Saturday, April 22, 2017

How to Watch Manhattan College Students

   The Annual Manhattan College Spring Fling is upon the community around Manhattan College. This could mean any one of many things to area residents, and complaints about what the college students may do. 

   So what is the commanding officer of the local police precinct to do? 

  Cameras are a nice answer, but if it is dark cameras can not get a good photo of anyone, let alone any possible mischief makers. Below is one answer that Deputy Inspector O'Toole the current commanding officer of the 50th Precinct has done for the Annual Manhattan College Spring Fling.

 With the lights on the West 235th Henry Hudson Parkway pedestrian overpass back in operation the above police tower light is not needed at the overpass anymore. As you can see it is now placed at the corner of Fieldston Road and West 238th Street ready to light up any Spring Fling activities that may occur in this area so any mischief maker can readily be identified on cameras in the area. 

  Maybe this is one reason crime is so low in the 50th Precinct, and that the only safer place seems to be Trump Tower the home of President Donald Trump.

19 Members And Associates Of Violent Street Gang In The Bronx Charged In Federal Court With Racketeering, Narcotics, Robbery, Extortion, And Firearms Offenses

   Joon H. Kim, the Acting United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York, James P. O’Neill, the Commissioner of the Police Department for the City of New York (“NYPD”), Angel M. Melendez, the Special Agent-in-Charge of the New York Field Office of the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s Homeland Security Investigations (“HSI”), and James J. Hunt, the Special Agent-in-Charge of the New York Field Division of the Drug Enforcement Administration (“DEA”), announced charges yesterday against 19 members and associates of the “Slut Gang,” a violent street gang operating in the Bronx, New York, primarily at the Boston Secor public housing development (“Secor”). The defendants are charged with racketeering conspiracy, narcotics conspiracy, robbery conspiracy, extortion, and firearms offenses.

Acting Manhattan U.S. Attorney Joon H. Kim said: “Today’s indictment charges members and associates of a violent street gang with allegedly wreaking havoc on the streets of the Northern Bronx for years, committing countless acts of violence against rival gang members and innocents alike. Thanks to the terrific investigative work of the NYPD’s Bronx Gang Squad, HSI’s Violent Gang Unit, and the New York Field Division of the DEA, these alleged criminals will face justice in federal court.”

NYPD Commissioner James P. O’Neill said: “This gang allegedly acted with impunity in the Bronx. But this morning, detectives and agents carried out precise, targeted arrests against the defendants who, as alleged, committed robberies, shootings, and other violence to protect their drug trade. Tonight, the Bronx will be even safer because of the persistence of our detectives, DEA and HIS agents, and prosecutors in the Southern District who brought today’s charges.”

HSI Special Agent-in-Charge Angel M. Melendez said: “Drugs, guns, and robbery are just the beginning of the charges faced by members of the Slut Gang. This is a violent street gang with alleged involvement in shootings, stabbings, and beatings over several years. The collaboration between federal and local law enforcement agencies is paramount to gang investigations in New York and forcing gang members to face charges for their actions.”

DEA Special Agent-in-Charge James J. Hunt said: “Gangs in New York that allegedly traffic drugs throughout our city streets fuel addiction and violent crime. Law enforcement’s focused efforts to reclaim our city from these gangs have led to numerous takedowns over the past three years and yesterday’s arrests.”

According to the Superseding Indictment[1] unsealed in Manhattan federal court and other publicly filed documents:

The Superseding Indictment arises from a joint investigation, beginning in 2014, by the NYPD, HSI, the DEA, and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms & Explosives into a number of warring street gangs in the Northern Bronx. On April 27, 2016, 120 members of two of these gangs – the Big Money Bosses (“BMB”) and the 2Fly YGz (“2Fly”) – were charged in two cases pending now before United States District Judges Alison J. Nathan and Lewis A. Kaplan – U.S. v. Nico Burrell et al., and U.S. v. Laquan Parrish et al. Forty-seven of 63 defendants in Burrell have already pled guilty, and 49 of 57 defendants in Parrish have already pled guilty.

One of the primary rivals of BMB and 2Fly was the Slut Gang. The Superseding Indictment charges members and associates of the Slut Gang with numerous acts of fatal and non-fatal violence during last several years, including shootings, stabbings, slashings, beatings, extortion, and robberies, as well as drug dealing.

To date, agents and officers have seized, among other evidence, quantities of crack, heroin, MDMA, and marijuana, as well as firearms and ammunition. During the investigation, pursuant to court-authorized electronic surveillance, agents and officers also intercepted hundreds of phone calls, during many of which various members and associates of the
Slut Gang discussed their racketeering and narcotics activities.

In a coordinated operation, 12 defendants were arrested in New York Wednesday and yesterday. They were presented yesterday afternoon in Manhattan federal court. Defendant KERMIT IRIZARRY was in custody on state charges and was transferred to federal custody. Defendant MAURICE STEELE was arrested and was presented yesterday in the Middle District of Florida. Defendant STEVE BORIA was already in federal custody on a related charge. The following defendants are still being sought: NIORGE LOPEZ, JONATHAN FERRELL, DAYVON WILSON, and ISAIAH GRANT. 

Charts identifying each defendant, the charges, and the maximum penalties are in the indictment below.

The case is assigned to U.S. District Judge Ronnie Abrams.

Mr. Kim praised the outstanding investigative work of the NYPD’s Bronx Gang Squad, HSI’s Violent Gang Unit, and the New York Field Division of the DEA, as well as the United States Marshals’ Service, New York State Office of Probation, and New York State Division of Parole for their assistance in yesterday’s arrests. He also thanked the Bronx County District Attorney’s Office and the Department of Investigation for their support in this ongoing investigation.

The charges contained in the Superseding Indictment are merely accusations, and the defendants are presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty.
[1] As the introductory phrase signifies, the entirety of the text of the Superseding Indictment, and the description of the Superseding Indictment set forth herein, constitute only allegations, and every fact described should be treated as an allegation.

Chinese National Pleads Guilty To Attempting To Illegally Export High-Grade Carbon Fiber To China

   Joon H. Kim, the Acting United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York, and Mary B. McCord, the Acting Assistant Attorney General for the National Security Division of the Department of Justice (“NSD”), announced that FUYI SUN, a/k/a “Frank,” a citizen of the People’s Republic of China (“China”), pled guilty today before U.S. District Judge Alvin K. Hellerstein to violating the International Emergency Economic Powers Act (“IEEPA”) in connection with a scheme to illegally export to China, without a license, high-grade carbon fiber, which is used primarily in aerospace and military applications.

Acting Manhattan U.S. Attorney Joon H. Kim said: “As Fuyi Sun admitted today in court, he tried to skirt U.S. export laws by hiding his purchase of high-grade carbon fiber for the Chinese military. Sun used fraudulent documents and codewords in his efforts to obtain this highly protected material, which is used in aerospace and defense programs, and to avoid detection. Together with our law enforcement partners, we will continue to enforce the laws that protect our national security.”

NSD Acting Assistant Attorney General Mary McCord said: “Today, Fuyi Sun admitted to attempting to procure high-grade carbon fiber – which has sophisticated aerospace and defense applications – for the Chinese military. The defendant was willing to pay a premium to evade U.S. export laws and illegally transfer this highly protected material. The National Security Division will continue to identify those who violate IEEPA and other laws that protect our national assets from reaching the hands of potential adversaries.”

According to the allegations contained in the Complaint and the Indictment filed against SUN and statements made in court filings and proceedings, including today’s guilty plea:

Since approximately 2011, SUN has attempted to acquire extremely high-grade carbon fiber, including Toray type M60JB-3000-50B carbon fiber (“M60 Carbon Fiber”). M60 Carbon Fiber has applications in aerospace technologies, unmanned aerial vehicles (commonly known as “drones”) and other government defense applications. Accordingly, M60 Carbon Fiber is strictly controlled – and requires a license for export to China – for nuclear non-proliferation and anti-terrorism reasons.

In furtherance of his attempts to illegally export M60 Carbon Fiber from the United States to China without a license, SUN contacted what he believed was a distributor of carbon fiber – but was, in fact, an undercover entity created by HSI and “staffed” by HSI undercover special agents (the “UC Company”). SUN inquired about purchasing the M60 Carbon Fiber without the required license. In the course of his years’ long communications with the undercover agents and UC Company, SUN repeatedly suggested various security measures that he believed would protect them from “U.S. intelligence.” Among other such measures, at one point, SUN instructed the undercover agents to use the term “banana” instead of “carbon fiber” in their communications. Consequently, soon thereafter he inquired about purchasing 450 kilograms of “banana” for more than $62,000. In order to avoid detection, SUN also suggested removing the identifying barcodes for the M60 Carbon Fiber, prior to transshipment, and further suggested that they identify the M60 Carbon Fiber as “acrylic fiber” in customs documents.

On April 11, 2016, SUN traveled from China to New York for the purpose of purchasing M60 Carbon Fiber from the UC Company. During meetings with the undercover agents, on or about April 11 and 12, among other things, SUN repeatedly suggested that the Chinese military was the ultimate end-user for the M60 Carbon Fiber he sought to acquire from the UC Company, and claimed to have personally worked in the Chinese missile program. SUN further asserted that he maintained a close relationship with the Chinese military, had a sophisticated understanding of the Chinese military’s need for carbon fiber, and suggested that he would be supplying the M60 Carbon Fiber to the Chinese military or to institutions closely associated with it.

On April 12, 2016, SUN agreed to purchase two cases of M60 Carbon Fiber from the UC Company. On that date, SUN paid the undercover agents purporting to represent the UC Company $23,000 in cash for the carbon fiber, as well as an additional $2,000 as compensation for the risk he believed the UC Company was taking to illegally export the carbon fiber to China without a license. SUN was arrested the next day, April 13, 2016.

SUN, 53, pled guilty today to attempting to violate IEEPA, which carries a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison. The maximum potential sentence in this case is prescribed by Congress and is provided here for informational purposes only, as any sentencing of the defendant will be determined by the judge. SUN is scheduled to be sentenced by Judge Hellerstein on July 26, 2017 at 11:00 a.m.

Mr. Kim praised the extraordinary investigative work of the New York Field Office of the Department of Homeland Security, Homeland Security Investigations; the New York Field Office of the Department of Commerce, Bureau of Industry and Security, Office of Export Enforcement; and the Northeast Field Office of the Department of Defense, Defense Criminal Investigative Service. Mr. Kim also thanked the Counterintelligence and Export Control Section of the Department of Justice’s National Security Division.

Operation Vandelay Industries: A.G. Schneiderman Announces Indictments In Three Counties, Charging Alleged Fake Architect With 58 Counts Of Larceny, Forgery, Fraud, And Unlicensed Practice Of Architecture

Paul J. Newman Allegedly Collected Nearly $200,000 For Rendering Fraudulent Architecture And Design Services Since 2010
Newman Drafted Architectural Renderings For Over 100 Commercial And Residential Properties In Albany, Rensselaer, And Saratoga Counties And Allegedly Affixed Fraudulent Stamps To Over 1,000 Building Plans And Inspections
Schneiderman: My Office Will Not Tolerate Misconduct That Jeopardizes New Yorkers’ Safety And Erodes Public Trust
  NEW YORK STATE  Attorney General Eric T. Schneiderman announced today the unsealing of three indictments charging Paul J. Newman, President of Cohesion Studios, Inc., with defrauding construction companies, business owners, and municipalities throughout the Capital Region by pretending to be a licensed and registered architect. 
The Attorney General’s investigation, “Operation Vandelay Industries,” revealed that Newman allegedly drafted architectural renderings for over 100 properties in Albany, Rensselaer, and Saratoga Counties. Newman allegedly submitted these architectural renderings, as well as foundation inspections, field reports, energy compliance certificates, and engineer letters, to various towns and cities, falsely certifying on the documents that he was a registered and licensed architect and affixing a forged New York State Registered Architect Stamp or Professional Engineer Stamp.
“As we allege, for over seven years the defendant has pretended to be a Registered Architect, deceiving hundreds of New Yorkers – including families and senior citizens — with the sole goal of enriching himself,” said Attorney General Schneiderman. “By allegedly falsifying building plans, code compliance inspections, and field reports, the defendant jeopardized the safety of those who resided in and frequented the buildings he was contracted to work on. Deceptive actions like these erode public trust — and my office will not tolerate them.”
“The State Education Department's Office of the Professions investigates and prosecutes professional misconduct in more than 50 licensed professions to help protect New Yorkers,” said State Education Commissioner MaryEllen Elia. “We are grateful for our continuing partnership with Attorney General Schneiderman and his team of professionals as we work together to ensure the safety of the public is protected against the dangers of unlicensed practice.”
According to statements by the prosecutor at arraignment, since at least 2010, Newman has been presenting himself as an architect to multiple municipalities in the Capital Region.  Newman allegedly advertised his architectural services on various social media outlets until he became aware that a complaint had been filed with the New York State Education Department (“NYSED”), Office of the Professions. Soon after, Newman removed any reference to “architecture” in his ads and replaced it with “design.”   In June 2015, investigators from NYSED, Office of the Professions received a complaint alleging that Newman was practicing architecture without a license. In May 2016, following the NYSED investigation, the matter was referred to the Attorney General’s Criminal Enforcement and Financial Crimes Bureau.
According to statements made by the prosecutor at arraignment, Newman, as the sole employee of Cohesion Studios, Inc. (“Cohesion”), a Rensselaer-based architectural design company, was contracted to create architectural renderings and provide additional architectural services for the following projects:
  • The Pastures Project, Town of North Greenbush, Rensselaer, New York
    • Between 2010 and 2015, Newman was hired as the architect for the development of more than 70 townhouses, receiving in excess of $50,000 for his services
  • The Livingston Project, City and County of Albany, New York
    • Between 2012 and 2014, Newman was hired as the architect for the development of a multi-story senior living community, receiving in excess of $40,000
  • The Lofts Project, Town of Malta, Saratoga, New York
    • Between 2014 and 2016, Newman was the Project Architect for the construction of a 214-unit multifamily apartment community, receiving in excess of $35,000
  • The Vistas Project, Town of Clifton Park, Saratoga, New York
    • Between 2011 and 2014, Newman was hired as the architect for the development of more than 25 townhouses, receiving in excess of $35,000
  • The Hannoush Jewelers Project, Town of Colonie, Albany, New York
    • Between 2011 and 2012, Newman was hired as the architect on a renovation project for a jewelry store, receiving in excess of $20,000
  • The Ballston Senior Living Project, Town of Ballston, Saratoga, New York
    • Between 2012 and 2013, Newman was hired as the architect for the development of a multi-story senior living community, receiving in excess of $8,000
According to prosecutors, Newman allegedly took the license number of a registered architect that he found on the internet and created a fictitious Registered Architect Stamp using that number and his own name; Newman then affixed this fraudulent stamp to various inspection letters submitted to municipalities across the state.  Newman also allegedly took the Professional Engineer Stamp of a licensed engineer that he worked with on one or more projects and fraudulently affixed a copy of the stamp, with a forged signature, to over 1,000 pages of building plans for the projects listed above.  Finally, Newman allegedly affixed fraudulent stamps and used the title “architect” on energy compliance certificates, foundation inspections, field reports, and AIA certificates.
In Saratoga County, Newman is charged with one count of Grand Larceny in the Third Degree, a class D felony; thirteen counts of Forgery in the Second Degree, a class D Felony; one count of Scheme to Defraud in the First Degree, a class E felony; three counts of Unauthorized Practice of a Profession, a class E felony; and thirteen counts of Offering a False Instrument for Filing in the First Degree, a class E felony.  Newman, 49, was arraigned on April 17, 2017 in Saratoga County Court before the Honorable James A. Murphy, III.  The defendant was remanded on the 31-count indictment.
In Rensselaer County, Newman is charged with one count of Grand Larceny in the Second Degree, a class C felony; nine counts of Forgery in the Second Degree, a class D Felony; one count of Scheme to Defraud in the First Degree, a class E felony; one count of Unauthorized Practice of a Profession, a class E felony; and nine counts of Offering a False Instrument for Filing in the First Degree, a class E felony.  Newman, was also arraigned on April 17, 2017 in Rensselaer County Court before the Honorable Debra J. Young.  The defendant was remanded on this 21-count indictment, pending a written bail application.  
In Albany County, Newman is charged with two counts of Forgery in the Second Degree, a class D Felony; one count of Scheme to Defraud in the First Degree, a class E felony; one count of Unauthorized Practice of a Profession, a class E felony; and two counts of Offering a False Instrument for Filing in the First Degree, a class E felony.  Newman was arraigned on April 19, 2017, in Albany County Court before the Honorable William A. Carter.  The defendant was remanded on this six-count indictment, pending a written bail application.  
If convicted of the highest count charged, Newman faces up to 5 to 15 years in prison.
The charges against the defendant are allegations and the defendant is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty.  

A.G. Schneiderman Announces Felony Charges Against Steve Pigeon, Kristy Mazurek, And David Pfaff

Western New York Political Operatives Charged With Knowingly And Willfully Engaging In Illegal Campaign Coordination
Schneiderman: These Charges Send A Clear Message That We Will Aggressively Enforce Our State’s Election Laws
   Attorney General Eric T. Schneiderman today announced the filing of a felony complaint charging G. Steven Pigeon, 55, Kristy Mazurek, 46 and David Pfaff, 57, with three class E felonies in violation of Election Law section 14-126 (5), and one count of Offering a False Instrument for Filing in the First Degree, in violation of Penal Law section 175.35, a class E felony. The three defendants were arraigned on the felony complaint today by Hon. Donald F. Cerio, Jr., in New York State Supreme Court, Erie County. 
According to the felony complaint filed in court today, Pigeon, Mazurek, and Pfaff are alleged to have knowingly and willfully engaged in illegal campaign coordination while acting on behalf of the Western New York Progressive Caucus (“WNYPC”), an “unauthorized political committee,” in regard to the nomination for election of three political candidates in the September 10, 2013 Democratic primary. Each defendant faces a maximum sentence of four years if convicted on all counts. The charges stem from a joint investigation conducted by the Office of the Attorney General, the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), and the New York State Board of Elections.
“These charges send a clear message: we will aggressively enforce our state’s election laws,” said Attorney General Eric Schneiderman. “As alleged in our criminal complaint, the defendants in this case flouted the law to fund their own handpicked candidates for office in Erie County. As alleged, the defendants' use of a political committee to circumvent the law and undermine the integrity of these elections was an affront to Erie County voters – and we intend to hold them accountable.”
“In democratic societies, the voting process is a means by which citizens hold their government accountable,” said FBI Buffalo Special Agent in Charge Adam S. Cohen. “Our system of representative government works only when it's done in accordance with the laws created to ensure fair elections.”
The felony complaint alleges that Pigeon and Mazurek created WNYPC for the purpose of electing their preferred candidates and that many of the candidates funded by WNYPC were relying almost entirely on the political committee for all campaign-related expenditures. In fact, as the complaint details, very little money was raised by the candidates themselves. For example, one candidate raised just $450 between July 12, 2013 and September 16, 2013, while WNYPC received $250,000 in contributions and spent extensively in support of the candidate’s campaign – resulting in the vast majority of the candidate’s campaign-related costs being borne by WNYPC rather than the candidate’s committee.
The complaint alleges that, on behalf of the WNYPC, the defendants sought input from two candidates regarding campaign literature and arranged for them to appear at a photo shoot paid for by WNYPC. WNYPC also paid other expenses on behalf of one of the candidates that exceeded the $1,476.50 contribution limit of that race by over $16,500; and paid nearly $12,000 worth of expenses over the $1,192.70 contribution limit for the second candidate’s race. 
The defendants also allegedly conferred with a third candidate and used WNYPC funds to pay for the third candidate’s campaign signs, postage, and campaign literature. In doing so, WNYPC exceeded the $1,550.10 contribution limit for that race by over $3,200. 
The defendants are also charged with filing a false Campaign Finance Disclosure Report with the New York State Board of Elections by failing to truthfully disclose the financial activity of the WNYPC.
An unauthorized political committee is a political committee that is not specifically authorized by one candidate or a group of candidates to raise or spend money on their behalf for their election.  
Campaign coordination is a crime under the Election Law that is committed when a person knowingly and willfully solicits, organizes or coordinates the activities of an unauthorized committee with the activities of a candidate or the candidate’s agents for the purpose of making expenditures on behalf of the candidate that exceed the contribution limit for that candidate’s race.
In addition to the new charges filed today, Pigeon is currently under indictment for the crimes of Bribery in the Second Degree, Bribery in the Third Degree, six counts of Rewarding Official Misconduct in the Second Degree, and Grand Larceny in the Third Degree. The charges arise from conduct which involved former State Supreme Court Justice John A. Michalek, who resigned from the bench after pleading guilty to the felony charges of Bribe Receiving in the Third Degree and Offering a False Instrument for Filing in the First Degree on June 29, 2016. The indictment against Pigeon is pending before Judge Cerio. A trial date has been set for September 5, 2017.
The charges contained in the felony complaint are merely allegations and the defendants are presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty.

Comptroller Stringer Audit: Public Denied Required Amenities at Public Spaces as City Enforcement Lags

   Of 333 privately owned public spaces, 275 had not been inspected by the Department of Buildings in at least four years

More than half of privately owned public spaces failed to provide all required public amenities
Comptroller Stringer calls for an immediate top-to-bottom review of all POPS sites by the City
According to a new audit released by Comptroller Scott M. Stringer, developers and building owners – despite receiving generous zoning regulation exemptions that allow them to build taller and denser – are not providing the required public spaces and public amenities such as bike racks, seating, trees, and drinking fountains in line with their City agreements. The report found the Department of Buildings (DOB), the agency principally responsible for evaluating and ensuring compliance, hasn’t inspected most of these locations in years.
Privately owned public spaces – known as POPS – are outdoor or indoor spaces that are built for public use, for taxpayers’ benefit, by the developers of private buildings. In exchange for creating that public space, those developers are allowed to construct buildings higher and denser than would otherwise be allowed by applicable zoning regulations.
Currently, New York City property owners benefit from approximately 23 million square feet of additional zoning floor area in their buildings, in exchange for providing public space at 333 locations. Yet, the majority of property owners have been financially rewarded without fully meeting the obligations of their zoning agreements.
The Comptroller’s Office’s inspected all 333 New York City POPS locations as part of the audit, and found conditions at 182 of them – or 55 percent of the total – that violated requirements and had been largely ignored by DOB. Those violations include:
  • Public access restricted by some type of fence, barricade or chain;
  • Signs stating “For Private Use Only” despite locations’ being public space;
  • A lack of required amenities (e.g., artwork, bicycle parking, drinking fountain, elevator, lighting, litter receptacles, planting, plaque/sign, seating, tables, trees, and a sufficient number of chairs); and
  • Restaurants occupying portions of public space by placing tables and chairs for their private patrons to the exclusion of the public.
Even though the Department of Buildings is primarily responsible for ensuring compliance and issuing violations, the City has refused to proactively inspect POPS locations, instead opting for reviews only when individual complaints are received. That policy has allowed some violations to persist for years without any enforcement action by the City. In its response to the audit, DOB disagreed with the recommendation that it inspect all POPS location to ensure they are in existence, provide the required amenities to residents, and offer full public access as required to taxpayers.
  • Of 333 POPS locations, 275 of them had not been inspected by DOB for at least four years, and when inspections did take place, they were often late, incomplete, or ineffective.
  • Based on auditors’ observations of the 58 POPS locations that had been inspected by DOB in the prior four years, the Comptroller’s Office found that 41 (71 percent) were not in compliance with their City agreements.
  • Yet, despite those 41 locations’ noncompliance, DOB issued only 18 violations to 10 of the locations.
  • The Comptroller’s Office found that 34 of the 87 inspections that DOB conducted in the prior four years didn’t occur within 40 days of DOB’s receiving a complaint – the Department’s goal for such inspections.
“What’s happening is simply unbelievable. It’s egregious. New Yorkers are literally getting cheated out of tens of millions of dollars in public space – and the city is willfully choosing to do nothing about it. Public resources are effectively being given away at the expense of all of us. While there are many good actors who are meeting their requirements, where agreements are being violated, the Department of Buildings is refusing to provide effective enforcement. It’s unacceptable, and it has to change,” Comptroller Stringer said. “We have to be a city where everyone plays by the rules. That’s why today I’m calling on DOB to launch a top-to-bottom review of all of these locations and vigorously enforce the law when violations are found. If the City will only do inspections when it receives constituent complaints, then both as a New Yorker and as Comptroller, I want this audit to be considered a formal complaint about every location we found to be in violation of its agreement.”
The following photographs show some of the ways that the public is excluded from what are supposed to be public spaces.

Above are photos of a POPS location at 175 East 96th Street where public access was denied. This building was allowed an additional 68,157 square feet of floor area for creating a public space, but the public is not allowed in.
At 101 Barclay Street (below), the building owner benefits from increased height of the structure in exchange for a public lobby. Yet, the POPS is entirely closed to the public, and auditors who attempted to inspect the site were stopped, prevented from taking photographs, and escorted to the security office where they were questioned. Building security informed auditors that this lobby had been closed to the public for at least 15 years.
In addition, the auditors observed a notice prominently posted on the door that explicitly informs the public the space is for private use (below).
Coupled with the DOB, the New York City Department of City Planning (DCP) also oversees aspects of developers’ and owners’ compliance with their agreements. DOB enforces the City’s Building Code and Zoning Resolution and is responsible for issuing violation notices to owners when POPS are found to be out of compliance. These violations carry penalties of $4,000, and if a building owner defaults on a notice of violation, the penalty increases to $10,000.  DCP is responsible for overseeing land use in New York City. DCP currently certifies POPS compliance with zoning regulations prior to the developer obtaining a foundation permit and conducts periodic compliance reviews for POPS created after 2007.
The Comptroller’s audit recommends a series of measures and reforms to ensure POPS are compliant with City zoning rules, including proactive inspections of all POPS locations, completion of a new, comprehensive database of all POPS locations, and referring the apparent destruction of a POPS location at one specific address to the City Law Department.
To read the full audit, click here.

Bronx Borough President Invites you to celebrate CINCO de MAYO


  Effort supports City’s OneNYC plan to reduce greenhouse gases by 80% by 2050 & create 3,000 good-paying jobs

   In celebration of Earth Day and to further bolster an emerging green economy, Mayor de Blasio and the Building Construction Trades Council (BCTC) announced an agreement to launch the first class of pre-apprenticeships available through the NYC Green Jobs Corps. The NYC Green Jobs Corps was first announced by the Mayor during his 2017 State of the City address. This new partnership with the BCTC and its members under the NYC Green Jobs Corps is necessary to deliver on the Mayor’s commitment to train 3,000 workers with new skills needed for the emerging green economy over the next three years.

“This Earth Day, we’re making a statement: fighting climate change and creating good-paying jobs go hand-in-hand,” said Mayor Bill de Blasio. “The NYC Green Jobs Corps will support the training of 3,000 workers who will be instrumental in making this a cleaner and better city. New Yorkers are working together to help realize our shared vision for a more sustainable, resilient and just city.”

“This collaboration with the Mayor’s office will help provide New Yorkers with good paying jobs and middle-class opportunities in the construction trades industry," said Gary LaBarbera, President of the 100,000 member Building and Construction Trades Council of Greater New York. "The NYC Green Jobs Corps builds on the Building Trades job training successes, such as the Construction Skills Program, and we look forward to working with the administration in offering greater opportunity to build a better and more sustainable city."

New Yorkers can sign up through SBS Workforce1 to be screened for construction trade opportunities starting today. This initial phase of the program will identify the first two hundred candidates eligible for pre-apprentice classes taught this summer, following assessment and referral by SBS Workforce1. The City has committed to financially support these trainings through SBS.

The New York City Green Jobs Corps is modeled after the successful Build It Back and Sandy Recovery Workforce1 efforts to engage New Yorkers impacted by Hurricane Sandy in rebuilding their neighborhoods. In total, 1,400 Sandy-impacted New Yorkers received jobs through Build It Back and Sandy Recovery Workforce1. Build It Back has hired 950 Sandy impacted residents across the program at an average wage of $30 per hour. 22 percent of all tradespeople hired by the program are Sandy-impacted residents. Sandy Recovery Workforce1 has placed 450 people with employment, and among these individuals 135 people were placed with unions through a pre-apprenticeship program.

Today’s announcement is an important first step in opening doors for New Yorkers to enter the building construction trades and access pathways to a good career. The NYC Green Jobs Corps will develop the workforce needed to meet the Mayor’s commitment to reduce greenhouse gas emissions 80 percent by 2050 (80 x 50).  Among the biggest green job skill needs to meet this goal, is retrofitting the city’s one million buildings for greater energy efficiency. The City’s buildings, including municipal buildings, contribute approximately two-thirds of the city’s emissions. The City has previously announced up to $2.6 billion in work on municipal buildings retrofits.

Earlier this week, as part of the lead up to Earth Day, Mayor de Blasio announced significant new progress on solar energy investments, new support for electric vehicles, cleanup of brownfields, and progress on the City’s OneNYC program, all of which demonstrate an expanded commitment to reaching 80 x 50, while creating a growing need for green job skills and to meet that demand, and will require continued partnership with BCTC.

Recognizing that climate change is an existential threat for the city, and that we must meet goals of reducing greenhouse gas emissions 80 percent by 2050, the NYC Green Jobs Corps is meant to provide the necessary apparatus to train New Yorkers who want to be part of a growing field, while helping deliver on the City’s ambitious OneNYC goals of creating a more just, more resilient, and more sustainable city.

“Winning the fight against climate change will require an equally important effort to bring more New Yorkers into the green economy, creating pathways to good-paying construction jobs,” said Daniel Zarrilli, Senior Director of Climate Policy & Programs and Chief Resilience Officer in the NYC Mayor’s Office. “Today, we’re thrilled to take the next step in that effort by launching the first phase of our NYC Green Jobs Corps.  In partnership with the Building Construction Trades Council, we will train New Yorkers starting this summer to participate in the transformation of our buildings to a low-carbon future.  These opportunities can change lives – part of Mayor de Blasio’s OneNYC program to build a stronger and more just city."

“By employing jobseekers citywide, we can achieve Mayor Bill de Blasio’s ambitious goal to reduce the city’s emissions by 80 percent by the year 2050,” said Gregg Bishop, Commissioner of the New York City Department of Small Business Services. “We’re opening doors for New Yorkers to learn new skills and join a growing economy here in New York City.”

“Rising sea levels and a changing climate will threaten New York City’s future if we don’t act now to build more resilient communities and reduce our emissions of greenhouse gases,” said Jainey Bavishi, Director of the NYC Mayor’s Office of Recovery and Resiliency. “We are thrilled to partner with BCTC to create this direct pathway for New Yorkers to gain training and opportunities to participate in the next generation of green jobs, and help us deliver on our ambitious OneNYC goals.”


NYC Web Development Fellowship is part of the Tech Talent Pipeline; TTP has connected over 370 New Yorkers to careers through training

  Mayor Bill de Blasio today announced that the NYC Web Development Fellowship program, part of the City’s Tech Talent Pipeline Initiative, is expanding to serve as many as three times the number of New Yorkers interested in careers in web development. The expansion comes as three new tech training providers partner with the fellowship program: the Fullstack Academy, General Assembly, and New York Code + Design Academy.

TTP is aimed at New Yorkers seeking good-paying, career-track technology jobs.

Overall, 372 New Yorkers served by TTP’s ten programs – which help businesses start and grow by equipping New Yorkers with in-demand tech skills – have secured jobs and paid internships with average salaries of nearly $53,000. The largest cohort of TTP graduates, those in web development, have secured average salaries of $67,000.

“I am incredibly proud to announce that TTP has already connected more than 370 New Yorkers to good paying jobs and that we are expanding this incredible fellowship program, one that reaches New Yorkers from all boroughs and offers even more opportunities in the new economy,” Mayor Bill de Blasio said.

New Yorkers interested in applying to TTP’s programs can visit TTP.NYC, and sign up to be notified when programs are accepting applications.

Through the NYC Web Development Fellowship, and in combination with SBS, graduates have been connected to positions at leading companies, including Spotify, Viacom, and Kickstarter.

“The NYC Tech Talent Pipeline has created opportunities for more New Yorkers to achieve good, career-track jobs in the tech field, and I am pleased that we are expanding one of its most successful training programs,” said Gregg Bishop, Commissioner of the Department of Small Business Services. “The tech industry is an important part of New York City’s economy and we will continue to work with our private sector partners to forge a future that is inclusive and taps the rich talents of all of our people.”

The NYC Web Development Fellowship serves New Yorkers, including many without four-year degrees and those who cannot afford a private tech training boot camp. It’s the largest of TTP’s ten training and education programs, all of which are designed, developed, and delivered in partnership with industry and educational institutions to offer real-world skills needed in the innovation economy. They range in focus from software engineering and data analysis training to “Bridge-To-Tech,” which is delivered with The Knowledge House, an innovative Bronx-based and tech-focused program for individuals seeking additional skills before entering training or post-secondary education.

Web Development Fellowship Graduate Spotlight:

After her Web Development Fellowship training and an internship at Kickstarter, Geraldina Garcia Alvarez, 24, started a new job as a fulltime software engineer at VICE in November 2015.

“I can’t believe how much my life has changed since I completed the NYC Web Development Fellowship. After juggling jobs to pay my rent, the Fellowship provided the opportunity of a lifetime. Today, I’m excited to be working as a software engineer where I am able to do what I love every day,” said Garcia Alvarez.

More than training, TTP’s broader impact:

Leveraging employer insight to design and develop trainings is just one of the ways that TTP works to equip New Yorkers with the skills needed to secure and succeed in in-demand tech roles. TTP works directly with industry and academic partners to improve alignment of tech education pathways with the needs of NYC’s growing tech ecosystem in order to better prepare New Yorkers for tech jobs. For example, in March, TTP held a Web Development Summit at Spotify headquarters that brought together 25 industry advisors and representatives of eight academic and training organizations to identify opportunities to better prepare New Yorkers for web development roles. A summary of industry feedback from the summit can be found here.

By investing in the alignment of curriculum with industry needs, TTP is expanding its reach and laying a foundation for quality jobs and quality talent at scale.

Wave Hill Events May 5–May 12

An article I read over the weekend by Rob Cowen, the author of Common Ground: Encounters With Nature at the Edges of Life, has been on my mind as I think about the week ahead. Cowan wrote: “I know that the chance to encounter and experience the intimacy of nature in all its beautiful and terrifying glory is a key part of understating the true shape of being human.” Intimacy is so much of what the experience of Wave Hill is all aboutI felt relieved to read his deep validation of its place in our urban lives.

Explore Wave Hill’s woodlands and shady areas using watercolor and related media to capture dappled light and luminous colors, with artist Wennie Huang. Materials not included; hardware, such as easels and brushes, will be provided. $270/$240 Wave Hill Member. Registration required, online at or onsite at the Perkins Visitor Center, starting April 26. This six-session workshop continues May 11, 18, 25, June 1, 8. 

Join naturalist Gabriel Willow on a special early-morning walk to spot the amazing diversity of birds in the gardens and woodlands, as well as in the skies above, before the gates open to the public. Ages 10 and older welcome with an adult.Free, but advance registration is required, online at or onsite at the Perkins Visitor Center, starting April 26.

Due to the fragile nature of some of our trees, we don’t fly kites at Wave Hill, but we will parade them! Join visiting artistAndrea Lomanto to design a simple paper kite to display your environmental dream for caring for the earth. Carry your kite message in a spring parade or take it home to watch it fly. Free, and admission to the grounds is free until noon

Join us for an hour-long tour of seasonal garden highlights. Free, and admission to the grounds is free until noon.

Join us at this artist talk in the Sunroom Project Space. The artist Borinquen Gallo discusses her installation, an imaginary hive interior informed by Wave Hill’s beehives. Created using recycled plastic bags and caution tape woven through debris netting, her hive points to the apiary as a symbol of community and collaboration. Free with admission to the grounds.

Due to the fragile nature of some of our trees, we don’t fly kites at Wave Hill, but we will parade them! Join visiting artistAndrea Lomanto to design a simple paper kite to display your environmental dream for caring for the earth. Carry your kite message in a spring parade or take it home to watch it fly. Free with admission to the grounds. 

Join us for an hour-long tour of seasonal garden highlights. Free with admission to the grounds.

Enjoy the garden as the setting for your yoga practice as you find your breath and become connected to the landscape. Classes are led by certified Yoga Haven instructors, for all levels. Please bring a mat and be on time. This class is held indoors in case of rain. Drop-in rate is $30/20 Wave Hill Member; series fee is $210/$130 for eight weeks. Registration opensApril 26.

MON, MAY 8    
Closed to the public.

Join us for an hour-long tour of seasonal garden highlights. Free, and admission to the grounds is free until noon.

Wave Hill’s Curatorial Fellow will lead a tour of the spring exhibitions in Glyndor Gallery. The group show, Outcasts: Women in the Wilderness, explores how women have been treated and portrayed as outcasts in history, myth and biblical legend. In the Sunroom Project Space, Borinquen Gallo’s imaginary hive interior is informed by Wave Hill’s beehives. Free with admission to the grounds.


A 28-acre public garden and cultural center overlooking the Hudson River  and Palisades, Wave Hill’s mission is to celebrate the artistry and legacy of its gardens and landscape, to preserve its magnificent views, and to explore human connections to the natural world through programs in horticulture, education and the arts.

HOURS  Open all year, Tuesday through Sunday and many major holidays: 9AM–5:30PM, starting March 15.  Closes 4:30PM, November 1–March 14.
ADMISSION  $8 adults, $4 students and seniors 65+, $2 children 6–18. Free Saturday and Tuesday mornings until noon. Free to Wave Hill Members and children under 6.

PROGRAM FEES  Programs are free with admission to the grounds unless otherwise noted.

Visitors to Wave Hill can take advantage of Metro-North’s one-day getaway offer. Purchase a discount round-trip rail far and discount admission to the gardens. More at

DIRECTIONS – Getting here is easy! Located only 30 minutes from midtown Manhattan, Wave Hill’s free shuttle van transports you to and from our front gate and Metro-North’s Riverdale station, as well as the W. 242nd Street stop on the #1 subway line. Limited onsite parking is available for $8 per vehicle. Free offsite parking is available nearby with continuous, complimentary shuttle service to and from the offsite lot and our front gate. Complete directions and shuttle bus schedule at

Information at 718.549.3200. On the web at