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Communities of Maspeth and Elmhurst Together

COMET NEWSLETTER / SPRING 2019

Taking Back the Streets


104th & 108th Precincts Address Quality of Life

The 104th and 108th Precincts have been doing a great


job trying to address chronic parking problems in our
community.
Removing larger vehicles takes time because the precincts
must schedule an appointment for a heavy duty tow truck.

If you see something, say something! If you see something, send something.
Counter Terrorism Hotline Go to the APP Store, type in "see send".
1-888-692-7233 or 1-888-NY-SAFE You can attach photos or send information.
ParkNYC Rust Street

Park NYC is an easy and convenient way to pay


for parking using your mobile phone or web
browser. To access visit: www.ParkNYC.org.
Steps are: download the app, create a
password, enter your license plate, and load your Park NYC wallet with
$25 minimum. If you don’t have a smartphone, call 877-727-5307 to
park by phone.

Notify NYC
Notify NYC is New York City’s official source for important information
about emergency events and important city services. The program House Trailers and Motorhomes
operates out of NYC Emergency Management’s Watch Command Unit
Some folks have seen trailers and motorhomes parking in our area,
where a team of dedicated professionals monitors emergency activity
especially adjacent to manufacturing areas, and have been reporting
in NYC and the surrounding metropolitan area 24 hours a day, seven
them to 311. In some instances, people are living in the house trailers
days a week. Download the free app for your Apple or Android device.
or motorhomes and in cases such as this there’s a certain protocol that
You can also receive notifications by signing up online at www.NYC.gov/
the NYPD needs to follow before the vehicle can be removed. This is
notifynyc and/or by calling 311.
the same procedure used when someone is living in a tent. There were
instances when the police contacted the occupants to do homeless
outreach and the occupants just moved the house trailer or motorhome
Wait! You Can Be a Hero! to another location.
Why wait? Whenever we do laundry, shower, wash dishes, or flush You should continue to report this type of problem to 311, but be aware
the toilet, the water we use goes down the drain and into the sewer. that this is not condition will not be resolved overnight.
But when there’s a heavy rain storm that wastewater has to share the
sewer with LOTS of rain water. On those days, our sewers can fill to
capacity and a mix of wastewater and rain water can end up going into
our waterways. Waiting to use water during a heavy rain storm helps to
84-52 Grand Avenue
keep our waterways clean for our community and wildlife! 84-52 Grand Avenue is located
along Elmhurst’s bustling
Ways to Wait:
commercial strip. Sadly, it has
Doing laundry later; taking a shorter shower, delaying dishwashing, and
been vacant for years and
if you’re really brave wait to flush the toilet.
residents have been keeping a
watchful eye on it to make sure
it was sealed and whenever
Think Before You Flush - Let’s there is an update we pass it

Make a Difference! along to Councilman Dromm’s


office for follow-up. The
Many of us do little things without realizing the negative effect it property was supposedly sold,
may have on the environment. Flushing a small item down the toilet but we have no idea what the
or sink may not seem important, but some of the smallest items can plans are for this site.
contaminate our waterways and even get into our drinking water. Some
In early January, residents
of the bigger items flushed down the toilet can clog our sewers. We urge
noticed the front door was open
folks to take little measures that will help protect our environment. We
and immediately contacted the
suggest that if an item is not made specifically to be flushed down the
Department of Buildings. After
toilet, such as toilet paper, throw the item in the trash.
inspection it was assigned to
Examples of items that should be thrown in the trash: the Building Department’s Emergency Response Team as a Priority A.
Contact lenses, dental floss, facial tissues, cotton swabs, kitty litter,
The inspection, which was done on January 10, 2019, showed that all
tampons, disposable wipes, medications
floors were missing and there was a big drop at the front door of this
The best advice to follow is don’t flush anything down the toilet or drain attached building. If someone would walk through the front door they
unless it was specifically made to be flushed such as toilet paper. would fall to the basement. One window was open on the first floor and
two windows on the second floor were removed. A full vacate order was
issued since the building was unstable.

Pg. 2 Spring 2019 COMET


At this point we have no idea what
lies ahead for this site, but our biggest
Leaning Poles on Calamus Avenue
concern is the quality of life of the
adjacent businesses and residents who
live above the stores. We don’t want
vandals getting onto this site.
55th Avenue
Local residents are keeping an eye on
the situation and reporting problems to
311 or 911, as needed. Hopefully this
situation can be resolved in the near
future. It’s been going on far too long.

Manhole Covers After about two years, Con Ed and Verizon are finally taking action to
Ever vigilant Block Captain Lucille Winsko remove their poles from the yards of residents on Calamus Avenue
is always noticing quality of life problems in Woodside! The poles were temporarily “planted” in the yards of
as she walks around the neighborhood. residents during the massive four-year long combined sewer installation
She spotted this manhole cover 57-34 61st along Calamus Avenue between approximately 71st Street to 74th
Street in Maspeth. She called the problem Street. We want to thank the staff of Assemblyman Barnwell and
into 311. Councilman Holden for following up on this problem.

Unfortunately, 311 problems aren’t rectified right away. In our last


newsletter back in December we mentioned that Lucille turned in
a partially covered manhole cover into on 58th Avenue and it wasn’t Elmhurst’s Mystery Boulder
repaired until February 11th. It turned out to be a Con Ed manhole and
they needed to do work.

Bioswales

How often have you seen something but it didn’t register in your brain
that it didn’t belong there? This was the case for many of us who attend
our COMET meetings at St. Adalbert Parish Center.
If you look around you’ll see that more and more bioswales are being
installed in our communities to help with water runoff. Some residents As we were leaving the meeting one night, a gentleman approached
have “adopted” their bioswale and keep it free from weeds and even us and asked if we could get rid of the boulder. We turned around
plant some flowers or shrubs. Other bioswales are just left barren or full and stared as we realized where it was and how big it was! Some folks
of weeds. believe the boulder has been here for about a year and a half, but others
say it couldn’t be there that long because the street was paved this past
Elmhurst resident Ed Misiura, who has been doing an outstanding job
summer. This is an annoyance for motorists who are looking for parking
cleaning up trash being dumped along 85th Street in Elmhurst, noticed
and can be a danger if a child were to climb on it and tumble off into
the bioswale that was installed on this strip. As you can see from the
the street.
photo, there are no plantings in it and water doesn’t seem to be draining.
He said he would reach out to Council Member Dromm’s office to find When we reached out to Queens Department of Transportation Deputy
out what can be done to improve it. Commissioner Jason Banrey, he sent us a photo from Google and said it
wasn’t there in July. Could it be that a different boulder was there prior
to that and it was removed when the paving was done?
The Department of Transportation said they will work to remove it.

COMET Spring 2019 Pg. 3


Flushing Avenue 54th Avenue at Van Horn
Underpass Graffiti Local residents were happy to see a
construction fence going around the
property on the corner of 54th Avenue at
Van Horn Street. This property has been
neglected and used as a garbage dump for
the past several years.
The really good news is that we heard this house will not be torn down
and replaced with an oversized brick building. It will be converted into
a two-family residence. We can’t wait for the new homeowners to fix it
We want to thank Christina Wilkinson for spotting this graffiti mess on up and settle in!!
the Flushing Avenue underpass, which is about eight blocks long, in west
Maspeth and reporting it. Assembly Member Nolan is following up on Speak Up!
this concern. In a letter dated February 27th, NYCDOT Commissioner
Polly Trottenberg responded to Assembly Member Notlan’s office.
"I am happy to report that the Department of Transportation’s (DOT)
Bridges’ Painting Unit has power-washed a majority of the wall.
However, due to the inclement weather and climate, our crew was
unable to complete the process at that time. Weather permitting, we
expect to return in the spring to finish the work and apply restorative
paint to the wall."

Flushing Avenue Many of us have been contending with the gas company installing new
lines. With the construction comes materials that need to be stored while
Underpass Flooding they’re working in the area. We noticed the gas work was completed on
70th Street and 53rd Avenue in Maspeth but parking spaces were taken
We want to thank Assembly Member up with their material.
Nolan’s staff for having the sewers
under the underpass at Rust Street We placed a call to Assemblyman Barnwell’s office and in no time the
cleaned to relieve the flooding. In a asphalt was removed and a parking space restored. They also took away
letter to the Assembly Member dated some of the material from 53rd Avenue to open up additional parking.
January 17th, the NYC Department of All it took was a quick phone call!
Environmental Protection said,
“Last month, a DEP crew vactored the drainage infrastructure at this
location. The catch basins are now all free of debris and draining storm Elmhurst Resident
water as designed.”
Awarded
Council Member Dromm's representative,

Principe (Maurice) Park Field Sebastian Maguire, was proud to present


Elmhurst resident Richard Stoike with a
and Track citation in recognition of his work with
the working cats of Elmhurst. He sets an
example of how humans and our animal
neighbors can coexist.

Mail Theft Alert (Mail Fishing)


There have been recent incidents where mail is being stolen from
residential and US Postal mailboxes. Thieves are taking the mail to obtain
your checks, credit cards and personal information for the purpose of
COMET Vice President Mike Fordunski told us that the Principe (Maurice) identity theft.
ballfield and track in Maspeth are ready for use. Good news for folks!
• Avoid leaving outgoing mail in mailboxes over Sundays and holidays
There are flooding issues when it rains but we are hopeful the agency
when your mail carriers don’t work;
will take measures to address the problem soon.

Pg. 4 Spring 2019 COMET


• If using a public mailbox, drop off mail as close to the last collection
time as possible; 104th Precinct Tackles
• Shred canceled or voided checks, credit card statements, and any
other mail which contains your personal identifying information.
Parking Violations
• Call 911 if you see suspicious activity. You may remain anonymous
when calling.
• Captain Gibbs, Commanding
Officer at the 108th Precinct
said to keep an eye out for this
sticker on a mailbox. The sticker
alerts you that it has not been
retrofitted to deter mail theft. DO
NOT use that mailbox.

Just like the residents in the Winfield section of Woodside, Maspeth


residents are also frustrated with the out of state license plates and
commercial vehicles taking up parking their parking spaces. Our
Neighborhood Coordination Officers (NCOs) PO Deighton Shoy and
Ebonie Nisbett have been working
on this concern as well as arranging
for a heavy-duty tow truck to
remove larger vehicles that can’t be
moved with a regular tow truck.
West Maspeth residents are mostly
affected by commercial vehicles
and the northern end of Maspeth is
proliferated with vehicles with out
of state license plates.
There’s still a lot of work to be done
108th Precinct Update but let’s hope the violators get the
message.
We were pleased to meet Captain Michael Gibbs, the new Commanding
Officer of the 108th Precinct at our COMET meeting on February 4th. He
mentioned that he formerly worked as the Executive Officer at the 104th
Precinct and is very familiar with our area.
Captain Gibbs mentioned that he would be working with his officers to
conduct an operation in our area of Woodside (we call this area Winfield)
to summons and tow vehicles that have bogus out of state license plates
and no license plates.
Thanks to the efforts of the 108th Precinct and the Department of
Sanitation, we were told 27 vehicles were removed from city streets, 28
summonses were issued and a collection box was removed. NYPD Needs More Heavy
That’s not all! Our Neighborhood Coordination Officers (NCO) PO
Richard Kaplan and PO Juan Moscoso towed a total of 92 vehicles since
Duty Tow Trucks
the NCO program began in October! If we do the math, 92+27=119 A lot more can be accomplished if more heavy duty tow trucks were
vehicles towed in less than four months. That’s impressive! available for our precincts. The 104th, 108th and 110th PrecinctS must
schedule an appointment to remove large vehicles including tour buses
However, their job is far from done. If you drive through the area you’ll
and trucks and this is the reason why residents have to wait for so long
still see numerous “suspicious” vehicles parked throughout the industrial
before their concerns are addressed. Residential parking is at a premium
area and near St. Mary’s. They have assured us they’ll continue to crack
and these vehicles should be removed in a timely fashion.
down and open up parking spots for our residents.

COMET Spring 2019 Pg. 5


Environmental protection and asked that the sewers and manholes be

Councilman Dromm Offers Free inspected as soon as possible. As most of know by now, projects like this
take time. The agency must evaluate the problem, come up with a plan
Community Legal Services and get funding for the project.
The project was an inconvenience for some of the residents, but we
Clinics are held twice per month until June 2019.
didn’t receive any complaints about lack of parking and the agency
To make an appointment call 718-803-5373 worked in a professional manner. Folks were pleased the project was
37-32 75th Street, Jackson Heights 11372 underway.
In partnership with The City University of New York
CUNY School of Law, Law in the service of human needs
70th Street Sewer Project
Folks are probably wondering what’s going on with the 70th Street

Elmhurst “Valley" sewer project which was slated to begin this month. The Department of
Design & Construction is finalizing the project with the contractor. Once
Gets New Sewers! everything is finalized we believe another public meeting will be held in
IS73. Most likely the meeting will be held sometime in April.
The initial meeting held to alert residents to the upcoming project was
poorly attended. Some folks believe they don’t need to attend these
meetings and can easily get an update from a neighbor. Second-hand
information isn’t necessarily accurate. The upcoming meeting to give us
specific details and timeline of the project is our opportunity to bring
up concerns such as parking issues, potential property damage and
access in and out of the affected streets. We all need to participate in
this dialogue!

Dig Site Markings


With all the construction going on in the community, we thought folks
would be interested in knowing what the various color paint being
sprayed on their sidewalks signify.
Standard Color Codes
Paint, flags, or stakes indicating the presence of a buried facility should
correspond to the following color codes:
Red = Electric
Yellow = Gas/Oil/Steam
Orange = Communications/CATV
Blue = Water
Green = Sewer
Pink = Survey Markings
White = Proposed Excavation

2019 started off on the right foot for residents who live in the vicinity of
Kneeland Avenue, Hillyer and Ireland Streets thanks to funding provided
by Council Member Daniel Dromm. Signs were posted and work began
to address the multifarious water issues affecting the community. Some
of the issues included sinkholes, exploding manholes, brown water and
water bubbling up from the ground.
The seriousness of the issue jumped out when a local resident did
some research and forwarded us a list of 311 calls placed by residents
throughout the area. There were dozens and dozens of calls placed
within a short
Electronics time frame. Councilman contacted the Department of
Recycling

Pg. 6 Spring 2019 COMET


Maspeth Massage Parlor
Finally Closed!

Say Goodbye to
Atlas Floral Decorators
Atlas Floral Decorators, which is located at the corner of 47th Avenue at
70th Street, has been standing at this location for decades. The building
will now be demolished to make way for a mega-development project
We were thrilled to hear the massage parlor at 66-47 Grand Avenue was recently approved by Councilman Robert Holden. The project will
finally closed. Our complaints to the NYPD went back as far as 2015 but consist of buildings that are 12 and 15 stories high, 431 units of housing,
didn’t see a resolution until early 2019. 5,000 sq. ft. of retail, and a 476-seat K-5 school, and 202 parking spaces.
Residents fear that parking, which is already limited, will become worse
If anyone has information regarding illegal activity such as this, pass it
with the overflow of cars from the new tenants and school personnel.
along to your Neighborhood Coordination Officers.

Neighborhood Coordination
Officers are here to help
104th Precinct
PO Deighton Shoy – Deighton.shoy@nypd.org
PO Ebonie Nisbett – Ebonie.nisbett@nypd.org

108th Precinct
PO Richard Kaplan – Richard.kaplan@nypd.org
PO Juan Moscoso – Juan.moscoso@nypd.org

110th Precinct
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
Monday, April 1st; Monday May 13th; Monday, June 3rd
Newsletter Committee
Mike Fordunski, Richie Polgar, Christina Wilkinson, Tom Porembski, Lucille Winsko, Geraldine Walsh, Howard Moskowitz,
Theresa Marrero, Dick Gundlach, Roe Daraio & Maspeth Press

Special Thank You


This newsletter is made possible by funding from Council Members Daniel Dromm, Jimmy VanBramer & Robert Holden through
the Department of Youth & Community Development

COMET Spring 2019 Pg. 7


C.O.M.E.T., INC PRSRT STD
P.O.Box 780151 U.S.Postage
Maspeth, NY 11378 Paid
Flushing NY
Permit #1264

Please Deliver To:

Mark Your Calendar!


Upcoming Events With Maspeth Federal

April 17th May 19th


Mammo Mobile Flea Market, Maspeth Kiwanis
(Main Office)

May 20th
April 27 th
Memorial Day Candlelight Vigil
Earth Day-Shred & Recycle & Animal Adoption,
104th & 108th Precincts will VIN Etch vehicles
May 22nd
Printed by www.MaspethPress.com

(you may be eligible for a discount on your theft


insurance), register cell phones and bicycles Town Hall Flower Planting

April 28th May 26th


Car Show (Rain Date May 5) ECCA Memorial Day Parade