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Communities of Maspeth and Elmhurst Together

COMET NEWSLETTER / WINTER 2018

Happy
HoLIdays

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53rd Avenue Speed Bump
Signs Gone
In our last newsletter we
mentioned that “Speed
Bump” signs were installed on
53rd Avenue between 69th
and 70th Streets in Maspeth.
The signs were installed
but a speed bump was
never installed. We reached
out to the Department of
Maspeth Federal’s Recycling Day Transportation to find out
what was going on. Not long
Something for everyone! after our inquiry, both signs
were removed. The agency didn’t get back to us to let us know if they
On September 29th, residents had the
reconsidered the decision to install the speed bump or if the signs were
opportunity to recycle their electronics
installed at this location in error.
and shred valuable paperwork. Maspeth
Federal also arranged for the pet
adoption trailer to be on site for those
who wanted to adopt a pet. Grand Avenue at 69th Place
Children had the opportunity to visit the Folks have been stopping in
pumpkin patch and meet Mickey and the Maspeth Mini Mart to
Minnie Mouse! call attention to the ponding
Once again, COMET volunteers were condition at the side of their
on hand to assist the 104th and 108th store. For some reason, this
Precincts VIN Etch vehicles, register cell condition seems to reoccur
phones and bicycles. COMET handed out annually. About three
crime prevention literature. years ago COMET called
311 to report the problem
Our precincts were able to VIN Etch 22 and someone from the
vehicles in the three hours that were Department of Environmental Protection came and cleaned out the
allotted to us. Many people like to take catch basin. The problem persisted. We followed up with the agency and
advantage of this program because they they came but this time cleaned out the connecting line which resolved
may be eligible for a discount on their the issue. The next year the ponding was back and once again it was
vehicle’s theft insurance. reported and resolved. Block Captain Richie Polgar has taken up the
Thank you to Maspeth Federal for challenge this year and hopefully will be able to get the agency to clean
sponsoring the event and to PO Edwin out the connecting line again. It would be great if the agency can address
Collado, 104th Precinct Crime Prevention and PO Brendan McCaffrey, the underlying problem so the ponding doesn’t reoccur every year.
108th Precinct Crime Prevention. We also can’t forget to thank our
COMET volunteers Richie Polgar, John Connors and his daughter
Shannon, Lucille Winsko, Teresa Marrero, Chammy Liu and James Li. A
special “Shout Out” to COMET member Antonia Guillen who spoke to
Cancer Walk
motorists pulling into the parking lot, explained the VIN Etch Program Block Captain Lucille Winsko’s daughter
and encouraged them to take advantage of it. and granddaughters took part in the
Breast Cancer walk at Jones Beach on
In the photo from October 21st along with thousands of
left to right is survivors and their family members.
Teresa Marrero, It was great seeing so many people
Roe Daraio and getting involved. In the photo left to
Lucille Winsko. right: granddaughter Briana, daughter
Behind them is Jennifer and granddaughter Kristen.
Chammy Liu and
James Li.

Pg. 2 Winter 2018 COMET
DEP Follow-up to Councilman We asked Councilman Dromm’s office to follow up with DEP about the
condition of the water mains in “the valley” which includes, but is not
Dromm Regarding Elmhurst’s limited to, Kneeland, Jacobus, Ireland, Hillyer and adjacent streets.
We have had too many issues during the winter months with manhole
“Water” Issues explosions, water main breaks and sink holes. We asked that the water
mains be inspected. His staff said they will follow up and let us know
55th Avenue when they get a response.
We can’t express the importance of reporting problems as soon as they
occur. These problems were reported immediately but it will take a long
time to actually remedy them. In the case of 55th Avenue, DEP has to
modify the administrative code. In the case of Kneeland Avenue and the
adjacent streets, the agency needs to investigate the condition of the
water mains.

Kneeland Avenue It has been quite some time since
we reached out to Council Member
Dromm regarding the issue of the 55th
70th Street Sewer Project
Avenue’s water main not being city- Still on Track
owned. As we explained in a previous
Folks have been asking about the status of the much-dreaded sewer
newsletter, residents were shocked to
project tentatively scheduled for March 2019 that will affect homeowners
hear the city would not repair a water main break on their block because
in Maspeth and Woodside. With March only a few short months away,
years ago former property owners decided to “opt out” of becoming
we reached out to the agency and were told that the project was bid and
part of the city’s system. The current homeowners were unaware of
the bids came in close to their engineer’s estimate. The construction is
this decision and are anxious to “opt in” so as not to be responsible for
still on track to begin in the spring of 2019. In response to our questions
paying for any future water main breaks. The second issue we brought
we were told that work would likely begin at Calamus Avenue but they
to the Councilman’s attention was the chronic 311 calls in Elmhurst’s
will get feedback from the contractor after they are officially awarded
“valley” area behind the Pan Am Homeless Shelter. Calls were made for
the contract in approximately three months. The contract is currently
exploding manholes, sink holes and water main breaks.
going through the City’s procurement system.
In a letter dated October 26th to Councilman Dromm, the Department
We asked for a copy of the contract
of Environmental Protection’s Deputy Commissioner, Public Affairs &
but were told it will not be posted
Communications, stated:
until they have officially awarded it
“Thank you for your request for more information about water main to the contractor and the funding
ownership and street conditions in Elmhurst to the New York City has been registered with the
Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) following testimony Comptroller. The agency stated they
before the City Council earlier this year. We apologize for the large will do construction around IS 73’s
amount of time needed to fully research these topics. schedule so as not to interfere with the students.
Although they can involve similar issues, mapping a street and As we mentioned in last year’s newsletter the project will include the
transferring ownership of private infrastructure to DEP are different following: combined sewers and distribution water mains on Calamus
processes. Mapping a street is a process that the New York City Avenue between 69th and 70th Streets, 70th Street between 54th and
Department of City Planning (DCP) oversees and the Borough President Calamus Avenues; combined sewers on 54th Avenue between 70th
maintains the records of the final decisions. Mapping a street does not and 71st Streets; combined sewers and distribution water mains on
necessarily transfer ownership of underground infrastructure. 71st Street between Grand and 54th Avenues; combined sewers on
At this time, there is no rules related to DEP accepting maintenance Grand Avenue between 71st and Mazeau Streets; combined sewers
responsibility for a private water main. We are currently promulgating a and distribution water mains on Mazeau Street between Grand Avenue
private water main rule and a modification of the administrative code to and the Queens Midtown Expressway; distribution water mains on 53rd
accept some water mains that are built to DEP standards. The proposed Road between 69th Street and the dead end; distribution water mains on
rule would be similar to a rule related to private sewer drains that was 53rd Drive between 69th and 71st Streets and distribution water mains
published in 1999 (Title 15, Chapter 23). We hope to work with you and on Grand Avenue between 71st Street and 72nd Place. At a meeting
the other members of the Finance Committee during this process. held at IS 73 last year, the Department of Design & Construction (DDC)
told us the project would start in the fall of 2018 and it was pushed back
Concerning the street conditions in Elmhurst, I am pleased to report to March 2019.
that we have completed an investigation of the DE infrastructure that
serves the five locations mentioned in your letter. Most of the sewers and We will continue to monitor this issue closely and hope to work with our
manholes were found to be in good condition. The investigation found elected officials to get another public meeting set up with the agency so
minor cracks, which can be expected of older sewers. We issued work residents can get information and ask questions.
orders to correct these deficiencies.”

COMET Winter 2018 Pg. 3
Neighborhood News 122 units at Queens Motor Inn site
The former site of the Queens Motor Inn, located at 64-11 Queens Blvd
By Christina Wilkinson
will soon host an 11-story, 122-unit building which will include a car
DSNY will now recycle electronics showroom on the first floor. No zoning approvals are needed as this is
Since October 1, 2018, residents in Community Boards 2, 4 and 5 have an as-of-right project. There is no word as to whether there will be any
had the ability to make an appointment to have their electronic waste affordable housing units offered.
picked up by the NYC Department of Sanitation. To schedule a pick-up,
residents can visit nyc.gov/electronics or call 311. Electronics include
More efficient way to file air noise complaints
items covered by NYS law. Appliances that are mostly metal or plastic Surely, we’ve all noticed a change in aircraft noise patterns over the
that are not on this list should be recycled with metal, glass, plastic and past few years and especially the last few weeks. Many of us have taken
cartons. the time to submit complaints to the FAA via their website. But it is a
cumbersome process. Now there is a service that reduces some of the
High lead levels found in local drinking water hassle. The website Airnoise.io provides a simple, quick way to lodge
The City’s Independent Budget Office released a report in September complaints. You can either file complaints on the website for free or
that included the following information: Based on data from both the purchase a button via the same site that will submit the complaints with
compliance and free residential test groups from 2006 through 2016, a simple click. There is a fee of $5/month for the button service and Wi-
the highest rate of lead tests exceeding the EPA action level were in Fi is required.
community districts in Staten Island, outlying parts of Queens and the
Bronx, as well as central and southern Brooklyn...community districts Penelope Avenue sewer project starts up again
with the highest rates of lead water test levels above the EPA threshold October 29, the Department of Design and Construction resumed
include the neighborhoods of Ridgewood, Glendale, and Maspeth in work on the Penelope Avenue sewer project. The installation had been
Queens...Each of these areas had more than 6 percent of samples above delayed due to the revelation that contaminated soil needed to be
the action level over the 2006-2016 period. The housing stock in these removed and that an additional $8M had to be allocated in order to
areas generally dates from the early 1900s and the pipes are more likely do that. After the involvement of the comptroller’s office, the mayor
to contain lead. To order a free water testing kit for lead, please call 311 released the money this summer. Construction is now expected to wrap
or log onto nyc.gov/311. up by the end of 2019.

Rogue towing company given the boot Principe Park renovations may be delayed
The Department of Consumer Affairs (DCA) has revoked the towing The Parks Department revealed that the flooding problem at the
license for All American Auto Body, Inc. as a result of an inspection southwestern corner of the ballfields of Maurice/Frank Principe Park
earlier this summer. The DCA notified All American of its decision in a may need to be alleviated by installing a drain larger than the one
letter on Oct. 1 and added that Salvatore Abate, owner of All American, originally included in the plans. The fields are known to flood so this
will also have his tow truck driver license revoked. According to the DCA, should have been apparent to the planners at Parks from the get go.
All American is no longer allowed to tow out of ROTOW, DARP, private Let’s hope that the problem can be rectified without a major delay in
lots or car accidents reported by the police. In a pair of letters sent by the completion.
DCA on Aug. 24 and Aug. 28, the department notified All American of
its intent to revoke its towing licenses. The Aug. 24 letter alleged that Check Christmas trees for unwanted hitchhikers
All American did not maintain a presence at its business address, 59-01
The spotted lanternfly is a very pretty insect, but it is invasive and
Grand Ave. The Aug. 28 letter asserted that Abate and All American had
destructive. Infestations have posed a real problem in Pennsylvania,
repeatedly violated the department's rules and disregarded the city's
and with Christmas tree season upon us the bug may be spread to our
tow laws, and also noted the department's denial of All American's
living rooms. It is recommended that you check the bark of live trees
renewal application to engage in towing at 56-09 56th Terrace. This is
for eggs before bringing them in the house this season. If you find a
great news for residents of Maspeth who have long complained about
discoloration, spray it with hand sanitizer or rubbing alcohol. The
junked cars littering Flushing Avenue and its side streets.
eggs have been known to hatch from Christmas trees inside the warm
School incorporated into 69th Street/Queens Blvd project environments of people’s homes and we’re sure no one wants to have
to call an exterminator during the holidays!
The owner of a former gas station at 69th Street and Queens Blvd
requested a zoning change for the entire block. The original zoning would
have capped the height of the 2 proposed buildings at 11 and 12 stories
and 289 units. The developer initially proposed to go as high as 14 and
17 stories in order to build 561 units (including some affordable housing)
by exploiting a loophole that was enacted by the City Council 2 years
ago with former Council Member Elizabeth Crowley’s support. Council
Member Holden asked that a school be incorporated into the project in
return for his blessing and now the project will consist of buildings that
are 12 and 15 stories high, a 476-seat K-5 school, 431 housing units of
which 129 will be designated as “affordable”, 5,000 sq. ft. of retail and
202 parking spaces.

Pg. 4 Winter 2018 COMET
The Georgia Diner Site Pigeon Problems
About a year ago we reached out to
Assemblyman Michael DenDekker
and asked what could be done to
create a cleaner environment for
folks who walk under the railroad
overpass at 48th Avenue and 70th
Street as well as the overpass on
69th Street at 47th Avenue. The
Assemblyman reached out to the agency and was able to have wire
meshing installed. You can’t see well from the photo, but the pigeons
It was sad for many of us who grew up in the area to see the well-known were able to get inside the mesh. Assemblyman DenDekker’s office is
Georgia Diner demolished in order to make way for a mega-development looking into a remedy for this problem.
project. The tall buildings going up in our area are taking away the small
town feeling we used to have and are overshadowing our one and two
family homes.
Maurice Avenue
The Georgia Diner site will have a tall building similar to the one in the
photo. Commercial Parking

Report Quality of Life Problems
The NYC Department of Transportation
recently resurfaced some streets in west
Maspeth. When the work was done, Block
Captain Lucille Winsko noticed the manhole
cover on 58th Avenue was half-covered
with tar. She reported the problem and her
neighbors told her someone came to look at it, but as of the printing of
this newsletter the condition has not been rectified. She said she will
follow up. We have received numerous complaints from residents about
the commercial trucks being parked along Maurice Avenue from
approximately 53rd Road to Tyler Avenue.
DSNY Queens West 4 Doing an We have asked our Neighborhood Coordination Officers (NCOs) PO
Outstanding Job! Deighton Shoy and PO Ebonie Nisbett to do whatever possible to
address the problem.

Snow & Ice Removal
We want to remind folks that every owner, lessee, tenant or other
person having charge of any lot or building must clean snow and/or ice
from the sidewalk within four hours after the snow has topped falling, or
by 11:00 am if the snow has stopped falling after 9:00 pm the previous
evening. Snow may NOT be thrown into the street. If the snow or ice
We can’t tell you how many compliments we’ve been getting about becomes frozen so hard that it cannot be removed, the sidewalk may be
the Department of Sanitation’s Queens West 4 in Elmhurst. Elmhurst strewn with ashes, sand, sawdust or similar suitable material within the
resident Ed Misiura told us that whenever there is a dumping problem same time limits. The sidewalk must be thoroughly cleaned as soon as
on 85th Street between 55th and 57th Avenues he calls and Queens the weather permits. FINE: $100-150 for the first offense; $150-$350 for
West 4 comes right away. Residents on Calamus Avenue report the second offense.
dumping at 74th Street under the railroad and Queens West 4 responds NOTE: If you live near a footbridge that hasn’t been shoveled, report it
immediately. They have also been cutting vegetation along city-owned to 311. If the Operator doesn’t have the location in the system you can
property adjacent to the railroad. Woodside resident Antoina Guiillen reach out to your elected officials who can contact the agency directly.
spotted them whacking weeds along Calamus Avenue between 79th Keep in mind that footbridges are not the first priority but should be
Street and Grand Avenue and asked if they could clean up across from addressed in a timely fashion.
St. Adalbert. Her request was granted. Great work Queens West 4!

COMET Winter 2018 Pg. 5
The Lost Town of Winfield present-day Garfield Avenue. The FNS Winfield stop was located near
Madison Avenue (70th Street) and Monroe Street (50th Avenue). The
Now known as Woodside Winfield LIRR stop opened in 1865 less than a half mile away. Finding
itself redundant, the LIRR stop closed in 1876, and patrons used the FNS
stop, renamed “Winfield Junction,” in its place. Both lines were moved
about one block north of their former locations and elevated for safety
between 1912-1915, which is when the Winfield Junction station closed.
There are no traces of either stop remaining, however, the present-day
point in Woodside where the LIRR splits is still referred to as Winfield
Junction. Another rail line called the New York Connecting Railroad, built
around 1915, runs along what was the eastern border of Winfield. The
handsome arches carrying the NYCRR over Queens Boulevard can be
viewed on the Forgotten page entitled Got Connections.

St. Mary’s of Winfield

This information was taken from Forgotten New York and compiled by
Christina Wilkinson. You can read more by going on the website.
MOST OF US CAN name famous generals of the American Revolution
and the Civil War. But how many of us can name those who served in
between?
During his time, Winfield Scott was considered by many to be the
world’s greatest general. He served in the Army for 53 years, and was
the longest active-duty general in U.S. history. It was he who authored
the Army’s first “code of conduct” manual. He was often lovingly (and
sometimes not so lovingly) called “Old Fuss and Feathers” due to his
strict adherence to those rules and his fondness for military pomp and To minister to the predominantly German Catholic population, the
circumstance. church of St. Mary’s was built during the same year that the town was
born. “Winfield” was later added to the name to distinguish this parish
Winfield was situated roughly in the area within the following borders:
from St. Mary’s in Long Island City, when the latter was founded in
Hurl Gate Road (Woodside Avenue) to the north, Mount Zion Cemetery,
1868. St. Mary’s of Winfield, today known as Blessed Virgin Mary Help
Calamus Road (Avenue, today) and Maurice Avenue to the south, the
of Christians, celebrated its 150th anniversary in 2004. The St. Mary’s
New York Connecting Railroad to the east, and New Calvary Cemetery
Drama Guild has some great old photos of the school and church posted
to the west. Its major intersection was where North Shell Road (45th
on their website.
Avenue), Thomson Avenue (Queens Blvd) and Fisk Avenue (69th Street)
converged. This was an excellent place for a settlement, as it was located In 1926, a memorial called “Victorious America”
in close proximity to Newtown, and along the road that connected Long by sculptor James Novelli was installed at
Island City and Jamaica. The adjacent town of Woodside was called so Winfield Plaza by the Winfield Honor Roll
because the area sat beside what was then the Winfield Woods – a.k.a. Association. The base of the sculpture listed the
“Suicide’s Paradise” – where, legend has it, despondent early colonists names of seven residents of Winfield who had
went to commit suicide. made the ultimate sacrifice during WWI.
Though you won’t find Winfield listed on modern maps, the village was, The Plaza, once a central community gathering
at one time, a major center of industry and railroad. The largest employer place, had to be moved to present-day 65th
in the area was a foundry located at the crossroads mentioned above. Place and Laurel Hill Blvd near a BQE off-ramp in
The factory manufactured metal coffins – a good trade to be in with so 1939 when the highway was built right through the heart of town.
many cemeteries in the area. Business later expanded when major rail
lines converged at Winfield. During WWI, the factory was converted into Since that time, the statue has been through the wringer. She not only
an aircraft-making center. The same factory, at another time, also made has had to withstand the effects of weathering, but she also has had her
Singer sewing machines. Alas, the entire complex is now gone. head cut off, frequently found herself covered in graffiti and was hit by
cars on three occasions. She was successfully restored each time she had
Winfield Junction suffered an indignity, but the last car crash in 2001 knocked the old girl
InElectronics
1854, theRecycling
Flushing and North Side Railroad (now the Port Washington out of commission. After a few years in a Parks Department vault, she
LIRR line) was extended to the area. The FNSRR ran at-grade down was restored to the corner in 2011.

Pg. 6 Winter 2018 COMET
Winfield Spur – IND Second System
The IND “second system” was proposed in 1929 and work began
sometime in the 1930’s. Support your community!
From NYCsubway.org: This was designed to provide through service
COMET Dues for 2019 $10.00
to the Rockaways from midtown, and also to serve the neighborhoods Checks or money orders please
of Maspeth and Ridgewood. It would have been a two-track line from
Roosevelt Avenue to a connection with the Central Avenue line…It would
have run as subway to 45th Avenue, elevated to Fresh Pond Road, and NAME:
again as subway to the connection with the Myrtle/Central Ave line. In
anticipation of this line being built, trackways measuring 750 feet along
with a completed station with full tilework were built that connect to ADDRESS:
today’s IND Queens Blvd line at Roosevelt Avenue — Jackson Heights.

Unfortunately, the Great Depression put a quick halt to those plans, and
the area is now used as storage and office space.
EMAIL (optional):

Neighborhood Coordination Existing Member New Member
Officers are here to help
Our Neighborhood Coordination Officers are here to help address quality
of life problems in our community. If you have a question or concern, do
not hesitate to reach out to them. Mail to: COMET
P.O. Box 780151
104th Precinct (Maspeth/Woodside)
Maspeth, NY 11378
PO Deighton Shoy – Deighton.shoy@nypd.org
PO Ebonie Nisbett – Ebonie.nisbett@nypd.org

108th Precinct (Woodside)
PO Richard Kaplan – Richard.kaplan@nypd.org We need
PO Juan Moscoso – Juan.moscoso@nypd.org your support
to continue
110th Precinct (Elmhurst) our efforts in
the community.
PO Donald Lee – Donald.lee@nypd.org
PO Kelsey Cunningham – Kelsey.cunningham@nypd.org

Report Plane Noise
http://www.planenoise.com/panynj/daPRAbr9/qs114wbt.php

C.O.M.E.T. Meetings
Meetings are held at St. Adalbert Parish Center, 52-40 84th Street, lower level.
No meeting in January, Monday, February 4th, Monday, March 4th, April 1st
Newsletter Committee
Mike Fordunski, Richie Polgar, Christina Wilkinson, Tom Porembski, Geraldine Walsh, Howard Moskowitz, Lucille Winsko, Theresa
Marrero, Dick Gundlach, James Zhang, Roe Daraio & Maspeth Press

Special Thank You
This newsletter is made possible by funding from Council Members Daniel Dromm, Jimmy Van Bramer & Robert Holden through
the Department of Youth & Community Development.

COMET Winter 2018 Pg. 7
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