Tag Archives: Queens Borough Hall

Borough Hall accepting school supply donations for children in shelters

| agiudice@ridgewoodtimes.com

Photo courtesy PropertyShark/Christopher Bride

As schools open up for another year of learning, Queens Borough President Melinda Katz is working to make sure all students, regardless of their living situation, have the necessary supplies to get the best education possible.

Katz has announced her office’s participation in the annual initiative organized by the Coalition for the Homeless called Project: Back to School, which donates backpacks and other school supplies such as No. 2 pencils, composition notebooks, pocket folders, calculators, 1-inch binders and colored pencils to schoolchildren living in homeless shelters.

“About 87,000 New York City schoolkids live in homeless shelters or temporary housing, and not a single school district is spared from this epidemic,” Katz said. “Every child deserves a strong start to the school year with proper supplies just like their fellow peer. We urge Queens residents to donate generously toward this drive, and encourage all residents to take advantage of various complimentary back-to-school giveaways throughout the borough in the coming weeks.”

Queens Borough Hall is accepting backpack and school supply donations between now through Sept. 18 in a drop-off box placed in the lobby, located at 120-55 Queens Blvd.

“School kids living in homeless shelters must contend with unimaginable levels of stress and hardship, and are at a tremendous disadvantage when trying to keep up with their housed peers in class,” said Dave Giffen, executive director of the Coalition for the Homeless. “We are so pleased to have Borough President Katz and the caring people of Queens involved in this year’s Project: Back to School. With nearly 24,000 children sleeping in homeless shelters tonight, it is so important that we do all we can to help these young kids achieve academically.”

Borough Hall is currently the only location in Queens where Project: Back to School donations are being collected. It is open Monday through Friday during business hours and can be reached by taking the E or F subway lines to the Kew Gardens-Union Turnpike station.

All donations dropped off at Queens Borough Hall are anonymous and are not tax-deductible.


Tour bus celebrating Americans with Disabilities Act stopping at Queens Borough Hall Monday

| aaltamirano@queenscourier.com

Photo courtesy of The ADA Legacy Project

A traveling exhibit – raising awareness and celebrating the 25th anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) — is rolling into Queens Monday afternoon.

The ADA Legacy Tour, which includes a “Road to Freedom” tour bus, a traveling exhibit displaying iconic photos from photographer Tom Olin and more information educating the public on disability rights, will stop at Queens Borough Hall between 2:30 and 5 p.m.

The traveling exhibit, which began last year, is produced by The ADA Legacy Project, Disability Rights Center, ADA National Network, and the Museum of disABILITY History.

Once the bus makes the stop, visitors will be able to learn about The ADA Legacy Project and its efforts to preserve disability history, celebrate disability milestones and educate the public. Visitors can also add their signatures to the ADA quilt and take part in giveaways, workshops and other programming.

In 1990 the ADA was signed into law, prohibiting discrimination based on disability – both mental and physical. The law also requires employers to provide reasonable accommodations to employees with disabilities, and imposes accessibility requirements on public accommodations.

In 2008 the ADA Amendments Act was signed into law, broadening the definition of “disability” to extend the law’s protection to a larger group of people.

Prior to the signing of the amendment act, the “Road to Freedom” tour bus was driven across the nation by Olin, known for his involvement in the disability rights movement, and sought to gather support for the ADA Amendments Act. In the end it garnered thousands of signatures calling on the amendment.

Monday’s Queens stop is one of four throughout New York City. Mayor Bill de Blasio earlier this month declared July as “Disability Pride Month” and on Sunday, the city also held its first-ever Disability Pride Parade in Manhattan.

“The Americans with Disabilities Act is one of the most important civil rights laws in history,” de Blasio said. “By designating July as Disability Pride Month, we are celebrating and commending the fierce advocacy of those who have fought for equal rights for decades and reaffirming our strong commitment to making New York City the most accessible city in the world.”


EXCLUSIVE: City’s first lady talks with The Courier about education, mental health

| rpozarycki@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/Photo by Liam La Guerre

Calling Queens “a model” of what New York City can be, the city’s first lady Chirlane McCray outlined her efforts to expand education and mental health programs in an exclusive interview with The Courier.

McCray sat down with Courier Publisher Victoria Schneps-Yunis following an open forum in Kew Gardens on mental health issues affecting Queens residents on Monday. She and her husband, Mayor Bill de Blasio, have made a concerted effort toward focusing on mental health issues and breaking down barriers preventing New Yorkers in need from obtaining access to appropriate care.

Providing residents with proper access to mental health services and other basic needs is essential to a healthy city both in mind and body, yet many New Yorkers have been deprived of them in recent years, according to McCray.

“Having the resources to have a roof over your head, access to food, clean air, arts, physical education, so many other things we consider common sense and basic, yet we take them away,” she said. “When you strip them away from a community, what do you expect to happen?”

McCray stressed the importance of the city not only providing basic services to its residents but also using programs to develop role models for the city’s youth.

“There are so many” mentoring programs “but we need more,” she said. “Through the Mayor’s Fund, we have instituted a youth employment center” powered through donations from local businesses which provide “jobs for young people.”

“But it’s not just jobs,” McCray added. “It’s internships and mentoring young people year-round. We’ve doubled the number of jobs since last year, and we want to do even more in the coming months.”

The city is also expanding its mental health resources through special clinics aimed at helping 62,000 students in need. The universal pre-kindergarten (UPK) also plays a critical role in a child’s mental health and long-term education, she noted.

“One of the reasons why pre-K is so important is to reach the children early,” McCray said. “We want children to be assessed, evaluated early because if they have challenges in the classroom, they’re not going to get the kind of education they need.”

The first lady also noted that the NYPD is receiving additional resources not just to tackle crime, but also to address the mental health needs of crime victims.

“We’ve actually put money into making sure that in every precinct, there will be someone trained in” handling domestic violence cases “and working with victims,” McCray said. “We’ve never had that before.”

This effort, she remarked, will help develop “a different kind of relationship” between the NYPD and the communities it serves.

The full interview can be viewed below.



Base of Civic Virtue statue to be restored, dedicated to women

| lguerre@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/Photo by Liam La Guerre. Documents via Department of Design and Construction.

Plans are set to begin soon to spruce up the former base of the controversial Triumph of Civic Virtue statue near Queens Borough Hall as a planted fountain.

The base, which has sat neglected for nearly three years after the statue atop was moved, will be restored and new plants, shrubs, trees, benches and lighting will be added to the site, according to plans by the Department of Design and Construction.

The city agency collected bids from construction companies until May 18 and is still reviewing the proposals.

A bronze plaque will also be added that will read, “This fountain plaza is dedicated to the women of Queens,” long after politicians, including disgraced former Congressman Anthony Weiner, and women’s rights activists condemned the statue as sexist.

The artwork by renowned sculptor Frederick William MacMonnies featured a naked Hercules — representing virtue — standing firm as mythical Sirens, which symbolized corruption, curled around his legs. The sculpture was intended to reflect virtue as a young man avoiding temptations of females, represented by the Sirens, so naturally feminists took issue with it.

In 2012, the statue was shipped to Brooklyn’s Green-Wood cemetery. It cost the city about $100,000 to renovate and move it, according to published reports.

It wasn’t the first time it was moved. The statue was originally at City Hall when it was completed in 1922, but in 1941, then-Mayor Fiorello LaGuardia moved it adjacent to Queens Borough Hall and mounted it on an existing classical fountain.

The statue did have many supporters though, including former Councilman Peter Vallone Jr. and Community Board 9. Some supporters wanted it returned to Queens.

However, restoring the fountain and dedicating it to women — without the return of the statue — has the support of Borough President Melinda Katz.

“The site will soon host a visible, meaningful tribute to the women of Queens and become a public space utilized and enjoyed by all,” a spokesperson for Katz said. “Once the winning bid is announced, we hope the vendor will begin expeditiously.”


IDNYC card center to pop up at Queens Borough Hall in June

By Queens Courier Staff | editorial@queenscourier.com

Photo courtesy PropertyShark/Christopher Bride

With the demand for IDNYC cards on a rise, Queens Borough President Melinda Katz announced Friday that Queens Borough Hall will become home to a pop-up enrollment center for the cards in June.

From June 2 through 16, the center will be located within Queens Borough Hall, located at 120-55 Queens Blvd. in Kew Gardens, and available by appointment to New York City residents 14 years and older, regardless of immigration status.

“From the ‘World’s Borough’ of 2.3 million residents of over 130 languages, we are pleased to offer Borough Hall as a temporary satellite location to help address the tremendous demand for IDNYC,” Katz said. “The IDNYC program has proven itself as an effective tool to ensure equal access to municipal services – from benefits at the culturals to parents visiting their kids at school – and we can’t register New Yorkers fast enough.”

An IDNYC card, which is free for all New Yorkers who apply before Dec. 31, is described as an accessible and secure document that allows residents to access city services and be granted admission to city buildings, such as schools. The card also served as a proof of identification and is an accepted form when opening a bank account at select financial institutions.

The cards, valid for five years from the date approved, can also be used at all three branches of the city’s public library system and can be used to get discounts and other benefits at museums and cultural institutions, pharmacies, fitness centers and entertainment venues.

“We are very excited about the extraordinary response of New Yorkers from Queens to the IDNYC program, and we thank Borough President Katz for taking the initiative of opening a pop-up enrollment center in Queens Borough Hall – we are thrilled to see our city government working together to make the IDNYC program as strong as it can be,” said the city’s Immigration Commissioner Nisha Agarwal.

All IDNYC applicants can make an appointment at Queens Borough Hall or at any other IDNYC Enrollment Center. Appointments can be made either by calling 311 or by clicking here.

Applicants are required to present proof of identity and residency in New York City. Many types of documents are accepted. For a list, click here.

Upon submitting an application, the IDNYC Card will be sent to the resident via regular mail.


Alternate side parking suspended for one week near Borough Hall

| ejankiewicz@queenscourier.com

Photo courtesy of the Department of Transportation

Alternate side parking will be suspended from Sept. 29 to Oct. 3 near Borough Hall in an effort to counter the increase in demand for parking after the municipal garage closed on Wednesday, according to a Department of Transportation (DOT) spokeswoman.

The parking garage, next to Borough Hall and the ever-busy Criminal Court building, held 400 cars and with its closing, drivers in the area have been forced to find parking on the street.

The suspension area is bordered by Union Turnpike on the north, Metropolitan Avenue on the southwest and Queens Boulevard and Main Street on the east.

The garage will be replaced with a surface lot for cars but, according to the DOT, no completion date has been announced.


Queens couples tie the knot on 11/12/13

| ctumola@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/Photos by Cristabelle Tumola

Love was in the numbers for several Queens couples who chose the popular sequential wedding date of 11/12/13 to tie the knot.

Jonathan Rosa, 24 and Dina Acevedo, 33, of Middle Village didn’t know Tuesday, November 12 was significant when they decided to get married on that day, but when they found out they were excited.

“It’s like lottery numbers,” said Acevedo.

The pair, who has been together for almost four years and got engaged in January 2012, had several family members along as they tied the knot Tuesday morning at Queens Borough Hall.

There is another bonus to getting married on the date, said the couple.

“I thought about it and it would be easy [to remember the anniversary],” said Rosa.

Alcides Mercado, 33, and Jessica Cruz, 32, another couple who got married at Queens Borough Hall that day, were planning their wedding for Friday, but decided to switch to November 12 after they found out about the date’s importance just a day earlier.

The Ridgewood pair have been together for 11 years and engaged for six years, but decided to finally get married in a simple ceremony at Queens Borough Hall because they want to buy a home soon.

Despite the practical reasons for the wedding and the last minute ceremony, they still found romance in the day.

“I think [the snow] gives a story to tell,” Cruz said about the day’s weather.

“I’m happy that it’s finally official,” she said.

Queens, and the rest of the country, is likely to see a sharp increase in marriages on November 12.

David’s Bridal estimated that more than 3,000 brides would marry on 11/12/13, a 722 percent increase when compared to last year.

“Iconic dates have become a trend in the United States, reaching new heights when over 65,000 couples tied the knot on 07/07/07,” said Brian Beitler, chief marketing officer for David’s Bridal. “11/12/13 is a sequential pattern, and we have learned that couples love dates that have patterns. The last consecutive series of the century will occur next year, 12/13/14. It falls on a Saturday, so we predict this date could reach record-breaking numbers.”



Electeds rally against relocation of Triumph of Civic Virtue to Brooklyn

By Queens Courier Staff | editorial@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/Photo by Liam La Guerre


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.”

Queens’ Morning Roundup

| ctumola@queenscourier.com


Monday: Partly cloudy. High of 82. Winds from the WNW at 5 to 10 mph. Monday night: Partly cloudy. Low of 72. Winds from the WSW at 5 to 10 mph.

EVENT of the DAY:  Movie Night in Astoria Park

Come see a free outdoor screening of the animated movie “Cars” at the Astoria Park Lawn. Click here for more info or to submit an event of your own

City crews cut down more cherry trees behind Queens Borough Hall, further angering environmentalists

The city took the axe to two dozen more cherry trees behind Queens Borough Hall on arborists’ advice, fanning the flames in a dispute between environmentalists and City Hall. Read more: NY Daily News

Middle Village residents, cemetery officials team up to clean up street

Middle village residents and organizers from All Faiths Cemetery joined hands Saturday to clean up a nearby neglected street and overgrown property. Read more: NY1

Congressional candidate Halloran on Israel trip

Republican Congressional candidate Dan Halloran is making a trip to Israel. The city councilmember is running in the Sixth Congressional District, which covers parts of Queens and has a large Jewish population. Read more: Wall Street Journal

Call for probe in jet ski JFK breach

The outraged head of the Port Authority police union today demanded an investigation into how a swamped jet skier was able to breach Kennedy Airport’s troubled $100 million security system. Read more: New York Post

Family of deranged man fatally shot by cops in Times Square upset over use deadly force

Relatives of the deranged knife-wielding man gunned down by cops in Times Square say they are upset about the NYPD’s use of deadly force in the confrontation. Read more: NY Daily News

New Yorkers celebrate the conclusion of the 2012 Olympic Games

The London Olympics are over. The flame was extinguished Sunday night at the end of the closing ceremony, signaling the end of 16 days of the games. Read More: CBS New York

Romney seeks distance from Ryan’s budget plans

In Paul Ryan’s high-energy debut as Republican vice presidential candidate, Mitt Romney made one thing clear: His ideas rule, not his running mate’s. “I have my budget plan,” he said, “And that’s the budget plan we’re going to run on.” Read more: AP

Queens’ Morning Roundup

| lguerre@queenscourier.com

EVENT of the DAY: Free Shakespeare in the Park: “Hamlet” 

Come enjoy a summer night with the Bard. Queens-based Hip to Hip Theatre Company presents a free performance of Shakespeare’s classic tragedy “Hamlet” at the Unisphere at Flushing Meadows.

[Click here for more info or submit your events]

Former Assemblyman Jimmy Meng charged with fraud 

Former State Assemblyman Jimmy Meng, the father of Congressional candidate Grace Meng, was charged with fraud Tuesday in an elaborate shakedown scheme. The Brooklyn U.S. Attorney’s Office said Jimmy Meng promised a person who was indicted on tax charges that he could help by bribing prosecutors in the Manhattan District Attorney’s office. Read more: [NY1] 

Elderly Queens woman: Doc’s bad op cost me vision in left eye

An elderly Queens woman is suing her doctor, claiming a botched cataract operation cost her the sight in her left eye. Evalyne Chedda, 70, went to Dr. Alina K. Stanciu’s office in Forest Hills on Jan 18, 2010 for the operation. Read more: [New York Post]

UPDATE: Local leaders charge city snubbing them on possible Triumph of Civic Virtue move  

Snubbed community leaders said they have yet to hear from city officials who are mulling a plan to move the long-neglected Triumph of Civic Virtue statue from its perch outside Queens Borough Hall. The controversial statue, which has raised the ire of some people for its imagery, also has strong supporters who have been lobbying the city unsuccessfully for years to get it cleaned and restored. Read more: [New York Daily News] 

 UPDATE: Results still out in contentious Bayside BID election, but so is Gregg Sullivan: source 

More than a week after the only contested BID election in the city, Bayside business owners aren’t quite sure who won the contentious race — but the writing appears to be on the wall for Gregg Sullivan. A vocal critic of the Bayside Village Business Improvement District’s board, Sullivan will likely not win the seat he was seeking, according to a source familiar with the organization’s bylaws. Read more: [New York Daily News] 

Queens’ Morning Roundup

| lguerre@queenscourier.com

morning roundup

EVENT of the DAY: A tale of two stadiums

Shea Stadium and Yankee Stadium disappear under “the slow precision of giant machinery whose operators’ hands were not unlike skilled surgeons choreographing a dinosaur ballet.” The exhibit shows the changing face of New York through the eyes and viewpoints of three photographers: Rich Scarpitta, Steve Spak and Rob Yasinac.

[Click here for more info or submit your events]

Police search for livery cab driver who allegedly tried to rape passenger 

Police are looking for a livery cab driver who allegedly tried to rape a passenger in Queens. They allege the driver followed the 20-year-old into her Astoria building after she got out of the cab Friday morning. Investigators said he grabbed her and tried to rape her. Read more: [NY1] 

City Board of Standards and Appeals green-lights large Mormon church in Flushing 

The Mormon church’s prayers to build a huge chapel in Flushing have been answered. The city Board of Standards and Appeals voted unanimously on Tuesday to approve construction of a church that is more than one-and-a-half times what is permitted under current zoning. The new chapel will be built on land owned by the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints at 145-13 33rd Ave. Read more: [New York Daily News] 

Secret plan would move the controversial Civic Virtue statue from Queens to Brooklyn 

The city has hatched a secret plan to move a controversial, crumbling public statue out of Queens and into Green-Wood Cemetery in Brooklyn, the Daily News has learned. The Triumph of Civic Virtue, which sits near Queens Borough Hall in Kew Gardens, has been both hailed as a priceless piece of public art worthy of restoration and derided as a sexist eyesore that should be trashed. Read more: [New York Daily News] 

City, federal gov’ts to work together to improve Jamaica Bay 

Nat Diaz visits Jamaica Bay often but he has other, less frequent visitors on his mind. “They’re not taking care of it,” he said. “They should be taking care of it a little more.” He’s not talking about just the city. It’s the federal government, too. Oversight of Jamaica Bay, its trails and beaches, are split between the two, which sometimes leads to, well, miscommunication. Read more: [NY1] 

JFK jet in laser scare 

A lunatic aimed a powerful laser beam at an airliner flying over Long Island on its way into JFK — sending the pilot to the hospital and endangering the lives of the 84 people aboard. The first officer on JetBlue Flight 657 from Syracuse was treated for injuries to both eyes after the blinding flash of light lit up the cockpit Sunday night — as the FBI and Suffolk cops hunted for the person responsible. He could face federal prison time. Read more: [New York Post] 

Queens Morning Roundup

| lguerre@queenscourier.com

DMV puts brakes on dealer 

A Queens used-car dealer will be driving off into the sunset — unless a judge overturns sanctions from the state Department of Motor Vehicles. Auto Palace of Woodside was hit with two rulings: One would suspend its business certificate for 90 days; the other would revoke it permanently. Read more: [New York Post]

Queens’ controversial Triumph of Civic Virtue monument could be in line for a long-delayed facelift.

A crumbling, controversial monument on the grounds of Queens Borough Hall may finally get a long-delayed facelift. The Triumph of Civic Virtue, which has courted legions of supporters and detractors for almost 100 years, has been fenced off. Read more: [New York Daily News] 

Wounded heroes in the family 

These brothers don’t run from trouble. The older brother of the NYPD cop who arrested a neighborhood punk yesterday despite two gunshot wounds took a bullet himself in 2006 while nabbing two bank robbers who tried to carjack him in Queens. Read more: [New York Post] 

TSA PO’d over plug outrage 

Now they’re electrified. One day after a dim-bulb worker caused chaos at JFK Airport by failing to notice a metal detector was unplugged, the TSA cracked down on its security screeners at the international aviation hub yesterday. Read more: [New York Post]