Dear Editor:
Reading your Juniper Berry Magazine (April/May 1998) with pictures of Grand Avenue and 69th Street, as hazardous corners with cars passing red lights, what about the other corners where the “walk” signal, and the arrow turn signal, go on the same time? You can’t cross, this is what is causing accidents, and deaths. everyone fears crossing these areas- the young and the old, it’s been (like that) for years. And it seems no one cares. Should we wait for more accidents and deaths?

Thank you,
Vinnie Lombardo

Dear Mr. Holden,
On May 31st, 1998, at approximately 3:30pm, I arrived at the jogging track at Juniper Park for my daily 5-mile run. I thought a soccer game was in progress in the field (Brennen Field?) on the inside of the track. Nothing unusual about that. Once I started running around the track I realized that it was not a soccer game but a CRICKET game being played by two organized teams with uniforms. I also found, while running, that four players were actually positioned in the middle of the track two on each side. Poles with red flags were also positioned on the outside of the track indicating that the playing field for this game extended beyond the field within the track. The trick was actually being used by these players as part of their playing field! While my wife watched from my car I continued my run while the cricket game was played. At the time I was the only runner on the track. After about 30 minutes another five people of various ages joined me in running around the track. As I ran I was nearly hit on several occasions by the ball used in the game. The ball is very similar to a baseball and is hit with a long wooden paddle. On several occasions the ball was hit over the fence and landed within the playing field of a softball game in progress. Of course the softball game was interrupted while the cricket ball was retrieved. On one occasion the softball players had not-so-nice words for the cricket player retrieving the ball. On one occasion, one of the cricket players cursed at me because I had the audacity to run past him, on the track, and thus blocked his view of an approaching fly ball (which he missed!).

You may ask why did I continue running and thus place myself in peril? I’ll tell you why. This is America and I have the right to run on a running track, designed for the sole purpose of running, without being terrorized by outside persons. I have never seen cricket being played in the park, much less than on the field within the track. Common sense told me that the game should not be played there. Baseball is not played on that field expressly since it could be injurious to runners on the track. Cricket is no less dangerous to runners.

The following day I called Community Board #5 (718-366-1834) and spoke to Gary Giordano and informed him of the incident. He told me that the field within the running track was for soccer/football only and was utilized mostly by youth teams. He went on to tell me that to his knowledge a permit could not be obtained to play cricket on that field. He assured me that the matter would be looked into.

It is bad enough that I have to dodge people riding bicycles on the track while they dig ruts into the soft surface with knobby tires, but now I have to endure games played by outside teams on the track itself. When does all this end? Aren’t we all entitled to use the park without being terrorized, intimidated and having our health and safety placed in jeopardy? How long are we going to permit outside parties who have no real interest in our park and our neighborhood to abuse this beautiful park? If someone is hurt on the running track because of illegal or improper use by organized teams, who will be responsible?

I for one will not be run off the track or out of the park. I will use every legal means at my disposal to stop the apparent decay of Juniper Park. I urge others to do the same. Together we can make a difference.

Mike Kirkpatrick

We agree. Everyone should take an active roll in protecting our precious but fragile park. Abuses like this must be reported immediately. ed.

The following is a copy sent to Frank Crevallo, Southland (7-Eleven) VP, Real Estate Division:

Dear Mr. Crivallo,
I am in receipt of your letter, dated April 27, 1998. Although I appreciate the fact that you have received an avalanche of responses from my neighbors in Middle Village concerning your opening a 7-Eleven Store at Eliot Avenue and 72nd Street, I was appaled that you believed that we would not stand together as a community and vigorously try to dissuade you from opening that store. It is obvious that you have selected a location to attract customers from the school directly across the street. It is also patently obvious that most of your school customers will be young children — our children. I did not appreciate receiving your form letter in response to my specific inquiries. Would you particularly respond to the following specific questions:
1. How do you plan to protect our children crossing the street while cars are racing in and out of your store to buy coffee and newspapers and then racing to work? Do you plan to petition the City to install a traffic light for a pedestrian crossing? Until the traffic light is installed, do you plan to hire a crossing guard at that corner to insure the safety of our children?
2. How do you plan to insure the peaceful enjoyment of one’s home, when directly next door to you there is a 24-hour convenience store with cars and trucks utilizing the area at all hours?
3. How do you plan to control parking? Many parents may take advantage of the use of a parking spot and utilize your parking area to drop off and pick up their children from school?
4. How do you plan to keep the 7-Eleven from becoming a hang-out for teenagers? School children?
5. If the store is, in fact, erected, will the store’s managers and employees ensure that cigarettes, beer (and other alcohol), adult books/magazines are not sold to our children? If there is a problem in the sale of such items, who do we contact to rectify this situation? You?

I realize that your statement “Many (stores) sponsor local athletic, school and community-enhancement programs, as well as other initiatives important to their neighbors,” may be a popular statement in many neighborhoods, but it is irrelevant to ours. Many of our local businesses already sponsor school and community programs. We do not need 7-Eleven’s sponsorship.

You state that you live in Melville and have been a part of the community for many years. Is there a 7-Eleven located directly across the street from your children’s elementary school? If not, do not presume to understand our concerns regarding this store. You further state, “It is natural that people want to protect their homes and security of their neighborhood. I feel the same way about my neighborhood.” If those are your true sentiments, please, build the 7-Eleven store across the street from your own local elementary school. You feel there is no problem with this store being built next to an elementary school, then put it by your elementary school. We don’t want it!!!!

You also state, “The last thing we want is a neighborhood that is dissatisfied with having a 7-Eleven store.” You have received a great deal of correspondence, petitions, telephone calls and e-mail expressing our dissatisfaction of the building of this store; and yet, you have already begun construction of the site. I do not believe that you are, at all, concerned about our neighborhood. I believe your only concern is the bottom dollar.

Your response to my specific concerns would be greatly appreciated.

Very truly yours,
Linda Hickey

Dear Editor:
Bravo to Councilman Tom Ognibene for working hard, like no other elected official in the history of this neighborhood. As Juniper Park Civic Association members and residents of this community, we should thank the Councilman for his herculean effort in preserving and rebuilding our neighborhood. He has secured funding for so many capital projects that have improved the appearance of our neighborhood and the quality of life.

He has shown the City of New York that he is a force to be reckoned with and he stands up for the middle class. God bless him for all his efforts and we are eternally grateful for all his years of service.

Rudolph Masi

Dear Mr. Holden,
At the March 12th Town Meeting, a question raised was “Why are they putting in septic tanks in the 7 buildings erected at Caldwell (Avenue) and 75th Street?” Question was prompted by the observation of septic tank type cylinders at the construction site. In a conversation with Mr. Fabian, the builder, he stated that the cylinders were dry wells needed to conform to Building Department regulations. These dry wells provide a reservoir for rain water during heavy rain so all the water doesn’t enter the City sewer system at the same time. He also stated that if anybody had any questions he or his sons would be more than willing to respond.

The 75th Street Block Association wishes to thank the JPCA for giving us the opportunity to voice opposition to the 7-Eleven project and to closure of 75th Street to pedestrian traffic at the Eliot Avenue end of the block.

Dennis White,
Block Captain