“Nothing happens. Nobody comes, nobody goes. It’s awful.”Samuel Beckett, Waiting For Godot
IN between breaking news about restaurant opening’s and musing on the direction of local real estate markets, it’s not unusual that I include a link to a violent crime that recently occurred with the comment “meanwhile up in Queensbridge” if that’s where it took place.
The flippancy of this comment has nothing to do with the lack of gravity over the act, and everything to do with the exasperation of it’s recurrence and inability to change this state of affairs. In reading the headline about the shooting death of a 37-year old man several weeks ago, I was about to cut and paste the link and my usual comment once again1, but the frequency has increased to a level of desperation. The fact is that nothing short of a major overhaul will curtail this violence.
In addition to the persistence and uptick of violent crime in Queensbridge – largely perpetrated on victims within it’s own community – we are coming to the beginning of a new administration. Over 8 years DeBlasio’s contribution to moving the meter on poverty have been de minimis. There has been a lot of jawboning and a few fatuous moonshots (BQX Connector anyone? ) meant to rile both the more and less fortunate, but nothing substantive.
I truly hope the new Mayor is able to enact more meaningful and tangible changes. Given the vastness of the task and budgets that are not unlimited, it will require innovative solutions, and customized ones. Almost seven years ago LICtalk outlined one of those solutions, razing Queensbridge and building newer and larger towers that will make occupants happy, proud and less isolated from the mainstream. Since that time the rationale has only gotten stronger given both the widening inequality gap and the degradation of the existing buildings. Not to mention the tremendous amount of money being wasted on upkeep.
As for the Devil’s Bargain of gentrification and densification, I have long maintained an even-handed mindset towards new real estate development, both jaundiced and realistic. While some may see the city’s population increase from 8.1 to 8.9 million between 2010 and 2020 positively, as a middle of the road New Yorker I absolutely do not.2 On the other hand I was an advocate for Amazon HQ2. That’s because unlike most other parts of the city, LIC is well suited for growth.
Rebuilding Queensbridge is a massive undertaking whose end results and success may not be credited until well after the newest administration has completed another election cycle. And of course in 2021 it is sure to receive a controversial stamp of disapproval from one fringe group or another who wants more, more, more without providing realistic alternative solutions.3 But the logic and the economics are solid, and the sooner we can get started the fewer deaths we will need to read about in the papers. Eric Adams the ball is in your court…
Man Gunned Down At Public Housing Complex In Queens – it won’t be the last, but some day may there be no more ‘meanwhile’s’
Julie Won Named Winner In LIC’s District 26 Council Race – congrats Julie, now take a look and get on board
Donovan Richards Wins 2nd Term As Queens Borough Prez – congrats Donovan, now take a look and get on board