This week, she sits down with Queens Borough President Melinda Katz.
Katz was born and raised in Forrest Hills, Queens, where she is now raising her two children in the house she grew up in.
She tells Barnes-Waters the borough prides itself on being good for families and good for diversity.
“We are literally the most diverse area on the planet,” she says. “We are 130 languages, we are 120 countries.”
Katz touches on the importance of job creation, using Jamaica as an example.
“We came in and with the administration — we worked with them to make sure that we focused and put all the stakeholders that are involved in Jamaica, Queens at the table. We didn’t want government to come in and say, ‘This is what you need.’ We wanted to make sure that the stakeholders were there,” she says. “So we created jobs – a $153 million investment in the area of Jamaica, Queens.”
She also talks about the need for education and training,
“Technology industry is really one of the greatest examples. If you switch from Jamaica to Long Island City, we are a tech-created area in Long Island City,” she says. “It’s organically growing, but we are trying to guide it. It’s booming, it’s a whole new skyline.”
It’s something she hopes will help attract Amazon’s new headquarters.
As for affordable housing, Katz calls it “one of the most sought after commodities.” She says the borough is building apartments at a record rate, including those for seniors.
Katz adds tourism is booming.
“We are growing exponentially in tourism in Queens. With 130 languages and 120 countries, people that are coming to the borough of Queens are expressing themselves in their culture, and their arts, and their dress, and their religion, and their languages and all of the things that you bring with you from other countries.”
So is the entertainment industry.
“We are filming so many new shows and movies in the borough of Queens, we are really becoming the Hollywood of the East Coast. I would say that Hollywood is the Queens of the West Coast,” she says. “We have Silvercup and Kaufman Studios, and now Broadway Stages has a location in Queens.”