Sidewalk Café Approved; Million Trees NYC Continues

New Outdoor Café

Myrtle Avenue is on track to receive some flair now that Community Board 5 has approved a sidewalk café for Julio’s Pizzeria at last Wednesday’s meeting.

The restaurant, at 59-10 Myrtle Avenue, has proposed 20 outdoor tables with 43 seats. With the tables in place, approximately 8 feet of sidewalk would remain open, according to the plan.

The Ridgewood civic leaders on the board all said the business would improve Ridgewood.

Theodore Renz, executive director of the Myrtle Avenue Business Improvement District, told the board his organization unanimously approved the proposal. He said one of the main goals of the organization is to help open new businesses that add to the character of Ridgewood.

Paul Kerzner, executive director of the Ridgewood Local Development Corporation, agreed and urged the board to approve the proposal.

Michael Hetzer, of Citizens for a Better Ridgewood, said the community benefits when a reputable business stays open later at night. It helps deter crime when stores are open and people are out on the street, Hetzer said.

Even with the support, there were some fears about approving the proposal. Some board members were afraid that once this was approved, more restaurants would begin to apply for outdoor permits. And if Julio’s Pizzeria set a bad precedent, the board might not have any recourse to deny other permits.

And there were some concerns about the hours of operation. The proposal allowed the restaurant to stay open until 1 a.m., but there was discussion about limiting the hours 10 p.m., which is when the owner said he plans to close.

After the discussion, the board voted to approve the proposal as is.

City Parks Continues Planting Trees

Joe Kocal, senior forester of Queens for the city Parks Department, updated the community PlaNYC Million Trees Campaign. Started in 2007, the effort aims to have one million trees planted by 2017. To date, the department has planted more than 400,000 trees.

Kocal said there are two ways to request a tree to be planted. Residents can call 311 and give the address of where a tree could be planted or submit a request on the department’s website at

Besides using resident input, Million Trees NYC also has a Block Planting Program. With this program large canopy trees are planted around an area. Kocal said large trees are preferred because of the benefits the canopy cover can give an area and so the department can get the “biggest bang for our buck.”

Specifically within Community Board 5, Kocal said 120 trees will be planted in the spring. After last fall’s tornado, which uprooted hundreds of trees, Million Trees NYC has been working to repair the damage. According to Kocal, 280 large canopy trees were lost during the storm, and the department has replanted 60 trees.

Drug Counseling Center Approved

The board voted to approve JNS Counseling’s proposal to open a drug counseling center in Ridgewood at 919 Wyckoff Avenue. The board had previously approved a site at 752 Onderdonk Avenue, but JNS could not purchase that property.

Marriage Equality Push Continues

James Harvey and Rich Murray, of Marriage Equality New York, gave a presentation and asked for the public’s support for gay marriage. They also distributed letters to send to State Senator Joe Addabbo (D-Howard Beach). Addabbo was one of eight Democrats who voted against the same-sex marriage bill last year.

Written By Eric Yun



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