Op-Ed: Western Queens business growth fuels our economy


| editorial@queenscourier.com |

BY SENATOR MIKE GIANARIS

Western Queens is home to a growing number of large and small businesses that have aided in our neighborhood’s economic recovery. I am proud to be an advocate for job creation in western Queens, whose diversity makes us one of the most welcoming neighborhoods in the country, as well as a hub for economic development.

Our community is an example of the kind of responsible development that allows large corporations and small businesses to thrive off each other. Partnering with local Business Improvement Districts, the Queens Chamber of Commerce and my fellow elected officials to draw more businesses and jobs to the neighborhood, in recent years we saw the arrival of major organizations like jetBlue, the New York City Department of Health and the CUNY Law School.

Coupled with the opening of the Frank Sinatra School of the Arts and the renovated Museum of the Moving Image, these projects have increased the number of jobs available to western Queens residents, while causing more people to come to our neighborhood every day and frequent our local businesses. As the effort to create more jobs continues, I will make sure our additional infrastructure keeps pace with the overall growth of the neighborhood.

Thanks to the state’s film tax credit I championed, the film industry has been an economic success story in an otherwise difficult economy. Western Queens is home to three major film production companies, Silvercup Studios, Kaufman Astoria Studios and Broadway Stages, which produce the bulk of New York City’s film and television projects. In New York City alone, more than 100,000 New Yorkers are employed each year to work on an average of 200 films and more than 100 television shows.

Local businesses also benefit from the additional customers working on the many nearby film projects. Last year, the film industry generated $6.9 billion in economic activity across the state and brought 30,000 new jobs to New York City— a huge number for an industry that employs 130,000 people overall.

One of the most exciting new elements of our neighborhood is its growing tech culture. I have been deeply involved in developing that industry to ensure it improves our neighborhood, maintains our quality of life and responsibly adds to western Queens’ growing reputation as a hub for tech-based businesses and entrepreneurs. The construction of the Cornell-Technion Applied Sciences campus on Roosevelt Island, as well as the tech-based Coalition for Queens and the new Factory of the Future, owned by the world’s largest 3-D printing company, will enhance western Queens’ tech environment, bringing more industry experts, businesses and jobs to the neighborhood and establishing western Queens as the next Silicon Valley.

The boom in business development occurring in western Queens has helped us weather the recession and made our neighborhood a destination for residents and visitors alike. I believe western Queens is a model of the kind of community whose residents, small businesses and large corporations work together to fuel our economy while enhancing our quality of life.

Michael Gianaris represents the 12th Senate District, which includes Astoria, Woodside, Sunnyside, LIC and parts of Ridgewood and Maspeth.