Many thanks for Jennifer Manley’s Jan. 18 story on the unfortunate destruction of the Hackett Building in Long Island City. Just recently, I was walking past this amazing building and saying to myself, thank goodness this is still here. It was comforting to know that this building was still part of the landscape.
Last week, the scaffolds went up and I knew something unfortunate was planned. There is a destruction frenzy going on in Queens, so I had feared the worst. Now we know. Longterm residents cannot figure out how someone can take such amazing structures and not simply renovate and restore them to livable status instead of adding a monolith either on top of it or next to it.
The Eagle Electric factory at Astoria Park and the old Schwartz Chemical plant near the ferry landing at 50th Avenue are cases in point. These were marvels of architecture in their heyday and now look like something out of Disneyland or will be shortly. Complete eyesores. The Badge & Echelon buildings further down 11th Street are a complete joke, priced far above market rate and far out of reach of local residents. A couple struggling with a combined income of $80,000 cannot even begin to look at these apartments. I will not even go into what is happening at Queens West.
There are many, many people in L.I.C. and Astoria who are totally fed up with how our neighborhoods have been handed over to millionaire developers by the Pataki and the Bloomberg administrations, who have no aesthetic concept of what a building should look like in an established neighborhood where people have their roots and without any regard for the people who were born and raised here. For the life of me, it is beyond comprehension how someone can get away with this other than the fact that the Buildings Department and the City Planning Commission simply have no regard for longterm residents.
To applaud a 20 percent guarantee of affordable housing that is not even situated on the actual building site as Councilman Eric Gioia publicly came out and applauded (i.e.: the deal for the Silvercup tower monstrosity that will be erected smack up against the Queensboro Bridge) is an outrage.
Astoria residents, including myself who were affected by the brownouts last summer are the ones who are directly affected since Con Ed transfers power that is generated in our neighborhoods, overloading our network grid, in order to support these luxury condos that are invading our riverfront and our rising taxes are paying for their tax breaks.
L.I.C. and Astoria do not need any more luxury condos. We are not wealthy people. We need affordable housing. There simply is none anymore. We want to remain in our neighborhoods that we were born and raised in. We want to raise our families here. Restoration, not destruction.
Chris De Stefano,
Letter sent to Queens Chronicle