2012-03-09 / Letters

Letter To Chamber

The following letter was sent to Queens Chamber of Commerce President Carol Ann Conslato.

Dear Editor,

Governor Cuomo’s call for a great NYC Convention Center in Queens over by JFK and Aqueduct took the State Legislature by surprise; took the mayor by surprise; and probably took the 2.3 millions of Queens residents (like me) by surprise.

And the media push back has already begun. I am getting sick and tired of the Post (Kyle Smith) and the Times (see both below) takin’ pot shots at Queens. Aren’t you too? Certainly I don’t think there’s any grand conspiracy on their part, simply profound ignorance in what makes a convention center important and successful, and what makes Queens Queens!

I mean: how many cities – in the world! – boast two major airports; a major league baseball team (albeit, weakening); host the final slam of the the World Tennis Federation’s Grand Slam that winds through London, Paris and Melbourne; and twice – not once, twice – hosted The World’s Fair. How many cities have 7 miles of pristine ocean beach, five miles of beautiful boardwalk, a Fort, and an urban National Wildlife Refuge!

In an immigrant city – is not Queens home to more of the recently-arrived ... Asians, Hispanics, Slavs, etc., etc., ... than any other boro?

Alone Queens would be New York State’s second largest city and more populous than the next five NY State cities combined. Alone, Queens would be America’s fourth biggest city behind Chicago and ahead of Houston. And we’re prodigious readers and shoppers here in Queens too, Madame President ... The Queens Public Library System is the nation’s (if not the world’s!) largest circulating system, and the Queens Center Mall is the city’s busiest.

When people think of great (can I say iconic?) moments in great venues – don’t the Billy Joel and Beatles’ concerts come to mind (@ Shea), the ‘69 Mets, the Borg-McEnroe match-ups, etc., etc. A signatory to The Declaration of Independence is buried here in Queens (Jamaica), and before Walt Whitman corresponded from Brooklyn Heights, he worked at Jamaica’s Long Island Democrat?

I am gettin’ sick of press ignorance, and writing you in the hopes that The Queens Chamber might redouble your efforts, President Conslato, not just to support and advocate for Queens business, but for the Queens image – you know, to offer New Yorkers a bit more nuanced look than say the TV images from “The King of Queens” and “Archie Bunker.” I mean, if a dog can steal The Oscars, isn’t there room for Queens to steal the hearts of New Yorkers?

This proposed convention center would be great for Queens, and great for NYC. Governor Cuomo is right, and I think it really makes sense to prove him right, no?


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