Borough President Helen Marshall touted the multiple new health care institutions, housing ventures and schools that are transforming Queens in her State of the Borough speech Tuesday at Queens College’s Colden Auditorium.
Marshall said while Queens has been a magnet for new residents and immigrants, the borough has struggled to provide essential services for its residents in the face of aid cuts and a strongly suspected undercounting of New York state in the 2010 census.
“Queens is a victim of its own success,” Marshall said.
The borough president’s annual address was held in the Colden Auditorium, which was renovated through the philanthropy of Max Kupferberg and his wife Selma, who died in January. Selma Kupferberg was remembered along with several other Queens leaders, who died over the last year or so.
The speech focused on much of the development coming to Queens, especially in Flushing and Long Island City. Some projects she spotlighted included the Hunters Point South Development, a potential convention center at Willets Point and Delta Airlines’ planned expansions at LaGuardia and John F. Kennedy International airports.
But the borough’s biggest success was in health care. After losing four borough hospitals in recent years, Marshall touted the rescue of Rockaway’s Peninsula Hospital from closure as well as the opening of a new North Shore-LIJ women’s hospital in New Hyde Park and the plan to modernize as well as expand Mt. Sinai Queens in Astoria.
“On the health care front, we finally have an improved diagnosis,” she said, citing new beds at New York Hospital Queens and a family care center in a Jamaica firehouse.
Marshall said the borough would also see four new schools and new park projects across the borough. She said four neighborhoods are due to be rezoned: East Elmhurst, Bellerose, Floral Park and Glen Oaks.
The borough president said she had dedicated more than $500 million to Queens projects in the last decade.
Marshall characterized 2011 as a tough year, which started with the fallout from the blizzard that crippled the borough in late December 2010 and ended with the firebombings of a mosque, a deli and two residences in southeast Queens on Jan 1.
But she said the year also had its bright spots, such as the election of Gov. Andrew Cuomo.
Marshall called the governor “a son of Queens” and hailed his plan to build a convention center at Aqueduct in South Ozone Park.
“What a magnificent job he is doing,” she said.
Marshall also honored six Queens heroes.
She declared Tuesday Arno Heller Day in Queens for the 91-year-old World War II veteran who will soon receive the Bronze Star.
Rescue 4 Firefighter Ronald Daly pulled a 63-year-old man and a dog out of a devastating house fire in Woodside in November, and Detectives Richard Johnson and Charles LoPresti, who had previously saved a flight attendant who had tried to kill herself in Kew Gardens after her mother called authorities from Honolulu in July, were honored for capturing the firebombing suspect.
Two sanitation workers, Joseph Maneggio and Semi Knozi, were honored for saving a family from a fire in the Rockaways with two catcher’s mitts delivered by Mr. Met and tickets to a New York Mets game for them and their families.
Reach reporter Rebecca Henely by e-mail at rhenely@cn
©2012 Community News Group
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