House of Horrors

Dear Editor:
There is a house across the street from me that belongs in the neighborhood Hall of Shame. This house on 72nd Street has been in a state of neglect for years. Despite having called 311 multiple times for garbage in the front yard and sidewalk in addition to dead foliage that hasn’t been cleaned in years, no citation was issued.

The house is so neglected that it appears abandoned. People toss litter and let their dogs defecate in front it. It is a magnet for trouble. I have seen a few rats crossing the property.  

The entire block is up in arms about this residence.  It brings down property values and quality of life for all homeowners.

I have the 311 complaint numbers that were closed w/o any action being taken whatsoever not even a $100 ticket issued.  

I do not understand how we pay property taxes and get little or no action from city agencies such as the Sanitation Department. If the owner is never fined, then he has no incentive to ever clean up this eyesore.

I hope you can bring the spotlight on this condition.

Thank you very much,
Name Withheld

Open Space
Not Trees

To Steven Fiedler, Juniper Park Civic Assoc. Parks Chair:
I am aware that there is going to be 300 trees planted at Juniper Park for the mayor’s million tree program. While I applaud the effort to provide cleaner air and a greater habitat for our local residents and creatures, it does affect valuable open space used by our children. In Middle Village, most if not all, backyards are not big enough to play catch with the children.  We rely on the park for that open space and family time.  If there is a baseball, football or soccer game playing on one of the fields, we need the space on the side of the fields to play.

Also, youth sports are very active in the park.  Ever since the tree plantings on eastern part of the park along Dry Harbor Rd to discourage ball playing, the sports programs have relied heavily on the main park for playing space.

From the layout of the attached tree planting sites, many trees will be planted in open spaces that are used to play ball.   In one spot, there is a move to plant trees between two baseball fields that would interfere with the soccer field that is used in the Fall.  Even if the soccer field is moved over a few feet, there is a chance the a child can run into the tree during the game.  Putting trees in the open space also prevents teams from practicing. There are approximately 300 Middle Village children playing soccer for Our Lady of Hope and St Margaret who utilize Juniper Park as their home field for practice and games.

With the local Public Schools expanding and losing their play space, the children more than ever need a place to run.

Putting more trees in wide open areas is counter-productive to the vitality of the park.   Isn’t it feasible to plant the trees along the walking paths like the Cherry Trees in Washington, DC.  You can create a beautiful tunnel of trees all along the park that people can walk through and still have the open space that our community desperately needs.  Please support the Middle Village families that actively use the park.

Thank you,
Tom Strumpf
Middle Village

Use former
hospital as HS

Dear Mayor Bloomberg:
I propose that a compromise be made concerning the proposed construction of a high school in Maspeth, Queens. Instead of erecting the building in the heart of a residential area in Maspeth, you consider the property at the old St. John’s Hospital site on Queens Blvd. with easy access to mass transportation.

This would be a win situation for both the elected officials and the communities in central Queens. You might also consider earmarking part of the property as a medical outreach facility for Elmhurst and outlining communities.

I have this day run this proposal past Elizabeth Crowley’s office. It would be a considerate and thoughtful gesture for all parties to consider.

Back in the late 1950’s St. Ann’s Academy had to relocate its high school in Manhattan to Jamaica, Queens, under similar circumstances. They chose a site close to mass transit but with less intrusion to the Jamaica community. The school is now known as Archbishop Molloy High School.

Hugh McCaul
Middle Village

Seniors Beware

To the Editor:
Senior citizens, especially women living alone, beware. Some plumbing in my house needed to be fixed, I used a supposed excellent company from Whitestone. There were three separate jobs which cost $1,200. While they were working,
I went into the basement to see how they were progressing. I was satisfied with the work.

Unfortunately a couple of months later I was going to paint my bathroom. My painting tools, brushes, rollers, two cans of new paint had disappeared along with four very sentimental Christmas ornaments, they kindly left me two and the wrapping from the stolen ones. These were the only workmen I had.

Help, Help, Help, we need a few good men.

Thank you,
Middle Village

Moving Mass
for Ed

Dear Editor,
Attending the funeral Mass for Ed Nubel this past Saturday, I was moved by so many moments.

The choir was so magnificent. My eyes were brimming and my throat choked up with the simple elegance of the hymns and their voices. No wonder Ed loved that choir.

Ed's niece, Dawn McNamara's eulogy was so affectionate, so loving of her uncle. It would be an honor if I were eulogized so endearingly.

Saint Stanislaus itself is a beautiful church. Catholics in Maspeth are so fortunate to be able to hear Mass in so lovely a church.

Rest in Peace, Ed. You lived a life of giving, so now you will be rewarded for all eternity. You will be there to greet those who knew you, and continue your generosity by showing all your friends around Paradise.

Bob Doocey
Middle Village

Reply to Post

To The Editor:
I write to respond to the letter by Mr. Daniel Galvin that appeared in the March April 2009 edition of the (Juniper) Berry regarding the noise problems at Haspel-Staab Post 551 of the Veterans of Foreign War. Mr. Galvin is unhappy because I wrote a letter in the December 2008 edition of the Berry complaining about the noisy outdoor parties the Post allows in the unlicensed alleyway next to its clubhouse and my home, and the music and bass drum noise from its rental parties. I asked that the Post keep its parties indoors — as it has done for thirty years and where it already has a licensed 85-person hall. The Post has refused to do so.

My request is not unreasonable. The Post moved into this residential neighborhood on a side street knowing full well there were homes with families surrounding it on all sides. In applying for its original liquor license, the Post represented to the State Liquor Authority that it would not drink alcohol outside. My family and the other neighbors who have expressed objections live next to or very near the Post. Mr. Galvin lives a half-mile away. So Mr. Galvin does not hear the noise, and does not experience the blocked driveways and other congestion, caused by these parties.

Mr. Galvin says he is a member of the Post. But he does not identify himself as an officer and, therefore, does not speak for the Post. Mr. Galvin does not know what is happening on my block because he does not live here. Indeed, I have never even met Mr. Galvin.

Although Mr. Galvin claims there are only a “few” outside parties, he fails to tell the readers of the Berry that the Post’s application to the State Liquor Authority to allow outdoor drinking parties does not contain any restrictions on the number of parties, the time of day, and the rental to nonmembers. The Post’s application has been opposed by neighbors and the Juniper Park Civic Association. And the Post has failed to obtain a letter of support from Community Board No. 5. Indeed, Mr. Galvin never spoke at the Community Board hearing on the application. Was he even there?

Contrary to what Mr. Galvin tells you, the Post never “replaced” the door leading into the alleyway with a “soundproof model.” It’s still there. What really happened is that, in response to multiple noise complaints, police from the 104th Precinct visited the Post on several occasions. They placed the Post on a special “Conditions List.” That meant the Precinct would monitor the Post while on its patrols. Only after these events and after I submitted my letter to the Berry did the Post place some padding on the inside of the door. But the padding did not solve the noise problem. All the Post had to do was pick up the phone and call us to discuss the best remedy. But it refused to do so. Why? And where was Mr. Galvin? Oh, that’s right, he lives a half-mile away.

Mr. Galvin disputes my description of the $10,000 annual grants the Post has received from New York State. We have re-confirmed that this money comes from New York State taxpayers. People are unemployed in this recession. The Post — a private club not open to the neighbors — receives taxpayer dollars, through the help of former Senator Maltese. But the Post refused to attend a meeting Senator Maltese’s own staff sought to arrange. That does not sound right. Mr. Galvin does not deny that the Post refused to attend meetings arranged by Senator Maltese’s office and by the JPCA. Nor does he deny that the Post refused to follow the advice of its own Statewide Command in Albany to keep its parties indoors. We cannot understand the Post’s refusal to meet with neighbors and a third party to at least discuss the dispute.

Contrary to what Mr. Galvin tells you, the noisy, unlicensed “Memorial Day party” about which I complained last year did not take place on Memorial Day. Was Mr. Galvin even there? If he were there, Mr. Galvin would have heard the noise and seen all the people, including nonmembers from outside the neighborhood, drinking alcohol outside. And he would have seen the police from the 104th Precinct who visited the Post that day.

Mr. Galvin claims the Post “functions with the sole purpose of serving” its members. But he does not tell the people of Middle Village that Haspel-Staab Post 551 allows its clubhouse to be used to raise money for political campaigns.

Remarkably, Mr. Galvin goes so far as to attack the Berry itself, wrongly accusing this magazine of publishing “several letters” by me. I wrote only one letter. That’s it.

The Post is a commendable organization but it is acting very badly. The Post does not have a license to drink alcohol outside its clubhouse and it is under investigation by the State Liquor Authority. Indeed, even Mr. Galvin acknowledges that there “may” be noise problems from the Post’s Saturday night rental parties and outdoor affairs. These problems can end. The Post should keep its parties and noise indoors, as it has done for the past thirty years.

Very truly yours,
Ralph P. DeSanto
Middle Village