2013-04-10 / Front Page

CB2 Discusses Parking, Sanitation And Green Market

By Thomas Cogan

There were no difficult or controversial building applications at April’s Community Board 2 (CB2) meeting, just a couple of them that were easily approved.  Most of the meeting was devoted to public comments and most of those were about the streets of Hunters Point, which are getting a reputation for litter and unsightliness that some residents nevertheless say is no call for alternate side of the street parking and its attendant rules.  The objection to alternate side parking, or ASP, has been strong since the mid-January meeting at P.S. 1 that covered it and other Hunters Point issues; but the April CB 2 meeting brought some counterforce that included a report on less-than-neighborly behavior over the issues.  
In other news, a woman who had been at the most recent 108th Precinct Community Council meeting renewed her complaint that the police are not accepting sufficient responsibility for troubles in Woodside, particularly in Windmuller Park, and found sympathetic ears.  
The committee reports included more news from Newtown Creek and further recognition that what is proposed for a school program in Astoria should have the attention of parents everywhere.
Leading off when the time came for public comment was Ryan Morningstar, who is with the company that runs the Union Square greenmarket and proposes to open a greenmarket at 40th Avenue and Vernon Boulevard, near Queensbridge Houses, this summer.  
Next up was David Rosasco, from Woodside, who suggested the community board establish term limits for itself because, as he said, “I don’t want the community board to be a snapshot of 1985.”  For that and other brash remarks he was denounced as insulting, but he didn’t back down; and he had praise also, for the way the Mormons conduct clean-up campaigns in Woodside.
Among those who joined in the great alternate-side issue in Hunters Point is Moitri Savard M.D., who said her office was picketed by those impatient with her support for ASP.  The doctor described Hunters Point as “at sea level and growing in population”, suggesting that the local citizens should realize they have to deal with changes and perhaps uncomfortable choices, and that neither complacency nor defensive attitudes will make them go away.  Board Chairman Joseph Conley was bothered by the way Dr. Savard, a CB 2 board member, was treated.  He agreed with her that the Hunters Point streets are filthy and that the local residents must work together, not as adversaries, to solve that and other problems.  Eric Greenberg, who runs Green Mountain Graphics at 21-10 44th Drive, said he sees both sides of the ASP controversy but says something must be done about all that litter.  “Cleaner is better,” he said; dirtier is not, and with Hunters Point “exploding”, the sanitation problem is large and promising to become massive.  Patrick Thompson, who moved to Hunters Point just in time to encounter the ferment, suggested a large public turnout once a month for a public clean-up of the streets, while a woman proposed the alternate-side-of-the-street regulations be in force only one day a month.  She said additionally, “Everyone wants something and everyone has to swallow something they don’t want.”
The woman at the recent 108th Precinct meeting was distressed about teenagers using Windmuller Park as a hangout and also about the traffic situation caused by cars speeding into Skillman Avenue from Roosevelt Avenue at the 56th Street entrance.  Encouraged to come to the CB 2 meeting, she did.  She repeated her complaint that Commander Deputy Inspector Donald Powers told her it is the Parks Department’s responsibility to supervise the presence of people in the park, before or after any posted closing time.  Police come into the park only to deal with clear and present criminal activities, he said, and he parried arguments from her and several others for a good part of the meeting.  The woman’s plea gained a willing listener in Conley, who said the police should more directly address certain local problems such as disruption in the parks.  He added that he hopes to set up a meeting with the commander about duties and responsibilities.
A young woman announced that she is launching a thrift shop, open Wednesday through Saturday at 45-10 Davis Street, right off Jackson Avenue and under the No. 7 line.  She said she is from Manhattan and is a member of Community Board 4 there.  Finding Long Island City preferable to her old shop site in Hell’s Kitchen, she closed that one and has started this.  Another young woman, Nicole L. Abate-Gioino, whose card says she is a pediatric occupational therapist, is opening Sensory City Pediatric at 11-11 44th Road.  It opens Monday, April 15, and true to its name it is geared toward the occupational therapy needs of children.  Denise Downey of Queens Library came in to say what the library is trying to do for the elderly.  She is on an idea quest, hoping that the ones who offer their opinions about elders’ concerns will offer them also on Older Adult Day at the Flushing Library, Wednesday, May 22.
At committee reports time, land use’s presentation of Bar 43’s application for renewal of its outdoor seating got swift approval.  (In a related report, Penny Lee of City Planning said that while outdoor seating for bars and restaurants in Hunters Point and Sunnyside has been approved, most of the affected businesses will not have such seating until the summer.)  The vote for Bar 43, 43-06 43rd Street, was unanimous; and while the vote that followed had abstentions, all the committed voters were positive.  At the center of the issue was a health club and rock-climbing facility, to stand at 11-11 44th Drive.
Dorothy Morehead of the environment committee said that British Petroleum is building two “huge barges” for removal of sludge from Newtown Creek.  The Army Corps of Engineers plans to conduct a dredging operation there in October.  There is also a sediment examination project going on in the creek.  It’s expected to last 20 years and its purpose is to fix responsibility on the part of every polluter for each of the pollutants found.  She also said that the revival of the six-mile-long creek is now at the stage where people are angling for fish and crabs in its waters.  What’s more, a pollution check made after Sandy revealed the creek was cleaner than it was before the storm hit at the end of October.  Where, one board member inquired, did the pollutants go after Sandy took them away?  “Who knows?” Morehead replied, eliciting murmurs about which land areas in the vicinity of the creek might now be more polluted than they were before the storm.
Jean Coruba of the education committee brought word of the imperiled Gifted and Talented program at P.S. 122, 21-21 Ditmars Blvd. in Astoria, and found most of her listeners unaware.  She said the city’s Department of Education intends to reduce the size of the program so it can stock the slightly overcrowded school with students from a seriously overcrowded one.  Coruba, who has a daughter who was in the program at P.S. 122, repeated the widely-assumed belief that the eventual plan is to turn 122 into a charter school.  She asked for a motion of support for Gifted and Talented as it now stands and got it.  She then asked for a motion of disapproval in the matter of her next item, a plan by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation to acquire comprehensive information on public school students.  Again, she found quick agreement.
Conley congratulated Gert McDonald on being one of the honorees at a City Hall ceremony in March celebrating Women’s History Month.  McDonald, still active in civic affairs though nearing 100, was an honoree last year in Councilmember Jimmy Van Bramer’s first WHM awards ceremony.  
Conley also said that the Lou Lodati Playground at Skillman Avenue and 43rd Street, which is undergoing repairs, would be a new, improved playground when it reopens in the summertime.  He announced three new members of the board were in attendance though not yet voting:  Shampa Chanda, William Garrett and Elba Santiago.

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