Tag Archives: Assemblymember Cathy Nolan

Maspeth residents and leaders are split over arts center


| lguerre@queenscourier.com

Photos courtesy of Knockdown Center/Ariana Page Russell

Maspeth leaders and residents are ready to rumble over the Knockdown Center.

The center, a former glass and door factory turned arts hall, has hosted everything from weddings, Tiki Disco parties and even a mini-golf art exhibition since last year. Now, owners are applying for a license from the State’s Liquor Authority (SLA) to serve alcohol for future events at the 52-19 Flushing Avenue site.

But the center has recently come under fire from local leaders and residents, including Assemblymember Cathy Nolan, Senator Michael Gianaris, City Council candidate Craig Caruana and civic organizations, such as Communities of Maspeth and Elmhurst Together (COMET).

“Bringing the arts to our neighborhood is good, but it’s a terrible idea to allow a club to serve alcohol to 600 to 5,000 people at dance parties, raves and concerts right across the street from residents’ homes,” Caruana said.

The industrial castle-like building in which the Knockdown Center operates is more than a century old.

Owners redid some of the inside and installed new windows, but kept most of it original so as to preserve the structure.
The immediate neighborhood consists of other manufacturing buildings and residential apartments.

Musical events will be held in the center and owners plan to host a flea market every Sunday  from Oct. 20. Some feel the facility has potential.

“I’m not against it right now as it stands,” said Anthony Nunziato, chair of civic group Maspeth-Middle Village Task Force. “I like the structure. I just want to make sure it’s workable in the community. It’s a place that’s been vacant in the community for years. By right, they can take it down and turn it into condos.”

Gary Giordano, Community Board 5 district manager, said as of last week he had not received any complaints of past Knockdown Center events. Giordano did say that owners may need to take into account transportation, security and respect for the community for future events.

The center, which officials said has been operating under temporary permits, is in the process of obtaining a Certificate of Occupancy from the Department of Buildings. Max attendance at past events was about 800 people, said Tyler Myers, Knockdown Center manager, but owners estimate it can hold 8,000 people.

“We are working with them to discover what a workable capacity would be for the building that we would also feel comfortable operating,” Myers said. “I think the Knockdown Center represents a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to bring something really unique and really special to Maspeth certainly, but also the New York community at large.”

Councilmember Elizabeth Crowley, who also represents Maspeth, is in full support of the center, saying that it could bring economic growth.

“Manufacturing has been moving out of that area, a lot of those buildings are just warehouses and are not producing many jobs,” Crowley said. “I only see that it brings a benefit in creating good jobs.”

 

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Maspeth street renamed for former NYPD detective


| brennison@queenscourier.com

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A Maspeth street was renamed for a former police officer who passed away last year from the after effects of working at Ground Zero.

Kevin Czartoryski, who died in 2010 at 46, was honored on Sunday, April 29 with the renaming of the street he lived on when he passed.  He suffered from pulmonary fibrosis.

Fifty ninth road off 60th Street in Maspeth will now be known as Detective Kevin Czartoryski Place.

Hundreds of friends, family, co-workers and elected officials attended the ceremony and spoke lovingly of the former police officer.

Police Commissioner Ray Kelly, Senator Chuck Schumer, Council Speaker Christine Quinn, Assemblymembers Cathy Nolan and Grace Meng, State Senator Joe Addabbo and Councilmembers Elizabeth Crowley, Daniel Dromm and Jimmy Van Bramer attended the renaming.

 

Rally to resurrect Glendale Social Security office


| brennison@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/photo by Billy Rennison

Congressional candidate Rory Lancman recently stood in the shadows of a shuttered Social Security office and called for the program to be saved both locally and nationally.

Lancman was joined by colleague Assemblymember Cathy Nolan in front of the closed Social Security office on Myrtle Avenue, which shut its doors last year.

“This closed Social Security office is a brick-and-mortar manifestation of the Republican assault on Social Security in this country for the last 20 years,” said Lancman, who is running for the 6th Congressional District seat.

The assemblymembers called for the reopening of the Glendale facility that served thousands of residents in the surrounding neighborhoods.
The office closed last summer in a money-saving maneuver after cuts to Social Security’s budget. The consolidation of the offices will save the agency approximately $3 million over 10 years.

More than half of the local residents that used the office do not have a car, Lancman said. Residents must now travel to the Rego Park office, which is about 45 minutes away from the Glendale location by public transportation.

During the press conference, area senior citizens gathered to speak about the pitfalls of the Glendale office closing.

“I don’t drive; to go to Rego Park is a nightmare,” said Linda McGrath, who had used the Glendale office. “It’s easier to get to Manhattan than it is to get from here to Rego Park.”

Another retiree, Kathleen Strong of Glendale, added that driving to and parking at the Rego Park branch would be a hassle.

“Congress may think that traveling a few extra miles to access Social Security benefits is no big deal, but the folks in Washington apparently don’t understand that things are a little different here in middle-class Queens neighborhoods like Glendale and Ridgewood,” Nolan said.

Besides calling for the office’s reopening, Lancman outlined what he called a very simple solution to saving Social Security.

“There is a broader assault on Social Security that goes much, much deeper than just the closing of individual offices,” Lancman said.

According to a recent report from the Social Security Board of Trustees, the combined assets of the Social Security Trust Funds (Old-Age and Survivors Insurance, and Disability Insurance) will be exhausted by 2033.

Lancman said that if elected to Congress, he would champion raising the taxable income cap in order to keep Social Security solvent for the next 75 years.
Currently, only the first $110,100 in income is subject to Social Security taxes, while any income over the threshold is exempt from the tax.

“There was a choice made to cut a billion from the Social Security Administration, then a choice made to cut this Social Security office as opposed to others, and those are the kind of choices that I want to fight against.”

Assemblymember Cathy Nolan pleads for Grover Cleveland


| brennison@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/photo by Billy Rennison

“It can’t happen, it just can’t happen,” said Assemblymember Cathy Nolan as she shook her head at the thought of her alma mater, Grover Cleveland High School, closing its doors.

A similar scenario 35 years ago helped launch Nolan’s political aspirations.

In the mid-70s, during the city’s fiscal crisis, there was a push to shut down Grover Cleveland. This was the catalyst for Nolan to leap into student government and politics.

“The school helped make me the person I am.”

Before sitting through the three-and-a-half-hour public hearing, Nolan joined protesting students on the steps of the 81-year-old school, many of whom the assemblymember said she expects to join her one day in Albany.

“This terrible threat to our community high school has been met with I think the strongest outpouring of support in my many years of community service,” Nolan said, adding she was moved by the students’ speeches.

“I want the record to reflect that we love our high school,” said Nolan at the hearing. “The restart model is supposed to be a long-term plan with the school receiving funds and taking part in the model over three years. To decide that after five months to abruptly pursue a different and more drastic route is bad public policy.”

Nolan’s turn at the microphone brought the crowd of more than 1,000 supporters to their feet several times and produced some of the loudest cheers of the night.

“I don’t even really remember what I said. I just spoke from the heart.”

Nolan’s standing as an alumna is affecting her as much, if not more,than her place as a politician, she said.

“You have to listen to us,” pleaded Nolan to the panel at the hearing that will help decide the school’s fate on April 26.

“I’m not even going to consider that the school’s going to close. I don’t even want to think about it right now. If we have to, we’ll bring even more people April 26,” she said. “I mean it just can’t happen.”