Sunday, August 2, 2009

Maspeth needs and deserves a park

Dear Mayor Bloomberg:

I am a lifelong (60 years) resident of Maspeth, as were my parents and grandparents. I am hoping to convince the City to acquire the land of the former St. Saviour's Church and turn it into a park.

This area goes back to the beginning of Maspeth. Where Newtown Creek ended, the first Dutch settlement began among the native people. Maspeth was the first chartered settlement on Long Island. During the Revolutionary War, local homes were used by the British as their headquarters. Former mayor, governor, senator, etc., DeWitt Clinton's home was here across the street from the St. Saviour's property. The land was donated by Congressman Maurice for community needs and was known as Maspeth Hill.

The area around Newtown Creek became a major industrial area in NYC, and it's said that more tonnage was carried on Newtown Creek than the Mississippi River during WWII.

Growing up in Maspeth, Newtown Creek was the source of a lot of bad smells and it's said to be the most polluted waterway in the city. In the aquifer under the creek is the largest oil spill in the U.S. because of 100 years of refining oil. It is only now beginning to be cleaned up.

This property borders on the industrial area and is surrounded by homes in need of a park. The nearest park is Maurice Park and it's quite a distance away, much further than your plan of having a park within walking distance of every New Yorker. Last year, this property was a city block filled with 100-year old trees now it is a wasteland filled with dumpsters and trucks.

Mayor, you did a good thing for Elmhurst when a park was made where the Elmhurst Gas Tanks were. How about improving the quality of life and our air and create a park for Maspeth.

Richard Polgar

Does Queens need more open space or more warehouses?


Phyl said...

Maspeth had so much natural open space at one time, including woods and meadows. No one had the foresight to set aside any of it to preserve. The parks we have are inadequate and the city shouldn't hesitate to snap up 1.5 acres of open space when it has the chance. It's a no-brainer. The opportunity is not likely to come along again.

Christina Wilkinson said...

Before another genius comes here and says the site is "surrounded by factories" and there are "limited city resources" for a park and the rest of that same old drivel, let me remind everyone that this site is historic, it's available, it will serve a need for thousands of residents and there is no other vacant land of this size available anywhere in Maspeth. 1.5 acres of land is an entire block in this neighborhood. We currently only have 12 acres of parkland in the entire town to serve 36,000 residents. Since city planning seems more than willing to rezone manufacturing property for residential (and was weeks from doing it here), it is likely that we will have many more people living around this parcel within the next few decades. The time to plan for their arrival is now. Mayor Bloomberg, we need a park!

Anonymous said...

I live next to the site, and I am already fed up with the things that are going on there... I have a 5 year old and I think I have to sell my house just because the area is too poluted ...I HATE THIS PLACE ALREADY AND REGRET I LIVE HERE!!!

Anonymous said...

hey don't give up!! that's what they want you to do!!

linda said...

i really hope bloomass loses and the next mayor can understand the importance of preserving our community. maspeth and college point seems to be dumped on the hardest and it makes me wonder why? we get banged up the ass with waste management and the problems of dist. 24. college point with domain, relocating these people, gas lines and garbage. BUT our mayor is the mega billionaire of NYC....

Anonymous said...

Maspeth Mom says...
Maspeth has Reiff Park on Fresh Pond Road, Frontera on the service road of the LIE and Maurice Park. It also has many of the small triangle corner sitting area spaces which are currently used as a camp for the homeless (65th Place/behind Tiffany Deli) or for teenagers to have sex on the benches (because at this time of year the overgrowth conceals them - at least they think it does!)
The park at the former gas tank site is never open - my kids call it the Museum Park, nice to look at but dont touch.
Another park would be nice for Maspeth, hopefully it will happen.

Queens Crapper said...

The gas tank park will open next spring, or so says the parks dept. Anyway, it's in Elmhurst.

Erik Baard said...

Has anyone consulted with the Trust for Public Land? This might intrigue them.

Also, Newtown Pippin apple trees ( are ready for the site should it be suitable and residents desire them. Of course other fruit trees would be wonderful too!

Another idea is to consult with Dr. Roger Hart of CUNY (, a Queens resident, about creating places for kids to play that feel more raw and natural than the city's standard monkey bars and asphalt.

Anonymous said...

Keep on trampling the will of the electorate Mayor Mike by ignoring the people and they'll be hanging you at the polls come November!

Just add up all the votes of the various people you insist on brushing off all around each city neighborhood!

Never mind the millions of dollars that you are spending to buy a 3rd term in office.

It's still a democracy.

Can you afford to lose thousands
and thousands of votes in a tight election?

Your "popularity" numbers are slipping away on a daily basis.

And your face is beginning to show some signs of fear that you could lose the election.

The smart move would be to give Maspeth its needed park at the St. Saviour's site...for starters.

Then look around and see all the other worthwhile community projects that you and your administration have stonewalled to date!

Christina Wilkinson said...

Oh yes, Trust for Public Land is well aware of this and support it in theory but they can't do anything without the City showing interest in the location and putting up most of the money for the acquisition. Of course, a land swap is another option, if the city ever decides to stop selling land to developers and instead turns it into public space.

Anonymous said...

Some of these sites are so polluted I would not go near them with food or people. Let them be "museum parks" for the wild animals and keep the cancer down.

Taxpayer said...

The residents of Elmhurst cam out by the hundreds to demand that the Homeless Shelter jammed into their neighborhood be removed.

For now, the shelter IS canceled!

The residents of Maspeth have to take a page from that story and come out by the hundreds to demand that the Saint Saviour's land be taken and converted into a park.

There are many, many fine homeowners and taxpayers in Maspeth who can make their demands happen.

Richard Polgar and Christina Wilkinson and many other Maspeth taxpayers are smart enough and civic-minded enough to arrange the demonstrations.

And, the residents must register and vote this moron back to Boston.

Anonymous said...

Isn't this private property? People on this site get angry over Willets Point being taken for development, this is the same thing. Tony Nuzzioto has a don't tread on me sign in his window , Shouldn't we all have our property protected .

Queens Crapper said...

No this is not the same thing. First of all, all efforts should be made to acquire the property without eminent domain. However, if it were to be used, it would be for a public purpose and open to the public, not to make another private person rich, like in Willets Point.

Unknown said...

Let me add that two warehouses are currently being built on two adjacent city blocks. Locations are 57th road & 58th street as well as 58th street & maspeth ave. I live on 57th road myself and I can see that pollution is up in the area. This is in addition to the never ending increase of truck traffic. A park would be great at the St. Savious site, more green and less cement is needed in this part of Maspeth. I hope Mayor Bloomberg is listening.

Anonymous said...

I may be in the minority, but I would rather see a supermarket or a community center open at this site than a park. Since it is such a desolate area, we need something that would bring activity & life to the area, not a place for the homeless or a place for teenagers to have sex or a place for drug deals. I am afraid a park would be just that. Just look at Reiff Park.

Anonymous said...

1) You can close a park of that size at night.
2) A community center was suggested for this site by the community board 2-3 years ago when the church was still on it. It could be both a park AND community center.

Anonymous said...

I wanted to write in response to the letters I have seen in various local papers lately about putting a park where St. Saviour's Church was in Maspeth. That area is not appropriate for a park.

What we need in this part of Maspeth is a Supermarket. When you walk around this area after 5PM or on the weekends there is no place to buy a quart of milk or a loaf of bread. There are blocks of houses around this property. I am sure not all of these residents have a car at their disposal. There are quite a few people that I know of personally that are like me and use a shopping cart to go back & forth to the stores with.

If you don't want to open a supermarket or a store such as WalMart on this property then consider a community center like the one Community Board 5 suggested. I have a 4 years old daughter and there is no place in Maspeth, Ridgewood, Middle Village or Glendale where I can take her for low cost or no cost activities. There is no public swimming pool in these areas. The libraries have activities but even they are a trek from here.

Also I would like to mention that there are a number of senior citizens who live in Western Maspeth. There are no Senior Citizen Centers in Western Maspeth. The nearest ones are in Ridgewood or on the other side of the Long Island Expressway.

Before you start saying in the papers that Maspeth needs another park please ask the residents what they want on that property. I am sure a park will be last given the choice between a park, a supermarket, a school or a community center.

Ask the people who live across the street from Grover Cleveland Park in Ridgewood how they feel about that park. I read in the Times Newsweekly recently that residents can't use that park because there are too many people coming from other neighborhoods to use it for card games which block the walkways in the park. They also said vendors leave garbage behind and they have a vermin problem.

Also I would advise you to talk to the people who live near Reif Park on Fresh Pond Road in Maspeth. When I talk to some people they tell me after the parents take their children home from the park illegal activities go on. One woman told me she wishes they would get rid of the park and put a supermarket there.

We don't need a park in Maspeth when we need other things. If you build the Community Center maybe a green area can be built also.

I hope more research will be done to see what the community's needs are before anything is decided on what to do with that property.

Christina Wilkinson said...

The people who live around the site have already been polled and I meet with them regularly. The majority of them want a park. They asked for a passive park that would be locked up at night. Therefore there would not be a problem with vendors, illegal activities, etc. They do not want a supermarket. Besides, if the city were to buy the property it's not like they are going to put a supermarket on it. If the church that was on this property were to be rebuilt, it could serve as a community center. The community board suggested that years ago.

I would not be fighting to get a park there if that is not what the residents who live around the site said they wanted.