This is Frank, the owner of COFFEED – a New York City-based café and specialty coffee company that donates up to 10% of its revenue to local charitable partners. He explains how the BQX could benefit small businesses.
“I’ve spent my life going in between Brooklyn and Queens. I come from a Coney Island family that moved to Howard Beach, Queens. I moved to Long Island City in 1995, but live in Manhattan right now.
“The East River waterfront has always been an important part of New York City’s history. It’s amazing that people are now just starting to have access to it. For years, it’s had limited access with no connection to travel between the two boroughs. There are neighborhoods literally right next to each other but nobody travels to because of limited public transportation.
“Building the BQX is a no brainer. The biggest thing that excites me, as a New Yorker who loves the city, is that this is a big idea. In the history of our city, there’s been very few big ideas. Unfortunately, most administrations, for better or worse, are just handling the status quo. It’s a lot of work to handle the status quo. Getting capital money is hard enough to improve existing conditions, let alone doing something that will be groundbreaking and challenging.
“The BQX is going to have a ridiculous amount of hurdles. New York City is NIMBY central. People are going to be very scared of anything happening, especially something as complicated as new transportation. I watched it happen with the Second Ave Subway. The way the city handled it was a nightmare. You can’t run something with massive infrastructure and have it be intrusive to businesses with huge scaffolding out front. Any type of disruption could be game over for businesses. If it gets done in a way where small businesses are able to handle it and get them activated and engaged, I think it would be a win-win.
“The completion of Second Ave is tremendous. The art, overhangings, and decorations are just beautiful. I go out of my way to take the Second Ave subway because of the modern atmosphere. From a retail standpoint, businesses are doing extremely well.
“When the BQX is done, the real metric is going to be the tourist revenue. Tourism is huge revenue. It’s good for the neighborhood, good for businesses, good for local retail stores. Getting tourists involved in the outer-boroughs of New York City will benefit neighborhoods in the long run.
“New Yorkers are going to be impacted by this. The silver lining is that both sides in City Hall are going to listen to the community. They’ll listen to residents, they’ll listen to petitions, they’ll listen to community boards. If the people want the BQX, it’s going to happen. The people have equal power. They just have to speak up.
“Look, the BQX is a big idea. It’s revolutionary. It’s well-vetted. Great minds are behind it. It’s understandable why there would be apprehension, but it has the potential to be a huge benefit for New York City as a whole. This is the real New York. A big idea that will revolutionize the way we commute. We have to give it a chance.”
– Frank T, Long Island City business owner