Ozone Park feel
With high-profile neighbors like
Forest Hills, Woodhaven, and Howard Beach,
residents of Richmond
Park feel voiceless at
"I say we're like orphans," said John Paglia, who
has owned Comet beauty parlor on Liberty
Avenue for the last 47
Community activist and local lawyer Albert Baldeo
has a laundry list of problems in the
"Libraries, infrastructure, transportation,
sanitation, schools, foreclosures. These are all big problems in
the community," he said.
Ria Reyes, 23, has lived on
since she was nine years old. She said that she has watched the
quality of life degrade with each passing
"There's been such a change and I can see
it every morning," she said. "How dirty it gets and how they don't
pay attention to sanitation. Every Monday it's
Reyes touched on concerns that are shared by many
in the community and easily verifiable, citing a new community
fixture as an example.
"Now there are bums sleeping on the
corner," she said of a man who spent the entire summer and the
early part of the fall sleeping in front of Popeye's or on the
outskirts of residential property directly across the street. "I
never saw that before."
Paglia said that the biggest issue
is overcrowding. "One-family homes have multiple families living
in them," he said. "So it trickles down to every other quality of
He said that because of overcrowding in the
area, there is more garbage and sanitation is a problem,
transportation is an issue, and schools are
And many in the area remember businesses and
storefronts that vanished from the neighborhood long ago.
"Small businesses are being shuttered," Baldeo said.
"Minority-owned businesses in the community are
"There was a vegetable store I used to go to
that's not there anymore," Reyes added. She also remembered a
small Hispanic restaurant that was around for a long time, but
over the summer a juice bar/breakfast place replaced it and it has
already failed. A Metro PCS cell phone store has taken its
Baldeo's believes the biggest issue in the community
is the prevalence of foreclosed homes. He says that the
Neighborhood Preservation Act, which is stuck in the State
Assembly, would help ease the pain of homeowners who are teetering
on the brink.
State Senator Joe Addabbo, Jr. said that he
takes very seriously the idea of spreading funds evenly around the
Despite it all, long-time residents like Reyes
might make the strongest case for changing what ails the
"It smells and it's overcrowded," she said.
"Where the A train and the Q10 bus meet on
Boulevard, it's a very busy place. It
can be very overwhelming and it's not pleasing to see day after