From Queens Press:
A Personal Perspective
BY MARCIA MOXAM COMRIE
It once served Southeast Queens as a conveniently-located hospital, but soon it will be serving a whole new purpose in the community.
The old Mary Immaculate Hospital, which shuttered its doors in 2009, has remained boarded up for more than five years waiting for another shot at being an important part of the community.
Enter the Chetrit Group, a real estate development entity, which plans to convert the old hospital building, located 150-13 89 Ave., into a 300-unit apartment to the housing-starved area. Losing the hospital due to financial woes was a calamity. But repurposing the property into housing for this thriving neighborhood is a just outcome.
And I use the word, “just” advisedly. When housing is scarce it is an injustice to those who are at a loss to find suitable residences where they can live with dignity. Downtown Jamaica is on the rise commercially, so it’s only fitting and logical that the community has the housing options it needs to accommodate new immigrant groups that infuse the area every year, as well as make it a viable and attractive option for those who teach and otherwise work in the area.
There is development going on everywhere in this once blighted area of our borough. This part of Jamaica, whichwas once the home of Rufus King, an American founding father whose house still stands today and serves as a museum anchoring the park named in his honor, deserves urban renewal as seen unfolding in so many other parts of our city.
Funny thing is that the more we attract new dwellers and workers, the more necessary it becomes to have viable emergency care options, so we will still miss having the hospital. The saying, “you win some, you lose some,” was never clearer in its meaning than it is in this situation. We’ve lost a hospital; we’re gaining housing in its stead.
It is almost a metaphor for the life of a hospital. Some patients live, some die. So why did our hospital have to die in order for there to be additional livable space around these parts? The juxtaposition is ironic but we’ll take it. Look at it this way, losing the hospital opened up the space for investment in housing, which we obviously also need. Supplying the demand for housing in this area makes good business sense and sensible “social policy.”
Since its unfortunate closing, the property had become blight on the neighborhood with broken windows, garbage, and just general decay; so it’s great to see signs of impending life for the spot again. Reportedly, there are also plans to tear down the old parking garage of the property to make room for additional housing as well.
This all bodes well for what the mayor, non-profits, academia and the general community have been working on over the past year.
The Jamaica Now Action Plan “outlines 21 strategic actions for the revitalization and growth of Jamaica, into a thriving residential and commercial neighborhood.” The plan is the culmination of a large scale community engagement with dozens of meetings with private and public stakeholders as well as general community members.
The plan calls for the addressing of myriad challenges that have stunted the area’s growth over the last 45 years or so. In addition to affordable housing, improved transit access and attracting commercial investors, there will also be workforce training and small business support, new mixed-use development “and improving the livability of the neighborhood through investments in safety measures, green spaces and more,” according to reports.
And we will not have to wait decades to see all the initiatives come to fruition either. Some are predicted to happen over the next three years. Too bad the hospital couldn’t get rescued from bankruptcy, but the alternative is not a bad end result.
You win some you lose some.
The plan calls for the addressing of myriad challenges that have stunted the area’s growth over the last 45 years or so says Marcia Moxam Comrie, who happens to be the wife of one of the most useless elected officials in Jamaica, Leroy Comrie. Of course people think he is great, but see, the bar in Jamaica is set so low, that a useless and mediocre player like Comrie can be a star. And this is one of the biggest problems in Jamaica, a very low bar.
The biggest challenge that no one likes to talk about is the quality of many of the people who live here (especially the ones that Marcia eluded to in the article. The people who toss garbage all over the place, the slum landlords who do not take care of property, the behavior and noise issue by some of the people who hang out in front of bodegas or on corners causing issues. No one of quality wants to have to live in an area with these types of people who make up a good portion of the downtown area, plus how the whole area looks, it still looks blighted. Take a long walk on all of Hillside Avenue, a mix of garbage strewn sidewalks, dirty food places and horrible retail and an abundance of overflowing public garbage cans, much garbage being illegally disposed by businesses and those living in the many illegal conversions.
People in this area are so conditioned to see all this crap in Jamaica, all these bad behavior by the “Jamaica element” and think this is all normal. Go to normal civilized community like Forest Hills and then come back to Jamaica to see the difference. Civilized people vs low-class savages, cave people and slobs.
Please develop all you want but if these same people are here and it looks like we are getting more of an influx of these low class people, nothing changes. Jamaica continues to be GHETTO, it is just a few group of people like developers and some others make big bucks.