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Communities of Maspeth and Elmhurst Together

COMET
Newsletter Winter 2016

Photo Compliments of Maspeth Federal Savings

Burglaries Top Maspeths List of Concerns


BUT
No Matter Where You Live, You Can Be a Victim
Our 104th Precinct Crime Prevention Officer PO Edwin
Collado has devoted much of his time going door-to-door
in Maspeth putting fliers in doors, and talking to residents
and alerting them about the uptick of burglaries in the area.
In a couple of instances residents were home when the
perpetrator broke in.
If you would be interested in a crime prevention survey, call
your local precinct and ask them to transfer you to your
Crime Prevention Officer.

KEEPING YOUR HOME SECURE

Pg. 2 Winter 2016 COMET

84th Street/57th Road


Footbridge

Tree Stump Removal

For more than a year Maspeth Block Captain Richie Polgar has
focused his efforts on cleaning up the property near the 57th
Road footbridge over the LIE in Elmhurst. This property became
a haven for vagrants, vandals and illegal dumpers. He reached
out to Senator Toby Staviskys office since the property inside the
fence belongs to the state and the footbridge belongs to the city.
Senator Staviskys office had a homeless outreach team respond
to the area but upon arrival no one was at the site.
Now that Richie has been able to get the work done, we are hopeful
that nearby residents will help maintain the area by calling 311
when the wall is graffitied, when the fencing is cut, illegal dumping
or there is evidence a homeless person is living there.

BEFORE...

Getting anything done in the city is a slow process. Drainage


problems, sinkholes and getting your street repaved can take
months even years. Addressing issues dealing with the Parks
Department is an arduous task especially when it comes to pruning,
roots lifting up sidewalks and tree stumps. We received a few
inquiries about having a tree stump removed and reached out to
Council Member Dromms office for answers. Heres the response:
You asked about Parks policy in stump removal. It seems
requesting a new tree will, if the stump isnt too big, get the
stump removed faster

All stumps remaining from tree removal operations performed


by Parks are recorded and registered. Stump removals are
dependent on the availability of funding. We currently have a
backlog of stumps awaiting removal. If you are a property owner
who would like a City-owned stump removed, we have two
options for you to consider:

You can request a new tree via 311 or our tree service request
system, and if the stump is less than approximately 30 inches in
diameter, our planting contractors will remove the stump during
a new tree planting process.
You can obtain a tree work permit from Parks and hire a contractor
to remove the stump at your own expense. If you prefer this
option, permit applications and instructions are available on our
Working On or Near Trees page.

...AFTER

Pg. 3 Winter 2016 COMET

Neighborhood Updates
60-90 Flushing Avenue, Maspeth
We want to thank
Ken
Lazar
from
the Department of
Buildings for letting us
know that a permit was
issued on 09/08/2016
A utility
to renovate the building
pole
and a violation
that was
issued on 09/14/2016
went
for the scaffolding.

84-52 Grand Avenue, Elmhurst


We were recently advised that the owner of this property has
passed away. This is another property that has been abandoned
for years and a friend of the deceased building owner has been
paying just enough back property taxes to keep the property from
going up for auction. Sebastian Maguire from Council Member
Dromms office is trying to find out who will inherit this property.
The building is in an extreme state of disrepair and hopefully
something will finally be done to restore it. Stay tuned!

This building has been lying vacant for years and was finally sold
by the Department of Housing Preservation and Development in
late June. Work finally began in early December. Hopefully the
scaffolding is the first to go.

85-44 54th Avenue, Elmhurst

52-47 69th Street, Maspeth

We were pleasantly surprised


to see that a new door was
installed on this property and
hope it will deter squatters.
The sign on the door gives
the community and NYPD a
contact number should the
property be broken into again.
Unfortunately, the yard is
full of trash that needs to be
cleaned up. Lets hope thats the next step. As most of you know,
this property has been vacant for years. Rumor has it that it was
finally sold. Lets hope so!!

Pg. 4 Winter 2016 COMET

This vacant lot is back in the spotlight. The property owners


removed all the vegetation, concreted the entire space and used
it as a parking lot. A number of violations were issued and the
property owner was required to remove the concrete, plant
grass and remove the illegal curb cut. In late August, residents
told us a portion of the property was being concreted again.
The Department of Buildings (DOB) conducted an inspection
on 09/30/16 and it was found work was done without a permit.
Approximately 900 sq. ft. of concrete work was done with no
filing in DOB records. A violation was issued for work without
a permit. Application #421143765 dated 11/25/15 which was
signed off, allowed for the removal of concrete surface and the
planting of grass. Since there is no legal curb cut on 52nd Drive,
residents can park there.

Update on
Newspaper Dispensers
In our summer newsletter we mentioned that we reached out
to Council Member Crowleys office and asked what could be
done to get rid of the unsightly newspaper dispensers on Grand
Avenue and also by the Post Office on 69th Street. They are no
longer used, broken and graffitied.

Winfield Zombie Houses


The list of vacant properties in our area continues to grow.
These two properties in the Winfield section of Woodside were
recently brought to our attention. We forwarded the locations
to the 108th Precinct and asked if during the course of patrol
they could monitor these properties to make sure vandals dont
break in and set them on fire. These are frame homes and in
close proximity to their neighbors.

We heard back from Council Members office and we were told we


had a partial win. Here is the response they received from the
Queens Commissioners office of the Department of Transportation

67-21 47th Avenue, Woodside


This house has been vacant
for about six months. The
overgrown weeds and trash
make this property a target for
vandals and squatters.

At approximately 7:00 pm on
Wednesday, November 16th,
the 108th Precinct visited the
location and found an individual
inside. They arrested a 40-year
old male who they believe is
homeless. He was arrested for Criminal Trespass and Criminal
Possession of a Controlled Substance.
My apologies in the delay of responding.We will be removing
two news racks from 69thPlace and Grand Street this Saturday,
because one is unknown to the department and the other is out
of business. As for the other news racks that are there, they
are registered with the department and we cannot just remove
them because of how the laws are written and they have their
first amendment rights. However, back in June and again
yesterday we sent a Notice of Correction to each violator for
either: No ID, within 5 feet of a corner area and 18-24 from the
curb. The news rack owners will have seven days to correct
such violation before we re-inspect. During the re-inspection
period if the defect still exists a Notice of Violation will then be
issued to the news racks owner, holding a civil penalty of $100$250 and answerable at the Environment Control Board.
On October 26th, the Department of Transportation advised
the Council Members office that they have "re-inspected the
locations and found that all the news racks are now in compliance
with the law; therefore, no further action can or will be taken.
Our only hope is that Council Member Dromms legislation is
passed and the owners of these news racks clean them up and
use them or remove them.

Pg. 5 Winter 2016 COMET

The 108th Precinct told us that the Fire Department was going to
inspect the building and once its deemed safe it will be sealed.
The 108th will continue to monitor the location.

67-27
After47th Avenue

This property has been a


concern for neighbors for more
than four years. As with the
above location, overgrown
weeds, standing water and
debris outside make this
another attractive spot for
vandals and squatters.
This house received violations
from the Department of
Environmental Protection during the summer for standing water
and recently had a pipe burst in the house. This property is also
being monitored by the 108th Precinct.
If you spot a vacant property on your block its important to keep a
close eye on it. If its not secured and debris starts piling up, contact
the Department of Buildings. Call 911 if you spot trespassers!

61st Street Residents Traffic Nightmare

Tents in Maspeth
Over the past couple of months we have been
receiving reports from residents telling us that
they have spotted tents on the LIE embankment
between approximately Hamilton Place and
Maurice Avenue. To our knowledge, at least six
tents have been removed maybe more. Some
of the tents were erected in dangerous locations
near the service road where they could be easily
hit by a car. A couple of other tents were seen in
Maurice/Principe Park.

We dont know where to start. Is it the


narrow width of the road or the curve,
the fact that its a bus route, illegal truck
traffic, the speeding motorists or all of the
above? Residents on the block believe
all these issues are a contributing factor
to their traffic nightmare. They say all
problems have a solution but were having
a hard time trying to come up with one in
this case.
Residents trying to avoid having their
vehicle sideswiped are forced to park right
up against the curb or slightly on it. When
the Department of Sanitation comes
through to pick up the trash and recycling,
traffic backs up in both directions. Both
MTA and school buses need to navigate
this street along with motorists heading to
and from Fresh Pond Road.

The Q39 already uses Fresh Pond Road (two


way) but diverts to use 61st Street (twoway) for 2-3 blocks because Fresh Pond Road
ends at Flushing Avenue and we need to get
to Grand Avenue. Fresh Pond Road does not
connect to Grand Avenue. Using 61st Street
for those few blocks is the best pathway to
get to Grand Avenue.
Using Fresh Pond Road to bypass some of
61st Street would require sharp turns (Fresh
Pond Road onto Flushing Avenue is a sharp
angle, and wed need buses to turn from
Flushing Avenue to 61st Street to then turn
again onto Grand Avenue to resume our
regular route. This would operationally very
difficult.
For operations and safety we reduce turning
as much as possible and also choose the
straightest paths possible when deciding on
routing.
If anyone has any suggestions to address all or some
of these concerns we would like to hear them.

With winter now upon us, it is imperative that


the homeless be taken to a shelter. Some of
these individuals may need mental health
services and dont realize they can die in a tent
during frigid weather.

We have been alerting the 104th Precinct about


the locations of the tents. They will reach out to
Homeless Services with the hope these men can
be convinced to get assistance.
If you see a tent or homeless encampment, please
notify your local precinct. Provide them with the
most accurate location where it can be found.

New LED Lights


on Maurice Avenue

61st Street is a route for the Q39 bus. The


Department of Transportation will not
consider a speed bump to deter speeding
and illegal truck traffic on a bus route. We
contacted Assembly Member Markeys
office and asked if they would reach out
to the MTA to determine whether or not it
would be feasible to change the bus route
to Fresh Pond Road. The response is as
follows:
In the case for the Q39, we cant make
this change because of street geometry,
and turning issues.
Pg. 6 Winter 2016 COMET

COMET Treasurer Geraldine Walsh spotted these


new lights and realized they werent illuminating
Maurice Avenue between the LIE service road
and 65th Place as well as the old lights. The only
spot that was well illuminated was the area by the
Comfort Inn.
COMET Vice President Mike Fordunski walked the
strip and took these photos which we forwarded
to the Department of Transportation. The agency
surveyed the area and told us all the lights were
working and would conduct a study to determine
whether additional lighting needs to be added.

Warehousing the Homeless


in Hotels is Not the Answer!

Support your community!


COMET Dues for 2017 $10.00
Checks or money orders please

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We commend all the folks who have been working to put an end
to housing homeless in hotels. This practice is not only unfair to
the impacted communities, but also to the homeless.

Existing Member

In October, residents from Maspeth, Elmhurst, the Rockaways,


Sunset Park and other communities converged on City Hall to
let their message be heard.
Council Member Crowleys lawsuit is currently in limbo since
it focuses on the need for kitchens for families. The Mayor
circumvented this by placing single men in the Holiday Inn.

New Member

Mail to: COMET


P.O. Box 780151
Maspeth, NY 11378

We were just made aware of another lawsuit that was filed


by the property owner of the Holiday Inn. This hotel is a land
lease which means the hotel is sitting on land owned by another
corporation. The land owner believes the lease is being violated
since a clause states the lease permits rooms are to be rented
only to hotel guests. We are all waiting for the Courts decision.

We need
your support
to continue
our efforts in
the community.

Report Plane Noise

http://www.planenoise.com/panynj/daPRAbr9/qs114wbt.php

Upcoming C.O.M.E.T. Meetings

St. Adalbert Parish Center, lower level, 52-40 84th Street, Elmhurst. Meetings start at 7:00 pm and are open to all.
No meeting in January. Monday, February 6th, Monday, March 6th

Newsletter Committee
Mike Fordunski, Tom Porembski, Geraldine Walsh, Christina Wilkinson, Richie Polgar, Dick Gundlach, Howard Moskowitz, Lucille
Winsko, Teresa Marrero, Roe Daraio, Maspeth Press

Special Thank You


This newsletter is made possible by funding from Council Members Elizabeth Crowley, Daniel Dromm and Jimmy Van Bramer
through the Department of Youth and Community Development. State funding was provided by Assembly Member Marge Markey
and will be used for graffiti removal and the Maspeth Memorial Day Parade
Pg. 7 Winter 2016 COMET

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Newsletter Winter 2017