By Howard Koplowitz
After the desolate structure was discovered about three weeks ago by two men during a casual walk, civic leaders and a City Council candidate are calling for a cleanup of “The Cave,” named after a graffiti marking found on the concrete depot.”This is what I would call a community nuisance,” said City Council candidate and Glen Oaks Village President Bob Friedrich during a tour of The Cave with a reporter. He noted that The Cave is adjacent to the three public schools that make up the Glen Oaks Campus.Friedrich and civic leaders said the structure should be permanently sealed with cinder block to keep out teenagers.”It's a dangerous situation,” said Bruno DeFranceschi, president of the North Bellerose Civic Association.DeFranceschi said the site was used as an ammunitions depot 100 years ago when it was a firing range.The walls at the entrance to the cave are littered with colorful graffiti with bizarre scrawlings such as “Nostril Takeover,” while a rusted soil tiller used for farming and an abandoned spray-painted car lay nearby.Police said they believed graffiti at the site was not gang-related and that it was a hangout for teenagers. Greg Hansen, a member of the North Bellerose Civic Association, discovered the cave with Lino Tretter, a retired police officer, while they were walking along Commonwealth Boulevard about three weeks ago.”We saw the opening in the fence and saw the graffiti,” Hansen said. “I didn't like the idea of it because of the school (nearby). My daughter goes there.”He said g-strings that he initially saw at The Cave has since disappeared but that there were new additions to the hangout Ð orange flags placed in between wooden planks in the inside of the structure.Nobody could determine why the flags were put inside The Cave.Civic leaders also want to see the Sanitation Department do a cleanup across the street from The Cave, where items such as a George Foreman grill, computers, luggage, bicycles and an address book from the 1960's have been dumped off from the Grand Central Parkway.Hansen discovered the pile of garbage the same time he found The Cave.”I walked up the trail and I said, 'Oh my God!,' ” he said. “It's a mystery.”Members of the Police Department's Graffiti Task Force, who visited The Cave last week, said they would start frequently monitoring the structure at night.Reach reporter Howard Koplowitz by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone at 718-229-0300, Ext. 173.