Neither wind nor rain, nor flooding can keep the ghosts and goblins …and barbies and superheroes from their appointed day. According to Alicia Gljiva of Little In The City and much to the relief of parents, the LIC Halloween Parade is going on as scheduled, today, October 31st, meet at the gantries in Gantry Park at 4:45. Also, while most residents in Zone A suffered little more than inconvenience, it should be acknowledged that alot of the businesses on Vernon Boulevard were hit very hard by the street flooding, so a special kudos goes out to them as well for making this happen. Finally, it was requested to please bring your own trick or treat bag.
Waters recede, cars are replaceable, children and dogs eventually can be walked, but some things are lost forever. Andrew’s Grove Playground on 49th Avenue, universally known to all in LIC as Shady Park, has lost several of its big beautiful trees. In addition to the grandeur of the trees, the park was the only one in Long Island City that provided a respite from the hot and sunny summer days. Thus, it will not be until long after the elevators and electricity are restored, the people return, the stores are restocked, the clean up is over, and the heat returns next summer, that we will realize what we have lost.
Should I stay or should I go now?
Should I stay or should I go now?
If I go there will be trouble
An if I stay it will be double
So come on and let me know…
On the first word of the evacuation I immediately used it as an excuse to hightail it down to South Beach. As for everyone else, you have a decision to make, pretty much embodied in the above words. Will this be a dud like last year? I certainly have no clue, but one thing I do know is that the politicos are not going to take any chances. No one wants to be directly responsible for another New Orleans 2005. Unfortunately this leads to people becoming inured, as it turns into a possible “Boy Who Cried Wolf” episode, exemplified by the fact that most people I surveyed in Zone A were hunkering down. So while I sit here on Collins Avenue asking myself “Hey, is that Lenny Kravitz at the table next to me?” You are probably asking yourself another question, compliments of the man with the empty chair:
Are you feeling lucky, punk?
Normally, I associate the word “die-hard” in politics with someones parents. Thus I am always amazed that so many people in their 20’s, 30’s, 40’s and yes, even in their 50’s, are still so strongly ingrained as to side with one of the two major parties or the other. No matter what the issue, they look to their parties’ spin, and take that side. These days, when it comes to the actual candidates, I think voting decisions are based more on hatred of the opposing candidate than an affinity for ones own. Basically, Democrats think the country will be ruined if Romney gets elected, and Republicans think the country will be ruined if we have four more years of Obama. Well guess what? It is the first time both parties have been right since Roosevelt(you pik’em, Franklin or Teddy)! Our nation is composed of Obama-haters and Romney-despisers. Personally, if Obama wins re-election, I cannot help but imagine how disappointed I will be the next morning. On the other hand, if Romney wins, I cannot help but to think the same thing. Currently, all I can ponder as we head into election day is “Is there not a better choice than these two to represent us?” By us of course, I am speaking for the people of Long Island City, and with us in mind, here’s a little pop quiz for you readers:
Q: If 47% of the population are moochers, and Romney pays a 14% federal tax rate, where does the money come from to pay the former?
A: Who do? You do. The 52.9% (100% – 47% – .1% = 52.9%)
OK, maybe my single-question exam is a little simplistic, as other news outlets have parsed to death and ripped apart both the 47% as not really being a valid number, and the 14% as having not violated any tax laws. Yet my arguments for using this one question is that it embodies the economy/taxes/deficit problem, in other words our pocketbooks. In so doing, the editorial staff here at LICtalk has honed in on what we believe is the #1 question facing the citizens of LIC: which candidate represents the 52.9% of people like us?
Let’s take the 47/14 quandary and put a local spin on it. Implicit in the 47% number is the hatred of redistribution of wealth. Normally this is associated with taking from the rich and giving to the poor. Yet we have come a long, long way from the New Deal of FDR, devised in response to the depression of the 1930’s, and the Great Society of LBJ, created to eliminate poverty and racial injustice. In fact, right here in LIC we have the perfect example of how (too?) far we have gone: Hunters Point South. HPS will include up to 5,000 units of housing, 60% of which will be affordable to middle income families(now altered to 100%). Affordable units are targeted to households with incomes between $55,000 and $158,000, the poor need not apply. OK, we have now established $158,000 as a level where people still receive subsidies(please don’t tell me about how the numbers are different in NYC, and I won’t tell you about total compensation including pensions, pension stuffing, health care for life, and retiring with the previous three in one’s fifties). Now let us turn to the people who pay the subsidies of those earning $100K+. The top 14% federal tax rate is paid not by those in the top 1%, where a lot of people in NYC are situated, but by the top one-tenth of 1%. Therefore, if the tax rate on the top one-tenth is 14%, and that of the total top 1% is 28%, then the actual tax rate for the lower 9/10ths of the 1% must be very high to get a blended average of 28%, and this skew probably extends down to other top deciles as well. Funny, but this is exactly where I suspect the majority of people in LIC fall. I mean, let’s face it, if one made $13 million a year, you’d probably be living in an apartment overlooking Central Park, not the East River(looking west anyway). Now as far as I am concerned, complaining about what Romney paid in taxes is spilt milk. On the other hand he had the chance to state “Yes, my taxes may be legal, but they are not necessarily fair” on a national stage …and didn’t utter a peep. Therefore, the worry persists that he will let stand our current system, and in light of whom has supported him with millions, accelerate it in a continued opaque manner. Thus, no matter which candidate gets elected, you know who will take the brunt of the hit going forward as we try to reduce our deficits? That’s right, the 52.9%.
Obviously there are many, many other issues to which I have given absolutely zero consideration. Yet in my mind the inattention to the 52.9% typifies the missing link and lack of a suitable, pragmatic alternative on these other issues. Has the choice really come down to ‘Who will I feel less queasy about on the morning of November 7th?’ Call me idealistic, but I believe the people of Long Island City and the United States merit superior candidates than Barack Obama and Mitt Romney. Therefore, in 2012 LICtalk endorses no one for President. We deserve better and so do our children.
Back in the days before I even knew LIC existed, there was nothing I anticipated more on the social calendar than the time period between October 31st through the first Sunday of November. That is because the two greatest and most quintessential NYC events occur back to back. The first one is the Village Halloween Parade. This is one of those events that people always say “Oh yeah, I hear it’s great, I’ll definitely make it next year,” and then a decade or two later they’re living in Syosset handing out Snickers when they catch a glimpse of it on NY1 and add it to their list of “ain’t gonna happens.” Despite all the gentrification that has occurred in Manhattan, the parade continually defies convention and has completely retained it’s homemade, non-commercial creativity and no-holds-barred, politically incorrect bawdiness. Yes, it is crowded, but not uncomfortably so, and after the parade the crowd disperses to all corners of the West Village to drink itself silly and act in a manner that only occurs when being in costume and having all facades taken down. As the night wears on, it becomes truly surreal and occasionally strays into deviancy ‘The last thing I remember is being in the White Horse, doing shots of Cuervo with a mummy and Raggedy-Ann, and then my alarm went off for work.’
The next big event is the New York City Marathon. Though ones dreams of playing in the Super Bowl or World Series may be long gone, the Marathon gives you one last shot at glory as big crowds loudly cheer you on. This is the original “Everybody gets a medal” event, but in this case it is well deserved. Or, you can treat it like I do: as if you won free tickets to the Super Bowl and are sitting on the 50-yard line. In other words, it is a rare legitimate excuse to start drinking in the early afternoon, because these runners need your assistance …and you too have been training all year for it.
Fast forward to today and LIC: we have a Halloween parade too, right down Vernon Boulevard, and for many of the parents it too is surreal in a “What am I doing in Queens on Halloween and who are all these midgets?” way. The Marathon also goes right down Vernon Boulevard, and frequently those midgets are still lingering. Yet in most other ways it retains a lot of the character and bonhomie of First Avenue, at least we have held on to something.
The details for the Vernon Boulevard Childrens Halloween Parade on Wednesday October 31st have yet to be released, but last year everyone grouped by the gantries at Gantry Park at 3pm. If you want to see the leaders in the Marathon be on Vernon by 10:15, otherwise the rest of the pack runs strong until around 2pm.
5Pointz Zombie March and Halloween Film Festival – October 27th
PS1’s Halloween Sunday Sessions – October 28th
Mile 15: Where Old-Timers Appreciate the New – great story in the NYT about LIC and the Marathon
New CUNY Law School Building Christened in LIC – at least there building sone new “schools”
The Fate Of 5Pointz: Why One Man May Demolish New York’s Graffiti Mecca – the spin from the graffiti side
Nude Club Owners Halt Liquor License Bid – why did I include this well-tread story? Because it starts with the word “Nude”
Maloney Speaks at LIC/Astoria Chamber of Commerce – rundown of all she’s done for us