A step toward quieter airplane noise for Queens residents

Queens, N.Y. – The fight to lower airplane noise over Queens neighborhoods took a step in the right direction with the signing of the new omnibus spending bill by President Trump.

Signed on March 23, the legislation holds a clause instructing the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) to analyze new ways of measuring noise from aircrafts in order to reduce it.

The members of Congress’ Quiet Skies Caucus is focused on aircraft noise from LaGuardia and JFK airports. The members include Reps. Grace Meng (D-Flushing), Joe Crowley (D-Queens, Bronx), Tom Suozzi (D-Suffolk, Nassau, Queens), Hakeem Jeffries (D-Brooklyn, Queens), Gregory Meeks (D-Queens, Nassau) and Kathleen Rice (D-Nassau). They secured the measure in the spending bill and announced the provision on Monday.

“The blistering sounds of airplane noise in Queens continues to negatively impact the quality of life of borough residents, and looking at a more accurate measurement of noise effects would go a long way towards creating quieter skies over our communities,” said Grace Meng. “I look forward to seeing what other metrics the FAA proposes.”

The FAA uses day-night average sound level (DNL) to measure airplane noise in decibels. The allowable limit for the noise in residential areas is 65 decibels.

According to the agency, when airplanes are flown between 10 p.m. and 7 a.m., a 10 decibel penalty is added to the noise they create for the DNL calculation.

Many Quiet Skies activists have called for the allowable decibels to be lowered to 55.

California uses a system called Community Noise Equivalence Level rather than DNL. In addition to the DNL’s penalty between 10 p.m. and 7 a.m., the CNEL adds a five-decibel penalty for flight noise between 7 and 10 p.m.

New York Community Aviation Roundtable Co-chairman Warren Schreiber lives in Bay Terrace, where many residents are unhappy with the noise from LaGuardia planes. He says DNL’s metrics is flawed.

“You could have a plane sometime during the day coming in and producing noise of 80 decibels and then you have another one coming in and producing noise of 40 decibels,” he said. “Take the two of those together, divide it by two.” Schreiber noted the calculation would be 60 decibels, just under the FAA threshold, but those who hear the plane that produced 80 decibels are subject to a painfully loud sound.

Howard Beach-Lindenwold Civic Association President Joann Ariola said airplane noise “has never been as bad as it is now.” She added the FAA “is either not registering airplane noise properly or not listening to the results” of DNL measurements.

Susan Carroll, one of Queens Borough President Melinda Katz’ reps on the aviation roundtable, says the omnibus clause is a major victory for the Quiet Skies movement.

Queens lawmakers offer a solution to making schools safer

Bayside, N.Y. – Assemblyman Edward C. Braunstein (D-) and City Councilman Paul Vallone (D-) want Queens public school principals to be able to lock their school’s front doors while school is in session.

Citing the tragic February school shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida of 17 students and staff members, Braunstein and Vallone are calling on the New York City Department of Education (DOE) to lift rules that currently mandate front doors remain open from the outside while classes are in session. Vallone cited a recent incident at P.S. 184Q when a suspicious man reportedly entered the school.

“Currently DOE policy requires that school principals keep the front door of their school unlocked during the day. This allows an individual to enter the building before a determination can be made if they represent a danger or not. This deviates from the practice at many private schools where visitors must ring a bell and announce themselves before being permitted entry,” said Braunstein. “Granting public school principals this same authority to confirm whether or not an individual represents a threat before allowing them into a school could prevent dangerous incidents from taking place. It is a change we must consider.”

“When it comes to our students’ safety, we need to be proactive, not reactive, and principals should have the autonomy to decide when they think it is appropriate to preemptively lock their school entrances,” said Vallone. “Incidents like the one at P.S 184 clearly show that our students are not as safe as we think and changes need to be made to make sure that they can learn and grow in the safest environment possible. This request is just the first step in a series of changes that must be made. This must remain our top priority from here on out as we lead the charge for safety in our schools.”

MTA worker struck and killed

College Point, N.Y. – A 59-year-old MTA employee died tragically Tuesday morning when a bus backed into him at the College Point bus depot, police said.

Law enforcement officials said a 56-year-old male MTA bus driver drove a bus in reverse inside the depot on 28th Avenue between Ulmer Street and College Point Boulevard at about 10:20 a.m. on March 27. The victim had been changing tires on a nearby vehicle. It appears the bus driver did not see the other MTA employee and proceeded to back the bus into the victim, killing him.

EMS rushed to aid the victim, but the worker was pronounced dead at the scene. His identity is being withheld pending family notification.

According to WABC-TV, the bus driver is being questioned about the incident.

Police from the 109th Precinct are investigating the accident, but say no criminality is suspected.




Fountains at Flushing Meadows Corona Park to be Revamped in Fall 2018

Flushing, N.Y. – A $5.2 million reconstruction project beginning Fall 2018 will revamp the fountains and reflecting pool that make up the ‘Fountains of the Fair’ located south of the iconic Flushing Meadows Unisphere.

The revamp will begin with transforming the reflecting pool into a ‘mist garden,’ said Parks Department spokesperson Meghan Lalor. Specialized mist and fog jets will create a cloud mist that will rise between 3 and 5 feet above the surface.

The center fountain will be made into a sunken performance area surrounded by lawn according to the Parks Department. The large fountain will be transformed into a water play area, complete with spray showers. New seating and lights will also be added.

The area will be paved with an art deco pattern to honor the look of the park during the 1939 World’s Fair.

The center and large fountain along with the reflecting pool were constructed for the 1964 World’s Fair. The pools were revamped in 2000 but were damaged during Superstorm Sandy in 2012.

The Parks Department held public ‘visioning sessions’ in 2015 and 2016 to get community input on the reconstruction. The community wanted more water options and expressed a desire to keep the art deco details of the first World’s Fair held at the park in 1939.


Bayside holds first ever St. Patrick’s Day Parade

Bayside, N.Y. – The ‘Wearin’ ‘O the Green’ was strong and steady as the first Saint Patrick’s Day Parade was held today at 10 a.m. down Bell Boulevard.

Enthusiasts marched down Bayside’s ‘main street’ between 36th and 41st Avenues to celebrate Irish heritage and culture. Nearly 20 community groups participated in the parade according to Kieran Mahoney, one of the event organizers. There was no shortage of Irish dance schools and bands. Those that marched include groups from Blessed Sacrament Catholic Academy, Sacred Heart Catholic Academy of Bayside and Holy Cross High School. Mahoney said the parade turnout was larger than expected.

Planning for the inaugural event began last October including raising funds to pull off the event. A dinner dance was held in January at VIVO! Mediterranean Grill & Catering and musical events were run by Monahan & Fitzgerald, a local Irish pub. The celebration was also sponsored by local businesses

The Grand Marshal of the parade was Pat Lynch, President of the Patrolman’s Benevolent Association of the City of New York (NYCPBA).

The parade promises to be an annual event along Bayside’s famed Bell Boulevard.


Update Your Passport, No Appointment Necessary at QCC in Bayside

Bayside, N.Y. – Whether you’re looking to renew your passport or you’re a first-time passport applicant, Queensborough Community College is now offering Passport Processing Services with no appointment necessary. The service is available to students, faculty and staff as well as members of the community.

QCC is the only City University of New York (CUNY) college to offer full-scale passport processing services in its Bursar Office. Applications will be reviewed by certified staff members who will also determine if passport photos meet strict Department of State guidelines. Completed applications will be sent to passport processing centers by Priority Mail. Walk-in passport services are not available at U.S. post offices and other locations, which require an appointment.

“This is a unique resource for the College and the community. This flexibility is so important for families as well as students, and a great convenience during the holidays, the busiest time of year,” said Christine Francavilla, Enrollment Bursar Director.

For more information, visit qcc.cuny.edu.


Long Island City group to donate beauty bags to local moms in need on Mother’s Day

Long Island City, N.Y. – A group founded by two moms in Long Island City has plans to make Mother’s Day special for families currently living in local homeless shelters.

Super Community LIC, started by Julz Donald, began three years ago with the help of Marjorie Phillips, both Long Island City residents. “I teamed up with a mom in Long Island City here because we were like ‘this is an amazing place to live’ and we really love our community and what we wanted to do was to celebrate the community but also facilitate ways to give back,” Donald said. “We knew there were a lot of people here with lots of resources – money and time – to give but not always being able to give because it’s not facilitated for them.”

Phillips left a previous job in the city and partnered with The Floating Hospital, a non-profit organization which provides healthcare services to underserved communities. The caring duo began donating baby items and toiletries to local families. Each month, Donald and Phillips collect needed items and transport them to The Floating Hospital’s headquarters at 41-43 Crescent Street. Staff then donates the items to local homeless shelters.

The group began filling ‘beauty bags’ last year with items and toiletries for Mother’s Day. They wanted to assemble 100 bags but surpassed that goal and ultimately created 450 beauty bags for women in domestic violence shelters.

“It’s awesome,” Phillips said. “I’ve lived here for nearly seven years now and there’s something very special about this community in that everybody bands together when anyone has an issue.”

Children in family shelters are also given beauty bags to give to their mothers as gifts for Mother’s Day.

To collect money for the beauty items, Donald is hosting a number of events this year. A Bingo Night was recently held from which $1,200 was collected. The group gave $1,000 directly to The Floating Hospital and put $200 toward items for the beauty bags.

A Trivia Night at Woodbines Restaurant, 47-10 Vernon Boulevard, LIC, is to be held on March 22 at 8 p.m. to raise money for the bags. The cost to enter is $20. There will be food and drink specials plus prizes for all participants.

Hudson & Bleecker, a local shop that sells makeup and travel bags, will donate bags for the event again this year.

The bags are typically filled with shampoo, conditioner, makeup, jewelry, nail polish and other beauty items. “Well all know what a lipstick can do and how it can make you feel,” Donald said.

Donald will also be collecting donations at 47-20 Center Boulevard, Apt. 416 and Phillips will collect items at 155 Borden Avenue, Apt. 19J.

The beauty bags will be assembled by volunteers on May 6 at The Loft LIC, a restaurant located at 2-03 Borden Avenue in LIC. The restaurant is also hosting Super Community Volunteer Day. Children are welcome to the event.

For more information, visit the group’s Facebook page at http://www.Facebook.com/Supercommunitylic.


Residents Want Flushing Home Demolished

Flushing, N.Y. – Neighbors on 167th Street in Flushing say a home on the block has been neglected for decades. They’re worried about the homeless or teens loitering in the backyard and the safety of the building. State Senator Tony Avella wants the New York City Department of Buildings to declare it unsafe, demolish it and bill the owner. The DOB says a demolition can be done only if the building poses an imminent threat. The owner could not be reached for comment.

By Patti Neda

Curtis Sliwa Arrested

New York, N.Y. – Founder of the Guardian Angels and talk radio host Curtis Sliwa was arrested outside Gracie Mansion Tuesday morning.

NYPD officers arrested Sliwa as he was reportedly trying to hand Mayor Bill de Blasio a lawsuit.

In a YouTube video, Sliwa is standing just outside the gates of the Mayor’s residence and is heard saying “I want to serve the Mayor.” Sliwa has both arms raised and doesn’t move away from entrance gates as instructed by officers. He is then ushered to the side and handcuffed as a vehicle with tinted windows exits the gates.

A tweet by political activist Michael Faulkner states “Curtis Sliwa was just arrested outside Gracie Mansion for serving Bill de Blasio with papers to disqualify him for WFP ballot line #yeswewill.”

According to the New York Daily News, police arrested Sliwa because he refused to move.

By Patti Neda


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