Tag Archives: Councilwoman Elizabeth Crowley

Onderdonk House raises the roof


| agiudice@ridgewoodtimes.com

THE COURIER/Photos by Anthony Giudice

A virtual who’s who of Ridgewood and Bushwick joined the Greater Ridgewood Historical Society (GRHS) in celebrating the completion of the historic Vander Ende-Onderdonk House’s new roof during its Raise the Roof event on Thursday night.

Those in attendance included Councilman Antonio Reynoso, Congresswoman Grace Meng, Vincent Arcuri and Gary Giordano from Queens Community Board 5, Commissioner of the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs Tom Finkelpearl, Deputy Brooklyn Borough President Diana Reyna and Queens Borough President Melinda Katz, among several others.

The push to get a new roof for the Onderdonk House, located at 1820 Flushing Ave., began in 2009 when the GRHS held a fundraiser to help get the project started.

“We were able to raise over $25,000, really pretty impressive for one night, but well short of the working estimate of over $350,000 to restore the roof,” said Linda Monte, president of the GRHS. “That’s when our super women, Diana Reyna and Elizabeth Crowley…sprang into action. They were able to add member items to the New York City Capitol Budget.”

This allowed the Onderdonk House to get the additional funding to repair the roof.

“Although we had a delay in the construction of the work, we finished this past fall, under budget,” Monte added. “Tonight is to thank you, recognize our major donors, officially declare the roof restored and have a great time.”

Guests were allowed inside the Onderdonk House to tour the restored attic to get a look at the wooden shingle gambrel roof.


During the ceremony, the GRHS dedicated a plaque to the major donors who helped fund the Onderdonk House’s brand-new roof.

“It gives me great pleasure to have joined with Council member Elizabeth Crowley to support those landmarkings for historic districts in Ridgewood,” Reyna said. “Historic preservation does not only mean preserving old buildings, it means preserving the entire identity of the neighborhood. The fact that the Onderdonk House exists is a great illustration of what we can accomplish with participation from community and government.”

In lieu of a traditional ribbon-cutting ceremony, the GRHS gave each of the major donors of the project their very own hammer, which they used to ceremonially hammer in a nail of the newly constructed roof.

The Onderdonk House was built in the late 18th century and is the oldest Dutch Colonial stone house in New York City. With the help of federal, state and local funds, it was opened to the public in 1982 and in June of 1996, it was given city landmark status. The house now serves as a museum for a permanent exhibit on the archaeology of the Onderdonk site, as well as having changing exhibits relating to history, the arts and culture.

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Middle Village block renamed for fallen sanitation worker


| agiudice@ridgewoodtimes.com

Photo courtesy Councilwoman Elizabeth Crowley's office.

A Department of Sanitation worker from Middle Village killed in a tragic accident last year will be remembered forever on the block where he grew up.

City Councilwoman Elizabeth Crowley helped family members, friends and former colleagues of the late Steven Frosch unveil on Sunday a street sign renaming the block of 67th Drive and 78th Street as “Steven Frosch Way.”

Frosch, 43, died in June after being fatally struck by a street sweeper while performing maintenance work at the DSNY’s Maspeth garage. He spent 15 years with the agency after serving for four years as an NYPD officer and briefly as a member of the FDNY.

“Steven dedicated his life to helping others, even before he became a uniformed serviceman. Those who were close to him tell stories of his selfless ways, always encouraging those around him to be their best,” Crowley said. “People like Steven Frosch are few and far between, and will always live on in the hearts of those they touched. I’m proud of this street renaming and thank my colleagues and everyone who helped make this possible.”

Frosch is survived by his wife, Bina, their four children Stevie, Charlize, Frederica and Jesse, and his brother Robert.

“We always had a group and endless laughs,” said Frosch’s close friend, Frank Ciccione, to the group of over 100 who were at the unveiling. “The city just recognized what we already knew—that this is Steve’s block.”

Last September, Greg Heihs, a friend of Frosch, came to Crowley’s office to request the co-naming. After a push from her office, the community and Frosch’s DSNY family, the name change request was submitted in November and approved by a City Council vote in January.

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Inside Broadway brings performing arts to Glendale elementary school


| agiudice@ridgewoodtimes.com

Photos by Anthony Giudice

As part of Inside Broadway’s after-school arts program, the students at P.S./I.S. 119 in Glendale performed their play “The After School Club” on Thursday in the school’s auditorium for parents, teachers and fellow classmates.

Inside Broadway, an arts education nonprofit, is funded by the City Council’s Cultural After-School Adventures (C.A.S.A.) Initiative. Through the C.A.S.A. Initiative, Inside Broadway has brought, and will continue to bring, a taste of Broadway to over 500 students in over 20 public schools throughout the boroughs this winter and spring.

The nonprofit is in its 33rd year of operation, providing city public schools with arts education programs, professional staff members and artists who teach the students dancing, singing, acting, theater history and how to design and build the scenery and backdrops for their show.

City Councilwoman Elizabeth Crowley helped bring the C.A.S.A. program to P.S./I.S. 119 through a grant.

“We really appreciate that Councilwoman Crowley gave us the opportunity to bring drama back,” said Jeanne Fagan, principal at P.S./I.S. 119. “We don’t have a drama program at the school. We have arts and music, but no drama.”

The play, which the students created themselves, was inspired by the ’80s cult classic film “The Breakfast Club.” In the story, two rival factions in the school, the “nerds” and “cool kids,” are sent to detention. While there, they sing and dance their way past their differences and all become friends in the end.

The music for the play included songs from the 1980s such as Pat Benatar’s “Hit Me With Your Best Shot,” Twisted Sister’s “We’re Not Gonna Take It,” Journey’s “Don’t Stop Believing” and more.

“We are excited to expand the arts program at P.S./I.S. 119 to include musical theater to go along with their other arts programs,” Katie McAllister, program director of Inside Broadway, said.

The students who took part in the play were Quinn Corcino, Sheikh Hasin, Julia Sirkoski, Adam Sirkoski, Aafant Shrestha, Alexa Garci, Samantha Liu, Sylvester Leyton, Darren Valdera and Jayda Nicole Catrina Fogarty.

Inside Broadway Pic2

Since January, the children have been working with teaching artist Nick Saldivar for two days a week, two hours each day to create the play.

“All the kids wrote parts of the play and we cut and pasted it all together,” Saldivar said. “I try to get the kids to create and generate their own content.”

Saldivar said he usually works with 30 kids per group in other schools, so working with such a small group of 10 students at P.S./I.S. 119 was “a great experience.”

“They are a really dedicated, lovely bunch,” Saldivar said. “I’ve been teaching them technique, having them think critically and be engaged.”

Besides writing and performing in the play, the students also helped decorate by painting the banner that hung behind them while they were on stage.

As a treat for the students, McAllister announced that they, along with other students from schools in the C.A.S.A. Initiative, will get to go behind the scenes of the Broadway hit “Wicked.”

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Queens film series to focus on immigrant experience of women in New York City


| aaltamirano@queenscourier.com

Photo by Zahida Pirani

A new Queens film series is giving foreign-born women a voice and showing what it means to be an immigrant within the five boroughs.

The nonprofit organization New York Women in Film & Television (NYWIFT) will be showcasing the series called Immigrant Women: Sharing Our Voice Through Film starting on Feb. 27 in Maspeth and will continue each month through June in other parts of Queens.

The series, which is put together through funding from the city’s Department of Cultural Affairs and Councilwoman Elizabeth Crowley as part of the Cultural Immigrant Initiative, features works of female immigrants and first-generation American filmmakers. The pieces in the series focus on the immigrant experience within New York City.

“The immigrant experience is something really important and doesn’t really have the representation in mainstream media,” said Elizabeth Estrada, executive assistant at NYWIFT and project manager for the film series. “I think it’s great to know the stories of people that you live around and pass on the street.”

The first screening, scheduled to take place at Maspeth Town Hall at 53-37 72nd St. from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m., will focus on the intersection between immigrant women and activism, and will feature three short documentaries.

The documentaries included are “Judith: Portrait of a Street Vendor” directed and produced by Zahida Pirani; “Claiming Our Voice” directed and produced by Jennifer Pritheeva Samuel; and “Living Quechua” directed and produced by Christine Mladic Janney.

Screenshot from the documentary "Claiming Our Voice." (Photo by Jennifer Pritheeva Samuel/Courtesy Fine Grain Films)

Screenshot from the documentary “Claiming Our Voice.” (Photo by Jennifer Pritheeva Samuel/Courtesy Fine Grain Films)

Following the screening, there will be a Q&A reception with the filmmakers and women in the documentaries.

“I want people to walk away more interested or inspired, and with this specific first screening, for them to be involved in something bigger than themselves,” Estrada added.

The following screenings of the series — dates and exact locations are still to be determined —  will take place in the surrounding neighborhoods of Glendale, Maspeth, Middle Village and Ridgewood, each represented by Crowley.

“All of these women and filmmakers have important stories to tell, and I want people to know that,” Estrada said. “Women as a collective, especially immigrant women, have a story to tell and if they are given an opportunity to tell, that might be a way to change the way we think about women and immigrant women.”

NYWIFT is still accepting submissions for the film series and anyone interested can email info@nywift.com.

The first screening, “Immigrant Women Screening Series: Activism,” is free to the public.

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Councilwoman Crowley proposes alternative to controversial Glendale homeless shelter


By Queens Courier Staff | editorial@queenscourier.com

Photo by Jeff Stone

BENJAMIN FANG

The proposed homeless shelter in Glendale is too close to chemicals, too far from public transportation and would pack an already overcrowded school district, Councilwoman Elizabeth Crowley said in a letter to city officials on Thursday.

“I do not believe that the proposed site is a suitable location for a family shelter,” Crowley said in a statement to Department of Homeless Services (DHS) Commissioner Gilbert Taylor. “Community Board 5, countless residents and I urge you to select an alternative location.”

She mentioned less costly alternatives suggested by Mayor Bill de Blasio, such as setting aside affordable housing units for the homeless.

The DHS released an independent environmental analysis of the area on July 1, deeming it suitable for the 125-family shelter. It plans to move forward with the site, which was originally proposed by the nonprofit Samaritan Village.

Christopher Miller, a DHS spokesperson, said they are currently reviewing the councilwoman’s letter. “We feel that the environmental review was extremely thorough as it looked at everything from schools, to transportation, to soil quality,” Miller said in an email.

Crowley said that District 24 is already the most overcrowded school district in the city. The shelter would bring up to 160 school children into the area, according to the DHS-commissioned study.

She also listed specific questions concerning the environmental risks. She asked how impending renovations would impact soil near the facility and potential contamination from a nearby chemical manufacturer.

Crowley asked that answers be provided before entering the next stage of contract negotiations for the shelter.

 

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Restoration project for Glendale library unveiled


| ejankiewicz@queenscourier.com

Courtesy of Queens Library

Queens Library announced its plans to restore Glendale’s library to its former glory and make it more  accessible to the handicapped.

The library on 73rd Place was built in 1935 and since then little has been done to alter or improve the building, according to the project’s architect Matthew Baird. The budget for the project is $2.8 million and with this money, Baird plans on installing an elevator and restoring the interior and the attached garden.

The restoration team, which is part of the Department of Design and Construction, expects to start construction in 2017.

“It’s an incredible facility and we’d like to restore it to its grandeur,” Baird said during a Community Board 5 meeting. “It will be a fantastic place to be.”

The restoration project will also open up some windows that had been covered in bricks over the years, preventing light from entering the second floor. The bookshelves are battered and worn, something Baird wants to change by cleaning the shelves as well as much of the building.

When the library first opened, the garden was well-manicured but since then, the vegetation has become overgrown and Baird wants to not only trim the overgrowth but also install chairs so people can read outside.

The installation of a new elevator is an attempt to make the building more accessible to handicapped people. There will also be a new handicapped entrance on the Myrtle Avenue side.

Councilwoman Elizabeth Crowley secured the $2.8 million through the City Council’s budget but the funds fall short of satisfying all of the library’s needs.

On the first floor there is a once vibrant mural that is now dull and dirty, but the project does not include funds to restore the artwork.

 

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