Train Problems Worsen

Dear Editor,
For over fifteen months (and counting) residents of Middle Village have been bombarded by railway activity at all hours of the day and night. This includes the overnight parking of smelly garbage laden cars at the point South of 69th Lane and Juniper Blvd. South. This activity has become a daily ritual of hooking up with these garbage laden cars for movement to its final destination which for the most part occurs at around 5:00 AM daily.

Every morning a diesel locomotive arrives at this same spot spewing noxious fumes while creating unbearable noise to the residents, which for the most part is a daily wake-up. This daily hookup lasts approximately 30 minutes and on occasion exceeds 60 minutes. There are other periods of excessive idling during the day, as well as constant movement of trains during the night and very early morning hours. There have been days where there has been continual train activity for up to three hours which sounds as if cars were being shuttled from track to track. It is not uncommon to have trains sound bells and blow whistles regardless of the time, day or night.

I have spoken to neighbors who have expressed concern about the disruption due to the continual train activity. They have stated that it has become impossible to use their yards, as at any moment a train could come and sit there for 30 minutes or even hours. Others have stated that their children do not use the yards because of fumes and noise. People do not hang out laundry because of the smell of smoke as well as the soot that is expelled into the air. The stench from the parked garbage laden cars is often unbearable, especially in the summer. People have resorted to closing their windows, and overnight running air conditioners, radios, and fans to try blocking the noise, fumes and stench of garbage. People are resorting to creating these distractions consuming electricity when they should be able to enjoy the natural outdoor environment. Some have resorted to sleeping in their living rooms or basements to try to block out some of the noise and fumes.

I have expressed this problem virtually daily to Borough President Helen Marshall with absolutely no response. I have also gotten token responses from State Senator Joseph Addabbo, Assemblyman Andrew Hevesi, and Councilwoman Elizabeth Crowley. Assemblyman Mike Miller has been the most responsive trying to schedule a meeting with the railway and other parties to get resolution to this problem. I have also contacted Gary Giordano at CB 5 who has tried to contact railway officials with little success and finally Bob Holden of the Juniper Park Civic who is attempting to address this issue. I have not seen or heard any plans for anybody to go to this site and experience this problem firsthand! Possibly it doesn't concern them as much as the people that have been adversely affected by this daily!

It is interesting that the garbage that is left overnight is parked in an area that is largely residential, is behind a newly opened restaurant, not far from a day-care center and PS/IS 128.

Anthony Pedalino
Middle Village

Juniper Dog Park

Dear Editor,
While we understand that dogs and dog owners need a place where they can run around, why does it need to be Juniper Park? Do dogs really care where they go? Having a dog park is a very bad idea and is an accident waiting to happen.

Dog parks are a cesspool of diseases. Not every owner is responsible and will pick up after their dog and it would become a minefield of dog poop with all sorts of diseases coming in. Dog feces carry harmful infections and spread diseases and harmful bacteria.

Dog parks are dangerous because you never know what kind of dogs come there. Big dogs will be playing with small dogs and before you know it a small dog will get stomped to death. Dog parks are like playing Russian roulette. A fight between owners can get out of hand as well.

Dog parks are dangerous for small children.

Dog parks are dangerous- can you imagine the dog’s behavior if the dog has been locked inside and then has the opportunity to run wild. Also, you cannot control who comes through the gate.

Dog parks are dangerous because people do not follow the rules. Despite posted rules and regulations you cannot direct the behavior of other dog owners. You can ask others to watch their dogs and if they don’t? They can take offense at your request.

Dog parks are dangerous because owners use the time to socialize amongst themselves and pay little or no attention to what their dogs are doing.

We are opposed to a dog park. It is too close to homes in a quiet residential neighborhood. We have concerns about noise from barking dogs, as well as the smell of uric acid, increased traffic and the effect on our property values. In addition, it would hasten erosion in the area and endanger our trees. Not only that, but also this park will draw people from all over, only making problems worse.

Name withheld on request

To the rescue

Dear JPCA,
I am a tree farmer on eastern Long Island. I read your recent story on the tree vandalism in Juniper Valley Park with great interest for two reasons.

Firstly, I was drawn to it because I am a civic minded individual and tree lover who served for many years on our own local community tree committee and know the shock and frustration the good people of Juniper Civic Association must be experiencing.

Secondly, I focused on the article because it appears you seem to be networked with the various groups and individuals (Adrian Benepe, in particular) that are concerned with street and park tree planting in New York. In my small nursery here in Southold, on the east end of Long Island, I have been growing the new variety of disease-tolerant American Elms, the availability of which should be of great interest to these very people. These are the people who should be at the very forefront of reintroducing these magnificent trees to the city parks and streetscapes to restore the grandeur that was lost when the Dutch Elm Disease claimed the lives of most all of these giant trees. The reintroduction of the American Elm to the naked Elm Streets of America should indeed be worthy of a news story in itself!

If you can put me in direct contact with Adrian Benepe and other individuals like Robert Holden of Juniper Park, and other such groups/facilities, I will donate Elm trees to them.

Edward Dart
Dart’s Tree Farm

berry thanks

I recently picked up a copy of the Berry while on a dentist visit to Edward Demirdjan and enjoyed reading about my neighborhood and the issues it faces. I am a resident of Middle Village and enjoy living here and I appreciate the work you are doing to insure it stays a comfortable place to live and raise my daughter. Thank you.

Peter J. Dandrea
Thanks for your comments. We love this community and are working hard to help keep it a great place to live. You should consider joining the Juniper Park Civic Assoc. More members equal a stronger voice in dealing with elected officials and protecting our neighborhood.

Robert Holden, President

Trees planted in Israel

To the Members of the Juniper Park Civic Assoc.

Jewish National Fund of Greater New York would like to express our sadness over the loss of your twelve young trees.

As the “caretaker” of the Land of Israel we have planted more than 240 million trees throughout the country and we know and understand the value of the afforestation and what it contributes not only to our esthetic sensibilities but to the wellbeing of our earth and the air we breathe.

Please accept the enclosed Tree Certificate as a gift from Jewish National Fund to the people of Middle Village. We will be planting twelve trees in Israel in your honor.

With kindest regards and great respect for the work you do.

Jeffrey E. Levine Michael P. Feinman
Greater NY Zone President Greater NY Zone Director

Lost Woodside Brewery

Dear Editor:
I recently came across your website, courtesy of “Forgotten New York,” and the stories in “neighborhood history” were interesting, informative, and brought back some memories. My name is Joseph Schmitt and I’ve lived here in Oppenheim, N.Y. many years, but I grew up in the 1940’s and 50’s in the part of Woodside where the Big Six Towers are today. We were one of the families that had to move so the construction of the buildings could begin in the end of the 50’s.
As a boy, and with my friends, one of the places we used to play in was what I believe was an old abandoned brewery a couple of blocks from my home. Lately I’ve been  trying to find some information on this building, but no success other than a late 19th century map of this area which has “Woodside Brewery” written in the general location. My question is, would you know of any local historian that might have more information on this area and/or building. Any help would be greatly appreciated.
Sincerely Yours,
Joseph Schmitt

Messing with my livelihood

Dear Editor,
I was recently reading Page 53 of the Juniper Berry in regard to commercial vehicles. I am in 100% agreement that they should not park on our streets after 9PM, but parking in the driveway? Come on now!

Have we stooped so low with our neighborhood nonsense that a business owner who owns a commercial van cannot park the van in his or her driveway? In the hard economic times that we are experiencing, we should be happy that our “neighbors” are even working, instead of “complaining” about how he parks his “office.” What if I run a business out of my home? Because you don’t like my van, in my own driveway, you are going to mess with my livelihood??

It has come to my attention that a member or members of this board have sent out flyers and notes to certain “business” owners on Caldwell Ave about their vans. I am totally appalled at this behavior. I would like to know where it states that this is illegal? It is definitely NOT against Police Department regulations. Please let me know ASAP and tell whoever is making this a priority, needs to wake up and stop trying to hurt his neighbor!
Stephen Glossza

Dear Stephen,
Parking commercial vehicles on residential properties is illegal in NYC. The section of the code for the Department of Buildings is ZR 22-00
(Illegal Use In Residential District). If the commercial vehicle is parked on the street after 9pm it’s a parking issue enforced by the NYPD. If the commercial vehicle is stored/parked on a residential property the law is enforced by the Department of Buildings (DOB)
Juniper Park Civic Assoc. receives dozens of complaints regarding commercial trucks, vans and other commercial vehicles parked in residential driveways. When residents call us we urge them to call 311 with the complaint. We did not send out flyers to business owners on Caldwell Avenue as you state. However if you are running a business out of your home it may be a violation of residential zoning regulations. You should check with the DOB. Additionally if you are parking a commercial vehicle on your property that is a violation and a neighbor has the right to file a complaint and the DOB does enforce the law.

Robert Holden, President

High School Zoning Scam

To the Editor:
It was very disturbing to read in the Times Newsweekly that at the recent Forest Hills Civic Meeting, when they asked Nathan Horton of the DOE’s office of Portfolio Planning specific questions regarding zoning of the new I.S/H.S  scheduled to open in 2010, he was not able to commit to zoning preferences for local residents. Why should we believe anything we’ve been promised? I am afraid the same fate will be suffered for local residents when they build the Maspeth HS. Keep the pressure on our local officials.

Elise Mora
Middle Village

Opossum Invasion

Dear Editor,
I live on 84th Place, between Furmanville and Penelope. The neighborhood is infested with opossums. They come out in broad daylight. They've even climbed the bush next to my garage to get on to my second floor deck. No City agency will deal with them. I've paid $300 for a private exterminator and set traps to no avail. What can be done? They are a danger to children and domestic pets.

Roseann Sessa
Middle Village

Dear Roseann,
We ran into the same problem, no city agency will deal with it. We did get a statement that opossums, like raccoons, are indigenous to the area. According to Wikipedia, Opossums are about eight times less likely to carry rabies than wild dogs, and about one in eight hundred opossums are infected with this virus.

(Below) is a photo I took in my backyard this past summer on Caldwell Avenue.

Robert Holden
President, JPCA

Mr. Holden,
Thanks for your reply. I really appreciate it. My family moved to Middle Village when I was four– 50 years ago. I also have an aunt who moved here with her family at the same time. Remarkably, my three cousins as well as my parents, my aunt and uncle, and my sister and I still live here. So now there are 7 households living in Middle Village between Cooper Avenue and Eliot Avenue. Until this year, none of us has seen an opossum, or a raccoon for that matter. And my grandmother’s house in Maspeth, where my father grew up, has been in the family for 70 years and is now occupied by our fifth generation. No one ever remembers seeing an opossum or a raccoon in the backyard.

Although opossums and raccoons may be indigenous to the area, the overdevelopment of this part of Queens has not only made it more uncomfortable for us humans, but also for the “indigenous” animal population. The vermin population is out of control if opossums walk the streets in broad daylight with people around. And, although the chance of rabies is small, unless the opossum is caught after it bites a person or a pet, the person or pet will still have to go through all the unpleasant rabies treatment. My friend’s dog just caught an opossum and since the opossum got away, the dog had to undergo rabies treatment.

Another friend who lives on Eliot Avenue left his basement door open while he took out the trash. When he came back in, an opossum was looking at him.

I’ve also learned from a neighbor that someone who lives on Penelope Ave., on the block between Woodhaven and 84th Place (which is the street I live on) is feeding a family of opossums and they have made a home in her garage!

I think this is a quality of life concern as well as a health concern. And although it is a small comfort to know that an opossum is less likely to have rabies than a wild dog, when was the last time a wild dog was in your backyard?

I’d appreciate any help that the Civic Association can lend to this problem.

Thanks, Ro


To the Editor:
Thank you very much for your wonderful article on the Forest Hills Cat Hospital in the Sept- Oct issue of the Juniper Berry.

There were two inadvertent omissions that need to be rectified;

1) Our front desk staff is directed by Barbara who has been our office manager for more than twenty-five years. Our front desk is staffed by Tiffany, Grace and Jo-Ann.

2) My son, Zeke, deserves the credit for the pictures on the front page of the article and a sincere thanks.

Jay Luger, DVM

To Lorraine Sciulli
Thank you for dropping off the copies of the Juniper Berrys that I did not receive this year. I didn’t expect anyone to hand deliver them to my home, especially the next day. It is nice to see that there are still people out there who are dedicated to their work.

Richard Pantaleo
Middle Village