As controversy swirled around her a little more than a year ago, Community Board 9 District Manager Mary Ann Carey said she wanted to step down from her position on her own terms.
Now she appears to be doing that.
Former City Council Speaker Peter Vallone was on hand Tuesday when the City Council formally restored a CUNY scholarship in his name.
The $11.1 million fund will allow city residents attending CUNY schools to receive about $400 per semester to help with books and other costs.
When John V. Lindsay became our New York City mayor in 1966, one of the most controversial initiatives of his administration was to place a low-income housing project in the heart of Forest Hills.
Liberal Lindsay and his New York City Housing Authority chairman, Simeon Golar, were met with their first demonstration in December 1966 when 30 women picketed Borough Hall. They also were met with fierce opposition led by Jerry Birnbach of the Forest Hills Residents Association. A Manhattan congressman named Ed Koch later allied himself with the protesters.
The Ed Koch Queensboro Bridge was in the planning stages for decades, building it took years and 50 men were killed doing it. But in the end we had a majestic structure spanning the East River that runs 3,724 feet between its anchorages and totals 7,449 feet if you count its approaches. As it neared 80, it finally underwent a major renovation that took 15 years to complete, but it stands tall and strong today.
Compare that with the tiny 149th Street Bridge over the Long Island Rail Road tracks in Flushing. Four years ago a $7 reconstruction project began. Two years later the city determined it was not yet safe for cars. Then just a few days ago, after two more years of waiting, it was finally revealed that the work was a complete failure and the bridge will have to be torn down and replaced from scratch. How far we’ve fallen.
Former mayors Ed Koch’s and Rudy Giuliani’s first weeks in office in 1978 and 1994 respectively were dominated by brutal winters and criticisms of their handling of them, just like Bill de Blasio 20 years later.
Endless snow removal in Bayside reflects the city’s huge snowfall this season of 55 inches and it’s not over yet. Mayor de Blasio is not the first who had to deal with big snowstorms at the start of his tenure, so did his predecessors Ed Koch and Rudy Giuliani.
It’s February and the city has been socked for weeks by snow, ice and frigid temperatures in the most miserable winter many can remember. At City Hall, a new mayor from a political party that has not held the city’s top office in 20 years has just taken the reins of power, and his honeymoon period when he should be unveiling his ambitious agenda is instead frozen over by the icy weather.
But this is not 2014. Instead it’s 1994 and that new mayor is Rudy Giuliani.
The following is a transcript of Mayor de Blasio's State of the City Address, as prepared, sent to the media before the speech was delivered.
When the city came to residents in the Centreville section of Ozone Park and proposed an overhaul of the neighborhood’s sewer lines, Ed Koch was in his first term as mayor, Blondie was topping the charts and the neighborhood’s current representative on the New York City Council was not even born yet.
More than three decades later, the project, referred to locally as “the Albert Road project” or its official designation “HWQ411B,” is still in limbo, even after the city promised work was imminent. Residents and some civic leaders see HWQ411B — the random set of characters uttered as often at civic meetings as Jean Valjean’s prison number in the first act of the musical “Les Miserables” — as nothing more than a running joke played on them.
As departing Mayor Bloomberg skirts the city saying his “farewells” and touting his accomplishments, I reflect on his mayorship from my Flushing digs.
Crime may be down, yes, but I give the credit to Commissioner Ray Kelly and the fine work of our local precincts that now use numerous cameras and new technology as crimefighting aids.
Bloomberg is leaving a balanced budget, yes, but he balanced it on our backs, the homeowners. My real estate taxes have more than doubled during the Bloomberg years, and I just got a bill for this last quarter showing another $256 increase. That means over a $1,000 increase next year! Thanks, Mike, for the added 25-percent increase as your parting gift. Water rates are way up also.
Mike bullied his way into getting a third term as mayor, which further soured our view of “King Michael.” Wanting to be known as the education mayor, he sidestepped the community, made unwelcome changes and installed business leaders who didn’t understand education. Remember Cathie Black?
Surveys show 30 percent say he helped education; 70 percent say he hurt it. Every teacher I know is in the “hurt it” category. More charter schools have not raised education standards, and now force kids who are not chosen to attend them into long commutes to go to school. Union contracts have been delayed and pushed off for the next mayor to negotiate.
Bloomberg’s one million trees may sound like an environmental win, but how does the city that can’t take care of 300,000 existing trees take care of a million trees? Duh. Many of those are now pushing up our sidewalks, causing us to be ticketed for violations and forced to pay expensive repair bills.
Queens, the “forgotten borough,” remained so under Bloomberg, but we somehow got our Queensboro Bridge renamed after Mayor Ed Koch, who had nothing to do with Queens. And here I thought it already had another name, the 59th Street Bridge. Bridge tolls have more than doubled.
Mike will be known as the “building mayor,” the guy who brought us the Willets Point disaster to be, the final feather in his cap. He used eminent domain around the city to push out unwanted businesses to sell the land to his developer buddies. Willets Point just got sold for one dollar! Millions squandered.
One has to balance his accomplishments with the down side. From my digs, the bads outweigh the goods, and I welcome the past-due change. I won’t be missing Mike.
In Western Queens, 2013 was the year of development and affordable housing. Willets Point, Hallets Point, Hunters Point and 5Pointz became names commonly thrown around by politicians, community boards and civic groups throughout the area. There wasn’t a month that didn’t go by when residents, electeds and developers went head to head on major development projects, illegal apartments, a massive soccer stadium plan or even the possible closing of their neighborhood movie theater.
Elections and new laws adopted in 2013 promised sweeping changes across the city’s horizon in 2014, with a new mayor, a new City Council, and an uncertain future for policies on education, law enforcement and city finances.
It could be said that 2013 was a good year to be a political junkie in New York City with Public Advocate Bill de Blasio being elected mayor, and Eliot Spitzer and Anthony Weiner enjoying short-lived political comeback tours.
It also proved to be a bad year to be a school advocate, a Republican seeking elective office or former state Sen. Shirley Huntley.
After years of elected officials, community leaders, business owners and residents rallying and pleading, the Department of Transportation and the NYPD announced that the notoriously dangerous Queensboro Bridge exit ramp will be closed a night.
The single lane merges suddenly with Queens Plaza South, resulting in many cars careening off the ramp and into a storefront, often resulting in the death of the driver.
Tolls existed at New York City’s East River crossings until 1911, and reinstating them in some form has long been a topic of conversation.
Now state Sen. Tony Avella (D-Bayside) wants to end the discussion — permanently.
An Ed Koch Queensboro Bridge exit ramp is living up to its reputation once again as another car has driven off of it into a storefront on Queens Plaza South.
On Tuesday at 2 a.m., Elissa Toro, an off-duty NYPD police officer, was driving a silver 2004 Ford Focus when the car careered off the ramp, slamming into a vacant storefront and throwing her from the vehicle.
A bill introduced by Councilman Peter Vallone Jr. would remove former Mayor Ed Koch’s name from the Queensboro Bridge and place it on the Municipal Building in Manhattan despite the City Council approving the co-naming more than two years ago.
Though the signs have been hung and decision finalized, the fight over co-naming the Ed Koch Queensboro Bridge continues.
Outgoing Councilman Peter Vallone Jr. (D-Astoria) has introduced a bill that would remove former Mayor Ed Koch’s name from the historic bridge and place it on the Municipal Building in Manhattan.
Former Mayor David Dinkins was instrumental in securing the National Tennis Center and the US Open as fixtures in Queens.
And it was there that Dinkins attended a meet-and-greet last Friday prior to a book signing of his new memoir.
It seems as if you can’t be a key player for the St. John’s Red Storm unless head coach Steve Lavin has suspended you for at least one game for mysteriously violating team rules. Last year guard D’Angelo Harrison missed the last few games of the regular season, along with St. John’s futile appearance in the postseason NIT. Earlier this season center Chris Obepka was suspended for a pair of exhibition games for unsaid infractions.
This past Friday night it was hyped rookie guard Rysheed Jordan’s turn to sit out a game for unspecified bad deeds. Jordan, a big-time Philadelphia high school star, was supposed to be the best recruit to come to St. John’s since Lavin became head coach four years ago. Lavin and the St. John’s Sports Information Department decided before this season started that the media would not be able to interview him until January 2014 at the earliest. Obviously putting Rysheed in a cocoon has not been the foolproof plan that the St. John’s coaching staff thought it would be. At press time, Lavin did not indicate when Jordan would be reinstated.
Before there was Donald Trump the reality TV star, or Donald Trump the Republican presidential hopeful, or Donald Trump the skeptic of President Obama’s birthplace, there was Donald Trump the entrepreneur.
Trump was the epitome of the wildly successful, superrich business magnate in the go-go ’80s. Hotels, casinos, an airline, the gleaming new Trump Tower in Manhattan — he owned it all. His 1987 book, “The Art of the Deal,” sold millions of copies and topped the New York Times’ nonfiction best seller list for weeks on end. It seemed everything The Donald touched turned to gold.
When the 52nd governor of New York began public school he couldn’t speak English. Meanwhile, Mario Cuomo’s father slowly worked his way from ditch digger to storeowner with his wife in South Jamaica. It was a struggle for his parents who left their native Italy to pursue a better life for their family in the 1920s. Six decades later, he would speak of their trials as Gov. Cuomo when he delivered the keynote address at the Democratic National Convention.
It was 1983 that marked the start of Cuomo’s 12-year tenure, the longest for a Democrat. He balanced 12 consecutive budgets, though many were late, reduced state income taxes by 20 percent and enacted the nation’s first seat belt law credited with reducing fatalities. Though seen by many as a clear choice for the presidential nomination, it never was for Cuomo. To run on a platform that said he could balance the nation’s budget while his own state was still without one would be a politically “foolish” move, as he said in a 1998 New York Magazine article.
The Ed Koch Queensboro Bridge lanes will be partially closed to facilitate repairs on the structure this weekend.
The city Department of Transportation will be installing two 26-foot-long, 1.5-ton custom steel replacement beams following the Aug. 16 truck fire that damaged the bridge, requiring partial closure of lanes in both directions for the duration of the project from midnight Saturday, Oct. 12 to 5 a.m. Monday, Oct. 14.
For some, the Democratic Party’s long, competitive and sometimes bruising primary for mayor ended not with a bang, but with a whimper.
But for city Democrats, desperate to win back City Hall for the first time in two decades, that whimper came with a smile, a handshake and perhaps a sigh of relief on Monday.