Tag Archives: Francisco Moya

Op-Ed: Help students achieve their DREAMs

| oped@queenscourier.com


New York City is a microcosm of the world, and its diversity is what has made it the cultural and economic hub of the nation. Over the centuries, waves of immigrants have built businesses, churned economic activity and brought fresh perspectives. Today’s immigrants are no different. To deny our young, promising immigrants now is to deny our history and track record of success.

Currently, we hold our undocumented students, who are here by no decision of their own, back from their potential. Thousands of these students across the state strive to achieve just like their peers, but are barred from the basic financial resources – loans, grants – that make it possible for so many young people in this country to pursue higher education.

Last month, the New York State Assembly decided to address this issue in a sincere way. With overwhelming support, we passed the New York State DREAM Act, which for the first time will open up entitlement funding from Tuition Assistance Programs (TAP) to undocumented students.

Just prior to its passage, Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli issued a report touting the DREAM Act’s vast economic benefits, and it echoes what DREAM supporters have been saying for years. By investing in promising students, no matter where they were born, you create a better-educated workforce that attracts good jobs to the state which help build a robust middle class. At a cost of less than $20 million a year, the state will see that amount repaid and then some.

Since its passage in the Assembly, the bill has been stuck in limbo in the Senate. In resisting this bill, New York State Senate Republicans are proving to be lagging behind their counterparts across the nation. U.S. House Majority Leader Eric Cantor has publicly come out in favor of a DREAM Act. Texas Governor Rick Perry signed similar legislation in his own state.

If we are going to see this legislation pass in the final two weeks of the session, Governor Andrew Cuomo must show the same leadership he has shown on marriage equality, gun control and raising the minimum wage. The governor once again can continue to take action on issues facing the nation as a whole and cementing New York’s reputation as a progressive leader by supporting the DREAM Act.

We have less than two weeks in Albany to give these students a chance to pursue their dreams. I implore my colleagues in the Senate and in the governor’s mansion to find courage to put politics aside and do what is right.

Moya represents Assembly District 39



Ecuador routs Chile in front of thousands at Citi Field

| tcullen@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/photo by Terence Cullen

Draped in a Chilean flag outside of Citi Field, Manuel Rojas stood with his father as they were interviewed by Ernesto Diaz — who Rojas said was a big name in Chilean radio.

Rojas, 18, from Bridgeport, Connecticut, predicted Chile would best Ecuador in the night’s international friendly match at the ballpark 2-1, despite the fan base being mostly dressed in Ecuador yellow — many of whom predicted the same score in Ecuador’s favor.

“[Chile fans] come to this sport even if we’re out numbered on to a million,” he said.

Rojas’ game prediction fell short, however, as Chile lost to Ecuador 3-0 on Wednesday, August 15 to the roaring cheer of thousands of Ecuador fans.

See photos from the game

Last year, Ecuador played an exhibition match against Greece — also in reflection to two prominent cultures in the city — but the game ended in a draw. This year they came back in an attempt to claim Citi Field as theirs.

From the coin toss — by honorary Ecuador captain and Assemblymember Francisco Moya — onward for the next 90 minutes, fans cheered, groaned in frustration and waived Ecuadorian and Chilean flags.

The scoring kicked off early on when Ecuador and Manchester United star Antonio Valencia fed the ball to Narciso Mina, netting the first goal past Chilean Miguel Pinto. A scream of Ecuadorian cheers resonated through Citi, leaving the stadium shaking.

All of this in the backdrop of Ecuador in a diplomatic spat with the United Kingdom over granting asylum to WikiLeaks founder Julian Asange.

Some hailed from these countries, others had roots there, and others were just fans of the game with unique connections to one of these two countries.

Evelyn Pallo, born in Guayaquil, Ecuador and now living in Flushing, saw Ecuador play in New Jersey a few years ago but said she was excited when she heard the team she devoutly follows was coming to Queens.

Others were coming to get a better feel for the sport and the fanbase the city has.

Steve Dordal from Bayside was stationed in Ecuador with the U.S. Navy in 1983 and said he enjoyed his time there.

What brought Dordal, 44, to this game was an interest in soccer and desire to see what the fan base in Queens was like after hearing a soccer stadium might be coming to Flushing Meadows-Corona Park.

“I just want to see how many people show up and the enthusiasm of the people in the area,” he said

During his stay, Dordal said he and other sailors worked on an orphanage, where they played the game with some of the local children. Despite being much younger, he said, the children beat the American opponents and left an impression on them.

Op Ed: Soccer stadium would be a major league score

By Queens Courier Staff | editorial@queenscourier.com

moya headshot


With Major League Soccer (MLS) looking to expand in New York City and a growing population addicted to the world’s game, the time has come for a dedicated soccer stadium within the city. And there is no better place for it than in the park where my father taught me to play soccer as a young boy: Flushing Meadows-Corona Park.

Currently, the closest MLS team is in New Jersey. For the last few years, MLS leadership has shown an interest in an expansion team within New York.

But the big question remains: Where will this future team play? In recent weeks, MLS has made clear its interest in building a soccer specific stadium, built with private dollars, in Queens.

A soccer-only facility in Queens is the perfect location for many reasons. Most important of all, the fans are here. As the son of immigrants from Ecuador and a lifelong soccer fan, I know first-hand how passionate Queens residents are about soccer. In cities with successful professional soccer franchises, new immigrant communities form the backbone of the fan base, including D.C. United and the Los Angeles Galaxy. The same would surely happen in Queens. Finally, Flushing Meadows-Corona Park is a prime location—within easy reach of the entire city by public transportation and Long Island and home to the busiest international airport in North America.

A dedicated soccer stadium would also benefit the people of Queens, both financially and culturally.

For starters, building a world-class soccer arena in Queens would bring between 2,000 and 2,200 good-paying construction jobs, with tens of millions infused into the local economy. Going forward, Major League Soccer matches, international exhibition games and other events would bring needed dollars and 300 full time and 900 part time permanent jobs to the borough. MLS reported that a similar soccer-only stadium in Kansas City will have a $500 million annual economic impact.

Soccer would also have indirect and profound benefits for the people of Queens. Consider the increased emphasis on healthy alternatives for children and the improved focus on after school recreational opportunities. And a pro team would bring world-class soccer players right to our neighborhoods, giving the next generation of children a sense of hope and instill the confidence needed for our kids to be successful.

As the momentum behind Major League Soccer in New York City continues to grow, it is time to act. The people of Queens are ready, willing and able to support a team. It begins with a dedicated soccer stadium in Flushing Meadows-Corona Park.


City, MLS in talks to bring soccer to Queens

| tcullen@queenscourier.com

Elected officials and soccer fans alike are hoping that they city does not pass on a soccer stadium in Queens.

The city has been in talks with Major League Soccer (MLS) to build a stadium in Flushing Meadows-Corona Park and bring what would be the league’s 20th team to Queens, a state official said. Currently, MLS runs a 19-team league across North America; 16 teams in the U.S. and three in Canada. The stadium would hold somewhere between 20,000 to 25,000 fans.

Assemblymember Francisco Moya has been advocating for the stadium. A dedicated soccer fan since childhood, Moya said a stadium in the borough’s largest park would be an economic and cultural boon to the area.

Citing accessibility to mass transit and the soccer culture in the surrounding neighborhoods, Moya said the stadium would be an economic boost for the borough, as well as an affordable venue for soccer fans — the cheapest ticket for a game, he said, would only be about $20.

The stadium would be privately financed and not affect taxpayers, Moya said. It would be built over the defunct pools in the park, he said, with MLS revamping the park’s soccer fields if the project goes through.

An MLS spokesperson said there were not any contingent plans for a soccer stadium and gave the following statement:

“Major League Soccer remains committed to securing a 20th team for the league that would be located in New York City. We are thrilled about the prospect of being in Queens and bringing the world’s sport to the world’s park,” the spokesperson said in an email. “We are in exploratory discussions with the city and with Queens officials and look forward to working with the community to build a world class soccer facility for all to enjoy.”

Councilmember Julissa Ferreras, who represents some of the neighborhoods around the park, said she’s met with MLS and looks forward to working with the league. At the same time, she said it was important potential projects also take civic needs into consideration.

“I have a series of meetings scheduled with Major League Soccer. I am excited about this opportunity,” she said. “However, it is important to ensure that any plan is fair and considers the needs and concerns of the community.”

The Wall Street Journal — when it first broke the news that plans for a stadium were in talks — noted the arena could become a competitor to Citi Field just across the park.

The ballpark hosted a soccer match between Ecuador and Greece last year; Moya, who is of Ecuadorian descent, was made an honorary captain for the South American country’s team.

And though he said he would fully support a Queens team, he said his allegiance would always remain with his beloved Barcelona, a Spanish team with a worldwide following.

Scrabble sign reinstalled for ‘triple word score’

| mpantelidis@queenscourier.com

Scrabble Sign Photo Courtesy of The Queens Courier

Jackson Heights’ newest street sign is earning a “triple word score” with neighborhood residents.
The sign, which is located on the southeast corner of 81st Street and 35th Avenue, commemorates the birthplace of the beloved board game Scrabble.
It was originally installed in 1995 outside the Community United Methodist Church, where Alfred Butts invented the popular game, but it mysteriously vanished in 2008.
After Councilmember Daniel Dromm introduced legislation to approve its reinstallation, the Department of Transportation (DOT) authorized the creation of a sign that indicates Scrabble point values to each letter in “35th Avenue.”
“The Scrabble sign was ingenious and added a special historical charm to the neighborhood,” said Dromm. “Scrabble is celebrating its 62nd anniversary this year, and Alfred Butts’ achievement in Jackson Heights should be recognized.”
Dromm pushed for the reinstallation of the sign after witnessing how the Jackson Heights community “sorely missed” it. The sign was also noted in guidebooks and maps as a local attraction, spelling success for the neighborhood.
“The Scrabble street sign will again be a point of pride in our community, thanks to the inventive genius of Jackson Heights resident and Community Church congregant Alfred Butts,” said Daniel Karatzas, a Jackson Heights historian. “It always brought a smile to those who bothered to look up at the corner of 81st Street and 35th Avenue.”
After being fired from his job as an architect in 1938 – in the midst of the Great Depression – Butts strove to create something revolutionary. Following countless trials and errors and scrupulous studying, Butts invented Scrabble, which has now sold 150 million sets in 121 countries and 29 different languages.
“This street sign is a creative homage to the game created by Jackson Heights resident Alfred Butts during the Depression,” said John Williams, Jr., executive director of the National Scrabble Association. “Thanks to Alfred’s ingenuity, generations have enjoyed the game. Scrabble is played all over the world in many different languages, and we hope people will once again travel to Jackson Heights to celebrate our favorite word game.”