This year, although there was a good turnout of voters, our polling location ran smoothly as always because of our professional poll workers and translators. I just couldn’t help but think about how easy the “shower curtain” voting booth was. With no small print and the searching f
or the right offices and the right names. But we were all there voting the new way making sure that we voted for our candidates. The candidates that were re-elected to their positions were Rep. Nydia Velazquez, state Senator Joe Addabbo Jr. and Assemblyman Michael Miller; every one of these incumbents was re-elected. The Greater Woodhaven Development Corporation and the Woodhaven Business Improvement District congratulate all of our elected officials and look forward to working with them to keep our beloved Woodhaven community strong, prosperous and safe. Now we continue working with our elected officials on all of our local ongoing projects such as the Rockaway Beach Branch Line/Queensway Proposal (as I mentioned in my last column), which we do not want to affect the Woodhaven homeowners on 98th Street, and their quality of life. There are alternatives here, one to make the entire area parkland, go underground at the Atlantic Avenue entrance or leave it as is. Also to be noted: the GWDC and the WBID wish list project for last year was our request of LED street lights for our Woodhaven’s Jamaica Avenue. This wish fulfilled by our Queens Borough President Melinda Katz. The GWDC and the WBID thank Katz for this lighting.
Also, we got the enclosure of our now historically landmarked Forest Park Carousel for all year use. Hopefully the two remaining wish list projects will also be fulfilled.
They say all good things must come to an end, but in the case of the World’s Fair 50th anniversary, there’s always next year.
On Sunday, hundreds came out to Flushing Meadows Park for the final event of the 1964 anniversary year. But the World’s Fair lasted for two seasons, so next year the Parks Department promises more events.
Forest Park played host to what is becoming an annual tradition on Saturday — a Fall Festival.
Hosted and funded through allocations by Councilman Eric Ulrich (R-Ozone Park), the fair was attended by hundreds of children who enjoyed Halloween-themed bounce houses, shows and a hay maze completed with a pumpkin patch, where kids could pick a pumpkin and paint it.
Forest Park played host to what is becoming an annual tradition on Saturday — a Fall Festival. Hosted and funded through allocations by Councilman Eric Ulrich (R-Ozone Park), the fair was attended by hundreds of children who enjoyed Halloween-themed bounce houses, shows and a hay maze completed with a pumpkin patch, where kids could pick a pumpkin and paint it. The city Department of Transportation was on hand with one of its trucks, as were the FDNY and Sanitation Department. Across Woodhaven Boulevard, kids were able to ride the landmarked Carousel one last time before it closes for the winter. Ulrich said he hopes the festival, which expanded since last year, will become a yearly staple at the park.
In last week’s Queens Chronicle, Ozone Park’s Doug McPherson wrote that criticism stating that “adding a new park to Queens will result in diluted resources and diminished upkeep for the borough’s existing parks” was, as he put it, “outrageous.”
If you walk through the existing parkland that the QueensWay would be attached to, you will find a sinkhole in the sidewalk that’s big enough to swallow an SUV. This giant hole sits directly across the street from a very popular children’s attraction (the Forest Park Carousel) and has been left unrepaired for two years. Now, that is outrageous.
Last summer, morning joggers (many of them women jogging alone) ran in absolute darkness, carrying flashlights because the streetlights were not working properly. Even though it was in the midst of a rape spree in Forest Park, the DOT showed no sense of urgency to fix this situation. It lingered for months and only got better because of Daylight Saving Time. That is beyond outrageous.
The proposed QueensWay will intersect with the already existing Brooklyn-Queens GreenWay, which runs through Forest Park, so it is entirely fair and prudent – not outrageous – to look at the current conditions of the park to get an idea of how the new land will be maintained.
Walk along the GreenWay and you will see broken, crumbling sidewalks; curbs busted or missing, and large sections of sidewalk sloppily repaired with asphalt — Many of the staircases leading to the GreenWay are in no better shape, with many hand railings having fallen off years ago.
Ask anyone advocating on behalf of the QueensWay and they will tell you not to worry, that money will suddenly start flowing into Forest Park. They know this is untrue, but to admit otherwise weakens their case on behalf of the QueensWay.
Simply put, the existing parkland should be repaired and then properly maintained first before any additional parkland is appended to it. The Friends of the QueensWay need to include repairs and maintenance to Forest Park in the plans to be released to the public. For ignoring these problems, and dismissing the real concerns of those who use the existing park, is truly outrageous.
The 110th Precinct pulled out all the stops for the Corona community during its Night Out Against Crime event in Flushing Meadows Corona Park.
A number of Queens-based literary arts groups made their way to Governors Island this past weekend to participate in the 4th annual NYC Poetry Festival, a gathering of the disparate literary organizations throughout New York to celebrate poetry.
For most of the visiting Queens literary groups, this marked the first time they were showcased in the festival, a sign of the festival’s growing popularity and the developing literary communities in the borough.
Ryan and Christine Whitestone of Woodhaven, inset, are the winners of the Queens Chronicle and Fantasy Forest Amusement Park’s Summer Party Contest. They recently spent an incredible day on the rides and had lots of fun with their friends. All the kids enjoyed pizza and refreshments in a private seating area Fantasy Forest provides for parties.
“They could not have had a better time,” said their mother, Margaret Whitestone. “The rides were terrific, the staff was great and fun was had by all.”
“It’s 40 years of rock sound in one show.”
That’s how Jamaica resident Mario Robles, lead singer of The Boom Section, the four-man AC/DC-inspired band hosting the Forest Park Rock Fest II, describes the show his group is presenting for the second year in a row.
Last year at this time, the quest for the landmarking of our Daniel Muller-carved carousel was attained.
The Forest Park Carousel is truly “the Jewel of Forest Park.” In the years that followed of closing and disrepair in the 1980s, the Greater Woodhaven Development Corporation continued to gain support for landmarking through many years. In this way, our “jewel” would never be closed or neglected and funds could be accessed for its maintenance, security and care and with this protection our beloved carousel will be saved once and for all!
Jet packs, Corfam and disposable dishes versus color television, computers and the Mustang. Did prognosticators at the 1964 World’s Fair at Flushing Meadows get it right?
The answer is inevitably, yes and no, but based on long-term success, many of the winners introduced at the World’s Fair exceeded expectations and are thriving 50 years later.
Forest Hills and Rego Park preservationist Michael Perlman can now call himself an award winner.
The Historic Districts Council, a nonprofit advocacy group aimed at preserving historic buildings and neighborhoods throughout the city, will honor Perlman with its 2014 Grassroots Preservation Award at a June 4 ceremony in Brooklyn Heights.
On the surface, there appear to be only a few relics left from the 1964-65 World’s Fair at Flushing Meadows, but look a little deeper and there is quite a bit more — if you know where to search.
The 12-story-high Unisphere and neglected New York State Pavilion are the two most visible reminders of the fair, which celebrates its 50th anniversary this month. Part of that pavilion was the circular Theaterama, which several years ago was transformed as the Queens Theatre.
It was 1964, the height of the Cold War and Americans were still reeling from the loss of their young president a year earlier. The perfect antidote was a World’s Fair.
Although not a financial success, the two-year event at Flushing Meadows buoyed spirits in a time when that was much needed.
During the seemingly endless winter of 2014, you’ve undoubtedly fantasized about getting away from it all — perhaps by surfing on Kauai, or biking along Colorado’s mountain trails, or getting in touch with nature at a national wildlife refuge in Florida.
Whatever escape you may dream about, you’re likely to find at least a touch of it in your own backyard ... much of it available for free or at a fraction of what you might have expected to pay.
Though slightly dampened by the spring rain, the Forest Park Carousel took its first spin of 2014 this weekend, opening for its first full season as a city landmark.
The merry-go-round, located atop a hill just a few dozen yards west of Woodhaven Boulevard across from the Seuffert Bandshell, will be open weekends until Memorial Day, when it will start spinning full time. It will be open daily while schools are on spring recess between April 12 and 22, according to the website of its operator, New York Carousel.
Longtime Woodhaven civic leader Maria Thomson announced last week she would be stepping down from the executive board of the Woodhaven Residents’ Block Association, which she has been a member of for four decades and where she once served as president for four years.
Thomson, who serves as executive director of the Woodhaven Business Improvement District and the Greater Woodhaven Development Corporation, announced she would step down from the WRBA board last Friday in an email and officially tendered her resignation at Saturday’s monthly meeting where she received a standing ovation from fellow. She said she will continue to serve as a member of the block association.
Although no location has been selected yet, Queens will be getting its own Alzheimer’s Association office.
The New York City Chapter of the Alzheimer’s Association announced last week a $348,000 grant from the Stavros Niarchos Foundation to expand its services in Brooklyn and to add a Queens office.
The Woodhaven Residents’ Block Association said it will meet with Councilwoman Elizabeth Crowley (D-Middle Village) to encourage her to adopt participatory budgeting, a process in which public input is sought on some spending items from money allocated to a specific member of the City Council.
Councilman Eric Ulrich (R-Ozone Park), who was one of the first members to adopt participatory budgeting a few years ago, in the Rockaways, has brought it to the parts of his district in Community District 9 this year, including Woodhaven. Though geographically most of the neighborhood is in Ulrich’s district, the western part is represented by Crowley.
What a welcome change, the weather has changed and is now at a tolerable temperature. The deep freeze, snow and ice is now gone, hopefully for good. We have had rain, but that we can handle. During our snowstorms or especially with Sandy, there is one dependable force that we can count on. That is our Sanitation Department. They are always there for us. If there is a monumental clean-up to be done, weather it be monsterous Sandy snowstorm or New Years at Times Square “N.Y’s Strongest” is there, under their phenomenal leader Commissioner John J. Doherty. Woodhaven is so fortunate that we have these Sanitation men and women, many who live among us here, working on our behalf.
Important Notes- Our WBID/GWDC Office has small business low interest loans available please call our Office at (718) 805-0202 or (718) 805-0760 for more information. We will try to work with you to secure a loan for your needs. There are also homeowner low interest loans at two and a half and five
percent interest, please call to find out if you qualify. If you are starting a business call us for information on this as well. Recently on Jamaica Avenue, a movie “Run All Night” with Liam Neeson was filmed inside and outside of Mike’s Pub. The filming also involved our “Sam’s Deli”. It was very exciting and I have heard that it is a very good movie, watch for it to be released later this year and look for Woodhaven and Woodhavenites in some of the scenes.
The Forest Park Carousel, which was shuttered for three years until 2012, was given landmark status by the city’s Landmarks Preservation Commission in June.
In 2013, the Greater Woodhaven Development Corporation, Woodhaven Business Improvement District and the neighborhood as a whole experienced many changes, the biggest being November’s elections.
The GWDC and Woodhaven BID wish our newly elected officials the very best in their new positions. May they be very successful in their leadership of our city and supportive of Woodhaven. To our electeds leaving office we thank them for their excellent public service, leadership, commitment and their consideration of Woodhaven.
The ongoing recovery from 2012’s Hurricane Sandy dominated life in South Queens for most of 2013 and was a factor in many other big stories, from the future of the abandoned Rockaway Beach LIRR line to the election battle between Councilman Eric Ulrich (R-Ozone Park) and his Democratic opponent Lew Simon.
But South Queens also dealt with a wide array of other issues in 2013, from crime at Forest Park to internal strife on Community Board 9.
The aroma of cinnamon, ginger and candy hangs in the air at the NY Hall of Science as the museum unveils a special gingerbread village on display now through the holidays.
Although the 19- by 14-foot creation went on display Sunday, its creator, Jon Lovitch, expected to put the final finishing touches on by Tuesday. Taking time out from those preparations on Monday, Lovitch said his work was a labor of love.
Three years after the attraction was shuttered behind a fence with an uncertain and shaky future, the Forest Park Carousel is now a busy city landmark.
The city’s Landmarks Preservation Commission gave its approval to the landmarking of the 110-year-old merry-go-round in June and the City Council later certified its status.