Sunday, May 31, 2020

The Clash

NY Daily News

 Outraged activists returned to the city’s streets Saturday in a second night of protesting and rioting over the police killing of a black man in Minneapolis.

Protests took place during the day and night in all five boroughs — but mostly in Manhattan and Brooklyn, where protesters burned police cars and disrupted traffic.

Police arrested dozens of protesters on the Brooklyn side of the Brooklyn Bridge — where instead of taking the walkway, numerous protesters took to the vehicle lanes, blocking car traffic and seemingly putting themselves in harm’s way.

A Daily News reporter saw looters Saturday night in SoHo, location of high-end boutiques, and protesters also tried to disrupt traffic on FDR Drive in lower Manhattan.

Several videos emerged online of protesters and police vehicles getting in each others’ way — as the vehicles, often with sirens and lights flashing, menaced protesters who in turn threw garbage, rocks and bottles at them.

Crowds were reported outside Trump Tower on Fifth Ave. in Midtown, in Times Square, and in Union Square, among other locations.

Cops were still sorting out the chaos on Saturday night, and could only say that more than 50 people were arrested.

Earlier in the day, A crowd marched through Harlem, and then blocked traffic on the highway along Manhattan’s East River. And posts on social media showed cops amassing to control the chaos at Union Square.

By nightfall, protesters trekked across the Brooklyn Bridge, where cops met them with vans for those arrested — and blocked entrance to the footpath.

In one disturbing Twitter post, a crowd at Flatbush and St. Mark’s in Brooklyn pushed a single barricade in from to NYPD cruiser, until another cruiser pulled alongside and pushed the protesters aside.

Mayor de Blasio just recently blamed all the chaos that's unfolded during this protest on President Trump, saying that he created the atmosphere following repeated questions of two NYPD patrol vehicles running over a bunch of people on the street

No, you stupid idiot, this is the guy who created the atmosphere along with his three accomplices.

Friday, May 29, 2020

City Council criminalizes a word.

NY Post

The New York City Council voted overwhelmingly Thursday to replace all mentions of “alien” in city documents, regulations and local laws with “noncitizen,” a move that critics derided as political correctness run amok.
“It’s like the speech police is out again,” said Councilman Robert Holden (D-Queens), who was one of four votes against the measure. “Alien is a term used for someone who is from another area, another land. That’s a term used in Congress and in the government.”
He added: “We’re overstepping our bounds here prohibiting certain terms.”

Council Speaker Corey Johnson celebrated the 46-4 vote with an afternoon tweet that claimed the Big Apple “just became the first major U.S. city to prohibit the use of the dehumanizing and offensive term ‘alien’ in local laws, rules, and documents. From now on, the term will be ‘noncitizen.’”

The measure was introduced by Councilman Francisco Moya (D-Queens) in January, who argued the change would help promote better treatment of immigrants in the Big Apple.

Funny, non-citizen sort of sounds worse.

It sounds close to non-person. Bigots will weaponize this too.

The prototype for the nursing homes immunity law was made in New York and it's being disseminated to other states


In recent years, lawmakers have been caught stealthily copying and pasting identical corporate-friendly provisions into law in states across the country. It appears that is now happening again as politically connected hospital and nursing home executives seek to shield themselves from civil litigation and government prosecution during the COVID pandemic.

A review of New York, Massachusetts and North Carolina’s controversial new liability shield provisions shows that nearly identical immunity language benefiting nursing home and hospital executives was inserted into law by elected officials whose political apparatuses received significant campaign contributions from the nursing home and hospital industries.

The spread of the corporate immunity provisions — which appear to have originated in New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s administration — comes amid a spate of coronavirus deaths that critics say was preventable and made worse by the liability shields. Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell is currently pushing a broader, national version of immunity for corporate executives.

"Our legislation was the ‎product of negotiations between the chamber and the legislature and while we always engage with stakeholders no one else wrote the final product -- which, again, was to help ensure we had the expanded health care apparatus needed to fight this pandemic,” said Cuomo’s spokesperson, Rich Azzopardi. “I have no information about how other states may have adopted this publicly available language."  

To date, 19 states have enacted some form of immunity for the hospital and nursing home industries during the pandemic. In general, these new policies shield nurses, doctors and other frontline health care workers from liability when they are treating COVID patients. 

However, New York, Massachusetts and North Carolina go further: unlike other states, the identical language added to their laws explicitly define health care providers as including “a health care facility administrator, executive, supervisor, board member, trustee” or other corporate managers. 
That exact word-for-word clause appears in emergency legislation in all three states. In practice, it extends immunity to corporate officials who are not on the medical frontlines, but who are making life-and-death decisions across their companies.

“The new measures granting immunity to health care providers and professionals go well beyond protecting front-line workers from lawsuits -- many also provide immunity to administrators who make unreasonable and dangerous, even lethal, decisions,” said Syracuse University law professor Nina Kohn. “New York, Massachusetts, and North Carolina take protection for corporate owners and executives to a whole new level by explicitly granting immunity to board members, trustees, and directors.” 

“This is extraordinary protection which is in no way in the public interest,” Kohn said. “These states are explicitly and unabashedly giving for-profit corporations and corporate executives the green light to make unreasonable decisions that put vulnerable people in imminent danger, and letting them know that they don’t have to worry about being held legally accountable for the avoidable human damage that results.”

Thursday, May 28, 2020

Mayor de Blasio thinks your city can handle a couple more months of economic limbo

Daily Mail

New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio has been blasted as a 'liar' for claiming that struggling small businesses are 'hanging on' and are prepared to stay closed for 'months' yet as he continues to cling on to the city's lockdown despite mounting calls to reopen. 

New York City saw just 63 hospitalizations for suspected COVID-19 cases on Monday, less than a tenth of the number on March 20 when the city went into lockdown, but still de Blasio and Cuomo refuse to say when the city will reopen again. 
In an interview with WNYC radio on Friday, de Blasio claimed: 'I’ve talked to lots and lots of business leaders, especially the smallest businesses. 

'They’re very worried about their futures understandably, but they also are hanging on and they know it can be a matter of months until they’ll be back in action.'  

The remark has been met with outrage by small business owners who say they are barely still surviving. 

Some called his remark 'outrageous' and particularly offensive from someone who owns two homes in Park Slope, an expensive neighborhood in Brooklyn. 

Hundreds of businesses have joined together to form a coalition to reopen the city. 

Some have taken it into their own hands to reopen because they simply cannot afford to stay closed any longer, and they have received summonses from the NYPD. 

Many are now asking why mega retailers like Costco and Walmart have been allowed to stay open throughout the pandemic while smaller stores that are able to enforce social distancing practices more seamlessly have been forced shut.

Bruce Backman, spokesman for Reopen New York, the coalition, told on Tuesday: 'I think it's a power grab... you have to wonder, how much lobbying are the big box stores doing to keep themselves the only ones in business? 

'When have we ever forced people to go to three stores to buy everything? It's like the Soviet Union.' 

Wednesday, May 27, 2020

Fire through dry grass; Governor Cuomo's directive sent 4,500 coronavirus patients to nursing homes and gave immunity to them stemming from the industriy's donations to his last re-election campaign


 More than 4,500 recovering coronavirus patients were sent to New York’s already vulnerable nursing homes under a controversial state directive that was ultimately scrapped amid criticisms it was accelerating the nation’s deadliest outbreaks, according to a count by The Associated Press.

AP compiled its own tally to find out how many COVID-19 patients were discharged from hospitals to nursing homes under the March 25 directive after New York’s Health Department declined to release its internal survey conducted two weeks ago. It says it is still verifying data that was incomplete.

Whatever the full number, nursing home administrators, residents’ advocates and relatives say it has added up to a big and indefensible problem for facilities that even Gov. Andrew Cuomo — the main proponent of the policy — called “the optimum feeding ground for this virus.” 

“It was the single dumbest decision anyone could make if they wanted to kill people,” Daniel Arbeeny said of the directive, which prompted him to pull his 88-year-old father out of a Brooklyn nursing home where more than 50 people have died. His father later died of COVID-19 at home.

“This isn’t rocket science,” Arbeeny said. “We knew the most vulnerable -- the elderly and compromised -- are in nursing homes and rehab centers.”

Told of the AP’s tally, the Health Department said late Thursday it “can’t comment on data we haven’t had a chance to review, particularly while we’re still validating our own comprehensive survey of nursing homes admission and re-admission data in the middle of responding to this global pandemic.”

Cuomo, a Democrat, on May 10 reversed the directive, which had been intended to help free up hospital beds for the sickest patients as cases surged. But he continued to defend it this week, saying he didn’t believe it contributed to the more than 5,800 nursing and adult care facility deaths in New York — more than in any other state — and that homes should have spoken up if it was a problem.

“Any nursing home could just say, ‘I can’t handle a COVID person in my facility,’” he said, although the March 25 order didn’t specify how homes could refuse, saying that ”no resident shall be denied re-admission or admission to the (nursing home) solely based” on confirmed or suspected COVID-19.

Over a month later, on April 29, the Health Department clarified that homes should not take any new residents if they were unable to meet their needs, including a checklist of standards for coronavirus care and prevention. 

Remember, Andrew Cuomo named this directive after his mother.

A directive influenced by a profit-driven health and hospice care industrial consortium that gave Cuomo millions to his last re-election campaign:


As Governor Andrew Cuomo faced a spirited challenge in his bid to win New York’s 2018 Democratic primary, his political apparatus got a last-minute boost: a powerful health care industry group suddenly poured more than $1 million into a Democratic committee backing his campaign. 

Less than two years after that flood of cash from the Greater New York Hospital Association (GNYHA), Cuomo signed legislation last month quietly shielding hospital and nursing-home executives from the threat of lawsuits stemming from the coronavirus outbreak. The provision, inserted into an annual budget bill by Cuomo’s aides, created one of the nation’s most explicit immunity protections for health care industry officials, according to legal experts. 

Critics say Cuomo removed a key deterrent against nursing home and hospital corporations cutting corners in ways that jeopardize lives. As those critics now try to repeal the provision during this final week of Albany’s legislative session, they assert that data prove such immunity is correlating to higher nursing-home death rates during the pandemic — both in New York and in other states enacting similar immunity policies.

New York has become one of the globe’s major pandemic hot spots — and the epicenter of the state’s outbreak has been nursing homes, where more than five thousand New Yorkers have died, according to Associated Press data. 

Those deaths have occurred as Cuomo’s critics say he has taken a hands-off approach to regulating the health care industry interests that helped bankroll his election campaign. In March, Cuomo’s administration issued an order that allowed nursing homes to readmit sick patients without testing them for COVID-19. Amid allegations of undercounted casualties, the governor also pushed back against pressure to have state regulators more stringently record and report death rates in nursing homes. 

And then came Cuomo’s annual budget — which included a little-noticed passage shielding corporate officials who run New York hospitals, nursing homes, and other health care facilities from liability for COVID-related deaths and injuries. 

GNYHA — a lobbying group for hospital systems, including some that own nursing homes — said it “drafted and aggressively advocated for” the immunity provision. The new law declares that top officials at hospital and nursing-home companies “shall have immunity from any liability, civil or criminal, for any harm or damages alleged to have been sustained as a result of an act or omission in the course of arranging for or providing health care services” to address the COVID outbreak. 

Prior to the budget language, Cuomo had already temporarily granted limited legal immunity to doctors and nurses serving on the medical front lines. But the carefully sculpted passage buried in the state’s annual spending bill expanded that by offering extensive immunity to any “health care facility administrator, executive, supervisor, board member, trustee or other person responsible for directing, supervising or managing a health care facility and its personnel or other individual in a comparable role.”

New York is now one of just two states to shield those corporate officials from both civil lawsuits and some forms of criminal prosecution by the government, according to an analysis by Syracuse University law professor Nina Kohn and the University of Houston’s Jessica L. Roberts. 

“New York is an outlier and has the most explicit and sweeping immunity language,” Kohn said.

City O.E.M. is letting an LLC profit from housing homeless people,released prisoners and frontline workers in hotels


In recent weeks, the city has placed hundreds of vulnerable homeless shelter residents, frontline hospital workers and recently released Rikers Island inmates into hotel rooms to help contain the spread of COVID-19.

And every time one of these temporary guests check in, a company down in Texas pockets a $27 per room, per night fee.

The firm, LLC, also bills the city $18 for every breakfast, $19 for every lunch and $34 for every dinner provided to the guests, according to records obtained by THE CITY.
And then there’s the actual hotel rooms. The city Office of Emergency Management blacked out the room rates spelled out in Crewfacilities’ contract, arguing the information was protected from public disclosure as a “trade secret.”

But according to an unredacted copy of a related document obtained by THE CITY, nightly room rates range from $128 for a room in Queens to $163 to spend the night near Times Square.

A review of Thursday showed much lower rates available at struggling hotels all over the city. A Hilton Garden Inn in Tribeca, for example, was offering a discounted rate of $89 per night, while rooms at a Best Western in Herald Square were going for $75.

So far, taxpayers have shelled out about $15.5 million for more than 8,600 rooms booked by Crewfacilities in hotels around town. That includes the per room, per night fee and the thousands of meals for guests who request them at the rates set by Crewfacilities’ contract.

In an interview with THE CITY Friday, Councilmember Ben Kallos (D-Manhattan), chair of the city contracts committee, questioned Crewfacilities’ $27 per room, per night fee, noting that the industry norm for such a booking fee is typically 10% of the room rate. That would come out to $12 to $16. As of last week, Crewfacilities had charged $2.5 million in these fees.
Kallos called on OEM to cancel the contract, estimating that between the $27 fee and the $71 per-day meal charge, Crewfacilities could be charging taxpayers $3,000 per month — above the cost of hotel rooms — for each guest.

“At the height of the pandemic we were desperate for hotel rooms and we got ripped off by a contract with $27 overhead,” he said. “We can and must do better by cutting out the middleman and going directly to the hotels. We can use the savings to fund essential services for youth and seniors this summer.”

As for the cost of an $18 breakfast, he added,  “That better be one fancy breakfast. If it’s $18 for a bagel and coffee, that’s expensive even for New York City.”

A few days ago it was revealed a company from Texas got a contract to build a hospital that was never used, now we got another Texas firm profiting from a pandemic.

What is up with these Texas connections? Could this be tied anyway to de Blasio's farcical presidential run last summer when he was traversing the nation for donations to his PAC's?

Tuesday, May 26, 2020

Governor Cuomo diminishes the deaths of 73 people as good news

NY Daily News

Gov. Cuomo said it’s time to “supercharge” the economy as New York emerges from the coronavirus pandemic.

Hours after ringing the opening bell at the New York Stock Exchange Tuesday morning, welcoming traders back to the floor since it closed two months ago, the governor turned his attention to the state’s economic future.

“We want that economy to come roaring back and that’s not going to happen just by wishing it to be so," Cuomo said. “I don’t believe the economy just bounces back. I believe it bounces back, but it bounces back differently."

The governor will travel to Washington Wednesday to meet with President Trump to talk about infrastructure projects and other ways to jump start the economy.

Another 73 New Yorkers died Monday from COVID-19, the governor said.

“Number of lives lost, 73, that’s the lowest it’s been since this all started,” he said. “In this absurd new reality, that is good news."

New confirmed coronavirus cases dropped to just about 200, also at the lowest level since early March.

“Memorial Day is going to be a point where we don’t all run back to the beach, but we’re going to turn the page on COVID-19,” Cuomo said. “And we’re going to start focusing on reopening and how we reopen and how smart we are in reopening."

Fuck the new normal and fuck you governor.

Truly Yours, JQ LLC

New York State and New York City pandemic recovery teams consists of two Big Clubs of Cuomo's and de Blasio's donors

NY Daily News

Gov. Cuomo appointed dozens of generous donors to a board helping advise the state on re-opening and lifting New York coronavirus restrictions, The Daily News found.

Thirty-seven Cuomo donors who’ve collectively given him nearly $1 million were put on the “New York Forward Re-Opening Advisory Board” created last month, according to a News analysis of campaign filings.

Nineteen advisory board members have donated at least $10,000 to Cuomo campaigns and all but two have given $1,000 or more.

The Cuomo donors account for 28% of all advisory board’s 134 members – and 21 have shelled out $427,550 for the governor since January 2017 alone.

Cuomo said in April the board will “help guide” the state’s phased re-opening “and ensure businesses are following the necessary guidelines to preserve public health as we work towards a new normal."

The advisory board includes leaders of unions, trade associations, businesses, education institutions, nonprofits and sports teams, as well as big names in real estate, health care, finance and commerce.

Advisory board members are unpaid but their advice will help Cuomo and the state develop coronavirus policies that could ultimately benefit their industries or the businesses and organizations where they work.

“It is deeply disturbing that Governor Cuomo is exploiting the pandemic to promote his billionaire campaign donors to lead the recovery while ignoring the needs of parents, children and educators," said Jasmine Gripper, executive director of the Alliance for Quality Education. "We need a Governor who will demand New York’s billionaires pay their share so our state can recover from COVID-19 — instead of cutting schools and furthering pay-to-play politics.”

NY Daily News

Some things never change — even during a pandemic.

Mayor de Blasio appointed at least 80 donors to advisory groups that were formed to help shape New York City’s response to the coronavirus pandemic, the Daily News found.

The coronavirus advisers have collectively given Hizzoner at least $176,282 — including $44,320 last year, according to a News analysis of campaign filings. That’s not counting thousands that their relatives gave to de Blasio or any taxpayer funding that the mayor got when certain donations were matched with public financing in city races.

The donors account for nearly a quarter of some 330 people de Blasio appointed to 10 COVID-19 advisory councils and a “fair recovery task force" this month.

While the advisers are unpaid, their guidance will help the city develop coronavirus policies that could benefit the businesses and organizations where they work.

De Blasio has faced multiple investigations into his fund-raising practices, including whether his administration was favorable to donors and others with business before the city. Prosecutors eventually decided against charging de Blasio or his aides — but they still said he intervened on behalf of donors seeking favors from City Hall.

The mayor’s office said advisers have “no decision-making power,” but de Blasio himself has stressed the importance of seeking outside input to bolster the city’s response to coronavirus and other issues.

The councils include industry leaders, head honchos and prominent figures in all aspects of city life: transportation; large business; small business; construction and real estate; education; faith; labor; nonprofit and social services; health, and arts, culture and tourism. While the 10 sector advisory councils will help shepherd the city’s efforts to reopen the economy and lift coronavirus restrictions, the “fair recovery task force” is focused on a broader postpandemic recovery.

“We know that we as a city government, we can take all the best information and come up with the right game plan, but we need to always run it by the people who actually do the work,” de Blasio said last week.

Monday, May 25, 2020

Red Hook field hospital opens too late and goes to waste
NY Post

 A roughly $21 million Brooklyn field hospital authorized by the de Blasio administration at the height of the coronavirus pandemic opened and closed without ever seeing one patient, according to city officials.

The Brooklyn Cruise Terminal in Red Hook was one of several sites across the five boroughs converted into a medical facility as a way to relieve the city’s overburdened hospital system as the COVID-19 crisis mounted.

Mayor Bill de Blasio announced plans on Mar. 31 — a day after the USNS Comfort hospital ship arrived in New York Harbor to aid in the coronavirus fight — for the $20.8 million Red Hook field hospital with an estimated capacity for 750 beds.
The field hospital was built by Texas-based construction company SLSCO.

Chalk up another pop-up medical care facility going unused and millions and millions and millions of tax dollars descended into the void.



The coronavirus crisis has forced more than 100,000 small businesses in New York to close permanently, the governor said Friday. The huge swath of closures means main streets will look at lot different when the state is allowed to reopen.

At most risk have been businesses that are owned by minorities, Gov. Andrew Cuomo said.
"Small businesses are taking a real beating," he said. "They are 90 percent of New York's businesses and they're facing the toughest challengers.

"The economic projections, vis-a-vis small business, are actually frightening. More than 100,000 have shut permanently since the pandemic hit. Many small businesses just don't have the staying power to continue to pay all the fixed costs, the lease, etcetera, when they have no income whatsoever."

All but essential businesses have now been closed since New York's shutdown started on March 22. Millions of former employees are now registered as unemployed.

Curtis Sliwa goes for a forbidden swim in defiance of de Blasio's pandemic beach protocol

Remember the fallen

Sunday, May 24, 2020

Veterans Nursing Home releases names of residents who succumbed to COVID-19 in defiance to Cuomo's Health Department death counts


Workers at a 250-bed state-run veterans nursing home in Queens are circulating a list naming nearly 50 residents who died during the coronavirus crisis — an act of defiance and remembrance ahead of Memorial Day.

The list identifies 48 veterans or spouses of veterans who passed away between March 27 and April 29 at the New York State Veterans Home in St. Albans, one of five veterans nursing homes operated directly by the state Department of Health.

Staff members, who served many of the fallen veterans for years, have been critical of facility administrators for their handling of the outbreak — and accuse them of failing to publicly account for the full scope of fatalities.

“In memory of our beloved veterans,” reads the one-page list. “These veterans deserve justice!!”


A Queens veterans nursing home run by the state Department of Health has been violating protocols set by the department itself that are intended to keep patients and staff safe from coronavirus, multiple staffers told THE CITY.

This includes not separating roommates when only one was suspected of having COVID-19, and failing to isolate those infected in a separate section of the facility with a dedicated team of staff members.

And like their counterparts at private nursing homes, workers at the 250-bed New York State Veterans’ Home in St. Albans say protective gear has been in short supply and at times absent — with recommended N95 masks handed out just once in late March and expected to last for weeks.

Only last week were supplies replenished, they said.

Meanwhile, the staffers say, the home had suffered resident deaths totaling at least twice or even three times the official tally of 19 that was publicly reported through May 1— essentially by the state Department of Health to itself.

“There was just no effort to try to even maintain any kind of minimizing transmission or anything,” said one staffer. “Nobody took it seriously.”

State Department of Health officials countered that the home has been a “leader in its response to the COVID-19 pandemic” — and that the agency is ensuring all of its coronavirus guidelines are followed.

On Tuesday, the health department released new and more detailed statistics on coronavirus fatalities in individual nursing homes across the state. They showed nine confirmed COVID fatalities at the Queens veterans’ home and another 24 presumed to be caused by the virus.

Saturday, May 23, 2020

Man dies after trying to swim in Rockaway Beach

NY Post

A 24-year-old man drowned in the waters off Rockaway Beach on Friday afternoon — setting an ominous tone for what could be a dangerous Memorial Day weekend on the city’s lifeguard-less beaches.

The unidentified man was pulled from the waters off of Beach 91st Street just hours after Mayor Bill de Blasio detailed plans to open the city’s beaches for people to play on the sand, but also begged them to not go in the water.

A witness who shot cellphone video of first responders hauling the victim expressed fear that pleas to stay on land won’t be heard, and will lead to tragedy.
“Why are there no lifeguards? People are on the beach and allowed on the sand but not in the water. This is going to happen over and over,” the witness told The Post.

“If there were lifeguards, we wouldn’t have had to call in helicopters and fire trucks. People were freaked out, saying ‘Oh my gosh, there’s no one to help.’”

Cops said the unidentified man and at least one other person had been jumping into the water.

The man was pulled from the water around 2:50 p.m. and was rushed to St. John’s Hospital in critical condition, cops said.

He couldn’t be revived and was pronounced dead around 3:40 p.m., cops said.

Sadly this didn't take long at all that someone had to die to expose how moronic and lethal de Blasio's pandemic policy decisions have been. As if not putting lifeguards out there would discourage people from going to the beach. Now 20 people have to do the job of what one or two would have done to save this guy.

Maybe if the distancing and activity bans on the beach included surfers and not favorably exempted them it wouldn't have encouraged this person (or even anyone else) from going into the ocean for a dip.

Department of the Aging is starving the aging


 Marnee May, 75, was told by the city she’d be getting shipments of weekly meals in late March. She lives in Lower Manhattan and was getting the “grab-and-go” meals from the senior center in her building.

Toward the end of last month, as the coronavirus tore through the city, the center was shuttered. 

Weeks have since gone by and her meals haven’t arrived.

“Why weren’t we set up for this? That’s what I don’t understand,” May said during a phone interview Thursday afternoon. “What happened to the food? And where is that food? Where is it?”
The coronavirus pandemic that has seized New York City has created an almost impossible situation for its older residents. With that population particularly vulnerable to the disease and much of the city on lockdown, their families and friends have been officially warned against visiting. That leaves precious few options for elderly New Yorkers to get meals.
New York City’s massive effort to deliver food directly to the homes of the elderly, spearheaded by the Department for the Aging, has left many behind, according to interviews with seniors, advocates and government officials. Throughout the city, many of its most vulnerable residents are trapped at home, wondering when their next meal will come.
“I could say funeral homes weren’t prepared for this, but Jesus, the city should have been prepared to give people meals,” May told POLITICO.

Friday, May 22, 2020

Mayor de Blasio opens the beaches for only the surfers to play in

NY Post

Wipe out!
City beaches will be a surfers’ paradise, but swimmers will be sidelined under a wishy-washy set of rules dropped by the city and the NYPD on the eve of Memorial Day Weekend.
“The beaches are open, but the water is not for swimming,” said Brian Conroy, assistant chief of the NYPD’s Patrol Borough Brooklyn South, in a press briefing at the Abe Stark Sports Center in Coney Island.
“You can go in ankle deep, wade in the water,” Conroy continued. “Surfers will be allowed into the water.”
The half-measure move was swiftly blasted as all wet.
“This is just more mixed messaging,” said City Councilman Justin Brannan (D-Brooklyn). “We need to have very clear guidelines here, because if you don’t you’re just setting yourself up for tragedy and-or confrontation.
“If I carry a surfboard, can I go in the water even if I don’t know how to surf?”
City Councilman Donovan Richards, a Queens Democrat representing sandy Far Rockaway, said that he was left “scratching my head” over the gnarly policy.
“Are they going to give swim tests to surfers before they go into the water?” asked Richards. “If you’re saying the water is closed to anyone then they have to be closed for everyone.

 “It sends a bad message. It says the waters are open.”
Politicians weren’t the only ones who feared that the rules would confuse beachgoers trying to enjoy a little sea air and sunshine amid the coronavirus pandemic.
“It’s the same water. If you’re surfing, you have to go out and swim first, right?” pointed out Pat Singer, head of Brooklyn’s Brighton Neighborhood Association. “The mayor ought to rethink that one. It’s going to cause mixed messages.”

de Blasio has been exploiting this pandemic and confusing his constituents since the day he told everyone to go to the movies when the outbreak began.

But there is nothing mixed about this. As seen in multiple viral videos, there is a caste system with enforcing pandemic protocols. This is another blatant act of favoritism to the only citizens the mayor appreciates the most, the frivolous spending hipsters.

Wednesday, May 20, 2020

NYC D.O.T. recent street redesign in Ozone Park cul de sucks

 A lot of infrastructure improvements have been happening in Ozone Park after decades of oversight. But this one here, which was done between February and March according to a resident who was watching me photograph this is quite the curiosity. And as you will see, the stupidest and ultimately hazardous street redesign I have seen in this town.

This street is Albert Rd., a one way going west that intersects with Cross Bay Blvd. and is adjacent to 149 ave.. A lot of flooding always happens here after it rains so that may be why this was done going by all the bioswale looking spots recently installed. But prior to the D.O.T.'s decision to place a dead end here, drivers used to be able to turn right into Cross Bay and into 149 ave. heading east, being a two way street.

Surely, this new dead end will cut off any potential accidents but here's where it gets really stupid

Why would the D.O.T. put a cul de sac on a one way road?

 And why isn't there a stop sign placed heading towards it?

 The D.O.T. did think to put a stop sign to alert drivers who were shocked to find this path blocked during their return east to access 149 ave., but it's obscured by a tree.

And instead of a two way traffic sign on the right there (which is already indicated on the sign on the south side of the street) why not a right turn arrow sign? I know we got those.

That former intersection used to be pretty dicey and it's good to see new infrastructure after decades of neglect because this area tends to flood a lot when it rains, but even when the city does something good they find a way to mess things up and produce a new hazard after getting rid of an old one.

So it goes.

NYC Parks and Con Edison are being hard on Ron Jeremy's tree

View image on Twitter

NBC 4 New York

 Adult film star Ron Jeremy is fighting to save a tree his father planted outside their New York home the day he was born.

Jeremy took to Twitter on Saturday, saying that utility Con Edison was going cut down the tree that was planted in Queens in 1953. 

The tweet includes a 2018 photo of Jeremy hugging the tree outside the home on Bell Boulevard in Bayside.

Jeremy, who has been staying at a Hollywood hotel during the coronavirus pandemic, told the New York Daily News that a neighbor let him know the trunk was wrapped in yellow tape last week.

“I looked after that tree all my life. They tried to chop the tree down years ago but I wouldn’t let them,” Jeremy said. “I even belted myself to the tree.”

 The tree is on city property, and the Parks Department can choose to remove it, according to Con Edison, who replied to Jeremy's tweet. It is up to the city to decide whether to remove the tree to avoid any potential damage it may cause to surrounding power lines.

Whatcha gonna do when the D.O.B. comes for you?

NY Post

City building inspectors are running speed trap-style operations to catch contractors violating a coronavirus ban on “non-essential” construction work — and to slap homeowners with maximum, $10,000 fines, The Post has learned.

A Department of Buildings inspector spent at least 45 minutes Tuesday morning staked out at the intersection that leads to the ritzy Douglas Manor neighborhood in northwestern Queens.

“I’m an elevator guy normally but they got us all doing this now,” the inspector told The Post.

“Except for essential work, there are no inspections. So to keep us all working, they got us out making sure everybody complies with the governor’s order

Tuesday, May 19, 2020

Contractor Gadget loses city deal after botching ventilator and PPE deliveries


City Hall has canceled a $91 million emergency contract for ventilators and other medical equipment after the vendor failed to deliver the goods — even after receiving an initial $9.1 million payment in late March.

Meanwhile, Mayor Bill de Blasio appointed the company’s owner — a major donor to his failed presidential bid — to his small business advisory panel.

Digital Gadgets LLC, a New Jersey-based electronics wholesaler, supplied none of the 2,000 Aeonmed VG70 ventilators and 200,000 “breathing kits” agreed to under a March 30 deal with the Department of Citywide Administrative Services, according to an agency spokesperson.

“The city canceled this order because it decided to order a different ventilator model,” said the spokesperson, Nick Benson. “This was an amicable decision with the vendor.”

Digital Gadgets’s CEO is Charlie Tebele, who with family members made contributions totaling $32,000 to de Blasio’s now-abandoned campaign for the Democratic nomination for president and related political action committees, state and federal records show.

Tebele and family members also gave at least $12,750 to de Blasio’s 2017 reelection campaign.
As THE CITY reported last month, medical equipment was apparently a new line of business for Tebele, a wholesaler of hoverboards and other electronic devices to QVC and similar outlets, operating out of Monroe, N.J.

On May 6, de Blasio appointed Tebele to his 31-member Small Business Sector Advisory Council, formed to “provide guidance to shape the City’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic,” a statement from the mayor’s office said. Tebele’s appointment was first reported by the Daily News.

A spokesperson for the mayor’s office, Jane Meyer, told THE CITY: “Every single New Yorker has a stake in the city’s recovery. These bodies are purely advisory and participants were selected based on their expertise — nothing else. From the NAACP to the Catholic Church, Teamsters and Etsy —  we are proud to have New Yorkers from all backgrounds involved in this recovery effort.”

THE CITY attempted to reach Tebele by phone and email for comment, but did not make contact.

City finally releases coronavirus map data by zip code

NYC Health


  Asked about the data on NY1 late Monday, de Blasio called the disparities “horrible.” 

“What we’re talking about here is the really painful, really unfair history of race and class in this city and in this country,” he said. 

 The mayor cited the city’s work to secure insurance or medical care for all its residents to address the preconditions associated with poor COVID outcomes — which include diabetes, hypertension and compromised immune systems. 

“These are things that obviously get back again not just to racial disparity but to economic disparity — to folks who never got the health care they deserved because they didn’t have the money they deserved,” de Blasio said.

 Elected officials have argued that access to testing has not been equitable across neighborhoods, and a number of them said they’d been pushing City Hall to release more specific data on deaths sooner. 

Councilmember Inez Barron (D-Brooklyn), who represents Starrett City, said her district was left to suffer for weeks as she pleaded with the mayor’s office to release more details about neighborhood impacts of the virus. 

“Why aren’t residents — which is the hotbed for this disease — why aren’t these people being tested? It’s illogical to me,” she said. “They know that senior concentrations, and black and brown communities and other areas are hotbeds, but yet you don’t make provisions in the very areas where we see the numbers soaring.”

Mighty Mosque

Check this out. It's a mosque that expanded but looks hideous attached to the small house.

If you look back on the street view, you see the house that was there prior to this.

If you build them, less will die

Commercial Observer

A once-in-a-century pathogen overwhelmed New York medical centers this spring and at least part of the blame lies in decisions state and health care leaders made to eliminate 20,000 hospital beds over the past two decades.

 Gov. Andrew Cuomo warned New York could need between 55,000 and 110,000 hospital beds to treat COVID-19 patients through the end of April. But the Empire State only had 53,000 licensed hospital beds to begin with, down from the 73,931 that existed in 2000. 

The surge in patients has overloaded both the city’s pricey academic medical centers and its deficit-ridden public hospital system. By the end of April, 41,316 New Yorkers would seek treatment for coronavirus symptoms at a hospital and 17,589 residents died from the disease. At the apex of the pandemic, which occurred around April 12, hospitals contained close to 19,000 COVID patients.

Hospitalizations have declined since then but Cuomo acknowledged the state must be better prepared for the future. The health care system’s ability to protect the public would be imperiled if 70 percent of hospital beds were occupied, he said.

“Governors don’t do global pandemics,” Cuomo said in a briefing on April 28. “It’s not a state responsibility in this system who was supposed to blow the bugle and didn’t. I would bank on this happening again.”

The governor may be right that another wave of illness will strike this fall but the state’s lack of preparedness was due to decades of deregulation, systemic racism, and political apathy that led to dozens of hospital closures across the city.

“The chickens are coming home to roost,” Community Service Society Vice President Elisabeth Benjamin told Commercial Observer. “The people that are suffering and disproportionately dying are living in communities where all these hospitals got closed. Hospital capacity there is so woefully under-resourced it’s an outrage.”

Monday, May 18, 2020

It's a small world's borough


Out of the top 10 cities with the least apartment space per person, 5 are in California, with Fremont, Chula Vista (340 sq. ft. per person), Anaheim (353 sq. ft. per person) and Los Angeles (412 sq. ft. per person ) being the 2nd, 4th, 6th and 10th on the list, respectively.

The most crowded metropolitan area in the U.S., New York is also present in our top with some of the lowest average apartment sizes and largest number of persons living in the same household. Although many would expect to see Manhattan in the lead for smallest space per person, Queens is actually the one with the most crammed apartments, with only 329 sq. ft. per person. It’s followed by Brooklyn, with 351 and Manhattan, with 393.

Conversely, renters are living large in Louisville, KY, boasting the largest apartment space per person, at 731 sq. ft. This is due to an average apartment size of 933 sq. ft. and an average of 1.3 persons per household, which means that renters here have a great deal of apartment space – well above the national average. Next in the top is Winston-Salem, NC, with a total living space of 723 sq. ft./person. Not far behind is Omaha, NE, third in our top, where each renter has an average of 689 sq. ft. to roam around.

COVID-19 killed affordable housing initiative to include basement apartments

 City Limits

 The de Blasio administration’s basement pilot program is headed to hiatus after taking a hit in the city’s proposed budget, where funding is being reallocated towards more urgent budget matters related to the COVID-19 epidemic. 

The program aimed to test ways to legalize basement apartments as a way to create new, sanctioned affordable housing units for tenants and help the moderate-income homeowners who might rent some of the spaces out. It was a key community demand during the negotiations over the East New York rezoning, the first of the mayor’s neighborhood redevelopment plans.

In the mayor’s executive budget, the basement pilot program is expected to see funds cut by $1.09 million in the coming year — leaving the program with only $91,580 for operations. Initially, the basement pilot program, which was launched last year, was slated to receive $12 million dollars for operational costs during a three-year period. 

Dozens of nonprofits signed onto a letter last week asking the city to continue its financial support of the program. While acknowledging the stark budget reality facing the city, the signers insisted: “this is not the time to draw back support from programs that are critical to the most COVID-impacted populations in our city.” 

“The virus is exposing the desperate need for safe spaces for vulnerable populations who need to socially distance,” the letter read. “It’s now more important than ever to help modernize and bring up to code informal basement apartment units, where living conditions may put people at risk of disease transmission.”

The basement pilot program stemmed from over a decade of advocacy by nonprofits such as the Chhaya Community Development Corporation, which founded the Basement Apartments Safe for Everyone (BASE) campaign in 2008.

A 2009 study by the Pratt Center for Community Development and Chhaya estimated that there are more than 114,000 units in New York City’s basement apartment housing stock. 

It also became a featured capital investment in the 2016  East New York rezoning plan; the terms of agreement included the stipulation that legislation would allow for the study of the basement program to be piloted in the Brooklyn neighborhood, where low-income homeowners and low-income housing were at risk for predatory lenders and speculative investment.

“The dynamic of the housing market in the neighborhood, before COVID-19, has been that those homeowners really, really struggle,” says Michelle Neugebauer, the Executive Director at Cypress Hills LDC, a key player in community advocacy around the East New York rezoning. They struggle, some of them with high-price mortgages. They struggle against predators and house flippers and people that want to rip them off, the rising water bills and utility bills. It’s not easy,” 

“And I would say that it was considered one of the few wins of the rezoning battle; there could be this pilot in East New York that at least for a small number of homeowners could help stabilize their finances by bringing in this additional source of income that would provide safe, habitable, healthy living accommodations for renters, not at high rates.”