2017-12-13 / Front Page

CB 2 Closes Out 2017

By Thomas Cogan

The last Community Board 2 meeting of the year, held as usual at Sunnyside Community Services, got only so far with an unenclosed sidewalk café application but heard some interesting things from departingCouncilwoman Liz Crowley; informative stuff from Letitia James’s representative and an Elmhurst Medical Center man who could be called a health evangelist.  There was a further installment of the battle of cars and bicycles; risky roadways; and a denunciation of the group, Transportation Alternatives. A woman had a disturbing report about being assaulted by a trio of other women in mid-afternoon in Woodside.  The recall of Kidde fire extinguishers was brought up and so was that nightclub on 21st Street, which has reportedly aroused the wrath of a local legislator. With all this and more, including a faulty microphone, the December meeting was long.

When Liz Crowley came before the board she said she was making her last appearance as a councilmember, having served a small part of CB 2 for the past nine years. She said her parting accomplishments included securing $2.8 million for the repair of Big Bush Park.  She also said the City Council is making progress to curb the spread of storage warehouses such as CubeSmart.  She had faith in another of her promotions as she said the long-discontinued Long Island Railroad train, from Jamaica to what is now called Hunterspoint station in Long Island City, has other backers and could be operating shortly.  Crowley was recently defeated in a primary election by Bob Holden, an activist and head of the Juniper Park Civic Association.

Stacey Eliuk, from Public Advocate Tish James’s office, said the Worst Landlords List is out and has embarrassed landlords in Sunnyside and Woodside.

Ken Madrano of Councilman Jimmy Van Bramer’s office said that the councilman’s current pursuits include identifying the 50 most dangerous traffic intersections in school areas and assuring accountability for sexual harassment.  He said Van Bramer will lead a town hall meeting with officials of the Department of Transportation on Tuesday, December 19 from 6 to 8 p.m. at Sunnyside Community Services, 43-31 39th St.  When asked about the old garage on 48th Street and Barnett Avenue, proposed by many as the site of a new middle school, Madrano said there was nothing new to report.  He mourned the death of Pat Huber, a woman he said was quite helpful to him, adding that we should cherish loved ones and friends while we still have them.

A guest speaker followed:  Israel Rocha, CEO of New York City Health and Hospitals/Elmhurst, who had some hospital news.  For one thing, there are representatives  who will be talking about health issues, beginning with a Spotlight on Kidney Health by George Coritsidis, chief of nephrology at Elmhurst.  He will speak at the Woodside Library, 54-22 Skillman Ave., at 2:30 p.m. Friday, January 5.  For another, he said that a state-of-the-art emergency room will open at Elmhurst during the winter.  Rocha was quite enthusiastic about health issues, saying that he promises to put himself at the disposal of all.  He had a couple of tsachkes for his listeners:  stress squeezers, which are usually ball-shaped.  These in contrast were (a) gray and in the form of a brain and (b) red, in the form of a heart, complete with auricles and ventricles.

The local speakers’ segment began with Pat Dorfman, who urged everyone to come to the December 19 meeting at SCS to hear about DOT’s plans for Skillman and 43rd Avenues, which she finds disruptive.  CB2 will take up the matter at its January meeting.  Larry Smith, of Sholom & Zuckerbrot, which purchased the old Swingline factory on Skillman at Queens Boulevard, said that at present there are several small companies there whose workers now find that the city wants to remove several parking spots, apparently to install bicycle lanes.  That got Carol Terrano of Woodside upset.  She said that DOT, the department that must execute the removal, is the worst agency in the city—worse even than that traditional villain, the Department of Buildings.  An even angrier speaker followed to denounce the car traffic critics, Transportation Alternatives, as a bunch of “phonies” and bike fanatics.

Christa Wolfe made an appearance in October, with a plea for clothing and food contributions for the homeless, in an initiative she was backing.  She reported that the result was successful and that there are now five local churches in on the plan.  Amit Bagga, a resident of Celtic Park, said the junction of 42nd Street and 48th Avenue, near his apartment building, has a two-way stop sign, at 42nd Street, but needs a similar installation on 48th Avenue to make the intersection four-way and less hazardous.  He hoped CB 2 would become active in demanding it.

The Consumer Affairs application for an unenclosed sidewalk café with 13 tables and 52 seats was made by Vernon Grill, 48-20 Vernon Blvd.  It is a corner establishment and the outdoor facility would be on both 48th Avenue and 49th Street.  There were complaints, about insufficient clearance for sidewalk pedestrians; restaurant garbage left out in the open on recent occasions; and smokers, forced to take their cigarettes outdoors, who then might blow smoke upon diners.  The two owners were asked if the restaurant had a liquor license and answered, not at present.  Outstanding violations?  No.  One board member found it interesting that if the application were approved, Vernon Grill could have more diners outside (52) than inside (48).  The two owners had their case put over until next month.

A woman who identified herself as Anna came to the meeting with a friend named Deborah to say that on Thursday, November 2 at about 3:30 in the afternoon, she was in Windmuller Park in Woodside with her child, when three women approached her and one of them began punching her in the face.  Such an attack caused a disturbance, and the three women fled the park—but only after getting two of their own children to drag away with them!  Anna said that the 108th Precinct was notified but it was 18 minutes before two officers arrived.  She would like better police patrolling of the park.  A motive for the attack was not forthcoming.

District Manager Debra Markell-Kleinert made the announcement about faulty Kidde fire extinguishers that are being recalled.  Kidde, a North Carolina company, first made the recall in early November, calling for a total of 142 models.  Those wishing to get in touch with Kidde about the recall can phone 855-271-0773.  Markell-Kleinert also said that Big Bush Park’s repairs will be completed and the park reopened by next summer.

Patrick O’ Brien, long the scourge of that nightclub on 21st Street, by the upper-deck exit of the Queensboro Bridge, said that State Senator Michael Gianaris will call a press conference soon to talk about further action to be taken against the club.  Dorothy Morehead, making her environmental report, said that Rivereeper group is preparing a final draft on the state of barge activity in Newtown Creek.

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