April 7, 2017 By Hannah Wulkan
Tensions about gentrification in Western Queens ran high at the Community Board 2 meeting last night.
Several members of the Queens Anti-Gentrification Project shared concerns that impending large developments in the area including the Brooklyn Queens Connector, the Sunnyside Yards development and the Long Island City core rezoning would change the character of the neighborhood and drive the middle class out of the area.
“We understand that these developments would forever change the landscape of Queens,” said QAGP organizer Michael Forest. “They are harmful to the city, they only profit developers and we understand that they’ll hurt not only the city but the environment also.”
The group shared their concerns with the Community Board in anticipation of their protest against gentrification on April 20. The group expects over 100 people to march from Bliss Plaza to Councilman Jimmy Van Bramer’s office at 6 p.m. to demand that he fully oppose all three developments.
“We’re seeing the borough change, rents are skyrocketing, I’m personally worried about my neighbors and friends being priced out and being priced out myself,” said another QAGP member Dan Raymond, adding that the developments are “out of character with the neighborhood.”
“Our main concern, which we especially want to stress, is not just out of character buildings but out of character rent prices and the introduction of out of character products, such as expensive food, the disappearance of vital services and products that basically keep us all alive here,” He added. “The people who make up the massive base of the neighborhood are under threat of being priced out.”
Several other speakers raised concerns about local politicians accepting donations from developers in the area, specifically citing Van Bramer and Senator Michael Gianaris.
In addition to organizing the protest, the group began a petition that has garnered 88 signatures in the last month requesting that Van Bramer oppose the developments and support a citywide rent freeze, an end to upzoning, and full funding for NYCHA.
“Long ago, I publicly announced my support for a rent freeze in the City of New York. And I have always unequivocally opposed the privatization of NYCHA. The residents of NYCHA I represent know that,” Van Bramer responded in a statement last month.
“The BQX, development of Sunnyside Yards and the proposed rezoning of Long Island City are all ideas being pushed by Mayor de Blasio and his administration. I have publicly expressed great concern and skepticism about all of the Mayor’s proposals. And I have publicly opposed previous plans of the Mayor when it was wrong for our neighborhood. I fight every day for the people I represent, and I’ll never support anything that hurts our community. My neighbors and constituents know that,” Van Bramer added.
The Anti gentrification are doing the right thing but are Jimmy Van Bramer and Michael Gianaris listening? It might hurt their personal bottom line. How has Van Bramer been listening with all he Luxury development that has gone up on his watch. I have no faith he will stop anything DumBlasio wants to do.
More political pandering, sickening and disgusting. Aren’t there any real issues that they can spend their energies on?
Even China is allowed freedom on property transactions! These poor liberals are out of control!
OK – there is an issue here, but a rent freeze?!? Is that even legal? The government should not be engaged in price fixing…otherwise, why have privately owned property?
But the government is in effect engaging in price fixing through its policies, which generally favor wealthy developers and buyers. Let’s level the playing field and getting rid of the whole host of tax subsidies, rebates, credits and other giveaways doled out by the government to developers and purchasers of real estate. In NYC, this is what is helping to create the imbalance in the market you decry by favoring one privilege group over others. You can’t just bash one side for demanding some preferential treatment when the other side is literally wallowing in it.
Tax subsides are designed to redevelop neighborhoods for optimal use. LIC was suboptimally used 20 years ago. Its proximity to midtown makes it more efficient as a mid-density residential neighborhood than as a collection of rotting industrial buildings. Tax incentives drive developer behavior to effect this change. Retaining the old residents in the neighborhood does not benefit the City overall, so why invest in it?
We’re talking about Queens neighborhoods today. If a group of people want to make sure NYC is affordable to middle class people (whether they are old residents or newer people coming in) and to seek balance in a system that almost always favors the very wealthy over everyone else. Phony libertarian conservatives like yourself blow a gasket if workers at the lower ends of the income spectrum get preferential tax treatment but have no problem at all when they themselves get far more generous treatment through mortgage tax relief and many other giveaways. You can’t have it both ways, Frankie Boy. As for your gratuitous dig at older people in LIC, I won’t dignify your comment.
I hardly see how the taxpayer benefits from preserving a low-income neighborhood. Furthermore, it is pretty hard to get a tax credit if you pay no taxes, so we are talking wealth transfer. Finally, wealth does bring advantages like, you know, having money and stuff. Shocking that that dynamic has existed since the dawn of human history. And my comment about the dinosaurs here in LIC was simply an observation of reality.
Here is what is really happening: You are just shooting off wads of class warfare wrapped up in some sort of egalitarian tripe to troll this site – the intellectual equivalent of a crap sausage. You really need to get over yourself, or at least get yourself a nice pointy red hat so others can see your trolling self for what it is.