An open letter to Governor Andrew Cuomo
by Ed Wendell
Jan 03, 2013 | 1837 views | 2 2 comments | 11 11 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Dear Governor Cuomo,

What great news to start the New Year with. For each of the past few years the residents of New York City have had to sweat out whether or not we could keep our firehouses open. In a neighborhood like ours, with all of the wood framed houses so close to one another, losing a firehouse could be a fatal mistake.

But we are so happy to learn that money has been found to save our firehouse. And that money has been found to keep our libraries open and up to date. And that a little extra cash was found to keep our schools fully staffed and stocked with supplies.

We’re assuming that this money has been found because only after all of these vital services have been secured would we expect you to drop half a million dollars on a feasibility study for building a “public greenway” right next to one that already exists.

The “Brooklyn-Queens Greenway” runs from Woodhaven through Richmond Hill and Kew Gardens all the way up to Queens Boulevard. It’s a beautiful stretch of land, well used by bicyclists and walkers and runners and nature enthusiasts.

The proposed public greenway – or “QueensWay” as it has become known - is very close to the existing one. In fact, they’re not merely close to one another, they intersect.

What an embarrassment of riches – two greenways that cross over one another! It’s a good thing all those other vital services are taken care of.

What’s that you say? They’re not taken care of? We still have to sweat out losing our firehouse this summer? Our kids still have to deal with dwindling hours and staff at our libraries and schools?

Oh dear, that’s certainly a disappointment.

Wait a moment, I have an idea. I’ll do the feasibility study for you, and for a fraction of the price you’re shelling out right now. As a matter of fact, I’ll FOC it for you…as in “free of charge.” Won’t cost the taxpayers a penny and as a result you’ll get a beautiful “public greenway” for next to nothing.

All you have to do is erect a nice new sign on the “Brooklyn-Queens Greenway,” call it the “QueensWay” and we’re good to go.

Now as for the proposed reactivation of the railroad, most of the tracks already exist above ground through Ozone Park so those could probably be reactivated with no bother, provided the residents of Ozone Park don’t object. But squeezing it through Woodhaven will be a problem.

Assemblyman Phil Goldfeder, an avid supporter of the reactivation, has used a pejorative term about the residents of Woodhaven, calling them NIMBYs, as in “not in my back yard.” Not only is it a poor idea to insult those who you wish to convert to your way of thinking, but it’s not entirely accurate.

A proper NIMBY is one who advocates for a certain policy only to object when it is placed in his or her own community. For example, calling for more prisons, but objecting when one is built near your home. Or calling for wind power but objecting to the erection of turbines that obstruct your view of the ocean. Those are true NIMBYs.

As far as we can tell, there’s no call for a railroad by the residents of Woodhaven, thus negating the charge. Besides the fact, it’s undignified for an elected official to resort to name-calling when the residents of Woodhaven are merely exerting their right to defend their community.

I’m sorry, Governor, I got sidetracked, but while I have your ear I’ll give you a feasibility study on the railroad, as well. FOC. Run it past the casino to Atlantic Avenue and hook it up with the Long Island Railroad that’s been running along Atlantic for over a century. Get the casino to pay for it. End of story.

Thanks for your time, hope this advice helps. Now you can put that half a million bucks to good use protecting the people of New York.

Happy New Year from Woodhaven!

Comments-icon Post a Comment
January 12, 2013
The tongue in cheek humor is nice, I like it even though it is meaningless and innaccurate. These are apples and oranges. That $500k was part of a NYS business investment package of over $50 million that was already allocated and going to be spent. No part of it was going to firehouses. Maybe it should, but that argument needed to be had months ago when the initial allocation was decided. Now that a specific allocation has been made its too late to complain. And why shouldn't Queens get some of that money to see if its possible to make this greenway. So what if it intersects with another greenway - that's good isn't? I mean roads are supposed to intersect so you can actually get somewhere, so it actually makes sense to me. And this guy definitely does not live up here. There is not a single piece of track that is still useable up there. First most of the track has been pulled - I don't know if by the city or by scrap metal thieves, buts its gone. And what's left is either rusted, warped or covered in dirt, and there isn't much of that. There are no electrical systems, no signal systems. There are washouts. He's got to be kidding, you'd have to build the thing from scratch. Parking lots are built over it - you might be able to squeeze a bike path down the side of those lots, but you aren't getting trains in there unless you tear up the leases and take those lots back, and I can just imagine the problems that is going to cause. And then where are the trains goin to go?? Tunnel under Rego PArk? And I understand the MTA doesn't even want this line. So what is this guy talking about?? I got kids, parks are a pain in the butt to get to. This is right where I live. i'd love that park if they did it.
Woodhaven resident
January 20, 2013
"most of the track has been pulled" -- False. I've walked the track recently, multiple times. Most of it is still there.

"That $500k was part of a NYS business investment package of over $50 million that was already allocated and going to be spent." -- Yes, but it was not decided *how* it was going to be spent. It could have been allocated in any number of better, more productive ways.

"And I understand the MTA doesn't even want this line. So what is this guy talking about??" -- He doesn't want a rail line either. He and the people of Woodhaven want the city to clean it up and otherwise leave it alone: Do some homework before putting words in his mouth.