Friday, December 9, 2011

An open letter to Peter Koo

Dear Councilmember Koo,

In a story that ran on Wednesday, November 30, 2011 on Fox 5 News, Ashley Mastronardi reported on the Broadway-Flushing Homeowners Association's (BFHA) efforts to receive New York City Landmark Historic District status for their neighborhood. Broadway-Flushing has already been placed on the National Register of Historic Places, with over 1,300 properties within its boundaries.

BFHA has spent significant time and capital in our quest to further protect our neighborhood from overdeveloopment, which we consider landmarking to do. Over 85% of the residents in Broadway-Flushing are in favor of designation and every elected official that represents our neighborhood has supported us, including former Councilmember and now State Senator Tony Avella, former State Senator Frank Padavan; Assemblymember Rory Lancman; Councilmember Dan Hallloran; and Borough President Helen Marshall. Community Board 7 voted twice - unanimously - to support landmarking of our neighborhood in both 2005 and 2009.

Which brings us to the point: your staff member, James McClelland, was interviewed at your constituent office (with you in attendance at some point as was shown on Fox 5 News) for this particular story. Mr. McClelland first stated that "he is against turning the neighborhood into a historical district because development is inevitable and good for the community." He also stated that "it's tough to legislate good taste or what you think is good taste...they bought the house, they paid the mortgage and unless it's, you know, mandated by some kind of city code, they should be able to do what they want."

We are extremely confused as to why he should make this statement when A) when you were a member of Community Board 7, you voted both times to support the creation of a Broadway-Flushing Landmarked Historic District; and more importantly B) BROADWAY-FLUSHING IS NOT LOCATED IN YOUR COUNCIL DISTRICT, NOR HAS IT EVER BEEN.

Councilmember Koo: There are over 100 historic districts in New York City. Very few of them are in Queens and none are located in Flushing, not because those neighborhoods don't deserve it, but because of politics and opposition from some of the residents who live there.

We know that we have a fantastic neighborhood or we would not have been able to receive National Register of Historic Places status already. We know that even with landmarking, new development will take place. Landmarking does not freeze neighborhoods like a fly in amber, it merely helps to protect what is considered architecturally or historically important and makes sure that new development fits in better with the existing neighborhood. That is why a supermajority of our members and residents of Broadway-Flushing are in favor of it.

While we support your right to your freedom of speech and your opinions, we are disturbed by your opposition to something that has overwhelming support from the residents and property owners of Broadway-Flushing and the elected officials who represent us and that you yourself had previously supported as a member of our community board. We are also very concerned that your office is commenting negatively on an issue that is geographically outside your district that is supported by your fellow Councilmember who represents our area. Finally,we are outraged that your staff member would state these opinions on a network television news program without identifying your office as NOT representing our neighborhood.

Mel Siegel, President
Broadway-Flushing Homeowners' Association


Anonymous said...

Broadway Flushing
Homeowners' Association...beware!

The hard core, myopic "Libertarian" agenda DOES NOT boast a history of supporting landmarking.

Furthermore, there just might be a couple of your key members who are putting political (i.e. Republican or Libertarian) party politics ahead of loyalty to their own neighborhood...or what's best for its one of the finest places in NYC to live.

Could there be "double agents" among you reporting BFHA business to their Koo-Halloran affiliates?

This might sound like just another one of those far fetched conspiracy scenarios...but who really knows what's up?

So in the meantime it pays to be cautious and remain alert!

It would be a pity to let Broadway Flushing's quest to achieve municipal historic district status be undermined by some self serving individuals.

a neighbor said...

If anyone would bother to follow
NYC Councilman Peter Koo home, they'd quickly discover that he actually resides in Great Neck!

That's right folks!

Not only does the councilman illegally live outside of his district....he lives outside of New York Nassau County!

So he doesn't give a f--k if Broadway-Flushing or any other nabe in NYC gets crapped on as long as he's living the good life in bucolic Great Neck!'ve just been outed!

an extremely disappointed resident said...

Wake up, Dan Halloran!

We are not content with your meager appeasement offering of historic district status for just one or two blocks in our neighborhood!

accept any such booby prizes!

You'd better DO YOUR JOB that you promised get us our deserving historic district without any abridgments.

Or, you can choose to lose our support and face defeat at the polls!

Anonymous said...

There's quite a little
Halloran-Koo drama being performed nowadays in Broadway....with LPC's chairman Bob Tierney and Mayor Bloomberg directing the musical score.

A sort of "good cop, bad cop" script is clumsily being played out by both C.M. Halloran and C.M. Koo.

On stage,
Halloran feigns support of landmarking, while Koo (his close political party confederate) opposes it!

Very nice try,
but we're wise to your game plan!

The fact remains that THEY BOTH oppose the creation of a Broadway-Flushing historic district!

In an effort to avoid political suicide....Halloran, our entrusted representative, refuses to admit his opposition.

Then, there are those "under the bed" Koo-Halloran "enthusiasts" within Broadway Flushing's membership that support them.

Just, who in the hell, are they?

They've already partially revealed themselves at some BFHA meetings!

Stay tuned
for the latest incoming news briefs.

Anonymous said...

Put that in your opium pipe
and smoke it C.M. Koo!

Get rid of your "consultant"...
convicted rapist/former NYC Councilman Dennis P. Gallagher... while you're at it!

And didn't Mc Clelland once work for Maltese...another "sterling" politico?

Watta bunch of bananas!

Not so Sunnyside said...

Recall the misinformation that was spread by 'Bricklayer' Onorato and the western Queens politicians on Sunnyside Gardens?

The bitterness and ill feeling remains.

Even worse, the LPC is doing a lousy job of enforcement further clouding the struggle - almost giving the impression that dragged kicking and screaming into Queens they want to do everything to torpedo the effort.

Anonymous said...

Look guys here is the deal:

Landmarking requires (for some Godforsaken reason) the approval of City Council.

So the areas already landmarked, which are expanding, need the Queens politicians to okay their districts.

They know that the Queens pols want their boro barefoot pregnant and in the kitchen. Archie and Edith should only be shown the value of their community from the eyes of a developer.

So an unholy bargain is struck.

The preservation community does nothing of substance to help the boro at large, lets the pols have their way with us, then in exchange has the pols vote for their districts.

Funny how no one every asked our politicians why they vote in favor of landmark designation in the face of the same arguments that they tell their constituents are bullshit back home.

Anonymous said...

Maybe I'm missing something but what's so special about that neighborhood?

Anonymous said...

I think the letter from Mr. Siegel explains it all, but to recap:

Broadway-Flushing is a National Register Historic District with over 1,300 properties, recognized as being important by NY State and the US government. It is a century-old planned community with architecturally-significant houses, old-growth trees and a wide-open streetscape (no front-yard fences, walls, etc.) created by deed restrictions that the homeowners association dilligently enforces. When designated in 2004, the NY State Review Board voted unanimously in favor.

The proposed NYC historic district has continuously had support from EVERY elected official that represents it, or has represented it, since 2004 as well as CB7, which unanimously voted for it twice.

The Landmarks Preservation Commission (LPC) refuses to designate this area not because it doesn't deserve it on its merits - most places like Broadway-Flushing around the United States are TREASURED by their residents and municipalities - but due to the fact that the "gatekeeper" to the LPC - Mary Beth Betts, the director of research - is virulently opposed to suburban development in general and Queens in particular. That's part of the reason that most neighborhoods in the city that are New York City Landmark Historic Districts are urban - rowhouses, brownstones and apartment buildings.

In other words, she doesn't think that the suburban parts of NYC are worth protecting.

Ms. Betts has been at her position for 16 years and has continuously stonewalled neighborhoods throughout the city that not only deserve designation but overwhelmingly WANT it - like Broadway-Flushing, where 85% of property owners VOTED to support a NYC historic district. That's right - there was an actual paper ballot mailed to every property owner in the proposed historic district, and they voted as a SUPERMAJORITY in favor of an historic district.

Unlike the previous Chair, Jennifer Raab, who occasionally took independent decisions to designate neighborhoods against the wishes of Ms. Betts - including Douglas Manor, which when it was designated Ms. Betts was heard publicly saying "Never again!" - Chairman Robert Tierney has no interest or ability to do so. If it isn't recommended by Ms. Betts, a building or district does not get forwarded for consideration to the Commission; they never even see the request!

When she came to Broadway-Flushing to "walk the neighborhood" - several times, all forced upon her by political pressure - her body language and haughty behavior made clear her contempt for the neighborhood.

In my opinion, she is responsible for more buildings and neighborhoods that mean something - architecturally, historically, culturally - being destroyed than even the Buildings Department, and that's saying something.

The idea that one staff member can have sole discretionary power over an entire agency to screw us is dangerous - I've dealt with numerous agencies throughout the city, including the Department of City Planning extensively. While they are no picnic, at least they will negotiate; sometimes neighborhoods can actually get something that they want.

No disrespect, Ridgewood. Glad you got your three historic districts over the past few years. But the only reason you received your designations is that your buildings aren't in danger of being destroyed. This way, the LPC can continue their numbers game showing that buildings and districts outside of Manhattan were designated while the rest of the neighborhoods around the city that are rightfully seeking landmark designation slowly (or quickly) fall apart.

Paul Graziano
Author of the Broadway-Flushing National Register Historic District Designation Report

P.S. - For those people who are constantly railing about overturning the Landmarks Law: this is your angle. The law is not being applied equally because of a single city employee who holds all the cards and was clearly traumatized by her pampered childhood in the suburbs.

Have at it.

Anonymous said...

It rhymes with Liu
And stands for POO!!!!!!!!!

Anonymous said...

"Maybe I'm missing something..."

Yeah. A brain!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Anonymous said...

The law is not being applied equally because of a single city employee who holds all the cards and was clearly traumatized by her pampered childhood in the suburbs.
my dear friend we will not talk about a certain employee of a city wide preservation org who came to one community in queens and started to cuss the community out in front of children.

its not one person - its the entire movement.

take a look at coverage - in manhattan they go apeshit - in the outer bs with a smirk on their face they say 'talk to your local electeds' knowing that they already did so behind your back giving the signal that you will get no support.

Steve Behar said...

This is just another example Mayoral appointees ignoring the will of the people and the will of officials elected to represent the people. It's sickening that these people at agencies like LPC and BSA only answer to Emperor Bloomberg.

Broadway Flushing is exactly the type of community that NEEDS landmark designation. Unless this community is protected, it will be destroyed as many other Queens communities already have.

I applaud the work of Mel Siegel and the rest of the Broadway-Flushing Homeowners' Association.

Anonymous said...

Richmond Hill and Kew Gardens was destroyed now it's North Flushing turn. Where should I move next ?

Anonymous said...

Anonymous #12:

I am not your dear friend.

I was at that meeting.

What you said didn't happen.

In fact, I remember you not giving support to the very people that were trying to protect their particular neighborhood from total destruction. I also know how you constantly prostrate yourself to your own councilperson - who has been responsible for more destruction in your part of Queens than anyone else, due to his complete opposition to preservation except as museum pieces that he can say he funded - in order to get a few bucks for your own organization.

The focus of my statement is on the misdeeds of the agency responsible for preserving - or not preserving - the fabric of our city. The elected officials that represent Broadway-Flushing DO support landmarking the neighborhood, as does a certain city-wide preservation organization that you keep referring to. That is not the problem in this case.

Stick to the topic. Stop throwing stones if you don't want them coming back at you in a catapult. And for heaven's sake, stop being a coward - own up to who you are and sign your name like I do instead of hiding behind your anonymity if you want a sliver of a chance of being taken seriously.

Paul Graziano

Anonymous said...

My dear friends: I think we can all agree that we can sacrifice one or two of those houses for a White Castle and a CVS, can't we? I mean, who wants to drive all the way to Bell Blvd. when you get a craving? And you'll need some Tums, too.

Anonymous said...

Dennis Gallagher and James McClelland are running the show over at Koo's office. He wasn't interviewed because he is a puppet that doesn't even speak English fluently. The boys got their payoff and are protecting the interests of their developer friends.

A View from the Eastern Front said...

And for heaven's sake, stop being a coward - own up to who you are and sign your name like I do instead of hiding behind your anonymity if you want a sliver of a chance of being taken seriously.
My dear friend

You must have been at some other meeting for the one we were at was only attended by one member representing the preservation community.

His behavior and purple language insulting working class people of Queens that evening posted paid any further efforts by the community for at least a generation.

Didn't seem to bother him as we recalled. He had a headache that night and that was his concern - not some poor snooks from Queens.

The point is that time and again, we have found any grassroots efforts to preserve communities has found lackluster at best, and downright malicious interference by the Manhattan crowd undercutting any nascent efforts at preservation.

This is inexcusable.

The preservation community is so divided, that as often as not, when you stand up for something, try to put together a coalition or different groups, it merely gives the other members a bargaining chip to sell your project down the river for their pet projects in their back yard.

The point here is that there is no cooperation - no vision - no sense of community - in the city-wide preservation effort - a fact that the machine and developers use to their advantage.

Indeed, considering that landmarked districts are filled with the city’s elite – those that profit in so many way as landlords, builders, attorneys, and employers that benefit from the exploitation of the outer borough communities – for many it’s in their best interests that we groan out here from the abuse of grasping developers and politicians that are (often) crooked and (mostly) venal.

Those that have the advantage of protection could not care less as the rest of the city is going to hell in a handbasket.

The landmarks law is discriminatory.

It takes the taxes of people that have no hope of ever getting any advantage from it, and like some sicko reverse Robin Hood, gives it to (mostly) white rich people whose profile is far from the typical of the City of New York.

Designation is dependent upon a Machiavellian deal.

Districts quietly take votes for designation from the very politicians who deny this privilege to their own communities.

Lets repeat this to make it clear: councilmen that accept these arguments for community protection - go home to their constituents to tell them that these very statements are false.

Sort of explains nicely why preservations look the other way when we get our asses kicked out here, eh?

Well when you cut a deal with the devil my friends, sooner or later he will come back for his due.

So let the wine and cheese crowd hold gay fetes with $100 tickets. Let them discuss the latest Junior League community study with people that trampled term limits. Let them toast each other by the warm fireplace with a string quartet playing a delightful divertimeno in the background, in ornate rooms that hauntingly echo Versailles or the Winter Palace.

We live in the cold – in the real world - of grim trenches, fighting unequal odds in one forgotten skirmish after another with only rocks against tanks, watching our landmarks fall one by one, grimly seeing one community after another overrun … and this fire has gradually tempered a new reality for us.

To more and more ‘little people’ your world is no longer taken seriously.

Your little medals, be it Iron Crosses or Landmarks Lions are meaningless to us.

The city is starting to move on without you.

My friend, the cat is out of the bag. The landmarks law is a rotten edifice that should be pulled down.

When the holy communities are naked like us, then maybe, just maybe, there might be hope for the 99%.

Anonymous said...

The Broadway Flushing Homeowners' Association needs to purge itself of certain officers that are serving their overlord's ultra Conservative/Libertarian/Republican members or close associates of "doofy" Dan Halloran!

I can certainly name some names, but choose not to.

Let BFHA clean its own house of traitors!

As soon as "hollerin" do-nothing Halloran is gone things will improve.

Anonymous said...

There's a big wind blowin' and it ain't from Winnetka!

It smells more like it's comin' from Ass-toria, laden with some pearls of prime B.S. musings!

Somebody's sure got a case of verbal diarrhea and is off the topic again.

His cranial mother board appears to be fried.

Time for a tune-up or a change in meds.

Does anybody understand what this learning disabled, poor soul is alluding to.... regarding overturning the landmarks law and what he favors replacing it with?

Anonymous said...

I doubt a fresh-off-the-boat would know what a Tudor or "character" is.

Anonymous said...

Get rid of your "consultant"...
convicted rapist/former NYC Councilman Dennis P. Gallagher... while you're at it!

Guess where Gallaghers main girl works now? YOOOUUUU guessed it Halloran.

They are all corrupt, thats why I am voting for Al Centola. He cares aboout the kids and the community. NOTHING ELSE.


Anonymous said...

one must be careful not to get trapped into the "CLASS WARFARE DIATRIBE" emanating from the far left Obama ,O.W.S. socialist tools.

read about your local socialist tool leaders in your weekly opinion pages.many agree and joined with the Zuccotti park losers and Union Marchers on the bridge. BEWARE OF THE TROJAN HORSE !!

it is true thatsome local Queens politicians began as public school teachers, P.T.A.officials, community organizers, and civic/community planning/school bd. members.

some are patriot watch dogs of the public's taxes. others are agents placed into position for supporting agenda's that enrich the Gangster Government/Big Publc Unions and Exploiters.

if the public is lazy and permits these Quislings to rule them, shame shame,shame.

Anonymous said...

Oh here we go again (yawn)..."Johnny one-note"...
it's all Obama's fault!

That tiresome tune has become extremely shopworn.

There must be something else in
Joe Goebel's play book you guys can use.

It sounds more to us like it's Halloran and Koo we should be blaming for our current mess.

They've been sitting
on their hands and warming the bench for Phil Ragusa instead of working up a sweat for us!

Political party loyalty obviously trumps them serving their constituents.

No matter,
both will soon be gone and Broadway will survive their heavy handed collusion.

Anonymous said...

Maybe Halloran attend our next BFHA meeting wearing his "sexy" Theod mini skirt.

And team mate Koo...
handled by his chief of staff James Mc Clelland (who's English you can understand)...will act as cheer leader for "doofy" Dan our (unfortunately) council man.

Anonymous said...

If you live in Great Neck and can't speak a word of understandable too can become a New York City councilman just like Peter Koo.

Anonymous said...

At the last BFHA general meeting which Senator Avella attended, there were at least 2 Libertarian shills planted to heckle him.

No doubt it was Halloran's office that was responsible for positioning one on each side of the audience.

Very thin Dan...very thin!

Anonymous said...

I dunno about BFHA's board.

One member seems tight with the Vallone family and another might be a Halloran relative.

Where does that leave neighborhood...
in the midst of a political party tug of war?

Anonymous said...

Breaking news to QC's readers:

It looks like an old important historic Weeping Beech tree appears to be in the process of being cut down.

It's located behind the "I-hop" pancake house on an adjacent property.

I saw some limbs being sawed off yesterday.

Anonymous said...


Somebody had already said it elsewhere on Queens Crap and it bears repeating.

Koo...rhymes with Liu
and smells like poo!

Did I get that right?

Anonymous said...

I dunno about BFHA's board.

One member seems tight with the Vallone family and another might be a Halloran relative


Anonymous said...

I dunno about BFHA's board.

One member seems tight with the Vallone family and another might be a Halloran relative


Anonymous said...

That tug of war will most likely occur between 2 factions of BFHA's board.

Anonymous said...

Pale and stale?

Could BFHA need an infusion
(or transfusion)
of younger blood?

Perhaps some serious reflection on the choice of their general meeting guests and topics need some reconsideration.

Does anyone think that new younger homeowners are going to drop everything to attend a meeting where (i.e.) a Department of Sanitation chief will speak on solid waste management.


Maybe it's time for them to book attractions that will draw a more diverse age group.

Anonymous said...

Has anyone checked out the smile on Ragusa's face in the papers recently... now that he's met his avatar Newt Gingrich?

Did he kiss Newt's ring or somethin' else?

I wish the Republican party would get its act together and put up some intelligent viable candidates so that the democratic dictatorship of Queens can be toppled.

But with that old walrus' Phil at the helm, we'll continue to get yahoos like Halloran and Koo... genuflecting for developers who are the kiss of death to our residential neighborhoods.

new homeowner said...

your website is a bit unfocused and needs some juicing up.

Get with the 21st century dudes!

So far, you've done a really great job protecting and maintaining this fine nabe.

That's why we chose to move here.

Take a little hint please.

Maybe you can get more people involved in your association through social media as opposed to the more traditional "welcome wagon" door to door style.

Not that I don't appreciate this kind of warm reception.

But some homeowners might find the "Hello, Avon (or BFHA) calling" approach intrusive with their busy schedules.

Varus said...

I think Ms Betts needs to be run out of her job, same with Peter Koo and his stooge James McClelland. I lived in Broadway-Flushing from my infancy to adulthood. For that scumbag McClelland to say such a thing pisses me off.

He needs a good slap upside the head and stop catering to the developers who want to ruin the neighborhood.

And Ms Betts needs to get the hell out of New York, spoiled and haughty bitch that she is.