16 times • SEPTEMBER 17,, 2015 FOR BREAKING NEWS VISIT www.timesnewsweekly.com Elected officials visit deteriorating underpass in Middle Village BY ANTHONY GIUDICE email@example.com @A_GiudiceReport An underpass beneath the Long Island Expressway in Middle Village has gone to the birds. Conditions at the pedestrian underpass at 80th Street and 57th Avenue have become increasingly worse over the last several months, according to residents who have complained about the unsightly and unsanitary conditions. The underpass has seen a growing infestation of pigeons in the tunnel, which leave droppings, broken eggs, broken spikes and feathers along the pedestrian walkway. Along with the litter and other debris left by foot traffic, the underpass has become a hazardous and unclean environment for residents who use this bridge on a daily basis. Recently, state Senator Joseph Addabbo and Councilwoman Elizabeth Crowley visited the underpass. Last week, Addabbo met with constituents at the underpass to discuss what could be done to fix the problems. Addabbo had previously contacted the NYS Department of Transportation (DOT), which is responsible for the maintenance of the underpass, regarding the walkway’s conditions. The DOT had made efforts to clean up the sidewalks, but Addabbo believes that long-term measures are needed to prevent pigeons from gathering in the tunnel. “The Department of Transportation listened to our concerns the first time around, and my constituents and I need them to hear us again now,” Addabbo said. “While we appreciate their efforts to tidy up this area, more needs to be done to prevent this situation from continuing to occur, worsening each time around. These pigeons and the mess they leave behind are making this walkway unbearable, and the people of Middle Village and the surrounding communities deserve better. Nobody wants to walk down a sidewalk covered in bird droppings and dirty feathers, and nobody should have to.” Earlier in the week, Crowley joined members of the DOT to clean the underpass marred by nesting pigeons and debris. DOT started installing wooden planks along the underside of the bridge, blocking the areas from birds looking to roost. “Pedestrians going to and from P.S. 58, Maspeth High School, Elmhurst Park, Grand Avenue and more walk under these elevated platforms every day,” Crowley said. “Keeping this underpass clean from pigeon dropping was a constant battle, but once complete, this project will give our residents the clean sidewalks and healthy space they deserve. This was a quality-of-life issue that needed our attention, and I thank the State DOT for taking action.” A representative from the DOT confirmed the cleanup efforts at the site. “We are adding wooden planks to deter pigeons at this location, and we believe this will serve as a permanent solution. We are also replacing any of the bird spikes that have been damaged, and we are adding additional spikes,” said Diane Park, public information office for the NYS DOT. “Additionally, this location is washed on a three-month cycle as part of NYSDOT’s bridgewashing program. It was last washed on Aug. 28, 2015.” Photos courtesy Senator Joseph Addabbo’s office. State Senator Joseph Addabbo (right) met with concerned residents, Richard Polgar (left) and Pete Sofio (center), to discuss the unsanitary conditions at an LIE underpass in Middle Village. CB 5 splits again over liquor license for event at Maspeth arts venue BY ANTHONY GIUDICE firstname.lastname@example.org @A_GiudiceReport Concerns over liquor license applications for events at Maspeth’s Knockdown Center continue to rise up for Community Board 5 (CB 5). The Knockdown Center, located at 52-19 Flushing Ave., has been tapped by a catering company to host an architectural symposium where alcohol will be served. The event is scheduled to take place on Friday, Sept. 18, and will host a dinner for 250 guests from 8 to 10 p.m. and an afterparty for 1,000 people from 10 p.m. to 2 a.m. the following morning. The art venue was recently granted a liquor license from the State Liquor Authority (SLA), pending the Knockdown Center getting a valid certificate of occupancy (C of O). The Knockdown Center still has not received its valid C of O, so its liquor license is currently not in effect. Because the Knockdown Center does not have its liquor license, the caterers — The Cleaver Company — wish to use their liquor license to allow alcohol to be sold at the one-day event. “Caterers have a floating license because they do these types of events,” said CB 5 Chairperson Vincent Arcuri. “Because of the prior controversy and current situation with them not having a valid C of O, The Cleaver Company needed to get a letter of no objection from the community board.” The architectural symposium would not be part of the limited number of events the Knockdown Center is allowed to hold outlined in the liquor license stipulations set forth by the SLA. CB 5 members landed on both sides of the fence on whether to approve this request. Several members thought that it may be a good idea to vote in favor of the temporary permit, arguing that this offered the Knockdown Center an opportunity to prove itself to the board. Others, however, did not want to risk allowing this event to be held without the Knockdown Center having a valid C of O, and permitting an event to take place that would not count toward the agreed upon number of events with the SLA. In the end, CB 5 voted against The Cleaver Company’s application, 24-15, with two abstaining votes. Even so, the SLA makes the final decision whether or not to approve the permit. Photo courtesy of Councilwoman Elizabeth Crowley’s office Councilwoman Elizabeth Crowley and a construction worker examine underpass.
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