Tag Archives: NYCHA

Man shot dead, another stabbed in dispute near Woodside Houses


| lguerre@queenscourier.com


A confrontation between two men Friday night near the New York City Housing Authority’s Woodside Houses resulted in the stabbing of one man and shooting death of another, cops said.

The violence broke out after James Sloane, 30, and Jose Feliciano, 50, got into a dispute, at about 11:15 p.m., around 50-30 Broadway, authorities said. Feliciano stabbed Sloane, who then pulled out a gun and shot the older man, according to police.

Both men were taken to Elmhurst Hospital, where Feliciano was pronounced dead.

Police arrested Sloane and charged him with murder, criminal possession of a weapon and tampering with evidence, cops said.

 

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Man wanted in non-fatal LIC shooting


| aaltamirano@queenscourier.com

Photo courtesy of NYPD

Police are looking for a 33-year-old man they say shot three people in March at the NYCHA Queensbridge South Houses in Long Island City.

On Sunday, March 23 Shalarmel Nieves left a party he was attending near 41-16 12th St. at 1:35 a.m. and a short time later came back and began shooting at a group of people standing in front of 41-16 12th St., according to cops.

Nieves shot three victims and then fled the scene. A 50-year-old woman, was shot in the leg and taken to Mt. Sinai Hospital, a 25-year-old man, was shot in the foot and taken to Cornell Hospital, and a 23-year-old man was shot in the leg and taken to Lenox Hill Hospital. All three were listed in stable condition, police said.

The NYPD describe Nieves as 5 feet 8 inches tall, Hispanic and 175 pounds.

Anyone with information is asked to call Crime Stoppers at (800) 577-TIPS (8477). The public can also submit their tips by logging onto the Crime Stoppers website or can text their tips to CRIMES (274637), then enter TIP577. All calls are strictly confidential.

 

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91-year-old WWII veteran fighting NYCHA for Flushing apartment


| lguerre@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/Photo by Liam La Guerre

Follow me @liamlaguerre

 

 
Ninety-one-year-old Ralph Calinda has fought his fair share of battles over his lifetime.

He fought for the United States during World War II, he battles diabetes and high blood pressure every day, and now he’s facing a different conflict — keeping the apartment he has called home for more than 60 years.

Calinda lives alone in a three-bedroom apartment in the New York City Housing Authority (NYCHA) Pomonok Houses in Flushing. Through NYCHA’s downsizing policy, which moves residents who “overuse apartments” to smaller ones, the city agency wants to kick him out of his home.

They have sent letters to force him to take one-bedroom apartments, but in foreign neighborhoods such as the Queensbridge Houses in Long Island City and the Ravenswood Houses in Astoria. Finally, they asked him to move to an apartment in the Pomonok Houses, but it lacked essential appliances and was unfurnished. Calinda, who retired nearly three decades ago, believes he wouldn’t even be able to make the move physically or financially, since he depends on social security payments.

Councilman Rory Lancman and other politicians rallied with Calinda and his family against the NYCHA policy in a protest on Friday, to call on the agency to halt its downsizing of senior residents and to overhaul the initiative.

“They have lately stepped up in a very, very aggressive way,” Lancman said about NYCHA. “We are here today to demand that they stop and that they treat their long-time residents like valuable citizens of the communities that they’ve lived in, rather than as pieces of furniture they can move around from one place to the other.”

Calinda uses a cane to walk, and that’s only during the rare times he leaves his apartment. “Pop,” as he is known among family members, friends and neighbors, now enjoys painting, word puzzles and gardening.

But before he retired, Calinda used to build fighter jets for the Air Force. He even helped build the NASA space shuttles, and although Calinda wouldn’t say which one, he allegedly engraved the name of his late wife on the tail of one of the space rockets.

Calinda raised seven children from his apartment, which has six rooms, counting a living room, kitchen and a bathroom. He said he may have been willing to leave if NYCHA first came to him when his kids became adults and left 30 years ago, but not now.

“It’s been my home for so long, I just think it should be my home forever,” he said.

NYCHA has yet to return a request for comment.

 

 

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Woman to give free manicures at Socrates Sculpture Park


| aaltamirano@queenscourier.com

Photo by Mikel Durlam

Breanne Trammell is taking her revamped 1968 compact trailer back out on the road to help polish the lives of local western Queens moms in need of a well-deserved pampering.

Last year, Trammell, a Wassaic, N.Y. resident, professional manicurist and core member of the nonprofit The Wassaic Project, embarked on a cross-country road trip she called Nails Across America.

During the trip she visited 20 different states as part of her experimental art project known as “Nails in the Key of Life,” where she uses manicures as the way to exchange ideas, start conversations and collect people’s stories. During her road trip, she would give women, men and children free manicures inside a 1968 Shasta compact trailer she transformed into a mobile nail salon.


                                   Photo by Mikel Durlam

Each person who sported one of Trammell’s manicures would receive a signed and numbered letter-pressed certificate to celebrate his or her involvement in the project.

“The idea is to reach out to as many kinds of people, from all walks of life, and use it as a way to honor them and their experiences, and share their experiences and stories,” Trammell said. “Manicures are usually expensive. It’s been my intention from the very beginning, this is totally accessible for anyone.”

Now, months after returning from her trip, Trammell will take the trailer back out and make a trip to Long Island City’s Socrates Sculpture Park for its spring/summer season opening on Mother’s Day on May 11.

During the event, which will feature the opening of three brand new exhibitions, Trammell will be giving free manicures by the park’s new 50-foot-long, 18-foot-high “Queen Mother of Reality” sculpture by Polish artist Pawel Althamer.

Although the manicures will be available on a first-come, first-served basis, most of the appointments will be filled by mothers from the nearby NYCHA housing development Astoria Houses.


                        Photo by Chuka Chukuma

“We are making sure the people that deserve it are getting it,” said Elissa Goldstone, exhibition program manager at Socrates Sculpture Park. “We are giving women a moment to be praised and to be focused on.”

While the mothers get pampered by Trammell, their children will also be able to take part in workshops conducted by the grass-roots nonprofit Minor Miracles Foundation.

Goldstone said Trammell’s trailer and free manicures pair nicely with the sculpture that was dedicated to Queen Mother Dr. Delois Blakely, who has served as Community Mayor of Harlem since being sworn in by former Mayor Rudolph Giuliani in 1995.

Visitors will be allowed to enter the sculpture and get a view of the Manhattan skyline, and, later, get a tour of Trammell’s trailer.

“Breanne’s trailer has similar reclaimed, handmade, but also sacred and secured interior in this larger setting,” Goldstone said. “It’s that privateness that brings out these intimate moments.”

During that weekend, Socrates Sculpture Park will also debut the LIC Art Bus which will offer free weekend door-to-door service from noon to 6 p.m. between Socrates, SculptureCenter, The Noguchi Museum and MoMA PS1.

 

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FEMA to pay for Sandy-damaged boilers in Rockaway NYCHA buildings


| ctumola@queenscourier.com

Rob Bennett for the Office of Mayor Bill de Blasio

New York City Housing Authority (NYCHA) residents in the Rockaways and other parts of the city will receive a much needed fix to their buildings following Superstorm Sandy.

Mayor Bill de Blasio and Senator Charles Schumer announced Sunday that 60 boilers in 110 separate NYCHA residential buildings in the Rockaways, Coney Island and the Lower East Side that were damaged in the storm will be replaced.

FEMA will provide approximately $100 million in funding for the “new state-of-the-art-boilers.” Since Sandy, NYCHA has been spending $3 million per month for temporary boilers in the buildings.

Officials said that instead of repairing the boilers, as is normal, FEMA had agreed to replace them, speeding up the process of restoring regular service to the affected buildings.

“For more than 16 months, bureaucratic infighting and red tape have denied NYCHA residents the most basic of necessities—reliable heat and hot water,” Schumer said. “Today we’re firmly on the path to righting a wrong that has too often left NYCHA residents in the cold during the winter and in the dark at night.”

The final funding agreement is expected to be in place in time so boiler replacement can start later this year, according to Schumer.

 

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Queens highways, other city infrastructure ‘badly’ in need of repair: report


| ctumola@queenscourier.com

Photo via Wikimedia Commons / Jim.henderson

Queens is facing some serious infrastructure challenges, according to a new report.

The Center for an Urban Future found the borough has five of the nine worst maintained highways in the city.

Based on a 10-point scale, where 1 to 5 is considered “poor,” 6 is “fair,” 7 to 8 is “good,” and 9 to 10 is “excellent,” in 2012, the Jackie Robinson Parkway received a surface rating of 5.8, and the Shore Front Parkway, Cross Bay Parkway Route 25A and Route 24 earned a 6.0.

Overall, highway conditions in the borough have been deteriorating, the report said. In 2008, 38 percent of Queens highways were rated “fair” or “poor.” Four years later, 52 percent were in the same shape.

The report, released Tuesday, showed additional infrastructure issues in the borough.

About 30 percent of its streets were in “fair” or “poor” condition.

Other findings showed that Queens New York City Housing Authority (NYCHA) developments have the most deteriorated building façades and roofs, according to U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development inspections. Four of the NYCHA complexes in the borough need over $70 million in façade repairs through 2016.

Several of the city’s oldest wastewater treatment plants are in eastern Queens, including Jamaica (1943) and Bowery Bay near Flushing (1939), according to the report.

John F. Kennedy International Airport also needs upgrades due to age.

Its facilities are 40 years old on average, “with 63 percent of cargo space considered ‘non-viable,’ or unfit for modern screening, storage and distribution,” the report said.

Queens was not alone in its infrastructure problems.

The report calculated that New York City needs $47 billion over the next four to five years to bring its “aging infrastructure to a state of good repair.”

It found that a “significant portion” of the city’s bridges, water mains, sewer pipes, school buildings and other important infrastructure is more than 50 years old and “badly” in need of repair.

“New York won’t be able to address every one of the city’s infrastructure vulnerabilities at this time,” said Jonathan Bowles, executive director of the Center for an Urban Future and co-editor of the report. “But if a significant chunk of the city’s critical infrastructure is not brought to a state of good repair in the years ahead, it could seriously undermine the city’s economic competitiveness and quality of life—and lead to substantial long-term costs.”

The aging infrastructure includes 1,000 miles of water mains more than 100 years old; more than 160 bridges across the five boroughs that were built over a century ago; and 6,300 miles of gas mains that are on average, 56 years old.

The report suggests creating new dedicated revenue sources to pay for repairing and modernizing infrastructure.

 

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Family gets house in Jamaica thanks to Habitat for Humanity


| mhayes@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/ Photo by Maggie Hayes

Dawnette Dixon finally has her own home and even a backyard, fixed up by none other than a former president.

Habitat for Humanity acquired five New York City Housing Authority (NCYHA) homes in the borough that were abandoned, boarded up and a “blight” in the community. One of those homes was on 112th Road in Jamaica, which was vacant for roughly two decades. It is also the home Dixon, her son and daughter will be moving into early next year.

“We said to the city, we’ll turn [the homes] around,” said Neil Hetherington, CEO of Habitat for Humanity NYC.

Hetherington and the Habitat team hosted the 30th Annual Jimmy and Rosalynn Carter Work Project to build and repair homes citywide. President Carter, 89, and his wife have been working with the group for almost 30 years, and the Jamaica home was part of a country-wide tour fixing houses.

Carter worked the power tools and his wife moved slabs of wood, all part of constructing a new deck for the Dixons. Hundreds of volunteers and the Dixons themselves worked on the new house. Construction is estimated to be complete in six to eight weeks.

As well as cleaning up the once-vacant home, Habitat for Humanity makes upkeep for the home affordable for people like Dixon, 53, who works for the Department of Health. They receive government grants and state mortgages which can make living affordable in the long haul.

“Now they have the pride and dignity associated with not only building their home, but paying for their home,” Hetherington said. “It’s helping in a dignified way.”

Dixon, who lived in Brooklyn for most of her life, “can’t explain how excited” she is. She is moving to the home from a cramped apartment in Prospect Park.

“This is a change of environment, a change of scenery and a new life,” she said. “Even if I don’t have anything in the house, as long as I’m living there, I’m happy.”

 

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Queens’ Morning Roundup


| ctumola@queenscourier.com

morning roundup

TODAY’S FORECAST 

Friday: Clear in the morning, then partly cloudy. High of 72. Winds from the NE at 5 to 10 mph. Friday night: Overcast in the evening, then clear. Low of 59. Winds less than 5 mph.

EVENT OF THE DAY: Couperin & Eau de Vie: Brooklyn Baroque

Brooklyn Baroque, featuring cellist David Bakamjian, flutist Andrew Bolotowsky and harpsichordist Rebecca Pechefsky, performs chamber music by the French composer François Couperin at the King Manor Museum. Sample fruit brandy and hard cider similar to those in Rufus King’s wine cellar. Click here for more info or to submit an event of your own

Queens residents living in flooded homes as they wait for NYCHA repairs

Some residents at a Queens apartment building say they’ve been complaining to their landlord for months about water, bugs and mold. Read more: CBS New York

Chinese immigrant alleges cops beat him in Queens park

A Chinese immigrant living here illegally is suing three city cops, saying they beat him mercilessly in a Queens park, his lawyer said. Read more: New York Daily News

UFT survey: hundreds of thousands of kids in overcrowded classrooms

A teachers union survey found that nearly one in four New York City public school students – more than 230,000 kids – is in a crowded classroom. Read more: CBS New York

Mayor: NYC’s air is cleaner

New York City’s air quality has reached the cleanest levels in more than 50 years, Mayor Michael Bloomberg announced Thursday. Read more: Fox New York

Preparing for shutdown, government plans furloughs

More than a third of federal workers would be told to stay home if the government shuts down, forcing the closure of national parks from California to Maine and all the Smithsonian museums in the nation’s capital. Workers at the State Department’s Bureau of Consular Affairs wouldn’t be around to process visa and passport applications, complicating the travel plans of hundreds of thousands. Read more: AP

 

 

Backpack giveaway helps Far Rockaway students


| mhayes@queenscourier.com

Photo courtesy of Leticia Barboza, NYCHA photographer

Students in Far Rockaway get to go back to school in style, thanks to a giveaway that doled out more than 1,000 backpacks to the tykes in need.

The New York City Housing Authority (NYCHA) teamed up with nonprofit organization Kars4Kids and ventured to the Hammel Houses and Beach 41st Street Houses to help out the families still recovering from Sandy on Thursday, August 29.

“The kids were excited and appreciative, the parents were excited and appreciative,” said Peggy Thomas, Resident Council Association President at the Hammel Houses. “It went very well.”

Thomas added these types of giveaways are typically held “in the Bronx or Brooklyn or Staten Island, or even the other side of Queens,” but the Hammel Houses has never seen an event such as this one.

This is the second year NYCHA and Kars4Kids have collaborated to put on the event. Originally, the crew was supposed to cap the giveaway at 500 backpacks, but upped the ante when they saw the kids’ needs, according to Thomas.

“We’re here to send our kids back to school the right way,” said NYCHA Chair John Rhea.

More free backpacks are available at kars4kids.org/charity/backpack_giveaway.asp, while supplies last.

 

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Call to reinstate free parking at Pomonok Community Center


| mchan@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/Photo by Melissa Chan

Visitor parking spots that were once free will now cost a Pomonok community center roughly $2,700, officials said.

The New York City Housing Authority (NYCHA), since partnering up in March with Greystone Parking Services, has come under fire for spiking some annual parking rates at 43 citywide developments.

Now it is facing more heat for billing the Pomonok Community Center $272 for 10 visitor spaces that used to be complimentary.

“The new parking fees at the Pomonok Community Center are outrageous and unacceptable, and NYCHA must repeal them immediately,” said Congressmember Grace Meng. “They’re treating this parking lot like it’s their own business, and it’s a business gone bad.”

The Pomonok Community Center at the Queens Community House provides meals, activities and cooling stations during hot weather to more than 50 seniors who visit daily, officials said.

“It’s unconscionable that NYCHA and Greystone are extorting money from senior citizens,” said State Senator Toby Ann Stavisky.

Monica Corbett, president of the Pomonok Resident Association, said the center is a second home to residents even outside the neighborhood.

Parking is already limited, she said, since Queens College and P.S. 201 are around the corner.

“The nearest senior center is not close nor is there an after-school center that serves children from K-5 grade,” Corbett said. “To ask staff and participants to pay for parking is asinine.”

Local leaders said hundreds of residents have complained to Greystone about a slew of issues — including months-long waits for parking permits and multiple cars being assigned to one spot — to no avail.

“The current policy is extremely shortsighted and threatens the operation of the center,” said Assemblymember Mike Simanowitz.

NYCHA did not immediately comment.

 

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City Planning Commission OKs Hallets Point development


| aaltamirano@queenscourier.com

File Photo

Thousands of residential apartments, retail space and parkland are one step closer to coming to the Astoria waterfront at Hallets Point, home to the NYCHA Astoria Houses.

On Wednesday, August 21 the City Planning Commission voted unanimously to approve the plan presented by Lincoln Equities Group, the company behind the estimated billion-dollar complex called the Hallets Point project.

In 2012, the development group announced it would build seven multifamily residential towers consisting of 2,200 units. Twenty percent of the apartments will be affordable housing. The location will also include retail space featuring supermarkets, drugstores and restaurants.

A 100,000-square-foot public park, outfitted with pedestrian walkways and bike paths, winding along the waterfront, is also expected to be included.

Robert Schenkel, Lincoln Equities development director previously said the project would bring a positive change to Hallets Points, bringing new housing, an affordable supermarket, a spot for a K-8 public school and a landscaped waterfront path.

The plan will now go before the City Council.

If the plan is approved, construction is expected to begin in late 2014 or early 2015.

 

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$300G in repairs not made at Long Island City NYCHA center


| aaltamirano@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/ Photos By Angy Altamirano

Long Island City seniors are waiting for fixes to be made to their senior center, and have been doing so for three years.

Funds allocated to fix various problems at the Jacob Riis Settlement House at the Queensbridge Houses have yet to be put to use, and now the community wants answers as to why.

Betty McCord, a senior at the center, said that it was difficult for her to breathe last month during a Queensbridge town meeting that took place inside the gym on a hot day. There were fans available but according to McCord, they did not help.

“This place is not suitable for our seniors” said McCord.

Over the past three years, Councilmember Jimmy Van Bramer has allocated $300,000 for the renovation of two bathrooms and the installation of an air conditioning system in the gym. After meeting with New York City Housing Authority (NYCHA) six months ago, the agency only told him the changes would take two more years.

He added NYCHA gave reasons such as not enough designers or workers for the project’s delay.
Representatives of the center said the major problems of the bathrooms are the exposed pipes on the ceiling, toilets that are either too high or too low, rusting appliances, infestation of insects, and flooring that could be dangerous to seniors.

“The lack of safe, functional, and welcoming rest room facilities for our participants and staff, particularly our seniors and young people, has been a problem for several years now,” said Robert Madison, director of Senior Services at the Jacob Riis Senior Center. “Our older adults are often forced to use the upstairs facilities because many of them simply will not set foot in the downstairs bathrooms.”

On Friday, August 16, Van Bramer gathered with seniors and representatives of the Jacob Riis Settlement Neighborhood House, the Jacob Riis Senior Center and the Queensbridge Houses to call on the New York City Housing Authority (NYCHA) to repair problems at the community center.

“Jacob Riis Settlement Neighborhood House is the hub and heart of Queensbridge,” said Van Bramer. “How long do our seniors and youth have to wait for these renovations and improvements to take place? It is impossible and unconscionable to believe that it is going to take NYCHA nearly five years to fix our community center. This is a disgrace. We cannot and will not wait any longer.”

According to a recent NYCHA report sent to the city council, the agency has held onto nearly $50 million in taxpayer dollars which should be used for repairing projects, such as restoring New York City community centers which include the Jacob Riis Settlement House.

“I call on NYCHA to get this work done for the residents of Queensbridge,” said Van Bramer. “Not tomorrow, but today.”

Requests for comment from NYCHA were not returned as of press time.

 

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Queens’ Morning Roundup


| ctumola@queenscourier.com

morning roundup

TODAY’S FORECAST  

Wednesday: Clear. High of 79. Breezy. Winds from the NW at 10 to 20 mph. Wednesday night: Clear. Low of 61. Winds from the NW at 5 to 15 mph.

EVENT OF THE DAY: Outdoor Night Market at the Bohemian Hall & Beer Garden

Astoria Market invites you to the second Night Market at the Bohemian Hall & Beer Garden. The market will be held on Wednesday, August 14 from 6 p.m. to 10 p.m. Local bands will be performing, the outdoor grill will be open and there will be drink specials throughout the evening. Stroll through 30 vendors selling unique wares such as art, jewelry, toys, all natural soaps, cookies, and crocheted bags. Click here for more info or to submit an event of your own

NYCHA behind schedule on spending $50 million allocated by City Council for repairs: report

Not only did NYCHA sit on millions set aside for security cameras — the troubled agency also held on to nearly $50 million more in taxpayer dollars allotted to repair its aging developments. Read more: New York Daily News

Weiner, other Dems spar in NYC mayor’s race debate

Former congressman Anthony Weiner fell to fourth among Democratic candidates in the city’s latest mayoral race poll on Tuesday but was the center of attention in a heated debate. Read more: NBC New York

Rockaway Peninsula may lose its last hospital as St. John’s Episcopal starts closing units

Code blue! The only hospital on the Rockaway Peninsula is in critical condition after the closure of units and growing uncertainty surrounding the facility’s finances. Read more: New York Daily News

A fine myth dispelled: City collecting less cash for violations

There are dozens of ways New Yorkers can get fined by the city — failing to clean up after your dog, not bundling up your magazines on recycling day and, of course, parking your car in the wrong spot. Read more: CBS New York

Justice department, states challenge American Airlines, US Airways merger

The Justice Department and attorneys general in six states and Washington, D.C., filed a lawsuit Tuesday challenging the proposed $11 billion merger between American Airlines and U.S. Airways, while at the same time possibly throwing AA’s bankruptcy process into disarray. Read more: NBC New York

Op-Ed: More than a sleep-over, a real eye-opener


| oped@queenscourier.com


GREGORY FLOYD

As president of City Employees, Local 237, nearly 9,000 of my members work in developments operated by the New York City Housing Authority (NYCHA). Their work ranges from apartment repairs to grounds caretakers, boiler and elevator services, to rent collections. About one- third of these workers also live in NYCHA apartments throughout the city.

The problems in public housing have gotten a great deal of attention lately, as the long-standing tenant and worker frustration reached a new high due to sequestration cuts in federal dollars—basically, the only source of funding for the largest and oldest public housing in the nation. The $208 million in cuts would mean a loss of jobs and services.

Despite Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s pledge to restore $58 million of federal dollars lost, the fact remains that NYCHA already has a $61 million operating deficit and $6-7 billion in much-needed capital repairs.

This is a case of too little, too late. With a three-year backlog of repairs, security cameras funded but not installed, reminders of Sandy everywhere in affected developments (and still without a plan to overcome the devastation of the next storm) and with a proposal—long kept secret—to build high-end housing on NYCHA property,

I have joined our members and residents to say “Enough is Enough!” We even held a huge rally at City Hall recently to send a strong message to all of the mayoral contenders: “NYCHA is broken. You need to fix it.” All of the candidates were invited to join the protest. Only one showed up—Bill Thompson. Thompson vowed to end the long suffering of the more than 600,000 NYCHA residents if he becomes mayor.

I guess I wasn’t surprised when Thompson invited me to join him and the other mayoral candidates for a “sleep-over” organized by Reverend Al Sharpton at a NYCHA development, Lincoln Houses in East Harlem. The choice of Lincoln Houses was not random. Residents of the aging, 25-building complex are suing NYCHA for 3,800 unfulfilled repair orders dating back to 2009. Thompson knew I had made repeated attempts to address the backlog and other key problems, all of which went unheeded.

So, after the many speeches and the grounds tour covered by dozens of reporters during the night of the sleep-over, Thompson and I met our host, Barbara Gamble, a NYCHA resident for 44 years, 30 of which were in the 10th floor apartment we visited. Without air conditioning on the sweltering night and with mold throughout the bathroom, we could now feel the human pain associated with the repair tickets that dated back so many years. We saw the struggles of Gamble— a proud grandmother who takes matters into her own hands by routinely cleaning the hallways of her entire floor!

When we met with the other candidates the next morning, the talk was about what they saw in their host apartments: ripped-out kitchen cabinets, chipped paint, water damage, faulty toilets, broken flooring and urine in the elevators (which frequently do not work). But, in my view, this was not the worst part of living in a NYCHA development.

No, it was the news that a few days after our visit, a 23-year old woman was shot to death on the project’s grounds in a location where NYCHA failed to install security cameras even though $ 1 million had been allocated by a NYC Councilmember. Despite these conditions, 227,000 people are on a waiting list for a NYCHA apartment because affordable housing in NYC is scarce. With an average of only 5,400 to 5,800 openings annually, the wait can take years.

NYCHA began more than 75 years ago as an experiment in municipal responsibility that developed into a model of social pride. Many former residents, including a NYC mayor, a supreme court justice, and a world-renowned entertainment mogul, have all gone on to make a lasting, positive impact on society.

Yet, as I saw the hardships of Barbara Gamble and her neighbors first-hand, it became clear that what is wrong with public housing today is not only broken buildings, but broken management.

The next mayor, with the ability to appoint a new chairman and form a new board, also has the ability to fix it.

Gregory Floyd is president, Teamsters Local 237, IBT

 

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Security cameras to be installed in Far Rockaway NYCHA complexes


| mhayes@queenscourier.com


Big Brother is watching in NYCHA complexes across Far Rockaway.

Security cameras are set to be installed in various housing projects, intended to curb violence, particularly gun violence, in troubled areas.

“I’m tired of hearing the stories – our seniors and our children not being able to play outside because they’re afraid of getting struck by a stray bullet,” said Councilmember Donovan Richards.

After the City Council passed its budget, Richards allocated nearly $2 million for closed-circuit security cameras in the Ocean Bay Houses and Beach 41st Street Houses.

“Public housing is regularly left underfunded with no real consideration given towards necessary improvements,” Richards said. “You have to prioritize where you want your budget money to go. I felt that was an area that needed it the most.”

Carleton Manor will also receive funds for community room upgrades for residents to enjoy, Richards said.

The camera design will be finished within eight to 10 months and installation is expected within a year-and-a-half.

Richards’ predecessor, current State Senator James Sanders, allocated funds for security cameras in the Redfern Houses in Far Rockaway during his tenure. Richards said that since then, it is “like day and night.”

“I can’t remember the last time I heard of a shooting in that development,” he said. “I want to make sure they’re carrying that across the board. Make sure our children and seniors and their families are safe.”

“If you’re walking, you’re on camera. They look at blind spots. No matter which way you run, you’re going to get caught,” he added.

 

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