Archive for the ‘New York City’ Category

What Makes Us Unique

August 24, 2010 4 comments

I recently ran across this very interesting article in New York magazine which revealed how the City has been changing over the past couple of decades. We all probably know it already, but it was still interesting to sift through the data in the article about the changing demographics.

Basically, it says that the “white flight” of the 70’s and 80’s, which saw the city’s white population flee the city to the suburbs, has begun to reverse itself. For the first time since those years, whites comprise the majority of the population of Manhattan.

As a child of the suburbs, who moved to Manhattan in my early 20’s, and then out to Brooklyn, and then Queens, my reaction to this is “What took them so long to figure out that the City is a better place to live than the suburbs?” The suburbia where I grew up was a cultural wasteland. The city was just a short LIRR ride away, but it might as well have been a world away. There was so much more to see and do, and so much more energy. The City was alive.  The suburbs, where I grew up anyway, were pretty dead.

What does Manhattan’s changing demographics mean for Forest Hills and our part of Queens? Well, it’s already happening — with Manhattan and other areas of the City already gentrified, more and more people priced out of these areas are looking for the few affordable areas left, and Forest Hills is one of them.

But while Manhattan is now becoming increasingly homogeneous — it’s amazing to think that is possible, but it is — we here in Forest Hills and the rest of Queens have a great, special advantage: our diversity.

As many have been forced out of the Manhattan market because of the high rents, we have begun to benefit. It’s no coincidence that Forest Hills has suddenly begun to see some great new restaurants and shops open in the past couple of years, and with the current trends this will only continue, and yes, I think so even despite the economy. New York City is a unique place and its resurgence continues unabated. Forest Hills is feeling the effects of that.

We are also lucky in another way — there are entire swaths of the area that await redevelopment, or at least improvement. Both sides of Queens Blvd. east towards Kew Gardens is one example. It’s not surprising that one of the best new restaurants to open in the past couple of years, Tuscan Hills, chose a location there to do so. I don’t know for sure, but I would guess the proprietors got a pretty sweet deal. And other fine restaurants have begun to open near it.

As Forest Hills, like Manhattan, continues to change, I only hope we are able to harness the one thing that really makes us special — our diversity. If Manhattan’s fate is to be an urbanized, upper class Disney World, then hopefully we can corner the market on what makes New York City really special: its amazing mix of cultures.

Thanks Tom

August 4, 2010 Leave a comment

“That resistance to diversity, though, is not something we want to emulate, which is why I’m glad the mosque was approved on Tuesday. Countries that choke themselves off from exposure to different cultures, faiths and ideas will never invent the next Google or a cancer cure, let alone export a musical or body of literature that would bring enjoyment to children everywhere.”

Thomas Friedman, The New York Times, August 4, 2010

Willow Lake Work Progressing

July 29, 2010 Leave a comment

I’ve always wondered about this pedestrian bridge I’ve seen in Google maps over Grand Central Parkway. I once went looking for it and found nothing. Now, an observant reader reports that real progress is being made to bring this bridge back as an active walkway from Forest Hills to Willow Lake, a wetlands area of Flushing Meadows Corona Park, which is in the process of being restored:

“For the past few months, when I drive to work, I’ve noticed work being done to what I thought was a restored entrance to Flushing Meadows Park over the Grand Central Parkway (end of 72nd Rd & the Grand Central Parkway service road – caddy corner to the Nathan Hale Coop).  I assumed this entrance would open soon, but after doing some research, I found this article and it appears this new entrance is only the first step in a long process.”

Here is the article the reader is referring to, from the Queens Tribune: Seed Planted For Willow Lake’s Return

And here is more information from the NYC Parks Department on its plans for the area’s restoration.

This will be a terrific thing for Forest Hills when completed. Imagine taking a short walk to a lake and nature trail.

I will check it out when I have some time and post some photos of the restoration. If you have any more information about it, please post below. Thanks.

MTA Fare Hike Proposal

July 28, 2010 Leave a comment

I think this is potentially some of the worst news I have seen in quite a while for the city if you consider how the unlimited MetroCard has transformed riders’ habits and opened up the entire city to its residents. With an unlimited MetroCard you thought nothing of hopping on the express train from Forest Hills to spend an afternoon in Manhattan. Now, you very well might think twice. Bad for Forest Hills, bad for Manhattan, bad all around.

Specifically I am referring to this excerpt from the article: “The unlimited subway and bus MetroCard, which pushed ridership to record levels after its introduction in the 1990s and revolutionized the way New Yorkers imagine their transit system, could also be on the way out. One proposal would place limits on how many rides could be taken on monthly and weekly passes.”

From The Times:

N.Y. / Region
Published: July 28, 2010
The proposals are to be unveiled Wednesday, just weeks after severe service cuts were imposed on the transit system.

Guest Who’s Buying an Aspirin?

July 26, 2010 5 comments

What’s with the cashiers at Duane Reade calling the customer “guest” all of a sudden? I’m not checking in for an overnight stay, am I?

Only in New York?

July 23, 2010 Leave a comment

Saw this on the 4 train this morning.

I assume it might have its uses? 🙂

A Grand Central Indeed

July 20, 2010 Leave a comment

I found myself at the food court inside Grand Central Station last evening with a few friends grabbing a quick bite at Junior’s. While I was waiting on line for my food, I was suddenly aware that the place was swarming with Boy Scouts in full uniform. I turned to a couple of the little one’s standing on line next to me — they couldn’t have been more than 12 years old — and asked them where they were all from and why were they in town. I was expecting a short reply, you know the kind, a shy few words that you usually get from a kid that age. Boy was I wrong!

The little guy talked and talked about how they were visiting from Los Angeles enroute to the National Scouting Jamboree that is being held several days from now in Virginia. They came to the Big Apple having first flown into Boston. Him and his buddy went on and on, and I think if I stood on that line all night they would never have stopped chatting away. Their excitement was palpable … and contagious.

Despite the dreadful heat and humidity melting the Big Apple outside, for those few minutes, deep below the glorious Grand Central Terminal, what had been for me a hectic, stressful day was transformed by a congenial conversation with two excited kids. Their openness, self-confidence and genuine friendliness left me feeling really good about this country and about our next, up and coming generation.

And most of all, I was left with another memorable New York moment brought to me by our truly Grand Central Station. Thankfully we still have it, a real treasure not to be taken for granted. A building that while dispersing people fast and furiously to different points around our city, can also bring strangers together, if only they just remember to take the time to turn to the person next to them and say hello.

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