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On Tuesday, Councilman Peter Vallone Jr. (D-Astoria) announced the upcoming improvements to be made to the Paul Raimonda Playground in Astoria.
Joined by Councilman-Elect Costa Constantinides, center right, Queens Parks Commissioner Dorothy Lewandowski, District Leader Carol Scarano, Assemblywoman Aravella Simotas (D-Astoria), Community Board 1 Parks Chairman Richard Khuzami, third from left, and members of CB1, Vallone announced his office had allocated $800,000 for renovations which will include a new Steinway piano-shaped spray shower, benches, gate repair, fitness equipment and a renovated basketball court.
Queens officials are hailing the City Council’s passage of a bill that will result in speed humps on busy streets that run past schools, and are pulling for one that would reduce speed limits on some side streets while mandating approval of slow zones.
Bill 732-A, introduced by Councilwoman Debi Rose (D-Staten Island), mandates that the Department of Transportation install one or more speed humps on a minimum of 50 streets per year adjacent to public or private schools.
Borough President-Elect Melinda Katz has tapped a longtime associate and a former rival for key positions in Borough Hall come January.
Councilman Leroy Comrie (D-St. Albans), who dropped out of the borough president race this past summer, will serve as deputy borough president, while Jay Bond, a former policy advisor to Katz during her tenure on the City Council and in the state Assembly, will be brought on board as chief of staff.
Borough President-Elect Melinda Katz has tapped a long-time associate and a former rival for key positions in Borough Hall come January.
Councilman Leroy Comrie (D-St. Albans), who dropped out of the borough president race this past summer, will serve as deputy borough president, a job that traditionally has included supervision of the borough’s community boards.
Ever since June, Queens residents have been taking full advantage of a state appellate court ruling allowing specially licensed green livery cars to accept street hails.
But with the landslide election this month of Mayor-Elect Bill de Blasio, the program faces an uncertain future, and City Council members representing some of the areas where the Granny Smith-green cabs have been most popular are not commenting as to just where they stand on the matter.
Queens has a rapidly growing elderly population facing severe problems, such as mental illness. Fortunately, there’s a place where many troubled seniors get help — Club Pride, part of the Pride of Judea Mental Health Center at 243-02 Northern Blvd. in Douglaston.
Funded by the Jewish Board of Family & Children’s Services and New York City’s Dept. of Mental Health & Hygiene, Club Pride (launched in 1997) is a geriatric psycho-social club. It provides counseling, therapy and social re-adjustment services for Queens residents, from 55 to 94, who suffer from mental illness & substance abuse. Clients come from Flushing, Kew Gardens Hills, Whitestone, College Point & Bayside.
They’re referred by psychiatrists and other mental health providers, after their discharge from psychiatric and chronic care hospitals. If not for Club Pride, many of them would have to be reinstitutionalized, at a heavy cost to taxpayers.
Club Pride provides daily transportation to members via two buses for the Flushing and Bayside areas. But Flushing bus service will end on Dec. 6 due to budget cuts. Many riders are physically disabled. They can’t use public transportation and can’t afford Access-A-Ride’s daily $5 roundtrip fare. They’re distressed by the fear of losing Club Pride’s vital assistance.
Don’t let this happen. Contact U.S. Sen. Chuck Schumer (212) 486-4430, Congresswoman Grace Meng (718) 445-7860, State Sen. Tony Avella (718) 357-3094, City Councilman Mark Weprin (718) 468-0137 and Mayor-Elect Bill de Blasio (212) 669-7200. Urge them to save an essential resource for their constituents.
I was dismayed by poor turnouts for the NY Rising meeting at PS 207 and for our Howard Beach Civic Association. Why is attendance so low?
No matter how busy we are, nor how tired at the end of the day, it behooves us to make the effort to learn first hand what our community needs and dire problems in them. This is the function of your civic association. Make no mistake. We do have special problems and with a showing of support, we can get results. Nothing discourages reporters, elected officials, community activists and our public servants more than an empty room.
On Tuesday, Nov. 19, a handful of us at St. Helen’s school cafeteria were informed that we are merging with the Lindenwood Alliance. This is great news. Meetings begin at 7:30 p.m. and end before 9. They are held on the last Tuesday of the month, with a few exceptions for holidays. No meeting is scheduled for December.
Plan to come on Jan. 28, early if you can, to meet the board and regular members. Coffee and light refreshments are served. Donations are most welcome! Put a buck in the kitty or bring something to share.
Hot topics on the agenda will be flood control, the best use of the $18 million Hurricane Sandy rebuilding allotment for Howard Beach, and pressing issues that may affect you and your family.
We especially want to see young people attend. If you have children or are single, you have special needs that we want to hear. We are not just for seniors! Do come!
The ongoing Willets Point development plan is hard to pin down. It is a project with many moving parts that has been lauded as one of the best development deals made in the borough’s history, while at the same time denigrated as an attack on the lower class and outer-borough business owners.
But the colossal plan that has struggled to get its bearings for some time has gained stability over the past few months — after the City Council approved the revised version — and will take its first steps on Saturday when the first round of business relocations will be completed.
To say Councilman Donovan Richards (D-Laurelton) is excited about the coming City Council session would be a gross understatement.
Re-elected to his first full term this month, he will be working with a new mayor he likes, a new speaker and a new Council membership he believes will be more attuned to the ideas of its Progressive Caucus.
After months of pleas for help, it looks like St. George’s Episcopal Church in Flushing will be getting some assistance soon from the MTA.
The historic church on Main Street has been complaining since last spring that bus drivers, primarily on 38th and 39th avenues, have been urinating on the walls of the facility and leaving garbage from their meals on its sidewalks.
Austin Shafran, who ran unsuccessfully for the District 19 City Council seat in September’s Democratic primary, has been named New York legislative director of the Working Families Party.
Shafran, 32, of Bayside, lost to Paul Vallone by only 193 votes in a five-person race. It was the first time he ran for office, although his career has centered around working for Democratic Party officials.
During a nearly three-hour Community Board 13 meeting held Monday night at Deliverance Baptist Church on Linden Boulevard in Cambria Heights, several issues were presented, including a proposal to establish a community residential facility in Queens Village for six adult males with developmental disabilities.
The plan was voted down unanimously, with one abstention.
The Knockdown Center’s application for a place of assembly permit for 5,000 persons has been turned down by the Buildings Department, Community Board 5 District Manager Gary Giordano told the board during its Nov. 13 meeting.
“I sat down with them early on,” Giordano said. “I was really taken aback when [the Knockdown Center’s operators] said to me that they were looking for a permit to have that many people assemble there.”
The City Council voted overwhelmingly to approve a school at the site of Keil Brothers Garden Center in Bayside Hills, despite the plan having being delayed and thought to be dead.
The Council approved the 416-seat school Thursday 36-2, with Council members Mark Weprin (D-Oakland Gardens) and Peter Vallone Jr. (D-Astoria) voting no. Vallone’s brother, Paul, is the councilman-elect for the district that includes portions of Bayside Hills.
Angry parents and students gathered in the Richmond Hill High School auditorium last Thursday night to fight against the city Department of Education’s attempt to close down the school’s annex several blocks from the main building and turn it into a new high school.
Several students talked about how the annex, located at 94-25 117 St., serves as a transitional location for freshmen to adjust from middle school to high school. It also increases morale and school spirit, they said.
A new school is coming to Woodside and elected officials and many members of the community couldn’t be happier.
Councilman Jimmy Van Bramer (D-Sunnyside) was joined last Thursday by Assemblyman Michael Den Dekker (D-Jackson Heights), representatives from the School Construction Authority and Woodside on the Move, Community Board 2 Chairman Joe Conley and PS 11 principal Anna Efkarpides to break ground on PS 399, a new school set to open in 2015.
Back in June, students and parents at PS 232 rallied in front of the school on 153rd Avenue in Lindenwood demanding safer crossings there, specifically at the corner of 153rd Avenue and 83rd Street, where a number of students and parents often jaywalk to reach the Lindenwood Shopping Center across the street.
Four months after that rally, there were signs of progress, though the city Department of Transportation did not install crosswalks or stop signs or traffic lights. Instead, the DOT put up a large speed board warning drivers to slow down to 25 mph on that stretch of road.
Following public commentary and a lengthy discussion among board members at their monthly meeting on Nov. 13, Community Board 8 voted 17-14 to approve a change in zoning that would allow a developer to build a four-story residential building on Union Turnpike near Parsons Boulevard.
The affirmative vote appeared to reflect concern by board members that without the rezoning, a 10-story pyramid-shaped structure for medical offices could be built at the site.
Besides elder law attorney and former assemblywoman, you can add to Ann-Margaret Carrozza’s resume the title of “media darling.”
Carrozza, who served in the Assembly for 14 years from Bayside, is now the regular legal contributor to “Entertainment Tonight” on CBS and provides legal commentary for the local NBC affiliate.
The City Council voted overwhelmingly to approve a school at the site of the current Keil Brothers Garden Center in Bayside Hills, despite the plan having being delayed and thought to be dead.
This year’s elections and a lawsuit filed this week against the city together demonstrate the need for two reforms in the electoral process.
First off, voters are entitled to privacy when voting, but under the system being used now, they’re not getting it. Mayor Bloomberg himself said that a poll worker had seen his ballot.
Work on rebuilding and extending Linden Place in College Point has been delayed once again with the estimated completion date at least four years away.
Phase 1 to reconstruct the flooded-out Linden Place from Ulmer Street to 23rd Avenue was to begin in 2008 and be completed two years later. Despite complaints from area civic groups, elected officials and Community Board 7, the city’s Economic Development Corp. project has stalled and the completion date is scheduled for next fall, a full four years later than anticipated.
Blaming the city for holding back roughly $3.5 million in matching funds for his mayoral run, Comptroller John Liu announced last Friday that he is suing for damages.
The former Flushing city councilman filed a notice of claim that seeks an unspecified amount of money from the city. The papers were filed in the Comptroller’s Office, which is the legal channel when suing the city. He will recuse himself from the case.
Borough President-Elect Melinda Katz on Wednesday released the outlines of a nine-point economic development plan she said she will implement to create jobs and sustainable development in Queens while also rebuilding areas damaged by Hurricane Sandy.
The former city councilwoman and state assemblywoman said her experience in government will be key in getting the job done.
Claire Shulman rose to power in 1986 with the death of Borough President Donald Manes, but 1989 was the year she was elected to her first full term.
Shulman, who was Manes’ deputy, succeeded the troubled and scandal-ridden borough president, who committed suicide. She was appointed to replace him by the City Council and later in 1986 elected to complete his term.