2015-03-04 / Editorials

Letters to the Editor

Happy Dominican Indep.

To The Editor:

I want to share with you the wonderful events we had this week.

In Albany, we honored baseball great, pitcher Pedro Martinez, as part of the celebrations for Dominican Heritage Month. We were fortunate to have with us the Dominican-born legend.

In the name of the New York State Senate, I presented a Resolution to Pedro Martinez congratulating him on his election to the National Baseball Hall of Fame. He will be only the second Dominican to enter such a prestigious group, following in the steps of Juan Marichal.

We also celebrated African American History and Heritage at the Langston Hughes Community Library and Cultural Center in Corona. It was a full house. There, we honored the work of five community leaders: Bertha Lewis, Barbara Jerido, Giovanna Reid, Kelly Blue, and Eartha Washington.

As always, if you have any questions or need assistance, please visit my office or call us at 718-205-3881.

And Happy Dominican Independence Day!

Jose Peralta
State Senator

The Joy Of Aunt Bella’s

To The Editor:

Since 1983, I have been a regular patron of Aunt Bella’s restaurant, for the great Italian food. On Friday night, Valentine’s Day Eve, my wife and I visited Aunt Bella’s (“Don’t Let Winter Get You Down, Curfew Or Not,” Editorial, February 4). The restaurant originally opened in 1978. Upon walking into Bella’s, we were greeted by Danny—the head waiter and host. He sat us at our favorite table in the back corner facing the kitchen. I have always enjoyed watching Jose—the chief cook at work. Jose waved from the kitchen and before I even ordered, he prepared my favorite appetizer of sauteed sweet peppers in olive oil, no garlic. The owner, Richie, took time out from a busy evening and stopped by our table. We exchanged greetings and reminisced about our old Little Neck neighborhood.

I have lived in the neighborhood since the 1960s. My very first job was at the McDonald’s on the corner of Northern Boulevard and Marathon Parkway. In those days, it was a simple menu of hamburgers, fries and milkshakes. The Big Mac was the new item of the day.

Richie told me that I was one of the top-10 longest continuous customers. Chicken Cutlet Parmigiana, garlic bread, salad and pasta was my standard order. Years later, I would switch to Sauteed Chicken with peppers and sun-dried tomatoes. My wife, Wendy, always seems to enjoy ordering the Shrimp Scampi over pasta. During my bachelor days on cold winter nights I would phone in for a delivery “care package.” Back then my appetite could handle an order of baked ziti as an appetizer followed by a Chicken Cutlet Parm with a side salad, garlic bread and pasta. I was so grateful that the food always arrived piping hot so I would give the driver a good tip.

Richie and I periodically take a trip down memory lane comparing notes on all the stores and owners who had come and gone. Even with many loyal customers growing older, moving away or sadly succumbing to old age, Bella’s has held on. Business is still so good that there are sometimes several couples standing at the door waiting for a table on a busy weekend evening. The wait is never long. New generations of customers and neighbors have replaced those lost. They quickly learned about the great food at reasonable prices that are accompanied by the personal attention of the staff. Once hooked, they became regulars. Many loyal customers who may have moved would still try and come back. It was not out of the ordinary to see neighbors recognizing neighbors while dining.

Aunt Bella’s has a wide variety of dinner entrees to accompany your choice of salad, sauteed vegetable or pasta. There are also incredible lunch specials on weekdays. Of course, I still order my sauteed peppers a la cart.

My wife and I also frequent Aunt Bella’s for New Year’s Eve and other special holidays. Even when there is a Special limited menu (it is the only way for any restaurant to keep up with the high turnover rate of tables to serve customers) for New Year’s Eve or Valentine’s Day, it is well worth the extra dollar or two for your meal. Why travel into Manhattan for some fancy upscale restaurant where you are a total stranger? You can obtain a better, tastier meal for far less.

Eating at Aunt Bella’s is like dining with family. They sometimes run a 10 percent-off coupon in newspapers. We end up passing on most of the savings for the tip.

On cold winter nights, hot summer days, or when it is my night to cook, we walk a few blocks over to Aunt Bella’s. Over time, we have gotten to know many of the staff on a first-name basis. Frequently, the portions have been so generous, that we have had a doggy bag for the next day.

I have always told Richie he should write a newspaper article about how difficult it is for an independent, small business owner to survive today, between competition and incredibly excessive government regulations and taxes.

Walking down Northern Boulevard in the evenings, my wife and I see fewer people dining out and shopping, except on weekends. Years ago, we would never see any vacant storefronts. Today, there are many.

In these difficult economic times, it is especially important to patronize our remaining local neighborhood businesses. My wife and I, along with many Great Neck neighbors are regular patrons of the local stores in neighboring Little Neck on Northern Boulevard, from Glenwood Street at the city line to Marathon Parkway. Why drive and waste time? There are so many great businesses. Leave your car in the driveway, save some gas, say hello to neighbors and take a walk around the neighborhood to get some exercise. Take a quick turn on to Marathon Parkway. It is a short, twoblock walk south off of Northern Boulevard to Aunt Bella’s. You’ll be glad you did.

We don’t mind occasionally paying a little more to help Aunt Bella’s and our other local stores survive. Don’t forget your cook and server at your favorite local neighborhood restaurant. We try to tip 20 percent against the total bill, including taxes. If it is an odd amount, round up to the next dollar. If you can afford to eat out, you can afford an extra dollar tip. When ordering take-out, don’t forget to leave a dollar or two for the waiter or cook. Trust us, it is appreciated.

Remember, the people who work at places like Aunt Bella’s are our neighbors. They work long hours, pay taxes and provide local employment. If we don’t patronize our local community stores and restaurants to shop and eat, they don’t eat either. This helps keep our neighbors employed and the local economy growing.

As part of our annual yearly Christmas/Hanukkah celebration, we always drop off a box of cookies from Joe Siciliano’s Bayside Bakery to our friends at Aunt Bella’s, along with other local business people who treat us like family all year long. It is our way of saying thank you.

Larry Penner
Great Neck

Harder To Discipline

To The Editor:

The latest directive from the Schools Chancellor’s office stating that there will be new procedures put in place for unruly student behavior is so archaic and totally illogical. If a student is constantly disrupting the class, there is no way that the teacher can effectively maintain a disciplined atmosphere that is conducive to the learning process. Any disruptive student should be suspended after every reasonable method has been used and exhausted by the teacher. Principals and assistant principals need to be able to have the authority to also suspend unruly students. This new directive from Chancellor FariƱa and Mayor de Blasio is going to take that authority away from teachers and administrators. This will only cause more chaos in the classrooms in all of our schools, which will further undermine the learning process. This coming June, do not be surprised if there are a very large number of teacher and administrator retirements, due to this insanity.

John Amato
Fresh Meadows

End Gridlock

To The Editor:

It is incredible to see that President Obama and the Senate Democrats are openly proclaiming that they consider the protection of illegal aliens more important than the protection of American citizens.

In just a few days, funding for the Department of Homeland Security will lapse. The House has passed a bill to fully fund the Department, and 53 Republican senators have voted in its support. However, the Democratic senators have blocked it by a filibuster and President Obama has threatened to veto the funding if it reaches his desk.

Democrats have insisted that they would rather end funding for Homeland Security than accept a bill that does not also provide funding for President Obama’s amnesty program. That amnesty, carried out without any legislative authority, has already been halted on constitutional grounds by a federal judge and cannot proceed. Despite that judicial ruling, Obama and his fellow Democrats continue to insist that they will not allow a funding bill to become law unless it allows funding for amnesty.

It is time to end this gridlock. The House has done its job, passing a funding bill. A majority of the Senate has voted is in support of the bill. Senate Democrats must end their filibuster and President Obama must sign the bill.

Peter J. Thomas
Americans for Constitutional Liberty

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