There I was trying to drum up an angle to this weeks story grasping on random thoughts such as ‘Gee, with the 7-train Express not running this week pushing everyone onto the 7-train local, the subway cars are more crowded – just like old times.’ Or random facts, such as ‘Hmm, the American Copper Building’s rental towers located directly across the East River just sold for a whopping $850 million. Currently listed 1-br’s range from $4,958 to $6,070, 2-br’s start at $8,067. That’s a huge premium to LIC! Oh wait, I just heard an anecdote about a resident in 47-05 Center Blvd having their rent hiked 22%1.’
Interesting observations, for sure, but then The New York Post put out an article today that the DOE is looking to make changes to the zoning in District 30, and specifically targeting LIC with the thought process being the schools “are not racially representative of the area and that an admissions revamp would address those concerns” according to the Post.
Continuing along this theme “One recent meeting attendee charged some parents with creating a “white wall” around in Long Island City’s PS 78, which is roughly 40 percent white, 25 percent Asian, 25 percent Hispanic, and 4 percent black.” I don’t think anyone needs to parse those numbers to come away with the sense that the school seems pretty diverse. Nevertheless more can be done.
Obviously the white elephant in the room is the low black percentage, the solution to which has vexed policymakers for over half a century. While busing is equitable, it doesn’t seem to move the meter favorably for the less fortunate. And all kids who are bused, in both directions, lose the benefit of being able to walk to a nearby school and the associated time value, lack of expense2 (and environmentally cleaner), and the advantage of having direct community input and participation to make the school even better.
In this case there actually is a solution. It is not an easy solution, and it is much more all-encompassing than just integrating schools – which in and of itself has been ineffective. Instead of busing kids out of their neighborhoods, we should be bringing more diverse residents into the less fortunate neighborhoods.
‘Raze Queensbridge.’ We proposed this 7 years ago, where in addition to creating better housing stock for the current residents and more modestly priced housing supply overall, “The poor will be mainstreamed instead of isolated.” Those who choose to avail themselves of the market rate housing at what we believe will be a discount, possibly significant, will do it knowing that the public elementary schools they are zoned for are the ones in proximity to their homes. Create integration, not just of schools but of neighborhoods, by incentivizing the middle class to move in.
This is a great solution to this issue, but like many great solutions it is a long term one. The best time to start is today, especially with a catalyst putting it into the headlines. Yet perhaps this solution needs a better name? Thus I propose REBUILD QUEENSBRIDGE!
NYC School District Braces For Another Classroom Diversity Issue – and that district is LIC’s