Michael Gianaris's Press releases

Senator Gianaris Joins PS/IS 78 Students for Class Elections in Long Island City

Senator Michael Gianaris joined PS/IS 78 students at their new state-of-the-art school building in Long Island City for the school’s annual class council elections. Senator Gianaris, who has attended PS/IS 78’s school elections for three years running, spoke to a packed auditorium of students about the value of democratic participation, and answered dozens of questions about what he does to improve the lives of western Queens residents.

December 17, 2014
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Senator Gianaris, Assemblywoman Simotas Secure Increased Property Tax Relief for Veterans

Senator Michael Gianaris and Assemblywoman Aravella Simotas joined community and veteran leaders and Senator Joe Addabbo, Ranking Member of the Senate Veterans Committee, to announce that their bill to provide increased property tax relief to veterans has been signed into law by Governor Andrew Cuomo, bringing our veterans property tax exemption into the 21st century by updating a decades-old benefit for those who have served our country. The bill will immediately raise the property tax exemption for veterans from $5,000 to $7,500, remedying the effects of inflation on a policy meant to make life easier for servicemen and women returning home.

December 17, 2014
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Senator Gianaris Statement on Passing of Luke Adams

Senator Michael Gianaris issued the following statement regarding the passing of Sunnyside icon Luke Adams.

"Luke Adams was a Sunnyside icon who dedicated his life to making his neighborhood a better place, and he will be deeply missed. May his memory be eternal," said Senator Gianaris.

December 17, 2014
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Senator Gianaris Welcomes Citibike to Western Queens

At a press conference with Department of Transportation Commissioner Polly Trottenberg, Alta Bike Share officials, and local leaders, Senator Michael Gianaris welcomed the city’s bike sharing program to western Queens. Senator Gianaris is especially proud that in addition to the blue bikes coming soon to Long Island City, Astoria and Sunnyside are included in future plans for expansion. Senator Gianaris has worked for years to bring Citibike to all of western Queens, and Astoria and Sunnyside in particular.

"Today brings welcome news for all of us who have fought so hard for years to bring bike share to western Queens. Areas like Long Island City, Astoria, Sunnyside and many more throughout the city are crying out for this program and I am thrilled that after so much uncertainty, we can declare that bikes will be here soon. I commend the DOT and Bikeshare Holdings for moving bike share forward and making it easier to get around our city in a fun and healthy way," said Senator Gianaris.

December 17, 2014
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Senator Gianaris Encourages Western Queens Residents to Apply for Hunter’s Point South Affordable Housing

As the affordable housing lottery for Hunter’s Point South opened up for applications, Senator Michael Gianaris encouraged residents of western Queens to apply.

“The addition of 925 permanently affordable housing units in our community is exciting, and I urge all western Queens residents to take advantage of this opportunity and apply. As more and more New Yorkers flock to our neighborhoods to live, work, and raise their families, it is vital that western Queens remains affordable, and the Hunter’s Point South development represents a major step in that direction. I wish all applicants the best of luck in this process,” said Senator Gianaris.

December 17, 2014
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Senator Gianaris Applauds $25 Million Federal TIGER Grant for Vision Zero in NYC

(Astoria, NY) Senator Michael Gianaris is thrilled the United States Department of Transportation granted New York City’s request for a $25 million Transportation Investment Generating Economic Recovery (TIGER) Grant to help make Vision Zero a reality. Included among the beneficiary schools of the funding are local schools PS 199 in Long Island City and PS 239 in Ridgewood. Senator Gianaris, an early and avid supporter of Mayor de Blasio’s Vision Zero agenda, wrote a letter of support for the grant application in April and looks forward to new traffic safety improvements coming to Queens, particularly in school zones. 

“This TIGER grant money is great news for all of us who believe in Vision Zero,” said Senator Gianaris. “I have worked with DOT on countless traffic safety initiatives and am encouraged to see the Federal Government recognize the worthiness of our cause. This grant money will immediately go towards implementing desperately needed traffic safety measures, including at schools in Long Island City, Ridgewood and Woodhaven.”

October 10, 2014
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Senator Gianaris Statement on Possible Citibike Deal

Senator Michael Gianaris released the following statement regarding a possible deal to revive and expand Citibike.

"As news of a possible deal to revive and expand Citibike inches closer to becoming a reality, I renew my commitment to fighting for the inclusion of our neighborhoods in this innovative program. As a result of our hard work since bike share's debut, the DOT promised to include Astoria, Long Island City and Sunnyside in the next phases of expansion. I will work to ensure that those promises are kept no matter the details of any coming deal. Western Queens remains home to some of the most bike friendly neighborhoods in the city, and some of the most underserved by mass transit, making our community perfect for Citibike," said Senator Gianaris.

August 15, 2014
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Senator Gianaris Statement on Governor Cuomo Signing Queens Library Reform Into Law

Senator Michael Gianaris released the following statement in light of Governor Cuomo signing the Gianaris/Aubry Queens Library Reform Bill (S.6893-B) into law.

June 26, 2014
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Gianaris/Aubry Library Reform Bill Passes Senate With Overwhelming Support

(Albany, NY) Senator Michael Gianaris hailed the Senate passage of the Gianaris/Aubry Queens Library Reform Bill (S.6893-B), which will now move to the desk of Governor Cuomo, who is expected to sign the bill into law.

“I am thrilled the Senate so overwhelmingly passed my bill and look forward to it becoming law so we can end the abuses that plagued our library system,” said Senator Gianaris. “Once enacted, my bill will rein in the excesses revealed in recent reports and provide a long-term blueprint for an efficient, transparent and accountable library system of which every Queens resident can be proud. I am thankful for  the way just about everyone in Queens came together to fight for these much-needed reforms, which says a lot about our borough’s desire for transparency and accountability when it comes to public funds.”

June 20, 2014
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Senator Gianaris Announces Major Step Forward in Poletti Power Plant Deconstruction

 (Astoria, NY) Senator Michael Gianaris took pride in announcing a major step forward in the deconstruction of the Charles Poletti Power Plant in Astoria. For the first time in recent memory, smokestacks have been eliminated from western Queens after the New York Power Authority (NYPA) has removed the second of the power plant’s two smokestacks, as deconstruction of the entire facility continues. The deconstruction of the aging, inefficient and less clean power plant, which used outdated technology from the 1970s, is the result of an agreement between the community and NYPA reached after years of tireless work by Senator Gianaris, Queens leaders and community groups.

“The smokestacks of the Poletti power plant were symbols of the pollution that haunted our neighborhood for too long, and I am happy to see them go,” said Senator Gianaris. “The progress we have made improving our air quality is a key reason so many New Yorkers are coming to western Queens to live and work. More remains to be done in terms of rooting out pollution, but the deconstruction of the Poletti plant is a major milestone in taking our neighborhoods from being plagued by smokestacks to the family-friendly communities full of green space and parks to which we aspire.”

May 19, 2014
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Senator Gianaris, Western Queens Leaders Urge MTA to Adopt Q103 Increase Plan

(Astoria, NY) Senator Michael Gianaris, elected officials, and cultural institutions from Astoria and Long Island City urged the MTA to adopt a proposed plan under consideration at its Monday meeting that would institute increased service on the Q103 Bus line. Under this plan the Q103, which connects the two Queens waterfront neighborhoods along Vernon Boulevard, would see expanded weekday service hours and would finally run on weekends thanks to an MTA trial program that would begin in June. The plan, long advocated by local leaders, still requires final approval from the New York City Transit and Bus Committee of the MTA Board on Monday April 28th.  

“At long last, weekend service on the Q103 bus line is in sight,” said Senator Gianaris. “I urge the MTA to approve this service increase and recognize that our community’s need for better mass transit is pressing. The need for more public transportation in our area will only continue to grow, especially on weekends, as more people flock to our waterfront to visit our restaurants, parks, and cultural institutions. Astoria and Long Island City have become hubs for the arts, and New Yorkers should finally be able to travel between them on the Vernon Boulevard bus lines on Saturdays and Sundays.”

May 19, 2014
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Senator Gianaris Seeks Nominees for Veteran’s Hall of Fame

(Queens, NY) Senator Michael Gianaris invited local residents to nominate veterans from the community whose service on behalf of our nation warrants induction into the New York State Veteran’s Hall of Fame.

This online Hall of Fame is designed to pay tribute to New Yorkers whose gallantry in the U.S. Armed Forces is complemented by service to their communities.

“Each year one of the greatest privileges I have as a member of the New York State Senate is to honor a member of my community who has not only served our nation but returned home and worked to improve the lives of our neighbors,” said Senator Gianaris. “Though all of us are eternally grateful to our nation’s veterans, the Veteran’s Hall of Fame allows us to say a special thank you, and I urge anyone with a veteran in mind to come forward with a nomination.”

April 14, 2014
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Mayor de Blasio Takes Up Senator Gianaris’ Call to Crack Down on Suspended License Drivers

Following the release of Mayor Bill de Blasio’s Vision Zero Report, Senator Michael Gianaris issued the following statement in support of the Mayor’s Vision Zero efforts.

“I am pleased Mayor de Blasio’s Vision Zero Report includes support for my bill to increase penalties on suspended and unlicensed drivers,” said Senator Gianaris. “Too many lives are needlessly lost at the hands of reckless drivers who should not be on our streets. I look forward to working with the Mayor to make our streets safer for all New Yorkers.”

March 26, 2014
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Senator Gianaris, Senate Dems Demand Action on Minimum Wage

(Albany, NY) Senator Michael Gianaris joined Senator Andrea Stewart-Cousins and the Senate Democratic Conference in announcing a legislative package that would ensure better pay for hardworking New Yorkers. Senator Gianaris, Deputy Leader of the Senate Democrats, co-sponsored three bills that would enable local governments to raise the minimum wage in their localities and expedite an increase of the state’s minimum wage.

“Hard working New Yorkers deserve a wage that allows them to provide for their families,” said Senator Gianaris. “Last year’s minimum wage increase was too low and too slow. There is no reason to delay these measures and I call for immediate action to ensure that New Yorkers earn a fair wage as soon as possible.”

March 26, 2014
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Senator Gianaris, Markey, Crowley Renew Call for Suspended License Driver Crackdown After Another Deadly Crash in Queens

(Maspeth, Queens) In the wake of yet another deadly crash in Queens involving a driver with a suspended license, Senator Michael Gianaris brought together elected officials, community groups and transportation safety advocates to push for swift passage of his legislation cracking down on chronically reckless drivers with suspended licenses. This renewed effort followed the tragic death of Angela Hurtado, who was on her way to play bingo when she was killed by a driver with a suspended license making an illegal turn.

Days after a crash involving a truck driver with a suspended license tragically took the life of an 8 year old in Woodside, Senator Michael Gianaris introduced legislation that would make it a felony for drivers who drive with suspended licenses and kill or seriously injure someone in the process. A second bill would give law enforcement the authority to immediately impound the license plate of a vehicle being operated by someone with a suspended license.

“Noshat Nahian and Angela Hurtado are only the latest of many victims whose lives have been cut short by drivers who should not have been on the road in the first place,” said Senator Gianaris. “These are preventable tragedies. We need to enact these important proposals before any more lives are lost.”

January 30, 2014
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Senator Gianaris Fights 7 Train Closures

“Our fast-growing western Queens neighborhoods require increased mass transit options, not ones that are being slashed. The people of Long Island City and Sunnyside deserve better than 22 weekends of 7 train closures, and I will fight to ensure the MTA reduces weekend closures, improves local bus service, and increases transit alternatives like free shuttle bus service," said Senator Michael Gianaris. 

January 30, 2014
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Senator Gianaris Doubles Down on Traffic Safety Legislation In Support of Mayor de Blasio’s Vision Zero Efforts

At PS 152, surrounded by elected leaders, community activists, and the families of deadly car crash victims, Mayor Bill de Blasio laid out a plan to make our streets safer. In support of Mayor de Blasio’s efforts to reduce the number of traffic fatalities in our city to zero, Senator Michael Gianaris called for the swift passage of his legislation that would make it a felony for drivers who drive with suspended licenses and kill or seriously injure someone in the process.

Senator Gianaris proposed this bill, as well as one that would immediately impound the license plate of a vehicle being operated by someone with a suspended license, after a crash involving a truck driver with a suspended license tragically took the life of 8 year old Noshat Nahian while he was on his way to the Woodside school.

January 30, 2014
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Senator Gianaris Celebrates Thanksgiving by Helping Urban Upbound Provide Turkeys for Astoria Houses Residents

Senator Michael Gianaris was proud to lend a hand as Urban Upbound and local donors,  including the Greek-American Homeowners Association, provided hundreds of turkeys for residents of Astoria Houses. For years, Urban Upbound and Senator Gianaris have celebrated Thanksgiving by making it easier for those in need to enjoy the holidays with their families.

“There is no better way to celebrate Thanksgiving than by giving those in need the ability to celebrate the holiday with their loved ones. I thank Urban Upbound for making this event possible and wish everyone a Happy Thanksgiving,” said Senator Gianaris.

December 18, 2013
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Senator Gianaris, NAFCON, Red Cross Organize Typhoon Relief Efforts in Woodside's Little Manila

(Woodside, NY) Senator Michael Gianaris joined the American Red Cross, the National Alliance of Filipino Concerns (NAFCON) and Senator Toby Ann Stavisky at a community forum at the Bayanihan Filipino Community Center in Woodside. Woodside is home to a large Filipino neighborhood affectionately known as Little Manila.

Since the devastation of Typhoon Haiyan, Senator Gianaris has worked to aid the Filipino community in finding loved ones back home and organizing relief efforts. At the forum, Senator Gianaris, the Red Cross and NAFCON shared information on how all New Yorkers can help those affected by this catastrophic typhoon.   

“As New Yorkers, we take pride in the diversity of our neighborhoods, and we take pride in the thriving Filipino community in Woodside,” said Senator Gianaris. “In times of disaster we come together to recover and I am proud to see the recovery efforts already underway here in Queens. I will continue to work with NAFCON and the Red Cross to spearhead recovery efforts in our neighborhood, and I urge everyone to do what they can to help.”

December 18, 2013
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Senator Gianaris Earns High Marks on Environment

(Queens, NY) Senator Michael Gianaris, a leading environmentalist throughout his career in the State Legislature, earned high marks on an environmental scorecard published by EPL/Environmental Advocates. Senator Gianaris, along with several of his fellow Senate Democrats, was rated highest among all members of the New York State Senate.

December 18, 2013
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