What’s the delay?

Dear Editor,
With schools reopening across the country, why is there still no vaccine ready for children ages 5 to 11 years of age? What is the FDA waiting for? It should have been working on this for the last several months.
Our children need to be protected in the classrooms, and time is of the essence. It has been reported that the FDA may have an approved vaccine later this year, why not within the next couple of weeks?
Put the medical pedal to the metal and get this vaccine approved for these kids.
John Amato
Fresh Meadows

Parade tirade

Dear Editor,
Last year, it was necessary to cancel many outdoor events due to the pandemic. But this year, even with three effective vaccines, parades are being cancelled again by our clueless mayor.
If the annual New York State Fair can go on, baseball stadiums are allowed full capacity with vaccinated fans, and the U.S. Open is taking place with spectators in the stands, why can’t the traditional parades be allowed to take place this year?
Does this mean no Labor Day, Columbus Day, Veterans Day or Thanksgiving Day parades will take place, as well as the annual Rockefeller Christmas tree lighting?
Mayor Bill de Blasio wanted to hold a concert in Central Park for 60,000 people. which due to heavy rain had to be cancelled. This year, Radio City Music Hall will be holding the annual Christmas Spectacular.
Will Times Square again be closed to the public on New Year’s Eve?
We have the power to stop this pandemic if everyone that can get vaccinated will get vaccinated.
John Amato
Fresh Meadows

Let them attend

Dear Editor,
The decision to not invite all first responders and other emergency workers to this year’s 20th Anniversary of the September 11th terror attacks is inexplicable.
Many of these people were there when the attacks occurred and they have been coming to the ceremony every single year, except in 2020 due to the pandemic. It is a veiled insult to every single first responder in our city.
All of our first responders should be allowed to attend this year’s ceremony.
John Amato
Fresh Meadows


Dear Editor,
The Mets were chugging along, but have since dropped out of first place in the NL East.
They are a good team, but it seems that every season after the All-Star break they begin to flounder. Guys, get your act together, you have tons of fans who root for you.
I have been a fan since I was ten years old. Let’s go Mets, you can do it!
John Amato
Fresh Meadows

Investigate Cuomo

Dear Editor,
It is beyond any sense of decency, logic or comprehension as to why the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) will not investigate whether the civil rights of residents in New York nursing homes were violated by Governor Andrew Cuomo’s controversial policies related to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Cuomo continues to evade responsibility for causing this tragedy, which resulted in the deaths of more than 15,000 people.
The 15,000 families who lost loved ones should file a lawsuit in federal court to demand DOJ investigate. And Cuomo should immediately step down as governor because his political credibility is gone.
John Amato
Fresh Meadows

Get vaccinated

Dear Editor,
Even though millions of Americans have been vaccinated against COVID-19, the virus still continues to mutate.
How can it be possible with all of the medical and scientific knowledge that the world is still in the throes of a pandemic for over 19 months? We can’t keep opening and closing, unmasking and masking.
The Delta variant is rapidly spreading across the country, particularly in those states with low vaccination rates.
We have three effective vaccines against COVID-19. For the sake of your fellow Americans, please get vaccinated as soon as possible. Do it for yourselves, your families, friends, and neighbors so that we can live our lives normally.
John Amato
Fresh Meadows

Another shooting

Dear Editor,
The latest mass shooting outside a Florida banquet hall killed two people and injured another 20. When will Congress come to a viable agreement to stem the continued gun violence across the country?
Much stricter gun laws must be passed and enforced at the local, state and federal levels.
Law enforcement and police departments across the country are doing their very best to stop these shootings, but until there is more support from government, there is only so much the police and other law enforcement agencies are able to do.
No civilian needs to possess military-grade weapons. Gun shops around the country need to tighten the requirements for someone purchasing a weapon. Mentally ill people should never be allowed to purchase a weapon.
Our country is being turned into a shooting gallery.
John Amato
Fresh Meadows

Wrong address

Dear Editor,
Assemblywoman Stacey Pheffer Amato’s recent letter to Department of Transportation Secretary Peter Buttigieg on behalf of restoring Long Island Rail Road service on the old Rockaway Beach branch was addressed to the wrong person.
She should have sent her letter to Mayor Bill de Blasio, Governor Andrew Cuomo, MTA Chairman Pat Foye, and senators Charles Schumer and Kirsten Gillibrand.
None of them to date have expressed any serious interest in support of this $8 billion project. They all have other higher priorities.
You also need a transportation agency to serve as the project sponsor, which is necessary to apply for federal funding. Both the MTA and DOT have indicated no interest in sponsoring or pursuing funding from City Hall, Albany or Washington.
Either agency would have to ask the Federal Transit Administration for permission to enter the project into the New Starts/Core Capacity national discretionary grant program.
No one has offered millions to pay for the next step, which is a formal Environmental Review. Without this, the project will continue to be dead and buried.
The environmental review process would also have to follow the National Environmental Protection Act. This would be part of the formal process to become eligible for Federal Transit Administration funding.
Larry Penner
Great Neck

Amato, Chain to be honored at Forest Hills Memorial Day ceremony

ER director recalls first wave of COVID cases

On Sunday, May 30, Teresa Amato will be honored at the Forest Hills Memorial Day Ceremony in Remsen Park.
Selected as one of this year’s grand marshals for her service to the community during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic, she is the director of the Forest Hills Emergency Room Department and a proud mother of six.
In March of last year, Forest Hills was hit with the first wave of coronavirus cases. While other hospitals in Northwell Health’s network saw a decrease in patients at the onset of the pandemic, for Long Island Jewish in Forest Hills it was the exact opposite.
Typically, the emergency room treats about 100 patients per day, but in March the hospital was taking on nearly 250 patients each and every day. Nearly all of them needed to be treated for coronavirus.
“At the height of it, 95 percent of the patients in the hospital had COVID,” Amato said. “The only sound you could hear in the department was the hissing of the oxygen.”
As patients showed up, Amato said the hospital had to quickly pivot to load balancing as it reached its capacity. Because there were no open beds for patients at Long Island Jewish, they were sent to other nearby hospitals in Northwell’s network.
Amato remembers the “cavalry” of ambulances that helped transfer patients, idling outside the hospital in a line that was so long it wrapped around the entire block.
“You have to have three things to take care of patients,” she said. “You need the space, the staff, and the equipment. We just ran out of space.”
For the first few weeks the entire hospital was running on adrenaline, according to Amato. However, she started to notice signs of fatigue among the staff as time went on.
“Everybody was laser-focused in the beginning,” Amato said. “But as the bombs keep coming and you don’t get sleep and you start to understand the danger, that constant adrenaline paralyzes you.”
The most important thing for her as a leader was to be adaptable, according to Amato. Her office became a changing room for healthcare workers overnight.
Personal protective equipment, like masks and face shields, were stacked up high in boxes along the walls.
The space also served as a place for healthcare workers to decompress during their long shifts and a charging hub for iPads that enabled patients to connect with their loved ones.
Amato recalls an elderly patient who just wanted to see the garden in her backyard one more time before she died.
“Those conversations were really tough and a lot to witness repeatedly,” said Amato. “You really were the eyes and ears to their family, and it felt like you were witnessing a sacred moment.”
When morale was low at the hospital, Amato said she could always turn to the community for support. She is grateful for the validation that the banging of pots and pans from nearby housing gave her nurses, and remembers being in her office the first time she heard people cheering.
“I was so used to everything being wrong, so I ran out of my office and people were screaming thank you and clapping,” Amato said. “It was a real boost.”
Amato worked around the clock until the situation was under control. After six straight weeks of working at the hospital without leaving, she decided to go home and visit her family for the first time since the pandemic began.
The first wave had already peaked at that time, but many including herself were just beginning to wrap their head around the situation.
“I went for a walk with my kids, and I ran into some women that I’m friends with that also live in my part of Queens,” Amato recalled. “They said they’ve seen stuff in the news about COVID, so they asked me how it really was. I didn’t even know what to say or how to explain, it’s like sharing a war story.”

Chain to serve as Grand Marshal
Heidi Harrison Chain will be honored this Sunday, May 30, at Remsen Park during this year’s Forest Hills Memorial Day Celebration.
Serving as the president of the 112th Precinct Community Council for over a decade, she is a lifelong resident of Queens. She will serve as one of the event’s grand marshals.
“As a daughter of a WWII veteran, to be honored in this capacity is a momentous moment that I’ll remember for the rest of my life,” she said. “I’ve participated in this parade for years upon years, so it’s really nice. I can imagine my father will be smiling down on me.”
Chain grew up in Rego Park but now lives in Forest Hills. She serves as a liaison between the local police force and the community.
Her focus is on outreach and providing essential information to residents of the precinct, from run-of-the-mill matters like changes to speed limits to more pressing issues like details on crime suspects.
Chain believes it’s essential to engage Forest Hills through whatever means possible, even if that’s digitally.
“The precinct council has a particularly important relationship to the people because its function is to be an intermediary,” she said. “In order for that to happen people have to be able to easily get a hold of you.”
During the pandemic, that’s exactly what happened. The council shifted gears quickly to address food insecurity because a lot of people were afraid to go outside and get groceries.
“In extreme emergencies cops actually went out and brought food to people’s homes,” Chain said.
Chain believes the annual Memorial Day celebration, which pre-pandemic included a parade down Metropolitan Avenue, is sacred to the spirit of the country and Forest Hills community.
“What we have to do as a society is honor those that died in service of our country so that everybody else can live in freedom,” she said. “We need to understand and honor the people who gave their lives.”

Catholic education

Dear Editor,
More than ever, Catholic schools play an important role in educating our children. Holy Family Catholic Academy in Fresh Meadows exemplifies the teaching of faith formation and religious values, as well as basic academic subjects each and every day.
With a dedicated and hardworking principal, staff and faculty, along with a wonderful home school association, board of directors, and dedicated pastor, the school is indeed a foundation in our neighborhood.
There are plenty of available seats. Registration for September 2021 is ongoing, and you can contact the school at (718) 969-2124 for further information.
John Amato
Fresh Meadows

Fill the Form for Events, Advertisement or Business Listing