Tag Archives: LaGuardia Community College

Massive community-made mural unveiled in LIC

| aaltamirano@queenscourier.com

Photos via Department of Transportation's Flickr

The commute to and from work, school and other daily activities for pedestrians and drivers in Long Island City just got more colorful — all with help from the community.

Queens artist Mark Salinas, who is the founder of the mural organization 7Train Murals, joined the Long Island City Partnership and the Department of Transportation on Wednesday to unveil the mural titled “Pedestrian Patterns” on the Thomson Avenue Bridge.

“The mural’s design is inspired by sneaker sole patterns and illustrates our daily commute from bright busy days to peaceful quiet evenings,” Salinas said. “The image begins bold and colorful and then transitions, with the rise and descent of the bridge’s architecture, into a quiet and camouflaged design.”

“Pedestrian Patterns” — which was part of the DOT’s Community Commission open call for art installations — was community-made with support from volunteers and local organizations such The Citizens Committee for New York City, LaGuardia Community College, International High School, Citi, the Falchi Building, Vanbarton Group, Re:Sources, and Janovic Paint and Decorating Centers.

“Thomson Avenue Bridge is a vital connector in Queens for thousands of daily commuter,” said Elizabeth Lusskin, president of the LIC Partnership. “With the addition of this beautiful new mural, we look forward to seeing it become a key point of interest in LIC.”

Going from 44th Drive to Skillman Avenue, the 6,000-square-foot piece is one of the largest community-made murals in the borough.

The mural, which was one of four new projects selected by the DOT, is made up of 25 colors plus one tinted background color on 33 panels.

“The beautification of vacant and vandalized public spaces improves the appearance of our neighborhood for local residents and visitors alike,” state Senator Michael Gianaris said. “The ‘Pedestrian Patterns Mural’ is an admirable addition to our community’s growing cultural fabric. I am pleased to see our community come together to make this area more lively.”


BP honored at LaGuardia Community College Asian Heritage Celebration

By Queens Courier Staff | editorial@queenscourier.com

Photos courtesy of LaGuardia Community College

Queens Borough President Melinda Katz received an award Wednesday for her dedication and support of a Long Island City college.

Katz was awarded the “Dare to Do More Award” during LaGuardia Community College’s Asian Heritage Celebration.

The college’s president, Dr. Gail O. Mellow, bestowed the honor on Katz for her support of the college and for being a longtime advocate for higher education.

“We are delighted this year to share the event with our special honoree, Borough President Melinda Katz who is a great leader and tireless advocate for Community Colleges,” Mellow said.

Wednesday’s festivities – which included performers from China, Bangladesh and Japan – concluded LaGuardia’s month-long celebration honoring the wide range and richness of Asian cultures.


Food from different parts of the world and from local neighborhood restaurants were also served.

“Our annual Asian Heritage Celebration is a festive event that brings the campus together through food, cultural performances and student entertainment,” Mellow said. “We are proud to celebrate our diversity and share the many different cultures of our students.”

Entertainers for the Asian Heritage Celebration included Singer Maksud Ara and dancer Tahmina Islam, modern dance troupe HIPHOP STREET, and American-Chinese circus clown and Ukrainian-Russian belly dancer duo Rob Lok and Jane.

There was also a showcase featuring performances by LaGuardia students from the Bangladesh Student Association, the Chinese Club, the Philippine Club and the Japanese Club.


Construction to transform the old LIC zipper factory is underway

| lguerre@queenscourier.com

Renderings courtesy Emmes Asset Management

It’s in raw condition now, but owners of the former Waldes zipper factory in Long Island City are planning to unzip its potential as a retail and office hub.

Renovation of the four-story industrial building at 47-16 Austell Pl. has begun after Emmes Asset Management bought it earlier this year for $13.5 million. By the end of summer it will have a finished lobby with cobblestone flooring to match the cobblestone streetscape of Austell Place.

The facade of the 56,500-square-foot building is being modernized, and local artists will have the opportunity to decorate the exterior. The elevator is being upgraded and another one will be added in the structure, which is being called Offices at Austell.

New windows are being installed throughout the building and concrete floors will be polished. An official completion date wasn’t given yet for the entire building. JRT Realty and Cushman & Wakefield are handling marketing.

The ground floor will have 10,000 square feet available for a mix of retail, such as a potential brewery, restaurant or coffee shop. Owners hope to attract students from nearby LaGuardia Community College, and commuters from the Hunters Point Avenue LIRR and 7 subway train stations with the retail options, in addition to employees in the building.

The three remaining floors each have 15,500 square feet of space with 13- to 15-foot-high ceilings and open floor plans. There is also a large rooftop space with views of the Manhattan skyline, but the company doesn’t have any specific plans for the outdoor space yet.

About $35 per square feet is the asking price for space in Offices at Austell, according to a representative for the owner, which is about the same in similarly converted The Factory and Falchi buildings a short distance away.

The building on Austell Place isn’t the only one that Emmes is converting in Queens.

Last year, the Manhattan-based firm paid about $30 million to buy Astoria events hall Studio Square from S Hospitality Group and converted it to Offices at the Square, a mixed-use office and commercial space.


Op-ed: Obama’s free community college proposal: Why it’s good for our city

By Queens Courier Staff | editorial@queenscourier.com


President Obama’s proposal for two years of free community college for all Americans leaves behind the 20th-century concept that a high school degree is sufficient to have a middle class life. A huge leap toward reviving the notion of an American dream, America’s College Promise is a proposal to spend $60 billion over 10 years to make two years of community college the new standard in public education. While we’ve focused on inequity in K-12, as a nation we have ignored the reality that without a college degree, a viable economic future is nearly impossible. Without education beyond high school, wages are low and the ability to stay in the workforce is compromised.

At LaGuardia Community College, where I have the pleasure of serving as president, we seek to build and strengthen the middle class in our city. We do this for over 50,000 students and their families, fully recognizing that college is what’s needed in today’s world.

America’s College Promise is also historic in that it redefines the role of the federal government in higher education and recognizes that unless federal money is on the table, and used to entice state support, tuition will continue to rise, making it even harder to go to college at a time when employers increasingly require a degree. While community colleges currently educate half of the undergraduates in the U.S., they receive limited public support and are far outspent by private colleges.

LaGuardia is a good example of the necessity of community colleges. When the City University of New York’s new community college was founded in 1971, it grew out of the civil rights movement and was created to serve one of the city’s poorest areas in New York’s fastest growing borough of Queens. Not only would it open the doors of higher education to all New Yorkers, it would study urban problems and innovate educational practices, namely connecting students with work at local businesses. At the time, LaGuardia was free, but today, students continue to enroll at LaGuardia because of their desire to get a college education and transform their lives and the lives of their families.

Unfortunately, the challenges that community college students face reach far beyond paying their tuition. Many of our students are parents; most of them have part-time and full-time jobs.

We have students who travel over an hour to study at LaGuardia, and we’ve lost students simply because of their inability to pay for public transportation. We continue to fight the commonly held misperceptions about what community college students are capable of and what they can become, but we struggle to scale up the programs we innovate to help them. If we’re going to encourage even more students to come to community colleges, we’re going to need more money for the already insufficiently funded support, advising and interventions that we know work for at-risk students.

Time and again we see research proving that investing in public higher education is an investment in our workforce and economy, and yet public funding continues to decrease nationwide. Community colleges are a uniquely American invention — one that creates equality and drives our economy — and we should nurture it as such. As a nation, we are learning that we can only compete in a global knowledge economy with a diverse student population and workforce. It’s time to alter our policies to fit this reality. President Obama’s proposal for free community college is just the beginning of a critical conversation on a system that has too long been ignored.

Dr. Gail O. Mellow is president of LaGuardia Community College (of the City University of New York) and co-author of “Minding the Dream: The Process and Practice of the American Community College.”



Police officers honored for saving man’s life in LIC

| aaltamirano@queenscourier.com

Photo courtesy of Councilman Jimmy Van Bramer's office

Two local police officers were honored Thursday for their heroic actions that saved a life in Long Island City last month.

Police Officers William Caldarera and Corey Sarro of the 108th Precinct were given a proclamation on behalf of the City Council for saving the life of a 66-year-old man who was found motionless in front of LaGuardia Community College in December.

Councilman Jimmy Van Bramer, who was joined by Mayor Bill de Blasio, presented the honor to Caldarera and Sarro.

On Dec. 16, the officers saw a crowd of people gathering around a man lying motionless on the sidewalk in front of the college. Caldarera approached the elderly man and discovered he did not have a heartbeat and was not breathing.

Sarro then began to conduct chest compressions, while an ambulance was requested. Using a defibrillator provided by a public safety officer, Caldarera and Sarro attached the machine to the man’s chest, according to police. After a second shock, the man’s heartbeat returned and he began breathing again.

The man was taken to Elmhurst Hospital in stable condition.

Although both Caldarera and Sarro had experience with CPR while off duty, this incident was their first time having to use a defibrillator.

Both officers said it felt great once they were able to revive the man and get him to breathe again.

“There is really no feeling to describe it,” Sarro said at the time. “It was a relief to be able to save him.”


Sunnyside map updated to attract more visitors to neighborhood

| aaltamirano@queenscourier.com

Photo courtesy of Sunnyside Shines Business Improvement District

Navigating the streets of Sunnyside just got better.

The Sunnyside Shines Business Improvement District, in partnership with the Sunnyside Chamber of Commerce and LaGuardia Community College, has released this year’s updated map for the neighborhood.

The map features full-color illustrations and an updated business directory of Sunnyside. A total of 15,000 maps were printed and will be distributed at hotels in Long Island City, Sunnyside and Woodside, local businesses and real estate offices, and community events.

The introduction of this map is an effort to bring in new people to the neighborhood while also familiarizing new residents with the area.

“The Sunnyside map is a great piece to promote the neighborhood,” said Rachel Thieme, executive director of the Sunnyside Shines Business Improvement District. “I was glad to see how well it was received last year, and we are grateful [to our] local businesses for supporting it again this year.”

The map, which will be updated every year with a new business directory and is printed locally at Paper Plus Printing, was started last year following a design competition among students at LaGuardia Community College. The artwork featured on the map for both this year and last year belongs to former student Carmen Zhu.

“Like Sunnyside itself, [the map] is both retro and fresh, and a useful, free, tangible gift to visitors and residents in this era of all online resources,” said Rigoberto Cardoso, president of the Sunnyside Chamber of Commerce.


Obama’s call to make community college tuition free gets an A from Queens students

| ejankiewicz@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/Photo by Eric Jankiewicz

Students at Queensborough Community College are hopeful about a proposal that President Obama made to make community colleges free.

Samuel Yun, who goes to school full time and has to work a part-time job to help cover his costs, including tuition, was happy to hear the government may be picking up his college tab.

“That would totally help me,”  Yun, 20, said as he left his class at the Bayside campus. “It’s difficult for me because I’m taking six classes so it [holding down a job] gets in the way of me getting school things done on time.”

Obama unveiled the plan on Friday. It will need the approval of the Republican-controlled Congress to go into effect, but White House officials say they expect some bipartisan support.

If the whole country participates, Obama’s idea could help about 9 million students per year and save them around $3,800 in tuition, according to the White House. In Queens there are two community colleges — Queensborough Community College and LaGuardia Community College. Combined, the two schools have more than 30,000 students that would benefit from free tuition.

In Queensborough Community College, there are more than 16,000 students, according to the school’s records, enrolled in associate degree programs and another 10,000 students attend continuing education programs at Queensborough Community College, all of whom would be eligible for free tuition.

LaGuardia has a student body of more than 50,000 students from more than 150 countries.

“At LaGuardia we see the impact that a college education has on our students and their families,” said Gail Mellow, the school’s president. “Each year thousands of our students get the knowledge and skills they need to thrive in today’s economy.”

For Yun, he would be saving around $3,200, and the proposal would allow him to also quit his job as a waiter to focus on his dream of becoming a computer engineer.

Nearby, Isaac Masty, who just started his first semester, waited for his friends to finish class.

“If it gets passed, it would be a real boost for people coming from other countries,” the 18-year-old said. “Foreign students have such a hard time when they come here and if they were able to get a free start to their education, it would really go a long way for them.”


Arrest made in 2012 Queens murder of Long Island man

By Queens Courier Staff | editorial@queenscourier.com

File Photo

An arrest has been made more than two years after the shooting death of a 22-year-old Long Island man in Jamaica, police said.

Christian Euton was gunned down at 156th Street and 111th Avenue just after 11 p.m. on June 13, 2012, cops said.

The Valley Stream resident and LaGuardia Community College student had gotten out of his car to check for damage after running over a pothole when he was shot, relatives and police told Newsday at the time. His brother, who was in the car, told family that he saw two groups arguing nearby. One man in the group opened fire, and his brother was struck twice in the torso.

Lamell Ford, 33, of Jamaica, has been charged with second-degree murder and criminal possession of a weapon in Euton’s death, police said.


Police officers save man’s life in LIC

| aaltamirano@queenscourier.com

Photo courtesy of NYPD

For two police officers, a routine patrol in Long Island City on Tuesday turned into a moment of heroism.

Officers William Caldarera and Corey Sarro of the 108th Precinct saw a crowd of people gathering around a man lying motionless on the sidewalk in front of LaGuardia Community College, located at 29-10 Thomson Ave., cops said. Caldarera approached the 66-year-old man and discovered he did not have a heartbeat and was not breathing.

Sarro then began to conduct chest compressions, while an ambulance had been requested. Using a defibrillator provided by a public safety officer, Caldarera and Sarro attached the machine to the man’s chest, according to police. After a second shock, the man’s heartbeat returned and he resumed breathing.

Emergency personnel arrived at the scene and the man was taken to Elmhurst Hospital in critical but stable condition.

Although both Caldarera and Sarro had experience with CPR while off duty, this incident was their first time having to use a defibrillator.

Both officers said it felt great once they were able to revive the man and get him to breathe again.

“There is really no feeling to describe it,” Sarro said. “It was a relief to be able to save him.”


LaGuardia Community College breaks ground on library expansion

| aaltamirano@queenscourier.com

Photo courtesy of Councilman Jimmy Van Bramer's Office

LaGuardia Community College has launched a project that will give students at the Long Island City campus more room to conduct research and study.

Representatives of LaGuardia Community College and CUNY, as well as faculty and students, gathered on Dec. 5 to break ground on a project to renovate and expand the college’s library.

“LaGuardia Community College has a successful track record improving the lives and economic opportunities for countless sons and daughters of immigrants who continue to attend this world-class institution,” said Councilman Jimmy Van Bramer, who secured $2 million in funding for the library expansion. “Together with this significant investment we will ensure more students are given a state-of-the-art facility they need to enhance their academic experience.”

Van’s Bramer’s funding will help renovate, expand and modernize the library by creating an open plan allowing better access for students and faculty.

During the renovations, which are expected to be completed by the fall of 2016, 17,000 square feet of the library’s 31,000-square-foot first floor will be rebuilt and the remaining space will be upgraded.

Students and faculty will be able to walk through a new entrance into an open space where natural light will be allowed to shine into the building.

The renovation will expand the library to the E-Building’s second floor. The college’s Humanities Department was moved to the C-Building to make room for the expansion.

Rendering courtesy of LaGuardia Community College

Rendering courtesy of LaGuardia Community College

“We are excited to embark on the construction project that will expand the existing library space,” said Shahir Erfan, LaGuardia’s vice president of administration. “The new space will leverage architectural/engineering design to promote learning and student engagement and the technology upgrades will enhance the student experience.”

Among the upgrades and renovations are expanded circulation, reference and periodical areas. There will also be a new 1,600-square-foot information commons to help visitors access information with printed materials and technology. The library will also feature four brand-new 800-square-foot open study rooms and a 450-square-foot meeting room. Two new 1,200-square-foot  computer labs will be added to the current 750-square-foot lab.

“To us students, the library is our sanctuary, to study, do homework and be academically active,” said Katherine Gutierrez, a student at LaGuardia and Student Government Association governor of political awareness. “More books and more space is what we need. We have waited for this renovation, and it will provide us exactly that.”


Sunnyside BID encourages residents to ‘shop local’ for holidays

| aaltamirano@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/Photo by Angy Altamirano

On this year’s Small Business Saturday, one business improvement district is making sure residents keep it local.

The Sunnyside Shines BID is celebrating Small Business Saturday on Nov. 29 with a kickoff event in Bliss Plaza, one of two new pedestrian plazas under the elevated No. 7 train, and with the release of Sunnyside’s first-ever Shop Local Holiday Gift Guide.

“We really want people to reengage with the local businesses here in Sunnyside,” said Rachel Thieme, executive director of the BID. “There are just so many opportunities and we do have a good variety of retail [in Sunnyside] and we really wanted to highlight that in this guide and showcase that there are so many different types of ideas here.”

The guide, which was created in partnership with students at LaGuardia Community College, is a full-color, printed brochure that features holiday gift ideas from 22 local shops. Residents that live in the area the BID covers will receive the guides in the mail next week.

Czarinna Andres, owner of Bing’s Hallmark, located at 45-15 Greenpoint Ave., said she is delighted the holiday gift guide will help promote local businesses like her own.

Photos courtesy of Sunnyside Shines BID

Photos courtesy of Sunnyside Shines BID

“Every bit of publicity helps local businesses. Launching the gift guide on Small Business Saturday is a perfect way to make the community more aware of the importance of shopping locally,” Andres said.

Seda Bagdasarya, owner of the jewelry shop That’s Incredible at 45-21 Greenpoint Ave., also hopes this guide will help improve business and bring more customers.

“It’s going to be very good,” Bagdasarya said. “It could be very helpful for business and I hope it continues every year.”

The Small Business Saturday kickoff event will take place from noon to 1 p.m. at Bliss Plaza, located on Queens Boulevard and 46th Street. It will feature free giveaways including the guide and Small Business Saturday-branded tote bags, while supplies last. There will also be live music from the Sunnyside Social Club.

“Resources like the Sunnyside Shines Shop Local Holiday Gift are creative, important tools to help promote local businesses and engage residents as they start shopping for the holiday season,” said Maria Torres-Springer, commissioner of the city’s Department of Small Business Services, who encourages New Yorkers to shop locally this Small Business Saturday and beyond.

For more information, visit www.sunnysideshines.org.


LaGuardia Performing Arts Center photo exhibit to explore Muslim identity

By Queens Courier Staff | editorial@queenscourier.com

Photo courtesy of LaGuardia Community College


LaGuardia Community College is hosting the photography exhibit “Faces of Islam” at the LaGuardia Performing Arts Center from Nov. 13. The exhibit features more than 30 photographs of Muslims associated with the college: students, administrators, and their families and friends. The photographers took the images either for a class project or specifically for the exhibit.

The exhibit is part of “Beyond Sacred: Unthinking Muslim Identity,” a yearlong program of theater, dance, art exhibitions and public forums tailored toward spreading awareness and understanding about Islam in post-9/11 America. During the launch of the program in September, the center’s managing director Steven Hitt said that “Beyond Sacred” is “an exploration of Muslim identity through the lens of music, theater and dance that will open a dialogue among Muslim and non-Muslim communities, and will challenge the assumptions of group identity.”

The programming has five themes, titled “Beyond Sacred,” “Gender Sacred,” “Identity Sacred,” “Performing Sacred,” and “Beyond – Beyond Sacred.” Theatrical performances, music, dance, panel discussions and community forums will focus on each of these themes. Some of the highlights include a dance festival called “Leap of Faith,” a student production of the play “Bengal Tiger at the Baghdad Zoo,” and a Berber Film Festival presented by the Tazzla Institute for Cultural Diversity.

While the line-up is impressive, the organizers are determined that the programming will neither encourage nor insult Islam.


Traffic study released on site of fatal LIC accident

| aaltamirano@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/ Photo by Angy Altamirano

More than a year ago, 16-year-old Tenzin Drudak was fatally struck while on his way to school on Thomson Avenue. Now, LaGuardia Community College has released a traffic study on the highly congested roadway, to help prevent another life from being lost.

The comprehensive analysis was led by traffic engineering firm Philip Habib & Associates and recommends three changes be made to the corridor to improve safety for students and faculty.

The first change calls for the widening of sidewalks along Thomson Avenue by getting rid of one of the eastbound lanes, creating a buffer between vehicles and pedestrians.

The other suggestions are creating sidewalk bulb-outs, or curb extensions, and modifying current signal timing at select intersections.

The recommendations were decided after measuring hourly traffic volume and assessing signal timing, lane markings and curbside parking regulations. The firm also reviewed accident data from the city’s Department of Transportation (DOT).

Last July, the DOT redesigned Thomson and Skillman avenues by closing the slip ramp and making it illegal for vehicles to make left turns from Thomson onto Skillman Avenue. New signs and plastic markers to limit left turns from Thomson Avenue to 30th Street have also been installed.

There is also a brand new 550-square-foot pedestrian space at the intersection of 30th Street and Thomson Avenue, where Drudak was struck by a minivan. It is bordered by stone blocks, plastic markings and six planters.

Thomas Avenue brings in a large amount of pedestrian traffic with over 50,000 students and 2,500 faculty and staff from LaGuardia Community College, located on Thomson Avenue, and more than 2,000 students from five nearby high schools, according to Dr. Gail O. Mellow, president of LaGuardia Community College.

“For years, LaGuardia has been concerned about the pedestrian and vehicular safety of its students, faculty and staff,” Mellow said. “LaGuardia urges the city to rapidly make the necessary improvements for both pedestrian and vehicular safety by making modifications on Thomson Avenue, between Skillman Avenue and Van Dam Street.”



Astoria resident victim of alleged livery cab hit-and-run

| aaltamirano@queenscourier.com

Photos by Rich Feloni

Even playing it safe couldn’t keep Rich Feloni from becoming another hit-and-run victim.

Feloni was walking down Ditmars Boulevard toward the Q69 bus stop on his way to work Tuesday at about 8:50 a.m. when he was allegedly struck by a black livery cab on the corner of 45th Street.

The Astoria resident said that although he had the right of way, he still leaned forward to check on any incoming traffic. The cab, which Feloni believes was speeding and driving close to the parked cars on the street, then struck him as he was looking to the right and threw him off his feet.

“Even if I had the right of way I still leaned forward as precautionary measure. Next thing I know I’m getting whipped to my left and I see this car just making contact with me,” Feloni said. “It was just very reckless driving. This guy was going much faster than any car is driving in the morning.”

While on the floor, Feloni said the traffic light remained red and he noticed the cab slowed down. However, once he stood up, with help from nearby concerned pedestrians, the cab allegedly sped away from the scene.

A man who helped Feloni to his feet was able to jot down four numbers of the driver’s license plate and shared it with police.

Feloni was then taken to Mount Sinai Queens with a fractured ankle and abrasions on his face.

“I tried to be more precautionary, with all these crazy stories you hear,” Feloni said. “I’m glad I even paused.”

Police information was pending as of Wednesday afternoon.

Although The Courier cannot confirm that the cab driver was speeding when Feloni was allegedly struck, the city’s Taxi and Limousine Commission (TLC) announced it is currently exploring anti-speeding technology as part of Mayor Bill de Blasio’s Vision Zero’s goal of zero traffic fatalities.

The TLC is looking at speed governors, also known as mandatory or intervention systems, and other advisory systems that alert drivers when they are going over the speed limit, driving while fatigued or driving recklessly.

A Vision Zero Town Hall meeting has also been scheduled for Wednesday, April 23, in Long Island City at LaGuardia Community College, 31-10 Thomson Ave.



Small business advocates push for new Queens development center

| mchan@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/Photo by Melissa Chan

Queens needs another small business development center, but one with flexible hours staffed with “culturally competent” workers, advocates and lawmakers said Tuesday. 

The borough currently has two heavily-used centers, one in Long Island City’s LaGuardia Community College and another in Jamaica’s York College.

Advisers give free consultations and offer low-cost training at the centers, which are partially funded by federal Small Business Administration (SBA) funds.

But minority and immigrant owners struggle too much with language barriers at the existing sites to benefit from the services, small business owners and advocates said. And conflicting work hours are a huge deterrent.

“These centers run regular hours. But when you’re a business, you work 80 hours a week,” said Bill Imada, co-founder of the Asian Pacific Islander American Chamber of Commerce.

Imada and a panel of small business advocates urged the SBA to fix its outreach to minority owners during a Congressional Subcommittee on Contracting and Workforce hearing held at Queens College.

Local shop owners and Congressmember Grace Meng, who held the rare field hearing, said underserved areas like Flushing need help from staff members who speak mostly Chinese, Korean and Spanish.

“The other locations are very inconvenient for us in Flushing,” said Zhejiang Chamber of Commerce President Howard Dai. “It would give small business owners easier access, and information would spread word of mouth.”

Businesses can shut down when its owners, seeking aid, are turned away due to bad translations, said Joyce Moy, the executive director of the Asian and Asian-American Research Institute at CUNY.

“A third center in Queens, particularly with Asian and Hispanic language capacities, is urgently needed,” Moy said. “Without competence in culture, language and technical support, all of this outreach is nothing but false promises.”

The SBA’s acting chief of staff, Michele Chang, said the administration would implement more training and urged business owners to get virtual help using the SBA’s online learning center.

“We understand that being a small business owner is a hard job,” Chang said. “You work all hours of the day. It’s your lifeblood.”