Friday, June 23, 2017

Replacing Rikers

From Crains:

The most feasible location to boost flights is LaGuardia Airport, by building a new runway on Rikers Island in place of the jail complex that the city hopes to close within 10 years. The plan, a recommendation of the Rikers Commission, would involve laying another strip of tarmac on the reclaimed isle and connecting it to a new terminal next to the existing airport. Because Rikers is more than 400 acres, other infrastructure uses often loathed by residential neighborhoods could be sited there with 
little fuss. A waste treatment, composting or waste-to-energy plant could help the city make serious strides toward its environmental goals, Torres Springer said, and a solar energy farm could produce and store hundreds of megawatts of power.

From DNA Info:

A plan to close Rikers Island unveiled Thursday won't happen without the support of local city council members willing to clear the way for local jails in their districts, the mayor said on WNYC's Brian Lehrer's show.

The 85-year-old jail has been plagued by concerns for inmate mistreatment and deaths, security issues and mismanagement, won't close without new satellite jails, Mayor Bill de Blasio, said Thursday morning.

While de Blasio's ten-year-plan included a combination of criminal justice reforms to drive down the city's inmate population by making it easier to pay bail, investing more in mental health programs and decreasing crime rates, details of the satellite jails are conspicuously absent.

The mayor put the onus squarely on neighborhood NIMBYs.

"We're going keep driving [the inmate population] down with every tool we have, but we can't get off Rikers, unless there are specific places where the local leadership accept a jail facility," he said. "It just cannot happen without a vote of the City Council."

In March of 2016, DNAinfo exclusively reported that the city was quietly eyeing several sites for new satellite jails including locations in Hunts Point in the Bronx, in College Point in Queens, at 287 Maspeth Ave. on a vacant lot owned by National Grid in East Williamsburg, at 803 Forbell St. in East New York and at two sites on Staten Island.

Water's Edge mystery


From LIC Talk:

In February of 2016 the City decided to develop the land in and around the former Water’s Edge Restaurant on 44th Drive by the East River. Given the prospective zoning variance the city was offering, a pair of 60-story towers were possible on this choice piece of property, so the proposed project is massive. RFP’s from developers were due that May and were required to include a new school, some affordable housing, and a few other stipulations most notably a set aside for light manufacturing.

After submission the proposals would be reviewed by the NYCEDC (Economic Development Corp) and I was under the belief that shortly after the New Year they would pick 2-3 of those they deem viable for a bake-off, during which time there would be some community review and recommendations and then a winner would be chosen. Now I’m hearing grumblings that the city is going to bypass the middle step and just render a final decision.

Which is really a shame because in addition to ignoring those who are in the best position to determine local needs, it will also completely cut-off the possibility of what could be a fully integrated grand master plan for the entire northern riverfront section of Long Island City. The most obvious piece of this puzzle, the large lot just north of the Water’s Edge, is already ‘in-play,’ and the group controlling it has submitted a proposal incorporating this piece of land. This group had previously been shopping a plan just for their property that would have included a pedestrian bridge to the Cornell Technion campus on Roosevelt Island.

I don’t know anything about the rest of their plan, but that bridge alone might be worth its weight in gold to Long Island City. As an interested resident I would very much want to see how their plan stacks up to whatever other proposals the NYCEDC chooses.

Thursday, June 22, 2017

Joe Crowley has a Dem challenger

From the Village Voice:

Before Crowley can get on with his ladder climbing, he needs to do something somewhat unfamiliar: run a campaign. For the first time since at least 2004, he will be forced to compete in a primary in the overwhelmingly Democratic district spanning northern Queens and a chunk of the eastern Bronx. Since Republican victories are all but impossible, the primary is where the action is — and where Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, a 27-year-old former organizer for the Bernie Sanders campaign, hopes to pull off her historic upset.

“What Joe Crowley represents is the floodgate between Wall Street and the United States government. He’s the clearing house, he takes millions and millions of dollars in funding from them,” Ocasio-Cortez told the Voice. “We see how he’s come to power locally — it’s totally undemocratic, machine-run, dynastic. He’s trying to spread this same model on the federal level.”

Ocasio-Cortez, attacking Crowley from the left, is just one of about a dozen candidates running on the slate of Brand New Congress, a political action committee founded by former Sanders staffers to elect more progressive members of Congress. She is the only member of Brand New Congress running from New York. A resident of the Bronx neighborhood of Parkchester, Ocasio-Cortez organized Sanders’s campaign in the South Bronx — Hillary Clinton, heavily favored in New York City, won the Bronx handily — and started thinking seriously about running for Congress after Donald Trump’s election. She learned quickly that people usually didn’t even contemplate running against Crowley, let alone start an actual campaign.

“A lot of progressive groups are coming out of the woodwork. They’ve been trying to find a challenger to Crowley for years,” Ocasio-Cortez said. “It’s literally political suicide for anyone with a semblance of a political career.”

Injured construction workers face multiple surgeries


From NBC:

Three construction workers are expected to survive after a building collapsed on top of them in Astoria, Queens. Marc Santia reports.

OSHA is investigating.

Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Unintentionally funny typo may reveal the future

A progressive hotel? Uh oh! We know what that means.

Bulk trash piling up

From Brooklyn Daily:

The Department of Sanitation must switch over to an appointment system to pick up large junk piling up on Bay Ridge and Dyker Heights streets, say angry locals.

New garbage trucks rolled out into the area last fall as part of the city’s organics program, but the waste haulers’ separate compactors for recyclables and garbage mean less room for bulky items — which are accumulating on curbs. And the city’s lack of response is turning the area into a garbage obstacle course.

From October 2016 to mid-June, 311 has logged more than 760 missed pick up complaints for “bulk” trash — anything bigger than four feet by three feet — on top of nearly 200 calls to Community Board 10’s office from residents grousing about garbage.

But the city could nip the situation in the bud if it implemented an appointment system where residents could request curbside bulk pickup, similar to the department’s electronic waste pilot program, which at the moment is only available in Staten Island.

And the problem is actually worse than city data lets on, because 311 will not accept calls about missed bulk collection until the following Sunday before a given block’s last garbage collection day of the week. This reporter was told by a 311 operator that she could not log a complaint about a sofa — that had already been on the curb for nearly two weeks — on Thursday because policy is to wait until at least 8 am on Sunday.

Horrific construction accident in Astoria


From NBC:

A crane dropped a materials load into a renovation site in Queens on Tuesday afternoon, injuring three construction workers, including two critically, fire officials said.

Dozens of firefighters descended on a two-story brownstone on 28th Road, between 31st and 33rd streets, in Astoria just before 4 p.m.

"It was just a big explosion," said Astoria resident Marianna O'Neill. "It was loud and it was long."

A 37-year-old construction worker who managed to get out of the building on his own was transported to a hospital with serious injuries.

A 40-year-old construction worker was seen being pulled from the building on a stretcher shortly after 4 p.m. He or she appeared to be conscious but had critical injuries, officials said.

Around 5:30 p.m., firefighters were still working to free a 28-year-old construction worker who was trapped under "a few thousand pounds of construction materials in the basement of the building," FDNY Commissioner Daniel Nigro said at a press conference, adding that the man's legs were under 1,200-pound beams.

Fire officials said that neither a crane nor a crane boom collapsed. They said a load of materials that had been placed on the roof of the building for renovation collapsed, falling all the way to the ground floor or basement. A large hole could be seen in the roof of the building.

The building is in the process of being converted from a two-family house to a three-family house, according to the Dept. of Buildings database.