Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Someone drank the Hater-ade

Just wanted to bring your attention to this unintentionally hilarious article from Greenpointers that was meant to put me in my place. Choice excerpts are below:

Masbeth? Where the hell is that? Furthermore, Miss Heather never implied embezzlement and I never said that the boat club was paying one of their members to paint a mural. I said a member of the boat club was receiving money to paint a mural. Dear readers, guess where that money is coming from?
Okay. "As per a vote" the boathouse came in 3rd place. The mystery lies in how it pole-vaulted over its competition into first. Many feel that the outcome was predetermined and that the vote was just an exercise in futility. There are members of the Newtown Creek Alliance who were kept in the dark about the new proposed location of the boathouse - until Miss Heather posted it on her blog. Why is that?
The remaining $7? No. Not even the remaining $7M, which is what I assume they were trying to say. There was $7M LEFT after administrative fees were deducted and millions were given to NYSERDA for distribution. The $3M set aside for the boathouse came from THAT. They are basically sitting on half the pot of dough that was to be allocated for parks projects.
Geoggrey Croft? Holy mackerel.

What they tried to do with this blog post is really interesting: they tried to make this a matter of nasty bloggers vs. the angelic boat club and not what this is really about - a handful of people within not-for-profits in Brooklyn that seem to be procuring and kicking each other public money. A nauseating daisy chain of sorts.

The funny thing is that after you finish mentally correcting all the mistakes contained in that poorly written article, you quickly come to the conclusion that they did not refute anything that either Miss Heather or I wrote. So you gotta wonder what the point was.

It's entirely possible that the editor of Greenpointers (a Middle Village native that moved to Greenpoint, purchased Greenpointers, turned it into a blog whose content is quite pro-gentrification and then was dismayed when she could no longer afford to live there...she now lives in Ridgewood) was "preoccupied" while editing this sloppy piece. Why do I say that? Because she wrote a post on Valentine's Day letting the world know just how much she loves smoking marijuana.

This is the same person who applied for a ridiculous amount of environmental settlement funds to author a website about living healthy:

You can't make this shit up, folks.

I thought you would enjoy seeing the North Brooklyn Boat Club in action this past weekend:
Not much educating going on, but there's a bonfire, plenty of beverages and Lord knows what's going on in that sink.
I can see why this group should get $3M in environmental funds to build a clubhouse inside a hotel.
Mind you, the plans for the construction of the hotel have been stalled since December 2013.
Looking at this alley and knowing how much public money is being poured into it, doesn't it make you feel like you're living in Bizarro World?

If I'm a "hater" because I am sick of underhanded tweeding attempts that exploit communities and waste our tax dollars and have no problem making my feelings known, then I proudly accept the moniker. It certainly beats making excuses for the lack of transparency of the Commodore and his associates.

Thankfully, Curbed and its commenters see through the B.S.

Will every unit come with a canoe?

From the Daily News:

City Councilman Donovan Richards said he is pushing the city — and prodding developers — to move ahead with plans to build affordable housing and retail on a portion of the dormant 80-acre site in Rockaway.

“We’re at a pinnacle time here,” said Richards (D-Laurelton). “Mayor de Blasio has set a (city-wide) goal of 200,000 affordable units and the developer is in a good place.”

Richards said he is meeting with officials from the city’s Department of Housing Preservation and Development on Tuesday to discuss the project’s future.

He is optimistic that shovels could be in the ground within the year.

Richards is insistent that affordable housing be included in any plan — saying it could be on a sliding scale that would include teachers, firefighters and police officers.

In 2007, the city reached an agreement with L+M Development, Bluestone Organization and Triangle Equities to develop the site, but that plan was waylaid by the economic downturn. And then, in 2012, Hurricane Sandy devastated the peninsula.

Boardwalk finally being rebuilt

From DNA Info:

Construction on the first phase of the multimillion dollar Rockaway Beach boardwalk project began Monday, more than a year after it was partially destroyed by Hurricane Sandy, city officials said.

The first phase of the $274 million project began on Beach 86th Street with the removal of some concrete pilings that had held up the historic boardwalk for decades, according to a Parks Department spokesman.

Crews will remove the pilings — which officials had determined in December couldn't hold the new boardwalk, further delaying it — and rebuild the thoroughfare on steel beams instead.

Years of exposure to salt water had gotten into the concrete, officials said, and began to corrode the steel inside.

The first phase of the project runs from Beach 86th Street to Beach 97th Street and is expected to be completed by Memorial Day 2015, the Parks Department said.

Speaker calls for increase in police force

From the NY Post:

City Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito is breaking ranks with her BFF and calling on Mayor Bill de Blasio to hire an extra 1,000 cops, The Post has learned.

The speaker said the additional beat cops are needed to help the mayor achieve his own goals to reduce traffic deaths — a plan he calls “Vision Zero” — and to improve policing tactics and community relationships.

“We want to give Commissioner (Bill) Bratton and the NYPD the tools they need to ensure that NYPD continues to be the best police force possible. By adding 1,000 cops to the beat, NYPD will have more flexibility and will be better able to keep New Yorkers safe,” Mark-Viverito told The Post.

It’s a far cry from fully replenishing the ranks from their high point in 2001, when there were 40,710 officers. Today that number has fallen to only 35,437.

But it’s an important first step, law enforcement sources said.

Convicted pol listed on fundraiser invite

Invite by ColinCampbell

From the Politicker:

The Brooklyn Democratic Party’s party isn’t going to be as colorful as it once looked.

The invitation for the organization’s big fund-raising dinner, obtained by the Observer, lists the “Hon. William F. Boyland Jr.,” along with the likes of Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito, the headliner honoree.

But Mr. Boyland isn’t especially honorable these days. The scion of a prominent Brownsville political family was expelled from the State Assembly last month following his conviction on a bevy of corruption charges.

Reached for comment, a Brooklyn Democratic spokesman said that Mr. Boyland’s inclusion on the invite was “erroneous” and that Mr. Boyland had lost his position in the county organization after his conviction.

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

AirBnB wants to go legit; many just want them to go away

From the NY Post:

Nearly two-thirds of the city apartments recently listed on Airbnb were being offered in violation of the law, an analysis by state authorities has found.

The study of data from the subletting service’s own Web site showed 64 percent of its 19,500-plus offerings for Jan. 31 covered an “entire apartment,” says an affidavit from the state Attorney General’s Office.

By law, a “permanent resident” must be present to sublet an apartment for fewer than 30 days.

In addition, more than 200 of the offerings came from just five “hosts,” suggesting third parties were renting out pads on behalf of their owners.

“The top five hosts by number of listings had the following number of listings: 80, 35, 31, 29 and 28,” Sumanta Ray, director of research and analysis for the AG’s Investor Protection Bureau, wrote in the affidavit, obtained by The Post.

From the Daily News:

The popular home-sharing website Airbnb wants to go legal and pay its share of local taxes, but a group of affordable housing advocates are saying: Thanks for the offer, but we don’t want you here anyway.

The Real Affordability for All Coalition — made up of 50 tenant advocate and labor union groups — is accusing Airbnb of “throwing gasoline on a fire” by contributing to a growing affordable housing crisis.

“After years of operating an illegal enterprise in New York, your company is now apparently interested in paying your fair share of taxes and announcing that development as though you are some kind of charitable organization bestowing your riches on our city,” the Real Affordability for All Coalition writes in a letter to Airbnb founders, obtained by the Daily News.

Airbnb currently operates illegally in New York City because of a 2010 law that prohibits New Yorkers from renting out entire apartments for less than 29 consecutive days.

Last week, Airbnb asked state lawmakers to change the law and classify the service as a legal hotel. The company dangled in front of lawmakers an estimated $21 million in annual taxes it says it would contribute to the city and state.

Airbnb has asked state lawmakers to change the law and classify the service as a legal hotel, requiring it to pay taxes. The company told lawmakers the city and state would collect an estimated $21 million in annual taxes.

Affordable housing advocates, however, accused the San Francisco-based company of trying to lure lawmakers with a promise of tax dollars when all it’s doing is jacking up rents.

The group said it plans to put pressure on city enforcement authorities to crack down on existing laws “so that companies like yours can’t turn scarce affordable housing into illegal hotels.”

Children die in preventable Far Rockaway fire

From NY1:

Investigators say a child playing with a lighter sparked a deadly fire in Queens over the weekend that killed two small children.

Authorities say Jai'Launi and Aniya Tinglin, both 4 years old, suffered smoke inhalation as flames quickly spread late Saturday night inside their grandfathers' home on Bay 30th Street in Far Rockaway.

They were both pronounced dead at the hospital.

Officials say the lighter ignited their grandfather's mattress.

A third sibling, 4-year-old Laylani Tinglin, and the childrens' 63-year-old grandfather are recovering at the hospital, along with a 55-year-old woman who is a tenant.

Officials say there were no working smoke detectors inside the home.

The fire is also calling ambulance response times into question.

Within minutes of the first 911 call at 11:51 p.m., firefighters were on the scene. However, EMS was not assigned to respond until 12:05 a.m., and ultimately did not arrive until more than 20 minutes after the initial call.

From the Daily News:

Estelle Jackson, 80, the kids’ great grandmother, said the children had been visiting their grandfather at the home and were in the basement when the blaze began.

It's also been brought to my attention that the scene of a tragic New Year's fire that took the life of another child has been cited for illegal conversion of the basement and illegal electrical wiring.

It's so sad when kids die due to the transgressions of adults.

Eyesore cleaned up by volunteers in Jamaica

From Cleanup Jamaica Queens:

A beautiful Easter weekend, sunny skies and warm temperatures, but here in Jamaica garbage prevails as always, while our local leaders as usual drag their feet and asses on this horrendous garbage problem that plagues our community, posses a health risk, devalues property values and affects quality of life in such a negative way.
Well, some ladies of Jamaica, including friend, comrade-in-arms and community activist, Pamela Hazel, have taken matters in their own hands to clean up a notorious dumping ground that has been a major eyesore for years, while local politicians and leaders twiddle their thumbs. At the corner of 108th and 164th St, sits a vacant house owned by James Fobb, that has been not only a big dumping ground for garbage, but a place for homeless and criminals to go inside according to residents.
Since their calls to leaders about cleaning this up have fallen on deaf and dumb ears (not too mention all the lame excuses they have to hear, like “private property”), they decided to roll up their sleeves, put their masks and gloves on and clean this eyesore up. As Pamela puts it, they did not want to see the eyesore this Easter weekend.

The below 10 minute video shows their efforts and some strong words about our lazy ass elected leaders, including Queens Borough President Melinda Katz.

The World's Fair 75 years ago

Here's Johnny...yet again

Here we are at 23-06 Jackson Avenue in LIC. Oh, look, there's another John Ciafone banner.

I must say, the past violations here are quite eclectic. We've got gas lines about to blow, illegal occupancy in cellar and a weird staircase infraction. The more recent complaints are entertaining as well.
But nothing quite hits you in the face like the signs protruding out of the fa├žade of the building.

Monday, April 21, 2014

Machine membership has its privileges

"Last summer, I heard that Gordon Ramsay was going to film a show at a Greek restaurant in my neighborhood called Kati Allo on Francis Lewis Boulevard near 29th Avenue. I go to the excellent Italian place at the corner that opened a few years ago - Capriccio - fairly often but have never been to the Greek place. Kitchen Nightmares actually had an application for local residents who wanted to try the restaurant before and after it would change, so I filled one out. I was not picked, but take a look who was: former Councilmember / current Deputy BP Leroy Comrie who represented Jamaica/Hollis/St. Albans and Councilmember Ruben Wills who currently represents South Jamaica/South Ozone Park.
I guess I wasn't politically connected enough to the Queens Machine to make the cut."

- North Flushing resident

Chicken coop runs a-fowl of the rules

From the NY Times:

Keeping chickens in New York City has become a popular hobby, especially in precincts of Brooklyn where foodies and do-it-yourselfers prize locally grown food. Ms. Saye, 48, bought a dozen heritage chickens last July to provide free-range eggs for her daughter, Scarlett, 5, because she wants to serve foods that are free of hormones.

“I got them for nutritional reasons,” Ms. Saye said. “You can’t buy these eggs in a supermarket.”

Ms. Saye bought a $2,500 coop and had fencing installed to protect the chickens from predators. But a month ago, she learned of a different type of threat to her chickens: the stringent restrictions that homeowners in her neighborhood are supposed to abide by.

Ms. Saye lives in Forest Hills Gardens, a private neighborhood nestled in one of the more pristine sections of New York City. It is renowned for its stately country garden style, multimillion-dollar Tudor and Georgian homes, and for its strict regulations, which forbid the keeping of backyard chickens.

Ms. Saye has been ordered by the Forest Hills Gardens Corporation, which manages the neighborhood, to get rid of the chickens. In a recent letter, corporation officials cited the nuisances section of a century-old homeowners’ covenant.

The rules were set down in 1913, during the infancy of this 140-acre, leafy swath that is one of America’s oldest planned communities and was designed by Frederick Law Olmsted, Jr., whose father was Frederick Law Olmsted, the famous landscape architect who helped design Central Park.

She noted that the nuisances section also does not allow a “cattle yard, hog pen, fowl yard or house, cesspool, privy vault; nor any cattle, hogs or other live stock or live poultry.”

“These are 101-year-old rules,” she said, adding that she decided to order the chickens after seeing Martha Stewart talk about them on television. She even bought the birds from the website that Ms. Stewart recommended,

Mitchell Cohen, the president of the Forest Hills Gardens Corporation, said the regulations detailed in the homeowners’ covenant and restrictions are meant “to protect the whole community” and an “amazing document that has held the test of time.”

You can buy free range eggs at stores. Don't buy a house in a privileged neighborhood and then act like you're above the rules that make it a privileged neighborhood. The wealthy have such problems, don't they?

Queens is home to city's worst high school

From the NY Post:

They don’t want no education — especially if it’s at August Martin HS in Queens.

The troubled Springfield Gardens school is the least popular in the entire city, Department of Education statistics show.

Under New York’s open-enrollment system, all middle-schoolers apply to attend the high school of their choice. For academic powerhouses like Stuyvesant and Bronx Science, the number of students who want to get in far exceeds the number of seats.

But so few asked to be placed in August Martin that it still has room to accept 774 students, DOE records revealed.

That number exceeds the 445 freshman seats August Martin normally has, since the DOE expects even students who pick the school in the second round to drop out or go somewhere else.

The DOE refused to say how many students have been assigned to the school for the fall so far.

It raises the question why August Martin is still in business, considering it had a dismal 39 percent graduation rate in 2013 and got an “F” in student performance and progress.

The school also has a reputation for violence. Students committed at least 72 offenses in the 2011-2012 school year, including eight assaults, two sex offenses and 19 instances of intimidation, state records show.

Creepy sign in North Flushing

"Ragazzi Gallery Antiques...Crocheron Av & 162nd Street...sporting this sign...former Rickert Finlay Real Estate location." - The Flushing Phantom

Does anyone out there have any idea what this sign says or means?

Year-long work stoppage at Kew Gardens Hills Library

Dear Crappy,

It's been like a year since the Kew Gardens Hills public library branch on Main Street was closed down for renovation. Local residents have to either use the postage-stamp temporary library set up across the street or tool around Queens looking for a regular branch in which to nab a couple of books. No one has seen ANY construction workers, construction, any sign of work progress going on for MONTHS at the library. All they did was tear off the front of the building and leave it like that. Does anyone have any idea of what's going on? Or who to call about what's going on? I asked at other branches and they don't know. I asked at the temporary library across the street and they know nothing. I don't feel like wasting my time talking to one of the 311 "Dial-an-Imbecile" folks. Does anyone HERE have any idea of what's going on or who to call?