My Bayside block blighted by commercial creep

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One single block.

From the Clearview Expressway to Oceania Street; from Northern Blvd. to 45th Road. ... five auto dealerships, an auto repair/body shop, a transmission business. Do you have that on your block or near your block? Nowhere else in northeast Queens do you have such a saturation of auto-related businesses. Look across Northern Boulevard or up and down 45th Road past this block. Look in Bayside Gables or Douglas Manor or Little Neck. You don’t see this type of saturation that brings property values down.

No resident should have to put up with the injustice of looking out their window and seeing this blight. The fumes from all of the automobiles running around on a daily basis are noxious and irritating. The danger of so many vehicles in motion threatens pedestrians, especially our children. Parking on 45th Road is near impossible for the residents.

The commercial creep has penetrated to 45th Road right on this block. Where there used to be houses, you now have businesses extending their buildings in some cases right to the sidewalk along 45th Road. Parking lots galore full of vehicles for sale or awaiting service. All this is in the residential part of the block, in my opinion, illegally.

How did this happen? Who allowed this to happen to my community?

Most of the people living in this section of Bayside are African-American and other people of color. What else could it be but blatant racism? Look around the rest of Queens. You only see this type of business blight in neighborhoods predominantly made up of people of color like in south Jamaica. I blame some of the city agencies for this problem. The worst offender is the Department of Buildings.

On the block that I mentioned, Star Nissan has an expired certificate of occupancy. They are only supposed to park 20 vehicles on their back lot. Go look at that lot. Seventy-five or more vehicles parked there constantly. Numerous complaints have been filed about them at 311 and online. Very little if anything seems to happen to them in terms of consequences for these violations. They also frequently park vehicles on the adjacent sidewalks, causing pedestrians to have to walk in the congested streets in order to get by.

It only will be a matter of time before there is a tragedy. This business should be padlocked for this behavior. They don’t care about the neighborhood they operate in or the residents.

Then there is Helms Brothers further down the block. How did they build that garage building on the northwest corner of Oceania Street and 45th Road without needing a variance to build in a residential zone? Tell me that! Never heard anything about this at the community board. Helms Brothers just seems to do whatever they want. Community doesn’t matter.

Now they are running to the Board of Standards and Appeals to operate their Volvo dealership on the block. Even before the change in use is granted, they are operating the business on the site.

I am elderly. I am handicapped. But I will continue to fight with every ounce of strength that I have to see that justice prevails on this block. It will be my legacy to my community where I was born to ensure that the residents are treated with respect and consideration and that all zoning and building rules of the City of New York are followed to the letter.

Mandingo Osceola Tshaka


Updated 12:32 am, July 10, 2018
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Reader feedback

Alex P. Berk from Bay Terrace, Bayside, Queens says:
I do not understand any of the arguments in this article. "The injustice of looking out ones window and seeing this blight?" These are businesses in the area that are providing services and jobs to workers. There are pockets and areas all around Queens with autobody shops such as Flushing and on Northern Boulevard. In fact- the prestigious "Peter Luger's" steakhouse in Little Neck on the Great Neck border sits across from a Nissan dealer and two doors down from the "Masters" auto dealership.
You cite that some of the garages near your home are in your "opinion" illegal- however that is not how the law works. Things and actions are either "legal" or "illegal," this is not a matter of opinion. If you feel that what is going on is illegal have you reached out to an attorney or appeared as an individual pro bono to begin a cause of action against these businesses?

You also state that this is "blatant racism," but where are your facts supporting this statement? "If the area is predominantly African American and I feel that there are too many auto dealerships in the area then it must be racism?"

I am sorry that you feel uncomfortable in your area of Queens, but many of your statements and opinions provide no support. Your accusations that these companies do not care about the neighborhood and that a "tragedy" is bound to happen seem to be unfounded conjectures and biased opinion.
March 2, 2017, 9:57 am
seems like time to move from queens says:
It does seem like time for you to move. The neighborhood has changed with the changing demographics. There are no more diners in LN/Douglaston but many many Asian restaurants that serve breakfast. Many of these are grade pending or B grades. There are many many vacant storefronts. Once the OTB closed, almost every store on the block closed. And for your info, community board 11 has been dealing for long time with Star Nissan. You should contact them.
March 2, 2017, 12:11 pm
Citizen from Qns says:
This guy is nothing but a grouchy troublemaker!!! He ruined a perfectly good park that was around for decades and made it "burial ground" for who??? Try and dig up a park in Asian areas and the politicos will complain!!!
I guess no pay back causes complaints
March 2, 2017, 4:05 pm
Baysider from Bayside says:
There is nothing illegal about these businesses. Yes it's true that this area was once predominantly of color and with that came much lower property values, however, Asians seeing a bargain in real-estate values began gobbling up homes in that area and most people of color have long gone....Needless to say, Mandingo sees $$$$$ and want to see his property worth even more $$$$$$$, hence lets change the zoning area........$$$$$$$$$$$$$..........wonder how many properties he owns in the area?????????
March 2, 2017, 5:36 pm
Mike L from west of Bayside says:
It is obvious 'Baysider from Bayside' knows nothing about Mandingo. Absolutely NOTHING! I've known Mandingo for more than 30 years and nothing he has ever said or done has been to make a profit on his home or to make his home worth more. He has fought to preserve the neighborhood and home he has lived in for more than 80 years. EIGHTY YEARS!!!!! Politicians and others have screwed that area for as long as I can remember and have let commercial interests overrun the neighborhood with many politicians and zoning officials stuffing their pockets with bribes.
March 8, 2017, 1:34 pm

Comments closed.


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