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Communities of Maspeth and Elmhurst Together

COMET NEWSLETTER / SUMMER 2018

Elmhurst’s Forgotten “Madison Street”


See page 7

If you see something, say something! If you see something, send something.
Counter Terrorism Hotline Go to the APP Store, type in "see send".
1-888-692-7233 or 1-888-NY-SAFE You can attach photos or send information.
Shoveling Snow for Seniors
These photos of Englid and Daniel shoveling snow for a senior citizen
were taken at 3:11 am on 58th Avenue in Maspeth after we were hit by
the March 22nd snowstorm.
After each storm the volunteers waited until the snow stopped and
there were times they were out shoveling until the early morning hours.
We want to thank Assemblyman Brian Barnwell and all the young
volunteers for helping our seniors this past winter.

110th Precinct Neighborhood 51st Avenue at 72nd Street


Coordination Officers

In late February, Elmhurst residents had the opportunity to meet their


new Neighborhood Coordination Officers (NCO) PO Donald Lee and
PO Sebastian Arrubla at the New Life Church on Queens Boulevard.
These officers have been assigned to our area of Elmhurst to help
address quality of life conditions and become a familiar presence in the
community. Also in attendance was the 110th Precinct NCO Sergeant
Magdalena Raznikiewicz. In September 2014, COMET Vice President Dick Gundlach reported
Numerous concerns were raised which included vandalism, trespassing, a problem with the catch basins at the intersection of 51st Avenue
and illegally parked vehicles. The officers are also trained to do and 72nd Street in Woodside. He noticed that whenever it rained the
investigations such as the one they did for us involving a vacant house catch basins didn’t collect the water and large puddles formed at the
that was taken over by squatters. They were able to track down the intersection. During the winter the water froze making for a dangerous
property owner and get the building secured. crossing.

Now that the warm weather has arrived you may experience quality of On March 15, 2018, about three and a half years after his initial
life problems such as loud music, youth hanging out at our footbridges complaint, Dick was thrilled to see the Department of Environmental
or perhaps even illegal dumping. These officers are trained to deal with Protection finally taking action to address the problem.
many different problems involving various agencies. We cannot stress the importance of reporting a problem to 311 as soon
If you have a concern and wish to reach out to them, you can contact as you observe it. If nothing is done in a timely fashion, contact your
them by email: Donald.lee@nypd.org and Sebastian.arrubla@nypd.org community board and elected offical. Persistence does pay off!
and they will follow up on the complaint.

Pg. 2 Summer 2018 COMET


1 Claremont Terrace told us this site has been in this
condition for about 10 years! It’s
unbelievable that a developer
can stall a project such as this
for such a long time.
The Newtown Civic gave us a
little background information
about the site which was sad
to hear. This was the site of the
1854 historic house belonging
to one of Samuel Lord's (of Lord
& Taylor) daughters. This was
the last remaining house of the
four he had built for his four
daughters.
We were told the property was
In the early part of 2016, COMET Treasurer Geraldine Walsh stumbled sold, and in 2005 and the entire
across what appeared to be a deserted construction site at 1 Claremont house was demolished and a
Terrace in Elmhurst. She saw illegal dumping, weeds, graffiti and big brick structure started going
trespassers loitering on the unsecured property. up. The only thing remaining
We immediately contacted of the house was the front
Councilman Daniel Dromm’s porch. This was all done under
office and the 110th Precinct. an alteration permit. Fast
The 110th Precinct immediately forward over ten years later, the
went to the site and cleared out building is abandoned, a graffiti
the trespassers. Councilman attraction, trash infested, a
Dromm’s office contacted the vagrant gathering spot and still
Department of Buildings and not completed. We all agree this is a huge safety concern.
the Department of Citywide Councilman Dromm’s office and the 110th Precinct are continuing to
Administrative Services (DCAS). monitor this property but there doesn’t appear to be a “quick fix” in
We were informed that the entrance to this property was owned by sight. It’s unfortunate that a developer is allowed to just let a project
DCAS which surprised us because the developer would have to use city deteriorate. We’ll work with the Newtown Civic to help get this eyesore
property to access the site. We can’t help but wonder who would be addressed.
liable if someone were injured on this city-owned property.
We subsequently found out that the Newtown Civic Association was
also trying to address this problem. We couldn’t believe it when they

Illegal Fliers What is This?


Block Captain Richie Polgar doesn’t just clean Puzzled Calamus Avenue residents sent us this
graffiti and report broken street lights, he also photo asking what it is and why was it attached
walks around the community taking down all to a light pole on Calamus Avenue in the vicinity
the fliers that are plastered throughout the of 72nd Place in Woodside. We sent the photo
neighborhood on poles and mailboxes. One to DOT Queens Deputy Commissioner Jason
particular flier that annoys him is a rubbish Banrey and he stated it was a traffic counter
removal ad that has tape wrapped around the and he would have someone look into it.
pole numerous times. He has found apartment By the time the agency could look into it, it
rental ads do the same thing. Richie said the disappeared! Perhaps at some point we’ll find
only fliers he doesn’t remove are ones where out why it was placed at this particular location.
someone is looking for a lost pet or if they’re
having a yard sale. He hopes those folks will remove the fliers when the
pet is found or their yard sale is over.
One important point he wants to stress is that if anything is posted on
city property and it is reported to 311, violators can receive a fine for
each flier that is posted.

COMET Summer 2018 Pg. 3


If You See Something, LIE Exit 19 at
Say Something Woodhaven Boulevard
The Newtown Civic just had to share this
photo with us. One of their members spotted
concrete being poured into the tree pits at
the development site right behind the old
Georgia Diner. If this type of activity is ignored,
our once “green” Elmhurst will turn into a
concrete jungle.
Councilman Dromm’s office reached out to
the developer’s representative who stated
they were informed of the situation and took
immediate steps to rehabilitate the tree pits. He assured the Councilman
that trees are a precious part of our urban landscape and will do whatever
possible to maintain and preserve the trees surrounding the site.
Sadly, a lot of folks pave or concrete the tree pits not realizing that
trees need a lot of soil to catch the rain. By covering up the tree pits One of our members advised us that since
with pavers or concrete the roots of the tree will not grow deep into the the signage at the eastbound LIE exit at
ground, but rather stay near the surface to get water. Over time the roots Woodhaven Boulevard was changed from
may eventually lift the sidewalk. If the tree roots are not deep, the tree allowing a motorist to turn right on red to “No
could blow over in a storm. If the tree gets no water, it will obviously die. Turn on Red” and traffic getting off at this exit
oftentimes backs up as far as the service road.

Problem Solved! We reached out to DOT Assistant Borough


Commissioner Janson Banrey who stated,
“DOT is looking into this intersection and
There are nine row houses
signal timing here. The previous signage was
with only one entrance/exit
creating dangerous conditions for pedestrians
to their community drive on
as vehicles were not yielding to folks”. He said
Calamus Avenue near 72nd
he would keep us updated.
Place in Woodside. A concerned
homeowner reached out to let us
know a commercial food vendor,
who lives on the block behind him, Crowley Park Reopens!
was using this private driveway
in order to park the commercial
vehicle in the rear of his home. The
homeowner was concerned about
any liability in the event there was
an accident with the vehicle or if a
stranger were to wander into the
driveway and get injured.
We reached out to PO Eli Gani,
108th Precinct Crime Prevention
Officer, and he did a walk-through behind the houses on March 23rd. He
We were pleased to hear
suggested that the nine homeowners get “NO TRESPASSING” signs and
Crowley Park has reopened
urged them to chip in and have a gate installed at the entrance.
in time for summer. As we
We were pleased to hear that all nine homeowners agreed with the passed by, we could see
plan, signs were posted and a gate will be installed. This gate will also children taking advantage of
be helpful in deterring burglars who oftentimes make entry through the a beautiful day and playing on
rear of the home. Great job! the new equipment.
Councilman Dromm set
aside funding for this project
a couple of years ago to update the equipment and address other
community concerns.

Pg. 4 Summer 2018 COMET


Letter to the Editor at home. As we all know, more traffic leads to more accidents, and more
accidents leads to more injuries. Queens Boulevard has been known as
the “Boulevard of Death” in the past. As the accidents and fatalities on
69th Street Over-Development Crisis Queens Boulevard have decreased over the last few years, we need to
Here we go AGAIN!!! Another high-rise building looking to make its mark keep these statistics as low as possible. Why risk our lives and safety of our
on Queen Boulevard in Woodside! A Land Use Review Application for neighbors, friends, and families so developers can make a quick buck???
a Special Permit has been submitted by 69-02 Queens Blvd Woodside Last but not least, water and sewer problems. There are numerous
LLC to rezone several lots (Block 2432 Lots 41, 44, & 50) on the south water and sewer projects happening in our district during the last few
side of Queens Boulevard between 69th street and 70th Street. The years. Many homes were damaged because of these projects. Water
application included a proposal for a zoning change from M1-1 to R7X for and sewer problems are usually created because of high usage. If we
the above mentioned lots. The proposed rezoning is requested because allow this project to happen, where will all these water go from these two
the developer wants to build two oversize buildings (14 and 17 stories buildings? Instead of solving these issues in the future after the project
respectively as East Tower and West Tower) within the 5 different lots has been completed, we need to come together as a community NOW
spread among the entire block between 69th Street and 70th Street. and do everything we can to stop this proposal NOW so we can prevent
Keep in mind, there is already an ongoing project at 46-02 70th Street and avoid these future crisis from happening in the first place.
where a developer is in the process of constructing a 9 story building
consisting of 74 apartments. James Zhang, Maspeth Resident

NOTE: Community Board 2Q held two public hearings. One was held
at their regularly scheduled meeting and one was held in Woodside at
St. Mary’s, which is located directly behind the development project.
Councilman Holden has come out against the proposal. As we go to
press, no final decision has been reached.

Elmhurst Car Sales

Residents attend CB2 meeting at St. Mary's to speak against the proposal Parking is a nightmare all over
our area and residents don’t
For the past 10 years, we, as a community, have witnessed a steady need to see the problem
increase in construction and development of tall buildings within our compounded by local residents
community. However, the two proposed buildings on 69th street would operating a car sales business
be the biggest and tallest in the Maspeth, Woodside, and Elmhurst area
on our city streets. A car sales
in recent years. At the current time, there are approximately 10 different
business, like other businesses,
high rise projects happening within the one mile radius from 69th Street
must operate from property
to Woodhaven Boulevard which combined with the 69th street project
zoned for that type of business.
would create over 1000 more apartments for our community. Truthfully,
our community’s infrastructure is not ready for this rapid expansion. We took this problem to our
110th Precinct NCO Officers Don
There are numerous issues that would impact the community if this
Lee and Sebastian Arrubla and asked them to see what could be done to
rezoning happens. First and most importantly is overcrowding of our
rectify the situation.
schools. The majority of the schools in District 24 are either extensively
overcrowded already or getting very close to maximum capacity. By UPDATE: Our officers spoke with a resident who was part of this
adding another 561 apartment units on 69th street, we are making “business” and asked that they cease and desist this activity. One of the
this overcrowding issue worse instead of solving it. Secondly, traffic “for sale” vehicles was towed for non-compliance. Hopefully the person
congestion. Traveling on Queen Boulevard is currently hard enough running this operation got the message.
without this project. Imagine what will happen if this project would
We urge folks to reach out to their precinct if they believe a business is
to take place. People will need to make extra time to get to work and
using city streets to conduct business.
spend more time on the road instead of more time with their loved ones

COMET Summer 2018 Pg. 5


April 14th Earth Day Event
Maspeth’s April 14th Earth Day event was cosponsored by Maspeth
Federal Savings, Assemblyman Brian Barnwell, Councilman Robert
Holden, the 104th and 108th Precincts and COMET.
Crime Prevention Officer Eli Gani and Det. Marc Torres, 108th Precinct
and Crime Prevention Officer Eddie Collado, 104th Crime Prevention,
were on hand to VIN Etch cars as well as register cell phones and bicycles.
Det. Torres adopted a puppy, who he named Roger, at our event last fall
and decided to surprise us by bringing him along. In the six months that Paper Shredding
Roger has been living in the Torres household he has gained 10 pounds
Special thanks to our COMET volunteers: John Connors and his daughter
and it is easy to see he is very spoiled. His visit made our day!
Shannon, Richie Polgar, Lucille Winsko, James Zhang, Joanne Ferguson,
104th & 108th Precincts & Comet Chammy Liu and James Li for donating time to help at this event.

One-Way vs. Two-Way


By James Zhang

Convert or not to convert??? Currently


the roads between 71st Street and
74th Street from Grand Avenue to
51st Avenue are all two-way streets.
However, there have been ongoing
discussions and studies have been
conducted to determine whether it is
better and safer for these streets to be converted to one-way.
There are obviously advantages and disadvantages for the conversion
or stay as two-way. The real determination of whether the conversion
is necessary has always been between convenience versus safety. There
is no doubt that two-way streets are easier for drivers living in these
streets to travel. People are able to get from Point A to Point B much
easier. However, the problem with convenience is that the roads on
Maspeth HS Green Club these streets are very narrow especially when there are cars parked on
both side of the street at all times.
Based on Department of Transportation investigation of these streets,
35 reported injuries occurred on these streets between 2012 and 2016.
During the same period, the New York City Police Department reported
84 car accidents among these streets. The total of 119 incidents within
just a few blocks is A LOT. On the other hand, the people who prefer
two-way streets do have a very strong argument in that drivers tend
to speed more on one-way streets than two-way streets. With two-
way streets, because the roads are very narrow, people tend to drive
John Connors volunterer slower to avoid a collision with approaching cars. The problem with this
"Traffic Director" Pet Adoption Van
argument is that instead of blaming people for their poor judgment, we
are now blaming the road for people’s poor judgment. People that tend
to speed will always speed regardless if the road is one-way or two-way.
They might occasionally driver slower when they see an approaching
car, but the speeding tendency don’t just stop because they are driving
on two way roads. There is no question that speed and safety goes hand
to hand. Instead of blaming the operation of the road for people’s poor
driving judgment we need to find solutions to combat speed by installing
speed bumps, traffic devices, and other tools. Community Board 5 has
yet to determine whether one-way conversion will or will not be done
even after several months of discussion. At the last CB5 Transportation
Committee meeting, the chair and members of the committee have
requested more data and research from Department of Transportation
Electronics Recycling
even though they have all the data they need. We shall all wait and see
how this battle ends.

Pg. 6 Summer 2018 COMET


Missing Signs Restored on New Mailbox for 61st Street
Madison Street at Grand Avenue
Several years ago we contacted The Post Office recently installed a new tamper-proof
Councilman Dromm’s office and asked if mailbox at 61st Street at Grand Avenue. We were told
he could try to get a name designation that several residents mailed checks at this location
for this unnamed Elmhurst street. The and they were stolen. Hopefully mailboxes like these
Councilman visited the location and will be installed throughout our area.
agreed it should have a name and
reached out to the agency asking that
they look into whether or not the city
Surprise Sewer Work in Maspeth
owned this strip and if it did have a name. Residents and businesses were
given water shutoff notifications
Residents contacted us to say street
and motorists experienced traffic
name signs appeared at the intersections
backups on 69th Street as a result
of 55th to 56th Avenues this past winter
of this “surprise” project.
but no street name was posted between 56th and 57th Avenues.
Assemblyman Barnwell and COMET reached out to the Department of
One of our members did a little research and found an article in Forgotten
Design and Construction and were told that this is an “accelerated water
New York explaining some of the history. Apparently “Madison Street” is
main project” where the contractor is given a list of various locations
still owned by the city, with stop signs and sidewalks. However, only part
throughout the borough where water mains need fixing, and they are
of this strip is a street. The street portion of the strip is demarcated by
in each location for a short period of time. The agency recognizes the
a sidewalk. The rest of the strip is an “alley” and we assume that’s why
impact on the community and will try to advise the community as far in
no street name was posted there. The city does repave the entire strip
from time to time. advance as possible.

We asked our Neighborhood Coordination Officers Lee and Arrubla to


check our 911 and 311 system to see if there is a record of this street in Long Term Parking?
the event of an emergency. They told us that this street/alley is in the One of our members spotted this
system but we’re curious how many of our officers know where it is. If van with a clothing bin trailer behind
you look at the intersection where “the alley” portion of this strip meets it parked in front of Reiff Park since
57th Avenue, the street name designation is 84th Street/57th Avenue. January. She said it may have been
We’ll continue to see what can be done to make this less confusing to parked there even longer but first
motorists who are looking to turn down 84th Street westbound. As most noticed it in January. Knowing that residential parking is at a premium
folks know, 84th Street eastbound is across the street from this alley and she reported it to 311 earlier this month. We’ve been told that the van
84th Street westbound is a short distance up the block. Who said we is gone but as our newsletter goes to press, the clothing bin trailer is still
don’t have an interesting neighborhood? there. We’ll continue to follow up.

One of our members spotted the Department of Sanitation cleaning


up the grassy strip adjacent to the railroad tracks on Calamus Avenue
in Elmhurst in mid-May. We want to thank DSNY for helping to keep
our community looking clean. Great job!!

Report Plane Noise


http://www.planenoise.com/panynj/daPRAbr9/qs114wbt.php

C.O.M.E.T. Meetings
Our meetings are held at St. Adalbert Parish Center, lower level, 52-40 84th Street. Please check our website in early September
to see a list of our scheduled meetings.

Newsletter Committee
Mike Fordunski, Tom Porembski, Richie Polgar, Christina Wilkinson, Geraldine Walsh, Howard Moskowitz, Teresa Marrero, Lucille
Winsko, Dick Gundlach, James Zhang, Roe Daraio & Maspeth Press.

Special Thank You


This newsletter is made possible by funding from former Council Member Elizabeth Crowley, Council Members Daniel Dromm and
Jimmy Van Bramer though the Department of Youth and Community Development.

COMET Summer 2018 Pg. 7


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Newsletter Spring 2012