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Editorial: Remember the Snail Darter

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For more than two decades obstructionists from the lunatic leftist fringe succeeded in blocking the extension of the West Side Highway into Lower Manhattan. A handful of activists claimed that to build the highway the city would have to tear down rotting piers whose posts had become home to an endangered species of minnow called the Snail Darter.

Hundreds of millions of dollars in federal highway funds were lost because the city could not get past the legal challenge raised by ecologists run amuck. Only today are we finally starting to see the potential of this amazing Manhattan waterfront.

Sadly, a handful of Queens politicians is attempting to use the same wacky logic to throw a monkey wrench into the city’s plan to host the Summer Olympics in 2012. In particular, they are claiming that plans to merge the two lakes in Flushing Meadows Corona Park will threaten valuable wetlands and disturb the ecology of Flushing Meadows.

Corey Bearak, Pat Dolan and other members of the Queens Civic Congress are leading the obstructionist charge. It appears they have confused Flushing Meadows with Udalls Cove and other nature preserves. We suspect that they would have used the same faulty logic to block the two great World’s Fairs held in Flushing Meadows. After all, these expositions must have damaged the park's ecosystem.

Flushing Meadows is not a nature preserve. People don’t come here to commune with nature. There are other places in Queens to do that. They come here to play soccer and softball. They come here to picnic or to watch the Mets play at Shea Stadium or to watch the world’s greatest tennis players at the US Open.

Combining the two lakes will make them more viable for canoeing, rowing and other recreational uses. There is no species of wildlife that cannot find a home in the wetlands in some other part of Queens.

Look for the Luddites to come out of the walls to stop the city’s Olympic bid. Hopefully, the people of Queens will stand behind the mayor and the NYC2012 team. Tell the Civic Congress that we want the Olympics here. The games would create thousands of jobs, bring billions of dollars to the city’s economy and result in improvements to Queens that will benefit all residents. The Snail Darters be damned.

Editorial: Big shoes, indeed

They came to the Roy Wilkins Family Center last week to formally say goodbye to Solomon Goodrich, the retiring director of the Southern Queens Park Association, but they also had a warm welcome for his replacement, William Nelson.

Mr. Nelson has some very big shoes to fill.

If it were not for the vision, courage and tenacity of Solomon Goodrich, there would be no Park Association, no Roy Wilkins Park, no Family Center. Without Goodrich, southeast Queens would have been deprived of one of the most dynamic and well-used community centers in the entire city.

Since we began covering this part of Queens, it has been abundantly clear that Roy Wilkins Park and its Family Center are the heart and soul of this community. In the mid-1970s, the U.S. Navy offered 54 acres of rat-infested land to the city. When the city rejected the offer, Goodrich formed the Park Association and offered to maintain the property as a public park. The rest is history.

Goodrich leaves some work undone, in particular, the African American Hall of Fame, which is in the early stage of development. But Goodrich can take great pride in all that he has accomplished. Mr. Nelson stands on a very strong foundation.

Posted 7:07 pm, October 10, 2011
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