Archive for January, 2011

2 Years — Smoke Free

January 28, 2011

Most people who know me nowadays — who didn’t know me before — have a hard time picturing me smoking a cigarette —

The truth is that I was not only a smoker, I was a deeply committed smoker — one that loved smoking from the minute they woke up, until the minute they went to sleep.  2 packs a day.  Here I am enjoying a smoke in my backyard —

2 years ago today, around 9:30 on the morning of January 28, 2009 — I quit for good.

At 2 packs a day, over 2 years, it’s resulted in a savings of $11,680.

Eleven thousand dollars!

I’m not going to preach to anyone — you know the reasons why you need to quit.  You either will, or you won’t.


All I want to say is this —

If I can quit, then anyone can quit.

NYC Sidewalk Snow Removal Policy

January 27, 2011

While snow is falling, the city will not take complaints about snowy or icy sidewalks. After the snow stops falling, property owners must clear a path for pedestrians and remove snow from sidewalks next to bus stops and hydrants as follows:

  • If snowfall ends between 7:00 AM and 5:00 PM, property owners must clear sidewalks within four hours.
  • If snowfall ends between 5:00 PM and 7:00 AM, property owners must clear sidewalks before 11:00 AM.

The City may issue property owners a summons for failure to clear the sidewalks within these time frames.  They could face fines ranging from $100 to $350.

You can make a complaint at any time about snow or ice on sidewalks in front of public property such as a bus stop shelter, a park path, or a school. You can make a complaint about snow or ice on sidewalks in front of private property after property owners have had the appropriate amount of time to clear their sidewalks.


One of the problems in Woodhaven is absentee landlords not getting their properties shoveled.  If you have such a situation on your block, call 311 — make sure you write down the 311 complaint number — and send the information to the WRBA.  We will send a letter to the landlord advising them that their behavior is unacceptable.  Also, we will work with the City Council to ensure that fines are enforced in this case.



10 Inches of Snow Coming To Woodhaven

January 26, 2011

The National Weather Service is calling for 10 inches of snow on the streets of Woodhaven by tomorrow morning.  There are around 3 or 4 inches out there as of 1 PM on Wednesday, but the snow will increase overnight (along with the winds) and by morning, nearly a foot of snow will be on the ground.  Will you be able to get off your block to go to work?

Take a look at this block — this is 88th Avenue between 78th and 85th Streets 2 days after the last mini-storm.  It was clear that it had never seen a plow, nor did it get salted — and it showed, the street was passable, but very slippery.  That’s a long stretch — we’re sure some of those folks called 311.  And this is the result.

During the last storm, our Block Captains reported a few blocks that needed attention, and we called them in.  If your block has a Block captain, your block is insured.  Simple as that. Here’s our current map, the blocks in red have Captains:

Recent additions to the Block Captain program:

  • 77th Street from Jamaica Avenue to 90th Avenue
  • 89th Avenue between Woodhaven Boulevard and 91st Street
  • 82nd Street between Atlantic Avenue and 91st Avenue
  • 85th Avenue between Forest Parkway and 85th Street
  • 96th from 91st Ave to Jamaica Ave.

If your block doesn’t have a Captain, you should consider signing up.  Basically, you send us your name, E-mail Address, and Phone number — when there’s a storm or an emergency, we contact you and ask how your block is — that’s all there is to it.  E-mail us at

If your block doesn’t have a Block Captain and you can’t get off your block tomorrow, go through 311 or whatever methods you feel comfortable with.  Good luck!  You can see how good it worked out for 92nd Street just off of Jamaica Avenue — here they are 2 days after the last mini-storm:

One last thing — give some thought to how these things work.  After the blizzard we had after Christmas, the Department of Sanitation is scrambling to make sure as many streets are clean as possible.  But if they are getting dinked and dunked by a street here, a street in Richmond hill, a street in Ozone Park, etc. it makes it less and less likely they will get to them all.

We are delivering to them a listing of streets, all in one locale — giving them information in this manner makes it more likely we will get attention (especially with the contacts we have).

But if you’d rather go through 311 . . .





Woodhaven Film Shoot To Cause Parking Headaches

January 26, 2011

Please be aware that there is a major film shoot here in Woodhaven for the next few days.   “Tower Heist” starring Ben Stiller, Eddie Murphy, Matthew Broderick, and Alan Alda will be filming interiors at Neir’s Tavern.   There will be no exterior shooting in Woodhaven.  But parking will be severely impacted.

During the shoot, parking will be restricted in areas of Woodhaven — any violation will result in your vehicle being towed to the nearest legal spot.   The signs have been up for a few days — and the restriction begins tonight (Tuesday) at 10 PM. They were on-site as early as 6 PM tonight, putting down cones in empty spots.

This will undoubtedly be inconvenient for local residents — especially coming on the heels of the recent snowstorms, which has left huge mounds of snow, eating up precious parking spots.

What caught our attention was the large number of streets where parking was being restricted — as far away as Jamaica Avenue, 80th Street and Rockaway Boulevard and Atlantic Avenue.  We spoke with the Mayor’s Office of Film Theatre and Broadcasting this afternoon and they confirmed that there would be No Parking on the following streets:

The effected streets are:

  • 78th Street between 88th and Jamaica Ave
  • Jamaica Ave between 77th and 80th (South Side)
  • 80th Street between Jamaica Ave and 87th Ave
  • 88th Ave between 77th and 78th Streets
  • 78th and 80th half that’s closer to 78th
  • Rockaway between 91st and Atlantic Ave

No streets will be closed to traffic.   Many of these streets are narrow — so, parking will be prohibited on both sides of the street.   The film company’s trucks will park on one side of the street — they will leave the other side open so cars can pass.

They will be filming interiors Wednesday Night and Thursday night, wrapping up and departing Woodhaven on Friday Morning.

We’re very happy that film companies are selecting Woodhaven to film here.  Besides this, we had “The babysitter” in Forest Park in the Fall, and “Morning Glory” on 94th Street and Park Lane South last winter.  However, we are concerned that the local residents not be too inconvenienced.  Please follow up with the Woodhaven Residents’ Block Association and let us know your experiences with this shoot, good or bad.  Contact us by E-mail at


Miller, Addabbo, Crowley Fight Graffiti With $500 Reward

January 25, 2011

Assemblyman Mike Miller, Senator Joseph Addabbo, and Council Member Elizabeth Crowley are offering $500 to any residents who can provide information leading to the arrest and conviction of a person responsible for graffiti vandalism.

The initiative comes after three individuals, Matthew Young, 23, Thomas Rank, 19, and Matthew Perez, 16, were arrested for graffiti vandalism last week in the 104th Precinct.

“Our residents are furious and they have every right to be,” Assemblyman Miller said. “I called the Senator and the Council Member and worked with them to help find a solution. When residents call our offices to report fresh graffiti we help them document it and then help clean it up. It’s time we took a stronger stand. We need to get ahead of this problem. By offering a cash reward to anyone who can stop these vandals we will help police catch them, prosecutors convict them, and most importantly keep our neighborhoods clean.”

“I am grateful to have been given the opportunity to work with my colleagues in government to address the issue of graffiti,” Senator Addabbo said. “Graffiti is a concern shared by many of the people we serve throughout our districts. I am hopeful our collective effort successfully reduces instances of graffiti in our communities.”

“Graffiti is an unlawful and unsightly act of vandalism that has gone on in this City for far too long,” said Council Member Elizabeth Crowley. “To create a graffiti-free environment, the whole neighborhood needs to be involved and this reward will encourage those who see something, to say something. This new reward program will help engage the community in speaking out against graffiti vandals by holding those accountable for committing these acts of vandalism.”

Although this program is being offered through all three offices, anyone witnessing a crime in progress should immediately call 911.

Good News For The Forest Park Carousel

January 22, 2011

The Woodhaven Residents’ Block Association has learned that the NYC Parks Department is trying a different approach in an attempt to ensure that the Forest Park Carousel will be up and running this summer.

The Forest Park Carousel is being tied to the Carousel in Flushing Meadows, meaning that the vendor that takes over Flushing Meadows will also need to run Forest Park.  It has proven difficult to attract a vendor to run our Carousel in Forest Park due in part to light traffic and a lack of supporting attractions.

The Carousel in Flushing Meadows Park, with more attractions and higher traffic, is a more attractive proposal — thus, tying them together is a clever way to entice a vendor into running our Carousel.

The current lease for the Flushing Meadows Carousel expires in 2012. However, the Parks Department is putting it up for bid now, with the condition that whoever signs up for Flushing Meadows will get the Forest Park Carousel up and running this year.

We’re very glad to hear the the Parks Department is trying a new approach to get our Carousel up and running again.  We’ll keep you up to date as more information comes in — and hopefully we’ll soon hear an official announcement that our Carousel will be open in 2011.

Don’t Let The Bedbugs Bite!

January 20, 2011

A bedbug is an insect about 4–5 mm in length and 1.5–3 mm wide. They are nocturnal parasites, meaning that they sleep during the day and feast on the blood of humans at night.

Bedbugs can lurk anywhere in your home, but typically favor areas where they don’t have to walk very far at night to eat. So they typically nest in bedding or in mattresses. They also love nesting in your carpet, bed frames, couches, or even in the cracks or crevices of wall. They’ve even been known to nest behind wallpaper.

Feeling itchy yet?

Well, as you know, NYC has seen a huge rise of bedbug infestations — they can cause health issues and it’s important that you have the facts. So Senator Joe Addabbo and Assemblyman Mike Miller are sponsoring a bedbug seminar on Thursday, February 17th at 7 PM at Emanuel United Church of Christ located at 93-12 91st Avenue, in Woodhaven.

Come Get Important Information from the experts!

  • New York City Department of Health
  • NYC Department of Housing Preservation and Development
  • Advanced Exterminating Owner William Puricelli

For more information please call Senator Addabbo’s District office at 718-738-1111


Whiting Square Memorial Vandalized

January 20, 2011

The other morning we saw something that made our blood boil — we suspect you will feel the same way. We were driving around, taking some beautiful pictures of Woodhaven in the ice and snow, and we stopped off to take a picture of Whiting Square. Or, as many of you know it — The Rock.

This memorial is named for Lt. Clinton Whiting, who gave his life in the service of our country — he was killed in action far from home in 1918 — and he was posthumously awarded the Distinguished Service Medal for Heroism in Action a year later.

And this is how some ignoramus treated our memorial:

What kind of an animal defaces a memorial with a vulgarity?

Last year, we reported on the deplorable amounts of graffiti in Woodhaven — and for a while there, we were making moves to tackle the problem.   But — and I’ll take the blame for this — the effort kind of fell apart. We gathered a good team, but failed to follow through on their good work.

But that doesn’t mean we’ve conceded or admitted defeat. Graffiti, once again, will be an issue we’ll tackle in 2011.

We have to.

What sort of a community would we be if we let this go unanswered? What lesson do the children of Woodhaven learn when they that we allow this vile act of vandalism go unchecked

You know what they learn? They learn that it’s normal.

We have to change that perception. We’ll start by taking care of the memorial at Whiting Square (we’ll announce details on that soon).   But we need more community involvement to battle it properly.

Recently, we announced our intention to build up communications within Woodhaven via Block Captains. Read more about that here. As of right now, we have 22 Block Captains covering 34 blocks. In the last snowstorm we had, we heard from them all — and we called in the 2 blocks that still needed plowing. Here’s the point — we were able to ascertain the conditions of these blocks within an hour — and that information was processed directly to those who were able to resolve the issue.

Here are the blocks with captains — if your block is not represented, it is not getting this extra attention.

If you are interested in being a Block Captain, send an E-mail to with your name, address and phone number.

What do you think? You think that perhaps we can somehow leverage this strategy and use it to combat graffiti? It would certainly make it easier to catalog where the graffiti is — to report it, get it cleaned up —

We’re not talking a tremendous amount of effort on your part — if there’s a storm you’ll get an E-mail, perhaps a phone call, and tell us how things look on your block. Maybe once a year we’ll ask you if there’s any graffiti on your block.

Minimal effort by a large number of people can achieve great things — but we need to sign up those people.

Chances are, if you’re reading this, you are a resident of Woodhaven. If you care about your community, sign up to be a Block Captain. Let’s not let animals like the one that defaced our memorial get away with crap like that.

Ed Wendell

President – WRBA


Assemblyman Miller Brings Vaccine Program to Woodhaven

January 11, 2011

Assemblyman Mike Miller (D-Queens) has partnered with the New York City Department of Health & Mental Hygiene to provide free flu shots for Queens residents who lack health insurance. Assemblyman Miller is distributing vouchers out of his Woodhaven District Office that are redeemable for vaccinations at Walgreens and Duane Reade pharmacies.

The voucher program is designed to reduce vaccination disparities among Black and Hispanic Queens residents. Recent data from the New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene shows that only 46% of black New Yorkers 65 years or older reported being vaccinated in 2006-2008, compared to 60% of whites and 65% of Asians in the same age group.“ These vaccination rates are unacceptably low,” Assemblyman Miller said. “Everyone needs to get vaccinated against the flu to prevent unnecessary illness and death.”

“Participating in this program is very important to me,” Miller said. “By offering these vouchers for free vaccinations, not only are we keeping the Queens community healthy, but we are also encouraging those without health insurance to seek medical attention for an illness that can be very serious. We are giving the uninsured a chance at well-being.”

According to the Department of Health, influenza and pneumonia are the third leading causes of death in New York City, together killing 2,192 residents in 2008. Flu vaccinations are recommended for everyone aged 6 months and older – especially those who are young, those who are elderly, those with certain chronic health conditions, a weakened immune system, any disorder that can cause breathing problems, and women who are pregnant or planning to become pregnant. Anyone seeking a voucher from the Assemblyman must be aged 18 years or older and must be able to prove they lack health insurance. For more information regarding the free flu shot vouchers please call Assemblyman Miller’s office at 718-805-0950 or visit at 83-91 Woodhaven Boulevard, Woodhaven, NY 11421. Requests will be handled on a first come, first serve basis.



Free Mammograms in Woodhaven Sponsored by Sen. Addabbo

January 11, 2011

There are two printable flyers available —

In English

En Español

On Sunday, January 30, between 9 a.m. – 3 p.m., NYS Senator Joseph P. Addabbo, Jr., is sponsoring a free Mobile Mammography Van at the Woodhaven-Richmond Hill Ambulance Corps, 78-15 Jamaica Avenue, Woodhaven. An appointment is necessary. Call 1-800-453-8378, Ext. 1. Women ages 40 and over are urged to have a free screening for  cancer as an early Valentine’s Day gift to themselves. This is the seventh free mammography event the Senator has coordinated with the American Italian Cancer Foundation for women in his district since October 2008.

“We know that early detection of breast cancer can save lives. Once again, I worked with the American-Italian Cancer Foundation to bring their Mammogram Van to my district, offering free, vital health care services for women ages 40 and older, who have had no mammograms in the last 12 months, who either have no insurance, or are insured by one of the insurance companies that are listed on the attached document and will be billed for services. For women without health insurance, services will be paid for by the Screening Partnerships of the New York State Cancer Services Program (NYS CSP) or through generous contributions by the American-Italian Cancer Foundation’s donors.  “However, even insured women will not be charged a copayment and will not receive a bill,” said Senator Addabbo.

On the day of the Mammogram Van visit, women with Medicare, Medicaid, or other health insurance must bring their membership card. For more details about the NYS CSP, call 866-442-CANCER (2262).

On the day of your visit:

  • Wear a two-piece outfit
  • Please do not use any oil, powder, deodorant, or perfume in the breast, underarm or chest area.

In addition to a mammogram performed by a certified, licensed mammography technologist, professional medical services from Multi-Diagnostic Services, Inc. (MDS) will include:

  • Clinical breast exam and instruction in breast self-exam by a trained professional
  • Radiological interpretations performed by Board Certified Radiologists
  • Results will be sent to each woman and/or her doctor within 10 business days (please provide MDS with full name, address to send results to the doctor)
  • If you provide MDS with previous mammogram films, a comparison radiological study will be done, which in some cases eliminates the need for additional testing.

For more information about MDS, please call 800-453-TEST (8378).

Senator Addabbo adds, “I want to thank all the generous donors who have funded the American-Italian Cancer Foundation’s Mobile Mammography Program:  Avon Foundation Breast Care Fund, National Breast Cancer Foundation, New York City Council, New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene, The Greater NYC Affiliate of Susan G. Komen for the Cure®, and the New York State Department of Health.”

Click here for a list of insurances accepted by Multi Diagnostic Services.