Your Anecdotal Census: Queens

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Andrew Beveridge, professor of sociology at Queens College and the CUNY Graduate Center, talks about some of the demographic changes Queens has gone through in the last ten years.  Then Seema Agnani, executive director of Chhaya Community Development Corporation talks about how the South Asian community in Queens has changed over the decade.  Then Valeria Treves, executive director of New Immigrant Community Empowerment discusses the changes she's seen.  Later, Queens Borough President Helen Marshall talks about how demographic changes have influenced policy and politics in Queens over the last ten years. Finally, executive director of Asian-Americans for Equality Christopher Kui discusses the growing civic awareness in the Chinese and Korean communities of Flushing, Queens over the past ten years.


Seema Agnani, Andrew Beveridge, Christopher Kui, Helen Marshall and Valeria Treves

Comments [39]

Rose from Hollis, Queens

As a Queens native of over twenty years I am very disappointed with the discussion that took place. Areas such as Southeast Queens weren't even discussed. There is a major issue of developers buying single family homes and making them into three family apartments wasn't addressed. Also, I would have like to hear a discussion of how the AirTrain is affecting Queens (positive, negative, etc).
What was up with Helen Marshall's responses?! She's an idiot.

Jun. 15 2010 09:01 PM
Voter from Staten Island from Staten Island

There should be a separate show on the relevancy of the Office of the Borough President. Do we really need to spend a total of $28 Million in Year 2008 payroll for the 5 boroughs' staff? To me the Borough Presidents are part of the problem. Though not as big a scale Mike from Inwood describes the situation for Staten Island as well.

Jun. 15 2010 12:53 PM
S. Burnett from NoHo

These conversations make me so frustrated. All Americans by definition are immigrants regardless of ethnic background - whether you got here 200 years ago or 2 months ago.

The natives are not of European descent and the group we tend to reference as the current natives will be the minority. We should just embrace the cultural differences as richness and know that as Americans we can experience something that most other countries do not.

Jun. 15 2010 12:01 PM
Liam from East Elmhurst

John Liu-how about those houses of ill-repute in Flushing.

Jun. 15 2010 11:55 AM

Is it true that some Korean developers in Flushing refuse to lease to Chinese stores?
Or are they still a Model Minority?

Jun. 15 2010 11:54 AM
Alex from Laurelton

The borough President avoided the caller from College Point's question about overcrowding and overbuilding in Queens. Instead of discussing the overwhelming number of single-family homes being bought by developers and converted to 2 or more family homes. This phenomenon is separate from informal home divisions (renting basements, etc.) which had been going on much earlier and is not as damaging to a neighborhoods housing stock and character. Appearance wise, Queens (especially Southeast Queens) seems to be becoming ghettoized while many parts of the city that are closer to Manhattan are being gentrified.

Jun. 15 2010 11:53 AM
Mike from Inwood

Queens is filled with illegally subdivided houses, allowing the population to skyrocket. The infrastructure is not in place for this: water, sewage, electricty, schools, parking, parks, you name it. Enforce the zoning code and the problems will disappear.

Jun. 15 2010 11:52 AM
Leonie Haimson from NYC

The schools are severely overcrowded in Queens.

According to the latest official DOE stats, 67% of elementary students in Queens were attending overcrowded schools and 77% of HS students, and this doesn’t even count the thousands of kids in trailers in the borough. And the situation is getting worse, not better.

Class sizes are increasing, and as of March 2010, there were nearly 800 children on waiting lists for their zoned Kindergarten in Queens.

Jun. 15 2010 11:51 AM
helene from briarwood

I have the same concerns as the caller from Hollis. In my neighborhood, the one familiy homes are torn down and multi residences are built, one on top of the other, each with 8 plus units -- there is no parking anymore, services are drained, schools are more crowded than ever. BUT the worst is the transient lifestyle as these are all rentals and these people have no interest in preserving the neighborhood. Crime is on the rise. And furthermore, because everything is cheaply made, the nice neighborhoods have started to obtain a "tenement" look.

Jun. 15 2010 11:50 AM
witness from nj

"informal" housing? what did she say? thanks for the spin. these pieces seem to work so hard to be politically correct as to be toothless

Jun. 15 2010 11:50 AM

Why don't we have affordable housing in Soho and Park Slope?

Jun. 15 2010 11:46 AM

Why should long term residents suffer from Bloomberg's policies to pack them in?

Jun. 15 2010 11:46 AM

What about all of the immigrant seniors who are living on food stamps and medicaid. What happens is that they live in these McMasions with their kids, but because they have no assets, they collect food stamps and medicaid.

I see this in the Russian community in Rego Park and Forest Hills. Many russians or ex-soviet staters pay for food using food stamps.

I think this is an abuse of the system and is wrong. We don't need immigrants to take food stamps and medicaid.

Jun. 15 2010 11:43 AM
Voter from Brooklyn.

What is the borough president talking about? The discussion was on up-zoning, overcrowding, the effects on schools, etc… she’s just prattling on like she’s on the campaign stump. She’s worse than the Brooklyn borough president (and barely as literate).

Jun. 15 2010 11:42 AM
Matthew from Brooklyn

Can you let your guest the Borough Prez take a breath? She blathers non-stop with campaign rhetoric.

Jun. 15 2010 11:42 AM
Susan from New York

I don't think that diversity is the issue, it is the density as a result of rezoning. The quality of life is really effective about this. Shouldn't this be a major consideration now that people are packing into the city.

Jun. 15 2010 11:41 AM
Bartholomew Barrington


I didn't realize that the place where the hired help comes from was so interesting.

Jun. 15 2010 11:40 AM
Liam from East Elmhurst

Queens is one of the better boroughs in this city.
Manhattan is nice, but, too tourist driven and for the rich.
Brooklyn is nice, but, too confusing!
Richmond is too far away.
And the Bronx must be freed from the mainland to float prosperously out to sea.

Just clean up Queens and respect it-that's all.

And keep an open mind towards the shift away from family values in Queens or else you may be sorry.

I am sure the new immigrants love the bars on Northern Blvd..

Jun. 15 2010 11:40 AM

Why is Helen Marshall on? Is she here to promote herself or to tell us about queens?

What was the question? I don't think it was, why are you so great for queens Ms. Marshall.

I don't think it was that.

Jun. 15 2010 11:40 AM
Marielle from Brooklyn

Mark from Mount Vernon - I beg to differ - "bodega" is one of those words from another language that has been incorporated into the English language and is now used to refer to any small grocery, regardless of ethnicity - viva la diversity!

Jun. 15 2010 11:38 AM
Ridgewoodian from Ridgewood, Qns

Interesting that everyone calling in and MOST of the commentators here are pro diversity and immigration. Would that it were universally so in the "real world." For a taste of the other side, read the cranks on the Queens Crap blog ( For my own self, I love living in Queens in general and in Ridgewood, specifically.

Jun. 15 2010 11:37 AM

This discussion is racist because it is so shallow.
It barely delves beneath identification.

Jun. 15 2010 11:30 AM
Mark from Mount Vernon

A caller referred to a deli run by a German as a bodega. Today's Daily News told of a winning lottery ticket sold in Bay Ridge by an Arab businessman, which was also referred to as a bodega.

It's not a generic word.

A deli or grocery is only a bodega if it serves Spanish-speaking customers in Spanish neighborhoods.

Jun. 15 2010 11:29 AM
Dan from Brooklyn

I third Marielle and Jerry: Archie Bunker was supposed to be blue-collar WASP, not Irish American.

Jun. 15 2010 11:24 AM
Linda from East Village

One easy way to grasp the ethnic diversity of Queens is to go to the food hall at the Queens Center on a weekend afternoon. They're all congregated there. Looking at just a couple of tables, I noticed families of Latinos, Pakistanis, Chinese, Russians, and South Asians of every ilk. What amazed me most wasn't the diversity, but the fact that just about all the children--especially boys from age 9 or 10 into their teens--were wearing the same baseball caps, t-shirts, pants, and sneakers. They even wore their socks rolled the same way. Which suggests to me that, at this level, at least, the melting pot is alive and well.

Jun. 15 2010 11:23 AM

What is the average political orientation of the various groups?

Jun. 15 2010 11:19 AM
Michelle from Forest Hills

I moved to Forest Hills in 1999. At the time, Metropolitan Avenue was dowdy and pretty void of retail shops. Now it is thriving, featuring great restaurants, nice shops, wonderful "antiques" shops...and, of course, Eddie's Sweet Shop, the victorian ice cream parlor that makes its own ice cream & whipped cream.

Austin Street, on the other hand, has become more like a mall than a little main street, with VIctoria's Secret, Banana Republic, Ann Taylor, The Gap, Body name it. Just like Roosevelt Field...but who wants a mall instead of the local bakery?

Jun. 15 2010 11:19 AM

Archie Bunker was NOT Irish-American stock. On at least one show he trashed the Irish as a group, and clearly didn't include himself a one of them

Jun. 15 2010 11:19 AM

Jamaica Queens has experienced a huge burst of construction. Many multiple dwellings are replacing single family homes. The result is that the infrastructure is not there to support all those new families. Not enough schools, parking, etc. My children have always had to go to private schools.

Ironically they've so overbuilt that many of the new units going up are not filling up, but if they did the over development would be even worse

Jun. 15 2010 11:18 AM
Carol from Sunnyside

'love this neighborhood. Very diverse & they all brought their bedbugs with them. I bet we have the biggest population of bed bugs in the country.

Jun. 15 2010 11:17 AM
Marielle from Brooklyn

Sorry to quibble, but Archie was NOT Irish-American.

Jun. 15 2010 11:16 AM
Rose from Jackson Heights

I live in Jackson Heights. There are people from every immigrant group your guest mentions who live in my building.

Jun. 15 2010 11:16 AM
hard reality

Where are the former populations, such as African Americans and Latinos, of Flushing moving to?

Jun. 15 2010 11:13 AM
Liam from East Elmhurst

Yeah, lower OVERT crime.

The drugs keep on flowing-so beautiful!

And the gay bars that adorn Northern Blvd..

My heart swells with pride.

East Elmhurst...trash trash trash...nothing like liberal radio, is there?

Jun. 15 2010 11:12 AM
Liam from East Elmhurst

A total wanton disregard for clean streets-a DIVERSITY of trash on the ground. A RAINBOW of different kinds of trash strewn about the ground.
People leaving bottles in the gutter that flow or are intentionally stuck into the sewers which will back up and drastically pollute the water system.

Applause for the diversity, folks!

East Elmhurst...trash trash trash for everyone's personal enjoyment!

Jun. 15 2010 11:10 AM

More immigrants, lower crime, great food.

Jun. 15 2010 11:09 AM
claudia from Kew Gardens, Queens, NY

In Kew Gardens ten years ago parking was easily available even when court was in session. More people have cars and even multiple cars in this neighborhood and it has become more difficult to park here than in some Manhattan neighborhoods.

Jun. 15 2010 10:44 AM
John from Ridgewood

I've been in Ridgewood, Queens since 2010. Public transportation has improved substantially the L train has improved significantly and the M is about to weave into Manhattan. There is a brand new terminal and improvements in bus stops. The Seneca Avenue M was chosen as the worst subway stop in the city but this couldn't be farther from the truth.

While hipsters have begun a slow infiltration into the area, Dominican, Puerto Rican, Ecuadorians, Colombians, Polish, Serbians and other Eastern Europeans have held fast. Rents are reasonable. Our schools needs improvements as do our hospitals, local business is tough but some savvy mom-and-pops have found their way.

It gets better everday!

Jun. 15 2010 10:19 AM

Please discuss how gay Jackson Heights has become in recent years. There are several relatively new (mostly latin) gay bars within walking distance on the big train station on Roosevelt & Broadway. Hiram Monserrate recently lost a special election in the face of overwhelming opposition from the gay community. And Daniel Dromm, the city councilman from Jackson Heights is an openly gay founder of the Queens Pride parade, which was celebrated last week.

Jun. 15 2010 10:09 AM

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