NYC Will Finally Finish Installing Public Housing Security Cameras, Two Years and Two Horrific Stabbings Later

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Mayor de Blasio announcing the new cameras at a press conference Wednesday.
It's only taken two years and the brutal stabbings of two children for New York to get serious about installing security cameras in its public housing facilities. At a press conference today, Mayor Bill de Blasio and a number of other city officials announced that they'll install cameras at dozens of New York City Housing Authority (NYCHA) developments by the end of 2014. That includes the Boulevard Houses in East New York, where Mikayla Capers, 7, and Prince Joshua Avitto, 6, were stabbed in an elevator on the evening of Sunday, June 1. Avitto died of his injuries. Capers was in critical condition for ten days; de Blasio said at this afternoon's press conference that she'll be released from the hospital today. A 27-year-old man, Daniel St. Hubert, has been charged in the attack.

The city has earmarked $27 million for the project, including $500,000 to install 17 cameras at nine Boulevard buildings. The rest of the money will go towards installing cameras at 48 other NYCHA housing developments citywide. That includes 18 facilities where NYCHA said security camera installation had been completed nearly two years ago, in July of 2012.

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Little Boxes: Tiny Apartment Exhibit Opens at Museum of City of N.Y.

Lena Dunham finally has a place to put all that tiny furniture! The Museum of the City of New York understands that when you wake up in the morning you blast your head on the ceiling and punch a hole in each of the bedroom walls while stretching.

Tomorrow, the museum is opening an exhibit that features a fully furnished 325-square-foot studio apartment that incorporates the latest space-saving designs. We suspect that same day, at least ten New Yorkers will agree to give someone half their take-home pay to sublet a 300-square-foot "room" they share with a boiler.

In the exhibit apartment, there's a bed that folds out over a couch, a padded ottoman containing four nesting chairs, a fold-out dinette table that retracts under the kitchen counter and a TV that slides away to reveal a bar. The bar is something many New Yorkers are accustomed to using in order to forget how close their bathroom is to their kitchen.

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Eighty Crime-Ridden NYC Housing Projects to Get Security Cameras

Eighty of New York's most crime-ridden housing developments will be fitted with security cameras over the next year and a half, to deter shootings and theft.

This decision occurred after the New York Daily News reported that while the city council had earmarked tens of millions of dollars for the purpose, but the New York City Housing Authority has been sitting on the money without taking action for several years.

Residents of the worst buildings said that the lack of cameras makes them prisoners in their own homes after dark. Meanwhile, NYCHA Chairman John Rhea, the man in charge of making sure that the money gets to where it needs to go, lives in a newly-built condo in Harlem with a 24-hour virtual doorman.

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Does New York City Need Micro-Studio Apartments?

Yesterday, Mayor Mike Bloomberg announced a competition for developers to design 275 to 300 square foot studios ("micro-units") that might serve as a model for New York's swelling small-household population -- city stats indicate that NYC has 1.8 million one- and two-person homes and only one million studios and one bedroom apartments.

How it works: The competition entails what's called a "Request for Proposals" for an apartment building made entirely out of these miniature units -- which, by the way, would have bathrooms and kitchens.

However, they would be smaller than what current regs permit. So, Bloomberg will waive some zoning rules so that a City property at 335 East 27th Street -- in Kips Bay -- can serve as an experimental space.

But is this really necessary?

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Historic Jazz Site in Harlem Rehabilitated, Houses Formerly Homeless New Yorkers

Cecil Hotel, a supportive housing project in Harlem.
At a time when social services are facing sometimes difficult cuts, one organization is celebrating the funding it received from the city to rehabilitate a housing project in Harlem that provides homes and services to the chronically homeless.

Housing and Services Inc., or HSI, -- an organization that develops and manages affordable housing for New Yorkers with special needs -- announced this week that it has completed construction on its rehabilitation project for supportive housing at the Cecil Hotel in Harlem and the Narragansett Hotel on the Upper West Side. The projects were awarded $16.4 million from the city's Department of Housing Preservation and Development, HSI said.

The Cecil Hotel -- which in the 1990s was one of the city's first supportive housing projects of its kind according to HSI -- is located at 118th Street and St. Nicholas Ave. in a five-story building that once housed Minton's Playhouse, a legendary jazz club famous for its "bebop" music (The site is on the New York State Register of Historic Places).

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Picture the Homeless Renews Demands for City Survey of Empty Real Estate

About two years ago, Picture the Homeless tried to get the City Council to make a yearly inventory of the New York's vacant properties -- asking Councilman Eric Dilan, housing and buildings committee chair, to give the group's proposal a hearing.

The City Council refused, with one member reportedly saying that "it would cost millions of dollars" to conduct an annual census.

Picture the Homeless, however, did its own study -- and found that it only cost $150,000 to analyze 1/3 of New York.

The conclusion: There are more empty buildings and lots than there are homeless people -- and more than enough property to give every New Yorker a place to live.

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NYCHA Elevators to Shut Down, But When?

As we mentioned earlier, Mayor Bloomberg announced that the city will be shutting down NYCHA elevators in preparation for Hurricane Irene. Our Harry Siegel points out that a time frame was not issued for this move that will potentially affect hundreds of thousands of New Yorkers. An OEM spokesperson says that this will only be implemented in buildings located in Evacuation Zone A and any shutdowns will unlikely be enforced until after 5pm. A press conference will be held between 2pm and 4pm today that will hopefully clarify when exactly they plan on shutting down the elevators. Some NYCHA buildings are over 30 stories tall, so this information will be extremely important to residents attempting to evacuate. We can't find any specific mention of the elevator shutdown anywhere on the city's websites or in any hurricane preparedness PDAs or other downloads. We'll update as soon as a time frame is issued. This is a good time to review the city's evacuation zone map. [@nickgreene]

Cops Wound Teen Who They Say Fired at Them During East Harlem Chase

​Cops shot and wounded a teenager in East Harlem at 3:15 a.m. Sunday after a chase on foot during which he fired on three sergeants and an officer, all of whom were in plainclothes, according to the NYPD. Matthew Melendez, 18, of 1695 Madison Avenue, in the Taft projects, was hit three times and was in stable condition.

NYPD officials told reporters, according to accounts in the Times and Daily News, that the four cops approached Melendez on East 119th Street because they thought, from the way he was adjusting his waistband, that he had a concealed weapon. Witnesses told reporters that they heard the cops yell, "Police! Stop!" He ran east on 119th and, the News says, "whirled and fired" at the cops near Third Avenue. He was then shot along Third Avenue, near 120th Street. Cops said they recovered a handgun near where he fell.

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Michael Tiegel, Missing from Taft Projects

Have you seen Michael Tiegel?
​Cops are looking for Michael Tiegel, a 28-year-old guy who was last seen at 2 a.m. Sunday, January 30, inside 1694 Madison Avenue, in the Taft projects just north of Central Park.
Tiegel's described at 5-9, 180 pounds, with brown eyes and black hair. He was wearing a black jacked, red hoodie, jeans, and brown boots. He's known to frequent the subways.

Tipsters can call Crime Stoppers at 1-800-577-TIPS (8477) or submit tips at or text info to 274637 (CRIMES), entering TIP577.

Four Thugs Sought in Shooting of Five Brooklyn Teens After Bishop Loughlin B'ball Game

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Suspects in Friday night Fort Greene shootings
​Cops are looking for four suspects after five teens were wounded by gunfire Friday night outside Bishop Loughlin High School in Fort Greene, Brooklyn, after a basketball game with Christ the King High School.

The next day, a 16-year-old girl was shot in the face at the Seth Low Houses in Brownsville. The carnage sparked a protest rally in Fort Greene the evening before Martin Luther King Jr. Day.

Despite the boasts by Mayor Mike Bloomberg and top NYPD officials about the drop in crime, violence in the city's housing projects sharply increased last year, the Daily News says this morning.