Scenes Of Queens: Emergency At The Umbrella Hotel

This scene happened in Kew Gardens. 

This is the Umbrella Hotel, where the first homicide of departing mayor and lying lowlife Bill de Blasio last year in office took place, after a fight broke out from a hotel room where another raucous party was being held and spilled outside  in front of the building’s entrance and three men got shot during a rumble between two groups of men, one of them fatally.

The 19-year-old killer was actually already in custody for another homicide in Queens when he shot a man to death at a karaoke bar in Flushing over a fight about a gold chain the victim was wearing.

The Umbrella Hotel is actually a mixed use building featuring once touted luxury residences on the higher floors. But the hotel itself had persistent trouble filling vacancies, so the management decided to let a homeless service provider fill the rooms with homeless people, which the city would pay around $2,000 to $3,000 a month to shelter them.

When the pandemic hit, the Umbrella became a convenient site for the city to use to fill their empty rooms with even more homeless people so they can socially distance and shelter in place from the public. But for some reason and against the CDC’s  pandemic guidelines, the hotel management still allowed parties and events to fill up the rest the rooms so they can cover losses accrued from slow business induced by COVID-19, but that all ceased because of the cold blooded murder and the Umbrella got closed for good.

 

Which is why this was such an odd sight nearly one year later. Which I eye-witnessed after viewing a Christmas tree lighting at Queens Borough Hall directly across the street from this dour block. Looks like more sordid shit is going down at the Brella.

Curiosity beckons to ask why was a NYPD patrol van standing guard, idling on the common area of egress for the remaining residents of this “luxury” building? Was there a fugitive they trapped in there? Couldn’t be because the freight entrance was opened. Closer inspection found that this  exhibition of authority probably didn’t warrant this much excess.

Or did it?…

  Apparently, there’s going on at the Umbrella that’s really alarming the folks at the Department of Buildings. It might be gut renovation or conversions to make it 100% residential. Or 100% affordable. Or going by the extreme security measures the NYPD decided to use here, maybe the Umbrella owners are prepping this for prisoners from Rikers, making this a place for them to be contained with high security quarters while their trials are being processed a block away at Criminal Courthouse two blocks east once City Council fast tracks the premature complete shutdown of the prison island with a tower jail that will be erected in another 6 years.

If that isn’t much of a downer to read about on the day of the birth of Jesus, Queens Borough President Donovan Richards toy drive was even more dystopian, thanks to the irrational panic induced by him and Mayor de Blasio and Governor Kathy Hochul about the mild Omicron strain, he forced the children and their parents to receive their gifts in darkness instead of inside Borough Hall, as they appeared to check every boy and girls vax status with their celly flashlights.

The vaccine mandate has made it easier to separate the nice from the naughty

Our leaders and officials may be blockheads, but at least they picked a nice tree.

Merry Christmas from Impunity City.

Your city.          

City Finally Orders Closing Of Sleazy Kew Gardens Hotel After A Man Got Murdered There On New Years Day

Not anymore

A New Bad Days Special Bulletin:

Kew Gardens, Queens, New York

2021 was barely over an hour old when two groups of men got into a brawl while a party was going on at one of the rooms inside a hotel. The fight spilled out onto the street by the front entrance. As the rumble continued, shots were fired and one man got hit in the leg and died from his wounds and two other men also got struck and hospitalized. Four men involved in the brawl and killing fled the scene of the crime.

What makes this incident distinctive besides being the first homicide of the year following a year that had the most murders New York City has had in 11 years and the amount of shootings and victims than in the last two years combined is where this took place; the Umbrella Hotel, where only 4 months earlier a shooting following a brawl happen inside the lobby, blowing out the revolving and regular door windows of the entrance.

Despite persistent community complaints and condemnations by City Council members and the current President of Queens Donovan Richards and their universal demands to shut down, the Umbrella continued to run it’s business for months. Although not entirely as a place for high end lodging but for speakeasy DJ and bottle parties, brazenly flaunting pandemic guidelines. Spillover from these unusual and illicit events lead to consistent environmental noise disruptions aggravating residents of the usually quiet neighborhoods, with drunk patrons milling about the area, booming systems from idling cars and also blowing up fireworks on some occasions.

Reaction from the NYPD and Mayor de Blasio when pressed about the wanton illicit activity and crime at the Umbrella went with unfilled promises of enforcement and habitual indifference and this activity naturally continued. And as the history of this sleazebag hotel as showed, it continued naturally before, because ever since this hotel got built, it’s been a pox on the area despite what the developers and management originally proposed when it got zoned for building in the neighborhood, that it would be filled with upper class lodgers and residents once it got built. The expectations made for it would be for town of Kew Gardens to have a veneer of cool to the area, kind of like high end towns like Williamsburg and Long Island City with similar lux hotels.

Except what they got wasn’t cool, but “Kewl” and it only resulted in diminishing returns…

That’s another interesting twist, because before it was the Umbrella Hotel, it was a national chain hotel the Comfort Inn and apparently it had trouble getting the clientele it desired and decided to house the homeless in all those vacant rooms to make up for whatever revenue was lost, which was apparently a helluva surprise for people who were already renting there. Oh, that’s another thing, this wasn’t just a hotel but a mixed use building with “luxury” apartments.

Apparently, some of the new and depressingly impoverished clientele for the “Kewl” were wreaking havoc on the streets in the vicinity of it and nearby locales, which included the Union Turnpike transit hub, with reports of aggressive panhandling on the sidewalks, mentally ill men yelling at random people, and drug and fecal detritus found in the stairwells of the station.

In the 3 years since that scoop, it’s not known when the owners or proprietors (whoever they are) changed the name to Umbrella from the lame Kewl or if it’s even still owned by the Comfort. It’s not even known if anyone is renting the luxury apartments there anymore (probably keeping quiet). But it definitely was still operating as a homeless shelter even while still renting out room to travelers vacationing in Queens while devolving further into a den of iniquity.

But because of the pandemic, the Umbrella continued taking in the homeless because of city and state guidelines to prevent contagion but evidently willingly booked rooms for illegal ragers for months despite state bans of indoor gatherings of more than 10 people.

After the deadly shooting and immediate demands of its closing by officials and the community and with de Blasio feeling the pressure after years of insouciance about the hotel’s well known notoriety he finally closed the hotel down for business and probably abolished their contract to house the homeless too. And a man had to lose his life for it to be done. Which is actually the modus operandi policy of NYC government, which is to let crime and urban decay continue as long as people don’t notice or don’t die.

What really makes the Umbrella Hotel saga deranged is that with all the ruckus of wanton behavior and crime going on there is that the Queens Criminal Courthouse and the District Attorney’s office is a 5 minute walk away from there.

 And also a defense attorney’s office for your convenience.

Apparently, these venues and salient facts had an influence on sudden proactive enforcement against the Umbrella Hotel’s sordid existence with the arrest of a 68-year-old bell clerk. Despite Queens D.A. Melinda Katz’s grandstanding collar, no one in management or even the owner have not been held accountable for their bigger part in the allowance and profiting from the illegal goings on at their establishment or the chaos that ensued.

And the four men suspected of the murder are still running free on the streets.

Great job Mr. Mayor and Councilor Katz.

 

 

 

 

 

St. John’s Hospital Outbreak Open House Sale

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Elmhurst, Queens, New York

Recent available testing for COVID-19 has revealed that over 10,000 people were infected with the disease in just the past week. It also brought upon a general moment of clarity and surely an everlasting fury regarding New York City’s stunning low amount of hospitals to house and care for everyone that will test positive for the disease and certainly for the amount of people that are going through the worst of it.

As the NY Post reported last week when Governor Cuomo and Mayor de Blasio were apoplectic about the low amount of beds that will take for the dramatic rise of cases that have just unfolded over the weekend.

Now everyone pretty much knows that the reason why New York City is was grossly, criminally unprepared for this outbreak; because a lot of them went broke and the state and the city not only didn’t adequately fund them but actually enabled their closings with budget cuts and chummy pay to play land deals which led to crucial health care services getting terminated and replaced with high-end condo towers and housing. Even the rats that burrow in the lots during the nascent stages of development even know this.

A grand example of this devastation and deprivation resulting in this harried urgency to save thousands of lives is the notorious closing of St. Vincent’s Hospital in Greenwich Village, Manhattan which was the biggest MASH unit on 9/11/2001- the previous greatest attack on the U.S.A. this century. What remains of St. Vincent’s now is ultra-luxury condominiums, even though it still looks like a hospital.

But what this post is going to focus on is the former St. Johns Hospital on Queens Boulevard, the boulevard of zombie development.

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St. Johns was unceremoniously shut down back in 2009 and left hundreds of people out of work and a vast community without to go for urgent health services in case of sudden illness or injury. In 2011, Fun Size Mayor Bloomberg’s Department Of Buildings zoned the property for a mixed-used building to include a mall and a parking lot (even though there the Queens Center Mall is across the street and another mall is two blocks away west).

And like St. Vincents, it still looks like a fucking hospital. For some reason the new owners decided to let the building remain as is.

 

It took 11 years and as our city does not have the beds to put the sick and chronically ill on and nurses and doctors are frighteningly lacking medical supplies like face masks and respirators, it should be absolutely not heartening to know that dwellings are now available. 014015

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Yes, they are NOW LEASING apartments at the fucking hospital, even while scaffolding is still surrounding the building. Oh, but don’t dare call them apartments, the appropriate nomenclature for the building known as “QB” are “lofts”. I find it curious why they are advertising them as such, even with the kitschy faux bespoke label up their on the banner on that filthy garage.

Now these “lofts” could have been on the market already even as the mayor’s big dumb mouth was talking about instituting a “shelter-in-place” rule and as Cuomo already declared shutting down the schools and was mulling shutting down New York State with the exception of essential services, but these photos were taken on Thursday 3/21. And the owners decided to put a cute little Open House stand by the curb cut going into ramp where the ambulances used to go. 019020

What’s darkly humorous is that this is that this isn’t a heavy pedestrian area, made worse with the barren streets right now. And those rusty scaffolds don’t make the building look hospitable at all (pun intended)

 

Now with the whole damn state of New York officially shut down at sun down and with military vehicles roaming the streets and more aggressive orders to commit to social distancing, it’s fucking pointless to be even looking for a new place right now with views of the boulevard viaduct, shopping malls, the Grand Central Parkway and barely used bike lanes and even including the eviction moratorium bestowed upon the citizenry by our benevolent friends at REBNY.

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Although there would be a moment when this would warrant derisive laughter, that is dead and gone. Just like this building which would have been an immense help for the victims of COVID-19 and government officials careless stupidity and their obeisance to their developer overlords and their never ending unsatiated greed for to monetize every crack on the sidewalk.

 

 

 

 

The Boulevard Of Zombie Condo Development

Woodside And Elmhurst, Queens, N.Y.

Remember when Queens Boulevard was called the boulevard of death? Because of the high amount of vehicular accidents that put the fear of death in pedestrians that out of necessity would dare to tread across the four lane quasi-highway? Well, it has got comparably safer to commute and cross than in the past, but it has been replaced by a new form of existential threat, and that is over-development. With this post, I bring forth three technically new buildings that have been built but have remained strangely unfinished and apparently have yet to be occupied. (But strangely they are already on the market).

Welcome to the christening of Queens Boulevard as the Boulevard Of Zombie Condo Development here in Impunity City

Your city.

Lets begin at this mesh covered monstrosity at 64th St.

 This sign has aged quite a bit, but upon closer inspection, this building was supposed to be completed a few days from now in the year 2018

Next, let’s cross the BQE and check out this budding condo building by 69th St.

Look it’s already garnering interest, but too bad the poor buyer is going to have to wait a little much longer, for this was supposed to be done in the vague completion date of Winter 2018

But the one down the block by 70th St. and Queens Blvd. is the most undead of them all.

But at least it comes with genuine street art, so the developer saves a few dollars on artwashing, avoiding to commission some bland pseudo famous graffiti tagger.

Lo, this zombie condo complex is four years behind schedule…

This building gives off quite an ghoulish aura of mystery. For who knows when construction actually started for this development and when it actually stopped. And of course why it stopped, for there is no D.O.B. certificate on it like the others and a stop work order was clearly and vainly ripped off the building placard.

To be fair and balanced here, those photos were taken in late August/early September. And some progress had occurred when I returned on a mild day just before Thanksgiving…

The mesh was taken off of the 58th building. But it still remained dormant and not a creature was stirring. Well, surely rats might be stirring in this one, they are fricking everywhere and prefer to squat in these ample abodes if they are not in a NYCHA building.

Well, most of the mesh is off. And the faded placard is still there after 3 months.

The 69th St. building was less zombiefied. For what looked like there were what I assume are contractors or realtors present.

But the zombie building on 70th is still in craptacular shape…

…and to go along with the eerie vibe when one passes by, it seems the zombie condo building has become haunted. Because some entity or apparition put up some real estate banners on some of the crappy little balconies on the higher floors.

The genuine graffiti still remains. The same tags too.

And the same placards still remain too, even the scraped stop work order wasn’t even removed by the elements or even a dabble of goo gone. Which doesn’t do much to ward off suspicion about why this building is still like this for so much time. And it’s safe to presume that there is no “affordable housing” in these complexes because the developments were initiated before de Blasio’s bullshit Housing New York program got implemented.

With the widely reported and countless updates about the dearth of affordable housing and the escalation of the homeless population, it’s shouldn’t be perplexing why these luxury condo buildings (at least what they are advertised to be) are wasting so much space without being used for so long. Another big waste is how the city gave them permits to build these zombie condos in the first place despite the need for more more housing and better quality housing for the poorest citizens of the five boroughs.

The biggest irony of all is the next big residential complex a few blocks away is the Pan American Hotel, which has operated as a homeless shelter in almost the exact amount of years has the 70 St. Zombie Condo development has been behind schedule for completion. In fact, the hotel may have started being a shelter the same exact year as the perceived schedule completion date!

Another interesting about these zombie buildings is that those bike lanes were approved and installed as these were still being constructed (except for ol’ 2015 there). Surely the city expected those residents there to be utilizing these lanes on the regular. But as those three zombie building eyesores remain lifeless, the bike lanes that were once universally rejected by the communities of Woodside and Elmhurst continue and still remain barely used and barren most of the time.

It might be apt to also call these zombie bike lanes too. Too bad this wasn’t much help for this bike shop since it got stretched to Rego Park either.

Yet still more unaffordable and unattainable condo development is still on the way on the Boulevard of Zombie Condo Development, leaving the working poor and shrinking middle class go wanting for a roof over their heads and the luxury of privacy.

This fugly zombie condo complex by the Queens Center Mall is a year late too.

Apparently, one clear reason that these buildings are taking so long to be finished is because of mandatory safety training rules that had to be made into law. Somehow they didn’t have the sense or the morals to implement these rules in the first place.

Somehow, these buildings are still just standing there unoccupied. Could be these condos are too pricey or to shitty looking to risk putting your savings in there and living in it for the rest of your life and probably too risky and not ample enough to raise a family in.

But at least the developer of this monster is showing some accountability:

It’s too bad when all of these zombie apartment buildings finally get done (with the exception of Zombie 70), they will remain lifeless. These zombie condo buildings will just sit there gathering moss and dust as the real estate market speculation/fabrication for the cost of these dwellings ludicrously rise.

These towers only reason for existence is to show that you can work in this city, but you sure as hell can’t live in it. While hundreds of thousands of citizens can barely scrape enough cash to save to transition or to make the rent where they are right now.

Which sort of makes them zombie tenants.