As Queens watches the calendar flip up to another year, we are checking off a virtual list of what we would like to see happen in our neighborhoods in 2016. It may take years for these projects to get beyond the drawing board, but New Yorkers are optimists at heart—especially those of us who live in this outer borough.
Long-suffering Baysiders would be happy to have a multi-story parking garage built where the municipal parking lot now stands to free up some of the spots along Bell Boulevard and nearby neighborhood streets.
Bayside is a popular destination for Long Island Rail Road commuters who drive into Queens from Nassau and Suffolk to park and take advantage of the cheaper fare zone.
This forces shoppers, restaurant patrons and bar goers into the back streets, which is not the play book for stimulating the Bell Boulevard economy.
In southeast Queens, which has half the homeless facilities in the borough, the top priority is to stop the influx of more shelters. Many contend the community is oversaturated.
As Ridgewood feels the impact of gentrification with people crossing the border from Bushwick, more action is wanted to protect renters’ rights at the hands of aggressive developers.
Over near LaGuardia Airport, airplane noise is the overriding concern as activists, lawmakers and residents urge the FAA to change recent flight paths to diminish the deafening sound of jet engines, particularly on takeoff. This is a hot issue for all of northeast Queens as well as communities surrounding Kennedy Airport.
In western Queens, the clock ticks as the powers that be await the city Economic Development Corp.’s study on Mayor Bill de Blasio’s plan to build 11,000 affordable housing units in the Sunnyside rail yards. The open space has drawn many proposals over the years, including the failed bid to put the Olympic Village on a raised platform for the 2012 Games.
In Forest Hills, No. 1 on the list is that authorities capture the arsonist who has been torching Bukharian homes under construction in the community. No. 2 is a bookstore somewhere in the area to replace the beloved Barnes & Noble, which closed this week.
Against this backdrop of magical thinking, we’d like to add one more wish: May our mayor and governor bury their high-stakes feud and play ball. In a more collegial new year, one of the bigger projects on our radar might actually get done.