2017-11-15 / Front Page

Community Board 1 Holds November Cabinet Meeting

By Thomas Cogan
News of the arts looked dominant on the agenda of November’s Community Board 1 cabinet meeting, but if reports on street repairs and water pipe installations couldn’t be found in the formal list they still got coverage.  There was a report from the Central Astoria Local Development Corporation about the Home Energy Assistance Program (HEAP) and the workshop agendas of CALDC for this month and December.  Praise was extended to the group by CB1’s District Manager Florence Koulouris for its work preventing an eviction of several Astoria tenants, owing to an unusual situation.  There was also an announcement about this year’s Thanksgiving dinner in Queensbridge.

Hoong Yee Krakauer, executive director of Queens Council of the Arts, had good news about funding but also news that QCA, having become established in an office near the Museum of the Moving Image, must now relocate to Hunters Point.  The increase in funding that’s coming the council’s way will allow it to aid a greater number of artists and continue its affiliation with Queens arts activist Richard Khuzami.  She said that a second cultural district for Astoria will be opened near the new ferry dock.  That will have to be accommodated to the move to a new home, which will be made next September when the council takes occupancy of 5,000 square feet of space in The Maximilian, 5-11 47th Ave.

Tracy Capune, vice president of Kaufman Astoria Studios, said the next Backlot Festival is to be held Saturday and Sunday, June 9-10, 2018 and would be another conjunction of the studios with local businesses and stores.  Nearer to the present time, KAS will provide materials to P.S. 166, 33-09 35th Ave., so the kids there can make Christmas decorations.

Jesse Marchese is the new executive director of the Astoria Performing Arts Center, or APAC.  He had last-minute news about APAC’s current production, the world premiere of Veil’d, a fairy tale of sorts about a girl from Afghanistan coping with her unfortunate skin condition with help from her friends, a poet and a nurse shark.  This imaginative play by Monet Hurst-Mendoza will have its last four performances Thursday and Friday, November 16-17 at 8:00 p.m. and Saturday, November 18 at 2:00 and 8:00 p.m., at Good Shepherd United Methodist Church, 30-44 Crescent St.

Marchese said that the spring production will be Stephen Sondheim’s Follies.  He also said that Good Shepherd can no longer house APAC, so the company is looking for a new home.  For Veil’d tickets, however, call 718-706-5750.

Katy Denny Horowitz, director of external affairs for Socrates Sculpture Park, rounded up the 2017 season, highlighting the shoreline dance festival.  The season having ended, the next one is in the planning stage and artists are wanted for 2018.   She said they will get a $5,000 grant and use of facilities.  There is a design competition for seeding the park, since the grass is necessarily being trampled constantly.  Denny Horowitz said that more and more housing is approaching the edge of the park, which could be good if more interest in the park is generated but negative if it produces over-development. 

An additional emblem of the sculpture park is its Saturday greenmarket, said Barbara Tverdoch, a nearby resident who was present at the meeting.  She added that senior citizens can get discount coupons for food purchases.

News of HEAP benefits and CALDC activities were announced by the corporation’s Housing Director Jo Ann Darcy, who said regular HEAP benefits are available as of the opening online application date, Monday, November 13.  HEAP is designed to help low-income residents pay a one-time amount toward the cost of heating their homes.  Eligibility requirements have to do with income, household size, primary heating source and family members under six years of age and over 60, or older or permanently disabled.  The range of possible fuels is wide:   electricity, natural gas, oil, coal, propane, wood or wood pellets, kerosene and corn.  More information is available from Central Astoria LDC, 717-204-1056.

The year’s remaining CALDC Wednesday workshop is on December 13 at 25-69 38th St. in Astoria. The topic is tenants’ rights and features Tony Yun, Allstate agent, and members of the NYC Commission on Human Rights.  For further information, call 718-728-7820.  Koulouris praised CALDC for its protest of plans made a year ago by the New York School of Urban Ministry to evict students from its dormitory at 31-65 46th St. and turn the building into a privately-run homeless shelter.

Bob Madison, of the Jacob Riis Settlement House, announced the 12th Annual Fall Family Feast, the Dinner in the Gym, to be held at Jacob Riis, 10-25 41st Avenue, on Saturday, November 18, from 12:00 to 4:00 p.m.  This is a free event (hosted by Citibank) for the whole family and includes crafts and performances for children (who must be accompanied by parents) throughout the day.

Karen Ellis, of the NYC Department of Environmental Protection, said that 311 complaint calls from Astoria to the DEP recently had numbered more than 400. Many of them were about construction noise and barking dogs.  She said also that City Councilman Jimmy Van Bramer should be reminded that there are several buildings in his district that are not currently in compliance with water regulations.

Andres Ledesma of Con Edison said that local repair projects are being completed at a steady pace and probably will be totally finished by year’s end.  “Promise?” someone asked loudly and Ledesma smiled.  Ed Cádiz, CB 1 board member, praised Con Ed for recently repairing a gas pipe on 34th Avenue, saying it may have prevented an explosion with grave consequences.

At the meeting to deliver a community advisory regarding rehabilitation of an existing trunk water main was Carlon Barker, community construction liaison of the Department of Design and Construction.  From Monday, November 13 to Wednesday, December 20, 41st Street from Newtown Road to 30th Avenue will be closed from 7:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m., except on weekends, while work proceeds.  After work each day, the street will be re-opened and limited access will be allowed for residents and emergency vehicles.  Any questions or concerns or interest in learning more about the DDC project should be addressed to Ms. Barker at 929-328-0063.





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