Tag Archives: Hamilton Beach

Riley’s Yacht Club in Hamilton Beach holding raffle for repairs

| amatua@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/Photo by Angela Matua/Gallery photos courtesy of Richard Brew

Riley’s Yacht Club, which has been a staple in the Hamilton Beach community since 1965, is asking residents for a helping hand.

The club is looking to raise money through a raffle for damage sustained by Hurricane Sandy, since the club delayed fixing the damage in an effort to provide relief to storm victims.

The yacht club was closed for three days following the storm but re-opened as a pop-up relief center that served food and hosted events like a Christmas party for children in the neighborhood. The relief center ran through January 2013.

“We kept the place going and we neglected our damages and eventually we thought like everybody else did, we thought we were going to get insurance, we thought we would be covered by FEMA,” said Richard Brew, the commodore for the yacht club. “We were covered by nothing.”

Brew said the club has repaired a few damages with money from their pockets but is looking for help from the community to replace the rotting floorboards, the damaged kitchen and to push their deck back into place. The plumbing and wiring for the building also needs to be replaced.

Each raffle ticket costs $100 and only 200 tickets will be available for purchase. The first-, second- and third-place winners will go home with $7,500, $2,000 and $500 respectively. The deadline to buy tickets is Sept. 8 and everyone who purchases a raffle ticket is invited to Riley’s Yacht Club on Sept. 12 for a party to announce the winners.

State Senator Joseph P. Addabbo worked with Riley’s Yacht Club to host pop-up relief centers and said the club has always been crucial in providing a space and support for the community, long before and after Hurricane Sandy.

“Riley’s being a slightly higher elevation, Riley’s became a very integral part of the recovery for Hamilton Beach,” Addabbo said. “It became that site where people can get information, food, clothing and now it’s essential for the recovery effort. We’re forever grateful for that and to get financial assistance for Riley’s is the right thing to do.”

In addition to being a cheaper alternative for boat owners to park their vehicles, Riley’s Yacht Club is the host of Hamilton Beach Civic meetings and a site for city officials from FEMA and other Sandy relief agencies to share crucial information with residents.

“The offered us hot food, warm clothes and sometimes a shoulder to cry on but no matter what, they were here for us,” Roger Gendron, Hamilton Beach Civic Association president, said in a Facebook post. “Now is our time to be there for one of them. Let’s give back to those who gave so much to us.”


City agency no-show at civic meeting riles Hamilton Beach residents

| amatua@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/Photo by Angela Matua

Hamilton Beach residents were stood up.

The Department of Design and Construction (DDC) failed to make their appointment at Thursday’s Hamilton Beach Civic Association meeting, turning what should have been an informative session on a capital project into an airing of residents’ grievances.

The DDC was scheduled to unveil designs for a project to repair major corrosion and tidal flooding on James Court after residents rejected the first plan. However, the agency cancelled only a few hours before the meeting was set to take place, according to Hamilton Beach Civic Association President Roger Gendron.

Gendron said the project manager retired earlier this month and that the DDC was not sure if they could bring someone who could update residents on the specifics of the plan.

“We can talk about it all we want but DDC is not here to answer for themselves tonight and that’s the problem,” Gendron said. “I don’t care if they stood a guy in here with a target and said ‘We don’t have anything, take your best shot,’ but they didn’t do that and that’s wrong.”

Residents decried the last design plan, which was presented to them at a Jan. 22 civic meeting. The plan called for adding a bulkhead to the end of the street and up to two feet of asphalt to some parts of the roadway, thus elevating the street bed. This heightened road would force homeowners to bury or reconstruct the first few steps leading to their home if the steps are located on the sidewalk.

Patricia McCabe, a representative of state Senator Joseph Addabbo, relayed the lawmaker’s disapproval over the DDC no-show.

“He’s very, very upset with DDC,” McCabe said. “This is what his exact words were: ‘Make sure everybody at the meeting knows, he will be back at the district tomorrow, he will speak to the commissioner. They will get answers within the next week. They’re going to hold them to the time frame of this project.’ He’s as angry as you are.”

Rich Lynch, a Hamilton Beach resident who lives on James Court, said that the project manager had a responsibility to inform residents of the plan before his retirement.

“It’s kind of embarrassing from their point of view that it was a changing of the guard but the guard didn’t know he was in charge or something,” Lynch said.

Craig Chin, borough planner for the Department of Transportation, was in attendance but could not update residents on the plan because the DDC didn’t provide the DOT any updated plans.

“It’s DDC that we have to hold their feet to the fire,” Gendron said. “And believe me when I tell you I will.”

A DDC spokesperson reportedly told Gendron that they will attend the next Hamilton Beach Civic Association meeting on Aug. 20 to unveil the plan.

The DDC did not respond to requests for comment.


Queens Symphony Orchestra visits Hamilton Beach

| amatua@queenscourier.com

Photo courtesy of Facebook/New Hamilton Beach Civic Association

The sounds of the Queens Symphony Orchestra filled the West Hamilton Beach Volunteer Fire Department on June 18, as Hamilton Beach residents were treated to songs that celebrate New York City.

The show was part of the Queens Symphony Orchestra concert series, which is taking place throughout Queens all summer. The free live performances are meant to educate “families and individuals of all ages about the universal value and necessity of orchestral music,” according to its website.

Five members of the orchestra played songs that paid tribute to New York City such as Frank Sinatra’s “New York, New York.” Orchestra members also educated the crowd of 40 people about the instruments they play, which included a clarinet, cello, flute and oboe.

Councilman Eric Ulrich sponsored the event and attended the concert with his daughter.

“From Richmond Hill to the Rockaways, Queens Symphony Orchestra delighted and entertained audiences in every corner of my district,” Ulrich said. “Each concert featured a distinctive genre of music and was well attended overall. I hope to continue these performances again next year.”

Charlene O’Dea, a resident of Hamilton Beach for 20 years, attended the event with her husband, Michael, and daughter, Heather.

“That show was great,” O’Dea said. “We enjoyed it very much. To my surprise, I knew most of the words to the music they played.”

Hamilton Beach Civic Association President Roger Gendron said he was glad to see an event like this hosted in his neighborhood.

“It was a wonderful thing,” Gendron said. “It’s nice to finally see Hamilton Beach get some of the events and the perks that other communities got in the past. It’s nice to see that.”

The Queens Symphony Orchestra was founded in 1953 by conductor David Katz, a Forest Hills resident who worked with Queens-based instrumentalists to bring free concerts to local communities so that they wouldn’t have to travel to Manhattan to experience classical music. Currently in its 63rd season, the Queens Symphony Orchestra is the only professional orchestra in Queens and the largest and oldest arts organization in the borough.

With their performance, the Queens Symphony Orchestra succeeded in making Hamilton Beach resident JeanAnn Giunta-Stetz a new fan of orchestral music.

“I’ve never listen to music like this before,” Giunta-Stetz said. “I thought I wouldn’t enjoy it, but found it fun and very entertaining.”


Footbridge in Hamilton Beach vandalized again

By Queens Courier Staff | editorial@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/file photo


Vandals in Hamilton Beach have struck again.

Police on Saturday stopped a group of individuals loitering on the footbridge that connects Hamilton Beach to Howard Beach around 7:30 p.m. During their investigation, police determined that a member of the group, an 18-year-old Howard Beach resident, scrawled a lewd image on the crossing moments earlier; a paint marker was found in his possession.

Reportedly, three of the suspects were taken into police custody. Two were issued criminal court summonses and released, while the Howard Beach teenager was charged with making graffiti and criminal mischief.

Hamilton Beach Civic Association President Roger Gendron said graffiti has been a problem on the blue bridge for decades.

“It has its high moments and its low times,” Gendron said. “There will be a lot of it and it’ll really peter out. These kids happened to get caught, which is good.”

Two Hamilton Beach residents became fed up with the graffiti last year and painted one side of the bridge dark green to deter vandals. But Gendron said that people just used lighter spray paint colors to make the graffiti visible.

Gendron said the civic association is looking to purchase anti-graffiti coating and would ultimately like for the Department of Transportation to coat the entire bridge. Though the coating is expensive, Gendron said it lasts for 10 years and would make it much easier for the graffiti to be washed away.

Assemblyman Phil Goldfeder said he has worked with the civic association and auxiliary police to clean up graffiti and has discussed purchasing anti-graffiti coating and putting up security cameras near the bridge.

But the biggest problem, he said, is the lack of resources for the police department.

“I don’t think there are enough resources in the police department to be able to stay on top of quality-of-life issues,” Goldfeder said. “Deputy Inspector Jeffrey Schiff and the 106th are doing an amazing job. I just think they need more resources. We’re going to keep doing everything we can to clean graffiti once it’s painted and prevent it in the future.”

Gendron said the graffiti brings down the quality of the community and is another headache for residents who are trying to build back their neighborhood after Hurricane Sandy.

“Some people call it art, some people call it graffiti. While some of it is beautiful, it shouldn’t be done unless it’s [allowed],” Gendron said.


Hamilton Beach welcomes new sign

By Queens Courier Staff | editorial@queenscourier.com

Photo courtesy of Roger Gendron


Hamilton Beach will soon greet those who enter the neighborhood in style.

After a hit-and-run destroyed the old sign, which was made by a Hamilton Beach resident, the community started brainstorming designs for a new one.

Hamilton Beach Civic Association President Roger Gendron helped spearhead the project and used Facebook and local civic association meetings to request that residents bring in designs to local meetings.

Gendron said they received 11 or 12 entries and instead of choosing one, decided to pick and choose aspects of several designs to create the final product.

“I’m very happy with the design that we came up with,” Gendron said. “Actually the shape of the design was from one entry, and the color of the design was from another entry, and so it was actually a collaboration of a bunch of the different entries that we had.”

The civic also paid homage to the old sign by adding a ship’s steering wheel and keeping the phrase “A Great Place to Live,” flourishes that were featured on the old sign.

A piece of the old Hamilton Beach park will also be featured on the sign. Gendron saved two bird figurines that were located on top of certain poles in the park. When the park was renovated last October, Gendron saved the figurines and realized they would be a good addition to the new sign.

The figurines will be repainted and refurbished and placed on top of the columns that will hold up the sign.

Gendron posted a rendering to the civic association’s Facebook page and it quickly garnered 100 likes and excited comments from residents praising the design.

ADP USA, a sign business in Rockaway Park, agreed to create the sign and Howard Beach Memorial Services has donated some funds to build it.

The civic applied for a $3,000 community grant to be used for beautification projects but Gendron said they were denied. He said the civic association may host fundraisers to replenish the money they will use to pay for the construction of the sign.

The civic is also trying to work with local businesses to save on costs toward installing the welcome sign.

Gendron hopes the sign can be installed by the end of the month and said the civic is working out whether they will tie it in to a Fourth of July celebration or if they will decide on a separate date.

“It’s one of the first things you see when you come into Hamilton Beach,” Gendron said. “It’s very welcoming and we may make some future add-ons to the sign as we move forward but right now we need to get the sign up.”


Pol calls for early mosquito spraying in south Queens

By Queens Courier Staff | editorial@queenscourier.com

Photo courtesy of Jonathan Greenfield


Weeks before summer’s official arrival, Assemblyman Phil Goldfeder called on the city Department of Health and Mental Hygiene (DOHMH) to launch a preemptive strike on mosquitoes in southern Queens that may potentially carry the deadly West Nile virus.

Goldfeder said the area — including Howard Beach, Hamilton Beach and the Rockaways — is particularly susceptible because of the increase in “zombie properties” following Hurricane Sandy in 2012. These abandoned locations, according to Goldfeder, are ideal breeding grounds for mosquitoes.

Last year, Goldfeder put forth a three-point plan to eliminate these zombie homes, including a push to ease the foreclosure process and a call to create a registry for vacant properties that could be monitored by the city. He has also worked with city agencies to encourage mosquito spraying and rodent baiting at the blighted properties.

“Families in southern Queens and Rockaway are at increased risk from the dangers of West Nile virus,” Goldfeder said. “The higher rate of abandoned properties and construction projects throughout the community following Sandy has only increased our potential for mosquito breeding. That’s why I’m calling on the city to take action and protect the health and well-being of our families as we head into summer.”

Roger Gendron, president of the Hamilton Beach Civic Association, said residents must also take precautions to protect themselves and others from mosquito bites.

“The best way to prevent West Nile virus is to protect yourself from mosquito bites,” Gendron said. “Homeowners are asked to do their part throughout the mosquito season by eliminating any standing water. Who then is responsible for the homes that have been left abandoned and untouched since Superstorm Sandy? This is an important issue that needs to be addressed by the city.”

Goldfeder sent a letter to DOHMH Commissioner Mary Bassett and urged her to work with the Department of Environmental Protection to locate and clean out clogged catch basins. He also called for action by the Sanitation Department in enforcing lot cleanings.

A representative for the DOHMH said the department uses preventative measures to reduce mosquito populations and the threat of West Nile. These measures include applying larvicide in every New York City storm sewage catch basin this month. Larvicide is also applied by helicopter three times during mosquito season to wet, marshy areas that are known to be breeding areas.

“We conduct weekly surveillance for West Nile virus activity throughout the city, and adulticide will be applied to carefully delineated areas only if the threat to humans is imminent in those areas, based upon location, species, persistence, and levels of WNV activity in mosquitoes, and findings of WNV in humans or possibly in other animals,” the representative said. “Spraying adulticide in populated areas before we have any evidence of WNV activity is neither appropriate, nor will it help protect public health.”

The representative also encouraged residents to report standing water on private property by calling 311 or visiting the DOHMH website.

Last summer, four people and 200 mosquito pools in Queens tested positive for the virus, according to DOHMH. West Nile activity was reported several times in Howard Beach, Hamilton Beach, Lindenwood and the Rockaways.


Fake 911 call backfires for Howard Beach burglary suspect

| rpozarycki@queenscourier.com

Photo courtesy of NYPD

Instead of driving the police away with a fake emergency call, a suspected burglar wound up bringing more cops to his Hamilton Beach block Thursday afternoon.

Keith Kolm, 25, of 164th Road, allegedly broke into the Key Food supermarket at 163-30 Cross Bay Blvd. in Howard Beach at 6 a.m. on April 6 and stole the shop’s ATM.

Through an investigation, the 106th Precinct Detective Squad linked Kolm to the crime and “plastered the neighborhood” with wanted posters featuring his mugshot, one law enforcement source said. Plainclothes officers staked out the suspect’s home for several weeks, but he never surfaced.

At about 3:45 p.m. on Thursday, police received a 911 call regarding an officer in need of assistance at the corner of Linden Boulevard and the Van Wyck Expressway service road in South Ozone Park, authorities said.

While heading to the scene with other units, an on-duty supervisor requested the location of where the 911 call was made; police learned that the call came from a cellphone in Hamilton Beach.

Plainclothes officers stationed outside Kolm’s home activated their sirens and drove around the corner, according to authorities. After a few moments, they returned to the location and observed Kolm walking outside his home.

“That call was placed so he could get out of the house,” a law enforcement source said.

Kolm then led officers on a foot pursuit through Hamilton Beach streets and backyards, prompting additional NYPD units to respond to the area, police said. At about 4:30 p.m., officers apprehended Kolm on the rooftop of a home in the area of 104th Street and 163rd Drive.

Charges against Kolm are pending.


Howard Beach boardwalk needs handicapped-accessible ramp, additional lighting

By Queens Courier Staff | editorial@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER / Photo by Angela Matua


The Howard Beach boardwalk has been the cause of many headaches in the community and after a reconstruction, some are looking to further improve the 2,000-foot-long cement walkway.

The boardwalk, which begins in Coleman Square in Howard Beach and ends in Hamilton Beach, was in disrepair for many years. After Hurricane Sandy damaged the boardwalk further, residents were no longer allowed to use it.

Repairs were made to the walkway, which was converted from a wooden boardwalk, and finished during the first week of December of last year.

But repairs took longer than anticipated after a dispute broke out between the Department of Citywide Administrative Services (DCAS) and the Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) over who owned the land.

DCAS eventually took responsibility and Councilman Eric Ulrich pressed the agency to make repairs.

Salvatore Simonetti, chief of staff for the councilman’s office, is now pushing for more lighting to be installed to make the walkway safer and for a handicapped-accessible ramp to be built at the Coleman Square entrance.

According to Hamilton Beach Association President Roger Gendron, the original scope of the project was just to repair the wooden boardwalk. But when they installed a concrete walkway instead, stairs were constructed on the Howard Beach side. Hamilton Beach’s entrance is a ramp.

Simonetti has reached out to local officials and the Department of Transportation (DOT) to alleviate the problem, but the dispute over who owns that part of the boardwalk has come up again and is making it harder to pinpoint who claims the responsibility of the additional lighting and ramp.

He recently met with DOT officials to walk across the boardwalk and point out where additional lighting can be placed. According to Simonetti, the DOT will work to install lighting, but there is not an exact timeline as to when this project will be completed.

“If someone goes there and realized that it’s not ADA-compliant, they have to turn around and come back and I’m not sure there is much room,” Simonetti said. “It’s difficult to maneuver a wheelchair, even a stroller or a baby carriage if you’re moving in and out to come back.”

Though the process to fully complete the boardwalk has been long and “draining,” Simonetti said the people of Hamilton Beach and Howard Beach have been patient.

“They know that we’re working on it,” Simonetti said. “They’re a wonderful group of people … they’ve been very patient with us and understanding.”


Frank Charles Park repairs a home run for Howard Beach community

By Queens Courier Staff | editorial@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/Photo by Angela Matua


Howard Beach residents hoping to enjoy America’s pastime at Frank Charles Park will experience a whole new ballgame when visiting the ballfields.

The National Park Service (NPS) made repairs to the fields on April 8 through 10, including leveling the infields, filling in ridges that formed between the diamonds and the outfields and repairing the outfields.

Assemblyman Phil Goldfeder received numerous complaints from the Hamilton Beach community and Michael Baker, manager of the X-Bays Softball team in the Queens Metro ASA Softball league.

Baker said he has experienced problems with the field since he started playing on it eight years ago. The X-Bays team, which was formed in 2009 and plays on the field from April to August, has never seen the ballfields being maintained.

“The field has been in quite bad shape for years,” Baker said, “more so after [Hurricane] Sandy. After the storm it was like a beach. We’ve gotten a lot of heat from other teams in the league about how atrocious it was, so I finally said enough is enough.”

Baker emailed Goldfeder’s office and was surprised by the Assemblyman’s quick response.

“He responded within 15 minutes,” Baker said. “I fell off my chair. It was phenomenal.”

Goldfeder’s office contacted the agency that owns and operates Charles Park, NPS’s Gateway National Recreation Area, and requested they make the repairs. He also asked the agency to provide the team with equipment including shovels, rakes and infield clay so players could make minor game day repairs.

“These improvements will help prevent injuries and make games more enjoyable for players, families and the entire community,” Goldfeder said in a press release. “I’d like to thank the National Park Service for their quick response and partnership with the neighborhood.”

Baker and his co-manager Anthony Galetto would spend two to three hours every Saturday fixing the field and prepping it for Sunday morning, especially after it rained, Baker said.

“It became quite a nuisance after years and years and years,” Baker said. “Now it’s just such a pleasure. When it rains, it rained fairly hard last night and it’s holding up so well. We’re just very pleased.”

The X-Bays played their first game of the season on the new field on Sunday, April 12, and are currently 4-0.

“We couldn’t have asked for a better start on our repaired field,” Baker said.


Lone road into Hamilton Beach to get major repairs

By Queens Courier Staff | editorial@queenscourier.com



Hamilton Beach residents will soon see an end to the roller coaster they have been experiencing when driving through 104th Street.

Representatives from the Department of Transportation (DOT) said they would finally get started on repairing the road, which residents have been demanding for years.

Work is anticipated to start in the fall of this year and will include roadway resurfacing, according to a representative.

The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) will fund the repairs since they decided the damage was a result of Hurricane Sandy, though Hamilton Beach Civic Association President Roger Gendron said the damage was done well before the storm.

According to Gendron, the DOT told residents that 104th Street would be included in its 10-year capital project plan in 2010. Repairs were never made and after the superstorm hit, the potholes and cracks grew bigger.

“I don’t want to say we were lied to, but we weren’t told the truth,” Gendron said.

Everyone who enters and exits Hamilton Beach must drive through 104th Street, making the street even more dangerous since people sometimes swerve to avoid potholes, Gendron said.

Buses also run through 104th Street, and potholes formed near the bus stops. Additionally, there is no sidewalk where riders can wait to board, so they are forced to wait on the street.


Betty Braton, chairwoman of Community Board 10 says the repairs are “long overdue.”

“The community has had to put up with conditions not conducive to safe driving because of the potholes and the ripples in the street,” Bratton said. “It’s not been a good situation for this community.”

Gendron said the DOT has filled a few potholes but the work has not been substantial enough. The DOT has conducted a number of street resurfacing projects for Howard Beach, Hamilton Beach’s neighbor, but this is the first time residents here have heard concrete information about repairs.

“This is a giant step forward,” Gendron said. “We’ve never heard about a project until now.”

The West Hamilton Beach Volunteer Fire Department is located right off of 104th Street and Chief Jonah Cohen said when volunteers come to department headquarters, they end up hitting potholes and run the risk of damaging their cars.

Something as important as responding to a call should not require so much effort on the part of the driver, Gendron said.

“Me, getting milk and bread, I can take my time,” Gendron said. “They’re going to respond to a call, time is of an essence. To have to think about where am I driving, what side of the street am I driving on, is anybody coming? It’s a no-brainer to me [that] you shouldn’t have to think like that.”


Hamilton Beach wants local residents to design new welcome sign

| slicata@queenscourier.com

Photo courtesy of Roger Gendron

Hamilton Beach is looking for a new design to replace the community’s welcome sign and has called on local artists and residents to submit their best sketches for a contest.

“The civic is looking for local students, community members and artists to submit designs for the new ‘Welcome to Hamilton Beach’ sign,” said Roger Gendron, president of the Hamilton Beach Civic Association. “We thought this would be good community engagement to have a contest so people can submit their ideas.”

A new sign is being sought by the civic association after the last one had to be removed in December due to a car crash at the site. Gendron said he was looking for a simple design that he and the members of the civic association could vote on at the next monthly meeting, which will take place on March 26. He will then take the design with the most votes and bring it to a sign maker to see if it is feasible.

The old sign was designed by a Hamilton Beach resident and greeted residents and visitors as they entered the neighborhood from a bridge that connects it to Old Howard Beach over Hawtree Creek.

But the accident that occurred in December destroyed the guardrail and smashed it almost 2 feet back. The welcome sign was sitting right behind the rail but due to the impact was knocked out of the ground and cracked in the middle with letters and decorations missing.

THE COURIER/Photo by Salvatore Licata

THE COURIER/Photo by Salvatore Licata

The sign was removed to see if there was a possibility to have it repaired, but Gendron was told it was beyond salvation.

He put the word out on the civic association’s Facebook page on March 12 that he was looking for people to design a new sign and is still looking for more submissions but has gotten some good news since. He has found a local sign maker in Rockaway, who also designed the new “Welcome to Howard Beach” sign, and was even contacted by the American Legion in Broad Channel who said they would help to pay for the sign.

The civic also applied for a community grant that could give them $3,000 to use toward beautification projects. Gendron said that if he has help to pay for the sign he can use the grant to build a small garden area around the new sign which he feels will be even more welcoming to the community.

“We need a new sign for the community,” he said. “We want this sign to be different and unique from others.”


Water main break fixed in Hamilton Beach after long wait

| slicata@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/Photos by Salvatore Licata

Updated Feb. 24, 2:20 p.m.

A continuous stream of water that had been flowing onto one Hamilton Beach street for over six days due to a water main break — causing flooding along the thoroughfare that turned into sheets of ice when temperatures dipped below freezing — has finally been fixed by the Department of Environmental Protection.

On Feb. 24, a day after The Courier wrote about the water main break, which is located directly in the middle of First Street in Hamilton Beach, the DEP sent crews to the site to fix the problem.

Before the fix, water was gushing from cracks in the asphalt down toward 104th Street and into a catch basin. And as temperatures were plunging well below freezing on Monday night, Roger Gendron, president of the Hamilton Beach Civic Association, said the water was creating very dangerous and slippery conditions for residents and motorists.

“I was out there at 12:15 last night and the road was very slippery,” said Gendron on Tuesday. “I’m glad they came in and finally fixed it.”


The break was first noticed on Feb. 17 by Joe Thompson of the Howard Beach Civilian Observation Patrol during his nightly tour. He observed the water coming out of the ground and turning into ice due to the cold weather that night. He immediately filed a 311 report but the only response before Feb. 24 from the city was a sanitation truck dispatched on Feb. 18 to salt the road in order to break up some of the ice.


Photo courtesy of Joe Thompson

Photo courtesy of Joe Thompson

Another water main break happened on the same block about a month ago which was also fixed by the Department of Environmental Protection.


Queens is the borough with the most roads and the most potholes

| ejankiewicz@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/Photo by Liam La Guerre

Queens isn’t just the “World’s Borough.” It’s also the borough with the city’s most tire-wrecking potholes — a total of 20,000 that have been filled by city crews so far in 2015.

“Queens has the largest share of roads out of the five boroughs so that only makes sense,”  Transportation Commissioner Polly Trottenberg said of the pothole problem.

With severe winter weather, roads take a beating and inevitably develop potholes. And so the city’s transportation department is fighting a perpetual battle with limited resources. On a recent Tuesday there were 12 crews out citywide fixing pock-marked streets.

Last year, the city filled almost 500,000 potholes and 131,000 of those fixed were in Queens.  And this year 20,000 potholes were filled in Queens, almost half of all citywide jobs to date.

With over 2,000 miles of roadway, the most of any borough, the number of potholes in the road is higher than in other boroughs, a spokeswoman for the Department of Transportation pointed out. The transportation department had filled a similar number of potholes this time last year.

At the time, it was the “most potholes ever filled at this point of the year in the history of New York City,” according to a then newly-elected Mayor de Blasio, who visited Maspeth last year to fill some holes.

Pothole season typically starts by February and dies down by April, though the timeline is dependent on weather, experts say. And while most potholes are just a nuisance, they can sometimes be a threat in neighborhoods like Hamilton Beach, where the neighborhood’s main road resembles the surface of the moon, causing traffic jams and dangerous conditions for pedestrians.

“This is a constant priority for us,” Trottenberg said of the pothole repair program.


Some Hamilton Beach residents reject James Court capital project plan

| slicata@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/Photos by Salvatore Licata

Hamilton Beach is set for a multi-million dollar project to help alleviate tidal flooding issues on James Court. But residents living on the street smacked the plan down, saying it was more than they need.

“Why is it that when the city comes in they give you this”—James Court resident Rich Lynch widened his hands to represent something big—”when you only want this?”—he closed the gap between his hands to represent something small.

The city’s Department of Design and Construction (DDC) came to present their new project for the street at the Hamilton Beach Civic Association meeting on Jan. 22. They were met with residents from the street who weren’t so sure this would be a beneficial project.

The DDC calls for adding a bulk head to the end of the street, adding up to two feet of asphalt in some places to have a higher street elevation, and pitching the street in a way that the water would flow into the middle, where the sewers and catch basins would be installed. Moreover, they would move the utility poles from the north side of the street to the south side and were talking about the possibility of a shared street concept.

This would mean that both the sidewalk and street would be on the same level, leaving no heightened curb. The DDC is working on a project like this in Broad Channel, where they got every resident of each of the streets they are working on to sign a consent letter for the construction. But the residents of James Court aren’t convinced.

“We just want the end of the street fixed, a bulk head put in and maybe to pitch the street correctly,” said Lynch, who has lived on the block for six years. “We will deal with the flooding.”

The end of the block, where the street meets the canal, is eroding into the water. It is so bad that there are cement barriers placed in front of the ditch, because if a car or pedestrian were to fall into the ditch, they would end up right in the water. As years have gone by, the erosion has gotten worse, which is why some type of project is paramount.

James Court does have tidal flooding issues, approximately 7 percent of the year, that this project was designed to specifically address. The project would not address extreme weather events such as flash floods or another storm like Superstorm Sandy.

By raising the street, in some places up to two feet, tidal floods would not be high enough for water to make its way onto the street. The street would also be pitched to the creek. But raising the street would mean that residents’ sidewalks and stairs to get into their houses would be affected.

This would mean that some of the first steps people use to get into their house would have to be buried or reconstructed, if they are located directly on the sidewalk, so that the full street would be level.

Furthermore, because now people’s driveways would be substantially lower than the street, the DDC would construct a down ramp to the driveways and provide a pit for the homeowner to put a sump pump in so that rainwater falling down from the elevated street wouldn’t puddle up on the property.

“I’d rather you take this money and help every block in Hamilton Beach,” said Lynch. “Give every block in Hamilton Beach bulk heads.”

After the presentation, DDC’s original plan was to go to each resident individually and talk specifically about how it would affect their property. But because so much animosity about the project was voiced at the meeting, the DDC will send down three consultants and talk to the homeowners one-on-one to go over what exactly would happen to their property.

“I think we can all agree that simpler is better,” said Roger Gendron, president of the Hamilton Beach Civic Association. “Ultimately consent letters would have to be obtained by every resident. I appreciate that the city came in and heard the concerns of the residents. Now they can go back and look at other ways of doing it.”


‘Welcome to Hamilton Beach’ sign and guardrail protecting it destroyed in hit-and-run

| slicata@queenscourier.com

Photo courtesy of Roger Gendron

A hit-and-run happened in Hamilton Beach. The victim: a beloved, handmade 2-by-3-foot wooden welcome sign crafted by a neighborhood resident.

The sign that welcomed visitors to Hamilton Beach, along with a guardrail and a city traffic sign, was located at the beginning of Hamilton Beach where vehicles cross into the community from Old Howard Beach.

The accident occurred in the beginning of December, but the motorist who caused the damage has yet to be caught. The guardrail is smashed almost 2 feet back, the two-way-traffic sign is knocked down behind the rail and the Hamilton Beach sign was cracked in the middle with letters and decorations missing.

It was removed to see if there was a possibility to have it repaired, but Roger Gendron, president of the Hamilton Beach Civic Association, was just told it was unfixable, and the neighborhood now has to look to purchase a new sign.

“I can’t imagine how fast this person must have been going to hit the rail that hard and knock it back so far,” Gendron said. “Thank God no one was hurt, but now we have to get it fixed and get a new sign.”

When crossing into Hamilton Beach from Old Howard Beach, a vehicle must go over a bridge with a slight incline. But, the high point of that bridge, which crosses over Hawtree Creek, is at least 50 feet if not more before the guardrail and sign, giving drivers an ample amount of time to see the stop sign at the corner before entering the neighborhood.

ham beach sign 3

When Gendron first noticed the sign was down he went down to further inspect the area and see if he could find any clues as to who may have done the damage. He found a piece of the car with the vehicle identification number on it, which he turned over to police at the 106th Precinct.

The crash is still under investigation, but just last week, the precinct removed an abandoned car from the neighborhood with a Pennsylvania license plate. The car’s front end was smashed in. It is not confirmed if that was the vehicle that caused the damage, but Gendron said it would definitely fit the description with how much damage was done to it.

The next step for the neighborhood is to get the guardrail fixed, erect a new pole for the two-way sign and put up a new welcome sign. Gendron has been in touch with Councilman Eric Ulrich’s office to see if the councilman can help get a Department of Transportation crew assigned to fix the two-way sign and guardrail. He is currently looking for someone or some business willing to make a new welcome sign. Gendron priced out a couple of signs but was astonished when he saw that many cost over $3,000. He has toyed with the possibility of starting a “Go Fund Me” page to see if he could get enough donations to buy a new sign but he hasn’t committed to it yet as he is exploring other options.

“We need a new sign for the neighborhood,” Gendron said. “I don’t know how we will get it yet, but we will.”