Ulrich on target
Re “Ulrich sponsors bill to curb noise,” June 30, multiple editions:
As a longtime resident of the area of Cypress Hills, I’m 100 percent behind the bill proposed by Council member Eric Ulrich. We must ask our authorities, especially the Police Department, to go after the culprits creating unnecessary and loud noise. The department must be able to respond veryquickly to any complaint related to that issue. No excuse should be acceptable.
Bravo for Mr. Ulrich and all the decent and honest people looking to live in a quiet and healthy environment.
Francisco J. Castillo
Bring it back, Macy’s
(An open letter to Macy’s Chairman, President and CEO Terry J. Lundgren, and others)
First, I would like to applaud Macy’s recent labor agreement with workers in the New York Metropolitan area. Macy’s has a well-earned reputation as a good corporate citizen of New York, and the contract recently agreed upon makes clear that the company remains committed to sharing its prosperity among all employees in the Macy’s family.
I write today regarding Macy’s annual fireworks display in New York City. For the third consecutive year, the Macy’s Fourth of July fireworks lit up the sky over the Hudson River. As an official representing all of New York City’s neighborhoods, and a Brooklyn resident, I am disappointed that once again only those viewing the fireworks from the West Side of Manhattan or New Jersey were treated to a front-row seat.
In public statements, Macy’s has affirmed that the move to the Hudson River is not permanent — but after three years of glimpsing the fireworks over Manhattan’s skyline, many of us in the outer boroughs wonder if they will ever return to the East River. I urge Macy’s to consider alternating between the Hudson River and East River on an annual basis, beginning next year with a return to the East River. Such a compromise would allow those in Brooklyn and Queens to partake in the festivities, as they have for many years.
I appreciate Macy’s rights as a private entity that puts on a free display for the public’s enjoyment. Certainly, there is no tradition we enjoy celebrating more in Brooklyn and Queens than gathering on our rooftops and waterfront to take in Macy’s spectacular displays every July Fourth. I ask that you help millions of outer borough residents continue that tradition.
Bill de Blasio
New York City Public Advocate
Thanks to Garden Works
I was pleased to open last week’s paper and see that my friend, Mr. Sal Bacarella of Garden Works, was honored by the Parks Department for his contributions to the community (“Parks honors a cop and a landscaper,” June 30, North Queens Edition).
In addition to the community service and fundraising projects that he is involved with throughout the city, Sal is a major contributor to The Welcome To Whitestone Commercial and Residential Civic Association. He has contributed financially to all of our fundraising efforts and has agreed to install our new “Welcome To Whitestone” town sign as well as redesign and landscape the property on which the sign will be located.
It is important that businesses and residents get involved with their community representatives. When we asked for help, Sal and the staff of Garden Works was there. On behalf of The Welcome To Whitestone Commercial and Residential Civic Association, we thank you, Sal!
Devon O’Connor, President
The Welcome to Whitestone Commercial
and Residential Civic Association
Re “Synagogue thanks God for renovation,” June 30, multiple editions:
The accusations against me will come quick and hard, but the question I raise should be addressed by every fair-minded citizen.
In a country where it is believed that a fundamental separation of church and state is good for both church and state;
In a city at a time when concerned citizens are in an unending struggle to prevent the closing of firehouses and hospitals, the layoffs of teachers and security personnel, the curtailment of library services, the neglect of bridges and roads, etc.;
How can $1.1 million of public funds be allocated to the $1.6 million rehabilitation of the exterior of a religious building which, in short order, will need additional funding to deal with its basement, which has been “ravaged by termites,” and the paint peeling on its exterior walls?
Good intentions deserve respect, but they cannot substitute for good judgment and essential needs.
Frank A. Lazzaro
Shady Creedmoor deals
At a packed joint meeting of the Bellerose Commonwealth Civic Association and the Queens Colony Civic Association on June 9, the groups discussed recent proposals for private development on New York State property, formerly the Creedmoor Psychiatric Center. We are getting killed with over-development on Creedmoor and need to find out what is happening there to give our input.
Over many years the state has been selling off excess property on the 600-acre campus. In past years the state had notified the community of planned land transfers, but lately the transactions are occurring without any notification to community boards, community groups or even local elected officials.
In addition, the purchasers are apparently making plans to develop their parcels without regard to zoning or the character of the neighboring communities. One such group has presented plans to local civic leaders. On a site zoned for commercial development, explicitly excluding residential development, the group wants to build two nine-story apartment buildings.
In addition to the zoning issue, any apartment building would be completely out of context with the surrounding single family homes. It would also attract significant additional traffic. Furthermore, the 2006 documents supporting the transfer of public lands to the private group specifically called for a single-story community facility building, parking lot and athletic field. We are told that the original sale was conditioned on non-residential use. Under no circumstances would local civic leaders condone the building of two nine-story apartment buildings.
Jerry Wind, visiting president of the Bellerose Hillside Civic Association and closest neighbor to the property, recently discovered that on May 25, a massive lot facing Hillside Avenue has been sold to another private organization. The site has been deemed eligible for the Federal Registry of Historic Places and contains several original Creedmoor buildings. A review of this property is required. There has been no public discussion of this transfer. We have not yet located any plans for use, except that these historic and architecturally significant buildings will be demolished. The current nonprofit tenants in those buildings have received notice to vacate within three years. This is outrageous.
Based on the already significant overdevelopment in the area and the strong desire to maintain the suburban quality of life of the Bellerose/Queens Village area, the BCCA and QCCA resolved to oppose the plans to develop large apartment buildings. The organizations further agreed to restrict any future development anywhere on the Creedmoor campus to no higher than two stories. This vote was unanimous.
We strongly urge that state agencies responsible for land transfers on the property be mandated to make public disclosure of any transfer discussions prior to finalizing the transfer, sale or rental and that any such transfer be subject to ULURP, SEQR and CEQR environmental review with full public disclosure, review and input.
Richard C. Hellenbrecht, Acting President
Bellerose Commonwealth Civic Association
Angela Augugliaro, President
Queens Colony Civic Association
Editor’s note: See related article in some print editions or online at qchron.com.
Wall St. vs. Main St.
As a small business owner who can personally attest to the hard-hitting nature of swipe fees, I was pleased when Congress took action last year to put reasonable limits on the fees that big banks and credit card companies have used to exploit small businesses and consumers for years.After all, swipe fees have been holding back small businesses for years, and swipe fee rates that are more reflective of the actual cost of transaction processing would free up some much-needed capital that would enable me to expand my business, offer more competitive prices or even give back to the community by sponsoring a local little league team.
However, I was disappointed when the Federal Reserve issued final rules that will cap debit card swipe fees at 21 cents after proposing a much lower limit of 12 or even 7 cents.This was after finding that the actual cost per transaction for the banks and credit card companies is just 4 cents, which means that under the new rules they are still guaranteed at least a 400 percent profit on each transaction.That’s huge!
I am grateful that folks in DC are trying to fix the interchange system that is clearly broken ... and welcome the lower fees that will take effect in October.But am disappointed by this less-than-ideal “fix” that clearly favors Wall Street.
Owner, Choice Security
Is the U.S. doomed?
Americans overwhelmingly are opposed to raising the debt ceiling. It is a knee-jerk reaction to a Washington that has shown no leadership in years. The partisan dividehas rewarded the extremes on both sides of the aisle, who have learned to inflame support ensuring their re-election, rather than concerning them with the welfare of the Republic.
Relying upon the Greek economic debacle, those who see rampant government spending as a curse raise fear by claiming the U.S. is next. Reality does not alter their doom saying. The numbers deny the U.S. is on the precipice of becoming another Greece.
That is not to say that spending must not be curtailed, for it must. The retirement age should be increased, and means testing is responsible when individuals do not require government aid. Revenues must be increased.
The Tea Party is redefining Republican foreign policy by demanding withdrawal of American involvement in Afghanistan. They only consider the money that will be saved. Not only have they forgotten that the Taliban cooperated with al-Qaeda but that isolationist policies failed in the 20th century. The Tea Party echoes the voices of Father Conklin and Charles Lindbergh.
The budget proposed by Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wisconsin) includes the U.S. borrowing for years to come. The debt ceiling must be raised. Those who are adamantly opposed to doing so will be shocked when their mortgages, car loans and equity lines of credit interest rates increase instantly and dramatically while the greenback falls. Some are suggesting the Democrats would do themselves well by playing along, teaching a lesson few will ever forget.
The parties have pushed each other into a box. Unless the stark consequences are appreciated the economic woes of the last few years will seem like the good old days.
Memories of Jamaica
I thoroughly enjoyed reading your article “Jamaica Avenue shopping had it all” (I Have Often Walked column, June 30). I vividly remember those places you mentioned and shopping at them with my family.
Going to “downtown” Jamaica was a big deal then! It was busy and bustling. I can remember shopping, eating out and going to the movies at the Valencia Theater — which was like a Moorish Castle and had a great goldfish display in the lobby — truly a big deal.
There were some very busy department stores as well — do you remember May, Gertz and Macy’s all in downtown Jamaica. Keep up the good work!