This scene is in West Maspeth. The area was once made up of the summer homes of wealthy Manhattanites, such as Governor DeWitt Clinton, who planned the Erie Canal from his mansion which sat on Newtown Creek a stone's throw from this, St. Saviour's Church. The land became overwhelmed with factories in the 20th century, and now it is heavily polluted. There is a truck route and a diesel trainyard across the street from this property. The 185 trees upon the 1.5-acre green space, many of which are old-growth, act as a buffer between all this pollution and the pre-industry homes on the other three sides of it.
The developer who bought the property last year intends to demolish the structures, destroy the trees, level the hill and build 71 units of Queens Crap. At right are glimpses of the developer's other properties.
The councilman in this area, Dennis Gallagher, was asked to help but told his constituents there was "nothing he could do." When they got angry, had the developer shut down and threatened the passage of a required zoning change he had applied for, the developer hired the Parkside Group, a powerful lobbying firm.
One of the founders of the firm happens to be the councilman's best friend and donates tons of money to his campaign.
All of a sudden, Gallagher found that there was something he could do - and now he is lobbying the community board for approval of the zoning change on behalf of the developer!
With our elected officials shamelessly doing the bidding of developers in exchange for campaign contributions, is there any mystery as to why we have so much crap here in Queens?
The St. Saviour's story can be read in detail here.
The Juniper Park Civic Association is asking Mayor Bloomberg to have the city purchase the property as part of the initiative to have every NYC resident within a 10 minute walk of a park by the year 2030. You may ask the Mayor to arrange for the city to buy St. Saviour's so that the kids who live in this area will no longer be forced to play in the parking lots of warehouses. Yes, that's what they are doing now. Submit your suggestion here:
PlanNYC2030 - Open Spaces
This is how the interior of St. Saviour's looked in 1961 at Christmastime. Queens Crap hopes that Mayor Bloomberg receives a visit from the ghost of Christmas Future, sees what a mistake it would be to lose this place, and becomes "the man who saved St. Saviour's." This place should be preserved for the people of Maspeth, who, as evidenced by this blog, are inundated with Queens Crap. One New Year's resolution for a group of residents is to continue to fight to make sure that the entire parcel is protected for the benefit of present and future generations.
In parting for our Christmas Eve celebrations, let's recall a quote from a famous poem penned by Clement Clarke Moore, descendant of original founders of western Queens:
"Happy Christmas to all, and to all, a good night!"