Is the LIRR dissing Little Neck riders?

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By Larry Penner

TimesLedger Newspapers

This photo of me, a longtime Long Island Rail Road rider, reveals that something is still missing one year later from installation of a new replacement pedestrian overpass bridge at the Little Neck LIRR Station in November 2016.

Why didn’t the LIRR coordinate the purchase of a simple prefabricated overhead canopy along with procurement of a new prefabricated pedestrian overpass bridge? Both could have been installed during the same weekend. For a few dollars more, this would have provided hundreds of Little Neck riders with protection from rain, snow, sleet and ice. It would also have extended the useful life for both the pedestrian overpass bridge and staircases.

The original pedestrian overpass bridge and stairs were installed in 1989. Since that time, riders due to inclement weather have had to periodically deal with slippery and unsafe conditions when using this passageway to reach the eastern end of the westbound platform. Many walk this way to reach the board five cars of Penn Station-bound trains. This positions the rider, when exiting the train at Penn Station, for the fastest route toward Herald Square, 7th Avenue along with the No. 1, 2 & 3 IRT subway lines.

Metro North always includes a canopy with installation of any pedestrian overpass bridge or staircases. Don’t LIRR commuters deserve the same consideration as their Metro North counterparts?

Larry Penner

Great Neck

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Source: Times Ledger

McGoldrick Library gets plaque for namesake priest

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By Mark Hallum

TimesLedger Newspapers

A plaque was unveiled and will be mounted in the McGoldrick Library in Broadway-Flushing for its namesake priest who sought to promote education in the then-rural community that became north Flushing.

Joseph Brostek advocated to have the little-known figure today recognized with a monument and was joined at the ceremony by Queens Library President Dennis Walcott and Rev. Joseph T. Holcomb of St. Andrew Avellino Parish. The church sits just across the street from McGoldrick Library at 157th Street and Northern Boulevard and was also founded by the cleric who died in 1930.

“Father McGoldrick loved reading and education. He knew that someday he would open a school. In 1921 he joined the Queens Public Library board of trustees and worked very hard with the community to have a library established,” Brostek said. “Father’s efforts to get a library were successful and the Broadway-Flushing Community Library was opened in 1929. He died in 1930 and not long after, the board of trustees voted to change the name of the library to the McGoldrick Community Library in his honor.”

Of the 65 branches of Queens Library, only four are named after people and not just for the communities they serve. The McGoldrick branch was named after the priest in 1933, but the location changed several times before it settled in its current building at 155-06 Roosevelt Ave. near Leonard Triangle.

Somewhere in this confusion of so many location changes, the meaning of the name became disassociated with the library itself, according to Brostek.

The McGoldrick Library, founded in 1929, was only open for about a year before McGoldrick died.

Garden School

“As one of the four libraries named after individuals, this library will no longer be the outlier not having a plaque in that person’s honor,” Walcott said.

Also delivering remarks at the unveiling ceremony were state Sen. Toby Stavisky (D-Flushing), state Assemblyman Ron Kim (D-Flushing) and Community Board 7 District Manager Marylyn McAndrews.

“Father McGoldrick was an incredible man in the sense that he had an incredible vision, and one of those visions was simply to educate our young people and give everyone the opportunity to read and be educated,” Holcolm said before leading those in attendance in prayer.

Kim said the McGoldrick Library plays a significant role in the community because it does not only offer classes that teach students so they can pass exams, but real world skills such as introductory lessons in Korean.

Reach reporter Mark Hallum by e-mail at mhallum@cnglocal.com or by phone at (718) 260–4564.

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Source: Times Ledger

South Ozone Park cheerleaders head to nationals

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By Naeisha Rose

TimesLedger Newspapers

The Southside Seahawks cheerleading team, which practices at the Virgil Grissom Middle School in South Ozone Park, beat their peers at the 2017 Big East AYC Regional Competition by winning two of the three meets Nov. 18.

The Seahawks had to dance, cheer and step their way into the regional competition and won first place in both the dance and step categories, which means the team will advance to the National Competition in Florida Dec. 9.

Overseeing a team of 14 6- to 11-year-olds is the Seahawks Step Director Kim Wilson from Rosedale.

“I am overjoyed,” Wilson said. “I can’t believe we did that ——— two first places.”

The team practices eight hours a week for three days, according to Wilson.

Director Wilson has worked with the team for four years and in previous years the team has come in second place in dance and second place in step at the national competition, but with twice the opportunity to perform she hopes they nab the top stop for one or both competitions.

“We’re hoping that this year we will come back with that championship,” Wilson said.

More important than seeing the girls make it to the national competition is seeing them come together as a unit and working hard to achieve a single goal as a team, according to Wilson.

“For them to put [the routines] on the big stage and get it all together, it makes you want to cry,” Wilson said.

Two of the cheerleaders are Danielle Mitchell, 8 and Zalaya Elder, 11.

“It felt good,” said Danielle about her win. “It was amazing, it was fun and we were on television.”

Terrace On The Park

The Rosedale cheerleader’s favorite thing about cheering is combining gymnastics and flips.

When it comes to the national competition, she has mixed emotions.

“I feel terrified and happy together,” Danielle said.

Zalaya, who lives in Cambria Heights, shares Danielle’s love of doing flips and she is also a big fan of doing backhand stands.

When she found out she was going to go to the regional competition, she was nervous, but once they won she was surprised and happy.

“This was my first year on the team,” Zalaya said.

Zalaya is looking forward to the nationals and hopes the Seahawks win again.

“I tell them all the time, you are like sisters now, 14 sisters,” Wilson said. “Sometimes you are going to clash with each other, but when we get out there on the mat, everything else goes to the side and we got to focus on winning.”

Reach reporter Naeisha Rose by e-mail at nrose@cnglocal.com or by phone at (718) 260–4573.

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Source: Times Ledger

Stringer: Poor bus service sparks transit crisis

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By Mark Hallum

TimesLedger Newspapers

A new report from City Comptroller Scott Stringer claims not only are the subways in bad shape, but the bus system is also one of the slowest in the country and has lost over 100 million passenger trips in the past eight years.

While Manhattan and Brooklyn have the slowest service in the city, Queens buses travel at the highest average rate of speed of 8.1 miles per hour, second only to Staten Island.

“For 40 years, our subway system deteriorated, and it has led to the frustration that New Yorkers now feel daily. Today, we’re sounding the alarm on our bus crisis. Falling ridership, major slowdowns, and a bus infrastructure in decline is having an effect across the five boroughs,” Stringer said. “If we’re going to have a thriving economy tomorrow, we need to rebuild our bus system today. Of course we have to focus on our subways, but we need to have a bus system that is the envy of the world.”

The report titled “The Other Transit Crisis: How to Improve NYC’s Bus System” claims the “dismal” bus service affects immigrant communities the most because that is the demographic who utilizes above-ground public transportation more than any other group.

Queens has one of the largest immigrant populations in the country and is one of the most under-served boroughs in terms of subway service.

Stringer pointed out that more people are working the boroughs in which they live with job markets on the rise in Queens, Bronx and Brooklyn.

The spoke and wheel design of the subways is meant to ship people from the outer boroughs into Manhattan. But this no longer serves the needs of New Yorkers, the report said, with jobs in Queens growing by 34 percent since 2006.

The bus system has not kept pace with job growth in Queens, Brooklyn and the Bronx, Stringer said.

Bayside Historical Society

“By unleashing innovative technologies, as well as honing in on strategies that improve reliability and service, we can change the game for New Yorkers,” Stringer said. “This cannot be a problem that is swept under the rug – this is an economic and social imperative that is critical to our future. The status quo is unacceptable, and we have to do better.”

Poor bus service also affects low-income New Yorkers more so than subway troubles.

The median income for bus riders is about $30,000 per year citywide, whereas subway riders generally make around $40,000 in annual income.

Only about 31 percent of New Yorkers riding the bus have a college education, compared to the subway customers who average about 48 percent having a bachelor’s degree or higher.

Seventeen percent of bus riders are single parents compared to the 10 percent of this demographic taking the train.

About 75 percent of people taking the bus are minorities, whereas 66 percent take the subway.

Some 49 percent of bus riders work in health care, hospitality, retail, food services, or cultural industries, the report said. Only 38 percent of these people take the subway.

According to the report, 55 percent of people riding the bus are foreign-born.

Reach reporter Mark Hallum by e-mail at mhallum@cnglocal.com or by phone at (718) 260–4564.

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Source: Times Ledger

Holden preps for Council as new critic emerges

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By Bill Parry

TimesLedger Newspapers

The powerful Juniper Park Civic Association will have a new leader for the first time in more than 28 years since its president, Robert Holden, will have to resign before his Jan. 1 swearing-in as a city councilman.

Holden became the only challenger to defeat an incumbent Democrat in the city when he beat City Councilwoman Elizabeth Crowley (D-Glendale) on Election Day, but he had to wait eight days before the city Board of Elections counted all absentee and affidavit ballots on Nov. 15, when he was declared the winner by 137 votes.

“I actually have to give up the leadership of four non-profits I run,” Holden said. “I’m scrambling to get people to take over not just the Juniper Park Civic Association but the Juniper Valley Park Conservancy, St. Saviour’s Inc. and Citizens for a Better Maspeth.”

Holden, 66, found time for all four organization while serving as a member of Community Board 5 since 1988. Seven of those years he was the first chair and has been chairman of the board’s Public Safety Committee for 13 years. All of that experience gave Holden the confidence that he can represent District 30 well.

“I’ve attended several briefings at City Hall for the new Council members and I felt I knew a lot already like land use and public safety from my 30 years on CB 5,” Holden said. “I feel I’m better prepared with everything I’ve learned as a civic leader.”

During a low-point of his campaign against Crowley, Holden knew he had to work harder at winning over voters in Woodhaven where few knew of him.

“I started knocking on doors there and campaigning as a civic leader instead of a politician. It felt much more natural to me. I would ask what is the problem on your block and than I told them how we would fix them,” Holden said. “These people hadn’t been asked about problems in the neighborhoods before and they were very receptive. That really got me going again and that’s when I felt rejuvenated and began to feel like I could really do it. And it worked.”

Although Crowley had defeated Holden with nearly 64 percent of the vote in September’s Democratic primary, the Queens GOP gave him its Republican party line, which the registered Democrat for more than 44 years ran on along with the Conservative, Reform and Dump de Blasio lines. Holden captured more that 8,400 votes on the Republican line

In the past couple of weeks, Holden heard from many City Council members and their staffs offering congratulations and words of advice, although he would not get specific because the calls were personal. City Councilman Daniel Dromm (D-Jackson Heights) was not one of them nor is Holden expecting to hear from Dromm after reading some of his quotes in last week’s Queens Chronicle.

Dromm said he would “fight against” Holden caucusing with the Democrats and that he had had issues over the years with Holden and his views that “border on racist and homophobic,” He went on to say the councilman-elect is a “total Republican” no matter what party he is affiliated with.

Holden was blindsided by the comments.

“I think it was disgraceful. It’s irresponsible and I’m surprised an elected official would talk like that especially in the city of New York,” Holden said “I’ve never even met the man and I don’t prejudge, but this is the perfect example of what’s wrong with this country, labeling me as a Republican. Crowley’s campaign put it out there that I’m anti-woman and a racist and when Danny calls me homophobic, I’d like him to point out how I might actually have more gay friends than him.”

Dromm could not be reached for comment.

Reach reporter Bill Parry by e-mail at bparry@cnglocal.com or by phone at (718) 260–4538.

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Source: Times Ledger