Tag Archives: lindenwood

Sinking Lindenwood street being repaired


| slicata@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/Photos by Salvatore Licata

A sinking street in Lindenwood that has caused hazardous situations for drivers and residents for years is now being repaired by the Department of Environmental Protection.

The street, located at the corner of 157th Avenue and 79th Street, was caving in and a one-foot deep sinkhole formed near the catch basin on the corner.

For years, residents say they have been making complaints about the street but nothing has been done until The Courier first reported the story on Oct. 14.

The street began to worsen after an April 30 flooding disaster, residents also said. The Spring Creek sewer overflow facility, maintained by the DEP, malfunctioned during a major rainstorm that night causing the sewers in Lindenwood to back up, flooding the streets.

Joe Thompson, a resident and president of the Howard Beach Civilian Observation Patrol, was shocked on how fast the response was to the sinking street.

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“I have never seen a response this quick before,” said Thompson, who submitted a 311 complaint three weeks ago about the hole but never got an answer. “It’s another positive closure for the renewal of our quality of life here in Howard Beach.”

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Sinking street in Lindenwood continues to worsen


| slicata@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/Photo by Salvatore Licata

Lindenwood residents are getting a sinking feeling about one of their streets.

For years, the roadway at the corner of 157th Avenue and 79th Street in has been slowly caving in, but recently it has worsened, leaving residents worried the street might collapse.

“This part of the street has been like this for a while now,” said Joe Thompson, a resident of Lindenwood and president of the Howard Beach Civilian Observation Patrol. “We’ve put in complaints about it to the city.”

After an April 30 flooding disaster, residents say the street has only gotten worse. The Spring Creek sewer overflow facility malfunctioned during a major rainstorm that night causing the sewers in Lindenwood to back up, flooding the streets.

Since then, the part of the roadway that slopes to the sidewalk has been collapsing straight down, forming a ditch along the curb. There is also a large hole forming near the catch basin on the street that sinks down over a foot deep in the asphalt.

“I have family visiting me all the time and I tell them to avoid this block because I do not want their cars to bottom out,” said one resident who was driving by the street. “It’s really bad and it’s only getting worse.”

Thompson said he filed his claim about three weeks ago with 311 but has yet to receive a response. He said that he has talked to residents who have said they have complained for years but have given up because nothing has been done.

“It’s a very unsafe condition and we want to get it addressed,” Thomspon said.  “Hopefully this will be solved.”

The Department of Transportation differed comment to the Department of Environmental Protection which did not respond to email requests for comment.

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West Nile spraying scheduled for parts of Queens this week


By Queens Courier Staff | editorial@queenscourier.com

Photo courtesy of NYC Department of Health

On Tuesday, Sept. 16, there will be West Nile spraying in parts of Queens, including along the Brooklyn-Queens border, to help reduce the mosquito population and the risk of the disease.

The spraying will take place between the hours of 8:00 p.m. and 6 a.m. the next morning. In case of bad weather, the application will be delayed until Wednesday, Sept. 17 during the same hours.

The following neighborhoods are being treated due to rising West Nile virus activity with high mosquito populations, according to the city’s Health Department:

Parts of City Line, Cypress Hills, Highland Park, Howard Beach, Lindenwood, Ozone Park, Spring Creek and Woodhaven (Bordered by Jamaica Avenue and to the north; Shepherd Avenue, Fulton Street Line and Fountain Avenue to the west; Jamaica Bay to the south; and Rockaway Rail-Line, Rockaway Boulevard and Woodhaven Boulevard to the east).

For the application, the Health Department will spray pesticide from trucks and use a very low concentration of Anvil®, 10 + 10, a synthetic pesticide. When properly used, this product poses no significant risks to human health.

The Health Department recommends that people take the following precautions to minimize direct exposure:

  • Whenever possible, stay indoors during spraying. People with asthma or other respiratory conditions  are encouraged to stay inside during spraying since direct exposure could worsen these conditions.
  • Air conditioners may remain on, however, if you wish to reduce the possibility of indoor exposure to pesticides, set the air conditioner vent to the closed position, or choose the re-circulate function.
  •  Remove children’s toys, outdoor equipment, and clothes from outdoor areas during spraying. If  outdoor equipment and toys are exposed to pesticides, wash them with soap and water before using  again.
  • Wash skin and clothing exposed to pesticides with soap and water. Always wash your produce thoroughly with water before cooking or eating.

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Sandy-stricken trees to be cut down in Howard Beach


| slicata@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/Photos by Salvatore Licata

Dead trees are a common sight in Howard Beach — a constant reminder of the devastation the neighborhood faced nearly two years ago when Hurricane Sandy ripped its way through the area.

But the neighborhood will now witness an arboreal upheaval as the Parks Department moves to uproot and replace a virtual forest of trees.

“Several hundred street trees damaged by Hurricane Sandy in Community Board 10 are slated to be removed and replaced,” said Meghan Lalor, a representative from the Parks Department. “Any tree that was marked for removal was considered to be dead or in such decline that it would not be able to recover to full health.”

The trees and their stumps will be removed entirely and will later be replaced by new trees. Each tree that is slated for removal has an “X” marked on its trunk. The removal process for many of them will take place from Sept. 15 to Sept. 19.

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Soon after Hurricane Sandy, the Parks Department went out to survey the storm’s effect on the city’s trees.

The Parks Department looked at about 48,000 trees citywide, and categorized each of them by their leaf coverage. Since then, the department has been monitoring the trees’ leaf coverage and behavior throughout the growing seasons, which has helped identify which trees should be axed.

The exact number of trees to be cut down in Community Board 10 has yet to be determined. Parks is still surveying the neighborhoods to make sure all of the problematic trees are reached.

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Goldfeder tells DEP to rid southern Queens of sewer odors


| slicata@queenscourier.com

Photo courtesy of Assemblyman Phil Goldfeder

Southern Queens is the home of the highest concentration of odor complaints in the borough, according to 311 data, which prompted one local elected official to try to clear the air on this issue.

Assemblyman Phil Goldfeder is urging the Department of Environmental Protection Commissioner, Emily Lloyd, to step up efforts and remove debris from catch basins the area, many of which are now leaving foul odors around the neighborhoods.

“Our families shouldn’t have to hold their breath waiting on DEP to clean our sewers,” said Goldfeder. “Debris left by Sandy continues to clog our catch basins and sewers causing standing water and foul odors.”

The report was compiled by the website, BrickUnderground and apartment data site AddressReport, and included a list of the 10 smelliest and 10 least smelly neighborhoods in Queens, Brooklyn and Manhattan by using data from odor-related complaints that 311 has received.

Five of the borough’s top 10 sites were in southern Queens and included the neighborhoods of Lindenwood, Neponsit, Howard Beach, Bayswater and Broad Channel.

Goldfeder sent a letter to DEP asking them to do a comprehensive review of the sewers in southern Queens and implement a schedule to regularly maintain the problematic ones.

“We have once again earned an awful distinction that could have been avoided,” Goldfeder noted.  “Sandy recovery must remain a priority for every city agency to ensure our infrastructure is updated and prepared for future storms. I strongly urge DEP to immediately investigate all the catch basins in our communities and ensure they are properly maintained to prevent flooding and foul odors.”

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Build it Back numbers improve in Howard Beach


| slicata@queenscourier.com

Even though residents of Howard Beach have been frustrated with the Build it Back process, numbers are moving in the right direction for the neighborhood.

On Tuesday, Mayor Bill de Blasio announced that there have been 535 construction starts and that 543 reimbursement checks have been distributed to Hurricane Sandy victims in the city, thus exceeding his Labor Day goals of 500 constructions starts and 500 checks handed out.

On a smaller level, numbers in area code 11414, which includes Lindenwood, Howard Beach, Old Howard Beach and Hamilton Beach, are also on the rise.

Out of the approximate 1,200 active Build it Back applicants in 11414, 95 have received checks and 60 have started construction, according to a representative from the mayor’s office. There are also 139 applicants who have finished construction plan consultations and 564 who have formally been made an assessment offer, the representative added.

These numbers were at zero in the beginning of the year.

Over the past few months, the mayor’s office has overhauled the Build it Back process, allowing applications to move more fluidly through the program.

This overhaul includes putting senior city staff members in charge of Build it Back centers and case management, and allowing homeowners to consult with designers and architects earlier in the process, making construction scheduling easier, the representative said.

“It was simply unacceptable that not a single homeowner had gotten relief as of the beginning of this year,” de Blasio said. “We know there’s much more work ahead — and we’re committed to continuing to speed up recovery so that every homeowner gets the relief they need.”

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Howard Beach COP car gets tire slashed


| slicata@queenscourier.com

Photos courtesy of Joe Thompson

He woke up to exactly what he is trying to deter.

Joe Thompson, founder of the Howard Beach Civilian Observation Patrol, was on watch Wednesday night and was getting a great response from his neighbors about his work.

But the next morning when he checked up on his patrol car, he saw a slash in one of its tires.

“I came back from patrol around 12 a.m. and parked my car in front of the house,” Thompson said. “When I came outside I noticed my tire was flat and when I looked at it I noticed a big slash.”

Thompson and his team just started patrolling the streets of Howard Beach and Lindenwood last week and have gotten a positive response from many residents. The slashed tire came as a shock to Thompson but he said it was something he could see happening.

“You’re always going to catch a few people that are against what you do,” Thompson said. “It’s a shame.”

Thompson said the vandalism will not alter his plans.

He said he hopes to have more civilian patrol cars on the streets in the future and that this one act of vandalism will not deter him.

“We are here to help the community,” Thompson said. “This won’t stop us from doing our patrol.”

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‘Recidivist’ car thief caught by 106th Precinct


| slicata@queenscourier.com

HANDCUFFS 2

An auto theft “recidivist” was arrested for grand larceny auto by cops from the 106th Precinct on Monday, police said, their second major arrest of an alleged car thief in the last month.

Richard Hobbs, 27, of Lindenwood, was caught behind the wheel of a stolen vehicle early Monday morning by plainclothes officers, cops said.

He was connected to the theft of two other vehicles just two weeks prior to this arrest, according to police.

Furthermore, cops were able to link Hobbs to four car break-ins in Howard Beach, police said.

In July, the cops from the 106th Precinct arrested a teenager in Howard Beach for breaking into vehicles throughout the neighborhood. At the time of the arrest, the alleged thief had property from at least five other cars, according to police.

Deputy Inspector Jeffrey Schiff, commanding officer of the 106th Precinct, has been out-spoken at community meetings, giving tips to residents on ways to keep their cars and property safe.

After the arrest of what he called the “auto-theft/car-break-in recidivist,” Schiff tweeted gleefully, “Let’s hope he goes away 4 a long while!”

After the two arrests, area residents are hopeful the worst is behind them.

“It is my hope that the arrests will help slow down these types of crimes in our community,” Joanne Ariola, a resident of Howard Beach, said.

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Howard Beach COP starts patrol


| slicata@queenscourier.com

Photo courtesy of Joe Thompson

Howard Beach and its surrounding neighborhoods have added another set of eyes on the street as the Civilian Observation Patrol officially started their watch on Aug. 19.

“In a short amount of time we have been able to accomplish a lot,”  said Joe Thompson, founder of the Howard Beach Civilian Observation Patrol (HBCOP), a nonprofit organization. “Things are going really well.”

The patrol team has been going out through the neighborhoods of Lindenwood, Howard Beach, Old Howard Beach and Hamilton Beach for the past week. Thompson, joined by two to three members of the team each night, patrols the neighborhoods in the organization’s newly donated watch vehicle, which they are hoping will have an amber patrol light on top of it in the near future if approved by Deputy Inspector Jeffrey Schiff of the 106th Precinct.

HBCOP has about 15 members at this point and is doing its patrol strictly as a not-for-profit organization with no affiliation to the NYPD yet. To be fully recognized by the NYPD all members must first complete the Citizens’ Police Academy program, according to Thompson. Until then, he will be putting all of his members through security training programs that will properly prepare them to patrol.

Even though Thompson started the patrol in hopes of deterring crime from happening, he says he and his patrol team are looking to help the community in many different ways.

“We want to be able to assist the community with all types of quality of life issues,” Thompson said.

Along with assisting the 106th Precinct in “The Loop,” HBCOP will be helping out Hamilton Beach in its annual baby parade and are looking for ways to help out in the Columbus Day Parade in October. Thompson said they will also try to assist in graffiti removal programs as well as helping to clean up Charles Park.

“We want to be embraced by the community and let them know we are here to help out,” he added.

To find out more about HBCOP, visit their new website at hbcop.com.

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Stringer starts to make offers to settle flood claims


By Queens Courier Staff | editorial@queenscourier.com

SALVATORE LICATA

The city comptroller has begun making offers to Lindenwood residents who suffered damaged to their homes due to the April 30 malfunction of the Spring Creek sewer facility, which is run by the city’s Department of Environmental Protection.

“As of this week, the comptroller’s office has started making offers of settlements to flooding victims, while inspections of additional homes continue,” a spokeswoman from City Comptroller Scott Stringer’s office said.

It was unclear how many offers were made or whether any were accepted.

Victims were urged by Stringer during a community meeting in May to make sure they filed claims.

“Engineers from his office moved swiftly through the area and inspected more than 100 homes alleged to be damaged by that flood,” the spokeswoman said.

 

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Locals want to beautify Howard Beach


By Queens Courier Staff | editorial@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/Photos by Salvatore Licata

SALVATORE LICATA

Howard Beach wants a makeover — and members of the Howard Beach Lindenwood Civic Association are calling for three different spots in the neighborhood to get a facelift.

The “Welcome to Howard Beach” triangle on Cross Bay Boulevard, the overpass of the Belt Parkway on 156th Avenue and 84th Stree, and the fencing in Lindenwood along 156th Avenue between 84th and 88th streets are all part of the “Summer Beautification Project,” said Joanna Ariola, chair of the civic association.

“We want some of the messier areas in the community cleaned up,” said Ariola, who has asked for volunteers with some construction skills to aid the project. “We have gotten a lot of positive feedback from residents and also some people who were interested in helping out.”

For the welcome triangle, the association is looking to repaint the sign and upgrade its surroundings. Ariola said the sign hasn’t been changed for a significant amount of time and the brickwork around the sign needs to be redone.

The Belt Parkway overpass is graffiti-ridden with several shades of blue paint covering past vandalism. And the fencing along the parkway is covered with overgrown eyesore foliage.

Ariola said she is working with Councilman Eric Ulrich in hopes to get the DOT to repaint the overpass and cut the weeds off the fence.

The civic association expects to have a meeting to address these problem areas within the next couple of weeks.

Ariola said the group is hoping to gain more support from residents and acquire more volunteers to help.

To find out more, visit the Howard Beach Lindenwood Civic Association on Facebook or follow @hblcivic on Twitter.

 

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Residents ask for parking lines along Lindenwood streets


By Queens Courier Staff | editorial@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/Photo by Salvatore Licata

SALVATORE LICATA

Residents of Lindenwood want parking to be spot on.

More than 100 cars can be parked nose-first adjacent to the Belt Parkway on 157th Avenue between 77th and 80th streets, but that number is often reduced because there are no marked parking spaces.

Street signs tell drivers to back in at a 90 degree angle but since spaces aren’t marked, there are often wide gaps between vehicles too small for parking, which cut down the available space for other drivers.

So residents and politicians are calling for the Department of Transportation (DOT) to draw lines perpendicular to the curb to create defined parking spaces.

“A small effort from the DOT will allow local residents to have more parking spaces to access their neighborhood,” said Assemblyman Phillip Goldfeder, who wrote a letter to the DOT urging them to do so.

Some residents have received summonses for parking haphazardly along the avenue but feel they are not at fault due to the city’s lack of designated parking spots for them.
“Marked legal parking spots are unclear and people are receiving summonses,” said Joann Ariola, president of the Howard Beach-Lindenwood Civic Association. “Redefining the lines will clear up all confusion when parking.”

The DOT is still reviewing Goldfeder’s request and did not have a response for how they would handle this situation.

 

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DEP prolonging wait for compensation in Lindenwood flooding


By Queens Courier Staff | editorial@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/Photo by Salvatore Licata

SALVATORE LICATA

The Department of Environmental Protection has blocked compensation for Lindenwood homeowners whose homes were flooded after a screw-up at a plant run by the agency, residents charged.

The April 30 rainstorm, which caused major flooding to homes that border Spring Creek, was due to a malfunction in the Creek’s sewer overflow facility, operated by the DEP.

The agency has taken blame for the mishap but, despite the assurances of politicians, residents who were affected have yet to see any money from the government, which has many of them outraged.

“Where’s our check?” shouted residents to DEP officials at a meeting of the Howard Beach Lindenwood Civic Association Tuesday night. “It’s your fault.”

The DEP went door to door handing out claim forms to the flood-affected residents. But the money cannot be disbursed until the DEP submits its final report assessing damages suffered and liability.

The agency sent Stringer a preliminary report on June 19, nearly two months after the flood.

The DEP said it needs to check the water elevations to see where the flooding occurred and said there may be further delay because of liability issues involving some independent contractors.

Until both issues are resolved, the DEP cannot fully assess who suffered from the flood and who is liable, said DEP Deputy Commissioner Vincent Sapienza.

Even though no claims have been looked at yet the DEP is still urging residents who have not filed one to do so immediately.

“There is a 90 day period after the storm to file a claim,” Sapienza said. He added that no matter how long the reports take to process this is the only way residents could possibly receive a compensation check.

Since the flooding occurred the DEP has changed protocol on how to handle large storms that may cause an overflow of the system, Sapienza said. They will now have workers at the facilities, such as the one at Spring Creek, who can override the computerized system and open the flood gates. This allows untreated water to flow into Jamaica Bay, which normally happens when the facility overflows, thus relieving the system.

 

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Lindenwood hosts ‘Wash for Autism’


By Queens Courier Staff | editorial@queenscourier.com

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SALVATORE LICATA

Over $10,000 was raised by the New York Families for Autistic Children (NYFAC) at the car “Wash for Autism” in Lindenwood on Sunday.

Along with volunteers, staff and board members of NYFAC washed over 100 cars, including those of state Sen. Joseph Addabbo and Assemblyman Phil Goldfeder, in the parking lot of the Queens County Savings Bank on 153rd Avenue. NYFAC also benefited from the annual car show in the lot, which featured nearly 30 classic cars and hot rods. The money raised by the organization was aimed at bettering the lives of those with autism.

“It was a great day and a great event,” said Andrew Baumann, president and CEO of NYFAC. “The community once again came out to show its support.”

 

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Missing Lindenwood resident turns up at Mount Vernon hospital


| ejankiewicz@queenscourier.com

Photo Courtesy of Luz Lopez

Daniel Otero, the 24-year-old who went missing on Monday, turned up Thursday morning in the Montefiore Mount Vernon Hospital, more then 20 miles away from his Queens home.

Otero, a diagnosed schizophrenic, called his brother Marcus this morning, informing him that he was in the Mt.Vernon, N.Y. hospital, according to Daniel’s sister Luz Lopez.

Lopez said that there are no visible wounds on her brother but the hospital will hold him as they continue to do blood tests and give him medicine for his schizophrenia. With no car or money and two very blistered feet, Lopez believes that her brother must have walked the distance between their home in Lindenwood all the way up past the Bronx.

“He doesn’t recognize any of us,” she said. “So it’s incredible that he even remembered my brother’s phone number this morning.”

Daniel went missing on Monday after walking a relative to P.S. 232 in Lindenwood, triggering a missing person search by police and Daniel’s family and friends.

“I’m so relieved that he’s been found and he isn’t hurt,” Lopez said from the Mt. Vernon hospital.

 

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