Thursday, April 30, 2020

Caption Chirlane de Blasio's first "campaign ad"


Bill de Blasio actually had this picture made for the news media and Gothamist to publish. Pathetic.

Wednesday, April 29, 2020

Long Island City luxury tower from de Blasio's "affordable" housing program is open for lottery applications

A new affordable housing lottery has opened with 33 units on offer in a large Long Island City development.

The units, located at 42-10 27th St. in a building called One LIC, include studios, one-bedroom, two-bedroom and three-bedroom apartments. Applicants have until June 9 to apply and units will be awarded to qualified tenants via a lottery. Studios will start at $2,241 per month, with three-bedroom units going for as high as $3,283 per month.

The building, which is 21 stories and contains 110 apartments, is located adjacent to the Queensboro Plaza subway station which serves the N, W, and 7 lines.

The new building boasts a rooftop deck and includes other amenities such as a public lounge, party room, laundry room and bike storage.

Parking is also available at an additional cost.

One LIC, like one city right? ROFFLOFL

A "party room"

And parking, I thought the idea behind these towers was to discourage people from driving?

Mayor de Blasio keeps two cities alive by planning cuts to "affordable" housing


The Real Deal

Mayor Bill de Blasio’ signature affordable housing plan, already troubled by a string of setbacks at the start of year as rezonings encountered roadblocks, is set to take another big blow.
The mayor has proposed cutting $583 million from the plan’s budget for the fiscal year which ends June 30 and another $456 million next year, Politico reported. The de Blasio administration says it will compensate by adding just over $1 billion to the budgets for fiscal years 2022 through 2024.
“The agency is taking a hard look at the projects in our pipeline and working creatively with partners to find additional sources of financing to move our projects forward,” a spokesperson for the city’s housing department told Politico.
“We understand that affordable housing will be more important than ever on the other side of this crisis, which is why we are advocating for more federal resources to support our push forward.”

All those open streets aren't going to pay for themselves.

Mayor de Blasio caves to bike lobby and whiny privileged people to block 100 miles of streets to cars


 Throughout the past month, Mayor Bill de Blasio has consistently expressed skepticism over calls to open up city streets to give pedestrians and cyclists room to maintain proper social distancing while getting fresh air during the pandemic -- an initial pilot program with a handful of open streets was canceled after less than two weeks because of concerns about NYPD resources being diverted to policing the new open spaces.

But after the City Council introduced a bill last week that would open up to 75 miles of streets for recreation, de Blasio has changed his tune: he announced on Monday that the city would open at least 40 miles of streets as we enter the summer, with the goal of opening 100 miles total.

“The City Council came forward with a vision for how we could open up more streets, do it over time, and do it in a way that’s responsive to the core concerns we've heard of the NYPD over safety and enforcement,” the mayor said during Monday's press conference. “Over the next month, we will create a minimum of 40 miles of open streets...and as the crisis continues, the goal is to get up to 100 miles."

De Blasio's announcement was short on details, but the mayor did explain where they would strategically begin opening streets: "The way we will do it is we're going to focus first on streets in and around our parks. Very concerned about the streets on the outside of parks that oftentimes we're seeing that immediate area getting crowded. That's an obvious opportunity to open up more space."

He added that they will look to expand some sidewalks, open streets in local areas which aren't necessarily near a major park, and expand bike lanes. “So the focus here will be to focus of course, same as we're doing so many things, on where the need is greatest," he said. "The first priority is the places hardest hit and then where it will have the most impact.”

If the streets should be open to the public as this minority of bike zealots and vehicle bashing upper class twits have been more concerned with since the city shut down, then I hope they don't mind homeless families setting up encampments in those former parking spaces.

Tuesday, April 28, 2020

Representative Ocasio-Cortez calls for statewide rent strike

The Real Deal

Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez — progressives’ rock star from New York — threw her support behind rent strikers Monday.

In a virtual town hall hosted by New York tenant coalition Housing Justice for All, Ocasio-Cortez called for Gov. Andrew Cuomo to cancel rent and mortgage payments at the state level and expressed support for those who do not pay rent because of the coronavirus.

“When it comes to these rent strikes, to echo what each and every one of you have said, people aren’t striking because they don’t feel like paying rent, they’re striking because they can’t,” said Ocasio Cortez. “It doesn’t matter how many threatening messages a landlord sends … you can’t coerce people to do something they cannot do.”

Her message differed in one way from that of rent-strike organizers, who want even tenants who can afford the rent to withhold it — to pressure legislators to act.

Ocasio-Cortez was joined at Monday’s event by tenant organizers and advocates who called for radical measures to provide relief for renters, small landlords and the homeless. Speakers included a tenant leading rent strikes in Elmhurst, Queens, a neighborhood in Ocasio-Cortez’ Queens-Bronx district that was hit hard by Covid-19; a public housing resident striking on the Lower East Side; and an advocate who called for empty hotel rooms to be used for the homeless.

In New York, Ocasio-Cortez said that she has repeatedly asked Cuomo to cancel rent and mortgage payments in private conversations. Now she has publicly demanded he do so, noting that she has already “picked up the phone.”

“As we know here in New York, we have to fight with Democrats to make sure things get accomplished,” said Ocasio-Cortez. “Here in the state of New York, we have a Democratic governor, a Democratic state legislature and a Democratic City Council, and we are still struggling to cancel rent.”

She should have prefaced her target generalizations with the word neoliberal.

Governor Cuomo says there's no state money to pay the unemployed

NY Post

Gov. Andrew Cuomo admitted Monday that the Empire State could run out of state funds to pay unemployment benefits to New Yorkers should the coronavirus pandemic continue to ravage the economy.

“No, that’s why federal government has to provide funding, we don’t have money,” he told reporters during his daily briefing in Albany.

“It depends on how many people moving forward asks for unemployment benefit and how long it goes on, but it’s in the billions of dollars.”

New York has paid out $3.1 billion in unemployment benefits since March 9 and April 22, as over 1.4 million individuals have submitted applications for unemployment benefits, according to the State Department of Labor.

Meanwhile state budget officials reported in a new analysis that the recession caused by COVID-19 could be worse than the Sept. 11 attacks and the Great Recession of 2008.

The state economy stands to lose $243 billion directly tied to losses from the pandemic, according to the State Division of Budget.

Didn't this guy just have a meeting with the President? Somebody needs to get in Mario and Matilda's son's face, call him on his bullshit and tell him to find that money. Kind of like this:

Blue Angels and Thunderbirds will fly over Queens today

Enjoy the show and stay safe.

Federal regulations for nursing homes to prepare for coronavirus spread were implemented in February

Queens County Politics
President Donald Trump‘s administration has been warning states in a number of memorandums since as early as Feb. 6 to prepare the nation’s nursing homes for the COVID-19 threat, KCP has learned.
But despite the numerous warnings and memorandums from the Trump administration to be better prepared, scores of people in nursing homes have died around the borough, leaving the dead in the facilities for days, families unnotified and nursing homes workers complaining of not having personal protective equipment (PPE).

The documented proof of Trump administration and warnings and declarations was presented yesterday following the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) announcement of new regulatory requirements that will require nursing homes to inform residents, their families and representatives of COVID-19 cases in their facilities.

In addition, as part of Trump’s Opening Up America, CMS will now require nursing homes to report cases of COVID-19 directly to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

This information must be reported in accordance with existing privacy regulations and statute. This measure augments longstanding requirements for reporting infectious disease to State and local health departments. Finally, CMS will also require nursing homes to fully cooperate with CDC surveillance efforts around COVID-19 spread.

“Nursing homes have been ground zero for COVID-19. Today’s action supports CMS’ longstanding commitment to providing transparent and timely information to residents and their families,” said CMS Administrator Seema Verma. “Nursing home reporting to the CDC is a critical component of the go-forward national COVID-19 surveillance system and to efforts to reopen America.”

The CMS first memorandum issued on February 6, warned healthcare facilities to the threat of the 2019-Novel Coronavirus and advised health care providers and State Survey Agencies (SAs), the entities that inspect healthcare facilities, including nursing homes, to ensure compliance with current CMS requirements and safety standards.

New York Board of Elections cancels democracy

PIXNews and Gothamist

New York has canceled its Democratic presidential primary originally scheduled for June 23 amid the coronavirus epidemic in an unprecedented move.

The Democratic members of the State's Board of Elections voted Monday to nix the primary.
New York will still hold its congressional and state-level primaries on June 23.

The NYS Board of Elections canceled the contest, in part, because Senator Bernie Sanders has dropped out of the race.

In a statement released on Twitter, the Sanders campaign calls it an “outrage” and a “blow to American democracy.”

When asked if canceling the Democratic primary in New York was “the right move,” Cuomo said during this press conference Monday that he wasn’t going to second guess the Board of Elections

“I know there are a lot of election employees — employees at Board of Elections — who are nervous about conducting elections, but I’ll leave it up to the Board of Elections," he said.

The cancelation generated swift backlash from Sanders supporters and others.

“What happened today is New York’s Democratic Party sent a clear message to Progressives that our voices and our values do not matter,” said Sochie Nnaemeka, state director of the Working Families Party.

She said this takes away people's right to vote for Sanders and allow New York’s voters to send progressive delegates to the convention. 

 Citing COVID-19 health risks to the public and Board staff who would have had to prepare for the election, the state’s two Democratic Commissioners both voted to suspend the contest. Co-chair
Douglas Kellner and Andrew Spano, said the decision was difficult, especially given the “thousands” of emails from Sanders supporters pushing them to keep it. But they noted that a newly passed provision in state election law allowed the body to remove presidential candidates from the ballot if they had suspended their campaign.

“Senator Sanders not only announced he suspended his campaign, but he also announced a public endorsement of Joe Biden,” Kellner said adding, “What the Sanders supporters want is essentially a beauty contest that given the situation with the public health emergency that exists now seems to be unnecessary and indeed frivolous.”

Spano, the former Westchester County Executive, said he just made his mind up this morning. 

Foremost in his mind was the health of Board staff who would be running the election. But he also talked about seeing people sickened after casting ballots in primaries across the country.

“Looking at the situation in Wisconsin and seeing those people on the lines, and having been myself locked up in here, trying to avoid getting any kind of contagion, I've come to the conclusion that we should minimize the number of people on the ballot, minimize the election for the protection of everybody, but give the opportunity to vote in the actual elections for candidates and not have anyone on the ballot just for the purposes of issues at a convention,” said Spano.

Monday, April 27, 2020

Queens nursing homes and adult care centers has the most fatalies from COVID-19 of the five boroughs

Queens leads in virus nursing home deaths 2
Queens Chronicle

Considering Queens is the epicenter of the COVID-19 pandemic, it may be no surprise that the borough also leads the way in coronavirus-related deaths within nursing homes.

According to data released by the Department of Health, nearly 24 percent of COVID-19 related deaths in New York State are of seniors living in nursing homes and adult care facilities as of April 22. Of the 3,477 senior citizens who died of coronavirus-related complications in New York State, 760 are from Queens, which accounts for nearly 22 percent of state senior-living facility deaths and 5 percent of all COVID-19 state deaths.

Queens leads by a margin of nearly 6 percentage points, with the Bronx following at 558 senior deaths and Brooklyn at 435.

It is widely known that nursing homes have been ground zero of the attack by the novel coronavirus,” Parker Jewish Institute for Health Care and Rehab of Glen Oaks said in a prepared statement. The facility suffered 44 reported deaths, the second-highest number in the borough following Franklin Center for Rehabilitation and Nursing in Flushing, which reported 45.

As infections and deaths rise in senior care facilities, families of the elderly have grown increasingly worried that they are being left in the dark on the condition of their loved ones. On April 18, 

Assemblymember Ron Kim (D-Flushing) announced that he and his staff “spent countless hours helping a daughter find answers about her mother who has been stuck in a facility with a COVID-19 outbreak” just three days after Gov. Cuomo signed an executive order requiring nursing homes to inform family members of residents of COVID-19 cases.

“I appreciate the governor’s staff working with me and sending inspectors onsite to monitor the status of our nursing homes,” Kim said. “But I’m still unclear if these inspections are designed to find solutions and fix the ongoing outbreak of COVID-19 at our nursing homes or if they are for optics and damage control.”

Aqueduct triage hospital gone to waste
Queens Chronicle

 A temporary 1,000-bed hospital that Gov. Cuomo and the White House agreed would be built on the grounds of Aqueduct Race Track in preparation for an overflow of CODVID-19 patients will not be built, according to a tweet from reporter Zack Fink of NY1.

Fink reported that the Aqueduct site and others in the other outer boroughs will not be built as their capacity no longer appears to be needed to deal with the coronavirus outbreak.

Cuomo’s office and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers did not respond to numerous requests from the Chronicle for comment on the status of the Aqueduct hospital site over the last week.

Mayor de Blasio concocts a COVID-19 task force for his wife to run

NY Post

Mayor de Blasio isn’t letting the controversy surrounding his wife’s embattled billion-dollar mental-health initiative stop him from appointing her to head a new coronavirus recovery task force.

Citing her work with the ThriveNYC initiative, de Blasio revealed on Sunday that First Lady Chirlane McCray, a rumored contender for Brooklyn borough president, would co-chair a Task Force on Racial Inclusion and Equity as the city plans its eventual reopening.

“The economic and racial disparities that have been made so clear by this crisis, we knew about them before,” said de Blasio, who was elected six years ago on a pledge to make the city more equitable and eliminate its “tale of two cities.” “A powerful, painful exclamation point has been put on them by this crisis.”

New York’s poorest ZIP codes have been hardest hit by pandemic, city data show, and minorities — many among the city’s essential workers — have died at disproportionately high rates.

De Blasio said he formed the task force to ensure New York’s underdogs aren’t left behind in the recovery.

But city lawmakers on both sides of the aisle were scratching their heads over the appointment of 
 McCray in light of her signature Thrive program, criticized as a billion-dollar money pit with a dubious record of results.

I don't know if there is precedence, but this is the most brazen, craven and sleaziest integration of nepotism and campaigning that I've ever seen. And in plain sight during a pandemic and a crisis caused by the decisions of de Blasio that afflicted the communities the most that he now assigned his wife to help. This is graft at it's most honest.

I apologize to my loyal and occasional readers to this blog for posting such a big picture of the co-mayor of New York City, but it was important to definitively illustrate what a facial expression of hubris and entitlement looks like.

Saturday, April 25, 2020

Escape from an Elmhurst adult care center


As the coronavirus races through nursing homes and assisted living facilities across the country, many desperate family members are finding themselves like Roland, unable to learn the truth about what is happening inside.

In story after story, the owners of beleaguered facilities — because of greed, incompetence or fear — have kept the reality of circumstances murky or misleading.

 Many state health departments nationwide are refusing to provide up-to-date, or in some cases any, facility-specific numbers on COVID-19 deaths or infections to the family members of residents, to journalists or even to local politicians. 

And in New York, which has just begun releasing some information, state officials are relying on nursing homes to accurately report deaths and infections.

As a result, family members and local officials are turning into detectives and activists, forming alliances to track down clues about what’s happening inside the homes and what, if anything, state health departments are doing about it.

The U.S. Comfort and Jacob Javits triage hospital went to waste

NY Post

New York health officials were warned in writing that a Brooklyn nursing home where 55 patients have died of coronavirus was overwhelmed — weeks before it began topping the state’s official list of resident COVID-19 deaths, damning emails show.

Cobble Hill Health Center CEO Donny Tuchman sent a desperate email to state Health Department officials on April 9, asking if there was “a way for us to send our suspected covid patients” to the hospital built inside the Javits Convention Center or the US Naval hospital ship Comfort — the under-utilized federal medical facilities on Manhattan’s West Side.

“We don’t have the ability to cohort right now based on staffing and we really want to protect our other patients,” Tuchman wrote in a chain of the emails reviewed by The Post.
He was denied.

I was told those facilities were only for hospitals” to send their overflow patients, Tuchman said.
At the time Tuchman sent his plea, only 134 of the 1,000 beds at the Javits Center were full and the Comfort — which had just been reconfigured to treat up to 500 COVID-19 patients — had a mere 62 on board.

Adding insult to injury, the Navy hospital ship wound up treating just 179 patients before Gov. Cuomo on Tuesday said it was no longer needed.

So I ask again, but to #PresidentCuomo and the New York State Dept. Of Health and not when but why haven't they. Although Javits was available and had plenty of beds.

Update: We should all ask FEMA, the Department of Defense and the President too, looks like Javits went to waste as well.


The federal government is moving forward with plans to shutter the little-used field hospital inside the Javits Center, as the rate of COVID-19 hospitalizations in New York continues to decline. The USNS Comfort, also practically empty, is expected to soon depart as well, President Donald Trump announced earlier this week.

"We are encouraged by the data which suggest the curve is flattening in New York and we are working with the city and state to begin the strategic drawdown of resources," a spokesperson for the Federal Emergency Management Agency told Gothamist on Friday.

The spokesperson said there was no set date for either closure. But according to a FEMA official who spoke with ABC News, the Navy ship will leave New York as soon as April 30th. The Javits Center is slated to close on April 30th, according to the unnamed official.

The two facilities have treated 1,100 patients in total, and never came close to approaching their full capacity. As of Friday, just 32 patients were receiving care aboard the Comfort, which has space for 1,000 people, the FEMA spokesperson said. Of the 2,500 beds inside the Javits Center reserved for COVID-19 patients, only 141 were full.

Hospital workers have previously complained about the strict intake procedures at the two Department of Defense facilities, pointing to a 25-point checklist that excluded many would-be patients from being transferred from overrun hospitals, according to the Post.

Queens Borough President election to be held on Election Day!


The Queens Borough President special election, originally set for March 24 and then rescheduled for June 23, has been canceled.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo signed an executive order on Friday, April 24, to cancel the special election for the position, which was vacated by Melinda Katz when she became Queens District Attorney in January and is now held by Sharon Lee, and move it to the Nov. 3 general election.

The order also cancels the state Assembly and Senate special elections. This means the southeastern Queens Assembly District 31 seat, previously held by Michele Titus, will be vacant for a year.

“The state assembly and state senate special elections, which are otherwise scheduled to be held on June 23, 2020 are hereby cancelled and such offices shall be filled at the general election,” the executive order reads. “The special election to be held for the office of Queens Borough President is hereby cancelled, and such office shall be filled at the general election.”

Queens residents will now vote for the new borough president in the November general election. The early voting period for the general election will be from Oct. 24 to Nov. 1.

The current candidates for Queens Borough President are Councilman Costa Constantinides, Councilman Donovan Richards, former Councilwoman Elizabeth Crowley, retired NYPD officer Anthony Miranda, former Assistant District Attorney James Quinn and businessman Dao Yin.
 Acting Queens Borough President Sharon Lee said she is committed to representing the borough.

Friday, April 24, 2020

Andrew Cuomo's Department of Health sends COVID-19 infected elderly people to nursing homes expecting them to die
NY Post

 The first coronavirus patients admitted to a Queens nursing home under a controversial state mandate arrived along with some grim accessories — a supply of body bags, The Post has learned.

An executive at the facility — which was previously free of the deadly disease — said the bags were in the shipment of personal protective equipment received the same day the home was forced to begin treating two people discharged from hospitals with COVID-19.

“My colleague noticed that one of the boxes was extremely heavy. Curious as to what could possibly be making that particular box so much heavier than the rest, he opened it,” the exec told The Post Thursday.

“The first two coronavirus patients were accompanied by five body bags.”

Within days, three of the bags were filled with the first of 30 residents who would die there after Gov. Cuomo’s Health Department handed down its March 25 directive that bars nursing homes from refusing to admit “medically stable” coronavirus patients, the exec said.

Like clockwork, the nursing home has received five body bags a week — every week — from city officials.

“Cuomo has blood on his hands. He really does. There’s no way to sugarcoat this,” the health care executive added.

 Why in the world would you be sending coronavirus patients to a nursing home, where the most vulnerable population to this disease resides?”
Since March 25, the Queens nursing home has admitted 17 patients from hospitals who tested positive for coronavirus, but in a bitter irony most of them have fared well, the exec said. Those who have died passed away without a test or while awaiting the results from one.

“The rest of the people are dropping like flies — literally like flies — and most of them have been with us for years,” the exec added.

COVID-19 has killed at least 3,540 residents of New York’s nursing homes and adult care facilities as of Wednesday, according to the most recent state Health Department data

Thursday, April 23, 2020

Governor Cuomo taps billionaire Bloomberg to implement a COVID-19 tech surveillance apparatus

Amid the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, Governor Andrew M. Cuomo and Mike Bloomberg today announced a new nation-leading COVID-19 contact tracing program to control the infection rate of the disease. Mike Bloomberg and Bloomberg Philanthropies have committed organizational support and technical assistance to help build and execute this new program. The contact tracing program will be done in coordination with the downstate region as well as New Jersey and Connecticut and will serve as an important resource to gather best practices and as a model that can be replicated across the nation. There has never been a contact tracing program implemented at this scale either in New York or anywhere in the United States. The program will launch immediately.

As part of this effort, The Bloomberg School of Public Health at Johns Hopkins University will build an online curriculum and training program for contact tracers. The New York State Department of Health will work with Bloomberg Philanthropies to help identify and recruit contact tracer candidates for the training program, including staff from the State Department of Health, investigators from various state agencies, hundreds of tracers from downstate counties and SUNY and CUNY students in medical fields. Bloomberg Philanthropies will also work with New York State to establish an expert panel to review the work of the program, and create a best in class model that other states can use for contact tracing.

 We're all eager to begin loosening restrictions on our daily lives and our economy. But in order to do that as safely as possible, we first have to put in place systems to identify people who may have been exposed to the virus and support them as they isolate," said Michael Bloomberg, founder of Bloomberg Philanthropies and Bloomberg LP, three-term mayor of New York City. "I'm honored to partner with Governor Cuomo and New York State to help do that, by creating a new contact tracing program on a widespread scale. Coupled with far more testing, it will help us drive the virus into a corner -- saving lives and allowing more people to begin getting back to work."

Not so essential construction continues during state shutdown, including the Target in Elmhurst

The list of “essential” construction projects and permitted work has ballooned sixfold since Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced a virtual construction shutdown last month, Department of Buildings data shows.

Some 4,936 job sites are now allowed to be worked on, up from about 800 on April 3, according to the Buildings Department.

Among them: hotels in Manhattan and Brooklyn, a new Queens Target, and, as the Columbia Spectator first reported, the future home of Columbia University’s business school.

The greenlighted projects also include renovation work on rental buildings under an exception for a “sole worker,” raising concerns for tenants.

Under a revision of its original shutdown guidance, the state has expanded “essential” building work beyond primarily infrastructure projects, hospitals and affordable housing.

As long as ground already has been broken, construction now can also proceed on any type of business that’s allowed to continue in-person operations during the state’s coronavirus-driven “pause.”

That broader list includes hotels, restaurants, convenience stores, banks, appliance stores and storage facilities, among other businesses. Public and private school construction is also permitted.

One worker on a Manhattan hotel project fumed, saying his bosses were treating the pandemic like “a joke.”

“To make the hotel essential, they might as well open every job, because that hotel is far from essential,” he said. “That hotel is deemed essential while we are deemed expendable.”

The city’s rules for “essential business” construction appear somewhat narrower than the state’s.

Work on “essential businesses” can proceed only “if it pertains to alterations of existing buildings and has been permitted by the department prior to April 15, 2020, the city guidance says.

DOB notes that the vast majority of the 35,000 sites that were ordered shuttered in March are still closed. But some local residents say they’ve been shocked to see work going forward on a wide-ranging set of long-term projects while the pandemic still claims hundreds of lives per day.

The far-from-complete Target site in Elmhurst, also slated to contain a Starbucks and a Chipotle, will eventually house some type of “ambulatory diagnostic treatment or healthcare facilities” above the 23,000-square-foot big box store, city filings show. So the Department of Buildings is allowing construction to continue.

Patricia Chou, a member of the grassroots community group Queens Neighborhoods United, which has long opposed the development, said that while a medical office may be in the offing, the core of the planned facility is still a shopping center.

“Our primary concerns are that they are endangering workers at the site and exploiting loopholes to complete this project,” she said.

Sunday, April 19, 2020

Contractor Gadget has come up short on PPE supplies

Nearly 13 million virus-blocking N95 and similar face masks ordered in March for the city’s public hospitals and other emergency services have still not arrived as medical staff at Bellevue and other facilities plead for protective supplies.

Of the nearly 34 million masks contracted for between March 6 and April 11 by the Department of Citywide Administrative Services, only 637,760 had been received as of Friday, according to the department.

Also still missing are at least 2,000 ventilators purchased last month, toward which City Hall paid $9 million — even as Gov. Andrew Cuomo has announced plans to ship hundreds of surplus ventilators to other states combating coronavirus.

None of the two million N95 masks secured in a March 25 contract with a New Jersey company called Digital Gadgets have been delivered, according to the Department of Citywide Administrative Services, which signed the $8 million deal.

Out of a March 28 deal for six million similar KN95 masks with the same firm, just 137,760 have come in so far, DCAS reports.

The Digital Gadgets masks are “designated as medical and are intended for use by Health + Hospitals,” a DCAS spokesperson told THE CITY.

The Health and Hospitals Corporation told THE CITY it has 745,000 N95 masks on hand.

In all, a review of city contract records indicates, vendors have delivered N95-type masks in just two out of 14 DCAS emergency contracts made between March 6 and April 11.

And only one company, Tivuna Systems Inc., has produced its goods in full, providing 500,000 KN95 masks in a deal signed by DCAS on April 2.

Most of those companies, including Digital Gadgets, had never before done business with the City of New York. Under an emergency order issued March 16 by Mayor Bill de Blasio, those contracts and companies bypassed standard reviews by the city contracts office and comptroller.

“Estimated delivery dates are constantly shifting due to overall demand and supplier manufacturing capacity,” said Nick Benson, the spokesperson for DCAS. “There is not a fixed delivery date for these or most of the COVID-19 related orders.”

On Sunday, de Blasio hinted at a news conference of troubling delays in delivery of crucial supplies.

“We have a huge number of orders out around the world that if we started to see a little more consistency on the deliveries, we would be in much better shape,” he said.

For weeks, nurses have railed against the dangerous conditions inside the city’s 11 public hospitals where they say they’ve been forced to care for a wave of virus patients without proper protective gear.

 Eventually, de Blasio will make it up to all these hospitals with more clapping, donuts and coffee.

Saturday, April 18, 2020

The subterranean mobile homeless shelters

Dear Crappy,
I took the attached photo at 6am today on the F train. In the last few weeks, I’ve noticed a drastic increase in the number of homeless ppl sleeping on the train. I don’t blame them- who would want to go to one of the covid-filled pesthouses that the city calls shelters? But  can we (meaning the city) at least offer these people masks? (And gloves.... and maybe a meal.) Seriously-  the decree that NYers must wear masks in public places  fails to acknowledge the homeless population. I wish some local reporter would ask DeBlasio at one of his press conferences. 

From: Elmhurst Garbage Lady

Friday, April 17, 2020

Death threat made to Flushing nursing home following revelation of a high amount of COVID-19 related deaths

PIX News

Update by THE CITY

  An inventory of COVID-19 deaths at New York nursing homes released by the Cuomo administration Friday provides an incomplete picture of how dire the situation is inside the facilities, medical workers and elected officials said.

 The long sought-after list of nursing homes and adult care facilities whose residents have died of confirmed or suspected COVID-19 only accounts for one-third of the 3,316 such deaths reported statewide as of Wednesday. 

That’s because the new data excludes deaths of residents who were transferred to hospitals — and, in some cases, doesn’t report fatalities thought to be COVID-related where formal virus tests weren’t conducted. 

The state’s data sheet says only “some” nursing homes reported the number of “presumed” COVID-19 deaths. Only one-fifth of the city’s 171 nursing homes were identified by name in the latest state data. Of them, nine reported 30 or more deaths stemming from COVID-19.

 Gov. Andrew Cuomo acknowledged that the information might be incomplete since nursing homes self-report the deaths that occurred in their facilities to the state. “We only know what they tell us,” Cuomo told reporters in Albany.

  But City Council member Mark Treyger (D-Brooklyn) said a lack of widespread testing at nursing homes is deflating the number of known patient fatalities because not every nursing home is reporting deaths where there wasn’t a confirmed positive. 

The testing deficit also is clearing the path for introducing the virus from outside — because asymptomatic staff members have been allowed and even encouraged to work, he noted. 

Treyger said he’s been hearing a host of concerns about nursing homes in southern Brooklyn, and called on the city and state to come up with an action plan to ensure adequate levels of staffing, protective equipment and testing kits. 

“I believe the situation at nursing homes is much worse than what’s being reported to the public,” said Treyger.

The double agent crisis actors of hashtag cancel rent movement


NY Gentrification Watch

So, for the past few months now, I’ve been struggling to figure out how to broach the subject of how anti-landlord populism is actually just another cynical psychological warfare tactic being exploited by Big Development. It was in anticipation of talking about this topic that prompted me to write Gentrification & Psychological Warfare: The Culture War.

In spite of having written what I thought was a fairly decent write up about how culture wars are often exploited by Big Development, I still struggled to complete an entry on how it was now using the one between landlords and tenants for its own gain. The reason why I had such a hard time is that so-called “tenant advocacy” groups have been doing such a bang up job hijacking and destroying any nuanced discussion about rising rents and gentrification that it’s practically impossible to try to explain the situation from the landlord’s perspective without being immediately seen as The Enemy.

But then again, that’s how a culture war works. You make it so that a very complex issue is boiled down to either/or, black or white. There are no shades of grey, no balance. In the case of gentrification, everyone must completely demonize and scapegoat all landlords for rising rents and displacement; if you color just a hair outside the “all landlords are the devil” line, you’re an evil supporter of gentrification.

Because the culture war between landlords and tenants has been so successfully hijacked by fringe tenants rights groups–I struggled to figure out how to write about this topic without stepping on everyone’s toes. I was worried of what people would think, afraid that they might think I had gone turncoat or have been insincere this entire time about my fight against gentrification. But then came the #cancelrent movement, a completely ridiculous, counter-productive slacktivist campaign that seemed to come out of nowhere and has all the earmarks of a carefully coordinated troll farm campaign by fringe elements on the internet. 

Thursday, April 16, 2020

The triage hospital at Aqueduct and 7 others are still not open for coronavirus patients

How is this going to flatten the curve?

Councilmember Holden demands more information on memo to conceal school coronavirus cases


The Special Commissioner for Investigations for city schools is probing the Department of Education’s bid to squelch coronavirus infection information in the chaotic days before schools were closed.

The investigation comes in response to a report by THE CITY revealing an internal memo advising school officials to not report cases of teachers or staff who tested positive for COVID-19 or were likely infected to the city Health Department.

Following the story, Councilmember Robert Holden (D-Queens) asked Special Commissioner for Investigations Anastasia Coleman to look into the origin of the memo — and whether it contributed to the spread of the virus within schools before Mayor Bill de Blasio reluctantly announced on March 15 that schools would be shuttered.

In an interview Tuesday with THE CITY, Holden said he believes the March 10 memo was intended to help cover up the scope of the spread of the virus within the city public education system to justify keeping schools open amid an avalanche of pressure.

“A lot of teachers were calling us and saying, ‘Why aren’t the schools closed? We have some staff who are infected,’” Holden recalled.

“This is the DOE’s M.O., this is how they operate. They were trying to cover up. They were saying to us, they want to cover this up, we don’t want to cause mass hysteria,” he said.

On March 30, SCI investigator Hector Rivera notified Holden, “I am assigned and investigating the allegations of negligence by the Department of Education, regarding the COVID-19 cases in the city schools.”

On Tuesday, Regina Gluzmanova, a SCI spokesperson, declined to discuss the investigation, stating, “SCI is in receipt of the Council Member’s letter and will not comment any further on an open investigation.”

The Department of Education confirmed this week that 50 public school staff, including 21 teachers, have died of COVID-19 illness since the pandemic hit the city.

As pressure mounted last month to shut the schools, de Blasio resisted the call, saying he feared the closure would hurt families who need their children to be in school while they’re working.

It's not just the D.O.E.'s M.O., it's the de Blasio Doctrine


NY Post
Most New York children “probably” already have coronavirus and are serving as vectors to spread the disease, according to one New York pediatrician.

Dr. Dyan Hes at New York City’s Gramercy Pediatrics advised parents to assume their children have the virus if they contract even mild symptoms consistent with the disease.

“I think that probably 80 percent of the children have coronavirus. We are not testing children. I’m in New York City. I can’t get my patients tested,” Hes said during an interview at CBS News.

“And we have to assume, if they are sick, they have coronavirus. Most of them, probably 80 to 90 percent of them, are asymptomatic.”

But the number of infected children is unknown because so many children don’t display any symptoms, she said — and that could alter COVID-19’s mortality rate.

 “So, these numbers are so skewed. I think that the mortality rate is way, way less than 0.5 percent for children who have it because it is so prevalent,” Hes said.

“You have to remember thousands of kids die from flu a year. This is much, much less virulent in children.”

The bigger risk lies in those infected children passing the virus to much more vulnerable populations, like the elderly or those with pre-existing health conditions.

“The problem with children is that they are so asymptomatic that they are spreading it. And our biggest mistake was that we didn’t close the public schools when we should have,” said Hes.

“So the children were the vectors to the teachers, who might be elderly or immunocompromised.”


Wednesday, April 15, 2020

Anyone see a common thread here?

From the NY Times:

The chockablock density that defines this part of Queens may have also have been its undoing. Doctors and community leaders say poverty, notoriously overcrowded homes and government inaction left residents especially vulnerable to the virus.

From Huffington Post:

You call your district the “epicenter of the epicenter.” What makes your district specifically so vulnerable to all this?

"Well, we have a lot of service workers that live here, undocumented folks that live here, immigrants who are here, and oftentimes, we see that those folks are of lower income, and in order to survive, they have to live in overcrowded, illegally converted homes, which only makes the spread of COVID worse. So there’s really no place for many people who live in my community to self-isolate because sometimes they live 20 to 25 people in a house. We’ve seen this on numerous occasions here in the district." - King Tweeder Council Member Danny Dromm

But remember, folks, if you want to downzone your neighborhood or prevent out of character development, you're racist and should move to the suburbs.

Tuesday, April 14, 2020

10,000 again in corrected tally by the city of coronavirus caused deaths in the five boroughs

NY Daily News

More than 10,000 people have died in New York City due to coronavirus, under a revised count that factors in “probable” cases that were previously excluded from the grim toll, the Health Department revealed Tuesday.

The new count includes 6,589 deaths of people who had tested positive for COVID-19, along with 3,778 individuals whose death certificates listed the virus as their cause of death even though there was no known test for them — making a total of 10,367 deaths as of Monday.

The mayor’s office did not immediately answer a request for comment about the revised numbers, which came as the city has struggled to disseminate vital information about the outbreak.

At a Tuesday morning press conference, Mayor de Blasio said some newly available data suggested potential improvement in the devastating outbreak.

City hospitals admitted 326 patients with suspected coronavirus symptoms on Sunday, down from 383 the day before, de Blasio said.

But there was a slight uptick in people sent to intensive care, and a higher percentage of people tested positive for the dreaded virus — 59.6% of those tested got positive results on Sunday, up from 58.1% on Saturday.

“Every day, we have to win that battle to prove that we can reduce the spread of this virus, get those indicators to go down in unison over a longer period of time,” de Blasio told reporters. “And then we'll be in a position to talk about our next steps.”

Monday, April 13, 2020


NY Daily News

It’s an Easter tragedy.

Gov. Cuomo grimly reported Monday that the coronavirus killed another 671 New Yorkers over the high holiday, bringing the state’s total death toll above 10,000 even as the pandemic scourge appeared to run out of steam on some fronts.

In his daily briefing from Albany, Cuomo said New York’s death count crossing the five-digit threshold on Easter Sunday hit him hard on a personal level.

“I’m Catholic. Easter Sunday is the high holiday ... To have this happen over this weekend is really, really especially tragic,” Cuomo said. "They are all in our thoughts and prayers.”
Still, Cuomo had a glimmer of good news.

Even though 10,056 New Yorkers have now died from the virus, Cuomo said the daily death count has been “basically flat” for nearly a week.

Though the flattening is occurring at “a horrific level,” the governor said the number of daily hospitalizations is also remaining stagnant around 2,000.

“I think you can say the worst is over, because the worst here is people are dying," he said. "We have controlled the spread.”

About 19,000 people remain hospitalized statewide, according to officials.

As of the latest count, New York has 195,031 confirmed cases of COVID-19.

New York City continues to bear the brunt of the virus, accounting for more than half of all deaths in the state.

Cuomo suggested his next order of business will be to carefully devise a plan for New York to get back on its feet.

The governor said such efforts would likely include expanding definitions for “essential” jobs, which would allow more New Yorkers to return to work.

Cuomo said he would coordinate any such announcements with the governors of New Jersey and Connecticut, adding he learned from Hurricane Sandy in 2012 that “geographically coordinated” action plans are necessary during crises.

 “This is a time for smart, competent, effective government,” Cuomo said.

This is the time he says. The social media and corporate news lionized "president" says this. Is. The. Time. Not in February or March when the outbreak was spreading. Now. Without a hint of irony. 

As opposed to the permanent government that prioritizes and benefits the donor class that he allowed to continue and which he's been running for the past decade.

What a fucking imbecile. 

Queens is about to get their own Potters Field

NY Daily News

As the number of coronavirus deaths overwhelms New York’s morgues, funeral homes and crematoriums, city officials are scrambling to find locations to temporarily store the dead.

Fort Totten, a former cemetery that’s now a park in Queens, is the likely place where the glut of bodies will be kept during the pandemic.

“If the current outbreak escalates, burials will occur at Fort Totten and Hart Island," said a March 29 email shared among high-ranking city officials. The email lays out the work required to turn Fort Totten into a burial site.

Temporary burials at Hart Island, the city’s public cemetery on the Long Island Sound where unclaimed bodies have been buried for decades, come with a slew of logistical challenges due to regular flooding and the island’s remote location.

With at least 6,182 city residents dead from COVID-19 as of Sunday night, Fort Totten will soon be tapped for temporary burials, according to sources with knowledge of the operation.

Mayor de Blasio has for more than a week declined to discuss the city’s plans for the bodies of coronavirus victims during public briefings. And his office has denied Fort Totten will be used as a site for public burials.

On Sunday, mayoral spokeswoman Avery Cohen declared, “We are not considering temporary burials at this time.” Later, Blasio’s press secretary Freddi Goldstein added: “We’ve increased capacity enough that we do not believe we’ll have to move to temporary burials.”

Sunday, April 12, 2020

Welcome to Disasterland

@real Donald Trump

Impunity City

Nurses and funeral home directors are pissed about the bureaucratic bullshit affecting their jobs from the state and city

NY Post

 New York State nurses and other hospital workers are being exposed to “dangerous working conditions” amid the coronavirus pandemic because of “critical shortages” of personal protective gear, and they want “urgent action” from Gov. Andrew Cuomo to provide them with the equipment they need.

 That’s the message in a blistering April 11 letter sent by the New York State Nurses Association’s director to Howard Zucker, the state health commissioner, obtained by The Post.

The letter contradicts comments made by Melissa de Rosa, secretary to Gov. Cuomo, at a press briefing last week, in which she said that hospitals were receiving stockpiled PPE equipment and that no health care facilities in the state would have to resort to “crisis conservation.”

That means the reusing of masks, hospital gowns and other equipment meant to guard against the spread of COVID-19.

“At this point most hospitals and nursing homes in the New York City metropolitan area, which is the national epicenter of the pandemic, continue to operate under ‘crisis conservation’ standards because they do not have enough PPE to distribute to our desperate staff,” wrote Patricia Kane, the executive director of the Nurses Association, the union which represents 42,000 frontline nurses in the state.

NY Post

Frazzled funeral home directors are complaining about the invasion of the municipal body snatchers.
At least two Queens funeral directors say the city’s red tape is making their grim backlog of bodies even worse, as remains are sent to Randall’s Island for storage with little or no notice — and retrieving them has become nearly impossible.

Omar Rodriguez was scheduled to pick up two bodies last week from Elmhurst Hospital, only to find out the night before they’d been packed into two mobile morgues and taken to Randall’s Island.
But once there, workers on the island told him the bodies needed to go back to the hospital before they could be released, he said.

“I spoke to everybody and their mothers about how to get the bodies but no one had an answer,” he told The Post. “I was going back-and-forth. I told them I’m here, release the bodies to me. Eight hours later they were released on Randall’s Island.”

Peter Koo got mugged


A Queens lawmaker who was assaulted and mugged by three masked assailants is offering his gratitude to local authorities for taking swift action in arresting the individuals. 

On Thursday, April 9, as he was returning to his Downtown Flushing home from a walk, City Councilman Peter Koo was confronted by the three attackers in the lobby of his building. 

As words were exchanged and Koo attempted to call 911, the assailants tried to steal his phone, according to the councilman. Koo held on to his phone and continued to scream at the muggers, at which point they ran off. 

After contacting the 109th Precinct, officers later arrested two of the assailants shortly after they robbed another person several blocks away. 

Describing it as a “frightening encounter” Koo said he maintained his composure to the best of his ability and contacted the police immediately with the descriptions and the direction they were heading.