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Neighbor to Neighbor: Why should Manhattan always grab center stage?

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Without massive construction of additional buildings to entice corporations to move here, New York City will die.

So said Sen. Charles Schumer earlier this month on WCBS Radio’s “Let’s Find Out.” Schumer said he has set up a 35-member group studying where such areas should be developed not by private interests, as has been done in the past, but with government — taxpayer — money. He and his group have decided that one area worthy of such development, which would incorporate park-like settings, would be on the west side of Manhattan. A second such development would be in his home borough, Brooklyn.

The third new attraction would be in Long Island City. These proposed improved areas would cost millions of dollars a year for many years to come, as one might expect. These areas were chosen because, he said, because they have excellent transportation and are close to Manhattan's important activities, much more so than building near the city’s borders.

If such a plan is accepted, and our taxpayer dollars are used for it, will someone then propose to give us here in Queens our equal share of the spent funds to help enhance our smaller community business areas and make us part of a huge recreational circle surrounding and accessible to the areas now deemed so vital to our city’s longevity? We’re not chopped liver. We want something for our bucks just like anyone else and that, all too often, is not what happens, in spite of the fact that we have the best of any of the borough presidents, in my opinion.

With all this in mind, and in light of the of the gorgeously groomed and planted Manhattan parks, I am among the many who hope the “outer borough” parks will soon be upgraded, as will every park in need in the city. Congress and our former president have made it possible, and in fact, have encouraged, floods of people coming to our area without first providing means for housing, schools, sanitary facilities, language training, or acquainting them with laws they should know, or familiarizing them with customs that are important to U.S. citizens including respect for our country and our flag.

Congress seems to be closing eyes and ears to the vox populi saying this situation is unfair to all concerned - except, maybe, the politicians who are garnering the votes they have sought without regard to the people or, more importantly, the country. We were taught in school that ours is “a country of laws.” Surely, our legislators must have learned this, because in speeches many of them mouth those same words.

We’ve learned a lot of things the hard way over the years. We still vent to be fair to those running for and elected to political office, but we in southeast Queens want our elected officials to keep us properly and promptly informed about something that will impact on our communities. When we hear from prospective office holders, we want to know, honestly, where they will stand. How would they propose to improve education? Will they support law enforcement, including a well-deserved raise for police.

Will they commit upgrading ALL, not just Manhattan, parks? Will they listen to us?

If they want our vote, they had better.

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