Tag Archives: Queens College

Can politicians comeback after a scandal?


| ctumola@queenscourier.com

When Anthony Weiner and Eliot Spitzer stood in front of the media, admitted their sexual scandals to the public and resigned from office, many believed it was the end of their political careers.

Not only are both men back in politics running for citywide office in New York City, but, according to two recent polls, the Democratic candidates have topped the front-runners in their primary races.

“None of that motivation [to hold political office] goes away because you get caught doing something scandalous,” said Michael Krasner, an associate political science professor at Queens College and co-director of the Taft Institute for Government.

Krasner added that the public tends to be more forgiving of sexual scandals than monetary ones because the former are often viewed as personal matters, compared to the misuse of public money typical of the latter.

But forgiveness may not be the only factor explaining Spitzer and Weiner’s favorable ratings in the polls. Both candidates are benefitting from name recognition, said Krasner.

Yet Spitzer’s high ratings in the polls do not necessarily portend victory on Election Day.

Krasner said Spitzer has made enemies of virtually every interest group in city except for unions. However, many of them have already endorsed Spitzer’s Democratic primary opponent, Manhattan Borough President Scott Stringer.

Such groups are the ones who get out the vote during primary elections, Krasner said.

Though Weiner does not have the same problem as Spitzer, Krasner said the former governor’s political bid could hurt his mayoral chances.

Spitzer “takes the spotlight off of Weiner,” he said. “Spitzer’s entry could hurt Weiner because too many politicians are asking for forgiveness.”

 

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Star of Queens: Jackie Forrestal, Hillcrest Estates Civic Association


By Queens Courier Staff | editorial@queenscourier.com

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COMMUNITY SERVICE: Jackie Forrestal has been active in the Queens community for years. She is a board member of the Central Queens Historical Association. She also served on the St. Joseph’s Advisory Board until the facility closed in 2004.

Forrestal is the corresponding secretary for the Hillcrest Estates Civic Association, while her husband Kevin is president.

BACKGROUND: A lifelong resident of Queens, Forrestal graduated from Martin Van Buren High School and studied at Queens College.

For decades, Forrestal and her husband have volunteered their time and efforts to help countless organizations.

Last year, she was honored by the Queens Civic Congress with the Queens Civic Award for Outstanding Community Service.

She has also been the recipient of a Woman of Distinction Award from Community Board 8 and was one of 29 women to receive the City Council’s Pacesetter Award in 2006.

FAVORITE MEMORY: Forrestal remembers the day she and her husband moved to Hillcrest Estates.

“In 1974, we moved into our first home on 164th Place as homeowners and were invited by the neighbors to square dance,” she said.

BIGGEST CHALLENGE: “Honestly, my biggest challenge has to be saving Jamaica High School from closure,” she said. “This historic and renowned school should not be closed. The phase-out of Jamaica High School is incredibly unjust and unfair to students.”

INSPIRATION: Out of her love for the Queens community, Forrestal has spent decades fighting to preserve programs and institutions to improve the standard of living for residents.

“I love people and I find serving them to be very satisfying and fulfilling,” she said. “Hillcrest Estates is a very special place, my civic work is a nurturing pastime.”

BY LUKE TABET

 

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Queens’ Morning Roundup


| ctumola@queenscourier.com

TODAY’S FORECAST

Wednesday: Overcast with a chance of a thunderstorm and a chance of rain. High of 86. Winds from the South at 10 to 15 mph. Chance of rain 40%. Wednesday night: Overcast with a chance of a thunderstorm and a chance of rain. Low of 70. Winds from the SSW at 10 to 15 mph. Chance of rain 40%.

EVENT OF THE DAY: International Star Andy Statman Plays Mandolin and Clarinet

Considered one of the world’s premier mandolinists and clarinetists, the Grammy-nominated musician Andy Statman has played with everyone from Itzhak Perlman to Jerry Garcia. This concert on Wednesday, May 22 at LeFrak Concert Hall, Queens College is part of a national tour in honor of Statman’s recent National Endowment for the Arts National Heritage Fellowship. Click here for more info or to submit an event of your own

Anthony Weiner launches mayoral run

Anthony Weiner has officially kicked off his political comeback. Almost two years after resigning from Congress because of a Twitter sext scandal, the former Queens politician is running for mayor. Read more: The Queens Courier

Artists howl as developer moves to tear down Long Island City graffiti palace 5Pointz

Long Island City artists are demanding a local panel block a plan to tear down a world-renowned graffiti mecca to make way for a luxury housing project. Read more: New York Daily News

Gay couple, man assaulted in 2 Separate attacks hours after rally against hate crimes

A gay couple was attacked early Tuesday in SoHo and a man was beaten in the East Village, hours after thousands marched to protest the killing of a gay man and several other bias attacks that have shaken the community, officials said. Read more: NBC New York 

Senior citizens hit hard by high electric rates in New York City

The numbers are in. New Yorkers are dishing out double for what most of the country pays for electricity. And if Con Edison gets its way, the rates could jump even higher. Read more: CBS New York

Immigration fingerprint proposal would apply to NYC airports

As Congress works on a comprehensive immigration bill, a new amendment would require all foreigners to be fingerprinted when they leave the U.S. through the nation’s 30 busiest airports. Read more: NY1

FBI kills Fla. man linked to Boston bombing suspect

An FBI agent was involved in a deadly shooting connected to the Boston Marathon bombing case. Read more: NBC News

Rescuers comb Oklahoma tornado rubble for buried survivors

Rescue workers with sniffer dogs and searchlights combed through the wreckage of a massive tornado to ensure no survivors remained buried in the rubble of primary schools, homes and buildings in an Oklahoma City suburb. Read more: Reuters

St. Francis Prep Lady Terriers eyeing softball title


By Queens Courier Staff | editorial@queenscourier.com

SOFTBALL PHOTO

The St. Francis Prep Lady Terriers softball team began this season with high expectations. As the season winds down, they are looking to bring home a Brooklyn/Queens title.

Danielle Cervasio has been on the team all four years, leading off the line-up and starting at shortstop.

She has led her team to four winning seasons. A mainstay for the Lady Terriers, she will continue her student-athlete career at SUNY Cortland.

“I think we have upheld a reputation as a top team and that has a lot to do with the coaching,” said Cervasio, who has a team-first mentality.

She has plenty to be excited about. The Lady Terriers have been just shy of a Brooklyn/Queens title the last four years, but that only makes them hungrier to win this season. They play in one of the most competitive leagues in New York.

“I believe that we can go very far because we have a strong defense and a very tight line-up,” Cervasio said.

“Every girl can hit and knows how to work the count and run the bases. They are all true softball players.”

The Lady Terriers have a camaraderie that has benefited them on and off the field.

“I feel like we have really come together well as a team and everything clicks with these girls,” Cervasio said. “We all play very well together and communicate very well with each other.”

The players have just a few teams in the way of their quest for a title. These include The Mary Louis Academy Hilltoppers and the Archbishop Molloy Stanners.

If the Lady Terriers make it to the championship, game one will be on Monday, May 20 at Queens College.

-BY NEIL A. CAROUSSO

 

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Award-winning author to speak Sunday at Queens College


By Queens Courier Staff | editorial@queenscourier.com

Photo courtesy of Queens College

Stephen Maitland-Lewis, author of the award-winning book “Emeralds Never Fade” will speak at Queens College, on April 21 at 4 p.m.

Lewis has spent two years touring with the book, which tells the story of two young men living during the Holocaust.

“It’s a great honor to be invited,” he said. “I hope that I’m going to be a fantastic speaker.”

Lewis is a member of the Board of Trustees for the college’s Louis Armstrong Museum. He said he was close friends with Armstrong and will begin the event by talking about that friendship.

-BY ANTHONY O’REILLY 

Identify this place in Queens


By Queens Courier Staff | editorial@queenscourier.com

where is this

Do you know where in Queens this photo was taken?

Guess by commenting below!

The answer will be revealed next Friday.

 

Last week’s answer to “Identify this Place”: Benjamin S. Rosenthal Library at Queens College 

Queens College students on ‘Global Brigade’


| mchan@queenscourier.com

Photos courtesy of Queens College

A group of Queens College students has taken their humanitarian efforts overseas.

Nineteen scholars boarded a plane to Nicaragua during their winter break for a nine-day mission to help the poor.

Volunteers assisted local doctors and dentists in San Gabriel in examining thousands of impoverished. They also showed residents, including children, how to properly brush their teeth and distributed vitamins as part of a worldwide initiative called “Global Brigades.”

“The experience opened my eyes to how people in poor parts of the world live,” said Darya Rubenstein, 22, of Flushing. “They have little food, old clothing, no health care. Most are illiterate. Yet they are so positive, with a true understanding of life.”

The students then traveled to El Limon, where they spent four days building houses, installing eco-friendly stoves, latrines and water storage units.

“It was humbling to see their living conditions,” said Mamadou Sire Bah, 20, of Jamaica.“I was more motivated than ever to become a doctor.”

 

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Bill Cosby coming to Queens


| aaltamirano@queenscourier.com

Photo Courtesy of Erinn Chalene

Hey, hey, hey, Bill Cosby is coming our way.

On Saturday, April 6, one of America’s most beloved and respected comedians, will be taking the stage at the Colden Auditorium at Queens College to share his stories with anyone looking for a night filled with laughs.

“For me to perform at a college is usually an opportunity to speak and perform. I do not come out and do ‘educational questions;’ this is a performance,” he said. “You get Bill Cosby, the talking comedian who performs his own writings.”

No matter the generation gap or gender of his audience, Cosby has fascinated fans with his comedy routines, iconic albums and best-selling books. Cosby promises the upcoming show will be “hilarious” and will include the audience’s identification with the subject of conflicts at home, parenting, and relationships pertaining to the student.

“It’s not about the changing of a chair that the student sits in, or whether or not someone can record what the professor is saying or whether one has a computer or a number two yellow pencil,” he said. “It’s about the human beings.”

Having experience with raising five children with the former Camille Hanks, Cosby believes it is very important to bring such subjects out on stage and watch everyone laugh and have them know that the person talking to them knows something about their feelings.

“People come out saying things like ‘how did he get in my house?’” he quipped.

Cosby holds fond memories of Queens when the Huxtables made their move from Brooklyn to Astoria, spending many years filming “The Cosby Show” at Kaufman Astoria Studios and where later “Cosby,” a CBS comedy TV series, was also filmed for three years.

“Many times there are people who have shot their shows there and they always say ‘we were in your studio,’” he said.
Breaking television’s racial barrier with the series “I Spy” in the 1960s, Cosby became the first African American to costar in a television series while winning three consecutive Emmys. He also went on to create and produce the Emmy award-winning cartoon “Fat Albert and the Cosby Kids,” designed both to entertain and educate viewers.

With Cosby’s intent on portraying an American family, “The Cosby Show” was about a close-knit, upper middle class African-American family. The show conquered the number one spot for years, earning admiration for its contribution to American entertainment and culture.

In his current best-seller titled “I Didn’t Ask to Be Born, But I’m Glad I Was,” Cosby talks about everything from the Bible to being a grandfather.

For those not familiar with his style of performing, Cosby recommends they watch scenes from his recent appearances on “Late Night with Jimmy Fallon” or the “Late Show with David Letterman.”

Cosby’s performance is part of the Kupferberg Center for the Arts’ “Best of the Best Series.” Tickets are $35 to $65 and are available by calling the Kupferberg Center Box Office at 718-793-8080 or online at www.KupferbergCenter.org.

 

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Bayside street to be renamed after man who perished on 9/11


| mchan@queenscourier.com

Photo Courtesy of Talat Hamdani

He died a hero in his mother’s eyes and a potential enemy to his country.

Now the family of Mohammed Salman Hamdani, the Bayside hero found wrongly accused of having ties to the 9/11 terrorist attacks, will have his cleared name on a street sign.

“He was a kind, compassionate and humble American. The most important thing to remember about him is his due place in history,” said mother Talat Hamdani, 61. “He gave the ultimate sacrifice.”

Mohammed Salman Hamdani was a 23-year-old NYPD cadet and certified paramedic when he voluntarily and fatally rushed to his nation’s aid 11 years ago.

“We knew he would go. That was him,” said Talat of her first son. “He would help people in the streets if they were in distress. If there was an accident, he would pull over and see if everything was okay.”

But instead of honor, the chemistry major at Queens College died with a tarnished name.

Authorities hunted him, falsely suspecting the Pakistani-American was in league with terrorists until his remains were found scattered in the rubble near the north tower by his medical bag, according to reports.

Now Community Board 11 has voted unanimously to honor the hometown hero by renaming the street sign on 204th Street at 35th Avenue, outside his former Bayside home, after his legacy.

“It was very emotional, listening to [Talat] and her pain,” said district manager Susan Seinfeld. “As a mother myself, I can just feel that. I can’t imagine what she’s gone through. He should be recognized as much as anyone who was on duty. He gave his life to help people.”

About six street signs within the Community Board have been renamed in honor of 9/11 victims, Seinfeld said.

“A street renaming is a very small but appropriate recognition of his bravery,” said Councilmember Dan Halloran. “He entered the twin towers not because he had to but because he chose to dedicate his life to helping people.”

Mohammed Salman is also mentioned in the 2001 Patriot Act as a 9/11 Muslim-American hero.

“We will never know how many lives he saved that day,” Talat said. “My son is priceless. Nothing can bring him back.”

 

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Marshall gives final State of the Borough address


| tcullen@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/Photos by Terence M. Cullen

In the final State of the Borough address of her administration, Borough President Helen Marshall focused on the continued recovery of south Queens nearly three months after Sandy — honoring one first responder in particular for his valiant efforts during the storm.

“Let’s reflect together now,” she said on Tuesday, January 22, “on the devastation Sandy caused. The relief, from across the street and across the country, and the rebuilding, now underway, inspired by hope and the promise of tomorrow.”

Marshall honored the memory of Dylan Smith — the Belle Harbor surfer who tragically died in Puerto Rico last month — for his heroic efforts to help neighbors during the storm. With Smith’s parents in attendance, Marshall announced her office would give a $10,000 grant to the Swim Strong Foundation, which teaches a healthy lifestyle through swimming, in Smith’s memory.

Swim Strong founder Shawn Slevin said the grant in Smith’s name would continue to help the program, which has taught more than 2,000 people water safety and granted nearly 700 scholarships.

“This will mean so much for our scholarship funds,” Slevin said. “The borough president and her staff have always been very supportive of us.”

Michael McDonald, who helped rescue Belle Harbor residents alongside Smith, recalled the late surfer was modest to the attention he received after the storm. Before the audience at Queens College’s Colden Theater, McDonald gave a heartfelt recollection of the late October night and referred to Smith as “a guardian angel in a wetsuit.”

“The idea that his name will be mentioned in what he loved to do, which was not only swim and surf, but look out for the safety of others [is wonderful],” he said.

Marshall, covering several other items on her 2013 agenda, called for continued legislation at the state and federal level to reduce gun violence. Marshall applauded the anti-gun work of Mayor Michael Bloomberg and announced she plans to sponsor a gun buy back program sometime this spring.

“While Thanksgiving was muted by Sandy and the holiday season was saddened by the horrific violence in Newtown, let’s all agree that 2013 must be a year of hope,” Marshall said. “Our hope for getting guns off the street is gaining momentum. Here in our city, we have a long-standing and tireless leader in this effort: Mayor Michael Bloomberg. Perhaps that’s part of the reason we have seen the lowest number of murders in the past 40 years.”

 

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Crisis at home leads to new wave of Greek immigrants


By Queens Courier Staff | editorial@queenscourier.com

Photo courtesy of Sophia Rosenbaum

BY SOPHIA ROSENBAUM

Dimitris Velitsianos couldn’t find work in his Greek homeland, so he left to seek a better life in Queens.

“I don’t think things are going to get better in Greece soon,” said Velitsianos, 20, a full-time student at John Jay College and a part-time waiter at Agnanti. “I don’t see any future in Greece.”

Four decades ago, a political coup brought thousands of Greeks to Astoria. Now, a failing economy that’s more than $400 billion in debt is fueling a recent wave of immigration.

Numbers are hard to come by, but the signs of a Greek surge in Astoria are everywhere: Enrollment numbers are up at the local Greek-American elementary school. Greek restaurants are flooded with job applications. A local nonprofit immigration center has seen a 25 to 50 percent increase in recently arrived Greeks.

“People tend to gravitate where they feel comfortable,” said Antonio Meloni, the executive director of immigration advocacy services at the Immigration Outreach Center on Steinway Street.

Astoria’s Greek population peaked in the 1970s – with about 250,000 Greeks arriving between 1965 and 1980. But the area has since turned into a mosaic of cultures, said Nicholas Alexiou, a professor at Queens College who studies the Greek conflict and Greek-American life.

For many Greeks, smells of pungent olives, sharp feta and savory lamb at authentic restaurants in Astoria are reminders of their homeland.

Lifelong Astoria resident Fay Lanbrianidis, 29, recently opened a café across the street from Agnanti, her parent’s restaurant, which has seen an increase in job seekers from Greece.

“Within the past three months, people just walk into the restaurant asking for a job,” she said. “We could say a good three to four per day that are coming in to ask for jobs.”

Betsy Sideris, assistant principal of St. Demetrios Elementary in Astoria, said the spike in Greek students has gone from three to 15 students this school year.

Sideris said in the past, the Greek government funded teachers from Greece for three-year teaching stints, but discontinued that program this year.

“The loss of the Greek government’s assistance added $250,000 to our budget to pay teachers’ salaries,” Sideris said.

While Panourgia acknowledged Greeks gravitate to Astoria because of the tight-knit community, she added that this same sense of community is what is keeping many others in Greece.

“Things are desperate in Greece,” she said. “But there is a real commitment to the country.”

The people feeling the biggest squeeze by the current crisis are the old and young, as programs get slashed and new opportunities dwindle, said Anthanasios Aronis, the president of the culture committee at the Federation of Hellenic Societies.

Like Sideris, Aronis gets calls from young professionals desperate to leave Greece and come to America. But, Aronis said, the reality is that these educated workers wind up getting jobs as waiters and cashiers.

“These people that are hurting right now are college graduates and it’s very difficult for them to come here and be a waiter,” he said.

While many Greeks are headed towards America, Lanbrianidis and Panourgia still dream of one day living in Greece.

“It’s actually one of my big dreams because the quality of life is ridiculous,” Lanbrianidis said. “You won’t get that quality of life here, unless you’re super rich.”

 

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QC’s Outstanding Frosh ready for year 2


By Queens Courier Staff | editorial@queenscourier.com

Photo courtesy of Carla Pennolino

BY CARLA PENNOLINO

Reggie Miller enjoyed a Hall of Fame basketball career with the Indiana Pacers after altering his shot at a young age because his older sister, Cheryl — also a Hall of Famer — would always block it.

Abe Akanmu of the Queens College men’s basketball team can relate to the star’s beginnings.

“I got into basketball because my older sister used to play and I wanted to do everything just like her,” Akanmu said. “I fell in love with the game and the rest is history.”

The standout sophomore started playing basketball at age five and the experience has shown throughout his hard work, dedication and leadership inside Fitzgerald Gym, QC’s home court.

Akanmu received East Coast Conference All-Rookie honors as well as a QC Outstanding Freshman award last year. The point guard averaged 8.0 points per game and dished out 35 assists in only 13 games played; he missed much of the early and middle portions of the season due to a knee injury. He received East Coast Conference Rookie of the Week honors on November 14, 2011 and later scored a season-high 25 points against St. Thomas Aquinas on February 1.

Last year, explained Akanmu, was an up and down season not only for him, but for the entire squad. After starting off the season strong with a winning record, the team faltered and ended with a 4-22 mark. A torn PCL in his left knee robbed the Staten Island-native of 13 games but he plans on coming back and helping lead the team toward a much better ending this time around.

“The goal is always to win the championship,” said Akanmu. “The key is to take it step by step. This year, we need to focus on getting into the playoffs and then we will take it from there.”

The guard loves the game for its competitive nature, which fuels his drive toward greatness.

“I hate losing, but love the game. It’s what I care about,” he said.

As a junior at Xaverian High School, the political science major knew he wanted to be a QC Knight.

“Head coach Kyrk Peponakis recruited me to be a big part of the team,” said Akanmu. “I like being a leader and always want to be.”

Peponakis recognized Akanmu’s potential in high school and wanted the 5’11” guard to be an integral part of the Knights’ future.

“He is a solid all-around guard who can not only shoot but defend,” said Peponakis. “He knows the game very well and he is a leader on the court.”

Akanmu’s most memorable basketball achievement, in fact, occurred in that same junior year. The Xaverian squad beat three nationally ranked high schools — Christ the King, Bishop Loughlin and Rice — during the 2009-10 season.

“We beat top teams in the nation,” said Akanmu. “That was big for me.”

A similar scenario can play out for Akanmu and the Knights this season as LIU-Post was predicted to repeat as ECC champions in a preseason poll.

In the future, he can’t see himself abandoning his love of the sport, instead he envisions himself as a coach or running a camp or clinic. He cannot let his passion go.

“Basketball teaches you a lot about life,” he explained. “It teaches you to work as a team, work ethic, responsibility, discipline and how to listen.”

When the Knights’ conference season tips off Saturday, December 1 at Mercy College, Akanmu will be sporting a symbolic jersey number.

“I chose number one because I want to be the best,” Akanmu said.

One family feeds the Rockaways


| aaltman@queenscourier.com

SANDY FOOD CART2

One family-owned food cart rolled down to the Rockaways to feed Sandy survivors their first warm meal in weeks.

Two weeks ago, Shah’s Halal Food Cart relocated from its usual spot by Queens College and set up in the Rockaways, handing out chicken and lamb over rice, falafel and kebabs for free.

For many displaced locals, it was the first warm meal they had eaten since the storm hit.

“They were really happy,” said Khalid Mashriqi, who co-owns the food cart with his brother, Shah. “People were saying this was the best meal they’ve had in a week.”

Assisted by Mashriqi’s uncle, NYPD Detective Qudratulla Mashriqi, Mashriqi parked the cart outside a church on 129th Street in the Rockaways. Crowds gathered by Mashriqi’s cart, soaking in the heat as it wafted off the griddle. Over 600 people scarfed down hot meals, staying by the cart until hours after the sun had set. For those with ailing relatives or young children, the vendors handed out extra food. By the end of the night, they had given away every single scrap.

Seeing Sandy’s destruction first-hand, Mashriqi said, was overwhelming.

The idea to serve Rockaway residents came to Mashriqi from hearing about the devastation from his uncle, who had been helping out in the decimated region in the weeks since the storm. The nine-year police veteran’s story of an entire row of homes, obliterated by the violent water, pulled at Mashriqi’s heartstrings.

During the food cart’s day-long stint in the Rockaways, people tried to leave money in exchange for lunch. At the end of their shift, Mashriqi folded the $120 tip in an envelope and handed it to a woman and her three young grandchildren.

“A lot of people were so thankful and asking what they could do,” Mashriqi said. “Just pray. Just pray the situation gets better.”

Seinfeld comes home, performs at alma mater Queens College


| brennison@queenscourier.com

Photo courtesy of John Shearer

When Jerry Seinfeld emerged from behind the curtain at the Colden Auditorium, he was not only returning to his alma mater, but to the stage that helped launch his comedy career.

“This is where I started the whole damn thing,” Seinfeld said as he greeted the crowd at Queens College’s sold-out Colden Auditorium, his fourth of five shows in each of the city’s boroughs.

Seinfeld first landed on the Queens College stage in the 1970s as part of a student play.

“I was a reporter in the play and it wasn’t really supposed to be funny,” the Massapequa-born comedian remembered. “I came out and made the whole thing really funny and it wasn’t a comedy play.”

The director pulled him aside to remind him it wasn’t a comedy, Seinfeld said, “And I said, ‘Screw this acting thing, I’m going to [Manhattan comedy club] Catch a Rising Star.”

Between Catch a Rising Star and the Thursday, October 18 show, Seinfeld turned himself into a world-renowned comedian and co-creator of one of the most beloved sitcoms of all-time, “Seinfeld.”

Seinfeld, who helped write the show famously about nothing, still displayed the ability to riff on the frivolities of life, including a five-minute bit on breakfast and the magic of Pop-Tarts.

“Once there were Pop-Tarts, I did not understand why other types of food continued to exist,” Seinfeld joked. “My mother was shopping and preparing meals, I was like, ‘What are you doing, it’s over? You’ll never beat this.’”

Other topics touched on by the funnyman were marriage (“When you’re single you can oversleep a half hour and no one even notices”); energy drinks (“What does it even feel like to be in deficit of five hours of energy?”); and food (“Why is it that you can smell french fries through a three foot concrete wall?”).

But Seinfeld also focused on Queens in the homecoming show. It was his first time back to the school since he received an honorary doctorate in 1994.

“I am so happy to be back in Queens. I love Queens,” he said.

Students and residents can easily identify with the grief Seinfeld remembered from his two years at Queens College: Parking problems and the misnamed Utopia Parkway.

“At what point was that a utopia?” said Seinfeld, who carried a double major while at the school, communication and arts and sciences.

“I took two majors because both of those are about half a major together.”

Following the 75-minute show, Seinfeld returned to the stage to take questions from the audience.

When asked for a favorite episode, Seinfeld said he gets foggy on which stories go with which episode, but rattled off a few treasured scenes: the golf ball in the blowhole of the whale, George accidentally poisoning his fiancée with toxic envelopes and Jerry stealing the rye bread from the old lady.

Currently, Seinfeld is filming an Internet show “Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee,” which is exactly what the name implies. Seinfeld will pick up a comedian in an exotic car and they’ll chat and quip while driving and sitting down for a coffee or meal.

Among those featured on the show was his “Seinfeld” co-creator Larry David, who rode in a 1952 VW Bug.

But those awaiting a reunion show will not be hearing “Seinfeld, party of four,” any time soon.

“When you sit in those director chairs, it’s just depressing,” Seinfeld said. “Yeah, it’s great, it’s great … it’s over.”

CBS Financial Analyst gives tips at QC


| tcullen@queenscourier.com

The economy is on the upswing, albeit slowly, but there is still a long road ahead to full economic recovery, said CBS financial analyst Jill Schlesinger.

This was one of the several talking points of Schlesinger, editor-at-large of CBS MoneyWatch, when she spoke on Friday, September 21 at a business forum at Queens College. Among other things, Schlesinger discussed the job market and housing, and offered advice on financial planning.

Schlesinger, who got her start as a trader on Wall Street, broke down some of the causes of the 2008 economic crisis that still has a number of countries scrambling to get back on their feet. A cause of the “bubble bursting,” according to Schlesinger, was overspending on credit, deregulation, and mortgages that were too easily approved.

“We really had a perfect storm in that market,” she said. “We got lazy as investors, we just expected things go up. [Investors] bought into this idea that things are great.”

Schlesinger said the highest demographic of those unemployed were workers who only possessed a high school diploma. The lowest group of unemployed was those with at least a bachelor’s degree, and Schlesinger told the Queens College students in attendance that it paid to complete their degrees.

“College is worth it if you don’t spend too much money on it,” she said. “You picked the right place. Stay in school and get degrees, because college really is worth it.”

But though the last time the nation lost jobs was February 2010, there are still nearly five million fewer jobs than before the recession’s 2008 peak.

To plan for the future, Schlesinger advised that those planning to retire put aside additional money and determine how much they would need for the rest of their life.

“Hopefully what we see, and after what we’ve gone through and where we are in this recovery, what you understand is it’s still your personal, financial life,” she said. “It’s still up to you to manage it, and it really is up to you not to blow it. I wish it would be different, but it’s just not.”