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A duo of megalith sports franchises, the New York Yankees and Britain’s Manchester City Football Club, announced on Monday Major League Soccer’s 20th franchise and second foray in the tri-state metropolitan area: New York City Football Club.
As officials from MLS, the Bronx Bombers, Abu Dhabi-owned Man City and Mayor Bloomberg congratulated each other during a Tuesday press conference rolling out the franchise, there was one notable absence: the Unisphere, which had become ubiquitous in the league’s push to build a home in Flushing Meadows Corona Park.
State Sen. Jose Peralta, a candidate for Queens Borough President, said he does not know why the FBI or disgraced former state Sen. Shirley Huntley would have wanted to tape conversations with him in Huntley’s home as part of an ongoing corruption investigation.
If published reports are right, state Sen. Jose Peralta (D-East Elmhurst) and seven others were taped in former Sen. Shirley Huntley’s home either at the request of the FBI, or at Huntley’s recommendation to the bureau.
In an interview following Huntley’s sentencing to prison last week, Peralta said he is at a loss to explain why either would consider him a possible target for a corruption probe.
The names of six Democratic state senators and a city councilman from Southeast Queens were among those contained Wednesday on a list of people who had their conversations with then-state Senator Shirley Huntley recorded by an FBI listening device in 2012.
The U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of New York declined to comment on Wednesday on the names, contained in a sentencing letter connected to Huntley’s case, or U.S. District Court Judge Jack Weinstein’s order to unseal the letter.
The responsibilities of a borough president have recently become the subject of debate. While some have said these borough-heads who cannot make any decisions on legislation are irrelevant, Queens borough president candidate Barry Grodenchik says the position is about more than rules and regulations.
“The job is about bringing people together,” Grodenchik said in a sit-down with the Queens Chronicle editors last Thursday. “We live in the most diverse place in the country and probably the world, and while it’s easy to scream and rant, the tougher job is to work with the people.”
The names of six Democratic state Senators and a city councilman from Southeast Queens were among those contained Wednesday on a list of people who had their conversations with then-state Senator Shirley Huntley recorded by an FBI listening device in 2012.
Those on the list engaged in recorded conversations with Huntley in 2012.
Major League Soccer’s proposal to build a stadium in Flushing Meadows Corona Park has re-emerged this week, jangling a borough that has spent the better part of three months focused elsewhere.
The league once again contends it’s weeks away from finalizing a deal with the city, as it did last fall. This time, the league may have found an oil-rich owner for the proposed franchise: Sheikh Mansour bin Zayed Al Nahyan, a billionaire member of the Abu Dhabi royal family and deputy prime minister of the United Arab Emirates.
The chattering classes like to characterize state Sen. Tony Avella (D-Bayside) as the outspoken, fuming-red lawmaker from Northeast Queens who puts good government ahead of political gamesmanship; a sort of Stunt Pol who tackles Hurricane Sandy damage with a chainsaw and considers dicing his state-issued parking placard as an act of valor.
Well, to Tony Avella ... That sounds like just the guy to be the next borough president.
State Sen. Jose Peralta, left, former Councilwoman Melinda Katz, former Deputy Borough President Barry Grodenchik and Councilman Leroy Comrie in Howard Beach last week.
Last Thursday morning, while standing in front of LeFrak City where 21 shots were fired at Theo Greene about a year ago, Councilman Danny Dromm (D-Jackson Heights) and state Sen. Jose Peralta (D-Jackson Heights) announced an increased reward for information about his murder.
The total was upped $2,000 to $24,000.
Even though a revision to the City Charter in 1990 reduced the borough president position to a largely ceremonial one with a limited advisory role, there are no lack of candidates for the job in Queens.
Four of the six hopefuls came to the Old Mill Yacht Club in Howard Beach last Thursday during a forum hosted by the South Queens Democratic Club, to outline their visions for Queens in the first public forum for beep candidates in South Queens so far.
The chance for improvements at the corner of Horace Harding Expressway and Junction Boulevard seem bleak.
The Friends of LeFrak Library, the Parent Teacher Organization at PS 206 two blocks away and state Sen. Jose Peralta (D-Jackson Heights) have been asking for a crossing guard there for years. But the NYPD said it is a secondary location to the guard stationed at 99th Street and even though the funding is there the department doesn’t have enough employed crossing guards to dispatch.
Candidates for the Democratic primary for borough president: state Sen. Tony Avella, left, former Deputy Borough President Barry Grodenchik, former Councilwoman Melinda Katz, state Sen. Jose Peralta and Councilman Peter Vallone Jr.
At a forum held in Astoria on March 14, as the Queens Chronicle reported in its March 21 edition (“Schools, jobs top boro pres forum”), the six Democratic candidates for the office of Queens borough president said small businesses must be nurtured if they are to provide the jobs needed for the borough and the city. On the small business issue alone. the only credible candidate is state Sen. Tony Avella. The others, Councilman Leroy Comrie, former Deputy Borough President Barry Grodenchik, former Councilwoman Melinda Katz, state Sen. Jose Peralta and Councilman Peter Vallone Jr., not only lack credibility but exhibit hypocrisy that negates qualification for the office they seek. Only Avella has come out against Mayor Bloomberg’s ill-advised Willets Point proposal, the others all support the proposal, and therein lies the hypocrisy.
For decades the city collected sewer rent and real estate and other taxes from Willets Point owners notwithstanding there were no sewers and a failure to address the area’s infrastructure needs. Ignoring its own culpability, the city declared the area a blight that must go. The development wil
l require millions of dollars in cleanup and infrastructure costs, most of which will be borne by taxpayers and not the developer chosen by the city. The city could of course do the cleanup for the benefit of the current businesses in the area, but that would not fit with Bloomberg’s romance with fat-cat real estate developers.
Implicit in the Willets Point proposal is the destruction of 225 small businesses — that is correct, 225 small businesses — the loss of jobs for 1,000 employees and the fallout on their thousands of dependents. The development will not include a mom-and-pop grocery store or small manufacturing business. It may well include a Gucci store and all kinds of upscale establishments. It will also destroy the small businesses on Northern Boulevard, Roosevelt Avenue, 108th Street and the 20th Avenue and Rego Park malls.
To support redeveloping Willets Point does not make one interested in small businesses, but on the contrary a supporter of big business and an enemy of the small business owner. For most of the above candidates, claims to care about the importance of small business are empty words. There is a real choice, and if one cares about small businesses, the choice should be Avella.
Early signs in the Democratic primary for borough president point to a love-fest. Not necessarily among the candidates, but between the six Democrats and Queens itself.
Five of the six candidates vying for the seat attended last Thursday a candidates’ forum at the Hollis Hills Jewish Center, co-hosted by the Saul Weprin and Eleanor Roosevelt Democratic clubs. Each touted experience in at least one niche where government intersects with life, pointing to personal experience and past work as part of his or her bona fides.
A bill to allow mixed martial arts events to be held in New York may finally be headed for approval after years in limbo.
The full contact sport that includes elements of boxing, judo, jiu-jitsu and other martial arts is banned in New York, but is legal in nearly every other state in the country and has a growing fan base. The sport’s top promotion company, the Ultimate Fighting Championship, regularly holds sold-out events in arenas across the country and the world, including in Britain, Canada and Brazil.
A month from now Roosevelt Avenue from 82nd to 114th Street will be “brighter, safer, cleaner,” Commissioner Robert Walsh of the Department of Small Business Services said.
Councilwoman Julissa Ferreras (D-Corona) announced a plan, called the New Deal, at a meeting on Tuesday morning to increase sanitation services, brighten the area with lights and paint, create a business improvement district, install more police cameras, update zoning, continue programming at Corona Plaza and create a task force for the bustling thoroughfare.
With six months to go before the scheduled Democratic primary, the six Democratic candidates for borough president came to Astoria on March 14 to try and distinguish themselves from the rest of the field on schools, small business and just how to handle Willets Point and development proposals for Flushing Meadows Corona Park.
State Sen. Tony Avella (D-Bayside), Councilman Leroy Comrie (D-St. Albans), former Deputy Borough President Barry Grodenchik, former Councilwoman and Assemblywoman Melinda Katz, state Sen. Jose Peralta (D-East Elmhurst) and Councilman Peter Vallone Jr. were all present at various times at the forum hosted by the Greater Astoria Historical Society.
Councilman Leroy Comrie, left, former Deputy Borough President Barry Grodenchik, former Councilwoman Melinda Katz, state Sen. Jose Peralta, Councilman Peter Vallone Jr. and state Sen. Tony Avella, inset, all supported education, small business and improved city infrastructure in a forum for candidates for Queens Borough President.
The United States Tennis Association’s proposed expansion within Flushing Meadows Corona Park began its public review hearings this week on the heels of a 32-page report blasting the nonprofit’s plan and history as a tenant in the park.
By Friday, six community boards will have voted on the proposal. But as of Tuesday evening, Community Boards 4 and 9 voted against the plan in contentious hearings, while Community Board 7 approved it with little fanfare by comparison.
I do not understand what has happened in the “city so nice they named it twice.” We used to be a city of people who stood up for what was what and made no bones about it. When did that change?
Now here in Queens we have our elected “representatives” (I use the term lightly) selling out the very people they swore to represent. There are three large projects undergoing public review, which would significantly sacrifice acreage of parkland within Flushing Meadows Corona Park. Yet several elected officials are on board with the developers. They are in effect speaking for the developers instead of their constituents.
They tell us that the theft being perpetrated upon all of us is exactly what we need and want. They speak of “public-private partnerships.” They speak of the wretched conditions of Flushing Meadows Corona Park, yet they do not speak of their incompetence, inability or unwillingness to fu
nd the very same park. They tell local business owners that these projects are a good deal. They do not tell the local merchants that there will be no increase in business. Every stadium has its own restaurants that cater to all types of clients and this one will be no different. These stadiums are built as cities unto themselves, complete with pro shops, restaurants, fast food joints and vending machines.
They also do not tell these merchants that the added traffic, without added roads and parking, will only force a crackdown on parking, possibly eliminating valued parking in front of their establishments. Think about it, Northern Boulevard already has no parking westbound for the morning rush hour, and no parking eastbound for the evening rush. What is going to happen on all the other streets when the roads become blocked!
Julissa Ferreras represents the district that will be impacted the most. Most of her constituents use the park on a daily basis during the summer. They play soccer and cricket and have picnics, festivals and a myriad of other events in this park. Yet, she is leading the charge to take the parkland away. Borough president candidates Barry Grodenchik, Melinda Katz, Leroy Comrie and Jose Peralta have all remained silent on this issue. They want the seat of borough president, yet remain silent while the borough gets robbed. This is not acceptable!
Are we to stand by and allow our park to be taken from us? Are we to stand by and allow our “representatives” to represent businesses instead of us? Has it become OK to accept whatever it is they give us because they do it with a smile and a nod? They only feign care and concern when we get upset. Just because they speak to us in a calm manner in the pretense of being civil does not mean they are being civil.
Enough already. The time is now. Stand up, New York. This is our park! There is no deal to be made — our families, our children have rights to this park. Not USTA, not MLS, not Mr. Wilpon and Sterling and Related Companies! This is our land.
I urge you to call your representatives, and tell them “No, to the land theft at Flushing Meadows Corona Park!”
Former City Councilwoman Melinda Katz has landed what could be a huge endorsement in her race for the Democratic nomination for Queens borough president.
The Rev. Floyd Flake, pastor of Greater Allen A.M.E. Cathedral of New York in Jamaica and a former five-term congressman, announced his support in a joint statement issued by the Katz campaign on Monday.
Donovan Richards speaks to the crowd at Clippers II, flanked by supporters including City Comptroller John Liu, left center, and state Sen. Jose Peralta, right.
The Queens Housing Coalition is gathering signatures until Feb. 23 to protest the delay of affordable housing at Willets Point.
The coalition believes affordable housing is essential for the immigrant communities surrounding the area and will be delivering the petitions to Mayor Bloomberg.
There are clear images of the man who shot and killed Francisco Leal on Feb. 2 and even the police have told officials it should be an easy case, but no one is coming forward with a suspect.
At a press conference last Thursday morning across from the Queensbridge Houses in Long Island City, where Leal was murdered, officials asked community members to step forward with information.