Thursday, November 30, 2023

MTA announces punitive congestion pricing tolls against drivers

 PIX News 

  A new report from The New York Times has revealed the city’s plan for congestion pricing.

Cars and SUVs would be charged $15 once a day to enter Manhattan below 60th Street. Trucks will be paying $24 or $36 depending on the size.

Motorcyclists will only be paying $7.50, according to the report.

The FDR Drive, West Side Highway and Brooklyn Battery Tunnel will be exempt from congestion pricing. Taxis and rideshares will also be exempt, although a surcharge will be passed on to customers.

Commuters buses will also be exempt, the report said.

Low-income New Yorkers will get half off congestion pricing, according to the report, but only after their first 10 trips every month. If you drive between 9 p.m. and 5 a.m., you’ll get a 75% discount if you’re driving into New York City.

Local lawmakers weighed in on the report Wednesday night, including New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy.

“As a conceptual matter, I support congestion pricing, as long as it is structured in a way that is fair to all sides. This plan is neither fair nor equitable,” he said.

Rep. Josh Gottheimer (D-NJ) was also critical of the plan as it was outlined in the report.

“As advertised, New York is officially sticking it to Jersey families with their commuter-crushing Congestion Tax. On top of the existing tolls, it’ll be 15 bucks every day to go into the city with no discounts at the GW Bridge — thousands of dollars a year just to drive to work,” he said.

The Traffic Mobility Review Board, the advisory panel that wrote the report, told The New York Times that the plan is a “huge step forward.”

Wednesday, November 29, 2023

The CIty Of Yes will pay big money for more little housing

Efectos especiales

 NY Post

The City of New York is getting behind the tiny-house movement big time.

In an effort to create more affordable housing, a few lucky borough homeowners will be granted hundreds of thousands of dollars to construct accessory dwelling units, or ADUs, on their properties.

Last Tuesday, the New York City Department of Housing Preservation & Development announced the launch of its Plus One ADU pilot program, which will fund the creation of additional living space for growing and multigenerational families. 

The program will provide up to $395,000 in financing to a maximum of 15 single-family landlords so they can build ADUs “such as backyard cottages, garage studios, attached in-law suites, basement apartments, and attic space conversions” on their land, according to a press release.

By helping existing residents expand their square footage, the city hopes to help seniors “spend their retirement years in their chosen neighborhood,” enable in-laws to move in with young families, make space for children returning from college and otherwise help ease the current real estate crisis without “significantly changing existing neighborhoods.” 

Other program targets include “seniors who need space for a caregiver, a multigenerational household who want separate living spaces, or young parents with a little one on the way,” Mayor Eric Adams added in the release. 

The money for the program comes from a $2.6 million state grant for “crafting community-centered solutions to encourage low- and middle-income homeowners to create or upgrade good quality, safe accessory dwelling units.” The city plans to put in almost as much of its own money, the state’s Homes and Community Renewal Commissioner RuthAnne Visnauskas explained. 

“ADUs financed through the program will become safe, habitable and potentially rent-restricted units that will help homeowners generate additional income and support long-term homeowner and neighborhood stability,” the press release noted.

Monday, November 27, 2023

Casinos of Yes


 NY Daily News

The Department of City Planning on Monday introduced a measure that it says would cut red tape for casino applications in the Big Apple — but which would ice out community boards, critics say.

The measure, which was quietly filed by the department on Friday, comes as big-name developers are vying for one of three coveted downstate casino licenses from the state.

The action, formally known as a zoning text amendment, was billed as a way of streamlining city and state processes by City Planning Commissioner Dan Garodnick during a Monday meeting.

“What we are proposing will create an even playing field for these facilities as they make their case for the economic benefits they aim to bring to New York City,” he said. “We are trying to set up a process here which just enables the conversation to happen in an organized way.”

The state decides who gets approved for a license. On the local level, the city’s existing land review procedures are inadequate for new casinos, putting New York at a “competitive disadvantage,” Garodnick and City Council Speaker Adrienne Adams said in October.

The text amendment would streamline review and allow for state-approved casinos to be developed “without any potential conflicts with zoning” or “unnecessarily duplicating” the state’s lengthy licensing process, Garodnick said.

Two of the downstate licenses are expected to go to existing “racinos” in Yonkers and South Ozone, Queens, but there is stiff competition in New York City for the remaining slot.

Aside from the Queens racino, City Planning confirmed eight contenders across the boroughs: five in Midtown Manhattan, one in the Bronx at Ferry Point, one in Queens from Mets owner Steve Cohen and one in Brooklyn by Coney Island.

 The proposed Coney Island Brooklyn casino resort called The Coney.

The new zoning measure would mean the individual applicants would not have to go through the city’s sluggish land use process, which can be used as leverage by community members and lawmakers to secure certain commitments from developers.

A committee consisting of the governor, mayor and local electeds will be created to view each gaming facility application based on the site’s location. The Community Advisory Committees, as they’re known, will have to hold public meetings but — unlike the city’s land use mechanism, known as ULURP — will not include a representative of the local community board.

Former Buildings Commissioner Charles Moerdler described the move as an “outrage” that would curtail local input.

“The concept of depriving the community and people of an opportunity to be heard … is anathema to a democracy,” Moerdler told the Daily News. “It is a stupid idea dreamed up by people who have no interest in the public or the community.”

A community board leader in Midtown Manhattan, where locals have expressed opposition to a casino, said she has heard concerns from several stakeholders about the text amendment.

“The current version of the text is too thin on specifics and details and does not really address the environmental impacts the casino would have,” said Layla Law-Gisiko, chair of CB 5’s Land Use Committee, criticizing the “blanket, one-size-fits-all” approach as opposed to the site-specific method of ULURP.

“Currently, the text really is too anemic to provide any guidance on what a casino should look like.”

Planning commission members were critical of part of the text that would allow developers to include related establishments such as hotels, restaurants, bars and “other amenities” like theaters in the approval process.


Hellscape High

NY Post

Hundreds of “radicalized” kids rampaged through the halls of a Queens high school this week for nearly two hours after they discovered a teacher had attended a pro-Israel rally — forcing the terrified educator to hide in a locked office as the teen mob tried to push its way into her classroom, The Post has learned.

The mayhem at Hillcrest High School in Jamaica unfolded shortly after 11 a.m. Monday in what students called a pre-planned protest over the teacher’s Facebook profile photo showing her at a pro-Israel rally on Queens Oct. 9 holding a poster saying, “I stand with Israel.”

“The teacher was seen holding a sign of Israel, like supporting it,” a senior told The Post this week.

“A bunch of kids decided to make a group chat, expose her, talk about it, and then talk about starting a riot.”

Hundreds of kids flooded into hallways and ran amok, chanting, jumping, shouting, and waving Palestinian flags or banners. 

Many tried to barge into the teacher’s classroom despite school staffers blocking their entry.

“Everyone was yelling ‘Free Palestine!’” a senior said.

“Everyone was screaming ‘(The teacher) needs to go!’” a ninth-grader said. 

NY Post

Four students were arrested for allegedly assaulting school safety agents who were trying to break up a fight inside Hillcrest High School less than a week before a mob of kids rampaged through the halls of the Queens school over a teacher attending a pro-Israel rally.  

Shocking video that captured part of the harrowing attack on one NYPD officer was posted to social media Sunday night and later verified by the NYPD.

The brawl broke out around noon Nov. 15 when three students were fighting two other students.

School safety agents attempted to break up the fight but became the target of several blows themselves, police said.

In total, three NYPD school officers were injured as they tried to separate the students during the melee, cops said.

Four of the students, two 15-year-old boys and two 16-year-old boys, were arrested and issued juvenile reports, according to the NYPD.

The department gives out juvenile reports in lieu of a misdemeanor or felony charge when the suspects are young minors.

Footage of the incident shared by Queens Councilwoman Vickie Paladino on X shows a student in a gray sweatshirt appearing to spin away from a cop, out of her grip, and then charge at another student who is quickly blocked by a second uniformed officer.

Hundreds of kids flooded into hallways and ran amok, chanting, jumping, shouting, and waving Palestinian flags or banners. 

Many tried to barge into the teacher’s classroom despite school staffers blocking their entry.

“Everyone was yelling ‘Free Palestine!’” a senior said.

“Everyone was screaming ‘(The teacher) needs to go!’” a ninth-grader said. 



Friday, November 24, 2023

Wrestlemania in Howard Beach

Pandemonium with a purpose at OLG 2 

Queens Chronicle

 The Our Lady of Grace School auditorium in Howard Beach transformed into a willful wrestling ring last Saturday, with around 200 enthusiastic residents eagerly attending to witness East Coast Professional Wrestling. It was more than just body slams — it was pandemonium with a purpose, as proceeds were donated to the church.


This guy is my favorite. He looks like Cardinal Dolan as the Penguin.


Monday, November 20, 2023

Schools, out, of, money


NY Daily News 

Cuts to the city’s education budget will be deeply felt in public preschool and summer programs, as well as so-called “community schools” that provide extra services to families beyond what a typical school can offer, Mayor Adams’ administration said Thursday.

The revised plan would shave $547 million off the Education Department’s overall budget this school year — a figure that will grow to $602 million in the 2024-2025 school year and even more in the 2025-2026 year, budget documents show.

“It is about to get really tough,” Schools Chancellor David Banks warned a parent-led education council on Staten Island last week. “The city is in a bad financial situation, the mayor’s been saying. I don’t know if people fully appreciate it.”

Public schools were already headed toward fiscal woe before Adams announced cuts he blamed on the city’s growing cost of housing and caring for migrants.

Many of the educational programs to be trimmed have been buoyed in recent years by federal stimulus. With the end of the pandemic, those funds are set to expire in less than a year — and the city has lacked a plan to save them.

“That money is going away. It’s almost done,” Banks said.

Some $120 million will be saved annually by eliminating thousands of the 37,000 unfilled slots in public preschool programs, which city officials say has been underused by parents and children. Mayor Adams’ staff did not say how many of those seats were on the chopping block, but that decisions would be made with education officials over the coming year.

The Adams administration is also cutting $18 million from community schools over the next two years. Community schools partner with local organizations to provide services not only to students, but their whole families. While kids receive healthcare and mental health counseling, parents can take adult education classes and other services.

Friday, November 17, 2023

Caption Borough President Richards 

Makes Mike Dukakis look like General Patton



NY Post 

The NYPD’s force will be reduced to just 29,000 cops by the end of fiscal year 2025 — the lowest level since the mid-90s — amid a slew of city-wide budget cuts revealed by Mayor Eric Adams Thursday as the Big Apple grapples with its multi-billion-dollar migrant crisis.

Under City Hall’s newly unveiled updated 2024 financial plan, the next five police academy classes will be axed — essentially decimating an already strained department as roughly 4,500 officers are expected to leave their ranks within the next 18 months.

Firefighters are also in the firing line with FDNY members who are on “long-term light duties” — meaning they’ve been injured on the job or are out sick — being forced into early retirement or fired under the plan.

“The defund the police crowd’s woke dream has come true. We were fed a line of BS that the wave of migrants would be a benefit to the city. Now we are defunding the police to pay for their beds,” Council Republican Minority Leader, Joe Borelli, raged.

President of the FDNY’s union Andrew Ansbro, too, slammed the sweeping budget reductions, arguing the Adams administration “should have taken a different approach with the life-saving agencies like the FDNY and NYPD, which could really affect safety in New York City.”

“Our job being dangerous, we have lot of members who getting physical injured … now they are being pushed out the door to early retirement when they have a lot to offer. They are cutting back on people who really help the safety of FDNY and residents of New York City,” he added.

In total, the NYPD’s budget of $5.6 billion will cut by $132 million next fiscal year with the axing of new academy classes over the next year and a half clawing back roughly $42 million.

Hizzoner’s push to shrink the department comes despite the centerpiece of his 2021 mayoral campaign being the need to bolster public safety. The NYPD’s staffing levels last fell below 29,000 back in 1993, according to city records.

Thursday, November 16, 2023

Landlord slaughters tenants over unpaid rent since the pandemic started

 NY Daily News

A Queens landlord accused of stabbing his girlfriend and two tenants to death told cops he “just snapped” after his partner mocked him about back rent and refused to pay her share, prosecutors said Wednesday.

In a statement to cops shortly after turning himself in, David Daniel blamed “stress” for Tuesday morning’s deadly outburst, an excuse he backed up a day later when he told reporters outside a Queens precinct that he had been under “a lot of pressure.”

Daniel showed up Tuesday at the 113th Precinct stationhouse and confessed that he “did something bad” inside his Milburn St. home in St. Albans, cops said.

Officers rushed to his home to find Coleen Caesar Fields, 51, dead in an upstairs bedroom. Two other victims, a man and a woman, were found dead in a basement apartment.

Investigators believe Daniel killed all three as part of an ongoing landlord-tenant dispute. The couple downstairs had not paid their rent since the start of the COVID pandemic, a police source said.

“I’m having trouble with my tenants, they haven’t paid rent in a long time,” Daniel said in a statement to cops, according to prosecutors. “I did a horrible thing, real bad.”

Officers at the precinct asked him if he had killed someone. Daniel replied, “Yes.”

“I just need some time, I was trying to see if I can get the bodies out because they didn’t want to come out,” he told the officers on Tuesday. “This morning it happened, everyone is there now.

“Tenants and the person I live with — everyone is dead, honestly,” he said. “The tenants are downstairs in the basement, one male, one female The backdoor leads upstairs to the bedroom.”

Then Daniel described the confrontation that led to the carnage.

“My partner began to mock me because I wasn’t doing anything about the payment,” he said. “She locked me out of the room and I told her we don’t have to share a room, but she has to pay $1,500 in rent. She refused to do that and I just snapped. I was just so angry from all the stress.”


Tuesday, November 14, 2023

Big Mother

  r/TimPool - Watch how Kathy Hochul's left with a dumb look on her face as MSNBC tells her 'we don't feel safe' in NYC

Reclaim The Net

In response to escalating incidents of harassment, particularly against Jewish and Muslim communities, New York’s Governor Kathy Hochul is today intensifying the state’s counterterrorism measures and is boosting the controversial practice of surveilling social media platforms, and therefore the speech of New Yorkers and other American citizens.

This measure follows ongoing tension in Israel and Gaza. Hochul revealed plans for enhancing the FBI Joint Terrorism Task Force personnel and assigning an extra $2.5 million to the State Police.

“…we’re very focused on the data we’re collecting from surveillance efforts, what’s being said on social media platforms, and we have launched an effort to be able to counter some of the negativity and reach out to people,” Hochul said.

“When we see hate speech being spoken about on online platforms, our media analysis, our social media analysis unit has ramped up its monitoring of sites to catch incitement to violence, direct threats to others.

“And all this is in response to our desire, our strong commitment to ensure that not only do New Yorkers be safe, but they also feel safe.”

This isn’t the first time Hochul has stuck her nose into monitoring online speech.

A New York law aimed at regulating “hateful conduct” online was blocked by a judge. This law, signed by Governor Hochul, required social media networks to report and address hateful conduct, broadly defined as actions that vilify or incite violence based on various identity factors.

Judge Andrew L. Carter, Jr. ruled that the law violated the First Amendment, emphasizing the importance of protecting even hateful speech. The court argued that the law not only restricted the speech of social media users but also compelled social media networks to adopt and endorse the state’s definition of hateful conduct.


Miracle on Pinegrove St.


The old Van Sicklen house that was demolished for new housing went from one house to four houses in three months.




This looks like two family homes with potential basement studio apartments. Which will probably be legal with the "City Of Yes" doctrine that's about to be implemented to fast track new development.





What's all this bullshit being said lately that building new housing in New York City is illegal?


Goodnight YIMBY.


Monday, November 13, 2023

What is a "Bike Boulevard"?

33rd Avenue from Utopia Parkway east to Francis Lewis Blvd.
They removed the center lane, but it's still two-way traffic; and they narrowed the traffic lane by painting the white lines for the parked cars, making it more dangerous for the moving vehicles and the bicycles, who are supposed to share the road.
 Unless the ultimate goal is to make it "bikes only"?
This is the Department of Transportation Alternatives trying to drive residents crazy on purpose and also malign them for owning their own vehicles, because that sign has no merit. This is not a "bike boulevard" it's what called a "shared street" which I and thousands of others have been riding on for decades before the regulatory captured DOTA came up with a brand for them.


Saturday, November 11, 2023

Alan Hevesi died


Queens political fixture Alan Hevesi, who served two decades in the Assembly and as city and state comptroller before resigning over a corruption scandal, died Thursday in his Nassau County home at age 83.

“Alan passed away peacefully surrounded by his children and loved ones after a prolonged illness,” Hevesi’s family said in a statement. “We will miss him and his laughter more than words can express.”

Current state Comptroller Tom DiNapoli, Hevesi’s successor, praised him in a Thursday social media post. 

“Former State Comptroller Alan Hevesi was a long-serving public servant and educator,” DiNapoli wrote. “He cared deeply about Queens, fiercely debated issues he cared about and fought hard for school fiscal accountability.”

Before going into politics, Hevesi was a college basketball star, according to the New York Times, and earned a doctoral degree in public law and government from Columbia University.

Hevesi was first elected to the Assembly in 1971 and represented the Forest Hills section of Queens in Albany’s lower chamber for 22 years.

He then ran for city comptroller in 1993, unseating former city Comptroller Elizabeth Holtzman in the Democratic primary and overcoming Republican and Liberal line candidate Herman Badillo in the general election. 

As the Big Apple’s numbers guru, Hevesi successfully blocked former Republican Mayor Rudy Giuliani from selling off the city’s municipal water system to the semi-independent New York City Water Board for $2.3 billion.

Facing term limits, Hevesi ran unsuccessfully for mayor in 2001.

The next year, Hevesi ran for state comptroller and won. In that position, he launched the office’s first investigations unit.

But Hevesi did not finish his first term as the state’s chief money man. He resigned in 2006 after he was found guilty by a state ethics panel of unlawfully directing a government employee to drive his disabled and chronically sick mother around in a state vehicle.

After leaving office, Hevesi pleaded guilty in 2010 to charges that he engaged in a pay-to-play scheme while in office and was sentenced to one-to-four years in prison. He was released on parole after 20 months behind bars.

Brooklyn City Council Member Justin Brannan wrote on social media that Hevesi was a “friend and early mentor” to him.

“Always the smartest guy in the room but still a tough kid from Forest Hills who never forgot where he came from,” Brannan wrote. “As comptroller, he used the power of the purse for good before that was a thing. He was a friend and early mentor of mine. Rest in peace, Alan.”


Caption Mayor Eric Adams 

Please, "on topics" only. 


The FBI pinched the mayor of New York City

 NY Times

F.B.I. agents seized Mayor Eric Adams’s electronic devices early this week in what appeared to be a dramatic escalation of a criminal inquiry into whether his 2021 campaign conspired with the Turkish government and others to funnel money into its coffers.

The agents approached the mayor after an event in Manhattan on Monday evening and asked his security detail to step away, a person with knowledge of the matter said. They climbed into his S.U.V. with him and, pursuant to a court-authorized warrant, took his devices, the person said.

The devices — at least two cellphones and an iPad — were returned to the mayor within a matter of days, according to that person and another person familiar with the situation. Law enforcement investigators with a search warrant can make copies of the data on devices after they seize them.

A lawyer for Mr. Adams and his campaign said in a statement that the mayor was cooperating with federal authorities, and had already “proactively reported” at least one instance of improper behavior.

“After learning of the federal investigation, it was discovered that an individual had recently acted improperly,” said the lawyer, Boyd Johnson. “In the spirit of transparency and cooperation, this behavior was immediately and proactively reported to investigators.”

Mr. Johnson said that Mr. Adams has not been accused of wrongdoing and had “immediately complied with the F.B.I.’s request and provided them with electronic devices.” Mr. Adams had attended an anniversary celebration for an education initiative at New York University.

The statement did not identify the individual, detail the conduct reported to authorities or make clear whether the reported misconduct was related to the seizure of the mayor’s devices. It was also not immediately clear whether the agents referred to the fund-raising investigation when they took the mayor’s devices.

Mr. Adams, in his own statement, said that “as a former member of law enforcement, I expect all members of my staff to follow the law and fully cooperate with any sort of investigation — and I will continue to do exactly that.” He added that he had “nothing to hide.”

The surprise seizure of Mr. Adams’s devices was an extraordinary development and appeared to be the first direct instance of the campaign contribution investigation touching the mayor. Mr. Adams, a retired police captain, said on Wednesday that he is so strident in urging his staff to “follow the law” that he can be almost “annoying.” He laughed at the notion that he had any potential criminal exposure.

Spokesmen for the F.B.I. and the U.S. attorney’s office for the Southern District of New York, whose prosecutors are also investigating the matter, declined to comment.


We're broke's New York

 As public and private watchdogs over New York City’s fiscal health, our mandate is to alert the public when the city faces an alarming financial situation. That moment has arrived: major looming budget gaps will have serious consequences for New Yorkers, unless action is taken now.

Many New Yorkers already sense the stress given how the staggering influx of asylum seekers and migrants has strained social services and the budget. The city estimates these costs may grow next year to equal what it spends to run the sanitation and parks departments combined.

But the billions of dollars the city will spend to care for these new arrivals is only one significant contributor to the fiscal shortfall — at most, 42 percent of the Fiscal Year 2025 budget gap. Our organizations project that gap for next year could be $9.9 billion and possibly up to $13.8 billion, even with the lower estimate assuming higher tax revenues and lower migrant costs than the city’s Office of Management and Budget anticipates.

The major underlying cause of the budget gap comes from years of added and expanded city programs that — at best — were supported only for a short time by non-recurring revenue or — at worst — not funded at all. City-funded spending has increased more than 50% over the past decade while recurring revenues have not kept pace. Despite the urging of our offices, few efforts have focused on increasing efficiency or shrinking lower impact programs, which could have allowed ongoing revenue to be sufficient to avoid future cuts.

The city and its unions agreed to reasonable raises for city workers, but did not identify how the $16 billion they added to the budget will be funded. The city also used federal Covid aid and a temporary tax revenue surge from record Wall Street bonuses to fund and grow over $2.5 billion of programs, from housing vouchers to education for 3-year-olds. Spending on overtime, special education and other services also regularly exceeds the budget. We are now facing what we call a “fiscal cliff,” because when funds dry up, the budget gap expands or programs must be cut.

What to do now? Knowing a reckoning is approaching, Mayor Eric Adams has rightly called for immediate action to stabilize the budget, directing city agencies to propose one round of 5% savings and be prepared for another two, amounting to nearly 15% in total. This is not easy, and must be done right to minimize impact on critical services. And it would be a futile task if city leaders continue to add spending: Adams’ four previous savings plans were helpful, but new spending that was simultaneously added amounted to more than double the planned savings.

Thursday, November 9, 2023

More Turkey Trouble for Mayor Adams


Eric Adams’ 2021 mayoral campaign accepted donations from three members of a foundation incorporated by Bilal Erdogan, a son of Turkish president Recep Tayyip Erdogan, and whose board members include Erdogan’s daughter, Esra Albayrak. The campaign is at the center of an FBI probe looking into whether it conspired with the Turkish government to accept illegal foreign contributions.

Adams on Wednesday acknowledged meeting Erdogan while he served as Brooklyn Borough President in response to questions from THE CITY. Under Erdogan, the U.S. State Department has repeatedly cited Turkey for widespread human rights violations including reports of arbitrary killings, torture, and the detention of political opponents, journalists and activists. 

Campaign records show that between 2018 and 2021 the Adams campaign received $6,000 from three U.S. citizens who are board members of the charity, the Turken Foundation, which registered as a foreign agent with the Department of Justice last year. Turkish opposition leaders have alleged that the foundation is a vehicle for the Erdogan family to stash away millions outside the country. (The Adams campaign returned $1,000 to one of the individuals for exceeding a $2,100 contribution limit.)

The Erdogan-linked group’s stated mission is to help house Muslim students in the U.S. and “promote cross-cultural relationships.”

In July 2018, Adams’ mayoral campaign also received $12,600 in contributions from two board members of the Turkish American Steering Committee (TASC), an advocacy group previously co-chaired by an associate of Erdogan’s political party. The Adams campaign had to give back more than $8,000 of those contributions due to campaign contribution limit rules.

 As part of their probe into potential foreign influence in the 2021 mayoral race, federal investigators are currently looking into whether the Turkish government used U.S. citizens as straw donors to mask foreign campaign contributors. Neither Adams nor any member of his campaign have been accused of any criminal wrongdoing.

The donors are all volunteers to the Turken Foundation and TASC and did not list those organizations as employers when making the contributions.

THE CITY contacted the three donors from the Turken Foundation. One of them, foundation treasurer Memis Yetim, said that a “close friend” of his, whom he declined to name, may have handled his donation, which lists him as living in the non-existent city of “Staten Island, NJ,” using the New Jersey street address where Yetim is registered to vote.

The Adams campaign submitted his donation to the Campaign Finance Board for public matching funds, according to campaign records. Only New York City residents are eligible to qualify for the City’s $8-to-$1 matching fund program.


NYC Projects Dashboard Confessional



On November 1, 2023, Mayor Eric Adams and Comptroller Brad Lander released a new capital projects tracker that provides New Yorkers a new way to track capital spending. The tracker was mandated by Local Law 37 of 2020, which was sponsored by then-Council Member Lander. 

The tracker provides information about city construction projects including parks, bridges, and sewer infrastructure. The information provided includes data from agency project management systems and budget information including the total cost, the project’s current phase and expected timeline, and other details about the construction. 

The Capital Process Reform Task Force, created through Local Law 37, helped support the creation of the tracker. The task force consisted of city agencies, the Comptroller’s Office, and leaders in the labor and construction industry and minority- and women-owned business enterprises. The tracker was part of the task force’s 39 recommendations announced earlier this year. 

The tracker can be viewed here. Future improvements to the tracker will include refining the website design and adding an interactive map. 

Mayor Adams stated, “I’m a strong believer that if you don’t inspect what you expect, it’s all suspect. With the launch of the capital projects tracker, we’re allowing New Yorkers to inspect what they expect from public infrastructure projects. This tool is more than just data — it’s a testament to our dedication to serving the public with integrity, clarity, and innovation. As we continue to invest in our city’s infrastructure, it’s paramount that our residents have full visibility and trust in our processes.”


High rise Hunters Point most expensive place to live in Queens...where rents are still rising


 Queens Post

Real estate firm PropertyShark ranked New York City as the city with the largest concentration of expensive ZIP codes in the U.S. by closed home sales.

In PropertyShark’s report, the ZIP code for Hunters Point in Queens,11109, was cited as one of the eight New York City locations to rank in the top 100 priciest ZIP codes.

Hunters Point’s ZIP code was ranked as having the fifth-highest median sale price, at $2.09 million. The only zip codes that had a higher median sale price were 10282 (Battery Park City) at $3.4 million, 10007 (Tribeca) at $3.09 million, 10013 (Tribeca/Hudson Square) at $2.97 million and 10069 (Upper West Side) at $2.17 million. Hunters Point is the lone neighborhood within the top five not located in Manhattan.

Other ZIP codes within New York City that made PropertyShark’s top 100 for most expensive ZIP codes in the U.S. include 10012 (SoHo/NoHo/NoLita) at $1.95 million, 10028 (Upper East Side) at $1.84 million and 11231 (Red Hook), also at $1.84 million. The latter ZIP code is the lone Brooklyn neighborhood to be cited as a main contributor.

When it came to the list for the 100 most expensive ZIP codes, Battery Park City’s 10282 ranked 20th, Tribeca’s 10007 came in 24th, Tribeca and Hudson Square’s 10013 ranked 27th, the Upper West Side’s 10069 came in 65th, Hunters Point ranked 72nd, SoHo, NoHo and NoLita’s 10012 was 87th, the Upper East Side’s 10028 ranked 97th and Red Hook’s 11231 was ranked 98th.

This year’s study marked the first time that New York City ranked as the epicenter of expensive zip codes since 2016.


There was a 2.94% increase in the average rental price in Queens in October 2023 compared to the same month last year, according to a report from the MNS Real Estate firm.

The year-over-year increase came despite the fact that rental prices for two-bedroom units actually went down 0.48%, from $3,441 to $3,424. This is largely due to more significant increases experienced with studio (5.40%) and one-bedroom (5.46%) units. Rental prices increased in studio units from $2,140 to $2,256 and in one-bedroom units from $2,588 to $2,729.

Despite the significant increase in the average rental price by the end of October this year compared to the same time last year, there was very little change compared to September 2023. Month-over-month, there was a 0.06% decrease in average rental price, from $2,804.94 to $2,803.12.

Month-over-month, the average rental price of studio units increased 1.5% from $2,222.19 to $2,255.57. However, the average rental price for one-bedroom and two-bedroom units both went down. There was a 0.67%, decrease for one-bedroom units, from $2,747.66 to $2,729.38. Two-bedroom units experienced a 0.60% decrease in average rental price, from $3,444.97 to $3,424.40.

Five Queens neighborhoods tracked in the report, Astoria (1.93%), Rego Park (1.5%), Forest Hills (0.28%), Elmhurst (0.89%) and Sunnyside (0.95%), experienced an increase in the average rental price in October compared to September. The remaining six Queens neighborhoods, Long Island City (0.99%), Ridgewood (0.97%), Flushing (0.35%), Jackson Heights (1.41%), Jamaica (1.11%) and Woodside/Maspeth (0.66%), had a decrease over that same period of time.

Astoria saw the largest month-over-month increase in studio units, rising 12.8%, from $2,090 to $2,358. The most significant decrease during this same period of time was seen with studio units in Elmhurst, which went down 12%, from $1,988 to $1,749.

Long Island City had the most expensive studio ($3,418), one-bedroom ($4,145) and two-bedroom ($5,756) units in terms of average price. Flushing had the cheapest studio units ($1,679) and Elmhurst had the least expensive one-bedroom ($2,275) and two-bedroom ($2,845) units.


Getting high while building high


On October 30, 2023, the Department of Buildings announced a new initiative to help combat overdoses among construction workers. A recent Department of Health survey Health revealed that construction workers led occupational groups in overdose deaths. In response to the Department of Health’s survey, both the Health and Building Departments are taking action to address the dangers of substance abuse and highlight the tools provided by the City to construction workers. Staff from both agencies will visit construction sites and discuss substance abuse issues, fentanyl, Naloxone use and its role in preventing a fatal overdose, work site safety, and how to keep themselves safe on and off construction sites.

The Department of Health survey found that in 2020, 269 construction workers died of an overdose. National data held similarly, with a finding that the construction industry saw the most fatal overdoses out of all other occupations according to the US Centers for Disease Control analysis. The data in the Department of Health’s survey showed that between people 18 to 64 of all races and ethnic groups, those with jobs fitting the ‘Construction and Extraction’ field, which covers multiple specific occupations in the construction industry.

Overall citywide, there has been a steep increase in fatal overdoses, with Fentanyl involved in more than 80 percent of drug overdoses in New York City. Fentanyl is mostly found along with heroin but has also been traced to other substances including illicitly manufactured pills.

To combat this, the Department of Health and Mental Hygiene provides free programs to New Yorkers in an effort to increase awareness around overdoses. This effort includes, free naloxone and fentanyl test strips, city-run medication for opioid use disorder programs, and harm reduction resources. More information about how to obtain a free naloxone kit is available here and New Yorkers can call 988 for free confidential crisis counseling, mental health and substance use support, information and referrals.

The Department of Buildings will require all construction workers working on larger and more complex sites to take 40 Site Safety Training which includes a two-hour drug and alcohol awareness class. This class will focus on the harms of substance abuse and the consequences of chemical dependence. The Department of Buildings will also be requesting that contractors and site safety professionals in drug and alcohol safety information be included in their “tool box talks” or pre shift daily meetings.

Mayor Eric Adams said, “The opioid crisis has hurt people in every community and at every phase of life, so we must be comprehensive in our efforts to tackle it and keep New Yorkers safe. New York City is facing a deadly and devastating opioid crisis, and that’s why last month, our administration convened elected leaders, public health officials, and law enforcement from across the nation to develop strategies around reducing and preventing drug use. By educating construction workers on substance use disorders and providing them with the support they need, we are addressing this dire issue and helping the New Yorkers who build and maintain our city.”


Wednesday, November 8, 2023

Next Stop Cohenville


Mets owner Steve Cohen on Tuesday released more details about his plan to build a casino on the city-owned parking lot surrounding Citi Field, although he still needs the state legislature to approve so-called park land alienation to start any construction.

New Green Willets LLC, Cohen’s lobbying firm, has officially unveiled “Metropolitan Park,” an $8 billion vision for the 50 acres of parking lots surrounding Citi Field. The designs were influenced by months of community meetings, the group wrote in the release. They are partnering with Hard Rock International, owner of restaurants and casinos around the world, as well as the SHoP Architects and Field Operations for landscape design. 

The developers want to build a hotel with restaurants and bars, add a live music venue, and also note they plan to build a casino – “subject to Gaming Commission license.” 

The site will also still include 20 acres of public park land.

Cohen is set to submit a formal public notice for a scoping hearing, reviewing environmental and economic impact, for the casino plans on Wednesday, a spokesperson for the team owner confirmed to THE CITY. 

The blueprint comes after months of public “visioning sessions” and the statement from Cohen and crew included support from community leaders, who touted economic opportunities. 

“We have the opportunity to turn the 50 acres of asphalt around Citi Field, right across the creek from downtown Flushing, into things we need,” Peter Tu, a senior advisor to the Flushing Chinese Business Association, said in the release. 

State officials could dole out up to three new licenses for casinos in the southern parts of New York, which includes New York City, Long Island and Westchester County.

Other organizations and companies vying for the license include Genting Group’s Resorts World in Ozone Park, Queens, and a proposal from SL Green Realty Corp. to build a casino in Times Square — backed hip-hop luminaries like Jay-Z and Fat Joe. Vornado recently backed out of its plans to build a casino near Penn Station.

Cohen’s casino dreams in Flushing still need state authorization to hand over the land since it’s technically a park. Assemblymember Jeff Aubry (D-Queens) has introduced a related bill, specifically naming Cohen’s New Green Willets lobbying group. 

But that bill requires matching legislation from the area’s representative in the State Senate, Democrat Jessica Ramos — who has said she needs to hear more from the community before introducing anything. 

The stall in Albany hasn’t stopped the Mets from moving forward with development plans.


Citibikelash bash

 Queens Chronicle

A few weeks after an 18-slot Citi Bike station was installed at the corner of 97th Street and 23rd Avenue, some residents of East Elmhurst ended the summer with a rally to call for its removal.

Holding signs that read “Ban Citi Bike,” the East Elmhurst Corona Alliance along with community residents banded together last month to protest against the bike share company’s placement of docking stations in roadbeds on residential streets.

The group also started a petition, which was sent to David Risher, CEO of Lyft — which owns the service. The petition had garnered 323 signatures at the time of publication.

Frank Taylor, an East Elmhurst resident, community activist and chairman of Community Board 3, argues that the bike racks should be placed in commercial areas as opposed to residential, and that parking spaces are being taken away from residents.

“You can put them where people are actually going to use them, such as outside schools, shelters, hotels, parks — even over by Citi Field, where there’s a lack of bikes — but not outside of people’s property,” Taylor said. “Parking spots are valuable, especially in the East Elmhurst community, because we have a lot of seniors here who are not riding bikes.”

He also said the placement of the docking stations was in poor taste, due to their proximity to the East Elmhurst homes of late civil rights leader Malcolm X and the late former Queens Borough President Helen Marshall.

Giovanna Reid, district manager of CB 3, said that the Department of Transportation approached the board for feedback on the placement of the docking stations in East Elmhurst, Jackson Heights and North Corona, but did not adhere to its recommendation to avoid installing them on residential blocks.

“Your average biker is not going to come to these locations. They are strictly residential, and there’s no real bike path to these homes,” Reid said. “I think they could have better planned for this. They should revisit their placement of these bicycles.”

The DOT says it has received minimal negative feedback during the outreach and installation process of Citi Bikes. The agency recognizes that station siting does impact parking but said it uses sidewalks and street spaces left open at corners for “daylighting” — improving drivers’ line of sight — where feasible.

The agency strives to maintain a network density of 28 bike stations per square mile, to ensure that riders do not have to walk more than a few minutes to get to the closest station.

Mona Bruno, a spokesperson for the DOT, added that Citi Bike has become a wildly popular transportation option in New York City in recent years, and that ridership has soared since the pandemic.

“We’re excited to continue expanding service in Queens to help offer residents a sustainable and efficient way to get around — and we always try to best balance the various uses and needs of our streets and sidewalks,” Bruno said.

Jon Orcutt, advocacy director at Bike New York, a nonprofit that promotes and encourages bicycling and bicycle safety, said that Citi Bike is one of the best-used bike-share systems in the world, but that it could be improved in certain ways to make sustainable transportation easier for New Yorkers in transit deserts.

“I think the city could better link small mobility elements, like bikes, to the transit system. For example, if you don’t live right on Roosevelt Avenue, the 7 train might be a long walk, but it might only be a 10 minute bike ride or less,” Orcutt said. “There’s a lot of strategies you can put together to make it easy for people to get around without cars in a city like New York. While we are the transit capital of the United States, we don’t do some basic things that other places with really good, sustainable transportation systems do, and one of them is linking bikes and transit very explicitly.”

The Guns Of Astoria


 A seven-month investigation into an interstate gun trafficking ring spanning from Cincinnati to an Astoria parking lot resulted in the seizure of over 100 guns and the indictment of three individuals. 

Over the course of five meetups with an undercover police officer at the P.C. Richard & Son parking lot on Steinway Street in Astoria this summer, the defendants sold a total of 97 firearms, including 17 assault weapons. The purchases by the plainclothes cop totaled $124,000 at approximately $1,200 per gun. 

“Guns and the recovery of weapons on the streets of Queens are a priority for this office and the NYPD,” said Queens District Attorney Melinda Katz at a Nov. 6 press conference, where the firearms were on display. “We are fighting the gun plague with all our might and resources, on the streets and in the courts.

 Queens District Attorney Melinda Katz thanked the undercover officer who secured the majority of the guns during meetups with the defendants.Photo courtesy of Queens DA Office 

The three defendants, who are cousins – Ahmed “Taju” Mutalib, Abdul Haruna and Murtala Haruna – were indicted on 575 counts by a grand jury. Their charges include criminal sale of a firearm in the first degree, criminal possession of a weapon, conspiracy and money laundering. 

 The NYPD and the DA’s office received a confidential tip informing them of the gun trafficking ring in March 2023. After gathering intelligence and completing an initial investigation, they appointed an undercover police officer to begin acquiring the firearms.

Monday, November 6, 2023

We're not gonna take the DOT anymore 

I don't know about you but IMO this has Transportation Alternatives Jim Burke's lizard fingers and powerwashed teeth all over this. Don't want to leave the insidious presence of Open Plans out of it too, especially with their personal parking space xenophobe founder Mark Gorton's opinions of New Yorkers as pigs who own their own cars.

Juniper Park race track invaded by crotch rockets

Friday, November 3, 2023

Turkey in Mayor Adams latest straw donors scandal

New York Times 

Federal prosecutors and the F.B.I. are conducting a broad public corruption investigation into whether Mayor Eric Adams’s 2021 election campaign conspired with the Turkish government to receive illegal foreign donations, according to a search warrant obtained by The New York Times.

The investigation burst into public view on Thursday when federal agents conducted an early-morning raid at the Brooklyn home of the mayor’s chief fund-raiser, Brianna Suggs. Ms. Suggs is a campaign consultant who is deeply entwined with efforts to advance the mayor’s agenda.

Investigators also sought to learn more about the potential involvement of a Brooklyn construction company with ties to Turkey, as well as a small university in Washington, D.C., that also has ties to the country and to Mr. Adams.

According to the search warrant, investigators were also focused on whether the mayor’s campaign kicked back benefits to the construction company’s officials and employees, and to Turkish officials.

The agents seized three iPhones and two laptop computers, along with papers and other evidence, including something agents identified as “manila folder labeled Eric Adams,” seven “contribution card binders” and other materials, according to the documents.

There was no indication that the investigation was targeting the mayor, and he is not accused of wrongdoing. Yet the raid apparently prompted him to abruptly cancel several meetings scheduled for Thursday morning in Washington, D.C., where he planned to speak with White House officials and members of Congress about the migrant crisis.

Instead, he hurriedly returned to New York “to deal with a matter,” a spokesman for the mayor said.

Appearing at a Día de Muertos celebration at Gracie Mansion on Thursday night, Mr. Adams defended his campaign, saying that he held it “to the highest ethical standards.”

He said he had not been contacted by any law enforcement officials, but pledged to cooperate in any inquiry. Mr. Adams said that he returned from Washington to be “on the ground” to “look at this inquiry” as it unfolded.

The warrant suggested that some of the foreign campaign contributions were made as part of a straw donor scheme, where donations are made in the names of people who did not actually give money. Investigators sought evidence to support potential charges that included the theft of federal funds and conspiracy to steal federal funds, wire fraud and wire fraud conspiracy, as well as campaign contributions by foreign nationals and conspiracy to make such contributions.

Mr. Adams has boasted of his ties to Turkey, most recently during a flag-raising he hosted for the country in Lower Manhattan last week. The mayor said that there were probably no other mayors in New York City history who had visited Turkey as frequently as he has.

I think I’m on my sixth or seventh visit,” he said. At least one of those visits happened while he was Brooklyn borough president, when the government of Turkey underwrote the excursion, The Daily News reported.

Ms. Suggs, who could not be reached for comment, is an essential cog in Mr. Adams’s fund-raising machine, which has already raised more than $2.5 million for his 2025 re-election campaign.

A person with knowledge of the raid said agents from one of the public corruption squads in the F.B.I.’s New York office questioned Ms. Suggs during the search of her home.

An F.B.I. spokesman confirmed that “we are at that location carrying out law enforcement action,” referring to Ms. Suggs’s home in the Crown Heights section of Brooklyn.

The agents also served Ms. Suggs with a subpoena directing her to testify before a federal grand jury hearing evidence in Manhattan.

Nicholas Biase, a spokesman for the federal prosecutor’s office in Manhattan, declined to comment.

The construction company was identified in the warrant, portions of which were obtained by The Times, as KSK Construction Group in Brooklyn. Individuals who listed their employer as KSK donated nearly $14,000 to Mr. Adams’s 2021 campaign, according to campaign finance records. A person who answered the telephone at the company declined to comment.

Charles Kretchmer Lutvak, a spokesman for Mr. Adams, said Ms. Suggs was not an employee of City Hall and referred calls to the mayor’s campaign team.

“The campaign has always held itself to the highest standards,” said Vito Pitta, a lawyer for Mr. Adams’s 2021 and 2025 campaigns. “The campaign will of course comply with any inquiries, as appropriate.”

Mr. Pitta added: “Mayor Adams has not been contacted as part of this inquiry.”

The search warrant sought financial records for Ms. Suggs and any entity controlled or associated with her; documents related to contributions to the mayor’s 2021 campaign; records of travel to Turkey by any employee, officer or associate of the campaign; and documents related to interactions between the campaign and the government of Turkey, “including persons acting at the behest of the Turkish government.”

Investigators specified documents relating to Bay Atlantic University, a tiny Turkish-owned institution that opened in Washington, D.C., in 2014. The following year, Mr. Adams visited one of the school’s sister universities in Istanbul, where he was given various certificates and was told that a scholarship would be created in his name.

The warrant also sought electronic devices, including cellphones, laptops or tablets used by Ms. Suggs.


 Internal documents obtained by THE CITY show that city regulators repeatedly asked Eric Adams’ mayoral campaign about a cluster of donations that are now part of a federal probe into one of the mayor’s top fundraisers.

The investigation, which triggered an FBI raid at the home of Adams’ campaign operative Brianna Suggs on Thursday, is examining contributions to the mayor’s 2021 campaign that came from employees of KSK Construction Company, a Brooklyn-based firm whose founders hail from Turkey, according to The New York Times.

The Times reported that the federal government is looking into whether the Adams team worked with the construction company and the Turkish government to inject foreign money into the campaign using straw donors — people listed as having donated but who did not actually contribute or who were reimbursed for their donations. 

Adams, who is not known to be a target of the probe, has said he’s traveled to Turkey at least a half dozen times, including twice over a five-month span in 2015 when he served as Brooklyn Borough President.

The KSK Construction employees donated at a May 7, 2021 fundraiser organized by an owner of the company, Erden Arkan, which was held at the home of Abraham Erdos in Brooklyn. Erdos, who was listed in Adams campaign finance filings as “retired,” had donated $2,000 to Adams’ mayoral campaign a year earlier. 

In total, the event raised $69,720 for Adams’ mayoral campaign from 84 donors, and the campaign used those donations to seek $63,760 in public matching funds, according to campaign documents obtained by THE CITY.

KSK did not respond to requests for comment via phone and email. But when contacted by THE CITY Thursday, multiple people listed in Adams 2021 campaign donation records as KSK employees either said they did not donate to Eric Adams or refused to state whether they had ever donated.

Sertac Varol, a Queens resident whose name appears in campaign records, told THE CITY that he did not recall donating to the Eric Adams campaign, and that he doesn’t believe he has ever donated to a political campaign in his life.

Abigal Nitka, a woman listed as a KSK engineer and lawyer, told THE CITY, “We’re innocent,” after declining to respond to questions.

Reached by phone, KSK employee Murat Mermer responded, “I don’t wanna comment.”

Arkan, an owner of KSK Construction, gave $1,500 to Adams’ campaign at the May 7, 2021, fundraiser, records show. He didn’t respond to a message sent via LinkedIn seeking comment, and an attorney who represented him in a recent real estate lawsuit didn’t respond to an email sent late Thursday.

KSK Construction is described in a construction publication as a 20-year-old spin-off of Kiska Construction, where Arkan and some of his partners previously worked. Kiska has been involved in a number of mammoth building projects across the city, according to the firm’s LinkedIn page, including the replacement of the Third Avenue Bridge over the Harlem River and creating the first section of the High Line park in Manhattan’s Chelsea. 

Records from New York City’s Campaign Finance Board show that board staff asked the Adams’ campaign six times over five months to explain who had connected the Adams campaign with 10 donations from KSK Construction employees totaling $12,700, all made at the May 2021 event weeks before Adams’ victory in the mayoral Democratic primary.

Campaigns are obligated to respond to such CFB inquiries within 30 days and explain their sources of funds, according to a Campaign Finance Board webinar. But in each instance, the Adams campaign failed to respond.

In a text message to THE CITY, Evan Thies, Adams’ 2021 campaign spokesperson, defended his team’s conduct. “As we have discussed extensively, contributors to campaign-sponsored events do not have intermediaries,” said Thies.  

He added, regarding the board’s inquiries: “None of those inquiries were flagged as possible straw donors. The inquiries were about possible unreported intermediaries, of which there were none required to be reported. The campaign appropriately responded to each and every flag made by the CFB as required.”

NY Post

The fundraiser whose Brooklyn home was raided as part of a federal probe into possible illegal contributions to Mayor Eric Adams’ campaign is a 25-year-old recent grad on a meteoric rise in New York City’s Democratic politics.

Brianna Suggs — who graduated from Brooklyn College with a Bachelor of Science in biology in 2020 — has close ties to the mayor’s inner circle, including to Ingrid Lewis-Martin, the so-called Lioness of City Hall who acts as Adams’ chief advisor and gatekeeper.

One source even described her as Lewis-Martin’s political “goddaughter.”

Suggs been touted as a key campaign consultant and fundraiser for Adams — but sources said the young operative’s lack of experience raised eyebrows during the 2021 mayoral race, with some attributing her apparently elevated status to her political connections.

“It was pretty clear she was there because of who she knew,” another source said, adding Suggs’ position was part of the “incestuous” Brooklyn political clubhouse.

“The guy was running for mayor so you’d think he would have some marquee fundraiser,” the source added.

Suggs was brought on as an intern at Brooklyn Borough Hall in 2017 when Adams was Borough President and Lewis-Martin was his deputy.

She was elevated to the post of special liaison the following year and worked on women’s health for the next three years, according to her LinkedIn.

The young political consultant then moved on to Adams’ 2021 mayoral campaign, where she boasted of raising $18.4 million. His campaign spent a total of $18.5 million, according to campaign records.

She made more than $150,000 from the 2021 mayoral campaign and Adams’ 2025 re-election campaign, records show.

“She’s a close person [to Adams and Lewis-Martin] who might not be qualified for the job, that was the vibe,” the second source said.

“In the early days of Eric’s campaign as things got more serious they bought on some other folks,” the source said. “It was sorta odd some people would raise money through her and others with other folks. To have two people was weird and a little bit redundant.”