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Point of View: Flushing Mall packs it in for New Year’s party

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Holding a party is by no means news, particularly on New Year’s Eve. What’s new is that the Flushing Mall invited scores of people to help it usher in the New Year. I was uninvited but went there anyway, on behalf of a guest.

As a frequent visitor, I have not seen so many people gathering on the first floor of the mall since its grand opening. I wish as many people would patronize the mall during regular business days in the future.

Mall officials probably intended to take advantage of the occasion to attract prospective buyers to the newest mall in town, which mainly sells Asian items, such as jewelry, arts and handicrafts; however, 99.9 percent of the guests were Asian.

To boost the mall’s sluggish business, they should have extended their invitation to other ethnic groups in Queens and the surrounding areas. I wish their public relations people would take note of it for future events.

In addition to a big band, the mall provided guests with free food, beverages and 10 prizes, including a Mercedes-Benz, a U.S.-Asia round-trip ticket and a cruise to a Caribbean resort.

The concert featuring pop and rock music appealed to a lot of young hearts. Elvis Presley’s impersonator did a wonderful performance. The concert was fantastic, but few souls danced. This is perhaps because of their cultural background.

One attraction of the night was the appearance of Miss China of New York and her court that charmed the audience, but the show host certainly stole the spotlight. He energized the lackluster atmosphere.

One negative aspect about the event was that guests milling around on the floor seemed more interested in the food and prizes than the show. It is human nature, isn’t it? The quality and quantity of food could have been better. Of course, it cost the mall a lot of dough to feed so many mouths.

What baffled me was that no one in the audience won anything. Believe it or not, the lucky ones were not present during the prize drawing. I wish the event organizers would publish the names of the prize winners. They might have done so already.

In my previous columns, I have written quite a bit about Flushing’s continued growth and especially about the struggling mall. Giant projects are expected to emerge on Northern Boulevard while apartment buildings are mushrooming across the town to meet the growing demand of new immigrants.

Good news keeps on coming. On Dec. 18, the New York City Economic Development Corp. and the Department of City Planning released the blueprint for long-term development in Flushing under the supervision of Cooper Carry Inc. in cooperation with local communities.

The plan will cover 32nd Avenue, Parsons Boulevard, Sanford Avenue in the east as well as Flushing’s riverside and Willets Point Peninsula in the west. The city hopes the plan will create a frame of town-wide development, separating stores from office buildings and residential areas. But they will share a transportation network. It also will set aside more open space for local residents and improve community facilities, the paper said.

A spokesman for of the Economic Development Corp. said the plan could stretch Flushing closer to Shea Stadium, Fresh Meadows and Corona Park; however, he failed to elaborate on the assumption that the plan would have something to do with the city’s application for hosting the Olympics in 2012.

City Councilman John Liu (D-Flushing) also spoke positively about the plan, which is likely to bring more business and job opportunities to this booming metropolis. It would also raise the quality of life of local residents.

Speaking of development and quality of life, we must double our efforts to make Flushing safer.

Local law enforcement and community leaders must direct their attention to serious crimes. In certain areas in town, never-do-wells stalked, robbed and assaulted pedestrians after 10 p.m. Most of the victims were women.

Recently, burglars broke into three stores on Main Street from the rooftops and pried money and valuables from the safe. We should also be on the alert for petty larcenies such as car thefts and vandalism.

Apart from that, traffic chaos in Flushing is a hard nut to crack. The city and developers should consider it a priority in dealing with issues facing the area.

Reach columnist George H. Tsai by e-mail at Timesledger@aol.com or call 229-0300, Ext. 140.

Updated 10:25 am, October 12, 2011
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