Sunday, March 27, 2011

Help Plant Trees in Forest Hills on Sat, April 9th - Restore MacDonald Park & Surroundings

Please download the Apr 9, 2011 One Thing That's Green event flyer, sign up online to plant trees in Forest Hills, & forward to your friends.

Rego-Forest Preservation Council & the Queens Boulevard Restoration Group are helping JetBlue & the New York Restoration Project, by seeking volunteers to help plant trees in Forest Hills on Saturday, April 9, 2011 from 9 AM - 2:30 PM. 

Forest Hills was one neighborhood which sustained some of the worst devastation during the Sept 16, 2010 tornadoes, and a total of 3,113 trees were lost in Queens, Brooklyn, & Staten Island. Chairman Michael Perlman & board members of Rego-Forest Preservation Council have documented the tornado's fury, nominated Forest Hills for tree replanting, and assisted NYRP in the property survey, which became the basis for this event.

Please help restore the "forest" in Forest Hills by assisting in the planting of trees at historic MacDonald Park on Queens Blvd & 70th Ave, as well as on apartment building lawns within a 10-block radius. Join in for a community day of green activities, including a complimentary breakfast, lunch, a theme t-shirt, & entertainment. Best yet, see the tree YOU planted in years to come!

To volunteer, register online & forward to your friends:

Steve Melnick, Chair of the Queens Boulevard Restoration Group with Michael Perlman, Chair of Rego-Forest Preservation Council stand on Continental Ave near Austin St on March 26, 2011, to promote the April 9th One Thing That's Green event. We extend our gratitude towards Starbucks at 107-12 Continental Ave for permitting the setup, and providing wi-fi access outside their shop.

Press Release for One Thing That's Green Event:

JetBlue and New York Restoration Project (NYRP) are teaming up once again to do One Thing That's Green! Join us on April 9, 2011 as we plant hundreds of trees in Forest Hills, Queens!

In September, tornadoes ripped through Queens leaving once lush areas looking vacant. Trees are a vital part of the environment, especially in New York City, and by recommendation of the City of New York, JetBlue and NYRP will partner to revitalize MacDonald Park and surrounding areas.
Bring your friends and family for an exciting day of outdoor activities that encourage active living! Breakfast and lunch will be provided, and all volunteers will receive a One Thing That's Green branded t-shirt. There will be activities for the entire family throughout the day.

Register now and check back for updates in the coming weeks. All volunteers must register and complete a waiver. Young adults ages 14 to 17 must have a signed waiver from a parent or guardian to participate. Kids younger than 14 are welcome with an adult and they'll be plenty of activities for everyone.

Do your One Thing That's Green Together with our partners NYRP, 106.7 Lite FM, 103.5 KTU, and Power 105.1, JetBlue will make a lasting difference on the community and continue to evolve our commitment to greening the Big Apple.

When: Saturday, April 9, 2011
Where: MacDonald Park, Forest Hills, Queens
Time: 9:00 AM to 2:30 PM
What: One Thing That's Green tree planting and activities!

MacDonald Park throughout its many seasons before the tornadoes....

MacDonald Park, where 56 trees fell after the tornadoes, with many more damaged.....

The monumental Weeping Willow trees outside The James Madison before & after the tornado...

More tornado destruction....

Friday, March 25, 2011

City Council Ignores NY'ers - Queensboro Bridge To Become Ed Koch Queensboro Bridge

1909 postmarked postcard. Copyright 1908 by Moses King. Rendering by J. Koehler, NY. Caption: Queens Borough Bridge, over the East River from East 59th St. and 2d Ave., Manhattan, to Jane and Academy Sts., Long Island City; great cantilever structure costing with approaches $25,000,000; rests on six masonry piers; 7,636 ft. long; west span, 1,182 ft.; clear height over channels, 135 ft.; height of island towers, 324 ft.; width 86 ft.; two decks with 53-ft. roadway, four trolley lines, two railroad tracks and two promenades; will open short, direct route to Queens Borough; designed by Gustav Lindenthal, Bridge Commissioner, 1901-3; to be opened 1908

The results are in! Despite public opposition, 3/23/11 will be remembered as the day City Council voted 38 to 12 to rename the Queensboro Bridge as the "Ed Koch Queensboro Bridge."

Some elected officials worked on behalf of their constituency's interests and our city's history, including CM James Van Bramer & CM Peter Vallone Jr, so kudos to them. Within the upcoming weeks, our city's name-change idea originator, Mayor Bloomberg, will presumably give his pen to enact this legislation. For information on its political supporters and opponents, visit The New York Times:

A poll by Quinnipiac University found that 64% of New Yorkers opposed the renaming plan. In addition, there are great comments from a vast coalition of New Yorkers and tourists abound who signed a petition in opposition to renaming the historic Queensboro Bridge, and this is one of the many notables...

Signer 867. Elizabeth Mueller, Sunnyside, NY: As a proud Queens resident of 5 years, I would like to ask that the bridge remain named the Queensboro Bridge. I love the bridge and its legacy of over 100 years, and feel that a renaming would be disrespectful to not only the bridge, but the entire borough. Would you rename the Brooklyn Bridge after Ed Koch? I think not.

Mayor Bloomberg said that private donations would be collected to finance the changing of the bridge's signage. Well, let's consider the reported $4 million utilized in 2008 to change our Triboro Bridge's name to the RFK Bridge. Regardless of whether private donations will be used in the Queensboro Bridge case, shouldn't we be focused on spending such a sum on restoring infrastructure, repaving roads, preserving our children's education, keeping our firehouses open, and reopening and improving our hospitals? Placing the integrity of former Mayor Ed Koch aside, there is a multitude of ways to better spend public and/or private funds, than needlessly compromising the name of our storied bridge for politician sake.

Is All Hope Lost? The Power In YOU...

1. City Council should realize that the Queensboro Bridge name is supposedly subject to protection under the Landmarks Law, so will renaming plans be scrapped afterall? Voice your opposition to Chairman Robert Tierney of the NYC Landmarks Preservation Commission or e-mail him directly at &

2. The constituency of Queens and New Yorkers at large is once again overrode, but REMEMBER that We The People are the true winners, who embrace civic pride and duties, and launched a diligent cause. Some politicians need a Civic 101 course on why they were elected to office. Never abandon your freedom to advocate for what you believe in while acknowledging the citizen majority, & keep signing and commenting on the petition:

The Queensboro Bridge was also referred to as the Blackwell's Island Bridge - Circa 1909 postcard

Circa 1920s postcard published by American Studio, NY, shows the Richard Peck steamship. Caption: QUEENSBORO BRIDGE over east River and Long Island City from East 59th St, Manhattan to Long Island City, is a great cantilever structure 7,636 feet long, clear height over channel 135 feet, height of island towers 324 feet, begun in 1901, opened March 30, 1909; total cost $29,000,000.

Queensboro Bridge 1-fare brass token. circa 1970

Queensboro Bridge 1-fare brass token. circa 1970, 2nd side

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Queensboro Bridge Art Contest - Calling All Students Age 5 to 18!

The Queensboro Bridge by Edward Hopper (July 22, 1882 - May 15, 1967), who was a famed American realist painter & printmaker. His spare & finely calculated renderings reflected his personal vision of modern American life. Source:

 Rego-Forest Preservation Council proudly endorses the mission of the LIC Arts Open Committee. We feel The Queensboro Bridge Art Contest is a superb means of exercising our students' artistic minds, to foster the appreciation of Queens history & one of our borough's greatest Individual Landmarks, the Queensboro Bridge, which dates to 1909 & serves as our gateway. Let's keep in mind that we became the Borough of Queens in 1898. The timing of the art contest couldn't be more perfect, as our politicians plan on voting on Mayor Bloomberg's proposed renaming of the Queensboro Bridge to the Ed Koch Bridge (or something to that extent) on March 23rd. Hopefully, our electeds will listen to our children, and learn why the Queensboro Bridge name is a staple of Queens history. Now onto the contest......

The Queensboro Bridge Art Contest flyer for the 2011 LIC Arts Open. Please download & post around schools, and share with families & friends.
Welcome To Queens!

As part of the 2011 LIC Arts Open, the LIC Arts Open Committee has organized an art contest for Queens students, ages 5-18, that celebrates the Queensboro Bridge. At more than 100 years old and an astonishing visual wonder, the bridge provides a glorious welcome to our borough, and this contest provides the perfect way for Queens’s young people to exercise their creativity and be part of a community-wide event!

It’s simple to be part of the Queensboro Bridge Art Contest. No registration is required. Just submit a 5" x 7" postcard that captures our beloved Queensborough Bridge as a painting, drawing, collage, cartoon, photograph, or any other form of graphic representation.

You can get blank postcards from art teachers at your school (if they are participating), pick them up as the LIC Arts Center, or simply use your own oak tag, as long as it is 5" x 7" in size.

Submissions will be reviewed by a committee of notable artists and local leaders, with prizes awarded to winners in 4 age categories. ALL SUBMISSIONS will be exhibited at a special showing on May 14-22 at the LIC Arts Center, where hundreds of people will view them during the Arts Open and the week leading up to it.

Guidelines For Submission

-Artwork must be created on 5" x 7" card stock (oak tag). You can obtain cards from art teachers at your school, if they have requested them; pick them up at the LIC Arts Center in Long Island City; or use your own as long as it is 5" x 7" and oak tag weight.

-Submissions must be accompanied by a note with name of artist, age, school, address, phone number, and e-mail address so we may contact you.

-Artists may pick up their works after the exhibition is over (end of day on May 22 and after). If you prefer, we can mail it back to you if you write your name/address and include a stamp on the other (blank) side of your artwork.

-Submissions must be received no later than May 2, 2011. Please send or deliver them to:

LIC Art Center 
Att: A. Ratkewitch/Queens Paideia School 
44-02 23rd Street, Suite 214 
Long Island City, NY 11101

For more information, specific questions, contact Alyssa Ratkewitch, contest coordinator, at

Please check back on the LIC Arts Open's website and the LIC Arts Open’s Facebook Page for ongoing updates about this first-ever contest, and other exciting activities at the Arts Open!

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Petition Opposing Renaming of Queensboro Bridge!

Queensboro Bridge Circa 1910 Postcard
Mayor Bloomberg might as well wipe Queens off the map. The Queensboro Bridge may be stripped of its historic name, and may only exist as a roadway connecting Queens to Manhattan. Mayor Bloomberg and City Council Speaker Quinn reportedly support the renaming of this historic bridge after former Mayor Ed Koch. Who will say, Let's take the Ed Koch Bridge? And... Where will it leave you?

Please sign, comment, & share the PETITION opposed to renaming the Queensboro Bridge:

It is a LANDMARK on an architectural, cultural, & historical basis, & its name is supposedly safeguarded under the Landmarks Law. If the politicians have their way, and the Landmarks Preservation Commission doesn't take a stance, will they sell the Queensboro Bridge's 1909 dedication plaque on the approach for scrap, which bears Queensboro Bridge, or will it be tossed into the East River?

Opinions aside on former Mayor Edward I. Koch's integrity, but what affiliation does he have with the bridge & Queens? The practice of renaming historic sites after politicians, and wasting any of the city or state's funds must come to a halt! Elected officials including Councilman Peter Vallone, Jr. and Queens State Senator Tony Avella hear the voices of the people; many of whom we conversed with that oppose the bridge renaming.

The Queens Campaigner reported on February 24th that a hearing was held by the Council for the proposed name change. It states, "At the hearing, 12 to 15 people gave testimony, most of whom had worked with Ed Koch. Of those who testified, only one said he was not in favor of changing the name."

On Dec 10, 2010, Queens BP Helen Marshall told The Queens Courier, “I haven’t found one person who thinks this is a good idea. I think a lot of people have good feelings about the former mayor, but renaming a bridge is another story. We are going to watch this.” The Queens Courier then went on to report, "The renaming of the Triboro Bridge, which became the Robert F. Kennedy Bridge in 2008, cost the city and state nearly $4 million for new signage."

Let's reflect upon our recent past... Remember the Queensboro Bridge's Centennial Celebration from May 28 - July 31, 2009? Events & history:

A final vote on the renaming will occur on March 23, 2011. Will the constituents be heard?

SUM: If approved, this will be yet another long-term publicity campaign at our city's "expense," in more ways than one.