Say it in English
(An open letter to Councilman Peter Koo, Assemblywoman Grace Meng and State Sen. Toby Ann Stavisky.)
You were elected to represent all the people of the Flushing area. Many of us in the non-Asian community feel you are not fully representing us, nor are you hearing us.
For several months we have had meetings regarding the use of English in the stores and on their signs. We have gotten nowhere. All we hear are what seems to be one excuse after another. Enough. The time has come to stop pampering the storekeepers and hear the constituents that voted you into your office. We want and need change.
It’s not only for safety reasons that English should be on all signs, but it’s also a show of respect for America, and a welcome to people of all ethnic backgrounds to shop in the stores.
It seems that the stores will not voluntarily install the English signs inside or outside their stores. Why won’t you either strengthen the already existing law or rewrite a new law either in the City Council or the state Legislature, and do this in our lifetime?
If you’re afraid of losing their vote, remember that we vote too. This is an issue that will not be forgotten come election time. Here’s hoping you can fix this before we meet at our polling place.
Mary Ann Boroz
Neighbors for a Diverse Community
Bad name for a bridge
It does not make sense that the Queensboro Bridge be renamed for Ed Koch. This bridge already presents some confusion with it also being called the 59th Street Bridge. Why add more confusion?
But if it is a must that the name of the Queensboro Bridge be changed, is should have been named the Claire Shulman Bridge. Ms. Shulman, who hails from Queens, was the greatest borough president in Queens history, as far as I and two million other citizens here are ocncerned.
Has Ed Koch ever resided in Queens? Not as far as I know. Mr. Koch was a great mayor for New York City, there is no doubt in my mind. If you want to name something after him, how about Gracie Mansion? “Koch’s Place” has a nice ring to it.
And while we are at it, should we change the name of New York City to “Bloomberg City?” Although Michael Bloomberg probably thought about that before me, I don’t feel that our great citizens could tolerate it. Personally, I’d like to change it back to New Amsterdam.
Names are important. But more important is for us to maintain the health of these places and things to the best of our abilities.
For the last 18 years I have been climbing and photographing the great bridges of New York City (see davefrieder.com). One of my favorite bridges is the Queensboro Bridge. I personally know many families whose fathers, grandfathers and great, great grandfathers built all these marvels of civil engineering.
I am against and appalled at this ridiculous name change. In my eventual fine art, black-and-white coffee table book on NewYork’s great bridges the name will be Queensboro Bridge. Nothing else is possible.
New Milford, NJ
The writer lived in Flushing as a child.
Cycles and the city
Last week’s “Enough of the war on cars” was a fantastic editorial. Of course in a perfect world, all cars would not give off noxious fumes. I think City Hall, though, seems to miss a point that bike riding is dangerous activity unto itself. A lot of accidents happen because bike riders ignore traffic lights and signs. The injuries not only happen to themselves but to pedestrians.
When I visited Denmark a few years ago, they probably had the best method to reduce automobile usage. They have and are creating streets and bridges that are only for bikers and also have an A+ public transportation system.
The writer is a former Queens Chronicle intern and an occasional contributor.
Tax the rich more
As a therapeutic recreation therapist, I can testify to the importance of senior centers. Of all the ink written about their preservation, no one dares to addressthe simplest solution: increase taxes on those who earn the most.
I am furious with politicians, from the mayor to the governor, Congress and even the president, who cringe from this idea. It is the most patriotic gesture for the wealthiest citizens to better the lives of their least fortunate compatriots, whether in keeping a senior center open or enhancing public education in pre-K, music, art and sports.
Were it not for outsourcing, unemployment figures would never reach today’s critical figures. If we had luxury taxes on goods that cost 10 to 20 times the average price, city budgets could balance. It is time for editors to speak out and support common sense solutions.
Barbara K. Brumberg
Hail yellow only
For 22 years I have been driving the streets of New York, leaving my home in Queens at 5 in the morning six or seven days a week. That is not unusual for a yellow-cab driver, especially since the Great Recession increased the already-brutal competition for fares. In addition to earning a living for my family, I have enjoyed working with the public and learning from my passengers, in my own borough of Queens and all over the city that I’ve made my home. But if Mayor Bloomberg has his way, all that will come to an end.
Citing a need for more curbside cab service in the outer boroughs, Mr. Bloomberg plans to let non-medallion cars pick up street hails. That is illegal now in all five boroughs. Only yellow cabs, which are regulated by the Taxi and Limousine Commission, are allowed to pick up street hails. But for the four outer boroughs and upper Manhattan, the mayor would turn liveries into cheap taxis.
Yellow cabs are the gold standard. You don’t improve service for passengers by giving every livery company in New York the same seal of approval that we’ve worked so hard to earn from the TLC. You just drive down the standard.
Outer-borough passengers deserve the same reliable service that people in Manhattan get from drivers, but that service isn’t provided by livery cars. The drivers charge what they want, or what they can get away with. And even if they had meters, who’s going to make sure the drivers don’t turn them off, cut corners and evade the TLC regulations? After all, the city is not enforcing its own ban on street hails now. How could it enforce the law with a flood of thousands of new drivers across the city?
Driving has become tougher since the recession squeezed demand and higher gas prices ate into receipts. I’ve managed to keep calm and well-prepared, planning my routes ever more carefully. I still enjoy my passengers and treasure the letters of thanks over the years from those who didn’t have their wallets. The taxi is my livelihood, and it’s a good one for me and others.
The mayor’s plan would kill that livelihood. It would cut my income by half, and half is not enough to support my four children, who are still in school. I wish the mayor would explain to them, and to all New Yorkers, why he would destroy an industry that has supported working families for 75 years. Nobody would benefit from that.
The writer is a taxi driver and medallion owner.
Proud of Ferraro
We have truly lost a most noble ladyfrom Queens, Geraldine Ferraro. Ferraro was a trailblazer for women who had served as a congresswoman, and was the first Italian-American female nominated on a presidential ticket. She surely was a role model for past, present and future women who wish to serve our great nation as she did.
Ferraro made America proud, as well as the residents of Queens who knew her well. She served with distinction, pride and concern for all citizens, and for thatshe will be greatly missed.
Frederick R. Bedell Jr.
We live in a world where we are not in absolute control of others actions. We tend to complain and express our concerns, while seeking for a solution. I may say things resembling the following example: The bar and restaurant next door keeps the volume of the music high and I cannot sleep.
“Elmhurst gets real with agency officials,” by Elizabeth Daley (March 17, Western Queens edition) is an eye opener to the type of communication between western Queens residents and city agencies. Residents complained and city agencies responded. But, how constructive was their communication?
Residents expressed their concerns, and the officials responded by mentioning some of the things that have been done to address the concerns. Furthermore, they stated how they would alleviate the problems. However, I believe the communication between the residents and the city agencies could have been better facilitated to address residents’ complaints.
When there is communication, there is a speaker and a listener, and there is a relationship between both, as defined by W. Barnett Pearce in “Making Social Worlds: A Communication Perspective.” The relationship I observed, based on the article, is one in which the resident speaks and the city agency answers.
The communication between both could improve if the participants keep in mind they are communicating to make something together that will assist in addressing complains. This way, the resident expresses a concern and the city agencies respond, and both will communicate not only to address an issue but also to prevent the issue from happening again.
Residents and city agencies can work together to prevent future complaints and other issues if both communicate effectively.
The writer is a graduate student in Public Administration at Baruch College’s School of Public Affairs.