Tag Archives: Elizabeth Crowley

Rash of violent crimes raises concerns at Woodhaven meeting


| editorial@ridgewoodtimes.com

THE COURIER/Photo by Kelly Marie Mancuso

BY KELLY MARIE MANCUSO

Woodhaven residents and elected officials expressed concern and outrage during Thursday night’s Woodhaven Residents’ Block Association (WRBA) meeting over the recent rash of high-profile crimes to hit the area.

Two recent shootings rocked the area. The first occurred roughly three weeks ago around 4 a.m. outside the Port O’Call nightclub near Atlantic Avenue and Woodhaven Boulevard. The more recent shooting was on the night of June 6 at the corner of Jamaica Avenue and 89th Street.

Then the community was stunned by the June 10 discovery of a dead body near Victory Field in Forest Park now being investigated as a homicide.

“It’s just a bad wave right now … but it’s not just us. It could happen anywhere in the city,” P.O. Jose Severino of the 102nd Precinct Community Affairs Unit told WRBA members during the session at American Legion Post 118. “We have leads in most of these crimes … but both shooting victims are being uncooperative, so it’s making our investigation difficult.”

One resident expressed fear over personal safety in light of the shootings. “I could stop by Jamaica Avenue to get a container of milk and be caught in a shootout,” she said.

In an attempt to calm concerns, Severino explained that several safety measures have been implemented in the wake of the shootings, including outside help from Central Command.

“Right now, we have multiple shooting posts to help increase visibility in multiple locations where those crimes happened,” he said. “We have an automatic shooting initiative in place and will be there for 24 to 72 hours after.”

Regarding the Forest Park homicide, Councilwoman Elizabeth Crowley called the murder “unsettling” and shared in the community’s concerns.

“Safety in Forest Park is so important,” she said. “I myself often run in the park. We’ve been on top of the 102nd Precinct to make sure they have patrols there.”

Another resident raised the question about security cameras in the park. “About two weeks ago, we noticed a security camera mounted on a light post,” she said. “But last weekend, that camera was gone. Ironically, it would have been in the same spot where the murder was.”

Angel Vazquez, Assemblyman Mike Miller’s chief of staff, explained that he was working to get the NYPD to sign off on an agreement allowing for the installation of cameras at specific locations within the park.

According to Vazquez, the first part of the six-stage process of approval was just completed. Going forward, the camera plans would require three-way approval from the Assembly, Dormitory Authority and Gov. Andrew Cuomo.

Greg Mitchell of Councilman Eric Ulrich’s office echoed Crowley’s concerns.

“Safety is our number one priority,” he said. “Through our budgeting, we did approve those emergency call boxes that will be going into Forest Park.”

Mitchell said he has been in touch with the capital department of the NYPD and expects the call boxes to be installed as soon as the upcoming budget passes.

WRBA President Martin Colberg urged residents to remain vigilant: “The biggest thing we can do is to call 311 or 911. Let’s get some kind of response out there and try to help each other as much as we can.”

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Ridgewood group eyes NYPD roster and homelessness


| editorial@ridgewoodtimes.com

RIDGEWOOD TIMES/Photo by Kelly Marie Mancuso

BY KELLY MARIE MANCUSO

Hiring more police officers and reducing homelessness were hot topics during the Ridgewood Property Owners and Civic Association (RPOCA) meeting on June 4 at the Ridgewood Older Adult Center.

According to Captain Mark Wachter, the 104th Precinct has witnessed a 9.5 percent drop in the seven major crime categories. Problems plaguing the command include an upswing in identity theft, scams and theft of unattended property, such as wallets and laptop computers left in cars.

Even so, crime is up in other parts of the city, and Councilwoman Elizabeth Crowley noted the City Council wants funds to hire more police officers included in 2016 fiscal year budget.

According to Crowley, Commissioner Bratton approached the City Council and requested funds to hire 500 extra police officers, primarily for the city’s anti-terrorism task force. However, Crowley estimates the need for more officers to be double that amount.

“It’s rare that you even have a commissioner of an agency that disagrees with a mayor,” Crowley said. “But the truth of the matter is, he could use a thousand more police officers.”

Crowley estimates that the police department spends roughly $700 million dollars in overtime pay to officers each year. “If you add enough resources to pay people straight time…you would save a significant amount of money by not having to pay time and a half,” she added.

She proposed deploying the additional 500 officers Bratton requested to problem areas throughout the city, including troubled neighborhoods such as Brownsville and the South Bronx, which, according to her estimates, have witnessed a 40 percent uptick in major crimes within the past year.

Crowley also tackled the issue of homelessness and rent increases, a topic of particular concern to the growing Ridgewood community.

“Some people are charging outrageous amounts for rent and it’s driving a lot of families out. This is happening throughout the city,” she explained.

As a preventative measure, Crowley announced that she has allocated funds in the budget for the city’s LINK Program. This network of social services is designed to fight homelessness by keeping families out of shelters and helping them stay in their own homes.

In addition to vital resources, Crowley said that she had also allocated funds for local trees and park improvements, as well as other capital requests from Community Board 5. This news delighted former RPOCA president Paul Kerzner, who has been advocating for the planting of more trees throughout Ridgewood.

Kerzner estimates that roughly $300,000 would be required in the 2016 budget for tree planting in the community. Crowley explained that she had allocated that amount in the previous year’s budget for stump removal and the planting of 100 new trees.

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Hillary Clinton visits Queens for campaign fundraiser


| rpozarycki@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/Photos by Victoria Schneps-Yunis

Updated 3:22 p.m.

Former Secretary of State and current presidential candidate Hillary Clinton appeared at Terrace on the Park Monday afternoon for a lucrative fundraiser in her honor.

Rep. Joe Crowley, leader of the Queens County Democratic Party, and Rep. Grace Meng held the $2,700-per-plate campaign luncheon in support of Clinton’s 2016 campaign.

It was the second of three fundraisers held for Clinton in the New York City area; earlier in the afternoon, she stopped by a Manhattan function held by former New York State first lady Silda Wall Spitzer. Following her appearance at the venue inside Flushing Meadows Corona Park, Clinton headed off to a private fundraiser at the home of Nassau County Democratic Party Chairman Jay Jacobs.

All told, the “Hillary for America” campaign reportedly raised $275,000 at the Queens fundraiser. According to the New York Daily News, Clinton is rumored to be planning an official campaign launch later this month on Roosevelt Island.

Former President Bill Clinton was not with candidate Clinton at Monday’s event.

Prominent Democrats from across Queens joined Crowley and Meng at the Clinton fundraiser, including Assemblywoman Margaret Markey, City Councilwoman Elizabeth Crowley, Queens Borough President Melinda Katz, Queens County Clerk Audrey Pheffer, former Borough President Claire Shulman and former City Council Speaker Peter Vallone Sr.

Polls point to Hillary Clinton as the prohibitive front-runner in the 2016 Democratic race. Two rivals, Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders and former Maryland Governor Martin O’Malley, have already declared their candidacies for the Democratic nomination.

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NYS Pavilion to get free paint job


| rpozarycki@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/Photos by Angy Altamirano

Updated Wednesday, May 6, 1:30 p.m. 

The city Parks Department and Queens Borough President Melinda Katz announced Wednesday morning the latest efforts to spruce up the New York State Pavilion at Flushing Meadows Corona Park.

Katz and Parks Commissioner Mitchell Silver will herald a new partnership with two local labor unions — the New York Structural Steel Painting Contractors Association and the International Union of Painting and Allied Trades Local 806 District 9 — to repaint the upper portions of the Tent of Tomorrow, the elliptical steel building in the shadow of the pavilion’s space needles.

“Flushing Meadows Corona Park’s Tent of Tomorrow is an iconic symbol of Queens, but we haven’t been able to give it the treatment it deserves until now,” Silver said. “Thanks to a partnership with the Structural Steel Painters Union, the building is being restored and beautified so that it may remain a source of pride for the entire borough, and a reminder of the World’s Fairs, for years to come.”

The new paint system of the pavilion, which is expected to be completed by this fall, will serve as a protective coating and extend the life of the structure by at least 15 years.

The $3 million effort will be undertaken free of charge through a painting apprenticeship program operated by the unions, allowing painters to gain work experience.

“Due to the tremendous generosity of Painters DC 9 and the Painting Contractors Association, the pavilion will be refreshed with a new coat of paint,” Katz said. “We’re working hard to save this architectural marvel, and the facelift is a great boon to our efforts. We will restore this national treasure into a visible icon befitting the ‘World’s Borough’ for generations of families and visitors to enjoy.”

In recent years, local volunteers and historians have advocated for refurbishing the pavilion, one of the last remaining fixtures of the 1964-65 World’s Fair. The pavilion’s space needles served as observation decks, while the Tent of Tomorrow — once featuring a stained-glass roof and a terrazzo tile roadmap of New York State — was an entertainment venue.

The Tent of Tomorrow was used sporadically for years after the fair’s conclusion, but fell into disrepair along with the rest of the pavilion over the last few decades.

Full restoration of the pavilion is estimated to cost at least $43 million, according to a Parks Department announcement last November. Katz, Mayor Bill de Blasio and the City Council have already secured a combined $6 million in funds to repair the towers and its electrical infrastructure.

A group of volunteers also formed the New York State Pavilion Paint Project to provide short-term renovations while Katz and other city officials worked on a long-term plan for the pavilion’s rehabilitation.

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Evergreen Park renovations celebrated at Glendale groundbreaking


| editorial@ridgewoodtimes.com

TIMES NEWSWEEKLY/Photo by Kelly Marie Mancuso

BY KELLY MARIE MANCUSO

City officials and civic leaders celebrated the start of Evergreen Park’s reconstruction during a ceremony Friday morning at the Glendale green space.

Councilwoman Elizabeth Crowley joined Queens Parks Commissioner Dorothy Lewandowski and others to ceremonially break ground on renovations to the playground on the national observance of Arbor Day.

“It’s really appropriate, because it’s Arbor Day, that we have all of this green coming into this park,” Lewandowski said.

Construction on the park began in early April and is expected to take about one year to complete. The first phase of the park’s reconstruction will include replacing the underused bocce and shuffleboard courts with a garden-inspired playground, spray showers, new shrubs and plantings.

According to Lewandowski, the new playground, themed with the title “Play in the Garden,” will feature new spray showers with “large green misting leaves and directional jets and bubblers, in a field of leaves and vines.”

“It’s going to promote innovative play for toddlers and young children,” Lewandowski said. “This will be a really creative spot where kids can play. The days of the old concrete spray shower are gone. This will be much more interactive for children.”

Crowley allocated $1 million in funding for this first phase of the park’s reconstruction. The councilwoman considers Evergreen Park a “special place” as it’s where she used to play softball while growing up.

“This project is a long time coming,” Crowley said.

Community Board 5 was well represented at the affair in the form of Chairperson Vincent Arcuri, District Manager Gary Giordano, Parks Committee Chair Steven Fiedler, Paul Kerzner and Tom Dowd. Also on hand were Mike Liendo and David Sands, the respective president and vice president of the Liberty Park Home Owners Association, and Barry Grodenchik, Queens Borough President Melinda Katz’s director of community boards.

Community members, including Sands and Liendo, first approached Crowley back in 2009, shortly after she was elected, regarding refurbishment of the park.

According to Fiedler, a design committee rejected the plan on two occasions before finally granting approval to proceed.

“I’m glad to see this move forward,” he said. “It’s a great design.”

Crowley also announced that an additional $2.4 million in funding for the second phase of improvements was secured in conjunction with Katz and the mayor’s office. These improvements may include refurbishment of the asphalt field, basketball courts and comfort stations.

“I want to make sure everybody stays engaged as we come together to plan the next phase of this project,” Crowley said.

TIMES NEWSWEEKLY/photo by Kelly Marie Mancuso

TIMES NEWSWEEKLY/Photo by Kelly Marie Mancuso

Principal Ann Marie Scalfano and first-graders from P.S. 68 also attended the groundbreaking ceremony. The children carried handmade signs and banners thanking Crowley for her funding and support of Evergreen Park.

“It’s exciting, because this $1 million allocation will go a long way in making Evergreen Park a better park for the community,” Crowley said. “The park is uniquely named ‘Evergreen’ and it’s important to keep it young and fresh for the young people of the community.”

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Parks Department announces start of Evergreen Park project in Glendale


| rpozarycki@queenscourier.com

File photo

Work began this week on the long-awaited reconstruction of Glendale‘s Evergreen Park, the Parks Department announced.

The first phase of renovations to the 1.1-acre green space on 60th Place between 75th and St. Felix avenues includes removing “underused” bocce and shuffleboard courts in order to reconstruct an expanded playground that will feature, among other amenities, new spray showers.

“We expect construction to take about a year to complete, and look forward to reopening this playground next spring,” a Parks Department spokesperson said. “This work has been funded with $1 million from [City Councilwoman Elizabeth] Crowley.”

Crowley, Queens Borough President Melinda Katz and Mayor Bill de Blasio also allocated $2.4 million for the second phase of Evergreen Park’s reconstruction, which will include a new asphalt playing area. According to the Parks Department spokesperson, the agency will seek “design consultant services for this project shortly.”

Plans to reconstruct Evergreen Park date back to September 2012, when Parks Department representatives outlined plans at a Community Board 5 Parks Services Committee meeting. Other components of the reconstruction’s first phase include the installation of new plantings and “World’s Fair-style” benches, new fencing, updated water fountains and a remodeled swing area.

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Ridgewood group presses City Council members for more street trees


| rpozarycki@queenscourier.com

Photo courtesy of the Landmark Preservation Commission

Hoping to make Ridgewood greener, the Ridgewood Property Owners and Civic Association (RPOCA) submitted to the neighborhood’s City Council members formal requests for additional street tree funding.

The requests came in the form of “capital budget street tree lists” that RPOCA members compiled through block-by-block surveys of the neighborhood. In all, the group found more than 3,000 potential locations for street trees, the majority of which are located in Councilman Antonio Reynoso’s district.

The Williamsburg-based lawmaker’s jurisdiction includes the area of Ridgewood generally south and west of Myrtle and Forest avenues. City Councilwoman Elizabeth Crowley, based in neighboring Glendale, represents Ridgewood’s eastern half.

But according to former RPOCA President Paul Kerzner, neither of the last two budgets included funding for street trees in the community. Street trees were planted in the area through the city’s MillionTreesNYC public/private partnership initiative.

Kerzner said Reynoso previously told civic members he would secure funding to plant 300 trees in Ridgewood. He hopes the legislator will follow through on his promise, and that Crowley would also make a similar commitment.

To that end, Kerzner said, the RPOCA is urging Ridgewood residents to call or write Crowley and Reynoso informing them of the importance of street trees in beautifying the neighborhood and thank them in advance for their support.

However, sources familiar with the situation stated the city’s Parks Department received a $172,000 allocation from Crowley for street trees in Ridgewood. The Parks Department has already planted 112 trees in the Ridgewood area and plans to plant another 29 this spring.

“We need to make sure Queens remains a beautiful and healthy place for all New Yorkers to live and enjoy. That is why I am proud to have allocated funding for over 125 new street trees in Ridgewood,” Crowley said. “I will continue to work with the community and the Parks Department to ensure we continue to add street trees to our neighborhoods.”

This is the latest effort in the RPOCA’s ongoing campaign of adding more green to the community’s streetscapes.

“In 1971, less than 5 percent of the streets were tree-lined,” Kerzner recalled. “Forty-four years later, about 70 percent are now tree-lined, and some years, we don’t get any new trees. In other years, we get about a couple of hundred. We’re making steady progress.”

Kerzner, who himself participated in the RPOCA street tree survey, thanked other RPOCA members for their participation, including President Charles Ober, Peter Comber, Domingo Santos, Luis Rodriguez, John Maier, Carlos Ortiz, Simon Orr and Maryellen Borello.

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In Glendale, schools chancellor calls for parents to get involved


| rpozarycki@queenscourier.com

Photo courtesy of Councilwoman's Elizabeth Crowley's office

Schools Chancellor Carmen Fariña came to Glendale’s P.S. 91 on Wednesday, urging parents to seek seats on education councils and become more involved in their local public schools.

Elections are held every two years for seats on all 32 community education councils (CEC) and the citywide councils for high schools, English language learners, special education and District 75 schools.

The advisory bodies hold monthly meetings, examine issues relevant to the district and offer recommendations for or against certain policies.

“The community and citywide education councils help shape education policies and maintain strong relationships with families and the community,” Fariña said. “Education councils make important contributions to their communities, and I want to encourage parents across the city to apply for a seat.”

“We need our community education councils to represent diverse needs and voices of public school parents,” added Councilwoman Elizabeth Crowley, who joined Fariña at P.S. 91 on Wednesday. “If any parent has ever wanted a more direct line of communication with the Department of Education, this is the best way to do it.”

Parents of a child currently enrolled in a public school within their district are qualified to pursue a seat on their respective education council. No prior experience is necessary; people of all languages are welcome.

Applications are being accepted through Mar. 11; all candidates will meet with parent associations and parent-teacher associations within their district to solicit votes.

Three officers from each PA or PTA will cast online ballots for the council candidates of their choice between Apr. 19 and May 8. Winning candidates will then undergo training and leadership development for their positions.

For more information, visit www.nycparentleaders.org. The election results will be posted on the website on May 12.

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Councilwoman steers $5.7M in city funding to upgrade Frank Principe Park in Maspeth


| slicata@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/Photo by Salvatore Licata

The baseball fields are plagued with drainage issues and the track is nothing more than a slab of asphalt. But that will soon change due to funding allocated to Frank Principe Park by Councilwoman Elizabeth Crowley.

She has designated $5.7 million for the upgrade of these two portions of the park, according to the Parks Department. The department said they are currently putting together a Request for Proposal for a design consultant for this project as it is only in the preliminary stage. But sources familiar with the plan said they are hoping to upgrade the drainage system of two of the baseball fields, replace the other two fields with a soccer field and add an actual track to the park.

The four baseball fields overlap each other, making it hard for more than two separate games to go on at once, eliminating the use of all four at any given time. Furthermore, when it rains, the fields quickly flood due to poor drainage and are unusable until the massive puddles dry out.

Upgrading this system by putting drainage tanks under the fields is one way they are looking to combat the problem, according to a source. With regards to the track, they are looking to build one that would be similar to the polyurethane-surfaced track in Juniper Valley Park, which goes around the soccer/football field.

“I am thrilled to have been able to allocate nearly $6 million dollars for renovations at Frank Principe Park,” Crowley said. “For the first time in over 25 years, these much-needed upgrades will breathe new life into the lower fields and track area. I look forward to engaging the community in the upcoming months on the redesign of the fields.”

Earlier this year, Crowley allocated $2.5 million for upgrades to the track and field in Juniper Valley Park. They have similar issues with Frank Principe Park with regards to drainage problems.

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Proposed carriage horse ban finds strongest opposition among city lawmakers from Queens


By Queens Courier Staff | editorial@queenscourier.com

Ricardo Zappala/Flickr Creative Commons

Opponents of a controversial bill that would ban carriage horses in the city can count on lawmakers from Queens as their biggest group of allies in the City Council.

Among the 14 council members from Queens, six have announced they will be voting against the bill that was introduced on Dec. 8 at City Hall. Only two Queens lawmakers are backing the bill and the other six remain undecided as of the night of Dec. 9.

“We are not going to be fooled by those who say that banning horse-drawn carriages is an animal rights issue. This is about political promises and money,” said Councilwoman Elizabeth Crowley, who joined a rally by carriage drivers and union leaders on City Hall steps on Dec. 8 before the bill was introduced.

“Banning the horse carriage industry would harm tourism, leave hundreds of families without jobs, and condemn these beautiful horses to join the tens of thousands of unwanted American horses that are sold each year to slaughterhouses and glue factories,” Crowley said.

Lawmakers from Queens who oppose the bill are Costa Constantinides, Mark Weprin, Rory Lancman, Daneek Miller, Karen Koslowitz and Crowley.

Supporting the bill to ban carriage horses are Paul Vallone and Daniel Dromm, who is one of the co-sponsors. Peter Koo, Erick Ulrich, Ruben Wills, Donovan Richards and Jimmy Van Bramer have yet to make up their minds.

Dromm repeated his support of the measure, issuing a joint statement with Manhattan Councilman Ydanis Rodriguez, after the bill was introduced in the Transportation Committee, saying the measure “will increase the welfare of our horses by taking them off of our streets and to a safe haven where they can thrive.”

The effort to ban carriage horses is being fought tooth and nail by the roughly 350 drivers and other workers involved in the business and several labor unions.

If approved, the legislation would ban the use of horses in the city by 2016. In a bid to create new jobs for the carriage drivers, the city would offer free training and the right to get at the front of the line for a green-cab license, without having to pay the $6,000 fee.
The bill also would fine any of the horse owners $25,000 if they sell their horses for the “purpose of slaughter.”

But Crowley says the measures aren’t enough to help drivers and stable hands who would be out of work.

“We need to be realistic about what is being proposed: 300 New Yorkers could be unemployed at the stroke of a pen,” she said in a letter released this week. “Not only are these good jobs, they are union jobs. We cannot forget that labor unions have been an essential force in increasing and protecting the middle class.”

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City designates Central Ridgewood Historic District


By Queens Courier Staff | editorial@queenscourier.com

Photos courtesy of Landmarks Preservation Commission

Ridgewood is getting one more historic district.

The New York City Landmarks Preservation Commission announced on Tuesday that it has designated a 990-building district as the Central Ridgewood Historic District. This district mostly consists of brick rowhouses that were constructed between 1906 and World War I by German immigrants and German-Americans. They showcase Renaissance Revival Style but also include elements from Romanesque Revival and neo-Greco.

About half the buildings in the district were constructed by Paul Stier, who built over 2,000 houses in the Ridgewood-Bushwick area.

Central Ridgewood

These buildings are interesting historically as they “served as a model for affordable housing at a time when New York City’s population was growing rapidly,” Meenakshi Srinivasan, chair of the Landmarks Preservation Commission, said in a statement. What’s also remarkable is that many of the buildings remain unchanged and their detailing such as original brownstone stoops, cut-glass and wood doors, iron fences and the pressed-metal cornices, are still intact.

Councilwoman Elizabeth Crowley said she was “thrilled” by the decision of the Landmarks Preservation Commission as the district is “unique for its harmonious 19th-century brick homes — some with bow fronts, some with porches, others with steep stoops along tree lined streets.” She added, “Preserving historically significant neighborhoods is important for today’s New Yorkers, and for future generations, to understand their cultural heritage.”

Central Ridgewood

Ridgewood consisted of open farmland and amusement parks in the 19th century. That changed with the introduction of the electric trolley and the elevated train around the turn of the century. A growing New York City expanded eastward into Ridgewood and urbanized it.

The Landmarks Preservation Commission had previously designated two other historic districts in Ridgewood — the Ridgewood South and Ridgewood North Historic Districts.

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$2.5M allocated for Juniper Valley Park improvements


| slicata@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/Photo by Salvatore Licata

Joggers and athletes in Juniper Valley Park will soon be jumping for joy with a new upgrade coming to the track and field.

$2.5 million has been allocated by Councilwoman Elizabeth Crowley to renovate the track and field complex, which she says has its fair share of problems that need to be addressed.

“Drainage issues have significantly damaged the track and have prevented its full use,” said Crowley. “Renovating this track will enable all residents to take advantage of all Juniper Valley Park can offer.”

At this point, the funding has been secured for the renovation, but there are no concrete plans or timeline for what type of work will be done. Scoping meetings will be held with the community to discuss the possibilities for this project, according to a representative from the Parks Department.

This is not the first time Crowley has allocated funds to help the park. She also secured funding for upgrades of the handball courts, lower playground area and bocce courts.

She said she wants to get the renovations done as soon as possible and is even drafting legislation that will expedite Council members’ fully funded capital projects.

“Since Juniper is a highly utilized park, upkeep is very important,” Crowley noted. “Renovating the field at Juniper Valley Park is a high priority for members of our community.”

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Op-ed: Breaking the silence


By Queens Courier Staff | editorial@queenscourier.com

BY COUNCILWOMAN ELIZABETH CROWLEY

There is a silence that shrouds most incidents of domestic violence – a deadly silence. October is National Domestic Violence Awareness Month, and we must work together more diligently to give a voice to countless victims and put an end to this silence once and for all.

The prevalence of domestic violence is alarming. In Queens, police responded to 55,993 incidents of domestic violence last year. Each day, the NYPD responds to almost 800 domestic violence incidents across the city, and one in four women nationwide will be victims of domestic violence at some point in their lives. My council district, which includes the 102nd and 104th precincts, has one of the highest rates of domestic violence in the county.

Worst of all, these unacceptable statistics are just the tip of the iceberg.

According to the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence, incidents of violence within families and romantic relationships are some of the most underreported crimes in the country. Only about one-quarter of all physical assaults, one-fifth of all rapes, and one-half of all stalking cases against women by their domestic or intimate partners are reported to the police.

Over the last few months, we have seen the evils of domestic violence through high-profile cases in the NFL. But we need to focus this public outrage to tell the stories of every day victims and fight incidents of domestic violence silently growing out of control in our own backyard.

I recently joined Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito and my colleagues in the City Council for the 14th Annual Brides March to tell the story of Gladys Ricart, who was violently killed at the hands of an ex-boyfriend on her wedding day. Since her tragic death, there have been nearly 1,000 additional domestic violence related homicides in New York City alone.
Telling stories of Gladys and so many other victims of domestic violence is only way we will bring this problem out of the shadows and end the social stigma that keeps victims from speaking out.

On Wednesday, Oct. 15, the New York City Council took part in “Go Purple” Day, which brought together community advocates, city agencies and public officials to help raise awareness about domestic violence and the resources available throughout the city.

The Mayor’s Office to Combat Domestic Violence, headed by Commissioner Rose Pierre-Louis, oversees an array of comprehensive resources available to New Yorkers. The New York City Family Justice Center in Queens (718-575-4500) provides legal, counseling and supportive services for victims of domestic violence. This is the best place for free and confidential access to key city services and the District Attorney’s office.

But for these services to make a meaningful impact, we have to give victims the courage to seek help. Let’s work to “go purple” and raise awareness about domestic violence every day to show victims living in silence that they are not alone.

Councilwoman Elizabeth Crowley (D-Queens) is the co-chair of the NYC Council Women’s Caucus. She represents the neighborhoods of Glendale, Maspeth, Middle Village, Ridgewood, and parts of Woodside and Woodhaven.

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New Juniper Valley Park bocce courts met with skepticism


| ejankiewicz@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/Photo by Eric Jankiewicz

Juniper Valley Park’s three new bocce courts opened on Wednesday with a ribbon cutting ceremony and talk of meatballs and spaghetti. But for the players, most of whom are older Italians, the new courts don’t meet their standards.

Queens Borough President Melinda Katz said that the new courts, which replaced two older ones, were “Grade-A.” But many of the players present during the ceremony weren’t such generous graders.

 “It looks nice. They spent a lot of money on this,” John Pistone, 62, said. “So I give them an A for effort but for efficiency, I give them an F.”

Pistone and his fellow bocce players complained that the new $850,000 courts weren’t leveled correctly and that the design of the overhead shades didn’t prevent rain from soaking the courts. The bulk of the money came from Katz’s office and Councilwoman Elizabeth Crowley allocated another $50,000.

Queens Park Commissioner Dorothy Lewandowski boasted that the shades placed on all three courts would keep the players cool. But Frank Trocchia said the shades were too small to provide any real protection from the sun.

“We get here in the morning and by 11 o’clock it’s too hot for us to even play,” Trocchia, 64, said. “They didn’t consult us on this design.”

Trocchia and Pistone then proceeded to argue with each other over the ineffective shades and the unbalanced field and which one truly made the bocce courts flawed.

 

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The Doe Fund to help clean up Myrtle, Grand avenues


By Queens Courier Staff | editorial@queenscourier.com

Photo courtesy of Councilwoman Elizabeth Crowley's Office

CHRIS BUMBACA

In an effort to beautify Queens and support job growth within District 30, Councilwoman Elizabeth Crowley and The Doe Fund announced on Thursday discretionary budget funding of The Doe Fund’s Ready, Willing & Able program.

The Fund’s president and founder, George McDonald as well as other local community leaders, were also on hand for the announcement. The Doe Fund’s workers, men who were formerly incarcerated or homelessness, will take part in this year-long transitional program, and service streets and sidewalks along Myrtle and Grand avenues in communities such as Glendale, Ridgewood and Maspeth, improving cleanliness and safety throughout the community.

Crowley acquired $61,800 in funding in the current budget to fund these street-cleaning crews.

“I’m so thrilled to welcome The Doe Fund to District 30. Myrtle and Grand Avenues have been major sources of sanitation complaints for years, but thanks to The Doe Fund, residents and business owners along these commercial corridors will begin to see a big difference almost immediately,” Crowley, who also serves as Chair of the Committee on Fire and Criminal Justice, said. “This program is win-win: keeping our community clean, while simultaneously providing jobs, education, and career development services for hardworking New Yorkers trying to turn their lives around and make a positive impact.”

The crews will pick up litter and clean trash on Myrtle Avenue from Cooper Avenue to Fresh Pond Road and on Grand Avenue from 61st to 74th streets, three days a week for the next year. Clean-up on Myrtle Avenue began on July 15, and crews began cleaning Grand Avenue on July 15.

“We’re grateful and proud to join Councilmember Crowley in her commitment to her district and the vibrant communities in it,” McDonald said. “By choosing The Doe Fund’s ‘men in blue’ to service Myrtle Avenue and the surrounding area, Ms. Crowley is leading by example, providing our men the opportunity and work they need to transform their lives, while improving the cleanliness and safety of the district’s streets.”

“This is only the beginning, and I look forward to expanding this program over the next several years,” Crowley added.

 

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