Tag Archives: Elizabeth Crowley

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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Glendale residents fume over proposed homeless shelter in the neighborhood


| ejankiewicz@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/ Photo by Eric Jankiewicz

Residents and politicians in Glendale banded together for one last hoorah against a proposed homeless shelter in the neighborhood.

For over a year now, the community wrestled with the non-profit Samaritan Village’s proposal to convert an abandoned factory on 78-16 Cooper Ave. in Glendale into a homeless shelter for 125 families, with a proposed $27-million contract with the city’s Department of Homeless Services (DHS). For the residents who attended the meeting at the Christ the King High School, the shelter posed a threat to the community’s welfare. The meeting was hosted by Community Board 5 and members of the Samaritan Village and the DHS were invited to hear out residents’ thoughts on the proposed homeless shelter.

“These facilities have drunks, drug addicts, the mentally ill and pedophiles,” one Glendale resident said. “It would be inappropriate for them to be around our women and children.”

All 33 residents who signed up to speak were against putting a homeless shelter in their area. Residents’ concerns ranged from the lack of public transportation in the area and the strain that an additional 125 families with children under 18 would put on the area’s infrastructure.

“I don’t think they should be placed in our schools,” a local schoolteacher said and she then went on to say that homeless children are more troublesome. “One hundred and twenty five children, if that’s to be expected, with behavioral problems are going to destroy our children and our neighborhood.”

Politicians representing the area also attended the meeting. Councilwoman Elizabeth Crowley, State Sen. Joseph Addabbo and Assemblyman Mike Miller all echoed residents’ desire to not have a homeless shelter in the neighborhood.

After a formal proposal was submitted by Samaritan Village in May, 2011, the homeless services department began investigating the site. They have analyzed 70 locations, 16 in Queens, and 54 in other boroughs since then.

Chris Miller, a spokesman for the department, said that they are still in the selection process and that they haven’t settled on any particular location.

“This is nowhere near a done deal,” he said.

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Councilwoman Crowley moving district office to Atlas Park


By Queens Courier Staff | editorial@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/Photo by Liam La Guerre

Councilwoman Elizabeth Crowley’s district office is moving to a destination familiar to many Glendale shoppers.

The new location will be at 71-19 80th St., Suite 8-303, at The Shops at Atlas Park, her office announced Monday.

The space is less than a mile away, about a four minute drive, from the councilwoman’s current office at 64-77 Dry Harbor Rd., and at 1,267 square feet, is larger than the present location. It will also produce cost-savings in the office’s budget, according to Crowley.

“Our new community office provides a larger and more centrally located space that will help my staff and I better serve the people of the 30th District,” she said.

Crowley plans on moving to the Atlas Park location on Friday, May 23, and will be scheduling an open house to welcome residents to the new office once the councilwoman and staff are settled.

The Q47 and Q29 buses both stop at the shopping center, and the mall will also provide an hour of free parking for constituents visiting Crowley’s office.

 

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Queens’ Morning Roundup


| ctumola@queenscourier.com

morning roundup

TODAY’S FORECAST 

Friday: Partly cloudy. High 68. Winds WSW at 15 to 25 mph. Friday night: A few passing clouds, otherwise generally clear. Low 49. Winds WSW at 10 to 20 mph.

EVENT OF THE DAY: Art Gallery Opening and Reception at the Douglaston/Little Neck Library 

Meet artist-in-residence Dawn Steinberg, view her six gorgeous photographs that will be on display from May 1 to July 31 at the library’s art gallery, and enjoy stories, refreshments and conversation. Starts at 4 p.m. Click here for more info or to submit an event of your own

Two teens arrested in attempted abductions of girls in Queens

Two suspects wanted in connection to the attempted abductions of several young girls off the streets of Queens have been arrested, police said. Read more: The Queens Courier

Evidence points to different shooter in 1992 Queens murder

An Eyewitness News exclusive investigation has uncovered evidence that a man who has served more than 21 years for a murder in Queens may not have committed the crime. Read more: ABC New York

Bratton vows to crack down on drunken cops

A red-faced Police Commissioner Bill Bratton said Thursday he is furious with drunken cops who are humiliating the NYPD — and laid out a plan to keep his officers sober and “fire” the worst offenders, The Post has learned. Read more: New York Post

NYC teachers union, City Hall announce $4B labor agreement

City Hall and the teachers union have reached an agreement on a new contract that provides retroactive raises plus a 10 percent raise over seven years, with health care cost reductions promised by the union. Read more: NBC New York

Attorney: Teen was coerced into confession in fatal Coney Island fire

There was a change of tune Thursday for the Coney Island, Brooklyn teen accused of setting a fire that killed an NYPD officer. Read more: CBS New York/AP

Contentious Maspeth Knockdown Center faces opposition in liquor license application


| lguerre@queenscourier.com

Photo courtesy of The Knockdown Center/ Ariana Page Russell

Follow me @liamlaguerre

 

In round one in the fight for The Knockdown Center to obtain a liquor license, it seems the local community board won’t be in their corner.

The center recently applied for a cabaret liquor license from the State Liquor Authority (SLA), according to Community Board 5, despite heavy opposition from residents and elected officials. The cabaret class license will allow the center to serve liquor at events, which have “musical entertainment,” for 600 or more people.

The community board wrote a letter to SLA opposing the license, outlining fears of negative impacts the center could have on the neighborhood.

“This is an accident waiting to happen,” said Bob Holden, a member of the board and president of the Juniper Park Civic Association. “This is a blue print for disaster right here.”

The center, a former glass and door factory turned arts hall, has hosted everything from weddings, Tiki Disco parties, a mini-golf art exhibition, and most recently a flea market. Owners also want to host art classes and large exhibits in the future.

In the letter, the board cited various reasons why they don’t want the center to have the liquor licenses, including extra pressure it will put on the 104th Precinct during events, the possible influx of vehicular traffic and problems it could bring to the immediate residences.

“All too typical with young people partying at raves and other events, which this could certainly house there is extensive alcohol abuse, but also abuse of prescription drugs and drugs like molly and ecstasy,” the letter stated. “There is a residential community very nearby, just on the opposite side of Flushing Avenue from the site in question. Problems with intoxication, fights, calls for ambulances and noise from loud music will hurt the residential community.”

Members are also worried that the center is taking away the opportunity for industrial jobs, as the site is zoned for manufacturing.

Recently it was revealed that Mayor Bill de Blasio didn’t include $1.1 million in his preliminary budget for the Industrial Business Zones (IBZ) program, which were created to save and foster manufacturing jobs in the city. There are two IBZs in the board, one in Masepth, and the newly approved zone in Ridgewood.

“We should start talking about how we could protect our manufacturing zones,” said John Maier, the co-chair of the board’s Transportation Committee. “How we can go and address our elected (officials) and the city government to help ensure that these facilities don’t [effect] on our IBZs (Industrial Business Zones)?”

The center has been working on obtaining its Place of Assembly and Certificate of Occupancy, and has maintained it will not harm the community.

“We are excited that the community is getting involved and expressing their concerns,” said Tyler Myers, manager of the Knockdown Center. “We know that our direct neighbors are excited about it. The concerns of the larger community weren’t true last summer, and won’t be true [in the future].”

 

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Environmental assessment to be done on proposed Glendale homeless shelter


| lguerre@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/Photo by Liam La Guerre

The fight over the unpopular Glendale homeless shelter is heading to round two.

An environmental assessment study will be done on the site for the second phase of review to decide whether to transform the vacant factory on 78-16 Cooper Ave. into a homeless shelter, after it recently received support from the Department of Homeless Services (DHS).

Some elected officials are confident they’ll have a chance for a knockout punch in this round.

“That’s another shot we have,” Assemblymember Andrew Hevesi said at a recent Community Board 5 meeting. “I believe from anecdotal evidence that the site may be contaminated. They are not allowed to build on a contaminated site.”

DHS penned a letter to the mayor’s office last week in support for nonprofit Samaritan Village’s proposal to transform the defunct factory into a shelter for 125 families, with a contract valued at $27 million.

Elected officials and Glendale residents attended a public hearing on Thursday in Manhattan to reiterate their opposition to the possible shelter, because of the contamination on the site and congestion to local schools, among other reasons.

“The building was never intended for residential use. Changing this site to a residential use would require intensive remediation and expansive renovations,” Councilmember Elizabeth Crowley said at the hearing. “Think of how much further we could use $27 million. This money could be spent repairing buildings that already have the infrastructure in place, and money would likely still be left over for improvements in current shelters and providing job placement and permanent housing services.”

The homeless shelter was first suggested to the city by Samaritan Village in 2011. A formal proposal was sent to the DHS earlier this year.

If the proposal passes the environmental assessment round, then it will go to the Office of the City Comptroller for financial review for the third and final phase.

 

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Controversial Glendale homeless shelter one step closer to reality


| lguerre@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/Photo by Liam La Guerre

Once it was a rumor. Now it’s almost reality.

The Department of Homeless Services (DHS) sent a 22-page letter to the mayor’s office in favor of a proposal by non-profit Samaritan Village to transform the abandoned factory on 78-16 Cooper Avenue in Glendale into a homeless shelter for 125 families, with a 27-million contract, despite strong objections from community residents, The Courier first learned  on Monday after noon.

Members of the community and all elected officials have been protesting against the homeless shelter saying that the site doesn’t make sense for the incoming struggling residents, because of the lack of transportation in the neighborhood and also because the abandoned factory, which used to make plane parts, sits on very contaminated ground.

“It’s surrounded by brownfields. Would you want your mother to be housed there?” said Community Board 5 (CB 5) chair Vincent Arcuri Jr. “I can’t understand why they are pursuing this site.”

After a formal proposal was submitted by Samaritan Village in May, 2011, the DHS began investigating the site. They have analyzed 70 locations, 16 in Queens, and 54 in other boroughs since then.

DHS provided a list of reasons why they believed the site was appropriate. Among them was the compatibility of the site, since it similar to buildings in the neighborhood and because they feel there will be no negative effects on the community as a result of inserting the shelter. Also, DHS noted it will add a commodity that the area is lacking since there are no homeless shelters in the community.

“In proposing the building as a site for temporary, emergency housing for homeless families with children, the DHS has carefully considered and balanced such factors as effects of the facility on neighborhood character, the concentration of similar facilities in the community district, the efficient and cost-effective delivery of services, alternative sites elsewhere in Brooklyn and the other boroughs, and the need for the proposed shelter,” the letter said.

Members of the community have already begun to express their disappointment with the DHS’s decision.

“I am utterly disgusted by the initial reaction one year ago that it was a rumor, and I say to those people now that their negligence has caused this to occur,” said Kathy Masi, president of the Glendale Civic Association, which collected more than 4,000 signatures against the shelter.  “If they were vigilant this would have never come to this point. Now let’s see what they can do to stop if pass this stage. Obviously they were wrong about it not getting out of stage one. Shame on all of them for not listening to the community.”

Elected officials have sounded off against DHS favoring the possible shelter as well.

“I have said from the beginning that this location is not a suitable site for a homeless shelter, and nothing in the Department of Homeless Services’ initial review has changed my mind,” Councilmember Elizabeth Crowley said. “It would be irresponsible for the city to spend more than $27 million to rehabilitate a site that was never meant for residential use.”

A public hearing on the proposed homeless shelter is scheduled for 10 a.m. at the headquarters of the Department of City Planning on Thursday, December 12.

 

 

Fair Share Analysis_Cooper Family Residence_12 6 13 by The Queens Courier


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O’Neill’s restaurant in Maspeth celebrates 80th anniversary


| lguerre@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/Photo by Liam La Guerre

Janet Burt recalled she first went to O’Neill’s, the popular Maspeth bar and restaurant, when she was 19 years old.

So naturally Burt, 54, missed the eatery when she moved to Virginia, and much like the community was distraught to find out about the tragic fire two years ago, which caused O’Neill’s to close until this September.

When Burt heard about the neighborhood bistro’s 80th anniversary, she made sure to make the journey north to celebrate with old friends.

“When I heard about the 80th anniversary I said I had to show,” Burt said. “It’s awesome. It’s so different than it used to be. It was much smaller.”

Since the bar had its grand reopening, owners increased the size, expanded the fine dining menu, and added some more formal and private room space.

Councilmember Elizabeth Crowley hosted a party in one of the private rooms to thank her staff and supporters, before presenting a plaque and proclamation to the restaurant from the City Council for the anniversary Wednesday.

“Everybody knows there was a big fire and it took down the walls, but it could never take down the memory,” Crowley said. “We’re so glad to be here today and celebrate 80 years. O’Neill’s has never looked better.”

Civic leaders and community residents came in droves to O’Neill’s celebration. They congratulated owners, but also enjoyed the special deals.

Because O’Neill’s was founded in 1933, a day after Prohibition was repealed, numerous beers returned to their 10 cent price from that era from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. Additionally, four special cocktails were half price.

There were also free roast beef sandwiches, which is an O’Neill’s tradition on Friday nights, and DJ Johnny Guerrero was spinning music that spanned eight decades.

“As you can see by the turnout tonight, the neighborhood is happy we’re back and we’re just looking for another 80 years,” O’Neill’s manager Danny Pyle said.

 

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Queens incumbents sweep re-election bids


By Queens Courier Staff | editorial@queenscourier.com

LIAM LA GUERRE AND MELISSA CHAN 

All Queens City Council incumbents slid back into their seats after Election Day, some very comfortably, while others overcame contentious races.

In District 32, which pitted Republican incumbent Eric Ulrich against Democrat Lew Simon, the race came right down to the wire. Ulrich was eventually declared the winner with 53 percent of the vote to Simon’s 47, but the challenger has not yet conceded defeated.   

In another contentious race, incumbent Elizabeth Crowley of District 30 won 59 percent of the vote against political newbie Craig Caruana, who took 41 percent. Caruana gained support following an endorsement by mayoral candidate Joe Lhota and a fierce debate with Crowley.

Popular Democratic incumbents Peter Koo of District 20, Karen Koslowitz in District 29 and Mark Weprin of District 23 easily won their re-election bids this year after facing off with third-party candidates.

Koo swept his opponents — Evergreen Chou, Martha Flores-Vasquez and Sunny Hahn — by obtaining nearly 80 percent of the vote, according to a preliminary count. Koslowitz beat Jon Torodash, who ran on the Civic Virtue line, by more than a 90 percent margin.

Weprin, a contender for City Council Speaker, beat back a late challenge from retired police captain Joseph Concannon by taking 84 percent of the vote, according to unofficial results.

Concannon, who was running under the Reform Party, began a pointed bid against Weprin on August 8, with numerous police union backings, soon after the incumbent voted in support of two controversial police oversight bills in the Council.

South Queens Democratic incumbents Ruben Wills of District 28 and Donovan Richards of District 31 also dominated their races.

Wills won more than 95 percent of votes over his challenger, Mireille Leroy, while Richards, who won a special election less than a year ago, took about 92 percent of votes.

Three Queens legislators ran uncontested in both the primary and general elections. Julissa Ferreras of District 21, Danny Dromm of District 25 and Jimmy Van Bramer in District 26 were all automatically re-elected.

 

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City Council incumbents Weprin, Crowley miss DC 37 union endorsement


| mchan@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/File photos

Two City Council incumbents from Queens were not endorsed by the city’s largest public employee union because they did not apply for the nod, the union said.

DC 37 released its endorsements for the November general election last Wednesday, which included multiple sitting councilmembers in the borough and candidates who won primaries in September.

Left off the Queens list were Speaker-hopeful Mark Weprin and Elizabeth Crowley — both who are Democrats, facing fairly easy challenges for re-election in a blue-dominated borough.

The pair joins a handful of city incumbents who were not endorsed because they did not apply to be part of DC 37’s long-established screening process, according to Wanda Williams, the union’s political and legislative director.

The list includes City Council incumbents Dan Garodnick, Maria del Carmen Arroyo, Annabel Palma, Brad Lander and David Greenfield.

“The lack of an endorsement should not be construed as a commentary on their performance but as a reflection of their decision not to submit themselves to our rigorous screening process,” Williams said.

“Only the kind of transparent and rigorous screening process we have adopted assures we give all candidates a fair hearing they have initiated,” she added.

Weprin said he was unaware of the union’s screening policy. He was also running unopposed until August.

“We didn’t really reach out since I didn’t have an opponent until the summer,” he said. “This year, I certainly would have loved their endorsement. They are certainly a valuable and important union to me. I don’t take offense at it. I just wasn’t aware of the process. No hard feelings.”

Crowley did not comment.

Contested Queens incumbents who enjoy the union’s backing this year include Peter Koo, Karen Koslowitz, Eric Ulrich, Ruben Wills and Donovan Richards.

DC 37 also endorsed unchallenged incumbents Julissa Ferreras, Danny Dromm and Jimmy Van Bramer and primary winners Paul Vallone, Rory Lancman, Daneek Miller and Melinda Katz.

The municipal workers’ union, which has 121,000 members and 50,000 retirees, said it sends out an army of volunteers to work phone banks and do door-to-door “Get Out The Vote” operations.

 

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