Saturday, September 24, 2022

"It's not lying, it's commercial real estate"

AG James would have an easier time getting indictments and fines from all the developers and real estate owners in the last 5 years.

Friday, September 23, 2022

Judge finds vaccine mandate illegitimate and orders restitution against the city

Mayor Adams is starting a pro-over-development caliphate to supersede City Council powers and community interests



Mayor Eric Adams Blasting

His Way Into Your Community!

Mayor Eric Adams directed a commission to create a blueprint that would allow development projects to happen faster and cost less to developers.  The NYC Economic Development and Housing committee, working with Citizens Budget Commission (CBC), a nonprofit organization organized a report to address Adams’ agenda.  They made recommendations for changes in both the law and City and State administrative  policies regarding applications for development requiring rezonings. Their main justification is an economic model of supply and demand, the more supply (increase heights of buildings) the lower and more affordable the rents will be.

Of course they are ignoring all of the evidence which shows the opposite.  That increase development has in fact caused rents to increase and homelessness to sky rocket, as a recent study just revealed.  

13 Points of Change to the Rezoning Process of New York City and New York State

  1. No more court cases brought against developers or the City, instead the rezoning project will be reviewed by the City Planning Commission.
  2. The elimination of the New York State's Environmental Review process for all development projects.
  3. In the alternative, the Environmental Review Process,  does not have to be completed until the end of the Uniform Land Use Review Process "ULURP".
  4. In addition, New York State will reduce the number of environmental impact categories.
  5. The Community Board’s and Borough Presidents review of a rezoning application during the ULURP process, will be eliminated. 
  6. In the alternative, only the Borough President should review rezoning projects.
  7. The Community and Borough President review of a rezoning application should take place before an application is certified and starts the ULURP process.  
  8. The City Council Deference (the power to say no to a rezoning project in their district) should be eliminated.
  9. In the alternative, when the City Council disapproves a project, immediately an alternative group of decision makers would convene with the power to overturn the City Council’s vote. The group would consist of the Mayor, Public Advocate, Borough President and Council Speaker.
  10. Additionally, the City Council would need to have a Super Majority, not just a majority to overrule the City Planning Commission’s recommendation on a project.
  11. All development projects that are not near or in sensitive wetland and greenfield sites (not brownfields) should be “as of right”. 
  12. Instead of focusing on environmental concerns and their impact upon a community’s land, air and water, the focus should be on negative consequences vs. benefits.
  13. Streamline the Environmental Process by not interacting with other government agencies that specialize in a particular environmental impact concern.  Instead, have one agency  – i.e. the City Planning Commission – conduct  all of the environmental impact analyses.

The Real Estate's Dream

Overall, these proposed changes reflect the real estate’s industry’s determination to escape any and all requirements for environmental reviews, with 99% of their projects being considered “as of right”.  This terms means developers can build what they want, where they want with no one having a say or being able to stop them.

  All of these proposals would require New York State to make changes to its legislation, for NYC to make revisions to the New York City Charter, as well as an unknown number of administrative changes in both the State's and the City's regulations.

  The importance of this Commission’s report and the creation of the

*“BLAST” commission to engage in some of these changes lies not only in its revelation regarding the intent to drastically reduce the power of the community to protect itself against developers, but what it reveals about Mayor Eric Adams’ plans for the next four (to eight!) years of his administration.

*We don't remember exactly what "BLAST" stands for but it hit us how arrogant and powerful the Mayor and the Developers believe that they are in even naming a commission BLAST.   They are sending a clear message of their intention to BLAST there way into any community, any neighborhood and harming any environment that they see fit.

Note: Please take this commission's report seriously.  There are already "opinion” pages popping up everywhere stating the ULURP process is broken, that what we need is more development projects and that the New York City Council's powers need to be reduced.  Even Brooklyn Borough President Reynoso is proposing a "borough wide" rezoning, based upon his failed rezoning process in his council district when he was its councilperson.  He is claiming that the 99% success rate of developers’ ULURP applications and 100% success rate for City sponsored district wide rezonings are not working for developers and/or the City!

Six Things You Can You Do!

1. Please forward this email by clicking on the link above and spread the word.

2. Testify at the CB9's hearing on these proposed changes.

Community Board 9 Hearing on City Citizens Budget Commission Proposal for Rezoning

Wednesday, September 28 at 7 pm sharp!
 Please click the link below to join the webinar:
Dial In: 1(646) 558-8656  
Webinar ID: 848 5839 6883; No Password

This hearing will only last for half an hour so please come on time!

3. Read a more detailed description of the changes along with their rationale and MTOPP's position by clicking on this link.

4. Read the upcoming emails coming within the next couple of days and pass those along to others.

5. Write your own opinion pages in local media outlets etc...

6. Ask your Community Board to conduct its own hearing on the proposals.

The million dollar bitty planetarium 


New York State Senate Deputy Majority Leader Michael Gianaris announced Thursday that Queens residents will soon receive a new planetarium that will cost roughly $1 million to add to a new building that will be constructed.

The new science facility will be built as part of the expansion of the Variety Boys and Girls Club of Queens, a nearly 70-year-old institution in Astoria created to offer a safe learning and playing environment for the community’s children. The institution is undergoing a complete renovation that will include a new zero-emissions building that will house the new planetarium. Gianaris is holding a launch event at the club Thursday afternoon.

“I’m an astronomy buff,” Gianaris said. “It's nice to have the big one [Hayden Planetarium] at the Museum of Natural History, but the kids in Queens have to travel far away to enjoy that kind of education, and we thought it would be terrific to bring it right here in Queens.”

The new planetarium will seat approximately 70 people and is expected to serve up to 10,000 people annually. The funding has already been secured through the state budget for fiscal year 2022-2023. The project came out of the senator’s love of science and the need to provide more resources for kids to engage in that field, hands on.

 Gianaris said ideas for who will narrate the new planetarium's feature programs are still being floated. His favorite suggestion so far is actor Christopher Walken because of his very distinct voice and his roots in Astoria.

Wednesday, September 21, 2022

Innovation Luxury Public Housing approved by City Planning Commission



“New York City is in the throes of a housing crisis, with Astoria families feeling that crush harder than most, but we have an incredible opportunity before us to reverse this tragic trend. I stand by my recommendation that certain commitments be made by the Innovation QNS development team to meet this moment, such as significantly increasing the number of affordable housing units and expanding the lowest affordable income band to those earning 30 percent of the area median income,” Richards said.

“I have a deep respect for the City Planning Commission and its work, and I am hopeful today’s vote will lead to a healthy dialogue and community-first solutions as Innovation QNS proceeds to the City Council,” he continues. “I remain in close contact with the developers, my fellow elected officials, and all our community stakeholders, and will continue to push for true community-first solutions on the issues of affordability and equity.”

The project will now go to the City Council in the coming weeks and then on to Mayor Eric Adams for the final decision in the process. In his remarks prior to the vote, City Planning Commission Chair Dan Garodnick said the five-block development would bring thousands of jobs across a range of sectors, but it was the promise of affordable housing that was the difference maker to him.

“The affordable housing component of this project – that will be created without public subsidy – would be considered the largest privately financed affordable housing project in Queens in generations,” Garodnick said. “At a time when our housing crisis is more pronounced than ever, that is a big deal and a big opportunity to take the pressure off the rents in this and surrounding communities.”

In casting one of the three dissenting votes against the Innovation QNS proposal, Commissioner Leah Goodridge said the amount of affordable housing promised by the developers came up short.

“While the number of apartments may be privately financed, it’s still the same 25 percent that we see here every day,” Goodridge said. “And secondary displacement is real.”

NYC health department drops vaccine extortion mandate for school sports participation



Students who participate in a range of extracurricular activities including sports will no longer face a COVID vaccine requirement, Mayor Eric Adams announced Tuesday, ending the only mandate that applied to public school students.

In August 2021, the city announced that students participating in “high risk” extracurricular activities must be vaccinated against the coronavirus, a policy that covered roughly 20,000 students in the Public School Athletic League who play sports ranging from bowling to basketball. It also included students in chorus, band, and musical theater programs that weren’t part of their regular course loads.

Adams scrapped that requirement on Tuesday along with the vaccine mandate for private employers just before receiving the latest bivalent booster in front of reporters. But other vaccine requirements affecting public schools still stand: All staff must be vaccinated, including coaches who are employed by the city, and so must any visitors to school buildings, a policy that some parents have criticized.

City officials did not present a clear explanation about why the vaccine mandate is being peeled back in some contexts but not others.

Members and sponsors make THE CITY possible.

I don’t think anything dealing with COVID is — makes sense,” Adams said when asked about dropping the vaccine mandate for private employees but keeping it for public ones. “You make the decisions based on how to keep our city safe, how to keep our employees operating by taking the vaccine.”

 Sounds like Adams knows how stupid, spiteful and wrong this vaccine mandate is but doesn't have the guts to abolish it entirely. Truly the most compromised elected official in this town.

The Department Of Transportation Alternatives are attempting to usurp parking spaces from residents in Far Rockaway




Pheffer Amato Joins Community Opposition To Seagirt Blvd. Project 


South Queens, NY - Assemblywoman Stacey Pheffer Amato (D-South Queens) met with school administrators and parents to discuss the hazards of the potential Seagirt Boulevard redesign. The city-based project has garnered extreme pushback from local and non-local residents and has been openly opposed by Assemblywoman Pheffer Amato.

During dismissal the other week, the Assemblywoman saw firsthand how this project would cause an extreme backlog and increase traffic up and down the whole boulevard. “I acknowledge the need for safety measures, as that is something we all wish to see. However, any changes to Seagirt Boulevard cannot come at the price of accessibility or safety of the students from numerous schools who traverse the boulevard on a daily basis, yet alone hinder motorists in and around the community in their daily lives,” said Assemblywoman Stacey Pheffer Amato.

Assemblywoman Pheffer Amato, along with parents and community members have expressed disappointment and opposition to this project because of the lack of outreach and the expected problems the redesign would cause. The removal of a vehicle lane, yet alone over 60 parking spots, will cause an inevitable increase in traffic disruptions and mass congestion which would negatively impact the community on an enormous level.

The Assemblywoman referred to the plan as “nuts” and insisted that the NYC Department of Transportation must “go back to the drawing board and create a plan that reflects the will of the community” as the project was moved ahead without community support. 

Good to see an elected official call out the nimrods that are in charge of the DOT. While not mentioning her name, "Nutty" Nicole Garcia is trying to do over here what she's doing with inducing citibike docks on street curbs to steal parking spaces in Robert Holden's district instead of on ample sidewalk space. The entire DOT needs an enema starting with Adams moron buddy Ydanis Rodriguez, who can't even ride a citibike more than one block to do an ad encouraging more cycling.  

Tuesday, September 20, 2022

Vaccine extortion mandates continue for city workers but ends for private sector workers a week before Election Day

NY Daily News

The city’s coronavirus vaccine mandates for private sector workers and student athletes are ending, but the inoculation requirement for municipal workers will remain — at least for the time being.

Mayor Adams announced the rollback Tuesday at a City Hall press conference, stressing the need for New Yorkers to get their COVID booster shots.

Implemented by former Mayor Bill de Blasio, the private sector and student mandates have been in effect since late last year.

The workforce rule, which was the first of its kind in the country when rolled out by de Blasio in December, required that all private sector employees in the city be fully vaccinated against COVID-19. That mandate will sunset on Nov. 1.

The second policy, which mandated high school students be vaccinated to engage in sports and other extracurricular activities, ended Tuesday.

Adams attempted to temper his announcement with another message: that New Yorkers should get new booster shots aimed at protecting against highly transmissible COVID variants. To reinforce that, he got his second booster shot from the city’s Health Commissioner Dr. Ashwin Vasan in front of a roomful of reporters.

“It is time to move on to the next level of fortifying our city,” Adams said. “It’s imperative to send the right message and lead by example as I’m doing today by getting my booster shot.”

Adams framed the rescinding of the mandates as providing more “flexibility” to parents and businesses regarding vaccines.

He noted that his shot Tuesday is just the first step in a new citywide digital and print vaccination campaign to encourage booster shots.

But even as Adams and Vasan announced the new campaign and the end of the two mandates, they struggled to explain the rationale behind enacting the one rollback while continuing to keep in place the mandate that city employees must be vaccinated — a contentious rule that led to workers being fired, lawsuits and political protests.

“We’re in a steady phase of pivot and shift,” the mayor said when asked if he plans to peel back the mandate on city workers. “We do things. We roll things out slowly. Right now, that is not on the radar for us.”

When asked how he can justify his decision, Adams said: “I don’t think anything dealing with COVID makes sense, and there’s no logical pathway of [what] one can do  You make the decisions based on how to keep our city safe, how to keep our employees operating.”

Vasan responded that it’s important to not view “any of these decisions in isolation.”

“They’re all connected,” he said, referring to the city’s COVID policies. “We’re looking at all of our policies and thinking about a glide path towards normal, whatever the new normal looks like.”

Keeping the city worker vaccine extortion mandate, which looks like it's indefinite, is brazen discrimination and these two assholes are blatantly telling the public not to question it because they are not smart enough to comprehend while doing the worst gaslighting about justifying this policy that has done major damage to city services. And they did this hours after President Biden said the pandemic was over. When will the press finally question why this farcical unscientific mandate is allowed to continue and who is benefiting off it?


Mayor Eric Adams' new vaccination card.

Rockaway hipster hideaway gone away



This looks like a nice place for a family to rent in Rockaway Beach, but prospective tenants might want to have the entire place and backyard powerwashed before they move in. For this previously was one of the Rockaway Hideaway lodgings that were being rented out for a ludicrous fee of $600 per guest during the pandemic.
Wonder if the outhouse shower is still there too? Blech. 

I guess they had trouble getting suckers after all those shootings and killings on the peninsula this year. 


Looks like the outhouse shower is included. These people must have been raised in a barn.

Monday, September 19, 2022

Mayor's chief of staff and long time lawyer pal quits the team

New York Times

One of Mayor Eric Adams’s closest advisers, who has helped formulate and work out some of the mayor’s thorniest policy challenges, has informed administration officials that he will resign at the end of the year.

The adviser, Frank Carone, a former power broker in the Brooklyn Democratic Party who helped fuel Mr. Adams’s rise in politics, had served as his chief of staff since January.

His exit is the first major departure of the Adams administration. Emma Wolfe, the last chief of staff for Mayor Bill de Blasio, stayed in that role for nearly all of his second term and worked in his administration for eight years.

Mr. Carone served as a gatekeeper and a negotiator for Mr. Adams, meeting with business leaders and working on projects like vetting casino operators vying for casino licenses in New York City and examining whether to use cruise ships to house migrants.

Mr. Carone said in an interview that he had always intended to stay in government for only one year and that he planned to serve as a chairman on Mr. Adams’s re-election campaign in 2025.

“I wanted to recruit the team, take a deep dive into agencies and build a culture for that team of no drama and getting things done,” Mr. Carone said.

Some of Mr. Carone’s past business dealings have drawn scrutiny, including his representation of landlords involved in an affordable housing deal and his involvement with a group of doctors accused of insurance fraud. Mr. Carone was also criticized for having a financial stake in a police tool that Mr. Adams promoted as Brooklyn borough president, and for failing to disclose his legal work for a homeless shelter provider.

As the mayor’s chief of staff, Mr. Carone has largely avoided controversy, helping Mr. Adams behind the scenes to respond to one crisis after another: the pandemic, the killing of two police officers in January, high crime rates, an influx of asylum seekers from Latin America, a staffing crisis in city government and concerns over the city’s economic recovery.

Caption honorary African American Brad Lander


Sunday, September 18, 2022

The war on cars' war criminals

NY Post

The city turned a blind eye for years while a Queen’s tow company monopolized services on many Big Apple highways and ripped off thousands of drivers in the process, a bombshell new lawsuit alleges.

The class-action suit, filed Saturday in Manhattan Supreme Court, seeks more than $58 million in damages for the duped motorists from the NYPD, the city Department of Consumer and Worker Protection and Runway Towing Corp. It alleges city officials let the company run an illegal “racketeering enterprise” at the expense of unsuspecting motorists.

The suit also accuses the NYPD of repeatedly extending Runway’s contract since 2013 without competitive bidding and, in the process, ignoring many complaints the Department of Consumer and Worker Protection was getting about the company’s alleged lawbreaking, which included underpaying workers and illegally compensating them with cash off the books.

The two city agencies “conspired … to allow Runway to operate … even though at least six years ago motorists were telling them that Runway is overcharging consumers,” said lawyer Gary Rosen, who represents Runway customers and ex-staffers in the lawsuit.

The suit claims Runway has earned more than $200 million since 2010 off its NYPD contract to provide roadside assistance and towing services on the Brooklyn-Queens Expressway; Kosciusko Bridge; the Cross Island Parkway in Queens; sections of the Belt Parkway in Brooklyn and Queens; Brooklyn’s Gowanus Expressway and Prospect Expressway; and the Staten Island Expressway, West Shore Expressway, Korean War Veterans Parkway and Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Expressway on Staten Island.

It also alleges the company relies on shady practices to drive up its profits, including instructing tow operators to bring vehicles they pick up to the company’s office in Ozone Park — no matter where they break down.

It’s a move that generates hundreds, and sometimes thousands, of extra dollars in unnecessary towing and storage costs for the public per vehicle, former Runway workers and customers told The Post.

Mary Olsen, 62, said she had no choice but to give away her 2000 Nissan Altima to Runway after it was rear-ended and totaled on the Staten Island Expressway two years back. She said a Runway tow truck brought the car to the Ozone Park storage facility more than 20 miles away without her consent — and without providing a cheaper option, such as towing it to a parking space off the nearest exit or a nearby auto body shop.


City emergency response times got longer


NY Post

New York City first responders are taking longer to get to fires, medical emergencies and crimes in progress.

Critics blamed the potential deadly surge in response times on serious staffing shortages in the NYPD and FDNY.

As the Police Department continues to deal with spikes in major crimes and a mass exodus of cops, response times to all “crimes in progress” during the past fiscal year ending June 30 increased from 11 minutes and 40 seconds to 12 minutes and 44 seconds – or 9.1%, according to Mayor Adams’ first management report.

In fiscal 2019, which predated the COVID-19 pandemic and the many new challenges it to brought citywide, the average response time was 9 minutes and 55 seconds.

The Fiscal 2022 Mayor’s Management Report released late Friday – which covers the highs and lows of all city agencies during the final six months of ex-Mayor Bill de Blasio’s administration and the first six of Adams’ – also highlighted a serious uptick specifically in response times to armed robberies, burglaries and other “critical crimes.”

Cops on average responded off 911 calls to these crimes in 8 minutes and 26 seconds, compared to 7 minutes and 52 seconds a year ago.  In fiscal 2019, they arrived on average in 6 minutes and 38 seconds after a 911 dispatcher fielded the call for help.  

Councilwoman Joann Ariola (R-Queens), who chairs the fire and emergency management committee, blamed de Blasio’s progressive policies for helping nudge many cops who felt “disrespected” into early retirement and leaving the NYPD short-staffed.

34th Avenue Open street lies dangerously come to life



Once again from Jim Burke's letter to Donovan Richards about his scurrilous accusatory lies about homophobia directed towards him and his group. This may have been the biggest and most dangerous lie of all. Time to remove that crappy version of stonehenge on the road and abolish these open streets now.


Saturday, September 17, 2022

LIRR Proposing to End Essential Link from Kew Gardens to Forest Hills

Over this past summer, the Long Island Railroad & the Metropolitan Transit Authority, announced that the LIRR East Coast Corridor, with service to the new Madison Station Platform at Grand Central Terminal, will commence by the end of this year - winter 2022.

Initially this was great news and that which LIRR commuters have been awaiting to hear for two decades. Unfortunately for us, with the release of the LIRR's proposed new train schedules for service, we now see that the LIRR-MTA is actually taking away vital service between Kew Gardens and Forest Hills.






Click here to view the draft LIRR schedule for Kew Gardens and Forest Hills, which eliminates all train stops between the two, in either direction! Thus one would no longer be able to take the train at Kew Gardens and get off at Forest Hills, and vice versa. However, this two-minute ride provides a CRITICAL LINK between our two communities which MUST BE MAINTAINED.

The MTA & LIRR want to hear from communities how they feel about the new schedule. This is our chance to tell them!



1. This link between the two stations enables Kew Gardens residents, especially the elderly, young families and the differently abled, to reach quickly and easily healthcare facilities and businesses unavailable in Kew Gardens.

Forest Hills is the hub for many medical facilities, especially ones that are UNAVAILABLE in Kew Gardens, e.g, specialized medical offices, medical labs, radiology services, hospital, clinics etc. In addition, the Kew Gardens community both needs and supports the many Forest Hills small businesses which have no counterpart in Kew Gardens. 


2.  Given the new alternate Manhattan destinations, i.e., Penn Station and Grand Central, the destination link between Kew Gardens & Forest Hills helps to move traffic. For example, if you miss the KG train to the Eastside, you may be able to switch at Forest Hills for their next train to the East side, etc. and arrive in good time.      


3.  Such links between stations/communities continue to exist on many, if not all other LIRR lines - just not for Kew Gardens. Moreover, those using LIRR to access those local stations even have a special reduced fare, while Kew Gardens riders pay the full fare (as much as $6.50) to just Forest Hills, the same as if they were going to Manhattan or the Hamptons.  In just one example, the two-minute ride between Manhasset and Plandome LIRR stations, remains on the new schedule, costs seniors and the disabled $1.50, regular-fare payers also pay just a small percent of the final destination fare to and from Manhattan.


The link between Kew Gardens and Forest Hills is critical to our community, and now especially with the stifling of Queens Blvd for local motorist and public buses with under utilized bike lanes, the underground Subway stations in constant disarray - the massive jail structure and all the chaotic traffic it will bring, looming heavy - it is essential that the LIRR link between our two, interdependent neighborhood eco-systems, must be maintained.

Thank you.

Sylvia Hack

The Queensway has just been approved



Mayor Eric Adams on Friday unveiled an investment of $35 million to begin phase one of QueensWay, a new linear park planned for Queens.

The funding includes $2.5 million from the City Council, a press release said. 

“We are moving from a city of no to a city of yes and QueensWay is the way we are going to go throughout this entire city,” Adams said at news conference in Forest Hills. “And ensure that open space, green ways, good clean environments for children and families will continue to grow in this city.”   

The first phase of the project will help transform a section of an abandoned Long Island Rail Road line in Forest Hills, known as the Met Hub, into a five-acre park.

Once complete, the 47-acre QueensWay will provide the 2.4 million residents living in the borough with a new open space that will give them access to recreational amenities, outdoor educational programs and an alternative transportation to schools, businesses, and 10 bus lines, the release said. 

“QueensWay improves quality of life, improves the air quality and it promotes both physical and mental well-being and it gives more visibility to businesses along the route,” Adams said. “And so this is an economic stimulus as well.” 

But some residents were hoping get more transit options.

Last month, state, local and federal officials signed onto a letter calling for Adams and Gov. Hochul environmental impact study on the prospect of a subway line being extended into the area.

“QueensWay improves quality of life, improves the air quality and it promotes both physical and mental well-being and it gives more visibility to businesses along the route,” Adams said. “And so this is an economic stimulus as well.” 

 The gaslighting by every elected official at this announcement about the lack of park space and how it's a transit desert is mind blowing. Forest Park is by there and spans 4 neighborhoods. Numerous bus lines go around there. This also throws any plan to restore the rail transit line in the garbage.

And here's another thing. Why are two members from Transportation Alternatives there? That's Peter Beadle on the left who was at that hilarious parody protest against Jenifer Rajkumar by the rail line last year and fellow bike zealot and shameless anti-car fascist Juan Restrepo. Does that "non"-profit "public streets advocacy" organization have a government office we are not aware of? Their presence is also heinous because their Queens chairman Jim Burke recently defamed a community group led by a gay man as homophobes and racists with absolutely no evidence with the help of one of their fellow elected officials in City Council!

It's astounding how this plan just materialized from thin air after Adams made budget cuts to every municipality only a few days ago and city council found money to fund this fantastical project. This isn't the city of yes like Swagger Adams says, this is the twilight zone.

Friday, September 16, 2022

Mayor Adams demotes NYCHA commissioner following poisoned water results at Jacob Riis Houses


Politics NY 

A major shakeup is coming to the leadership structure of the city’s public housing authority.

Mayor Eric Adams’ office announced Thursday the New York City Housing Authority’s (NYCHA) current chair and CEO Greg Russ will step back as the authority’s chief executive, following an arsenic contamination scare at the Jacob Riis Houses on Manhattan’s Lower East Side.

Russ will stay on as chair, according to a release, as the roles of CEO and chair that have typically been held by one person are split into two separate jobs. The authority’s general counsel Lisa Bova-Hiatt will serve as interim chief executive until they find a permanent replacement.

“We cannot wait any longer to make transformational changes so NYCHA can provide safe, high-quality homes for New Yorkers,” Adams said. “I am determined to work with my partners in government to identify the right leaders and the right structure for NYCHA to deliver on our promises to public housing residents. I want to thank Lisa Bova-Hiatt for her dedicated service to our city and for stepping up at this critical time to put NYCHA on the right path.”

The news comes after a rough couple of weeks for the embattled public housing authority. Nearly two weeks ago, NYCHA and the mayor’s office told Jacob Riis residents their tap water had tested positive for arsenic and advised residents not to drink or cook with the water for nearly a week.

But late last week, the city reversed course, sharing that the lab who’s tests yielded the positive arsenic results – Environmental Monitoring and Technologies – retracted those results and released revised results that were negative for the toxic substance. A day later, Adams announced the water at Jacob Riis was safe to drink and cook with again, posting a video of himself and city Department of Health and Mental Hygiene (DOHMH) Commissioner Dr. Ashwin Vasan drinking cups of water from the development’s taps.

Adams’ office says it wasn’t notified about the positive arsenic test until several days after NYCHA was aware of the results. During an unrelated press conference Monday, Adams said the delay in notifying his office was “unacceptable” and hinted at the leadership change announced Thursday.

“We were notified on Friday, they were notified on Monday, it’s unacceptable,” Adams told reporters. “And so we know there’s new leadership that’s about to take place at NYCHA and we’re looking at exactly what happened here.”


Socialist YIMBY Tiffany Caban approves luxury public housing towers in Astoria

Tiffany Cabán Approves Major Astoria Housing Development, Bucking Trend Among Progressives

New York Focus 

 New York City Councilmember Tiffany Cabán on Tuesday announced her support for a proposed rezoning that will allow a three-tower, 1300-unit housing development in Astoria known as Halletts North, in a shift from how other progressive lawmakers have approached recent land use decisions.

Cabán’s support for Halletts North likely ensures the full City Council’s approval of the project, since the council traditionally follows the lead of the local councilmember in deciding whether to give the go-ahead. 

One in four units in the development will be earmarked for affordable housing. Cabán and local community organizations negotiated with the developer to increase the number of two- and three-bedroom apartments in order to accommodate local families, she said.

The most deeply affordable units will be the 10 percent reserved for tenants making 30 percent or less of the New York City area median income, or $35,790 for a family of four. Overall, the development will nearly double the number of local units available to renters making less than 50 percent of the area median income, Cabán noted.

The developers have also invested $16 million in cleaning up the site from toxins left by its former industrial use, and agreed to contribute $1 million to the neighboring public housing development, build a community space that local nonprofits will be able to use rent-free, and incorporate a public waterfront green space into the development, Cabán said.

Cabán framed her choice to support Halletts North as “harm reduction.”

“The best we can hope for without rezoning this lot is a last mile [trucking] facility where some massive corporation like Amazon would pay our neighbors garbage wages for backbreaking work,” Cabán said. “A no vote today would be a vote for that.”

In recent years, New York has built less housing per capita than almost any other large city in the country. Cabán’s support for the project comes as various factions of New York’s left attempt to work out their approach to housing supply, and decide how to respond to developers seeking city approval to build largely market-rate housing on privately-owned land. 

“There’s currently no consensus on what a progressive land use approach should be,” said Samuel Stein, housing policy analyst at the anti-poverty nonprofit Community Service Society. “Because there’s a debate or diversity of approaches, that leaves individual council members with a bit of latitude in terms of defining their own position.”

Cabán’s decision to support the Halletts North rezoning sparked significant and heated debate among members of the New York City chapter of the Democratic Socialists of America (DSA), said DSA member and housing organizer Andrew Hiller. The Queens DSA housing working group tweeted that the decision “is an insult” to nearby public housing residents who likely won’t be able to afford the new units. Cabán is a DSA member and received the group’s coveted endorsement during her 2021 run for city council.

By supporting the Hallets North development, Cabán is taking a different approach from other progressive members of the City Council who in recent months have blocked, opposed, or threatened to block major developments in their districts.

Wednesday, September 14, 2022

Open Street organizer and creator falsely maligns community group run by a gay man as homophobes

 Jackson Heights Post

 A heated dispute has erupted between opposing sides of the 34th Avenue Open Street program in Jackson Heights — with the initiative’s co-founder saying he was the victim of homophobic slurs leveled at him by members of an opposition group.

Jim Burke, a well-known LGBT activist (and volunteer capo for Transportation Alternatives-JQ LLC) and co-founder of the 34th Avenue Open Streets Coalition, says a dispute surrounding the use of 34th Avenue led to him being verbally abused.

The 34th Avenue Open Street Coalition have been staunch advocates for the corridor to be made a permanent open street, while a rival group, the Jackson Heights Coop Alliance, opposes the concept, arguing that is unfair to drivers who need to park their cars and that it makes it tough for emergency vehicles to traverse.

Burke, in an interview with the Queens Post Tuesday, said he was called a “c**k-sucking f****t,” by an SUV driver who he believes is a member of the Jackson Heights Coop Alliance. However, Burke said that he wasn’t 100 percent sure that the driver is a member of the Alliance since he doesn’t know all the people that are part of the group.

Ricardo Pacheco, the leader of the Jackson Heights Coops Alliance, was critical of Burke for making the accusations and is demanding Burke provide further evidence. He said the accusations are slanderous and are just a means to undermine his group.

Pacheco also criticized local leaders, such as Councilmember Shekar Krishnan, who held a press conference Monday accusing the alliance of bigotry. He said Krishnan did not investigate the allegations and his actions were malicious.

Burke also said there have been various instances where passers-by on the street have uttered racist epithets at volunteers. He said that his partner Oscar Escobar, whose first language is Spanish and speaks English with an accent, was asked by two opponents to show his “papers.”

Burke, however, said he doesn’t know for sure if the racist comments were made by members of the Jackson Heights Coop Alliance, although he assumes so.

Burke said he has been targeted because of his role with the 34th Avenue Open Street program. His group advocates for making the 34th Avenue Open Street program – which runs 26 blocks from Junction Boulevard to 69th Street along 34th Avenue – a permanent fixture in the neighborhood.

The strip — which is currently closed off to traffic from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. on Mondays through Sundays under the program — is being converted into a series of pedestrian plazas and traffic-restricted zones, in accordance with a plan released by the Department of Transportation in October.

Advocates for the open streets plan, known as Paseo Park, argue that the open streets initiative has been a huge success since it creates much-needed public space in the neighborhood.

Opponents of the plan, however, say the plan eliminates much-needed parking and makes it harder for emergency vehicles to access local residents.

Burke wrote that the e-mail led to unnecessary strife in the neighborhood by directing hate toward the volunteers of the 34th Avenue Open Streets Coalition.

“Purported members of this group have used homophobic, xenophobic, and racist slurs against our volunteers and program participants, sometimes in the presence of children and community members,” Burke wrote. The letter did not go into specifics about the alleged hate-filled incidents.

He called on Richards to investigate the Board’s leadership for sending out the email.

On Monday, the LGBT Network, a group advocating for LGBT people in Queens and Long Island, held a press conference along the 34th Avenue Open Street to bring attention to the alleged incidents against members of the Coalition and called for an end to hate in the neighborhood.

Burke attended the press conference and was joined by Councilmember Shekar Krishnan, former Councilmember Danny Dromm, and David Kilmnick, president and founder of the New York LGBT Network.

Krishnan stood with Burke and the activists to condemn the alleged bigotry.

“I am appalled at the homophobic harassment that 34th Avenue volunteers like Jim Burke and many others have had to experience by members of the so-called Jackson Heights Coops Alliance,” Krishnan said.

“No matter how their members may feel about 34th Avenue, there is no excuse to engage in hate. Jackson Heights Coops Alliance must condemn its members’ actions now.”

  The press conference sparked an almost immediate response from the Jackson Heights Coop Alliance, which released a statement late Monday condemning the media event.

“The malicious accusation directed at us by Councilmember Shekar Krishnan and the 34th Avenue volunteer Jim Burke without concrete evidence is disturbing, if not pure slander,” the statement, written by Pacheco reads.

“We demand any evidence that supports this claim.”

Furthermore, Pacheco, who is an LGBT activist, alleges that his group was not contacted about Burke’s claims before the press conference was held.

On Tuesday, Pacheco wrote an open letter to Krishnan, labeling the councilmember’s actions as “malicious and libelous.”

“Without a shred of evidence, nor even a preliminary investigation, you proceeded to make malicious, baseless, unfounded, unverified and hateful allegations against the Jackson Heights Coops Alliance,” the letter reads.

“This was nothing less than a precalculated attempt to embarrass, discredit and defame our name as a community organization and attempted to portray me as being a homophobic bigot.”

“As the president and a gay man myself who has a long history and proven track record of advocating for the civil rights of LGBTQ+ community, I would never tolerate such bigotry from our alliance or from anyone else.”

Pacheco also called on Krishnan to make a public apology for his actions.

Krishnan responded to Pacheco’s open letter on Wednesday with a brief statement to the Queens Post.

“We take every instance of hate speech brought to us very seriously,” Krishnan said.

“It’s shocking that when a victim comes forward, the response by some is to discredit and vilify rather than condemn the harassment.”

 Wow, Jimmy is the Jussie Smollett of open streets. For someone who claims that his open street brings people together its hysterical how he never bothered to communicate with his neighbors from the co-op alliance. But it's clear that he chose to feud with them instead and weaponized his connections with elected officials to close 25 blocks from residents, delivery people, and city emergency and sanitation services who need to drive on them. And he didn't even bother to find out the alliance leader was a gay man like him and tried to weaponize bigotry to his and his political allies advantage. 

All for a stupid fake park and anti-car agenda. 

Tuesday, September 13, 2022

Kathy Clown relinquishes her emergency autocrat powers

NY Post


Gov. Kathy Hochul announced Monday she will not extend the COVID-19 state of emergency amid falling caseloads and rising criticism of her use of the powers ahead of the Nov. 8 election that has seen Republican Rep. Lee Zeldin close the gap on her once-big lead.

The incumbent Democrat — who is seeking to be elected to the executive chamber for the first time since taking over after Andrew Cuomo stepped down last year — has renewed two executive orders each month since first issuing them as the Omicron variant of the coronavirus hit the state late last year.

While an order giving hospitals more leeway to hire health care staff has been relatively uncontroversial, the same cannot be said about Hochul suspending state contract rules that have led to accusations of pay-to-play politics involving the governor. 


City officials are betting on rain gardens to stop floods from the next hurricane


 Queens Chronicle

As the city marks the one-year anniversary of Hurricane Ida, the effects of which have some displaced families still living in hotels, Mayor Adams warns that climate change could lead to intermittent weather abnormalities becoming the norm.

“Thirteen New Yorkers died in their basement apartments due to flooding,” Adams said. “This traumatized our city. But climate change is bringing longer droughts, stronger storms and heavier rainfalls to places all over the globe.”

To help mitigate the effects of the next colossal rainfall event, Adams and other elected officials and department heads were in South Ozone Park last Thursday to announce the creation of an additional 2,300 rain gardens, the continued expansion of the city’s Bluebelt program and other green infrastructure initiatives aimed at relieving some of the burden on the city sewer system that was overwhelmed by last summer’s rainfall.

The city’s sewers were built to withstand rainfall at a rate of 1.75 inches per hour, according to Department of Environmental Protection Commissioner Rohit Aggarwala. Last summer alone, the city experienced two separate instances of rain falling at a faster rate: Hurrican Henri, when per hour totals reached 1.94 inches, and Ida, which dumped 3.75 inches per hour.

“Our path to resilience requires us to look to nature, to augment our sewer system, to build green infrastructure that will compliment our gray concrete infrastructure,” Aggarwala said. “Separately, neither would do the job, but the combination of well-maintained sewers and extensive green infrastructure can make New York City resilient in the face of the storms to come.”

While the city will continue to build out traditional “gray” infrastructure, including the installment of sewers in areas of Southeast Queens that had previously been overlooked, an Ida-level event cannot be contained by sewers alone. Aggarwala says the creation of green infrastructure initiatives eases the burden on the traditional drainage system by redirecting or storing excess rainwater until a storm passes.

Rain gardens — like the one at 135th Avenue and 127th Street where the officials spoke — are designed to absorb water into the ground and help keep the sewer system from being overwhelmed. Bluebelts, a program initiated on Staten Island that has expanded into Queens and the Bronx, involves the adaptation of naturally existing streams and wetlands into stormwater filters, bringing the water away from city streets and into larger bodies of water.

Also announced was a pilot of the city’s Cloudburst program, aimed at redirecting stormwater from city streets into specially targeted public places.

The program’s first run will take place at the New York City Housing Authority’s South Jamaica Houses. Construction is set to begin in 2023, with two grassy areas and a basketball court that will be rebuilt at a lower elevation targeted for water storage.

Similar projects are in planning stages in the St. Albans/Addisleigh Park neighborhood and in East Harlem.

Adams also announced an expansion of the city’s Floodnet sensors, designed to provide real-time flooding data to city agencies, residents, emergency response teams and researchers, along with “daylighting” plans to bring previously covered streams back to the surface in the Bronx.

“This is more than just infrastructure,” Adams said. “This is how we’re going to protect our city and people from rising sea levels and stronger storms. This is how we can create good jobs because it’s about also using one solution to address a multitude of problems.”

“We’re going to continue to be prepared for whatever challenges that we have to face. We will pivot and shift and adjust,” he added.

In a phone conversation with the Chronicle on Tuesday, state Sen. Jessica Ramos (D-Jackson Heights) offered a blunt assessment of the city’s current plan and its response, as well as the federal and state responses, to last summer’s storm.

“A lot of what was released in the current plan is kind of a recount of things that are already being worked on or projects that have been completed,” she said. “Rain gardens are great, bioswales are great, but, I mean, how many are we really going to build and is that going to be enough?”

“It just feels like everyone remembered hurricane season was rolling around again only lately,” she added. “Little has been done since Hurricane Ida last year.”

Get stuff done on the cheap


A mounting staffing crisis facing New York City, the country’s largest municipal employer, is raising questions about City Hall’s approach to hiring and whether the city is doing enough to compete for workers at a time when many critical agencies are being stretched thin.

Most city workers have blamed the city’s abnormally high attrition and difficulty in hiring on a lack of a remote working or hybrid option.

However, some current and former city agency officials and hiring managers say the challenge in hiring top job applicants also comes from a relatively recent practice of lowballing new hires. According to a source in city government, the policy stems from a union rule that was rarely enforced until the pandemic spurred belt-tightening measures from City Hall.

Six people familiar with the hiring process spanning across five different agencies, including the Department of Transportation and Department of Sanitation, told Gothamist they were directed to offer candidates with no prior experience working in New York City government the minimum salary of the range published on the job posting.

The individuals who spoke to Gothamist did not want to be named for fear of retribution from the City Hall and concerns over their job prospects.

All recall that the policy was verbally communicated, although one city worker shared several emails dating back to August 2021 from their human resources department that said employees in their first two years of city service should be paid at a “new hire rate.”

The practice, they said, prevents their agencies from hiring the most qualified candidates at a moment when the private sector has ramped up hiring following a pandemic-spurred lull, often with offers of higher pay and, in many cases, flexibility around remote work.

“They are shooting themselves in the foot,” one municipal employee said.


City Hall is trying a novel approach to address a shortage of attorneys willing to work at the lower salaries offered by municipal government — by getting lawyers to work at no cost.

Documents show that Mayor Eric Adams tapped his chief counsel Brendan McGuire, a former partner at the global law firm WilmerHale, to lead an effort to recruit pro bono attorneys from private law firms. 

“The initiative seeks to encourage City service among junior attorneys at private law firms and to alleviate the City’s current attorney hiring challenges,” the documents say. “It proposes to accomplish this goal by enhancing pro bono engagements to expose junior attorneys to the full range of the City’s legal work.”

The Conflicts of Interest Board granted McGuire approval to oversee the initiative, which could include conducting business with his former law firm. In the approval letter, the board says the city is also developing a fellows program under which private law firms would lend junior attorneys to the city for a year.

The measure comes amid a City Council review — including at a public hearing this past Friday — of city government staffing shortages, which took hold during a 2020 COVID hiring freeze and have persisted into the ninth month of the administration of Mayor Eric Adams.

A Council report in connection with last week’s oversight hearing identified nearly 1,200 vacancies at the city’s Department of Health and Mental Hygiene — about 19% short of the agency’s budgeted headcount — and more than 2,200 open positions at the city’s Department of Social Services, roughly a 17% shortfall.

At the hearing, Saul Fishman, president of the Civil Service Bar Association, which represents attorneys working in 40 city agencies, said his union’s membership has fallen by 22% since the start of the pandemic because of departures from government  — from 1,057 to 831 people. 

City lawyers handle everything from police misconduct lawsuits to foster care cases.

The majority of the losses came after former Mayor Bill de Blasio’s full-time return-to-office mandate, which went into effect last September. Adams and his top staffers have doubled down on that mandate this year, and on Monday, the mayor reiterated his stance.

“I’m not just a chorus about returning to work — I wrote the song,” he said at a press conference. “It’s time to get back to work. You cannot hang out in the nightclub on Sunday but you’re afraid to come to work on Monday.”

Monday, September 12, 2022

The last picture show on Main Street. 

Queens Chronicle 

 When Kew Gardens Hills resident Richard Reif first attended Main Street Cinemas back in 1946, a day at the picture show cost only 25 cents.

“You could spend the whole afternoon there, which me and my friends did,” he remembered fondly. “You got two feature films, a cartoon, a newsreel and an episode of a serial — and you could bring your own food.”

So it’s not difficult to imagine his disappointment when, after seeing Idris Elba’s latest film, “The Beast,” last weekend, he found out that would be the last movie he ever saw at the theatre, which closed its doors earlier this week.

It is rumored that the theater is closing due to a rent increase; however, the Chronicle was unable to confirm that, as owner Rudy Toolasprashad did not respond to multiple queries. City property records show that the lot — which includes the movie theater and all the stores between it and the corner of 72nd Drive — was purchased by G & Y Main Street Plaza LLC in February of this year. It is not clear whether the purchase has any connection to Main Street Cinemas’ shuttering.

Like all theaters, Main Street Cinemas had previously closed during the earliest days of the pandemic. Though many other small film venues across the country never reopened, Main Street Cinemas welcomed movie-goers back in March 2021.

“I thought then it would close for good, but it didn’t,” Reif said. “This summer you know, I went to movies like ‘Top Gun: Maverick,’ and ‘Elvis’ and ‘Thor,’ and there were big turnouts — people of all ages, parents brought their kids for things like the Sonic Hedgehog movie. So that really surprised me that it’s closing.”

The institution has been a staple in the community since it opened in 1941, when it was called the The Main Street Playhouse. It played the starring role in the lives of many young people over the years.

 Queens Chronicle

“You could spend the whole afternoon there, which me and my friends did,” he remembered fondly. “You got two feature films, a cartoon, a newsreel and an episode of a serial — and you could bring your own food.”

So it’s not difficult to imagine his disappointment when, after seeing Idris Elba’s latest film, “The Beast,” last weekend, he found out that would be the last movie he ever saw at the theatre, which closed its doors earlier this week.

It is rumored that the theater is closing due to a rent increase; however, the Chronicle was unable to confirm that, as owner Rudy Toolasprashad did not respond to multiple queries. City property records show that the lot — which includes the movie theater and all the stores between it and the corner of 72nd Drive — was purchased by G & Y Main Street Plaza LLC in February of this year. It is not clear whether the purchase has any connection to Main Street Cinemas’ shuttering.

Like all theaters, Main Street Cinemas had previously closed during the earliest days of the pandemic. Though many other small film venues across the country never reopened, Main Street Cinemas welcomed movie-goers back in March 2021.

“I thought then it would close for good, but it didn’t,” Reif said. “This summer you know, I went to movies like ‘Top Gun: Maverick,’ and ‘Elvis’ and ‘Thor,’ and there were big turnouts — people of all ages, parents brought their kids for things like the Sonic Hedgehog movie. So that really surprised me that it’s closing.”

The institution has been a staple in the community since it opened in 1941, when it was called the The Main Street Playhouse. It played the starring role in the lives of many young people over the years.