Gas Tank Park Graffiti

Dear Editor:

I want to report to you the fact that the retaining wall, west side of the park of the new park (old Elmhurst Gas Tank site) is covered in graffiti. I tried to report to 311 the graffiti for cleanup but I do not know the address or park name and therefore they could not take my report. Please report the problem to the city. Thank you.

Peter H. Kliegman
Monitor Holding Corp

Berry Excited About Magazine

To the Juniper Berry:

Enclosed you will find my check for one year’s subscription to your magazine, the “Juniper Berry.” I don’t know how this happened but I had never seen a copy of your magazine until just lately when a neighbor mentioned it to me. I can only assume that because of the constant traveling (my husband’s business) when I also traveled with him I missed hearing about your publication.

We can’t make up for lost time of course but I am glad I found you now. My neighbor gave me a copy dated March-April 2006, which, although it contained “old news,” was very much enjoyed by me.

Please start my subscription now. I am looking forward to receiving my own copies.

Ethel Gordon
Middle Village

On Moving a Bus Stop

Dear Juniper Berry Editor,

I am writing to send you a copy of a letter I sent to CB 5 in reference to my request to relocate our bus stop in Maspeth.

I do not know who else to send this to so that my request can be acted upon. I would have wanted to send this directly to NY MTA, but I do not have their contact information for matters like these.

Here is the full text of my letter:

Dear Community Board 5,

Can I respectfully ask the Board Members to request the NY MTA Bus to relocate the existing bus stop on Flushing Ave and 64th St TO Grand Ave and 65th St so that it can serve BOTH the Q58 and Q59 buses? We all know that these two buses are the lifelines of many Maspeth residents to the subway station on Queens Boulevard. But the fork in the road of Flushing Ave and Grand Ave presents a problem. Currently, the Flushing Ave-64th St stop only serves the Q58 bus for Main St Flushing, because the Q59 bus for Rego Park coming from Grand Ave enters Flushing Ave (actually now Grand Ave) only a few meters after the stop, missing it by a hair’s breadth. This way, people already waiting on the stop who want to board the Q59 bus cannot do so. If the bus stop can be relocated to the corner of Grand Ave and 65th St, a few meters away, it will be able to serve the Q59 bus as well.

The next bus stop of the Q59 is on the corner of Grand Ave and 66th St, way past Mt. Olivet Cemetery. True, Q59 stops on Maspeth Ave a few meters before it enters Grand Ave, but it presents a challenge to catch it when you are coming from the Flushing Ave and 64th St stop (while waiting for the Q58), or, in the case of those who are on the Q59 stop, to catch the Q58 when you are on the Grand Ave and 64th St stop. I see commuters actually waiting on the island in the middle of Flushing and Grand Avenues to make sure they catch either bus when they see it coming. Some who are already waiting on their stop run across the street to catch the other bus. This presents a very dangerous situation especially in the morning commute hours when traffic is very heavy.

In summary, I believe that it is necessary to relocate the current MTA bus stop on Flushing Avenue and 64th Street TO Grand Avenue and 65th Street to accommodate BOTH the Q58 and Q59 buses. A simple change in the bus stop location plan will greatly ease the commute of many Maspeth residents in the neighborhood, especially in winter!

Thank you very much for your kind attention.

Ramon Bautista

Bad Bus Service

To the Editor:

I have incessantly complained about the Q38 in the mornings going to the train station on Woodhaven Blvd. and now the Q29 has given the Q38 competition too! It is unbelievable that Middle Village residents are STILL DEALING WITH THIS DEPLORABLE BUS SERVICE ON BOTH THE Q38 AND Q29! The MTA adds another bus route (the Q45) going directly up 80th Street to Atlas Mall – FOR WHAT? That bus is hardly ever filled! You disrupt our residential neighborhood with this bus line and don’t even bother to improve the service on the Q38 or Q29!

Apparently, your own bus drivers know how bad it is and that the MTA doesn’t care about the passengers waiting for the Q38 or the Q29! We hear them talking on the bus to other passengers how the MTA doesn’t care if there are two-three buses coming together as we wait for a 1/2 hour for a bus! We hear the bus drivers tell us how the dispatchers don’t care about the schedule! How dare they! They make us wait on long lines for 1/2 hour or more and then two-three buses come at the same time – every single day! How does that make sense? No matter how much I complain, my fellow passengers complain, Middle Village residents complain MTA JUST DOESN’T CARE! Maybe we shouldn’t care either AND
NOT PAY THE FARE when we get on the bus!


Airplane Noise Increasing

Dear FAA,

I have noticed over the past 6 months that large aircraft landing at LaGuardia Airport has become increasingly disruptive to my neighborhood.

At first I thought that inclement weather forced the air traffic controllers to temporarily change the landing patterns for safety reasons so I did not complain. However, the problem that exists now is unacceptable.

Aircraft frequently pass over my home after 11pm on any given day of the week. Other members of my community have also voiced their concern to our local officials. I look forward to your response; my address is below so that you can investigate the landing patterns that are causing this issue.

Leonard Santoro
Middle Village

Pilfered Pocketbook

To the Editor:

On Tuesday, November 4th, my daughter parked her car on Juniper Valley Road, less than two blocks from St. Margaret’s school where my granddaughter is a student. She locked her car and was gone less than ten minutes only to return to a car with the window broken and her pocketbook taken. It is amazing that at 7:45 in the morning no one witnessed this crime. If someone did, they should call the 104th Pct.

In any case, everyone should be aware of what could happen if you let your guard down even for ten minutes. I understand that a similar break-in and theft took place the day before at a local public school.

Name Withheld

Against Legislative Term Limits Extension

Hello Berry,

Here is an open letter I wrote last night in regards to the stupid and perplexing vote on Thursday. Some man of the year Bloomberg is now, huh?

To all Council members voting “No:”

In the wake of what has happened in the recent weeks, I must say that I honor your decision to vote against the term limit extension. When I saw the tally in the news, I searched the list for you first and was quite thrilled to see that you did not change your mind and that you voted the right way.

When the mayor introduced the bill to the council, I figured, as well as many others, that he was taking on a losing battle. In the beginning stages, many people thought the mayor would be a good fit for the third term. Many local news reports showed people talking about how he wants to see what is best for the city and does not want to leave it in distress. Seeing some of the good things he has done, I thought that he should get the chance for another four years. Then the mayor started playing games. People quickly picked up what he was doing and begun to question his authority (I certainly did). How was it that the current incumbent mayor could tell the city’s governing body to extend his term? What is the deal with that? I immediately became outraged at this. Quickly people began to say that WE should decide the mayor’s fate, in addition to the current term-limited council members. This, as you know, started the political lobbying and buy-outs from the mayor and his crew, all of which is on the taxpayers’ bill. One by one, a council member would turn his/her position on the extension. I’m sure this was done shortly after the mayor's crew bought them out, by guaranteeing them certain funds or a project in their district. The roads will certainly be paved with pork now. On Thursday, this certainly was the day that democracy died here in the greatest city in the world. Bill Thompson definitely put it the best and he has my vote for mayor come 2009. How is it that 51 people of a governing body can decide on extending their own time in office! Why is it that the mayor can now get the chance for another four years? It should have been up to the people. You and all of your constituents should have had enough of a voice to turn to the mayor and say “you know what, let our people decide this matter. After all, they voted us in and I feel they should decide if I am going to get another four years in office, not myself.” I am very disappointed in the entire city council. Fifty-one people of a governing body should not speak for over 7 million taxpayers and voters, especially those who elected you to fill those seats. I must say that this bill is by far the worst bill you passed in the last 7 years of this administration.

Alex Maureau

Outdoor Post Parties

To The Editor:

As a life-long resident of Middle Village, I write to express my disappointment with the conduct of the Haspel-Staab Post 551 of the Veterans of Foreign War. For 30 years that Post has done fine charitable work on behalf of veterans, and respected the peace and quiet of the local neighbors. Starting last year, however, the Post, which already has an 85-person hall, decided to move its parties outdoors into a vacant alleyway it owned next to its clubhouse (and adjacent to my home), even though it did not have a license to drink alcoholic beverages outside its building. We are not talking about eighty-year old veterans. Many of the WWII veterans have passed away. Last summer and this summer, there were loud parties of members and non-members, many of them young individuals who have never served in the Armed Forces, let alone seen action in the field of battle. And in the fall and winter, the Post rents out its hall for all sorts of parties, with loud bass drum music booming outside through a thin fire exit door that is not soundproofed.

All of our attempts to correct this problem have been thwarted by the Post: When we complained about loud noise, a Post member threatened us. We had to call the police, and we filed a police report against that person. Rather than meet with the neighbors, the Post instead notified Community Board No. 5, and filed an application with the New York State Liquor Authority, to expand its liquor license to permit the Post to erect multiple tables in the alleyway, and drink alcoholic beverages, with no restriction on the time of day for such drinking and parties, the number of parties, the renting out of the alleyway, etc. The New York State VFW, which charters this Post, intervened in July to speak with the Post and with us. But the Post Commander, Michael Brown, refused to sign the compromise letter embodying the State’s discussions.

The Post, after agreeing to a meeting with neighbors sponsored by JPCA, changed its mind and refused to do so. The Post refused to attend a meeting with neighbors arranged by Gene Burch, Senator Maltese’s veteran affairs advisor, despite the fact that the Post collects $10,000 a year in taxpayer money to fund its operations.

The Post has failed to have further discussions with Community Board No. 5, after appearing at a public hearing on the Post’s Application on September 10, 2008.

Is this being a good neighbor?

Is this how a charitable organization should act?

This is not a personal dispute.

Forty-one neighbors who actually live on the same block or across the street from the Post have signed a petition against the Post’s Application to expand its drinking to the outside alleyway, and several of them have appeared before the Executive and Land Use Committees of Board No. 5. At the public hearing, the Post produced only three speakers — all of whom were members of the Post. No disinterested neighbor favored the Application.

That is no surprise: would you want loud drinking parties next to your home?

Since June, the Post has been the subject of a State Liquor Authority investigation, and its application to expand its liquor license has been opposed. There is no valid reason for the proposed expansion that outweighs the detriment to the community and my family. The Post already has an 85-person hall for its events, which for the past 30 years have been conducted indoors. It need not drink alcohol outside in an entirely-residential neighborhood. That will only increase the noise.

We would like the Post to restore the peace and quiet that existed for so long in our neighborhood. The Post should be focusing not on drinking alcohol outside but on setting the example for the men and women serving in Iraq who will be returning from that war — the new veterans.

The Post should seek to be a good neighbor. Is this Post willing to do that?

Very truly yours,
Ralph P. DeSanto
Middle Village

Proud to be a JPCA Member

To the Editor:

It is with great pride that I write this letter, pride that I have been privileged to be a member of the Juniper Park
Civic Association. I, along with my Administrative staff, had the honor of attending the 70th Anniversary Dinner Dance and being part of a group of people who love their community and serve its residents.

On behalf of our staff, our Board of Directors and myself, I wish to thank all of the Board Members of the Juniper Park Civic Association for the excellent services that they provide to our community, especially Bob Holden, Lorraine Sciulli and the lovely Ms. Christina Wilkinson who is working with All Faiths Cemetery to make St. Saviour's a reality.

Very truly yours,
Daniel C. Austin,
Chairman, President & CEO