Mayor visits NYCHA building to highlight improvements, responds to governor

LONG ISLAND CITY, Queens (WABC) -- New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio visited a New York City Housing Authority complex in Queens Thursday, days after Governor Andrew Cuomo signed an executive order to appoint an independent monitor to supervise the agency.

The mayor highlighted NYCHA improvements that had been made and responded to criticism from the governor, saying it appears some politicians have realized it's "stylish" to visit NYCHA and pay attention to the conditions there.

Cuomo visited NYCHA complexes three times in the past month and spearheaded an extra $250 million for the agency in the new budget. He has been critical of the mayor, who fired back while announcing that the first phase of a project replacing roofs on NYCHA buildings that began in 2015 has been completed, with the first 65 roofs finished.

"He hadn't been to a NYCHA development in five years previous to his recent tour, let's be real," de Blasio said. "Money from the 2015 state budget still hasn't gotten to NYCHA. Money from the 2017 state budget still hasn't gotten to NYCHA. Governor had plenty of power to get that money to us. Didn't do it. Period."

The Governor's Office contradicted that, saying Cuomo visited Dyckman Houses in 2016.

The roofing project came in under budget, and the next phase of constructing 78 additional roofs has begun. It is expected to be completed by 2019.

The announced was made at Queensbridge Houses, the largest public housing development in the United Sates.

All 26 roofs at the development have been replaced for the first time in more than 30 years. In addition to new roofs, the de Blasio Administration has also installed free WiFi throughout the development, 360 CCTV cameras and 858 security lights.

Crime at Queensbridge has fallen 21 percent since 2013.

"This is a landmark," NYCHA resident April Simpson said. "This is something that we should be congratulating this man for."

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