The city’s steady erosion for affordable housing, especially toward Queens seniors took a major blow when the DHCR announced on January 6th that they are proposing 17.2 percent increases for rent controlled apartments which are mostly lived in by seniors.
Needless to say this will become an extreme hardship for our seniors with many losing their apartments because of this unjustifiable increase.
Queens seniors are subsidizing the city and state for their economic woes.
On behalf of the Metro staff and the many homeless families we serve I want to express my sincere thanks to you for donating gifts for our residents.
Homeless children have the same kinds of Christmas wishes as other children and they want to feel happy during the holiday season. Homeless parents hope that their children will not feel deprived. Receiving a gift makes the family feel that they are a valued part of the larger society. Your kindness has made it possible for a child to receive a gift who otherwise might not have gotten one.
I am including two letters from a boy named Daquan. The first is his letter to Santa expressing his wishes and feelings and the second is his thank you to Santa. The other letters are from two grateful parents.
I think that these letters demonstrate the happiness that they have felt because of thoughtfulness and kindness of good people like you.
Your generosity and support is deeply appreciated by the families and staff at the Metro. Thank you for remembering us and our families during the holiday season and best wishes to you for the New Year.
Marcy Galatioto, dir. of Social Services,
Metro Family Center,
This is Daquan Hervin and I live in the Metro Motel. I’m waiting for a house to stay in. But I’m not just writing this letter to you because I want something, I’m just writing you this letter to see how you’re doing. How is Mrs. Claus? Last year I did not get anything for Christmas. I’m asking you can you get me a Hummer remote control car and a motor scooter that I never had and I always wanted. Everyone always teased me with theirs. Well, I will see you next year.
Better known as Red
Hey Santa, this is Daquan again. Thank you for the Hummer, Legos and the clothes you sent my sisters. I am so thankful when I seen all of that stuff. I was so happy. Thank you for everything Santa. Merry Christmas and Happy New Year.
Thank you for all that you have given me and my daughter this year. I really did not think that my daughter would be happy this year because we are homeless and I could not buy what she wanted. You have made her so happy by giving her an Elmo doll and a Barbie. I wish you could have seen her face when she got them. Thank you so much Santa, you made my wish come true when I saw her face.
I know you must be tired and probably won’t read this letter a couple of days from now. I just wanted to thank you from the depths of my heart for everything you have given my kids. This Christmas started off special and ended up super. I also want to thank everybody else involved, there’s not only angels in heaven, there’s angels on earth. I believe in you Santa.
Once again it is deeply appreciated and I personally thank you. See you next year
The National Trust for Historic Preservation recently published “Protecting America’s Historic Neighborhoods: Taming the Teardown Trend.” It could neither be more timely nor more apt for what is occurring in Bayside, Beechhurst, Malba, Whitestone and other Queens communities.
The publication examines what has been happening nationwide and its effects. Whether in Wichita, Memphis, Denver or Whitestone, the effects are the same: a lovely old house with a definite sense of place has been subject to a “teardown” and has been replaced by a McMansion with a sense of no place.
“McMansion” is just one of a set of descriptors of what is going on. Others are “Bash and Builds,” and “Bigfoots” (New Jersey): “Scrape-Offs” and “Pop-Tops” (Denver); “Knockdowns,” and “Bulldozers” (Oregon).
Call them what you will (or why not make up a new name?), Queens has become a leading victim of teardown and once again the beauties of Old Queens are giving way to the misfits of New Queens. Ever since the 1840s, when cemetery building was forbidden in Manhattan and Queens’ farms, mansions and land were bought and converted to cemeteries, Queens has been the developers’ paradise.
Can anything be done about it? There is no lack of trying. Councilman Tony Avella, together with Paul Graziano is working on a plan involving deed restrictions and accompanying photographs that would require builders to follow the restrictions of the deeds. The Queens Civic Congress is deeply troubled and concerned about the changes, as is the Queens Preservation Council. Andy Ippolito, leading the Property Civic Association is fighting the changes in Bayside.
Jim Trent, at a recent Queens Preservation Council meeting, angrily denounced the present system of decision-making regarding zoning and housing changes, asking “Why isn’t the public ever a part of the decision-making?”
Queens Historical Society, with its Queensmark program, has been trying to identify and honor structures with architectural, cultural and historic merit, but unlike landmark designations, a Queensmark does not provide legal protection for a structure.
Citizens of Queens, we have a duty and obligation to save what is left of our fair borough. Petition your councilperson, ask Mayor Bloomberg to prevent this never-ending demolition of what Queens can still be like.
Some months ago, a Greenwich Village resident, unhappy with the looks of a new structure summed up what she thought of Queens, exclaiming that “That building is as ugly as anything in Queens.”
Stanley Cogan, president,
Queens Historical Society,
As reported recently in this newspaper, our four-year-old children are being cheated by the school system. That system does not effectively monitor the private sites it contracts with to provide universal pre-kindergarten services and there is evidence that some sites are not giving the kids all that they are entitled to. As reported, children were sometimes being denied the space and the services in music and computers that was contracted and budgeted for. Parents were being denied the full-day option contracted for. Resolution of parent complaints was not great under the old “district” system and it is clearly worse under the new regional system.
More than half of District 26’s UPK kids attend this state-funded program at about 20 private sites rather than in the schools, in part because the schools are short of space. Each of these sites enters into a contract with the school system and agrees to provide specific services. Unfortunately, no one systematically reviews these sites and the contracts to confirm that the children are actually receiving the services they are entitled to. Based upon evidence already admitted by school officials, kids are being shortchanged.
At least when we had a fully functioning district, irregularities reported were addressed within a few days or weeks at most, for it was relatively easy to contact the officials with the capability to act.
The new regional director of Early Childhood Education, who is supposed to administer these contracts, is now responsible for about 100 of these sites, rather than the 20 reviewed by the former District 26 administration. She doesn’t have the contracts at her disposal. Worse yet is that she appears totally unaware of the contractual process and seemed not even to know what a contract looked like.
In the case reported in Bay Terrace, a failure to provide services contracted for was brought to her attention and that of the regional superintendent. It was confirmed by them in early September. However, the region did not meet until mid-December and the children did not get the services until mid-January.
Even well meaning public officials who aided in restoring services at this site do not seem to get the full impact of how education officials are failing our kids.
Some reform of local UPK administration is called for.
Melvyn Meer, parent and chairman,
Community Board 11 Educ. Committee,
I strongly support President Bush and his efforts on the war on terrorism. Howard Dean, the top Democratic hopeful, has suggested that the Saudis warned Bush of 9-11 and that we are not better off that we have captured Saddam. Do we really want this man to lead us for the next four years?
The latest murderer (they kill innocent civilians and I agree with President Bush that we should call suicide bombers by their rightful name) at a main crossing between Israel and the Gaza Strip, was a woman with two children—a one-year-old and a three-year-old.
While Palestinian laborers lined up to have their ID cards checked before crossing for jobs within Israel, Reem Al-Reyashi, a Palestinian mother, limped and explained that a metal plate in her leg was setting off the metal detector. Then she was escorted into a building to have a female soldier search her, when the murderer detonated the explosive packed on her body, killing four soldiers and injuring 12 civilians.
Why in heaven’s name did the Israelis believe her story? Their metal detector should have told them that something was rotten in Denmark. That should have aroused anyone’s suspicion.
In a farewell video tape, the suicide murderer said, “God gave me two children and I love them so much.” You love them so much that you took an action that you will never see them again. What kind of mother’s love is that? And while we’re at it—what makes you think that your Merciful God will condone your barbaric act? Nowhere in the Koran, according to Islam clerics, is there any reference to such a belief. The Hamas leaders have brainwashed you as they have with the young men who have thrown their lives away.
Let’s not forget your murderous act will not only affect the Israelis but thousands of Palestinians who will go hungry because they won’t be allowed into Israel for work.
And finally—if we could only find out how the Hamas and other terrorist groups are funded, we might be able to save scores of precious lives.