Melo is on board.
Although the Brooklyn-Queens Connector (BQX) has stirred concerns among some who say the plan could potentially displace local residents, particularly in the Sunset Park area, not-for-profit organization the Friends of the Brooklyn Queens Connector collaborated with students from the Red Hook Initiative (RHI) and NBA all-star and New York Knick Carmelo Anthony to produce a short video that discussed the potential pros of the $2.5 billion streetcar.
“When I was a kid, traveling was very difficult,” said Anthony, stressing, “There aren’t that many options to get out of it [Red Hook]. You don’t catch the bus, there’s no telling when the next bus is coming. It forces people to stay inside a bubble so a lot of people give up.
“I remember when my brother took me to the Thanksgiving Day Parade,” he went on. “When I got to Manhattan, it felt like a whole other world. I didn’t know that existed and it was so foreign to me to know that was only minutes from where I was, but it seemed so far. A community like Red Hook needs something else.”
Anthony worked with RHI’s Digital Stewards Program, a career readiness program that prepares participants for careers in digital technology, video production and media. Members of RHI were happy to work with the nine-time all-star and future hall of famer.
“Carmelo Anthony is from Red Hook and when I interviewed him, I could tell that he genuinely cares about our community,” said Alex, digital stewards program participant. “I really appreciate that he is advocating for our neighborhood and helping us bring better transit options to Red Hook.”
“It’s hard for us to travel from Red Hook to Manhattan, so the BQX would be perfect for us,” added another member of RHI Alden Parkinson. “People don’t care enough to come back to their communities, so the fact that Carmelo Anthony is doing this for us is a big deal. He had had the same experience growing up as we did and now he is joining us to advocate for something we really need.”
The route would stretch along the waterfront for 16 miles between Sunset Park and Astoria, Queens. Anthony believes it could really help several communities in different ways. “I want the kids to have a different experience than what I had,” he said. “The more transportation opportunities that we could bring to Red Hook, the more it is going to enhance the minds of people that are from the area. The BQX is kind of this evolution of Brooklyn, all of the communities, including Industry City, all the way to Long Island City. I think it opens the doors up for jobs. People just want opportunity.”
“Red Hook Initiative’s Digital Stewards were thrilled to have the opportunity to work directly with Carmelo Anthony to produce a video to raise awareness of an issue that impacts them so directly,” said Jill Eisenhard, executive director of the RHI.