I hope that you had a blessed, warm Thanksgiving with your loving family and welcomed guests. It was a cold day, but the air was filled with happiness when we gave thanks for all we have.
Now we enter the Hanukkah, Christmas and New Year time of the year and the Woodhaven Business Improvement District sponsored Woodhaven’s Holiday weekend.
After residents of the 26th Council District went to more than 10 participatory budgeting meetings since the democratic process was introduced this summer, city Councilman Jimmy Van Bramer (D-Sunnyside) shared a list of community projects brainstormed by attendees.
Project ideas include a pedestrian footbridge over Queens Boulevard and Thomson Avenue in Long Island City, a rooftop farm and community garden in the Queensbridge Houses, a community boat launch and waterfront pocket park in Long Island City, a rooftop playground at PS 166 in Astoria and a new ferry along the East River waterfront that would connect Long Island City, Queensbridge, Ravenswood and Astoria.
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.
Here we are two weeks later, for two weeks ago was the Greater Woodhaven Development Corporation’s Wonderful Woodhaven Street Festival 2014.
That Sunday as the sun came out and warmed our weather everyone of all ages enjoyed the rides, the vendors, the sausages and peppers, the zeppoles and our local Jamaica Avenue stores and restaurants. This all along our safe (thank you to our 102nd Precinct and Deputy Inspector Henry Sautner) 10 block Fair. As I perused pictures, as I stated before, you couldn’t help but see our Jamaica Avenue elevated train structure newly painted creating a clean backdrop to our Avenue activities. It took the GWDC and then later with the assistance of our Woodhaven Business Improvement District 35 years to get it repaired and painted. It was well worth the perseverance and the years of dedication.
Another month, another raucous debate at Community Board 9, this time over a liquor license renewal for a Woodhaven bar that may … or may not … pose a serious quality-of-life issue for the neighborhood.
A month after several members of the board sought to establish a moratorium on all liquor licenses to end what they claim is the “proliferation” of bars in the area, members took up a renewal of McHugh’s, a bar at 97-07 Jamaica Ave., which several members say is a source of trouble.
Changes may be in store for the controversial pedestrian plaza that was constructed last fall in City Line.
Community Board 9 entertained the issue on Tuesday night in Richmond Hill after holding a town hall meeting in August at Borough Hall where supporters and opponents — mainly business owners at the site — spoke about their concerns on the plaza. The city Department of Transportation installed the plaza last November along Drew Street between Liberty and 101st avenues and 101st Avenue between Drew and 75th streets. CB 9 approved it a year ago.
The dedicated cluster of graffiti-fighters in Woodhaven and Richmond Hill are getting some professional reinforcements.
Councilman Eric Ulrich (R-Ozone Park) announced Wednesday that he has allocated $25,000 to the Queens Economic Development Corp. to hire a professional graffiti-removal service that will regularly clean graffiti along six corridors in the 32nd District.
The Woodhaven Residents’ Block Association is fighting the Sanitation Department’s practice of issuing tickets to property owners in the middle of the night for garbage dumped outside their properties, an issue that has affected the civic organization personally.
The problem stems from a common nighttime occurrence — people dumping trash outside Jamaica Avenue storefronts. Then, Sanitation Department agents write summonses in the middle of the night, fining property owners for failing to dispose of this rubbish they never even had the chance to see because it had been dumped there after their businesses were closed for the day.
Autumn is here and the chill can be felt in the air. The weather has been very sunny and bright, for many days now, but the chill is still there. I just hope that a certain day in October is a warm sunny day.
That day, the 19th, is important for it is the day of our Wonderful Woodhaven Street Festival 2014. From 12 to 6 p.m., on Jamaica Avenue from 80th Street to Woodhaven Boulevard, we will have pony rides and games, antique cars and a variety of vendors with unique products and our great shops. The entertainment will be the great country western music of the Mary Lamont Band with line dancers and instruction and dancing in the streets, rock and mellow music by local bands Plastic Soul, the Solid State Band, Golden Echo, all from Queens. This year again our special feature will be “The Malaysian Lion Dancers.” Also appearing will be our veteran Shorinjiryu Kenryukan karate with instructor Myron Lubitsch, who have appeared in our street fairs for over 25 years and are located right on our Jamaica Avenue.
That’s not just the chorus of a song that dominates the pop charts. It’s also what you probably heard if you were near the intersection of Jamaica Avenue and Woodhaven Boulevard around 10:30 a.m. last Friday.
During their first meeting back from the summer, Community Board 9 members — in no uncertain terms — announced they were done with the high density of bars and nightclubs in the district area.
Faced with several new liquor licenses and a renewal, several members of the board at Tuesday night’s meeting at Villa Russo in Richmond Hill suggested voting down all of them, despite their applications being submitted on time, without any discrepancies and no complaints about the specific owners or locations. The reason? There are too many already.
Sorry to say, but all our students will be heading back to school!
In Woodhaven, we try to make it as painless as possible by the Woodhaven Business Improvement District-sponsored annual “Back to School Sales Day” on Jamaica Avenue on Saturday. Aug. 30. The WBID will bring music, face painters and free giveaways from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. along the strip.
As you probably know, the Woodhaven Business Improvement District periodically distributes quarters for parking cars on Jamaica Avenue paying for the first 15 minutes. Also, we give out fliers from the WBID to thank those who shop our Jamaica Avenue. The WBID appreciates that you shop locally in our stores and businesses that care.
More shoppers are on our Jamaica Avenue, even in the heat of the summer. There are so many stores to shop in and many respected professional services available all on our “Everything Avenue.”
It never was a bad little tree, but Woodhaven’s new Christmas tree, which replaced the community’s iconic 27-year-old evergreen that was taken down by Hurricane Sandy’s winds, needed more than just a little love.
Planted in January, the tree did not thrive in its location on Forest Parkway near Jamaica Avenue, according to Maria Thomson, executive director of the Woodhaven Business Improvement District, and died in the past few weeks.
The owner of the abandoned building at 78-19 Jamaica Ave. that collapsed in April 2013 appears to have gotten a reprieve.
The two-story structure crumbled after a rainstorm 15 months ago, crushing a parked car, and was slated to be demolished starting last week. But the owner, George Kochabe, who owns the building through his company, 78-19 Jamaica Avenue LLC., sued the city for “arbitrary and capricious” conduct in demanding the demolition of the structure, alleging that it was not a public safety issue. The city and the owner settled with the agreement that he would fix the building by mid-October.
Did you enjoy your long holiday weekend,
I hope that you did.
The vacant Woodhaven building that collapsed more than a year ago still has not been demolished, but the process should begin this month.
The building at 78-19 Jamaica Ave. collapsed after a heavy rainstorm on April 12, 2013, crushing a vehicle but not causing any injuries. The structure, which included commercial space on the first floor and apartments above that, was vacant at the time.
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!
In 2003, a British newspaper writing about the surprise Academy Award victory for actor Adrien Brody described him as being from “Woodhaven, a New York City suburb about ten kilometers east of Manhattan.”
They were wrong of course — Woodhaven is a neighborhood within, not a suburb of, New York City — but anyone who has been to the community could easily forgive their mistake.
State Sen. Joe Addabbo Jr., left, and Assemblyman Mike Miller were among those honored at last Friday’s Greater Woodhaven Development Corp. dinner dance at Woodhaven Manor.
The two were awarded the 2014 Achievement Award by the GWDC for their work and commitment to Woodhaven, according to executive director Maria Thomson.
Do you like good music? Or do you want to dance and hold my hand, like you’re dancing in the streets. Then you have to attend our GWDC’s “Spring is Here” Dinner Dance on June 6, celebrating our 35th anniversary.
The dinner dance is to be held again at Woodhaven Manor at 96-01 Jamaica Ave. Our 2014 honorees include Rep. Nydia Velazquez, “Woman of the Year 2014,” in recognition and sincere appreciation for her concerned efforts in supporting with her friendship and leadership as our congresswoman on behalf of our Woodhaven Business Improvement District’s small business owners.
I hope that you enjoyed the beautiful weather on Mother’s Day, and I hope that you had an opportunity to shop on Woodhaven’s “Everything” Jamaica Avenue from Dexter Court to 100th Street.
This, our thriving shopping strip, with mom-and-pop stores and larger stores, contribute to the Woodhaven Business Improvement District, which supports our vibrant community. With these contributions, our WBID cleans our streets, bags the garbage, clean the graffiti vandalism off of our walls, storefronts and all along Jamaica Avenue. We also use the contributions for our trolley cars and to sponsor many community events.
Shahir Erfan, vice president for administration at LaGuardia Community College, addresses City Council members regarding the school’s recently released traffic study of Thomson Avenue at the Queens Vision Zero town hall.
The Vision Zero initiative remains somewhat vague despite it being announced some months ago.
The idea of eliminating pedestrian deaths in the city — as Vision Zero intends to do — is something almost everyone can get behind but the means of accomplishing that goal are still under debate.
Photos courtesy Maria Thomson