2007-04-20 / Columnists

Simon says...

Commentary From the Desk of Lew M. Simon, Democratic District Leader, 23 rd A.D. Part B

Commentary From the Desk of Lew M. Simon, Democratic District Leader, 23 rd A.D. Part B

Lew M. Simon
Lew M. Simon

Miracle of miracles.

Speaker Christine Quinn attended our Good Government Regular Democratic Club meeting on Thursday, November 30, 2006 where I had requested that the City Council Transportation Committee hold a public hearing in our community. She granted our wish.

Now it is time for all of us to make this hearing and speak out about our lousy transportation or lack of transportation in our community. It will be held on Tuesday April 24 at 6:30 p.m. at the American Legion Hall, 209 Crossbay Boulevard in Broad Channel-North end. All of our complaints will be heard by City Council Speaker Quinn and the City Council Transportation Committee.

All the testimony will be recorded and documented. This is our chance to speak loud and clear and in unity for the reactivation of the Rockaway Beach line of the LIRR, an affordable ferry, Manhattan express buses daily at all hours of the day running to at least 1 a.m. as well as weekends, and for fighting for the Super A train which would bypass the stops after Howard Beach going straight to Hoyt-Schemerhorn.

It's time for the Rockaway, Broad Channel and Breezy Point communities not to be the stepchild of the city anymore. It's time to take our rights back as commuters. Why should we suffer anymore?

The old Rockaway Beach line would get us to Penn Station in 32 minutes. A ferry would get us to Lower Manhattan in about the same time. Express buses should be available all times of the day, not just in early morning or on the way home after 5 p.m. in Manhattan. We deserve alternatives.

Join us on our free buses going from the Good Government Regular Democratic Club at 112-20 Beach Channel Drive at 5:30 p.m. The buses have been graciously donated thanks to Varsity Bus Company. If you are one who cares about transportation, join us. For information call our office at 718-945-1216 or 718-327-1577.

Don't hesitate to join us. United we stand. Divided we fall. Let's show them the Rockaway, Broad Channel and Breezy Point spirit. If we don't come en masse, we will waste our time. A gracious special thanks to City Council Speaker Quinn, Council Member Joseph Addabbo, and Council Member John Liu, Chair of the Transportation Committee

Everybody has been hearing about video slot terminals. This is the new way New York State makes money at the race tracks. Empire City is located in Yonkers.

As a person who enjoys going to the Atlantic City casinos, I finally went to check it out. Talk about the pits. Most machines can take up to 45 to 100 coins, that is 15 lines with five coins per line. Also you can play one or two and win nothing.

I tried out these machines. The computerized system has no handle, only the button to push, When you push it, the wheels go so fast that you can't believe your eyes. I spent a lot of time playing and talking to people around me. Most people lost a lot of money and stated they would rather go to Atlantic City where one coin, three coins or five coins can get you some good money.

Yes I've heard that people have won the progressive pennies or nickels over $10,000 but the two nights I went it was pitiful. I also asked about possibly running trips for organization fundraisers. The only thing they give back is the $10 food coupon. That's all.

Good luck trying to get a glass of water, soda or a drink on the floor. There seems to be one or two waitresses for the whole casino. When I asked some of the staff, how does one get a drink, they called a supervisor over. Even the supervisor couldn't get a waitress. Hospitality is at its worst. No incentive to make you comfortable or want to go back.

Convenient parking is hard to get unless you are unfortunately handicapped or pay $10 for valet parking. At the same time they have some sort of bus system for those willing to wait to be taken to the front door.

The two times I went I left when the doors closed at 2 AM, people went out front to get special buses to get to the parking lot. People jammed like a herd of cattle. It is quite obvious that they need a light rail with a number of trains to get people around to their spots. The nerve of asking $10 to valet park. I should hope that if this ever comes to Aqueduct that they fix all these problems and make the casinos user friendly. It's quite obvious New York State is making a killing since the opening at Yonkers in October and in Monticello a year ago.

We are seeking individuals who would like to volunteer doing computer work or interns who need high school or college credit. Call my office.

Hats off to Queens County DOT Commissioner Maura McCarthy for doing a fantastic job in a timely fashion to fix our streets in the Rockaways. Looking good. God bless you Maura.

We are deeply saddened by the death of a great community activist, Elizabeth (Betsy) Buffolino, mother of Barbara Buffolino and Karen Nevirs. This dynamic team of three took care of the Surfside Tenants Association (SHAFT) that saved residents major dollars. They fought to save the workers and were always there for their fellow neighbors.

Betsy fought diligently to make Surfside continue to be a top place to live in the Rockaways. Betsy was a great mother and grandmother. In addition to her daughters she leaves her grandchildren, Tristan and Shannon. Betsy had a heart of gold, a beautiful smile and loved helping people.

Just a few years ago, the Good government Regular Democratic club honored SHAFT for their fantastic work on behalf of tenants in the Surfside buildings. Betsy was part of a team that worked 24-7 on behalf of tenants.

God must have needed a special angel in heaven to take care of special projects and jobs and make sure that they are done correctly. We know Betsy is a special angel in God's kingdom. We know we will have a guardian angel in this outstanding lady.

There are still tickets for our Atlantic City bus trip on Saturday April 21. The cost is $35 with $25 returned. We leave at 5:30 p.m. and return at 8 a.m. Bagels by Beach Bagels. Call 718-945-1216 for reservations. Our next trip to Trump Marina will be on Saturday May 19.

On Sunday evening the big nor'easter did a lot of damage including my house. Half my power was gone due to a downed wire. Special thanks to LIPA who sent a truck and had the power on in an hour. Keep up the good work.

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