2019-03-13 / Editorials

Letters to the Editor

Belmont Park

A copy of this letter was received at the offices of the Queens Gazette.
February 22, 2019
Testimony of New York City Council
Member Paul A. Vallone on the Belmont
Park Redevelopment Project:

Hello, I am Council Member Paul A. Vallone and I represent the 19th New York City Council District in Northeast Queens. I offer the following testimony in regards to the proposed redevelopment project at Belmont Park.

The redevelopment of 43 acres of land within Belmont Park, which lies just east of the New York City limits, will have far-reaching impacts on communities in Queens and Nassau County. The project, which includes plans for a brand new 19,000 seat hockey stadium, hotel, and a number of commercial facilities, will undoubtedly strengthen the local economy and bolster tourism. Additionally, as a lifelong New York Islanders fan, I am personally thrilled that the team will be returning to their original home of Nassau County. As we all know, the Islanders played at the Nassau Coliseum in Uniondale, New York from 1972 until 2015.

However, as is the case with any major development project in the state of New York, any developer pursuing a large-scale project must take into serious account any short- and long-term impacts on the surrounding community. Daily attendance levels are projected to reach between 60,000 and 100,000 visitors during peak periods – a substantial jump from the average 3,000 visitors. I represent Auburndale, Bay Terrace, Bayside, Beechhurst, College Point, Douglaston, Flushing, Little Neck, Malba, and Whitestone, neighborhoods just a few miles away from Belmont Park. Without the proper forethought, this project could negatively affect quality of life for the thousands of my constituents who depend on the active road and railways surrounding Belmont Park to commute every day.

For this reason, proactive efforts to mitigate traffic-related impacts for local residents and commuters are essential. Currently, the Belmont Park Long Island Rail Road station is only used on race days at the track. The implementation of full-time, east to west service with a Park and Ride option would provide the proper relief to the inevitable influx of traffic on the already overloaded Cross Island Parkway, a major artery that runs along Belmont Park and throughout Northeast Queens. The many constituents in my district who traverse this roadway on a daily basis can attest to regular congestion. Implementing full-time train service at the Belmont station would properly mitigate the influx of thousands more individuals who will seek to get to and from this hub on a daily basis. Ensuring the station is at full operation by the time this development project is completed is essential.

It is critical that Empire State Development and the MTA work together during this process to bring regular Long Island Rail Road service to the area. Every entity involved in the joint venture must ensure that the needs of the community are not forgotten. I look forward to seeing both parties take affirmative steps to work in concert with the community in the coming years.

Very Truly Yours,
Paul A. Vallone
Council District 19

Women’s History Month

Re: A Women’s History Month event: “A Celebration of Women’s Work: A Stitch In Time” Art Exhibition at Queens Library, Long Island City Branch, Second Floor Gallery. To The Editor:

For over 40 years, local resident Olga Giouroukakis has produced artful work in the form of needlepoint that has exclusively adorned her home. Now, for the first time, pieces from her extraordinary body of work will be on display for the public to see. These wonderful examples of craft and precision are part of a Women’s History Month salute to women’s work that honors the contribution that women make in their homes and community. Ms. Giouroukakis said she first learned to do needlepoint in the first grade in her village in Greece. This alone is a remarkable testament to the value of what is taught and shared through tradition and intergenerational connection. Her mother and others influenced her appreciation for the timelessness of this form of needlecraft that helped to close the distance between her native and adopted home here in America. By sharing her work, she reminds us of the rich traditions that are woven into the fabric of our diverse country.

Some of the pieces took as long as nine years to complete while Giouroukakis was raising her children and running a “mom and pop” donut shop on Broadway in Long Island City with her husband. She would work on these treasured pieces nightly after the duties of her busy days that began at 4:30 am every day. On her occasional trips to see her family in Greece, she would pick up some of her materials and new inspiration that helped to keep her work energized.

To learn more about Greek needlepoint, you are invited to visit the exhibition and browse the books devoted to this subject at the Long Island City library branch (37-44 21st Street) where the work is on display throughout March. The site is wheelchair accessible and the event is free and open to the public. A reception will be held on March 21st from 5:30- 7:30 pm and visitors can meet and talk to Giouroukakis about her fine work.

Dr. Sharon Cadiz

Trebek–A True Fighter

To The Editor:

Alex Trebek is a true fighter who will persevere against pancreatic cancer!

The announcement made by Jeopardy! host Alex Trebek that he has been diagnosed with stage 4 pancreatic cancer is very sad to hear. However, he has told his viewers that he intends to keep on working as the Jeopardy! host, and will fight and beat this cancer. We all are rooting and praying for him to pull through this major medical crisis. He is a wonderful person and a real gentleman. All of America is with you, Alex, and your family as well. You will pull through this because you have strong faith and determination, and your attitude will give hope to the thousands of others across the country who also have this disease. God bless you and your family!

John and Lori Amato
Fresh Meadows

Pray For Trebek

To The Editor:

Jeopardy host Alex Trebek has just revealed that he has stage 4 pancreatic cancer. I find that most sad. I have watched him hosting Jeopardy! for over 30 years. My wife Eva and myself a number years ago had been to a taping of the show when they were at Madison Square Garden. He had a Q&A session where we could ask questions about the show. I asked a question about the selection of candidates and he talked about the process. I found him most personable and kind. I feel for him and his family at this time. I myself had prostrate cancer three years ago, and had to undergo an aggressive procedure and three operations in a three-year period afterward. I am in remission and I hope and pray he does just as well. I believe we should all keep Alex in our prayers, for prayers to our higher power can work wonders. I know that for a fact because many people prayed for me and I’m almost 70, and still around.

Frederick R. Bedell Jr.
Glen Oaks Village

Federal Hospital Cuts

To The Editor:

I am writing this letter in indignation and am appalled to hear that Washington DC is planning to cut millions of dollars to New York State for hospitals. The cuts will close hospitals, causing people to have to travel further to hospitals, and seniors, disabled adults and children, our most vulnerable citizens, will have their health compromised. We must prevent this from happening and we must use our political muscle and raise our voices to our representatives and senators on the federal level. This is not a Republican or Democratic issue, but a health issue. Life is a basic right given to us by God and by the Declaration of Independence and must be held sacred and preserved.

In addition I am stunned to learn that there is such a shortage of blood. We must donate, since blood is the source of life. I applaud the Astoria Center of Israel for sponsoring a blood drive scheduled for March 24th. Also it is appalling to learn that there are not enough EMT and EMS workers, and those who are working have to work 60- and 70-hour weeks. EMT and EMS workers are very important since they are the first responders and save lives. More must be recruited and hired. This is a very important position and these people get very little praise or recognition.

Also I am stunned to read the short piece about Forest Hills High School, which used to be the best school in Queens, and now is plagued by mismanagement by a principal that acts like a clown and other things are happening there that are endangering the students.

Cynthia Groopman
Little Neck

An Inappropriate Name

To The Editor:

In The Enemy Within, an American TV drama series that premiered last month on NBC, the name of one of the Russian criminals is Mikhail Tal. But Mikhail Tal (1936 – 1992) was the famous Soviet chess grandmaster, the eighth World Chess Champion. I think that before you choose the name for your (especially negative) character, you have to check it using one of the internet search engines.

Victor Maltsev
Rego Park

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