Tag Archives: Don Capalbi

Queens civics band together in ‘Fight the Blight’ initiative


| mchan@queenscourier.com

Photo courtesy Don Capalbi

A Flushing civic group has started a grassroots initiative to stand up to out-of-scale construction sites that residents say are destroying neighborhoods.

The Queensboro Hill Flushing Civic Association is asking its neighbors to “Fight the Blight” by compiling addresses and photos of egregious buildings, which will then be delivered to the City Planning Commission.

“Little by little, things are getting worse. There are more and more blights, and they are getting more egregious, both in quality and quantity,” said Don Capalbi, the civic’s president.

The worst example, local leaders say, is a roughly 2,300-square-foot row house being built at 146-15 56th Rd.

“It’s just a monster,” Capalbi said of the two-story home. “It’s destroying the entire block.”

Queens Civic Congress, a coalition of about 100 local groups, has been urging the city to establish a zoning district that would limit row house occupancies to single families.

“This particular house is a serious example of what can go wrong,” said Queens Civic Congress President Richard Hellenbrecht. “It just towers over everything. Every row house district in the city could eventually fall into the same rut.”

Oversized homes in low-density areas could also worsen congestion and inundate local schools, the local leaders said.

“It’s just a situation that can’t be set aside,” Capalbi said. “It’s a situation that affects much of our borough.”

Councilmember Peter Koo has also stepped in to help the group catalogue.

“If you see something out of context, say something by taking a photo and contacting the civic association,” said Koo’s spokesperson, Jonathan Chung. “Together, we will fight the blight.”

Residents can e-mail submissions to FightTheBlightQueens@gmail.com.

 

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Flushing woman blows out 101 birthday candles


| mchan@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/Photo by Melissa Chan

A Flushing centenarian blew out the candles on her 101st birthday cake as she rang in the new year.

Gaetana Capalbi turned 101 on January 1, attributing her long life to good habits.

“I live a clean life,” she laughed, “[with] no drinking or smoking. I never did.”

Capalbi came from Sicily to the United States and settled in Astoria with her father and one brother in 1932, her family said. She found employment in a small local millinery operation before embroidering for a dress factory and later working assembly jobs in factories for 20 years.

“Those days, we worked for nothing, for pennies,” Capalbi said. “I never thought I would live to 101. It was a nice life, an easy life. It was beautiful.”

Capalbi married her late husband, Frank, and together they had one son, Donald, in 1945. She has been living in Flushing with Donald for 38 years.

Comptroller John Liu presented Capalbi with a commendation on behalf of the city during her birthday bash, recognizing her for “living life to the fullest” and for “serving as a living example of the successful immigrant experience.”

 

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