2014-03-28 / Columnists


The Irish Circle building is being sold in a bankruptcy sale. The place has struggled since OTB finished out of the money in 2010. The sale is being run by real estate firm Massey Knakal. They are accepting bids through April 17th. The bar restaurant remains open.

New commissioner of the Housing and Preservation Department, Vicki Been, could have been speaking for the Mayor and a lot of city commissioners. Been was quoted as saying “I’m behind,” when talking about getting affordable housing built.

Eater an online outfit describes itself as a “source for people who care about dining and drinking in the nation's most important food cities.” With the news that Phil Jackson was coming back east to be president of the New York Knicks, somebody from Eater tweeted “Should Phil Jackson live in the East Village to be close to the old Fillmore East or in the Rockaways to make him think he's still in LA??” Well, Phil did wear a beard long before the current crop of hipsters…

The West 12th Road Block Association runs a can’t-miss blog run by Pete Mahon. The site hit a milestone this week as visitor number 225,000 just clicked through.

A man by the name of Quynton Ross was found dead near the boardwalk at Beach 40th Street. The NY Post reported that he was a former NBA Nets basketball player. The news spread online quickly. Turns out, similar name, different person.

Longtime attorney, Ira Seplow, has been disbarred. According to NyCourts.gov he mishandled client funds relating to a real estate transaction. His name is stricken from the roll of attorneys and counselors-at-law.

New boilers will be installed in many NYCHA houses thanks to $100 million in Sandy money. The City had been paying a fortune for temporary boilers and residents had to endure this brutal winter in less-than-satisfactory conditions.

Were you a resident of the Rockaways during World War II, or served in WW II? Would you consider being interviewed about your experiences? Channel View School for Research’s 8th grade students are exploring life during wartime and its impact on Rockaway residents. Please contact Annette Malloy at 718-634-1970, or AMalloy@ schools.nyc.gov if you are interested.

So the latest thing we hear about Build It Back is that a few hundred checks are sitting on someone’s desk at the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) instead of getting out the door to people who need the money. Simultaneous audits are going on and money won’t be released until they’re done. And when that’s done, don’t look in your mailbox for the check. There is more paperwork ahead. You’ll be asked to supply banking information so that money can be direct deposited.

Zone A New York (zoneanewyork.org) is a helpful site for all things Sandy. Just this week the site included an interesting blog about flood insurance and elevating buildings.

Running guru John Edwards says spring running starts officially this Saturday with the Kevin Kearney Classic 5K. The race, which raises funds for pancreatic cancer research at Memorial Sloan Kettering Hospital, starts at 11 a.m. Registration is from 9:30-10:45 a.m. at Beach 102nd Street and Rockaway Beach Boulevard. A great time follows with a great party with food, drink, prizes, music and dancing.

Rebuild by Design is the name of a competition run by HUD in the aftermath of Sandy. There are 10 finalists and one of those has a resiliency plan for Beach 116th Street. The plan essentially calls for that commercial corridor to become a “dry zone” should another big flood occur. The plan includes seawalls behind buildings and gates on the north and south side that would roll down in advance of a big storm. New commercial development is also included. On Thursday, April 3rd all 10 proposals will be revealed to the public in lower Manhattan from 5-8 p.m. It is open to the public but you should RSVP. Go to RebuildByDesign.org for details.

Acronym Alert. WXY and HR&A are all over the place. WXY, is an architectural firm run by Claire Weisz who many locals know from boardwalk design meetings. In addition to the boardwalk design, WXY is conducting a feasibility study (and doing the planning) to turn the LIRR rail line into a park, the Queensway. A proposal from WXY is also one of the 10 finalists in the aforementioned Rebuild By Design competition. Meanwhile HR&A has stocked the de Blasio administration with alumni. The new Planning Commissioner comes from HR&A. The new commissioner of Small Business Services is Maria Torres-Springer. She is married to Jamie Springer, who some of you have met at the New York Community Rising meetings. HR&A is one of the consultants and Jamie is a partner at the firm. Unrelated to the WXY project, HR&A is consulting with the firm doing the Beach 116th street Rebuild By Design entry. WXY and HR&A were also involved in the Far Rock competition which sought project ideas for Arverne East. Both firms were at the Game Changer informational session so we expect they’re involved in those projects, too.

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