linked to shelters with state and city contracts fill his campaign coffers with cash.

Cuomo has raked in more than three-quarters of a million dollars in donations over the past decade from contributors with ties to the shelter system, according to Assembly Member Andrew Hevesi (D-Queens).

Board members associated with various homeless shelters have gifted the governor $322,972.50, while donors associated with Help USA, a shelter service provider founded by the governor and chaired by his sister, Maria Cuomo Cole, have ponied up $451,285 in donations.

“Andrew Cuomo is profiting from the growth in homelessness," Hevesi told the Daily News. "He has taken three-quarters of a million dollars from people who have a financial interest in having more people become homeless.”

Cuomo adviser Rich Azzopardi, pointing out that the sum is less than 1% of the $118 million raised by his boss in recent years, said Hevesi’s criticisms are nothing more than the smoldering remnants of a grudge against the governor for locking up his father, former state comptroller Alan Hevesi, over a pension fund scandal more than a decade ago.

“As the governor always says, anyone who can be influenced by a single dollar has no place in government and that is as true now as it was the day when Attorney General Cuomo busted Hevesi’s father for selling the pension fund to the highest bidder," Azzopardi said. “The assemblyman’s conspiracy theories are sad, his family vendetta is pathetic and he should be doing better by his constituents.”

Hevesi countered that his only concern is the steady increase in the number of people, especially children, struggling with homelessness under Cuomo’s watch.

Each year, about 250,000 New Yorkers find themselves faced with the prospect of spending a night in a shelter at some point. The majority, three out of five, are school-aged children, according to the Assembly Committee on Social Services, which Hevesi helms.Since 2011, the number of school-age kids experiencing homelessness in the Empire State has increased 69% to 152,839 students.

Wall falls on and kills construction manager inside an Averne apartment building still under development

NY Daily News

A construction manager was killed Tuesday when a wall in a partially completed Queens building collapsed on him, officials said.

Jose Martins, 67, of Warren, N.J., was buried in debris when the wall came tumbling down inside the 
building on Beach 67th St. near Ocean Avenue North in Arverne about 2:20 p.m., cops said.

Workers were building a seven-story, 126-unit apartment building at the site

Sunday, July 28, 2019

Another small business bites the dust as Kew Gardens pharmacy shuts down after 40 years

NY Post

A beloved Queens small business fills its last prescriptions Monday.

Many are mourning the demise of Metropolitan Pharmacy, a 40-year-old small business on Metropolitan Avenue in Kew Gardens near the Richmond Hill border, as well as its sister business, Metro Pharmacy II, in Forest Hills.

The closing of Metropolitan Pharmacy will be a great loss, residents say, because owner Ira Lisogorsky has selflessly served the neighborhood.

“I needed some medicine, but my insurance card wasn’t going through because of a technical glitch,” recalled Suzanne Hall, a Kew Gardens resident and a longtime customer.

“Ira knew how much I needed the medicine, gave it to me immediately and told me that he’d settle the insurance issue later on,” she said.

So why is Metropolitan Pharmacy shuttering?

Lisogorsky, who fills thousands of prescriptions, said he has problems with drug companies as well as regulatory and city policies.

“The city doesn’t care about us,” he said. “They look at us as a cash cow, and yet it is small businesses that made this city.” He cleans his sidewalk each day, but said “if the wind blows, suddenly I have a fine.”

The nearest pharmacy is a CVS down the hill on 126th street and you can buy candy and beer there too. Good thing we got big retail options.

Saturday, July 27, 2019

Congresswoman Ocasio-Cortez has to fire her chief of staff


George The Atheist

 Just Who Represents The Queens 14th CD?

Who?  Officially Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez.

So why is her Chief-of-Staff, Saikat Chakrabarti, mouthing off for her?  Referring to moderate members of Democratic groups in a Tweet last month as "New Southern Democrats" who are "hell bent to do black and brown people today what the old Southern Democrats did in the 40s."   He sure p.o.'d Pelosi and many of the old school Dems, no?

Who elected this guy Chakrabarti? Seemingly the puppet-master of Ocasio?   AOC's string-puller?  And he doesn't even live in Queens but is a carpetbagger from Greenwich Village in Manhattan!!!

Impunity City

 A few weeks ago on the heels of the congressional hearings of the Senate's border funding bill, a brash man in his 30's  decided to take to social media and rail against the establishment very old guard and "moderate" Democrats for their support of it. And the social media storm came from the chief of staff of the most pop-centric elected official of our time (and arguably maybe all time since the young Kennedys) Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Saikat Chakrabarti. Although he made salient points about the congressional hacks constant cave-ins, he made a boneheaded analogy comparing Speaker Pelosi and the other Dems voting for it to the Dixiecrats of nearly a century ago, which he immediately deleted. 

Even though these are atypical reactions from an electorate body of officials that are cognizant of their weakening status in office and of the growing and widening disdain of them by their constituencies to undermine a young and immensely popular upstart like Ocasio-Cortez, their vindictive accusations of her being dependent on her obnoxious chief of staff does have merit.

But in actuality, it's not only because of his tweet conflating the current shitty Congress and the shitty racist enabling one back in the day or even wearing a very stupid t-shirt, it's mostly because he's a dishonest person and a multi-millionaire feigning to be a revolutionary, trying to become a player in D.C.. He also could have underhanded reasons to personally profit from what on the surface are progressive policies that are being pushed.

Chakrabarti, or Chak as he will be referred to here for the sake of brevity and it sounds better, got filthy rich in Silicon Valley developing a web tool called Mockingbird and participated in Bernie Sanders miraculous yet defeated presidential campaign, followed by hooking up with the current representative of New York's fighting fourteenth district in Northeast Queens and the South Bronx with the Justice Democrats PAC he co-formed.

But since that victory, he's been pulling some very shady and non-progressive stunts

Thursday, July 25, 2019

Murray and 17. Again.

To: Vallone Paul

So every year this comes back. Every year we are dealing with the same issue. If I remember correctly, it was determined that there was a water leak beneath the sink hole. This determination was last year if I’m not mistaken. Do we have to wait for an accident? Or worse?  

Your help is greatly appreciated.

Alfredo Centola
Founding Member 
We Love Whitestone

Rally to Preserve 1632-Richmond Terrace Cemetery

Hi Fellow Staten Islanders,

Enclosed are a few videos that we did to assist in letting people know about a rally to halt, for a short time, the destruction of a burial site that goes back beyond the American Revolution and includes some Native American graves at 1632-Richmond Terrace last Saturday, late morning on July 20, 2019.

We have produced these 5 videos with the intention of using the links on FaceBook as our way of distribution. Instead of making one longer video with all the speakers, we decided to show only a few of the presenters by themselves with their own point of view.

You can view them in any order that you like and please pass them on to anyone who you think would be interested and can help.

Charlie Olson

Ask STOP & STOR to do MORE- Preserve Staten Island's Native American & Revolutionary War History at 1632 Richmond Terrace!

Please Contact elected officials, historians, museums or anyone that can help!

We want a full archeological survey with a monitor so historical artifacts are not destroyed at 1632 Richmond Avenue!

Please Contact elected officials, historians, museums or anyone that can help!

We want a full archeological survey with a monitor so historical artifacts are not destroyed at 1632 Richmond Avenue!

Developer denied (finally)


Sent: Thursday, July 18, 2019, 04:17:49 PM EDT

Subject: Update on Kimco Proposal

Hi Everyone,

First, I just want to thank everyone for their advocacy and input over the past several months. As you know, there was a lot of back and forth between the community, the applicant, and our office, and a flurry of activity last night into the early hours of this morning. These latest negotiations arose from last minute modifications to the project that were presented to us in an attempt to reach a consensus that would satisfy both the applicant and the community. By late morning, we were still not convinced that that this project would prove to be a benefit the community, and therefore unworthy of a rezoning.

However, a vote was still scheduled for 10:30am this morning in the Council’s Sub-Committee on Zoning and Franchises, which was to be followed by a vote of the full Committee on Land Use. After hearing the strong continued objections from the community – lead by many of the individuals on this email – Council Member Koo was prepared to vote against the proposed Kissena Center Proposal.

After informing KimCo of his intention to vote to disprove the proposal moments before the scheduled vote, KimCo officially withdrew their application, thereby removing the item from the committee’s consideration and agenda. A copy of their withdrawal letter is attached.

Thank you to everyone again for your efforts, and for standing by Council Member as we faced pressure from all sides. We look forward to continuing to work with everyone on behalf of our community.

Elaine C.

Elaine Cheung | Chief of Staff
Office of Council Member Peter A. Koo
District 20

Wolkoffs hold secret meeting with CB2 over 5 Pointz tower developments


Queens community board members met privately last week with a developer seeking their approval on revised plans to build luxury apartment buildings at the old 5Pointz graffiti hotspot, THE CITY has learned.

Three people, including developer David Wolkoff, gathered at Manducatis Rustica, Italian restaurant, on July 16. The session came less than two weeks before the board’s deadline to weigh in on an expanded version of the two towers Wolkoff hopes to build.

The board is under no legal obligation to be transparent. But news of the session rankled good-government watchdogs and opponents of the plan, who are still furious nearly six years after Wolkoff whitewashed the street art that drew visitors from around the world.

Community Board 2 Chairperson Denise Keehan-Smith previously told THE CITY a meeting was scheduled — but did not address subsequent repeated question on what was discussed at the restaurant or who attended the clandestine get-other.

 “We are preparing our recommendation” for the revised plan, Keehan-Smith said on Monday, declining further comment. Lisa Deller, the board’s Land Use Committee chairperson, said at a June meeting that a letter of denial already had been drafted.

Wolkoff, who co-owns the property with his father Jerry, did not respond to a request for comment. Jerry Wolkoff told THE CITY that he didn’t see anything wrong with the covert meeting.

I encourage my son and myself to meet with anybody in a community or anybody in the city… Why shouldn’t we?” Wolkoff said. “I wouldn’t do anything where I would hurt a community or hurt individuals.”

“My son is the same way,” he added. “He will reach out to people to meet because I’ve always done that. We don’t hide. I’m a different developer. We meet, we listen, and if it makes sense we’re going to do it.”


Monday, July 22, 2019

Investigation into luxury tower development that flooded the Court Square Station is on

Crains New York

The state attorney general’s office is scrutinizing the work of two construction firms following a deluge at a Long Island City subway station Wednesday that nearly pulled a passenger onto the tracks. 

Attorney General Letitia James said Friday that her office has launched an inquiry into New Line Structures and Civetta Construction, the companies building a residential tower near the Court Square-23rd Street station. 

 The inquiry comes in response to a viral video filmed at the station Wednesday. In the video, water broke through a temporary construction wall and gushed onto the platform. The brownish fluid erupted so quickly that it knocked a passenger off his feet. He managed to stop his slide just before reaching an incoming train. 

The Metropolitan Transportation Authority said the scene was caused by contractors of a residential tower nearby. The construction firms hadn’t been named before James’ announcement. The construction appears related to the 67-story Skyline Tower condo development. 
New York City Transit President Andy Byford addressed the video during an MTA board meeting Monday morning, calling it “quite shocking.”

“That developer, unbeknownst to us, had removed a pump from the big pit that they were building as part of the construction,” Byford said. “Which meant the pit filled up with water and the pressure eventually overwhelmed the hoarding that was there to protect the worksite.” 

Con Edison intentionally shuts off all power in Southeast Brooklyn and Queens neighborhoods

PIX 11 News

 Looks like Gothamist thought my headline was good.

Ridgewood residents resist the specter of rising rents and a dubious affordable housing development

Sunday, July 21, 2019

City Council will vote on all four borough jails in one ULURP hearing

Brooklyn Eagle

 The community boards have voted and the borough presidents have weighed in. The city’s plan to close Rikers Island jails by 2026 — by building four new borough-based facilities via an unprecedented land-use measure — now moves to a fall vote in front of the City Council.
The city’s plan calls for building a new 1,150-bed jail in every borough except Staten Island. In order to do this, the proposal must go through a process called the Uniform Land Use Review Procedure (or ULURP), which determines the size and use of property beyond what’s permitted by existing regulations.
This is far from a traditional land-use situation. For the first time, the city has packaged four different sites into a single ULURP application, rather than expose each plan to individual review. 

Local community boards and borough presidents are the first to weigh in, though their votes are purely advisory. Now that they have, the decision moves to the City Council, whose vote is legally binding.
The stances of the four City Council members who represent the neighborhoods in question are particularly important, because the council traditionally votes in lockstep with the local representatives on ULURP applications.

Kew Gardens, Queens

Capacity: 1,150 beds
Height: 270 feet tall
Total space: 1.258 million square feet, including a 676-space municipal parking lot
Of note: The Queens jail would house all women detained in New York City, as well as several hundred men.
Councilmember: Councilmember Karen Koslowitz supports the city’s plan, but her spokesperson said she is working with the Mayor’s Office to reduce the overall size.
Borough president: Queens Borough President Melinda Katz formally recommended disapproval in June. “A 1,500 person jail anywhere in Queens is unacceptable,” Katz said. She wants more community engagement and thinks the city can reduce its total jail population to 3,000 by 2026, enabling the city to construct a smaller community jail. (The city currently estimates a jail population of 4,000 by 2026).
Community board: Queens Community Board 9 unanimously voted in favor of a resolution rejecting the plan.

 Anyone would like to wager that "affordable housing" will be included in that building?

Friday, July 19, 2019

Modern lament for a tree in Sunnyside

George The Atheist

"Temporary" wall put up by luxury tower developer at Court Square Station collapses from downpour and nearly kills a commuter

In a lengthy statement, MTA spokesperson Shams Tarek blamed the flooding on a "shocking lapse" by contractors working for a nearby private development, which is also building a new entrance and elevator at the Court Square Station. The property is luxury condo Skyline Tower, soon to be the tallest skyscraper in Long Island City, and developed by United Construction & Development Group. 

The building did not have the proper pumping system in place during the storm, Tarek said, leading to the "absolutely unacceptable and avoidable incident."

"Their worksite was inundated with rainwater during severe thunderstorms, causing water to build upat their worksite and breach plywood separating their worksite from the station," according to the MTA's investigation. There were no reported injuries as a result of the breach.

This is the thing that commuters have to sacrifice their safety on the subway for:

Thursday, July 18, 2019

The funniest parasitic apartment buildings you will ever see (so far)

New York Avenue

NYC Gentrification Watch

 In June 2018, I noticed–much to my crushing dismay–that developers had succeeded in buying out and destroying several old Italianate townhouses on New York Avenue off Church Avenue.

I don’t know the exact date of when these townhouses were built. NYCityMap dates them to 1910; however, it seems to me that the site dates any really old house of unknown origins to that year so as far as we know, they could’ve been built many years–if not decades–before.

Fast forward to July 2019. I was passing through the area and decided to go back to New York Avenue to see how the development was going. This is what I found:

Hey! What happened? Oh, someone refused to be bought out. No biggie. Let’s just build one part of the building on the lot of the first house that sold, skip over the house that didn’t sell, then continue onto the next two houses that did. That won’t look awkward at all!

Federal Elections Commission fundraising report reveals Mayor de Blasio as a recidivist perpetrator of pay-to-play politics

NY Daily News

Mayor de Blasio’s presidential campaign is powered by donations rife with possible conflicts.

At least $370,000 in contributions to de Blasio 2020 are tied to people and entities with business or interests before the city, an analysis by the Daily News found.

The donations represent 34% of nearly $1.1 million that de Blasio’s campaign collected between May 16 and the end of June, according to filings with Federal Election Commission.

They came from individuals, corporations, limited liability companies and firms with vested interests in municipal operations and regulations, as well as donors who work for entities lobbying the de Blasio administration and relatives of those with business before the city.

Many are hotel workers and owners, attorneys, local real estate developers and others who stand to benefit from their generosity to de Blasio — or have already seen the fruits of their chummy relationship with Hizzoner.

The mayor has already faced multiple investigations into his fundraising practices, including whether his administration was favorable to donors and others with business before the city. Federal and state prosecutors eventually decided they wouldn’t charge de Blasio or his aides — but they still said he intervened on behalf of donors seeking favors from City Hall.

"The fact that Mayor de Blasio’s long shot presidential campaign is so heavily funded by individuals who have interests before the city is troubling, particularly because the mayor has a track record of favoring campaign donors,” said Betsy Gotbaum, executive director of good-government group Citizens Union. “New Yorkers should feel confident that policy decisions are made, and contracts are awarded, based on merit and not because and individual or entity has supported a politician’s campaign.”

Update from THE CITY:

Mayor Bill de Blasio spent more on his presidential run than he reported in federal campaign filings this week, an analysis by THE CITY found.

The extra support came out of a state political action committee de Blasio launched in 2018 to help New York Democrats — but which recently doubled as an exploratory committee for his presidential run.

The mayor’s NY Fairness PAC spent $68,000 on pre-campaign polling that wasn’t reported to the Federal Election Commission. The de Blasio campaign promised Thursday to amend its federal disclosures after THE CITY raised questions.

THE CITY identified another $55,000 that de Blasio’s state PAC paid to a firm that does digital fundraising and marketing. The campaign said that a portion of that expense will appear in a future federal filing.

The spending underscored what some experts called an unusual approach that taps a state PAC for presidential expenses amid strictly regulated federal spending and reporting rules for exploratory committees.

De Blasio’s set-up also allows his state PAC to collect donations that don’t get reported in his federal campaign filings — and don’t count toward the $2,800 contribution limit in the presidential primary.

That’s because de Blasio campaign officials categorized all the contributions to the state PAC as donations meant to help elect Democrats in New York State — not as support for his presidential run.

THE CITY identified 17 contributors who gave the max to de Blasio’s presidential run in the first half of 2019 while donating $2,500 each to his NY Fairness PAC. Meanwhile, the next public filings for de Blasio’s third fundraising arm — his federal Fairness PAC — aren’t due until July 31.

The mayor has benefited from donors like Queens real estate developer Michael Cheng, who gave $2,500 to the NY Fairness PAC on March 31. He told THE CITY he believed he was supporting de Blasio’s potential presidential run.

Around the same time, he hosted a fundraiser at his Flushing home to raise money for the mayor’s federal PAC. In June, he donated $2,800 to de Blasio’s 2020 presidential committee, FEC records show.

“He’s doing great things for the city,” Cheng said of de Blasio.

De Blasio campaign officials said they know of no donations to the state PAC that were intended to 
support the mayor’s consideration of a White House run. They added the mayor had been clear in his fundraising pitches at the time.

“The mayor was consistent in his public and private comments: He wanted to ensure the issues affecting working families were in the national dialogue, and had not ruled out a run — but it would ultimately be a family decision,“ said campaign spokeswoman Olivia Lapeyrolerie.

His "private comments"? Is that suppose to be a defensive take on Hillary Clinton's notorious philosophical trope on having public and private positions exposed in the Podesta emails by Wikileaks?

Wednesday, July 17, 2019

Three towns in Staten Island got blacked out from Con Ed substation fire
NY Post

Power outages hit Staten Island Tuesday evening when a fire erupted at a Con Edison substation — just days after mass outages hit tens of thousands of customers on the West Side of Manhattan, officials said.

About 2,000 Con Edison customers in New Dorp, Grant City and Oakwood lost power after the fire at the facility on Railroad Avenue soon after 6 p.m., a Con Ed spokesperson said.

The outages are scattered across about a five-mile radius of the substation and are expected to last until about 2 a.m., the spokesperson said, adding that two generators were working to reinforce the system.

The cause of the fire is under investigation, but it is not believed to be related to the heat, he said.

Tuesday, July 16, 2019

Affordable housing study reveals Mayor de Blasio as a segregationist

New York Times

For more than two years, lawyers for New York City have fought to keep secret a report on the city’s affordable housing lotteries, arguing that its release would insert an unfavorable and “potentially incorrect analysis into the public conversation.”

The report was finally released on Monday, following a federal court ruling, and its findings were stark: The city’s policy of giving preference to local residents for new affordable housing helps perpetuate racial segregation.

White neighborhoods stay white, black neighborhoods black, the report found.

The findings by Andrew A. Beveridge, a sociology professor at Queens College, presented a far different picture than the one offered by Mayor Bill de Blasio, who has touted his record on housing as he runs for president.

Indeed, they suggested that Mr. de Blasio’s vast expansion of affordable housing might well come with an asterisk: It is deepening entrenched racial housing patterns.

Professor Beveridge analyzed data from 7.2 million affordable housing applications for 10,245 city-subsidized apartments from 2012 to 2017. He did so on behalf of plaintiffs in a lawsuit brought by three black women from Brooklyn and Queens who said they were not given a fair chance to win affordable apartments in city-managed lotteries.

The report looked at 168 city-administered lotteries along with demographic and other information about applicants, comparing that to census data for the areas surrounding the affordable housing apartments being offered.

In each case, Professor Beveridge found that the majority group — whether white, black Hispanic or Asian — enjoyed a strong advantage over the other racial groups because of the city’s policy.

Moreover, because it is a first-come-first-served system, by the time applicants from other areas of the city might want to move into an area, the apartments that they would qualify for have sometimes already been taken by local residents, he found in the 31-page report, a preliminary version of which was first filed in 2017.

After being opaque about the cause of Saturday's blackout, Con Ed is being glib about potential blackouts

NY Post

Con Edison warned Monday that New Yorkers may have to endure another blackout this weekend, when the temperature is expected to reach a sweltering 97 degrees — and feel like 106.

“We expect that there could be service outages — those things happen during heat waves,” company spokesman Mike Clendenin said.

Later in the day, Con Ed further fueled fears of a potential power outage when it completely backtracked and blamed a fault in a 13,000-volt power cable that caught fire for triggering Saturday’s blackout.

On Sunday, company President Timothy Cawley had called the idea of tying the incident to the failed cable “sort of a non-starter.”

AccuWeather predicted four straight days of 90-plus degree temperatures beginning Friday, with a 97-degree peak on Saturday, when humidity and other factors will make it feel even worse.

Surely, these things happen and will continue to happen when you have energy devouring billboards like the new ones in Times Square that are about 3, 5 and 20 stories and are a block wide. And also deriving from massive tower development by the Hudson, particularly the brand new Hudson Yards.

How is Con Ed going to handle Google's expansion and Disney's new studios on Soho's west side?

Maybe this is why they are being glib. Con Ed's VP for "government relations" used to work for the city's Economic Development Coporation. (Thanks to Kristin Theodos)

Monday, July 15, 2019

House in Howard Beach is teetering into the drink

News 4 New York

You know what is also horrible about this story, when the anchorman says "Look at this". Well what do you think we are doing you moron?

Saturday, July 13, 2019

Tiffany Caban has her own machine to help with the recount

Queens Borough President Melinda Katz (right) and public defender Tiffany Cabán are preparing for a recount.


Tiffany Cabán has marshalled a volunteer army of attorneys to fight for votes in the Queens district attorney Democratic primary recount.

The insurgent candidate has actively recruited helpers to monitor the tallying of some 91,000 votes. 

The process officially began earlier this week at a Board of Elections voting machine facility in Middle Village after a paper ballot count left Borough President Melinda Katz holding a razor-thin lead of 16 — triggering a full recount.

The Cabán campaign on Thursday said about 165 lawyers have enrolled pro bono to aid the ballot review. That’s on top of more than 200 volunteers charged with providing administrative support.

Meanwhile, Katz bolstered her legal team by hiring top election lawyer Martin Connor, a former Brooklyn state senator.

“I’m joining their legal team, but 99 other people aren’t,” Connor said, taking a shot at Cabán’s swelling volunteer ranks.

Experts noted the size of Cabán’s volunteer legal squad is unusual.

“I can see having shifts of watchers,” said Sarah Steiner, a former chair of the Election Law Committee for the New York City Bar Association. “But it’s the having that many that is impressive. I’ve never heard of that many volunteer lawyers for a recount… You’d normally be lucky to get a single volunteer lawyer.”

Steiner said the volunteers could come in handy with counting sessions as long as 12 hours a day, giving the lead campaign lawyers a chance to take breaks and rest their eyes

.“In that position, they can be very helpful,” she said of the volunteers. “They are getting a crash course on the short list of legal objections and how to spot them. They don’t need to know any other election law.”

Friday, July 12, 2019

Former Belt Parkway toxic dump mountain is now a state park

Curbed New York

70 years of promises, Brooklyn’s newest waterfront park is finally open for visitors.

The first section of Shirley Chisholm State Park recently made its official debut on a site that was previously known as the 110-acre Pennsylvania Avenue Landfill. Situated on the northern coast of Jamaica Bay in East New York, near Starrett City, this vibrant new green space has opened up the shoreline here for the first time in generations.

The words “charming” and “fun” don’t often come to mind when walking around New York City’s polluted landfills. Yet somehow, a walk through this new park is just that—a surprisingly enjoyable ramble through a delightfully varied landscape of wildflower meadows, native grasslands, hidden beaches, and bustling fishing piers. Butterflies and songbirds fill the air, while cooling breezes waft in from Jamaica Bay.

Though it has only been open for a week, the park is already a hit with the neighborhood. During its first weekend, the parking lot was filled to capacity and every two-wheeler was checked out of its Bike Library, which is run by Recycle-A-Bicycle. Parents pushed baby strollers along meandering gravel hiking trails, while fishermen lined the piers along Jamaica Bay, happily pulling in dozens of porgies.

The second section of this park, at the adjoining Fountain Avenue Landfill, won’t be complete until 2021, but for a community that has been cut off from the waterfront for decades, any access to the water is no small thing. “I’ve been waiting for this for 20 or 30 years,” said one fisherman, as he cast out into the waters of Jamaica Bay. “I moved here in 1986, and they were working on it then, piece by piece, off and on, over the years.”

Thursday, July 11, 2019

Friend of family burns down their house after they ask him to leave

 NY Post

 A man who was taken in by a Queens family when he needed a place to stay returned the kindness with unspeakable horror — setting the home ablaze in a gasoline-fueled inferno that not only killed him but also two of his host’s family members, including a 6-year-old girl, police sources and family said Thursday.

David Abreu Nuñez, 27, went off the rails inside the Moreno family’s two-story Elmhurst home on 93rd Street Wednesday afternoon, sparking the top-floor blaze after he was asked to pack up and go.

“We were helping someone and they were asked to leave because we found out certain things about that person and he just lost it,” said homeowner Raul Moreno, referring to Nuñez. “And this is the price we pay for helping somebody.”

Moreno said that Nuñez was a friend of a family member and had been staying at the home since Monday.

“He had no place to go. He was kicked out of his room or his apartment or something like that,” Moreno said. “He had no place to go, so we were like, ‘Stay here for a couple of days, we’ll help you find a place.’”

Moreno added: “Then we found out his past and we just asked him to leave because we had kids in the house.”

Nuñez had “mental issues,” Moreno said, claiming, “He would fabricate a lot of lies … things just didn’t add up. It made us very suspicious.”

“We just asked him to leave in a nice manner. We didn’t force anybody. I just asked him, ‘It’s time for you to leave’ and he just lost it.”

After the blaze, the FDNY found a five-gallon gas can on the floor where the fire started, sources said.

The two-alarm fire left Nuñez, Emma Dominguez, 6, and her 76-year-old grandfather, Claudio Rodriguez, dead, police sources said.

Emma’s mom, 35-year-old Elizabeth Rodriguez, and Emma’s 10-month-old brother, Liam Dominguez-Rodrigo, were critically injured, the sources said.

Tuesday, July 9, 2019

Campaign worker's mother fraudulently voted in D.A. primary

NY Daily News

Like any good son, when Working Families Party campaign worker Rafael Shimunov found out that his mother couldn’t vote in the recent primary for the Queens district attorney, he took to Twitter to complain about voter fraud.

Shimunov, whose mother, Margarita Shimunova, is a registered nurse and immigrant from Uzbekistan, voted for insurgent candidate Tiffany Cabán by paper ballot because the Board of Elections had her registered as a Republican.

“She’s never voted GOP in her life,” he tweeted in response to an ongoing social media conversation about claims the election was rigged. He went on to describe his mother’s health issues and her struggle immigrating from the former Soviet Union as a refugee.

“It’s not right, I heard they’re going to throw my vote away,” she said.

However, BOE records reveal an awkward family secret: Margarita Shimunova is indeed a registered Republican and therefore wasn’t eligible to vote in the June 25 Democratic primary.

Shimunova confirmed to the Daily News Friday that it was, in fact, her signature and date of birth on the BOE form showing she registered to the party of Lincoln in 2008.

But she denied being a Republican and said that she voted for Barack Obama and Bernie Sanders.

Records show that the mom voted in six elections since she registered, mostly general elections in which she could vote for either party. But documents show she also voted in the 2016 Republican primary during which Donald Trump carried his home state with 59% of the vote.

Well, that was a stupid thing to do, son. 

Queens D.A. recount comes at a price for Katz and Caban


With the recount process set to begin Tuesday in the tense Tiffany Cabán-Melinda Katz Democratic primary battle for Queens district attorney, both campaigns are tallying more than just votes.

Insurgent candidate Cabán, with about $35,000 left to spend, is invoking the electoral stalemate in fundraising pitches. Recent emails ask supporters for contributions to ensure a fair recount against a “party machine that has ruled local politics and suppressed democracy for decades.”

Meanwhile, Queens Democratic Party stalwart and Borough President Katz has about $332,000 on hand. But that’s offset by nearly $360,000 in outstanding bills, the bulk of which she owes to consulting firm Red Horse Strategies, records show.

Katz attorneys Michael Reich and Frank Bolz are volunteering their services, said Matthew Rey, a campaign spokesperson. He added that the campaign is now “just starting to raise money” for the recount and general election.

Prominent election attorney Jerry Goldfeder and Renée Paradis, Bernie Sanders’ former voter protection director, are on Cabán’s payroll.

Katz, who initially appeared to have lost the crowded June 25 primary race to Cabán by 1,199 votes, pulled ahead by a mere 16 last week after a count of paper ballots.

The thin margin triggered a full recount of some 91,000 votes, which is expected to take at least a week — and every day will cost the campaigns. Both candidates have already spent upwards of $450,000 each in the past month, campaign disclosure forms filed last week show.

Sarah Steiner, an election lawyer and a former chair of the New York City Bar election law committee, noted there are “almost never recounts this big.”

“Recounts are usually in a single district,” Steiner said. “Usually, they’re in the smaller races. By sheer scale of larger races, usually the gaps between voters exceed the half of one percent in a recount.”

Just before the recount begins, attorneys for Cabán and Katz are scheduled to appear in state Supreme Court. Judge Jeremy Weinstein is expected to rule on whether 114 affidavit ballots with missing information should be validated and counted.

Despite recent accusations by the Katz campaign that Cabán’s team was cherrypicking affidavits favorable to her and effectively suppressing votes, both sides agree that every valid ballot should be counted.

“More than 100 affidavit ballots from registered and eligible Democrats were wrongly invalidated by the [city Board of Elections] — and we will be in court Tuesday morning to make sure these voters are not disenfranchised,” said Monica Klein, a Cabán spokesperson.

Reminds me of a Warren Zevon song. Send lawyers, votes and money

Governor Cuomo gifting Belmont Park developers with a train station

NY Post

A controversial plan to bring a new $1.2 billion arena and entertainment venue to state-owned Belmont Park will now include a $105 million full-service stop on the Long Island Railroad, Gov. Cuomo announced Monday.

The station serving Belmont, NY, is a huge score for the New York Islanders arena project and will be situated between the Queens Village and Bellerose stations on the LIRR’s Main Line, just east of the Cross Island Parkway.

A press release put out by the governor’s office claimed it will the cost the arena developers – a partnership that includes the owners of both the Islanders and New York Mets — $97 million of the estimated $105 million price-tag.

However, state officials later clarified that the developers are only paying $30 million up front with the remaining $67 million to be covered by a no-interest, multi-decade state loan. The state will pick up the remaining $8 million.

The news didn’t sit well with project opponents.

“Obviously the State of New York wants to play hide the puck, and pretend that arena developers are paying for a massive transportation project instead of the taxpayers and commuters, and they buried that actual fact in the fine print. That is a disrespect, and cardinal breach of public trust,”said Tammie S. Williams of the Belmont Park Community Coalition.

Thursday, July 4, 2019

There's no way an 1100 vote lead disappeared without corruption

New York Times

The Democratic primary for district attorney in Queens, a race that drew nationwide attention, was thrown deep into uncertainty on Wednesday after a count of paper ballots flipped the primary-night result.

Tiffany Cabán, a 31-year-old public defender, saw her almost 1,100-vote lead evaporate, with 
Melinda Katz, the Queens borough president, edging out to a 20-vote lead.

The tight margin will automatically trigger a recount, according to Valerie Vazquez-Diaz, a spokeswoman for the New York City Board of Elections. It also spurred accusations from Ms. Cabán’s side that elections officials improperly invalidated more than 2,000 affidavit ballots before the paper ballots were counted.

“We are going to fight to make sure every valid vote is counted and every voter has a voice,” said Bill Lipton, the New York director of the Working Families Party, which supported Ms. Cabán. “And when all the votes are counted, we are confident Tiffany Cabán will be the next Queens district attorney.”

The primary race was cast as a battle between the traditional power bases in Queens and the progressive forces that propelled Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez to her primary victory in New York last year. Ms. Katz had the backing of unions and local political leaders, while Ms. Cabán received support from prominent members of Congress, including Ms. Ocasio-Cortez.

Ms. Katz is ahead by 20 votes, 34,898 to 34,878, according to lawyers representing her. Jerry H. Goldfeder, a veteran election lawyer representing Ms. Cabán, agreed that Ms. Katz was now ahead by 20 votes.

The new vote total meant that Ms. Katz drew twice as many votes from the paper ballots as Ms. Cabán did.

Mr. Goldfeder said he intended to challenge the decision to invalidate all but 487 of the 2,816 affidavit ballots cast. Election officials said they had determined that the ballots, used when a voter’s name is not listed at the polling place, were invalid or had been cast by ineligible voters.

The Board of Elections would not release any information until the election results were certified but confirmed that there would be a recount. The board has a policy of conducting a manual recount when the victory is by less than 0.5 percent, Ms. Vazquez-Diaz said.

Crappy emailed me this bizarre (although expected) turn of events and wrote in the subject line and I am inclined to agree. Something like this happened in a district in Florida that the notorious Debbie-Wasserman Schultz represents. And of course there was the incident where 200,000 votes in Brooklyn vanished during the 2016 presidential primary. Go figure this would happen on the eve of the day of the birth of this nation. Apparently, the Queens Machine will stop at nothing to keep their crappy patronage jalopy running.

Update: I found a more appropriate picture.

Wednesday, July 3, 2019

Three-bedroom apartments in this city are like an endangered species

 City Limits

Christina Saldana’s 9-year-old daughter Hailey plays with a brown doll in the crawl space between the family’s sofa and the wall. She has a small pink box of toys crammed in the corner, and another next to the hot pink twin bed that the family of three shares most nights.
Saldana and her two daughters are cramped for space in their 650-square-foot studio apartment in the Bronx.

“The only door that I have right now is the bathroom,” Saldana, 27, says. “If I want to have a few minutes to myself, I would have to take a bubble bath.”
Saldana pays $1,100 for the studio in Parkchester, where the family has lived for four years. With her salary of $40,000, she wants to buy her girls more space as they get older. But she says there’s nothing she can find on the market that fits her needs.

New Yorkers have long lived in cramped quarters, from multiple generations of immigrants to large Orthodox families. But the rising rents that accompany gentrification in certain neighborhoods has caused even four-person families to squeeze into small spaces.

The price of a two-bedroom apartment in historically poor neighborhoods like Mott Haven in the Bronx has jumped 14 percent in the last year to a median of $1,850. Many working-class families are forced to make do in one bedrooms and studios. The city’s affordable housing program has tried to compensate for this in the last five years, building far more one bedroom and two bedroom affordable apartments than larger units. But some advocates say this in turn leaves larger families without options.

Of the 156,000 units of affordable housing built or preserved since 2014, over 100,000 units had two or fewer bedrooms, according to New York City’s OpenData. Almost 43,000 were two bedrooms. In comparison, only 14,700 three-bedrooms were built or preserved in the same timeframe, as were only 1,500 four bedrooms.

Developers in the city tend to favor studios and one-bedrooms, with over 25,000 units newly built since 2014, compared to just over 2,000 three-bedroom units built and only 88 four-bedrooms. On the other side, the city preserved over 30,000 two-bedroom units, over 27,000 one-bedrooms and only about 12,000 three-bedrooms.

In a neighborhood like the South Bronx, once known for its row houses that hosted generations of families, there are now predominantly apartments with two or fewer bedrooms. Data from the American Community Survey shows that the neighborhood lost about 400 units from with three or more bedrooms 2010 to 2017. It gained 4,311 with two or fewer bedrooms. And over a thousand of those were studios.

Overall, the city lost over 23,000 apartments with four bedrooms or more.

Mayor Bill de Blasio’s affordable housing plan, Housing New York, largely mirrors the trends in the market when it comes to apartment size. The plan, which was released in 2014, focuses on housing needed by a growing demographic of one to two person households.  The report cites 1.9 million one- and two-person households residing in the city in 2012 (more than 60 percent of all the city’s households), but only 1.25 million studios and one-bedroom apartments.

Mayor Big Slow de Blasio, who wants to run this nation, can't set the timer on his alarm clock

NY Post

Hail to the sleep!

Mayor de Blasio showed up 41 minutes late for a live TV interview Tuesday morning — and blamed the delay on having slept in because his alarm clock wasn’t set properly.

“Says he set his alarm for the wrong time,” PIX11 Morning News co-host Dan Mannarino tweeted following de Blasio’s appearance.

The Big Apple’s habitually tardy mayor forced Mannarino to repeatedly make excuses when he failed to appear as scheduled for a 7:30 a.m. sit-down at the station’s East 42nd Street studio, just three miles from Gracie Mansion.

Mannarino began covering for Hizzoner at 7:33, telling viewers: “I know we teased Mayor de Blasio at 7:30. He is running late. We will have the interview coming up shortly.”
In a 7:45 update, Mannarino said that “we’re being told by the mayor’s detail that he is still coming to our studios” and noted de Blasio’s side-hustle campaign for the White House.

“He was in Chicago last night, so this was an early wake-up,” Mannarino said. “Cutting him some slack this morning.”

At the top of the hour, Mannarino said de Blasio had “just left Gracie Mansion,” and later marked his 8:11 arrival. 

 After de Blasio finally got seated during a commercial break, Mannarino welcomed back his audience by saying: “Better late than never. 8:14, here we go.”
Mannarino even graciously blamed himself when the interview wrapped up, telling de Blasio, “We dragged you out of bed early, I appreciate it.”

“Thank you, man,” de Blasio replied.

The mayor never explained on-air why he kept everyone waiting so long, but mayoral spokeswoman Freddi Goldstein confirmed the excuse he privately gave Mannarino.

 Either hizzzzzzoner has just run out of excuses to use for his notorious tardiness or he's just comfortable telling cliched ones like this because he's been getting away with so much shit for the past 5 years. What a dick.

Woodside Ave Summer Camp for Rats

My dearest Crappy,

Behold, Mount Craphurst! It gets bigger by the minute. Wanna see it in person? Come to Woodside Avenue and 73rd Street.

This pile has been here for at least a month! The city gives zero fucks. Seriously, Sanitation collects from this same block twice a week and the DSNY inspectors drive around constantly.

Last week, a city employee lady was actually walking up and down Woodside Avenue (this very block), inspecting properties for adequate garbage containment measures to prevent RATS?!?!? 

Some neighbors who met this lady actually escorted her to the pile, and she declared that yes indeed, rats might be drawn to such a mess. But why bother dealing with it?

Guess what? I myself have spotted 3 rats running down Woodside Ave near the pile since it started forming. Isn’t that surprising? No??

Originally it started as a bag or two, on the railroad overpass. Then, it migrated a few feet over to the current location, a construction site. And it grew and grew and grew....

 Notice the green bags (with rat holes) that encapsulate some of the litter. These bags are a new (~a week) development. I guess someone bagged up the trash, hoping to make it easier for collection.

What did we Queens residents do to deserve this treatment?

Again, a pile of lose garbage untouched for a month..... growing and growing and providing a playground for rats and a steamy olfactory playground for humans.

Welcome to Queens, the borough of nobody-gives-a-fuck.

Anonymous Crazy Lady