Tag Archives: Lindenwood Alliance

Star of Queens: Fran Goulston, founding member, co-chair, Lindenwood Alliance

By Queens Courier Staff | editorial@queenscourier.com

Fran Goulston

COMMUNITY SERVICE: Fran Goulston is a founding member and co-chair of the Lindenwood Alliance, a civic association that addresses problems in the community of Lindenwood.

BACKGROUND: Ultimately, what got Goulston involved in founding the Lindenwood Alliance was hearing about people having issues.

“I knew Joann Ariola and Christina Gold, and they were telling me about starting this group and I thought it was an important organization to join,” said Goulston.

GOALS:  Some of Goulston’s goals for the organization would be to help people in the community feel like they are heard.  “I believe the goal of the group is that if community members have a problem they can voice their [concerns, as] there are always delegates and police at our meetings listening in hopes of correcting any of the problems that arise.”

FAVORITE MEMORY:  One of the best things Goulston said she took away from being a part of this organization is getting to know the politicians “I really wasn’t into politics before becoming a part of the Lindenwood Alliance, and I really didn’t know much about politics either, and between Councilmember Eric Ulrich and Assemblymember Phil Goldfeder, which I adore, it opened my eyes to different politicians and what they offer.”

BIGGEST CHALLENGE: According to Goulston the biggest challenge is getting more of the community involved.





Board weighs in on DOT plan to fix Lindenwood parking problems

| tcullen@queenscourier.com

Community Board (CB) 10 has approved a new plan, with amendments, to ameliorate parking problems on a Lindenwood block.

The Department of Transportation (DOT) proposed the plan for 156th Avenue between 77th and 78th Streets. It would fix what a representative called a long-standing problem that is part of a larger infrastructure project on the border of Brooklyn.

Temporary parking lines would be painted diagonally on the island between east- and westbound traffic. As drivers head west, they will be able to pull into the spots — as opposed to parking in the middle of the street as many do now.

“Sometimes you have cars parking next to each other on this block, which could become a safety issue,” DOT representative Al Silvestri told the board.

The current plan has drivers backing out on to 156th Avenue, heading west, as they leave their spots. However, along that side of the street, there are homes with driveways that board members said might be in danger.

CB 10 suggested DOT flip the plan so drivers pull out on the eastbound side, where there are no driveways.

“If the parking was on the other side, angled the same way, it would not be a problem,” said Joann Ariola, a board member and president of the Lindenwood Alliance.

“We just want to make sure it works, because we don’t know how long we have to live with this,” she said.
Board members also suggested DOT officials explore putting in a concrete median with parallel parking on either side.

Silvestri said a median has been explored, but would result in fewer parking spots.

Although the board has voted on the change and added suggestions, DOT is not required to implement any of the amended plans.



DOT to study dangerous intersection

| tcullen@queenscourier.com

The Department of Transportation (DOT) will conduct a full traffic safety study of the area around a dangerous intersection after a community request in the heavily residential neighborhood.

DOT officials, residents, elected officials and representatives from the mayor’s office met on Monday, October 15 to survey a traffic triangle in Lindenwood intersected by 88th Street and 153rd Avenue that has long been a concern in the area.

At September’s Lindenwood Alliance meeting, a number of people brought up concerns about the intersection, particularly that it threatened the safety of children and elderly trying to cross the street.

As a result of the October 15 meeting, the DOT has agreed to comb the entire area, said Claudia Filomena, the Queens director for the mayor’s community affairs office. The study will take roughly six months, she said, and will particularly examine morning and afternoon hours when children are entering and leaving nearby P.S. 232 The Walter Ward School, as well as weekends.

Filomena said DOT representatives were not sure if the intersection could meet the need for a traffic light, but other options — such as stop signs or reshaping the intersection into a cul-de-sac — were being explored.

“DOT is going to be undertaking a safety study for the entire area and looking at any number of different traffic calming measures,” Filomena said.

In the meantime, petitions will be collected to request a school crossing guard in the area. By doing so, Filomena said, drivers will be less inclined to speed when seeing a guard and help stop concerns about children potentially being hurt.

Assemblymember Phillip Goldfeder, who has pushed since earlier this year for better traffic safety at the site, said he planned on reaching out to federal officials about some regulations the city is required to follow to amend traffic control.

Lindenwood graffiti cleaned up

| tcullen@queenscourier.com

Photo courtesy of Joann Ariola

Lindenwood residents united to take down a tag.

On the weekend of September 29, vandals hit nearly an entire wall of the medical building located at 82-12 151st Avenue, residents said.

Dr. Anthony Napolitano, who practices in and owns the building, noticed the graffiti, according to Lindenwood Alliance President Joann Ariola.

Napolitano planned to pay to remove the tags out of his own pocket, but Ariola said she advised him there were several options to remove the graffiti: one through the mayor’s office, and another through Councilmemer Eric Ulrich’s office.

Ariola said Napolitano opted for Ulrich’s cleanup program, City Solution — contracted through the Woodhaven Business Improvement District.

By Monday, October 8, City Solution was at the site to remove the vandalism.

The 106th Precinct is investigating this as a criminal case.

Napolitano’s next step is to coat the wall to prevent further marking, along with installing lights and video cameras around the area. He plans on paying for the preventative measures.

Ariola noted the quick response was thanks to a community effort to keep the neighborhood clean and safe.

“Once again, The Lindenwood Alliance proves that working together gets things done,” she said.

Lindenwood Shopping Center to get better signs, liquor store

| tcullen@queenscourier.com


The Lindenwood Shopping Center is bustling.

A bolder fire lane and repainted parking lines were added to the center’s busy parking lot following a number of complaints from residents and elected officials. New, larger signage will be installed soon as well.

Assemblymember Phillip Goldfeder, who pushed for clearer lines and direction in the shopping center, said he had only seen pictures of the new lot, but was pleased with how it looked.

“I appreciate the fact that they’re trying to do it the right way,” he said. “The Lindenwood Shopping Center and the management have invested a tremendous amount of money to rebuild, to redo the parking lot so it lasts and it keeps families safe for many years to come.”

Residents and shoppers had voiced problems with handicapped parking, drivers going the wrong way and shoppers parking their cars in the fire lane.

Joseph Trotta, the manager of the shopping center and a member of the Lindenwood Alliance, said the revamp of the lot, which cost an estimated $100,000, would be completely done once new signs were installed.

“Once the signs go up, we’ll hopefully see what effect that will have,” he said. “[We’re] putting all the ingredients together.”

Some new additions, however, were not as warmly welcome by the whole community.

The State Liquor Authority (SLA) approved on Tuesday, September 11 a planned liquor store for the Lindenwood Shopping Center, which had met reluctance by the area’s civic associations.

GNG Wine and Liquor was granted a liquor license after the owner’s primary hearing on August 29 had no result because of further investigation.

Members of the Lindenwood Alliance, as well as Community Board 10 worried that the liquor store was too close to P.S. 232 The Walter Ward School, which is across the street from the shopping center. At the civic’s August meeting, members who were opposed to the store signed individual letters to the SLA in opposition to the shop.

Along with the proximity to the school, residents were worried the store would attract an unruly crowd to the relatively quiet, residential area.

The liquor store’s owner, a liquor license specialist and representatives from the shopping center’s management company appeared before the community at the meeting to make their case for the store. The group told residents that the store would be clean, keep hours that were not late and was legally far enough from the school.

Following the license approval, the specialist, John Springer, said he and the owner were relieved the SLA approved the store. The owner, Springer said, was looking forward to the store opening next month and would be a good tenant.

Joann Ariola, president of the Alliance, said that the community would continue to keep an eye on the store and ensure its owner is living up to his promises.

“We will have an open relationship with the owners of that business,” she said. “If that business is not a good neighbor, it will not be patronized.”

Concerns over homeless woman and dangerous intersection at Lindenwood Alliance meeting

| tcullen@queenscourier.com

A local homeless woman, a dangerous intersection and continued worries about a potential liquor store were the focus of discussions at September’s Lindenwood Alliance meeting.

President Joann Ariola brought up the concern for the homeless woman, called Laura, who had been making Cross Bay Boulevard her home over the past few months. While the woman had been quiet and to herself, she has been disruptive recently, allegedly harassing shoppers on the street. Members were concerned not only about the quality of life in the area, but for the woman’s own well-being.

“For her own safety, she needs to be addressed,” Ariola said. “She could become a casualty of Cross Bay Boulevard, and that’s something we don’t want.”

The intersection at 88th Street and 153rd Avenue was a common concern among residents — where a stop sign had been removed four years ago following an accident — and never replaced.

Because the triangle is close to P.S. 232, residents were worried that something potentially horrible could happen to a child.

“Those kids are going to get killed,” said Ellen Buonpastore. “The old people are going to get hit.”

Assemblymember Philip Goldfeder, who had just a few weeks before reached out to the Department of Transportation (DOT) on the matter, assured residents he and his fellow officials were working on getting something at the dangerous intersection.

“It’s almost like saying ‘we have to wait until someone dies,’ and to me that’s not acceptable,” he said.

Rudy Giuliani, chief of staff for Councilmember Eric Ulrich, said the councilmember’s office was working to get the DOT Queens Borough Commissioner to attend next month’s meeting and hear out the worries of residents.

Lastly, some residents who missed last month’s meeting brought the planned liquor store in the Lindenwood Shopping Center back to the table. The potential store’s owner had a meeting with the State Liquor Authority on August 29, but final approval was put off to examine the site’s proximity to P.S. 232.

“Every co-op has a private park and that’s where the winos are going to be,” said David Postrion, who missed last month’s meeting.

Postrion and others were reassured that the Alliance was doing whatever it could to keep the neighborhood safe. Should the liquor store be approved, members could bring complaints to the Alliance, of which the shopping center’s manager, Joseph Trotta, is a member.

Because of Columbus Day and Simchat Torah, next month’s meeting will be held on Monday, October 15 at the Dorchester, located at 151-25 88th Street.

Parking problems persist at Lindenwood Shopping Center

| tcullen@queenscourier.com

QUEENS COURIER/Photo by Terence Cullen

Bobby Patel, owner of Village Card and Gifts, said during busy times of year — like during the holidays or when school is in session — it is not uncommon to see cars blocking the fire lane in the parking lot of the Lindenwood Shopping Center.

About twice a year, he said there will be an accident because a driver might be going the wrong way.

Parking, misdirection and the need for better-drawn lines are some of the problems residents run into when using the lot, despite a strict policy from law enforcement on fire lane parking.

One Lindenwood resident said people parking in the fire lane can affect drivers trying to pull in or out of handicapped spots.

“For the senior citizens it’s not good,” he said, motioning toward a section of handicapped spots not far from the fire lane. The resident said he had witnessed several incidents in which an elderly person tried to get out of a spot but couldn’t because of someone parked in the nearby fire lane.

Police from the 106th Precinct are not allowed to enforce moving violations in the private parking lot, an NYPD spokesperson said. They are only allowed to ticket drivers for illegally parking in handicapped spots or in the fire lane. The number of calls for fire lane violations was undetermined but prominent, the spokesperson said. No matter the amount of time parked, or the reason, the spokesperson said, there is a zero tolerance policy for leaving a car in the fire lane, which runs the length of the strip mall.

The Lindenwood Alliance has recommended several options to better the parking situation, said Joann Ariola, president of the organization. One idea is to hire a private enforcement company to monitor the violations in the parking lot.

The center’s management company, Howard Plaza Realty, has been working with the civic group to address these concerns. Ariola said the company plans to repave the parking lot, put up more signs and make sharper lines for the fire lanes and parking spaces.

Joe Trotta, a manager at the company, said paving for the parking lot is planned for September, with new parking lines and one way arrows on the pavement.

“Hopefully with the paving and the new striping and the arrow directions will help to alleviate this problem,” he said.

Private enforcement, however, is not something the company has looked into at this time, Trotta said.

Assemblymember Phillip Goldfeder has also contacted the management company regarding the parking and direction issues in the shopping center. The shopping center was an ideal location that well-served the community, Goldfeder said, but the fading lines and signage needed to be corrected to avoid further problems.

“These problems are simple to fix and should be addressed as soon as possible,” Goldfeder said. “Owners and management at the shopping center have been great community partners and I am confident that they will do everything they can to ensure that shoppers are safe while visiting local stores.”

Calls to Councilmember Eric Ulrich’s office and the Department of Transportation were not returned.

Despite getting ticketed, sometimes numerous times, Patel said some people get used to parking in the lane and continue to do so, no matter what.

“They don’t want to walk,” he said.

Lindenwood liquor store meets opposition

| tcullen@queenscourier.com

Concerned over its proximity to a school, many members of the Lindenwood Alliance voiced reluctance toward a proposed liquor store in the Lindenwood Shopping Center.

Members voted 20-8 against the liquor store at their August 13 meeting. The primary worry was that the store, which would be located at 82-33 153rd Avenue, would be too close to P.S. 232, which is across the street.

Along with the proximity to the school, residents said they were unsettled about unruly characters coming in and out of the store, late night hours and lewd advertising.

Residents said there were also problems with the shopping center as a whole, mainly regarding traffic. Several people said there had been accidents or incidents as a result of shoppers parking in the center’s fire lanes, and driving the opposite way on one-way streets.

The liquor store’s potential owner, Gurinder Singh, was present at the meeting with an advisor, John Springer, to hear residents’ worries and plead their case for the shop.

Springer said he had walked the distance from the school to the site and determined it to be 338 feet door to door. This, he said, is well over the minimum distance of 200 feet.

“There’s a buffer,” Springer said. “The legislature decided 200 feet was a good enough buffer.”

Regardless of the outcome, Councilmember Eric Ulrich said it was a good sign that the potential owner was interested in the community’s opinion.

“I think it’s an act of good faith on their part,” Ulrich told members.

Howard Plaza Realty, the management company for the Lindenwood Shopping Center, was represented by Catherine Napolitano and Joseph Trotta. Trotta is also a member of the Alliance. The two told members that when searching for someone to fill a vacant store, they look for a suitor who will mesh well with what is already there.

Napolitano said that the liquor store’s potential spot, which had been a bagel store, had been vacant for nearly two years as the management company looked for the right candidate.

Singh is due to appear for his liquor license on August 29, he said, and hopes that it will be approved.

Lindenwood Alliance tackles DOT, DOE issues

| aaltman@queenscourier.com

The March meeting of the Lindenwood Alliance featured a special dedication to Thomas Pascale, captain of the 106th Precinct.

“From the beginning, he has been supportive of our civic community,” said Lindenwood Alliance co-founder and president, Christina Gold. “He’s someone in a position of leadership who has been in support of this group. He has come to the majority of our meetings, which usually the captains do not. We wanted to show our appreciation for him.”

Gold said one of the group’s main purposes is to connect residents with their local officials and police departments.

Several traffic issues, including a particularly unsafe intersection located at the corner of 88th Street and 153rd Avenue, were addressed during the meeting on Monday, March 12 at the Rockwood Park Jewish Center.

According to Gold, the Department of Transportation (DOT) is revisiting the situation and plans to address the area she says is “dangerous for pedestrians.”

Parents of students who attend P.S. 232 in Lindenwood were present at the meeting as well to express their ill feelings towards an alleged decision to remove the special education program from the school. According to Gold, the parents were informed by faculty and staff that P.S. 232’s classes for learning disabled children would be phased out. Gold said she plans to meet with the school’s principal to discuss the situation further and hopes to bring staff from District 27 to a future meeting.


Joining forces to prevent crime

| mchan@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/Photo by Melissa Chan

The 106th Precinct — and youngsters from the Precinct’s Law Enforcement Explorers program — joined forces with the Lindenwood Alliance to spread awareness about personal safety.

At the “Crime Prevention Fair” on Friday, November 11, organization members were on hand at the Walter Ward Playground in Howard Beach to pass out an assortment of fliers with tips on how to increase safety while walking on the street, driving, parking, using an ATM or elevators, taking the subway or bus and even while at home.

In all cases, the fliers advise residents to eliminate opportunities that may make them targets, increase awareness in places they feel most comfortable, trust instincts regardless of feeling embarrassed and prepare daily schedules with safety in mind.

To draw in parents and to make it fun for kids, the Lindenwood Alliance provided cotton candy, juice, snacks and even face painting.

“I want to help the community to be a little more aware,” said Christina Gold, president of the Lindenwood Alliance, who added that the Alliance was also celebrating its one-year anniversary. “We’re very excited. We’ve come a long way, and we’re looking forward to the future.”