By KIRSTIN DAU
For residents of Queens who have ever felt disconnected from the
official goings-on or who have wondered about their community school board or obtaining a
business license, the answers are now just one click away.
Beep Claire Shulman surfs the new Queens web site.
Tribune Photo By Ira Cohen
The borough of Queens has put a
comprehensive new website up on the internet (http://www.queens.nyc.ny.us/) covering
everything from the history of the borough to upcoming events to city legislation and
Although a Queens website has been in
existence for about three years now, according to Dan Andrews, a spokesperson for Borough
President Claire Shulman, it did not contain the "extent of information" that
the new site has.
The purpose of the new site, said Andrews,
to give the residents of Queens a better site, "chock full of information."
There are also links to the New York City
Official Tourism website and to the "Big Apple Greeter" a non-profit
organization run by New Yorkers. The people who volunteer for the "Greeter"
program donate their time by giving the inside scoop on the city. Appointments can be made
for tours of any borough.
One of the most important features of
Queens is its city parks. According to the website, Queens has more land designated for
public parks than any other borough.
There is information provided about these
parks, as well as about Queens public beaches, swimming pools and recreation
Links to Queens Past,
Present and Future
The website provides information and links to help web
surfers learn more about Queens history, the face of Queens today and how the
boroughs residents are shaping its future.
In its youth, after being taken over from the Native Americans by the
Dutch and the English, Queens was mostly made up of farmland.
The current site for the office of the Borough
President is "chock full of information."
According to Jon Peterson and Vincent
Siefried from the Queens College History Department, who wrote the article for the website
entitled "The History of Queens," it was not until the 1830s that Queens began
its transformation into the metropolis that it is today.
The construction of roads and railroads
connected Queens with the rest of New York City and on Jan. 1, 1898, Queens, Brooklyn,
Staten Island, the Bronx and Manhattan were officially named the five boroughs comprising
the Greater City of New York.
In the 1920s, following World War I, Queens
doubled in size to one million people. There are nearly two million people in Queens today
and only one farm leftpreserved as a landmark by The Queens Historical Society
located at the historic Kingsland Homestead in Flushing.
The Historical Society offers tours of its
colonial farmhouse as well as walking tours of Queens and has a library full of
information pertaining to the past 300 years of Queens history.
The website also offers up-to-date
information about the population of Queens, the number of births and deaths, the number of
people receiving income support and the statistics regarding the land that Queens covers.
Government And Social Services
With the updated site, many
residents of Queens may not realize the relative ease it takes to become informed and
involved with their citys departments.
Listed on the website are contact phone
numbers and descriptions of many services offered in Queens.
There is a biography of Shulman, and
contact people for every department in her office.
Web surfers in Queens can now also find out
what their government agencies are doing for them and what issues the community and school
boards are discussing, as well as which police precinct they are a part of, who to call in
case of emergency, and what health and social services are available on the net.
For people who need to reach a Queens or
New York City legislator, their phone numbers are available as well.
Promoting Queens tourism is one objective of the website.
According to Andrews, the creators of
the website are particularly proud of the information the site supplies to seniors and
victims of domestic violence.
For seniors, there is everything from
health care support to information on cultural centers and recreation.
There are phone numbers for the Emergency
Food Hunger Hotline and the New York State Central Register Child Abuse and Maltreatment
Hotline. Information and support are also provided for issues such as mental health,
mental retardation, alcoholism and homelessness.
Linked to the web page "Sexual Assault
and Domestic Violence Survivors: A Directory of Queens Services" is a message from
Claire Shulman indicating the importance of using the services in Queens.
"The trauma of [sexual assault and
domestic violence] is often compounded by the fact that victims are ashamed or feel
isolated by society. This silence must be broken. Help is available. This directory is a
guide to medical, legal, social, counseling and psychological services available to
victims of domestic violence and sexual assault," Shulman wrote.
Development And Education
The city has helpful
suggestions and means of support for those people interested in starting a new business.
The website offers information on how to obtain a business license or permit or become
involved in local business groups.
The "Queens Employer Assistance
Guide," noted on the website, can be useful for employers who are looking to hire
staff and need advice on training methods or tax credits.
The use of land and property in Queens, for
those wishing to see how the city is planned, is determined by the Planning and
Development Department, whose public meetings are also listed on the site.
Every school in Queens, from elementary to
higher education, is indicated with address and phone number, as are Queens
Links are available to the Board of
Education Website and the Queens Borough Public Library official website.
Company Behind Queens On The Web
The new and improved website
was designed by Citysoft Inc., a Kew Gardens based company that has been in the business
of helping several offices throughout the city meet their needs since the mid-1980s.
Citysofts list of clients include the
New York Mets, The Mayors Office, The Office of the Bronx Borough President, over 50
city community Boards and a number of local law and accounting firms.
The Queens Tribunes
annual official guide to Queens, the Queens Blue Book, is also up, running and just a
For the facts and figures, maps and measures and all the
phone numbers and websites of Queens, log on to www.queenstribune.com/guide2001/index.html.
If you dont have home
access to the Internet, you can still log onto the Queens Borough Presidents web
site on computers available at your local branches of the Queens Borough Public Library
All of the QBPLs 61 branches offer
free Internet access.
The Central Library branch of the QBPL has
a "cyber center" with 48 Internet accessible stations open to the public,
run on a first-come-first-serve basis. It is not mandatory to have a library membership to
use the computers.
The Central Library is located at 89-11 Merrick Blvd. in
Jamaica. For more information call 990-0700.
Log on to the Office of the Queens
Borough Presidents web site at:
For the Queens Blue Book log on to: