IT’S that time of year when we take the measure of the preceding 365, and 3650. And a recently installed traffic sign encapsulated the weariness of LIC in the 2020’s in the wizened eyes of The Editor. Exhibited all the way to the right in the photo above, its placement indicates that this one block stretch of 5th Street in Hunters Point is no longer 2-way. Back in the day, when everything was fresh, that actually would have been newsworthy in Long Island City. Lesser publications may have even devoted a whole article to it. Today it is just a street sign.
Yet old ideas that may have seemed like outliers at the time of proposal, take on new form as time passes and neighborhoods grow, significantly in the case of LIC.
One idea that we put forth back in 2013 was to bring lights to the Queens West playing field. Our argument was simple: it quadruples the field usage for adults on weekdays.
Back then this was simply an item on a wish-list, today the analysis behind it is a Harvard Business School Case-Study in the optimization of space and resources.
Back then there were grumblings that TF or Rockrose were opposed to the idea due to the impositions it would place on some of their tenants. Grumblings or not, today it would be a benefit, and an attractive marketing tool for all those who would utilize the field and find its proximity a boon. Furthermore as we stated back then, a 9pm hard stop would be an imposition on no one – as with every HBS case-study, we covered everything.
Now that we’ve (re)stated our case, may 2023 be the year of logic and getting things done in LIC, is that too much to ask for?
//Ironically, the background to our story weaves other tales of yore to the here and now and beyond. The initial missive for the lights on the QueensWest Field was written to our previous councilman Jimmy Van Bramer, who as we noted in said missive was omnipresent in these parts back in the day, the predominant politician in this neighborhood, and a benign Boss Tweed who truly did assist in getting things done.
Par for the course in regards to his omnipresence, was his attendance at a press conference for a STOP sign being installed on the same aforementioned 5th Street in Hunters Point back in January 2019, replete with press release photos of him onsite at a dais surrounded by smiling mothers and children. A month later Amazon would announce their withdrawal from LIC and his ardent denunciation of their new headquarters rendered him persona non grata in this town.
Truth is stranger than fiction. Yet it is also a lesson for those who study history. In this case I am referring to our new councilperson, Julie Won, who somewhat deftly navigated the recent Innovation QNS negotiations, by making some demands and then making some compromises. In the Queenswest Lights example above, we have clearly enunciated a community need, the logic behind a change, and the obstacles and why they may no longer be. What is needed now is someone to bring all the pieces together1, and then take credit for doing so. Because there’s nothing this old hack likes more than a new press release and photo-op. Woo-hoo!
- facilitating this, Leslie Wright, the regional director at the NYS Parks Dept., and the Elghanayan’s have a good working relationship. As for the initial financial outlay they’ll find a way, and the financial upkeep can be offset with permitting fees [↩]