Friday, December 30, 2022

Contractor Gadget pimp slaps Governor Kathy Clown with lawsuit 

NY Post


A New Jersey company tied to an alleged $637 million pay-to-play scheme involving Gov. Hochul is now suing her administration — accusing Albany of wrongfully denying it additional business.

Dayton, NJ-based Digital Gadgets claims the Department of Health violated its own contract rules by negotiating a deal for rapid COVID-19 tests last spring before opening up the bidding to other businesses who could not offer goods of the same quality.

“Digital Gadgets brought this lawsuit to ensure the state consistently complies with the rules they established along with the bid process,” company spokesman John Gallagher told The Post after the suit was filed in Albany County state Supreme Court.

According to the lawsuit, state officials blocked repeated requests for an explanation of why Digital Gadgets did not get concessions to supply more rapid tests after delivering millions between December 2021 and March of this year, as New York battled an Omicron variant-fueled spike in cases.

Thursday, December 29, 2022

Another agency captured car culture junkie elected official caught with traffic violations


The family car used by the chair of New York City's transportation committee was caught speeding an alarming number of times this year, city data shows.

Whoever owns the car, which is often driven by City Councilmember Selvena Brooks-Powers of southeastern Queens, has racked up enough tickets that city law requires them to take a driver safety course or risk having the wheels impounded. It’s not clear how often Brooks-Powers drives the vehicle herself.

The car has received 34 tickets since the councilmember took office in March 2021 following a special election. Of those tickets, 29 were for speeding in school zones, including one issued the day before Brooks-Powers was announced as chair of the Council’s transportation committee in January.

The car was also ticketed outside Hudson Yards in October for fraudulent use of a parking permit. The $65 fine was later dismissed.

The vehicle is linked to $2,105 paid in fines and penalties since Brooks-Powers took office, according to city data.

A spokesperson for Brooks-Powers said the car — a 2019 gray Nissan — is not registered under her name, but is a shared family vehicle. The politician regularly uses the car, and it has been seen parked outside City Hall by several other outlets.

The car has enough speeding tickets to trigger the city’s Dangerous Vehicle Abatement law, which was signed by former Mayor Bill de Blasio in 2020. The law mandates that owners of cars with more than 15 speed camera violations or five red light cameras within any 12-month window take a safety course. If the car’s owner does not take a safety course within 30 days after receiving a notice, the law states the car will be seized by the city sheriff’s office.

Wednesday, December 28, 2022

NYC Parks carpet bombed trees at Nicholas Demutis Park

A year after the de Blasio massacre of East River Park, NYC Parks is still killing trees for no reason. Even this modest little green space in Ozone Park, Queens, which is named after a cop who was killed on the job. Arborcide by "reimagining". 

Usually when the Parks Dept. does renovations they usually have a sign stating what they are doing, along with the names of the district's elected representatives on it. Not with this one though.

Sunday, December 25, 2022

Saturday, December 24, 2022

Holden demands homeless services conflict of interest investigation of Comptroller Lander and Wife


NY Daily News

A New York City Councilman is demanding the Department of Investigation probe possible conflicts of interest between Comptroller Brad Lander and his wife’s role as a consultant for nonprofits his office is supposed to oversee.

Councilman Bob Holden (D-Queens) made the request last month to DOI Commissioner Jocelyn Strauber and Carolyn Miller, executive director of the city’s Conflicts of Interest Board, in a letter the Daily News obtained Friday.

As The News first reported in July, Lander’s office, which serves as the city’s fiscal watchdog, approved about $550 million in contracts with nonprofits that are members of an umbrella group that his wife, Meg Barnette, oversees.

Lander has noted repeatedly that he received a seal of approval from the Conflicts of Interest Board for his office’s review of contracts with nonprofits tied to Nonprofit New York, where Barnette serves as CEO and president.

But Holden does not view that as sufficient.

In his letter dated Nov. 29, the councilman notes that as president and CEO of Nonprofit New York, Barnette “has an interest in the success of over 4,000 nonprofit organizations.”

Some of those have contracts with the city that Lander’s office signs off on.

“There must be transparency so that New Yorkers know that there is no conflict of interest between what is best for New York City taxpayers and the financial interests of Brad Lander and his family,” Holden wrote.

“Media reports routinely feature nonprofit social-service providers that are not fulfilling their contractual obligations and in many cases committing criminal acts,” he continued. “Unfortunately, the Comptroller’s office never publicly audits these providers. The public should know if the Comptroller’s wife is consulting for the same nonprofits the Comptroller is supposed to oversee to prevent waste, fraud, and abuse.”

Naomi Dann, a spokeswoman for Lander, accused Holden and The News of a “willful misunderstanding of basic facts.”

“The Conflicts of Interest Board has repeatedly affirmed present no conflict,” she said

Mayor Adams MIA as South Queens floods



Major flooding from Thursday night’s storm has taken over the coast in the southern Queens neighborhoods of Howard Beach, Hamilton Beach, Broad Channel and the Rockaways.

Residents are being asked to move to higher ground for their own safety, according the NYC Emergency Management. 

 "There is major tidal flooding in Howard Beach, Hamilton Beach, Broad Channel and the Rockaways, please move to higher ground,” NYC Emergency Management tweeted out this morning. “Also remember, all it takes is 6 inches of standing water to move a car, never walk or drive through flood waters.”

The National Weather Service in New York has issued a Special Weather Statement for New York City for rapidly falling temperatures, gusty winds and falling wind chills. They also warned about standing water becoming black ice late this afternoon in the early evening hours. Travel is not recommended.

Early this morning, the city said that the ZIP codes affected by Friday’s storm will be 11224,11235, 11414, 11691,11692, 11693, 11694 and 11697. 


Mayor Eric Adams’ administration handled the city’s response to flooding in coastal areas of Queens like Broad Channel and the Rockaways while reporters wondered where he was Friday.

The mayor was absent from a Friday afternoon briefing that City Hall officials provided about the storm. According to First Deputy Mayor Lorraine Grillo, Hizzoner was outside of the five boroughs, but in contact with the administration as they coordinated the response.

Grillo, who serves acting mayor when her boss is out of town, said Adams decided to take two days off and “get some rest.” She confirmed the mayor is outside of the five boroughs, but wouldn’t disclose where when pressed by reporters several times.

“I certainly do know where he is,” Grillo said. “But let me just say this to you: he might as well be here because we’ve been speaking to each other constantly throughout the day, and speaking with all of us to keep updated on what’s going on and to actually direct us to do this. But the mayor decided to take two days off and get some rest and instead of course he’s dealing with this, but just not here.”

Grillo was surrounded by a cadre of administration officials including Deputy Mayor for Strategic Initiatives – and future first deputy mayor – Sheena Wright, city Emergency Management Commissioner Zach Iscol, FDNY Commissioner Laura Kavanagh and several others.

Iscol said his agency has been fanned out across the city, along with personnel from other city agencies, throughout the day responding to the damage wrought by the winter storm. The flooding, he said, was caused by a three-foot storm surge exacerbated by the new moon and windy conditions.

“This is a difficult weather event,” Iscol said. “We needed to prepare not only for rain, but also a tidal flooding that was made worse by the new moon in addition to large amounts of wind offshore that was piling water into New York Harbor in addition to Jamaica Bay, adding about three foot above mean tide flood surge.”

Another migrant commits suicide at another homeless shelter in Queens


Following the recent suicide of a Venezuelan migrant at a city-run shelter for homeless families in Dutch Kills, Councilwoman Julie Won called out the negligence of the Department of Homeless Services and the shelter provider Samaritan Daytop Village.

Joined by Public Advocate Jumaane Williams and immigrant rights advocates in front of the Evangel Food Pantry on Thursday morning, Dec. 22, Won demanded better access to mental health resources and translation services at the shelter she would not name for legal and safety reasons.

“As immigrants, we dream of stepping foot on U.S. soil with great hopes and dreams of a better life. It is heartbreaking that John Ortega, 26 years old, took the long journey by foot from Venezuela and found himself hopeless in desperation that he took his own life,” Won said. “He leaves behind his partner and three children. John’s loved ones cried out that Samaritan Daytop Village did not provide mental health services despite their requests for help. DHS did not notify my office of John’s death and has failed to provide assistance for the family to have a funeral for the deceased.”

A spokesperson for the Department of Social Services, which oversees DHS, said the agency is assisting Ortega’s family.

“This is an absolutely heart-breaking tragedy, and we are working with the family to support them during this difficult time and addressing any concerns as they arise.,” the spokesperson said. “These families are coming to New York City after a months-long harrowing journey, in some cases, still reeling from the trauma they experienced along the way. We recognize the very unique challenges asylum seekers are facing and we remain committed to building on our ongoing efforts and interagency coordination to connect families and individuals to mental health supports as we help them stabilize their lives in a new country.”

Friday, December 23, 2022

YIMBY is development violence


On Monday, November 28, an unidentified construction worker fell 162 feet to his death while working at a non-union construction site in the Upper West Side. Fellow construction workers huddled below the scaffolding the following night to mourn his death. A makeshift vigil was left at the site consisting of flowers and candles to honor his memory.

Across the city, construction worker vigils are common. His death was the third in November.

On November 1, 27-year-old immigrant worker Raúl Tenelema Puli was killed at a Brooklyn construction site. The next day, another construction worker was killed while working on a construction site in Queens.

According to most recent data collected by the state, deaths at New York City construction sites appear to be on the rise with the majority of those deaths occurring on non-union sites. Immigrant workers are also disproportionately dying on construction sites. In response, policymakers are calling for the governor to sign a long-awaited bill that aims to reduce deaths and injuries. 

Nearly 80 percent of private construction in New York is done by non-union workers. The decline in non-union construction labor began over the past decade as the city began to recover from the damage of the 2008 recession. For contractors looking to save money, open-shop work sites, which are jobs that employ mostly non-union workers but hire some union workers as well, are up to 30 percent cheaper than union sites. Part of the reason it’s cheaper is that contractors are not required to pay union wages or benefits, nor are they obligated to adhere to union rules. A 2021 report by the Economic Policy Institute found that union construction workers earned on average 40 percent more than their non-union workers.

In 2018, the New York Committee for Occupational Safety and Health (NYCOSH) released a report that found that 86 percent of construction deaths in New York were on non-union work sites. The report found that sites were not as thoroughly inspected as union work sites. 

Monday’s tragic incident was no different. The worker who died was employed by the Brooklyn-based scaffolding company Rennon Construction Corp. The company racked up over $10,000 in Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) violations in 2018. The Department of Buildings immediately issued a stop work order for the site and is currently investigating. 

“Construction workers in our City deserve a safe working environment, and incidents like this week’s fatal fall are completely unacceptable,” Ryan J. Degan, OSHA Deputy Press Secretary said. “We are conducting a thorough investigation, along with our partners in law enforcement, into exactly how this could have happened, and to determine whether any corners were cut on the job which may have been contributing factors.”

A representative for Rennon Construction Corp declined to comment for this story.

Avarice bill for state officials raises passes

News 12 

Just in time for Christmas, New York legislators returned to the state capital Thursday to give themselves a nice holiday gift: a pay raise that would make them the nation’s best-paid state lawmakers.

Members of the state Assembly and Senate would make a base salary of $142,000 under a bill they passed during a special session, a 29% raise over their salary of $110,000.
That would send them racing ahead of state lawmakers in California, who are now the nation’s best-paid legislators with a yearly base pay of about $119,000, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.
New York’s lawmakers, however, would also face restrictions for the first time on how much they can make from other jobs.
Outside income would be capped at $35,000, starting in 2025. Pay in excess of that from military service, retirement plans or investments would still be allowed.
Senate Majority Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins, a Democrat, said legislators work hard, year round, and deserved a raise to cover the increased cost of living.
“It’s a full time job,” she said. “Sooner or later in order to be able to afford to do the job, we have to raise pay.”
Senate Republican Leader Rob Ortt said he found the raise “patently offensive to the people we represent.”
“Albany’s One Party Ruling Class continues to put their own misplaced priorities first,” Ortt said in a statement.
Gov. Kathy Hochul, a Democrat, has said she supports the idea of a raise for the Legislature, but hasn’t said whether she would sign the bill. Email and text messages left for the governor’s office weren’t immediately returned.
Some government transparency and watchdog groups said after the bill was introduced late Monday that it doesn’t do enough for regulating outside income.

“The public really deserves to know that their elected officials are working just for them and they don’t have any other interests in mind,” said Rachael Fauss, a senior policy advisor at the government watchdog group Reinvent Albany.

Wednesday, December 21, 2022

YIMBY Density Housing Development Switcheroo

Impunity City 

 While Southside Queens in the 1141 zip code areas is notorious for it’s McMansions and other ostentatiously tack developments, I never would have thought that one of these things would be coming to South Richmond Hill, an aesthetically ugly and density based apartment building that’s out of scale with the rest of the area. What was normal to see built in officially gentrified enclaves in Brooklyn under the guise (and the cudgel) of affordable housing has now reached all the way on the east side of town. (Not counting the luxury public housing building in Ozone Park and the three mammoth towers at nearby Sutphin Blvd in Jamaica).

Vision Fifty-Zero 

Queens Post

 The owner of the New York Mets is looking to develop a 50-acre area around Citi Field and is holding a visioning session next month to get feedback as to how it should be done.

Steve Cohen, the hedge fund manager who purchased the Mets in 2020 for $2.4 billion, aims to “re-imagine the space around Citi Field” that currently consists of 50 acres of vacant asphalt. He says that the desolate space is wasted, and that it divides neighborhoods from one another—and is a barrier to the Flushing Bay waterfront.

Cohen said the visioning session will take place on Jan. 7 at Citi Field and it builds on discussions he has had with community groups and local leaders. To participate in the meeting, register here.

“For months, we have been listening to the local community who keeps telling us there is more they want from the area. Everyone agrees that the status quo isn’t acceptable,” Cohen said in a statement. “We are committed to putting forward a vision for the area that will create a shared space that people not only want to come to and enjoy, but can be proud of.”

Friday, December 16, 2022

Developers too stingy to build more apartments



 The Real Deal

The construction pipeline is getting narrower.

There were 351 new building filings in New York City in the third quarter, down 17 percent from the second quarter and 28 percent year-over-year, according to a report from the Real Estate Board of New York.

The drop is in part because the 421a property tax break for multifamily development in the city expired June 15, which triggered a rush of filings. The 689 in the first quarter were the most in a quarter since 2014, which, not coincidentally, was just before the previous version of 421a expired.

A drought followed the 2014 surge, and now history is repeating itself. Developers have all but stopped trying to put together investors to pursue rental projects that cannot get the 35-year property tax break. Condo projects were largely excluded from the most recent iteration of 421a.

Rising interest rates have also contributed to the decline, as financing projects of all kinds became more challenging for developers.

But the impact of 421a’s expiration is clear when comparing the slowdown in filings for rental projects to the overall drop in new-building filings. The quarter-over-quarter falloff in rental filings was 62 percent, nearly four times the quarterly decline overall. Only 78 rental projects were filed in the quarter, half as many as in the same period last year.

Those 78 projects are proposed to have 3,346 units, down 46 percent year-over-year and the smallest quarterly number in a decade — since the slump that followed the 2008 financial crisis.

Rental projects in much of the city became dependent on 421a over several decades. Progressives let the tax break lapse, believing it forgave too much property tax for too little affordability. Some predict it will be several years before it is replaced, although an abatement still exists for co-ops and condos.

Thursday, December 15, 2022

Open street blocks fire engine from fire

John Starks get all NIMBY about 5G tower

 NY Post

 Knicks legend John Starks has gone from “posterizing” all-time NBA great Michael Jordan to being tower-ized by Mayor Eric Adams.

The Adams administration has OK’d the installation of a white, 32-foot, 5G cell phone tower in front of Starks’ Kia dealership in Queens — a structure that dwarfs the tallest 7 footers the Knicks star played with and competed against in the 1990s — including Patrick Ewing and Hakeem Olajuwon.

The tower at the corner of 87th Avenue and Queens Boulevard actually blocks the view of Starks’ name on the dealership from across the street.

Starks — whose legendary May 25, 1993 dunk over Jordan and the Chicago Bulls in Game 2 of the Eastern Conference finals sealed his stature as a New York sports legend — was so infuriated by the “eyesore” that he recently called Queens Borough President Donovan Richards to register a complaint.

Starks told Richards that he wasn’t given notice by the city before they decided to erect the tower about 10 feet from the front of his dealership.

The city Office of Technology & Innovation is overseeing the installation of 2,000 Link 5G street towers across the city to bolster service — including 18 that have caused an uproar in Community Board 8 on the Upper East Side.

Richards, a die-hard Knicks fan who fondly remembers Starks’ dunk over Jordan, said he supports the city’s wifi-expansion program but added that officials erred in their communication and siting of the Link 5G tower in front of Starks’ shop.

“Unless the city plans to install a hoop 10 feet up on the tower and fly Michael Jordan to Sunnyside so John Starks can dunk on him again, moving this pole is a small but important victory for transparency,” Richards told The Post.

“We appreciate the investment in expanding high-speed internet service across the borough, but just as Starks’ Knicks teams did from its front office, Queens deserves clear communication from the city ahead of any such installation when it comes to location — especially as residents have to pay for the 5G service these towers offer.”  

So hilarious how Donnie defends Starks right to be a NIMBY about something he wasn't warned about yet when people complain about open streets he defiantly shits on small business owners and residents.

REBNY's new rap language

The Real Deal

The Real Estate Board of New York is ringing in 2023 with what the group called “significant” changes to its universal co-brokerage agreement.

The new rules, which are effective Jan. 1, are tightening the language used to advertise listings. Brokers won’t be able to use the term “no-fee,” which the group said misleads customers who don’t understand the term only applies to the listing broker.

The label “off-market” will be prohibited from exclusive listings and those omitted from the RLS by an owner’s opt-out agreement, often used by wealthy clients for discreet marketing.

In cases where an open listing is being advertised as off-market, REBNY can ask for documentation proving the listing is open.

“It’s co-broke or go broke,” a representative for REBNY said.

REBNY is also instituting a “coming soon” status for listings on the RLS, which will give brokers 14 days to switch them to active. The addition comes in response to brokers using the term as a marketing or staging tool without a clear standard, so it’s unclear when a property will hit the market.

Under the new guidelines, brokers will have 14 days to change their listings to active after first posting them under the label, and they won’t be able to show the property until the listing is changed to active.

A third rule clarifies language around commission splits, encouraging brokers to come to a written agreement if they’re pursuing an uneven split for a transaction.

 A final rule change implements the Residential New Development Brokerage Agreement for new development buildings of all sizes. The agreement previously applied only to buildings with 10 or more units.

Wednesday, December 14, 2022

Maspeth firehouse about to get landmark status

Queens Chronicle 

In Maspeth, residents are seemingly as protective of their firefighters as New York’s Bravest are of them.

For more than a decade, residents and community leaders have been attempting to get the 68th Street firehouse, built in 1914, to be recognized by the city’s Landmarks Preservation Commission in honor not only of its architectural importance, but its place in American history.

Nineteen firefighters assigned to the station were killed responding to the attacks on the Twin Towers on 9/11, the highest toll at any firehouse in a city that lost 343.

In a letter to Councilman Bob Holden (D-Maspeth) dated Nov. 25, LPC Chairwoman Sarah Carroll said the commission will take up the case again in a new round of evaluations of city firehouses.

Squad 288 lost Lt. Ronald Kerwin and firefighters Peter Brennan, Ronnie Gies, Joseph Hunter, Jonathan Ielpi, Adam Rand, Brian Sweeney and Timothy Welty.

Hazmat 1 lost firefighters Dennis Carey, Martin Demeo, Thomas Gardner, John Giordano, Jonathan Hohmann, Dennis Scauso and Kevin Smith; Battalion Chief John Fanning, Capts. Thomas Moody and Patrick Waters; and Lt. John Crisci.

In the past, proponents of landmark status have been told that the building itself is not architecturally remarkable; and that for consideration of historical events such as the Sept. 11 attacks, rules and regulations call for the passage of 30 years.

When Holden found that he could not move the issue through legislation — it would take action from the mayor — the councilman wrote to Mayor Adams back in October, urging him to direct the LPC to act.

“Considering the building itself is historic and the personnel played such a significant role on one of the most historic days in United States, I ask that the LPC awards landmark status immediately,” Holden wrote in the letter dated Oct. 3.

The councilman pointed out further that residents and civic and elected officials from the area are just about unanimous in their support of the measure.

“On September 11th each year, large crowds still gather at the Firehouse to remember all those who lost their lives on this day. Families of the deceased bring young children who never met their deceased relatives. The firehouse still plays a role in the lives of everyone who lost a loved one that day.

“By landmarking the Maspeth Firehouse, the city will be acknowledging the sacrifice of uncommon heroes and a historic building that has stood for over a century. Landmark status would be a positive message to the next generation of New Yorkers that our city truly ‘Never Forgets.’”


Monday, December 12, 2022

EDC destruction of park space for new ferry landing gets kiboshed by CB

Queens Post 

Community Board 2 has rejected a city plan to demolish the existing ferry terminal at Hunter Points South Park and build a new dock about 300 feet away in front of the main boardwalk by the Oval.

The board voted against the project, in a 20 to 8 vote, at its monthly meeting Thursday via Zoom following a presentation of the plan by the New York City Economic Development Corporation (EDC), which oversees the city’s ferry routes.

The plans call for the construction of a large floating barge about 100 feet out from the boardwalk. Two boats would be able to dock at the barge with the EDC looking to begin construction in the fall of 2023.

The CB2 vote is merely advisory but sends a clear message to the city that the local board opposes the plan.

The board said it rejected the overall plan and objected to a new ferry landing being placed in front of the Oval. The vote came after board members and residents voiced fears of increased pollution spewing onto the Oval and that the new ferry landing structure — and its docked boats — may block the waterfront views.

The board’s motion added that the EDC and Army Corps of Engineers (ACE) – which is responsible for approving a permit for the project – should consider all the concerns of the community and be more transparent about the process.

In rejecting the plan, many board members said they were unhappy about the conduct of the EDC, saying the plan was essentially finalized well in advance of Thursday’s meeting and that the EDC had sought to limit its public engagement.

“What do we have to contribute to this discussion because it seems like you have it all wrapped up already,” Lisa Deller, CB2 2nd Vice Chair, said to the EDC representatives. “This is kind of like window dressing to come to the Community Board because it’s not a real dialogue.”

Thursday’s presentation was the first time the EDC had presented its plans publicly, although it met with CB2’s Transportation Committee in June to discuss the project. It also notified Councilmember Julie Won about the plans in June – while Jimmy Van Bramer was also told about the project when he was in office.

The EDC then filed permits with the Army Corps of Engineers on Oct. 18 with the ACE issuing an initial deadline of Nov. 18 for public comments to be submitted.

New York City cops get the f-ck outta dodge

Daily Mail

Thousands of New York City police officers have ditched the country's biggest police force and fled to other states for higher salaries.

Police department recruiters from other states, including Florida and Colorado have rushed to the Big Apple to persuade some of the city's 34,000 officers into relocating in exchange for higher pay and better work environments.

The retention rate among NYPD officers is rocky, especially since 1,225 officers have resigned through November before reaching five years at the police force, according to the New York Times. About 3,200 total have left this year, including retirees.

NYPD is experiencing its largest exodus since 2002 as salaries and increased hours appear not to be enough.

About 3,200 cops have left the NYPD this year through November

Some officers have flocked to the sunny state of Florida to receive a guaranteed sign-on bonus of $5,000 and funds to further their education at a state police academy.

Spero Georgedakis, a former Miami officer who now works to assist in cop relocation, recently posted a television ad for $20,000 per month to persuade NYPD cops to relocate to Florida, according to the news outlet.

The number of states advertising to New York officers is unclear, but generally, recruiters lead with higher pay and more benefits.

'We don't want to deplete New York City of their officers,' Georgedakis told the news outlet. 'But police are needed everywhere, and we want them to choose Florida.'

Amid the 'defund the police' and George Floyd protests, about 9,400 have left the NYPD since 2020, according to the news outlet. 

Full-year statistics released to in June showed that 3,152 officers left the force in 2020, meaning that the pace of retirements this year is only slightly higher. There were far fewer departures in 2021, with 2,689 officers exiting.

Despite nearly 6,900 joining since 2020, it hasn't been enough.

Sunday, December 11, 2022

Climate change project turns housing projects into rodent nature preserve

Trash and construction debris contribute to the infestation of rodents in Brooklyn's Red Hook Houses.

NY Daily News


The invasion of raccoons, possums, rats and roaches began after the New York City Housing Authority launched its $550 million overhaul of the Red Hook houses infrastructure in 2017, residents said. The work is part of the agency’s $3.2 billion Recovery and Resilience Program, prompted by the ravages of Hurricane Sandy in 2012.

“They’re building and digging tunnels, and [rodents] are able to travel underground,” said Alberto Calderon, a New York licensed commercial nuisance wildlife control operator. “So, what they’re doing is giving them ways of entry.”

Sandy hit the Red Hook waterfront public housing development hard, leaving the complex without power and utilities for weeks and in some cases months.

The subsequent environmental overhaul, initially scheduled for completion in mid-2021, remains only 60% done while morphing into an urban wildlife preserve with a 40-acre network of underground tunnels filled with creeping creatures and a plethora of above-ground invaders, residents said.

The plan was to upgrade and harden the complex’s water, heating and piping systems against the effects of climate change. The reality is something totally different.

“We’ve seen an increase of vermin like rats, skunks, and possums, which is something we’ve never seen in the neighborhood before,” said Tavina Willis, a 16-year resident of Red Hook’s West Towers and a community organizing manager at non-profit Red Hook Initiative.

Calderon said that under New York law, only a licensed wildlife operator can remove wildlife like raccoons and possums. And while NYCHA has extermination staff operating in Red Hook Houses, they don’t treat areas that are under construction, according to the agency.

The project’s contractor also uses a private pest control company that specializes mainly in small vermin like rats, roaches, and bed bugs, according to its website. But fed-up residents charge the current efforts are insufficient.



Friday, December 9, 2022

Thursday, December 8, 2022

Agency captured open streets pusher council member is a car junkie 

Nice Honda Shekar, guess you still got a jones for getting around the city faster in a 2 ton metal living room death machine. Punk.

Moda Crap Upgraded Living 153-30 89th Ave.


This is AFTER Sanitation came. And those boxes are food for the supermarket. 

This is the back entrance of the Moda building

Monday, December 5, 2022

Brian Benjamin gets de Blasioed



 A federal judge dismissed bribery charges against former Lieutenant Governor Brain Benjamin on Monday morning that were brought by the U.S. Attorney’s Office in the Southern District of New York (SDNY) and led him to resign from his post in April.

In his ruling, U.S. District Court Judge Paul Oetken concluded SDNY’s indictment “fails to allege an explicit quid pro quo.”


“For the reasons that follow, the Court concludes that the Indictment fails to allege an explicit quid pro quo, which is an essential element of the bribery and honest services wire fraud charges brought against Benjamin,” the ruling read. “As a result, Defendant’s motion to dismiss is granted as to the first three counts.”

According to a report in The New York Times, Benjamin’s lawyers Barry Berke and Dani James said the decision is “vindication” for charges that weren’t justified.

“The dismissal of this now discredited bribery theory also makes clear how the indictment was a direct assault on the democratic process,” they said. “While today is a great day for justice, democracy and the rule of law, it is tragic that this case was ever brought and such a decision was necessary.”

City Council members call for caucus on crime with fellow electeds

Queens Post

Three Queens council members who are members of the Commonsense Caucus say their legislative colleagues are out of touch when it comes to tackling crime and have called on them to get tough on improving public safety.

Council members Bob Holden, Vickie Paladino and Joann Ariola want their fellow lawmakers to take a hardline approach to crime which they say is spiraling out of control. Major crime in New York City is up nearly 27.5 percent this year compared to the same time last year, according to police data.

The lawmakers told the Queens Post last month that residents are living in fear with many afraid to walk the streets or take the subway— such is the severity of the situation. Others have left the city altogether, according to Holden.

The caucus members say it’s time for city and state lawmakers to start sticking up for law-abiding citizens by taking legislative action, engaging with their local police precincts and calling out crimes in their districts when they see them.

“I lived through the 70s and 80s and we’re going back to that,” said Holden, a Democrat who represents the 30th Council District in central Queens.

“My constituents are all worried. My wife, who is Asian American, will not set foot in the subway.”

The lawmakers argue that much of the city’s crime spike can be attributed to what they call “far-left policies” such as bail reform laws, the denigration of the police and their powers, as well progressive district attorney’s not prosecuting crimes.

These policies, the caucus members claim, have empowered criminals and led them to believe they won’t get punished. Many crimes, the lawmakers say, are caused by repeat offenders.

“It’s out of control because it’s absolute lawlessness,” said Paladino, a Republican who represents the 19th Council District in northeast Queens.

“If you don’t have a city that backs their cops or wants to do anything to change it then that’s a problem. And then we have our District Attorneys who aren’t doing their jobs either, they’re not prosecuting so it’s a turnstile system and it’s failing miserably.”

Many crimes too, the lawmakers argue, are being carried out by the mentally ill who they say should be forced to get treatment. Instead, many of these people are sleeping in the subways and roaming the streets putting residents at risk, the caucus members say.

However, many progressive lawmakers challenge this narrative and say that the city is in not in the midst of a crime wave.

They say that murders are in fact down by more than 12 percent from this time last year– and that crime is down compared to the Giuliani and Bloomberg years of the late 1990s and early 2000s.

Furthermore, they say that the rate of defendants being released under bail reform and then violently reoffending has seen little change since the reforms went into effect at the beginning of 2020. The rate went from 3 percent in 2019—prior to the reforms—to 4 percent in 2021, according to a report issued by the state Division of Criminal Justice Services.

Additionally, progressive Councilmember Tiffany Cabán has played down concerns about subway attacks, tweeting in September that violence on the system is a “one-in-a-million event.” She said that while the attacks were concerning, “let’s not let fear-mongering politicians and corporate media outlets scare us into thinking we have a dangerous, scary public transit system.”

Sunday, December 4, 2022

The night the traffic lights went out in Middle Queens


Following rampant power outages in his district on Nov. 30, Councilman Robert Holden released a letter calling for a meeting with NYPD Commissioner Keechant Sewell, DOT Commissioner Ydanis Rodriguez and OEM Commissioner Zachary Iscol to discuss what caused the outage and what steps could be taken to prevent it from happening again in the future.

Holden expressed concern over the city’s failure to swiftly address the Nov. 30 outages in Maspeth and Middle Village in which thousands of residents lost power for as long as five hours. Traffic in the area was drastically affected by this, according to Holden, as the outages occurred during rush hour.

 According to Holden, additional police officers were not deployed to the 104th Precinct until the end of the outages. Holden cited a desire to know what caused the outages and delayed response, as well as wanting to know how outages like this will be handled in the future.

“The areas affected routinely suffer due to overhead lines that cannot handle rain storms,” Holden said. “The transformers on Eliot Avenue blow often, including last year on Election Day. After two conversations with Commissioner Iscol, I still did not understand what additional resources our district would be receiving, nor what the emergency response was other than ‘monitoring the situation.’ It was only after 10:00 p.m. did the 104th Precinct receive additional police officers. Considering heavy rains and strong winds were forecasted, it would make sense that the Office of Emergency Management and NYPD would have coordinated for expected power outages in Queens.”

Holden said he wanted DOT Commissioner Rodriguez to take part in the meeting so his office could discuss plans for when a large amount of traffic lights go out. Holden is hopeful that such a meeting could help ensure each department is better prepared for the next massive outage.

Juniper Christmas 


I wonder if Transportation Alternatives will send their minions and moles to this too.

Friday, December 2, 2022

Citibike cancelled

 Citi Bike installation on pause for input 1

 Queens Chronicle

The city — make that Mayor Adams’ Office — has agreed to delay the installation of Citi Bike docking stations that are coming to Ridgewood, Glendale, Maspeth and Middle Village.

The delay, or “pause” as some are telling the Chronicle, came after a meeting two weeks ago at the district office of Councilman Bob Holden (D-Maspeth) that included civic and community leaders, city Department of Transportation officials and Mayor Adams’ Senior Advisor Tiffany Raspberry.

Community members have argued that the locations of between 50 and 60 docks were made without adequate community participation, particularly those that would be placed in the street at the expense of residential and business on-street parking.

The DOT ruffled many feathers in November upon announcing that installations would begin in December. Now that has been put off until January.

“When Mayor Adams heard that the community was upset that input wasn’t considered, he sent top officials from the DOT and his own staff,” said Eric Butkiewicz, chairman of the Transportation Committee of Community Board 5.

“I give him credit for this.”

Butkiewicz and Tony Nunziato, president of the Juniper Park Civic Association, said the community had offered a number of alternatives, including a report prepared by Christina Wilkinson of the JPCA and Newtown Historical Society that proponents said would have greatly reduced the number of street stations with only minor alterations to the DOT plan. Butkiewicz placed blame for the problems on the de Blasio administration

“It’s on pause pending community feedback,” Butkiewicz said. “We were pleased to hear that, because that’s all we wanted. We understand that contracts had been entered into a number of years ago, putting everyone into a situation that’s hard to get out of. What we want is the maximum benefit for the community while eliminating potential problems downstream.”

A DOT spokesman said in an email that the agency will be ready.

“Citi Bike has proven to be a wildly popular transportation option with ridership soaring since the pandemic,” he said. “DOT continues to thoughtfully incorporate community feedback and we’re excited to roll out new stations in January.” (STFU already, it's clearly not popular-JQ LLC)

Nunziato said the loss of parking spaces would be a hardship for many seniors who rely on cars to get around. A third-generation businessman, he said it could destroy small businesses still reeling from the pandemic.

“They’re pitting businesses against each other,” he said. “Citi Bike is a business. They’d be taking parking spaces from small businesses and giving them to a competing business. Small businesses built this city. Take parking away from small business and you close small businesses.”