Letters to the Editor Fall 2017 - JuniperCivic.com
Serving Middle Village and Maspeth since 1938.

Originally published in the September 2017 Juniper Berry Magazine

Letters to the Editor Fall 2017

Issues include illegal parking by DOT, an untidy house and a bioswale garbage pit

First Meeting

I've been a resident of MV for 17 years. Just joined JPCA this year and went to my first meeting last night. I even got my husband to go.

I had no idea what went on at these meetings; I found it to be very informative. It was sometimes like school (where people ask the same things over and over) but that is the nature of opening up the floor.

One very moving moment was when Lt. John Russo, who solved the Howard Beach murder of Karina Vetrano, presented an award to Jonathan Kulig. Kulig risked his own safety to save someone who fell on the subway tracks.

I was particularly touched by his humble demeanor. He said he's not a hero. He's just a guy who just did the right thing. We need more people like Jonathan.

Oh, and my sign for Bob goes in the window this evening!

Maria Campione Mikol, Middle Village

Black Mold at Grand Central

Have you taken a good look lately at your local Subway station? Well as a StrapHanger, I have sure noticed something at the Subway Station at Grand Central Terminal...Black Mold seeping through the wall and ceiling. Not your typical run of the mill mold, its fuzzy, black with spores growing everyday causing cancer. Millions of riders breathing in this toxic air and yet the MTA does nothing about it. They collect billions each year and while they continue to fix tracks, they are hospitalizing people without a care in the world. Grand Central...more like Cancer Central brought to you by the MTA!!

Tony Cammarata, Photographer, Backstage Photography

Seeking kids events at Juniper

To Whom it may Concern,

My name is Michelle Conter.  I was born and raised in Maspeth and 5 years ago my husband and I purchased our first home in Middle Village. I love this neighborhood and taking walks to the park with my children, the concert series in the summer and Night out on Crime; however, I wish there were more child friendly events. 

I would love to see more events like movies in the park, and a Halloween parade etc.  I attend many community child friendly events at Atlas Park and Maspeth Federal Bank.  I wish we could have these same events in our beautiful park.

I recently posted on the Juniper Civic Association Facebook page asking for suggestions.  Christina Wilkinson was helpful and gave me the email address for the parks events coordinator. She also informed me that there was a Halloween event years ago.  I would like to know if you could help me in setting up future events like these. 

Your help is greatly appreciated,

Michelle Conter, Middle Village mom

Berry special edition requested

I am contacting you in the hope of obtaining a copy of the March issue of the Juniper Berry. I attended the Polka Boys concert July 11th where I picked up a copy of the summer issue.  I read that March had an extended section on Maspeth. I grew up in Maspeth and would love to get a copy for my 89 year old mother who now resides in Seaford. Thank you in advance for your assistance and guidance.

Kind regards,

Deborah Crane, Kew Gardens

P.S I truly admire all the wonderful work that you do on behalf of the residents of Maspeth and Middle Village.  I wish we in KG & FH had a strong civic like yours. Thanks again for your hard work.

Commercial vehicle in community drive

Hello,

We have a small community drive way in back of our house.  It doesn't go all the way through.  It's for 6 houses.

The house attached to mine was sold.  The person who bought it lives in Long Island and rents the house out.  It appears that he is renting his back driveway to a HVAC van.  A large van...commercial plates...big ladder on top of it. When I look out my sliding doors into my yard...that what is staring me in the face.  Before I approach them on the matter, I wanted to know what the law is.  Is it legal to rent a private driveway out for commercial vehicle use?

I called 311.  They didn't know and sent me to CB5...they didn't know.  I called the Boro President's office and they didn't know.  They referred me to their Constituent Services number.  They said they will research the question and get back to me.  I was hoping you would know the laws on this matter.

Thank you so much.

(name withheld) Middle Village

It is a DOB violation to store commercial vehicles on residential property. ‒ Ed.

Swamp flooded, not drained

In response to Rick Hayes' Op Ed:

Instead of draining the Washington swamp, Trump has flooded it with lawyers and lobbyists hell-bent on lining the pockets of corporate America. A new report from the New York Times and ProPublica has identified 71 Trump industry appointees, including 28 with potential conflicts. A few examples:

1) At the Education Department 3 members of the deregulation team previously worked for charter school advocacy groups and for-profit college operators. The Department has already begun to rollback student loan protections, which could potentially save for-profit colleges millions of dollars.

2) The chairwoman of the deregulation team at the EPA was formerly president of the Rule of Law Defense Fund, an organization tied to the oil industry that has lobbied against clean air laws. In March, Trump signed an executive order to dismantle environmental protections strongly opposed by the nation's largest polluters.

3) A senior appointee at the Department of Housing and Urban Development still owns a $50,000 stake in a real-estate company where she previously worked, whose value could be greatly boosted by HUD's policies.

To hide these conflicts of interests the Trump administration has refused to release correspondence and calendars of government officials. Some former lobbyists have even received special ethics waivers to work in government.

This is the most ethically challenged administration in recent history.

As far as healthcare is concerned the bill in the Senate benefits the Republican  swamp $ contributors. The poor & older Americans will take a big hit. Dare I mention the premiums those with pre-existing conditions will pay & the bare bones policies health ins. companies. One better pray they don't get sick if that disaster of a bill becomes law. Only 17% of Americans support it! Should someone go bankrupt because of a long term illness? For profit healthcare is part & parcel of the astronomical health care costs in this country. Is health care a privilege or a right? At least liberals have a heart & conscience. 

Alex Kalaf, Middle Village

Rough Going at Rikers

Good Day,

Please advise as to a current issue on Riker's Island with parking. I am a Registered Nurse working in one of the most dangerous and biggest jails in the nation (Anna Marie Kross Center) AMKC. I also work with the Mental Health population (PACE,CAPS, and C-71) which doubles my risk of being exposed to the many dangerous episodes of jail. In lieu of several past publicized incidents with patient neglect, key medical staff has had their Gate One Passes revoked.

Apparently the revoking of Gate one passes from civilians is directly related to the Department of Corrections breach of security. Allegedly DOC officers were copying Gate One passes and selling them for $300.00 dollars a pass, which allows them the same privilege as medical staff to travel to assigned working building and park directly in assigned building parking lot without taking the route buses. Gate One passes are an integral part of the nurses being able to report to their post in a timely fashion and provide nursing treatment. Nurses' primary responsibility is to treat inmates, medicate and implement strategic care plans. However, nurses also treat the Department of Corrections for Asthma Attacks, Chest Pain, Slashings and high blood pressure to name a few.

It is with great sadness the Department of Corrections has created an atmosphere resulting in the nurses feeling that it has a disdain for the nursing department as a whole. Nurses are forced now to park in East/West parking, requiring them to wait 30 minutes to an hour for parking. The Department of Correction has recently hired a large population of officers that utilize East/West parking therefore adequate parking is nearly impossible. There is a huge risk for Vehicle damage as cars are clustered. There are no cameras for visualization. Nurses are also required to periodically float. The nurses would have to wait for a bus to come to their steady work site, get driven back to the control room, and then wait for another bus to get transported to assigned float building. This highly compromises patient care in that time is of the essence. Nurses usually can drive directly to the assigned buildings with their car if holding a Gate One Pass. Gate Ones are incentives, not only for nurses, but also for DOC in preventing incidents of patient neglect. Please guide as to what can be done about this recent dilemma.

Respectfully,

Constance Clark

Pols Neglect Us

Three weeks and no update on the TRAIN ISSUES. How long does it take to get people together? Or has this issue been forgotten....AGAIN!

Grace Meng is going upstate to protest GOP issues. Maybe she should address our issues. In fact, I seriously doubt that she even knows or cares about our circumstances. She couldn't answer my emails about the trains but is on the bandwagon to oust all GOP policies. As usual politicians causing DISHARMONY and looking out only for themselves instead of the people they (supposedly) serve.

Thumbs up to Bob Holden on his confrontation with the hypocrite Scott Stringer. I hope Crowley and Stringer got enough photos. As usual the city hires incompetent vendors and shifts damage consequences and ultimate restoration for those damages back to the homeowners. Soon they'll be forcing summonses on homeowners for damaged sidewalks. By the way I hope Stringer can locate ALL of the missing computers that the Board of Ed is missing. Any ideas where they went?

Why are things in such a mess, airports, subways, bridges, roads.......the list is endless? Who was in charge when this was happening, oh yes, it was the Democrats. Let's name another building or structure after a politician.

Anthony Pedalino, Middle Village

Regarding the Ridgewood Homeless Shelter

[For Mr. Holden in Particular]

Good Afternoon:

I addressed the following email with CB 5 (called twice with no return calls); the pastor of the Ridgewood Presbyterian Church (whose response was I did not know what I was talking about); local politicians, etc. with NO response. I am hoping you would have something to contribute [regarding the proposal to place an overnight shelter in the space used by the Ridgewood Older Adult Center]....

Why was this plan not discussed with the residents and community before a deal was made with the City? 

You need to seriously consider if this Emergency Bed Plan will be compliant with the Sex Offender Registry Act (SORA). As you know, you have the pre-school located on site and you have a number of young, growing families on 70th Avenue.

The thought of putting this plan in the midst of a pre-school and senior center – two vulnerable populations – the young and the aging – is more than concerning.

Being the victim of a burglary, in my home on 70th Avenue six months ago, even makes me more worried.

Finally, the idea of not being informed is disheartening and shows your lack of interest in being a good neighbor. I am a lifelong member of Ridgewood.

A non-scripted response would be appreciated.

Thank you,

Barbara, Ridgewood

Response from Christina Wilkinson:

Hi Barbara,

Your e-mail was forwarded to me.  I met with Pastor Mike Lopez [of All Saints Church, which is leasing from the Ridgewood Presbyterian Church] on 6/20 for more than an hour regarding the proposed shelter. Lisa Urbano Pizzitola, who grew up on 70th Ave, was also in the meeting. In a nutshell, while Pastor Mike seemed to know a lot about the program planned for the church, whenever we asked a question, he told us that the Presbyterian Church was running the program and we needed to ask Pastor Vicky [Moss], who unfortunately was not present in the meeting.  Meanwhile, we understand that Pastor Vicky had been telling neighbors that the program was all Pastor Mike's idea.  Lisa has tried to set up a meeting with Pastor Vicky but has thus far been unsuccessful.

Pastor Mike revealed that if the church was to sign a contract with Breaking Ground (they apparently haven't yet), then any beds not filled with local homeless seniors would go to those referred by DHS through Breaking Ground, which is certainly of concern.  He stated that the men who stay by the Forest Avenue train station would not be the homeless who would be staying overnight.

If/when we get more information I will pass it along to you.

Thank you.

When DOT Is the Parking Scofflaw

In Andy's daily or parked in bus stop, with supervisor in a black DOT official car waiting for his coffee.

Thomas M., Middle Village

Be a Good Neighbor

I have been a lifelong resident of Middle Village. Never in my almost 33 years here have I witnessed people just throwing their trash on the front lawn. It is disgusting!! These people came in, demolished the house, and built a brand new one only to litter their front lawn with trash. It honestly is such an eyesore and do not understand why they think this is acceptable. These people moved into the house a year ago now and have never tried to make the front of their house look decent, it just always looks like this. I'm sick of it! The house is on 82nd place between 64th road and Cowells Court. What can be done about this?

Respectfully Yours,

Cindy Peli-Heege, Middle Village

Bioswale blunder

Just how much taxpayer money is being spent on this? And they leave it like this for weeks.

J.J.Wenz, Maspeth

Loves her realtor

I'm writing this letter to share the wonderful experience I had with one of your members Andrew LaSala a local realtor. My husband and I started house hunting back in June; during the process we met many different real estate agents. Most weren't very helpful, seemed greedy and didn't listen to what we were really looking for.  We met Andrew at an open house and he was the total opposite of what we were used to dealing with.  He was very down to earth, friendly, honest, helpful, trustworthy and knowledgeable. We told him we loved the house and so we put an offer in. He promised us he would do everything in his power to get us the house and he did just that.  After he got us the accepted offer he was there every step of the way, guiding us step by step.  He was never too busy to answer a text message or phone call and no question was ever a stupid one. In the process of searching for our new home not only did we find a great real estate agent, we've also made a new friend.  Anyone who is interested in buying or selling a home I highly recommend using Andrew as your realtor you will not be disappointed. 

Sincerely,

Christina Simone, Maspeth

Calamus Catastrophe

My Brother Michael and l would like to join your mailing list, our parents live on Calamus Avenue in Woodside. I have to say this project has caused stress among my parents. My mother is the care taker for my father who has Parkinson's and since this project, were extremely concerned about the foundation of our house and the multiple cracks in the exterior of the house. They feel trapped in the house due recent turn offs of the gas. If they are not home they feel that they will not be able to have gas until the next day to continue with their daily lives. The amount of dust from the drilling has caused a mess on the exterior and they are subjected to having their windows closed at all times. We are also worried about the value of our property decreasing in the coming years due to this project. These are some issues we have for now and we hope they will not continue in damaging their lives, property safety and value. Thank You for taking your time in reading my email. We look forward to assist in your guidance with this project.

Nelson Fung, Woodside

Track used for picnicking

I'm writing to you concerning the running track. As you know, the track and soccer field are both widely used on weekends. However, the folks that come to watch the soccer games are picnicking in that area and they are spilling onto the track. They have tables, coolers and umbrellas right on the fringe. Thus, there are bicycles, skateboards, scooters and strollers in the first 2-3 lanes from the children who accompany them. Additionally, people even have setup umbrellas on the inner circumference of the track. While the park is for everyone, some are interfering with others' use of the park. I won't go into the issue of the garbage left behind or the large bags of it that are thrown by the train tracks. That's another issue which I am sure is being addressed.

It would be appreciated if you could use your influence with the Parks Department to enforce a ban of some kind that keeps people from making this their picnic area. There are other areas for that and the bleachers are there to view the games.  We are way beyond the "No wheels of any kind on the track" sign.

Thanks in advance for anything you can do.

Deborah Crane, Kew Gardens

68th Street speed bumps requested

Dear Commissioner Garcia,

Yesterday I met with residents of 68th Street living between Eliot Avenue and Caldwell Avenue in Maspeth. Their block runs parallel with 69th Street.

I witnessed several vehicles speeding up to 50 MPH through that area to bypass traffic on 69th Street.  Every resident that I spoke with wanted speed bumps. We are especially worried about the many children in the area.

It's a very dangerous situation. Please consider the installation of speed bumps on that long stretch.

Regards,

Robert Holden, President, JPCA

Response from DOT:

Good evening, Mr. Holden:

Yes, we will take a look at this location to see if speed bumps or another treatment may be feasible.

I am also copying Jason Banrey on this email. (My staff will also send an email to you in the morning with a DOT reference number, so we can follow up with you on the status of the study.)

Best regards,

Nicole Garcia, Queens DOT Commissioner

In appreciation of local history

Hi, I am writing in reference to this article I found

"The Lamplighter of Olde Middle Village" by: DOROTHY SPEER.

Frank Bello use to live in our house at 66-25 79th Street. He then moved next door to where his daughter still lives today. There really aren't enough records about the history of Middle Village. I will never forget the stories Frank told us. Thank you for keeping the history alive.

Sincerely,

Joseph Renna

Crowley Bullies

On September 12th, Election day, I worked as a coordinator at Maspeth High School. After 9pm two women showed up. They never identified themselves. They were in the middle of everything holding up our closing process so I asked them to please leave. This is when they showed me a piece of paper with no name on it saying they were poll watchers. I told them to go to the side so they wouldn't be in the way and their reply was "no". One woman asked my name and very rudely told the other woman to write it down. I asked them their names and was told very rudely they were Elizabeth Crowley's sisters. It was then that the police officer at our polling site asked them to leave and their response again was "no" then they proceeded to ask for his name and badge number. I'm a senior citizen and did not need to be harassed. Because of them I will not work the polls again.

Theresa Riley, Middle Village

P.S. Grow up Elizabeth Crowley sisters, you're out of kindergarten now. Act it!

Disillusioned Democrat

The following letter was sent to Elizabeth Crowley of which the Juniper Berry was copied:

Dear Miss Crowley,

In a recent article in the Queens Ledger, I came across the following statement that was attributed to you, regarding Robert Holden.

Crowley said Holden is well-known for his conservative stances, racist attacks on minorities and immigrants, and a scorched-earth approach to addressing opposing viewpoints.

While I understand politics can be a dirty game, I find these derogatory comments and personal attack of Mr. Holden to be extremely offensive on a number of levels.

Regardless of his political ambition or party affiliation, Mr. Holden is known to be a man of the highest integrity and neither a racist nor anti immigrants. To use such rhetoric for political gain which clearly has no merit, is absolutely abhorrent to me. As an immigrant myself with a multicultural family, I find your comments are not only offensive to Mr. Holden but to my family and the people of Queens, known for its strong immigrant population and culturally diverse neighborhoods. I am a registered Democrat who has always voted along party lines. While I never envisioned I would change this stance, I feel strongly enough about your recent comments to break from tradition and I would urge all Democrats to follow suit.

D. O'Connor, Middle Village

September 2017 Juniper Berry Magazine

September 2017 Table of Contents