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Queens Chronicle

The world’s greatest city

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Posted: Thursday, March 21, 2013 10:30 am

Overall, we agree with Mayor Bloomberg that the news the city is growing is good news indeed. New York’s population has been declining for decades, as was its reputation until the early 1990s. Now the various improvements in life here, starting with the dramatic reduction in crime, are paying off at the most basic level: People are voting with their feet, endorsing the Big Apple as the world’s premiere metropolis.

Unlike the mayor, however, we recognize that there is bad news too in the fact that there are more New Yorkers — 8,336,697 of us in 2012, according to the U.S. Census Bureau — than ever before.

It’s great that we have so many young people, because an aging society is not a leading, dynamic society, but it’s not so great that the schools are so overcrowded, especially here in Queens, where the problem is worse than anywhere else in the city. Build more schools.

It’s great that we have so many immigrants, because that’s America, as symbolized by the statue in our harbor, but the influx does result in a culture clash at times, and it’s discouraging that so many people here apparently cannot read, for example, this newspaper. Teach them English.

It’s great that people are living longer than ever before, but our healthcare system is overwhelmed, as evidenced by everything from future Medicare financial projections to the crowding at hospitals here. Open more medical centers.

Still, the mayor is right to tout the many improvements that have been made in New York, at least some of which he deserves a share of the credit for.

The ongoing drop in violent crime rates over the last 20 years is astonishing. The murder rate is less than one-fifth of what it was at its peak in 1992, with 419 killings last year compared to 2,245 then (sometimes cited as 2,262). Curbing crime is a municipality’s prime responsibility, and you’d be hard-pressed to find any other statistic that’s been improved by 80 percent. Bloomberg deserves credit for keeping Police Commissioner Ray Kelly on the job.

Longevity is at an all-time high, with people living an average of 80.9 years. Bloomberg deserves credit for his fights against unhealthy food and smoking, though at times his tactics have been heavy-handed.

There are many other social metrics that may be part of the reason more people are coming here. But whatever the cause, we should all be proud to say we are New Yorkers.

Welcome to the discussion.