Top stories to watch for in Flushing in 2023

QNS will continue to spotlight measures the 109th Precinct is taking to remedy the situation going forward into the new year. (Photo via Twitter/@NYPD109Pct)

As the community continues to rebuild and recover from the pandemic, Flushing residents are preparing to celebrate Lunar New Year, which is expected to bring crowds of people to the downtown area.

While there is excitement to ring in the Year of the Rabbit, there are also concerns regarding crime in the area and how the NYPD will tackle the issue in the new year.

Flushing community prepares for Lunar New Year Parade

Flushing Lunar New Year Parade (Photo by Adrian Childress)

Flushing community leaders are preparing for the upcoming annual Lunar New Year Parade that will take place on Saturday, Jan. 21, at 11 a.m. to celebrate the Year of the Rabbit. 

The parade is organized by a coalition of community groups led by the Flushing Chinese Business Association. In December, community members met with Borough President Donovan Richards, elected officials and representatives of the mayor’s office to discuss plans for the celebration. Tangram, located at 133-33 39th Ave., will also host an indoor celebration from 1 to 3 p.m. 

On Sunday, Feb. 5, at 3 p.m., the Queens College Kupferberg Center for the Arts will host a Lunar New Year celebration featuring a colorful, spectacular program of dance, music and more. The world-renowned Nai-Ni Chen Dance Company is known for fusing American Modern dance with the grace, splendor and discipline of Asian art.

Lunar New Year, also known as Chinese New Year, is a celebration of the arrival of spring and the beginning of a new year on the lunisolar calendar. It is one of the most important holidays of the year for the Asian American community, both in New York and across the country. The holiday, which takes place in either late January or early February and concludes 15 days later, is marked by elaborate celebrations in Flushing, Chinatown in Manhattan, and other parts of the city.

Local crime surge in downtown Flushing

Amid the holiday season and upcoming celebrations for the Lunar New Year, downtown Flushing business owners, community leaders and elected officials are expressing concerns over public safety, as crimes have surged in the area. (Photo by Carlotta Mohamed)

As crime and public safety remains a topic of discussion among Flushing community leaders, NYPD and elected officials, QNS will continue to spotlight measures the 109th Precinct is taking to remedy the situation going forward into the new year. 

During the 109th Precinct Community Council meeting held in September, Deputy Inspector Louron Hall announced that the precinct is currently struggling with crime in all seven major categories: murder, rape, robbery, felony assault, burglary, grand larceny and grand larceny auto. 

“So far, this year, we’re at 1,988 crimes, which translates to an increase of 81% in crimes for the year to date. We are going through very difficult times,” Hall said. “Right now, we are No. 1 in the city as it relates to crime increase.” 

Hall noted a shortage in police officers, resulting in fewer officers on the ground to respond to calls. 

In December, downtown Flushing business owners expressed their concerns regarding a rise in thefts and the installation of surveillance cameras. In response to the issue, new NYPD Chief of Department Jeffrey Maddrey promised to send extra police officers to aid the Flushing community. 

MTA to continue construction at Flushing-Main Street station 

Flushing Main Street station (Photo via Wikimedia Commons)

Construction to significantly improve the rider experience at the Flushing-Main Street station began in June and will continue through 2023, the Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) announced.

According to an update from the MTA, crews are installing eight new staircases to ease currency overcrowding and acute congestion on platform and street-level stairs during peak hours. The new stairs will better accommodate both incoming and outgoing passengers west of Main Street, while improving service for those using all stairs throughout the station.

Additionally, four new street-to-mezzanine stairs are being installed on the north and south corners of Main Street and to the west of Main Street, along both the north and south sides of Roosevelt Avenue. Four new mezzanine-to-platform stairs are also being installed. Four existing street stairs are being rehabilitated for ADA compliance and four existing platform stairs are being reoriented. The mezzanine is being expanded and two new fare control areas with six new turnstiles are being constructed. The existing CCTV camera system is being upgraded and wayfinding signs within the station are being improved.

“MTA Construction and Development is prioritizing projects including accessibility and state of good repair that will enhance stations and extend the lifespan of our infrastructure for years to come,” said Jamie Torres-Springer, MTA Construction & Development president. “We are closely coordinating the schedules of these projects to maximize the efficiency of track outages and minimize the impacts to our customers.”