Bayside church fed up with the city’s neglect of damages it caused to street curbs

Photo by Jenna Bagcal/QNS

Leaders and members of the oldest church in Bayside have been waiting over five years for the city to fix the damages it caused to the curbs outside.

Back in the winter of 2014, resident Jack Oshier said that Department of Sanitation plows got too close to the curbs at All Saints Episcopal Church, causing them to crumble. Oshier said that the church reached out to the Department of Transportation over four years ago to no avail and the damages get worse every year.

“The city is sure quick to issue fines to residents with bad sidewalks but if the city does the damage, getting it fixed is nearly impossible,” Oshier said.

All Saints’ pastor Reverend Laurence G. Byrne said that the craggy curbs on 40th Avenue are an eyesore for the neighborhood. He added that it’s “unfortunate” that the city does not care about city-owned property.

“If we were responsible for damaging it we would suck it up and have it fixed. But we’re really not and we can’t afford to suck it up and have it fixed,” said Byrne. “We just want the city to repair the damage that they caused.” 

Byrne said that the church staff has allowed the weeds to grow along the curb in order to hide the extensive damages. Oshier added that the community keeps the church and surrounding area in “immaculate condition” while the city does not.

In April, Assemblyman Edward Braunstein wrote to DOT Queens Commissioner Nicole Garcia as a follow up to his repair request from 2014. In the letter, Braunstein said that Acting Borough Commissioner Jeff Lynch added the location to the “curb database for repair under a future curb repair contract.”

“It is outrageous that more than five years after DOT indicated that the curbs at All Saints Episcopal Church would be repaired, the work has still not taken place. The curb repair program shouldn’t be treated as [an] unfulfilled wish list. The curbs were damaged by a city agency, DOT promised to repair it, and the work needs to be done now,” said Braunstein.

In his letter, the assemblyman said that the damaged curbs posed a tripping hazard and that pedestrians may become injured from the broken curb.

A DOT spokesperson said that if DSNY caused the damage, the church should go to the city comptroller’s office to file a claim. But Nancy McCarthy, the parish’s secretary and bookkeeper, said that they were denied a claim from the comptroller’s office in 2015 and there was no way for them to make an appeal.

DOT added that the church might consider getting the sidewalk fixed themselves in the meantime.

“While requests to address curb conditions outpace available resources, DOT works to make curb repairs as efficiently as it can by rotating through community boards citywide. Since the original request and subsequent inspection, this location has been retained in DOT’s curb database for repair under a future curb repair contract,” said a DOT spokesperson. “We will inspect the location to evaluate the current conditions of the curb and the sidewalk.”