Amid frequent outbursts that resulted in at least one attendee being escorted out by police, a crowd of about 300 area residents packed the auditorium at the Museum of the Moving Image on July 23, concerned about the recent conversion of the Westway Motor Inn in East Elmhurst into a potentially permanent shelter for homeless families. In the end many of their questions were left unanswered.
The elected officials on the panel, Councilman Costa Constantinides (D-Astoria), state Sen. Jose Peralta (D-East Elmhurst), and Assemblywoman Aravella Simotas (D-Astoria), all of whom have expressed concern over the suitability of the inn as a shelter, were joined by representatives of the Department of Homeless Services, social services provider Women In Need, Community Board 1 and the 114th Precinct.
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.
This was supposed to be the week John Liu was to be surging with major political and union endorsements; the week state Sen. Tony Avella (D-Bayside) was supposed to be glancing nervously into his rearview mirror.
And it was — until about 4 p.m. on Tuesday, when Mayor de Blasio endorsed Avella and the Working Families Party withdrew its pledged endorsement of Liu, choosing to remain neutral in the Democratic primary in the 11th Senate District.
The statue may be in Brooklyn, but it clearly still has some fans in Queens.
Eighteen months after it was moved from the perch outside Borough Hall it sat on since the LaGuardia administration, “Triumph of Civic Virtue” resurfaced as an issue at Tuesday night’s Community Board 9 meeting.
Queens Borough President Melinda Katz, left, Assemblymembers Michael Den Dekker and Marge Markey, Queens County Supreme Court Justice Kevin Kerrigan, state Sen. Mike Gianaris, Councilman Jimmy Van Bramer, Assemblywoman Cathy Nolan, Rep. Joe Crowley, CB 2 Chairman Joseph Conley, Democratic District Leader John Smythe, former Councilman Peter Vallone Sr. and CB 2 members Gert McDonald and Marie Konecko at the event Saturday.
Two City Council committees held a joint hearing April 25 on a package of four bills designed to assist and better protect people with autism, especially children, in the wake of the recent death of Queens teenager Avonte Oquendo.
Lawmakers and supporters also held a press conference outside City Hall to promote the measures. They would extend the Silver Alert notification system to people with developmental disabilities regardless of age; create a volunteer registry for individuals, such as Avonte, who are prone to running off; expand the voluntary use of GPS tracking devices; and ask the federal government for more autism-related funds.
Peter Vallone, the former councilman for the Astoria area and borough president candidate, accepted a position from Gov. Cuomo to act as special assistant to the state’s Corrections commissioner.
Barely three months after stepping down from the City Council, Peter Vallone Jr. is back, this time working under Gov. Cuomo as a special assistant to the commissioner of the state Department of Corrections.
“I’m very excited about it,” Vallone said. “I posted on Facebook right away. I’m excited for the opportunity to serve the public again.”
Peter Vallone Jr., a councilman representing the Astoria area for 13 years has been called upon by the Cuomo administration to be a special assistant to the state's corrections commissioner.
Barely three months after stepping down from the City Council, Peter Vallone Jr. is back, this time working under Gov. Cuomo as a special assistant to the state’s corrections commissioner.
The words “commute” and “New York City” usually make one think of squeaky, dirty, crowded subway cars snaking through tunnels and along elevated rails. Or perhaps one conjures up thoughts of passengers packed into buses like sardines or jockeying for room under bus shelters. Some, especially out here in Queens, may think of a commute as idling on a packed highway in a car.
One thing that most New Yorkers may not think of — unless maybe you’re from Staten Island — is boats.
He’s only been in office for six weeks, but 19th District Councilman Paul Vallone (D-Bayside) is already proposing legislation and setting up a student program that could go citywide.
The attorney, son of former Council Speaker Peter Vallone and brother to former Councilman Peter Vallone Jr. (D-Astoria), is resurrecting a bill first proposed by then-Councilman Tony Avella to enforce restrictive covenants in neighborhoods. If passed, he believes it will prevent wanton destruction of houses whose owners say they were not aware of the covenants that protects properties in certain neighborhoods.
From top left, Councilwoman Julissa Ferreras and former Councilman Peter Vallone Jr. scored the lowest grades in the city while Councilwoman Elizabeth Crowley and Councilmen Eric Ulrich, Ruben Wills, Peter Koo, Jimmy Van Bramer and Danny Dromm had some of the highest
Each year, the New York League of Conservation Voters puts out a scorecard that grades all Council members on environmental issues and for the 2012-13 City Council year, Queens had some of the highest scores and the lowest.
The scores are based on voting and sponsorship records on 17 bills that cover recycling, composting, clean energy, biodiversity, transportation, air quality, energy efficiency, resiliency and more.
In November, Queens voters sent four new members of their City Council delegation to City Hall. They replaced members who had key positions in previous Council sessions.
When the four new lawmakers — Costa Constantinides (D-Astoria), Rory Lancman (D-Fresh Meadows), Daneek Miller (D-St. Albans) and Paul Vallone (D-Bayside) — received their committee assignments last week, they all found themselves in different levels of power.
Councilman Costa Constantinides (D-Astoria) took the oath of office Sunday before a packed auditorium of jubilant and optimistic community members and politicians at Long Island City High School.
A native of the district where he lives with his wife, Laurie, and son, Niko, Constantinides is the first Greek-Cypriot American to hold elected office and is the first councilman who is not of the Vallone family to hold the position in more than 30 years.
Learning how to say “Happy New Year” in Chinese could prove more useful than ever, as the wheels are in motion to recognize the Asian Lunar New Year as a legal holiday, meaning schools would be closed.
Nearly a dozen elected officials representing all levels of government were on hand at a press conference on the steps of the Flushing Library last Friday, in a show of growing support for recognizing the cause.
Councilwoman Melissa Mark-Viverito (D-Manhattan) was officially elected speaker of the New York City Council Wednesday afternoon.
What was expected to be a contentious vote ended up being a scene of unification and reconciliation as the new Council walked on the floor around 1 p.m. After being greeted by thunderous applause, Mark-Viverito’s last opponent, Councilman Dan Garodnick (D-Manhattan), formally conceded, praising the new speaker with a hug and congratulations.
Bay Terrace’s PS 169 was the location of Paul Vallone’s inauguration ceremony as councilman for the 19th District on Saturday, which drew a crowd of more than 500 people.
Warren Schreiber, president of the Bay Terrace Community Alliance, was master of ceremonies. Participants included the Francis Lewis High School Junior ROTC color guard and William Liao, a fourth-grader from PS 203, who recited Emma Lazarus’ famous poem “The New Colossus.”
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.
Councilwoman Melissa Mark-Viverito (D-Manhattan) is declaring victory in the race to be the new speaker of the City Council, but opponents of her bid are not conceding defeat, setting up battle lines just weeks before the Council is scheduled to vote on the second-most powerful job in the city.
Mark-Viverito, who represents East Harlem and the South Bronx, announced Thursday that she had the support of 31 members of the 51-member body, including herself and seven Queens members: re-elected Council Members Jimmy Van Bramer (D-Sunnyside); Danny Dromm (D-Jackson Heights); Julissa Ferreras (D-East Elmhurst); and Donovan Richards (D-Rosedale); two Council members-elect Daneek Miller (D-St. Albans) and Antonio Reynoso (D-Brooklyn), who though from Brooklyn, represents a district that covers part of Ridgewood; and most notably, the borough’s only Republican, Eric Ulrich (R-Ozone Park).
An animal abuse registry bill introduced by Councilman Peter Vallone Jr. (D-Astoria) was voted through on Dec. 19 by the City Council.
According to the legislation, crimes that would result in inclusion on the registry are animal fighting, abandonment, aggravated cruelty and failure to provide proper sustenance, among others, and all persons included on the registry would be prohibited from owning an animal.
Councilman Peter Vallone Jr. presents a rendering of the soon-to-be improved Triborough Bridge Playground-A in Astoria with representatives from the Queens Borough Parks Department.
Driving along in Astoria, it’s easy to miss Triborough Bridge Playground-A — named for the bridge it sits under.
It’s barren. Cracked cement and crumbling handball courts make what could be a popular hangout spot into an eyesore.
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.