Saturday, June 2, 2018

Are Southeast Queens And Downtown Jamaica Fighting For Economic Empowerment?

Get The Scoop Weekly On Southeast Queens. Subscribe to Our Mailing List. Receive the Latest Events, News, Jobs, and Top Community Economic Development Stories Like this one Click Here
Downtown Jamaica Is Rising Like A Phoenix But Southeast Queens Will Also Not Be Denied

By Kamau Austin

Is there a war on the horizon?  Will there be an epic battle for the economic resources and development of The Southern Queens Area between Downtown Jamaica and Southeast Queens?  While some might find this article divisive does it nevertheless posit a real fear when looking at other gentrified NYC neighborhoods? 

Taking a paradigm from the great Dr. WEB Dubois, a one time Southeast Queens, legendary intellectual and Black thought leader, in his seminal work -- the Souls of Black folk, there is also an analogous two souls of Southern Queens.  There is one soul that is cosmopolitan, looking for "the come up" of corporate national retailers, international tourism, and well known restaurant chains and there is the other soul yearning for the empowerment of grassroots organic community, rich diverse cultural elements appreciated and explored like hip hop, gospel, and jazz expressed in neighborhood hangout spots and eateries.

One is following a similar playbook of gentrification in Harlem and Brooklyn in Downtown Jamaica, the other is looking to upscale and empower the outlining residential neighborhoods of Southeast Queens.  One is financed by big government and business interests and the other by determined community activists and social entrepreneurs with cultural aplomb.

Moreover, one is being planned out with billions from big government and big business while the other with boundless creative resources and community attachment is looking to enhance the main streets of Southeast Queens.  In short, there are two very determined contrasting and diametrically opposed forces in one local area - threatening to irreparably tear apart a rift within this social community.

It is no secret that Queens is becoming one of the best tourist attractions in New York City because of its diverse cultures (the most diverse in the US and possibly the world).  New York City, is one of the world's top tourist destinations and Queens once behind Manhattan and Brooklyn and is emerging as a great tourist attraction due in part to the two airports in JFK International and LaGuardia Airport.

Southeast Queens & Jamaica Article Continues After Sponsor's Message Below...

Farmers Pizza
 Farmers Pizza Menu

Southeast Queens & Jamaica, NY
Video and Article Continues Below...

Take A Virtual Walking Tour Of Downtown Jamaica

The Jamaica Avenue, shopping district now being billed as "Downtown Jamaica," is the target of billions of dollars in redevelopment and investment.  Plenty of new hotels, cultural epicenters, the stunning upgrade of the Jamaica Central Library, modernization of the LLRR AirTrain and it's free jazz events, are just some of the pricey innovations going on in Downtown, Jamaica.  To see a virtual tour video and description of Downtown Jamaica upgrades click here

However, a common sentiment I get from a good portion of Southeast Queens residents I've seen or spoke to feel these types of renovations aren't happening for their benefit.  Many feel gentrification seems to be the motive for these upgrades.  A business leader in the area (off the record) told me Jamaica Queens is "following the same playbook as Harlem and Downtown or Central Brooklyn."  I've have even seen hipster joggers in places like St. Albans around places like Daniel O'Connell Park for the 1st time in my life.

So we see demographic changes happening in both "Downtown Jamaica" and Southeast Queens.  It is almost like a "Tale Of Two Cities."  However, the residents in Southeast Queens don't seem to be looking to be displaced in their historic communities.  

Many of the residents are looking to upgrade their residential areas too and make them rich cultural Meccas and revamp the economic enclaves and business strips.  While Downtown Jamaica's revitalization is being driven by urban planning and wealthy real estate interests Southeast Queens community makeover is being driven by entrepreneurs, passionate social activists, and community focused churches.

Less obvious, and covered sporadically in the mainstream press, is the social entrepreneur and independent business investments going on in residential areas around Downtown Jamaica like South Jamaica, St. Albans, Hollis, Cambria Heights, Laurelton, and neighboring areas.  These entrepreneurial efforts don't have the billions in government and big business financing, but what they don't have they compensate with love of the area, insight on what makes it click, and creative ways to promote their businesses and cultural events.  Local social entrepreneurs and business people's efforts in Southeast Queens is also showing fruits.

For instance Jackson Room which bills itself as "bringing world class jazz back to the community" is becoming a well supported hotspot for music in the Southeast Queens.  It is owned by Ed Jackson, who happens to be a highly regarded jazz saxophonists and band leader.  He is also the owner of Jackson Tax Service, an established tax service with a couple of viable locations in Queens.

Checkout The Dynamic Music at Jackson Room

The Jackson Room, is literally an underground jazz club in a commercial building with a very bright and family friendly ambiance.  It has grown from getting about a dozen attendees at their jazz club performances to usually selling out all their monthly shows.  Our Southeast Queens Scoop, marketing company spearheaded their digital marketing efforts to help the become more successful.

Ed Jackson Club Owner Jackson Room
Another social entrepreneur using creativity and business savvy is Adrienne Whaley, owner of Queens Center of The Arts and its Innovations In Creative Arts brand.  Ms Whaley is working to build a one stop shop for all types of arts from painting, sewing, poetry, and even mixed martial arts.

Adrienne Whaley Innovations In Creative Arts Founder
Adrienne is an MBA and also Educator with a broad range of professional certifications.  She is a proponent of STEAM education which merges tech training like STEM education also with the arts.  And Adrienne Whaley, also looks to make her art destination a place for persons in the community to showcase their artistic talents on a regular basis with minimum expense.

Take A Look At The Artistic Expression AT The Queens Center Of The Arts

Events at Innovations In Creative Arts, are becoming increasingly better known and attended in the community.  I envision the Center becoming as successful as our Jackson Room Jazz client.  This will become a go to place to hang out and experience good vibes and enjoy tasty food.  You can see more on Ms. Whaley's Queens Center of the Arts by clicking here.

Also entrepreneurs are organizing to become more viable, informed, and supportive of each other.  Marsha Duke, Founder of the B.E.S.T. Networking Group, started the group to expand her business connections in the area.  However the networking group has blossomed into a supportive group of entrepreneurs who have put together very successful events in Southeast Queens.

Marsha Duke Founder Of The B.E.S.T. Networking Group
Marsha, a real estate professional, often states that the group started as a way for her to expand her connections but now her efforts are more to help other entrepreneurs become successful.  Ms. Duke is just an example of passionate and energetic entrepreneurs who are making Southeast Queens, an emerging epicenter of entrepreneurial opportunity.

Her very successful B.E.S.T. Networking Events, are showing that reception halls and business and cultural events can be done very successfully in residential areas of Southeast Queens.  To find out more about the B.E.S.T. Networking Group click here.

There are exceptional catering or reception halls and restaurants springing up in the area to hold family, business, or cultural events.  So Southeast Queens will have plenty of places to also be a center of culture like Downtown Jamaica.

Other important contributors to the development of Southeast Queens are people like Rev. Phil Craig, The Southeast Queens Chamber Of Commerce, NYS Senator Leroy Comrie, and NYS Senator James Sanders, Jr.  Examples of this would be Senator Sanders' Madame CJ Walker Institute, and his Clergy Breakfast meetings which focus on teaching business startup and finance strategies, which are especially helpful, given the need to prepare local entrepreneurs for opportunities with area airport developments.

However Senator Sanders, ever present at Southeast Queens events, has had allegations about bribes directed towards him by Marion Moses and Malisa Rivera, in a 2016 infamous article in the New York Post.  The New York Post, is not known to be a liberal paper, or one kind to Black leaders, to say the least.

Senator Sanders, is seeking $1 Million dollars in damages for what he claims are untrue accusations about him positioning himself for a $250,000 kickback.  According to an article in the Queens Press, Senator Sanders stated "These are heinous, scurrilous accusations," Sanders said, adding that he believed the accusation to be politically motivated, in part because he was running for Congress at the time the article came out.

However, Senator Sanders, who is known to speak often about honesty and accountability in elected office, is being attacked by the New York Post and purportedly faux nonprofit leaders Marion Moses and Malisa Rivera.  Without getting into the details it seems a lot of Black political leaders in Southeast Queens, are often being targeted for criminal prosecution in the area.

It only makes one wonder (if even a highly respected politician like James Sanders is attacked) if it is an indication that some of these prosecutions are in fact politically motivated? Can they be set up to marginalize political leaders and power in Southeast Queens to control its development and economic power?

Is Senator Sanders, and other politicians constantly being investigated a part of an ongoing power struggle in the area for political and economic empowerment?  With so many Southeast Queens elected officials being investigated by the feds or prosecuted constantly it just seems this is just one indication that there is a war being fought for political and economic power in the area.

NYS Senator James Sanders
Sponsor's Messages Below
Have Fun With Loved Ones While Supporting Emerging Businesses in Your Community
 Chic Clic
For More Info Click Here | To Attend Click Here

Give The Gift Of Beautiful And Affordable Photo Realistic Or Ethnic Art For The Holidays

World Class Sophisticated Art Can Portray Your Love This Holiday Season  - Discover Exceptional Black Art, Get Exclusive Custom Framing, and Receive Expert Photography from Renowned Local Artist Click Here

Beautify Your Home and Accentuate Your Life - Discover Exceptional Black Art, Get Exclusive Custom Framing, and Receive Expert Photography from Renowned Local Artist Click Here

Checkout Similar Articles Below


About the Southeast Queens Scoop - is the premier website and only publication offering daily news and updates on the events, culture, issues, and is dedicated to the business and economic development in this largely black historic community.

The publication targets the over 350,000 residents in the Southeast Queen and Jamaica Queens area. It promotes to over 40,000 potential viewers in social media, mobile devices and search engines like Google and Bing!  To learn more about how to promote your business or organization on the Scoop or online Click Here

 No Spam Only The Scoop On Southeast Queens

Since you are here think about this please.  Do You Want The Southeast Queens Scoop To Continue To Promote Empowering News and Events largely ignored by the corporate owned mainstream media in our area?

Since most local businesses don't have large ad budgets then please consider donating to ensure we can continue our media efforts.  We appreciate all contributions ($5, $10, $15, $20, +) no amount is too small. Please donate now below or read more on donations

No comments:

Post a Comment