Mayor Bill de Blasio and his staff are currently spending a week in Queens as part of the City Hall In Your Borough program. So far, the week has included the announcement of a new health center in Flushing and the 116th Precinct in Rosedale, a walking tour of Jamaica businesses, a town hall in Astoria, a job fair at Queens Borough Hall, a game of bocce in Corona and much more.
Queens Borough President Melinda Katz rightfully pointed out during the week’s kickoff that the borough’s diverse array of cultures and languages results in a variety of needs for Queens. “Folks are coming here and they expect a good education; they expect healthcare; they expect the fact that they can have transportation back and forth to work,” she said.
It’s great that the mayor is committing an entire week to each of the boroughs of New York City this summer and providing residents with the opportunity to meet with his staff and commissioners from various agencies. We welcome all of the mayor’s cabinet members to Queens for this one-week intensive period and hope that the City Hall In Your Borough program will become an annual series of events.
Queens leaders and residents have long complained that the borough is frequently given short shrift on a variety of issues, from transportation and schools to affordable housing and services for seniors. In May, Queens business leaders traveled to Albany for the inaugural Queens Day, and this week, the borough is getting its overdue attention from the city.
However, there are 52 weeks in a year and all of the borough’s problems cannot be solved in a week. So, let this not be the last time that such a focus is given to the borough. We will continue to make sure that our leaders in government do not walk away from us after Friday. We look forward to working with the mayor and his administration all year round.
The City Hall In Your Borough program is a great idea and it has, so far this week, brought some much-needed personalized attention to Queens. To paraphrase Humphrey Bogart, may this be the beginning of a beautiful friendship.