Tag Archives: Juniper Park Civic Association

Queens’ Morning Roundup


| ctumola@queenscourier.com

TODAY’S FORECAST

Wednesday: Overcast with thunderstorms and rain showers, then thunderstorms in the afternoon. High of 81. Winds from the SW at 10 to 15 mph. Chance of rain 80% with rainfall amounts near 0.4 in. possible. Wednesday night: Mostly cloudy in the evening, then partly cloudy. Low of 75. Winds from the West at 5 to 10 mph. Chance of rain 20%.

EVENT of the DAY: Alobar’s Tomato Festival

All this week, Long Island City restaurant Alobar is honoring the harvest season with a rotating menu of tomato dishes supporting local farms at $30 per person for two courses and a cocktail or glass of wine. Click here for more info or to submit an event of your own

Seven Queens schools slated for closure re-open this week

After months of uncertainty, many teachers at seven Queens high schools previously slated for closure are going back to work. Read more: New York Daily News 

Internet currency exchange biz owner gets jail for tax conviction

The owner of an Internet currency exchange business is going to prison on a tax conviction. U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara announced the two-year sentence today for Ilya Boruch of Forest Hills, Queens. Read more: New York Post

 School in Queens to serve “brunch”

he thought of having lunch, or as the principal of IS25 calls it “brunch,” at 9:45 in the morning is not going over well. Come Thursday, many students at the middle school in Auburndale, Queens will feast on roast chicken, rice and pinto beans, just two hours after their day. Read more: ABC New York

Juniper Valley Park plagued by trash, vandalism and under-aged drinking, civic leaders say

Underage boozing, vandalism and mounds of trash have plagued Juniper Valley Park all summer due to lack of Parks Enforcement Patrol officers, civic leaders say. Read more: New York Daily News

With City Council redistricting looming, activists unveil “Unity Map”

Activists are trying to protect the city’s minority groups as the City Council district lines are about to be redrawn. Minority advocate groups unveiled their so-called Unity Map Tuesday. Read more: NY1

Ed Koch being treated for anemia at New York Presbyterian

Former mayor Ed Koch was being treated at New York Presbyterian on the Upper West Side and will remain hospitalized for a few days after undergoing a blood transfusion, officials said Tuesday night. Read more: CBS New York

Airlines to face trial over 9/11

The AMR Corporation’s American Airlines and United Continental Holdings must face a federal trial over negligence claims tied to the hijacking of jetliners used in the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, a federal judge ruled Tuesday. Read more: New York Times

Mrs. Obama: Husband knows what struggle means

Democrats are using one of Barack Obama’s strong suits, that voters believe he understands the problems of ordinary people, to trump his weakest suit, the economy. Read more: AP

Queens’ Morning Roundup


| lguerre@queenscourier.com

Four Dems vying for congressional seat face off in debate

The four Democratic candidates vying for the 6th Congressional District seat will face off on Thursday at a debate sponsored by the Juniper Park Civic Association and the Daily News. The forum starts at 7:45 p.m. at Our Lady of Hope School Auditorium, 61-21 71st St. in Middle Village. Read more: [New York Daily News] 

Woman, 32, slain in apt.

A Bronx woman was stabbed to death in her ex-husband’s apartment building last night, police sources said. Luz Paulino, 33, was repeatedly knifed about 8:50 p.m. in the hallway of the seventh-floor Elmhurst building. She died at Elmurst Hospital. Read more: [New York Post]

City’s High School Grad Rate Flatlines, Data Shows

After years of gains, the city’s high school graduation rate flatlined last year. Data released by the state Monday show 60.9 percent of students in the city graduate in four years, a slight decrease over the 2010 rate of 61 percent. Read more: [NY1]

Flushing merchants worry Macedonia Plaza will hurt business

Local business owners are concerned that a mixed commercial and affordable housing project going up on a Flushing parking lot could hurt struggling shops. The 14-floor Macedonia Plaza, which recently received the funding it needs to move ahead with construction at 37-08 Union St., is not expected to include parking — a provision that worries nearby merchants in congested downtown Flushing. Read more: [New York Daily News]

Giants lineman David Diehl released after arraignment on drunk driving charge

New York Giants star David Diehl was so blitzed when he sideswiped parked cars with his BMW while leaving a Queens bar on Sunday that he couldn’t walk unaided, a witness said. “He was totally obliterated. He couldn’t even function,” said Al, 48, who didn’t want his last name published. Read more: [New York Daily News]

Woman, 64, raped in Qns.

 A 64-year-old woman was raped on a Queens street, cops said last night. The victim was walking on Rockaway Beach Boulevard near Beach 91st Street at 5:30 a.m. Sunday when the man forced her to the ground before sexually assaulting her. Read more: [New York Post]

St. Saviour’s needs new storage space


| brennison@queenscourier.com

Photo Courtesy of Bob Holden

A historic Maspeth church needs salvation to avoid damnation.

St. Saviour’s has been warehoused for the past few years by Galasso Trucking, which donated space and trailers when the 165-year-old church, which had been deconstructed, needed to be stored.

The Maspeth trucking company now needs the space back.

“They’ve been great, more than great,” said Bob Holden, president on the Juniper Park Civic Association and advocate for St. Saviour’s. “They’ve done this for three years. We thought it would only be a few months.”

Without a space to store the church, one of the oldest buildings in Queens may be lost, a situation Holden said would be tragic.

One plan has the church being moved to a plot of land at All Faiths Cemetery, but the area needs to be cleared and leveled — which will cost about $45,000 and another $40,000 to build a garage.

Grants totaling $150,000 from Assemblymember Andrew Hevesi and former state Senator Serphin Maltese were secured for moving the church, though the money is still being held by the state. Hevesi and Senator Joe Addabbo are working to get the funds released, Holden said.

Until the money is released, little can be done.

“We have the land and the grants, we just need the cash,” Holden said.

Holden bemoaned the fact that Maspeth, the oldest settlement on Long Island, lacks any landmarks. The church was designed by architect Richard Upjohn, who also designed Trinity Church in Manhattan, in the Carpenter Gothic-style.

Built in 1847, St. Saviour’s closed in 1995 due to a dwindling congregation. For more than a decade the church continued to stand on Maspeth Hill before facing demolition in 2008.

The church was literally minutes away from being demolished when a deal was worked out that gave the Juniper Park Civic Association 30 days to deconstruct the building and get it off the property. It took them 40 days to take down the church and store it in carefully-labeled sections.

“We’ve come this far and saved a piece of Maspeth and Queens history,” said Holden. “We’ll keep fighting.”

Middle Village 110 year old is an ‘inspiration’


| brennison@queenscourier.com

Photo courtesy of Robert Holden

In the mid 90s, the Juniper Park Civic Association organized a Saturday morning cleanup of the Eliot Avenue Bridge. The volunteers arrived early that morning, only to find the area nearly immaculate. It was cleaned by one man, a man in his mid 90s, Carl Berner.

And since that day approximately 15 years ago the now 110 year old has hardly slowed down.

Carl Berner was born in Stuttgart, Germany, on January 27, 1902. After his parents died of tuberculosis, he split time between France and Germany. In 1928, he immigrated to the United States where he found work as the night building superintendent at the Chrysler Building in Manhattan for five years before opening his own toy-making business.

Berner moved to Middle Village with his wife Margaret in 1938; they purchased their home for $5,190 — which carried monthly mortgage payments of approximately $40. Upon arriving in Queens, the couple joined the Eliot Avenue Civic Association, which in 1942 merged with the Residents of Juniper Park Homes to become the Juniper Park Civic Association.

“[Berner] was a link to our past,” said Robert Holden, president of Juniper Park Civic. “He would tell me about past clashes the civic would have and battles we fought.”

Berner is among the oldest residents of New York City, and believed to be among the oldest in the country. The supercentenarian still lives in the home he bought 74 years ago with his daughter Emily.

Following cleaning up the Eliot Avenue Bridge, Berner adopted several locations in the area that he would visit with a shopping cart, some bags and a shovel to beautify.

These efforts, along with a lifetime of service in the community, earned him a Partner in a Cleaner New York Certificate of Appreciation from the Department of Sanitation and a Presidential Service Award from Mayor Michael Bloomberg.

After breaking his hip for the first time when he was around 103, many in the area thought this would force Berner to slow down. So when Holden drove down Calwell Avenue six months later and saw a man standing atop a four-foot ladder cutting down poison ivy, he pulled over. That man of course was Berner.

“I asked him what he was doing. He said, ‘I have to get this poison ivy, before it gets someone else. It already got me,’” Holden remembered.
Only after breaking his other hip a few years later did Berner decide — or more accurately was convinced — he should take it easy.

Taking it easy is of course a relative term.

“He’s stopped cleaning now,” Holden said. “But he is always a fighter.”

Berner still walks two miles a day and will help out and do whatever he can in the neighborhood.

Berner once said when asked why he still volunteers at such an advanced age, “I like to help people — especially the elderly.”

“This guy is an inspiration. How can you sit home and not volunteer after seeing this guy,” Holden asked. “He’s an inspiration to the Juniper Park Civic and to the city. He makes you believe anything is possible.”

Crusade to clean up community


| brennison@queenscourier.com

Photo Courtesy of Robert Holden

A local civic leader wants his community to be a sight for sore eyes, which first requires ridding it of eyesores.

Robert Holden, president of the Juniper Park Civic Association, is pushing the Department of Buildings (DOB) to padlock properties with violations and unpaid fines that are a blemish on the community.

After successfully getting the DOB to investigate a scofflaw on 84th Street in Middle Village, Holden is turning his attention to other neighborhood blights — including one at 60-37 Wetherole Street.

The property has nine open violations dating back seven years and $14,500 in unpaid fines, according to DOB records.

Holden said the house has been an eyesore for nearly a decade.

Violations have been levied against the property for failing to maintain the building’s walls and storing vehicles without license plates in the front yard.

The owner of the house is listed as Ted Muschunas, who was unable to be contacted for the story.

Deal to halt train noise, pollution in Middle Village


| brennison@queenscourier.com

Local leaders and politicians have moved a noisy and odorous train hookup further from Middle Village houses, though community concerns remain.

Senator Joe Addabbo, Assemblymembers Andrew Hevesi and Mike Miller and Councilmember Elizabeth Crowley were able to successfully negotiate terms with CSX Freight and NY & Atlantic Railroad to move the trains further from residential areas, a plan that has now been implemented.

The trains were previously left idling while their brakes were pressurized at the intersection of 69th Place and Juniper Boulevard South directly behind a residential area, causing considerable noise pollution as well as emitting fumes from garbage on board.

Though local officials hailed this first step as a move in the right direction, discussions with the train company are not over.

“I appreciate that CSX and NY & Atlantic are addressing the quality of life concerns of the people who live near the railroad,” said Crowley. “It is important to know that this is just a first step and that we have many more expectations for the Railroad companies to meet.”

Officials are still exploring further ways to remedy the quality of life issues that residents may still face — including more noise and odor.

“There’s been an improvement,” said Bob Holden, president of the Juniper Park Civic Association, since the train hookup has been moved. “There’s still a problem with trains switching and idling for long periods of time. They only moved it 400 feet, so it’s still affecting people, though it’s a little better now.”

The primary hookup is now located several hundred feet southwest of 69th Street near All Faiths Cemetery – moving the noise and fumes further from the residential community.

A secondary hookup, utilized only when the trains are operated when trains are operating at maximum capacity, is located 450 feet back from the current site.

“It’s a great first step in a long process. This move should help address some of the quality of life concerns faced by those living in the surrounding community,” said Miller.