Tuesday, August 21, 2007

The Future Of New York

Dear Editor (of the Queens Chronicle):

Mayor Michael Bloomberg has outlined the future of New York City in a press conference on Dec. 12. He depicted a population growth from the present 8,000,000 to 9,000,000 in the very near future. We have recently witnessed floods, trees falling and even a tornado. Our sewers and infrastructure are obsolete to a point where millions of dollars of damage is inflicted on New York City properties, not to mention a danger to lives.We’ve outgrown our infrastructure, our schools and hospitals are overflowing and our quality of life is depreciating rapidly.

Yet developers are encouraged to build affordable housing and offered abatement incentives. The new 421-A Property Tax Abatement program would destroy a borough like Queens. Developers are replacing one- and two-family homes with 10-story and higher buildings. Our new aggressive developers would not respect the criteria for these incentives because enforcement does not exist. Developers would take full advantage of this lack of enforcement and abuse the program. They would reap the tax abatement rewards of the program and build massive apartments wherever a vacant lot exists. One- and two-family homes would be torn down and replaced with larger buildings. This already is happening in Queens, in neighborhoods like Elmhurst, Jackson Heights, Corona and Sunnyside.

To further exacerbate the destruction of Queens our roads are in disrepair, our subways are inadequate, traffic is burdened with taxis, legal and gypsies, school buses, airport traffic and commuter automobiles carrying non-city dwellers to work and back home daily by the thousands.

We support three airports, thousands of trucks in our streets supplying 8,000,000 people with the necessities of daily life. We learned this summer that our power plants couldn’t furnish the necessary requirements for our present population. Before new building permits are issued, a thorough study should be completed to insure that the antiquated infrastructure could support the proposed development. Presently along Queens Boulevard dozens of high-rise buildings are in development without taking into account infrastructure or traffic problems. Instead of encouraging additional building in New York City, outlying cities and communities should absorb the population growth currently being attracted to New York City.

A 1-mile stretch along Queens Boulevard, from Broadway to 63rd Drive, is the most overdeveloped and congested in New York City. At present, this mile long area consists of Queens Center Mall including Rockaway Bedding and Target and approximately 15 other stores, Queens Center Mall with JC Penney, Macy’s, and many other smaller stores. On this street are six banks, a Sears Auto Center, St. John’s Hospital. Rego Park Mall consisting of Sears, Marshalls, Bed Bath and Beyond, Circuit City, Old Navy and other smaller stores. A large P.C. Richards and Levitz are also in this area. In addition to the many retail stores and 12 multistoried apartment buildings, there are five, 6-story garages at Macy’s, St. John’s Hospital, Queens Center Mall. These garages attract thousands of cars daily for customer parking and commuter parking.

Presently, there are proposed plans to build two 17-story apartment buildings at the intersection of Broadway and Queens Boulevard.Also planned are two 18-story apartment buildings including retail and commercial stores at a site on Queens Boulevard and 60th Avenue. This overdevelopment of a 1-mile stretch is short sighted and will have a negative impact on traffic, infrastructure, schools and public transportation. At present the Grand Avenue and Woodhaven Boulevard subway stations are overburdened to capacity. The communities of Elmhurst and Rego Park will be impacted to limits with all this additional proposed construction.

Bloomberg, Queens Borough President Helen Marshall, City Planning and the Buildings Department must thoroughly study this area and take the necessary steps to rezone and remedy this overly congested area before any additional construction takes place. Automobile traffic is deplorable. Our subway and bus transportation is overwhelmed and the problem is continually getting worse.

Bloomberg’s prediction of future 12-hour rush hours is not an acceptable option for an overpopulated New York City.

Nick Pennachio
member of Community Board 4

(With this letter, Nick may be positioning himself for removal from CB4)

Photo from Planet of the Apes

21 comments:

Anonymous said...

NYC can't take another million. If anything, we need to LOSE a million.

How bad do things have to get with blackouts, floods, traffic, etc. before people realize what a ticking time bomb all of this development is?

westernqueensland said...

Excellent Letter!
I wish that they would try to build for the new arrivals, rather than "ostrich-ing" from responsibility. It is a shame that this does not bode well for the author of the letter's future on the CB, this kind of honesty and integrity that might make the city work for the (existent) residents.

Anonymous said...

God bless you Nick
for standing up and showing the kind of courage
that all community board members who really care about what's going on in their communities
should be showing.

Most CB members are in the pockets of developers.

Great letter!

Anonymous said...

I think Charlton Heston might have used Bloomie, most of the NY City Council and many of NYC's developers for inspiration when he uttered the famed last line in Planet of the Apes...

"Damn you all to hell!!!!"

www.forgotten-ny.com

Anonymous said...

He may have some good points in the letter, but his "doom and gloom" analysis of everything takes away from the effect. Most people are happy with the retail and commercial development he mentions, and it seems that he is making conclusions based on anecdotal observations rather than detailed research.

Alan said...

"Most people are happy with the retail and commercial development he mentions, and it seems that he is making conclusions based on anecdotal observations rather than detailed research."

And where do your statistics come from? Do you have data upon which your statement is made? Please share this so we can see for ourselves how "most people are happy with the retail and commercial development." The vast majority of the people I speak with are against what is happening to this borough. You are doing the same thing that this courageous letter writer is doing, jumping to conclusions, only it is my opinion that you are in the wrong! I suggest you take off your rose-colored glasses before it is too late.

Julie said...

Considering that this was a letter to the editor, in other words, an opinion letter, and not an article, I fail to see why any "facts" would be necessary.

Anonymous said...

Julie's comment really sums up many of the critics on this blog - why let "facts" get in the way of the anti-development crowds' "opinions."

Anonymous said...

why let "facts" get in the way of the anti-development crowds' "opinions."

What people experience on a day to day basis is more reliable than facts or stats.

The FACT is that overcrowding is happening and we are not getting any infrastructure improvements that will help.

Anonymous said...

facts and stats can also be manipulated by politicians:
e.g. "crime rates are down," which sounds good till you find out that these touted rates don't include robberies and whatnot.

Anonymous said...

If we need to lose a million, I suggest you people be the ones to leave. The whining is ridiculous, where do you suggest all these people go? Why would you expect the nation's largest city to just stop growing?

Anonymous said...

Yay Nick! You are totally correct. Queens is truly turning into CRAP.

Anonymous said...

I'm not sure where "they" can go but I have a pretty good idea where "you" can go . . .

Anonymous said...

for example, those buildings that are comeing up by Queens Boro Plaza, how many thousands will it house? do we have the electricity, water, sewers to fill that ovenight demand? I would asume the majority will work in manhatan, can we fit all those new people on the platform? will there be more trains,buses to acomodate our new residents?

Anonymous said...

"To further exacerbate the destruction of Queens our roads are in disrepair, our subways are inadequate, traffic is burdened with taxis, legal and gypsies, school buses, airport traffic and commuter automobiles carrying non-city dwellers to work and back home daily by the thousands."

Third rate borough for a third world population. The tweeded don't care, the press don't care, the politicians don't care.

Either leave or paste a frozen smile on your face as your loser life is turned around by contact with an all knowning all wise immigrant.

Anonymous said...

"The whining is ridiculous, where do you suggest all these people go? Why would you expect the nation's largest city to just stop growing?"

Why not? If my taxes is used not to make my life better, but to help a developer get rich, why is growth good for me?

Why is the interest of a developer more important than a voter or taxpayer?

Anonymous said...

The Woodhaven Boulevard-Slattery station was built to accommodate growth, and has secret tracks behind the platform walls. Why not expand the station and include extra entrances?

Rep. Joe Crowley(D) has proposed reopening the Elmhurst and Corona stations, with funds from the congestion pricing plan.

Anonymous said...

This whole damn business
of making room for another million people in NYC
is just a fictitious concoction
of the real estate interests which maintain
a choke hold on us residents.

There is no real need.....except to further enrich
greedy developers like Silverstein, Trump, etc.
by providing them with more building opportunities in the present and near future.
In other words.....providing them with job security!

The actual early work on this began in 1961
with the up-zoning Robert Moses inflicted on low density neighborhoods.

Current down-zoning efforts are an attempt
to bring back zoning that is a more appropriate.

$$$$$ lost said...

There is a limit that eventually is reached
as to the size that any city can expect to expand
before it bursts like an over filled balloon.

The will be no explosion of escaping air in this case
but nonetheless, an eventual breakdown
of infrastructure and vital services
that can be swiftly and efficiently provided to its residents.
At that point there occurs a systems breech
that will cost countless billions to repair!

But I guess that will be passed along to taxpayers.

How far along are we now on the balance scale?

Anonymous said...

NYC is overextended and under-structured!

irony said...

Chicken Little said.......

"Quick.....take cover.....the sky is falling!
Sorry......false alarm my chicks.....
it was just an exploding electrical transformer
or some overloaded feeder cable.
That airborne manhole cover sure looks
like a flying saucer though.

Oops......
I think that I just heard a bridge collapse into the East River.
No.....pardon again.....that was just another
terrorist attack......can't blame aging infrastructure
for that one"