There are a lot of hot-button topics being debated in Rego Park and the rest of Central Queens these days. Arguably the hottest topic is the plan of Major League Soccer to build a $300 million stadium in Flushing Meadows Corona Park. On one side [for the stadium] are MLS, certain unions whose members would be employed in the stadium’s construction, and various soccer clubs throughout New York City. On the side against the stadium are park proponents and organizations who oppose the loss of public parkland. Part of the stadium would stand on the site of the Fountain of the Planets, which was a sensation during the 1964-65 World’s Fair, but hasn’t been turned on in many years. Most of the candidates in the 2013 race for Queens borough president [which include Congressman Peter Vallone and former City Council Member Melinda Katz] say the decision should not be taken lightly and more studies are necessary. Beside usage of public parkland, concerns are traffic congestion and parking. But perhaps the most serious problem is cited as the park’s role as a marshy buffer against coastal flooding. And, since Queens suffered so much damage as a result of Hurricane Sandy, this factor has been moved to the front burner of many minds since Sandy’s wrath at the end of October, 2012. For more information on this topic, read this article.
“The Triumph of Civic Virtue” was a statue by famed sculptor Frederick MacMonnies. It stood outside Queens Borough Hall since 1941 and its upkeep was neglected in recent decades, was also hated by many Queens residents and politicos because the statue depicted a semi-nude Hercules with a sword, standing atop two writhing female sirens of Greek mythology, who represent vice and corruption. Those who understood its meaning have been fighting to keep it in Queens, whereas feminists found it “sexist” and insulting to women. The feminist politicians won out and the statue has gone to Green-Wood Cemetery in Brooklyn. Read why the “Queens Crap” blogger feels Queens deserves to lose it.
The Daily News reports that former New York City Mayor Ed Koch is endorsing former City Councilwoman Melinda Katz in the race for Queens borough president. Katz, who is a corporate lawyer, and has also been a New York State Assemblywoman before representing Central Queens in the City Council, kicked off her campaign for Queens Borough President in October, 2012, for the election in November, 2013. It’s been reported that long-time Queens Congressman Peter Vallone is also coveting the office, so Katz might have quite a battle ahead of her. One hot-button issue raised by the publication: Guardian Angel founder Curtis Sliwa, a controversial celebrity and radio-host in his own right, is the father of Katz’s two little boys and her partner of-sorts. Any way this plays in the next 10 months, it will be a dynamic and interesting campaign.