Sunday, June 16, 2013
Predictable article from NY Times doesn't say much about South Ozone Park
From the NY Times:
On a recent Saturday afternoon I set out to explore South Ozone Park in Queens, in particular a stretch whose racial composition — according to recent census data, about a quarter white, a quarter Asian, 10 percent black and 11 percent biracial, with 30 percent of residents belonging to the statistical category of “other” — makes it one of the three most diverse patches of the city. Ethnically, too, it contains multitudes: Dominicans and Puerto Ricans live alongside Ecuadoreans, Indians, Pakistanis, Chinese and people who look as though they might be cast in the production of anything succumbing to Italian-American caricature.
What had prompted my visit was, in a sense, a tourist’s curiosity about how integration of this kind might actually be lived and how, in the midst of a mayoral race, political conceptions in such a place might be evolving.
There were instances of inspiration to be found, encounters with a New York of one’s gorgeous mosaic fantasies. A barbershop called E Place, owned by an Uzbek immigrant named Eric Dzhuray, caters to Trinidadians and Guyanese — who make up a considerable share of the community in South Ozone Park — and at least one young white suburbanite who had grown so devoted to the shop when he lived in neighboring Howard Beach that he continued his patronage even though he had married and moved to Long Island.
The fact that a catering hall called La Bella Vita, owned by a man named Tony Modica and steeped in Pompeii aesthetics, was full of black patrons on the day I wandered in suggested that a certain kind of social progress had been made since the divisive days of Spike Lee’s “Do the Right Thing,” two decades ago.
Both the barbershop and catering hall were to be found on Rockaway Boulevard, the primary commercial thoroughfare in South Ozone Park. Though it seemed as if it should be a busy place, full of pedestrian traffic and businesses servicing varied cultural interests, it has the bloodless feel of a Sun Belt village lost to misbegotten visions. The area itself is not poor; in the particular census tract I was visiting, median family income stands at $63,000 a year, above the figure for the city on the whole. But whatever vitality the demographics might suggest is so obviously lacking that one longtime resident mentioned that he hoped simply for a McDonald’s to energize the slackened mood.
So NY Times reporters are now recording in print that they consider themselves tourists who check out census stats before heading out to the far reaches of Queens where they are prepared to have orgasms over the vibrant! diverse! mix of cultures found here. When are they going to get some new shtick already? If you can make it through the rest of this dreck, you'll see that the conclusion made by the author is that casinos bring bad things to neighborhoods. Which may be true, but this particular neighborhood had plenty of pawn shops before Resorts World moved in. And now onto some real news...
From CBS New York:
The New York State casino expansion bill being negotiated behind closed doors included a new provision Saturday, which would expand gambling even if voters reject the proposal to build more casinos.
A copy of the revised bill obtained Saturday by The Associated Press includes a provision that would authorize video slot machine centers in the outer boroughs of New York City, and as many as three or four places upstate. The bill provides for the video slot casinos with up to 5,000 machines at each center.
Previously, New York State Senate Republican Leader Dean Skelos (R-Rockville Centre) said discussions for the casino plan included a proposal for video slot machines run by off-track betting agencies in Nassau and Suffolk counties.
Hours after refusing to discuss the bill, Gov. Andrew Cuomo confirmed his proposal through a spokeswoman.
“If the casino referendum fails, we will propose offering more high-end (video slot machines) to combat the loss of revenue to neighboring states and secure new funding for our schools,” said Cuomo spokeswoman Melissa DeRosa.