Thursday, January 27, 2022

Queens courthouse jail is in atrocious condition

NY Daily News  

Working conditions at the Queens Criminal Court complex’s detention center are so disgusting, correction officers have complained to state and federal workplace oversight agencies.

Rats scurry in the kitchen, roaches crawl in the locker room, and flies hover over hopelessly backed-up toilets, say filings with the state Public Employee Safety and Health Bureau and the federal Occupational Safety and Health Administration.

“The appalling conditions in the Queens courts are consistent with the decaying infrastructure at our jail facilities,” said Benny Boscio, president of the Correction Officers’ Benevolent Association.

Photos obtained by the Daily News show an overflowing toilet, ripped-up flooring stained with water from leaks, peeling paint, black mold creeping up the walls, a trashed locker room, and a disheveled food storage area.

As if working conditions weren’t bad enough, the Correction Department’s staffing crisis has cut the number of officers regularly working at the Queens Detention Center in Kew Gardens.

Roughly 40 officers out of the center’s detachment of 173 were moved to Rikers Island, and an additional 12 officers have retired since May 2021, correction sources said.

On top of that, the Correction Department has been constantly “redeploying” or temporarily moving officers to Rikers from the Queens courts on a spot basis, further reducing available staff.

The complaint alleges a security entry gate in the intake area has been broken for months, forcing officers to leave the gate unsecured.

The complaint to state officials describes food being stored improperly, broken laundry machines and cleaning equipment, and a filthy kitchen and rest rooms. Devices that filter air and drinking water for the detainees have been broken for months, the complaint said.

A factor in keeping the facility clean is that those jobs are usually done by detainees from Rikers — but there hasn’t been such a work detail in months, said Correction Department sources.

The situation has slowed down court operations by delaying the production of detainees at court hearings, said the sources.


A sign of mindless D.O.T. incompetence

 DOT sign gives name of wrong borough president. 

NY Post

The Bronx got burned by a Department of Transportation mistake that listed the name of a Queens official on a welcome sign, sparking a jokey inter-borough beef.

A newly installed “Welcome to the Bronx” sign on the Hutchinson River Parkway coming off the Whitestone Bridge wrongly listed Queens Borough President Donovan Richards instead of the Bronx’s BP Vanessa Gibson.

Gibson, who just took office this month, tweeted “we’re trying” at the DOT Wednesday.

“I know it’s been a rough couple of weeks in the Bronx, but y’all didn’t have to get rid of me already,” she said.

Richards then jumped on the error, using the opportunity to flash some Queens swagger over the Boogie Down.

“Being the BP of by far the best borough in NYC comes with an understanding that everyone always has #Queens on their mind. It’s natural,” Richards posted in response to a NY1 reporter who tweeted about the typo. “But the Bronx and @bronxbp @Vanessalgibson deserve their due as well so I’ll happily cede this space and work with DOT to ensure that happens.”

Wednesday, January 26, 2022

The doors of safety perception


 Four years before the conflagration that claimed the lives of 17 New Yorkers at the Twin Parks apartments in The Bronx, a devastating blaze tore through another building in the borough under remarkably similar circumstances.

On a frigid night shortly after Christmas 2017, fire broke out in the kitchen of a first floor apartment at 2363 Prospect Ave. in Belmont. Within minutes, thick black smoke spread throughout the building, and when it was over, 13 tenants had perished, including an infant. Six firefighters were injured.

In both the Twin Parks and Prospect Avenue fires, the death toll was magnified by a simple but deadly flaw: smoke and flame caused by a fire in a single apartment rocketed throughout both buildings after doors remained open.

An open door also fanned the flames in a blaze that consumed a Jackson Heights apartment building, leaving dozens of families homeless.

Today despite a repeated cycle of outrage and reform — including tougher penalties against landlords following the Belmont tragedy — thousands of self-closing doors that do not function properly still fill New York City, fully known to housing and fire officials.

Those malfunctioning doors are especially prevalent in lower-income neighborhoods dense with apartment buildings, an analysis by THE CITY of city records has found.

Thousands of violations remain unresolved for either non-functioning or non-existent self-closing doors across New York City, code violation records kept by the city Department of Housing Preservation & Development (HPD) show.

Examining every door violation filed by inspectors from Jan. 1, 2019 through the end of 2021, THE CITY found 18,305 open violations remained in 10,610 buildings as of Jan. 11, 2022.

More than 4,800 of those open citations are at least two years old, dating back to inspections that took place in 2019.

“Those statistics show what I’ve been saying repeatedly, which is we need strong housing laws,” said Coumcilmember Oswald Feliz (D-The Bronx), chair of the Council’s newly formed Fire Prevention Task Force. “We also need a system that promptly detects violations and a system that takes quick action to make sure that violations once detected are quickly cured.”

Overall, including violations since certified as fixed, inspectors wrote up 74,448 citations across all five boroughs during the three-year period.

Any residential building with three or more units must have spring-loaded doors that close automatically, under state law and city codes.

Many of the buildings with doors in violation for lacking self-closing mechanisms are located near those that burned in The Bronx and Queens,

THE CITY found 378 open violations for non-functioning or non-existent self-closing doors in 233 buildings as of Jan. 11 in ZIP code 10458 — where the Prospect Avenue fire took place.

That includes a 48-unit rental building across the street from the fire with two open violations, both dating back to October 2021, and one open violation, also dating to October, at a 160-unit building around the corner on Southern Boulevard.

As of last July, thanks to a reform that followed the 2017 Belmont fire, all such violations get cited as “immediately hazardous,” the most severe class of housing code violation.

A 47-unit building at 246 E. 199th St. had 10 open citations for self-closing door violations as of last week, some of which date back to 2019.

HPD notified the landlord months ago, but as of Friday none had been resolved. All but one of the citations were classified as an “immediate hazard.”

Tuesday, January 25, 2022

Other cop gunned down from Harlem domestic disturbance call dies 

NY Daily News

Mora, 27, died at NYU Langone Medical Center, where he was transferred Sunday from Harlem Hospital. Fellow Officer Jason Rivera, 22, was shot along side Mora while responding to a 911 call of a domestic dispute between a Harlem woman and her ex-con son, with sources telling the Daily News the fight started in part over the shooter’s strict vegan diet.

“True heroes never die,” said Patrick Lynch, president of the Police Benevolent Association union. “Our brother Police Officer Wilbert Mora has left us, but he will live on in the heart of every New York City police officer from this day forward.”

The recently-married Rivera, only 22 years old with just 14 months on the job, died Friday evening.

Mora remained on life support since Friday evening after he and Rivera were shot inside the apartment of a woman who called 911 over a fight with her son. Gunman LaShawn McNeil, 47, was fatally wounded by NYPD rookie Sumit Sulan in the wild shootout and died Monday afternoon.

Man killed by dumpster at Flushing house where illegal renovation was going on

The victim was helping to unload a dumpster when he was hit in the head at a home near 191st St. near 42nd Ave. about 10:30 a.m., cops said. He died from his head injuries.

NY Daily News 

No city construction permits had been filed at a Queens home where a 32-year-old man was fatally hit in the head by a dumpster door, city Department of Building officials said Tuesday.

The inside of the home on 191st St. near Northern Blvd. in Flushing was undergoing a “full gut renovation” when the door to a massive dumpster in the driveway popped open, striking a 32-year-old neighbor in the head, according to city records.

First responders found the victim pinned between the dumpster door and the house. He died at the scene.

A truck was dropping off the dumpster when the door popped open, police said. Jiangtao, who lived down the street, was talking to a construction worker at the site when the door hit him.

City building inspectors issued a stop work order, halting all construction, after determining no work permits had ever been filed for the construction.

A truck was dropping off the dumpster when the door popped open, police said. Jiangtao, who lived down the street, was talking to a construction worker at the site when the door hit him.

City building inspectors issued a stop work order, halting all construction, after determining no work permits had ever been filed for the construction.

Kathy's clowned

NY Daily News

A Nassau County judge ruled Monday the state’s mask mandate can’t be enforced, scrapping an order reinstituted by Gov. Hochul amid concerns about a winter surge of COVID-19 cases.

State Supreme Court Judge Thomas Rademaker in Mineola decided the state Department of Health didn’t have the legal authority to implement the mandate, and that it was up to the state Legislature to do so if needed.

The mandate “is a law that was promulgated and enacted unlawfully by an executive branch state agency, and therefore void and unenforceable,” the judge ruled.

 The state had initially instituted a mask mandate in April 2020 that ended last June for vaccinated individuals. However, Hochul announced in mid-December it would go back into effect for at least a month. The mandate covers businesses and venues, as well as schools, public transit, homeless shelters, correctional facilities, nursing homes and health care settings.

Monday, January 24, 2022

Shelly dies in prison

US News 

  Former New York Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver, one of the most powerful figures in state government for two decades before his conviction on corruption charges, has died in federal custody. He was 77.

Silver died Monday, the federal Bureau of Prisons said, adding that the official cause of death would be determined by the medical examiner.

Silver’s supporters had said he was in failing health from multiple medical conditions. He had been serving his sentence at the Federal Medical Center in Devens, Massachusetts, but was in a hospital in nearby Ayer, Massachusetts, at the time of his death, the bureau said.

The Manhattan Democrat, who told a judge he prayed he would not die in prison, was serving a more than six-year sentence for using his clout in state government to benefit real estate developers, who rewarded Silver by referring lucrative business to his law firm.

Silver’s conviction ended a nearly four-decade career in the Assembly. He first won a seat representing Manhattan’s Lower East Side in 1976. Although he cut a low-key figure in the halls of the state Capitol, carefully parsing out comments in a baritone mumble, he was a consummate practitioner of Albany’s inside game.

He became Assembly speaker in 1994, a powerful position that made him one of Albany's “three men in a room” negotiating annual budgets and major legislation with the governor and state Senate leader.

In all, Silver served as speaker during the tenure of five New York governors, from Mario Cuomo to Andrew Cuomo.

Developer brings down AMI qualifications for incremental affordable units in luxury public housing building at Trylon Theater


A zoning application for the proposed Trylon development in Forest Hills has been modified to allow deeper affordable housing units so more families can live in the community, according to newly elected City Councilwoman Lynn Schulman.  

After extensive negotiations and discussions with the developer, Trylon LLC., the mixed-use residential development at 98-81 Queens Blvd. will utilize Mandatory Inclusionary Housing (MIH) Option 1, which is more affordable for prospective renters. 

The project will bring approximately 40 housing units to Forest Hills with the majority of these units targeted for households making between $30,000 and $70,000, Schulman said. Under MIH Option 1, developers are required to set aside affordable units for residents earning 60%, 40% and 100% of the AMI.

“According to the NYC Housing Preservation and Development’s ‘Housing New York Open Data,’ only one new construction affordable housing project was located in Queens Community Board 6 during the entire eight years of the de Blasio administration. There are other conditions that were expressed by the community board which are still being explored with Trylon LLC., but the housing agreement is the most significant,” said Schulman, who thanked the community board and Queens Borough President Donovan Richards for their guidance and input in the process, as well as Trylon LLC. for working with the community. 

After public hearings and discussions regarding the demolition of the Tower Diner and Trylon Theatre to make way for the new development on Queens Boulevard, Community Board 6 in November 2021 voted in favor of the project, but with certain conditions.

Woman kills another woman inside Far Rockaway luxury tower


NY Post

 A woman has been charged with fatally stabbing her female neighbor in a beachfront high-rise in Far Rockaway, cops said Sunday.

Evelyn Cruz, 48, allegedly plunged a knife into the chest of Jessica Britt, 33, “multiple times” at 711B Seagirt Ave. in Queens around 11:40 p.m. Saturday, cops said.

 The victim was taken to St. John’s Episcopal Hospital, where she was pronounced dead.

Cruz was charged with murder and possession of a weapon.

Both women lived in the building, but it wasn’t clear what they were fighting about, cops said.

Sunday, January 23, 2022

Caption these council cronies



Good reason to still have a mask mandate. 


Linky feigned to eulogize the cop who got senselessly murdered and got his name wrong.

Linky should just worry about his own memory. Seriously.

How to buy an election for an unelected governor

NY Times 

Last November, when many of Manhattan’s skyscrapers sat half-empty, Gov. Kathy Hochul made a high-stakes wager on New York City’s commercial real estate industry: She vowed to move ahead with a marquee plan to restore Pennsylvania Station and erect new office towers around it.

For Manhattan’s mega-rich real estate developers, the announcement signaled Ms. Hochul’s support for the kind of grand projects that foretell a windfall, and some found a concrete way of showing their approval to the new governor.

In the weeks that followed, Ms. Hochul’s campaign received checks for $69,700, the legal limit, from some of the city’s biggest real estate executives, including Steven Roth of Vornado Realty Trust, which is positioned to directly benefit from the project that he once called a “Promised Land.” Other checks trickled in from developers, builders, engineers and even some who opposed it.

The campaign contributions flowed from a broader spigot of cash turned on last fall by New York’s varied special interests, from real estate and building trades to hospitals, labor unions and gaming companies, directed toward Ms. Hochul’s election campaign.

The donations included $200,000 in checks from the family behind a major construction firm with millions in state contracts, $47,000 that was tied to a gaming giant leaning on the state to expand legal gambling, and $41,000 traced back to a single Albany lobbyist.

The funds helped Ms. Hochul, a moderate Democrat who unexpectedly ascended to office last August, assemble a record-setting $21.6 million war chest, and claim a steep advantage heading into June’s Democratic primary and November’s general election.

People and industries with financial interests before the state have long been reliable donors to top elected officials, showering them with money that, at times, can pose ethical and legal problems.

Saturday, January 22, 2022

Public housing residents emphasize necessity of cars during D.O.T. hearing for new bus lanes

Sides dig in on 21st Street bus lane plan 2 

Queens Chronicle

The city’s Jan. 12 presentation on plans to put bus lanes on a two-mile stretch of 21st Street in Astoria appeared to change few if any minds.

Residents who have said in the past that the Department of Transportation is going too far for traffic and pedestrian safety upgrades still thought so. Also unmoved were those who think the DOT’s preferred option does not go far enough.

More than 100 people participated in the virtual meeting at one point or another.

And the DOT still is presenting a plan to remove a lane of traffic in each direction between Hoyt Avenue North and Queens Plaza North as its preferred of three options.

The stretch runs from the approaches to the RFK/Triborough Bridge in the north and the Ed Koch-Queensborough Bridge to the south.

The roadway has been tagged as a bus priority corridor by the Metropolitan Transportation Authority, as it is served by the Q66, Q69 and Q100 routes. It also is a Vision Zero priority corridor based on the number of fatal and serious accidents in recent years.

Christopher Hrones, director of strategic transit initiatives for the DOT, said the city prefers bus lanes that run between cars parked at the curb and what would be the lone remaining travel lane in each direction. Concrete extensions, known as bus bulbs, at intersection bus stops would shorten the distance that pedestrians would spend in the street while crossing.

Hrones said those changes would have minimal impact on existing parking, as they would mostly keep buses away from the curb.

He acknowledged that there initially could be traffic backups; and that left turns in many places would be eliminated. Several bus stops would be eliminated in order to speed up each individual bus’ trips. Double-parking by delivery trucks would have to be addressed.

Hrones said that any backups wold eventually thin out over time as people adjusted their behavior, either switching from cars to buses, taking different routes or driving at different times of day.

Many residents were not convinced.

“You can’t have one [traffic] lane on the 21st Street corridor,” said resident Margaret Cooper.

“I have to drive. I can’t take a bike,” said Gloria Maloney. “I know there are people who want everyone to use bicycles, but that is not feasible.”

Maloney also said the elimination of bus stops, particularly near housing projects with a high concentration of senior citizens, would pose a hardship for many.

Community participation highly lacking in participatory budgeting program

Queens Eagle

There’s millions of dollars of taxpayer funds on the line – and a select few Queens residents are going to help decide how it gets spent.

With the new City Council in place, participatory budgeting season has begun. The process allows each councilmember to allocate money to project proposals voted on by residents of their district. The money must go to physical infrastructure projects that benefit the public, last for at least five years and cost $50,000 or more. Residents as young as 11 are eligible to vote.

However, councilmembers can choose whether or not they do participatory budgeting, and this year in Queens only a few neighborhoods will have the opportunity to participate.

Of the 15 councilmembers whose district is either entirely or partially in Queens, only three are doing participatory budgeting this year. They include Councilmembers Tiffany Cabán (Astoria, East Elmhurst, Jackson Heights and Woodside), Adrienne Adams (Jamaica, Richmond Hill, Rochdale Village and South Ozone Park) and Jennifer Gutiérrez (Ridgewood, Bushwick and Williamsburg).

With the exception of Staten Island, where none of the borough’s three councilmembers are participating in the program, Queens has the lowest rate of participating members when compared to the other boroughs.

Though those doing participatory budgeting are in the minority in each borough, four of Manhattan’s 10 members are participating, four of the Bronx’s nine members are participating and 4 of Brooklyn’s 15 members are participating.

Participatory budgeting was suspended at the start of the pandemic in 2020 and councilmembers were slow to restart it last year, with only a handful from around the city participating.

The program, in its eleventh year, began informally in 2011, when then-Councilmembers Brad Lander, Melissa Mark-Viverito, Eric Ulrich and Jumaane Williams first started a voting process to dole out discretionary funds.

The program became more formalized in 2018 through a charter revision that tasked the city’s Civic Engagement Commission with expanding participatory budgeting citywide.

Prior to the pandemic, a majority of the council took advantage of the program. In 2019, 33 members participated – more than double the members that are participating this year.

Former City Councilmember Costa Constantinides, who served from 2014 until 2021, said community members would get excited over the program and launch campaigns to make sure their projects got the most votes.

One group, who was looking to clean up a dog park near the entrance to the RFK Bridge, made stickers and buttons to hand out to residents urging them to vote for the project. The project was a winner, and although many of those behind the campaign ended up moving, Constantinides said he was proud of their efforts.

“It’s not about them, it’s about the community,” he said.

Senator Comrie wants everyone to pay the austerity congestion tax

State Senator Leroy Comrie speaks at press conference.

The legislator who oversees the MTA’s committee is warning the authority not to allow any more exemptions to Manhattan’s planned congestion tolls — or else risk losing potential revenue needed for the transit system.

State Sen. Leroy Comrie said during a hearing on Wednesday that proposed exemptions for city residents, government employees or suburban drivers “upset the entire point of congestion pricing.”

“I don’t think there should be any exemptions, and I’m going to continue to say that there should be no exemptions,” Comrie said, after senators from north of New York City called for discounts for their constituents when the MTA launches tolls in Manhattan below 60th Street.

State legislators passed the congestion toll plan in 2019 with three baked-in exemptions — for emergency vehicles, for vehicles carrying disabled New Yorkers and for drivers who live inside the Manhattan congestion zone and make less than $60,000 per year.


Friday, January 21, 2022

Man shoots cop to death and critically wounds another cop in his mother's apartment during a domestic disturbance call

 The Police Department did not immediately provide information about what had precipitated the shooting of the officers, who were taken to Harlem Hospital. 


NY Times


A New York City police officer was killed in a shooting in Harlem on Friday and a second officer was in critical condition, officials said. They were the third and fourth officers to be shot in the line of duty this week, according to the Police Department.

The police initially reported that both officers had been killed, but later said one had not been officially pronounced dead by the hospital.

The police did not immediately provide information about what had precipitated the shooting of the officers, who were taken to Harlem Hospital. One suspect was also shot, officials said. Information on the person’s condition was not immediately available.

The shooting happened around 6 p.m. near the intersection of Lenox Avenue and West 135th Street. Within an hour, dozens of officers were in the area, which was sealed off by yellow caution tape and a half-dozen patrol cars.

Mayor Eric Adams — who was in the Bronx earlier attending a vigil for an 11-month-old girl who was hit in the face by a stray bullet on Wednesday night — was headed to the hospital, a spokesman said.

The shooting of the officers was the latest in a series of crimes early in Mr. Adams’s term that is testing his vow to heighten public safety after increases in certain crimes amid the pandemic. Shootings especially have surged in some parts of the city.

The recent spate of violence has included the fatal shoving of a 40-year-old woman into the path of a subway train at Times Square station, the killing of a 19-year-old woman who was shot by a man robbing an East Harlem Burger King and the shooting of the baby in the Bronx.

On Tuesday, an officer was shot in the leg as he scuffled with a teenage suspect during a confrontation in the Bronx. And early Thursday, a detective was shot in the leg when a man fired through a door during a search for drugs at a Staten Island home, officials said. Neither of their injuries was life-threatening.

The shootings of the officers this week follow one on New Year’s Day in which an off-duty officer was shot in the head while sleeping in a car between shifts outside an East Harlem station house. He was treated at a hospital and released.

The last New York City officer to be fatally shot was Brian Mulkeen, who was killed by so-called friendly fire in September 2019 while he struggled with an armed man in the Bronx.

In October 2015, Officer Randolph Holder was fatally shot by a suspect he was chasing in East Harlem. The previous December, two officers, Wenjian Liu and Rafael Ramos, were killed while sitting in their patrol car in Brooklyn. The gunman shot them at point-blank range after traveling to New York from Baltimore intent on killing officers.

The shooting death of a police officer in Harlem on Friday adds mounting pressure on Mayor Eric Adams to deliver quickly and effectively on the central thesis of his campaign for office: that only he, a retired police captain with 22 years on the force, has the know-how to restore a sense of public safety to New York City’s streets.

The Friday shooting caps the mayor’s third week in office, and his tenure has already coincided with a spate of violence that has riveted public attention.

On Wednesday, an 11-month-old baby was shot in the face in the Bronx. On Thursday, a police officer was shot in Staten Island while serving a warrant. On Saturday morning, an Asian-American woman was shoved in front of a moving train in Times Square, in the heart of New York City’s once thriving tourist district.

Then, on Friday afternoon, two police officers responding to a domestic dispute were shot in Harlem, one fatally and one left in critical condition.

“Today, I went to the hospital to visit the cop that was shot in Staten Island,” said Councilwoman Kamillah Hanks, who chairs the committee on public safety. “I hugged his mom and said how lucky you are. And hours later, you hear this news.”

The act of violence is eerily reminiscent of an episode during his predecessor Bill de Blasio’s first year in office, when a gunman assassinated two police officers while they were sitting in their police car in Brooklyn.

Mr. de Blasio ran on a platform of police reform. Mr. Adams, who was both a former police officer and police reformer, ran on the idea that he could rein in violence and reform the police at the same time.

He has yet to lay out a comprehensive plan for how he intends to do that.


 NYPD officers recovered an illegal Glock 45 equipped with a “high capacity magazine” at the scene of the shooting on Jan. 21, 2022.


 NY Post

The man who allegedly ambushed and shot two NYPD officers —  one fatally — in Harlem Friday is a convicted felon who was on probation at the time, authorities said.

Lashawn McNeil, 47, was shot in the head and arm by a third officer as he tried to flee, and was hospitalized in critical condition Friday night, NYPD Chief of detectives James Essig said at a press conference.

The alleged gunman was on probation for a 2003 felony narcotics conviction in New York City, Essig said.

Authorities said McNeil was sitting in the back bedroom of an apartment at at 119 West 135th Street when he swung the door open and allegedly fired on two cops, Rookie Officer Jason Rivera, 22, was killed and and 27-year-old Officer Wilbert Mora, who joined the force in 2018, was gravely wounded.

The officers, and a third cop, had been responding to a domestic disturbance call from a woman who said she needed help with her son at around 6:15 p.m.. The woman “mentioned no injuries and no weapons,” said Essig.

When they got to the apartment, the three cops were met by that woman and another son. They were informed that the son she was having issues with was in the back bedroom, down a “very tight” hallway about 30 feet long, Essig said.

 Police recovered an illegal Glock 45 at the scene, equipped with a “high capacity magazine” that holds an additional 40 rounds, Essig said. The weapon was stolen from Baltimore in 2017. Police are working with the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives to further trace the gun.

(I updated the headline according to recent reports- JQ LLC)


Ida flood homeowner victims are still getting shafted by Biden

Queens Post 

Nearly four months after the remnants of Hurricane Ida killed 13 New Yorkers, residents in the hardest-hit areas like Woodside are still struggling with government agencies for financial assistance to repair flood damage.

Many of the victims allege that the damage to their homes is the result of the city’s failure to fix the drainage and sewerage system. They cited decades-long calls for updates to the sewer system.

Linda Carlson, who has lived in her Woodside home since 1994, took on four feet of water when Ida struck on Sept. 1, with three inches of rain falling in just an hour. A contractor quoted her $34,000 in damages. “I was one of the lucky ones,” she said.

Carlson was approved for $11,773.68 in assistance from the Federal Emergency Management Agency, more than what many of her neighbors were approved for, she said.

She was granted an additional $1,419.86 when she appealed the offer—and said others affected by Ida should also contest what’s offered. “Everybody should. This was caused by the city,” she said. “We’ve been fighting for decades to have the infrastructure upgraded.”

Danette Rivera nearly drowned in her Woodside home where she’s lived for 14 years. Her son, who is legally blind, had to pull her out of the basement through a small window as it filled with seven and a half feet of water, she said.

“I’m grateful that I’m a survivor. Not everyone has that story to tell,” she said. “But I’m angry, I’m upset and I’m pissed off. This shouldn’t have happened to me, and it shouldn’t have happened to anybody else. People shouldn’t have died.”

Rivera, who estimates that the cost to repair the damage to her home is about $64,000, also applied for assistance from FEMA, but would not say how much she was offered.

The amount she was approved for fell well short of the cost of the damage, she said.

Like Carlson, she appealed her offer, but received a letter asking for documentation she said had already been sent to the agency. “The appeal process seems like it’s a gimmick,” Rivera said. “Basically, it’s like a runaround.”

FEMA spokesman Scott Sanders told the Queens Post late last year that there could be a variety of reasons why someone might receive less funding than they had hoped. “If you gave me a thousand different applicants, there’s a thousand different stories in there,” he said.

Federal disaster funds, he said, are “not a substitute for insurance. It can supplement insurance, but it can’t duplicate assistance people may get from other sources.”

Majority Leader Senator Schumer has a lot of 'splaining to do also.


Luxury public housing lottery is open for Long Island City spooning tower



 Queens Post

The NYC Housing Preservation & Development has launched a lottery for 288 income-restricted units in a 71-story luxury building in the Queens Plaza section of Long Island City.

The development, called Sven, is located adjacent to the historic Clock Tower at 29-59 Northern Blvd., and features income-restricted units that range in price from $2,189 for a studio to $3,843 for a three-bedroom unit.

All of the income-restricted units are for prospective tenants who earn up to 130 percent of the area median income. For instance, the most inexpensive studio—at $2,189 per month—is for individuals who make up to $75,052. Meanwhile, the income limit for a family of 7 seeking a three-bedroom unit is $192,400.

The lottery is for 50 studios; 188 one-bedroom units; 41 two-bedroom units; and 9 three-bedroom units.

 The building consists of 928 units, with 670 being market rate units. Leasing has already begun for the market rate units. The Durst Organization, which is the developer of the building, is handling the leasing of the market rate units in-house.


Thursday, January 20, 2022

Mayor Swagger hires Vallone, Speaker Adams loads committee chairs with Queens reps


City & State

 The Vallone dynasty may not have a place in the City Council anymore, but it does in the Adams administration. Former northeast Queens Council Member Paul Vallone now serves as the deputy commissioner for external affairs in Adams’ Department of Veterans’ Services. 

Queens Post 

City Council Speaker Adrienne Adams announced new council committee appointments Thursday with more than a dozen committees to be chaired by Queens representatives.

All but three Queens council members were named to lead committees, which focus on a vast array of issues such as land use, parks, the environment and transportation. Each committee votes on bills before they head to the full council.

Council Members Vickie Paladino, a Republican, and Francisco Moya were not named to chair a committee. Adams will not be leading a committee as she is the council speaker—as is common practice.

Moya, who unsuccessfully battled Adams in a quest to be speaker, will be chair of a new subcommittee focused on COVID Recovery and Resiliency.

“I am proud to announce our City Council’s Leadership, as well as committee chairs and assignments,” Adams said in a statement. “This is the most diverse City Council in history, and each member’s experiences and expertise will shape the important work of our legislative body,”

The committees that are being led by Queens representatives are as follows:

Civil and Human Rights: Nantasha Williams

Contracts: Julie Won

Environmental Protection: James Gennaro

Fire and Emergency Management: Joann Ariola

Governmental Operations: Sandra Ung

Health: Lynn Schulman

Mental Health, Disabilities and Addiction: Linda Lee

Parks and Recreation: Shekar Krishnan

Technology: Jen Guitérrez

Transportation and Infrastructure: Selvena Brooks-Powers

Veterans: Robert Holden

Woman and Gender Equity: Tiffany Cabán


Remote pedo working

Queens Post

A Forest Hills man has been arrested for repeatedly trafficking a 13-year-old boy to Queens and sexually assaulting him after they met online.

Manuel Moretti, 39, was indicted in Brooklyn federal court Thursday on sex-trafficking charges after he allegedly lured the boy across state lines to his apartment on at least four occasions early last year for sex, according to the criminal complaint.

Moretti, an IT professional who works from home, is also accused of giving the boy a fake adult ID and continuing to contact him for sex after the defendant was interviewed by the FBI in December, prosecutors said.

Following the FBI interview, Moretti also allegedly told the victim to use a blocked telephone number to communicate with him in an apparent attempt to dodge law enforcement, prosecutors said.

“These allegations serve as a reminder of the dangers to our children from online predators and the importance of being aware of whom our children are communicating with online,” U.S. Attorney Breon Peace said.

“Our office is deeply committed to protecting vulnerable victims from sexual exploitation and will vigorously prosecute offenders like Moretti, who allegedly prey on children.”

Moretti met the boy on a social networking site in January 2021 and then arranged for the victim to travel to his Forest Hills apartment for sex on four separate occasions between January 2021 and April 2021, prosecutors said.

During the FBI interview in December, Moretti admitted to meeting the boy and engaging in sexual acts with him, prosecutors said.

Moretti described the boy as “young-looking” to the FBI but denied knowing the victim was 13-years-old, prosecutors said.

The defendant said he knew the victim was attending school and lived at home with his parents. Moretti also said he gave the boy an adult state identification document so that the victim could gain entry to his apartment.

Knowing the boy was 13, Moretti contacted the boy via Snapchat last month following the FBI interview in order to arrange another meet-up with him, prosecutors said



Queens Post

A group of community and business leaders from Flushing announced Tuesday that more than 54,000 residents have signed a petition opposing the construction of a 90-unit homeless housing development on College Point Boulevard.

The petition, launched last month, seeks to stop the proposed seven-story building from being constructed at 39-03 College Point Blvd., located between 39th Avenue and Roosevelt Avenue. The petitioners say the community has not been involved in the planning process and that they do not want the facility to be built on the empty site.

The development would consist of supportive housing units, providing temporary apartments to homeless families as a means to get them back on their feet.

Proponents of the plans say that the facility would provide temporary accommodation for families who may have lost their homes or may have been housed in illegal basement apartments—as opposed to being a long-term homeless shelter. The purpose of the units is to help transition people back into long-term housing.

Permits for the development were filed late last year with the Dept. of Homeless Services (DHS) expected to partner with the Asian Americans for Equality (AAFE) to construct the facility. The AAFE is a Manhattan-based non-profit that provides affordable housing for Asian Americans and various disadvantaged communities. The organization also has a Flushing office on 41st Avenue.

The development is expected to cost around $440 million, according to the organizers of the petition. The project is expected to break ground in February 2022 with construction taking around 20 months, according to the AAFE website.

However, in a statement issued today, AAFE said the project is on hold.

“The project has been paused, due to AAFE’s own coordination with city officials, in order to address community concerns and to provide more education and insight into the benefits of this project for the Flushing community,” a spokesperson for AAFE said.

The petition calls on the city to block the development arguing that it would “adversely affect Flushing” as it attempts to bounce back from the economic crisis stemming largely from the pandemic.

Wednesday, January 19, 2022

Adams plans to cut the police


NY Daily News 

Mayor Adams slammed his own police department Wednesday for engaging in “all this showy stuff” instead of directing more cops to the neighborhoods that need them the most.

He also revealed he’s still undecided on whether he’ll order a cost savings regimen for the NYPD — and suggested his decision would depend on the department’s ability to more efficiently and effectively deploy cops.

“Here’s my problem with the NYPD,” he said. “You hired … a police officer to be on patrol to go after the bad guys — that was why you hired him. He should not be sitting in the license division. His dangerous day should not be a paper cut. He needs to be on patrol.”

Then-Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams greets NYPD officers before the Parade of Heroes on Broadway in Manhattan, New York on July 7, 2021.

Last week, Adams announced plans to slash city spending by 3%, but he included the caveat that some agencies would be exempt from such cuts, like the Health Department and the city’s network of public hospitals.

On Wednesday, he was asked if the NYPD would get similar treatment. Adams responded that it all depends.

He vowed to begin “using my technology” to perform an analysis of how NYPD resources are allocated — but noted that he’s already witnessed firsthand what he views to be waste.

NYPD staffing of parades is one place he suggested he has his sights on.

“I’m sure you have gone to a parade, and you walk down the block, and you saw ten officers just standing there. And I bet you they’re all on overtime, and you’re saying, ‘Why are they all here for the Steuben Parade?” he said. “Why aren’t you on patrol somewhere?”

He then pointed to his own official events as well.

“I told the chief of department the other day. I’ll go to a school or do a visit in the community. When I get there, I have ten police officers standing there to show me that, ‘Hey Mr. Mayor, we’re here.’ I don’t need you here! I need you on patrol!” he said. “Give me one cop right out front. It’s a wrap. I don’t want to see all of this display of police presence. No — you want to impress me — have that display in Brownsville. Have that display in Harlem. Go to the communities that need you to be there.”

Lincoln Restler's Illegal Agency Capture Mural

Impunity City

Riding my bike on Flushing Avenue two way bike lane on a very brisk January afternoon by the Brooklyn Navy Yard there was a very peculiar sight. A large mural on a commercial warehouse building featuring the name of current city council member of the 33rd District  Lincoln Restler was featured on it. Thankfully there wasn’t a picture of his mug there, but what made it odd is what else was written on it.

According to the information that seems to be advertised here, the borough of Brooklyn loves Council member Restler (and also safe streets) and also a date to vote on June 22. That date just happens to be the primary he won last year against about over a half dozen other candidates leading to his inevitable victory running virtually unopposed on election day in November. Yet this mural campaign advertisement has remained there during that time between primary and general election and still remains to this day in Mid-January.

Wonder why is that? And the other wondrous thing about this campaign mural ad is that it hasn’t been tagged over with graffiti, even though the Restler campaign deftly painted over a couple tags that are still visible,usually you would get your ass kicked for desecrating another graffiti artists work for that breach of street art protocol. Yet Restler’s campaign mural is still immaculate.

Tuesday, January 18, 2022

The dope from Park Slope decides not to run for governor of New York


NY Daily News 

Former New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio announced Tuesday that he won’t run for governor of New York state.

The two-term mayor gave scant details about his decision to skip a Democratic primary challenge to Gov. Kathy Hochul, who last year replaced disgraced ex-Gov. Andrew Cuomo.

“I am not going to be running for Governor of New York State, but I am going to devote every fiber of my being to fighting inequality in the state of New York,” de Blasio said in a video announcement. “We’ve got a lot of work to do together.”


Emily's race baiting friend





Looks like Emily Gallagher's pay to play urbanish trivia game went well last week. But yesterday, on MLK day, she told her gentry followers to fund a Black man running for Assembly in East New York.


 Going by this odd looking photo, Mr Alleyne has a unique way of showing how he embodies the iconic civil rights leader values by his body language. Because that is sign language for the word "cracker". 




This sort of makes that notorious OK sign a little less racist now.



Update: Keron lost to the Brooklyn Machine candidate in a blow out.

Friday morning interboro express chat


 Queens Chamber of Commerce

Let's see if these "insiders" come up with a way to pay for this. 



When: January 21st

Time: 10:00 am

End Time: 11:00 am

Price Range: Free


Monday, January 17, 2022

Governor Airhead

Gov. Kathy Hochul holds coronavirus news briefing where she discussed the potential dangers faced by spread of the new omicron COVID-19 variant on Thursday, Dec. 16, 2021, in the Red Room at the Capitol in Albany, N.Y.

Times Union 

 On Oct. 4, Gov. Kathy Hochul flew from Albany to New York City on a state-owned airplane. She went to Brooklyn to sign a bill, then in the afternoon held three, back-to-back campaign-related “events” before flying back to Albany in the evening.

Although a major part of the day was dedicated to Hochul winning a full term of office in November’s election, her political campaign did not reimburse taxpayers for any portion of the day’s travel.

During Hochul’s first 45 days in office, on at least three separate days, the governor’s use of state aircraft has raised questions about whether there has been any misuse of taxpayer resources, according to a Times Union review of public records.

During that time, Hochul attended 64 “private events” related to her gubernatorial campaign, including donor meetings and fundraisers, allowing her campaign to raise a record-setting $10 million during her first three months in office.

Amid a whirlwind schedule juggling governmental and campaign activities, Hochul used state-issued aircraft for 45 flights over the first 45 days in office. None of the trips were considered “mixed use” by Hochul’s office — consisting of both government and campaign-related activities — despite a busy campaign schedule on many of the trips. And none of the flight costs for using either a state-owned Beechcraft King Air 250 or a state helicopter were reimbursed to taxpayers by Hochul’s campaign.

David Grandeau, the state’s former top lobbying enforcement official, said Hochul’s campaign should have reimbursed taxpayers for several of the trips.

“She has to reimburse for the non-state business portion of the trips,” Grandeau said.

On Tuesday, the governor’s press secretary, Hazel Crampton-Hays, said the governor’s ethics counsel would re-review the flights at Hochul’s direction.

“Gov. Hochul works around the clock to deliver for New Yorkers and visits all 62 counties every year to hear directly from her constituents,” Crampton-Hays told the Times Union. “The governor is committed to the highest ethical standards and only utilizes state resources, such as the state aircraft, when it is legally and ethically appropriate. In accordance with Gov. Hochul’s commitment to transparency and adhering to the highest ethical standards, the governor has directed her ethics counsel to re-review all aircraft usage and make any appropriate reimbursements.”

On Wednesday, during her first State of the State address, Hochul unveiled a plan for ethics reform, while also acknowledging that politicians might still “stumble and make mistakes once in awhile.”

On her official government website, Hochul’s office recently posted schedules showing Hochul’s government meetings and the attendees between her inauguration on Aug. 24 and through Oct. 9. The schedules detail when and where Hochul took flights, and in all 45 cases, it indicates the flights were fully funded by taxpayers. The schedules also list the myriad “private events” related to her campaign, though no other details are included beyond the times the events occurred.

Crampton-Hays said the “private events” included campaign fundraisers, political meetings, political events for other candidates and groups, or any other event that the “governor attends primarily in a political capacity.”

Sunday, January 16, 2022

Donnie Richards proposes command center for an endemic virus

In short time, Richards made a mark as environmental chair


Queens Borough President Donovan Richards on Thursday, Jan. 13 called for the establishment of an NYC Office of COVID Recovery to create a more streamlined and centralized approach toward fighting the COVID-19 pandemic.

The NYC Office of COVID Recovery would strengthen and expand the city’s COVID-19 testing apparatus, improve language access for city residents, foster communication between city agencies and elected officials, and partner with community-based organizations to distribute vaccine incentives and more, according to Richards. The agency would also oversee the Test & Trace Corps, which is currently operated by NYC Health+Hospitals. 

“As Omicron surges and COVID-19 cases continue to rise nearly two years after the start of this unprecedented pandemic, which has killed more than 10,000 of our Queens residents and devastated our borough’s economy, we understand that we need to take control of our response to COVID-19,” Richards said during a virtual media roundtable. “COVID-19 won’t be just a memory anytime soon, we need to brace ourselves and organize for our new normal going forward.” 

According to Richards, the NYC Office of COVID Recovery would alleviate unnecessary administrative burdens from both the NYC Department of Health and the NYC Health + Hospitals system. 

“Over the past two years, it has felt like the ‘Game of Thrones’ and ‘Squid Games’ when it comes to organizing our response, whether it’s inter-agency or working through elected officials,” Richards said. “If we are going to beat COVID-19 once and for all, we want the public to get shots in their arms, we want people to social distance and wear their mask, but we also need a government that would function at the highest level.”

The world's borough has the nation's most jobless

  Unemployment in Queens still high 1

Queens Chronicle

 In its Dec. 21 update, the New York State Department of Labor reported that, in New York City, the nonseasonally adjusted unemployment rate has continued its decline, dropping from 8.4 percent in October to 8 percent in November. In Queens specifically, the same rate dropped from 8.1 percent in October to 7.7 percent in November. In November of 2020, Queens’ unemployment had been 11.5 percent.

While improved, both the Queens and citywide unemployment rates are still considerably higher than those of New York State and of the nation, which decreased from 5.9 percent in October to 5.5 percent in November and 4.3 percent to 3.9 percent, respectively.

So, why is the unemployment rate so much higher in New York City and Queens than it is state and nationwide?

St. John’s University Professor of Economics Dr. Charles Clark said that one answer to point to might be the so-called “Great Resignation”: During the past year of the pandemic, people across the nation have been quitting their jobs en masse in search of something better.

Forest Hills Chamber of Commerce President Leslie Brown noted such trends in her area. “As we know many people did not return to the workforce after the unemployment Covid-19 benefits ended,” she told the Chronicle. “There were numerous reasons for this such as low minimum wage, lack of child care, health concerns [and] lifestyle changes.”

But according to Clark, the Great Resignation is not new.

“In terms of the number of people voluntarily leaving jobs, that has been steadily growing for a very long time,” he told the Chronicle.

More specifically, he told the Chronicle, in January 2011, approximately 1.8 million Americans in nonfarm industries quit their jobs. As per the trend, that number had risen to more than 3.3 million by January 2021, as graphed below.

None of that, however, explains why unemployment is higher across Queens than it is state- or nationwide. Clark speculated that boroughs like Queens and the Bronx might see higher rates because of their higher immigrant populations.

Queens Chamber of Commerce President Thomas Grech pointed to the large hit that the hospitality industry has taken during the pandemic.

“I think a lot of people that work in that industry have decided to find another career choice,” he told the Chronicle. “At the Queen’s Chamber of Commerce, we want to double down on workforce development, to make sure that those businesses — hotels and hospitality — have a regular supply chain, so to speak, of trained people to go into those jobs as things continue to get better.”

Myrtle Avenue Business Improvement District Executive Director Ted Renz also identified restaurant and retail as two sectors that have struggled to maintain staff; accordingly, individual businesses have changed their schedules.

“I’ve noticed that a number of retailers are closed, or some are closed different days, or they’re not open at all. Some are opening later,” he told the Chronicle.

According to the state Department of Labor’s preliminary numbers, prior to Omicron, restaurant employment increased in New York City from 1.894 million jobs to 1.907 million between October and November, a 0.69 percent increase.

Saturday, January 15, 2022

I, Eric

 Mayor Eric Adams speaks during a news conference in Brooklyn on Jan. 4.


 A frustrated Mayor Eric Adams offered a simple defense over accusations of nepotism and cronyism in a spate of high-profile hires: "I'm the mayor."

"I'm going to hire the best people for the job that I've known throughout my years in government and their talents," he said Friday. "And the reason I can do that is because I'm the mayor. I'm the mayor of the city of New York, and it's going to take a while before people realize that I am responsible for building a team to end the inequality in our city."

But a rising chorus of critics have argued that Adams' hires — which included his brother Bernard Adams in a $210,000-a-year position — are questionable at best.

Shortly before Adams — again — defended his hires Friday, the New York Times reported a jail investigator accused new Department of Correction chief Louis Molina of telling her to "get rid" of 2,000 discipline cases against officers. She was fired by Molina — a move she believed came at the behest of the correction officers' union, the Times reported.

Adams' officials' closeness with powerful unions aside, other hires face questions over their ethics and qualificiations.

Close Adams ally Philip Banks now serves as a deputy NYPD commissioner, despite the fact he resigned after being named as an unindicted co-conspirator in a federal police corruption case.

Adams on Friday cast the criticism as unfair elitism, rather than stemming from concerns of potential corruption and cronyism.

"When other mayors hired their lower partners, they hired their people they knew from school that they came up through the ranks — how there was nothing to say about it?" he said. "But I have the audacity to hire blue-collar people, everyday folks who are union members, retired members, it's like, 'Who do you think you are putting these blue collar workers, these everyday people who came here to this country eked up through a living, went to school at night... who do you think you are think you could do that?'"

Unlicensed driver kills man with SUV by Metropilitan Ave. mall 

Queens Post

A pedestrian was fatally struck by an unlicensed SUV driver in Middle Village Thursday night.

The victim, a 57-year-old man, was on the roadway in the vicinity of Metropolitan Avenue and Rentar Plaza when he was hit by a 2007 Cadillac Escalade driven by a 46-year-old man, according to police.

Police responded to a 911 call at around 7:45 p.m. and upon arrival, found the victim lying on the road with body trauma.

The victim was transported by EMS to NYC Health & Hospitals/ Elmhurst where he was pronounced dead.

The driver of the Escalade, who is from 75th Street in Middle Village, was arrested and charged with driving without a license.

Manhattan penis extension proposal 

New York Times

On Jan. 1, Eric Adams was sworn in as New York’s 110th mayor. He is now in charge of the city’s response to big, and growing, problems. One is a housing affordability crisis. Another concerns the ravages of climate change: sea level rise, flooding and storm surges.

There is a way to help tackle both issues in one bold policy stroke: expand Manhattan Island into the harbor.

Last September, after witnessing unprecedented flooding from the remnants of Hurricane Ida, Mr. Adams said that it was “a real wake-up call to all of us how we must understand how this climate change is impacting us.” This realization should spur him to pursue aggressive measures to mitigate climate change’s devastation.

Both Mayors Bill de Blasio and Michael Bloomberg offered climate-change plans that included extending the shoreline along the East River in Lower Manhattan. But these proposals, while admirable, would be small steps and would hardly make a dent with problems of such big scale.

This new proposal offers significant protection against surges while also creating new housing. To do this, it extends Manhattan into New York Harbor by 1,760 acres. This landfill development, like many others in the city’s past, would reshape the southern Manhattan shoreline. We can call the created area New Mannahatta (drawn from the name the Lenape gave to Manhattan).

A neighborhood of that size is bigger than the Upper West Side (Community District 7), which is 1,220 acres. Imagine replicating from scratch a diverse neighborhood that contains housing in all shapes and sizes, from traditional brownstones to five-story apartment buildings to high-rise towers. If New Mannahatta is built with a density and style similar to the Upper West Side’s, it could have nearly 180,000 new housing units.

Opinion Conversation The climate, and the world, are changing. What challenges will the future bring, and how should we respond to them?


Friday, January 14, 2022

Contractor turns sewer infrastructure project into an illegal dumping site

 Sewer contractor allegedly dumping 2

 Queens Chronicle

For more than five years now, an ongoing sewer construction project has wreaked havoc in College Point. But more recently, residents, civics and politicians alike have found themselves going head to head with city-hired, contracting company EIC Associates over its alleged violations of the 1972 Clean Water Act at its waterfront site on 20th Avenue and 119th Street.

“The site’s an absolute mess,” said Jennifer Shannon, president of A Better College Point Civic Association. “It looks like a third-world country. It’s just horrifying.”

According to marine and environmental scientist Dr. James Cervino, who is also the environmental chair for both Community Board 7 and ABCP, the contractor has been using the site as a transfer station and recycling center for the entire 20-block project. There, he said, EIC has been dumping illegally.

“You’re not supposed to dump 2,000 yards of demo dirt — excavated dirt — that might or might not be contaminated,” Cervino told the Chronicle. “You’re not supposed to be letting runoff and debris [get]into the state protective waters under the 1972 Clean Water Act.”

Such pollution was certainly on the community’s radar at the start of the project, Cervino said further; when this phase of the sewer project started roughly three years ago, he said, the community was “assured ... that there would be total communication” from EIC regarding its progress. That has not been the case, Cervino said: Although the Clean Water Act of 1972 requires that a Stormwater Pollution Prevention Program be developed and shared with the community, EIC has not done one.

“[The contractor] is supposed to protect property where property is damaged,” he told the Chronicle. “It’s supposed to be immediately addressed and information supposed to be provided to the community board. None of that ever happens.”

Asked about the SWPPP, EIC Founding Partner Joseph A. Branco said, “My understanding is that we scheduled a meeting, people were notified, there were a number of people at the meeting.” He added, “I wasn’t there myself.”

The New Jersey-based EIC Associates has been part of a number of monumental projects in the area, perhaps most significantly, the redevelopment of the Brooklyn Navy Yard.

Regarding the company’s use of the site in question, Branco said, “What we have is the materials that are disposed of [for the whole project], every two or three days, we have materials going out. I mean, these are the excavated material[s] going out, but it’s not a transfer station, per se.”

There is a State Pollutant Discharge Elimination System permit for the site, the state Department of Environmental Conservation shows.

Branco also said that the company had hired AMC Engineering to consult EIC on its environmental impact during the project. According to him, AMC had produced the information required for the SPDES permit — a 500-page document — in 2019, which he believes went to the city.

Asked for comment on the situation, a spokesperson from Borough President Donovan Richards’ office said, “We are aware of issues pertaining to this project and we are in communication with both DDC and the local elected officials in order to rectify them.”


Civic peeved about LLC's abandoned lot

Empty Whitestone site deteriorating 1

Queens Chronicle 

What’s going on with the vacant lot on the corner of 154th Street and 11th Avenue in Whitestone?

That’s the question President of the Greater Whitestone Taxpayers Civic Association and Community Board 7 Member Kim Cody has been asking since Lot 74 was last occupied in 2010.

Cody said that members of his civic have inquired about the lot, as well. “People are asking, ‘What’s going on with the property?’ over the years. All the sudden, it started overgrowing with weeds,” he told the Chronicle. “They go down there and check, and then they see this pile of junk in the middle of the lot.”

The site, which spans two addresses on the block, 11-10 and 11-12, was previously occupied by a fruit market and a deli, Cody said. Though the building on the lot was not demolished until roughly 2019, the lot itself has been fenced off since 2015.

The fence seems to have been ineffective. “Kids were still going inside the lot and stuff like this doing what teenagers do,” Cody said. “They were drinking and whatever the possibilities were coming apart.”

When the temporary, fabric fencing ultimately became tattered as a result of several storms, a chain link one was installed in 2019. Since then, no further construction has occurred, despite rumors that speculated otherwise.

Meanwhile, Tax Block 4538, Lot 74, has continued to deteriorate, and upset surrounding the site has only persisted. Cody said. “People would call up the civic association [and say], ‘We’re worried about rats or raccoons in there,’ and stuff like this,” he said. “There’s a public school right up the block, and it’s a commercial area, there’s delicatessens there and stuff, Chinese restaurants — there was a lot of concern about what was going on with the property.”

The property in question is, according to the Department of Buildings, owned by Andrew Lester of 11-10/12 154 St. LLC. Lester is currently the senior vice president of construction at Wharton Properties, a Manhattan-based, commercial real estate company.