“We don’t report the planes that land,” is an old reporter’s adage, betraying some of the jaded cynicism that also produced gems such as “If you’re mother says she loves you, check it out.”
But there are exceptions to just about every rule, and especially when your brand of reporting is community journalism, you do report the good along with the bad whenever you can. So while we had some awful things take place in Queens this year — murders, reckless fatal car crashes, deadly fires — there was also plenty to celebrate. Below is just some of what we were thrilled to see this year.
First off, the Kew Gardens Interchange redesign is complete! After more than a decade of detours and $740 million in funding, the junction of the Grand Central Parkway, Van Wyck Expressway, Jackie Robinson Parkway and Union Turnpike is safer and smoother than ever. It’ll never be a walk in the park, but it’s far better than it was before.
We’re also seeing major improvements at both Kennedy and LaGuardia Airports. At JFK, work has begun on the $9.5 billion New Terminal One project. At LGA, virtually the entire place has been transformed — no longer does it look like something out of the third world, as President Biden famously said it did when he was veep.
While infrastructure is vital, and anything that improves transportation in Queens is to be celebrated, the good news of the year also had a human element.
The single US Men’s National Soccer Team player who scored in the 1-1 World Cup tie with Wales — is Rosedale’s own Tim Weah, bringing a bit of national pride home.
In one of the more creative charitable efforts we saw this year — and there were many — Aigner Chocolates and PS 101 in Forest Hills Gardens got together to have the children draw pictures that were then sent to two Queens hospitals to cheer up the kids being treated there.
An aid effort of another kind, one that was much more complex, saw various entities across Queens provide supplies necessary for daily life to Ukrainians after the Russian invasion began. The endlessly diverse list of organizers and donors runs from the Ozone Park Residents Block Association (and seemingly every volunteer and civic group in the community) to Keuka Kafe in Forest Hills to the Chazaq charity group in Kew Gardens Hills, and many more.
The Flushing Library, which reportedly drew more visitors in 2019 than any library in the country, finally reopened after many fits and starts due to both the Covid pandemic and the need for major renovation.
Howard Beach received a rare sapling of the 9/11 Survivor Tree, a Callery pear rescued from Ground Zero.
The Queens Pride Parade and Festival returned after two years, bringing a colorful day of fun to Jackson Heights.
The Innovation QNS development was approved for Astoria, promising neighborhood revitalization and more affordable housing in a project that saw Councilwoman Julie Won stand her ground when many, including the borough president and this page, thought she was risking the endeavor.
Across the borough, the First Jamaica Community and Urban Development Corp. cut the ribbon on its Tree of Life building, with dozens of affordable housing units included.
Mayor Adams announced plans to build a soccer stadium and much more next to Citi Field in Willets Point, a location that needs revitalization more than any part of Queens.
Speaking of Citi Field, the Mets put up a fantastic statue of the most Amazin’ of all, ace pitcher Tom Seaver, on an opening day that kicked off a great season. Now about that postseason ... well, maybe next year we’ll have a new item for a list like this one, eh? There’s always next year.