Letters to the Editor – June 2004 - JuniperCivic.com
Serving Middle Village and Maspeth since 1938.

Originally published in the June 2004 Juniper Berry Magazine

Letters to the Editor – June 2004

A Jewel in Middle Village

Dear Mr. Holden:

As a product of the Middle Village area and proud graduate of Our Lady of Hope School, I took offense at Mrs. (Veronica) Parchin's comment that the "drug-addicted" person who mowed her down was a graduate of Our Lady of Hope School. Where the miscreant who mowed her down went to school is irrelevant to the legitimate point she tries to make in her letter. It sounds as though Mrs. Parchin has just as much of a grudge against OLH School as she does against the person who mowed her down.

If she doesn't already know, Mrs. Parchin should be made aware that Our Lady of Hope School has produced thousands of productive members of society, many of whom still live in or own property (as I do) in the neighborhood and still consider it to be home. OLH School has produced doctors, lawyers, a judge, registered nurses, certified public accountants, pharmacists, licensed funeral directors, computer professionals, chiropractors, dentists, real estate brokers, business owners, secretaries, bankers, business executives, licensed electricians, musicians, fire fighters, police officers, "soccer moms and dads", etc., all of whom are respected members of their respective communities. Our Lady of Hope School is a jewel in Middle Village.

Philip S. Milone, Esq.

Attorney at Law

OLH Class of 1970

Forest Hills

Berry Berry Good

Dear Bob,

I'm sure you get precious few affirmations of the work you are doing for the Middle Village and surrounding communities, and for your volunteer work for the Juniper Berry. Well, I'll add my personal congratulations again for a fine issue of the magazine, and I'll renew my commitment to come to a town meeting as soon as the meeting dates are not conflicting with my school meeting requirements.

But, in addition, here is a compliment from my predecessor who now lives in Fredericksburg Virginia. Rev. Hinz was Headmaster here for 28 years. He retired in 1988. He knew a lot about Queens, NYC, the church

community, etc. I sent him a copy of the magazine and, as you see, he thoroughly enjoyed the feature and your approach. Again, congratulations!

We also thank you for the attention and kindness you give to us at MLHS. I hope we can keep up the excellent working relationship we enjoy. Know that you are always welcome at Martin Luther.

Ben Herbrich

Martin Luther High School

Maspeth

Dear Editor:

I forgot to tell you how much I enjoyed the Juniper Berry. I had never seen a rundown on the Slocum event. I always thought the church involved was our St. Mark's in Brooklyn, but it turns out that was a St. Mark's from the Lower East Side. I was also unaware that the Lower East Side had its German enclave similar to Yorkville at 86th and Lexington and Ridgewood in Queens.

And what a slick job the magazine is. The editor is right about the advantage of living in Middle Village.

Have a good day.

Fred Hinz

Dear Mr. Holden,

I received my issue of the Juniper Berry today and read it from cover to cover. I think you are doing an excellent job. Thanks for spotlighting the issue of garbage cans in the street. I notice that now it mostly goes on only on the weekends around here. And thanks for putting the old gas station at Caldwell Avenue and 69th Street in the Neighborhood Hall of Shame. I live around the corner from it, and it's definitely an eyesore!

Christina Wilkinson

Maspeth

All Faiths Cemetery is 150

Dear Editor:

A couple of months ago I wrote in about how wonderful Middle Village is, well, let me add to the list – Lutheran/All Faiths Cemetery. The cemetery celebrated its 150th year anniversary on April 17, 2004, which was a beautiful sunny day. There were many dedications one of which was Serf Maltese Way which leads to the Trinity Mausoleum. Trinity Lutheran Church once stood in its place 5 years ago but was destroyed by fire. Our State Senator, a man who serves as a fine example of service to this community has made his wishes known and will be buried in The Trinity Mausoleum which sits high on a hill overlooking Middle Village and Christ the King High School. A 9/11 Memorial Dedication also took place just outside the new Eternal Light Mausoleum which is located near the main office. Two 9/11 victims are also buried in the cemetery. The cemetery under the direction of Dan Austin has come a long way. It is well manicured and well scrubbed and just a wonderful place to tour and get a history lesson.

Joyce Beaudoin

Middle Village

Obesity in Children

Dear Editor

We are a young couple living in the Middle Village area for the past four years and absolutely love it here. We have two children who will be hopefully attending kindergarten in September 2005. We will be selecting schools soon to send them to but I am concerned abut the obesity policies in the schools.

While the schools here are very good, there is a lot of publicity now about the growing obesity problems in children, between the news, internet etc. The American Obesity Association published that 30% of children ages 6-11 are overweight and 15.3% are obese. Along with 30.4% of adolescence ages 12 to 19 are overweight and 15.5% are obese. These figures are staggering.

There doesn't seem to be obesity awareness present in our schools both public or private. The playgrounds are parking lots and there doesn't seem to be any real physical activity going on, only students hanging around.

I feel this matter needs to be addressed. Is this an issue with parents and schools, and is there anything we can do or am I being an overprotective parent?

Sincerely,

Concerned Parent

Middle Village

Dear Concerned Parent,

First let me encourage you to put your name on any letters you send us and second let me say that by writing this letter you made the first step towards being involved. I would advise you to become proactive in your children's schools and let administrators know your concerns about obesity exactly as you did in your anonymous letter to us. ed

Call to Retest Older Drivers

Dear Editor:

First off, I wish to state that Middle Village has always been my home and I love the neighborhood. Since the following subject is extremely painful to me it was very hard for me to write this before now, but I think it's something that needs to be said. Everyone should be aware.

My Dad who was 82 years old on August 23, 2002 was hit by a car on August 25, 2002 as he was crossing over to the park with my little yorkie on Juniper Boulevard South at the corner of our home on 74th Street. He was in fine shape for his age. He wasn 't even taking an aspirin at that point in his life. His mind and body were in good health. He did this walk repeatedly day in and day out for years and years. Everyone in the neighborhood knew him, as he lived in the same home in Middle Village for 50 years. He was always very cautious.

It was a beautiful sunny August afternoon around 4 PM. The person driving the car was 87 years old at the time and she had 2 small dogs along with her in the car while driving. She says she never saw my Dad, only my dog. The park was bustling with adults and children at the time. My Dad was thrown into the air – flipped three times and taken to Elmhurst Hospital Center – Intensive Care Unit where he stood for 6 weeks on a respirator. He died on October 5, 2002. He had 12 broken ribs, an open head wound, a broken arm, a broken leg, trauma/bleeding to his inner organs and on and on. I need to add that this woman showed absolutely no remorse to our family whatsoever at any time. She is still in our park, in our neighborhood.

I undoubtedly believe that NYC Department of Motor Vehicle laws should be altered in some way. All drivers should be completely retested after a certain age and there should most certainly be a cutoff age limit when we no longer legally are permitted to drive.

Undeniably, as we all age, nothing stays the same and our reflexes, as well as eyesight become poor. There are many amenities allocated for seniors nowadays and assistance with transportation is one of them. Of course an accident is an accident, but this tragic accident occurred to my family. I lost my Dad and the circumstances were such as I described herein.

One last thing, again I thank everyone around the area that came to my Dad's assistance that dreadful Sunday afternoon.

L. Gennari

Middle Village

Builder fights Graffiti

Dear Bob:

Although Middle Village residents are saddened and outraged to see our lovely homes being torn down to construct yet another "2-3 Family Luxury Home" in its place, I must thank ABCON Builders and their super, Richard Lindner for dealing with their graffiti problem in a timely manner.

ABCON is the builder on site at 78th Street and Juniper Valley Road and like any other construction site, they have erected a "green" construction wall around the site. Two days after the wall was up it was hit by graffiti vandals. Shortly after the hit, Mr. Lindner removed the graffiti by painting over it with green paint. He has done this three times and we are very grateful for his prompt attention each and every time his wall is graffitied.

Regards,

Jane Dagostino

Middle Village

More on Kelly's Pub

Dear Editor:

Mr. Kelly's regard for his family was quite evident in his response published in the last issue of the Juniper Berry (March 2004). Why does he begrudge his neighbors the fact that they have the same feelings about their own families? He seems to suggest that his 60 years entitle him to violate the rights, safety and security of his neighbors, yet my family has been in New York longer than he has been alive, and at this location three times longer than he has.

If Mr. Kelly is indeed sincere that he is a good neighbor, then he must recognize that by creating his Beer Garden, he has joined his premises at the hip to our homes. He has given those patrons of his bar easier access to our own residential alleyway and he has deprived us of our own security needs. He needs to reconfigure his premises so that those visiting his bar cannot adversely affect our lives by the myriad of problems which arise in the course of his operating his business. Mr. Kelly's own statements indicate that he and his family are not always aware of what occurs at this premises. None of his family actually resides at the site and are therefore too remote to actually recognize the disturbances as they arise.

Mr. Kelly cited an incident last May which took three nights before his family finally realized that his patrons were disturbing residents. He blamed that on inadvertence. Many neighbors are now reluctant to even try to reason with the Kelly's because of their past belligerent and bullying demeanor, especially from Pat and his son, Mike. This may be the reason why his family, is not called when trouble arises.

Mr. Kelly admits that his patrons' conversations and other noise flow up into the open windows of the neighboring homes. Families, especially those with young children, and those trying to sleep have in the past been exposed to the chatter of dozens of Kelly's intoxicated patrons. He fails to consider that smoke from his pig roasts and tobacco, also flow into our homes. He has started his pig roasts at 3 AM, which also disturbs families trying to sleep.

He fails to consider that the Beer Garden presents a substantial drainage and sewage problem, because he failed to provide his own dry well. Water drains from his premises and stagnates in our private alleyway. Mr. Kelly fails to state that without consent, he placed a Beer Garden exit in the homeowners alleyway, which has invited intoxicated patrons to enter and exit through our private property.

Despite our numerous complaints over the past several years in response to Kelly's establishment, local authorities have failed to resolve the problem. Mr. Kelly's frequent boasts of his contributions, have concerned many of us. We wonder whether these funds are designed to purchase influence and advance Kelly's business interests at the expense of neighboring residents. The dismissed ECB violations that Mr. Kelly referred to were not the result of complete and fair hearings on the merits. Adversely affected families were not notified of any hearing and did not testify. (It should be noted that, at the time, the presiding Building Commissioner was James Leonard and the Chief Inspector was Joe Mineo who were subsequently arrested and charged by Robert Morgenthau's office in a completely different graft probe.)

Most troubling has been the fact that after multiple investigations, our authorities have remained unable to protect our rights, specifically the section 33-291 zoning requirement of an 8 foot setoff between the commercial and residential boundary.

We have also been left wondering why members of the civil services would associate at a location which presents so many problems to the surrounding community. We have been concerned that Kelly's contributions have resulted in our authorities' failures in their duties and obligations concerning this location. The day NYPD Detectives accepted money from Mr. Kelly was the last time we could have complete trust in their evaluations, since they too have a conflict of interest (NYPD IAB complaint June 1998).

The Beer Garden, has resulted in two completely and very incompatible property uses. Placing bar patrons closer to our homes, in an open space, has deprived us of our most cherished property rights, to live peacefully, quietly, with security and with a freedom from fear.

For sixty years prior to Kelly's expansion, the bar peacefully co-existed with the neighboring homes without trouble. Pat Kelly's belated apologies unfortunately fail to offer any permanent resolution and therefore must be considered suspect. When Mr. Kelly recognizes that the expanded bar is an inherent nuisance, and further, takes all affirmative measures to remedy the problem and restore peace to our community, then that is when he can be considered a good neighbor.

Very truly yours,

Alan Giordani, Esq.

Middle Village

Dear Editor:

As a long time homeowner on 60th Road, we have for years been concerned with the addition of a beer garden at Kelly's Bar and Grill on Eliot Avenue in Middle Village. This beer garden faces our yard and has been a disruption of the quality of life we once enjoyed. When we bought our house there was nothing back there. In the late 90's, Kelly's built a beer garden with complete disregard of how it would affect the homeowners around it.

At any hour of the day or night we have endured parties with loud music, shouting and profanity. On many beautiful summer nights we've had to keep our windows closed because this noise often woke our sleeping infants.

Also, whenever it rains, the runoff from the floor of the beer garden has caused flooding in the community driveway, which in turn causes runoff and flooding in the catch basis of the connecting community drive.

As property owners the value of our home has decreased because of these problems. Who would want to buy a home with these ongoing problems? Had there been a beer garden in the back of Kelly's before we purchased our home we would have never bought one here.

Middle Village is a great place to live but I wouldn't wish these problems on NY homeowner. I'm sure that Kelly's would not appreciate these problems if it were in their own back yard.

We've contacted many of the local politicians in regard to these matters, but Kelly's continues with business as usual. There has been no resolution of any of these problems.

Phil Carpenter & Family

Middle Village

Dear Editor:

I don't know how Mr. Pat Kelly could write so much nonsense. This backyard grill should never have been opened. I wish he had this grill in his own backyard.

All summer the grill is open until midnight, not 10PM like Mr. Kelly said! We have had to call his bar many times with no result. I've spoken many times with workers of his bar. They were very impolite when I spoke to them asking them to close the backyard doors.

I'm very interested in the persons who dismissed all violations after a hearing at the ECB. Did they talk with the residents who live near Kelly's? I don't think so. I've never talked with anyone from ECB, so this hearing didn't make sense! They heard only Mr. Kelly's arguments. What about our arguments and opinion?

About the last paragraph – maybe Mr. Kelly's time is valuable. What about our time? We work every day but we can't rest and sleep so we go to work very tired. Does Mr. Kelly have the same problem in his neighborhood?

We have resided in the USA many years like Mr. Kelly and we need to live peacefully.

Alinor Rysrard Yakubiak and family

Middle Village

To the Editor:

I am writing you in regard to the Kelly's Bar response in the Juniper Berry Magazine dated for March/April 2004.

I have lived at my current address for 12 years and for the past 7 years all of my neighbors are having lots of problems with Mr. Kelly's Bar due to the loud people who frequently dine and drink in the so called "Beer Garden."

I personally have called the local 104h precinct many times but their response is that they do not have a patrol car available at this moment but one will be sent ASAP but this never happens.

Mr. Kelly's response clearly admitted that sometimes he or his son have not taken immediate action to ask customers to leave the Beer Garden due to the disturbance to our neighbors because they are not always around to help us therefore we have to put up with the disturbance all night.

It is a shame on Mr. Kelly to disturb an entire block of hard working families who are just trying to come home to rest and have a some peace of mind after a hard working day.

Your cooperation in this matter will be greatly appreciated.

Sincerely,

Oscar Delgado

Middle Village

The JPCA contacted Mr. Kelly to try and resolve this problem. He has offered to meet with the residents to address their concerns. ed.

Blame the JPCA

Dear Editor:

Just finished reading the letter by Sandy Gowans and the reply by Mr. Holden. I don't usually make it a habit to dispute comments made by individual(s) but I must make an exception this time.

First, I would like to thank Mr. Gowans for his comments and simply state; Welcome Home and Semper Fi!

Second, I would like to set the record straight on all dealings pertaining to the Chapter bringing 'The Moving Wall' to Juniper Valley Park.

Community Board #5 was aware of our intentions since mid January and up to and including February 27, 2004 I nor anyone in my organization was ever asked to meet with Community Board #5 or the Juniper Valley Park Association. The Community Board was given all necessary paperwork pertaining to the memorial in mid January and we never received any request to personally address there meetings. I did meet with Mr. Giordano in early February after time going by and not hearing from anyone. I also did meet with Councilman Dennis Gallagher and informed him of the situation. Not hearing one way or the other, on February 19th I applied for a permit with the Parks and Recreation Department. On February 27th I met with Councilman Gallagher and informed him that I needed to know by that afternoon if our request was going to be granted. When no word came down, I recommended to my membership that we shift out request to Cunningham Park and it was unanimously approved. Approx. 1 1/2 months had passed and no one had granted our request. Every issue that was brought to my attention was taken care of but they just replaced it with a new one. On March 2nd, I spoke to Community Board #8 (oversees Cunningham Park) and within the hour I was requested to address 'The Friends of Cunningham Park on March 9th and by the 12th, I had the support of both Community Board #8 and 'The Friends of Cunningham Park'. I also toured the park with the park manager. They did in eleven (11) days what Community Board #5 and the Juniper Valley Park Association couldn't do in 1 1/2 months.

I did learn that the Parks Dept. will not grant a permit without conferring with the Community Board affected or the individual park association. So Mr. Holden, you might not have approval or disapproval but you have an awfully large say which is practically the same thing.

Furthermore, if Community Board #5 felt that they needed additional information, why weren't we contacted and requested same. And if it was determined that I should attend the March meeting, someone should of informed me of such.

Also, time only became an essence when everybody on Community Board #5 and The Juniper Valley Park Assoc. did nothing but come up with lame excuses. No one can tell me that The Friends of Cunningham Park think any less of their park than the Juniper Valley Park Association think about theirs. So yes, the Vietnam Veterans of America, Queens Chapter #32 do feel unwanted but we have felt this way before and as Army, Navy, Marines, Air Force and Coast Guard veterans we have stood tall and are more determined than ever to locate and view 'The Moving Wall' at Cunningham Park with all the dignity and respect it so rightfully deserves. This was not a misunderstanding Mr. Holden but a slap in the face to the veterans who have defended the right for all the activities that take place at Juniper Valley Park.

So, I commend 'The Friends of Cunningham Park and Community Board 8 for their welcome. It is said that the Middle Village and Maspeth Communities house one if not the biggest veterans communities in Queens and I welcome everyone of them along with non-veterans to come and see 'The Moving Wall' at Cunningham Park from October 2nd to the 9th, 2004.

The article in the Queens Chronicle was the result of an interview done between myself and Robert Brodsky and I stand behind it. As you stated, "Open dialogue is the mainstay of this great country" and I and all other veterans have borne that battle. I do not wish to comment any further on this issue. The over 58,000 men and women on that wall do not need to be placed in the forefront of another battle. "Lest We Forget"

Pat Toro Jr.,

President of the Vietnam Veterans of America, Queens Chapter #32.

Civic Response

Dear Mr. Toro-

It's easy to throw around blame on this issue but directing it to the Juniper Park Civic Association is baseless and just plain wrong. This issue was a Community Board issue ... plain and simple. I'm sorry that you felt that CB5 took too long on your application but you should take that up with them and not the JPCA.

If you thought that the JPCA has a lot to say on the issue then why didn't you contact us directly? The only contact I had was a phone call from Councilman Gallagher and Gary Giordano. With the very limited information I had on the proposal, I suggested to Gallagher and Giordano what I thought were some ways to improve the week long event. In no way did I say that the Memorial was not wanted. You concluded that from secondhand information and your own prejudices against the JPCA. Since you dealt directly with Councilman Gallagher and Community Board 5 District Manager Gary Giordano, I suggest you direct comments to them on the issue and leave the JPCA out of your rhetoric.

The issue never came before the JPCA nor was it required to. We are not a park advocacy group. We represent our membership‒residents of Middle Village and Maspeth. Our name comes from a time (1938) when the entire area was called "Juniper Park." Again, this was a community board issue. Dragging the JPCA into it may fit into your preconceived notions of the Civic Association but it has no basis in fact.

Your attacks on me and the JPCA are puzzling. I made two suggestions to Giordano and Gallagher. One was to protect the baseball fields from damage from a tractor trailer, (which I heard you solved by offering to carry the wall in) and the other was to suggest (what I thought) was a better place to display the wall...near Dry Harbor Road (that didn't mean I was against the ballfield site!). I'm sorry you consider them "lame." Next I get a call from a reporter that you are angry with all involved... especially the JPCA! Absurd.

Mr. Toro, I made two comments which you have twisted, vilified and wrongly deduced. You even went so far as to question the loyalty and patriotism of me and my association.

Throwing around incorrect information of this nature is not only irresponsible but can also have dangerous and harmful consequences. We have recently received anonymous hate mail with a threatening tone that we believe was prompted by your incorrect and baseless comments both in the press and at meetings. Be aware that should any harm come to any Juniper Park Civic Association member or property directly or indirectly connected with and resulting from the spreading of misinformation on this subject, we hold you (legally) responsible.

As the President of the all volunteer Juniper Park Civic Association I can tell you that our membership appreciates the tremendous sacrifice our military has made in preserving our freedom.

Robert F. Holden

President

Juniper Park Civic Assoc.

"Whoever is careless with the truth in small matters cannot be trusted with the important matters." Albert Einstein

Footnote: Mr. Toro's prejudices against the JPCA puzzles us. Despite our attempts to correct his misinformation, Mr. Toro continues to spread false information in local newspapers and at Veterans' meetings about Bob Holden and the Juniper Park Civic Association's involvement with the Memorial Wall.