Bar owner defends hoops

Photo by Steve Mosco
By Steve Mosco

Community Board 6 got an earful at its monthly meeting last week from residents calling foul on a local bar’s basketball tournaments.

Stephanie Lin, representing the Kew Forest Neighborhood Association, related to the board the plight of residents living adjacent to Cobblestone’s Pub, at 117-18 Queens Blvd. in Forest Hills. She said residents have been on the defensive ever since owner Peter Massaro converted a parking lot in the bar’s rear into a half basketball court for nighttime tournaments.

“The noise from these games include yelling and screaming from the players and spectators, the referee’s whistle that cuts through our neighborhood every minute and the incessant pounding of the basketball against the pavement and hoop board,” she said.

Lin also said people who attend the games leave trash on the sidewalk and urinate on garages.

But Massaro, who has been in business for 27 years, said the accusations were completely unfounded.

“I’ve met with [City Councilwoman] Karen Koslowitz, the community board and community affairs at the 112th Precinct,” he said. “They told me I am in complete compliance with the law.”

Massaro said the games, which were held twice a week until the end of the summer, once ran until 10:30 p.m., but he changed that to 8:30 p.m. when complaints started to arise.

“I said if that will make them happy, done deal,” he said. “This is entertainment for the community. It’s a good thing. I don’t make any money off of this.”

Lin represented close to 10 other residents who also attended the meeting. But Massaro said if he had known that Lin was going to speak against the basketball tournaments at the meeting, he could have brought 200 people to speak on his behalf.

Massaro also coaches CYO basketball at Sacred Heart School in Glendale.

“The people playing basketball are all people from the neighborhood,” said Massaro. “I’m a hardworking person. It’s not cool that someone is trying to tear down my reputation when I’ve been in this community for 27 years.”

Frank Gulluscio, district manager for CB 6, said he would speak to all parties involved to try to address the situation.

“We don’t want anyone in the community to feel harassed,” Gulluscio said. “But by the letter of the law, he [Massaro] has not done anything illegal.”

The meeting was also noteworthy because of who was supposed to — but did not — show up. CB 6 Chairman Joseph Hennessy said the city Department of Environmental Protection had planned to address the recent floods in the area, but the department pulled out of the meeting at the last minute.

“Coming here and addressing our concerns is part of their job,” said Hennessy. “We are disappointed and dismayed that they canceled.”

The DEP did not return requests for comment.

Reach reporter Steve Mosco by e-mail at smosco@cnglocal.com or by phone at 718-260-4546.

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