2017-05-17 / Front Page

CB 1 Gathers For May Meeting

By Thomas Cogan
May’s meeting of the Community Board 1 cabinet meeting had a list of five speakers that was shortened by absence to three.  When the meeting had to be thrown open to questions and participation by those in attendance, they were in a talkative and assertive mood.  The three speakers who did show up (one a substitute for the original one) were enthusiastic for their organizations and causes and created a fine show of interest, which was matched by the interest the ad hoc speakers created when they responded to the call made by the community board’s District Manager Florence Koulouris, moderator of the meeting.

First to speak was Julia Bathurst, executive director of Astoria Performing Arts Center, or APAC, who had three things to talk about.  The first was Raisin, a musical version of Lorraine Hansberry’s drama, A Raisin in the Sun. The second was two-part:   Senior Stars, the annual musical show featuring talented old folks, and Summer Stars, another annual show, this one featuring talented young folks.  Senior Stars auditions are this Saturday, May 19 and Summer Stars auditions are Saturday, July 29.  The third part was the search for a new performance site.   

Raisin, which opened on Broadway in 1974 and starred Joe Morton, won the 1975 Tony for best musical, while the drama, starring Sidney Poitier, opened in 1959 and was a movie with Poitier in 1962.  APAC’s production of Raisin has been running at Good Shepherd Methodist Church, 30-44 Crescent St., since early in the month.  Remaining performances are Thursdays and Fridays, May 18 and 19 and May 25 and 26 at 8:00 p.m.; and Saturdays, May 20 and May 27 at 2:00 and 8:00 p.m.  Ticket prices are $18, or $12 for students and seniors.

Good Shepherd Methodist Church has been the temporary home of APAC for several years but for reasons of its own cannot be that any longer.  For a similar length of time, APAC has searched for a permanent home.  At the moment, however, it is again looking for a temporary one and is crowd-sourcing in the effort to find either.

Speaking for Sunnyside Community Services was Areles Batista, a case manager, present at the meeting in place of Patricia Ritayo, program director of case management.  Case managers give aid and consultation to men and women who are (1) 60 or older, (2) have perhaps been hospitalized recently, (3) may find it hard to travel to medical appointments or (4) might even find it difficult to maintain their own living quarters properly. For those situations and more, SCS case managers assist or even advocate for the elderly from Long Island City to Middle Village, Batista said.  Koulouris contributed a word of praise when she said that her predecessor as district manager and meeting moderator, Lucille Hartmann, “raved about” the way SCS assisted her mother.

The last scheduled speaker was Dan Benjoya of the Long Island City Partnership, where he is head of field operations for the LICP Business Improvement District.  He said that the BID is currently expanding and should end up at twice its old size.  He said the BID has been cooperating with companies both locally-based (Jet Blue) or operational locally (Tishman-Speyer) on improvement projects, such as beautification, which Koulouris proclaimed is essential.  Benjoya also invited everyone to attend the

Long Island City Summit for 2017, which will be held Tuesday, June 20 from 8:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. at the Museum of the Moving Image, 36-01 35th Ave.

When Koulouris asked for volunteer speakers, Karen Dennis of the Drug-free Community Coalition responded by saying there would be a DFCC meeting Wednesday, May 31 at 4:00 p.m. at the Long Island City Library, 37-24 21st St.  There is to be a discussion of drugs, including alcohol and prescription medications, and their effect on youth, which will involve young participants and their parents.  Dennis said that there is a wide communications gap between youth and their elders that is brought out in conversation.  For further information, call 718-207-3000.  Koulouris endorsed the coalition’s meetings, calling them important and informative.

Carlon Layne-Barker, community construction liaison for Gaco Engineering P.C. and the Department of Design and Control said that soon there will be the installation of a new trunk pipe on Crescent Street that will run several blocks and greatly affect side streets, such as Broadway.  Koulouris complained that all this street work makes driving and parking an unbearable ordeal, though the city is quite unsympathetic. 

Apropos of street repair, a Department of Transportation representative said that a street which has been repaired becomes a “protected street” when repairs are completed.  Thereafter, barring emergencies, it cannot be opened for 18 months without special permission from the DOT.  

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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