Saturday, July 31, 2021

Caption these Sucker M.C.'s

Image            The Blaz decided to use city tax dollars to have a shirt and kangol recognizing the Boogie Down designed with the Mets colors. You know, because he hates the Yankees so much. 

Such an obnoxious and petty troll.

The Van Wyck Garbageway


Impunity City

... like the cherry blossoms at the Bronx Botanical Garden, every week detritus is in full bloom in the dirty Southside Queens…




The short answer is "yes"

Yes, Mr. Defund literally lives ON AN ARMY BASE.

Friday, July 30, 2021

Luxury public housing tower in Jamaica accepting applicants for the housing insecure who earn six figures



The affordable housing lottery has launched for The Crossing at Jamaica Station, a 30-story mixed-use residential building at 147-40 Archer Avenue in Jamaica, Queens. Designed by FXCollaborative and developed by BRP Companies, the structure yields 539 residences. Available on NYC Housing Connect are 75 units for residents at 130 percent of the area median income (AMI), ranging in eligible income from $68,915 to $192,400.

 Residents will have access to a wide range of amenities including a garage, bike storage lockers, shared laundry room, gym, media room, recreation room, children’s playroom, a doorman, an on-site resident manager, and a landscaped roof garden. Units include floor-to-ceiling windows, name-brand appliances and finishes, and hardwood floors.

 At 130 percent of the AMI, there are six studios with a monthly rent of $1,946 for incomes ranging from $68,915 to $124,150; 29 one-bedrooms with a monthly rent of $2,442 for incomes ranging from $86,195 to $139,620; 36 two-bedrooms with a monthly rent of $2,943 for incomes ranging from $104,092 to $167,570; and four three-bedrooms with a monthly rent of $3,391 for incomes ranging from $120,206 to $192,400.

Daneek Miller and Speaker Cojo wants Southeast Queens to continue breathing garbage air


 Three years after the City Council passed a Waste Equity Law sharply reducing trash trucked to waste transfer stations in environmentally hard-hit neighborhoods, one lawmaker is pressing to roll back the change in his own district.

Councilmember I. Daneek Miller (D-Queens) is the sole sponsor of a bill that would lift the restrictions for transfer stations that deliver plans to ship out trash by rail — including in Queens Community District 12. The measure is scheduled for a pair of votes Thursday, while a key committee chair is out of the country.

While the existing law already exempts facilities that rely on rail as an alternative to long-haul trucks, Miller’s bill would fast-track the exception, lifting the restrictions for facilities that intend to begin using garbage trains soon, giving them four years to follow through.

“We want to make sure that there’s provisions in place where companies want to do the right thing,” Miller told THE CITY. 

 Among the trash station operators in the area, along the Long Island Rail Road tracks, are Royal Waste Services, Regal Recycling Company and American Recycling Co.

Not so fast, say Miller constituents who advocated for the Waste Equity Law’s passage.

 They say that living alongside the waste stations in southeast Queens is a daily experience of environmental racism, with garbage trucks constantly rumbling down the streets and exhaust leaving them gasping for air.

Air reeks near the stations, they say, forcing them inside their homes and away from Liberty Park. A group of community leaders has even begun legal proceedings against two waste stations on Liberty Avenue in Jamaica.

“Clean air is something that we have to ask for on top of everything else,” said Oster Bryan, 41, chair of the St. Albans Civic Association, who held a sign with the slogan “We literally can’t breathe” at a Tuesday rally outside Miller’s office.

“We shouldn’t have to ask for that.”

City records show that waste stations based in Southeast Queens have lobbied Miller and other elected officials for years over legislation.

Most recently, Royal Waste Services paid a lobbyist to target Miller and Reynoso to amend the Waste Equity Bill. American Recycling spent more than $19,000 in total this year to lobby Miller and Reynoso, along with Councilmembers James Gennaro in Queens and Justin Brannan in Brooklyn.

Four years for stations to export by rail means four more years of keeping the windows closed and never entering the park, said Caroll Forbes, 74, who lives across the street from the stations on Liberty Avenue. She said she doesn’t recall the last time she set foot in Liberty Park.

“I can’t open my windows,” Forbes said, adding that her nine grandchildren were asthmatic when they lived in the neighborhood.

NY Post 

 City Council Speaker Corey Johnson shelved legislation Thursday that would lift the trash truck caps as questions mounted over the bill, which environmentalists said would benefit a politically connected southeast Queens carting company.

The term-limited Johnson pulled the measure just an hour before sources said a vote was scheduled to take place.

It was a dramatic about-face after he fast-tracked the bill, despite it having just one sponsor, the area’s equally termed-out local Councilman, I. Daneek Miller (D-Queens).

Johnson also made his now-reversed decision to move the bill even though Sanitation Committee chairman, Councilman Antonio Reynoso (D-Brooklyn), is out of the country.

This confirms Reynoso will continue Adams record of unaccountability in the borough president's office. Hope you gentrifiers are glad who you voted for.


Council insiders pointed to Miller’s endorsement of Johnson’s failed Comptroller bid as a likely explanation for the decision to move the bill despite significant initial pushback.

Johnson strongly disputed the charges Thursday when he was pressed repeatedly by The Post about the timeline of events.

“What you are saying, there is no truth, there is no merit. Zero,” he said.

His remarks came after a slew of statements by activists and Council insiders to the Post laying out their concerns.

“That’s the obvious connection — that Daneek endorsed Corey,” said Jen Guiterrez, the Democratic nominee to succeed Reynoso on the Council. “There’s just no other logic – there’s so many bills being waited on to be heard, and this is the bill? This is the one you want to prioritize?”

Just a typical day outside the Glendale shelter

We just gotta keep Steve Banks on payroll!

Thursday, July 29, 2021

Be afraid. Be VERY afraid!

From the NY Post:

Monday’s poolside fundraiser took place at the home of developer Carl Mattone and was co-hosted by Councilman Eric Ulrich (R-Queens), lobbyist William Driscoll and architect Gerry Caliendo.

This is bad. Queens is gonna get f*cked royally.

 JQ LLC here; the DSA is not running a candidate for mayor, but Adams did clarify and also revealed what votes and donor lucre he is pandering for to beat "Eric Sliwa" and it's the same real estate and corporate oligarchs who mobilized super pacs to counter and cripple DSA candidates that were running for council seats. 

 Adams is such a narcissist, I bet he mistakes everyone's names for "Eric"

30 Days Over Vacant Lots


 Commercial Observer

 A New York City Council member is trying to give the city a heads-up on vacant building sales.

Councilman Ben Kallos plans to introduce legislation on Thursday that would require real estate brokers, realtors and listing agents to notify the city 30 days before a vacant property — including empty lots and unoccupied buildings — of 20,000 square feet or more goes up for sale, Commercial Observer has learned.

Kallos said the bill will bring the city in the loop on transactions, giving it the first right of refusal on vacant properties to allow it to build more schools, firehouses and other municipal buildings. 

“In my district, which is the Upper East Side, we have three gigantic vacant spaces,” Kallos told CO. “I’m trying to build more pre-K sites, and more schools [and] firehouses … It’s clear to me that it is a bad thing that real estate isn’t getting into the hands of the government [and] public-private partnerships aren’t happening frequently.”

The city would be required, under the new legislation, to express interest in acquiring the property or say why it’s not interested within a 30-day timetable. If an owner rejects the city’s offer, the city would also be required to disclose why it didn’t use eminent domain — when a government takes private property for public use and compensates the owner — or the Uniform Land Use Review Procedure to acquire the property, according to the a copy of the bill shared with CO.


Return of the rat

Ridgewood Post

The number of rat complaints has jumped significantly in Queens this year, with complaints in neighborhoods like Woodside and Ridgewood more than double what they were a year ago.

There were 1,812 complaints across Queens for the Jan. 1 — June 30 period this year, up more than 27 percent from the first half of 2020 when 1,424 complaints were filed with the city, according to 311 data.

The increase, in part, can be attributed to the reopening of restaurants and New Yorkers returning to the office, experts say. Rodents rely on the food waste generated by these establishments, which were closed for much of past year due to COVID-19.

The rodent problem, however, is still high even compared to pre-pandemic records. The number of rat complaints during the first half of this year is higher than the first half of 2019, when there were 1,528 rat complaints in Queens.

Certain neighborhoods have seen a big uptick in rat complaints over the Jan. 1 — June 30 period compared to 2020, 311 data shows.

For instance, the greater Ridgewood area (11358) saw a huge rise in rat complaints year over year. Rat complaints more than doubled in the ZIP code, which also had the highest number of rat complaints in Queens both in 2020 and 2021.

There were 221 rat complaints in Ridgewood during the first six months of 2021 compared to 103 complaints during the first six months of 2020, according to 311 data.

Woodside (11377), the ZIP code with the second highest rodent complaints in Queens, also saw a jump. Residents of the neighborhood filed 180 rat complaints with 311 during the first half of this year, compared to 89 times during the first half of 2020.

The number of rat complaints has also increased in the section of Astoria represented by the ZIP code 11105. There were 106 complaints filed with 311 during the first six months of 2021, up from just 66 during the first six months of 2020. The ZIP code comes in third for the most rat complaints in Queens this year.

Corona (11368) and Briarwood (11435) had the borough’s fourth and fifth most rat complaints during the first half of the year respectively.

Both neighborhoods experienced an uptick in rodent complaints as well. There were 86 rat complaints in Corona during the first half of this year — up from 58 for the same period in 2020. In Briarwood, there were 81 rat complaints— up from 43.

There should be no doubt why rats are proliferating in the world's borough and the blame lies with the restaurant shanties taking up parking and sidewalk spaces. But I think the reason for the rodent rise in Briarwood is a combination of the highway modernization by the van wyck expressway and the construction site of the Kew Gardens tower jail nearby has become a nice complex for rats to burrow and breed.

Unlicensed drunk driving murderer jumps bail

From CBS2:

Queens prosecutors are searching for an accused drunk driver who was arrested for killing a Lyft driver but jumped bail.

The victim’s grief-stricken wife is pleading with the suspect to turn himself in.

Police say just before 4 a.m. on Sunday, June 13, 47-year-old [Mohammed] Hossain was taking home a passenger in Maspeth, Queens, when 22-year-old Erik Chimborazo, of Brooklyn, T-boned Hossain’s SUV, killing the Lyft driver, a father of three.

Police arrested Chimborazo, who prosecutors say was unlicensed, uninsured and drunk when he ran a red light, plowing his black SUV into Hossain’s Toyota RAV4.

He was released on $10,000 bail.

The Queens district attorney’s office says the court ordered Chimborazo to surrender his passport from Ecuador.

When he didn’t show up for court Tuesday, a judge issued a warrant for his arrest.

Wednesday, July 28, 2021

Delusional Adams wants to keep Steve Banks

Let's see the results of Steve Banks' DHS leadership. Taken outside the "Cooper Rapid Rehousing Center" in Glendale. Last year, DHS told us, "The shelter will serve 200 single men experiencing homelessness who are currently employed or actively seeking employment."

Do these guys look employable?
Great job, Steve!

Meanwhile, Patch is busy looking for "experts" to call Douglaston residents "NIMBY" for not wanting a shelter in their neighborhood. Gee, I can't imagine why they'd be opposed.

The Van Sicklen Horror


NY Post

A human skull was found outside a Queens home Monday morning, police said.

The remains were located in front of 108-16 Pine Grove St. in Jamaica around 9:30 a.m., police said.

The city’s medical examiner responded and determined that the remains were human and had no sign of trauma, police sources said.

There were no further details immediately available.

  Impunity City

 It’s not everyday the NYPD reports a skull lying on the sidewalk in a residential area. But in the obviously click bait generating article (which is not even truncated here and the Post used a google map crop for the lede photo), the home the NY Post is referring is an abandoned zombie house that was cited for a full vacate order by the D.O.B. following a fire and from the looks of it, it might have been abandoned even longer before that incident.

So might as well provide some further details the NYPD couldn’t provide (or wouldn’t).

Let’s enhance…



Perusing the D.O.B. files, not much is known about the prior or even current owner of this blighted property, but this home is steeped in Queens history. It was built and owned nearly a century ago by Abraham Van Sicklen, whose father was a New York supreme court justice who also owned a famous mansion in Jamaica and grandson of a renowned farmer in Brooklyn.

LIC luxury public housing tower that's spooning the clock tower is complete



 It looks like construction is coming to a close on Sven, a 762-foot-tall skyscraper at 29-37 41st Avenue and the second-tallest building in Long Island City, Queens. Also known as Queens Plaza Park, the 67-story tower is designed by Handel Architects for The Durst Organization and will yield 958 rental units with interiors designed by Selldorf Architects, including 300 units set aside as affordable housing. Hunter Roberts is the general contractor and Jaros, Baum & Bolles Engineering administered the mechanical systems for the project, which is bound by Northern Boulevard to the east, Queens Plaza North and Dutch Kills Green to the south, and 41st Avenue to the west.

Since our last update in April, the exterior hoist has been fully disassembled from the flat western elevation and the glass fa├žade panels have filled in the exposed gap. Only some minor work remains to be completed around the ground level.

 The most notable aspect of the skyscraper’s design is its dual-concave shape, and its sweeping curve is most prominent when viewed from below in the park space that makes up Dutch Kills Green.

Tuesday, July 27, 2021

Tenants and landlords left wanting for rent relief

NY Daily News

Getting injured during the height of the COVID-19 crisis was just one of many hardships Fernando Livingston faced when he found himself out of work last year and, even worse, falling behind on rent.

The 68-year-old former security guard has been living on food stamps and workers’ compensation since he got pinned under a gate for nearly an hour while on the job. The resulting spinal injury makes it hard for him to walk.

 The 68-year-old former security guard has been living on food stamps and workers’ compensation since he got pinned under a gate for nearly an hour while on the job. The resulting spinal injury makes it hard for him to walk.

The prospect of a fund that could cover months of back rent buoyed the Brooklyn man’s hopes and initially assuaged his fears of becoming homeless as he applied for the state-run Emergency Rental Assistance Program in early June.

Nearly seven weeks later, and now behind another month’s rent, Livingston and thousands of others have received no response from the state despite promises that $2.3 billion set aside for rental assistance would soon begin flowing.

“I’ve never been homeless before. I’ve never really had problems with rent before,” he told the Daily News. “I’m scared. I’m not going to tell you no lie. I can’t sleep at night thinking of what’s next, what’s going to happen.”

A banner asking Gov. Cuomo to cancel rent hangs on a building on Madison St. in Brooklyn.

Livingston, who emigrated to the U.S. from Panama and served in the military for six years, owes his Flatbush landlord more than $10,000.

“If this thing doesn’t work out, I don’t know what’s going to happen,” he said. “I’m just hoping and praying this works out.”

Coreena Popowitch is in a similar situation.

The 45-year-old has been unemployed since the start of the pandemic. She also applied for rental assistance through the state.

“I don’t know what’s going on. I really wish that they let us know,” she said. “It’s frustrating. It’s been pretty much just silence.”

Popowitch says she has paid off some of her Bronx rent but still owes her landlord more than $8,000.

The pair are examples of the more than 160,000 New Yorkers who face a frustrating and byzantine application process with the Emergency Rental Assistance Program that has left them with little patience.

The $2.3 billion program was made possible by federal cash set aside in the state budget with the understanding that it would be up and running in time to help struggling New Yorkers before the state’s eviction moratorium expires at the end of August.

The application process didn’t launch until the first week of June, despite promises from Gov. Cuomo and administration officials to get it online earlier.

Making matters worse, the web application portal has been riddled with technical glitches.

Applicants have complained that submissions must be completed in one sitting and can’t be saved and have reported problems uploading documents and other issues.

Landlords are also anxious about the slow relief rollout.

Anthony Sarro, a small-scale residential and commercial landlord who owns one building in Williamsburg, Brooklyn and another in Forest Hills, Queens, said the eviction ban has caused major headaches after one of his tenants refused to pay rent for almost a year and then vanished.

“He stayed on for 11 months and told me, ‘You can’t evict me,’” Sarro said. “Now he has disappeared and left the apartment completely destroyed. There were cocaine bags all over. I think he lost his job, and now he has disappeared.”

Sarro says he’s out more than $100,000 and had to let some employees go because of the financial stress caused by the deserter and giving a few tenants breaks on rent during the worst of the pandemic.

He was initially hopeful that the rental assistance program could help both him and at least two of his tenants who he knows have applied. But the slow process is just making matters worse in the short term, he said.

“It sort of inspires people not to pay rent,” he said. “What the tenants are doing is that they’re putting themselves in arrears, even though they may be able to pay at least some of their rent because why wouldn’t they? If they can get the city to cover their arrears, why would they try to pay them? It’s hurting me rather than helping me at this point. It’s a little bit egregious.”

An eviction notice.


Blaz makes mandatory shots order for city workers in September



Queens Post

All 300,000 city workers will need to be vaccinated against COVID-19 or adhere to weekly testing under a new mandate by mid September, Mayor Bill de Blasio announced Monday.

The city will require all municipal workers to be vaccinated by Sept. 13 — the first day of public school — or be subjected to testing for the virus each week.

De Blasio announced the new mandate as COVID-19 cases are rising citywide due to the highly contagious delta variant.

“We all know the delta variant has thrown us a curveball and we are really really focused on fighting the delta variant,” he said Monday morning.

Police officers, firefighters, teachers, correction officers along with previously announced healthcare workers will be subject to the vaccine or testing mandate.

Public hospital workers and the City Department of Health staff will have an earlier deadline, Aug. 2., to get vaccinated by. Weekly testing will commence that day for such workers who are unvaccinated.

Furthermore, starting Aug. 16, city employees who work in congregate, residential settings such as homeless shelters will need to be vaccinated or tested weekly.

All other city workers, including those who work in offices, will be subject to the Sept. 13 deadline.

“We’re going to keep … adding additional measures as needed — mandates and strong measures whenever needed to fight the delta variant,” de Blasio said. “The number one way to fight it is to get vaccinated.”

He also announced that the city will be doubling down on mask use for unvaccinated city staffers starting Monday, Aug 2. All unvaccinated workers will be required to wear a mask at their workplace at all times while indoors.

“If a city government employee does not wear a mask indoors and they’re unvaccinated, there will unfortunately have to be consequences,” de Blasio said.

The mayor also urged private employers to follow suite in requiring vaccines or weekly testing.

For the love of Dave: Entertainerpreneur soliciting funds for lesbian bar

 Dave's Lesbian Bar 

Time Out

Queens has exactly zero lesbian bars, and one local lesbian is trying to change that.

Kristin Dausch, a performer, nanny and aspiring entrepreneur who has lived in Astoria for over 12 years wanted to bring a lesbian bar to her neighborhood: Dave's Lesbian Bar. After running a local predominantly queer open mic for over year years, and seeing how the community came together for the event, Dausch thought to herself, "Oh wow, this would be great if I could do this every day." Prior to the pandemic, Dausch had Broadway aspirations, but once the idea for Dave's struck earlier this year, they wanted to see if they could get community support to make it happen. 

 "Since I've put it out in the world, I've received nothing but green lights, a hard and fast, 'Yes, we need this,'" Dausch said. They very much want Dave's to be in the neighborhood they lived in for over a decade, "built by the community, for the community." In June, Dausch launched a GoFundMe, seeking $70,000 to open Dave's. So far, the project has raised almost $6000, with several people offering support with social media, video editing and more skills to help open Dave's. 

"Whatever your strengths are, if you want to lend them to this space, they're welcome," Dausch said. "If everybody gives a little bit, and I give everything I've got, which is a whole lot, we're going to make this thing happen." They envision Dave's as a queer-centric mutual aid hub by day, and lesbian bar by night. The space can be used for a community fridge, a drop-off site for the Astoria Food Pantry, a free store, a queer rolling library, and more. "We're investing in community instead of this individualistic mindset," Dausch said, noting the pandemic's mutual aid efforts inspired the vision for Dave's. 

Astoria isn't completely without queer venues: Icon, a club, hosts parties, while Albatross, which was formerly a lesbian bar, offers a divey space perfect for group hangs and drag shows. But with only two lesbian bars remaining in New York City, both in Manhattan (Cubbyhole and Henrietta Hudson), Dave's will certainly fill a void. 

Dave's first pop-up will be on Saturday, July 24, starting at 2pm and raging as late as possible. The bar will be outdoors, thanks to an open street permit, adjacent to Heart of Gold, a casual beer bar at 31st Ave. and 37th St. in Astoria. The first event will feature queer haircuts by Hairrari, live music by seven "dyke-led" bands, a tattooing station and more. Dyke Beer will be served, along with more drinks for sale. A suggested donation will also be requested at the door. The business will be doing pop-ups monthly until a full-time space is secured.

NYCHA community rejects de Blasio's blueprint for displacement

Queens Eagle

New York City Housing Authority residents and advocates released a letter Monday in opposition to a scheduled public comment period on a plan to reform NYCHA that the groups say has already been shut down by the community.

The public comment period for the Draft Significant Amendment is slated to open July 27, but advocates say that the proposed plan is based on the Blueprint Plan, which was withdrawn following opposition. The groups added that the public comment period was rushed and that residents are largely unaware of the details of the plan or now face barriers to participating in the hearing.

“It is disrespectful to NYCHA tenants and stakeholders, and does not show a faithful or genuine interest in tenant feedback or democratic participation by NYCHA,” organizers wrote.

The letter was signed by Save Section 9, Justice For All Coalition CAAAV Organizing Asian Communities, Sunrise NYC, Ojala Threads Inc., New York Communities for Change, Holmes-Isaac Coalition, Gun Hill Houses, St. Mary's Park Houses E.Roosevelt Resident Council and Brooklyn West Council of Presidents.

Save Section 9 Co-lead organizer Ramona Ferreyra, a resident of Mitchel Houses in the Bronx, said that organizers only heard about the hearing after learning of an email sent to local elected officials “so the average tenant doesn't know.”

“It's a sham,” she said. “For the last year we have made it clear we do not support Blueprint.”

“When the plan was born… we communicated to the federal monitor that we would not accept it; obviously the federal monitor and NYCHA leadership continued to ignore tenants and undermine our ability to participate in what should be a democratic process,” Ferreyra added. “They're ignoring the process, ignoring our right to participate in the process and most infuriating is that since December at every stage of the plan we said no.”

In addition to alleging limited access for technologically-challenged residents who would otherwise participate, they say that instead of drawing a plan that faced significant opposition, the housing authority should prioritize resident input — which they have allegedly failed to do.

Monday, July 26, 2021

NYC's Night Parliament looking to legalize public drunkenness


 NY Post

Bar? None!

New Yorkers would be free to openly drink their cares away in public areas under a new proposal by the city’s Nightlife Advisory Board — but residents near booze-soaked Washington Square Park are already feeling green around the gills at the thought.

In a report issued last week, the NAB — established by Mayor Bill de Blasio in 2017 — offered 15 recommendations on how to boost New York’s nightlife and maintain good relationships between hot spots and their residential neighbors.

Among the NAB’s suggestions, under a section labeled “Nightlife Beyond Bars and Clubs,” was taking the party outside.

“New Yorkers need affordable options for all kinds of nightlife,” the proposal says. “In most global cities people can gather informally in squares and parks to drink with friends and even dance to the rhythm of impromptu concerts.

“Drinking in the public space and dancing anywhere in the city should be regulated but not prohibited.”

But locals near Manhattan’s Washington Square Park — where lawlessness including public drinking has reigned in recent months, garnering no more than a shrug from de Blasio — gave a thumb’s down to the idea.

 “I’m all for people to have a place to gather, but I’m not in favor of [the NAB proposal],” said Carol Meylan, a social worker and Greenwich Village resident. “Behavior gets unruly and reckless.

“I think there would be more violence,” added Meylan, 62. “We already witnessed people getting into fights, a lot of broken glass, a lot of behavior where crowds can’t be managed that well.”

Al Rosario, a doorman of Meylan’s park-adjacent building, said he’s seen booze turn the crowds in the green space belligerent.

“Even when they have good music and entertainment, once these people are drinking, they don’t want to leave, they don’t want to stop,” said Rosario, 60. “It would be so hard to control. … You’re only going to start a fire here.”

de Blasio's D.O.B. enables illegal demolition of house


 Before the first fireworks launched on the Fourth of July, booms and bangs were already reverberating around a residential block near Prospect Park.

That morning, despite a city order halting construction work, a small demolition crew revved up a backhoe and began ripping apart what had once been a three-story house at 1935 Bedford Ave. in Prospect Lefferts Gardens, alarming local residents.

“Everyone heard a huge crash,” said Cal Hadley, who lives adjacent to the property on Fenimore Street. “We all looked out the window, thought there was an explosion.”

For years, Hadley and a group of concerned neighbors have complained to city agencies and local politicians about what they asserted were unauthorized demolition, unsafe conditions and trash dumping at the site and a property next door at 1931 Bedford Ave.

The city Department of Environmental Protection found asbestos at the site in 2018 — and last year fined the owner more than $68,000 for multiple violations of asbestos-removal safety rules. While DEP certified the site asbestos-free as of this March, locals, especially many who live in a neighboring co-op and on Fenimore Street, fear they’re inhaling toxic particles kicked up by demolition. 

Bedford Holdings JV, LLC, an entity associated with developer Gabriel Sakaff, purchased the side-by-side lots on the Bedford Avenue block in 2017. Where two homes once stood, only half of one remained until Wednesday, its backside gutted and debris strewn across the lots.

Sakaff intends to build a seven-story residential building with at least 39 apartments and a community facility, city records show. THE CITY could not reach Sakaff at any of the phone numbers or emails provided on applications his firm submitted to the city Department of Buildings.

 ince work on the property began years ago, residents of the neighboring co-op in the fast-gentrifying neighborhood have complained about debris blowing into their homes. “I can’t get fresh air because I have to keep my window closed,” Olga Baly-Noel, who’s lived in the co-op for more than 20 years, recently told THE CITY.

During the clamor on July 4, residents called 911. Several agencies, including the NYPD, FDNY and DOB’s emergency response team, arrived and forced demolition to stop. DOB officials issued a $12,500 fine to Bedford Holdings for violating city orders.

After city officials left, a man neighbors identified as Sakaff began “raving up and down the sidewalk” and shouting obscenities, said Leif McIlwaine, a co-op resident. A neighbor, James Parks, recorded a video showing a confrontation between the man and McIlwaine. In another, the man blows a kiss into the camera before storming off down the street. THE CITY reviewed the footage.

The demolition crew returned the next day to tear down the home. Residents confronted and filmed the workers, who left before the authorities arrived. The DOB issued several more fines to the property owner on July 6, city records show.

On the night of July 14, a worker used a hacksaw to remove a lock that FDNY placed on a fence surrounding the property, according to local residents who filmed the incident and called the police. That heightened local concerns about demolition work.

A DOB spokesperson initially told THE CITY that demolition work couldn’t proceed until the owner obtained proper permits, contractors produced an engineering report on the site’s conditions and remedied unsafe conditions, and the DOB inspected the site.

Now, city officials are reversing course on their stop-work order

Sunday, July 25, 2021

Seventh Avenue Holdout


NY Post

 Steve Roth, the 80-year-old billionaire real estate mogul, has a dream.

With the blessing of Gov. Andrew Cuomo, he wants to raze much of the area around Penn Station and put up 10 skyscrapers.

But 92-year-old Arnold Gumowitz is ready to spoil the relative whippersnapper’s hopes.

The real-estate mogul owns 421 Seventh Avenue, an office building across from Madison Square Garden that will need to be demolished if Roth’s controversial glass and steel supertalls are to happen.

But Gumowitz doesn’t want to sell the 15-story structure that he bought 43 years ago. It’s where he runs his commercial real estate empire, and where he still comes to work with his son every day.

He also definitely doesn’t want it demolished by eminent domain, a possibility he just found out about recently when he saw plans for the project with a drawing of a roughly 80-story tower in place of his own building.

“I look for fairness but when someone attacks me, I respond,” Gumowitz told The Post. “This is a generational piece of property. This is also a piece of real New York. I also hate to see this area become another impersonal Hudson Yards with nothing but tall buildings and no sunlight.”

Because the state declared the area “blighted” a year ago, Roth’s Vornado Realty and the Empire State Development Corp (ESD) — the state agency directing the project for Cuomo — have the right to tear down certain blocks in the designated area. At least 200 people will lose their homes and 9,000 employees will be out of work if the project goes ahead.

Gumowitz’ building sits at a critical spot for the planned Empire Station project: it’s in an area where the state wants to build a subway entrance and enlarge the sidewalk.

State officials, while cagey about whether they’d take Gumowitz’s building by eminent domain, indicated in a recent community board hearing on the issue that it’s a card they could play if they had to.

But to employ eminent domain, the ESD’s plan would have to undergo another review process, and a public hearing, said an official who did not want to be named.

They could also acquire the building through a negotiated sale.

Good luck with that, said Evan Cooper, who has worked for AAG Management, Gumowitz’s real estate management company, for 23 years.

“Roth and this project are coming at Arnold like a speeding train,” Cooper said. “But what they don’t realize is that Arnold is the immovable object.”

Saturday, July 24, 2021

Middle Village man savagely beaten down by gang of teenagers by Juniper Park



 NY Post

 This is the moment a vicious teen mob beats up a man walking his dog in a Queens park, disturbing new video shows.

The sickening attack happened at around 9:55 p.m. Friday in Juniper Valley Park in Middle Village, according to police.

At least 100 teens were hanging out in the park — drinking, smoking and playing loud music when the man was attacked, according to GOP mayoral candidate Curtis Sliwa, the founder of the Guardian Angels who was alerted to the incident by residents who he said are now asking his group to step up patrols there.

The young mob can be seen closing in on the victim, who puts up his dukes as his dog barks in protest to protect its master.

“Give him a shot! Give him a shot! Give him a shot!” one teen implores, the terrifying video shows.

“Yo, what the f–k!” shouts a stunned onlooker as the unidentified victim is pummeled on the pavement.

Deadbeat Wiley


NY Post

 As a mayoral candidate, Maya Wiley famously said she’s “been black all my life” — but that’s cold comfort to her failed campaign’s unpaid vendors, who are owed nearly $1 million, including a black-owned business that now has to lay off employees.

“This could break my business,” the vendor told The Post, speaking this week on condition of anonymity because he signed a contract with the campaign that bars him from speaking to the media.

“That was revenue I was waiting for to be able to pay my staff. It means I have to make some cutting decisions when it comes to staff,” he said about his five-figure invoice.

The business owner said he’s looking at two to three layoffs.

Wiley owes 28 individuals and companies a combined $999,664.51, including over $500,000 to GPS Impact, a Des Moines, Iowa-based political communications company for ads and fundraising; $40,320 to Bumperactive, an Austin, TX-based company for campaign merchandise; and $211 to the United States Postal Service for postage and a P.O. box rental, according to Campaign Finance Board records. 

She was also $4,000 in debt to Shams DaBaron, a formerly homeless man now living in a Harlem apartment, for “policy and field” work but paid him on July 13 — a day after the CFB filing was due, according to her spokesman Eric Koch.

DaBaron told The Post he was unbothered by the late payment.

“I’m Maya for life. I do what I do for the people that’s what matters. I don’t it for the money,” he said.

But another vendor, a consultant who’s waiting on a significant sum, called Wiley’s million-dollar campaign debt “straight up malpractice” on the part of her campaign managers.

“Some debt is OK,” the vendor said. “It’s not OK to owe $1 million. For me, I was more disappointed than anything else because it makes her look bad. This is obviously a worst-case scenario.” 

Wiley couldn't find these contractors in the city she was trying to run? 


Mayor Big Slow is the reason the sidewalks are jammed with unlicensed vendors 

NY Post


Does Bill de Blasio ever meet a deadline?

The infamously tardy mayor is over three months late appointing members to an advisory board established to review street vendor activity just as illegal peddlers have taken over whole sections of The Bronx, Manhattan and Queens.

A law the City Council passed in March stripping the NYPD of enforcement over street vendors required Mayor de Blasio and Speaker Corey Johnson to appoint a combined 10 members to the Street Vendor Advisory Board by April 21.

While Johnson has seated his six appointees, de Blasio has yet to choose his four representatives.

“It just goes to show you that they have no real care or sense of urgency in doing this,” said Jeff Garcia, head of the New York State Latino Restaurant, Bar and Lounge Association.

The board is supposed to review state and local laws related to street hawkers, including assuring that they’re at least 20 feet from building entrances— a rule is routinely broken by peddlers who crowd the sidewalks along Fordham Road in The Bronx, Main Street in Flushing, Queens and Canal Street in Lower Manhattan.

Friday, July 23, 2021

Queens rave promoter tells Greenwich Village residents to get out of their town.


NY Post

A Greenwich Village community board meeting descended into chaos Wednesday night as anti-cop protesters repeatedly yelled at local officials and NYPD officers — at one point calling the commander of the local police precinct “a racist piece of s—t.” 

The unruly attendees argued with officials and older local residents about whether cops should crack down on late-night wild parties inside Washington Square Park at the Community Board 2 meeting, which was promoted by police oversight activists.

A majority of participants were rowdy and disruptive as they accused cops of targeting minorities and using excessive tactics to enforce a midnight curfew in the park.

NYPD Capt. Stephen Spataro, the commanding officer of the 6th Precinct, was called a “racist piece of s—t” who will “go to hell,” as protesters shouted at a joint panel of local officials comprised of CB2 representatives from the Parks and Waterfront Committee and Human Services Committee.

David “Shaman” Ortiz, 28, who credited himself with starting the recent wave of parties and unlicensed boxing matches in the park, said he and fellow members of the “Be Outside Crew” are providing a community service.

“What we do is we amplify the sound and the communication of the community that’s already been there in Washington Square Park for forever,” Ortiz said.

“This park has been around for decades before any of you have even been alive. Artists have been flocking there for centuries. This is a place of community. This is a place to be, a place of welcome,” Ortiz said.

 And yes, I was arrested for this. And yes, just three days ago my case was dismissed for being arrested for amplified sound. Wanna know why? ‘Cuz it’s bull,” he added.

At one point during the chaotic meeting, Ortiz ran up to a table where panel members were seated and yelled in the officials’ faces.

“I know I’m out of turn, according to the Bluebook rules, but I just found what you did to be very intimidating, coming straight at me. I did not appreciate that and I thought it was incredibly rude and intimidating and I just wanted you to know that,” Georgia Silvera Seamans, of the Parks/Waterfront Committee, said after Ortiz charged up to the panel.

Another thing about the WSP Shaman...

Impunity City

 Then there is the issue of Washington Square Park, which as become a quasi-autonomous zone which daily open air drug abuse  and nightly relentless noise pollution from all-night DJ ragers and yelling from transient denizens of the greenpace loitering past the parks closing, under the watchful eyes of de Blasio’s NYPD, who are clearly under orders to maintain their surprisingly tolerant behavior despite demands by residents for them to take action and despite the blowback from their collective inaction resulting in slashings and assaults in the vicinity.

Which makes it a wonder why the cops have been standing down so long from enforcing the normal curfew and allowing these baccanalias and calamitous events to continue. Turns out that the man who kneeled along with the former Chief Monahan for de Blasio’s NYPD’s gaslighting solidarity photo op for the George Floyd/Black Lives Matter movement is David “Shaman” Ortiz, who just happens to promoter of the WSPAZ DJ ragers and also for illegal unsanctioned public boxing matches that are held right by the Arch the cops are protecting. And it’s quite clear that they are protecting Promoter Ortiz party plans as well, which gives the impression that this guy has been giving de facto permission and permits in the park as part of the city’s recovery for all of us, giving de Blasio the optics to declare the Summer of NYC is off to a rousing successful start. Maybe that’s why the Blaz is confident that the violence and noise in WSP will take a natural course back to normalcy.

Ortiz has not been shy about this symmetry either nor his contempt for the residents of this district and he can’t help himself from talking shit about it too.

“This is my response to the residents, If you have an issue with amplified sound and you live in the downtown area, you live in the Washington Square Park area, then you should move.”

 Might as well leave this here too.


 After police instituted a controversial curfew at Washington Square Park on Memorial Day Weekend, Mayor Bill de Blasio hailed the “proactive” measure to tackle residents’ concerns about rowdiness at the iconic Greenwich Village park.

But his administration had received scores of complaints about wild partying, fireworks and other activities there at least as early as April, records obtained by THE CITY under New York’s Freedom of Information Law show.

From April 1 to June 15, locals used 311 — via web, text and phone calls — to file more than 190 service requests about the 10-acre public park. Some pleaded for the city to close the Manhattan oasis, lamenting lost sleep and peace.

“Deafening amplification of singing and music [...] near the fountain that can be heard for blocks around,” one person wrote at 10:43 p.m. on April 6, a Tuesday. “This singing has been stopped many times by the 6th precinct but keeps returning when the police leave.”

Following up at 1:39 a.m., the person wrote: “Please Close the Park! Please close the Park!”

The 311 reports illuminate the decision to set the weekend curfew and heavily police the park as complaints earned widespread media attention. The agency that oversees 311 redacted people’s names, but context clues indicate some individuals likely submitted multiple requests.

Cuomo's inconvenient LGA choo choo has been approved 


 After years of discussions, a new—and controversial—$2.1 billion AirTrain will be built, connecting LaGuardia Airport with the LIRR and 7 train stations at Mets-Willets Point in eastern Queens.

The Federal Aviation Association approved the plan on Tuesday, giving the Port Authority permission to "proceed with its proposal to construct a rail system to provide a reliable transit option for air travelers and employees at LGA." The FAA also noted it held two virtual public workshops and three virtual public hearings last September, and that 18 "different federal, state and local agencies have provided input throughout the Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) process based on their expertise and authorities." (You can see the Final EIS here.)

Governor Andrew Cuomo called the plan a "reliable, efficient, and affordable transit connector worthy of its destination." He noted that years of work has led to this moment and that now, "as we come out of the COVID crisis, our state and our country have a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to invest in a resilient, transformative, and interconnected future, and today's announcement is a testament to our 'all aboard' commitment to seizing it, in partnership with the Biden administration and Secretary Buttigieg."

While a mass transit option to LaGuardia has long been a goal, critics questioned Cuomo's particular plan because it actually takes travelers past the airport. In 2015, The Transport Politic created a map showing the routes of various connector plans and suggested that travel times actually increased with this plan.

Thursday, July 22, 2021

Delta Blazlooza 

NY Daily News

Hizzoner is in the mood for a party — COVID-19 be damned.

Mayor de Blasio announced Thursday that the city will host five large-scale concerts next month and urged people from near and far to flock to the Big Apple for the “unforgettable” events — even though New York is in the midst of a troubling uptick in coronavirus cases due to the delta variant.

The five free concerts, one in each borough, will take place during the week starting Aug. 16, culminating in a previously announced Aug. 21 gig on the Great Lawn in Central Park, because “we got to celebrate our recovery,” de Blasio said at City Hall.

“I am issuing a FOMO alert,” he said, using the “Fear of Missing Out” acronym popular with younger generations. “Unless you want to spend the rest of your life saying, ‘oh my god I missed it,’ you should get to New York City in the month of August, where amazing things will be happening.”

The Aug. 21 performance will feature Bruce Springsteen, Paul Simon and Jennifer Hudson, among others. Acts for the other four shows are forthcoming, as well as ticket details, but these are the basics:

  • Aug. 16: Orchard Beach, the Bronx
  • Aug. 17: Richmond County Bank Park, Staten Island
  • Aug. 19: Brooklyn Army Terminal, Brooklyn
  • Aug. 20: Forest Hills Stadium, Queens

The party-hungry mayor compared the bashes to the legendary Woodstock festival of 1969.

“I’ve talked to people who missed Woodstock. My own oldest brother could’ve gone to Woodstock,” he said. “Don’t let that FOMO thing happen to you. This is going to be amazing.”

But underpinning the plans for the party week of the century is New York’s steady rise in coronavirus infections.

The city’s test positivity rate — which provides a glimpse of COVID’s pervasiveness — cracked 2% for the first time in over two months Thursday, with 644 new infections and 98 new hospitalizations reported by the Health Department.

For context, the city last year operated under the assumption that the pandemic was under control only when daily reported infections did not exceed 550.

Still, de Blasio has rejected calls from a growing chorus of public health experts and lawmakers to reinstate indoor mask mandates and slow down other relaxations of pandemic restrictions.

Instead, the mayor has argued the focus should be squarely on jacking up vaccination rates — a sentiment he reiterated when asked by the Daily News during Thursday’s briefing if he’s sending a dangerous message by calling for a pilgrimage to the city for next month’s “homecoming week” concerts.

“If they think the solution is for everyone to go home and not participate in recovery and allow ourselves to slip backwards into the world we were in — yeah, if that’s an option people want, I want to see that they have their head examined,” he said. “I mean this is crazy, get vaccinated ... We’re not going to cower.”

The Blaz gives ultimatum to health workers



Starting next month, Mayor Bill de Blasio officially announced Wednesday, all New York City health care employees will be required to get the COVID-19 vaccine or face mandatory weekly testing — and even possible suspension from their job.

The aggressive new COVID safety requirement begins on Monday, Aug. 2 and applies to all NYC Health and Hospitals staff and Department of Health clinical workers. Those who fail to follow the mandate will be subject to “suspension without pay,” the mayor said during his Wednesday morning press conference. 

For de Blasio, it comes down to one thing: halting the spread of the Delta variant, a far more contagious and potent version of COVID-19.

“This is about keeping people safe and stopping the Delta variant. If we want to beat COVID once and for all, we have to stop the Delta variant,” de Blasio said. 

According to City Health Commissioner Dr. Dave Chokshi, the mandate applies to “all of our clinic-based staff” which includes, nurses, doctors, social workers, custodians and registrars.

Employees who are vaccinated must show a proof of vaccination and that at any time, health care employees can decide they want to get the shot, and will no longer be required to get weekly testing. 

“The simple fact is that if you’re vaccinated, virtually every activity is safer,” Chokshi said. “Because of the Delta variant, increasingly, the choice is between infection or vaccination and that can mean the difference between life and death. Vaccination has been and continues to be the single most important precaution we can take to interact with the public and our colleagues.” 

He added that the plan for the weeks ahead is to extend this requirement to “additional Health Department staff” beyond the clinic staff.


5 WTC needs to make it 100 



 Two decades after Sept. 11, 2001, the last re-building block of the World Trade Center is coming together.

A proposal for a 900-foot residential skyscraper on “Site 5”, formerly home to the Deutsche Bank Building, is in the works. It will include 1,325 apartments, a quarter of which will be so-called affordable, or rented below market rate.

But as the 20th anniversary of the attacks arrives, some locals are pushing for something different: Why not make the building a place where survivors and their families can live, with all of the units set at income-adjusted, affordable rents?

To Mariama James, a longtime downtown resident who said she struggles with 9/11-related health issues and lost her father to a related cancer, taking that course is the right thing to do.

It would represent a recognition of the residents who made Lower Manhattan a “phenomenal” place to live after the attacks, she said.

“It’s the people who were asked to stay here, not to leave, and to live, basically, through a war zone — to move here in the aftermath of that, or to return to their homes that had been destroyed, and rebuild them. We did it. You asked, and we did it,” she said. “And there’s been no compensation for that. There’s been no thanks.”

James is a co-founder of a new coalition of Lower Manhattan residents and housing advocates rallying to push multiple public agencies and two mega-developers, Brookfield Properties and Silverstein Properties, to change course on the Site 5 plan. 

 The building is set to be the first residential property within the downtown complex, and the last major site to be redeveloped there since the 2001 attacks.

 The current plan for the site calls for about 995 market-rate apartments and 330 affordable-housing units, also known as income-restricted apartments because they are rented to families within specific household earning categories.

The affordable units will be reserved for families making up to 50% of the area median income. With a local AMI of $107,400, a three-person family making only about $53,000 annually could secure a spot in the tower.