Thursday, April 27, 2023

Unwanted Juan

Sunnyside Post 

 Juan Ardila, the Queens assemblymember who has been accused by two women of sexual assault and refused to step down from office, has come under fire for posting photos of himself at a community event without the permission of the attendees and the organizers.

Ardila attended an Earth Day gardening event in Long Island City last week and posted photos of himself with several of the participants at the Smiling Hogshead Ranch on Instagram. According to attendees, he was not invited but showed up.

The assemblymember and his staff circulated among the gardeners and took photos, which were subsequently posted on the lawmaker’s Instagram.

“I had a great time spending #earthday with my team at @smilinghogsheadranch in #LIC,” one post reads, with photos of attendees.

One photo included Frank Wu, a Community Board 2 member and president of the Court Square Civic Association, who was at the event with his young son. Wu requested Ardila to delete the post when he saw it.

“I asked him [to take it down]…because people might assume that I am condoning or approving or supporting him,” Wu said. “There have been some bad things reported, unacceptable things. I didn’t consent to have my photo taken.”

Ardila’s staff did take it down, although it had been up for more than a day.

Ardila, who first took office in January after winning the 37th District assembly seat vacated by the now-retired Catherine Nolan last year, has been accused by two women of sexual assault that allegedly took place at a party in October 2015.

The accusations were made public in March when one of the victims reached out to local media—including the Queens Post—and said that Ardila “got physical” with her – and was “touching her” — while she was drunk on a couch at the party. Another woman at the same party has also accused him of groping her.

Ardila apologized for his behavior in a statement shortly after the accusations were made public.

“I fully take responsibility for my actions…and I am interested in and eager for a restorative justice-centered process, so that we can heal and repair the damage done.”

Restorative justice??? That's what he's banking on?  No wonder all those fauxgressives like that policy.

Why doesn't the Assembly Person try to photobomb the latest Transportation Alternatives and Riders Alliance rallies like he used to? Bet it's because their mega-moneyed donors have ghosted him after they pretty much platformed and elected him.

Department of Transportation Alternatives forces open street in Sunnyside


Sunnyside Post

The city’s Dept. of Transportation (DOT) is likely to convert one of the main commercial strips in Sunnyside into an Open Street next month, although some business owners and residents are opposed to the plan and say they have not been properly consulted or informed about the decision.

The DOT plans to close off 46th Street, between Queens Boulevard and Greenpoint Avenue, from vehicular traffic from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. Mondays through Sundays under a program that aims to create more public spaces across the city.

The street is instantly recognizable due to a large arch known as the “Sunnyside Arch” which marks the entrance to the one-way, southbound street.

The Open Street, known as a “limited access” plan, calls for a temporary barrier to be put in place to block non-delivery vehicles from entering the strip during these hours. Delivery trucks will be permitted to enter during these hours and volunteers and workers for Sunnyside Shines, the organization that oversees the business improvement district (BID), will move the barriers to let the trucks in and out in order to make deliveries. The Open Street will run until Oct. 31.

Community Board 2’s Transportation Committee unanimously voted to approve the initiative at a transportation committee meeting on April 4 and the board then wrote a letter to the DOT in support of the plan. The vote came four weeks after Dirk McCall De Palomá, the executive director of Sunnyside Shines, presented plans to the committee at its March 7 meeting.

McCall told the Queens/Sunnyside Post that the BID had consulted with residents and the business owners who operate along the 46th Street section before the plans were submitted to the DOT. He said residents were overwhelmingly in favor of the plan and that the vast majority of business owners along the commercial area supported the initiative.

During Community Board 2’s monthly meeting on April 13, some of the residents who testified voiced support for the plan, saying that it will create much-needed public space for residents in the heavily built-up area and will also help generate more foot traffic to the businesses on 46th St.

Others opposed the plan, arguing it would be detrimental to the businesses, as shoppers who rely on vehicles will not have access to the street. Opponents also said it would cause trucks to get backed up on Queens Boulevard, and 46th Street would still be unsafe for children given the trucks will still be permitted to enter.

Amin Siad, who owns Fresh n’ Save supermarket, which takes up the entire east side of the 46th St. stretch, said at the April 13 CB2 meeting that all the business owners along the street are opposed to the plan. Siad said he was initially in favor of the plan, but now opposes it.

“We do not want — and the small businesses in the area do not want — a pedestrian promenade there because at first, I believed it would help businesses, but it turns out it won’t,” Siad said.

Siad did not go into detail as to why he feels it would negatively impact businesses. However, he said it made little sense to create an open street where delivery trucks could still access the area.

“I was told that someone would put up a barrier and remove a barrier ongoing for 12 hours… what’s the purpose then?” he asked.

Mayor Adams announces little ugly city budget while the big ugly state budget remains in limbo

City & State

New York City Mayor Eric Adams unveiled a $106.7 billion budget proposal for fiscal year 2024 on Wednesday – the largest in city history – backing off, in small part, from some of the 4% agency cuts he’s stressed as necessary. The proposal reflects few, if any, direct service cuts, while adjusting spending estimates downward to hedge for future “storm clouds ahead” like ongoing costs associated with the influx of asylum-seekers, according to Adams. The proposal also includes a limited slate of new spending proposals to, as Adams put it, improve the city’s sustainability and resilience, strengthen mental health resources, uplift “working people,” and bolster the college to workforce pipeline. 

“We had to make tough choices in this budget. We had to negotiate competing needs. We realize that not everyone will be happy, but that is OK,” Adams said from City Hall Wednesday afternoon. 

Here are some of the top numbers you need to know to understand the city’s finances.

$106.7 billion – The size of the proposed expense budget, which is the largest ever. The total spending increased $4 billion dollars since the preliminary budget, which landed at $102.7 billion in January. The actual adopted budget last June was $101 billion… but the city is now expecting to actually spend $108.9 billion through the end of fiscal year 2023. 

$4.2 billion, $6 billion, $7 billion – The respective budget gaps in fiscal years 2025, 2026 and 2027. While Adams presented a balanced budget for the current fiscal year and the upcoming fiscal year 2024, hefty budget gaps remain in the outyear due in part to increased pay for city workers under new labor contracts. Fiscal watchdogs have warned that these budget gaps necessitate caution in New York City’s current spending plans.

$1.6 billion – The total savings achieved between fiscal years 2023 and 2024 through the latest Program to Eliminate the Gap, according to City Hall. Adams said that these cuts were accomplished without any layoffs or service reductions – but with some savings achieved by taking vacant jobs off the rolls, it’s unclear how the city will maintain previous levels of service. 

$4.3 billion The amount of money that the city anticipates spending on providing shelter, food, clothing and other services to asylum-seekers through the end of fiscal year 2024. This is a figure that Adams has pointed to repeatedly in recent weeks as one of the big reasons that cuts are necessary. While the city will likely receive $1 billion in aid from the state, and predicts getting $600 million from the federal government, that total would only cover under 40% of the city’s projected costs. 

Over 57,000 people – The latest estimate of how many asylum-seekers have arrived in New York City in the past year. Some 35,000 are currently in city shelters, City Hall says.

70,000 people – How many asylum-seekers City Hall anticipates will be in the city’s care by June 2024.

$16 billion – The total anticipated cost of agreements with the city’s remaining unionized workforces that have yet to strike deals, over the next five years. The city has already reached agreements with District Council 37 and the Police Benevolent Association, which will likely set the economic framework for ongoing negotiations with the United Federation of Teachers and other labor groups. 

26 days – How late the state budget is past the April 1 deadline – and counting. Adams is releasing its executive budget without final numbers from the state, which funds about 17% of the city budget. “We may have to go back,” to create new estimates after it’s finalized, Adams said, “and our budget mod is going to reflect that.”

50% – Of working-age households in New York City don’t make incomes that cover their basic needs like housing, food, transportation and health care, according to a report sponsored by the United Way of New York City and the Fund for the City of New York. While the jarring figure is not included in Adams’ budget proposal, its recent release adds gravity to the negotiations over proposed cuts to programs and services.

$23.2 million – The cost of expanding the Department of Sanitation’s voluntary curbside composting program to all five boroughs by 2024. While Adams mostly focused on savings, this was one of a few new, relatively low-cost initiatives added to the budget. 

$27 million – Baseline funding allocated to continue the expansion of the Behavioral Health Emergency Assistance Response Division, or B-HEARD pilot program into the rest of the Bronx as well as other high-need neighborhoods throughout the city. The program, aimed at changing how the city responds to mental health emergencies by dispatching social workers and paramedics to people in crisis, is currently operating in a handful of neighborhoods. 

 Might as well leave this here since our Mayor is being all frugal...

NY Post 

The NYPD commissioner in charge of employee relations is having a difficult time — with her employee relations. 

More than 10 cops working under Deputy Commissioner Lisa White — who’s in charge of officer morale in the 35,000 uniformed member force — have either transferred or asked to be transferred out of her office because of her off-the-wall shenanigans, including claiming there are ghosts in her office and that workers are bugging her phone, police sources told The Post. 

The final straw for one of them, a detective assigned to drive her in a department-assigned Ford SUV, came when White, 61, ordered the cop to turn on the lights and sirens because she was late for work.

When the detective refused, White ordered her out, hopped into the driver’s seat and took over, barreling from her Crown Heights apartment to One Police Plaza in lower Manhattan like a bat out of hell, the sources said.

“She told the driver to pull over and she went behind the wheel and almost got in like f–king five accidents,” a police source said. “It was so bad that the driver … said, ‘I can’t do this anymore. Now she’s putting my life at risk.’”

The detective-driver was one of “multiple” officers who have requested to transfer out of White’s unit — even some cops White brought to the unit with her — since Mayor Adams appointed her in May 2022, insiders said.  

“There’s been a large turnover in that office and more people are requesting to go,” the source said.

Bizarrely, the deputy commissioner has accused employees of “planting bugs in her office, bugs in her phone” and “all sorts of crazy stuff,” the source said.

She once accused them of releasing “confidential information” when someone gave out her schedule.

She’s also told employees “there’s ghosts in her office,” a second police source said.

Some of her higher ups want White out because of her antics, but she has close personal ties to Adams, the sources said.

Jimmy Oddo will be the next Buildings Commissioner with no experience in architecture and engineering 

City & State

Jimmy Oddo, former Staten Island borough president, will be appointed commissioner of the New York City Department of Buildings, according to two sources familiar with the decision. 

It’s an internal move within Mayor Eric Adams’ administration. Oddo currently serves as chief of staff to Deputy Mayor for Operations Meera Joshi.

Oddo, a Republican, will be replacing another Republican on the job. Former City Council member Eric Ulrich held the job for six months before resigning last November, after it was reported that he was being questioned in connection to an illegal gambling investigation by the Manhattan district attorney’s office. Ulrich hasn’t been charged with any crime. 

Oddo knows politics, but he isn’t an expert when it comes to construction codes. The City Council removed a requirement that the city’s building commissioner had to be a licensed architect or engineer back in 2008. Ulrich, similarly, was a politician first, but his approach to the job was praised by many in the industry, who felt the agency was too tied up in bureaucracy. 

“I think Jimmy is the right person at the right time for the agency,” said one construction industry insider. “He will be visionary for the agency, and  that’s been lacking.”

It’s a big move for Oddo, who has been clear that his dream job is deputy mayor for operations. Two City Hall insiders suggested that Oddo probably doesn’t even want to lead the agency, but “I can imagine them begging him to do it,” said one. 

The appointment comes at a difficult moment for the agency. 

Last week, a nearly 100-year-old parking garage in Lower Manhattan collapsed, killing one person and injuring seven others. Buildings Department inspectors and Fire Department officials responded to the disaster. Vilenchik noted at the time that the building had four open violations, but it was unclear if they contributed to the collapse.

And the DOB will have a major role in ensuring compliance with Local Law 97, which puts limits on buildings’ carbon emissions starting Jan. 1, 2024, with more drastic limits planned in 2030 and 2050. That law has earned major pushback from building owners and the real estate industry at large.

Monday, April 24, 2023

Crack comeback in Astoria playground

Found the used glass pipe at the Astoria Heights Playground  this morning Saturday, April 22 around 9.45am.  The grounds porter immediately assisted with its removal, but here we go again with the public drug use and trash left behind for anyone to find.  We stopped other parents from bare-handling out of concern for their safety.  Tiffany Cabán and DI Gorman of precinct 114 have absolutely no connection to the community they represent and it is exhausting. 

My toddler does not need to worry about his Playground being a drug den, again.

Your thoughts Astoria/Queens?

Thursday, April 20, 2023

Kathy Clown's Housing Compact is kaput but Mayor Swagger's City Of Yes housing plan stumbles on!/quality/90/? 


With Gov. Kathy Hochul abandoning her proposal to force New York’s suburbs to build more housing, Mayor Eric Adams’ administration and its allies are redoubling their efforts to ensure the city gains the power to spur more housing construction by converting office buildings, extending tax credits for developers and allowing greater density.

To help push those through, the governor for the first time has indicated she is willing to accept a statewide rent voucher program, a key objective of tenant advocates. The program would provide money to the city’s public housing authority to cover unpaid rent, say sources who have been briefed by those in the negotiations. As THE CITY has previously reported, more than 70,000 NYCHA tenants owe a total of $466 million in back rent.

The sudden rush of developments from Albany on Tuesday may serve as a break in the impasse that has held up the state budget, now 19 days late — but they also mean a significant defeat for Hochul.

Tuesday’s concession by the governor comes after she made housing the centerpiece of her policy goals once she won the governor’s race in November. Hochul called on the state to build 800,000 new housing units over the next decade, a number that includes the 500,000 new units that Adams promised to create over the next 10 years.

The governor’s original Housing Compact proposal established goals for new housing in every community and set up a statewide board that could greenlight projects that had been rejected in towns and villages that failed to meet their housing goals. Lawmakers in the state’s suburban districts — especially in Long Island and Westchester — had staunchly opposed the plan, saying it ripped control away from locals.

As word circulated in the capital on Tuesday that Hochul was giving up on her previous housing requirements, the governor essentially conceded defeat.

“After weeks of negotiation, the legislature continues to oppose core elements of the Housing Compact, including the requirement that communities across the state meet growth targets,” Hochul said in a statement. “I will continue to discuss other elements of the plan and policy changes that will increase supply and make housing more affordable.”

Instead of specific requirements for new housing creation, the budget is now likely to include some version of a proposal the legislature has made to create a $500 million fund for infrastructure upgrades, such as improving roads and sewers, to communities that meet goals for new housing.

Groups that have spent the last year arguing that the state’s housing shortage is a result of too little housing development, and that local community resistance preserves segregation in the suburbs, wasted little time in blasting state lawmakers.

“We are extremely disappointed that the legislature failed to address segregation and the housing shortage by rejecting the visionary Housing Compact and instead capitulated to powerful NIMBYs who prefer the status quo,” said Rachel Fee, executive director of the New York Housing Conference. “By doing so, New York’s elected officials have once again let their constituents down and signaled that the ongoing housing emergency is acceptable.”

The housing goals would have applied to every community district in the city as well.

Still alive are proposals advanced by the Adams administration. They include legislation to ease the conversion of obsolete office buildings into residential housing — possibly including a tax break to encourage some of the units to be designated as below-market-rate housing; changes to state law to allow thousands of basement apartments to be legalized, and extending a deadline for completion of residential buildings that poured their foundations before the valuable 421-a tax break expired last spring. 

In a statement on Tuesday, a spokesperson for Adams promised to keep pushing the administration’s plan.

“Our administration has been on the ground daily in Albany in recent months advancing critical tools like flexible regulations for office conversations, lifting the floor area ratio cap, creating a pathway to make basement and cellar apartments safe and legal, and creating tax incentives to develop new housing while maintaining housing quality,” said Charles Lutvak, a spokesperson for the mayor.


Tuesday, April 18, 2023

Nowhere Juan

Queens Eagle

Queens Assemblymember Juan Ardila, who was recently accused by two women of sexually assaulting them at a 2015 party, has lost his ability to represent his Western Queens district, his constituents, local elected officials and his colleagues in Albany say.

On Thursday night, a representative for the freshman Democratic lawmaker appeared before Queens Community Board 2, which overlaps with Ardila’s district. The board is chaired by Danielle Brecker, who, as an elected state committee member, became one of the first elected officials to call for Ardila’s resignation last month. During Thursday’s meeting, the first since the allegations were made, Brecker had a message for Ardila.

“I don’t want to make this awkward,” Brecker told Ardila’s representative. “But there is a lot of frustration with the feeling that the assemblymember has not properly or fully addressed the allegations against him – and that he should really consider resigning.”

It’s been a month since the allegations against Ardila were first made public. In that time, nearly all of his Western Queens colleagues, one of the women he allegedly sexually assaulted, a number of his constituents and the governor have called on him to step down. He has, thus far, ignored those calls.

But also in that time, his fellow state legislators have been engaged in what is often the most important time in a lawmaker’s calendar – budget negotiating season. According to his colleagues, Ardila has been absent and has become, to some assemblymembers, a pariah in Albany. Some of his constituents have lost faith in his ability to advocate for them. And a number of his Western Queens colleagues at more local levels of government have sworn off collaborating with him on any policies or projects.

“A lot of people in the community have said to me, ‘this is really not okay’,” Brecker told the Eagle on Friday. “The first step of restorative justice is to listen to your survivor, and if you're an elected official, the second step of restorative justice is to listen to your community and to try to restore that trust, and if the community is saying we need you to step down, he should be listening to that.”

Other members of the board, including First Vice Chair Dr. Rosamond Gianutsos, said they were “concerned” that Ardila was not in Albany this week, and Caroline Spitzer, a constituent of Ardila’s, said she was disappointed that the lawmaker did not attend their meeting himself considering he wasn’t in Albany fighting for their needs in the state’s budget.

“Since he is posting on social media and not in Albany, I assumed he would be at the meeting,” Spitzer told the Eagle on Friday.

Ardila was not assigned to a budget negotiating committee, the only freshman Democrat to be left out. Spitzer said his exclusion from a committee also concerns her.

“We are in critical budget seasons and the fact that he wasn’t represented in any committees has me concerned,” she said. “We, as a district, are suffering for that.”

Although Brecker is not a constituent of Ardila’s, her board’s purview overlaps with his district. The board works closely with elected representatives at all levels of government and Brecker said that as of late, she doesn’t think that Ardila has been an effective representative.

“If he's not effective in Albany, he shouldn't be in Albany,” she said. “He's not doing the job.”

“I thought he was kind of good, but I feel like right now, [his constituents] are not being represented,” she added. “I was in Albany three weeks ago advocating for things in the budget. I didn't see him. I saw both of my electeds, I saw all the area electeds…I didn't see him anywhere.”

An average assemblymember is not negotiating the state’s budget line-by-line. Instead, they advocate for their position during their party’s conference meetings or they advocate for their position in public through rallies, the press or town halls with their constituents.

According to an assemblymember who requested anonymity, Ardila has been iced out of budget talks over the past month.

“I think there are a number of members who do not want to share space with him…I mean that in the very literal sense – if he's on the floor, I know that there are people who don't want to be on the floor,” the assemblymember said. “His presence in a room has an impact on whether or not people want to be in that same room.”

NY Post 

  Assemblyman Juan Ardila ditched a pro-bail reform rally at the Capitol on Monday before refusing to answer questions from The Post about sexual misconduct allegations made against him by two women. The freshman Queens Democrat has avoided the press in recent weeks without explicitly saying whether he forcibly touched two women without their consent while they were intoxicated at a 2015 party.

One of the women says Ardila exposed himself and forcibly kissed her as well.

“I put my statement out and am focusing on doing the work,” the lawmaker said during a four-minute, one-sided interview in which The Post pressed him to clarify his contradictory statements about whether he did what he is accused of.

Fellow Democrats have mostly shunned Ardila, 29, ever since the Queens Chronicle revealed the accusations against him on March 13, weeks after he took office.

Monday, April 17, 2023

Juan Anon investigates and exonerates himself 

Queens Chronicle


Assemblymember Juan Ardila (D-Maspeth) hired legal counsel to conduct an independent review of the accusations of sexual assault made against him, and it has found him not guilty, two sources familiar with the situation told the Chronicle. The same sources said Ardila plans to announce the findings next week.

Ardila had not previously made public the review, which was conducted within a matter of weeks as Albany was and still is in the midst of budget negotiations for the upcoming fiscal year. He did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

When one of the two women accusing the lawmaker learned of the review — for which she told the Chronicle she was not contacted — she on Thursday opted to press charges and cooperate with a criminal investigation into the allegations by the NYPD’s special victims unit and the Office of Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg, as the New York Post reported Thursday night. Bragg’s office did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

The Office of Bronx District Attorney Darcel Clark is also involved with the case, a source familiar with the investigation told the Chronicle. Asked for confirmation on the DA’s role in the case, a spokesperson for the office said, “We are unable to comment on a possible investigation right now, but will provide information at a later time if we can.”

Assemblymember Catalina Cruz (D-Corona), a close ally of Ardila’s, had previously called for an independent review into her colleague’s alleged actions. 

Asked about her role in the review, Cruz wrote in a message to the Chronicle, “I have no comment except to say that I can confirm that I have never and don’t practice that area of the law and I’m not involved with any type of investigation on this matter.”

Less than three weeks ago, Ardila was accused of sexually assaulting the women, two Fordham University students, at an October 2015 party in Manhattan with other Fordham students and alumni, as the Chronicle first reported. He had graduated from the school the previous spring. His first accuser said she came forward after learning he had been elected to the state Assembly in November.

Neither woman had reported her experience to the police in 2015 — which one of them previously told the Chronicle was out of a lack faith in the legal system and initially, a lack of tangible evidence — nor had either taken any legal action up until now. 

Asked about her change of heart, the victim, who is pressing charges, said in a statement to the Chronicle, “Juan Ardila’s disregard for the calls from elected officials and my call for resignation is a clear sign that he is unfit for public office. 

“I hope for a fair and swift investigation and justice will be served. Juan Ardila must be held accountable for the pain inflicted to his victims including those who may have not publicly come forward yet.”

Lizzie The Builder


After falling short in her last three political campaigns, former Councilwoman Elizabeth Crowley has shifted gears, allowing her to win her first election in over a decade. The Glendale resident will succeed Lou Coletti as president and CEO of the Building Trades Employers Association (BTEA), the largest construction trade association in New York.

Crowley became the first woman to lead the BTEA in its nearly 120-year history.

“I look forward to working with BTEA membership companies to advance the construction industry as it addresses the pressing needs of people in our communities, drives innovation and adds to a more sustainable and resilient skyline that is built by a diverse and inclusive union workforce,” Crowley said.

Under her leadership of the contractor organization that represents 1,200 member companies across New York, Crowley said BTEA will continue to promote safety, bring more women and diversity to the construction industry, increase resilience in the built environment and lead in the fight against climate change. During her two terms on the City Council, Crowley fought for a record amount of funding for school construction in her district and passed resolutions that strengthened construction safety standards, expanded opportunities for Minority and Women-Owned Business Enterprises and funded programs that provided industry training including Nontraditional Employment for Women.

“This is the first time I won an election unanimously,” Crowley told QNS. “I went into politics in the first place to do good and make a difference and affect positive change and as an advocate for the building construction industry in New York, we do just the same.”

Donovan Richards Great White YIMBY Hope 

This is Brandon Zwagerman, a gay resident of Ridgewood and new member of Community Board 5. He's a bike zealot and a big fan of Citibike and wants the failing bike share to usurp more parking spaces in the district. Donnie Richards appointed, make that anointed this guy to the board over a civic leader who also lives in Ridgewood and who is also gay and has been a resident longer.

But there are obvious reasons Donnie Rich is enamored with this gentrifier, Zwagerman also has done some meddling in Soho and East New York to lobby for more overdevelopment of luxury and incremental affordable housing, so he's all a part of that "city of yes" doctrine to approve rezonings while undermining community voices against them. He also donated money to multiple fauxgressive elected officials who are notoriously agency captured by "advocacy" lobbyists for the anti-car and YIMBY luxury public housing agenda, which includes the most notorious one of all, Juan Ardila, assuring his ascendance to his assembly seat and who is currently under investigation for two sexual assaults on women he took advantage of while they were intoxicated. 



Saturday, April 15, 2023

Foreclosures tops in the world's borough


According to a new report released by PropertyShark, the NYC foreclosure market was its most active in 11 quarters, with Queens remaining the most active area for foreclosures in the city.

According to the report, Queens had 171 foreclosure cases filed in Q1 alone, more than double the amount of cases in Brooklyn. Jamaica claimed the highest concentration of first-time foreclosures in one neighborhood with 20 cases, according to PropertyShark.

Since before the pandemic, Queens recorded the highest increase in pre-foreclosures, surging 143% over Q1 2020.

In its report, PropertyShark mentioned that was the foreclosure moratorium was lifted in Q1 2022, foreclosures and pre-foreclosure activity in the city has risen at a steady pace. However, NYC lis pendens decreased quarter-over-quarter, with four of the five boroughs trending down and Queens trending up.

“While Queens lis pendens were up 13% quarter-over-quarter, citywide cases were down 8%,” the report stated. “The slowdown was most evident in Manhattan, where pre-foreclosure filings dropped 37% quarter-over-quarter.”

Paladino and AOC debate on immigration crisis

 Queens Chronicle

Community Board 7’s meeting on Monday quickly became a battleground over the politically divisive migrant crisis between possibly the two most ideologically opposed politicians in Queens: Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-Bronx, Queens) and Councilmember Vickie Paladino (R-Whitestone).

The board used the congresswoman’s rare visit as an opportunity for residents to ask questions. When one person inquired as to what is being done to ease the effects of the city’s influx of migrants, Ocasio-Cortez explained that the city just recently applied for some of the funding Congress authorized in December for the Federal Emergency Management Agency.

She added that hotel groups, among other kinds of companies, want migrants to fill their job vacancies, and have asked that the Biden administration speed up the work authorization process to make it happen.

That’s when Paladino cut in: “You’ve been talking about immigration — you and I are going to disagree vehemently on that.”

“To say we’ve passed our maximum capacity doesn’t even cover it,” Paladino said. “There’s no jobs. Everybody’s getting things for free.”

In February, the city’s unemployment rate was 5.4 percent. Statewide it was 4.2 percent and nationwide 3.6. Economists broadly consider between 3 and 5 percent to be strong.

Ocasio-Cortez reiterated her previous point. “When it comes to jobs, we do know that those jobs are there — we’ve worked with industry professionals ... they have confirmed that those jobs are there,” she said. “What they’re asking is that we help cut the red tape so that they can engage in some of this hiring.”

Soon after, Paladino asked whether the congresswomen had said migrants would be “up first” for jobs in the hotel industry. Ocasio-Cortez replied, “I don’t think they have like a waiting list that they’re maintaining, but they’re saying that they have these vacancies, that they’ve been trying to fill them and that they have not been able to.”

She added that the city is aiming to get a significant chunk of the $8 billion allocated for FEMA nationwide; one figure that has been floated, she said, is $4 billion.

Paladino was less than convinced, saying, “We don’t see the money.”

“We’re going broke, and our citizens here who are hurting really, really, really badly are getting stepped over in order to accommodate the immigration problem,” she said, pointing to crime, among other things. “Native New Yorkers are not being cared for the way they should be cared for because of what’s been coming over the border.”

Later, she added, “It’s time to close that damn border.”


Sunday, April 9, 2023

Mixed crap use building arises on 101st Ave.


Who would have thought Ozone Park would be getting the same boxy pseudo condo shit you see in Williamsburg or Bushwick? But we do live in the City Of Yes now.


What's with those cages on the windows? Are those sliding doors? And what's going on with all that other space on the second floor? Is that supposed to be event space? 

This really gives Mayor Eric Adams recent tone-deaf statements on how tenants don't really need windows more resonance.




Thursday, April 6, 2023

The end of Rikers is not certain

Queens Chronicle

City Council Speaker Adrienne Adams (D-Jamaica) remains steadfast on the closure of Rikers Island by 2027 but some members of the Queens delegation as well as the Mayor Adams administration are less convinced.

“I don’t think there’s a way for it to be done,” Councilwoman Joann Ariola (R-Ozone Park) told the Chronicle.

Last Thursday, the Council held a preliminary budget hearing for the Committee on Criminal Justice and the city Departments of Probation and Correction testified.

Ariola asked Correction Commissioner Louis Molina if, given the fact that the city jails population is nearly double what would fit in the borough-based jails, it would be possible to house them there.

“If we are at today’s number whenever borough-based jails would open or if that number is higher, then it would be physically impossible to house all those individuals within our jail system if our capacity was at 3,300,” Molina answered.

“We would need to come up with alternative solutions of where those individuals would be housed. Now, we could get to a place where we can see declines in the population,” Molina continued.

He said two things are needed: for the adjudication of justice, which is under the control of the state, to be faster and for more hospital capacity for those with mental illness.

“Just recently, we had someone who was waiting to be sentenced and that defendant was in our custody for six years for an attempted murder case,” said Molina. “And when you have almost a thousand people charged with murder in a backlogged court system, then the flow of those defendants is not quick. So ... we are thinking about what are going to be the alternatives if our jail population continues to stay high. And the other thing we’ve talked about a lot this afternoon is mental illness. If the state does not increase the capacity to be able to treat mental illness, and if we’re going to continue to designate via the courts mental health patients with the designation of criminal defendant, then they are a justice system responsibility. If we want to treat them as hospital patients, then we need hospital capacity to do that.”

Molina has said in the past that the jail population could, in fact, rise by 1,000 people by next year.

Wednesday, April 5, 2023

NYPD rookie shot in broad daylight in Jamaica

PIX 11 News

 An NYPD officer was shot in Jamaica, Queens after responding to a dispute on an MTA bus Wednesday, according to police.

A 22-year-old rookie officer was shot once in the hip at 90-23 161st Street during a struggle with a man around 3:20 p.m., according to NYPD Chief of Detectives James Essig.

Prior to the shooting, two officers were flagged down by an MTA bus driver who told them a man was arguing with another passenger over a seat, authorities said.

When the officers approached the bus, the perpetrator exited through the front door. The officers tried to stop him, but the man allegedly pushed them and fled northbound on 161st Street, according to Essig.


The 22-year-old officer caught up with the suspect at 90-23 161st Street but was shot during a brief struggle with the man, authorities said. The second officer fired twice at the suspect. Police weren’t sure if the suspect was hit.

The injured officer was hospitalized in stable condition and is expected to survive, authorities said.

“He was where our communities tell us they want our officers to be, standing at a footpost. He was flagged down by a community member who needed help. He was taking police action, and he was shot,” said NYPD Commissioner Keechant Sewell.

The NYPD is searching for the suspect pictured who allegedly shot an officer in Jamaica, Queens on April 5, 2023.


Saturday, April 1, 2023

April Fools! -- LIRR Introduced New State of the Art Station Bathrooms
The photo of the Porto San illustrates the total lack of any bathroom facilities for men, women or those physically disabled at the recently opened $105 million MTA LIRR UBS Elmont Arena Station.

A very sad commentary on the lack of basic amenities LIRR riders count on.

Your Friendly Neighborhood Retired Federal Transit Man