Category Archives: hovel

My hood…

I wrote this for the local neighborhood association. Since I haven’t been working nights I have been able to go to the last couple of monthly local community meetings, officially, the 24th Precinct Community Council.

Inspector Nancy Barry, NYPD 24th Precinct

Inspector Nancy Barry, NYPD
24th Precinct

I have been really impressed with how much information is communicated, and it seems like Inspector Barry works really hard to maintain good relations with the community. From a cursory search, it looks like she was previously posted to the Lower East side.

This is the version I wrote that has more details. For the “official” much-edited version, see The West 102nd-103rd Street Block Association’s blog entry.

The next 24th Precinct Community Council meeting is on Wednesday, November 20, 2013 at 7:00 pm. The meetings are public and are very interesting, especially if you live in the neighborhood. Meetings are held in the upstairs meeting room at the Bloomingdale Public Library — across from the police and fire department stations on W. 100 Street.

Fingers crossed <knock wood> my long-term temp position will start before then so I won’t be able to go to meetings going forward. #sad. The West 102nd-103rd Street Block Association will continue their great reporting on the meetings.

CRIME CORNER: News from the 24th Precinct


Missing Autistic Boy – Search Continues

Inspector Nancy Barry said the NYPD are still looking for the autistic boy, Avonte Oquendo, who has been missing since October 4. Flyers are located here: NYPD is asking for anyone’s help if anyone has seen him please contact the detectives.

Spike in Crime in the 28 Day

Inspector Nancy Barry from the 24th Precinct went over the CompStats (

Highlights of Spike in Crime

  • A homicide in the Douglas Houses (875 Columbus Avenue) on September 17. Victim Jose Gonzalez found in apt by home attendant with bullet hole to his head. Detective squads working very hard to make an arrest
  • Shooting in the Douglas Houses (840 Columbus Avenue) on September 28, 11:30 pm. Corner of West 100 & Amsterdam. Victim shot 3 times, a group of people had a dispute. An arrest not made at this time
  • Shooting October 15, 12:30 am at 88th & Amsterdam. Victim Javier Rodriguez in critical condition in the hospital
  • Any information please contact the 24 Detective Squad

The Precinct is not used to having shootings, just so happens they have happened recently. The Precinct is getting additional resources, are working closely with the Housing Police, Narcotics.

Additional Incidents / Patterns

  • With the shootings two individuals with guns were arrested, one incident involved a police officer taking a .38 loaded gun off an individual (repeat offender) on the street
  • Following up grand larceny on supermarkets discussed last week. They were able to make two arrests, have another person ID’d. This was a “pick team” that targeted the elderly. Have picture of another gentleman they expect to arrest. They are closing in on some of these patterns, making good progress
  • Three transit patterns where cell phone snatchers in the train. They have someone identified, have his picture, so should be apprehended shortly, a repeat offender
  • A chain snatch – two incidents in 28 Precinct, two incidents in the 24. One arrest of a 14 year old, where they had his picture and his principal was able to identify him; another 16 year old, will be arrested soon
  • Up in assaults: 12 assaults, but the good news is that 9 of them have arrests tied to them. 3 are open (one is the shooting listed above). 3 were domestic related
  • Other two open, one was a friend, swung a bat. Assailant is a known perp.
  • Grand larcenies
    • Increase in car break-ins, arrest last night officers on Riverside Drive apprehended crime in progress. Midnight officers apprehended 3 juveniles. So are making arrests. Again, some break-ins are classified as grand larcenies because amounts are over $1,000
    • A few in restaurants lower end of Broadway (McDonald’s, pizza parlor), victims left bags and pocketbooks unattended. Male and female caught on video so will hopefully apprehend them. Crime prevention: Do not leave bags unattended
  • 2 Rapes (SVU investigating both)
    • 1 rape, an arrest was made by Housing. In Douglas Houses, female entered elevator, man approached and grabbed her, screaming, got assistance, police arrested suspect and he’s still in jail
    • 1 rape, a Not-A-Stranger rape, someone she met, had drinks with, she said she was drugged, so she knows who she is. Still to determine if an arrest will be made
  • Farther north of our precinct people are jumping out in the woods on people on bikes
  • In 24th Precinct only crimes were unattended property petty larceny at the soccer fields, which turned out to be one of the teen team members, who was arrested
  • Below 24th Precinct, Robbery on Riverside and 83rd Street. 70 year old man assaulted by 4 teens who took his wallet and phone, threw rocks

Prevention Measures

Officers are being deployed into the precinct in and around the area. They are giving the neighborhood a Scooter Taskforce, so you may see police on scooters. The Scooter Taskforce will be going up and down Riverside Drive. Because of spike in crime, on Wednesdays and Fridays you will see anywhere from 15 to 25 foot posts (uniformed police) on Broadway from 86th up to 110th and also on Amsterdam and other areas. At Deployment Meeting asked for and got additional help.


Russell Schmidt, Outreach and Public Coordinator, MTA presented information about the Access-A-Ride service that the MTA provides.

The Access-A-Ride Service website is:
The Access-A-Ride newsletter website is:

Access-A-Ride program is for any person who has a physical or mental disability that prevents them from using the mass transit system. The service is mandatory, is a civil right. Any municipality that has a train or bus system must have a para transit system. NYC’s is the biggest in the country, most people registered, most vehicles on the road, most trips. Very innovative to simplify system for the users.

There’s no age limit on using the service. Approximately 19,000 vehicles on road every day, marked with Access-A-Ride, blue and white transit colors. Subcontract service to 14 companies, companies who work for NYC Transit. Each carrier has different name, but is numbered, have Automatic Vehicle Location Monitoring (AVLM) system so they know where the vehicle is at all times. Can go back 15 months into the tracking system to find out exactly where vehicle was, etc.

Operates 365-days 24/7 because the trains and buses also run (i.e., if the trains and buses are running, Access-A-Ride runs). Costs $2.50 each way (same fare as trains and buses). Can be taken one way or round trip.

How does one apply? There is an application process. Call M-F (9a-5p) 877-337-2017, 718-393-4999, TTY 718-393-4259 or TTY Relay 800-662-1220 or go onto website ( They will mail application form within 5-7 days (don’t use the online form, it isn’t official, is for reference only!). They require a scheduled face-to-face Assessment Session after receipt of the application and a photo where they will assess eligibility. Must bring doctor’s note / information / diagnosis. They will pick you up and drop you off to get to the interview. You can bring a Personal Care Attendants (PCAs) with you, free of charge. Bring your walker, whatever mobility device you use to get around. They will ask you to show how you get around. Once you have gone through the assessment and have gotten an ID number you can begin using the service, even if ID card is being processed and is coming.

Access-A-Ride goes anywhere in five boroughs, is not only for medical purposes, so you can go to a ball games, museums, etc. If you have ambulette service use that, as it will only take you for the doctor, unlike Access-A-Ride, which will take you anywhere. Save the ambulette service for the doctor and use Access-A-Ride for other trips.

There is a new program, Access-A-Ride (AAR) MetroCard ( that is an incentive program that provides a total of four free trips a day using the subways, local buses, and Staten Island Railway (SIR) for free.


This month is Domestic Violence Awareness Month. For more information:

summer 2013

it is june, that time of the year when i am grumpy (29 years as of June 10, RIP MGH) but also sort of amazed and glad to have a lot of light and sun and nice weather.

well it has been raining nonstop here in NYC, but summer, in general, as a principle, seems to be here and/or coming.

freaking raining non-stop

freaking raining non-stop

so i have a couple of summer projects.


i’m beyond frustrated with how many files i have, how impossible it is to find stuff, and the fact that i have duplicate copies of things like my itunes library (in various iterations) in multiple places. plus the fact that i need to deal with Frank’s vital records archive. aagh.

so i decided to do Network Attached Storage (NAS) and got a Synology. very reasonably priced. and two Western Digital reds in a RAID setup.

i took loads of pictures during the unbox and installation, which i hope to do in a more detailed blog post but for right now it’s broad strokes time until i feel less sour about stuff.

this is it, fast forward, up and running.

my Synology NAS, next to my new TrippLite ISOBAR strip. see the blinking lights. they are staring accusingly at me

my Synology NAS, next to my new TrippLite ISOBAR strip (at left).
see the blinking lights? they are staring accusingly at me

so that is one summer project.


the other summer project is that — from the hours of time i seem to be keeping my balcony door open lately — i was inspired to actually try to get some greenery out there on the balcony. i need to liven this joint up if i’m going to be home so much.

so i got an EarthBox Junior (organic). yeah it might be a nightmare / overkill but i wanted a kit and it looks sort of cool.

as a hedge — and just in case it looks to be a long-term project similar to the Synology (which is taking longer to play with than i expected) — i also got the following:

Garden-in-a-Pail (Lavender)

Catnip Kit

and for the EarthBox, couldn’t resist the idea of a non-controlled, semi chaotic bomb name….:

Wildflower Seed Mix (2)

Pet Dog & Cat Grass (2 bombs)

i like purple. and don’t mind the smell of lavender.

don’t have cats, though i plan on skilling up to them here chez moi hovel. but i read catnip retards mosquitos, which seem to mercilously bother me here at the hovel. so the smell will hopefully help mitigate that.

flowers… yes!

this pet grass should also help with greening up the joint and fill the EarthBox. it is an uncontrolled plan / experiment.

and so

am feeling a little burnt out on the blogging, social media, screens, etc. so this is a brusque, less friendly blog post than i usually aim for.

Mandala i colored in

Mandala i colored in

i am trying to keep it on the road, stay in the driver’s seat, keep on truckin’, etc.

Keep on Truckin (in homage to R. Crumb)

Keep on Truckin (in homage to R. Crumb) photo credit flickr user St0rmz, some rights reserved

but this under-employment situation is not a comfortable fit for a workaholic, no-life person such as myself. i am pretty discouraged and yet at the same time i am not trying hard enough.

though i feel very strongly that the right fit is out there for me, the right position with the right team of people and please oh please god a manager / supervisor / mentor who appreciates what i bring to the table, can provide structure and guidance, and will let me, well, blossom.

i know, a tall order. we shall see.

onward June…

it’s electric!

…long strange trip[p]

whenever i hear the name Tripp Lite, i think of the lyrics from The Grateful Dead’s song, Truckin’, off their amazing American Beauty record.

Sometimes the lights all shining on me
Other times I can barely see
Lately it occurs to me
What a long strange trip it’s been

Truckin’, Lyrics By: Robert Hunter Music By: Jerry Garcia/Bob Weir/Phil Lesh

one of those things people don’t think or talk a lot about is surge suppression for their electronics equipment.

look how gorgeous she is! the Tripp Lite ISOBAR8ULTRA8-Outlet Premium Isobar Surge Protector with 12-ft Cord and All-Metal Housing

look how gorgeous she is! the Tripp Lite ISOBAR8ULTRA
8-Outlet Premium Isobar Surge Protector with 12-ft Cord and All-Metal Housing

i found out about these Tripp Lites when i worked at Scott Rudin‘s office, first as an intern and then as an on-site office manager for his business manager, Terry Bird.

the office was undergoing extensive renovations where they were putting in high density storage. the new file room had a lot of networking / VoIP equipment. and i noticed they had these very industrial looking power strips. i had never seen anything quite like them. have to say, it was sort of like love at first sight….

these are not your grandparent’s power strips! in addition to providing reduced noise and interference, there are four fuses that will take the direct hit if there is a power surge. so freaking cool!

The Electric Companyloved this show when i was a kid

The Electric Company (1971-1973)
loved this show when i was a kid

We’re gonna turn it on
We’re gonna bring you the power
We’re gonna light up the dark of night like the
brightest day in a whole new way
We’re gonna turn it on
We’re gonna bring you the power
It’s coming down the lines, strong as they can be through the courtesy of The Electric Company
The Electric Company
The Electric Company!

god i miss the 1970s. so many cool things about the pop culture then…


a friend of mine lives in a very large pre-war building near 79th and Broadway.  his whole building had a massive electric surge and it fried a large number of tenant’s electronics, including his computer.

i had been singing the praises of the Tripp Lite ISOBARs so he got one for his computer, answering machine, printer, router, etc. the surges happened again but this time the Tripp Lite took the hit and his electronics were protected.

West End Avenue Houses

my building is one of the oldest sets of brownstones in the neighborhood. it was built in 1892-1893 by the architects Schneider & Herter. and is now thankfully landmark protected.

my building on West End Avenue

my building on West End Avenue (recent view)
note the Keith Haring drawings on the first floor balcony windows.
(at least i think it’s Keith Haring)
they were “cleaned” off when the “naked man” moved out a few years back

Keith Harin on the Street

Keith Haring (R.I.P.) in the subway near one of his pieces

the image below is from around 1910. none of the stoops remain, sadly. the brownstones are in the Queen Anne and Romanesque Revival styles.

Manhattan: West End Avenue - 102nd Street Source: NYPL Digital Collections

Manhattan: West End Avenue – 102nd Street
Source: NYPL Digital Gallery

the point is my building is freaking OLD. and it is a wood structure. i worry a lot about the wiring, even though my apartment was renovated when i moved in (over 20 years — gulp! — ago).

so i have Tripp Lites everywhere and plug all of my electronics into these surge suppressors. it really gives me peace of mind that things in my apartment at least are covered.

if you can afford it, i recommend looking into these Tripp Lite ISOBARs.

Image Title:  Manhattan V. 7, Plate No. 36 [Map bounded by West End Ave., W. 102nd St., Amsterdam Ave., West 99th St.]Creator: Sanborn Map Company -- PublisherItem/Page/Plate: 36Source: Atlases of New York city. / Insurance maps of New York. / Manhattan / Atlas 121. Vol. 7, pt. 1, 1912.

Manhattan V. 7, Plate No. 36
[Map bounded by West End Ave., W. 102nd St., Amsterdam Ave., West 99th St.]
Creator: Sanborn Map Company — Publisher
Item/Page/Plate: 36
Atlases of New York city. / Insurance maps of New York. / Manhattan / Atlas 121. Vol. 7, pt. 1, 1912.

i love these old Sanborn Maps. this is my neighborhood, a view from 1912.