75 percenters

Dear Editor,
The announcement by Governor Andrew Cuomo that restaurants in New York City will be allowed to expand indoor dining capacity to 75 percent is the best news that could possibly be given to the thousands of restaurant owners throughout the city.
This will mean that more employees who were laid off when the pandemic forced restaurants to close can now be rehired, which will be another positive sign that the restaurant industry is starting to rebound.
Restaurants are so vital to the city’s economy. This increase was long overdue.
Sincerely,
John Amato
Fresh Meadows

Policy vs. lies

Dear Editor,
Both parties are putting forward wish lists for our country. The Democratic wish list? Infrastructure, healthcare, a living wage, green energy, fair taxes, police reform, childcare, voting rights, affordable housing, and social justice.
The GOP wish list? Matches to set fire to the Democrats list.
But what else is to be expected from a party that sat on its hands instead of applauding when President Biden called for the wealthiest 1 percent of Americans to pay their fair share?
Republicans aren’t interested in promoting policies, they’re interested in promoting lies, like resident Donald Trump won the election, Joe Biden’s climate proposals would limit people to one burger per month, and that all migrant children were given a copy of Kamala Harris’s book, when one copy was donated to a shelter for immigrant children in California.
Sincerely,
Robert LaRosa
Whitestone

Why endorse one when you can back two?

A few weeks back, we wrote that endorsements would be hot commodities this election cycle with so many candidates running in local and citywide races.
After all, there would only be so many major endorsements to go around – such as those from labor unions and prominent elected officials and community leaders – before candidates would have to start scraping the bottom of the barrel (no offense intended!) to prove they have a broad base of support and deserve your vote.
But we forgot about ranked-choice voting, which this year will allow voters to list their top five favorite candidates in order of preference
That means if you are a candidate, just because you weren’t the first choice of say the UFT or PBA, doesn’t mean you can’t court one of those unions to state that if they had to pick a second candidate to back, it would be you.
We wondered how many candidates would swallow their pride and go after those type of endorsements, but as it turns out, the endorsers themselves are ahead of the game.
Two elected officials from northeast Queens recently decided to endorse not one, but two candidates in two different City Council races.
Assemblyman Ron Kim announced that he would be co-endorsing both Ellen Young and John Choe in the Democratic Primary for the City Council seat being vacated by Councilman Peter Koo at the end of the year.
In a statement announcing the “first-of-its-kind” endorsement, Kim said he believed both would be “worthy elected leaders for the community.”
Of course, Young was eager to publicize that Kim had endorsed her, so she sent out her own press release touting his support. Naturally, there was no mention of the fact that Kim also endorsed one of her opponents in the race.
About a week later, State Senator John Liu announced he was endorsing two candidates in the Democratic Primary to replace Councilman Barry Grodenchik. But unlike Kim who co-endorsed two candidates, Liu actually stated his preference.
He announced that Linda Lee was his first-choice candidate, followed by Jaslin Kaur at number two. Liu said Lee would “be a most thoughtful and effective member of the City Council,” but also said Kaur would “lead District 23 towards guaranteeing dignity for all.”
We’re so confused!
Lee also sent out a press release announcing the endorsement, which makes sense because she was the top choice. But Kaur seems perfectly content to be a close second in Liu’s eyes. She posted news of the endorsement on her website and social media channels, making it very clear that she was indeed Liu’s second choice.
We guess not only does ranked-choice voting mean that candidates can still get the support of a group or person who has already endorsed their opponent, but it also gives an out to the endorsers who don’t have to choose between two people they already have close relationships with.

Do I need to get rid of my asbestos?

Q. I am getting ready to sell my house, and I think I have asbestos in my basement. Am I required to remove it before selling?
A. You are not required to remove asbestos. However, at the time of negotiation, it may come up as an issue. You have a few choices.
First, you can wrap the asbestos, which is a less expensive way to mitigate the problem. Because you are not cutting into the asbestos, it is easier and less intrusive if you are living in the house.
A second solution is to have the asbestos removed, which is a bit costlier depending on the amount that you have.
The third choice is to just leave it alone, let the purchaser deal with it, and cover it in the price. If it is a very small amount of asbestos, I recommend removing it. In this way, it will not become an issue.
Q. I currently have oil heat in my house. My boiler is quite old, and my plumber says it might be time to buy a new one since it’s been giving me trouble. Is it a good idea to convert from oil to gas or does it matter if I sell the house?
A. It is easier to change from one oil boiler to another. However, it may make more sense to take this opportunity and convert to gas heat. Most buyers prefer gas heat in my experience.
Also, if you check with your local gas provider, they may offer credits or assistance in converting over to gas heat to make it even more cost-effective.
Bear in mind that if you do switch to gas heat, you will have to either dispose of your oil tank or have it filled with sand to protect the environment. This has to be done by someone who can give you a certification that it was properly handled.

Send your real estate questions to [email protected]

Young Adults From Foster Care Need Relief

The year 2020 was one like no other, especially for young people who are a part of the child welfare system.
For many, being in quarantine was a time to pick up new hobbies, finish the series they’d always planned to watch, and spend more time with family or friends on the internet.
But, for me, it was a time when I aged out of the foster care system.
I turned 21 on March 26, 2020, ten days after California’s original stay-at-home order.
During those first two weeks, I was asked to leave the home I was renting due to the pandemic. I was told there would be a private and safer location as long as I paid three months’ rent up front, an unexpected cost that would challenge anyone.
As I scrambled to get together the money to move into new housing, I tried to get excited about this “fresh start.” At the same time, I was told I needed to meet with a social worker to successfully exit extended foster care.
At first, I thought nothing of it. I was more concerned with how I was going to get a new bed and fix up a place to live during a pandemic when many stores were closed.
After many dysfunctional trips to Walmart to furnish my new studio apartment, buy food and get other basics, I realized my savings were quickly being depleted with no future source of income.
At the time, no one was sure what the quarantine would entail or how long it would last. I wasn’t officially laid off from a job so I couldn’t collect unemployment; I was just in between.
And that where I’ve been ever since, in between. I’m 21 and on my own to navigate a very complicated and often unfriendly system that does not include young people like me.
Any plan I may have had for my future outside of the foster care system was immediately put on hold due to COVID-19. I had no social worker, no roommates, no guidance, and no idea of what was to come.
It was just me alone in my room with Zoom University. Month after month, counting the days, waiting for some kind of sign of when things may get better. Unfortunately, they didn’t.
The two- week quarantine quickly became six months. Eventually, my landlord could no longer afford to rent to me at the lowered “COVID rates,” and I was told to pay up or go.
This is the reality for people all across the country, especially young people and especially current and former foster youth.
Like many, I turned to government resources like unemployment and stimulus funds. Being a 21-year-old student-worker didn’t leave many options.
No family to turn to, friends all quarantined, and the social worker who had so diligently cared for me nowhere to be seen. Isn’t it supposed to be about helping people help themselves?
In late December 2020, Congress passed legislation on COVID relief that made aid available for young people who have been in foster care and desperately need help making a transition into living as an independent, self-sufficient adult.
States now have the opportunity to act. Direct cash payments would allow youth to have some autonomy while maneuvering through this year-long pandemic.

Jasmine Harris is a former foster youth, as well as an author, educator, and advocate.

If You Don’t Op-Ed, Will You Get Enough?

After a half-century, the New York Times will no longer publish an Op-Ed page, or at least not one under that name.
Commentaries on the news written by contributors outside of the newspaper’s regular staff will be called “guest essays” to explain their role without using what opinion editor Kathleen Kingsbury calls “clubby newspaper jargon.”
Today’s readers may not realize that “op-ed” is shorthand for placement “opposite the editorial” page in the layout of unfolded newsprint.
Yet while some of its format is specific to what one book title called “The Vanishing Newspaper” as early as 2004, the op-ed’s essentials deserve better than to silently crumble like the yellowing journalism of last week’s newspaper.
The format might seem to exemplify what Noam Chomsky calls mainstream media’s efforts “to strictly limit the spectrum of acceptable opinion, but allow very lively debate within that spectrum – even encourage the more critical and dissident views.”
Chomsky’s own views were among the most critical and dissident solicited by the Times, an offer he declined because his academic background made “it enormously more difficult to write 700 words than 7,000.”
Yet a tight argument made with a few hundred well-chosen words can lead general readers to more in-depth takes, and the range of disagreement that can be squeezed into them is broad indeed.
Nearly a century ago, the immense newspaper chain of William Randolph Hearst gave Bertrand Russell the space to recommend the individualism of anarchist philosopher William Godwin as an antidote to “docility, suggestibility, herd-instinct and conventionality” and the notion “that social conformity is the beginning and end of virtue.”
Kingsbury insists that the ability of the public to have its perspectives heard directly via websites like Facebook and Substack “is to be welcomed” rather than feared, but wonders whether “ideas can linger a while” in a cyberspace even more fixated on immediacy than the daily or weekly news cycles of print.
The unfiltered energy of such formats, and of older ones like blogs and zines, can be focused rather than squelched by the sharpness and clarity pioneered by the humble op-ed.

New Yorker Joel Schlosberg is a contributing editor at The William Lloyd Garrison Center for Libertarian Advocacy Journalism.

We’ll raise a glass to that!

In a sign that things are starting to return to normal, drink lovers were finally able to return to their favorite haunts on Monday as the ban on bar seating was lifted.
Thirsty patrons packed the city’s watering holes, the first time they were able to knock back a drink bellied up to their favorite bar in over a year.
When announcing the return of bar seating last week, Governor Andrew Cuomo also said the curfew on food and beverage establishment would be lifted by May 31, with most capacity limits ending on May 19.
Patrons are still asked to follow social distance guidelines, but it’s a start.
And Mayor Bill de Blasio announced on Monday that the city would fully reopen on July 1, just eight weeks from now. He said the city is making incredible progress in beating back COVID-19.
Many city residents continue to get vaccinated, and New York reached its lowest COVID rates since October over the weekend, with just 1.5 percent of residents testing positive for coronavirus.
This should be great news for the struggling restaurant and hospitality industry. But after a year of on-again, off-again closures, restarts, curfews and capacity limits, it’s going to be a long time before these struggling business owners fully recover.
In the meantime, there is more than $28 billion in pandemic relief grants now available through the Small Business Administration’s Restaurant Revitalization Fund. Online application opened Monday at noon. Restaurant owners can apply at restaurants.sba.gov.
The program will provide funding equal to pandemic-related revenue losses. The maximum grant size is $5 million for restaurants and $10 million for restaurant groups. The minimum amount is $1,000.
Recipients are not required to repay the money as long as funds are used by March 11, 2023.
Between the city reopening and these federal grants, hopefully the hospitality industry can get back on its feet and put the 300,000 New Yorkers employed in these businesses before the start of the pandemic back to work.

Rob MacKay, Author

“Historic Houses of Queens” by Rob MacKay is an in-depth history of notable Queens homes that examines their architecture, interior design, surrounding neighborhoods, peculiarities, and personalities.
His interest in writing this book grew after he became a trustee of the Queens Historical Society in 2018.
“The 20th century brought even more construction and inhabitants, including many African-Americans, Eastern European Jews, Italians, Asians, and Latinos,” said MacKay. “Phenomena from this period include Beaux Arts architecture, government-run housing projects, restrictive covenants, sidewalk driveways, and McMansions.”
MacKay visited Addisleigh Park, where many prominent African Americans lived, such as Jackie Robinson, James Brown, WEB Dubois, civil rights leader Percy Ellis Sutton, as well as many famous jazz musicians.
“Queens was very open to African-American homeowners, and the borough has a middle-class African-American history dating back to when Flushing was an end stop on the Underground Railroad,” he said.
McKay collected over 200 images for the book, which explores several landmarked districts and more than 50 significant houses, with the oldest dating back to the mid-1660s.
“The photo on the cover of the book was actually a never-before-seen picture of a house that used to be in the Lent-Riker-Smith Homestead that resides near the oldest house in Queens,” said McKay.
MacKay is also director of Public Relations, Marketing and Tourism for the Queens Economic Development Corporation.
“Because of my job, some of the houses are museums where I was able to talk to the museum directors,” he said. “Most of the images came from the subjects, but Queens Public Library also provided many images.
“I reached out to different people and it’s nice to meet people that love history,” McKay added. “It was nice to see humans helping other humans.”

To purchase “Historic House of Queens” visit arcadiapublishing.com.

104th Precinct Police Blotter (4/19/2021-4/25/2021)

Monday, Apr. 19
Jose Larrosa was arrested at Woodbine Street and Seneca Avenue for criminal possession of stolen property by Detective Wright.
Carlos Zayas was arrested at 1863 Greene Avenue for petit larceny by Officer Petito.
Michael James was arrested at 64-02 Catalpa Avenue for misdemeanor assault by Detective Lodato.

Tuesday, Apr. 20
Agya Salas was arrested at 1636 Putnam Avenue for aggravated unlicensed operator by Detective Wright.
Bianca Riguad was arrested at 62nd Drive and Woodhaven Boulevard for suspended vehicle registration by Officer Rosalez.

Wednesday, Apr. 21
Francisco Acosta was arrested at 64-02 Catalpa Avenue for strangulation by Officer Hopson.
Derrick Delgado was arrested at 64-02 Catalpa Avenue for felony assault by Detective Lodato.
Michael D. Pazmino was arrested at Remsen Pace and Grand AVenue for possession of forged instrument by Officer Sheean.
Angel Sanchez was arrested at Wyckoff Avenue and Palmetto Street for petit larceny by Detective Wright.
Clementina De La Luz was arrested at 61st Street and 60th Lane for criminal possession of stolen property by Officer Bonilla.

Thursday, Apr. 22
William Lopez was arrested at 1643 Norman Street for petit larceny by Detective Wright.
Amanda Coronel was arrested at Grove Street and Forest Avenue for possession of forged instrument by Officer Chowdhury.

Friday, Apr. 23
Emiliano Solis Garcia was arrested at 59th Avenue and 60th Lane for possession of forged instrument by Officer Duran.
Aashley Attmore was arrested at 64-02 Catalpa Avenue for second-degree assault by Officer Alban.
Jose Rivera was arrested at 329 Wyckoff Avenue for petit larceny by Officer Denis.
Angel Estevez was arrested at Woodward Avenue and Troutman Street for aggravated unlicensed operator by Officer Parsell.

Saturday, Apr. 24
Jose Valazquez was arrested at 64-04 Catalpa Avenue for second-degree assault by Detective Golden.
Davon Robins was arrested at 69-41 Grand Avenue for criminal contempt by Officer Lin.
Nicole A. Agostini was arrested at 69-40 64th Street for second-degree assault by Officer Reyes.
Jose R. Valentin-Munoz was arrested at Metropolitan AVenue and 79th Street for driving while intoxicated by Officer Lee.
Nicholas Hernandez was arrested at 66-99 Fresh Pond Road for third-degree assault by Officer McMahon.
Andrew Perez was arrested at 67-05 62nd Street for third-degree assault by Officer McMahon.
Quentin Howard was arrested at 67-05 62nd Street for third-degree assault by Officer McMahon.

Sunday, Apr. 25
Willie Burns was arrested at 565 Woodward Avenue for second-degree assault by Officer Duran.
Juan A. Molina was arrested at Gates Avenue and Grandview Avenue for driving while intoxicated by Officer Moise.
Raul Marquez was arrested at 60-39 68th Road for second-degree assault by Officer Ciancio.
Shady Ibrahim was arrested at Eliot Avenue and 74th Street for aggravated unlicensed operator by Officer Lamm.
Geovanny Patale was arrested at 74-08 Grand Avenue for criminal contempt by Officer Singh.

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