Archive for the tag 'quality of life'

Hrm. I wonder why Avenue Y's overpass gets so messy. (Photo by John)

Hrm. I wonder why Avenue Y’s overpass gets so messy. (Photo by John)

The trash problem beneath the Brighton line subway overpasses in Midwood and Sheepshead Bay is finally going to get a little better after years of complaints from residents.

Councilman Chaim Deutsch is sending $15,000 in additional funding to the Midwood Development Corporation to expand its Project Sweep Program, which is now responsible for cleaning garbage, debris and graffiti from beneath all subway overpasses spanning from Avenue M to Avenue Z. The project will also send cleaners to Sheepshead Bay Road, the Holocaust Memorial Park and a handful of other areas known to be eyesores.

The group goes out twice a week to hit several of the spots, according to information from Deutsch’s office. Cleanups began in October and will continue until the end of June.

Project Sweep employs adults with developmental disabilities who work alongside job coaches to clean commercial strips. Since 1990, they’ve been tidying up other business corridors including Newkirk Avenue, Courtelyou Road and Avenue M.

“Graffiti and litter adversely affect our quality of life, and can even cause an innocent homeowner to incur summonses due to littered trash blowing onto their property. My goal is to enhance the beautification of our neighborhoods,” said Deutsch in a press release. “I am eager to work with the leaders and members of Project Sweep on this endeavor.”

If you’d like to report an area you want to see cleaned, contact Deutsch’s office at (718) 368-9176.

Similar cleanups are being announced in other neighborhoods, including funding from Councilman Mark Treyger to local groups for cleanup initiatives on Mermaid Avenue and Stillwell Avenue.

The Sheepshead-Nostrand Houses. Photo by Robert Fernandez

The Sheepshead-Nostrand Houses. Photo by Robert Fernandez

Tenants of the Sheepshead Bay’s Nostrand Houses (2955 Avenue W) say their landlord, the New York City Housing Authority (NYCHA), has failed to deliver heat as the temperatures plummeted in recent weeks.

The “heat season” began October 1. That’s the time when landlords in New York City are required to keep apartments at a minimum of 68 degrees during the day when temperatures drop below 55. At night, when temperatures dip below 40 degrees, it must be at least 55 indoors. The season lasts until the end of May.

But the area’s tenants say that when temperatures dipped into the 40s last week and over the weekend, many had to turn on stoves and use space heaters, reports News 12.

One resident says she ended up with the fire department at her home on Saturday because of a carbon monoxide leak caused by leaving her stove on. She says on Sunday, her space heater that was plugged into an extension cord almost caught on fire.

NYCHA told the news outlet that it is following heat guidelines at all of its residences, but promised to look into the situation.

Whether you’re a NYCHA resident or a tenant in a private building, if you think your landlord is keeping the temperature below what’s legally required you can call 311 and file a complaint. If inspected and issued a violation, fines can be as much as $1,000 per day.

Do you live in the Sheepshead – Nostrand Houses? Has the heat situation improved? Let us know.

61st Precinct Deputy Inspector Carlos Valdez

Deputy Inspector Carlos Valdez, commanding officer of the 61st Precinct, will be the guest speaker at the next meeting of the Manhattan Beach Community Group (MBCG), Wednesday, October 22 at 8:00pm inside Public School 195, 131 Irwin Street at Hampton Avenue.

Valdez will discuss his vision for community policing as he begins his tenure at the 6-1. He will also talk about how he will enforce Mayor Bill de Blasio’s zero tolerance traffic and speeding plans within Manhattan Beach.

The MBCG encourages members of the community to attend and participate in their monthly civic meetings. For more, contact MBCG at (718) 200-1845 or manhattanbeachbrooklyn.org@gmail.com, or visit www.manhattanbeachbrooklyn.org.

I've been told that the owner is definitely an NJ resident who moved from the neighborhood. But the photo is just too good not to use for this post.

I’ve been told that the owner is definitely an NJ resident who moved from the neighborhood. But the photo is just too good not to use for this post.

Apparently, the four car owners in Sheepshead Bay that actually have their car registered in 11235 are paying the highest rates for car insurance of any zip code in New York State.

The data was analyzed by consumer advice website ValuePenguin.com, which attempted to rank the affordability of car insurance across the state. What they found was, lo and behold, New York City has the highest costs, with Brooklyn leading the way. We asked the number-crunchers at ValuePenguin to break it down further, and what they found was that the 11235 zip code covering Sheepshead Bay and Brighton Beach leads all of Brooklyn.

Drivers in 11235 pay, on average, $5,585 a year, according to the report. That’s 2 percent higher than the borough average, $5,308 a year. The borough itself is 30 percent higher than the city average, and 250 percent higher than the state.

The rates were calculated based on a single 30-year-old male and a 65-year-old male who drives a 2010 Toyota Camry about 12,000 miles a year, to commute to work. It’s based on somebody with a good credit history and in good condition, and hasn’t had an accident or traffic violation in the past five years – so, basically a person who is a better candidate for cheap insurance than this neighborhood’s shoddy, luxury-car driving maniacs.

The other zip code covering a big chunk of Sheepshead Bay, pays $5,351 on average, and 11223 – Gravesend – pays $5,354. Collectively, it appears all the zip codes along the Southern Brooklyn coastline* pay more than the borough average for car insurance:

  • 11214 (Bensonhurst) – $5,354
  • 11223 (Gravesend) – $5,351
  • 11235 (Brighton Beach, Manhattan Beach, Sheepshead Bay) – $5,585
  • 11229 (Sheepshead Bay, Homecrest) – $5,351

* They did not produce numbers for Coney Island, so we can’t say this comprehensively.

So why is the insurance so high along the coastline? It could be the risk posed by storms like Superstorm Sandy, which saw thousands of cars destroyed in the flood. But seeing as how rates were high even before Sandy, maybe, just maybe, it’s something a little more sinister.

But what’s it matter? Chances are that you have Pennsylvania plates, or you’re a chump.

Check out the study.

Using emergency provisions, the New York City Department of Homeless Services has moved nearly 20 families into the Lyghthouse Inn, an alleged pay-by-hour hotel formerly known as the Windjammer Motel.

Neighbors sounded the alarm over the shelter at the Sheepshead Bay – Plumb Beach Civic Meeting October 7, alongside elected officials who criticized the agency for poor communication with the community.

The agency confirmed that the family-oriented shelter opened in early October, and 17 families with children are already moved in. It was carved out of the motel’s 3206 Emmons Avenue property, with a separate entrance through an unmarked door, and there are plans to house as many as 69 families at the location.

“Sheltering New York’s families with children is a collective responsibility to be shoulder by all. We hope that the community is compassionate and supportive as these families work toward rebuilding their lives,” an agency spokesperson said.

Neighbors at the meeting did indeed express compassion for the families, many of which are single mothers or victims of domestic violence. But they were critical of the agency’s lack of communication, and shared concerns about the families’ well-being alongside the hotel’s clients, as well as its proximity to another family shelter just one block away.

“You cannot attack the homeless, the people who are living in there because you’re an elitist or you think you’re hot stuff. That’s wrong. And after what we went through with Sandy, there’s no way in hell you can turn around and say ‘Make them homeless’ when half your neighbors were homeless,” said neighbor Barbara Berardelli.

The group did express concerns about the communication.

“All of a sudden on Thursday evening [October 2], about 5:30, 6 o’clock, big vans pulled up and they started dumping out vans and mattresses and cribs. The next day people were notified, about 4 o’clock, on Yom Kippur, when most offices were closed already, that the shelter was opening,” said civic president Kathy Flynn.

The agency said that elected officials and Community Board 15 were notified of the shelter’s opening as early as mid-September, about two weeks before work began.

But Councilman Chaim Deutsch told the group that it was only being discussed as a possibility, not a certainty.

“They told me nothing was set in stone [during a conference call with the department],” said Deutsch. “The next thing I know, I get a phone call saying, ‘We’re moving furniture in.’”

Assemblywoman Helene Weinstein recounted much the same.

Establishing a homeless center is often a process spanning many months, including community feedback and Community Board review. However, the pols explained that the agency used an “Emergency Declaration” to expedite the process – which the agency confirmed it uses during times of “dire capacity needs.” That allows them to temporarily take over the space and do community approval later. The agency will still need to seek approval over the next six months or so, the pols said.

Both Weinstein and Deutsch said they look forward to learning more about the agency’s long-term plans.

Until then, they both remarked on the shelter’s less-than-stellar landlords.

“[When I heard about it,] first I went to the Lyghthouse around the corner. I had to wait in line because people were asking for rooms for two hours, three hours, four hours. So I had to wait in line just like everyone else,” said Deutsch.

“There’s safety issues, there’s security issues, there’s, I guess I’ll put in quotes, ‘patrons’ of the hotel,” said Weinstein. “There are issues that need to be addressed.”

In regards to safety, the agency noted that there will be 24/7 security, though declined to elaborate.

Both pols are looking forward to additional meetings with the agency to address those issues, including potential overcrowding concerns at the nearby elementary school, PS 52.

Still, they admitted there’s little they can do in the short term, especially as the city is in the midst of a homeless housing crisis.

“I believe there’s 57,000 individuals that are homeless. Eleven thousand families that need shelter. That’s a lot of people in New York City, so I accept that we have a responsibility to have a fair share in our community,” said Weinstein.

The intersection of Oriental Boulevard and Ocean Avenue. Source: Google Maps

The intersection of Oriental Boulevard and Ocean Avenue. Source: Google Maps

The next meeting of the Manhattan Beach Community Group (MBCG) will be Wednesday, September 17 at 8:00pm inside Public School 195, 131 Irwin Street at Hampton Avenue.

Councilman Chaim Deutsch will be the guest speaker. Also on the meeting’s agenda: a police report, the status of efforts to reduce speeding throughout Manhattan Beach, the traffic light at Ocean Avenue and Oriental Boulevard, the recent electrical outage, paving the streets, improvements to the Manhattan Beach Park, MBCG Nominating Committee, and more.

The MBCG encourages members of the community to attend and participate in their monthly civic meetings. For more, contact MBCG at (718) 200-1845 or manhattanbeachbrooklyn.org@gmail.com, or visit www.manhattanbeachbrooklyn.org.

Source: Wikimedia Commons

The following is a press release from the offices of Councilman Mark Treyger and Assemblyman Bill Colton:

Council Member Mark Treyger and Assembly Member Bill Colton are calling on the MTA to provide public notification within 24 hours of cases of confirmed bedbug sightings on any trains, buses or in stations. The proposal comes after a number of incidents involving bedbugs on several trains along the N line, in addition to trains on the Q and 6 lines. On Monday, an N train was taken out of service at DeKalb Avenue and a conductor received medical attention as a result of bedbugs. Currently, the MTA does not have a formal policy for informing the public about these incidents.

In response, Treyger and Colton are proposing state legislation, supported by a City Council resolution, requiring the MTA to take the same steps to inform its customers as it does for other emergencies or service delays, including social media outreach. In addition, the MTA would have to detail the steps it is taking to remedy these situations and protect the public’s health while using public transportation. This proposal has support from the Transport Workers Union (TWU), whose members have been impacted by the outbreaks. Council Member Treyger and Assembly Member Colton were joined at today’s press conference in front of the N train station on Kings Highway by District Leader-elect Nancy Tong and a number of residents who regularly use this line and are concerned about the lack of information from the MTA about the recent outbreaks. Council Member Treyger and Colton now plan to move forward with this legislation, putting a formal procedure in place to respond to outbreaks and notify the public.

“This is an important issue that the MTA has to take much more seriously on behalf of the millions of New Yorkers that ride its buses and trains, as well as its employees. The MTA has an obligation to inform the public of any bedbug sightings or outbreaks due to the health implications that are involved. However, the MTA must also consider the economic consequences of bedbug infestations in a home, especially for working New Yorkers who cannot afford to spend thousands of dollars in fumigation or cleaning bills. The MTA can easily inform the public in much the same manner it does for service delays, and we deserve to know exactly what steps it is taking to respond to bedbug infestations,” said Council Member Treyger.

”The public has a right to know if there is a confirmed detection of bedbugs on trains or buses. The families of riders and transit workers must be given the opportunity to take protective measures to minimize the chance of bedbug infestation being transported to their homes and places of work,” said Assembly Member Colton.

“Families are rightfully worried about the disruption and large economic costs that bedbugs can cause, if carried into their homes. Families have a right to be informed as to how to protect themselves from this risk,” said District Leader-elect Tong.

It’s not the first time we’ve asked that question, and the answer we’ve gotten in the past from readers and local officials is “No.”

Yet, following the mid-July meeting between Assemblyman Steven Cymbrowitz and Department of Sanitation Borough Superintendent Joe Lupo, in which the pol said Lupo agreed “immediate action needs to be taken,” it seems the only action taken so far is the removal of a handful of public litter baskets. 

There’s this one at Avenue Z and East 17th Street that we were keeping an eye on. It was overflowing the day Cymbrowitz had his meeting, and despite the “immediate action” it stayed overflowing for nearly a week, with debris blowing into the intersection.

Photo by Vickie P.

Photo by Vickie P.

And then when they finally emptied it, they took the can away as well:

Submitted by reader.

Submitted by reader.

And while people who would normally litter continue to litter, those who are responsible are the ones burdened by the removal of these trash cans.

“Had to carry doggy poop for blocks because apparently their solution to the overflowing garbage situation was to remove the garbage can,” the reader who submitted the above photo said.

We also noticed fewer cans on Sheepshead Bay Road.

Now, we have shown in the past that removing a bin can lead to less litter on a corner, but more pickups would have the same effect without inconveniencing anybody.

And before we hear this “budget cut” nonsense, it’s worth noting that except for one year, the budget of the Department of Sanitation has increased every year for the past five years. Womp womp.

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The following is a press release from Councilman Chaim Deutsch:

Council Member Chaim Deutsch is pleased to announce the success of his first community clean-up event that drew nearly 100 volunteers to Sheepshead Bay Road on Sunday. Armed with rakes, shovels and brooms, volunteers turned out to pick up trash from neighborhood streets.

“We’re taking pride in our neighborhoods – block by block across our district. Coming out and volunteering is sending a message to violators that we demand a clean neighborhood,” Deutsch stated. “Cleaner streets promote social and economic improvement, whilst giving our children and families a clean, safe place to reside.”

This event, the first in a series of clean-ups in Council Member Deutsch’s district, aims to promote unity and community activism, all the while drawing attention to the Council Member’s top priority: cleaner streets. Council Member Deutsch is proud to have funded various clean-up initiatives in this year’s budget and is actively reaching out to local small business owners to educate them on ways to keep storefronts clean.

“Many thanks to the Department of Sanitation for their commitment to working with me to promote cleanliness, as well as for the donation of gloves and garbage bags and the loan of brooms, shovels, dustpans and rakes,” said Deutsch. “Together we are making our neighborhoods an even better place to live, work, and do business.”

Please contact Council Member Deutsch’s office at 718-368-9176 to learn more about future community clean-up events or to share suggestions that will help Deutsch address problem areas.

The next Community Clean-Up Event will be held on August 17th on Avenue U.

View photos from the cleanup.

Source: Cymbrowitz's office

Source: Cymbrowitz’s office

The following is a press release from the offices of Assemblyman Steven Cymbrowitz:

Trash problems and summer heat are a bad mix, and Assemblyman Steven Cymbrowitz (D-Brooklyn) says the city needs to do something about the problem now before Sheepshead Bay’s vermin population starts to soar.

In an effort to address quality of life issues throughout his district, the lawmaker took New York City Department of Sanitation Borough Superintendent Joe Lupo on a tour of Sheepshead Bay yesterday afternoon.

He invited Lupo to his district because many residents have reached out to him about trash throughout the neighborhood. In addition to overall filth in Sheepshead Bay, Assemblyman Cymbrowitz told the superintendent about the overflowing trash bins on Sheepshead Bay Road and Emmons Avenue, the state of the Sheepshead Bay Road underpasses by the train station and along Shore Parkway, as well as trash along the Emmons Avenue median and Ocean Avenue.

Noting that the beauty of Sheepshead Bay attracts tens of thousands of residents and visitors each year, Assemblyman Cymbrowitz has partnered in recent years with the Department of Sanitation in an effort to encourage area merchants along Sheepshead Bay Road to sign up for Adopt-a-Basket, Sanitation’s volunteer program, which would help prevent public garbage cans from overflowing all over our streets.

The legislator also provided multi-modal funding for various beautification projects along the bay side of Emmons Avenue between Ocean Avenue and East 14th Street, which included newly-planted trees, new sidewalks, curb cuts, newly-painted railings, granite pavers, benches and covered trash receptacles. New decorative benches and trash cans recently capped off the much-anticipated project on the west end of Emmons Avenue.

In surveying the community, Assemblyman Cymbrowitz and Superintendent Lupo both agreed that immediate action needs to be taken. “While providing an aesthetically pleasing setting will encourage more people to enjoy the stretch of our waterfront, we need to be vigilant in ensuring that our community remains clean,” said Assemblyman Cymbrowitz.

He said he looks forward to continuing to partner with the Department of Sanitation to address the problem.

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