The Real Local News

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

What's the local story in your neighborhood? What's the intriguing news you think we should cover?

Share you stories. Get your ideas on the Brian Lehrer Show!

Comments [103]

jill starr from bloomingdale nj usa

UN NGO In NYC Confirms United States Used Psychiatric Facility in Wykoff NJ USA

(Ramapo Ridge Hospital) As SEcret Military Tribunal and Torture Facilty

Monday, April 20, 2009
Recovery Leads to Near Death Experience at Ramapo Ridge Psychiatiric Hospital in Wykoff,
New Jersey (U.S.A.) A few years ago during an incident becoming seemingly common place in my life happening so often now. The local Bloomingdale New Jersey Police Department again had forced me
physically into a psychiatric Hospital again; this time Chilton Hospital in Paquannock, NJ,
USA. I was in the emergency room once again, for seemingly no reason whatsoever after making
another attempt reporting an incident for investigation to the local Bloomingdale, NJ Police
mentioning issues effecting the entire world. Anyway, this time Chilton Hospital forced me into a place called Ramapo Ridge Psychiatric Hospital. They had me on medications dropping my blood pressure to 82 over 67 (i almost died). They continued to force me to take this medication for at least three weeks in which time they refused to release me. I was not released for almost one month after arguing with the staff that there was nothing at all wrong with me. Each day my two regular psychiatrists called Ramapo Ridge Mental Hospital trying to get released. They refused and Ramapo Ridge told me I had to stand before a judge and court located in the bottom floor of the building to be released.After three weeks I had to go downstairs and I actually stood before what seemed to be a “war crimes tribunal,” in lower level of the Ramapo Ridge . I stood before a judge wearing a regular judicial long black robe and a line of attorney’s beseeching my release from the hospital.
I dont know to this day what this experience was about; i dread to tell you. Secret types of
military tribunals right here operating in the USA by the CIA (?) Inquiring minds demand

May. 04 2009 05:39 PM
Chuck from Williamsburg is burning.

Jul. 21 2008 04:21 PM
b Lynd from NYC

I completely support the ideas posted by Erika Petersen on April 17, 2008 concerning the designation of West End Avenue as an Historic District. It is a beautiful avenue that is in danger of being destroyed by out of character and out of scale projects. I would love to hear a program devoted to what is being done to get this area designated as a Historic District. I would like to understand more about how the Landmarks Preservation Commission makes their decisions. It seems a very mysterious process with extremely uneven results. What kind of power do Community Boards have over preservation? Sometimes they seem so weak.

May. 15 2008 12:01 PM
Fatima from Harlem

Gentrification in Harlem - the neighborhood with the "highest name recognition" in the most famous city in the world, and a village of great significance to black history and the worldwide black Diaspora.

AND the rezoning of 125th Street, "one of the top ten streets in America". This plan is problematic because:

The majority of the community was not informed about or involved in this massive change.

Most of the Harlem community - that knows about this rezoning - is against it.

Residents and small, local businesses will be displaced.

The rezoning will further congest and pollute this community, which has one of the highest asthma rates in the city.

This plan will irreparably change the character of 125th street and Harlem, and make it hard for us to economically develop our historical and cultural resources.

Some groups to consult: VOTE People, The Coalition To Save Harlem.

Apr. 29 2008 09:39 PM
alan wright from jc

oh. obviously there this has practical benefits for people hunting the real estate market... whether commercial/ finance (goldman sachs), homeowners (condos/ brownstones/ rowhouses), tenants (renters, leases, shares), construction (gutting, refurb, lofts,)...

Apr. 28 2008 05:24 PM
alan wright from jc

maybe some coverage on the growth of jersey city's downtown, newport, and exchange place neighborhoods

jersey city is much smaller and probably has less population density than most community districts in new york, but it's growing quickly. and it may be growing in ways which push out the locals faster than their working-class history can be recorded. over here there are not as many media/agencies/ watchdogs/ service organizations for keeping track of demographic change

so there's a "fog" about what the changes look like, demographically. i.e, whether more like wmburg hipsterization, or park slope yuppification. or some third way

Apr. 28 2008 05:22 PM
pamela feiring from central park west and 109th street

1. Will the Fredrick Douglass Circle EVER be finished?

2. Why do new buildings such as the one built buy Columbia U that straddles 110th st and Manhattan ave use huge pieces of brown paper to cover windows rather than purchase window treatments?

3. Why has a small building erected between two large apartment buildings on CPW between 100 and 101st streets never been occupied but left boarded up?

Apr. 28 2008 12:01 PM
Phelim Dolan from village

Perhaps this initiative should be renamed the NIMBY watch?

Apr. 28 2008 11:09 AM
upper west sider from upper west side, NYC

Conflicts abound over Columbia University's proposed development in Harlem and part of the UWS by eminent domain. It would be great to have a fair and impartial report on this issue, as the info I receive from neighborhood groups is wildly conflicting and often panic-inducing (e.g., that biohazards are going to be in some of these buildings, with danger to surrounding neighborhoods).

Apr. 28 2008 10:14 AM
Ian from Brooklyn

It is raining and it seems like we are going from Winter to Summer (again, last year was the same) here in NY. What happened to Spring?

Apr. 28 2008 10:07 AM
Elizabeth from Staten Island

I am fortunate to live in a historic, landmarked district close to the SI Ferry. Unfortunately, after I moved to the neighborhood, the landmarked home next door was converted into a rooming house for college students attending Globe Institute. This wood frame building now houses many young men and women, without benefit of sprinklers and other life safety systems found in college dorms. The occupants are loud, throw trash out the windows, and make life very unpleasant for their neighbors. This lovely old home, with water views, is deteriorating quickly and now poses a tremendous fire threat to the students and to all of us who live nearby in old, wooden homes.

Apr. 23 2008 09:24 AM
Robert from NYC

Since I posted my NYU expansion in E Village last week there have been posted in the neighborhood flyers calling residents to a meeting tonight on this subject. It seems it is larger than I knew last week. What will happen, the LES, E VIll and much of W Vill will just be NYU campus?! That's insane, it displaces people and destroys much of the history in the area. Unfortunately the Mayor has supported NYU in past. Eventually Manhattan will be NYU south and Columbia north.

Apr. 23 2008 08:51 AM
MrHoberto from St. George, Staten Island

I live around the block a proposed halfway house house in my neighborhood. St. Vincent's Medical Center bought the property and plans on placing 60 or so former inmates. The property is in the heart of the residential section of the neighborhood and right in the path of where children walk to school in the morning. SVMC has ignored the community board and the residents of the neighborhood, and it looks like nothing will stop the creation of this facility.

Apr. 22 2008 02:23 PM
willie mays from Uptown

Please do a segment on policing in Upper Manhattan - 30th and 33rd precincts. In the mid-1990s the 30th precinct was the site of a large-scale police corruption scandal. Not sure whether anything of the sort is going on today, but there are a TON of stop and frisks on Broadway, particularly around City College. Police have also been raiding a number of buildings along Riverside Drive recently - like poster # 87, this might have something to do with creeping gentrification.

Would be nice to follow up on the Dirty 30 scandal in light of the NYPD's current corruption flap. Most of the attention has been on Brooklyn, no one has taken a hard look at Northern Manhattan.

Apr. 21 2008 01:41 PM
CvB from Stratford, CT

I am a location scout who recently bought a second home in Stratford, CT. (I also live in Staten Island, NY). Surprising I have come to find that CT is destined to become "Hollywood East". Due to tax incentives many film studios are moving here. The big story which is in the national news right now is that investors have made a deal to buy an old defense factory on 78 acres in Stratford, CT to turn into one of the largest film studios in the country. It would have as many as 30 soundstages. In order for this to happen they have to clean up the site which could cost much more than the price of the land. They have 180 days to come up with the funding but they say this is no problem. This is very exciting for the town I have recently chosen to live in. I was attracted to Stratford, CT because of its beauty, proximity to NYC, and affordable price. (I recently bought a beautiful old house with 7 acres on a private lake). I'm located on the other side of Stratford but those near the site, and the airport across the street from it, are worried about sound issues if they need to enlarge the airport. This is the big buzz in CT right now and would be an interesting topic as it would affect NYC as well. I think that I'm the only location scout in Stratford, CT right now.

Apr. 21 2008 12:24 PM

Here is a new website that tries to capture local news/information as much as possible. It provides crime data, building/demolition permits, restauant inspections, restaurant reviews, liquor licenses, and general news Highly recommended:

Apr. 21 2008 11:52 AM
robbie from south williamsburg

i live in south Williamsburg. you are now reporting that the increased police presence is a result of increased crime, but i feel that this is more being used to help the gentrification of the neighborhood.

i live in a building with a lot of Hispanic families, and they have a tendency to hang out on the corner and outside the buildings and bodegas. This adds to the quality of the neighborhood, and makes it safer because they are always out and looking out for everyone out.

recently i was watching out my window and at around 10:50 a cop car pulled up going the wrong way on our street, and an officer stood outside his car and just stared at a group of people hanging out outside of a bodega. as soon as the shop closed at 11, the officer walked across the street and handed everyone a pamphlet, and since then the street is always empty as soon as all the shops are closed. it seems ridiculous to me that they are "cleaning up the street" of people who actually live on the street and who actually make the neighborhood safer.

i feel like this has only started to happen now that there is more money in the area, and the cops are just trying to 'clean up the streets' for the new white or rich residents moving in. the mugger just seems like a convenient excuse for the cops to come in and gentrify the area.

Apr. 21 2008 11:29 AM
Lynn from Manhattan

My experience with local police as a blind person - they are the ones breaking the laws I count on for protectioon. The time I filed a complaint I was told (among other offensive things) "how can a *you* observe something"

Apr. 21 2008 11:27 AM
Mark from Glen Rock

I am a home owner from Glen Rock that happens to live on a small lot and appreciate the effort to control the growth of the size of houses. As I understand it, my house qualifies as a "McMansion" given the proposed formula. It's a small cape (4 bedrooms) built in the 50's on a small lot (I guess that's the key).

My question is, why the larger houses in my neighborhood which have been built recently don't qualify as a "McMansions." Not that I mind them, but they are certainly bigger and are much closer to what people may think of a McMansion.

If the idea is to prevent people from over-building, wouldn't that be an issue for *all* properties? The map with lots that qualify that I was sent didn't seem to include the most obvious candidates which leaves me to question how valid the formula (to qualify houses) is that's currently being proposed.

Apr. 21 2008 11:12 AM
n from greenwich village


Apr. 21 2008 11:06 AM
Gabriella from Greenwich Village

Hi Brian!

As part of New York University’s initiative to go green, and to celebrate Earth Day on April 22nd, the students of Kathy Engel’s Community Learning Initiative class, Political Journalism and Activism, have a proposal entitled “Blackout NYU” in order to reduce our environmental impact and have more people thinking about Earth Day. On April 22nd, we are asking that all professors turn off their lights in their classrooms during class time. This will reduce the amount of energy being used and will allow everyone within the classroom to acknowledge Earth Day.

I know it's a small gesture towards a big problem, but we hope by directly affecting our community we can at least spread the message that every little bit count! Wish us luck...

Apr. 21 2008 10:14 AM
Alice from Greenpoint

To Christy:

I am sincerely sorry to hear of your terrible experience, and I don't want to be callous or uncaring in my response. I do feel, however, that your break in, while scary and unfortunate, is not really newsworthy. You live in Brooklyn, and unless you are a new resident, you should know the dangerous choice you make in living here, especially with a family. The recent rise in publicized theft is a result of more people moving into the neighborhood with higher incomes and more pricey stuff to steal. The thieves that have inhabited this area for centuries pay attention, and frankly, they've been robbing the families that already lived here and had less resources than you to recover the losses for years.

Theft and mugging is not new to Brooklyn, but the intense gentrification is. It's insulting when people feel they are entitled to the luxury of safety that the original, poorer residents have never enjoyed.

Apr. 21 2008 09:56 AM


Apr. 18 2008 08:49 PM
Christy from Williamsburg

I haven't noticed the increased police presence... in fact, I wish they had been around 2 weeks ago when someone broke into my apartment while I, my husband and my 3 year old son were sleeping! The intruder stole my computer, digital camera and purse. When we filed our report with the police they told us that Williamsburg is developing a reputation as a neighborhood with a lot of "electronics" (which I read as computers - there are a lot of media professionals here) and there has been a real increase of break-ins and thefts. To me, that's bigger news than jaywalking "harassment".

Apr. 18 2008 02:11 PM
chestinee from Midtown

What happened on 5th Avenue late yesterday afternoon - s fire in the middle of teh street - maybe a car blew up? in the 40s or 50s? I saw it from 42nd St.

Apr. 18 2008 11:02 AM
Rev Bob Emerick from Bay Ridge, Brooklyn

My name is Bob Emerick, pastor of the Bay Ridge United Methodist Church in Brooklyn. After decades of sustaining a 100 year old crumbling, beautiful building, our congregation decided that Christ does not want us to spend our meager resources maintaining our old building, even though it is beautiful. Christ wants us to use our resources to address human need, in Bay Ridge and around the world. So, that's what we are doing. We are selling our old building, we will build a smaller environmentally green church on our property, and we will use the interest on the remaining money to improve the quality of life for as many people as we can, in Jesus' name. There is a small but vocal group in the community who oppose us. But this is what God calls us to do, and we are happy to do it.

Apr. 18 2008 09:18 AM
Valerie from Bay Ridge

Illegal (and legal) curb cuts and the rampant number of homeowners destroying their front yards to make parking places for their cars is a problem I'd like to see covered more.

Fines may be given but it doesn't appear that the city does anything to restore stolen parking spots to the public. It's sad to see the gardens gone and frustrating that greedy neighbors can ruin the look of a formerly beautiful block.

Apr. 18 2008 12:10 AM
CvB from Staten Island, NY

I also live around the corner from the convent which will be housing former prisoners. The North Shore is the only part of Staten Island where there are many more Democrats than Republicans and I believe that this is why our neighborhood has most of the social services on the island. We Democrats have been very open to social services because we believe in them but enough is enough. Staten Island cannot dump ALL of their social services in St. George. The area is getting its fair share of good press and people are moving here for beautiful houses, safety, and reasonable rents. We want our voices to be heard on this matter. We are especially concerned about our neighborhood children. There are many schools right around the corner from this location and we have been told that pedophiles and serious criminals will be housed here right out of prison. A location needs to be found that is not near schools or families with young children. "We took the ferry to staten island and decided to stay".

Apr. 17 2008 05:32 PM
Bertram O. Ploog from Staten Island, St. George

We have learned about plans to set up a halfway house for ex-cons, rapists, pedophiles, and people with histories of violence and mental problems amidst our historic neighborhood, St. George on Staten Island. We have a proud history of housing many social service providers in our neighborhood for the general welfare of disadvantaged people (women shelters, homeless shelters, HIV clinics, teenage support groups, family court). But our neighborhood is past its limit to accommodate yet another social service. Now the health of our community is at stake. We are fighting against this proposed halfway house because it is neither in our community's nor in the to-be-served people's interest.

Apr. 17 2008 04:30 PM
Sheila from St. George, Staten Island

The former convent next door is to be converted by St. Vincent's (SVCMC) into a facility for 59 parolees and substance abusers with mental problems. This is a residential neighborhood with two high schools and a grade school within a couple of blocks from the facility. There are school bus stops in front of the proposed facility. Any hope that this neighborhood will be revived will go down the tubes when SVCMC opens its state sponsored and funded facility.

Apr. 17 2008 04:27 PM
Amyzeats from St. George, Staten Island

Like RockMust, I also live in St. George, just up the street from that proposed inmate site that was, up until recently, the St. Paul's convent. Saint Vincent's completely bamboozled our community, telling us one thing (that the facility would be used for stable patients with mental and/or emotional disabilities) and instead all along planning to house violent criminals, many with serious drug problems, just getting out of some of our most horrific prisons. This is RIGHT DOWN THE STREET from an elementary school and two high schools! It's an outrage that an organization like this (who declared bankruptcy and yet managed to come up with the $3 million+ to buy the convent) can swoop in and dismantle our community in such a blatant and careless manner. Even worse, they out and out lied to us, and apparently, there's nothing we can do about it. It's shameful.

Apr. 17 2008 03:17 PM
RockMust from St. George Staten Island

Forget about unfair, but it is down right cruel that I have to worry about the warehousing of 60+ mentally unstable convicts from Sing Sing yards away from the schools where we are sending our children, and a few feet away from where my son will and his friends will play. This is a largely residential area in the middle of downtown SI that services so many social services. No one EVER complains or cares about all the social services in our area, ONLY WHEN THEY POSE A THREAT TO OUR SAFETY! Not to mention of legality and inhumanity of warehousing dozens of mentally unstable people who have performed serious crimes.
Why would St. Vincents and the DOH put us in harm's way? Does the financially crippled institution just not care?? Is their too much money to made from this deal? I would love for them to address this issue once and to stop ignoring the community.

Apr. 17 2008 02:53 PM
Linda from Jamaica Estates

I live in Jamaica Estates and one of our neighbors happens to be St. Johns University. The relationship between us in the community has not been great but this latest outrage takes the cake. The university is building a dormitory on Henley Road.

They used a little known loophole in the law "community facilities loophole" to buy out several homes in the middle of a residential neighborhood-about thirty people, and began construction on a six story, 485 person college dorm. This a private dorm by a private university. To whit there has been no environmental impact study to determine if the community can withstand a construction project of this magnitude. The infrasatructure on our blocks cannot support the overburdening of our resources such as water pressure, electrical usage,sewage drainage and parking.

As far as I know there was no community consultation or input about the project. This is a quiet neighborhood of single family homes so you can imagine the impact of such a project.

Apr. 17 2008 01:58 PM
Alice from Manhattan

Many issues affect tenants in Stuy Town/Peter Cooper and do not bode well for the future of middle-class housing in NYC overall:

High rents for market-rate tenants to start and increases as high as 25% to 30% after the first year

Rent-stabilized tenants subject to excessive scrutiny when leases are up and destabilization when the rent reaches $2K per month, per 1997 indices.

Many apartments are now New York University dorms.

A recently lifted 60-year ban on dogs as pets and the potential noise and waste they will generate.

Apr. 17 2008 12:14 PM
Dan from Manhattan

The New York Theater Workshop, which developed shows like Rent (before it hit Broadway), fired all the production staff last week. Apparently the artistic director spent a large amount of money from their foundation (which earns interest in the bank) on a production & now they're broke. The
production staff weren't even told that they were fired by the managing staff but by their lackys.
I think there was an article in the NY Times about this a couple of days ago.

Apr. 17 2008 11:59 AM
Arthur LaBow from upper east side

You'd think schools Chancellor Joel Klein would be proud.

One of this city's best-achieving small-school campuses, the Julia Richman Educational Complex on Manhattan's E. 67th St., has won a prestigious national design award from the American Architectural Foundation.

Klein seems so embarrassed by the honor that neither he nor his aides plan to attend Monday's award ceremony. They haven't even sent congratulations.

The chancellor, you see, wants to demolish Julia Richman. He wants to raze the magnificent 82-year-old building that his agency spent some $30 million in the past 10 years to renovate - a complex the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation has called a model for urban educational reform.

Apr. 17 2008 11:50 AM
taino from NY

It could be a possible environmental disaster. The beach coast line in the New Dorp area of Staten Island, at the bottom of New Dorp Lane and next to Miller Field, continues to be neglected and is eroding. No maintenance of beach shore seems to be contemplated.

Apr. 17 2008 11:49 AM
david schleifer from carroll gardens

I'd like to suggest a story about possible conflict between development, industry and Ground Zero reconstruction.

I live half a block from the Public Place site by the Gowanus Canal. Its an eleven acre toxic site, former location of goal gasification plants (I think). The city just picked the Hudson Companies to build 774 apartments, 38,000 square feet of retail and 100,000 square of open space. There's a lot of light industry in the area, including a cement factory that I've heard is providing cement for construction at Ground Zero. Apparently because of how cement dries, it needs to be delivered to a site within 30 minutes of production. I've heard that the new development at the Public Place might require the cement plant to relocate, delaying construction at Ground Zero. Can someone follow up on this?

Apr. 17 2008 11:49 AM

It could be a possible environmental disaster. The beach coast line in the New Dorp area of Staten Island, at the bottom of New Dorp Lane and next to Miller Field, continues to be neglected and is eroding. No maintenance of beach shore seems to be contemplated.

Apr. 17 2008 11:48 AM
Mac from Williamsburg


I participated in a civilian observer ride along program with the 90th just yesterday, and was able to ask the police officers I was with about the "williamsburg stabber."

They said it was in fact not a stabber but a man who is holding up women at knifepoint in the southside area. They further said that there were varying descriptions of the guy, from white to hispanic to black, from 5 2' to 6 foot. The officers said that the department believed it was the same guy, thanks to the "MO" of the robberies.

This may explain the lack of response from the precinct



Apr. 17 2008 11:45 AM
hjs from 11211

increased police presents in Williamsburg? could it be all the rich yuppies with kids moving in??
also police stats for Williamsburg are listed online, on polic website

Apr. 17 2008 11:44 AM
Mikaela from Chelsea, NY

I was in Williamsburg last night with a friend, crossing Metropolitan Ave (ok, we were Jaywalking, but so what?), when suddenly a huge NYPD van made a U-turn, ran a stop sign, and then almost plowed us down. The cop even yelled at us for being in his way as he sped on. What are these cops in Williamsburg in such a rush for?

Apr. 17 2008 11:42 AM
shindig from nyc

Is it possible that increased NYPD presence in Williamsburg and Crown Heights is related to Passover?

Apr. 17 2008 11:42 AM
Deb Ruffins from New York

How are the federal government and the city joining forces to destroy the last upper middle class black neighborhood in Queens? By overdeveloping the 55 acre VA hospital site on Linden Blvd. The feds are not willing to pay to rebuild the VA long term care facility in Queens. Instead, they are offering developers the rare opportunity to pay to government's cost of development while also putting up housing that has to be very high density in order to cover the costs of the property (which the VA is valuing at $10million an acre!). The builders proposals have been submitted to the VA and they are calling for 4000-6000 units on 25 of the 55 acre VA facility on Linden Blvd. This is directly across from the neighborhood of Addisleigh Park (come see us) where the houses and the lots are larger than the typical Queens neighborhood - where presently there are about 550 single family homes on roughly 50 acres. What's worse, the proposed housing will not directly benefit disabled vets!

Apr. 17 2008 11:20 AM
Rachel Birdsall from East Village

We have been waiting for the East River Park to be walkable again, but after years of construction walkers are still forced to walk along the strip of asphalt along FDR drive and as far as I can tell it will be this way forever. While there are machines aplenty down there I rarely see them actually being used...

Why is it that this project has been relegated to the back burner. Are there folks out there who are organizing to make sure the east side of Manhattan begins to get some even a fraction of the resources that have been lavished on the west side park system? Perhaps we're neglected because there is no high end real estate on the water?

Apr. 17 2008 11:11 AM
midtown from my 'hood is the USA

Feds to collect DNA from every person they arrest.
Using authority granted by Congress, the government also plans to collect DNA samples from foreigners who are detained, whether they have been charged or not. The DNA would be collected through a cheek swab, Justice Department spokesman Erik Ablin said Wednesday. That would be a departure from current practice, which limits DNA collection to convicted felons.

Expanding the DNA database, known as CODIS, raises civil liberties questions about the potential for misuse of such personal information, such as family ties and genetic conditions.

Complete Article from the AP in the San Francisco Chronicle:

Apr. 17 2008 11:07 AM
Joseph Shraibman from Brooklyn

What's with all the retro looking street lights that have been going up lately? Why is the city spending our tax money on this?

Apr. 17 2008 10:57 AM

"The Sri Chinmoy Marathon Team is proud to offer the Twelfth Annual Self-Transcendence 3,100 Mile Race. In this grand test of endurance and survival, a small group of athletes attempt to negotiate 5649 laps of a .5488 of a mile course (883 meters) in the timespan of 51 days- an amazing challenge."

For some runners they sure do take up alot of parking

Apr. 17 2008 10:54 AM
Marc Carter from eastvillage

A community park used for volleyball and basket ball has been commandeered by a skater from Gainsville Florida and now used as a for profit sponsored skate park. Local residents have complained about the noise and the unsightly ramps built and stored in the park. Community board 3 has taken no action. We want the city to build a skate park closer to east river park.
This year’s King of Spring Skateboard Showdown is taking place in New York on April 20th. Up for grabs is $3,000 in the best trick contest. The event will be hosted by Billy Rohan and Lurker Lou and there will be a live performance by Razor Tail. Starks Laces, Dave’s Quality Meats, Supreme, Vans, Red Bull and Acapulco Gold are among the sponsors.
King of Spring Skateboard Showdown
420 East, 12th St.
New York City, NY
Sunday, April 20th

Apr. 17 2008 10:54 AM
Erika Petersen from Upper West Side

I want to call attention to the shenanigans of an owner of small townhouses on West End Ave as he tries to demolish them and build "luxury" high rises in their places. The owner, notorious Alan Sackman, upon learning that our organization, the WEST END PRESERVATION SOCIETY, is trying to create a West End Ave Historic District, sent a worker with a saw (yes, a handsaw) to try and deface his buildings at 732-4 WEA (95&96) by sawing off a decorative head on the cornice above the doorway. Frightened off by the ladies at the Williams Residence for the Elderly who yelled at him, the worker ran away as the building facade started to crack and bricks began to crumble. Rent regulated tenants in buildings at 508-510 WEA (84&85) are being notified that he will be demolishing the buildings and that their leases will not be renewed. DO WE WANT MORE HIGH-RISES ON WEA???? ISN'T THE "PRE-WAR"MONSTER GOING UP AT 86TH & WEA ENOUGH????? Join the West End Preservation Society NOW!

Apr. 17 2008 09:47 AM
Jenn from South Bound Brook NJ

Here in central NJ we also have many new drug stores. In Bound Brook there is a perfectly good neighborhood pharmacy. Now, within a 1/4 mile there is Walgreen's, Eckerd, and Shop Rite Pharmacy; they are also on the same road!

Secondly, thinking back to your price gouging segments.....
I have a new Shop Rite(SR) 5 min. from my heome. The price of whole milk has been a "manager's special" steady $3.39 a gallon. I used to go to Bound Brook SR where the price ranged from $4.29 to over $5.00. Obviously, I can drive elsewhere to buy cheaper milk.
BUT, there is a fairly large community that does not have transportation to make that choice. It's despicable.

Apr. 17 2008 06:44 AM
Roxanne from Staten Island

I called into the segment today regarding a new St Vincent's mental health facility scheduled to be opened here in St George.

The issues as I see them are:

* A facility of this nature and this size is inappropriate for the neighborhood. This is a very dense neighborhood with a lot of foot traffic (much more than the rest of the island which is very car-centric) and it is unquestionably a poor site for the kind of facility that may be opened here.

* St George already provides the majority of mental health services for this borough. Why is this? I think it's because this neighborhood is home to many low-income and minority families and the rest of the island is okay with having those types of facilities here instead of in their own neighborhoods.

* St Vincents has not been providing accurate or timely information to the community regarding this facility. The description of the nature of the facility has changed and we in the community have no
way of knowing exactly what's going on.

The issue has been covered in the Staten Island Advance (see links below) but I don't know if any media outside the island has reported it.

This is a wonderful, diverse neighborhood which is trying very hard to improve itself and we are very concerned for its future.

Apr. 16 2008 06:28 PM

I agree with one of the callers this afternoon regarding the proliferation of drugstores. In the Patchogue area it seems they are building them so they can have a drive up window. Just a few years ago they built a CVS at the corner of Montauk Highway and Rte 112 but no drive up window so they tore down a restaurant a few blocks away and this large store will have the drive up option only to have another empty building. Walgreens is planning on tearing down a few stores in the other part of town. Do people only have money for drugs nowadays?

Apr. 16 2008 04:35 PM
David from Manhattan, upper west side

The two brownstones at 732 and 734 West End Ave between 95th and 96th st have been purchased by developer Alan Sackman. He is planning to demolish them and construct a 40 foot wide, 16 story sliver bulding. This is part of a massive building spree which is replacing historic brownstones with towers of glass, changing the face of the upper west side.

The new building will be wedged between two residential buildings, one of which is an elderly care facility. The site is directly across from the Emily Dickenson school, a public elementary school. The effort will brick up dozens of windows and reduce many views to brick walls and air shafts.

There is serious concern about asbestos in the building and PCBs in the ground, both of which would be released in as dust during demolition. He has not done the proper inspections and, with a little pressure from concerned neighbors, the building department denied his plan-application to build. I'm told the plan had previously been approved.

Sackman's demolition company, however, is "self-certified" and is, therefore, not subject to controls by government. He can, therefore, demolish the buildings at will - all he has to do is build a fence.

There is nothing in place to stop Sackman from demolishing the building without inspections releasing potentially poisonous dust into our homes and lungs.

Self-certification is a contradiction in terms. If I could self-certify myself, I would be much more qualified than I am.

Apr. 16 2008 04:33 PM
tina rice from staten island

I live in St.George in staten island, NY. This diverse and transitioning neighborhood is going through a slow but ready Renaissance. It is SI's civic center and transit hub. The land use is a mix of residential and commercial. St.vincent's hospital is planning to convert a convent into a 59-bed SRO for former convicts from Sing Sing and acute mentally disabled people inthe heart of a resideential neighborhood. I can't see warehousing so many patients especially if the facility is serving not patients from our own community. Is State doing something illegal by allowing this ? We moved here because the housing was more affordable than places in Brooklyn. This does not seem fair.

Apr. 16 2008 01:28 PM
Sean Dwyer from West 70s Manhattan

What I've observed in my neighborhood is the inverse of the concern expressed by those from Ramapo, NY and Ridgefield, NJ. Here, 4- and 5-story townhouse apartment buildings are being converted into single-family homes. Diminishing availability of rental housing with spiking retail rents is transforming the neighborhood into a bland shadow of its storied history, open only to the well-to-do.

Apr. 16 2008 12:24 PM
Adam from Brooklyn-cobble hill

There is a baby boom in brooklyn.. obvious to anyone who walks down the street.
This is creating a terrible lack of preschool/elementary slots all over the income spectrum.
People are having to move away from NYC because there simply is no schooling possible.
There were 400 applicants for 10 slots at one of the places we applied.

NO ONE is talking about this.

Apr. 16 2008 12:23 PM
PowersSt from williamsburg

Another testament to the cops in Williamsburg - last week my husband and I received summons from a pair of cops for riding one block on the sidewalk of a highway overpass - no pedestrians in sight and lots of commercial trucks! They didn't care. The worst part is that while they were writing the tickets a delivery man came outside and rode down the same sidewalk - I pointed this out and they said; "oh, he's just trying to make a living." Who's not? (delivery men are not exempt from the sidewalk riding law, and they are supposed to wear helmets and labeling on their jackets and bikes). In the time we were there we saw 3 deliverymen go by, all who could have been stopped but weren't and we saw another personal biker like ourselves receive a summons. It really does feel like harassment!

Apr. 16 2008 12:17 PM
Ian from Brooklyn

The Nehemiah at Spring Creek project is moving along at a good pace. My apartnent complex still has a few affordable condos left, or so they say. (Meadowwood at Gateway).
Next week is revival week at my church.(St.Paul Community Baptist). The headliner is a visiting pastor, Frank E. Ray.

Apr. 16 2008 12:17 PM
Robert from NYC

Ooops, I put this in the wrong place so here it is:

NYU expansion in E Village continues and people get evicted. Now they're working on getting MET foods out on 2nd Av bet 6-7streets. What up? They have to be stopped. They own so much property in the area now and beyond!!!

Apr. 16 2008 12:11 PM
stephen from Union Square

The long-delayed -anticipated -hated-by-many $20 million dollar renovation of the north end of Union Square Park has begun. It means moving the Greenmarket south and west, and is said to be pushing out many of the artists. One of the Greenmarket vendors told me they were told it should take about 9 months, which in reality means about a year. It's going to be a noisy mess for a long time.

Apr. 16 2008 12:11 PM
Dan from Bushwick

In my neighborhood in Bushwick, there is a local church group that often preaches outdoors during the day. They use a sound system and play Christian hymns in Spanish. I fully support their right to profess their faith. However, in their religious fervor, they often resort to yelling loudly. Worse, they sing horribly off key. They stay out there for six of eight hours at a time. I live across the street and have to put up with the noise all day and I know that I'm not the only one they disturb. I pray that they learn to keep it down.

Apr. 16 2008 12:10 PM
George from Williamsburg

This is in response to your caller mentioning increased police activity in Williamsburg... A few weeks ago I had gotten into my car at the end of the day and just pulled up to the light at the end of the block. An officer that seemed to come out of nowhere knocked on my drivers side window, then asked why I wasn't wearing my seat belt. I told him I had just pulled out of my parking spot, but that wasn't enough to get out of a ticket. Obviously I was in the wrong, but it seemed a bit excessive.

Apr. 16 2008 12:07 PM
Roger from East Village

NYU is now threatening to evict The Met Food store on 2nd Ave unless they agree to triple the rent they now pay. Met is one of the last reasonably priced grocers left in the neighborhood. NYU promises that a grocery will remain there but that's not the point. We don't need another Whole Foods-like, overpriced store in the area, and NYU should better respect the needs of its long-time East Village neighbors.

Apr. 16 2008 12:06 PM

i think it would be interesting to take a closer look to what is happening in stuyvesant town/peter cooper village. the inflation of rent is out of control! at the same time, it will be nice to see the results of the mass landscaping project that tishman speyer currently has underway.

Apr. 16 2008 12:03 PM

I live in LIC-Hunters Point and all of the new housing being built is luxury! There is nothing that a middle income person can afford to either rent or buy. Who are all these people who are able to afford these prices? They certainly are not civil servants, teachers etc. I work for the city of NY and can only afford to continue to live in the city (which is required by my job) because I have lived in my apartment for the last 13 years. I can't afford to move to anothe rpart of the city if I wanted.Time to start looking for a new city to move to that doesn't cater to the wealthy. Those who make this city run can't afford to live here any more.

Apr. 16 2008 12:03 PM
Dorothy from Manhattan

I LOVE the $ store -- and there are lots of well-dressed folks in the Chelsea $ store. (23rd St/7-8th Ave)

But the prices have recently gone from 99 cents to $1.29 so there are fewer and fewer bargains -- Often things are cheaper in Gristedes (Gristedes!!) than in the dollar store (example instant coffe, which is one of my guilty little secrets). I still buy liquid hand soap, shampoo, conditioner and socks (memo to self: stop buying socks!). You can't really beat them for notebooks, ball point pens other office/school stuff, green tea.

Apr. 16 2008 12:03 PM
Lina from Brooklyn

This is in response to the 'cop on every Williamsburg corner this week' comment. This seems to be the norm in my Crown Heights neighborhood- there is an overwhelming police presence regularly- every day, no matter the time, there are 2-3 cops on EVERY corner. I understand and occasionally appreciate the concept of community policing, but sometimes it feels overdone, and like I'm living in a police state. Wonder if it has done anything to actually reduce the crime rate... Anybody know? There is a lot of gentrification (read: white folks) that I have noticed in the neighborhood, just in the year that I have been living there- maybe that has something to do with it...

Apr. 16 2008 12:02 PM
Ann from bronx

The DOE has long claimed that they analyze housing starts in planning for new schools, but they have never released their numbers to the public. The staff of the borough president's office has gone through easily available records on housing starts and building permits to establish that the DOE is woefully behind in creating seats to accommodate the residents of the 40,000 new apartments approved for construction in Manhattan in the last eight years.

The report identifies four neighborhoods--downtown, the Upper East Side, Greenwich Village/Soho, and Flatiron/Madison Square--that are at especially high risk of neighborhood-wide school overcrowding. The city approved enough new buildings to add up to 2,300 new students in K-8 schools in these neighborhoods, while increasing school capacity by only 143 seats.

Read the press release and the full report here

Apr. 16 2008 12:01 PM
John Hahn from NJ

In Glen Rock NJ the borough council is working on a so-called McMansion Law that will limit the size of houses on lots.
Glen Rock is a bedroom community about 15 miles w of the GWB. It is mostly single family homes.
When houses are for sale, builders come in a tear it down and put up this huge house that is over-sized for the lot.
The McMansion law is a first step but it is hurting homeowners who have an old house on a small lot that may not beable to upgrade their property even a little.
This hurts those homeowners.
The borough council wants to try to maintain the look and feel of the community.
Some of the oversize homes are not in the character of the community. Ie. Italian stone in the middle of a center hall colonial neighborhood.
This type of law is being considered in many suburbs.
Bigger houses mean more children which means more classrooms, which may mean another school.
which will push taxes so hight that people especially seniors and empty nesters to leave.
Can you say tipping point?

Apr. 16 2008 12:01 PM
erice from Union Square

The cops are protecting all the yuppies and the hipsters that are moving in there. They were never there when immigrants inhabited the place. Being white and money rules!

Apr. 16 2008 12:01 PM
Abigail Bedrick from Carroll Gardens, Brooklyn

The neighborhood has been fighting to limit the height of new buildings going up in the neighborhood. This is a neighborhood experiencing great gentrification and it trying to maintain a neighborhood feel. At a recent community meeting hundreds of people showed up of all ages to express concern over yet another new building that is going up on Court street between Union and Sackett and is going to be 7 stories with retail on the street level. And you can bet that local mom and pop stores will be priced out!

Neighborhoods all over Manhattan have lost their local flavor and now the developers are moving in and destroying Brooklyn.

Apr. 16 2008 12:00 PM
shindig from nyc

PORTABLE NYPD WATCHTOWER on Utica Ave between Clarkson and Lenox in Brooklyn. Looks like something out of Empire Strikes Back.

Apr. 16 2008 12:00 PM
quixoticire from Union Square

What's with the disappearing landmarks in NYC, i.e. Cheyenne Diner, Florent, the stores at St.Mark's and 8th street, the mom and pop shops at Chelsea? HUH?

Where are all these yunnies and yuppies coming from?

Apr. 16 2008 11:59 AM
Paulo from Paterson, New Jersey

They'll probably miss another stabbing incident because they'll be busy giving somebody a ticket for jaywalking.

Apr. 16 2008 11:59 AM
Carlo Altomare from Manhattan


There has been a sidewalk bridge from the next door construction in front of my building for 2 years. I write to the owner and he says it will come down in a couple of weeks. He's been saying that for a year now. We get street people using our place as a toilet, 5 breakins because of the relative cover of the bridge etc etc. They are dragging their feet taking it down until they start selling the condos they built. They have huge advertisements on the bridge for the condos. Its so annoying. The Empire State Building was built in less than a year. The city will do nothing aboutit.

Apr. 16 2008 11:58 AM
Jonathan from Brooklyn

East Williamsburg or Bushwick? I'm sure most real estate agent would say it stretches to JFK. What I'm curious about with the changing demographic of the neighborhoods in Brooklyn over the years. I'm sure there is a pattern of change over the generations.

Now we're seeing new buildings go up and a demographic shift challenging the last hipster influx to Williamsburg which must have displaced different ethnic groups previously.

As far as the increased police presence here, there are more cops on the street recently. I'd be curious to know why as well!

Apr. 16 2008 11:58 AM
Rosa from Inwood, Manhattan

Speaking of food, it's funny that most people see us Latinos as greasy food lovers. But nothing further from the truth. Like most people, we now know about the dangers of excess fat and avoid that kind of Latin food.

Recently, new, upscale, Latino fusion restaurant have opened up here in order to cater to the anglos looking for better rents. Surprise! The new establishments, much more expensive than the old ones, stay packed with LATINOS from the hood. Who knew?

Apr. 16 2008 11:58 AM
asli from prospect heights

i have been seeing an increase of police officers walking around my neighborhood also. (prospect heights) this has been going on for the past couple of weeks. maybe its something more encompassing than just williamsburg.

Apr. 16 2008 11:57 AM
phillip from williamsburg

there really have been cops all over the place in williamsburg. it started last monday and they are still here in groups of two and three.

Apr. 16 2008 11:57 AM
David from NYC

Mr. Softee is back! Ice cream on wheels is a good thing!

Apr. 16 2008 11:57 AM
Kitty from Brooklyn

RE williamsburg cops: a man has been attacking women and stabbing them in the nieghborhood. So the cops are using that as an excuse to stop and harrass people. Article was on Gothamist yesterday.

Apr. 16 2008 11:56 AM
Tash from South Williamsburg

I can attest to the increased police presence in Williamsburg, they walk in pairs and they're all over the place!!

Saw them giving a ticket to a cyclist at midnight on Sunday.

Whats the deal?

Apr. 16 2008 11:56 AM
Jean from New Jersey

My neighborhood in Ridgefield, NJ used to be a lovely town, now every one house taken down usually two two family homes (made into illegal )3 family homes or McMasions. What isn't taken into account is schools, there are now trailers just to hold the influx of new students.

Apr. 16 2008 11:56 AM
peter from bronx

downtown has been invaded by Wall Street bankers paying two digits (2.2M) for 2 bd apartments. Someone help. Please keep Wall Streeters on the UWS/UES

Apr. 16 2008 11:56 AM
Peg from Brooklyn

You can easily find this same kind of hyper-local content on - it'd be great to hear shows culled from these topics, but sometimes the hyperlocal isn't interesting enough to grow beyond hyperlocal to citywide or the even greater reach of the Brian Lehrer show. I love the crowd-sourcing, nonetheless, and think there is definitely something in this project...

Apr. 16 2008 11:55 AM
hjs from 11211

Paulo, BL just had 2 NJ segments and we all listened!

Apr. 16 2008 11:54 AM
Chuck from Williamsburg

Lately, there are groups of cops on every corner in the South Williamsburg area. They won't say why. It's weird, as if they are expecting something.

Apr. 16 2008 11:52 AM
John Wilson from Prospect Heights

Good news about Vanderbilt Ave...the DOT is going to add bike lanes and a median strip that the parks department is going to landscape.

In a related matter, the new Grand Army Plaza islands, bike lane connecting the park and Plaza Street and crosswalks are a huge improvement.

Apr. 16 2008 11:52 AM
DP from Crooklyn

Problems caused by aggressive driving and making NYC / Brooklyn more pedestrian friendly

Apr. 16 2008 11:51 AM
shindig from nyc

degentrification! ghost buildings, failed restaurants and bars and of course the looming shadow of IKEA.

Apr. 16 2008 11:51 AM
Paulo from Paterson, New Jersey

Well, I live in New Jersey, so I don't think I have any news interesting to New Yorkers, but if I get word that New Jerseyans are planning an invasion of Manhattan, I'll be sure to give you all a heads up.

Apr. 16 2008 11:49 AM
Mickey Bitsko from Duane Street, 1 1/2 blocks away

Who are these people moving into Downtown Manhattan? Who can afford to live in these new mega-apartment buildings? How much debt do they have, and how will the recession effect their staying here for long? Will they be a transient population?

Why, as far as I can tell, is there only one fairly large grocery store, and an overpriced one at that, below Canal Street (until Whole Foods opens -- another overpriced grocer)? What's with all the sushi restaurants opening up? What happened to the discount stores, like Ralph's and DeeDee's? Why are the shop leases so high?

Thanks. Love the show.

Apr. 16 2008 11:34 AM


Apr. 16 2008 11:32 AM
RCTB from Westchester

What's happened to Italian American Carroll Gardens? I grew up there in the 1960s, amid three dozen aunts, uncles and cousins and many neighborhood stores. In the mid-1960s, one blonde, "American" family moved to a brownstone on my block, First Place between Court and Clinton Streets, put up blue shutters in stead of venetian blinds, and send their kids out to play in plastic sandals. That was the "thin edge of the wedge" of gentrification.

Is anyone from the old neighborhood still left, or has everyone gone to "the Island" and "Jersey"? If anyone remains from the old, cloistered, traditional Italian neighborhood, where the traditions of Sicily and Naples remained alive through the 1950s, 60s and 60s, how do the newcomers get along with the Italian-Americans who have lived in the neighborhood for three or four generations? What has happened to the old stores -- are any left? (Only one that I know of, a clothing store on Court Street between First Place and Carroll Street.)

I miss the old neighborhood, where everyone was either your relative or had grown up with your grandmother. I'd love to hear a segment on the "new and old" Carroll Gardens.

The crack in the sidewalk in front of my old home at 99 First Place was not paved over until just last year. Has the rest of the old culture been similarly eradicated, or has it just gone underground?

Apr. 16 2008 11:10 AM
Eugene from rego park, queens

We have many immigrants here who use food stamps particularly Russian Immigrants.

Apr. 16 2008 10:58 AM
Marsha Andrews from W. 75th & Broadway

We are so upset that another local small store is being forced out. Health Nuts at 75th and Broadway, now paying $33,000/month (yes, that's the right amount) will have a rent increase to $55,000. There goes another personal attention type store to some bank or mega store although it's a tiny retail space. We feel helpless because, apparently, the owners live in Germany. Help!!!!!! Some of the workers are going to return to Bangladesh. Is that to where we've come ... Bangladesh is better than Manhattan for living/working possibilities?

Apr. 16 2008 10:54 AM
hjs from 11211

Williamsburg: so many ugly new buildings there should be a law for that!
lots of yuppies with kids. where's the middle class housing?

Apr. 16 2008 10:53 AM
Charles from Brooklyn

The Atlantic Yard mall is cyphoning police presence in Clinton Hill, leading to an increase in crime in this area.

Apr. 16 2008 10:32 AM
Will Galison from Manhattan

The most shockingly under-reported subject in local news is the rampant corruption in the judiciary. particularly the OCA (Office of Court Administration) in the first department (Manhattan and The Bronx).

See: www.exposecorruptcourts, for some incredible but true accounts of systemic corruption in the OCA. See "THE NEW TAMANY HALL"

In particular, there is now a class action suit developing out of seven independent Federal RICO cases filed against the OCA. Common defendants in these cases include the Disciplinary Committee, the Commission on Judicial Misconduct, and several prominent judges, including Administrative Judge Silbermann.

In light of Judge Judith Kaye suing the state for higher judicial salaries, the question arises: should we raise judicial salaries despite systemic abuses, or should we finally make these raises contingent upon merit and integrity?

There is enough material here for a series of segments, as thousands of new Yorkers have horror stories about the OCA and corrupt judges and lawyers,

Apr. 16 2008 10:29 AM
Stephen from Williamsburg, Brooklyn

There have been cops on every street corner in Williamsburg for the past week. Several rumors have surfaced regarding their presence. The most alarming is: A South Williamsburg Stabber is on the loose! To my knowledge this is unconfirmed by any credible source. What I can confirm is that many people are receiving tickets. Jaywalkers, bikers for riding up on the side walks, residents for having a beer on their stoop, etc. This feels like borderline harassment. I cannot walk a block without seeing 2-3 cops. Last night, I waited for the traffic signal to cross the street despite the fact that there were no cars in sight. Why, because on the other side of the street were 3 cops, right on the corner of Grand Street & Driggs. Some unlucky residents who received tickets claim that cops are enforcing "Quality of Life" regulations from the Giuliani days. I am left wondering when the police will have their fill and get out of the neighborhood. Or, when will the catch the stabber!

Apr. 16 2008 10:27 AM
Glenn from Manhattan

with real estate prices going up, (west) 14th St in Manhattan, is no longer (quite as) sleazy. What happened to the good old days? Spanish bookstores, 99 cent stores. Now we have the modern sleaze of all the chain fast food restaurants

Apr. 16 2008 10:26 AM
Publius from Washington Heights

At 205 Cabrini Boulevard, west of Fort Washington Avenue, there is an enormous hole in the ground. It is an excavation for three planned town houses from which the developer walked away. Yes, it is ugly. What is scarier is that the foundation of the apartment building next to it now stands exposed. Hope I'm not being alarmist but six months before the retaining wall collapse in 2004 at Castle Village, just across the street, I observed that the wall had bowed out. I told myself that smarter people than I were in control of the situation. I said nothing. I will never be silent again if I feel something is dangerous.

Apr. 16 2008 10:20 AM

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