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Since the United States began its global war on terror more than a decade ago, hundreds of thousands of soldiers have gone overseas — to Afghanistan, Iraq and other places — to fight and protect this nation and its ideals.
Like the millions who went before them, to places like Europe, Africa, the Pacific, Korea, Vietnam and Kuwait, they served long tours far from home and in precarious situations that require a level of bravery and courage many people can only admire.
The right of way exists, the tracks exist, the infrastructure, although it needs work, still exists — if we want to improve Queens transportation and stimulate economic growth for future development of our borough, the complete restoration and rehabilitation of the abandoned Rockaway Beach Rail Line is our best option.
Sandy revealed what our communities have known for too long: We need more transit options for our families in Queens. There is no better time than right now.
Plans to develop the right of way of the old Rockaway Beach Long Island Rail Road line are moving forward in all directions.
While the urban parks advocacy group The Trust for Public Land conducts its feasibility study for the proposal to build a High Line-type park on the old rail line between Rego Park and Ozone Park, Queens College is now joining in, planning a study next year on both that plan and a competing one to reactivate train service between Rego Park and the Rockaway Peninsula.
The first set of meetings between the groups leading the study of a proposed High Line-style park on the former Rockaway Beach rail corridor and the residents who live along the line started a little on the rocky side.
Before the conglomerate of organizations, led by urban park advocacy group The Trust for Public Land and the plan’s backers, Friends of the QueensWay, even began their short presentation in Woodhaven’s Emanuel Baptist Church on Nov. 12, they were shouted down by a handful of residents who thought the workshop was a public forum.
Reaching the century mark in his life, Max Stern was honored last Friday afternoon at the Catholic Charities Howard Beach Senior Center by fellow seniors and his family and friends with a party that included music, dancing and, of course, cake.
Stern, a 45-year resident of Lindenwood, was born Nov. 20, 1913. He has been a member of the Howard Beach Senior Center for the past 10 years. He moved to the community from Brooklyn with his late wife, Reba, an artist, in 1968.
Reps. Hakeem Jeffries, at podium, and Greg Meeks, join civic leaders and other elected officials to announced the parameters of the proposed Homeowner Flood Insurance Affordability Act last Thursday in Broad Channel.
Those concerned over the possibility of massive flood insurance rate hikes can breathe a sigh of relief. At least for now.
Congress unveiled a deal struck last week to postpone the rate hikes that started taking effect last month because of the Biggert-Waters Act, a 2012 law that sought to put the cash-strapped National Flood Insurance Program, administrated by the Federal Emergency Management Agency, on more solid financial footing.
A bipartisan deal has been struck in Congress that aims to avoid the hikes in flood insurance rates under a 2012 law that could lead to some residents paying thousands of dollars a year in flood insurance premiums.
The bill, the Homeowner Flood Insurance Affordability Act, was introduced this week by Rep. Maxine Waters (D-Calif.) and Rep. Michael Grimm (R-Staten Island) in the House of Representatives and Sens. Bob Menendez (D-NJ) and Johnny Isakson (R-Ga.) in the Senate. Waters is the ranking member of the House Financial Services Committee and co-sponsor of the 2012 Biggert-Waters Act, the law the new bill seeks to change.
If you pay for it, they may just build it.
The Metropolitan Transportation Authority’s 20-year Capital Assessment released last week includes a nod to the proposal for reactivating the Rockaway Beach Long Island Rail Road line.
For some, the Democratic Party’s long, competitive and sometimes bruising primary for mayor ended not with a bang, but with a whimper.
But for city Democrats, desperate to win back City Hall for the first time in two decades, that whimper came with a smile, a handshake and perhaps a sigh of relief on Monday.
The opinions of Queens’ federal lawmakers on whether the United States should launch an attack on Syria in response to its government’s apparent use of chemical weapons against civilians run the gamut.
Some support the action, at least one is opposed, at least one admits he is undecided and several of the others issued varying statements before President Obama announced that he would seek congressional authorization for military action last Friday.
State Sen. Tony Avella (D-Bayside), a Democratic candidate for Queens borough president, on Monday, declared his support for a plan to restore rail service on the old Rockaway Beach Long Island Rail Road line that has been abandoned since 1962.
Avella called the train a key component to improve transportation not only for southern Queens, but for the entire borough.
The entire Queens delegation in Congress, along with U.S. Senators Charles Schumer (D-NY) and Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY), have signed a letter urging the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey to create a regional Airport Advisory Committee.
The Port Authority operates John F. Kennedy International and LaGuardia airports in Queens, and Newark Liberty International Airport in New Jersey along with smaller regional fields.
They come here one after the other, candidates for office, taking the hot seat in our conference room for editorial board interviews and all declaring, among other things, that increasing public transportation is a top priority.
More trains, more express buses, more ferries — they want it all, or however much of it they can figure out a way to pay for. One route we think they should consider taking is the Long Island Rail Road’s old Rockaway Beach line, which runs south to the peninsula from Rego Park and Forest Hills.
To revive what has been dead for over 50 years is never an easy proposition, but the Queens Public Transit Committee is determined to do just that with the Rockaway Beach Line of the Long Island Railroad, which went out of service in 1962.
On Saturday, at a rally a couple of blocks from a rail overpass that stands as a reminder of what once used to be, group member Philip McManus addressed a modest crowd that had gathered at the intersection of Woodhaven Boulevard and Metropolitan Avenue in an effort to call attention to the project.
This past year has proven to be one of the most difficult and challenging for all the families and businesses in Southern Queens and Rockaway struggling to recover from Sandy. Now is the time to help rebuild our homes and economy, but more importantly prepare and create resilient communities for the future by investing in our transit infrastructure.
It’s unfortunate that it took a natural disaster for us to finally receive the attention we desperately need for better transportation alternatives. Community leaders and residents have been struggling and fighting for too long and as we discovered with Sandy, the severe lack of quick and accessible transit options has proven to have detrimental repercussions.
If the two previous town hall meetings in Howard Beach discussing the neighborhood’s recovery from Hurricane Sandy were any indication, many entered St. Helen’s Father Dooley Hall on Sunday afternoon prepared for a showdown; a raucous meeting of angry, frustrated and confused homeowners loudly expressing their concerns and obstacles in the recovery from the community’s worst disaster, perhaps in it’s history.
But that’s not what happened Sunday. Whether it was the length of time since Sandy — almost eight months to the day — or the tone of the questions asked, the town hall meeting hosted by Rep. Hakeem Jeffries (D-Brooklyn) and Assemblyman Phil Goldfeder (D-Rockaway Park), featuring re
presentatives of the Department of Financial Services and the Federal Emergency Management Agency, yielded answers to a number of questions. Those inquires, including “Do I have to raise my house?” and “Will Build It Back, the new city-sponsored recovery program, help pay for what insurance and FEMA didn’t?” were not answered with “I’ll get back to you,” but rather something substantive.
Rep. Hakeem Jeffries (D-Brooklyn,Queens) came to the May meeting of the Lindenwood Alliance, in the Fairfield Arms Co-op, to meet some of his new constituents.
Jeffries told the audience that he was concerned with resolving any issues that residents had with the Federal Emergency Management Agency regarding Hurricane Sandy.
HR 1565 is new legislation in Congress to expand Brady background checks on gun sales. But despite the fact that nine in 10 Americans support expanded background checks, the gun lobby extremists are working overtime to kill the bill.
Strong, sensible gun laws preserve Second Amendment rights, prevent gun violence, and save lives.
While the Brady Law requires criminal background checks of gun sales at gun stores, these checks are not required at gun shows, online sales and other venues where unlicensed sellers operate.
Right now in most states, felons, domestic abusers and the dangerously mentally ill can walk into a gun show, flea market or even log on to the internet and buy weapons from unlicensed sellers, no questions asked.
Congress should require a simple criminal background check on gun sales. The Brady Law has stopped over 2 million felons and domestic abusers from getting guns at gun stores. Now it’s time to finish the job.
Completing the necessary paperwork for background checks takes mere minutes, and more than 91 percent of these checks are completed instantaneously.
I strongly support the Second Amendment. However, this right also requires basic responsibility, and as a society we are responsible for keeping guns out of the hands of dangerous people like criminals, terrorists and the dangerously mentally ill.
In addition, there are exemptions from a check between family members, hunters and sportsmen who temporarily want to exchange firearms while hunting or participating in sports shooting activities.
I urge every reader to contact their representatives today and ask them to co-sponsor the bipartisan King-Thompson bill (H.R. 1565) to expand criminal background checks and save lives.
Rep. Hakeem Jeffries speaks to the Lindenwood Alliance Monday evening.
Fifty-three years ago, Howard Beach was very different than it is today.
New homes and streets were being laid out around what had always been a sparsely populated area, transforming it into the neighborhood we know now.
Rep. Hakeem Jeffries speaks to reporters in his Brooklyn office on Monday during a sit down with local journalists.
Rep. Hakeem Jeffries (D-Brooklyn) thought issues like unemployment and foreclosures would dominate his first 100 days in office, if he was to win the 8th Congressional seat.
Then Hurricane Sandy happened, and then a gunman killed 26 people —including 20 children — at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Connecticut a month later.
Assemblyman Phil Goldfeder, left, with Reps. Gregory Meeks and Hakeem Jeffries in Ozone Park last weekend where the two Congress members formally endorsed a plan to bring rail service back to the abandoned Rockaway Beach Long Island Rail Road line.
Even as opponents of both projects keep their voices in the mix, proposals to reactivate the Rockaway Beach Long Island Rail Road line, or convert the right of way into a park similar to Manhattan’s High Line, are both moving forward.
The plan to bring trains, or some form of transit, back to the line, which was abandoned in 1962, got support from two high-ranking officials last week.