Saturday, July 11, 2015

Queens Tourism Center shut down

From the Queens Courier:

The Queens Tourism Center is reaching the end of the line today.

The Kew Gardens facility, created out of a retrofitted Redbird subway car that previously ran on the 7 line, will shut its doors Friday afternoon due to lack of use.

According to a New York Post report on Friday, the closure was scheduled for Monday, but a spokesperson for Queens Borough President Melinda Katz, however, informed The Courier that Friday “is the last day the Redbird will be open to visitors at its current site.”

Opened in 2005, the Queens Tourism Center was built through $500,000 in funds secured by then-Borough President Helen Marshall as a way of attracting visitors from across the globe to Queens.

The center operates four hours a day, five days a week. According to a source, it has drawn over 15,000 visitors in the past five years, many of whom are Queens residents.

One possible reason for the light attendance could be its location, as it is on the eastern side of Borough Hall adjacent to the Queens Criminal Court, a long block away from the entrance to the Union Turnpike subway station.

36 comments:

Anonymous said...

"The center operates four hours a day, five days a week."

Would be interesting what salaries were paid for the employees there.

20hrs of work a week sounds like full time with benefits plus pension.

georgetheatheist said...

"$500,000 in funds secured by then-Borough President Helen Marshall as a way of attracting visitors from across the globe to Queens."
_____________________________________________________________________________________________

A Red Bird funded by the Bird Brain.

Anonymous said...

It belongs in Times Square where the tourist crowds are.

Anonymous said...

I've passed that train car several times, never knew it was a tourism center. There's no signage or anything that would be obvious to the passerby.
Furthermore, putting the tourist center where there are hardly any tourists was a recipe for failure.
Thanks Helen!

Anonymous said...

How many people actually "tour" queens to begin with? The only things to look at is flushing meadow park, citi field and Maybe queens county farm....But One Can see Those things Practically Anywhere Else In America plus they will be nicer, bigger and less crowded. If I was a tourist, I would just stay in Manhattan. There isn't much to do outside of Manhattan.

Anonymous said...

Wow what a shock! The Queens Tourism Center shut down because of lack of interest. Take that Melinda, your borough has turned into a third world shithole. Celebrate that!

r185 said...

It should be moved to a location where some tourists already are, to get them to explore more of Queens. LIC near Queens Plaza among the tourist hotels.

Anonymous said...

"20hrs of work a week sounds like full time with benefits plus pension."
So working for a living and getting compensated is a bad thing ? What's wrong with benefits and pensions for working people ?

Anonymous said...

No, the point was that 20 hours a week is not a full time position.

JQ said...

The last time I had jury duty was 7 years ago and I was wondering what the hell was that deserted train car doing there. Being curious I went over and notice it was some museum. I thought to myself, what a stupid location and I was the only one there that was physically there to view it.

Well now we all know and it's being shut down since it's not good enough for our lonely planet tour guide/occasional boro president.

The Queens Steamer is an idiot. I suggest they just use that car and attach to any train line, maybe it will slightly improve service and alleviate a smidgen of overcrowding

r185 said...

To Anonymous #4, there are tons of tourists staying in hotels in LIC. They've already decided to be in Queens. Putting it there could get them to explore more of the borough.

Jerry Rotondi said...

What an "A" hole borough president Melinda Katz is.
If she expects any major tourism in Queens, which is doubtful, the place to open a tourism center is at Queens Plaza ....which is the gateway to Queens....instead in the middle of nowhere like borough hall.
Any advertising agency executive knows that point of purchase advertising is always placed at the entrance of the store not the rear fire exit.

Richard Iritano said...

And yet, what appears to be an abandoned subway car is what Helen Marshall worshiped as 'art,' when her last act of utter contempt and defiance for Queens County (a borough that has little precious art and antiquities to begin with), and what does this ignorant, depraved succubus do---she orders a 16-ton statue (that is the REAL work of allegorical art and beauty), to be ripped from the skyline of Queens Boulevard in the middle of the night, on December 15, 2012, and hoisted by crane (to the tune of $200,000 that was never presented to any public forum review and debate by the taxpaying residents), and flat bedded away and banished to Green-Wood Cemetery---instead of conserving, preserving and cherishing our beloved statue, for all of humankind to embrace and appreciate its 71-year-old record of prominence and culture at Kew Gardens Plaza.

Now, if that isn't the definition of madness (and madness that is drunk with power), then I don't know what is!

But, it gets worse! Now, we have another gestapo dictator in Czarina Melinda Katz, who talks about a new era or openness and transparency at Borough Hall (yes, those were her exact words when she spoke to Community Board 9, on June 10, 2014), but has since done everything to betray public trust and integrity, with impunity. Worse, Katz is now continuing with her ill conceived plan to turn the fountain base into a 'planted ruin' that no one was ever asked if they wanted (we already clearly stated that Kew Gardens wants its statue back, which is on temporary loan to Green-Wood), ostensibly to beautify the plaza (which remains blighted for nearly three years, since Marshall herself ripped the only hint of beauty and softness that Civic Virtue delivered to an otherwise generic strip mall, better known as Queens Boulevard!

But, the real reason for this publicly unauthorized plan was to memorialize all female political leadership of Queens County (please, stop laughing!), by (you guessed it), the vapid and undeserving female political goon squad themselves! What leadership? When? Where? How? And, shouldn't a free, taxpaying public decide who is worthy of a memorial garden that honors any and all political service---and when it is NOT in the interest of its purportedly represented constituents, when leadership has clearly not delivered, and in fact, completely failed altogether, as in this case?

Alas, if there were even a scintilla of any kind of honest, ethical leadership (that leads by example) in the first place, then our beloved statue would be proudly (and prominently) standing right where it always has been keeping its proven vigil, atop a working fountain base, where the waterworks would naturally draw so many local residents, tourists, visitors and a general public who appreciates fine art, to the steps of the fountain itself, where a daily luncheon could take place--and where even new business could develop (i.e., new sandwich shops and restaurants to accommodate the daily flow of art lovers and observers).

But, the reality and the cold light of day that is blinding reminds us all that this, after all, is Queens County---the oppressive home of Neo-Fascism, Neo-Bolshevism and gestapo, dictatorship rule, where our new (but very old and entrenched) borough president ONLY talks about a new era in openness and transparency---while taking every forceful and aggressive action to betray all pretense of anything the even remotely appears to be freedom, public voice and working democracy in action!

Get rid of that f***ing piece of railcar shit that looks like a blighted homeless shelter for squatters---and bring back the REAL and WELCOME art of our borough---namely, 'Triumph of Civic Virtue!'

In the end, the public fools are the same inmates who've taken complete control of the Queens County asylum! What democracy?

Anonymous said...

Beyond LIC....WTF has Queens to offer foreign tourists....dragon boat races?
The Queens Museum pales when you can visit the Met or MOMA. Theater In The PRk can hardly compete with Broadway.
This Queens tourism myth was created to fill patronage positions. Ask Terri Osborne.

Anonymous said...

Truck it back to Jamaica yerd. Those old redbirds are used as worktrain workhorses.

r185 said...

To Anonymous#8, Foreign tourists are much more adventurous than American tourists. Everyone said the same thing about Brooklyn and now there are tour buses there.

Anonymous said...

Brooklyn has much more to offer than Queens to foreign tourist , dopey.
It is worth the adventure. Ever hear of the Brooklyn Museum? It runs circles around Finkelpearl's folly....the Queens Museum which is a parochial, backwater joke.
Also, Brooklyn has a transit system. Queens has buses that usually do not run on schedule. Wanna try and convince me that Queens has better cultural attractions than Brooklyn? What are you smoking?

Anonymous said...

Tour buses to Queens....you say?
LOL. It used to be....ten tour buses a day on weekends used to bring tourists to the now torn down 5 Points Aerosol Arts Center.
That was worth seeing. Now it is gone. LOL! You can always drop in on Piss One (PS1) contemporary arts museum. Your time is better spent at MOMA where you can see first rate stuff.

Anonymous said...

Plenty to see, better then the Bronx Zoo and less expensive !
One example: 111st and Roosevelt was one hellova sight July 4th
Belts of firecrackers, rockets were being launched out windows. The street was literally on fire from all the paper. People were drinking rum, beer, speakers in windows were blasting Spanish music and not 1 cop or patrol car in sight!!
Good big tacos, people selling beer out of coolers, snow cones, hookers, people smoking dope.
I never seen anything like this anywhere in the country, I'm told its every weekend

Anonymous said...

Queens Council On The Arts is a shit house group where those who gave service to county politicians wind up with patronage positions. WTF does it really do...support third rate culture for a third world borough?

Anonymous said...

It would make a great Chinese food stand for Flushing Meadows Corona Park.
Just change the red bird's maroon red to Chinese red, a lucky color.
Come to think of it an Asian theme park would be a better success than the shit they have planned for Willets Point.
Now that would be an attraction foreign tourists might be interested in.
Anyone see pictures of the 1964 World's Fair Belgian Village?
This could be a miniature China, complete with a Great Wall! I am serious. This could be big!

Anonymous said...

And Finkelpearl was able to secure $85 MILLION for the Queens Museum reconstruction. A museum that has yet to attract any crowds. An outrage I tell ya. An outrage!

Anonymous said...

Less expensive doesn't mean good, only the best that one can afford. This is hardly the way to attract foreign visitors to Queens.
A tourist is always willing to pay more for quality attractions. Unfortunately, Queens cannot compete for any time in their busy schedules.
Queens tourism is a farce. It is used to employ Terri Osborne type people. Getting a cushy patronage spot is to be desired.
Political nepotism is what runs Queens culture. Dannon yogurt boasts more culture than Queens.
The Bronx Zoological Park is worth visiting bub, despite distance and expense. Put Claire Shulman in the Queens Zoo and even I will pay double to see her in a cage full of Gorillas. No, they won't molest her. Their standards are higher.

Anonymous said...

The only big attraction that the Queens Musem ever drew record crowds to was Mel Fisher's Spanish gold exhibit. Treasures reclaimed from the sunken Spanish galleon the Atochia. That was funded by Chase bank. I went three times. Have I been there since? Only once.
Then there is that phony Theater In The Park. The only time they fill up is with bus loads of senior citizens. It features third rate performances. Whenever they get a headliner to appear their carreers have been washed up long ago. When you are a has been in Las Vegas, your only venue option is to play the Queens Theater In The Dark.

Anonymous said...

How much money has been spent on Queens tourism to date?
We could have opened a couple of new schools and needed hospital facilities.
No, it is far more important to keep the Janet Schneiders and Terri Osbornes in six figure incomes.
How much does Finkelperl earn per annum?
Doesn't he hail from a wealthy publishing family?

Anonymous said...

I jog past the old redbird everyday (weather permitting of course), and I've used the Union Tpke exit more times than I can count, but I had absolutely no idea it was a tourist center. To be honest I always thought it was just an artistic piece, there for its aesthetics and historical significance.

There in lies the problem, if a member of the local community has no clue the structure was a tourist center foreigners most likely will not either.

Richard Iritano said...

There already WAS a great sculpted work of art that proudly represented all humankind that many tourists would have certainly flocked to Kew Gardens to see, and it was 'Triumph of Civic Virtue,' before it was wrongly evicted and banished to a Brooklyn graveyard---against the free will of the people, who had repeatedly said that they wanted the statue to be cleaned, conserved and preserved, exactly at the site that it prominently towered over Queens Boulevard!

But, Community Board 9 took no action to challenge the arrogant, ignorant, uneducated dictatorship that Helen Marshall reigned over, while her destructive forces and vacuous henchmen went to work to destroy whatever remnants of public art existed in Kew Gardens. Ironically, the projects that were WITHIN Marshall's fiscal and responsive purview to adjudicate were left for the next dysfunctional administration to oversee, namely, Czarina Melinda Katz.

Now, this sole, pitiful subway car from yesteryear should be used as an information center to map the many Fourth World qualities of Queens as a whole, like, where one can find an illegally converted house or apartment to accommodate 20 (which is everywhere!), or where to find a druken weekend warehouse party in Long Island City or Maspeth, or maybe the train car's representative could sponsor a 'Find The Sole, Honest, Not Already Bought, Unsold Politician in Queens' Contest (we would all lose in taking a guess to answer that question, which everyone already knows the answer)!

Alas, they could have told me that the car was used for anything else than a tourism center---and I would have believed it---even an Off-Track betting parlor!

Bring back 'Triumph of Civic Virtue,' then, with speed and efficiency, Melinda Katz---and just maybe there will be marginal hope for restored faith to prevail upon you, charity, honest commerce and honest, ethical leadership to finally break through the dark corridors of Borough Hall dictatorship and Neo-Fascism, as history rejects a repeat of its ominous past!

Anonymous said...

Uh, duh — Marshall was the borough president that wasted our money opening it. Katz is the borough president that's shutting it down because it's useless.

So how is this Katz's fault? Explain.

Anonymous said...

For Pete's sake, that statue is not going to be returned. Give up and move on already.

Anonymous said...

Actually, there's a few things to see and do in Queens. You're just not going to notice when you're busy yelling at the neighborhood kids to get off your lawn and then doing basically the same thing here.

Richard Iritano said...

Uh, duh yourself, Anonymous! Nowhere in my reply did I ever suggest that the Tourism Center was Borough President Melinda Katz's fault, so pull out your magnifying glass and take the time to properly ready (or, reread) my reply.

But, that hardly absolves (or expiates) our latest 'penny wise and pound foolish' BP, where she is bent on a $40M restoration of the badly decayed Flushing Meadows Pavilion (for magical thinking to engender massive tourism to once again flourish), just like Helen Marshall herself, who madly spent millions on a failed pavilion of her own that left Borough Hall bereft and in debt. But, Katz continues to reject hearing from her public, for whom she purportedly represents, to spend less than $100,000 to relocated Civic Virtue back to its gifted fountain base in Kew Gardens. Where is the openness and transparency that Katz herself spoke about before Community Board 9, on June 10, 2014. And, where is any member of CB 9 itself (including its Chair, Raj Rampersaud), to demand a full review of any plans to re-purpose Kew Gardens Plaza, followed by a full board vote, when the public have already been ignored, regarding their unified wishes to return the statue to where it has always belonged---and never should have been moved---in the first place?

Ironically, 'Triumph of Civic Virtue' was an actual work of genuine art that was welcome by the residents, the same taxpaying residents who were banished from public referendum, before a 16-ton monument was capriciously and wrongly evicted. To merely clean and preserve the statue at Kew Gardens Plaza without relocating it, would have cost approximately $30,000---instead of more than $200,000 to make secretive deals with the Public Design Commission to betray all public trust, civics and integrity.

As for the other Anonymous (alas, there are so many people calling themselves 'Anonymous,' while ironically sacrificing all freedoms for the security of anonymity itself, that they are now starting to exceed the number of Chins in a phone directory), that 'statue' as you so callously put it, will certainly be returned because of the hard work and diligence that my organization and I produce daily, where we actually get our fingernails dirty, and expose the unfair balance of unearned, undeserved power in all branches of today's sideshow arena, more commonly known as public service (that doesn't serve its public)---as opposed to whatever it is that you purport to do, under all cover of anonymity, no less!

That 'statue' represents so much more than freedom, democracy and human decency---it represents all Civic Virtue known to mankind throughout the worldwide annals of history. And, to not take any action to demand that our tax dollars and collective voice of First Amendment representation be heard, would be for a continuation of silence and complicity that has allowed so many filthy and corrupt politicians to make decisions for our own good in the first place!

Clearly, someone like you is all to content and blissful to take your orders of purported freedom and democracy by savage and mangy, 'empowered idiot' politicians of epic fail. But, seeing our beloved monument back where it has always belonged would forever signify that the quintessential representation that the collective power of community and civic empowerment embrace shall always prevail of the profligate, wanton waste of a monstrously failed political leadership of unsanctioned dictatorship, as well as drunken, audacious whimsy!

Go back to your sleepwalking, then, Anonymous---and watch and learn how real, genuine leadership takes back what is rightfully ours in society to claim!

Anonymous said...

Ditto to the other Anon above who mentioned 5Pointz. I can't tell you how many times I've been stopped by the 7 train in LIC by international tourists specifically looking for 5 Pointz. No one ever asked for MoMa. Queens/LIC USED to be a tourist destination. Unfortunately, anyone who goes to LIC these days can enjoy the sights of endless high rise buildings or construction. Nothing worthy to see or do.

Anonymous said...

Uh duh, Richard the 'uh duh' poster obviously was replying to rotondi and not you. Stop thinking everything revolves around you and your favorite sculpture.

Anonymous said...

Hey iritano, the pavilion is far more important than civic virtue, the statue is a statue you idiot, you'll never succeed in getting it back, and calling this government the Gestapo is a disgusting insult to anyone who lived through or is even aware of the 30s and 40s. You're way off.

Richard Iritano said...

Hey, Anonymous, stop with the online name calling as a substitute for fact, education and expertise! And, since when did you become an expert in public art in Queens, regarding what is more relevant? And, why does a forgotten, rusty relic like the Pavilion suddenly become more pressing to conserve and preserve than the symbolic allegories of a statue that represents universal civic virtue, that no resident taxpayer was ever asked if the monument should have been removed at all from its public plaza in the first place, when all it needed was a $30,000 cleaning?

Likewise, if the Pavilion itself was held to any standard of value and regard, then it would not have been sinfully and willfully neglected for the last 50 years (just like Triumph of Civic Virtue), by arrogant, derelict, depraved politicians of epic fail! And, no one suggested that the Pavilion should be relocated in order to conserve it---so unlike the unnecessary, unwanted removal of the statue, that was banished to a Brooklyn graveyard without public approval and due process review, at a cost of more than $200,000!

Now, have you studied in graduate school to earn an MFA like I have, as well as Stonybrook University Art Chairwoman Michele Bogart? Didn't think so, which automatically nullifies your lay, unsupported opinions, as opposed to proven, professional theory and doctrine.

So, who's the idiot now, loudmouth?

Richard Iritano said...

Don't be so defensive, Anonymous duh! Obviously, it was a mistake to respond to you when your previous comment was directed at someone else.

Now, if you had bothered to distinguish yourself by an actual, verifiable identity, instead of yet another 'Anonymous,' then I wouldn't have made the error in the first place!

But, oh how it never ceases to amaze me that so many insist on having their say, while not suffering the burdensome consequences of revealing who and what they are.

If you can't or won't properly identify yourself (or at the very least be able to distinguish yourself from the many other dozens of 'Anonymous' replies here), then don't expect the world to likewise revolve around whatever it is that you think that you're accomplishing on this blog, as opposed to my actual productive, organizational work to preserve public art and history in Queens County!

Oh, that's right! You're not doing anything, except barking and complaining--again and still! And, where was it ever written and revealed that I personally named any favorite sculpture or art work? Stop editorializing my posts, then---it was a simple error when I replied to you at all. Move on, and stop making personal attacks on others, simply because you may not agree with another viewpoint!