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UPDATE: Below this article is a transcript of an interview about the snow with Mayor de Blasio and Sanitation Commissioner John Doherty, issued by the Mayor's Office at 4:11 p.m.
Michael White with his incomplete mural of the Queensboro Bridge in Long Island City.
A lobby in what was the former Lion Match factory in Long Island City, now operating as retail and office space, is being transformed by an artist inspired by the nearby Queensboro Bridge.
An expansive skyline mural 22 feet wide by 14 feet high is underway on the ground floor of the four-story building located at the corner of 43rd Avenue and 23rd Street. Commissioned artist Michael White is not only creating the artwork, but is also responsible for the imagery’s composition.
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.
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.
A block of houses sits in a field in rural eastern Flushing in the early 20th century, a sign of things to come for the borough. And the authors of "Forgotten Quens" say it all was made possible by the completion of the Queensboro Bridge in 1909.
The book “Forgotten Queens” starts with a photograph of a streetcar crossing the Queensboro Bridge in the 1920s and ends with one of a General Motors showroom in the Rockaways in the 1940s.
Robert Singleton of the Greater Astoria Historical Association says that was a very deliberate choice.
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.
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.
Jackson Avenue between Vernon Boulevard and Fourth Street in Long Island City was a major shopping hub early in the 20th century, with stores such as Snedeker Hardware, Hirshfield Jewelers and Willmark Baking Products, to name just a few.
At the time there were exactly 22 different Fourth streets scattered throughout Queens, making it a nightmare for emergency services, and the name was eventually changed to 50th Avenue.
In an era when a camera can be at the ready within seconds and an image can be posted on Instagram with just a few taps on a cell phone, photography has become an “everyman’s pastime.”
That being said, the ability to truly capture the essence of a subject beyond taking a close-up of your quinoa salad requires skill and discipline and to capture the essence of an entire neighborhood requires a natural gift.
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.
When the city decided to honor former Mayor Ed Koch by dishonoring the Borough of Queens, one lawmaker objected immediately, giving voice to the 75 percent of borough residents who saw no need to tack the old mayor’s name onto the Queensboro Bridge, however fine his contributions to the city were. The bridge had enough names already, the consensus went, and one member of the City Council agreed from day one.
That lawmaker was Councilman Peter Vallone Jr. of Astoria. And his opposition to the bridge renaming was no fluke. Vallone speaks his mind, is a man of the people and is all about Queens, through and through.
The Queensbridge park house, just north of Queensboro Bridge off Vernon Boulevard, will be getting a face lift.
Councilman Jimmy Van Bramer (D-Sunnyside) secured $2.5 million to completely renovate and restore the facility whose roof has become fertile soil for weeds and has sat vacant for years.
The rap group World’s Fair truly represents the borough.
Last year the musicians, who grew up in Corona, Cambria Heights, Jamaica and Forest Hills, released “Queens Revisited” under the name Children of the Night. Throughout their raps they named Queens Boulevard, Roosevelt Avenue, side streets and hangout spots like taking a World’s Fair led tour east of the East River. Their album cover is a collage of all these things from the Queensboro Bridge to Citi Field and of course the Unisphere.
Frequent collisions and speeding cars are a fact of life in the Dutch Kills neighborhood of Long Island City, but now that there is more pedestrian traffic with hotels and businesses popping up in the former industrial area, residents and politicians want that to change.
State Sen. Mike Gianaris (D-Astoria) called on the Department of Transportation to “implement a traffic plan that makes sense in a growing neighborhood,” at a press conference on July 18.
One councilman wants the Queensboro name to speak for itself.
Councilman and borough president candidate Peter Vallone Jr. (D-Astoria) plans to propose legislation to drop the late mayor from the Ed Koch Queensboro Bridge name in the next 45 days.
Ed Koch was a fine mayor, and we mourned his recent death along with the rest of the city. But his name does not belong on the Queensboro Bridge, so we support the effort, however unlikely it is to succeed, of Astoria Councilman Peter Vallone Jr. to take it off there.
It hasn’t been formally called the Ed Koch Queensboro Bridge for very long, and of course people just call it the Queensboro or the 59th Street Bridge. Two names are enough. And the bill Vallone says he’ll introduce to change the name back to simply the Queensboro would also name a building in Manhattan after Koch instead.
A series of 40 photographs show the beauty of some of Queens forgotten corners.
Sunnyside resident Michelle Cheikin’s richly colored photographs in the series “Queens Surface” will show at the Flushing Library in August.
Councilman Peter Vallone Jr. would like the Queensboro Bridge name to not be combined with the name of late mayor Ed Koch anymore.File Photos
Councilman and borough president candidate Peter Vallone Jr. (D-Astoria) plans to propose legislation to drop the former mayor's name from the Ed Koch Queensboro Bridge name in the next 45 days.