Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Fugliness on 80th Street

The things people do to their homes never ceases to amaze me. Here we are at 62-51 80th Street in Middle Village. The owner was hit with a partial stop work order last week because of the unsafe scaffolding.
The permit they have is for: NEW 2 STORY PLUS CELLAR BRICK & BLOCK ADDITION TO EXISTING 1 FAMILY RESIDENCE. This will in effect eliminate most of their yard.

Why not just buy a bigger house?

Missing C of O on Hillside

Every once in a while, something is brought to my attention that surprises even me. Take for example, this new building at 85-32 130th Street.

This 4-story structure appears to be fully inhabited, but there is no current C of O for it. And there's a nice Class 1 violation that hasn't been paid.

So it's a Class 1 violation, meaning a high hazard, yet the place is not vacated. I wonder what DOB considers to be really dangerous.

Hearing to help LIC developers get more air rights

From DNA Info:

The public will be able to weigh in on whether the Clock Tower building in Queens Plaza should be designated a landmark at a meeting on Tuesday.

After the Landmarks Preservation Commission agreed to consider the former Bank of Manhattan Building for landmarking last month, it's holding a hearing concerning the designation.

Local preservationists have been pushing to preserve the building at 29-27 Queens Plaza North, which they say is an iconic focal point in the rapidly-changing neighborhood.

"I think it's just so recognizable for that area," said Christian Emanuel, one of the organizers campaigning to see the building preserved, who's father currently works out of the Clock Tower building.

"This is a highly-decorated building that survived through a lot," he said, pointing to the rapid pace of development happening in Queens Plaza and Court Square, including thousands of new apartments.

"I think the old gets more beautiful when it sticks out more," Emanuel continued.

Fair warning

This sign was spotted on Eliot Avenue. The fact is that this has been going on for decades, yet people still let their dogs outside unattended. Worse, they tie them up outside stores while they go inside. Please don't.

Monday, April 20, 2015

Council looking to decriminalize quality-of-life crimes

From the Daily News:

City Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito’s office is working on a proposal that would make some of the most common criminal court summonses civil charges instead. Violators would get a ticket to one of the city’s administrative courts, such as the Environmental Control Board, instead of criminal court. Cops could no longer make arrests for those offenses, and missed court dates would turn into default monetary judgments instead of warrants.

Bratton appears cool to the idea, saying people wouldn’t take a civil ticket seriously.

A Daily News analysis shows the seven offenses that would be sent to one of the city’s administrative civil courts under the Mark-Viverito plan account for roughly 2.7 million, or 42%, of the summonses issued by the NYPD between 2001 and June 2014. They also account for more than 510,000 open arrest warrants, according to the analysis of data provided by the state Office of Court Administration.

The seven offenses under consideration are public consumption of alcohol, public urination, bicycling on the sidewalk, being in a park after dark, failure to obey a park sign, littering and unreasonable noise. The offenses under consideration for decriminalization are under the city’s administrative code — not the state penal code — making it possible to amend them without state approval, officials said.

Public urination and open container are the only two minor offenses for which fines can be paid by mail. But Lancman said many people have reservations about allowing people to simply pay online for criminal court summonses because they’d essentially be pleading guilty to a violation or, in some cases, a misdemeanor without having an attorney present.

“When it’s a civil offense we don’t have any problem letting people pay online or by mail without having to show up at all ... that would almost certainly mean you’d have a higher percentage of people paying a fine,” Lancman said.

He said that in criminal summons court, roughly half the people don’t show up, and of the people who do show up and are assessed a fine, a quarter of them don’t pay.

Who needs a demo permit?

Walking down the street whistling on a wonderful warm day. And what to my wondering eyes should appear? A rodent bait sign on the door. But there's no construction fence... Well, this obviously requires closer attention.
Ah, not just a rodent bait sign, but a stop work order is posted dated from this past January. Let's look into this.
So they apparently tried to hand demolish this brick building in January and after being busted, applied for permits in March. They got stopped before they could finish, but they left several open windows and holes in the place during the high snow season. Lord only knows what the inside looks like now.
The eventual plan is to replace this fine old structure with a "community facility" and 6 apartments.

Could Dean be done?

From the Daily News:

Prosecutors investigating state Senate Majority Leader Dean Skelos and his son have also been asking questions about the lobbying arm of the elder Skelos' law firm, the Daily News has learned.

A source who recently met with investigators for U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara indicated that about half the questions focused on the lobbying arm of Ruskin Moscou Faltischek and if there was any direct or indirect interaction with Skelos.

Skelos, the Legislature's most powerful Republican, also makes up to $250,000 annually serving "of counsel" at the Long Island-based law firm. Skelos and the firm have long maintained that there is no interaction between the senator and the lobbying arm of the firm, headed by former Assemblyman Jerry Kremer.

Audit finds major problems at animal shelters

From NBC:

Operators of New York's animal shelters are administering expired drugs to dogs and cats, failing to maintain safe conditions and neglecting their financial records, according to an audit conducted by the city comptroller's office.

"Animal care and control is running an operation that could make your stomach turn," Comptroller Scott Stringer said Sunday in a news release. "We found expired drugs, harmful conditions and vaccines stored next to frozen remains."

Auditors examined conditions at animal shelters from March to November of last year. A records review revealed 499 occasions in which expired drugs were given to animals and that 92 bottles of expired drugs -- some as old as 13 years -- had not been removed from shelves, the auditors reported.

Animal Care & Control, a non-profit corporation, has a five-year, $51.9 million contract with the city to operate animal shelters in Manhattan, Brooklyn and Staten Island. It also operates animal receiving centers in the Bronx and Queens.

Melissa wants taxpayers to bail out criminals

From the Daily News:

Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito wants to hand Get Out of Jail Free cards to criminal defendants — paid for not with Monopoly money, but with yours.

This is law-and-disorder lunacy on the public dime, gussied up as a way to drain the cesspool that is Rikers Island.

A proposed $1.4 million bail fund tops the City Council’s just-announced wish list for the $77 billion city budget.

The NYPD makes 260,000 misdemeanor arrests a year. Criminal Court judges release the vast majority of defendants on their own recognizance or on minimal bail.

In a small proportion of those cases — ranging from 5% in Staten Island to 10% in Queens — judges set bail beyond the reach of defendants. Annually, some 11,000 lack the money to post amounts ranging from $20 to $2,000.

The Council would post those payments in order to enable defendants to live in freedom while awaiting trial. Some chutzpah.

Judges set bail when defendants are deemed flight risks. Based on how few defendants are held, judges appear to be making considered judgments as to who’s least likely to show up in court.

Disrespectfully, your honors, the Council has decided it knows better than you how to determine who’s safe to free.