A Train Upgrade

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Dear Editor:

I enjoyed your Jesus story (One Crazy Commute, 12/5/2019 issue).

The last two years of working for the city of New York, one of my bosses informed me I was being transferred from Queens to Manhattan, 34th Street.

So I took the A Train three of four mornings a week. A gravelly-voiced man would say, "Good Morning ladies and gentlemen. I’m trying to get myself together. Anything you could spare would be appreciated. A quarter, a dime, a nickel, a penny.” He was African-American, was poorly dressed and just looked awful. And people gave him money.

One day, after leaving work, I was waiting for the A Train, sitting on a bench. An African-American man sat down on the bench. He was wearing a nice sports shirt, an expensive blazer, a nice pair of slacks and loafers. He looked familiar for some reason. After glancing at him a few times, he said with a gravelly voice, “Hi, how you doing?” I was shocked. It was him—The guy begging for money every morning. He knew I recognized him, as he smiled at me.

I related this story to a friend, who told me a lot of those people do quite well for themselves.

James Murray


Georgina’s a Gem

Dear Editor:

Come one! Come all!

Georgina's Bakery is very new on Beach 116th Street, near Claudette's. I went in wanting a cake with writing for my mother's 95th birthday. Behind the counter, Josephine, the head lady, was so touched, she made up a free bag of cookies for Mom, "Wishing Her Well."

I can say the white tiered cake was the best I ever tasted, and next day I went back to tell her so. The shop is the most clean, new and appealing. Everything looks fresh and tempting.

Hope you will come out and support our new neighbor, a great addition to the Renaissance of Beach 116th Street.

Glenn Lawson


Edgemere’s Future is Bright

Dear Editor:

(As first published in the Queens Eagle)

After years of blight stemming from the closure of the old Peninsula Hospital, Edgemere’s community has suffered from missed opportunities and delayed investment, while the rest of the Rockaways has blossomed. But the residents who lived around the abandoned lot, demanded a new development that would revitalize the area, alleviate rent-burdened families with affordable housing and serve future generations. They made sure we—as the developer and the local council member—would bring positive change to an ailing neighborhood they call home. Now, we are on the cusp of building a new project, which would represent millions of dollars in investment in Far Rockaway and transform the former Peninsula Hospital into a vibrant economic hub.

We worked day-in and day-out with the Edgemere community, building upon a vision that would serve local needs—one that would create jobs for the neighborhood, be resilient, and bring business to an economically underserved area of the Rockaways.

Now, after years of community input, negotiations and a vote of support by the City Council, our vision for Edgemere Commons can become a reality and the future of Edgemere has never looked brighter. We can say confidently that the legacy of Edgemere Commons will be one of revitalization and renewal that will reshape the future of the Peninsula.

As Edgemere Commons moves forward, it will become the largest, affordable housing development led by a private applicant advanced under the de Blasio administration, delivering 2,050 units of affordable housing to the people of Edgemere. Providing critically needed new housing for a community that is too short on affordable options.

It will deliver a financial boost to the Edgemere neighborhood, serving as an economic anchor with thousands of square feet for commercial and retail space for restaurants, businesses and more. Not only that, but it will also bring a new supermarket, Western Beef, to a neighborhood that is currently a food desert. In total, Edgemere Commons is expected to generate $1.486 billion of economic growth for the City and will elevate the financial circumstances of many by creating 650 permanent quality jobs.

But this project is about more than just economic growth, it’s about community. Edgemere Commons will give the community a place to live, work and play together. Public open space will be dedicated to a children’s playground and a public plaza will allow for special events, regular programming and community engagement and enjoyment. We are designing a community center with and for the local residents to ensure people have a place of their own.

And finally, as the consequences of climate change continue to shape our environment, Edgemere Commons will be built to handle the worst of storms, featuring innovative resiliency and storm preparedness measures including bioswales, bioretention rainwater systems, solar panels, green and gray water infrastructure and extended tree pits.

The future of Edgemere is bright, but more work has to be done.

Currently, the median income for Edgemere sits at $30,400, the lowest income on the peninsula. But that will not be the reality forever. Edgemere Commons has all the ingredients needed to shape the neighborhood renewal and with continued community investment in the outcome of this project, we can raise that median income. The often-overlooked residents of Edgemere now have a seat at the table and will have increased access to resources, like a new supermarket, community space, and a business center they’ve demanded for years.

Our hope for this project is that others will look back and see that this pivotal vote by the City Council and community partnership was one that began the revival of Edgemere and opened doors of opportunity for generations to come.

Councilman Donovan Richards

and Daniel Moritz


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