End the silence

Dear Editor,
As a Kew Gardens Hills resident & former member of the 107th Police Precinct Community Council, I was shocked & saddened over the suicide of Commander Denis Mullaney on April 5.
At age 44, he left behind a wife, young son and a 20-year career of dedication to
public safety. We’ll never know what drove him to this desperate act, but Father Joseph Ponti told mourners at St. Mel’s Catholic Church in Flushing that “people are fragile, they break.”
What was Deputy Inspector Mullaney’s breaking point? The 107th Precinct, which he headed since September, has one of the city’s lowest crime rates, with auto theft as its top problem.
The 107th’s total crime rate dropped substantially under his command. But police in New York City and nationwide face pressure from rising violent crime and anti-cop
More than 30 cops across the U.S. killed themselves during the first three months of 2021.
Mullaney was going through a divorce from his wife, also a cop, which may have
been a catalyst.
But the NYPD’s blue wall of silence regarding mental illness might be another factor. Cops fear losing their badges if they seek therapy or psychiatric help.
As a Chicago wire service reporter in the early 1960s, I saw the pressures facing police. Even a mundane incident like a family quarrel could suddenly explode into violence.
But the pressures today are much greater. Cops deal with heavily armed criminals and felon-friendly lawmakers who want to empty prisons and slash police budgets.
Like all of us, cops are human and sometimes make tragic mistakes. They must be held accountable when that happens, but this doesn’t justify a blanket condemnation of the entire law enforcement profession.
Cops risk their lives daily to protect us and preserve the quality of life in our neighborhoods. They deserve our support.
Richard Reif
Kew Gardens Hills

Cart check

Dear Editor,
I am in total recognition of food carts that don’t have a license, but they must be of a certain size and length. Mayoral candidate Andrew Yang has received much backlash on this, but I have to agree with him – partly.
They should not block subway stairways or create noise and pollution.
Some of these carts serve great food, but they must not be located in front of restaurants.
This counts also for sellers of personal protection equipment, clothes, and other products that block sidewalks. In Flushing, I feel like I am going through a crowded flea market.
There is no enforcement in the area, and I can understand Mr. Yang’s disgust.
Randy Savitt

Just one step

Dear Editor,
Women Creating Change (WCC) stands in solidarity with George Floyd’s family and the families of countless other Black and Brown people taken from us by police violence.
While the Derek Chauvin verdict demonstrates that some accountability is possible, the urgency for systemic change remains, as evidenced by the numerous police shootings that have taken place since Mr. Floyd’s murder last May.
Reimagining a public safety system that values life and equity above all else will require institutional changes and sustained advocacy.
Last summer, New Yorkers and people around the world from diverse backgrounds took to the streets in the wake of George Floyd’s murder to demand justice.
The verdict is an important milestone, but it is just one step on what we know will be a long road. Working together, we can effect real change and create a more just and equitable nation.
Much work remains, and WCC is committed to supporting and working alongside our peers to fight for equity and justice.
Deborah Martin Owens
Board Chair
Carole Wacey,
President & CEO

Author pens book about historic homes of Queens

A new book explores the notable homes across the borough of Queens.
Historic Houses of Queens was written by Rob MacKay, who currently works for the Queens Economic Development Corporation. His interest in writing the book
grew after he became a trustee of the Queens Historical Society.
Queens boasts a rich history that includes dozens of poorly publicized, but historically impressive, houses.
A mix of farmsteads, mansions, seaside escapes, and architecturally significant dwellings, the homes were owned by America’s forefathers, nouveau riche industrialists, Wall Street tycoons, and prominent African American entertainers from the Jazz Age.
Rufus King, a senator and the youngest signer of the US Constitution, operated a
large family farm in Jamaica, while piano manufacturer William Steinway lived in a 27-room, granite and bluestone Italianate villa in Astoria.
Musicians whose homes are still standing in the borough include Louis Armstrong,
Count Basie, James Brown, Ella Fitzgerald, and Lena Horne.
Through more than 200 photographs, Historic Houses of Queens explores the homes’ architecture, owners, surrounding neighborhoods, and peculiarities.
All the while, MacKay considers that real humans lived in them. They grew up in them. They relaxed in them. They proudly showed them to friends and family. And in some cases, they lost them to fire, financial issues or urban renewal projects.
“This is a true labor of love,” said MacKay, who lives in Sunnyside. I spent a countless weekends on research and writing,” said MacKay, who lives in Sunnyside. “But it was worth it. Queens is such a special place, and its history is absolutely fascinating. It’s an honor and a pleasure to share this information with readers.”

Historic Houses of Queens is currently available on Arcadia Publishing’s website.

Lightbridge Academy opening location in Greenpoint

The child care and education company Lightbridge Academy last week announced a new franchise at 23 India Street in Greenpoint.
Lightbridge Academy currently operates 58 locations throughout the U.S., including multiple sites in Manhattan. The Greenpoint location will be the company’s third in Brooklyn, with a Prospect Heights location currently set to open in April and a Downtown Brooklyn location slated for June.
“We are happy to be breaking into the Brooklyn market,” explained David Falzarano, senior vice president of Franchise Development for Lightbridge and son of the company’s founders. “We will hopefully oversee the best child care in town, and we love the fact that families are working on this project together.”
The New Jersey-based company offers state-of-the-art child care centers for ages six weeks to kindergarten, and operates through a franchise model that tasks sponsor families with overseeing the development of each location.
The Greenpoint location is sponsored by Alok Rai, a former finance executive at Morgan Stanley and Bank of America. Rai is also the father of two young children, and has been actively looking for childcare franchise opportunities since 2014.
“It was a perfect match,” Rai explained. “Everyone has been saying ‘thank you, this is what we’ve been missing in Greenpoint.’”
Rai elaborated on his decision to transition from finance to education.
“I come from finance, which is a very aggressive world,” he said. “I oversaw a team of 300, and can bring my leadership skills to education. I run a tight ship and keep the quality high.”
Rai, his wife, and their two kids currently live in New Jersey, but the family plans on moving to Brooklyn to oversee the franchise. He said Lightbridge Academy is a good match for Greenpoint.
“The reason was twofold,” he said. “We choose Lightbridge because the team is community based. Also, the transformation of this area with new residential buildings created a need for child care and education.”
The Greenpoint Lightbridge Academy is currently scheduled to open in the fall. The franchise is located on the ground level of a recently constructed mixed-use facility along the Greenpoint waterfront.
During Monday’s event, a mother who lives in one of the apartments above the new location expressed her excitement about new childcare opportunities in the area.
“I wish it would open next month,” she said. “I could just bring my kids downstairs. That would be great.”

Macy’s volunteers help clean LIC park

On April 22, employee volunteers from the Macy’s Partners in Time program helped the Hunters Point Parks Conservancy in Long Island City with park clean up, trash removal, weeding and planting for the spring season. The group was also given a tour of the park, touching on its sustainability and resilient design features.
Through a corporate giving grant, Macy’s is providing a $10,000 contribution in support of the Hunters Point Parks Conservancy efforts.

Harbor Protectors initiative launches on Earth Day

Members of the Department of Environmental Protection, Coney Island Beautification Project, community leaders, and elected officials launched the Harbor Protectors initiative on Earth Day.
Thursday’s event was held on Mermaid Avenue in Coney Island, and was attended by hundreds of students from P.S. 188, P.S. 288, and other nearby public schools.
The Harbor Protectors Initiative is a volunteer program co-designed by the Department of Environmental Protection and Coney Island Beautification Project.
The initiative hopes to attract volunteers by allowing them to sign up for specific clean-up projects in their neighborhoods and along Brooklyn’s waterways. Currently, Harbor Protectors plans on coordinating shoreline cleanups, rain garden restoration, and catch basin repairs.
“I grew up in Coney Island and it is still my home,” said Assemblywoman Mathylde Frontius. “Seeing the efforts of this new initiative coming together with a long-standing community organization like the Coney Island Beautification Project gives me great joy and hope as we work to protect the community from pollution.”
She advised the young audience to be mindful of their role.
“It is our job to show we care”Frontius said. “Protecting the planet is every generation’s responsibility, and now it is our turn.”
Councilman Mark Treyger echoed a similar sentiment.
“Earth Day is an important day, but shouldn’t everyday be Earth Day?” he asked. “This is called taking ownership of our community. Even if it’s just picking up trash, every little bit helps.”
Treyger also warned that climate change will only continue to affect Brooklyn, especially communities near the water.
“The effects of climate change are already present in this part of Coney Island,” he explained. “You see it when water overflows from the canal.”
After the speaking portion of the event, the students broke into groups and conducted a cleanup along Mermaid and Surf avenues, removing litter from the neighborhood’s sidewalks and streets.
The Coney Island Beautification Project is a civic organization created in the wake of Super-storm Sandy to encourage community involvement in conservation and resiliency efforts. For close to a decade, the group has conducted flood control, composting, and recycling programs.
“When you nonchalantly throw your potato chip bags, your cookie wrappers, your drink container, on the street, they directly end up in our waters,” said group president Pamela Pettyjohn. “Think before we toss, down the catch basin into the waters and onto the beaches.”

Pair of Pocket Aces

Three-plus weeks into the 2021 Major League Baseball season, it’s fair to say there are plenty of questions about both local teams.
We’ll save that list for another day.
But know this: we are lucky to watch the two best pitchers in baseball every fifth day at the absolute peak of their greatness.
Over the weekend, the brilliance of both Jacob deGrom and Gerrit Cole was on full display, and boy was it fun to watch!
Jacob deGrom has been dominating hitters since his first start at Citi Field back in 2014.
His resume has him in the conversation as one of the greatest Met pitchers to ever put on the uniform.
Tom Seaver will always be the gold standard as far as that honor, but there is a very good chance we are talking about deGrom as the second greatest Met pitcher ever.
deGrom has thrown a lot of gems over the last seven years, but Friday night might have been his very best performance.
He threw a two-hit, complete-game shutout, striking out 15 Washington Nationals batter and retiring 19 straight.
It may sound crazy, but deGrom’s stuff has gotten better over the last few years.
He’s topping 101 mph on the gun, and the off-speed stuff has become even more nasty.
deGrom’s last three years will go down as one of the most dominant individual runs we have seen from a New York athlete in quite some time, and his career is pointed towards a bust in Cooperstown.
He’s the best pitcher in baseball and seems to be getting better and better.
On the other side of town, the Yankees have an ace that is the second best pitcher in the sport. Trust me, there’s no shame in that.
Gerrit Cole was paid over $300 million to deliver at the highest of levels for the Yankees.
He was paid to lead the rotation and to be ace of the staff, to matchup with whoever the opponent threw against the Yankees.
Saturday night was one of those heavyweight pitching performances. Cole matched up with the reigning AL Cy Young winner Shane Bieber. In the battle of aces, Cole outshined Bieber.
He threw seven innings of one-run baseball, striking out 11. Cole’s quest for perfection is a joy to watch every fifth day.
It was pointed out during the broadcast on YES that he is the pitching version of former Yankee Paul O’Neill.
I never really saw the comparison until Saturday, but then all of a sudden it clicked.
Cole’s quest for throwing the perfect pitch every single time, and showing frustration when he doesn’t, certainly equates to the hitting style of one of my all-time favorite Yankees.
The Yankees have a lot of questions this season, but the performance of Gerrit Cole is certainly not on that list. He’s been worth every penny so far in his tenure.
It’s sure nice to know that every fifth day as a New York baseball fan, you’re going to get a chance to watch a dominant hurler.
We get the opportunity to watch Jacob deGrom and Gerrit Cole every fifth day. As my guy Larry David would say, “pretty, pretty, pretty good!”

You can listen to my new podcast “New York, New York” on the Ringer Podcast Network every Sunday, Tuesday & Thursday night on Spotify and Apple.

St. Joe’s sends off seniors

Senior Kevin Reyes went 4-for-4 at the plate and scored a run while Anthony Hernandez went 4-for-5 with an RBI and a run scored, however, the St. Joseph’s College (Brooklyn) baseball team dropped the first game of Sunday’s twin bill to SUNY Maritime College, 7-5.
Joining Reyes and Hernandez with multi-hit games were Floral Park Memorial product Chris Leary and Nick Tapio, who both hit doubles and recorded an RBI each. Louis Lombardi also drove in a pair of runs.
Reyes would go 2-for-3 with a pair of runs scored in the nightcap while Leary drove home both runs for the Bears (2-20, 1-14 Skyline) as the Privateers (10-5, 7-2) took the 14-2 win.
Along with Reyes, SJC honored their six graduating seniors from Gregg Alfano Field: C.J. Bunnicelli, Darius Cadle, William DeLuca, Nicholas Hernandez, and Maspeth native Matthew Rienzi. All six seniors would see action on Sunday.
In game one, the Privateers took an early 2-0 lead in the first thanks to a double that found the left-center field gap. Reyes’ leadoff double began the bottom half of the inning, scoring on Leary’s single to put the Bears on the board.
Hernandez followed that up with a single up the middle before he and Leary scored on a two-bagger by Lombardi; giving the Bears a 3-2 edge.
Vasilios Vafakos drew the game even at three with a single in the away half of the second. The freshman outfielder batted in the go-ahead run on a sac fly in the fourth, 4-3.
Leary doubled to begin the fifth. Hernandez blooped a single over the head of the Maritime first baseman and down the right-field line to once again tie the game, this time at four apiece.
It remained knotted until the eighth, when Danny Green’s RBI single gave the Privateers the lead at 5-4. Bunnicelli was pulled after 7.1 innings, allowing three earned runs and settling for the loss.
In the nightcap, a combination of passed balls and wild pitches plated Vafakos for the opening run of the game in the first, adding a couple more later in the frame.
As was the case in game one, Reyes led off the Bears’ half of the first with a double and scored on Leary’s single up the middle, grabbing a run back at 3-1.
Maritime saw their three-run lead restored in the second, but the Bears once again cut the deficit to two in the third with Leary bringing Reyes home, this time via a sac bunt, 4-2.
The Privateers further distanced themselves by scoring in each of the final four innings, headlined by a pair of doubles in that stretch and a seventh-inning homer, to win the non-conference game 14-2 and sweep the series from SJC.
DeLuca started the game on the mound for the Bears, tossing an inning and being dealt the loss. Rienzi played his 45th and final game in a Bears uniform, extending the program record for appearances by a pitcher, coming on for DeLuca in the second.
It was followed up by Cadle’s longest outing of the season, pitching 2.2 innings in relief and striking out three.
The seventh inning saw Reyes fan a pair in his first-ever appearance on the bump and Bunnicelli, entering as a pinch hitter, notching his first collegiate hit in the bottom of the inning.

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