Tag Archives: The Doe Fund

Instagram account focuses on trash problem in Astoria


| aaltamirano@queenscourier.com

Photos courtesy of Astoria Trash

One Astoria resident is getting a snapshot of what some have called an ongoing problem in the neighborhood.

What started first as a joke in July after the Astorian, who wishes to remain anonymous, noticed she had too many photos of trash on her phone has now become an Instagram account with 111 followers featuring “interesting trash” found on the streets of the western Queens neighborhood.

“Once you start looking for trash in this neighborhood you find a lot,” she said. “It’s not meant to be down on Astoria, it’s just a fun way to show there is a problem.”

The Instagram account called “astoriatrash” includes photos taken by the Astoria local and also submissions from neighbors and other residents, making it what she calls “a community effort.”

Calling herself the “Gossip Girl of trash,” she fills each post on the account with fun captions and hashtags. She said she also likes to try to make some posts holiday themed.

She added that she has become more selective with the photos she posts, trying to find “interesting” or “beautiful” trash.

Councilman Costa Constantinides, who since taking office in January has made keeping Astoria clean a top priority, said he is happy to see a community member spreading awareness of the issue in the neighborhood.

The councilman has allocated over $170,000 in discretionary funding to bring The Doe Fund to Astoria, allocated $30,000 for graffiti removal along business thoroughfares and participated in numerous park clean-ups across Astoria.

“I applaud Astoria residents who care about their community and about how our neighborhood looks. As part of our ongoing public awareness campaign to Keep Astoria Clean, we have encouraged participation from residents,” Constantinides said. “It is heartening to see community members like @astoriatrash play a role in spreading this awareness. I hope more people will be encouraged to help Keep Astoria Clean.”

The Astoria local behind the account, who also started a Twitter account to drive attention to the Instagram, said that some of the problems include a scarcity of trash cans in the neighborhood and a lot of people just throwing trash on the ground.

Although it would be bittersweet to no longer have trash to include on the Instagram, she hopes the problem will be solved.

“As long as there is trash in Astoria, I’ll keep posting,” she said. “But I hope the trash problem is fixed in the community.”

For photos, visit instagram.com/astoriatrash or @astoriatrash on Twitter.

To send photos and tips email realastoriatrash@gmail.com.

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Street cleaning initiative expands to Dutch Kills


| aaltamirano@queenscourier.com

Photo courtesy of Councilman Jimmy Van Bramer's office

More streets of western Queens will continue to shine as The Doe Fund expands into Dutch Kills.

The move into the Long Island City neighborhood comes a month after it was announced the nonprofit organization’s reach would be expanding to other areas of Long Island City and Hunters Point, and would also be remaining in Woodside.

The Doe Fund, which employs recently homeless or formerly incarcerated people as part of its Ready, Willing and Able transitional work program, will keep the sidewalks clean and clear corner trash cans on 36th Avenue from 27th to 36th streets.

Two workers will be on-site two days per week from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.

“We continue to tackle the issue of street cleanliness head-on,” said Councilman Jimmy Van Bramer who secured $33,000 to begin The Doe Fund program in Dutch Kills. “The maintenance of our commercial corridors and residential streets is a top priority for me.”

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The Doe Fund to help clean more Astoria streets


| aaltamirano@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/ Photos by Angy Altamirano

More Astoria streets are getting cleaner thanks to the “men in blue.”

After hearing positive feedback from residents and business owners, The Doe Fund, which was initially brought to the western Queens neighborhood in April, will now expand street sweeping services to Steinway Street, Newtown Road, Ditmars Boulevard and 23rd Avenue, Councilman Costa Constantinides announced Thursday.

“This will be a boon to residents and small business owners across Astoria. The ‘men in blue’ will continue to provide reinforcements and additional resources to help keep Astoria clean,” said Constantinides, who has allocated over $130,000 for street sweeping by The Doe Fund as part of the new city-wide initiative Clean NYC.

The nonprofit organization, which employs recently homeless or formerly incarcerated people as part of its Ready, Willing, and Able transitional work program, was keeping the sidewalks clean and clearing the corner trash cans along 30th Avenue, Broadway and 31st Street.

“This program will increase the quality of life in Astoria, that’s the most important. Clean the street, find new jobs and community come together to be concerned about the quality of life,” said Ahmed Jamil, president of the Muslim American Society. “At the end of the day [before] you [saw] the garbage on the streets and you now don’t see it anymore.”

Although the Department of Sanitation collects trash from corner trash cans once per day in Astoria, the expansion of The Doe Fund helps alleviate the trash and littered streets which have previously caused problems in the neighborhood, such as sidewalk accessibility and shopping issues, according to Constantinides.

“The Doe Fund, combined with community street and graffiti clean-ups, will continue to make a difference in our district and across the city,” said Constantinides, who has also allocated $30,000 in funding for graffiti removal services. “Clean streets and buildings make our neighborhood more enjoyable and inviting—a win for everyone.”

 

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The Doe Fund to help clean up Myrtle, Grand avenues


By Queens Courier Staff | editorial@queenscourier.com

Photo courtesy of Councilwoman Elizabeth Crowley's Office

CHRIS BUMBACA

In an effort to beautify Queens and support job growth within District 30, Councilwoman Elizabeth Crowley and The Doe Fund announced on Thursday discretionary budget funding of The Doe Fund’s Ready, Willing & Able program.

The Fund’s president and founder, George McDonald as well as other local community leaders, were also on hand for the announcement. The Doe Fund’s workers, men who were formerly incarcerated or homelessness, will take part in this year-long transitional program, and service streets and sidewalks along Myrtle and Grand avenues in communities such as Glendale, Ridgewood and Maspeth, improving cleanliness and safety throughout the community.

Crowley acquired $61,800 in funding in the current budget to fund these street-cleaning crews.

“I’m so thrilled to welcome The Doe Fund to District 30. Myrtle and Grand Avenues have been major sources of sanitation complaints for years, but thanks to The Doe Fund, residents and business owners along these commercial corridors will begin to see a big difference almost immediately,” Crowley, who also serves as Chair of the Committee on Fire and Criminal Justice, said. “This program is win-win: keeping our community clean, while simultaneously providing jobs, education, and career development services for hardworking New Yorkers trying to turn their lives around and make a positive impact.”

The crews will pick up litter and clean trash on Myrtle Avenue from Cooper Avenue to Fresh Pond Road and on Grand Avenue from 61st to 74th streets, three days a week for the next year. Clean-up on Myrtle Avenue began on July 15, and crews began cleaning Grand Avenue on July 15.

“We’re grateful and proud to join Councilmember Crowley in her commitment to her district and the vibrant communities in it,” McDonald said. “By choosing The Doe Fund’s ‘men in blue’ to service Myrtle Avenue and the surrounding area, Ms. Crowley is leading by example, providing our men the opportunity and work they need to transform their lives, while improving the cleanliness and safety of the district’s streets.”

“This is only the beginning, and I look forward to expanding this program over the next several years,” Crowley added.

 

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Grocery mogul Catsimatidis announces run for mayor


| tcullen@queenscourier.com

Photo courtesy of Facebook/.johncatsimatidis2013.com

It’s getting crowded.

The Republican race for the mayor’s office tallied another candidate on Tuesday when John A. Catsimatidis announced he was running for the hotly contested position.

Catsimatidis, owner, president and CEO of grocery chain Red Apple Group, parent company of Gristedes, announced his candidacy on the steps of City Hall and promised to represent all New Yorkers, in every borough, if elected. His platform is based on strengthening the school system, better public safety and tax relief for the middle class.

“I want to be a mayor for all the neighborhoods of our great city,” he said in a campaign statement. “For Richmond Hill and Flushing, for Canarsie and Williamsbridge, for Harlem and for Wall Street for Riverdale and Throgs Neck and for Tottenville and New Dorp. I want to be a mayor who fairly represents all New Yorkers whether you are a cab driver from South Asia, a bodega owner from the Caribbean or an aspiring actor from the Midwest.”

The produce magnate is one of the few candidates from either party who has not spent the bulk of his career in public service. His main Republican opponent, former MTA chair Joe Lhota, was a budget director and then deputy mayor for former Mayor Rudoplh Guiliani. He’s also facing philanthropist George McDonald, chair of the homeless aid group, The Doe Fund.

“Unlike many of my opponents are who professional politicians and products of the cronyism of the political club house,” Catsimatidis said, “I come to this race as an independent businessman who will offer commonsense solutions to the problems that affect New York.”

Catsimatidis, 64, has a net worth of $3 billion as of last September, according to Forbes, and is ranked 132 in the magazine’s list of the 400 richest Americans.

Queens Republican chair Phil Ragusa said while the party has not officially endorsed a candidate, Catsimatidis has had support in the party based on his initiative to create jobs and fight for residents’ rights.

Photo: Twitter/@JCats2013

 

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Post: Doe Fund founder to announce GOP mayoral run Thursday


| tcullen@queenscourier.com

George McDonald, an advocate for the homeless, is gearing up to run for mayor as a Republican, the New York Post is reporting.

McDonald, who according to The Post paid himself nearly $500,000 in 2011, is joining what is shaping out to be an unexpected Republican primary for City Hall. He is expected to make his formal announcement at Grand Central Terminal this Thursday.

Former MTA Chair Joseph Lhota is expected to make his official bid later this month, after stepping down on December 31 to explore a run for mayor. Lhota served as a budget director and deputy mayor during the Giuliani Administration. He is expected to have the full backing of “America’s Mayor.”

McDonald heads The Doe Fund, established in 1985 to help homeless men and women get back to work and on their feet.

The Daily News reported in August that McDonald was entertaining the idea of the run – but little came from the news. He’ll also join potentials like John Catsimatidis, a grocery chain store owner, and former Bronx Borough President Adolfo Carrión as the best Republican candidate.

Whoever wins the race could face one of several Democrats vying for City Hall. This includes City Council Speaker Christine Quinn; Public Advocate Bill de Blasio; Comptroller John Lui; and former Comptroller and 2009 mayoral candidate Bill Thompson.

Despite an overwhelmingly Democratic City Council, the Republicans have virtually held the Mayor’s Office for 20 years. Giuliani won in 1993 and 1997; Mayor Michael Bloomberg won as a Republican in 2001 and 2005 before running as an independent in 2009.