4 The Courier sun • JULY 3, 2014 for breaking news visit www.couriersun.com Middle Village crematorium to commemorate famous people it cremated By Eric Jankiewicz firstname.lastname@example.org/@ericjankiewicz Queens’ oldest crematorium takes a look back at its history this summer with an exhibit that memorializes the many celebrities who have been cremated there. Fresh Pond Crematory plans on opening the exhibit this summer. The project is lead by the crematorium’s nonprofit corporation president Joseph Peter Troia. Since opening in 1884, the Middle Village establishment has processed celebrities like the rapper Biggie Smalls (full name Christopher George Latore Wallace) and the banker John Pierpont Morgan. Troia wants to commemorate this history by establishing a series of pictures and symbolic urns for these people. “We’re doing this to let people know that cremation is an option and that many people have chosen it before,” said Troia, who has been working at the crematorium since 1964 when he started as an office clerk. With only three furnaces, the crematorium holds about 40,000 people in 16,000 niches. These niches are a crematorium’s version of a plot. “These are not just ashes,” Troia said. “They’re human cremated remains.” And the layout of the facility reflects this belief. Most of the rooms are lined with these niches and given names like Hall of Serenity and the Gothic Room. Some other notables who made their last corporeal stop here are John Savage, Lou Gehrig, Ringer Lardner and Bruno Richard Hauptmann, the convicted kidnapper and killer of the infant Charles Lindbergh. All of these people, and more, will be memorialized in the crematorium’s exhibit. While most of these people don’t have their remains in the crematorium, Anton Seidl, a Hungarian composer who worked with Richard Wagner, is placed high in a huge urn in a room that smells like the Metropolitan Museum, with all its age and history. The crematorium is located near a highly dense area of cemeteries. “New York City can only hold so many of our dead in the ground,” he said. “We’re conserving land here.” THE COURIER/ Photo by Eric Jankiewicz The Fresh Pond Crematory’s Gothic Room where the ashes of the dead are placed in niches. DEP prolonging wait for compensation in Lindenwood flooding BY SALVATORE LICATA The Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) has blocked compensation for Lindenwood homeowners whose homes were flooded after a screw-up at a plant run by the agency, residents charged. Major flooding from an April 30 rainstorm, which caused damage to homes that border Spring Creek, was due to a malfunction in the Creek’s sewer overflow facility, operated by the DEP. The agency has taken blame for the mishap but, despite the assurances of politicians, residents who were affected have yet to see any money from the government, which has many of them outraged. “Where’s our check?” shouted residents to DEP officials at a meeting of the Howard Beach Lindenwood Civic Association on June 24. “It’s your fault.” The DEP went door to door handing out claim forms to the flood-affected residents. But the money cannot be disbursed until the DEP submits its final report assessing damages suffered and liability. The agency sent Stringer a preliminary report on June 19, nearly two months after the flood. The DEP said it needs to check the water elevations to see where the flooding occurred and said there may be further delay because of liability issues involving some independent contractors. Until both issues are resolved, the DEP cannot fully assess who suffered from the flood and who is liable, said DEP Deputy Commissioner Vincent Sapienza. Even though no claims have been looked at yet the DEP is still urging residents who have not filed one to do so immediately. “There is a 90-day period after the storm to file a claim,” Sapienza said. He added that no matter how long the reports take to process this is the only way residents could possibly receive a compensation check. Since the flooding occurred the DEP has changed protocol on how to handle large storms that may cause an overflow of the system, Sapienza said. They will now have workers at the facilities, such as the one at Spring Creek, who can override the computerized system and open the flood gates. This allows untreated water to flow into Jamaica Bay, which normally happens when the facility overflows, thus relieving the system.
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