From the Queens Chronicle
As a third generation Astorian, I am in full agreement with Chris De Stefano’s letter to the editor about the “Relentless Development.” As residents and taxpayers, we are not benefiting at all from these changes. Many historical single family homes have been demolished to make way for these “vertical coffins,” which change the tenor of our neighborhood. It appears that the building glut has gotten out of control. There is a new structure on almost every block.
What does that say about our community services? Schools are now overutilized; trains and buses are overcrowded. Trying to park your car on a local side street is comparable to searching for a parking spot in Manhattan. Con Edison cannot keep up with the construction. Hopefully, the sewer system can.
Our local supermarkets have turned into gourmet emporiums with similar prices. But most importantly, the flow of people into Astoria has forced the price of housing skyward. How can the old timers live with all these increases? What can be done to help them maintain a quality and standard of living?
Somewhere, somehow, all the new construction has been approved. My question is: by whom? How much of a part does the community board play? Doesn’t the Department of Buildings and the City Planning Commission understand that our community is overutilized and underserved now? Where are their surveys and environmental studies? What plans have they made to accommodate a burgeoning population?
What will happen to our community in five more years? As a result of the heavy pollution (from local industry and air and ground traffic) that we have lived with for years ... the proof is that in our local schools, the rate of childhood asthma is approximately one in seven children. Everyone knows that the air quality in Astoria/Long Island City is one of the worst in the entire five boroughs. Can it possibly get worse? Does anyone care?
I am certain that De Stefano and I would like to remain “Astorians” for a long time ... but will we?