Saturday, January 28, 2023

Julie Won's husband got racist on social media and had access to info from City Council hearings 

 NY Daily News

Democratic Councilwoman Julie Won’s husband — who is also her campaign manager — was banned from Twitter after spewing the N-word and other insensitive language on the platform years ago, the Daily News has learned.

Noh, a political strategist who married Won in 2020 and then managed her 2021 campaign for a western Queens Council seat, thumbed out the questionable tweets over a decade ago through his @EugeneNoh handle, screenshots show. The posts are no longer publicly viewable due to Noh’s account suspension, but The News got hold of a cache of screengrabs of the since-deleted missives.

“F—k dude. Get here soon n---a,” Noh tweeted at another user on Nov. 22, 2011.

Noh, who is Asian and was 20 at the time, first denied writing the social media messages when contacted by The News.

“I have no idea what’s going, man,” he said. “It’s not me, and I mean, clearly, it’s not me ... I don’t have a Twitter. I don’t recall having one, especially over a decade ago.”

But after The News sent Noh a screenshot of the tweet and one of his Twitter profile page, Noh said that he “must have forgotten about this account.”

“It looks like I had forgotten that I had a Twitter,” he said. “When you sent me the screenshots, I saw like, ‘Oh no, that’s clearly me’ ... It looks like I tweeted like 150 times over six years. So it’s like a pretty miniscule part of my life ... That’s why I forgot.”

Noh also posted and reposted eyebrow-raising tweets about gays and people with speech impediments.

“I don’t care what anybody says, being homosexual is still not as gay as Twilight,” read a Dec. 6, 2011 post retweeted by Noh from an account called “Men’s Humor.”

A few months earlier, Noh wrote in another post: “Lisp has an s in it so ppl with the condition can self-diagnose themselves, methinks.”

”A decade ago as a young man, I said and did many things that were obnoxious, attention-seeking or flat-out offensive — a lot of which I regret right now as a father and as a husband,” Noh told The News. “Really, it’s no wonder Julie refused to date me until I turned 30.”

It’s unclear exactly when or why Noh’s Twitter handle got suspended, but it was active as recently as 2018. Twitter did not return requests for comment on why it expelled Noh, but a disclaimer on his deleted account states it was suspended for violating Twitter’s rules.

Won did not return requests for comment.

In addition to letting him run her 2021 campaign, Won consulted her husband last year on a key appointment to her Council office, according to the emails reviewed by The News.

“I think she will be good,” Won emailed Noh on July 13 from her official government account with a job application attached from Jenna Laing, who would go on to be hired as her Council communications director.

When asked about this, Noh said he doesn’t “make decisions or anything like that for Julie as Council member.”

“I’m her husband, yes. I’m her campaign manager. So there is a firewall. Anytime she asks me my opinion on something I may give it, but I am genuinely disinterested in what happens in the Council office,” he said. “I, in my estimation, exist pretty much only to compete and to campaign, and that’s what I enjoy doing.”

Won also looped in her husband on multiple emails last summer from the New York City Districting Commission sent directly to Council members seeking input on last year’s redrawing of the Council district map.

But in an email chain in May, Noh indicated he’s aware he shouldn’t be involved in government business as a non-Council staffer.

“Remove me from this chain; I’m not on the government team,” he wrote on May 18 to a lobbyist from the Bolton-St. Johns firm who included him on an email to Won about a discretionary funding request for an LBGTQ community group.

Though sent to Won’s office, the lobbyist’s email was addressed to Queens Councilwoman Linda Lee, and Noh capped off his reply: “Also, you either mistakenly sent this to the wrong council member, or you’re racist.”

Council members are barred under the City Charter from disseminating information to non-Council staff that has been obtained as part of their “official duties” and “which is not otherwise available to the public."

Friday, January 27, 2023

Donovan Richards's Department Of Youth

 The Simpsons" Bart the General (TV Episode 1990) - IMDb


In an effort to get more young people involved in civics, Queens Borough President Donovan Richards has created a new advisory panel known as the Youth and Young Adult Council to introduce the “youngest and fiercest” community advocates to both community service and organization.

Members of the advisory body will advocate concerns through means of community engagement by participating in one of two cohorts. The first will be made up of high school representatives between the ages of 13 and 17, while the second cohort will be comprised of young adults between the ages of 18 and 25.

“Our youth are the leaders of tomorrow, and as such, they deserve to have a seat at the table as well as opportunities to be civically engaged,” Richards said. “I’m thrilled to engage our younger community members in envisioning Queens’ future, and working together to create the blueprints to make that a reality.”

The young adults cohort will feature advisors, who are expected to have at least five years of experience working with youth, preferably in Queens. Advisors will be tasked with empowering participants to make independent decisions and will utilize their networks to introduce and connect participants with people and organizations that will further expand their vision and borough-wide initiatives.

The cohorts will meet monthly, and each will develop proposals to make Queens a more inclusive borough for young people. Each cohort will present its proposals to the borough president. Members of the council will serve for a year and applications will be open to new members at the end of each school year, but current members will not have to reapply until their terms are up.

Queens is burning again: Ebike battery explosion torches a house with illegal daycare center

NY Daily News  

The Queens daycare where 18 children were injured after a fire broke out due to a faulty lithium-ion battery was unlicensed and illegally running out of a basement, the Daily News has learned.

The fire started in the basement of the two-story home on 72nd Drive near 147th St. in Kew Gardens Hills around 2:05 p.m., FDNY officials said.

Both the daycare and a dentist lab were operating in the basement, which had been converted without a Department of Buildings work permit, the DOB said.

The blaze spread through the cellar of the single-family home when a charging e-bike exploded, sources said.

When firefighters arrived, five adults, one teenager and 19 children ranging from 16 months to 5-years-old were inside, the sources added.

A 16-month-old toddler was critically injured in the fire. The other kids did not require treatment, FDNY officials and sources said.

The injured buy suffered smoke inhalation and was taken to NewYork-Presbyterian Queens Hospital, where he was listed in serious but stable condition in the hospital’s intensive care unit Thursday, sources said.

The childcare center is unlicensed, the New York State Office of Children and Family Services told The News.

“The agency is conducting a thorough review to determine if it was, in fact, operating illegally,” an OCFS spokesperson said in a statement.

A childcare license is required by the state if a person or program is caring for more than two children who are not related to them, away from the child’s home and on a regular basis for three or more hours per day.

Officials are still investigating whether the 18 children in the house were related to the home owner operating the daycare.

The DOB issued the owner two violations for illegal construction work to the basement and for operating businesses out of the space. City records had listed the basement as a storage area, the agency said.


Caption Austerity Mayor Adams

Wednesday, January 25, 2023

Council Member Holden's bill calls for slamming the brakes on ebikes and e-scooters

 Sunnyside Post

Council Member Robert Holden, who represents the Queens neighbors of Ridgewood and Glendale, says that electric scooters and electric bikes are putting New Yorkers in danger and has introduced legislation that would ban them until they can be properly policed.

Holden introduced a bill last week that would repeal city regulations that allow e-bikes and e-scooters to be driven throughout the five boroughs.

The lawmaker says that some riders are ignoring traffic laws — since they are not required to have a license to ride their bikes – which is leading to crashes. In addition, he said, there have been instances where the batteries in e-bikes and e-scooters have sparked fires.

Holden wants the ban imposed until state lawmakers pass legislation that would require the vehicles to be registered, licensed and insured.

The legislation that would require the vehicles to be registered, licensed and insured, can only be enacted at state level since state lawmakers legalized the vehicles in the first place in 2020, Holden said. The state law gave municipalities the ability to legalize e-bikes and e-scooters.

“The scourge of these devices throughout our city has led to people disregarding traffic laws resulting in injuries or death, lithium ion-based fires that killed several people and injured hundreds, and a feeling of disorder on our streets and sidewalks as well as a diminished quality of life,” Holden said.

“We must ensure that these vehicles are operated safely before allowing them back on our streets.”

Tuesday, January 24, 2023

City continued to do business with house deed theft recidvist

A man wearing a dark baseball cap and blue jacket over a gray blazer and white-collared shirt stands next to a bald man wearing a law enforcement badge.

New York Times

Sanford Solny, a real estate investor and disbarred lawyer who has been accused of stealing dozens of homes in New York City, mostly from Black and Latino homeowners, was charged on Wednesday with crimes related to the theft of four more properties in Brooklyn.

The Brooklyn district attorney’s office charged Mr. Solny with criminal possession of stolen property and scheming to defraud homeowners. Prosecutors accused Mr. Solny of renting out some of the disputed homes to unwitting tenants and collecting nearly $64,000 in rent.

Mr. Solny faces similar charges from a 2020 indictment, in which he was accused of stealing eight other homes. The two indictments have been consolidated. If convicted, he faces a minimum of three to six years in prison.

Mr. Solny, 65, surrendered to authorities on Wednesday and appeared in court in handcuffs. He pleaded not guilty and then was released. He is scheduled to be in court in March for the latest charges. After announcing the new charges, the district attorney’s office withdrew a plea deal offer in which Mr. Solny would serve four to 12 years in prison.

The new case follows an investigation last year by The New York Times that revealed that Mr. Solny, through a network of shell companies, had been accused in civil and criminal court by 40 homeowners of stealing their property in a scheme known as deed theft.

As of July, companies controlled by Mr. Solny still owned 19 of the disputed properties — an eclectic mix of coveted brownstones and grass-hemmed houses in gentrifying areas of Brooklyn and Queens that could produce hundreds of thousands of dollars in rent a year. In some instances, city agencies contributed to his earnings by subsidizing the rent for low-income tenants.

Deed theft can take many forms, but homeowners have repeatedly accused Mr. Solny of one version.

Homeowners at risk of foreclosure are told they qualify for a short sale, a deal in which the lender settles for less than the balance of the mortgage. The homeowners usually believe that they are selling the home in exchange for debt forgiveness and sometimes a small amount of cash.

Instead, the owners sign documents, often under false pretenses, that transfer the property to another party, leaving the former homeowner saddled with the unpaid mortgage debt. Yearslong legal battles can play out in civil court, often ending in the lender seizing the property — but not before the fraudulent owner extracts value by renting the home out.

Many of the homeowners who have accused Mr. Solny of fraud live in predominantly Black and Latino neighborhoods in central Brooklyn. The four properties in the latest indictment unveiled on Wednesday — homes in East New York, Ocean Hill, Canarsie and East Flatbush that are valued at a total of nearly $2.3 million — were transferred to companies controlled by Mr. Solny between 2012 and 2019 for a fraction of their current market value, according to the district attorney’s office.

Sunday, January 22, 2023

King Manor suffering from slumlord negligence by NYC Parks

King Manor crumbling without help from Parks 2

Queens Chronicle

King Manor Museum in Jamaica lost its Wi-Fi on Dec. 18, 2020. In the more than two years that have elapsed since, meetings have been forced to employees’ nearby apartments, personal funds have been spent on connectivity and, according to museum Executive Director Kelsey Brow, “hours of work” have been lost.

Last Thursday, Brow got word from the head of Verizon government affairs, with whom she had to coordinate herself, that the problem was to be resolved as soon as this week. Even as that saga comes to a close, the building continues to lay in neglect.

Brow has reported problems related to the Wi-Fi, cracks in the walls, a deteriorating mantlepiece, mold-like black growths and other maintenance needs. She says the response from the Historic House Trust, a partner of the city Parks Department that Brow says serves as something of the liason between the museum and the agency, has been less than expedient.

“Our internet is supposed to be provided to us by the Parks Department through ... the Historic House Trust, and they were just like, ‘Oh, that’s too bad,’” Brow said of the Wi-Fi problem.

Failing plaster in the dining room, which Brow says is the museum’s staple, has led to the area being at least partially closed off to visitors. Brow says she was promised a “speedy, cosmetic fix” a year and a half ago that never came to pass.

Black growths on the side of the mantle led to some concern of the potential presence of mold. Brow says she reached out about the issue three or four years ago, only to get an air-quality monitor just at the end of this past fall. Results came back negative for any toxic growth.

The house is supposed to be painted every five to eight years. It’s been over 20 years since its last touch-up job, with mildew forming on exposed wood on the building’s exterior. The lack of a paint job has led to the failure of many of the windowsills, leading to the seepage of moisture into the structure.

Repair work that was completed on the building’s roof in 2018 did not include re-plastering the ceiling of the second floor, which had been failing due to the condition of the roof. Brow and a pair of colleagues performed those repairs themselves.

When asked why King Manor was having such a hard time hearing from the HHT, a Parks Department spokesperson pointed to investments the agency has made at the site — including the $1.8 million roof renovation and a 2021 $718,000 heating, ventilation and air-conditioning repair — and that the most recent HHT executive director retired late last summer and is expected to be replaced early this year.

“In recent years there has been significant investment in Rufus King Manor’s roof and HVAC system,” the spokesperson said in a statement. “We are aware of some of the concerns outlined, and are working to resolve them.”

Brow says the neglect has led to a loss of revenue for the museum. The dining room typically would be rented out for events including weddings, baby showers, book launches and business meetings. Between the deteriorating condition and the extended period of limited Wi-Fi (the museum did have access to an internet connection box through a nonprofit group called Mobile Boost, but its capacity and reliability were limited), the space has not been suitable for prospective inhabitants.

“We have film festivals that sometimes rent out the space, and they had an issue because they had some of their films on the cloud and they couldn’t get them because the internet didn’t reach here,” Brow said. “So, it’s not only lost work hours for us, but loss of income through rental opportunities.”

Saturday, January 21, 2023

Howard Beach station beatdown victim loses half her vision 

NY Post

The Queens mom savagely beaten by a ranting homeless man at a Howard Beach subway station confirmed for the first time that she will lose her eye because of the attack.

“I’m going to be blind in my right eye now,” said Elizabeth Gomes. “The nerve system is completely damaged and the eye is just deflating.”

Gomes, 33, said she is scheduled to meet with a specialist at New York Eye & Ear Infirmary on Feb. 13 to learn the next steps in getting a prosthetic eye.

“I mean honestly, I still wake up everyday and I still can’t believe it. I still think to myself ‘Wow I lost my vision at 33 years of age while I was just going to work. How can my life ever be the same,’ ” Gomes said.

Her life tragically changed shortly after 5 a.m. Sept. 20 as she got off the subway at the Howard Beach A train station on her way to her security guard job at Kennedy Airport.

A man who had been ranting about the devil hit her over the head with a bottle and then chased her before throwing her into the side of a token booth and then repeatedly pummeling and stomping on her.

The stomach-churning assault, which was caught on video, shows a good Samaritan trying to help, but being chased away by the assailant as the attack continues.

Waheed Foster, 42, was indicted in September on attempted murder and assault charges.

Foster, who killed his own grandmother when he was 14, had been arrested weeks earlier for violating parole in another case, but was let go thanks to state reform laws.

Gomes has been unable to return to work and still fears being around groups of people. She lives with her mother and fiancee, Clement Tucker, and their 3-year-old son. She has two other children, ages 10 and 12, and Tucker has two.

Queens is burning again. It's a lithium ion battery again.


Eyewitness News 

 One person was killed and several others were injured in a house fire that broke out in Queens.

Officials say the heavy flames tore through the home on 89th Street in East Elmhurst at around 11 p.m. Friday.

As firefighters worked to put out the blaze, they found a man in his 60s unconscious on the second floor. He was taken to a local hospital where he was pronounced dead.

Some of the other residents were taken to the hospital to be treated for minor injuries.

Residents say an e-scooter could be to blame for the fire.

"I unplugged the scooter, I was on the first floor. As I'm putting cereal in a bowl, I heard an explosion, like gunfire. As I open the door to the second floor, those stairs were already on fire in seconds. It was a disaster," Jose Corona said.

Firefighters did pull a burnt scooter from the residence, but the official cause of the blaze is still under investigation.

Wednesday, January 18, 2023

Nazis invade Forest Park


Queens elected officials are expressing outrage after swastikas were discovered in Forest Park on Sunday afternoon, Jan. 15.

The NYPD’s Hate Crimes Task Force was notified after a 65-year-old man came across the two swastikas that were spray-painted on tree stumps inside the park in the vicinity of Park Lane South between Myrtle Avenue and Freedom Drive in Richmond Hill, within the confines of the 102nd Precinct.

“Sadly, antisemitism has struck again in Queens, this time at Forest Park. Hatred against Jews is a growing issue and we cannot allow this to keep happening,” Councilwoman Lynn Schulman said. “When a constituent called this to our attention, we immediately notified the NYPD and I am thankful to the 102nd Precinct for their immediate response.”

Monday, January 16, 2023

NYPD China spy exonerated

NY Post 

Federal prosecutors have shockingly dropped their case against an NYPD cop accused of being a spy for the Chinese government.

Prosecutors in the Brooklyn US Attorney Breon’s office signed off Friday on vague legal papers, asking federal Judge Eric R. Komitee to dismiss an indictment against Baimadajie Angwang. The feds said they reached the decision after examining “additional information bearing on the charges,” but they offered no specifics.

Angwang, an NYPD cop and US Army reservist who had secret-level security clearance from the Department of Defense, was charged in 2020 with spying on fellow Tibetan immigrants in the Big Apple.

At the time, FBI New York Assistant Director-in-Charge William Sweeney Jr. called Angwang, who worked as a community affairs officer in the 111th Precinct in Queens, “the definition of an insider threat.”

He said the Tibetan-American allegedly “operated on behalf of a foreign government; lied to gain his clearance, and used his position as an NYPD police officer to aid the Chinese government’s subversive and illegal attempts to recruit intelligence sources.”


Sunday, January 15, 2023

EV Revel-ution landing in Maspeth

Queens Chronicle

Revel, the Brooklyn-based ride share company that introduced its light-blue electric scooters to Queens in early 2021, is planning a 60-station electric vehicle-charging hub for Maspeth, one of five it hopes to open in the city by the end of this year.

The site is at 54-12 48 St., just south of Exit 35E on the eastbound Long Island Expressway, according to a press release issued Monday. The company also has 76 additional charging stations with two sites in Brooklyn and one each in Manhattan and the Bronx.

The company said with 60 stalls, the Maspeth “Superhub” will be the largest public, universally accessible EV fast-charging station in the Western Hemisphere. Its proximity to the LIE, according to the company, places it on a high-traffic corridor for light-and heavy-duty vehicles, especially those servicing the transportation, delivery and freight sectors. The site will be equipped with ultrafast charging capable of charging an EV in 10 to 20 minutes.

Revel said at present there are only 20 public fast charging stalls available in Queens, all of which are located at low-volume sites.

“The only way mass EV adoption will ever happen in New York City is if the charging infrastructure is there to support it,” said Revel CEO and co-founder Frank Reig. “We need high-volume, public sites in the neighborhoods where people actually live and work, and that’s exactly what Revel is delivering with our growing Superhub network. This is the biggest fast charging expansion our city has ever seen, and it’s a huge step toward making our EV transition a reality.”

Borough President Donovan Richards expressed cautious optimism on a few fronts in an email on Wednesday.

“In a city as dense and as vulnerable to climate change as ours, we welcome any effort from any entity — public or private — to heavily promote the use of electric vehicles,” Richards said. “Publicly accessible charging stations, like the one proposed by Revel, are critical in our push to protect our environment for generations to come. However, important community-centered conversations and a thorough public engagement process must be had to ensure proper siting for this facility, and I look forward to having those discussions with Revel and our neighbors in Maspeth.”

Asked where the Maspeth project is in the process, including securing any required permits and approvals, a Revel spokesman, in an email on Wednesday, said the five sites “are proceeding to development. The Maspeth Superhub will be finished by the end of this year.”

Stacy's back

 Queens Chronicle

Fresh off a photo-finish re-election that went to a recount and legal wrangling, South Queens state Assemblywoman Stacey Pheffer Amato (D-Rockaway Park) was sworn in for her fourth term this week.

“I am honored to return to the Assembly and fight for the people of the 23rd Assembly District,” Pheffer Amato said in a statement. “I love my community and am committed to ensuring that their voices will be heard! My sleeves are rolled up and I look forward to continuing to solve problems, bring resources to the people, and pass legislation that helps New Yorkers.”

In a press release, she touted her service to women, public employees, senior citizens and veterans especially.

Pheffer Amato defeated Republican challenger Tom Sullivan by just 15 votes, a margin determined nearly two months after Election Day. On Nov. 8, before absentee ballots were counted and the race went to court, Sullivan had been up by 246 votes.


Wednesday, January 11, 2023

Hochul and Adams State and City Of Yes housing plans focus on basements, suburb towers and office buildings


 NY Daily News

Suburbs would have to step up their development game under Gov. Hochul’s plan to build 800,000 new units of housing across the state in the coming years.

To confront the state’s housing crisis, Hochul proposed in her State of the State address Tuesday a plan dubbed the “New York Housing Compact,” which will require every town, city and village in the state to set a target number of new homes to create over a three-year period.

 The governor specifically called out suburban communities surrounding New York City for limiting building in recent decades and said in her address that the state is ready to step in.

“Local governments can meet these targets any way they want,” she said. “They can shape building capacity. They can redevelop old malls or buildings, office parks, incentivize new housing production or just update the zoning rules to reduce the barriers.”

However, she added, if communities “have not made good-faith efforts to grow when proposed housing projects are languishing for no legitimate reason, the state will implement a fast-track approval process.”

That “fast-track” course would allow housing proposals that are denied locally to go to a “state housing approval board” or the courts.

The downstate area, including Westchester, Putnam and both Nassau and Suffolk Counties on Long Island, would be required to grow their housing stocks by 3% every three years.

Upstate towns would have to meet a target of 1% growth every three years. Hochul noted that New York in recent years has trailed other states, including New Jersey and Connecticut, when it comes building housing.

The governor also wants to see more multi-residence projects near MTA subway and train stations. The plan requires municipalities with MTA rail stations to rezone areas within half a mile of a station to allow for at least 25 homes per acre.

The proposal includes $250 million for infrastructure to accommodate the increased density including sewers, schools and road work. It also calls for an expedited environmental review process for rezonings.

“Today, we say no more delay. No more waiting for someone else to fix this problem. Housing is a human right,” Hochul said. “Ensuring enough housing is built is how we protect that right.”

Suburban legislators were largely quiet about Hochul’s proposals on Tuesday.

History shows they might be a heavy political lift — suburban politicians have traditionally complained about state laws that would require them to allow more housing.

Griping by suburban politicians forced Hochul to drop two such ideas from the state budget in 2022, including a plan to encourage housing near train stations similar to her current proposal. The other would have required towns to allow apartments to be built within single-family homes.

In the city, Hochul is seeking a new version of the lapsed property tax abatement plan known as 421-a, which would incentivize the building of affordable housing units. A revamped version of the program failed to make it into the budget last year.

Real estate groups and organizations like Homeowners for An Affordable New York, a landlord-backed group, applauded the governor’s proposals.

“The Governor outlined an ambitious agenda for addressing longstanding inequities in the housing market,” spokesman Andrew Mangini said in a statement. “Housing developers and property owners, both big and small, look forward to engaging in conversations with state lawmakers to ensure fair and equitable solutions to practical issues in housing and real estate.”

Tenant advocates and progressive lawmakers, meanwhile, panned the plan. They said it falls far short of what is needed to address the housing and affordability crisis already facing many New Yorkers.

 NY Daily News

Mayor Adams and top city planning officials released new details around their push to convert underused office space into apartments in the city’s bustling business districts, including a plan that would allow for the rezoning of millions of square feet of space in office buildings.

The blueprint, which Adams and city planners put out through a City Planning Department study, would in part require zoning changes to permit conversions in buildings built prior to 1991.

Currently, such office-to-residential conversions are only allowed in Financial District buildings built in 1977 or before, and buildings in other city

Co-op sues DOT and Lyft for inducing Citibike racks on parking spaces by their apartment buildings

Tuesday, January 10, 2023

7 train 86'd for a month and a half

Part of the Manhattan skyline can be seen as a Flushing-bound 7 train arrives at Queensboro Plaza station on Tuesday, Jan. 27, 2015.


The MTA announced on Tuesday that 7 line service will be suspended between the 34th Street-Hudson Yards subway station and the Queensboro Plaza subway station for six weekends starting on Saturday, Feb. 4 as construction of new elevators is completed.

The first subway closure will start at 12:15 a.m. on Saturday, Feb. 4 and last until 5 a.m. on Monday, Feb. 6, according to the MTA. Service will also be disrupted from 3:45 a.m. on Saturdays to 10 p.m. on Sundays during the following weekends:

  • Feb. 11 - Feb. 12
  • Feb. 25 - Feb. 26
  • Mar. 11 - Mar. 12
  • Mar. 25 - Mar. 26
  • Apr. 22 - Apr. 23

Free shuttle buses will be provided to customers in lieu of subway service — in Queens between the Queensboro Plaza and Vernon Boulevard-Jackson Avenue stations, and in Manhattan between the Times Square and 34th Street-Hudson Yards stations.

Additional weekend service changes are expected later in 2023 and again in 2024, the MTA said.

The Queensboro Plaza station served nearly 70,000 riders during an average weekday in November of last year, according to the MTA. That estimate included customers who entered and transferred at the station.

The closures will allow the MTA to install two elevators at the Queensboro Plaza subway station — one at the southern entrance, and the other between the station's mezzanine and two elevated platforms. The elevators and "other accessibility enhancements" will make the station "fully accessible," the MTA said.


Dumping ground arises in Queens Village



Lovely site along the Cross Island service road here in Queens Village for all the people to see while going to the UBS arena. Junked cars, excessive litter, illegal dumping, and people camping out in an RV. Really makes Queens Village look like a welcoming community.





Monday, January 9, 2023

Greenwashing sabotage at Citifield "visioning" event

NY Post 

Mets owner Steve Cohen solicited input from Queens residents Saturday on how best to develop the area around Citi Field – all while preparing to potentially roll the dice on bringing a casino to the property.

The billionaire hedge funder and his team met with more than 500 neighborhood residents at the ballpark and talked about how to turn the adjacent, long dormant Willets Point area into a year-round, all-weather entertainment destination.

Cohen said he’s “looking for great ideas” but openly added “a casino is definitely an option” — despite some in attendance expressing staunch opposition to gambling on the site.

“We don’t expect everyone to support all our ideas, but that’s what this discussion is about,” added Cohen, who’s seriously considering bidding for one of three downstate casino licenses up for grabs.

Cohen wasn't just being coy, there was a lot of chicanery afoot according to this eyewitness who contacted me and it sure looks like the omniscience of Transportation Alternatives was present at this: 


I went to the Steve Cohen event yesterday. It wasn’t a “presentation” in the traditional sense. It was a walk along a line of easels set up with different elements of the property’s history and possible future uses.  At each station, an employee solicited attendees’ thoughts on that station’s offering.  There were a LOT of people working there.  A sign on the front door advised visitors that by entering, they were consenting to being photographed. It was from a company called “Out of Lemons LLC.” (?) 

The employees and the various easels scrupulously avoided any mention of a “casino.” In fact, they skillfully avoided presenting anything resembling Cohen’s own vision for the site.  However, as with most push polls, they did suggest vague, generic uses for the site; usually in very innocuous terms:  “more green space,” “walkability,” “enhanced access to the waterfront,” “live music,” “entertainment”… and so on. Things that are hard to argue against.  Again, no mention of a casino.

At one station, they asked how we arrived that day at the ballpark.  We were invited to provide answers by putting sticky dots on a board. That dot process was repeated at every station. Here, something wasn’t right.  We were there at the front door before the event started.  In fact, we wheedled our way inside the front door while waiting to be allowed upstairs.  Almost everyone allowed in during the first wave were media or PR people (they wore badges, carried video equipment, and/or Cohen’s media desk seemed to know almost everyone coming in). When we were allowed up, we were among the first civilians to go in. Back to the sticky dots.  There appeared to be a lot more answer-dots on the boards than there were visitors at that point.  Dozens of people said they used mass transit to get there, almost no one used a car.  But there were more dots than people.  And the designated parking area had lots of cars in it. This looked suspicious.  That was repeated at another station in which more people than possible said they wanted “walkability” (whatever that means).  There were more examples of this, but these jumped out at me.

It appears to me that the use of broad suggested “uses” for the parking lot was their way of framing the discussion.  That’s why I use the term push poll. The consultants running this can say that almost everyone wants the parking lot to change into something else.  Of course.  If you ask someone to choose among a dozen topics (“none of the above” not being an option), they’re going to pick one or more. That doesn’t mean there’s a grass roots movement demanding Steve Cohen be allowed to use parkland for commercial purposes.  The common term for faux grassroots like this is “astroturfing.”  I assume the next step is for “Queens Future” (a creature of lobbyists “New Green Willets”) to seek legislation allowing privatization of the parkland.

 Here’s what wasn’t included at the stations, or in the choices:

•  Any mention of a casino (but yes to bars, restaurants, music venue, and “entertainment”)

•   Any reference to traffic or congestion (between the stadium, the new soccer stadium, the huge residential & commercial development in the Iron Triangle, and a casino, there’s going to be a huge increase in traffic on already overcrowded roads)

•   Any mention of what’s going to happen to the parking lot – where are all the cars going to park? (I asked one of the employees… he guessed that there would be a parking structure of some kind. It would have to be enormous, and would be a nightmare trying to leave)

• Whether Steve Cohen should have any right to develop this parks department land. The courts have already ruled that the lot may be leased but the lessee can’t build on it.

No option to leave well enough alone – it’s a parking lot, which is a necessity, and it does its job well.

• No access to any knowledgeable sources to ask any questions or express concerns. (Broadcast news says Cohen met with 500 people – I didn’t see him, and I heard his employees say they didn’t even know if he was in the building).

In short, this wasn’t as heavy handed as I feared it might be.  But it was unmistakably manipulative.  I don’t like being “played.” 

{Unrelated carping: I wish they’d stop calling the neighborhood “Willets Point.” It’s not.  Willets Point Blvd was a subway station name, based on an unfinished road that ran from 126th St. & Roosevelt Ave to (theoretically) Fort Totten (which is actually Willets Point).  Ask Kevin Walsh }

Department of Buildings blew off vetting of laborers that led to blow ups of buildings

NY Post

The city Buildings Department is turning a blind eye to safety by allowing unlicensed or unqualified laborers to perform gas piping work in new or reconstructed developments, an explosive lawsuit filed by the plumbers union claims.

The Manhattan Supreme Court suit accuses the DOB of failing to comply with a city law that tightened up licensing requirements for gas piping installation following deadly explosions in East Harlem and the East Village in 2014 and 2015.

“DOB’s complete dereliction of its duty to enforce gas and welder qualification requirements has facilitated wholesale non-compliance with these safety rules throughout the City and created a public safety time bomb,” claims the suit, filed by Plumbers Union Local 1.

The 2020 law imposed restrictions on who can perform such hazardous “gas work,” making it illegal to do so without a DOB-issued Gas Qualification permit.

But the 45-page complaint cites examples alleging DOB approved of illegal gas work on taxpayer funded public projects, unlicensed workers performing piping installations and cases of “unverified inspections” by contractors.

Licensed union plumbers provided affidavits as part of the legal action, claiming they witnessed shoddy workmanship being performed in buildings and other workers without a “gas qualification” license.

The union claims the DOB is turning a blind eye while granting hundreds of gas approvals in large residential towers, schools, luxury hotels and other buildings, according to the suit.

Saturday, January 7, 2023

Queens Liar Gets Sworn Into Congress

PIX 11 News 


 George Santos was sworn in to the House of Representatives early Saturday to represent New York’s 3rd Congressional District, despite the scrutiny he is facing for lying about his experience.

Santos has admitted to lying about his heritage, work experience, education, and a bevy of other falsifications regarding his life during his primary and general election campaigns.

“I apologize if anybody feels hurt or betrayed,” Santos previously said during an interview with City & State.

Several of Santos’ colleagues in Congress have called for a House Ethics Committee investigation into his actions, including Congressman Ritchie Torres.

“The process starts with the Office of Congressional Ethics which will conduct a preliminary review and then if the preliminary review finds that the allegations have merit, they will refer the matter to the Ethics Committee,” Torres said.

In a statement on Wednesday, Santos’ spokesperson told PIX11 News the lawmaker is focused on his new job representing New Yorkers.

“George is preparing to take on his responsibilities in Congress and preparing for the next chapter. When he is able to allocate time to press inquiries, he will,” he said.

On Tuesday, Joseph Murray, an attorney for Santos, specifically addressed an unresolved 2008 fraud case against Santos in Brazil, which has reportedly been revived.

“In the abundance of caution, I am in the process of engaging local counsel to address this alleged complaint against my client,” wrote Murray, adding that he has not been contacted by law enforcement from any jurisdiction about criminal allegations against Santos.

 Yahoo news

Embattled congressman-elect George Santos left his Queens apartment with massive damage before moving on with his campaign trail, his former landlord has said.

Mr Santos and his sister Tiffany Lee Devolder Santos lived in the apartment in Whitestone until three months ago, the New York Post reported. The landlord of the two-bedroom 960-sq-ft apartment said that the siblings never paid rent late, but did cause damage.

“They had four dogs and they did a lot of damage to the place, so they left,” Nancy Pothos told the Post.

The outlet also reported that the modest residence, bought in 1999 for $200,000, is estimated to be worth $2,900 a month.

The Post’s report comes just days after a report from New York outlet Gothamist revealed that Mr Santos wrote that he was mugged on his way to deliver a rent cheque to Queens Housing Court on 15 January 2016 in an effort to resolve his case.

It is unclear whether that was the same residence rented by Ms Pothos.

The New York City Police Department has no record of any such attack.

The Republican wrote that he was “unable to provide a police report” and was told to return to police several days later to pick one up, according to an affidavit that was filled out under oath.

At the time, Mr Santos was set to pay $2,250 in back rent for his Queens apartment.

A spokesperson for NYPD told the outlet there was nothing on file related to Mr Santos’s claims.


Friday, January 6, 2023

Donovan Richards wants you

Richards Launches 2023 Community Board Application Process

South Queens Forum 

Queens Borough President Donovan Richards Jr. announced on Tuesday that he is again accepting applications from qualified and civic-minded individuals interested in serving on their local community board.

As with the Borough President’s prior two iterations, the 2023 community board application can be filled out online, ensuring prospective applicants can complete the process quickly and easily, allowing for a more diverse applicant pool. The application requires neither notarization nor in-person delivery to the Queens Borough President’s Office.

The application is available online at, and the deadline to submit the form is Thursday, Feb. 16. This deadline applies to both new applicants and existing community board members seeking an additional term. For the upcoming round of appointments, the two-year term of service will begin on Saturday, April 1, 2023.

Over the course of his administration, Borough President Richards has worked diligently to grow interest in community board membership and address numerous demographic inequities around age, gender, background and more that have existed for years across Queens’ 14 community boards.

Combining the 2021 and 2022 community board processes, the Queens Borough President’s Office received 1,825 applications to serve on a community board, with both years shattering the pre-Richards single-year record for applications. The larger and more diverse applicant pools led to community board classes that were younger, more female and had greater percentages of members who identified as Latinx/Hispanic, African American, immigrant, South Asian, East Asian/Pacific Islander and LGBTQIA+, among other characteristics.

“Queens has never been closer to community board representation that is truly reflective of our borough’s vast diversity than it is today,” Richards said back in April 2021.

There are 59 community boards citywide, including 14 in Queens, and each hold monthly full membership meetings. The boards play an important advisory role in considering land use and zoning matters in their respective districts under the City’s Uniformed Land Use Review Procedure, in addition to holding hearings and issuing recommendations about the City budget, municipal service delivery and numerous other matters that impact their communities.

All Queens community board members are appointed by the Queens Borough President, pursuant to the City Charter, with half of the appointments nominated by the City Councilmembers representing their respective Community Districts. Each board has up to 50 unsalaried members, with each member serving a two-year term.

Thursday, January 5, 2023

Failure Jihadist spent night in Forest Park before machete attack on cops 

South Queens Forum

 The Maine man who has been charged with attacking two City cops on New Year’s Eve just outside Times Square with a machete-like weapon camped out in the Richmond Hill section of Forest Park hours before heading into Manhattan and slashing the officers, published reports said.

 Trevor Bickford, 19, described by the New York Daily News as “a recently radicalized jihadist” is known by the Federal Bureau of Investigation, was charged on Monday with attempted murder. As of Wednesday, Bickford remained in a City hospital after he was wounded in a shoulder by a third cop’s bullet Saturday night.

According to the News, Bickford spent Friday night at a hotel in the Bowery. The next day he camped out in Forest Park. Authorities found a sleeping bag and some food where Bickford had bedded down.

NYC Housing Department opens up lottery for luxury public housing condos


The affordable housing lottery has launched for The Jackson, a five-story mixed-use building at 35-64 85th Street in Jackson Heights, Queens. Designed by Angelo Ng + Anthony Ng Architects Studio and developed by Kelly’s Properties, the structure yields 40 residences. Available on NYC Housing Connect are 12 units for residents at 130 percent of the area median income (AMI), ranging in eligible income from $74,435 to $187,330.

 At 130 percent of the AMI, there are two studios with a monthly rent of $2,171 for incomes ranging from $74,435 to $138,840; five one-bedrooms with a monthly rent of $2,327 for incomes ranging from $79,783 to $156,130; and five two-bedrooms with a monthly rent of $2,791 for incomes ranging from $95,692 to $187,330.

Usually it's proper journalistic procedure to show the header photo from the source article but the photo here I feel sums this up better. Because this aesthetically looks like a basement apartment.

Wednesday, January 4, 2023

Civics revolt against Steve Cohen's greenwashing casino scheme 


 Civic leaders from northeast and central Queens have organized to oppose Mets owner Steve Cohen’s plan to build a casino or other commercial structures on 50 acres of public parkland surrounding Citi Field. Their opposition comes days before Cohen holds a “visioning session,” which is expected to draw hundreds to Citi Field on Jan. 7, just as the state’s Gaming Facilities Location Board announced they would begin accepting applications for three downstate casino licenses.

The civics have been coalescing against Cohen’s future plans since he made no mention of a casino and instead referred to an “entertainment” venue on “50 acres of vacant asphalt,” in a Dec. 19 press release announcing the visioning session.

“We believe that Steve Cohen is trying to create a perception of public support for a vague concept of an ‘entertainment venue’ — but that he may later misrepresent that as support for a casino to be built on the parkland,” Bayside community activist Jena Lanzetta said. “He’s soliciting public opinion, without disclosing that his plans impact public parkland, or that his true ambition is a casino. We will expose such deceptions every step of the way.”

Sunday, January 1, 2023

Happy Parking Space For People New Year

Citibike's expansion to Middle Queens will remain on the sidewalks. Nice try but no dice Transportation Alternatives.