Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Culture Club

Recently, City Hall released the findings of an extensive report where residents were asked to grade their areas on wide array of features. Community Board 6 (Forest Hills & Rego Park) gave the city among the highest marks of all the community boards in the city, which is probably Mayor Bloomberg decided to have the press conference releasing the report at the Forest Hills Library.

Our response rate was above the city average and we gave the city higher than average marks in every area they asked about.

The biggest gripe FoHo/ReGo has? Lack of cultural activies.

While most other communities said their biggest complaint was street noise (which was #2 in our area), we said there wasn't enough culture. Which makes the press conference at the library so perfect.

The Forest Hills library, which is pretty much the only cultural center around here, is so lame compared to libraries in similar towns, I hope somebody from the city took notice. If you watch the press conference like I did, the theme throughout was "Now the we have the information, the question is what do we do with it."

I know the city's not going to build a BAM on Austin Street or a put a Museum of Natural History in the Beach Bum Tanning space. But surely the Mayor saw the tiny library (Barnes and Noble is about three times the size) and knew immediately why Forest Hills residents ranked lack of cultural activities as the top complaint about an otherwise great area.

Ideas that the city could implement that wouldn't cost that much:

  • Offer the West Side Tennis Club financial assistance to reopen the Tennis Stadium for classical music concerts. The ones at the bandshell at Forest Park are a joke with all the motorcycles and boom cars driving up Forest Park Lane.

  • Provide a shuttle bus (as is provided from Manhattan to/from BAM) from Continental Ave. to Queens Museum/Botanic Gardens in Flushing Meadows. Gettng there is a bitch without a car.

  • Provide assistance to expand Restaurant Row Jazz Thursdays, now currently three times a year (twice this year because of a rain storm), to every Thursday from Memorial Day to Labor Day.

  • Provide assistance for a Halloween Parade and Christmas concert 71st Rd.

Without the cultural infrastructure already in place as in Brooklyn and Manhattan, we will have to get ours in the street.