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Neighbor to Neighbor: Boro economy needs boost from residents

If someone is inclined to be a worrier, there certainly are enough matters nowadays to help turn hair gray at an early age, and that is true of any page in history. Imagine being among the first to try to sail around the world — talk about seasick! I could almost work up a good case just thinking about that very first voyage, especially since the common belief was that some place along the trip the ship would drop off the edge of the world if it didn’t get destroyed and sink first.

Settlers often had to overcome obstacles such as climate adjustment, territorial disputes, and human and animal hostility. The toll in lives has been high; unfortunately, learning the hard way often is the price of being a pioneer. My mother was a worrier and that has been part of my inheritance.

As a child I worried about the possibility of stepping into quicksand. The thought, even now, sends shivers up my spine. It was the residue of an early movie. A man had been running through an overgrown area, stepped into a quicksand pit and found that the harder he fought to get out, the deeper he would sink. His tortured face sank slowly, and then his outstretched arm and hand also disappeared.

I had barely chased that thought from the top of my worry list when someone on the radio predicted that the sun was soon to dry up all the water on earth. How’s that for a catastrophe?

A bit more grist for my private little worry mill was when we went to the planetarium and I saw those huge chunks of meteors on display. Wars, of course, have added to that apprehension, as did the building of the airports, particularly Idlewild, now called John F. Kennedy International Airport.

When the first rapid succession of planes started flying low over our area, if I was in bed, I would pull the covers over my head and stay that way until the sound of the engines drifted off, leaving only the still of the night. I have fought the expansion of construction into the wetlands. There is, however, more than my personal feelings to consider.

In mid-September, Councilman James Sanders, Jr. and members of the Port Authority held a joint meeting at the Sheraton Hotel to discuss immediate concerns facing the airline and tourist industries as a result of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks.

A lot of work has gone into making JFK more accessible. We watched a trial run of the AirTrain and had the opportunity to board one of the sleek cars, which are designed to travel with potential air passengers seated comfortably next to special storage nests for their luggage. Screening of airline passengers and airline personnel is so complex in our civil-rights conscious society, however, that many people are worried about flying and air travel has fallen off drastically. The domino effect on employment and tourism has impacted hard.

Those in attendance were asked to pass the word that it might be helpful if as many people as possible would write to friends and relatives in other states or countries, asking them to visit New York to experience some of the wonderful events that go on here all the time. Know, too, that this writing campaign (or any other writing campaign that you may be able to invent — writing to veterans, for instance) would help the U.S. Postal Authority, which still is suffering from the anthrax crimes, and competition from computers, e-mail, etc.

Queens and the rest of New York has a lot to offer; our ethnic neighborhoods make us like a miniature world of our own. Food of superior quality can be found, made with recipes from almost every country in the world. We have world-class sporting events and a kaleidoscope of entertainment, with more waiting in the wings.

Queens offers wonderful beaches, woodlands and areas of tranquility, all within easy reach of a bustling metropolis, businesses and events. Those of us who live locally should support events that will bolster the economy.

If you have any thoughts about helping, please drop a note to Sanders, 220-07 Merrick Blvd. Laurelton, N.Y. 11413. Positive actions alleviate worry, at least a bit.

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