Tag Archives: Ridgewood

Local Roots CSA adds Ridgewood location

| agiudice@ridgewoodtimes.com

Photo courtesy of Local Roots CSA

Getting fresh-from-the-farm food has never been easier.

Local Roots Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) has added several new pickup locations, including one in Ridgewood. Members of the CSA in Ridgewood will now be able to pick up their weekly grocery deliveries at Onderdonk & Sons bar, located at 566 Onderdonk Ave.

Other new pickup spots include locations in Crown Heights, South Street Seaport and Greenpoint. These are in addition to their current locations in Boerum Hill, Bushwick, Carroll Gardens, South Slope and Williamsburg.

Local Roots CSA allows members to shop on their website for food from local, sustainable farms. Food available for purchase includes fruits, vegetables, pastas, meats, fish, bread, chocolate and more. One order of food feeds a household of approximately one to two people.

The farmers harvest the food the day before or the morning of delivery to ensure that the food is at its peak flavor and nutritional value for the consumer.

Customers of Local Roots CSA can place their orders for a 12-week season, shorter than the 24-week season of other CSAs. The 12-week season gives their customers less of a financial investment and allows Local Roots CSA to offer four different seasons of food.

Local Roots CSA then delivers the food to the pickup location designated by the customer each week for the 12-week season. They also offer home delivery for customers in Lower Manhattan and parts of Brooklyn.

On April 24, Local Roots CSA will host The Good Festival, an annual celebration of local bands with cooking demonstrations and sustainability workshops between performances. Some of the demonstrations and workshops include making mozzarella at home, how to make sambar and soil-less spoil-less salad greens with Radicle Farm.

This year’s The Good Festival will be held at Tiny Montgomery, located at 333 Douglas St. in Brooklyn.


Irregularly shaped Ridgewood block with development potential for sale

| lguerre@queenscourier.com

Photo courtesy of Greiner Maltz Investment Properties

That’s one tasty looking block for investors.

A pizza-slice-shaped block in Ridgewood with two one-story buildings is being marketed for about $5 million as the real estate market in the neighborhood continues to boom, following recent big transactions and plans to construct large developments.

The small block is a triangle formed at the intersection of Fresh Pond Road and Cypress Hills Street, with 70th Avenue to the south. Currently, the approximately 6,733-square-foot lot holds a laundromat and a café.

What may be particularly attractive to investors is that the property has a residential zoning and an extra 7,366 square feet of additional air rights, and can go up to a maximum height of 50 feet, or about five stories.

The price breaks down to nearly $360 per buildable square foot for the property, which is much higher than the average of about $220 in Ridgewood, according to broker John Gonsalves of Greiner Maltz Investment Properties. However, the property has already received many offers as that price is still relatively low compared to other parts of the city.

“We have received several full-priced offers. I thought it was a little rich for the market but apparently the market thought otherwise,” Gonsalves said. “There is definitely a lot of interest from Brooklyn and Manhattan investors. They see Ridgewood as a steal.”

Photo courtesy of Nicholas Strini/PropertyShark 

Photo courtesy of Nicholas Strini/PropertyShark

Another reason for the $5 million price tag is that the buildings are already fully leased with retail tenants, and those properties tend to trade at higher prices, Gonsalves said.

He added that one interested real estate investor is a developer who has had projects in Williamsburg, Brooklyn, and sees the opportunity with this property to collect rent from the retail tenants for a few years before developing it when values in the neighborhood increase.

The laundromat, which has a three-year lease, and the café combine to give possible owners a net income of more than $200,000 annually.

The building is a few blocks away from the Fresh Pond Road M train subway station to the north, and not far from the Myrtle Avenue commercial strip to the south, making it attractive for possible future residents.


Pair repeatedly stabs pedestrian in Ridgewood

| rpozarycki@queenscourier.com

Photo via Google Maps

While walking home from a nearby bar, a 27-year-old man was stabbed numerous times by two unidentified attackers on a Ridgewood street early Sunday morning, according to police.

Authorities said the brutal assault occurred at 2:30 a.m. at the corner of Woodward Avenue and Bleecker Street.

Moments earlier, the victim left the Paradise Bar at 678 Woodward Ave. and was walking northbound on Woodward Avenue when he approached two Hispanic males ahead of him, police sources said.

As he approached them, the two men engaged the victim in a verbal dispute, sources said. Within seconds, the argument turned physical when the suspects repeatedly stabbed the man about the chest and back.

Officers from the 104th Precinct and EMS units rushed to the scene after receiving a 911 call regarding the incident. Police found the man with stab wounds to his right torso, stomach, back and left thigh.

Paramedics rushed the victim to Wyckoff Heights Medical Center, where he was treated for injuries that were not considered life-threatening.

The 104th Precinct Detective Squad is investigating the case.

Anyone with information is asked to call Crime Stoppers at 800-577-TIPS (8477). The public can also submit their tips by logging onto the Crime Stoppers website or can text their tips to CRIMES (274637), then enter TIP577. All calls are strictly confidential.


Newtown Creek Alliance talks cleanup with Ridgewood group

| editorial@ridgewoodtimes.com

TIMES NEWSWEEKLY/Photo courtesy of Newtown Creek Alliance


The Newtown Creek Alliance (NCA) offered information about the polluted waterway’s ecology during an Earth Day meeting of the Ridgewood Democratic Club Thursday night.

NCA Program Manager Willis Elkins was joined by historian Mitch Waxman and Community Board 2 Environmental Committee Chair Dorothy Morehead to discuss the group’s ongoing improvement and preservation efforts at Newtown Creek.

The NCA was first established in 2002 with the central goal of refurbishing and protecting all 3.8 miles of the waterway, a federal Superfund site straddling the Brooklyn/Queens industrial border.

“We’re in support of maintaining its industrial use, we just want to make sure it’s maintaining a clean state,” Elkins said.

TIMES NEWSWEEKLY/Photo by Kelly Marie Mancuso

TIMES NEWSWEEKLY/Photo by Kelly Marie Mancuso

During the 18th and 19th centuries, Newtown Creek was a vibrant salt marsh ecosystem. By the 1950s, however, the creek was one of the busiest industrial waterways in the city. As a result, pollutants including chemicals, dyes, metals and petroleum were left behind.

In addition to industrial waste, one of the many challenges plaguing Newtown Creek is contamination from over 20 combined sewer overflow (CSO) pipes discharging sewage and stormwater into the creek. The nearly 450 citywide CSOs were originally designed to handle the surplus of rainwater entering the sewer system during storms.

According to Elkins, the East Branch CSO, located at Metropolitan Avenue, is one of the biggest pipes on the creek, discharging over 500 million gallons of sewage and untreated stormwater per year. The creek also contains many dead-end tributaries in which water tends to pool and stagnate, promoting bacterial growth.

The rise in bacteria levels from CSO output is responsible for low dissolved oxygen levels and poor water quality. In an attempt to raise oxygen levels, the city Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) is in the process of constructing a complex aeration system designed to pump air into the creek.

The NCA has voiced staunch opposition to the $110 million dollar project, citing concerns over the possible health risks linked to aeration of the creek’s contaminated sediment.

“It’s only treating the symptom and not the actual cause of the bad water quality,” Elkins said. “It’s like putting a bubbler on your toilet and calling it clean water.”

The NCA partnered with a research group to conduct a series of air quality tests. According to Elkins, research showed higher levels of bacteria entering the air while the aeration system was in use. Despite these results, a consensus could not be reached between the NCA, DEP and other agencies regarding the impact on public health.

Elkins voiced support for natural solutions, including the use of cord grasses and “filter feeders” such as mussels and wild oysters to help improve dissolved oxygen levels in the creek. Green infrastructure improvements, such as the installation of bioswales slated for Maspeth, can also help absorb excess rainwater before it enters and the already overburdened sewer system.

Going forward, Elkins and the NCA hope to focus on the creek’s ecology by creating habitats for the many birds, fish, plants and mollusks that have returned in recent years. The NCA recently received a small grant from the Greenpoint Community Environmental Fund to construct a living dock to monitor wildlife. The 180-square-foot structure will feature milk crates filled with substrate that will act as a habitat for fish and invertebrates.

The NCA also partnered with LaGuardia Community College to install cord grass planters along industrial docks and bulkheads.

“It shows you can incorporate life into lifeless structures,” Elkins said.



Classic treats are like ‘Buttah’

| editorial@ridgewoodtimes.com

Photos by Kelly Marie Mancuso


For a unique twist on classic desserts, check out Buttah bakery, located a short walk from the DeKalb Avenue L train station at 377 Onderdonk Ave., between Stockholm and Stanhope streets, in Ridgewood.

First opened in December, Buttah is the brainchild of local sisters and Christ the King High School alums Kristen and Stacey Viola.

The Viola sisters were born and raised in Williamsburg, Brooklyn. Stacey handles the many business and financial aspects of the bakery, while her sister Kristen is busy concocting recipes and desserts in the kitchen.

Kristen first discovered her passion for baking back in high school during weekends spent at her grandmother’s side learning how to make cherished family recipes.
“I come from a family of big bakers,” she said.

Kristen’s hobby eventually evolved into a successful at-home business. After nearly four years, she decided to take her passion for baking to the next level and began the process of opening up a brick-and-mortar bake shop.

“It was time to just do it,” she said.

Buttah is housed within a bright and airy storefront directly across the street from St. Aloysius Church. The brushed steel countertops and glossy white subway tile-lined walls give the shop a vintage 1950s look. Large silver wire whisk pendant lamps and an ornate doorbell that reads, “Press for Cake” create a fun, playful vibe.

Electric lilac chairs and marble cafe tables give a pop of color to the storefront windows. Cupcakes are artfully arranged on a collection of vintage jadeite and pastel milk glass cake plates. A bold pink neon sign with the shop’s logo, crafted locally by Robbie Ingui of Artistic Neon in Ridgewood, illuminates the wall behind the counter.


Kristen’s Italian-American heritage inspired many of the delicious offerings at Buttah, including the Sesame Cookies ($1.75), which are based on her Aunt Mary’s recipe. “She’s been making them since we were kids,” Kristen said.

One of the most popular offerings at Buttah is the classic Charlotte Russe ($3). The New York City version of the dessert was sold in candy shops and luncheonettes during the 1940s and ‘50s.

“Customers either remember them and it brings back memories, or they have no idea what it is and want to try it,” Stacey said.

The Charlotte Russe at Buttah is true to the original, combining a rich yellow sponge cake base and jam swirl topped with fresh whipped cream and a whole Maraschino cherry. The dessert is served in a little scalloped paper cup and, according to Kristen, is to be eaten “like a push-pop.”

Other popular desserts include the pecan-encrusted red velvet cupcake ($3), coconut cream cupcake ($3) and the Brooklyn Blackout cupcake ($3), which is filled and topped with homemade chocolate pudding and coated in chocolate cake crumbs. The shop also takes special custom cake orders, and can render almost any cupcake flavor in cake form.

In addition to dessert, Buttah also features many breakfast and brunch items. Their savory bacon, cheddar and chive scones and blue cheese, honey and date scones are baked fresh daily. They also serve up buttery slices of crumb cake to hungry morning crowds.

Buttah uses fresh, local ingredients, such as 11385 Honey from Wilk Apiary in Glendale, in their baked goods. They also serve drip coffee from Irving Farm, freshly roasted upstate.

The Violas chose Ridgewood because the close-knit community reminded them of their own upbringing in Brooklyn.

“We found this neighborhood and it reminded us of what Williamsburg used to be like, with all of the families,” Kristen said.

Buttah will be one of 20 local food vendors featured in the upcoming “Taste of Ridgewood” tasting and charity event at the Ridgewood YMCA on April 23 at 6:30 p.m.

377 Onderdonk Ave., Ridgewood




Row of buildings sells for nearly $7M in hot Ridgewood market

| lguerre@queenscourier.com

Photo courtesy of Cushman & Wakefield 

An assemblage of four contiguous buildings was sold in Ridgewood for $6.75 million as the heated Ridgewood market continues to see more interest.

The buildings, 56-48 through 56-54 Myrtle Ave., are all three-story, mixed-use attached properties with 17,645 square feet of space, and located just a few blocks away from the Myrtle-Wyckoff Avenues L/M subway station.

There are eight residential apartments in the buildings, and two retail stores on the ground floor. A Cushman & Wakefield team of Thomas Donovan, Tommy Lin, Eugene Kim and Robert Rappa combined to represent the seller in the transaction.

“These properties are ideally located in the heart of Ridgewood, currently one of the most in-demand neighborhoods in Queens,” Donovan said. “We were able to utilize our proven marketing process and leverage the tremendous interest in Ridgewood to achieve the full asking price for our client.”

Recently, a Ridgewood apartment building at 71-13 60th Lane sold for $21 million, which was more than double its last sale price in 2012, when the former owner paid $8.6 million for it.

The increase in prices reflects how real estate investors are looking at the neighborhood.


Pol touts Ridgewood’s successes and the challenges ahead

| editorial@ridgewoodtimes.com

TIMES NEWSWEEKLY/Photo by Kelly Marie Mancuso


Assemblywoman Catherine Nolan discussed the many assets and issues facing Ridgewood at Thursday night’s swearing-in ceremony of the Ridgewood Property Owners and Civic Association (RPOCA) officials and board of directors held at the Ridgewood Older Adult Center.

“We have something very special here,” Nolan said. “It’s kind of ironic—lately it seems like the whole world is just finding that out. That’s going to present a whole new set of challenges for Ridgewood.”

In her address to the group, Nolan focused on the many positive aspects and improvements made in Ridgewood over the years, including bus and transit hub upgrades, the efforts and achievements of the Myrtle Avenue Business Improvement District (BID), and advances in local healthcare.

Nolan also cited improvements in sanitation, such as Ridgewood’s successful composting program and high recycling rates, as a major asset within the community.

“Ridgewood is the cleanest neighborhood in the city because we made that a priority,” she said. “We thought of it as just keeping our homes clean, but now we see the environmental benefit as well.”

Ridgewood’s growth and development as an environmentally friendly, sustainable community was also celebrated. According to Nolan, the availability of mass transit, as well as the ability to walk to stores and venues within the community, lessened dependence on cars, reducing pollution and improving the local environment.

In addition to improvements, Nolan also addressed the many challenges facing Ridgewood, including mass transit, the loss of manufacturing and an increase in domestic violence, which she referred to as a “hidden problem” in the community. Nolan’s office and the 104th Precinct are trying to combat domestic violence through expanded outreach and communication in the wake of last week’s deadly attack on Grove Street.

An issue of particular concern was the challenges facing senior citizen tenants struggling to hold on to their apartments amid rent hikes in the area. Nolan and RPOCA President Charles Ober discussed introducing legislation that would expand the Senior Citizen Rent Increase Exemption (SCRIE) to three- and four-family homes. SCRIE is a property tax rebate offered to landlords with the incentive of reducing the rent of a senior tenant residing in their properties.

In 2014, funding to the SCRIE Program was increased from $29,000 to $50,000. Currently, the exemption is only available to dwellings with six or more units. Nolan vowed to form a council in Albany that would draft legislation expanding eligibility to three- and four-family homes.

“It’s long overdue and I think we could try,” Nolan said.

Nolan swore in the 2015 RPOCA officers, including President Charles Ober, First Vice President Joseph Segreti, Second Vice President John Maier, Third Vice President Domingo Santos, Recording Secretary Maryellen Borello, Financial Secretary Helen Kutch and Sergeant-At-Arms Carlos Ortiz.

The RPOCA board of directors sworn in included Henry Cross, Geoffrey Elkind, Gregory Haufe, John Hertling, Voytek Oktawiec, Jamie Taratoot, Simon Orr, Richard Wessley, Louis Rodriguez and Chairperson Patricia Grayson.

Pastor Thomas Goodhart from Trinity Reformed Church in Ridgewood offered a Benediction at the swearing-in ceremony.


George Clooney film scheduled to shoot scenes at Ridgewood studio Friday

| rpozarycki@queenscourier.com

Photo via Instagram/tavernakyclades

After making the rounds in Astoria, is George Clooney heading over to Ridgewood?

TriStar Productions announced that scenes for its upcoming financial thriller “Money Monster” starring Clooney and Julia Roberts will be filmed at Broadway Stages located at 1019 Irving Ave. from 6 a.m. to 8 p.m. Friday. It wasn’t known as to whether Clooney or Roberts were part of the shoot.

Directed by Academy Award-winner Jodie Foster, “Money Monster” tells the story of a television personality (Clooney) who is taken hostage while on the air.

Scenes will reportedly be filmed both inside and outside the studio, and parking on nearby streets will be prohibited as of 10 p.m. Thursday in order to accommodate production vehicles. The affected streets are Irving Avenue between Halsey and Covert streets and Covert Street between Wyckoff and Irving avenues.

Any vehicle found parked on these blocks after 10 p.m. will be towed away and relocated nearby; reportedly, there is no cost or penalty to the vehicles’ owners.

Money Monster previously filmed scenes at Kaufman Astoria Studios. Amid production, Clooney dined with Bill Murray at Taverna Kyclades, a Greek restaurant in Astoria; Murray had lunch there with director Sofia Coppola the previous day.

Exterior scenes for Money Monster were to be filmed today along Broadway in Astoria.



Bioswale construction to begin later this month in CB 5 area

| agiudice@ridgewoodtimes.com

Photo courtesy of the Department of Environmental Protection

The confines of Community Board 5 are about to get greener.

Representatives from the Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) announced during the Community Board 5 (CB 5) meeting on Wednesday that the construction of 200 to 250 bioswales is set to begin at the end of the month.

Bioswales are curbside gardens that collect stormwater runoff into large, underground basins through 5 feet of specially engineered soil, comprised of layers of broken stone and sandy soil.

“New York’s infrastructure is hard, it’s very dense,” said Ibrahim Abdul-Matin, director of community affairs for the DEP. “Green infrastructure is, in a sense, peeling back a layer of that hard infrastructure.”

“Part of what we’re doing is making the land spongy again,” he continued. “The goal is to improve water quality…this is one of our tools to do that.”

The bioswales help improve the city’s water quality by reducing the amount of rainwater entering the sewer system, which helps lower combined sewer overflow (CSO).

CSO is a combination of sewage water from homes and businesses and stormwater, which can become too much for the sewer system to handle, especially during times of heavy rainfall. The water then overflows and sends untreated water into the city’s waterways, such as Newtown Creek, which suffers from high levels of pollution.

One single bioswale can manage almost 3,000 gallons of water and if the bioswale becomes overfilled, the water is released into the sewer catch basin as it normally would, just at a lower rate so there is not a rush of water that could overflow the sewer system.

With the installation of the bioswales right around the corner, community issues are a major point of concern for the DEP.

“One of the big questions we get a lot is, ‘Who is going to take care of these?’” Abdul-Matin told the board. “We build it, we’re going to maintain it. It’s not like we’re going to pass the buck onto you.”

The construction and installation of these bioswales and other green infrastructure will help clean the city’s water and reduce flooding, making the neighborhoods they serve better.


New civic association brings Ridgewood tenants together

| editorial@ridgewoodtimes.com

Photo courtesy of New York City Landmarks Preservation Commission


A Ridgewood activist announced Wednesday morning the formation of the Ridgewood Tenants and Neighborhood Association (RTNA), which aims to empower and increase representation for Ridgewood renters.

“We want to foster meaningful dialogue on how to continue making Ridgewood a livable and affordable neighborhood for all residents,” said Henry Cross, one of the group’s co-chairs. “We believe that Ridgewood can retain its rich cultural diversity of its tenants and residents that are low- to moderate-income working people. Everyone is welcome to connect, participate and advocate … around the issues that affect the lives of everyday Ridgewood people.”

The group, co-chaired by Cross and Queens College Professor Stephanie Wakefield, hopes to interact with other civic groups and local elected officials, as well as host town hall meetings and forums to foster an exchange of ideas, concerns and experiences within the neighborhood. According to Cross, the RTNA’s main objective is to “generate a stable but dynamic and participatory neighborhood for all” while helping to “amplify the voice of tenants and residents within a changing neighborhood.”

The RTNA will host its first public forum, titled “Ridgewood: Your Voices, Your Issues,” at 6 p.m. on Monday, April 27, at the Ridgewood Library, located at 2012 Madison St. This event follows a February panel discussion Cross moderated titled “Ridgewood: Preserve, Discover and Redefine” at Topos Bookstore Cafe on Woodward Avenue.

“This forum was a huge success,” Cross said. “It was out of this meeting we decided to officially form the Ridgewood Tenants and Neighborhood Association, to create an organized framework to continue to respond to the challenges posed by the changes coming to Ridgewood.”

Residents and tenants interested in learning more about the RTNA’s events, goals and upcoming agenda can click here or email ridgewoodtenants@gmail.com.


Alleged Maspeth pizzeria, Ridgewood drugstore burglars picked up by cops

| rpozarycki@queenscourier.com

Photo courtesy of Property Shark/Christopher Bride

Detectives delivered two suspected burglars to jail for allegedly breaking into a Maspeth pizzeria and a Ridgewood drugstore last month, authorities said.

According to the Queens district attorney’s office, Bushwick’s Charles Viacava, 48, and Jamaica’s Pedro Alicea, 43, were allegedly caught on security camera video burglarizing Pronto Pizza located at 52-03 Metropolitan Ave. on the evening of March 24 and the Rite-Med Pharmacy at 311 St. Nicholas Ave. on the night of March 31.

During the pizzeria burglary, Viacava and Alicea allegedly threw a brick through a glass window and removed the cash register, police said.

Authorities said the suspects did the same thing at the Rite-Med store, smashing a front window with a brick before getting inside and then ultimately stealing a cash register.

Following an investigation, the 104th Precinct Detective Squad tracked down Viacava and Alicea and, after questioning, took them into custody on Saturday. They were both charged with two counts of third-degree burglary and two counts of criminal mischief.

Both suspects were arraigned in Queens Criminal Court Sunday morning before Judge William Harrington, who set Viacava’s bail at $35,000 and ordered Alicea held on $25,000 bail. The alleged burglars are due back in court on April 13.


As Landmarks Law turns 50, Queens will celebrate ‘Landmarks Month’

| rpozarycki@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/Photo by Asha Mahadevan

To mark five decades since the city enacted legislation protecting its most historic places, Queens Borough President Melinda Katz announced events to celebrate “Landmarks Month” across Queens this April.

“Queens landmarks will together celebrate the golden anniversary of the Landmarks Law with a series of events designed to educate residents and visitors of our neighborhoods’ beautiful and rich histories,” Katz said Friday. “As our communities and families grow, our borough also balances that growth with efforts to preserve the irreplaceable landmark treasures that contextualize our present and shape our future.”

The borough president’s office launched a special website that includes a Google Map showing the locations of Queens’ more than 70 individual landmarks and 11 historic districts and a calendar of events in honor of the Landmark Law’s golden jubilee.

The celebratory events include a tour of the landmark Lawrence Cemetery hosted by the Bayside Historical Society on Sunday, April 19, at 11 a.m.; an afternoon tea at the Voekler Orth Museum in Flushing on July 26 at 2 p.m.; and meetings of the Queens Preservation Council on April 27, May 18 and June 29 at Queens Borough Hall in Kew Gardens.

Katz will also host an anniversary reception for the Landmarks Law at the Queens Museum of Art in Flushing Meadows Corona Park on Tuesday, April 21, from 5:30 to 7 p.m. The program includes a glimpse of the Queens Museum’s special exhibit, “Panorama of Queens, 1965-2015: Fifty Years of Landmarking,” in which special markers on the museum’s Panorama of New York City indicate the location of Queens landmarks.

Admission to the reception is free, but those attending are encouraged to reserve a place by emailing RSVP@queensbp.org.

Then-Mayor Robert F. Wagner Jr. signed the Landmarks Law in April 1965, which created the Landmarks Preservation Commission (LPC), an organization tasked with considering and declaring certain buildings and places of historical significance as public landmarks.

The legislation was drafted amid public outcry over the original Pennsylvania Station’s demolition. The Beaux-Arts stone structure at the corner of 33rd Street and 7th Avenue in Manhattan was torn down to make way for the Madison Square Garden sports arena, an office tower and a smaller underground train station.

The LPC named its first Queens landmark on Oct. 14, 1965, granting status to the Kingsland Homestead in Flushing. Most recently, the LPC approved in December 2014 the creation of the Ridgewood Central Historic District, preserving more than 900 attached rowhouses in the heart of the neighborhood.


Ridgewood families blast DEP for sewage backups

By Queens Courier Staff | editorial@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/ Photo by Angela Matua


Homeowners gathered around on Seneca Avenue near Norman Street in Ridgewood on Thursday afternoon to get answers from the Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) regarding sewage problems they have been experiencing since earlier this year.

Homeowner Angela Georgescu said she started seeing sewage flood her basement as far back as eight years ago after National Grid excavated the road in front of her house.

The problem was sporadic until sometime in early 2015, when she learned that seven other houses on her block were also having trouble doing their laundry and were spending more time in their basements cleaning up.

“All our holidays are in the basement because there are more people home,” Georgescu said. “There is more sewage so we have to stay to clean instead of staying at the Thanksgiving table.”

Mark Chen Oi Ming, one of her neighbors, claimed he saw utility workers damage the sewage line eight years ago. At the time, the employees told him they would come back to make repairs but Ming did not see them again.

The Department of Health has visited the site at least twice because the sewage has overflowed into the sidewalk, neighbors claimed.

Georgescu and other homeowners have tried calling 311 and contacting local Assembly and Council members but have received no response or have been told that action cannot be taken since the sewage line is private. A representative for Assemblyman Mike Miller told the homeowners to individually call plumbers to identify the problem.

Georgescu and other homeowners hired plumbers to check their sewage lines and have all received the same answer – their individual sewage lines are clean and damage free.

DEP officials visited the site on April 2 to provide information about the sewage infrastructure and next steps the homeowners need to take to repair this problem. According to DEP officials, these homes were built more than 100 years ago, which means the sewage pipes were constructed before the city sewer was put into place.

In this case, the DEP claimed, the sewage lines are considered private property and the responsibility of the homeowner. The sewage from these seven homes collects into a private drain that then connects to the city sewer and travels to a sewage treatment plant.

DEP officials explained that because the damage comes from the private common drain, public money could not be used to fix a private drain. But Georgescu and other homeowners said they had no prior knowledge of owning the drain.

“They keep saying that this is a private line, but in our deeds it says nothing about owning the line,” Georgescu said.

DEP officials said homeowners should fix the sewage drain and then seek reimbursement from the utility companies that allegedly damaged the line. The homeowners received contact information for National Housing Services, a nonprofit organization that provides low-interest loans to homeowners throughout New York City.

Another option would be to hire a plumber to build a new service line and individually connect each homeowner to the city sewer, rendering the private drain obsolete.

Georgescu and the other homeowners were not happy with the outcome of the meeting and are going to contact lawyers to see what they can legally do to have the city pay for their repairs.

“There is nothing wrong on our side and the city shoves it in our faces that it’s ours,” Georgescu said. “We have all our chances for the truth and the law to be on our side.”


Dining: Onderdonk & Sons Bar

| editorial@ridgewoodtimes.com

Dining Out


One of the newest additions to Ridgewood’s burgeoning bar scene is Onderdonk & Sons, a cozy, old-world-style saloon nestled on the corner of Onderdonk Avenue and Menahan Street.

Opened in December 2014, Onderdonk & Sons is the latest endeavor of Brian Taylor and Louise Favier, the husband-and-wife team behind the Greenpoint Coffee House and the Pencil Factory Bar in Brooklyn.

Taylor and Favier were drawn to Ridgewood for its diversity and appeal as a close-knit community.

“We’re thrilled with the neighborhood,” Taylor said. “We weren’t trying to become a real destination. We just want to be a solid neighborhood bar for the people who live around here.”

It took months of scouting, pounding the pavement and knocking on doors before Taylor found the perfect location for Onderdonk & Sons.

“It took us a year, but in that year, we felt like we really got to know the neighborhood,” he said.
Walking into Onderdonk and Sons is like stepping back in time.

“We wanted an old time New York feel, like the New York of the 1930s and ‘40s,” Taylor said. Curved vintage banquets line the dark paneled walls, creating an intimate, speakeasy-style vibe. The long wooden bar and silver tin ceiling help create what Taylor called a “timeless New York” mood.

Onderdonk & Sons is a bar first and foremost. However, Taylor confessed that for years, both he and wife have wanted to include burgers on their menu, along with their impressive roster of beers and cocktails. “We’re more bar people than food,” Taylor explained. “We’re not trying to be a restaurant. All we want to do is to be a bar with a good burger at a reasonable price.”
Adhering to this philosophy, the burger and fries are currently the only food offerings at Onderdonk & Sons. The traditional, all-beef burger is served on a toasted bun with generous portions of lettuce, tomato and melted cheddar. “We’ve kept it simple and stayed away from the more artisanal bun and those types of things,” Taylor added. “We want to get the burgers right and think we’re going to stop there.” The bar also offers a veggie burger option.

The much-loved burger is part of a daily Happy Hour special offered between 4 and 7 p.m. For $10, you can get a burger with fries and a beer. The Happy Hour specials also feature $4 draught beers and $5 cocktails. The seasonal cocktail menu features classics such as the

Moscow Mule and more adventurous blends like the H.K. Rose, an intoxicating mix of rose wine, lavender-infused honey, rosewater and Dolin Rouge vermouth.

Starting April 11, Onderdonk & Sons will be offering weekend brunch service on Saturdays and Sundays between 11 a.m. and 1 p.m. The all-inclusive brunch menu will include choice of coffee or tea, Bloody Mary, Mimosa or beer, and entree for $12.

The initial brunch menu will include eggs Benedict, eggs Florentine, huevos rancheros, French toast with blueberries and a dish called eggs Onderdonk, which is eggs Benedict with smoked salmon. “We want to keep it very simple, get that right, build the business a bit and go from there,” Taylor explained.

Their impressive beer menu includes twelve taps featuring locally brewed beer from Queens Brewery in Ridgewood and Braven Brewery in Buchwick. In May, Onderdonk & Sons will participate in Queens Beer Week, which will be held in Ridgewood this year. To celebrate the event, the bar will feature only Queens-made beer on all twelve taps for that week and beyond.

The main focus of Onderdonk & Sons is to cultivate a familiar neighborhood following as a bar with good burgers and great beer.

“Our philosophy is that it’s the same bar 365 days a year,” Taylor said.

Onderdonk & Sons
566 Onderdonk Ave., Ridgewood


Community Board 5 appoints new members

| agiudice@ridgewoodtimes.com

Nine new members were appointed to Community Board 5 this week.

The board, which includes Ridgewood, Glendale, Middle Village, Maspeth and Liberty Park, received five new members from City Councilwoman Elizabeth Crowley’s 30th District and four new members in Councilman Antonio Reynoso’s 34th District.

The new members in Crowley’s district are Tobias Sheppard Bloch of Glendale, Karamjit Dawali of Glendale, Sarah Feldman of Ridgewood, David Sands of Glendale and Alex Maureau of Glendale.

In Reynoso’s district, the new members are Raquel Namuche of Ridgewood, Cathleen Knight of Ridgewood, Tom C. Dowd of Ridgewood and Carmen Santana of Ridgewood.

Richard Huber of Glendale was not reappointed this year.

Community board members are appointed by the Queens borough president largely based on the recommendation of the City Council member(s) within the board’s jurisdiction.