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Queens Chronicle

Community Board 4 debates block parties

Members nix two planned events; vote in favor of special gym permit

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Posted: Thursday, April 10, 2014 10:30 am | Updated: 11:29 am, Thu Apr 17, 2014.

Just two months ago, Community Board 5 battled over whether to allow an Italian-American street fair to occur.

On Tuesday, it was Community Board 4’s turn to debate a handful of proposed South Asian block parties.

The board discussed, for almost an hour, five different street gatherings planned for later this spring at its monthly meeting. After a lengthy debate, two applications were denied, two others were tabled until next month’s meeting and one party was approved unanimously.

The two events denied by the board, the Bangladeshi Pathomela Cultural Block Party scheduled for April 27 along 75th Street between Broadway and 41st Avenue, and an unnamed gathering scheduled for May 31 along 90th Street between 56th and 57th avenues, both in Elmhurst, were voted down because no petitions in support of the parties were submitted in time.

The board voted 30-2 against the Bangladeshi Pathomela event with four abstentions, while the vote was almost unanimous with two abstentions against the unnamed party.

However, there was some debate over how to approach parties scheduled for 73rd Street between Roosevelt and 41st avenues featuring Sheba USA on May 25 and South Asian Mela on June 14, also in Elmhurst.

Sheba USA, a Jackson Heights-based nonprofit organization geared toward aiding new, low-income immigrants, has held its annual gathering for the past few years, with Congressman Joe Crowley (D-Bronx, Queens) serving as the party’s chief guest last year.

According to CB 4 district manager Christian Cassagnol, Sheba USA, despite being informed of the deadline over a month ago, had not submitted the required petition in time. In response to the annual event, area residents submitted their own petition against the gathering, with an accompanying letter saying the party “destroys” their quality of life.

In Sheba USA’s defense, Cassagnol said that about 25 percent of the signatures appeared to be penned by the same person, while Tamanna Yasmin, the group’s founder and executive director, explained to the board the petition may be rife with racism against South-Asian immigrants.

After some discussion, the board voted unanimously to table the issue until the group’s May 13 meeting to allow Sheba USA to bring a petition in favor of the event.

The June 14 South Asian Mela block party was met with the same decision, as the board voted unanimously to table the issue to allow the applicant more time to prepare a petition.

An unnamed block party running along 55th Avenue between Madison and 85th streets in Elmhurst was unanimously approved.

In other business, CB 4 voted unanimously to approve a special permit to operate a physical culture establishment at 86-10 Roosevelt Ave. in Elmhurst.

Attorney Michael Nacmias presented the blueprints for the future Executive Fitness Gym to the board and assured a resident concerned about noise from the gym infiltrating her home that measures such as soundproof padding will absorb the noise emanating from the facility.

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