Wednesday, March 31, 2021

Man who kicked and stomped a 65-year-old Asian woman served time for killing his mother and lived in a nearby hotel shelter


NY Daily News

 An elderly woman walking through Hells Kitchen became the latest victim of an unprovoked anti-Asian attack, in a brutal, caught-on-video assault.

Cops have charged a man out on parole for killing his mother with the caught-on-video stomping of a 65-year-old Asian woman outside a luxury Manhattan building, a hate crime that shocked the city, officials said Tuesday.

Brandon Elliot, 38, was charged with assault as a hate crime and other charges at 1:10 a.m. Wednesday after cops received numerous Crime Stoppers tips, authorities said.

“This was a horrific, horrific attack,” NYPD Commissioner Dermot Shea told PIX11 Wednesday. “(The victim) has very significant injuries and she has a long recovery ahead of her.”

In 2002 Elliot, then 19, was arrested for fatally stabbing his mother three times in the chest in front of his sister, who was 5, in the Bronx. He was convicted of murder and sentenced to 15 years to life in prison.

He was released on supervised release and lifetime parole just 16 months ago.

Elliot was nabbed for the hate crime at the Four Points by Sheraton, a hotel-turned-homeless-shelter on W. 40th St. — just a few blocks from where he allegedly attacked his victim, according to cops. Elliot has been living at the hotel, which the city has been using to house homeless men.

Mayor de Blasio restores (partial) sanitation funding for city streets


NY Post

New York City is finally cleaning up its act.  

Beginning Wednesday, the Big Apple is “restoring significant funding” for litter basket collection — after pickup for public trash baskets was reduced by 60 percent last year, Mayor Bill de Blasio announced Tuesday.

“It’s time for spring cleaning here in New York City,” de Blasio during a City Hill press briefing.

“This has been an issue we’ve heard about from community members all over the city. Everyone understood we went through a tough, tough time during the [coronavirus] pandemic and resources were tight.”

Last year, City Hall slashed waste basket collection from 736 trash pickup routes run on the average week to just 272 — as officials cut nearly $300 million from the department’s budget.

The latest spending boost will help bring that number back up to about 440.

State vaccination record database is easy to crack

Tuesday, March 30, 2021

Signs, signs, everywhere are signs

Update from Greenpoint

Violators be also will subject fine 


pro•cure prō-kyoo͝r′, prə-

  • intransitive verb
    To get by special effort; obtain or acquire.
  • intransitive verb
    To bring about; effect.
  • intransitive verb
    To obtain (a sexual partner) for another.

Chuck Schumer grovels to Jet Blue to remain in Queens


Queens Eagle

One of the nation’s most powerful lawmakers has joined the effort to keep JetBlue in Queens.

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer paid a personal phone call to JetBlue CEO Robin Hayes following reports that “New York’s Hometown Airline” was thinking of taking off to Florida.

Schumer said he reminded Hayes of the airline’s roots in Queens, where JetBlue has remained since its founding 1998. He also said he and fellow New York leaders worked hard to secure  $14 billion for the airline industry in the $1.9 trillion stimulus package passed this month.

“With the critical pandemic relief dollars we just delivered on to help save airlines like JetBlue, and the thousands and thousands of New Yorkers they already employ, the airline should actually clear the runway to grow here, not recede,” Schumer said. “Bottom line, I am confident JetBlue will remain New York’s hometown airline for a long time to come.”

The airline has 1,300 employees who report to the Long Island City space and thousands more reporting to Queens’ two international airports 

Their current lease at 27-01 Queens Plaza North expires in 2023.

JetBlue, the seventh largest carrier in North America, started in Kew Gardens before moving to Long Island City in 2010. The company received a slew of incentives from New York City and state at the time, fueling speculation that the leaked memo was the start of a new attempt to extract concessions from a city eager to keep the company in Queens.

The airline has also contended with huge losses as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. In the second quarter of 2020, for example, the company reported a nearly 90 percent loss of revenue as air travel ground to a near halt. Revenue decreased by 76 percent in the third quarter of 2020 and 67 percent in the fourth quarter. 

In a statement to the Eagle, JetBlue did not rule out fleeing Queens when their lease expires. The company said they “expect to have a plan in place later this year.”

Monserrate keeps on pushing to get on the ballot 


Queens Eagle

A new law was supposed to keep Hiram Monserrate from running for a Queens council seat. He’s trying to do it anyway. 

Monserrate, a former councilmember convicted of misusing public funds, filed petition signatures with the New York City Board of Elections on March 22, less than a month after Mayor Bill de Blasio signed legislation to prohibit ex-lawmakers with corruption records from holding elected office. Monserrate had hoped to unseat incumbent District 21 Councilmember Francisco Moya, who defeated him in 2017. 

The new law will almost certainly get Monserrate “bounced from the ballot,” said election attorney Howard Graubard.

“I suspect if someone brings a specific challenge against that, he’ll be taken off the ballot,” Graubard said.

Former Assemblymember Ari Espinal, a close ally of Moya, filed an objection to knock Monserrate off the ballot Thursday. She has until March 31 to file a specification, like simply citing the new law.

Graubard said that objection would spare the Board of Elections from removing Monserrate from the ballot on its own. The BOE did not provide a response for this story.

Monserrate was sentenced to two years in federal prison in 2012 after he steered council money to a local nonprofit and used the cash to fund his successful state senate campaign. He was ordered to pay nearly $80,000 in restitution and completed the payments during his failed bid for the Assembly last year.

New York finally reaches higher ground

Times Union 

 State leaders have finalized a deal to legalize recreational marijuana, with long-awaited legislation laying out the details appearing Saturday night. Lawmakers had previously said the bill could be voted on as soon as this week.

Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo, Senate Majority Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins and Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie announced the agreement, which will establish a new state Office of Cannabis Management to oversee a regulatory system for medical and adult-use marijuana as well as cannabinoid hemp. Producers, distributors, retailers, and other actors in the cannabis market will be licensed according to the system laid out in the bill, and a "social and economic equity program" will assist "individuals disproportionately impacted by cannabis enforcement that want to participate in the industry," according to a release from the governor's office.

The cannabis industry is projected to deliver $350 million annually in tax revenues and 30,000 to 60,000 new jobs statewide, the release said.

Dubbed the New York State Cannabis/Marijuana Regulation & Taxation Act, the bill will create the Office of Cannabis Management, which will be governed by a five-member board — three members appointed by the governor and one appointment by each legislative house. OCM will be "an independent office operating as part of the New York State Liquor Authority," the release said.

The agreement would allow people with a larger list of medical conditions to access medical marijuana, increase the number of caregivers allowed per patient, and permit home cultivation of medical cannabis for patients.

Licensed growers and processors would be barred from also owning retail stores. Under the social and economic equity program, a goal of 50 percent of licenses would go to a minority- or woman-owned business enterprise or distressed farmers or service-disabled veterans.

Monday, March 29, 2021

Cuomo's COVID test favoritism towards his family and inner circle enabled contagion to spread in nursing homes


NY Post

The Cuomo administration largely ignored a county official’s pleas for COVID-19 tests for nursing homes at the pandemic’s height last spring — even as the governor allegedly secured the then-scarce tests for his relatives, The Post has learned.

The slight is the latest stumble in Cuomo’s pandemic response, particularly with respect to nursing homes, where thousands of residents have died of confirmed or suspected cases of the coronavirus.

Troubled by reports of COVID-19 running roughshod through nursing homes early in the pandemic, Jack Wheeler, the manager of upstate Steuben County, requested in April 2020 that the state Department of Health provide enough tests for every resident and staff member of three facilities in his jurisdiction.

The DOH, however, only came through with enough supplies for one of the three facilities, Hornell Gardens, with the precious diagnostic tests then hard to find, Wheeler told The Post.

That lackluster response came, as The Albany Times-Union reported last week, as Gov. Andrew Cuomo allegedly pulled strings to secure tests for bigwigs connected to his administration, as well as relatives includinghis brother, CNN host Chris Cuomo, and their elderly mother, Matilda.

“I’m furious because testing of the most vulnerable population should be the absolute priority and a simple request,” Wheeler told The Post. “But [that] high-level, connected people had that luxury when we couldn’t even get people in the nursing homes tested is just infuriating.”

Instead, Wheeler said he had to turn for help to Steve Acquario, the executive director of the New York State Association of Counties, to find tests for a second facility, Elderwood at Hornell.

Acquario undertook an eight-hour drive through several neighboring counties in search of spare tests to make ends meet.

“I knew where there might be some extra test kits in counties where they could afford to spare them, so I met them to pick up the kits at various drop-offs,” Acquario told The Post. “[Wheeler] and his county attorney reached out to me in despair and desperation. They were truly in a crisis.”


City missing over hundred million dollars from unpaid parking violations tickets

The front windshield of a white truck with several red parking tickets under the windshield wipers. 


The city is potentially missing out on more than $100 million in unpaid parking tickets and fees from 2012 to 2019, according to an audit from the State Comptroller’s office.

The city’s Department of Finance (DOF) is responsible for collecting parking fines and fees for people inside and outside of the state. But the audit determined that the DOF has lagged behind in collections: after reviewing some 262,765 cases over a seven year period between January 2012 and February 2019, Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli identified $108,314,492 in outstanding fines.

“We determine that DOF did not maximize collection of fines and fees owed for parking violations. NYC has large outstanding balances due from summonses for parking violations, and DOF has not always taken timely action to collect the fines and fees,” the Comptroller’s report asserts.

The city issued more than 34 million red light, bus lane, school speed zone and parking violations worth $2.8 billion during the time period covered by the audit.

In a random audit of 153 cases worth more than $2 million in unpaid tickets, the comptroller’s office found the finance department only took action to collect money in 35 of the cases.

The comptroller’s office hopes the report will compel the finance department to do more to collect on unpaid tickets.

This report comes after an uptick in speeding tickets. During the pandemic, particularly in the first few months, there was an increase in speeding tickets issued to drivers, even as the number of drivers on the road decreased.

The Department of Finance is responsible for collecting tickets to cars with owners living in New York City. For all other vehicles it relies on the New York City law department, which hires a private law firm to collect money on car owners who live in California, Colorado, Florida, Illinois, Massachusetts, Missouri, Nevada, New Jersey, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Texas, and Washington. It’s unclear how the city collects on drivers from other states.

Steve Madden threatens to move if "affordable housing" development takes over parking lot

 Steve Madden's Queens headquarters on Barnett Avenue in Sunnyside, Queens is fighting non-profit developer Phipps Houses over developing on an essential parking lot for employees. 


NY Post

Steve Madden’s shoe company is ready to walk away from its Queens headquarters — and take 400 workers with it — over a proposed affordable-housing development that will step on the company’s parking.

The designer’s eponymous brand uses two buildings on Barnett Avenue in Sunnyside for offices and shoe production and says it relies on a parking lot across the street for employees.

A plan by non-profit developer Phipps Houses calls for rezoning the lot to build a seven-story building with 167 units.

“Without the public parking, Madden would have no feasible way to maintain its Barnett Avenue presence,” Andrew Luskin, a lawyer for the shoe mogul, wrote in a January email to City Councilman Jimmy Van Bramer.

Luskin said the company rents about half of the 223 spaces in the lot and many company employees have been driving to work, rather than using public transit, during the pandemic.

He wrote that the company’s more than 400 workers patronize area businesses and that the company donates to local causes.

“Madden urges that the neighborhood would have much to lose if the company were compelled to relocate due to the approval of the proposed housing project and conversion of the Project Site from its present use as a public parking facility,” Luskin wrote.

Sunday, March 28, 2021

Homeless housing provider busted for falsifying addresses while embezzling $500,000,000 from the city

 Steven Banks, left, the New York City commissioner of social services, is seeking to take over the 28 shelters run by Childrens Community Services.

 New York Times

 One company was supposedly based in a vacant house in New Jersey. Another company had no office; its address was a post office box inside a shipping store in Nassau County. A third operated out of a Harlem apartment.

The companies were all listed in paperwork as subcontractors for Childrens Community Services, a nonprofit that the city has paid about $500 million since 2017 to provide roughly 1,900 units for homeless people, including families with children.

Authorities believe that the nonprofit defrauded New York City through a network of at least six subcontractors that did not appear to provide the supplies and services listed on invoices, according to a lawsuit the city filed against the nonprofit on Wednesday. The fraud could be millions of dollars, but the lawsuit was not specific.

Two days earlier, federal prosecutors and investigators from the city Department of Investigation executed search warrants at the offices of Childrens Community Services and the addresses of the subcontractors.

 Steven Banks, the city commissioner of social services, said the alleged fraud had no direct impact on the homeless served by the nonprofit.

Nonetheless, the city took the unusual step of asking a judge to place Childrens Community Services under receivership, seeking to take over the nonprofit’s operations of 28 shelters, including 25 in commercial hotels.

The city would then seek other nonprofits to run the buildings and continue services. “We’re seeking a remedy that the city has never sought before,” Mr. Banks said.

One of the subcontractors, SASY Enterprises, is owned by Peter Weiser, and appeared to be connected to at least two other subcontractors.

“I have lots of comments about it. My lawyer told me not to speak to anyone,” Mr. Weiser said.

SASY Enterprises, based in Lawrence, N.Y., was supposed to prepare so-called cluster apartments, which are private apartments used as shelters. The agreement between Childrens Community Services and SASY showed that SASY charged a fee for getting the apartments ready, and a 25 percent markup on gas and electric bills as well as on construction materials and furniture.



Saturday, March 27, 2021

Housing while Black

 housing, brownstone, affordable housing, bed-stuy 


 A new report by the Black Homeownership Project highlights the alarming decline in Black homeownership in New York City over the past 20 years, and the increased costs Black homeowners face compared to their white counterparts.

The project, an initiative from the Center for NYC Neighborhoods, found Black homeownership has declined 13% since 2000 and Black homeowners pay on average $7,000 more in closing costs than white homeowners.

In Brooklyn, 1,742 loans were originated for Black households in 2007. In 2017, that number was 881.

As part of the project, dozens of Black homeowners, housing counselors and program practitioners were surveyed over the last year to address the existing systemic issues that have led to a vast racial wealth gap and decline in Black homeownership – which has only been further exacerbated by the pandemic.

The Center said in a press release the findings supported a proposed slate of pilot programs that would increase homeownership among Black communities in NYC and work to close the racial homeownership and wealth gaps. Those programs include assistance with down payments, matched savings and tenant opportunities to purchase.

Center for NYC Neighborhoods CEO and Executive Director Christie Peale said in New York City, Black families made up only 18% of homeowners, yet they represented more than 60% of the Center’s clients looking for assistance in buying and keeping their homes.

“The homeownership gap is worse for Black Americans now than ever before and has only grown wider amid the pandemic,” she said.

“Through the Black Homeownership Project, we are uncovering new details of how these national trends show up locally and proposing NYC specific programs to create meaningful change so that Black homeowners can buy homes and stay in the communities they love.”

The five new pilot programs recommended by the Center include a down payment assistance navigator, with the research finding assembling a down payment was one of the greatest barriers to homeownership for Black New Yorkers; a savings accelerator, to help low- to moderate-income New Yorkers out of the feedback loop where a lack of access to safe and affordable financing can push them towards extractive financial products; and a homeowner landlord program focused on support services for mom-and-pop landlords to help preserve their source of affordable rentals, including education from City housing agencies, connecting with trusted lenders and contractors for repairs and support and more.

Apparently, this crisis has not been acknowledged by de Blasio in his recovery for all of us.

It's a lot harder to get and start an airbnb in this city


Brick Underground 

 Renting out your New York City apartment to visitors via short-term rental sites like Airbnb has become more difficult in the last year. Not only did the pandemic end the city’s steady stream of visitors but a court ruling means owners of one- or two-family houses are restricted from doing short-term rentals if they are not in the building at the same time.

This may sound similar to previous restrictions, but until recently there was ambiguity about whether the rules applied to New Yorkers who live in or own smaller buildings. Prior to the ruling, it was understood it was illegal for anyone in a building with more than three units to rent out their place for less than 30 days, unless the owner or leaseholder was present during the stay.  

Fines for violating these rules can be massive and now the rule extends to owners of one- and two-family homes. 

Responding to a question on the Brick Underground podcast about whether the owner of a single-family home in Queens might be able to start using the property for Airbnb rentals without living in the property, Steven Kirkpatrick, a real estate attorney with Romer Debbas, says the simple answer is no. 

“Recently there was an ambiguity regarding whether owners of one- or two-family houses could do short-term rentals while not residing in the apartment or house being rented. That ambiguity has now been resolved by an appellate court in New York and the appellate court held that the rules are applicable to one- and two-family houses,” he says. 

A short-term rental is defined as under 30 days. So if you're renting for 30 days or more, then you are within the law and would be able to rent out the place while not being present. “If you're renting for 29 days or less, and the owner is not present, then it's against the law,” Kirkpatrick says. 

He points out the penalties for breaking the law are are "brutal." Fines, even for a first time violation, can be anywhere from $10,000 up to potentially $100,000, he says.

Tenant gets his property thrown out of his apartment in a tenement building owned by Barabara Corcoran and Alex Rodriguez while he was hospitalized with COVID

NBC New York 


The absurd thing about this savagery is that the piano and turtle remained because the people they hired surely thought they were to heavy to move and a bunch of goons moving a turtle on the street would have easily got filmed and lots of play on social media. Of course Corcoran and ARod won't be charged for illegally evicting a tentant from his apartment during a pandemic. And looting his belongings.

Friday, March 26, 2021

City Council will transfer press pass validation duties from the NYPD to the Movie And Entertainment Dept. 


The City Council’s set to approve a plan that will take the NYPD out of the press credential business in New York City.

During their stated meeting Thursday, the city’s legislature approved the bill to make the Mayor’s Office of Movies and Entertainment responsible for issuing valid credentials for reporters, editors and photographers to cross police and fire lines to cover breaking news. It comes on a day that the chamber also considers a number of other police reform measures backed by the de Blasio administration.

For decades, the NYPD has borne the responsibility of issuing press credentials to journalists. But that responsibility came under greater scrutiny during the George Floyd protests last summer, when reporters and photographers were arrested and had their press passes revoked by officers during the marches.

The number of arrests and credential revocations sparked debate among the city as to whether the NYPD should continue to be responsible for issuing press passes. Many in the business also critiqued the department over the qualifying criteria for obtaining credentials, which some felt are too strict.

Seeking to assuage the criticism, the NYPD changed some of its procedural rules earlier this month, including giving journalists who had their passes revoked a chance to appeal the decision at a hearing. But the City Council Committee on Governmental Operations, however, believes the changes were not significantly changed from the previous policy.

The Council’s bill — Intro. 2118, sponsored primarily by Manhattan City Councilman Keith Powers — would shift press credential responsibilities over to the MOME, which (as its name suggests) serves as a government agency connected to media and entertainment production in the city. 

“Freedom of the press is one of our country’s greatest protections. In New York City, we are taking one step further today to ensure that this protection is guaranteed,” said Powers. “My legislation ensures that we have a system for distributing press credentials that is fair, equitable, and accessible.”

The MOME will establish its own procedures for obtaining and issuing press credentials, but the legislation also prohibits police officers from summarily revoking a journalist’s press pass. Additionally, the bill establishes a hearing process for any possible suspension or revocation of a press pass, or rejection of an applicant.

Still, there’s concern among some in the press as to the impact of shifting the press credentials away from the NYPD. 

Todd Maisel, vice president of the New York Press Photographer Association and former breaking news editor for amNewYork Metro, said in a letter to the City Council Committee on Governmental Operations that the move may serve to degrade the status of press credentials in the nation’s media capital.

“We thought that it was better that we had the Police Department doing the press credentials, and that was because the only people looking at the press credentials are law enforcement,” Maisel told us Thursday. “So issuing it from law enforcement and letting them vet it seems to be a better bet.”

 Sure, why not have the city's movie/entertainment dept. issue press passes, because the crime scenes from all those Law and Order shows are depicted from real life incidents. Dum Dum.


Thursday, March 25, 2021

Never Forget 3/25

Andrew Cuomo prioritized COVID tests for himself, his family and his political allies


Times Union

 High-level members of the state Department of Health were directed last year by Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo and Health Commissioner Dr. Howard Zucker to conduct prioritized coronavirus testing on the governor's relatives as well as influential people with ties to the administration, according to three people with direct knowledge of the matter.

Members of Cuomo's family including his brother, his mother and at least one of his sisters were also tested by top health department officials — some several times, the sources said.

 The medical officials enlisted to do the testing, which often took place at private residences, included Dr. Eleanor Adams, an epidemiologist who graduated from Harvard Medical School and in August became a special adviser to Zucker. Adams conducted testing on Cuomo's brother Chris at his residence on Long Island, according to the two people.

"If their job was to go test an old lady down in New Rochelle, that’s one thing — that’s actually good," one of the people with knowledge of the matter said. "This was not that."

Others who were given priority testing include Rick Cotton, executive director of the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, and his wife, as well as Patrick J. Foye, head of the Metropolitan Transportation Authority. Members of the media, state legislators and their staff also were tested in similar fashion, although there is no indication those tests were done by high-level health department officials.

Foye and Cotton both announced last March they had tested positive for coronavirus. Foye was tested after exhibiting symptoms, according to a spokesman for the MTA.

 Officials in the Cuomo administration said the testing in those early days of the pandemic in March 2020 was not preferential, and they noted public nurses were being driven to private residences in New Rochelle — the site of the state's first outbreak — to test people who were symptomatic or who had been exposed to the virus. During that period, State Police troopers were largely being tasked with driving those samples to the Wadsworth Center laboratory in Albany, which was initially the primary testing spot for coronavirus.

"It's being a little bit distorted with like a devious intent. ... We made sure to test people they believed were exposed," an official in Cuomo's office said on background. "All of this was being done in good faith in an effort to trace the virus."

Richard Azzopardi, a senior adviser to the governor, characterized the allegations of preferential treatment as "insincere efforts to rewrite the past."



Bowne Park pond is getting a million dollar makeover 



A northeast Queens lawmaker announced the launch of a project that would bring significant improvements to Bowne Park Pond.

On Monday, March 22, work began on a $1.45 million contract for the pond’s upgrades, allocated by Councilman Paul Vallone’s office. Parks awarded the project contract for improvements to the nearly 12-acre park, which includes removing sediments from the bottom of Bowne Park Pond and installing a new aeration system to improve water quality.

This new project is part of Vallone’s allocation of $3.5 million to upgrade Bowne Parks playground bocce courts and pond in partnership with the mayor and Queens borough president.

“I’m very proud that the latest capital project is about to begin at Bowne Park. The renovations to our iconic pond will add to the serene beauty that is unique to this park. These projects along with the upcoming bocce court beautification community project will total over 3.5 million dollars and complete our promise to renovate and preserve the beauty of Bowne Park,” said Vallone.

Additional work on the current project includes repairing the connection from the pond to a nearby well so the groundwater, rather than city water, can be used to refill the pond; replacing stone on the pond’s edge; and clearing catch basins and storm sewer lines that empty into the pond. Work will also be done to reconstruct the existing asphalt path, and new plantings will be installed.

To ensure that wildlife remains undisturbed, the project will occur in phases so that animals can benefit from the freshwater retained in one portion of the pond.

Wednesday, March 24, 2021

Ciafone two times

City claims tech difficulties for delays in covid data as cases rise again.



Progress New York

 The administration of Mayor Bill de Blasio (D-New York City) has stopped publishing data about Coronavirus test results on the Agency Web site of NYC Health. Some testing data was published was on Monday, when the positivity results for multiple New York City zip codes approached 15 per cent., according to a tweet sent by Councilmember Mark Levine (D-Morningside Heights). Monday was also the first day of return for over 50,000 public high school students for in-person learning. But delays in the full reporting of testing data reportedly began as of Sunday, according to a social media post.

According to social media posts, the Agency Web site has been announcing, since Sunday, a “Data Delay,” explaining that, “Due to delays in receiving and processing data from New York State, some data from the past week will be lower than expected. Data for those days will be updated when we receive it.”

A request made to the City Hall press office was not answered, and a spokesperson for Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D-New York) would not address the blame game in the City Agency Web site’s message. In recent weeks, Mayor de Blasio has attacked Gov. Cuomo in the press, calling him to step down due to a sexual harassment scandal, mocking him over the size of his hands, and asking him to slow down the economic reopening due to the uncontrollable pandemic.

 Mayor de Blasio’s withholding of COVID-19 testing data, and the lack of any explanation from Gov. Cuomo’s office for how the City Agency Web site blamed the State Government for the delays, comes at a time when the Federal Government is reportedly investigating the Cuomo administration for undercounting COVID-19 deaths in nursing homes. Mayor de Blasio and Gov. Cuomo have been under pressure to reopen the economy in order to encourage economic activity for their big business donors and to fund Government operations. To some extent, the Government executives have also used reopening announcements to quell criticism from the public and the press. Whereas, in other pandemic hotspots, like France, the Government there has opted for another confinement order to deal with evolving variants of the virus, the lack of vaccines, and the shortcomings of the vaccines, Democrats in the United States have faced pressure to open schools and travel, two sectors that provide day care for working parents and tourism for the service industry-focused economy, respectively.

Today's COVID indicators show that de Blasio is juking the stats of the recovery for all of us.


LIC landowner wants officials to give green energy plant a chance 

NY Post 

A Long Island City waterfront landowner is trying to get lawmakers excited about turning his property into a “green energy” hub to power neighboring businesses — vowing to bring some spark back to the area after the plan to build an Amazon headquarters there fizzled out.

Bruce Teitelbaum, the general partner of RiverLinC, which owns the six-acre site at Vernon Boulevard and 43rd Street, said he’s had preliminary discussions with city and state officials about building a plant there that could provide eco-friendly juice to others in the area — generated from river water, as well as via solar and geothermal energy.

“It’s a mystery wrapped in a riddle why the city wouldn’t jump at the chance to support the first green energy district in New York,” Teitelbaum said, promising it would create “thousands of jobs” and help cut carbon emissions.

The $250 million project — dubbed River Green Power and abutting the land where the Amazon project was supposed to be built — could connect to the Queensbridge Houses to provide energy to the largest public housing complex in the country, he said.

Mayoral candidate Andrew Yang also has been briefed on the project, according to Teitelbaum, and the plan already has the backing of the Queens Chamber of Commerce — whose CEO called it “fantastic.”

“We’re still smarting over the loss of Amazon. All the reasons Amazon chose western Queens are still there,” said Queens chamber head Thomas Grech. “The Queens Chamber is all for it. I want innovation starting in Queens. The crossroads of energy independence and technology make a project like this feasible.”

Paul Graziano calls out Deputy Mayor Vicki Been during protest against Planning Together


The Village Sun

  Activists slammed Corey Johnson’s long-range planning bill as a “Trojan horse” for developers at a rally outside City Hall on Tuesday.

The temperature was freezing but passions were heated as speaker after speaker blasted the bill, Intro 2186, the City Council speaker and Mayor de Blasio at the press conference, organized by the Citywide People’s Land Use Alliance.

They derided the 10-year comprehensive planning initiative as “top-down” and “one-size-fits all.” They charged that it would cut the community out of the process and legally empower an unaccountable “director” to ram through district planning schemes — if necessary, over the objections of community boards and local councilmembers.

Most chilling to them was the fact that Intro 2186 would force mandatory upzonings every decade for every single community board in the city — in short, codifying an unstoppable development juggernaut.

Dozens of organizations supported the rally, from East River Park Action, Bowery Alliance of Neighbors, the Soho Alliance and the Seaport Coalition to Preserve BAM’s Historic District, Voice of Gowanus, Inwood Preservation and Stop Sunnyside Yards.

Alicia Boyd of the Movement to Protect the People, which is fighting a development project that threatens the Brooklyn Botanic Garden, said the citywide plan is being spun as something that will help low-income black and brown people, when, in reality, it will mainly lead to an explosion of luxury development.

“This bill is being presented as an equalizer,” she railed. “Mandatory Inclusionary Housing is a failure. It’s a Trojan horse! This is not an anti-racist plan. This is not an anti-displacement plan. This is a displacement plan. We are tired of the scams [about] affordable housing.”

Paul Graziano, a Queens native and planning consultant, has played a role in helping contextually rezone much of Queens to keep overdevelopment in check.

“It’s been three months since Corey Johnson dropped this bombshell,” he told the rally. “This bill is not a comprehensive planning bill. It’s a comprehensive overdevelopment bill. It’s a comprehensive real estate bill. I have gone through this bill with a fine-tooth comb.”

In short, Graziano said, rezonings make the “speculative value” of property go up.

The Mandatory Inclusionary Housing included in the rezonings is a “scam,” he said.

“M.I.H. has not worked,” he said, “because there is no deep affordability. And it’s set up as a real estate program.”

 Graziano blasted Vicki Been, de Blasio’s deputy mayor of housing and economic development, calling her the engineer of the current upzonings. He said a report Been headed at New York University’s Furman Center for Real Estate and Urban Policy has been used “to justify upzonings for the last eight years.”

“Eighty percent of her data is wrong,” Graziano said. “You’ve got this administration running this phony agenda and you’ve got “Planning Together” looking to lock it in for 10 years. This horrendous bill…will lock it in.

“Planning Together” is a report, released in December, on which Intro 2186 was based.


Tuesday, March 23, 2021

COVID variant tied to resurgence in infections and surge in reinfections


 NY Post

New York’s homegrown COVID-19 variant may be infecting people who have already had the virus — or even been vaccinated, the former head of the Food and Drug Administration said Sunday.

Dr. Scott Gottlieb said it remains unclear if the COVID-19 variant, known as B.1.526, is driving viral surges in Brooklyn, Queens and Staten Island.

“What we don’t understand with 1.526 is whether or not people are being reinfected with it and whether or not people who might have been vaccinated are now getting infected with it,” Gottlieb told CBS anchor Margaret Brennan on “Face the Nation.”

The New York variant contains a mutation similar to the South African variant B.1.351, which has shown “in certain cases” to reinfect people who have already had the bug, Gottlieb said.

“The question is whether [B.1.526] is responsible for some of the increases that we’re seeing in New York right now and whether this is the beginning of a new outbreak inside the city,” he said.

The former Trump administration official said public health experts currently lack sufficient data to draw any clear conclusions.

He called on the CDC to work with New York officials to identify potential coronavirus reinfections tied to B.1.526, which he warned are “probably more prevalent than what we’re detecting.

St. Saviour's developer bankrupt, likely headed to prison

From The Real Deal:

It’s collection time for accused fraudster Tomer Dafna.

More than two years after the investor and developer was indicted for participating in a mortgage fraud scheme, the industry players Dafna borrowed money from are coming out of the woodwork to recover funds they claim they’re owed.

Two of Dafna’s creditors filed a petition for his involuntary Chapter 7 bankruptcy last week, citing $1.3 million in claims, court records show. But that number could balloon to more than $20 million if the parties behind numerous lawsuits and outstanding judgments against Dafna become creditors.

The case against Dafna and his co-defendants is ongoing. Each man faces a $1 million fine and up to 30 years in prison if convicted.

In the meantime, private lenders are coming after Dafna to recoup funds they say he never repaid.

For those who don't recognize the name, Tomer Dafna was a co-owner of the St. Saviour's property in Maspeth. Karma is not always instant but it is most certainly a bitch, ain't it?

City prioritizing new Queens jail despite pandemic and lawsuits

To all KGCA members with email addresses on file and Friends of KGCA:

Today we were apprised of the attached plans and drawings prepared by the NY City Department of Design and Construction ("DDC") for the proposed Kew Gardens Jail Parking Garage and Community Space. They are to be presented by DDC via Internet to Community Board 9's Land Use Committee for discussion (via Internet) Thursday evening, March 25.

Aside from confirming that the City is proceeding with the multi-billion dollar, four-borough jails project -- even while the various court cases contesting the project are still pending -- they came as a sickening surprise. These plans had NO community input and they are very different and far removed from those concepts described or implied during previous discussions over the last two years. In this they are like the plans for the jail project itself -- developed in secret by a small group in the Mayor's office with no input from any affected community or the Community Board and let loose upon us as a done deal.

We are not even sure what the City expects from this meeting -- consent, feedback or is it just another procedural box to be checked off and any input from the Community will be irrelevant?

To avail yourself of the DDC presentation, open the attachment below.


Dominick Pistone, President, KGCA
Murray Berger, Executive Chairman, KGCA

Kew Gardens jail parking lot and community space by queenscrapper on Scribd

Monday, March 22, 2021

Since the pandemic is winding down, Cuomo feels hospitals need budget cuts



Assemblywoman Catalina Cruz joined City Council candidate Shekar Krishnan, union representatives and members of the New York State Nurses Association at Elmhurst Hospital to protest Governor Andrew Cuomo’s proposed $600 million budget cuts to public hospitals.

“Our community suffered so much during the pandemic. Our essential and frontline workers were put in harm’s way every day. Elmhurst Hospital was overrun and undersupplied, and our communities lost so many loved ones,” Cruz said. “For the executive branch to now propose cutting more than $20 million from Elmhurst Hospital’s budget is both dangerous and cruel. These cuts have been rejected by the Assembly as they will be fatal to our healthcare workers and they will be fatal to the many patients in their care. Our hospitals need more funding, not less.”

Krishnan, a community activist and civil rights lawyer specializing in fighting housing discrimination and preventing community displacement, co-founded Communities Resist, a legal services organization that addresses housing and racial justice in Queens and Brooklyn.

“It is unbelievable and irresponsible that in the midst of a global pandemic there are proposals to cut funding for our public hospitals. Elmhurst Hospital serves nearly a million residents and was the epicenter of the epicenter of the pandemic,” Krishnan said. “We cannot stand by and let our community be deprioritized and disinvested in again and again. We demand full funding for our public hospitals, expansion of the new York Cares Act, and greater support for community-based healthcare services.”

Nefritte Larkin spoke on behalf of the New York State Nursing Association which represents more than 9,000 workers in the city’s public hospital system.

“We are the frontline workers. We were here every single day and we’re still here,” Larkin said. “For Governor Cuomo to even suggest that there will be budget cuts to our safety net hospitals is a gross insult not just to the communities of color but also to the workers.”


Sunday, March 21, 2021

How is this luxurious monstrosity going to fit? 


New renderings from Michael Muroff Architect reveal Armature, a seven-story residential building at 64-08 Wetherole Street in Rego Park, Queens. Developed by Tahoe Development, a local real estate investment entity, the structure features an exposed concrete frame that visually and structurally links the ground-floor planters, residential balconies, and rooftop trellises. Many of the building’s floor-to-ceiling windows are recessed behind the structural forms offering a sense of modesty from within and industrial minimalism from the exterior vantage.

When complete, Armature will comprise around 20,000 square feet, the majority of which is accounted for in residential area. The solo component will yield 26 rental apartments ranging from studios up to two-bedroom layouts. Associated amenity spaces will include a roof deck with private cabanas and passive recreation space, a fitness room, dog bathing areas, a package room, bike stations, and a 13-vehicle parking lot.

 I think it's prudent to point out that this was approved without Cojo's "Planning Together". 

Say goodbye to that baby tree there. And we thought de Blasio cared about the environment.

Mayor de Blasio's brown standard for school re-openings


 NY Post

Angry New York parents have lashed out at Mayor Bill de Blasio, saying his so-called reopening of schools is a “farce” and a failure.

Many complain that serious staffing shortages have created bizarre scenarios where kids sit at desks to watch a teacher broadcast the lessons to their laptops from a nearby room.

Others say their kids are lucky if they attend school five days a month.

“It’s a farce,” said Kate Cassidy, a mother of two kids in Manhattan’s District 2.

“There is zero live in-person teaching at my school,” she said. “None. To call this a reopening is ridiculous.”

A mom at MS 167 in Manhattan said: “These schools are not reopened. And they know that.”

Others stressed that the limited time their kids have in school is continually threatened and disrupted by school closures, which occur if two students or staffers test positive for COVID-19. On any given day, hundreds of city schools are closed for up to two weeks because of the protocol.

De Blasio has repeatedly suggested that the rule might change given the vaccine and improved COVID-19 numbers — but parents say they’re tired of waiting.

The city first reopened elementary schools in late December, and middle schools reopened last month. High schools are slated to reopen Monday.

De Blasio has heralded the NYC model as the “gold standard,” but Cassidy said his triumphant portrayal of “reopened” classrooms was false.

“It’s like he’s being intentionally obtuse about the whole thing,” Cassidy said, adding that her kids average about five days in school a month.

“It’s infuriating.”

 The Blaz's gold standard is a shit sandwich

de Blasio's real estate overlord donors are ready to get their affordable luxury public housing towers approved 


  First unveiled by Two Trees in late 2019, the project originally called for two towers, one at 650 feet and the other at 600, with 1,000 units of housing. The revised plan calls for a taller 710-foot tower on the southern side and a slightly shorter tower north tower at 560 feet. The proposed number of apartments increased to 1,050 units.

According to a newly launched website for the project, the affordable housing proposed for the project includes 263 permanently affordable rentals designated for those earning 60 percent of the area median income (AMI) and 27 units for those earning 40 percent of the AMI, which would mean $1,366/month and $854/month two-bedroom apartments for those households, respectively.

Two Trees, which created Domino Park as part of its redevelopment of the former Domino Sugar Factory, acquired the three vacant sites for a total of $150 million. The site had been home to Con Edison since 1984, with the steel fuel tanks removed from the site in 2011.

Because a zoning change is required, the so-called River Ring Waterfront Master Plan must go through ULURP, in addition to securing a permit from the Department of Environment Conservation and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. Two Trees previously told reporters that the land use review process could take at least two years to complete, with the construction of the entire project lasting at least five years. The park would be completed alongside the first building, Two Trees principal Jed Walentas had said.

The developers held meetings with the community at the beginning of last year, but the coronavirus pandemic put those sessions on hold. Following an environmental impact review, the developer aims to complete the ULURP by the end of 2021, as a spokesperson for Two Trees told Brooklyn Paper.

Literally a sandbox for hipsters.


Saturday, March 20, 2021

Demolition by incompetence at Rikers Island: Attorney-client privilege breached by free phone call system

 Rikers Island 


NY Daily News

A clerical error by a city contractor breached the attorney-client privilege for scores of New York City inmates, with more than 1,500 protected jailhouse phone calls between defendants and their legal advisors wrongly recorded, the Daily News has learned.

The shocking mistake, affecting inmates facing charges in Brooklyn and the Bronx, could compromise the court cases of nearly 400 defendants if their confidential conversations landed in the hands of prosecutors.

The system, run by the city-contracted prison communications firm Securus Technologies Inc., mistakenly recorded 118 calls with 29 inmates facing charges in the Bronx and another 1,450 chats involving 353 inmates cases in Brooklyn, according to several jail and city sources familiar with the findings of two internal audits conducted by the company this year. The erroneous recordings occurred in all New York City jails, not just on Rikers Island.

According to a source, human error on the part of Securus led to the legal misstep. The Department of Correction provides the company with a list of protected phone numbers to ensure inmates’ conversations with lawyers, social workers and other legal parties are specifically not recorded.

 As expected, de Blasio's stench is all over this. 

Now they got a constitutional crisis. Rikers is being shut down on purpose.  

FAA gives approval for LaGuardia Air Train construction to commence

  AirTrain plan clears environmental bar 1

Queens Chronicle

An environmental study released Monday by the Federal Aviation Administration appears to have cleared the way for construction of an AirTrain route to and from LaGuardia Airport.

In signing the document approved, David Fish, director of the Office of Airports for the FAA’s Eastern Region, wrote that “after careful and thorough consideration of the facts contained herein ... [I find] that the proposed Federal action is consistent with existing national environmental policies and objectives ... of the National Environmental Policy Act of 1969.”

The Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, which is seeking to build the link between LaGuardia and the Mets-Willets Point stop on the No. 7 subway line, needs FAA approval in order to access federal airport improvement funds.

The agency, with Gov. Cuomo’s backing, says the project is needed to decrease travel time between LaGuardia and Midtown and Downtown Manhattan.

Residents in and around East Elmhurst and environmental organizations have opposed the plan, which would construct the elevated rail along the Flushing Promenade.

Their objections include loss of parkland, the impact of noise, vibrations and traffic during construction, and the visual impact of a raised structure along the Promenade and Flushing Bay.

The FAA is expected to issue its final record of decision in 30 days. If approved, major construction is expected to begin in March 2022, with limited work beginning as early as this June. It is estimated that the system would be fully operational by December 2025.

The entire 628-page report, including a 46-page executive summary, can be read or downloaded online at

"Affordable" luxury public housing coming to Ozone Park


 Queens Chronicle

The city Department of Housing and Preservation is accepting applications for what it has deemed an affordable housing lottery at 86-15 Rockaway Boulevard, a four-story residential building in Ozone Park.

The 13,900-square-foot development designed by Lu Ning Architecture contains 20 units — six of which are available on NYC Housing Connect for residents at 130 percent of the area median income, ranging in eligible income from $54,858 to $159,640 per household.

The offerings include one studio apartment with a $1,600 monthly rent for incomes ranging from $54,858 to $118,300, and five two-bedrooms with a $2,000 monthly rent for incomes ranging from $68,572 to $159,640.

Prospective renters must meet income and household size requirements to apply for these apartments. Applications must be submitted online or postmarked no later than March 23.

The building is receiving a tax exemption through HPD’s 421a Tax Incentive program. The pet-friendly apartments will feature hardwood floors, energy-efficient appliances and patios or balconies. Amenities include garages, a virtual doorman, storage, a bike room, a recreation room, a central laundry room and community events and classes.



Friday, March 19, 2021

de Blasio funds the tone police


City Journal

Amid a staggering wave of gun violence in New York City, with shootings this year measuring 42 percent higher than the same period in 2020, Mayor Bill de Blasio announced that he plans to deploy the NYPD to track down and question people who have expressed “hate,” albeit without committing any crime or violation.

Speaking to reporters about anti-Asian attacks that have occurred around the country, the mayor encouraged people who have “witnessed or experienced any act of hate” to report it. “Even if something is not a criminal case,” the mayor explained, “a perpetrator being confronted by the city, whether it’s NYPD or another agency, and being told that what they’ve done was very hurtful to another person and could if ever repeated, lead to criminal charges, that’s another important piece of the puzzle.”

Asked how the NYPD would confront someone who has done something “hateful” but committed no crime, de Blasio enlarged on his prescription. “One of the things officers are trained to do is to give warnings,” he said. “If someone has done something wrong, but not rising to a criminal level, it’s perfectly appropriate for an NYPD officer to talk to them to say that was not appropriate. . . . I assure you if an NYPD officer calls you or shows up at your door to ask about something that you did, that makes people think twice.”

The mayor did not go into detail about the kind of behavior he was talking about, but we can surmise—since he explicitly stated that it wouldn’t rise to the level of criminality—that it must involve speech. Racial slurs or negative references to racial or ethnic identity, while nasty and rightfully unacceptable in civil society, are generally not prosecutable. Promising to involve the police in pursuing people who make intemperate, obnoxious remarks seems like an odd way to prioritize public-safety concerns.

The idea of a special category of “hateful” crime violates good sense. If a crime is a crime, sufficient mechanisms already exist to prosecute and punish offenders. What makes beating someone up “hatefully” worse than beating them up . . . lovably? The point of hate crimes as a category is to express how especially heinous society finds crimes motivated by ideologies of bias like racism, anti-Semitism, or homophobia. To this extent, hate crimes legislation essentially creates a class of political crime.

Does this mean the NYPD will respond for hate speech like "I'm going to rape you", "Gimme your cellphone or I'll stick you" or "Shoot that motherfucker"


Shaun Donavan needs his daddy to make him mayor


 New York Times

With New York City’s mayoral primary a little more than three months away and a deadline to qualify for the city’s generous matching-funds program having just passed, pleas for donations have been in overdrive in recent days.

But in the background, another spigot of money has quietly opened for two Democratic mayoral candidates who are trailing in early polls: Raymond J. McGuire and Shaun Donovan.

An independent expenditure committee for Mr. McGuire, a former Wall Street executive, has garnered more than $3 million since Feb. 1, with more than 70 donations from business magnates, including Kenneth Langone, the billionaire co-founder of Home Depot; the art world philanthropist Agnes Gund; and the real estate developer Aby J. Rosen.

A new super PAC for Mr. Donovan, a former cabinet member in the Obama administration, in contrast, has drawn $1.02 million from just two donors — the primary benefactor being his father, Michael Donovan, an executive in the ad tech industry who donated $1 million.

In an interview, Mr. Donovan, the candidate’s father, said he was trying to “level the playing field,” particularly since some candidates began raising money before they even declared they were running for mayor.

“I can’t give very much to Shaun directly, and seeing the amount of money McGuire had raised and all these other people, I felt he needed enough to go out and compete and get the message across,” Mr. Donovan said.

 Impunity City

In other words, Shaun Donavon, a man who recently turned 55 years old and worked for Mayor Mike Bloomberg and President Obama, saw his current predicament in the mayor’s race and said:



It’s not even worth going into why he’s running and why he’ll be a shit mayor just like the current shit mayor who’s been stinking up city hall for 7.3 years, but to summarize Shaunny will not to do a thing to improve the housing crisis and the continuing demolition by neglect of public housing in the five boroughs considering they never improved in his time running city housing in New York and Housing and Urban Development in the White House.

Another fugitive sprung loose from Rikers


PIX 11 News 

An attempted murder suspect was let go after a Bronx court clerk mistakenly marked him for release without bail, court officials said Thursday.

The mistaken release of Nikim Meekins, 22, came just days after a murder suspect was accidentally freed from the Rikers Island jail complex.

Once the judge realized what happened with Meekins, a warrant was issued for him. Meekins was supposed to be held on $300,000 bond in the attempted murder case. Charges against him in a separate case caused the mix up.

The mix up will be addressed from “a personnel and training perspective,” court spokesperson Lucian Chalfen said.

 Boy oh boy, it's like they can't wait to build those 4 tower jails. There's two fugitive accused killers out there now, be aware of your surroundings

Update: One of the fugitives turned himself in. The first one is still out there.

Thursday, March 18, 2021

Hotel-shelter turned murder scene

From the NY Post:

A 33-year-old man who lived at a Queens homeless shelter was allegedly stabbed to death by a fellow resident of the facility — which neighbors ripped as a beacon for crime that is now spiraling out of control.

A 28-year-old woman who lived nearby her whole life and declined to give her name, said the shelter has brought its share of problems to the neighborhood.

“Shelter’s been here about 3 years,” she said. “Last year or so, cars started getting broken into. Out of control now, every night! My son can’t go in the park. Not even in daytime! Look! Like a prison yard. … Walking around drinking out [of] brown bags! All day, every day! It wasn’t like this back when it was the airport hotel. Never like this.”

“Anything not nailed down disappears,” said a 64-year-old neighbor who identified himself as Mike L. “Steal right out of the front yard. Junkies! I yelled at a guy a couple days ago, like 10 in the morning going through my garbage, on the side of the house. Day is worse than night. Now they’re killing each other — and we’re next.”

“This ain’t getting better,” he added.

Wow! So are Steve Banks and most of the lefty media going to call these people racist for opposing the shelter in their neighborhood? Or are we going to admit that some neighborhoods have valid reasons for not wanting violent criminals living near them?

Open streets and restaurants has led to blowback blight



Remake New York is the new buzzword for pundits and politicians. It envisions the post-pandemic city as a blank slate on which to try out cool new ideas. There’s nothing wrong with cool ideas but actual policy requires more than slogans and press releases. It requires planning. It requires expertise. It requires debate and public input.

Permanent outdoor dining is warning for what can go wrong when you remake New York on the fly. Beginning as a temporary measure designed to help restaurants survive the lockdown, the public took to outdoor dining right away. After a grim spring, when moving vans were more common than taxis, people loved the sight of the funky shacks, festooned with fake flowers and painted in gaudy colors, that were bringing life back to the streets.

Elected officials love popular programs, especially if the official has worn out his welcome. Mayor de Blasio jumped all over outdoor dining, declaring that it must “be part of city life for years to come.” Just a few weeks later his wish became an actual law mandating “the establishment of a permanent outdoor dining program” by October 1, 2021. In the blink of an eye, and with no debate, the city tossed out long-established policy, ignored long-established zoning restrictions and gave away public land — sidewalks and roadways—to private businesses.

Local Law 114 is a textbook example of how not to make policy. At a single hastily convened hearing, members of the City Council tossed softballs to representatives of the restaurant industry and Business Improvement Districts. Representatives of the neighborhoods impacted by the new law were nowhere to be found. The official voice of these neighborhoods, Community Boards, didn’t learn what was in the bill until after it had passed.

The one saving grace of this whole misbegotten process was that the city had an entire year before the permanent program took effect. One would think that the Mayor and City Council would have used that time for due diligence on a program they’d cobbled together so quickly. Instead, elected officials took the three-monkeys approach: neither seeing, hearing and certainly not speaking of the problems that came with outdoor dining.