Fundraiser For Trylon
To The Editor:
Please donate ASAP to our significant fundraiser to salvage and relocate the largely intact Trylon Theater facade, or a last Art Deco 1939 World’s Fair representation will be demolished forever: www.gofundme.com/f/save-a-ny-art-deco-treasure-the-trylon-theater?qid=b9ff9dd60b7995b007b8c83ea291daf8
We will need to raise at least $25K quickly for the process to begin. Please be an angel and help save this treasure. The funds will cover the facade’s preservation and relocation, but it can only occur with your help. Demolition Depot thankfully has the means to salvage and store it. Please donate and inform all of your friends. Many thanks!
Rego-Forest Preservation Council
To The Editor:
I am happy to announce that this letter is now being circulated throughout the entire countries of Ukraine and Russia. Every government, church, bank, university and many other institutions have been emailed. The feedback is overwhelming. The Ukrainians are ready to defend themselves and the Russians want no part of this war.
This letter is in response to the articles covering the invasion of Ukraine by Russia.
As a citizen of and believer in democracy, I applaud the efforts of the Ukrainian people. Their efforts are similar to what is happening in many other parts of the world. Believe it or not, one thing that overrides capitalism and political correctness in the United States is the right to have one’s voice heard. This is the foundation upon which our democracy is built.
The Ukrainian people should continue to defy Vladimir Putin’s powerful armed forces so that Ukrainian democracy can continue to thrive. It is unfortunate that the United States compromised on one of its most fundamental values in order to protect its economic interests in Eastern Europe; something that happens all too often domestically as well. It is not the Ukrainian people that are attempting to expand NATO power, but rather it is Vladimir Putin who has engaged in intimidation to prevent the will of the people (both Ukrainian and Russian) from being heard. Why else would he stoop to such underhanded tactics to block various means of communication among the citizens of Ukraine and Russia? Why is Putin forcing Russia to return to the Cold War utilizing political strong-arm tactics such as violence? Vladimir Putin, you have had over 20 years to acknowledge Ukraine and have failed them by your own choosing. The days of your despotic regime are finally coming to an end as it appears the desire for freedom will continue to sweep among the Eastern European nations as well as Russia.
Accordingly, let the call go forth among all citizens of Ukraine that your brothers and sisters of democracy (from all over the world) are with you during every trial and tribulation you may encounter during this crisis. To the people of Ukraine, the trumpet of freedom beckons you to rise in protest and louden your voice to preserve your sacred heritage, promote your children’s future and obtain the blessings of liberty we all cherish. Ukraine, the hour of your redemption is at hand. As you, the rightful citizens, move forward to reclaim your own country, rise and strike! In the name of those who were murdered fighting for everyone’s rights, rise and strike! To push back this evil regime, rise and strike! Let no one continue to fear this man. Every Ukrainian must be strong and fight on for their freedom. Rise and strike!
Vladimir Putin, you little weasel…let Ukraine go!
God Help America
To The Editor:
A shooting at a music festival in Oklahoma has now added to the ever-growing and never- ending list of mass shootings to rock our country. Again, how are all of these mentally deranged people able to purchase weapons? The background checks that gun dealers are supposed to be doing need to be further tightened, so that absolutely no one who does not meet those requirements can purchase firearms. No citizens need to have large firearms, only law enforcement and those in the military. It is becoming so that streets, schools, movie theaters, malls, sports arenas, little league baseball fields, houses of worship, supermarkets, parks, music festivals, amusement parks and even roadways that people drive on are no longer safe. What is happening to the respect for human life in this country? It seems as if there is none, and our country really is literally falling apart at the seams, with a paralyzed Congress in Washington DC that cannot or will not willingly work together in the spirit of bipartisanship to begin to find solutions for ending this continued terrible carnage and slaughter of innocent Americans. God help America!
To The Editor:
As reported, the attacks upon our EMTs are up 137% in New York City, which I find most appalling. These brave first responders are serving our city by providing help to the sick and the injured. These EMTs and paramedics are dedicated to serving the many in all of our communities with emergency medical care. They do not deserve to be subjected to violence from those who desire to hurt them. These brave men and women ought to be praised for all that they do and should be protected from those who seek to do them harm. Also, those who attack our EMTs should be punished to the full extent that the law allows.
Frederick R. Bedell Jr.
The Parking War
To The Editor:
For those who live in communities such as Long Island City, Astoria, Woodside and Sunnyside: like other places around our busy city, there appears to be an undeclared war against those who drive and require parking. It is not an exaggeration that the availability of parking has drastically declined just as the number of people in need of parking has increased. The concentration of unprecedented numbers of people being crowded into the attractive hubs with access to Manhattan and other borough locations, has created an increased demand for parking. What has also increased is the number of fines for parking violations. Such violations have become a fact of life for many who face the necessity of traveling to busy areas for shopping, work or the other activities including doctor’s appointments or other business. If this declaration about the plight of those in need of parking seems one sided, it is likely because there is no real support for this view in the places where the rules are made and enforced. It is unclear why drivers in need of parking appear to be under attack. I have started to see where this may be heading and offer my humble view based on observation.
My first real introduction to the issue of parking came when I first discovered, based on a neighbor’s report, that the municipal parking lot on 31st Street between Broadway and 34th Avenue in Long Island City was being sold off by then-Mayor Bill de Blasio. This is one of the only secure parking areas for the busy shopping and dining area, so I commenced to get signatures on a petition to protest this action. Needless to say, my two trips to the Community Board and conversations with key elected officials did little to change the edict that the space would be used for senior citizen housing. When I spoke out at a town hall meeting in defense of the community’s need for this parking resource, there was an attempt to characterize my concern as opposition to poor old seniors in need of affordable housing. Most of those in the audience of local residents saw through this ploy by the City Council representative and Speaker who tag-teamed their defense of the project.
Since that challenging episode, Citi Bike Stations have consumed many spaces and limited availability of suitable parking. Fire hydrants which are an essential part of safety in addressing fires, have long been an accepted part of the street scene and restricted parking, but now we have heightened restrictions resulting from outdoor dining that has produced even more scarcity in the availability of parking spaces. The negative “ripple effect” has produced more anxious, stressed out drivers on the road competing, not only with other drivers for parking, but also operators of mopeds, motorcycles and scooters. This has proven to be an armed conflict, possibly because of the grace granted during the COVID lockdown, traffic enforcement appears to be picking up the pace, armed with tickets and no mercy. I got to hear two perspectives from business owners regarding how they cope. One shopkeeper told me that he has to arrive at 5:30am in the morning to drive around looking for parking. Another told me that his staff arrives at 8:30am, just when the parking regulations enforce alternate side of the street parking to permit sweeping. Initially, he shared his hostile feeling about the situation, but then concluded with something about being in the mode of “hunters and gatherers, so what are you going to do?” His resignation to the conditions and challenges gave a philosophical quality to the often crushing difficulties of running a small local business and managing the parking regulations.
I also saw an interview with Councilwoman Julie Won on television wherein she cited the urgent need to return to the two-day a week alternate side parking to permit adherence to the pre-COVID schedule for street sweeping. She discussed the mounting litter that lines the streets and the need to address this with street sweeping by the Department of Sanitation. Dumping and litter are clearly problems that need to be addressed; however, I am curious about why that issue has not prompted more effort to fine offenders who litter and dump; or raise awareness through rigorous public service campaigns. The Councilwoman, like many community residents, acknowledged that many would see the return to two-day alternate side parking as a veiled effort to increase the city’s revenue, but she maintained that the intention is to address the need for cleaner streets. I have no reason to suspect that her motives are anything but community-minded; although I wish that she and others who make these decisions would do more to investigate the impact and unintended outcomes that result from some of these well-meaning efforts. I am left to wonder how long that shopkeeper who has operated in the same location serving the community for decades will endure the challenges that he faces as a small businessman struggling to survive without support at the municipal level where he can easily be taxed and fined out of existence.
For me, the twists and turns with the parking war situation have taken on a sinister quality as I see more and more reports of profit-driven indoor parking or parking lots in communities that never had them; or at least not to any great extent. Such parking is more familiar to Manhattan where space and time yield a hefty price tag. I recently read an article about a new parking lot that is hailed as offering “convenience and several amenities.” They proudly share that they offer “valet services for local restaurants and clubs whose patrons desperately need parking.” The price point for these services that are being referred to as “Carcierge” is $150 per month. It is stated that “full professional detail and exterior wash comes at a cost of $380 monthly; as well as “$5 per hour and $15 for 12 hours (tax included).” I can’t help feeling that the creation of scarcity in parking has played into the overall trend of overdevelopment, in characteristically working class communities, where the redesign has left us burdened with changes and charges that price us out of our own communities. It seems that there is an effort to shrink an existing resource in order to create the demand for a profit- driven mechanism to make us pay and pay and pay. The saddest part of this picture is the lack of support that is available to the average community resident who simply wants to go to work, shop, go out to dinner or a doctor’s appointment without feeling the frustration of limited access to parking and the costly demands either from wasting gas on circling the block, fines, or parking lots that are in business to sell space at prices that exceed municipal parking standards.
I cannot resolve this issue, but I hope that I have helped to clarify that this undeclared war has casualties, and those who serve us in elected office are needed for their support. We are at a tipping point with increases in the stress level of drivers of cars and the multiple vehicles on the road. Distracted driving which results from drivers searching for parking, clearly adds to the risk factors for accidents. There is probably also a correlation between driver stress and the increase in vehicle and pedestrian accidents. Additionally, our small businesses are being edged out with ever-increasing financial demands which prominently include parking, in addition to the other overhead costs of doing business. Residents have had to adopt rituals that have them moving their cars constantly to avoid tickets. This dance wears on the hardiest among us and needs some compassionate regard from those in decision making roles. We need stalwart leaders to come to the aid of those of us who’d rather focus on our health, family, and self-care instead of whether we will find parking, get a ticket, or have to pay the high cost for parking in a lot.
Dr. Sharon M. Cadiz
The Brass Tacks
To The Editor:
Is The $33 Billion Gateway Tunnel Ready To Proceed?
What’s Up with the Federal Transit Administration Gateway Tunnel Full Funding Grant Agreement?
There is more to do after NY Governor Kathy Hochul and NJ Governor Phil Murphy nominated Kris Kolluri as CEO for the Gateway Development Commission in order to move forward with the $12.6 billion basic new Hudson River tunnel or full scope $33 billion Gateway Tunnel project. After all these years, why has the issue of who will oversee engineering, contractors and procurement not been resolved? Will it be NJ Transit, Amtrak or the Port Authority?
To win a Federal Transit Administration Full Funding Grant Agreement, any project needs documentation that the billions in matching local share is secured, along with an approved Project Management Plan, Quality Assurance and Quality Control Plan (monitors that the contractor builds to the design and engineering specifications), Fleet Management Plan, Annual Force Account (Amtrak and NJ Transit employees who work with and provide support to third party contractors) and Annual Track Outage Plan. There needs to also be approved Title VI, Equal Employment Opportunity (EEO), Disadvantaged Business Enterprise (DBE) and Americans With Disabilities Act (ADA) programs.
All must be reviewed and approved by the FTA to ensure that this record investment is completed on time, within budget, and built to the design and engineering specifications so that it will remain in beneficial use for the promised intended life.
Retired Former Director
Federal Transit Administration
Office of Operations and Program Management