Saturday, November 27, 2021

NYC Social Services Dept. official doesn't think homeless people can get or spread COVID

Governor Kathy brings the pandemic back to where it started based on speculation

NY Post 

Here we go again.

Gov. Kathy Hochul signed an executive order Friday to postpone elective hospital surgeries — something that hasn’t been done since the worst of the initial coronavirus outbreak last year.

Hochul said she made the move to deal with staffing shortages and boost bed capacity amid an anticipated “spike” in new cases and the emergence of the new Omicron variant in South Africa. The strain is named after a letter of the Greek alphabet.

“We’ve taken extraordinary action to prevent the spread of COVID-19 and combat this pandemic. However, we continue to see warning signs of spikes this upcoming winter, and while the new Omicron variant has yet to be detected in New York State, it’s coming,” Hochul said.

“In preparation, I am announcing urgent steps today to expand hospital capacity and help ensure our hospital systems can tackle any challenges posed by the pandemic as we head into the winter months. The vaccine remains one of our greatest weapons in fighting the pandemic, and I encourage every New Yorker to get vaccinated, and get the booster if you’re fully vaccinated.”

The edict curbing non-essential surgeries will kick in for hospitals with a limited capacity — defined as at or below 10 percent of available staffed bed capacity.

The new protocols will take effect on Friday, Dec. 3, and will be re-evaluated based on the latest COVID-19 data on Jan. 15.

Maybe Kath can ask Uncle Joe to send another battleship hospital to the Intrepid dock. Maybe we'll use it this time.


Friday, November 26, 2021

A tale of two curb bills 

NY Post

City Council members Tuesday overwhelmingly approved a slew of measures designed to reduce traffic chaos caused by trucks delivering goods purchased online.

One of the moves aims to siphon off dedicated curb space for the likes of Amazon and UPS.

The legislation requires the city Department of Transportation to institute loading-only parking spots in each neighborhood and develop “micro-distribution centers.” The distribution centers would serve to transfer parcels from large trucks to smaller transit vehicles such as cargo e-bikes.

The DOT will have to install five dedicated loading zones per neighborhood per year for a total of 1,500 over three years, according to the legislation.

“We have to recognize the dynamics of our streets and how things have changed, especially when it comes to how people receive their goods — which is mostly through packages and so forth,” said Council Member Antonio Reynoso (D-Brooklyn), the bill’s sponsor.

A few days later...

Caption Cuomo's new look


Wednesday, November 24, 2021

Davey Chokshi reminds you to serve your unvaccinated relatives outside on Thanksgiving



CBS New York 

Student reporters get sex predator teacher removed from school that the city kept on

NY Post

 Pupil Power!

Thanks to intrepid student journalists, an English teacher and coach at prestigious Townsend Harris HS in Queens was yanked from the school this week after it came to light that city investigators confirmed he had sex with a former female student.

Joseph Canzoneri, 53, allegedly brought the girl to an apartment where he plied her with wine and marijuana before they had intercourse and oral sex, the Special Commissioner of Investigation for city schools found.

The SCI recommended Canzoneri be fired, and the Department of Education tried to do so. But the girl refused to testify at a hearing, so the case was dropped and he was entitled to keep his job under New York tenure protections.

After more than a year in a rubber room, a space where accused teachers await the disciplinary process, he quietly returned to Townsend Harris at the start of the school year in September. The principal kept him out of classrooms in an office.

The scandal remained under wraps until three weeks ago, when someone leaked the case to teen journalists at the school’s student newspaper, The Classic.

Known for aggressive reporting, the paper has run a series of articles in the last year on six former students who claimed sexual contact with three Townsend Harris teachers — cases all kept secret at the time. The unnamed teachers no longer work at the school.  The editors have called for greater openness and training on educator sexual misconduct.

In light of this campaign, an anonymous “concerned parent” sent The Classic the bombshell SCI report on Canzoneri. The precocious journos spotted him in the building and on Wednesday filed a Freedom of Information Law request with SCI to authenticate the document. 

Suddenly the DOE took action. The same week — the agency would not say which day — officials shunted Canzoneri from Townsend Harris into a “central office” somewhere outside of the building. After making $135,000 last year, he remains on the payroll.

“It is past time for greater transparency about what has gone on at Townsend Harris and for the DOE and school administration to engage students and families in an open, honest conversation about the horrific allegations we have reported on,” editors-in-chief Ryan Eng, Julia Maciejak, and Jasmine Palma told The Post.

This school should send these kids to City Hall and trail the Blaz for the next month. 

NYC Council approves Gowanus luxury public housing rezoning after leveraging NYCHA repairs and also the blood bank tower upzoning

The Real Deal

The City Council both bucked and abided tradition Tuesday with the approval of a life sciences expansion on the Upper East Side and a sweeping rezoning in Brooklyn.

Lawmakers voted to rezone Gowanus to allow mixed-use buildings in an 82-block area largely restricted to manufacturing use. City officials estimate that the change will enable the construction of more than 8,500 apartments, 3,000 of which would be set aside for low- and moderate-income New Yorkers.

As part of the proposal, City Hall has agreed to pay an estimated $200 million for repairs at two New York City Housing Authority complexes, Gowanus Houses and Wyckoff Gardens. Local Council members Brad Lander and Stephen Levin had said they would not support the rezoning unless the city committed to at least $132 million.

The city is also pledging $174 million in sewer upgrades and will require new development to meet new stormwater rules aimed at stemming sewage overflows into the infamously polluted Gowanus Canal, where a cleanup that was fiercely debated during the Bloomberg administration is underway.

The City Council also greenlit plans for a larger headquarters for the New York Blood Center at 310 East 67th Street. The proposal was approved despite objections from Council member Ben Kallos, who represents the area, and marked the first time since 2009 that the City Council has flouted member deference, or the tradition of voting with the local member on land use decisions.

The vote came after Council leaders reached a deal to reduce the height of the blood center building from 334 feet to 218 feet (233 with mechanical equipment). The project, which is being developed by Longfellow Real Estate Partners, would serve as an expanded headquarters for the New York Blood Center as well as office and lab space for other life science companies.

Kallos objected to the scale of the project and has called on the developer to reduce the height even further. The de Blasio administration, City Council leaders and Manhattan officials negotiated a deal without Kallos because they did not trust that he would reach an agreement that met their goals for the site.

On the Council floor ahead of the vote, Kallos said approval would send the message that “local council members don’t matter anymore” and would serve as a “blueprint for deep-pocketed developers to get whatever they want.”

NYC Council plans to give voting rights to immigrants residing in the city and country for 30 days

Politics NY 

City Councilmember Ydanis Rodriguez (D-Manhattan) led other elected officials and several dozen advocate organizations in a City Hall Park rally Tuesday celebrating a measure that will allow roughly 800,000 non-citizens living in New York City for at least 30 days to vote in all city elections.

The measure dubbed “Our City, Our Vote ” now has a veto-proof supermajority 34 out of 51 City Council supporting the legislation guaranteeing passage at the council’s stated meeting on Dec. 9. It comes as nearly half of New York City households have a member with green card status or other undocumented status. 

It also comes as a number of city lawmakers – once part of those immigrant households themselves – are leading the movement to pass the bill.

“My mom had all of her kids in a public hospital,” said City Councilmember and Brooklyn Borough President-elect Antonio Reynoso, who attended the rally. “My mom couldn’t vote for a representative that could ensure a quality education for her kids.”

Reynoso’s family came from the Dominican Republic and raised him in Williamsburg, which he now represents in the council. 

“It’s about time that we finally get an opportunity where we show these representatives what we want, what we need and what we deserve at the voting booth, where it most matters,” Reynoso said. 

He thanked Rodriguez and the work of the New York Immigrant Coalition, who have been organizing the rallies and the letters as part of the campaign to get the bill passed. 

While Mayor Bill de Blasio has said he has “mixed feelings” about the bill because he feared that allowing noncitizens to vote might remove the incentive for people to become full citizens, Mayor-elect Eric Adams has voiced support for it.

Under the proposed legislation the New York City Board of Elections (BOE) would issue a separate voter registration form for green cardholders and other noncitizens who have the right to work. Those voters would then fill out a ballot with only New York City offices on it at the polls. 

The bill also calls for training poll workers and community education campaigns to ensure every voter receives the correct ballot.

City gives big real estate developer 90 million to build housing project in Far Rockaway


The long-delayed Edgemere Commons mega-project in Far Rockaway is expected to break ground in January after Tishman Speyer’s TS Communities on Nov. 19 announced that it has entered an agreement with Arker Companies to acquire and develop 10 of the 11 building sites at the location of the former Peninsula Hospital.

The 100% affordable housing development will encompass 2,050 apartments, including 237 that will be set aside for seniors, was originally approved by the City council in November 2019 and was expected to begin construction in 2020.

“We are proud to join the Edgemere community and look forward to working with residents and local elected officials to advance the three pillars of Edgemere Commons: affordability, community and resiliency,” TS Communities Managing Director Gary Rodney said. “Real estate is more than buildings. Our team is committed to building community and connection by focusing on what people need to make their lives and their neighborhoods better.”

The Edgemere neighborhood, an area where the median family income is the lowest on the peninsula, will benefit from hundreds of permanent and construction jobs and the project will include a community center, medial space and 72,000 square feet of “neighborhood-oriented retail,” including a supermarket, fitness center, food and beverage and shops, as well as 973 accessory parking spaces.

“Edgemere Commons will increase the availability of affordable housing in Far Rockaway and bring many amenities that will benefit both existing and future residents,” Queens Borough President Donovan Richards said. “The planned supermarket is especially needed in this community, which is considered a food desert because of its lack of easy access to healthy and nutritious food. I look forward to making sure all of this project’s community benefits will come to fruition and are fully enjoyed by Far Rockaway’s great residents.”

Tuesday, November 23, 2021

Noisy hookah nite club gets liquor license revoked


Two northeast Queens lawmakers joined several Auburndale residents outside of Kloud Tequila Grill on Saturday, Nov. 20, to announce that the New York State Liquor Authority (SLA) has temporarily suspended the establishment’s liquor license, prohibiting the sale and consumption of alcohol on the premises. 

While community members feel the license suspension is an important step in the right direction, Senator John Liu and Assemblyman Edward Braunstein are calling on the SLA to permanently revoke Kloud Tequila Grill’s license in order to protect the welfare of the community. 

While community members feel the license suspension is an important step in the right direction, Senator John Liu and Assemblyman Edward Braunstein are calling on the SLA to permanently revoke Kloud Tequila Grill’s license in order to protect the welfare of the community. 

The issues involving Kloud Tequila Grill, also known as Silk Hookah Lounge LLC at 192-08 Northern Blvd., extend well beyond unneighborly behavior, Braunstein said. 

“For months, the local community has been raising concerns that the ownership and patrons of this establishment were engaged in activity that severely compromised public health and safety,” Braunstein said. “While the SLA’s ruling to suspend Kloud’s liquor license is a good first start, more needs to be done. I continue to urge the SLA to do the right thing by the Auburndale community and permanently revoke Kloud’s license. Enough is enough.”

Residents and small business owners have reported a host of disturbing issues, including the sale of alcohol to intoxicated patrons, public urination, drag racing, public sex acts, loud music and littering.