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A Queens Blessing

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The tradition at Thanksgiving has always been to pause and recognize the good turns of fortune that have come our way. In these uncertain political times, it can be easy to forget that positive things are happening in Queens despite some strong head winds from Washington.

As we sit around the Thanksgiving table with family and friends, we should remember that Queens has the second highest average wage in the city behind Manhattan. With weekly average wages of $1,010, borough residents were well-equipped to add many culinary favorites to the holiday groaning board.

Manhattan, however, has an average weekly wage of $2,954, which should translate into caviar and champagne at the table for our fellow New Yorkers across the river.

Employment also rose in Queens by 2.7 percent for the 12-month period ended in March 2017, outpacing the national average of 1.6 percent, according to the U.S. Department of Labor’s latest county report.

We should be thankful that some neighborhoods in Queens recorded the largest jump in real estate sales prices in the city - as long as we are sellers, of course, and not buyers.

Jamaica Estates led the pack with an 186 percent surge in the median sales price to $435,440 for a home, attributed in part by the StreetEasy real estate site to publicity about President Donald Trump’s childhood home in the bedroom community.

Clearview - the real estate industry’s creation of the area between Whitestone and Bayside — came in second, followed by Little Neck and Elmhurst.

At the other end of the spectrum. child poverty declined in Queens over a five-year period that ended in 2015 to 13.8 percent of the population from 16.2 percent. But the Citizens Committee for Children, a nonprofit, reported that the number of homeless families climbed over the same period even as the borough’s high school graduation improved and more young children enrolled in pre-K programs.

On the plus side, the Port Authority has set aside $55 million for the AirTrain planned between Woodside and LaGuardia, the only major airport in the country without public transit access to the urban center, and the prototype has been rolled out for the trolley to link the Brooklyn and Queens waterfronts.

Thus we have many blessings to count as we eat our turkey - with plantains, stuffed vine leaves, lasagna, rice and beans, egg rolls or potato curry - in the world’s borough. We’re all Americans on Thanksgiving and we’ve won the lottery to be sharing the diverse culture of Queens with our neighbors and friends from more than 150 different countries.

Posted 12:00 am, November 23, 2017
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