Growing Technology Threatens Look of Neighborhood

To the Editor:
Driving through Middle Village recently, I have noticed a new and creeping blight upon our lovely corner of the city. It may seem barely noticeable now, but the trend is certain — as more people install new and efficient ductless air conditioning systems, or replace old air conditioning units with them, there is a growing eyesore readily apparent to anyone bothering to look. Some folks are installing the large square or rectangular compressors that these systems require on the front of their homes, damaging the architectural integrity of their own homes as well as those of their neighbors. It is an unfortunate trend and one that is surely avoidable.
These compressors can and should be mounted behind homes, or, if no other option is available, on the ground in front preferably behind a decorative enclosure. Most, if not all, of these units have sufficient capacity to be located in a remote and discreet location rather than bolted to the front of a home. While it may be more expensive or more work for the installer, in the long run it's certainly worth it. Imagine what blocks of attractive brick homes covered with large compressors might look like in the near future. There are already some homes here that have these compressors with multiple runs of tubing and electrical conduit sprouting in different directions attached to the front of the house. It's an abysmal sight and I'd love to see the practice stopped.

In the same vein, I've noticed many satellite dishes attached to the front of homes too. This problem is even easier to remedy. When the satellite installer came to my house to install the satellite dish, he immediately chose a location that was expedient for him to complete the job. When I asked him to attach the unit on the roof to the chimney or vent stack, he replied that he lacked the proper mounting straps for it. It was only when I told him I would not accept it on the side of my house and I was willing to wait for him to obtain this equipment that he was able to instantly produce the proper mounting materials. The lesson is simple: it's up to the homeowner to insist on discreet and carefully placed utilities, and if you insist, you will get it. This will help preserve the beauty of our neighborhood for us and our children.

It has been said you cannot stop progress and while this is true, it's necessary and helpful to strive for a cleaner looking home that preserves the natural beauty of the brick homes in our neighborhood. I implore the residents of Middle Village to do so.

Mark Grilli
Middle Village

The Berry Finest

To the Editor:
I think your magazine is the finest local publication I have ever read. It is beautifully written and I look forward to every issue.

I believe that several issues ago you profiled the Rothstein Phantom Village. I don’t remember if it was one issue or two. Would it be possible to forward the copies of those issues? I am enclosing a check, which I hope will cover your handling and postage costs.

I visited the Museum of the American Gangster in the East Village. They have a great deal of information about Rothstein but had no knowledge of the Phantom Village. I would like to forward the information to the museum.

I appreciate your efforts. Please send the issues to me at the above address. Yours truly,

Diane Bishop
Middle Village

Response: Thank you for the kind words. We will have the Juniper Berry issues with the Arnold Rothstein Phantom Village story sent to you.

Training Memories

Dear Editor:
I was impressed with the 2013 March-April (Juniper) Berry, especially the history. Glad to see Dorothy Speer back in print.

Reading William Thom’s New York Connecting Railroad story, Part I, reminded me of attending a jazz festival on Randall’s Island in the late fifties with a couple of jazz and train buffs. While enjoying Duke Ellington, Count Basie, Billie Holiday and other jazz greats, we were treated to the sight of the New Haven trains crossing the Hell Gate Bridge and passing close to the Randall’s Island stadium. The huge powerful New Haven electric locomotives sported a flashy red, white and black (like a circus clown) paint scheme.

After the concert ended (around 2am) my friends and I crossed the Triboro Bridge to Astoria where we took the subway home. No trains were running on the viaduct high above Astoria’s sleepy rooftops as if a tired little boy had put his full scale Lionel trains away for the night.

Am looking forward to Parts II and III of the NYCR series. Keep up the good work. Sincerely,

John A. Roberts
Middle Village

Parading Around Maspeth

I love a parade! Who doesn’t?
There were wonderful parades down Grand Avenue that, over the years, have been so special to me.
“Decoration Day” as it was called back in the 1950’s was a popular parade day in Maspeth. As I recall, there were grandstands set up along 69th Street across from the Maspeth Car Barns. After the ceremonies, the parade moved up Grand Avenue to the Maspeth Monument at 57th Street where a wreath was placed and an honor guard fired a salute to our men and women who served our country. This was an annual event . . . a tradition that has lasted many years.

My Dad loved to don his Veteran’s cap and join in the march with his cronies. I even joined in when, as a Girl Scout in 1951, I carried the American flag for our troop – a very proud moment for me. In later years, I would return to Maspeth to watch the parade with family and friends and our children in their strollers.

Such wonderful memories!

Dolores Gluckler Cullen
Lakeville, Pennsylvania

Muni-Meter Mess

Dear Mr. Holden:
I have attached two (2) articles from the Daily News and the Queens Chronicle to whom I wrote regarding the muni-meter mess we are being subjected to. As you can see the News edited the one I submitted but the editor of the Chronicle published it in full and commented as well. There were two follow up letters from other people who complained to the Daily News.
I have since then spoke with Gary Giordano from CB 5 who was going to get back to me. 

I contacted 311 who took down my complaint and information in order to forward it to the DOT and gave me a confirmation number. The operator told me that I should hear back from DOT, however, so far, I have not been contacted.

Interestingly and somewhat anecdotal, a television show (I believe it was CBS’s Blue Bloods) was being filmed on Grand Avenue two evenings and during one of those days. While passing by car I was able to see signs wrapped around meters stating no parking, along with a big plastic bag covering a muni-meter. If we did this, would we receive special permission to do the same? I don’t think so.
Let me know any updates if you can and I will do the same.  

Thank you.
L. Ciborowski

Hockey Rink Dump

To whom it may concern,
For years and years, we young athletes see thousands of dollars poured into our local park. This upkeep is crucial to the environment and community we live in since it serves the basis for Middle Village and is heliocentric to our neighborhood. Yet each and every year, our hopes get let down one by one. Many of us are beginning to lose faith in our elected officials and the Parks Department or even wonder if these people are paying us any mind. What I am referring to is Juniper Park's neglected, beat down, hockey rink.

Each and every day, we players notice new trash, dog feces, and empty beer bottles and cans that have been left in this new common dumping ground. The rink has become the convenient trash dump of the park. The renovation of the hockey rink has been non-existent as metal fencing has been ripped apart, and side boards have been bruised, cracked and peeling, not to mention the extremely large puddle formed by the unevenness of the rink, which lies right in the middle of the area- we can only play on one half of the rink because of this! The abuse that the boards have taken over the past number of years is only getting worse as they continue to fall apart literally and they have been causing constant injury and emergency room visits for us players, myself included.

We would like to see the standard of our hockey rink upheld, just as highly as your precious seven baseball fields (which continually get mowed, chalked, and watered religiously), three basketball courts, astroturf soccer and football field, brand new running track, newly redesigned playgrounds and counting! When is it our turn? We have all been patiently waiting, and it is time that someone addresses this issue at hand. As a result of the park's negligence towards the upkeep of our hockey rink, it has become an eyesore for the park and passing community at large. Now is the time for an official to take the stand, and create an initiative to revive a common playground for this great and popular sport!

Joseph Dionisi

Need Southside Help

To the Editor:
As previous requested, we need a speed bump on 69th Road just before 75th Street. The addresses at this location are 75-03 and-75-05. Also trucks and the Four Ones cab company cars are parking their vehicles on the sidewalk, blocking traffic on 71st Avenue and 74th Street. They are also working on cars on the street day and night. CPI and City Wide, located on 74th Street and 70th Avenue, are also blocking traffic. The Tireplace also parks their trucks on the street overnight.

The MTA is still parking vehicles on the sidewalk. We need no standing signs on 73rd Place and 69th Road, not on 73rd Place and Cook Avenue. Also need a no standing on 74th Street and 70th Avenue. Yes we do call 311.

We are still waiting for All Faiths Cemetery to clean up 73 Place.
We need you on the south side of Middle Village

Thank You.
Jerry DeStefano
Middle Village

RE Cindy

Dear Mr. Holden,
First, I want to let you know how much I enjoy the (Juniper) Berry. The reason I am writing to you is that I want to say thank you to Cindy Danielski, Real Estate Agent from Crifasi Real Estate. Cindy recently sold my home and made the transition completely worry free. She was very accommodating to me and gave me everything I asked for. The compassion & honesty she has for others is very special. She is courteous and professional and I would recommend her highly. Now my family and I are ready to start the next part of our journey. Again, I would like to thank Cindy and wish her and you the best!

K. Morris
Middle Village

Double Parking

Dear Friends & Neighbors Alert –
Do not double park on Eliot Avenue. There’s a Traffic Agent cruising in car going up and down the avenue. I got tagged while helping my wife who has osteoporosis bring in laundry (one minute). The ticket is $115. Outrageous! This agent is doing a good business. Don’t let it happen to you. Ouch, that really hurts!

Carl Bonventre
Middle Village

Reckless Driving

Dear Editor
Bad driving in our Middle Village/ Maspeth neighborhood is causing a decline in the quality of our nice area. Some people drive too fast, drive through red lights, drive the wrong way on one-way streets especially at busy expressway service roads, and I have actually seen cars driving backwards out of one-way streets onto busy roads, and many times they do not look to see if pedestrians are crossing the roads. I have almost been hit three times in the last six months by speeding cars.
It is difficult to figure what we can do to correct this dangerous driving in our area. We could turn back the clock, and try to slow down the flow of traffic, by making former two-way streets, two-way again. Also allow parking on both sides of a main street such as 74th street between 58th Road and 60th Avenue. Cars would have to slow down because the lane would be narrower and many times the cars come from both directions.

I think it is necessary enough to have photographs to be taken at our traffic lights for people that disregard the red lights and go right through. This is a menace to traffic at intersections and is also dangerous for people attempting to cross the streets.

We also need the 104th precinct to have more of a presence in our area, and try to give out more tickets to these drivers who are ruining our area.

Daniel Thom
Middle Village

Need 62 Ave. Action

Dear Mr. Holden:
For the safety of the residents in Middle Village, the traffic patterns and conditions on 80 Street and 62 Avenue must be changed immediately.

First: No Standing (Day-Light) signs need to be placed on all four corners to give motorists and pedestrians the visibility they need to avoid accidents. The No Standing signs will also allow traffic on 80th Street turning onto 62 Avenue room to maneuver, especially the school buses and vans. Vehicles unable to make the turn freeze traffic, creating extremely dangerous conditions.

Second: 62 Avenue, a narrow and congested passage must be converted to an eastbound one-way to discourage reckless driving since motorists routinely speed on 62 Avenue, attempting to make the light on 80 Street. Making 62 Avenue a one-way will also improve the quality of life in our neighborhood by reducing noise and air pollution.

Most people who live on 62 Avenue or near its intersection with 80 Street have witnessed more than one vehicular accident. The traffic in this area is badly mismanaged. It's time for action. I urge my neighbors to contact the Department of Transportation and demand that the aforementioned changes be put in effect as soon as possible. Thank you, sincerely,

Frank Catapano
Middle Village

Hockey on Caldwell

Dear John Killcommons,
Marty Brennan was kind enough to pass on copy of the Juniper Berry through my brother Tom showing the pictures of the (RA) Football and Baseball team on the back cover. Thanks John Veracoechea for stirring up some good times. Both were great teams with special people, but I was most proud of the baseball team, that year and the next year since championships were part of their fabric.

(On the backcover of this issue) is a picture of a team before organized sports. A group of kids getting together to form the “Elmhurst Blackhawks” roller hockey team whose practice facility was Caldwell Ave (the smoothest surface around), going from Eliot Ave. (southeast, passing the back end of the donut factory. From 82nd Place / 61st: to farm house on the left side of Caldwell Ave. with home games at Grover Cleveland HS Park. Our method of transport to home and away games was bus and subways (with sticks / pads / skates). No coach, just a sense among the players who was the best.

We won the Long Island City / YMCA title for our age group in 1952. I am not in the picture, must have been delivering the “Press” and “Star Journal.” Some of the guys are no longer with us, but the times we had then bring back great memories. Yes a picture is worth a thousand words.

I too will be subscribing to the Juniper Berry. The magazine is very professional and the content a super read.

– John Groarke

PS: Your Long Island Press boy / Route 2915 covering 80th and 81st Streets.