Douglaston native Patrick McEnroe announced that he was stepping down as general manager of player development for the United States Tennis Association last week. Patrick, the younger brother of tennis legend John McEnroe, had a decent professional career and served tennis as a CBS sportscaster and Davis Cup captain before becoming in charge of discovering and nurturing American tennis talent.
The official reason given was that McEnroe did not want to relocate from New York City to Orlando, where the USTA will open a state-of-art training center in 2016. But it is impossible to ignore the fact that the state of American professional tennis, Serena Williams obviously excluded, is dismal. Six days after the Open got underway there wasn’t a single American in the men’s or women’s singles brackets left who wasn’t named Serena Williams. One has to believe USTA executives were not pleased.
If you closed your eyes and listened, the steps of Borough Hall sounded more like the tunnels of a West Virginia coal mine on Thursday.
In keeping with a Labor Day theme, Borough President Melinda Katz kicked off a press conference celebrating unions and hardworking Queens residents by singing a few bars of “Sixteen Tons,” a song made famous by Tennessee Ernie Ford about the arduous life of a coal miner, which has become synonymous with hard, honest labor since its 1955 release.
Congratulations are due to the school safety agents and the city for their fair though overdue settlement of a lawsuit over the unequal pay that these predominantly female workers were getting compared with their counterparts in hospitals and homeless shelters. The case was decided on its merits. Their complaint was proved to be fact.
The job that SSAs do is underappreciated because it is not fully understood. They are not “square badge” security guards who do nothing but sit on stools and sign in visitors at the front desk. Their migration from the Board of Education to the NYPD some years ago elevated their prestige, though not their pay.
They are genuine law enforcement, peace officers with arrest powers.
Violations and some serious crimes that abound in the streets occur daily in many schools despite some principals’ not reporting them. Many people would be surprised to discover what the life of an SSA is like. A glance into their logs would be a revelation.
It’s a rewarding and meaningful job. But it can be harrowing and dangerous. There are fights, drugs, weapons, intruders, irate parents and community conflicts that can penetrate the building. There are security breaches, environmental hazards and sensitive matters that can have legal ramifications.
One of the challenges can be maintaining independence from a controlling principal without sacrificing one’s own skin. It requires integrity and other skills to successfully humor yet resist a principal who wants to keep his or her school’s “dirty laundry” top secret.
To his credit, Mayor de Blasio reached what he himself called a “fair and right settlement.” He recognized, as all New Yorkers should, that the value of school safety agents towers over their price to the city.
Gov. Cuomo announced last week the launch of an online state recruitment resources website that will allow for disabled persons and veterans to gain easier access to state jobs.
The site assists job seekers who are “certified eligible to participate in the Governor’s Program to Hire Persons and Veterans with Disabilities,” according to a press release from state Sen. Joe Addabbo Jr. (D-Howard Beach).
“Japan — An Island Nation: 1870-1890,” Resobox Gallery, 41-26 27 St., Long Island City. Opening reception: Fri., Sept. 12, 7-9 p.m. Exhibition thru Oct. 10. Info: resobox.com.
A bill that aims to “prohibit discrimination based on one’s consumer credit history” by banning employers from doing credit checks on job applicants will be the subject of a City Council hearing set for 10 a.m. Sept. 12 at City Hall
The main sponsor of the bill, which was introduced in April and is being debated in the Civic Rights Committee, is Councilman Brad Lander (D-Brooklyn). The legislation has 38 co-sponsors who have signed onto it; among them are several members of the Queens delegation: Daniel Dromm (D-Jackson Heights), Jimmy Van Bramer (D-Sunnyside), Costa Constantinides (D-Astoria), Peter Koo (D-Flushing), Elizabeth Crowley (D-Glendale), Donovan Richards (D-Laurelton), Ruben Wills (D-South Jamaica) and Daneek Miller (D-St.Albans).
Since 1999, Assemblywoman Marge Markey (D-Maspeth) has represented the 30th District.
With 15 years of experience under her belt, Markey is asking her constituents for two more to continue fighting for the district.
“Homeland [In]security: Vanishing Dreams” by Margaret Matthews-Berenson, Dorsky Gallery, 11-03 45 Ave., Long Island City, runs thru Nov. 16; opening reception: Sun., Sept. 7, 2-5 p.m. Info: dorsky.org.
Events of recent weeks show that we New Yorkers have reason to be proud of our city, and of ourselves. That does not mean we don’t also have cause for concern.
A tragedy occurred July 17 on Staten Island when Eric Garner died, apparently of a heart attack, while resisting arrest for an alleged petty crime. Police and emergency service personnel stood idly by and let him die, when there was a chance he could have been saved.
As students and teachers head back into the classroom, some parents and union officials are heading into the courtroom.
At issue are teacher tenure and other job protections for educators. The plaintiffs in two lawsuits filed against the state this summer — including two parents from Queens suing on behalf of their children — contend that tenure and the lengthy process for removing teachers are so onerous that many bad educators remain in the system, denying children their constitutional right to a sound basic education.
Tension between the Queensbridge Houses community and hotel owners has hit a boiling point.
At a rally held on Aug. 15 in front of the Center of Hope International, residents and community leaders called on Xiao Zhuang Ge, owner of the Howard Johnson Hotel in Long Island City, to keep what they say was his promise to hire members of the Queensbridge community.
New York lawmakers are pressing the U.S. Senate to pass a bill that would create more opportunities for women-owned small businesses seeking federal contracts.
On Monday, U.S. Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY) and Rep. Grace Meng (D-Bayside) were joined by Assemblywoman Nily Rozic (D-Fresh Meadows), state Sen. Toby Stavisky (D-Flushing) and Councilman Mark Weprin (D-Oakland Gardens) at Data Conversion Laboratory — a woman-run business.
The 103rd Precinct went all-out for its celebration at Rufus King Park on Tuesday night.
There was a long line for burgers and hot dogs, which were distributed by the young “explorers,” children in a police-run community service organization. Children ran around with butterflies painted on their faces by Cupcake the Clown and played games, including nock-hockey and had some fun with hula-hoops. A DJ played music that carried throughout the park and some attendees danced to it. Several community organizations distributed flyers and information about services for residents.
After two previous rallies against the Pan American Hotel’s transformation into a homeless shelter turned vitriolic, the Department of Homeless Services shuttled dozens of families to a movie theater in an attempt to shield them from Tuesday’s protest outside the building.
While scores of children enjoyed seeing “How to Train Your Dragon 2,” around 550 people packed the sidewalk in front of the shelter at 79-00 Queens Blvd. in Elmhurst to, once again, let their opposition to the residence be heard.
Midsummer isn’t a quiet time for Woodhaven residents and civic leaders.
During a town hall meeting Saturday that drew a sizable audience to Emanuel United Church of Christ, the Woodhaven Residents’ Block Association addressed more than half a dozen issues, most of them ongoing problems facing the area, including graffiti, illegally parked cars, and a collapsed Jamaica Avenue building that many worry is a safety risk.