2015-09-16 / Front Page

CB 2 Reconvenes For Fall

By Thomas Cogan

September 10 was Community Board 2’s occasion to resume the normal schedule of monthly meetings, following two months of vacation.  Board Chairman Patrick O’Brien began the meeting with the usual flag pledge; and given the next day’s date, he later called for a moment of silence.  The roster of speakers included City Councilman Jimmy Van Bramer, but he was not available.  Among those who were was Iggy Terranova of the Department of Sanitation.  Public comment speakers brought up Access Queens, Access-a-Ride and the progress of the Long Island City ferry, in addition to the ongoing topic of legislation to ban smoking in multi-resident buildings, which at last made its way to a health committee vote.  O’Brien also announced that nominations for board officers would be made in October, with the election to follow in November.

Iggy Terranova got a rousing reaction to his opening announcement, that the Department of Sanitation is expanding its organics program throughout the city.  According to the department, organic waste, which includes plant life, food scraps and material such as paper napkins and plates, makes up nearly one-third of all waste disposed of in the city.  With this program, the department attempts to reduce landfill areas, deter pests by storing waste in impenetrable containers and greatly expand composting.  Terranova said the department has lately been developing the program in the Bronx and Brooklyn.  He said he couldn’t be sure when it would be functioning in the community board’s district but said it was definitely on the way.  

A closer consideration is the coming fall and winter.  Terranova reminded everyone that the current warm weather notwithstanding, the weeks to come would eventually bring cold weather conditions.  He said that round-the-clock activity would commence in November, which would entail nighttime pick-ups.  He added that the department wants to expand the work force and the number of e-waste pick-up days. 

O’Brien addressed the latter by saying there would be a safe disposal event in the Astoria Park parking lot on Saturday, September 19 and electronic devices would be among the items accepted.  Near the end of Terranova’s speaking time he said something surprising about summonses issued by the Sanitation police and what those who are ticketed should do. 

“Always fight them,” he said.  “Even if you know you’re guilty, fight them.”  He said you never know what a court judge will decide in your case.

Councilman Jimmy Van Bramer had other business preventing him from appearing at the meeting, but his aide Jason Banrey was present with some pertinent announcements.  First, the new Public School 361, at 57th Street and 39th Avenue in Woodside, was opened for classes Wednesday, the day before.  New schools in both Woodside and other parts of western Queens are also on schedule for opening fairly soon, he added.  He referred to the August ceremony creating Luke Adams Way, the segment of 46th Street—or as Adams preferred, Bliss Street—where the Sunnyside Arch stands, below the 46th-Bliss Street station of the No. 7 line.  Finally, he anticipated the further installation of Citibikes in the area now that the bicycle station in Long Island City is in operation.

Public comment time began with a man who introduced Access Queens (accessqueens.org), a group that tracks the doings and misdoings of the Metropolitan Transportation Authority in matters pertaining to the No. 7 line.  He was followed by Jim Condes, Woodside resident, who expressed his disappointment in City Councilman Van Bramer for never responding to his complaints about Access-a-Ride, a car service he has denounced repeatedly for what he believes is its abominable performance.  Christian Amez, active in several things from Woodside to Hunters Point, encouraged everyone to attend the Hunters Point Civic Association meeting Wednesday, September 15 where a man from the Economic Development Corporation was expected to talk about the ferry service planned to run from nearby boroughs to Long Island City.  O’Brien clarified where the ferry might be docking, at either 44th Drive on the East River or the Anable Basin.  The next speaker, Sara Nordmann, introduced herself as a stand-in for Rachel Thieme, executive director of Sunnyside Shines, the Business Improvement District (BID) with an office at 45-56 43rd St.  The director is away on maternity leave, Nordmann said, and has indeed given birth to a son.
Sabrina Parker, from the Department of Health and Mental Hygiene, broached the issue of banning smoking in residential buildings by denouncing all smoking to begin with.  She said the once-ubiquitous practice is now so despised that even smokers, those souls restricted in all weathers to indulging their habit outside bar/restaurants or other areas of banishment, do not allow smoking in their homes—53 percent of them saying so in a recent poll.  Daniel Koningsberg, who has been circuit-riding Queens to promote support of legislation mandating smoke-free residences, said he hoped the board would pass such a resolution before the meeting was over.

The chairman’s address began with a call for a silent moment in memory of those killed September 11, 2001.  He proceeded to say that after looking over recent City Council activities there is probably need for at least one extraordinary public board meeting, perhaps one concerned with the issue of affordable housing.  He begged that people refrain from inflammatory rumors arising from reports of expansion plans for Phipps Houses, the 85-year-old apartment complex that stands on several blocks along 39th Street in Sunnyside; and please dismiss as false rumors that the city will attempt to alter Barnett Avenue, either behind Phipps Houses or at some other point.  He issued certificates of merit to Richard Gundlach for 20 years’ service on the board and the Reverend Joseph D. Jerome for 15.  Looking forward to October nominations and the November election, he said that submitting new names is encouraged.  The board’s cadre may tend to be the same members year after year, but it’s not a closed system.  

The last order of business was a vote by the health and human services committee to see if there was sufficient support for legislation on smoke-free residences.  Committee Chairwoman Carol Terrano had submitted her resignation during the vacation, being occupied with many other activities.  New Chairwoman Moitri Savard M.D. favored a vote of support and so did everyone else, since it was passed unanimously in a raised-hands poll.

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