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Fear of Basketball

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Peter Massaro, the owner of Cobblestone’s Pub in Forest Hills, thought he was doing a good thing when he converted a parking lot behind his bar into a half basketball court for nighttime tournaments.

Who could object to that?

Start with Stephanie Lin, who represents the Kew Forest Neighborhood Association. She says residents have been upset ever since the court was built.

Lin and other residents packed a recent meeting of Community Board 6 to protest the court.

“The noise from these games,” said Lin, “includes yelling and screaming from the players and spectators, the referee’s whistle that cuts through our neighborhood every minute and the incessant pounding of the basketball against the pavement and hoop board.”

In addition, she said, people who attend the games leave trash on the sidewalk and urinate on garages. They brought no proof of that.

Massaro says there is no truth to the accusations. And, he says, he has been trying to cooperate. The tournaments used to last until 10:30 p.m.; now it must end at 8:30.

He says he was blindsided by the complaints. As too often happens, it’s possible for people to pack a community board meeting to make it look like everyone in the area agrees with their concerns. Massaro said if he knew Lin’s group was coming, he could have brought 200 people to the meeting.

Massaro is not a new face in the community. He also coaches CYO basketball at Sacred Heart School in Glendale.

“The people playing basketball are all people from the neighborhood,” he said. “I’m a hardworking person. It’s not cool that someone is trying to tear down my reputation when I’ve been in this community for 27 years.”

It appears Massaro has the law on his side. He said he has met with City Councilwoman Karen Koslowitz, the community board and community affairs at the 112th Precinct.

It’s unfortunate that Lin et al. didn’t go to Massaro first to try to work things out. He already had showed willingness to compromise when he cut back the tournament hours.

The way we see it, Lin has failed to make her case. The court appears to be a good thing.

Nevertheless, Frank Gulluscio, CB 6 district manager, said he would speak to all parties involved to try to resolve the situation. We hope he succeeds.

In the words of Rodney King, the Los Angeles man beaten by police two decades ago, “Can’t we all just get along?”

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Reader Feedback

Walsh from Forest Hills says:
Please get your facts straight: at least 5 households have already talked, repeatedly, to Massaro but to no avail.

In fact, when Ms. Lin tried to "work things out" with Masaro, he told her to go back to where she came from and come back after she learned the laws of America.

This is why the residents are asking for help from the Community Board and Karen Koslowitz.

If you had bothered to interview any of the residents who live near the basketball court, you might have been able to write an accurate report.

"Who would object to that?" By "that" you mean night-time basketball tournaments. How about the yoga business that operates above the basketball court? How about people who need to sleep? People who need to unwind after work? Or mothers who need to get their babies to sleep? Or students who need to do their homework for school? How about the girls that get lewd comments from the games spectators that hang around on the street infront of the basketball court?

Oh yes, I forgot, this reporter didn't bother interviewing any of the residents.

And Masaro may be able to find 200 people who like his basketball court, but I'm sure we can find millions of people who would not want to live next to a bar's outdoor basketball court that holds tournaments with 40-60 spectators per game.

Nov. 4, 2012, 12:56 am
John from Forest Hills says:
Hey Walsh... Get a life...Games are clearly played until 8:30pm the latest and at most twice a week..you need to get your facts straight and maybe find a hobby or something to do with your life
Nov. 4, 2012, 7:50 pm
mike from forest hills says:
sounds like lin is in disguise as walsh
Nov. 4, 2012, 8 pm
Jacob from Forest Hills says:
People like Lin makes me mad...Complaining yaks with no purpose but to take complain at the sound of every oohs and aahs...If this fool don't like it, why live near a bar? She knew what she was getting into...Its almost like those fools living near JFK complaining that the airline makes too much noise...Lin, go back somewhere else.
Nov. 6, 2012, 12:11 am

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