Tag Archives: Maspeth

DSNY to expand curbside food and yard waste recycling collection


| a.giudice@timesnewsweekly.com

THE COURIER/Photo by Liam La Guerre

Get ready to see more brown compost bins in Queens starting the week of May 18, as more areas of Maspeth and Middle Village are added to the city’s organics waste pilot.

The NYC Department of Sanitation’s (DSNY) voluntary curbside food and yard waste recycling program is expanding into both neighborhoods and communities in Brooklyn, the Bronx and Staten Island later this spring.

The program, which began in May 2013, currently serves more than 100,000 households and 700 schools throughout all five boroughs and has collected more than 6,500 tons of material. This latest expansion will add approximately 35,000 more houses to the program.

“Organic materials make up about a third of our trash,” DSNY Commissioner Kathryn Garcia said. “When you [recycle] your food and yard waste, you decrease the amount of garbage going to landfills and help create a greener and healthier New York City.”

All single-family homes and buildings with nine or fewer units will automatically be enrolled in the voluntary program. Residential buildings with 10 or more units may apply to participate. All eligible households will receive a starter kit, which includes an indoor kitchen container, an outdoor brown bin or a larger bin to share for a building with three to nine units and an instructional brochure.

To participate, residents should place their food scraps and soiled paper products, such as paper napkins and paper plates, into the kitchen container, then transfer the material into their outdoor bin for collection on their pickup day.

Examples of items that may be placed in the bin include food scraps such as fruits, vegetables, egg shells, pasta, tea bags, coffee grounds and filters, baked goods, meat and bones; flowers and house plants; and food-soiled paper such as paper towels, napkins and paper plates.

Some items that may not be placed into the bins include plastics of any kind, even if labeled biodegradable, liquids, foam items, animal waste, cigarettes and ashes, and medical waste.

The collected organic material is managed both locally and regionally, with some of the waste being turned into compost and being used locally by greening groups such as, urban farmers, community gardeners, and street tree stewards to rebuild the city’s soil.

RECOMMENDED STORIES

DOT proposes expanding bike network in CB 5 area


| a.giudice@timesnewsweekly.com

Photo by Anthony Giudice

Gear up for round two of bike lane construction in Ridgewood, Glendale, Maspeth and Middle Village.

Aaron Fraint, project manager with NYC Department of Transportation (DOT) bicycle program, presented three options for a second phase of bike lane creation to the Community Board 5 Transportation Committee members on March 24.

All three options focused on creating a network of lanes.

“We would like to do a set of streets that all connect to each other because we see the bike network as just that, a network, rather than sets of routes that aren’t connected to anything,” Fraint said.

The first option would connect Ridgewood to Rego Park through Middle Village via Metropolitan Avenue, 69th Street and Eliot Avenue ending on Woodhaven Boulevard.

“Metropolitan Avenue is very busy corridor…with a lot of commercial and industrial activity,” Fraint said, which is why creating safe bike lanes is so important.

The avenue is also 41 feet wide, which allows just enough room for a shared bike lane in both directions.

The DOT proposed using “sharrows,” symbols with a green background that notify motorists that bicyclists may be present.

Option two connects Glendale to Rego Park through Middle Village by using Central Avenue connecting to Cooper Avenue to Woodhaven Boulevard, with a north/south route on 80th Street turning into Dry Harbor Road and 63rd Avenue, ending on Woodhaven Boulevard.

Fraint said that both Central and Cooper avenues — which are 40 feet wide — have enough space for 12-foot-wide shared lanes in both directions with 8-foot parking lanes.

Cooper Avenue already has a shared bike lane on the extra-wide sidewalks that were installed on the underpass after its reconstruction. These connect to a shared bike lane on 80th Street, so “we would pick up where shared lanes left off on 80th Street and bring it over to Woodhaven Boulevard,” Fraint said.

The final option seeks to connect Ridgewood to Long Island City through Maspeth along Fresh Pond Road, 59th Drive to Rust Street. In the opposite direction, the route would take Rust Street to 60th Street then to 60th Avenue and back down Fresh Pond Road.

A segment of Fresh Pond Road, which is 44 feet wide, can accommodate 14-foot shared lanes in both directions, keeping the configuration of one travel lane in each direction and parking on both sides.

59th Drive is one-way westbound from the turn off Fresh Pond Road up until 60th Street, and at 26 feet wide, “we will be able to keep the condition as is, but add a shared lane for cyclists,” Fraint said.

As 59th Drive continues past 60th Street, it becomes a 30-foot-wide two-way street, and the DOT is looking to put in a center line and shared lane symbols.

The DOT is still working out what type of bicycle facilities would be the best fit on Rust Street.
Fraint added that a lot of cyclists are using that route and it is a logical connector between Ridgewood and Long Island City.

After the board heard all three options, they discussed which ones they would like to see implemented in the community.

“I do like the Metropolitan, 69th and Eliot [route],” said John Maier, co-chair of the committee. “I think Eliot makes a lot of sense.”

For option two, Maier said that Fresh Pond Road is “already a traffic nightmare,” but that cyclists do use the route and it is worth taking a look at.

Panel members agreed that the first option would be the best fit for the communities. They liked option two, with some modifications to the 80th Street section. The DOT needs to further study the third option before the board accepts it. The DOT hopes to begin installing the accepted routes during 2015.

RECOMMENDED STORIES

Maspeth High School boys win championship


| a.giudice@timesnewsweekly.com

Photo courtesy Maspeth High School

The Maspeth High School boys basketball team completed their quest for a perfect season when they defeated Frederick Douglass Academy III, 57-42, on Saturday, March 21, in the finals of the Public School Athletic League (PSAL) B Division championship tournament.

The Argonauts dominated the game at Baruch College from the beginning, scoring 18 in the first quarter and 17 in the second, giving them a 35-17 lead heading into halftime. Frederick Douglass Academy III picked up the pace in the second half, outscoring the Argonauts in both the third and fourth quarters, but the big deficit was too much to overcome.

Maspeth High School had four players score in double digits, and three of those students finished the game with double-doubles. Team captain, senior Damian Piszczatowski, scored 11 points and added 13 rebounds, senior Michael Bugaj dropped 12 points and grabbed 12 rebounds and senior Paolo Tammer put up 13 points and pulled down 10 rebounds. Junior Matthew Nickel added 10 points in the effort.

The Argonauts finished the regular season 18-0, and were unbeaten throughout the playoffs to end their championship season, and first full season in the PSAL, 23-0.

“Honestly, it still hasn’t totally sunk in that we actually made this happen,” Argonauts coach Anastasia Bitis said. “I had a moment with 30 seconds left that I looked up and realized that the game was over and I just broke down. It’s extremely overwhelming—it feels unreal. This was a vision that I had since last year. I’m extremely grateful. I am very proud of my boys!”

The Argonauts head to Albany this weekend for the State Federation Tournament, where they will face off against Westhill.

“We have already started scouting and analyzing them. I believe we are ready,” Bitis said.

RECOMMENDED STORIES

Irish Nation Police Force fighters arrive in Queens


| a.giudice@timesnewsweekly.com

Photo by Anthony Giudice

The Irish National Police Force’s boxing club, Garda Siochana, came to O’Neill’s Restaurant in Maspeth on March 11, three days prior to the pro-am event, “McMayhem in Midtown,” held at the Theater at Madison Square Garden.

At the event, which featured eight amateur bouts and three professional fights, the FDNY Bravest Boxing team faced off against the Garda Siochana team for the third time. In the last two years, each team won once. This time it was the FDNY Bravest who got the best of the Irish National Police force, winning seven out of the eight contests, and winning the 2015 Transatlantic Championship.

In the first professional fight of the evening, super middleweight Gary “Spike” O’Sullivan (20-1, 13 KO’s), from Cork, Ireland, beat Milton Nunez (28-13-1, 25 KO’s) in three rounds. O’Sullivan pushed the pace through the entire fight and earned a referee stoppage at 2:20 of the third round.

In the co-main event of the night, former Golden Gloves champion Will “Power” Rosinsky (18-2, 10 KO’s) stepped between the ropes for the first time in over two year and dominated Paul Gonsalves (7-6-1, 3 KO’s), earning a knockout victory 2:59 into the very first round.

In the evening’s main event, Irish Featherweight contender, Patrick “The Punisher” Hyland, of Dublin, Ireland, faced off against southpaw Manuel “De Los Reyes” Herrera. Hyland was the aggressor the entire bout and broke down any offense Herrera tried to mount. At 1:04 into the fourth round, Hyland landed an uppercut to the midsection and floored Herrera for a full 10-count, earning the victory. With the win Hyland increased his record 30-1 with 14 KO’s, and Herrera fell to 21-16-1 with 15 KO’s.

RECOMMENDED STORIES

Maspeth to get bioswales


| slicata@queenscourier.com

Photo courtesy of the Department of Environmental Protection

New and improved green infrastructure is coming to Maspeth.

Over 40 different locations throughout the area will be the new home to bioswales, according to the Department of Environmental Protection (DEP). These curbside gardens are built to capture stormwater runoff before it can enter the sewer system and contribute to combined sewer overflows.

According to the DEP, the installations are “critical to the city’s strategy to improve water quality in the waterways and green our streets.”

The work is expected to start on or about March 30 and finish by June of 2016. The full project will cost the city nearly $3.5 million.

Bioswales consist of a city tree, flowers and plants on top of five feet of soil specially engineered to absorb water naturally. By pulling in rainwater, they help keep the sewers from overflowing.

THE COURIER/Photo by Liam La Guerre

THE COURIER/Photo by Liam La Guerre

The DEP has invested more than $10 billion to improve water quality in the New York City harbor, which is now the cleanest it has been in more than a century of testing. They have committed to certain milestone projects over the next 20 years, the first of which in 2015 is to install right-of-way bioswales and stormwater greenstreets in specific priority Combined Sewer Overflow (CSO) tributary areas, one of which is Newtown Creek.

One way to keep the water quality pristine is to reduce CSO that will ultimately discharge a mixture of untreated sewage and stormwater runoff into the harbors when it rains too heavily for the system to handle.

The building of these bioswales aims to help eliminate some of those problems. There is a large holding tank under each curbside garden, which will help to retain water during heavy rainstorms. The water will then be used by the plants above and help to keep CSO from running into the harbor.

This project will ultimately benefit Newtown Creek, which presently does not meet the water quality standards of the city.

RECOMMENDED STORIES

 

 

Maspeth High School basketball makes the finals


| a.giudice@timesnewsweekly.com

Photo: Courtesy Maspeth High School

The Maspeth High School Argonauts boys varsity basketball team continued its roll in the Public School Athletic League (PSAL) B-division championship tournament by defeating South Bronx High School on Sunday, March 15, at Queens College by a score of 71-64, advancing to the tournament finals.

The game saw the Argonauts jump out to an early lead, taking a 33-27 score into halftime. South Bronx battled their way back in the second half, scoring 29 points and knotting the game up at 56-56 after regulation. In overtime, the Argonauts dominated, outscoring South Bronx 15-8 to come out victorious.

Senior Paolo Tamer lead the Argonauts with a double-double, dropping 26 points and pulling down 10 rebounds. Junior Matthew Nickel added 18 points of his own to help Maspeth High School remain undefeated on the season.

The Argonauts will face off against Frederick Douglas Academy III on Saturday, March 21, in the championship game at Baruch College’s main gym at 1 p.m.

RECOMMENDED STORIES

Suspected shooter cuffed after opening fire on cops in Maspeth


By Queens Courier Staff | editorial@queenscourier.com

Photo by Anthony Giudice

Updated Tuesday, March 17, 10 a.m. 

An unidentified gunman was taken into custody moments after he allegedly turned his weapon on police officers responding to a Maspeth emergency Monday morning.

Law enforcement sources said the shots were fired at about 8:20 a.m. as 104th Precinct officers visited a home on 56th Avenue off 60th Street.

Moments earlier, authorities said, police received a call regarding a “man with a gun” at the location.

When the officers arrived at the home, police stated, the suspect — described as a white male in his 20s — fired shots at the officers. No one, however, was hit.

The incident led to a massive police response and search. Within moments, police officers ordered the suspect to drop his firearm; he reportedly complied and was taken into custody.

The gun was recovered, but police did not disclose the type of weapon.

Five officers were also brought to a local hospital for treatment of minor injuries suffered while responding to the shooting.

Charges against the shooter are pending the results of an ongoing investigation.

RECOMMENDED STORIES

CB 5 eyes city budget: district manager wants more cops, building inspectors


| a.giudice@timesnewsweekly.com

Photo courtesy of Nicholas Strini/PropertyShark

Speaking during the annual Community Board 5 preliminary budget hearing on March 11 in Middle Village, Community Board 5 District Manager Gary Giordano called for more city funds to boost the 104th Precinct’s roster.

“What I do on behalf of the community board is in response to the preliminary budget as I see it,” Giordano said. “The estimated budget of the City of New York is in the neighborhood of $77 billion. And what I would normally focus on, as far as the expense budget goes, is our need and desire for 20 additional police officers in the 104th Precinct.”

According to Giordano, in 1995, patrol personnel were numbered at 203 officers, not including supervisors, and that number is down by 25 percent today. Even though crime is down, Giordano stated, the reduced staff at the precinct leads to response backlogs.

Other priorities for the expense budget, he touted, included “sanitation collection, cleaning dump-out locations, sanitation enforcement, education [and] fire department staffing.”

The district manager also recommended that the Department of Buildings hire more qualified building inspectors for Queens.

Community Board 5 District Manager, Gary Giordano (left) with Mark Hoffer from PANYNJ (center) and CB 5 Chairperson Vincent Arcuri during the CB 5 monthly meeting on Wednesday, March 11. (Photo by Anthony Giudice)

Community Board 5 District Manager, Gary Giordano (left) with Mark Hoffer from PANYNJ (center) and CB 5 Chairperson Vincent Arcuri during the CB 5 monthly meeting on Wednesday, March 11. (Photo by Anthony Giudice)

“I think the Buildings Department is down to like 19 inspectors for Queens County,” Giordano explained. “Since the economy is heating up and we’re going to see more construction, and we’re likely to see some pretty large buildings built … we need enough competent buildings inspectors to make sure that whatever construction is taking place is getting done according to plan and according to law and we also need those buildings inspectors to check on illegal uses.”

Parks in Maspeth and Middle Village are set to receive capital funding for reconstruction. Frank Principe Park in Maspeth will get $5 million and Juniper Valley Park is slated to receive funding to reconstruct either the running track or turf field, but the debate is not settled yet, Giordano said.

Projects that have already been funded and are currently underway include the installation of larger sewer pipes and the relocation of gas mains in the Penelope Avenue area in Middle Village and the Calamus Avenue/69th Street area.

RECOMMENDED STORIES

New Kosciuszko Bridge construction update


| a.giudice@timesnewsweekly.com

Photo courtesy of NYC DOT

The state Department of Transportation has issued a construction advisory regarding the initial phases of the new Kosciuszko Bridge project.

The bulk of the work affects side streets on both sides of the span in Greenpoint and west Maspeth, including new water mains, gas lines, electrical wires and storm/sewer pipes.

Crews from Con Edison and Verizon will also install duct banks on 56th Road, which will cause traffic to intermittently be shifted to the right and left. The road, however, will remain open to two-way traffic at all times.

Due to the continued removal of the red brick and concrete walls underneath the Brooklyn-Queens Expressway (BQE) between Sutton and Apollo Streets, one lane of westbound Meeker Avenue between these limits will remain closed through the summer of 2015 to facilitate the removal of the wall and the subsequent rebuilding.

Other work includes the restriping of eastbound Meeker Avenue, between Kingsland and Porter Avenues, to create a work zone. This is required to access the roadway deck and low wall along the edge of the Queens-bound BQE that must be removed.

This work, scheduled to being on or about March 23, will involve the placement of a concrete barrier along the Queens-bound BQE and a traffic lane shift on eastbound Meeker Avenue, between Kingsland and Porter avenues. Intermittent lane closures during daytime and evening hours will be required.

Advanced notices for specific activities will be distributed to residents and businesses prior to the start of work. The construction schedule is weather permitting and subject to change.

The more than $500 million project involves the construction of two new cable-stayed suspension bridges to replace the existing, aging steel-truss span. The first new bridge will be erected adjacent to the south side of the existing bridge and is scheduled to open in late 2016.

Once the first new span is complete, all BQE traffic will be shifted onto it, and crews will begin demolishing the old bridge. The second cable-stayed span will rise in the original bridge’s footprint; it is expected to be completed by 2019.

For more information, visit www.dot.ny.gov/kbridge or email kosciuszko@dot.ny.gov.

RECOMMENDED STORIES

Identify this place in Queens


By Queens Courier Staff | editorial@queenscourier.com

WHERE IS THIS PLACE

Do you know where in Queens this photo was taken? Guess by commenting below! The answer will be revealed next week.

Last week’s answer to “Identify this Place”: Holy Cross Roman Catholic Church in Maspeth
church-3-624x414

RECOMMENDED STORIES

 

Seven arrested in Ridgewood, Maspeth massage parlor busts: police


| a.giudice@timesnewsweekly.com

HandcuffsHC0511_L_300_C_Y-624x413

The NYPD’s Vice Enforcement Division arrested seven people at four different massage parlors in Maspeth and Ridgewood for allegedly not being licensed to perform massages and for offering sexual acts to clients.

The arrests were made on March 5 at 66-47 Grand Ave., 66-49 Grand Ave., 65-50 Grand Ave. and 52-01 Metropolitan Ave., police reported. According to detectives, none of the locations had the proper state Department of Education licenses to perform massage therapy.

At the 66-47 Grand Ave. location, law enforcement officials said an undercover detective was offered a massage and sexual intercourse by the defendant Chin Fen Lee, 52, for a sum of $140.

Police identified Liu Jia-Jia, 33, Li Hai Fang, 33, and Carol Hong, 29, as the defendants at the 66-49 Grand Ave. location. Jia-Jia reportedly offered an undercover detective a massage for $60, followed by an offer to perform a sexual act on the detective for $80 extra. Fang reportedly offered to perform a massage on an undercover detective for the sum of $60, and offered and agreed to perform a sexual act on the detective in exchange for an additional $40.

Hong was reported to have offered the undercover detective a full-body massage for a sum of $60. While Hong did not offer to perform a sexual act on the detective, she admitted that she did not have a license to perform massages.

Police said one defendant — Ning Hao, 34, who worked at the 65-50 Grand Ave. location — reportedly agreed to perform a massage on an undercover detective for $60, then offered to perform a sexual act on the undercover detective for an additional $100. At the same location, Guo Lan, 24, reportedly offered to perform a full body massage on an undercover detective for $60. Lan admitted she lacked the proper license to perform massages, police said.

Meihua Piao, 51, from the 52-01 Metropolitan Ave. location, allegedly offered an undercover detective a massage and sexual act in exchange for a sum of $60, police reported.

Hong, Lee and Hao were brought into court on March 6 for a pre-arraignment and are expected back in court on April 14, authorities said.

Jia-Jia, Piao, Hao, Lee and Fang were charged with one count each of prostitution and unauthorized practice of profession. Hong and Lan were each charged with one count of unauthorized practice of profession.

RECOMMENDED STORIES

Maspeth High School looks to tighten admission standards


| info@timesnewsweekly.com

Photo courtesy of the Office of Councilwoman Elizabeth Crowley

BY KELLY MARIE MANCUSO

Looking to take the cream of the high school crop, Maspeth High School is considering adopting new admission criteria, a local parent warned during Monday’s Communities of Maspeth and Elmhurst Together (COMET) civic association meeting in Elmhurst.

Joann Berger, I.S. 73 PTA president, informed attendees of a plan to convert the high school located at 54-40 74th St. to a limited screened school. The school opened in 2011 as a limited, unscreened community school, with students residing in District 24 given top priority for entry.

According to Berger, school administrators are petitioning the Community Education Council of District 24 (CEC 24) for a change in its enrollment criteria. Under the proposed changes, incoming students would need to meet a new set of criteria, such as higher grade point averages, in order to be accepted into the school.

“If they go screened, that means only those top students will be getting in,” Berger said. “It would be almost like a specialized school without having to take the specialized high school test.”

Berger estimates that Maspeth High School has allocated approximately 300 seats per incoming school year. I.S. 73, which is a mere four blocks away from the high school, has nearly 690 students in their eighth-grade graduating class.

“They won’t even be able to accept half of the students from the school,” she added. “We don’t have enough high school seats within District 24 as it is.”

Maspeth High School first opened as part of the Metropolitan Avenue High School campus back in September 2011. It relocated to its current home in Maspeth the following year.

“This is the third year that they’re in the building, their first year with a graduating class, and they’re already requesting to change it to that new criteria,” Berger said.

According to Berger, representatives from Maspeth High School will make their proposal to the CEC 24 on March 24. Thereafter, the council will then make a recommendation for or against the plan to the Department of Education’s Office of Enrollment.

“The President’s Council and the PTAs in our district are not in favor of this,” she explained. “We are the most overcrowded school district in the city. We wanted a community school that is also a college preparatory school for our children.”

On May 9, CEC 24 will hold an election to fill nine of the 12 slots on the board designated to district parents. Parents of students of District 24 schools from kindergarten through eighth grade interested in seeking a CEC seat must apply online by March 11.

Berger estimates that there are approximately over 57,000 students in District 24. But she said the area known as “COMET-land” (Maspeth, Elmhurst and Woodside) is grossly underrepresented on CEC 24.

“There’s a huge section of our district which encompasses Glendale, Ridgewood, Middle Village, Maspeth, Elmhurst and Corona,” Berger explained, “Of the nine members who sit on the CEC, there is nobody representing areas north of Juniper Valley Park. Middle Village and Glendale are the only ones with parents currently sitting on the board right now.”

COMET President Rosemarie Daraio echoed the need for greater representation. “Nobody is representing students from Maspeth, Elmhurst or Winfield,” she said.

CEC members make decisions regarding school zoning issues, school construction and the allocation of capital funding to schools within the district.

RECOMMENDED STORIES

CB 5 committees pan Cross Harbor Tunnel plans


| rpozarycki@queenscourier.com

File photo

Building a Cross Harbor Tunnel would shift the tri-state area’s traffic problems into Brooklyn and Queens, members of the Community Board 5 (CB 5) Transportation and Public Transit committees declared during a meeting Tuesday night in Glendale.

Panelists panned options in the Port Authority’s Cross Harbor Freight Program that call for a train tunnel or a combined train/truck tube through the harbor between rail yards in New Jersey and Bay Ridge, Brooklyn. The options include increased activity on the Long Island Rail Road’s Bay Ridge line and the connecting Fresh Pond Rail Yard in Glendale — the only freight rail terminal linking geographic Long Island and the rest of the country.

Though the Port Authority claims the tunnel plans would help reduce tractor-trailer traffic on its existing Hudson River and harbor crossings, CB 5 Chairperson Vincent Arcuri charged, the proposal wouldn’t remedy congestion, but rather move it elsewhere in the city.

According to Arcuri, the tunnel plans included the creation or expansion of intermodal shipping facilities and warehouses near the Fresh Pond Rail Yard as well as Maspeth and East New York. At these sites, goods would be loaded and off-loaded between train cars and small trucks. Citing analysis performed by the Glendale-based Civics United for Railroad and Environmental Solutions (CURES), Arcuri said, the tunnels would effectively add hundreds of truck trips each day onto local streets.

“By taking the largest tractor-trailers off the road and putting [their cargo] on the trains, they’re adding thousands of smaller trucks to our area,” he said. “We need to come up with a comprehensive argument against this current plan.”

John Maier, Public Transit Committee co-chair, echoed those sentiments, noting that much of the tunnel program’s concepts are based in “theory.” Municipal waste and construction and demolition debris from the city and Nassau and Suffolk counties make up the bulk of all local freight rail shipments. Other goods, he noted, are largely shipped by truck.

“The tunnel would do more to alleviate traffic outside of New York City than within it,” Maier said. “It’s not creating a lot of jobs because a lot of [shipping] is automated. It’s not a lot of yard jobs. It’s not a lot of anything, really. It would only reduce 6 percent of traffic on the Hudson River crossings while adding much more than 6 percent of traffic to East New York and Maspeth.”

Jean Tanler of the Maspeth Industrial Business Association stated that companies in the neighborhood’s Industrial Business Zone (IBZ) expressed similar concerns about a Cross Harbor Tunnel, but also pressed for easier shipping methods to reduce costs and travel time.

“There’s definitely demand,” she said. “It would save companies a lot of money to shave off a day of transit, either by rail or by barge.”

Local logistics also make a Cross Harbor Tunnel plan unfeasible, according to CB 5 District Manager Gary Giordano. The plans indicate a tunnel would bring between 16 and 21 trains through the area each day — and current freight rail facilities are already overwhelmed with traffic.

“Right there, it’s physically impossible to pull that off unless the trains just rolled through at all hours of the day,” Giordano said.

Arcuri concluded that “the current plan is unacceptable” and that the board needed to present a resolution not only dismissing the Cross Harbor Tunnel, but also advocating for increased barge shipments and container float operations across the harbor. The chairperson said a resolution will be developed and considered at the committees’ next meeting on Tuesday, March 24.

Meanwhile, Queens residents will have the opportunity to speak out on the Cross Harbor program during a public hearing on Tuesday, March 3, from 4 to 8 p.m. at Queens Borough Hall, located at 120-55 Queens Blvd. in Kew Gardens.

RECOMMENDED STORIES 

George Onorato, former Queens state senator, dies


| aaltamirano@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/File Photo

Updated 5:00 p.m.

Lifelong Queens resident and former state Senator George Onorato, who served the 12th Senate District in western Queens for over two decades, died on Saturday. He was 86.

Onorato began serving the district, which encompasses Astoria, Long Island City, Sunnyside and parts of Woodside and Maspeth, in 1983 until he announced his retirement in 2010. He was succeeded by state Senator Michael Gianaris, who currently holds the position.

“George Onorato will always be part of the fabric of western Queens,” Gianaris said. “He dedicated his long and happy life to serving others and making the communities he represented better places to live. George Onorato served our country, our state and our neighborhoods in a way that made a positive difference in people’s lives. I will miss him. My thoughts are with his family at this difficult time. May his memory be eternal.”

Onorato graduated from Long Island City High School and served in the United States Army from 1950 to 1952.

Former state Senator Serphin Maltese, who served with Onorato in the state senate for many years, remembered him as a ” true man of the people.”

“He gave a special view on things,” Maltese said. “I’m sorry to lose him.”

Onorato was married to Athena Georgakakos and had three children, Joanne, George and Janice.

Visitation is scheduled at the Joseph Farenga & Sons Funeral Home at 38-08 Ditmars Blvd. in Astoria on Tuesday and Wednesday from 2 to 5 p.m. and 7 to 9 p.m.

A funeral mass is scheduled to be held on Thursday at 10:30 a.m. at St. Francis of Assisi Church at 22-17 45th St., followed by burial at St. Michael’s Cemetery at 72-02 Astoria Blvd. in East Elmhurst.

With additional reporting by Robert Pozarycki

RECOMMENDED STORIES

DEP open again to Newtown Creek access in Maspeth


| rpozarycki@queenscourier.com

Rendering courtesy of DEP

The Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) is looking to clear the air with Community Board 5 (CB 5) over its plans for a Newtown Creek aeration facility in industrial Maspeth.

During its February meeting, CB 5 panned the DEP’s revised proposal for the plant at 58-26 47th St., which includes machines designed to inject oxygen into the creek and reduce water pollution. The plans excluded previously promised public waterfront access space.

But in a letter sent to CB 5 Chairman Vincent Arcuri following the meeting, DEP Associate Commissioner of Public Affairs Eric D. Landau stated that the agency is open to creek-side access at the facility on the condition that nearby sites first develop their own waterfronts for public use.

“[The] DEP will further enhance the site with waterfront access, if and when nearby properties have developed publicly-accessible waterfront spaces — what the community board has described to us as a larger waterfront promenade,” Landau said in the letter that the Times Newsweekly obtained on Thursday.

The plans include a walkway leading from 47th Street to the water’s edge, then a path immediately adjacent to the creek.

At the February CB 5 meeting, Tom Smith of the Department of City Planning said the DEP was excused from a city waterfront access mandate at the location due to concerns over public safety.

Landau also stated the DEP would “install benches and trees along the sidewalk” outside the facility “to create a seating area for the community.”

RECOMMENDED STORIES