Tag Archives: superstorm sandy

PHOTOS: Sandy Then & Now


| mchan@queenscourier.com

Sandy Then and Now

THEN

THE COURIER/Photo by Alexa Altman

NOW

THE COURIER/Photo by Melissa Chan

THEN

THE COURIER/Photo by Melissa Chan

NOW

THE COURIER/Photo by Melissa Chan

THEN

THE COURIER/Photo by Alexa Altman

NOW

THE COURIER/Photo by Melissa Chan

THEN

THE COURIER/Photo by Melissa Chan

NOW

THE COURIER/Photo by Melissa Chan

 

RECOMMENDED STORIES

SANDY ONE YEAR LATER: Cross Bay businesses make a comeback


| lguerre@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/ Photo by Liam La Guerre

After opening her two-floor hair salon and spa on Cross Bay Boulevard in July last year, Kimberly Langona was devastated when months later, it was partially destroyed.

Superstorm Sandy wiped out the entire first floor of Explosion Hair Styling, destroying equipment including hair dryers, electrical wiring, furniture and computers.

“Everything was lost,” said Langona, who rebuilt the entire salon and replaced all the equipment, which cost an estimated $150,000. “I couldn’t even tell you how hard it was to turn people away.”

Photo courtesy Kimberly Langona

Explosions Hair Styling was completely reconstructed after receiving massive damage from Sandy. (THE COURIER/ Photo by Liam La Guerre)

Full power was not restored to the building until December of last year, but Langona kept the salon and spa partially open by utilizing generators on the second floor, which is called Serenity Day Spa.

Now, a year later, business is buzzing at full capacity in the salon, much like other businesses on Cross Bay Boulevard.

The Howard Beach commercial strip was under water after Sandy struck on October 29, and many businesses were forced to close. Some never reopened and others endured months of rebuilding before making a comeback.

“It was a mess,” said Joe De Candia, owner of Lenny’s Clam Bar. “You couldn’t fathom that much water.”

About four feet of water rushed into the restaurant, a 40-year staple in the community which is famous for serving numerous celebrities. The force of the flooding tossed tables and chairs outside the eatery and the garbage compactor was moved four blocks away. All the electrical equipment and wiring on the first floor was destroyed and the walls were soaked with water.

The restaurant lost power for about three weeks, but De Candia said they immediately started making repairs, which were paid for out-of-pocket. After the power returned it took another two weeks before they had a partial reopening.

“We were limping but we were able to reopen,” De Candia said.

But because of Sandy, Lenny’s was able to come back bigger and better. The gym next door, Better Bodies Fitness for Women, wasn’t able to rebuild so De Candia bought the property and expanded the restaurant and added a party room. He also shifted the bar to make it bigger.

Lenny’s wasn’t the only business that improved following the storm.
Scott Baron & Associates PC completely rebuilt the first floor, making it more functional and adding state of-the-art-technology.

The law office, which has been known as a community champion for nearly 20 years, finally held its grand reopening in June. Before the Howard Beach office reopened though, Scott Baron, the owner, said they moved operations to their office in Yonkers.

Baron is happy that the commercial strip is back again and said it’s a testament to the community sticking together.

“I saw a lot of store owners helping store owners and neighbors helping neighbors, because everyone was in the same boat,” Baron said. “The community really came together.”

 

RECOMMENDED STORIES

SANDY ONE YEAR LATER: Houses spring up in Breezy Point ‘fire zone’


| mhayes@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/Rebuilding photos by Melissa Chan/Fire photo by Alexa Altman

Nobody can keep Breezy Point down, not even Sandy.

A year after the storm wiped away longstanding houses and an electrical fire burned down 135 residences, the framework for dozens of homes have appeared, particularly in a once vacant, ash-filled lot, in what residents have called the “fire zone.”

“The level of activity is mind boggling. Houses are up all over. It’s a major construction scene,” said Arthur Lighthall, general manager of the Breezy Point Cooperative. “I’m just overwhelmed that we’ve seen so much activity, as I was overwhelmed the two weeks after the storm thinking we’d never see this community come back to the way it is.”

The co-op office sees building applications coming in daily. As of October 17, the management team had seen 117 from home and business owners looking to rebuild.

Lighthall estimates they see two to three applications a day and said they are doing their “best” to gauge whether the building-design submissions fit the co-op’s limits.

Those limits reflect the city’s, Lighthall said, which require a base height of two feet, plus an additional foot. Each home’s height requirement depends upon the flood zone as well as the current sidewalk or land height of the area.

The building of 30 to 40 houses is underway and an additional 12 to 15 plans are in the final stages of being approved and can soon start rebuilding, according to Lighthall.

Building design applications are typically “identical” to what was there before.

“People just want their houses back,” Lighthall said.

The majority of residents are paying for the construction costs with FEMA grants, insurance money, or help from family. Roughly 1,700 homeowners applied for the city Build-it-Back program, but are waiting to hear what, if any, funds they will be granted.

“The people are doing it themselves in the community,” Lighthall said.

 

 RECOMMENDED STORIES

Street Talk: What are your memories of Sandy?


By Queens Courier Staff | editorial@queenscourier.com

Street Talk Sandy

What I remember most is all of the houses destroyed, all of the people who suffered.

Ronald Kenchon

The slow reaction of the mayor and the insufficient plan for the disaster that was coming.

The mayor didn’t come to the aid of the outer boroughs quickly enough.

Robert Garner

It destroyed a lot of New Jersey and New York. Many people got hurt.

Daniel Ketz

I remember being really scared because nothing like that had ever happened to me before. Luckily our house wasn’t destroyed or anything, but a few friends of mine in Rockaway wound up with no power for a few days.

Gabby Hinton

I didn’t think it was going to be as big as deal as it turned out to be. Our house didn’t lose power but my parents kept us inside for a few days because they were afraid there would be looting.

Nathalie Blackmon

Our house didn’t have power for a couple of days, but my mom bought enough emergency food to last us in the meantime. I was pretty scared for my friends in other areas who I couldn’t get in touch with though.

Sharia Stevens

We sat by our front door and at about 9 p.m. the water started to rise above our entrance. We were helpless in our efforts to prevent the water from coming in. We waited it out. The water level was at a car door. It was very eerie because the power was off.

Herb Listopad

We had no electricity for 27 or 28 days. Fortunately, we live on the second floor. It was really windy, the trees were blowing and then the water came in. I would say about seven feet high outside. Boats were coming down my street. People were paddling boats to rescue people that were on their roofs or on the second floor.

Eric Hill

I live in Ozone Park so nothing much was going on over there. It was windy and looking out the window you could see the rain.

Ivan Wylie

I was standing in front my house and I actually saw the water when it was first coming. The water started to come from around the corner and flood the whole street. We were stunned we had never seen anything like that before so we came back in the house. It was such a frightening thing. We started to go up the steps because the water started to come in higher and higher.

Elliot Jacks

I think my block was the only one that still had power after the storm. We took a stroll to [Cross Bay Boulevard]. It was pretty bad. The trees were knocked down everywhere.

Yvan Pangilinan

The water had no place to go, it flooded the streets and it went up the streets and into everyone’s homes and it flooded the entire first level of the house. The upstairs was not touched. Everything downstairs had to be replaced: the heating, the air conditioning, every piece of furniture, the floor, the walls…

Dorris Brown

BY LIAM LA GUERRE, JOHANN HAMILTON & RACHEL LANDAU

 

RECOMMENDED STORIES

Family of Flushing Sandy victim officially files suit against city


| mchan@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/Photo by Melissa Chan and courtesy of Facebook

The family of the Flushing man tragically killed by a felled tree during Sandy has officially filed a lawsuit against the city, legal sources said.

“The city has completely ignored the situation with their trees in Queens,” said the family’s attorney, Rosemarie Arnold.

Arnold filed a notice of claim in January on behalf of Tony Laino, 29, who is considered the storm’s first New York City victim.

He was pinned under a tree that ripped through his second-floor bedroom on October 29, police said.

“Around the corner from where this happened, someone else was killed last week,” said Arnold, referring to the pregnant woman recently killed by a tree in Kissena Park.

The attorney said the Lainos fought in vain for at least a decade to get the towering threat in front of their house removed.

She told The Courier the city tree was “overgrown, rotten and improperly pruned” and fell when it was confronted by predicted 80 miles per hour hurricane winds.

The victim’s parents, Carol and Robert Laino, and one of his two brothers, Nicholas Laino, are now suing for emotional, mental distress and monetary damages, including funeral and burial expenses, according to the claim.

“Let’s hope this lawsuit saves at least one other mother from the torment that Carol Laino is experiencing because of the unnecessary loss of her child,” Arnold said.

The amount the family plans to sue for is not yet determined, according to their lawyer.

The city’s Law Department said it was “awaiting a formal copy of the lawsuit and will review it upon receipt.”

“We recognize that the incident involves a loss of life, which is tragic,” said department spokesperson Elizabeth Thomas.

 

RECOMMENDED STORIES

 

Statue of Liberty, closed since Sandy, to reopen by July 4


| ctumola@queenscourier.com

Photo courtesy of NPS

One of America’s most iconic symbols of freedom, the Statue of Liberty will be open in time to celebrate the country’s birthday, Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar and U.S. Senator Charles Schumer announced today.

The monument has been closed since Sandy.

“[The storm] inflicted major damage on facilities that support the Statue of Liberty – destroying the docks, crippling the energy infrastructure on Ellis Island and wiping out the security screening system – but we are fully committed to reopening this crown jewel as soon as it’s safe for visitors and not a second later,” said Salazar . “Based on the tremendous progress we have made, Lady Liberty will be open to the public in time for the July 4th celebration.”

The Statue of Liberty is an important part of the city’s economy during the holiday and the rest of the year. According to Salazar, a report released last month by the National Park Service found that 3.7 million people visited Statue of Liberty national park in 2011, bringing in $174 million in economic activity and supporting 2,218 jobs.

“Lady Liberty was hit hard by Superstorm Sandy, but just like New York, she will be back – and stronger than ever, said Schumer. “Being open for the summer tourism season isn’t just important symbolically, it’s a boon to the city’s economy and businesses, as the statue attracts millions of tourists from all over the world to our shores.”

Work to remove the damaged Liberty Island Shuttle Dock. (Photo by Kevin Daley, NPS Photographer)

 

RECOMMENDED STORIES 

Cuomo files proposal for spending Sandy aid


By Queens Courier Staff | editorial@queenscourier.com

Photo courtesy of Governor Cuomo's Flickr

BY ANTHONY O’REILLY

Governor Andrew Cuomo became the first state leader to file a proposal for federal aid to houses and businesses that were damaged during Sandy.

Cuomo’s state action plan, available for public review at nyshcr.org/Publications, outlines how the state intends to spend its first $1.7 billion dollars allocated by the Sandy aid bill signed into law by President Obama in January.

“Superstorm Sandy was the worst storm to hit New York State and our region in recorded history, and its impact devastated homes and businesses across Long Island and the metro area,” said Cuomo. “This plan was put together with the input of homeowners and small businesses in affected communities, and it will serve as a blueprint to guide our housing and private sector recovery.”

The proposal now awaits approval from the U.S. Department of Housing and Development, the agency designated with supervising the federal government’s response to Sandy.

“We have worked closely with the State of New York to identify areas of unmet need and ensure that this first round of CDBG-DR funding helps families and small businesses get back on their feet,” Housing and Urban Development Secretary Shaun Donovan said. “I look forward to building on the partnership we have created with Governor Cuomo to help communities in New York rebuild in a way that makes them stronger, more economically competitive and better able to withstand the next storm.”

Under the proposal, $663 million will be allocated for relief to single family housing, $124 million to multi-family housing and $415 million to bringing back businesses affected by the storm.

If the proposal is approved, the state would also create several programs to help distribute funds. Twenty million dollars would be used in an infrastructure bank, where eligible infrastructure projects can apply for assistance. A community restructuring program would receive $25 million, benefitting communities that have been severely damaged following the storm. Energy related projects would receive $30 million, to help develop critical backup power systems.

“We have been working hand in hand with our federal partners since the day Sandy struck and every day since,” Cuomo said. “The state will provide whatever assistance and collaboration necessary to see that HUD approves these plans as quickly as possible so we can get this aid to the New Yorkers who need and deserve it.”

 

RECOMMENDED STORIES

LIC Bar gives back to The Who’s favorite charity


| aaltman@queenscourier.com

Photo courtesy of TheWho.com

They’re back for an encore.

A Sandy-struck venue that received a new sound system from music icons The Who is returning the favor by hosting a fundraiser to benefit one of the band’s favorite charities, Teen Cancer America.

LIC Bar, at 45-58 Vernon Boulevard, was inundated by seven feet of water during the superstorm, wiping out its entire cache of electronic equipment. The Who heard about the venue’s plight when LIC Bar patron Robert Basch alerted members of the band’s record label about the damage when the revered British group stopped in Brooklyn during their “Quadrophenia” tour in November.

The band donated gear from Shure Microphones and Peavey Electronics, the same state-of-the-art equipment The Who uses at their shows, to get the venue up and running again.

With its regular line-up back on track, LIC Bar wanted to show their appreciation.

“We decided to do this event in order to thank The Who for what they did for LIC Bar,” said the venue’s talent booker Gustavo Rodriguez. “We came up with the idea of throwing a fundraiser for their charity as a way to give back.”

On Saturday, February 23, LIC Bar will host a concert to benefit Teen Cancer America, an organization founded by the band that works to improve the lives of adolescents and young adults with cancer. Who’s Next, a well-known tribute band, will perform songs from the international rock group’s catalog. Godfrey Townshend, a guitarist who played with The Who’s late bassist, John Entwistle, will also perform an acoustic set.

Bill Canell, Who’s Next’s guitarist and a close friend of The Who’s guitarist Pete Townshend, said the band is ecstatic about the fundraiser.

“They love it,” said Canell. “It’s all good and they’re extremely happy. Anything that gives back to a charity, they’re grateful that we’re doing it.”

Tickets for the event are $20 with all proceeds going directly to Teen Cancer America.

Additional funds will be raised through a raffle, including a valuable Gibson SG guitar, signed by Pete Townshend and several items signed by The Who’s frontman Roger Daltrey.

Rodriguez said he hopes the event will raise between $3,000 and $5,000 for Teen Cancer America.

Photo courtesy of Bill Canell

 

RECOMMENDED STORIES

 

Agencies give Sandy testimony before City Council


| tcullen@queenscourier.com

Nearly three months after the storm devastated the tri-state area, and with residents still trying to recover, the City Council has begun investigating how various agencies handled Sandy.

Testimony has been given by representatives of the Office of Emergency Management (OEM), the New York City Housing Authority, Con Edison and the Long Island Power Authority, among other agencies.

Councilmember Eric Ulrich, when addressing OEM, inquired why the West Hamilton Beach Volunteer Fire Department had been denied a request for a rescue boat, despite the anticipated flooding in the hamlet. Ulrich also asked why OEM had not looked at the Breezy Point Cooperative’s evacuation plan, or had better communication with the several volunteer fire departments of southern Queens.

OEM Commissioner Joseph Bruno said commissioners had been on the ground working with volunteer fire departments on plans during the lead up to the storm and had always maintained communications between the volunteers and the FDNY. It was not the office’s policy to approve of other entities’ evacuation plans, he said, but OEM could give input for both cooperatives and volunteer fire departments in the future, he said.

Ulrich suggested to Bruno that once recovery is completely over, and some stability is back in the area, OEM officials begin to work with these waterside communities to better prepare for future storms.

“I think in the next year it might be a good time, when everything settles and the rebuilding starts and life gets somewhat back to normal, that OEM try to engage these communities and these fire departments.”

 

RECOMMENDED STORIES

 

Op-Ed: Helping businesses recover


By Queens Courier Staff | editorial@queenscourier.com

BY ASSEMBLYMEMBER WILLIAM SCARBOROUGH

New York has experienced a number of severe storms in recent years, and the resulting damage has been devastating to residents and to businesses. Damage from the two storms is said to exceed $40 billion to New Yorkers, and it is evident that we can now expect more severe weather events in the future. The damage to residences is tragic, but equally devastating is the damage to businesses, especially small businesses.

Small business is the key to many local economies as well as the engine that drive the overall economic recovery of our region. Many small businesses have been shut down due to storm damage in the Rockaways, Staten Island and elsewhere, or are severely restricted in their ability to do business. History shows that if these businesses cannot recover within 6 to 12 months they often do not reopen, or close theirs doors if they cannot return to economic viability. There is a huge loss to the community in terms of economic activity and the loss of jobs.

As Chair of the Assembly Committee on Small Business, I am introducing legislation to create a Severe Weather Business Recovery Tax Credit in New York State. A similar program has been hugely successful in Joplin, Missouri and has greatly aided that city in returning to economic viability after an F5 tornado destroyed Joplin in May, 2011. New Yorkers have been extraordinarily generous with their time and resources during times of crisis, but I hear repeatedly from businesses which have not gotten the resources they need, or have not gotten them in a timely manner. The Business Recovery Tax Credit would provide for a 50% credit on donations of $1,000 or more and donations would go directly to assisting businesses to recover from the effects of the storm. The fund would be overseen by the Empire State Development Corporation, and be administered locally through the Chamber of Commerce.  Donations made through calendar year 2013 would be eligible for the credit.

Local communities need their businesses back, and thriving. Their employees need their jobs back, our regional economy needs these businesses to do well for our economic recovery. A big part of rebuilding these communities involves rebuilding these businesses. When people have their jobs or can find a new one in their community, they are more likely to stay in that community. Hope is restored when people have jobs, and the goods and services that businesses provide. Restoring these businesses will help to restore the community, and residents, not-for-profits and schools all benefit. Even with insurance, bank assistance and federal and local disaster programs, our local businesses need additional assistance. This program will allow those wishing to help out to donate in an organized meaningful manner, while getting something back for their generosity, and helping to rebuild our communities and our economy.

 

RECOMMENDED STORIES

Queens’ Morning Roundup


| ctumola@queenscourier.com

TODAY’S FORECAST 

Wednesday: Overcast with ice pellets and snow, then a chance of snow and a chance of rain in the afternoon. High of 41. Winds from the NNE at 5 to 10 mph. Chance of precipitation 90% . Wednesday night: Overcast in the evening, then partly cloudy. Low of 36. Winds from the West at 5 to 10 mph. Chance of rain 20%.

EVENT OF THE DAY: Quintet of the Americas’ Crystal Winter Concert 

Crystal Winter, a concert performed by Quintet of the Americas at the  Catholic Charities Bayside Senior Center, features projected images of crystals, snowflakes, winter scenes and Van Gogh’s painting Starry Night. Songs will include Adam Schoenberg’s Winter Music, Sammy Cahn’s Let it Snow, Quintet of the Americas’ improvisation Starry Night, Silver Bells and more. Audience members will also have the opportunity join the Quintet playing bells, water glasses keys. Concert starts at 12:15 p.m. Admission is free. Click here for more info or to submit an event of your own

House approves $50.7 B in Sandy aid

Sandy victims are one step closer to receiving the relief money they need. After $9.7 billion in flood insurance funds were signed into law earlier this month, the U.S. House of Representatives passed an additional $50.7 billion in aid. Read more: Queens Courier

NY passes toughest gun laws in country

Less than a week after Governor Andrew Cuomo promised to make New York the leader in gun safety, the State Legislature voted in favor of the Secure Ammunition and Firearms Enforcement, or NY SAFE Act, that would effectively keep weapons away from the mentally ill and crack down on illegal guns. Read more: Queens Courier

Elderly Queens man beaten on J train

An elderly Queens man says he was beaten while riding the subway in Brooklyn last month and police are now looking for the suspect, who was captured on newly-released surveillance video. Read more: NBC New York

Parents scramble on eve Of NYC’s first school bus strike in 33 years

New York City school bus drivers were just hours from walking off the job Tuesday night, and thousands of parents were scrambling to find alternate transportation. Read more: CBS New York

Base of spire installed on roof of 1 WTC

Workers at the rising 1 World Trade Center on Tuesday installed the first piece of the spire that will make the 104-floor skyscraper the tallest in the Western Hemisphere. Read more: ABC New York

One man dies, one hurt minutes apart at New York subway station

One New York man was killed and another seriously injured in separate incidents just minutes apart at a Manhattan station during Tuesday’s rush-hour, authorities said. Read more: Reuters 

Quinn presents vision for improving New York City schools

Christine C. Quinn, the New York City Council speaker and a presumptive candidate for mayor, laid out in a speech on Tuesday a series of proposals for improving the city’s schools, which included replacing textbooks with computer tablets, creating online resources for parents and extending the school day for many students. Read more: New York Times

Obama to unveil gun violence measures Wednesday

President Barack Obama’s broad effort to reduce gun violence will include proposed bans on military-style assault weapons and high-capacity ammunition magazines as well as more than a dozen executive orders aimed at circumventing congressional opposition to stricter gun control. Read more: AP

House approves $50.7B in Sandy aid


| ctumola@queenscourier.com

File photo

Sandy victims are one step closer to receiving the relief money they need.

After $9.7 billion in flood insurance funds were signed into law earlier this month, the U.S. House of Representatives passed an additional $50.7 billion in aid.

In a 327-91 vote Tuesday afternoon, January 15, the House approved $17 billion in emergency funding that will go towards addressing immediate needs for victims and communities affected by Sandy.

A few hours later, a final bill that included an additional $33.7 billion for both immediate and anticipated needs was adopted in a 241-180 vote.

“We are grateful to those members of Congress who today pulled together in a unified, bipartisan coalition to assist millions of their fellow Americans in New York, New Jersey and Connecticut at their greatest time of need. The tradition of Congress being there and providing support for Americans during times of crisis, no matter where they live across this great country, lives on in today’s vote in the House of Representatives. We anticipate smooth passage when this package moves back to the Senate for final approval and for this long-awaited relief to finally make its way to our residents,” said Governors Andrew Cuomo, Chris Christie and Dannel Malloy in a joint statement.

“It’s been two-and-a-half months since Sandy hammered our region, and thousands of New Yorkers continue to suffer from the devastation. Now, they will finally receive the relief that they have desperately needed, said Congressmember Grace Meng. “The battle we had to fight to secure this aid was outrageous. But I’m pleased that the money will finally start to head our way.”

Throughout the day’s legislative session, House members spoke adamantly about the bill. Some stressed the relief money’s urgency, while others objected to unrelated Sandy spending.
In the House, the majority of those opposed to the relief aid were Republicans. The Democratically controlled Senate is expected to say yes to the money next week.

In December, the Senate initially approved the full $60.4 billion Sandy aid package in one lump sum, but the House adjourned before it could follow suit.

After several politicians publicly criticized Speaker John Boehner for the early adjournment, he scheduled a vote on the legislation.

But the $60.4 billion was broken up into several votes, starting with Congress’ January 4 approval of the $9.7 billion.

That part of the legislation temporarily increases the borrowing authority of the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) for carrying out the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP).

The $50 billion passed Tuesday includes money for FEMA disaster relief, transit and infrastructure repairs, and other recovery needs.

 

RECOMMENDED STORIES

 

Queens’ Morning Roundup


| ctumola@queenscourier.com

TODAY’S FORECAST

Monday: Overcast with a chance of rain. Fog early. High of 63. Winds from the West at 10 to 15 mph shifting to the NNW in the afternoon. Chance of rain 30%. Monday Night: Overcast with a chance of rain. Low of 36. Winds from the NNW at 5 to 15 mph. Chance of rain 30%.

EVENT OF THE DAY: Double Life exhibition

SculptureCenter in Long Island City is pleased to present the exhibition Double Life, which brings together a group of artists that share a performance-based approach to sculpture. Common strategies include inhabiting the physical site of exhibition, leaving indexical marks on images of their own making, and re-contextualizing or re-animating various objects, images and readymades. Click here for more info or to submit an event of your own

Flu shot supply dwindling as New York faces public health emergency

With the flu epidemic hitting the Tri-State Area hard, many pharmacies have begun to run out of flu shot supplies. Read more: CBS New York

Bus strike threat looms over NYC schools

A continuing dispute over job protections for New York City school bus drivers means the threat of a strike is still looming, potentially disrupting transportation for about 152,000 students as soon as this week. Read more: NBC New York

Flushing apartment building fire sends one person to hospital

According to the FDNY, the fire started in a bathroom ceiling fan on the top floor of a seven-story building at 42-02 Kissena Boulevard shortly after 10 p.m. Read more: NY1

Weekend bird hits force 2 jets to return to JFK

Authorities say bird strikes forced two planes to return to Kennedy Airport shortly after takeoff over the weekend. Read more: Fox New York

Rare large parcel of property near Citi Field hits the market

Property near Citi Field is hotter than ever right now with proposals for a state-of-the-art new mall and a $300 million Major League Soccer stadium to be constructed nearby. Read more: New York Daily News

Life after Sandy: Businesses still waiting for relief in the Rockaways

Despite all the fund raising and promises of recovery, when it comes to getting small businesses in Queens up and running after Sandy, the federal government has approved 37 loans for the entire borough, while the city has given out only 28. In the Rockaways, where much of the area was without heat and power for weeks after the storm, it’s given 9 loans. Read more: WYNC

‘Argo” scores sweet Golden Globe victory with two top awards

Iran hostage drama “Argo” scored a sweet double victory at the Golden Globe awards on Sunday, winning best movie drama – the night’s top prize – and best director for Ben Affleck on a night that left front-runner “Lincoln” with just one trophy. Read more: Reuters

 

 

Law keeps co-op owners from receiving federal storm recovery grants


| mchan@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/Photo by Melissa Chan

A glitch in the law is keeping co-op owners from receiving federal storm recovery grants, officials said.

According to Congressmember Steve Israel, co-ops are shouldering the costs of repair for Sandy-inflicted damages because they are categorized as “business associations,” making them ineligible for federal grants — only loans.

The Stafford Act, which governs how the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) responds to major disasters, does not include the word “co-op” in the law, Israel said. But there is no statute that purposefully bans co-op owners from being eligible for grants, a privilege given to homeowners.

“FEMA is taking an overzealous interpretation to this,” said Israel. “It discriminates against co-op owners. It’s one thing to be devastated by a hurricane. It’s another to be devastated by a loophole.”

Cryder Point Co-ops suffered $1 million in damage that left their waterfront community’s pier in shambles, said Phil Resnick, vice president of the co-op’s board of directors.

More than half of the total buildings in Glen Oaks Village endured “moderate to severe shingle loss,” leading to $250,000 in infrastructural damages, said Bob Friedrich, the co-op’s president. The unbudgeted costs also include the removal of downed trees.

“Housing co-ops are not business associations. We do not generate income based on corporate or private profit,” said Warren Schreiber, president of the Bay Terrace Community Alliance. “Many middle-class shareholders who are already experiencing financial difficulties will not be able to absorb the additional charges.”

RECOMMENDED STORIES

Tree complaints top 311 calls


| tcullen@queenscourier.com

File photo

Fallen limbs and downed branches, among other issues, still top the list of complaints to 311 within Community Board 10. Since the storm struck on October 29 through the end of 2012, there were 1,425 calls to the city about trees. In December alone, nearly 200 calls were put in from residents in the board’s zone about tree problems.

Sandy may have downed many trees in Ozone Park and Howard Beach the night of the storm, but wind-damaged branches could still be a problem, said board chair Elizabeth Braton.

“After a storm, when you have a lot of damage, you have other trees that were damaged but the branches didn’t fall — but they go down sometime later,” she said.

While city agencies still deal with recovery more than two months later, Braton said the board will meet during 2013 about plans for another Sandy-caliber storm. This includes what sorts of trees will be planted that can withstand flooding and winds.

“That will come up as we meet with the Parks Department over the course of the year,” Braton said. “Things are going to be much better as we learn from [Sandy]. But right now we’re still in the immediate mode.”

 

RECOMMENDED STORIES