Letters To The Editor
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Come to Queens, Mr. President Dear Editor:
The editorial in the Dec. 10 issue of the Times Newsweekly suggested that President Obama come to Queens to see how desperate the job situation really is.
I would like to suggest the same thing.
Mr. President, starting in Long Island City, observe the amount of vacant factory space. Please also see the remnants of rail sitings that once carried freight cars to these vacant factory and warehouse buildings. These manufacturers provided jobs to the residents of our borough and others. Jobs that were, for the most part, reachable by a subway or bus ride. Jobs that provided the wages needed by our residents to live and buy goods and services produced by others locally or further away in our nation.
Some of these factory, warehouse and distribution facilities have been demolished and modern housing constructed. Others have been recycled and converted to other uses such as in the Degnon Terminal area south of Queens Boulevard and east of Skillman Avenue.
Long Island City was once an industrial area unrivaled in density and diversity in the type of products produced.
Ride the Port Washington line of the Long Island Rail Road. You will see the traces of sidings to such employers as Durkee Foods.
If it were possible to ride the now defunct Rockaway Beach line, you would pass by the factory in Woodhaven that produced “Dr. Graybow” pipes, enjoyed by pipe smokers for many years. Travelling further south, there was a rail freight distribution center at Rockaway Boulevard and 100th Street. Continuing down to the Rockaways, the railroad provided the means of getting fuel and building supplies to that area of the borough, as well as jobs for the companies served.
Returning to Long Island City, ride out on the Montauk branch through our area of Maspeth, Ridgewood, Glendale and Richmond Hill to Jamaica. Yes, there are warehouse and distribution sites, but no production of any real magnitude occurring.
Riding the lines radiating east of Jamaica, you would not help but notice sitings given up and used for other purposes. The buildings they once served, which once housed businesses and productive facilities converted to condos (as the Dec. 10 editorial correctly observed), are either half-filled or empty.
The loss of jobs in our area is particularly severe, as the editorial pointed out. Again, using the Long Island Rail Road as our way of seeing this first hand, the Evergreen branch—which once ran between Bushwick and Ridgewood borders to the New York Connecting Railroad to Bay Ridge—serviced many industries in the Johnson Avenue area, businesses in the Ridgewood area between Myrtle and Cody avenues, including a coal company and a meat packer.
The Bushwick Branch, from Fresh Pond junction to Bushwick Terminal, has had most of its sidings removed, but still services several industries.
Not everyone can operate a computer. Not everyone is suited for information technology positions. Our graduation rate from the schools will never be 100 percent.
All types of jobs are needed and needed badly. Jobs that a first time job seeker can get. Jobs that a dropout could qualify for and thus begin to earn a wage and be inspired to someday return to school, graduate and qualify for a more advanced position.
The business climate needs to be more favorable here to induce employers to establish themselves in our area.
Noticeably absent from all the rhetoric regarding the economy and how to improve it has been any mention of restoring our manufacturing and industrial foundation. Just what are we going to do with all this “clean energy” we are going to produce?
It is a pretty sad state of affairs when something as basic as toothpaste is coming into the country in containers carried on ships.
As the last paragraph of the editorial asked for, “Mr. President, do something dramatic to bring manufacturing back to the U.S. and Queens.”
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