Queens Lawmakers on the Move Dec. 1, 2020

Queens County City Council News

Gianaris Demands Better Maintenance for Phipps Garden Apartments

Senator Michael Gianaris

State Senate Deputy Leader Michael Gianaris (D-Astoria, Long Island City, Sunnyside, parts of Woodside, Maspeth, Ridgewood, Woodhaven) called on the CEO of Phipps Houses on Monday to do a better job maintaining and repairing their Phipps Garden Apartments in Sunnyside. 

While visiting with tenants on location on 39th Avenue, Gianaris witnessed infestations of bugs and vermin, as well as mold resulting from water damage, and general failure to upkeep the property. 

“These tenants deserve a better quality of life, and we must hold their corporate landlords accountable for failing to deliver,” said Gianaris. “Phipps Houses must respond to the needs of their Sunnyside tenants and clean up this property.” 

According to JustFix.Nyc, a housing-advocacy data aggregator, this property has dozens of open violations with the Department of Housing Preservation and Development. Phipps Houses’ full portfolio of properties has received nearly 6,000 violations across the city. Phipps Garden Apartments has 472 mostly rent stabilized units.

Phipps is currently seeking approval for the construction of a large affordable housing development on a neighboring parcel in Sunnyside. Gianaris pointed out this approval would be troubling without greater confidence that maintenance would be handled better. 

Photos from the senator’s tour are available here.

Katz Holds Gun Buy Back

Queens District Attorney Melinda Katz

District Attorney Melinda Katz is holding a gun buy back event on Saturday. 

Participants will receive a reward from $25 up to $200 for firearms surrendered. Weapons from  gun dealers and active or retired law enforcement firearms are not eligible.

Katz is hosting the event with the New York City Police Department, Astoria Community Church, Center of  Hope International, Our Lady of Mount Carmel Church, and Urban Upbound. 

The gun buy back event will be held on Saturday, December 5 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the Our Lady of Carmel Church in the Mount Carmel Institute Building located at 23-20 Newtown Ave in Long Island City.

Rosenthal, Hevesi, Comrie, Koslowitz Announce Violations Issued to Umbrella Hotel

Assembly Member Daniel Rosenthal
Assemblyman Andrew Hevesi
State Senator Leroy Comrie
City Council Member Karen Koslowitz

Assemblymembers Daniel Rosenthal (D-Kew Gardens Hills, Kew Gardens, Pomonok, Electchester, College Point and parts of Whitestone, Richmond Hill, Briarwood and Forest Hills) and Andrew Hevesi (D-Forest Hills, Rego Park, Ridgewood, Richmond Hill, Middle Village, Glendale, and Kew Gardens), State Senator LeRoy Comrie (D-Briarwood, Cambria Heights, Hollis, Hollis Hills, Hillcrest, Jamaica, Jamaica Estates, Jamaica Hills, Kew Gardens, Laurelton, Queens Village, Rosedale, South Jamaica, Springfield Gardens, St. Albans) and City Councilmember Karen Koslowitz (D-Rego Park, Forest Hills, Kew Gardens, Richmond Hill) announced last week that over a dozen violations were issued to the Umbrella Hotel in Kew Gardens. 

In early August, the local elected officials issued a letter to the Mayor’s Office drawing attention to a string of violent incidents at the Umbrella Hotel in Kew Gardens. Following months of community outrage and public statements from officials, the legislators announced an initial enforcement response step from City Hall.

In response to requests from the community and elected officials, the Mayor’s Office approved a Multi-Agency Response to Community Hotspots (MARCH) Operation. Participating agencies included NYPD, FDNY, DEP, DOB, and the Sheriff’s Office.

The initial operation yielded 13 summonses from NYPD, FDNY and DOB. The hotel was given court appearances tickets and several fines. A second inspection was conducted this week where FDNY found multiple fire safety violations including defective fire alarm systems and pumps. The hotel was issued two criminal summonses in addition to the earlier violations. 

“For months, we have been asking City Hall to take action and assist the 102nd Precinct and our community in shutting down this hotel,” said Rosenthal. “The MARCH operation was a good first step in bringing these concerns to the forefront of enforcement, but we need continued cooperation from the City to ensure that violent crimes and public health violations come to an end at this location. We cannot accept anything less.”

“The 102nd Precinct has remained laser focused on containing and preventing criminal activity at the Umbrella Hotel, so I am pleased to see that Captain Fidacaro and his command are beginning to receive the multiagency support that they need to put an end to this nonsense,” said Comrie. “I remain in lockstep with the 102nd Precinct, Assembly Member Rosenthal, and my locally elected colleagues in working toward a full resolution to this problem.“

“After months of advocating, the city conducted a successful MARCH operation which is a major step toward resolving the issues at the Umbrella Hotel. I look forward to their continued partnership in ending these problems once and for all, restoring the quality of life our constituents deserve,” said Hevesi.

“I want to offer, on behalf of myself and the Kew Gardens community, a sincere thank you to Captain Ficadaro of the 102nd Precinct for his resolute determination to bring the indefensible and outrageous situation at the Umbrella Hotel under control. Hopefully, this mayoral multi-agency response under the Captain’s leadership will provide the impetus for shutting down the Umbrella Hotel,” said Koslowitz.