Wednesday, September 2, 2015

Pan Am Hotel rejected a third time for permanent shelter

From the Queens Courier:

For the city’s Department of Homeless Services (DHS), the third time was not a charm.

City Comptroller Scott Stringer has once again rejected the agency’s proposal, which was submitted twice before, to convert the former Pan American Hotel located at 79-00 Queens Blvd. into a permanent homeless shelter.

“The Comptroller’s Office rejected for the third time a permanent contract for Samaritan Village Inc. to operate a shelter at the Pan American Hotel. We have asked the Department of Homeless Services to revise its plan to address outstanding health and safety violations,” said Eric Sumberg, spokesman for Stringer.

The emergency homeless shelter at the former Elmhurst hotel was supposed to close last December, yet even after facing large opposition from community members, an application was submitted to convert it into a permanent shelter under a five-year, $42 million contract with DHS.

This third rejection comes after Stringer already sent the proposal back to DHS in July and May citing that changes, such as clearing all outstanding violations and complaints, needed to be made before he considered accepting.

Congresswoman Grace Meng applauded Stringer’s decision and voiced her opinion on the proposed shelter.

Hasids want variance to expand illegal dorm

From the Queens Courier:

Glendale residents can speak out at next week’s Community Board 5 meeting regarding plans to build additional dormitories and classroom space at the neighborhood’s Yeshiva Godolah Seminary (YGS).

Plans to expand the campus located at 74-10 88th St., the former Monarch knitting mill, will be the focus of a public hearing at the Sept. 9 meeting of CB 5, which will begin at 7 p.m. in the CNL Center at Christ the King Regional High School in Middle Village.

Currently serving 1,050 students within two buildings on the site, the YGS is seeking a Board of Standards and Appeals (BSA) variance to erect an extension and unite the buildings into one, four-story campus. The expansion would result in the creation of 28 new classrooms and 177 dormitory rooms, accommodating approximately 710 dormitory beds.

Abraham Markowitz, YGS building manager, told the Ridgewood Times on Monday the extension will allow more students to reside on campus; currently, the facility offers dormitory rooms accommodating 360 individuals. The remaining pupils are shuttled from their homes in Williamsburg to Glendale each day via school buses that the yeshiva charters.

The additional dormitories would reduce the number of daily school bus trips from 15 to between four and six, Markowitz said. The expansion plans also call for the creation of a second curb cut from 88th Street, which would allow school buses to queue up on the yeshiva grounds rather than along the roadway.

I seem to recall that the school got permission to build so long as there were no dorms on campus. But now the Hasids are admitting that they built them anyway. Why should they now be rewarded with a variance if they were operating illegally this whole time? Why should Glendale residents be bombarded with a school for hundreds of kids from Rockland county and Williamsburg? Two interesting facts: this "building manager" Abraham Markowitz, somehow finagled himself the position of President of the 104th Pct Community Council although he doesn't live in Queens, and the DOB inspected the yeshiva after complaints of illegal occupancy, noted the presence of the dorm and did nothing.

So much for universal pre-K

From Capital New York:

With just over a week to go before the first day of school, New York City is closing seven pre-kindergarten sites because of contractual issues, construction problems and recently identified health violations, a de Blasio administration official said Tuesday.

The closures will affect 175 families, all of whom were notified late last week or over the weekend, the official said. The administration has matched 127 of the affected children with new sites and expects to place more over the next week. Pre-K classes begin Sept. 9.

The seven sites are part of four separate programs.

Muslim America Da Al-Dawah in Queens and Elite Kids Service in Brooklyn are each shuttering one site; B'Above in the Bronx is closing two sites and New Covenant Christian Schools in the Bronx is closing three of its sites.

Details about the closings were not provided.

Pedestrians lucky to escape debris from rooftop accident

DNA Info/Ewa Kern-Jedrychowska
From DNA Info:

A car crashed into a the wall of a rooftop parking lot on Austin Street Sunday evening, ripping a hole in it and sending dozens of bricks falling onto a busy sidewalk Sunday evening, officials and witnesses said.

The incident occurred just after 8 p.m. atop a two-story commercial building housing several businesses, including Exo Cafe, a Lucille Roberts gym and PM Pediatrics.

Sources at the scene said that the valet accidentally hit the gas instead of the break, causing the car to smash into the wall.

A representative for the parking lot declined to comment.

No one was injured in the crash and the driver refused medical attention, but the falling bricks damaged three cars, according to fire and police officials.

Tuesday, September 1, 2015

Permit plunge!

From Crains:

The great rush for housing permits in New York City to lock in the lucrative 421-a tax break for apartment buildings gave way to a precipitous decline in July.

The number of permits issued that month fell by 90% from June, according to statistics released last week by the U.S. Census Bureau. The fall-off was especially steep in Queens, at 98%, and Brooklyn, 97%. The terms of the tax break expired in mid June before state lawmakers renewed and revised the city's program effective in 2016, requiring 25% to 30% of units in 421-a projects be affordable citywide.

Leverich Family Burial Ground is being put to better use

The Leverich Family Burial Ground now has stewards who are taking care of it. Now if only they could get rid of that illegal chicken coop...

FMCP bathrooms in decrepit condition

"Two weeks ago i was at the park and after running 4 miles i decided to use the men's room located just outside the main entrance to the USTA Tennis Center (Willets Point ramp area). i have never been so fucking disgusted. The minute i walked into the bathroom my nose was hit with stench that i could only describe as homeless person smell mixed with urine,shit, and armpit funk. After going into one of the stalls to pee i nearly puked. i just kept on gagging and almost peed on myself because the stench was fucking bad. The lighting inside the bathroom was very poor which is perhaps why they keep the door wide open. The sink was old and the hand dryer machine was not even working.

Every summer thousands of people from Europe, Asia and the rest of the world flock to see the US Open. We all know that this single event generates so much cash for Queens & the city. Why isn't that money going towards fixing the walking paths around the park, landscaping, better signage, new benches and better lighting installed (i wont even mention the lake). Flushing Meadows Park needs it's own conservancy (if it doesn't already have one) that actively seeks out donors throughout the city to fund construction projects and BASIC MAINTENANCE of the park. Why doesn't this administration (and i will include our governor a.k.a 'King Of New York') do something about this. Tourism is one of the many things this is city is known for. People don't spend thousands to take their family on a vacation to let's say, Newark, Hoboken??. They all want to come to this city and in the summertime they want to come to Queens for the US Open.So much park land has been given to the USTA but what are we getting in return??" - Anonymous

Uber has some competition!

"I saw this ad while walking up 34th ave around 105th street in Corona, Queens. I'm pretty sure this type of cab service is illegal. Its worth looking into..." - anonymous

Monday, August 31, 2015

Is CB2 violating the law?

This guy seems to think so. Read the whole sordid tale and let me know what you think.

Former council member Al Stabile passed away

From the Queens Chronicle:

Former South Queens Councilman Alfonso Stabile died on Saturday morning of natural causes, Councilman Eric Ulrich (R-Ozone Park) said. He was 68.

"Al Stabile was a passionate and dedicated public servant who always put the community first. I grew up watching and admiring his career in politics," Ulrich said. "Al was a great councilman as well as a loyal and loving friend. Our city is a better place today because of him."

Stabile, a Republican, served as the city representative for the 32nd Council district, the same seat Ulrich holds today, from 1994 to 2001. He was born in East New York, but his family later moved to Ozone Park. He is an alumnus of John Adams High School.

His wake will be held at James Romanelli Funeral Home, located at 133-18 Cross Bay Blvd. in Ozone Park on Tuesday and Wednesday from 3 to 9 p.m. A funeral mass will be held at the Nativity of the Blessed Virgin Mary Church, located at 101-41 91st St. in Ozone Park, on Thursday at 10:30 a.m.

Forest Hills mystery accident

From Edge of the City. Anyone know what happened here? Looks like a doozy.

Not a smart move

From the Queens Courier:

A man attempting to cross the Long Island Expressway Saturday night was struck and killed by a car, police said.

The 34-year-old man was hit near exit 24 in Flushing at about 9:45 p.m. as he was trying to cross from south to north in the vicinity of 169th Street.

According to authorities, the pedestrian ran from the center wall of the expressway into the left travel lane and was struck by a Toyota Suburban. The driver attempted to brake and swerve to the right to avoid him.