Tag Archives: councilmember paul vallone

Flushing gay rights activist honored with street co-naming


| lguerre@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/Photos by Liam La Guerre

Follow me @liamlaguerre

 

A local activist who paved the way for gay rights was honored along with her family with a street co-naming Saturday on the Flushing block where she lived and worked.

Standing in front of Jeanne Manford’s former home on 171st Street, politicians, including openly-gay Councilman Daniel Dromm, neighbors and members of the gay rights community, held a ceremony to unveil the new Jeanne, Jules and Morty Manford PFLAG Way street sign.

“I think it’s important for everybody to know the struggle that we’ve gone through, and how we got to where we are today, and it was because of people like Jeanne, Jules and Morty that we are where we are today,” Dromm said.

Photo courtesy of Councilman Daniel Dromm’s office

Manford founded Parents, Families and Friends of Lesbians and Gays (PFLAG) in 1972 and walked with her gay son, Morty, in the New York City Pride March at a time when homosexuality was still considered a mental disorder. The Manfords also took in young people who were thrown out of their homes for being gay.

Now PFLAG has more than 350 chapters and 200,000 members across the country that work toward improving the rights of gay people everywhere.

“We all do the work that we do because it’s right and it feels good and it’s just the right thing to do, but when Jeanne did it, it was so courageous,” said Dale Bernstein, president of PFLAG.

Manford, who died last year at the age of 92, was awarded the 2012 Presidential Citizens Medal for her achievements by President Barack Obama.

Jeanne’s daughter Suzanne Swan, who lives in California, attended the ceremony, where she recalled memories of her mother.

“She was just my mother,” she said. “She was just nice, sweet, quiet, and it’s just overwhelming for me to come here and hear the stories and see the people, it’s been fantastic.”

 

 

RECOMMENDED STORIES

Contentious Whitestone sidewalk café bid up for vote later this month


| editorial@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/Photo by Melissa Chan

An application for a Whitestone sidewalk café will go up for a City Council vote at the end of the month without support from the area councilmember. 

“It was pretty clear that the community opposed it, and I will make my case against it,” Councilmember Paul Vallone said. “It’s just not the right fit.”

The Department of Consumer Affairs (DCA) approved Nonna’s Pizzeria & Trattoria owner’s bid last year to wrap an outdoor sitting area around his restaurant at 22-30 154th St.

City lawmakers will vote on the application March 26, though Vallone says the legislative body will likely follow suit with his “no” vote and shut it down.

The sidewalk is not wide enough for outdoor seating and too close to residential homes, said Vallone and State Senator Tony Avella.

Some residents also feared it would bring excessive noise and take away parking spaces.

“A sidewalk café at this location is simply wrong,” Avella said. “If this application is approved by the City Council, abutting residents will suffer significantly increased traffic and noise.”

But Joe Lobue, who manages the Italian restaurant, said the sidewalk café would let customers kick back and enjoy a meal in the sunshine.

“I think it would actually help the community,” he said. “It would be a place for them to sit down and relax. I disagree with the negativity.”

Hans Roessel, a 73-year-old regular of the restaurant — who also lives across the street — welcomed the plan.

“It doesn’t bother the neighborhood,” he said. “They’re going to make it nice. Why can’t we sit outside?”

 

RECOMMENDED STORIES