Quantcast

Politicians

by

Yesterday, I discovered that there’s another eight o’clock, as it tuns out there’s actually one in the morning.

That’s what time I had to get to the corner of 40th street and Queens Boulevard, as Council Member Jimmy Van Bramer had called together the Sunnyside community for a rally. The purpose of the rally was to protest the rough treatment which the MTA has offered 7 line riders of late. The 7 train, which is the central arterial of Sunnyside, is in the midst of a weekend maintenance cycle which has, and will, shut down the line for at least 12 weekends in 2015 alone.

This is in addition to a recent spate of week day service outages and break downs – which have spawned a series of local horror stories about 30 minute daily commutes stretching into two to three hour long endurance tests.

More after the jump…

by

I was invited to attend the annual Ridgewood Democratic Club brunch over on Putnam Avenue last Saturday. The event raises funds for the upkeep and renovation of the building which has housed the organization since 1917. I was there last year as well, and my colleague Kevin Walsh offered this post describing the building at Q’Stoner back in 2013. The structure holds a collection of political memorabilia – campaign posters and so on – which is unparalleled in my experience. This year’s brunch had food and beverages provided by Congressman Joseph Crowley‘s office, although the Congressman was unable to attend as he was on a trip to India with President Obama.

Having arrived a bit early, as is my habit, I was treated to a short tour of the second floor which is undergoing renovation. Coming back down the grand stairs, a buzzy crowd and the smell of fresh coffee greeted me.

More after the jump…

by
5

Before the consolidation of the City of Greater New York, the center of the world in Queens was in Hunters Point. This was where the docks were, and where the LIRR ferries discharged passengers coming from Manhattan. These passengers would ostensibly board the east bound trains, but an entire industry of saloons, bars, and hotels had sprung up in the area around the LIRR yard to keep them in the neighborhood. Now… remember that we’re talking about the 1870-1900 period here. Your best point of reference, from a modern point of view, for what such such establishments offered is fictionalized in Cowboy movies and the Boardwalk Empire television series. There was gambling, women, and lots and lots of liquor. This was, in effect, a frontier town – one which was ruled over by a clique of politicians whose antics would have made Boss Tweed blush. Notorious even amongst his fellows, the last Mayor of Long Island City was Patrick Jerome Gleason. He was called Battle Ax Gleason by friend and foe alike.

Gleason was personally responsible for the construction of the exquisite P.S. 1 school house pictured in the next shot, a terra cotta masterpiece which nearly bankrupted LIC – amongst other imbroglios. Dogged by claims and accusations (and at least one conviction) of corruption – Gleason used to sit in a barber chair outside the Miller Hotel – known today as the LIC Crabhouse – and hold court with constituent and passerby alike. This was his favorite spot by all reports, directly across the street from the LIRR train and ferry terminal.

He instructed those he met to avoid addressing him as “Mayor,” instructing them to instead to “Just call me Paddy.”

Long Island City, which existed as an independent municipality that stretched from the East River to Woodside and from Newtown Creek to Bowery Bay for just 28 years, was hardly a candidate for the good government award prior to Gleason. For some reason, he raised the ire of press and political player alike. Remember – this is during the golden age of Tammany Hall over in Manhattan. Bribes and graft were a matter of fact in this era, a part of doing business. Liquor and gambling were commonplace, along with prostitution, and this turpitude raised the ire of do gooders all over the state and nation.

Enter the assassin of joy.

by

City Councilman Jimmy Van Bramer, who represents Sunnyside, Woodside, Long Island City and Astoria, plans to introduce a participatory funding process for the 2015/2016 budget year. Participatory funding allows members of the community to have a say in how city money is spent in their district.

Next week Van Bramer will host two meetings, one in Sunnyside and one in Long Island City to give residents basic information about the process and how they can get involved. Later there will be a series of town hall meetings where residents can put forward their ideas and eventually a vote will be taken on how the funds will be spent. Van Bramer is allocating $1 million to the process in the 2015/2016 budget.

See the flier after the jump for locations and times.

by

Yesterday Mayor de Blasio pledged to overhaul the city’s Hurricane Sandy recovery efforts, announcing a number of reforms to jumpstart the process. You can see the entire PDF report here or read more details from the Mayor’s office here. The reforms include ways to improve the experience of homeowners navigating the pre-construction process, expanding eligibility for acquisition and reimbursement, establishing better coordination among city, state, and federal partners, and working closely with local communities in the rebuilding efforts.

According to the Times, the Mayor hopes that the city will have started construction on 500 new homes and mailed out 500 reimbursement checks for previously performed repairs by the end of the summer. Only 30 residents received their payments so far. As Brad Gair — who worked on rebuilding efforts during Bloomberg’s term — told the Times, “Anything that helps expedite the assistance to the homeowners who are still in need, I think is very positive. The challenge really becomes how you implement and process that.”

Photo via Twitter

by
1

I met a dog at a parade on Sunday, a dog named Spike. That’s Spike in the shot above. He’s Irish, apparently.

The parade was the St. Pat’s Day For All event, held in Sunnyside. For those of us who live anywhere nearby, it signals that Spring is on the way, and it’s a “do not miss it” kind of thing. The shots in this post are selected from a much larger set of better than a hundred shots, which I’ve made available over at Flickr. If you or your group marched in the St. Pat’s Day for All parade, there might be a shot of you in there.

Click here for a slideshow (opens in a new window) of everything and everyone that caught my eye.

The parade is predicated on inclusivity, and its organizers opine that everyone can be Irish on St. Pat’s.

From their website:

The St. Pat’s for All parade celebrates the diversity of the Irish and Irish American communities of New York. First held in 2000, St.Pat’s for All cherishes and celebrates an inclusive St. Patrick’s season. Ours is the first in the 260 years + of Irish parades in New York City to be open and welcoming to all who wish to share in the spirit of the day. We err on the side of hospitality. Our theme “cherishing all the children of the nation equally” is taken from the 1916 Easter Proclamation of the Irish Republic. It is a vision drawn from our past and a guide for our present & future.

See tons of photos of the event right after the jump…

by
1

Assemblymember Phillip Goldfeder has introduced new legislation that would take $30,000,000 generated by the Resorts World Casino to upgrade the neighboring Aqueduct Racetrack. As he told Queens Courier, “It’s unacceptable that this once national treasure has become an eyesore and serious danger to our families and neighbors in southern Queens.” Just this month a woman was sexually abused at the racetrack and several electronic items were stolen from the site. He wants the Resorts World Casino funds to go toward upgrades in security, employee training to combat crime, and facility improvements.

The $30,000,000 from Resorts World Casino is 4 percent of its yearly revenue. Right now, it’s allocated toward maintenance and upgrades at the Saratoga and Belmont New York Racing Association sites. In the past year, the casino invested $5,000,000 in upgrades at the Aqueduct.

Pol: Racino Money Should go to Aqueduct [Queens Courier]

Photo via Wikipedia

by
1

This past Saturday, the 25th of January, Ridgewood Democratic Club held its Annual Membership Brunch meeting at their HQ. Found at 6070 Putnam Avenue, a block off Fresh Pond Road, the RDC building has been home to the club since 1917. My colleague Kevin Walsh presented a short history of the building in this Brownstoner Queens post from September of 2013.

NYS Assemblywoman Cathy Nolan is one of the two Democratic District Leaders in this part of Queens, along with Tom Bornemann, and she has an encyclopedic knowledge of the history of this building and club. She’s a lifelong Queensican, and lives with her son and husband in Ridgewood.

From assembly.state.ny.us:

Catherine Nolan represents the 37th Assembly District in Queens County, which includes the historic New York City neighborhoods of Sunnyside, Ridgewood, Long Island City, Queensbridge, Ravenswood, Astoria, Woodside, Maspeth, Dutch Kills and Blissville. She was first elected to the Assembly in 1984.

by

Mayoral contenders Bill de Blasio and Joe Lhota both visited Queens this weekend, with de Blasio speaking at length about the inequalities in the Far Rockaways both before and after Sandy. The NY Daily News reports that de Blasio said “he’d use federal storm aid to create living-wage jobs for people in storm-hit neighborhoods, and build affordable housing cheap enough for those displaced by the storm to afford.” Lhota, who visited Howard Beach, stressed the need for better infrastructure. According to Newsday, Lhota’s camp accused de Blasio of “blatant political maneuvering” by visiting the neighborhood now and doing little to help residents before running for office. De Blasio, however, does have a record of mobilizing workers after the storm, as well as helping New Yorkers with city, state and federal disaster assistance.

Bill de Blasio Says He’ll Use Federal Storm Aid to Tackle Inequality in Rockaways [NY Daily News]

Photo by mdpNY