Monday, April 23, 2018

Pipes run dry in Whitestone

From the Times Ledger:

Residents of 2nd Avenue in Whitestone said they have been living each day not knowing if they will have water due to insufficient pipes.

State Sen. Tony Avella (D-Bayside) was joined by eight homeowners from 2nd Avenue to call on the city and the DEP to address serious quality-of-life issues regarding their water. Avella said that for years eight homes on 2nd Avenue between 147th Street and 147th Place have dealt with flooding conditions and poor water pressure, if they have had water at all. Residents said the flooding issue was resolved when the city Department of Transportation resurfaced their road but the city has not addressed the lack of water.

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Avella said he has reached out to DEP since 2013 about the water problem and has gotten zero response.

Residents are blaming the lack of water on an inadequate, two-inch wide water supply pipe that is not able to service all of the homes on the block. While the DEP has acknowledged in the past that the pipes are not wide enough, Avella contends the DEP has refused to take any action.

Council blows a lot of hot air over wind turbines

From Crains:

The City Council will consider a bill Monday to standardize wind-turbine installation on rooftops as part of a suite of green legislation wending its way through the chamber.

Currently, anyone who wants a turbine must apply for a special permit from the Department of Buildings, which is notorious for bureaucracy.

"As anyone who's dealt with [the department] knows, even the most garden-variety projects can often ensnare you in endless strands of red tape," Councilman Costa Constantinides, a Queens Democrat and sponsor of the bill, said in a speech earlier this year. "When you add cutting-edge technology on top of that, you're only complicating it further."

The legislation would standardize the process so property owners would know exactly what to do and inspectors would use the same set of criteria to judge every project. The idea is to help make the city more energy-efficient.

A complementary Constantinides bill would require officials to create a wind map showing where these devices would work best.

Solar panels tend to be more cost-effective small-scale power generators, but not all rooftops are conducive to their installation, creating an opportunity for wind.

Small wind turbines can be used to generate modest amounts of power as well as make a statement about renewable energy, but they are nowhere near the top of the list in terms of potential to make the city greener. Reducing power consumption of buildings, which account for nearly three-quarters of the city's greenhouse-gas emissions, provides the biggest payoff. Large-scale wind farms can also move the needle; the state's Energy Research and Development Authority is working on a plan for turbines off the coast of Long Island.

Sunday, April 22, 2018

Maspeth bar shut down for prostitution, drugs, gambling & counterfeit cigarettes

From NBC:

A Queens bar had its liquor license suspended after authorities allegedly uncovered prostitution, narcotics, illicit gambling and untaxed cigarettes.

The New York State Liquor Authority issued the emergency suspension of Huang Jia Inc in Maspeth Wednesday effective immediately, which prohibits alcohol to be sold or consumed on the premises.

According to the State Liquor Authority, SLA investigators and officers with the New York City Police Department’s Citywide Vice-Enforcement Division executed a search warrant of the bar on April 12. During the search warrant, investigators allegedly discovered 97 packs of counterfeit or untaxed cigarettes, jars and bags filled with the narcotic ketamine, records related to the sale of prostitution and illegal gambling devices.

The NYPD made nine arrests, including the bar’s owner, for criminal possession of a controlled substance. Additionally, a number of hazardous conditions were observed, including overcrowding, blocked exits and non-working emergency lighting, the State Liquor Authority says.

On April 14, the NYPD and SLA conducted a follow up inspection, making six arrests after allegedly discovering patrons with ketamine in three separate karaoke rooms inside the bar and finding patrons consuming alcohol after closing hours.

On April 16, the SLA charged the establishment with 22 violations of the ABC Law, including disorderly premises for permitting prostitution, gambling, trafficking of controlled substances, failure to supervise and for becoming a focal point for police attention.

Between March 15th and April 12th, the NYPD conducted three undercover operations where detectives posing as customers allegedly purchased narcotics, prostitution and gambling — all which formed the basis for the April 12 raid, officials say.

According to the NYPD, there was an alleged a pattern of criminal activity in and around the premises months prior to these incidents.

Community gardens coming to Woodside

From Sunnyside Post:

Woodside could see two community gardens soon, as the city is preparing to license out small plots of land in the area to a non-profit and community gardening program.

The two triangular lots in question are on opposite sides of one another by 41-38 69th St., parallel to the Brooklyn Queens Expressway below them and close to Woodside Avenue.

The sites are under the jurisdiction of the Department of Transportation, which owns the BQE bridge structure the lots are on.

The lots would be converted to community gardens run by both the International Rescue Committee, a humanitarian aid organization, and GreenThumb, a NYC Parks program that supports community gardens around the city.

Saturday, April 21, 2018

Will a community land trust work in NYC?

From Curbed:

The huge run-up of prices in the 21st century, which can lead to gentrification, speculation, and predatory practices, has shrunk the affordable housing stock, says Andrew Reicher, executive director of the Urban Homesteading Assistance Board, one of the community groups collaborating on the Interboro Community Land Trust in New York City.

“People are looking around for a tool that creates affordable housing from the start, and prevents this type of change from happening again,” he says. “I’m not sure people realize how fragile our housing economy can be.”

One of the more intriguing new CLTs, the nascent Interboro Community Land Trust, aims to apply this model to one of the nation’s most expensive real estate markets, New York City.

According to Reicher, Interboro will partner with developers and nonprofits across the city. New affordable homes, apartment developments, and co-ops will be added to the trust, which will help maintain affordability longer than standard subsidized housing developments.

While Interboro has already attracted seed funding from the city’s Department of Housing Preservation and Development, as well as a $1 million contribution from Citi Community Development, the organization will need to partner with existing projects to truly grow; even a few million won’t be enough to acquire significant land in New York. Still, despite the high costs of acquisition, Interboro believes it can grow to 250 units over the next few years.

Another tower for Dutch Kills

From the Queens Gazette:

The owners of a parcel at 41-05 29th Street in the Dutch Kills section of Long Island City have submitted pre-filing permits for development of a 24-story, mixed-use tower at the site.

The 290-foot tall tower will feature 66.940-sqare-feet of residential space with 84 apartments measuring 707-square-feet each, including some larger rental units, and 2,050-square-feet of ground floor retail space, according to information posted on the YIMBY (Yes, In My Back Yard) website.

Permits are in place for demolition of an existing structure at the site. The developer has not announced an estimated completion date for the project.