Tag Archives: cold

Flushing apartment building cut off from heat, residents say

| ejankiewicz@queenscourier.com

Photo by Martha Flores Vazquez

During the coldest days of winter this week, residents of a six-story apartment building in Flushing spent Wednesday and Thursday bundled in coats and blankets to try to stay warm because they say they haven’t had heat in their building.

“I’ve had to keep my jacket on all day. It feels like I’m outside even though I’m in my apartment right now,” said George Sanchez, a resident of the 72-unit building. “This is not the time for them to be messing around with the heat.”

During those two days, residents called 311 to complain that temperatures inside their apartments dropped to 45 degrees during the day — well below the 68-degree minimum set by the city when outdoor temperatures fall below 55 degrees.

On Wednesday, the temperature in the city ranged from a low of 9 degrees to a high of 23. Temperatures remained below 20 degrees on Thursday.

The building, 143-40 41st Ave., is fraught with problems, according to city records. Since 2002, the city issued 16 violations that are still active. The building’s property management, 4 Seasons International Management, owes the city $1,500 as a penalty for a rusted fire escape and broken stairs.

Rent stabilized residents like Sanchez and Lionnel Blanchard feel like they’re being pushed out so that the management can sell the apartment as a co-op. Sales of co-ops in the building could bring in as much as $300,000 to $400,000, they say.

“The apartment is very cold,” Blanchard said. “They’re trying to kick me out, I can tell. Why else would they make me feel so unwanted here?”

Blanchard, who lives with his wife Marie, moved into the building 30 years ago. For most of their time there, they had no problems with heat or building maintenance, but these issues arose when 4 Seasons International took over five years ago.

The city has issued violations against the building’s owners for not inspecting the boilers, which are used to heat the 72 apartment units. According to a city spokesman, the building’s conditions hadn’t yet deteriorated to the point where government officials will issue vacate orders or demolish the building. But he urged people to report all problems to the city immediately.

The management company declined to comment.

Martha Flores Vazquez, a resident of the building, saw a fuel truck pull up to the apartment building on Wednesday but still, no heat was provided to her or her neighbors, she said.

“We’ve complained to them throughout this whole season and they haven’t done anything about it,” Vazquez said. “Instead, they deny that the heat isn’t working. So let them come to my apartment and see.”

The city received 3,657 complaints about a lack of heat on Wednesday, the most for a single day since the start of the heating season on Oct. 1. To report problems with heat, dial the city’s helpline at 311.


Queens’ Morning Roundup

| ctumola@queenscourier.com

morning roundup


Monday: Generally cloudy. High 24. Winds N at 10 to 20 mph. Monday night: Some clouds this evening will give way to mainly clear skies overnight. Low near 10. Winds N at 10 to 15 mph.

EVENT OF THE DAY: Social Media Workshop for Social Media Pros

Lyons Mortgage Services is hosting a social media workshop from 6 to 7:30 p.m. The event is free and open to the public. Lyons Astoria, 48-02 25th Ave., #303, Astoria. Please email mbialokur@elyons.com to RSVP. Click here for more info or to submit an event of your own

Transit advocates, pols to Cuomo: Don’t steal from MTA

A group of mass transit advocates and elected officials held a rally Sunday calling on Gov. Andrew Cuomo to drop his bid to force the MTA to pay an additional $40 million in bond costs. Read more: CBS New York

Not much snow for NYC, but stinging cold sticks around

A winter storm that had been expected to make a direct hit on the tri-state is passing farther to the south and is only expected to leave up to an inch of snow on New York City Monday, but the relentless cold continues to be a bigger threat for much of the area. Read more: NBC New York

New tracking devices for city vehicles to save money, boost safety: backers

The city is about to start tracking all of its workers’ on-the-clock driving habits and fuel usage with the help of technology more advanced than that of of current “black boxes.” Read more: New York Post

Pre-kindergarten plan could be boom for landlords

Mayor de Blasio’s pre-kindergarten push has set off a land grab among private-school operators who are scrambling for suitable space to house new programs, according to a report. Read more: New York Post

Diversity wins big at 86th Oscars

Diversity was perhaps the biggest winner at the 86th annual Academy Awards. Read more: AP

Queens’ Morning Roundup

| ctumola@queenscourier.com

morning roundup


Friday: Plentiful sunshine. High 24. Winds NW at 5 to 10 mph. Friday Night: Mostly clear. Low near 15. Winds light and variable.

EVENT OF THE DAY: International Painting NYC III 

The Jeffrey Leder Gallery presents an expansive exhibit that will occupy two floors of the gallery. International Painting NYC III features work from over 20 painters from 10 countries. The Jeffrey Leder Gallery is located at 21-37 45th Road, LIC. Through March 23. Click here for more info or to submit an event of your own

NYPD unveils 7-step new training protocols

The New York Police Department unveiled new, “common-sense” training protocols aimed at improving relations with communities that feel alienated by the police stop-and-frisk practice. Read more: ABC New York

Parents outraged by de Blasio barring 3 charter schools from public space

New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio’s administration has blocked three charter schools from using space inside public school buildings, reversing a decision from his predecessor and making good on a campaign promise to rein in the influence of private education providers. Read more: AP

Bratton bucking St. Patrick’s Day parade boycott

Police Commissioner William Bratton says he will march in the nation’s largest St. Patrick’s Day parade. Read more: New York Post

New nutrition labels would highlight calories and sugar

Those “Nutrition Facts” labels that are plastered on nearly every food package found in grocery stores are getting a new look. Read more: CBS New York/AP

Arctic front brings record-breaking cold, howling winds

Record-breaking cold and howling winds froze the tri-state overnight as temperatures dropped to 10 degrees in New York City and and below zero in at least one suburb, with wind gusts making it feel even worse. Read more: NBC New York

Major snowfall, freezing temps target NYC

| ctumola@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/File photo

Updated 11:40 p.m.

New York City was set for its second significant storm of the month Tuesday, with heavy snowfall and freezing temperatures predicted.

This storm is on pace to be larger than the previous storm, Mayor Bill de Blasio said at a press briefing Tuesday night.

The National Weather Service (NWS) issued a winter storm warning from 12 p.m. Tuesday until 6 a.m. Wednesday. The snow, however, was already falling by the morning commute.

By the evening, the storm had intensified and 10 to 14 inches of flakes are now expected in the city, the mayor said.

Governor Andrew Cuomo Tuesday afternoon declared a State of Emergency for New York City as well as Nassau, Suffolk, Westchester and Rockland counties.

De Blasio said he wanted  “New Yorkers to stay in to the maximum amount possible this evening” so the sanitation department can do its work.

“The safest thing to do tonight is stay home,” he said.

The New York City Department of Sanitation (DSNY) issued a snow alert, starting at 9 a.m. Tuesday.

More than 2,000 sanitation are out now, working 12-hour shifts, and 450 salt spreaders have already been deployed, the mayor said. There are also more than 1,700 vehicles with snow plows that are being deployed as the snow accumulates.

To track the progress of DSNY clearing operations throughout the five boroughs, click here.

Alternate side parking is suspended Wednesday to facilitate with snow removal, but payment at parking meters remains in effect

Trash and recycling pickups are also suspended for Wednesday.

The New York City Office of Emergency Management (OEM) is warning motorists to drive slowly, monitor weather and traffic, use major streets or highways, and have the name and number of at least one local towing service. A hazardous travel advisory is in effect for Wednesday.

For anyone traveling on public transportation, the MTA has plans in place to deal with any adverse weather conditions.

After express subway service was “curtailed” after the evening rush hour Tuesday, the MTA said service should be near normal Wednesday, with express service restored during the morning rush hour. Buses will operate at 80 to 90 percent of normal levels depending on customer demand, and service will be subject to delays based on local road conditions.

Fastrack work on the E,F,M,R Queens Blvd. Line has been canceled for the remainder of the week to free up personnel for snow fighting and cleanup after the storm.

The Long Island Rail Road (LIRR) reduced service after 8 p.m. Tuesday on a branch-by-branch basis. After 8 p.m., service was also reduced on the Metro-North.

On Wednesday, Metro-North will operate 80 to 85 percent of its normal weekday service, with some trains combined and some delays possible based on the condition of track and power systems. The LIRR will operate on a weekend schedule.

For more information, or to see any additional MTA service changes, click here.

The snow is not expected to taper off until 3 or 4 a.m. Wednesday.

The city’s public schools, however, will be open tomorrow, Chancellor Carmen Fariña announced late Tuesday night.

The mayor cautioned New Yorkers about the bitter cold that is accompanying the snow. Temperatures will be very low and wind chills will make it worse, he said.

The low Tuesday night will be around 19,  but with gusts as high as 33 mph, wind chill values will be low as -11, according to NWS.

Though the snow will end by Wednesday, highs will remain in the high teens and lows in the single digits and teens for the next few days, with wind chill factors below zero.


Winter storm warning issued for NYC

| ctumola@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/File photo

Updated 4:20 p.m.

Colder temperatures and potentially heavy snow are expected to hit the New York City area Tuesday and could make for a messy commute home.

The National Weather Service (NWS) has issued a winter storm warning from 12 p.m. Tuesday to 6 a.m. Wednesday.

The New York City Department of Sanitation is preparing to take on any potential bad weather and has issued a snow alert, starting at 9 a.m. Tuesday. Alternate side parking will be suspended tomorrow to facilitate with snow removal, but payment at parking meters remains in effect.

Six to 10 inches of snow are expected in the city, according to NWS. The flakes will start falling around 1 p.m. tomorrow and continue overnight.

The high will be near 23, with winds 11 to 15 mph, according to NWS. Temperatures at night will be chilly with a low around 10 and wind chill values as low as -4. Winds Tuesday night will be  18 to 25 mph.

Though the snow will end by Wednesday, highs will remain around the high teens to low to mid-twenties and lows in the teens for the next few days.



Op-ed: Stay safe – and warm – this winter

| oped@queenscourier.com


More than a third of all serious fires in New York City happen during the winter months, when people often resort to unsafe measures, as they attempt to heat their homes and stay warm. As a result, there are many preventable fires resulting in unnecessary loss of life and property.

Some fires are caused by unattended open flames, such as decorative or commemorative candles, fireplaces or wood-burning stoves. They should never be left unattended and you should always extinguish them completely before going to bed at night.

Other fires are caused by electric heating equipment and the devices used in conjunction with them, like extension cords and power strips. Portable space heaters and electric blankets can be extremely dangerous if they are poorly maintained, inappropriately powered, or – in the case of space heaters – placed too close to combustible objects. You should not purchase these products, or any power strips or extension cords unless they are Underwriters’ Laboratory (UL) approved and have the UL mark. You should also periodically check the integrity of these products to ensure that they don’t become too worn or damaged for use.

Most importantly, every home should have working smoke alarms and carbon-monoxide detectors. These devices save lives. We know this because in nearly 80 percent of the fire deaths in recent years, the Fire Department found no working smoke alarm present.

We have made education about the importance of smoke and carbon monoxide alarms a cornerstone of our Fire Safety Education (FSE) effort. Teams of Fire Safety Educators conduct hundreds of information sessions each year throughout the city, reaching about 600,000 New Yorkers every year, and at the same time they distribute hundreds of thousands of free smoke and carbon monoxide alarm batteries and tens of thousands of detectors.

During the last year we’ve focused our fire safety efforts on communities impacted by Sandy, because of the many problems associated with the storm in these areas. Dozens of serious fires occurred both during and in the aftermath of the storm, as salt water impacted home electrical systems, and residents in these areas resorted to unconventional and even dangerous ways of heating and powering their homes. This winter, through the Hurricane Sandy Fire Safe Program, Fire Safety Educators have been reaching out to older New Yorkers in areas of Queens, Brooklyn and Staten Island that were hit hardest by the storm, hosting educational events, visiting homes to conduct fire safety reviews and discuss fire safety exit plans, and installing smoke, carbon monoxide and hard-of-hearing alarms.

The FDNY has done an extraordinary job in reducing the number of fatal fires in New York City in the last decade – which has been overall the safest in nearly a century of recordkeeping. But, even one death by fire is too many – so, our goal and commitment is to do everything possible to protect everyone from the danger of fires and that starts with prevention.

Please do your part in protecting yourself and your family by adhering to these basic winter fire safety tips, which can be viewed in full at: on.nyc.gov/JhUFjt.

Remember – working smoke detectors save lives! Please make sure you have them in your home!

Salvatore J. Cassano is New York City’s 32nd Fire Commissioner






Queens’ Morning Roundup

| ctumola@queenscourier.com

morning roundup


Wednesday: Sunny. High near 25. Winds W at 10 to 15 mph. Wednesday night: Partly to mostly cloudy. Low 19. Winds W at 5 to 10 mph.

EVENT OF THE DAY: Monthly Jazz Jam

At 5 p.m., individuals can learn more about jazz and play with the Queens Jazz OverGround. At 7 p.m., musicians are invited to jam with QJOG and anybody else who shows up. $10 for spectators, free from performers and students. Flushing Town Hall, Flushing, 137-35 Northern Blvd., www.flushingtownhall.org.

Second day of bitter cold bears down on tri-state, thaw ahead

A second icy morning is chilling the tri-state Wednesday, but commuters should see warmer temperatures as teeth-chattering cold brought on by a frigid, swirling system known as a polar vortex begins to ease out of the area. Read more: NBC New York

Cuomo lays out his agenda for NY in election year

Gov. Andrew Cuomo is expected to deliver an election-year State of the State address touting tax breaks and economic successes. Read more: AP

More than 100 ex-NYC workers faked disabilities, got federal benefits: officials

More than 100 former police officers, firefighters and other city workers are accused of faking mental disabilities in order to get tens of thousands of dollars in Social Security benefits each year, authorities announced Tuesday. Read more: NBC New York

De Blasio tries tosway City Council speaker vote

New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio, who made the unusual decision to forcefully interject himself into the race for the powerful post leading the City Council, may have helped engineer a victory for his preferred candidate. Read more: CBS New York/AP

New York scores high for school choice in report

New York is right near the top of a new nationwide scorecard on school choice — a status it could kiss goodbye under the policies of Mayor de Blasio. Read more: New York Post

Queens’ Morning Roundup

| ctumola@queenscourier.com

morning roundup


Tuesday: Abundant sunshine. High 13. Winds W at 20 to 30 mph. Tuesday night: A clear sky. Low 11. Winds WSW at 10 to 20 mph.

EVENT OF THE DAY: Raze preview screening and discussion 

Come to the Museum of the Moving Image at 7 p.m. for a preview screening and discussion of Raze, part of the ongoing martial arts series, Fist and Sword. In her biggest role to date, Zoë Bell headlines a sly subversion of the women-in-prison genre. Zoë Bell will be there in person. Click here for more info

New York area warned about severe freezing temperatures

The New York City Office of Emergency Management and other area agencies are warning residents throughout the Tri-State about prolonged exposure to extreme cold weather. Read more: ABC New York

Brooklyn native Janet Yellen Confirmed As Fed Chair

The Senate has easily approved Brooklyn native Janet Yellen’s nomination to head the Federal Reserve. Read more: CBS New York/AP

Deal eyed in for suspect in cop beating

Several dozen uniformed cops packed a Queens courtroom on Monday to support one of their own who was brutally beaten almost to death by a muscular stranger while cellphone cameras recorded the bloody incident. Read more: New York Post

De Blasio’s pre-K push still lacks Cuomo support

New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio surrounded himself with labor leaders Monday morning, the latest choreographed show of support for his signature campaign promise to fund universal pre-kindergarten programs with a tax increase on the wealthy. Read more: AP

Head of Metro-North stepping down: source

The head of the Metro-North Railroad is stepping down after a year marred by a fatal derailment in the Bronx, a train collision in Connecticut, a worker’s death and a 12-day power loss to one of the authority’s busiest lines, a source familiar with the situation told NBC 4 New York. Read more: NBC New York