FOR BREAKING NEWS VISIT WWW.QNS.COM DECEMBER 21, 2017 • THE QUEENS COURIER 3
Anti-Asian graffi ti at
Murray Hill station
Local leaders are calling for an investigation aft er
hateful messages were found scrawled on the walls of a
Flushing train station twice this week.
Elected offi cials announced that anti-Asian graffi
ti was discovered on the walls of the LIRR Murray
Hill train station, located at 150th Street and 41st
Avenue, on both Dec. 18 and 19. According to updates
by Councilman Peter Koo’s offi ce, the graffi ti was
promptly removed by the MTA aft er both incidents.
Th e Korean-American Parent Association and
Murray Hill Merchants Association met with local offi -
cials at the site on Dec. 18 to condemn the act.
An NYPD spokesperson said the matter falls under
the jurisdiction of the MTA Police. Th e Courier
reached out to the MTA for comment and is awaiting
Congresswoman Grace Meng said was she “deeply
disturbed” by news of the incidents.
“We must all stand up and condemn this unacceptable
bigotry,” she said. “I thank the authorities who are
investigating this crime and hope that those responsible
are apprehended and swift ly brought to justice.
Th ere is no place for hate in Queens!”
MTA will study lead paint
on elevated lines
Legislation introduced by state Senator Jose Peralta
this past summer requiring the MTA to study lead levels
in paint used on elevated subway tracks was signed
by Governor Andrew Cuomo on Dec. 18.
In May, a local painters union found that paint chips
falling from the 7 train in Jackson Heights contained
high levels of lead.
District 9 International Union of Painters and Allied
Trades said the paint falling from the elevated 7 train
contained more than 40 times the legal threshold of
lead paint, which amounts to 224,000 parts per million.
Th e legislation requires the MTA to submit a written
report that includes the study on lead paint levels,
which would be conducted in tandem with the
Department of Environmental Protection and the
Department of Health to determine how the MTA
complies with the federal Clean Air Act.
Th e report should also include recommendations to
eliminate exposure to lead from falling paint chips and
should feature past station renovations to outline the
level of lead abatement that was done.
City eyes expansion of Citi
Th ough Citi Bike has become a popular bike share
option since it was fi rst implemented in 2013, it typically
does not serve outer boroughs like the Bronx,
Staten Island and most of Queens.
Mayor Bill de Blasio announced last week that the
city is looking to work with other companies to fi ll
in the gap. Specifi cally, the city released a request for
expressions of interest (RFEI) seeking companies that
provide dockless bike systems.
In addition to looking at the feasibility of a dockless
system, the RFEI should analyze how practical it
is for the city to implement a “free-locking” bike share
system. Th is system would allow riders to unlock a
bike using their phones and the bicycles would not be
locked to a dock or rack.
In Queens, Citi Bike is only available in Long Island
City and Astoria but other Queens neighborhoods
with little transportation options could benefi t from
bike sharing programs.
Photos by Suzanne Monteverdi/QNS
Community demands original cleanup
agreement for Whitestone site
BY SUZANNE MONTEVERDI
firstname.lastname@example.org / @smont76
Recent developments in the
cleanup plans of a controversial
Whitestone residential site have certain
community members crying
Th e 18-acre site at 151-45 Sixth
Road called Waterpointe, which
was formerly an industrial zone,
has been a topic of concern in the
neighborhood for over a decade.
Edgestone Group LLC, the site’s
current owner, is working to remediate
the site — which is covered
with toxic soil — under the oversight
of the state’s Department of
Environmental Conservation (DEC)
through the voluntary Brownfi eld
Edgestone purchased the land in
2012 for $11 million and originally
sought to build 97 two-family townhouse
homes and nine additional
single-family houses at the site.
However, the developers changed
their plans to 52 single-family
homes aft er protests from the community.
At Community Board 7’s general
meeting on Dec. 18, Environmental
Committee Chairperson James
Cervino outlined the board’s concerns
aft er the state Department
of Environmental Conservation’s
(DEC) latest updates on the project.
In September, the state agency
announced that it had modifi ed the
cleanup agreement with developers.
Aft er an inspection, DEC determined
the site was slated to achieve a
“Track 4 restricted residential cleanup”
instead of the initially agreed
upon a more intensive “Track 2 residential
After the recent inspection,
the DEC told board member Joe
Sweeney that, “out of an abundance
of caution,” it gave the developer a
choice: remove a large amount of the
toxic fi ll or install a cover over the
contamination, then top that with 2
feet of fresh soil. Developers chose
the latter — which the DEC considers
to be a Track 4 cleanup.
In November, Whitestone residents
and state Senator Tony Avella
met at the site for a press conference,
claiming the community was “kept
in the dark” about the developments
in the project.
Th e site was originally purchased
for $25 million in 2005 by developer
Bayrock Group, who later went
bankrupt aft er they were fi ned by
DEC for transporting toxic soil into
the already contaminated site. Th e
Track 4 designation, Cervino said,
means the developer has recontaminated
the site once again.
“Th e question is, what happened
here?” he said.
Th e DEC also informed Sweeney
that Edgestone is slated to get its certifi
cate of completion for the remediation
work by the end of the month.
In response, Sweeney proposed
involving the offi ce of the New York
State Inspector General.
“I think at this point, if they’re
going to issue the certifi cate of completion
in contrary to what the original
Brownfi eld condition said … I
should think that maybe we should
ask the Inspector General of the state
of New York to do an investigation
on this,” Sweeney said. “Th ey did not
fulfi ll the requirements to the community
and they did not protect the
Board 7 Chairperson Gene Kelty
said Sweeney should draft a letter to
request such an action.
“I know why they want to sign off
on this in 2017: because Edgestone
loses all the tax benefi ts from the
program,” Sweeney said. “But I don’t
care … Th ere’s going to be people
living here some day at this site.”
Th e board will send letters to
state Senator Tony Avella and
Assemblyman Edward Braunstein
to ask them to hold up the process
in Albany, Kelty said.
“Th e state electeds are the ones
who should be insisting on having
an instantaneous meeting,” he said.
“We have to get the state people to
say, ‘Look, you have to do something.’”
“I think we’ve been talking and
talking while the clock has been
ticking away,” board member Selma
A DEC spokesperson confi rmed
that it expects to issue the certifi cate
of completion this year.
“(DEC) communicated on several
occasions with Sen. Avella’s offi ce
and the Community Board regarding
the remediation of this site,
including changing the cleanup to
track 4 to protect public health and
the environment,” the spokesperson
Th e state agency spokesperson
also said that the construction of
single-family homes is permissible
because developers have plans to
create a “single certifying entity” to
oversee the entire site and ensure the
mandated health controls are being
“If the property is controlled by
means of common ownership or a
single owner/managing entity, the
remedy will not prohibit single-family
housing and as such the proposed
52-unit subdivision contemplated by
the Special Permit is an acceptable
re-use of this site,” the spokesperson
Th e track of the cleanup was modifi
ed aft er developers left imported
fi ll at the site that does not meet residential
use soil cleanup standards.
The Waterpointe site in Whitestone