2018-04-18 / Editorials

Letters to the Editor

Sunnyside Yard Project

To The Editor:

Recent news that the NYC Economic Development Corporation has hired an architect to continue progression of the proposed Sunnyside Yard Project still leaves a major unresolved issue. How would this project work without significant transportation improvements? Both Amtrak and NJ Transit use the existing Sunnyside Yard for midday and overnight storage along with positioning of equipment for rush hour service. The MTA, LIRR and Metro North have their own future potential plans to use portions of Sunnyside Yard for construction of a station. The MTA, LIRR, Amtrak New Jersey Transit and Metro North Rail Road all will play a role in the success of any development plans for Sunnyside Yards.

Few remember that in 1998 as part of the proposed MTA LIRR East Side Access project, construction of a passenger station was considered for Sunnyside Yard. It would provide access to the growing Long Island City business and residential district. Fast forward nineteen years to today. The MTA has still not advertised and awarded a contract for the new Sunnyside Yard LIRR Station (that was to be built at Queens Blvd. and Skillman Avenue).

Any future development plans utilizing the air rights over Sunnyside Yard should include the proposed MTA LIRR East Side Access project construction of a passenger station at Sunnyside Yard. It will provide access to both Sunnyside and adjacent growing Long Island City business and residential community along with neighboring Astoria and Woodside. There has been incredible residential and commercial growth in neighborhoods adjacent to Sunnyside Yard. Imagine the benefits to both residents and commuters. Consider the possible travel options, including reverse commuting if a Metro-North Rail Road connection from the New Haven line via the Bronx and Hell Gate Bridge on to Penn Station reached beneficial use (assuming there is a way to find capacity in Penn Station during peak am and pm rush hours for new Metro North service: off-peak, evenings and weekends may be easier to find space) along with LIRR East Side Access to Grand Central Terminal. Both could provide service to a Sunnyside Yard station in December 2023 or some time in 2024.

Larry Penner
Great Neck

Astoria Pool Ideas

To The Editor:

Last year I made a complaint about the Astoria Pool which included its facilities. Thank you Councilman Constantinides for your efforts in advocating for monies to fix the Astoria Pool. Let’s hope you, the Mayor, Council Speaker, Queens Borough President and the NYC Parks Department can all come together to definitely assure funding for this very important upgrade and get it done long before you leave office in 2021. I believe you can all do it!

The park and the pool go hand in hand. You can’t fix one without the other. With all of the overdevelopment going on in Astoria, it doesn’t make any sense to let a historic pool, along with a soon-to-be renovated park, fall into such disrepair and bring down the value, appearance and quality of life in the neighborhood.

Astoria is gravely underappreciated for and by far not maintained for our historic value. The poor Steinway Mansion would be a great example of this for one. Its essence essentially destroyed by selling it off to realtors who destroyed its surrounding land and being abandoned by our community, left to rot as if it has no significance in our local history, which it most definitely does.

The Astoria Pool is one of the main and few historic places that we have left that is still publicly functioning and even recognized. It should be a priority!

The public strongly relies on this facility every year as a great resource for recreation. Swimming facilitates good health practices including for seniors and disabled persons, and it helps fight childhood obesity as well as for adults. Let’s not forget it allows for quality friends and family time for many.

It is imperative that we are able to swim there in a clean, healthy and also aesthetically appealing place. Recreation is a total mind and body experience, so yes the filter should be the priority, as the health and safety of the public is number one, of course. The bathrooms, locker rooms and the pool basin which, I have personally cut my foot on the bottom of quite a few times already last summer, are also in desperate need of repairs as well. This is an already functioning pool, and as I said, you can’t have it open to the public and not maintain it properly.

The councilman is absolutely correct that the surrounding building, the deck, the bleachers, etc. should also all be renovated. As the councilman said in so many words, if you only fix the inside, what good is it if the outside is falling apart?

I would also love to see the pool opened year-round, with the season extended from Memorial Day like the beaches, until mid- to end of September. And I would love to see it as an outdoor ice skating rink in the winter.

The top of the locker rooms to the pool is also such wasted space and underutilized. It has so much potential. It could be used all summer long, for example having international food festivals with seating like in other parks such as Flushing Meadows. It would be a great accompaniment to the already in-progress amphitheater being built over the old diving pool as well as for the pool itself.

Or it could be used for Shape up NY City exercise programs on a regular basis with yoga, tai chi, etc. Any of these would be great.

Keep working on it please.

I look forward to this great and historic pool getting better in the near future.

Thank you so much again! Donna M. Van Blarcom

Baby Rocco Foundation

To The Editor:

My dear friend and former colleague Carla Cangemi lost her 2-year-old son Labor Day weekend when he was hit by a car in front of his grandmother’s beach house in Long Island. Carla is a pediatric critical care doctor from Astoria and was forced to do CPR and essentially run a full code on her own son. Despite her amazing efforts to save him, he passed that day. To keep his legacy going, the family has started The Baby Rocco Foundation to help provide financial support for children and families suffering from brain injuries. They held their first annual Rocco’s Run in Astoria Park on Sunday, April 15 and will be holding a Rock for Rocco concert in June with over 800 seats. Please read more about their story at www.babyroccofoundation.com. Kim Mason


To The Editor:

The Mets have now (as of April 12) the best starting record so far in America’s pastime, baseball, being 10-1. I would like to praise and applaud manager Mickey Callaway and his team for showing what they are made of. As a lifelong Mets fan, I’m proud of them for what they have accomplished, and how they have worked together as a team. Truly they are amazing and have restored the faith of many fans again. Regarding the poll that showed there are more Yankees fans than Mets fans, maybe they ought change their views. This could be the year that the Mets go all the way. So, let’s go Mets !

Frederick R. Bedell Jr.
Glen Oaks Village

CB9 Officers

To The Editor:

For your records, please be advised Community Board 9 Queens (CB9Q) has new elected officers:

 J. Richard Smith, Chair

 Raj Rampershad, 1st Vice Chair

 Kenichi Wilson, 2nd Vice Chair

 John Carter, Treasurer

The officers serve a one-year term effective April 1, 2018 to March 31, 2019.

If you have any questions or concerns, please feel free to contact the board office.

Victor M. Ampuero
Community Assistant, CB 9

Prayers For Barbara Bush

To The Editor:

The news that former First Lady Barbara Bush is in failing health is indeed very sad to hear. She is an extraordinary person, being the wife of one president and the mother of another president. She always told it like it was whenever she was interviewed by the media, but did it in such a kind, gentle way. Her concern for the children of our country regarding literacy was very evident, as she continued to fight for improvements in reading programs in our schools across the country. Our thoughts and prayers are with her, her husband, family and friends as she courageously deals with her serious health issues.

John Amato
Fresh Meadows

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