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Communities of Maspeth and Elmhurst Together

COMET Newsletter Spring 2017

March 28th, 2017

Illegal Parking is Dangerous Maspeths Veterans
for Drivers on Triangle Damaged
57th Avenue in Elmhurst

In mid-January a motorists car smashed into a bench and

damaged concrete and fencing around the veterans triangle
on 69th Street at Grand Avenue. The war monument was
deeded to the United Veterans and Fraternal Organizations
and they are looking into having the fencing repaired. It
is not known at this time whether the city or state will be
responsible for repairing the bench and other damage to the
triangle. The triangle is owned by the state and is supposed
to be maintained by the city. However, it has been an ongoing
battle as to who actually should do the repairs. The city says
its the states responsibility and the state says its the citys
responsibility. Luckily no one was sitting on the bench waiting
for the bus when the accident occurred. We are hopeful that
NYC Department of Transportation will put bollards from the
bus shelter to the LIE service road to protect pedestrians in
case an accident happens again.

Motorists heading to Maspeth in the mornings find themselves

having to cross the yellow line to pass up to as many as three
empty double-parked school buses parked outside a day care
center near Crowley Park. As you can see from one of the
photos, the buses are parked a distance from each other making
it extremely difficult for the motorist to pull out of the way of
an oncoming vehicle. We reached out to the Department of
Transportation (DOT) and Community Board 4.
West Maspeth Traffic Cameras
District Manager Christian Cassagnol immediately fired In case you were wondering,
off a letter to the day care stating the buses were causing a the cameras recently installed
dangerous condition and wanted the condition corrected in the vicinity of Flushing
immediately. The person running the facility stated that this is Avenue, 61st Street and Fresh
a pre-UPK as well as a daycare and there are as many as five Pond Road were installed by the
buses dropping off and picking up children. The daycare wants Department of Transportation
restrictive signage but Christian believes the buses should drop to monitor traffic during the
off the children and leave or find a legal parking spot. He said reconstruction of the bridge
this issue will be addressed at Community Board 4s District on Metropolitan Avenue. If
Cabinet meeting. He stated that he also notified the 110th necessary, the agency will
Precinct of the problem. DOT will be working with Community put additional traffic safety
Board 4 to come up with a solution. As the newsletter goes to measures into place. Traffic has always been a problem in
press the buses are still double-parking. this area and it is unfortunate residents will have to deal
with even more traffic for about 18 months or until the
bridge is replaced
Pg. 2 Spring 2017 COMET
The Story of a Broken Water Main Break -
With a Surprising Twist
On February 4th, Elmhurst The broken water main is
residents on 55th Avenue fixed but the problem of
off 85th Street noticed the opt out still exists.
water pooling in the Residents want to know
street and immediately how can they opt in and
realized there had to be Council Member Dromms
a water main break. They office is currently looking
called 311 and eventually into this. In the meantime,
the Department of it is not known if each
Environmental Protection homeowner will receive a
(DEP) showed up to bill for the work but for the time being they are just happy the
determine the source of the water. It took a couple of days
work is done. The leaky fire hydrant, as seen in the photo with
for the agency to gain entry into all the homes on the block to
the snow, was called into 311. We cant help but wonder how
verify whether or not the leak was from the main water line
many other private water mains are in our area and asked
or the service line. The main water line is the responsibility of
the Councilmans office to check the adjacent streets to make
the city and the service line, which runs water to each house,
sure the water mains on the other streets are not private. If
is the responsibility of the homeowner. To cover the cost of
the service line many residents took out insurance to insure they are, we will make sure homeowners are notified.
they wouldnt be hit with a bill that could run into thousands
of dollars. 104th Precinct Addresses
To the relief of the homeowners, which was short-lived, DEP West Maspeth
told them the service lines were not the problem, but rather
it was the main line and the homeowners were issued a Parking Concerns
three-day notice to fix the leak. When the homeowners asked
why they had to pay for the main lines repair they were told
that decades ago whoever lived on the block opted out
with regard to the city maintaining it. A long- time resident
told us that many years ago there was only one house on
that block. Over the years, other houses were built and the
developer didnt know, or didnt tell the homeowners they
were connected to a private water main! The homeowners
who had taken out insurance for their service line realized this
insurance wouldnt cover the main line.
Needless to say, homeowners
were frantic. They didnt want
their water to be shut off and
felt now they were being
forced to call plumbers, get Like all of us, residents in west Maspeth have a difficult time
bids and collect money from finding parking. Some homes were not built to provide off-
everyone on the block before street parking, employees from many of the businesses park in
the job could start. DEP the area, a number of auto repair shops sometimes park cars
said they would issue them on the street taking valuable parking away from the residents
an extension with another
and some commercial vehicles are parked overnight.
three-day notice but it didnt take stress off the residents.
In response to numerous complaints from the residents, the
The Block Captain called COMET and we told her to contact
104th Precinct conducted a summons and towing operation on
Council Member Dromms office immediately. His staff was
given the same story by the agency but his staff didnt relent. On February 2nd. The team towed 11 cars, 3 tow trucks and issued
Thursday, February 9th, five days after the leak started, a DEP 15 summonses. This is an example of how the community and
team showed up at the site. A supervisor said that because of police working together can solve various issues. Great job by
the impending snowstorm he would make an executive decision the 104th!
and have his men make the repair. He said that he wouldnt have
been there had they not received a call from higher up. Work If you have a problem with illegal parking, cars with no plates
began at about 11:00 pm and was completed about 5:00 am just or commercial vehicles parking overnight, please report it. No
hours before the snowstorm hit. one will know you have a problem if its not reported!!
COMET Spring 2017 Pg. 3
A New Mailbox on Grand Avenue would resume in late September or early October but we saw
no activity until January.
at Mazeau Street!
We want to thank Block Captain
Richie Polgar for his persistence
and finally getting the dilapidated
mailbox replaced at the corner
of Grand Avenue and Mazeau
Street. After fruitless calls to the
Post Office, Richie contacted Residents received a notification stating that on or about
Congresswoman Grace Mengs January 23rd, between the hours of 7:00 am and 6:00 pm
office and the new mailbox appeared. they would be restricted from using their driveways. Residents
moved their vehicles but the work never resumed. A week
The old mailbox was broken and it would be easy for someone later they received a notification that work would resume
to steal the mail. on January 30th, work would resume at 7:00 am and they
would need to remove their vehicles from their driveways or
Calamus Avenue Sewer curbside because access would be blocked for the duration of
the project.
Construction Debacle On January 23rd, Council Member Elizabeth Crowley held
The Calamus Avenue sewer a Town Hall meeting for residents and business owners at
reconstruction project has St. Marys in Winfield with agency representatives except
been wreaking havoc for for the MTA, who refused to attend. Needless to say, agency
homeowners in Woodside representatives heard a mouthful from irate homeowners!
as well as Q47 bus riders One resident asked why work didnt begin at 69th Place. The
in Maspeth, Woodside and DDC representative stated they encountered a problem with
Elmhurst since it began vibrations and decided to continue moving along and go back
in the fall of 2014. Dust, to that location when the issue was resolved. The sewer work
noise, bus detours and large includes the installation of 5x8-ft RCP combined sewers and
potholes in the street were an ongoing headache during the modification of the existing chambers. Water main work calls
construction which abruptly stopped about a year ago. There for the installation of a 12-inch water main. Other aspects of
was no explanation given to our elected officials or community the project include roadway, curbs and sidewalk restoration,
residents. including trench restoration and a two-inch asphalt overlay.
Some of the work was done before the project was halted
A month passed, then two with no construction. After several more than a year ago.
months with no construction activity, we reached out to
former Assemblywoman Markey to find out what was going Council Member Crowley let residents know there is additional
on with the delay and if we could have the Q47 bus back on its money in the budget to allow longer hours and/or work on
route during this time as well as get Calamus Avenue, which Saturday. By extending the hours she is hopeful the project
looked like a moon crater with all the potholes, repaved. The can be completed by December 2017 rather than May 2018.
MTA responded that would not put the Q47 bus on its Calamus The project was initially supposed to be completed by the
Avenue route during this time because it would be confusing fall of 2016. Some residents expressed displeasure about
for the ridership. We believe they just didnt want to be overtime work but that would be the only option to get this
bothered. The Department of Design and Construction (DDC) project finished sooner. Since some homeowners will not be
said the street wouldnt be repaved because additional work able to use their driveways, the Department of Transportation
had to be done. is looking into temporarily removing the restricted parking on
51st Avenue in order to open up parking spaces during the
We were told that the sewer project, which runs from Calamus construction.
Avenue between 69th and 74th Streets and 69th Street
between Calamus Avenue and Queens Boulevard, was halted Senator Joseph Addabbo, Assemblyman Brian Barnwell and
because of a problem installing the sewer under the LIRR Assemblyman Michael DenDekkers representative, Andres
overpass at 69th Street and 47th Avenue. We were furious Vargas attended the Town Hall to express concern. We want
to find out that instead of continuing their work on Calamus to thank COMET member Rachel Kei Lam for translating for our
Avenue, they stopped the entire project until new plans were Asian residents.
drawn up to resolve the LIRR overpass problem. This took
about one year. Keep in mind that folks were still living with Because the project is so important, we are including a copy of
a street full of potholes and bus riders had to walk a long the agencys newsletter on page 5 so everyone can see what
distance to get to a bus stop. In August we were told work was done and what lies ahead.

Pg. 4 Spring 2017 COMET

Queens First Quarter

Infrastructure Upgrades in Calamus Avenue

Queens Project # SE-814

The New York City Department of Design and Traffic/Parking Restrictions:

Construction (NYCDDC) is managing a capital To perform certain work operations and allow
construction project HWMWTCA6B along Calamus construction work to continue, temporary traffic detours
Avenue between 74th Street and 69th Street, including as well as parking restrictions will be necessary. Advance
each intersection & at 69th Street between Calamus notification will be given by the contractor regarding the
Avenue & Queens Boulevard. DDC will install new water restrictions. No Parking signs will also be posted and
mains, new combined sewer as well as new roadway distributed within the project area. To avoid possible
surface, curbs & sidewalks. towing of your vehicle, please make note of the signs
posted by the contractor (during construction hours)
Work Completed to Date throughout the affected area, in addition to DOTs rules
Water main installation: and regulations during non-construction hours.
Calamus Ave between 69th Street & 74th Street
69th Street between Calamus Ave & Queens Blvd Trash Collection
Proper trash collection can be a challenge on a project as
Sewer Chamber #2: large as this but if everyone is considerate it can be
Intersection of 48th Ave & 69th Street. managed with a modicum of disruption. Please pack your
trash properly to avoid easy breakage and/or spill over.
Proposed Work Schedule First Quarter Put it in the designated areas as close to collection time
Installation of combined sewer: as possible. If you use a private carter, ensure your trash
collection occurs in a timely fashion.
Calamus Ave between 70th Street & 74th Street
69th Street between 48th Avenue & 51st Avenue. Community Construction Liaison (CCL)
The DDC has assigned Bita Mehrpour, as the Community
Community Impacts: Construction Liaison (CCL) for this project. Please
The DDC is committed to maintaining a work site contact Bita for any project related inquiries/concerns
that is safe and clean. However, dust, noise and you may have:
heavy equipment are common elements of Phone: 718-424-1058 Fax: 718-424-1410
construction and we ask for your patience during Email: se814ccl@gmail.com
the project. There will be limited street access on Field Office: 5015 Jacobus Street, Elmhurst, NY 11373
certain blocks. However, deliveries to
commercial and residential properties and Newsletter Distribution
emergency vehicle access will be allowed. Construction Newsletters for this project are distributed
Emergency Vehicles and Pedestrian access to regularly within the project area and to Community
homes will be maintained at all times. Board# 2 & 5 - Queens.
Street Closures may be required; warning signs will
be posted in advance.
Driveway access may be temporarily interrupted in
order to complete construction. To arrange
access for your deliveries, please contact the
Signs, advisories and temporary construction
barriers will be provided in order to guide traffic,
pedestrians and promote safety.
Bus Stops and/or bus routes may be relocated
and/or detoured during the course of this
construction. Signs and directions will be posted
noting the changes in advance.

Bill de Blasio DDC Website

Mayor www.nyc.gov/ DDC
Dr. Feniosky Pea-Mora DDC Video
Commissioner www.nyc.gov/webuild

COMET Spring 2017 Pg. 5

Update on the LIRR Light at the End of the
Overpass in Woodside Tunnel!

In the summer of 2014 we reached out to Assemblyman

Michael DenDekker and showed him photos of the
deteriorating condition of the LIRR overpass at 70th Street and
48th Avenue in Woodside. If you look closely at the photo with
60-90 Flushing Avenue,
the soda cup you will see a hole in the iron pillar just above
Maspeth Its hard to
the cups straw. We saw erosion occurring on several of these
believe this is the same
pillars and we didnt have to look hard to see the retaining wall
building in both pictures.
that looked like it was about to fall. Assemblyman viewed all
The house was vacant for
the photos, took a walking tour with us and within a couple of
years and the faade wasnt
weeks workers were on site making repairs.
safe. The Department of
Housing Preservation and
Were not engineers but the work that was being done seemed
Development had to erect
to be more cosmetic than structural. When the work was done
scaffolding and it was left
at this intersection we went back for a visit and we believe the
there for years.
erosion will soon start again as a result of water runoff. We
believe part of the problem is a result of the LIRRs obsession
The property was sold
with removing trees and shrubs from their property. The
at auction last year and,
vegetation absorbed the rainwater and now water just pours
thank goodness, the new owner removed the scaffolding and
down over the embankment and wall to the sidewalk below.
is making improvements.
The wall has a date of 1913 engraved in the concrete which 84-52 Grand Avenue,
is more than 100 years ago. How safe this this overpass and Elmhurst Men are busy
others in the area with heavy trains passing through daily? We emptying the rear of this
took some after photos, a couple of which we are sharing building which has been
with you, and passed them along to Assemblyman DenDekker. abandoned for about 25
His staff said he is looking into it. Take notice of the difference years. The owner recently
in the before and after height of the concrete around the pillar passed away and the taxes
with the hole that was holding the soda cup! The concrete on went into arrears.
each pillar is just high enough to cover the holes and thats
why they are different heights. Assemblyman DenDekker is We were told by Council Member Dromms office that the
planning to do a tour with us in the near future to look at this property will go up for auction on March 29th. Whoever buys it
as well as the Calamus Avenue sewer project. has a lot of work to do!!

Pg. 6 Spring 2017 COMET

Empty Stores on
Grand Avenue Support your community!
COMET Dues for 2017 $10.00
We were driving on Grand Avenue in Maspeth and couldnt
believe all the empty storefronts on Grand Avenue between 61st Checks or money orders please
and 74th Streets. We did a quick count and came up with 16 but
theres probably more. Its very sad! NAME


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Maspeth, NY 11378

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Upcoming Neighborhood Events

Maspeth Federal Savings is hopeful you can attend these upcoming events. If you have any questions, stop in at the bank or give them a call.
March 28th Town of Maspeths 375th Anniversary
Counter Terrorism Hotline
April 22nd Earth Day, Shred & Recycle & Animal Adoption
If you see something, say something!
April 23rd Car Show (rain date is April 30th)
1-888-692-7233 or 1-888-NY-SAFE
May 24th Town Hall Flower Planting
May 28th Memorial Day Parade If you see something, send something!
June 4th Car Show (rain date is June 11th) ECCA Go to the APP store, type in see send
June 9th Maspeths 375th Anniversary Concert Queens Symphony Orchestra You can attach photos or send

Newsletter Committee
Mike Fordunski, Tom Porembski, Richie Polgar, Christina Wilkinson, Geraldine Walsh, Howard Moskowitz, Teresa Marrero, Lucille Winsko,
Dick Gundlach, Roe Daraio, Maspeth Press

Upcoming C.O.M.E.T. Meetings

St. Adalbert Parish Center, 52-40 84th Street, lower level. Meetings start at 7:00 pm and are open to all.
Monday, April 3rd; Monday, May 1st; Monday, June 5th

Special Thank You

This newsletter is made possible by funding from Council Members Elizabeth Crowley, Daniel Dromm and Jimmy Van Bramer through the
Department of Youth and Community Development.
P.O.Box 780151 U.S.Postage
Maspeth, NY 11378 Paid
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