Terrorist Security Also Eyes Queens’ Financial Bldgs
Leaving nothing to chance, although the recent terrorist warning issued identifies Citicorp Center in Mid-Manhattan as a prime target, police officials said they are also monitoring all financial buildings in the city as a response to the threat, including Citigroup’s 48-story Court Square One skyscraper in Long Island City.
The familiar structure, which was built 15 years ago and houses 4,800 workers, was recently in the news as Mayor Michael Bloomberg and Citicorp officials announced plans for a second Citigroup building to be built in Court Square.
Assemblymember Michael Gianaris (D–Astoria) welcomed the police decision to monitor all financial buildings, saying: "Growth in Long Island City is as much a target for terrorists as anywhere else, so we’ve got to monitor all potential targets to protect our area in Queens so we can live our lives as normally as possible and not be affected by terrorist threats."
Gianaris said he was also encouraged by Citigroup’s decision to further expand into Long Island City. He stated: "I’ve long been an advocate of Long Island City becoming a central business district in New York City. With more and more businesses moving out of Manhattan, we shouldn’t be losing these jobs to New Jersey and other areas. We must focus more attention to provide incentives to companies when they want to move out of Manhattan in order to keep them in the city."
Besides citing success in keeping Citigroup jobs here, he noted also that MetLife has found a new home for part of its operation in Queens Plaza.
City Councilmember Eric Gioia (D), who represents the Long Island City area, also praised the Police Department announcement. He stated: "New York has the best police officers in the world and I have faith that these brave men and women will do all that they can to keep our families, neighborhoods and city safe. During uncertain times, I am happy to know that we can rely on the hardworking members of the 108th and 114th Precincts who are on the line protecting our community."
The new $200 million, 14-story Court Square Two building is expected to house 1,500 employees from the Citi Consumer division when it comes online in 2006. Groundbreaking for the building is scheduled for early next year, bank officials said recently. Bloomberg heralded the new building plan as an important part of the development of both Long Island City in general and Queens West also in a recent announcement.
Queens West, which has been developing steadily, is the area along the East River waterfront in Hunters Point which is being revitalized. Several high-rise apartment buildings have been built and are currently occupied. Commercial building developments are also planned. Queens West will be the site of Olympic Village, a 15,000-resident development to house athletes and trainers during the 2012 Summer Olympics which the Bloomberg Administration hopes to bring to New York City.
In his discussion of the New York City economy, which included the Citicorp announcement, the mayor also spoke of Long Island City’s revitalization effort which started several years ago. Lauding the area’s key location and its convenient access to Manhattan, he stated: "The Queens Plaza area of Long Island City is rapidly becoming New York City’s newest central business district."