VOL. 12 • NUMBER 44 • OCTOBER 31, 2013
Exactly one year after Sandy, South Queens residents gathered at St. Helen's in Howard Beach and reﬂected that the storm was not only a time of great pain and loss, but of community strength - when people reached out their arms to catch anyone in need and held them until they could stand again. Residents said the community was tested, but because of love, faith and the goodwill of neighbors, it has persevered - and will continue to do so. Special Section Coverage Begins After Page 22 Anna Gustafson/The Forum Newsgroup
THE FORUM NEWSGROUP • October 31, 2013 | 1
People say you can’t fight City Hall...
Don’t tell that to Councilman Eric Ulrich
Passed five on-time balanced budgets that kept firehouses open, expanded after school programs and protected vital senior services.
Improved public transportation by holding the MTA accountable, added more express buses, and fought for new ferry service.
Delivered rapid relief and resources to help families affected by Hurricane Sandy and is leading the fight against skyrocketing flood insurance premiums.
Secured record funding for new school construction to alleviate overcrowding and updated classroom technology in our district.
Proudly endorsed by the hardworking men and women of New York City
United Federation of Teachers Patrolmens’ Benevolent Assn. Detectives Endowment Assn. Uniformed Sanitationmen’s Assn. Lieutenants Benevolent Assn. Captains Endowment Assn.
Fire Marshals Benevolent Assn. Uniformed Firefighters Assn. Uniformed Fire Officers Assn. Transport Workers Union Plumbers Local No. 1 Steamfitters Local 638
FORWARD TOGETHER 2 | THE FORUM NEWSGROUP • October 31, 2013
Supports NYPD Commissioner Ray Kelly and the use of stop, question & frisk to fight crime and keep our neighborhoods safe.
VOTE TUESDAY NOVEMBER 5th
NYC District Council of Carpenters Council of School Supervisors & Administrators Local 46 1199 SEIU DC 37 Paid for by Re-Elect Eric Ulrich
Parents Slam City Over JHS 226 Plan By Hannah Sheehan South Ozone Park parents registered their unanimous opposition to the city Department of Education’s proposal to open a new district high school within Building Q226 at 121-10 Rockaway Blvd., which already hosts three middle schools, at a public hearing last Wednesday. Mike Duvalle, a member of the District 27 Community Education Council, appealed for a moratorium on the plans until further discussion between community members and the school’s new administration could take place. The CEC, he said, voted unanimously two days earlier against the DOE’s plan due to reservations regarding bullying and overcrowding. “Years after years, they’ve been telling us that we cannot reduce class sizes because there’s not enough room to create more classrooms in the schools,” Duvalle said. “For years, that was the reason we had 36 or even 40 kids in a classroom.” District parent Mona-Lisa Chandler voiced concerns over tight resources, which have already forced the school to make use of trailers as additional classrooms, and plans for a dance studio that may never come to fruition if space is limited further. “That was something that was prom-
Michael Duvalle, a CEC 27 member, pleaded with the city to hold its vote on JHS 226.
ised to the children and is still in the process of being worked on to be built,” she said. Chandler also suggested renovating an existing, empty school building to house the new high school as an alternative to the DOE's plan. “Let the new high school co-locate with high school students,” she said. Tykia Moore, a mother of two daughters new to the district, spoke about the dangers of allowing middle school students to mix with high schoolers. “At the last meeting I asked, ‘How are you going to keep our children safe?'
Hannah Sheehan/The Forum Newsgroup
Parent Mona-Lisa Chandler said she was worried the city's proposal would create increasingly overcrowded conditions in the building.
They said more policing. Our children don’t need more policing. They need more education. They need dance. They need the arts,” Moore said. “They need a greater curriculum, a stronger curriculum, more teachers to help them, reduced class sizes--not a high school to take away from the current space that they have.” Moore also addressed the difficulties inherent in scheduling lunch periods for so many students. “My daughter has lunch at 10:30 in the morning...So what’s going to happen if they put a high school in here? The kids are going to have lunch at 9:30, 9 o’clock?
That’s breakfast. Then you’re going to want to know why these children can’t function in their seventh period class,” she said. Moore added that she worries about the far-reaching consequences of the city Panel for Educational Policy's vote, which was scheduled to take place Wednesday evening. Often regarded as a rubber stamp for the mayor because the majority of it is made up with Bloomberg's appointees, the panel is expected to approve the plan for JHS 226. If approved, the new high school would open in September 2014.
“If we don’t do something now, years from now you’re going to be paying for it. You’re going to be paying for it because you’re going to have to take care of these children who are now adults and don’t have an education and can’t afford to take care of themselves,” she warned. The DOE’s co-location plan will attempt to address overcrowding at Q226 by reducing enrollment at the school over the next three years and allowing the new high school to grow to scale. JHS 226 currently serves 1,371 students in grades six through eight and enrolled between 415 and 425 sixth graders in recent years. If the PEP approves the DOE’s proposal, the junior high school will see a reduced enrollment of 295-305 sixth grade students next fall. The planned co-location of JHS 226, JHS. 297 Hawtree Creek Middle School, and PS 233 at JHS 226 with the new high school is one of 25 similar plans that were expected to come up for a vote this week before the PEP. Of the initially proposed 28 citywide co-locations, three of the plans were withdrawn in the days running up to the vote. The PEP previously approved 23 DOE planned co-locations across Manhattan, the Bronx, and Brooklyn earlier this month at a meeting on Oct. 15.
Community Celebrates All Saints Moving Into Historic Woodhaven Church
Michael Florio/The Forum Newsgroup
Community members and religious leaders gathered last Friday to celebrate the All Saints Episcopal Church moving into the former St. Matthew's building in Woodhaven.
By Michael Florio After the community was devastated by the closing of the beloved 111-year-old Saint Matthew’s Episcopal Church in Woodhaven a couple years ago, residents shuddered at the thought of what was to become of the historic building that has been called one of the finest examples of English gothic architecture on the East Coast. Fears that the property, which includes a cemetery with 160 individual gravestones denoting burials from 1793 to 1892, would be sold cast long shadows across the neighborhood. Those fears, however, were cast aside last week, when religious leaders and residents celebrated the beginning of a new life for the building at 85-45 96th St. All Saints Episcopal Church,
which had been operating in Richmond Hill, is moving into the Woodhaven spot, and it celebrated its reconsecration with a well-attended ceremony last Friday night. The Bishop of the Diocese of Long Island Lawrence C. Provenzano, along with other clergy, civic leaders and residents gathered on the corner of 96th street and Jamaica Avenue for the reconsecration. “We are here to dedicate this to God’s mission in this community,” said Provenzano. “This is the doing of God’s people.” Provenzano led the group in prayer and then down the street to the doorway of the church. He knocked on the doors, blessed them and welcomed anyone who wanted to come inside. Once inside, the bishop proceeded
with the dedication of the font, the consecration of the Chapel of St. Matthew, the dedication of the lectern and the dedication of the pulpit. Once done, the church was blessed and mass was able to proceed. The All Saints Church also presented the installation of Rev. Dr. Norman Whitmire, Jr. as their seventh rector. “It means a lot,” said Whitmire. “It’s a new beginning in my journey as a priest.” The move is important for the All Saints congregation. “The move will provide the opportunity to do new and great ministry in the Woodhaven community,” said Whitmire. “When this church closed down two years ago those opportunities were lost. By being here we are able to witness this community and I hope that we will be a beacon to the community and transform lives.” Members of the All Saints Church is thankful to all those who have helped make this move possible. Whitmire was thankful to all of those that sacrificed and labored to not only make the move possible, but to do it in such quick time. Provenzano was grateful to those that helped the move now, but also to those that helped build St. Matthew’s before they moved in. “We cannot just move in,” he said. “This is the work of God’s people that came before us and we must have hearts that are grateful.” Those that have helped with the move are glad to see the All Saints congregation move in.
“It is such a lovely church to begin with it just deteriorated over the years,” said Steve Blake, who helped with the restoration of the church. “We didn’t do a lot to the church itself, [we did work on] the sanctuaries, a little bit of alter work and some exterior work. It is a gorgeous building and I hope they [All Saints congregation] are happy with it.” “I’m really glad,” said Debbie Smith, who used to be a member to St. Matthew’s church. “It’s great because it
is going to be open again, it was too sad to see it close. I hope they love it like we did.” The All Saints congregation is hoping to bring God to a community that as Provenzano said in his sermon, elect to not have a religious preference. They welcome anyone who is interested to go visit the church. “If we are all God’s people, the church needs to be on a mission for everyone,” he said.
St. Stan's basketball takes on breast cancer awareness
Photo Courtesy Veronica Bode
As Breast Cancer Awareness Month draws to a close, members of the St. Stan's basketball program in Ozone Park, gathered outside the church on Sunday following masses, in an attempt to raise funds for the fight against breast cancer. The group also sold "Battle against Breast Cancer" t-shirts to raise money for the cause. Parish athletic director, Joe Bode, praised the families for their participation. "We may be a small program, but we have tremendous heart and spirit!"
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Ulrich, Simon Battle for South Queens Council Seat By Alan Krawitz With less than a week until the general election, candidates throughout the borough have been working overtime in efforts to reach voters. And, in Council District 32, which includes Howard Beach, Lindenwood, Broad Channel, Ozone Park, South Ozone Park, Woodhaven, Richmond Hill, and the Rockaways, the race will seem an instant replay of 2009 when Lew Simon, who has won the Democratic nomination, first squared off against Councilman Eric Ulrich (ROzone Park), who first won his seat in a special election and then in the general. “I’ll be running on my record as a voice for job creation, improving transportation and making sure we help people still struggling with recovering from Hurricane Sandy,” Ulrich said in a phone interview. Ulrich, whose support includes several city police unions, has focused his efforts on “quality of life” issues within the district, from vandalism to illegal dumping. He also has support from various labor groups due to his backing of paid sick leave and raising the state’s minimum wage. Simon, a Rockaway Democratic party leader, has focused on a number of local issues, most notably transportation and healthcare, such as the need for more hospitals and hospital beds in southern Queens. Asked about the controversial reactivation of the Rockaway Beach Rail Line, Simon said he fully supports the project. “It would be a ‘shot in the arm’ to the district, and would improve the quality of life and get people from Howard Beach to Penn in about 20 minutes and from Ozone Park to Penn Station in only about 18 minutes instead of the current commute
Councilman Eric Ulrich and Democratic candidate Lew Simon are running to represent the 32nd Council District.
which is close to an hour,” Simon said. That position is in stark contrast to his opponent, who contends that he “doesn’t have a position” on the project due to the unknown costs related to the reactivation. “I think for me to have a position on the Rockaway Beach Rail Line would be irresponsible since no one seems to know the costs involved,” Ulrich said, while explaining that he supports maintaining the Rockaway Ferry and also adding more express bus service to and from the peninsula. “I think those are more realistic transportation goals that will help my constituents with transportation,” the legislator continued. For his part, Simon noted that “it seems that tax dollars always seem to go into Manhattan, to support the Second Avenue Subway project, among others.” In addition to the Rockaway Line reactivation, Simon said he supports an HOV lane from Cross Bay Boulevard straight up to Queens Boulevard. “The traffic is so impacted for our communi-
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ties during the peak hours…we need an HOV lane and we also need to turn off some of the traffic cameras that people tend to get caught-in during rush hour and end up getting red-light tickets,” Simon said. Both candidates have called Hurricane Sandy recovery a priority for the area, which was particularly hard-hit by the superstorm a year ago. Since the storm, the legislator and his staff have done everything from partnering with the Doe Fund to remove the mounds of debris that littered the roadway between Howard Beach and Broad Channel to helping people receive building permits and streamlining the building process. He and his office are also helping people sign up for the city’s Build It Back program so residents can rebuild their homes - something many have not been able to afford to do. For Simon, he said that Sandy recovery efforts played a key part in entering this year’s race for District 32. “My key priorities are rebuilding after Sandy,”
Simon said. “Rockaway, Broad Channel, Breezy Point, Howard Beach, Lindenwood and Hamilton Beach were destroyed,” he said, adding that many people are hitting stone walls, fighting with their insurance companies, the Federal Emergency Management Agency, the city’s Build It Back program, and other federal and state programs. “People are in hock, maxing out credit cards and even draining retirement funds trying to find the money to rebuild and get their lives back on track,” Simon continued. Ulrich said that from now until Election Day next week, he will be reaching out to his constituents on what he plans to do in the future. “I don’t take this race for granted,” said Ulrich, who has also landed endorsements from the United Federation of Teachers, the Uniformed Firefighters Association, and the Small Business Coalition. “I intend to compete for every vote,” he said, noting that he’ll be working double-time to earn the trust of his constituents. Simon, who said he is all about “personal service,” says he will be working 20 hours per day, going door-to-door, visiting senior centers and making personal phone calls. “I’ve probably been one of the most visible candidates here in the borough,” he said. Simon, who has the support of politicians such as U.S. Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-NY), Assemblyman Phil Goldfeder (D-Rockaway Park), Democratical borough president candidate Melinda Katz, and mayoral candidate Bill de Blasio, said that “voting for me is a vote for somebody who cares and for somebody who is always accessible.” Election Day is Nov. 5. To find out more information about voting and where a poll site is located, visit www.vote.nyc.ny.us.
At O'Neill's in Maspeth, Lhota Weaves Narrative of the Personal and Political By Ben Kleine Joe Lhota performed all of the duties necessary of someone campaigning for mayor, following a specific script. O’Neill’s, a Maspeth bar and eatery, was extra crowded last Friday, housing both normal patrons reveling after a week of hard work and constituents there to see Lhota - the Republican candidate running against Democratic candidate Bill de Blasio for the city’s top spot. Lhota shook every hand presented to him with a warm smile. He posed for pictures with those clutching iPhones. He answered the cavalcade of inquiries with brevity and simplicity. He also spoke to two sections of the restaurant. First, he delivered a carefully crafted tale to members of the local unions. Lhota went to Georgetown with the help of a scholarship from his father’s union. His dad was an officer with the NYPD; his grandfather was a firefighter. He said he would never forget this generosity; indeed, he was the first member of his family to go to college. This narrative helps Lhota curry favor less than two weeks before the Nov. 5 general election with potential constituents who want him to crack down on crime and union members. Art Gault was one of the Queens residents who came to see Lhota. Gault supports the Republican candidate for mayor because he believes Lhota will be tougher on crime than his opponent. “On the big issues they’re very similar,” Gault said. “The difference between them is crime. I grew up in New York. I saw what is was like in the ‘80s.” Tom Larkin, a laborer from Long
Republican mayoral candidate Joe Lhota meets with supporters at O'Neill's in Maspeth last week.
Island, heartedly supported Lhota, but was aware of the Republican party’s long history of anti-union ideology. Larkin’s primary issue was the enforcement of the same regulations imposed on union workers that exists for private contractors. “I’ll vote for the guy who does what’s right,” Larkin said. Lhota’s second foray into oration used a general message. He talked about his fiscal conservative policies, plans to reduce taxes, and regulations to entice more businesses to settle in New York. “I want to be the mayor who makes New York a great place to live, a great place to grow,” said Lhota, who, according to the most recent New York Times/Siena College poll, is trailing de
Blasio by 45 points. The candidate also extolled the virtues of the middle class and brought up taking care of firefighters after Sept. 11, 2001 as a part of the talking-point buffet. As Lhota prepared to leave the establishment, one constituent offered a cry of “beat that socialist,” to which Lhota responded with a somewhat reluctant thumbs up. All of this trail stomping paints a simplistic portrait of a man with a full resume of city government experience, including a stint as deputy mayor under former Mayor Rudy Giuliani. In fact, Lhota is a part of rare species these days: a Republican willing to spend government dollars. One of Lhota’s primary issues is affordable housing. Lhota has a plan
Photo Courtesy Kevin Ryan
to use $8 billion of public money to finance the refurbishing of current housing and the building of new housing. Lhota made it a point to mention that New Yorkers pay an exorbitant percentage of their salaries on rent, the highest in the United States. Lhota is literally willing to put his money where his mouth is to improve the lives of the working middle class. That housing plan does not include rebuilding after Hurricane Sandy. Lhota said that will be an entirely different project, even more important. “I’m not happy with where we are,” Lhota said of the current rebuilding projects. “We have way too many people not back in their homes.” Olivia Henderson signed up to volunteer for Lhota at a fundraiser.
The main issue that sold her on the candidate was his support for charter schools. Lhota wants to see charter schools in every borough. He added that he wants to improve all of the public schools in New York. Included in his plan are new ways to evaluate teachers and administrators, but money has to be spent to improve schools: materials, infrastructure, and teacher salaries. However, Lhota’s policies are still conservative. His answer to lengthy emergency room wait times at public hospitals like Queens Hospital Center was to encourage more urgent care centers. Most urgent care centers are privately funded and are an emerging investment with more Americans likely to have health insurance with the impending passage and implementation of the Affordable Care Act. “We need to look at what they’re doing in the Bronx,” Lhota said. “That’s the model that’s working.” And like any successful politician, Lhota knows no answer is sometimes the best answer. He was asked about the Queensway project. Some Queens' residents want the abandoned rail line converted into a park, like Manhattan’s High Line. The High Line of course features a plethora of successful businesses around the tourist attraction. Others, including officials like U.S. Rep. Hakeem Jeffries (D-Queens, Brooklyn), want the rail line reactivated. Lhota said he was often asked which option he preferred when he ran the Metropolitan Transit Authority. He sees the positives in either plan. “The people of Queens need to decide that,” he said.
Irate Caruana Camp Slams Citizens Union Over Dropping Endorsement
But good government group said it was done because of controversial mailer By Anna Gustafson After Citizens Union informed Craig Caruana, the Republican candidate running for the 30th Council District, that they were going to endorse him, the government watchdog group pulled their support following what the Caruana camp says amounts to pressure from Democratic elected officials. Citizens Union, however, has said the backing was rescinded days after the group told Caruana they had tapped him for the endorsement because of a controversial mailer from the Republican’s campaign about which Citizens Union members said they were not aware before the group expressed its support for the candidate running against Councilwoman Elizabeth Crowley (D-Middle Village). Citizens Union’s director of public policy and advocacy, Alex Camarda, emailed Caruana on Monday, Oct. 21 to inform him of their support.
“I wanted to let you know before we make it public later this week that we will be endorsing your candidacy in this race,” Camarda wrote in the email. “Congratulations!” However, in an Oct. 24 phone call to Caruana’s campaign, Citizens Union Executive Director Dick Dadey said the group was pulling its endorsement, saying two Council members had called them regarding the decision. According to Caruana’s campaign, Dadey said the reversal was due to one of Caruana’s campaign mailers, which had been released several weeks prior, which Dadey said engaged in “fear mongering.” “After the Citizens Union board met...and reviewed the message of the flyer and its consequences, it felt the flyer crossed a line and engaged in inappropriate fear-mongering that unfairly targets immigrants,” the group said in a statement to the press in regards to a campaign piece Caruana had sent out lambasting Crow-
ley for supporting a bill that prevents the city The endorsement issue was brought up durDepartment of Corrections from checking the ing Monday night’s debate in Middle Village immigration status of individuals charged with between Crowley and Caruana, and the incuma crime. bent stressed that the legislation in question had Atop the mailer, the Caruana camp wrote, been supported by Police Commissioner Ray “Liz Crowley made our neighborhoods more Kelly and the five borough district attorneys. dangerous,” and it goes on to cite Councilman “They said they didn’t endorse your camPeter Vallone (D-Astoria), who argued the pol- paign because your campaign messaging was icy would make “our streets more dangerous.” racist,” Crowley said during the debate of Citi“The behavior of Citizens Union… is sick- zens Union, which will now not make any enening,” Caruana spokesman Kevin Ryan said. dorsement in the race for the 30th Council “Citizens Union has lost its integrity and caved District. The district covers Maspeth Middle in to political pressure from the Crowley cro- Village, Ridgewood, Glendale, Woodhaven, and nies. They stand for exactly the opposite of the Richmond Hill. non-partisan reform they claim to support. The incumbent added that the law was “They’ve made themselves a disgraceful “meant to have the immigrant community not part of the politics-as-usual system and just an- fear law enforcement.” Caruana, meanwhile, said at the debate that other phony partisan group in New York politics,” Ryan continued. “It’s Craig Caruana who’s he is “very proud of all the mailers we’ve sent fighting for good government reform - not the out” and stressed that others have questioned the bill, such as Vallone. puppets at Citizens Union.” THE FORUM NEWSGROUP • October 31, 2013 | 5
With Election Around Corner, Mayoral Candidates Go on Attack By Anna Gustafson While Democratic candidate and Public Advocate Bill de Blasio appears poised to win the mayoral election with a historic lead - polls consistently show him leading Republican Joe Lhota by about 40 to 45 points - that has not cooled a heated campaign nor stopped the two opponents from trading barbs over everything from Sandy aid to crime. In a recent televised debate, de Blasio and Lhota sniped at one another over the use of federal funds for hurricane victims. Lhota, the former chairman of the Metropolitan Transportation Authority, criticized the Democratic candidate for saying during a recent trip to the Rockaways that he would use portions of the federal aid to not only help residents with reconstruction but use it in other areas such as job creation and affordable housing. The Republican said residents who are still struggling to rebuild “want the money used for what the state of New York and the city of New York asked for: To repair and replace their homes,” Lhota said during last week’s debate. “I’m concerned Mr. de Blasio’s efforts to do other things with it, it’s going to destroy the entire process,” Lhota continued.
As he has numerous times throughout the campaign, de Blasio accused Lhota of using incendiary language. “It’s not going to destroy the process,” de Blasio said sharply. “We’re talking about how to use this money to make it effective.” The Democratic candidate said using money for job creation and affordable housing would be especially helpful in places like the Rockaways, which he called “a neighborhood that has been forgotten by the city for so long.” “We have to do a lot with the federal money coming in - it’s a crucial moment,” de Blasio said.
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Bill de Blasio
Lhota has said that he too would want to focus on job creation and sustainable housing in areas hard hit by Sandy but said using the federal money to help people with their most immediate needs - rebuilding homes - should be the priority. The two candidates have also repeatedly sparred on crime throughout the campaign, but the blows have grown increasingly intense as the election nears and the two got into what essentially amounted to screaming matches over it at last week’s debate. “Bill de Blasio served in the administration of David Dinkins, and during that period
of time, we had 2,000 murders a year, the last time we had a race riot in the city of New York,” said Lhota, who has slammed de Blasio’s plan to purge the controversial stop-andfrisk tactic, saying it will handcuff police and make crime raets rise. De Blasio, meanwhile, slammed Lhota for the Republican’s recent ad that shows images of New York City during the crime-infested 1970s, suggesting that similar scenes will occur if the Democrat is elected. The ad also features a scene of the group of bikers that attacked a driver in Upper Manhattan in September. “Mr. Lhota should be ashamed of an ad that tries to divide us, that’s based on fearmongering,” said de Blasio, who also said the commercial was “race baiting” in part because of its use of photos of riots. “You want to throw out the race card?” Lhota yelled. “Let’s talk about the various different mass cards put out for the thousands of people killed in the city. Let’s talk about the report card for the kid being kept in failing schools. Let’s talk about the scorecard that says New York City is the highest-taxed city in the country.” The candidates’ final debate was scheduled for Wednesday, Oct. 30, after The Forum goes to press.
Lew Simon Who? Dear Editor: I am truly offended and concerned by candidate for City Councilmember Lew Simon’s lack of good character and judgment during this election season and his race against incumbent City Councilmember Eric Ulrich. Although I feel for Mr. Simon and his recent health issues, I find it very suspicious that Mr. Simon was strong enough to have had the strength, as written in a Daily News article, to be on the phone making calls pleading for people to attend his fundraiser and make disparaging remarks about Ulrich. Mr. Simon seems to be taking the negative road to conduct his race against Ulrich. Perhaps Mr. Simon should take a look in the mirror when looking for divisiveness. He is claiming that due to his health issues, he is unable to debate Ulrich. We, as voters in the district, were looking forward to the debate that was to be held this month. Is it true that Lew Simon is not well enough to debate or is this health issue nothing but a rabbit hole for Simon to hide in because he is not up for the job? We deserve a public debate. It is our right, as voters, to make an informed decision when casting our vote. I cannot cast my vote for someone whose voice I have not heard! Who will not, and has not, put forth his platform before the people he is asking to vote for them. When will I learn about you Mr. Simon? Will it be when you are hiding behind the negative mailings that I will surely receive during election season? I am not interested in what you think of Ulrich. I am only interested in hearing how you think you can do a better job and convince me why you are worthy of my vote. Ulrich has been seen and heard at all the civic meetings, candidates’ forums, community events, precinct councils, community board meetings, school events, etc. He is not afraid to answer the hard questions and bring about real solutions. As a Democratic voter in this community, I have to say that Mr. Simon, by means of your absence, you made my mind as to what I am going to do on Election Day. It is my opinion that Councilmember
Ulrich has conducted himself in a way that a public servant should… If it isn’t broken, there’s no need to fix it! Joan Ujazdowski Howard Beach
A Numerical Summary Dear Editor: What price will the Republican party pay for their folly in resisting attempts to end the government shutdown? The following numbers stood out in this crisis: 16, 24, 27, 18, 144, 87. Let’s examine what was behind each of these numbers. From Oct. 1 to Oct. 16, our government went through a 16 day meltdown. The Commerce Dept. estimated this cost our economy $24 billion. During the evening of Oct. 16, Congress went though an 11th hour “tug of war” in an attempt to save the country from going into default at midnight. The Senate took the first constructive step by voting 81 to 18 for the Reid-McConnell compromise: no default. This 81 majority was the result of 27 GOP senators joining 52 Democrats plus 2 Independent senators. However, it should be noted that the Republicans were deeply divided. 18 GOP Tea Party senators led by Ted Cruz (R-Texas) voted “no” on the avoid default bill. When the Senate Bill reached the House late that night, bipartisanship narrowly won. 144 GOP reps. voted “no.” However, Speaker Boehner broke with his GOP majority by taking 87 of his flock through the wilderness (across the aisle) and bonded with the enemy (a solid Democratic minority) and voted “yes” to end the shutdown and default threat. The bill was sent to the White House at midnight for Obama’s signature. Thus, this 16 day saga came to an end on Oct. 17. Nearly one million employees returned to their jobs. A closing note. Robert La Rosa wrote an excellent thought-provoking letter last week titled “Weapons of Mass Deception.” I especially enjoyed his statement, “Hate and ego have no place residing in the chapel of democracy.” Anthony Pilla Forest Hills
NYC Subway System Dear Editor: Happy 108th anniversary to the NYC subway system! October 27th marks the 108th anniversary of our New York City subway system. The original BMT (Brooklyn Manhattan Rapid Transit – today’s B,D,J,M, N,Q, R & Z lines) and IRT (Interboro Rapid Transit - 1,2,3,4,5,6,7, Franklin Ave and Times Square shuttles) subway systems were constructed and managed by the private sector with no government operating subsidies. Financial viability was 100% dependent upon farebox revenues. They supported both development and economic growth of numerous neighborhoods in the boroughs of Manhattan, Brooklyn, Bronx and Queens. As part of the franchise agreement, which owners had to sign, City Hall had direct control over the fare structure. For a period of time, owners actually make a profit with a five-cent fare. After two decades passed, the costs of salaries, maintenance, power, supplies and equipment would pressure owners to ask City Hall for permission to raise the fares. This additional revenue was needed to keep up with maintaining a good state of repair, increase the frequency of service, purchase new subway cars, pay employee salary increases and support planned system expansion. Politicians more interested in the next re-election refused this request each year for well over a decade. As a result, in order to survive, owners of both systems began looking elsewhere to reduce costs and stay in business. They started curtailing basic maintenance, delayed purchases of new subway cars, postponed salary increases for employees, canceled any plans for system expansion and cut corners to survive. Does any of this sound familiar from the present? In the 1930s, NYC began building and financing construction of the new IND (Independent Subway – today’s A,C,E,F & G lines). This new municipal system subsidized by taxpayers dollars would provide direct competition to both the IRT and BMT. Municipal government forced them into economic ruin by denying them fare increases that would have provided access to additional badly needed revenues.
Big Brother, just like the Godfather, eventually made them an offer they couldn’t refuse. The owners folded and sold out to City Hall. In 1953, the old NYC Board of Transportation passed on control of the municipal subway system, including all its assets to the newly created New York City Transit Authority. Under late Governor Nelson Rockefeller in the 60′s, the Metropolitan Transportation Authority was created. The governor appointed four board members. Likewise, the mayor appointed four more and the rest by suburban county executives. Not one elected official controlled a majority of the votes. Elected officials have historically taken credit when the MTA or any operating subsidiary such as New York City Transit would do a good job. When operational problems occurred or fare increases were needed — everyone could put up their hands. Don’t blame me, I’m only a minority
within the Board. Decade after decade, mayors, city comptrollers, public advocates, city council presidents, borough presidents and city council members would all play the same sad song — if only we had majority control of the Board – things would be different. All have long forgotten that buried within the 1953 master agreement between the city of New York and New York City Transit is an escape clause. NYC has the legal right at any time to take back control of its assets, which includes the subway and most of the bus system as well. Actions speak louder than words. If today's generation of municipal elected officials feel they could do a better job running the nations largest subway and bus system, there is the option to step up to the plate now and regain control. In the meantime, enjoy the ride! Larry Penner Great Neck
PUBLISHER Patricia L. Adams EDITOR-IN-CHIEF Anna Gustafson PRODUCTION Marisa Pilato EDITOR REPORTERS Alan Krawitz Samantha Geary CONTRIBUTING Hannah Sheehan REPORTERS Kerry Goleski Kate Bubacz Michael Florio Zainab Akande DIRECTOR OF Donna DeCarolis MARKETING PHOTOGRAPHERS Robert Stridiron Richard York _____________________________________________ THE FORUM NEWSGROUP 155-19 Lahn Street, Howard Beach, NY 11414 phone • 718-845-3221 | fax • 718-738-7645 e-mail • email@example.com site • theforumnewsgroup.com THE FORUM NEWSGROUP publishes every Thursday. Ad space reservations by Monday, 12 noon, preceding date of publication. Editorial submission must be made by Monday, 3 P.M., preceding date of publication. All letters to THE FORUM NEWSGROUP should be brief and are subject to editing. Writers should include a full address and home / office telephone number. Anonymous letters are not printed. Name withheld on request. No such ad or any part thereof may be reproduced without permission of THE FORUM NEWSGROUP. The publisher will not be responsible for any error in advertising beyond the cost of the space occupied by the error. Errors must be reported to THE FORUM NEWSGROUP within five days of publication. Ad position cannot be guaranteed unless paid prior to publication. Genesis Print Media & Consultation assumes no liability for the content or reply to any ads. The advertiser assumes all liability for the content of and all replies. The advertiser agrees to hold THE FORUM NEWSGROUP and its employees harmless from all costs, expenses, liabilities, and damages resulting from or caused by the publication placed by the advertiser or any reply to any such advertisement.
THE FORUM NEWSGROUP • October 31, 2013 | 7
It's here again--Election Day. We’re not going to waste words and tell you how important it is for you to vote. You know all about that. But what we would like to talk to you about is who we hope you’ll come out and support at the polls. There are several candidates that deserve your support - and here are the reasons.
Queens Borough President: Melinda Katz/Tony Arcabascio
Melinda Katz, as we told you before the primary, is a seasoned veteran who has the knowledge of the Borough President’s office that is needed to restore it to that of a viable, functional and productive elected office. Katz enjoys the support and respect of Democrats and Republicans alike and brings a greatly diversified level of experience in government on both the state and city level. She is energetic and committed to increasing focus on the arts and education. We see her as Queens’ ticket out of the “runner-up” “stepchild” borough status and as an individual with the capability of putting Queens where it belongs in the city landscape—as a destination with a rich and diversified selection of cultural and economic opportunities not to be overshadowed by the hype of other boroughs, especially Manhattan. Her opponent, Aurelio ‘Tony’ Arcabascio, is a nice, well-intentioned man, seemingly frustrated by the “political machine” and all its trappings but, in our opinion, is in no way, shape or form ready or able to lead this borough on a charge to the top of the heap.
Ready Aim Vote City Council 32nd District: Eric Ulrich/Lew Simon
It’s a race in which the winner will be responsible for a district that has been ravaged by one of the worst natural disasters ever to hit the eastern seaboard. When you go to pull the lever on this one, you’d better make sure that the candidate you’re voting for has the tenacity, skill and experience to navigate the post-Sandy challenges, more appropriately labeled as threats, that face our community in the immediate future and the years ahead. In other words, you’d better not consider pulling any other lever except the one that’s next to Eric Ulrich’s name. Let’s start with his political pedigree. Ulrich is an incumbent that has consistently delivered millions of dollars in capital improvement funding for the district, instituted educational initiatives, including a ground-breaking SAT prep program, eradicated graffiti from the district, and passed several bills making the city government more accountable. He is an affable, undeniably hard worker who votes his conscience and is not a party slave. His position on stop, question and frisk is the one that is necessary to keep this city in check. These accomplishments - and those like them - that demonstrate a job well done, however, pale in comparison the most important case we can make for his reelection. Plainly and simply, Ulrich has spent the last year making contacts and establishing relationships with people, agencies and groups that are key figures in deciding our exceedingly tentative, shaky post-Sandy future. His opponent, on the other hand, stood before a thousand people at a recent STOP FEMA NOW rally and said that a city council representative has no influence landing the
Take Your Best Shot – Our Endorsements
Sandy help we need. Our choice of endorsement begins and ends there. How could we support a man who doesn’t even realize that intervention on the part of our city council representative, along with other levels of government that will make the decisions, are an invaluable and mandatory component of our recovery? On a final note about Lew Simon: He is no stranger to criticism from the community, and we recently found an interesting 1999 column in The Wave written by now editor Kevin Boyle, who accused the Democrat of forging a teacher certificate in order to get a job. There’s enough forgery in government. We need someone to forge ahead. That’s Eric Ulrich.
City Council 30th District: Elizabeth Crowley/Craig Caruana
The 30th Council District is facing a laundry list of intimidating issues: A woeful lack of senior housing, overcrowded classrooms, an arts center that aims to serve liquor to thousands of patrons in a residential area inhabited by many older residents and families, and not enough green space. There is much that needs to happen for the district’s residents, and in order for that to happen there must be an elected official who is not only responsive to constituents’ needs but able to get along with the City Council’s top brass, including the Speaker. That person is Craig Caruana. In trying to find some good Councilwoman Elizabeth Crowley has done, she has put money into schools and parks. But she has not done nearly enough. Fairly or not, she couldn’t get along with Council Speaker
Friends From Afar Rebuild Scholars' Academy’s Libraries When Wilton High School students learned of the devastation that Hurricane Sandy caused in many schools across the country they decided to do something
about it. After some research they decided they would focus their philanthropic post storm efforts toward Scholars' Academy in Rockaway. The school had lost most of its
Donna DeCarolis/The Forum Newsgroup Pictured are students from both schools at an assembly held on Tuesday morning at Scholars' Academy. Scholars principal Brian O’Connell is at left and Wilton Principal Robert O’Donnell is at right.
8 | THE FORUM NEWSGROUP • October 31, 2013
classroom libraries and the Wilton students decided to do something about it. Efforts began when they partnered with a local Barnes and Nobel store in Norwalk Connecticut. They also held several bake sales, wrote publisher appeal letters and held an appeal driven book-donation day. After contacting Scholar’s over the summer, members of Class Project 2016 felt strongly about replenishing the school’s libraries with needed titles, and with new books rather than used leftovers. “We wanted to make sure their classroom libraries looked at least as good as ours,” said Amanda Craven, a sophomore involved in the project, “so we asked for a list of specific titles to make sure 100% of our efforts would give the teachers exactly what they needed for their students.” And on Tuesday morning, October 29th, the coveted books, delivered by far away friends brought with them a message so much more powerful than even the books themselves carry. The words of Scholars' teacher Danielle Colleran sums is up, “In a time when so much of what we hear is negative, what a wonderful thing to see students come together to help out other students.” Scholars' Academy is located at 320 Beach 104th Street, Rockaway Park, NY 11694.
Christine Quinn - and that has hurt the district
financially. She is routinely missing in action when it comes to responding to constituent complaints, and, when asked if she would run for a third term - something she repeatedly slammed Mayor Bloomberg for pushing - she didn’t say no. Additionally, she is supporting the Knockdown Center, despite almost every other elected official and numerous civic groups in the area raising a litany of concerns about the facility’s request to serve alcohol to up to 5,000 people at the site. We need someone who will listen to, and fight for, the people. Craig Caruana grew up in Middle Village - he knows this district. An involved civic activist, he is committed to this neighborhood and will fight for his constituents - whether they are Democrats or Republicans. It’s time to vote in someone who aims to reduce property taxes and bring more resources to area schools. Who will return phone calls and get along with other legislators. Who won’t say, with a wink, sure, I’d love for that to happen - and then never follow through. Vote Craig Caruana Nov. 5.
Bill deBlasio/Joe Lhota We have very few words to say about this contest. For Joe Lhota it is lost before it is run. As for Bill de Blasio, we sincerely think he is a good guy- a nice guy; it’s his intended policy decisions that we see as a formula for disaster. His policing policies - including arresting stop-and-frisk - we believe will cause crime to skyrocket to levels never before reached. But unless voters have some sort of an instantaneous epiphany on Tuesday at the polls, de Blasio will be our next mayor, not for better, but assuredly for worse.
Eighty Is Just Fine As Election Day approaches we urge you to be mindful of Proposition 6 that will appear on the ballot on November 5 . The measure is one that would provide for the extension of the current retirement age mandate for Supreme Court Justices. Currently the age for forced retirement is 76, however that is really a 70 year limit and then the passing of a certification that would allow the judge to remain on for another 6 years. We are in strong support of voting yes to raise the current retirement age to 80 for the jurists as is provided for in Prop 6. The determination of the 70 year retirement marker was introduced back in the latter half of the 1800’s when people were expected to live less than 50 years. In a day and age where 60 is the new 30 we think it’s time to bring the retirement rules of the Supreme Court out of the dark ages. Wisdom is a function of time and experience—to strip that from the judicial bench is certainly not something in anyone’s best interest. Join us on November 5th in voting yes to Proposition 6.
Feting a Carousel Set to Spin in Forest Park For Generations to Come
Anna Gustafson/The Forum Newsgroup
Woodhaven Residents' Block Association President Ed Wendell said he was thrilled that the carousel has been landmarked, ensuring the historic spot will be there for years to come.
By Anna Gustafson This week’s ceremony celebrating the landmarking of the Forest Park Carousel was, civic leaders and legislators said, the culmination of 25 years of working to save the historic and beloved structure that residents say will now be preserved as an integral part of the community for generations to come. “Over the years, many said it would never happen, but we had faith,” said Greater Woodhaven Development Corporation Executive Director Maria Thomson, who has for two and a half decades fought to landmark the 1903 carousel. “Today is proof that faith has been rewarded.” Thomson joined a bevy of civic leaders, legislators and residents Monday afternoon at the carousel, which is located in Forest Park, to celebrate the merry-go-round’s landmarking.
The Forest Park Carousel was built in 1903 by master wood-carver Daniel Carl Muller.
“About 100 years from now, people will gather here...and celebrate how this carousel is 200 years old,” Woodhaven Residents’ Block Association President Ed Wendell said. “This is something that’s permanent and connects one generation to another,” Wendell said of the carousel, which holds some of the last surviving creations of master wood-carver Daniel Carl Muller and is often referred to as the jewel of Woodhaven. Carved in 1903 by Muller, it is a rare work of art and has been an anchor of the park since the 1970s. The carousel is comprised of 49 horses, a lion, a tiger, a deer, and two chariots. “Today is a very special day - not just for Forest Park, but the whole area surrounding it,” Councilwoman Elizabeth Crowley (D-Middle Village) said. “...[The carousel] will be a part of this park forever to stay.” City Landmarks Preservation Commission Chairman Robert Tierney garnered laughter from the crowd when he joked that “it took 25 years to landmark this, and in landmark time that’s pretty fast.” During the ceremony, a plaque detailing the history of the merry-go-round was unveiled. The plaque was made possible by support from the New York Landmarks Preservation Foundation, the Greater Woodhaven Development Corporation, the Woodhaven Residents’ Block Association, the Woodhaven Cultural and Historical Society, and Maria Thomson and her husband, Robert, among others. “This plaque will let everybody know how important this is historically,” Tierney said.
Sunday Parade to Honor Queens Veterans Thousands of residents are expected to descend upon Middle Village for the fourth annual Queens Veterans Day Parade on Nov. 3. The parade, in which hundreds of patriotic citizens will march, will begin at 80th Street and Metropolitan Avenue and proceed west along the avenue to Christ the King Regional High School, located at 68-02 Metropolitan Avenue. A commemorative ceremony will take place at the high school following the parade. "We step off at noon, rain or shine," said parade director Mike Bilski. "Rain never stopped our vets, and it isn't going to stop us."
One of the parade’s grand marshals will be Julius Freeman, a World War II veteran and original Tuskegee Airman assigned to the 332nd Fighter Group in France and Germany. Another grand marshal will be Warrant Officer Daniel Wisotsky, who is retired from the U.S. Marine Corps and is a veteran of the Persian Gulf War. Wisotsky, retired from the military in 2001 after 22 years of service. All veterans are welcome to march in the parade. Veterans in the parade will be followed by classic and custom cars. For more information, email ECCAT4t@ aol.com or call (718) 894-5954.
City Landmarks Preservation Commission Robert Tierney, left, Councilwoman Elizabeth Crowley, and Assemblyman Mike Miller admire a City Council proclamation thanking Tierney for his support for the carousel.
And, residents stressed, its historical importance is something that lends great pride to Woodhaven - and Queens. Juse one of two remaining carousels crafted by Muller, it was first operated in 1903 in Dracut, Mass. and was brought to Woodhaven in 1972 to replace a different merry-go-round that had burned down in 1966. There, the carousel turned until 1985, when it was abandoned for three years. The structure underwent an extensive renovation in 1988, after which it went through a number of operators. City Comptroller John Liu, who was at Monday’s ceremony, found in a 2011 audit that New York One LLC, which ran the site until it
let its contract lapse in 2008, mismanaged the carousel, as well as another one in Flushing Meadows Corona Park, by overcharging customers, maintaining little to no records of its cash transactions and violating health codes. Once the company’s contract lapsed, community leaders fought hard to have it reopened. Last year, New York Carousel Entertainment began operating the structure. “Since we opened, there have been more than 70,000 have taken a spin on this beautiful piece of American history,” said David Galst, of New York Carousel Entertainment. “...To be able to rehabilitate a piece of this amusement park history has been a dream come true.”
Greater Woodhaven Development Corporation Executive Director Maria Thomson stands by the carousel that she fought for more than two decades to preserve.
ECCA to Hold Toys 4 Tots Run The East Coast Car Association will hold The Toy Run begins at the Forest Park its annual Toys 4 Tots Toy Run on Sunday, bandshell parking lot and makes its way Nov. 17 beginning at 12:30 p.m. at Forest Park. through Queens with a police escort to St. The run, begun by ECCA’s founder, Eddie Mary’s. Walter, is held each November and typically Every car, truck or motorcycle involved averages about 100 cars and motorcycles in the run is asked to bring one unwrapped filled with toys for the patients of St. Mary’s education gift; please do not bring stuffed Hospital for Children in Bayside. During the animals. If a club or organization would like to ceremony at the hospital that concludes the present a check as a donation on the day of the run, ECCA presents St. Mary’s with its annu- run, please make it out to St. Mary’s Healthal donation. The Glendale-based group has care System. given more than $100,000 since the event’s For more information, visit http:// inception in 1999. www.eccatoysfortots.org/toyrun.html. THE FORUM NEWSGROUP • October 31, 2013 | 9
District 24 School Rezoning Plan Approved by CEC By Alan Krawitz A plan by the city Office of Portfolio Management to rezone elementary and middle schools in District 24 - an effort to alleviate chronic overcrowding - was passed last week by the district’s Community Education Council with little opposition. District 24 comprises Glendale, Ridgewood, Elmhurst, Maspeth, Middle Village and Corona. Officially, the city Department of Education said the rezoning plan was “an effort to equalize elementary school utilization in District 24 and create zone lines for new buildings Q320, Q290, and Q313.” The plan, which amends school zones based on neighborhood populations, was initially met with concern from parents and educators alike that worried that students at PS 229, an elementary school near the border of Woodside and Maspeth, might have to navigate the dangerous roadways of Queens Boulevard and Maurice Avenue. Parents had been on edge following a recent incident in which an SUV jumped a curb on Grand Avenue and injured five students.
While parents, pictured here at a September meeting in Ridgewood, had previously expressed concerns about the city's plan to rezone schools in District 24, those fears have, for the most part, been allayed, and the Community Education Council voted last week to approve the proposal.
However, parental fears were allayed earlier this month when, following feedback from several area meetings, the OPM announced it would not seek to rezone PS 229 as part of the plan. At earlier meetings, the city had said that the new zoning was partly in anticipation of
new school openings including Q313 in Sunnyside and Q290 in Maspeth, which will open next year. Other schools affected by the rezoning include PS 305 in Ridgewood, PS 81 in Glendale, PS 71 in Ridgewood, PS 199 in Long Island
City and PS 12 in Woodside. “Overall, people were in favor of the rezoning proposal,” said Nick Comaianni, CEC 24 president. “The hearings worked out pretty good. Not too many people were against the current zoning proposal.” Comaianni added that there was very little discussion during the Oct. 22 vote in Middle Village, mainly because the proposal had already been extensively examined. He said that only two people spoke out against the proposal just prior to the council’s vote. The District 24 rezoning will only affect students entering kindergarten for the 2014-2015 school year. The OPM has also indicated that a “sibling priority system” will be used, which means that if a new kindergarten student’s sibling already attends a particular school, they will be given priority based on available space, to attend the same school. Comaianni said that the rezoning plan was needed to try and address a decades-old overcrowding problem in the district. “We’re still the most overcrowded district in the city,” he said.
Cuomo Taps Queens For Tax-Free Zone By Anna Gustafson Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced last week that the state will designate the area around York College in Jamaica as a tax-free zone as part of an initiative to bring new businesses and much-needed jobs to the area. While the governor had said that the Start-Up NY program would focus heavily on job creation in upstate New York, Queens officials said they were pleased he recognized the need to spur economic growth in the borough. Start-Up NY seeks to accelerate entrepreneurialism and job creation by having businesses partner with higher education institutions and the State University of New York system, as well as other schools, to access industry experts and advanced research laboratories. Under the program, businesses have the opportunity to operate completely tax-free for 10 years on eligible campuses and spaces.
up or expand, and most importantly create jobs, should look no further.” Queens legislators lauded Cuomo for his decision, saying it will give a significant financial boost to the area. “As downtown Jamaica continues to grow, having York College selected for the Start-Up NY program will help to continue the revitalization we have seen take place this past decade,” Councilman Leroy Comrie (D-St. Albans) said. “With new businesses and affordable housing units opening around York, creating this taxfree zone in the community will help entice tech entrepreneurs to Queens, bringing jobs in this developing industry with them.” York College President Marcia Keizs too stressed the importance of the new zone. Photo Courtesy Gov. Cuomo's Office “We look forward to working with our partGov. Cuomo, center, last week launched Start-Up NY, an initiative that will create tax-free zones to attract and grow ners to bring emerging or expanding businesses new businesses around the state. The area surrounding York College was chosen as one of those sites. to downtown Jamaica,” she said. “In a tax-free environment, no one can during the Oct. 22 launch of the Start-Up NY Businesses can visit www.startup-ny.com to match what New York has to offer,” Cuomo said program. “Businesses that are looking to start learn more about the program and eligibility.
'We Will Find Avonte,' Family Says Search continues for missing teen with autism
AvonteOquendo’s brother, Danny Oquendo, immediately isWe will find AvonteOquendo. sued a response on social media, That is the message family writing Kelly’s “lack of faith in his and friends vehemently sent in re- own police force is very disturbing. “This is a slap in the face to sponse to Police Commissioner Ray Kelly saying he is “not hope- all those brave and valiant NYPD ful” the 14-year-old Rego Park boy officers and volunteers that have with autism who went missing ear- worked tirelessly to find Avonte,” lier this month will be discovered the brother wrote. “Luckily we have the community on our side. alive. “Obviously we have devoted a With all your help we WILL find tremendous amount of resources Avonte.” Avonte, who is unable to comto this search,” Kelly said to WABC New York last week. “Unfortunate- municate verbally, has been missing ly, we are not hopeful that we’re since he managed to leave his Long going to find this young man alive, Island City school unattended Oct. but we are continuing our search.” 4. The 14-year-old was last seen on 10 | THE FORUM NEWSGROUP • October 31, 2013 By Anna Gustafson
surveillance video running out of the Center Boulevard School, located on 51st Avenue in Long Island City, according to police. Once it was realized that Avonte was missing, all 468 of the city’s subway stations were searched for the boy who his family said is particularly fascinated by trains. Following the massive sweep of every station, Kelly enlisted the help of officials outside of the city, including in New Jersey and Long Island, to find the student whose disappearance has devastated his family. Police divers have also searched Newtown Creek and the East River.
There is a reward of about $90,000 for the safe return of the teen. Avonte was last seen wearing a gray striped shirt, black jeans and black sneakers. He is 5-foot-3 and weighs approximately 125 pounds. Anyone with information about the missing child should call the NYPD at (800) 577-TIPS. The public can also submit tips by logging onto www.nypdcrimestoppers.com or texting tips to 274637 and then entering TIP577. Family and friends continue to organize searches for Avonte. More information can be found at www. findAvonte.com.
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New Law Allows For Special Veterans’ ID Cards A new state law supported by Assemblyman Phil Goldfeder (D-Howard Beach) will allow residents to identify themselves as veterans on their licenses on non-driver identification cards at no additional charge. “This new law will make it easier and more convenient for those who have served our country to get the benefits they deserve,” Goldfeder said in a prepared statement. “The brave men and women of our military have made enormous sacrifices for all of us, and we have a responsibility to do everything we can to support them. The legislation will now allow former service members to put have the word “veteran” placed in the upper left corner of their identification cards at no extra fee.
New York state is home to more than 90,000 military veterans and families. Rather than carry official military paperwork, these special licenses will allow veterans to take advantage of the many programs, benefits and discounts available to them. Eligible veterans can apply for the status designation in person at a Department of Motor Vehicles office or by mail. To qualify, veterans will need to provide verification that they received an honor discharge from military service or were released from military service under honorable conditions. Accepetable forms of verification include U.S. Department of Defense form DD214, DD-215 or honorable discharge forms: WD AGO 53, WD AGO 55, NAVPERS 553,
NAVMC 78PD or NAVCG 553. “Our veterans have risked their lives to protect our country,” Goldfeder said. “I am committed to helping our veterans and will continue to work hard in the Assembly to ensure their service is honored and recognized by all New Yorkers.” Photo Courtesy Assemblyman Goldfeder’s Office
Assemblyman Phil Goldfeder said a new law he supported will help veterans receive the services they need.
JFK Passenger Charged with Weapons and Ammunition Possession Faces seven years if convicted
Airport security found a little more than expected during a routine pre-flight check in at JFK on Saturday morning when 23-year-old male passenger was found to be travelling with four illegal firearms. The man, identified as Keenan A. Draughon, 23, of 116 Hickory Trace Road in Clarksville, Tennessee was carrying two handguns and two rifles, which had their serial numbers defaced, along with two high capacity magazines.
District Attorney Brown cautioned travelers to be aware of the laws regarding firearms while travelling and cautioned of both the danger and the penalty for such an offense, “Firearms illegally possessed in this city pose a serious and deadly threat to public safety... violators may find themselves being arrested and charged with serious felonies.” According to the charges, Draughon approached the United Airlines counter at JFK Airport’s Terminal 8 at approximately 7:45
12 | THE FORUM NEWSGROUP • October 31, 2013
a.m. on Saturday, October 26, 2013, and said he had two cases containing firearms that he wanted to check in for his flight to Charlotte, North Carolina. The cases allegedly contained a Smith and Wesson 9mm pistol, a Highpoint 9mm pistol, two high-capacity magazines capable of holding 15 rounds of 9mm ammunition, one defaced .22-caliber rifle with one round in the chamber and another .22- caliber rifle with its serial number defaced.
Draughon is presently being held pending arraignment in Queens Criminal Court on a seven-count criminal complaint charging him with four counts of third degree criminal possession of a weapon, two counts of fourthdegree criminal possession of a weapon and one count of violating New York City Administrative Code 10-131-H-2 (Firearms/Violation No Carrying case, Rifle/Shotgun). If convicted, he faces up to seven years in prison.
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THE HAPPENINGS Thursday, Oct. 31
Glendale Chamber Business Expo
Howard Beach Senior Center Art Class 155-55 Crossbay Blvd. The Howard Beach Senior Center will offer art classes with a certified teacher from 9:30 a.m. to 11:30 a.m., as well as from 12:30 p.m. to 2:30 p.m. All individuals age 60 and older are welcome to attend. The center is located on Crossbay Boulevard across from Waldbaums. For more information, call (718) 738-8100.
Halloween Re-Mixed Flushing Town Hall 137-35 Northern Blvd., Flushing 4 p.m. to 7 p.m. Celebrate Halloween, All Saints Day, and Dia de los Muertos at Flushing Town Hall with hands-on, festive fun for all ages. Everyone is welcome to wear a costume and enjoy mask making. There will be All Saints Day medallions, Mexican sugar skulls and ghost stores. The event is free and open to the public. For more information, visit www.flushingtownhall.org.
Thursday, Oct. 31
Halloween Masquerade Ball
This Halloween concert and party will feature live performances by Taylor Dayne and Expose. Come ready for a costume contest and prize giveaways. Tickets are $20. For more information, visit www.rwnewyork.com.
Howard Beach Senior Center Bridge 155-55 Crossbay Blvd. The Howard Beach Senior Center offers a variety of bridge playing experiences. There is supervised bridge on Fridays from 9:30 a.m. to 11:30 a.m., and duplicate bridge is offered on Fridays from 12:45 p.m. to 2:45 p.m. The Howard Beach Senior Center is now located across from Waldbaums on Cross Bay Boulevard and is open to anyone 60 or older. For more information, call (718) 738-8100.
Yoga in Howard Beach
Russo’s on the Bay 162-45 Cross Bay Blvd., Howard Beach 7 p.m. Howard Beach Senior Center Bobbi and the Strays, a pet rescue and adoption 155-55 Cross Bay Blvd. 10 a.m. to 11 a.m. nonprofit, will hold its masquerade ball on Halloween night. It will include auctions, music, wine and beer, All seniors, ages 60 and over, are welcome to attend yoga with Charlie Roemer every Friday morning. raffles, prizes, dinner, and dancing. For more information, Tickets are $100 and costumes are optional. Precall the center at (718) 738-8100. purchased tickets are required. To purchase tickets, call (718) 845-0779 or (917) 213-9840.
Friday, Nov. 1
Mexican Surrealist Art Show
Saturday, Nov. 2
Resorts World Casino Diwali Celebration
Resorts World Casino New York City 110-00 Rockaway Blvd., South Ozone Park Gear Art Gallery 7 p.m. 61-08 Myrtle Ave., Glendale Resorts World Casino New York City and Angels Ca6 p.m. to 9 p.m. Puebla native Carlos Amador will display his murals ribbean Entertainment Group of Companies Inc. will about culture and history. The art show is free and host an event celebration DiwaliUtsav - otherwise known as the Celebration of the Festival of Lights. Diopen to the public. wali is a five-day Hindu event that celebrates the vicFor more information, call (718) 386-2812. tory of good over evil and symbolizes new beginnings. The festival will be held in the casino’s Central Park event space and will include traditional and contemporary live music and dances, Indo-Caribbean fashion display, Indian and Caribbean cuisine, traditional henna paintings, Indian art displays, and children’s Resorts World Casino New York City activities. 100-00 Rockaway Blvd., South Ozone Park
Resorts World Haunted Halloween Concert
14 | THE FORUM NEWSGROUP • October 31, 2013
Redeemer Lutheran School 69-26 Cooper Ave., Glendale 12 p.m. to 4 p.m. The Glendale Chamber of Commerce will sponsor its first Business Expo and Entrepreneurial Showcase. This expo is the perfect opportunity for people to come, see and sample new products and services that are or will be available in the area, as well as for businesses and entrepreneurs to present their new products, ideas and services to the Glendale community and beyond. Exhibitions will be offering a wide range of services, information, free samples and more. Admission is free to the public, and a few exhibit spaces are still available and may be reserved by contacting the chamber president, Pat Gatt, at (516) 835-1433, or by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
Rededication of Saint Barnabas Church 159-19 98th St., Howard Beach 11 a.m. Come join Bishop Robert Rimbo for a celebration marking the rededication of the Saint Barnabas buildings that were damaged during Hurricane Sandy. During the gathering, area elected officials and civic leaders will be honored.
Halloween Celebration at Hall of Science
Nov. 2 and Nov. 3 New York Hall of Science 47-01 111th St., Corona 1 p.m. to 6 p.m. This Halloween and Day of the Dead celebration will feature pumpkin chucking, live wolves and bats, and Frankenstein-like projects. Entrance is $8 for children and $11 for adults. For more information, visit www.nysci.org.
Sunday, Nov. 3
Queens Veterans Day Parade 80th St. and Metropolitan Ave., Middle Village 12 p.m. Hundreds of residents, civic groups and others will participate in the fourth annual Queens Veterans Day Parade to show their love for their country and those who defend it. The parade begins at 80th Street and Metropolitan
We'll show you how to have a good time... Enjoy your community. Avenue and will proceed west along the avenue to Christ the King Regional High School, located at 68-02 Metropolitan Avenue. Following the parade, a commemorative ceremony will take place. For more information, visit www.eccatoysfortots.org.
Monday, Nov. 4
Atlas Park Cruise
Tuesday, Nov. 5
Tap Dance in Howard Beach
Howard Beach Senior Center 155-55 Cross Bay Blvd. 9:30 a.m. to 10 a.m. All seniors, ages 60 and over, are welcome to attend tap dance classes every Tuesday morning. For more information, call the center at (718) 738-8100.
Shops at Atlas Park, Glendale 5:30 p.m. to 9 p.m. Enjoy a night of custom and classic vehicles, Atlas Park restaurants and shops, and live music by Joe Fuoco. The event will be sponsored by the East Coast Car Association as part of its fundraising efforts to benefit the St. Mary’s Healthcare System for Children in Bayside. All donations will go directly to the healthcare system. Flushing Hospital Medical Center There is a required $5 donation per show car or moTickets vary in price from $25 to $45. To purchase tickFifth floor auditorium torcycle, and spectators may attend for free. ets, visit http://giadavalenti.brownpapertickets.com. 146-01 45th Ave., Flushing 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. For more information, U.S. Rep. Grace Meng, health professionals and othcall Harold at (718) 974-4119 er elected officials will host a forum on the Affordable or Lou at (917) 682-5362. Care Act and the new health insurance exchange so Queens residents can learn more about the changes Transfiguration Parish Hall to the nation’s healthcare system and how they can 64-14 Clinton Ave., Maspeth 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. obtain coverage. Howard Beach Senior Center Numerous vendors will be featured at this crafts fair The forum is free and open to the public but an RSVP 155-55 Cross Bay Blvd. 9:30 a.m. to 10:30 a.m. and flea market. Vendors interested in participating All seniors, ages 60 and over, are welcome to attend is required. To reserve a seat, residents can email should call (347) 339-1362. Tables are $30. MengRSVP@mail.house.gov or call (718) 445-7860 the tai chi classes, taught by Elaine Fleischman. or (718) 445-7861. For more information, The forum will consist of healthcare professionals call the center at (718) 738-8100. making presentations about the health insurance law and the enrollment process. Free blood pressure screenings, along with coffee, tea and snacks will also be provided. Emanuel United Church of Christ Woodhaven Boulevard and 91st Avenue 7:30 p.m. Howard Beach Senior Center The Friends of the QueensWay will hold an open 155-55 Cross Bay Blvd.10:45 a.m. to 11:45 a.m. public meeting and presentation at the Emanuel UnitAll seniors, ages 60 and over, are welcome to attend ed Church of Christ. The QueensWay is a proposal chair aerobics with Charlie Roemer. to turn 3.5 miles of abandoned rail line into a park, For more information, similar to Manhattan’s High Line. call the center at (718) 738-8100.
Wednesday, Nov. 6
Forum on Affordable Care Act
Crafts Fair and Flea Market
Tai Chi in Howard Beach
Wednesday, Nov. 13
Howard Beach Chair Aerobics
Friday, Nov. 8
Philip Roth Biographer in Forest Hills
Supermarket Sweeps at Sacred Heart
Sacred Heart School 84-05 78th Ave., Glendale 7 p.m. Tickets for the Sacred Heart School’s Supermarket Sweeps are $10, which includes two playing cards, coffee and tea, cake, and a door prize raffle ticket. This is a sellout event, so don’t miss out. For more information and to purchase tickets, contact Miriam at (347) 248-6227 or Marcia at (718) 749-6075.
Sunday, Nov. 10
Italian sensation GiadaValenti at St. John’s Central Queens Y 67-09 108th St., Forest Hills 1:30 p.m. New Yorker writer Claudia Roth Pierpont will speak about her new biography on the writer Philip Roth. Pierpont, who knows Roth personally, will delve into his work and controversies, adding anecdotes about his family and friends, inspirations and friendships. There is a $7 suggested donation. For more information, visit www.cqy.org.
Saturday, Nov. 16
Woodhaven Fall Fair Emanuel United Church of Christ Woodhaven Boulevard and 91st Avenue 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. The Emanuel United Church of Christ’s annual fall fair will include numerous vendors, a giant auction table, a raffle to win three $100 prizes, a 50/50 raffle, used books, breakfast, lunch, supper, and refreshments. Admission is free. For more information, call (718) 849-1153.
Sunday, Nov. 24
Little Theater at St. John’s University 8000 Utopia Pkwy. 5 p.m. Renowned singer GiadaValenti will be accompanied by her own six-piece band for a performance that will take her audience on a romantic journey performing Queens Tabernacle 86-03 96 St., Woodhaven her own renditons of American and Italian hits from Queens Tabernacle is giving away free turkeys at two the 1960s, 70s and 80s, as well as contemporary services - one at 8 a.m. and one at 11 a.m. Residents songs. must attend one of the services to be eligible for the The show, entitled “From Venice With Love,” will later free turkey. this year be filmed as a television special for PBS. For more information, call (718) 846-7575.
Free Turkey Giveaway
THE FORUM NEWSGROUP • October 31, 2013 | 15
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Legal Notices Notice of Formation of THEATRE BEYOND BROADWAY LLC, Arts. of Org. filed with Secy. of State of NY (SSNY) on 09/05/13. Office location: Queens County. Princ. office of LLC: 116-40 Park Ln. South, D2, Kew Gardens, NY 11418. SSNY designated as agent of LLC upon whom process against it may be served. SSNY shall mail process to Corporation Service Co., 80 State St., Albany, NY 12207-2543. Purpose: Any lawful activity. NOTICE OF FORMATION OF LIMITED LIABILITY COMPANY. NAME: 101-19 NORTHERN BLVD., LLC. Articles of Organization were filed with the Secretary of State of New York (SSNY) on 09/10/13. Office location: Queens County. SSNY has been designated as agent of the LLC upon whom process against it may be served. SSNY shall mail a copy of process to the LLC, 101-19 Northern Boulevard, Corona, New York 11368. Purpose: For any lawful purpose. Touchstone Clinical Research LLC Arts of Org filed with NY Sec of State (SSNY) on 04/22/13. Office: Queens County. SSNY designated as agent of LLC upon whom process may be served. SSNY shall mail process to: Touchstone Clinical Research LLC 203 42 27th Avenue, Bayside, NY 11360. General Purposes.
NO CAP LLC Arts of Org filed with NY Sec of State (SSNY) on 10/23/13. Office: Queens County. SSNY designated as agent of LLC upon whom process may be served. SSNY shall mail process to: P Samant 2323 33rd Avenue, Long Island City, NY 11106. General Purposes. Notice is hereby given that an OnPremises Liquor License for beer, wine and liquor has been applied for by the undersigned to permit the sale of beer, wine and liquor at retail rates for onpremises consumption at Hooters Restaurant located at 6138 190th Street, Fresh Meadows, NY 11365 under the Alcoholic Beverage Control Law. Fresh Meadows Wings LLC Notice of Formation of NY SKYLINE ASSOCIATES LLC, Arts. of Org. filed with the Secy. of State of NY (SSNY) on 09/11/2013. Office loc: Queens County. SSNY has been designated as agent upon whom process against the LLC may be served. SSNY shall mail process to: Kamil Grabowski 11031 73 Road, Ste 2H, Forest Hills, NY 11375. Purpose: Any lawful activity. Notice of Formation of CAPOEIRA TRAINING CENTER, LLC, Arts. of Org. filed with the Secy. of State of NY (SSNY) on 09/18/2013. Office loc: Queens County. SSNY has been designated as agent upon whom process against the LLC may be served. SSNY shall mail process to: The LLC 30-06 29th Street, Astoria, NY 11102. Purpose: Any lawful activity.
NOTICE OF FORMATION OF LIMITED LIABILITY COMPANY. NAME: NY QUEENS DEVELOPMENT Notice of Formation of JOHN LLC. Articles of Organization were H.JOSEPH PLLC, Arts. of Org. filed filed with the Secretary of State of with the Secy. of State of NY (SSNY) New York (SSNY) on 04/25/13. Office on 09/19/2013. Office loc: Queens location: Queens County. SSNY has County. SSNY has been designated been designated as agent of the LLC as agent upon whom process against upon whom process against it may the LLC may be served. SSNY be served. SSNY shall mail a copy of shall mail process to: The LLC 71process to the LLC, 58-32 218th Street, 53 Nansen Street, Forest Hills, NY Oakland Gardens, New York 11364. 11375. Purpose: Any lawful activity. Purpose: For any lawful purpose. 16 | THE FORUM NEWSGROUP • October 31, 2013
161 COLUMBIA STREET LLC, a domestic LLC, filed with the SSNY on 8/8/13. Office location: Queens County. SSNY is designated as agent upon whom process against the LLC may be served. SSNY shall mail process to: The LLC, 33-01 Vernon Blvd., Long Island City, NY 11106. General Purposes. DATE WRITE LLC, a domestic LLC, filed with the SSNY on 8/28/13. Office location: Queens County. SSNY is designated as agent upon whom process against the LLC may be served. SSNY shall mail process to: James Swierczewski, 79-17 Pitkin Ave., Ozone Park, NY 11417. General Purposes. Notice of Formation of AB 32ND STREET CORNER, LLC Arts. of Org. filed with Secy. of State of NY (SSNY) on 09/24/13. Office location: Queens County. SSNY designated as agent of LLC upon whom process against it may be served. SSNY shall mail process to the LLC, 34-55 32nd St., Astoria, NY 11106. Purpose: Any lawful activity. Arcfe Group 3, LLC Arts. of Org. filed with Secy. of State of NY (SSNY) on 4/11/13. Office in Queens Co. SSNY desig. agent of LLC upon whom process against it may be served. SSNY shall mail process to 136-18 39th Ave Ste 704, Flushing, NY 11354. Purpose: General. Notice of Formation of MWB PROPERTIES, LLC. Arts. of Org. filed with Secy. of State of NY (SSNY) on 11/30/05. Office location: Queens County. SSNY designated as agent of LLC upon whom process against it may be served. SSNY shall mail process to: The LLC, 32-75 Steinway St., Ste. 212, Astoria, NY 11103. Purpose: any lawful activity.
ADULT DISTRIBUTIONS LLC, Arts. of Org. filed with the SSNY on 05/30/2013. Office loc: Queens County. SSNY has been designated as agent upon whom process against the LLC may be served. SSNY shall mail process to: 166-35 20th Road, Whitestone, NY 11357. Reg Agent: Guido Benanti, 166-35 20th Road, Whitestone, NY 11357. Purpose: Any Lawful Purpose. Yiqi Properties, LLC Arts of Org filed with NY Sec of State (SSNY) on 6/8/10. Office: Queens County. SSNY designated as agent of LLC upon whom process may be served. SSNY shall mail process to: 38-21 Main St, #3D, Flushing, NY 11354. General Purposes.
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Holiday Fair The PTA of PS/IS 113Q ANTHONY J. PRANZO SCHOOL Invites you to attend our CRAFT & VENDOR’S HOLIDAY FAIR At PS/IS 113, 78-23 87 Street, Glendale On Saturday, November 16, 2013 10:00-4:00 pm Come and support our school!
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Legal Notices SPANGLISH LLC. Articles of Organization were filed with the Secretary of State of New York (SSNY) on 07/11/13. Office location: Queens County. SSNY has been designated as agent of the LLC upon whom process against it may be served. SSNY shall mail a copy of process to the United State Corporation Agents, Inc. 7014 13th Avenue, Suite 202, Brooklyn, NY 11228. Purpose: For any lawful purpose.
ASL CLARKSON LLC. Articles of Organization were filed with the Secretary of State of New York (SSNY) on 09/06/13. Office location: Queens County. SSNY has been designated as agent of the LLC upon whom process against it may be served. SSNY shall mail a copy of process to The LLC: 40-47 Junction Blvd, Corona, NY 11368. Purpose: For any lawful purpose.
Notice of Qualification of Black Box Productions, LLC. Authority filed with NY Dept. of State on 10/18/13. Office location: Queens County. Princ. bus. addr.: 6464 Sunset Blvd., Ste. 800, Los Angeles, CA 90028. LLC formed in DE on 7/11/13. NY Sec. of State designated agent of LLC upon whom process against it may be served and shall mail process to: c/o CT Corporation System, 111 8th Ave., NY, NY 10011, regd. agent upon whom process may be served. DE addr. of LLC: 1209 Orange St., Wilmington, DE 19801. Cert. of Form. filed with DE Sec. of State, 401 Federal St., Dover, DE 19901. Purpose: all lawful purposes.
90-08 Queens LLC Arts of Org filed with NY Sec of State (SSNY) on 10/8/13. Office: Queens County. SSNY designated as agent of LLC upon whom process may be served. SSNY shall mail process to: 118 Eldridge St, #8, NY, NY 10002. General Purposes. FE & MW LLC, a domestic LLC, filed with the SSNY on 9/10/13. Office location: Queens County. SSNY is designated as agent upon whom process against the LLC may be served. SSNY shall mail process to: Georges Wolecki, 240 Alameda Ave., Douglaston, NY 11362. General Purpose.
Legal Notices NOTICE OF FORMATION OF LIMITED LIABILITY COMPANY. NAME: 3168 35th STREET LLC. Articles of Organization were filed with the Secretary of State of New York (SSNY) on 04/04/13. Office location: Queens County. SSNY has been designated as agent of the LLC upon whom process against it may be served. SSNY shall mail a copy of process to the LLC, P.O. Box 575042, Whitestone, New York 11357. Purpose: For any lawful purpose. 159-35 PARTNERS, LLC, a domestic LLC, filed with the SSNY on 8/1/13. Office location: Queens County. SSNY is designated as agent upon whom process against the LLC may be served. SSNY shall mail process to: The LLC, 162-45 Crossbay Blvd., Howard Beach, NY 11414. General Purposes. Notice of formation of GREEK CONCERT STATUS, LLC. Art. Of Org. filed with the Sect’y of State of NY (SSNY) on 9/5/2012. Office in Queens County. SSNY has been designated as agent of the LLC upon whom process against it may be served. SSNY shall mail process to the LLC, 19664 49th Avenue Fresh Meadows, NY 11365. Purpose: Any lawful purpose. PRIORITY REALTY CAPITAL, LLC, a domestic LLC, filed with the SSNY on 9/3/13. Office location: Queens County. SSNY is designated as agent upon whom process against the LLC may be served. SSNY shall mail process to: The LLC, 35-23 30th Ave., Astoria, NY 11103. General Purpose. Notice is hereby given that a restaurant wine license, #TBA has been applied for by Pico de Gallo Inc d/b/a Pico de Gallo to sell beer and wine at retail in an on premises establishment. For on premises consumption under the ABC law at 82-12 Roosevelt Avenue Jackson Heights NY 11372. NOTICE OF FORMATION OF LIMITED LIABILITY COMPANY. NAME: 58th FLUSHING REALTY, LLC. Articles of Organization were filed with the Secretary of State of New York (SSNY) on 01/23/13. Office location: Queens County. SSNY has been designated as agent of the LLC upon whom process against it may be served. SSNY shall mail a copy of process to the LLC, 150-18 58th Avenue, Flushing, New York 11355. Purpose: For any lawful purpose.
TSDNYC, LLC Arts of Org filed with NY Sec of State (SSNY) on 6/10/13. Office: Queens County. SSNY designated as agent of LLC upon whom process may be served. SSNY shall mail process to: 142-20 41st Ave, #4H, Flushing, NY 11355. General Purposes. Notice of formation of SOUTH DRIVE MALBA LLC, a limited liability company. Articles of Organization filed with the Secretary of State of NY (SSNY) on 09/05/2013. Office located in New York. SSNY has been designated for service of process. SSNY shall mail copy of any process served against the LLC to The LLC, 42-95 Main Street #3, Flushing, NY 11355. Purpose: any lawful purpose. NOTICE OF FORMATION OF LIMITED PARTNERSHIP. NAME: 20-70 STEINWAY STREET FAMILY LIMITED PARTNERSHIP. Application for Authority was filed with the Secretary of State of New York (SSNY) on 08/15/13. The LP was originally filed with the Secretary of State of Nevada on 01/23/01. The duration date is perpetual. Office location: Queens County. SSNY has been designated as agent of the LP upon whom process against it may be served. SSNY shall mail a copy of process to the LP, 23-19 Broadway, Astoria, New York 11106. Notice of formation of HOM CITY LIVING LLC. Art. Of Org. filed with the Sect’y of State of NY (SSNY) on 6/13/2013. Office in Kings County. SSNY has been designated as agent of the LLC upon whom process against it may be served. SSNY shall mail process to the LLC, 3258 31st St Flr 2 Queens, NY 11106. Purpose: Real Estate COOKIE MA-ME LLC. Articles of Organization were filed with the Secretary of State of New York (SSNY) on 08/28/13. Office location: Queens County. SSNY has been designated as agent of the LLC upon whom process against it may be served. SSNY shall mail a copy of process to The LLC: 61-88 Dry Harbor Road, Middle Village, NY 11379. Purpose: For any lawful purpose.
CAZZORLA STORES LLC Articles of Org. filed NY Sec. of State (SSNY) 9/20/2013. Office in Queens Co. SSNY desig. agent of LLC upon whom process may be served. SSNY shall mail copy of process to 1703 210th St., Bayside, NY 11360. Purpose: Any lawful purpose. FMA CONSULTING SERVICES Notice of Formation of MAY LLC, Arts. of Org. filed with the SSNY SQUARED REAL ESTATE LLC. Arts on 08/26/2013. Office loc: Queens of Org. filed with NY Secy of State County. SSNY has been designated (SSNY) on 4/24/13. Office: Queens. as agent upon whom process against SSNY is designated as agent of LLC the LLC may be served. SSNY shall upon whom process against it may be mail process to: Francisco Arianna, served and shall mail process to The 79-15 35th Avenue, 4F, Jackson LLC, 255-07 61st Avenue, 1st Floor, Heights, NY 11372. Purpose: Any Little Neck, NY 11362. Purpose: any Lawful Purpose. lawful activity. THE FORUM NEWSGROUP • October 31, 2013 | 17
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THE FORUM NEWSGROUP • October 31, 2013 | 19
Howard Beach Loves JDRF
Businesses, families support group in fight against juvenile diabetes By Patricia Adams The latest fundraising effort by JDRF is a raffle that will find one lucky winner behind the wheel of a 2014 Mercedes Benz CLA-250 for a 24-month lease. Tickets for the car are being sold at $20 each or 6 for $100. The drawing for the car will take place on Saturday, December 7, 2013 at 6 p.m. at the opening of The Little North Pole in Neponsit, located each year at 144-03 Neponsit Avenue. The event is organized by attorney Joe Mure, who opens his home each year to raise money for JDRF. In addition to being the fundraising chair of the Brooklyn/Queens chapter of JDRF, Mure also has a close personal connection to the disease. Since his son Michael was diagnosed with the disease, Mure has worked tirelessly to spearhead multiple events every year to eradicate juvenile diabetes. The list of Howard Beach supporters of the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation (JDRF) continues to grow among the business community, as well as many individual families who have taken the charity and its cause—to wipe out juvenile diabetes—under their wing. The latest businessman to join the cause is Anthony Amoroso, owner of Matteo’s Restaurant in Howard Beach who hosted a comedy night and auction at the restaurant and recently presented JDRF with a check for $2,000 from the event. “The amount of support that we get from
Buy tickets for the 2014 Mercedes Benz raffle at these locations: On Cross Bay Boulevard in Howard Beach: • Ragtime Gourmet Supermarket, 157-48 • Ragtime Newsstand at 157th Avenue • Cross Bay Chemist, 158-14 • Twist It Top It, 158-18 • Lenny’s Clam Bar and Restaurant, 161-03 • Matteo’s Restaurant, 155-10 • Fazio Dance Studio, 164-48 And Also At: • Dennis Rigas Floral Creations, 115-16 Liberty Avenue • Cross Bay Chemist, 96-05 101st Avenue Patricia Adams/The Forum Newsgroup
Matteo’s of Howard Beach owner, Anthony Amoroso, presented a check for $5,000 to JDRF fundraising chair, Joe Mure, (left) as Angelo Gurino looked on.
fundraising efforts like this is overwhelming,” said Mure. “Every dollar is a step closer to saving these children and people in Howard Beach obviously take that very seriously. What they do is phenomenal.” Amoroso joins the roster of other JDRF benefactors including the DeCandia family who, in conjunction with the International Society for SS Cosma and Damiano has run a tremendously successful Walk for A Cure for the
last 5 years raising over half a million dollars since its inception,which began after their son Jacob was diagnosed with the disease. “This is a cause that we will not let up on,” said Doreen DeCandia, not until our son and every other child is no longer threatened by this blight.” Other Howard Beach business owners share the sentiment; providing continuous support are Angelo and AnnmarieGurino and the entire Gurino family, Ragtime Gourmet and the
Russo family of Ragtime Newsstand. “When something like this touches your family, you understand what it means,” Angelo Gurino said. “Most people really have no clue how much danger kids with this disease are in.” And he said, those who become familiar often realize very quickly how much their help means. “This is a disease that we can fight and wipe out,” explains Mure. Recent research developments include an artificial pancreas, which JDRF maintains is part of the success on the horizon. “We’ll get it done,” assured Mure with his signature ear to ear grin—“We got a lot of friends.”
What A Difference A Year Makes…
Kiwanis parade goes off without a hitch - or a storm Hundreds of costumed characters took to the Kiwanis Club, was another casualty of Sandy, but was streets of Howard Beach on Saturday morning for the back with full force this year. annual Halloween parade down Cross Bay Boulevard. Batman, Superman, the Cowardly Lion, good The beloved event, run each year by the Howard Beach witches and bad, ghosts, goblins, Elvis, Elvira, Mickey,
Photos by Patricia Adams
Crazy, colorful 9-year-old BFF’s Juliana, Julia and Natalie enjoyed the day. 1419
Looking all ghoulish and groovy, girlfriends Gabby, 10 Isabella 9, Allie 9, and Nikki 9 were out for a day of chaperoned fun with Batgirl—who is not 9 or 10.
Supreme Court Justice Augie Agate looks pretty calm considering he’s in such close proximity to a knife wielding grim reaper—truth is Judge Agate looked under the mask to find Scholar’s Academy swimming star Ben Fox lurking around doing some “spooky community service.”
20 | THE FORUM NEWSGROUP • October 31, 2013
Minnie, Ursula the Sea Witch, Super Girl and a host of others took a stroll under pleasant skies from 159th Avenue to 165th Avenue where they were met with pizza, goodie bags, pumpkins and other holiday treats for all.
It appears that Super Girl was trying to have a word with Mickey while the camera distracts Ursula, the Sea Witch 1422
Halloweenista Amy Powell , 3rd from left back row—holding a naturally red haired Elmo, and friends strike a pose—everybody say Trick or Treat!
St. Barnabas to Hold Rededication Ceremony The Rev. William Eric Baum of St. Barnabas Church in Howard Beach thanked faithful friends for their support and generosity in an announcement detailing the upcoming celebration for the rededication of the church buildings on Saturday, November 2, at 11 a.m.“During these challenging days of ongoing recovery from Hurricane Sandy,” the pastor wrote, “the support and generosity of faithful friends has brought great comfort and made a world of difference in helping restore our congregation and community. We are grateful for the many contributions of time, talent, treasure and prayers.” It has taken the church much of the last year to get the extensive structural and electrical repairs to the buildings completed after being battered by the storm. Now, thankfully the congregation is in the home stretch to having a complete restoration of the spaces used many essential programs. The church is restocking tables, chairs, room dividers, shelving and storage cabinets. With the equipment and supplies in place the church can return to full programming for Sunday School, Girl Scouts and Boy Scouts, AA Groups, Food Pantry, Civic Groups, and many community partners. Rev. Baum and the St. Barnabas community ask you to join them for a joyous celebration with Bishop Robert Rimbo for a party celebrating the rededication of the St. Barnabas Church buildings. Several honorees and elected officials will be recognized at the event.
THE FORUM NEWSGROUP • October 31, 2013 | 21
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22 | THE FORUM NEWSGROUP • October 31, 2013
Looking Back, Moving Forward A Community Reflects
A Letter From The Publisher My Dear Negihbors, I’ve known for almost a year that I was going to write this to all of you and still as I sit down, I have no idea of either what I should say or how I should say it. I’d like to begin by sharing with you some words that were published in the issues immediately following the storm. November 1, 2013 4 days in— Post Sandy Issue 1 “…Initially I wondered how I could go on and continue with the newspaper in the face of everything…but as I made my way through Howard Beach, Hamilton Beach and Broad Channel …I was overwhelmed by people’s reaction to the thought that The Forum could be lost for good. Because of their words, I quickly realized that giving up was not an option. “I know that moving forward will be one of the most difficult things we will ever face but we have to do it no matter what it takes. And as we have shown over and over in the past, we can do it.” “The Forum is starting over with all of you and although it will likely be the hardest thing we have ever had to face, we will get through it.” “May God continue to bless all of us, and may each of you and all of your families remain safe in the days ahead.”
November 15, 2013 18 days in—Post Sandy Issue 3
since I watched a wave roll down my Thank you for giving me the littlest block…since I felt for the first time in my thing, that subtle reminder that life goes life, sheer panic…” on and that so must all of us…
“It is especially ironic for me that I “…Although we have a long way to go, Sincerely, have spent so much of my life writing we have proven beyond the shadow of a Robert Marino Jr. about the news and now I am living it.” doubt that we are ready, willing and able; Over the course of the last year, I “…Thank you to all of you who have not only to help ourselves, but to help each other.” have read those words many times. And been calling, writing, texting and emailI realize that no words in my life have ing to encourage us to keep printing… Those are some of the words that I ever affected me more. Your expressions mean the world to us wrote to you back then, but now I would and have really acted as a stimulus to like to share with you some words that And so I dedicate this issue of The keep going through such difficult times.” were written to me the week after the storm Forum, the largest ever printed in our hit. history, to Robert Marino Jr., a man “Everywhere we turn there seems to whom I have never met and yet who be a helping hand extended in our direcDear Pat Adams, shaped my life and the future of The Fotion. Words can never express the gratirum. tude we feel as the recipients of such Upon returning to my home on 96th His words and sentiment were the kindness and generosity.” st. in Howard Beach this morning, I was motivation to go on when it seemed filled with emotion to find The Forum lyimpossible. This letter was a beacon of November 22, 2013 ing on what’s left of my front lawn, folded light and inspiration to go on. And to 25 days in –Post Sandy Issue 4 in its clear plastic bag, as usual. him I will be eternally grateful. “…Despite these trying circumstancWhen I picked it up, my eyes became Now I invite you all to take a journey es, there is one thing that has weathered watery and my breathing became heavy with me, through the pages that follow. this storm and emerged as a force more as I held back he tears. Beginning with your personal stopowerful than the wind and water that ries and photos, we have tried to capSeeing that newspaper on my lawn left so many in dire straights––the dicture the sprit, dedication, perseverance gives me the hope that things are and will tionary defines it as a feeling of deep and courage that have miraculously return to normal soon. I have lived here sympathy and sorrow for another that is transported us to where we stand today. for 38 of my 40 years and now raise my stricken by misfortune, accompanied by boys in the house in which I grew up. a strong desire to alleviate that sufferWhether it is in Rockaway, Broad ing––we know it as one word, compasIt means everything to me to be able Channel or Howard Beach, as indision.” to do that and I will continue to do that viduals and as a community, we have with support from everyone like my family triumphed and have emerged from our November 29, 2013, and great neighbors, and people like you darkest hours stronger and better. 32 days in–Post Sandy Issue 4 of course. To be continued… “It’s hard to believe it’s nearly a month
A FORUM SPECIAL SECTION
SANDY - LOOKING BACK | October 2013
Ordinary People in Extraordinary Times
Floods, Fire, Fright and Fury Rock Community Homes, businesses claimed in floods by fires There is nothing that we could say or write that compares with the tale of the storm told by the people that lived it. In the beginning section, Ordinary People in Extraordinary Times, we share with you some photos and stories that were submitted by our readers. They are a mosaic compilation of words and images that can be described as poignant, heartwarming, tragic, comic and every other emotion you think of. Some of the images may cause a stir of shock in the remembrance; others will surely bring a smile or a tear.
Photo Courtesy Chuck Klima
Photo Courtesy Laura Riley
Hundreds upon hundreds of vehicles left in garages throughout Howard Beach were destroyed when flood waters moved through barriers, sandbags and other means installed to try and protect them.
Photo Courtesy Victoria Holt/VRPhotography
Reports of devastation across the Rockaway peninsula came in at a frightening pace. This row of stores along Rockaway Beach Boulevard was one of several commercial strips to burn to the ground after fires from downed power lines burned out of control. Some of the fires burned for as long as four days.
Anyone seen a shed? The point on the roof of a storage shed protrudes from the water off the beach in Charles Park. Many such structures were carried blocks away from their original locations.
Photo Courtesy Caroline Roswell
The only thing standing and barely destroyed was this chimney, from a home in Breezy Point, where over one hundred homes burned to the ground during the hurricane.
Photo Courtesy CristieBarone
Photos Courtesy Jose Silva
In the hours before the stormâ€™s arrival, people scrambled to get their vehicles to higher ground and parking lots they felt would be secure, in case the worst should happen. It was these lots that would be visited over the days and weeks to follow, by auto insurance adjusters, to process total loss claims and by tow trucks to take them away.
SANDY - LOOKING BACK | October 2013
A fireman wades through the flooded street assessing the fire (next to Waldbaums in Howard Beach). The fire engine is a block away but can't get close enough to put out the fire. The car lights flicker on and off as their alarms sound and soon die off. Later, a motorboat with some elderly passengers will pass by and pick up a woman who can't swim and was stranded in her car in the middle of the flooded street. After the water recedes, the looters come. Thank God for the help of the military who were based in Waldbaums parking lot between all the flooded cars. For the most part, things in Old Howard Beach appear to be back to normal a year after Superstorm Sandy, but it still doesn't always feel that way. â€“CristieBarone
Ordinary People in Extraordinary Times
Beach Community Ravaged by Fire and Water
Photo Courtesy Jose Silva
A sign of the timesâ€”heavy winds tore down signage throughout the path of the storm.
Photo Courtesy Caroline Roswell
Rockaway Beach looking west from B102 Street, Weds, Oct. 31, 2012 with No Hope handball court and residents of Rockaways.
Photos Courtesy Victoria Holt/VRPhotography
Residents sit and marvel at the destruction along the shoreline that claimed sections of the boardwalk for dozens of blocks tossing them as though they were toothpicks.
Photo Courtesy Caroline Roswell
Many residents of the Rockaways were the victims of looters after evacuating their homes due to Hurricane Sandy.
Photos Courtesy Victoria Holt/VRPhotography
Block after block of business along commercial/residential strips through the center of Rockaway lost entire inventories and operating equipment when water filled the establishments.
Photos Courtesy Victoria Holt/VRPhotography
More resembling a section of boardwalk one might find in the funhouse of Playland in Photos Courtesy Victoria Holt/VRPhotography days gone by, one solitary bench on a buckled section of boardwalk reminds passersby of the destruction that rendered the beach walkway. Metal gates crumbled like tissue paper all along the boardwalk as wind and water whipped across the beach font in violent waves.
SANDY - LOOKING BACK | October 2013
Ordinary People in Extraordinary Times
One Man’s Garbage Is Another Man’s Life Block after block, lives were emptied onto the streets. Blankets and sheets were spread on lawns. Photos placed on top of them to dry in the sun. What if the wind comes back? Plates, dishes, pots and pans have been placed on the memories to keep them from blowing away. A grandmother’s bedroom set, soon to be passed down, now warped from soaking under sea water and possibly sewage, takes its place in line for the inevitable toss into the dumpster. What to throw away.What to save.People pull up, they are in vans. They want to know if we are throwing any of this away. We scream back, “This is not garbage—this is our life on our lawn. Get off my property.”
Photo Courtesy Marguerite Carillo
Marguerite Carillo is a Howard Beach resident who shared with us her personal thoughts. Her letter contains some very wise words we think everyone will be better for. Another “good thing” to have come from all this mess. “Like everyone else here, we had 4 feet of water surrounding the house and 8 feet of water inside the basement. I never felt so helpless and frightened. My 90-years-young Mom put on a brave face but I knew that she was very scared. What I will take away from all of this is how the people from Howard Beach came together as a community. I had neighbors coming over to see if they could help. Sanitation workers checking in on us to see if there was something they could do for us. Whatever I had I tried to share with others and they did the same with us. We had no one but each other... Our neighborhood stood tall and this is what I want to remember on 10/29/13. I want to think about the good.”
A single red pew is surrounded by the splintered remains of the Howard Beach Assembly of God Church.
Photos Courtesy Donna Faiella
Photo Courtesy Susan Lombardo
Virtually no clues remain that this is the boat yard of longtime Howard Beach resident John Fazio. Other residents along the water’s edge lost their boats, as well as the docks they were tied to. Photos Courtesy Donna Faiella
Furniture, luggage, garbage–lifetimes of possessions–stood before home after home, a grim reminder, blocks long, of everything lost.
Photo Courtesy Victoria Holt/VRPhotography
An American flag was placed outside this house, along with so many others, as a symbol of pride and inspiration and as a reminder that strength and courage is what built the greatest country on earth.
SANDY - LOOKING BACK | October 2013
Photo Courtesy Victoria Holt/VRPhotography
Rows of collapsed and crumbled bungalow type homes were rendered beyond repair and marked with red stickers as condemned properties
Ordinary People in Extraordinary Times
Woodhaven Gets Whacked
Inland communities lose power, downed trees pose threats
Photos Courtesy Janet Forte
The pictures shown here are from 92nd Street between 89th and 91st Avenues in Woodhaven. We can’t compare our area to Howard Beach or Breezy Point, but to us, our block was in need of emergency help as well. A large tree fell directly onto my car, crushing it, and settled lying across the street from curb to curb, pulling down several utility poles and leaving live power lines strewn all over the street. This dangerous condition lasted for nearly two weeks, with city agencies arguing over who had the jurisdiction to remove the tree and poles and neutralize the live power lines. Con Ed wouldn’t touch the lines because they said the tree needed to be removed first. Parks Dept. refused to touch the tree until the power lines were removed–typical bureaucracy in NYC. Finally, we got Con Ed to station security personnel at each end of the street to prevent people, especially school children from walking among the wires. All this time, the lines were “hot”.
One side of the block was without power and heat for the entire 12 days time. Our “heroes” were not from our own city. They were those who came from Texas, North Dakota, Minnesota and Oklahoma to help and show Con Ed, and the city of New York how to get the job done (as seen in photo 3). No red tape, just hard work and dedication. The nor’easter storm that came a week later (as seen in photo 2), didn’t help matters, but was a catalyst for getting the power lines neutralized. With streets wet, they became giant conductors. Anyone stepping in a puddle was in peril of electrocution. Lines in the street were sparking constantly. We on 92nd street got through this disaster but, to this very day, the wires are still loosely hanging from the new poles that were installed. Several old poles are still leaning and in danger of falling if they are not corrected soon. We remain thankful to all those who helped us out of this disaster, including our friends from the Western states, and our Assemblyman Mike Miller and staff who ceaselessly tried brokering a solution for us between the various agencies. Finally, through it all, our mail carrier made sure we got our mail, even though our block was a wreck. –Janet R. Forte
Photos Courtesy Jose Silva
Driving winds tore trees from their sidewalk foundations and sent them crashing into homes. Despite the fact that they were nowhere near the coastline, many communities, like Woodhaven, were devastated by loss of power and services.
National Guard vehicles replaced the usual cast of cars parked along busy strips throughout Southern Queens. Before the second week in November of 2012, almost 4,000 troops, operating more than 1,300 trucks and Humvees, had delivered 2.5 million emergency meals and 150,000 blankets to storm victims, and fueled more than 13,000 city vehicles, while visiting more than 12,000 homes and apartments to check on residents.
SANDY - LOOKING BACK | October 2013
Ordinary People in Extraordinary Times
Standing Together to Put Life Back Together The true meaning of community Photo Courtesy James DeBari
This is a picture my son Atreyu and I, early morning after we completely emptied out my entire first floor. We both worked tirelessly in the dark, most times with no heat, so that our family could get into our house before Thanksgiving. We may have lost a lot of our possessions but I gained a new pride and respect for my son, who never left my side throughout the entire ordeal. By the way, we were able to get into our house before Thanksgiving and gave thanks we were in our house together and healthy. –James DeBari
Photos Courtesy Donna Faiella
Neighborhood donation sites cropped up all over the community offering those without food, water, heat and electric the most essential of supplies. Displaced residents lined up for items ranging from batteries to blankets, coats, first aid supplies, water, diapers and food products. The sites were set up in many different locations and were open to anyone in need.
Photos Courtesy Edwin Perez
These pictures really tell the whole story of what happened that night. My family and I were home when Sandy hit and after seeing a fire start right next to us at our neighbor’s house, we decided to leave that night not knowing if we would have a home to come back to. I could show you more photos of our home but what I believe is of more importance is the support we received from our family and friends all over the country. We have rebuilt since then, but with little help from NYC Build it Back or FEMA. That night I carried my 4-month-old child through 4 feet of water. My job calls for helping others but that night, and for 7 months after, we needed the help. Our home had fire damage from our neighbor’s home and the flood was about one foot high to our entire first floor. This has been the hardest time for my family and I but we hold strong to our faith and believe that help is still coming. This is my story and thank you for taking the time to read this. –Edwin Perez
Photo Courtesy Steve Marino
Photo Courtesy Victoria Holt/VRPhotography
National Guard troops were on the scene helping not only to ensure order and minimize looting but also to help in the massive clean-up of personal possessions turned into debris.
SANDY - LOOKING BACK | October 2013
After my family’s home on 160th Avenue was flooded by the surge from Hurricane Sandy, our son David organized five classmates who graduated with him from St. Francis Prep in 2008 to help with the clean-up. Standing in front of the rubble of our house are (l. to r.): Tommy Garofola, Larry Mongelli, Joe Iemma, David Marino, Chris Costello, and Michael Biordi. –Steve Marino
Ordinary People in Extraordinary Times
… If You Just Smile
Photo Courtesy Donna Faiella
Snow that soon followed Sandy was put to very good use. Let’s face it, there wasn’t really much else to do but continue to clean up and clean out.
Take away the houses and the car in the backdrop and there you are on Lake Howard.
Left with no power, food, light, water frustrated residents of all ages found ways to convey their anger and displeasure with the mayor and city agencies.
Photo Courtesy Victoria Holt/VRPhotography
Do you guys still think it matters who crossed the road first? Chickens on the road, fish in fountains–the storm did it’s best to render all living creatures homeless.
Photo Courtesy Victoria Holt/VRPhotography
People throughout the storm ravaged area displayed their frustration over FEMA in many ways. Here an SUV with salt water to the dash, finds new purpose.
Photo Courtesy Laura Riley
Photos Courtesy Laura Riley
Photo Courtesy Rosanne DeFino
Our family, along with help from neighbors and friends, began cleaning up on October 31, 2012 after the water had mostly receded. My neighbor discovered a lively little fish while cleaning. She scooped it up into an empty water bottle and gave it to my 4-year-old Son Nickolas. He was so excited and wanted so much to keep it –needless to say, the fish now named Sandy, now has a home and our son, had a friend. With limited resources, we weren’t sure what to feed Sandy or how to keep her in enough water, so for the first few weeks, we would put a few Cheerios in her bowl, and as needed, we would use water, left over from the storm in our yard to fill Sandy’s bowl. We’re not exactly sure if she is from the bay or ocean but somehow she made it to us. We are happy to report, that Sandy is still the lively little fish she was one year ago, and we love having her as a part of our family! –Rosanne DeFino
The Forum would like to thank each and every one of you for taking the time and sending us your thoughts, photos and memories. The overwhelming response we got to this issue was something we at The Forum will cherish for a lifetime. A very special thank you to all our contributors: Linda Arteca • Cristie Barone • Marguerite Carillo• Ann DeAngelo • James DeBari Rosanne DeFino • Donna Faiella • Maria Febrarro • Janet Forte • Victoria Holt Chuck Klima • Susan Lombardo • Jeanine Marcotrigiano • Steve Marino Martin O’Toole • Edwin Perez • Laura Riley • Caroline Roswell Jose Silva • Patricia Schulze SANDY - LOOKING BACK | October 2013
Breezy Point/Rockaway Devastated
In Breezy Point, A Homecoming On The Horizon
Anna Gustafson/The Forum Newsgroup
Families may begin to move back into their Breezy Point homes as soon as Thanksgiving.
By Anna Gustafson For Breezy Point residents, the hum of constant construction in their neighborhood sounds like more than an orchestra of jackhammers and drills: It is the tune of something many thought may never happen again – normal life. “We’ve come a long way in the past year – a long way,” said Arthur Lighthall, the general manager of the Breezy Point Cooperative, the organization that runs the community and is responsible for its maintenance, security and other needs. “The morning after the worst of the storm, seeing what had happened, I was devastated. The community was devastated.”
Hurricane Sandy slammed into Breezy Point at the end of October last year – and essentially reduced an entire neighborhood into debris and rubble, into piles of ruined wedding photos and letters from relatives long gone bleeding ink and videos of children growing up that could never again be watched. It looked like a war zone – and the images of the neighborhood quickly became one of the faces of Hurricane Sandy, with newspapers across the globe printing photos of residents’ charred memories. In a matter of hours, the seaside community seemed to almost vanish, with 350 homes completely destroyed – including 135 in a fire that swept through the community
At least 35 homes are under construction in Breezy Point, including 20 that were completely destroyed in the fire that swept through the neighborhood during the storm.
and was unreachable by firefighters because of massive flooding from Sandy. “At first, the storm didn’t seem like it would be that bad – the winds were bad but not severe in the beginning,” said Lighthall, a Breezy Point resident whose house was devastated by the storm and who had to seek refuge in Little Neck until he could finally return home six months after Sandy. “But then the lights were gone, the phones went out, and we couldn’t use our cell phones. The scariest part of the night was looking out the windows and seeing the glow of the fire.” Remembering that night, Denise LoprestiNeibel, the assistant general manager at the Breezy Point Cooperative, said there were about
60 residents seeking shelter in the coop’s main administrative building – and, as the flames appeared on the horizon, she and Lighthall knew if the winds did not shift the blaze would be headed directly for them. “What were we going to do?” Lopresti-Neibel said. “There was four feet of water outside. Where would we have gone?” Fortunately, the winds did shift and those inside the coop’s building remained safe. But, the next day, when residents began to assess the damage, it was almost impossible to understand just how much had been wiped out. How, where once rows of homes filled with families stood, the was now nothing but charred debris lining the beach.
Breezy Point Cooperative General Manager Arthur Lighthall and Assistant General Manager Denise Neibel have been working around the clock to get people back into their homes.
Residents said the constant buzz of construction in the neighborhood is making them feel hopeful that life could begin to return to normal.
During Sandy, 350 homes were destroyed in the storm – including 135 in the fire. More than 2,000 homes were damaged, and 2,837 families were affected.
A sign that hangs by the fire zone reminds residents that the neighborhood is, slowly but surely, getting back on its feet.
SANDY - LOOKING BACK | October 2013
Breezy Point/Rockaway Devastated
Richard York/The Forum Newsgroup
A collapsed home in Breezy Point after the hurricane.
Breezy Point was hit extremely hard during Hurricane Sandy, leaving thousands of families without homes.
Many residents wondered if they would ever again see Breezy return to normal – but, after many trials, it is heading in that direction.
After the storm, heaps of debris littered much of the neighborhood.
Breezy Point became one of the major faces of Sandy, with photos of its devastation published across the globe.
“You know, we watched when Hurricane Katrina hit New Orleans, and you thought, ‘That’s awful,’” Lopresti-Neibel said. “But until you live it, you don’t really understand it. We understand it now.” About 120 residents and business owners whose houses were destroyed in the blaze filed an $80 million lawsuit against the Long Island Power Authority and National Grid over the summer, arguing the failure to de-energize the power grid to the Rockaway peninsula before Hurricane Sandy hit caused one of the worst residential fires in the city’s history.
to begin rebuilding because they had to receive a variance from the city Board of Standard and Appeals – a tedious and bureaucratic process that can take as long as a year and a half – before being able to apply for permits from the city Department of Buildings. The Breezy Point homeowners had to get the variance because their houses were not on maps used by the city to determine who could receive a building permit. However, in July, Gov. Cuomo signed a bill sponsored by Assemblyman Phil Goldfeder (DRockaway Park) that waived the need to get a variance for one year for residents who experienced substantial property damage.
National Grid recently filed a response to the lawsuit that the homeowners’ attorney, Rockaway native Keith Sullivan, called a “slap in the face.” National Grid and LIPA filed a motion at the end of September to dismiss the suit and in part blamed the Breezy Point homeowners for the inferno. “They’re blaming helpless victims,” Sullivan said in a previous interview. “It was shocking to see that.” After the storm, homeowners began to wonder how long it would be before they could return to the place they loved. Until this summer, not one resident in the neighborhood was able
Now, while no family has been able to move back into their home, more than 35 homes are being constructed, and Lighthall said about 130 construction plans have been submitted to the cooperative for a new building. Another 50 to 60 plans have so far been submitted for significant repairs. The shoreline, once cluttered with debris, is now a sea of construction vehicles and workers in hard hats. And, soon, it will be a place recognized as a place residents once knew it to be: Home. “We’re coming back,” Lighthall said. “People will be coming home.”
The fire that devastated Breezy Point left the area looking like what many residents called a war zone.
SANDY - LOOKING BACK | October 2013
Breezy Point/Rockaway Devastated
A Community Mainstay Faces A Shaky Future The Harbor Light’s owner unsure as to when the beloved eatery will be able to open again
By Kate Bubacz Billy Heeran was out working with Ladder 123 in Brooklyn during Superstorm Sandy when he heard over the radio about a blaze in Belle Harbor, Queens, where his family had long owned a beloved neighborhood pub, The Harbor Light. This was not the first time that he had a heard such a call. On Nov. 12, 2001, a plane crashed just blocks away from the restaurant, killing five people on the ground and destroying three houses, with the initial address being stated as the Harbor Light. That time, the pub was spared. Sandy was something different. The power was still on when the water and wind came. Arcing from downed wires on sparked a blaze. A few unlucky embers blew over to Belle Harbor. The water from the tidal surge between the ocean and the bay was over the tops of the fire engines, cutting off the firefighters from the flames. By the time the water receded to a level that the engines could get through, the Harbor Light Pub was burning to the ground. Billy Heeran, his father and his brother bought the restaurant along with the chef William Whalen in 1980. The Heerans are a firefighting family and the pub was the site of family dinners, fundraisers and funerals, a gathering point in the small community. It would have been the place where neighbors gathered to grieve the loss of their homes and process the damage done. The blackened foundation and a bent Harbor Light awning were all that remained in the wreckage after the storm. The neighbors instead gathered amid piles of insulation pulled from basements and on street corners heaped with donations from The Harbor Light Pub, a community mainstay in the Rockaways for years, burnt to the ground in the blaze the destroyed much of Breezy Point. strangers. “For a long time, I don’t think that there wasn’t a bar in town” Heeran says. Marie Reilly, a lifetime resident of Rockaway and a friend of the Heerans, is the bartender at the other pub in Belle Harbor, Jameson. She speaks of how the water came up swamped their downtown bar. “Everything had to be redone” she says. “There are still little things being done, here and there.” Jameson’s Pub would not re-open until May. “If they had just shut the power off, we wouldn’t be in this situation. People would have left if LIPA warned that power would have been shut down at a suitable hour. That’s probably the most sensible way to evacuate an area. LIPA’s Top Brass put civilians in a very precarious situation” Heeran says. He and 120 plantiffs in the Rockaways are suing LIPA and National Grid for negligence for failing to de-energize the power grid before the storm, a suit that LIPA has filed a motion to dismiss. In addition to the cost of rebuilding a restaurant from the ground up, the maze of red tape has frustrated the Heerans’ plans to break ground. For now, the empty lot sits unused behind a plywood fence that bears the Harbor Light awning on its exterior. When asked about plans to re-open, Billy Heeran says, “I want to give everyone a straight answer, but I don’t know when we are re-opening, and I don’t know what the future holds for Harbor Light.” A charred staircase remained outside the spot that once held the popular eatery.
SANDY - LOOKING BACK | October 2013
For NYFAC, Finding Strength in Community
Photos Courtesy NYFAC
NYFAC's building was devastated by flooding from Sandy before the group even got a chance to open their brand new facility to the community.
Water poured into NYFAC's building on Cross Bay Boulevard during the hurricane.
veillance footage taken during Sandy at the New York Families with Autistic Children facility is Water can be seen rushing through the dramatic, showing the state of the art center takcracks between the doors, the floor slowly dis- ing on four feet of water on the first floor, soakappearing until the screen goes dark. The sur- ing toys, instruments, and supplies. The president of NYFAC, Andrew Baumann, never even got to open the doors of the brand-new facility to the public before he was rebuilding it. “You try to plan and develop contingency plans, and what if, what if, what if,” Baumann said. “I don’t think that anybody could have what-iffed this one. Nobody took this storm for what it was. I can’t tell you that I planned for it.” The storm set back the grand opening of the center by six months, during which time Baumann and his staff were far from idle. “My service coordinators and my case managers, they worked overtime making sure that all our families were OK, and then the ones who really needed help we focused in on.” NYFAC has a large home services division based out of their administration building, which is in a different part of Howard Beach and aside from losing power, was relatively unscathed by the storm. As soon as possible after the storm, the staff continued to do home visits to families, even if they were rebuilding, even if Kate Bubacz/The Forum Newsgroup they were in shelters. These days, the scene at NYFAC is a far cry from one “Consistency is a very very big thing with year ago. kids with autism,” Baumann said.
“My staff was marvelous,” he continued, noting that most of his staff lived in the area and were personally affected by the storm, but still came to work and made sure that everyone else was taken care of. Beyond the dedication of the staff, NYFAC was helped by their bank, which extended a large line of credit to start with repairs and by other members of the neighborhood. “This community came together in a way that I have never seen before - everybody was there for everybody else,” Baumann said, recounting running into other business owners in the hardware store and the pizzerias and pharmacies on the boulevard giving away free food and supplies to those in need during the aftermath. The recovery process is less visible on the streets one year after the storm, but the sense of community persists at NYFAC. Project Hope, one of the operations of FEMA, continues to meet regularly in one of NYFAC’s conference rooms and the center is open to politicians and other civic groups for use. “We were so welcomed and embraced by this community, it would be just wrong to not be a community minded facility,” Baumann explained. The building is entirely finished, and offers a little bit of everything with spaces for play,
By Kate Bubacz
learning, cooking, sensory studies, music and medical care on the first floor and a full video studio on the second. Not only is Baumann aiming to have NYFAC a one stop shop for all community needs, he is looking at ways to mitigate damage for the next storm. He sits on the New York Rising task force, which is looking at ways to prepare for the next storm. Among the suggestions are floodgates, building a flood-proof emergency warehouse stocked with supplies, emergency rations, and an emergency response team. For NYFAC, Baumann is taking every precaution that he will not have to rebuild for a third time. “I have so much flood insurance now that if you spit, I could follow a claim” he laughs. He has already installed backflow valves on the drains and a generator on the roof that hooks up to gas lines, and is looking into hurricane doors. Next time, everything would be moved to the second floor and the power would be shut off. Next time, there would be outreach and stockpiles of supplies before the storm. Next time, there will be a contingency plan. One thing will not happen though. “I will never relocate, this is it.” Baumann said, looking around at the toys and stacks of papers in his office, the letters from politicians and the notes from his staff. “Nothing will replace this.”
After Losing Everything, Baron Focuses on Clients By Hannah Sheehan A second office in Westchester meant that Scott Baron and Associates didn’t miss a day of business after Hurricane Sandy, but the three feet of water that came rushing through Baron’s Howard Beach location rendered the first floor entirely inoperable for five to six months after the storm. “I lost everything,” Baron said of his office at 159-49 Cross Bay Blvd., but seemed most troubled when recalling the resulting burden on his clients. “I represent so many severely disabled people who have getting trouble upstairs,” the attorney said. Baron grew up in Howard Beach and opened his law practice in 1994, but never expected anything like the havoc wreaked by Sandy.
“I never fathomed we’d encounter such a horrific event,” he said. After the hurricane struck, Baron said he immediately went into “survival mode,” determined to continue to serve the clients he considers to be “like an extension of my family.” The Howard Beach attorney is proud of the progress made in the community since last year and is happy to see local businesses back up and running with a degree of normality. Baron has tried to be of help whenever possible and has frequently answered legal questions for local residents about damage to homes and rental properties. “It’s an honor to represent the people I grew up with,” he said. Hannah Sheehan/The Forum Newsgroup
SANDY - LOOKING BACK | October 2013
From Total Destruction to Impressive Elegance, Vetro Conquers Sandy’s Devastation By Kate Bubacz Vetro means “glass” in Italian – and it is a fitting name for an event space that overlooks the bay in Howard Beach from numerous windows. The interior is plush and elegant: Think fine furniture and soft music and well-lit spaces. It is a venue designed for impression, and impress it does. You would never know if you were walking in for an evening out that the scene was radically different a year ago. “Six of us were here, we were staying overnight [during the storm] to do damage control; we knew it would be a little bit of an issue. We just wanted to cut off the problems before it got too bad, so if the water came in we wanted to try to direct it to the pumps,” said PJ Connolly, the general manager and sommelier at Vetro. He was one of the six, along with Frank Russo, the owner of Vetro Restaurant & Lounge, his son Frank III, two waiters and Connolly’s uncle.
“Eventually it just got too deep too fast, and we had to run upstairs.” Connolly said. The basement, where the sales and managers offices are located, along with the wine cellar large enough to fit 80 guests, took only 20 minutes to fill up. The first floor also took on water, so the men went to the second floor to watch the storm as it came across the bay and struck Howard Beach and Broad Channel. “All the transformers were exploding, just crazy, cars floating by, boats going by, it was just chaos,” Connolly said. “We stayed up most of the night to watch everything.” “When we came downstairs, it was just total destruction,” he continued. The windows, which had been boarded up with plywood, had all blown out. So had the doors. Broken glass was everywhere, furniture was overturned, water squished underfoot. Everything on first floor would have to be changed. Worse, the wine cellar was completely flooded. Over 1,300 bottles of wine were ruined, the It is impossible to tell that just one year ago Vetro was devastated by the hurricane.
Photos Courtesy Vetro
Hurricane Sandy hit Vetro hard, with water pouring into its basement and first floor.
The scene from Vetro’s outdoor dining space is radically different from what it was one year ago. At that time, the restaurant’s general manager and others from Vetro watched, from the event’s space’s second floor, as Sandy came across the bay and struck Howard Beach.
After Sandy, Vetro underwent immediate cleanup efforts and the event space was up and running in just 38 days.
fruits of three years of Connolly’s work, which was now floating down the street or out to sea. Going outside, the men discovered the whole area was without power and covered in debris. Almost all the homes of their friends and families and neighbors were damaged. Other properties in the Russo group including Russo’s on the Bay, down the street from Vetro, had been hit. Without power, Russo’s on the Bay was used to start cooking meals, 600 a day, which were handed out in Howard Beach and Broad Channel through car windows of volunteers. Vetro staff pitched in to help with clean up. The efforts of the next few days would have long-lasting effects on the area. “I feel there is a much greater presence of “community” now and that community is stronger,” said Frank Russo. Russo and his family are longstanding members of the business community. His father, Frank Russo Sr., founded Villa Russo in Richmond Hill over 45 years ago; he founded Russo’s on the Bay 26 years ago.
SANDY - LOOKING BACK | October 2013
“After going through something like this, we know that we, my team and myself, couldn’t be more blessed than to have our business in this community. We are very grateful for the support from our community and loyal customers,” said Russo. In 38 days, Vetro was back up and running, the differences between before and after barely noticeable on the surface. The dining room is again elegantly decorated, the bar is stocked, the wine is ready, and the Italian glass that Vetro is named after adorns the walls and windows. There are a few subtle changes that Frank Russo is proud of. “As far as my team is concerned, I would say we are a lot stronger having made it through a very challenging and trying time. At the same time we are all more knowledgeable and trained in the area of technology as we have taken the opportunity to upgrade…we are more high-tech now,” said Russo. “In our company fashion, we are bigger and better now, and improved more than we were in the storm. We took a bad situation and really turned it around for us. We’re in a better spot than we were a year ago,” said Connolly.
For Howard Beach, Ragtime Was A Reminder That Life Goes On After Sandy
Richard York/The Forum Newsgroup
Ragtime was one of the first business to reopen after Hurricane Sandy wreaked havoc on shops up and down Cross Bay Boulevard.
By Hannah Sheehan On a recent rainy afternoon, Ragtime Market customers came and went as they usually do, pulling in and out of the small parking lot on Cross Bay Boulevard in steady intervals, leaving with small bags of groceries or a favorite sandwich from the deli. One customer, a regular who has lived in Howard Beach for years, comes every day for the twist rolls and ciabatta he can’t find in a typical supermarket. “They have awesome bread,” the customer, Nick, said of the family owned and operated neighborhood institution that has long been a staple in the community.
Another customer, a Howard Beach native, said he makes sure to stop into Ragtime at least a couple times a month. “The food is delicious,” said the customer, Gary. “My mom is in the hospital and it’s the only food she wants to eat,” explained Keshia Holmes, who was visiting from North Carolina and picking up lunch for her ailing mother, a longtime resident of the area. Ragtime owner Angelo Gurino takes pride in his local popularity. Gurino took over Ragtime from his father, John, who opened the business in 1965, and has run the Italian gourmet market and importer of specialty foods for the past 25 years.
“Almost every person in Howard Beach has come through my store,” he said. Ragtime was among the first stores to reopen last year after Hurricane Sandy – and it was one of the first signs that, despite the storm’s devastation, the community would return to its thriving self. It sits on the crown of Cross Bay Boulevard and the few extra inches in elevation meant flooding was restricted to the basement, which completely filled with water during the storm. Gurino and his employees sandbagged all the doors in preparation for the hurricane. “The water splashed against our building and rushed past us,” he said. Still, the market had no electricity
Once Filled With Sandy’s Water, Lenny’s Clam Bar Now Thrives
Richard York/The Forum Newsgroup
Lenny’s Clam Bar, as seen during Hurricane Sandy.
By Kate Bubacz Lenny’s Clam Bar is on a picturesque corner of Howard Beach, a friendly restaurant where you can bring the family for celebrations or meet a few friends after work for drinks at the bar. Out back, there is a deck overlooking the docks in Shellbank Basin and allowing a peek into the bay. Despite its name and location, the owner, Joe DeCandia, said that his
Hannah Sheehan/The Forum Newsgroup
Like stores throughout South Queens, Ragtime was hit hard by Sandy – but its owner and employees have persevered and the longtime community mainstay has been a beacon of hope for the community.
following the storm, but a friend of Gurino’s in Albany helped him get his hands on a mobile generator. Ragtime was open for business after about a week. “People were coming and thanking us. They were very appreciative,” Gurino remembered. Gurino estimated that he has spent nearly $100,000 on repairs, with no help from FEMA or the government. When asked how he wishes restoration efforts might have been handled differently, Gurino became reflective. “The way they took care of the homeowners, I wish they took care of the businesses,” he said. As a mom-and-pop operation, “we don’t have deep pockets,” he explained.
For now, Gurino is reasonably optimistic about Ragtime’s future and is looking forward to a bump in sales from the holidays. With no beach traffic or backyard poolside barbecues over the summer, “We’re still trying to fight our losses,” Gurino said. Still, residents of Howard Beach – and beyond – love Ragtime, and they will continue to flock there, as evidenced by the normal rush of people going in and out of the store that after Sandy was a beacon of hope for all in the community. Since Ragtime turned its lights on and opened its doors after the storm, it has been a source of continuity – and a reminder that life does indeed continue.
door that had been a gym before the storm. After the storm, its owner had decided not to return. Another new addition is the boat out back. It sits rusting into the bay, a relic of the force of the storm that has been stranded on the rocks next to the deck since Sandy. “We can’t figure out how to get it down, so it just stays there. No one has claimed it.” DeCandia said. One of the valets added that occasionally the NYPD on boats will cruise by, but they don’t seem to know what to do with the boat either, so it stays, a modern day shipwreck. The restaurant itself looks like new, with the walls tastefully decorated with murals and the tile floor refinished to a shine. Staff dressed in black and white bustle between the bar and the tables,
pausing to catch up with regulars and gossip with each other. As if to taunt the storm-weary patrons, National Flood Insurance ads appear every so often on the television screens above the bar. “We paid out of pocket, we couldn’t wait for the insurance. It wiped us out, financially. I don’t know how a small business would do it.” DeCandia said. “I had the best insurance, but they still didn’t cover my docks,” said Mike, the bartender who lives in the area. “No insurance does.” Regarding insurance, DeCandia said that he expects prices to skyrocket from the low rates that he was accustomed to before. “Before, it was like, hurricanes in New York? Get out of here. Now, I’m like, it’s $500 [for insurance]? I’d pay that a hundred times over now.”
Kate Bubacz/The Forum Newsgroup
Within two weeks of getting power, Lenny’s was back in business.
family does not have any connection to fishing except for the name and the menu – and the restaurants’ recent underwater adventure. ‘ “We stacked the chairs and everything, but it didn’t matter: we’re right on the water. It came in so fast, in two hours, it was done.” DeCandia said of Hurricane Sandy, which filled his restaurant with four feet of water. “It wasn’t just the amount of water,” he said. “It was salt water, and the force of the water was incredible. There’s a garbage compactor out back that was
moved four blocks.” The electronics were fried, untold inventory was ruined, and the walls had to come out. “We re-opened within two weeks of getting power, without the walls done.” DeCandia said. “I had 50 employees out of work, you’re spending money on the renovations, on the repairs, nothing is coming in…I had to open as soon as possible.” Kate Bubacz/The Forum Newsgroup Working during off hours, Lenny’s was renovated and expanded, adding The boat that washed ashore outside Lenny’s is a reminder of the hurricane that swept on a new dining room in the space next through the area with a force no one expected. SANDY - LOOKING BACK | October 2013
‘We Don’t Leave’
Broad Channel Volunteer Fire Department Works to Rebuild By Kate Bubacz Drive down Noel Road in Broad Channel and you might not see a firehouse. The red building tucked on the corner looks too small to hold two engines and two ambulances, and too old to still be in use, but the sign above the bay doors says Broad Channel Volunteer Fire Department, and so it must be the place. The current Broad Channel fire station was built in 1905. It was then - and still is - all volunteer, and the only firehouse in the tiny town that is tucked between two bridges. The FDNY firehouses on both sides of the bridges take 911 calls and help with the heavy lifting, but if you are in trouble in town, chances are you are going to meet one of the “volleys”. That goes double during major storms when the bridges are closed, the FDNY cannot get in, and everyone staying in town is stuck there. “We go around in the trucks and make announcements, ‘if you're going to stay here, against the mayor’s orders, we are here, we got boats, we got trucks, we got ambulances, we will get you out if you need to get out, call us, this is the number,’” says Tracy Moccio, the vice president of the department. During Hurricane Irene, half the town left for dry ground. For Sandy, only a quarter of the population left despite the mandatory evacuation notice, figuring that the storm would be something similar to Irene - not that bad. “In Irene, we moved all the gear from bottom shelf and moved it up. It worked out perfectly fine. So [with Sandy], they’re saying its like a real hurricane, we’ll go another shelf up, it can’t go that much higher” is how Moccio described the preparation at the firehouse. In addition, there were sandbags put out and crews put together in the time before the storm. At the height of the storm, the first two crews that went out to rescue the residents stuck inside their homes by the rising waters couldn’t get back to the station. One of the fire trucks had to be abandoned when the force of the water broke the air brakes, and it later caught on fire from an electrical short. The chief eventually halted operations when it became too dangerous with downed power lines and high tides.
Volunteers at the firehouse as the morning tide was rising.
SANDY - LOOKING BACK | October 2013
Photos Courtesy Broad Channel Volunteer Fire Dept.
Engine 209 was returning from an alarm during Sandy when debris broke an airline in the undercarriage and disabled it. The crew had to abandon the rig and wade in chest deep water 12 blocks back to the rendezvous point, stopping on the way to help civilians reach higher ground. Water levels would continue to rise, eventually causing an electrical short in the motor and starting a fire.
This was the morning tide before the worst of the storm later that night. The BCVFD had to abandon the firehouse during the height of the storm and move the base of operation to higher ground at the American Legion Hall on Cross Bay Boulevard. This effort, however, was thwarted by the water that destroyed the Hall's building - and the entire neighborhood.
The Broad Channel Volunteer Fire Department
That was only the beginning of the department’s woes. With their equipment ruined and their town destroyed, the BCVFD was in desperate need of help, which started pouring in from all corners. Other departments donated trucks and ambulances, tools and medical supplies. Former members brought socks and coffee and hugs, anything to help. “Function-wise, we are 20 percent below the level that we were at, because all the tools that we have are on loan to us,” Moccio explained. “Manpower wise, we are probably 15 times worse than we were before the Sandy,” said Moccio, detailing how eight in-town volunteers left the firehouse after the storm to focus on rebuilding their lives, or because they moved away. New recruits have been inducted, but still need training. The biggest worry though is that the firehouse will not make it through another storm. The roof is sagging and leaking, the walls are sloping and patched with plywood, and raccoons and squirrels have taken up residence in the ceiling. The department has been trying to build a new firehouse on higher ground in town for 18 years. There was hope that after the storm the new building would become a reality, but so far that is not the case. “We don’t have the money to fix this building,” said Moccio. The department makes up the majority of its budget through donations, but with everyone in town struggling to rebuild themselves, the fundraising base for the volleys is tapped out. “We have come a long way, and its because of the town and because of other places that came to our aid when we needed it, but we still have a long way to go. We either have to get that new building built or we need this one fixed.” Despite these challenges, the volunteers have no intention of leaving the town. They get up in the middle of the night to answer calls, give up holidays with their families to help others, and continue patching together the firehouse, shaking their helmets in the street for spare change or more frequently, a smile and a thank you. Moccio summed up the attitude of the department, saying “we don’t leave. We don’t leave. We’re not leaving town. This is it, this is our town, and we’re staying here.”
Kate Bubacz/The Forum Newsgroup
The Comeback of Coleman Square The Little Town That Could…And Did
Sandbags did nothing to minimize the damage done to storefronts all along Coleman Square. The town remained essentially closed for months.
By Samantha Geary It’s just several small blocks, tucked away in the heart of Old Howard Beach, but the area known as Coleman Square is full of history and meaning for the community it has served for nearly a century. And despite the fact that it’s geographical space is small in comparison to the rest of Howard Beach, Coleman Square or Lilly Place as it was known in 1922, was the first area of Howard Beach (officially named in 1916) to be developed. Developers had begun construction in the town named Ramblersville, with the building of the LIRR
station in 1905, with a post office soon to follow. With most of Howard Beach being a marshland, only the land to the east of the station, Coleman Square, was slated for development. There near Russell Street and 102nd Street, stood many small fishing bungalows off Hawtree Creek and Jamaica Bay. The area then known as Ramblersville, became known as Hamilton Beach, where in 1922, builders began to sell lots for $690. Now, ninety years later, Coleman Square is a busy hub that provides the immediate population with all the staples of a little town. Stores and sevice enterprise fill the small area
Photos Courtesy Our Lady of Grace Church
A drive down 101st Street in the days immediately following the storm offered little hope for the amazing resurgence of the strip less than one year later.
and continue to provide residents with goods and services without having to travel to the larger strip on Cross Bay Boulevard. But on October 29, 2012 Hurricane Sandy ripped through the whole of Coleman Square ferociously, leaving nothing but devastation and destruction in its wake. Virtually every business was destroyed, taking on 10-12 feet of water in every business. Stores and shops remained closed for months with many of their futures uncertain. Businesses that had been in the square for years as well as those who were new to town remined despeerately uncer-
tain about thier future. The only direct entrance to Coleman Square was virtually impassable for weeks following the storm because National Grid was forced to come in and tear up the street to complete a gas line installation project. Business owners seeking a way back to normalcy were faced with more complications and an incessanst sea of paperwork. It seemed to them that the government was making it more difficult than it had to be to restore the tiny hamlet to its former state. But now, after having faced the trials and tribulations of reconstruc-
tion, the little square is back in full swing. It's centerpiece, a memorial to fallen veterans who were residents of the community, went basically unharmed, and is surrounded by a full compliment of businesses and still growing. Although there are still a few vacancies in town, residents say they are hopeful that the resurgence will continue with the addition of new enterprise. Coleman Square, the few block radius that is no stranger to constant flooding, has taken it on the chin and continues to add to a diversified collection of enterprise. Stop by and visit!
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At St. Helen’s, Reminders That Sandy Could Not Wash Away Community’s Spirit
After Hurricane Sandy, St. Helen’s has opened its space for many community meetings to help residents deal with the fallout from the storm – including this town hall meeting where community members discussed funds for rebuilding and insurance rates.
By Anna Gustafson The view from Msgr. Alfred LoPinto’s office at St. Helen’s Church in Howard Beach is, compared to last year, extraordinary in its ordinariness: There is no sea of floating cars with screaming alarms, no winds whipping around downed wires, no water rushing into buildings and homes. Instead, there is the hum of construction workers, a mother pushes a child in a stroller, a man lugs grocery bags home. It is a scene of normalcy now vehemently embraced by a community that knows what it is to lose everything to nature – and to then often be left stranded by government and insurance companies. “There were winds of over 120 miles per hour – they were so strong they were ripping lines from transformers,” LoPinto remembered of the worst night of Hurricane Sandy. “You looked out and there was a river out there. Alarms were going off because the cars were under water. The parking lot was loaded with dead cars; people had brought their cars there because they thought there would never be flooding in St. Helen’s. We never thought the water would come here.”
But, the water came. St. Helen’s sustained about $250,000 in damages, and the church’s furnace had to be replaced, as did part of the electrical system. Additionally, the entire basement of the school, located across the street from the church on 157th Street, had to be rebuilt – including a new cafeteria, a science lab, and the installation of a new hot water heater and kitchen. Almost immediately after the storm hit, the church opened up Father Dooley Hall as a relief center, from where groups like Catholic Charities and Mayor Bloomberg’s office stationed themselves to assist residents. The National Guard arrived at St. Helen’s with water and ood, and the American Red Cross also came with meals. At the church, three meals a day were being provided with food from different area businesses, including Ragtime and Gino’s. People flocked to St. Helen’s – for food, for community and for warmth, as many had lost power and St. Helen’s had managed to secure a generator. “By that Wednesday, we had the snowstorm, so the heat at Dooley Hall was very important,” LoPinto said. “People were hungry and cold and confused. Many people were walking around in shock. It was a devastating experience.”
St. Helen’s provided space for the Howard Beach Senior Center to operate until it moved to its new home this summer. Here, seniors dance at St. Helen’s at the space where individuals were also able to receive counseling and other support to deal with the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy.
St. Helen’s ran the relief center through Thanksgiving – at which time the Lindenwood Alliance gave out free turkeys in front of the church and when LoPinto held a holiday meal, with food cooked by Frank Russo and his team, for hundreds of people. “I’d approached Frank Russo and asked if he could cook turkeys for our Thanksgiving dinner – he did that and brought everything you could think of for Thanksgiving dinner,” LoPinto said. Like many of the churches in the area. St. Helen’s played a crucial role for people in the community – and not only because it was providing clothes and food. For many, it was a place where people could go and try to make sense of what had just happened to them – of how it could be that they just lost the longtime home – a place where they raised children, where their parents were born, where they grew up. How was it that in a matter of hours, everything changed? “People came – particularly seniors,” LoPinto said. “It was a gathering place. People came and shared. They were in shock. There was total disbelief; you couldn’t comprehend what had happened.” Still, despite the devastation and the surrealness of the entire situation, LoPinto said the resi-
dents were amazing in their ability to immediately reach out and lend a helping hand, despite having nothing themselves. “One of the great things was the community’s ability to support one another,” he said. Since the hurricane, LoPinto said his church has worked hard to continue to be a space where people can get help – on everything from workshops on how to access various resources to providing space for the Howard Beach Senior Center could operate until it was able to relocate to its permanent home on Cross Bay Boulevard. Additionally, it has provided space for various community forums, including ones for residents to discuss and learn more about the looming skyrocketing flood insurance rates that could occur because of federal legislation that essentially eliminates subsidized flood insurance rates. “People are having to deal with [the Federal Emergency Management Agency], with insurance – there are a lot of for sale signs going up,” LoPinto said. But, whatever happens with insurance – or with any future natural disasters – LoPinto said the community at least knows one thing: The residents of South Queens will always look out for one another.
Support From Throughout the Country Gave Birth to Renewed Spirits at Howard Beach Assembly of God By Anna Gustafson “I thought we were done.” Pastor Stephen Roser vividly remembers thinking these words when he saw what Hurricane Sandy had done to his church, the Howard Beach Assembly of God, the morning after the storm had poured angry water into the neighborhood, leaving his sanctuary completely destroyed – rendering its pews and rugs unusable, knocking the pulpit over, soaking Bibles until ink bled from the pages. “All that was left was the shell of the building” Roser said. “The site of the devastation filled me with dread.” In those hours immediately following one of the worst storms to touch down in New York City, Roser had no idea what the future would bring – and he feared there would be no way to get his building up and running again. So many of his congregants too had lost everything; he and his wife, Sharon, were, like many throughout the community, living with no electricity, no heat and no car; and the amount of money needed to fix the church was a staggering price tag that seemed almost insurmountable. SANDY - LOOKING BACK | October 2013
Still, there were glimpses of hope – work teams from throughout the country started pouring in. A group from Brooklyn spent hours on demolition; another team of people trekked about 950 miles from Warm Springs, Georgia to help get the church back on its feet. “The response was so great that I had to say no to people who wanted to come,” Roser said. And, despite the water and the fuel shortage and the lack of heat, the congregants, Roser learned, would not be kept from their church. The first Sunday after the hurricane, the pastor did not expect many to be able to come to the service – after all, they were dealing with piecing their own lives back together and Sandy ripped apart any sense of normalcy. But, they came. And sat on rusty folding chairs. And said how good it was to be there. “That first Sunday morning, the church was packed,” Roser said. “We were worshipping in a sanctuary that was a wreck, but the spirit was still there.” Soon, the donations started to arrive – from File Photo Howard Beach Assembly of God Pastor Stephen Roser Arizona, from Pennsylvania, from faces no one in hugs one of his congregants at the church’s rededication Howard Beach had ever seen. Ultimately, the church ceremony in June. received about $92,000 in donations.
“My best word for it would be a miracle,” Roser said. “Now, the church is totally rebuilt, and we were able to build things we couldn’t afford before the storm.” The church’s floors and walls, rows of pews, an altar, and the pulpit were all replaced. The basement was renovated, and there is a new audio system – as well as an entire collection of new instruments. All this renovation work and donations and new items for the church – they are representative of something far greater, Roser said: A sense of community and the role of faith in healing – and in life. “There’s a wonderful form of bonding that happens in any crisis – and there are anniversaries of that victory,” Roser said. “We ought to continue these community celebrations that create a sense of bonding among people.” With the first anniversary of Sandy, Roser said he hopes people will remember not only that sense of community that was fostered – but continue to live by the lessons learned during the storm. “Don’t forget your priorities,” he said. “The crisis forced you to prioritize; do not forget what you learned – the love of family and friends, our relationship with God. Let’s not regress to materialism.”
Coming Together at Our Lady of Grace, Residents Remembered What It Was To Hope
Photos Courtesy Our Lady of Grace Church
While Our Lady of Grace had no heat until mid-December following Sandy, many residents attended services there. Close to 300 people came to the first mass after the hurricane, and Father Rucando said they came because they needed to “hug, to cry, to touch each other.”
By Anna Gustafson As Rev. Anthony Rucando left for Our Lady of Grace Church’s first mass after Hurricane Sandy swept through Howard Beach, he doubted there would be more than 50 or 60 people who would come: These were dark days and many had been forced from homes in which they had lived for decades, their houses’ insides ripped apart by the devastating power of water and wind. Instead, despite the lack of lights and heat and a building resembling what had stood less than one week before, close to 300 people rushed into the church. “They needed to hug, to try, to touch each other,” Rucando said. “That first mass – we had no electricity, no heat. The music was a cappella
– it was wonderful.” Despite the fact that it had no electricity until mid-December and its pews and floor were ruined, Our Lady of Grace became a place after the storm for people to remember they were not alone in their suffering – there were others who knew exactly what they were going through and they, despite having lost everything themselves, were there to help. Almost immediately after Sandy overpowered much of South Queens, the church became a community center, its school’s auditorium used to distribute the food and clothing that was so desperately needed by so many throughout the community. “We were the glue that kept the community together,” Rucando said. “It’s a center not only of faith but of community. “Our role was to be an oasis of a place where
The church sits empty after it had to rip out its pews following Sandy’s devastation.
people could come because in their houses they were overwhelmed,” he continued. The relief efforts were surreal at times, if not most of the time, with members of the National Guard rolling onto the church grounds armed with massive firearms and dozens of people from Mayor Bloomberg’s office appearing and asking Rucando what they should do. “It was literally confusion – there were well-intentioned people but nobody knew what to do,” the pastor said. Not only did members of the mayor’s office or the National Guard not have a defined
course of action, many of the church’s members, people who had just seen nearly everything – parents’ wedding photos, homemade videos of relatives long gone, mementos of times they could never get back, felt utterly lost as well. And, for many, a sense of hope seemed only to come when gathered with neighbors at the church. It was a reminder that there was still a life to live. “People were walking around like zombies – functioning, but just barely,” Rucando said. “The wound was so deep that we’ll always have a scar.” But, the pastor stressed, “we were healed because of who we are.” “Neighbors were helping neighbors,” he continued. “I had people who had just lost everything asking how the church was. And when I told them not good, they said, ‘Don’t worry, we’ll rebuild.’” And, the pastor said, not only have his congregants supported one another, they have worked hard to help those impacted by natural disasters across the country – including the people of Oklahoma whose lives were shattered by a tornado last May. “People lost everything, and they kept being hit with reminders of how imperfect things are,” Rucando said of those in South Queens. “But if you have faith and love, which is seen through sacrificial caring, then you have hope. If everybody only cares about themselves, there’s no hope.”
Howard Beach Assembly of God Church marks the first anniversary of Storm Sandy with gratitude to community leaders such as Pat Adams, Joseph Addabbo, Eric Ulrich, Philip Goldfeder, and Betty Braton whose support encouraged us to rebuild. Howard Beach Assembly of God Church 158-31 99th Street, Howard Beach 718-641-6785
The National Guard rolled into Howard Beach following the storm, and many of the members showed up at Our Lady of Grace in the chaos immediately after Sandy.
SANDY - LOOKING BACK | October 2013
Providing Meals To Hot Showers, Joann Ariola And Lindenwood Alliance Did Not Rest In Sandy’s Aftermath By Anna Gustafson Before Hurricane Sandy hit, Lindenwood Alliance founder Joann Ariola was working with Councilman Eric Ulrich to hurriedly prepare packages filled with batteries, water, and flashlights for residents who had not evacuated. Like everyone else, she had heard the news that seemed to be stuck on repeat: This will be the storm of the century; this will be the storm of the century; this will be the storm of the century. Still, South Queens residents had been through plenty of hurricane warnings before. They had seen Hurricane Irene come in with a lot of hype and go out with little damage, and people were expecting much of the same this time around. But Ariola wanted to be prepared: She wanted to give the bags filled with necessities to residents throughout the neighborhood – particularly seniors who could be stuck in their homes. “We were going around and giving them to people who couldn’t get out – just in preparation, never dreaming it would be as bad as it was,” Ariola said. Then, the storm started. It didn’t look like much at first – but come around 7:30 p.m. on the worst night of Sandy, Ariola looked out the window of her mother’s house on 164th Avenue and saw the beginning of the flooding that would devastate much of Howard Beach, leaving people without the homes in which they had lived for decades, without power, without clothing, without almost anything except for what was on their backs. “There was an absolute river running down the avenue,” Ariola said. “We knew then that this was bad. We had the television on until the point that it was reported that Breezy Point was on fire, and then we lost television contact.” Almost immediately, Ariola and her son, Christian, hopped in a car to begin contacting
Photos Courtesy Joann Ariola
Joann Ariola and the Lindenwood Alliance were recognized by Assemblyman Phil Goldfeder for their monumental efforts to help residents during and after Hurricane Sandy.
The Lindenwood Alliance worked with Ellen Buonpastore and others in the neighborhood to provide clothing and food for residents who had lost everything in the storm.
residents about making storm preparations. “Councilman Ulrich was also knocking on doors, telling people who hadn’t heeded the evacuation to get out,” Ariola said. “The councilman and I were in constant contact – where are you, in what area, a person on 84th Street needs that packages that we made. We were going back and forth dropping the packages off. Meanwhile, the water continued to rush in, and it got to the point where we couldn’t use our cars anymore and you could no longer reach anyone anywhere.” Once Ariola and her son could no longer drive because of the flooding, they parked the vehicle on 83rd Street and trekked in kneehigh water back to her mother’s house. That night, as almost everywhere else in Howard Beach – and much of South Queens and the Rockaways – lost homes and power and heat – there was a circle in Lindenwood that, miraculously, did not lose electricity. An area dotted with high rises – the part of Lindenwood that sees 151st Avenue meld into 153rd and finally 155th between 88th and 89th streets – became an “oasis in the midst of devastation,” Ariola said.
“We immediately opened the doors to anyone,” the civic leader said of residents in the Eastwood Houses, where she lives, as well as those in the Dorchester Apartments. “People we didn’t know were coming into apartments just to take showers – they had nowhere to go, but we opened up our homes.” The Lindenwood Alliance worked with Ellen Buonpastore at the Dorchester Apartments to provide clothing and hot meals out of the Dorchester’s recreational room. “It was really amazing – she turned that community room into a shelter for anyone,” Ariola said of Buonpastore. “It had coats, shirts, shoes; people were coming because they didn’t have one article of clothing left.” Additionally, the Alliance’s Facebook page became one of the central points of information for residents immediately following the storm, and Ariola said she would post any information she received from Ulrich, Assemblyman Phil Goldfeder, the mayor’s office, and others. Those first days following the storm soon bled into weeks and months – throughout which the Alliance worked with numerous other community groups, including the How-
From A Rec Room, Lindenwood Leader Brought Food, Clothes And Hope Ellen Buonpastore created a relief center that became a haven for those who had lost everything By Anna Gustafson Ellen Buonpastore remembers it like it was yesterday – how it was her mother’s birthday, how she didn’t sleep that first night of Hurricane Sandy – or for 10 days after, how fast the water came, how quickly life turned upside down. The vice president of the Dorchester Arms Coop in Lindenwood, Buonpastore had prepared for the storm: She had shut down the elevators, she had flashlights ready to go, she had just stocked up on food, and she was going to wait out the storm with friends in her apartment. And, at first, it seemed like Sandy would be much like Hurricane Irene in 2011 – a lot of hype and not much damage. But, then, around 12:30 a.m., Buonpastore looked outside her window onto 153rd Avenue and saw the flooding that, not yet known to her, would wreak havoc on a community that had never before seen the kind of devastation that the hurricane brought. At half past midnight on Oct. 30, all Buonpastore knew was that a storm called Sandy had begun to pour water into her neighborhood. Soon, the storm would plunge residents into a surreal nightmare – a world that, just hours before seemed unimaginable – a
SANDY - LOOKING BACK | October 2013
Ellen Buonpastore, center, in white, was recognized by the Lindenwood Alliance and Councilman Eric Ulrich for the crucial role she played during Hurricane Sandy relief efforts. place of no power, no heat, no cell phones. A world that would turn into a place with little fuel and the National Guard rolling tanks down Cross Bay Boulevard and insurance companies turning their backs on those they were supposed to protect. Buonpastore didn’t sleep that night, and when she woke it was almost impossible to process the scene before her. “The next day there was total devastation,” she said. Surrounding her was a neighborhood where so many had lost everything, and the news began to trickle in about just how bad it was out there. Buon-
pastore knew she had to do something to help – so she dug into a stockpile of mac ‘n cheese, opened up the co-op’s recreation room and began cooking. Soon, news of the food spread and people were flocking to Buonpastore’s building – for something to eat, for a familiar face, for a shoulder to lean on. Quickly, the recreation room became more than just a place to grab a welcome bite to eat – it was transformed into an entire relief center stacked with piles of clothes and food and other necessities people so badly needed. “We had wall-to-wall clothes – I got truck loads from Park Slope, Harlem, so many places,” she said. “I
ard Beach Kiwanis Club, The Riverfund, the Rotary Club of Southwest Queens, and a variety of area businesses, including Ragtime and Tuscany Deli, to get people’s lives on a path back to normalcy. For Thanksgiving, Ariola worked with the Riverfund, Howard Beach Kiwanis, St. Helen’s, Tuscany and Ragtime, among others, to provide Thanksgiving meals – everything from 30-pound turkeys to sweet potatoes and corn – to 100 families. There were 50 turkeys left over, which Msgr. Alfred LoPinto used to feed the residents from the Howard Beach Senior Center who were operating out of St. Helen’s following the storm. “People came with children, and everyone was so excited and so thankful,” Ariola said of those receiving the Thanksgiving meals.” At Christmastime, the Alliance worked with Tuscany Deli to conduct a toy drive so that “every child had not just one toy but a sack of toys,” Ariola said. “We held an event at the Lindenwood shopping center, and Charlene and Michael O’Dea from Hamilton Beach came out to play Mrs. Clause and Santa,” Ariola said. “They had lost their home and still came out that day – this is the type of resiliency, commitment and love the people of Howard Beach and the surrounding communities have for each other.” As Hurricane Sandy fades from memory, Ariola said the Alliance will continue to do what it has done in the aftermath of the storm – and for as long as the group has existed: Lend a hand to anyone in need. “I think Hurricane Sandy taught us anything material can be replaced, and when you have to tie a rope around your children and then onto yourself and pull them from your house, it makes you realize that it doesn’t matter if your house burned or had water damage – it matters that everyone you love is still with you,” Ariola said. was getting food from everywhere.” For 10 days, Buonpastore didn’t sleep. Instead, she cooked, she hugged neighbors, she put together relief packages filled with everything from diaper wipes to food or shoes, which were then often dropped off at people’s houses by Meals on Wheels drivers. She set up tables around the room “like a supermarket” and people would “go down the aisles” to pick up things they needed: Coats, blankets, food, coffee. “We were doing tons and tons of wash for people – people were giving us money to put on our laundry cards so we could do people’s laundry for them,” Buonpastore said. “My super, my porter, my secretaries – people who had lost everything – were putting money on cards for others.” Elected officials often came to lend a hand. “[Councilman] Eric Ulrich was here every day,” she said. “He gave me money for laundry. Phil Goldfeder, who lost everything, he came almost every other day. Mike Miller brought us stuff.” Despite all the devastation and loss, Buonpastore said that from that darkness she began to see the best of people – how residents who no longer had places to call home wanted to give so much to others in need of help. “It restored my faith in my humanity,” she said. Now, a year later, Buonpastore said she hopes that people will not forget the importance of lending a hand – of giving even when it seems there’s nothing to give. “I want people to remember that it only takes a second for a life to change,” she said. “Always say I love you, always say, with a smile, have a nice day, have compassion for each other, just be human,” she said.
In Sandy’s Wake, Ulrich Battles for Constituents Fights government red tape, skyrocketing insurance costs
By Kerry Goleski Councilman Eric Ulrich’s constituency is comprised of areas hit hard by Hurricane Sandy, and he had to take immediate action when the storm hit - with even more vigor than expected. “No one could have foreseen the devastation that was cause,” said Ulrich (R-Ozone Park). The year prior to last October’s hurricane that wreaked havoc along the eastern seabord, residents were told to evacuate for Hurricane Irene. When they did and nothing happened, they began to take the evacuation warnings less seriously. “People really took it for granted,” Ulrich said and added that he knew the storm would be severe but did not realize it would cause as much harm and damage as it did. The day of the storm Ulrich found himself taking an active role in securing the safety of his residents. During Sandy, he drove around the district - which includes much of South Queens and parts of Rockaway - but found it incredibly difficult to get around because felled trees and downed wires littered the area. Broken by the winds that easily reached 100 miles per hour, electrical wires were everywhere - and one Richmond Hill woman, 23-year-old Lauren Abraham, died after being electrocuted
Councilman Eric Ulrich, center, works in February with the Doe Fund to help restore the stretch of roadway between Broad Channel and Howard Beach, which includes the Jamaica Bay Wildlife Refuge.
by a live wire just outside her home. As he drove around his Queens neighborhoods, Ulrich used a megaphone to urge people not to leave their homes because of the threat of electrocution. Some people were on their balconies getting ready to jump down to evacuate their houses but he informed them that they should stay inside. “It was just a very surreal experience,” the councilman said of the day of the storm. In the days and weeks after the storm, Ulrich spent his time providing people with comfort, food, and clothing, helping those who had
lost everything find shelter and giving them peace of mind. “My office had supplies and blankets and cases of water and diapers piled high to the ceiling,” he said. The legislator and his staff got all of those supplies delivered to areas in need during the direct aftermath of the storm. His office had a working phone and electricity - which very few places in the surrounding area had - so it was used as a focal point for planning and delivering supplies.
During the rebuilding effort, Ulrich’s office has done everything from partnering with the Doe Fund to remove the mounds of debris that littered the roadway between Howard Beach and Broad Channel to helpingpeople get their building permits and streamlining the building process. They helped people make use of the city’s Rapid Repair program, meant to help restore certain vital household needs immediately after the storm. “We made sure people had heat hot water and electric,” the legislator said. Now his office is helping people sign up for the city’s Build It Back program so they can reconstruct homes - which many people had not been able to afford to do in the year following the storm. His biggest concern at the moment is the Biggert-Waters Flood Insurance Act, which alters the way flood insurance is calculated. He said it will cause residents in his district to have much higher premiums - so much higher they may not be able to afford the insurance or to live in their homes. He called upon the U.S. Congress to amend the act. “So many of my friends and constituents were heartbroken and some of them homeless,” Ulrich said. “I pledged to them that I would do everything I can to get back on their feet.”
From Food Giveaways to Rebuilding, Goldfeder Sets Sights on District Returning to Normal By Kerry Goleski Assemblyman Phil Goldfeder’s tenacity, courage and resourcefulness were put to the test when Hurricane Sandy hit his district, made up of Ozone Park, Howard Beach, Lindenwood, Broad Channel and the Rockaways. The storm impacted nearly 85% of the people residing within those areas. In the wake of the storm, Goldfeder (DRockaway Park) was not only picking up the pieces for his citizens but for his own family, whose home in Far Rockaway was flooded and destroyed during Sandy. In preparation for the storm, barricades in sensitive areas were put in place in his district. “All of my district is surrounded by water so were doing everything we could to prepare,” he said. They front-loaded the beaches with sand bags and barricaded what they could. On the Sunday night of the storm, all of the protection was whipped away, leaving Goldfeder’s district vulnerable to the damage that happened Monday night. Goldfeder and his family had decided his wife and two small children should evacuate but he would stay in his home in Far Rockaway in order to access the people in his district. “I was telling people to evacuate but not evacuating myself,” Goldfeder said, stressing how concerned he was to leave someone behind. When the storm started, the legislator checked his garage for water seepage and noticed a few inches coming in, so he went upstairs to pack a quick bag to leave and when he
Assemblyman Phil Goldfeder, at podium, joined civic leaders and homeowners to urge Mayor Bloomberg to restore the rapidly decaying Jamaica Bay seawall.
got back downstairs four and a half feet of water had rushed into his home. That night he went to the police precinct and slept where he would be sleeping for the next week. The next morning, Goldfeder attempted to process the chaos left in Sandy’s wake - and felt completely helpless. “I was a newly elected official whose own house was destroyed, so I sat in my car not knowing what to do,” he said. Then, instinct kicked in for Goldfeder. He drove down each block and surveyed the situation in each neighborhood. He asked individuals in the area what they needed and who needed help. He assessed the situation one neighborhood at time.
Once he could assess the needs of each area, responses from other districts was phenomenal. He said he posted on Twitter that Hamilton Beach needed food, and by that night there was a massive set-up giving away food. In the two months after the storm Goldfeder spent his time fixing one problem at a time. “After the storm, I probably saw my kids four times in two months,” he said. He attributes the success of his family’s swift recovery to the wherewithal and ingenuity of his wife. Goldfeder continues to work on recovery in his district - and no doubt will for a long time to come. From working with residents to access funding to begin fixing their homes to urging Gov. Cuomo to streamline the process need-
ed to help Breezy Point residents rebuild the homes that had been completely destroyed by a fire during the storm, the legislator is attempting to do something nobody before Sandy thought they would have to do: Start over. “Every day in the past year we have a new problem,” Goldfeder said. “Every areas has a different problem with a different solution,” the legislator added. In Sandy's wake, Goldfeder too has worked on not only restoring the area to what it once was - but is partnering with other elected officials and civic leaders to assess what can be done to prevent such damage from a storm from happening again. For example, Goldfeder - as well as numerous Rockaway residents - have called on Mayor Bloomberg to direct personnel to conduct repairs to the Jamaica Bay seawall, which runs along the northern side of the Rockaway Peninsula. The wall - also known as a bulkhead - serves as a barrier for homes against storms and rising sea levels, and Goldfeder said that it took such a beating in Sandy that it is on the verge of collapse. No matter the red tape hurdles he must jump or the banks he must fight to work on homes foreclosed after being abandoned by residents following the hurricane, Goldfeder said he will not rest until every person who has been affected has his or her life back to normal. A lifelong Queens resident, the legislator has long known the crucial roles neighbors plays in one another’s lives - and, with Sandy, that importance of community was a saving grace. “It was literally families helping families and neighbors,” Goldfeder said. SANDY - LOOKING BACK | October 2013
For Miller And His Staff, Heeding Neighbors' Calls For Help By Kerry Goleski Assemblyman Mike Miller (D-Woodhaven) and his district in central Queens were not affected directly by Hurricane Sandy but he became the closest and most immediate assistance for nearby neighborhoods in need during the storm. He and his district helped by providing space, collecting necessary donations for Sandy victims and sending firsthand help to those who needed it. Miller’s district includes Ridgewood, Woodhaven, Richmond Hill, Ozone Park and Glendale while Miller himself resides in Glendale. Still, while residents in his district were spared, Miller and many other volunteers immediately began helping with relief efforts once they heard of the devastation that had happened just miles from them. When Hurricane Sandy first hit Queens, Miller opened his office in Woodhaven up to
places across the Rockaway peninsula and much of South Queens, been wiped out by storm. Goldfeder’s staff worked out of Miller’s office for at least two months, while their office was out of commission. Miller said that they were fielding calls for Goldfeder’s office and helping out wherever and whenever they could in Goldfeder’s district, which includes some of the neighborhoods hit hardest by the storm that left parts of Queens looking like a war zone - including Rockaway, Broad Channel, and Howard Beach. On top of that, they set up a system where citizens from Miller’s district could donate supplies. The store next to his office became the storage center filled with crucial supplies for those affected by Sandy to the south. “We collected supplies from our citizens and we had overwhelming support,” Miller said. Assemblyman Mike Miller Once the store filled up, the Glendale CivilAssemblyman Phil Goldfeder (D-Rockaway ian Observation Patrol transported the supplies Park) and his staff because their office had, like down to Howard Beach and the Rockaways.
During the gas crisis, members of his district collected such supplies as water, flashlights, batteries and food and then drove those supplies to the affected area in southern queens, despite the inaccessibility due to a shortage of fuel and they used their own funds to service the trip. Miller’s district had the Glendale Volunteer Ambulance Corps collect emergency supplies from their district so the ambulances and fire companies could use those supplies for districts in need. “We also had a couple of ladies from Jackson Heights who came down with food,” said Miller, who added that such efforts were not only a necessity but boosted morale amongst those affected by the storm. “The immediate need was food, water and toiletries and our district did great,” Miller said. As of now, a year later, there is still work to be done, and if Miller’s office gets an inquiry for help with continued relief effort, they are on top of the request.
Working to Get People Back on Their Feet, Addabbo’s Office Lends Hand
State Sen. Joe Addabbo Jr.
By Kerry Goleski State Sen. Joseph Addabbo Jr.’s district encompasses an area in Queens destroyed by Hurricane Sandy and another area that went almost untouched by the storm, so he had the unique ability to peer into the lives of those devastated by the storm and those helping out from nearby. Addabbo’s district contains Broad Channel, Elmhurst, Forest Hills, Glendale, Hamilton Beach, Howard Beach, Kew Gardens, Kew Gardens Hills, Maspeth, Middle Village, Ozone Park, Rego Park, Richmond Hill, Ridgewood, South Ozone Park, Woodhaven, Woodside and the Rockaways. “North of Howard Beach you were in a different world,” Addabbo said. The legislator spent much of his time orchestrating donations and volunteers between the citizens of the northern and southern parts of his district. He would ask people in places like Middle Village and Ridgewood to bring down SANDY - LOOKING BACK | October 2013
certain items for the people of neighborhoods like Howard Beach and Hamilton Beach. “It was amazing how people stepped across the line to help,” Addabbo said. His own home in Tudor Village had a little damage and his main district office was wiped away but Addabbo said that he could not even begin to talk about either of those personal tragedies because there were other people who were so much more severely hit. There were deaths in his district, including a family that watched their mother die in Rockaway. There were people who lost all of their belongings. “You can replace a living room, you can replace a kitchen” but some of what was lost is irreplaceable, he said. Addabbo said he and his staff went door-todoor in Hamilton Beach and Howard Beach assessing people’s needs. What he found out was Richard York/The Forum Newsgroup people needed accurate information, food and After Hurricane Sandy, Addabbo's staff worked around the clock to get supplies to people in need. supplies. His office became a drop off point for donations. His staff would take shifts covering the drop-off center because they needed someone at the site at all times to receive the supplies. He said there were so many supplies dropped off there that “it looked like a Target exploded.” People were being very generous with their time and money. District Office District Office Now, he remains involved in Hurricane 159-53 102nd Street 214 Beach 96th Street Sandy recovery. Howard Beach, NY 11414 Rockaway Beach, NY 11693 “We are still trying to get people and busiPhone: (718) 738-1111 Phone: (718) 945-9550 nesses back on their feet; we are making sure Fax: (718) 322-5760 Fax: (718) 945-9549 people get back on their feet,” Addabbo said. Now he and his district are more prepared for the next storm. They look at the storm season differently, now going into it prepared for a District Office District Office storm to come at anytime. 93-06 101st Avenue 83-91 Woodhaven Boulevard “We live our lives differently both as an inOzone Park, NY 11416 Woodhaven, NY 11421 dividual and as a government,” Addabbo said. Phone: (718) 738-1083 Phone: (718) 805-0950 “Superstorm Sandy was a game-changer and Fax: (718) 805-0953 Fax: (718) 738-1918 life-changer.”
How To Reach . Our Elected Officials
Joseph Addabbo Phillip Goldfeder
Here today and gone tomorrow, Super Storm Sandy has left us hollow. Many lost pieces to our puzzle; Hearts broken and tears have followed. Yet, we shall rebuild again. Let’s not forget-We are
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SANDY - LOOKING BACK | October 2013
One year later and Howard Beach is still rebuilding - together better than ever! Kudos to Pat Adams and the Forum Newsgroup on reporting for our neighborhood through good times and in times of difficulty. Your hard work is appreciated! - Frances O. Scarantino and all of us at Reach For The STARS! Programs For Children Family Day Care • 1st Step Program • After School Program Weekend Enrichment Programs • Summer Program 718-845-1429 www.ReachForTheStarsDayCare.com
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We Salute You Pat Adams Your coverage of Super Storm Sandy, and its devastating effects upon us all, was outstanding. The photo that saw you sitting amongst a pile of debris which was actually the contents of the office of The Forum, struck a chord that we all related to immediately. Your constant output of information and guidance had a calming effect during a very tumultuous time. The fact that you continued to put the paper out each and every week while personally dealing with the catastrophic impact the storm caused to your home, family and business is a testament to your character and integrity. You are truly a beacon of hope and we are proud to have you as our dear friend.
With Love, The SanPhillipo, Napolitano, Milidantri and Schwartz families SANDY - LOOKING BACK | October 2013
The Faulisi Family and the staff at All Boro Mason Supply would like to extend their heartfelt thanks and appreciation to Pat Adams who was able to put her own losses aside and was instrumental in keeping the Howard Beach community informed as well as bolstering everyoneâ€™s spirits during this devastating event. We would like to take this opportunity on the one year anniversary of hurricane Sandy and the 40th Anniversary of the Forum to recognize her years of service and dedication to not only The Forum but to the community as a whole. We are proud to call her our friend! All Boro Mason Supply 101-42 99th Street Ozone Park, NY 11416 718-805-2100
SANDY - LOOKING BACK | October 2013
City Grapples With How To Protect Vulnerable Coastline
City officials and legislators are now attempting to address how to protect communities like Broad Channel, Howard Beach and the Rockaways from the widespread flooding that occurred during Sandy.
By Anna Gustafson In Howard Beach, it was 9:23 p.m. on Oct. 29, 2012. Broad Channel? 9:18 p.m. These are the times that the storm surge peaked in each neighborhood during Sandy, rushing in 11.2 feet of water in Howard Beach and 10.4 feet in Broad Channel. Pouring in with a power almost no one expected, the flooding left in its wake row after row of uninhabitable homes, un-
recognizable coast lines, and devastated residents who saw their lives completely changed within a matter of hours. In communities throughout the city, many were experiencing similar scenarios - as in South Queens and Rockaway, residents in Staten Island, South Brooklyn and lower Manhattan were witnessing a world no one had seen before in the city - a place where boardwalks vanished, entire sections of the city went dark,
Richard York/The Forum Newsgroup
Waves dramatically crash against the shore as the storm wreaked havoc on the city.
and heat didnâ€™t return for months. It was a place to where no one wants to return - which begs the question now being asked countless times in the wake of the storm: How do we make that happen? With 520 miles of waterfront, numerous scientists, elected officials and civic leaders have stressed how vulnerable so much of the city is to flooding. The federal government has named parts of South Queens and Rockaway
as running the highest risk of tidal flooding. Mayor Bloomberg and his administration released a report in June that vigorously details a wide variety of plans - both immediate and future - to prevent flooding in the future, including building bulkheads in Jamaica Bay and adding sand to area beaches. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers is replacing the approximate 1.5 million cubic yards of sand lost
in the Rockaways during Sandy with 3.5 million cubic yards. Sand-filled bags have been installed to reinforce Rockaway dunes. Additionally, a 1.3 mile-long concrete barrier has been constructed from Beach 126th to Beach 149th streets in the Rockaways in an attempt to protect the area from future storm surges. And, Bloomberg and U.S. Secretary of the Interior Sally Jewell recently announced that Jamaica Bay is becoming a testing ground for how to best mitigate the effects of storms and rising sea levels. The Jamaica Bay Science and Resilience Institute will be home to an ambitious team of scientists from the City University New York, as well as other leading scholars, who will integrate research from across the natural and social sciences and draw upon the studies of climate science, engineering, and sustainability to create a program to revitalize and restore Jamaica Bay. The institute, which kicked off its work with a conference on climate change in mid-October, will research urban ecoystems, including such topics as sand dune engineering and oyster farming, to mitigate flooding. Officials said the lesson learned at Jamaica Bay could then be replicated across the country.
The Rockaway coastline was devastated by flooding during Sandy.
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In Sandy's Wake, Assessing Health Care Needs By Anna Gustafson By Anna Gustafson For hospitals throughout the city, Hurricane Sandy brought daunting challenges - there were significantly overcrowded conditions at St. John’s Episcopal in the Rockaways, the peninsula’s only hospital that already faced long wait times following the closure of Peninsula Hospital last year; parts of Manhattan’s Bellevue Hospital Center rapidly filled with water and the country’s oldest public hospital lost generator power; and nurses at NYU Langone Medical Center heroically evacuated the facility’s tiniest patients by carrying babies down long flights of stairs. In Queens, the storm raised the question of what it means for a community in dire circumstances akin to Sandy to have just one hospital. Elected officials, including Assemblyman Phil Goldfeder (D-Rockaway Park), civic leaders and hospital staff have, over the past year, voiced a wide range of concerns about St. John’s being the sole hospital on the peninsula, often citing worries that should St. John’s, which is facing financial woes, close, Rockaway residents could be trapped with no hospital should a storm like Sandy happen again. During Sandy, bridges to the Rockaways were inaccessible what, residents asked, would have happened if St. John’s was not available to them? Goldfeder recently called on Gov. Cuomo to allocate a portion of Sandy relief funds for St.
Photos Courtesy Doctors Without Borders/Michael Goldfarb
Assemblyman Goldfeder speaks with a number of Howard Beach residents at a recent meeting of the Howard Beach chapter of New York Rising about a variety of concerns they have following Sandy. In addition to insurance costs, residents said they worried about access to health care during disasters.
John’s. “In the aftermath of Superstorm Sandy, St. John’s Hospital’s services were crucial for our community, and they continue to be an essential resource for our families,” Goldfeder said in a prepared statement. Kevin Finnegan, political director for 1199SEIU, too advocated for additional funding to be designated for St. John’s. “These resources can help support a vital healthcare institution in a community still reeling from the storm,” Finnegan said in a prepared statement. Almost immediately after the worst of Sandy passed, St. John’s issued a statement saying it
was operating at “full capacity, meeting patient needs under challenging conditions.” “Staff continues to work, despite personal losses of homes, cars, electricity, transportation, and fuel, demonstrating incredible commitment and dedication,” the hospital said on its website. In an attempt to fill the vacuum of health care services, the nonprofit group Doctors Without Borders began working in Rockaway alongside area community groups. A team of two doctors, a nurse-practitioner, a mental health specialist, a nurse, and logistical staff established a temporary clinic in a community room in an Arverne housing complex immediately after the storm
Sandy Prompts Residents To Demand Better Transportation
A Doctors Without Borders physician examines patients in a makeshift medical clinic in a building at the Ocean Village housing complex in Arverne, Rockaway days after Sandy hit.
and treated patients with such conditions as hypertension, asthma and congestive heart failure. Other South Queens residents have voiced concerns about not only St. John’s - but about limited access to health care facilities in general during Sandy. “If people need to get to the hospital because their power has gone out and they rely on that for medical treatment, what happens?” asked Howard Beach resident Valerie Messana at a recent meeting of the Howard Beach chapter of New York Rising. “You couldn’t drive anywhere during Sandy; there was no power - these are questions people need to answer.” transportation - they’re fed up with the lack of listening,” McManus said in a previous interview. Fed up with two-hour commutes from Rockaway to Manhattan and buses that are consistently overcrowded or late, McManus and members of his group have been fighting to get the Rockaway Rail Beach Line reactivated, following decades of dormancy. While McManus has the backing of a number of elected officials, including Goldfeder and U.S. Rep. Hakeem Jeffries (D-Queens, Brooklyn), others don’t want to see the line the reactivated and instead want a portion of the abandoned rail to become a greenway - something akin to Manhattan’s High Line. Another major issue residents said the city needs to address before another major disaster is the fuel shortage that plagued the area following Sandy. Critics said the city hasn’t sufficiently addressed its 56 waterside fuel terminals - according to public transit advocates, just three have had their infrastructure sufficiently fortified.
lion. While the A train was out of commission, the mayor reimplemented the ferry service taking residents from the peninsula to lower Manhattan, and back - which residents have long argued should be permanent. Elected officials, including Assemblyman Phil Goldfeder (D-Rockaway Park) and Councilman Eric Ulrich (R-Ozone Park) have called on the next mayor to make the ferry service a permanent one for Rockaway residents who say they have long been the stepchild of the city’s public transportation system. Because of the transportation woes faced during, and after, Sandy, Rockaway residents began to advocate for better services. Phil McManus, a Rockaway resident, formed the Queens Residents faced long lines to fill up on fuel following Sandy. Fuel shortages rendered many people unable to drive their Public Transit Committee, a group that advocate cars - even if they had one. for better subway and bus service throughout the borough. tation system needs to happen, residents said. By Anna Gustafson “The hurricane is a major reason why people According to transportation officials, the The A-train? Shut down. in Rockaway are more active now about public Joseph P. Addabbo Memorial Bridge? city’s transportation system sustained a $5 billion hit during Sandy - and, a year later, critics Couldn’t take it. Cross Bay Bridge? Again, no. Even if residents wanted to get somewhere are saying too little has been done to protect the immediately after Hurricane Sandy, it was almost tunnels and subway systems that were rocked by impossible. Subways were flooded; roads were flooding. Government officials have announced a blocked by massive piles of debris; intimidating firearm-wielding members of the National Guard number of plans they hope will help prevent water damage in portions of the transit infrastrucmade sure no one traversed bridges. It was, of course, all happening out of con- ture, including Gov. Cuomo detailing this spring cerns for residents’ safety - and for good reason, a long-term proposal to flood-proof the city’s enbut the widespread shutdown of transportation tire subway system. Cuomo’s plan is far-ranging and includes throughout the city has since raised serious questions about flood mitigation in the city’s trans- better protecting low-lying stations and moving portation system. And, residents’ inability to take equipment to higher ground. While Queens residents were able to soon acthe A-train following the hurricane, and the increasingly overcrowded buses, made it abundant- cess the Addabbo and Cross Bay bridges after the Richard York/The Forum Newsgroup ly clear to many in South Queens and Rockaway storm, the A train wasn’t restored until months After Sandy destroyed countless cars, many Rockaway and South Queens residents were faced with taking extremely that some kind of overhaul of the public transpor- following the hurricane - to the tune of $650 mil- limited public transportation.
SANDY - LOOKING BACK | October 2013
A Year Later, Sandy Exposes Flood Insurance Program in Desperate Need o f Reform
Richard York/The Forum Newsgroup
Many residents have been unable to return home – or couldn’t for months – in part because of battles with insurance companies over reimbursements for damage sustained from widespread flooding.
By Alan Krawitz As the one year anniversary of Hurricane Sandy rapidly approaches, many are taking yet another look at the storm’s chaos and the myriad of unresolved issues it left in its wake. For many city and Queens residents alike, the word “insurance,” became synonymous with an expletive rather than a protective or compensatory measure, as the dictionary so states. At the heart of many city residents’ problems with insurers has been a combination of denials and partial denials of claims as well as compensation that is insufficient to rebuild lost homes and businesses. In the aftermath of Sandy, which cost New York roughly $18 billion in losses, the media was rife with stories of homeowners who couldn’t afford to either make repairs or rebuild due to inadequate flood insurance reimbursements. Dan Mundy Jr., a longtime Broad Channel resident and environmental activist, said that
Photos Courtesy Sophia Vailakis-DeVirgilio
Sophia Vailakis-DeVirgilio’s Broad Channel home was devastated in Hurricane Sandy.
right after the storm was when insurance companies were at their worst when it came to disbursing needed funds quickly. Asked about what residents went through in trying to get those funds, Mundy said, without hesitation, “It was a nightmare…and that goes for every single Rockaway resident who was affected by storm damage.” Mundy said the insurance problems persisted until some local elected officials stepped in to help. Moreover, the insurance mess created by Sandy is about to get even messier as the Biggert-Waters Reform Act seeks to right the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP), managed by FEMA, by charging premiums based on actual flood risks. FEMA’s website says that the reform act will cause “some but not all” policyholders to see increases in their flood insurance rates over time. A recent rally in Broad Channel protesting the proposed changes in flood insurance rates drew hundreds of homeowners, activists and politicians. Mundy Jr. has long held that if the Biggert-Waters Act isn’t amended by lawmakers, it will have a profound and negative impact on coastal communities throughout the city as well as across the nation. “Flood insurance premiums are already rising and will be going even higher,” Mundy said. “It will affect a homeowner’s ability to stay in the area and also their ability to sell if they want to leave.” He adds that the flood maps are unfairly being redrawn based upon Sandy, which was widely acknowledged to be a “once in a lifetime” storm. Through a spokesperson, state assemblyman Phil Goldfeder, who represents the Rockaways, said that the biggest hurtle after Sandy has been the Biggert-Waters Act, which will have a detrimental impact on coastal communities in need of flood insurance if it is not amended in Washington. “We must act immediately to reduce impending insurance rates which could harm homeowners with more than 2000% increases and destroy our communities that have worked tirelessly for the last year to rebuild,” Goldfeder said in an emailed statement. “There are unintended consequences that must be corrected in the Biggert-Waters Flood Insurance Reform Act to ensure our families and businesses survive and continue to recover,” he continued. He warned that the changes to the NFIP would not only devastate the area’s economy and small businesses, but will also prevent new buyers from investing in the community.
Many in Broad Channel felt as though they had been forgotten in the wake of Hurricane Sandy. Numerous residents in the neighborhood still haven’t been able to move back into their homes because they haven’t been able to get the necessary funding from insurance companies and the government.
For Broad Channel resident Sophia VailakisDeVirgilio, her Hurricane Sandy nightmare has yet to end. While the majority of affected Sandy residents have since returned to their homes, there are still some, like Vailakis-DeVirgilio and her family of four, who are still not back in their homes due to a variety of reasons from battles with insurance companies and engineers to crooked contractors. “So where’s the help for Sandy victims?” Vailakis-DeVirgilio asked, in an email. “We had insurance to protect us, yet it was so woefully inadequate once we really needed it that we now find ourselves draining retirement monies and far deeper in debt then when our biggest problem was that our house was ‘up-side-down’ with our first mortgage because of the bursting of the housing bubble.” She wrote that her family is still living with neighbors in Brooklyn while battling a large insurance company for flood insurance reimbursement payments as well as dealing with a string of serious illnesses that hit her husband within the last year. “I can only pray to God that we will be experiencing the second part of the Book of Job where we’ll see considerably more favor from the heavens… that we are back in the comfort of our own home and no longer imposing and relying on the kindness of neighbors.” While there are no easy answers to the vexing issue of flood insurance in vulnerable coastal areas such as New York, efforts at reform are being investigated.
A recent city report issued this past June and titled “A Stronger, More Resilient New York,” detailed approaches to improve the NFIP apart from the controversial Biggert-Waters legislation. In the report, the City said it will propose a series of reforms to the NFIP to encourage flood mitigation by offering commensurately lower premiums to those who obtain flood insurance; create lower-cost flood insurance products for those who are vulnerable to flooding but are not required to obtain insurance and advocate for the creation of premium assistance measures to help low-income New Yorkers afford flood insurance. Separately, a recent editorial in the Rockaway Wave Newspaper urged Assemblyman Goldfeder to move forward with a plan to explore a New York or tri-state regional association that could tailor flood insurance to fit homeowners in the area. Other suggested systemic fixes would include allowing higher deductibles, charging homeowners more for filing multiple claims and raising the ceiling on flood insurance from its current federal level of $250,000 to a limit that is more in line with the New York Metro area, where home prices can easily go for two, three or four times that amount. Goldfeder’s spokesperson said that taking the insurance issue “out of the feds hands and into the states,” would yield more control. Reflecting on the storm’s anniversary, Mundy was cautiously optimistic. “It’s a year later and people are recovering,” he said, “but we need to remind the bureaucrats in Washington that we still need help.”
Sophia Vailakis-DeVirgilio and her family are still not back in their Broad Channel home because of battles with insurance companies and engineers to crooked contractors.
SANDY - LOOKING BACK | October 2013
Queens Borough President
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SANDY - LOOKING BACK | October 2013
From The Pain of Sandy, The Strength and Resiliency of Community
About 200 people marked the one-year anniversary of Sandy with a candlelit vigil at St. Helen's Tuesday evening
Residents who attended the candlelit vigil said they wanted to mark the oneyear anniversary with Sandy with the people who had helped them the most during, and after, the storm: Their neighbors.
By Anna Gustafson Standing shoulder to shoulder, cupping candle flames flickering in one of the colder nights this year, a couple hundred residents began to sing, their voices traveling through the space that, exactly one year ago, was filled with the water and wind that, in a few devastating hours, changed so many lives. “Through many dangers, toils and snares I have already come,” they sang, some wiping away tears as others hugged one another at the interfaith candlelit vigil commemorating the one-year anniversary of Hurricane Sandy at St. Helen’s Tuesday night. “‘Tis grace that brought me safe thus far, and grace will lead me home.” As their voices trailed off and “Amazing Grace” came to an end, mothers hugged daughters, friends clasped hands, elderly spouses found chairs for one another. It was a moment emblematic of an evening of reflecting on a year like no other - of remembering the pain, of the night everything changed, of losing homes and heat and electricity and so much that could never be captured in a sentence alone. And it was a moment of strength - of recognizing that you are
While residents said the last year has been one of the most painful periods of their lives, they stressed it was also a time that proved how strong and resilient the community is.
still here, surrounded by those you love in a place that has been, and always will be, that four letter word that means so much: Home. “Grace allowed us to go beyond ourselves,” Rev. Anthony Rucando, of Our Lady of Grace Church, said at the vigil that drew a couple hundred people and religious leaders of all walks of life. “It allowed us to be a witness to others’ needs.” It was that message that was repeated time and again during Tuesday’s program - one that emphasized that residents who lost nearly everything so often asked not what they could do for themselves, but how they could help their neighbors. “That night, the most beautiful thing to see was how we all came together,” said Rockwood Park Jewish Center Cantor Shuey Samuels. “... No water can separate us, no natural disaster can break our spirit.” For those who spoke - and attended - the importance of faith was brought up time and again, with residents stressing how crucial faith has always been in their lives - and what an important role it continued to play as they dealt with sorting through shells of houses, battling insurance companies, and fighting the federal government
Anna Gustafson/The Forum Newsgroup
Close to a couple hundred people attended the vigil at St. Helen's.
for funds that should have come their way. “God used the storm as a great test of your faith and mine,” said Howard Beach Assembly of God Pastor Stephen Roser. “Faith that is tested is a stronger faith.” Donna Crockett, a Howard Beach resident who was instrumental in putting together the relief center that operated out of St. Helen’s Father Dooley Hall immediately after Sandy, spoke of a community that immediately rallied following the storm. It was inspiring, she said, to see how people jumped to help without being asked. Ragtime, for example, supplied meals for those seeking food and shelter at Dooley Hall, and Lindenwood’s Tuscany Deli and Gino’s Pizzeria in Howard Beach too consistently helped out in the aftermath of the storm. “In the midst of this destruction, we found signs of hope,” Crockett said. “Walking the road with you in the days of Sandy have provided countless grace-filled moments,” she continued. Assistant Pastor Yvonne Rankine, of the World Harvest Deliverance Center in Far Rockaway, gave an impassioned speech at the vigil that too stressed how, in our darkest days, it is the love
we show for one another that breaks down the bad - that breaks down the cold and the fear and the anger. “We have seen our vulnerability, and we have seen our strength we didn’t know we have,” she said. In the end, after the battles with insurance companies and the government reside, after the houses start to go back up, after the water marks are gone - it is community that remains, those at the vigil said. And, residents said, those seen in the grocery store, on the street, in cars - those are the people who, after life seemed to go dark in an instant, will continue to be there should a neighbor need them. “I remember the fellowship hall at St. Helen’s and how chaotic it was,” said Joseph McKellar, executive director at Faith in New York. “I remember your pastor, Msgr. [Alfred] LoPinto on the phone with FEMA demanding that the people of Howard Beach get help. “As a city, we’ve been told we need to become more resilient to future storms...but resiliency is about more than storm walls and sea barriers,” he continued. “Resiliency is about people; it’s about community.”
Hands Clasped Together, A Community Says Goodbye to Sandy By Kate Bubacz Oct. 27, 2013 was the perfect example of what is not a hurricane. Instead of windwhipped clouds scuttling across the bay, the bright blue skies were broken only by birdsong. Instead of ominous warnings from public officials, the only official intonations that could be heard Charles Park in Howard Beach were the calls of baseball referees overseeing the Sunday morning games. The only thing threatening the crisp fall day was cliché; the biggest complaint was the chill in the air as about 30 neighbors in Howard Beach gathered in solidarity to reflect on Superstorm Sandy, which hit the area one year ago. Julie Fazio, the owner of Howard Beach’s Fazio Dance Center, had seen that other beachfront communities along the eastern seaboard were gathering to hold hands and face the sea that had not managed to wash them away and wanted to organize a similar event in Howard Beach.
by the bay. Everyone knew someone whose home had flooded, everyone had helped haul out ruined belongings and sodden insulation and everyone had helped put back up sheetrock and signs. Lessons were learned about flood zones and the Federal Emergency Management Agency and bureaucratic red tape. “It’s been such a hard year, but you saw the best of people. The community came together,” Fazio summarized. “I had a neighbor that I never talked to before, I don’t know why, but she made soup for everyone [after the storm], and went door to door. Now we have backyard parties,” said a woman attending the event added, declining to give her name. A little after 11 a.m., the crowd made its way to the flagpole at the park, overlooking the Robert Stridiron/The Forum Newsgroup bay that had wreaked such havoc on their lives. About 30 people gathered in Charles Park Sunday to reflect on Sandy - and to say goodbye to one of life's hardest years. At the request of Fazio, everyone gathered in a It was Fazio said said, meant “to have our Beach was well placed. The storm flooded the circle and held hands for 10 seconds of silence, moment of being grateful.” main thoroughfare, Cross Bay Boulevard, gut- raising their arms in unison. It was as much a The intention of the ceremony in Howard ting many of the area businesses and the houses moment of defiance as remembrance. THE FORUM NEWSGROUP • October 31, 2013 | 55
‘Let Us Not Go Through That Again’ West Hamilton Beach Volunteer Fire Dept. holds Sandy vigil
Kate Bubacz/The Forum Newsgroup
About 100 people gathered for a candlelit vigil at the West Hamilton Beach Volunteer Fire Department Monday night.
By Kate Bubacz “I want to thank everyone in uniform that helped us,” state Sen. Joe Addabbo, Jr. (D-Howard Beach) says to a crowd of about 100 people gathered in the parking lot of the West Hamilton Beach Volunteer Fire Department. To commemorate the first anniversary of Hurricane Sandy, and to thank everyone who was involved with the recovery, Addabbo and the Hamilton Beach Civic Association held a candlelit interfaith vigil Monday night. “Ordinary people on the 28th were extraordinary on the 29th,” the senator continued, in reference to how quickly events on Oct. 29, 2012 changed the town. The statement especially resonated for the volunteer firefighters.
WHBVFD Chief Jonah Cohen recalled the devastation of Sandy and discussed the crucial role his volunteers played in keeping residents safe during, and after, the storm.
“If we weren’t here, two people wouldn’t be,” Jonah Cohen, the chief of the volunteer firefighters, says when asked about his departments role in the storm. With a crew of 11 firefighters who were on duty during Sandy itself, they responded to over 20 calls. The final call of the night was the rescue of two women and two dogs from a one-story house that had four feet of water in it. At that point, there was little high ground left in the area, so the women were brought to the firehouse for the night. The firehouse itself was not spared the wrath of Sandy however. On Oct. 29, 2012, one ambulance and two fire trucks were ruined from the salt water, leaving the chief with only one spare ambulance that was working. “Even if we had moved the vehicles,
there’s no guarantee they would have survived,” Cohen says. “No one knew where the water was going to go.” Roger Gendron, of the Hamilton Beach Civic Association, recounts the morning after the storm, receiving a call from Addabbo, who asked what was needed for his town. “I responded with a rambling list,” Gendron says. “And Joe said, ‘One step at a time.’” Step by step, the neighborhood was put back together. Fire equipment was sent from Mississippi, Georgia and Pennsylvania. The firehouse was set up as a central supply center for the neighborhood, distributing food and cleaning supplies to anyone who needed it for the next three months. “It was great to see neighbor helping
During the storm, the firehouse was set up as a central supply center for the neighborhood.
neighbor,” Gendron says. Still, Addabbo acknowledges the fear and anger that still exist in the community, the frustration with the Federal Emergency Management Agency and insurance, and the constant recovery the toll that one year of stress has taken. He thanks the other local politicians, including Councilman Eric Ulrich (ROzone Park), who sent a representative. Gina Stetz, an area resident, is asked to speak about her experience in the storm. “I stayed with my father and mother, who refused to leave. The water came up, and I lay on the couch and said, ‘God, I’m ready’. I was peaceful as can be. Then my husband said ‘the water’s going down!’ and I said ‘Thank God, You didn’t want me yet.’”
Everyone laughs in appreciation, in relief that the damage was not worse. In the candlelight, Addabbo asks everyone to take a moment of silence for Rose Faggiano, the only known death in Howard Beach from Hurricane Sandy. She was discovered in her home, where she apparently drowned during the storm. The moment is concluded with a prayer and “God Bless America”. The spell of the vigil breaks as candles are collected and exchanged for cookies and coffee. Kids begin running around the parking lot and adults catch up with neighbors in the well-lit but empty fire hall. When asked about any closing remarks about the storm, Cohen is succinct in his message: “Let us not go through that again.”
After the Rush of Water, A Resolve to Rebuild for Fazio Dance Center By Kate Bubacz “Like a phantom, it just came in, wild, and left,” Juliana Fazio says of the water that re-arranged Fazio Dance Center during Superstorm Sandy. She, like so many others in the area, had been caught off guard by the amount of water that surged up from the bay and crossed Cross Bay Boulevard during the storm that devastated much of South Queens. The windows to Fazio Dance Center had blown out from the force of the water; the front desk was gone; the mirrors had to be taken out. The floorboards were a jumbled mess of pieces among the slick of mud covering the ground. No preparations had been made for the small studio. “No one said to do anything as far as being prepared for a catastrophe in Howard Beach," Kate Bubacz/The Forum Newsgroup Fazio says. After Sandy destroyed Fazio Dance Center, owner Juliana Fazio did everything she could to reopen it - which she Fazio grew up in Howard Beach, and her managed to do just a month after the storm. mother still lives in the area. It was in her childhood home that she spent the storm, thinking powerful storm. Undeterred, Fazio set about re- to start teaching their young pupils the standard two dances that they typically performed in June, that it would be at most a three-day stay. That plan building her life from the floor up. She re-opened the studio a month after the despite missing a month of rehearsal. was shattered when the damage assessment was storm with only a dance floor and music so that It was a tall order, requiring costumes to be done the next morning. “I went from plan A to plan B to plan C,” she the children who had been displaced by Sandy fit and fliers to be ordered while working on the could have some sense of routine restored to their slow process of rebuilding. Nonetheless, on the says. first weekend in June the girls took to the stage Not only was the studio wiped out, Fazio’s lives. Not only that, she challenged her instructors in Broad Channel, itself a community that was rehome on Long Island had also been hit by the 56 | THE FORUM NEWSGROUP • October 31, 2013
building, to perform “Dancing Through the Year”. “Honestly, it was one of our best shows,” Fazio says proudly. “I was not going to let Sandy wipe out 43 years of dedication,” she says of the dance center that was first opened by her mother in 1970. Even now, some things are not where they used to be. The office still needs to be re-done, and the electronics damaged by the salt water have not been fully replaced. When asked if things are back to normal, Fazio points to a clothesline hanging on her office wall, ready to dry out any photographs or papers that might get wet. In a moment of reflection, she notes that one of the positive things of the storm was that it gave a reason to improve. “Like it or not, it’s going to be new,” she says. “Everything is new.” Even now, if another storm came across the bay and flooded the new floors, it wouldn’t be a question of rebuilding - the roots to the area are too deep. “I would never leave this neighborhood,” Fazio says, shaking her head to emphasize the point. “All the local businesses, we worked so hard to keep the businesses going. The people that support the businesses, they were under duress too. Everyone understands. It humbled us.”
A Breakfast For Champions Vetro’s host’s area first responders for breakfast, WPIX holds morning broadcast live By Patricia Adams Among many ceremonies and dedications throughout the city in remembrance of the one year anniversary of Hurricane Sandy, was a special morning event at Howard Beach’s Vetro Restaurant. General manager and sommelier P.J. Connelly, and owner Frank Russo Jr., invited First Responders to come down to the restaurant, beginning at 5:30 a.m., for a gourmet breakfast buffet to honor their lifesaving efforts and bravery during and in the aftermath of the storm. In addition to the breakfast, WPIX News 11 held their live show broadcast from the restaurant, interviewing many of the men and women from First Responder units especially those from the areas volunteer Fire and Ambulance Corps. “It’s a little easier to think about what happened that day while you’re eating Eggs Benedict,” said Chief of the West Hamilton Corps, Jonah Cohen. But the eggs did not negate memories for Cohen and the others about the fire trucks, ambulances and equipment that was ruined in the storm. Before 10 p.m. on the night of the storm, the West Hamilton Fire Department had already taken on at least 8 feet of water and nearby at the Broad Channel Fire Department, things were no different—the house was under water, the equipment was lost. But with no rigs and the rage of the storm Robert Stridiron/The Forum Newsgroup still in full swing, the local heroes went to Local first responders from West Hamilton Beach and Broad Channel Volunteer Fire and Ambulance Corps were work. Crews manned boats down flooded recognized for their life saving efforts during and in the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy.
streets, pulling people from their homes. They rigged makeshift pulleys to get down streets to make rescues. They walked through water with downed power lines sizzling and sparking around them. One of the things that really added an extraordinary dimension to the rescues according to Chief Cohen is that most of the members of the departments were not just First Responders; they too were victims of the storm. “But at the end of the day,” the Chief said, “we’re here having breakfast and we’re safe.” As the breakfast and broadcast came to an end, P.J. Connolly spoke to The Forum. “What a difference a year makes.” In reflecting on the day, he remembered the continuous flow of trucks unloading sand bags at Vetro, to try and protect the property—now instead, the parking lot was filled with news trucks set up for broadcast and ambulances that carried crews for breakfast, not an emergency. “We are so thankful for everything that these men and women did for us and for the community and so proud to recognize their bravery and heroism.” A year later, after completion of Vetro’s extensive renovations --$3.2 million dollars worth—the exclusive 5-star restaurant had its grand re-opening a little over a month ago and is back bigger and better than ever. At Vetro there remains no trace of an unwelcomed dinner guest named Sandy who stopped by with no reservations and left an astronomical tab behind.
What’s A Town Without A Diner? Beloved neighborhood haunt is back – bigger and better. Really. By Patricia Adams So what’s a neighborhood without a diner? Hungry— well that’s the obvious, but for Howard Beacher’s the loss of the Cross ay Diner was just another adjustment to what used to be everyday life. Not only the quintessential place to grab a burger or two eggs over easy, but a social “hub”, an exchange of neighborhood news. Now, 11 months after the storm, the view from inside the neighborhood eatery-icon is totally different. But it is more than the stylish new design and the imported floor tiles. It’s more than the new layout, the improved menu and the bolstered up service. It’s just “very different,” according to Mike Siderakis, now the sole proprietor of the establishment. You’ve called ahead and told him you’d like to talk about his businesses “trip back” for the papers tribute issue on Hurricane Sandy. He agrees and sets up the appointment. Still smiling and preoccupied by the conversation he had with two regulars across the floor while walking over to do the interview, he begins the conversation before he even sits down to join you at the table. “I love to get up and come to work in the morning,” he says and in less than 30 seconds into the conversation you believe it. The husband and father of three has been in the business since 1982 when he started working in his father’s place, Tastee Donuts on 23rd Street between Lexington and Park Avenue in the city. In 2001, Siderakis bought his first diner, the Cross Bay, and then another in 2004 in Nassau County
stares out across the floor when you ask him what it was like a year ago. He remembers when the water came, it took everything. The power surge began in the basement and spread upstairs shorting out registers, computers, cameras, refrigeration and alarms. “Like everyone else, our losses were devastating.” His thoughts never included not fixing up. “I never said if we go back. I just thought of how we were going to do it.” By all accounts, it took just under a month to get the debris removed and carted away. Then another three weeks for demolition. After that there were permit filings and finally the beginning of interior work in February. “It took about four months, once everything started.” The grand re-opening saw a capacity crowd welcomes back the neighborhood institution when it reopened on May 22nd. “I believe that out of bad things come good messages,” Siderakis says.”People have to believe that when they work and work together that we are all better for it.” Although the memory is not pleasant, it is something he believes everyone should remember and face. “Sometimes, it’s like it never happened. Like a bad Patricia Adams/The Forum Newsgroup dream. But we know it did happen and that we made it Mike Siderakis loves the time he spends chatting with customers - it's all a through a disaster. Together.” part of what he says makes him happy to go to work every day. "I fit here, and To Siderakis, there clearly doesn’t seem to be anything I love that." more important than that. And to his customers, well let’s which he sold in 2006. In 2010 he purchased the Park View just say they’re very happy they never have to find out what in Brooklyn, which he still owns and operates. life is like without a diner. The man who owns it says he But the return trip to a newly renovated Cross Bay for loves it here and he’s not going anyplace. Siderakis has not been like any of his other experiences. He THE FORUM NEWSGROUP • October 31, 2013 | 57
DINE-IN TAKE-OUT DELIVERY
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The Sauce 24 Homema de Sauces In cluding our famous sweet, spicy or hot sauce s
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58 | THE FORUM NEWSGROUP • October 31, 2013
forum Fun & Games ACROSS
1. Measured with a penny? 6. *Carrie Bradshaw and Mr. ___ hit silver screen in '08 9. "Ali ___ and the 40 Thieves" 13. Twilled woolen fabric 14. Australian flightless bird 15. _____ Mara in Africa 16. Like pre-Christian religion 17. Often measured on the dash 18. One born under Aries 19. *Lance's offense 21. *Influenza health scare 23. E in CE or BCE 24. Where the road splits 25. Scot's woolen cap 28. Walkie-talkie word 30. Saudi Arabia's neighbor 35. Color wheel elements 37. Seed covering 39. Native American fruit 40. In neutral 41. Reasoned judgement 43. Frost 44. *Segway user 46. Gilbert of "Roseanne" 47. Subway in U.K. 48. Crashed or slept 50. ____ Bell 52. Top engineering school 53. Detest 55. Make a scene 57. *U.S. enemy 61. *Kind of media 64. "El Capitan" composer 65. Pressure unit 67. Disconnected 69. Deadly snake of southeastern Asia 70. Reef dweller 71. Olive branch meaning 72. ___ _ good example 73. Backstabber 74. Mandarin's headquarters
DOWN 1. Cooking unit 2. *What people do on a Kindle 3. Therefore or consequently 4. Open-mouthed 5. *"Meet the Fockers" star 6. Titanic's cause of sinking 7. Mischief-maker 8. New Orleans restaurant staple 9. Shakespeare, e.g. 10. "In your dreams!" 11. Worshipped by ancient Semitic peoples 12. Hokkaido native 15. Price minus cost 20. Maryland Academy 22. Rub the wrong way 24. War vessel 25. *Current millennium, e.g. 26. *What an iPod delivers 27. Blends 29. Aphrodite's son 31. Result of kissing a frog 32. Celery, technically 33. Iambus, pl. 34. *Succinct public message 36. Witnesses 38. *Italy stopped using it in 2002 42. Chocolate source 45. Fix leftovers 49. *Prince William became one in 2013 51. *______ Wall Street 54. Common candle shape 56. Fungal skin infection 57. Requests 58. Paul Bunyan story, e.g. 59. Arabian tea 60. *Kim Jong-un's part of the world 61. Deposited by a river 62. Comic Sandler 63. Head vermin 66. Last word of "America, the Beautiful" 68. Bear cave
SOLUTIONS FROM LAST WEEK'S PUZZLE
TRIVIA 1. Where did Hurricane Mitch strike in 1998? 2. Which disaster took lace in Kobe, Japan in 1995?
3. Charles Rolls of Rolls Royce fame died in what type of vehicle?
4. In which country was the Titanic launched? Answers from Last Week: 1: Boston & Detroit. 2: Milwaukee Brewers. 3: The middle finger. 4: A curve ball. THE FORUM NEWSGROUP • October 31, 2013 | 59
We would like to congratulate The Forum on 40 successful years in business. Most importantly, our dear friend Patricia Adams, for all her hard word and support during Hurricane Sandy and throughout the year. Being affected herself, she lost the technology to publish her paper and still managed to publish The Forum two days later for the community to be informed with the latest updates about the neighborhood. She’s an amazing selfless person who puts the community and others before her own needs. On behalf of Ragtime and the Gurino Family, we would like to send much appreciation and love her way. – The Gurino Family & Ragtime staff Ragtime Gourmet Supermarket 157-48 Cross Bay Blvd. Howard Beach, NY 11414 718-845-4582 60 | THE FORUM NEWSGROUP • October 31, 2013
We've proved our resilience and have come back stronger than before to serve our customers better than ever! Congratulations to The Forum for your tremendous comeback and your 40 years of service to the community. –Angelo & family of Sapienza's Sapienza's Deli 164-26 Cross Bay Blvd. Howard Beach, NY 11414 718-323-4011
Bruno Rinaldi and the staff at Bruno Ristorante would like to congratulate Pat Adams and The Forum on 40 years of wonderful service to our community! Bruno Ristorante 158-22 Cross Bay Blvd. Howard Beach, NY 11414 718-322-7866 THE FORUM NEWSGROUP • October 31, 2013 | 61
Congratulations to our friend, Pat Adams. You are a major part of what makes the Lindenwood Alliance so effective. Thank you for believing in us from day one and continuing to believe in us throughout the years.
- Joann, Barbara, Cathy H., Renate, Cathy P. and Fran
Co-Chairs and Founding Members
On behalf of the board of directors and the members of the Ronald Reagan Republican Club, I would like to congratulate the communities of Howard Beach, Broad Channel and the Rockaway’s for their spirit and for standing strong. I would also like to thank The Forum and its publisher, Pat Adams, for always being there– to bring us all the important neighborhood news we need week after week but especially at a time when we needed it most!
–Joe Iabone President, Ronald Reagan Republican Club L & I Plumbing and Heating - Owner 62 | THE FORUM NEWSGROUP • October 31, 2013
Dearest Pat, We’ve watched you turn a fledgling newspaper into a vital source of information for this neighborhood and the surrounding communities. We applaud your dedication to reporting community news, supporting community groups and always being the first to lend a hand. You serve this community selflessly and have never put your needs at the newspaper before the needs of the communities you serve. Having had a lifetime relationship with you, we are very proud of the businesswoman and humanitarian you’ve become. God’s continued blessings! - The Ariola Family THE FORUM NEWSGROUP • October 31, 2013 | 63
We survived the trials and tribulations, let us now celebrate with joy and jubilation! May we all move forward together, from Sandy’s wrath, with new found confidence. Congratulations to The Forum on its 40th anniversary!
–Jennifer DiLandro & the staff of
Dolce Aesthetics NY 87-47 Myrtle Avenue Glendale, NY 11385 718-365-2369
Phil LoSquadro and the staff of Added Touch Salon would like to wish Pat Adams and The Forum a Happy 40th Anniversary. The Added Touch Salon 82-11 153rd Avenue Howard Beach, NY 11414 718-641-7432 64 | THE FORUM NEWSGROUP • October 31, 2013
Dear Pat, Thank you for being the strength in our community during such a difficult time. You were the glue that kept us together simply through your passion and love for writing. You kept us abreast of the daily happenings when none of us knew what tomorrow would bring. We love the friendship that we share with you and Teresa, and the budding friendship that your granddaughter and our youngest daughter have. You've been there for us through some very tough moments. Thank you. Love, Doreen and Joe DeCandia Lenny's Clam Bar & Restaurant 161-03 Cross Bay Blvd. Howard Beach, NY 11414 718-845-5100 THE FORUM NEWSGROUP • October 31, 2013 | 65
With thanksgiving to God, For their faithful support, Of our community’s recovery from Hurricane Sandy. Congratulations to Pat Adams & The Forum For 40 years of excellence! Saint Barnabas Church 159-19 98th Street Howard Beach, NY 11414 The Rev. William Eric Baum, Pastor
Congratulations and continued success with The Forum. Anne Marie Chirichigno, Broker/Owner Century 21 Amiable II & The Sales Associates & Staff
66 | THE FORUM NEWSGROUP • October 31, 2013
As a community, we’ve survived ‘Sandy’ and are well underway to a full recovery, getting stronger every day. To Pat Adams, my friend, Congratulations on the 40th Anniversary of The Forum.
Thomas LaVecchia & Staff Howard Beach Realty 137-05 Cross Bay Blvd. Ozone Park, NY 11417 718-641-6800 howardbeachrealty.com
Congratulations to The Forum on its 40th Anniversary and a huge thank you to Pat Adams for your dedication to our Community, especially during the aftermath of Sandy. Pat, you hold a very special place in our hearts.
Frank Russo, Jr., Patrick J. Connolly, Management & Staff Vetro Restaurant & Lounge Russo's On The Bay 164-49 Crossbay Boulevard 162-45 Crossbay Boulevard Howard Beach, NY 11414 Howard Beach, NY 11414 718 - 843- 8387 718 - 843-5055 www.vetronyc.com www.russosonthebay.com Giardino 44-37 Douglaston Parkway Douglaston, NY 718 - 428-1090 www.giardinos.com THE FORUM NEWSGROUP • October 31, 2013 | 67
Let us not be defeated by the storm, but united through the recovery. We will continue to dance to our hearts content! Congratulations to The Forum and it's wonderful coverage of our community.
I hope you dance! –Juliana Fazio and the Fazio Dance Center staff 164-48 Cross Bay Blvd. Howard Beach, NY 11414 718-848-4846
As this year comes to an end, the entire staff at Cross Bay Ace Hardware would like to commend the residents of the community for standing together and putting your homes and your lives back together piece by piece. We are proud to have been here to help you during this time and look forward to serving your needs in the future in a bigger and better Howard Beach.
–Mike and the entire staff at Cross Bay Ace Hardware 162-54 Cross Bay Blvd. Howard Beach, NY 11414 718-848-5699 68 | THE FORUM NEWSGROUP • October 31, 2013
Happy 40th Anniversary to
Wishing Patricia Adams and The Forum continued success and here’s to another 40 years! Ave Maria Catholic Academy 158-20 101st Street Howard Beach, NY 11414 718-848-7440
THE FORUM NEWSGROUP • October 31, 2013 | 69
As this year comes to an end, I would like to take this opportunity to first say thank you to The Forum for always keeping us in tune with our community. Most especially, when our everyday lives were turned upside down in the storm and we needed information the most. With no office, no equipment and a staff scattered and separated by the storm, still The Forum never missed an issue. It is that type of commitment and dedication that we should recognize and appreciate. On behalf of the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation, we congratulate Pat Adams and The Forum, not only for their commitment to the community but for their continued support in the fight against juvenile diabetes.
May God Continue to Bless Us All –Joseph Mure, Esq. Fundraising Chair, Brooklyn/Queens Chapter Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation (JDRF) 70 | THE FORUM NEWSGROUP • October 31, 2013
We are back... and better than ever! Cross Bay Diner
to Pat Adams and The Forum for 40 uninterrupted years of weekly news!
160-31 Cross Bay Blvd. Howard Beach, NY 11414 718-848-9401
Congratulations Pat and The Forum on their anniversary!
–Dennis & staff Marlowe Jewelers
160-55 Cross Bay Blvd. Howard Beach, NY 11414 718-323-8730
Our commitment to the children and families we serve gave us the strength to rebuild. Many thanks for your patience. Congratulations to Pat Adams and The Forum for serving our community well. –Andrew Baumann NYFAC Autism Center 164-25 Cross Bay Blvd. Howard Beach, NY 11414 347-566-3122 THE FORUM NEWSGROUP • October 31, 2013 | 71
The past year will be remembered not so much for the lives that were shattered or the homes that were destroyed but rather for the strong sense of community that brought us closer together. It is in times such as these we find comfort in the friendship and support of great people like Pat Adams. Howard Beach simply wouldn't be the same without you and the wonderful work of The Forum Newsgroup.
–Councilman Eric Ulrich District Office 93-06 101st Avenue, Ozone Park, NY 11416 Phone: 718-738-1083 | Fax: 718-738-1918 "As a community and family, no matter how dark the night or difficult the day, we rise and carry on together toward recovery." –Assemblyman Phil Goldfeder Thank you Pat Adams and The Forum for providing our community with the essential news services needed to get through this difficult time. District Office 214 Beach 96th Street, Rockaway Beach, NY 11693 Phone: 718-945-9550 | Fax: 718-945-9549 72 | THE FORUM NEWSGROUP • October 31, 2013
A Very Special Tribute... October 29, 2012 8:03 P.M: Sandy hit with a vengeance...By the time we figured out what was happening we were in total darkness standing in water on our front steps, hoping this wave with white caps filling up our home would soon recede, all the while never taking our eyes off the bellowing flames of the home burning down our block. I remember feeling "I'm not worried about the water as much as I am about that fire." "What if it spreads down to our house...?" "What if...?" So many things were running through our minds, most importantly, "How are we going to get your mother out of here in all this?" "What are we going to do?" What can we do?" "How can we help the man who just fell before our eyes in the water, being pulled down the block?" All in the blink of an eye! A multitude of thoughts all at once, too much to comprehend of this horrible thing that was happening -- the wrath of Hurricane Sandy left destruction everywhere. Our home, and worse than that the office of The Forum. With all the preparation we took, sandbags, picking up all the computers 5 ft to protect them. We walked away feeling, "We did it!" "Everything will be okay." Well weren't we surprised? I remember standing there while you tried to unlock your office door. I also remember bumping into you as I was following you into the office, but to our dismay, we fell back off the step, as the door would not open. "What the heck is
wrong with this door?" As you pushed, kicked, prodded, did what you had to open the office door, it was there and then we realized why the door did not open so easily - your desk from 30' away –was now lodged under the door knob. We knew immediately that even after our hard work to protect all the equipment - that everything was a total loss. Nothing was salvageable from this standpoint. One look on your face and I knew what you were feeling and thinking...panic struck! "What am I going to do? My paper! I have to put my paper out in two days? "How? Where? What am I going to do? I felt that sickening feeling in the pit of YOUR stomach. What transpired over the next few hours was truly amazing. Through many prayers I prayed to God for something; God please help her, please show her the way. I knew that there were two things that could have happened and was afraid for you and your baby, The Forum. I prayed and prayed and asked for God to show you which road to take. I feel the same pride today as I am writing this, that I did as you turned toward me, tears rolling down your face, saying, "I have to put my paper out, Teresa, I have to." "Our friends, our family, the community, we all need to feel some kind of 'normalcy!'" And 'normalcy' it was to see THE FORUM, two days post Sandy, going to press, and being delivered to each and every home, amongst
the mounds of property destroyed–the contents of our lives strewn about. It made such a difference to so many - most importantly, I do believe it made such a difference to you. It was the road you not only chose, but that which was chosen for you by a higher power, giving you the strength to continue and push through, working tirelessly whether from space in a colleague's office, a tiny room fit for two, or our dining room table, as the temporary office of The Forum. Your concern for your community, your readership, as well as for so many family and friends, is abundant and from your heart. So with saying that, I would like to CONGRATULATE YOU! I am so very proud of you, not only for what you have done, especially through Sandy, but also for what you do every day. Thank you for caring and thank you for sharing that part of you that keeps us waiting each and every week for The Forum. You are truly an inspiration to me as well as to our community. The Forum wears its name out and proud, and what a great 'community forum' it is!
Again, Congratulations to you and to The Forum, celebrating its 40th Anniversary! Here's to many more years to come, stronger and better than ever!
–Teresa Gulino THE FORUM NEWSGROUP • October 31, 2013 | 73
St. Helen Parish
Salutes the Residents of Howard Beach TOGETHER… TOGETHER… TOGETHER…
we endured SuperStorm Sandy. we supported one another in the days and weeks after the storm. we are rebuilding a stronger and safer community.
May Almighty God bless all with his wisdom, health and happiness as we TOGETHER go forward. Hurt by Hurricane Sandy? Call Today – Help is Here. Whether you have applied for FEMA or not – even if you were not eligible or were denied assistance – there may be local resources available for you. A trained, compassionate case manager can work one-on-one with you to: • Answer your questions about recovery • Develop a plan to address your needs • Connect you with appropriate community resources • Determine what financial assistance may be available to you • Advocate on your behalf with service and benefit providers
Queens locations: • Far Rockaway Mental Health Clinic • St. Camillus RC Church • St. Rose of Lima RC Church • Howard Beach Senior Center • Doctors of the World in Rockaway Park Brooklyn locations: • Our Lady of Miracles RC Church • Our Lady of Solace RC Church • Gerritsen Beach Cares • JFK Early Childhood Development Center • Older Adults NORC Program Sheepshead Bay • 191 Joralemon Street
Catholic Charities Brooklyn and Queens Disaster Case Management Program To make an appointment please call 718-722-6223 or E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org Or call the Catholic Charities Sandy Referral line: 855-258-0483
74 | THE FORUM NEWSGROUP • October 31, 2013
A Letter From The Publisher ...a continuation As this issue comes to an end, I would just like to say what a privilege it has been for us to put it together for you. It was our intention to publish something you could refer back to as a reminder not of tragedy but of triumph. Of determination. Of fortitude. Of kindness. Of generosity. Of heroism. Of gratitude. Of so much more. These words I write to you come from a perspective never before experienced or imagined—it is too ridiculous of a tale to be fact and too unimaginable to be fiction. I guess what I mean is, I still sometimes can’t believe it happened. The picture at the top of this page was taken outside the offices of The Forum just after completing the cleanout after the storm. One year ago, having just entered its the 40th year of publishing, we were unable to salvage so much as a pencil from that office. Now, only one year later, almost to the day, we sent to press this newspapers largest issue ever published. Without our readers and our clients who continue to support us with their loyalty, it would have been an impossible feat. We could not be prouder of the place we hold in the community. I could never thank individually all of you who were instrumental to our getting here and being given the opportunity to serve this community as a trusted and valued partner. In concluding this issue I would like to share with you what I have taken away from the last year. I believe that the storm acted as a reminder that a reality check was in order because perhaps we had become to taken with taking advantage and taking for granted things that we should not. We all have a take home message from this storm. Mine is simple. I was raised in faith and taught by my parents to believe in God. After this storm my beliefs are no longer due to influence. I believe in God because I saw Him over and over. In my friends and in my foes. In firemen, in strangers. In the miracles that happened every day around us. And now still as we continue to move forward together. May God Continue To Bless Us And Keep Us Safe THE FORUM NEWSGROUP • October 31, 2013 | 75
The Forum Newsgroup is proud to stand as a part of the remarkable recovery process over the last year.
Though many among us still have challenges to face, there is no doubt that any and all of those challenges can be met, that is for certain. Together we are capable of whatever it takes to hold ourselves and our neighbors up. On behalf of this newspaper and the communities that we serve, we offer thanks to anyone who in any way extended a helping hand in this grueling process. To those who came to help us from places fortunate enough to escape the wrath of the storm, we will be indebted to you always for your kindness and your generosity. For so many who helped when they themselves were in dire need, there are no words for the immeasurable debt of gratitude you are owed. As we prepare to walk forward into the next year, we must continue to stand side by side—clearly that is when we are at our best. Finally, thank you all for your words of kindness and loyalty to The Forum. You have made it abundantly clear that you consider us to be the community newspaper you choose to rely on. It is something we have cherished for the last 40 years and something we will continue to cherish for the next 40. 76 | THE FORUM NEWSGROUP • October 31, 2013