8 The QUENS Courier • FEBRUARY 4, 2016 for breaking news visit www.qns.com storm photos Photo courtesy of Troy Benson Alan Capper highlighted the people and places that made Long Island City unique. LIC resident Alan Capper, who captured arts scene on paper, dead at 75 By Angela Matua firstname.lastname@example.org/@AngelaMatua Alan Capper, an English transplant who had a successful media career and who penned profiles of Long Island City residents for the LIC Courier, died on Jan. 27. He was 75. Capper began his career as a journalist, where he wrote for The Sunday Times and The Daily Express in London. He then created a media consulting firm, which he sold to communications and advertising firm Saatchi & Saatchi in 1985. He became chairman of the firm in 1992 and moved permanently to New York in 1995. He represented the presidents and prime ministers of countries including Romania, Nigeria, Pakistan, Ghana and the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico and served as personal media adviser to composer Andrew Lloyd Weber. Capper became the New York correspondent for London news radio station LBC 97.3 FM and Independent Television News in January 2001. He was responsible for breaking the news of the Sept. 11 attacks on these stations just two minutes after the first plane hit the World Trade Center. He was on the Dean’s Council of Harvard University’s John F. Kennedy School of Government for five years and served as an adjunct professor at New York University in 2002 where he taught culture and communications. Capper also served as president of the Foreign Press Association from 2006 through 2013. He moved to Long Island City in 2007 and began to write profiles of Long Island City residents for LIC Courier magazine in 2013. Capper captured the people and places that made up the fabric of Long Island City, writing about an accomplished filmmaker, scarf designer and extensively about the LIC arts scene, including a piece on the BrickHouse Ceramic Art Center. Capper was a “pillar of the community,” according to his daughter Carolyn Nagler, and was also active as a board member of his granddaughter’s school, the New York Center for Autism charter school in Harlem. Gildo Spado, an Astoria/Long Island City-based photographer, said he saw Capper at Gantry Plaza State Park for the first time in 2013 and immediately knew he wanted to befriend him. Spado saw him in the neighborhood again and introduced himself. They became fast friends, he said. “Alan was one of a kind,” Spado said. “He was one of the most interesting men I have ever met. A man’s man” Funeral arrangements are pending. FIFA-sized soccer field is included in councilman’s goals for Astoria Park By Angela Matua email@example.com/@AngelaMatua Calling Astoria Park “the jewel in our neighborhood’s crown,” Councilman Costa Constantinides made a pitch in his State of the District address on Jan. 25 to improve the park, including adding a FIFA regulation size soccer field. The nearly 60-acre park became official parkland in 1913 and is home to the city’s largest and oldest swimming pool, bocce courts, tennis courts, two playgrounds, a track and skate park. Constantinides proposed that the center of the Astoria Park jogging track would be the perfect place for the field. “If you walk around the center of the Astoria Park jogging track, you will see the scars of a litany of conflicting uses and activities,” he said. He noted that the grass in some areas is worn down from “unregulated games of soccer,” while other parts of the space look like they have not been touched in years. The councilman said he has heard constituents requesting a place to play soccer and that building a Parks Department-sanctioned field will allow “time slots to players and teams so that all uses of the track complex can be regulated and we won’t have errant soccer balls flying in joggers’ paths.” He also argued that this soccer field, which would be positioned near the waterfront by the Robert F. Kennedy (Triborough) Bridge, could be a site for large-scale tournaments and high-profile games. “I believe this space presents a wonderful opportunity to bring our neighborhood together to play the world’s game in the ‘World’s Borough,’” the councilman said. The field would require a capital investment to resurface the area and lay down turf. Meghan Lalor, spokeswoman for the Parks Department, said the agency is willing to flesh out this proposal with Constantinides. “We look forward to discussing the proposal more with the council member,” Lalor said. “A project like this would be dependent on community support and funding.” Constantinides also announced that Charybdis Playground will be receiving $3 million for new play equipment and a spray shower. Earlier this month, parents created a petition to call on the Parks Department to reopen the bathrooms at the playground, which have been closed since last year due to plumbing issues. The park will also get $1.5 million worth of landscape improvements “as erosion control is desperately needed in several areas,” he said. A total of $2.4 million will go into renovating the bathrooms and locker room facilities at the Astoria Park Pool, which Constantinides called “long and overdue.” The total cost of the plan will be $15 million, some of which the councilman has already secured. Constantinides also argued that the streets around Astoria Park must be made safer. He outlined a plan that the Parks Department proposed which includes adding new dual direction bike lanes on 20th Avenue and making Shore Boulevard a one-way street. ADA-accessible ramps will also be added to each street crossing to make it easier for strollers and wheelchairs to access the park. “Astoria Park is an integral part of our neighborhood’s heritage, and we have a duty to ensure that its beauty and splendor is preserved for the next generation,” Constantinides said. “We also have a duty to fully assess the needs of both the park and the people for whom the park exists.” Photo via Flickr/Travis Grathwell Councilman Costa Constanitinides is calling for a FIFA regulation-size soccer field to be constructed at Astoria Park.
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