Tag Archives: Community Board 5

Ridgewood to get 17-story mixed-use building on St. Nicholas Avenue


| agiudice@ridgewoodtimes.com

Rendering courtesy of AB Capstone

Plans for a large scale 17-story mixed-use building in the heart of Ridgewood have been filed with the Department of Buildings (DOB), according to Community Board 5 (CB 5).

The mixed retail and residential building will encompass the footprint of the sites at 54-27 Myrtle Ave. and 336 and 350 St. Nicholas Ave. At 17 stories, it will dwarf the surrounding buildings.

According to the plans filed earlier this month, there will be two retail spaces within the mixed-use structure, as well as several office spaces.

The site will have 129 residential units, according to Meir Babaev, of developer AB Capstone, owner of the properties.

“We are not quite certain yet regarding the percentage of units that will or will not be affordable. This will depend on the mayor’s office,” Babaev said.

AB Capstone purchased the sites last year and has set aside 87,441 square feet of space for the residential portion of the building; 88,598 square feet for the commercial aspects; and 3,265 square feet for an as-of-yet undefined community facility. This will total a square footage of 179,304 square feet, according to plans.

Babaev also confirmed that the site will have “below-grade attended parking.”

For future residents who depend on public transportation, the development site is located a block from the L and M Myrtle-Wyckoff Avenues subway station, and is near the B13, B26, B52, B54, Q55 and Q58 buses.

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Street resurfacing slated for Community Board 5


| agiudice@ridgewoodtimes.com

RIDGEWOOD TIMES/Photos by Anthony Giudice

Updated Tuesday, Aug. 25, 4:25 p.m.

Street resurfacing may be coming to south Middle Village and other nearby areas, but the roadways are still in need of a complete and long overdue overhaul.

All of the streets, except for one, within the area south of Metropolitan Avenue, east of 73rd Place, north of Cooper Avenue and west of 80th Street are currently on the Department of Transportation’s (DOT) tentative priority list for repaving, but it has not yet been confirmed if they will be approved, according to Vincent Arcuri, chair of Community Board 5 (CB 5).

CB 5 has been trying to get a complete reconstruction of the area for the better part of two decades.

“We have been advocating to get these streets done for the last 20 years,” Arcuri said, “but we have had very little success. I can’t understand why. Middle Village is a hard-working, middle-class community that deserves this from the city.”

A full reconstruction of the streets would include replacing the underground sewer systems, a repaving of the streets, rebuilding curbs and walkways and more.

The DOT has offered to resurface the streets, a far cry from the full project CB 5 has been asking for. A resurfacing project would include the milling of the roadway — a process in which the top layer of asphalt is removed from the street — followed by the application of the new asphalt, with no work done to the underground utility lines.

“We are having mixed reactions about it,” Arcuri said of the DOT’s resurfacing plans. “Do we let the people suffer and wait to try and get a full reconstruction, or do we take the resurfacing which would postpone any other construction for at least five years?”


If the project is accepted by the DOT, it will begin in October or November, with a completion date near 2020, Arcuri said.

“The city has put together a plan to address these dangerous infrastructure flaws in south Middle Village. But when the city keeps delaying the ground breaking of such a plan, it is both unfair and negligent,” Councilwoman Elizabeth Crowley said. “This project is a long time coming and is needed by hardworking taxpayers. Once complete, we will have a safer and more livable community in Middle Village.”

Along with these Middle Village streets, several others within the confines of CB 5 are on the DOT’s tentative resurfacing list.

That list includes the following:

  • 58th Place between Maspeth and Grand avenues in Maspeth;
  • Stanhope Street between Grandview and Seneca avenues in Ridgewood;
  • 63rd Street between 59th Drive and Flushing Avenue in Maspeth;
  • 83rd Street between Cooper and Doran avenues in Glendale;
  • Rutledge Avenue between Woodhaven Boulevard and 88th Street in Glendale;
  • Palmetto Street between Fairview and Forest avenues in Ridgewood;
  • And several more.

Once confirmed, all street resurfacings are scheduled to begin this October or November.

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Greater Ridgewood Restoration Corporation kicks off summer fundraising campaign


| agiudice@ridgewoodtimes.com

Photo courtesy of the Greater Ridgewood Restoration Corporation

The Greater Ridgewood Restoration Corporation (GRRC) has begun its semi-annual fundraising campaign, asking members of the Ridgewood, Glendale, Maspeth and Middle Village communities to make donations to help fund programs that have made an important contribution to the areas’ quality of life.

The GRRC has been instrumental in stabilizing and upgrading the neighborhoods that make up Community Board 5 for the last 40 years, offering free programs such as landlord/tenant counseling, helping homeowners apply for low-interest home improvement loans, lobbying for street tree plantings, removing graffiti and more.

The donations will go towards the purchase of a lift for the hot pressure washer used in graffiti removal.

“The pressure washer is extremely heavy and getting it off and on the van is very difficult,” said Angela Mirabile, executive director of GRRC. “Our fundraising goal this year is $10,000 in private donations. This will cover the cost of the lift and replacement of worn equipment and supplies.”

The anti-graffiti program is one of the most used programs offered by GRRC. Last year, GRRC removed graffiti at 125 locations, and this year has cleaned over 110 sites. The organization anticipates cleaning 50 more sites by the end of November.

“It is evident that graffiti vandalism is once again on the rise, and we are doing our best to stay on top of it,” said Christa Walls, community liaison specialist for GRRC.

Mirabile added that funds will also go to cover general administration expenses as well as updating GRRC’s computer systems and software.

“In the past we have received donations ranging from $10 to $2,500. The people of our community support our effort and we are very thankful,” Mirabile said. “The public in this community has been very responsive to our campaign efforts. They are very active and we appreciate that.”

Donations can be made through the GRRC website, through PayPal or by mail to 68-56 Forest Ave., Ridgewood, NY 11385.

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Star of Queens: Sarah Feldman, Community Board 5


By Queens Courier Staff | editorial@queenscourier.com

Sarah Feldman

Background: Sarah Feldman’s family was originally from New York City but moved to Houston in the ‘70s. Her parents then moved to the West Coast, where her father works for a software company. She moved back to New York in 2006 to study fine arts and web design at Parsons School of Design. Feldman moved to Ridgewood in 2011, where she met her fiance Neil Myers, and she fell in love with the neighborhood.

Occupation: Feldman is self-employed. She also owns a small jewelry business, Prince Peacock, and works at the YMCA teaching art to kids.

She owns Ridgewood Market, which sells affordable art, goods and alcohol.

“I wanted a safe environment that is community driven with the decisions of others,” Feldman said. “I wanted to bring awareness and a new, unbiased perspective of old businesses.” The next market will take place on Sept. 13.

Community Involvement: Feldman was recently appointed to Community Board 5. She’s one of the youngest people on the board and says that she’s learned so much already from the other board members.

“They’ve lived here all their lives,” Feldman said. “There is so much you can learn from them.”

Feldman additionally runs the Ridgewood Social website as its head of marketing.

Biggest Challenge: “The recession was scary,” Feldman said. Additionally, at one point, Feldman couldn’t leave the house due to a health problem.

She had a lot of social anxiety but was able to overcome it. Feldman absolutely loved the feeling of being welcomed into the Ridgewood community, and she has a very positive outlook on life.

Greatest Achievement: “My greatest achievement was my social anxiety not being as bad,” Feldman said. Now, she has more self-confidence, and she added that the people in her neighborhood definitely made her happier.

“Kindness can get you so much further in life than jealousy can,” Feldman said.

Biggest Inspiration: “My biggest inspiration was my grandmother and my stepmom,” Feldman said. Her grandmother, who passed away in 2008, was a creative artist and a feminist who was like a mother to Feldman.

Feldman’s stepmom was the mom she never had. She is self-sufficient and a great role model. “My stepmom practically saved my life,” Feldman said.

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LIRR bridge work to close Glendale street


| agiudice@ridgewoodtimes.com

Photo by Tom Walsh

A portion of a Glendale street is closed as the Long Island Rail Road reconstructs an overpass above it.

The LIRR is making repairs to the railroad bridge that runs above 65th Street between Otto Road and Shaler Avenue in Glendale, according to Gary Giordano, district manager of Community Board 5.

The tracks, which are owned by the LIRR, are leased for use by New York and Atlantic Railway (NY&A). According to NY&A President Paul Victor, the project will require the entire bridge to be replaced. What makes this project more difficult is that it must be done “under traffic,” which means train operations will not stop during the construction.

Only one of the four tracks will be out of service at a time, according to Victor, which will allow NY&A’s freight trains to continue to operate during construction.

“The street is going to probably be closed for a two month period, give or take,” Victor said.

Giordano told the Ridgewood Times in a phone interview that he received verbal confirmation from the LIRR that “in all likelihood, the project will not be completed before the end of calendar year 2015.”

Emergency vehicles and residents should be prepared to use Cypress Hills Street or 80th Street as alternate routes while the bridge is closed, Giordano said.

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Star of Queens: David Sands, Community Board 5


By Queens Courier Staff | editorial@queenscourier.com

Star of Queens

BY BROOKE RUTMAN 

Background: David Sands grew up in Glendale, where he has happily resided all of his life. He graduated from McClancy High School and received his associate’s degree at Queensboro. Sands is married to his wife Sandy, and has three children, Samantha, Olivia and Joshua.

Occupation: Sands is an electrician at the Roosevelt Avenue subway station and is part of the union local 3, which works throughout airports, baseball stadiums and train stations.

Community Involvement: Sands is the vice president of Liberty Park Homeowners Association, which is made up of about 700 families. When he and the current president took it over 10 months ago, the number of members significantly increased.

Sands was recently appointed to Community Board 5. He wants to make a difference and would like to become a part of the Parks Committee. He started getting involved with Evergreen Park in Glendale four years ago and has since helped to raise 2 million dollars for the park.
Sands also coaches his daughter’s fourth-grade basketball team.

Biggest Challenge: “My biggest challenge would be finding the time to balance community board work, local 3 and family time. I am very involved with local 3 with being a volunteer work officer,” Sands said. “I really want to make the middle class stronger.”

Greatest Achievement: “My greatest achievement would be my family and three children,” Sands said.

Biggest Inspiration: “My mom,” Sands said. “She just got through battling cancer and she raised five children. She’s an amazing woman.”

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Abandoned Maspeth gas station to become mixed-use facility


| agiudice@ridgewoodtimes.com

RIDGEWOOD TIMES/Photo by Anthony Giudice

Updated July 23, 10:20 a.m.

Rumors have surfaced about plans to erect a two-story, mixed-use building on the site of a long-unused gas station in Maspeth.

The speculation floated on local Facebook pages noted that the proposed building at 58-60 Brown Pl. would be 11,000 square feet in size, including 5,500 square feet of retail space on the first floor with a healthcare facility located on the second floor.

According to Community Board 5 (CB 5), the triangular piece of land was once a gas station and currently has a commercial overlay of C1-3, which would allow the construction of a commercial building on the site. The rumored retail space/healthcare facility would fall within the parameters of the overlay.

Plans posted on the Department of Buildings website, filed on July 14, call for the construction f a two-story “commercial and community facility building” encompassing more than 10,996 square feet. These plans were filed under the address 58-38 69th St., which shares the block and lot with 58-60 Brown Pl.

Between 1991 and 2006, the vacant gas station racked up seven building code violations, with most of them concerning the illegal use of the open lot where individuals would sell furniture, according to the city Department of Buildings. The open lot has since been fenced in to avoid any further illegal activity taking place there.

CB 5 has yet to receive any demolition notices for the site.

Editor’s note: An earlier version noted that the latest plans for the site on the Department of Buildings online database dated back to 2010. We regret any confusion which may have resulted.

 

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Star of Queens: Alexander Maureau, Community Board 5


By Queens Courier Staff | editorial@queenscourier.com

Alexander Maureau

BY BROOKE RUTMAN

Background: Alexander Maureau, 28, has been a lifelong resident of Glendale. For 25 years he lived on 79th Place with his mother Roberta, his father Thomas and his brother Andrew. Maureau most recently moved across from the Glendale Library and lives on 73rd Place.

Occupation: Maureau works for the NYC Parks Department as a parks analyst for the Queens borough commissioner. He handles correspondence for Queens and provides assistance on some Rockaway issues. He enjoys what he does and has been holding this position since November of 2014. Prior to this position, Maureau served as a constituent liaison for state Senator Joe Addabbo’s office in Middle Village for five years.

Community Involvement: Maureau is involved in several community organizations. He participates in Relay for Life in Middle Village each year. In 2014, the event’s biggest year yet, he co-chaired the event. That year they raised more than $200,000, and more than 1,000 people participated.

Maureau has also coached high school basketball at Sacred Heart in Glendale for the past three years.

For the past four years, Maureau has helped organize and promote the annual 9/11 remembrance ceremony at Dry Harbor Playground’s 9/11 memorial.

He is also a newly appointed member of Community Board 5.

Greatest Challenge: One of the biggest challenges Maureau faced was when he was working for Senator Joe Addabbo during Hurricane Sandy and the subsequent recovery efforts.
“It was a very trying time for everyone on the staff, as we were getting devastating phone calls, mostly from people in the Rockaway and Howard Beach areas. Many had been flooded out and lost everything,” Maureau said.

The office organized a recovery effort. They accepted supplies of clothing, food, water, batteries and toys and distributed the supplies to people in need. They also had to help with rebuilding their Howard Beach office that had been flooded out by the storm.

“It was a long few weeks, but as a team, we were able to navigate and help many, many people,” Maureau said.

Greatest Achievement: Maureau’s biggest achievement was the successful 2014 Relay for Life event.

Additionally, his ninth-grade boys basketball team winning the championship this past year for Sacred Heart in Glendale was another one of his biggest achievements.

Biggest Inspiration: “My goal is to help things improve and change for the better,” Maureau said. While he says he can’t change the world, he can try to make a difference in his corner of it. He makes an effort to help keep his neighborhood clean, safe and welcoming, and being a part of Community Board 5 will give him more opportunities to do so.

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CB 5 sounds off on waste-by-rail company’s permits


| agiudice@ridgewoodtimes.com

RIDGEWOOD TIMES/Photo by Anthony Giudice

After learning of the extended time frame for public comments regarding two waste-by-rail permits, members of Community Board 5 (CB 5) collectively voted against them during its meeting Wednesday night at Christ the King High School in Middle Village.

The board unanimously recommended denying the renewal of permits for One World Recycling Inc. and Coastal Distribution, which operate through the Fresh Pond Rail Yard that runs through parts of Middle Village, Glendale and Ridgewood, until certain stipulations are met.

One World Recycling submitted a permit renewal and modification application to the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (NYSDEC), requesting to increase their daily throughput from 370 tons to a total of 1,100 tons.

The permit submitted by Coastal Distribution requests to expand the type of waste it transports to include commercial and residential waste.

“The big problem we have is that somehow the idea of mixing commercial solid waste and construction and demolition debris…we disagree with that,” said Vincent Arcuri, chair of CB 5. “We also had a concern over the years, and continue to be concerned about the lack of solid covers on the construction and demolition rail cars.”

The current method for sealing construction and demolition debris in rail cars is by using a mesh lining to cover the rail car. The mesh leaves the waste vulnerable to rain and pests, as well as subjecting residents of the communities the rail cars pass through to dust, odors and vectors.

“We had success with the Department of Sanitation and them getting Waste Management to put the, what I would call, the putrescible or municipal solid waste in sealed containers,” said Gary Giordano, district manager of CB 5. “But the construction and demolition debris continues to move back and forth in our neighborhoods.”

Another issue raised by Arcuri about waste-by-rail operations is the lack of control of pollution from the rail cars traveling through the communities in CB 5.

“We’ve been working with the FRA (Federal Railroad Administration), the state and the CURES (Civics United for Railroad Environmental Solutions) group to basically upgrade all of the engines in the Long Island Rail Road’s transportation department,” Arcuri said.

The official stance of CB 5 is that “putrescible solid waste garbage should be transported separately in sealed containers as Waste Management currently does in its agreement to transport city garbage in sealed, odorless containers,” Arcuri said.

“Construction and demolition debris should also be loaded and transported in sealed, odorless containers that will totally prevent dust and odors from escaping,” he continued. “There should not be a renewal of, or granting of any permits to these two companies unless the above mentioned items are accomplished. And these companies should certainly not be permitted to expand their operations until these stipulations are included in their permits by New York State DEC.”

The board’s next step is to send their recommendation to NYSDEC before Aug. 9, the deadline for the public comment period.

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EXCLUSIVE: Councilwoman envisions light rail line between Glendale and LIC


| editorial@ridgewoodtimes.com

Photo via Wikimedia Commons

BY ANTHONY GIUDICE AND ROBERT POZARYCKI

Commuters in Glendale and Middle Village deal with limited public transportation options. Most residents in both communities live a mile or farther away from the nearest subway station, and local bus lines through the area have a reputation for being slow and overcrowded.

City Councilwoman Elizabeth Crowley hopes to change this situation with a plan to introduce light rail service between Glendale and Long Island City on the Long Island Rail Road’s Montauk branch, which currently offers only freight service west of Jamaica. She hopes to pitch the idea to the Department of City Planning in the coming weeks.

In an exclusive interview with the Ridgewood Times on Monday at her district office, Crowley said a new diesel-powered light rail line would address the transportation needs in Glendale and surrounding communities. The light rail line could also encourage redevelopment of underutilized industrially zoned areas adjacent to the line for business or residential purposes.

“A light rail is inexpensive, it’s clean and it’s quiet,” Crowley said. “I think an ideal plan would be to start [at The Shops at Atlas Park] where you’re not necessarily in the backs of the people’s yard or you don’t have at-grade street level crossing.”

Up until March 1998, the Montauk branch offered passenger service between Long Island City and Jamaica and stations in Glendale, Ridgewood and Maspeth. Passenger service was discontinued at that time due to lack of ridership; a New York Times report noted that just two passengers arrived and departed daily at the Glendale station, located along Edsall Avenue and 73rd Street, near an entrance to All Faiths Cemetery.

Crowley doesn’t suggest rebuilding the former Glendale station, but rather creating a new stop at The Shops at Atlas Park, noting that the shopping centerwhere her district office is also located—could serve as an active park-and-ride option for local residents.

“If we were able to get a rail here, people could potentially use this spot as park-and-ride, or the community around us could take a bus to the train or walk to the train,” Crowley said. “It provides options for public transportation that would effectively get more cars off our streets.”

Local civic activists have long advocated for returning public transit to the Montauk branch; members of the Community Board 5 Transportation and Public Transit Committees recently called for rebuilding the former Fresh Pond station located at the corner of Fresh Pond Road and Metropolitan Avenue on the Ridgewood/Glendale border.

Crowley, however, suggested building a new station a short distance to the east of the Fresh Pond stop near the Metro Mall, which could connect riders to the M train at its Metropolitan Avenue terminus.

“There could potentially be inter-borough connections here,” Crowley explained. “If we were to have the first stop over by the Metro Mall, then you could transfer to the M train and get quickly into Brooklyn.”

She also pointed to an area near Flushing Avenue in Maspeth as another potential station site, noting that it’s close to the connecting LIRR Bushwick branch, another freight rail line that Crowley suggested could potentially also accommodate light rail service.

From Long Island City, riders could connect to the 7, E and M lines at stations located within walking distance of the Hunterspoint Avenue station where the Montauk line terminates.

Crowley noted, however, that these plans are in the infancy stages and there is currently no estimated cost or timetable for this project. In addition to meeting with the Department of City Planning, she would further research the idea in meeting with operators of light rail systems in New Jersey cities.

Regarding costs, Crowley suggested the expense would be minimal compared to large-scale MTA capital projects such as the 7 line extension in Manhattan. The MTA—which is requesting billions in funding for capital improvements—would need funds to build the light rail stations and purchase cars and equipment.

The LIRR currently leases the Montauk line west of Jamaica to New York and Atlantic Railway exclusively for its freight rail operations based out of Glendale’s Fresh Pond Railyard. When asked if this would pose a complication to her light rail plan, Crowley remarked that other cities allow light rail to operate on freight tracks, and that both functions could coexist here.

Community Board 5 District Manager Gary Giordano told the Ridgewood Times in a phone interview Wednesday that the idea has “merit,” but there could be opposition from residents living near the Montauk line.

“Those who might not be that pleased with it are the people who own homes in east Glendale,” he said. “That’s the difficult part, but we need to get ourselves out of our cars as often as possible and use public transportation. In that sense, it can be very good.”

The CB 5 Transportation and Public Transit Committees would likely review Crowley’s plan and may also hold a public hearing on the matter, Giordano said.

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Maspeth could be getting a community athletic field near Newtown Creek


| agiudice@ridgewoodtimes.com

Ridgewood Times/Photo by Anthony Giudice

The area around Newtown Creek, which the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency recognizes as one of the “nation’s most polluted waterways,” could be the site of a brand-new community athletic field in Maspeth.

During a City Council hearing, Eric Landau, associate commissioner of public affairs for the Department of Environmental Protection (DEP), testified before the Subcommittee on Landmarks, Public Siting and Maritime Uses, asking for public siting approval on the construction of an aeration facility for Newtown Creek in Maspeth.

The proposed aeration facility is part of a state-mandated effort to improve water quality in Newtown Creek and would be located on 47th Street, near the water’s edge. The facility would help raise oxygen levels in the water and promote wildlife sustainability.

The initial phase of construction leaves approximately one and a half acres of open space on the property, which Councilwoman Elizabeth Crowley, Queens Borough President Melinda Katz and Community Board 5 have expressed interest in converting into an athletic field.

“While it is very important to build this aeration facility for Newtown Creek, it is also important our community take advantage of green space for athletics. I am grateful the DEP has agreed to work with the community to allow for public use of the land,” Crowley said. “In Maspeth, there is a high volume of trucks traveling through the streets. It also has fewer city parks. This lack of green space plus its proximity to the LIE both lead to a higher rate of obesity and asthma compared to neighboring communities.”

“Maspeth residents are disadvantaged in that they lack access to sufficient open green space,” she added. “We can promote sports and physical activity by taking advantage of all public space options, ideally by way of increased access to athletic fields.”

Landau testified to the City Council that the DEP will begin discussions with the community, as well as local athletic groups, about entering into a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) regarding an athletic field on the unused portion of land.

The MOU would state that the sports organizations are responsible for the capital cost of the field as well as the maintenance. Also, if the DEP should ever need the field in the future, upon reasonable notice, the sports organization would need to discontinue operations on the property until any and all construction on the site is complete. Once construction is complete, the site would be handed back over to the community again.

“Understanding that the space may be needed in the future to meet state and federal water quality requirements, DEP is committed to working with the Council and community organizations that are willing to build and maintain the space for athletic purposes, as we have with a soccer league in Manhattan near our North River Waste Water Treatment Plant,” Landau said. “As an immediate next step, we look forward to taking Council member Crowley, local leaders, and other community members on a tour of similar public amenities DEP has constructed, as well as beginning discussions with local athletic groups, identified by [Crowley].”

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Community Board 5 still wants funding for Wyckoff Avenue repaving project


| agiudice@ridgewoodtimes.com

The Ridgewood Times/Photo by Anthony Giudice

What’s the holdup with fixing Wyckoff Avenue? That’s the question members of Community Board 5’s (CB 5) Transit and Public Transportation Committees asked during their meeting Tuesday night in Glendale.

While the board discussed upcoming and ongoing capital projects, one project that has been on CB 5’s radar for several years now is the repaving and reconstruction of Wyckoff Avenue from Flushing to Cooper avenues, including several side streets along the route, which runs through parts of Bushwick and Ridgewood.

“We’d like to get it because of what’s going on in Ridgewood with our friends on the Queens side with housing and everything. We want the area to be fixed up,” said CB 5 Chairperson Vincent Arcuri.

Arcuri said that local elected officials in both Brooklyn and Ridgewood need to get on board with this project in order to get it done because the stretch of road traverses both Brooklyn and Queens.

“No one in [the Department of Transportation], in the Brooklyn borough president’s office, or any local politician is pushing for this project,” Arcuri said. “No one is pushing for it.”

One reason why this project never got off the ground is because, up to this point, there has been no funding for it, he noted.

“There is either no funding or they are waiting for federal funding for this project,” Arcuri added. “I don’t know why it never got funded. We need elected officials on both sides to ask where the funding for this project is.”

According to John Maier, member of the Transit and Public Transportation Committees, the plans for this project were in presented to the committees for review and recommendations several years back.

“We’ve reviewed [the designs] and gave feedback years ago,” Maier said.

This project would be beneficial for both neighborhoods as it would not only repave Wyckoff Avenue and the side streets, but include streetscaping projects that would improve the sidewalks, street lights and other parts of the avenue, as well as replace the water mains and sewer lines along the route.

“In today’s day and age, why would you not want to fix up their neighborhood?” Arcuri told the Ridgewood Times in a phone interview on Wednesday. “If you want to talk economics, this project will help businesses prosper. It will make the whole area better.”

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Ridgewood woman goes on TV to change look


| ctumola@queenscourier.com

Photos courtesy of TLC

When Ridgewood resident Sarah Feldman decided to take the brave step of changing up her look to go with her growing businesses and roles in the community, she didn’t ask for advice from friends and family or stop by a local clothing store — she turned to national TV.

But the show, TLC’s “Love, Lust or Run,” had a larger impact on the 27-year-old and some of its viewers than she ever imagined.

“I was worried. I didn’t know what they would do,” Feldman said.

“I thought they would put me in a boring business suit,” she added.

Feldman had only seen the makeover show, hosted by Stacy London, formerly of the same network’s “What Not to Wear,” once before applying, and thought it would be “funny” to send her footage, but didn’t think she would be “weird enough.”

But her look made the cut, and it made quite the impression on London. When Feldman stepped into the studio with her pink hair and cat coat, London reacted by saying, “I’m confused” and “You look like a sherpa.”

Another of Feldman’s looks, which she described on the June 19 episode as “granny chic meets acid princess raver goth child from the ‘60s,” showed her sporting butterfly wings.

But  the busy entrepreneur knew it was time to stop hiding in her clothes, something she felt like she was stuck doing from her adolescence.

As a new member of Community Board 5, she wanted a more appropriate look for her new role, but to also maintain her artistic, creative side, said Feldman, who also runs Ridgewood Social and Ridgewood Market.

The premise of the show, beyond a basic makeover, is to ask people on the street to rate the person’s look and say whether it makes them feel “love,” “lust” or makes them want to “run.”

Though the comments were unflattering, including that she belonged in an “artisan enclave,” and that her look wasn’t appropriate for business, Feldman said she “felt relief” when she heard the comments because she had been hiding for a long time. She was actually more apprehensive about the makeover.

Sarah in an after look.

Feldman trying on clothes during the show.

Feldman not only ditched the pink hair, turning into a brunette (she had predicted that the hair stylist would make her blonde), but was also shown by London how to pick out better fitting clothes.

“I look so smart,” Feldman said during the reveal.

Not only did the people on the street now love what she was wearing, but her fiance Neil surprised Feldman by appearing via video to tell her that he loved her new look and to say that she was “still the beautiful girl I fell in love with.”

London also surprised Feldman with a bag — made from her cat coat.

“Everything she was doing beforehand was really about creating a distraction and now she is going to see herself as an asset,” London said.

Stacy London with Sarah in her after look.

Stacy London with Feldman in her after look.

Since the show, Feldman said she has kept the brown hair and gotten rid of her old clothes.

“I didn’t really think shows like that had an impact,” she said.

Feldman’s appearance also made an impression on some of those watching. She has received letters from girls around the country saying that they can relate to her experience and honesty, and that they “don’t feel alone anymore.” Some even told her they cried during the episode and lauded Feldman’s bravery for going on the show.

“It wasn’t my intention,” she said, “but it was a definite positive.”

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Ridgewood march against proposed MTA bus rerouting plan


| agiudice@ridgewoodtimes.com

Photo courtesy the MTA

Members of the United We Stand Neighborhood Association, a newly formed civic group on the Ridgewood/Bushwick border, will be holding a march and rally in Ridgewood this Saturday to oppose the Metropolitan Transit Authority’s (MTA) proposed plan to reroute the B26 and Q58 buses.

The MTA’s proposal would take these two buses off of Wyckoff Avenue and instead reroute them onto Ridgewood Place. The MTA cites dangerous turning conditions at the three-way intersection at Palmetto Street and Myrtle and Wyckoff avenues as well as heavy vehicle and pedestrian traffic as reasons for the proposed changes.

This location has been the scene of many traffic-related injuries, several involving MTA buses, including the fatal accidents that killed Ella Kottick Bandes in 2013 and Edwin Torres in 2014.

“The whole idea of rerouting buses in the area of Myrtle and Wyckoff was due to the need to make traffic conditions safer for pedestrians,” said Gary Giordano, district manager of Community Board 5. “Unfortunately, two people were killed in vehicular accidents at that intersection. The decision on which blocks to reroute the buses to was studied by the MTA. This was done to save lives. The whole reasoning was for pedestrian safety.”

The United We Stand Neighborhood Association was formed in April of this year to combat this rerouting.

“We are a newly formed group,” said Flor Ramos, member of United We Stand Neighborhood Association, in a phone interview with the Ridgewood Times. “We got together mainly because of the situation with the bus rerouting. Nobody wants those buses around there.”

Protesters will assemble at the intersection of Putnam and Wyckoff avenues at 10:30 a.m. on Saturday morning. They will begin their protest at noon and march along Putnam Avenue to Ridgewood Place, ending on Palmetto Street, which is the proposed new route for the buses.

“Now it’s totally going to affect our quality of life,” Ramos said. “There is the noise issue and the fumes. Now you will have double the noise from screeching breaks and compressed air making that horrible bus noise echoing through the streets. We won’t be able to leave our windows open. These are all residential house along this new route. Wyckoff Avenue is all commercial.”

Currently, the Q58 travels down Putnam Avenue, turns right onto Wyckoff Avenue and right again on Palmetto Street, where the Ridgewood Terminal is located. The B26 travels straight down Wyckoff Avenue to Palmetto Street to the Ridgewood Terminal.

“That intersection is the beginning of our commercial district,” said Ted Renz, executive director of the Myrtle Avenue Business Improvement District, who supports the bus route changes. “Since day one, we have been working with the city for the mayor’s Vision Zero plan and have advocated for improvements in that area.”

The proposed changes would have the Q58 turn right onto Ridgewood Place, then right again on Palmetto Street, while the B26 would turn left onto Putnam Avenue, right onto Ridgewood Place and right onto Palmetto Street.

“Overall, the buses will be making five new turns with this new route,” Ramos explained. “The B26 will add three more turns and the Q58 will add two more turns. They will be taking the accidents from there and bring them to the new location. That is going to cause a lot more problems.”

Members of United We Stand Neighborhood Association believe that moving the bus routes to Ridgewood Place would put more children and elderly at risk since the streets of the proposed reroute are very narrow, which would make it difficult for a bus to turn.

“Sending out a bus through there, all they’re doing is bringing that problem to our streets,” Ramos said. “There is nothing they can do about making the streets wider.”

“You have wider streets on Wyckoff and Palmetto,” Ramos continued. “There is about a 5-foot difference in width. The sidewalks on Wyckoff are much wider, giving bus drivers a better view of pedestrians passing through there.”

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Pilot program promoting public transportation launched in CB 5 area


| agiudice@ridgewoodtimes.com

Photo courtesy NYC DOT flickr

The Department of Transportation’s (DOT) pilot Go Smart NYC program has launched in the areas of Community Board 5 (CB 5).

Go Smart NYC is designed to increase residents’ use of public transportation, biking, carpooling, or walking in order to reduce the traffic congestion and emissions caused by single-occupancy motor vehicle trips.

The DOT chose CB 5 as the pilot area due to its population, proximity to public transportation options and bike lanes, walkability, as well as its high level of car ownership.

“The congestion and traffic in our communities can sometimes be unbearable. Go Smart NYC plans to alleviate that with the click of a button,” Councilwoman Elizabeth Crowley said. “Walking, biking, public transportation and carpooling are all viable urban modes of travel and I look forward to this program’s roll out and working with the DOT to make it as effective as possible for everyone.”

Residents can sign up for the program through the Go Smart NYC website. After registering, participants can order a free, personalized travel toolkit, with information about walking, biking, public transit, carpooling and Vision Zero safety and education materials.

“I am excited that Community Board 5 has been selected for the kickoff to the city’s launch of Go Smart NYC,” said Gary Giordano, district manager of CB 5. “Middle Village, Ridgewood, Maspeth and Glendale are home to a wealth of local businesses, and this program encourages residents to shop and explore these neighborhoods by foot, transit and bike. The more we can walk or use public transit, the better off we will be as a society.”

Registered participants will be able to log their trips online in order to earn discount rewards at over 20 local businesses that are partnering with the DOT to help encourage sustainable travel choices and local shopping. To further enhance residents’ experiences with walking, biking or public transit, the DOT will assist the local community board in installing city benches, city racks, and a real-time bus information sign at an area bus stop.

“The Myrtle Avenue Business Improvement District (BID) and Ridgewood Local Development Corporation are delighted to be partners for DOT’s new innovative program Go Smart NYC,” said Ted Renz, executive director of the Myrtle Avenue BID. “This is a win-win: increase of residents’ use of public transit, biking, carpooling or just plain walking will reduce traffic congestion. At the same time, it will encourage people to shop locally and support our merchants.”

Go Smart NYC will run in the areas of Ridgewood, Glendale, Middle Village and Maspeth until November. DOT is also looking at the possibility of expanding the program to other areas of the city in 2016, if the pilot is successful.

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