Letters to the Editor – December 2004 - JuniperCivic.com
Serving Middle Village and Maspeth since 1938.

Originally published in the December 2004 Juniper Berry Magazine

Letters to the Editor – December 2004

Juniper Elbow is an eyesore.

Dear Editor:

I was extremely interested in the part 2 article The Confederate Dead in Brooklyn in your Sept-Oct issue. I had access to the issue / article because my mother-in-law lives in Maspeth.

I grew up in Maspeth and lived there from the 1940s through the 1960s. I have visited most of the major Civil War battlefields and sites during the past five years. Your article is of special interest because I was not aware of the prison and cemetery sites related to both Federal and Confederate war dead in the Brooklyn/Queens area.

Would it be possible to obtain an issue of your magazine with the Part 1 article in it? Also, does the part 1 article include information about the author and his book (pictured in article 2)? Any information which you can share will be gratefully received.

Keep up the excellent work with your publication.

(The articles about the Cross Harbor project are especially insightful and well-written.)

Dr. Fred Young

To The Board of Directors of Rite Aid:

I am writing because I have heard some very disturbing news regarding Rite Aid acquiring property on Elliot Avenue in Middle Village, NY. Middle Village is one of the last communities that has not been ruined by commercialization.

We are still a community of private proprietors who know the people in the neighborhood.

Across the street from the proposed Rite Aid site is Artis Pharmacy, privately owned by Mike Somma, a Middle Village resident for over 40 years. Will Rite Aid be able to insure that their pharmacists and managers all live in our community? I think not.

While living out of state, I have experienced fillingprescriptions at mass produced pharmacies... Rite Aid, Walgreen's, CVS...you are all the same. No matter how frequently you visit the locations, no one ever remembers you.

Artis drug employees are kind, thoughtful and remember who you are ...they sometimes remember your address as well.

You may have wonderful marketing and advertising budgets but basically your commercials contain major tall tales. I am preparing to contact Mayor Bloomberg and the Civic Association. Our community stopped Home Depot and we intend on doing the same to Rite Aid and any other commercial

pharmacy. We will not let you use our community for your battleground.

Sincerely,

Laura C. Bauerle

Middle Village

Dear Ms. Scuilli

Re: Dog Problem Article 9/04 Berry

Very good and necessary article on dogs in the park. I support the position. The park is becoming a doggy poo problem. The parks should be geared for children and people not dogs. Thank You.

Daniel Vianale

Middle Village

Dear Editor:

In your magazine (Sept. '04 issue) I noticed that you have coupons that may be used to request a tree to be planted in front of one's house.

I took advantage of this opportunity about 10 years ago. One of the reasons for doing so was because it specifically stated there would be no damage to the sidewalk (just as the coupon reads in the Berry). Well, I must tell you that this is not so. The tree has lifted up my sidewalk and major repairs will have to be done. Of course I know that the City will not reimburse me for the cost. Just thought you would like to know.

C. Hoffmann

Maspeth

Dear C. Hoffmann:

Unfortunately some trees will lift the sidewalk especially

when the root system is choked by lack of water. Many people water their gardens next to the tree but not the tree itself. Also many residents brick around tree pit and cut off the source of water and life for the tree. So the root system searches out water moving toward the garden

or the nearest water supply. If the tree has substantially

lifted your sidewalk call 311 to report it. ed.

Dear Editor:

I live on what used to be a lovely block but since so many houses have been sold in the past year it is very different. Many houses have been completely made over, walls taken down, doors installed where dining rooms were, decks put up on backs of houses and not one permit is displayed which means no inspections, where are the inspections? Something should be done.

This street (76th Street) is an ideal place for many inspectors and something should be done, it's getting out of hand. I would appreciate your attention.

Thank you,

(Name withheld)

Middle Village

Dear Name Withheld-

If you suspect illegal work is being done on your block you should call 311 to report on address. You are given a complaint number to track progress of your complaint. If you experience problems with the lack of response to your complaint please call Councilman Gallagher's office, Community board #5 and the Juniper Park Civic Assoc. The numbers are in the back of this magazine. And don't be afraid to sign your name to a letter. That's the first indication of why the problem is getting worse... too many people don't want to get involved ed.

Dear Bob:

Please help me. It was back in June 1997 when I wrote a letter to the Queens Ledger responding to an article about the Juniper Park Civic Association looking for ways to make the roads around Juniper Park safer. I wrote more letters to the Ledger and the Juniper Berry and had made the case for putting back the median on Juniper Blvd. North and South. In a phone conversation with you the reason against medians was from a woman who said no one cleaned the litter. This to me is not a good enough reason to stop something that may save lives and make the roads safer and more beautiful with trees and plants. I'm a member of Transportation Alternatives and people are crying out all over the city for safer streets and medians are one of the ways. Please go to 34th Avenue where from 69th Street to 116

Street a median was installed. Look how nice the median is on 63rd Avenue from Dry Harbor Road to Woodhaven Blvd. Are there any members that go back to 1975 when the median was removed? How about Carl Berner, what were the arguments? Also, I've been reading the Juniper Berry since 1993 and I am the only one who was concerned about Eliot Avenue where it passes the cemeteries with its dangerous sidewalks. I am wondering why the Civic Association hasn't been more vocal. Construction was supposed to start in March but so far hasn't.

Why weren't my articles included in the Berry? This has been a very dangerous pedestrian hazard for a long time and the construction project will have an impact on the community.

Thank you,

Richard Polgar

Maspeth

Dear Richard:

Putting back the medians on Juniper Boulevard North & South requires a capital project and considering all the other projects needed, it may be some time before the project is

funded. We agree that it is a worthwhile project to

make both Juniper Boulevards safer.

As for the reconstruction of Eliot Avenue between the cemeteries, the project is funded and we have requested through Senator Maltese's office a chance to examine the design. We were told that construction will start soon but we haven't been given an exact date. However to say that you are the only one concerned about the project since 1993 is absurd. Since you are too busy to attend civic and community board meetings, I suggest you do a little research before making untrue comments.

The JPCA lobbied for this project for years at countless

meetings with elected officials and the community

board. ed.

Dear Mr. and Mrs. Holden:

Thank you for everything you are doing for us both. The (Juniper Park Civic Assoc.) October meeting was so wonderful. If it was not for both of you, none of it would have occurred. The newspapers did a wonderful job. The Dept.of Sanitation Deputy Commissioner (Vito Turso) was so wonderful at the meeting. People liked the Daily News and Newsday articles, they did real nice stories. People all liked your set-up at the meeting. It was all a nice and wonderful tribute to my father and me.

Best wishes,

Carl and

Emily Berner

Middle Village

Dear Editor:

I am a resident of 80th Street (between Juniper Valley Road and Furmanville Avenue). When I first purchased my home, it was near condemnation state – a total eyesore to the block. Over the past ten years I have spent every available cent on the preservation and beautification of it.

Recently several houses have been sold on my

block. Some, luckily, have been purchased by couples

and young families who, like me, have beautified

their homes and property.

However, a few have been purchased for investment purposes only. Unfortunately for us these new owners do not care who they rent their property to. Their only concern is who can pay the highest price. Although they go through the trouble of having elaborate credit checks done on the tenants to make sure they can pay the rent, they don't give a hoot about the character or integrity of the people they rent to. And, unfortunately, some of the real estates in our neighborhood must feel the same way. A few years ago, Phillips (the real estate company that cares so much about Middle Village) sold a house on my block to an absentee landlord who rented both apartments to people who have had the police to the home a dozen or so times. They constantly block our driveways and double park their multiple out of state vehicles, have late night (or should I say early morning) barbecues and have a steady stream of visitors/boarders in and out of the house all day and all

night. The previous owner lived in the home by herself

for years. Now we have at least 10-15 people in there on a daily basis.

The latest house on our block to be sold has been sold by Contempo Realty. At least Phillips pretends to care about the neighborhood. Contempo could care less. They sold the three-family home to an investor who does not live in the neighborhood, nor plans to. He is going to rent the two upstairs apartments and put a NAIL SALON on the bottom floor!! When the new owner was approached by a concerned neighbor expressing his surprise and outrage over his putting a business in the middle of a residential block, his comment was Well, it's a busy street, anyway.

When Contempo was told by us what the new owner planned to do, they played dumb and said they had no idea when they sold the home what the new owner's intentions were.

The chief reason Middle Village has stayed so nice for so long is because the people who live here care about it. Unfortunately, all that seems to be changing. People are selling out. If this continues Middle Village will go down the tubes at a rapid pace as so many Queens neighborhoods have. I will be saddened to see it, but I refuse to do down with the ship. I will pack up my family and move into higher grounds. I am tired of saying my prayers and crossing my fingers every time a house is put up for sale on my block.

Sincerely yours,

Lisa Pisano

Middle Village

Dear Mr. Holden:

I sympathize with small business owners and their efforts to promote business. However, I remain sympathetic as long as they don't negatively affect my quality of life. These businesses typically hire people to distribute menus. This is not a problem. The menus are sometimes deposited into private mailboxes. This IS a problem. In all cases I will call the establishment, request to speak with the manager, and explain that only a USPS letter carrier may access a mailbox. Coincidentally, all of my calls have been to Chinese restaurants. Most of the managers I spoke to have been civil, apologetic, understanding, and compliant. Some have been belligerent and insulting. One manager told me

I'm a stupid American without any business know how. I doubt he was the manager but, rather, the same worker I had spoken to on many previous occasions. He was probably just fed up with hearing from me. I let it go.

This has gone on for years. On Saturday September 18 I heard my mailbox slam shut. I went to gather my mail but found a Chinese menu. By then the deliverer was three houses down. I called him back, politely explained who may and may not access private mailboxes. He smiled, nodded, replied ok, ok. I tracked him until he reached the next block where he resumed stuffing mailboxes with menus. On Sunday, September 19th it happened again. This time it was a Lee Garden messenger reaching into mailboxes, including mine. Until three years ago my neighbors would argue that these businesses were only trying to make a buck. Today, these same neighbors constantly complain to me about the situation but are too afraid (for politically correct reasons) to voice their frustration.

The vast majority of these menu distributors are oriental. This isn't an attempt to single out a particular ethnic group. It's a fact based on observation and personal experiences.

Additionally, complete strangers are making their way into our property for recyclables. Since we've given such free rein to our mailboxes, they've taken it a step further and decided they'll open our gates and rummage through our garbage for empty bottles and cans. They do this at 06:00

a.m. when some of us are still asleep, whether or not it's pickup day. They don't care how much noise they make nor how many cans and bottles they have to rattle to pack their contractor bags full of empties. Amazing. I was recently

having a conversation with a neighbor in front of our respective properties when a strange woman and child opened the gate to our neighbor's house and walked up to the side of the house to rummage for recyclables. I approached her and told her she was on private property and needed to leave. She returned an ear-to-ear smile, nodded, and continued rummaging, indifferent to what I had said.

The other offenders are the megastores and some supermarkets. They may not invade our mailboxes but the sheer volume of their promotional material is just as damaging. Cheap labor is hired and piled into a van to distribute heavy packets filled with circulars. They make their rounds at all hours, flinging these packets into carefully manicured gardens and private property. Often, these circulars pile up, sending a clear message to burglars that an owner is not home, and won't be for some time. We can plan to have the Post Office hold our mail. What alternative do we have for the junk hand delivered by megastore hired hands.

There is absolutely no evidence to prove that the money saved in postage is passed on in the form of savings to the customer. The avalanche of paper we begrudgingly accumulate becomes another wad of paper we must carefully package and secure for weekly recycling, otherwise WE (!!!) risk a fine

from DSNY inspectors. I know that we live in a market-based society. Businesses need to promote their trade by the most efficient and economical means possible. This often involves hand distribution of promotional material. Place it at my doorstep or behind my screen door. Do NOT open

or otherwise access my mailbox; it should remain a restricted container whose sensitive personal and business letters, checks, and other stamped correspondence is accessible only by the addressee, residents of address, and

postal worker. But given the trend in property invasion

and abuse of self-promotion by businesses, we probably should find a more heavy-handed solution to this problem. I do my part by calling offending businesses and boycotting

their stores. What can you politicos do about passing a law to mitigate such erosions to our quality of life.

Sincerely,

Michael Moreno

Middle Village

Dear Michael:

We contacted Queens Postmaster Bill Rogers about the problem. The Postmaster will get personally involved in this problem. He urged the JPCA to send him all fliers,

menus etc. that are placed in mailboxes. Send all fliers to: JPCA, PO Box 790275 Middle Village, NY 11379 or bring them to our next meeting. ed.

Dear Editor:

I am writing to you today to advise you of a situation that has disturbed me for a long period of time. With all the improvements that are going on in Middle Village, how come Juniper Elbow on Metropolitan Ave. still continues to be an eyesore. They have stored in the front of the building, rusted tin and metal equipment/supplies – wood, etc., all thrown about.

I don't understand how come the owner cannot be forced to clean up the area or fined a substantial amount of money until he complies with a satisfactory cleanup. If all companies/stores displayed their overstock inventory in front of their building, Middle Village would not be a nice place to live. Thank you in advance for your help and awaiting your reply.

Marie McMahon

Middle Village