2013-05-15 / Front Page

Dutch Kills Meets For Monthly Meeting

By Thomas Cogan

It wasn’t the first time City Comptroller John Liu didn’t appear as expected at a meeting of the Dutch Kills Civic Association, though the first time was years ago and this time, in early May, he had a significant excuse.  He was at a meeting of 10 mayoral candidates, held the same night at Riverside Church in Manhattan, and as one of those candidates he had to find that event more urgent.  What’s more, in the course of the primary campaign he might be available in Dutch Kills some other time, if his scheduler could avoid creating another conflict.  Councilmember Jimmy Van Bramer, also a candidate, appeared as expected, to promote a clean-up day, take a few questions and mention in passing that by all appearances, he is running unopposed for a second term in the City Council.  In addition, there was a short report from the 114th Police Precinct.

The meeting was held at Growing Up Green Charter School on 28th Street near 40th Avenue.  It was announced at the beginning of the meeting that after much effort, the school at last has a crossing guard.  Then, Lieutenant Nicholas Morales of the 114th Police Precinct made an announcement similar to the one made the same day at the Community Board 1 cabinet meeting by Deputy Inspector Stephen Cirabisi, the precinct commander.  The crime rate, Lt. Morales said, is down for the year in the precinct, by a total of 115 index crimes.  All index crimes except rape were down, rapes having increased by two over the same period of 2012.  The 114th is currently rated 71st of the 76 precincts in New York City, the high number indicating a high safety status, the lieutenant said.

He also mentioned Local Law 52, requiring food delivery people to keep their two-wheeled vehicles off the sidewalks and to wear helmets and reflecting vests.  He

said the law would certainly be enforced in the 114th Precinct, signifying his awareness of it, in contrast to D.I. Donald Powers, the departing commander of the 108th Precinct, who said he hadn’t heard  about it, at a meeting held 10 days earlier.  Van Bramer declared himself a sponsor of Local Law 52, or the part of it pertaining to reflecting vests.  He said the bill was passed April 23.  He also said he’s sponsor of an appeal to the Metropolitan Transportation Authority to rename the 39th Avenue station on the Astoria line, making it 39th Avenue-Dutch Kills.  The north end of Dutch Kills is 36th Avenue, where there will be a clean-up day Saturday, May 18, with the councilman leading it.

The councilman had bad news about the budget, saying the many reductions in it were severe.  Instances of cutting include after-school programs, Meals-on-Wheels and the libraries, many branches of which will be closed in the city’s three library systems if these proposed reductions, or any part of them, go into effect.  He had better news too, saying there would be a meeting the following day in Queensbridge Park, where he would announce the beginning of repairs to the seawall on the eastern bank of the East River.  The wall as first constructed years ago ran from a point south of the Queensborough Bridge to where it included the entire length of the park along the river.  Its deterioration has been visible for a long time and repair will be a major project.  Van Bramer said he had contributed $3 million from his discretionary fund toward rebuilding the wall and the fence at the edge of the park, which has largely collapsed into the river.

Someone in the audience brought up something else that involves the East River, or used to:  the Macy’s fireworks show each Fourth of July, which started there

but was switched to the Hudson River after a few years and has not been returned.  The councilman said the show is televised each year and Macy’s has decided the background shots that include New Jersey, No. 1 World Trade Center, the Battery and the Statue of Liberty are better captured when taken from the Hudson side.  He said he and others are trying to get a meeting with the chairman of Macy’s to see if the East River could at least be granted a barge or two full of fireworks, beginning this year.

Van Bramer said the best part of his job is being mindful of his constituents and tending to relatively small matters, “the stuff that doesn’t get into the media.”   He added that in spite of everything, including round-ups of local elected officials accused of malfeasances, politics can be a force for good and he intends to keep proving it.

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