Optimism and complaints in growing Polish enclaves

During John Liu’s recent visit to the increasingly Polish enclaves of Ridgewood and Maspeth, Queens, the city comptroller visited senior centers and met with members of the local business association, Myrtle Avenue BID. He told representatives of local businesses that Ridgewood was an immigrant neighborhood with huge potential, the Polish newspaper Nowy Dziennik reported.

“It used to be a German enclave,” he told them. “Now it is becoming home to a growing Polish community. Opening Nowy Dziennik‘s field office here proves this trend.”

The area’s new residents are good for the neighborhood, Liu said. “Polish residents and businessmen can enliven the neighborhood in spite of the fact that the overall economic situation is tough,” he said. “This area still offers huge opportunities.”

Liu also heard some complaints from residents and a local business improvement district, the Myrtle Avenue BID:

Representatives of the BID told Comptroller Liu about problems their neighborhood faces. They complained that due to budget cuts, street garbage cans are no longer emptied every day, and are instead only emptied three or four times a week. They also asked that the funds for planting trees in Ridgewood — which they procured with the help of local councilwoman Elizabeth Crowley — be directly transferred to neighborhood organizations, instead of going through various city agencies.

“We will spend all the money on purchasing trees, and we will plant them for free,” said Paul Kerzner, a neighborhood activist. “Once the money starts circling through city agencies, each of them will take something for themselves.”

Comptroller Liu promised to take a closer look at the matter.

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