More bad news for the Maspeth residents working to landmark the 1914 firehouse at 56-29 68th Street. The community wrote to the Landmarks Preservation Commission once Bill de Blasio stepped in as the new mayor, but the LPC research team said this month that the building was not eligible for landmarking. The LPC under Mayor Bloomberg also denied requests for designation.
The residents argue that the historic significance, the importance of the station during September 11th, and the firehouse’s centennial this year are solid reasons for landmarking. The LPC previously stated that they do not cite the Maspeth structure as a priority based on architectural significance, and they cannot count the events on September 11th as historically significant since the LPC calls for a 30-year minimum regarding historic relevance. The most recent rejection stated that “…to be eligible for consideration, a site must be greater than 30 years old, and the 9/11 Monument does not meet this criteria.” Steve Fischer, who is spearheading the landmark campaign, said this in an email: “We are frankly confounded by [the LPC's] repeated reference to a monument and we certainly question why the “30-year rule” has any bearing at all on our case. We have written a response to this latest LPC letter in which we try to clarify once again what the subject of our application entails and why it is worthy of consideration by the full Commission.” The neighborhood of Maspeth, despite being home to a number of historic buildings, does not have any landmarked structures.
After the jump, read the full letter just sent to the LPC in defense of the firehouse.
This cute, freestanding Colonial is from Maspeth, at 52-28 66th Street. It’s a three bedroom with 1,408 square feet. The interior looks to be in very nice shape, with wood floors galore and a newish kitchen reno. There are also some suburban perks like a yard, driveway and detached garage. For all this, the home is asking $645,000. Thoughts?
On Friday, the 11th of July, I found myself at the very edge of Queens in a very special place. At the end of Vernon Boulevard in LIC, where the old Vernon Avenue Bridge and the Newtown Creek Towing Company were found, is a facility which is engaged in the hands-on work of the Superfund process. The Anchor QEA company operates out of here, carrying out the collection of samples and scientific tests which will determine the exact nature of what’s wrong with Newtown Creek. These samples and tests are overseen and directed by the Federal Environmental Protection Agency, and is an effort conducted by the so-called ”Potentially Responsible Parties” (PRPs).
These “Potentially Responsible Parties” have organized themselves together as the Newtown Creek Group, and they invited a small group of community members and representatives to their LIC facility to describe what they actually do at the Vernon street end and discuss the future of Newtown Creek.
Last night, over on 39th Street in Sunnyside, the NYS DOT held a meeting to discuss the forthcoming Kosciuszko Bridge project. This is a BIG deal for anybody who lives in North Brooklyn, Western Queens, or who drives on the Brooklyn Queens Expressway. It’s also a HUGE deal for us as taxpayers. The first phase of this project, which will build half of the replacement span and demolish the existing bridge is $555 million – the largest contract in NYS DOT history. The contractors as chosen and announced by Governor Cuomo are Skanska, a construction firm based in NYC, which will be managing partner; Ecco III of Yonkers; Kiewit of Nebraska; and HNTB of Kansas.
The “New Meeker Avenue Bridge” opened back on August 23rd of 1939, and was a pet project of Robert Moses. It was the first link in the chain which would eventually become the BQE. This post at my Newtown Pentacle blog displays a series of historic shots from that long ago time, and this one here at Q’stoner discusses what’s found in DUKBO – Down Under the Kosciuszko Bridge Onramp.
The city presented renderings of the future Kosciuszko Bridge in a series of public meetings, which kicked off the reconstruction project of the well-worn bridge. The new bridge, which spans Newtown Creek to connect Brooklyn and Queens on the BQE, will be a cable-stayed bridge with nine vehicle lanes and a bike and pedestrian path. The city will build it right next to the existing bridge, which city officials say only has a lifespan of three more years. (more…)
I bet you didn’t know there are two Kosciuszko Bridges. One spans the Mohawk River north of Albany, on Interstate 87, A.K.A. the Northway, connecting Colonie in Albany County to Halfmoon in Saratoga Colony. It’s a double bridge, with three lanes of northbound traffic on one bridge, and three lanes of southbound traffic on the other. Traffic generally sails over the bridge, while affording a beautiful view of the Mohawk River and the Erie Canal.
In 2013, workers replaced the decks on both sides of the bridges. They closed one bridge while they were working on it, forcing both north and southbound traffic across the remaining span. The lines of traffic were backed up for miles, and it could take half an hour or more to get over the bridge. It was like being on New York’s Kosciuszko Bridge. Well, to be honest, it was still better than being on the other Kosciusko Bridge.
Somewhere, wherever Tadeusz Kosciuszko is today, looking down on the bridge across the Newtown Creek that bears his name, he must be thinking, “Why me? Why did they have to name the worst commuter bridge in the world after me? Plus, there is hardly a New Yorker who can decently pronounce my name. After all I did for this country, too. Thanks a lot.” So who was this guy anyway?
The Department of Transportation released two dates for public meetings regarding the reconstruction of the Kosciuszko Bridge, a proposal in the works for quite some time now. Last we heard the DOT planned to completely redesign the bridge, which spans Newtown Creek to connect Brooklyn and Queens on the BQE, as a cable-stayed bridge with nine vehicle lanes and a bike and pedestrian path. The announcement makes it seem like construction will soon be underway — this Brooklyn Paper article states that it’ll begin this fall. Work should last until at least 2018.
This is the first of a series of public meetings to update residents on construction progress, announce upcoming work, and provide a public forum for concerns. The DOT also hired a Community Liason to help address the public’s day-to-day questions and concerns. The Queens meeting is scheduled for Wednesday, July 16th at Sunnyside Community Services. Registration begins at 6 pm, and the presentation starts at 6:30. More details here.
On a related note, the Grand Street Bridge — another bridge connecting Brooklyn and Queens over Newtown Creek — is also due for an upgrade. Queens Courier reports that the DOT won’t reconstruct the ramshackle bridge anytime soon. The DOT announced that they will not start drawing up plans until 2016, and promised to maintain the bridge until then.
This month the NYC Department of Sanitation kicked off its curbside organics collection in the neighborhoods of Glendale, Middle Village and Maspeth. (The city announced the program would come to these neighborhoods early this year.) The date of the first collection in Glendale was Monday June, 2nd; the first collection in Middle Village and Maspeth will be Monday, June 16th. Collection will happen once a week on recycling day. This is a voluntary program where residents put out organic material like food waste, food-soiled paper, and leaf and yard waste, and it’s a city effort to reduce trash disposal costs and create renewable energy or compost. For more information, or to apply to participate, go here. The organics collection program already exists in areas of Manhattan, Staten Island, the Bronx and Brooklyn.
With about 130,000 residents, Queens is home to more war veterans than any other borough in New York City. This weekend various neighborhoods honor their war heroes with Memorial Day parades, including biggest one in the country (Little Neck/Douglaston).
The Maspeth Memorial Day Parade (Sunday, May 25th, at 1 pm) is always an emotional display of patriotism and gratitude. This year, it honors local veterans and women. Retired Capt. Laura Zimmermann is the speaker, and other honorees are Leo J. Wasil, who flew 35 combat missions as a radio operator, mechanic and gunner in World War II; Anthony Simone, who fought in the treacherous Mung Dung Valley during the Korean War; and Jane Crowley, who joined the United States Marine Corp Women’s Service in 1943. The parade begins at 1 pm at Walter A. Garlinge Memorial Park, 72nd Street and Grand Avenue, and proceeds down Grand to the Frank Kowalinski American Legion Post 4 and Knights of Columbus on 69th Lane, where there’s a memorial service at 2 pm.
Forest Hills, Sunday, May 25th, noon, starts at Ascan and Metropolitan avenues, proceeds to Trotting Course Lane, ending at St. John Cemetery. Grand marshals are Monsignor John McGuirl, pastor of Our Lady of Mercy Church; Community Board 6 Chair Joseph Hennessey; and Mayor’s Office of Veterans’ Affairs Commissioner Terrance Holliday.
College Point, Sunday, May 25th, 2 pm, starts at 28rd Avenue and College Point Boulevard and heads to 5th Avenue and 119th Street. State Senator Tony Avella is the grand marshal. Poppy Queen is Isabella Joan Hollaway.
Howard Beach, Monday, May 26th, 9:30 am, begins with Memorial Day Mass at Our Lady of Grace Church at 101st Street and 159th Avenue. The parade kicks off at 11 am in Coleman Square and takes its time-honored route through Old Howard Beach, visiting the Vietnam War memorial at 99th Street and 157th Avenue, the World War II memorial at Assembly of God Church at 158-31 99th Street and then St. Barnabas Church at 159-19 98 Street.
Laurelton, Monday, May 26th, 9 am, Francis Lewis and Merrick boulevards to the Veterans Memorial Triangle, 225thStreet and North Conduit Avenue.
Little Neck-Douglaston, Monday, May 26th, 2 pm, Northern Boulevard between Jayson Avenue and 245th Street, 2 pm.The closing ceremony is held in the parking lot of Saint Anastasia School, Northern Boulevard and Alameda Avenue, where awards are given, honorees are acknowledged, and refreshments are served. World War II heroes are the grand marshals, including Rocco Moretto and John McHugh Sr., who stormed the beaches of Normandy during D-Day; Thomas Dent; John W. Peterkin; and Lucy Salpeper, who joined the Navy Waves and cared for injured soldiers.
Ridgewood-Glendale, Monday, May 26th, 11 am, starting at the Ridgewood Memorial Triangle at Myrtle and Cypress avenues and ending at the Glendale War Monument at Myrtle and Cooper avenues. Charles Dunn, a member of Glendale’s VFW Sergeant Edward R. Miller Post 7336, is the grand marshal.
On Monday, we focused in on the historic Big Six development in Woodside, found nearby 58th Street at Queens Boulevard. While I was in the neighborhood, I couldn’t help but get a few shots of the (so called) Geographic Center of the City of Greater New York.
It’s not everyday that I find myself in Midtown, at the purported Geographic Center of New York City.
Q. Where is the geographic center of New York? I did a Google search of the phrase and came up with claims to the title from Woodside, Long Island City, East Williamsburg and Shea Stadium. For that matter, where is the population center? The Mets’ Web site claims that’s Shea Stadium, too.
A. There are two kinds of centers that demographers and city planners use. Imagine a flat plate in the shape of the city’s boundaries, placed on a needle at the spot where the plate balances. That’s the geographic center. Now pretend the plate is weightless but still flat and rigid. Put about eight million tiny equal weights on the plate representing where each resident lives, and find the point of balance again. That’s the population center. Neither of them is Shea Stadium.
According to the Department of City Planning, the population center lies in Maspeth, Queens, near the intersection of Galasso Place and 48th Street, near Maspeth Creek. The geographic center is in Bushwick, Brooklyn, on Stockholm Street between Wyckoff Avenue and St. Nicholas Avenue.
Looking west, along Queens Boulevard, the scenery is somewhat less “whelming” than you’d expect for the geographic center of New York City. Part of Calvary Cemetery lies along the hill that leads up toward Maspeth. Continuing along this decidedly high speed section of the so called Boulevard of Death will bring you to Thomson Avenue.