It could have been so much worse
by Maria Thomson
Apr 18, 2013 | 1498 views | 0 0 comments | 26 26 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Well, what do you think, is spring weather finally here? Maybe even spring with a tinge of summer. I know that we all want this weather to stay.

So now that the weather has warmed for good (we hope) it’s time to really shop our “Everything Avenue,” Woodhaven’s Jamaica Avenue, where our streets are cleaned by our Woodhaven Business Improvement District, and there are so many stores and businesses for all of your needs.

Our Jamaica Avenue remember has “walkability,” a very desirable part of any shopping strip. So stroll and yes, walk, our Woodhaven’s Jamaica Avenue and shop locally.

This walkability was part of the fear that we experienced last Friday at approximately 6 p.m. At that time, 78-19 Jamaica Avenue, a former furniture store with double-digit violations on a well-traveled corner, collapsed. This collapse caused bricks to fall, covering Jamaica Avenue and the corner area and demolishing a parked car.

Also, this store being located right next to our Woodhaven Senior Citizen Center in the Woodhaven Volunteer Ambulance Corps made us more fearful. Thankfully, no one was hurt with all the bricks falling and half of the building left standing, it was truly miraculous.

The response from the FDNY, NYPD, and emergency services was immediate and the area secured. It was a very dangerous occurrence, but all was under control. Unfortunately, our newly renovated senior citizens center, which has a spacious meeting room where our local senior citizens lunch and enjoy daily activities, was damaged.

I spoke to city's Small Business Services and they will be assisting in expediting with the many New York City agencies involved in the necessary repairs so that the seniors can return to their home. At this time, Debbie Hoffer of Catholic Charities (GWDC’s Woman of the Year 2012) has advised that our seniors are being transported daily to Ozone Park’s Senior Citizens Center.

But the bottom line here is no one was hurt, but it could have been a disastrous catastrophe. But why with all of those violations, how did this property remain open and not closed and secured? The answers to these and many other inquiries will be perused by our Woodhaven Business Improvement District.

As I stated in my yearly article where I recounted the listing of our “Jewel of Forest Park,” the Forest Park Carousel along with the Flushing Carousel had been advertising for bids for prospective concessionaires. The former Concessionaire, after abusing our carousel and not keeping the area around it clean and the restaurant sanitary, was charged with fraud.

The over $110,000 that should have been used to maintain the carousel and the surrounding area (part of a total of $400,000) could not be accounted for. This has still not been resolved. Hopefully, with this fraud being revealed, the $110,000 can be eventually retrieved and restored to the Forest Park Carousel’s budget.

This occurrence made the choice of a new concessionaire so important. We needed an organization that would value this treasure, care for it, renovate it with expertise and love keeping the area around it and the restaurant area clean and attractive. Since then, the Parks Department choose a new concessionaire for our “jewel” and they have proven to be excellent and caring.

Ultimately, this carousel will be, as the GWDC has championed for the last many years, landmarked for its perpetual protection, and for future generations to enjoy.Our Forest Park Carousel is now open on weekends 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. and weekdays with no school through June. Thereafter, it will be open daily 11 a.m. to 6 p.m.

The Greater Woodhaven Development Corporation still has low interest Home Improvement Loans, available at 2 ½ percent and 5 percent interest rates. Call our office at (718) 805-0202 for more information.

n an article from March 7, 1968, it states that a committee had to “fight to save precincts,” for at that time the NYPD wanted to close our 102nd Precinct. At the forefront of this committee were Woodhavenites. Our community has always been supportive of our NYPD and our precinct. Also, we have a forum to discuss Police problems and complaints: the 102nd Precinct Community Council. The April meeting will take place at 7 p.m. on Tuesday, April 16, at the Richmond Hill Library, 118-14 Hillside Avenue.

Also, the “Whistle Program” that I started will continue and free whistles will be distributed. The Whistle Program was started so that you can blow a whistle to get help if you feel threatened, bringing attention and assistance to your situation. The telephone number at the 102nd Precinct is (718) 805-3200.

Also, when trying to remember a description of a possible perpetrator use the acronym CHEW: complexion, height, ethnicity, and weight. If you see something, say something.

Mark you calendars for the Greater Woodhaven Development Corporation meeting on Tuesday April 23, at 7:30 p.m. at St. Thomas the Apostle's 88th Street cafeteria. It will be very informative with very interesting guests.

A Metropolitan Transportation Authority representative will speak in regard to our Jamaica Avenue elevated train and the progress of its painting, repair and our Woodhaven train stations. There will also be a NYPD Transit police officer there to speak to security on our J line.

A representative from the NYPD will also be in attendance to record for the Police Department database your iPad and iPhone serial numbers.

Friday, June 7, will be the Greater Woodhaven Development Corporation Spring Dinner Dance, and Sunday, October 20, our GWDC-sponsored “Wonderful Woodhaven Street Festival.”

May God bless our leaders, may God bless our armed and coalition forces and disabled veterans, and may God bless America.

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