Views from the Heights - Winter 2011


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Views from the Heights - Winter 2011

  1. 1. Message from JHBG President, Edwin O’Keefe Westley The State of Jackson made this a reality as one of the action Brooklyn. We met with him on Mon- items of the Green Agenda for Jack- day, January 16th and discussed Heights son Heights. We are about to sign the many of the neighborhood con- Part 1 permit issued by the NYS Dept. of cerns. He was very receptive to our Transportation. concerns and we pledged to work in partnership to implement some rem- “Our greatest weariness edies. The Jackson Heights Canine Recrea-comes from work not done.” tion Exercise Wonderland (JHCrew) Eric Hoffer Volunteers, under the leadership of Lori Expansion of Open Areas Longbotham, have been maintaining This has been a high priority be-We have all sat through the endless the Dog Run/Park on the NW corner of cause we are ranked 50th out of 51speeches about the State of the Un- 69th street at 35th avenue for the better Council districts with the lowestion, State, County and District; this is part of two years. This is also a NYS amount of open space for its resi-the beginning of the conversation on Dept. of Transportation permitted effort. dents.Jackson Heights. The challenge is to select a proper sur- face for our canine friends. ‘Schoolyard to Playground’‘Green Zone’ Under the leadership of PS 69 prin-Created on 69th Street by Nuala Jackson Heights Transportation cipal, Martha Vazquez, PS 69 play-O’Doherty, the zone covers from Study Late summer 2011 implementa- ground is now open to all our neigh-37th Ave. and Northern Blvd. Over tion began covering from 73rd street to bors after school hours. IS 145 prin-the last several years, this area has 82nd street primarily along 37th avenue. cipal, Dolores Beckham is leadingbeen a target of our volunteers from The pros and cons of the changes are a similar endeavor at IS 145 and isour Clean Streets committee. We planned to be discussed during March planned to start in the near future.have received over $3,000 in grants 2012. Discussions center on the re-over the last several years from the routing of bus traffic from 73rd street to 78th Street Play StreetCitizens’ Committee for NYC to as- 75th street. Some feel it has simply Over the last several years, wesist us in this effort. Recently a signif- moved the traffic congestion. The hot have partnered with the Jacksonicant area bordering the BQE was button issue has become the creation of Heights Green Alliance (JHGA) torevitalized with a new garden. Daffo- the 37th Rd. Pedestrian Plaza. Many of provide more recreation space fordils will rise in the spring in honor of the merchants want the road re-opened children during the summer months.our first responders on 9/11. to vehicular traffic because it has limited The NYC DOT recently announced access to 74th street and caused a sig- that the application submitted by the nificant decrease in business. STAY JHGA has been accepted and the‘Composting Area’ TUNED! street will be turned into a yearAs you move north on 69th Street at round street plaza. We expect tothe SW corner of 35th Avenue our 82ND Street Business Improvement continue the partnership. A Townfirst ever composting site is sched- District Seth Taylor is the new manag- Hall meeting is scheduled for Mon-uled for a Spring/Summer opening. er who comes to the position deep in day, March 5th to discuss.Len Maniace and his merry band ofmaster composters and volunteers BID experience in Manhattan andPresident’s Message…..………….1 82nd Street BID…………………….5 Clean and Green…………………...9New from the Heights…………..2-3 Graffiti Busters……………………..6 Letters to/from Editor…………….10Street Plazas………………….…….4 Composting………………………….7 Membership………………………..11 Clean Streets Flyer………………...8 Views - Winter 2011 - Page 1
  2. 2. News from the HeightsBy Daniel KaratzasNew Building Proposed Here is how this building was de- Because this landmarked building scribed in the Landmarks Preser- is located in the Jackson Heightsfor Historic District vation Commission (LPC) designa- Historic District, it cannot simply be tion report for the Jackson Heights demolished to make way for aAt the end of January, the owner of Historic District: huge, new structure. The ownerthe commercial property on the th will have to obtain approval fromnorthwest corner of 37 Avenue This one-story commercial build- the LPC to pursue demolition. Ifbetween 85th Street applied to the ing, designed by Boris Dorfman in the LPC does not approve theDepartment of Buildings to demol- the Moderne style, is characteristic demolition, the owner could thenish the current one-story commer- of the commercial development of apply for a hardship, claiming thatcial structure and construct a sev- 37th Avenue in the 1940s and com- he cannot make a reasonable re-en-story mixed-use building. This plements much of the architecture turn from his building.building, which currently houses of the neighborhood. Located atstorefronts with addresses from 84 the northwest corner of the avenue There is no reason this building,-11 to 84-23 37th Avenue, is adja- and 85th Street, the brick building which is integral to the Queensbo-cent to the one that burned to the has a curved corner bay, a ro Corporation’s original architec-ground two years ago, and thanks stepped parapet with both smooth tural vision for Jackson Heights,to the our fire department, survived and fluted coping, and vertical should be demolished. 37th Avenuethe fire unscathed. You know it be- stretcher courses of brick. Store- was meant to be a pleasant com-cause of the wonderful curved cor- fronts are located along 37th Ave- mercial street, with a variety ofner that has been there since nue and the corner storefront commercial and some residential1945. wraps around to the 85th Street el- buildings, complementing the gar- evation; in addition, the brick side den apartment and garden homes street elevation has four openings that surround them. Allowing for a with grilles and a bricked-in door seven-story building will create a opening. cavern-like 37th Avenue and de- stroy the character of our historic district. We will need your support to make sure that this building is not allowed to be demolished. We will keep you informed as to how and when you should contact our elected officials and the LPC. Views Winter 2011 Page 2
  3. 3. News from the Heights (Continued)By Daniel KaratzasGuggenheim Museum in architects who are responsible for Jackson Heights. How do its resi- the Jackson Heights program: Sol- dents, who often have roots else-Jackson Heights id Ojectives – Idenburg Liu (or SO where, achieve a sense of home – IL). Founded in 2008 by Florian and localness in a post-nationalLate last year the JHBG was con- Idenburg and Jing Liu, SO – IL is living situation? And what urgedtacted by the Guggenheim Muse- an idea-based practice with that them to leave their old householdsum to participate in stillspotting combines philosophies and design and countries in the first place?nyc, a two-year multidisciplinary aesthetics from Asia, especiallyproject that takes the museum’s Japan and China, with those from In Transhistoria, SO – IL divesArchitecture and Urban Studies Europe. In 2010, SO – IL was se- deeper into these transformativeprogramming out into the streets of lected as the winner of MoMA personal narratives through a se-the city’s five boroughs. Every PS1’s Young Architects Program ries of stories, commissioned fromthree to five months, “stillspots” are for its Pole Dance design, which Queens-based narrators, includingidentified, created, or transformed provided a playful yet pleasing renowned poets, priests, and au-by architects, artists, designers, aesthetic experience in PS1’s thors. Each will create an oral his-composers, and philosophers into courtyard in Queens. tory about personal transition andpublic tours, events, or installa- finding home in Jackson Heights.tions. This will be its first program Here is how the Guggenheim’s During the four weekends in Aprilin Queens, after having sponsored website describes the program: and May, Jackson Heights resi-sites in both Manhattan and Brook- Jackson Heights, in the northwest dents will recount these storieslyn. The Jackson Heights stillspot- of Queens, is a quintessential around several neighborhood still-ting event, called Transhistoria, is melting pot of cultures. With 138 spots as varied as a former enter-planned for four consecutive week- languages spoken among several tainment space and an intimateends: April 14-15, April 21-22, April global communities, the borough is home. In two-hour self-guided28-29, and May 5-6. considered one of the most diverse tours starting from the Broadway- neighborhoods of New York. For Roosevelt transit hub, Transhisto-The JHBG suggested a number of Transhistoria, SO-IL wonders how ria visitors will encounter three ofpotential sites and individuals to one finds calm and inner peace in these personal transhistories.the stillspotting team, including the a disparate environment such asDid you know....?????The principals of top-ranking city schools got their annual bonuses last month, adding as much as $25,000 to someschool leaders’ pay.The bonuses, guaranteed under a city agreement with the principals union, went to administrators at schools with thehighest scores on the city’s progress reports. A total of 275 principals and their assistant principals received bonusestotaling more than $5 million!!!Our local schools on the list are: P. S. 149 , the Christa McCauliffe School, P.S. 152, P.S. 212, P.S. 228, I.S. 227 TheLouis Armstrong School, P.S. 89 (District 24). The Principal at each of these schools received a $7000 bonus and theAssistant Principal a $3500 bonus.Source: GOTHAM SCHOOLS (an independent news source about the New York City public schools) Views Winter 2011 Page 3
  4. 4. A Tale of Two Pedestrian PlazasBy Len ManiaceA permanent 78th Street Play- The issue is not a simple one. The 78th Street Playstreet/street/Pedestrian Plaza is mov- The plan is more than a pedes- Pedestrian Plaza has had over-ing ahead with the blessing of trian plaza. Council Daniel whelming support from theCommunity Board 3 and massive Dromm’s office said the changes neighborhood. Changes on thesupport from the Jackson have sped bus service and re- street will take place in stages.Heights community. But more on duced the number of traffic acci- First the street will be closed onthat later. dents near the troublesome in- Sundays for the Greenmarket. tersection of Roosevelt and Then its expected then its ex-Meanwhile the 37th Road Pe- Broadway. Pedestrian plazas pected that the city will close thedestrian Plaza, which is part of can be great assets to a com- southern half of the street (thata larger traffic improvement plan mercial street, but one has to part closest to the Gardenby the city, has had a bumpy wonder about this plaza’s chanc- School), with city landscaping ofride. Despite support from promi- es for success if the merchants the plaza coming later.nent players in the South Asian are determined not to support it.commercial district, and unani- The pedestrian plaza would af-mous approval of Community Many supporters of the plan, in- fect only half the street in orderBoards 3 and 4, opposition has cluding me, wonder if the mer- to serve the Garden School. Thegrown. chants aren’t being short sight- private school uses 78th Street to ed, and missing a chance to add drop off its lower grade childrenMany South Asian merchants a major amenity to their shop- and also has a small garagecomplained about a loss of busi- ping district. It isn’t hard to imag- near the middle of the block.ness which they blame on the ine a landscaped plaza filledclosing of 37th Road to cars. The with trees, tables and chairs, The Garden School figuresreasons they cited: The loss of and diners from nearby restau- prominently in a separate butparking; the elimination of a bus rants. The stretch could become related open space initiative.stop on the street; and a change a major attraction not only peo- The city plans to the purchasein traffic patterns that makes it ple in the surrounding area but the school’s athletic field, whichimpossible for motorists to circle other city neighborhoods for stretches from 78th to 79ththe block looking for parking. The whom 37th Road is an easy trip Streets. Together with the pe-changes were put in place by the by transit. destrian plaza, this field couldNYC Department of Transporta- then become a contiguous ex-tion, which has been successful- Instead the merchants seem tension to Travers creating popular pedestrian more worried about businessplazas around the city, including from the suburbs, a market that The Jackson Heights Beautifi-Herald and Times Squares. could disappear if someone cati8on Group and its Green buys a failing suburban shop- Agenda for Jackson HeightsThe city DOT will continue to ping strip along a highway and Committee has been workingconsider comments from the turns it into a South Asian mar- with the Jackson Heightscommunity on the plaza and re- ket center. It would be closer to GREEN Alliance the two 78thlated changes, a spokes person home with ample parking. Street area initiatives, whichtold Views from the Heights, add- have been strongly supported bying the agency “will begin a com- Councilman Dromm.prehensive monitoring programin the spring to evaluate all of thetreatments related to the Jack-son Heights study.” Views Winter 2011 Page 4
  5. 5. Big changes expected on 82nd Street By Len ManiaceDespite a special fee on building The 82nd Street BID is a good One thing the street does not lackowners to pay for extra services, deal smaller – only two blocks in is foot traffic, an essential ingredi-the 82nd Street commercial district length – from Taylor’s previous ent for all city commercial districts,never lived up to expectations. assignments. It stretches from the Taylor noted. The 82nd Street sta-Graffiti lingered on buildings and north side of 37th Avenue along tion brings nearly 15,600 custom-litter blew through the streets until 82nd Street south to Baxter Ave- ers to the street everyday, accord-city officials had had enough. nue on the other side of Roose- ing to the MTA. Elmhurst Hospital velt Avenue. Center just south of the district is aAfter complaints by residents and source of many potential custom-local City Council members, the The two blocks have very differ- ers, with more than 4,000 employ-head of the 82nd Street Business ent personalities. The northern ees and 560,000 outpatient visitsImprovement District was fired block is part of the Jackson every year.late last year and a new execu- Heights historic district and con-tive director appointed. tains generally staid signage and some large storefrontsThe new boss on the street is such as banks andSeth Taylor, 32, a veteran of four chain pharmacies.major Business Improvement Dis- The southern streettricts in New York City. He served has no landmark sta-as project manager for the 34th tus and is filled withStreet Partnership and the Bryant small stores whosePark Corp.; business services building fronts aremanager for the Downtown plastered with signs. ItBrooklyn Partnership; and direc- looks louder, moretor of economic development at energetic and con-the Union Square Partnership. tains more food stores and eateries. BothBasic housekeeping is the first have their appeal,task, Taylor said, getting rid of Taylor said.graffiti, cleaning the streets andremoving empty planters that After dealing withcontain only trash. His first step basic housekeeping,down that road is to bring in a Taylor wants to im-new maintenance company by prove the Dunning-mid-March. ham Triangle Park at the district’s southern“You will start to see improve- end with additionalments to the street. They will be plantings and perhapscleaner and there will be less small tables andgraffiti and that, hopefully, will chairs. The exterior ofshow off the great architecture of the 82nd Street sub-these buildings.” way station could be New BID boss, Seth Taylor, vows crackdown on an opportunity for art, graffiti that scars 82nd Street. he said. Views Winter 2011 Page 5
  6. 6. Graffiti Busters ReportBy Jim RiccioJHBGs volunteer graffiti- Web site for the "Graffiti-Free days to contact The City tocleaning squad (Basil Safos, NYC" program sponsored by decline graffiti removal ser-Josh Weiss, Jim Riccio, the NYC Economic Develop- vices or request an exten-and new recruit, Tom Rus- ment Corporation: sion. If the property owner/sell) made their way methodi- representative takes no ac-cally through the neighbor- tion within 35 days, we willhood this year to clean nearly remove the graffiti free of50 graffiti spots on apartment Heres what they say: charge. If you are witnessingbuildings and storefronts, a graffiti crime in progress orplus countless lamposts and Anyone can report graffiti on existing graffiti you believe ismailboxes. They cleaned any property in New York City. a gang or hate sign, call 9-1-from 70th Street to 87th Simply call 3-1-1 and The City 1 and you will be routed toStreet, between Northern will mail a Notice of Intent to NYPDs Citywide VandalsBoulevard and Roosevelt Av- Remove graffiti to the proper- Task Force.enue. tys address as well as the owners address if different Please help us keep JacksonBut dont leave all the fun to from the property in question. Heights graffiti-free!the JHBG! Did you know that Once the notice is delivered,NYC will also clean graffiti-- the property owner/for FREE? Check out the representative will have 35 Volunteer, Matthew Riccio ,helping the JHBG "graffiti-busters" clean the neighborhood. Views Winter 2011 Page 6
  7. 7. JHBG Wins Permit for Compost Center By Len ManiaceThe state Department of Trans- waste collected from residents at Jackson Heights, a grassrootsportation has issued a permit that the Jackson Heights Greenmar- community planning effort inwill allow the operation of a com- ket on Sunday mornings. This which more than 400 residentsmunity composting center under material is now driven to com- elevated portion of the BQE in posting centers in Astoria andJackson Heights. Long Island City where it is used. This effort to bring a composting The center also might be used for center to Jackson Heights wasRun by JHBG volunteers the cen- short-term storage of trees and led by Lenny Olsson, Melissater is expected to open by the plants as part of the city’s Million Zavala and Julian McNamaraspring, taking mainly fruit and Trees Program. and is the result of about 18vegetable waste, as well as months of work.leaves and garden waste that The center is to be located southotherwise goes to distant landfills of 35th Avenue on the west side JHBG plans to host compostingat significant economic and envi- of 69th Street, not far from a programs this year that will teachronmental costs. Instead the ma- JHBG-operated dog park that residents about the benefits ofterials will be biologically broken was the group’s first effort to use composting and how to compostdown into compost, a natural fer- land under the BQE in coopera- in one’s yard. If you are interest-tilizer and soil conditioner for use tion with the state Department of ed in volunteering to help with thein Jackson Heights. Transportation. compost effort please contact A composting center was one of JHBG.The opening of the center should the recommendations containedallow for a major increase in in the 2010 Green Agenda forAdditional information about composting is available at: Views Winter 2011 Page 7
  8. 8. You Can Make a Difference Saturday April 21, 2012 10 AM – 1 PM Jackson Heights Beautification Group Clean Streets Clean Up Special Planting EventFall project to clean and green the area next to the BQE on 70th Street between 37th Avenue and Northern Blvd. When: Saturday, April 21, 2012, 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. Where: Meet at White Castle Parking Lot on 34th Avenue and 69th Street What: Wear you old clothes and help with cleaning and greening the area. Why: Help make a statement in favor of a cleaner neighborhood! Shovels, brooms, gloves, and other equipment are supplied. Free refreshments. Who: All are welcome! Please bring your kids, parents, neighbors or friends. Views Winter 2011 Page 8
  9. 9. JHBG SPRING CLEAN AND GREEN By Fionnuala ODohertyOn April 21, 2012, from 10:00 area under another section of the  Cut down weeds along thea.m. to 1:00 p.m., we will hold BQE. BQEour Spring Clean and Greenevent. We will meet at the White This small strip of unoccupied  Apply mulch to the areaCastle parking lot on 34th Ave- land has not been cared for in the planted last yearnue and 69th Street and clean past. There are no houses orfrom Northern Boulevard to 37th businesses, so over the winter  Plant spring flower, removeAvenue. (See flyer on previous the trash piles up. Each spring, graffiti, andpage.) JHBG has a big clean up and JHBG volunteers do follow up  Care for the street trees byThe Jackson Heights Beautifica- cleaning during the warm months loosening the dirt and apply-tion Group has been working for to keep the area litter free. ing mulch.the past few years on using ourpublic spaces better. Since we Last year we began transforming We meet at the White Castleare a neighborhood starved of the area by planting about 1000 Parking lot at 10:00 a.m. to pickpublic green space, we have square feet of the space into a up gloves, trash bags and sup-been working on turning the garden. Over the summer, the plies. We work until 1:00 p.m.small strip of land that runs along garden area was not covered in and then go back to White Cas-the BQE from a dumping ground litter and was generally kept tle to have so hamburgers forto a usable green space. clean, while the un-kept area was lunch. still used as a dumping ground.Over the years, we have put in a Our goal is to change the strip Children are welcome and bydog run under the BQE. Last into a desirable area where peo- the end of the day you can reallyyear we planted a small garden ple would not think of littering. see the impact made. We holdin a strip of unused land next to the clean and green rain orthe BQE. This year we with the On April 21, 2012, we plan to: shine.approval of the NYS Departmentof Transportation we will begin  Pick up trash from Northernwork on a community compost Blvd to 37th AvenueTULIP GARDEN RETURNS TO JACKSON HEIGHTSBy Finnuala O’DohertyDuring the winter months, the Street. This tulip garden was spring, so keep a eye out for thearea where 37th Avenue crosses planted as part of the BQE re- show.the BQE is a windy wasteland, construction. Volunteers from thebut come spring something JHBG come out in March and If you would like to help, we willamazing happens. clear the leaves, trash and de- be cleaning the garden on Sat- bris that litter the garden in the urday, March 10th starting atEach spring, hundreds of tulips cold winter months. 10:00 AM. All are welcome topoke up from the ground just be- join us. If it rains, we will be outhind the black iron fence at the With just a little help, the tulips the next day at the same time.corner of 37th Avenue and 70th make their grand debut each Views Winter 2011 Page 9
  10. 10. VIEWS FROM THE HEIGHTS Letters To/From the Editor Volume 23 Number 2 Winter 2011 By: John Petrozino Jackson Heights Beautification Group Post Office Box 720253 I would like to take this oppor- You can also contact us Jackson Heights, NY 11372-0253 tunity to thank each of the through our new Facebook 718-565-5344 writers for their contributions. page:Email: Without them, there would be Editor no Views From the Heights. John Petrozino I’d also like to thank our read- Please like us if you haven’t ers, for without you, we’d already, so you can get in-Writers and Reporters have no one to read them! stant, timely information to I would also like to thank the upcoming events in the Daniel Karatzas Len Maniace previous editor, Doris Wurgler neighborhood. Finuala O’Doherty for her kindness and patience James Riccio Edwin O’Keefe Westley in helping to prepare me to The next issue is slated to take over as editor. come out in May and hope- fully one more in July before Transitioning roles within the our summer break! Then Graphic Design organization, especially for a we’ll be back on schedule James Stonebraker small, local, all-volunteer non- with our Fall issue in Sep- JHBG OFFICERS profit, can be a particularly ar- tember and Winter again,Edwin O’Keefe Westley, duous task. As such, we ask come December. President Len Maniace, for your patience and under- 1st Vice President standing as we finalize this Until the next issue…. John Petrozino, process. 2nd Vice President Janet Kelly, TreasurerJohn J. McCaffrey, Jr., News/Feedback is always Secretary welcome. If you would like to us an article or letter to the JHBG DIRECTORS editor, you can be submit Leslie Elliman them via email or snail mail Nelida Florez Darryl Hoss to the addresses on the left. Daniel Karatzas Janet Kelly Barbara Kunkel Lori Longbotham Stay Connected: Now on FACEBOOK! Len Maniace Carlos MartinezJohn J. McCaffrey, Jr. In addition to the JHB official website,, you can now Finuala O’Doherty follow us on Facebook: John Petrozino Jim Riccio Basil Safos Send e-mails to orEdwin O’Keefe Westley Leave a message at 718-565-5344. Doris D. Wurgler Founding Director Maire Breen Views Winter 2011 Page 10
  11. 11. Membership: Jackson Heights Beautification Group Your annual membership in the JHBG helps us fund neighborhood activities, demonstrates your commitment to a better community, and permits us to be your voice in the revitalization of Jackson Heights. Your support is important to the future of our neighborhood. The JHBG is 100% volunteer-run, and there is no paid staff. The JHBG is a 501(C)3 nonprofit organization, and your contribution is tax-deductible. Please make checks payable to Jackson Heights Beautification Group. You will be mailed a receipt for tax purposes. Please fill out this page and return it with your payment to: JHBG—Membership Box 720253 Jackson Heights, NY 11372 1. Please circle membership level: Individual—$25 Business—$50 Sustaining—$100 Patron—$250 Benefactor—$500 Sponsor—$1,000 Other: ______ 2. Please print the following: Name: ________________________________________________________________ Address (including Apt. #): ________________________________________________ City/State/Zip: __________________________________________________________ E-mail Address: _________________________________________________________ Daytime Phone (optional): _________________________________________________ Evening Phone (optional): _________________________________________________ 3. Are you interested in being contacted about any of the following JHBG activities? If so, please circle the appropriate one(s): Clean Streets Friends of Travers Park Garden Club (including flower planting) Graffiti Busters Halloween Parade Historic Weekend Membership Building Newsletter and/or Website Town Halls Other: __________________ 4. Suggestions? Comments? THANK YOU! If you have any immediate questions or concerns, contact the JHBG by phone (718-565-5344) or email ( Views Winter 2011 Page 11
  12. 12. Current Events Do you have a local event happening in the near future? Let us know by sending us information at or posting directly to our Facebook page: sure to include “Current Events” in your subject line (if sending by email)! Page 12