Tag Archives: citi

Bike Share Comes to L.I.C.


| mpantelidis@queenscourier.com

Photos Courtesy of Mayor Michael Bloomberg

The city recently opted to “share” its bikes with the borough.

The Department of Transportation (DOT) and Councilmember Jimmy Van Bramer announced on May 11 that “Citi Bike,” New York’s bicycle share program, will add 10 stations in Long Island City – building upon the locations currently planned in Manhattan and Brooklyn.

“Citi Bike,” which is the nation’s largest public bike share system with 600 docking stations and 10,000 bikes, will provide a new, eco-friendly mode of transportation for residents. The program – sponsored by Citi – will launch in July of 2012 and will be operated by Alta Bicycle Share, which will split any profits with the city.

“[This] is a big victory – one that will improve life in L.I.C. in a number of ways,” Van Bramer said. “Cycling is healthy, it’s great exercise and it brings people together in a number of ways. It allows families to explore the neighborhood in ways that maybe they hadn’t before. It’s going to bring a lot of people to the neighborhood. It’s going to bring people to our cultural institutions. It’s going to bring people to our restaurants and small businesses. People will be able to come from all over the city with their bikes and park them in these docking stations and explore what we have to offer, which is a great deal.”

According to Van Bramer, the 10 docking stations have been strategically placed to provide riders access to premier locations in L.I.C., including waterfront parks, the business district and LaGuardia Community College. The councilmember also expressed hope that the bike share program will expand to other parts of Queens in Phase 2 of its launch.

“I expect it to be successful and hope it will be well utilized and future expansions will take it to more and more neighborhoods in Queens, bringing all of the benefits beyond L.I.C.,” he said.

Every bike in the network will be equipped with a bell and both front and rear lights, as well as an inscribed safety message encouraging helmet use and cautioning riders to yield to pedestrians, avoid riding on sidewalks, ride with traffic and obey all traffic lights and signs.

The docking stations are solar-powered and wireless and can accommodate between 15 and 60 bikes. They will be located on sidewalks, curbside road space, plazas and other locations suggested through a community process. A community forum on the bike share will be hosted by Van Bramer, Community Board 2 and the DOT on May 21, allowing residents to learn more about the program.

“I’m extremely proud to release this plan for the Citi Bike network,” said DOT Commissioner Janette Sadik-Khan. “New Yorkers created this plan during the past six months, contributing time and expertise in workshops, on-line and in dozens of meetings to discuss and plan the city’s newest transportation system.”

Citi’s Team USA shows Olympic pride in L.I.C.


| mpantelidis@queenscourier.com

Photo Courtesy of Citi

Olympic pride was on full display in Long Island City last week.

To commemorate the 100-day countdown to this summer’s Olympic Games in London, Citi’s Team USA Flag Tour visited the bank’s site in L.I.C. on April 18. Paralympian Kari Miller, who plays sitting volleyball, and Olympian swimmer Cullen Jones – both members of Team Citi through the bank’s Team USA sponsorship – were in attendance to celebrate and support the athletes that will represent the nation in London.

“Today’s event is a great way to celebrate the 100 day milestone to the London 2012 Olympic Games, and we are thrilled to have two Team Citi athletes here to share the spirit and excitement with our employees,” said Maria Veltre, president of Citi’s L.I.C. site. “Few know more about the journey from ambition and achievement than the athletes who dedicate their lives to representing the U.S. in the Olympic and Paralympic Games. We at Citi could not be more proud to support them every step of the way to London.”

During the event, Miler and Jones addressed a crowd of more than 200 people, sharing their personal stories and discussing Citi’s Every Step of the Way program, which benefits U.S. Olympic and Paralympic hopefuls and athletes of all ages across the country. Through the program, a $500,000 donation by Citi to the U.S. Olympic Committee is being represented by 50 million ThankYou Points – the currency of Citi ThankYou Rewards. Each of the 13 athletes on Team Citi chose a local sports initiative that inspired their journey, and the points will be used to aid the programs.

Jones, who nearly drowned at the age of five, is working with the USA Swimming Foundation’s Make a Splash Initiative and is raising funds to support saving lives through swimming lessons.

“For Citi to sit back and look at me and the work I’ve been doing outside the pool and say ‘good job’ and we understand that you have inspired other people, you are inspired by these kids and want to help these kids, is a remarkable thing. I am so thankful,” said Jones.

Miller, a former member of the U.S. Army, lost both her legs when her car was struck by a drunk driver. She began working with the Olympic Committee’s Paralympic Military and Veteran Program in 2008 and is currently the program ambassador. She is raising money for a program which introduces wounded service members to Paralympic sports.

“The Every Step of the Way program is awesome because you are not just supporting me, you are supporting our veterans; you are supporting their families,” Miller said. “You have an opportunity to help them out.”

Kids meet former Mets’ hurler John Franco


| aaltman@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/Photos by Alexa Altman

Thirteen-year-old Joseph Santana stood in line wearing an oversized striped Mets jersey, clutching a cobalt blue baseball cap. He bobbed excitedly as the line grew shorter, anticipating his turn. When he reached the front of the line, he thrust the cap at former Mets relief pitcher John Franco, who scribbled his signature in black Sharpie marker across the brim.

“Thank you!” said Santana, a broad smile stretched across his face.

“I’m a big Mets fan!” Santana exclaimed. “I’m happy I got to meet a Mets player!”

Santana was just one of over 200 kids who attended the Citi Holiday Event at Citi Field on Tuesday, December 6. The event partnered Citibank with United Neighborhood Houses (UNH), a non-profit organization that provides social, educational and recreational services for local residents. UNH has over 37 settlement houses that work with low-income youth, aiming to instill life skills, job training and college preparation in the area’s children.

Natalie Abatemarco, managing director of community development, was excited to continue the event Citi has put on annually since the ballpark’s opening in 2009.

“We’re here to celebrate with the United Neighborhood Houses and bring young people to Citi Field,” said Abatemarco. “These are our Citi Field kids and we’re excited to celebrate the holiday season with them.”

Kids buzzed around the room of the Acela Club at Citi Field as ballpark staff members served them heaping plates of macaroni and cheese and chicken fingers. Mr. Met, the Mets mascot, greeted guests and posed for photos. They then took tours of the facility, ending with a few swings in the Met’s batting cage.

Monica Guzman brought over 60 kids with her from Sunnyside Community Services, each of whom she hopes will cherish this special event.
“This will be a day they’ll remember forever,” said Guzman. “They’ll go on to tell their kids about it.”

Franco, a New York native himself, was happy to spend the holidays back on his home turf.

“I hope there are a lot of smiles,” said Franco. “I hope we bring a lot of happiness to the room.”

Franco spent most of the evening surrounded by swarms of kids, ecstatic to meet the baseball legend.