Queensway Group Comes To CB 9
Push For Park Continues
Travis Terry of the Friends of the Queensway presented the board with overview of his group’s idea for a public park atop the old Rockaway Beach Branch of the Long Island Rail Road.
While Board 9 is well aware of the proposal, Chairperson Andrea Crawford later explained that the presentation was being shown to community boards and civic groups.
Terry began by providing an overview of the area, which extends from Rego Park down through Forest Park and into Ozone Park.
As recently as 90 years ago, according to Terry, the area was mostly farmland, but began to grow along with the line. However, the track operated until 1950, when a track fire shut down the area extending into Jamaica Bay. The line was discontinued in 1962.
Terry noted that the structure itself was “fascinating” but has fallen into disrepair, and thus become a home for “bad activities” such as drug use.
Terry’s vision is to transform the line into a “new open space for the community,” noting that hundreds of thousands of residents live within a mile of the abandoned line. He later added that the park could be a “small business driver,” provide opportunities for art and cultural programming, and clean up a blighted area.
The plan is in the very early stages—Terry called it “pitchers and catchers,” using the baseball analogy to denote the first step in a season— and the Friends group is attempting to raise funds for a study that will include a significant environmental review of the line.
Safety would be addressed with patrols, night-time closings, and controlled access points, Terry noted. Board 9’s Nick Comaianni, however, feared an increase in crime near the Forest Park Co-ops.
Terry tried to allay his fears by claiming that multiple studies have shown a decrease in criminal activity near similar greenways. Crawford would add that entrances and exits to and from the park would be tightly controlled.
Jim Coccovillo, who heads the Public Safety Committee, asked Terry where the Friends group would find the funding to keep the park secure and safe. Terry explained that the Friends group’s partner, the Trust for Public Land, has experience in creating 501(c)3 nonprofit structures.
Patrick Jenkins of Resorts World New York noted that the South Ozone Park casino is being used as a drop-off site for supplies in the wake of Hurricane Sandy.
Over 10,000 meals a day are being prepared by the American Red Cross at Resorts World, which are then being shipped to a shelter in York College and to sites in the Rockaways and Hamilton Beach, he added. Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) agents are also on hand to coordinate relief efforts.
Crawford applauded their efforts, while urging the crowd to continue with volunteer relief efforts, noting that it will take a long time to rebuild the area.
Kate Mooney, representing City Council Member Elizabeth Crowley, would later state that truckloads of relief supplies were sent to the Rockaways from a relief station at The Shops at Atlas Park.
Rabbi Daniel Pollack also noted that five members of the 102nd Precinct had their homes damaged by the superstorm, and a collection is being raised to help the officers in their time of need.
Finally, Parks Department Chairperson J. Richard Smith noted that several Department of Transportation employees have been helping the Parks Department pick up downed trees throughout the area.
Education Committee Chairperson Seth Wellins noted that his committee will focus on providing support for afterschool programs.
“It seems like every year the budgets are slashed,” he stated.
Health Committee Chairperson Evelyn Baron’s report also focused on schools, noting that a new pilot program is training teachers on a new curriculum intended to put a stop to bullying.
Board 9 opposed liquor licenses for four establishments.
Nebu Hookah Lounge, at 86-72 80th St. in Woodhaven, saw its request for an on-premises wine/beer license opposed due to the 200-foot rule, which prevents a license to be granted if the establishment is within 200 feet of a church or school. Coccovillo noted that the license had been previously opposed for the same reason.
Las Nuevas Delicias de Acapulco Corp, at 76-15 Jamaica Ave. in Woodhaven, had its request for a renewal of an on-premises license dedoned,” nied, while Fortune Hut, at 76-11 101st Ave. in Ozone Park, saw its request for a renewed beer license opposed.
Finally, Rusho Deli & Convenience Store, at 126-13 Jamaica Ave. in Richmond Hill, saw its onpremises beer license request run into opposition.
829 Bar/Restaurant, at 104-19 Jamaica
Ave. in Richmond Hill and Xquisite Ballroom, at 134-10 Atlantic Ave. in Richmond Hill saw their requests for on-premises liquor licenses endorsed by Board 9.
Board 9 will next meet on Dec.11 at 7:45 p.m. at the Trump Pavilion, located at 89-40 135th St. in Richmond Hill.