Pols must stand up for Flushing Meadows, not big biz

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What happened to the New Yorkers I have known and loved?

I do not understand what has happened in the “city so nice they named it twice.” When did this change happen? We used to be a city of people that stood up for what was what and made no bones about it. Now in Queens we have our elected representatives — I use the term lightly — selling out the people they swore to represent.

There are three projects undergoing public review, which would sacrifice acreage in Flushing Meadows Corona Park. Yet several elected officials are on board with the developers, in effect speaking for the developers instead of their constituents.

They tell us the theft being perpetrated upon us is what we need and want, that this is a good thing. They speak of “public-private partnershi­ps.” They speak of the wretched conditions of Flushing Meadows, but they do not speak of their incompetence, inability or unwillingness to fund the park. They tell local business owners that these projects are a good deal, but they do not tell the merchants that there will be no increase in business.

Every stadium has its own restaurants that cater to all types of clients, and this one will be no different. These stadiums are built as cities unto themselves, complete with shops, restaurants, fast food joints and vending machines. They do not tell merchants that the added traffic, without added roads and parking, will only force a crackdown on parking, possibly eliminating valued parking in front of their establishments.

Think about it: Northern Boulevard has no parking westbound for the morning rush hour and no parking eastbound for the evening rush. What is going to happen on the other streets when the roads become blocked?

City Councilwoman Julissa Ferreras (D-Jackson Heights) represents the district that will be affected the most. Most of her constituents use the park daily during the summer months. They play soccer and cricket and have picnics, festivals and a myriad of other events. Yet she is leading the charge to take the parkland away.

Barry Grodenchik, deputy borough president and candidate for borough president; Melinda Katz; and Councilmen Leroy Comrie (D-St. Albans) and Jose Peralta (D-East Elmhurst) have remained silent on this issue. They want the borough presidency but remain silent while the borough gets robbed. This is not acceptable.

Back to my initial concern. Are we to stand by and allow our park to be taken from us? Are we to stand by and allow our representatives to represent the businesses instead of us? Has it become OK to accept whatever it is they give us because they do it with a smile and a nod? They feign care and concern when we get upset.

Just because you speak to us in a calm manner in the pretense of being civil does not mean you are being civil. Allowing the thieves to rob from us is not a civil thing.

Enough already. The time is now. We need to call out our representatives and hold them accountable for what they do.

Stand up, New York. This is our park! There is no deal to be made. Our families and children have rights to this park, not the United States Tennis Association, Major League Soccer or the Fred Wilpon and his Sterling Related companies.

Call your representatives and tell them no to the land theft at FMCP.

Alfredo Centola

Malba Gardens Civic Association

Coalition to Save Flushing Meadows Corona Park

Malba Gardens

Posted 12:42 am, March 15, 2013
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Reader feedback

Kenneth Kowald from No Holds Barred. says:
Mr. Centola: When I was growing up in Elmhurst, Queens was considered "The Forgotten Borough." That distinction belongs to Staten Island now.
But, Flushing Meadows Corona Park has always been neglected, throughout the decades. Good things seem to happen only if something bad has happened first.
Keep up the good fight. Parkland is precious. A soccer stadium is not on park land is not.
Kenneth Kowald
March 20, 2013, 4:56 pm
Patrick from Bayside says:
Thank you Mr. Centola for all you do in our communities.
March 24, 2013, 6:45 pm
Carmine says:
March 29, 2013, 3:13 pm

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