FOR BREAKING NEWS VISIT WWW.QNS.COM FEBRUARY 18, 2021 • THE QUEENS COURIER 23
Preventing teen domestic violence in Queens
BELMONT ARENA IN
A COVID19 WORLD
Th e Islanders Belmont Arena is scheduled
to open in October 2021.
The Empire State Development
Corporation previously announced that
they would use a “hydrogen fuel cell technology”
to power on-site shuttle buses.
Th ese buses would connect LIRR riders
at the Elmont station along with internal
circulation at the complex and parking
lots. ESDC has never made clear who
will purchase, operate and maintain the
Th e same holds true for passenger
capacity (this can average from 20 to 60
riders) along with location of a bus storage
and maintenance facility. Has a contract
ever been advertised and awarded?
Bus manufacturers have a backlog of
up to two years for orders already placed
by transit agencies across the nation. Will
these buses be in compliance with the
Americans with Disabilities Act? Who
will build a facility for maintenance and
storage of these shuttle buses? Building
a facility can require two years. Th ere is
now less than eight months to complete
all of these critical tasks.
Th e MTA is investing $105 million to
build the new Elmont LIRR Station, which
would provide service to the Islanders
Belmont Arena. What are the additional
operating costs and source of funding to
provide service to the new station? When
will the LIRR announce that the price of a
ticket will be Zone 3 or Zone 4?
What is the cost and funding source
to relocate the eastbound platform farther
west and extension of the visual barrier
at the station? Both would involve a
change order to the existing construction
contract. Have the change orders been
reviewed to determine if they are fair, justifi
ed, reasonable and been awarded?
ESDC also announced that the size of
the retail village would be reduced by
85,000 square feet and 10,000 square feet
How will living in a COVID-19 and post
COVID-19 world impact ESDC’s promise
of 3,000-plus well-paying jobs upon opening
of the Islanders Arena? How many
businesses have signed contracts to occupy
space and open retail stores with less than
eight months to opening day?
Who has updated the business model
for utilization of shops, restaurants,
a sports bar, a movie theater, a 250-
room hotel and a conference center post
Th e Belmont Park arena project promises
various service options which are
already available. How many of these are
now not fi nancially viable as a result of
COVID-19? Fewer new jobs may actually
be created. How many of the promised
new stores and boutiques in the “retail village”
may never open? Th e same is true
for the proposed new dining options,
sports bars and restaurants.
Next, there will be less need for conference
centers and meeting rooms along
with movie theaters and concert facilities.
All of these so-called benefi ts would
just have competed against existing shopping
malls, upscale stores, restaurants and
sports bars and end up stealing some of
Th ere are already plenty of hotels and
colleges which off er conference centers.
Th e same is true for movie theaters and
smaller, more intimate concert facilities.
More people are meeting via Zoom rather
than in person.
How much of the 19,000 seating capacity
may be lost on a temporary or permanent
basis due to the long-term ramifi -
cations of COVID-19? All of these questions
on the fi nancial viability of the project
deserve real answers today.
Larry Penner, Great Neck
letters & comments
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I want to discuss a
very serious but important
topic in recognition
of Teen Dating Violence
According to the CDC, nearly one in
11 female high school students and one
in 15 male high school students reported
experiencing physical dating violence
in the last year. Additionally, 26 percent
of women and 15 percent of men who
are victims of sexual violence fi rst experience
this violence by a partner before age
18. Th ese statistics are troubling, and rates
of domestic violence have only increased
during the COVID-19 pandemic while we
are all staying home.
Th ese statistics are beyond disturbing:
that’s why I will be hosting a panel on
Th ursday, Feb. 18, from 6 to 7:30 p.m.
with representatives from Safe Horizon
and Shalom Task Force. Th is will be an
open and honest conversation for parents,
guardians and anyone who works
with young people about how to support
the teens in your lives. Attendees will be
anonymous, so anyone can log on to the
event and ask questions if they need support.
To register for the event, call my
offi ce at 718-945-9550 or email amatos@
Domestic abuse is a particularly diffi -
cult issue because the abuser is close to the
victim. A domestic abuser may be tough
to recognize, because oft en their behavior
is concealed and hidden. Th at’s why it
is so important that we empower the people
in our lives to recognize, speak out and
report this injustice.
Young people are at particular risk
of abuse while they are participating in
extracurricular or volunteer activities
beyond their household. Abuse does not
only take a physical form; many instances
of abuse begin with psychological aspects,
which creates a hostile work environment.
Th is forum will explore these questions
and more with experts, and provide
resources for both teens and guardians.
If you are a parent, talk to the teenagers
in your lives about what healthy relationships
look like and how they deserve
to be treated in personal and professional
settings. Communicate with them about
warning signs from other adults, and
ensure that there is another adult that they
can talk to about their concerns.
If you or someone close to you is experiencing
any form of abuse, I see you, I
hear you and I believe you. I am here to
support you, and you are not alone. Th ere
are resources in your community, including
Safe Horizons, which you can contact
at 800-621-HOPE (4673), and Shalom
Task Force, which you can contact at 718-
Please join us on Th ursday and learn
how you can support the people in your
life who need help. Everyone can make a
diff erence, and we can all come together to
bring some light to this terrible darkness.
Stacey Pheff er Amato is the assemblywoman
in District 23, which covers
Broad Channel, Hamilton Beach, Howard
Beach, Lindenwood, Ozone Park and the