Looks like a job for SVU..."
Three of the largest climate resiliency projects undertaken by the city in the wake of Hurricane Sandy are nowhere close to completion 10 years after the devastating storm — and a fourth initiative has been canceled altogether even as global warming threatens to exacerbate extreme weather events in the future.
One of the three ongoing post-Sandy projects is “Raised Shorelines,” which was rolled out by ex-Mayor Bill de Blasio in 2016 with an aim to elevate roadways and other infrastructure in low-lying neighborhoods wrecked by coastal flooding during the 2012 hurricane.
But as New Yorkers mark the 10th anniversary of Sandy this weekend, the city has only spent 0.3% of the Raised Shorelines program’s $103 million budget, according to an audit released this month by Comptroller Brad Lander’s office.
As a result, the Raised Shorelines constructions — which cover parts of Queens’ Howard Beach, Mott Basin and Norton Basin; Brooklyn’s Coney Island Creek, Gowanus Canal and Canarsie, as well as Manhattan’s East River Esplanade — aren’t expected to finish until June 2025, according to this year’s capital plan from Mayor Adams’ administration.
According to Lander’s audit, the city has so far spent less than 75% of the $15 billion it received in total in Sandy-related resiliency grants from the federal government.
Adams has defended the pace of the city’s progress, though — both on his watch and under the administrations of de Blasio and Michael Bloomberg.
“Everything was not done perfect, but they were dedicated,” he said earlier this week of his predecessors. “What we need to wrap our heads around is the complexity of some of these projects. We’re not talking about just building a highway or just building a building or just building a wall. We’re going into unknown territory.”
On the night of Oct. 29, 2012 when Superstorm Sandy hit, Angela and Jon Rosen watched as the water crept up their front door steps, nearing the first floor of the house they had bought on 97th Street in Howard Beach only about a year earlier.
They heard the basement windows burst, letting in nearly 8 and a half feet of water.
Their three sons, 6-year-old twins and a 10-year-old, were on the second floor, distracted by their devices until the batteries died. All of their toys and books would be destroyed as well as their parents’ wedding album, family photos and Angela’s high school yearbook and book collections. The only thing that survived in the basement was her grandparents’ china.
Angela had taken bread, canned foods and cereal upstairs and her husband took a sledgehammer in case they had to bust through the roof, images of Hurricane Katrina victims running through their heads.
But Angela had seen that high tide was supposed to end at 8:35 p.m. so she kept her eyes on her watch, then the water, then the watch, then the water.
“If we can get past 8:35, then we can get through this,” she said.
And get through it, they did. It was not about strength but survival, she said. Despite assistance from FEMA and eventually the Red Cross, the real relief, she said, came from neighbors. Some days, she was their shoulder to cry on and other days she needed theirs.
It took a while, but one of her twins no longer panics at the sound of running water.
“It makes you appreciate what you have, what is important,” said Rosen. “My kids were safe, we were safe ... the rest of it is just stuff. It cost me a boatload of damn money, but in the end, it’s really all just stuff. We made it through and we realized that people could be really wonderful.”
Across Hawtree Basin, Roger Gendron had just become president of the New Hamilton Beach Civic Association.
“I didn’t even know what it meant to be a civic president yet, but I had to figure it out,” said Gendron, whose whole first floor had to be gutted from the flooding that ravaged it and the basement, which he and his then-teenage son waded through up to their chests.
The morning after Sandy, Gendron’s neighbor was pounding on his door at 5 a.m. warning him that he had a gas leak in his house due to the foundation giving way.
In a matter of days, Gendron and his wife, Holly, were helping to run a relief center out of the nearby firehouse, making vats of coffee to give out to neighbors and helping to charge their phones. He recalled the outpouring of support from all over.
“The floodgates had opened,” Gendron said, as help came in from the Kiwanis Club of Glendale, Resorts World Casino, a couple from Connecticut, the Tzu Chi Foundation, which distributed gift cards for hundreds of dollars to victims, and more. The Gendrons postponed their Thanksgiving dinner to the weekend to distribute food on the day of to neighbors.
“If there’s one thing out of Sandy that’s important — we all hear resiliency, a resilient community — people shared what they had. They helped each other. From day one,” said Community Board 10 Chair Betty Braton.
In Broad Channel, Dan Mundy Jr., president of the Broad Channel Civic Association, was operating one of the very first relief centers in the area, which opened up at the American Legion Hall.
“You sit down. You get a good meal, a drink. You have a laugh. You start to come back down and then it’s like, ‘What do you need?’ Well, I need toiletries, diapers, whatever. The whole place was filled to almost the ceiling,” said Mundy. “So that went on for like three weeks. It was absolutely amazing.”
Gendron recalled turning to state Sen. Joe Addabbo Jr. (D-Howard Beach), who he said talked him off the ledge several times.
“He told me I was thinking about the next six days and next six months but what I had to do was focus on the next six hours,” Gendron recalled.
It was a stressful time for so many, Addabbo said. “I never had men in my district crying, literally, on my shoulder ... I had never seen these strong Howard Beach men cry before.”
Addabbo’s home in Ozone Park had a tree fall just 4 feet from his front door but in that town, Sandy was merely a heavy rainstorm.
“You go south, and it’s devastation ... you hit Howard Beach and the homes have basically been emptied onto the curb. Then you go further south to Broad Channel and there are boats in the middle of Cross Bay Boulevard. Then you go down to Rockaway and there’s a section of the boardwalk with a rail still attached blocks away from the beach. And then, of course, fires and devastation in Breezy.”
Addabbo was in the middle of a tight Senate race against Eric Ulrich, who was in the City Council at the time. Addabbo’s district had been redrawn and polls were showing the two within percentage points of each other but he had to suspend his campaign in the south of his district.
“I said, ‘We’re done. These people, some lost their lives. They lost their businesses. They lost their homes. We’re done. Do not ring a bell. Do not do anything south of Ozone Park,’” he told his team.
Gov. Kathy Hochul used the old “bait and switch” to avoid post-debate questions from the city’s press corps on Wednesday — luring reporters away from a campaign event in Brooklyn and then ducking out a back door.
The sneaky strategy unfolded just hours after Hochul’s first and only face-off with Republican challenger Lee Zeldin, during which the incumbent Democrat stunningly said she couldn’t understand why it’s “so important” to lock up criminals.
In the wake of the controversial remark, Hochul stumped for votes at the RAICES Times Plaza Neighborhood Senior Center, where she individually chatted up about 30 people as they ate lunch in the basement cafeteria.
Hochul then gave a brief speech in which she repeated a frequent talking point about the seizure of 8,000 firearms across the state since January, following her establishment of the Interstate Task Force on Illegal Guns.
Afterward, campaign spokesperson Jen Goodman directed reporters to the building’s lobby for a Q&A session with the Democratic governor.
But Hochul never appeared and Goodman instead told the crowd she was headed to another event in Manhattan and said anyone who wanted to ask her questions should go there.
Reporters raced out to try to catch Hochul but only managed to spot her black SUV as it drove off.
Goodman later said that a “security threat” led to the cancellation of the Q&A session.
“At the campaign’s stop in Brooklyn, Gov. Hochul met with voters and delivered remarks prior to two protesters entering the facility and disrupting the intended gaggle space,” she said in a written statement afterward.
The Post saw a lone protester enter the lobby and stand silently with a placard urging the governor to sign the “Foreclosure Abuse Prevention Act,” which passed both chambers of the Legislature in May.
The well-dressed man engaged in a brief conversation with the building’s receptionist after the worker approached but no one took any action to get him to leave.
A New York State judge ruled that NYC sanitation workers who were fired for failing to comply with the city’s COVID vaccine mandate must be rehired, in a blistering ruling that targeted Mayor Adams’ lifting of the mandate for private-sector workers.
Judge Ralph Porzio blasted the city order requiring municipal employees to get the jab as “arbitrary and capricious” in a Monday ruling in state Supreme Court in Staten Island.
The lawsuit was brought by 16 sanitation workers who were fired in February after refusing the October 2021 mandate imposed by the de Blasio administration. Porzio ruled they could return to work — and get back pay — starting Tuesday at 6 a.m.
“We shouldn’t be penalizing the people who showed up to work, at great risk to themselves and their families, while we were locked down,” he wrote.
He slammed the Adams administration for lifting the vaccine mandate for private-sector workers and student athletes last month while keeping it in place for public employees.
“There is nothing in the record to support the rationality of … keeping a vaccination mandate for public employees, while vacating the mandate for private sector employees or creating a carveout for certain professions like athletes, artists and performers,” Porzio wrote.
“This is clearly an arbitrary and capricious action because we are dealing with identical unvaccinated people being treated differently by the same administrative agency.”
CBS2 political reporter Marcia Kramer says if you ask her, the tale of the debate on Spectrum News NY1 was summed in one single round when each candidate got to ask the other a question. The gloves were off, each going for what they thought was the other's Achilles' heel.
Hochul said hers was a simple yes or no answer.
"Is Donald Trump a great president?" Hochul asked.
"I worked closely with him on a number of important policies," Zeldin said.
"Yes or no, yes or no," Hochul said.
"And I believe that from our work to combat MS-13 on Long Island, our work to secure a $2 billion electron ion collider for Brookhaven National Lab," Zeldin said.
The Long Island congressmen then embarked on a long list of what he called Trump accomplishments, from moving the U.S. Embassy in Israel to Jerusalem to ending the Iran nuclear accords.
"I'll take that as a resounding yes, and the voters of New York do not agree with you," Hochul said.
Zeldin's question to Hochul was also a pointed gotcha, referring to campaign donations from companies doing business with the state, including one who supplied COVID test kits.
"What specific measures are you pledging to deal with the pay-to-play corruption that is plaguing you and your administration?" Zeldin asked.
"I don't accept the premise. There is no pay-to-play corruption," hochul said. "There has never been a quid pro quo, a policy change or decision made because of a contribution ... If you're going to talk about unseemly circumstances, how does one person get away with giving you $10.5 million in your election?"
For the most part, the one and only debate between Hochul and Zeldin revolved around the themes they have sounded on the campaign trail: Zeldin's, the focus on public safety, bail reform, firing Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg and ending congestion pricing, and Hochul pointing out that Zeldin does not support abortion rights and is, in her words, an "election denier."
"There is no crime-fighting plan if it doesn't include guns, illegal guns, and you refuse to talk about how we can do so much more. You didn't even show up for votes in Washington when a bipartisan group of enlightened legislators voted for an assault weapon ban," Hochul said.
"It's amazing that we're going to be able to go through the entire crime conversation of this debate and we're still waiting for Kathy Hochul to talk about actually locking up criminals," Zeldin said. "Kathy Hochul believes that the only crimes that are being committed are these crimes with guns, and you got people who are afraid of being pushed in front of oncoming subway cars. They're being stabbed, beaten to death on the street with hammers ... We need to be talking about all of these other crimes, but instead, Kathy Hochul is too busy patting herself on the back, job well done."
Believe it or not, the two actually agreed on one thing: both think the cap on charter schools should be lifted.
Early voting starts Saturday. Election Day is Nov. 8.
New York City will expand the hours of nearly 100 open streets for trick-or-treaters on Halloween, officials announced Monday at a briefing crashed by protesters.
The impacted streets will be car-free between 4 p.m. and 8 p.m. next Monday to improve safety for kids and families, Ydanis Rodriguez, the transportation commissioner, said at the press conference in Jackson Heights.
“New York City will be showing how to transform miles of public space into a Halloween wonderland,” Rodriguez said.
Monday morning's briefing was interrupted by Jackson Heights residents who are angry that 34th Avenue has been turned over to cyclists and pedestrians.
Queens Borough President Donovan Richards had to shout above the protesters, who booed and banged items as he spoke.
“We’re going to turn this into a place once again that our children can have a great time in,” Richards said to a mix of jeers and applause. “Happy Halloween, even to all of the—all right, I’m going to be kind today.”
During the press conference, officials also cut the ribbon on a redesign of the 34th Avenue open street, which transforms a 1.3-mile stretch of the avenue.
Jim Burke, co-founder of 34th Avenue Open Streets, said the program has been great for children. He noted there are seven schools along the corridor.
“There’s about 7,000 kids who use this to go back and forth to school,” Burke said. “A lot of the schools have no space. And now they have a place.”
The expansion of Open Streets has become a flashpoint in many outer-borough neighborhoods, where a larger share of residents own cars.
Protesters at Monday’s event contend that the streetscape has become a magnet for homeless people and impacted their quality of life. They also contend the change has made it more difficult for first responders and residents who require Access-A-Ride vehicles.
Among the critics was resident Jason Kucharski, who said street furniture outside his apartment building has attracted the homeless. “It’s a total quality-of-life issue,” he said. “I’m on the third floor here, and constantly the smell of marijuana is going into my 4-year-old’s window.”
Kucharski said numerous complaints to his city councilman have been ignored.
A community forum hosted by Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez in Astoria last night was disrupted by a group of angry protesters.
The event, which was held at The Variety Boys & Girls Club of Queens on 30th Road, saw a group of around 10 demonstrators heckle the progressive Congresswoman inside the packed auditorium.
Video clips of the disruptions have gone viral showing demonstrators chanting “AOC Has Got to Go” and “Vote Her Out.”
A man with a hand drum can be seen pounding out a beat, while other protesters are holding signs reading “Stop Sandy Lying,” and “Wake up New York. Vote for Tina Forte. F–k AOC.”
Forte is Ocasio-Cortez’s Republican opponent in the upcoming election for New York’s 14th Congressional District.
Ocasio-Cortez in one of the clips can be seen smiling and dancing to the taunts while sitting on the stage and sipping from a bottle of water.
A spokesperson for Ocasio-Cortez said the demonstrators were not constituents and are part of a “far-right wing group that regularly protest against COVID vaccinations [and] LGBTQ rights.”
“We do thank the numerous constituents from Astoria who turned out last night to engage in the civic process,” the spokesperson said. “We’re grateful that we were still able to have a meaningful dialogue, in spite of that group.”
The forum was organized by Ocasio-Cortez in order for residents to ask questions and get feedback from the lawmaker on her record and policy positions.
The NYPD is on pace to see more than 4,000 cops retire or resign this year – the most since the post-9/11 exodus, data obtained by The Post show.
Pension fund figures reveal 3,054 officers have filed to leave the department so far this year — 42% more than the 2,155 who exited at the same time last year through Sept. 30.
If the pace continues in the fourth quarter, the NYPD stands to lose 4,072 cops this year. That’s even higher than the crippling attrition the department suffered in 2002, when 3,846 officers left the force following Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center, where 24 cops were killed.
Union leaders warn the mass exits have created a “staffing emergency.”
To get enough cops on the streets as the census falls to about 34,000 cops — down from the 40,200 peak in 2000 — the NYPD is on pace to spend $600 million on uniformed staff overtime in the new fiscal year that began in July. That’s 61% percent more than the $372 million budgeted for OT, according to figures from the Independent Budget Office.
NYPD overtime spending had already ballooned to $670 million in fiscal year 2022, which ended June 30 — up 57% from the $426 million spent the year before, when COVID caused the cancellation of many police-heavy public events.
Jacob Riis Park, known as “The People’s Beach,” is undergoing an Art Deco comeback as developers plan to restore the historic bathhouse and open the historic site next year.
Over $50 million will be injected into the project, which will include restaurants, a bar, a pool, event spaces, and 28 hotel rooms in the Rockaway site with two octagonal red brick towers. The hub’ phased opening is set to start in 2023.
“This project to revitalize and rejuvenate the Jacob Riis Bathhouse represents a giant step forward for the Rockaway Peninsula as it continues to recover from the battering it received from Hurricane Sandy a decade ago,” said Queens Borough President Donovan Richards Jr. in a statement.
The project is led by CBSK Developers and the architecture firm Beyer Blinder Belle.
The restoration of the bathhouse, built in 1932, will add eateries, a beachfront bar, and retailers stocked with beach supplies. The courtyard will include a pool and lounge areas.
The New York State Historic Preservation Office reviewed the project.
Didn't they try to make Riis Park a tourist destination before with that glamping bullshit?
Ok, now who's going to tell nature to stop devouring the shore right next to the bathhouse?
This entirely debunks the mayor's office claims that this guy wasn't close to Adams. If anything, looks like Baugh was one of Adams closest advisors to keep the city worker vaccine mandate going for absolutely no sane reason. Makes me wonder if Baugh worked on de Blasio's team that started this city policy failure that has crippled municipalities.
Merchants on Beach 20th Street in Far Rockaway continue to face headaches with the new raised-bike lane on their street, creating a tripping hazard and making their day to day ability to function their business far more difficult.
According to several business owners and observed by Wave reporters, cars park on the bike lane, which the businesses owners say bike riders don’t use anyway. When cars park on either side of the street it creates a bottleneck, creating more traffic. Also, many businesses on the block do not have loading docks, and with people parking on the bike lane, they have nowhere to handle deliveries.
“This is dangerous,” said Jose Santana, owner of Unisex by Santana Salon on Beach 20th. Santana recently spoke at the September Community Board 14 meeting, and has helped draft a letter to the Department of Transportation, signed by most of the merchants on the strip.
Businesses say that since the bike lane was constructed in July, they have seen few bike riders actually utilize it.
“There’s no bicycles,” said Ming Liu, owner of Sunny’s, a mix Hibachi and Mexican restaurant. “This is 20th Street, there’s so many cars…A lot of people park on the bike lane,” he said.
Like other owners, Liu called the raised-lane “dangerous” and that he’s seen people fall down.
Odali Rodriguez, owner of Green Village Meat Market, has experienced this first hand.
“I tripped, I was going across the street and I tripped,” he told The Wave. “It’s very dangerous, I’ve seen incidents, including myself.”
Rodriguez is one of the few stores on the block with a loading dock in the back, so he is more worried about the danger of tripping.
“When you walk there you think everything is flat, there’s no indication that it’s not flat,” he said.
Other merchants agree that the bike lane is dangerous, Seon Maynard who owns a West Indian Market says he has seen at least ten people trip.
“They should be suing the city,” he said.
Some owners have received $115 tickets for loitering while loading goods, like Enrique Perez from Valencia Cakes & Flowers.
“We should be able to load and unload, we shouldn’t be getting a ticket if we take too long,” Perez said. “It’s hard for us because people are parking there,” he said.
Speeding, traffic jams and dangerous crossings are all the problems one street in Queens is causing neighbors.
Rego Park’s 62nd Drive is identified as a “high crash corridor“ by the New York Department of Transportation (DOT). More than a dozen people have been seriously hurt on the road over the last five years.
The DOT’s solution was to add a bike lane on the side, with parking in the center. Unfortunately, neighbors say it came with new problems.
“My main concern is people’s health,” neighbor Arsen Gurgov said.
Gurgov has lived on 62nd Drive in Rego Park for the past 25 years. He says the new bike lane and parking configuration have made things worse than ever.
“My son was having an allergic reaction and I called for an ambulance. It took them too long to get here because they were stuck in a jam,“ he said.
Speeding in the Rego Park area is also still a big problem. A very big problem.
Year to date, police have written more than 3.5 times as many speeding tickets as they did in the same time last year; 1,577 speeding tickets compared to just 434 the previous year.
Moving violations are also up 40%.
A DOT spokesman says they presented the idea about the bike lane to the community board a year ago as a way to fix the dangers.
“These bike lanes improve safety for all road users, providing much-needed traffic calming while adding important protected bike lane connections between Queens Boulevard and Flushing Meadows Park,” spokesman Vincent Barone said.
Rego Park neighbors disagree with the DOT. Nearly 100 of them have signed a petition to have the bike lane and center parking adjusted or removed altogether.
“It’s either or,” Gurgov said. “They either get rid of the side parking, or they get rid of the bike lane. You can’t have both. It’s too narrow of a street.”
Vincent Barone is a bike zealot idiot. These two stories confirm that the DOT is forcing bike lanes on communities to drive them crazy and they are being weaponized as tools for gentrification.
What was once a free parking lot under the Brooklyn-Queens Expressway is now being used for CitiBike support. Some neighbors say they feel cheated, especially after their hard work to keep the area clean.
“When you see it, you’re like, ‘Are you serious?’ So, no one said
anything to any of us. There was no notice," said Shaquana Boykin, who
lives in a public housing complex next to the BQE. "It just doesn’t make
sense to keep removing free space.”
On August 5, residents noticed a sign announcing the end of public parking near the intersection of Park and Clinton Avenues in Clinton Hill. The Department of Transportation owns this lot and says it’s now being used by Lyft to support CitiBike operations with no set end date. That doesn’t sit well with neighbors.
“This space under Park Avenue has been a public space for decades, it’s been people’s parking," said Michael Higgins, who, along with Boykin, are part of the volunteer group Park Avenue BQE Cleanup. Members have been cleaning the parking lot and others under the expressway since the start of the pandemic. They say it’s unfair for the city to close a free lot with little to no warning, especially one that residents have been maintaining for more than two years.
“We are just trying to care for this space," said Higgins. "We’ve unfortunately seen community spaces in this neighborhood become privatized and we’ve tried to avoid that. People care, people are trying to do the best they can given the limited resources we have, but we need help.”
Boykin feels the decision to close this lot is an insult to residents who park there as well as volunteers who keep it safe and clean. She disagrees with the decision to section off an entire parking lot for storage.
"Parking under the BQE is where you feel safe," said Boykin. "You don't have to worry about tickets. No matter where you live, when you enter that community, you know where that free space is to park and you've gotta maintain that!"
In a statement, a DOT spokesperson says, “Accommodating Citi Bike in this lot is an important and necessary measure to support Citi Bike’s operations in keeping bikes well maintained and stations evenly balanced.”
A crew of thieves stole 20 cars in the course of about 20 hours from a Queens dealership, police said Monday.
The crooks repeatedly hit a car lot owned by a Mitsubishi dealership on Liberty Ave. near 156th Place in Jamaica over the weekend, according to NYPD Chief of Detectives James Essig.
The Mitsubishi dealership is not on-site, which allowed the robbers to break into a box where the keys were locked up. After driving the cars off the lot, “they kept coming back,” Essig said.
The thieves made off with used Acuras, BMWs, Mercedes and Audis ranging from 2016 to 2019 models. None had license plates.
Police believe the vehicles are used in robberies and burglaries.
“We know in the past, these go overseas, but now we’re seeing with autos they’re used in crimes — riding around the city, doing gunpoint robberies in smoke shops, on the street corners,” Essig said.
Councilmember Julie Won is urging her colleagues to reject the massive Innovation QNS project that would bring 2,800 units to five square blocks in Astoria.
Won, in an e-mail sent to her colleagues, argues that the project does not provide enough affordable housing despite the developers upping the number of affordable units to 40 percent of the project. The e-mail she sent to her fellow councilmembers was leaked to Politico.
The $2 billion proposal, which is dependent on a rezoning, is scheduled to go before the city council for a vote next month that will determine its fate.
The developers–Silverstein Properties, BedRock Real Estate Partners and Kaufman Astoria Studios—initially said they were going to set aside 25 percent of the units for affordable housing but boosted that number to 40 percent last month.
But Won said that 40 percent is not enough and noted that the extra 15 percent would be funded through taxpayer subsidies and not at the expense of the developers.
Won has been calling on the developers to set aside at least 50 percent of the units for affordable housing in order to win her vote.
Traditionally the city council votes in lockstep with the official where the development is proposed—known as council deference—although sources say many high-ranking officials want Innovation QNS to be built and that the council may break from this tradition.
Won, in the e-mail, urged her colleagues to rally behind her.
“Approving this rezoning with minimal affordability would result in displacement, rising rents, and amplify infrastructure challenges,” Won wrote, according to Politico. “It would also send a message to our communities that the Council will work around them and their representatives for the profit of large real estate interests.”
The Politico report led to some harsh criticism of Won from advocates of the project, such as 32BJ SEIU, the large union that represents building workers.
“Here are the facts,” the union tweeted. “The Innovation QNS project would create 1,100 affordable housing units, including 500 deeply affordable units. At the same time, it will provide family-sustaining jobs for working NYers.”
The union added: “Won faces a straightforward choice: seize an opportunity to address our city’s affordable housing crisis and support good-paying jobs or deploy bad-faith arguments to squander the chance. She’s chosen the latter, and her constituents deserve better.”
Queens Borough President Donovan Richards, who initially opposed the project but then became a supporter after the number of affordable units was lifted to 40 percent, also appeared to take a shot at Won.
He retweeted the 32BJ SEIU statement with the message: “Are we still having a conversation in 2022 on why Queens needs more deep affordability?”
Below-grade work is progressing at 43-30 24th Street, the site of a 66-story residential skyscraper in Long Island City, Queens. Designed by Hill West Architects and developed by Carmel Partners, the 731-foot-tall tower will yield 921 units spread across 838,000 square feet and 17,400 square feet of ground-floor retail space. The developer purchased the 79,250-square-foot full-block parcel from Stawski Partners for $200 million in March 2022 and secured a $364 million construction loan from Wells Fargo to complete the project. Carmel Construction East is the general contractor for the property, which is bound by 43rd Avenue to the north, 44th Road to the south, 24th Street to the east, and 23rd Street to the west.
Recent photos show the site cleared of the one- and five-story industrial structures that previously occupied it. A significant number of pilings have already been driven into the ground.
The rendering in the main photo shows a tall rectangular massing clad in a glass curtain wall with horizontal strips of paneling breaking up the wide elevation. Several sections of wave-shaped stacked balconies protrude, further enhancing the texture of the exterior, and a pocketed outdoor terrace is positioned along the midway point of the western corner. The tower rises from a sprawling podium topped with landscaping for a terrace.
WANTED ROBBERY: On 10/13/22 @ 1:20 PM @ 62-58 71 St @NYPD104PCT the unknown individual approached a 66-yr-old victim from behind pushed him to the floor assaulted him while removing his property. The second individual operated the getaway vehicle. Any info call us at 800-577-TIPS pic.twitter.com/hJhCVsl4Qa— NYPD Crime Stoppers (@NYPDTips) October 15, 2022
Queens is taking the largest share of migrants into emergency shelters set up by the city — fueling what the borough’s president on Thursday called a “powder keg” of crises and creating a “recipe for a social and economic disaster.”
Queens was housing 4,782 migrants, or 32% of the total 14,777 placed in emergency shelters as of Wednesday, according to data compiled by the Department of Homeless Services and obtained by The Post on Thursday.
That share is more than one-sixth greater than the 27.3% that Queens residents contribute to the city’s total population, according to 2020 census data.
“It’s a powder keg in Queens at this point,” said Queens Borough President Donovan Richards.
He said the migrants were being sent even though “there’s not enough resources being pumped into the communities.”
“There are several crises. You have a recession coming. We have a lack of affordable housing, rising rents. We have food insecurity.
“This is a recipe for a social and economic disaster,” he warned.
Richards specifically cited “not enough bilingual teachers and not enough bilingual mental health counselors — even in Queens,” which is known as “The World’s Borough” because nearly half the 2.4 million residents were born abroad.
“It’s beyond ridiculous,” he emphasized.
What happened to "Queens gets the money" and "#QueensWinning Mr. Borough President...
From the Juniper Civic:
This is a new comm board member from Ridgewood lamenting that JPCA had the executive committee change the chair of the transportation committee because "DOT told him that's what happened". We had no idea we had this much power! We didn't even realize the chair was changed, nor do we care.
I actually would like to know who this masked man is and what would compel him to make such an accusation. Which is ironic considering how Transportation Alternatives presence has been at every announcement of street infrastructure and transportation related policy announcements this year. And whoever this person the committee removed is such a concern for the clearly regulatory captured DOT then that's ok by me.
And if this guy is representing Ridgewood that town has got a lot less cooler.
This just in:
It turns out that this masked man relaying accusations by the Department of Transportation about Juniper Civic is Derek Evers,the campaign manager for Juan Ardila for his failed city council campaign last year. As reported on this blog, Evers was picked by Borough President Donovan Richards to represent the district on CB5 and also appeared in Ardila's social media campaign ad larping as a regular citizen. It's a safe bet that honesty is not one of his skill sets.
Since Ardila had tremendous backing by non-profit "advocacy" organizations for street safety and equity Transportation Alternatives and Open Plans's StreetsPac during his stunning win for the State Assembly, despite his use of a car and racking up a load of traffic and parking violations during his campaign run; what Derek has clearly done here, to use his term, was reveal their influence on the D.O.T.'s street infrastructure policy decisions. Going after Juniper was obvious considering numerous social media posts showing how they want to place citibike racks on the streets to usurp parking spaces for people's cars instead of ample sidewalks.
About the person who got sacked by CB5 that the DOT and Evers were trying to defend, Toby Shepard Bloch. That's him on the right sitting next to Lincoln Restler during a town hall for a hotel about to converted into a homeless shelter in Maspeth. Toby apparently was supposed to be their rubber stamp for the Citibike expansion and colonizing of curbside parking and this fits in well with Linky's own attempts to force shelters on communities without their input. And as we all her know about Linky, he's the biggest Transportation Alternatives agency captured official in Brooklyn and all of New York.
It's beyond hilarious how the DOT has the audacity to accuse CB5 and actually anyone of political shenanigans after the way their municipality has been agency captured by Transportation Alternatives as that non-profit org has been present at every rally involving street infrastructure and policy announcements by politicians the past year and then they get mad because some appointee who was basically a proxy for them gets canned? Maybe if they didn't try to force Citibike on a town and wouldn't compromise on how public spaces can be used for them, they wouldn't be whining right now. They need to remember who the fuck they work for, the taxpayers, not private corporations with some bike share scheme.
First time I've seen any high profile "progressive" figure challenged on the rabidly pro-war policies they've backed without reservation over the past eight months https://t.co/5Vgo1khTSv— Michael Tracey (@mtracey) October 13, 2022
The Queens neighborhood of Ridgewood has been ranked by the annual Time Out Index survey as the fourth coolest neighborhood in the world.
The ranking was based on a poll of 20,000 city-dwellers across the globe who were asked about fun, food, culture and community. The outlet listed the top 51 coolest neighborhoods on the planet.
“Ridgewood, Queens sits close by the Brooklyn border, pulling in the best of each borough: the diversity and local vibes of Queens and the hip offerings of Brooklyn, specifically neighboring Bushwick,“ the outlet said in explaining its high ranking.
The magazine said Ridgewood is attractive given its mix of trendy bars and restaurants as well as its mom-and-pop stores. It also noted that the area has also retained much of its history—illustrated by its 10 historic districts and the rows of brick houses that line the streets.
The outlet also noted that Ridgewood has the oldest surviving stone-built Dutch Colonial house in New York City, dating back to 1709.
“Ridgewood’s identity, though, is old-school-meets-trendy with a mix of landmark staples, like Rudy’s Bakery and Gottscheer Hall, and buzzy new bars and restaurants like The Acre, Evil Twin and Café Plein Air. While (like all NYC neighborhoods) it’s constantly evolving, it keeps its past intact,” the magazine reads.
I'll save my audience the time to actually read Time Out's reason why Ridgewood ranks so high by pointing out the picture they chose to illustrate the neighborhood's "cool" quotient. It was a picture of the yard at Nowadays, which is actually located in not so cool Glendale. Whose proprietors opened it up near a superfund site.
Their patrons must not think its a big deal too since I caught Nowadays have their garbage hauled the early evening around 8 p.m. while people were chilling under the patio lights inside the yard.
I actually went there earlier this year to check out a DSA event being scheduled there and this is what I saw. A big private carting waste disposal truck taking out their trash while people were chilling outside in that dirty yard— JQ LLC (@ImpunityCity) October 12, 2022
Transplants are so fucking dumb. pic.twitter.com/tNzawoAG6A
NY Daily News
A city contractor that agreed to cough up nearly $13 million to settle a federal false claims lawsuit in January has registered five contracts with the city comptroller’s office, public records show.
The Door, a non-profit that offers reproductive health care and other services to adolescents, had contracts worth more than $3.8 million registered with Comptroller Brad Lander’s office since Jan. 27, when it admitted to submitting inaccurate records to the state Health Department — raising questions about why Lander and Mayor Adams’ administration would approve of deals with an entity implicated in a “civil fraud action.”
“The vetting process is to weed out possible illegality and fraud,” said Michael Lambert, a former deputy comptroller for the city. “This just strikes me as unusual. It seems uncharacteristic of the way the process is supposed to work.”
Lambert said that The Door’s inaccurate reporting amounted to a “serious violation of the public trust,” which at the very least merits additional scrutiny from the comptroller and the Adams administration.
Instead, in its submissions to the state from August 2009 to November 2016, The Door counted the number of services rendered, rather than the number of visits — which is the appropriate measure under state guidelines, according to the settlement. The non-profit did that even after its then-chief financial officer told a Door data analyst in 2014 that the appropriate measure to submit was the number of visits to the facility, not the number of services provided.
In its complaint, the U.S. Attorney’s Office in New York’s Southern District alleged that The Door “knowingly” violated the federal False Claims Act by submitting false reports to the state.
In the settlement agreement, The Door acknowledged that its actions caused the indigent care pool “to pay funds to The Door to which it was not entitled.”
“The Door’s extraordinary cooperation is expressly acknowledged in the settlement agreements we signed with both the New York Attorney General’s Office and the United States Attorney’s Office,” said Door spokeswoman Mika De Roo. “Once the stipulations were issued, we immediately made full restitution in February 2022, without cutting or ending any of the critical services we provide to at-risk youth in New York City, and likewise made prompt, full, and appropriate disclosure of the matters settled to the city agencies that fund these services.”
The Door ultimately agreed to pay the federal government $2.7 million and the state government $10.2 million as part of the settlement.
A top tree-trimming firm whose owners were charged last year with insurance fraud has been placed under the city Department of Investigation’s monitorship — a legal limbo so it can resume work pruning trees in the city’s two biggest boroughs as the case proceeds, officials said.
Brooklyn-based Dragonetti Brothers Landscaping is one of just a handful of private firms who work on trees maintained by the Parks Department, along with performing other city work. But last September, brothers Nicholas and Vito Dragonetti were indicted on accusations of evading more than $1 million in insurance premiums while repairing city roads and sidewalks, according to the Manhattan district attorney’s office.
Since their arrests, however, public tree trimming in Brooklyn and Queens has been nonexistent, Brooklyn Paper reported last week, even as branch work in other boroughs is just being reinstated after COVID cuts.
“Routine block pruning in Manhattan, Bronx and Staten Island is ongoing,” Crystal Howard, a spokeswoman for the Parks Department, told THE CITY in a statement this week. “We expect pruning in Queens and Brooklyn to resume this fall and to reach the annual goal of 65,000 street trees pruned in Fiscal 2023.”
The Parks Department only recognizes a few landscaping companies as qualified to do the work, so officials went back to the scandal-tarred Dragonetti Brothers — awarding them an $8.39 million contract in August for “emergency tree services in The Bronx and Manhattan,” according to the city comptroller.
A more than $7
million contract for Queens tree pruning will kick in soon, while a more
than $5 million contract for Brooklyn tree pruning is in the final
review stages, the Parks Department told THE CITY.
The NYPD and the New York City Council’s security team are monitoring threats made against Councilwoman Tiffany Cabán last month, according to authorities.
“We take violent threats against our members and staff very seriously and are uncompromising about taking any and all necessary actions to ensure they are safe,” said Mandela Jones, City Council Speaker Adrienne Adams’ deputy chief of staff for communications. “The Council’s security officials work closely with city authorities to protect all members and employees and has taken steps to support the Office of Council Member Cabán in the face of troubling threats like we would with every member’s office.”
Jones added that violent threats against an elected official is unacceptable and “has no place in New York City.”
A police spokesperson told QNS that multiple voicemails were left
for Cabán at her office, located at 30-83 31 St., within the confines
of the 114th Precinct.
According to the spokesperson, the voicemails did not contain any threats to harm Cabán and her staff; however, they “did contain vulgar and violent language.”
There have been no arrests made and an investigation is ongoing. This incident is being classified as aggravated harassment, the spokesperson said.
“It is unfortunate that this has been disregarded, perpetuating division and undermining safe working conditions for a Council member and their staff without consideration for the people impacted, including their tens of thousands of constituents,” Jones said. “The overheated rhetoric needs to be immediately dialed down and de-escalated. We all have a responsibility to foster a climate that unequivocally discourages threats and promotes constructive dialogue – that includes every individual and institution with a voice. The public servants who dedicate themselves to serving our city deserve respect and safety, regardless of whether you may disagree with them.”
A spokesperson for Cabán’s office told QNS that City Council security (NYC Council has their own police force??) has discouraged Cabán’s team from speaking to the press regarding the voicemails. However, the spokesperson did say that Council security is monitoring the situation closely and Cabán’s office is following safety protocols.
“Our office reported the large volume of hostile, violent, and threatening voicemails and emails to Council security, who, given the intensity of the harassment campaign, determined that the situation warranted law enforcement involvement,” said Cabán’s spokesperson. “As an office, we take our cues on security protocols from Council security.”
Mayor Eric Adams declared a city State of Emergency Friday over the more than 17,000 migrants who have come to the Big Apple seeking shelter since April, calling on Washington and Albany to provide the city with additional resources to handle the influx.
During a live streamed speech at City Hall Friday morning, Adams said the city has been doing all it possibly can to handle the thousands of asylum seekers who are getting bussed here by southern states like Texas after coming from South and Central America across the southern border. This includes stretching the shelter system to nearly 100 percent capacity, opening 42 emergency hotel shelters and building a tent-like shelter on Randall’s Island – first cited for Orchard Beach in the Bronx – he’s dubbed a Humanitarian Relief and Response Center (HERRC).
“New York City is doing all we can, but we are reaching the outer limit of our ability to help,” Adams said. “Today I’m declaring a state of emergency in the city of New York and issuing an executive order. This executive order will direct all agencies to coordinate their efforts to construct the humanitarian relief centers. We are also suspending certain land use requirements to expedite this process.”
Without mentioning them by name, Hizzoner blasted southern elected officials like Texas Governor Greg Abbott for bussing thousands of asylum seekers to the five boroughs every day without coordinating with his administration or so much as a heads up of when and how many buses will be arriving. Adams repeated what has become a common refrain that Abbott and others are exploiting the city’s “right to shelter” law – that requires it to house anyone seeking shelter – for “political gain.”
“Our right to shelter laws, our social services, and our values are being exploited by others for political gain,” he said. “New Yorkers are angry. I am angry too. We have not asked for this. There was never any agreement to take on the job of supporting thousands of asylum seekers. This responsibility was simply handed to us without warning as buses began showing up. There’s no playbook for this, no precedent.”
And the responsibility of accepting 17,000 asylum seekers and counting comes with a hefty price tag. The mayor said his administration expects to spend at least $1 billion on handling this crisis alone by the end of the current fiscal year next June.
The Districting Commission voted to send the revised proposal to the City Council Thursday by a vote of 13-1, with one absence.
As the city’s meticulous reapportionment process draws on, the Districting Commission is set to vote on a revised proposal for City Council district lines today, Oct. 6.
Thursday’s meeting comes just two weeks after the commission voted 8-7 against its own proposal. The body spent three hours last Thursday night and four and a half hours last Friday tweaking the map, taking into account 286 items of public testimony that had come in after the rejection two weeks ago.
Among the most significant changes to the Queens lines to come from last week’s discussions is the return of part of Fresh Meadows to District 24. Councilman Jim Gennaro (D-Hillcrest) had taken issue with the previous draft in large part because, in moving that portion of the neighborhood to District 23, members of the area’s Orthodox Jewish community would be separated from the rest of the enclave. Should the commission approve that draft, District 24’s eastern boundary would be 188th Street, as it is now.
Asked for comment on the proposal, Gennaro said, “This community and I, as its representative, made our objections to the first two proposals loud and clear. Last Friday, the Districting Commission did the right thing by completely reuniting the Orthodox Jewish community within the 24th District.”
Later, he added, “We look forward to this plan being passed by both the commission and the City Council.”
In the hours following the five-alarm Richmond Hill fire in June that ravaged a row of houses, killed three family members, and left more than 40 people homeless, Annetta Seecharran felt abandoned in her efforts to scramble for resources and support for the victims.
Not one elected official showed up that day, Seecharran told THE CITY.
“I called and I called and I called,” Seecharran, who heads the Indo-Caribbean and South Asian community development organization Chhaya in Queens, told THE CITY. “And there was no response.”
Mayor Eric Adams visited family members the next day and said “the whole city is mourning.” Apart from that, however, Seecharran recalled this week how disheartening it was for her and other community members to have to fight for attention in the aftermath of that tragedy in City Council District 28, represented by Speaker Adrienne Adams.
Seecharran, along with other locals and activists from Southeast Queens’ majority Indo-Caribbean and South Asian neighborhoods, gathered outside a Sikh temple in Richmond Hill on Tuesday with the fire in mind.
Their goal: to call attention to the way electorally divided communities like theirs have been historically “underserved by the government” — and how the NYC Districting Commission’s draft map for new City Council districts, released in mid-July, would perpetuate that problem. As THE CITY previously reported, these redistricting efforts are part of a mandatory process to reflect population changes in light of the 2020 census and ahead of off-cycle elections in what will be newly drawn districts next year. Under the Voting Rights Act of 1965, the maps must not deny or dilute the voting power of racial and language minorities.
“Ultimately this is about power,” Seecharran told the crowd. “Our power has been limited because we have been divided.”
But elected officials in other nearby neighborhoods have expressed a similar interest in keeping their predominantly Black communities from being divided between different districts. And they’re not alone: Across the city, various groups are pushing for map changes that would enhance their voting power in what can seem like a zero-sum game. All are racing to have their desires registered before the commission votes on a final map on Sept. 22.
For example, a related battle is playing out in Brooklyn, as the draft map creates a new majority Asian council district in Brooklyn while splitting up what’s been a majority Latino district covering Sunset Park and Red Hook for the past three decades.
If nine of the 15 districiting commissioners agree on a map, it will then be released to the public and voted on by the City Council. If the draft does not get voted through, the commission would continue revising the map until passing one, though commission spokesperson Eddie Borges told THE CITY “that’s not even a prospect.”
While eight of the 15 commissioners were appointed by the Council, five were selected by Speaker Adams, leader of the 44-member Democratic caucus. Minority Leader Joe Borelli, one of its seven Republicans, picked the other three, who potentially could join with the mayor’s members to pass a map.
In a letter addressed to the commission’s chairman and obtained by THE CITY, several elected officials in majority Black districts in southeast Queens outlined concerns about numerous ways that the draft map would divide and dilute voting power across their districts. Those officials include Majority Whip Selvena Brooks-Powers of District 31, which currently covers the eastern Rockaways, Laurelton, Rosedale, Brookville and parts of Springfield Gardens, and Councilmember Nantasha Williams of District 27, which currently covers Cambria Heights, Hollis, Jamaica, St. Albans, Queens Village, and Springfield Gardens.
Among their concerns:
Some community members shared similar concerns in a virtual town hall convened by Queens Borough President Donovan Richards on Wednesday night. Community Board 12 Chairperson Rev. Carlene O. Thorbs, for one, was firm that Rochdale should stay whole and intact.
“It doesn’t even make any sense that anybody even entertains that. The historical value in our area needs to stay the same,” Thorbs said. “We are still the largest voting bloc — we can’t even ignore that.”
On October 17, 2022, the Department of City Planning will host an information session regarding the proposed “City of Yes” zoning text amendments. The “City of Yes” amendments, announced in June, aim to resolve obstacles that prevent the creation of more housing, remove certain zoning limitations to encourage economic growth, and support sustainability.
Earlier this summer, CityLand published a series of articles regarding the three proposed text amendments. While the Department of City Planning has yet to release a draft of the text of the amendment, the agency has updated its website recently with some more information.
The Zoning for Zero Carbon amendment would amend zoning regulations that place restrictions on the placement of electric vehicle charging infrastructure and limits on the amount of rooftop that can be used for solar panels, and increases energy efficiency requirements. For more information from the City’s webpage, click here.
The Zoning for Economic Opportunity amendment will remove restrictions and limitations on what types of business are allowed in commercial districts; removing restrictions on dancing in bars and restaurants in line with the City’s 2017 repeal of the Cabaret Law; support for the reuse of existing buildings for other purposes; and provide more flexibility for small-scale production spaces among other things. For more information from the City’s webpage, click here.
The Zoning for Housing Opportunity amendment will address the City’s housing shortage. The proposed amendment will increase opportunities to use different housing models, including two-family houses, accessory dwelling units, small apartment buildings, and shared housing models. The amendment will also expand opportunities to build affordable and supportive housing and reduce certain parking requirements. The amendment will also make it easier to convert obsolete buildings into housing and make it easier for home and property owners to alter and update their buildings. For more information from the City’s webpage, click here.
The City Council voted 50-0 to approve a C2-2 commercial overlay last Thursday that will allow Douglaston’s Mizumi restaurant to expand significantly, which Councilmember Vickie Paladino (R-Whitestone) supported despite overwhelming opposition from area civic leaders.
The original plan, which Community Board 11 voted unanimously against in May, extended the commercial overlay from the western end of the Mizumi property to 234th Street. Though Borough President Donovan Richards recommended that the overlay be approved — if it only included the Mizumi property — the original plan went before the Subcommittee on Zoning and Franchises last month, at which point modifications were recommended.
At the time, civic leaders believed that modification to be the same as Richards’ plan; following last Thursday’s vote, however, they were informed that is not the case. Though smaller than the original overlay, it will extend to 233rd Street, and therefore includes two additional properties: the carwash two doors down and the adjacent abandoned church.
Sean Walsh, president of the Douglaston Civic Association, said the move once again calls Paladino’s transparency into question.
“I feel double-betrayed,” he told the Chronicle. Referring to the councilmember, he continued, “I feel insulted that you can lie to me so bald-faced ... now I’m going to have to go full tilt against you.”
And that he did. At Monday’s Community Board 11 meeting, he and several others made their discontent with Paladino clear. Flushing land-use expert Paul Graziano even went through each point in Paladino’s subsequent press release on the matter, detailing his objections to each. Both Third Vice Chair Henry Euler and board member Doug Montgomery noted that they were not informed of the additions to the overlay. Montgomery said Monday that a City Planning Commission employee told him the added properties were incorporated after the vote; the Chronicle did not receive confirmation of that by press time.
Paladino has stood by her decision, which she has touted as a compromise, and says she did not flip-flop on the issue. “I did what was best to serve the community, the small business owner and the environment,” Paladino said. “This was a homerun.”
On April 6, Holger Molina, a 46-year-old immigrant from Ecuador, was removing plywood as part of his job in the construction of a 17 story tower. It is slated to become the tallest building in the area bordering Ridgewood, Queens and Bushwick, Brooklyn. It was raining when, at 3 p.m., Molina slipped and fell from the first-floor stairwell approximately 20 feet through a hole into the basement. He was rushed to Wyckoff Hospital and the next day was declared dead from the injuries sustained in his fall, according to the safety incident report filed by his employer.
After the accident, a Department of Buildings inspector visited the construction site and “observed no safety measures to safeguard workers,” according to the violation report, which considered the incident an aggravated offense level two, the most serious violation from the agency. The judge of the Office of Administrative Trials and Hearings in New York upheld the violation and slapped the contractor, AB Capstone Builders Corp, with the maximum penalty — a $25,000 fine. For that single incident, the Department of Buildings would issue additional violations for penalties worth $55,000 in total.
The penalties were imposed after the project, slated to be called Myrtle Point — a mixed-use complex with four floors of commercial space and 133 residential units, of which 30 percent would be an “affordable component” — had been fully suspended on three instances since 2021. As of today, the Department of Buildings has issued five full-stop work orders after considering that the work on any of the 90,000-square-foot property was unsafe for workers.
That’s an inordinate number of stop-work orders for a construction project. For example, the 47-story office tower at 425 Park Avenue scheduled to be completed next year — a complex renovation project that added 75% new construction to the old building’s structure, costing more than $900 million — has over 90 safety violations, according to Department of Buildings records. However, this agency has never issued a stop-work order for that renovation project, which started in 2016.
A hotel on Queens Boulevard in Woodside, which for many years had been used as a homeless shelter to accommodate families in need, is now being used exclusively by single unhoused men, according to multiple sources.
The facility, formerly known as the Quality Inn and located at 53-05 Queens Blvd., had been used as a shelter for families dating back to 2016, when the de Blasio administration began housing people at the 72-room location without first notifying the community.
Last year, the Department of Social Services transitioned the shelter to be for single adults only—and then earlier this month it was designated for single men only. The building is now called the Delight Stay Hotel.
Community Board 2 chair Morry Galonoy said the board was notified of the recent change, although after it had gone into effect. Many residents are also aware of the transition prompting mixed opinion on social media.
The Department of Social Services, however, would not confirm or deny whether the facility was being used exclusively for men or by asylum seekers.
But the agency did say that it has seen an increase in need for its services, with it providing shelter for more than 11,000 asylum seekers including many single men.
"We are … seeing an extraordinary uptick in the number of single adult men seeking asylum and in need of shelter services,” a spokesperson for DSS said in a statement. “As we continue to add emergency capacity to the shelter system, we are also identifying ways in which we can more effectively manage our existing network of shelter sites to address the unprecedented need for shelter services for certain populations while making sure that we are prioritizing stability and continued supports for all clients receiving our services at all times.”
It’s a familiar experience for pedestrians and bicyclists — a car or truck parked in a bike lane or on the sidewalk forces a detour into the street — and into traffic. When vehicles block these travel paths, it's not just an annoyance and safety hazard. It’s illegal.
Now a New York City Council member is pushing a bill that would give civilians the power to report bike lane scofflaws, as well as vehicles that block entrances or exits of school buildings, sidewalks and crosswalks. New Yorkers who submit evidence of a parking violation can earn 25% of a proposed $175 ticket. The Department of Transportation would review the evidence to determine whether an infraction has occurred, according to the bill’s text.
Council Member Lincoln Restler said the bill is necessary because the New York City Police Department, which has traditionally been responsible for enforcing these traffic rules, isn’t giving out enough tickets. The number of traffic citations issued in the city increased from fiscal 2021 to fiscal 2022, but remains nearly 50% below pre-pandemic levels, according to the Mayor’s Management Report.
“I feel the safety risks every day that are associated with illegal parking,” said Restler, who is a cyclist. “It’s even more problematic for the parent pushing a stroller or a person in a wheelchair who can’t get by on the sidewalk because of illegally parked cars. That’s why we are creating, in this legislation, a new structure to bring real accountability.”
If passed, the law would be the first time such civilian authority was extended to personal vehicles in New York. It’s modeled after the Citizens Air Complaint Program, which allows New Yorkers call in tickets for idling commercial vehicles for the same 25% reward.
The son of a major Kathy Hochul donor was hired by her campaign right around the time his father hosted a fundraiser for the Democratic governor — and just weeks before the dad’s company scored what’s being called a “pay-to-play” deal to sell the state $637 million in overpriced COVID-19 tests.
James Tebele, 21, has a resume that starts with a 2016 summer internship at his dad Charlie’s New Jersey-based Digital Gadgets consumer technology company, which pivoted to selling masks, gowns, sanitizer, thermometers and at-home rapid tests during the pandemic.
Now a student at New York University’s Schack Institute of Real Estate, James Tebele began working for Hochul’s campaign as a finance intern in November — and appears to have risen up the ranks, or at least pay scale, of her campaign as his dad’s fundraising for the governor increased.
On Nov. 22, Charlie Tebele — whose family has donated over $300,000 to Hochul — spent $5,150 on food, decorations and servers for a Hochul fundraiser and his wife, Nancy Tebele, also donated $18,000 to the governor’s campaign that day, the Albany Times Union first reported earlier this month.
Just four days later, Hochul suspended competitive-bidding rules for the state’s purchase of COVID-19 supplies, leading to the first of two contracts awarded to Digital Gadgets for a total of 26 million test kits.
Despite the rapid confluence of events, and her campaign’s hiring of James Tebele, Hochul has maintained that she “was not aware that this was a company that had been supportive of me” — an assertion rejected and ridiculed by her critics.
“The governor attended an in-person fundraiser hosted by the donor and hired one of his family members, but claims she was unaware of any connection. It’s laughable,” Assembly Minority Leader Will Barclay (R-Fulton) said Wednesday.
The first contract — inked on Dec. 20 — charged taxpayers $13 per test, even though Hochul’s administration had recently struck a deal to buy similar tests from another supplier for just $5 each, according to the Times Union.
Digital Gadgets charged the state an average of $12.25 per test — costing taxpayers a total of $268 million more than if officials bought the “Carestart” tests directly from the manufacturer instead of using Charlie Tebele as a middleman, the Times Union said.
This is not the kind of national attention most governors seek.
Congressional Republicans are vowing to probe a $637 million alleged pay-to-play scheme involving Gov. Kathy Hochul and a deep-pocketed campaign donor if they retake the House of Representatives this November.
“As a taxpayer, it really pisses me off that my governor is paying twice as much for a product that other states are and that the money is going to one of her large donors,” Rep. Nicole Malliotakis (R-Staten Island-Brooklyn) told The Post Thursday.
“It smells so bad,” she added.
The vow comes amid growing calls for local, state and federal officials — who have remained silent about whether they will investigate — to probe how $300,000 in campaign cash to Hochul might have helped the New Jersey-based Digital Gadgets land the no-bid contract for 52 million COVID rapid tests, a deal first revealed by the Times Union this summer.
“With your duty to enforce federal laws and ensure fair and impartial administration of justice, we ask that you use your position within the Department of Justice to promote transparency in government spending and investigate this potential kickback scheme that has defrauded taxpayers millions of dollars,” reads a Sept. 26 letter to US Attorney General Merrick Garland from GOP members of Congress including Malliotakis and Rep. Elise Stefanik (R-North Country).