A happy reunion
My grandfather, Francis Carr, is an avid Juniper Berry reader turned 92 on April 7th. He moved to 82nd street in 1961 and lived there consecutively until 1999 when he and his wife Rosemary Carr moved to the Poconos. In 2016 and after the passing of his wife, Mr. Carr has moved back to the same block to live with one of his daughters. I took this picture of him last summer after returning to the old neighborhood. So many of my favorite childhood memories include walking 'up to the park' with my grandfather. He still currently gets his daily exercise at the park. I believe it keeps him young at heart as well. I was writing this in the hope that this could be featured in an upcoming publication. Thank you for your consideration.
Born in Central Park
A couple of years ago I wrote about my family's involvement in the Newtown volunteers that mentioned my great-great grandfather Anton Schafer and his involvement. It featured a picture, actually a painting, of him in his FD uniform.
Just came across this obituary of Anton from 1927 and it mentions that he was the last surviving charter member of the Gunderson Hook & Ladder Company #2 of Winfield and a charter member of the Fearless Hook & Ladder Company #7 of Middle Village. He was so proud of this service that he was buried in the uniform of the Newtown Exempts of which he was a member until his death.
Apparently, he was born in 1839 on a farm that was located in today's Central Park.
Hope all is well,
Berry Down Under
I was given a copy of Juniper Berry (Spring 2018) by my visiting nephew (grand) and wife of Maspeth. I have lived in Maspeth and other parts of Queens (born in Bushwick, Brooklyn in 1943). I currently live in Australia (Sydney and Central Coast Region) and am a conjoint lecturer (honorary at Univ. of Newcastle). I am semi-retired and continue my research and book writing in urban planning and sustainable communities.
Congratulations on a fine publication. JB is well laid out and carries up-to-date stories in effective writing style.
I also note the outstanding work of the Juniper Park Civic Assoc. In a fast-moving era at present, the Assoc. is crucial to ensuring sound, informed and safe neighbourhoods. Good luck to the new President, Tony Nunziato.
Some of your members may be interested in my books. One is on Brooklyn and Bushwick (2015) and one on New York Neighbourhoods (2018). These are available via a search on Google under 'Ray Rauscher books'. Cursor over any book and a Preview button allows a look at a portion of any book. Be happy to provide more info via my email firstname.lastname@example.org on my interest in Queens and NY generally.
My next trip to NY (and Queens) is next year (early Nov 2019 for a month). I'm sure we can catch up and talk about urban planning and sustainable communities in Queens.
Like many of your members, my favorite spot for coffee in the early am is Glendale Bakery, Maspeth. Favorite afternoon coffee spot is Starbucks, Queens Blvd. and Grand Av.
Sydney and Central Coast
DOT studying Flushing Avenue underpass safety
Assembly Member Catherine Nolan passed along the following letter:
Thank you for your February 12, 2018 letter regarding the pedestrian approaches to the underpass walkway at the intersections of Flushing Avenue and 55th and 59th Streets in Queens. The Department of Control commenced a study at the location to determine whether it meets nationally recognized traffic engineering safety standards required for the installation of traffic controls. These studies will consider factors such as pedestrian volumes, crash experience, vehicular speeds, visibility and signal spacing when making a determination. Queens Borough Commissioner Nicole Garcia will advise you of their findings, which we expect to complete by the end of May. Thank you for your concern for transportation issues impacting your district.
Letter to owner of untidy lot
The following letter was sent to Darius Powell of Prime Design Realty:
Dear Mr. Powell, I hope this letter finds you well. On behalf of my constituents. I would like to draw your attention to the properties listed above. These two lots, located along the Queens Midtown Expressway, have fallen into disrepair and have become the site of illegal dumping. In a spirit of community amity, l ardently request that Prime Design Realty repair and secure the fence. Further, I would urge you to clean up the trash and garbage that has accumulated. Those lots are not far from a residential neighborhood and those people deserve a certain quality of life. If I can be of any further assistance to you or to Prime Design Reality, do not hesitate to contact my office at 718-497-1630. Thanking you in advance for your efforts,
I am very truly yours,
Joseph P. Addabbo, Jr.
New York State Senate
Overdevelopment and illegal conversions
Queens is under attack due to overdevelopment. When high-rise buildings are built, the plans never take into account how our infrastructure is at a breaking point. Our trains and buses are constantly delayed and overcrowded, and our schools are burdened with high class sizes due to overcrowding. Developers often receive tax breaks to build affordable housing, however, this housing is not affordable for the communities where these projects are being built because of the formula currently used to determine affordability. NYC uses a figure called "AMI", which is the Area Median Income. You would think that the average income level used would represent those who actually live in the area where the project is being located, however, NYC uses a regional AMI number that includes the incomes of people in very affluent neighborhoods in NYC, and even in Westchester and other upstate counties. This inflates the regional NYC AMI number, thus setting rents in affordable developments at rates higher than they should be. The 2018 AMI for the New York City region is $93,900 for a three-person family. If the average income level in an area is $50,000 for example, it would make more sense to use that as the baseline average number. I have been pushing to change the law (A5505) to base affordability on the average income levels of the people who already live in the area where the project is being built. Because of this overdevelopment, lifelong residents are being pushed out and this is unacceptable.
Furthermore, we have seen a rise in illegal conversions in our neighborhood. It has been a constant back-and-forth with the Buildings Department on this issue. I know Council Member Holden has also been dealing with this. If you believe a property owner is building illegally, please call my office (718-651-3185) and we will look into the matter. The Buildings Department has to investigate, and they repeatedly tell us what they look for. For example, if a property is a 1-family home, but has 3 bells or 3 mailboxes, then that is certainly suspicious. Our office is open M-F from 9a-7p, and Saturdays 11-3p. I can also be reached via email at email@example.com.
New York State Assembly
New Roofing Scam
FYI from Captain Mackie, former Executive Officer at the 104th Precinct:
Having been the previous Executive Officer of the 104 and 109 Precincts, I just wanted to get the word out about what appears to be a new Roofing Scam...they unsuccessfully attempted it on me yesterday morning at my home in Long Island. Queens is not too far away, and I don't want to see anyone victimized. Please feel free to share this with your family, friends and neighbors alike.
At 10:30 AM a man knocks on my door from a carting company with a full sized Dumpster outside, and asks if I can move my vehicle so he can park the Dumpster in the street. I asked him what/who the dumpster was for (because I never requested one). He said it was for a roofing job to be done at my address. I told him I requested no such work to be done and requested him to leave with his dumpster, which he did.
At 12:30 PM a different man with a yellow vest knocks on my door, and with a full-sized tractor trailer flatbed outside (dark blue cab with Newcastle Construction with a rook logo in white lettering on the side) loaded up with pallets and shingles. Again, this man claims I am getting a new roof. I proceed to say (again) that I never ordered a roof. He then produces an invoice with my exact address on it, and again I tell him I never ordered a roof. Then he asks me if I rent or own, because if I rent the owner would have requested the roof and not me. Then he says to me "you should just let them do the work, get a free roof out of it, and then not pay for it." Again I refused, told him I was a police officer and asked him leave. He said he would "call his company back" to "clarify" and left. I looked for the company online, and the only ones I could find with the same name were in Alabama, California and the United Kingdom.
With the change in weather upon us, it is high time for roofing scams. I know these are unfortunately quite common when I was in the precincts, and I went ahead and did some research to gather more detailed information about the different ways these scams are conducted. The most common type of roofing scam is where a person claiming to be a roofer shows up, and says they looked at your roof from the street and see a problem with it and that it needs to be fixed immediately, and if it is not fixed right away they scare the homeowner that dire consequences (water damage, i.e., mold, dryrot) will ensue. They will insist upon an immediate payment (typically 3 to 4000) to do the "emergency work," and if you bite, they may either rip off a portion of your roof (and then never return to complete the job, while still billing you for the entire cost of the job) or spray it with some kind of "sealant"/spray paint. The most common thing with these scammers is that they are persistent, they will make several attempts to convince the owner to take the bait before moving on, and unfortunately, they prey upon the elderly. If you did not initiate a job with a roofing contractor, or that contractor never conducted a pre-inspection of your home or quoted you a price which you agreed upon prior to performing any work, it's a scam. If someone does show up to your home with a truck and equipment which you did not request, try to get the company name and Dept. of Consumer Affairs license number (in NYC it will appear on the side of the truck if licensed), and report the company to the Dept. of Consumer Affairs, whether they have a DCA license or not.
Please be aware and be safe.
Captain Gregory Mackie
Narcotics Borough Queens North