Monday, October 30, 2023

Tuesday, October 24, 2023

The City Of Yes wants SRO's ASAP

 Crain's New York

Ray Ray Soto’s apartment on the Upper West Side has hardwood floors, ceramic counters and city views. At first blush, it’s not so different from many other units in newly built towers.

“This is a beautiful building,” said Soto, 66, who moved there in March after a years-long search. “I love the place I’m living in. I really do.”

Her studio, however, is not inside a conventional rental development. It’s actually located in a single-room occupancy hotel, commonly referred to as an SRO, one of the few remaining examples of a once-common type of dwelling that served as a lifeline to generations of New Yorkers without much money. But their often dark, drecky and dangerous conditions led to a ban on SROs decades ago and prompted officials to allow most of the remaining ones to be razed.

But as homelessness and housing costs hit record levels, Mayor Eric Adams is considering allowing the controversial properties, with their unusually small unit sizes and shared kitchens or bathrooms, to be built for the first time since the Eisenhower era. Soto’s digs could be a glimpse of things to come.

“We have to try something new, and that’s when old ideas become new again,” said Muzzy Rosenblatt, chief executive officer of the Bowery Residents' Committee, a nonprofit housing provider that operates a handful of the city’s few surviving SROs.

But several housing providers who support the mayor’s SRO push said they would tweak a few details this time around, such as getting more buy-in from nonprofits and insisting on regular inspections to make sure living conditions stay up to code. “When SROs were run by private landlords, it was very hard to make them a successful business, because their customers were the poorest of the poor,” Rosenblatt said.

The set of pro-housing zoning changes that Adams proposed in September includes measures that would eliminate rules that have long prevented the construction of new SROs.

Specifically, the mayor would amend zoning laws that set a minimum average size for apartments in new developments to encourage more studios and, the thinking goes, more small-unit apartment buildings.

In the push to get more shared housing in general, City Hall would also loosen rules that prevent developers from adding rooming-house-style units in low-density areas and converting offices into the properties.

Although the City Council would have to approve these zoning changes and likely pass additional legislation for SROs to make a full-fledged return, the need for cheap housing options no longer seems as controversial as it had been for decades. Gale Brewer, a City Council member whose Upper West Side district was the epicenter of the SRO fight in the middle of the last century, told Crain's she “absolutely” supports the mayor’s idea.

So does City Planning Commission Chair Dan Garodnick. “Zoning should not act as a bar to different types of housing that meets the needs of lots of current and future New Yorkers,” he told Crain’s. “We want to allow for a level of creativity within buildings and to explore new ways of living.

SROs may still be a lightning rod. A preview of the possible resistance came in March, when some observers reacted with outrage when Adams hinted at his eventual plan by floating the idea of allowing bedrooms without windows.

But if the City Council were to vote for the reforms, it would represent a remarkable full-circle moment for a type of housing once seen as an island of affordability in a pricey metropolis.

Instead of shelling out for a full-size apartment, tenants—especially single men—with reduced means could fork over much less money for a private bedroom alone and then share a bathroom and kitchen with their neighbors, a model not dissimilar to the increasingly popular co-living communities of the past few years.


No duh


 LIC Post

According to a study conducted by the nationwide apartment search website RentCafe, the Queens ZIP Code of 11101, which covers Long Island City, ranks third in new apartments completed from 2018-22.

RentCafe hypothesizes that a big contributing factor to the high demand among renters is due to Long Island City’s close proximity and easy access to Manhattan. Additionally, the area’s location along the East River provides residents with a beautiful view of the Manhattan skyline.

In 2017, there were an estimated 9,631 apartments in Long Island City. From 2018-22, there were 7,081 new apartments built there, marking a 73.5% increase to a total of 16,712 by 2022.

In addition to calculating the number of new apartments added during this period of time, RentCafe also determined the median income and age of residents within this zip code. The median income for apartment residents within the 11101 zip code was $87,264, while the median age of residents was 34.

The only two zip codes to rank ahead of 11101 when it came to new apartments were 20002 and 20003 in Washington, D.C. Ivy City, located in northeastern Washington, D.C., represents the 20002 zip code. The area had 7,378 new apartments added from 2018-22. Capitol Hill is the Washington, D.C., neighborhood represented by the 20003 zip code. From 2018-22, there were 7,225 new apartments added in that neighborhood.

 Some of these buildings are in the affordable housing lottery program. Like the one pictured above by the clock tower. The biggest lie in the world is the theory that building more leads to lower rents.


Monday, October 23, 2023

Queens gets the reefer: Pot shop opens across the street from Queens Borough Redundancy Donnie Richards' office,683&quality=75&strip=all

 NY Post

An illegal pot shop has brazenly opened up across from Queens’ civic hub — including its borough hall, DA’s office and state courthouse — and a store worker says the locale is totally awesome for business.

The site, which still has an old COVID-testing-center awning over it, opened about a week ago, the employee told The Post on Sunday — just a few months after Gov. Kathy Hochul and the state legislature approved a tougher law to crack down on such illicit shops.

The store — steps away from the busy Kew Gardens Union Turnpike subway stop serving Queens Boulevard’s E and F lines — was serving up such cannabis-infused goodies as cherry limeade “Punch Gummies” on Sunday.

“We get customers from the DA’s office, from the court — I mean, I don’t know for sure, but they come from that way in suits, where else would they be from?” said a worker named Moe, who didn’t give his last name but added that his uncle owns the shop.

“We get people who have to go into court. If someone has court, they’ll go there and come here after to de-stress,” said Moe, adding that he moved to the city from Detroit to work at the shop, which has been doing brisk business and which his uncle claimed it was fully licensed.

 he employee boasted about the shop’s ideal location as he nonchalantly allowed photos to be taken of its displays of cannabis edibles, flowered marijuana and other THC-infused products.

“If you're near transportation, you'll do good. We’re near two bus stops, two train stations. I’m the first [pot shop] people see when they get off,” Moe said. 

He said he texted his uncle to see if he would respond to questions from The Post. The owner declined, Moe said.

There are 26 licensed cannabis shops in the Empire State, including 11 in New York City — and not one of which is located at the Queens site.

Another tell-tale sign that the weed dispensary is unlicensed is that all of its packages up for sale had a California stamp. Legal weed products sold in New York are manufactured here and must have an official New York stamp.   

“Nobody cares anymore,” lamented Alex Najjar, who owns the All Star News Stand next to the unlicensed pot shop.

“They just call it a ‘smoke shop,’ get the license for cigarettes and then sell whatever. Nobody checks. Nobody enforces it,” said Naijar, who has owned his newstand for 16 years.

He said he pays a hefty annual fee to sell cigarettes at his stand and that it bothers him that a shop can just shrug off the law.

“It makes me feel like, why should I pay my fee for the year when I can just sell anything I want and no one cares?” Naijar said.

The fact that the weed store kept the covid testing site sign up considering what a big pharma vaccine and vaccine mandate shill Donnie was is the most delicious irony of all. 


Monday, October 16, 2023

Queens Borough President for sale

Running an office that has no real function or reason to exist doesn't come cheap. For a guy who likes to drop the word equity every minute, these prices doesn't indicate any presence of the average working class Queens resident at this gala.

Ooh don't forget that the working class residents of Queens will still be donating money anyway because of the easy to manipulate matching funds law.

Sunday, October 15, 2023

Department of Transportation Alternatives plans to induce bike lanes in Fresh Meadows.

We, the undersigned residents of the neighborhood surrounding 53rd Ave between Bell Blvd and 188th Street, wish to express our deep concern and opposition to the implementation of the proposed bike lanes in our area. Our concerns stem from the following points:

 1. Removal of Street Parking: The proposed bike lanes threaten to remove much-needed street parking, severely inconveniencing residents and visitors alike.
 2. Safety Concerns: The sudden changes could inadvertently draw the attention of car vandals and thieves, posing a threat to the safety, peace, and tranquility that our beloved neighborhood has enjoyed for years.
 3. Lack of Transparency: The city did not adequately inform or involve the residents before making decisions that have significant implications for our lives. Many of us were left blindsided by the sudden erection of “No Stopping Anytime” signs, causing distress and confusion.
 4. Community Feedback: At the recent Community Board 11 meeting, it was evident that a majority of residents either oppose the new bike lanes or desire a plan that better accommodates the parking needs of the community.

Given the above concerns, we urge the city officials and the Department of Transportation to:

 • Reevaluate the Decision: Consider alternative routes or modifications that would not disrupt the tranquility and parking of our neighborhood.
 • Increase Transparency and Engagement: Proactively communicate with residents, ensuring that we are part of the decision-making process. We deserve a say in decisions that directly impact our lives and community.
 • Hybrid Meeting Options: Implement hybrid meeting options and online registration for future Community Board meetings, ensuring accessibility for all residents.

We believe in the significance of our voices and trust that our collective concerns will be given due consideration. Through this petition, we hope to work collaboratively with the city to find solutions that are beneficial to all parties involved.

Thank you for your attention to this matter.


Saturday, October 14, 2023

Single Mom Kelly coming for Caban's Council seat


Queens Post

The Queens/Astoria Post last week sat down for a video interview with Kelly Klingman who is looking to score a major political upset in November by ousting progressive Council Member Tiffany Cabán from her District 22 seat.

Klingman is an Astoria resident who works in real estate and is a single mother to 10-year-old twins. She says she is running for office because she is concerned about a number of issues impacting residents in her neighborhood, including rising crime, dirty streets and the spiraling costs of living.

Running as a Republican, Klingman says she is hoping she can sway enough voters in her own party, as well as moderate and left-leaning Democrats, to help catapult her into office.

The 22nd Council district covers Astoria as well as sections of East Elmhurst, Woodside and Jackson Heights. The election is scheduled for Nov. 7, with early voting beginning on Oct. 28.

In this interview, Klingman outlines her policy positions on crime, housing affordability, sanitation, the cost of living and the migrant crisis.

She says more police officers are needed to help curb crime while morale around the NYPD needs to be improved.

“We all need to come together and solve some of these problems and tone down the rhetoric and that’s my main goal,” Klingman said. “To go into City Hall and work across the aisle and come up with solutions to fix the problems that we have.”

Klingman says she empathizes with the plight of the migrants who have come here and says many of them traveled here under false pretenses. She said she has spoken to migrants staying at a church on 12th Street.

“With the migrant crisis, it’s a tragedy all around,” Klingman said. “They’re very nice people and they are put in the worst situation ever because they thought they could come here and get jobs. “They’re going around now collecting bottles in order to make some money because they can’t get jobs.”

The mayor has repeatedly said the cost to house and feed the migrants will cost the taxpayer $12 billion and Klingman has questioned if this money is being spent wisely, with some hotels being known to charge the city full rates.

“Are we negotiating any of these deals? I think that financially we need to look at everything that’s been done, what’s being negotiated.”

Wednesday, October 11, 2023

Blaze destroys notorious riverfront restaurant where The Blaz took bribes

LIC Post 

A fire tore through a well-known shuttered waterfront restaurant in Long Island City early Tuesday, Oct. 10.

The blaze broke out at 4-01 44th Dr. — the site of a dilapidated former restaurant called Waters Edge that sits atop a barge — and the FDNY responded to the scene after receiving a 911 call at around 6:45 a.m. an FDNY spokesperson said.

Video footage posted online shows smoke billowing up from the two-story building while flames can be seen through the large windows facing 44th Drive on the second floor, above the lobby area.

Around 60 firefighters from 12 units responded to the scene and brought the blaze under control just after 7:30 a.m., the FDNY said. At least two tower ladder trucks were put into operation, the footage shows.

The Queens/LIC Post arrived on the scene minutes after the fire had been extinguished. Several of the lobby windows facing 44th Drive were smashed as well as windows facing the East River. The lobby area had extensive fire damage.

It is unclear what sparked the blaze, with the FDNY spokesperson saying the cause of the fire is under investigation. However, one firefighter at the location told the Queens/LIC Post that the abandoned restaurant was being used by homeless people, and they may have started the fire by accident.

There were no reported injuries.

 The abandoned restaurant, which first opened in 1980, has been closed for years and has a storied life having once stood as one of Long Island City’s most preeminent dining destinations with a spectacular view of midtown Manhattan.

It hosted countless weddings, birthday bashes and political fundraisers — including scandal-hit dinners for former mayor Bill de Blasio – and in April, the Queens/LIC Post reported that the Department of Citywide Administrative Services (DCAS) planned to demolish the structure once it received the necessary funds. DCAS said it would take eight months to destroy the structure after the funds are received.

In 2008, restaurateur and philanthropist Harendra Singh and his Singh Hospitality Group acquired the premises.

But by the early 2010s, Singh began getting into financial difficulty and was reported to have owed the city hundreds of thousands of dollars in back rent on the Water’s Edge barge lease.

DCAS was threatening to terminate the lease and Singh had also failed to pay for renovations to the pier where the barge was docked, which the agency said were required by his lease, according to THE CITY.

Singh held two fundraising events for Bill de Blasio at Waters Edge in the hope of currying favor with city hall: one in 2011 when de Blasio was still public advocate; and the second in October 2013 shortly after he beat former city Comptroller Bill Thompson in a runoff before taking the general election.

De Blasio’s campaign did not pay for the events until it forked out a check for $2,613.01 after the city’s Campaign Finance Board began auditing the campaign. Until that moment, the events were essentially an illegal free gift from Singh to de Blasio that the mayor’s campaign had failed to disclose to the public as required, according to THE CITY.

When he got into office, De Blasio instructed one of his top aides to step in with regard to resolving Singh’s lease. But before the matter could be sorted out Singh was arrested in September 2015 on federal corruption charges in Nassau County unrelated to the Water’s Edge restaurant.


Monday, October 9, 2023

Migrants hoodwinked by hotel shelter worker realty hustle!/format/webp/quality/90/?



Around a dozen migrant families desperate to move out of a Staten Island shelter said they were scammed out of thousands of dollars by an employee of the shelter, who promised them leases and furniture in newly renovated apartments, THE CITY has learned. 

The employee was fired after “serious allegations and evidence of dishonest and fraudulent activities” came to the hotel’s attention, according to a letter posted inside the Holiday Inn Express and dated Oct. 2 that identifies the employee as Cythia Guevara Rodriguez. 

THE CITY interviewed more than a dozen shelter residents who said they fell victim to Rodriguez and also reviewed the fake leases they signed, screenshots of Zelle transfers and messages they exchanged on WhatsApp and Facebook with Guevara that show  families willing to do anything to move out of a shelter and into apartments of their own doing business with someone who appeared ready to capitalize on their desperation. 

The situation at the Holiday Inn Express highlights the troubles faced by migrants families in shelters as they try to find places of their own before the city potentially puts them on a clock to move out. 

She played with the emotions of our children. Our children were so excited, they thought they were going to get out of here,” said Jennifer, 41, a Venezuelan mother to a one-year-old who asked her last name be withheld. She and another couple said they’d paid Guevara $1,700 in a series of cash and Zelle payments, and were expecting to move together into a house with a parking spot on Elverton Avenue in Great Kills on Oct. 16. 

“I can’t sleep thinking, ‘what happened actually happened,’” she said in Spanish. “It won’t leave my mind.”

Guevara, for her part, denies the allegations, telling THE CITY on Thursday that she’d taken money from two families and had intended to get them apartments through Craigslist but she hadn’t been able to find them yet. 

“They were impatient,” she said, adding that “they’re gonna get their money back.” 

Others, she said, must have made photocopies of leases and were fabricating additional allegations against her. 

“A lot of people right now what they’re doing is trying to gang up on me,” she said. “They’re just trying to make it, you know, worse than it is.”

Jaclyn Stoll, a spokesperson for Project Hospitality, the nonprofit with a $5.3 million contract to run the Holiday Inn Express migrant shelter, said Guevara was not an employee of the nonprofit and declined to comment while an investigation was pending. She deferred further comment to the city’s Department of Homeless Services or DHS. 

“It is unconscionable that any individual would attempt to exploit vulnerable families for material gain. Whenever we learn of an incident that puts the wellbeing of our clients at risk, we work with our not-for-profit provider partners to immediately investigate the situation and take swift and appropriate action to address the issue at hand, said Nicholas Jacobelli, a spokesperson for DHS.

“We serve incredibly vulnerable populations, and we expect all those who interact with our clients to treat them with dignity and respect.”

Real public space for real people


Park Provides New Community Space and Recreational Amenities Adjacent to the Kosciuszko Bridge

Governor Kathy Hochul today announced the completion of a $17.8 million project to construct Maspeth Park, the first park to be built in the western portion of Maspeth in Queens. The park, completed on schedule, is located within walking distance from surrounding residential neighborhoods, including Sunnyside and West Maspeth. The park includes numerous benefits for visitors to enjoy, such as a recreational area comprised of game tables, picnic tables, a basketball court, and adult fitness equipment. A new world-class skate plaza, designed for all skill levels, has also been constructed. The plaza provides professional sports lighting so that events can be held after dark. The basketball court will also serve as a multi-purpose venue with nighttime lighting and bleacher seating. Events will be held throughout the year and run by New York City Department of Parks and Recreation. The park was built on nearly one acre of underdeveloped land that was previously used by the state as a staging area during the construction of the new Kosciuszko Bridge, which was completed in 2019. The park is located adjacent to the Kosciuszko Bridge at the intersection of 43