Tree massacre continues
Tree trimming on 69th Lane courtesy of Dom's Tree Cutting Service and NYC Parks. I don't think these trees have a chance of surviving. Why then are there plans to dig up our sidewalks to plant more of them?

Barbara Thompson, Middle Village

Park it elsewhere
June 6: So about ten minutes ago we had to evacuate our back yard because the locomotives pulled up again and the lovely diesel fumes are wafting in the air so we can inhale deeply and die sooner. That way there's less complaints! Let's all turn out and purchase a few more locomotives at OUR expense! Oh, and by the way, let's NOT get any concessions from the RR (as usual). Democracy in action! Hopefully November will bring some real changes. The stink is horrendous!
Fed up!

July 3: So NY & A pushes the freight up just north of 69th Place at 3:00PM Sunday, July 3 and leaves it there! This won't be picked up till some time on July 5. Besides that, it means that diesel locomotives will be idling extensively, spewing their smoke into our lungs whenever they decide to pick up. No sitting out in the yard today if you live next to it. So much for the barbecue. They leave the garbage because they think we're garbage, and so have the politicians! What progress has been made in all these years?

A. Pedalino, Middle Village

Too many tankers
Bob, today at 10 AM the inbound train had 4 propane tankers hooked together. — Speaking of soft targets. As far as I know this is against railroad policy. Sorry I have to tell you this.

Dieter Keppler, Middle Village

Keep the horns quiet
Earlier this year I discussed with Sen. Addabbo various issues regarding the New York & Atlantic Railway, like the pollution, fumes, noise, debris, etc. He requested to be informed of any active railway issues. I've included all the recipients as other parties of interest. I will do so because this is a very important issue to me, since I live right next to the 88th Street railway crossing.

Last night the driver of the Long Island bound train that passed through the 88 street railway crossing at 10:17 pm blew his horn louder and longer than I have ever heard it in the 2 years I've lived in this house. It was incredible. The last blow was at least 10 seconds long at full blast. I don't know why anyone would do that? There were no screeching breaks or anything like that to suggest he was avoiding an incident or such. Plus they come to a complete stop and idle in place for at least 20 seconds before blowing their horn and finally moving on. It is utterly disrespectful to all the residents along this rail line. Our quality of life is greatly affected by this issue.

This area should be designated as a quiet zone at least at night. I spoke to a lot of people regarding this issue in the past 2 years and was only discouraged from trying to fight for this idea because the necessary safety equipment required would be too expensive IF it was decided by the FRA that a quiet zone would be allowed. I don't see why we should have below par safety equipment in the first place, quiet zone or not.
Thank you for your help!

Gabriela Carmona, Glendale

Street lights too bright
I agree with points taken completely in the June 2016 LED street light article. But there is another problem that wasn't addressed. The lights are blinding to drivers because many of the lights are installed incorrectly. They need to be installed level, parallel to the ground to avoid blinding drivers. I have to drive with my sun visors down because of the glare, which cuts down my vision and makes it unsafe for pedestrians and other motorists. Perhaps you can get through to DOT, as I can’t.

RC, Middle Village

Comptroller, reject the contract
We applaud that our New York City Comptroller offered the Department of Homeless Shelters and Samaritan Daytop Village an opportunity 6 months ago to right a wrong for the homeless children at the Pan American Hotel in Elmhurst, however, there is more that is being disregarded. Without the community’s protests, kitchens would never have been in the picture. Nevertheless, DHS has been selectively deaf, is still trying to fool the community, and may get away with it when the contract comes up for registration at the end of this month.
Our quest at Elmhurst United has been more than to get the residents of the shelter cooking facilities, but also that the shelter should be a certified Tier II shelter.

Within the same paragraph, the law that gives families the right to have cooking facilities in their rooms has a second sentence that so far is being ignored.

NYC ADC 21-124. b. 1. No homeless family shelter shall be established which does not provide a bathroom, a refrigerator and cooking facilities and an adequate sleeping area within each unit within the shelter and which otherwise complies with state and local laws. All Tier II shelter units shall be such that they may be converted to be used for permanent housing with a minimum of structural change.

There are rules for permanent housing in this city. Following the dots, we must go to the freshly updated NYC Zoning Resolution, Article II, Chapter 3, 23-96 (d) (i):
“(d) Size of affordable housing units (1) In new construction affordable housing and substantial rehabilitation affordable housing, an affordable housing unit in a generating site shall contain not less than:
i) 400 square feet of floor area within the perimeter walls for a zero bedroom dwelling unit; or
(ii) 575 square feet of floor area within the perimeter walls for a one bedroom dwelling unit; or…”
Taking exterior measurements of the hotel, we find the majority of the rooms are less than 250 square feet each; far short of 400 square feet zoning requirement above. Unless there is a combining of rooms, this place, even with new kitchens, cannot be converted to “permanent housing” because it does not have rooms or apartments large enough to accommodate the zoning law. Without exceeding a “minimum of structural change”, little can be done to make the Pan American compliant with 21-124.
During litigation Commissioner Steven Banks, while he was at the Legal Aid Society brought awareness to family homeless issues including overcrowding. Because of this and other public pressures, Mayor Dinkins worked with City Council and created law 21-124.

These civic leaders came to recognize the tragedy of warehousing children into crowded rooms for long periods is not healthy for their mental development and progress in school. Today families and their children are averaging more than a year in these dense environments. Zoning laws are there to protect all New Yorkers from overcrowding and 21-124 is there to remind us.

We ask the Comptroller reject this contract outright, because even with kitchens, it is still an illegal shelter in its current or planned configuration. Because of the laws pointed out above, this place could never be a compliant as a Tier II shelter with the current contract. If allowed, the city will continue with its modus operandi to warehouse children in cramped quarters, perpetuating their suffering.

Anna Orjuela, Elmhurst United

King of his Virginia castle
Joe Crowley may be the king of Queens, but the borough’s Democratic Party boss has his castle in Virginia.

The Crowleys live in an expansive home in the leafy Washington suburb of Arlington, Va., where his three kids attend the community’s nationally renowned public schools — shunning New York City’s educational system, property records show.

Rep. Joe Crowley, who has the power to remake the political landscape in the borough — actually lives 250 miles away with his family in Virginia. What a joke!

But Crowley keeps a toehold in the borough, maintaining ownership of a longtime family home, his mothers, on 65th Street in Woodside — though neighbors on the block don’t know who he is. That’s not surprising, since he bought his house in Virginia for $690,000 in 2004, six years after he went to Congress.

His decision to raise his family in the DC suburbs rather than Queens raises eyebrows, especially to me, because of his role as the county’s powerful Democratic Party chairman, which requires him to oversee politics throughout the borough, and not just tend to his congressional duties in my opinion is a breach of contract.

“Given his dual role, he needs to spend more time in Queens. The process is better served having a more present party leader in the borough,” and this is why I'm challenging him. It's time these phony representatives are given a pink slip. Simply put, he has a no show job. In the real world, a full FBI investigation would have been implemented. What is the difference between someone who is on a payroll in the private sector, who is not at his post and someone in the public sector who is also not at his post. How many people have gone to jail for no show jobs?

Why is the King of Queens different? Oh, you think you have put a blanket over me. You got the wrong guy Mr. crooked Congressman. What is the difference between anyone in the private sector or the public sector who has connections gets a no show job? How many people went to jail working at the once renowned Jacob K. Javits Convention Center in NYC? Oh, I remember that big bust. Perhaps it's time for a bust in the Halls of Congress. Shouldn't they lead by example?

Federal law requires only that a member of Congress inhabit the state they represent when they run for election. Now, since your seeking re-election, how could the board of elections have overlooked this? You don't even inhabit the State of New York.

“But the fact that Crowley is a powerful party boss in the political realm makes it more of an issue.” You are a canard and if and when we should ever debate, you better prove to me that you live here in the state of New York. Having a residence claiming you live Queens is a total canard. It's the same as someone who has a license out of state but resides in NYC so they can save money on their auto insurance.

Crowley defended his decision to relocate his wife and kids so that he could spend more time with them.

Well if you want to spend more time with your wife and family, seek the congressional seat in North Virginia and stop taking a salary on the back of the tax payers when in fact you have a “NO SHOW JOB” – Or get a job in the private sector. You thought you were going to get away with this forever. Nah, not while I'm around Mr. Crowley. I would give you the respect of calling you congressman, but you’re not part of our district. You may have bamboozled the people of the 14 district, but you’re not bamboozling me.

We have a problem here – we have no solid representation in the 14th. Congressional District, NY – Queens and The Bronx. You’re just as guilty as anyone who collects a check in the private sector and doesn't show up for work.



Frank Spotorno, US Congress Republican and Conservative Nominee, 14 District, NY, Queens & The Bronx

Cash for Cars has got to go
In regards to the June 2016 page 6 article re: anti-graffiti volunteers. I have been removing “cash for cars” signs and all other related utility graffiti from our neighborhood for at least three years now totaling hundreds of signs. I want no credit and will continue as long as I'm physically able. I love the Maspeth, Middle Village area and consider it my civic homeowner’s duty. I was just hoping that JPCA could include these signs when asking for volunteers because I'm not sure how long I can keep up. In particular, on the south side of Metropolitan. If I stop I'm sure that we will look like most of the rest of this city in a year’s time. Again, not looking for any credit just for this problem to be kept in consideration. Thank you for taking the time to read this. Best regards.

Name withheld, Maspeth

An accident waiting to happen
Sent to Community Board 5:
Today, I stopped by your office and dropped off a little map representing what I think is a very potential traffic problem at the site of old St. Savior's Church grounds located on the side of Rust St. between 57th Rd and 57th Dr in Maspeth. The problem as I see it is that the new warehouses being constructed have six (6) loading docks that will be entering and departing right on to Rust St.
Rust St. is a major route for commercial vehicles. By backing in and out of these docks, especially with 18 wheelers, both directions of traffic will be curtailed. Hence, Grand Ave going east and west, Flushing Ave going east, 54th St going north, 59th drive going west and Rust St in both directions. Other streets will now be packed as alternatives will be Fresh Pond Rd, 59th St, 61st St, 57th Rd and Maspeth Ave.

I brought this situation to The Queens Ledger and my friend Tony Nunziato (who agrees 100% with this). In fact, Tony is the one asked me to speak with you. I’ve lived on 59th St in Maspeth for most of my life. I'll be 69 in August and have seen my beloved Maspeth fall apart in recent years.

Joe La Rocca, Maspeth

Crowley's light rail plan is illegal
The following is from a letter to the editor of the Queens Chronicle:

Councilwoman Crowley’s plan to put light rail on the Lower Montauk Branch, while applaudable in theory, is in violation of federal law. For safety reasons, the government prohibits the sharing of tracks between light rail and freight trains at the same time. Consequently, the construction of this line would either require the eviction of freight operation — another federal violation — or the construction of a separate right-of-way alongside the Lower Montauk Branch, a difficult feat without the use of condemnation.

To elaborate on the inadvisability of evicting freight operations, federal common carrier rules dictate that a freight railroad’s successor must carry all freight in areas previously served. As this light rail line would — by definition — be unable to carry freight, that alone makes it illegal. Track sharing agreements between light and heavy rail have been made in the past (example: freight runs at night, passenger in the day), but due to the fact that Queens needs 24-hour service, and the freight railroad also needs to operate at all times of the day, it would not work here. Also, ending freight service would (among other things) leave massive areas of Queens without an outlet for their trash, thereby requiring them to use hundreds of trucks a week instead of rail.

Lastly, the use of freight-compatible equipment on this line is inadvisable at best. Because of the extra weight needed for compliance with crashworthiness standards, trains would accelerate slowly, making close-together stations inefficient.

Uday Schultz, Carroll Gardens, Brooklyn

Mom is in old photo
The first thing I saw when someone gave me a copy of the Juniper Berry was the old car barn in Maspeth on the rear cover. I was born one block away on Perry Avenue, later changed to 56 Drive. Do you notice the windows on the 2nd floor? That was Mike Mungiola’s barber shop. As a kid in the 30s I used to get my haircuts there. That is whenever my mother could afford the 25 cents. Directly across the tracks was Moe Ratner’s United Cigar Store. I spent many a penny there on baseball cards and malted milk balls, 6 or 8 for 1 cent. Also placing 50 cent or $1.00 bets for my father with the bookies who hung out there. According to my mother, it was also a good place for them to watch the ladies get off and on the trolleys. The step was so high they had to raise their skirts and expose their ankles. Oh well, they didn’t have TV to watch or Betty Grable!

My mother was 5 years old when she arrived at the cargo pier in NY City in 1890 with her mother and father. Ellis Island was not open yet. They lived for a short time in Manhattan, until my grandfather, Vaclav Jarkovsky, opened an employment office in Middle Village on Metropolitan Avenue and 69th Street across from Niederstein’s Restaurant. That’s when she went to a German School on 69th Street and took German lessons for 5 cents per ½ hour. When I was a young boy in the 1930s, she used to teach me some phrases, such as Arbeit macht der meister and Arbeit macht das lieben suss. So that is what this letter is about. In the classroom photo on page 11 of your March 2016 issue, I believe the young girl in the front row is my mother, Francheska Jarkovsky at age 7 or 8 years. I have enclosed a picture of her in 1890 for your comparison. What do you think? I lived on 84th Place and Goldington Court for 40 years, my 6 children graduated from St. Margaret’s.

Calvin Mooney, Middle Village

Dear Bob (Holden),

I was in the room with (my husband) Jerry Drake, (Community Board 5 member) when he met with Elizabeth Crowley and Roman Paprocki on August 25th.

Crowley first mentioned to Jerry that she knows he has not attended many CB5 meetings in the past which she heard was due to health reasons (not knowing that Jerry’s son had a tragic accident) and she said she “kinda” went to bat for him to keep him aboard on CB5. Then she really stressed that the DHS wants to have alternate sites offered to them and time is of the essence, that the protests really make no sense, and her message was that “we only have a certain amount of days before they PUT THIS IN”, meaning the shelter. She knows developers that have sites that could be offered to DHS, and she gave us pictures of two sites.

One is the Welbilt site and another by Mt. Zion cemetery off 58th Street. They are not hotels, just buildings. (We gave these photos and locations to CB5 District Manager Gary Giordano.) Jerry mentioned about the pre-K schools opening up in September at the old Holy Cross school and that the principal of the school was very concerned about the opening of the proposed shelter. Jerry mentioned numerous times that she wanted to speak at the 8/31 meeting.Crowley said she is preparing a declaration to be sent to DHS/DiBlasio about why the shelter is not a good idea for our district.

In my opinion, the core of the meeting was that time is of the essence to find an alternate site and the protests are really a waste of time. She said she would not be attending the March for Maspeth because of how she was treated at the MLS meeting.

Kind regards,
Debbie Drake, Maspeth

Dear Editor,

On Friday August 19th I visited the CB5 office at 61-23
Myrtle Avenue to sign up for speaking slots at the upcoming homeless shelter meeting at the Knockdown Center. A gentleman named Gary Giordano greeted me.
After giving him the 4 names of Elmhurst United members, Gary told me the speaking slots are for Maspeth residents and not Elmhurst people. I had to explain to him that Maspeth residents are fighting the same homeless issues as Elmhurst, that both communities share many common issues, and the shelter issues I witnessed at Pan Am are currently been unfolded at the Holiday Inn. I then said Maspeth residents welcome Elmhurst joining their fight against homeless shelters. He still wasn’t convinced so I further went on to explain that I graduated from William Cowper JHS 73, I shop weekly at Stop and Shop, and my youngest daughter graduated from PS 290 on Metropolitan Ave.

A good 5-10 minutes went by before he decided to take out his speaker clip board and enter the names I provided to him. Then he asked how many Elmhurst residents would be going to The Knockdown since he is concerned that Elmhurst residents would take up all the seats and there would be no seats left for Maspeth residents.

I told him that only a few Elmhurst residents will be attending and that the Knockdown Center seats 3,000.
The subject of the discussion changed to the infamous meeting at Martin Luther School. He said “There was a near riot that night at Martin Luther School. He said, “The crowd was infuriated by instigators, the instigators are those who are running for office against Addabbo and Marge Markey. You know who they are right? Brian Barnwell, Tony Nunziato, and Mike Conigliaro. Marge Markey didn’t want to be there, she doesn’t want to go near people who would start riots.”

He went on for a few more minutes about the limited space at Martin Luther. Since he was not at the meeting I sense his words above were not his opinion, but that he was only repeating to me what was told to him by Crowley and others who were at the meeting.

The subject then changed again to Robert Holden. Gary said, “Robert Holden loves to take bad pictures of Elizabeth Crowley, and put them on the cover of his Juniper Berry magazine.”

I thought it was strange that as a district manager, he was talking about a well-regarded civic leader and community board member like this, especially to someone he had never met before.

Phil Wong, Elmhurst

Editor: The only person who instigated anything at the MLS meeting was Steven Banks, by stating lies like Maspeth currently has 243 people in shelters. As for Mr. Giordano, politics is not part of his job description.

To: Citizens for a Better Maspeth & Juniper Park Civic Association, Attention: Robert Holden & Tony Nunziato…

Enclosed please find one check in the amount of $100 as my contribution to the legal fund to stop the Holiday Inn Express in Maspeth from being converted to a homeless shelter and one check in the amount of $25 as a membership fee for the Juniper Park Civic Association.
It has been an honor to participate in the protests at the Holiday Inn Express and the protest march through Maspeth on August 27th.

I plan to continue participating in these efforts as much as possible going forward. Please feel free to contact me if you need any additional assistance. Your leadership in these matters has and continues to be a credit to our community and is greatly appreciated. And I would like to do my part to maintain the quality of life we all enjoy in the Middle Village/Maspeth community.

Again, if you need assistance with anything feel free to contact me and I will gladly do whatever I can to help.

Paul Hogan, Middle Village