Sign of strange times
Thought this was some kind of bad joke:  To have a –caution stairs ahead– at the top of an obvious set of stairs.  The liberal nanny-state is hard at work.  So I have a response I am sending to you because I feel they didn’t go far enough. 

Patrick McCarthy, Middle Village

Don’t prune when in bloom
While I understand the need to prune and maintain trees regularly, I don’t see the urgency of doing it when it’s at its most beautiful stage. The tree on the left is a few years old and doesn’t need pruning yet, the one on the right is adding beauty to the neighborhood. Pruning this now is akin to pulling a plant at the time of harvest and is a deprivation of beauty. This should have been done pre-blossom or post-blossom! Incidentally, this is at 62-30 69th Place. You may suggest I send this to Elizabeth Crowley’s office but even writing her email address in the ‘To’ box is a complete waste of time!

Anthony Pedalino, Middle Village

Disgraceful conditions on Grand Avenue
Way to go, City of New York! GRAND AVENUE IS A DISGRACE! 
Over a year ago, I had read that 2 local council members had obtained waste receptacles for their constituents.
I’ve been wondering why I have to walk 2 or 3 blocks out of my way to dispose of a tissue or a coffee cup. I learned that the Sanitation Department, in its great wisdom, has decided that the way to handle the litter problem, and the problem of the overflowing waste receptacles because people dump household garbage in them, on Grand Avenue, or elsewhere, is to – wait for it – GET RID OF THE WASTE RECEPTACLES, so pedestrians have no option but to take the stuff home, or to throw it onto the sidewalk. So now the litter blows all over town.
73rd ST in front of Grand Motor Inn – receptacle gone!
72nd PL NW corner – gone! – my poor dog doesn’t understand why I drag her across the street just to drop the poo bag into the trash can in front of Papavero’s, then drag her back across to go home.
72nd ST in front of Connolly’s & O’Kane’s Realty – gone!
71st ST both north corners – gone!
69th LA both south corners – gone!
It wasn’t too bad in good weather but, when you have trouble walking to begin with & stiffen when it’s cold & damp, it’s a nightmare.

I had called Council Member Crowley’s office about this, and was told “nothing could be done.” Not “we’ll look into it” or “we’ll ask and get back to you – what’s your number?”

I don’t vote for ELECTED officials who say “nothing can be done.”

Jackie Cavalla, Maspeth
(via JPCA Facebook page)

Q38 service is heading in the wrong direction

Q38 is still subpar in service. Local politicians around here don’t care. Can’t we elect true leaders for this community? Both parties are terrible. MTA has to be broken up. They can’t get the job done.

Hugh McCall, Middle Village

Idling trains due to idle elected officials
Train idling this morning at 6 AM, which means garbage was at the old location behind our homes. Has the government felt a need to penalize the RR’s for stealing taxpayer money in their locomotive upgrade scam? Doubt it! Any wonder why the public abhors the leadership of this country?

Follow-up: As I stated, yesterday 4/5, train idled and picked up at the old location… behind our homes. This morning, 4/6, locomotive passed through at 3:20 AM with cars in tow. There was later activity and then at 5:30 AM, another pick-up behind our homes. This one lasted 30 minutes before it moved on with cars in tow. As I write this, another train passes through. There is always various activity during the day. Why isn’t OUR TAXPAYER MONEY spent on noise abatement in our community instead of to the RR’s taking over? They should be paying their own way but instead are STEALING our money. Where is the oversight? What are our government leaders doing, giving them a pass…again!

Anthony Pedalino, Middle Village

Crowley sticks her nose where it doesn’t belong
A copy of the following was sent to JPCA:

Dear Councilwoman Crowley,
I was very disappointed when I called your office and found out you were going to vote to approve [the council’s “friend of the court” filing supporting] the shopping mall at the Citi Field parking lot. The mall was never in the original plans for the development of Willets Point. I attended the meetings and everyone agreed the area needed development as it was a polluted mess of junk yards and car repair shops. There was just concern about relocating the businesses and fair compensation. The idea of adding the shopping mall came much later when the developers said they needed the mall to finance the Willets Point project and this is where the problem lies.

If you go on the website there is the Willets Point project in great detail in a PDF file and nowhere is there a shopping mall in the parking lot mentioned and it clearly shows the parking lot is in Flushing Meadow Park. The developers say that the Mets owners don’t need the parking lot and there is enough parking in surrounding areas. Yes there are many parking lots in Flushing Meadow Park (maybe too many) but why then on big event days are all the lots filled and why are there grassy areas that have been asphalted over for parking and why are there cars, busses and emergency vehicles parking on the grass? During the US Open the parking lot by Queens Museum was just for Police vehicles.

Flushing Meadow Park should be the crown jewel of Queens parks being the site of two World’s Fairs and a museum, a theater, a pool, an ice skating rink, ball fields and the largest lake in NYC. With all the special events and Citi Field and the US Open you would think we would have a world class park right up there with Central and Prospect Parks but what we have is a neglected and a much abused park. Structures like the Aquacade from the first fair were torn down and the NYS Pavilion from the second fair is falling apart and the city wanted to tear it down. The lake is polluted, the paths are under water and from the park all we can see is the Grand Central Parkway and the Van Wyck and the Long Island Expressways. This is supposed to be the most used park in the city but it’s not getting its fair share of support from the city.

A shopping mall will only bring more traffic to the park and add to an already congested area. Look at the developments in Flushing with all the high rises and big stores and look at the traffic on Roosevelt Ave and College Point Blvd that we have now and this is just the beginning. There are plans to put high rises all along Flushing Creek as well as the one proposed in Willets Point.

With all the malls we have in the area do we really need another one and why take away from the existing malls and small businesses in the area? From a business prospective this mall is a bad business decision. When there are large events or Mets games or the US Open traffic is terrible in the area and I know I avoid going to the park or even driving around there.

This parking lot is used for many events such as the Big Apple Circus and community events with games and rides. If the Mets don’t need the lot maybe it should be returned as a green space to absorb the air and noise pollution of all the highways and La Guardia Airport.
We must think about what a future Queens will look like. Just look at all the development we see coming, these people are going to need parkland to come to relax and play. Imagine the foresight city planners had when Central Park was made, can you imagine NYC without it? There was over the years many plans to develop Central Park and add many commercial ventures, just think what the land is worth, why not sell it? What do you think the reaction would be if there was a plan to build a 1.4 million square shopping mall in Central or Prospect Park?

Please don’t sell out our parkland for the promise of jobs and housing. We need our parks.

Thank you.
Richard Polgar, Maspeth

P.S. (I sent this letter to Councilwoman Crowley on 12/23/15 and did not receive a response so on 3/2/16 I called her office and I was told they would look into it. I’m still waiting.)

Opposed to the plastic bag tax

To The Berry,
Once again the Melissa Mark-Viverito Puppet Show is forcing another burdensome requirement on the consumers of New York City – a plastic bag fee. Yes, environmental issues are important, but this proposed requirement is poorly conceived. More important, requiring a private enterprise to sell a specific product, at a fixed price is “Socialism”. The payer has no ability to recover the “fee” as it does with the bottle deposit. Furthermore, there is no factual basis for the fee to be 5 cents. The Council arbitrarily arrived at 5 cents. They didn’t  demonstrate that the bags cost 5 cents, the seller would be adequately compensated at that level, or is not already recovering the costs of the bags. Clearly the Council took this approach to mask the fact that this is really another TAX on New York City consumers. Claiming the fee would reduce by 60- 90% the 9 billion bags entering the land fill is questionable at best. For instance, how many of the targeted bags actually had trash in them when they were disposed of and how many will be replaced with other plastic bags? The Council never seriously looked at the feasibility of recycling the bags. Stores recycle today.

Obviously, there is a way to recycle these bags, yet the Council claimed recycling isn’t a feasible option. Today we recycle paper milk and juice containers with the plastic, metal and glass. It is my understanding that somewhere in the process these paper containers are extracted from the other materials and that this process is done by recycling plant workers. If this is the case, why couldn’t the recycling process require that New Yorkers bundle ten or more plastic bags and place them in with one of the current recycling groups to be sorted out as the paper containers are? This alternative, if feasible, would eliminate the need for a 5 cent fee and also appear to create some new jobs at the recycling plants.

Augie Trinchese, Middle Village

Community Drive Shame
The blizzard of 2016 has brought out the worst in people instead of the best. I live on 79th Street between Eliot Avenue and 62nd Avenue and share the “alley” with 78th Street. We are approximately 80 homes. One or possibly two homeowners, on their own, chose to shovel or plow all the snow from their yards and driveways into the (drive) forming a mountain of snow in the middle of the alley. As a result of this very selfish and inconsiderate act, about three quarters of the homeowners who share this driveway were prevented from exiting the driveway to Eliot Avenue. In case of an emergency, police, fire or ambulance would not be able to get down the driveway to the homes below the mountain of snow. What, if anything, can be done to prevent this from happening again. Could it be that these are the some of the same people that refused to pay their fair share to get the alley paved?
Again, what can be done to get all to consider their fellow neighbor and agree to fix the driveway which is in dire straits. Shame on you homeowners.

Name Withheld on Request, Middle Village

De Blasio’s disrespect for the people
Mayor De Blasio has once again shown his total lack of regard and respect for the people of Queens, Community Board 4 and the residents of Elmhurst.

The community board voted unanimously for the Queens Boulevard safety measures EXCEPT bicycle lanes. Representatives from the Dept. of Transportation were specially asked if the Mayor intended to push through the bike lanes regardless of the vote and refused to answer. Rather, they danced around the question. Well, we got our answer.

Queens Blvd is the major thoroughfare in Queens, connecting Manhattan to Queens all the way to Long Island. It is not a park. It was never intended to be a park. It's not a playground.

Bike lanes will not make Queens Blvd safer for pedestrians. When a DOT representative was asked how a biker would make a turn off of Queens Blvd he replied that they could obey the traffic light and cross with the cars or they could pedal through the pedestrian crosswalk with the pedestrians. How is that making it safer for pedestrians? One would think that the bikers need to obey the same traffic signals as the cars do. Apparently not, at least according to DOT.

By eliminating one lane of traffic on each side what will happen if a car stalls in front of a bus? The bus will have no where to go except sit behind the car until it is towed away/ What if it's an ambulance or police car or fire engine? Won't slowing traffic have a huge impact on emergency vehicles?

The bike lane will eliminate 88 parking spaces in a short span of blocks. But the administration is allowing high rises to be built all along this stretch of Queens Blvd (and the side streets) with NO parking garages or driveways required. Our community has blocks of row houses with no garages or driveways and street parking is our only choice. We have shops along QB and some side streets. Where will customers park their cars? How do we handle even less parking spaces? But of course this is not the Mayor's concern. His agenda must go through regardless of the cost to the residents and not to mention the enormous cost in dollars to the taxpayer.
It was unfortunate that our own Councilman Daniel Dromm chose to be accompanied to the meeting by a group of bicyclists, many of whom do not live in the immediate area, and many of whom were disruptive, rude and disrespectful. Some residents at the meeting suspect that they were actually employees of City Hall although that has not been confirmed.

We, as a community, feel that this is an egregious wrong inflicted upon us by the Mayor and the elected officials who are supposed to be “By the people and for the people”. It is glaringly apparent that they do not subscribe to this tenet.

Anna Orjuela, Elmhurst

One size fits all zoning approach is wrong

To the Editor:
While the intention of the new Affordable Housing Plan may be good, there are some aspects of it that are absurd. One of the chief problems with it is that this one bill is supposed to be the right fit for all five of boroughs in New York City. Needless to say, this belief could not be farther from the truth. Tall buildings without parking spaces may work well in Manhattan where there are other skyscrapers to fit in with and an abundant network of mass transit. But this does not hold true in the outer boroughs.

Evidence of this is the fact that 12 of the 14 Community Boards in Queens (86 percent) voted against this bill. This is a significant statement. One of the main functions of Community Boards is to advise politicians and government agencies how to best serve their neighborhood. It is a terrible situation when our elected officials ignore what we tell them we need.

One of the major objections to this bill in Queens is the parking space requirement. I understand that the city is attempting to make use of every inch of available space, but cars are a necessity for many people that do not live in Manhattan. The elderly and disabled who are not able to walk to bus stops or train stations rely on their cars especially since there are many areas in Queens that have little or no service at all. And for parents with children, cars are important for shopping, doctor appointments, and getting to school.
One person was quoted as saying “I believe it is more important for a senior to have a place to rest than a car.” However, what good is a place to live if that senior is now trapped there like a prisoner, unable to go anywhere?

Lee Rottenberg, Middle Village

A big thank you

Leslie and I and the staff of London Lennie’s want to thank David Shapiro and the editors of Juniper Berry for the very kind article written about London Lennie’s in the last issue. Our staff and our customers loved it. The magazines were quick to disappear from our foyer table. John Killcommons was good enough to bring us another case so we could share with even more customers.

Thank you so much. We all look forward to each issue and to read about the people, places, politics and events that shape our wonderful neighborhood. All the best to Juniper Berry and Staff,

Joan Barnes, London Lennie’s

Berry a National Treasure

Just had to reach out to you and tell you how much I appreciated your lovely accolade in your last spring publication. The Juniper Berry is a “national treasure” in the Middle Village neighborhood. My very best to you and your staff.

Frances Passantino, Middle Village

Will frame the Berry cover

I would so appreciate it if you could send me a copy of the March 2016 issue (of the Juniper Berry). I grew up in Middle Village and would love to frame the cover. I look forward to receiving future issues.

Thank you!
Barbara Levi, Manhattan

Hello from Nassau County
Thank you very much for your quick response and sending me the latest issue of the Juniper Berry. I enjoy reading it as I spent the first 29 years growing up in the Maspeth/Middle Village area attending RA and OLH when it was a tent before the school was built. I have spent the last 41 years in Wantagh and still am in touch with friends in Middle Village and Maspeth. You do a great job with your publication and it is fun to stay in touch.

Bob Christman, Wantagh, NY