While I may no longer be a hipster, the borough I live in is becoming more “with it” by the day.
As my daughters remind me, the last time I was considered cool was when the subways were dangerous and dirty. But now in my attempt to be of the moment, I don’t need to stray too far from home. In the last few weeks I visited the Valentine Gallery for a wonderfully cutting edge show highlighting the Golem of Ridgewood; enjoyed breakfast at the trendy Z Hotel; and took in the shoreline scenery while running on the Rockaway boardwalk (and I was careful not to step on any piping plovers).
I love to share these gems with anyone who will listen—so does the newly revamped Queens Tourism Council (QTC). More than 25 hotels, sports venues and cultural institutions have joined together to proactively market what our borough has to offer. Did you know that we have 85 hotels in Queens? How about the fact that the USTA, Citi Field and Resorts World Casino New York City combined draw more visitors each year than the individual populations of all states except California? Venues such as the New York Hall of Science, Noguchi Museum, Louis Armstrong House Museum and the Greater Astoria Historical Society are all unique in their own right. And the food? You’d have to travel pretty far to get the authentic fla- vors we have in our borough, but remember, you can savor most of them in the same spot at Queens Taste 2012, May 1, at Citi Field’s Caesars Club. (“friend” and go to Discover Queens on Facebook for a chance to win free tickets.)
Tourism/travel is one of the biggest sectors of our local economy, as noted by the Port Authority of NY & NJ, the newest QTC member. Millions of visitors enter Queens each year and spend billions of dollars on lodging, meals, transportation and cultural and recreational venues. That translates into thousands of jobs. Think about your circle of family, friends and neighbors. I’ll bet you know someone whose paycheck is dependent on the tourism/travel sector.
Queens Borough President Helen M. Marshall always says: “Visit Queens and see the world.” QTC agrees with that sentiment. Check out DiscoverQueens.info or pick up our new Queens in Your Pocket guide at the Discover Queens Visitor Center at Queens Center Mall.
The county is becoming cooler and hipper than I ever was...or will be.
Executive Director Discover Queens
To The Editor:
It is disconcerting to think of our government as an embezzler cooking the books. The government is less likely a bank robber with a ski mask and pistol than an eloquent, mild-mannered enforcer of elitist, paternalistic benevolence claiming to have our best interest at heart.
Originally, the dollar was more than just a piece of paper with a picture of a president. It represented a fixed amount of a precious metal for which you would receive gold or silver upon demand. In 1913, the government created the Federal Reserve System and ceded its Constitutional power to coin money—and regulate the value thereof—to private bankers who are unaccountable to Congress. The result of their policies is unsustainable debt and the devaluation of the dollar; to wit, two Mercury silver dimes will still buy a gallon of gasoline.
The rise in inflation, debt, taxes, unemployment, crony capitalism and corruption has occurred slowly and incrementally, making the fleecing process almost imperceptible. Many view this as a general moral deterioration of our society, yet their analyses are dismissed as crazy conspiratorial rants. We have become acclimated to our government conniving and defrauding its citizens. We accept it, take it for granted, don’t get riled up any more than sheep get indignant about being sheared.
Few things have changed since Aesop observed that we hang the petty thieves and appoint the great ones to public office.
JetBlue And The Community
To The Editor:
Your front-page headline JetBlue Sign Approved (Liz Goff, March 15) represents a refreshing change of attitudes. This is good news versus the ongoing crackdown by the city Building Department with assistance from the Department of City Planning and local Community Planning Boards concerning alleged illegal outdoor billboard advertisements including those on buildings which continues to be disappointing. This is sad to those who cherish free speech. Perhaps all have forgotten about the Bill of Rights and First Amendment.
JetBlue provides several hundred jobs at their Queens Plaza office and thousands more at local airports along with contributing tax revenues. JetBlue also purchases fuel along with other products and services from local businesses. JetBlue employees are our neighbors who also pay taxes just like you and me. These revenues support valuable municipal, state and federal services we all count on. Many fellow New Yorkers also own stock in JetBlue.
If you don’t like the ad, don’t buy the product. Advertisers will get the message. How ironic that those who would defend public display of artwork that some might consider pornographic are so quick to censor outdoor advertisers. There are many small business and building owners who struggle to survive due to excessive government regulations, property taxes and rent control. They need income from billboard advertisements to help pay these expenses. Dealing with the Buildings Department is difficult enough. What’s next, more silly City Council legislation forcing all advertisers to first get a permit from the Municipal Arts Society and create the new city Department of Visual Arts?
Why no outcry when every campaign season candidates for public office litter neighborhoods with thousands of their own posters illegally attached to light posts all around town. Have you ever seen any losing or winning candidate taking down this visual garbage after Election Day? Public Advocate Bill de Blasio recently paid his fines from the 2009 election campaign. Former City Comptroller William Thompson and current City Comptroller John Liu each respectively owe several hundred thousand dollars in unpaid fines for illegal campaign posters. What constitutes illegal versus informative advertising should be in the eye of the beholder, not Big Brother!
I look forward to seeing the JetBlue sign while riding the No. 7 train line. New Yorkers face a current eight percent unemployment rate not counting another seven percent of neighbors who have just given up looking for work. JetBlue is a symbol of economic growth and prosperity. They continue to create new jobs without the assistance of federally-funded taxpayers’ stimulus dollars. How refreshing!
Great Neck, NY