Friday, April 23, 2010

Mall Opens in Queens and Employees Feel "Relief"

I read this interesting piece in last weekend's New York Times and I've been meaning to post it on here all week...

A new mall recently opened in the Rego Park section of Queens, bringing with it about 1,000 new jobs. Some key excerpts from the piece:

Relief seems to be the predominant emotion among the workers within the new stores. Almost every one of them approached had spent considerable time unemployed.

Lindora Holmes, 57, another Century 21 salesperson, said she was jobless for more than two years, after she was laid off by an auto parts manufacturer in Long Island City.

“It’s good to be back,” she said.

Sales jobs at the malls generally pay $8 an hour — not much above the $7.25 minimum wage. But, Ms. Holmes said, “It’s better than not having anything at all,” adding, “If your manager sees how you work, it’s an opportunity for you to move up to the next level.” [New York Times]
“Anybody who’s traveling from this end of Queens doesn’t have to go to Nassau County and Roosevelt Field,” said Frank Gulluscio, district manager of local Community Board 6. “Everything’s right there — parking, food and great retail. We’re not sending those jobs out to Nassau. We’re keeping them right here in New York City.” [New York Times]
I'll give you one guess as to where I'm going with all this...that's right, I'm wondering how the new employees at The Shops at Kingsbridge Armory would have felt about actually having landed employment with a shot of upward mobility in this shiteous economy if Related's plans had actually moved forward. And before you all shout "subsidies, subsidies!!" at me, please click here to read a helpful comment from BD Reader Jay Shuffield pointing out some of the misconceptions surrounding the subsidies that Related (not the actual retailers) were set to get from the City in the now defunct Armory deal.

I just couldn't let the week end without bringing up the Kingsbridge Armory, could I? I know, I'm annoying!



paperpest said...

Rego Park II is next to a well established shopping mall. Could the Kingsbridge Armory become a shopping destination?

People in that area deserve more than the supermarket they have.

Guywithacause said...

Boogiedowner I of course wholeheartedly agree. The Bronx has sunk BECAUSE of incompetent leadership, and with elected officials like the future Rikers resident Espada, and the self-serving idiocy of Ruben Diaz (just to name a few), is it any wonder the Bronx is falling further behind?

2 steps foward, 1 1/2 back..that's how its been...and the blame is squarely on elected officials.

Hey Ruben..since you have so much free time on your hands, how about you walk over to the Queen mall and talk to the residents there..and the community members. I wonder how many years before we even get a proposal to do ANYTHING with the Armory. Thanks Rubencito!

BronxMom said...

I suggest that anyone who wants to compare the Kingsbridge Armory site with the new Rego Center II mall do their homework and actually LOOK at the Queens site (you can do this on Google Maps). The new Rego Park mall is adjacent to a huge parking lot and is already a natural shopping destination by virtue of its proximity to the original Rego Park mall. The Kingsbridge Armory site had NO PARKING, and none was to be provided. While not everyone who shops does so with a car, the research data clearly shows that for that mall to be successful, access to parking was essential. And since that area of Queens was already surrounded by commercial uses and major streets and highways (like the Long Island Expressway) it has excellent access and will not negatively impact on the surrounding streets. The same can not be said of the Armory. Putting the retail development in the Armory, as was being planned, would have been a disaster for shoppers, because access to the site was so difficult. And it would have been a disaster for the neighborhood, which would have been overrun by the cars and trucks seeking to get to the Armory. Those opposed to the Related Company's development of the Armory were doing a service to the Bronx.

Jay Shuffield said...

Fact check:
The proposal for the Amory included 400 off-street parking spaces:

Transportation is quite complicated. BronxMom is correct to note that there are differences between the sites. Among those differences, however, is the larger underserved market in the area around the Kingsbridge Armory.

This is actually very significant. The Armory would have drawn shoppers from walking distance as well as via the 4 and D trains. Further, while there would be new shoppers who would start driving to the Armory, some of this traffic increase would have been offset by people living in the area who would no longer be driving up to Westchester or other locations for their shopping needs.

The Rego Park site, on the other hand, is situated within an area that has already saturated the local market, so it is more dependent on drawing shoppers from the LIE.

Of course, none of this really touches on the point I think the BoogieDowner was trying to make about opportunities for upward mobility...

GAX in the Bronx said...

i don't see the point in having this entire debate again.... and the bottom line on whether this was the right thing to do or not will not come at this moment, but in a year or so when we find out if the BP and his task are able to present a proper proposal that serves more objectives than the one related had in store.

but one point i must make is about jay's reference to "opportunities for upward mobility". if that's the subject for debate, then none is necessary because the $7.25+ wages at the queens mall provide no upward mobility. they only provide some temporary relief and more suited for perpetuating poverty than providing anything that's going to move people northward.

Jay Shuffield said...

Dear GAX,

The BoogieDowner highlighted a point about upward mobility that was made by one of the workers in the New York Times article. You seem to have dismissed her statement.

Let's just look again at what she said:
"If your manager sees how you work, it’s an opportunity for you to move up to the next level."

It's ok if you don't believe that's true, but could you please address her point? Thanks.

Guywithacause said...

My 2 cents:

1-The traffic problem was a non-issue had Related accepted the "living wage amendment." It would have magically disappeared and everyone would have thought how wonderful and perfect the Shoppes at Kingsbridge would be. The traffic issue was minor and just another excuse to kill the deal because the living wage amendment was not going through.

2-$7.50 an hour is not meant to support a family of 5, a car payment, a mortgage, private schools, and europeans vacations. It DOES however give people, including teens, the OPPORTUNITY to work, learn responsibility, experience, and earn income to contribute to their household or be more independent. It also is one step on the ladder to then move forward and get a BETTER job, and the cycle continues with someone else taking the $7.50 an hour job. Upward betcha..but YOU gotta want it.

3-The fact that the Armory was killed due to the special interest of a few local grocers as well as the Bronx's typical self-serving political idiots granadstanding means it was a complete and total failure. The Bronx has been down this road for decades...and the results are always the abandoned Armory for years to come and the community suffering. After 3 "task forces" already....and still an abandoned Armory, what makes you think something will change this time? Welcome to the Bronx...and of course..thanks Rubencito!

GAX in the Bronx said...

if that person does not have a college degree and/or is not qualified to be a manager of a store, he/she generally has a glass ceiling as to how high they can climb no matter how hard they work and how eager they are. minimum wage jobs have value, but not in ending poverty or providing upward mobility. in fact, they serve to do quite the opposite.

Anonymous said...

What's your solution, Gax?

Anonymous said...

"minimum wage jobs have value, but not in ending poverty or providing upward mobility."

If minimum wage jobs have value, then how can you say that 0 > 1?

Also, isn't their value in getting some experience and putting in some sweat equity, even if it takes a few years, worth it?

Yet another example of how fuzzy logic + fuzzy math keeps everyone on the bottom. Are you sure you are not an elected official?

GAX in the Bronx said...

o my. the value of minimum wage jobs is to give people with no work some money. period. they don't END poverty, but perpetuate it! and they don't help people move forward, like give them enough money so they can get an education or do other things that can help keep their families healthy or provide any of the other opportunities that one needs to truly improve one's economic condition. so there is some value to it, but ending poverty or providing upward mobility is not on the list. that's not clear?

a few years? so you want someone with a family and no job to toil with a minimum wage for a few YEARS... and then... maybe... just maybe if they're lucky they'll get something better? let me know what sort of family can survive in this city FOR A FEW YEARS on that income. it's a laughable proposal. this is a textbook way to perpetuate poverty, my friend.

as for my solution, unfortunately it's going to take some time, but putting a diverse group together to find the best way to build the armory is a good idea. we needn't get into a debate over the last proposal, but that one wasn't a good one.

and as far as asking if i'm an elected official.... you don't know who i am? tune into BronxTalk one Monday night at 9. channel 67.