Like Cadogan, I mostly travel between two boroughs, Queens and Manhattan. I like to travel and explore Manhattan leisurely. I love the city nightlife atmosphere, especially during the cold season and holidays. During walking long distances through the avenues, you notice all the other people doing the same thing as you, taking in the sights and exploring different shops with friends and family. When it comes to running errands, they’re mostly done in different parts of Queens, I would usually accompany my folks and we go to places like Astoria and Jackson Heights. Unlike Cadogan where he discovered the different enjoyments of both boroughs, I’m particularly not fond of Jackson Heights (37th avenue, 73rd and 74th street). It is heavily congested, the narrow streets are jam packed with people and pretty unsanitary. They are primarily occupied by Indians and Bengalis (I am also Bengali), most of them are rude and are not aware of their surroundings. The two streets are all about business and attracting customers, they are filled with Indian restaurants, giant grocery stores, Indian clothing stores, and Indian Jewelry stores. Pretty much everything the modern Indian/Bengali person needs, that’s why so many people flock to this area, especially my parents. I do believe it’s true that serendipity exposes our commonalities, In my case, there are many people that share the joys of exploring Manhattan, and many people that share the frustrations of traveling to Jackson Heights.
Do people have a right to the city? Do longtime residents and businesses have a right to remain where they are? If so, how should local governments, urban planners, and other decision-makers ensure these rights are maintained?
I agree that people have the right to the city. I don’t believe it is right to push out old longtime residents from their homes and businesses to make way for a higher class community. Gentrification which was discussed in “My Brooklyn”, mostly hurts the communities of color and low income. As the government implements new zoning plans, wealthier people start to migrate to these communities. Landlords begin to raise the rents for their housing and businesses. And this greatly effects the longtime residents who have been there since the beginning, and can’t afford to stay there anymore. The small local businesses suffer because they are losing competition to the larger new businesses opening shop in their communities. These people have no choice but to protest and fight to stay in their communities and that is not how these people who started their lives in these communities should be treated. In order to maintain everyones rights to the city, the government should support and implement more benefits to the small local businesses such as tax breaks and government subsidies. The larger corporations that are being implemented in these communities should be taxed. In order to satisfy the people who claim that most of these communities are dangerous and that they would feel unsafe, there should be more police and security presence. The cultural aspect that has been developed throughout these communities should also be preserved and supported.