Kew Gardens man demands apology from Garrison Keillor for maligning Queens

Author Garrison Keillor draws the ire of Kew Gardens resident JT Woods for slamming Queens in an op-ed piece last week.
By Bill Parry

A lifelong resident of Kew Gardens and Richmond Hill is calling out author and radio personality Garrison Keillor on behalf of over 2.3 million of his fellow Queens residents not named Donald Trump.

JT Woods, 50, a free-lance artist, actor and musician, wrote Keillor demanding an apology last week after reading his “Open Letter to Donald Trump” op-ed that went viral on the Internet.

“I read his snotty little thing and it annoyed me greatly,” Woods said. “I’ve always been a huge fan of his Prairie Home Companion on the radio, but now I want to know, why is he picking on Queens? We’ve done nothing wrong to this person.”

When Keillor did not respond, Woods put his letter on social media creating quite a stir of his own. It began with Keillor’s strong rebuke of the Queens-born Trump in a Washington Post guest column Aug. 31.

“The New York Times treats you like a village idiot. This is painful for a Queens boy trying to win respect in Manhattan where the Times is the Supreme Liberal Jewish Anglican Arbiter of Who Has The Smarts and What Goes Where,” Keillor wrote in an open-letter format to Trump. “You are Queens. The casinos were totally Queens, the gold faucets in your triplex, the bragging, the insults, but you wanted to be liked by Those People.”

Woods fired back that if the five borough were separate cities, Queens would be America’s fourth most populated behind Los Angeles, Chicago and Brooklyn. That his beloved borough was declared the World’s Most Ethnically Diverse Urban Area by the Guinness Book of World’s Records.

Woods listed Rockaway Beach, MoMA PS1, the Socrates Sculpture Garden and the Museum of the Moving Image among its top attractions along with the big name celebrities who have lived here, from Tony Bennett and Louis Armstrong to Jack Kerouac and LL Cool J.

“You have made a fortune spinning tales of a mythically non-diverse town named Lake Wobegone, and some of the people who heard these stories believed them to be real,” Woods wrote to Keillor. “These are the same people who now want to ‘Make America Great Again’ by creating a land which never was.”

Woods accuses Keillor of projecting his own insecurities about living in New York City in the 1980s onto Trump.

“You did this without knowing Queens, the Queens you mentioned was something you saw watching ‘All in the Family’ on television,” Woods wrote. “The people of Queens have faced heartbreak, but they don’t quit, they don’t leave, they believe hard work results in miracles. The people of Queens are tenacious, persistent and they don’t run home to Mommy. You don’t know anything about Queens because New York broke you and you cried all the way home.”

Woods said he has made a habit of speaking up in defense of his borough, and he will gladly do it again. He has not heard a response from Garrison Keillor, not does he expect one.

A request for comment from TimesLedger Newspapers has not been responded to by Keillor or his publicist.

Reach reporter Bill Parry by e-mail at bparry@cnglocal.com or by phone at (718) 260–4538.

More from Around New York