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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?”
©2012 Community Newspaper Group
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