Mayor Adams looks like his job isn't much fun anymore, but it's more likely he's mad because he was expecting better seats.
Wednesday, August 31, 2022
Caption the cranky mayor
Tuesday, August 30, 2022
You're gonna need bigger borough tower jails
When asked about how to address the increasing jail population (which is too large to meet the requirements of the borough based jail plan), the @NYCMayor said today “we need a plan b.” He then suggested sending some detainees to state facilities. pic.twitter.com/r65ZrV1U7Y— Courtney Gross (@courtneycgross) August 29, 2022
In about five years, smaller jails in four boroughs are supposed to replace Rikers Island after it shuts down.
But on Monday, Mayor Eric Adams questioned whether the city would need more space thanks to an increasing jail population.
“We have to have a plan B, because those that have created a plan A that I have inherited obviously did not think about a plan B,” the mayor said at an unrelated press conference.
The mayor’s remarks came after the city comptroller, the public advocate and the chair of the City Council’s criminal justice committee made an unannounced visit to Rikers Island on Monday morning.
And surprisingly, after months of chaos, a staffing crisis and violence, these officials said the jail’s conditions appeared to be improving.
“I do want to say that it is demonstrably better than a year ago,” said Public Advocate Jumaane Williams.
“Immediately upon arrival we did notice improvements,” said Councilwoman Carlina Rivera.
That said, they reported some detainees were not receiving medication, and many officers were still working double shifts to make up for staffing shortages.
On top of that, the officials saw at least seven individuals in what the department is calling involuntary protective custody — where the city says some of the most violent inmates have been isolated.
Brad Lander, the city’s comptroller, questioned whether this unit violated a state law requiring several hours of out of cell time.
Adding on, it was the city comptroller who after their visit questioned whether the city would be able to meet its deadline to close the troubled jail complex.
“Staying on the path to close Rikers is critical, and I’m not confident that we’re on it,” Lander said. “Numbers were coming down and down over many years. They got as low as 4,000 during the pandemic. They’re back up to 5,700.”
The mayor did not offer many details about how he thinks the population could drop.
“What was the plan B that stated if we don’t drop down the prison population the way they thought we were, what do we do?” the mayor asked. “We have to look at everything from state facilities. We have to see if we can get help from the governor. We have to sit down with the chair of crime and correction. We have to see what’s available.”
After screwing homeowners out of financial aid from Hurricane Ida damage, Comptroller Lander wants to make a law to make renting basements legal
Brad Lander’s Basement Resident Protection Law would create a “basement board” to oversee the conversions and ensure residents of these apartments—called accessory dwelling units or ADUs—have access to tenants’ rights and basic safety protections. It comes a year after rains from Hurricane Ida killed 11 New Yorkers in basement units.
As the one-year anniversary of Hurricane Ida
approaches, tens of thousands of basements and cellars—units often
converted into illegal apartments—are still at immediate risk of
flooding, and that number will triple in the next 30 years, according to
a report by New York City Comptroller Brad Lander shared with City
The report proposes legalizing and registering rental units via a legislative roadmap modeled after a law New York State enacted in the 1980s to convert commercial and manufacturing units into legal residences.
Lander’s policy plan, the Basement Resident Protection Law, would create a “basement board” to oversee the conversions and ensure residents of these apartments—called accessory dwelling units or ADUs—have access to tenant’s rights, such as eviction protection. It would also help homeowners put in place basic safety features to protect tenants from floods and fires.
The plan would need to be implemented on the state level, and so he hopes to see a legislator in Albany take it up. It comes as the city marks one year since heavy rainfall brought by the remnants of Hurricane Ida caused deadly floods, killing 11 people residing in basement units.
The comptroller’s analysis found that 10 percent, or 43,000, of the city’s basements and cellars are at risk of flooding from rainfall or storm surges. The number of occupied basement and cellar units across the city is still unknown due to their secrecy, but estimates suggest they house at least 100,000 city residents—and that number could be much higher.
Such apartments tend to attract low-income renters, including immigrants, who are priced out of other forms of housing. As of now, tenants living in these units have no protections or rights if they demand safety features to protect them from floods, fires and other risks, and many are not incentivized to ask the city to intervene for fear of losing access to their homes.
“The only tool the city has is a vacate order,” Lander said. “That’s not what residents want, even if they’re in an unsafe unit.”
Lander’s proposal would require owners of occupied basement or cellars to register them, and would give temporary legal status to such units for up to five years—a change from current policy, in which most of the units would be deemed uninhabitable.
Monday, August 29, 2022
There is no sanctuary here
Overwhelmed city officials are struggling to provide a promised intake center and hotel rooms to migrants being shipped by the busload from Texas to the Big Apple, The Post has learned.
The Department of Homeless Services acknowledged to The Post that it has abandoned its initial plan to operate an intake and processing center dedicated to the recent arrivals alongside a 600-room shelter at the ROW NYC hotel on Eighth Avenue in Midtown.
Officials would only say Sunday that they have finally selected a finalist to operate the yet-to-open Manhattan facility but would not reveal the contractor’s name or its location.
Contracting documents obtained by The Post show that officials had hoped to have the Midtown shelter and intake up and running as soon as Aug. 15 — now 13 days ago.
DHS also admitted that it has yet to select and rent any of the 5,000 hotel rooms the agency said it is seeking to house migrants across the city.
Instead, officials are continuing to commingle migrants with New Yorkers in the city’s existing shelter system — which now includes 15 “emergency” hotel facilities to also help handle a summer population surge, according to the DSS on Friday.
City Hall has refused to say how much the city is spending on housing migrants in the homeless-system hotels, but a Post analysis found the cost could surpass $300 million.
Sunday, August 28, 2022
New York Senate shadowban
New Yorkers who criticize the state’s Senate on Twitter have been blocked from commenting and seeing tweets, according to FIRE who is representing a New Yorker who was blocked for criticizing the state’s new gun control legislation.
In June, the US Supreme Court struck down a New York State legislation that required people to have a license to carry a concealed firearm outside of their homes. The state’s legislature responded by expediting a new gun control legislation limiting who is allowed to carry firearms among other controls.
New Yorkers upset with the reform took to Twitter to express their frustration. According to FIRE, the state’s Senate Twitter account hid about 90 tweets and blocked multiple users.
Twitter allows accounts to hide replies and block people, which prevents them from commenting and seeing future tweets. The New York State Senate’s account takes advantage of these features to hide criticism of legislators and legislation.
Because the Senate is a government entity, it is going against the First Amendment by blocking users. Several courts have agreed that when a government entity invites public comment on social media, regulating comments and engagement violates the First Amendment. The most notable case was when a court ruled that then-President Donald Trump violated the First Amendment by blocking critics on Twitter.
Why New York sucks in 2022
Saturday, August 27, 2022
Catalytic converter thieves are revving up their operations in the Big Apple — citywide, the crime has accelerated by 269% this year — and on Staten Island, by a meteoric 670%, NYPD data show.
Across the five boroughs, 5,548 catalytic converters have been ripped off through Aug. 14, compared to the same period last year, when 1,505 were reported stolen, according to the stats.
On Staten Island, catalytic converter thefts rose to 362, up from just 47 the year before, for a 670% increase — the biggest surge in the five boroughs.
“It’s really bad. I’m one shop and in the last few months I’ve done [repaired] 15 cars. Ninety-five percent are Honda Accords,” said Nick Dhouib, manager of Ten Point Auto Repair in New Dorp for the last 30 years. “The people complain about the noise,” he said.
One Staten Island auto repair mechanic pointed the finger at the Garden State.
“I hear they are coming from New Jersey. They jump on the bridge [Goethals or Outerbridge Crossing], take what they can and go back to Jersey,” said the shop owner, who requested anonymity.
Queens leads the five boroughs with 2,092 converter thefts in 2022, compared to 574 in the same period last year — a hefty 264% hike.
In Brooklyn “cat” thefts hit 1,534, up from 403 in 2021, a 281 % spike; The Bronx saw 976, up from 286, for a 241% leap; Manhattan had 584 such thefts so far this year, compared to 195 in 2021 for a 199% rise.
A catalytic converter, which contains rhodium, palladium and platinum, is a piece of the automobile’s exhaust system that breaks down some of the smog which would otherwise come out of the tailpipe.
Crooks can get up to $300 for a standard catalytic converter and up to $1,400 for the part from hybrid vehicles.
Viva la congestion pricing resistance
The knives are out for New York’s congestion pricing plan, and loads of motorists want a carveout.
The Metropolitan Transportation Authority is moving ahead with the scheme, which aims to toll motorists who drive in Manhattan south of 60th St., not including the West Side Highway and FDR Drive.
Taxi drivers held a protest in Manhattan on Wednesday pushing for exemptions to the tolls, which could cost anywhere from $9 to $23 during the day for most cars.
A group including Uber and Lyft on Thursday sent a letter to Gov. Hochul asking that for-hire vehicles get a break. And trucking industry lobbyists have also called for discounts to the tolls, which could range from $12 to $82 per crossing for the largest carriers.
Another public pushback against the plan came Thursday evening as droves of drivers jammed an online MTA hearing to rail against the planned tolls. The hearing — held over Zoom — drew 391 attendees, each of whom were given three minutes to speak.
“If you guys tell me that’s $23 every day I need to take my car out of my driveway, that is outrageous,” testified Colette Vogell, who lives on Manhattan’s East Side, within the congestion zone. “People like me are going to move out of Manhattan.”
Exemptions are already planned for emergency vehicles, those transporting people with disabilities, and residents of the congestion zone who earn $60,000 or less annually.
But MTA officials have warned that exemptions for some motorists could lead to higher toll prices for everyone else.
The plan is required by a state law passed in 2019 to raise $1 billion a year for the MTA, enough for the agency to finance $15 billion worth of upgrades to the agency’s dilapidated transit infrastructure.
Thursday’s hearing was the first of six the MTA is to hold on the program over the next week. The hearings come after the agency released a draft environmental assessment on the scheme, a key step to gain federal approval before the tolls can launch, which isn’t expected to happen until 2024.
Other opponents of the program are less concerned about exemptions, and want congestion pricing to be delayed or nixed altogether.Passengers United has a poll you can take to stop the congestion tax.
Friday, August 26, 2022
Sleazy hotel torture chamber
A 59-year-old man was lured to a Queens hotel room on the false promise of sex only to be tortured for hours by two suspects who then robbed him, prosecutors said Thursday.
The victim arrived at Hotel Ninety Five outside JFK Airport in Jamaica on Aug. 6, and paid 19-year-old Destiny Lebron for sex after responding to a prostitution ad, Queens District Attorney Melinda Katz said.
But the twisted beatdown began as soon as the victim began to undress, according to Katz.
Lebron allegedly threw bleach in her victim’s face before opening the door to let in her alleged accomplice, 22-year-old Gil Iphael.
Iphael charged the victim, covered his head with a blanket and began punching him while demanding his cash, Katz said.
The two delinquents confiscated the man’s car keys, phone and wallet, officials said.
When the man refused to unlock his phone, Lebron allegedly burned him with a curling iron until he gave in, according to prosecutors.
The duo tried to steal the man’s money by transferring it electronically before making multiple trips to the ATM to withdraw funds instead, the DA said.
The alleged torture continued for hours.
It really doesn't look that bad from the outside. But the reviews say different.
School event gets regulatory captured
Wednesday, August 24, 2022
Voter exhaustion and apathy and poll site chaos impacts primary results
A muggy day in late August was no match for the relatively small number of Queens residents who cast their ballots for a handful of State Senate and Congressional primary races taking place throughout the borough Tuesday.
It was the second primary election to be held in the city this summer, after the Court of Appeals ruled that the state’s Senate and Congressional electoral maps ran afoul of the state’s constitution. To give the court-appointed “special master” enough time to draw the new redistricting lines, the Board of Elections split the primaries into a June and August date.
While June’s turnout was relatively low, Tuesday’s turnout in the bifurcated primary appeared to be even lower in the few areas in Queens where there were contested races on the ballot.
And while the borough was without many open races or challenges to incumbents on Tuesday, the borough wasn’t completely void of a real political contest. One of the most hotly contested races is for Senate District 59, a newly created district that covers parts of Long Island City, Astoria, Greenpoint, Williamsburg, Tudor City, Kips Bay and Stuyvesant Town. The race features a young progressive candidate backed by the Democratic Socialists of America in Kristen Gonzalez, former City Councilmember and Queens County Democratic Party-backed Elizabeth Crowley and Mike Corbett, a former staffer to former Councilmember Costa Constantinides.
But turnout in the Queens portion of the district appeared to be lagging early Tuesday, which could potentially serve as an advantage for Gonzalez.
Around 25 voters had cast their ballot at P.S. 166 in Astoria by 8 a.m., on Tuesday. The site saw well over double that number in June by that time, a poll worker told the Eagle. Turnout at Information Technology High School in Long Island City hit 46 voters by 9:45 a.m., also a decline from the June turnout.
The Ravenswood Community Center, which serves as the primary polling site for residents of NYCHA’s Ravenswood Houses, had logged less than 10 voters by 9 a.m. Poll workers there said it wasn’t just the unusual August primary that was causing issues.
Poll workers arrived at the site to find that the electronic tablets used to check voters in hadn’t been prepared the night before, as they normally are. At least five voters arrived to the site and were asked to return later. A poll worker told the Eagle that one voter left upset, another voted via affidavit ballot and the others had yet to return.
“They’re working now, we didn’t turn the voters away and we want them to come [back],” the poll worker said.
Ricardo Aca, a member of nonprofit Make the Road New York, was canvassing for votes outside of the Ravenswood site on behalf of Gonzalez.
Aca said that he was particularly concerned that the poll site issues were happening in an area home to a majority of Black and brown residents.
“I’m definitely disappointed that it's happening in a district that is majority Black voters,” Aca said. “We already know a lot of voters do not get their information about the election, so then those that do get to vote and practice the right to vote then get turned away because the machines are down – it’s inexcusable.”
A Board of Elections spokesperson said: “We had some technical issues with the poll pads at that site this morning. Some voters opted to return later, but affidavits were always available to voters.”
Issues also arose at P.S. 55 in Richmond Hill, where several voters were asked to vote via affidavit because of a mix up surrounding absentee ballots.
Voters who request absentee ballots are not allowed to vote at a polling station in-person, as per a recent rule change from the Board of Elections.
In Marisa Osorio’s case, however, that request for an absentee ballot – though the ballot itself did arrive – had never been made.
“I got it in the mail, and I was just like, ‘Why am I getting an absentee ballot?’” Osorio said. “I ripped it up because I figured I could just go vote in person.”
But when she arrived at the school, she was asked to vote by affidavit, something several others in the same situation were asked to do, as well, she said.
“It was just annoying,” she added.
In addition to malfunctioning machines, some voters told the Eagle that the split primary and redistricting had left them confused. While most said that they were informed – some, at the last minute – of the election and any potential changes to their district and polling sites, others felt unsure.
“I can’t follow with all the changes…they make it more complicated every year,” one voter who declined to give his name told the Eagle as he stormed out of the polling site at P.S. 166, spitting in front of the building as he left.
The Queens resident had been told that he had been redistricted and needed to go to a different polling place than the one he had been voting at for years.
“I’m not going there,” he said.
Young upper class socialist wins Senate primary
New York City closed the book on its 2022 primary season when polls closed in State Senate and Congressional races on the ballot Tuesday evening.
There were only four contested races in Queens – two in the State Senate and two Congressional races.
Early and unofficial results show that Queens’ most hotly contested race – the race to choose a Democratic nominee for its newest State Senate Seat – has followed in the trend that was set by Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez in 2018 when she upset Queens County Democratic Party Leader Joe Crowley.
In the State Senate District 59 race between Democratic Socialists of America-backed Kristen Gonzalez, former City Councilmember Elizabeth Crowley and Mike Corbett, a former staffer to City Councilmember Costa Constantinides, Gonzalez was on top by around 6,000 votes – holding around 59 percent of the vote – with 91 percent of scanners reported.
Crowley, who had the backing of the Queens County Democratic Party and whose fundraising numbers far exceeded those of any other candidates in the race, held around 32 percent of the vote.
There remain around 2,220 absentee ballots from Queens voters in the district left to be counted, according to the Board of Elections, but they won’t do much to help Crowley.
Crowley conceded to Gonzalez shortly after 10 p.m., marking her fourth consecutive losing election.
“We put everything into this campaign that we could and sadly tonight have come up short,” Crowley said in a statement. “I can’t thank my supporters, volunteers, and my team enough for their tireless efforts. I congratulated Kristen on her win and wish her all the best.”
Should Gonzalez win in November, a group of voters in Astoria will be represented by DSA-backed officials in every legislature except the U.S. Senate. The rise to power for the DSA in the area that has taken less than five years. Astoria voters helped propel Ocasio-Cortez to office in 2018, elected Assemblymember Zohran Mamdani in 2020 and City Councilmember Tiffany Cabán in 2021.
“We have this opportunity to set an example for the rest of the city, the rest of the state and the rest of the country,” Gonzalez told the Eagle Tuesday afternoon before the results began to come in. “It’s not only about creating Democratic Socialists at every level of government, but those Democratic Socialists are accountable to the larger community, and for the first time working class people will have a voice at every single level.”
Sunday, August 21, 2022
Holdup at Tiffany's
Two brazen thieves on motorcycles robbed a group of people dining outside a fashionable Queens cafe — which is located across the street from the office of Councilmember Tiffany Cabán, a major supporter of defunding the NYPD, cops and witnesses said.
The masked men dressed in all black rode up on the sidewalk and pointed guns at customers who had been relaxing outside the Under Pressure Espresso Bar on 31st Street in Astoria around 3 p.m. Tuesday, police and witnesses said.
“Hands up, don’t move,” they barked at the victims — and said that if they did move, they’d “shoot,” two employees who witnessed the incident told The Post.
“Two people came on motorcycles and they pointed their gun outside and took some chains and bracelets from some people outside,” said one of the workers, who declined to share their name.
Another worker said about a dozen people were outside the coffee shop when the robbery happened and called the incident “f–ked up.”
No one was injured, but the crooks took bracelets and chains from an unknown number of people. They fled north on 31st Street and were still at large Thursday.
The gunplay on Caban’s doorstep comes after she published a letter in February criticizing the NYPD for sending an anti-gun unit to the 114th Precinct, which covers the area.
“Our district is already home to some of the highest stop-and-frisk rates in the city,” she wrote. “Now we will also have to contend with the unit that, despite containing roughly 5% of the force, committed nearly 1/3 of all police murders in the 20 years before it was [previously] disbanded.”
When the first employee was told about Cabán’s calls to defund and disband the NYPD, he broke into laughter and called her a “clown.”
“I should go talk to her,” he said.
“Is she serious? She‘s going to defund the police? Ha! She got no good reason, bro.”
He called on police to “find” the men responsible for the robbery and “prevent this from happening” again.
The coffee shop, where an order of cold brew costs $4.50, is about 140 feet away from Cabán’s office, where staffers refused to speak to The Post about the incident.
“She is not here right now. She’s currently in a meeting,” a worker
said when a reporter asked to speak to Cabán about the incident.
Thursday, August 18, 2022
Donovan Richards didn't get the CDC memo
JFC Donnie, you're going to act like the CDC's recent guidelines didn't come out a week earlier? And you're also going to ignore the fact that people wouldn't get their kids under 5 vaccinated even without backpack bribes? Keep playing the fool Mr. Borough President.
I forgot to mention that this vaccination drive is being held on Primary Election day, so I guess people have another reason to miss this.
Oh, and this happened. Wonder why the Queens Borough President is trying to provoke shit?
Knock and leave a citation three times
Hotel homeless shelters are back big time
City officials are urgently seeking another 5,000 rooms in Big Apple hotels to house migrants bound for New York City from the southern border, The Post has learned.
There is no price tag attached to the request that was released Wednesday, which was made under the emergency contracting powers invoked by Mayor Eric Adams when the migrant crisis first began in the city.
It marks a dramatic expansion of the city’s efforts to secure temporary housing for the recent arrivals, sources say.
The Department of Homeless Services had previously asked nonprofit social service providers to send in proposals to rent rooms and provide aid for 600 families set to be housed in a luxury Midtown hotel, the Row NYC on 8th Avenue.
The new request for providers to secure thousands of rooms in hotels across the city is in addition to that, city officials confirmed.
And it would come on top of the estimated 200 already secured and providing housing for families at the Skyline Hotel on 10th Avenue.
If fully implemented, it would bring the number of hotel rooms rented for migrants in the city shelter system up to nearly 6,000.
City Hall estimates that more than 4,000 migrants, many of whom are seeking asylum, have arrived in the five boroughs in recent weeks — and have become the subject of a high-profile feud between Hizzoner and Texas Gov. Greg Abbott.
Adams accused Abbott and the Arizona governor of shipping the migrants to New York without telling local officials, claims that both denied at the time.
However, Abbott said he was shipping migrants to the East Coast cities in protest of President Biden’s “willful ignorance” regarding the border crisis.
Wednesday, August 17, 2022
NYC Comptroller to Hurricane Ida flood victim homeowners: drop dead
New York City’s comptroller’s office shot down the thousands of people who filed financial claims against the city in the wake of Hurricane Ida.
Historic flooding from the drenching downpours destroyed the homes of many in 2021. In the aftermath, 4,703 people filed complaints with the city because of the flooding, as first reported by THE CITY. Each complaint was denied, a spokesperson for Comptroller Brad Lander’s office said. Letters went out to New Yorkers explaining that New York is not legally responsible.
“For over a century, courts have held that municipalities across the state of New York, including the City of New York, are not liable for damage from ‘extraordinary and excessive rainfalls,'” Lander wrote to New Yorkers in the denial letter. “Where damage is caused by negligent action or omission on the part of the City of New York, the City may be liable; however, that was not the case here.”
Ida dumped as many as 9 inches of rain in parts of New York City on the night of Sept. 1, 2021, according to the Department of Environmental Protection. In just one hour, 3.15 inches of rain fell in Central Park, breaking a record.
“As a result, the City of New York is not responsible for losses arising from Hurricane Ida, and your claim must be denied,” Lander wrote.
New Yorkers whose claims were denied can sue the city at any point within 1 year and 90 days of Ida, according to his office. That gives people until late November of 2022.
Nearly a year after the remnants of Hurricane Ida flooded the Forest Hills one-bedroom apartment where Heidi Pashkow and her husband live, the couple is finally beginning to settle back into their first-floor home of over four decades. That’s after living with their son’s family for about nine months and spending almost $30,000 on repairs, Pashkow said.
She received a couple thousand dollars from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and filed a negligence claim against the city for damage caused by sewer overflows in the storm, in the hopes of receiving some money.
Pashkow said she was “shocked” when she received a letter on Monday from City Comptroller Brad Lander completely denying her claim.
She wasn’t the only one: 4,703 New Yorkers filed claims against the city after their homes flooded during Ida. All 4,703 were denied, according to the comptroller’s office.
The crux of the claims is that the city’s negligence in sewer maintenance led to flooding damage.
The storm killed at least 13 people in New York City on Sept. 1, 2021, as it dumped over three inches of rain in a single hour on Central Park, shattering previous rainfall records — and overwhelming the city’s sewer systems, which were built to handle rainfalls of under two inches an hour.
The comptroller’s office says it investigates each claim to determine whether city negligence led to the flooding. But the decisions rely on precedent set by a case from 1907 that ruled municipal governments are not liable for damage from “extraordinary and excessive rainfalls” — even if the city’s sewer system was under capacity.
“As a result, the City of New York is not responsible for losses arising from Hurricane Ida, and your claim must be denied,” read letters sent by the comptroller and obtained by THE CITY.
Pashkow said she thinks the city is “absolutely” at fault because it oversees the infrastructure.
“I could challenge it and say, ‘Well, if you had your sewer fixed, it wouldn’t be a problem,” Pashkow said.
“No one is moving back on the first floor, only me and the super,” she said in a separate text message Tuesday. “All are paranoid and so am I when it rains.”
Community board says take the city out of the county
A Community Board 2 taskforce created to evaluate the proposed changes to the boundaries of Council District 26 has rejected the NYC Districting Commission’s preliminary draft plan.
The commission released preliminary maps in July for all 51 council districts—although the revised Council District 26 map stood out since the district’s boundaries would be subject to major change. The map would see the Woodside portion of the existing district split among four council districts; Ravenswood and Queensbridge would be gone; and Roosevelt Island and a portion of the Upper East Side would be added.
The proposed district would be comprised of approximately 173,000 people, with 36,000 people from Manhattan and 12,000 from Roosevelt Island.
CB2 is deeply concerned about the impacts to our community that the draft redistricting scheme may produce,” according to a statement released by CB2’s taskforce. “It is critical that our voices are heard loud and clear to ensure proper representation, prevent disenfranchisement, and to ensure marginalized communities are not divide and diluted.”
The taskforce, which was created by CB2 chair Morry Galonoy, argues that the revised district would have an adverse impact on residents who live within Community Board 2 and all residents who reside in Council District 26 today.
It also says the proposed map does not comport with the city charter since the commission is required to keep neighborhoods intact, limit crossover districts (as in across boroughs) and avoid oddly shaped districts.
The taskforce says that the change would see less representation, attention, resources and discretionary funding awarded to residents of community board 2.
The taskforce also said that the proposed Council District 26 would paint an entirely different picture of the residents who currently live in the district—as well as the services offered. The taskforce highlighted the following:
–The average income within the district would go from $80,000 to $110,000—overstating what current residents earn.
—The racial and cultural demographics would see the white non-Hispanic population grow to 44 percent of the population, up from 29 percent—reducing the influence and representation of communities of color who live in the district.
—The proposed district would include major hospitals on the east side of Manhattan, but community board 2 residents would still have no hospital or place to give birth within its boundaries.
—The revised district has more schools within it, which would make it tougher for schools to get funding or to build additional schools in community board 2.
The taskforce also concludes that it would be much tougher for the councilmember to provide services in the revised district.
Caption the guy who replaced Stephen Banks
Tuesday, August 16, 2022
It's now legal in New York to write an autobiography during a pandemic while people are dying
Former Gov. Andrew Cuomo won a lawsuit Tuesday in which he challenged New York’s defunct ethics agency’s attempt to seize his profits from a $5.1 million book deal about the Covid-19 pandemic.
The Joint Commission on Public Ethics determined last year that Cuomo improperly used state staff and resources while writing his 2020 memoir on the pandemic, “American Crisis.” It ordered him to surrender his compensation to the state.
But Cuomo’s legal team refused to acknowledge the legitimacy of the JCOPE ruling, and Albany County Supreme Court Justice Denise Hartman issued a decision that sided with him on Tuesday afternoon.
Hartman determined that JCOPE’s actions against the ex-governor would “violate due process” by not following the proper procedures for bringing an action and overstepping its authority.
“JCOPE was seeking to impose sanctions for Cuomo’s alleged non-compliance with JCOPE’s outside activities rules,” she wrote. But state law says it can “impose sanctions only for violation of the statute, not for violations of JCOPE’s rules.”
Cuomo’s team quickly praised the decision.
“JCOPE’s utter lawlessness in its treatment of Governor Cuomo has been exposed and the rule of law prevailed,” attorney Rita Glavin said in a statement. “JCOPE’s conduct was shameful, unlawful, and a waste of taxpayer’s funds.”
The Democratic governor resigned a year ago amid sexual harassment allegations, and the book was widely criticized for its large payout to Cuomo and months later when a state report found his administration undercounted Covid-19 deaths in nursing homes by as much as 50 percent.
Mayor Eric Adams exploits 9/11 to defend staffer who had a brazen conflict of interest who still worked at Resorts World.
Mayor Eric Adams tried to counter a new barrage of questions about ethics at City Hall Monday after hiring his close friend Timothy Pearson as a public safety adviser while allowing him to keep his job at a Queens gambling operation seeking approvals to expand its business — with Hizzoner claiming at one point that “We need to lift up our 9/11 heroes.”
Adams spoke just hours after Resorts World, which runs the slots at Aqueduct Racetrack in Queens, parted ways with Pearson following a string of stories that revealed his simultaneous work in city government and as the security chief at the facility.
“He’s a 9/11 hero,” Adams told reporters in The Bronx after he was pressed on allowing Pearson to maintain dual employment while he was in city service. “When the [World Trade Center] buildings collapsed, he was inside one of the buildings and led people to safety.”
“We need to lift up our 9/11 heroes,” the mayor added.
Adams also claimed on Monday that City Hall has “nothing to do with the placement of casinos” — even though the mayor appoints one of the voting members to the panel that must approve any new casino license in the five boroughs.
The Malaysia-based Genting Group, the parent company of Resorts World, is fighting hard for one of those new licenses so it can add lucrative table games like craps and roulette to its racetrack operation, which is currently limited to slots and other computer games.
The New York Times first reported last week that Pearson was still employed full time by Resorts World even after taking an adviser position at the city’s Economic Development Corporation on matters of public safety and COVID-19 pandemic recovery.
So Adams exploited the pandemic too to hire a crony of his. Disgusting.
Monday, August 15, 2022
Council Member Paladino gets smoke blown at her by squatter next door
There’s a known squatter house in my district at 20th Ave and 146th street in College Point. This morning I viewed the house and confronted the squatters personally.— Councilwoman Vickie Paladino (@VickieforNYC) August 15, 2022
This will not stand on my watch. Homeowners have rights and our neighborhoods deserve better. More action coming. pic.twitter.com/8Qtr6y5cnr
Blighted box truck abandoned on Kew Gardens Hills corner
Sunday, August 14, 2022
Arverne by the sea blues
Vandalism, car break-ins, and theft. This has become the norm in Arverne By The Sea over the last couple months with multiple incidents making residents question the area’s safety. The concerns have led some at “The Dunes” section of ABTS looking to hire a private security firm.
“Over the course of two months, acts of blatant, senseless vandalism [have] increased dramatically,” Qin Chen, the president of The Dunes HOA at ABTS, told The Wave. “We had numerous reports that a group of young teens would go through the community yelling, and destroying property. We have over a dozen homeowners who’ve reported cases of vandalism and property damage, which includes rocks being thrown through windows, car windows being stepped on, and random acts of destruction.”
In addition, some residents of ABTS have reported their packages missing, suspecting they are being stolen off their porches.
To address these security concerns, the Board met with Captain Chris Dipreta, Lt. Ramos Polanco, and Officer Victor Boamah of the 100th Precinct on July 21, according to The Dunes Newsletter.
As a result of the meeting, the precinct “agreed to provide The Dunes with ‘directed’ patrols throughout the week” in hopes of discouraging crime in the area. The officers also urged ABTS residents to “report every incident by either calling 911 or ‘texting’ 911 instead of calling the precinct directly” and purchasing their own security cameras in the hopes of the video footage serving the precinct in future investigations.
Chen and other members of the HOA are looking into finding private security as well.
Saturday, August 13, 2022
Queens culture cash
Leaders from several Queens cultural institutions gathered together on Aug. 10 at the Noguchi Museum in Long Island City, where NYC Department of Cultural Affairs Commissioner Laurie Cumbo announced $4.5 million in capital funding to support the restoration and renovation of Isamu Noguchi’s Studio.
The project will allow public access for the first time in the museum’s history and preserve the living spaces designed by Noguchi, new amenities for visitors, as well as the construction of a new facility for the storage and study of its collection. As part of her ongoing five borough tour, Cumbo also detailed investment for other institutions including Queens Museum, Flux Factory, New York Hall of Science, Queens Theatre the Poppenhusen Institute, and the Queens Botanical Gardens.
“The extraordinary diversity and energy of Queens is reflected in its cultural organizations, and we’re thrilled to invest in these projects that will give local residents and visitors from all over access to the remarkable cultural facilities they deserve,” Cumbo said. “From this exciting new project at Noguchi Museum that will open up the legendary artist’s living space to the public for the first time, to the Queens Museum’s ongoing expansion, and many more — these projects are part of the city’s long-term investment in the cultural community of Queens and across all five boroughs.”
Mayor Eric Adams has invested $127 million in capital support across the five boroughs which, along with funding from the City Council and borough presidents, brings a total of more than $220 million in funding to 70 cultural groups citywide.
“I’m thrilled that the Noguchi Museum, along with many other incredible Queens cultural institutions have received this historic funding from Mayor Eric Adams,” said Queens Borough President Donovan Richards. “With the Mayor’s investment and my $3 million allocation for a new storage lab and study center, the Noguchi Museum will be able to expand and improve upon the stellar experience it offers to visitors.”
Noguchi Museum Director Brett Littman said he was grateful for the support and investment from the Adams administration and the borough president.“Since its founding in 1985, the Noguchi Museum has presented exhibitions and programs that reach audiences throughout Queens, as well as around the world,” Littman said. “Our capital project will enable public access to Isamu Noguchi’s Studio for the first time in its history, open a new cafe and shop for visitors, and create dedicated space to preserve, protect and research Noguchi’s art and archive.
Friday, August 12, 2022
Roof pool uncool with DOB
Adams shooting craps hiring casino cop crony to EDC position
Mayor Eric Adams has appointed a former New York City police official and close confidant as a paid senior adviser — while allowing him to keep his job as an executive at the Resorts World New York City casino in Queens, according to city officials and a person close to Resorts World.
Since May 31, the adviser, Timothy Pearson, a retired police inspector, has served as both a city official and the vice president responsible for overseeing security at the casino, which is seeking state approval to expand its gambling offerings in Queens. City support for its bid could prove pivotal.
On top of what he earns from the casino job, Mr. Pearson receives a city-funded salary through the nonprofit New York City Economic Development Corporation under an unusual arrangement that allows him to continue collecting his $124,000 annual Police Department pension.
State law prohibits city officials from simultaneously receiving a salary and a pension from the city. Mr. Pearson is able to do so because he is being paid by the development corporation, a nonprofit controlled by the mayor.
Initially, Mr. Pearson had worked on Mr. Adams’s behalf without pay during his mayoral transition last fall, and for the first five months of his administration before he was put on the public payroll as a senior adviser to the mayor for public safety and Covid recovery, said Fabien Levy, a spokesman for Mr. Adams.
Mr. Adams’s administration has declined to answer other questions about the arrangement, including how much the city is paying Mr. Pearson. According to Mr. Levy, the Economic Development Corporation reached out to the New York City Conflicts of Interest Board on Mr. Pearson’s behalf. He said Mr. Pearson is following all applicable laws.
As of Tuesday, the board had issued no waivers of the conflicts of interest law to Mr. Pearson, records show.
“New Yorkers are lucky to have such a knowledgeable and experienced individual agree to serve and bring his expertise to the greatest city in the world, especially after he did the job without being paid a single dollar for months,” Mr. Levy said in a statement.
Mr. Levy said Mr. Pearson’s municipal job responsibilities had no overlap with casino policy, and instead included working with law enforcement to help improve the city’s public safety, the centerpiece of Mr. Adams’s mayoral agenda. Mr. Levy also said Mr. Pearson would recuse himself should any interaction between the casino and the development corporation arise.
Thursday, August 11, 2022
Mayor Adams and the Department of Social Services covered up violations at shelters housing migrant families arrivals and fires official who tried to warn them
Several sources tell News 4 that staff at the Department of Social Services, including the agency's legal team, were angry after being instructed to hold off on telling City Hall, and not promptly notify the Legal Aid Society, as has been past protocol.
City officials acknowledge there was a delay in disclosing the
violations, but they say top officials at the Department of Social
Services including the Commissioner were unaware that they are legally
obligated not to house families overnight in their intake office. This,
despite the fact that a report is sent out each morning at 4am to notify
social services managers of any violations.
The chief spokesperson for New York City's Department of Homeless Services was fired Friday after pushing back against alleged lies and omissions by her boss regarding illegal conditions in the city's homeless shelter system, according to a source familiar with the situation.
Email and text messages provided to the News 4 I-Team suggest that the Deputy Commissioner for Public Information Julia Savel had resisted efforts by Social Services Commissioner Gary Jenkins to conceal crowded conditions in the city's homeless shelter system from his superiors at City Hall, from the media and from the public.
In one text message dated July 20, Savel indicated to a City Hall spokeswoman that she was planning to inquire about moving to a different agency, saying "Just can't work for a commish who is ok with covering up something illegal."
Staff at the Department of Homeless Services say they learned on July 18 that families with children had been forced to stay overnight in the city's homeless intake office in the Bronx, known as PATH — a practice that is prohibited under a 2008 court settlement between the City and the Legal Aid Society, which represents people living in shelter.
The text messages imply that Savel gave City Hall a heads up the next day, on July 19. That same day, Mayor Adams announced NYC needed federal funding to help with a surge of 2,800 asylum seekers who had entered the shelter system in recent weeks. But the mayor did not specifically mention any legal violations or families sleeping in the intake office.
Later that week Adams said he did not learn the city had violated its "right to shelter mandate" until July 20.
Several sources tell News 4 that staff at the Department of Social Services, including the agency's legal team, were angry after being instructed to hold off on telling City Hall, and not promptly notify the Legal Aid Society, as has been past protocol.
City officials acknowledge there was a delay in disclosing the violations, but they say top officials at the Department of Social Services including the Commissioner were unaware that they are legally obligated not to house families overnight in their intake office. This, despite the fact that a report is sent out each morning at 4am to notify social services managers of any violations.
Suddenly, Stephen Banks doesn't look that bad now.
Rockaway zombie courthouse coming back as a wework imitation
A long-shuttered former courthouse in Queens that the city sold for just $50,000 nearly a decade ago to build a medical facility can now be used for commercial and office space instead.
The board of the city’s Economic Development Corporation voted unanimously Tuesday to approve a change to the deed with the former Rockaway Courthouse, which has now been closed for 60 years.
The move allows the owner, Uri Kaufman of The Harmony Group, to lease the space to commercial tenants — a request he made for years.
The city approved the transfer of the courthouse building to Kaufman in 2013, and he officially purchased it in 2015 for $50,000, according to an EDC spokesperson. The low price was meant to allow for major renovation of the 1931 building, which is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
Construction and asbestos abatement was completed by 2020. Overall, Kaufman has spent around $11 million in repairs, he told THE CITY.
Kaufman said the courthouse was “one of the toughest buildings we ever did,” noting it originally had only one exit — so they had to construct an additional wing out the back for fire safety.
Developer cash flows into Crowley campaign from shady PAC
Elizabeth Crowley, a Democrat running for state Senate in a district that runs from Astoria to Williamsburg, has pledged not to take any money from big real estate developers.
But on Monday, NYC Forward, an independent expenditure committee running ads to support Crowley, a centrist Democrat, received $150,000 from real estate interests, campaign finance records show.
That committee was founded this month by District Council 9, the painters’ union that’s counted Crowley as a member — and took the spotlight in initial news coverage of the group.
But state campaign finance records show the majority of contributions to the committee so far have come from developer interests.
Those include the Real Estate Board of New York, whose campaign spending arm, “Putting New Yorkers to Work,” gave $50,000 to the pro-Crowley committee. So too did A&E Real Estate Holdings LLC, a firm with buildings across Manhattan, Brooklyn and Queens.
State Board of Elections records show NYC Forward paid for $198,000 in expenses listed as “promotional” that coincided with the real estate donations. The committee has also spent $48,000 on a “social media campaign.”
Wednesday, August 10, 2022
Congestion pricing tax trolls reveal the tolls
The years-long effort to toll vehicles in the most congested parts of Manhattan as a way to bankroll billions of dollars in mass-transit improvements and reduce traffic is no longer stuck in neutral.
Today officials released the long-delayed “environmental assessment” of the proposed Central Business District Tolling Program — touting how it could potentially cut congestion coming into the core of Manhattan by nearly 20%, improve air quality, boost bus service reliability and increase mass transit usage.
The document also outlined what the program may cost drivers entering the toll zone: between $5 and $23 per trip, depending on the time of day and the type of vehicle.
The shift would change truck traffic in Manhattan, in particular; the report estimates truck trips through the central district would drop between 55% and 81% as drivers opt for less expensive routes. But it acknowledged that tolls could increase the number of drivers diverting onto roads in the South Bronx and on Staten Island.
Initially approved in 2019 by then-Gov. Andrew Cuomo and the state legislature, the rollout of so-called congestion pricing has been repeatedly hampered by federal bureaucracy, including hundreds of highly detailed questions from the feds that pushed back the projected launch date.
But the program that aims to fund $15 billion of subway, bus and commuter rail improvements as part of the MTA’s 2020 to 2024 Capital Plan now appears to be on track, with virtual public hearings set for later this month.
“Bottom line: this is good for the environment, good for public transit and good for New York and the region,” Janno Lieber, MTA chairperson and CEO, said in a statement.
In August, the transit agency will hold a series of six public
hearings to take public comment on the assessment. They will be held on
the following dates. THE CITY will update this piece when more
information is made available on how and where to submit testimony:
- Thursday, Aug. 25, 5 p.m. to 8 p.m.
- Saturday, Aug. 27, 10 a.m. to 1 p.m.
- Sunday, Aug. 28, 1 p.m. to 4 p.m.
- Monday, Aug. 29, 1 p.m. to 4 p.m.
- Tuesday, Aug. 30, 5 p.m. to 8 p.m.
- Wednesday, Aug. 31, 10 a.m. to 1 p.m.
work of making the final determinations about toll amounts and system
functionality will be done by the Traffic Mobility Review Board, or
TMRB, made up of six people — five appointees from the MTA and one from
the mayor. The transit agency and Mayor Eric Adams appointed all TMRB
members this summer. They are:
- Carl Weisbrod, former chair of the City Planning Commission and former director of the Department of City Planning.
- John Banks, president emeritus of the Real Estate Board of New York.
- Scott Rechler, chair of the Regional Plan Association and former CEO of the real estate group RXR.
- Elizabeth Velez, president of the construction management firm the Velez Organization.
- Kathryn Wylde, president and CEO of the Partnership for New York City.
- John Samuelsen, president of the Transport Workers Union (TWU) and former president of TWU Local 100 in New York.
Adams appointed Samuelsen, and the rest were appointed by the MTA. Weisbrod will serve as chair of the review board.
Monday, August 8, 2022
The war on Queens cars continues
Caption Kickback Kathy
Sunday, August 7, 2022
For close to a century, the Forest Park Carousel has been part of the rituals of growing up in Woodhaven, Glendale, Richmond Hill and many of the other nearby neighborhoods in Queens and Brooklyn.
In many families, several generations have fond memories of riding on the carousel as children before passing along the tradition by taking their own children or grandchildren for their first ride. The Forest Park Carousel is not only a fun ride, but also a beautiful and historically significant piece of work.
Nearly all the figures were created by the hands of legendary Master Carver Daniel C. Muller, a crucial factor in the New York City Landmarks Preservation Commission’s decision to designate the Forest Park Carousel a New York City Landmark in 2013.
To gain a better understanding of Muller, we need to start with Gustav Dentzel who had learned the craft of carousel-building from his father Michael in Germany and immigrated to Pennsylvania in 1864. Though he initially took up trade as a cabinetmaker, in 1867, he began the G.A. Dentzel Steam and Horsepower Carousel Builder company.
Dentzel’s firm completed an average of four full carousels a year, some of the earliest carousels in the United States.
One of Dentzel’s carvers was also a close friend, John Heinrich Muller. When Mueller died suddenly, Dentzel raised his surviving two teenage sons as his own. The brothers, Daniel and Alfred, joined the Dentzel family business in 1890 and began carving carousel figures.
Although both brothers were talented carvers, it was Daniel C. Muller (born in 1872) who truly shone, honing his craft at the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts. D. C. Muller’s carvings were notable for being very beautiful and realistic. He was also known for militaristic carvings with horses sporting bugles, swords and canteens.
In 1903, the brothers left Dentzel and started their own company, D.C. Muller Brothers Carousel Manufacturing Company, a much smaller shop than Dentzel ran. The Mullers only managed to build 12 carousels over 14 years with much of the delays attributed to Muller’s attention to detail.
The Mullers closed the shop in 1917 and rejoined their former company, which had been run by William Dentzel since his father Gustav’s passing in 1909. They remained with the Dentzels until William passed away and the company folded in 1928 as the Golden Age of Carousels in America came to a close.
And that brings us to the Forest Park Carousel. In the early days of Forest Park, the golf course was much larger, covering all the land down to what is known today as Park Lane South. All the land that the Forest Park Carousel sits on today, plus all the area surrounding it, was originally part of the golf course.
The residents of Woodhaven complained and in 1923 the Parks Department reduced the size of the golf course and the land that was freed up was set aside as public park space. It was at that time that Forest Park began to more closely resemble the park we know today.
Plans for playgrounds, a concrete bandstand, tennis courts and a carousel were announced. It’s hard to imagine, but residents of Woodhaven were opposed to the placement of a carousel so close to Woodhaven Boulevard, which was a sleepy one-lane road called Woodhaven Avenue at the time.
Construction on a building to contain the carousel finished in December 1922, in the woods, well off from Woodhaven Avenue. And by the spring of 1923, a carousel was spinning in Forest Park. The original carousel in Forest Park was a Muller creation and was owned and operated by Fred J. L. Hassinger of Glendale.
For over half a century, residents of Woodhaven and surrounding communities flocked to the Forest Park Carousel. Parents and grandparents put their children on the carousel, then sat and enjoyed the pipe organ music and the smell of hot dogs and popcorn.
Ozone Park hotel is a homeless shelter again
Amidst the city scrambling to find space to house an influx of asylum seekers and increasing homeless in New York City, one former Ozone Park shelter has been reactivated to meet the demand.
“The need for space has a direct correlation to New York being a sanctuary city,” Councilwoman Joann Ariola (R-Ozone Park) told the Chronicle.
She learned last week from the community board that the Travelodge on Redding Street would be converted back into a shelter.
That location and the adjacent Ozone Inn & Suites were previously used to shelter homeless families but were phased out by the city in the fall of 2021. Now, the one location will be used to house up to 75 families. So far, approximately 60 families had already moved in.
On Monday, the Mayor’s Office announced an emergency procurement declaration that allows the city to contract quickly with shelters and service providers.
“Over the past two months, we have seen a significant increase in the number of asylum seekers arriving in our city’s shelter system,” Mayor Adams said in a statement.
“To fulfill our city’s legal and moral mandate to provide quality shelter to anyone experiencing homelessness, and to ensure we are providing appropriate services to asylum seekers, we are immediately issuing an emergency procurement declaration to rapidly procure additional shelter and services to serve these individuals and families.”
According to officials, approximately 4,000 asylum seekers have entered the city shelter system since late May, largely contributing to the 10 percent increase in the city Department of Homeless Services’ census.
More than 100 additional asylum seekers are seeking housing each day, the Mayor’s Office stated in a press release.
As of May, there were nearly 50,000 homeless people, including over 15,000 children, living in the city’s shelter system, according to the Coalition for the Homeless.
The city is in talks with the federal government to seek reimbursements for the emergency costs.
Ariola said there will be bi-weekly meetings at the Travelodge with her office, Community Board 10, the NYPD and the DHS.
“I’m concerned about how the families are being treated and I’m concerned about any type of negative impact that could have on the surrounding community,” said Ariola.
F your soccer stadium
A group of activists and Corona residents gathered along the outer wall of the Willets Point construction site, where Phase 1 of the city’s development project is underway, to voice their opposition to the potential building of a soccer stadium in the area this past Sunday.
Though Mayor Adams’ office told the Chronicle that no agreement has been made for a stadium — which would permanently house the New York City Football Club — at this point, state lobbying records show that the team’s owners, the City Football Group, have pitched the stadium to numerous area stakeholders, including Adams and Councilman Francisco Moya (D-Corona) [see separate story].
Upon hearing the news, longtime activist Bertha Lewis joined forces with the Black Leadership Action Coalition, Nos Quedamos Queens and former Councilman and state Sen. Hiram Monserrate, for Sunday’s rally.
“Our city, as the mayor has stated, has a housing crisis,” Monserrate said Sunday afternoon. “But somehow, our local councilmember and others have concocted a scheme to build another, fourth stadium in this neighborhood — number four — 25,000 more seats, when people don’t have a damn place to live.”
The news of a potential NYCFC stadium is the latest in a years-long saga surrounding development proposed for the area, during which time a previous soccer stadium, a shopping mall and, most recently, a casino, have been proposed for the broader Willets Point-Flushing Meadows Corona Park area. All of those plans, including the casino, have been met with widespread opposition from residents in the surrounding communities.
Not only do stadium opponents believe that the need for housing supersedes the need for the borough’s fourth stadium, but the 1,100 units of housing slated for Willets Point is far fewer than the 5,500 agreed upon in 2007 (a deal Monserrate helped broker), prior to the construction of Citi Field.
“It’s an insult. It’s ridiculous,” Lewis told the Chronicle. “1,100 units. And, oh, we’re supposed to be happy with that? It’s the same story.”
She added that 5,500 units of housing need to be built before anything else is, along with the school the public was promised; the latter is part of the current plan.
One of the chief arguments in favor of building a soccer stadium at Willets Point is that it would create a myriad of new jobs, both in the construction process and once the stadium opens. But Lewis rejects that argument outright.
“You mean selling hot dogs and popcorn? You think that’s a nice career? Don’t give me that bulls--t,” Lewis said.
Ruff times at Rufus King Park
Last Thursday, Tunisia Morrison shared to Twitter a post displaying individuals passed out on benches in Rufus King Park, one with a needle stuck in his arm, and an image of human defecation in a fountain she says is frequented by children. The images were part of a presentation she and other members of the Friends of Dogs at Rufus King Park organization, a coalition of approximately 70 dog owners in the area, have been showing to elected officials in an effort to secure a dog run for the park.
The movement has gained more than 300 signatures on a petition posted to Change.org.
They say the dog run is necessary as a result of two issues. One, park enforcement officers in the area are strict in their enforcement of leashing rules, leaving the dogs with nowhere to roam. Even when dog owners circumvent the rules and let the dogs loose, they often encounter garbage and hazardous materials posing a risk to the animals’ safety, as well as the general state of the park as a community gathering space.
“I have a photo of a dog’s face that is three times the size it should be from rat poisoning and no signs across Downtown Jamaica that says that they dropped any,” Morrison said. “There’s a dog with a needle in its face. There’s a dog whose paw is literally ripped off from a bottle cap.”
“I didn’t know if I should post them because I live here and want to be proud of where I’m at, but if I’m sending this to elected officials already and trying to gain support around this dog run, then I’m 100 percent going to post these on Twitter and say, how is this OK for us or animals?” she added.
Parks Department rules stipulate dogs must be leashed at all times while on park grounds, unless in a designated unleashing zone or in a dog run. Still, Morrison says park enforcement officials frequently ignore more egregious violations, such as fighting and drug use, to chide community members over leashing violations.
A spokesperson for Councilman James Gennaro (D-Hillcrest), within whose district Rufus King Park falls, says it is the role of park enforcement officers to act as a liaison for the NYPD and the city Department of Mental Health and Hygiene, as park enforcement officers lack the training required to handle potentially dangerous situations stemming from a mentally ill or drug-influenced person.
“If you actually can’t help this community in mitigating what’s happening in it, why the investment?” Morrison said. “Because that investment could have went into the dog run.”
“I don’t know why the New York City Parks Department does not want to invest as they should in building up quality of life, but this is the [story] of living in the 114- ZIP code, going back way before I was born,” she added.