There's more to the world than Queens and its neighborhoods. We acknowledge this. In the wake of September 11 and the crash of flight 587 it has become increasingly obvious that the citizens of New York City are inextricably linked to each other and the world outside the five boroughs and the tri-state area.
We're sometimes asked why we don't give more in-depth coverage to the events taking place in the wider world. Our answer is that yes, we acknowledge that the events, the problems, the situations are there. They exist and they affect us. But we have to point out that life in this borough, in the neighborhoods we cover, didn't come to a complete stop after September 11 or November 12. We still have the same problems, the same situations we did before the terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center and the crash of Flight 587.
Queens still has some of the best-performing school districts in the city and at the same time some of the most crowded schools. We still have some of the most beautiful neighborhoods in the entire country and some of the most horrendously overcrowded illegally converted buildings. We have some of the most outstanding cultural institutions to be found anywhere, all of which are scrambling to find funding in an economy that was beginning to turn sour even before the terrorist assault. Several Queens neighborhoods are attracting businesses from Manhattan, revitalizing Astoria, Long Island City, Jamaica and Flushing. The landscape is ever-changing and we're doing our best to keep up.
We're proud that we cover the stories that, with very few exceptions, news media in the wider world tend to ignore. We believe there's a niche for the school and community board meetings, the borough board and cabinet sessions, the land use hearings, the civic groups. Often, many of these meetings provide the only opportunity some area residents will ever have to make their voices heard in a forum where their comments will reach the ears of elected or appointed officials. They deserve to be heard. Their neighbors who for one reason or another were unable to attend also deserve to know what was said and decided upon. Sometimes we're their only source of information.
This is a serious responsibility and we don't take it lightly. We try our best to let our readers know what's going on in this borough so they in turn can make informed decisions when they vote, buy or sell property and send their children to school.
You, our readers, are still our paramount concern. We care about what's happening to you. We'll pay attention to what's going on across the East River, at City Hall, in Washington, D.C., in Afghanistan, because we know you want to know as much and as badly as we do. But we'll report on it only because we know our readers care about such news and because the stories we cover have a bearing on life as it is now and as it shapes up to be in future years. We'll always put local news first.
We don't regard anything that affects our readers as inconsequential. We try to provide as much local news as they can handle. Judging by the letters and phone calls we get, they can handle quite a lot. From just-off-the-plane immigrants to old timers who have spent their entire lives here, our readers are special people. We try to give them a newspaper that truly meets their needs. We think for the most part we've succeeded. Our mission as a neighborhood paper is reporting on neighborhood issues and neighborhood concerns so that our readers can make informed decisions to guide their lives. We think we do pretty well.