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August, 2017

Government

Queens pols call for safety improvements along Grand Central Parkway

City and state elected officials gathered at a stretch of the Grand Central Parkway on Monday to call on safety improvements for the major artery which is often beset by wrecks. Comments (1)
Sunnyside

Van Bramer, Crowley slam Trump’s Charlottesville remarks

City Councilman Jimmy Van Bramer (D-Sunnyside) is calling on President Donald Trump to resign after his comments Tuesday at Trump Tower, where the president re-directed blame for Saturday’s violent clash in Charlottesville, Va. Comments (15)
Flushing

Kim, Meng denounce Trump’s ‘fire and fury’ statement on North Korea

Elected officials gathered in front of Flushing Town Hall last Thursday, denouncing President Donald Trump’s threat against North Korea. Comments (4)
Jackson Heights

Crowley rips Trump’s support of GOP immigration legislation

Immigration organizations joined U.S. Rep. Joseph Crowley (D-Jackson Heights) in denouncing President Donald Trump’s endorsement of an immigration plan that would drastically limit opportunities for immigrants to come to the United States legally. Comments (4)
Flushing

Former Councilwoman Julia Harrison dead at 97

Former Flushing Councilwoman Judith Harrison died at age 97 last week after battling an undisclosed illness. Comment
Far Rockaway

Far Rockaway street co-named in honor of fallen NYPD detective

The skirl of bagpipes was heard last Friday in Far Rockaway as Briar Place was co-named Detective Randolph Holder Way to honor the slain NYPD officer whose family home stands across the street. Comments (1)
Jackson Heights

Elected officials oppose hotel project in Jackson Heights

Two state lawmakers are voicing opposition at plans to build a seven-story, 22-unit residential hotel in the heart of Jackson Heights. Comments (4)
Astoria

Astoria public schools to get upgrades: Constantinides

Several Astoria public schools will receive capital improvements in the coming year after City Councilman Costa Constantinides (D-Astoria) and Borough President Melinda Katz allocated $3.7 in funding to the School Construction Authority. Comments (1)
Astoria

Astoria civic leader slams City Council bill on construction safety

A community leader in Astoria is strongly opposing construction safety legislation that is currently enjoying wide support in the City Council. Comment
East Elmhurst

Peralta introduces bill to assist families of slain first responders

After the murder of NYPD Officer Miosotis Familia, assassinated in a July 5 shooting in the Bronx, state Sen. Jose Peralta (D-East Elmhurst) was inspired to draft legislation that would provide financial assistance to the spouse and the dependents of police officers, firefighters and emergency medical services personnel killed in the line of duty. Comment
Flushing

Gillibrand, Meng host town hall at Flushing Library

U.S. Sen. Kristen Gillibrand (D-NY) U.S. Rep. Grace Meng (D-Flushing) hosted a town hall in Flushing Monday afternoon where the two lawmakers covered a wide range of topics, including election hacking, immigrant rights and health care. Comments (4)
Flushing

Avella fields suggestions for city’s sidewalk repair program

State Sen. Tony Avella (D-Bayside) has responded to statements made by Mayor Bill de Blasio at a July event in Flushing about a funding increase for the NYC Parks’ Trees and Sidewalks program, which helps homeowners assess damage to sidewalks due to city trees. Comments (1)
Long Island City

Van Bramer slams Trump over proposed ban of transgenders in military

Mayor Bill de Blasio called President Donald Trump’s decision last week to ban transgender troops from military service both “fundamentally un-American and unconscionable.” The commander in chief announced the policy change in a series of tweets last week. Comments (2)
Pomonok

PS 201Q returns as polling site after new ADA ramp installed

The new Americans with Disabilities Act ramp at PS 201 is ready for use just in time for elections. Comment
Long Island City

Massive project planned near Vernon Boulevard in Long Island City

TF Cornerstone is going to change the skyline of Long Island City’s waterfront — again. Comments (1)
Government

Bangladeshi-born Rahman challenges Lancman for City Council seat

Bangladesh-born City Council candidate Mohammed T. Rahman is hoping to make history as the first South Asian Muslim official in the City Council. Comments (2)
Jackson Heights

Bike network expansion will focus on three Queens community boards as cycling popularity soars

Bicycles have never been a more popular mode of transportation in New York City, with close to half a million riders each day. Comments (2)
Astoria

City backs plan to redesign to make Steinway Street safer for shoppers

It wasn’t his divulgence that he lived for two years “in a bachelor pad” across from Riccardo’s by the Bridge on 24th Avenue, or that he met his wife Chirlane in Astoria, or that he swore that Othello’s Deli had the best spinach pie. Mayor Bill de Blasio won over most of the crowd at his town hall meeting last Wednesday at PS 90 in Astoria when he announced the city is planning to redesign Steinway Street. Comments (1)
Astoria

Countdown clocks arrive at numerous Astoria bus stops

The city is installing countdown clocks at 10 bus stops around Astoria, City Councilman Costa Constantinides (D-Astoria) announced Monday. The signs will display real-time arrival information for city buses using GPS-based tracking technology called MTA Bus Time, which provides information on an easy-to-see LED display. Comment

July, 2017

Jackson Heights

City begins $4.5 million project to make Diversity Plaza permanent

Mayor Bill de Blasio began the final day of his weeklong stay in the borough with a ride on the F train to Jackson Heights where he joined City Councilman Daniel Dromm (D-Jackson Heights) and community leaders to break ground on a $4.5 million project to make Diversity Plaza a permanent public space. Comments (3)

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Fresh Meadows

CB 11 appoints new district manager

Community Board 11 welcomed a new district manager to take over the role left open by Susan Seinfeld, who retired in June. Joseph Marziliano, a community coordinator for the city Health Department and a former community assistant for CB 8, will take over as CB 11 goes back into session in September. Comments (1)
Long Island City

Electeds, union officials call for workplace training after LIC construction collapse

Elected officials and community groups joined members of Build Up NYC Tuesday to urge the city to suspend the license of a contractor for an accident at a Long Island City construction project that injured six workers last month. Comment
The Civic Scene

Rikers debate becomes forum for civic leaders to complain

Last month at the Queens County Farm Museum, the Queens Civic Congress hosted a debate on the issue of closing Rikers Island. Supporters spoke for closing it, while opponents were for keeping it open. Comment
Long Island City

Mayor says Astoria’s new ferry service will launch Aug. 29

Astoria’s NYC Ferry service is set to launch Aug, 29, Mayor Bill de Blasio announced Wednesday. City Councilman Costa Constantinides (D-Astoria) said the new route will be a game-changer for his constituents. Comments (3)
Elmhurst

Pan American shelter gets a new contract from city

The city has approved a long-term deal to keep the homeless shelter at the former Pan American hotel in Elmhurst operating for six more years. City Comptroller Scott Stringer registered the $66.2 million contract between the city’s Department of Homeless Services and operator Samaritan Village to keep the Boulevard Family Residence home to 198 families. Comments (7)
Corona

City Council contender Moya pushes his Willets Point plan

State Assemblyman Francisco Moya (D-Corona) joined Make the Road, Fairness Coalition of Queens and community leaders at a rally in front of Willets Point last Friday in support of his Willets Point Plan. Comments (1)
Letters

Peralta staying true to progressive values

According to recent reports, efforts are underway by the Democratic Party leadership to bring to heel members of the Independent Democratic Caucus, a group of eight elected state senators who vote as a bloc and are currently aligned with Republicans. Comment
Government

Low-income homeowners to receive $115 credit on water and sewer bill

Over 23,000 homeowners in Queens will receive a $115 credit on their next water and sewer bill, according to Mayor Bill de Blasio. Comments (3)
Flushing

De Blasio announces expansion to Charles B. Wang Health Center in Flushing

Mayor Bill de Blasio and first lady Chirlane McCray visited the Charles B. Wang Health Center in Flushing Tuesday to announce a $65 million expansion to the institution’s facility and services. The funding coincides with the ThriveNYC initiative for the city to support neighborhood medical support through community organizations serving a variety of nationalities. Comments (2)
Letters

Trump, Putin cohesion little surprise

By any yardstick one chooses, Vladimir Putin is a depot, the antithesis of democracy and a free press. Comments (2)
Flushing

City Hall’s affordable housing plan on time and under budget

The city is making strides in combating the affordable housing crisis. Comments (1)
Middle Village

CB5 discusses cannabidoil products, soccer fields at Rosemary Playground

Community Board 5 held a meeting last week with avid discussions on issues ranging from the opening of a coffee shop serving cannabidiol-infused drink to the installation of soccer fields that would replace basketball courts. Comment
Letters

Have a heart regarding panhandlers

Mayor Bill de Blasio claims some panhandlers are doing it for fun. In the past, he’s said he wished he could eliminate panhandling. In my opinion, many are doing so because they are homeless and have little-to-no income. Comments (9)
Flushing

Assemblyman Kim honors Marine captain after returning from tour

State Assemblyman Ron Kim (D-Flushing) honored Daniel Kim, a captain in the United States Marine Corps, after his return from a recent tour of duty in Afghanistan. Comments (2)
East Elmhurst

Electeds urge Cuomo to sign bill addressing lead paint on No. 7 train

State lawmakers from Queens and the Bronx are calling on Gov. Andrew Cuomo to sign legislation which will address toxic and illegal lead levels in paint lacing the elevated tracks of the No. 7 train in the area of the 74th Street - Roosevelt Avenue station. The bill passed the Senate and Assembly last month. Comment
Letters

CB7 did not condemn Katz

I read the Queens Weekly dated July 9, 2017, and I was taken aback by the article with the headline “CB7 says city, Katz bailed on Willets Pt meeting.” Comment
Forest Hills

Mobile payment system comes to borough’s muni-meters

Motorists in Queens can use their cell phones to pay parking meters remotely now that the city’s Department of Transportation activated its ParkNYC mobile payment system that was already available in the other boroughs. An online system links registered license plate numbers to NYPD traffic enforcement agents’ handheld devices that confirm payment. Comments (1)
Ridgewood

Ridgewood landlord tipped ICE: City agency

The city brought charges against a Ridgewood landlord for retaliating against immigrant tenants after they reported him to the Commission on Human Rights for discrimination based on their immigration status. Comments (4)
Jamaica

Cuomo advances JFK redevelopment plan while one Queens lawmaker wants more

The $10 billion redevelopment plan for JFK International Airport is still in its early stages but it took a significant step forward Tuesday when Gov. Andrew Cuomo launched a Request for Proposals for preliminary engineering and design on the project. Comments (1)
Opinion

Mixed grades for de Blasio’s first term

You remember that kid who sat in the back row, kind of slumped over, who never seemed to be paying attention in class but still got A’s on most of the tests? Comments (3)
Government

Day Three: Mayor brings top staff to Queens to run city government

Mayor Bill de Blasio and his commissioners had a busy schedule planned Wednesday on Day Three of City Hall in Your Borough as they listened to constituents, made announcements and toured facilities in Queens. Comments (4)
Political Action

The presidency involving New York and California

As we look at the American presidency as it has developed over the years, we see a large number of our presidents and presidential candidates come from large states, especially New York and California. Comments (1)
Rosedale

De Blasio unveils site of long-awaited 116th Precinct in Rosedale

In his first official act from Queens as he runs City Hall out of the borough this week, Mayor Bill de Blasio brought NYPD Commissioner James O’Neill to Rosedale Monday morning. Comments (1)
Sunnyside

Mayor announces Vision Zero milestone with fewest traffic deaths in first six months of 2017

Mayor Bill de Blasio’s Vision Zero initiative passed a significant milestone last week, ending the first six months of 2017 with the fewest traffic fatalities ever recorded since the city began documenting traffic deaths in 1910. Comments (1)
Flushing

DOT implements Stavisky’s recommendation for handicap parking tags

Following a suggestion from State Sen. Toby Ann Stavisky (D-Flushing), the city Department of Transportation will now issue reminders prior to the expiration of New York State parking Permits for Persons with Severe Disabilities. According to Stavisky, permit holders used to have to send out renewal notices for permits set to expire. Holders would receive a notice in the mail that informed them of the change and suggested they write their expiration date down in a safe place. Stavisky, who was approached by a constituent, thought that under this process senior citizens would forget Comments (1)
The Civic Scene

Avella, civic groups winning battle to save parkland

Parkland is one of the amenities which make our Queens quality of life so special. Queens civic leaders applauded the recent ruling by the New York State Court of Appeals that said private developers can not take 30 acres of parking lot next to Citi Field to build a mega-mall and recreation center. Comment
Willets Point

EDC responds to board’s angry letter on Willets Point

After receiving a scathing letter from Community Board 7 criticizing the New York City Economic Development Corporation for not sending a representative to a quarterly meeting about the future of Willets Point, EDC President James Patchett responded with a letter of his own. Comment
On Point

‘Diversity’ narrative clouding pols’ judgement

New York City is on the wrong track and voters should be concerned. Comments (31)
Kew Gardens

City Hall comes to Queens next week with resource fair and town hall meeting

A City Resource Fair at Queens Borough Hall and a town hall meeting with Mayor Bill de Blasio in Astoria will take place as “City Hall in Your Borough” gets underway next week. Comments (2)
Astoria

Legal Aid and elected blast landlord harassment of tenants at NYSUM dorm in Astoria

It has been nearly nine months since a Christian non-profit informed 39 low-income residents of its Astoria dormitory they were being evicted so the building could be converted to a homeless shelter, claiming the ministry could no longer afford to maintain the property. Comments (2)
Long Island City

Girl Scout troop in Long Island City homeless shelter to expand citywide

Members of Girl Scout Troop 6000 joined City Councilman Jimmy Van Bramer (D-Sunnyside) Wednesday at City Hall where the de Blasio administration announced an investment of more than $1 million to expand the first-in-the-nation troop dedicated to serving homeless girls and women. Comments (2)
Jackson Heights

Peralta announces funding for racial and ethnic awareness project at the Renaissance School in Jackson Heights

State Sen. Jose Peralta (D-East Elmhurst) announced a $25,000 state allocation for a Renaissance Charter School project called “Teens for Racial and Ethnic Awakening, aimed at providing training and improving relations for high school students. Comments (1)
Government

NYCHA loses key leader as massive federal cuts will affect agency

When the New York City Housing Authority launched a comprehensive plan called NextGeneration Operations to secure the future of public housing in 2015, it faced its worst financial position in more than 80 years. Now, with proposed federal budget cutbacks, NYCHA is staring at more of a challenge. Comments (2)
Astoria

Simotas raising awareness of two serious mental health disorders

State Assemblywoman Aravella Simotas (D-Astoria) is working to raise awareness of two serious mental health disorders affecting millions of Americans that are frequently misunderstood and often go untreated – Borderline Personality Disorder and Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder. Comments (1)
Maspeth

Homeless shelter bill passes state Senate

A bill designed to impose greater transparency over the placement of homeless shelters passed the state Senate and will include community leaders and elected officials in the process of deciding if a center is in the best interest of the neighborhood it will affect. Comments (1)
Jamaica

No chaos at JFK as partial travel ban kicks in

A small group of lawyers and activists, who set up shop in Terminal 4 at JFK International Airport last week as the Trump administration’s partial travel ban went into effect, saw no signs of detained travelers in need of assistance. Comments (1)
Letters

Malliotakis is the mayor we need

Republican Assemblywoman Nicole Malliotakis is running to unseat Bill de Blasio as mayor. She represents parts of Brooklyn and Staten Island, and is of Greek and Cuban parents. Comments (4)
New Voices

End to DAPA leaves parents reeling

Though declining to alter the rights and status of undocumented young persons under the 2012 Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, the Trump administration opted to end efforts to establish a similar benefit for their parents, the Deferred Action for Parents of Americans and Lawful Permanent Residents status. Comments (4)
Astoria

Astoria Van Alst Playground renovation completed ahead of schedule

The Van Alst Playground reopened to the public Tuesday after a $3.5 million renovation was completed ahead of schedule. Comments (1)
Astoria

Astoria Park street co-named for Betty Jean DiBiaso

The makeshift memorial on a light post at the northwest corner of Astoria Park honored the memory of Betty Jean DiBiasio for more than a year after she was struck and killed by a hit-and-run driver in June 2015. Now, that light post at Ditmars Avenue and 19th Street bears a sign reading “Betty Jean DiBiaso Way” after a street co-naming ceremony last week. Comments (1)
Kew Gardens

De Blasio administration takes over Borough Hall July 17

This week, Mayor Bill de Blasio announced “City Hall in Your Borough” will be in Queens beginning Monday, July 17. This will be the initiative’s third stop, following a week in Staten Island and one in the Bronx earlier this year. Comments (1)
East Elmhurst

Mayor’s plan to close Rikers Island draws mixed reviews

Three months after Mayor Bill de Blasio endorsed the findings of the blue-ribbon Lippman Commission report on closing the city’s most notorious jail, he presented “Smaller, Safer, Fairer: A Roadmap to Closing Rikers Island” last week. In the plan are 18 “concrete steps” the city is taking to shutter the facility and replace it with a smaller network of jails in each borough. Comments (1)

June, 2017

Elmhurst

Elmhurst United workers protest at Pan Am Hotel

Elected officials, community activist and residents gathered Saturday in front of the Pan Am Hotel in Elmhurst to call on the Department of Homeless Services and Comptroller Scott Stringer to reject a renewal contract that would allow the hotel to be used as a homeless shelter until 2023. Comments (1)
Jamaica

Volunteer lawyers ready to help if needed after Trump travel ban

The group of volunteer attorneys who camped out at Kennedy Airport assisting travelers from over 20 countries when President Donald Trump’s travel ban first went into effect in January were not expecting the same level of chaos when the new ban went into effect Thursday. Comment
Government

Rent board hikes stabilized rents from 1.25 to 2 percent

New York City’s 1 million rent-stabilized tenants will see their rent go up this coming year. Comments (2)
Jackson Heights

Jax Hts 9/11 worker facing deportation released after Cuomo pardon

A former Ground Zero worker from Jackson Heights who was facing imminent deportation over a non-violent conviction nearly three decades ago walked out of a New Jersey correctional facility Wednesday afternoon. Comments (1)
Dutch Kills

Dutch Kills calls for return of Engine Company 261

Dutch Kills wants its FDNY engine company back. Comment
Flushing

Meng nominates six Queens students to U.S. service academies

Congresswoman Grace Meng (D-Flushing) hosted a reception for six Queens high school students she nominated to attend the United States Service Academies. The teens will depart for their institutions later this month after they graduate from their local high schools. Comments (2)
Far Rockaway

Sandy-damaged apartment complex in Far Rockaway undergoing major restoration

When Hurricane Sandy slammed into the Rockaway peninsula in October 2012, it did extensive damage to the Ocean Bay Apartments complex, a 24-building, 1,395-unit NYCHA campus, home to nearly 4,000 low-income New Yorkers. Comments (1)
Government

Massey halts his mayoral campaign

Paul Massey, a Republican candidate for Mayor Bill de Blasio’s seat, dropped out of the race Wednesday, citing funding issues as the main reason for calling off the campaign. Comment
Fresh Meadows

Lancman joins Local 3 union condemning Charter Communications

Councilman Rory Lancman (D-Hillcrest) and other elected officials joined over 100 International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers Local 3 members Tuesday morning in front of a Charter Communications location in Fresh Meadows to denounce the company’s use of out-of-state contractors. Comment
Astoria

Simotas bills to help small businesses pass in state Legislature

A package of four bills to help small businesses avoid common violations and increase transparency and public participation in agency rulemaking has passed in both houses of the state Legislature. Comment
Woodside

Woodside’s Doughboy Park to receive $750,000 renovation

Doughboy Park in Woodside, the 1.7-acre public space on Woodside Avenue and 52nd Street, will receive a $750,000 overhaul, City Councilman Jimmy Van Bramer (D-Sunnyside) announced last week. Comments (1)
Jackson Heights

Two formerly homeless men hired to clean Roosevelt Avenue

Two formerly homeless men will work full-time cleaning Roosevelt Avenue between 82nd Street and 90th Street, beginning July 1. Comment
Letters

Victim complex won’t save Trump

If President Donald Trump knows he did nothing wrong, he would welcome an investigation by Robert S. Mueller lll, a person of unquestionable ability and integrity who hired a staff of an equal sterling reputation. Comments (6)
Fresh Meadows

Weprin, advocates rally for restored prison visitation rights and services

Lawmakers and attorneys are pushing to restore visitation rights for convicts in medium security facilities across the state, claiming limits to family contact contribute to recidivism and violence in prison. Comments (1)
Glendale

NYPD Commissioner visits Glendale to talk public safety

Police Commissioner James O’Neill addressed terrorism, the rise in opioid addiction and quality-of-life offenses at Tuesday’s 104th Precinct Community Council meeting in Glendale. Comments (1)
Jackson Heights

City reminds immigrants of legal protections against housing discrimination after Corona landlord intimidates residents

The de Blasio administration deployed a half dozen city agencies to Diversity Plaza in Jackson Heights Wednesday to calm an outraged immigrant community after undocumented residents of a Corona building were threatened with eviction and intimidated by their landlord. Comments (9)
Jackson Heights

Cuomo pardons Jax Hts. 9/11 cleanup worker removing grounds for deportation

Gov. Andrew Cuomo issued a pardon to a Jackson Heights man who was one of nearly 41,300 who were taken into custody by ICE agents during the first 100 days of the Trump administration. Carlos Humberto Cardona, 48, was detained in February and is awaiting deportation to his native Colombia in a New Jersey facility. Comments (1)
Government

Cuomo calls for Amtrak to pick up mitigation costs for Penn repairs

Gov. Andrew Cuomo is calling on Amtrak to reimburse the Long Island Rail Road after announcing the acceleration of improvements to MTA bridges and tunnels to mitigate disruptions for commuters as Amtrak takes six weeks to complete major overhauls of Penn Station. Comments (2)
Astoria

Gianaris bill would tax the rich to fund MTA rescue plan

Hundreds of thousands of straphangers faced yet another MTA meltdown citywide Tuesday morning, enduring frustrating delays and service changes attributed to signal problems and other failures. Comments (2)
Astoria

Astoria’s Hallets Peninsula gets millions in funding for public spaces, security and library

After decades of dormancy, Astoria’s Hallets Peninsula is springing to life with the launch of a new NYC Ferry route in August while the Durst Organization moves forward with its massive $1.5 billion Hallets Point development, featuring seven buildings and 2,400 apartments, a waterfront esplanade, school and a supermarket. Comments (1)
East Elmhurst

Mayor joins rally to back Peralta’s speed camera bill centered on school zones

Mayor Bill de Blasio joined a rally on the steps of City Hall last week to push state lawmakers to approve a measure that would allow the city to expand its life-saving speed enforcement camera program, especially in school zones. Comments (3)
Whitestone

Avella water bills pass senate once again

Three pieces of legislation sponsored by state Sen. Tony Avella (D-Bayside) passed in Albany last week and the Queens pol is touting the victory as a “hat trick” in a recent press release. Comments (3)
Astoria

Simotas urges passage of her Fair Access to Fertility Treatment Act

With time running out on the current legislative session in Albany, state Assemblywoman Aravella Simotas (D-Astoria) rallied with fellow elected officials, advocates and families in the state Capitol Wednesday calling on fellow lawmakers to pass her Fair Access to Fertility Treatment Act. Simotas’ bill requires health insurance policies to provide coverage for in-vitro fertilization and fertility preservation treatments. Comments (1)
Elmhurst

Design revealed for Queens Vietnam Veterans Memorial in Elmhurst

They came from neighborhoods like Woodside, Rockaway, Laurelton and Glendale and died in battle at places named Khe Sanh, Pleiku, Ia Drang and the A Shau Valley. To honor them, work will begin next year on the first boroughwide memorial for the 420 people who died serving in the Vietnam War. Comments (1)
Elmhurst

Elmhurst’s Veterans Grove Playground reopens nearly a year ahead of schedule

An Elmhurst Park dedicated to those lost in battle during World War I has reopened months ahead of schedule after receiving a full $2.3 million makeover from the city Parks Department. Comments (1)
Bayside

Seinfeld bids farewell to CB11

Susan Seinfeld received recognition from the community on Monday at the last meeting she would attend as district manager of Community Board 11. Comments (6)
East Elmhurst

Senate passes Peralta bill instructing MTA to study lead paint levels on No. 7 subway line

It took just over a month for the state Senate to unanimously approve legislation that requires the MTA and the NYC Transit Authority to conduct a study about the amount of lead paint in elevated subway tracks, trestles and stations throughout New York City. Comments (1)
New Voices

Federal government tension with sanctuary cities intensifies

The standoff between so-called “sanctuary cities” and the federal government crystalized for Queens residents recently, when rumors spread that Immigrations and Customs Enforcement visited PS 58 in Maspeth, allegedly to check on the immigration status of a fourth- grader there before being turned away by school security. Comments (9)
Bayside

Vallone secures funds for schools, parks and seniors in 2017 budget

City Councilman Paul Vallone (D-Bayside) is celebrating the passing of the city’s fiscal 2018 budget, which he said will help provide over $1 million to support non-profits exclusively in his district. Comments (1)
Bayside

CB11 partially approves bike-friendly upgrades to northeast Queens routes

Community Board 11’s Monday meeting was a battleground between those in favor of overhauls to northeast Queens roadways to accommodate bicyclists and those against such improvements for the impact they could have on parking and businesses. Comments (5)
Astoria

Elected officials propose allowing big trucks to use Grand Central Parkway to alleviate Astoria traffic

Astoria’s elected officials are working with city and state agencies to allow all trucks to travel on a section of the Grand Central Parkway between the Robert F. Kennedy Bridge and the Brooklyn Queens Expressway. Comments (4)
Letters

Trump regressive on climate, foreign affairs

The United States, with its love of big cars and blasting air conditioners, has contributed more than most other countries to atmospheric carbon dioxide that is scorching the planet. Despite that, and the overwhelming majority of the scientific community that believes in humanity’s connection with climate change, along with the many CEOs of large corporations who supported the Paris agreement, Donald Trump — presumably on the basis of the advice of his loyal aides who share his ignorance — has chosen to withdraw the United States from the Paris agreement. Comments (3)
Astoria

Gianaris bill to crack down on unlicensed drivers passes Senate

The state Senate passed legislation that would crack down on drivers who kill or seriously injure others while driving with a revoked, suspended or otherwise invalid licenses. The bill, introduced by state Sen. Michael Gianaris (D-Astoria), would make such an event a felony and is included in Mayor Bill de Blasio’s Vision Zero agenda. Comments (3)
Long Island City

Family of Japanese student struck and killed by NYPD vehicle settles lawsuit

The family of Ryo Oyamada is expressing disappointment over a settlement reached with the city in their wrongful death lawsuit. Comment
Jackson Heights

Moya wants greater consequences for stealthing

A Queens lawmaker is making a stand against “stealthing,” a form of sexual assault during which a partner secretly removes their condom before or during sex without the other partner’s consent. State Assemblyman Fancisco Moya (D-Jackson Heights) introduced legislation last week to recognize the practice as rape in the third degree. Comment
Bayside

Fire hydrant leaking for four months causes concern among Bayside residents

A fire hydrant in front of a Bayside co-op has become an ongoing problem for residents who have complained about the presence of standing water attracting mosquitoes. Superintendent Ray Garcia said the leak started four months ago and has kept a steady supply of stagnant water in the gutter in front of the residences near 203rd Street and 35th Avenue ever since. Comments (1)
Jackson Heights

Crowley hosts town hall in Jackson Heights

Congressman Joseph Crowley (D-Jackson Heights) held a town hall meeting Tuesday night at IS 145 in Jackson Heights and discussed the future of the Democratic Party, national security under President Trump and possible impeachment. Comments (1)
South Ozone Park

Food pantries are in trouble in the face of federal and city budget cuts: Grodenchik

Lillian Hopkins is worried about her food pantry in South Ozone Park, as well as others around the borough, in the face of federal budget cuts proposed by the Trump administration. Comments (3)

May, 2017

Kew Gardens Hills

Lancman, Koo urge mayor not to raise water rates

Councilmen Rory Lancman (D-Hillcrest) and Peter Koo (D- Flushing) were joined by Queens civic leaders and homeowners at a news conference Tuesday afternoon urging Mayor Bill de Blasio to direct the city Water Board not to raise New Yorkers’ water rates in 2018. Comments (6)
Rockaway Beach

Resilient Rockaway boardwalk completed in time for Memorial Day weekend

The entire 5-½-mile length of the Rockaway boardwalk opens to the public on Saturday to kick off Memorial Day weekend for the first time since it was obliterated by Hurricane Sandy in October 2012. Comment
Government

City launches anti-discrimination campaign as bias incidents rise

Following a 60 percent increase in reports of discrimination to the city’s Commission on Human Rights in 2016, a trend that continues into 2017, Mayor Bill de Blasio launched a citywide anti-discrimination campaign Tuesday. Advertisement, videos, community events and public service announcements will affirm New Yorkers right to live, work and pray free from discrimination and harassment. Comments (7)
Sunnyside

City Council passes Van Bramer legislation that would slow developers

On several occasions since 2010, City Councilman Jimmy Van Bramer (D-Sunnyside) has watched as the city’s Board of Standards and Appeals approved developers’ projects that had been rejected by Van Bramer or Community Board 2. Each time, BSA was not compelled to explain its decision, so Van Bramer drafted legislation to bring transparency and accountability to BSA decisions. Comment
Jackson Heights

Jackson Heights post office dedicated in memory of LGBT rights advocates Jeanne and Jules Manford

The Jackson Heights post office on 37th Avenue was renamed Saturday in honor of Jeanne and Jules Manford — the late Queens residents and national heroes who fought for the advancement of equal rights for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender Americans. Comment
Jackson Heights

MTA sued over dangers of lead paint on No. 7 subway line: Dromm

Jackson Heights business owners, residents and environmental attorneys joined City Councilman Daniel Dromm (D-Jackson Heights) Tuesday to announce a class action lawsuit against the MTA, claiming the public transit entity failed to address a public health hazard posed by lead paint on the Roosevelt Avenue train trestles of the No. 7 subway line. Comments (1)
Flushing

Assemblyman Kim announces new Asian-American Caucus

State Assemblyman Ron Kim (D-Flushing) and Assemblywoman Yuh-Line Niou (D-Manhattan) were joined by Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie (D-Manhattan) at Flushing Town hall last week to announce the formation of the Asian Pacific American Legislative Caucus. Comments (2)
East Elmhurst

Lancman calls on city to close Rikers faster

The saga of Kalief Browder has been seared in the public’s conscience and powered movements to close Rikers Island and reform the city’s criminal justice. Unfortunately, it has done little to change the fact that tens of thousands are imprisoned each year because they cannot afford to post bail. Comments (4)
Government

Queens pols react to Trump’s budget proposal

Queens congressional members had choice words for President Donald Trump’s latest budget proposal, claiming it will wick away vital resources from working class Americans to line the pockets of the wealthy with tax cuts. Comments (2)
Letters

Looming water rate hike not in city’s best interests

Playing politics with New Yorkers’ water rates is nothing new for the city. Mayors have often raised water rates after pledging not to. Comments (1)
Astoria

Dangerous roadway repaved in Astoria and Long Island City

While elected officials and community leaders were celebrating the recent repaving of 21st Street from 47th Avenue in Long Island City to Broadway in Astoria, street safety activists were warning that more needs to be done along the dangerous thoroughfare. Comment
East Elmhurst

Bill would place hundreds of new speed cameras in city school zones

The city’s speed camera program in school zones would be greatly expanded under legislation introduced Monday in Albany. Dozens of street safety advocates joined state Sen. Jose Peralta (D-East Elmhurst) as he proposed adding 610 cameras, up from the current 140 school-zone locations citywide, in an effort to crack down on speeding. Comment
East Elmhurst

Ponte resigns after two weeks of scandal

Joseph Ponte will leave his post as commissioner of the Department of Correction next month and he is assisting in a national search to select his successor. Comments (1)
Editorial

False Alarm

Government by tweet has come to City Hall. Comment
Maspeth

Confusion at City Hall may have led to misinformation about DHS agents visit to PS 58

Mayor Bill de Blasio admitted Wednesday that there was confusion at City Hall after two U.S. Department of Homeland immigration officials appeared at PS 58 in Maspeth last week asking about a fourth-grade student’s enrollment. Comments (2)
Jackson Heights

Jackson Heights protests Peralta IDC affiliation and questions his stipend

A group of 30 protesters gathered Saturday outside the Jackson Heights Post Office and called on state Sen. Jose Peralta (D-East Elmhurst) to leave the Republican-aligned Independent Democratic Conference and either rejoin mainline Democrats or resign. Comments (1)
Elmhurst

The next phase of Queens Boulevard redesign comes to Rego Park and Forest Hills

The city will move forward with the third phase of the Queens Boulevard redesign project next month, bringing major safety improvements to the roadway -- including new protected bike lanes, repaved crosswalks and expanded medians -- through Rego Park and Forest Hills, Mayor Bill de Blasio announced Wednesday. Comment
Political Action

NYC mayors unable to advance

It is rare that those elected New York City mayor or governor have not had the ambition to run for higher office. In the case of mayor, none have advanced further since the 1850s. Comments (1)
Maspeth

Schools chancellor calms fears at Maspeth school after visit by immigration officials

The city’s Department of Education has learned that it was not an Immigration and Customs Enforcement agent from the U.S. Department of Homeland Security who was turned away by school officials at PS 58 in Maspeth last Thursday. But the visit by a federal immigration officer touched a nerve in Queens with U.S. Rep. Grace Meng (D-Flushing) and Borough President Melinda Katz. Comments (3)
Whitestone

Whitestone Bridge leak spurs MTA to action

Whitestone residents are calling on MTA Bridges & Tunnels to fix flooding problems on the back service road of the Whitestone Bridge. Comment
Whitestone

DOT converts 21st Road near PS 184

After years of request, Councilman Paul Vallone (D-Whitestone) has secured one-way conversions around PS 184 in Whitestone. Comment
Flushing

Koo welcomes primary challenge from Assemblyman Kim’s wife

City Councilman Peter Koo (D- Flushing) will face competition from an unlikely candidate in the September primaries, and he said he welcomes a race against the wife of a Democratic colleague. Comments (1)
Government

Schumer says Comey firing could be ‘part of a cover up’

Senate Minority Leader Charles Schumer (D-NY) told President Trump he had a big mistake when he fired FBI Director James Comey Tuesday, sending shock waves throughout the political world. Comments (10)
Government

Critics of solitary confinement rally in Albany

Several Queens lawmakers lent their support to the movement to end the torture of solitary confinement in New York state prisons last week. Comments (1)
Government

Ponte resigns as commissioner of city jail system

Joe Ponte, who has headed the Department of Correction since 2014, announced he was stepping down Friday after he drove his official vehicle to Maine on numerous occasions and failed to report his employees had listened in on city investigators’ calls to Rikers inmates. Comments (1)
East Elmhurst

Peralta helps two immigrants get settlement checks after Ground Zero toxic exposure

Two Corona residents, who worked on the pile at Ground Zero after the Sept. 11 attacks, recently visited state Sen. Jose Peralta (D-East Elmhurst) at his Junction Boulevard office to thank him for helping them secure long-awaited settlement checks. Comments (1)
Government

Gillibrand issues a call to action against Trumpcare

The U.S. Senate is waiting for an analysis of the American Health Care Act before it begins a review of the legislation approved by the House last week. The Congressional Budget Office is expected to release its findings the week of May 22. Comments (3)
East Elmhurst

Firm hired to develop LaGuardia’s AirTrain: Cuomo

The engineering firm behind the Second Avenue Subway line has been awarded the $14.6 million contract to develop the initial plans for the AirTrain connection to LaGuardia Airport. Comments (1)
Flushing

DOT installs all-way stops at Queens intersections

State Sen. Tony Avella (D-Bayside) announced the city’s Dept. of Transportation granted his request for all-way stops at two Queens intersections last Friday. Comments (4)
Flushing

Meng introduces bipartisan resolution recognizing Jewish-American heritage

A new resolution was introduced in the House of Representatives to recognize the contributions of Jewish Americans. Comments (5)
New Voices

Mayor budgets for uncertainty

With a new administration in Washington, D.C, New York City is confronting a new era of uncertainty in budgeting. Faced with impending cuts from Housing and Urban Development, as well as potentially losing millions in counterterror funding stemming from the city’s sanctuary status, Mayor Bill de Blasio’s proposed $84.86 billion budget had to account for this uncertainty. Comments (4)
Hillcrest

Lancman challenges Correction commissioner to tell the truth over growing scandal

Mayor Bill de Blasio insisted on defending the embattled head of the city’s prison system as a scandal over the commissioner’s improper use of official vehicles deepened. Comments (1)
Woodside

Participatory budgeting wraps up in western Queens

Schools in western Queens are the big winners in this year’s participatory budgeting process in City Councilman Jimmy Van Bramer’s District 26, where residents have a say on how more than $1 million should be spent. Comment
Letters

Vital consumer financial protection group in peril

In September, a Queens customer was shocked to find an overdraft charge on his bank account. The consumer, a military service member, had set up a linked account to absorb any potential overdraft fees, but the bank had cancelled the protection without ever informing the individual. Comments (1)
Long Island City

DeBlasio holds town hall meeting in Long Island City

One week after an anti-gentrification rally and march took place in Sunnyside to protest over-development in western Queens, Mayor Bill de Blasio held a town hall meeting at a school in the same neighborhood. Comments (2)
Government

New York Democrats hammer House Republicans for passing ‘disastrous’ American Health Care Act

New York’s Democratic leadership is appalled at what President Donald Trump called “an unbelievable victory” after House Republicans narrowly passed legislation to repeal Obamacare Thursday. Comments (4)
Queensbridge

New field house to be constructed in Queensbridge Park

The city Parks Department released renderings of the new $3 million Queensbridge Park House that will replace the original that has been out of use for decades. Comment
Hunters Point

Hunters Point residents will have to wait even longer for new library to open

The president of the Friends of the Hunters Point Library was stunned when he was told the opening of the state-of-the-art waterfront facility was being pushed back to winter 2017-2018. The nearly $40 million project was originally expected to open in 2014 and has been repeatedly delayed. Comment
Government

Mayor defends DOC commissioners use of city vehicle for out of state trips

Mayor Bill de Blasio has insisted on defending his embattled commissioner at the city’s Department of Correction over his misuse of government-supplied vehicles. Comments (1)
Letters

Construction worker safety now a law

New York City is in the midst of a construction worker safety crisis. Comment
Jackson Heights

Peralta, Dromm tell MTA to fix lead paint problem on 7 line

City Councilman Daniel Dromm (D-Jackson Heights) sounded the alarm several weeks ago that poisonous lead-paint chips are raining down from the No. 7 elevated subway line from Long Island City to Flushing, endangering the health of residents living nearby. Comment
Astoria

Mayor signs environmental justice legislation into law

Mayor Bill de Blasio signed two pieces of legislation Tuesday to better promote environmental justice through the work of city agencies. One of the bills was sponsored by City Councilman Costa Constantinides (D-Astoria) to help improve the lives of his constituents in “Asthma Alley,” the area of western Queens that is home to almost half of the city’s power plants. Comment
Bayside Hills

Dermody Triangle to be restored in Bayside Hills

A very rough timeline was announced for the restoration of Captain Dermody Triangle in Bayside Hills at the civic association meetingTuesday. Comments (1)
Government

Mayor proposes early childhood education for all three-year-olds in city

The city plans to build on the success of its Pre-K for All program by expanding free, full-day childhood education to include 3-year-old children, Mayor de Blasio announced Monday. Comments (1)

April, 2017

Astoria

Three Astoria residents honored at Women’s History Month luncheon

U.S. Rep. Carolyn Maloney (D-Astoria) and state Assemblywoman Aravella Simotas (D-Astoria) celebrated Women’s History Month by honoring three women for achievement in community service and business. Comment
Flushing

Assemblyman Kim announces new bill to protect taxi drivers

After a recent string of attacks against cab drivers, state Assemblyman Ron Kim (D-Flushing) is calling for stricter penalties against the perpetrators. Comments (2)
Government

Mayor sounds off after court blocks Trump’s executive order on sanctuary cities

Mayor Bill de Blasio chided the Trump administration after a federal judge in San Francisco blocked the president’s executive order to cut federal funds to so-called “sanctuary cities” Tuesday. Comments (5)
Sunnyside

Organizer defends use of loaded term at anti-gentrification rally in Sunnyside

A community activist in Sunnyside was distressed to hear the term “ethnic cleansing” used during an anti-gentrification rally and march last week. Comments (3)
Little Neck

DOT changes timing at perilous Little Neck intersection

The city Department of Transportation and Councilman Barry Grodenchik (D-Oakland Gardens) announced that a tricky Little Neck intersection would be modified for the safety of pedestrians and motorists. Comments (2)
Bayside

CB11 adds new members to its ranks

Community Board 11 has added new members to its roster, with some having a background in community involvement in some way or another over the years. Comments (4)
Sunnyside

Van Bramer calls for safety measures at deadly Sunnyside intersection

The group of senior citizens shuffled across 39th Street in Sunnyside, cautiously looking in all directions as they approached the spot at 43rd Avenue where cyclist Gelasio Reyes was struck and killed by an alleged drunk and unlicensed driver on April 2. Comment
Government

City spends over $500K a night on hotels for homeless: Stringer

The cost of housing the homeless in commercial hotels has skyrocketed in recent months, with the city spending $530,000 per day, up from $400,000 per day just four months ago, according to a new analysis released Monday by City Comptroller Scott Stringer. That’s an increase of 32.5 percent. Comments (2)
East Elmhurst

DOT unveils safety improvements along Astoria Boulevard

The city has nearly completed a redesign and safety upgrade on a dangerous stretch of Astoria Boulevard in East Elmhurst. Comment
Flushing

Stavisky weighs wins and losses in state budget

After the state budget passed a week beyond its official deadline, state Sen. Toby Stavisky (D-Flushing) held a roundtable to discuss the victories and disappointments of fiscal year 2017. Comment
Willets Point

Monseratte asks de Blasio to back original Willets Point plan

A week before oral arguments at the New York State Courts of Appeals, former Councilman Hiram Monserrate and Elmhurst community leaders gathered on the steps of City Hall Tuesday to once again demand that Mayor Bill de Blasio honor the original Willets Point Redevelopment Plan that guaranteed affordable housing. Comments (2)
Astoria

Astoria Park hosting a rally for climate action April 28

In honor of Earth Day, City Councilman Costa Constantinides (D-Astoria) and state Assemblywoman Aravella Simotas (D-Astoria) are organizing the Astoria Climate Action Rally. The event is set for April 28, on the Great Lawn at Astoria Park. Comments (2)
Letters

Spicer’s Words No Mere Gaffe

Assemblyman David Weprin, Co-President of the National Association of Jewish Legislators, issued the following statement in response to comments made by White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer. Comment
Sunnyside

Anti-gentrification protesters target City Hall’s development plans for western Queens

Nearly a hundred protesters from all over Queens joined forces for a rally against gentrification at the 46th Street subway station in Sunnyside Thursday evening. Comments (2)
Sunnyside

City offers advice for immigrant small business owners

It’s Immigrant Heritage Week. The city Department of Small Business Services announced Tuesday a new guide offering step-by-step advice for immigrant entrepreneurs planning, launching, or growing a small business. Comments (2)
Letters

An argument for Rockaway Railway rebuild

The Rockaway Beach Branch’s preservation as a potential rail corridor — and not as a park — is essential for the further development in Queens. The Friends of the Queensway published an editorial April 12 outlining their concerns with reactivation, which laid out a series of points that I think need to be addressed. Comments (2)
Government

IDC claims victory with Raise the Age but mainline Democrats disagree

Akeem Browder and fellow criminal justice advocates joined members of the breakaway Independent Democratic Conference Tuesday in calling on the city to plan to remove juveniles from Rikers Island within a year as required by recently passed Raise the Age legislation. Comments (2)
Whitestone

Suozzi addresses Whitestone’s concerns at town hall meeting

Newly elected Congressman Tom Suozzi (D-LittleNeck) answered Whitestone residents’ burning questions at a town hall meeting Tuesday evening. The congressman, who opened his Queens office Wednesday at 250-02 Northern Blvd., attended the town hall meeting hosted by We Love Whitestone at Holy Cross Greek Orthodox Church. Comments (2)
Jackson Heights

Quiet Skies Caucus asks Congress to fund health study for airplane noise

The Congressional Quiet Skies Caucus is asking Congress to fund two provisions for bringing relief to residents whose communities suffer the most from airplane noise. Comments (4)
Government

Gov. Cuomo signs Raise the Age legislation while remembering Kalief Browder

When Gov. Andrew Cuomo signed the milestone Raise the Age legislation into law in Harlem Monday night, raising the age of criminal responsibility to 18 years old, Kalief Browder’s older brother introduced him to the crowd. Comments (5)
Richmond Hill

Schneiderman’s office talks labor rights

The best way to confront the fear and apprehension in New York’s immigrant communities is to ensure that information on their rights is readily available and accurate, representatives of state Attorney General Eric Schneiderman said during a forum on immigrant rights last week in Richmond Hill. Comment
Bayside

Vallone announces victory over last year’s participatory budgeting turnout

Participatory budgeting in the district in Councilman Paul Vallone (D-Bayside) rose again this year with 6,214 votes cast by the community to fund projects of their choosing. Comment
Jamaica

Panelists address hunger among borough’s seniors

Many seniors throughout the borough and city have difficulty obtaining enough food for themselves and others, according to panelists at a forum sponsored by the city’s Department for the Aging held at York College in Jamaica. Comment
East Elmhurst

As ICE sweeps continue, lawmakers move to aid immigrant communities

Six foreign nationals living in Queens were among 31 arrested during a three-day sweep by agents from the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement. Comments (3)
Corona

Officials break ground on permanent Corona Plaza while DOT begins work on 111th Street

Corona Plaza will be closed to the public, and the vendors who do business there, for a year as it undergoes a $5.6 million renovation that will turn the temporary pedestrian plaza into a permanent gathering space. When the construction project is complete at 103rd Street and Roosevelt Avenue, Corona Plaza will feature a new performance space with built-in seating, new plantings with trees and shrubbery, new pedestrian lighting, bike racks to serve commuters using the No. 7 subway station, and an automatic pay toilet. Comment
Government

Libraries often see delays and high costs, report finds

Capital construction projects for libraries and other cultural institutions often rack up outsized financial and time investments, according to a new analysis from the Center for an Urban Future. Comment
Astoria

Constantinides-sponsored bill seeking ‘environmental justice’ passes City Council

City Councilman Costa Constantinides (D-Astoria) won another victory last week in the fight to improve the lives of his constituents living in “Asthma Alley,” the area in western Queens that is home to almost half of the city’s power plants and, especially in the neighborhoods of Astoria and Long Island City, is subjected to pollution from jets taking off and landing at LaGuardia Airport. Comment
Government

Judge OKs IDNYC data dump

After four months of deliberation, a Staten island judge has ruled that the city could destroy documents associated with the IDNYC program. Comments (4)
Sunnyside

Cyclist’s widow joins Van Bramer in call for safety measures at Sunnyside intersection

The widow of Gelacio Reyes, the cyclist who was struck and killed by an alleged drunk and unlicensed driver at a Sunnyside intersection April 2, joined City Councilman Jimmy Van Bramer (D-Sunnyside) Thursday morning as he demanded immediate action to make the area safer. Comment
Government

State has a budget after week’s delay

The budget for New York State’s upcoming fiscal year drew an array of plaudits and criticisms from Queens elected officials, with many approving of the criminal justice reforms enacted while others decried the lack of substantial ethics reform. Comment
Astoria

Hallets Point gets green light as state investigates Astoria Cove worksite

The Durst Organization is moving forward with its Hallets Point mega-project in Astoria now that a replacement for the 421-a tax abatement for developers is in place. The newly branded Affordable New York housing program will provide tax breaks to developers in exchange for desperately needed affordable housing. Comment
Flushing

Trump’s budget plan could hurt LGBT community in Queens

U.S. Rep. Grace Meng (D-Flushing) held a round-table discussion last Friday to discuss the negative effect President Donald Trump’s proposed budget cuts would have on Queens. Meng hosted a wide array of non-profit organizations that stand to lose funding under Trump’s budget plan that was announced March 16. Comments (11)
Government

NYPD lags in civilian hires

Mayor Bill de Blasio and the NYPD have made an effort to increase uniformed and civilian staffing in the department, and though there have been significant increases in uniformed personnel in the last three years, civilian hiring lags behind. This can make it difficult to reduce overtime spending on uniformed officers, according to a new analysis from the city’s Independent Budget Office. Comments (1)
Sunnyside

Cyclist hit in same Sunnyside intersection where Corona rider was struck 10 days ago

City Councilman Jimmy Van Bramer (D-Sunnyside) is calling on the city Department of Transportation to conduct a full investigation and study on the intersection of 39th Street and 43rd Avenue in Sunnyside where two cyclists have been killed or seriously injured in the last 10 days. Comments (1)
Bayside

CB11’s Susan Seinfeld announces retirement

Community Board 11’s District Manager Susan Seinfeld is retiring at the end of June, it was announced at the Monday monthly meeting. Comment
Government

Albany passes budget after missing deadline

New York state finally has a budget for the coming year, after a week marked by fits and starts in the Legislature and the governor’s office. The announcement came Sunday, with Gov. Andrew Cuomo saying the agreements made between the Assembly and Senate were worth the blown deadline from a week earlier. Comment
Government

City Hall rally protests Trump’s proposed cuts to the arts

New York City is known as the cultural capital of the nation and its elected officials are sending a strong message to the Trump administration that it will stand against proposed federal cuts to the arts and humanities. Comments (1)
Rosedale

Electeds release more info on DEP sewer reports for southeast Queens

The first report on the progress of sewer infrastructure repairs in southeast Queens from the city’s Department of Environmental Protection will be available in early 2018, Councilman Donovan Richards (D-Laurelton) said. Comment
Corona

De Blasio talks about homelessness at Corona town hall

During a town hall last week at IS 61 in Corona, Mayor Bill de Blasio pledged that the city was working to stop housing homeless individuals in two hotels in the area. Comments (1)
Jackson Heights

Legislation named for Kalief Browder aims to help former prisoners with mental health problems

Clutching a picture of Kalief Browder on the steps of city hall Monday, U.S. Rep. Joseph Crowley (D-Jackson Heights) announced his new legislation named in his honor, which seeks to improve mental health services for the formerly incarcerated. Comment
Government

Lancman questions O’Neill on fare evasion impact

Undocumented immigrants convicted of fare evasion are in danger of deportation, NYPD Commissioner James O’Neill said during a City Council Public Safety Committee hearing last week. Comment
Government

Legislators debate state budget

Though progress had been made on several key issues, state legislators and Gov. Andrew Cuomo had not yet reached a conclusion on legislation for the coming year’s budget by Wednesday night, the governor said. Comment
Corona

Pfoser Darby removed from Community Board 4 after alleged racial comments last month

For the first time in more than three decades, Ann Pfoser Darby is no longer serving as a member of Community Board 4. The 82-year-old’s application for her latest two-year term was rejected without comment by Borough President Melinda Katz after Pfoser Darby set off a firestorm last month with comments deemed racist and xenophobic by many. Comments (6)
Corona

De Blasio goes forward with 111th Street plan without Community Board 4’s support

The city Department of Transportation will begin implementing its safety plan to redesign 111th Street in Corona this Monday morning after Mayor Bill de Blasio gave the project a green light. Community Board 4 tabled the plan last month with members demanding more safety measures such as crosswalks, stop signs and traffic signals on the dangerous thoroughfare. Comment
East Elmhurst

DA Richard Brown does not support city’s plan to close Rikers Island

When a blue-ribbon panel released its 146-page report Sunday recommending an “achievable plan” to permanently close Rikers Island and establish five jail facilities in each of the five boroughs, one law enforcement official was noticeably absent from the press event at John Jay College. Queens District Attorney Richard Brown was not present as former Chief Judge Joseph Lippman presented the findings of his commission’s year-long study. The study was supported by Mayor Bill de Blasio last Friday, after he offered strenuous opposition to the plan during testimony to Comment
Bayside

Susan Seinfeld announces retirement from CB 11

Community Board 11’s District Manager Susan Seinfeld is retiring at the end of June, Chairwoman Christine Haider announced at the Monday meeting. Comments (1)
Astoria

Constantinides launches petition for cleaner power plants

The demand for environmental justice for Asthma Alley in western Queens continues. Comment
Astoria

More hate graffiti found in Astoria directed at elected officials

The NYPD’s Hate Crimes Task Force is currently investigating the rash of malicious graffiti that is appearing on buildings and signs around Astoria. For the third time in three weeks, homophobic graffiti has been discovered on the building housing the district offices of state Sen. Michael Gianaris (D-Astoria) and Assemblywoman Aravella Simotas (D-Astoria). The latest hateful message discovered Monday morning is believed to have been sprayed on a wall late Sunday night, according to Gianaris’ spokeswoman, Liza Acevedo. Comments (2)
Long Island City

Mayor announces new job services program for prisoners

Mayor Bill de Blasio went to The Fortune Society headquarters in Long Island City Wednesday to announce a new initiative that will provide re-entry services to every person incarcerated person by the end of the year. The Jails to Jobs program will help connect them with jobs and opportunities outside of jail, as well as five hours of programming per day during their stay to address vocational, educational and therapeutic needs. Comments (2)
Hunters Point

Mobile library service rolls back into Hunters Point

The mobile library is returning to the Hunters Point waterfront. The new vehicle will park alongside the Hunters Point Library, which is still under construction, April 9 and return each Sunday until the new library opens this fall. Comment

March, 2017

East Elmhurst

Mayor de Blasio changes course to call for closure of Rikers Island

Mayor Bill de Blasio announced Friday he will back a plan to close down Rikers Island just days before a blue-ribbon panel is set to make its report public. The Independent Commission on New York City Criminal Justice and Incarceration Reform proposal is expected recommend phasing out the notorious prison complex within the decade in favor of five smaller community jails located across the city. Comments (4)
Jackson Heights

DOT installs more traffic safety measures in Jackson Heights

A chaotic section of Roosevelt Avenue in Jackson Heights called a Vision Zero priority location by the city’s Department of Transportation has received much-needed traffic calming measures. Motorists will no longer be allowed to make a left-hand turn onto Roosevelt Avenue from the northbound lane of Elmhurst Avenue, and with vehicles no longer lining up for this turn, DOT was able to install two signalized crosswalks at the corners of 90th Street, 50 feet away. Comment
Bay Terrace

Vision Zero improvements slated for Bay Terrace

A Bay Terrace corridor will get improvements as the city DOT and the mayor’s office announced the kick-off of a $1.6 billion effort to enhance safety conditions at intersections and roadways. Comments (1)
Editorial

Upside down America

Each week since Queens native Donald Trump was elected president, the scorecard has shown his approval ratings stuck at 40 percent but consumer confidence rising to a now 17-year-high. Comments (4)
Flushing

LPC approves Bowne Street Community Church for landmarking

Bowne Street Community Church will finally be a city landmark after years of delay. Comments (1)
Government

Mayor de Blasio rejects U.S. attorney general’s sanctuary city threat

As the leaders of more than 30 sanctuary cities gathered in New York City Monday to discuss strategy in taking on the Trump administration, U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions was a surprise visitor to the White House briefing room. Sessions told the press corps that all cities seeking federal Department of Justice grants would have to comply with Immigration and Customs orders and that the administration would “claw back” monies already disbursed to those municipalities that refused to cooperate with ICE. Comments (13)
Long Island City

Tom Cat Bakery management works with immigrant workers facing termination

Immigrant workers at the Tom Cat Bakery in Long Island City have secured an extension of the deadline for a threatened mass termination after employees, some of whom have worked for the company for more than a decade, held a rally last week. The workers had been notified that the U.S. Department of Homeland Security had conducted an audit at the bakery and 31 of them were told they would be fired, with no severance pay, within 10 business days if they did not provide documents proving they are in the United States legally. Comments (7)
Corona

Mayor ignores CB4 to push through street safety plan for 111th Street

Mayor Bill de Blasio decided to bypass Community Board 4 and go ahead with plans to redesign 111th Street along the western edge of Flushing Meadows Corona Park. Comments (5)
Flushing

Meng passes employment provisions to Veteran Affairs Bill

The House has passed U.S. Rep. Grace Meng’s (D-Flushing) provisions to the Veteran Affairs Bill that open up employment opportunities at the Department of Veterans Affairs. Comments (3)
Bellerose

Vallone shoots to protect homeowners from deed fraud

A Bayside elected official is taking a swing at deed fraud a month after the Queens DA’s office indicted two real estate development companies, one of which headquartered in Bellerose, and 11 individuals for allegedly scamming poor and elderly residents out of their homes. Comments (1)
Bayside

Stringer proposes changes to elder care in city

The city’s senior population is rising fast with an imbalance of programs and services in neighborhoods where aging populations live, according to a new report by city Comptroller Scott Stringer. Comments (2)
Astoria

Queens pols oppose Trump’s budget proposal

Members of Congress from Queens slammed the Trump administration’s budget proposal for the 2018 fiscal year, saying it neglected the needs of programs which serve the poor and disabled. They also said the blueprint stripped funding from vital agencies that protect the city, such as the Environmental Protection Agency and NYPD counterterrorism. Comments (4)
Corona

Overcrowded Louis Armstrong School in Corona to get new annex

Students at one Corona school will finally get relief from years of chronic overcrowding. Comments (2)
Flushing

Kim adds $3 million in state budget to help nail salons, dry cleaners

State Assemblyman Ron Kim (D-Flushing) has helped add $3 million in funding to the New York State Assembly budget to assist dry cleaners and nail salons. Comments (13)
Maspeth

Maspeth sewer upgrades get fast-forward by DDC

The city Department of Design and Construction has agreed to expedite a sewer upgrade project in Maspeth which has been the cause of mounting concern for the past three years. Calamus Avenue is now the site of potholes, uneven sidewalks, flooding and disruptions in bus service now that the work has begun. Comment
Far Rockaway

EDC touts Rockaway storefronts prior to rezoning vote

The city Economic Development Corp. and the city’s Department of Small Business Services are touting the January completion of the SBS’s Storefront Improvement Program in Downtown Far Rockaway, which renovated 18 storefronts on business corridors in the area. Comment
Bayside

Avella bill to make St. Patrick’s Day school holiday passes in Senate

A bill that would make St. Patrick’s Day a school holiday in the state of New York passed the Senate chamber Monday. Comments (4)
Flushing

Veterans at Flushing post reach out to elected officials to avert shutdown

Queens veterans are being left in the cold. Comments (1)
Sunnyside

City arts community to rally against Trump’s proposed budget cuts

The majority leader of the City Council is calling on the arts community to rally against President Donald Trump and his proposed budget cuts to the arts and humanities. Comments (1)
Bayside

Braunstein proposes budget to restore funding to senior programs

Assemblyman Edward Braunstein (D-Bayside) announced the passage of a budget resolution in the Assembly to challenge the one presented by Gov. Andrew Cuomo in February that cut vital funds to seniors. The proposal is also aimed at improving the lives of families and focuses on education. Comments (1)
Astoria

Homophobic graffiti targets Astoria elected officials

For the second time in a week, homophobic graffiti has been discovered on buildings housing the offices of Astoria lawmakers. Comment
Letters

Strong fathers program helps build backbone of the city

I had the great privilege this past weekend to serve as the commencement speaker at the Strong Fathers program graduation ceremony at Forestdale Inc. The Strong Fathers program consists of dozens of men, young and old, who are working to improve their relationships with their partners and their children. Comments (1)
Long Island City

Workers rally at LIC bakery after threat of firings over immigrant status

A group of 50 workers and their advocates from immigrant rights groups rallied outside the Tom Cat Bakery in Long Island City Wednesday morning to protest the threatened mass firings of dozens of immigrant workers following a U.S. Department of Homeland Security investigation. Comments (7)
Corona

CB4 delays decision on 111th Street safety improvements

Community Board 4 voted to table the Department of Transportation’s latest proposal for safety improvements on 11th Street in Corona along the western edge of Flushing Meadows Corona Park. The 24-12 vote sparked outrage among the nearly 200 residents and safe streets advocates who packed the VFW post on 108th Street Tuesday night. Comments (1)
Ozone Park

Ulrich won’t run for mayor as de Blasio is cleared in probes

City Councilman Eric Ulrich (R-Ozone Park) has decided not to run for mayor. Ulrich announced his decision just days after Mayor Bill de Blasio and his aides were cleared of criminal charges in campaign fund-raising probes by federal and state prosecutors last week. Comments (2)
Government

Gender marker changes skyrocket as city dials back transgender requirements

A City Council motion in 2014 to ease restrictions on gender change applications has resulted in a spike of birth certificate changes in the past few years. Comments (3)
Ozone Park

Ulrich rules out run for mayor

City Councilman Eric Ulrich (R-Ozone Park) has decided against running for mayor. The 32-year-old announced on NY1 that he will instead seek re-election representing the 32nd Council District, which covers the Rockaways, Broad Channel, Howard Beach and Ozone Park, where Ulrich was born and raised. Comments (2)
Little Neck

Councilman Vallone holds rally to condemn hate crimes

Elected officials and religious and community leaders gathered at the Samuel Field Y in Little Neck for a rally last Friday condemning the rising number of anti-Semitic attacks in New York City and all forms of discrimination. Comments (4)
Woodside

Officials announce removal of classroom trailers at PS 151 in Woodside

Borough President Melinda Katz joined City Councilman Costa Constantinides in Woodside Monday to announce that all 11 classroom trailers will be removed at the end of the year from the PS 151 playground, which will be updated to bring increased recreational space for students and the community. At its April policy meeting, the Panel for Educational Policy will vote to approve the resiting of PS Q255, which serves autistic students between the ages of 5 and 17, which is co-located at PS 151’s building but occupies the trailers in the playground. Comment
Jamaica

Budget cuts threaten NEA, several cultural organizations in Queens

More than a dozen of the borough’s arts organizations would be affected by the Trump administration’s threat to eliminate funding for the National Endowment of the Arts, City Comptroller Scott Stringer warned, costing thousands of jobs in New York City. Comments (3)
Long Island City

Gianaris calls for Long Island City strip club to be closed down

With reoccurring criminal activity and alarming reports revealing dozens of public safety concerns, state Sen. Michael Gianaris (D-Astoria) is calling for the closure of Aces New York, a strip joint located at 31-10 37th Ave. in Long Island City. Gianaris is demanding the State Liquor Authority deny a renewal of the club’s cabaret license. Comments (2)
Government

De Blasio cleared of criminal charges in campaign fund-raising probes

Mayor Bill de Blasio and his aides will not face criminal prosecution in connection with his campaign fund-raising, prosecutors announced Thursday. While Acting U.S. Attorney Joon Kim made his announcement in a brief statement, Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance Jr. sent a 10-page letter to the state Board of Elections concluding that de Blasio and his associates acted with “advice of counsel” that channeling donations was legal and had no provable criminal intent. Comments (2)
Maspeth

Mayor vows to place a homeless shelter in Maspeth

Mayor Bill de Blasio has been vague about where in the five boroughs the city would place 90 new homeless shelters since he announced his latest plan last month, but last week the mayor was very clear about where he would build one of them. In Maspeth. Comments (3)
Elmhurst

Meng holds immigration town hall meeting in Elmhurst

Calling the last few months “uncertain times for our country,” U.S. Rep. Grace Meng (D-Flushing) opened an immigration town hall at the new Elmhurst Community Library Saturday to discuss President Donald Trump’s recent executive orders on immigration. A panel of experts including attorneys from the Legal Aid Society and advocates from the New York Immigration Coalition, Make the Road New York and the Black Institute were on hand to share information and advice about the so-called Muslim ban and the rights of undocumented and documented immigrants with more than 10 Comments (8)
Government

Former U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara delivers farewell to staff upon final exit

As he left his Manhattan office at St. Andrews Plaza Monday, former U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara heard the cheers from colleagues, aides and friends when he said goodbye to his staff and moved on to an uncertain future. As the skirl of bagpipes filled the air, Bharara, fired by the White House Saturday afternoon, told reporters, “I love New York, and this is the best prosecutor’s office you’ve ever seen.” Comments (3)
Jamaica

Department of Probation holds fashion show to promote jobs opportunities for clients

The lobby of the Jamaica office for the city Probation Department’s Neighborhood Opportunity Network was transformed into a fashion runway last week as department staff, motivational speakers and DOP Commissioner Ana Bermúdez touted opportunities available to probation clients. Comment
East Elmhurst

Peralta bill tackling speeding in school zones passes Senate

State Sen. Jose Peralta (D-East Elmhurst), who made a controversial switch to the Independent Democratic Conference in late January, was given a leadership title Tuesday when he was appointed vice chairman of the Senate Energy and Telecommunications Committee. The post comes with a $12,500 stipend, which is down from the $14,500 stipend he had received as minority whip with the mainline Democrats. Comment
Letters

Mayor’s new homeless program will reduce shelter population

As a doctor I learned to be relentless when treating my patients. So, I am proud of the relentless effort the de Blasio administration has put into taking on the homelessness crisis. Comments (1)
Bayside

CB 11 approves overhaul of Oceana Street for bike lanes

Community Board 11’s Transportation Committee approved a motion to reconfigure Oceana Street to make it safer for bicyclists accessing parks and paths as well as students attending nearby schools at the Monday meeting. Comments (3)
Elmhurst

Meng to host immigration town hall

U.S. Rep. Grace Meng (D-Flushing) is hosting a town hall Saturday to discuss immigration. Comments (2)
Letters

House homeless in vacant hospitals like Creedmoor

Once again communities are protesting the city’s plan on dumping the homeless population into hotels in their neighborhoods. Comments (1)
Government

NYCHA cut by Trump administration the first of many: Stringer

The city’s public housing authority is the first victim of the Trump administration’s budget cuts as $35 million in aid has been slashed in NYCHA’s largest decrease in funding in half a decade. The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development notified NYCHA of the 5 percent reduction in late February before Dr. Ben Carson was confirmed as secretary. Comments (7)
Astoria

Vision Zero makes improvements at dangerous Northern Blvd. intersection

City Department of Transportation Commissioner Polly Trottenberg returned to Northern Boulevard last Friday to unveil safety improvements at 48th Street, calling the complex, five-legged intersection “tricky.” The $1 million project brings an array of safety improvements, including a concrete pedestrian island, two crosswalks and curb extensions. Comments (3)
Bayside

Vallone describes wonders of his recent trip to Israel

After leaving Ash Wednesday Mass this past week, all of the wonderful and powerful memories of my most recent trip to Israel came flooding back to me. Comments (2)
Bayside

‘Frank Skala Way’ to pay homage to late community activist

Community Board 11 approved a motion at the Monday meeting for a street co-naming in honor of the late Frank Skala, a Bayside teacher and community activist who died in 2015. Comments (1)
Jamaica

Miller introduces truck enforcement bill

A southeast Queens City councilman is sponsoring legislation to reduce the time commercial trucks can park on streets from three hours to 90 minutes in an attempt to reduce the burden on affected communities. Comments (4)
Bayside

Pols demand Cuomo restore funds to seniors in budget proposal

State Assemblyman Edward Braunstein (D-Bayside) led a rally at Selfhelp Clearview Senior Center last week to urge Gov. Andrew Cuomo not to redirect state finds from elderly care as proposed in his recent budget proposal. The budget could pull $17 million from senior center funding and force around 65 facilities around the city to close their doors. Assemblywoman Nily Rozic (D-Fresh Meadows) and state Sen. Toby Stavisky (D-Flushing) also delivered remarks stressing the importance of the Title XX funds at the Feb. 23 rally. Comments (3)
Willets Point

Willets West appeal set for April

The long-stalled Willets West mega-mall project will have another day in court next month when the Court of Appeals in White Plains hears oral arguments April 25 in an appeal of a lawsuit that blocked the project. Comments (1)
Letters

Trump has no sense of decency

Phil Orenstein, president of the Queens Village Republican Club, is misguided in claiming Trump’s immigration policy is limited to the deportation of the undocumented with serious criminal records, and accuses Democratic politicians of undermining Trump’s every move. (Letters to the Editor - Feb. 24-March 2). Comments (1)
Maspeth

Mayor’s plan for homeless crisis will stop using hotels as more shelters open

Mayor Bill de Blasio presented “a radical change of approach” with his plans to combat the homeless crisis after the shelter population grew to a record 60,000, leading to the city’s use of commercial hotels andinadequate cluster sites in other boroughs to house the overflow. Comments (2)
Astoria

Community unites behind proposal to revamp Steinway Street

Steinway Street in Astoria needs an extreme makeover to improve the shopping experience and make it safer for pedestrians, neighborhood leaders and merchants say. Comments (1)
Corona

Court sides with Lancman over mayor’s attempt to dismiss park lawsuit

City Councilman Rory Lancman (D-Hillcrest) is claiming a first round victory in his parks equity lawsuit against Mayor Bill de Blasio. State Supreme Court Justice Arlene Bluth rejected the mayor’s attempt to dismiss a lawsuit brought against him and the “Alliance for Flushing Meadows Corona Park’ by Lancman, challenging the structure and funding of the Alliance. Comments (1)

February, 2017

Flushing

Suozzi takes over as co-chair of Congressional Quiet Skies Caucus

Recently elected U.S. Rep. Tom Suozzi (D-Huntington) will be undertaking a leadership role in the Congressional Quiet Skies Caucus as co-chairman, a position formerly held by U.S. Rep. Grace Meng (D-Flushing). Comments (4)
Flushing

IDNYC pop-up comes to Selfhelp in Flushing

IDNYC pop-up at Flushing’s Selfhelp center has gotten off to a great start. Comments (3)
Ridgewood

Greenpointers blow up over Kosciuszko Bridge demolition

By Lauren Gill and Ruth Brown Comments (1)
Ozone Park

Ozone Park drop-in center opening despite protest

A heavily opposed Ozone Park homeless shelter is opening despite residents’ and lawmakers’ concerns. Comments (4)
Flushing

Avella pushes for opt-out provision for city’s bioswale program

Flushing residents want to opt out of the city’s bioswales program. Comments (8)
Holliswood

Lancman calls on mayor to take further steps to protect immigrants

City Councilman Rory Lancman (D-Hillcrest) is asking Mayor Bill de Blasio to step up for immigrants. Comments (2)
Breezy Point

Four accused of defrauding Build it Back

The city’s Department of Investigation announced the arrest of four individuals accused of trying to bilk thousands from the city through the Build it Back program. The arrests came after a series of investigations into the efficacy of the city’s Hurricane Sandy reconstruction projects. The department said the study had saved the city more than $40 million. Comments (2)
Government

TSA reports JFK Airport security breach

Port Authority Police said 11 individuals passed through an unattended checkpoint that was supposed to be manned by officers from the Transportation Security Administration at John F. Kennedy International Airport’s Terminal 5 Monday, according to a spokesman for the PA Police. Comments (1)
Jamaica

De Blasio appoints new ACS commissioner

The city has a new commissioner of the Administration for Children’s Services after series of incidents involving the deaths of several toddlers, including 5-year-old Michael Guzman from Jamaica, forced Gladys Carrion to resign. Comments (1)
Maspeth

Barnwell, Gianaris introduce legislation to reform affordable housing

State Assemblyman Brian Barnwell (D-Maspeth) has been busy since heading to Albany in January. The 30-year-old Woodside attorney, who stunned nine-term incumbent Margaret Markey in the Democratic primary before claiming her seat, has already introduced 12 pieces of legislation. Comments (6)
Jackson Heights

Dromm, Constantinides join anti-Peralta rally in Jax Hgts

Two City Councilmen from northwest Queens demanded state Sen. Jose Peralta (D-East Elmhurst) reverse course and rejoin the mainline Democrats in Albany. Comments (6)
Bayside

Avella introduces bill to save downstate residents from upstate tax

State Sen. Tony Avella (D-Bayside) announced a bill designed to save downstate residents from paying taxes on upstate power plants. Comment
Jamaica

Mortgage buyback program appears to help SE Queens

A program created to buy back distressed mortgage notes held by the federal government that was championed by southeast Queens lawmakers is seeing promising results thus far, according to testimony at a City Council oversight hearing. Comment
Astoria

Astoria residents fight religious organization trying to evict them

The 12 low-income tenants who remain in an Astoria dormitory-style residence were hailed as heroes last week for fighting eviction by a Christian non-profit so the building could be converted to a homeless shelter. Their attorney said they had faced threats and intimidation since the New York School of Urban Ministry told the original 39 residents to leave just before Thanksgiving. Comments (2)
Jackson Heights

Crowley blames Trump for rise in hate crimes, threats

It took several weeks, but President Donald Trump finally spoke out Tuesday about a spike in bomb threats against Jewish community centers across the United States and the desecration a Jewish cemetery in Missouri. There have been 69 threats in 27 states in the last month, according to the JCC Association on North America, with most coming last weekend. Comments (4)
Springfield Gardens

Employees protest religious discrimination at JFK

Employees for a Kennedy Airport contractor accused of religious discrimination called on the airport’s management Wednesday to ensure that harassment of Muslim employees is not tolerated. Comments (6)
Government

Individuals pass through unattended JFK Airport security checkpoint

Port Authority Police said 11 individuals passed through an unattended checkpoint that was supposed to be manned by officers from the Transportation Security Administration at John F. Kennedy International Airport’s Terminal 5 Monday, according to a spokesman for the PA Police. Comments (1)
Hillcrest

Lancman wants uniform curb heights

The city’s Department of Transportation should fix any changes they make to curbs in the process of repairing streets in order to protect homeowners and tenants from flooding and city fines, City Councilman Rory Lancman (D-Hillcrest) said about legislation he has proposed. Comment
Jamaica

Students advocate for diminished tobacco use

A number of student advocates from southeast Queens traveled to Albany last week to encourage legislators to do more to discourage smoking among New York City residents, particularly teenagers. Comments (2)
Government

De Blasio’s State of the City focuses on affordability crisis

From the start of his State of the City address at Harlem’s Apollo Theater Monday, Mayor Bill de Blasio promised it would not include the “bells and whistles” of years past, with expensive project proposals such as developing the Sunnyside Yards or building a street car connecting Queens with Brooklyn. Instead the mayor concentrated on the city’s affordable housing crisis. Comments (3)
Astoria

Lawsuit filed on behalf of Astoria residents evicted by Christian ministry

The Legal Aid Society filed a lawsuit in Queens Supreme Court Friday to protect low-income tenants from eviction by a Christian non-profit in Astoria. Comments (1)
Government

Commision considers familial DNA searching

Queens District Attorney Richard Brown and elected officials pushed for the state Commission on Forensic Science’s DNA Subcommittee to consider authorizing the use of familial DNA searches to help find suspects in unsolved cases during a hearing last Friday. Comment
East Elmhurst

Peralta tossed out of own Democratic club for joining IDC

State Sen. Jose Peralta (D-East Elmhurst) has withstood a firestorm of criticism for more than three weeks since he announced he was joining the Independent Democratic Conference last month. His defection from the Senate’s mainline Democrats led to chants of “traitor” during a town hall meeting in Jackson Heights that drew hundreds and last week U.S. Rep. Joseph Crowley (D-Jackson Heights), the chairman of the Queens Democratic Party, said he was disappointed in Peralta’s “decision to undermine our party and empower the Republican caucus.” Comments (3)
East Elmhurst

Ferreras-Copeland, women of the City Council stand up for Elizabeth Warren

Eight days after the U.S. Senate Republicans silenced Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren from reading a letter from Coretta Scott King, the women of the New York City Council stood in solidarity with the Massachusetts Democrat before a Council meeting Wednesday. Comments (6)
Government

Council passes nusiance abatement reform

The New York City Council voted to significantly reform the city’s Nuisance Abatement Law Wednesday, amending legislation that enabled the city to shut down residencies and commercial establishments deemed “nuisances.” Comments (4)
Ozone Park

Ozone Park hotel housing homeless without notifying community

Area lawmakers and community members were shocked to learn that an Ozone Park hotel has been used as a homeless shelter for months without any notification from the city. Comments (3)
Astoria

Steinway Street improvements top Constantinides’ agenda

Steinway Street in Astoria is in need of an extreme makeover. Comments (2)
Jackson Heights

Crowley and many constiuents slam Peralta’s jump to IDC

The leader of the Queens Democratic machine is taking umbrage with one lawmaker’s defection to the renegade Independent Democratic Conference. State Sen. Jose Peralta (D-East Elmhurst) announced he was joining the IDC Jan. 25, bringing its membership to eight in the state Senate where the group is allied with Republicans to form a majority coalition. Comments (2)
Sunnyside

Sunnyside Yard feasibility survey finally released

The long-awaited feasibility study of Mayor Bill de Blasio’s proposal to create a new neighborhood above the Sunnyside Yards was met with skepticism from elected officials in western Queens when it was released Feb. 6. State Assemblywoman Catherine Nolan (D-Long Island City) posted the report on her Facebook page and urged residents to study the 206-page analysis that was nearly a year and a half in the making. Comments (1)
Government

City Council legislation hopes to stem three-quarter houses

The scourge of three-quarter houses used for New Yorkers recovering from substance abuse or returning to society from jail must be addressed, City Councilman Donovan Richards (D-Arverne) said this week. Comments (2)
Jackson Heights

New immigrant protections and the DREAM Act pass in Assembly

The Democrat-controlled state Assembly passed the DREAM Act for a fifth straight year Monday along with sweeping legislation to protect the state’s immigrant population, measures that if enacted would turn New York into a “sanctuary state,” according to Assemblyman Francisco Moya (D-Jackson Heights). Comments (10)
Jamaica

New development announced in downtown Jamaica

A parking lot in the heart of downtown Jamaica currently in use by the NYPD will be converted into a new mixed-use apartment complex, with more than 350 units of affordable housing. Comments (5)
Sunnyside

City releases Sunnyside Yard feasibility study

The city released Monday the results of its long-awaited Sunnyside Yard feasibility study, a 206-page report nearly a year and a half in the making, exploring the possibilities of decking over large portions to allow for construction of affordable housing, parks, schools, community facilities and retail space. Comments (3)
Government

PBA receives tentative five-year conract from city

The city has reached a tentative five-year agreement with the union representing the majority of NYPD officers, bringing the entire uniformed union workforce under contract. Comment
Government

Forum is a clarion call for clemency

Advocates for incarcerated and formerly incarcerated women vowed to continue pushing for clemency for women imprisoned on non-violent drug offenses despite the ‘law-and-order’ stance of the new presidential administration, according to speakers at a forum sponsored by the National Council for Incarcerated and Formerly Incarcerated Women and Girls. Comment
Jackson Heights

Standing room only at Jax Hgts pedestrian safety town hall meeting

More than 150 concerned Jackson Heights residents packed into the Jewish Center on 37th Avenue for a pedestrian safety town hall meeting last week featuring elected leaders, NYPD officers from the 115th Precinct and officials from the city’s Department of Transportation. Comment
Government

Pols spar on Trump’s immigration order

Queens lawmakers responded to President Donald Trump’s Friday executive order barring immigration from seven Muslim-majority nations with outrage at its impact and vowed to fight it, but the chairman of the Queens Republican Party said the reaction to the orders was “political hysteria.” Comments (16)
Jamaica

Katz praises pro bono attorneys who helped detained travelers at JFK

The number of attorneys helping detained travelers at JFK’s Terminal 4 had dwindled to about 20 by midweek, but the numbers of individuals needing guidance grew from the original 41 held after President Donald Trump issued his executive order barring entry to refugees and visa holders from seven majority-Muslim nations. Comments (3)
Jackson Heights

Jackson Heights-Corona BID expansion off the table: Civic

During her State of the District Address in march 2015, City Councilwoman Julissa Ferreras-Copeland (D-East Elmhurst) announced a community agreement that created a new way forward for the 82nd Street Partnership’s proposed expansion into Corona. The newly expanded and more diverse board of directors, including representatives of the LGBT community, street vendors and youth as well as commercial and residential tenants, brought Make the Road New York back into the fold as supporters of the Business Improvement District’s expansion. Comments (1)
Springfield Gardens

City accuses JFK contractor of religious discrimination

Supervisors at a wheelchair assistance contractor servicing travelers through John F. Kennedy International Airport allegedly discriminated against their Muslim employees, according to charges filed by the New York City Human Rights Commission. Comments (1)
Government

Cuomo stands up for women’s rights, Maloney warns of cuts to the arts

Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced Monday that he would guarantee a woman’s right to choose in New York by codifying the protections established by the landmark 1973 Roe vs. Wade decision into the state Constitution ensuring that protections remain in place in New York in the event the decision is overturned or altered by the U.S. Supreme Court. Cuomo vowed he would propose such an amendment during a Planned Parenthood Day of Action in Albany. Comments (6)
Arverne

Richards calls for developer to make needed repairs

City Councilman Donovan Richards (D-Laurelton) is calling for the developer of a 130-unit Arverne complex to fix construction problems that have plagued homeowners and residents since they moved in. Comments (4)

January, 2017

Government

Young Dems hold panel discussion on future of labor under Trump

President Stacey Eliuk of the Queens County Young Democrats held a panel discussion Jan. 12 with labor leaders on the Trump administration’s position on labor at the new Latin American Intercultural Alliance center in Jamaica. Comments (6)
Jamaica

Volunteer lawyers still advocating for those detained at JFK’s Terminal 4

A semblance of normalcy returned to Terminal 4 at JFK International Airport Monday morning where 41 travelers were detained over the weekend following President Donald Trump’s executive order barring entry to refugees and visa holders from seven majority-Muslim countries. The only signs that more than 1,000 protesters rallied outside the terminal over the weekend were some anti-Trump graffiti and stickers on the sidewalk saying “We Are all Muslim,” while a group of volunteer attorneys continued their advocacy work inside. Comments (2)
Long Island City

Anti-gentrification groups prepare for city’s rezoning push in Long Island City

The city’s Department of City Planning will make its first community engagement towards rezoning Court Square and Queens Plaza to address needs for affordable housing when it hosts a public meeting at CUNY Law School Tuesday night. Comments (2)
Hillcrest

Lancman renews call for justice for juveniles as ‘Raise the Age’ movement grows

New York is the only state other than North Carolina that treats all youth as adults when they are 16, regardless of the offense. Comments (2)
Long Island City

City Council passes public art legislation following Sunbather controversey

Mayor Bill de Blasio signed into law Wednesday a raft of bills that changes how the city approaches and is involved in the arts following years of controversy over the placement of a sculpture known as “The Sunbather” in Long Island City. Comments (1)
Long Island City

City seeks developer to build over potion on LIC rail yard

As residents wait a few more weeks to see the results of the city’s Sunnyside Yards feasibility study, the New York City Economic Development Corporation and the MTA issued a request for proposals Monday for the development of a 58,000-square-foot site in the southwest corner of the rail yards adjacent to Jackson Avenue in Long Island City. Comment
Jamaica

Legal clinic holds forum on Inauguration Day

President Donald Trump had barely finished his inaugural address when representatives from numerous city agencies and community organizations kicked off a forum to describe the services they offer for immigrants and others who may be adversely affected by the new president’s policies. Comments (2)
East Elmhurst

Peralta switches to renegade Independent Democratic Conference

State Sen. Jose Peralta (D-East Elmhurst) joined the breakaway Independent Democratic Conference Wednesday, bringing their membership to eight. The IDC has had a power-sharing agreement with Republicans since 2012 giving them control of the upper chamber in Albany. Comment
Queensbridge

Queensbridge Houses celebrates 365 days without gun violence

There was a time, not long ago, when the nation’s largest public housing development was also one of the most violent, but last week, community members, elected officials and members of the NYPD came together to celebrate 365 days without gun violence at the Queensbridge Houses in Long Island City. Comments (4)
East Elmhurst

East Elmhurst hero tapped for Queens Library board

The longtime head of an African-American-focused community library in Corona has been appointed to the Queens Library board of trustees by Borough President Melinda Katz. Comments (3)
Jackson Heights

Moya introduces new worker safety bill

Dozens of elected officials and union leaders joined state Assemblyman Francisco Moya (D-Jackson Heights) last week on the steps of City Hall as he unveiled proposed legislation to substantially increase criminal penalties on employers and supervisors who put their workers’ lives at risk. Comment
Government

Housing commissioner next to leave de Blasio administration

A high stakes game of musical chairs is playing out at City Hall as another key member of the de Blasio administration heads for the exit. Less than two weeks after Carl Weisbrod, the mayor’s chairman of City Planning, announced he was leaving his post, Housing Commissioner Vicki Been elected to return to teaching at New York University. Comments (2)
Astoria

Simotas urges immediate redesign of dangerous Astoria intersection

A temporary fix was not good enough at a notorious Astoria intersection and state Assemblywoman Aravella Simotas (D-Astoria) is calling on the city’s Department of Transportation to take immediate action to improve the crossroad at 32nd Street, the Grand Central Parkway’s Exit 45 ramp and Astoria Boulevard North. Comment
Jamaica

Jamaica legal clinic holds Inauguration Day event

A Jamaica nonprofit specializing in legal assistance will offer concerned community members the chance to learn more about the benefits of New York’s status as a sanctuary city. Comments (9)
Editorial

A call to action

As the Trump inauguration approached, there was a palpable nervousness coursing throughout Queens. Comments (2)
Astoria

Evicted tenants begin to leave Christian non-profit residence in Astoria

More than a dozen low-income residents of the New York School of Urban Ministry dormitory residence in Astoria have moved out ahead of a Jan. 31 eviction date after the building was sold to a provider to turn the dormitory into a shelter. Comments (2)
Astoria

Simotas named head of powerful commission that oversees all agency rulemaking

As lawmakers returned to Albany for the new legislative session Monday, state Assemblywoman Aravella Simotas (D-Astoria) announced she was appointed to head the powerful Administrative Regulations Review Commission by Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie. The commission is a bi-partisan watchdog over every state agency’s rules and regulatory activities to make sure they are legal and effective. Comments (1)
Edgemere

HPD moves closer to community land trusts

The city Department of Housing Preservation and Development opened a Request for Expressed Interest from parties that want to develop community land trusts in the city, which Councilman Donovan Richards (D-Arverne) said could be one way to increase affordable homeownership in areas wracked by foreclosures and rising prices like southeast Queens. Comments (1)
Government

NYPD is overseeing security at city homeless shelters

The NYPD has taken over the management of security at Department of Homeless Services shelters citywide. Nearly 700 DHS peace officers have already been retrained and security plans at all locations have been reviewed and enhancements were made where needed. Comments (2)
Flushing

IRS scams targeted at CB7

Michael O’Kane, president of Vietnam Veterans of America, Chapter 32 in Whitestone, proposed setting up a veterans committee on CB7 to help returnees navigate life after their service. Comments (1)
East Elmhurst

Port Authority approves lease for new Delta terminal at LaGuardia Airport

The final piece of the $8 billion LaGuardia Airport reconstruction puzzle fell into place last week when the Port Authority approved a lease through 2050 to redevelop the Delta terminals. Comment
Astoria

Astoria lawmakers concerned over Indian Point nuclear reactor shutdown

While environmentalists across the region hailed Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s announcement Monday that the Indian Point Energy Center would close by 2021, two Astoria lawmakers have their concerns. Comments (1)
The Civic Scene

Hevesi plan could help tenants living on the edge

State Assemblyman Andrew Hevesi has been visiting civic associations and community boards to explain his Home Stability Support Program, which he thinks would help solve the homeless problem in New York State. Currently there are 60,000 people in homeless shelters every night. To solve this problem New York City is putting homeless families in regular neighborhood hotels, which are not the answer, so neighborhood people are demonstrating against this policy. Comment
Government

2016 saw fewest fatalities ever on city streets: Mayor

Last January Mayor Bill de Blasio and Department of Transportation Commissioner Polly Trottenberg toured Queens Boulevard in Woodside and declared for the first time in a quarter of a century there were no fatalities on the Boulevard of Death and that his Vision Zero initiative was working. Make that two years. Comment
Long Island City

LIC Partnership BID expansion approved

The City Council voted unanimously Wednesday to approve legislation allowing the LIC Partnership to expand its Business Improvement District to include large sections of Hunters Point, effective on July 1, 2017. Comment
Government

State announces homeownership repair funding

Nearly $8 million in state funding will go toward rehabilitating damaged houses or constructing new ones throughout the state, according to an announcement last week by Gov. Andrew Cuomo. Some funding will go towards repairing homes damaged during Superstorm Sandy. Comment
Government

Court hears arguments over IDNYC information as program expands

City officials and two GOP lawmakers squared off in a Staten Island courtroom where a judge will decide if the de Blasio administration can follow through on its vow to destroy the personal data of nearly one million IDNYC cardholders. After Donald Trump became president-elect, the mayor promised he would protect cardholders’ information from being used in the deportations of illegal immigrants. Comment
Long Island City

Cuomo presents plan for free college tuition at CUNY, SUNY

Gov. Andrew Cuomo unveiled a new proposal at LaGuardia Community College Tuesday that would make SUNY and CUNY college tuition free for nearly a million families making less than $125,000 a year. With Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders at his side, Cuomo announced his new Excelsior Scholarship program to alleviate the crushing burden of student debt. Comments (1)

December, 2016

Government

NYPD allows Sikh officers to serve with turbans and beards

Police Commissioner James O’Neill has announced the department will allow observant Sikh officers to wear turbans and beards while on duty. Comment

January, 2016

Jackson Heights

Crowley rips city’s use of hotels to shelter homeless

Just before Christmas, the city Department of Homeless Services posted a request for vendors to procure 3,900 hotel rooms in order to shelter more of the record 60,000 homeless in the five boroughs. Comment

March, 2017

Corona

CB 4 member makes incendiary comments over bike lanes

An allegedly racist comment made by a Community Board 4 member last week could add fuel to a combustible public meeting Tuesday night in Corona. The city Department of Transportation will present a short overview of recent changes to its long-awaited redesign of 111th Street and the results of an analysis requested by CB 4 after it tabled a compromise of the plan for a bike lane and other traffic safety measures in November. Comment

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