To The [Queens Tribune] Editor:
Anyone who thinks that life in New York City has gotten demonstrably better over the past few years must be living in Manhattan. Those of us poor folk who live in “the outer boroughs,” if we are not delusional, should have a more realistic perspective.
From where I sit, my neighborhood, Astoria, has become dangerously overcrowded, its infrastructure is collapsing, it’s much dirtier and more graffiti-strewn than it was when I moved to Queens 10 years ago. The quality of life has definitely declined, but what makes the disintegration of a once-charming community hard to take is that it isn’t happening in parts of the City where the Census tracks are wealthier and better educated and where people are in a position to stand up and complain.
Last year, we, in Western Queens, suffered through days on end in the sweltering heat without electricity. That wouldn’t have happened in Manhattan; nor would it have happened in Park Slope or Williamsburg or Riverdale. But it happened here, because it was permitted to happen.
Mayor Bloomberg, who is has been touted as the greatest Mayor in NYC history, has contributed heavily not only to his own re-election campaign, but to the ever-widening divide between those who can go into a trendy Manhattan restaurant and pay upwards of $200 for a meal and those of us who, on very special occasions, eat takeout, rent a movie, and look wistfully to that fortress of wealth and privilege across the river.