March, 2015


Be creative about Bell Blvd. parking

There are other options to building a multi-story parking structure at the existing municipal parking lot on 214th Place and 41st Avenue. These could provide additional parking that the “Bayside parking study begins” (Bayside Times - March 13) did not mention. Comments (1).
The Civic Scene

Cyberknife treats prostate cancer

For about 4 decades I have been taking regular annual PSA tests to screen for Prostate Cancer. My father passed with advanced Prostate Cancer in 1976 at the age of 81 and I then began detection using the PSA test. For our adult life Edna and I had been members of HIP but when we retired from teaching and did more traveling we switched to GHI and Medicare. Comment.

City should not try to end half-day pre-K programs

This letter is in response to the article in the March 20 edition entitled “City hopes to enroll 70,000 students in pre-K by fall.” Comment.

Spring has sprung

The first signs of spring have surfaced in Queens despite Mother Nature’s tenacious hold on the borough. Comment.

50-foot boat wreck imperils Hawtree Creek

I am writing to you on behalf of the Howard Beach Motor Boat Club in Howard Beach and its members as well as the residents of the Howard Beach and Hamilton Beach areas, particularly those adjacent to the Hawtree Creek north of Jamaica Bay. Comment.
Political Action

Catsimatidis’ reach extends to two talk radio shows

John Catsimatidis’ Sunday morning radio show has now expanded into two programs on AM dial 970. The segment from 8:30 a.m. to 9 a.m. generally includes local, city and state political developments. From 9 a.m. to10 a.m. national and international issues will be stressed. In only a short time the listening audience’s request for a larger program has come to fruition. Catsimatidis’ political trail has grown as he has had numerous guests on his program from both major political parties and also from conservative and liberal backgrounds. Comment.

Actor James Caan grew up in Sunnyside

Born on March 26, 1940 and raised in Sunnyside, James Edmund Caan is a prolific, versatile movie actor perhaps best known for playing Sonny Corleone in “The Godfather.” Appearing in over 80 movies in a career spanning six decades, Caan’s roles have ranged from the rugged, masculine renegade in films such as “Rollerball” and “Gardens of Stone, “ to the heart-wrenching as the terminall Comment.

Queens GOP making a comeback

The Queens Republican Party may be on the mend after at least 15 years of internal bickering that tore apart the institution. Comment.
Mayoral Spin Cycle

Government must balance e-mails vs. privacy

It is becoming more and more difficult for those who want to serve as public servants to have private lives — or private communications — while serving in office. The Hillary Clinton e-mail controversy recently brought this issue into the public eye in dramatic fashion. Comment.

Astorians rescue Texas wallet

I have a story that you might find interesting. My cousin Stacey, her daughter and I just spent a few days in New York City. Any time I go to New York, people here say things like, “ I would never go there” or “Are the people there rude?” Of course, I always respond immediately that people in the city are wonderful, helpful, friendly, and kind, although I’m sure that there are bad people there just as there are anywhere. I am always met with a skeptical look. Comment.

Running on De Blasio time

The Irish have never been known for living lives pegged to the tick-tock of a kitchen clock, but certain traditions are cherished enough that these Celtic peoples do get to the starting line on time. Comments (3).
No Holds Barred

I’m thinking of throwing my hat in the ring

I want you all (however many of you there may be out there) to be the first to know that I am considering making a run for president of the United States. Comments (6).
The Civic Scene

Legalizing basement apartments poses problems

As this column predicted a couple of months ago, the proposal to somehow legalize those illegal basement apartments or rooms is back in the news. The mayor is looking for ways to provide apartments for the homeless. Now Queens Borough President Melinda Katz says that we need to make the converted illegal basement apartments safe. Comment.

Flushing’s Macedonia Church should not be razed

Abraham Lincoln said: “To sin by silence when they should protest makes cowards of men.” Comment.
Queens Village

Queens Village GOP touts it best year

New Voices

Latest elite HS test admits same ethnic mix

Statistics recently released by the Department of Education paint a troubling picture of the 5,103 students who received offers based on their exam scores to attend Specialized High Schools in the fall. According to the DOE, approximately 27,000 students took the admission test last fall. Comments (5).
Bayside Hills

Queens needs building inspectors

Queens Borough President Katz, State Senator Avella, NYC Mayor DeBlasio, Assemblywoman Rozic, Councilman Weprin and Assembyman Braunstein. Comments (2).

Not all the news during the Depression was depressing

In 1931 we were in the heart of the Great Depression, undoubtedly the worst financial crisis in our country’s history. Nearly a third of the workforce was unemployed. A decade of progress was wiped off the map and it took nearly a generation before the country reached the same level of economic activity achieved in the 1920s. Comment.
Political Action

This year’s winter snowstorms with ice and high winds have cut down political meetings and social evenings in Queens, in addition to the rest of New York City. Fortunately, this is not a very active political year and the political cycle will not be as seriously threatened as it would be during 2016. Comment.

It’s time for Giuliani to leave the political stage

Former New York City Mayor Rudolf Giuliani has been receiving media coverage over his statement at a fund-raiser for Gov. Scott Walker of Wisconsin that President Barack Obama does not love America. Not only was his remark intemperate, but false. Comments (2).

Broken windows has parallel in phys ed

Law-enforcement’s popular “Broken Windows” theory holds that permissiveness of small quality-of-life infractions invites larger breaches of the peace, including violent criminality. Seen this way, there is no such thing as a minor violation. Comment.

Horse carriages have sustained Queens’ Irish

Last Sunday Queens celebrated our Irish heritage with the St Patrick’s Day for All Parade through Sunnyside. It was an opportunity for us to show our support for an Irish and Queens institution that is under threat: New York City’s horse carriages. Comments (11).
Mayoral Spin Cycle

Netanyahu’s purpose lost among drama

It’s unfortunate when partisan politics gets in the way of a lively debate about profoundly important decisions that will influence the future of civilization. Comment.

Vision Zero action

The city DOT returned to Queens last week to introduce the first of its Vision Zero plans to protect pedestrians in the borough. The mayor’s initiative was launched in Queens a year ago after a series of high-profile deaths made pedestrian safety a top priority in the county. Comments (1).

There are steps to take to end ATM fraud

Lately, it appears that the odds are not in any consumer’s favor in the United States when they head to the ATM. The most recent victim locally appears to be Flushing Bank, where reports indicate about 120 people have had their accounts hacked. Comment.

February, 2015


RIP: Clark Terry, jazz musician

I am proud to say that Mr. Terry was our next door neighbor in Bayside. When I was in elementary school, he introduced me to Archie Moore, who had the biggest hands I had ever seen. In the 1960s seat belts were not required. One day he invited all of us neighborhood kids to go for Carvel ice cream. There had to be eight of us loaded into his 1965 Malibu convertible, which my brother later bought from him. Comments (1).
New Voices

Northwest Queens immigrants shun banks

Historically, new immigrants and their communities have faced barriers in securing financing through mainstream financial institutions. Some communities overcame racial and linguistic barriers by relying on fraternal and cultural organizations and tools such as rotating credit in order to open small businesses and establish immigrant neighborhoods. Comments (7).
Far Rockaway

Time for action not just talk on Rockaway ferry

The mayor’s announcement regarding citywide ferry service is not fair or good news for Rockaway residents. Comments (2).

Keep commercial signs out of residential areas

I am a property owner in Flushing and would appreciate your assistance with a property use violation. Comments (4).
Political Action

Term limits bring other issues into the government

The concept of term limits has made progress in New York from the standpoint that the New York mayor and City Council presently are term limited to two, four-year terms, although former Mayor Michael Bloomberg was able to work the system to his advantage and serve three, four-year terms. Comments (1).
I Sit and Look Out

Mario’s affordable housing fight caused rifts

The death early this year of Queens native Mario Cuomo brought forth many stories about his life and his rise to public office. Comments (2).
Glen Oaks

We should all practice random acts of kindness

I was at Our Lady of Snows in Floral Park on Sunday, Feb. 8, at the 9:30 a.m. Mass and the Rev. Kevin F. McBrien gave the homily that I found most inspiring and heart warming. Comment.

‘We have your back’

A Texas judge’s ruling challenging President Obama’s executive order on immigration has dealt a blow to the 91,000 Queens residents waiting for protection against deportation. Comments (2).
Mayoral Spin Cycle

Four media giants leave the world stage in different ways

Mass media has lost some of its great figures due to death, retirement, and old-fashioned scandal, with four larger-than-life figures — David Carr, Bob Simon, Jon Stewart and Brian Williams — all leaving the stage this week. Comment.

Who’s next?

Is there no end in sight to the parade of Queens’ lawmakers and political operatives who face indictment and then corruption trials that conclude with a guilty verdict? The latest to join the roster of disgraced officials are former Democratic state Sen. Malcolm Smith from Jamaica and Vincent Tabone, once the vice chairman of the Queens Republican Party. Comment.

Help us save Most Precious Blood School

Most Precious Blood School in Long Island City is scheduled to be closed in June. This should not happen! Comment.

Samuel LeFrak’s legacy is more than just affordable housing

In conjunction with the Greater Astoria Historical Society, the Times–Ledger newspaper presents noteworthy events in the borough’s history Comment.
New Voices

Citywide mental health roadmap can help borough immigrants

A newly announced roadmap, created in partnership with the Mayor’s Fund to Advance New York City, stands to improve the delivery of mental health services across all city agencies. The necessity of breaking out of outmoded institutional models has become more apparent in recent years, with a swelling immigrant population and a staggering increase in homelessness, many of whom suffer from undiagnosed mental illnesses. In addition, cultural norms and taboos inhibit individuals and families in immigrant communities from receiving help in conventional, structured settings. Comments (2).

Queens is not East Manhattan

For far too long, the boroughs of Queens, Brooklyn, the Bronx, and Staten Island have been denigrated as the “outer boroughs” of New York City. The media, the politicians and even the residents refer to these areas as outer parts of our great city. We are, in fact, not satellites, but all part of our great city. When one goes to Manhattan from any of these four boroughs, we should not say, “I am going to the city” because we are already in the city. We should just be saying, “I am going to Manhattan”. Comments (1).
Political Action

Fixing schools will require more than teacher evaluations

In Gov. Cuomo’s recent State of the State address, he emphasized education and called for additional teacher evaluation ratings as a means of increasing teacher accountability. Comments (2).

NY legislators rated worst in the country

The Brennan Center for Justice, a public interest law center at NYU School of Law, rated the New York State Legislature the worst in the nation and considering the plethora of misdeeds that have emanated from it, the charge may well be justified. Comments (1).

Cuomo’s bill violates right to life

No worse a political charlatan exists than Gov. Andrew Cuomo, whose signature Woman’s Equality bill obfuscates the historical feminist philosophy of rights for all persons without exception in proposing that abortion be embedded in the Constitution of the State of New York. Comments (6).
I Sit and Look Out

Because you don’t agree with something doesn’t make it wrong

The E train, as I remember it, was between Queens Plaza and Jackson Heights, where I would change for the GG (I believe it was called that in those days) for the Grand Avenue station in Elmhurst, where I lived on 57th Avenue. Comments (2).

Weather woes hit the borough

The “Tale of Two Storms” is the latest urban adventure to hit Queens Comment.

NYC worn down by lack of state funding

New York City is an abused prostitute, and New York state is the abusive pimp. Comments (17).

The NFL could use a new playbook

I have a love-hate relationship with pro football. Comment.

Cheers to MTA for Lunar New Year’s plan

We at Flushing Town Hall would like to thank the Metropolitan Transportation Authority for suspending its 7 line construction work on the Feb. 21-22 weekend of the annual Lunar New Year Parade in Flushing. Comments (4).

January, 2015

New Voices

Queens communities positive on Municipal ID program

The Municipal identification program, IDNYC, mentioned a year ago in Mayor Bill de Blasio’s first State of the City address has finally come to fruition, with inaugural registration Jan. 12 at the Flushing branch of the Queens Library. Comments (1).
The Civic Scene

Some DOE policies setting up schools for failure

As the year 2015 starts, the Department of Education should correct some of its policies which set up some schools to fail. Comments (2).

Silver’s downfall

There was a wall of silence in Queens last week following state Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver’s graft indictment as elected officials shrank into the shadows when asked about what his arrest could mean for the borough. Comments (1).
On Point

No ‘Silver’ lining in Sheldon’s fall from grace

There is no ‘Silver’ lining in this sordid tale of another New York elected official who has been caught up in a tangled web of corruption and self-dealing. Comments (7).

There is still more to do to stop domestic violence

Last Saturday’s family tragedy in southeast Queens once again underscores the human toll and horror of domestic violence. Despite the progress that we have made in domestic violence prevention and prosecution, this tragic case shows that we cannot relent in our efforts to eliminate the scourge of domestic violence. The latest statistics from the Mayor’s Office to Combat Domestic Violence show a 41 percent reduction since 2002 in intimate partner homicides. This sorrowful incident demonstrates yet again that even one domestic violence homicide is one too many. Comments (2).

Railroading the railroad?

The MTA Transit Adjudication Bureau is an administrative hearing arm of the MTA which processes disputes and appeals of a Notice of Violation issued to an individual by an NYPD police officer or New York City Transit Inspector for an alleged violation of the New York City Transit Rules of Conduct. Comments (1).

Compliance can help quiet ‘war on police’

In regards to the column by William Lewis (TimesLedger, Jan. 9), he neglects to mention what started the whole “War on the Police” as he calls it. The medical examiner ruled the death of Eric Garner by a police officer a homicide. We saw with our own eyes how that officer put a chokehold on Garner which is banned by the department. That officer murdered Eric Garner and we all saw it on video. Comments (10).

Defending our right to choose

Why do I need a politician to tell me where I can shop? And why pick on Walmart? Comments (1).
Political Action

Regaining respect for teachers and police

In past years, school teachers and police officers were the lynch pins that held society together. Today, that is no longer the case to the extent that it was during the early and middle part of the 20th century. Comment.

Mayor de Blasio must use some horse sense

One fact has not been mentioned and that is New York City is being considered as a possible location for the 2016 Democratic National Convention. Comment.

New York remains in local sports rut

One of the many great things about living in New York City is the abundance of sports teams. In every major sport, New York has at least two professional teams — a luxury not afforded to smaller cities such as Cleveland, or even more cosmopolitan ones like Boston. Comments (3).

Dr. King’s legacy

Martin Luther King Jr.’s birthday had a particularly strong impact in Queens this year as events across the borough marked the 50th anniversary of the march on Selma, which he led, and the passage of the Voting Rights Act. Comment.

Unity of police, community is the best policy

That the majority of police are “good guys” and should be respected is a no-brainer. They are in a position of power by virtue of their uniforms, and being armed. Comment.
Fresh Meadows

Standing together for greatest good

The recent PBA delegate meeting in Queens was interrupted by several upset members who voiced their legitimate concerns regarding safety issues for police officers. There has to be unity among the PBA and its president, Pat Lynch, so that a unified front can be presented to the commissioner and the mayor with regard to all issues of concerns from the police. Comment.
South Ozone Park

Opinions on police must be balanced

I felt compelled to respond to the TimesLedger’s current edition with an article titled, “Time to end the war on NY police” by columnist William Lewis. Comments (2).

Cuomo’s history shows his fallibility

There is more to the recent passing of former Gov. Mario Cuomo. Comments (1).

Eric Holder: From East Elmurst to the White House

Eric Himpton Holder is the 82nd attorney general of the United States and the first African American to hold the post. Comments (2).

Misplaced blame for economic troubles

I am absolutely amazed that Ed Konecnik (TimesLedger, Jan. 9) continues to blame the poor for wanting to do something as outrageous as “eating and surviving.” Comments (2).
The Civic Scene

Civic leaders unhappy with little punishment for building and zoning violators

The punishment for developers and builders who violate the zoning and building laws is miniscule so they are not discouraged from doing illegal building. An illegally built room can endanger the lives of firemen if they go in to put out a fire in such a room or basement where the zoning code has not been followed. Comment.
Fresh Meadows

United Federation of Teachers not defending members

The United Federation of Teachers has long been perceived as a powerful union in New York City. So, why would so many of its members find themselves in need of legal representation when they find themselves unfairly targeted by an unethical principal when members pay so much in dues? Comments (5).

Identifying Marks

Hundreds of people waited outside the library in downtown Flushing this week to be among the first to obtain the new municipal ID that would identify them as New Yorkers. The faces in the crowd confirmed Queens’ reputation as the most diverse county in the country as Mayor Bill de Blasio announced the details of the program at a news conference inside. Comments (2).

For the Bruson Building, think big

It is not every day that renovating a building presents a major opportunity for an entire community. But the effort by the Joseph Bruno Trust to bring back the fire-damaged Bruson Building in Jackson Heights is just that — a moment rife with possibility. Comment.

South Asians in Queens still waiting for police reform

South Asians have long assailed the post-9/11 system of surveillance and profiling that has left many of the Muslims in the borough especially wary of their thoughts and actions in the wake of pervasive surveillance. Comments (6).

Rediscover the lost art of self-reliance in America

Well intentioned people have misconstrued and transformed the meaning of equality. There is a big difference between the government treating people equally and attempting to make them equal. Unlike the signs in our national parks cautioning us not to feed the animals, Americans are being taught that distributing food to each other through the tax code is economically wise and socially just. Comment.
Political Action

End the war on police in New York City

It was during the period after Sept. 11, 2001 when the World Trade Center was attacked, that our New York City police and fire departments obtained the overwhelming gratitude of the citizens of our city. Comments (2).

Religious leaders should be wary of mayor’s pro-secular apple

If New York City passed a law requiring all private religious schools to remove any references to the Bible from the curriculum, or demanded that parochial schools physically strip crucifixes or nativity scenes from the from their classrooms, such a law would plainly be in violation of the First Amendment, and would be struck down by the courts. Comments (4).

Politicians should seek to reach Cuomo’s high standard

New York lost one of its native-born jewels recently: Mario Cuomo, a larger-than-life leader whose words inspired a nation and spoke truth to power, has passed. And with him goes an era of passionate liberalism, a credo he embraced while others ran from it. Comment.

Cuomo’s lasting legacy

They came by the hundreds to say farewell to Mario Cuomo at his funeral in Manhattan this week, including some who had been inspired by the three-term governor to go into public service. Others joined the mourners to pay their respects to a decent and brilliant man who demanded the best from government. Comments (1).

Remembering the late Mario Cuomo

The death of Gov. Mario Cuomo made me go back and listen to the keynote speech he gave at the 1984 Democratic National Convention. I watched that speech as a young college political science student and it shaped me politically into the person I am today. Comments (1).
I Sit and Look Out

Kowald Blog: Wars never end

Even though we are now in the second decade of the 21st century, my thoughts are going back centuries and perhaps millennia. They are thoughts about war. Comment.
The Civic Scene

Civics concerned about mayor’s proposal to legalize basement apartments

The May 2014 newsletter of the Bayside Hills Civic Association Inc., “The Beacon,” and the June 2014 North Flushing Civic Association Newsletter both had articles against the proposal of the mayor to legalize basement apartments to create more housing for the homeless. Comments (2).

Overzealous protesters violating Constitution

In regard to the current plethora of anti-police protests and marches in New York City generally organized by provocateurs such as Mayor Bill de Blasio, Council Speaker Mark-Viverito and the Rev. Al Sharpton, it should be pointed out that these present activities, ostensibly under the United States First Amendment (“right of the people to peaceably assemble”), miserably fail the Supreme Court’s constitutional standards and guidelines defining the freedom of assembly. Comments (1).

Time for better public transit in forgotten borough

As we start the new year, Queens seems to be getting some long overdue breaks on public transportation. Just look at any map of the four boroughs — minus Staten Island — and it becomes clear Queens is the stepchild of the MTA. Comments (1).
I Sit and Look Out

Consumer ensnared in corporate incompetence

Two years ago, or so, an unsuccessful candidate for high office reminded me that you are never too old to learn something — or relearn it. Comments (3).

NYC deserves a Walmart

In reference to “Chain stores boom in Queens: Report” (TimesLedger, Dec. 26) except for Walmart, once again this holiday season, out of work, part-time, single income, poor, seniors, working and middle-class residents looking for reasonably priced holiday gifts had to pay more. Comments (7).
Block Shots

Lewis still not clicking despite early success

It’s hard to fathom a team with just one loss searching for answers. That is exactly what Francis Lewis is doing. The Patriots girls’ basketball team hasn’t returned to championship form despite being off to a strong start to the season. Comment.
New Voices

2014 Year in Review

The year 2014 saw the first mayoral transition in 12 years, as Mayor Bill de Blasio rode into office with a resounding electoral mandate. Former Mayor Michael Bloomberg had improved access to city agencies by mandating 311 be available in six languages and forbade agencies to ask about immigration status to render city services. Yet, with a focus on inequity, the new administration vowed to expand outreach to the city’s neediest communities. Comments (1).
CNG: Community Newspaper Group