2000-06-21 / Editorials


Express Their Thanks
Letters Express Their Thanks

The following letter was received by the Gazette.

An Open Letter of Gratitude:

Duncan and I wish to thank with all our hearts the many, many people who have assisted us during and since our recent apartment fire of May 20, 2000.

Most of our apartment was destroyed by the fire, but our hearts and spirits have been deeply touched by the compassion and generosity of, those we know (and many we don’t.)

All your many kindnesses, from the lady who gave us warm sox to put on, to neighbors who have given us time, effort, love, financial and moral support we will be forever grateful and you will long be in our prayers. May God bless each and every one of you!

With Sincerity and Gratitude,

Duncan and Madeline MacKinnon

Thanks For Being There

To The Editor:

On behalf of my comrades of Our Lady of Fatima Catholic War Veterans Post No. 1927, I want to thank the Rev. Austin Armistead for attending the rededication ceremony of the Bronze Veterans’ War Memorial plaque at St. Gabriel’s Church, 26-26 97th St., East Elmhurst, N.Y., on Saturday, May 27, 2000.

His being there, representing the Queens Gazette and taking pictures of the ceremony raised the morale of the veterans of the VFW, JWV and CWV Posts who were in attendance.

As you may recall, the pastor of St. Gabriel’s Church, Rev. Robert Barclay, read the ceremonial prayers as the wreath was placed in front of the memorial, reminding us not to forget the brave men who made the supreme sacrifice for their Country.

Thanks, again to Rev. Armistead and the management of the Queens Gazette for the admirable support demonstrated to us on May 27th.


Vincent Cuttitta, Commander

Our Lady of Fatima CWV Post 1927

Jackson Heights

Deplores Park Conditions

A copy of the following letter was received by the Gazette.

Dear (Parks) Commissioner (Henry) Stern:

New Immigrant Community Empowerment, or NICE, is a cross-cultural, grass-roots, not-for-profit organization committed to ensuring through advocacy and public education that all new immigrants are influential in civic, governmental and political affairs. We write today about the state of affairs at Flushing Meadows–Corona Park (the "Park").

The Park is beautiful and many visit and enjoy it daily. The Park is prominent for its Unisphere and for hosting the World’s Fair, which is appropriate since the Park is a daily respite to thousands of immigrants from across the world.

I visited the Park during the recent Memorial Day weekend as well as on the following Saturday, June 3, 2000. As a result of these visits, we write specifically to complain about the dangers posed by the lack of cleaning and upkeep of the Park’s "Lake of Planets" and generally about the entire Park’s lack of maintenance.

The Lake of Planets, a relatively large body of water, is filthy and is an environmental and public health and safety hazard. The Lake of Planets is home to beer bottles, soda cans and a significant amount of refuse and debris. A malodorous stench can be detected several feet away from the lake. During the Memorial Day weekend, a dead, rotting swan floated near the edge of the lake. Two live but sickly-appearing swans were in the lake and were eating the green coating of the lake that was clumped together with the refuse. A few ducks also inhabited the lake. The outside perimeter of the lake was also filthy. Young children, who are naturally attracted to water and animals, play by the lake and I witnessed a number of them congregate together to look at the rotting swan. I complained to two Park employees about the lake, and they informed me that the lake is not cleaned because it has to be dredged and that the Park is not responsible because it doesn’t have dredging equipment. It is clear that the lake is not only unsightly and dirty, but in its current condition it is an environmental and public health and safety hazard.

When I visited the Park the following week, on Saturday, June 3, 2000, I was shocked and appalled to see the dead swan still there. Most of the swan’s flesh had rotted away, and I might have missed it altogether if it were not for the thousands of insects hovering around and on the dead bird.

In addition to the dangers posed by the lack of cleaning and upkeep of the Lake of Planets, many other areas of the Park are shabby and unkempt. For example, the "Fountain of the Planet of Apes" is also littered with much debris and refuse. Many children play with the water in the fountain, and I observed one child drink from it and another child wash his face with water from the fountain.

The safety of our children, community and environment requires that the Parks Department immediately ensure that the lake be dredged and cleaned and that the fountain be cleaned and better maintained. Also the entire Park grounds must be better managed and kept. Your agency’s principal mission is to assure that the parks "are clean, safe and attractive for the health and enjoyment of the people."

Please inform us in writing by Tuesday, June 13th of your plans to address the issues raised in this letter. NICE is also requesting a meeting with an appropriate and senior Park official to discuss the Park’s plan to better serve the community. I can be contacted at the address printed on the letterhead or by calling 718-482-3618.

Thank you for your immediate attention to this very important matter.


Bryan Pu-Folkes



Estelle Cooper, Assistant Commissioner/Flushing Meadows

Park Administrator

Queens Borough President Claire Shulman

Congressmember Joseph Crowley

State Senator Toby Stavisky

State Assemblymember Nettie Mayersohn

City Councilmember Helen Marshall

City Councilmember Morton Povman

Support Flight Lawsuit

A copy of the following letter was received by the Gazette.

(Borough President Claire)

Dear Shulman:

We are writing to express our support for your decision to join the City of New York’s lawsuit against the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) and the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA).

As you know, we oppose the proliferation of additional flights at LaGuardia Airport and we strongly support an environmental impact assessment to determine the effects of new flights under the slot exemption provisions in the Wendell Ford Aviation Investment and Reform Act for the 21st Century (FAIR-21). However, the DOThas indicated that it will allow many of the applications for flights requested under FAIR-21 to go forward without environmental review. This legal action provides further strength to our argument that these reviews must occur before there is any further consideration of increased overflights.

Again, we would like to express our support for your decision. Please do not hesitate to contact any of us should you need any assistance as the process moves forward.


Nita M. Lowey

Member of Congress

Joseph Crowley

Member of Congress

Anthony D. Weiner

Member of Congress

Gary L. Ackerman

Member of Congress

Carolyn B. Maloney

Member of Congress






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