The NYC Luxury Public Housing Connection

Ozone Park, Queens, New York City

With a month to go until the eviction moratorium expires on January 15th (Martin Luther King’s birthday, SMDFH), hundreds of thousands of city residents will either repay their debts to their landlords or probably get evicted from their apartment aka homes. As this crisis gets closer with each passing second and as the weather gets colder, the other and brighter side of life in New York Fucking City should not got unacknowledged…

NY Post

New York City rents have overtaken San Francisco as the most expensive in the US, a sign the Big Apple is outpacing the West Coast tech hub’s financial recovery.

The median one-bedroom rental in the boroughs is now $2,810, compared to a midway price point of $2,800 in the Golden City, according to a new study by online rental platform Zumper.

It’s the first time New York has outpriced San Francisco since Zumper started tracking data in 2014, as many New Yorkers that fled the city amid COVID-19 concerns have returned, according to the study.

“People returned to New York as indoor dining and other urban amenities that make the city popular became available again. Rent began to rise as a result … That hasn’t happened in San Francisco,” according to the study.

A middle of the road one-bedroom apartment in Manhattan at the beginning of the pandemic cost about $3,417, according to StreetEasy. That figure plummeted to $2,700 as many left the city, creating the lowest rents there in more than a decade.

Good news every tenant in New York City, THE RENT IS TOO DAMN HIGH AGAIN!. Truly a monumental event and a sign that the recovery for all of us that Mayor de Blasio has been repetitively been talking about is about to come to fruition, at least for those that count. Meaning those that are able to count what little savings they have. Because if the rents are going up again, surely this trend will trickle down to the perpetually housing insecure via the city’s Housing New York program to build and preserve affordable housing for the city’s desperate and downtrodden who pay 1/3 of their check in rent right?

Of course not. As I pointed out last year of an apartment building in west Soho (which is called Hudson Square now to make it even nichier), The Blaz’s affordable housing program is a fucking ruse and a hoax. And now after 8 years of “affordable housing”development usually sprouting in establish gentrification colonizer Brooklyn nabes like Williamsburg, Bushwick and Greenpoint and even in Queens enclaves like Astoria, Rockaway, Long Island City and quasi/pseudo-Brooklyn nabe Ridgewood, this inequitable farce and impossible to win lottery city program has sprouted in the most unlikeliest of towns in Southside Queens, Ozone Park.

When the Department of Housing and Urban Development announced the debut and opened the lottery for this building this year in March, it was quite a surprise to see it still looked like this three months later.

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And also that it was “anticipated” to be completed around the winter solstice in 2020.

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Another thing about this “affordable housing” anomaly is how the city touted this as part of the Housing Connect program, when the qualifications for accessing these apartments is set up for people who make 30% and 60% more than the average median income of the zip code and even the whole borough of Queens of which the AMI is actually around $61,000, barely above the threshold for applying for one of these $1,600 studios. What’s even more outlandish is how wide the income earning window is for them, because even if you make over a hundred large you can still qualify, if living in an abode where the kitchen and your bed is in the same space is your style. Then there is also the fact that the lottery winning tenant still has to pay for ALL utilities, but I guess if you are making 150 grand and renting a one room apartment for $2,000, it’s wont make much of a dent in your wallet or savings account as it would to the average middle class or working poor renter around the hood.

To make this even more farcical, usually when the city designates a building for it’s Housing New York program, it usually labels it as such while still in the skeletal phase of development like in the pics above and the aforementioned Soho luxury public housing tower.  But closer inspection found something very incriminating confirming the hoax of de Blasio’s affordable housing scam and his fair city for all platitude slogan with this advertisement plastered on the temporary wall:

Now why would the owners and management of this “affordable housing” building advertise it with an private agency contact when it’s on the city government’s Housing Connect website? And what’s more outlandishly egregious is why it’s being advertised as “Luxury” which is not only misleading but wholly antithetical to de Blasio’s and his housing and preservation department lackeys intent to bring housing equity to the long suffering housing insecure, homeless, rent burdened citizens and gentrification refugees of New York City?

But since this is so eye catching, lets take a look at what kind of luxury the developers are peddling here with this.

Nothing defines luxury than a balcony, even if there is barely room for two people to stand on.

 

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But after you win the housing lottery for these luxurious one-bedroom palaces, you’ll get to immerse yourself with these views of Ozone Park’s sights  with a  tumbler of single malt scotch or a can of four loco like a boss; sights like Rockaway Boulevard one of Queens most expansive traffic arteries and the homey two way traffic trail on 87th St.

 

Where you might just wake up in the middle of the night to see real live fast and furious drag racing and cars spinning in circles. Pure vibrancy in action!

And if speed is not your thing, you can also admire Queens car culture from above with vehicles waiting on line to get into the luxury car wash next door and other vehicles coming out and being stored at the luxury car rental chain business across the street.

And other transcendent sights like the neighboring rock quarry and cement lot, the seminal sources of how your luxury pad got made.

 

 

Of course nothing defines luxury lifestyle living than quality infrastructure. Surely flooding won’t be an issue with a storm drain like this.

What’s even funnier is the city’s housing connect website’s advertisement of this farcical luxury public housing building and the amenities offered for the fortunate lottery winning tenants. Even if these “amenities” are actually services that have always been available to them and the general public since the invention of fire like bus stops and subways and “pedestrian friendly walk score” (???!!!) or has they are known to the general public as “sidewalks”. The other hilarious amenity that’s falsely advertised is the playground, which is either on the roof or is referring to the nearest one about 5 blocks away by Atlantic Ave. on the border with Woodhaven, because this surely isn’t going to be placed by the vacuum machines at the car wash or above the “covered” garage.

 

But what about the actual affordable abodes? Well looks like everything will be conveniently at arms reach for the lucky lottery tenants.

This wall here? That’s the bedroom.

At least the finished project and product won’t look so bad right? Well, only when compared to when it still had scaffolding. Here’s what “affordable luxury” looks like in 2021.

Pretty standard and bland. I guess this can be easily abbreviated as a blandered building.

 

Apparently, this is the entrance of the building. Nothing is more welcoming than seeing an exit sign facing you as you are about to enter your luxury apartment.

Now I’m not an architect, but placing these HVAC’s on the pavement really looks like a massive shit idea and makes me wonder what the developers were thinking when they gave this the o.k. or even if they were in the board room when this was designed. I also wonder if the LLC even visited this site or even this state or country as this was being built.

Given the violent flash flooding the city has been getting, especially in Queens as Ida exposed and Sandy before her, there has to be some mitigation to prevent inevitable damage to these HVACs, but the LLC actually did. Well at least they considered it.

 

This right here. This three patches on the predominantly concrete sidewalk is going to protect the tenants from the elements of climate change. Although the floor to ceiling windows above their HVACs surely won’t help much either, bad enough they have to deal with lookie-loos and skells casing their luxurious places out with relative ease.

Doesn’t look like they are going to consider planting trees here or even setting up a bioswale.

 

There’s a bigger triangular patch of pseudo green space around the corner too to keep the back door tenants at ease. At least this has a drain and although that garage sure will turn into a reservoir when Sandy Jr. comes.

Speaking of the garage, residents will be pulling out into a very less than ample two way street, which will be very challenging for them and commuters to see each other coming.

Also looks like they are heralding the grand opening and also the holidays with some festive decorations

But of course the biggest farce of all is the fact that the developers behind this will still get that sweet 421a tax break for volunteering in the NYC HDP’s near decade long “affordable housing” ruse. And surely the six figure earning demographic will also strongly benefit, since the city has devoted over 80% of these new apartments to them. And the well-to-do housing insecure shouldn’t get intimidated from playing the luxury public housing lottery get these apartments with real estate fanzine news blogs like Brick Underground giving them sage advice with advertorial tripe like this:

Authored by intrepid publicists for mega developer TF Cornerstone, when posited the question directly to their big money-earning readership, they quip “You probably do. Affordable housing programs have expanded to include a wide range of middle-income households” (middle income based on the ossified AMI that includes suburban upper class enclaves in Westchester) and when positing the obvious question of why do you need the government to find you a rental that you can find yourself given your comfortable income, they do note that it might take a while to move in if they qualify (especially with this luxury box here) but it’s worth it for all the money they will save. But what usually winds up happening is that these prospective savvy clients either wind up getting a cheaper place with more room or a dumbass one who will give the landlord what he/she wants for a shitty walkup hovel for 3 large a month in Brooklyn.

That’s another thing about the fraudulent housing connect program, because the objective was to keep building and building all this luxury public housing in the hopes that affordability will trickle down to build even more buildings with more incremental amounts of affordable housing to the affordability in the private housing sector, but it’s quite obvious that is not the case, which was tragically exposed by Hurricane Ida when a dozen people lost their lives trapped by the rushing deluge of water from the storm as they slept in their basement apartments. This brought overdue attention to the affordable housing ruse when it was revealed that over 100,000 NYC residents are renting basement and cellars and other illegal conversions dwellings, proving once and for all that the equity Mayor de Blasio and his sociopath housing commish Vicki Been of the brazen lie it is. Although attention to this existential dimension of the city’s housing crisis should have been exposed when a boy died in a cellar fire where his family lived from a e-bike battery that exploded as it was being charged in this same neighborhood where that luxury public housing box is.

 

And the luxury public Housing Connect difficulties has even modest money earning citizens have to depend on the basement rental market and predatory scumlords looking for a cheap hustle, like when a cop listed a basement of a house he was renting and ripped off a woman after she gave him rent and deposit for $2,800 dollars which makes the actual rent out to $1,400, which was already steep and about 200 bucks less than what Housing Connect considers affordable in Ozone Park where this grift also took place. This bastard did this to many other marks as well until the actual owner of the house kicked his ass out. Because where else are people desperate for a decent place to live supposed to go when their city prioritized housing for an upper income bracket demographic populace that don’t exist over them?

And signs are showing it’s going to get worse. NY Post again:

Yes, Queens!

Despite consecutive quarters of plummeting rents across the city following the March 2020 onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, there seems to be a light at the end of the tunnel for certain landlords.

Queens has seen its highest-priced tier of rentals — or homes priced more than $2,500 per month — recover 99% of its pre-pandemic highs, according to just-released data from real-estate portal StreetEasy. That makes this borough’s high-end rental market the first in New York City to reach recovery in the wake of COVID.

It means that renters have flocked to prime Queens neighborhoods, including Long Island City and Astoria, instead of normally more expensive Manhattan and Brooklyn — ratcheting up housing demand in the process and making luxury property landlords raise their prices, StreetEasy adds. 

But for many, the rent can be too damn high. The borough’s lower- and mid-tier rental homes are far from their pre-pandemic levels, with StreetEasy adding that prices have only recently begun to recover — and are doing so slowly. That means, depending on renters’ budgets, there are still deals to be had. 

Overall, when compared to Manhattan and Brooklyn, Queens still remains relatively more affordable. Queens’ median rent was $2,200 in July — whereas for Manhattan it was $3,000 and, for Brooklyn, $2,600. The report does not mention The Bronx or Staten Island.

In the first quarter of 2021, as rents across the city continued to fall to record lows, Queens saw median rents slip to $1,999. For Manhattan and Brooklyn, they fell to a respective $2,700 and $2,390.

When newspapers are describing 2 grand as affordable they are basically doing the real estate lobbies job for them. Even more warped is when local businesses participate in the hype too. This realty business (formerly a TV repair shop) is only 4 blocks away from 86-15 Rockaway LLC’s building.

Adding to the palpable threat of imminent gentrification of Ozone Park is that this comes after recent City Council decisions majorly favoring new rezones for luxury public housing towers in Gowanus and Soho/Noho on social justice fallacies, claiming that they were mostly populated by rich White people. Well, ironically it was White people actually had an influence on those development rezones in the form of gentrification industrial complex real estate lobby organization Open New York For All, whose flack just wrote a piece the other day for the NY Daily News begging incoming Mayor Eric Adams to rubber stamp more rezoning on towns perceived to have luxury housing, which he falsely distinguishes as regular one and two family houses. These creeps at Open New York, who have a devoted cult on social media claiming to be experts on cities called Urbanists are like real estate scientologists who are not even from NYC and the ones that happen to live here are transients, manage to infiltrate and astroturf every community board hearing about affordable housing development proposals, never thinking  the luxury public housing ratio is three times higher than the “affordable” housing and how that will make the city’s area median income rate even higher, which certainly happened when the rental market exploded in the last year (before COVID fucked up the market and brought the rents down).

And therein lies the crux of NYC’s luxury public housing connection, approve the rezoning to build these towers with incremental supply of “affordable housing” (and also the box buildings with units under the false rubric of affordability) and the market rate apartments that make up the majority of them turns the area into a “luxury upper class” neighborhood. Just like with what’s going on here with this Rockaway LLC’s box building. 

It also helps the Open New York manufactured fauxgressive narrative when the neighborhood suddenly draws upscale real estate developer interest on vacant properties.

 

 

   

As is wont of departing Mayor Bill de Blasio and his demonic deputy mayors who manufactured this farce, nice little calimari Alicia Glen and Vicki Been, everything about NYC Housing Connect is pure grift and an abject betrayal of hundreds of thousands of New Yorkers still left wanting for a decent comfortable place to live, but a boon to the lucky fortunate few who won the lottery or could afford to live in these overpriced hovels after winning the lottery. 

It’s also a big boon to the aforementioned Open New York cabal and cult, who consist of pasty White real estate investors who will certainly make big coin from the tower pestilence hyper-development that has been approved by the feckless city council cronies that they handily influenced and will again with the new crop of sell out shit libs that were recently elected.

The biggest boon of course will easily go to the developers again, known and unknown, the nucleus of the Gentrification Industrial Complex of real estate, government, lobbying and media as they continue to get everything they want from their purchasing of officials. From the easily obeisant and compromised de Blasio (and eventually to the corporatist Eric Adams) who spewed gaslighting platitudes of diversity and equity while they got to bathe in the crapulence of his whorish rubber stamped rezoning and upzoning approvals while rents everywhere will keep going up and up, spurred by the fabrication/speculation of the rental market spurred by city’s luxury public housing program.

                    

 

 

 

Scenes Of Queens: Across 118th Street

This scene takes place in South Richmond Hill on 118th Street and 103 Ave.

In the middle of the road yeah.

This is not infrastructure maintenance, this is a meme

I remember when this slowly collapsing sinkhole was just a baby back in Mid-August…

 

 

There are more pitiful asphalt patches here than a pair of hippie bell bottom pants. All these cracks indicate that it’s going to reach a full cave in the not so distant future. It’s a mystery who put that plundered shopping cart there, but it was a yoeman thing to show how deep the crevice is.

 

All signs indicated that current mayor de Blasio’s Department of Transportation, which is run by one of his Brooklyn aristocrat city planning buddies Hank Gutman, did a major less than half ass job laying the blacktop on this. Because this is what it looked like a week before some creative type did a near approximation of Homer Simpson’s rage motivated contemporary art piece.

Truly a WTF FUBAR in process.

Apparently the DOT got some 311 calls and filings and sent some workers to remove the shopping cart the following day and marked the territory in orange spray paint and placed less damaged but not really new hazard cones to warn approaching drivers coming from both sides and from the north.

Another day went by and those poor cones couldn’t survive the rigors of traffic, so de Blasio’s D.O.T., or more likely some local denizens took matters into their own hands again to salvage the dreaded sinkhole and filled it with cobble stones and a strip of aluminum siding.

 

 

 

 

 

Noice!

Although this is another embarrassingly abominable display of city neglect and incompetence and another example of the city infrastructure dilapidation, this will eventually be remedied with a better and hopefully more thorough renovation, because this evolving crater is not to first to infect 103rd Ave. For their were similar former and potential cave-ins discovered on numerous blocks west from this current blight.

Both examples were found on only 2 blocks away on 116th, with one recently blanketed over in the intersection and the other that is certain to collapse in probably a week or a day.

Another dilapidated touch up found on 115th.

Surrounding cracks for this shit job between 114th and 113th shows this asphalt comb over will fail soon

More dilapidation on 112th St.. The jagged double yellow stripe indicates that they didn’t even wait for the asphalt to dry when it was painted over.

Same case with this baby on 107th Street as well.

 

Crossing the border into Ozone Park at 102nd St.  is where the last of the asphalt wonder chasms got the shit as extra frosting treatment. But it’s obvious that vehicular wear and tear is having an effect.

The contractors sure were in a rush to steam roll this hole by the look of the detritus that got stuck in the tar.

Can’t recall the last time this avenue was milled and repaved but it doesn’t look that long ago. But there’s still something disturbing going on here to see these many chasms on consecutive blocks and not so far apart on one avenue in just two zip codes. Especially an avenue that is only about over a mile and a half. (It’s about 50 blocks running from 84th to 134th). It’s even more infuriating that as this avenue continues to turn to shit and is most likely to lead to injury or fatality if the ground just gives way as someone is driving over it, that the city is prioritizing building fucking “bike boulevards” and designating and blockading “open streets” for Queens cycling colonizers to play on.

Here’s a good example of one of these open streets on 34th Ave. in Jackson Heights (where a massive inferno engulfed an apartment building, disenfranchising over 400 people from their homes), what the current mayor and bike taliban agitprop news site Streetsblog calls the “gold standard” of returning streets “back to the people”.

Good luck finding the people.

 

With Speaker Cojo the Derelict Dancing Clown and the City Council Cronies and a pandering and weak NYC mayor hiring a fellow Brooklyn patsy like Hank Gutman to run the D.O.T., this confederacy of dunces and douches exerted more effort into open streets and now bike boulevards for self-serving enlightened bike and “open space” lobby groups, they abandoned the rest of the streets in deeper enclaves of Queens, streets that are necessary for commerce and personal livelihoods. Also got to mention all the new bike lanes they painted that doesn’t do a fucking thing to keep pedestrians bikers, drivers and even the environment safe. But the dirty underlying reason why 103rd Avenue is decaying is that it’s part of the city’s neoliberal plan to induce demand into people to give up their cars, their choice to commute. And what better way to do that to use hostile redesigns like keeping open streets closed to vehicles and using demolition by neglect to let the streets crack and collapse below them, and certainly local cyclists and pedestrians too. But I guess they will all just be collateral damage to satiate the self-righteousness of these fauxgressive politicians and social media urbanish gadflies.

Sure it sounds conspiratorial, but this is how NYC government has been operating for the last decade, notably under Bloomberg’s illegal third term and through 8 years of slow water torture governing by the Blaz.

On the way back to South Richmond Hill, there was a hole on the street I rode past over by 112th St. and sure enough it’s the same protrusion I caught on 118th back in August. It’s a sure bet that this will progress into something bigger, but at least it will lead to more inspiration in an effort to conceal it.

From the looks of this little weed, this cave-in is already alive.

Meanwhile, back on 118th St., Autumn equinox:

The siding is destroyed, the road hazard cones are gone, but more cobblestones have been dumped in the hole to convey the illusion of infrastructure road remediation.

Keep safe while driving Queens…

 

 

Scenes Of Queens: Rebel With A Pause

This scene is on Cross Bay Blvd. at a commercial building in Ozone Park

The Greaser/James Dean statue

Queens Chronicle

Residents of Ozone Park and Howard Beach tend to be familiar with one of the area’s most conspicuous oddities, the greaser on the clock.

Hoisted up on an office building along Cross Bay Boulevard, a statue of a ’50s greaser clad in blue jeans — hands thrust into the pockets of a black leather jacket — leans back on the brick facade of a law office at 109th Avenue.

What they might not know is that the figure was put there by George Schneider, the longstanding member of the business community in charge of Schneider Real Estate.

Schneider died on May 2 at 87 years old. He is survived by his wife, Mary Ann, his daughters Linda Schneider Bancalari and Debbie Ann Schneider, stepson Raymond Simpson and seven grandchildren.

The real estate entrepreneur was born and raised in Richmond Hill and lived in Howard Beach and Ozone Park for most of his adult life, before moving to Long Island in his old age. He began his Ozone Park-based business in 1955.

Schneider Real Estate turned into a recognizable name in South Queens, and even extended into a mini-business empire in the neighborhood. Its original quarters were located around 107th and Cross Bay Boulevard, where Schneider had set up a number of different businesses in his namesake: Schneider Travel and Schneider Insurance, in addition to a building that morphed over time from ice cream stand to consignment store among other businesses.

His daughter Debbie Ann Schneider still lives in a Schneider Real Estate home that she inherited from her dad.

“The people that are on my block, they’re like, ‘Your dad sold this one to that person and that one to this other person.’ But everybody comes back to the man on the building,” she said, referring to the greaser statue.

Next to Schneider Insurance, Debbie Ann said that her father used to put out dune buggies and hot rod cars to attract attention.

For the real estate company he wanted to get a statue of a burglar. “Like a robber — stealing — like we’ll steal a house for you, it’ll be so cheap,” Debbie Ann said. But when he couldn’t find a statue of a cat burglar, he went with another symbol of a lawless antihero: a member of the greaser gang subculture that gained prominence in the ’50s.

Many call it the James Dean statue, after the “Rebel Without a Cause” star.

“His main objective was so that people would stop and look at it, you know? And it worked,” Debbie Ann said.

Scenes Of Queens: Rockaway Boulevard Station, Art Over ADA Compliancy

Rockaway Blvd Station, twilight time

This post on the scenes of Queens focuses on one of the MTA and NYC Transit’s most recognizable depots,  the Rockaway Blvd. Station in Ozone Park, where the A trains go to and from Lefferts Blvd. and Mott Ave. destinations before going to their destinations in Richmond Hill and Far Rockaway. Although at times it’s mostly not recognizable as tourists and gentries keep confusing the two trains upon each trains arrival and wind up stuck an inconvenienced or causing irritable delays asking commuters if it’s the train going to the beach and airport despite the convenience of hanging timeline monitors or available MTA apps easily available on their thousand dollar cellphones.

But this isn’t about griping over oblivious commuters not paying attention to detail (even though it’s obvious I been waiting years to get this off my chest), the reason why this station is getting way belated attention is because of recent news that has relevance to what is not here and what is here at this very busy transit stop that is linked to about 6 bus transfers on Cross Bay and Rockaway Blvd.

Let’s acknowledge what’s here first. About 4 or 5 years ago, the MTA run by Governor Cuomo was renovating and upgrading dozens of stations while finally building the 2nd Ave transit line. And in certain stations of these long overdue infrastructure upgrades, the MTA thought, “hey since where already here and all this time to make our scheduled completion, why not put some art at these stations?”

And one of those stations is the one profiled here and this is the exhibition:

Behold

This was installed back in 2017. Besides the title which acknowledges the integrated bus/train transit hub in this location and conveyed by the web little colored lenses, it’s not really that imaginative or aesthetically pleasing. Besides, to the eye of the beholder, it doesn’t look safe to lean on and would be a big detriment in the winter time for those long train delays on the platform, especially for night owl workers who have to wait longer because of limited surface. But it actually does serve a purpose. It makes the sights of the boulevards more colorful if you peer through them or through the eye of the celly.

Cross Bay Blvd. before…

And after.

 
 
 
 
 
Now Woodhaven Blvd.
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
For decades, commuters waiting at this station were denied the opportunity to visualize the drab boulevards of Ozone Park and now thanks to the MTA, they can see it in a smudged and scratched rainbow of colors in a respite from watching the tracks from the east and west waiting for their arriving trains.
 
While the this station got blessed with this art, it’s peculiar that with all the time they were renovating this station they didn’t think to bless it for the less able-bodied and aged. Because after 6 years and a class action lawsuit against the MTA, this station is still not ADA compliant.
 

96th Street And Liberty Ave

 

Liberty Ave. and Woodhaven and Cross Bay Blvd

 
What could have been done way back when. Here you got two places to put down elevators serve the disabled and elderly by Cross Bay Blvd and Liberty Ave/Rockaway Blvd right by 2 bus stops.
 

Liberty Ave. stairs by the Cross Bay Blvd. bus stops

 

Liberty Ave stairs by Rockaway Blvd. bus stops.

All these harbingers take on new colors considering a recent report of how the MTA is slow walking the ADA compliance upgrades because of how they are spending commuter tax dollars trying to fight various lawsuits that forced them to finally make stations accessible for the handicapped and infirm

gothamist.com

The MTA has denied a request from a disability rights group to disclose how much it is spending in taxpayer dollars to fight several lawsuits claiming it discriminates against its disabled customers.

The groups — which include the Brooklyn Center for Independence of the Disabled (BCID) — claim in their lawsuit that the transit agency has violated the Americans with Disabilities Act by renovating stations without adding elevators and failing to maintain existing elevators. They also claim an overall lack of subway accessibility is a violation of New York City’s Human Rights laws.

Currently, a little over a quarter of the NYC’s 472 subway stations have elevators, slightly more than what the MTA agreed to after settling an accessibility lawsuit in 1994. The agency agreed to make 100 stations accessible by 2020 at the time, a figure it has exceeded.

In June 2020, BCID executive director Joe Rappaport filed a public request asking the MTA for the full amount it has spent for outside counsel. The agency, last month, denied the request on the basis of how it was worded.

“Please be advised that records are not maintained in a manner which permits practical retrieval because the MTA does not categorize or index payments made for legal services in the manner requested,” the MTA wrote in its response.

The agency released a document containing the retainer fees, but the dollar figures were blacked out.

At the MTA’s monthly board meeting on Wednesday, Gothamist asked MTA Chairman Pat Foye if he would release the dollar figure for how much the MTA has spent on lawyers fighting the six accessibility lawsuits. Foye said he would check with the Freedom of Information Law office about getting the numbers. But he wouldn’t commit to releasing them.

“I can’t commit to that because I don’t know what the issues are, but I will talk to the FOIL people,” he said.

The MTA did not return an earlier request from Gothamist for comment about how much it has spent on outside lawyers fighting the six accessibility lawsuits or why it denied the public records request Rappaport filed.

To make matters worse, this station wasn’t even included in the MTA’s 55 billion dollar infrastructure plan enacted by the embattled Governor Cuomo last year much to the chagrin of former NYC Transit president Andy Byford and enabled by the typically feckless and lazy Mayor de Blasio, who has been defiantly deliberately absent when it comes to transit system in the city he runs.

Even though Cuomo’s MTA continues to obstinately refuse to be accountable for their spending, they can’t obscure the fact that they prioritized decorative improvements over essential ones. Besides the stupid Rockaway Blvd. addition, the MTA’s costly decisions to deny easier access for the city’s most vulnerable commuters for the sake of art is apparent in stations in Manhattan like the Park Ave. South 28th St. Station east side entrance where they commissioned an expansive grandiose floral mosaic on the walls and the 6th ave 23rd St. Station where they commissioned an artist to install portraits of his dogs wearing human clothes. While the 28th St. Station does have an elevator on the west entrance (but no art), the prioritization to put sucky art on the walls at the 23rd St. Station instead of elevators is even more negligent considering that there’s a residential building for the blind down the block from this station.

It’s easy to see why the MTA would try to counter these lawsuits and hire the most expensive law firms to defend their abominable insouciance of the rights of their disabled and aged customers (and let’s not leave out parents with toddlers and babies in strollers who should also be called as witnesses), because they spent more effort making city transit more convenient and pleasant for instagram, tumblr, flickr and twitter by turning stations into ersatz galleries.

While these exhibitions make for great social media sharing, with more city and state funding lost on account of stupid MTA board decisions and inevitable settlements compounded with the low ridership from the pandemic and it’s aftermath in addition of steady subway crime, the future of NYC Transit is heading for a shitty horizon.

But at least the aesthetics will be nice.

 
 

 

 

 

 
 

Scenes Of Queens: And Now A Word From Our Slumlord Mercenary Sponsor…

This heinous predatory advertisement is hanging, or more appropriately and ironically squatting rent free on the railing of the abandoned Rockaway Rail Line on Atlantic Avenue in Ozone Park. This enterprise probably and presumably illegally hung this up here assuming that the eviction moratorium will expire on schedule on the new year.

What kind of person would call an eviction hotline during a pandemic and while another outbreak is happening? The kind that would get the number from a scuzzy billboard on an dilapidated and long dead transit line.

This scene was captured over a week ago, December 2020.

NYPD Blocks Sidewalk Egress With Personal And Patrol Vehicles

 

Ozone Park, Queens, New York

The 106th Precinct in Ozone Park, Queens is egregiously obstructing commuting public space on both sides of the street with police vehicles and their cars, notably on top of a handicap cut curb ramp and by a public park named after a cop who died in the line of duty. The cop the park was memorialized for, Officer Nicholas Demutiis, got killed trying to stop a car thief that ran him over on that same block. 

 

This falls in line with what the NYPD has been doing at their other precincts as they turn the areas around their taxpayer funded buildings into makeshift fortresses, especially with all the frequent protests that has occurred in the last five months along with a majority of citizens calling for defunding and abolishing of the police and the budget cuts that followed in July. A recent incident that got some viral attention involved a reporter from bike advocate news site Streetsblog who got stopped, questioned and also threatened for arrest when she exposed the NYPD using a playground as parking lot for their vehicles (with permission by the NYC Parks dept).

But the 106th truly stands out for their brazen territoriality of public space. And to show that their annexing of sidewalks isn’t a new thing, this precinct has been parking vehicles on this sidewalk and the one across the street for quite a while now. 

Although what the NYPD is doing here with absolute impunity is obnoxious and in contempt for the citizens they are supposed to protect, this probably would’ve got rectified if the recent budget cuts enacted by the woke City Council cronies didn’t include terminating the building of a new precinct in under-served areas of Southeast Queens. Maybe some of these spacehogging cops would have got transferred over there when it got completed. 

But this could be easily rectified right now. These cops could just park their vehicles the proper way parallel to the curb like they used to do and how the citizenry parks them instead of curbstoning them like how scofflaw chop shops continue get away with it. Maybe the city can contact the management and owner of Resorts World to use their vast parking lot for free or sanction some curb space by the abandoned Rockaway rail line for them and the BOWL 360 parking lot too. Ultimately and unfortunately since that aforementioned NYPD will never be built because of the budget cuts, what should be done is take whatever funding is going to the Strategic Response Groups that are being deployed to all these protests and use it to build a new parking garage. It would be a more common sense use for millions of dollars being pissed away having hundreds of cops damage their bikes by banging them up and down while kettling people demonstrating against them.

The cops over here should take their own advice they give towards protesters, reporters and even city officials and MOVE BACK their cars off the sidewalks.

 

 

Holes In The Ozone

 

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Ozone Park, Queens, New York

It was about a year ago that I wrote a post called Affixing A Hole, observing and photographing grotesque cracks and craters on the streets and storm drains and the innovation that gets implemented by the city’s Department’s of Transportation and Environmental Preservation to deter people away from the hazards. Now it’s 2020 and it looks like shit hasn’t changed a bit.

Strolling through Ozone Park I saw a familiar sight, another hole smack dab in the middle of the intersection on 107th ave. and 106th st. with a traffic cone being used as a butt plug so drivers can cruise over with ease, just like the pics I took in Manhattan and around here last year, except this time city workers aren’t even trying to thoroughly cover it up.

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Since this has been the default method for remedying damage to the blacktop, our city workers are not even trying to see if it can fit. They couldn’t even shove this bitch down far enough.

Fortunately that’s not a busy traffic area, imagine if there was a hole even more massive and heinous with a big ass objectile vainly trying to obscure it’s hazard…

Imagine no more, because here is the intersection of 96th St. and Liberty Ave

 

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It’s stupefying. It really makes no sense why a dangerous blight like this isn’t immediately prioritized and promptly fixed.

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It couldn’t be at a worst spot too, the street there is a one way going north which makes right turns problematic and with the green light on the avenue you have to compete with vehicles usually blazing from the west from Rockaway Blvd. which intersects with Liberty. It’s also a veritable commuting minefield for pedestrians being that the stairwell  for the Rockaway Blvd. A Train is right there.

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It’s also incomprehensible that this temporary “fix” was done by professionals, because it looks like it was assembled by a bunch of concerned good Samaritan hobos who just passed by and was so disgusted that they had to do something about it. But no, the proper markings are there in spray paint of where they have to cut and dig again.

This crater has obviously been here for a while too. Because it’s a certainty that giant orange thimble (bollard, whatever) was standing upright and was easily knocked down by one of our city’s many careless drivers. If you close it’s actually two thimbles (bollards). Maybe Polly’s D.O.T. thought the extra weight from the one inside would hold it steady. No dice kid.

Actually, that knocked down thimble is confirmation that hole has been like that for a while because Polly’s D.O.T. has used metal city corner garbage cans to act as a deterrence to protect drivers from wrecking their vehicles, and the one that was placed back on the corner obviously didn’t do the job they expected it to do.

Pulverized.

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Sure we’re still in an existential crisis of a global pandemic and economic uncertainty but this slacker ineptitude was going on for decades before there was a novel virus and frankly it’s still pretty expensive to live in the city despite an eviction moratorium.

And there’s the big ass factor that infrastructure repair and modernization was still going on because of it being an essential service. How else would all those ambulances be able to take all those COVID sick people to the hospitals and the cops able to get to the protests and engage in civil war with the demonstrators? So there really is no excuse for this shit. Especially even more since Mayor de Blasio decided to exploit the Black Lives Matter movement and painted a bunch of streets with the BLM slogan materializing his virtual signal tweets and yet the holes in Ozone Park still happen and get neglected on the regular. And get bigger and deeper too.

Strolling back to the base, I came upon the first sight and it looks like little Coney couldn’t hold the fort:

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When it comes to road infrastructure and safety in South Queens, it still doesn’t matter and never even did.

 

 

Update:

Thanks to Queens Patch, who retweeted my story to Polly’s D.O.T., the Liberty Ave. crater at 96th street actually got repaired.

Kinda.

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Looks like someone left, actually lodged a Capri Sun juice bag here for some reason.

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Let’s see what’s underneath…

Screenshot_2020-07-27 JQ LLC Impunity City on Twitter Last week I posted on here and #ImpunityCity about this giant hole in[...]

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Shame! Shame on you NYC D.O.T.

Commuters are even afraid to drive over it.

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Apparently, this pathetic Ozone Park Patch job is an established norm. Because this is what I found a block east on 97th.

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Your city would prefer vehicle owners to get adjusted to this. Because the Mayor has a Black Lives Matter mural by Trump Tower to protect from getting splattered with paint.(And y’all thought he defunded the police.)