Written by Phil Guarnieri Thursday, 13 February 2014 00:00
There was a study done some years back on the psychological impact that daily bumper to bumper traffic has on motorists. Its upshot was that daily traffic jams would have the effect of driving commuters stark raving mad. However, the human psyche has proven remarkably resilient to all sorts of stresses and as it turns out we are more likely to adapt than fall to pieces.
Still, traffic snarls are never joyous. When gridlock involves police, fire departments and school buses it’s a problem that affects everyone. So when a traffic jam is manipulated by some vengeful government types as payback for a lack of political support, it’s grist for controversy.
In fact, it’s landed New Jersey Governor Chris Christie in the proverbial doghouse. His defenders have angrily noted how much greater the reaction has been to the crime of closing a lane on the George Washington Bridge when compared to other political transgressions: Look at Benghazi, they cry, four people including a U.S. Ambassador were brutally killed; what about the roll out of Obamacare, not only was it an appalling mess but the president lied to us. They see that the media is exploiting this so-called Bridgegate in order to destroy the GOP’s strongest presidential contender in 2016.
It’s true that network television and the print media are more zealous in accounting for the sins of Republicans than Democrats. But it’s more than that. Value judgments tend to get skewed in the hurly burly of partisan politics and even life’s big issues. We prize our health over most things yet we pay entertainers and athletes the big bucks. We remember more about what Michael Jordan did with a basketball than what Jonas Salk did with a vaccine. An old political hand once told me you can fool around with their wives; you can fool around with their daughters but don’t, he said, theatrically pointing to his wallet, fool around with this. Well, fooling around with people’s transportation is another of those unforgivable sins.
New Jersey’s Democratic mayors are gleefully piling on this scandal after Christie, always rough in the clinches, won a bruising historic victory in a blue state. Implacably resilient to diplomatic niceties, his brusque, elbows-up style had its appeal to those who had become sick and tired of business as usual. Christie was their patron saint, a kind of no nonsense, straight talking Bill O’Reilly type in public office. America can and has turned its hopes to the firm and hard man in tough times. Richard Nixon was elected president not because he was a coddling, I-feel-your-pain figure, but because Americans saw him as a tough and savvy politician who could deal with the escalating violence in the jungles of Vietnam and in the streets of America’s cities.
But petulantly shutting down traffic lanes is not the act of a strong-willed public official. Creating a dangerous and chaotic situation for thousands of innocent commuters was seen as maliciously petty. So Christie was right to fire those in his Administration who were culpable, to take personal responsibility and to issue heartfelt mea culpas. While there are those who will see this public apology as nothing more than contrite insolence, it’s also true that among Christie’s critics there are the ulterior political motives afoot. The
Democrats have got their long-awaited whiff of blood, but their olfactory sense may prove overly imaginative and malignly ambitious assuming, as I do, that Christie is telling the truth.
Assemblyman John Wisniewsky, a Democrat leading the state’s investigation (or is it a head-long charge), is already looking as if he is on a Salem witch hunt. Not that an investigation is uncalled for; the powers of recollection are hardly eidetic amid the world of scandal, so an investigation is proper to assemble the facts but not to prematurely indict political foes. That the media willingly conspires in this parade of obloquy is easily evidenced in the unflattering photographs of Christie looking grossly dyspeptic and wretched over his ordeal. So the Democrats and their epigones may well be overplaying their hand but the Christie Administration also stupidly and callously dealt that hand out.
What’s clear is that the Democrats intend to hamstring the Governor with ongoing charges of bullying and harassment. It will be time-consuming and politically damaging because bullying, even prior to this story, was the single most potent charge leveled against Christie. While handicapping the 2016 presidential race is premature, I had believed that before this story broke that the strongest ticket facing either Hillary Clinton or another Democratic nominee would have been a Chris Christie/Marco Rubio teaming. The
Democrats had undoubtedly seen the same thing as their vigorous and concerted prosecution over a lane closing makes abundantly clear.
Last Updated (Monday, 29 November 1999 19:00) Wednesday, 03 September 2014 00:00
While this year’s New Hyde Park Street Fair takes place one day before the first official day of fall, the event keeps the spirit of summer alive a little longer for the 20,000-25,000 attendees.
Organizers are looking to up the ante for the 19th annual event on Saturday, Sept. 20, with the usual clowns and crafts supplemented by a petting zoo, pony rides and a new children’s carnival, from New Hyde Park-based Send in the Clowns.
“We try to capatilize on all the elements of the fair that work and modify ones that need work,” said New Hyde Park Village Board Research Assistant/Fair
Coordinator Janet Bevers. “The fair has been in place for 19 years now so in essence we follow a similar format. We invite all the village merchants to participate.”
The pony rides will be stationed near the Green Meadow Farms petting zoo on Lakeville Road, with the carnival setting up shop in the village’s Central Boulevard parking lot.
“It’s exciting to see a local company taking on a big piece of the fair,” Bevers said.
Fair reps expect at least 220 vendors to line the street fair this year. In the fair’s inaugural outing in 1995, just 90 craft vendors showed up.
“I think it’s one of the biggest events in Nassau County,” Queens-based Craft-A-Fair President Tony Ciuffo said. “The fair accentuates the local merchants.
Every year it gets more and more exciting. I expect new vendors this year. Around 25 percent of the vendors will be new this year.”
Each year, vendors rent space on the turnpike from New Hyde Park Road, continuing west to Covert Avenue. Last year, a few extra blocks were added near Lakeville Road.
Former trustee Florence Lisanti was one of the first organizers of the street fair, who trustee Donald Barbieri commended for leading the charge.
“[The fair] is a great day for the community,” he stated. “We’re proud to have all our local organizations along the turnpike. The merchants get to showcase what they do. We are very proud of the street fair.”
Local merchants, Greater New Hyde Park Chamber of Commerce members, charity and service groups can set up tables on the sidewalk free of charge, Bevers said.
“We view the fair as the premiere street fair on Long Island,” Bevers stated. “It goes about a square mile. The community feel to the fair is crucial. It’s a big fair and still retains its local charact
Last Updated (Wednesday, 27 August 2014 09:07) Saturday, 30 August 2014 00:00
Drivers—get ready to slow down. Nassau County is currently in the process of installing school zone speed cameras in an effort to enhance safety by encouraging drivers to travel with caution, as well as support law enforcement efforts to crack down on violators and prevent accidents caused by speeding.
Nassau County officials say Sewanhaka High School will receive a camera on Covert Avenue, which spans the eastern stretch of the property. Tulip Avenue runs in front of the high school and was also considered. Cameras could begin operation in September.
Thursday, 28 August 2014 00:00
New York Mets pitcher Zack Wheeler and catcher Travis d’Arnaud brightened the day for some patients at Cohen Children’s Medical Center last week in New Hyde Park, posing for pictures and handing out gifts and autographs. The players hung out with the kids in the afternoon, playing video games and answering questions.
They also found the time to make the rounds, stopping by bedsides to spread some cheer. Mr. Met also joined the tour and was a big hit with the children, who peppered him with questions about everything from his four-fingered hand to the whereabouts of the missing Mrs. Met.
Thursday, 28 August 2014 00:00
The Sewanhaka Indians football team has a season of change in store.
The Indians have moved up from Conference III to Conference II, due to an increase in enrollment, and are set to face teams that they have never seen before, according to head coach George Kasimatis.
“It is hard to gauge where we will be in this conference,” he said. “There is a lot of uncertainty as where we fit in.”