4 NOVEMBER 22, 2018 RIDGEWOOD TIMES WWW.QNS.COM
Traffi c vigilante posts stop sign at a busy Middle Village intersection
BY KELLY ZEGERS
Middle Village residents
recently noticed that something
was different at the
intersection of Pleasantview Street
and 66th Road.
Apparently done overnight between
Nov. 3-4, a suspected vigilante neighbor
zip-tied a stop-sign to a post that had
held a one-way sign, as well as painted
a crude crosswalk and “STOP” in big
letters where the residential roads meet.
Photos of the unauthorized sign
circulated on local civic group Facebook
pages, with some applauding
the overnight change in the name of
safety at a corner where accidents
seem frequent, while others shared
worries that it would cause confusion.
Overall, it sparked conversations
about safety there.
It’s clear that the city didn’t put them
there. The Department of Transportation
did not authorize either the stop
sign placement or the street markings,
a DOT spokesman said. By Nov. 8, the
illegal stop sign and markings were
gone, according to the DOT.
Who did it remains a neighborhood
“I really think whoever did it probably
had the best intentions,” said
Denise Carbone, 51, a homemaker.
“I’ve been living here since 1995 and
the accidents are plentiful.”
On Aug. 23, she had just been
dropped off by a friend at the
intersection when she watched him
inch onto Pleasantview Street and
collide with another car. Still, Carbone
said she was shocked to learn that
someone would try to take matters
into their own hands.
“There is no way you can see until
you’re into the intersection,” Carbone
said. A month before that collision, an
accident occurred at the same spot for
obstructed or limited view, according
to NYPD traffi c collision records.
Beyond it being tough to see oncoming
cars there, drivers tend to speed
down Pleasantview Street to make
the green light onto Metropolitan
Avenue, a major road, she and other
City Councilman Robert Holden said
distracted drivers and those taking
side roads to beat traffi c add to safety
issues. He added that drivers need to
take their time when checking for the
all-clear at an intersection.
“As we’re seeing more and more people
in a rush because of traffi c and Waze,
the app that takes people on shortcuts
or roads around congestion, people are
unfamiliar with the road and, of course,
everybody is in a hurry and frustrated
because the commute is taking longer
and longer in New York City,” Holden,
a Middle Village native, said.
Neighbors said that an official
four-way stop sign at the intersection
couldn’t hurt. Holden said he’d
favor an all-way stop rather than
traffic lights on a residential stretch
Photo via Facebook/Juniper Park Civic Association
An unidentifi ed individual painted a stop light and posted a stop sign
illegally on Pleasantview Street and 66th Road in Middle Village earlier
If residents are requesting a stop
sign, or any traffi c device, they should
write to the community board’s transportation
committee, which will send
representatives out to evaluate the
location, said Holden, who served on
Community Board 5 prior to being
elected to the City Council. The DOT
spokesman said residents could also
make a request via 311, the DOT website,
or in writing to the DOT.
Holden said people have taken it upon
themselves to address problematic
drivers or parking in the past, whether
it was putting up their own “children
at play” sign or painting their own
“no parking” sign in front of their
driveways. Not that the city applauds
“We tell people not to take the law
into your own hands,” he said.
As for Carbone, she is wondering
if there’s now an intersection nearby
missing a stop sign.
“This is radical as I’ve seen it in this
neighborhood,” she said.
Reputed mobsters torch Queens businessman’s car over debt
BY ROBERT POZARYCKI
Two alleged members of the Gambino
crime family from Howard
Beach felt the burn of justice on
Nov. 16 aft er being indicted on charges
that they helped torch a businessman’s
car over late extortion payments.
Peter Tuccio and Jonathan Gurino,
25, face charges of arson and arson
conspiracy, extortion and extortion
conspiracy, and using fi re to commit
a felony. They were arrested on Nov.
16 and arraigned on federal charges in
U.S. District Court in Brooklyn.
“As alleged in the indictment, the
defendants delivered a frightening
message in the form of fi re to force a
businessman to pay protection money
to a high-ranking gangster,” U.S.
Attorney Richard P. Donoghue said
on Friday. “Today’s charges against
two alleged crime family associates
demonstrate that whether you are a
made member or a young associate
looking to advance in a crime family,
the end result is the same – prosecution
According to the indictment, Tuccio,
Gurino and a third individual — Gino
Gabrielli — allegedly work for an
unnamed captain in the Gambino family
who had been extorting payments
from the businessman.
During 2015, prosecutors said, the
businessman stopped making the
payments to the captain and began
dodging them. Tuccio, Gurino and
Gabrielli then took action on Dec. 3,
2015, aft er spotting the businessman
leaving a smoke shop in Howard Beach
and drive away.
Federal agents said the three suspects
followed the businessman’s car,
a 2014 Mercedes Benz, at a high rate
of speed, then confronted him later
outside a neighborhood pizzeria. Tuccio
allegedly asked the businessman
about the Gambino captain, then made
a comment about the Mercedes Benz.
Later that night, according to the
indictment, the businessman heard
a loud noise and then noticed that his
car was on fi re. This prompted the
businessman to pay off the Gambino
Through an investigation, the indictment
noted, investigators recovered
footage from the businessman’s
home security video system which
showed Gabrielli pouring a substance
onto the Mercedes Benz and
the vehicle subsequently bursting
into fl ames.
The footage further showed Gabrielli
running away with his pant leg on
fi re, prosecutors said. Gabrielli later
entered Jamaica Hospital, allegedly
accompanied by Tuccio, seeking treatment
of his burns.
Law enforcement agents later arrested
Gabrielli, who pleaded guilty
in August 2016 to arson charges.
The U.S. Attorney’s offi ce for the
Eastern District of New York pursued
the indictment of Tuccio and Gurino
with the help of the Fire Department’s
Bureau of Fire Investigation.
Tuccio and Gurino each face up
to 15 years behind bars if convicted,
Photo courtesy of U.S. Attorney’s offi ce
Peter Tuccio and Jonathan Gurino
outside the Brooklyn federal