Queens Tribune

To the Editor:

here we go again. every 5-10 years a commercial sports developer rediscovers Flushing Meadows Corona Park, with its expansive Beaux Arts to be a prime location for a spectacular venue. in the 80s it was the Grand Prix, in the 90s the USTA expansion, rock concert amphitheater, World’s fair III and recently the Olympics and afootball stadium.  as the geographic center of the city on a vehicular and mass transit hub adjacent to LaGuardia Airport, it already has three major stadiums with insufficient parking. But the ideas for the private use of public park land keep coming.   Robert Moses created the land for the 1939 World’s fair, out of a salt marsh that had become the world’s largest ash dump. after the 1964-65 World’s fair, it took 25 years and a dynamic Borough President and Parks Commissioner to fund and implement a capital plan that transformed it into the premiere recreation and cultural facility worthy of a Flagship Park.  Now it is the second heaviest used park in the City and the recreational backyard for the park starved immigrant communities of western Queens and the surrounding neighborhoods with numerous soccer, cricket, volleyball and baseball fields, along with picnic, boating, and biking areas, plus five prestigious cultural institutions.  If the proposed soccer stadium could not be built in Central, Prospect, Van Cortlandt, or Hudson River Park’s then it cannot be built here. there are other suitable locations that are not on park land, such as Willets and College Point industrial areas.   the 1964 World’s fair ‘Unisphere’ has become the icon of the park and is used in advertisements globally to sell anything you can imagine, however the Park itself is not for sale. Arne Abramowitz, Flushing Meadows Corona Park Administrator 1986-93

To the Editor:

the consideration of a proposal by Major League Soccer (is this a non-profit organization?) to usurp eight acres of new York City parkland represents an abhorrent exercise of authority by morally corrupt city officials to rape Queens parkland! where are the payoffs going? Willets Point is a prominent example of this ingrained corruption of the Bloomberg Mayoralty. in his time, Parks Commissioner Gordon Davis wanted to sell Kissena Golf course and Clearview Golf course to bring in money to “save the parks.” This travesty was fortunately  avoided.  I have a suggestion – why not have MLS buy out the Willets Point area owners for a fair market value of their properties instead of new York Mayor Bloomberg invoking eminent domain to seize the properties? everyone might find this acceptable except the Mayor and we can retain our public park.  Benjamin M. Haber of Flushing expressed all of my other opinions in his “Keep the Parks” letter. Charles Curry, Fresh Meadows

To the Editor:

“AG: Development Corps. Lobbied Illegally” (July 5) should come as no surprise to those in the know at City Hall and the NYC Council. new York City prospered and successfully grew prior to creation of the NYC Economic Development Corporation and its predecessor, the NYC Public Development Corporation. in many instances, projects supported by these government corporations have been heavily subsidized by taxpayers, commonly known as corporate welfare. between direct government funding, low interest below market rate loans and long term tax exemptions — the bill to taxpayers in the end can be greater than the so-called public benefits. there is also a relationship between Pay for Play campaign contributions from developers to elected officials looking for favorable legislation, private property condemnation under eminent domain, building permits, public infrastructure improvements, along with direct and hidden subsidies. in some cases, city and state development corporations actually compete against each other attempting to outbid each other in offering potential investors the best deal. This translates to the highest subsidies at taxpayers’ expense.     Don’t forget the conflict of interest for senior staff from municipal regulatory and permitting agencies.  Too many leave in the twilight of any Mayoral administration to become employees or consultants to the same developers they previously oversaw.   Some developers try to purchase the support of local community groups by making so-called voluntary donations. They also make promises for capital improvements, which after the major project is completed don’t always appear. other commitments for creation of permanent new jobs and tax revenues frequently do not meet expectations.  new York City Urban Land Use Review Process (ULURP) including excessive zoning, land use, environmental reviews and historic preservation rules and regulations have stifled financial investments from the neighborhood homeowner along with small and medium sized businesses.   These would support economic development, the creation of jobs and expansion of our tax base which is essential to fund municipal services. It has generated a cottage industry of highly compensated lawyers, lobbyists and public relations people who know how to navigate this maze of rules and regulations that even a Ph.D would have difficulty understanding.  Larry Penner, great Neck

To the Editor:

in our current economic climate, members of the City Council must make difficult decisions as they develop and approve the city budget. This budget season, District 26 City Council Member Jimmy Van Bramer has once again shown himself to be a tireless advocate for the needs of our community.   Thanks to Council Member Van Bramer, Speaker Quinn and other members of the City Council, all 10 afterschool programs in the district will be able to continue providing critically important services to children and working parents. were it not for the work of Van Bramer, many of these programs would have been forced to close. He has ensured that over 1,700 students will have a structured place to go after school where they can discover and develop their talents and build upon school-day learning. Additionally, the Council Member successfully advocated to restore funding to senior centers, case management services, libraries, and a myriad of other human services and arts programs in Queens.   On behalf of Sunnyside Community Services and the thousands of people we serve, I salute Van Bramer and his excellent staff for the work they’ve done on behalf of the community. Judy Zangwill, Executive Director Sunnyside Community Services

To the Editor:

We have once again lost another icon of the television and movie industry. Ernest Borgnine was a very talented actor and a true gentleman. his long and distinguished acting career spanned more than 60 years, from movies such as his memorable award winning performance as Marty in McHale’s Navy and beyond. He will be sorely missed. our deepest sympathy to his wife, family and friends. John Amato, Fresh Meadows

Queens Tribune


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