Re: “Historic Grove Threatened By Contractor: Residents,” in the March 15 Queens Chronicle, Thank you for covering this important issue. As a consulting arborist who has dealt with Parks Department projects such as this for 30 years, I must, however, offer a correction.
It was not the private landscaper whose reckless disregard caused damage to precious trees. The fault lies entirely with the Parks Department. When dealing with contracts such as this within landscaped areas, we expect the contractor to take every shortcut available. What prevents this, and what stands between the public and the wanton destruction of public resources such as fragile root systems in a grove of historic trees, is the agency in charge of the contract and its specifications.
This failure of the Parks Department is particularly egregious because the agency knowingly and repeatedly deflected calls for adequate measures to ensure protection of the historic grove’s valued trees — calls which were met with indifference and arrogance by Parks staff.
One sad piece of the Korean War Memorial story is that the contractor that did the damage wasn’t even there to install the tree protection. They were there to install perimeter fencing — the heck with the trees — on soggy, highly compactable, very fragile soil.Shame on the contractor, of course, but they actually may not have known better.
Bruce Mc Innes,
president, Tree Care Consultancy of NY,
To all community boards: Way to go. Keep on approving those liquor licenses. They really enhance the quality of life in our communities.
Ibelieve the greenway bike path that was disapproved recently by Community Board 6 is the best offer residents have had in a long time. I don’t remember community boards being concerned about the vandals and unwanted trash before. Has anyone looked at that old Long Island Rail Road trail lately?
Are these community boards coming up with a better plan? Something needs to be done. Beside isn’t it all of the civic organizations that come out and do all the city’s cleaning anyway? Do the community boards really care? What do they really do?
The Queens Chronicle’s March 8 article “Fear Over Changes To Access-A-Ride,” while accurate, does not capture the real fear and anger of many Access-A Ride patrons at the possibility of being lost, abandoned, forgotten or spending several hours riding around the boroughs on what would be a 15-minute trip by car.
I have witnessed the following: sedan-style cars without wheelchair lifts being sent to wheelchair-bound passengers; drivers without a clue as to how to get to the destination and who refuse to accept directions from passengers and, instead, waste the passengers’ time driving around in circles; drivers who say that they have passed the pick-up point and did not see the passenger, when the fact is that they never passed; and, dispatchers who refuse to give an authorization for a taxi or car service even after the van is over 30 minutes late.
Other drivers will pass right past my destination and drop off a passenger several miles away before taking me to where I need to go. They insist they must go by the “manifest,” their list of drop-offs and pickups while others say they are allowed discretion when the manifest is clearly inaccurate.
We are expected to be outside and remain outside for 30 minutes after the pickup time, which is given to the nearest minute such as 2:12 p.m., 5:37 a.m., etc. This is difficult to do particularly in excessive heat, cold, and in snow or rain. Many drivers possess the opinion that they are on time if they arrive within 30 minutes after the pickup time. That is of little consolation to passengers who have waited an hour in inclement weather and who miss important medical appointments. After 30 minutes have passed, we may call and ask for a taxi authorization code. Assuming one has the taxi fare to put out, it takes about two to four weeks to get reimbursed, although Access-A-Ride claims the right to take up to eight weeks.
The “mobility examination” at the JFK contractor consisted of ascertaining if the passenger can board a bus, read the destination sign and ring the bell. No consideration was given to whether or not the passenger can maintain his or her balance on the actual real-life crowded bus, or if the actual signal is out of the passenger’s reach.
It is also quite difficult to get through to Access-A-Ride. I have encountered several occasions on which the phone reservation system was closed before 5 p.m., the final time to book a trip for the next day.
Many years ago, maybe 30, the MTA had a problem that was similar to the one the LIRR is having with gaps at some of their stations. The gap occurred at the Brooklyn Bridge station on the IRT Line (as it was known then), which curved, leaving a bigspace between the platform and the train because the train was straight and the station was not. The solution was to have a moveable plate that automaticallyclosed the space, making it safe for passengers. Either the MTA has short memories or the solution has become buried in their files.
While I am picking on the MTA, what happened to the Second Avenue subway, which was started a while back? Second Avenue was dug up starting at 125th Street for about 10 or 15 blocks and then filled in. Is the same thing going to happen now?
Boulevard of Hope
Because of all the pedestrian traffic fatalities that occur there, Queens Boulevard has become known as the “Boulevard of Death.” But I have a different name for it.
Every day I take a morning walk on Queens Boulevard, from 71st Avenue in Forest Hills to the Long Island Expressway in Rego Park and back. During my perambulations, I typically observe many seniors with walkers and canes making their way down the boulevard. Some of the seniors that I see are in wheelchairs and others are hunched over, barely able to put one foot in front of the other. But they all have one thing in common: They are out and about, away from their houses and into the day. And because they are on the street, and because they refuse to just sit at home and lament over their various disabilities, I have come to think of Queens Boulevard as the “Boulevard of Hope.”
For too long, the four so-called outer boroughs have been assigned a back seat by the city in terms of getting landmark designation for worthy buildings and neighborhoods. People in these boroughs are realizing that there are individual structures and districts that have the necessary historical, and/or architectural, and/or attributes that would qualify them for landmarking.
It is not easy for a building or neighborhood to attain landmark designation by the city under the best of circumstances. It is a long and intense process and only the truly deserving places can even hope to achieve this recognition.
New development in our city is important to our economy and our growth. However, when we look around our neighborhood today, a lot of the new buildings being constructed lack the style, beauty and individuality of the buildings they have replaced. The size of the new structures overpower existing housing stock in many cases. Trees and landscaping are replaced by cement and strange-colored brick. If that pattern continues, our neighborhoods will be unrecognizable in the future.
There is still time and still structures and neighborhoods to preserve through landmarking. Community integrity and stability depend on what we can accomplish over the next few years. We need the help and cooperation of the Landmarks Preservation Commission in the outer boroughs to achieve these goals.
Pet Food Contamination
I find it quite upsetting that the New York State Department of Agriculture announced that rat poison was found in various samples of dog and cat food produced by Menu Foods. Menu Foods says that they don’t know how this could happen but they will look into it and apologize for all those who lost pets and will compensate for that loss. My question to Menu Foods is how do you compensate for a loss of a family member and how do you put a price tag on that?
Our pets have become members of our extended family and are loved and treasured as such. My wife Eva and I have a Jack Russell terrier named Jack, and we were quite concerned about the recall when we realized that his food, Nutro-Natural Choice, was on the list. Fortunately, it did not include the dry food that we feed him. As it stands now, there are eight dead animals in New York City and 16 around the nation with 400 sick in the New York area and thousands around the nation. We feel like others that this should not have happened and the Food and Drug Administration needs to do an investigation and tighten guidelines to protect our precious pets.
Pet food companies need to know they will be held responsible, just as if it was a human that had died because of bad food. Remember, a species is no less important because of our estimate of their intelligence, for has not our maker made us all?
Frederick Bedell Jr.,
Sen. Chuck Schumer wants Attorney General Alberto Gonzales to resign.
How come he didn’t ask for the resignation of the head of the Department of Transportation, who was responsible for the Staten Island Ferry disaster? That’s where 11 people died and many more were severely injured.
Could it be because the head of the transportation department was Schumer’s wife, Iris Weinshall?
Only from the land of Oz — otherwise known as the New York City Council — would you hear about recent proposedlegislation introduced by Manhattan Councilwoman Rosie Mendez, wanting to ban the Ringling Brothers Circus from performing in the Big Apple. Why go tothe realcircus anyway?
New Yorkerscan observe the greatest collection of clowns in any legislative body by attendinga session or twoof the City Council. Worthlesslegislation seems to be a daily affair.
Now they want to deprive thousands of children and adults of the entertainment provided by thecircus. If Mendez is concerned about animal abuse, she and her colleagues could adopt one of thenumerous stray cats and dogs looking for a good home. Shouldn’t worrying aboutpeople going hungry,with insufficient education, no job, medical insurance or a place to livebe a higher priority? What about getting the $55 billion plus longterm city debt under control?
A photograph that accompanied the What’s Happening listing on March 8 was incorrectly credited. “Beryl Evening” was taken by Casey Mergen.
A March 22nd story about potential budget cuts to Jamaica’s Margaret Tietz Nursing and Rehabilitation Center contained an inaccuracy. If the governor’s cuts were to be enacted as proposed, the cuts would have been an addition to their current $75 per day loss, per Medicaid patient. The final budget passed last weekend restored some ofthe cuts proposed for nursing homes.