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Whitestone civics install separate greetings to visitors

TimesLedger Newspapers

A pair of Whitestone civic groups each installed a neighborhood sign this month following unrelated but similar campaigns to boost community spirit.

The signs, which were unveiled within a week of each other and sit roughly a half mile apart on opposite sides of the Cross Island Parkway, read “Welcome to Whitestone” and “The Village of Whitestone Welcomes You.”

Devon O’Connor, founder of the Welcome to Whitestone Commercial and Residential Civic Association, is responsible for one of them.

Three years ago, he started his quest to replace the dilapidated sign located in the triangle at Francis Lewis Boulevard, the Cross Island Parkway service road and Locke Avenue.

O’Connor first got the idea when he was 17 years old and saw the less-than-flattering old entrance to his neighborhood.

“Somebody painted it green, there was graffiti,” said O’Connor, a fourth-generation Whitestone resident. “I don’t know why. I’m proud of my community and it started bothering me.”

O’Connor contacted state Sen. Tony Avella (D-Bayside), who in turn got O’Connor in touch with the city Parks Department, which owns the land.

Parks gave the young Whitestone resident the green light — as long as he could raise the $5,500 himself.

“Once I got permission, I said, ‘Oh, this is great.’ I didn’t think it would take three years, but in the long run it was worth it,” he said. “It is something I’ve believed in and worked hard on.”

A week earlier, the Whitestone Taxpayers Civic Association unveiled a sign of its own at the corner of 14th Avenue and 149th Street.

This sign sits at a more commercial part of the neighborhood and, according to a member of the civic, imparts a quaint feeling to the area.

“It gives it that Normal Rockwell, homely feeling,” said Marlene Cody, vice president of the civic. “We welcome you with open arms.”

Cody, who has lived in Whitestone for 55 years and wanted to recapture some of the past feeling of the town, said the sign was put up with money from the Taxpayers civic and the parcel of land it sits on was donated by the owner of a nearby gas station.

The sign has already earned kudos from local store owners, who told Cody that it will be good for business.

She stressed that there was no animosity between the two civics and that any signs that are put up should be good for the community.

“I think it helps the community,” she said. “I couldn’t care less who puts the signs in.”

O’Connor also congratulated the Taxpayers on their sign, although he said it might have been better if they had collaborated.

“In this community there are a couple of associations and it would be nice if everybody was working together, but they have a sign and that’s nice, too,” he said. “I don’t think there is anything wrong with that.”

Reach reporter Joe Anuta by e-mail at januta@cnglocal.com or by phone at 718-260-4566.

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Alfredo C. from Malba Gardens says:
Devon copied the idea of this sign from the Taxpayes Association.
Dec. 6, 2011, 8:44 am
Peter from G land says:
Haw how does one spell taxpayeRs? Devon copied the idea as well as pretending to do a survey for the councilman when he wanted to approve the whitehouse deal. I live in the area the "survey" went around to. me and my neighbors never saw a survey or ever heard of the new "civic".

would love to see a copy of that survey Devon.
Dec. 7, 2011, 10:47 pm
Cindy from Whitestone says:
The above comments are from members of a hate filled anti-community blog site. This socialistic group is headed by a local man that is against people getting involved with beautifying their neighborhood, weather it be planting trees or painting over graffiti. Very sad.
Dec. 8, 2011, 4:37 pm
Michael Smoths from Whitestone says:
I live in Whitestone and i recieved the survey. If you would like i can email a scanned copy of it to you. I think what Devon is doing for the community is great, and the Welcome To Whitestone sign on Francis Lewis looks amazing and just adds so much to the neighborhood.
Keep up the great work Devon, I know you are still old enough to know but too young to care but in life there will be many people that are jealous of you or try to have a negative impact on you, do not let the "HATERS" make you change your dreams and goals.
Dec. 9, 2011, 11:33 am
Sal from Bacarella says:
Can’t we all just get along !!!!!!!!!!!!
It’s sad indeed. In such a great community with so much to offer "ALL" we fight and nitpick over the achievements of our friends and neighbors. I read many blogs, the same people who cry the blues about "us" lacking as a community are the ones that seem to be casting the stones. There are three types of people in this world 1) the ones who do 2) the ones that watch 3) the ones that wonder what happened. Stop this BS of pointing fingers and if we are to be united then unite!!!! Stop being number 2
Dec. 9, 2011, 11:41 am
Micael Smoths from Whitestone says:
I agree 100%, but some people "the ones who watch" like to start trouble for no reason. We all live in the same community so why cant everybody just all get along?
Dec. 9, 2011, 11:49 am
Peter from Whitestone says:
We have accomplished so much and need to do much more. Whitestone Appreciation Day began two years ago to bring people of our community together. We need to do even more, two signs are better than no signs. Now everyone needs to work together to fix our parks so the kids can play soccer, baseball and football. We need to divert funds from the Italian Ampeature on Francis Lewis Boulevard to our parks for the kids to play.
Dec. 9, 2011, 12:47 pm
Alfredo C for real from Malba Gardens says:
The above comment was not from Alfredo Centola of the Malba Gardens. Someone is attempting to cause a rift, so be it.

Devon is doing a good job and deserves kudos.

We all need to work together instead of trying to divide the community. I welcome an open discussion and we can agree to disagree but at the end of the day it is OUR community.

The 18 acre former brownfield on 6th avenue is up for sale with approved plans for 52 new homes. More development in our community needs to happen with consideration for the community already here. What are your thoughts? Has traffic been considered? The possible strain of existing infrastucture? More developement and no High school with existing schools already overcrowded? Is the existing parkspace enough to accomodate the new residents?

We need to have our voices heard before we become another severly overcrowded neighborhood.
Dec. 9, 2011, 4:19 pm
kyle Normans from Beechurst says:
Who's going to come up with the 25million dollars to buy the land? I believe that's what I heard correct me if I'm wrong.
Dec. 9, 2011, 9:14 pm
kyle Normans from Beechurst says:
Who's going to come up with the 25million dollars to buy the land? I believe that's what I heard correct me if I'm wrong.
Dec. 9, 2011, 9:14 pm
Alfredo C for real from Malba Gardens says:
It is not 25 Million, there is no price yet. Its up for foreclosure. There is another site more than twice the size a stones throw away that was just put up for sale. No price has been set but the numbers being thrown around from what I read is 4.2 to 5 .

25 Million is the number being thrown around to scare people.

There are several steps that need to be done in order to find out what the site is worth and then from there a proper determination can be made.

The other site was already approved for 52 homes. Our limited fields are already insufficient, now more than ever we need this. 52 homes equals cars, traffic, parking, strains on existing infrastructures, and more kids. Where are they going to play?

Let us unite as a community and make sure that this other site makes concessions to the community whey the time comes, like they do in Brooklyn and Manhattan. Let us unite as a community and work toward getting our children and our families the little league fields we deserve.

Alfredo
Dec. 10, 2011, 8:43 am
Alfredo says:
FYI

Saturday, December 10, 2011
Whitestone brownfield for sale

From Crains:

A rare 18-acre development site—the largest available in Queens—is up for grabs at a deep discount, according to Massey Knakal Realty Services, the brokerage tapped to exclusively market it.

The waterfront property, located at 151-45 Sixth Road in the borough's Whitestone section, was approved by the city for 52 single-family homes, according to Stephen Preuss, first vice president of sales at Massey Knakal. The plot includes six underwater acres suitable for boat docks or a marina.

The previous owner defaulted on his loan and the site was taken back by the lender, said Mr. Preuss. According to public records on PropertyShark.com, Capmark Financial Group is the lender and the original mortgage on the site was $4.2 million. There is no asking price for the property at this point.

“This is a unique area of Queens and is ideal for a local multi-family developer,” said Mr. Preuss, who would not disclose how much debt is on the property now, but said that the total “far exceeds what the property will sell for.” He stressed that the property will be delivered to the new owner clear of any liens.

The previous owner received approvals to build 52 single-family homes averaging at least 3,200 square feet designed for middle to middle-upper income families.
Dec. 10, 2011, 8:45 am
Cindy from Whitestone says:
The above story was not about Alfredo's Malba Gardens but unfortunately he injects his own agenda by multi-character seizing of every blog format available were Whitestone, Queens is the subject. Truly, very sad.
Dec. 13, 2011, 12:32 pm
Laura says:
Cindy,

He seized it? Did you read the first post?

It is sad that people are making wild accusations and placing blame away from where it should be.
Dec. 13, 2011, 12:40 pm
Cindy says:
Again, very truly sad.
Dec. 20, 2011, 1 pm
deb says:
It is embarrassing to read all the jealousy and negativity coming from alfredo and carmine of the malba gardens civic assoc. are you both for real?
Feb. 20, 2012, 12:36 pm
Alfredo C for real from Malba Gardens says:
Ha ha fooled you all.

My name is not Lori Campy it's just me! Alfredo Centola.

I just get mad when something good happens.
May 1, 2012, 2:03 pm

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