Friday, April 30, 2021

Gothamist continues to lose readers, city public radio station guts it


NY Post

The lay offs were part of deeper cost-cutting at WNYC that impacted 14 positions or 4 percent of staff, across the organization as it copes with a dramatic fall off in contributions due to COVID-19, despite landing $8.9 million from the federal payroll protection program, the news organization said.

WNYC CEO Goli Skeikholeslami in a memo told to staffers that the station is entering fiscal year 2022 with “a sizeable deficit” as sponsorship funding plunged 27 percent compared to pre-pandemic levels. “And we cannot achieve our goals and meet our commitments while shouldering a fourth year of losses.” 

Skeikholeslami said the cuts affected four jobs in news and 10 in other departments. The company also implemented a series of other cutbacks, including the “freezing of pay hikes for employees making over $100,000, cutting retirement contributions to the 403(b) plan by 50 percent from July through year end and capping vacation carryover days at 10 this year and five next year.”

“In aggregate, the actions we are announcing today reduce our deficit by $3 million for FY22, enabling us to get on a path to financial sustainability.  Without taking the additional cost-saving measures, the number of staff cuts would have been far greater,” she said.    

Both Del Signore and Robbins were survivors of Gothamist’s near-death experience in 2017 when Joe Rickets, the billionaire founder of TD Ameritrade whose family owns the Chicago Cubs, pulled the plug on it and sister website DNAinfo. 

Aw, I was looking forward to Robbins' follow up story of the big "open streets"mystery alleging the NYPD had something to do with throwing the barricades in Newtown Creek. Idiot.

Tragedy strikes NYPD twice in Fresh Meadows

Drunk driver kills cop and tries to flee: NYPD 1

Queens Chronicle 

A highway officer was responding to a fiery car crash in the early hours of April 27 when he was struck and killed by an allegedly drunk driver.

Anastasios Tsakos, a 14-year NYPD veteran and father of two young children, was investigating the scene of an earlier, fatal collision at the time of the 2 a.m. incident.

“The absolutely tragic events of this past evening highlight, again, the many, many dangers our brave officers face every day and night — in all aspects of their critical work,” Police Commissioner Dermot Shea said in a press conference Tuesday morning, adding that the incident “amounted to a completely avoidable chain of events.”

According to police, Tsakos was one of many officers responding to a vehicle collision on the Long Island Expressway at the Clearview Expressway just 30 minutes past midnight. One of the vehicles was in flames.

Tsakos was diverting traffic from the scene, when 32-year-old Jessica Beauvais — who had a suspended license — came speeding along, police said. She swerved to avoid other cars and collided with Tsakos, who was standing next to his marked vehicle.

District Attorney Melinda Katz said Beauvais fled from the crash and attempted to exit the Horace Harding Expressway, where her car jumped the curb and mounted the sidewalk. Police surrounded her and she tried to flee again by putting the car in reverse but rammed into the police vehicle behind her twice before coming to a final stop and being apprehended.

Shea reported that Tsakos, who had been struck head on, was knocked onto a nearby grassy area. He was taken to NewYork-Presbyterian Queens in critical condition, but was later pronounced deceased.

Beauvais, of Hempstead, LI, is being held pending arraignment in Queens Criminal Court on a 13-count complaint. The charges include two counts of vehicular manslaughter, drunk driving, colliding with an emergency vehicle and leaving the scene of a fatal accident.

Two hours after the crash, it was discovered that Beauvais’ blood alcohol content was 1.5 percent, the D.A.’s office said.

NY Post

If there was a silver lining to the tragic death of Denis Mullaney, the commanding officer of the 107th precinct in Queens who killed himself this week, it was the call to action made by the priest who officiated his funeral — where he implored the NYPD to do more to “break the silence” around suicides within their ranks.

Father Joseph Fonti, 54, told the mourners at the packed St. Mel’s Catholic Church in Flushing Friday that he was all too familiar with suicide, both within his own family and among his friends, some of whom are cops.

“People are fragile, they break,” Fonti told the crowd of roughly 250, including row after row of somber police officers. “If you suffer from cancer people run to you and they do anything for you. If you tell them you suffer from mental illness or anxiety they try but they get scared or they get uncomfortable.”

“We need to address it in our own families and in the church and in the Police Department. The police in particular have been so tight-lipped about this issue,” he urged. 

 Mullaney, 44, a 20-year police veteran, shot himself in his parked squad car Monday on Underhill Avenue near the Brooklyn-Queens Greenway. He was the NYPD’s first suicide of 2021.

Typically four to five NYPD officers commit suicide every year. But when 10 officers killed themselves in 2019, the department under then-Commissioner James O’Neill instituted changes, such as allowing officers in crisis to keep their badges even while handing in their firearms to de-stigmatize asking for help. There were four NYPD suicides in 2020.

“The time for silence is over,” Fonti said.

Mullaney, who was made commander of the 107th precinct in Queens last fall, called one of his superiors as well as family members to warn them he was feeling suicidal and reportedly apologized in advance, police sources have told The Post.

‘”He knew he could call in a 10-13 – the code for an officer needing help,” his uncle Eddie Mullaney, 80, a retired NYPD policeman, said at the funeral. His fellow officers as well as members of the large Mullaney family, which includes several generations of police officers, would “have come running.”

“We would have called in our own 10-13,” the elder Mullaney said. “We had Denis’ back. He knew that.”

Instead Mullaney, who was going through a divorce from his wife, Amanda, a fellow police officer, and who had recently moved back into his childhood home with his widowed mother, “made a different choice,” his uncle told the congregation.

The normally upbeat Mullaney, who leaves behind a young son, Denis Patrick III, had reduced crime during his seven months at the precinct, but had been “hurting” for the past five or six weeks — and his despondency seemed to come on “quick,” his uncle said.

Meet the potential new boss, same as the old boss



NY Post

Make me mayor and I’ll hire one of my fellow candidates to run the nuts and bolts of City Hall.

That was Andrew Yang’s broad message to The Post’s Editorial Board on Thursday, as the Democratic front-runner pitched himself as a man who can build the right team to bring New York City back to life after the coronavirus pandemic — while he coordinates and manages.

“You’re going to need to build a team with a range of experience and, certainly, if I’m the mayor, that team will need to consist of a number of people who are very deeply experienced in government,” Yang said during the hour-long sit-down. “I’m already thinking about how to staff the administration and make sure we can actually move the bureaucracy.”

Number one on his list?

Kathryn Garcia, one of his competitors in the June 22 primary, who has served as the ‘Ms. Fix-It’ for the past two administrations — including tours as Sanitation Commissioner, head of the sewer system, the city’s lead czar and public housing chief after the Housing Authority was rocked by scandal, and building the Big Apple’s emergency COVID-19 food delivery program for the poor and homebound.

“I would like Kathryn Garcia to have a role in my administration and one of the reasons is that she’s an experienced operator, having not just the Department of Sanitation, but also other very significant agencies,” he said. “I like and respect her. I have my eyes very wide open for people like Kathryn.”

While others would manage the day-to-day, Yang said that he views the job of mayor as “team-building, culture-setting” and orchestrating and improving relationships between the public and private sector.

“It’s going to be administrative,” he allowed, but quickly added: “It’s also going to be activating resources in the private sector, in the tech sector, in the philanthropic sector — and cheerleading for a recovery for New York City.”

Under questioning, Yang said that he would push Michael Mulgrew, the head of the UFT, to reopen public schools more quickly and offered his special needs son’s return to the classroom as a poignant example of the importance of in-person learning.

“The data clearly shows that being in-person is better for kids, that remote learning is 30- to 70 percent less effective,” said the tech entrepreneur, who mounted a long-shot bid in 2020 for the White House. “And it also shows that the kids who are most at risk are poorer New Yorkers, who tend to be disproportionately black and brown.”

However, when pressed on how he would convince Mulgrew to relent, Yang offered few details and stopped short of saying he would order teachers back to classrooms. Instead, he argued that he could make a case to the public more effectively than Mayor Bill de Blasio, putting pressure on Mulgrew to offer concessions.

“I would have made a case to the public, saying to parents, ‘look, kids need to be back in schools at some point’ and the data shows that we’re really not serving them well,” “Pretending remote school is a substitute is not right, it’s — at best — a mediocre stop-gap.”

“I’m going to suggest that I would be better situated than the Mayor has been because people see me as — and I hope this is the case, I see myself as is — as someone who’s going to act on behalf of the people of New York City,” he added.

During the interview, Yang also brushed aside questions about the quality of the education offered by private yeshivas run by sects of the city’s politically powerful Orthodox Jewish community.

“I visited a number of these schools and the kids are learning English and math and basic subjects, at least in my exposure to them,” he said. “My starting point is that they’re investing a ton in educating their kids in a way that they see as best for them.”

Yang’s renewed defense came just days after scoring a significant endorsement from community leaders in the heavily Hasidic neighborhood of Borough Park.

His statements run contrary to the findings of a city investigation that revealed the curriculum at just two of 28 examined yeshivas met state requirements for providing an education that is substantively equivalent to one offered in public school. 

So Yang would hire Garcia, who's already polling last, is certain to drop out soon and who also was leading three departments before she quit picking up the slack for the Blaz to run for mayor. Makes her a good choice to pick up Yang's slack as well. He is also too chickenshit to take on Mulgrew. But one thing Yang knows is to not mess with the Hasidic community, whose votes put the Blaz over the top and into city hall 8 years ago. SAMO. NWFC.

Betcha he'll hire Maya Wiley as a law advisor as well.

Impatient woman crashes her car into open restaurant shanty and kills a scooter rider


PIX News

 A man was was killed and a woman was injured in Queens when a speeding car struck a moped and multiple parked vehicles before crashing into an outdoor dining space Thursday night, police said.

Officials said it happened at Rosatoro Restaurant, near 35th Street and Ditmars Boulevard, around 7:45 p.m.

According to police, a woman, 60, behind the wheel of a Mercedes Benz C-300 was speeding northbound on 35th Street when she struck a man on a Yamaha Chappy moped.

The car kept going and struck two unoccupied vehicles parked along the east side of 35th Street, officials said.

Soon after, the Mercedes crashed into the outdoor dining structure at Rosatoro, where it came to a rest within the structure, police said.

Responding officers found the moped driver, 37, unconscious and unresponsive, laying in the road with visible trauma, the NYPD said.

He was rushed to an area hospital where he was pronounced dead. Officials identified the victim Friday morning as Xing Lin of Queens.

Police said a woman, 32, was also found at the scene with injuries to both legs. She was also hospitalized for treatment.

Yang's version of Planning Together...


 NY Daily News

 Mayoral contender Andrew Yang unveiled an ambitious $32 billion plan to build affordable housing Wednesday, vowing to create and preserve 250,000 units within eight years if elected.

Yang reiterated his intention to make the Big Apple the “anti-poverty” city, but stressed it would be impossible to do that without creating more housing for poor and middle-class New Yorkers “across every neighborhood in all five boroughs.”

Yang plans to spend $4 billion annually on the plan — some of which would come from the approximately $15 billion in federal stimulus money the city expects to receive. The total projected bill, $32 billion, would pay for the creation and preservation of 250,000 new affordable apartments, at a clip of about 30,000 units a year.

“This will be the most since Ed Koch,” said Yang, name-checking the former mayor who cemented his reputation by building up the city’s affordable housing stock. “In many ways, the task ahead for us is tougher than what Mayor Koch faced. He was the first mayor after the fiscal crisis of the mid-’70s, and Ed Koch benefited from lower land prices and a giant store of city-owned properties.”

The current state of play, noted Yang, is much more complicated and challenging.

To simplify the process, Yang is proposing to do away with allowing City Council members informal veto power over new developments in the districts they represent; getting rid of minimum parking requirements often attached to new projects; speeding up the city’s land-use approval process, and bringing back now-illegal single-room-occupancy hotels.

Part of the cash outlay he envisions would go toward converting underutilized hotels and office buildings into affordable apartments and supportive housing for people with extraordinary needs. He also said he’d use vacant city-owned land to build.

Yang made the pitch that he’s the right guy for the job, in part because of his lack of government experience.

“It’s going to take a mayor who is not grown from our bureaucratic machine, who has no ties to special interests to help achieve this,” he said. “It’s going to take a mayor with the courage to challenge our status quo to actually see this through to fruition.”

 Yang is clueless about bodegas, wonder what he thinks would be an affordable amount to rent a studio or room for a month.




Thursday, April 29, 2021

Borough Hall address honors illegal lobbying practitioner

From the Forest Hills Post:

The entrance to Borough Hall has been adorned with a new address to greet visitors for years to come.

Queens Borough Hall has been given a new vanity address in honor of late Queens Borough President Claire Shulman.

The address of the Kew Gardens building, where Shulman served as the borough’s first female borough president for 16 years, was designated “One Claire Shulman Way.”

They forgot to mention this tidbit in Claire's bio. In related news, there is now a push to name the proposed Kew Gardens jail after Donald Manes, Claire's mentor. (J/K, but would it surprise you?)

Denial is not just a river in Egypt

From the Queens Chronicle:

Van Bramer said in an email from his borough president campaign that he is standing by Ardila.

“The words he used as a teenager were reprehensible,” said Van Bramer, who is gay. “He has taken responsibility and apologized to me personally and to all rightfully offended and hurt by that language. I believe Juan when he says he would never use those words again and that they do not reflect the man he has become.”

Teenager? The last homophobic comment on his Facebook was posted 7 years ago when he was in college.
A spokesman for Gianaris declined to comment. Richards’ campaign did not respond to a request for comment. Nor did Ramos’ office, nor the Stonewall Democratic Club.

Of course! What could you possibly say in defense of endorsing someone who exemplifies the opposite of your lame virtue signalling reputation?

Corona residents can't find the spare time or a convenient place to get vaccines



The New York City where the streets buzz with people enjoying freedoms newly found after the COVID vaccine is worlds away from the exhausted streets of Corona, Queens, a year after the coronavirus first devastated the neighborhood.

Corona’s streets are crowded, too — but largely with vendors selling what they can to survive, music blaring to compete with the roar of No. 7 trains passing overhead along Roosevelt Avenue.

Fewer people are vaccinated here than almost anywhere else in the city — a pattern driven not by reluctance, say neighborhood health providers, but the inability of many people to break from the grind to get the shots.

Below the 103 Street-Corona Plaza station, dozens of vendors gather daily to sell tacos, grilled meats, elotes, masks, artisanal jewelry, fruits and vegetables along the sidewalk. At the center of the plaza, a COVID testing van promises quick results.

The plaza didn’t always look like this, locals say.

Pre-pandemic, about a dozen or so vendors plied food and wares and around Corona Plaza, said Carina Kaufman-Guttierez, the deputy director of the advocacy group the Street Vendor Project. That number has ballooned to nearly 90 vendors who rotate in and out of the area, many of them newcomers who lost their jobs because of the pandemic and are working without a highly coveted and difficult to obtain permit.

Among them: Liliana Sánchez, who lost her job last spring when the Upper West Side restaurant where she worked closed. The 35-year-old began selling freshly squeezed orange juice starting at dawn in Corona Plaza last May, with her 11- and 13-year old children in tow.

“When this neighborhood had the most infections we didn’t leave the house for almost two months,” Sánchez told THE CITY in Spanish. “But then our savings ran out. It’s difficult to remember that — our savings were finished.”

“We didn’t have food in our house,” she added as tears welled in her eyes, fogging her glasses. “We had to stand on lines for hours and hours at food pantries. We waited on line at a church pantry that was 15 blocks long. Not everyone was going to get food and we would get whatever we could because there wasn’t any other recourse— there is no work.”

“I had to do it for my kids. I would go looking for food but there wasn’t enough.”

Wednesday, April 28, 2021

Liquor in the front, face masks in the rear



Governor Andrew Cuomo announced on Wednesday that a pair of pandemic restrictions affecting New York restaurants and bars will end next month: the midnight food and beverage curfew will be lifted for outdoor dining beginning May 17th and for indoor dining beginning May 31st. In addition, seating at bars will be allowed again in NYC starting May 3rd.

Cuomo said in a statement that this was a result of New Yorkers getting vaccinated and complying with pandemic guidelines.

"Everything we've been doing is working—all the arrows are pointing in the right direction and now we're able to increase economic activity even more," Cuomo said. "Lifting these restrictions for restaurants, bars and catering companies will allow these businesses that have been devastated by the pandemic to begin to recover as we return to a new normal in a post-pandemic world."

Cuomo also announced that the 1 a.m. curfew for catered events (where attendees have provided proof of vaccination status or a recent negative COVID-19 test result) will be lifted beginning May 17th, with the curfew for all catered events set to be lifted May 31st. Catered events will also be able to resume at residences beginning May 3rd.

“New York City’s restaurants and bars have been financially devastated by COVID-19 restrictions and it’s great news that the state will finally undo the barstool ban and lift the arbitrary midnight curfew," said Andrew Rigie, the executive director of the NYC Hospitality Alliance. "These outdated policies made it too difficult for too many small business owners and workers to support themselves and their families, and were a grave inconvenience to customers. Lifting these restrictions is an important step forward for restaurants and bars across New York City, and we will continue working with the state to safely and completely reopen our hospitality industry, bring back jobs and sustain vital small businesses.” 

That isn't all: another Cuomo executive order that required restaurants and bars to serve food with alcohol is expected to be repealed by the NY State Senate and Assembly on Wednesday.

“Good riddance. Governor Cuomo never explained why this rule made New Yorkers any safer from COVID-19, and it’s great to see the Legislature easing the burden on struggling bars and restaurants. Face masks and social distancing are what stop the spread – not chips and salsa,” said Mitch Schwartz, spokesperson for the mayor's office.

de Blasio's homeless shelter policy cited for spreading COVID


NY Daily News

 The number of single adults living in homeless shelters across the five boroughs reached an all-time high during the pandemic, likely contributing to a disproportionate spike in coronavirus deaths among that population, according to a new study.

The study, conducted by the Coalition for the Homeless advocacy group and provided exclusively to the Daily News before its Wednesday release, found that the number of single adults sleeping in New York City shelters rose precipitously throughout last year, reaching a new record of 20,822 on average every night this past February.

Through the same reporting period, the COVID-19 death rate for sheltered single adults was 54% higher than the citywide average, the study says.

 Giselle Routhier, a policy director at the Coalition for the Homeless, said many homeless single adults suffer from underlying health conditions and acknowledged that may have partially contributed to the high coronavirus death rate.

But Routhier also said the record-high shelter occupancy played a part, especially since single homeless adults are typically placed in congregate, dorm-style shelters where social distancing is difficult.

“That means more people were at risk,” Routhier said in an interview. “We saw how that impacted them in these really devastating mortality numbers.”

Stringer accused of groping an intern

NYC Comptroller Scott Stringer announces mayoral run 

PIX News

 A former intern for New York City comptroller and mayoral candidate Scott Stringer accused the politician of sexual abuse and harassment on Tuesday. 

The woman, who was not named in a press release from attorney Patricia Pastor, said Stringer repeatedly groped her when he was a member of the New York Assembly and running for Public Advocate of NYC. He’d allegedly offered to get the woman a role as district leader. The woman, then an unpaid intern, accused him of telling her to keep the alleged sexual misconduct a secret.

“It’s unfortunately all too common that women report having been touched sexually without consent, and often men who engage this way are in a position of power and influence over the woman,” Pastor said. “I have great respect for women who choose to say, ‘enough is enough.’”

A spokesperson for Stringer’s mayoral campaign declined to comment on the accusations against him.

Impunity City

It took a while, considering how low he’s polling in the mayor’s race, but Comptroller Scott Stringer finally got the dough to put out his first campaign ad.

At a cost of one million dollars, which is derived from taxpayers dollars because of the very bad matching funds law, Stringer’s ad touts his past accomplishments in big font letters as he dramatically walks in an apartment hallway and on the street. It climaxes with the candidate doing an aw shucks shrug.

As with Stringer’s struggling campaign and platform which looks to continue de Blasio’s horrendous policies (and which also is not distinguishable from the other 6 or 7 candidates), the ad contains a very obvious and hilarious flaw...

Tuesday, April 27, 2021

Juan Ardila: The arc of a woke campaign

Whoa, tough words, there! You seem like a rather confident candidate. Great job landing this all important interview with a Bushwick publication which is in a different borough from where you are running. Hey, you gotta start somewhere!
Great form showing up at an "anti-racism" protest outside your opponent's house. That'll show everyone just how seriously woke you are!
Ooooooh womp, womp!

From the NY Post:

“Chinese Americans denounce Juan Ardila for the use of the highly racist ch-nk and n-word, and the flagrant disparagement of Jews, women, gays and lesbians,” said Wai Wah Chin founding president of the Chinese American Citizens Alliance of Greater New York.

“A candidate for elected office showing such blatant sexism, racism and bigotry is despicable and horrifying. It is precisely this kind of hateful speech that leads to hateful action, to horrific attacks against Asians and other groups, such as the vicious attack in East Harlem two days ago that left a 61-year old Asian man in a coma.

“Ardila is absolutely unfit for elected office,” Wah Chin said.

Hey, at least he is an equal opportunity hater! Mental note to future candidates: Delete blatant bigotry from your social media prior to campaign kickoff...

Now where are the statements from the following tweeders?

That's a really impressive list of "like-minded" individuals and groups, there, Juan! Congrats!

Minus one in the House


NY Post

Missed it by that much.

New York will lose one seat in the House of Representatives next year based on population data released by the US Census Bureau on Monday — and was just 89 residents short of keeping all of its seats.

The Empire State’s delegation will shrink from 27 to 26 as a result of the 2020 census, officials said. 

“The state of New York has experienced negative net domestic migration, meaning there were more people moving out of the state of New York over the last decade than moving into the state,” said Karen Battle, chief of the population division for the Census Bureau.

How voters’ districts will change won’t be known until August at the earliest, when more detailed census data is expected.

New York is one of seven states poised to lose a seat in the House. The others are California, Illinois, Michigan, Ohio, Pennsylvania and West Virginia.

Five states will gain one seat — Colorado, Florida, Montana, North Carolina and Oregon — while Texas will gain two.

The once-a-decade national head count determines how the 435 seats in the House are divided among the 50 states based on the population changes recorded.

Monday, April 26, 2021

AOC's endorsement litmus test

 NY Post

Democratic socialist Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez said Monday she’s ready to endorse candidates running for 51 City Council seats this year — but only if they back her leftist agenda.

Candidates who want a thumbs up from the progressive Bronx firebrand must fill out an extensive questionnaire that asks if they back slashing the NYPD’s budget by $3 billion, abolishing US Immigration and Customs Enforcement, and a law that would bar turning over illegal immigrants accused of crimes to federal authorities for deportation.

AOC’s Courage to Change’s PAC also asks whether they would accept campaign contributions from real estate and fossil fuel interests, law enforcement associations or PACs headed by “profit-making” entities.

“When voters see that a candidate is endorsed by Courage to Change, they know that candidate is people-funded, committed to the grassroots, and supports policies that prioritize working-class New Yorkers in the pursuit of social, economic and racial justice,” Ocasio-Cortez in a statement.

“The CTC endorsement is awarded to candidates who clearly demonstrate an unwavering commitment to change a political system that puts wealthy special interests ahead of working people. It means you have the courage to stand up to established interests, big money, and politics as usual no matter the Party. Eligible candidates don’t just talk — they have a proven movement-building track record of organizing to get the job done.”

 Why does AOC need a PAC to persuade (or induce) candidates to support her causes? And if they support some will candidates be shunned for not supporting all of them? Weird.


Big spendin' Blaz making the budget money rain


NY Post

Mayor Bill de Blasio’s final budget proposal is the biggest ever in city history, a $98.6 billion spending plan — bankrolled by a massive infusion of federal aid — that will finance $2.2 billion in new education expenditures alone, documents show.

The document, released Tuesday, clearly illustrates just how dramatically the Biden administration’s recent $1.9 trillion coronavirus relief package has reshaped the Big Apple’s short-term fiscal picture in just three months — with projected spending set to grow by $10.4 billion in just one year and partially filling expected budget gaps in the coming years.

It also provides the first comprehensive accounting of the costs associated with many of de Blasio’s recently announced spending initiatives, many of which are coronavirus-related.


General hospital grand hotel

 Hospital and hotel fusion to open by fall

 Queens Chronicle

A mixed-use building that is part medical center and part hotel is on track to open in the next few months, developers recently announced.

The new 18-story mixed use tower at 42-31 Union St. in Flushing will be home to the Eastern Mirage Medical Center and the Eastern Mirage Hotel and will be operational before September, Fleet Financial Group announced.

The medical center will incorporate the hotel amenities into its patients healing process. Those staying in the healthcare facility will be offered access to an indoor pool, spa and fitness center, as well as a Michelin-rated restaurant and bar.

“Eastern Mirage Medical Center incorporates the most advanced technology available to hospitals today, along with a more welcome, hospitality-inspired setting,” Richard Xia, president of Fleet Financial Group, said in an April 8 statement. “By creating a symbiotic relationship with the building’s healthcare facility and luxury hotel, we hope to create a steady flow of visitors to both businesses.”

According to Fleet Financial Group, the medical center will utilize cutting-edge amenities, such as a five-layer curtain wall providing enhanced sound insulation and natural light, as well as environmentally friendly materials and systems, high ceilings, and Turkish marble floors. 

Patients will have an almost completely touchless experience, as well: The center will use facial and voice recognition features for offices and elevators.

The plans for the building — which will be the tallest in Flushing — also include more than 34,000 square feet of outdoor place, including an all-glass roof terrace with a panoramic view of New York City.

Juan and done


NY Post

The liberal candidate challenging moderate Queens Councilman Robert Holden in the June Democratic primary recently yanked down racist and homophobic slurs he posted online as a teen.

Political hopeful Juan Ardila, 27 — who has the backing of many progressive pols and unions — made derogatory comments about Asians, gays, women and Jews and used the N-word in mainly Facebook posts while in high school from 2009 to 2011.

Ardila referred to Filipino boxing great Manny Pacquiao as a “bumbass c—k” in a posting a decade ago while saying the pugilist would lose a fight, screengrabs obtained by The Post show.

Ardila and a pal also spewed anti-gay slurs when discussing the merits of singer John Mayer.

“ur the gay one nway u f-g crusader,” wrote Ardilla, who used “homo” in his posts, too.

Ardila was just endorsed by the city’s oldest gay Democratic club, the Stonewall Democrats.

After garnering the club’s support last week, Ardila tweeted, “I look forward to working together for a more just and inclusive city. It’s an honor to have your endorsement.”

In his younger years, the candidate also spewed misogynistic words such as “bitch” and “c–t.”

In addition, while discussing the movie “2012,” he said, “Every Juan s–ts on a Jew!!!”

He also referred to one of his friends as a “dumb polack” and hurled the N-word.

The candidate began scrubbing his accounts or making his posts private about 10 days ago, said a source familiar with the matter.

Ardila told The Post on Sunday that he had no comment “at this moment.”

Ready for the funny part? Because here comes the funny part...

Ardila’s candidacy has the support of the Working Families Party, District Council 37, Local 32 BJ-SEIU, health workers Local 1199-SEIU, the Hotel Trades Council, Queens Borough President Donovan Richards, Councilmen Brad Lander and Jimmy Van Bramer and state Sen. Michael Gianaris.

 Fauxgressives be fauxgressin'

Sunday, April 25, 2021

Ocasio-Cortez comes alive


Impunity City 

AOC showed up to speak at Astoria Park to boost the Green New Deal during a protest against the proposed power plant coming to Astoria. 

 Sorry for the shakes but the audio's alright. 


Judge rules Kew Gardens tower jail can proceed and the other three borough jails as well

Queens Eagle

 A New York judge on Thursday tossed a lawsuit filed by a pair of Queens civic groups attempting to block the construction of a new jail in Kew Gardens.

Manhattan Supreme Court Justice Eileen Rakower said the city met environmental review standards, public comment rules and land use laws as it sought approval to build the 195-foot detention tower behind the Queens Criminal Courthouse as part of its four-borough jail plan.

The council approved the city’s land use application for the jails — the first proposal to roll non-contiguous sites in multiple boroughs into a single package — in October 2019. Rakower said the city’s Universal Law Use Review Procedure allowed for such an application. 

“A single ULURP review of the four borough-based jail sites was lawful and rational,” Rakower wrote in her decision to dismiss the lawsuit. The city, she added. “reasonably deemed that the multi-borough review should be consolidated.”

Two civic groups, Queens Residents United and the Community Preservation Coalition, had filed the Article 78 lawsuit in September 2020 in a last-ditch effort to block the new jail, set to rise on the site of the soon-to-be demolished Queens House of Detention at 126-02 82nd Ave. Neither group responded to requests for comment Thursday. They can appeal the decision.

A spokesperson for the New York City Law Department praised the judge’s decision.

“We are pleased that the Court rejected the challenge to the Queens Borough-based jail, just as courts have thrown out challenges to jails in the Bronx and Manhattan,” the spokesperson said. “This decision will help the City to finally close Rikers Island and make our jail system smaller, safer, and fairer.”

“Closing the dysfunctional, shameful jails on Rikers Island is an urgent moral imperative, today more than ever,” said former Chief Judge Jonathan Lippman, who chaired a commission that recommended closing Rikers Island jails. 

“As the courts consider technical land use issues on appeal, the city should press forward on policies that rely on jail only as a last resort, continue planning for a smaller borough jail system, and begin preparing for a green future for Rikers.”



Brad Lander writes scofflaw driving mea culpa on bike agitprop blog



Accountability is hard. And it’s the only way we get better.

That’s what I want to help do for our city, as the next New York City Comptroller, our chief accountability officer. So I’d better be open to it for myself.

Over the past decade, I’ve been one of our city’s most outspoken advocates for safer streets, for road redesigns, and for more speed cameras. Our successful fight to expand the speed camera program has doubled the number of cameras and the hours they operate, leading to many more tickets. And the evidence is clear: speed cameras save lives.

I also passed the Reckless Driver Accountability Act to hold the city’s most reckless drivers accountable — those who get 15 speeding violations or five red-light violations in a year. They’ll get the opportunity to attend a driver accountability program, to help them change their driving before they injure or kill a neighbor. If they don’t attend, their car could be impounded. The program starts later this year at last, and we believe it will save many lives.

But I have some personal accounting to do. The New York Post recently looked at my driving (and parking) record, and I am not proud of it. So I’m making some specific commitments to change.

To be clear: I got eight speeding tickets over five years (most of them over the past 18 months, as the camera program has expanded). But that is enough to show a pattern — and it isn’t OK. I need to slow down and drive less.

And I’ve gotten a lot of parking tickets over the past decade, too. Many of those are expired meters, but some are alternate-side violations that prevented street cleaning, or blocking a hydrant. They aren’t OK either.

A New York Post stakeout and exposé is no fun. It stings. And I feel especially embarrassed to face the great group of street safety advocates who are supporting me for comptroller.  

But being held accountable is really important.

So rather than cancel my Post subscription (actually, I don’t have a Post subscription), I’ll thank the New York Post for serving as my own personal driver accountability warning — as an opportunity to take accountability more seriously. To use data to get better.

Because what we ultimately want from holding each other accountable is not shame, or Twitter dunking, or virtue signaling. It’s taking action to do better.

So here’s what I’m committing to:

  • First, every month going forward, I’ll make public how many parking or moving violations I get. Knowing that I’ll have to do it will make me slow down and follow parking rules.
  • Second, I will sign on as a co-sponsor to Council Member Steve Levin’s bill to allow citizen parking enforcement. I’ve hesitated to do so, anxious that it could lead to conflicts on our streets (but maybe there was some self-protection there, too). (Yeah, just maybe Brad Pander-JQ LLC) With this bill, the next time that Post reporters stake out my car, they could use a citizen reporting app to get me a ticket (and then I’d have to include it in the monthly list, too).
  • Third, I’ll make a serious effort to drive less — planning my schedule better so that I can use Citi Bike and public transit more often and leave the car behind (properly parked).
  • And finally, since privileges often encourage worse behavior, I will stop using my City Council parking placard altogether. I’ve racked up plenty of parking violations even with it, and the best way to change my patterns would be to get rid of the expanding parking opportunities that it provides.

Poor Gersh, Bikeblog and all the bike zealots and hipster gentries from Brooklyn, it must be so devastating to have your fauxgressive heroes disappoint you. 



The broker fees remain



Queens Chronicle

 So, you didn’t hire a real estate broker, but you’re paying fees for one anyway? It may feel like robbery, but the longstanding practice is completely legal.

A state Supreme Court judge in Albany Court ruled April 9 that the Housing Security and Tenant Protection Act of 2019 did not prevent landlords who hire the middlemen from passing off the financial burden to their tenants.

The argument was raised after real estate representatives challenged a February 2020 New York Department of State guidance memo that stated, “A landlord’s agent that collects a fee for bringing about a meeting of the minds between the landlord and tenant (i.e., the broker fee) from the tenant can be subject to discipline.”

The Real Estate Board of New York and the New York State Association of Realtors filed an Article 78 petition to overturn the guidance, claiming that the 2019 legislation did not clearly restrict broker’s fees from being placed on tenants.

After a year, the court sided with the landlords.

“The guidance was issued in error of law and represents an unlawful intrusion upon the power of the Legislature and constitutes an abuse of discretion,” acting Supreme Court Justice Susan Kushner wrote in her decision.

The bill, sponsored by state Sen. Andrea Stewart-Cousins (D-Yonkers) and Assemblymember Carl Heastie (D-Bronx), prohibits landlords from charging application fees, except for the cost of background checks, credit checks and monthly late fees. Furthermore, the legislation defines rent to exclude extraneous fees and charges to protect tenants from eviction due to failure to pay fees. There is no specific mention of “brokers” or “agents.”

Even renters who find apartments on their own may still be subject to broker’s fees, which can sometimes be as high as 15 percent of the annual lease, often paid in one lump sum by tenants before they’re handed the keys over.

REBNY President James Whelan celebrated the win over the DOS’s “erroneous interpretation,” stating that the decision ensures commission for thousands of real estate agents across New York who no longer have to fear being disciplined at the hands of the DOS.

Michael Johnson, the communications director at the Community Housing Improvement Program, said that even if the ruling hadn’t gone in the landlords’ favor, the prices for brokers could have been reflected in rent instead.

“What the ruling really does more than anything is help boutique, smaller brokers and small property owners to keep rent lower,” Johnson explained. CHIP members are mostly small- to medium-sized multifamily landlords, while REBNY represents some of the city’s biggest developers.

Brokers fill a need for both tenants and property owners, Johnson said, especially prepandemic when the housing market was tight. With limited options, prospective renters may have had a difficult time finding dwellings that fit their needs at an appropriate price, he said.

If Kushner ruled against fees for broker services, Johnson said, it could influence a change in the market force — rent would jump for new tenants because agents would still be used.

Renters’ advocates differ.

Including brokers’ cost in rent rather than as their own fees would not affect rent-stabilized dwellings, which Tenants Political Action Committee Treasurer Michael McKee pointed to as an example that jacking up the rent would not be the viable alternative Johnson says it is. Landlords would welcome any chance to raise rent, he added.

“This has been a giant scam. It’s been going on for years. It’s basically extortion. It basically means if you want to rent an apartment you have to pay a bribe,” said McKee.

Mario's son's personal privacy = government privacy


NY Post

Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s office won’t reveal what it told the Justice Department about COVID-19 outbreaks in nursing homes, rejecting Freedom of Information requests from The Post and other media outlets — claiming in part that doing so would be an “invasion of personal privacy.”

“Please be advised that portions of the records that respond to your request are exempt
from disclosure pursuant to Public Officers Law § 87(2)(b) because, if disclosed, would
constitute an unwarranted invasion of personal privacy,'” Jaclyn Clemmer, the governor’s record access officer, wrote in a denial response to The Post.

The Associated Press received a similar denial letter.

Clemmer didn’t explain whose privacy might be invaded, or how. The Post did not request any personal ID information of nursing home residents. She also said the records sought were exempt from public disclosure because the release would “interfere with law enforcement investigations.”

Friday, April 23, 2021

The Elmhurst Horror


 Impunity City

It happened on a cold early morning just an hour before sunrise, 6 days before Christmas, a 5-alarm fire engulfed a three family house. The inferno spread so rapaciously that it instantly killed three men as they desperately tried to flee while trapped in their rooms, their only exit was sliding doors by the balcony on the second floor, which were locked. It also torched the three floor house attached to it, making both structures inhabitable.

Before the deadly blaze the house was proficiently and exceedingly habitable. Since the fire was extinguished, a lot of mystery still surrounds this tragedy. Not much is known about the tenants; especially their names which have not been identified, notably the three who perished in the inferno except for their ethnicity. The one tenant who survived the destruction and the deaths, also refused to be identified.

This house had an incredible lengthy record of housing violations going back 4 years with over $200,000 in fines. Mostly in the last two years, the former landlord had repurposed what was once a nice two family house and transformed it into a makeshift boarding house with single room occupations constructing seven rooms on each floor from the basement to the attic. Even the garage wasn’t spared as the original landlord , Mumarrawa Mahmood, managed to convert it into a rental where the superintendent of the house lived and added more dwellings to it even after repeated visits and fines by the Department Of Buildings.

 This house must have been a sanctuary for the victims of this city's perpetual housing crisis (especially in two terms under Mayor de Blasio), especially those working check to check and undocumented immigrants, essential workers mostly doing gig jobs delivering food or driving for apps and working construction building towers they will never afford to live in.






Garbage barges and abandoned boats in the Rockaways overlooked in city's climate change resiliency plan


CBS New York

   Queens residents say they’ve asked the state and city to clean up a graveyard of sunken boats and barges for years.

Now, it’s even preventing a business from opening up.

It’s a disgusting sight that residents in the Arverne section of Far Rockaway are fed up with — rusted barges filled with garbage, slowly sinking year after year.

One is way under with the crane sticking out.

“For 15 years, I’ve seen these cranes in the water, and me and my wife used to joke that they’re probably landmarked,” said Edwin Williams, president of the Heart of Rockaway Civic Association. “There’s a huge East Coast Resiliency Project, but it’s mainly focused on Manhattan. We’re like the forgotten part of New York City.”

Lifelong resident Johann Smiley and his son bought land that sits on the bay on Amstel Boulevard a year ago. They wanted to revitalize the area with a dock and restaurant, but the barges are in the way.

He says it’s been a bunch of finger-pointing and broken promises from different state and city agencies.

“They absolutely don’t care what’s going on here,” Johann Smiley told CBS2’s Lisa Rozner.

He says the barges belong to Anthony Rivara Jr. of Anthony Rivara Contracting, formerly also known as the Pile Foundation, which allegedly owns the neighboring property.

The Smileys say he is a contractor for the Macombs Dam Bridge.

“That garbage that’s on this barge came off of the barges that he took up to the Macombs Dam Bridge,” Smiley said.

Sources confirm they do belong to Anthony Rivara and it’s not the first time he’s had this problem.

Rivara has previously been fined hundreds of thousands of dollars by the state for “unseaworthy barges” in other parts of the city.

He did not return CBS2’s calls.

Mother kills her twin babies in Woodside Houses


Two infants were found dead inside a Woodside apartment on Thursday afternoon, and detectives are now questioning their 23-year-old mother.

Police made the horrific discovery while responding with FDNY units to a wellness check called in at about 3:10 p.m. on April 22 at the Woodside Houses, located at 31-76 51st St.

According to Chief of Housing David Barrere, the officers from NYPD Public Service Area 9 met with concerned family members and knocked on the door to the mother’s fifth-floor apartment. Once they got inside, he said, they encountered a nightmarish scene.

Barrere said one of the infants, believed to be six weeks old, was found lifeless inside a crib with trauma to their body. The officers then asked about a second baby inside the home, and the mother pointed them toward a sink.

“Officers discovered a second child under the sink area, wrapped in a blanket, who was also unconscious and unresponsive,” Barrere said.

Responding EMS units pronounced both babies dead at the scene. The Medical Examiner’s office will conduct autopsies to determine the cause of their deaths.

Police immediately took the mother into custody for further questioning. Barrere said that officers also recovered a knife at the scene.

According to Barrere, one of the mother’s relatives called 911 on Thursday out of concern for her children. He did not go into details as to what prompted such concern.

Based on a preliminary investigation, police determined that the mother does not have a prior criminal record. The status of the children’s father remains unknown at this time.

Caption the Blaz and the Bin

 It's Caption Friday Crappynistas, looks like de Blasio is quite frustrated trying to get a word out of a compost bin in the middle of his recent daily briefing. Now he knows how it feels to deal with someone, or something, that has an aversion to transparency.

The flaw in the matching funds law

Queens Eagle 

After taking in more than $134,000 in public matching funds, Moumita Ahmed received about 15 percent of the vote and finished a distant second in a February special election for Council District 24. Earlier this month, she received another $52,569 in taxpayer cash as she runs in the June primary. 

In the process, Ahmed’s campaign has emerged as something of an avatar for opposition to the city’s current public matching funds system, which has so far poured $26,657,242 into candidates’ campaign accounts, with primary day still two months away.

“We really need to reevaluate the prudence of spending public funds at these rates for what I believe are vanity projects,” said political strategist Patrick Jenkins.

Jenkins specifically questioned candidates who receive matching funds and spend a significant amount of money on out-of-state consultants. Ahmed, for example, paid a South Carolina-based consulting firm more than $95,000 leading up to the special.

“There should be some kinds of procurement rules,” Jenkins said.

This year’s council candidates are eligible for matching funds if they receive 75 contributions of between $10 and $1,000 from people who live in the districts they hope to represent. The first $175 of those qualifying contributions are eligible for an eight-to-one match, meaning a $10 contribution from a would-be constituent is worth $90. 

The program is intended to incentivize small-dollar contributions from everyday New Yorkers, rather than the wealthy or influential special interests.

But critics say some candidates are exploiting the program to raise their own profiles in quixotic quests for public office.

“For $52,569 this city can pay for a voucher to house a family of four for two years, Instead it’s doling out matching funds to candidates who get more Twitter likes then votes and claim there’s a conspiracy to stop them,” tweeted Jay Martin, executive director of the Community Housing Improvement Program after Ahmed shared news about her latest matching funds haul.

NY Post 

Candidate Shaun Donovan’s long-shot bid to replace Mayor Bill de Blasio next year got a financial shot in the arm Thursday when the Campaign Finance Board voted to award nearly $1.5 million in public matching funds after receiving sworn statements that a super PAC bankrolled by his dad was not coordinating with his campaign.

Last week, the CFB withheld matching funds to Donovan after saying it was investigating the relationship between the campaign and an independent group seeking to boost the former Bloomberg and Obama insider’s flagging bid for City Hall.

Campaigns are barred from coordinating with outside groups.

Donovan’s father, Michael Donovan, donated $2 million to the pro-Donovan New Start NYC Super Pac.

Donovan served as housing director to former Mayor Mike Bloomberg and later served in the Obama Administration, first as housing secretary and then as budget director.

The CFB said Thursday it had received sworn affidavits from both Shaun and Michael Donovan assuring that there was no coordination between the campaign and the independent expenditure group, which is nearly entirely bankrolled by the candidate’s dad to aid his campaign.

“After reviewing additional information, including statements from Shaun and Michael Donovan, the Board voted to approve a public funds payment to the New Yorkers for Donovan campaign today. The campaign will be subject to an ongoing, post-election audit, just like all campaigns in this election,”. said CFB chairman Frederick Schaffer.

 This is total chaos. It's asinine that this money is being used during a pandemic.

Thursday, April 22, 2021

Comptroller wannabe Brad Lander has a entitled need for speed

NY Post

He’s a high-speed hypocrite!

City Councilman Brad Lander — who’s crusaded against reckless drivers and pushed a law that lets the city seize their cars — has been caught speeding in school zones around the Big Apple eight times in the past five years, The Post has learned.

Lander’s lead foot led to tickets against him for going more than 10 mph over the speed limit in every borough except Staten Island since June 2016, city records show.

The liberal Democrat — who’s now a candidate for city comptroller — even racked up two violations in one week last month, one in Manhattan and another just blocks from his home in Brooklyn’s Park Slope.

In each case, Lander pleaded guilty and paid a $50 fine, according to information posted on the NYC Open Data website. But because the tickets were issued after Lander zoomed past automatic speed cameras, he wasn’t assessed any points against his license.

Under state law, speeding more than 10 mph over the limit carries at least four points per violation and drivers can have their licenses suspended if they rack up a total of 11 points in 18 months.

Lander was ticketed seven times between Oct. 25, 2019, and March 25, 2021, which is a period of less than 18 months, and would have resulted in at least 28 points if he’d been stopped by cops and convicted each time.

Meanwhile, The Post on Thursday found Lander’s Toyota Prius parked illegally on 13th Street in Park Slope, near his home, between 9 and 9:30 a.m, when street-sweeping regulations were in effect.

At one point, a Department of Sanitation street cleaning vehicle came by and was blocked from sweeping the curb.

Lander’s dark gray hybrid remained parked until he got in and drove away shortly before noon, even though there’s a two-hour meter limit on the block from 9:30 a.m. to 7 p.m.


Watch this bum squirm when he tries to simultaneously defend and absolve himself from his own reckless driving record. But what's really hysterical is how these fauxgressive council cronies are willing to eat each other to maintain the one-party establishment.

The Blaz diverts federal stimulus funds to tourist ad campaign


NY Post 

 New York City is launching a $30 million tourism advertising campaign — the largest in Big Apple history — to revive an industry that’s been gutted by the coronavirus pandemic lockdowns, Mayor Bill de Blasio announced Wednesday.

“We need to let people know we’re open for business. It’s safe to come here. Join this amazing moment. Come to this city that’s been so heroic during this crisis,” de Blasio said during a City Hall press briefing.

The campaign aims to boost Gotham’s hotel, restaurant, arts, entertainment and taxi industries and bring back the 400,000 jobs that were connected to tourism pre-pandemic.

It’s the “largest campaign ever to promote tourism in New York City and it will remind people this is the place to be,” de Blasio said. “There is no place like it in the world.”

The campaign is being funded through federal stimulus money, according to City Hall. Typically, the city spends around $3 million annually in tourism advertising.

“Tourism has been an important part of life for this city, an important part of our economy — hundreds of thousands of jobs depend on tourism,” said Hizzoner, who insisted the 400,000 jobs in the city supported by the tourism industry “will come back.”

“We are absolutely certain,” the mayor said. 

 Fred Dixon, president and CEO of the city’s tourism bureau NYC & Company, explained during the briefing that the “major comprehensive marketing and advertising campaign” will kick off in June with the message that “all five boroughs are open, vibrant and ready to safely welcome back visitors and business events.”

Impunity City 

There should be no more fucking doubts about who Mayor Big Slow de Blasio prefers to serve, besides himself and his running gag political career. This dumbass decided to devote 30 million dollars from President Biden’s stimulus recovery bill for an ad campaign begging tourists to come back to New York City. Showing once again that he is more concerned for the leisure of visitors than for services for his constituents who still go wanting.

Although this ludicrous boondoggle city p.r. campaign is supposed to start in June, it’s clear that this money was already wasted before the Blaz announced it in the most surreal daily briefing he has done so far during the still existing pandemic for a video produced by the city’s office of tourism, NYC And Company (a city government bureaucratic agency that really has absolutely no use for the residents of the five boroughs).

This 30 million could be used for the basics of city services. Increasing transit service by hiring more drivers, fixing storm drains and catch basins, restore funds to the sanitation dept and adding more hours for corner trash pickups and all fixing all the fucking potholes and cracks on the streets, avenues and boulevards.

But the most interesting and overlooked thing this 30 million could be used for, especially how often de Blasio speaks about equity, is to implement a Universal Basic Income stimulus for the poorest citizens of NYC until the merciful end of his final term as mayor. Doing this would also put a crimp into Andrew Yang’s own campaign for mayor, since it’s the most recognizable policy of his platform.