Friday, October 30, 2020

Mr. Lancman Goes To Albany


Queens Eagle

Term-limited Queens Councilmember Rory Lancman is leaving the legislative body Tuesday to take a job in Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s administration. Lancman’s departure will trigger a special election to fill his District 24 seat.

Lancman will serve as the state’s first Special Counsel for Ratepayer Protection, a role in which he will represent the interests of residential and commercial customers of utility companies and some telecom providers. The role was created as part of Cuomo’s efforts to hold utilities, including electric companies, accountable for poor service and outages.

“Utility companies do not have a God-given right to operate in New York, and when they abuse and bully consumers they must be held accountable,” Cuomo said in a statement.

Lancman said he was eager to take on the job, particularly in light of recent power outages in Queens.

“Every time there’s a storm it seems power goes out and thats not acceptable,” he told the Eagle Friday.

Lancman said he was not angling for a new job but was approached by the governor. He will start out Wednesday at the commission’s headquarters in Albany, before working in state offices in Manhattan and Plainview, on Long Island.

“We all know that being a councilmember has an expiration date, and while I was in no rush to leave before my term ended, the idea of a ‘next thing’ is on the mind of every term-limited councilmember,” he said. “I was attracted to the idea of doing very meaningful work.”

Lancman shot down speculation that the job was a quid pro quo in exchange for dropping out of the Queens District Attorney’s race a few days before the June 2019 Democratic Primary. Cuomo had backed Lancman’s opponent Melinda Katz in that race and Lancman’s exit likely helped Katz secured the votes for a close victory.

“People shouldn’t have their minds filled with conspiracy theories,” he said. “When I dropped out there were no offers or anything. It was the right thing to do and the realpolitik thing to do.”

It was actually the real apparatchik thing to do.

Here come the warm jetties



Construction on six-miles of storm surge flood protection along the Queens waterfront began on Thursday. The work is starting eight years after Hurricane Sandy battered waterfront communities in the Rockaways and across New York City.

"It's a really, really exciting milestone to now see this work move forward, especially for a community that was so devastated by Hurricane Sandy," Jainey Bavishi, the director of the Mayor's Office of Resiliency told Gothamist. "We're now working to transform the waterfront, and build climate protection into it. And this is just one of many examples that we'll see come online."

The Rockaways were hit hard by the 2012 storm. More than 1,000 structures were destroyed, and 10 feet of storm surge flooded the area. Queens residents lived for months without heat and with mold in their homes from the water damage.

The first phase of the Rockaways — Atlantic Shorefront project includes building out or restoring nearly 20 stone groin structures—similar to rock jetties—into the ocean to keep sand from washing away on the beach.

Then, a network of dunes built after the 2012 storm will be reinforced with stone and steel to make them two-to-four feet higher. Then more sand will be added to the beach.

"All these elements will provide various layers of protection for the Rockaway peninsula," Bavishi said.

The federally-funded, $336 million project, runs from Far Rockaway to Riis Beach, and is supposed to be completed in 2024.

Southeast Queens is at the bottom of available COVID-19 testing sites

South Queens has the least COVID testing 1

Queens Chronicle 

When Gov. Cuomo designated Ozone Park as a yellow zone, it served as a warning sign to the borough that the virus was traveling into the area south of Forest Park.

But while positivity rates of the yellow zone in the whole Central Queens area have stayed relatively low — hovering below 3 percent for the past seven days — another problem has revealed itself, which precedes the recent rash of positive cases.

South Queens has exceedingly low rates of COVID testing. Five neighboring ZIP codes in South Queens are among the 10 areas with the lowest rates of COVID testing in the whole city. Lawmakers and community leaders say their efforts to set up more sites in the area have met bureaucratic resistance.

“This is nothing new,” said Councilwoman Adrienne Adams (D-Jamaica). “The whole phenomenon around the lack of testing in Southeast Queens has gone on since the onset of the pandemic.”

The absolute lowest amount of testing per 100,000 people in the city is bound by a ZIP code bisecting Richmond Hill and South Ozone Park, stretching mostly over Adams’ district. Only 4,837 per 100,000 people have been tested there – nearly half of the city’s average rate of testing per ZIP code.

The next lowest ZIP code covers most of Woodhaven, just a little farther north. The rates of testing in ZIP codes stretching over South Ozone Park, Ozone Park and South Jamaica are not far behind.

While still below the citywide average, Howard Beach’s test rates are not as low as the aforementioned neighborhoods.

None of that information surprised Felicia Singh, a neighborhood advocate and District 32 City Council candidate, who has been calling for more and longer-lasting testing sites in the area for more than three weeks.

“I told [NYC Health + Hospitals, the mayor and governor] that COVID would travel here and sadly I was right,” Singh tweeted.

When she saw lines wrapping around the two-week rapid testing site at the Ozone Park Library on its final day on Oct. 2, Singh filled out a request for a city-run site on the border of the neighborhood and East New York. It was not approved, even though at the time the number of confirmed positive cases per 100,000 people had skyrocketed 650 percent over the two-week period, according to the city’s data.

“Still, getting the testing sites for all of our districts has been a battle,” Adams told the Chronicle over the phone. “We’ve still got communities of color slighted when it comes to testing. There is a lot of bureaucracy that astounds when it comes to maneuvering through this.”


Archie Spigner's dead.


 Former longtime City Councilman and District Leader Archie Spigner died Thursday, Oct. 29. He was 92 years old.

The Guy R. Brewer United Democratic Club announced the news of Spigner’s death on its Facebook page on Friday. Oct. 30.

“It’s with great sorrow that we announce the passing of our great leader former City Councilman and District Leader “The Dean” Archie Spigner,” the Facebook post reads. “We will keep everyone updated on memorial services.”

As news of his passing became public, tributes dedicated to Spigner were shared on social media.

The Queens County Democratic Party said the borough lost “an absolute giant.”

Queens Congressman Gregory Meeks, said on Twitter that southeast Queens “lost a godfather of politics.”

“New York City lost a great leader last night, and our nation lost a great man,” Meeks wrote. “Archie Spigner will be missed dearly. May god rest his soul.”

Neir's gets five more years



Neir’s Tavern, the historic bar in Woodhaven, signed a new lease on Thursday, ensuring the tavern will tack on at least another five years onto its 191-year run in the neighborhood.

On Thursday, Oct. 29, the landlords, Ken and Henry Shi, and the tavern’s owner Loycent Gordon signed the five-year lease inside the bar, located at 87-48 78th St. The lease allows for an additional five years after the current lease ends in 2025.

The oldest bar in New York City has been the recipient of a great deal of community support, dating back to January, when the landlords threatened not to renew the lease to Gordon. The call to preserve the historic ale house – which was once used to film a scene in Martin Scorsese’s Goodfellas – made it’s way to the mayor, who came out in support of Gordon and Neir’s Tavern.

 On Thursday, Mayor Bill de Blasio again showed his support by attending the lease signing. Several lawmakers, including State Assemblyman Mike Miller and City Councilman Robert Holden also dropped by to see the bar, which first opened in 1829, into the future.

“We could all do something for the comeback of Neir’s Tavern and also for the comeback of the city of New York,” Gordon said. “We all can do something, and I think this is an opportunity to start over. This is a new lease on life. This is an opportunity in the middle of a pandemic. We have an opportunity to start over and strive to create connection and not division.”

The bar also received support from small business advocates, including Thomas Grech, the CEO of the Queens Chamber of Commerce, Jonnel Doris, the commissioner of the New York City Department of Small Business Services, and Raquel Olivares, the executive director of the Woodhaven Business Improvement District.

Thursday, October 29, 2020

Billionaire row tower crane spins like a music box ballerina and drops 8 ft. blades on 57th St.


 NY Post

A crane on top of a high-rise apartment building in Manhattan went spinning in the wind Thursday evening, sending debris from the under-construction building falling to the street below. 

The crane, atop a Midtown building under construction on West 57th Street near Sixth Avenue, spun wildly in the wind and rain, video taken at the scene shows. 

Fire officials said the FDNY was responding to building debris at 111 West 57th St. It was not clear if there were any injuries in the incident. The NYPD also warned pedestrians to avoid the area because of falling debris.

“Please avoid the area of West 57th Street, between 6th and 7th Avenues due to an unstable crane and falling debris. 

Expect emergency vehicles and traffic in the area,” the department said in a tweet.

The Department of Buildings said the crane was safely secure, but “weathervaning” in the wind, a normal crane function which allows them to swing 360 degrees when not in use. 

The agency was investigating what caused the debris to come crashing down from the building.

de Blasio signs bill permitting retail stores to sell merchandise outside



Queens Post 

Small business owners will soon be able to expand their storefront onto the sidewalk as part of a new Open Storefronts initiative the City will launch on Friday.

Retail shops will be able to sell their wares on sidewalks in front of their storefronts from Oct. 30 through Dec. 31 — just in time for the holiday season, Mayor Bill de Blasio announced Wednesday.

In addition to retailers, repair shops, personal care services and laundry services can also use sidewalk space for seating, queuing or displaying dry goods under the Open Storefronts program.

The initiative aims to help more than 40,000 small businesses in a similar way that the Open Restaurants program helped thousands of restaurants across the five boroughs.

“Our Open Restaurants program … turned out to be something that really worked for New Yorkers,” de Blasio said during a press briefing. “Let’s apply that same idea to small businesses — retail businesses — all over the five boroughs that need additional business to survive.”

The program is modeled after the Open Restaurants program. Likewise, businesses located on existing Open Streets: Restaurants — that are cut off to most traffic — will be able to sell their products on the closed streets as well.

Multiple businesses on the same block can also join together to apply for an Open Street designation to turn their roadway over from car usage to ad hoc market usage, de Blasio said.

While this will (incrementally) help small businesses as long as this pandemic continues, this will wind up being counterproductive. It will just make the sidewalks more clustered which will make it harder to enforce distancing guidelines and also will make it more vulnerable to shoplifters and looters, which will require more NYPD presence. Not to mention that a lot of sidewalks where these stores are located aren't ample enough for those measurements detailed on that layout above.


Developer demands upzoning for apartment building where Shalimar Diner once was



  Queens Post

A developer has filed plans with the Department of City Planning to have a Rego Park site where the Shalimar Diner was located rezoned.

The application was filed earlier this year by David Koptiev, the owner of the Forest Hills-based company Platinum Realty, who is looking to construct a nine-story, 74-unit project on the 63-68 Austin St. site.

The plans were certified by City Planning on Oct. 5 and the public review process has begun.

The site had been occupied by the Shalimar Diner from 1974 through to the end of 2018. The corner property was purchased by two LLCs owned by Koptiev for $6,550,000 on Nov. 15, 2018 from Alderton Associates.

Alderton was owned by Hildy Limondjian, whose family had the property for decades.

The Austin Street site is currently located in a R4 zoning district—with a C2-2 commercial overlay—which typically allows for a three-story mixed use building, according to City Planning documents.


Board of Education comes up way short in daycare services in Holden's district



Queens Post

Council Member Robert Holden is calling on the city to make good on its promise to offer free daycare to working parents on days their children attend school remotely.

Holden penned a letter to Schools Chancellor Richard Carranza last week, calling on the Department of Education (DOE) to expand the child care program to more schools within his 30th Council district.

He said his office has received complaints from parents who don’t have access to the program known as “Learning Bridges,” which offers free daycare for public school children in 3-K through eighth grade on their remote learning days.

“The communities I represent are filled with essential workers and first-responders who worked hard during this pandemic…” Holden wrote in the Oct. 20 letter. “I find it inconceivable that so many families in my district seemingly have no access to such a critical program like Learning Bridges.”

The Council Member listed six public schools in his district — which covers Middle Village, Maspeth, Glendale, Woodside and Ridgewood — where parents don’t have access to the program. Many are in School District 24, he noted.

Queens Boat Crap



In the ongoing battle to clean up Jamaica Bay, Councilman Eric Ulrich joined members of the city’s Parks Department and the Jamaica Bay Ecowatchers for a demonstration that removed a derelict boat from its waters.

Earlier this year, Ulrich secured $55,000 in funding for a cleanup initiative that will remove abandoned vessels from the bay.

“Most people are not aware of just how widespread this problem is, especially in Jamaica Bay. Abandoned boats are one of the biggest problems in New YorkCity’s waterways,” Ulrich said. “Not only are they an eyesore, they present multiple ecological, transportation and safety hazards. I am proud to fund this cleanup initiative, which will target the most problematic areas in Jamaica Bay, a local treasure.”

Many vessels are abandoned when an owner can no longer afford to maintain them, and leave them adrift into Jamaica Bay instead of performing proper removal. Despite having removed about two dozen of these abandoned vessels from the waters and marshlands of Jamaica Bay over the past several years, the Parks Department estimates more than 100 abandoned boats remain in the city’s waterways.

Wednesday, October 28, 2020

New York City Board Of Elections are very shitty at math

The embattled city Board of Elections mismanaged key facets of its early voting program, The Post has learned, including allocating ballot scanners with little regard for demand and stuffing so many voters into balloting sites that it overwhelmed its system.

The examination of the BOE’s preparations comes as thousands of New York City voters again faced hours-long lines Wednesday to cast their votes in the hotly contested 2020 general election, giving the patronage-ladened agency its latest black eye.

Take two locations in Brooklyn: The BOE only sent five ballot scanners to the New York City College of Technology on Jay Street, even though it assigned more than 60,000 voters to the site for early voting. And Barclay’s Center was allocated the same number of scanners, despite being the early voting spot for another 32,000.

That pattern repeats in Manhattan. The Board of Elections provided only five scanners to the early voting polling site at the Church of St. Anthony of Padua in SoHo, despite assigning it nearly 81,000 voters — roughly one scanner per 16,000 voters.

Just a seven-minute walk away, BOE also set up its smallest early voting polling site in the city at the NYU Skirball Center for the Performing Arts near Washington Square Park. However, officials set up three scanners for the 8,300 voters who can use the site — roughly one scanner for every 2,800 voters.

The Post sent reporters to 15 early voting sites in the two boroughs and found the scanners were unevenly distributed and that even busiest sites had no more than seven such devices.

“It makes no sense, it shows you how poor their planning is and how unprepared they were for people to use early voting,” said John Kaehny, the executive director of the good-government group Reinvent Albany. “I think the BOE has completely misallocated resources and failed to the simple math to figure out how many poll books and scanners it needs based on the number of likely voters.”

Another supermarket Targeted for extinction

Key Food in Astoria closes its doors 1

Queens Chronicle

Key Food on 31st Street in Astoria has shut down despite months of rallying from the community and elected officials.

Maryam Shariat Mudrick, co-founder of the Astoria Mutual Aid Network, had tried to save the business and said the news was not well received on Astoria Facebook pages.

“Regardless of the political association of the group, everyone is frustrated and disappointed that yet another grocery store and place to access food has been shuttered,” she told the Chronicle.

She said many residents in the neighborhood are elderly and that there are “very few grocery stores” in the area.

“There’s just a void and people are worried as they’re getting into the colder months that they’re going to have to travel to get their basics for living,” Mudrick said.

Astoria Food Pantry co-founder Macaela Sears said she expects longer lines at the pantry. “That’s my first and main concern,” she said, adding that the closure means 150 lost jobs during a pandemic and an unemployment crisis.

“People are not only losing their jobs but they’re going to lose their healthcare for a union job and have to decide, ‘Am I going to pay for my healthcare or am I going to pay for my groceries?’” Sears said.

They said the next closest similar market is at least 10 blocks away. There is a CTown Fresh Astoria on 31st Street and 24th Avenue but it’s more expensive.

“The Key Food split the difference on affordability and quality,” Mudrick said. “There are cheap options in the neighborhood and there are boutique options in the neighborhood but Key Food had everything. It was accessible. You could buy everything you needed in one location. It was right by the subway. There’s nothing like that for sure.”

Target will come into the location, against the wishes of some in the area.

Twitter also censored Progress New York's services app


Progress New York

 The Twitter social media giant has censored the C’est Vrai app, an action that suspends the ability of the Web application from delivering programmable tweets over the Twitter service. The action by Twitter followed its demand to control the content of tweets delivered by the C’est Vrai app.

The C’est Vrai app is a multi-faceted, computer-assisted tool that provides research and information services to Progress New York. The dispute focused on recent content that the C’est Vrai app has been delivering, namely, the location of certain utility outages taking place at the apartment complexes of the New York City Housing Authority, or NYCHA. Twitter’s restriction prevents the C’est Vrai app from continuing to deliver such content, which was being served in the public interest.

Twitter had objected to the inclusion of the Twitter handles of public officials, in whose districts the apartment complexes were located, respectively. In response, Progress New York described that officials were only tagged for outages in their district and noted that several public officials had acknowledged the C’est Vrai tweets in some form without complaint, including, but not limited to, Borough President James Oddo (R-Staten Island) and New York City Councilmembers Steven Matteo (R-Staten Island), Carlos Menchaca (D-Brooklyn), and Helen Rosenthal (D-Manhattan).

This was not Twitter’s first action against the C’est Vrai app, and the number of censorship acts by Twitter are increasing, leading to the filing of Federal complaints, for example.

The restriction by Twitter began on 23 September, when the last programmable tweet was published by the C’est Vrai app. Despite arguments submitted by Progress New York in explanation for how the C’est Vrai app programs tweets, Twitter summarily objected to the use of public officials’ tags, writing, “We can only consider a request to reactivate your app after you agree to stop this behavior.” Because Progress New York interpreted Twitter’s response as extortious, Progress New York would not respond to a criminal threat that was intent on undermining Progress New York’s constitutional right to operate a free press. As a result, Progress New York replied, in relevant part, to Twitter, “Progress New York is a news organisation. Regrettably, this is not the first time we have faced extortion or attempts at extortion. We don’t respond to extortion or attempts at extortion.”

Thieves welcome themselves to Ozone Park sign


Queens Eagle

Southwest Queens has a sign-stealing scandal.

Thieves made off with a brand new “Welcome to Ozone Park” sign last night, hours after elected officials and civic leaders installed the refurbished marker near the Howard Beach border, Councilmember Eric Ulrich said Tuesday.

Ulrich and other community members joined workers from Cannon Signs & Awning to install the new sign near the corner of 149th Avenue and Cross Bay Boulevard Monday morning. The burgundy board replaced a famous, but weathered version of the sign that was first introduced in 2003.

The next morning, it was gone. 

Under cover of darkness, the thieves sawed through the wooden signposts near the base and fled, Ulrich said. He posted photos from the scene of the crime on Twitter.

“It’s probably the most selfish act that I’ve seen in a long time,” Ulrich said. “Somebody’s a real sicko.” 

Ulrich said he contacted the 106th Precinct to file a police report and also notified the Queens District Attorney’s Office. 

NYPD Spokesperson Sophia Mason said police do not yet have a suspect description, but the investigation is ongoing.

Ulrich said officers are pulling surveillance footage from a nearby hotel and private homes in the area.

He said he suspects at least two people were involved in the heist because the heavy sign required two people to carry off a truck on Monday.

Tuesday, October 27, 2020

421a-holes busted by A.G.  The Real Deal

 A new investigation into buildings that benefit from the 421a tax abatement by New York Attorney General Letitia James found that four developers in Brooklyn and Queens received the tax break but didn’t live up to the program’s requirements.

The developers’ misdeeds ranged from falsely reporting a full building was vacant to not offering rent-stabilized leases to tenants as the program requires in most cases.

“Rent-stabilization laws exist to protect tenants, and we will not let landlords or developers circumvent them,” James said in a statement. “The agreements announced today affirm my office’s commitment to promoting access to safe, affordable housing for all New Yorkers. This is a notice to all bad actors seeking to take advantage of tenants: Not on my watch.”

None of the developers named in the latest investigation return requests for comment.

The Real Estate Board of New York issued a statement in support of James, adding that such violations are rare, and underscoring the program’s importance for affordable housing.

“We applaud Attorney General James for taking action to ensure that 421a is used only as intended and required under State law,” said James Whelan, president of the Real Estate Board of New York. “The 421a program continues to play a crucial role in the production of much-needed below-market rate housing across New York City — and while bad actors are rare, it is always unacceptable for any developer to try to utilize the program without complying with its rent-stabilization requirements.”

One firm, Tuhsur Development, tried to evict tenants from its property at 63-36 99th Street in Rego Park even though a state investigation found it had overcharged those tenants $22,042.

Sunday, October 25, 2020

BLM retreats upon the singing of the National Anthem

Yesterday, the Ridgewood Tenants Union, under the banner of BLM, met at the Queens Center Mall in Elmhurst and then proceeded to march through Middle Village to scream at the people of that neighborhood, and Council Member Robert Holden in particular, that they were racist for supporting the NYPD and opposing a shelter that has been a shitshow from the get-go (and that RTU opposes).
RTU vehemently denied that their members were from outside the Maspeth-Middle Village-Glendale-Ridgewood area, yet met at a train station in Elmhurst - which is geographically on the opposite side of Midville, because that makes sense. After dilly-dallying for an hour hoping that reinforcements would show up, the group that dubbed itself "small but mighty" headed to their target - Holden's house - banging drums and chanting unintelligible phrases.

Hilarity ensued:
After scurrying away, the 90% white gentrifier crowd proceeded to the Metropolitan Avenue train station, which is odd since they allege to have so many members in Maspeth, Middle Village and Glendale who would not require a subway ride in order to return home. Let's also see what Mr. Moses has to say to the organizer of the counterprotest. I really don't think newspaper reporters are supposed to "respectfully disagree" with interviewees, but there you have it. So, let me explain how the Queens BLM people work, and why there is confusion about who did what...

The Queens groups coordinate with each other and promote each other's events. So, one group puts it out there and the others recruit their own members to attend. They also promote them via the centralized BLM Instagram account for greater exposure.
Case in point: the dopey Ed Mullins mistaken identity/flag burning party was technically promoted under Bayside BLM (the evidence of which they have since deleted), but it was mostly attended by other groups. In fact, it met at the Jefferson Street station, which is weird for a march led by a Bayside contingent but quite convenient for RTU members who wanted to participate.

Now, considering there are multiple groups involved, there should be a HUGE turnout for these events. But the most they have ever scraped together is a few dozen people. And it's mostly the same people at each event.

You'll also notice the language in the screenshot above endorsing flag burning. These folks are anarchists, not activists. Please don't be fooled. The language they use on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook is about destroying the government and causing chaos. And guess who stands with them?

Clown shoes, bro. 


 QNS came out with their report written by Angelica Acevedo.

Saturday, October 24, 2020

The lying monument of de Blasio's "Affordable Housing" program


 Impunity City

As everyone is aware now, Mayor William de Blasio Wilhelm has resuscitated his Housing New York program to provide way overdue affordable housing for your city’s most lower income earning residents in the niche, upper upper class towns of Soho and Noho (the latter of which is about 4 square blocks tops). Actually, only about 25% of 3200 apartments that are projected to be constructed will be earmarked for them. Which still doesn’t correlate with the hundreds of thousands of people who live check to check with 50 to 60% of that check going to rent and the near 70,000 people who don’t have a home at all.. 

But that’s going to be for the next post in process here. What this post is about is basically a spoiler alert for it and what de Blasio’s HPD plans will actually accomplish. Because this is unbelievable.

The building on the right from a picture taken in April last year is on 111 Varick St., which is also in Soho. Last year it gained local news attention when a construction worker got killed by a massive 7 ton concrete structure that snapped off a crane and crushed and dismembered his body while working in the early morning hours. For months it laid dormant because of building and worksite violations. Then passing by there back in January there was a peculiar site. A big banner for de Blasio’s HPD’s Housing New York was draped over the scaffolding. 




Gas outage continues at Astoria Houses

Lead found in 9000 more NYCHA apartments; three years after de Blasio thanked God when he lied that only a few were contaminated



Thousands more young children living in public housing were potentially exposed to lead poisoning than originally thought, officials revealed Thursday.

The city’s public housing authority has determined that the number of apartments believed contaminated with lead paint that house children under age 6 is triple the number it previously claimed.

NYCHA officials this week acknowledged for the first time that there are 9,000 apartments — not 3,000 apartments as they had asserted — that likely contain lead paint where youngsters live. Children under 6 are particularly susceptible to cognitive damage caused by exposure to lead.

The revelation was not made by NYCHA but by Bart Schwartz, the federal monitor appointed to oversee the nation’s biggest public housing authority after revelations by the press and federal prosecutors that the authority had for years deliberately hidden its failure to perform required lead paint inspections.

Late Thursday, NYCHA was unable to spell out precisely how many kids live in these apartments. The list of 9,000 includes apartments of relatives where children spent more than 10 hours a week.

Councilmember Alicka Ampry-Samuel (D-Brooklyn), chair of the public housing committee, blasted NYCHA for what she called yet another failure to confront its many failures.

“At this point in time, there is no room for excuses,” she said. “We should be at a place where we know the apartments that have lead exposure and who lives in them. Just that simple. To continue playing this game of paper shuffling is increasing the known risk of detrimental health hazards and brain damage in our children.

“If NYCHA cannot get it right and ensure these apartments are safe, people should lose their jobs and some should go to jail for reckless endangerment of a child,” she added.

Friday, October 23, 2020

The Blaz walks while city plans and services get burned


NY Post

 The coronavirus is still gripping the city, a fiscal meltdown looms and New York has been rocked this year by civil unrest, but instead of stepping up, Mayor Bill de Blasio has been stepping out.

Hizzoner has taken to regularly walking off the job — literally — in the middle of his workday for meandering, sometimes hour-plus jaunts, generally in his old Brooklyn neighborhood, while the city remains in crisis, The Post has learned.

The mayor’s latest regimen of distractions — which comes after he temporarily swore off his well-documented Park Slope YMCA workouts when COVID-19 shut down all gyms — also includes morning constitutionals running into the start of his daily press briefings, according to city sources familiar with his routine.

“This is the height of arrogance,” said one insider, who noted that the aimless walks have been commonplace for months. “While the city is falling apart, he is … walking in the park with his head in the clouds.

“I wonder if he ever heard of Nero,” the source added, referring to the Roman emperor said to have fiddled while his city burned.


A city Health Department annual report providing crucial insight into maternal deaths and health complications.

An update on Mayor Bill de Blasio’s five-year plan to combat homelessness.

Required biannual statistics on allegations of sexual assault against visitors to city jails and investigations of sexual abuse in local lockups.

These are among dozens of required statistical reports produced by city agencies that have failed to surface by recent deadlines, as flagged by the Department of Records and Information Services (DORIS).

The missing include periodic reports from the city Department of Health and Mental Hygiene, the Department of Homeless Services, Department of Corrections — and virtually every other city agency.

They also include the first progress report on de Blasio’s sweeping, self-proclaimed Green New Deal.

City Hall officials blamed the delays on the government response to the COVID-19 pandemic — including constraints brought on by remote work, layoffs and hiring freezes.

“Our city agencies have heroically worked to balance the urgent demands of the pandemic with non-COVID projects,” Avery Cohen, a de Blasio spokesperson, said in a statement on behalf of the mayor and the agencies. “In the interest of complete transparency, all agencies have been reminded to submit pending reports as soon as possible.”

The way he's eluding the press and also his job, The Blaz seems to be evolving (or devolving) into an urban Sasquatch. Or a Snuffleluffagus

Devouring their own...


 Queens Eagle

Queens candidates, activists and lawmakers have criticized Councilmember Daniel Dromm for a series of confrontational tweets directed at several candidates for City Council — predominantly women of color — who he says do not adequately highlight LGBTQ rights issues in their campaign platforms. 

Dromm, a pioneering gay rights activist, defended the tweets, calling them a deliberate strategy to put LGBTQ issues front and center in the 2021 campaign, and to galvanize younger New Yorkers who he said have taken the struggle for equity for granted. 

“What motivated me is that I’ve been a gay activist for the last 47 or so years. We’ve fought so hard for LGBTQ visibility in political platforms and to revert back to an era where you have the political platform that did not include LGBTQ issues is a setback for the community,” he told the Eagle.

But several activists, elected officials and candidates responded that the issues they champion are inherently LGBTQ rights issues. They also blasted Dromm for focusing his attention almost exclusively on women candidates.

District 22 candidate Tiffany Cabán, who identifies as queer, was one of the women of color who Dromm publicly questioned. Cabán said that LGBTQ rights issues cannot be isolated from other progressive goals.  

“Housing is a queer issue, incarceration is a queer issue, workplace protections, reproductive justice are queer issues…” she tweeted. “I walk into every space bringing my full brown, queer self, even when it isn’t safe to do so. My politics are rooted in radical queer tradition.”

JVB Photo Friday

 No man is an island entire of itself; every man 
is a piece of the continent, a part of the main; 
if a clod be washed away by the sea
And then we have JVB who stands alone in the river next to the Borough 
where no one wants him. 


Thursday, October 22, 2020

Breezy Point stands by the President

New York TimesJane and Ed Deacy, who both contracted the coronavirus this summer, say their support for President Trump has only been bolstered by the way he has handled the pandemic, and even by his own battle with Covid-19. Their loyalty has also not been shaken by the president’s style in his combative debate with Joseph R. Biden Jr. or at his recent rallies.

“I think he has done a phenomenal job dealing with an unknown virus,” Ms. Deacy said. “His record of the past three and a half years stands, and his accomplishments have not changed.”

Like most of their neighbors in their predominantly white, middle-class community, the Deacys voted for Mr. Trump in 2016, and enthusiastically intend to do so again on Nov. 3. But the Deacys do not live in a solidly red state.

They occupy an unusual slice of Trump country in New York City — Breezy Point, a private beach community in Queens where residents enjoy glimpses of the Manhattan skyline and display banners with slogans like, “Yes, I’m a Trump girl. Get over it!”

 The community has long been home to police officers, firefighters and other first-responders, many of whom own modest houses that have been in their families for generations. They embrace Mr. Trump, who hails from a wealthier part of the borough, and hold fast to local traditions that include conservative politics and outspoken support for the police and the military.

Their fealty to the president stems in part from a prevalent view that the city outside their gates is being driven into the ground by hopelessly progressive Democrats under whose leadership crime is rising and respect for law enforcement is dropping. The enclave has few residents of color, and skepticism of the Black Lives Matter movement is widespread.

While Mr. Trump’s claim that New York City has fallen prey to anarchy may be greeted with scorn by many New Yorkers, it resonates in Breezy Point.

Sex trafficking also took place at sordid and violent Kew Gardens hotel


Forest Hills Post

Local lawmakers are again calling on the city to shut down a crime-ridden hotel in Kew Gardens after it was discovered that a man was forcing a 16-year-old girl into prostitution inside its hotel rooms.

Council Member Karen Koslowitz and a representative from Assembly Member Daniel Rosenthal’s office denounced the Umbrella Hotel, located at 124-18 Queens Blvd., during a Community Board 6 meeting Wednesday night. They called yet again for the city to completely shut it down, noting the sex trafficking that took place inside its hotel rooms.

The hotel was the scene of a child sex trafficking scheme in September in which 30-year-old Jordan Adderley forced a 16-year-old to have sex with strangers for money, which he pocketed, according to a criminal complaint. Adderley, who was arrested on Oct. 1 on slew of charges, allegedly threatened to kill the young teen if she didn’t comply.

The Umbrella Hotel and the recent trafficking arrest was brought up by Koslowitz at the Community Board meeting.

“We have very serious problems in Kew Gardens with the Umbrella Hotel,” Koslowitz said. “They just arrested someone on child prostitution. There were shootings there, there were fights there, there were parties there and it’s been a very serious problem.”

She told the board members that she and other local lawmakers have been repeatedly trying to address the growth of crimes at the hotel, but City Hall has been “unresponsive.”

Wednesday, October 21, 2020

Astoria Houses residents outraged at NYCHA's slow response to fix gas leak

 Queens Eagle

 For 25 days, residents of one building in Astoria Houses have been unable to cook a hot meal. 

Their building has a gas outage, and residents of the 48 affected apartments say they have received very little information from the New York City Housing Authority, despite their appeals for a repair timeline.

Instead, they’ve received one electric hot plate per household. 

“The only thing you can cook on that hot plate is coffee and water,” said Rebecca Ford, an 87-year-old who has lived in Astoria Houses with her grandson for five years. 

Over the past three weeks, Ford has had to dip into her rent money to purchase meals she would have normally cooked at home.

The 400,000 New Yorkers who live in public housing are no stranger to extended gas outages. This past year, there have been outages at NYCHA’s 303 Vernon, Marlboro Houses and Red Hook Houses in Brooklyn. In the case of the Marlboro outage, which began nearly a year ago, residents’ stoves were unusable for weeks and still cold on Thanksgiving night. 

Residents of the Astoria Houses fear this outage will last into this year’s holiday season. 

“It’s terrible because the holidays are coming up. I go to my daughter’s for Thanksgiving; but for Christmas, I usually have my family here and I don’t think my stove will be working by then. Do you know how long it took them to fix my bathroom? Over a year,” Ford said.

Ford said the broken stove is the most recent addition to a long list of issues with her apartment. She said she has frequently reminded management about peeling paint, holes in the interior and exterior walls, unsanitary hallways and broken elevators. 

Local leaders say NYCHA needs to spend money to correct the gas outage immediately, especially as multi-billion dollar proposals in adjacent communities illustrate the city’s vast socioeconomic disparities.

“Our city was willing to build a deck over Sunnyside Yards for billions of dollars. Why is the money always found for things like that and not for people who deserve a decent place to live?” said Evie Hantzopoulos, a Queens Community Board 1 member and a candidate for City Council. 

Woodside church sells lot to pay off their debts


 Queens Eagle

A 126-year-old Catholic parish in Woodside is selling a vacant piece of land that could help the church overcome its mounting debts.

St. Sebastian’s Roman Catholic Church has listed its half-acre lot at 39-53 57th Street for $6.25 million, and has tapped the brokerage firm Cushman & Wakefield to facilitate the sale. 

The parish has accumulated significant debts while operating its community center, swimming pool and athletic fields over the past few years, Sunnyside Post reported. In July, the church laid off seven employees in the wake of a statewide shutdown and faced a $150,000 deficit at the end of August.

In July, St. Sebastian’s was named as a defendant in a Child Victims Act lawsuit filed by an anonymous plaintiff alleging that a former priest sexually assaulted him. Some neighbors have speculated that the sale is intended to help the broader Catholic Church pay off child sex abuse lawsuits, but the diocese that oversees Catholic churches in Queens and Brooklyn said that is not the case.

“The potential proceeds of this sale have not been earmarked for any specific purpose. This is simply a financially prudent decision,” said Brooklyn Diocese spokesperson John Quaglione. The church did not respond to requests for comment

St. Sebastian’s has been a vital part of Woodside since its founding in 1894. The current church building hosted its first mass in 1952 and the community center, open to all residents regardless of parish membership, opened its doors in 1968.

Queens Tourism Council Director Rob MacKay, a former St. Sebastian’s parishioner, said the church hosts family gatherings, community parties and local sporting events.

“It's kind of like family for many people,” MacKay said. “Even those who move away frequently come back for services and events. I have many great memories in that yard, such as barbecues and softball games, and I'll certainly miss it.”

MacKay said he hopes the property sale can pay off any existing debts and enable the parish to provide key community services in perpetuity. 



Former Bloomberg and de Blasio city planning official continues to get major developments from the city

The city’s former chief urban designer is planning a 300,000-square-foot mixed-use project in Red Hook.

Alexandros Washburn, who worked as chief urban designer at the Department of City Planning from 2007 to 2014, filed plans Thursday with the Department of Buildings for the massive new project at 145 Wolcott St. According to the plans, the development will have 160,000 square feet of residential space, 74,326 square feet of commercial space and 65,675 square feet of manufacturing space, and it will stand 15 stories and 172 feet tall, with 210 residential units.

The site is currently home to a pair of transportation and utility buildings, according to the city.

Christopher Short of Arquitectonica is set to design the project, which will feature retail and office space, an art gallery and 314 parking spots, the filing says.

An LLC linked to W-G Capital Advisors bought the site last year for $21.5 million, according to property records. W-G Capital and Washburn declined to comment.

The Covid-19 pandemic forced construction on most projects in New York to come to a halt in March, but work restarted during the first phase of the city’s reopening in June. Gary LaBarbera, president of the Building and Construction Trades Council of Greater New York, previously told Crain’s that there should be enough work to get the construction industry through 2021 but that 2022 could be a difficult year.

Other major projects planned for Brooklyn include a roughly 385,000-square-foot mixed-use development at 496 Sutter Ave. in East New York from the Department of Housing Preservation and Development and a roughly 70,000-square-foot commercial project in Gowanus from Avery Hall Investments.

 This guy is a one-man gentrification machine.


Tuesday, October 20, 2020



 NY Post

 More than 500,000 New York City residents are still unemployed six months into the lingering coronavirus pandemic, a sobering new report released Tuesday revealed.

The state Labor Department data showed that 14 percent of city residents — one in 7 — were unemployed in September. That’s 538,694 Big Apple residents.

The jobless rate is ten percentage points higher than in September of 2019, when the city unemployment rate was just 3.7 percent.

Still, the rate was a slight improvement from August, when 16 percent or 638,767 residents were jobless.

The worst of the pandemic’s impact on jobs was in June, when 20 percent or 810,177 city residents were unemployed.

New York State’s unemployment rate decreased from 12.5% in August to 9.7% in September, a noticeable bump.

But New York State’s unemployment rate of 9.7 percent was considerably higher than the national jobless rate of 7.9 percent, and the sixth highest among states and 5.8 percentage points higher than the Empire State’s unemployment rate a year earlier, noted E.J. McMahon of the Empire Center for Public Policy.

Monday, October 19, 2020

Twitter V. The NY Post, the public interest and the unalienable right to know

Impunity City

Let October 14th 2020 go down in history as the day when censorship became policy by a monopolistic social media monolith.

It started off rather innocuously. The New York Post published the long awaited but already well known and confirmed story of presidential candidate Joe Biden’s son Hunter Biden’s pay to play corruption to obscenely enrich himself, his father and an energy company in Ukraine who hired him and paid him over 80 grand a month through email messages procured from a laptop Hunter (or someone close to him) carelessly left behind at a computer repair shop. This expose’ instantly debunked Joe’s persistent claims that he never had contact with any executive from the foreign company Hunter worked for and exposed how the vice president abused his position and duties to get a prosecutor fired in Ukraine that was investigating corruption inside the company Hunter worked for. Which Biden defiantly bragged about doing when he answered a question during a forum on foreign policy only 2 years ago. 

The NY Post followed this up with a flurry of other stories of Hunter Biden using his relation to the second most powerful person in America at the time to acquire more wealth and influence for the companies and acquaintances he associated with. Which were immediately available on the NY Post’s social media accounts…

And then at 2:20 in the afternoon, it stopped.


Sunday, October 18, 2020

Food pantry lines are getting more populated in Ozone Park

 Over 1K line up for food in Ozone Park 3


Queens Chronicle

The weekly food pantry that began in a Rockaway Boulevard parking lot in Ozone Park last summer passed a sobering benchmark this week.

For the first time, more than 1,000 people showed up for food.

“There’s a need, that’s all I can tell you,” said Sam Esposito, founder of the upstart Ozone Park Residents Block Association, which, with the local Kiwanis Club and members of the civilian patrol group, started the Saturday-morning food pantry last July.

“Think about it — people don’t start lining up at 6 o’clock in the morning unless there is a need. There’s a lot of unemployment,” he said. “Everybody hits bottom.”

When the pantry first opened, barely 100 people showed up for food allotments, much of it bought from local supermarkets, according to Esposito.

Since the beginning of the pandemic last March, established food pantries across Queens have seen the numbers of the people they serve skyrocket.

Food operations sponsored by churches and civic groups were nearly overwhelmed by needy families who turned to them by the thousands following the layoffs and business shutdowns of May and June.

In some parts of Queens, new food operations sprang up to help meet the need.

The new pantries could not get certified by the city fast enough to tap into the established distribution system that helps supply the older operations.

Since August, larger, city-sanctioned pantries in Brooklyn and Queens have quietly been supplying the Ozone Park pantry with fresh produce, milk, packaged food, necessities like baby diapers and the like, said Mohammad Kahn, OZPKRBA’s executive director.

“All the pantries order extra for us,” said Esposito. “Every Tuesday and Wednesday, they call and say come and get it.

“Other than that, no one wants to help us.”

 Thought I put this out there too:

But on Sundays, volunteers organize pop-up pantries at different locations around Ozone Park to distribute hundreds of so-called “Trump boxes” — food boxes, each containing a letter signed by the president bought and distributed under a $4-billion U.S. Department of Agriculture program since last August.

This is what's messed up about the guy. Providing these services shows he's helping the poor get through this pandemic, there's absolutely no need for self-promotion. Be humble, Mr. President.


Super spreader party busted in South Ozone Park catering hall

The Queens Luxe Banquet Hall, where the Sheriff's office busted up a 200-plus person gathering.



A 200-plus-person party was busted at a Queens banquet hall early Saturday morning, according to the Sheriff's office.

At 1:40 a.m. Saturday, the Sheriff's office discovered approximately 215 people at the Queens Luxe Banquet Hall on Rockaway Boulevard in Queens.

The owner and three employees were given criminal court appearance tickets for violating emergency orders related to COVID-19, according to Sheriff Joe Fucito.

Partiers inside the hall were allegedly seen dancing, drinking alcohol without food, and smoking hookah without social distancing or mask-wearing.

Indoor gatherings with more than 50 people are prohibited under state coronavirus rules.


NYPD claims they didn't see protesters stealing flags while pursuing them in Maspeth


Captain Louron Hall, the NYPD’s 104th Precinct new commanding officer, told QNS officers didn’t stop last Tuesday’s protesters from taking flags off of Maspeth residents’ homes — which resulted in them burning them — because they didn’t witness it as it was happening.

“We were instructed to allow people to exercise their first amendment rights, but also to make sure no violence or vandalism took place,” Captain Hall said.

The protest was scheduled to take place from Brooklyn to Maspeth, and had about 100 individuals marching against police unions and QAnon on Tuesday, Oct. 6.

Before the protest began, Captain Hall said the 104th Precinct received information that it would begin at the 108th Precinct and head toward the 104th.

That evening, the Jefferson L train station stop was being skipped while police barricaded the exits and entrances. Before the protest took off, an altercation between maskless police officers and a protester inside of his pickup truck took place, which culminated in the driver getting a summons for leaving their car door slightly open.

Throughout the march toward Maspeth, where protesters claimed President of the Sergeants Benevolent Association Ed Mullins either lived or had property, several police cars as well as police on bikes trailed them.

Captain Hall said that because police officers trailed behind the protesters, they didn’t witness when some of them began to take the U.S. flags from residents’ homes.

“I will tell you this, if officers would have seen the actual taking of the flags, they would have intervened in the way they did when they set them on fire,” Captain Hall said. “The mere burning of the flags, regardless how poor it looks, is their first amendment right. [But] officers took issue with it because of the danger it poses to everyone.”

Before protesters could light a large fire, police on bikes swooped in, causing the protest to disband.

What the hell is going on at the NYPD? This new police captain is as befuddled as Baghdad Bob describing what happened at this botched protest. Seems like Commissioner Shea's gaslighter spin control methods describing these protests have trickled down or are policy now.

Saturday, October 17, 2020


 Mayor Bill de Blasio (right) and Schools Chancellor Richard Carranza (center) tour New Bridges Elementary in August to observe the school’s PPE delivery and reopening preparations.



New York City Public Schools are still lacking 77,000 learning devices like tablets and laptops, nearly a month after classes began, and fewer than 15% of students attending schools in person have consented to getting randomly tested for COVID-19.

These details on the rocky reopening of public schools across the five boroughs came from a long-awaited City Council hearing held by the Education and Health committees on Friday. It was the first such hearing that Schools Chancellor Richard Carranza testified at since schools reopened on a staggered basis beginning on September 21st. Councilmember Mark Treyger, chair of the education committee, was forced to delay the hearing that was originally scheduled on September 29th, the day middle school children were returning to school.

"How many requests are you in receipt of as of this moment for devices and internet as of today?" Treyger asked Department of Education deputy chief operating officer Lauren Siciliano.

"As of this moment we have about 77,000 requests, but again we then go and verify the need for the school so it's a constant evolving number," Siciliano replied.

Data released by the DOE on Thursday showed that schools comprised of more Black and Hispanic students had low student engagement during the spring when they transitioned completely to remote learning. In some cases, the devices are the only way for children to learn given that more than half of the city's one million public school students have opted for remote learning only.

"We engage with the school and to better understand which is a device that is needed in the hands of a student, which is a device that has been requested to replenish supply, and it's not uniform across the entire DOE," said Carranza.

Treyger pointed out that Mayor Bill de Blasio had been saying for weeks that every student who needed a device had gotten one.

"The fact that thousands of our kids, particularly from under-resourced communities still don't have a device is unacceptable and shameful. And I want to lay the fault squarely with the mayor and his office for being in denial about the severity of this issue," he said.

Friday, October 16, 2020

Lincoln Restler gets arrested during environmental protest against a pipeline in Williamsburg



Brooklyn Paper 

Police arrested four protesters who locked themselves to a controversial National Grid fracked gas pipeline construction site in Williamsburg on Thursday morning.

Two environmental advocates fastened each other to the underground tube for three hours while two more activists secured themselves to the active building site at the corner of Manhattan and Montrose avenues at around 9 am, protesting the utility company’s seven-mile fossil fuel pipe.

“They don’t care about us. They never asked for our consent to come in here so we need to stop it because no politician is doing it for us,” said Pati Rodriguez, who linked herself with a makeshift cardboard pipe to the pipeline with fellow protester Benny Woodard on Oct. 15.

About 30 protesters with groups like the No North Brooklyn Pipeline Coalition and Frack Outta Brooklyn cheered on the subterranean stunt as dozens of cops with the Special Operations and Technical Assistance Response units showed up and cordoned off the block.

The demonstrators live-streamed their underground action, while another protester held a dance session above the construction site.

Just before noon, police went down and hoisted them out, cuffing the duo along with the two other protesters who were locked against the construction fence — including local Council candidate Lincoln Restler. 

Cops drove the four arrestees to the 73rd Precinct in Brownsville for trespassing onto the site, although they have yet to be formally charged, a police spokesman said. They were yet to be formally charged and were still at the eastern Brooklyn station house as of Thursday evening, a Department spokeswoman said. 

Looks like Lincoln is taking a page from the de Blasio cosplay protester campaigning playbook.

As for this environmental group, where were they when this pipeline started three years ago? Why did they and most importantly Lincoln wait until the last phase of construction was happening in their neighborhood? NIMBY much?