Removing Tom

Dear Editor
The weak argument for the removal of Thomas Jefferson’s statue from City Hall is that he was a slave owner. The argument is based on the moralities of these present times.
Examining the moralities of people who lived hundreds of years ago by today’s standards is ridiculous.
Up to the 1800s, slavery was acceptable all over the world. In colonial America, anyone who was successful had a slave. Saves were expensive to buy and expensive to keep, as they had to keep their investment fed and healthy.
So if people want to destroy our forefathers for the morals of today, they will have to destroy the majority of all early Americans.
We have Thomas Jefferson to thank for so much. Many books have been written about him, and I would hope the ignorant people that want to remove his statue read them.
I believe the real reason for removing Jefferson’s statue is not slavery, but because he believed in individual freedom and small government, as well as the responsibility that goes with those freedoms.
The de Blasio administration is full of Communists who want to dismantle the founding fathers and our constitution in order to transform us
John Procida

Twitter wisdom

Dear Editor,
I saw this on Twitter and felt it was worth sharing.
“Just to set the record straight,
this is what the average American wants:
We don’t want money for nothing;
We want jobs that pay enough for our basic needs.
We don’t want free healthcare;
We want our taxes to pay for it, not for more wars.
We don’t want a free place to live;
We want affordable housing that costs no more than 30 percent of our income.
We don’t want corporations to be unprofitable;
We want them out of the political, electoral,
regulatory and policy-making processes.
We don’t want the wealthy to pay for everything;
We just want them to pay their fair share.
We don’t expect elections to deliver the results we want;
We just want to be able to vote and we want our votes to count.”
I can’t imagine that any reasonable person would disagree.
Linda Imhauser

Support our vets

Dear Editor,
As the nation prepares to celebrate Veteran’s Day next week, Americans should all be grateful for the sacrifices these brave men and women have made in the past and continue to make for our nation.
Our veterans need our support now more than ever, and government must help them and their families. Instead of worrying so much about the illegal immigrants who continue to cross into our country, the government should be taking care of our veterans.
Thank you for your bravery, service and dedication protecting this country.
John Amato
Fresh Meadows

Happy connections

Dear Editor,
Happy Anniversary to R line subway service via the Montague Street Tunnel between Manhattan and Brooklyn.
The original construction of this tunnel by the old Brooklyn Manhattan Rapid Transit (BMT) company cost slightly less than $10 million. To build the same tunnel today would probably cost several billion dollars. Work began on October 12, 1914.
There were 65,000 pre-COVID-19 riders from Bay Ridge, Sunset Park, Park Slope, Brooklyn Heights and other neighborhoods benefitting from a direct subway connection to Manhattan, along with communities along Broadway and Queens Boulevard in Queens.
Larry Penner
Great Neck

Good luck Eric!

Dear Editor,
Congratulations to mayor-elect Eric Adams. We all need to offer our support for the incoming mayor, even if we did not vote for him.
Adams will have a lot on his plate. He has many issues to address, like crime and guns on the street, affordable housing, homelessness, mental health issues, rising food costs, vaccine mandates, and much more.
Adams is a blue-collar worker who fully understands the problems of the poor and the issues facing the common men and women of this great city. As a retired captain of the NYPD, I think he will support our Finest.
I hope he succeeds for the good of us all.
Frederick R. Bedell, Jr.

Republicans get a voice in race for speaker

Who says the Republican Party is dead in New York City?
While it wasn’t exactly a red wave that swept over the city, the GOP did make surprising gains in the City Council.
The party was able to hold on to three seats – two on Staten Island and one in Queens – as well as pick up a vacant seat in south Brooklyn.
In Queens, Joann Ariola, who chairs the Queens County Republican Party, cruised to an easy victory over Felicia Singh, replacing the only Republican elected official left in the borough in Eric Ulrich, who is term-limited out of office at the end of the year.
In Brooklyn, Republican candidate Inna Vernikov also had an easy win in the race for the City Council seat left open by Chaim Deutsch, who resigned earlier this year when he was convicted of tax fraud.
The GOP also has a chance to pick up two more seats. In northeast Queens, Vickie Paladino holds a lead over Tony Avella, a surprising outcome given Avella’s name recognition as a former councilman and state senator representing the district. Paladino has never held elected office.
There are still absentee ballots being counted, but Paladino currently holds 49 percent of the vote to Avella’s 42 percent. Avella will need to make up over 1,600 votes to regain his former seat.
In another south Brooklyn district, Justin Brannan is trailing Republican challenger Brian Fox, although Brannan is confident that the absentee ballots will swing the race in his favor, posting on Twitter on Monday night that of the ballots returned, nearly 1,400 were from Democrats or registered Working Families Party voters to just 280 Republican ballots.
While the increase in Republican seats won’t necessarily result in major legislative changes – Democrats still far outnumber Republicans in the City Council – it could have an impact on who becomes the next speaker of the legislative body.
City Council members vote for speaker in a secretive process, but it’s a not-so-well-kept secret that it’s really the Democratic Party leaders in each borough who engage in intense political horse-trading to decide how their members will vote.
If a party leader thinks they have enough votes to get one of their own elected, which usually means striking a deal with a party leader from another borough to ensure one they have enough votes, they will go for it.
But if they think they will fall short, often they will strike a deal with the party leader from the borough with the frontrunner and deliver them the necessary votes to win.
Why would they do that, you might ask?
In exchange for the votes, the party leader makes sure their City Council members get appointed by the new speaker as the chairs of powerful committees, like Land Use and Finance, to ensure the borough has a strong voice in the decision-making process on important matter before the council.
In the past, Republicans were generally excluded from this backroom wrangling because the slim number of votes they held didn’t really factor in to the overall tally.
But with a total of 51 seats, if the GOP were able to hold six votes, candidates looking to fill the spot left by Corey Johnson would have to at least make some overtures to the Republicans.
Factor in that it’s not inconceivable that conservative Democrats like Councilman Kalman Yeger of Borough Park and Councilman Robert Holden of Middle Village – who while a registered Democrat actually won his seat running on the Republican line – could be persuaded to join the Republican bloc to influence the race, the GOP could conceivably have eight votes on their side.
In addition, the two major players in every speaker’s race are the Brooklyn and Queens Democratic parties, simply because those borough’s have the most City Council members, and therefore the most votes to package.
Given that those boroughs are the two that stand to lose seats to the GOP, that diminishes the influence those party leaders and their council members have in deciding the next speaker.
The current frontrunners for speaker include Councilman Francisco Moya of Queens, Keith Power from the Upper East Side and Carlina Rivera from the East Village.
Brannan was also considered a strong candidate, but the difficulties he is having just getting reelected is sure to hurt his candidacy. It’s doubtful that many will get behind him even if he does pull out a win.
So while the Republicans might not gain much in the way of legislative power even with their wins, they will likely play at least some role in shaping the leadership of the City Council, and hence the direction it will take over the next few years as a new mayor comes into office.

CB6 considers demo of Trylon, Tower Diner

For years, preservationists have been fighting to save the 1939 World’s Fair-inspired Trylon Theater and Tower Diner and its distinctive clock tower on Queens Boulevard.
Last Wednesday, Community Board 6’s Land Use Committee held a public meeting and hearing, a first step to determine whether to rezone the triangular block for a 15-story condo proposed by developer Trylon LLC/RJ Capital Holdings.
All but one attendee expressed their opposition to rezoning and demolition of the two buildings.
On Wednesday, Community Board 6 will hold a general meeting, when the committee will provide its recommendation to the full board.
A petition opposing the development launched by Rego Park resident Michael Conigliaro has garnered 3,704 signatures.
“I have seen many changes in this neighborhood, some worse than others, but this proposed change is not just disturbing,” said Carol Hagerty, who has lived near the site on 99th Street for over 40 years, “it is devastating.
“It will block all the sunlight and will not blend in with the architecture and feel of this area,” she added. “What’s worse is that no accommodations are in place to preserve whatever is of historic, architectural, and social value on that block.”
The Tower Diner, which is housed in a former bank, has been in business for approximately 30 years.
“It is a neighborhood landmark in much the same way that Ridgewood Savings Bank is in Forest Hills,” she said. “The same can be said about the Trylon Theater.”
Phyllis Zimmerman argued there is value in preserving a neighborhood’s beauty and character.
“Without that, you could live anywhere,” she said. “Is there no value to the look, feel and character of our neighborhoods? Does anyone in this city ever say no to real estate developers?”
Zimmerman also expressed concerns about how a new residential building would affect parking and put more strain on schools and hospitals.
“These are the crucial things that need to be considered,” she said.
Jacob Chimino, who shops at nearly all of the small businesses included in the development site, testified at the hearing.
“We are opposed to these icons coming down,” he said. “This is part of our community.”
Joanne Davis lives near Tower Diner and passes it on her way home.
“I pass one high-rise and boxy store after another with no discernible landmarks,” she said. “Suddenly. a small white tower asserts itself upward into the skyline and I know that I am almost home.”
The Trylon Theater is currently home to the Ohr Natan synagogue, which has over 1,000 congregants, mostly Bukharian Jews in a close-knit community.
The synagogue offers services, English classes, food for 480 families, and activities benefiting the youth and seniors.
“We the undersigned would like to ask CB6 to deny the application to allow a developer to build a high-rise and demolish a functioning synagogue and many businesses around the property,” several families who attend the synagogue wrote in a statement to CB6.

LIC Bulbfest livens up the East River Waterfront

Although leaves are falling off trees as New York City settles into autumn, the season is still a perfect time for New Yorkers to plant flowers and enjoy their outdoor spaces.
This past weekend, the Hunters Point Parks Conservancy hosted its annual LIC Bulbfest. Volunteers planted 16,000 new bulbs in Gantry Plaza State Park and Hunters Point South Park, which will bloom once spring arrives.
Since its inception seven years ago, the LIC Bulbfest event has planted nearly 42,000 bulbs in the two parks, many of which continue to bloom year after year.
“We are very excited to continue this LIC tradition for a seventh season,” said conservancy president Rob Basch. “The parks have never looked better, and we all look forward to our community turning out once again to contribute to keeping our parks the special place they have become.”
All of the bulbs for the event were donated by the Van Zyverden Company, while additional funding was contributed by corporate sponsors, including Amazon.
“This event is such a fun opportunity for our community to get together and experience the park,” said Carley Graham Garcia, Amazon’s head of External Affairs for New York City. “We’re looking forward to enjoying these blooms with our neighbors across the metro area in the spring.”
Dozens of volunteers attended this year’s event, making it one of the largest in the Hunters Point Parks Convervancy’s history despite ongoing COVID considerations.
Although the past year and a half have been difficult, Basch and the Hunters Point Parks Conservancy team remain committed to maintaining Western Queens’ green spaces for the community and future generations.
“Last year was challenging with a lot of illegal activity in the park,” Basch explained. “People were drinking outside and having raves until 3 a.m. because they weren’t able to meet anywhere else.
“There are going to be a ton of new people coming to the neighborhood, and we have a strong desire to keep the parks clean and safe for the future,” he added. “You need a strong conservancy to maintain these spaces.”

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