2005-12-07 / Editorials


Protest Parking Lot Sale To The Editor:

We have strong reservations about current HANAC plans to take over the municipal [parking] lot at 29th Street and Astoria Boulevard for senior housing. This plan will decrease the number of public [parking] spaces available to one-third . The small number of remaining [parking] spaces directly accessible to Astoria Boulevard will largely be taken by HANAC visitors and workers.

[Advanced Radiological Imaging] radiology practice is Queens’ oldest, founded in 1958. We are the largest private provider of x-rays, mammograms, sonograms, bone density tests, CT scans, MRI scans and PET scans in Western Queens. Our location on Astoria Boulevard was opened in 1984 in large part because of easy patient access to the municipal parking lot.

While we strongly sympathize with HANAC’s desire to house 184 seniors, our medical facility often sees more patients than this in the course of one day. In fact, a large percentage of our patients are seniors themselves. Many of our patients are sick and in pain, and many come to us as emergencies.

How many blocks away during the cold of winter must Mrs. A park and then drag her 3-year-old with pneumonia for a chest x-ray? How many blocks can Mr. B. who herniated a disc, walk to get a spinal MRI? How many blocks away can Mrs. C., a senior with spine fractures from osteoporosis, walk to get her bone density test? And how long must the rest of our patients wait while the technician who is supposed to do their test endlessly circles the block looking for a parking space?

On behalf of [our patients], our staff, and the local community, we strongly urge HANAC and our [elected] officials to maintain our 100 parking spaces with either a garage or a triple-deck outdoor lot. These spaces must be accessible to Astoria Boulevard and available at low cost. Interim parking must be made available during construction, as this large project will take a long time to complete.

Giving away taxpayer land for this project could be justified by the few hundred seniors who will benefit. However, our political leaders and HANAC must not ignore the needs of our tens of thousands of yearly patients, as well as the needs of local residents and businesses.


Craig Youner, M.D.

Jay Tartell, M.D.

Peter Kratka, M.D.

Advanced Radiology, Astoria

Drink Responsibly

To The Editor:

It’s the time of year for New Year’s resolutions. As you make your list for 2006, we encourage you to make sure “drink responsibly and use a designated driver” stays top-of-mind.

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, the number of drunk-driving fatalities has decreased by 39 percent since 1982. In a recent nationwide poll conducted by Data Development Corp., 90 percent of adults agree that promoting the use of designated drivers is an excellent or good way to help reduce the problem of drunk driving.

We at Anheuser-Busch Sales & Service Of New York, Inc., your local distributor of Anheuser-Busch products, agree. And we want to do all we can to help. That’s why we’re providing a Web site--www.designateddriver.com--where adults can get information about designated driver programs and send an electronic “thank you” to their favorite designated drivers.

We know New York City will celebrate responsibly. “Make it Standard” practice to use a designated driver, and have a safe and happy holiday season!


C.A. Verdon

Consumer Awareness &

Education Coordinator

Anheuser-Busch Sales &

Service Of New York, Inc.

Queens Shortchanged

To The Editor:

I recently convened a meeting with both the senate and Assembly Queens Delegations, Judge Jeremy Weinstein and other justices from Queens to discuss the number of civil court judgeships. Queens has a total of 14 civil court judgeships, with three additional interim judgeships to handle their approximately 129,000 civil filings. The total number of judgeships is determined by the total number of civil filings in each borough and it is the responsibility of the New York State Office of Court Administration to determine the exact number of judgeships each borough in New York City should have based on the number of filings.

When you look at other boroughs it is clear that Queens has been shortchanged. For example, Kings County has 30 total judgeships for their approximately 133,000 civil filings.This means that they have 13 more judgeships for just 4,000 more filings. New York County [Manhattan] has a total of 54 judgeships for their 66,486 civil filings. Lastly, Bronx County has a total of 15 judgeships for their approximately 57,000 civil filings.

This clearly hurts the people of Queens, who depend on these courts to receive justice in a timely manner. Unfortunately, many people may feel they have to settle their law suits simply because of the sheer number of civil filings that must be heard and the time and money it is going to take for them to have their day in court.

This inequity must be addressed, which is why I am introducing legislation to increase the number of civil court judgeships for Queens County. The people of Queens deserve to have a court system that is both fair and efficient.


Ivan C. Lafayette

Speaker Pro Tempore

34th Assembly District

Meaning Of The Holiday

To The Editor:

As I was sitting in my local coffee shop for breakfast with my two friends, Harold and Julia, we were looking at the front pages of the Daily News, New York Newsday and the New York Post. Two of them read “Holiday Season Begins” and the Post read “Xmas Season”. We all felt a little perturbed, for isn’t it the Christmas season? For when a lot of us go shopping for presents and things, do we call them holiday presents? Or a tree, do we call it a holiday tree or a holiday wreath? We call it what it is, a Christmas tree, Christmas wreath and Christmas presents. Not to mention all the Christmas shows and music on the radio stations like 106 Lite-FM which plays Christmas music all the way to Christmas. Have we gone too far in trying to be politically correct?

I don’t mean to be disrespectful to our Jewish friends or neighbors, for their holiday is also this month starting December 26, the first day of Chanukkah. We should honor that period as well for a miracle was performed for them. I think we should call this the Christmas and Chanukkah season, not just the holiday season with greeting cards which say happy holidays.

But let me say this, though Christmas is more than just the birth of Jesus it is also the message he brought, peace, love and good will toward men. A message that over 2,000 years ago that still has not gotten through yet with war, disease, famine and so many children in desperate need of food and shelter and medical attention. By just calling this a holiday season for giving out presents, the message is slowing dying from commercialism. A woman last year who wrote in a similar vein in various newspapers with her opinion and said she would not wish a person a happy holiday but a Merry Christmas and during Chanukkah wish her Jewish friends a Happy Chanukkah. I for one will do the same. For I believe Jesus represented hope, love and kindness, whether or not we believe he was the Son of God. Let us, therefore, when we wish someone a Merry Christmas what we really are saying is that peace and love be with you and all year too. Can that be so bad? It is a lot better than saying have a happy holiday, like the media wants us to do, and wouldn’t that make this a better world?

Sincerely yours,

Frederick R. Bedell, Jr.


Editor’s Note: Christmas Eve is December 24 and Christmas Day December 25, Chanukkah begins sundown December 25 and Kwanzaa begins December 26. We wish all a very joyous season and may peace and love guide you throughout the New Year.

Concert Disappoints

To The Editor:

Andrea Bocelli is a spectacular talent who can touch the souls of his audience. His seemingly vulnerable appearance is defied by the power of his voice. The limitation of his blindness are overcome by the power projected when he sings. That strength is humanized by the purity of his interpretations of the composer’s intent.

With that said, it was a disappointing and expensive experience attending “A Royal Christmas” highlighting Bocelli. For what is offered, the ticket prices are out of whack. The show features Bocelli only occasionally, appearing when the “Nutcracker” ballet permits.

The orchestra and choir are wonderful. They are led by a motivated conductor who controls every aspect of the performance. The weakness though isthe ballet troupe is third rate and that the audience expects a night of Andrea’s singing.

The show is over two hours with only eight to 10 songs by Bocelli. Of those he appears as a soloist far fewer. Strangely at the end of the performance the conductor and orchestra clearly expected Bocelli to sing on. In fact, he was led from the stage leaving the confused conductor shaking his head. What could have been a tremendous evening to remember was disappointing and infuriating to many.

Leaving Nassau Coliseum, the word that spread quickly was that it was an OK ballet with intermissions by Bocelli. The evening was a “bah humbug” from an international star whose fame should pay the price.

Edward Horn


Shame On MTA

To the Editor:

It is with dismay and apprehension that I write this letter. I cannot understand why after giving the top City Hall officials a four percent raise and having an MTA surplus, that the Transit Authority will not consider giving the power union of the bus and subway workers a new contract settlement and an adequate raise. It seems that only the top brass get raises and city employees who give their all to the city have to bargain and threaten a strike. This would be the worst possible time to pull a strike, in the middle of December, where winter is beginning, when tourists and city dwellers do holiday shopping and visit our attractions and when workers have to continue to work to put food on the table and to pay rent for their apartments. I urge the transit workers not to be hasty and to negotiate and I urge the city to furnish a fair contract. Isn’t that what the holiday season is all about, peace, good will and caring? Let us put our rhetoric into practice.

Cynthia Groopman

Long Island City

Ponticello Left Out

To The Editor:

In your review of restaurants, you failed to mention Ponticello located on Broadway and 45th Street. It has a very fine continental cuisine, an extensive menu, fine wines and not overtly overpriced. If you have not patronized the restaurant, you should try it!

Best wishes,

Alfred A. Puglisi

via e-mail

Editor’s Note: The article “Gianaris Hails Queens Eateries In Michelin Guide” in the November 30 edition of the Gazette concerned only those restaurants cited in the Michelin Guide to Restaurants in New York City. Ponticello was not among them, a regrettable omission on Michelin’s part, as we have enjoyed the restaurant’s cuisine and service on many occasions.

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