Tag Archives: Middle Village

Stalled Maspeth, Ridgewood, Middle Village transportation projects suffer more setbacks


| lguerre@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/Photo by Liam La Guerre

Follow me @liamlaguerre

 

Ridgewood residents were hopeful that reconstruction of the Metropolitan Avenue Bridge would finally start this spring, but it’s been delayed again.

The path, which is elevated over LIRR tracks where Metropolitan Avenue intersects Fresh Pond Road, carries major truck traffic and is long overdue for repairs. In 2007, city officials informed Community Board (CB) 5 it was in danger of collapse.

Financial troubles delayed its original reconstruction start date back in 2009, and at a recent CB 5 Transportation Committee meeting, it was said that it’s been pushed back yet again, because the project has to undergo review and redesign.

The bridge is just one of a few major transportation projects, together worth about $115 million, in CB 5 that just keep getting delayed. The Metropolitan Avenue Bridge alone could be a $25 million project, CB 5 District Manager Gary Giordano said.

“You are talking about a lot of money for one district,” Giordano said. “We keep bringing them up at our transportation meeting because we believe that they need to be done and want don’t want to forget about them.”

Developers are now considering building an abutment, eliminating one track under the bridge, to help the building process.

There is also the Grand Street Bridge project, which connects Maspeth to Brooklyn over Newtown Creek.

The 111-year-old bridge is so narrow that it can’t support two-way traffic, although it is a two-way span, with all the big rigs and city buses that traverse it. The new bridge would cost about $50 million.

The plan for a new bridge was ready to go when Sandy struck in 2012 and flooded the area. Now plans are being redesigned to meet new flood regulations.

Besides the bridges, major street rebuilding plans have also been set back.

The Wyckoff Avenue Reconstruction Project, estimated to cost about $20 million, was supposed to start during the summer of 2010, but has been pushed back to 2026, according to the city Department of Design and Construction (DDC).

The project would give Wyckoff Avenue new sewer lines, new water mains to replace the 70-year old ones, as well as a new concrete base on the roadway, new sidewalks and new curbing from Flushing Avenue to Cooper Avenue.

The community has been waiting on a similar project in south Middle Village for about two decades. The area from 73rd Place to 80th Street, between Metropolitan Avenue to Cooper Avenue, are due for new sidewalks, sewer lines, new water mains, signage and street lights, estimated to cost about $20 million. The project has a due date of 2022, according to the DDC.

The projects are pushed back because the city keeps putting funding to higher priority initiatives, CB 5 Chair Vincent Arcuri said. But Arcuri said the planned repairs would help boost the community and should be pushed.

“When you rebuild the streets, the property value increases,” Arcuri said. “It becomes an economic boost to the community.”



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Board approves proposed bike lanes in Ridgewood and Glendale


| lguerre@queenscourier.com

Map courtesy of City Planning

Follow me @liamlaguerre 

 

Plans to add new bike lanes to Community Board 5 (CB 5) got the green light.

After an endorsement by freshman Councilmember Antonio Reynoso, CB 5 approved the proposed bike lanes in Ridgewood and Glendale on Wednesday with a 29-5 vote.

The Department of City Planning will begin implementing the phase one bike lanes of the proposal this summer, which connect to the Brooklyn network of paths.

One set flows parallel on Woodward and Onderdonk avenues from Flushing Avenue to Cooper Avenue. Another set runs on Harman and Himrod streets from Evergreen Avenue to Metropolitan Avenue.

“I’m very excited for this first step. I wish it could have been more,” said John Maier, co-chair of the CB 5 Transportation Committee. “I look forward to working with City Planning and the board to find phase two and possibly phase three.”

The city agency will also continue to evaluate the phase two bike lanes of the proposal, which could eventually add more paths and connect routes in Maspeth and Middle Village.

Phase two contains an expansive network of lanes throughout the rest of CB 5. However, residents have complained about a proposed lane on Elliot Street through Mount Olivet Cemetery between 67th Street and Mount Olivet Crescent. The two-way street is so narrow it is already dangerous for car traffic.

 

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Star of Queens: Greg Vasicek, president and founder, Play4Autism Foundation


By Queens Courier Staff | editorial@queenscourier.com

IMG_1261

COMMUNITY SERVICE:  Greg Vasicek is the president and founder of the Play4Autism Foundation, a registered nonprofit organization that helps children on the autism spectrum get active.

BACKGROUND:  Vasicek grew up in New Rochelle, and started playing professional ice hockey at 18 in England.  After a 15-year career, Vasicek came back to the United States and decided to concentrate his efforts by pursuing hockey as an event promoter and coach.  Vasinek’s success in this field led him to establish partnerships with several corporations, which eventually served as a platform for his vision, Play4Austism.

Vasicek founded the organization in December of 2011 in Arizona.  After returning to New York in October of 2012 he expanded the foundation.

INSPIRATION: Vasicek has a nephew who is along the autism spectrum, who he cites as his inspiration in creating the Play4Austism Foundation.  Along with his nephew, Vasicek finds inspiration in his future wife, Helena, who has helped him a lot with his work for the organization.

GOALS: Vasicek has been able to help 20 to 25 kids in the Middle Village area, as well as kids in other areas outside Queens, like Arizona and Utah. Vasicek’s goal for his organization is to increase awareness of autism and to help children get the attention they need to develop social and recreational skills, while offering these services to parents at a minimal cost.

Play4Austim also partnered with Kidz into Action programs, which offer children the opportunity to improve their self esteem, leadership, social and communication skills.

FAVORITE MEMORY:  For Vasicek the most rewarding part of working with the kids and their families is just seeing them happy. “Just seeing a smile on a child’s face after tossing a football around for five minutes and the proud look and some tears of [their] mother or father is what it’s all about.”   

BIGGEST CHALLENGE:  The biggest challenge Vasicek has faced is finding a permanent location for his organization and for the people who help him out. “I definitely hope to find a place in the coming year that we can call home,” he said.

 

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EXCLUSIVE: MTA to reduce Q54 bus service


| lguerre@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/Photo by Liam La Guerre

While the MTA has planned fare increases for 2015, the agency will decrease service for the Q54.

The bus, which travels on Metropolitan Avenue through train-scarce Middle Village and Ridgewood, connects riders to transit hubs in downtown Jamaica on one end, and Williamsburg, Brooklyn on the other.

During weekday “PM peak” hours—from 3 p.m. to 7 p.m.—the Q54 will now run every six minutes and 30 seconds, instead of every five minutes, according to notes from the MTA’s January Transit & Bus Committee Meeting. During the evening schedule, which follows “PM peak” hours, the Q54 will run every 20 minutes instead of every 15.

The planned cuts didn’t sit well with riders.

“It’s slow as it is. I don’t think they send enough (buses). When I get off the train there are a lot of people that wait with me,” said Middle Village resident Jeanette Marmol, who takes the bus to connect to the M train when commuting to work in Manhattan. “That doesn’t make sense. This is a really long route. Why would they slow it down?”

In April, 49 buses citywide—eight in Queens—will see changes, which will account for a slight increase in overall service, Kevin Ortiz, an MTA spokesperson said.

Of the eight Queens buses that will be impacted, the Q54 is the only one that will see an overall reduction. The MTA plans to add a one-minute speed increase between buses during the Q54’s “AM peak” hours of 6 a.m. to 10 a.m.

“These changes are made to provide the most efficient and effective service possible and reflect changes in ridership patterns,” Ortiz said.

 

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Queens hiker rescued after snowstorm strands him on Hawaiian volcano


| ctumola@queenscourier.com

NPS Photo/J.Ferracane

A Queens man is lucky to be alive after a snowstorm stranded the hiker near the summit of a Hawaiian volcano.

Alex Sverdlov, 36, a Middle Village resident and Brooklyn College professor, began climbing Mauna Loa, on the Big Island, Sunday, the National Park Service (NPS) said.

He reached the 13,677-foot summit on Tuesday after dropping off his heavy gear at a lower elevation, but, as he was descending, a snowstorm struck, creating white-out conditions.

That night, Sverdlov tried to find the gear he left behind, but was unsuccessful, the NPS said. With only the clothes he had on for protection and a bottle of frozen water, he decided to stay put until sunrise.

Photo courtesy of David Okita

He managed to locate his pack Wednesday morning, but with the deep snow, he didn’t go far, and was forced to spend another night on Mauna Loa.  Sverdlov, who had successfully, summited the volcano last winter, was “worried that he’d die” there, said the NPS.

“I’ve done many crazy hikes, but this one pretty much tops the bill,” said Sverdlov.

But the local park rangers hadn’t forgotten about him.

Sverdlov was the only registered hiker on the volcano after park management closed the mountain to visitors early Tuesday because of the weather. Park rangers first tried to call his cell phone, but couldn’t reach him. They then located his car on Mauna Loa Road, and when they saw it was still there Wednesday, rangers launched a helicopter search, locating him by 9 a.m. Thursday.

“Even the most experienced and prepared hikers can get into trouble in the park,” said John Broward, who serves as the park’s search-and-rescue coordinator. “What saved Alex is that he had a backcountry permit so we knew he was up there, he is extremely fit and he stayed calm. We’re all fortunate this had a happy ending.”

Despite the near-death experience, Sverdlov is not giving up his hiking adventures.

The same afternoon he was rescued, he applied for another backcountry permit, for the park’s remote coastal area, the NPS said.

“This time I’m going to the sunny part of the park,” Sverdlov said.

 

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Ridgewood, Glendale could get new bike paths this summer


| lguerre@queenscourier.com

Map courtesy Department of City Planning

The ongoing plans to add new bike lanes to Community Board 5 (CB 5) seem to be rolling along smoothly.

CB 5’s Transportation Committee voted unanimously on Tuesday to recommend proposed lanes in Ridgewood and Glendale, which could be implemented as early as this summer.

The proposal, which includes lanes in the Department of City Planning’s phase one plan, will now hinge on a full board vote in the CB 5 February meeting.

If the board approves the new bike paths, City Planning will begin implementing the lanes this summer. The agency will also continue to evaluate phase two, which would eventually add more bike paths and connect routes in Maspeth and Middle Village.

Phase one of the plans connect to the bike lanes in the Brooklyn network of paths.

One set flows parallel on Woodward and Onderdonk avenues from Flushing Avenue to Cooper Avenue. Another set runs on Harman and Himrod streets from Evergreen Avenue to Metropolitan Avenue.

Phase two contains an expansive network of lanes throughout the rest of CB 5. However, residents have complained about a proposed lane on Elliot Street through Mount Olivet Cemetery between 67th Street and Mount Olivet Crescent. The two-way street is so narrow it is already dangerous for car traffic.

 

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Dmytro Fedkowskyj mulling a run against Assemblymember Marge Markey


| lguerre@queenscourier.com

Photo courtesy Dominick Totino Photography

There may be a showdown in the Democratic primary race for Assembly District 30 later this year.

Middle Village resident Dmytro Fedkowskyj, a former member of the city’s Panel for Education Policy (PEP), which serves to improve the welfare of schools and students in the city, is giving a lot of thought about running against incumbent Marge Markey.

“I had many people come up to me and ask me, ‘what are you going to do now? You’ve tackled and handled that job so well, why don’t you run for office,’” Fedkowskyj said, referring to his time on the PEP.

District 30 is comprised of Maspeth, Woodside and parts of Long Island City, Middle Village, Astoria and Sunnyside.

Fedkowskyj, an accountant and father of three, was a member of the PEP for five years, since former Borough President Helen Marshall appointed him in 2008.

He advocated for Queens students and parents in the position, until he resigned on December 31, as Marshall left office.

Former colleagues say what makes Fedkowskyj special is his ability to draw people together.

A graduate of Grover Cleveland High School, Fedkowskyj is an alum of SUNY Empire State College. He started his community outreach with Community Education Council District 24 in 2004. He served as chair of the School Construction and Zoning Committee before he was appointed to the PEP. Fedkowskyj also served as a trustee for the city’s Board of Education Retirement System from 2008 to 2013.

Despite his experience, challenging Markey, who has held office since 1998, may be difficult. Markey has won at least 60 percent of votes in her last three elections against Republican opponents. But given that the area is mostly Democratic, Fedkowskyj criticized her wins.

“In an Assembly district that holds almost 2-1 Democrat over Republican voters, one has to question why she hasn’t won a general election by a larger margin,” Fedkowskyj said. “Maybe voters are just looking for change.”

Michael Armstrong, a spokesperson for Markey, said that she will run for re-election, but didn’t comment on Fedkowskyj.

Photo courtesy of Assemblymember Marge Markey

 

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Organics collection service extending to Glendale, Middle Village and Maspeth


| lguerre@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/Photo by Liam La Guerre

The Department of Sanitation’s organics collection program is branching out to Queens.

Starting in April, residents in Middle Village, Maspeth and Glendale will be able to participate in the program, which targets food scraps, food-spoiled paper and yard waste, such as leaves, to recycle. The program is already underway in parts of the other four boroughs.

The organics collection program is part of the city’s plan to expand recycling. The city spent more than $85 million exporting organics to landfills last year, and hopes that an expanded recycling program will lower that cost.

“If we can collect organics, we can avoid landfills disposal fees and convert the organic material into compost, an organic fertilizer, or clean renewable energy,” said Ron Gonen, deputy commissioner for recycling and sustainability. “It’s a win for taxpayers, it’s a win for the environment and it’s a win for local jobs.”

The containers are brown and come in a small kitchen size and a bigger curbside size as well. The program is volunteer-based, but the bins will be delivered to all buildings with nine or fewer residential units.

The Department of Sanitation asks that residents put only food-soiled waste, food scraps and yard waste in the bins. This means no metal, glass, plastics, cartons, animal waste, foam items, clothing or electronics are allowed in the organics bins.

People participating in the program do not need to line their organic trash bins, but if they want they can line them with newspaper, paper bags, cardboard, clear plastic liners or compostable liners approved by the Department of Sanitation.

The organic trash collected from Queens will be transferred to a composting facility upstate, according to a Sanitation Department representative.

For more information on the organics recycling collection program, visit www.nyc.gov/organics.

 

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Joe Abbracciamento Restaurant set to close after nearly 70 years


| mchan@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/Photo by Melissa Chan

A beloved Queens eatery that has fed generations for nearly 70 years will soon be serving up its last course.

Joe Abbracciamento Restaurant, a neighborhood fixture at 62-96 Woodhaven Boulevard, will close March 2, as longtime owners prepare for retirement.

“We just want to sit back for a little while, relax and breathe the fresh air,” said owner John Abbracciamento, 60 . “It’s bittersweet. But, basically, it’s time.”

The Italian eatery opened in 1948 under Abbracciamento’s father, Joe. Over time, it became a staple in the borough.

“We’ve taken care of people from the day they were born,” Abbracciamento said. “It’s a wonderful treat to be a part of their lives and some of the most important occasions that they would celebrate. We will sadly miss that part of it.”

Abbracciamento has known the restaurant life since he was 13.

It was not an easy decision to put it to rest after the baton was passed down to him from his late father, Abbracciamento said. But it was a necessary one.

“It was my father’s dream,” he said. “My brother and I kept it going. But I’ve just come to the point in my life where I just need some time to clear my head and move forward.”

“We had a nice, long run — a very successful run,” Abbracciamento said. “It’s just time to just relax a little bit.”

Longtime patrons said the loss of the local icon is a blow to the Queens dining scene and to the community.

“I’m sad. I’ve known them for 30 years,” said Leon Sorin. “They’ve been working hard for many years. Maybe it’s time.”

John Harrington, 73, has been coming for the “out of this world” lasagna for 38 years.

“I was shocked when I heard it was closing,” he said. “It’s a shame because you don’t have any good restaurants around.”

Ed Wendell, a lifelong Queens resident, called the restaurant “the go-to place” for Italian cuisine.

“It’s one of those places where a lot of people are going to look back now and say, ‘Man, I wish I had gone more,’” he said. “It will be missed.”

 

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Parks Dept. hosts snow activities in Juniper Valley Park


| lguerre@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/Photos by Liam La Guerre

The first snowstorm of the new year was every child’s dream. It gave youngsters an extra vacation day from school and a snowy wonderland where they could play.

The Parks Department hosted free activities in Juniper Valley Park in Middle Village on Saturday, courtesy of massive amounts of snow from Winter Storm Hercules, to which hundreds of children and parents took advantage.

The recreation division of the city agency provided free sleds, hot chocolate, snow shoeing and music for children to enjoy the snow in the park.

“It’s vital to the community to have open spaces where they can come out, play sports, relax, make friends and socialize,” said Liam Kavanagh, first deputy commissioner of the Parks Department. “We want them to do it year round. Snow days encourage people to come out climb those hills, slide down, and come out in the winter time when they might not otherwise be in the park.”

It’s an annual event that the recreation division tries to sponsor on the first sighting of large snow storms.

The Parks Department holds the free activities at just five parks around the city, one from each borough. They chose Juniper because the hilly environment provides a great bunny slope for children, but there also weren’t impediments.

“They don’t have good hills in those locations,” said Iris Rodriguez-Rosa, Queens’ chief of recreation for Parks. “Although it’s fun we want the kids to do it in a location that is safe.”

While the massive amount of snow dropped on the city shut down streets, and made for hellish commutes for some, for others the snow was excellent winter fun.

“It’s absolutely wonderful, it makes the whole day wonderful for the kids,” said Jennifer Suffel, a Middle Village resident. “I think its a great part of our community and I would hate to see it stop. its good clean fun the kids should be having.”

 

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‘Snow day’ at Juniper Valley Park Saturday


| aaltamirano@queenscourier.com

File Photo

Updated 4:00 p.m.

Just because Mother Nature has dropped a few inches of snow, doesn’t mean you can’t put on your snow boots, get the sled and, go out and have some fun.

Keeping in mind to stay safe and bundle up, the Department of Parks and Recreation has declared an official snow day for Saturday, January 4 at five parks across the city. The snow day will take place from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.

In Queens, the Parks Department will hold a snow day at Juniper Valley Park, at 78th Street and Juniper Valley North in Middle Village. During the snow day, free organized activities include supervised safe sledding, snowman building contests, best snow angel contests, friendly snowball fights, music, and complimentary hot chocolate.

For more information, please call 311 or visit the Parks Department website for updates.

Even though Juniper Park will be the only park in the borough to include free activities in the case of a snow day, here are other local parks you can visit for some fun in the snow and suggestions for sledding spots, courtesy of the city’s Parks Department. But remember to stay warm and be safe!

Astoria Park, Astoria, 19th Street between Shore Boulevard off Ditmars Boulevard

Bowne Park, Flushing, Small hillside on the 155th Street side of the park

Cunningham Park, Oakland Gardens

Crocheron Park, Bayside, 35th Avenue opposite Golden Pond

Flushing Meadows-Corona Park

Forest Park, Mary Whelan Playground at 79th Street and Park Lane South

Hermon A. Macneil Park, College Point

lower Highland Park, Jamaica Avenue & Elton Street

Kissena Park, Flushing, Eastside of Lake: enter Metcalf and 164th Street

 

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Middle Village scout troop needs members


| lguerre@queenscourier.com

Photo courtesy of Charles Krzewski

The St. Margaret’s Boy Scout Troop 119 of Middle Village was once a bustling group filled with dozens of youngsters eager to learn about the outdoors.

But membership in the nearly 70-year-old troop has declined after years of competing for attention with computers, video games and now, mobile devices.

About two decades ago there were more than 35 members, but now with just 14 scouts, the group is seeking new members to teach the importance of nature and charity.

“Outdoor skills are very important,” said Charles Krzewski, the troop committee chair. “If they don’t learn this stuff they’re never going to have an appreciation for the outdoors. And you don’t want people going out to wreck it.”

The boy scout troop teaches boys from ages 10 to 18 how to start fires and build camps. They go on hiking and camping trips upstate and in New Jersey, Staten Island and Pennsylvania.

The troop also teaches the boys sports such as basketball, dodgeball, skiing, fishing, rafting, canoeing and rock climbing, among others.

But, in addition to the fun, the scouting group focuses on charity. They paint over graffiti and do community clean-up. Recently, the scouts also collected pies, snacks, canned food and turkeys, and donated them to local disadvantaged families for Thanksgiving.

Following the holidays, the scouts will collect food to donate to St. Margaret’s Roman Catholic Church in Middle Village, which will give it to people in need.

“Today’s kids are all concerned about self,” Krzewski said. “We want to have a good time, but we stress ‘you must give back.’ It lets them know that there is more out there than just themselves.”

Krzewski asks parents interested in signing their children up for the Scout Troop 119 to contact him at 718-894-4099.

 

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Aging vets selling Middle Village building after nearly 40 years


| lguerre@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/Photo by Liam La Guerre

One local veterans’ organization is about to lose a big part of its history.

The St. Margaret’s Post 1172 Catholic War Veterans (CWV) is selling its building on Metropolitan Avenue near 73rd Place, which has housed the organization for nearly 40 years The Courier has learned.

The decision to sell the building came after an overwhelmingly popular vote by members. People at Post 1172 said they decided to sell because attendance is down at meetings and events due to age-related problems and because the cost to maintain the building is not worth it.

Although the organization has about 80 current members, fewer than 20 actively attend meetings, which are on the second and fourth Thursday of each month. The building is not otherwise in use.

“It’s happening throughout fraternity organizations. They’re just impossible to keep up,” said Paul Cuskley, second vice-commander of the New York CWV.

Post 1172 was chartered in 1947, following World War II, with 15 members. The organization was named after St. Margaret’s Roman Church in Middle Village, because it is the closest Catholic parish.

The institutions are not associated, but members of the organization met at St. Margaret’s Church before they bought the current building in 1976, a representative for the organization said.

In the past, about 45 members would show up to meetings regularly and the building was open a few days a week. But most members are World War II veterans, so many are very elderly and can’t physically attend.

Although active membership is down, the veterans still hold many events. They visit the veterans’ hospital in St. Albans and a Catholic veterans’ cemetery on Long Island. They also visit memorials on Veterans Day, attend patriotic events and sponsor youth programs in local schools.

The organization hired Macaluso Reality to sell the building. Post 1172 leaders said they want to find a place in the community to host the twice-a-month forums.

“Personally I would miss it. I’ve been going there since it was purchased, but we don’t want another major war to get our membership up,” said a spokesperson for Post 1172. “Nothing would change, except for the location.”

The money from the sale of the building will be donated to charity, the spokesperson said.

 

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Middle Village man seeks home to donate his ducks


| lguerre@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/Photo by Liam La Guerre

One man wants to donate his birds, but won’t let them be sitting ducks for Thanksgiving.

Middle Village native Frank Garet, who saved three ducks from possibly being the centerpiece of a dinner table last year, is now looking for a permanent home for the birds.

He believes the ducks deserve to return to nature, so he is considering a wildlife sanctuary upstate, but Garet is also talking with possible pet owners.

“I really hate to give them up, but they need a natural environment,” Garet said. “They are like my boys, but I think they deserve a beautiful pond.”

Since he found them, the birds have been in a pen at the Maspeth car dealership that Garet co-owns, Garet Motors on Flushing Avenue.

Garet said a woman had bought the ducks along with some chickens from a Flushing poultry market last year. But, when the box holding the birds broke and the animals started running around freely the woman collected the chickens, and left the ducks in the street.

Garet decided to rescue the young ducks because of a lesson his grandfather, who owned a hot dog truck, taught him early on.

His grandfather used to tell him to feed hungry birds that would gather near the vending truck. When he did, dozens of customers would suddenly appear to buy hot dogs.

“‘If the birds don’t eat, you don’t eat,’” Garet recalled his grandfather saying. “I fed the birds and cars never stopped coming.”
Since then, Garet has had a soft spot for the birds. He feeds corn and berries to his three feathered friends — Huey, Dewey and Louie — every day. But after a year, he said they have become too big.

Garet wants to find a home for them and is listening to anyone interested. However, he won’t donate them to someone until after Thanksgiving, “so they don’t kill them or sell them” and will take care of them “until the end of their natural lives,” Garet said.

“They are tame and friendly. They are healthy ducks and they deserve a good home,” he said.

Anyone interested in taking care of the ducks is encouraged to call Frank Garet at 718-371-1261.

 

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Middle Village man has contentious plan to fix community parking issues


| lguerre@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/Photo by Liam La Guerre

One Middle Village resident is proposing a divisive plan to relieve parking problems in the community.

Matthew Crafa will meet with Community Board 5’s Transportation Committee to present his idea, which involves changing the parking signs around the perimeter of Juniper Valley Park to open up new overnight spots.

Parking is not allowed around most of the perimeter of the park from 9 p.m. to 6 a.m. except for a tiny stretch on 71st Street. To avoid receiving tickets, residents in the neighborhood do not park their cars there overnight, leading to a scramble to find parking, Crafa said.

“We don’t live in Manhattan,” said Crafa, who moved into the neighborhood about a year ago. “There’s plenty of parking here. This is nonsense.”

Crafa and his neighbors on 75th Place have recently paved over the grassy areas in front of their homes to create extra parking spots.

Crafa said people constantly block his driveway and the fire hydrant on his street because of the limited parking.

Crafa believes that vehicle usage has increased in the area over time, due in part to the lack of public transportation in the community, which has no subway line. Opening up the parking around the nearly 56-acre park would alleviate the issue for residents in the area by instantly creating hundreds of parking spaces, he said.

However, Crafa’s plan has already met some opposition.

“We’re willing to look at ideas, but it was something that was done because kids were getting out there anytime of the night,” Juniper Park Civic Association President Bob Holden said. “This was an idea from the 104th Precinct, that the only way we could have any effect on anybody who hangs out over there would be with parking restrictions.”

Photo courtesy Bob Holden

Holden said the restrictions were enacted in the late 1980s to prevent youngsters from gathering with dozens of cars at the park after closing to drink and play loud music.

He believes that opening up overnight parking around Juniper again will encourage people to congregate at late hours.

Photo courtesy Bob Holden 

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