On her 387th day in office, Queens Borough President Melinda Katz delivered her first tate of the Borough speech, listing accomplishments that she spoke of with pride, and future goals that she addressed with a mixture of hope and determination.
“Our motto at Borough Hall is simply this,” Katz told a capacity crowd at the Colden Center at Queens College. “If it’s good for our families, it’s good for Queens.”
Community Board 5 didn’t support a rail tunnel underneath New York Harbor when it was first proposed a decade ago, and it sure isn’t going to support it now.
The Port Authority of New York and New Jersey has proposed five waterborne and five rail alternatives to the current system of moving 90 percent of the New York City metropolitan area’s freight by truck, something officials say is no longer efficient.
“Art in the Garden—Paul Lin: Botanical Therapeutic Art,” Queens Botanical Garden, 43-50 Main St., Flushing. Info: (718) 886-3800, queensbotanical.org.
Community Board 3 residents can now know the purpose of peculiar green sidewalk markings that have appeared in the last year.
At CB 3’s January meeting last Thursday at IS 227 in East Elmhurst, Mikelle Adgate, from the city Department of Environmental Protection, spoke about the upcoming construction of 11 bioswales, a planter-like infrastructures designed, built and maintained to absorb excess rainwater.
The de Blasio administration last week was calling Vision Zero a success in its first year, calling 2014 the safest year for pedestrians in New York City history.
And the mayor and Department of Transportation Commissioner Polly Trottenberg said Queens Boulevard will now come under study in the coming months for safety improvements of its own.
The Shannon Gaels Gaelic Athletic Association Club will officially be getting a home of its own in College Point this spring with the construction of a $1.7 million training field in Frank Golden Park.
Community Board 7 voted unanimously last week to approve the plan that will be carried out in three phases. Phase 1 will cost $1.7 million to construct a training field and will be paid for by Ireland’s Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade.
The city Office of Environmental Remediation is preparing to clean up the site where a four-story hotel will be built.
The office is proposing to take several steps to remediate the site at 132-10 149 Ave. in South Jamaica, including the excavation of soil and the installation of a vapor barrier system.
As of July 1 the de Blasio administration will be enacting a ban on single-use expanded polystyrene foam. The material commonly found in coffee cups, clamshell containers and packing peanuts is widely known by the trade name of the similar “Styrofoam.”
The bill creating the ban, Local Law 142, passed in 2013 under the Bloomberg administration but its implementation was delayed to give manufacturers, primarily the Dart Container Corp., time to prove that recycling polystyrenes is a viable alternative to a ban. According to City Hall, Dart failed to do so.
This was a good week to be an immigrant in New York City, regardless of legal status, especially here in Queens.
The city is doing its best to serve all its residents, including the estimated 500,000 unauthorized immigrants who live here. They in particular are the focus of the new IDNYC identification cards, which as of this week are available, at no charge. While anyone can get one, and everyone is encouraged to — with Mayor de Blasio proudly displaying his own at an event Monday at the Flushing Library — they are especially geared toward people who are unable to get other forms of ID, such as driver’s licenses, due to their immigration status.
New York City’s building codes were revised for the first time since 2008 at the end of last year, with the 2014 version replacing 2008’s requirements on New Year’s Eve. Filings with the Department of Buildings made after Dec. 30 are subject to the new codes.
The state Department of Transportation and Federal Highway Administration are taking a second look at the Van Wyck Expressway ramp proposal for Willets Point and may decide to re-evaluate the plan in light of the mega mall project in the Citi Field parking lot.
That’s the word from Willets Point United, the group of business and land owners in the Iron Triangle area who are trying to stop the city and developers from proceeding with plans to redevelop the site. WPU members were able to obtain emails through FOIL, the Freedom of Information Law, on the state and federal levels, on the possible re-evaluation.
A revision of the New York City building codes sent dozens of architects scurrying to file applications with the Department of Buildings just before the new regulations went into effect New Year’s Eve.
In order to have permits and other construction plans reviewed under the 2008 Construction Codes, developers had to send in their applications by Dec. 30, with all filings submitted on or after Dec. 31 being scrutinized under the 2014 iteration of the city’s regulations.
To many Queens elected officials, Mario Cuomo was more than a governor — he was a political inspiration.
“A native of Queens, Governor Cuomo was an inspiration to me and to many borough residents who entered public service in the hope of following his example and building on his legacy of achievement,” Borough President Melinda Katz said in a statement.
A permit was filed Tuesday, Dec. 30, to the city Department of Buildings for a mixed-use, 15-story residential building on Jackson Avenue in Long Island City. The permit was one of many submitted throughout the city at the end of 2014.
The building, to be constructed at 27-01 Jackson Ave., is in close proximity to the E, R, M, G and 7 subway lines — the latter of which has suffered overcrowded commutes during rush hour, in recent reports. No affordable housing units are designated.
The latest crime statistics indicate that in 2014 the city saw its lowest robbery and burglary rates of the past 10 years and the fewest murders since reliable records have been kept. Mayor de Blasio held a press conference Monday to announce the positive numbers, which come during a turbulent time for the city and police-mayoral relations.
The stats boast a 4.6 percent drop in overall crime, with 2,600 fewer robberies than in 2013. Housing crime is down 6 percent and subway crime dropped 15 percent with only two deaths. Murder rates decreased to a record low, 332 for the year, despite a 55 percent spike in homicides during the final weeks of December.
Affordable housing is in high demand — and thousands are hoping to beat the odds.
According to the city Department of Housing Preservation and Development, 92,000 applications — a combination of 90,000 online applications and 2,700 paper applications — were submitted for only 925 units in the Hunter’s Point South living development in Long Island City, making odds of being drawn about one in 100.
The Central Queens neighborhoods of Forest Hills, Rego Park, Kew Gardens and Briarwood are mostly made up of quiet, residential streets that, when you look around, can make you forget about the hustle and bustle of city life.
But that doesn’t mean news was sparse there in 2014.
It was a tense 2014 in the City of New York. And that was especially true in the largely residential Queens neighborhoods of Maspeth, Middle Village, Ridgewood, Glendale and Elmhurst.
Whether it was the stealthy opening of a homeless shelter in Elmhurst or the continued fight over placing one in an abandoned factory in Glendale, southwest Queens residents found themselves battling city government at different times throughout the year.
The Police Department will modify its Patrol Guide to say that the planned IDNYC cards, which the city will offer to all residents regardless of immigration status, are an acceptable form of identification, Mayor de Blasio and other officials recently announced.
The goal of accepting the cards is to prevent arrests for relatively minor violations of the law, the Mayor’s Office said. People with valid ID charged with such violations, such as drinking in public or carrying a few grams of marijuana for personal use, are issued summonses — but those without are arrested.
2014 began with tragedies in Western Queens. From the death of a 7-year-old to the discovery of Avonte Oquendo’s remains, it was a difficult winter. But not all of 2014 was bad. Many traffic-calming measures were installed throughout the borough to make Queens streets safer and a huge chunk of affordable housing was set aside in the Astoria Cove project. Here’s a look back at the top stories from the past 12 months.
The year started out with the installation of two new city councilmen — Paul Vallone of Bayside and Rory Lancman of Fresh Meadows. Vallone replaced Dan Halloran, who did not seek re-election following his indictment on federal bribery charges. Lancman replaced Jim Gennaro, who was term-limited out of office.
Southeast Queens had a year with a new mayor and old problems with accusations of political corruption, and possibly lost ground in its fight to keep airplane noise under control.