Assemblywoman Margaret Markey...
I am pleased to report on some of my recent activity on behalf of the people of the 30th Assembly District.
Even in these challenging times for our city and state, our community institutions, cultural organizations and civic groups continue to work hard to preserve the quality of life in our neighborhoods and to ensure that our community traditions remain alive. The work these groups do is the reason why I put such a high priority on support for the vital network of local non-profits.
In this newsletter I take the opportunity to profile several of the effective organizations I have supported over my years in the Legislature.
They are representative of the good work done by many dozens of other non-profits throughout Queens. Often working on a shoe-string budget and sustained by committed volunteer leaders and boards, they deserve the thanks of all of us for their important work.
55-19 69th Street
Maspeth, New York 11378
Room 654 LOB
Albany, New York 12248
The community partnership that has meant cleaner streets for Grand Avenue shoppers and businesses on Maspeth’s “main street” will continue into the fall.
The good news comes as the Maspeth Chamber of Commerce, with additional support from Maspeth Federal Saving Bank, has stepped up to continue the services of the Doe Fund and its Ready, Willing & Able program in Maspeth.
This initiative, which was supported by state funding I provided for the first half of the year, brings an important business boost to local merchants and has resulted in cleaner streets and sidewalks along Grand Avenue and 69th Street since 2008.
The Doe Fund’s street maintenance program provides supplemental sanitation and services to improve the environment, enhance the shopping experience and boost business for local merchants. Not only do Doe Fund workers sweep the sidewalks and street corners, but they also remove unsightly posters and flyers, remove graffiti, and paint lamp posts, mail boxes, fire hydrants and other street furniture. Coverage area includes Grand Avenue from 64th-73rd Sts. and 69th St. from Grand to 55th St.
New voting system coming to your polling place
I sponsored demonstrations over recent weeks to help familiarize voters with the new system. Here we are at Woodside Senior Center.
Some just listened, others danced, but everyone had a great evening as my summer concert series continued in five neighborhood parks this past summer. I was pleased to bring this entertainment to residents of Boulevard Gardens, Sunnyside Gardens, Big Six Towers and neighbors around Windmuller Park and Frontera Park in Woodside and Maspeth.
Year after year, we seem to be fighting the same battle at budget time as the City threatens to balance its budget by shutting down vital Fire Department services. We beat back the threat again in June when the entire community and its representatives rallied to save Ladder Company 116 in Dutch Kills.
Closing firehouses anywhere in the city makes no sense after we saw the threat in Times Square earlier this year. Here in Queens, the Fire Department made a mistake when it closed down our Engine Company 261 on 29th Street in Dutch Kills. We still need to fix that mistake by restoring 261.
Public safety should never be a budget issue. Instead of talking about shutting down fire companies in western Queens, we should be talking about adding new ones because of the major changes taking place in Dutch Kills and Long Island City as the population continues to grow. In addition to a strong residential community with homes and schools and churches, we have an expanding business center at Queens Plaza. There are a dozen or more new hotels in the area — and a vital cultural hub brings thousands of people here who expect to work and play in security.
During my years in the Assembly, I have made it my highest priority to provide state support for local Queens organizations who are doing vital work for their neighbors in need and helping the quality of life in our communities.
In this edition of my fall newsletter, I want to profile a handful of diverse organizations that represent the many dozens of similar groups that work tirelessly day in and day out for the people of Western Queens. I salute these six and all of the others for their dedication and commitment.
The Central Astoria Local Development Coalition has been working on neighborhood preservation in northwestern Queens since 1979, organizing and leading activities that have promoted neighborhood improvement and community activities. I am pleased to have provided state assistance for the group’s work since 2003.
Founded by the late Julie Wager, the group has been led by President George Stamatiades for many years. He is backed up by a Board of Directors that represents business associations, civic organizations and individual businesses in the region. Marie Torniali is the dedicated Executive Director.
The Coalition carries out its work through government and privately funded programs that assist and advocate for business organizations, tenants and owners of small residential buildings.
Housing services for residents of its service area target individuals with fixed, low, or moderate income as well as seniors and immigrants. For the business community, the Coalition works with some 1000 retailers on Steinway Street, Broadway, 30th Avenue and 36th Avenue, providing support and technical assistance including help with special events, marketing, graffiti removal, streetscape improvements, and crime prevention programs.
The Coalition also brings cultural enrichment to residents of northwestern Queens, highlighted by its annual waterfront concert series in Astoria Park including the annual spectacular Independence Day fireworks enjoyed by thousands. For information call 718-728-7820.
I am proud to have led the neighborhood coalition that saved the abandoned old building on 72nd Street, which the community now knows as Maspeth Town Hall. This historic one-time schoolhouse has found a new life as a thriving community center and now serves thousands of Maspeth families every year.
There are free concerts, a summer camp, toddler and pre-school groups and classes and workshops for every age. There are classes and activities for children, teens, adults and seniors, whether your interest is in exercise and calisthenics or learning painting, Tai-Chi, Yoga, or just playing bingo, there are programs for children, teens, adults and seniors.
Under the leadership of Executive Director Eileen Reilly and a dedicated Board of Directors headed by Madeline LaFaunce, the array of activities is supported by committed volunteers who help with programming and a local business and civic community that supports Town Hall through fundraising activities that include a fashion show, Christmas events, an annual Irish celebration and the June Carousel. For more information call 718-335-6049.
POMOC is often the first stop for Polish immigrants who arrive in Maspeth and Queens where the Polish population is only second in size to neighboring Greenpoint. I am proud to have supported the services provided by this hard-working organization since 1999.
Led by Executive Director Ewa Kornacka, this Maspeth-based human services organization helps the thousands of Polish-speaking immigrants who have come to America over recent years adjust to life and living in New York. Leslie Orlovsky is President of the POMOC Board of Directors.
The organization’s services include help navigating the basics of housing, education and entitlements as well as such basics as classes in English, daycare and citizenship help and the many other accessible help services that make life a little easier for newcomers.
POMOC assists both long-time residents who unexpectedly find themselves in need as well as low-income families and others who need counseling about employment, entitlements and such emergency support as food for needy clients. It also sponsors legal awareness clinics.
With the help of government funding and private organizations, POMOC also organizes health fairs, provides emergency and holiday food assistance, helps arrange transportation to medical visits for seniors, and offers assistance in a wide variety of forms to both Polish immigrants and local Maspeth seniors. Call 326-9098 for more information.
SHAREing & CAREing is a non-profit community-based organization headquartered in Astoria that provides breast health outreach, education, support and advocacy services for medically under-served and uninsured women in Queens and throughout the city, It is an organization I am pleased to have supported since 2008.
Led by President Anna Kril and backed by active Executive and Advisory Boards, SHAREing & CAREing encourages early detection and treatment by providing information for women and their families about living with the effects of cancer. Its free support services are delivered through partnerships with community health providers by hosting lectures and educational forums in the community as well as offering patient guidance, group and individual counseling and other services.
The organization is focused on all women’s health issues providing health symposiums to educate and to take preventive actions for their well-being, serving those of high school age through senior years. Based in a multicultural community, the group offers services not only in English, but also in Spanish, Greek, Ukrainian, and Italian.
The founder and Executive Board members of SHAREing & CAREing are breast cancer survivors and first generation Americans who are bilingual and represent the multi-ethnic fabric of communities in Queens. For more information call 718-777-5788.
Woodside on the Move
Woodside on the Move is a grassroots community organization that has been helping make Woodside a better place to live, work and do business for more than 30 years, and I am proud to provide state support for its work for more than 10 years.
Under the leadership of Executive Director Rosa Reyes and a diligent Board of Directors chaired by Heather Strafer, this group works with neighbors to preserve and enhance the quality of life in Woodside by advocating for community improvements, fighting displacement by working for more affordable housing, and enhancing community life through sponsorship of special events and performances, including a popular summer concert series in local parks, and seasonal street fairs. Its work also includes programs to further tenant advocacy, youth development and after school programs and senior services.
Creating economic opportunities for Woodside residents and local businesses is another high priority for Woodside on the Move. One forward-looking project of the organization is its Business Improvement District project, which is working to create a public/private partnership that will more effectively improve the physical environment of the commercial area, promote public awareness of the community as a place to live, shop and do business, and encourage local business expansion and development. For more information call 718-476-8449.