Start of summer highlights toll inequality
May 26, 2015 | 399 views | 0 0 comments | 7 7 recommendations | email to a friend | print
The start of the summer only further highlights the absurdity of the city’s transit and toll plan. To access outer borough beaches, you either need to be willing to fork over some serious toll money or be willing to sit on public transportation for an extremely long time. The beaches, a prime destination for a summer afternoon are so inaccessible that Mayor Bill de Blasio takes a police boat to reach them for press conferences. The city needs to do something quickly and there are so many obvious plans sitting right in front of them. The only problem is that they’re not willing to spend their money while we’re repeatedly asked to spend ours. It seems almost surreal that drivers are asked to forfeit over $3 to enter Rockaway by way of Howard Beach and Broad Channel. You are traveling within Queens, never setting tire in another borough. Thinking about taking the train? Half of the peninsula is nearly inaccessible, thanks to infrequent A service and a forced transfer to a shuttle. If the city wants to get serious about promoting the untapped treasure that is their beaches for tourism's sake, A service to 116th Street in Rockaway needs to be full time. There’s also a defunct rail station just sitting there in disrepair, begging to be utilized. Getting out to Coney Island or Brighton Beach is significantly easier. One could travel out to Coney Island from anywhere in Manhattan or Queens without paying a single toll, by bridge shopping and using free East River crossings. Does that seem 100 percent fair, as they’re both free, public beaches? Or is Queens getting the short end of the surfboard? This is the perfect opportunity for the city to look at all the potential tourism revenue that can be generated from miles of sparkling sand and beautiful blue water.
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One on One with Actor Emil Beheshti
by Michael Perlman
May 26, 2015 | 73 views | 0 0 comments | 1 1 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Actor Emil Beheshti, now a resident of Manhattan Beach, California, has achieved success since his days at Russell Sage Junior High School and Forest Hills High School. He pursues his passion on television, commercials, and films. Most recently, he appeared in the CBS prime time television show Battle Creek and also landed a recurring role on Love That Girl. In all, he has appeared in over 30 television shows, including Grey’s Anatomy, CSI: Miami, Castle, 24, The King of Queens and Will and Grace. He also enjoyed working on the NBC pilot for Awake, which allowed him to portray a bad guy. He's also made over 40 appearances in commercials, most recently shooting Mercedes and Nike commercials, which are slated to air this summer. His greatest experience with commercials was a campaign for the Commonwealth Bank of Australia, which involved nearly 15 destinations in two years. “It was also extra special since both of my daughters were born at the beginning and end of my working on that campaign.” said Beheshti.”I went to work one day as an expectant father, and twelve hours later, I became a dad.” He has appeared in the films Big Momma’s House 2, Puppy Love, and Prom. In 2017 he was cast in The Magnificent Seven along with Denzel Washington, Vincent D’Onofrio, Chris Pratt, and Ethan Hawke. Every career poses challenges, and despite Beheshti’s success as an actor, landing opportunities can still be a challenge. “I have worked quite a bit, but I am still unknown to many, so I don’t get to read for as many roles as I would like,” he said. “Sometimes it has it has to do with your agents or your resume, but often they cannot envision you as that character.” Born in 1971, Beheshti was raised in a Tudor gem at 170 Puritan Avenue in Forest Hills Gardens. Five doors away lived his neighbor David Caruso, and years later he would shoot a scene with him on CSI: Miami. On Battle Creek, one of the regulars he admires is Liza Lapira, who is also from Forest Hills. “Small world,” said Beheshti. His childhood memories include Children’s Day in Flagpole Park and sledding in Deepdene Park. His visits to the Cinemart and Midway Theatre, as well as production work at Russell Sage Junior High School and Forest Hills High School, helped shape his career. “As a seventh grader at Sage, I worked on the stage crew for Grease, and I was envious of the other kids who got to perform,” he recalls. “For the next two years, I joined the cast of The Pajama Game and Bye Bye Birdie. “Attending Forest Hills High School, we had SING!, a musical production featuring students who compete on a grade basis,, and I loved writing my own scripts and songs,” he added. “There was so much freedom!” This summer, Beheshti is hoping to revisit Forest Hills. “I would like to show my family our old house and visit some neighbors, my schools, my childhood movie theaters, and have lunch at one of my old favorites, A & J Pizza on Austin Street, which was where my mother always took us,” he said. “We may also visit Eddie’s Sweet Shop and the Forest Hills Tennis Stadium.”
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The Governor's 'Conservative' Approach to Edcuation
by Anthony Stasi
May 26, 2015 | 118 views | 0 0 comments | 6 6 recommendations | email to a friend | print
There is much being said about Governor Andrew Cuomo’s education plan. What should be a standout point is how far his policy is from what his father Mario Cuomo would have supported. Andrew Cuomo is no conservative Democrat, despite what the more extreme progressive elements of New York politics may argue. But Cuomo’s latest push to improve education in New York is an echo of an approach that we’ve heard before. You may remember that Anthony Weiner penned an op-ed before resigning from Congress that explained the importance of keeping Catholic and private schools open. Cuomo wants parents earning south of $60,000 a year to qualify for a tax credit that would help them choose a private school if they so desire. This is something for which New York conservatives have been fighting for a long time. It seemed out of reach to get New York State (and City) with all of its hostilities toward tax cuts to come along. Many GOP and Conservative Party candidates made this a cornerstone of their campaigns over the last decade, and I was no different. Cuomo getting behind the idea, however, gives the policy a little more “street cred.” Now there is support on the other side of the aisle. The people who stand to benefit from making private schools more accessible are the parents of children attending troubled schools. Opposing school choice programs and complaining about the overcrowded school system always seemed like a contradiction. If the public schools are crowded and the private schools are struggling to pay the bills, there has to a happy medium - if parents want it. Cuomo wants a scholarship program for poorer students to have more access to private schools. Currently there are not many, if any, scholarships for private high schools, but there used to be. (They were not publicly funded, however.) Desperate times call for more innovation, and maybe the tax credit and scholarship ideas will lift literacy levels. Cuomo also wants to expand the cap on charter schools in New York. Ultimately, this is a great idea, although there are some charter schools that have failed as well. If charter schools can be given the freedom they need to better educate children and still show proven results, there is no reason to not get behind charters, which are an innovative way to save the public school system. The governor’s plan has to include a results-based approach to charters, ensuring some element of checks and balances. Conservatives in New York are not usually victorious electorally, but they are quite influential when it comes to policy development. There is good reason for this: they are right about certain issues and this is one of them. What state Republicans and Conservatives need to do now is make sure this plan gets chance. Memorial Day is About Vets Memorial Day is all about our veterans who have risked their lives, and it is important to remember that even when a long weekend involves backyard events and trips to the beach. Why not give only veterans the day off, while the rest of us go to work? Every recognition for veterans includes us all, but they are rarely honored for their sacrifice only. After all, they don’t take us to war with them. They should have some societal appreciation that is their own. I once wrote that all stadiums that use names like Veterans Memorial or Veterans Stadium or whatever name includes veterans, should give actual veterans deals on whatever events take place. We may want to include our first responders in this at some point as well, given that their work has gotten more dangerous and complex.
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NE Queen Honors Veterans for Memorial Day
May 26, 2015 | 75 views | 0 0 comments | 1 1 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Little Neck-Douglaston & College Point Memorial Day Parades
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The Little Neck-Douglaston Memorial Day Parade - one of the largest in the city - took place along Northern Boulevard on Monday afternoon. This year’s parade paid special tribute to veterans of the Vietnam War. Dr. Loree Sutton, commissioner of the Mayor’s Office of Veterans’ Affairs served as grand marshal, while Mayor Bill de Blasio also marched in the parade. Celebrity chef and Douglaston resident Lidia Bastianich was honored as woman of the year. The 2015 College Point Memorial Day Parade took place on College Point Boulevard on Sunday afternoon. Veteran Loius DiAgostino was this year’s grand marshal. (Photos: Shane Miller)
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