March 2017 Juniper Berry Magazine - JuniperCivic.com
Serving Middle Village and Maspeth since 1938.
March Juniper Berry Magazine

March 2017 Juniper Berry

The Juniper Berry magazine has a rich tradition in the communities of Middle Village, Maspeth and Elmhurst. It was first published in 1938. The quarterly magazine is an all-volunteer effort and contains articles on crime prevention, neighborhood issues, meeting reports and notices, neighborhood history and photographs, guest articles, editorials and more.

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BERRY BITS: Farewell, Duane Reade

BERRY BITS: Farewell, Duane Reade

The Duane Reade that had been located at 66-56 Grand Avenue, in business for almost 2 decades, closed on February 21st.

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BERRY BITS: Maspeth Jewish Center repurposed as a school

BERRY BITS: Maspeth Jewish Center repurposed as a school

Great news came in February, when it was reported at a COMET meeting that the Maspeth Jewish Center would not be sold or demolished as feared, but rather will become a school for approximately 15-20 yeshiva students.

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BERRY BITS: Office building to reach new heights

BERRY BITS: Office building to reach new heights

As we previously reported, the former AMEF service station located at 74-02 Grand Avenue may soon be a huge commercial building. The architect's plans were approved last November, although no actual work has taken place yet other than the demolition of the old building. The plans call for 7,900 sq ft of retail on the ground floor and 11,000 sq ft of medical offices on the upper floors.

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BERRY BITS: Keeping an eye on the GMI

BERRY BITS: Keeping an eye on the GMI

I was originally was planning to include the sale of the Grand Motor Inn as a short piece in the Berry Bits Real Estate edition, but then the rumors of another homeless shelter opening there started swirling about. The most convincing account came through the grapevine from an employee of the hotel who said that the new owner had already broken the news of a conversion to the workers and that the City had visited the property in early February.

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BERRY BITS: Maspeth homeless shelter battle continues...

BERRY BITS: Maspeth homeless shelter battle continues...

The Maspeth-Middle Village Task Force, which includes the Juniper Park Civic Association, has been working hard since August to stop the de Blasio Administration from opening a homeless shelter at the Maspeth Holiday Inn Express near Maurice Avenue.

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BERRY BITS: Shelter fight contact information

Citizens for a Better Maspeth is the organization that collected the funds to pay for legal fees and transportation to oppose the planned permanent homeless shelter at the Maspeth Holiday Inn Express. To reach the organization, please call (718) 326-4707 between the hours of 11am-5pm or visit cbmaspeth.com.

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BERRY BITS: Seeing the cemetery through the trees

BERRY BITS: Seeing the cemetery through the trees

Lots of people have been asking what the deal is with the All Faiths Cemetery property along 69th Street at Juniper Blvd South. The land, comprised mainly of invasive species of trees (many of them dead), was cleared for storage of equipment for a local construction project. There is no structure being built at that location, the land is just being rented temporarily.

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BERRY BITS: How to say "Maspeth's 375th anniversary," Latin-style

BERRY BITS: How to say "Maspeth's 375th anniversary," Latin-style

We are most familiar with the Latin terms for 1000 years (millennium) and 100 years (centennial), but there are names for other anniversaries in between. So what is 375 years in Latin?

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BERRY BITS: Never-beginning bridge project actually begins!

BERRY BITS: Never-beginning bridge project actually begins!

Work on the Fresh Pond Road LIRR bridge at Metropolitan Avenue commenced at the beginning of February, and if you pass through the area, you know how detrimentally traffic has been affected. There are frequently long backups on area streets as a result. The work is by all means necessary and we are happy to see it finally underway after years of delays, so we will just have to bite the bullet until it is completed.

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BERRY BITS: Petey wants to give back

BERRY BITS: Petey wants to give back

Petey Miceli, currently an 8th grader at Our Lady of Hope Catholic Academy, is a grateful Cancer Survivor! He's healthy and excited to attend Cathedral Prep in the Fall. He was diagnosed with Leukemia at age 7 in 2011 and battled cancer for over four years. On March 14th he'll officially be deemed a Survivor!

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BERRY BITS: Unusually high water bills and leaks?

BERRY BITS: Unusually high water bills and leaks?

Was your water bill unusually high for this period? Did you discover a leak in your toilet days later? There is relief offered by the NYCDEP. The Leak Forgiveness Program is a Department of Environmental Protection program designed to provide financial relief to customers who have an unintended spike in their water bill.

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Elizabethan Error 2

Elizabethan Error 2

We are now in the 9th year of Queen (Council Member) Elizabeth's Crowley reign. As she prepares to apparently run for an unprecedented 3rd term "plus", many are asking how did we wind up with an elected official who is so disconnected from her constituents? It's time for a recap.

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THINGS THAT ARE DUMB: Council speaker, Crowley make laughable appearance on Fox 5

THINGS THAT ARE DUMB: Council speaker, Crowley make laughable appearance on Fox 5

On January 23rd, City Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito and Council Member Elizabeth Crowley were invited to speak on Good Day New York about the lack of women in the City Council. After discussing that for a bit, the conversation changed to the possible repeal of the Affordable Care Act.

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THINGS THAT ARE DUMB: Facebook fools fall for phony photo

THINGS THAT ARE DUMB: Facebook fools fall for phony photo

This photo has been making the rounds on Facebook, with the description removed and the photo cropped. It shows a Diwali celebration that took place back in November, which the local elected officials were invited to as honorees.

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THINGS THAT ARE DUMB: Electeds' shelter lawsuit dismissed

THINGS THAT ARE DUMB: Electeds' shelter lawsuit dismissed

As you may recall, Council Member Elizabeth Crowley, State Senator Joe Addabbo and former Assembly Member Marge Markey filed a bogus lawsuit against the Department of Homeless Services for the lack of kitchens at the Maspeth Holiday Inn Express.

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THINGS THAT ARE DUMB: No good deed goes unpunished thanks to keyboard warriors

THINGS THAT ARE DUMB: No good deed goes unpunished thanks to keyboard warriors

There are a handful of disgruntled Maspeth residents who take to Facebook nearly every day to complain about how the Maspeth-Middle Village Task Force, its member groups and all the loyal protesters handled the Holiday Inn fight. We've never personally met many of these people.

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THINGS THAT ARE DUMB: Perp shot by cop during gun struggle suing NYPD

THINGS THAT ARE DUMB: Perp shot by cop during gun struggle suing NYPD

The NY Post reported on February 11th that Felix Perez, an alleged burglar who was shot in the groin by a 104th Pct cop during a scuffle over a gun on Hull Avenue last August, is suing the NYPD for $10M, claiming to now be suffering from PTSD over the incident.

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THINGS THAT ARE DUMB: Atlas Park mall slow on plowing

THINGS THAT ARE DUMB: Atlas Park mall slow on plowing

The photo shows a city bus stranded at the Atlas Park Mall at 10:39am on Saturday, December 17th. Mall roads and sidewalks were not plowed despite the mall having opened for business at 10am during the holiday shopping season.

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THINGS THAT ARE DUMB: Calamus sewer project a long nightmare

Calamus Avenue, on the northern end of Maspeth where it meets Woodside, has been undergoing a major sewer line upgrade since 2014 between 69th and 74th Streets. It was supposed to be completed in the fall of 2016, but work stopped last year without explanation. This has caused a lot of upheaval in the area, as bus stops were moved, parking is affected and simply crossing the street has become an adventure.

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Rev. Francis Doughty ‒ Maspeth's Puritan founder

Rev. Francis Doughty ‒ Maspeth's Puritan founder

The Doughty family in America are all descendants of one individual, the Rev. Francis Doughty, who emigrated from England and settled at Taunton, Mass., about the year 1633, which places him among the earliest of the Puritan fathers following in the footsteps of the Mayflower pioneers. The Brooklyn Doughty family are the descendants of Elias, second son of the Rev. Francis Doughty.

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Patent to Francis Doughty and Companions

Patent to Francis Doughty and Companions

In 1642, Rev. Francis Doughty and his followers left New England to settle a new colony where they could freely practice their unique type of Puritanism. Doughty approached the Director of New Netherland, Willem Kieft, to request a settlement patent.

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104th Pct Report

104th Pct Report

The theft of mail from a mailbox located at 74 Street and Caldwell Avenue caused concern over identity theft and access to bank accounts early this year. The theft occurred from 1pm to 2pm on January 3rd when a female removed numerous pieces of mail from this location.

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JPCA to Honor Hometown Hero John Russo on March 16th at OLH

JPCA to Honor Hometown Hero John Russo on March 16th at OLH

At our next Town Meeting, we will be honoring John Russo, NYPD Lieutenant Commander – Detective Squad, whose keen intuition helped crack the Karina Vetrano case.

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Exactly who has been deported?

Exactly who has been deported?

President Trump's administration conducted their first national raid of illegal immigrants, deporting hundreds of people including 41 from New York City and surrounding areas ‒ including seven from Queens ‒ infuriating progressive politicians.

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A walk on Jamaica Bay's wild side

A walk on Jamaica Bay's wild side

Almost 5 years after Hurricane Sandy, Jamaica Bay Wildlife Refuge is still undergoing damage repair. When I visited in mid-February, the western side of the refuge was closed in order to accommodate construction vehicles. Hurricane Sandy caused breaches on both the East and West Ponds allowing the bay's saltwater to mix with the freshwater of the ponds.

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New Business Spotlight: Jacups Coffee Bistro

New Business Spotlight: Jacups Coffee Bistro

It's good to know that the entrepreneurial spirit is alive and well in Maspeth today! I'm referring to two young ladies who originally hail from Venezuela, Vanessa Ceballos and Suset Marin. They recently opened their wonderful Jacups Coffee Bistro at 52-17 69th Street in Maspeth.

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Did you know?

Pet hoarding is a serious problem. In June, New Jersey officials found 276 small dogs living in deplorable conditions in a private home and there have been several incidents in NYC over the past few years. Hoarding is a mental illness and is treatable, but it's more tragic when innocent pets are affected. Dangerous hoarding should be reported via 311.

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"50 Years in Middle Village"

"50 Years in Middle Village"

The Statue of Liberty stood gleaming in the harbor, a sight for sore eyes. The year was 1959, and Baldur had finally arrived in New York after several weeks at sea, as he journeyed to America, the land of opportunity. Lady Liberty was a symbol of hope, a beacon of light, after a period of hardship.

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Love Story in Juniper Valley Park

Love Story in Juniper Valley Park

She arrived, frazzled and exhausted, one cold April night in the midst of a drenching downpour. "Thank Heaven I've found you! I nearly got lost in this weather!" she told him. "It's crazy out there!"

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The Looney Left

The Looney Left

The words of English dramatist, Sir William Schwenck Gilbert accurately summed up the core character of most modern liberals when he wrote, "The idiot who praises, with enthusiastic tone, all centuries but this, and every country but his own." Gilbert couldn't have put it any better because liberals despise their country and history as being evil despite the mountain of evidence to the contrary.

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The Mystery of the Missing Monument

The Mystery of the Missing Monument

We are just a short time past the seventy-fifth anniversary remembrance of the December 7th, 1941, attack on Pearl Harbor "...a date which will live in infamy". This act of terrorism ushered our nation into World War Two and young men and women rushed to defend and serve America in its time of need. Patriotism was on the rise in this country as it climbed out from a devastating financial depression.

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Return of the Trolley Dodgers

Return of the Trolley Dodgers

Charles Van de Poele's electric trolley installation opened on Jamaica Avenue, between East New York and Jamaica and proved to be superior to the horse cars. One by one, horse car and steam dummy lines in Brooklyn, Queens and elsewhere were replaced by trolleys. Brooklyn, being densely populated, had many small companies which eventually merged into the behemoth BRT subway, elevated and trolley system. The baseball team is so named because Brooklynites were dodgers of trolleys. Queens, meanwhile, had some BRT lines plus a few systems which had converted to buses (Steinway Transit and Jamaica Buses) by WWII.

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Our Lady of Hope Pastoral Council

Our Lady of Hope Pastoral Council

One of the unique aspects of our Lady of Hope parish, in Middle Village, is its Pastoral Council. The Pastoral Council is made up of twelve parishioners chosen by the Council. Usually, in May, nominations go out to all parishioners interested in being on the Council or, to nominate someone a parishioner thinks a good representative of the people.

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The Mata Hari of Maspeth

The Mata Hari of Maspeth

Just before WWII, the German spy ring known as "Joe K", located in the Brooklyn-Queens area, was busted by the FBI. The co-conspirators included 2 Brooklyn men: Hans Pagel and Edward Schlosser, a local man: Karl Victor Mueller of Ridgewood, and 2 local women: Helen Pauline Mayer, a 25-year old Ridgewood housewife, and Lucy Boehmler, an 18-year old Maspeth resident and recent graduate of Grover Cleveland High School.

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Spring Clean Eating

Spring Clean Eating

There is something about spring that makes people want to "start over" or "renew". These are the words that we see often thrown around and used.

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How Hank Behrman made it from Maspeth to the World Series

How Hank Behrman made it from Maspeth to the World Series

Only a small percentage of minor league baseball players ever get a chance in the big leagues. Of those who do, a minority will participate in a World Series game. Taking part in 5 World Series games made Hank Behrman a hometown sports hero.

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Pete Polonski 1921-2016

Pete Polonski 1921-2016

For over 50 years Pete Polonski served as a board member of the JPCA and as a super volunteer in Juniper Valley Park. He will be sorely missed. Rest in peace, dear friend.

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Letters to the Editor

Although I've written sixteen math and economics books, no one would publish my short story collection. Whether it was my thick Brooklyn accent, or perhaps because my name has never appeared in the same sentence with the words, "literary fiction," it took me several years to find a publisher. Maybe the editors at Martin Sisters Publishing (located in Kentucky) thought I spoke and wrote in the King's English (Get it? Brooklyn, King's County?).

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Killy's Corner

Killy's Corner

Looks like we got through another winter here in the North. Wasn't as bad as predicted even though we have to get through March.

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Yesterday & Today: Grand Ave looking west from 83rd Street

Yesterday & Today: Grand Ave looking west from 83rd Street

The Elmhurst gas tanks loom in the background and for almost a century, dominated the landscape on the Elmhurst-Middle Village border.They were demolished in 2001. And thanks to the fight waged by the Juniper Park Civic Association, the land was donated to the City of New York for $1. A beautiful park now graces the land where the tanks once stood.

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Community Eyesores

Community Eyesores

This graffiti covered peeling wall on 63rd Avenue and Dry Harbor Road has been on this eyesore page several times over the years. This building needs a paint job ‒ pronto. Leaving the wall in this condition is a slap in the face to the surrounding community that passes by it every day. Invest in a bucket of paint and a sprayer and the job will be done in minutes.

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