From The New York Shitty Inbox: Tomorrow!

Party in ONE week...will you support our neighborhood? (PS it's

That’s right folks! tomorrow is “NAG’s” (“Neighbors Allied for Good Growth”, formerly known as “Neighbors Allied Against Garbage”) 20th Anniversary gala! As you can clearly read the subject line of the above email inquires:

…will you support our neighborhood…?

Yes, I will… by not attending this event and pointing out the following:

  • I find it interesting that the vast majority of points under “What Does NAG Do?” have, in fact, been done.
  • This would suggest to me that NAG doesn’t really have a clear mission nowadays. They should.
  • And of course I would be remiss if I did not point out that it strikes me as being a mite bit inconsistent for an organization which lauds itself for closing down an illegal waste handling station on Williamsburg’s waterfront to honor folks who were busted— last year— for operating an illegal waste trade business in Greenpoint.

Luna Lighting Inc Denial

But perhaps I am being nit-picky? Sort of makes one wonder what, if any, donations have been tendered to “NAG” from the Argentos lately. Anyone?

UPDATE, 7:17 p.m.: Now I have received this!

$50 tix till midnight! gala fun times

Note how “NAG” has seen fit to excise the photo featured in their precious email. Perhaps it is because some of the people depicted therein objected? In any case, I think I’ll save the $50.00 I do not have to buy beer and/or more snow globe supplies…

From The New York Shitty Inbox, Part II: And Now A Word From NAG

NAG email NYS

New York Shitty Analysis: Apparently getting busted for operating an illegal waste handling station in Greenpoint and lying to the Business Integrity Commission does not preclude one from receiving honors from “Neighbors Allied For Good Growth” (formerly known as Neighbors Against Garbage”).

You can’t make this stuff up, folks…

News From The Snow Globe Factory: VANDALISM!

June 30, 2014 ·
Filed under: 11222, Greenpoint, Greenpoint Brooklyn, Greenpoint Magic 

Or: Behind every great fortune lies a great crime.

The last few days have been spent sealing snow globes, cleaning and organizing. When I left one snow globe unattended today— in the privacy of my own home— the unthinkable happened.

liberty NYS

It. Was. Vandalized. ONCE AGAIN: VANDALIZED!

We all know that graffiti is a problem in Greenpoint— but with HO scale people? This not only besmirched New York City’s name, but my fair community’s as well.  The Greenpoint Gazette has made this quite clear.  I certainly hope this was not captured on Google street view! I, as a citizen, will not stand for this shit.

BP aaron short BS

So I took a page from Tony Argento’s book and offered a bounty to my fellow citizens so as to apprehend the miscreant responsible. With a twist— and on a much more modest, pragmatic level.

If there’s one thing I have come to understand about “The Argentos” it is this; they are quite “generous” with campaign donations and local charitable organizations. I call this “spreading the fertilizer”. It makes the land “fertile” for whatever BS they plan to do— or have already done. CASE IN POINT:

denail

 

NYC BIS page 5

 

NYC BIS page 6

NYC BIS page 7

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But I do not have these kind of resources. So I asked myself:

What creature acts most like a politician/opportunist? Someone willing to say or do anything for the end result— moral scruples be damned— and CHEAP?

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It did not take me long to figure it out: Katz CATS!

  • First I stole a dollar from the Mister’s wallet.
  • Secondly, I “infused” my ill-gotten gains with catnip.
  • Thirdly, so as to kick things off, I placed a little— LITTLE— catnip on the floor. Just enough for a taste. I was playing “benefactor”.

Sure enough, they fought over it.

Then I asked my question and waved a catnip-infused dollar.

This is how “politics” works in Greenpoint (and New York City). You can be a slumlord, operate an illegal waste trade business, get busted for it; owe the Internal Revenue Service over a half a million dollars in tax liens and owe $30,000 in fines to the Department of Buildings on one building alone— but as long as you donate “generously”, you will be a pillar of the community and your complaint about someone vandalizing your property to the extent of $8,000 whole dollars— will be taken seriously. Let’s take the following 94th Precinct Community Council meeting which came to pass in April 2013.

Even if you say “SB”. (Instead of BS— The following video is even better!)

wheres levin NYSNote: the Business Integrity Commission decision of which I included passages was issued the very next month! One has to admire that kind of bald-faced hypocrisy. Which brings me back to the video gracing the beginning of this post. It was shot on August 23, 2012. So, as Mr. Levin was extolling upon what great corporate citizens Gina and Tony are, they were busy operating an illegal waste trade business. In Greenpoint. Among other things. Do the math— and please read this. It is always refreshing  to see a City Councilman allocating money outside his own district. When one receives the largess of the Argentos, it comes with strings attached…

Intermediary Search Result GINA ARGENTO 1

 

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But as you see below, gentle readers, it was money well spent!

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Update, July 1st 2014: Oh, how could I forget something a reporter from Crains recently brought to my attention!?!

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Hmm…

P.S.: No animals were hurt during the filming of these videos. They just got really, seriously, stoned on catnip.

*Monica Holowacz is either an Office Assistant or owner of this company. Either way, I find it very, VERY difficult to believe she had the funds to make a $4,000 donation to Mr. DeBlasio’s campaign. This of course begs the question as to where this money really came from. Anyone?

From The New York Shitty Inbox: More Ado About The Manhattan Avenue Kayak Launch

Thumbs UpNYS

Or: Ten Days & Counting!

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(Taken June 16, 2014.)

A tipster writes (on June 6th, 2014)

Hi Heather!

Thank you for your post about the Manhattan Ave Boat Launch. I actually attempted to make an online 311 complaint about it a day or two before your post. However, the 311 website did not accept the complaint since the launch is not listed. Today I attempted to make the same complaint via phone and was again unsuccessful. I ended up making an “agency complaint”. I’m sure many people give up long before this point.  I spent about 15 minutes attempting to make the online complaint and 40 minutes making the agency complaint via phone.  My agency complaint number is C1-1-977259887

It lists the following:

  • Parks Dept does not list the site as a park to enable 311 complaints
  • Broken waterfront railing
  • Broken railing surrounding grassy area
  • Wood chips have not been replaced
  • Grass dry and unkempt
  • Boats moored to kayak launch access gate
  • Dead trees
  • Trees with broken branches
  • Excessive weeds

I found the the first bullet point rather fascinating. The following, gentle readers, should clarify why.

QuestionNYS

 

AnswerNYS

Let’s review:

  1. Permits can be/have been issued for the use of this park.
  2. This would suggest that this piece of public space is in the “Parks” system.
  3. However, when a complaint is to be lodged it cannot be located. Fascinating.

wheres levin NYSI suppose the argument could be made that our local parks conservancy/partnership “arrangement” is more interested in the monetization of our public spaces (via the issuance of permits and hosting events such as the Northside Festival) than enforcement/”upkeep”. I would like to kindly counter that much-needed revenue is being lost by allowing these watercraft to moor for free. I wonder what our City Councilman’s position is on this? Anyone?

In any case I was recently advised to poke around online boating forums regarding free mooring at Newtown Creek. Today I did. It was rather illuminating.

Those of you who, say, struggle to pay rent, property taxes or bemoan the woeful condition of our public spaces— few as they are here— should take a moment, read and re-read the previous. Angry yet?

June 16 2014 6 NYS

You should be.

Trouble No More

“Playing by the rules” is for chumps.

P.S.: It would appear the North Brooklyn Boat Club is now the North Brooklyn Community Boathouse.

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Still no listing on the New York State Charities Database. Hmm.

NYS state charities database

Nonetheless it is located on the premises of the “Broadway Stages Boat Yard“, is still “fiscally sponsored” by Open Space Alliance North Brooklyn— and they’re having a party!

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Um, isn’t OSA’s job to help finance public parks?

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Flyer credits: the North Brooklyn Boat Club’s Facebook page.

Photo Credit: Dustin Brugmann.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Quicklink: City & State

March 26, 2014 ·
Filed under: Brooklyn, New York City 

Choice quote/teaser:

Another progressive whose TIE fundraising appears to be incongruous with his politics is Councilman Carlos Menchaca, who, like Johnson, was selected as a freshman by his borough colleagues to be a co-leader of their respective delegations. Menchaca ran as a reformist insurgent against Sara Gonzalez, whom he vilified as a tool of “Manhattan millionaire developers” for receiving support from Jobs for New York, the Real Estate Board’s independent expenditure arm. But soon after taking office, Menchaca accepted $1,500 in TIE funding from Taxpayers for an Affordable New York, which is essentially run and funded by the same major property owners who spearheaded Jobs for New York.

Menchaca also took $1,500 from John Ciafone, a Queens lawyer and property owner who was listed on Public Advocate Bill de Blasio’s Worst Slumlord watchlist in 2011. De Blasio returned two large contributions from Ciafone when it was revealed that he was a donor, but Menchaca is apparently untroubled by or unaware of whom he is accepting from.

John Ciafone’s wife is Gina Argento, the CEO of Broadway Stages, a large television and film production studio and sound stage company in Brooklyn and Queens. Argento and her brother Anthony Argento are prolific contributors to political campaigns, and each gave $1,500 to Menchaca’s TIE committee.
Last year the Argentos applied to have a subsidiary company, Luna Lighting, receive a license to operate as a trade waste business, which would allow the company to cart demolition and construction debris from worksites. As the Argentos have ownership interest in many industrial sites that they would like to repurpose for other commercial uses (for example, the Knockdown Center in Maspeth), owning their own demolition hauling company would provide vertical integration to their business. The city’s Business Integrity Commission issued a harsh denial of the Argentos’ application, citing a history of illegal carting by Luna Lighting, and also misrepresentation by Anthony Argento of his arrest record.

Furthermore, Anthony Argento was shown to have over $1 million in federal tax liens against him, as well as his business. As of April 2013 Argento owed the Internal Revenue Service more than $600,000. This information was all published by the city and is a matter of public record. One imagines that Menchaca or his staff must have done some cursory analysis of who was giving him money. Or perhaps the Argentos have papered the city with enough contributions that their questionable business practices do not raise the eyebrows of even the most progressive elected officials.

Hmm. Some of this sounds strangely familiar? Deja vu, perhaps? Oh wait, i’s because Queens Crap and I have blogged this already!!! In any case this is an interesting read so take a moment and check it out. Perhaps Mr. Barron would be so kind as to direct his attention to the Argentos clan’s shenanigans in other neighborhoods? If he is paying attention, why not ask them about the Greenpoint Boathouse being relocated to 51 Ash Street and the ~$5,000 tax lien which stands on that property presently?

P.S.: A few other details/facts Mr. Barron might find interesting:

  1. Ms. Argento – Ciafone is a member of Community Board 1 Brooklyn. Has been for some time.
  2. Her spouse is a chronic office seeker.
  3. The Argentos financed Mr. Menchaca’s inauguration party.

Go ahead, run a Google search and see for yourself!

Quicklink: Pillars Of The Community

December 9, 2013 ·
Filed under: 11222, Criminal Activity, Greenpoint, Greenpoint Brooklyn, Greenpoint Magic, Wow, WTF 

BICscObservation: operating an illegal waste handling business (in Greenpoint no less) and having ~$1,000,000 in Federal tax liens are characteristics not generally associated with being a pillar of the community. Then again, we’re talking about north Brooklyn. NOTE: something my colleague Queens Crap fails to point out is Ms. Gina Argento-(Ciafone) is a member of our local Community Board. No Kidding.  Read it and weep…

I would be remiss if I did not remind everyone that in 2011 Mr. Argento offered a $5,000 reward for information leading to the arrest of a graffiti artist called BS (“Buttless Supreme”). Perhaps I am being petty, but quite frankly I find an allegation of illegal waste handing a mite bit more troubling. You can’t make this shit up folks. Start at 2:44 and see Tony Argento complain about graffiti “destroying the neighborhood” at this meeting of the 94th Precinct Community Council* for yourselves!

*The 94th Community Council (which is run but kick -ass ladies all) has given a plaque to Mr. Argento in appreciate of his contributions to the community. Of course this was before this Business Integrity Commission decisions was rendered. Whoops.

UPDATE, 10:38 p.m.: It has been brought to my attention that Gina Argento-Ciafone went on the record to none other than the New York Times about the graffiti problem here. This came to pass on August 9, 2013. Fascinating.

Quicklink: Oh Boy!

September 30, 2013 ·
Filed under: 11378, Gentrification, Maspeth, Maspeth Queens, Wow, WTF 

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Holy MARCH operations, Batman! It would appear Maspeth has a problem on its hands— and that problem is the Knockdown Center which, as Queens Crap notes:

  •  A cabaret license for this type of venue is required. None is on file.
  • The current certificate of occupancy is for a factory, therefore having any event open to the public is illegal.
  • Does anyone really believe that in a building with the capacity to hold 5,000, only 600 people will be served alcohol? And at what type of events? There have been drug busts at “raves” in other area factories that have been converted into clubs.  It seems that “up to 600” has been chosen to avoid having to obtain a cabaret liquor permit from the State Liquor Authority (which is different from the city’s required cabaret license).
  • How would 5,000 people even get to Maspeth? Public transportation is lacking. Where will the parking be when the yard is in use (which is often)? And should people be driving around after they have been drinking at a club all night?
  • This venue would no doubt become a trouble spot for the NYPD. The 104th precinct is already stretched way too thin.
  • There are row houses on the same block as the venue and a residential community sits right across the street. When the club-goers start leaving during the wee hours of the morning, they will cause problems for the residents of the area. Complaints have already been received about noise and crowds at this location.

couplenysDid I mention they are also presently selling liquor already? They are— via Roberta’s no less. Please read this entire tome for yourselves, gentle readers.asswithtoiletpaper It is quite something.

In closing I feel compelled to point out what the Knockdown Center proposes is more than a little similar to Studio B— and we all know how well the ensuing shenanigans (as seen at left and right) went over with the neighbors

Good times!

UPDATE, 7:48 p.m.: It would appear the matter of the Knockdown Center has been noticed by the New York Daily News. You can read their coverage by clicking here. Choice excerpt/teaser:

…City Councilwoman Elizabeth Crowley (D-Middle Village), whose district includes other portions of Maspeth, has been the business’s lone champion, saying it will bring much-needed jobs to the community.

“It seems like a good way to revitalize the factory,” said Crowley, who added one of the investors — Gina Argento — also owns Broadway Stages, which employs more than 1,500 people at its Brooklyn site.

“Those are good union jobs,” Crowley said about Broadway Stages. “I have known the owners for a long time. They also do good philanthropic work.”

So why not make this another film facility instead? This would certainly be better than the thirty jobs the Knockdown Center claims it will create if given a liquor license. But there I go using “logic” again…

 

Quicklink: By Their Friends Ye $hall Know Them…

ciafoneeyesore600

Ever wondered who this fellow is? I know I have. This is because I see his mug all over north Brooklyn.

QCscreencapCIAFANOWell, Queens Crap has the low-down. Here’s a teaser:

Astoria attorney John Ciafone is running for City Council District 22 (Astoria) to replace outgoing Peter Vallone, Jr. He has run previously for the council as well as for the assembly… What you may not know is that Ciafone currently appears on Public Advocate Bill DeBlasio’s slumlord list (for a property located in Greenpoint no less — Ed. Note). To his credit, he is on the “most improved” list, having reduced his violations from 195 to 2. He tried to donate to DeBlasio, but it was returned. Local council member/Vito Lopez protege Steve Levin and Queens BP candidates Peter Vallone and Melinda Katz apparently have no qualms about keeping his money, however…

Read it for yourselves here.

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Otherwise, I will leave you with this footage from a campaign event from Christopher Olechowski’s campaign for 50th Assembly District Democratic Party Male Leader. At 0:28 you can see John J. Ciafone, Esquire, himself…

I encourage you all, gentle readers, to give ALL these videos (there are five total) a watch. They’re, um, interesting.

(Image Credit: Ciafone making aluminum siding look good comes courtesy of Queens Crap)

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