• January 25, 2020
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Queens Chronicle


IDNYC celebrates birthday where it began — a library

Last week IDNYC celebrated its fifth birthday by announcing historic additions to the program — including the addition of “IDNYC” in braille to help New Yorkers who are blind or have low vision distinguish and utilize the card — at the very s…

Don’t blame bail reform; it’s being misrepresented
Updated: January 23, 2020 - 1:02 pm

The Democratic legislators and leaders in New York, who championed the rights of the innocent to remain free until proven guilty and to be provided with due process of the law while awaiting their day in court, are now reneging on the newly passed bail reform legislation in New York State.

Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie, who alluded to “anti-Semitic hate crimes,” and Senate Majority Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins, whose leadership was influential in getting this historic legislation to a vote in the Legislature, are both on board to make changes to the laws. As a Jew rooted in a progressive community and raised in an Orthodox one, I can say we are all united in the fear and heavy hearts we carry within. The bail reform laws, which will restore some level of justice to the poor if enacted properly, are not the culprit.

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MTA not going your way? Try these options instead!
Updated: January 23, 2020 - 1:02 pm

Following a massive series of transportation blunders on the part of the Metropolitan Transportation Authority, there was no service between Queens and Manhattan for the better part of an already horrendous recent Monday. Straphangers trying to get the H-E-double-hockey-sticks out of Midtown and back to the comfort of their oxygen-richer Queens home (there is one tree that can be seen from their apartment window; sad, but it’s one more tree than Manhattan has) were caught in a quagmire of zero backup trains.

The E train was running on the C line; the F on the Q line, but stopping short before it crossed the mighty East River. Then the M and R went down, leaving only the 7 intact, which is like offering up an egg that expired in 2017 as the least rotten but only option.

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What New York needs is more human interaction
Updated: January 15, 2020 - 9:45 pm

It’s 6:30 a.m., as I take the bus to the Main Street station to get on the 7 train. As I put on my earbuds and scroll through posts on Facebook, I decide to look up and gaze at the commuters in the train, just to see that everyone else is doing what I’m doing: They’re all on their phones. The fact that there isn’t a single conversation going on among such a big number of people scares me. Is human interaction in this city at stake?

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Radical ‘justice reform’ just protects criminals
Updated: January 09, 2020 - 11:29 am

With the new year now upon us, the bad old days are back with a vengeance. As of Jan. 1, pretrial bail detention is eliminated statewide for virtually all violent and non-violent felonies. Regardless of what you have been told, only the most serious violent crimes such as murder have been excluded from this law. Criminal offenders who are now arrested for arson, vehicular homicide, burglary, endangering the welfare of a child including child porn, possession or sale of a weapon or drugs to a child on or near a school, making a terrorist threat, aiding in a robbery or stalking with a deadly weapon must now be released back to the community immediately after arrest. Judges no longer even have the option of setting bail for offenders with long histories of recidivism that pose a real and imminent danger to the community.

Readers should understand the seriousness of this “justice reform” package that was passed overwhelmingly by Democrats in the Assembly and Senate. Clearly this law was enacted to protect criminals at the expense of law-abiding citizens. Even liberal prosecutors have raised grave concerns about this legislation, and everyone reading this column should share the same concerns and begin holding politicians accountable.

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Thursday 01/09/2020
A look at 2020, so far
Posted: January 09, 2020

Wow, January really came fast. Although I don’t like the cold of the winter months, I do start to see a slight change as the days are a tiny bit lighter, a tiny bit longer. That is very good news, and means spring will be just around the corner — we hope.

I always write my article the first week of each month but somehow with the holidays and hustle and bustle I missed writing it last week. 2019 brought about some changes and saw some things remain the same.

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Thursday 12/26/2019
Big lessons I learned about myself this year
Posted: December 26, 2019

Every year comes to an end with all of us Queens residents knowing just a little more about ourselves and what makes us tick. And just as surely every year starts with us once again trying to figure ourselves out, ideally for all time.

I’m no different. This past year, for example, I came to see that the minute I arrive anywhere, I’ve already overstayed my welcome, that all I ever seem to do right is to make the wrong impression and that if I were a Broadway show, I probably would have closed the second night.

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Your community garden: a good place for gathering
Updated: January 23, 2020 - 1:18 pm

What is green, beautiful and colorful? If you guessed community gardens, you’re correct!

Community gardens are very important to the environment. They have the ability to “[bind] the neighborhood” (Mark Powell, as cited in the Christian Science Monitor), helping people get to know each other. With all the pollution around the world, community gardens are also a green spot available for everyone. Community gardens are a source of bringing people together.

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Thursday 12/19/2019
Chamber is wrong — we need Rockaway Rail Line
Updated: January 15, 2020 - 9:40 pm

Last month, the MTA released the long-awaited Rockaway Beach Branch reactivation study and the conclusions confirmed what we have known all along; it will benefit overall ridership and all Queens families. To put it plainly, restoring service on this right-of-way would cut commutes substantially between South Queens and Manhattan, improve mobility within our borough and promote economic growth for the borough and the entire city. The results of the study demonstrate that this project is not only possible, but completely necessary.

Earlier this week we were informed that the Queens Chamber of Commerce strangely supports a proposal that would create a public park on the deactivated right-of-way and ignore the transit needs of the entire borough. While we appreciate the benefits of public space, we are completely opposed to a park proposal that ignores the needs of Queens residents and are outraged that the chamber would choose to support the creation of a park — with no transit options — over economic development. The few local residents and outside interest groups that are advocating for a park already enjoy significant access to public parkland, not to mention expansive transit options and commutes of 30 minutes or less to Midtown Manhattan. There is absolutely no reason why the residents of southern Queens and Rockaway shouldn’t be afforded that same opportunity. The utilization of this abandoned right-of-way would open opportunity for thousands of local businesses and would promote access to jobs for all of Queens — all of which the chamber should be promoting and facilitating, not publicly denouncing.

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Progressives must listen to longtime residents
Posted: December 19, 2019

When Amazon announced Long Island City as the location of its second U.S. headquarters, a large population of young and progressive LIC and nearby Astoria residents aggressively opposed the plan. Their reasons for opposition: Amazon, a tax-dodging, anti-union corporation, would drive up rent, kill local business and crowd public transportation. Despite this loud outcry, 80 percent of Queens registered voters supported the Amazon deal, believing it would bring local development and jobs for thousands of borough residents. In the end, the minority who opposed the deal prevailed, and Amazon pulled out of Queens.

The fervent opposition to Amazon’s expansion in Queens is no surprise. LIC and Astoria have seen an influx of young professionals eager to escape Manhattan and Brooklyn’s soaring rents. This influx of liberal young people has ushered a resurgent left wing in western Queens, where Democratic Socialists of America members canvass the streets to support bold and progressive firebrands, including U.S. Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and public defender Tiffany Cab·n for Queens district attorney.

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Thursday 12/12/2019
Celebrate our immigrant diversity this holiday
Updated: December 12, 2019 - 2:54 pm

As we gather together with family and friends over food and gratitude this holiday season, it is important to remember what is at the core of our holiday celebrations — love of others.

I have often used this column to articulate the incredible breadth of who our immigrant communities are and also the richness this tapestry of peoples has brought to our great city. But lost in our every day is this recognition, and contrary to many of our experiences, our national rhetoric has led to demonization of our communities. I encourage us this holiday season to take this time to acknowledge each other and ensure we see each other with the dignity we all deserve. To celebrate our fortune to live in a city where we are all New Yorkers and yet we can love and honor our cultural and familial heritage.

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Thursday 12/05/2019
Beware as pro-criminal law takes effect Jan. 1
Updated: December 05, 2019 - 1:30 pm

We are witnessing in real time the downfall of a once-great city by rigid political ideologues who are more concerned about protecting criminals than victims. Rikers Island, with a capacity of 15,000 and currently housing a historically low 7,500 inmates, is being replaced by four neighborhood prisons that shockingly will have a maximum capacity of 3,300 in 2026 when the city population is expected to exceed 8.5 million people. Yes, in a city of 8.5 million people, we will have jail capacity for only 3,300. The last time NYC had 3,300 inmates was in 1920, when the population was much smaller. The vote to close Rikers was overwhelmingly approved by Council members who will surely be re-elected by voters who know more about their members’ next Rain Barrel Giveaway than their voting records.

With insufficient prison space, courts will be forced to release dangerous felons back into the community and police will be encouraged to make fewer arrests and abandon proactive policing. That is already happening in our city. In order to accommodate the closing of Rikers, it will be necessary to shrink the current prison population by 59 percent, or 5,000 inmates. Ask yourself if your family asked your Council member to close Rikers, spend $8.7 billion to build a neighborhood prison system that can only accommodate 3,300 and release 5,000 inmates back into our community. Unless your Council member is Bob Holden, every other Queens member voted to do just that. To most community leaders, this is just incomprehensible and crazy. Civic associations in the Queens neighborhood where one of the new neighborhood jails is slated to be built vociferously opposed the plan. That opposition didn’t stop Councilmember Karen Koslowitz, who represents that community, from voting in favor of it.

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