Showing posts with label Jacob Riis Houses. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Jacob Riis Houses. Show all posts

Saturday, September 24, 2022

NYCHA officials appear before City Council: The latest from the Riis Houses water scandal

NYCHA officials appeared before City Council yesterday in an emergency hearing to answer questions about the agency's "lethargic response" to complaints about cloudy water and positive arsenic test results at the Jacob Riis Houses on Avenue D (Previously on EVG)... 

• NYCHA admits knowing of "cloudy water" at Riis Houses months before arsenic scare (Daily News

• NYC wants answers after tainted water scare (ABC 7

• Lab behind botched water tests at Jacob Riis Houses not authorized to perform work in NY, public housing officials say (Gothamist

• NYCHA could have fast tracked 24-hour water tests. Instead, it decided to wait weeks for results. (The City

• Malfunctioning water tank now under scrutiny as root of NYCHA arsenic crisis (The City)

Saturday, September 17, 2022

The latest headlines from the Riis Houses water scandal

Photo via @THECITYNY 

 • NYCHA CEO steps down in wake of the arsenic crisis at the Riis Houses on Avenue D (1010 WINS) ... hefty pay left intact (The City

• Arsenic alarm still a drain on Riis residents' routines and resources (City Limits)

• Residents file lawsuit against NYCHA over arsenic water scare (NBC New York

 • City officials to testify under oath on NYCHA arsenic readings (The City

• City Council to launch two investigations into NYCHA water quality (NY1

In other headlines...

 • A suspect has been arrested for fatally shooting a gang rival outside Haven Plaza (Daily News ... previously on EVG

• City Hall says major crimes up, but NYPD response times slower (Gothamist

• Some thoughts on the Bowery (Flaming Pablum

• Take the M14a for these downtown dining spots (Eater

• History of the Sixth Street Industrial School (Ephemeral New York)

• Model Ivy Getty provides this "Cool Girl’s Guide to the East Village" (Elle

• On Henry Street, several galleries have enjoyed low rent from multi-year leases signed in 2020. What happens when those expire? (Artnet News

• The owners of LES party venue the Bowery Savings Bank filed for Chapter 11 protection to stave off a forced sale after defaulting on their $12 million loan (Commercial Observer)

• The possibility of a 23% taxi fare hike, base fare increase (The Post

• Dimes Square, post-shark-jump (The New Yorker

• Halloween with some early David Cronenberg (Film Anthology Archives)

Sunday, September 11, 2022

Mayor Adams gives the all clear to the water at the Jacob Riis Houses

Image via @nycgov 

The city announced yesterday that residents of the Jacob Riis Houses on Avenue D can safely use the water at the complex between Sixth Street and 13th Street. 

In making the announcement, Mayor Adams and Health Commissioner Ashwin Vasan stopped by a Riis House residence to drink from a kitchen sink. 

 Before chugging a glass, Adams declared: "Nothing's better than New York City water." This comes after the news Friday in which Environmental Monitoring and Technologies Inc. admitted that its earlier findings of arsenic in the water were incorrect. 

The water saga started on Sept. 2 when the NYCHA said it found traces of arsenic in the tap water at the Riis Houses ... and warned residents not to drink the water or use it for cooking indefinitely. According to posted notices, the levels of arsenic are above levels considered safe by EPA standards. 

Here's part of the statement released from Mayor Adams yesterday: 
I know the last eight days have been unbearable for the residents of Jacob Riis Houses, but, this morning, the New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene reviewed the final test results for contaminants and found the water to be well within EPA drinking water quality standards. We can confidently say the water at Riis Houses is and has been free of any discernible amount of arsenic since the initial tests were initiated in August and meets EPA standards. I would not ask the residents of Riis Houses to do anything I wouldn’t do, which is why I have already stopped by Riis Houses and drank the water myself. 

As we stated yesterday, NYCHA nor any other city agency will test water through Environmental Monitoring and Technologies any longer, and the city intends to pursue all available legal options on behalf of the residents of Riis Houses and will look for how we can reimburse residents for costs incurred over the last week. In regard to the Legionella bacteria reported earlier this week, we suspect these results are inaccurate. 

As public health experts have noted, Legionnaires Disease cannot be contracted by drinking water. Additionally, we are actively reviewing our Legionella surveillance data, and have found no reported or confirmed cases of Legionnaires Disease at Riis Houses over the last 12 months.
Other reactions...

Saturday, September 10, 2022

Officials now say water tested at the Riis Houses never had arsenic in it; lab says results were 'incorrect'

Officials made a stunning announcement yesterday about the week-long water crisis at the Jacob Riis Houses on Avenue D. 

Today, Environmental Monitoring and Technologies — the original lab that provided the initial test results claiming there was arsenic in the water at Riis Houses issued a full retraction and released revised results, calling their initial results 'incorrect.' Worse yet, the company has now admitted to being the ones that introduced arsenic into the samples, leading to the false results. 
The revelation was made last night during a tenant meeting P.S. 34 on 12th Street and Avenue D. 

Per The City
The audience erupted, with tenants shouting that they don't know what to believe after being whipsawed back and forth over eight days, beginning on the Friday night of Labor Day weekend, that left them furious and exhausted. 

"This one week has felt like an eternity," said Riis tenant Dianna Fernandez. "Water is essential. NYCHA needs to do better. Mayor Adams: Where are you?"

Adams was in Washington, D.C. trying to woo the Democratic Committee to hold its convention in New York, but NYCHA Chairman Gregory Russ was present, facing the angry crowd and quickly becoming the target of much of the room’s explosive anger.
And as NBC New York reported: "City leaders plan to explore all legal avenues while guaranteeing the end to all work with Environmental Monitoring and Technologies." 

Regardless of the revelation last evening, officials are still asking NYCHA residents at the complex between Sixth Street and 13th Street — home to more than 2,600 residents — to continue to avoid using the water as they await additional test results. 

Meanwhile, everyone seems to be demanding answers...

Friday, September 9, 2022

Sept. 9: The latest headlines on the water crisis at the Jacob Riis Houses

Local media continues with solid coverage of the water crisis at the Jacob Riis Houses on Avenue D ... led by Greg B. Smith at The City and Gwynne Hogan at WNYC/Gothamist.

As previously reported, residents were told last Friday night not to drink or cook with tap water after tests revealed traces of arsenic. The City said that NYCHA officials learned about the contamination two weeks earlier and did not notify the nearly 2,600 residents in the complex between Sixth Street and 13th Street. NYCHA officials have denied that claim. 
• Arsenic-Free NYCHA water test results came after taps flushed for hours (The City

• East Village public housing tenants mystified as city claims no arsenic in water — but maybe Legionella (Gothamist

• Test results come back negative for arsenic at Jacob Riis Houses, but positive for traces of Legionnaires' disease bacteria (CBS New York)
... and here's a flashback to a piece via PIX 11 about the water at Riis Houses from Aug. 12 titled, "Cloudy tap water has East Village NYCHA residents worried." 

Updated 3 p.m. 

The Jacob Riis Tenant Association is hosting this meeting tonight at 6 at P.S. 34 on 12th Street and Avenue D...

Wednesday, September 7, 2022

The latest headlines on the water crisis at the Jacob Riis Houses

Image via @PIX11News 

Here are the latest headlines on the water crisis at the Jacob Riis Houses on Avenue D. 

As previously reported, residents were told Friday night not to drink or cook with tap water after tests revealed traces of arsenic. The City said that NYCHA officials learned about the contamination two weeks earlier and did not notify residents. NYCHA officials have vehemently denied that claim. NYC has distributed bottled water to the nearly 2,600 residents in the complex between Sixth Street and 13th Street. 

• NYCHA Water Mess Stretches Into 5th Day as Arsenic Test Results Pend (NBC New York

• Mayor Adams Promises ‘Thorough’ Look at How His Team Handled Riis Arsenic Discovery (The City)

• East Village Public Housing Residents Want Answers After Arsenic Found in Water (Gothamist

• Carlina Rivera Discusses Jacob Riis Houses Water Issues (NY1

• NYCHA Must Rebuild Trust After Arsenic Found in Water: Jumaane Williams (PIX11)

Saturday, September 3, 2022

[Updated]: Unsafe levels of arsenic found in the drinking water at Riis Houses; when did city officials know?

Updated below

The NYCHA has said it has found traces of arsenic in the tap water at the Jacob Riis Houses on Avenue D. 

Signs in circulation around the complex between Sixth Street and 13th Street starting last night warned residents not to drink the water or use it for cooking indefinitely. According to the posted notices, the levels of arsenic are above levels considered safe by EPA standards.

In a bombshell report by The City, NYC officials were informed of tests showing traces of arsenic two weeks ago. However, officials didn't react until last night when the news outlet asked about the findings. 

Mayor Adams showed up to distribute bottled water at the Riis Houses last night around 10 ... An NYCHA spokesperson said the results from the tests only came back yesterday. Per Gothamist
Levels of arsenic above 10 parts per billion can cause vomiting, nausea, diarrhea, paralysis, and blindness, and prolonged exposure can lead to several types of cancer, according to the EPA. The mayor's office declined to say how high arsenic levels detected were. 

Over 2,600 people live at the Jacob Riis Houses.
Updated 9/5

Here's more from a new story at The City:

According to an internal NYCHA email obtained by THE CITY, DOHMH [Department of Health & Mental Hygiene] doesn’t believe the contaminant emanates from the water supply but is somehow coming from the plumbing system at Riis itself. 

A key concern for DOHMH is whether construction from ongoing work related to damage inflicted 10 years ago by Superstorm Sandy, as well as current work on the development’s heating system, have stirred up the soil and contributed to the contamination of the water.  

From CBS New York:

NYCHA's federally imposed watchdog monitor, Bart Schwartz, notified NYCHA officials to "ensure the integrity of any inquiry," and for the safety of residents "preserve all documents related to this issue"... including electronic and paper communications, test results and timelines. 

Wednesday, May 15, 2019

Emergency generator work underway at the Riis Houses on Avenue D

From the EVG inbox, a reader shares these photos from outside the Jacob Riis Houses along Avenue D... in case you saw this and wondered what was happening.

When asked, the workers said that this pavilion was for a backup power generator...

This is only but one of the upgrades planned for the Riis Houses in the years ahead. Back in December, WDF Inc. was granted a contract in excess of $71 million by the New York City Housing Authority for the Sandy Recovery Program Restoration.

According to a release announcing the contract:

The project scope of work includes both restoration and infrastructure improvements to the Jacob Riis Housing complex, which consists of 12 buildings spread over a three city block footprint. Upgrades include new emergency generators, electrical distribution equipment and gas services to the buildings. New flood elimination upgrades include deployable dry flood-proofing elements, waterproofing of structures, waterproof architectural finishes and upgrades to sewer/storm management systems.

Exterior upgrades include new roadways, sidewalks, green spaces and pedestrian lighting. Architectural improvements include the rehabilitation of building entrances, lobbies and storm damaged portions of all twelve buildings. Work on the project is expected to commence in the summer of 2019 with substantial completion anticipated by mid-2022.

In total, 210 NYCHA buildings are expected to be powered by permanent, full-load generators in case of outages.

Tuesday, May 1, 2018

City Council investigating claims of tenant retaliation at NYCHA properties

[Photo of Carlina Rivera yesterday at City Hall via Twitter]

City Council members are taking action following published reports that a resident of the Jacob Riis Houses on Avenue D received an eviction notice after complaining about the NYCHA during a PIX-11 story earlier this month.

During a press conference at City Hall yesterday, New York City Council members Carlina Rivera (District 2) and Ritchie Torres (District 15), chair of the Council Committee on Oversight and Investigations, joined NYCHA residents and advocates to rally against negligent property managers at the Riis Houses. The elected officials say that the property managers are allegedly retaliating against residents who have gone public over the lack of repairs and possible lead exposure in their apartments.

Keshia Benjamin, a Riis Houses resident and organizer of the rally, had her apartment featured on PIX-11 earlier this month over numerous unrepaired health hazards, including leaking pipes that flooded her apartment, damaged doors and bathrooms, and pest, mold, and lead exposure.

Management at Riis Houses reportedly then sent Benjamin a notice that they were examining her record to possibly begin eviction processes for unpaid rent, even though Benjamin said that she had fully paid.

NYCHA officials denied any retaliation, the Daily News reported yesterday.

Following a query by the News, NYCHA officials said that Benjamin's termination notice has been canceled. Per the paper: "It was automatically generated because she had been delinquent on rent within a 12-month period, but has been rescinded because she is now up to date, a spokesperson said."

The spokesperson also said, "NYCHA does not retaliate against residents for any reason."

City Council members claim that Benjamin's story is not the only one at the Riis Houses, and "it appears that Riis property managers are held unaccountable by central staff at NYCHA and use that power to promote a culture of silence amongst residents looking for help."

The Council’s Committee on Oversight and Investigations is now investigating reported instances of retaliatory actions at Riis Houses, as well as the grievance process for tenants and the overall accountability structure within NYCHA.

In addition to the Council investigation, Rivera is planning to introduce legislation to create a formal grievance system so that NYCHA tenants can submit their complaints anonymously and have them investigated fairly. This piece of legislation comes after the recently introduced legislation from Council member Rafael Salamanca that would mandate performance reviews for NYCHA employees.

"NYCHA seems to be focused on moving bad actors around the system whenever they are in the spotlight and not on providing accountability," Rivera said at City Hall yesterday. "This simply cannot continue — the NYCHA must explain themselves in person for these actions."

Saturday, March 5, 2016

A question on the extra lights and police presence along Avenue D

Photos and email from an EVG reader...

Any word on the reason for the heavy police presence along Avenue D & FDR Drive as well as the assemblage of generator lighting throughout Jacob Riis Houses?

Thursday, February 27, 2014

Workers removing trees from the Jacob Riis and Lillian Wald Houses

Workers are currently pruning or cutting down trees this morning at the Jacob Riis Houses and Lillian Wald Houses along Avenue D…

A worker told Dave that they are removing all the ones marked with an X. And they all seem to be marked with an X… especially here on East 10th Street between Avenue D and the FDR…

Said the worker: "Sandy messed 'em up."

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

'Mayor of Avenue D' busted for running large-scale drug operation

The Manhattan DA's office has indicted 11 members of an LES-based narcotics trafficking organization that possessed and sold street-level crack cocaine, according to a news release from Cyrus R. Vance Jr. yesterday.

From that release:

According to the indictment, since approximately January 2012, the defendants obtained, transported, processed, packaged, and sold large quantities of crack cocaine to customers in and around the Jacob Riis Houses, a New York City Public Housing Authority development between East 8th and East 13th Streets, from Avenue D to the F.D.R. Drive, as well as at other locations.

The leader of this organization – DWAYNE MITCHELL, a/k/a “Dubbs,” 35 – obtained wholesale quantities of crack cocaine from supplier SABED RAHMAN, 29. MITCHELL and RAHMAN are accused of meeting regularly over a long period to exchange wholesale quantities of drugs and cash, including at a Starbucks location in Midtown Manhattan.

Prosecutors told the Daily News that Mitchell acted like the "Mayor of Avenue D" while "charming the neighborhood by hosting barbecues and field trips to Six Flags for kids."

And more from the DA's release:

According to the indictment, the defendants used cell phones to communicate and conduct their business. They also attempted to conceal the conspiracy and alleged illegal transactions by conducting them in a covert manner and using coded language, including the terms “chicken,” “donuts,” and “food,” to refer to cocaine and sums of money.

Mitchell reportedly faces up to 20 years on the most serious charge.

Saturday, September 14, 2013


Dave on 7th notes that Citibank has apparently moved the Jacob Riis Houses a few avenues to the west...

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Friends and family remember teen shot and killed on Avenue D

Serena Solomon at DNAinfo has a feature today on Deontay Moore, the 18-year-old lifelong resident of the Jacob Riis Houses who was shot and killed Friday night.

"He was always happy and even if he was sad, you would never tell," said Moore's sister Janet Mejia, 22, who lives in Harlem.

"He was a great uncle and he loved his nephew," Mejia said. "He was love wherever he walked."

Mejia joked that Moore had been a "pain in the ass, like any little brother" who always had a practical joke up his sleeve to lighten the mood.

Moore was standing with friends on Avenue D near East Eighth Street Friday night around 10:45. The NYPD have said that gunmen on bicycles fired into the group, with one bullet striking Moore in the head.

[Photo by Serena Solomon via DNAinfo]