Category Archives: Politics




Get out your “Che Guevara” t-shirts, pitchforks, and left handed cigarettes, The Bernie Sanders Show is coming to Hunters Point South Park this Monday, April 18.  In addition to “The Man” himself, TV on the Radio will be providing musical entertainment, and he’ll also be bringing along a few of his good friends including Danny Glover and Fisher Stevens.  Yeah you heard me right, Fisher Stevens, fka Steven Fisher!

Doors open at 5pm, and the fun kicks off at 7.  Unfortunately, Continue reading

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Prepping for March Madness at John Brown's

Prepping for March Madness at John Brown’s

The Mayor and the City Council reached an agreement to increase building size allowances in a number of zones in NYC, one of which is in the Court Square/Queens Plaza neighborhood.  In return for this increased density, developers will set aside a portion of the new apartments for affordable housing.  I’m not going to delve deep into this story as I have already done so recently here and here.  The distillation of it then and now continues to be: Continue reading

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The sole hint this year that Christmas is near

The sole hint this year that Christmas is near

A new article written in a soccer publication, makes a well-thought-out case that Sunnyside Yards could be the optimal location to build a stadium for the NYCFC.  That would be the NYC Football Club for the bulk of us not familiar with the acronym, but don’t let this new professional soccer team’s relative obscurity make you relegate the stadium idea as a lark.

That is because Continue reading


High Lines and Yards

High Lines and Yards

Well we finally get some real local news late in the week.  Best of all, I didn’t create it.  Jimmy Van Bramer was interviewed in Crain’s on Tuesday and he revealed the following: Continue reading


What the...?

Or maybe we can choose another one of these?

Next Tuesday, September 22, at 6pm there will be a Participatory Budgeting (PB) neighborhood assembly in the auditorium at PS78Q.1  PB is where our local councilman lets you decide how to spend $1 million on community improvements to parks, schools, libraries, streets, and more.  It’s not quite that simple, there’s a whole process in place to make sure it doesn’t end up in your Uncle Lou the contractor’s pocket, but it’s the starting point for ideas.  So here are two suggestions for LIC. Continue reading

  1. the one on 5th Street []


Maybe we think before doing when it comes to Queens?

Maybe we think before doing when it comes to Queens?

For more than a century, California has been the state where people flocked for a better life — 164,000 square miles of mountains, farmland and coastline, shimmering with ambition and dreams, money and beauty. It was the cutting-edge symbol of possibility: Hollywood, Silicon Valley, aerospace, agriculture and vineyards.

But now a punishing drought — and the unprecedented measures the state announced last week to compel people to reduce water consumption — is forcing a reconsideration of whether the aspiration of untrammeled growth that has for so long been this state’s driving engine has run against the limits of nature.

- The New York Times April 4, 2015

Recent travails with the 7-train and school-gate lead me to ask: should everyone be living here?  In a reversal of the entropic forces that overcome an abandoned jungle city, have we instead built over every square inch and then gone, and continue to go, too far upwards?  Most importantly, does densification diminish the quality of life for all?

Probably not if you’re taking the seaplane to your 20-acre spread in the Hamptons every weekend and living in a 5,000 square foot apartment or townhouse Monday to Friday.  As for the rest of us, I will posit that the answer is ‘yes.’  Because as exciting as it is to live in a city that never sleeps, at some point the reality of Continue reading


The right time for a grand compromise

The forgotten land

Since Mayor de Blasio fantasizes to the press about covering Sunnyside Yards and building affordable housing on top of it, I have decided to put forth a more pragmatic housing solution that focuses on the original intent of government. Continue reading


Pre-Joe Conley Dwelling in Hunters Point.  There was no ramen back then either.

Pre-Joe Conley Dwelling in Hunters Point. There was no ramen back then either.

A double headline, one surprising, one anything but.  The news of Joe Conley’s resignation from Community Board 2 after 23 years, was unexpected and sudden.  Under normal circumstances, a reign of that duration usually ends with months of boozy goodbye celebrations at night, replete with cigars and backslapping.  Followed by hungover days ferrying around to local public schools and senior citizen centers to pick up newly contrived award plaques.  There’s also usually a handpicked and groomed successor.  Unless there’s a big scandal, in which case Continue reading


A classic two-handed set-shot circa 1955, stage right

New community center please, and love the classic two-handed set-shot circa 1955, stage right

Well Election Day has passed, and I expect the results will have minimal impact on your life.  Yet a very local vote the week before may hold greater significance in how it affects the people of LIC on a day-by-day basis.  This vote was sort of open to everyone, but only about 50 people showed up.  I am referring to the participatory budgeting powwow, where citizens nominate neighborhood capital projects to fund.

Here is what was interesting about it. Continue reading



Just like the line for Lotto when there's a big payday coming

Just like the line for Lotto when there’s a big payday coming

“This is the best apartment deal in NYC” 

“We hired a top-notch design team, they designed the Barclays Center.”

“These are the same buildings we build for people right across the river, for which we receive ridiculous rents” 

Frank Monterisi, SVP of Related Companies and Head of HPS Phase I


I have a saying, “The lottery is for losers.” Think of it, in a typical lottery it goes like this, two million people each pay $1, for a total of $2,000,000, so that one of them wins $1,000,000.  In other words, you put down a dollar with the expected probability of getting back 50 cents.  Hmm, not sure how Warren Buffett would feel about those returns, but I personally find the whole concept despicable, and quite frankly, un-American.

Then there is the Hunters Point South Lottery. In this game of chance they are giving away between $128,000 and $1,275,000 in cash prizes to 925 people, and the cost to play is uhh -zero, …if you qualify.  Furthermore, the odds of winning are better than 20 to 1 if you live in the Community Board 2 district, as opposed to 2,000,000 to 1.

How did we arrive at the “prize” math?1  The first thing we did was take the average rents in LIC from Modern Spaces 2Q 2014 report (see link below).  Then we compared it to the midpoint rent range for each apartment type in HPS, as provided by Related Cos.  The discounts for Moderate Income apartments ranged from 29% – 39% as compared to those paying current market rates.  The discounts for Low Income apartments were an eye-popping 78% to 85%.

Those discounts are where most reporters stop, and readers sit or stand agape.  Not LICtalk, we recognize the importance of a very valuable option embedded in getting an HPS apartment: that of not having your rent go up dramatically.  

The power of compounding is the most powerful force in the universe according to Albert Einstein, and the monetary effect of it might only be eclipsed by the psychological one.  Whether it be in your favor or not.  Thus, we took the percentage discounts cited above, and applied them to the average LIC condo sale prices also found in the Modern Spaces report2, in order to realize what that option is worth.

That is how we arrived at the cash prize values, and based on the throngs that showed up for the affordable housing powwow last night in Hunters Point, I think many others have similarly calculated this bonanza.  Trying to squeeze the SRO crowd into the auditorium was like Continue reading

  1. for a detailed version of the math, were you so inclined, email me at [email protected], and I’d be happy to oblige []
  2. the one exception being 3-bdrm sales, where we used a figure of $1.5 million based on the very recent sale of a new 3-bdrm in a walk-up in Hunters Point, off the water, and w/ no view or amenities.  My guess is that were a 3-bdrm condo hypothetically be available at HPS, it would go for between 1.5 and 2.5 million depending on the view.  What do you think? []
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