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June 24, 2008

The Bigger Better Bottle Bill Prevails!

New Bottle Bill Expands Recycling Program

Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver (D-Manhattan) and Environmental Conservation Committee Chair Robert Sweeney announced June 11 that the Assembly had passed a “bigger, better bottle bill” to alter the way the bottle deposit recycling system will function in New York State.

The bill, which was first initiated by students from Queens College a month ago, passed in the Assembly 98 to 40 after nearly two hours of floor debate.

The new program expands the current five-cent deposit system to include non-carbonated beverages like bottled water, iced tea, sports drinks and juices. It also requires unclaimed deposits to be turned over from distributors and bottlers to the state. The revenue will be used to fund and support environmental programs.
A big win for the Queens College New York Public Interest Group (NYPIRG).

See my previous post on The Bigger, Better, Bottle Bill for more info.

June 20, 2008

Willets Point Owners Given In And Sell

City Makes First Buyouts at Willets Point

After months of trying to cut deals, the city has made its first two agreements to buyout landowners at Willets Point, the 61-acre site by Shea Stadium slated for redevelopment, the city announced today. The first to give in were Sambucci Bros., an auto salvage business, and BRD Corp.
Well the first question to ask is, is this a good thing or a bad thing for the area? Naturally there are pros and cons.

Pros:
That is two less properties that the city has to deal with perhaps making the process from "blighted" to "properly utilized".

This shows good faith by the city that they are willing to negotiate in good faith.

The sooner these properties are acquired the sooner the clean up begins.
Unfortunately to rehabilitate this process will probably take years as the contamination is miles deep. The clean up will fair better to the environment surrounding Willets Point.

Cons:
The more leverage the city has the more likely Eminent Domain will be used to remove the last standing businesses.

If this is so then a proper plan may not be in place, poor planning is not acceptable. Not in todays age with the information we have available to access what is most beneficial for the neighborhood.

Current Conditions:
  • Willets Point suffers from widespread petroleum contamination, with additional potential contamination from paints, cleaning solvents, and automotive fluids.
  • Environmental hazards are exacerbated by a high water table that spreads pollution throughout the site, endangering adjacent water bodies.
  • Most of Willets Point lies within the 100-year flood plain, necessitating a significant increase in grade across the site before modern infrastructure can be installed.
Current Plans:
  • Thousands of housing units serving a mix of incomes and demographics
  • Exciting new retail and entertainment amenities
  • A new, high-quality hotel
  • New York City’s first non-Manhattan convention center
  • Office space
  • Open space, parks, and playgrounds
  • A new public school to meet the needs of the growing community
  • LEED-certified green buildings and infrastructure
This is where I have a problem. We are talking about heavily polluted area, one of which no matter how many years of remediation will never return to a livable area. I also understand that dumping grounds and polluted landscapes are a number one candidate for public housing. In addition they proposed a school to be built on the area, endangering our youth and unfortunately given by the "mix income" housing the majority of children likely to become sick are the lower middle class and working class. New parks and playgrounds? same argument as before, and I guess Flushing Meadow Park is not big enough. In my opinion Willets Point should be turned into a commercial area. Perhaps similar to what Atlas Park has become. Bars and Restaurants within walking distance of Citifield would also be beneficial to the fans. Now if you want to make an argument that these bars in proposing would bring down the area or something along those lines, take a look at the "Pitch and Putt" golfing area which serves its own beer. If you think areas like Willets Point can be made reasonably safe for residents? take a look at other similar areas and the link to cancer. See Love Canal.

June 15, 2008

Find The Statistics Of Your Neighborhood

This site has more statistics about your neighborhood than you would ever even think to inquire about.

My Neighborhood Statistics

NY Harbor Tunnel A Drain

NY Harbor tunnel a drain on worthier transit projects

These futile projects are taking away money desperately needed to fund the four major mass transit projects that offer the biggest gains for the city--the extension of the No. 7 line to the far West Side, the new rail link between downtown and JFK Airport, the Second Avenue Subway, and East Side access to bring the Long Island Rail Road to Grand Central Terminal.
Great article and responses from Juniper Civic.

June 13, 2008

Anonymous Donor Gives $60 Million

Anonymous donor gives $60M to NY arts, social service groups

The Carnegie Corporation of New York says the 542 grants are the latest in a string of gifts by the donor. Over seven years, the donor has given more than $175 million.

Performance spaces in Brooklyn, Staten Island and the Bronx are among the groups receiving grants, as are a Queens community center and a job training group.

The Carnegie Corporation says it has been selecting small and medium-size New York City-based organizations to receive the donor's funds since 2002.
Philanthropy is a beautiful thing. Happy Friday everyone

Current Events: The Turmoil

This was a rant I wrote up and never posted, but still relevant.

I will start this post quite different than most you are used to; I want to begin by saying " What the hell is going on around here?".
Apparently we can't eat safely due to the Salmonella contaminated tomatoes.
Health officials confirmed cases in New York State of salmonella-tainted tomato poisoning Thursday.

That brings the total number of affected states to 23, and the toll of affected people has risen to 228.
The FDA blames the salmonella outbreak on uncooked red tomatoes, of the plum, Roma, and round-grown varieties.
We can not get the medicine we need with out worry about it being expired.
"Drug products have expiration dates for good reason. A drug's effectiveness can diminish over time as chemicals lose their potency," said Arthur Levin, executive director of the Center for Medical Consumers.
The godforsaken MTA can't get its act together and are planning on squeezing the shit out of mass transportation users when mass transportation is supposed to be pushed as the cheaper alternative, does anyone remember congestion pricing? Meanwhile the MTA has bled out over a billion dollars over the past 10 years due to personal injury cases, it being cheaper to pay out than to make needed changes to hundreds of train cars. Nassau county owes the MTA a nice chunk of millions for bus and train service, and obviously instead of doing something to assess the situation properly they just had the costs right back down to the same people who are suffering from inflation and outrageous gas prices (which super has passed $5 per gallon) the national average being $4.22. All of this meanwhile you have these big shots and ex-employees costing the MTA 14 million in lost revenue yearly.

Today we have prostitution rings with in walking distance of elementary schools.
We have corruption of politicians in both the local,state and federal government. We are becoming over-developed in the quiet communities, and we can't put together a coherent plan to fix Willet's Point.
We have Con Edison who holds onto property worth millions while they increase utility rates.
We have suffered greatly as the quality of live erodes, crime increases and we witness the destruction of the middle class.
We have people who are struggling to make ends meet while working far beyond the 9 to 5 and will still lose their house to foreclosure.
What can be done for the 4 family household who can not afford to spend 500 grand on a house, $2000 a month for an apartment and has too high an income for "affordable housing".
We live in an age where we need to speak up, in a way much louder than any blog or news publication can carry, an initiative if you will to carry beyond the lines of sex, race,language and economic class.

If you, like myself have had enough let your voice be heard. Whether it is a blog, a letter to congress, a sign posted on your front lawn, a brief mention at a community board meeting it will make a difference. The same way this post may instill a desire for change, and even if it has not you have still become more conscious of the current demise of our beloved borough. We need to avoid recession to the mean, because lets face it we deserve better than that.

Our voice is our most creative and musical instrument. It has great power to touch our lives and the lives of others.- Ted Andrews

June 8, 2008

Waldheim Rezoning Meeting

Subject: Waldheim rezoning General Meeting at 6:30pm on Monday, June 16th
Date: Fri, 6 Jun 2008 10:45:55 -0400

SEEDear Members and Friends: (Please note time change to 6:30pm)

CB7 has informed us that on Monday, June 16th at 6:30pm, CB7 will have their General Meeting to start the process of public review of the rezoning of our Neighborhood, herewith known as the Waldheim Rezoning. Boundaries of rezoning are 156th St. - Colden St. - Sanford Ave. - 45th Ave. This will result in CB7 voting on this rezoning. The location of the meeting will be:

The Union Plaza Nursing Home
33-23 Union Street
Ground floor

We need a good turnout from our Civic, residents interested in preserving the neighborhood and our neighboring Civics to join us in speaking in favor of the Waldheim contextual rezoning. This is your opportunity to speak in favor of the Contextual Zoning prepared by City Planning, which we believe will stabilize our area and spare our Neighborhood from any further devastation that has already occured because of the prevailing zonings. Now is the time to come out in numbers.

Regards,

The Waldheim Neighborhood Association

May 31, 2008

Letter to John Liu - Re: Gang Violence

Dear Councilmember John liu,

Please look into this and keep me informed of whatever action you can take to help us resolve this dangerous situation. Your intervention will be greatly appreciated.

Joe Amoroso

___________________________________________________________________________

___________________________________________________________________________

14323 Poplar Avenue. – Major problem since home is under new ownership.

Poplar Avenue, Flushing has always been known as a quiet and peaceful neighborhood composed primarily of people that care about their neighborhood and are willing to get involved to keep it a good family oriented area. The Kissena Park Civic Association worked hard to have the area rezoned from R3-2 to R2 on May 11, 2005 to help discourage excessive building and to preserve its quite single-family residential character. The home at 14323 Poplar Avenue was recently sold and the new owner has made extensive changes to the interior and also added a separate external rear entrance to the basement. See DOB permit # Work Permit Data .

On Friday, May 30, 2008 a group of unlawful young adults residents living in the recently renovated basement, which is possibly being used as an SRO, gathered outside the house and were confronted by another group of hoodlums evolving into a fight where both groups had knives in hand. Some threw a neighbor’s flower pot into the street while others damaged a nearby car belonging to a long time resident on the other side of the street. This incident started about 5 A.M. One of the neighbors called the Police but the gang members scattered as the Police arrived.

On Saturday, May 31, 2008 I called 311 to file the following complaints:

1.) New owner is illegally renting basement to possible gang members and yesterday’s incident of street fighting with knives in hand posed a threat to the safety of lives and property of local residents. Police report has been sent to local precinct via 311 with the following complaint number:

C1-1-402104348

2.) New owner has illegally converted basement to living quarters which is presently

being occupied by a large group of young adults. I was given the following DOB

complaint number for illegal conversion:

4355631

I hope that swift action is taken to help insure the safety and quality of life of all the residents of Poplar Avenue and our entire Kissena Park community. This type of activity will not be tolerated in this community!

Joe Amoroso, KPCA Zoning Chair

QCC Zoning and Code Enforcement Co-Chair

May 21, 2008

LIRR Neighbors Can Rest Easy

Hush hour on LIRR as horns KOd

Long Island Rail Road officials announced a plan last week to hush the blaring horns of commuter trains traveling throughQueens and on Lo

"I have heard the complaints of our neighbors along the LIRR's right-of-way loud and clear," said LIRR President Helena Williams.

"Now, we are doing something about it."

But local activists said the plan falls short.

Prior to the rule change, which went into effect this month, engineers were told to honk every time they passed through a station, even if it was not a stop on the route. Now, they do not.

Heh I think the train itself makes the most noise but thats just me.

May 20, 2008

A Stop Work Order Comes Just In Time

Thanks Joe For Keeping Us Updated!

A STOP WORK ORDER is in effect at 147-10 Jasmine Ave. because the alterations do not conform to the new Zoning Text. ( Including the 6 foot high barricade type 'fence' and destruction of City Owned street trees and several other issues.)

If anyone should see any construction activity please call 311.

Property Profile Overview


Overview for Complaint #:4350482 = RESOLVED

In addition one of the two newly built houses on the corner of 45th Avenue and 149th Street also has a stop work order due to a non-conforming lot size. ( 149-08 45th Avenue) resulting from the break up of the original tax lot.
This is preventing them from getting a C of O and selling this house. According to the original application both houses were built on a single tax lot under special provisions of the zoning resolution because the lot was not large enough to create two new legal building lots. This resolution requires that both houses must remain under a single ownership.

Property Profile Overview

I understand that both of these STOP WORK ORDERS are the result of our (KPCA) recent correspondence with both the City and Borough Building Commissioners and the Parks Department (Forestry).


Thank you,
Joe A

May 19, 2008

Willets Point Gets An Official Status

Official Status for Willets Point Project

Now that the Uniformed Land Use Review Procedure) (ULURP) has been issued by the City, the Willets Point project has an official status.



Therefore, I again talk about the development because of its importance to Queens and the City of New York.

The 60 acres in question are extremely polluted, mostly with the number 3 oil. The Feds will dredge the creek and the bay once the pollution is removed.

After the remediation, the City proposes 5000 units of housing - some affordable - a convention center, hotel, a school, some commercial and retail space and a park.

The ULURP will run for 180 days during which time everyone who wishes to testify will have the opportunity.

There is no question that the development of Willets Point will have a positive and profound impact on the communities of Flushing and Corona as well as the rest of the City.
That last line is key.

The School Built On A Toxic Wasteland

Mother claims school made daughter sick

BY STEPHEN J. BRONNER
Thanks Steven for sending this in!

For 12 years, the state Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) has known about a potentially deadly chemical in the soil on a city-owned site less than two blocks from an Ozone Park public school - but cleanup plans have been snagged by red tape.

Now, the mother of a former student of Public School 65 is suing the city.

“I had no idea that the school was sitting on a toxic plume,” said Katie Acton, who believes her daughter developed chronic asthma while attending the 99th Street school, beginning in 1999.

“If I had known, I would have removed her long before the three years,” added Acton, whose daughter, Kaylyn is now 15. “When I did remove her, it made a big difference.”

“Back in 2002, we became aware of concerns from the school community about the soil and air,” said Marge Feinberg, a DOE spokesperson. “This has not been an issue since the indoor air was tested and found to be acceptable.”

Exposure to large amounts of TCE could cause asphyxiation, chronic health problems like cancer and long-term neurological disorders, according to The Risk Assessment Information System, sponsored by the U.S. Department of Energy.

“I don’t want another child to go through what my child went through,” she said.

This kinda scenario seems awfully familiar, Love Canal anyone?

NYPIRG - 10 Plagues Of The Subway

List compiles '10 plagues of the subway'


The New York Public Interest Research Group's Straphangers Campaign has released a "10 plagues of the subway" list to document problems faced by commuters.

The list, which includes overcrowding, flooding and dirty seats, documents common complaints from riders of the city's subway system, New York Newsday reported Friday.

"I've already been chastised for leaving out rats, cockroaches and subway preachers," said Gene Russianoff, a senior attorney for the Straphangers Campaign.

Russianoff said the perils of traveling with an infant also made it onto the list.

"It's dangerous to have a stroller with people running up and down the stairs," said subway rider and mother-of-four Rosa Lopez, 28. "And elevators are out all the time."

New York transit officials questioned about the list said they are always working to improve the subway.

"We have been, and continue to, work hard to provide the type of mass transit experience that the greatest city in the world deserves," said Charles Seaton, a transit spokesman.

Scattered Shots Kill Little Girl In Queens

Girl Is Killed in Queens as Shots Scatter Dancers

The teenagers were dancing before the squat backdrop of a housing project Saturday night in Far Rockaway, Queens, when the gunfire began. They all ran, until someone turned and saw that one girl was not running. She had dropped to the ground without a sound, a bullet hole in her temple.

As of Sunday evening, no one had been arrested in the shooting. Neighbors said two groups of young men — boys, even — from two different sections of buildings in the Redfern Houses complex had been feuding for so long that no one really remembered what the fight was about.

“It’s the front versus the back,” said Sonya Smith, 37. “These are babies, 12 years and up. They never say anything. They just start shooting.” Another woman, Keisha Brown, 20, said, “It’s just stupid.”

What a sad story, The New York Time also has a picture included. I was actually considering not blogging this story due to the sadness and the poor reflection of Queens would get from outside readers (if there are any). Overall I wish there could be something done about things like this that would bring some real change to certain areas where drugs and violence are everyday occurrences. I think its up to the elders of the community to speak out against this and perhaps talk to those involved especially the youth some of which may actually listen. There is no real answer to fix situations like this today, but with the right determination this doesn't have to be the future either.

May 18, 2008

Councilman Speaks Up For Queens Against Con Ed

Councilman Calls On Con Ed To Sell Queens Property, Not Hike Rates

A Queens City Councilman called on Con Edison Sunday to sell what he says is an expensive piece of waterfront property, instead of having customers foot the bill for rising costs.

In the wake of a five percent rate hike and another increase potentially on the way, Councilman Eric Gioia said the company should sell its 11-acre property in Long Island City, estimated to be worth a half-billion dollars.

"New Yorkers right now are tightening their belts, trying desperately to make ends meet, the price of food has gone up, the price of gas, and now the price of our utilities,” said Gioia. “Con Edison should be asked to make to run their company more efficiency before they look to New Yorkers to ask us once again to pay more for really lousy service."

The property is currently used as a parking lot, office space, and a training center for Con Ed workers.
Finally a Councilman doing what he/she is supposed to be doing.

Queens Mourns The Loss of Bowling Alley

Queens Bowling Alley Will Not Be Spared

Bowlers gathered at a landmark Queens alley Sunday for one final roll after a last-ditch effort to save the neighborhood fixture failed.

Woodhaven Lanes in Forest Hills closed for good Sunday after nearly 50 years.

Brunswick Bowling, the company which leased the lanes, wanted a rent cut but building management said mortgage costs were too high.

Rallies over the last couple of months to save the bowling alley struck out.

Efforts to keep the lanes open fell through when negotiations broke down on Friday.

"It's bittersweet. I'm sad you know," said bowler Donna Fazio."The owner is so greedy and he thinks he's going to make money in another way, but he's got a steady customer base here. This bowling alley was always so packed," said bowler Louis Molina.

Queens College Contractors Have A Bad Rep

Queens College hired dangerous developer

TROUBLED QNS. COLL. DORM FIRM
By YOAV GONEN, Education Reporter, NY Post

University of Connecticut dormitories built by the contractor tapped to erect a $72 million residence hall at Queens College have been plagued with costly fire and safety violations, The Post has learned.

Seven years after two of its dorms were built by the contractor, Alabama-based Capstone Development Corp., UConn is still bringing the buildings up to code, a university spokeswoman said.

She would not further discuss the trouble-plagued dorms, which were built in 2001 at a cost of nearly $55 million.

UConn was paid at least $1 million under the agreement.

Published records show that engineering consultants hired by UConn in 2004 identified dozens of building and safety-code violations at the dorms.

Queens College officials insisted yesterday that they operated with "due diligence" in selecting Capstone for the 506-bed residence, which is slated to open in August 2009.
Additional reporting by Angela Montefinise and Post Wire Services

May 17, 2008

Huge Drug Raid in Queens

Drug Raid in Queens

Prosecutors have charged 41 people, including several members of the Crips street gang, with selling crack and other crimes at a Queens housing project.

The Queens district attorney, and Police Commissioner announced the charges against the suspects, mostly men in their late teens or early 20s, on Friday.During a six-month investigation, undercover officers made 150 purchases of crack, powder cocaine, heroin and marijuana at the Woodside Houses, the authorities said.

May 11, 2008

Illegal Construction on Jasmine and Parsons

Dear Acting Commissioner LiMandri,
The ongoing construction and destruction of the once beautiful corner house at Jasmine and Parsons Ave.
(147-10 Jasmine Ave.) is presently undergoing the installation of the foundation for a 6 foot high concrete barricade that is intended to surround the entire property and has already caused the destruction of valuable City owned public street trees. Its completion will further allow degradation of the esthetic beauty of our neighborhood and the infringement on our quality of life and property values.
Upon studying the recently passed new laws regarding restrictions on fences:
The following is a modification added on March 24, 2008 to the now adopted 'Side Yards' zoning law taken directly from the City Planning web site:

New Fence height restrictions

Reduce allowable front yard fence and wall height in R1- R5 districts from 8 feet to 4 feet, except that on corner lots, permit a height of 6 feet where a front yard overlaps a side yard

Section 23-44 was clarified so that fence and wall height is measured from the adjoining grade and that on corner lots, a six foot high fence is only permitted in the area where a front yard overlaps with a side yard.

The 6 foot wall that the developer is presently installing around the entire property is clearly illegal. Note that clarification of Section 23-44 restricts the portion of the property where a 6 foot fence is permitted. The developer is now installing the foundation for a 6 foot barricade type concrete wall to extend along the entire perimeter of the property including both the entire side and front yards.

Strict enforcement of this new New York City regulation by the Department of Buildings is imperative and expected to help preserve our residential communities.

Joe Amoroso, KPCA Zoning Chair

QCC Zoning & Code Enforcement Co-Chair

May 9, 2008

The Dance Songs That Are Moving New York

Well its Friday and quite frankly today I couldn't give a crap about what is going on in the local news papers. It may be pouring outside, but here are the current beats you can hear on Pulse 87 (87.7).

This list is courtesy of Original Hot 97 .com

Lucas Prata—I Think I’m Falling In Love

Jennifer Lopez—Que Hiciste

September—Cry For You (Radio Mix)

Kat Deluna—Whine Up (album version)

Eric Prydz vs. Floyd—Proper Education (Radio Edit)

Cascada—Truly Madly Deeply (UK Club Mix)

Booty Luv—Boogie 2Nite (Seamus Haji Big Love Edit)

Get Far—Shining Star (Gianluca Motta Radio Edit)

David Guetta—The World Is Mine (F**K Me I’m Famous Edit)

Erasure—I Could Fall In Love With You (Monteverde Radio Edit)

Yardi Don vs. Frank Ti-Ana—One Love One World (Radio Edit)

Leonid Rudenko—Summerfish (Vocal Mix)

Edun—Put ’em Up (Radio Edit)

The Chemical Brothers—Do It Again

Bass Hunters - Now Your Gone

No other radio station keeps your work day or car trip moving as well as Pulse 87.

On a side note Star and Buck Wild are also pretty entertaining in the morning.

Queens College Signs Dorn Deal

Queens College signs dorm deal

Queens College (QC) will become the third member of the City University of New York (CUNY) to offer on-campus dormitory housing under a deal signed with Capstone Development Corporation recently.

The residence hall, which Capstone will also manage, will have 506 beds, and occupy the land currently used for outdoor tennis courts, which will have to be relocated.

The project is being financed by $72 million in tax-exempt bonds issued by the New York City Housing Development Corporation, and supported by a Letter of Credit issued by RBS Citizens National Association. RBC Capital Markets is underwriting the bond issue.

According to QC, both the bonds and Letter of Credit are secured by project revenues only - no public funds are supporting the project, which is scheduled for completion in the summer of 2009.

To ease community concerns about an already-difficult parking situation, 200 hundred parking spaces will be created, 89 below and adjacent to the building and the remainder elsewhere on campus, according to QC.
So it is finally official, it's nice to see something finally put into the works after hearing and talking about it for a little over a year now. This will finally bring a social life to QC, one that the consensus agrees is lacking.

May 5, 2008

The Lost Supermarket: The Quest For Fresh Foods

The Lost Supermarket: A Breed in Need of Replenishment

A continuing decline in the number of neighborhood supermarkets has made it harder for millions of New Yorkers to find fresh and affordable food within walking distance of their homes, according to a recent city study. The dearth of nearby supermarkets is most severe in minority and poor neighborhoods already beset by obesity, diabetes and and heart disease.

The supermarket closings — not confined to poor neighborhoods — result from rising rents and slim profit margins, among other causes. They have forced residents to take buses or cabs to the closest supermarkets in some areas. Those with cars can drive, but the price of gasoline is making some think twice about that option. In many places, residents said the lack of competition has led to rising prices in the remaining stores.

“Many people in low-income neighborhoods are spending their food budget at discount stores or pharmacies where there is no fresh produce,” said Amanda Burden, the city’s planning director. “In our study, a significant percentage of them reported that in the day before our survey, they had not eaten fresh fruit or vegetables. Not one. That really is a health crisis in the city.”
This is a much larger problem than it appears, there is already a health crisis of the poor urban neighborhoods as they are already at higher risk for disease due to living conditions, but now the removal of fresh foods completely from one's diet could be devastating. A supermarket closes down and another two fast food restaurants open up. This is just another subtle affect that the dependence of foreign oil and inflation is causing.

May 4, 2008

Can't Beat Queen's Meat

Queens Meat Company Recalls Fresh And Frozen Meat Products

For the second time in three months, a Queens company is at the center of a meat recall.

Gourmet Boutique of Jamaica is voluntarily recalling more than 286,000 pounds of fresh and frozen beef, pork and poultry because of possible listeria contamination.

The potentially affected products -- 35 in all -- are sold under the names Gourmet Boutique, Jan's and Archer Farms.

The 'sell by' dates range from May 3rd through October 23rd.

The fresh food was produced last month, while the frozen food was produced between last October and last month.

So far there have been no reports of illnesses.
I've never even heard of this brand, but I'm glad they are doing the right thing rather than letting people get sick.

Happy Sunday Everyone Go Catch Some Rays

May 2, 2008

Queens: The Melting Pot Is Hotter Than Ever

The melting pot on a high boil in Flushing

Along Main and Union Streets many of the signs and the conversations are in Chinese, Korean or Vietnamese. A street vendor blasted Chinese pop music. At a sidewalk counter you can buy Peking duck to go. I passed under the wide window of a tea shop where high school kids sat people-watching and text-messaging as they sipped bubble tea, the sweet Chinese tea with pearls of tapioca in it. At a Chinese grocery tiny grandmas elbowed me aside, the better to haggle with the grocers over vegetables and fruit.

I was walking with John Liu, the city councilman for District 20, which includes Flushing. Liu was born in Taiwan and has lived in Flushing since his family moved there in 1972, when he was 5. In 2002 he became the first Asian-American on the New York City Council. He was happy to play tour guide on the crowded streets.

Indians, Pakistanis and Afghans also make their homes in Flushing, alongside growing groups of Mexicans and Central Americans. They have all followed previous waves of Russians, Greeks, Italians, Irish and African-Americans.

If America really is a melting pot, Flushing seems one place where it's on a high boil.

Great article that captures a great deal about Flushing, I recommend checking out the following link above.

May 1, 2008

Padavan Gets A School

Glen Oaks School Campus Renamed For New York State Senator
The Department of Education has renamed the Glen Oaks school campus on Commonwealth Boulevard in Bellerose, Queens after New York State Senator Frank Padavan.

DOE officials say the city wanted to recognize Padavan's efforts to have the schools built, at a time when there was a shortage of space.

"It's a great feeling that people are acknowledging, most importantly the people in this community are all here today, acknowledging that we did something for their children in the community and something will be here forever," said Padavan. "You have to take a certain sense of pride about that."

Sorry Buddy No More Placards

Mayor Slashes Number Of Parking Placards For City Employees

Finding parking in Manhattan can be like trying to find a needle in a hay stack.

"It’s annoying. Actually I had to pay $20 to find parking ‘cause I thought I was going to get a ticket and it's a $115 ticket. It's not fun at all,” said one driver.

The situation is made worse thanks to the tens of thousands of city employees who enjoy the perks of city-issued placards to park at will, while everyone else circles the block in desperation.

It's gotten so bad in Lower Manhattan, according to a recent study, that there are now three times as many drivers without placards as there are parking spots available.

No more says City Hall, which announced Wednesday it's slashing the number of placards by more than one third.

Heh, welcome to the club of can't find parking. Mass Transit for the win?



Astoria Can Feel The Power, And They Are Not Happy

Authority Approves Power Plant for New York City
The state authority has selected Astoria Energy LLC to build a new gas-fueled plant in Queens under a 20-year contract. The decision will help make up for the loss of the Charles Poletti Power Project in Queens, which is due to close in 2010.
Here is some back ground on the Charles Poletti Power Project, it's a good read.

The 885-megawatt (mw) Poletti project, and a new 500-mw combined-cycle power plant built directly next door, enable the Power Authority to meet the electricity requirements of its large government customers in New York City, who save hundreds of millions of dollars a year in lower energy costs by using NYPA-generated electricity. They include tax-supported schools, hospitals, municipal buildings, and the metropolitan region’s subways and commuter trains.

Astoria Residents Unhappy With Plans For Area's Sixth Power Plant

With five power plants already in his neighborhood, Douglas Sanchez is fuming over plans to build a new one here in Astoria.

“I’d like them to find someplace else. I really don't want it here,” said Sanchez.

The plan, selected by the New York Power Authority out of 30 proposals, will allow Astoria Energy to build a natural gas-fueled plant that would supply 500 megawatts of power under a 20-year contract to some of the city's schools, subways, and public housing.

“The city might need it, but you know why don't they put it on Fifth Avenue?” said Sanchez.

Car Crashes into Queens Storefront


Car Crashes into Queens Storefront

NEW YORK (1010 WINS) -- A car crashed into a storefront in Queens early Tuesday, leaving one woman hospitalized with minor injuries, police said.

The incident happened at the Mohawk Cleaners on Myrtle Avenue.

A woman sustained minor injuries and was taken to Elmhurst Hospital, police said.

April 30, 2008

PLEASE SUPPORT THE HOLLY CIVIC ASSOCIATION

PLEASE SUPPORT THE HOLLY CIVIC ASSOCIATION IN ITS

EFFORT TO MATCH THE CONTEXTUAL FABRIC OF ITS

COMMUNITY AND STOP THE WAYWARD CONSTRUCTION

WHICH IS DESTROYING IT


THE HOLLY CIVIC ASSOCIATION IS AN AFFILIATE OF THE QUEENS CONGRESS OF CIVIC ORGANIZATIONS.
MS. DOROTHY WOO IS AN EXECUTIVE BOARD MEMBER OF BOTH GROUPS. WE HAVE SERVED OUR
COMMUNITY SINCE THE 1960’S WITH THE SAME DEDICATION AND COMMITMENT AS YOU ARE SERVING
YOUR NEIGHBORHOODS.

THE NEW YORK CITY DEPARTMENT OF PLANNING HAS INDICATED ITS WILLINGNESS TO UP-ZONE
FROM, AN EXISTING R – 6 TO AN UNPRECEDENTED R – 7 ZONE A PORTION OF THE
AREA WE HAVE REPRESENTED OVER THE MANY YEARS OF OUR EXISTENCE AND WE MOST STRENUOUSLY
OBJECT TO PLACING A 25 STORY APARTMENT BUILDING ON AN ALREADY CROWDED BLOCK,
WITH SPACE FOR INDOOR PARKING FOR 100 CARS!

THIS POSITION DOES NOT MAKE US ‘ENEMIES OF REZONING WHO ARE
ALWAYS PRESENT AT THESE MEETINGS AND WHO WILL APPEAR IN
STRENGTH AND WILL BE WELL PREPARED.”

IT DOES MAKE US AN ORGANIZATION, WORKING TOGETHER TO
PRESERVE OUR NEIGHBORHOOD! NO SPOT ZONING!! NO R-7-1 ZONE!!

THE HOLLY CIVIC ASSOCIATION, PO BOX 520087, FLUSHING, NEW YORK 11352

April 16, 2008

We Light Up Queens: Academic Leave

Due to academic obligations, I will be away from the "Blog-o-sphere" for the next few weeks.

Consequently as of now the blog will not be updated.

If you would like to assist me and become a guest blogger in my absence that would be greatly appreciated. Send me an email at WeLightUpQueens [at] Gmail [dot] com.

If you are a regular reader, please subscribe to my RSS feed so that you can be notified when the Blog comes back in full force.

Thanks,

Mike
We Light Up Queens

April 13, 2008

Queens Economics Improving

Queens, NYC Economic Picture Shows Improvements

"It's a terrific time to live and work in Queens," Lieber said, pointing out that residential market values have doubled in the past six years, crime is down by one-third and graffiti clearance has become a principal program of the police and their auxiliary groups. Figuratively touring the borough, he began in Flushing, a big commercial and transportation center, where the Downtown Flushing Task Force was formed in 2002 and dedicated itself to cleaner streets and attractive signage.

In Jamaica, $80 million has been invested by the city in street improvement in the vicinity of the Airtrain station; and the project to build 350 apartments on the old Queens Family Courthouse site is another example of the public sector setting the stage for private development.

He said that "for too long, Willets Point has remained stagnant" with a bad sewer system and other conditions that have rendered the area a pollution problem. Proper sewers and lighting are the forerunners of vast residential and commercial development. Another task that must be carried out is job replacement for the job displacement that is taking place in Willets Point in the automotive collision and body businesses that operate there now. Willets Point presents a situation that has been neglected for too long, Lieber said, but no time should be wasted blaming previous administrations for it, just get on with setting it right.
Stuff like this gives me both hope and pride to live where I live. It also sounds politically driven but what isn't these days?

April 12, 2008

Woodhaven Lanes Gutter Balled Over Lease Renewal

Queens Bowlers Rally To Keep A Beloved Alley Open

Dozens of residents in Glendale, Queens rallied Saturday to keep the Woodhaven Lanes bowling alley open.

Area bowlers are not happy at the possibility of the alley closing its doors after more than 45 years in business. Thousands of signatures to keep the good times rolling.

"We want this to remain a bowling alley. This is more than just a bowling alley it's a community center,” said bowler Jim Santora.

The Brunswick Bowling company said it will not renew its lease after the current league season ends this spring.
Maybe with all the space being added at Atlas Park, Woodhaven Lanes could have a new home. I always felt it was over priced but it was always packed with people, definitely something that will be missed.

The New York Philharmonic Announces Free Concerts In Queens

The New York Philharmonic Announces Free Concerts In Staten Island, Queens, The Bronx, Brooklyn, Manhattan, And New Jersey As Part Of The 2008 ‘Concerts In The Park Series."

The New York Philharmonic today announced details about free concerts in the boroughs of New York City as well as New Jersey as part of the 2008 Concerts in the Parks, Presented by Didi and Oscar Schafer, taking place June 24 and July 8–15 2008.

-The New York Philharmonic will perform in the Richmond County Bank Ballpark on Staten Island (July 8);

-PNC Bank Arts Center in Holmdel, New Jersey (July 9);

-Cunningham Park in Queens (July 10);

-Van Cortlandt Park, the Bronx (July 11);

-Prospect Park in Brooklyn (July 14),

-Heckscher State Park, Long Island (July 12).

In addition to previously announced concerts in Central Park (June 24th and July15th)

The concerts on Staten Island and in New Jersey, Queens, the Bronx, and Long Island will feature works by Mozart, Bach, and Elgar, conducted by Philharmonic Associate Conductor Xian Zhang. Music Director Designate Alan Gilbert will lead the concert in Prospect Park in works by Bach, Beethoven, and Sibelius. New York Philharmonic Associate Principal Concertmaster Sheryl Staples and Assistant Concertmaster Michelle Kim will be the soloists in J.S. Bach’s Concerto for Two Violins in D minor, BWV 1043, in these concerts.

All concerts at 8:00 p.m.

Seems like Queens is the place to be this Spring.

Shea Stadium Beer Economics

Shea Stadium Beer Economics

Yet every year, people manage to afford enough beer at Shea to get blotto'ed and embarrass themselves. Clearly, the Mets have the wealthiest alcoholic fans in Queens.

But with gas heading to $4/gallon and a possible recession looming, it's time to break down the true cost of beer at Shea Stadium.

Loge13 regular Don Hahn Solo did just that in a recent note to me:

BUDWEISER AT SHEA:
  • $8 for 16 ounces is fifty cents an ounce.
  • There are 128 ounces in a gallon.
  • Bud at Shea Stadium is $64 a gallon.

Queens: A Taste of the World Event

Queens restaurants heat up food event

30 Queens restaurants are set to offer the best of their culinary delights at the sixth annual "Queens: A Taste of the World" event at the National Tennis Center in Flushing Meadows-Corona Park on Monday.

"We're excited about how this event has grown each year," said Spencer Ferdinand, executive director of the Queens Economic Development Corp., which sponsors the event.

As a buildup to Monday, chefs from some of the borough's best-known eateries - including Astoria's Mezzo Mezzo and Bayside's Papazzio Restaurant - gave live cooking demonstrations at Macy's in Herald Square.

The restaurants participating in the event "will be our headliners for September's Restaurant Week," said Michelle Stoddart, a spokeswoman for the QEDC.

Tickets are $85 each, or two for $150.

April 11, 2008

The Next Major Transporation Hub in Flushing?

Make downtown Flushing major transportation center

I have been a resident of Flushing for over 50 years. I watched it grow and fall and grow again. Each time it reinvents itself, I am proud to say I am from Flushing.

But our downtown needs to step up to the world plate. We are hitting singles while the rest of the world is slamming home runs. Anyone traveling outside America can see the enormous growth of cities. We need to make Flushing a showplace to compete with Shanghai, Beijing, London, Paris and Dubai, just to name a few. We need a transportation system that connects to our airports and looks like a showcase, not a hole in the ground.

I propose we take the old Master's, Alexander's, Corvette's and all the other names and convert them into a transportation hub. The building, on Main Street and Roosevelt Avenue, could have the Long Island Rail Road on one side and the 7 train underneath. The AirTrain could be brought right into the building, connecting everyone and allowing people to make their transfers.

The building could also be made into small shops similar to Penn Station. This would be the gateway to Flushing and all it has to offer. Instead of exiting the subway system onto a rain-soaked street or trying to find your friend waiting in a doorway, you could be in a large heated or air conditioned, stunning waiting room with shops and amenities.

Bob Bedrossian

Flushing
In the light of the failures of Congestion Pricing and the Willets Point Plan, I think Bob's suggestion is one that if done properly could really improve the area, not to mention making the area surrounding it much for valuable, which will bring along investors. I would much rather take mass transit to an JFK than a cab, its more convenient and its price effective.This is not only feasible, I don't think it will require to use of Eminent Domain which should make things much easier. Then again with the lack of funding it could be awhile until something like this is taken seriously.

The Day Congestion Pricing Died

Congestion Pricing Dies in Albany

Denied the opportunity to vote on the proposal, congestion pricing was killed in Albany this week to Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s chagrin.

The State Assembly never voted on the controversial plan that would charge drivers $8 to enter Manhattan below 60th Street and the state has now forfeited some $350 million in federal transportation funds for system improvements.


City Councilman John Liu (D-Flushing), Chairman of the City Council Transportation Committee, was a leading proponent and voted for congestion pricing. He said in statement, “This defeat is disappointing to transportation advocates, environmental advocates, community activists and business leaders alike. However, there’s no use crying over spilled milk. Even without congestion pricing, we still need to reduce the extreme congestion that has a chokehold on our economy as well as on our environment.”

He was also critical of the mayor’s political strategy, implying that his administration failed to build a consensus around the plan.

“The Mayor’s people forgot to understand the legislative process. A high-and-almighty approach supplanted what should have been a collaborative process. The worst part of the Administration’s approach was that the City Council was pawned off in the process.”
There go my hopes of better transit. I think the Manhattanites would have benefited, the everyday traffic and everything that goes along with it would have been greatly affected.

Come Walk For MS

Walk For MS:

Every year, Queens residents are among the thousands of New Yorkers who participate in Walk MS, a walk to raise money for the NYC Chapter of the National Multiple Sclerosis Society. This year’s walk, expected to bring in more than $3.2 million, is scheduled for April 12 in Staten Island and April 13 in Manhattan.

For more information visit www.walkmsnyc.org or call (212) 463-9791.


I have been walking for a couple of years now, it is quite a powerful experience.

$17 Million Funneled into Faticious Organizations

$17M Go To Fake Groups

Approximately $17.4 million has been allocated to fake community groups. The practice precedes Quinn’s tenure, dating back to 2001, but peaked in 2007 with 18 ghost groups – such as the Coalition of Informed Individuals and Senior Citizens for Equality – receiving $4.5 million.

The New York Post was first to report the practice and Quinn immediately held a news conference last Thursday.
“I was obviously deeply troubled when I found out about this information,” Quinn said. “I had no knowledge of it; I did not know this was the practice. It’s something I believe is completely inappropriate and should not have gone on, and will no longer go on.”

Quinn became speaker in January 2006 and only discovered the fictitious organizations last fall. She said she then alerted the United States attorney’s office and the City’s Department of Investigation and hired an outside law firm, Sullivan & Cromwell.

City Comptroller Bill Thompson released the following statement: “The allegations reported today in The New York Post raise serious concerns. If there were any attempts to subvert the New York City Charter or to hide money in nonexistent organizations, these actions would represent a breach of the public trust.”

Queens Councilman David Weprin (D-Hollis), who chairs the finance committee, pointed out the Mayor’s role in the scandal.
Just when you thought you could trust Bloomie and his Billions. That is a lot of money that could have went to schools or improvement in the MTA.

April 9, 2008

Atlas Park Mall to Double In Size

Damon Hemmerdinger, Selling the Archie Bunker Borough Nationally

Damon Hemmerdinger, the owner of the massive Glendale mall the Shops at Atlas Park (and the son of M.T.A. chairman Dale Hemmerdinger), has been running around passing out $20,000 of his own money. Why? Because the 36-year-old wants people to shop! In Queens!
There is an awesome Q & A with Mr. Hemmerdinger. He speaks very highly of Queens.

Even now, we speak to national retail brokers or retailers’ in-house real estate people, and they’ll say, ‘I’m not interested in Queens.’ It’s hard to know what that means. It’s the entire population of San Diego county!

It’s more than the entire population of the state of West Virginia.

Right. It’s bigger than 19 states. To dismiss it before you even look still doesn’t make sense to me. But it happens all the time.

Iv'e been to Atlas Park a few times and think that it truely stands out, its not something you would expect in Glendale or anywhere in Queens for that matter. This project will make a ride into Glendale more feasible than a ride out to Roosevelt Fields, for most people. I don't know how the economy will affect this project, but I am all for it.

MTA Hands Over Valuable Land in Queens

MTA Hands Over Valuable Real Estate To Spur Jamaica Redevelopment

More stores are on the way for commuters and Jamaica residents, as the MTA announced today that it is leasing some valuable real estate, as part of a plan to spur development in southeast Queens.

The Greater Jamaica Development Corporation is spear-heading a $12 million project, aimed at bringing more retail and private investment to the neighborhood.

To help the effort, the Long Island Rail Road is relocating its print shop, currently located under the rail road tracks on Sutphin Boulevard, to another Queens location.

The new plans would call for a better-lit underpass and more than 5,000 square feet of retail space.

Currently, the railroad underpass, pictured above, is a dark tunnel across the street from the entrance to the railroad and air train stations.

"Sometimes if you walk underneath here, you can't see the person's face that's coming towards you," said a local.

Supporters say they are especially interested in promoting businesses that cater to both the neighborhood and to LIRR customers.

"We are hoping to do convenience stores that will be helpful to people riding the Long Island Railroad and those in the neighborhood," said Andrew Manshel of the Greater Jamaica Development Corp.

"We service 280,000 customers daily, and many of them come through Jamaica, so additional retail might make this a good stopping off point for them," said Susan McGowan of LIRR.

Construction on the project is set to begin later this year.
This will be beneficial to both the community and to commuters and I give kudos. However I am still skeptical that someone is getting rich on this transaction.

Queens: Counterfit Tax Stamp Operation Bust

Police Bust Queens Counterfeit Tax Stamp Operation

Police officials busted a counterfeit operation that they said could have net millions in illegal cigarette sales.

Officials seized $6 million worth of fake tax stamps, which would have been put on cigarette boxes to appear they were taxed properly.

The operations was the largest seizure of counterfeit tax stamps in New York State history.

Undercover investigators say they sold tens of thousands of cartons of smuggled cigarettes to Queens resident Refea Al-Nablisi, 40, who then sold more than a million fake tax stamps.

Al-Nablisi faces 15 years in prison for tax violations and counterfeiting.

The bust is part of an ongoing investigation into gangs dealing in black market cigarettes.
Only in Queens.... Now my tobacco products will cost more too. First my Air Gordans and now my smokes. Maybe now the increased taxes will do something productive and progressive for New York City. *cough* Fund the St. Saviors Move *cough*

April 6, 2008

Aristotle Lives in Queens?

Aristotle Statue Unveiled In Queens Park

Elected officials and community members gathered in Athens Square Park in Astoria Saturday to unveil a bust of Aristotle, the famed Greek philosopher.

Those in attendance said the statue is a great honor for the city's large Greek population.


"Just like in history, Aristotle follows Socrates. We had the bust of Socrates, the statue of Athena, and now Aristotle comes to Astoria. It's a jewel for not just for this community, but for the entire city," said Queens Democratic Councilman Peter Vallone, Jr.

The statue is a gift from Greece.
We Actually need more statues in all of our city parks. Congratulations Astoria Park.

April 5, 2008

Queens Awareness Walk for Developmental Disabilities

Dozens Walk In Queens To Raise Awareness Of Developmental Disabilities

Walkers pounded the pavement in Queens today to show support for an organization dedicated to serving people with disabilities.

Dozens of people came out for the 33rd annual five-mile walk sponsored by the Queens Centers for Progress.

Organizers say the walk is not only about raising money.

"It's often the case that unless someone has a family member with a disability, they really don't know too much about developmental disabilities and what people with those conditions can do, and we find this a good educational opportunity," said Charles Houston of the Queens Center for Progress.

April 4, 2008

Queens Leads Job Growth in the State of New York

Queens Leads State In Job Growth

Employment in Queens is growing faster than anywhere else in the state.

Also, average weekly wages went up almost 13 percent over the year, making it's wage growth the second highest out of any county in the country.


On one hand I am surprised of this fact, however when you think about the massive development going on in Queens especially over the past 5 years or so it makes too much sense. I would be skeptical about the quality of the majority of these jobs.

Despite MTA funding cuts 7 Train Sees Improvements

NYC Transit To Take Steps Toward Improving Subway Announcements

Transit officials are listening to riders' complaints about garbled or inaudible subway announcements.

New York City Transit says hundreds of decades-old subway cars are getting external speakers so messages from the conductor can be heard more clearly by riders on the platform.

Transit officials are also looking to replace the conductors' microphones to improve onboard messages.

Trains on the 7 lines will be the first to get the new equipment. If the change proves successful on that line, it will likely be expanded to other lines.

About 2,500 of the system's 6,200 cars, mostly the newer ones, already have exterior speakers pointed towards the platforms.

NYPIRG will be very happy about this, as they pushed very hard for new intercom speakers to hear the Conductors better. Maybe with these upgrades the next survey of the 7 Train will be better than a C-.

Police Raid Flushing Warehouse: Find 16 Million in Counterfit Goods

Queens Police Make City's Largest Counterfeit Bust
Police in Queens made one of the biggest counterfeit busts in city history Thursday night.

Police raided a warehouse on Northern Boulevard in Flushing, and seized the merchandise with an estimated value of nearly $4.5 million.

Among the items seized were 50,000 pairs of sneakers, more than 30,000 counterfeit handbags, and 5,000 pieces of clothing.

Police said the estimated retail value of the legitimate versions of the items is approximately $16 million.

There go my new pair of Air Gordans I was going to buy on Main Street this weekend.

Teen Stabbed in Queens Public Library

Elmont Teen Arrested in Library Assault

Police arrested a 17-year-old Elmont girl for allegedly assaulting another teen in the Elmont Public Library.

According to police, on Wednesday, March 26 at 3:52 p.m., two teenagers engaged in a verbal argument, which escalated into a physical altercation.

Police allege that one of the teens, a 17-year-old female, stabbed an 18-year-old teen once in the back. The 18-year-old was taken to Winthrop-University Hospital.

The 17-year-old female was arrested at her residence and was charged with second degree assault and fourth degree possession of a dangerous weapon.


A stabbing in a Public Library, what's next? a hold up at a Church?

Queens Road Rage In Car Wash

Queens Man Arrested For Car Wash Incident

Police arrested a Queens man after he allegedly drove his truck into a computer control at an Elmont car wash, causing the control to be demolished.

Police allege that on March 30 at 2:20 p.m., Assi Touti, 37, of Forest Hills, was dissatisfied with the service he received at Mr. Hand Car Wash on Linden Boulevard in Elmont. Police said Touti allegedly became agitated at having to wait in line for a second wash after he was dissatisfied with the first. Police said he allegedly drove his Silverado truck into the car wash's computer control repeatedly, trapping three employees between the machinery and a fence.

My question is, how bad does a car wash have to be to render this result?

Queens: Chaos at it's best.

Queens Civic Congress Report On Zoning

Received Via Email:

In order to help share information about civic activities in our area I am submitting the following report:

The QCC (Queens Civic Congress) Zoning zoning meeting held on Monday, March 31, at the Kew Gardens Community Center was very exciting and educational. Beverly McDermott and Joe Amoroso represented the KPCA. The Zoning Panel was made up of Henry Euler from Auburndale Civic, professional urban planner Paul Graziano, Sandra Atwell, President, Hollis 11423 Block Association, Paul DiBenedetto, President, Bayside Civic Database, John Young, Queens Director of City Planning and Mayoral candidate Councilman Tony Avella. The meeting, moderated by Sean M. Walsh, Esq., QCC Founder, was well attended by many civics with about 100 people filling the room.

Queens Director of City Planning John Young became the obvious target for the long delay that many neighborhoods are experiencing in their quest to get rezoned. John explained that the recent outburst of those objecting to down zoning has slowed the process significantly. It remains important that those seeking to preserve their neighborhoods stay strong in opposing those resisting zoning improvements for the sake of immediate financial gain. Tony Avella strongly urged City Planning to get back on track because many neighborhoods are years beyond the dates promised by City Planning for their rezoning. He understood that City Planning needs more staff but his recent efforts to acquire additional funds for staffing were not successful. Pat Dolan, QCC Executive Vice President, suggested that more zoning classifications are needed, especially one related to single-family row houses. After each panelist spoke the floor was opened for questions from the various civic groups resulting in a barrage of lively discussions. Although many civics had an opportunity to speak there were many who could not because of time constraints. The representative from Holly Civic did not get to speak but did approach the panel after the meeting to indicate that he strongly opposed City Planning's zoning proposal for the Holly Civic area and requested to be removed from the rezoning process if it wasn't changed to his satisfaction.

QCC President Corey Bearak, noted that in some areas that have been rezoned there is still some out-of -character construction in progress with DOB permits that should not be approved under the new zoning regulations. All of the panelists agreed that the citizens and civics must be on alert to protest the issuance of permits issued by the DOB in error. Enforcement can only be accomplished by caring citizens.

Joe Amoroso, KPCA Zoning Chair

April 3, 2008

Queens Artists Displaced By MTA Expansion Hold Last Exhibit



Queens Artists Displaced By MTA Expansion Hold Last Exhibit

Some artists in Queens who will be forced from their studios are using an art exhibit to expres frustrations over the MTA's East Side Access Project.

Artists who work at the Flux Factory in Long Island City, which is being closed and demolished as part of the project, are holding one more show – called “Everything Must Go” - before the building’s doors are shut forever.

"We have an artist who is going to be making, no offense to any actual MTA workers, it's going to be an MTA worker pinata that we'll have at the final party," said Flux Factory director Stefany Anne Golberg.

Flux Factory began as an artist collective in the early 1990s and has been in this space in Long Island City since 2002. At the site, artists create, collaborate, and showcase their art. Many live at the site, as well.

But with the MTA getting ready to demolish the building, artists like Nick Normal need to find new places to live by the end of the month. The situation inspired his artwork.
Flux Factory

More Photos to come. It's a shame that the artists are being forced out, but at least they are going out with a bang.

April 2, 2008

Man Arrested Throwing Cocktails in Queens, This isn't Grand Theft Auto IV Buddy...

Police: Man Arrested for Queens Firebomb Barrage

NEW YORK (AP/1010 WINS) -- New York City police have arrested a man accused of hurling homemade firebombs from a Queens rooftop after slashing someone with a machete on a nearby street.

Police say Felipe Velasquez is being held at a hospital where he was taken for a psychiatric evaluation after the incident Tuesday evening. The 21-year-old has been arrested on charges including attempted murder, reckless endangerment and assault.

No telephone number could be found at the Queens address Velasquez gave police. They aren't certain whether he has a lawyer.

Police say Velasquez tossed five flaming, liquid-filled containers into the street from a building roof, setting a car on fire.

Police say Velasquez ran to the roof after using the machete to attack a 45-year-old man on the street below. The victim is hospitalized in stable condition.
What the hell is going on? The chaos is slowly picking up momentum or so it seems... but just maybe the news is that slow that they are reporting things like this. I like how 1010wins also omits where in Queens this happened. There was no injuries or property damage (besides one car) reported so once again Queens residents get lucky. Could it be due to foreclosure rate in Queens? Could it be the Recession? No its called F_ _king crazy. That is all.

April 1, 2008

Brownfields: Making Fresh Meadows... Less Fresh?

Per Queens Chronicle
(Photo by Michael O'Kane)

When it comes to environmental cleanup, sometimes the wheels of change grind slowly.
Take the case of such a location at 183-15 Horace Harding Expressway in Fresh Meadows, a 1.6-acre site which formerlyhoused a strip mall and was demolished three years ago under the state’s voluntary Brownfield Cleanup Program.

The property is owned by Whitestone Realty LLD, which wants to develop two hotels and attached houses in the back of the property. Plans call for two six-story hotels with 70 and 90 rooms, respectively.
Susan Seinfeld, district manager of Community Board 11, has been trying to work with the developer for years, but has had little success. “I have been trying to reach George Xu, an official with the developer, to discuss all the problems, but he didn’t call me back,” she said.


At this point I'd take the proposed project over the vacant land/Brownfield. Queens should not be a place where stagnation should occur. It is unacceptable, to deny Queens residents possible services the occupants of this land could bear. It is also unacceptable to bring downt he quality of the neighborhood, leaving eyesores like this around.

March 29, 2008

Queens Teenager Opens Fire on NYPD

NYPD: Armed Teenager Shot by Cops in Queens

NEW YORK (1010 WINS) -- A teenager, allegedly armed with a loaded gun, has been shot by police in Queens.

The NYPD says uniformed officers approached four males at around
5:30 p.m. Friday at the corner of 75th street and 101st Avenue in Ozone Park.

Authorities say a police officer and a sergeant confronted the armed suspect and opened fire. He was shot in the hand, buttocks and leg and was taken to Jamaica Hospital in stable condition.

There are no words besides "what a dirt bag". Well thats one less aspiring youth off the streets. I am thankful that no one died. I have heard too many stories that ended in death.

*Continues shaking his head*

March 27, 2008

Queens Crossing Art Gallery To Open

First exhibition showcased at Queens Crossing gallery

A hulking commercial and office complex hanging over Municipal Lot 1 in downtown Flushing, Queens Crossing is expected to open in its entirety sometime in April. Several aspects of the building, though, such as Crossing Art, have been operational for months.

"Back to the Garden" represents the first full exhibition at the 8,000-square-foot gallery, located on the fourth floor at 136-20 38th Ave. The exhibition, free of charge, features eight artists, each of whom Curator Lucchia Mei-Hua Lee said represented the theme of "back to the garden" in their work.

"It doesn't matter who you are. You could be the grumpiest old man. The moment you see a sticker you smile," Choi said of her piece, "Apple Juice Kisses and Champagne Farts."

"I wanted to capture some of that childlike joy. With the reflective materials, as you're looking at [the collages], you realize that you're looking at yourself. You find yourself in the work."

Crossing Art is open from Tuesday to Saturday from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. or by appointment. For additional information, call Lee at 917-412-2831 or visit

www.crossingart.com.
Is it just me or is the Ledgers latest publication a little more positive than usual? Boy Spring must be in the air. Anyways, its good to see Queens supporting art and artists since all of the disputes in LIC about how the "yuppies" are being out priced of the neighborhood. But that will need another post.

Bard High School Early College II To Open In Queens

BHSEC II To Open In Queens In September

Bard High School Early College II will open in Queens this September. Like the original Bard High School Early College in Manhattan, founded in 2001, BHSEC II is based on the principle that many motivated students are ready to engage in college-level work during their high school years.
Operated in partnership between Bard College and the New York City Department of Education, BHSEC II offers highly motivated students from all five boroughs the opportunity to earn a Regents diploma from New York State, as well as 60 college credits and an Associate in Arts degree from Bard College in a selective, tuition-free, public school. BHSEC II is now accepting applications for this coming September from students currently in 10th grade (class of 2010).

Information sessions, featuring staff and students from BHSEC, will be held Tuesday, March 25, at 6 p.m. at 525 East Houston St. in Manhattan; Monday, March 31 at 6 p.m. at 30-20 Thomson Ave. in Long Island City; and Wednesday, April 9 at 6 p.m. at 30-20 Thomson Ave. in Long Island City.
To apply or sign up to take the admissions assessment, which is part of the application process, call (212) 995-8479, ext. 2042, or e-mail apply@bhsec.bard.edu. Assessments will be held on Saturday, April 12 and Thursday, May 1 at 30-20 Thomson Ave. in Long Island City. Students must bring a copy of their 9th grade and most recent 10th grade report cards.
What a double whammy, not only a new school, but a good school. Very good, more options and more opportunities for gifted children of Queens and New York City. The biggest kicker is that is tuition free, kudos for who ever put this into the works.

BHSEC