Submitted by ub on Tue, 04/29/2014 - 13:15


Members of the Civic and Chamber of Commerce leadership sat down with Polly Trottenberg, the new Commissioner of the Department of Transportation on April 16th. We were joined by Senator Klein, Councilman Vacca and Assemblyman Benedetto. Commissioner Trottenberg advised that they were working on a new bridge design and intend on presenting this design to our community sometime between May 6th and May 20th when the Land Use permits they need go before the Department of City Planning. They understand we will oppose their permits unless we get a new design.

Thank you to Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr. for his negative declaration against the DOT’s land use permits. This will go a long way to showing our community and its elected officials are totally united in our fight against the current Bridge Design.

Changes have been made to the new traffic signal at City Island Avenue and Bridge Street. We have written and spoken to DOT regarding the signal and how it’s aggravating an already bad traffic situation. There is actually a contract associated with the construction of the new bridge that will bring traffic agents to the area to direct automobiles traveling to and from our community. These agents are slated to arrive in mid-May. We welcome any suggestions you have, feel free to email us at and we will forward the information to DOT as well as the 45th Precinct.

The management of Don Coqui has advised the Civic that they will not be purchasing the Lido, only renting their parking lot to deal with the influx of cars coming to their restaurant. This, addition to temporary parking changes made by the 45th Precinct, should improve the situation.

Annual Dues of $20 will be collected at the meeting. If you have yet to pay your dues, please do so as soon as possible. You can also mail a check (not cash!) to the post office box listed above.

Members can also purchase tickets for the 45th Precinct Council Fellowship Breakfast. The event will be held on Wednesday, May 14, 2014 8:30 – 11:00 am at Villa Barone Manor, 737 Throggs Neck Expressway Bronx, NY 10465. Tickets are $15 each. This year’s honoree is Skip Giacco of the Chamber of Commerce. Please come out and support Skip!

If you have a concern that has not been raised in this newsletter, you can always bring it to the meeting and we will do what we can to be of assistance to you.

City Island Civic Association​Minutes of the Meeting held March 25, 2014​

The meeting was called to order at 7:34 p.m. by Fred Ramftl, First Vice President. The reading of the minutes was waived, and the minutes were accepted as distributed. The treasurer’s report was also waived; Tom Smith reminded everyone that dues are now due and that donations toward the legal fund would be very welcome. A group of NYU students attended the meeting to film any discussion of the City Island bridge issue for a school project.

Councilman James Vacca addressed the meeting and announced that the yearly budget dance threatening the elimination of Ladder 53 is now over. The mayor has pledged not to make cuts at the firehouses, so we no longer have to spend time fighting this issue. Mr. Vacca also reported that the Department of Transportation (DOT) under its new commissioner, Polly Trottenberg, has announced that DOT is reviewing the bridge design, which she hopes will also save money. The DOT engineers are working with the contractor in order to come up with a more acceptable design. We will continue to oppose the ULURP application but we are happy to hear that DOT is considering alternatives. Another cause for which Mr. Vacca is fighting is the need for more police officers; since 9/11 the department has lost 7,000 police officers, and many of the ones we do have are working on other issues than community policing. The 45th precinct has never received its fair share, compared to other areas.

Special Operations Lieutenant Paul Trapani reported that the 45th has performed some traffic modifications near Don Coqui and that Officer Malafonte will be assigned to work on City Island to help with traffic issues. The usual summer traffic detail will be assigned after school gets out in June, at which time officers will work until 1 a.m. on weekends; in addition, another team will be here in a sector car until 5 a.m. The resources that we normally have during the summer are not available at this time, so traffic issues must be handled by regular police officers.

The subject of a shuttle bus going back and forth to Pelham Bay Park was suggested again, and it would undoubtedly alleviate stress for residents trying to get back on the island on crowded weekends. Additional signage has been requested of the restaurants to help drivers understand the purpose of the cones in the parking lane/reservoir lane for those waiting to get into the popular restaurants.

DOT reports that the new traffic lights are temporarily in place and will be gone in September; they were installed to enable pedestrians and bicyclists to cross City Island safely because one of the walkways has been closed for the installation of a temporary water main. The lights are causing traffic backups, however, and the Civic is asking for a reevaluation of the sequencing of the lights.

George Torres of the Department of Buildings spoke about the numerous complaints DOB has received regarding illegal apartments in basements and garages. He explained that if a DOB inspector cannot gain access to a property, he cannot force his way in unless there is a clear hazard. ECB violations are issued when a violation is found and if a property owner applies for a permit or seeks to sell the property, the DOB can get involved. Mr. Torres can be reached at 718-960-4746 or When more than one violation is reported, the DOB will follow up on the first one; continued reports may be considered harassment, and anyone being harassed can complain to 311.

Community Board 10 and 12 have rejected the ULURP applications filed by DOT regarding the bridge; the next step is the Borough President, and those who oppose the applications should call 718-590-3500 and ask the BP to do the same. The commissioner of DOT told Barbara Dolensek that she would like us to withdraw our objections but is not expecting us to do so until a level of trust in DOT is reached by the community.

The Mignone project is on hold until the applicant submits a revision to the project; a hearing is tentatively set for May.

Crime: The monthly meetings of the 45th precinct Community Council offer an opportunity for an individual or group to ask questions or make complaints directly to the commanding officer of the precinct, who is always on hand to respond. The Civic has asked for Comstat reports so that we know where the repeated problems are occurring. The Community Council will honor Skip Giacco, president of the City Island Chamber of Commerce at its annual breakfast meeting on Wednesday, May 14.

There were no nominations from the floor for the Civic officers first vice president, treasurer, and recording secretary, so the secretary cast a vote for the present slate. The term for these officers will expire at the end of 2015. Tom McMahon asked that Barbara Dolensek be removed from office because of an alleged incident in which he believes he was slandered, although he did not hear what was said, since it was in a private conversation. There was no response from those present.