Former City Councilmember Walter McCaffrey, known for his generosity and effectiveness in office, has died. He was 64.
McCaffrey represented Council District 26, including Woodside, Sunnyside, Long Island City, Astoria and Maspeth, for nearly two decades until he was term-limited out of office in 2001.
One of his successors, Jimmy Van Bramer, said the veteran McCaffrey was “one of the smartest and most clever elected officials in the history of western Queens.”
“He was a political giant,” Van Bramer added. “Walter knew politics and the district better than just about anyone.”
State Senator Michael Gianaris said McCaffrey served the community with “distinction” for decades.
“His intelligence and pleasant demeanor made him both effective and a pleasure to work with. He will be sorely missed,” he said.
Borough President Helen Marshall recalled McCaffrey’s eloquent and effective nature of speaking.
“When he stood in the council chamber to speak, everyone listened,” she said. “He was a good lawmaker who left his mark on New York City government and the communities in Queens that he loved and represented so well.”
McCaffrey was known to have passed landmark legislation while in office, including renaming a portion of Queens Boulevard as the “Boulevard of Bravery” in honor of the firefighters who died in 9/11 – one of his last legislative acts.
Mayor Michael Bloomberg ordered that flags in all five boroughs be lowered to half-staff in memory of the late politician.
“He left us too soon. He will be missed by many,” Marshall said.
Funeral arrangements were yet to be arranged as of press time.