Tag Archives: Helen Marshall

Katz campaign raises over $280,000 in quest for Borough Presidency


| tcullen@queenscourier.com

File photo

Melinda Katz is taking a lead in campaign finances for the borough presidency as her campaign announced the former politician has raised more than $280,000 in the last four months.

“I am so appreciative to our hundreds of donors and their support for my candidacy,” Katz said in a statement. “Our fundraising success is a reflection of how well our message is being received among Queens residents.   The campaign, based on improving the lives of all Queens residents by increasing economic opportunities, and striking the proper balance with the needs of a community is resonating.”

The campaign has roughly $250,000 on hand; $40,000 of which can be matched by the city’s match fund, adding an extra $240,000 to her war chest, according to a campaign statement.

Katz, who hasn’t been in office since 2009, nabbed an endorsement from former Mayor Ed Koch last month in the hotly-contested race for Borough Hall.

She faces off against Councilmembers Peter Vallone and Leroy Comrie; State Senators Jose Peralta and Tony Avella; and former Deputy Borough President Barry Grodenchik – who stepped down from his position last month to run.

Vallone is reported to still lead on the fundraising front, having capped out how much he could raise some time ago.

 

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Vallone officially announces borough president bid


| aaltman@queenscourier.com

Photo by Alex DiBlasi

Councilmember Peter Vallone’s holiday surprise wasn’t all that surprising.

Vallone announced his bid for Queens borough president at his father’s annual holiday party on Tuesday, December 11, surrounded by friends and family. Throughout the year, rumors have swirled about the Astoria councilmember’s potential run for Borough President Helen Marshall’s soon-to-be-empty seat. However, Vallone never officially stated until the party that he intended to run for the borough presidency.

“I’ve been considering [running] for a long time now. I’ve been out there fighting for the borough I love for a long time. I’ve got a track record of doing that. I understand what Queens is about. I’m a product of Queens. I’m going to spend the rest of my life in Queens. I’d like to work with all of you to continue to make Queens even better and better,” Vallone said.

So far, Vallone has raised roughly $1.5 million for his borough president campaign — significantly higher than any other potential candidate.

Former Councilmember and Assemblymember Melinda Katz, Deputy Borough President Barry Grodenchik, State Senator Jose Peralta and State Senator Tony Avella have already announced their intentions to run for Marshall’s seat. Councilmember Leroy Comrie, a favorite of the Queens County Democratic Party, is rumored to be running for BP as well.

Vallone said his business background separated him in the crowded field.

“I understand Queens. I’ve spent my whole life here — raised my family here. I still live around the corner from my dad,” he said. “The law firm has been there since 1932. Queens is made up of small business owners like the people in this room, and I am the only candidate with any business experience.”

Electeds rally against relocation of Triumph of Civic Virtue to Brooklyn


| editorial@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/Photo by Liam La Guerre

BY CHRISTOPHER BARCA

The city may have won the battle regarding the relocation of the Triumph of Civic Virtue statue to a Brooklyn cemetery, but those opposed to the plan say the fight is not over.

“They’re taking one of the last pieces of fine art in Queens from us,” said Councilmember Peter Vallone. “They might as well put a bag over the statue’s head and put him in the back of a truck.”

The fence-enclosed statue, standing adjacent to Queens Borough Hall in Kew Gardens, has been the topic of bitter dialogue directed toward the Department of Citywide Administrative Services (DCAS) from Community Board 9 and its constituents since July. At a November 13 public hearing, however, the NYC Design Commission ruled that the statue will be moved in the coming weeks to Green-Wood Cemetery in Brooklyn, where the family of Frederick MacMonnies, the statue’s sculptor, is buried.

To make matters worse, Vallone claims that he and other officials, who hosted a rally alongside Community Board 9 at the statue on Saturday, December 8, were kept in the dark about the meeting in order to negate their opposition to the controversial plan.

“It was clearly designed to be secretive,” Vallone said. “An email was sent out, but the message was sent six days after Sandy, when nearly everyone’s email was inaccessible.”

The statue features Hercules standing triumphantly, representing virtue, while two sirens, representing vice and corruption, are trampled underfoot. City politicians like former Congressmember Anthony Weiner have deemed the statue sexist in recent years, but CB9 district manager Mary Ann Carey scoffs at the claim.

“I don’t understand why people give this sculpture a meaning it doesn’t have,” she said. “They aren’t two women, they’re just two sirens. They have tails. I don’t know any women who have tails.”

Whether or not the statue is indeed sexist, the city sees the uprooting of Civic Virtue as a necessary measure.

“The relocation of Civic Virtue by Frederick MacMonnies to Green-Wood is part of a public-private initiative to ensure the long-term preservation of the sculpture, which will be conserved this spring,” said a spokesperson for the city. “Civic Virtue will remain fully accessible to the public, and we are working on establishing a vibrant, welcoming public space in Queens while the statue is on loan to Green-Wood.”

The statue’s preservation will be paid for by the Brooklyn cemetery, officials said, and no other option were proposed for the restoration.

When the statue is actually moved, the base will remain at its current location, as there is a preliminary plan in place to turn the area into a public sitting plaza. According to a statement from Borough President Helen Marshall, seeing the statue go is bittersweet, but Queens residents should still benefit from the Civic Virtue site, even if the statue resides elsewhere.

“I’m glad that the statue will be restored and we’ll work to see that the base of the statue and the area around it will be transformed into a public sitting area with benches and landscaping,” Marshall said. “I would like the area to pay tribute to outstanding women who have made significant contributions to our borough and city.”

Peralta launches borough president campaign


| tcullen@queenscourier.com

Peralta new

What State Senator Jose Peralta says he brings to the borough president race is almost a decade of experience in politics and representing the strong diversity in the borough.

“I have the track record, the proven track record over the last 10 years that I can point to and say, ‘these are my accomplishments, these are the issues I have tackled that affect Queens and brought results,’” he said.

Peralta kicked off his campaign for borough president on Monday, October 22 at the Novo Lounge in Jackson Heights. He is the second potential candidate to officially launch a campaign for the November 2013 election.

Former Councilmember and former Assemblymember Melinda Katz began her campaign with an official event on Wednesday, October 10.

Peralta said understanding the diversity of Queens, the most of any other in the city, was crucial to the borough presidency – saying his district was the most diverse of any in the senate.

“Queens is the united nations of all boroughs,” he said. “I happen to represent the most diverse district in the New York State Senate. It uniquely positions me to run for Queens Borough President.”

He served in the assembly for seven years, representing communities with high Hispanic populations in neighborhoods including Corona, Elmhurst and Jackson Heights.

He won the seat in a March 2010 special election after the senate voted to expel Hiram Monseratte as he faced assault charges.

Peralta’s tenure in the assembly and senate includes pushing for development at Willets Point. In May, he wrote an open letter to Governor Andrew Cuomo to appeal for consideration of Willets Point — or a nearby area — for a potential convention center, citing a high number of construction and permanent jobs for the area. He has recently, along with colleague Assemblymember Francisco Moya, supported a potential Major League Soccer stadium in Flushing Meadows-Corona Park.

Continued development to Queens is something Peralta says he would work on if elected borough president, but “we need to make sure it’s responsible; it’s a responsible impact where both the community and Queens as a borough benefit.”

Other Beep potentials include Councilmembers Peter Vallone and Leroy Comrie, who have both said they’re still considering a run. Incumbent Borough President Helen Marshall is set to leave Borough Hall in December 2013 because of term limits. Neither Marshall, nor the borough’s Democratic Party is expected to endorse a candidate at this time, and it’s still unknown when a primary would take place.

Hunters Point library site dedicated


| aaltman@queenscourier.com

Interior_Cyber_center

Hunters Point bookworms can soon curl up with a good read just inches from home.

Queens Library announced plans to construct a new branch at the corner of Center Boulevard and 48th Avenue in Hunters Point. The 21,500-square-foot facility, built on the banks of the East River, will feature a cyber-center, roof terrace and communal garden as well as separate reading spaces for adults, teens and children. According to Queens Library spokesperson Joanne King, the building will place an emphasis on environmental preservation, implementing ecologically-sound features to create an entirely carbon neutral structure.

Library officials expect to feature free cultural events and educational programs at the facility.

The building — priced at $28.6 million — was designed by world-famous architect Steven Holl, who specializes in environmentally efficient buildings.

The neighborhood lobbied strongly for the library, tired of trekking to their closest facility at the Court Square branch. King said residents felt they deserved a communal place to gather, share ideas and relax.

“They’re going to have a community hub,” said King. “It’s going to be an anchor of education and culture in the community — a community space where people can just relax and be. It will be recognizable from across the river and in the community so it’s going to give some status to the community itself by having this iconic building there as well as all the services a library provides.”

The waterfront site was dedicated at a ceremony on Friday, October 5 with the help of Borough President Helen Marshall and Councilmember Jimmy Van Bramer. Students from P.S. 78 planted “trees of knowledge” during the Friday morning ceremony.

Dr. Don Dodelson, president of the group Friends of Hunters Point Library, was ecstatic that his outfit’s hard work had paid off.

“It feels wonderful that the library is actually going to be and dedicating the ground is a huge step forward,” said Dodelson.

Dodelson hopes the library will become an all-encompassing community center, housing performances and gallery showcases as well as ceremonies such as weddings and recitals.

Ninth annual Queens Restaurant Week offers good food, great deals


| brennison@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/Photo by Billy Rennison

Queens residents will be able to sample a slew of borough restaurants — and it won’t take a bite out of their budget.

The ninth annual Queens Restaurant Week kicks off next week with many eateries offering prix-fixe menus at $25 for a three-course meal. The focus is on restaurants in the borough that are widely ignored during NYC Restaurant Week.

“Sure, you can get great meals all over the city, but if you want the real thing, the real flavors, the real country you come out to Roosevelt Avenue, or Astoria Boulevard or Jamaica, there’s great places all over,” said Seth Bornstein, executive director of the Queens Economic Development Corporation.

That diversity was highlighted at the kickoff event outside Queens Borough Hall on Tuesday, October 2. Rain could not keep scores of foodies from sampling fare from restaurants offering Mexican, Cajun, Mediterranean and Asian cuisines.

“The first thing I did was get some clam chowder from London Lennie’s,” Borough President Helen Marshall said.

As people lined up to get a taste of what was to come, many raved about the wide array of eats.

“The pulled pork mac and cheese was amazing,” said Jamaica resident Betty Bishop about Bourbon Street’s offering.

Queens Restaurant Week had humble beginnings, Marshall said, having only about 10 eateries the first year. That list has now grown to nearly 100 and the positive response has resulted in it being extended to two weeks — October 8-11 and October 15-18.

“Last year was our first year [participating], and we did really well. We got a lot of new customers who kept coming back,” said Patty Medina, owner of Uncle Peter’s in Jackson Heights.

Restaurants from every corner of the borough are involved in the event. For a full list of participating restaurants click here.

Restaurant Week is presented by the Queens Tourism Council and is sponsored by Melrose Credit Union, JetBlue, Resorts World Casino New York City, Restaurant Depot, Tequila Sunrise of Bayside, The Queens Courier and The Best of the Boro.

Op-Ed: An Ambitious Plan for Willets Point


| editorial@queenscourier.com

By Borough President Helen Marshall

It’s time to move from discussion to development at Willets Point project.

While Queens was strongly impacted by the global recession, it has been able to weather the downturn by capitalizing on its unique strengths — a multi-faceted economy of small to international businesses and a resilient workforce and a diverse community that supports one another.

Our progress on rezoning has unleashed the potential to build a better future for Queens, creating a new wave of interest in our borough’s commercial hubs including downtown Flushing, downtown Jamaica and Long Island City.

Despite our best efforts, Willets Point has remained a blighted and neglected area, in desperate need of a total overhaul with new infrastructure and remediation. For too long, its revitalization has been the subject of empty and futile discussion – and failed development efforts.

This June, Mayor Michael Bloomberg unveiled an ambitious proposal that aimed at facilitating a complete transformation of Willets Point into a thriving and dynamic mixed-use neighborhood and destination for visitors. While the historic realization of this community-driven vision was approved by the New York City Council in 2008, the promise of its fruition has not been realistic. Until now.

The Willets Point Development Plan is at a critical nexus – the stage of the review process that will put into action a comprehensive construction plan that facilitates development pursuant to the originally envisioned Special Willets Point Zoning District and Urban Renewal Plan along with additional development beyond the Special Willets Point District.

The project will not only link Willets Point to basic infrastructure, but also establish a major new mixed-income neighborhood with commercial destination facilities creating jobs and recapturing billions in spending that is now lost to the suburbs.

The first phase of the project will include the acquisition of 23 acres of land to the east of Citi Field by the Queens Development Group. They will initially build retail and a hotel on this land, as well parking for Citi Field and recreational uses in the baseball off-season. West of Citi Field — on the current Citi Field parking lot — they will build an entertainment and retail attraction resulting in more comprehensive and continuous transit-oriented development linking Flushing to Corona.

Ultimately, the new plan will develop into a thriving residential community of 2,500 units, 35 percent of which will be designated affordable housing, as well as additional hotels, offices, commercial space, a school and open space, with the eventual plan to develop over 5 million-square-feet in a unified neighborhood, transforming a contaminated wasteland into a model community for the future, with up to 5,850 units of housing, a convention center and a central eight-acre park.

The expanded vision will infuse $3 billion of private investment into the local economy and create 7,100 permanent jobs, 12,000 direct construction jobs with MWBE and local hiring of 25 percent. During construction, the project will generate over $310 million in new tax revenue, and once operational, will account for over $150 million in new annual tax revenue.

Yes, the goals of this new plan are ambitious, but so are the people of Queens. Perhaps something less would suffice in meeting some of the community’s desire for clean-up and business development. But after years of deliberation and delay, we now have a plan for Willets Point that can truly transform the area into an economic epicenter for Queens. Not just remove an eye-sore, but create something that has positive impacts for the community and throughout the entire borough. We need to move beyond past roadblocks to create a true center of New York City’s and Queens’ future – standing for economic growth and a better life for ourselves and our neighbors.

South Queens Boys & Girls Club pours foundation on state-of-the-art renovation


| mhayes@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/Photo by Maggie Hayes

After decades of building a solid foundation for the community, the South Queens Boys & Girls Club (SQBGC) is finally getting a new foundation of its own.

The SQBGC was able to take down one existing wing of its building, which will be replaced by a 35,000-square-foot state-of-the-art addition.

In the new area, there will be three-and-a-half stories filled with a new education center, a regulation size gym and administrative space.

The remaining wing will be redone after the new section is built, and will house a performance arts center, community space, technology centers and more.

“What [the club has] provided for our residents and the help they’ve given. . . just to expand that tradition of help to the community, it’ll create a long-standing future,” said Senator Joseph Addabbo, an advocate of the project.

Addabbo joined Borough President Helen Marshall and SQBGC officials on Tuesday, September 18 at a foundation pouring to mark the project’s beginning. The building, located on Atlantic Avenue in South Richmond Hill, has been home to the Boys & Girls Club since 1957, and administrators say a renovation is long overdue.

“I promised myself that before I left, I would see this club rebuilt,” said Joseph Ferrara, SQBGC chair emeritus, who has been with the club since the late 1960s,

The SQBGC has raised $8.64 million for the project, with the help of local officials.

“This funding . . . will provide a rich harvest of talented youngsters who will be better able to achieve their potential and success as productive and caring individuals, who will make their mark on society,” said Marshall.

“I think the kids will be here enjoying this facility for years to come. If we can keep them off the streets, then we did our job,” said Ferrara. “I’m very proud of this day.”

Structural steel for the addition is scheduled to rise up in the fall of this year, and occupancy is expected for late 2013.

“When we cut the ribbon here, I’ll never forget that,” said Addabbo.

Chabad LIC to celebrate seven years of service


| editorial@queenscourier.com

Get ready to dance the hora!

On Wednesday, September 12, western Queens’ Jewish community center, Chabad LIC, will celebrate seven years of service during its 3rd Annual Benefit and Evening of Entertainment, held at the Water’s Edge restaurant in Long Island City. The event hopes to focus on impacting jobs throughout the city.

Cocktails and mingling will be followed by dinner and entertainment. The evening will feature indie-folk musician Moshe Hecht.

Honored guests during the evening include Borough President Helen Marshall, Water’s Edge owner, businessman and philanthropist Hadrenda Singh, and the co-founders of Freshko Fresh, Eric Gross and Avi Moche.

“The most important part of the event is awareness,” said Rabbi Zev Wineberg, director and founder of Chabad LIC. “It brings people together. There are people there to help them if they need anything. There are people taking the time to help others. We try to showcase people who are very generous and kind and let people learn by example.”

Chabad LIC is not just a religious organization but a community outreach center, hosting programs such as youth classes and summer camps, synagogue services, adult education, volunteer events, exercise courses and baking seminars as well as offering volunteer opportunities for the elderly and infirm.

“We’re a place a lot of people turn to in a time of need or just to feel connected,” said Wineberg.

Admission to the event ranges from $180 or $300. For more information, visit chabadlic.com.

 

More middle school seats coming to Jackson Heights


| aaltman@queenscourier.com

Photo courtesy of Alex Florez

Students corralled in overcrowded classrooms may soon be able to stretch their legs while exercising their minds.

Councilmember Daniel Dromm and Borough President Helen Marshall celebrated breaking ground on I.S. 297Q — a new middle school, expected to open in the fall of 2014 in Jackson Heights — at a ceremony on Tuesday, August 7.

The school, which will house sixth through eighth grades, will add 400 seats to District 30 in an effort to alleviate severe crowding. The new four-story building will boast central air, 12 standard classrooms and administration offices, as well as a special education building and specialized accommodations for science, music, art and physical education courses.

Dromm, a former public school teacher for more than 25 years, emphasized the demand for adequately sized classes.

“Smaller class sizes allow teachers to cater to individual student needs,” said Dromm. “I.S. 297 and other new schools are a necessary investment in the future of our students and I will continue fighting to see more neighborhood schools in Jackson Heights.”

According to a spokesperson from Dromm’s office, 1,350 seats were added to district schools, including 600 elementary positions, when P.S. 280 opened in 2010. An additional 350 seats were created when a new wing was added to P.S. 13 in LeFrak City.

“We are thrilled with the additional classrooms because our middle schools are very overcrowded at this point in time,” said Jackson Heights Beautification Group President Ed Westley. “We need more but this is a welcomed start.”

 

Katz creates campaign team for Queens borough president run


| tcullen@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/File photo

She’s already held two political seats in Queens, and now Melinda Katz is eyeing a third.

Katz, who formerly served as assemblymember and councilmember, confirmed she would be running for borough president next year — throwing her hat into the ring with potentials like Councilmember Peter Vallone.

Katz said she was organizing a campaign team, and hoped to make a formal announcement sometime next week.

She cited her three years working in the borough president’s office as an inspiration for running.

“I know the job very well, and I was proud to serve there for the entire borough for three years,” she said.

A love of Queens and a history of holding public offices was important to her decision in running for the spot, Katz said, noting that she still lives in the Forest Hills home where she grew up.

“I’m bringing up my two boys in my old bedroom,” she said. “Queens has been my home, my family’s home, for generations.”

Katz left politics in 2009 to work at Greenberg Traurig, a law firm where she specializes in several fields including government affairs and zoning. In the assembly, she represented areas of central Queens and would go on to do the same on the council level.

Katz’s partner is radio personality and Guardian Angels founder Curtis Sliwa, with whom she has two children.

Whoever wins the race will succeed incumbent Helen Marshall, who has overseen the borough for three terms. Vallone currently has the biggest war chest for the campaign, boasting that he has raised more than a $1 million for the run.

 

$850,000 to improve courts at Middle Village park


| brennison@queenscourier.com

Rendering courtesy of the Parks Department

The bocce ball players that arrive at Juniper Valley Park rain or shine will no longer have to worry about the elements.

The city’s Parks Department announced a request for proposal for improvements to the Middle Village park’s bocce courts, including a shade structure covering the space.

Many of the area’s large Italian-American population descends daily on the 55-acre park to exercise, socialize and play bocce, often causing extended waiting times.

“When it’s hot, we have 100 men here,” said Sal Crimi, 87, of Woodhaven. “It’s healthy for us.”

The renovations include the reconstruction of the two existing courts as well as the addition of a third court. Each court will have a shade structure built to cover the court and additional trees will also be planted.

“We need the cover,” said 72-year-old Middle Village resident Enrico Gangi. The reconstructed courts are also a welcome addition, Gangi said, because the original ones were not built correctly.

The $850,000 project will be funded through allocations from Borough President Helen Marshall ($800,000) and Councilmember Elizabeth Crowley ($50,000). The Parks Department submitted a request for proposal July 18.

“The planned bocce courts will be another great addition to Juniper Park,” said Crowley, who represents the area. “I’m thrilled for the local bocce players, who will be able to play on a new court with an awning enabling the sport in all kinds of weather. The players and the court are an asset to the park.”

William Isoldi, 84, who plays daily on the Middle Village bocce courts, said he looks forward to the improvements.

“I’m excited about what’s going to happen,” Isoldi said.

Construction is scheduled to begin in the fall.

Discounts will help you discover Queens’ ‘Real Culture/Authentic Flavor’


| Phertling@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/Photo by Phil Hertling

Now you can experience the “Real Culture/Authentic Flavor” of Queens.

Local officials, along with the Queens Tourism Council, launched the first ever “Real Culture/Authentic Flavor” summer promotion program, designed to highlight Queens activities and attractions for locals and tourists.

“There’s a lot to do here in America’s most diverse county,” said Borough President Helen Marshall. “This program will highlight dozens of events and attractions here in Queens, and tell visitors how to get discounts.”

Through a grant from the NYC & Company Foundation, the Tourism Council is providing special offers to various venues in Queens through brochures, websites and even Facebook. The main focus is bringing people into the restaurants and entertainment centers in the borough such as Citi Field, the US Open and Resorts World Casino New York City.

“It’ll be difficult deciding where to go, what to eat, and which bargains to take advantage of,” said Seth Bornstein, executive director of the Queens Economic Development Corporation. “Real culture, authentic flavor? It’s in Queens.”

Councilmember Jimmy Van Bramer, a lifelong resident of Queens, strongly believes in what the borough has to offer.

“[Queens] is the heart and soul of culture and the arts,” he said. “Queens is the greatest borough in New York City.”

The Queens Tourism Council and its partners hope to attract more tourists and excite more locals over the next several months.

According to Assemblymember Grace Meng, the program will make it much easier for parents in the borough.

“As a mom of two young kids, if you’re hanging out in Queens you can get home really quickly,” she said. “So that’s definitely a perk.”

“Real Culture/Authentic Flavor” is set to run through November 30. For more information, visit www.discoverqueens.info; and on Facebook:

Discover Queens or Queens, New York.

 

Queens politicians eyeing run for borough president


| tcullen@queenscourier.com

bp

Although Helen Marshall still has one year left on her third term as borough president, several big names are rumored to be eyeing a run for the job.

Councilmember Peter Vallone said that although he hasn’t made an official announcement yet, he’s seriously considering running for the borough presidency. Vallone, who currently represents Astoria, said he’s been traveling throughout Queens and getting a good reception from residents.

“I’m getting a great reception,” he said. “I am very pleased with the amount of support we’re finding.”

Vallone went on to say he would further his work in the city council if elected borough president.

“I’ve lived every day of my life in Queens,” he said, “and I’ve been fighting for Queens for the last 10 years.”

About $1 million has been raised for Vallone’s campaign, which he said is significantly higher than any other potential candidate.

While State Senator Jose Peralta’s office could not comment as to whether he is considering running, a committee has been formed called “Peralta 2013,” according to the State Board of Elections (BOE). The committee is active and is listed as a local committee for Queens County, said John Conklin, a representative from the BOE.

Another councilmember expected to run is Leroy Comrie, who currently represents the 27th District in the borough.

At deadline, Comrie was not available to discuss his interest in running for the spot. A campaign page on Facebook, however, was created in December 2011.

Others who have been rumored to run for BP were not able to confirm or deny a potential campaign.

Breakfast with the Borough President


| smosco@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/Photos by Steve Mosco

Fresh off her State of the Borough address delivered at the end of January, Borough President Helen Marshall updated district managers and representatives from all of Queens’ community boards, members of the Queens Chamber of Commerce and various guests from around the borough at the annual Breakfast with the Borough President held at the LaGuardia Marriott in East Elmhurst.

Each year, Marshall takes the opportunity to update those in attendance about a range of issues that will affect the borough in the coming year. She began with an optimistic economic outlook for 2012, which she believes hinges on the city’s many tourism opportunities — with Queens leading the way.

“With our two major airports, Queens is the gateway to New York — and the gateway to the world,” she said. “This is something we need to continue to capitalize on.”

Marshall specifically mentioned Cuomo’s announcement that the nation’s largest convention center will be built in South Ozone Park, while also stating that a smaller convention space is still being planned for Willets Point.

“The Willets Point convention center will not be in competition with other centers in the borough, it will be a compliment,” she said. “We are going to stay on the necks of the elected officials and make sure it gets built.”

Before Marshall rose to give her speech, she was introduced by Carol Conslato, president of the Queens Chamber of Commerce. Conslato told the audience that Marshall has been able to accomplish so much during her time in office because she truly cares about Queens and wants to see it prosper.

“Helen is truly dedicated to this borough,” said Conslato. “She’s passionate about everything that she does, and passion makes all the difference.”

Marshall lauded the Chamber for being an advocate to the business community and spurring much of the growth — and the demand for growth — around the borough. She said that the Chamber has “done a very good job promoting Queens from a business standpoint.”

Jack Friedman, the Chamber’s executive director, said recent developments in the Queens business landscape make this a very special time in the borough — and he credited Marshall with facilitating much of the growth.

“There are so many things happening. I’ve never had more fun than I’m having right now,” he said. “And much of it is thanks to this borough president.”