Last Friday I was honored to attend The Queens Courier’s Power Breakfast 2013 NYC Mayoral Forum as a guest of The Courier’s owner Vicki Schneps. This was the first Mayoral Forum in which every candidate was on the same stage as each other at the same time. Thanks to Vicki, I was able to get an up close view of our city’s next mayor.
All of the candidates laid out a vision for the city, if they are elected mayor. Many of the candidates kept referring to Queens as an outer borough. I have to say that every time I hear that it makes me angry.
Queens is not an outer borough. Manhattan is the outer borough.
For the record, of all of the five boroughs of New York City, Queens is the largest borough in geographical size. Queens is the second largest borough in population and ranks second as the most populous bounty in New York State behind Kings County. Queens is also the fourth most densely populated county in the United States.
I have lived in Queens County my entire life. It is the only home I have ever known. What I love about Queens is the fact that you can hear just about every language on earth by walking our streets. If you are a foodie like I am you can pretty much sample every cuisine the world has to offer. Queens has world class sporting venues like Citi Field and the US Open’s Billy Jean King National Tennis Center. If you want to arrive in NYC via airplane you enter in Queens as we have both of the city’s airports.
Queens has incredible cultural institutions such as the NY Hall of Science, Flushing Town Hall, MoMA PS1, The Bowne House Kupferberg Center for the Arts, Queens Botanical Gardens and the Queens Museum. The Henson family recently announced that they would be building a permanent Muppets exhibit at the Museum of the Moving Image. Queens also has beautiful beaches and parks.
With all of these great things that Queens has to offer, how can we be seen as an outer borough? I am sick and tired of this notion that Manhattan is the center of our universe in this city.
It is time we elected a mayor who views Queens not as just an outer borough. Queens for too long has not received the respect and resources it rightfully deserves. I would like to see more of our citywide candidates running this year to come out to Queens and walk our streets. Take the time to talk to our residents. Once you see the beauty that is Queens County you will see as I do that Queens is the heart of New York City.
I hope that next time a candidate for citywide office is asked about Queens they will rethink their words and not call us an “outer borough.” As my friend Debra Markell said to me at The Courier’s Mayoral Forum “Queens is not an outer borough, we are one city”.