Tag Archives: Susan Seinfeld

Bayside civic leader Frank Skala dies at 78


| asuriel@queenscourier.com

Photo courtesy of Senator Tony Avella

Bayside civic leader and retired school teacher Frank Skala died late Sunday evening in Long Island’s St. Francis Hospital.

Skala, 78, was an active community leader, serving as a member of Community Board 11 from 2003 until failing health forced him to step down in the spring of 2015. He also founded the East Bayside Homeowners Association in 1974, and was awarded a Liberty Medal in June from state Senator Tony Avella for his community service.

According to information provided by Avella’s office, Skala was a lifelong Queens resident who lived for more than seven decades in a house purchased by his parents in 1940 on Bayside’s 219th Street.

“To capture the legacy of Frank Skala and his contribution to Bayside, Queens, would require more than several sentences could possibly allow,” Avella said.

Skala completed all of his education in Queens, attending P.S. 41, Bayside High School and Queens College for both his undergraduate history degree and graduate degree in education. His career teaching junior high school American history and geography spanned for a total of 33 years.

Community Board 11 District Manager Susan Seinfeld recounted memories of Skala, who refused modern conveniences such as a cellphone or computer and would always send flowers after hearing of someone suffering from an illness or accident.

“Frank was a very unique person: very opinionated, very old-fashioned,” Seinfeld said. “A real old timer who did not like modern technology but was the most thoughtful person.”

Skala is survived by a son, a daughter and two grandchildren.

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Parking meters upgraded along Bayside’s Bell Boulevard


| asuriel@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/Photo by Alina Suriel

Bell Boulevard in Bayside has had new “pay-and-display” parking meters installed as part of a citywide update.

According to Community Board 11 District Manager Susan Seinfeld, all meters in New York City will eventually be switched to a new model being used as part of an upgraded system.

The new hardware has a similar appearance to the old meters with the exception of a more compact, rectangular shape. Solar panels are built directly onto the top of the meter, instead of attached to a separate upward-facing platform as before.

The old meters will remain on the street until the new ones can be completely integrated into the system, but are not usable.

To patrons of the commercial Bayside commercial stretch, the switch is a major improvement over the old meters, which were frequently broken or out-of-service.

Bell Boulevard shopper Eileen Anderson said she once found three broken meters in a row on Bell Boulevard, and had to go to a meter on a completely different corner than where she parked her car.

“I was a little frustrated,” said Eileen Anderson, “I was annoyed.”

Local food service worker Juan Carmona said he often saw meters with red lights on to warn users of malfunction and has also experienced difficulty with meters not accepting payment cards or just not working.

“It frustrates me, but I work right here so it doesn’t make me late.”

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Five city trees illegally chopped at former Bayside Hills gardening center site


| lguerre@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/Photos by Liam La Guerre

Updated Saturday, July 27, 11:40 a.m.

The former site of the Keil Brothers gardening center in Bayside Hills isn’t a place for timber anymore.

Five city-owned trees with an estimated value of more than $340,000 saw the buzzer last week, resulting in complaints from residents and possible criminal charges and fines from the Parks Department.

Four ash trees and one American sycamore were killed. The trees were estimated to be at least 30 years old. The Parks Department is working with police to investigate the killing of the trees.

“Arborcide is a serious crime that deprives communities of the cleaner air, cooler streets and additional oxygen that trees provide,” Queens Parks Commissioner Dorothy Lewandowski said. “NYC Parks is working with the NYPD to investigate the arborcide of these five Bayside trees, and will pursue full replacement value.”

The Keil Brothers merged with Garden World in Flushing earlier this year, and sold part of the site to the Department of Education and the section in question to 48 Garden Realty LLC in July, city filings show.

Trees on both the 48th Avenue side of the property and the 210th Street side were cut. However, only the saplings on 210th Street were privately owned, while the sprawling 50- to 60-foot-tall city trees on 48th Avenue belong to the city.

Representatives for 48 Garden Realty LLC could not be reached for comment as there is no contact email or number listed for the the firm.

Residents weren’t happy about the landscape change and Councilman Mark Weprin promised charges would come.

“Arborcide is a criminal offense, and I will be working to support the Parks and Police Departments to see that the perpetrators are prosecuted to the full extent of the law,” Weprin said.

Photo courtesy of John Richard

Although leaders at Community Board 11 said they hope new trees will be replanted, and the Parks Department is promising to seek full replacement, residents are still troubled by the loss.

“It was devastating. Instead of an empty lot, I was looking at a forest,” said John Richard, who lives across the street. “It’s sad because it takes 45 years to grow those things, but a day to cut them down.”

 

EDITOR’S NOTE: A previous version of this article stated the trees were cut by the lot’s current owner, 48 Garden Realty LLC, based on misinformation. The Parks Department confirmed that the NYPD investigation is still ongoing.

 

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