The almost weekly barrage of letters concerning dormitories, garages and necessary development at St. John’s University continues ad nauseam.
The designated letter-writer-of-the-week repeats the same arguments: too much noise, lack of discipline, invasion of privacy, etc. They miss the point of the value involved in having a major university in their midst.
The letters refer to the university’s apparent disregard for the community. In fairness, let us put forth some of the programs that exhibit a high regard for this and other communities.
The university’s initial mission was to offer a college education to the children of immigrants at an affordable tuition cost.
That mission has grown through the years. Universities must grow or stagnate, they must continue to attract new students; the dormitories are the result of that growth.
The university has long sponsored a program in one of its organizations whose function is outreach to poor students, offering tutoring and educational support. It also offers tax preparation assistance to the elderly of all local communities each tax season and supports a men’s shelter.
Local residents are invited to audit classes, free of charge, as long as there is classroom space available. This distinguished university has prepared tens of thousands of men and women for success in life. Names that come to mind are Governors Mario Cuomo, Hugh Carey and Deukmejian. Yet there are so many others—doctors, lawyers, judges, businessmen and bank presidents.
So letter-writers—desist. Turn your attention, channel your energies elsewhere.
Over the past number of months I have been following the various Chronicle articles and have been meaning to write sooner about my feelings and concerns.
Each weekday morning I drive to work along Queens Boulevard between Kew Gardens and Elmhurst, starting about 8:25 a.m. and arriving at the Queens Center at about 8:50 a.m. It used to be a 15 minute trip to drive the approximately 3 miles, but it now takes approximately 10 minutes longer.
I would gladly spend the extra 10 minutes to save a life. However, even now, with all the fences and longer crossing times for pedestrians at appropriate places, a day never passes that a jaywalker doesn’t cross in front of me near the fences, at the lights, in the middle of a block—just everywhere and anywhere.
There are many more accidents waiting to happen due to pedestrian stupidity.
Elizabeth Bosch Wolfson,
Countdown To Cross
I wonder if the traffic planners gave much thought into putting in pedestrian lights that counted down from 60 rather than flashing pedestrians and hands? At least you would know if it were time to start across or wait for the next cycle.
We Need Schools
(This is an open letter that was sent to Mayor Michael Bloomberg.)
Dear Mayor Bloomberg:
At the town hall meeting in June, I brought an issue to your attention regarding the St. Anthony’s Hospital site, an almost seven-acre parcel, located at 89-15 Woodhaven Boulevard.
Prior to demolition this spring, the Brooklyn Diocese acquired the property to facilitate Catholic Charities’ desire to establish an affordable senior assisted living center at the site. At the urging of former Queens Borough President Claire Shulman, the diocese and Catholic Charities had agreed in principle to lease a portion of the property to the city of New York so that a public school, kindergarten through 3rd grade, could be erected.
These two structures would occupy approximately half of the now vacant site. Catholic Charities and the diocese had also agreed to make the undeveloped space available to the community’s children for sports programs.
Since the demolition, the Brooklyn Diocese has been inundated with offers from private developers who wish to erect everything from large box retail stores to dense housing projects. The community is ill equipped to handle traffic associated with retail development and is currently so overburdened in the public school system that new dense housing units would create an educational crisis.
I hope you share the vision of the community leaders, activists and civic associations from the surrounding area for the best possible development of this site. I am urgently requesting that you contact Bishop Thomas Daily of the Brooklyn Diocese and lend your support to the original concept of providing the community with much needed affordable assisted senior living center, a public school that would go a long way to help the serious condition of overcrowding in the community and a magnificent sports facility site for the betterment of all the children in the surrounding area.
Paul Sapienza, chairperson,
Community Board 9,
So tired of hearing and reading these analogies over and over again of the Bush/Cheney kinship with white collar crooks: “The fox watching over the chicken coop, the wolf safeguarding the three piggies, Dillinger and the bank security guard, Jack the Ripper, the bordello sentry, etc.” How boring and short sighted are these critics?
We are fortunate to have two guys in the top executive positions of the administration that have been there, done the dirty deed and beat the system. They are our experts; our counter-spys. They know all the tricks and are our ace in the hole. They will help us track down their fellow “evil-doers.” It took a Sammy “the Bull” Gravano to put away fellow criminal Gotti in order to save his own neck.
That same incentive for self-preservation will drive our desperate duo to turn their coats and wielding that sword of righteous indignation, lead the charge against those such as they. Is this a great country or what?
You can take your foxes and wolves and put them into a zoo. Give me an old-fashioned successful crook to catch a crook, anytime. Lucky us.
How about starting a painters’ apprenticeship program for graffiti vandals after they do community service time as restitution for vandalism of private property, for these graffiti vandals who seem to climb tall buildings with ease and mark up rooftops, bridges, etc.
If they want to get up somewhere high to paint, they could be directed into a profession that requires such skills and derring-do.
Then, the former vandals would finally be contributing to their communities by painting and refurbishing hard-to-reach places or tall structures.
Since taking office, Mayor Michael Bloomberg has taken a firm and resolute stand on many pivotal issues. Unfortunately, there has been no follow-up on some of them.
One such case is the new bicycle law, which states that anyone over 14 years of age, who is caught riding a bicycle on the sidewalk will be fined $100 and, if an accident occurs, the fine will be $500. The law sends a message, but if there is no messenger, it is fruitless.
I have witnessed two occasions where a group of bicycle riders carelessly traversed the sidewalks down the forbidden streets of Union Turnpike and Kew Gardens.
A watch-dog committee would find them all over the different communities. I would hazard a guess that some or all of these offenders are not aware that there is such a law.
If the mayor is serious about enforcing this law which will prevent accidents it is incumbent upon him to inundate the airwaves, the newspapers, posters in conspicuous places with this vital information.
Your Honor—stop the lip service and act now.