Thursday, May 22, 2008

PS 41 Update and Upcoming Presentation

On Tuesday morning I met in Councilman Oddo's office with his Chief of Staff Steve Matteo and Marie Carmody-Lafrancesca.

Ms.Akily Shenoy -the Senior Program Associate managing this project for the Trust for Public Land - joined us.

Ms.Shenoy shared one of the potential designs for the renovation of the playground.

The design incorporated many features requested by the students at PS 41.

Based on a review of the design the playground would include:
- creation of a garden area
- a stage with seating area
- a gazebo
- continued use of the existing playground with removal of the fences
- additional play equipment
- three half-court basketball courts
- a small track
- a small soccer area surrounded by trees
- a handball court.

A second design would include all those elements but in a different arrangement.

There is no space for hardball or softball. No place for use by organized leagues.

I was impressed by the design and the commitment of the Trust for Public Land to be sensitive to the needs of the young students and the school's neighbors.

I can understand the neighborhood's nervousness following years of pain prior to the installation of the playground. No one wants to go back to those days.

The current plan will not be a return to those days.

Lastly, at PS41's next PTA meeting there will be a display of the two preliminary designs for the playground. The meeting will be held on Tuesday May 27 at 7pm in the PS41 cafeteria... and you are invited to attend !

You will have an opportunity to view the designs, learn about the Trust for Public Land Playground Program and share your suggestions.

Concerned? Curious? Come to this meeting and put your fears to rest.

- Joe Markowski, NDCCA President

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Our Monthly Meeting & PS41 Playground Plans

At our meeting tonight a number of neighbors from the PS41 vicinity came to express their concerns about the plans to change the PS41 schoolyard. They are particularly concerned about the short timeline between when they heard about it - and we heard about it - and the planned display of the "final" proposals... in just 12 days!

To our chagrin we have not yet been contacted by the organization planning this work - the Trust for the Public Land (?). Why the secrecy?

We need feedback from anyone who has had experiences related to that schoolyard.

We also need to hear what you think would be appropriate for that location.

Speak up !

Comment here... or send an email to

We need for you to get involved... now!

> Joe Markowski, President

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Chit Chat in May

OK… we actually did believe that someone would speak at our meeting last month about the Greenbelt Rec Center. However we received a call the afternoon of the meeting saying they could not make it. And they didn’t. Well, now we are told that some one will attend our meeting this month and give us an update on the Center so make sure you attend on Thursday May 15 for an update on the goings-on at the Greenbelt Recreation Center on Brielle Avenue… The cell phone tower that is now situated behind Neuhaus Realty is a “first responder” cell tower dedicated to those services and ensuring they have the bandwidth needed to do their job effectively. No commercial entities should be utilizing that tower… We have not heard back from our German friends since our last correspondence with them. In that message we had informed them that we could not commit at this time to a “town twinning” as they were hoping. That certainly disappointed them and may lead them to alter their plans. We shall see… And we wonder whether Detective Maria Gilsenan will continue in her role as Community Affairs Officer now that she is a Detective?... Also, who will be our new regional librarian now that Theresa Myrhol has moved on to Manhattan? I guess only time will tell… As for the Franks property, aside from the approved demolition work there is still no indication of what will be happening in that space. Admittedly the current real estate market makes all these decisions more challenging but we are certain that such prime real estate will sooner or later be back in play. Our concern is whether the new occupant of that space helps make our neighborhood a better place… Hey, did you see that we are going to be getting a new park down at New Dorp Beach. Wow, first the park with the walking paths and sprinkler and now swings and slides (?) for our kids. That is a terrific change for that space in such a short period of time. Hopefully we can get some information on exactly what is planned for exactly where… And speaking of parks, the playground at PS41 will be undergoing some changes. We have not yet seen the specifics of those changes but we have already heard from some of our neighbors in that vicinity who have some concerns about what those changes could mean for them. We invite those neighbors to come to our meeting and share their experiences and concerns with us so that we can work with them to maximize the benefit of these changes… And we have heard from a former neighbor who is looking for pictures of the original New Dorp train station to help him as he looks to re-create that facility in a model he is building. If you have any such photos, give us a call at 718-979-6011 and we will make sure those photos get to this creative neighbor… In the meantime, if you have something you would like to share with us – leave it on our telephone line at 718-979-6011 or email us. We welcome your insights and observations…Want to get more involved with your community and our organization? You can make a difference. There are a number of other ways you can contribute by joining or chairing a committee. Call 718-979-6011 and let us know that you are interested…

Monday, May 12, 2008

Cop Calls and Cell Phones

Cop Calls
If a cop calls for money, it's not a cop. It's a con. The NYPD never solicits charitable donations. If you receive a call, write down as much information as possible, ask for written material and report them to the NYPD Internal Affairs Bureau at 212-741-8401.

Cell Phones
Here are some hints about your cell phone that we learned from our Community Board:

5 Things You Never Knew Your Cell Phone Could Do

For all the folks with cell phones. (This should be printed and kept in your car, purse, and wallet. Good information to have with you.) There are a few things that can be done in times of grave emergencies.

Your mobile phone can actually be a life saver or an emergency tool for survival. Check out the things that you can do with it:

FIRST Emergency

The Emergency Number worldwide for Mobile is 112. If you find yourself out of the coverage area of your mobile network and there is an Emergency, dial 112 and the mobile will search any existing network to establish the emergency number for you, and this number 112 can be dialed even if the keypad is locked. Try it out.


Have you locked your keys in the car?

Does your car have remote keyless entry? This may come in handy someday. Good reason to own a cell phone: If you lock your keys in the car and the spare keys are at home, call someone at home on their cell phone from your cell phone. Hold your cell phone about a foot from your car door and have the person at your home press the unlock button, holding it near the mobile phone on their end. Your car will unlock. Saves someone from having to drive your keys to you. Distance is no object. You could be hundreds of miles away, and if you can reach someone who has the other 'remote' for your car, you can unlock the doors (or the trunk).

THIRD Hidden Battery Power

Imagine your cell battery is very low. To activate, press the keys *3370#. Your cell phone will restart with this reserve and the instrument will show a 50% increase in battery. This reserve will get charged when you charge your cell phone next time.

FOURTH How to disable a STOLEN mobile phone?

To check your Mobile phone's serial number, key in the following digits on your phone: *#06#. A 15-digit code will appear on the screen. This number is unique to your handset. Write it down and keep it somewhere safe.

When your phone gets stolen, you can phone your service provider and give them this code. They will then be able to block your handset so even if the thief changes the SIM card, your phone will be totally useless. You probably won't get your phone back, but at least you know that whoever stole it can't use/sell it either. If everybody does this, there would be no point in people stealing mobile phones.

FIFTH Free Directory Service for Cells

Cell phone companies are charging us $1.00 to $1.75 or more for 411 information calls when they don't have to. Most of us do not carry a telephone directory in our vehicle, which makes this situation even more of a problem. When you need to use the 411 information option, simply dial: (800)FREE411, or (800) 373-3411 without incurring any charge at all. Program this into your cell phone now.