BRONX W www.BXTimes.com EEKLY December 30, 2018 8
Bay Street residents split $$ for leaky ‘private’ main
Bronx Masons street co-naming recognizes 100 years
BY PATRICK ROCCHIO
An organization that traces its
roots back centuries is celebrating
its 100th anniversary in the borough
in a fi tting way.
The Free Mason Bronx Masonic
District celebrated its centennial
with a street co-naming adjacent to
the City Island Masonic Temple at
Schofi eld Street and City Island Avenue
on Saturday, December 8.
The corner where the longestablished
temple is located was
co-named ‘Free Mason Way’ and
a temporary sign was unveiled
honoring the four active lodges of
Free and Accepted Masons in the
borough: Wyoming #342, Guiding
Star Angle #565, Pelham #712 and
The sign co-naming bill was
introduced by Councilman Mark
Gjonaj, said Louis Juers, one of the
Masonic elders in the borough and
a Pelham Lodge member.
A permanent NYC Department
of Transportation sign will be
placed at the location sometime in
the future, said the councilman,
who explained he wanted the ceremony
as close as possible to the centennial
of the founding of the Bronx
The Freemasons, who have actually
been in the borough longer – at
least 140 years on City Island alone
– also celebrated their anniversary
Bronx Masonic District Charity
Ball at Marina del Rey where
Juers was honored with a lifetime
achievement award. The ball took
place on Sunday, November 25.
Gjonaj said that the steet conaming
honors a century of work
that helps those in most in need,
calling the Masons “a remarkable
group” whose work is often not heralded
because they rarely publicize
“The Masons have been doing
incredible work for 100 years
providing those most in need and
always without attention,” said
Gjonaj. “This was a way of recognizing
their good work that is often
goes unrecognized because they
don’t publicize it.”
The councilman said that the
Masons in the borough sponsor toy
drives, serve food to the needy on
Thanksgiving, hold clothing drives
and perform charitable works at
Juers said that Masons are very
supportive of veterans organizations,
and have hospitals for children
and homes for elders in various
“It is a fellowship,” said Juers.
“Our motto is to take a good man
and make him a better man.”
Juers, a City Islander, has been
a Mason for 59 years, adding that
the fraternity members in the borough
were pleased that the councilman
was so helpful.
The Masons, he said, are responsible
for the signs around local
schools that read ‘Drug Free School
Zone’ and that they are supporters
of the Boy and Girl scouts.
The organization welcomes new
members, but doesn’t solicit, he
The Masons prefer instead that
those who are interested in better
perfecting themselves and their
mortality through ritual, allegory
and symbolism fi nd their own way
to the group, according to sources.
The Masons charitable works
dates back centuries, and in the
United States, it goes all the way
back to the founding of the country,
The masons glimpse up at the new ‘Free
Mason Way’ sign at the corner of Schofi
eld Street and City Island Avenue.
Photo courtesy of Councilman Mark Gjonaj’s
The Masons were instrumental
in the U.S. Revolutionary War and
the Boston Tea Party, and many of
the ‘founding founders’ were part
of the organization,” said Juers.
Councilman Mark Gjonaj stands with the masons to celebrate the co-naming. Photo
courtesy of Councilman Mark Gjonaj’s offi ce
BY ROBERT WIRSING
A leaky water main underneath
a City Island street has been
fi xed, but is still causing a fl ood of
On Tuesday, December 18,
NYC Department of Environmental
Protection Public Affairs and
Communications deputy commissioner
Michael DeLoach sent a letter
to the affected property owners
about Bay Street’s water problem.
According to DeLoach, residents
of 152, 154, 168, 175, 176, 178,
179 and 180 Bay Street are served
by a private water main which
DEP does not maintain.
The private water main has
been leaking for some time resulting
in a ponding condition near
City Island Avenue.
DEP recommended that a licensed
master plumber investigate
the issue and asked that all
necessary repairs be made as soon
DEP threatened to shut off water
service in order to curtail the
leak if the repair wasn’t made.
In such an scenario, homeowners
would be subjected to a sizable
$1,000 Water Shut Off fee as
required under the NYC Water
Board Rate schedule.
Bill Stanton, City Island Civic
Association president, said that
Bay Street residents contacted the
civic group about this issue.
Fred Ramftl, City Island Civic
fi rst vice president, said that Bay
Street’s private water main leak
started prior to Thanksgiving
and froze up during a recent cold
A decade ago, at the urging of
then-Councilman James Vacca the
city mapped and paved the street,
but did not take responsibility for
its private water main.
Barbara Dolensek, City Island
Civic second vice president, explained
that the 100-yard long Bay
Street was originally known as
She recently observed water
from the leaky main fl owing past
the City Island Library.
“Puddling on City Island is
nothing new especially with all of
the rainy weather we’ve had this
year, but this incident happened
on a dry day,” shared Dolensek.
Ann MacIntyre, a 24-year
Bay Street resident and mother
of seven, said she and four of her
neighbors anted up $700 each to
hire a licensed plumber to fi x the
The private water main was
fi xed about two weeks ago at a
cost to the homeowners of approximately
The next step is to have the city
take over the aging water main.
“Now that the water main is
fi xed, we want to know what can
be done to make the water main
public since we all live on a public
street,” said MacIntyre.
She expressed concerns that
the water main may be in bad
shape and start leaking from
other spots in the near future.
MacIntyre and her neighbors
will explore if there is a way the
DEP can reclassify Bay Street’s
water main as a public one.
She and her neighbors will
also pursue means to have the city
reimburse their repair bill.
In the wake of this incident,
Matt Cruz, Community Board 10
district manager, urges homeowners
to sign up for the Water and
Sewage Line Protection program.
Most residential and mixed-use
properties with a single 2-inch or
smaller water service line may be
eligible for the voluntary Service
Line Protection plan offered by
the city through American Water
The site of the private main water line which cost residents approximately $4,000 to repair. Photo by Silvio Pacifi co