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Car/pool issues

Dear Editor,
Astoria Pool will open on June 26. That’s good news, but not for everyone. Unfortunately, many seniors will be denied enjoying this summertime pleasure.
The steep stairs and steps at the main entrance to the pool on 19th Street are too difficult for many seniors to negotiate. So for many years pool management has allowed seniors to enter the pool at a rear gate on Shore Boulevard.
Now with the closure of Shore Boulevard to vehicles, seniors will not be able to park there. The lot in the park is not viable as there is a steep hill from there to the Shore Boulevard gate.
I know of one senior who recently suffered a serious leg injury and will be unable to swim in the pool unless parking is available on Shore Boulevard. After more than 50 years of enjoying Astoria Pool, she will be shut out.
Many seniors will be unable to take part in the senior swim program and other activities at the pool.
This is just another example of how our senior population is becoming increasingly isolated as the city continues to close more and more streets, eliminate parking spaces for bicycle lanes and racks, and allow restaurant kiosks to proliferate in the streets.
I urge the Department of Transportation to reopen Shore Boulevard to automobiles, at least during the pool season.
Richard Nebenzahl

Time to reflect

Dear Editor,
Because of the COVID-19 pandemic, there will be no Little Neck/Douglaston Memorial Day parade this year.
However, there will be a dedication and wreath-laying ceremony at the Veteran Memorial by American Legion Post #103 on the grounds of St. Anastasia Parish near Alameda Avenue and Northern Boulevard in Douglaston.
It will take place on Memorial Day at 10:30 am.
There will be no parade, but we can still say a prayer for those serving our country today. We can also offer a moment of silence for all those who gave the ultimate sacrifice to keep us free.
Frederick R. Bedell, Jr.

Cop roles

Dear Editor,
MTA Chairman Pat Foye has a clear conflict by saying that the role of hundreds of new police officers would not be deterring fare beaters.
Didn’t he previously announce a crack down on fare beaters as a method to significantly reduce the loss of several hundred million in annual pre-COVID-19 revenue losses attributed to a growing number of riders who would not pay their fare?
And while Mayor Bill de Blasio and the MTA fought over the number of new police, it was interesting that no one asked Governor Andrew Cuomo to increase the number of state troopers assigned to the city.
They could used to patrol Penn Station, Grand Central Terminal, Atlantic Terminal and Jamaica Station. This would free up both city and MTA police officers to patrol many of the other subway stations and subway trains.
Larry Penner
Great Neck

When an endorsement isn’t really one

A few weeks back, we wrote about how ranked-choice voting has made campaign-season endorsements a little more complicated. Or maybe it makes them less complicated, depending on which side of the endorsement you fall on.
For the people or groups making the endorsement, they no longer necessarily have to make a tough decision between two candidates they prefer.
With ranked-choice voting, they can pick one candidate as their first choice, but say that if they don’t win, they would be perfectly happy with candidate two, who they would put as their second choice on the ballot.
It’s an easy way out of a making a hard choice.
If you happen to be the first choice, that’s as good as an old-fashioned endorsement regardless of the type of election.
However, if you are the second choice, which is happening more and more often, it’s a little trickier to promote that you were endorsed but also reveal that you weren’t exactly the first choice, that there is another candidate that is preferable to you.
But what do you do if you are one of three candidates endorsed, and the person making the endorsement doesn’t even reveal the order of their choice? Were you even really endorsed at all?
That’s what happened when State Senator John Liu announced that he was endorsing John Choe, Ellen Young and Sandra Ung to replace Peter Koo in the City Council, but he never said who was his first, second and third choice.
“Voters can vote for up to five candidates by ranking their choices one through five, and I urge my fellow District 20 voters to rank these three candidates as their top three choices,” Liu said in a statement.
When he shared his comments about each candidate in a press release announcing the endorsements, he even made sure to state that he was doing so in alphabetical order so as not to imply a preference.
Ranked-choice voting makes it possible for Liu to say that he thinks they are all fine candidates for the post, which is a perfectly fair sentiment to have. However, if voters are only allowed to vote for one candidate as in past elections, endorsing all three wouldn’t make any sense.
The press release announcing the endorsement(s) did say that Liu would reveal his first, second and third choices at a later date.
Again, this makes things tricky for the candidates, who would love to announce they have the support of somebody as well known in the district as Liu, but in reality were only one of three candidates he actually supports.
So they just ignored that little fact.
Both the Choe and Young campaigns sent out press releases along with photos of them alone with Liu announcing the endorsement without mentioning the other two candidates.
Ung went a different route and doesn’t even mention it a list of other endorsements on her website. Maybe she waiting to see if she is Liu’s first choice.
We’re not sure how the Board of Elections is going to handle the logistics of ranked-choice voting to ensure timely election results, but we love the new layers of strategy it is bringing to this year’s primary.

Denise Keehan-Smith, City Council Candidate

With 16 candidates currently running, it is an understatement to call the field of Democratic nominees for the District 26 City Council seat crowded.
However, district native Denise Keehan-Smith is hitting the campaign trail running with plans for public safety, affordable housing, and green space that she hopes can win her a seat representing Long Island City, Woodside, Sunnyside, Dutch Kills and parts of Astoria.
“There is no frontrunner, but I think I have my own lane,” Keehan-Smith explained in an interview last week.
As the only candidate running who is originally from the district, Keehan-Smith believes that she has the community background necessary for the job.
“I still have childhood friends in the district,” she explained. “People will show up that I haven’t seen since 8th grade.”
A self-labeled moderate, Keehan-Smith also believes that her professional business background will give her an edge over the competition. She worked in the computer division of an airline company for over 30 years, but got the bug for public service while serving on the board of the Big Six Towers in Woodside, where she lives with her husband.
After working with former congressman Joe Crowley to resolve multiple issues at the Towers, Keehan-Smith continued her political career by joining Community Board 2 and eventually becoming its chair.
The role allowed her to focus on issues such as affordable housing, development, and green space.
Most notably, Keehan-Smith served on the advisory council to determine whether Amazon should come to Long Island City. She was in favor of their arrival and continues to be.
“I thought that it was a good opportunity and I think we could have worked something out,” she said. “In Virginia, they have created a whole bunch of affordable housing units, which is what we need.
“The majority of the people I talked to were in favor of it, but I got beat up just for sitting at the table with Amazon,” she added.
Keehan-Smith is in favor of new developments as long as they offer true affordable housing and bring green space to the area.
“People like that I’m from the district and that I’ve lived in the same place for 20 years,” she said. “The City Council is not just a stepping stone to higher political office.”

It’s the Pitching Stupid!

Rewind the calendar about six weeks, and it was full-fledged panic mode in Yankees land.
The Yankees started the season 5-10. They were 2-8 against the Tampa Bay Rays and Toronto Blue Jays and actually played worse than their record would indicate.
Over that 15-game stretch, I couldn’t really pinpoint one particular aspect of the game that was working well for the team.
That said, I always expected the Yankees to find their groove at some point in the regular season because a team with that much talent is usually going to perform to the back of the baseball card.
The Yankees have done exactly that. Since the 5-10 stretch, the Yankees have won a whole lot of series.
I’d make the argument that their most impressive series of the year was this past weekend against the Chicago White Sox.
The White Sox are one of the most talented teams in baseball and a team the Yankees will likely meet if New York is still playing in October.
The Yankees won two dramatic games and found a way to sweep one of the hottest teams in all of baseball.
The negative vibes of early and mid-April have turned into walk-offs and post-game Gatorade showers.
So, what’s been the biggest difference from the Yankees of April to the Yankees of right now. It’s the pitching stupid!
Since mid-April, the Yankees starting rotation has been among baseball’s best units.
Offense is down across the sport, we all know that, but that does not in any way take away from what the Yankees rotation has been able to do.
Heading into Tuesday’s matchup against the Blue Jays, the Yankees starting rotation has hurled 35 consecutive scoreless innings.
It helps when you have Gerrit Cole, who clearly profiles as baseball’s second best pitcher, but he has had a whole lot of help recently.
Corey Kluber has so far lived up to the task of being a legitimate number-two starter. He has flashed the form we saw from him from 2014-2018 with the Cleveland Indians, and threw the Yankees first no-hitter in 21 years last week against Texas.
In addition to Kluber, Domingo German and Jordan Montgomery have been durable and reliable arms that have exceeded expectations.
The Yankees rotation went into the season with all sorts of questions. Two months into the season, it has provided a whole lot of answers.
It may not be the case for all four starters not named Gerrit Cole, but I do believe the success of the rotation throughout the last six weeks is sustainable.
The Yankees have put together the best rotation they have had in ten years, and help is still on the way. At some point, former ace Luis Severino will make his return to the team from Tommy John surgery.
Who knew that two months into the year, the success of the team would be tied to its pitching staff? That’s baseball Suzyn!

You can listen to my podcast New York, New York every Sunday Night, Tuesday Night & Thursday Night on the Ringer Podcast Network on Spotify and Apple. There will also be bonus episodes on Wednesday & Friday Night after both Knicks playoff games.

End-of-season honors for Knights

The Queens College men’s tennis team earned three of the six All-East Coast Conference spots.
Junior Mariano Bibiloni, sophomore Moritz Borges, and freshmen Tim Ostheimer were named to the squad, while head coach Somadi Druker was named Coach of the Year. 
Druker earned her fifth ECC coach of the year honors as she led the Knights to an 8-7 overall record and 6-0 conference record, which included winning the regular-season championship and a fourth straight conference tournament championship crown.
On the season, the Knights were 8-3 against DII opponents. She led the Knights to their 19th straight consecutive NCAA Men’s Tennis Tournament appearance and sixth under her tutelage.
Druker is ten wins away from the century mark as she takes an overall coaching record of 90-42 into the 2021-2022 season.
Bibiloni finished the year with a 7-5 singles record, including going 6-2 against DII opponents. Playing in the middle of the lineup, the Argentinian native went 3-1 at the number-two spot.
Bibiloni gave the Knights a 3-1 lead in the ECC Final as he defeated St. Thomas Aquinas Spartans Alvaro Barranco in straights set to the score of 6-1, 6-3 as the Knights would go on to clinch their fourth straight conference title.
Borges went undefeated in conference singles play finishing with a 4-0 singles record. The German native finished the season with a 7-4 singles record including going 2-0 at the number-two spot.
Borges saw singles action at five different spots as he produced a 5-1 winning record. In doubles play, Borges finished the season with an 8-6 overall record including a 4-2 mark in conference play.
Borges would finish the season with a three-set victory over Le Moyne Felipe Cruz to the final score of 6-3, 3-6, 7-5 in the first round of the NCAA Men’s Tennis East Region Tournament.
In a star-studded lineup, Ostheimer was the Knights’ primary number-one singles competition starter. On April 8, the German native was ranked 48th in the ITA DII Men’s Singles Ranking. He was only one of the two players in the Northeast Region to be placed in the top-50 singles ranking.
After an injury slowed the season down, Ostheimer saw time in doubles competition including finishing the season 2-0 in conference play. Partnering with senior Eduardo Marino at the number-three doubles court, the duo defeated Divison I Niagara University Purple Knights duo of Roberto Vaca/Bruno Goncalves to the score of 6-4.

St. John’s ends season on a high note

The St. John’s baseball team used a six-run second inning to end the season on a high note, taking down Villanova, 6-1, on Saturday afternoon at Jack Kaiser Stadium on the Queens campus.
Tyler Roche tossed what was arguably the best outing of his young St. John’s career, allowing just one unearned run over 6.0 innings of work to pick up his first collegiate win.
He scattered three hits and five walks while striking out eight, a season high. The freshman from the Bronx lowered his ERA to 3.44 on the season and made it three straight appearances at home (16.2 IP) without an earned run to end the campaign.
Joe Joe Rodriguez threw a scoreless seventh before Ethan Routzahn struck out three over a pair of one-hit innings.
Following his Sunday performance, Routzahn closed the campaign with a 1.19 ERA, the lowest full-season ERA by a St. John’s pitcher since Thomas Hackimer turned in a 1.17 effort before being selected in the fourth round of the 2016 MLB Draft.
Marty Higgins wrapped a stellar redshirt freshman season by going 3-for-4 with a run scored, his fourth game of the year with three of more hits. Higgins closes the campaign with a team-high .333 batting average.
Justin Folz went yard for a team-high fourth time while Carson Bartels wrapped his collegiate career with a with a two-RBI performance.
David Glancy and Colin Wetterau added singles for St. John’s (19-21, 10-16 Big East).
After the Johnnies went down 1-2-3 in the first, Folz led off the second with a blast off the batter’s eye in center, putting the Red Storm ahead 1-0 in the early going.
With the bases loaded and two outs later in the inning, Bartels hit a slow grounder up the middle that looked like it would be easily picked up by the second baseman for the last out of the inning.
Instead, the ball ricocheted off the bag, shot into right field and allowed a pair of runs to score, pushing the St. John’s lead to 3-0. The Wildcats’ bad luck didn’t end there, as two errors by freshman shortstop Cameron Hassert allowed three more runs to score and gave St. John’s a 6-0 lead after two.
Villanova (21-14, 9-12 Big East) got on the board in the top of the fourth, as Hassert singled to center, advanced to third on an error and scored on a wild pitch.
St. John’s wraps up the spring with a record of 19-21, marking just the third time since World War II that the Red Storm has endured a losing season.

G&T Programs Close Achievement Gap, Not Cause It

The administration of new Schools Chancellor Meisha Ross Porter provides us with a moment to reconsider policies that have worked and ones that haven’t over the course of the de Blasio administration.
The failing efforts to better integrate our schools could benefit from some fresh thinking.
Chancellor Porter has emphasized the urgency of integrating the public schools. It’s an important goal in a system that is more segregated now than it was 50 years ago, but it is also the unrealized goal of her predecessor.
If Porter follows the playbook from the de Blasio tenure, which includes fighting to change the admissions standards at our specialized high schools, eliminating gifted and talented programs, and setting demographic quotas for certain schools, her efforts are likely to face the same fate as those of her predecessor, whose tenure ended in frustration.
The recently announced admissions results at the specialized high schools should act as a call to action that the city needs new policies.
The sensible alternative to integrate our schools, based on years of real-life experience and what research has shown to be more effective is to increase the number of seats at successful schools, create engaging, magnet programs that draw in a range of families, expand the number of gifted and talented programs in underrepresented areas, and replicate effective schools throughout the system.
As a parent of two public school graduates, I know that all parents want their kids to get the best education in a school that helps them achieve their maximum potential, ideally in their neighborhood.
It’s a goal that every parent is willing to fight to achieve. And it should be the goal of the new chancellor.
For all of the political fighting over them, gifted and talented programs have been shown to challenge our brightest students and to put them on a path to success. Unfortunately, there are not enough seats for the number of students qualifying to attend, and in certain neighborhoods there are no programs at all.
Since these programs are not offered at every school, nor equally spread throughout the DOE’s districts, many families will have their children take hour-long bus rides to school, as they want them to attend these successful programs no matter where they are located.
In my former City Council district in Middle Village, the DOE recently created PS 254: The Rosa Parks School. It is a magnet school with a diverse learning community that has achieved incredible results due to a highly innovative program that draws in families.
And it’s located in an area that is not known for great schools.
PS 290, another relatively new school, has a new gifted and talented program that is largely populated with students of color from low-income backgrounds. It shows how the DOE can find gifted students in any neighborhood when it creates a program that interests parents in their community.
In another example, the arts-focused LaGuardia High School did not have enough seats for talented students, so the DOE created the Frank Sinatra School of the Arts. Both schools are now highly successful at developing our city’s budding artists, and more students are able to attend.
And the schools are in different boroughs to boot.
Brooklyn Latin and the Queens High School for Sciences are also recent examples of the DOE creating more high-quality schools based on successful models and located in new neighborhoods that can serve more children. And all of these schools could easily serve more children by expanding them.
But a de Blasio-appointed school advisory committee recently announced that they want to eliminate gifted and talented programs. It’s the exact opposite of what they should be doing.
The DOE should expand and replicate these programs in every neighborhood in the city, so there are enough seats for every child who qualifies.
The time that our city and school leaders spend dividing up the small number of seats at successful schools, and trying to do so by race, is unproductive, divisive and potentially illegal.
The Rosa Parks School, PS 290 and the Frank Sinatra School of the Arts are all examples of different methods that the DOE can employ to integrate our schools.
The DOE must create more high-quality magnet programs in neighborhoods with low-performing schools, create new gifted programs in underrepresented areas, and replicate high performing schools in communities throughout the city.
It’s a simple solution to a complex problem that has been shown to work for our city’s kids.

Elizabeth Crowley is a former member of the City Council and candidate for Queens borough president.

Is a calorie just a calorie?

Summer weather has arrived, and many are considering the best way to lose their “pandemic weight gain.” In terms of weight loss, a calorie may be a calorie. However, in terms of its effect on body composition, disease modification and prevention, this may not be true.

A low-carb, high-protein and high-fat diet
A study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) showed that a low-carbohydrate, high-protein diet was more effective at burning calories after initial weight loss than other diets.
Twenty-one young, obese and overweight adults were given a 12-week period to lose 10 to 15 percent of their body weight. They were then put on three different diets and assessed over a four-week period with each: a low glycemic index diet, a low-fat diet and a very low-carbohydrate diet.
The diet that seemed to show the most benefit for maintaining weight loss was the very low-carbohydrate diet, which was high in protein and high in fat – an Atkins-type diet.
This diet lowered the resting energy expenditure the least, meaning that the body burned calories more efficiently. Patients expended 300 more calories on this low-carbohydrate diet than on the low-fat diet and 150 more calories than on the low glycemic index diet.
Why did the low-carbohydrate diet show the best results for maintain weight loss and burning more calories? Jules Hirsch, M.D., former emeritus physician in chief at Rockefeller University, responded in the New York Times when the study was published.
His background included 60 years of obesity research, and he believed that the difference seen with the Atkins-type diet was due to water loss. He wrote that, while weight loss is dependent on the traditional formula – the number of calories consumed minus the number of calories burned on a daily basis – diets’ compositions do affect patients’ overall health.

Low-carb, high-protein diet negative effects
Interestingly, another study published in the British Medical Journal the same week as the JAMA study showed a potentially increased risk of cardiovascular disease with a low-carbohydrate, high-protein diet. This was a prospective trial involving 43,396 Swedish women with a 15.7-year duration.
There was a four percent increase in risk for every 10 percent increase in protein or, as the authors point out, for every additional boiled egg consumed. This is a modest, yet harmful, effect.
Low-carb, high-protein diets have also shown an increased risk of kidney stones. There was a doubling of uric acid levels and a significant increase in calcium levels in the kidney over a six-week period. The study was small, 10 participants, and short in duration.
However, it does make you think that low-carb, high-protein diets from animal sources may not be the best option for overall health.

Does protein source matter?
Interestingly, another study showed that a low-carb, high-protein diet may vary in its effects, depending on the protein source. If high protein levels and fat came from animal sources, then there was an increased risk of death from heart disease and cancer, 14 and 28 percent respectively.
However, if the protein and fat came from plant sources, such as nuts and beans, the risks of all-cause mortality and mortality from cardiovascular disease were decreased by 20 and 23 percent, respectively. The study was a meta-analysis of the Nurses’ Health Study, with over 85,000 women, and the Physician’s Health Study, with approximately 45,000 men, both long-term studies.
No one will argue that weight loss is important, especially for those patients who are obese. However, when choosing a diet, it is important to consider also its effectiveness for disease treatment and prevention.
Diets that are considered to be most effective are those that are plant-based and nutrient-rich. Why lose weight for vanity, when you can lose weight and gain health at the same time?

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