"My ancestor first came to Queens in the early 1600's as an indentured servant, hoping for a better life. Generations have worked its soil on small farms. Family members have left to go to war from Queens, some never to return. Others have survived circumstances like the Great Depression. One was the sheriff of a small Queens town before there was an NYPD, and others were volunteer firemen before there was a FDNY. Still other family members have served the city well as bus drivers and token clerks. All have been homeowners and proud to be living here. But we have always been middle class, and because of that we can no longer afford to live in Queens. It seems vultures have tightened their circle over my house. The city tow truck driver visits my block in the wee hours of the morning hoping to find an expired registration sticker. Every day two traffic agent cars wait two blocks away for the clock to strike eleven and race to give tickets to those unfortunate to have forgotten to move their cars for alternate side of the street parking. The sanitation police make their rounds waiting for a piece of garbage to blow within fifteen feet of my property. The cops wait on the train station for people to spit so they can give out a ticket. And the patrol cars go up and down Northern Blvd., stopping cars to give out tickets. Middle class, a blessing and a curse? Too well off to humbly ask for assistance, too poor to be able to weather this storm and pay higher prices and taxes. Where did we go wrong? Maybe we should have divided up our house and rented it illegally like most of the other houses have done on my block. That seems to be the only thing you can get away with these days. Like my ancestors, I too have taken pride in working the soil. I have enjoyed working in my small garden for over forty years. I like to feel the soil in my hands, and reap its harvest. But it is this garden that I must now leave because I can no longer afford to live here in Queens.
A very sad farewell.