CB 11 votes against sidewalk Flamingo

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Fanning themselves in the heat of the MS 158 auditorium in Bayside Monday night, Community Board 11 members voted against renewing the permit for sidewalk tables and chairs outside the Flamingo Cafe on Northern Boulevard and approved proposals for two Bayside streets to become one-way.

CB 11 Chairman Jerry Iannece also updated members on several pending construction projects in the board’s area, which includes Bayside, Douglaston, Little Neck, Oakland Gardens, Hollis Hills and part of Auburndale.

Flamingo Cafe manager Regina Katopodis fielded sometimes hostile questions from the board and the cafe’s neighbors about the conduct of the restaurant’s patrons, whom many said were loud and disruptive to residents living near the cafe on 192nd Street and Northern Boulevard.

“They have demonstrated their unwillingness to be good neighbors,” said Jim Rodgers, the board’s first vice chairman and an Auburndale civic leader.

Complaints from the community ranged from issues such as customers double parking and talking loudly at all hours of the night. The cafe’s two tables and eight chairs on Northern Boulevard are available as late as 1 a.m. on Friday and Saturday nights, but the indoor area stays open as late as 3 a.m.

Katopodis said she had not received any complaints about noise, nor had she been informed of a recent board committee meeting to discuss the sidewalk permit.

Katopodis also said the Flamingo Cafe would be converting the vacant property next door on Northern Boulevard into a wine bar. After lengthy discussion, the board voted overwhelmingly to recommend that the Department of Consumer Affairs reject the renewal of the sidewalk permit.

Turning to other matters, the board voted to recommend converting 215th Street between Northern Boulevard and 45th Road from a two-way to a one-way northbound street in front of the 111th Police Precinct.

Former CB 11 Chairman Bernard Haber said the conversion would improve security in front of the police station by making the block “100 percent for the Police Department.” He said everyone within a 400-foot radius of the precinct had been informed of the proposal and that no objections had been raised.

The board also voted to recommend converting 201st Street between 53rd and 56th avenues to a one-way northbound street to alleviate congestion caused by parents picking up and dropping off their children in front of PS 162.

In other news:

• Iannece said the Brookhaven Rehabilitation and Health Care Center in Far Rockaway was seeking to build a 10-story facility near the Douglaston Plaza shopping center.

“They’re moving at light speed,” said Iannece, who met June 30 with local residents, state Assemblyman Mark Weprin (D-Bayside) and state Sen. Frank Padavan (R-Bellerose) to discuss their concerns.

Iannece said the board would do what it could to scale back, stop or slow down the project.

• In Douglaston Bay, where residents have complained for years about streets sinking, the 38th Drive reconstruction project was set to begin in the fall, with contracts currently being awarded, said Iannece. Meanwhile, the plan to build a waterfall park in 2008 to rehabilitate Oakland Lake in Bayside as part of the Alley Pond Drainage Improvement Project has been scrapped due to budget problems, at least for now, said Iannece.

“We’re screaming bloody murder at this point,” said Iannece, who vowed to try to get the funds reinstated.

• Board members expressed puzzlement and anger over the pending installation of a traffic light at 32nd Avenue and Bell Boulevard, which neighbor and board member Melvyn Meer said had not been a priority for locals.

• Third Vice Chairwoman Loretta Napier, whose grandson was killed trying to cross the southbound Clearview Expressway service road at 46th Avenue, wondered why the city Department of Transportation was not listening to the community’s requests for a traffic light at the intersection.

“We do not wish to be further neglected,” said Napier.

Reach reporter Ayala Ben-Yehuda by e-mail at or call 718-229-0300, Ext. 146.

Posted 7:16 pm, October 10, 2011
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