Stevieslaw: New Feature—Ask Smokey Diamond
I am an 88 year old retired firefighter with emphysema and two bad knees. I live in on the sixth floor of a rent-controlled apartment in Queens. Jared Kushner’s Corporation has just bought the apartment building and I am hearing alarming rumors*. My pension doesn’t go very far any more, so if I am forced to move from this apartment, I will have to move in without my crazy cousin Thelma who hasn’t cleaned her place in Canarsie in more than a decade. Oh, she has 35 cats.
If you stay, there will be some changes. Living rent-controlled in a Kushner Corp building has been likened to living in a suburb of Damascus after the Russians have finished with it. You might expect that the elevator will stop working and the stairway to the sixth floor will be missing several steps. Power and water outages will be frequent or continuous.
Construction on the lucrative apartments will begin immediately. Generally, construction hours will be from 1:30 AM until 8 AM. Noise will compete with the fumes for your attention. During the non-construction hours, Kushner will load and unload huge trucks—not necessarily associated with the construction, right under your window—the one someone keeps breaking with a brick. For some reason, rats seem to thrive during Kushner constructions, so you might want to borrow a cat or two from Thelma.
You might think all of this is illegal, and you would be right. Kushner Corp has the unique reputation of never having filed a single document that was truthful. You can of course complain to the Housing Authority. Budget cuts have reduced the staff to someone named Harry, who is as old as you are and has a case backload of 17 years. Filing a false permit document is punishable by a fine of up to $50.
Acme Movers, Inc up on Steinway Street has a fine reputation. Move quickly while you still can. Kushner Corp’s connection to the Russian mob has never been proven—but then, who would want to try. I hope you are not too allergic to cats.
• See the article in the CDT (3/19/18) by Bernard Condon of the Associated Press.