- Anshul Friedman-Jha
No Hotel in Jericho!
A hotel in Jericho. You’ve all heard about it. In September of 2017, plans were approved by Nassau County to build a $21.8 million Marriott Hotel in the parking lot of the Milleridge Inn in Jericho, NY. Despite citing concerns from residents, Joseph J. Kearney, the executive director of Nassau County’s Industrial Development Agency, stated that “This is absolutely a great enhancement for the property and a much-needed facility for the area,” according to Newsday. I beg to differ.
To put things in context, The Milleridge Inn dates back to the 1600s where it was built as a small colonial house, and it went on to quarter British and Hessian troops in the Revolutionary War. The Inn stands today as a humble reminder of our history, and it stands alone as an island in a sea of new developments and commercial enterprises surrounds it. To me, building a massive hotel right next to it is simply a bad idea. It can’t be a good idea, to put a 4-story hotel right in the center of our community and overrun our daily lives with dense traffic and a lack of parking. Many of us may not know the Inn for its history, but we know it as a landmark in its own right in our community as we pass it on our ways to school and work- we don’t want it to cower in the shadow of a big hotel.
Many residents in the area surrounding the proposed building site don’t want this either. For example, Newsday published an article in December of 2018 titled, “Proposed Marriott hotel raises privacy, traffic concerns, some say,” in which many opinions were voiced about the proposed development. One man, Chuyu Xiong, a 66-year old programmer who lives on Merry Lane (directly next to the parking lot), stated that “That will definitely damage our lives… We will have no privacy at all.” Another resident of Merry Lane, 50-year old accountant Alice Zhang, voiced her opinion, saying “This is a danger to our neighborhood, to our kids.” I agree.
By placing an 80,000-square foot hotel smack in the center of Jericho, more traffic from people and cars is projected to swamp the area, which is already subject to significant traffic. Furthermore, Mr. Xiong brings up a good point. How can Marriott expect a 4-story hotel placed mere feet away from existing homes to not raise privacy concerns? After all, the hearing to discuss the $22 million project was scheduled for the middle of the day when most residents could not attend. Though it was postponed, it does raise the question of whether or not the multi-billion dollar Marriott corporation was interested in hearing the concerns of local residents at all.
I can’t say that I know how to deal with this issue entirely. I know that there are economic and political considerations which I don’t understand, and business lessons I am yet to learn. However, though I have only lived in Jericho for around 2 and a half years, I have come to settle into the community and enjoy what it has to offer. I don’t want to see so much of it threatened because a few hasty businessmen can’t listen to the people already living here.