EAT THE WORLD
This month's special section has health tips, vacation ideas, advice for planning for unexpected expanses, and tips to avoid life insurance scams page 13
With the state Department of Health recommending legalization of pot, we look at the physical impacts the drug has on the body page 8
We kick off a new partnership to explore the culture and cuisine from all corners of the borough with a great meal at a Guatemalan gem page 10
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QUEENS public safety
Remembering SEPTEMBER 11 Getty Images
Race, Bail Reform, Plea Deals And Rikers Island
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Read the full editorial on page 22
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By ARIEL HERNANDEZ
Rajesh Singh (left) and Karandeep Singh want people to know the U.S. Sikh community mourns with fellow Americans on 9/11.
By EDDIE BORGES
comment that Sikh men face is being called ‘Osama’ or ‘terrorist’ because although Osama’s turban style is different and more Arabic, people who don’t know and are ignorant affiliate it with terrorism and fundamentalism.” Singh moved to the United States in 2003 with his mother and two older brothers. His father, who had come to the United States in 1984, helped them to obtain citizenship. During the 1980s, Sikhs faced religious persecution in India. In 1984, approximately 2,800 were killed during a genocide carried out by anti-Sikh mobs. Due to a wave of oppression, hundreds of Sikhs—including Singh’s father—fled to the United States, Canada and the United Kingdom. When his father realized that the United States presented a better opportunity for his family, he filed his citizenship papers and sent for his family, despite the discrimination that his community began to face after 9/11.
United Sikhs Releases Report On 9/11 Anniversary To commemorate the 17th anniversary of the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks at the World Trade Center and Pentagon, the United Sikhs held a media breakfast briefing in Richmond Hill at which they released a “Sikh State of Affairs Since 9/11” report. “We have been monitoring hate crimes since 2001,” said Megan Daly, the public policy and communications director at United Sikhs. “After the 9/11 attacks, we have noticed a stark increase and we’re concerned and want to get our message out to the public that we are calling for peace. This [hate crime against Sikhs] needs to end.” Karandeep Singh, a United Sikhs community-outreach volunteer, told the Queens Tribune that the Sikh community has faced backlash following the Sept. 11 attacks due to a misrepresentation of the turban. “People began to associate turbans with radicalism and linked us to Osama [bin Laden],” said Singh. “The most common
Fixing NYCHA Lead Problem Is A Waste Of Money The federal government recently ordered New York City and New York State to invest four billion of your taxpayer dollars to fix the broken and disgraced New York City Housing Authority’s (NYCHA) lead problem. Doing so would be a colossal waste of money, prolonging an experiment that failed a long time ago. That’s because the problem is not just the lead; it’s the ACEs. The news coverage and political grandstanding around NYCHA has been exclusively about the neglect of the physical infrastructure that has exposed generations of children living in the projects to lead, mold and other chemicals. But no one is talking about the much larger problem: the adverse childhood experiences, commonly referred to as ACEs, to which NYCHA residents have been exposed, and which scientific evidence has found can cause irreversible harm over an individual’s lifetime—from developmental delays to involvement in criminal activity to early mortality. This combination of toxic conditions is the equivalent of giving the children in public housing a chemical-environmental-social lobotomy during the critical years of their brains’ development—compounding the deficits of being born into childhood poverty. As with any experiment that must be shut down because it is causing serious harm, the solution to the city and state’s NYCHA crisis is not investing billions of dollars but swinging a wrecking ball, just as Chicago did when it faced its own public housing crisis. NYCHA’s once-modern buildings were like gingerbread houses that offered children lost in fairytale forests the promise of home and hope—until they crossed the threshold, causing the buildings to reveal themselves as brickand-mortar traps. There are no bars or gates on the windows or doors blocking residents’ exit, but escape is rare. This is true not because some enchanted-forest witch has cast a spell on the people living there, but because persistent exposure to brutal and degrading physical conditions and childhood trauma has crushed the capacity of generations of NYCHA residents to lift themselves up and out of the poverty of the projects.
OUR COMMENT: The time has come for New York to make 9/11 a state holiday, so we can reflect on the tragic day's events and honor its brave heroes, like this moving tribute that took place in Middle Village on Tuesday.
During a community debate last week between Councilman Rory Lancman (D-Hillcrest) and Assistant Queens District Attorney Jim Quinn on the closure of Rikers Island, the audience was surprised when the debate turned into a discussion about bail reform, race and the Queens DA’s unique plea deal. Community members in attendance at Young Israel of Kew Gardens told Lancman that they attended the event to hear about the safety of their neighborhood once a neighborhood jail to replace Rikers Island is built. Lancman pointed out that the council members in the districts where the jails are proposed to be built are in favor of closing Rikers. He stated that issues of race and bail reform are inextricably bound to the closure of Rikers. Quinn said that he did not expect a debate on the way the DA’s office is operated or the plea deal system it employs—both of which he believes were misrepresented in Lancman’s descriptions. Quinn pointed out that the DA’s plea deal asks accused people to waive their right to a speedy trial and has them sit with the office’s deputy bureau chief to negotiate the case. In a 2017 Gothamist story, Quinn was quoted as saying, “There's a lot of misconception about it. People think we make an offer and you take it or leave it, and if you don't take it we put it in a grand jury. But what we've really done is taken most of the plea negotiations that normally occur post-indictment and we've put them pre-indictment." In the same article, Quinn said that the DA’s caseload has gone from 140 to 30 cases per week. At the debate, he said that other counties have taken note of the process. Lancman implored the audience to “search your conscience” when forming an opinion on closing Rikers. “This burden of a broken system falls on communities of color,” he said, stating that people of color comprise 92 percent of Rikers’ population. He noted that a stint on Rikers could prevent people from obtaining jobs and housing, and from furthering their education. Speaking to the Queens Tribune after the debate, Lancman said that the plea deal system that the Queens DA put into place is “a pernicious practice unique among the DAs.” “If you want a chance to strike a deal, then you have to waive your right to a speedy indictment,” Lancman said. “It keeps people in jail longer.”
By JON CRONIN
The Queens Tribune, Thursday, September 13, 2018
The Week In Tweets @JimmyVielkind
@CynthiaNixon attempts to justify a cinnamon-raisin bagel w cream cheese and lox: “That’s my go-to ... It’s not uncooked oatmeal but it’s pretty delicious and I say — don’t yuck my yum. Don’t knock it til you try it ... sweet and salty, it’s an unbeatable combination.”
Red Sox fan gives a foul ball to a young Yankees fan. #Humanity
The Red Sox fans’ hate for the Yankees is strong and spans nearly a century. Fenway Park has created a small economy around it. This week, MLB tweeted a GIF of a Red Sox fan who caught a ball and then promptly gave it to a little girl in a Jeter jersey. #Humanity
After mailer-gate came bagel-gate. New Yorkers have a pernicious attitude toward politicians who don’t fold their pizza. This distaste has been extended to bagel toppings. Don’t yuck my yum indeed.
“When I step on the court, I’m not a Serena fan - I’m just a tennis player playing another tennis player. But when I hugged her at the net, I felt like a little kid again.”
#FDNY continues to honor the memory of our 343 members and all those lost on September 11, 2001. At 0959 the South Tower fell #NeverForget
No matter which side you took, the judgement was harsh at the U.S. Open finals this week. Naomi Osaka walked away with a Grand Slam title, but it was bittersweet. She cried at at the booing and the controversy over her win, yet she still found it in herself to admit to gushing over playing against her idol.
It is 17 years since New York City faced the horrors of 9/11. We will never forget the nearly 3,000 people who lost their lives or the first responders who ran into the smoke and never returned.
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EDITORIAL & PRODUCTION
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The Queens Tribune, Thursday, September 13, 2018
9/11 — Never Forget Seventeen years later, the painful memory of the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attacks at the World Trade Center remains for residents of Queens and across the city. On Tuesday, elected officials, family members of 9/11 victims and other residents vowed to “never forget” as they paid tribute to the thousands of people killed during the attacks and the heroes who gave their lives rushing into the towers, providing assistance at the Pentagon or preventing United Airlines Flight 93 from reaching its destination. The Queens Tribune has put together a photo spread of 9/11 remembrance events in Queens—including one in Middle Village and another in Woodside that drew some of the borough’s elected officials.
Apple Picking Season is Back! Enjoy the changes of the season summer to autumn right outside of New York City marching into our orchards reaching up and picking delicious juicy orbs of fruit
PICK YOUR S IN PUMPK Queens residents, community leaders and elected officials gathered in Juniper Valley Park in Middle Village for a candlelight vigil honoring the victims of the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attacks.
Councilman Jimmy Van Bramer and congressional candidate Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez take part in a 9/11 memorial at Doughboy Plaza in Woodside.
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The Queens Tribune, Thursday, September 13, 2018
Probation Officers United Sikhs Releases Union Files Pay Report On 9/11 Disparity Suit Anniversary By NATHAN DUKE A Forest Hills-based union that represents hundreds of probation officers has filed a lawsuit against the city alleging pay discrimination. The United Probation Officers Association (UPOA), which represents 700 probation officers across New York City, filed a suit with the state’s Supreme Court to demand that the city’s Department of Citywide Administrative Services (DCAS) turn over records detailing salary information on city probation officers dating back to 2009. The union alleges that the DCAS—which is responsible for maintaining these data—has repeatedly denied Freedom of Information Law (FOIL) requests to disclose the salaries. UPOA officials noted that its membership is largely non-white women, who are paid significantly less than those in comparable posts at other city agencies; and significantly less than probation officers in nearby counties such as Westchester, Nassau and Suffolk. The union said that the officers it represents must meet the same educational and experience requirements as their better-paid counterparts. “Sadly, the city of New York is clearly showing that it is not committed to supporting our ranks and is ignoring the transparency one would expect from our government leaders,” said Dalvanie Powell, the UPOA’s president. “We have followed the proper channels to shine a light on a longstanding pay disparity that treats our members like second-class public servants and, unfortunately, the city’s actions once again illustrate its cold-hearted approach to those seeking accountability.” The DCAS declined to comment. According to the court filing, the city’s Department of Probation is the most diverse branch of law enforcement in the five boroughs, and has more people of color and women than any other law enforcement workforce. “The pay for these members is significantly lower than other similarly situated employees of the city of New York in majority white and male titles,” according to the court filing. Yetta Kurland, an attorney for the UPOA, said that the city cited privacy concerns as its reason for denying the union’s FOIL requests. “It’s really kind of a ridiculous claim—but in
essence, when an employee comes to work for New York, they fill out a form that asks them to involuntarily disclose their race and gender to ensure equal employment,” Kurland said. “In boilerplate language, it says that their answers will not be disclosed. But if it’s FOILed, it can be disclosed. The city is claiming that by telling the union the race and gender of its members, it would be violating its members’ privacy. It’s an argument that has not been persuasive in the past. It seems like the city is not wanting to provide the information because it begs the question of why the city is not turning over information that would remedy the problem of pay disparity in the city workforce.” Kurland said she did not believe that knowing city employees’ race or gender would be a violation of their privacy. She added that individuals voluntarily offer that data, specifically to protect them from pay disparity. “Furthermore, there are ways to anonymize members’ names, so you’d just be giving information on race and gender, so that it could be analyzed where and how pay disparity occurs,” she added. Kurland said that the union would require city data to determine which posts at other agencies paid more than the amount probation officers earn. She also did not know how much higher the salaries of workers in comparable positions at other agencies were as compared to those of probation officers. Kurland noted that the union was notified about pay disparities by probation workers. “We were getting complaints from members,” she said. “They reviewed information in terms of pay that they have. Union membership pays attention to what members are paid compared to others.” According to data provided by the UPOA, probation assistants are hired—as of June 28, 2016—at $25,781 per year, and the maximum amount they can earn is $36,330. Probation officers are hired at $42,759, and can earn a maximum of $71,197. A probation officer trainee is hired at $38,133 and maxes out at $51,381. Senior probation officers are hired at $47,650 and can earn a maximum of $77,626, while a supervising probation officer starts at $57,042 and maxes out at $85,193. “We’d like to see the city working with us to remedy this problem,” Kurland said. “The statistical data speaks for itself. We’d like to review the information, so we can have accurate information to resolve the problem.” Public Policy and Communications Director Megan Daly reads from the United Sikhs’ report on hate crimes that have occurred since 9/11.
Race, Bail Reform, Plea Deals And Rikers Island continued from page 1 He believes that this takes away the right of accused people to hear the evidence that police have gathered and to be judged by their peers. Lancman said that the Queens DA’s plea deal is using the system to lock people up before they are proven guilty. In a follow-up interview with the Queens Tribune, Quinn said that during the debate, “everything came out in sound bites. We’re only looking to indict cases that should be indicted.” He added that this new kind of plea deal has been taken by defendants and their attorneys 95 percent of the time in the past 20 years. Its purpose is to pay more attention to each defendant and make sure that each person is indicted fairly. Once a defendant waives his/her right to a speedy trial, the DA and defense attorney have 30 days to study the evidence and work out what the defendant should or should not be indicted on. Quinn said that instead of an indictment, the defendant can plead to a lesser charge or be put into one of the 27 alternative sentencing programs. “We use it to get someone who’s innocent out of the system. It’s one of the ways we weed those cases out,” he added. He noted that the Mayor’s Office of Criminal Justice is trying to get the other DA offices to adopt this system. “Lancman has never sat down with us to talk about the waiver program,” Quinn said. “He has talked about a bunch of other issues with us, but not that.” Quinn said he welcomed further discussion about the issue with the councilman. Lancman said that communities rallying against the placement of jails in their communities “do not have children funneled into a system that marks
them for life.” “They are less aware of how damaging it is,” Lancman said. “The criminal justice system affects some communities more than others. The ‘Are we putting too many people in jail?’ conversation is new and uncomfortable for them.” He believes that the essence of Quinn’s argument is that everybody spending time on Rikers deserves to be there, and anyone who attempts to reduce time for inmates is wrong. Lancman sees the DA’s office as defenders of the status quo. “They don’t understand what the debate really is,” Lancman said. “The DA’s office has lost its sense of mission.” Currently, Rikers Island has approximately 8,000 inmates. The Lippman Commission report, which studied possible effects of Rikers’ closure, stated that the jail should house approximately 5,000 people, and then have 1,500 people in each borough jail. Quinn criticized the number as being arbitrary, although the commision report includes a formula in regard to how it determined that number. Lancman said that the commission studied known justice reform, and came up with a formula regarding the capacity and size of the new jails that are being created that the city ought to implement. Regarding safety issues relating to the new jails, Lancman said that Brooklyn, the Bronx and Queens have jails in their communities—and crime has not increased in those areas. However, he said he understands that a home is a person’s most significant asset. “There is no reason that a jail that already exists will have an impact on property values,” Lancman said. “I’ve been doing this for a long time. I’ve seen this movie play out dozens of times as a civic leader and elected official. It’s never the case.”
continued from page 1 “The transition was hard, given that it was post-9/11 and Sikhs had become the main focus because of our turbans,” said Singh. Singh said that throughout elementary, middle and high school, he was called such names as “Osama,” “diaper head,” “terrorist” and “al Qaeda.” “I don’t know how I got through it, but I got through it,” said Singh. “As first-generation immigrants, my parents put in long hours working, working, working, and my only job was to do good in school. So, I put my head down and got my work done. What the other kids and Americans didn’t understand is that I felt the same sadness everyone else felt in the country following 9/11. I felt it was unjust and unfair, and that’s me sitting on the other side of the fence. It hurt trying to fit in and being barred from doing so because of the misinterpretation of my turban.” Singh said that he underwent mental torture and anxiety as a result of the stereotype. Every year, the United Sikhs—a United Nations-affiliated, international charity that advocates for civil and human rights across 11 global chapters—releases a comprehensive list of hate crimes that take place throughout the country. “In recent years, there have been hate crimes against Sikhs in Queens and New York City, which is concerning because we’re known as the melting pot,” said Daly. “New York City welcomes all immigrants. The Statue of Liberty stands to welcome all immigrants, and yet we still continue to face these issues and hate crimes right in our backyard. That’s why we wanted to launch this report here in Queens because this is where the organization was founded and this is where we wanted to raise awareness of this issue.” According to Daly, there have been approximately 11 reported hate crimes against Sikhs in New York, but hundreds that have gone unreported. On July 30, 2014, Sandeep Singh, 29, was accosted by a man in a pickup truck as he was crossing the street. Singh was allegedly called a terrorist by the man, who ran him over and fled the scene. The reported attacks that took place in
“In recent years, there have been hate crimes against Sikhs in Queens and New York City, which is concerning because we’re known as the melting pot.” Queens include an elementary school child who was attacked by another student. The other student tried to remove his patka—a head covering worn by many Sikh children—from his head. In another incident, graffiti that read “F*** Allah!” with a drawing of male genitalia appeared on a Sikh man’s car. A third incident involved a Sikh man who was attacked by three men shouting racial slurs. “We want to make awareness of this, particularly into this borough and throughout the city as well,” said Daly. “A lot of work needs to happen in order for this issue to be comprehensively addressed. First, there’s a lack of education just of who Sikhs are in general and what they stand for. They are peace-loving people and it’s a tragedy for these attacks to happen 17 years after 9/11 happened. Sikhs continue to mourn the loss of their people who have been victims of violence or outbursts of attacks, so that’s why we’re calling for some long-term policy changes.” The United Sikhs are calling for changes in how hate crimes are reported and for Sikhs to be represented as a distinct group in the U.S. Census. “Allowing Sikhs to self-identify in the 2020 Census would go a long way to making everyone count, so that action can be taken to address hate crimes against the community at large,” the report reads. “Sikhs are 100 times more likely to be attacked than
any other citizen in America. The Census cannot assist in accurately identifying the percentages of hate crimes occurring in the Sikh community until it can provide reliable information about how many Sikhs there are in the country.” Daly said that there are currently approximately 500,000 Sikhs across the country. However, Sikhs are subsumed into a broader Indian or South Asian group. On Sept. 11, the United Sikhs spent the 17th anniversary taking part in community outreach and visiting the 9/11 memorial. “Sikhs are loving, kind and generous people,” said Rajesh Singh, the operations coordinator for the United Sikhs. “We have been contributing to this country in all areas. We need to keep educating and spreading our message to all Americans that we feel the same pain you feel, we share your grief and we stand with you. 9/11 itself was a painful incident and I don’t think Indians will ever forget that. The pain, the sorry, those who lost their lives is so traumatic. It doesn’t matter what color, race or religion you are—we are here with you.” It should be noted that all Sikh males have the surname of “Singh,” and none of them are related in this story. Reach Ariel Hernandez at ahernandez@ queenstribune.com or @reporter_ariel.
The Queens Tribune, Thursday, September 13, 2018
Five Highway Projects Causing Road Rage By JON CRONIN Living in New York City, residents expect traffic and city leaders expect to hear complaints about commutes, construction noise and overdue projects. This week, the Queens Tribune has identified five road projects that are clogging up the borough’s arteries, and provided an update on when they will be completed. The Kew Gardens Interchange There are not many north-south routes in Queens—and the Van Wyck Expressway is the largest. At the centerpoint of the borough, the Van Wyck intersects with the Jackie Robinson Parkway and Grand Central Parkway, forming the Kew Gardens Interchange, which has been under construction for multiple years. When heading in either direction during rush hour, commuters add—at minimum—20 to 30 minutes to their drive while passing through the intersection. According to the state’s Department of Transportation (DOT), the project is now in its third phase, and is scheduled to be completed under budget by Oct. 21, 2019, a month earlier than originally projected. This phase is replacing the Van Wyck’s southbound route over the Grand Central Parkway and constructing a third lane. The southbound corridor will also receive new exits to the westbound Union Turnpike and the Jackie Robinson Parkway. Those three southbound lanes will then also merge with two lanes from the Grand Central Parkway over a longer distance. The interchange project has an announced phase four, and the DOT is in the early stages of the community-engagement process for adding an additional lane between John F. Kennedy International Airport and the interchange. Updates along the corridor will continue for the foreseeable future. Maspeth: Metro-Fresh Pond Bridge Although Metropolitan Avenue and Fresh Pond Road in Maspeth are not main thor-
oughfares, the streets feed the bedroom communities of Maspeth, Ridgewood and Middle Village. The replacement of the Metropolitan Avenue Bridge deck began in the summer of 2016, but when the contractor awarded the project, he did not have a large enough crew to finish, so the project stalled. There was no activity at the site for months and it missed the estimated January 2018 completion deadline. In March, the project was picked up by a new contractor: Beaver Construction. Gary Giordano, the district manager for Community Board 5, said that traffic at the site is still heavy, especially during rush hour heading westbound on Metropolitan Avenue. The construction has restricted the traffic flow to one lane in each direction. The community has been vocal about the fact that the bridge is a nightmare to navigate during rush hour, and owners of shops around the project have noted that they are losing money as the project impedes customer traffic. The purpose of the project is deck removal and replacement; removal of the bridge’s top slab; and replacement and rehabilitation of the superstructure steel framing. Giordano said the new contractor is working faster. He said that there are longer working days and weekend shifts at the site to finish quickly. He believes the work will be completed in late December or earlier. “There are a heck of a lot more workers on the site than the previous contractor,” Giordano said. Astoria: 31st Street N And W Repairs After nine months of closures on the N and W subway stations at 30th and 36th avenues running along 31st Street, Astoria is still experiencing street traffic and no on-street parking due to construction zones. Shop owners noted in March that it was difficult to see their stores along 31st Street with construction fencing and equipment blocking views from the street. In April, the Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) announced that the N and
Workers on the Van Wyck’s third lane heading southbound (left), congestion at the Metro-Fresh Pond Bridge (right)
W trains’ Astoria Boulevard station would undergo a major renovation project that would include the construction of street-to-mezzanine elevators and two mezzanine-to-platform elevators; repair of structural columns and foundations; and the replacement of damaged concrete platform surfaces, stairs, light posts and signs. Work was expected to have begun in September and the station will remain open until February, at which time the station will fully close for approximately nine months. The Belt Parkway The Belt Parkway has been the bane of commuters’ existence for more than a generation. Currently, both the state and city DOT have projects on the parkway. The city DOT’s project began in 2009 and encompasses seven bridges on the roadway that were all built in the late 1930s and are in need of rehabilitation. TheT:14” bridges in the city DOT project include those spanning Bay Ridge Avenue, Nostrand Avenue, Gerritsen Inlet, Mill Basin, Paerdegat Basin, Rockaway Parkway
and Fresh Creek Basin. On a Facebook page updating drivers on the project, the DOT stated that the old Mill Basin Bridge in Brooklyn was being dismantled between Sept. 7 and 10. During that time, the Mill Basin channel was closed to marine traffic on a periodic basis. The Mill Basin Bridge reconstruction will be completed in 2021. In October 2017, the state DOT started work on a $49 million project to rehabilitate three bridges around the city. In Queens, the Lefferts Boulevard Bridge over South Conduit Avenue and the Belt Parkway is currently being rebuilt. The project is anticipated to be completed by the end of 2018. According to the state DOT, the pavement at the bridge approaches will be resurfaced, and the bridge lighting above and below the decks will be upgraded with LED lights. Kosciuszko Bridge Maspeth Despite the new bridge, traffic is still backed up carrying commuters from Maspeth to Greenpoint, Brooklyn. The bridge span that opened last year has
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three eastbound and three westbound lanes. When the new bridge opens next year, there will be five Queens-bound travel lanes on one bridge and four Brooklyn-bound travel lanes on the other, with a 20-foot–wide trail. The new bridge is expected to carry approximately 200,000 commuters daily. The $555 million first span of the new bridge was opened in May 2017 as part of an $873 million project. The second span is slated to open in 2019, ahead of schedule, according to the governor’s office. It will completely replace its now-destroyed 78-year-old counterpart. When the original bridge opened in 1930, it was designed to handle 10,000 cars per day. The old section of the Kosciuszko was imploded in July 2017 using a method called energetic felling, and a new section of the bridge to replace it is scheduled to be completed by 2021. “We do not lament the passing of the old bridge,” U.S. Rep. Carolyn Maloney (D-Astoria) said after the demolition of the old Kosciuszko Bridge.
Around the Bourough
The Queens Tribune, Thursday, September 13, 2018
Pedestrian Struck, Killed By Car A 70-year-old man was killed after being struck by a car on Northern Boulevard early on Sunday morning, police said. Around 5:19 a.m., police responded to a call of a man lying unconscious in the street at the corner of Northern Boulevard and 108th Street. Upon arrival, police discovered the man, who was unresponsive and had trauma to the head and body. EMS pronounced the man, whose name has not yet been released, dead at the scene. An investigation determined that the man was struck at the intersection by a Toyota Highlander that was traveling eastbound on Northern Boulevard. The vehicle’s driver—a 40-year-old woman—remained on the scene. No arrests were made and an investigation
by the NYPD’s Highway Collision Investigation Squad is ongoing. Earlier this year, western Queens elected officials called for speed cameras and other traffic safety initiatives on Northern Boulevard following several fatal collisions. In April, 9-year-old Giovanni Ampuero was killed after being struck in a hit-and-run incident along Northern Boulevard in Woodside that resulted in the arrest of an 86-yearold Manhattan man. And on Aug. 14, a 46-year-old man was killed on Northern Boulevard in Long Island City during a hit-and-run incident by a commercial dump truck that police said they tracked to New Jersey. –Nathan Duke
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Traffic Signal Added At Intersection Near School A traffic signal has been installed at a dangerous intersection in front of an elementary school at 42nd Street and 47th Avenue in Sunnyside. Councilman Jimmy Van Bramer (D-Sunnyside) joined the city’s Department of Transportation (DOT), PS 343 Principal Brooke Barr and a number of students from the elementary school last Thursday to celebrate the activation of the traffic signal. “For over four years, I have advocated with teachers, students and families for the installation of a traffic signal outside of PS 343,” Van Bramer said. “The new traffic signal will
undeniably ease the fears of everyone who crosses that busy intersection to and from PS 343, Noonan Playground and the multiple apartment buildings in its vicinity.” Residents have called for a signal to calm the traffic at the intersection and make it safer for children to cross the street to PS 343 ever since the school opened in 2014. “I could not have asked for a better start to a new school year, knowing that my families will be safe coming and going to school,” said Clara Oza, the school’s parent coordinator. The signal was activated by the DOT on Aug. 29. -Nathan Duke
At a recent meeting with local politicians, the U.S. Postal Service announced that it would retrofit mailboxes to prevent mailbox fishing. The 104th Precinct announced in July that criminals had been attaching a sticky substance to a rope and “fishing” mail out of local mailboxes. The most serious crime stemming from this type of theft occurs when criminals “wash” checks and fill in their own amounts. The precinct reported that there were 50 instances of mail fishing in the precinct so far this year, 39 of which resulted in grand larceny. A total of 25 took place in Glendale. There are 189 mailboxes in the precinct and, so far, 47 have been retrofitted, according to the USPS. The rest will be retrofitted within two to three months. Retrofitting entails making the mailbox openings narrower to thwart fishing. According to the USPS Inspection Service, the criminals started in the Bronx and are mail fishing by going precinct to precinct. USPS added that the NYPD and postal inspectors have thus far pushed them out of every precinct. “We must all come together to stop these egregious acts from continuing,” Councilman Robert Holden (D-Middle Village) said. Holden recommends that his constituents deposit their mail at the post office or hand it to the postman. Mailboxes should be used as a last option, he said. Holden said that his office is handing out Uni-Ball Signo 207 gel pens, which have ink that is harder to wash. -Jon Cronin
Quontic Bank Purchases Flushing Office Space Quontic Bank will occupy part of the 10th floor of Flushing’s Tangram Tower condominium building in summer 2019, co-developers F&T Group and SCG America announced this week. The bank—which handles personal and business banking and mortgages and has locations in six states—purchased a commercial condominium within the tower, which is located at 133-47 39th Ave. The Member FDIC bank is headquartered in Astoria. The bank will occupy approximately 1,456 square feet of the tower’s 10th floor. Sale prices average $1,274 per square foot within the 12-story building, which is currently un-
der construction. Quontic’s unit is expected to be completed in the third quarter of 2019. Tangram Tower comprises office space that is tailored for medical practitioners, professionals and business owners. It consists of 48 luxury office condominiums that were designed by Margulies Hoelzli Architecture. The Tangram development will include a total of 317 luxury residences, a 207-room lifestyle hotel, 275,000 square feet of retail space, themed restaurants, a culinary food hall, a beer garden and various entertainment options, such as a 4DX movie theater. –Nathan Duke
Senior Citizen Sent Explicit Texts A 75-year-old Hillcrest man pleaded guilty last week to attempted rape charges after he sent sexually explicit text messages to a person whom he met online and believed to be a 13-year-old girl, Queens District Attorney Richard Brown said. The man, Joel Einhorn, then attempted to meet the person, who was actually an investigator for the New York State Police, for sexual relations. Einhorn, who lives on Utopia Parkway, pleaded guilty on Sept. 5 before Queens Criminal Court Judge Stephanie Zaro, who indicated that she would sentence him on Nov. 28 to five months in jail and 10 years’ probation. Einhorn will be required to register as a sex offender. According to the charges, the police investigator—who was posing as an underage girl—re-
sponded on Oct. 18, 2016, to a personal ad on Craigslist that read, “Daddy looking for ‘real’ Queens ‘girl,’ no flakes (M4W) [man seeking a woman].” Between Oct. 18 and Nov. 17, Einhorn chatted online with the investigator, who told him on more than one occasion that he was a 13-yearold girl living in Queens. During those conversations, Einhorn used explicit sexual language and discussed various ways he planned to sexually please her as well as his desire to meet with the girl for sex. Einhorn was arrested on Nov. 17, 2016, when he arrived at a pre-arranged meeting location in Queens in a red 2015 Honda Civic. Police recovered a bag containing sexual paraphernalia from his vehicle. –Nathan Duke
The Queens Tribune, Thursday, September 13, 2018
MOVING THROUGH QUEENS A look at transportation issues around the borough
STATE DOT ANNOUNCES BQE BRIDGE PROJECT
CUOMO ANNOUNCES LIRR THIRD TRACK’S GROUNDBREAKING
E trains will run local in both directions be-
tween Queens Plaza and 71st Avenue between 12:01 a.m. on Saturday and 5 a.m. on Monday to allow for signal modernization. Due to signal modernization, F trains will run in both directions between 21st Street-Queensbridge and 71st Avenue from 12:01 a.m. on Saturday to 5 a.m. on Monday.
By NATHAN DUKE The state has kicked off a $78 million project to rehabilitate five bridges along the Brooklyn-Queens Expressway (BQE) that will complement more than $1 billion in upgrades to the I-278 corridor to make drivers’ commutes smoother. Paul Karas, the state Department of Transportation’s acting commissioner, said that design is underway on the project—which includes a bridge over the Gowanus Expressway in Brooklyn and another four in Staten Island—and construction is expected to begin this fall. The project will be completed by the end of 2019. “This project will deliver an improved riding surface and enhanced safety for the many motorists who rely on this corridor, as well as improved safety for pedestrians,” Karas said. The project complements other recent improvements to the corridor, including $900 million invested to replace the former Kosciuszko Bridge with two new bridges to connect Queens and Brooklyn; a $2.5 million project to increase the clearances on three Queens overpasses, so that trucks can remain on the BQE without having to detour to local streets between the Long Island Expressway and the Robert F. Kennedy (RFK) Bridge; a $204 million project to rehabilitate a half-mile
To allow for signal maintenance, 7 trains at Hunters Point Avenue and Vernon Boulevard-Jackson Avenue will board on the Flushing-bound platform from 12:40 a.m. to 5 a.m. on Friday and Saturday. And due to track replacement, Hudson Yard-bound 7 trains will skip 111th, 103rd, 90th, 82nd, 69th, 52nd, 46th, 40th and 33rd streets in Queens from 11:45 p.m. on Friday to 10 p.m. on Sunday.
section of the Bruckner Expressway and six connecting ramps between East 141st Street and the interchange with the Major Deegan Expressway and RFK Bridge in the Bronx; two Gowanus Expressway projects totaling $246 million that wrapped up the deck and pavement replacement on the 5.3-mile elevated highway; and a $200 million project to reconfigure and reconstruct ramps on the Staten Island Expressway. The new project will improve the 79th Street Bridge over the Gowanus Expressway and rehabilitate the bridges on the Staten Island Expressway over Mosel Avenue and the Staten Island Railway tracks. On each bridge, the deck and substructure will be replaced. Steel will be repaired, replaced or painted where necessary. The steel railings on each bridge will be replaced with concrete parapets. Roadway lighting will be replaced and new lamp posts with energy-efficient LED lighting will be installed.
By NATHAN DUKE Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced last week that the Long Island Rail Road is breaking ground on its $2.6 billion third-track expansion, which will include 50 projects to modernize 9.8 miles along the LIRR’s congested main line between Floral Park and Long Island’s Hicksville. The expansion project includes new and renovated bridges, the elimination of grade crossings, new power substations, additional parking, renovated stations, and modern track and signal infrastructure. An estimated 40 percent of LIRR riders pass through its main line. “Since the 1940s, people talked about adding a third track and modernizing the main-line corridor—and now, we’re actually doing it,” Cuomo said. “These projects taken together will create smoother and more-reliable service for LIRR passengers, while at the same time improving public safety by eliminating dangerous grade crossings.” Cuomo said that the LIRR is “the backbone of
the region’s economy,” and he expected that the expansion would “boost growth for generations.” The governor added that the project’s benefits would include safer and quieter crossings, improvements to stations and parking facilities, reduced noise along the project corridor, less congestion and cleaner air. Seven grade crossings—including the one on New Hyde Park Road—will be eliminated, while five stations—including New Hyde Park—will be upgraded. The Floral Park Station will receive ADA-compliant elevators. Substations at Floral Park and New Hyde Park will be replaced, and 7.5 miles of sound-retaining walls will be added. The third-track expansion project is expected to be substantially completed by the end of 2022. As part of the $6 billion transformation of the LIRR, approximately 100 LIRR capital projects are moving forward, including the Jamaica Station reconstruction and 39 LIRR station renovations and grade-crossing eliminations.
As a result of station rehabilitation, E trains and free shuttle buses will replace J trains between Crescent Street in Brooklyn and Jamaica Center from 3:45 a.m. on Saturday to 10 p.m. on Sunday. The Broadway and 39th Avenue N and W stations are closed through February to allow for station enhancements. Also, free shuttle bus service will replace N trains between Queensboro Plaza and Ditmars Boulevard from 9:45 p.m. on Saturday to 5 a.m. on Monday.
CHANGING LANDSCAPE OF QUEENS A look at development and its impact on the borough
LIC DEVELOPMENT TO INCLUDE NATURAL HABITAT RESTORATION By NATHAN DUKE A new development in Long Island City will include the preservation and restoration of a natural waterfront habitat, the site’s developer said. Real estate developer TF Cornerstone released a waterfront master plan on Wednesday for the Long Island City Innovation Center (LICIC) site, a mixed-use development that will include affordable industrial space, workforce training, offices, a school, affordable housing and public open space. The plan—designed by Mathews Nielsen Landscape Architects and waterfront resiliency and sustainability experts—will include a natural shoreline habitat restoration, green space and public waterfront access. It will utilize landscape and urban design practices, and accentuate the naturally occuring cove and wildlife habitat along the East River. Local residents will be given an opportunity to provide ideas for the project. The LICIC site will be designed by Douglaston architect Michael Arad, a partner at Handel Architects who designed the 9/11 Memorial at the World Trade Center site. “Retreating from the waterfront is neither a viable nor smart option,” said Jake Elghanayan, a principal at TF Cornerstone. “For the past several months, we have been working closely with waterfront and habitat restoration experts to revitalize and enhance the natural marine habitat that has existed here for generations.” The project’s waterfront public-access com-
ponent includes positioning the LICIC buildings on the far eastern edge of the site, thereby maximizing the waterfront area to create an acre of public open space that would connect the local community with the waterfront. The space is also expected to include a public indoor waterfront atrium. The natural shoreline habitat restoration will include the preservation and enhancement of Anable Cove, a small estuarine habitat along 44th Drive that has shallow, still water and forms a refuge for marine life. As part of the site’s development, nearly half an acre will be returned to the river as a marine habitat. Boulders and stones will replace an old platform, which will also include plantings and stairs that will allow visitors to go right up to the shoeline’s edge. The area will be designed with bioswales and other self-draining landscape elements to prevent flooding during severe storms. The river bottom will be cleared of debris that has accumulated over decades, and the area will be restored as a protected habitat from the East River’s strong currents. The LICIC site is expected to bring 100,000 square feet of new light-manufacturing and industrial space back to the neighborhood. Approximately 50,000 square feet will be operated by the nonprofit Greenpoint Manufacturing and Design Center (GMDC). Nonprofit C4Q will create a tech hub in the region, bringing 400,000 square feet of commercial space and 1,500 permanent jobs as well as workforce training, office and incubator space, and an arts-and-technology ac-
celerator. The site will include 250 units of affordable housing, a new 600-seat middle school and cultural and performance space. Following a request-for-proposal process by the city’s Economic Development Corporation (EDC), TF Cornerstone, C4Q and GMDC were selected to create the development. Councilman Jimmy Van Bramer (D-Sunnyside) said the EDC should consider the community’s concerns about the site. “I am studying the EDC’s plans and will be taking input from all members of the Long Island City community before coming to any decisions about this proposal,” he said. “The community’s concerns regarding affordability and the availability of open public space must be addressed.”
PRE-K TO REPLACE FIVE PORTABLE CLASSROOMS IN QUEENS By ARIEL HERNANDEZ As part of the $2 billion Smart Schools Bond Act—an initiative implemented to equip students with the skills they need to succeed in the global economy—Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced that $400 million will go towards the removal of portable classroom units, additional education technology and the development of pre-kindergarten classrooms throughout the five boroughs. In Queens, five portable classrooms will be removed and a new pre-K will be built to accommodate the growing need. “Smart Schools Bond Act funding is improving support for New York’s students statewide,” said State Education Department Commissioner MaryEllen Elia. “It’s allowing teachers to better structure engaging lessons for all learners, and helping to give schools the tools to make learning fun. With today’s approval, New York City is continuing its effort to bring greater equity for students through the building or modernization of pre-K classrooms. All of these advances will help prepare our students with the 21st-century skills they need to succeed in college
and the evolving workplace.” Cuomo, who originally called for the state to invest $2 billion in schools through the Smart Schools Bond Act in 2014, said that through this funding, the state is addressing inequality in the education system. “We’re ensuring that every child in New York has access to permanent, modern and fully equipped classroom space,” said Cuomo. “This funding will provide the next generation of New Yorkers with the vital resources and skills they need to lead our state into the future.” Following the enactment of the Smart Schools Bond Act, a commission was established to compile information on how schools most effectively invest bond funds. Based on the report by the advisory commission, the state decided to focus on expanding wireless connectivity and transformative technologies in classrooms. The city’s Department of Education did not return calls regarding which portable classrooms in Queens would be removed. Reach Ariel Hernandez at ahernandez@ queenstribune.com or @reporter_ariel.
The Queens Tribune, Thursday, September 13, 2018
THE LEGALIZATION OF MARIJUANA IN NEW YORK By JON CRONIN
DOCS DISCUSS EFFECTS, BENEFITS OF MEDICAL MARIJUANA By JON CRONIN
In early 2018, Gov. Andrew Cuomo directed the state’s Department of Health (DOH) to review the impacts of regulating recreational marijuana on health, the criminal justice system and the economy. In July, the DOH released a report that included its assessment of legalizing marijuana and recommendations on how to do so. This fall, the state Assembly intends to hold public hearings on the matter. In its report, the DOH concluded that New York should consider the legalization of marijuana after undertaking a review of the implications of doing so in surrounding states. The report found that “a regulated marijuana program would have health, social justice and economic benefits— however, risks associated with marijuana have been identified, although research for some of those risks is divided.” Risks cited by the agency included lower birth weight for newborns as a result of maternal marijuana smoking; traffic safety issues; and the drug’s being harmful to the lungs if a combustible form is smoked. But the DOH ultimately concluded that “the positive effects of regulating an adult—21 and over—marijuana market in New York State outweigh the potential negative impacts.” Some of the positive elements cited by the DOH include “tax revenues [that] can also support healthcare and employment” and addressing “an important social justice issue by reducing disproportionate criminalization and incarceration of certain racial and ethnic minority communities.” Regulating marijuana, the DOH concluded, reduces risks, improving quality control and enhancing consumer protection. Marijuana use could also reduce opioid deaths and opioid
prescribing, the agency noted, and usage of the drug has therapeutic benefits, such as the treatment of pain, nausea, and epilepsy and other health conditions. However, it was also noted that marijuana use can have negative effects on those with mental illnesses, and that adolescents who use it at high rates have an increased risk of developing psychosis. The study concluded that the legalization of marijuana was unlikely to result in changes in overall usage patterns, and that it would not likely be an incentive for youths to use the drug. Regulating marijuana would enable laboratory testing as well as guidance and consumer education, thereby making consumers better informed about the products they purchased. The study found that in 2010, the marijuana arrest rate in New York was the highest in the nation and twice the national average. African Americans were nearly four times more likely than whites to be arrested for possession of the drug. Individuals with a criminal record of possession experienced long-term challenges when attempting to secure employment and housing. The regulation of marijuana in New York would allow law enforcement to devote more time to community policing and more serious crimes, the study concluded. The DOH indicated that New York would have
one of the largest regulated marijuana markets in the nation, thus offering great potential for tax revenue. The agency suggested that funding could be used to provide financial support for public health programs, community reinvestment, education, transportation, law enforcement and workforce development. It estimated that annual revenue for the state could be between $1.7 billion and $3.5 billion. This summer, Cuomo directed the state’s Department of Financial Services to issue guidance to encourage chartered banks and credit unions to establish banking relationships with medical-marijuana businesses that are operating in compliance with state laws. The state Assembly will hold four public hearings this fall on authorizing the adult use of marijuana. The hearings will give New Yorkers an opportunity to provide input. The locations and dates for the hearings have yet to be announced. This week, the Queens Tribune’s special health section focuses on marijuana in New York State. One article presents the results of our discussions with local physicians about the health impacts of marijuana smoking, while another article explores the NYC Smoke-Free program and how that would be affected by the legalization of marijuana.
With Massachusetts having legalized recreational marijuana and New Jersey’s governor seeking to do the same, New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo tasked the state Department of Health (DOH) earlier this year with studying the effects of marijuana. At an April press conference, Cuomo said, “What I’m trying to do is get the legislative process to focus on the new facts. They’re still focused, in my opinion, many of them, on the old facts, which is marijuana is illegal everywhere, period, and we would be the exception,” Politico reported. The DOH recommended at the end of June that the popular recreational drug be legalized. The agency cited cost savings in the penal system, state tax revenue, regulation and consumer harm reduction as benefits. Although dealing with marijuana and its recreational smokers may be new to the state, it is not new to physicians. Dr. Walter Chua, a pulmonologist at Forest Hills Hospital, noted that because it has long been illegal, there are no long-term studies on recreational use of the drug. “The jury is still out on long-term effects of marijuana,” he said. He added that because it is not regulated, no one knows who is manufacturing the drug and there is little information on the resulting impurities. In 2002, New York City banned smoking in restaurants and bars, largely due to the determination of the adverse effects of secondhand tobacco smoke. The same ban could be applied to marijuana, but the impact would be unclear due to a lack of studies on the effects of secondhand smoke from the drug. Chua pointed out that the danger of getting a secondhand high from the psychoactive drug would depend on proximity and air flow. There are also different strengths of marijuana, depending on breeding. “Right now, there is only anecdotal evidence,” Chua said, adding that there have been no randomized trials. “No one really knows.” And there have been few studies on how the drug affects cognition—”especially while driving,” Chua added. “Anything you inhale into your lungs that’s foreign could be potentially damaging to your lungs,” he said.
He added that the only point of comparison he has seen in recent years is vaping. “It suddenly happened—now pulmonologists are talking,” he said, adding that vaping manufacturers have added flavors to their products. “Who knows what burning those flavors could do?” Chua explained that the strength of the psychoactive substance depends on how the state will regulate the marijuana market. Dr. Isabella Park, a pain-management specialist at Forest Hills Hospital, said that even with medical marijuana legalized in New York, it is difficult for her chronic-pain patients to obtain it. She noted that patients must first find a certified physician and be diagnosed with a need for pain management. Then, they would have to pay with cash. She said that within the Northwell Health system, which includes Forest Hills Hospital, there are only three physicians who do not require cash payments. “They charge a lot of money for visits,” she said. Park said that even when a patient in need of pain management finds a certified doctor, that patient might have difficulty reaching the doctor’s office. “It may be easier to have a friend get it off the street,” she said. However, marijuana sold by a dealer would include THC, the drug’s psychoactive component. THC is filtered out of medical-grade marijuana. “THC has a most dramatic side effect,” she said. “On the street, you don’t know what’s in it.” She said that patients could use cannabinoid (CBD) oils as a substitute, although they might not be as effective. “Those are a lot cheaper,” she said. “The accessibility is easier.” Park also pointed out that medical-grade marijuana is much more reliable for relieving pain. It is available in oil, lozenge and vaping oil form, but not for smoking. She said that in the future, Northwell Health will certify more doctors to prescribe medical marijuana. “We have our own medical cannabis task force and share best practices,” she said, adding that she believes that legalization will result in the further study and research of the once-outlawed drug.
The Queens Tribune, Thursday, September 13, 2018
CITY LAUNCHES NEW SMOKING DISCLOSURE POLICY By ARIEL HERNANDEZ
On Aug. 28, Public Health Solutions—one of the largest public health nonprofits in New York City—launched a new smoking disclosure policy through its NYC Smoke-Free program as an effort to reduce tenants’ exposure to smoke. The Queens Tribune spoke to Deidre Sully, the director of NYC Smoke-Free, about the effects of smoking, why the organization is implementing this policy and how the policy would apply to marijuana if it is legalized. According to the city’s Department of Health and Mental Hygiene (DOHMH), all residential buildings with three or more units in the city must create a smoking policy. The policy must be distributed to tenants and apartment owners annually and incorporated into the lease or purchase agreement, as well as posted in public areas within the building. If building owners don’t comply with the new law, they can face a $100 civil penalty. “What people should understand first and foremost is that smoking disclosure only mandates that landlords and property owners disclose or make available the information on what their policy on smoking is,” said Sully. “It doesn’t mandate that they [landlords and property owners] go smoke free.” Sully said that at first, many city residents were uninformed about the policy, which forced Smoke-Free to figure out better ways to explain it. “What we found was that it is encouraging people to adopt smoke-free policies for their buildings, which means deciding whether they want to go smoke-free or not,” said Sully. “A lot of landlords and building owners hadn’t thought about implementing policies prior to this.” Currently, tenants would not likely be informed of a building’s smoking policy while looking for housing. Instead, they would have to contact the building to find out that information. Sully said that the organization is considering the creation of a list of buildings that are smoke-free, so that it is easier for tenants to search for housing based on their needs. Although NYC Smoke-Free has been advocating for smoke-free housing and a decrease in the use of tobacco, Sully said that there are still pockets of people being missed—for example, the LGBTQ community, the Korean and Chinese communities, and the African American community. “While the use of tobacco in New York City has decreased, disparities still exist,” said
Sully. “Asian Americans, specifically Korean and Chinese men, smoke at higher rates. Menthol is a very big issue in the African American community, especially when it comes to tobacco products. You also see a high usage of tobacco in the LGBT population and other populations that deal with lots of stress.” Sully said that in a number of minority communities, there are higher amounts of tobacco advertisements, which encourages youths to use tobacco. “The younger you begin to smoke, the harder it is to quit,” said Sully. Sully said that there is a common misconception that smoking rates are going down. According to a recent study by the DOHMH, approximately 867,000 adults in New York City and 15,000 high school students smoke, and more than 200,000 children are exposed to secondhand smoke at home. In Queens alone, 250,000 adults and 5,000 public high school students smoke, one third of whom will die prematurely as a result of smoking. “Our goal is to educate New Yorkers about public health and to put a stop to the tobacco disparities that still exist,” said Sully. Regarding marijuana use in city buildings, Sully said that it is still illegal and, therefore, shouldn’t be smoked in homes. However, the new smoke-free policy includes all items that are combustible and cause smoke to travel. John Morrison, a Jamaica landlord, said that he is flexible when it comes to his building’s smoke policy because of his own personal history. “I get that there are people who have been smoking for years and that tobacco is addicting, making it hard for them to quit cold turkey,” Morrison told the Queens Tribune. “Once upon a time, I was just like that. For me, my health got so bad when I was in my 40s that my doctor told me if I didn’t stop smoking, there was nowhere for me to go but down. It’s been over 25 years since I last smoked and I’m proud of it.” Morrison said he permits smoking in his tenants’ apartments and outside the building, but not in the hallways. He said he also encourages his tenants not to smoke directly in front of the building’s entrance, considering that there are more than 100 families with children residing in his building. “It’s a matter of respect,” said Morrison. “When I first took over the building, I didn’t have a smoke policy, and a lot of the mothers in my building would complain to me that there were tenants smoking in the halls or
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in front of the building’s entrance. I remember making it a priority not to smoke in front of my children or any children when I was a smoker because of the danger of secondhand smoke, so I understood. I immediately changed the policy, and posted notes on all six floors of my building and on the front entrance asking that tenants smoke only in their households and outside the building as long as there aren’t any children around.” Morrison received positive feedback from his tenants—including smokers—after the policy change. “Everyone was on board and appreciated the fact that the safety of the children was top priority,” Morrison said. If marijuana is legalized, Morrison said that his current smoking policy for tobacco would apply to marijuana as well. “Marijuana is healthier than tobacco, but it does get people high, so there’s no reason why children should face secondhand smoke,” said Morrison. “It’s a personal choice. I just want to make sure that I’m providing a safe living environment for the children in my building.” Jaclyn Ruiz, a Jackson Heights resident, said that she’s not concerned with how the legalization of marijuana could affect current smoking policies, but she is bothered by the popularity of hookahs. “I don’t know if people are doing it because they like it or if they’re doing it because it’s a trend, but I hate walking out of my apartment and being hit with the smoke from my neighbors’ hookahs,” said Ruiz. Ruiz said that her neighbors often leave their doors open and sit at the entrance with their hookah, blowing the smoke into the hallway, despite the fact that the building has a smoke-free sign on the door. “Hookah isn’t as bad as cigarettes, but it is tobacco, so shouldn’t the same rules apply?” Ruiz said. Ruiz recently moved from Washington Heights to Jackson Heights because she wanted a change of scenery. “I wish I would’ve known that hookah doesn’t apply to the landlord’s smoke policy because if that were the case, I probably wouldn’t have moved here,” said Ruiz. “I have a mild form of asthma, and I don’t want to further trigger it.” Ruiz said that landlords should be clear on their policies and that tenants, in turn, should be understanding and respectful of those policies. Reach Ariel Hernandez at ahernandez@ queenstribune.com or @reporter_ariel.
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Tierras Centro Americanas
G U AT E M A L A FAC TB OX Home to roughly 15.5 million people, of which about 60 percent are from European descent, and about 40 percent are from indigenous tribes
A Central American Hub By JARED COHEE Dispatch from Hillside Avenue, Jamaica Hills: When I first sampled the thick stews of Guatemala at this location almost 15 years ago, I could never have known how finding them in restaurants could be so elusive. So rare in fact that later that year on a trip through Central America, I found myself constantly hearing “Ese es un plato que solo comemos en casa” in restaurants throughout Guatemala. “We only eat those foods at home.” The wildly enjoyable jocón and hilachas at what then was called “La Xelajú” are almost unheard of in restaurants in the New York City area. Only one other time had I found a rendition of hilachas across the Hudson River, but this only made the yearning more fierce as it seemed no love had been put into the plate at that restaurant. Thankfully for over 20 years the specials here at what is now Tierras Centro Americanas have stayed wonderfully steady despite one change of hands. Current owner and chef Maria Escobar took over in 2006 and employed its former chef for two years to pass down the Guatemalan recipes she was less familiar with. Hailing from El Salvador but living in New York City since the early 1980’s, Ms. Escobar decided the menu should keep its focus on an integrated cuisine that represented both countries and also catered to Hondurans in the area. This recipe for success and a commitment to quality have led to a consistency that is quite rare in restaurants. In over two dozen visits I do not remember an off day from this kitchen. Around the corner from Hillside Avenue and hidden from the busy thoroughfare, this Jamaica mainstay is very much unhidden to its Central American regulars. Not much else has changed since those first visits besides fresh coats of white and light blue paint to represent the many flags of Central America and probably some new handicrafts for the walls. Over time what was originally $10 on the menu may have been crossed out and have $11 hand-written instead. Primarily used for the storage of menus and drinks, the room you enter from 168th Street also has a couple chairs for waiting takeout customers and you can peek into the small kitchen and catch glimpses of the chef in action. As you take your seat in the dining room, the only access to the kitchen is audible, where during slower mid-afternoon times you can al-
most hear every rattle and clink of your meal being prepared. Big hearty plates are served to couples, solo diners looking weary after long days of work, and groups of men who come in and enjoy a table full of Coronas or Cerveza Gallo, Guatemala’s biggest beer which goes by the name “Famosa” in the states. The jocón comes in a large bowl accompanied like most Guatemalan dishes with thick homemade corn tortillas. The dish has its roots in Mayan culture and cuisine, still very prevalent in Guatemala more than any other place. Tomatillos have been discovered to be a very important ingredient of this ancient civilization and they have a heavy influence in the stew. In addition the wonderful green is created by adding cilantro, green peppers, and jalapeños. Toasted pumpkin seeds called pepitos, garlic, and onions provide the rest of the palate. Take caution with the tortillas which are not only piping hot but have a quick way of filling the belly. Put them close to your nose and enjoy the wonderful smell once they cool down, but save room for hilachas, a shredded beef stew made with a base of ripe tomatoes, and salpicón, a pan-Central American beef salad served cold with chopped onions, cilantro, tomatoes, and non-spicy peppers. Another typically Guatemalan dish is revolcado, which can be prepared in many ways but always involves the interior parts of the animal involved in its preparation. Here the brief English menu description is “chopped cow heart and pork in homemade brown sauce,” but without knowing the cuts could be mistaken for tender beef. In addition to these more intricate dishes, the workaday meals found on Guatemalan lunch menus daily like pepián, another meat stew with Mayan heritage, and garnachas, an appetizer similar to Mexican tostadas consisting of a fried tortilla topped with meat, onions, and tomato sauce. Many of the other tables you see will be Salvadoran people ordering stacks of Ms. Escobar’s excellent pupusas, perhaps the most recognizable symbol of that country’s cuisine but eaten by more than just Guanacos. Groups of men devouring them might ask for the lone TV to be switched over to La Liga matches, but usually a talk show or drama will be on in competition with the jukebox if someone puts on a song. At the back with the jukebox is the most prominent work in the restaurant,
Jocón is a stew featuring tomatillos, cilantro, green peppers, jalapeños, pepitos, garlic, and onions
The country has many volcanoes, including the Fuego volcano, which forced thousands to evacuate their homes this summer Guatemala is slightly smaller than Pennsylvania Guatemala was in the heart of the Mayan civilization and is home to thousands of ruins, many that have yet to be explored because of the country’s thick jungle.
Pupusas with curtido and salsa
a handmade mural celebrating September 15th, 1821, the day El Salvador and Guatemala, along with Honduras, Nicaragua, and Costa Rica all became independent from Spain. For hundreds of years the histories and cuisines of these nations have been tied together, and often this translates in New York City into restaurants like this that can satisfy the cravings of each of these peoples. You will still find the name “Xelajú” on the menu, an ode to the roots of the restaurant and its food. This Mayan word derived from the phrase “under ten mountains” and used to be the name of what now goes by Quetzaltenango in the highlands of Guatemala. In New York City, Tierras Centro Americanas is the fastest way to get to “Xela,” the nickname residents still use for their city.
Tierros Centro Americanas 87-52 168th Street, Jamaica NY 11432
Tierros Centro Americanas 87-52 168th Street, Jamaica NY 11432 M-Th 11:00-21:00, F 11:00-22:00, Sa 10:00-22:00, Su 10:00-21:00 CASH ONLY
Salpicón, a pan-Central American beef salad served cold with chopped onions, cilantro, tomatoes, and peppers
Queens Today 11
The Queens Tribune, Thursday, Septembe 13, 2018
SPOTLIGHT OF THE WEEK FRIDAY 9/14
of long tone and Mongolian throat singing join the music of horse-head fiddles and the vibrancy of dance to bring ethnic Mongolian culture to life. Admission is $10, but free for students and teens. 1 p.m. Flushing Town Hall, 137-35 Northern Blvd.
A Whole Different Ball Game
NYC Honey Festival
This eighth-annual bonanza unites bees, beach, beers and bites. Activities include a bee marketplace, a honey-tasting competition, a costume contest, a honeyextraction demonstration and a chance to meet NYPD’s bee police officer. 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. The 106th Street Boardwalk, Rockaway Beach.
Autumn Rose Celebration
Photo sessions, arts-and-crafts, walking tours, watercolor workshop, familyfriendly activities and a concert by highly respected Spanish singer/songwriter Marta Hernández (aka Mar Salá). Noon to 5:30 p.m. Queens Botanical Garden, 43-50 Main St., Flushing. ------------------------------------------------
Opening Reception For Before Projection: Viva La Comida Video Sculpture 1974-1995 Festival ------------------------------------------------
Food, art and fun are everywhere in the vicinity of Roosevelt Avenue and 82nd Street in Jackson Heights. Noon to 7 p.m.
Salsa Masala The world’s first video game, Tennis for Two, debuted at the Brookhaven National Laboratory in 1958. For some, this was the beginning of the end. For others, it was just the beginning. This exhibition features 30 games that simulate tennis, football, track and field, basketball, baseball, and soccer and esports—multiplayer games that have developed their own professional leagues. The exhibit will run through March 10. Museum of the Moving Image, 36-01 35th Ave., Astoria’s Kaufman Arts District.
Federico y el Público
A four-person cast presents this fast-paced version of a Shakespeare classic. Prince Hamlet seeks to revenge his father’s murder, but he must sacrifice his love, his life and, perhaps, his very mind to accomplish it. The show will perform through Sept. 30. Shows at 7:30 pm and 3 pm. The Secret Theatre, 44-02 23rd St., Long Island City.
“Star Tracks And Collapsar” A modern dance performance fused with new media art will be presented by Yahui Lu, who is a Queens Council on the Arts grant winner. 2:30 p.m. Queens Museum, NYC Building, Flushing Meadows Corona Park. ------------------------------------------------
Suicide Prevention Panel TSINY hosts a suicide prevention panel discussion and provides resources. 10 a.m. at Queens Central Library, 89-11 Merrick Boulevard, Jamaica.
“Opening For Home Scar”
This solo show will be presented by Heather Simon, who is a Queens Council on the Arts grant winner. 2 p.m. RISE: Rockaway Institute for Sustainable Environment, 58-03 Rockaway Beach Blvd.
Inner Mongolia Performing Arts Troupe
Rooted in the tradition of “fiestas patronales” or town fairs common in rural villages across Latin America, this unique brass band from Lima presents Peruvian heritage and traditions through music and dance. Their performances encourage audience participation and dancing with contagious percussion and vibrant brass and winds. Cocktail reception at 6 p.m. Dance lesson at 7 p.m. The show begins at 8 p.m. Admission is $16 or $10 for students. Free for teens. Flushing Town Hall, 137-35 Northern Blvd. ---------------------------------------------
Four By David Lowery
Richard Panchyk, author of The Hidden History of Queens, discusses his book and shares amazing stories about the borough’s hidden and unexplored gems. 2:30 p.m. $5. Queens Historical Society, 143-35 37th Ave., Flushing.
Visitors are invited to engage in a conversation on Isamu Noguchi’s sculpture Brilliance, which is part of the permanent installation. 3:30 p.m. Free with admission. Noguchi Museum, 9-01 33rd Rd., Long Island City.
Queensboro Dance Festival
“Hamlet: What Dreams May Come”
Hidden History Of Queens
Center Of Attention
An adaptation of Federico García Lorca’s El Público (The Audience), which is based on true events of the life of the famous Spanish poet and playwright. In Spanish with English supertitles. Performances include Thursday, Friday and Saturday at 8 p.m. and Sunday at 4 p.m. Admission is $35 or $32 for students and seniors. Thalía Spanish Theatre, 41-17 Greenpoint Ave., Sunnyside.
At least six troupes perform on Thursday and Friday nights. The performance begins at 5 p.m. on both days Free, but $25 for VIP tickets. Hunter’s Point Park, 52-10 Center Blvd., Long Island City.
Queens Council on the Arts grant winner Neil Padukone performs a mashup of Indian and Latin music. 3:30 p.m. Free. Roosevelt Avenue and 82nd Street, Jackson Heights.
This exhibition explores the connections between the current moment and the point just before video art was transformed by the entry of large-scale cinematic installation into the gallery space. The exhibition runs from Sept 17 to Dec. 17. 5 p.m. SculptureCenter, 44-19 Purves St., Long Island City.
The new movie The Old Man and The Gun features two stars who have been fixtures of American cinema for nearly 50 years: Robert Redford and Sissy Spacek. It also draws attention to its young director, David Lowery, and his style that stresses emotional intimacy and poetic realism. Lowery’s films that will be screened at the Museum of the Moving Image include St. Nick (with Pioneer) at 7:30 p.m. on Sept. 14, Pete’s Dragon at 1 p.m. on Sept. 15, A Ghost Story at 1 p.m. on Sept. 16 and The Old Man and the Gun at 8 p.m. on Sept. 19. Museum of the Moving Image, 36-01 35th Ave., Astoria’s Kaufman Arts District.
World Premiere: New Music A Voice Of The Horizons Voiceless Queens Council on the Arts grant winner Landon Knoblock composed music incorporating the voices of homeless New York City youth. 7 p.m. Queens Theatre, 14 United Nations Ave. S., Flushing Meadows Corona Park.
Classical composer Yui Kitamura and jazz composer Mark Wade, both of whom are Queens Council on the Arts grant winners, will hold a concert. 3 p.m. Flushing Town Hall, 137-35 Northern Blvd.
Bengali Cuisine Make a traditional chicken curry, a lentil soup and chai tea at Alley Pond Environmental Center. $31. 7 p.m. Alley Pond Environmental Center, 228-06 Northern Blvd., Douglaston. ------------------------------------------------
Inner Mongolia Performing Arts Troupe Celebrating the Inner Mongolian culture of the grasslands, these dancers and musicians bring their evocative and energetic performing arts to the stage. The sounds
Birdsong and Vocal Learning
Birdsong And Vocal Learning Ofer Tchernichovski’s Laboratory of Vocal Learning at Hunter College studies animal behavior and the dynamics of vocal learning and sound production. The professor will lecture at Alley Pond Environmental Center on how some birds learn to sing. 8 p.m. Free. Alley Pond Environmental Center, 228-06 Northern Blvd., Douglaston.
The Queens Tribune, Thursday, September 13, 2018
A lifelong Democrat, John grew up in Queens and is raising his own family here. As a City Councilman and Comptroller (the first ever Asian-American elected citywide), John championed Democratic causes, protected your money and took on the toughest fights against special interests and political insiders. Today, John teaches municipal finance and public policy in masters degree programs at the City University of New York (CUNY) and Columbia University. In the State Senate, John will continue to be a champion for all the Democratic policies that phony Democrats colluded with Republicans to block.
Paid for by the John Liu Senate Election Committee
John Liu is proud to be endorsed by: Congresswoman Grace Meng (NY-6) Congressman Gregory Meeks (NY-5) Assemblyman Ron Kim (District 40) Assemblywoman Nily Rozic (District 25) Assemblyman Daniel Rosenthal (District 27) Councilman Paul Vallone (District 19) Councilman Rory Lancman (District 24) Councilman Peter Koo (District 20) Councilman Daneek Miller (District 27) Councilman Barry Grodenchik (District 23) Councilman Donovan Richards (District 31) Congresswoman Nydia Velazquez (NY-7) Assemblywoman Aravella Simotas (District 36) Councilman Costa Constantinides (District 22) Congressman Jerrold Nadler (NY-10)
Assemblywoman Rodneyse Bichotte (District 42) Assemblywoman Yuh-Line Niou (District 65) Assemblyman Danny Oâ€™Donnell (District 69) Assemblyman Dan Quart (District 73) Councilwoman Margaret Chin (District 1) Councilman Ben Kallos (District 5) Councilman Stephen Levin (District 33) Councilman Keith Powers (District 4) Councilman Antonio Reynoso (District 34) Councilwoman Helen Rosenthal (District 6) Speaker of the NYC Council Corey Johnson NYC Comptroller Scott Stringer Progressive NYC -- City Council Progressive Caucus Progressive Voices United
The Queens Tribune, Thursday, September 13, 2018
In this month’s edition of our 50 Plus special section, we are taking a look at several things that are often on the minds of hard working people north of 50 years of age. Health is often a top concern, and we look at some of the latest insights on Parkinson’s disease. Planning for the end of life can be stressful, so we are helping by busting some myths of life insurance. Of course, knowing if you have enough money saved is often of concern, so we help add some insight in planning for unexpected expenses. And since summer is almost over, we figured it was a perfect time to start thinking about your next vacation—especially if you are a wine lover.
Eat Your Water: Post Workout
By JOANNE BARRY COLON
Did you know that eating fruit and vegetables with high contents of water after a workout helps to hydrate your body twice as effectively as drinking a glass of water? Studies indicate that water-rich fruits and vegetables provide you with natural sugars, amino acids, minerals, salts and vitamins that are lost during a workout. As a certified personal trainer and nutrition coach, I educate clients on the importance of staying hydrated and being hydrated, so that their workout performance improves, leading to greater results, success and a healthier body. Below are seven fruits and vegetables with a high content of water and their health benefits: · Cucumber: Contain 97.9 percent of water and helps prevent cancer, contains such antioxidants as vitamin C, Beta-Carotene, Manganese and anti-inflammatory properties. · Watermelon: Contains 91.4 percent of water, has a significant level of vitamin A, B6 and C, and lots of lycopene antioxidants and amino
acids, along with potassium. · Tomatoes: Contain 95.2 percent of water, helps protect against cancer, maintains healthy blood pressure, reduce blood glucose in people with diabetes. · Celery: Contains 95.4 percent water and is rich in several vitamins, such as vitamin K, A potassium and vitamin C; and a great source of dietary fiber. · Cantaloupe: Contains 90 percent of water and helps eye health, supports a healthy immune system, healthy red blood cells and also helps in collagen production in bones, cartilage and muscles. · Strawberry: Contains 92 percent water and helps decrease heart disease, reduce blood pressure and decrease cancer risk by inhibiting tumor growth and decreasing inflammation in the body.
· Lettuce: Contains 95.6 percent water and helps lower cholesterol levels, prevents cancer, improves sleep, controls anxiety and decreases inflammation. Mild dehydration may cause the following: · Dizziness · Headaches · Less urination · Dry skin · Constipation Severe case of dehydration may lead to: · Rapid heart rate · Confusion · Low blood pressure Consult with your physician before starting this plan. And for best results, work one on one with a certified personal trainer and nutrition coach. Email questions to email@example.com. Redeem this article to receive a complimentary nutrition coaching session or 30-minute personal training session.
The Queens Tribune, Thursday, September 13, 2018
4 Vacation Destinations for Wine Lovers An excellent destination for those who love variety, Mendoza is a bustling urban environment with a wealth of outdoor adventure opportunities just outside the city. It is also one of the best places in the world to drink locally-produced Malbec. In 1852, an enterprising French agronomist brought Malbec to Argentina, where the higher temperatures and unique terroir of Mendoza finally allowed this varietal to shine. Try The Seeker Malbec ($13.99) made in the foothills of the Andes Mountains where the elevation and soil produce ripened fruit. Pair this fruity, spicy wine with the region’s superior wood-fire grilled beef and lamb.
3. Colchagua, Chile
All wine enthusiasts should put Chile’s Central Valley on their bucket lists, as the region is known for its fine red wines and traditional cuisine. Take a winery tour and enjoy the spectacular landscape while drinking some of the world’s best wines. In particular, try the Cabernet Sauvignon. While this varietal is grown in many places around the world, you’ll probably find a purer form of it here, where the high-altitude and extreme temperature shifts between day and night result in grapes that don’t need to be blended with other varietals to round the wine out.
4. Central Coast, California Love wine? Build your next vacation around it. Wine regions have delicious food, beautiful views and amazing history. To select your next travel destination, get inspired by global wine brand The Seeker, which produces wines all around the world to ensure each varietal is made in the region where it grows best. Here are four wine destinations for adventure seekers.
1. Puy de Dôme, France
Puy de Dôme, in the Auvergne region of central France, boasts spectacular natural wonders, with over 80 volcanic craters, as well as mountains, valleys, volcanic lakes, plateaus and
plains. Explore them on foot, bicycle and kayak, or take a dip in the region’s thermal springs. Sometimes called France’s “lost wine region,” it’s only 100 miles from Burgundy and has a winegrowing history that began in the 6th century. Pinot Noir has been grown there since at least the 11th century, and the Pinot from these vineyards were once prized by the Popes in Avignon. The region still produces exceptional Pinot Noir, in part, due to the rich volcanic soils, warm days and cool nights. One selection to try is The Seeker Pinot Noir ($13.99), which has aromas of sweet cherry fruit melded with earth and spice, balanced acidity and ripe fine tannins.
2. Mendoza, Argentina
Take a quintessential road trip through the Central Coast of California, which has something for everyone: beautiful beaches, important historical sites, family-friendly attractions and world-class cuisine. In particular, enjoy the region’s Chardonnay. California is uniquely suited to the grape because its warm days allow them to fully ripen; and its cool nights and foggy mornings prevent the grapes from becoming too ripe or getting heat damaged. For a balanced, complex and harmonious wine that pairs with smoked chicken salad, four cheese pizza and spicy foods, taste The Seeker Chardonnay ($13.99), sourced from prime growing areas in the region. –Courtesy of StatePoint
5 Life Insurance Myths Busted 1. I’m single. I don’t need life insurance.
Most people think life insurance is more necessary for married people than for singles, according to the 2017 Insurance Barometer Study by Life Happens and LIMRA. But even if you’re single and don’t have children, you may still leave behind loved ones who would have to pay your debts. For example, if you have a cosigner on a loan, he or she would be responsible to pay it back. Life insurance can provide peace of mind by potentially paying off any remaining debt. Or, if you want to leave money to a charity, life insurance can help ensure your wishes are carried out.
2. It’s too expensive.
Cost is one of the top reasons people don’t purchase life insurance. Sixty-six percent of participants in the Insurance Barometer Study said it’s too expensive. The same consumers overestimated the price by more than three times the actual cost. It can cost as little as $14.24 per month for a $250,000 policy at Erie Insurance, for example. That’s less than 50 cents a day. Millennials can get an even bigger break by purchasing while they’re still young. Premiums are typically less expensive since they’re generally healthier and have fewer assets.
3. My employer provides life insurance. I don’t need my own.
While it’s great to have coverage through an employer, it often isn’t enough. “A typical group life benefit is two times your annual salary, but you may need more like six to eight times
your salary just to break even,” says Louis Colaizzo, senior vice president for Life at Erie Insurance. What’s more, if you take another job, your policy may not be transferable.
4. I’m a stay-at-home parent.
If you’re not the breadwinner in your household, you may think your family doesn’t depend on your income. However, think about the value of all the unpaid services that would need to be replaced, such as childcare, household cleaning, transportation and cooking. A stay-at-home parent in 2018 contributes a salary of $162,581 annually, according to research by Salary.com.
5. I don’t have the time to research this or sign up.
An insurance agent can quickly walk you through the process to identify what you need and your options, as well as explain the terms. Think of your agent as a trusted partner who will keep an eye on how your policy is keeping up with your life. Plus, the application at such providers as Erie Insurance only takes about 15 minutes, doesn’t include complicated forms and may not require doctor’s visits. Bottom line: most people could benefit from life insurance, but it’s not a one-size-fits-all scenario. The amount needed really depends on individual circumstances. To protect those who matter most, check with your insurance agent to make sure you get the right coverage. –Courtesy of StatePoint
The Queens Tribune, Thursday, September 13, 2018
Do You Have Enough Savings for Planned and Unplanned Expenses? Nearly half of consumers have encountered an emergency expense in the past year, but when it comes to financially preparing for the unexpected, many fall short, according to CIT Bank’s new Summer Savings Survey conducted by The Harris Poll. What’s more, the survey also found that many consumers don’t have the savings to afford the planned expense of the vacations they take. “More than one in four consumers don’t save anything for unexpected events such as a home repair or health expense,” says Ravi Kumar, head of Internet Banking for CIT Bank. “Over another quarter report saving less than 5 percent of their monthly household income for emergencies.” How are consumers making ends meet?
Family and credit cards top the list of resources Americans rely on for financial support during emergencies. As for the planned expense of a vacation, approximately one in three (29 percent) report taking extreme actions to pay their way, including taking out a bank loan, going into debt, cleaning out a savings account, borrowing money or maxing out a credit card. “Americans can do more to ensure their lifestyles and savings priorities are aligned,” says Kumar. “But saving wisely is key.” To plan the monthly amount that you’ll need to save for peace of mind, utilize free resources, such as CIT Bank’s online calculators at bankoncit.com/calculators. Then, consider looking for an account that will make your
savings work harder and offer some flexibility. For example, with a Money Market Account from CIT Bank, consumers can earn interest on their savings while maintaining the option to make withdrawals at any time. With no monthly maintenance fees, a minimum account balance requirement, and transaction capabilities, consumers can save without sacrificing their earnings throughout the process. Do you have enough savings for planned and unplanned expenses? When it comes to happy occasions, like vacations, as well as the unexpected, being prepared can safeguard you against zeroing out your account or going into debt. –Courtesy of StatePoint
4 Surprising Insights Into Life With Parkinson’s Disease cent) • Be intimate with their partner (68 percent) • Complete household chores (68 percent) • Run errands (67 percent)
More than one million Americans live with Parkinson’s disease (PD), and while some symptoms are easier to see, such as tremors, stiffness and slowness of movement, there are a variety of harder-to-detect non-movement symptoms that can have an impact on daily life. Recently, the Parkinson & Movement Disorder Alliance (PMDAlliance), a non-profit organization offering programming for those in the Parkinson’s disease community, surveyed over 650 people with PD as well as care partners to better understand how non-movement symptoms impact their lives and quality of life. Here are some of their findings and insights: 1) Parkinson’s disease affects more than motor function. Every person with Parkinson’s disease may experience different symptoms, both motor and non-movement related. In fact, nearly all (90 percent) of survey respondents experienced non-movement symptoms, such as: • Sleep problems (84 percent) • Cognitive challenges (75 percent) • Anxiety (65 percent) • Depression (55 percent) • Hallucinations (41 percent) • Delusions (24 percent) 2) Non-movement symptoms can be more challenging than motor symptoms. Of those who experienced, or reported that their loved one experienced, non-movement symptoms, 84 percent felt that they have a negative impact on quality of life, and about half rated them as more challenging or much more challenging to live with than movement symptoms. In a survey question about their Parkinson’s experience, one care partner said, “I wish [other people] knew that Parkinson’s looks different in different people. My spouse’s motor symptoms are fairly well controlled, but his REM sleep disorder and dementia have made our lives incredibly challenging and exhaust-
ing.” 3) Daily living is impacted by hard-to-see symptoms. Parkinson’s disease changes how patients and their care partners think about the future and cope with day-to-day living. In fact, non-movement symptoms negatively impacted the ability to: • Sleep (84 percent) • Plan for future events (76 percent) • Socialize (71 percent) • Make plans with family and friends (70 per-
When people with Parkinson’s experience non-movement symptoms, care partners are impacted, too. In fact, psychosis symptoms in patients with PD are a strong predictor of increased care partner burden, and those with hallucinations have a 2.5-fold greater risk for nursing home admission. 4) Reporting symptoms is crucial. Even though non-movement symptoms are common, they are rarely reported. For example, more than half of patients will experience hallucinations or delusions associated with Parkinson’s over the course of their disease, however, only 1020 percent of patients and care partners voluntarily report these symptoms to their doctors. It’s important to report all symptoms to a doctor (usually a neurologist), as there are many different treatment options to address both motor and non-movement symptoms. “Those with Parkinson’s and their families are not alone. Talking to your doctor is just the start of getting support and treatment,” says Sarah Jones, CEO of PMDAlliance. “We urge the entire Parkinson’s community to continue initiating conversations about symptoms, especially the non-movement ones that greatly impact day-to-day living.” New educational resources about the onset and impact of non-movement symptoms of Parkinson’s can be found by visiting Pmdalliance.org and MoretoParkinsons.com. The survey was sponsored by ACADIA Pharmaceuticals Inc. –Courtesy of StatePoint
The Queens Tribune, Thursday, September 13, 2018
The Queens Tribune, Thursday, September 13, 2018
PRESS OF SOUTHEAST QUEENS LEGAL NOTICES
The Queens Tribune, Thursday, September 13, 2018
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The Queens Tribune, Thursday, September 13, 2018
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The Queens Tribune, Thursday, September 13, 2018
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The Queens Tribune, Thursday, September 13, 2018
WANTED TO BUY
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The Queens Tribune, Thursday, September 13, 2018
Morrison’s Astral Weeks Is Relevant Again By THOMAS MOODY
Clean House At The State Democratic Party Last week, heading into the final weekend before election day, we saw some true ugliness come out of the state Democratic Party. The institution, traditionally and functionally an arm of the governor, sent out a mailer to a small, targeted group of Jewish Democrats. The mailer was filled with awful lies about his opponent, Cynthia Nixon—suggesting she was an anti-Semite who supported the controversial Boycott, Divestment and Sanction (BDS) movement against the nation of Israel. In fact, she is a practicing Jew raising her children in the Jewish faith. The party brass quickly apologized. Claimed it was a mistake. It was not a mistake, as insiders told our editor-at-large Gerson Borrero earlier this week. It was a feature of old-time machine politics—a machine from a bygone era whose sole purpose, at times, seems to be consolidating and maintaining power among those who were either born into that world, or sold their soul for a ticket. More important than advancing progressive politics, even more important than getting Democrats elected, is maintaining the status quo. It is very easy for some Democrats to blame Andrew Cuomo for this latest disgrace, or to blame him for failing to reform all of the ills of this broken and ugly system. But doing so would be overly simplistic, as frustrating as that sounds. Andrew Cuomo didn’t create this system; he is just one of the most astute politicians at navigating through its mud. If he is removed from office, the system will still exist with many others keen to keep a structure that benefits them in place. But in the long run, this is the type of thing that destroys the Democratic Party’s brand and leaves millions of already disenfranchised citizens disgusted to the point that they don’t want to participate. This is why Democratic leaders should clean house at the state party; start over; and build
a new organization that harnesses the energy young voters, minorities and women are bringing to the party, instead of dissuading them from participating. What is needed is a new state party that is laser focused on supporting ALL Democrats and growing participation, with knowledge that the collective intellect of the masses will sort out the best candidates and strategies with better success than an oligarchy of power brokers often more concerned about their own skin. This can’t be done overnight. It will take consistent and collective effort on the part of the people who will be giving up power. But the consequences of not doing so are more dire than the temporary loss of influence. Just look at the Democratic National Committee’s 2016 disaster, where the Clinton campaign’s control of the party left millions of Bernie Sanders supporters angry enough that they stayed home—allowing for Donald Trump’s improbable Rust Belt run to victory. A good start would be to let a credible, independent person come in and investigate what happened. Then, fire everyone involved. After that, Gov. Cuomo, Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie and Senate Democratic Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins should lead the change—transforming the state party into a resource to promote participation and discussion among Democrats; and providing basic assistance to any member interested in running for office or volunteering. It should be a forum for discussions about policy and political tactics, providing an outlet for the energetic voices of young voters, minorities and women. It could also be a conduit for activists to connect, organize and make a bigger impact. What it cannot be, and should no longer be, is another tool for the powerful that gets handed back and forth based on election results. If it does not change, the Democratic Party loses.
9/11 Should Be A State Holiday This week we remembered the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001. As always, this was an emotional time for many. Sadness over those killed in the tragedy still leaves many with an emotional scar. At the same time, pride over the brave sacrifices and heroic efforts of first responders and regular, decent people leaves us filled with hope. The best of humanity and worst of humanity were on full display that day. The lives of millions have never been the same since then. Yet, 17 years later, it is hard not to feel like the day comes and goes with less and less importance and meaning ascribed to it. People’s calls to “never forget” sadly seem more hollow. This is why the time has come for state lawmakers and the governor to make September 11 an official state holiday. The federal government calls 9/11 Patriot Day; in fact, the Queens Tribune’s founder, former Rep. Gary Ackerman, was one of the sponsors of a resolution in the House of Representatives in 2001 asking then-President George W. Bush to declare the day Patriot Day. Since then, former President Barack Obama added
to the declaration, calling it Patriot Day and National Day of Service and Remembrance. President Donald Trump changed the name again, to the National Days of Prayer and Remembrance and Patriot Day. Whatever state leaders land on for a name is less important than actually taking the time to create a permanent remembrance, etched in state law. Sept. 11 shouldn’t be a day on which people go to work or school as they normally would. It shouldn’t be a day on which memorials and remembrances get squeezed in around people’s customary duties and responsibilities. It shouldn’t be a hassle to plan a fitting tribute on the actual date if it falls on a weekday, forcing many to hold weekend memorials instead. Sept. 11 should be a day on which New Yorkers hit pause. Remember. Reflect. Tell their children and other young people about what happened and how it changed our society. We may lose a day of productivity because of this, but it will be worth it. If we make this a state holiday, we will truly never forget.
Last week, Forest Hills Stadium played host to Van Morrison and Willie Nelson, two of the most revered and enduring recording artists of the last half-century. The icons make for interesting touring partners. Aside from both being men of a certain age—Morrison turned 73 last month, while Nelson is an inspiringly spritely octogenarian—they share two of the most distinctive voices in popular music. For Morrison in particular, his legacy for many will be the pronounced and intrepid growl on tracks such as “Dark Side of the Road” and “Gloria,” in which his vocals, full of soul and power, sit audaciously above the music. It is a voice instantly recognizable and beseechingly nostalgic; for those of us who grew up in households in which Moondance was the default album for gatherings, a half syllable of Morrison’s voice is enough to buckle us into the backseat of the family car and drive us straight back to our childhoods. The uniqueness of his voice is an attribute few other artists possess. This coming November marks the 50th anniversary of a lesser-known, but equally singular, achievement of Morrison: the release of his 1968 album Astral Weeks. It is, perhaps, the most extraordinary album ever recorded in the history of popular music. Paradoxically, for the greater listening public, it is Morrison’s most-overlooked album of a catalogue spanning nearly six decades. Only one of its tracks, the seductive and melancholy “Sweet Thing,” made the cut onto 1990’s The Best of Van Morrison. Astral Weeks in many ways is a victim of its own brilliance. The album transcends notions of popular music, including the idea of a “hit single.” Astral Weeks is not merely a gathering of disparate and discrete tracks, cobbled together to make up the numbers to satisfy the demands of a commercial product; rather, it is a cycle of songs, each one in conversation with the other. Many of these songs lack a recognizable structure. Morrison’s voice wanders
above an upright bass, flute, harpsichord, vibraphone and strings. His lyrics are a stream of surreal images, spiritual encounters and forlorn characters; his customary growl wrestled down into a wail by the force of the music. Those who know the album have recognized the genius within it. Music critic Greil Marcus likened Astral Weeks to Bob Beamon’s record-destroying long jump at the Mexico Olympics, an accomplishment so exceptional that it was “way outside of history.” It elicited from Lester Bangs a definitive piece of music writing, his “Astral Weeks” from 1979’s Stranded—a work of ekphrastic art so astonishing that it not only rivals the magnificence of the record on which it was based, but also sits comfortably beside other works of renowned ekphrasis, such as Keats’ “Ode on a Grecian Urn” or Ashbery’s Self-portrait in a Convex Mirror. Astral Weeks was of particular importance to Bangs. At the time of its release in the fall of 1968, he wrote that he was a “physical and mental wreck,” isolated from friends, paranoid and depressed. Bangs was not alone in his malaise. It was the autumn following the summer of love, and the progressive ideals of the ’60s were beginning to disintegrate. The record, for many, assumed the quality of a beacon, a mystical document that provided, as Bangs put it, “a light on the far shores of the murk; what’s more, it was proof that there was something left to express artistically besides nihilism and destruction.” While in no way explicitly political, Astral Weeks captured the tenor of the times better than any other album, including those that referenced the pressing issues of the day directly in their songs. Just as Astral Weeks defied popular music conventions, it defies the capacity to explain why. Everything about the album eludes standard interpretations. Bangs’ genius was to recognize this, to know the limitations he was working under. Thus, instead of describing the album from the outside in, he entered
Morrison’s world and catalogued the album from the inside out. Here is what is, for me, a fragment of one of the most exceptional pieces of music criticism: Van Morrison was twenty-two—or twenty-three—years old when he made this record; there are lifetimes behind it. What Astral Weeks deals in are not facts but truths. Astral Weeks, insofar as it can be pinned down, is a record about people stunned by life, completely overwhelmed, stalled in their skins, their ages and selves, paralyzed by the enormity of what in one moment of vision they can comprehend. It is a precious and terrible gift, born of a terrible truth, because what they see is both infinitely beautiful and terminally horrifying: the unlimited human ability to create or destroy, according to whim. It’s no Eastern mystic or psychedelic vision of the emerald beyond, nor is it some Baudelairean perception of the beauty of sleaze and grotesquerie. Maybe what it boiled down to is one moment’s knowledge of the miracle of life, with its inevitable concomitant, a vertiginous glimpse of the capacity to be hurt, and the capacity to inflict that hurt. Transfixed between pure rapture and anguish. Wondering if they may not be the same thing, or at least possessed of an intimate relationship…. Astral Weeks, both the album and its namesake review, are proof that art is palliative only through revelation; that while the sentimental might take us back to another time and place—and provide momentary comfort and distraction—it is only through an elucidation of a vision not yet reached that we are truly inspired. We find ourselves yet again in an age of unease, if not total malaise, in which so much art is candid in its protest. It will be interesting to see how much, if any, of this art stands the test of time as has Astral Weeks, a record that speaks just as directly to the weariness felt in 2018 as it did to that of 1968.
Fixing NYCHA Lead Problem Is A Waste Of Money continued from page 1 Yet it is not just NYCHA residents who have been damaged by these projects: Neighborhoods surrounding the projects have been devastated as well. According to data available on New York City’s own online databases, NYCHA is ground zero for a ripple of outcomes reinforcing the culture of poverty—intergenerational, concentrated childhood poverty; communitywide developmental delays; and violent crime. The best example is the community of nearly 30,000 people trapped in the 11 NYCHA developments between the Harlem River and East 149th Street in the South Bronx. We understand the results of exposing children to lead and mold. We also know that NYCHA violated federal laws requiring testing for lead and cleaning it up. And we now know how city officials conspired to cover up these violations. Yet no studies have been ordered to understand the impact of the daily traumas children experience living in NYCHA projects. These adverse childhood experiences are incidents of child abuse, household dysfunction and neighborhood violence. Child abuse can include verbal aggression as well as physical and sexual abuse. Household dysfunction includes having household members with alcohol- or substance-abuse problems or mental illness, having an incarcerated household member, witnessing domestic abuse, or having parents who are separated or divorced. Exposure to ACEs can have lasting negative effects on a person’s health and well-being. A score of four or higher on the 10-point ACEs scale could translate to developmental delays, involvement in criminal activity and/or a shorter lifespan. A Queens Tribune review of publicly available city databases found that if you live in one of the NYCHA projects in this neighborhood, your baseline ACEs score is likely to be four or higher. Starting with the worst kind of child abuse, this neighborhood has the highest child victimization rate in the city and the largest number of child abuse investigations, according
to the Administration for Children’s Services. That’s one point. Moving on to household dysfunction, the city health department reports that this neighborhood has the second-highest number of alcohol-related hospitalizations and the fifth-highest number of drug-related hospitalizations. That’s another point. NYPD reports show that the NYCHA projects in the 40th Police Precinct had the highest number of domestic violence incidents in the city last year. That’s three points. And according to NYCHA, 60 percent of the families in these projects are led by a single parent. And that’s four points. Finally, there’s neighborhood violence. The 40th Police Precinct has the highest violent crime rate in New York City. As last year’s New York Times yearlong series, “Murder in the 4-0,” reported, most of that crime is centered in these housing projects. This brings the basic ACEs score of someone born and raised in one of these NYCHA projects to five. And that wasn’t even a particularly deep dive into the data. Knowing that these NYCHA residents have a five or higher ACEs score, the larger community problems in the South Bronx make a lot of sense. Clearly, it’s not simply the generations of the most-concentrated poverty in the nation. The first evidence of communitywide developmental delays that are a direct consequence of living in these projects can be found in Bronx Community School District Number Seven. It is the lowest-performing school district in New York City, with 82 percent of the students testing below or well below grade level. No matter how much training teachers receive in this district, by the time a child in the projects first gets to them in universal pre-kindergarten, he/she has been subjected to major physical-chemical-psychosocial traumas that have limited brain development. Another obvious communitywide symptom of these traumas is health. According to the national County Health Rankings and Roadmaps, the Bronx is the unhealthiest county in New York State, and this neighborhood is the unhealthiest neighborhood in the Bronx. Then again, there is the violent crime. This
truly is a vicious cycle: Exposure to domestic violence and neighborhood violence as children creates a scenario where involvement in crime is likely as an adult. This was never the plan for NYCHA. These projects were built in the mid-1940s through 1960s to replace the most dilapidated housing in the poorest section of the city. There are definitely success stories within NYCHA, some of them in Queens, where the housing projects are surrounded by thriving urban environments like the Astoria Houses or the James A. Bland Houses in Flushing. But these are few and far between. NYCHA was supposed to be a solution to slow down one of the fastest-growing rates of poverty and crime in New York City, discovered by social workers in the mayor’s office, in the middle of the last century. Now it has become one of the most persistent sources for intergenerational poverty and violent crime in the United States. And while the victims of this failed 70-year-old social-engineering experiment in the Bronx are two and a half times the number of inmates on Rikers Island, there is no movement afoot to end this ignominy, as there is to shut down Rikers. But there is a solution. It’s been there from the very beginning. Robert Moses said that it would be a mistake to dedicate public housing exclusively to the poor. And he was right. The solution to this crisis is to use those billions of dollars in city and state taxpayer money to bulldoze most of the NYCHA projects and replace them with mixed-income affordable housing that would be financially self-sustainable. This new housing would be built and managed by private developers—because among the many lessons to be learned from the failures of NYCHA, principal among them is that government bureaucrats have no capacity to do this job. More importantly, this would be a big step towards breaking up some of the huge blocks of concentrated childhood poverty around the city that are strangling the regional economy. Eddie Borges is a veteran journalist and a regular columnist for the Queens Tribune.
The Queens Tribune, Thursday, September 13, 2018
The Mansion at
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Last Week’s Answers
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The Queens Tribune family will always remember September 11, 2001, as the day the borough of Queens and this city lost loved ones, family, friends and the heroes that are our first responders. We will never forget. Please consider a donation to the Tunnel 2 Towers Foundation or a charity of your choice, supporting families of first responders who gave their lives for this city, and the first responders and veterans who continue to do so every day.
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Visit tunnel2towers.org to donate. Sincerely, The Queens Tribune Family