City Rolls Out Blacktop Carpet For Film Shoot In Richmond Hill, Queens

133Liberty Ave. And 123rd street. Where the gilded asphalt path abruptly stops.

Richmond Hill, Queens, N.Y.

A week before Halloween, an encouraging sight sprung forth to auto owners and cyclists. The decade long dilapidation of Liberty Avenue beginning at Lefferts Boulevard was about to get repaved with fresh tar and asphalt. Being a cyclist myself, it was elating to finally look forward to a smooth path and finally see the cracks and crevices produced by many winters, persistent double and triple parking and K and illegal U-turns by overtly aggressive drivers remediated.

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What’s frustrating about this is that a while back the D.O.T. milled and repaved the entirety of Liberty under the elevated train from Rockaway Blvd to the last stop at Lefferts Blvd but they decided for some damn reason not to stretch out the repaving 15 blocks east to the Van Wyck Expressway to at least make it look compatible as well as prevent the road from suffering from further degradation.

But in yet another case of diminishing returns of half-ass efforts from your city, it turned out that they only repaved 2 fucking blocks.

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Even more frustrating and fucking maddening is that the long overdue road repair was permitted and possibly inspired and demanded to make way for a film shoot.

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A day after the repaving, film permits appeared taped on lamp posts and this parking meter here for something mysteriously titled V3. It must be some sequel of some cruddy film franchise or maybe it could be a historic film chronicling the nascent stages of the invention of V8 juice when the beverage contained only 3 vegetables.The freshly paved scenery was supervised by someone only named Rocco.

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The trucks and trailers with the Jersey or Penn plates and catering truck were supposed to arrive to assemble the proverbial fourth wall for the shoot on Liberty on Monday but a strange development happened on the day that footage above was shot the day before though, all the permits were removed from said posts and meters and the producers decided to move all their rigs on 103rd avenue instead and 120 street.

The next day the catering truck moved to Liberty and two charter buses appeared buttressed by orange safety cones. The charter bus facing east and the catering truck in front of that charter bus facing west were parked on city bus stops for the Q110.

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And another charter bus was parked by 103rd avenue around the corner. I assume these vehicles were the mode of transportation for all the creative forces and talent involved with this project.

027And the action took place at Leo F. Kearns funeral home halfway down the block.

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026Spoiler alert! Someone in this movie dies!

It’s been a week since this production, and being that it took two days it will probably result in a 2 minute scene. I came to this synopsis because the last few times that major shows were filmed in this enclave of Southeast Queens were HBO’s Bored to Death where they took a day to film Rushmore star Jason Schwartzman ask a cashier a question in a scene that was 10 seconds and the other was also by HBO called …the Night Of where the trailers took over 2 blocks for a good week to film some catalyst scenes for the first episode (sadly, the shows executive producer, James Gandolfini died a week after that shoot in Italy, man it would have been actually cool to bump into him).

Wait, I forgot the odious and easily hacked social media platform corporation that sold out their customers for billions of ad dollars and now government contractor Facebook filmed a show here in the springtime. At least they split so fast it was barely noticeable. Probably because they realized it wasn’t Brooklyn.

Too bad Broad City is ending, it actually would have been nice if those funny ladies stopped by and did some jokes about roti shops.

But I’m digressing, because this road upgrade was obviously done for aesthetic reasons for this V3 movie. Which gives the impression that some special tweeding went down to benefit the film industry over the needs of the driving and riding constituents and also essential bus transit service that continues to get neglected again and again. This can be verified by the I.M. exchange between Cynthia Nixon and Mayor Bill de Blasio when the failed gubernatorial candidate wanted to get her pal in City Hall to halt chopper flights over Central Park that were bothering her director pal’s Shakespeare performances there as she forwarded his complaints to him and your mayor happily and hurriedly obliged and got it done for her. It also helped that TV’s Miranda’s wife was working for Mayor Big Slow at the time as one of his advisors.

So the rest of Liberty will probably remain a broken ass mess in this broke ass city. As well the majority of streets that intersect with it and the avenues south and east of the busy avenue are in equally shitty and even worse. It doesn’t look like there is going to be any upgrade in the near future or even beyond as the new pretty, vibrant and hip burgs get nice things and the dirty southeast of Queens gets dirtier and rockier. And not to mention the massive renovation of the BQE.

And even with this sudden attention from Hollywood, which from the way this city favors this industry, has become an official citizen person of New York. At the expense of safe streets, commuting and the dwindling patience and sanity of it’s residents.

 

 

 

 

 

Mission Virtually Accomplished: The Lefferts Blvd. Elevator Is Activated.

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South Ozone Park, N.Y., U.S.A.

In what I admit could be an abberation in the usual posts that get written here, here is an actual good news bulletin and sign of albeit late ass civic progress. As reported here since this digital publication’s inception, it took almost 4 years, but the main entrance of the Lefferts Blvd has completed with the activation of the elevator! And it actually is quite shiny and nice. It officially got turned on about a few weeks ago about 4 months ahead of the proposed 3th quarter deadline.

Check it out!!!

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Hard to believe this took almost half a decade. But at least the essential part of the station is done being that it’s by the death defying horror show intersection that is Liberty Avenue and Lefferts Blvd where two accordion buses stop every day, making egress to the street finally a satisfying routine.

All is not well though, for it’s still the worst fucking transit system in the universe. For there are still bollards, barricades, equipment, vehicles and miscellaneous debris and materials cluttering the curbs taking up two blocks worth of parking spaces. For the station exit and entrance at the west side of the station are still under renovation.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Why the continued cantankerous position with this? Because it looks like the elevator finally got the long overdue fast track initiative when the new sheriff of the MTA came to town from Toronto, Andy Byford who is a big stickler when it comes to the handicapped commuters. For MTA brass clearly noticed what he accomplished by making Toronto’s transit system entirely handicap accessible while cleaning up his new office.

It is a tad surprising that they got the elevator operating, but all that street hoarding under the El looks like it’s going to remain there a while and perhaps might pile up more. When I saw the first card sensor on a turnstile and the dumbass energy wasting digital screens inside train cars a few weeks before the grand debut of the Lefferts Lift, I almost plotzed.

 

 

 

The rush to get these out there is pretty goddamn stupid and no doubt at huge expense, especially that the screens were installed on the old cars that are being planned to be replaced by a new fleet and the payment method won’t be implemented until 2019 and has the potential to fail and be prone to errors. The MTA decision to start a rummage sale of all their “antique” discarded signs, seats, benches and garbage cans, is a pathetic shitty way to start to re-accrue these moronic expenditures. The funny thing is that those antique garbage cans, which were misguidedly decided to be removed from the platforms in an attempt to curb litter and rodent colonies, can obviously still be useful.

Cynical observations aside it is a timely tiny miracle the Lefferts Station entrance got done, for the MTA is still having massive FUBAR snafus, being all the other various problems the system has got going for it this year.

Like the new countdown clocks which are already showing consistent inaccuracies and placed in ridiculous hard to view spots.

A thorough 21st century modernization of the Penn Station hub has exhibited a massive wall to wall crack on the floor just a short few months after the state of the art passageway opened.

That a lot of delays are actually caused by commuters looking down at or diddling their fingers on their cellphones as they enter and exit trains, giving the effect of a herd of lobotomized sheep or herd of cattle slowly marching to getting shed or milked or to their certain death.

That small businesses along the north elevated tracks in Astoria have lost 50% of their customers because of the storage of materials and vehicles for way overdue renovations hogging parking and sidewalk spaces.

And of course the obvious long overdue shutdown of the irresponsibly neglected Canarsie Tunnel on the L line. As doomsday draws near in just another year, the MTA and the city still doesn’t have a concrete plan for commuters, especially the effect it will have to the already crushed sardine boxes on the Queens and Brooklyn lines. It looks like the appointed subway ambassadors will have to update their itineraries and probably have to don body armor or chainmail to ward off the frustrated masses.

But most fortunate of all for the citizenry reliant on the Lefferts Station to start and end their grinding workdays and the easement of physical stress on the aged and infirm is that it has evaded the perpetual distraction nonsensical battle of half-wits and directionless obstructionist feud over transit and transportation funding and policy making between the neoliberal bags of dead dicks and shit Mayor William de Blasio and Governor Andrew Cuomo.

Mario’s son has gotten deserved heat for his rush to open the four stop 2nd avenue for his grand opening suarez. Since that day and his proclaimed summer of hell, he has allocated and spent billions on boondoggles, minor transit extensions, and prioritized profligate ornamental improvements over infrastructure improvements in the city’s dilapidated subways, like the aforementioned newly cracked and ruined floor at Penn Station.

There is the recent decision by Cuomo through his intern commissioner Joe Lotha to add a third track on the LIRR between two close stops for a (not so) cool $1.8 billion. There was the not surprising revelation that the cashless and humanless toll booths in the past 5 years incurred over 80 million dollars in lost fares and fees.

And for shits and giggles in an egregious stunt that would make Chris Christie share his taco bowl with Mario’s son, the governor emailed commands to his MTA staffers relayed to transit supervisors to defer most of the blame for power failure transit delays to Con Edison by cooking the books on the number of them four-fold just so he can justify his tainted stats while doing his occasional Excelsior shirt sleeves rolled up subterranean photo op to divert attention from the generally known fact of the consistency of the antique signal system breakdowns.

And the topper might be what Guv’ner Andy announced in the state of the state and of his delirious mind when he promised to build another subway tunnel going to Red Hook, Brooklyn by extending the local 1 train from downtown Manhattan to coincide with the prospective hyper-development plan in a hurricane flood zone to build affordable luxury towers and a park there for the next hipster pilgrimage. This was considered as Trump’s tax cut law, the Oligarch Welfare law, will put a stop to that plan just like it officially did on the extension of the 2nd Avenue Q line to 125th Street.

Mario’s son’s costly congestion pricing plan to fund transit took a big hit when Doug Schifter took his life in protest of this extra tax on struggling independent cab and delivery drivers. And de Faustio millionaire tax plan, which he pilfered from assemblyman Michael Ginaris, is seeing absolutely no support at all.

As for the perjuring mayor of the city where the subway runs, well, apparently it did not deem worth a mention either an acknowledgement in the new city budget which actually exceeded 4 billion dollars from last year. Yet somehow his staff and his real estate donors lobby group is still pushing for the BQX line to get built despite the lead cheerleader quitting on them and a study detailing it’s unsustainability and ballooning costs and it’s unpopularity from the furious residents living by the prospective tracks.

Mayor de Faustio stubbornly refuses to contribute to fund the subway re the emergency plan put forth by Lotha for the city to contribute a little more than half of the $800 million needed to improve it (It actually should be more), for the reason he repeats that the state should pay for it entirely and that they squandered earlier city funding. He would have a point and a justification to his obstinancy if he wasn’t supporting that cruddy BQX, and how he ordered his MTA picks to blow off $200 million for station fixes  because the stations he wanted done were for areas that are in his gentrification fostering and escalating mandatory inclusionary zoning plans for East New York and the South Bronx.

Although de Faustio did find some loot, about a couple million, for an express bus route to Rikers Island.

This summer, the city will also test-run express buses shuttling people directly to and from Rikers out of two public-transit hubs in Manhattan and Brooklyn. The jailhouse jitneys will cost taxpayers $846,000 this fiscal year and $1.69 million each year after that. The DOC wouldn’t yet say if the shuttles will be free to ride.

N.Y. Post

Both them do share common ground when it comes to the rent and food burdened poor straphangers, since they both saw no need to alleviate their struggles by denying them extra transfers and reduced-fare cards. But as for the funding concerning the maintenance and sustenance of the worst fucking transit system in the universe, of which both are mostly responsible for it’s status, their sniveling petty little rivalry continues as riders get fucked over for another year and possibly infinity.

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For now, the Lefferts Station is the only aspect of this fucked up transit system of this broke ass city and state that is worth admiring. Even if it’s only for the few minutes entering and exiting it during the elongated overcrowded ride to Manhattan and back. Making it the approximation of a commuting shit sandwich.

It was a four year wait, but ultimately, as with all the chaos that will ensue with all mentioned, it was actually worth it.

It will break down in a month or two though.

There Is A Delay At Lefferts Blvd. Station Renovation Ahead Because Of State And City Government Indifference And Negligence, Stupid Bickering From The Governor And Mayor, Tardy Contractors, Selective And Overdue Renovations At Other Stations, And Stupid Priorities Focusing On Optics And Social Interaction.

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Lefferts Blvd. Station, November 2017. Ain’t a damn thing changed.

Richmond Hill, Queens, N.F’n.Y.

The renovation and modernization of the Lefferts Blvd. Station remains incomplete and nearly 2 years behind schedule. This was supposed to be finished on September 2016.

When I last wrote about this, it was with great relief that the staircase was repaired and accessible again. Also the encrusted vile, unsanitary and health hazardous pigeon shit that piled up on the turnstiles and the partition walls was finally scoured somewhat.  I attribute this to an actual televised report way back in late May by CBS New York’s Reena Roy.

 

Now when I wrote that I would write back in a month, being July, was around the time when Mario’s Son, Governor Andrew Cuomo proclaimed commuting on your city’s subway was in the midst of a summer of hell and ordered a fast tracking of repairs all over our lousy transit system. An encouraging sign appeared at this station promising the station’s completion, including the monstrous elevator which hogs half the sidewalk on the corner by September 16 or the end of the 3rd quarter.

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Look how they creatively fixed the date on the sign with the sophistication of a little scamp changing D-‘s to A+’s on a report card.

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To assure the way overdue task for completion, the MTA decided that it was best to lock down the stairway in August in order to hasten work on the elevator. At least that was the impression it gave. Respecting the governors demands for swift repair and the repressed frustrations of the commuting public, the station drew up a new sign for the reopening of the stairs. September 15, 2017!

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Some obstacles got in the way during this supposed fast track. For the staircase remained shut down until a few weeks ago on October 22nd.

Making egress from the station a lethargic, condensed human being imitation of a cow to burger death march exit.

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As for the elevator, alas the promising scheduled finalization has not come to be, for it being November, a third of the month over and officially in the 2nd month of the 4 quarter of the year. Betraying the promise made by the bollard obscured sign in the above photo.

This is where this station is now:

Alas, the promising scheduled finalization has not come to be. Another expected failure of the worst fucking transit system in the fucking universe.

All one can ask, equally philosophically and vulgarly is, fucking why is this being delayed like it’s been, what’s the reason for it and what else is so important that priorities have been so skewed that prevented this from even being done this year.

The Lefferts Blvd. station isn’t the only thing the MTA is, for lack of a better term, not fucking bothering with. The MTA is still living up to their model of consistent shitty service all over the boroughs.

One moment in the waning days of the MTA’s Summer Of Hell, Andy Cuomo made an provocatively asinine remark telling and challenging his downstate constituents of alleged improvements if you look a little harder at them.  I felt it was prudent not to respond immediately to his bullshit, easy to do when you don’t have accounts with billion dollar worth social media platforms, and waited till more incidents naturally piled up so there could be some rationale for the awful delay of the Lefferts station makeover. And it did not disappoint despite it’s natural inclination to.

Like the recent IBO study that determined the costs of commuters livelihoods of millions of dollars from loss of work hours in addition to missed appointments from constant daily delays. Delays that have went up 50,000 in 5 years totaling 15,000 hours. Exacerbated by the irresponsible city planning enabling hyper-development and over-speculation of rental market rates, leading to more people moving into the new towers and shacking up with each other in small newly expensive dwellings. Also the pressing fact of the systems aging cars, rotted infrastructure, and disgraceful antiquated signal system.

Steady reports from the commuters of terminated news and culture blog Gothamist and their dead sister newsite DNAinfo revealed real time shittiness like malfunctioning Metrocard machines ripping off commuters, Monday morning city wide delays, rerouting in a span of two weeks, more mechanical breakdowns on the unjustifiably overdue repairing of the Canarsie Tunnel on the L line and another case of hazardous debris left on the tracks.

The obvious obliviousness and of the Governor, pissing hundreds of millions of dollars on light shows, dangerous cashless toll booths, and state sealed useless objectiles by all bridges.

Somehow lost when he gave his advice to suffering commuters, he didn’t look hard enough after he threw his subway New Year’s Day suarez on the 86th Street station Second Avenue line when a sprinkler malfunction shorted the escalators back in May revealed that the line’s emergency service safety system was still being tested, faulty with thousand of defects and incomplete. So if there is somehow a fire, commuters will be too busy panicking and running in mobs to check out all the modern art on the walls.

Appointed interim commissioner Joe Lotha laid out the state’s plan, 4 weeks late of course and after promising completion of a 60 day study that was never released for the reason that the city won’t contribute, of how to accomplish improving service and infrastructure at the gargantuan amount of $15.5 billion dollars, adding more to the amount of money spent and squandered compared to other subway systems around the world and I am obliged to say, the worst fucking transit system in the universe. (I don’t give a shit what that glossy and fancy corporate commissioned study says.

As for other stations in the MTA boards fix included in the 30 station surface improvement plan, renovations like in Astoria will probably meet the same fate as the monument of futility of the Lefferts station and it won’t even have an elevator for the handicap and elderly. Although the stations by Sunset Park and Bay Ridge got done in 6 months and on time, mostly with cosmetic improvements, if you would call those benches that.

So far what has manifested on the city’s trains, stations and even personnel borders on the ludicrous. Like the already decided removal of seats on the cars of a few lines and the replacement of them with fold-up seats on the L line which already have been damaged, presumably by very pissed off citizens. Just to cram more sardines in a crushed tin box.

Also idiotic ideas that rifle straight from underpaying big box retail stores, like taking former MTA booth clerks and turning them into smiling greeters or the slightly more dignifying term ambassadors. And having subway announcements be more honest and informative and less identity oriented by no longer addressing commuters as “ladies and gentlemen” Funny, I thought announcements were supposed to be those things. This devotion to transparency compares to Domino’s Pizza’s recent decision to use actual ingredients for their bland peasant food. Anyway, even though they don’t have an appealing alternative for the universal pleasant greeting of both genders, whatever will replace it will be diligently watched by a crack team of supervisors at the start of the demented program, so any replacing of old tracks and subway car maintanance will have to wait.

Speaking of alienating people, this time unwarranted, the MTA has decided to upgrade how you pay to get on the trains and buses of this perpetual shitshow transit system, by eliminating the metrocard and switching to a tap or swipe system by using a credit card and a cellphone. Opening up new avenues and opportunities for identity stealing hackers and the common skell to snatch your wallet or iphone. The latter being the number one target of thievery. This will also be a major pain to older commuters who don’t have cards or phones and are not tech savvy and all those sensible people who don’t want or refuse to use such items for payment.

Recently re-elected mayor and lucky bastard Bill de Blasio is also being quite a dick about this and comes off like a worse jerk than his foolish nemesis in Albany. For he refuses to contribute to the actually sensible rescue plan that was aborted because of the fact that the state spent the city’s money before prioritizing the highways and bridges instead of the subway.

Although de Faustio and everyone else with a functioning brain and motor skills knows that Cuomo and the state are responsible for the upkeep and spending of your city’s mass transit system and considering the diversion of funding to the idiotic programs and surface improvements aforementioned including one involving a shady crew to cover up bus accidents, Mayor Big Slow doesn’t seem or want to realize that a lot of constituency still relies on driving as well as city businesses. There’s also his insistence on keeping the REBNY developer welfare boondoggle BQX line still afloat and his jackass funding of the disappointing under-serving ferry boats as the subway continued to implode. Even the street belching fire and smoke in the station by (21st century Tammany) city hall is not enough to convince him. So there again goes his credibility on matters concerning the citizens and their finances and daily routines and what an amazing money pissing hypocrite he is.

There is also the fact that he his holding a shitty hand and really cannot challenge the state and Cuomo’s mediocre genius board members by denying the share of the funding in the rescue plan. Despite how they are actually blackmailing the city now that threats of a fare hike is being considered recently. Sometimes you gotta know when to fold ’em like Kenny Rogers reminded us and just suck it up.

With this snafu FUBAR rigmarole going on with the transit system, still overlooked is the last stop on the east bound A train, Lefferts, which service is also being undermined by more trains going to the Rockaways, and it’s station still in a purgatory state of stagnant development. Compared to all the activity that has occurred in the past 4 years of renovation, it’s like it’s frozen in time. That elevator is practically the Frozen Caveman of the MTA.

This should not be in the 21st century. Lefferts is one of the biggest transportation and transfer hubs in NYC and this should have been finished already, yet the elevator remains dormant despite looking complete. The fast track either missed it or more likely the MTA is holding out. It’s an insult to the community, the customers and a crime of social neglect. And a hideous blight on the intersection and massive obstruction to boot.

This elevator has got to get done stat. It’s stupid and unfair that other stations are getting upgraded, especially the one in Brooklyn that got done on time (figures) and retrofitted with lousy wifi that only works at the stations and not in the tunnels or between elevated tracks and a fucking elevator can’t start. It’s one goddamn elevator. The Empire State Building and The World Trade Center (the one that wasn’t named Freedom) got built 3 years faster than this station’s makeover. And those buildings have and had dozens of elevators. This one just goes about 3 stories for fuck’s sake.

Finish this goddamn station already. No more excuses and no more fucking sharpie pen overwritten rescheduling.

Since we are now being so honest.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Bereft Of An Event Of Balloons, A Light Show And Craft Beers, The Lefferts Blvd. Stairway Is Complete.

Richmond Hill, The Dirty Southeast Of Queens, N.Y.

It is done. It took 2 and a half years to renovate and restructure. It took so long that the station looks unrecognizable. Maybe because thousands of people aren’t moving at a snail’s pace to exit. For it now looks free for proper egress.

Anyway here it is.

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I have to say it’s a bit of a disappointment. It’s satisfying that it’s there and serves it’s purpose, the whole forward and downward motioning of the legs and all and most importantly the convenient path to transfer to the Q10 and Q37 buses heading north and south of the “world’s borough”. But for that long a wait, I was hoping for some decorative squiggly etchings like those seen in Greco-Roman times and all the state and this contractor gave the station could pass for scrap metal collected by your standard derelict or junkie.

Oh well, at least the feather rat Pollack exhibit sees no sign of ending.

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So congratulations and a big “it’s about fucking time” to the worst fucking transit system in the universe for the elongated completion of service improvement of this one station. Now maybe service would improve and commuters will get less frustration for their thousands of dollars spent every year. Especially after the widespread media coverage for their incompetence in the past month alone.

Now get that elevator done stat. There are a lot elderly, handicapped and even lazy people that can use a lift.

Update:

One day I received an e-mail from the lovely Reena Roy of CBS Local news, about doing a report about the snails pace of the modernization of the Lefferts station, particularly the elevator. I wrote her back about what I have been writing about since I started this digital publication, about the duration of building the stairs leading to horrible and hazardous egress and the vile bird feces that piled up after months and months of neglect, and the elevator that to this day looks finished but still inoperable. So I wrote her to go for it, and maybe mention my blog.

Ms. Roy and crew must have been there for a while, because they found the MTA’s actual official sign that I didn’t even know was there (this was scheduled to be finished on April 2016) and caught a guy dragging his wheelchair on the stairs. And she went right up to the contractors faces and they immediately clammed up and queried small business owners about the amount of business they lost since construction started (about 50 %) and the obfuscation and bullshit they endured when they wanted straight answers from the worst fucking transit system in the universe (which repeatedly guesstimated “2 months)

The 2 minute report didn’t mention my blog but I don’t care, because a week after it aired on May 22nd, the other staircase suddenly was accessible as mentioned above. So many thanks and awesome job to Reena Roy and CBSNewYork. And I will post again if that elevator still hasn’t moved. Those contractors have a month

And give my regards to Marcia Kramer.

 

MTA Misbehavin’

The Lefferts Blvd. Stairway in 24/7 still life.

It’s almost the middle of May, about 6 weeks into the 2nd quarter of 2017, and the notorious tardiness renovating the Lefferts Blvd. station continues unabated and sadly unconcerned by the higher administrative brass and even the thousands of commuters who rely on this heavily populated hub. The stairway and the handicap accessible elevator looks complete but is still surrounded by machinery, giant orange thimbles and partition fencing obstructing the majority of the sidewalk. And it’s still causing massive bottlenecks of people exiting and entering the station.

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But during my last visit, I happened to meet the curators of the year long fecal art exhibition at the turnstiles.

Apparently, in spite of recent attempts to clean the area, the pigeon populace has settled quite nicely and comfortably during this essential and glacial upgrade.

In fact, it looks like the MTA’s hired contractors built a coop

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But, for the sake of empathy and pretension, I might doth protest too much. For this is just standard procedure.

The Worst Transit System In The Fucking Universe has been giving their customers a wild ride for the last couple of weeks, for there has been a plethora of coverage of the MTA’s atrocious construction and daily service delays that are verging on the tragicomic, frustrating, nerve-rattling, and surreal and a true test on human collective sanity.

For starters, an event, and it seems you can’t go a second without hearing one these days, was held for the 100th anniversary of the 7 line in Queens that was followed by an alarming report of the horrid condition of the elevated structure which hasn’t been painted for 3 decades that was shedding chunks and chips of old lead paint over the densely populated Roosevelt Avenue.

There was the grand unheralded opening of the elevator at Briarwood/Van Wyck on Queens Blvd, an achievement that would have got some praise if Mario’s son threw a craft brew festival surrounding it but it turns out that it took 3 years to build because of the need for super special mechanical parts. I surmise that it took a worldwide expedition to find these vaunted materials and the hiring of an adventuring Indiana Jones type for the amount of time expended.

The timing of it’s opening is quite impeccable considering a recent report on a massive percentage of inoperative elevators and escalators for the handicapped and elderly commuters, most recently spotlighted by the perpetually malfunctioning people mover by Court Square in Long Island City and the masking tape decorated paperweight collecting dust that is the subject of this posting.

These necessities being denied the state tax paying commuters barely competes with delays occurring almost daily from signal and electrical breakdowns, homeless spillover occupying cars, sick passengers, decaying infrastructure and ambiguous investigations throwing the city into chaos. The timing of these mass transit travesties mostly happening during the peak rush hours.

There was the day when a mysterious blackout at the 7th avenue station in Manhattan which serves the B, D & E that caused hours of delays and rerouting of almost every line. A similar incident happened recently at 36th street station in Brooklyn, causing reroutes of over 8 lines. One day the Q train had to be shut down for an investigation because a swastika was drawn on a seat. A big slab of concrete fell on an train that pulled into the Franklin Ave station on the 3 line in Crown Heights. Yesterday, a sick passenger shut down the city bound A and C lines.

There are the now weekly breakdowns and delays at Penn Station, notably the feces spewing ceiling geyser. And the 4 billion dollar luxury shopping mall atrocity Oculus couldn’t even hold the force of nature’s fluids during last weeks downpour, which had the semblance of the skies vomiting water. It should not be a surprise of that hub’s vulnerability since it’s designed like a dish rack.

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What can be done to stem this inexcusable, disgusting and just plain shitty service that the people of this city are paying for day after day, fare increase after fare increase.  Maybe 65 million dollars might be enough to keep the trains coming on time and make the essential upgrades for the systems antiquated signal system, perilous underground infrastructure and aging rails and tracks. But remember, Mario’s son Governor Cuomo inexplicably reallocated that funding to the city he so anecdotally talked about when he christened the Kosciusko Bridge with that cheesy Window Media Player 9 light show. That’s why it boggles the collective frustrated mind of the citizenry that Andy allocated some funding to redesigning 3 stations by Sunset Park and fitting it with free wifi, and the only improvements the transit system has seen is just cosmetic and goddamn wifi. It’s also bewildering with the amount of space sold to advertisers, even fully covering train cars to turnstiles and the billions of tourists that would populate Jupiter and Saturn that the money generated is still not enough to finance our transit system city and state wide. Where does all the fucking money go????

So it’s time to adapt then die to the further malaise of commuting on The Worst Fucking Transit System In The Universe. If there is a proper analogy for this, it’s like what commuters are experiencing is the Kübler-Ross theory, the 5 stages approaching death every early morning and evening in the past few weeks, but skipping grief and went straight to anger and is holding steady there. Let’s make sure Mario’s Son feels the wrath breathing down his wrinkled neck by remaining pissed and not bargain and succumb to fear and acceptance. And not to take any more shit.

Especially and specifically this shit.

Whose trains? OUR TRAINS!!!

 

Update: I profanely asked where does the money go from all the space that are sold to advertisements, and it seems to go into overtime for some certain dedicated workers. From an audit by a conservative think tank, the Empire Center of Public Policy, overtime pay cost the taxpayers close to a billion dollars. The most ludicrous was a track worker who actually earned more than the MTA commissioner at the time. Supposedly, these massive earnings, for technically a few hours of work, are justified because of the alleged efficiency it brings to the transit system with workers on the job. Somehow it might be more cost effective to hire people work those hours into later shifts and it would probably save a few hundred grand.

MTA, Re: Lefferts Blvd Station-The First Quarter Of The Year Is UP

lefferts-station-2017-008

Richmond Hill, Queens, N.Y.

Where does the time go? It sure flies when you’re being stagnant, right MTA? Right Governor Cuomo? It’s April 9th as this is written and the station, 10 days after the first quarter of the year. While it has shown some improvement and new structure, is still one bottleneck forming staircase and inoperable elevator poor excuse for a station.

The stairs were supposed to be ready on April 1st. Can’t say enough about the uncanny scheduling as this has made fools of thousands of commuters. Although with the horrendous way the worst transit system in the fucking universe operates, sometimes at times these little big annoying things seem intentional.

Anyway, there was some encouraging things to see the other day in these first new days of spring as I actually saw life forms donning proper apparel and protective head wear, 3 of them, actually putting the pieces together on the looooooonnnnnggggg anticipated completion of the south stairway.

026April 5th

I assure you readers, they were there, I saw them really. One of them actually turned around and saw me observing them and paused as if he recognized me. Another hardhat also suddenly stopped for a bit too. Noticing my smartphone and assuming correctly of it’s camera setting. But being respectful of people’s sensitivity, I waited till they went back to work to snap a pic so not to spark a confrontation and distract from the relevant matter of finishing this goddamn fucking staircase as soon as possible. You think 2 years to modernize a station would be long enough. Did the Empire State Building take this long to build? Hell Fucking NO. And it was built AHEAD of schedule by a week. This daily combination slog and eyesore is behind by at least a damn year and a half.

At least they noticed the health hazard bird shit partition and scoured as much as they could…

lefferts shit 005

…yet to no avail

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Yet they missed a lot of spots elsewhere

This delay is offensive enough. Really, MTA, you only got 3 contractors working on the weekend? So I had to be reminded again with a visit (can being reliant on the nearest subway entrance to commute count as a visit?) to the 86th street station in Yorkville about how the second avenue subway/galleria got the priority fast track so our megalomaniac ambitious governor had to build his pseudo legacy in real time with his command and worker bee swarm deployment to finish it on time. Well, more precisely for his stupid new years eve party.

Behold such envious beauty, although I take some smugness at the fact that after 4 months they have no one working the newsstand.

Admittingly, these are great pieces. It’s a fine reverential immortal tribute to NYC’s greatest songwriter that eradicates the stain of sweet Lou’s last aural shit sandwich collaboration with Metallica, Lulu (“I AM THE TABLE”, yes “I AM THE TABLE”). But come on, Chuck, as great as they are, 2 self-portaits? Is this why, as with the other 2 stations, it took so years to get the trains running down there? Well, they are there and they’re awesome so C’est La Vie, Que Sera Sera, IT IS WHAT IT IS (somebody brutally kill that last saying)

Hopefully, commuters will show up this lovely Monday morning to 2 staircases, if going by the might and skill of those 3 mortals can probably attest. I wouldn’t count on it at all since it still looks a bit skeletal and they have to move all that shit surrounding it. In all probability it might get done by Friday or maybe a strike of lightning by the Zeus of state officials, Mario’s son. He has plenty of time to wield his mighty authority to summon an army of flourescent safety vest clad drones to complete the task now that he is done crafting his vote pandering budget. Unless he has the misguided gumption of starting his 2020 presidential campaign early.

Breaking News: The Governor Does Notice Things

Governor Andy Cuomo, activating the pressure point for his observational ability.

The consternation by some, which consists of the 40% who view him unfavorably including the author of this site, might have to acknowledge the recent acts by Governor “Mario’s Son” Cuomo as evidence of his ability to take proactive responses and action to address the distressing demands of his constituents.

Even if it is motivated by being confronted by the irrepressible Marcia Kramer and his pathetic reoccurring and costly to the citizenry feud with Mayor “Big Slow” de Blasio.

Take a recent report covering a complaint of a Metro-North commuter and the unsanitary conditions of the train cars seats:

Needless to say, it was a bit encouraging. Too bad following this terribly brief report, the MTA reverted back to their daily routines of futility and neglect, as witnessed by thousands of commuters as bus stops still contained snow piles and elevated platforms in the outer boroughs were covered with sheets of ice and frozen snow, conditions more preferably to polar bears if they currently had it.

And since the Governor, who is wholly responsible for the MTA and the upkeep and running of it, as shown that he can wield his authority when he has to, maybe he can tell the contractor hired to renovated and rebuild the Lefferts Blvd. A line station to do some thorough cleaning also. Because as repeatedly documented here, it has been a feathered rat outhouse for the past year and half and possibly poses a bigger health risk than the grimy cushioned seats on the metro-north. Here’s a compilation of from autumn and early winter last and this year:

And this is from a few days ago:

As Ms. Kramer attests, it seems that the only way this gets any attention is to guilt Andy to submission in person. Of course after hearing a response coated with feigned concern and condescension and a lame statement by an MTA spokesperson. But what’s been going on in this station in Southeast Queens is utter bullshit and unacceptable. And should be rectified pronto and cleaning up this eyesore and obvious health hazard shouldn’t have to wait for this modernization to be complete. Which is late again, being that the first quarter of the year is almost up in a few weeks.

The Governor, in the proverbial zone, also noticed something striking, that there is still poverty and a dearth of crucial services in the borough of Brooklyn

The Brookyn Eagle: Cuomo’s $1.4B ‘Vital Brooklyn’ plan would invest heavily in Central Brooklyn

Gov. Andrew Cuomo outlined a $1.4 billion initiative on Thursday that aims to transform Central Brooklyn, long one of the most troubled areas in the city.

Central Brooklyn includes Bedford-Stuyvesant, Brownsville, Bushwick and Crown Heights, neighborhoods that struggle chronically with poverty, crime, poor health and low educational achievement.

The initiative, dubbed “Vital Brooklyn” would target and invest in eight areas in an integrated manner, Cuomo said. The largest chunks of the $1.4 billion would be spent on improving community health services ($700 million) and affordable housing ($563 million).

The remaining $166 million would be spent on increasing access to open spaces and recreation, assuring access to healthy food, resiliency, economic development and job creation, youth education and development and community violence prevention.

Cuomo said that the state’s former piecemeal approach to Central Brooklyn had proven ineffective.

(No shit Sherlock, emphasis mine)

“We are going to employ a new holistic plan that will bring health and wellness to one of the most disadvantaged parts of the state,” Cuomo told the approving crowd that included Central Brooklyn officials and union members from TWU and 1199SEIU health care workers. 

“Every New Yorker deserves to live in a safe neighborhood with access to jobs, health care, affordable housing, green spaces and healthy food, but you can’t address one of these without addressing them all,” Cuomo said.

Cuomo told elected officials that while the state would provide the funding, they would have to provide the leadership and bring in the community, spread over ten Assembly districts. Districts would choose from a menu of options.

 “You can’t impose anything on the community,” he said.

Cuomo also warned officials that it would not be easy to convince Albany, which will deal with the budget on April 1, to invest in the plan.

“Be ready for war when we go back” to Albany, he said.

Times Union: Cuomo touts $1.4B budget package for Brooklyn

In outlining his “Vital Brooklyn” plans at Medgar Evers College, Cuomo said Brooklyn lawmakers should prepare for a war in Albany as they try to shepherd the funding past colleagues from other regions of the state who might try to poke holes in the plan. But, the governor contends that $1.4 billion in spending now is money better spent than on dysfunction down the road.

“You want to talk about expensive: $50,000 a year to keep a person in prison, that is expensive,” Cuomo said, noting that tuition at Harvard University is cheaper. “Drug abuse is expensive. New York Police Department of 50,000 policemen, that’s expensive to keep people safe. Murder is expensive. It is dysfunction that is expensive.”

“I would much rather invest early on, prevent the problem in the first place, than pay for the manifestation of it later on,” he added.

The plan covers key themes state officials believe can make struggling communities more vibrant, including the creation and improvement of open green spaces, construction of affordable housing, promotion of violence prevention initiatives like midnight basketball, promotion of healthy food programs and improvement of connections between upstate food growers and downstate consumers.

So now the state recognizes the persistent and perennial blight and plight of the residency of this massive enclave. Which going by the towns targeted is actually larger in capacity and density than the recent tony and former affordable areas in the western coastal areas of the borough.

And you bet that the long suffering citizenry of these towns are skeptical at the intent of Governor 2020, with justified concerns of fear and anger of the obvious prospect of gentrification. Government sponsored gentrification.

New York Times: Cuomo’s $1.4 Billion Plan for Brooklyn Stirs Fears of Gentrification

Residents in central Brooklyn met the announcement with a mix of elation and skepticism. Parents who keep their children mostly inside for safety warily embraced it. Others worried about the potential for gentrification, leading to the displacement of the area’s mostly black and Latino residents.

“Why now? You had all these times to make these changes, now Brooklyn is a hot spot — everyone wants a piece of it,” Ms. Vieira said. “If you want to make it better for the community, why 2017? The community has been the way it has been since the ’70’s

In East New York, Dayon Hopkins, 28, walked with his cousin, Troy Millhouse, 7, along Fountain Avenue, scooping wet snow off the hood of parked cars and slinging snowballs at each other.

Mr. Hopkins, who used to live in Bedford-Stuyvesant until rising rents forced him to move farther east, said Mr. Cuomo’s initiative, known as Vital Brooklyn, sounded like a prelude to more gentrification and a forced exodus of current residents.

“They’ll take this right here,” said Mr. Hopkins, pointing to a building facade across the street, “And put a glass door, a brick wall on one side of the hallway, and now it’s a loft” he said. “And now it costs way more than people are making around these parts.”

He continued: “And I understand: It does get nicer. But where’s everybody else going to go? Down south? Where are we going to go?”

(I am always wondering about that too, my theory is that the predator developers and our spineless sellout elected’s want to push the rent-burdened as far east to the Atlantic Ocean off Montauk Point)

Andy’s big presentation happens to jibe with actual and disturbing development that is happening right now in East New York by the Broadway Junction and elevated train stations, as it seen rents rise and reviled hipster sightings, thanks to and enabled by Mayor de Faustio’s  target genesis AQZ plan for the district, . Granted it expands more, but it needs a bigger push from the Assembly upstate. So possibly this plan and project will not manifest and it’s just another superficial presentation by our bloviating governor. But he has been on a roll lately with his fast tracking of the Tappan Zee and Kociosko Bridge replacements and the grand opening and craft brew cocktail new year’s eve party on the 2nd avenue subway line. A result of his slightly dictatorial style of legislating upstate.

One cannot argue about the allocations and programs in this proposal. Targeting affordable housing, healthy food access, park spaces (confusing since there are many parks in the area, and recent stats show that green spaces don’t guarantee safety and security), resiliency focusing on renewable energy, education, violence prevention (night basketball, a fave but slightly effective program by his dad), and health care. It’s just if the same perennially suffering residents will still be around to use and enjoy them. And if anything, it’s a crass insult to even name this superficial business conference posing as a sincere government proposal Vital. Like it’s a barren wasteland without signs of life or viable businesses, like the small businesses our elected officials like to praise so much. Like the people that already lived there now don’t matter enough to get prior attention. It’s like how developers and electeds like to constantly refer to vibrancy to bolster or even impose projects on towns they are targeting.

It’s still a real shame and a coincidence that improvements and necessities only come when someplace gets sudden cachet. Especially the case of Vital Brooklyn, or soon to be known as Brooklynland presented by Spectrum/ Citibank/ WeWork , for it’s been blessed and plagued with this label of coolness for at least a decade at the expense of thousands, possibly a bulk of the 60,000 currently homeless.

It’s like the Governor got inspired by this tax payer funded philanthropy by the lack of hipster sightings, pretentious restaurants and bars, superfluous cafes, and last but not least, luxury towers in places like Brownsville and Canarsie.

But mostly this could be just another undermining of his nemesis in City Hall. Which is getting old by the second and seems as genuine as feud between professional wrestlers.

All the surviving citizenry, the true residents of this part of Brooklyn, have to do is stay informed, organize and remain vigilant. Take a cue from the residents of Crown Heights, who are getting bombarded with combined gentrification and homeless placements from oblivious city planners. For any plan, no matter how progressive, is to be thoroughly scrutinized and vetted, for there are jackals that still have to profit immensely no matter the cause. And Andy should know from recent prior experience with the Buffalo Billion mess. And as shown, criminal embarrassments like that will not deter him at all.

Which confirms his continuing inability and even unwillingness to notice things, mostly the obvious.