Wednesday, July 27, 2005

Follow up to the Gentrification of Queens article

So it appears that I wasn't the only one that was upset by the possible gentrification of Queens. Check out this letter to the editor in this week's New York magazine:

Our Town
I’m a Queens native, and I enjoyed “The Queens 50” [July 18]. But I also found the tone of the article not a little ironic: A publication that targets the sort of upwardly mobile readership largely responsible for gentrification ends up lamenting the supposedly inevitable gentrification of Queens. In ten years, if Queens is overrun with hipsters and yuppies and the working people have been priced out, please don’t shake your heads solemnly as if you had nothing to do with it.
—Dave Stork, New Paltz, N.Y.

Take that New York magazine!

Wednesday, July 13, 2005

50 Things to Do in Queens

Okay, so in this week's New York magazine there's a bit called "50 Things to Do in Queens (Before it Gentrifies)". Now ordinarily I'd be excited that Queens was finally getting some play and positive attention from NYC as a whole, and while the list is pretty cool, it bothered me for two reasons. 1) I resent the implication that Queens is in need of gentrification. defines gentrification as: The restoration and upgrading of deteriorated urban property by middle-class or affluent people, often resulting in displacement of lower-income people. See what I mean? What are they trying to say? That there are currently no middle-class and/or affluent people currently residing in Queens? And 2) Queens is going to become trendy? Like Wiliamsburg? Oh Jesus.

Thinking of scads of people moving into Queens and erecting Starbucks all over the place is quite scary. What I like about Queens - at least the parts I live in is that it can feel small townish, Main Street USA when you want it to. And when you want Starbucks and trends - you go to the city.

If you are interested you can find the list at:

Props to my neighborhood can be found in the mentions of Maspeth "Lose yourself in a Normal Rockwell painting" and Juniper Valley Park. Hopefully once everybody reads and recycles this issue of New York magazine everyone will forget all about Queens again and we can go back to living our happy uninterrupted airplane roaring cemetery lives.

Monday, July 11, 2005

I find this amusing

I recently found this website: courtesy of the Black Table, which provided a link to it. Now what I was reading on this site was the pranks - notably the Credit Card Prank and the Turnpike Prank. I love it when people take on "the man", stores, restaurants, and in this case, even toll booths to prove that in this day and age it can take quite a bit of effort to get someone to give you a little personal attention.

Wednesday, July 06, 2005

Three Cheers for Great Britain

For those of you who haven't heard - the race is over. London will be hosting the 2012 Summer Olympics, so today New York's politicians are pulling their frowny faces out about this loss. And while they lament I'd like to share my own reaction which is - HIP HIP HOORAY! THREE CHEERS FOR LONDON!

Now it can be argued that there were plenty of people who wanted New York to win the bid for the Olympics. People like politcians who figure they'll look good by bringing in so much revenue and tourism to the city. People like Donald Trump who will make a mint renting out hotel rooms to Olympic goers. And of course the guy who sells the little NYC skyline snowglobes and I Love NY t-shirts in Times Square.

But how does everybody else feel about the loss? The people that live and work and pay taxes here? Psyched.

Now I'm not saying that I wasn't on a fence a little about this myself. I'm always happy to see revenue brought into the city, because from my three years as a news reporter in Queens, I know how much we are always in need of it. As a Mets fan, I even don't mind when the Yankees are in the World Series because seven games in the Bronx means mondo bucks for the city. So a part of me wondered if I should tough it out and say, "sure, bring the Olympics on in. It will create jobs, and boost the local economy a whole bunch." Even though it would cripple traffic in every borough, an make life for any Queens, Brooklynite and Bronxite a complete and utter nightmare. (Manhattanites would have suffered somewhat too, but I have less sympathy for them because most of them just take the subway)

But then the verdict on the West Side Stadium came in and I was decided.

We didn't get the West Side Stadium which was a huge part of NY's bid for the Olympics. So Bloomberg had to come up with Plan B. And that was? Queens! He just figured he'd move it all to Queens, to Flushing Meadows Park - which is already a mess most of the summer with Mets games and eventually the U.S. Open.

Mayor Bloomberg, let me tell you something about Queens. It is not just your private dumping ground for whatever you can't fit or don't want in Manhattan. We've already got 17 cemeteries (yes 17) both major NY airports, power plants, and spillover truck traffic from the LIE. And still we manage to be a delightfully joyful, diverse and residential borough. Despite the fact that every minute of our lives there is a 747 roaring overhead and that when you walk to the grocery store you can visit your Aunt Mildred's grave from the sidewalk, Queens is a great borough. (You all know about my borough pride, so just take it and be quiet). So sorry Bloomie. Sorry to burst your bubble, but this one ain't gonna happen. For the first time - Queens wins one.

Score: Queens: 1 Bloomberg: 0

Tuesday, July 05, 2005

War of the Worlds

So I saw this movie on Saturday - and I have to say, I was pleasantly surprised. Now I don't want to give away too much for those of you who are still planning to see it - but I just wanted to say, this is not your run of the mill Independence Day popcorn flick. The president doesn't make a speech (trademark: Eric C.), there's no sweeping orchestra victory music, and Tom Cruise is not a hero. He's a regular joe - as puzzled and eventually pissed off by this invasion as you or I would be.

See it my friends. And when you do, let me know what you thought!