THE COMMUTE: Last week, Sheepshead Bites reported on legislation being considered by the City Council to lower the speed limit on city residential streets narrower than 60 feet wide from 30 mph to 25 mph. It is a compromise to legislation proposed by City Councilmember David Greenfield to lower the citywide speed limit from 30 mph to 20 mph. The City Council is currently revising the language of the law, which they hope to enact before Mayor Bloomberg leaves office.
Archive for the tag 'construction'
Amusing the Zillion reported last week that Sleep Inn Hotel is now under construction on Stillwell Avenue and Avenue Z, just north of the Coney Island Creek, making it the first new hotel in the neighborhood in decades.
The site reports:
A sign on the construction fence says “Anticipated Completion: Fall 2015.” Mahesh Ratjani, one of the partners in the project, tells ATZ: “We are hoping to have it completed by the end of 2014 or the beginning of 2015.” According to DOB records, a 12,989 square foot, four-story hotel will occupy the 13,000 square foot lot. Sleep Inn is a member of the Choice Hotels Group.
Documents on the Department of Buildings website show the hotel will have 53 guest rooms.
The problem is that the 2590 Stillwell Avenue lot, which was purchased in 2007 for $1.9 million, isn’t really part of Coney Island. ATZ says it’s the border of Gravesend and Bath Beach, and I’d agree. Regardless, it’s far flung from the amusement district, and ain’t the kind of hotel we were thinking when we heard hotels were coming to Coney Island.
John Hockenjos successfully won his freedom after fighting a false arrest in 2011, but he remains mired in a legal battle that threatens to see his property turned over to what he says is an unscrupulous developer. This month, a Queens-based state senator joined the battle, saying Hockenjos is another in a long line of victims of malfeasance and incompetence at the Department of Buildings.
Hockenjos and his wife, Irina, have been fighting with their East 23rd Street neighbors Elen and Argo Paumere since June 2009, when the Paumeres purchased the home next to them with plans for an ambitious overhaul. According to the Hockenjoses, red flags flew fast when they were approached to sign documents turning over a two-foot easement to their new neighbor.
They didn’t sign, and that triggered an all-out war between property owners, according to the Hockenjoses, which includes allegations of physical violence, corruption and even involvement in the false arrest. It has also cost them their jobs, their health, and more than $150,000 in legal fees, they say.
“We’re jobless. We’re money-less. Our health was destroyed tremendously. We lost our reputation,” Irina Hockenjos told Sheepshead Bites. “[The neighbors say] we’re criminals in all kind of ways. We’ve sued them in civil court because they’ve said we’re insane, and that John is a Russian mobster and he walks naked in the street.”
A long-standing sidewalk obstacle in front of the derelict Maimonides clinic at 3121 Ocean Avenue is finally being fixed, with contractors on the scene yesterday.
The site was previously a pit covered by a foot-tall concrete slab and surrounded by barricades.
Here’s what it looked like when we passed by in October:
It was covered in trash and debris, and was long on my to-do list for griping here on this site. It bothered me because it not only attracted garbage and was a fairly horrendous eyesore, but also because it was an obstacle that took up a huge portion of sidewalk. Next door to the site is the Bainbridge Center, an adult daycare facility. So it’s fair to assume the area is pretty highly trafficked by seniors and the disabled.
A contractor on the scene told us it was a telephone utility manhole damaged during Superstorm Sandy. Looking into the pit while they worked, it was deep and empty. While the contractor blamed Sandy, I recall this being a problem spot long before the storm, with the sidewalk broken and raised up. I can’t remember if they began the work before the storm, but I believe they did.
It also bothered me because it was supposed to be fixed nearly a year ago. A sign on the site over the summer indicated it was a ConEd job, not a telephone utility, and work was supposed to be done by February:
That never happened. Some time in the fall this sign was spray painted so that the construction information could not be read. Covering tracks much? Maybe.
Hopefully they finish the work quickly and responsibly. It’ll be nice for neighbors to have their sidewalk back, instead of covered in construction and trash.
Allan Shweky of Friends of Ocean Parkway posted the above photo on Monday, showing a multi-level outdoor garage that serves a condo building on Ocean Parkway. In the photo, you see that a contractor is closing up the bottom level of the garage with cinder blocks.
It’s an attempt to prevent sand and water from flooding the garage, as it did during Superstorm Sandy. In the photo to the left, taken right after Sandy, you can see that sand dunes left behind by the storm buried the vehicles.
We’ve seen this tactic elsewhere. Several residential buildings in the flood zone have sealed up basement windows, leaving small holes or PVC tubes for ventilation. It’s not a flood proof tactic, of course, but it may help stem the force and speed of water as it pours in.
This got me thinking – what have large residential buildings in our area done to prepare? When Igor Oberman, president of the board at Trump Village 4, was running for City Council, he touted the storm preparation efforts he implemented at the complex, including an improved communication system, elevated generators, a satellite phone and more.
As far as we can tell, though, Trump is in the minority. Many buildings appear to have rebuilt as they were. But it’s hard to say without knowing management. So, if you live in a residential building, let us know in the comments what management has done to protect you and your neighbors from future floods.
Contractors for the Department of Transportation were at the Ocean Avenue footbridge today, putting a layer of primer down on the 132-year-old span – the first time it’s been splashed with paint since the structure was rebuilt after Superstorm Sandy.
It’s a welcome sight. Passing that bridge frequently, the unpainted portions wore on my heart, reminding me of how, the morning after the storm, I came to find it in tatters, with railing ripped off and planks long gone. As our Erica Sherman wrote at the time:
Thrashed by a combination of violent waves during the storm’s high tide, and the terrifying howl of 90-MPH winds, which sent untethered boats crashing wildly into the bridge’s structure, passersby were shocked the next morning to see huge portions of blue wooden handrail either dangling into the water or completely washed away, one of the more high profile symbols of destruction that trounced our area.
Thankfully, an anonymous reader texted me today, alerting me to the fact that the crew was there, working on it.
By the time I stopped by this afternoon and took the above shot, the crew had gone home. But the bridge is almost completely covered in brown primer, which will (hopefully soon) receive a layer of blue paint on top.
Today being the anniversary of the storm, it seemed especially fitting. I’m looking forward to seeing the work completed.
New York Rising Community Reconstruction Program invites the community to provide input to the Sheepshead Bay/Gerritsen Beach NY Rising Community Reconstruction Plan.
There will be two consecutive meeting dates at different locations, either of which residents are invited to attend:
- Monday, October 7 from 7:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m. at Waterford on the Bay, 2900 Bragg Street
- Tuesday, October 8 from 7:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m. at Public School 277, 2529 Gerritsen Avenue
During the meeting you will:
- Hear about the program and how it can help your community.
- Provide input to the community’s vision for the future to increase resilience post-Sandy.
- Tell the New York Rising Community Reconstruction Program what issues you would like addressed in the recovery and mitigation plan.
If you are unable to attend and would like to provide input, visit http://stormrecovery.ny.gov/nyrcr/community/gerritsen-beach-and-sheepshead-bay and submit your comments via the yellow contact button on the right.
You can also join the conversation using the hashtag #NYRising on Twitter (@NYStormRecovery). Follow the New York Rising Community Reconstruction Program on Facebook (NYStormRecovery) or go to www.stormrecovery.ny.gov. For more information, email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Blink Fitness, a no-frills gym, will open in December at 3827 Nostrand Avenue, the former site of Pathmark.
Readers began sending us tips about a possible gym at the location as early as a month ago, and more frequently as fencing went up at the property indicating interior work. The item came up at last week’s Community Board 15 meeting, when it was approved for a special application to allow a physical culture establishment.
They gym already lists the location on their website, noting that it will open in late December.
A blow came to Brooklyn Borough President Marty Markowitz as Community Board 13 voted against the plan to convert the historic Childs Restaurant at West 21st Street into an amphitheater. The New York Daily News is reporting that board members voted against the project after fielding complaints from residents that the new facility would invite increased traffic and noise to the area.
As we’ve previously reported, the $53 million amphitheater is the pet project of the departing borough president. The new facility, which is set to transform the historic Childs Restaurant into a 5,000-seat concert hall that will host musical acts, restaurants and other concessions, is expected to be completed in 2015.
The Board held a meeting and voted 14-to-7 against the plan, stunning Markowitz and other developers who were moving full steam ahead with the project:
The surprising denial came after the board’as own Zoning and Land Use Committee overwhelmingly voted 10-1 to approve the plan earlier this month.
“It’s hard to understand what happened,” admitted Community Board 13 district manager Chuck Reichenthal, referring to the Monday night vote.
Markowitz said he was “disappointed” by the vote.
“This project… will generate jobs, economic development and joy for Coney Island and all of Brooklyn for generations to come.”…
Howard Weiss, the lawyer for star Financial, defended the plan.
“Any concerns about noise and traffic have been fully addressed,” Weiss said Wednesday.
Weiss pointed out that a special tent covering the concert area would help reduce the noise of the summertime shows.
Besides noise and traffic, local community members also expressed frustration that the fast pace of construction might endanger the community garden, as some proposals call for the garden to be paved over to provide for more parking. Local resident Carol DeMartino told News 12 that before construction proceeds, community members should have the opportunity to be more involved in the process.
“I’m hoping that all the people that show up will at least put a halt on it until the whole community is given the information, can process it. Stop rushing it, the whole thing is rushed,” DeMartino said.
While the Board’s vote comes as a blow to the development of the project, it does not represent a death knell as it is merely an advisory ruling. The Daily News reported that the City Planning Commission will likely give a further go-ahead next month before sending the project to the City Council for the final say. Still, the rejection by the Board tampers the enthusiasm of the project, long trumpeted by Markowitz, and sets the stage for more confrontation between developers and local residents.
The owners of the commercial property on the corner of Sheepshead Bay Road and Voorhies Avenue has papered up the windows of the six ground-floor businesses that once occupied the space, signaling that work is set to begin soon on redevelopment of the site.
The six businesses – a deli, shoe store, audiologist, accountant, bridal store and liquor shop – as well as the second-floor offices spanning from 1663 Sheepshead Bay Road to 1669 Sheepshead Bay Road and 1709 Voorhies Avenue, all closed up in the past several months as the landlord, Waldorf Realty Co., began laying the groundwork for the plans. We do know some of the businesses, including Liquor World, which has moved to 1733 Sheepshead Bay Road, and Coney Island Vinny’s Tattoo, which has moved to Jerome Avenue, were upset, having spent a great deal of money to renovate after Superstorm Sandy only to be given the boot when Waldorf announced their plans.
Waldorf is also currently renovating the storefronts on the southwest corner of Avenue Z and East 16th Street, having similarly refused lease renewals or relocated the businesses there. That site has been gutted entirely and a new facade is nearly complete, featuring dark blue tiles and silver paneling.
We reached out to Waldorf about their Voorhies Avenue redevelopment plan, but have not yet heard back.
UPDATE (September 20, 2013): Waldorf has responded, confirming that it is a “revamp.” They have not yet chosen an architect so were not able to say more about their plans.