Nov. 19, 2014 By Michael Florio
The president of the Dutch Kills Civic Association has abruptly left the organization.
Dominic Stiller, who became president of the civic association in January 2013, alerted the organization of his resignation last Monday with a letter to the board.
Stiller’s resignation was based on differing views toward bicycles.
The organization recently held a vote where its members agreed to oppose the placement of bicycle corrals in the Dutch Kills neighborhood if they led to the removal of parking spaces.
Earlier this year, Stiller called for a bicycle corral to be placed in front of his restaurant–Dutch Kills Centraal–located at 38-40 29th Street. His proposal, which he presented to full Community Board 1 in October, would have created room for up to eight bicycles–as well as two planters– but would have removed one parking space.
Community Board 1 voted against the proposal, stating that Stiller didn’t have enough community support.
Stiller said it was not Community Board 1’s denial of his bicycle corral that led him to resign. Instead, it was the vote held by the Dutch Kills Civic Association to kill the concept.
Stiller said the association is more concerned about keeping all the street spaces exclusively for car owners. In his letter he called this view “short sighted and unsustainable,” claiming that it is not working for the greater good.
“There is a recent awareness in the city and country about the importance of providing livable streets… and encouraging alternative forms of green commuting and transport,” Stiller wrote in his departure letter.
“I wish the Dutch Kills Civic had an interest and awareness and open mind to lead or at least support this cultural change locally; it doesn’t,” he wrote.
The new president Thea Romano said the Dutch Kills Civic Association is not opposed to bicycles and noted that the organization has supported bicycle lanes in the past. However, she said, the members are interested in preserving parking spaces.
“We have been fighting for parking for many years,” Romano said. “Whenever there is new construction project, we always request that there is a parking plan put in place.”
“There is a very limited amount of parking space in this community,” Romano said. Therefore, “when he came forward [in April] and said he wanted to take a space away, the board let him know that we weren’t with him.”
Stiller’s term as president was up on December 31st, but he had initially planned on maintaining a position on the board. Now, he said, he will find other ways to improve Dutch Kills.
“Thank you for working with me as president of the DKCA, I hope my resignation from the presidency and the board provides certain awareness to my commitment to alternative progressive methods of urban quality of life improvements. As Dutch Kills moves into the 21st century, these changes will be inevitable,” Stiller concluded the letter.
Romano claims that the association’s vote was not against Stiller’s bicycle corral but to preserve parking. However, she believes Stiller took the matter too personally.
“A lot of the stuff that he has been putting out there is just not true. He is putting such an awful light on the Dutch Kills Civic Association,” she said. “He took it very personally, that’s what it comes down too. One hundred percent.”
Dear Alan ,
I know the comments section of lic post may not be the place for this but it’s over between us. Here are my reasons:
1. You refuse to update your relationship status in Facebook
2. You won’t include me in things like the wedding this weekend. I should have been the one to escort you.
3. You do not share your time equally and by now your boyfriend should be taking priority
4. You are rude to my cat and that makes me uncomfortable
5. Your sweating is very unladylike
6. You won’t disclose how many sexual partners you’ve had which makes me thinks it’s upwards of 3 and anything more than that is unacceptable
7. You think you are entitled to all public space for your free parking above all other citizens and I just don’t want to be with a parking welfare queen.
All the best
It sounds like a letter of quitting from a man who is not getting his way. Cry baby to say the least. I think he needs to accept the fact that there are other locations that Dutch Kills can accommodate bike racks. I for one am not interested in coming home and having one less parking spot available. With so many hotels already built here, we needed to be more alert to the fact that no parking was designed into them. Shame on the community leaders for letting this happen. This man sounds like a self serving individual. He should be happy that bike racks are coming, CItiBike. He should have corralled his community to help him get them to Dutch Kills. Apparently he had a self interest in just putting it in front of the bar he built. A former local bar known as Just a Pub. Now its a wonderful out of towner place, not a community friendly place. Thats fine, business is business, one cannot knock the man for making money to feed his family, but to hide behind the idea that Dutch Kills is against bicycles is just moronic. He has just lost his marbles and wants to win his little fight for his bar. Look he is entitled to his view, but so is the community. He should have done a better job as President and won the support of the community. Instead it sounds like he is a bit sneaky, maybe he is made for politics. So the Dutch Kills community was not having it, a cancer seems to have been removed from the politics of Dutch Kills, but I am sure it will resurface under another pretense.
Interesting stuff in this little town. Next we will hear that he is being priced out and needs support to keep his place. Look at Vernon Blvd businesses, they always cry when they are hurt, but do they really give back to the community?
Alan, You are correct on all points!
Thats what I hate about all these newcomers to neighborhoods where they feel entitled! why? The owners of the The Queens Kickshaw in Astoria/Steinway wanted the same thing as well but luckily they got turned down! Iam not against bikes but these two areas the car parking is very limited as it is, But these owners are just for themselves only!
What a ridiculous statement! Centraal is a wonderful place to meet friends, eat good food and have a drink or even watch a game. Just a Pub was a dump. I’ve lived in DK for over 30 years and was never attracted to the place until Dominic turned it around. The REAL disgrace and shame of Dutch Kills was NOT the possible loss of ONE parking space, but rather how former leadership of DKC rolled over for that royal ass, Amanda Burden, former head of NYC City Planning. She is the one who re-engineered Dutch Kills as a location for 20 hotels in an 8 block radius. Not one of the high rises permitted after the rezoning debacle has been residential. Every one of these tall buildings is a hotel. You say that Centraal is filled with out of towners, that is not because of a possible bike rack. Our Civic Assoc. leaders chose to bond together to FIGHT the loss of a Parking Space, but they couldn’t be bothered to put up a well organized fight back durng the rezoning in 2008 to keep DK a majority residential community. Our former leaders allowed a monumentsl sell out to large commercial realestate interests. Where were the locals who now have their knickers in a twist about losing ONE PARKING space, when we really needed some solidarity to fight the invasion of high rise hotels. This group never cared one way or another about the loss of light & loss of homes that was the outcome of the rezoning of 2008. I suppose that those troglodites who HATE Centraal also HATE our new Charter School, Growing Up Green. I dont. But then I am for progress.
to alternative progressive methods of urban quality of life improvements.
This ain’t a Queens position, and Dutch Kills is so close to dangerous roads. Too bad he resigned because of this, bikes in front of his place would’ve been great but above is not representing the majority of Queens. Car parking is.
If bikes are classified as vehicles, by the city and state, then bikes should be given room on the street for parking (sidewalks are for walking). There are plenty of people who commute to his business by bike, or from their apartments in the Dutch Kills area into Manhattan for work, so having parking outside rather than inside their homes makes sense. Also, having adequate bike parking for those people is only equitable considering that all of the non-motorists are paying for road and vehicle parking improvements (through our taxes) that we never benefit from directly.
Stiller’s point is spot on. I hope it has the desired effect. LIC as a whole needs to wake up and figure out how to use the new development dollars to build a better community that focuses on its residents and small businesses. This blanket opposition to change will not succeed and will only serve to divide the community.