Long-time resident loves the Berry

Dear Mr. Holden,
Enclosed is my check in the amount of $25 covering a one year membership dues. I enjoy reading the Juniper Berry, keep it coming. I've been living in Middle Village since 1939 and love the reminiscences about the good old days.

Ellen Krieger Buhre
Middle Village

Thank you Berry much!

Dear Mr. Holden,
To you and all your staff I want to extend my sincere thank you and appreciation for the great job you always do for the Juniper Berry and for the community. It is the most interesting and informative magazine for me and I'm always looking forward to receiving the next edition. I find valuable information in it, also old and funny stories, family celebrations, pictures of nice houses and much more. Enclosed please find my $25 check for my membership dues for the year 2016. Thanks again and God bless all of you.

Frieda Rastetter

A staff that’s pure gold

Middle Village’s Linda Czerwinski always put her best foot forward in giving a helpful hand at the Queens Borough Public Library’s Maspeth branch. Daniel Finger, her appointed replacement, has inherited this golden woman’s Midas’ Touch. Mr. Finger appears readily to be a valuable asset to the Maspeth Library’s staff. He interacts well with readers of different abilities. And Daniel’s very sharp with his computer skills.
Daniel has the reader’s pulse. He’s right on target.
I wish that Daniel Finger has a happy and prosperous tenure at his new location. Welcome him when you visit Maspeth’s library.

Stan Parchin
Middle Village

Bottle Bill should stay

RE: “Scrap the Bottle Bill…” (Juniper Berry, Dec. 2015) As the JPCA Historian, Ms. Wilkinson must remember the broken glass and empty beverage containers that littered our parks and streets before the Bottle Bill was enacted. The so called bottle collectors would not be rifling through our recycling if we all endured the minor inconvenience of returning beverage empties on our regular shopping trips. Second only to the Poop Scoop Law, the Bottle Bill is by far the most effective keeping litter off our streets. Now, if we could only get some of our neighbors to pick up after their dogs!

Wm. Meade

Editor: Preventing litter by putting bottle collectors to work cleaning up the neighborhood was suggested in the article.

Bottle Bill should go

Re: The article on bottle collectors and taking the law off the books. With legislators like Gillibrand and Crowley, it will never happen. These and other “disenfranchised” people are their constituency, not the Middle Village home owning taxpayer. Gillibrand is on record proposing 1.5 million Syrians invade our country to keep her and Crowley in office for life. We taxpaying, law abiding middle class are cast aside by this lot of legislators whose sole purpose is remaining in office. Our quality of life and state of our neighborhood is not their concern.

Andrew Savino
Middle Village

Disliked trip to Munchkinland

Your racist republicant [sic] rants against our duly elected officials are gross and unbecoming of gentleman [sic]. your portrayal of our elected officials in wizard of oz costumes is vulgar as are you christina. i intend to offend you and the entire cast of characters at every turn. this kind of nazi propoganda [sic] breeds hatred. if that’s what you desire i will give back equally. i enjoy some of the memories but the punk who edits it needs a lesson in civility.

Peter Calabrese
Middle Village

Editor: Reality check – the Nazis killed 12M people. We put Liz Crowley in a scarecrow costume. Also, neither the editor nor the assistant editor of the Berry is a registered Republican, not that it matters.

Store owners should be held responsible for safety

7:52 am on a school day at Our Lady of Hope on Eliot Avenue, parents and children were endangered by a truck parked in no standing school zone while they delivered beer across the street. When asked to move because of the danger, they replied “when we're done.” Store owners should be aware of this and face consequences of no patronization if it continues.

Andrew Savino
Middle Village

Off-leash reminder didn't go far enough

I just read “Another Off-leash Reminder” in the December 2015 issue of the Juniper Berry. It seems to me that this reminder could easily be misinterpreted. This reminder does not state where the designated area is for off-leash dogs or that dogs are not permitted to be off leash any place in the park but the designated area. Also, this reminder does not mention that dogs are prohibited on the running track. (Believe it or not I've seen people running with their dogs.)

I found two signs regarding the dog off leash hours, in the park between Dry Harbor Road and 80th St. These signs are inappropriately placed because they imply that during the off leash hours dogs are allowed off leash at that location.

Name Withheld on request
Middle Village

An open letter to Bill de Blasio

Dear Editor:
With the departure of Gilbert Taylor as Commissioner of the Department of Homeless Services (DHS), we hope you will utilize this opportunity to address the faulty decisions made by Commissioner Taylor during his brief tenure, in particular, the approval to open a 216 room shelter in the ill-suited Pan American hotel.
Since the shelter opened in the congested neighborhood of Elmhurst in June 2014, without any notification or community input, the area residents, including local elected officials, have raised numerous concerns about the suitability of the facility to properly house homeless families with children. The old Pan American hotel fails to meet city and state laws as well as DHS’ own Request for Proposal requirements to shelter homeless families with children. The building is not equipped with cooking facilities in each unit, as required under Section 21-124 of the NYC Administrative Code, nor does the shelter provide child-care services, as required by NYS Regulation 18 NYCRR Part 900. These regulations were enacted to help homeless families get back on their feet. Why create a shelter that does not meet or comply with these regulations and criteria? Whether you agree with these regulations or not, why does the City continue to pay an exorbitant $4,000 EVERY month to inhumanely house a family of four in one small hotel room, when apartments in the area rent for much less?
Commissioner Taylor also failed to properly assess if the most crowded local school district in the City (District 24) can effectively absorb 200+ families with children. This lack of insight and preparation has overwhelmed the school district, exacerbated crowded classrooms and strained resources for local students and new students from the shelter alike.

Additionally, and most egregiously, the old Pan Am building is in poor condition. It no longer meets local building codes due to lack of maintenance and has received numerous violations, including an invalid Certificate of Occupancy, and multiple fire safety and boiler violations. Why put homeless families in a building that’s not safe? By setting this precedent, DHS is only encouraging other shelter operators to flout building and health and safety regulations.

DHS, under former Commissioner Gilbert Taylor, made an ill-considered decision to place a homeless shelter in the old Pan American hotel. We are calling for you to rectify this matter by not awarding a long term permanent contract to the shelter operator Samaritan Village and by ceasing operations of the Pan Am hotel as a shelter. We ask that you begin to search for smaller, more manageable sites in which homeless residents can easily assimilate into the neighborhood, ensure that families are sheltered in a residential unit with a kitchen, and fully engage the Elmhurst community when siting a shelter.

Jennifer Chu
President, Elmhurst United

No vendors on Grand Avenue

To the Editor:
Having vendors on the sidewalks of Maspeth cheapens our pleasant neighborhood. We have one already parked in front of the CVS on Grand Avenue selling food. Would you like to see more? One selling hats, another selling pocket books or even comic books, scarves, CD or tapes, etc.

These vendors probably have licenses to sell their wares but they belong in areas near a subway or department store. Let's keep Maspeth's Grand Avenue a GRAND AVENUE we can be proud of.

Lillian Cyran

Advice for Pedestrians

Thank you for printing my letter, “ADVICE FOR CYCLISTS” in the December 2015 issue.
But, we must go hand and hand for safety…pedestrians and cyclists and drivers!

The evening hours start earlier… people are wearing dark colored clothing… gloves, hats, jackets, Not only the adults, but, many children too are not easily seen. People walking their dogs or pushing strollers are often almost invisible against the blacktop and difficult for the drivers and cyclists. Lighten up! Wear something reflective or just a lighter color (hat… gloves… scarf), and don't forget your pet when they wear a collar, harness or sweater. And drivers, remember to put on your headlights.

Let's all work together. Everyone's life counts including pets. Thank you and have a great life!

Linda Mircik
Middle Village

Photo source request

I enjoy seeing and reading about the history of Middle Village on your website. Can you tell me the source of all the old photos you post? Are they available at a library? Thank you.

Tony Marine
Coronado, CA

Edit: We obtain old photos from various places, including Ebay. Two great sources of old photos include the digital image collections of the Municipal Archives and the New York Public Library. Both are accessible online.

Seeking more food choices

So many places have come and gone in different neighborhoods over the years. On Woodhaven Boulevard, I have seen so many businesses shut down. I have created memories at these places that will last a lifetime. There used to be a stationery store, a billiards, a florist, a tanning salon, a Chinese restaurant, a Subway sandwich shop, Papa John's pizzeria, and of course, Joe Abbracciamento's Restaurant, along with the rest of the businesses on the block.

While all these places have closed their doors, some new places have opened theirs, including an Indian restaurant, a Thai cuisine, and Primerica. I wish that there were more good places to eat on Woodhaven Blvd. I would love to see more fast food restaurants or cafes open up on the portion of Woodhaven Boulevard that is currently shut down. Places such as McDonald's, KFC, or Taco Bell have the potential to do good business there by drawing in customers from the neighborhood. Since there is already a Thai cuisine, a bar, and a butcher shop on that block, it would make sense to try to find someone willing to open a business there without being afraid of the risk in doing so. When I get hungry and want to go somewhere locally to eat, I would love to have more options besides Adam's Deli, the Chinese/ Mexican fast food place, and Dunkin' Donuts. Overall, I am happy to have many different options for breakfast, lunch, and dinner, but it would be even better to have a few more.

Jared Jokl
Middle Village

Electeds seek LIE noise control

Dear NYS Transportation Commissioner Driscoll,

We are writing on behalf of our constituent, Robert Holden, President of the Juniper Park Civic Association and the communities bordering the Long Island Expressway (LIE), Interstate 495, in our districts in Western Queens.

Juniper Park Civic Association is deeply concerned about the noise level at the Long Island Expressway between Queens Boulevard at Exit 20 and Maurice Avenue at Exit 18. As you know, the LIE is frequented daily by constant truck traffic and the roadway in this section of expressway is concrete, The Civic Association strongly believes that the concrete contributes directly to the noise in the area. They have requested that the New York State Department of Transportation re-pave the roadway in this area with asphalt to remedy this situation. Due to these unfortunate circumstances, the quality of life of the residents of Middle Village and Maspeth has been adversely affected by the constant flow of noise into their homes and neighborhoods.

The Federal Highway Administration regularly grants New York State Department of Transportation funding for LIE improvements, for which a review is required, stipulations for environmental consideration of noise. We urge the New York State Department of Transportation to take this matter into consideration and act to alleviate the burden noise pollution and sleepless nights currently facing our constituents. We look forward to your reply

Grace Meng Member of Congress
Joseph P. Addabbo, Jr., NYS Senator

A tree well-pruned

Hello again! I'm sorry for the delay in updating you about the situation with the tree in front of my mother's house, but I'm very happy to let you know that because of your help, the TREE HAS BEEN PRUNED!!! THANK YOU SO MUCH!!

Ingrid Lorenz
Middle Village

Berry brings back memories

I just found Vinny Branigan's memoir, Caldwell Avenue Memories(junipercivic.com). I grew up with Vinny. He lived on the corner of 75th Street and Caldwell Avenue. I lived on 75th Street behind John's Farms, until I was drafted in 1950. We played a lot of baseball in Juniper Valley Park, and Maurice Park. My playmates were Joe Baldwin, Danny Phelan, Georgie Donaldson, Rolly VonNesson, Johnny Whelan, Herbie Lauth, Bobby Ort, Brian Delaney, Alex Adomowitz, and Paul Dierks (Ridgewood Plateau). Maspeth gave me great memories. Thank you.

Marty (Juny) Errick
Hicksville, New York

No Justice

Dear Editor:
I was startled to see a copy an article in the (Dec. 2015 Juniper Berry, Amazing Stories) concerning my
family. The 40 year old N.Y Times headline read ”Injured Youth Awarded $1.8-Million.” The story makes it appear that my family received what was at the time a substantial monetary award from the City of New York as a result its negligence, which led to the tragedy that befell my youngest brother Roy. The fact is that the City of New York immediately appealed the verdict to Albany, and the judgement was reversed. As a result, our family never received a cent.

On the evening of the accident, the Newtown coach had assured us that since the injury occurred during a PSAL sanctioned game, New York City’s insurance would be able to cover all costs. He was mistaken- the city had provided NO coverage for injuries suffered by PSAL school athletes.

The cost of Roy’s care was astronomical, so my parents were forced to declare that Roy was an “emancipated minor”, in order to make him eligible for Medicaid and SSI. Rather than having funds available to provide for such necessities as home attendants, accessible housing, a van, and his other needs, our family was in the position of having to navigate the system in order to help Roy live as independently as possible. This led to a great deal of frustration. Roy lived in a house that we purchased and renovated ourselves, with the help of volunteers, friends, and neighbors. His classmates from Newtown donated funds to purchase a van which we had modified for his use. Roy survived until 1980, when he passed away due to complications.

Many years later I served on a jury in the Jamaica courthouse. I was called aside by one of the lawyers after the jury was dismissed. He remembered the name Passantino, and the case. He informed me that years after my brother’s judgement was reversed, case law was changed. He claimed that family had been treated unfairly. Unfortunately, there was no recourse for our family.

Yours truly,
Larry Passantino
Middle Village