Vagrants Make Home In Vacant Glendale Bldg.
Squatters have planted their flag in a vacant Glendale building, Community Board 5 members learned at the advisory body’s Wednesday, June 13 meeting at Christ the King Regional High School in Middle Village.
One resident came on behalf of her brother, who has been fighting squatters in a Cypress Avenue property, located off Clover Place, over the past year.
“It seems almost impossible for something to be done,” she said. “We cannot live under these conditions much longer.”
She claimed that the squatters have been defecating on roofs, throwing their trash onto the street and throwing a car mirror into oncoming traffic, and that the squatters have been harming pets.
The building’s owner has been contacted but has yet to respond to her or her brother, she added.
Board 5 District Manager Gary Giordano explained that the squatters come from a nearby property at 80- 97 Cypress Ave. owned by PSCH, a provider of services for people with psychological and behavioral disabilities.
“I have told the police that what’s been reported to us, or reported to me, was that they were narcotics abusers,” he said, adding that some residents have seen needles sticking out of the arms of some squatters.
The company, which is under new management, is looking to demolish the property and is attempting to evict the squatters—who usually stay in the building from dusk to dawn— in Housing Court.
Giordano forwarded to the Times Newsweekly correspondence—sent via both email and postal mail—between Board 5 and PSCH which shows that the advisory body asked PSCH in April to secure the property by adding fencing.
In turn, PSCH CEO Alan Weinstock responded on Apr. 24 that while the company attempted to remove the squatters, they would work to remove trash, maintain the property, add fencing and seal some of the entrances to the property.
After last Wednesday’s meeting, Board 5 e-mailed PSCH again asking for an update. PSCH spokesperson Willie Scott replied that an order has been issued for the squatters to vacate the premises, and that a city marshal would come “in approximately 10 business days” to remove the unwanted tenants. Once the squatters are removed, the remaining entrances would be sealed.
Hospitals ‘in tremendous flux’
Flushing Hospital is the newest hospital to be in a state of distress, Board 5 Health Committee Chairperson Robert Cermelli announced, adding that his committee is attempting to set up a joint meeting with nearby Queens Board 4 on the state of the area’s medical facilities.
“The hospital situation is in tremendous flux,” Board 5 Chairperson Vincent Arcuri added stating that many are pushing for larger hospitals but those facilities may leave those on Medicare and Medicaid behind.
He added that Wyckoff Heights Medical Center is “in trouble with the Health Department of the state of New York” for their refusal to comply with a state directive to combine its resources with Brooklyn Hospital Center and Interfaith Medical Center in Brooklyn.
Arcuri sits on Wyckoff Hospital’s board.
Traffic and transit projects
In his report, Giordano announced that a city project to install sewers and repave Metropolitan Avenue between Cooper Avenue and 80th Street is just about complete.
Previously, there had been no sewers in that part of Metropolitan Avenue, as to the presence of local cemeteries led to the belief that sewers were not necessary.
The Ridgewood Reservoir reconstruction project has been delayed due to two breaks in the reservoir basin walls, Giordano noted.
(Editor’s Note: in a June 8 e-mail to the Times Newsweekly, a Parks Department official explained that the “re-stabilization of the walls” and other work at the site is due to begin shortly. The overall project, the official claimed, is within budget and on schedule to finish this year.)
Finally, the Cooper Avenue underpass reconstruction may be ahead of schedule, and the contractor wishes to sit with Board 5 to discuss “expediting the project.”
Public Transit Committee Chairperson Theodore Renz announced that the Fresh Pond Road, Forest Avenue and Seneca Avenue M train stations are in line for a “cosmetic overhaul” in the fall of this year.
With new staircases and lighting, there will be artwork as part of the Metropolitan Transportation Authority’s Arts for Transit program.
Turning to Board 5’s two public plaza projects—one at Glendale Memorial Triangle at Cooper and Myrtle avenues, the other at Stephen Street and Myrtle Avenue—plans for the former are being tweaked by the Department of Transportation while a workshop is planned in September for the latter.
Board 5 member John Schell asked Renz about the plan to have a portion of the plaza at Cooper Avenue used as outdoor seating for Zum Stammtisch, the popular German eatery located nearby.
Renz replied that residents had supported the plan for Zum Stammtisch, and fellow Board 5 member Kathy Masi explained that the restaurant would help maintain and oversee the site.
Arcuri, giving the report of the Transportation Committee, announced that the DOT is eyeing portions of Doran Avenue for “some partial one-way patterns.”
“They’re fine-tuning it,” added Giordano, who announced that the DOT will come in July to present their proposal for the traffic flow changes, which include converting Doran Avenue to a one-way eastbound street between Woodhaven Boulevard and 88th Street.
Arcuri also stated that the Maspeth Truck Bypass route will be “tweaked a little bit more” in the coming months.
“We think they have been pretty responsive and pretty proactive with us,” he told the crowd.
Rosemarie Johnson, who heads Board 5’s Library Services Committee, announced an initiative to set up groups at area libraries modeled after the Friends of the Ridgewood Library.
Currently, the Glendale branch is the only one to have a chartered Friends group but it needs to be reactivated; the Maspeth and Middle Village branches do not have any such groups.
The benches near Juniper Valley Park’s bocce court and outfield are being replaced, and the renovation of the court itself will shortly go out to bid, Masi announced.
She also announced that a hearing for a proposed dog run in Glendale is imminent.
“Right now we’re spending a lot of time on the budget,” said City Council Member Elizabeth Crowley, adding that funding for firehouses and libraries may be cut.
“Nobody wants to see their local firehouse close,” she stated.
Licenses and demolitions
Board 5 approved two liquor license renewals, for JT(NY) Restaurant Corp. (d.b.a. Johnny’s Cafe II, at 6039 Fresh Pond Rd. in Maspeth, and The Celi House (d.b.a. The Celi House), at 69-56 Grand Ave., also in Maspeth.
The body also approved three new wine/beer licenses: for Doc Restaurant & Pizzeria Inc., at 65-26 Metropolitan Ave. in Middle Village; CJ Banquete Latino Corp. at 56-41 59th St. in Maspeth; and Bella Lena Corp., at 64-02 Fresh Pond Rd. in Ridgewood.
Finally, Board 5 approved seven wine/beer license renewals:
• Nostro Joe’s Inc, d.b.a. Joe’s Restaurant, at 66-11 Forest Ave. in Ridgewood;
• Forest Park Service Inc., at 82- 48 Woodhaven Blvd. in Glendale;
• Munch Stop Deli & Grocery Inc., at 64-04 Flushing Ave. in Maspeth;
• Omar Milk Corp., at 53-33 69th St. in Maspeth;
• Ridgewood K & K Inc., at 341 St. Nicholas Ave. Space 6 in Ridgewood; and
• A&J Juniors Pizza Corp. (d.b.a. Maspeth Pizza, at 71-09 Grand Ave. in Maspeth).
Board 5 announced that 66-29 58th Ave. in Maspeth and the garage of 89-21 Aubrey Ave. in Glendale are scheduled to be demolished. Residents were advised to report any questionable activities on these sites.
Board 5 held their annual Executive Committee elections at the end of the meeting.
Chairperson Arcuri, First Vice Chairperson Walter Sanchez, Treasurer Masi and Secretary Peggy O’Kane were re-elected to their positions.
Dmytro Fedkowskyj was elected second vice chairperson, succeeding Michael Hetzer, who was recently charged with perpetrating a real estate fraud scheme. He was not in attendance to accept a nomination.
Patricia Grayson, Theodore Renz, Fred Haller and John Maier were elected as members of the committee.
Community Board 5 will next meet on Wednesday, July 11 at Christ the King Regional High School, at 68-02 Metropolitan Ave. in Middle Village.
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