A ‘pole’ new world!

Fiske Terrace residents Andrea Wicke, Sarah Beranbaum, Aviva Sucher, Pamela Teitelbaum, Nancy Beranbaum, Ali Bogner, and Larry Sillen are against the Verizon pole.
File photo by Steve Solomonson

Verizon admits they’ve crossed a line in Victorian Flatbush — and plan to replace a pole they illegally put in the neighborhood’s historic district with a street-level safety box the company once said would attract vandals.

The telecommunications giant broke the law — with the city’s blessing — when it placed a 20-foot fiberglass pole on E. 18th Street between Foster Avenue and Glenwood Road in the middle of the Fiske Terrace–Midwood Park historic district last summer without getting permission from the Landmarks Preservation Commission, prompting outrage in a neighborhood where even lamp posts are historic.

Verizon now claims it will replace the unsightly pole with a smaller, cabinet-sized pedestal to access its high-speed Internet, television and telephone network.

“If landmarks has an issue with the fiberglass poles, we’ll put in the pedestal,” said Verizon spokesman Richard Windram.

But, once again, Verizon has yet to file an application with the city.

“Verizon is planning to file an application with us, but we haven’t received it yet,” said Elisabeth de Bourbon, an agency spokeswoman. “We’ll review the application and determine whether what they propose is appropriate.”

Residents dismissed any victory for the little guy, charging that Verizon continues to disrespect them.

“Verizon is being very arrogant,” said Sarina Roffe, a Fiske Terrace resident. “I don’t view [the permitting process] as retroactive, just incompetent.”

Other Fiske Terrace residents agreed, and are taking Verizon’s change of heart with a pinch of salt.

“You don’t know what you’re buying until you see it,” said Fred Baer. “Let them come show us a plan.”

It’s not the first time the company has erected poles in the area without giving proper notification: residents of nearby E. 16th Street between avenues J and K awoke one morning last February to find the company’s clumpy wooden telephone poles marring their block, and have been trying to get Verizon to remove the poles for months.

Reach reporter Eli Rosenberg at erosenberg@cnglocal.com or by calling (718) 260-2531. And follow him at twitter.com/emrosenberg.

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