“I take special pride in participating in the annual Iftar Ramadan dinner in Astoria. Along with Assemblywoman Aravella Simotas and Councilman Costa Constantinides, I believe that the diversity of our neighborhood is something to be celebrated, and this event is a great example of what our community has to offer,” said Gianaris. “I thank the Queens Muslim community for allowing me to be a part of this special night and I look forward to continuing our work together on behalf of our community.”
Senator Michael Gianaris celebrated recent improvements in our transit system, saying, "The extension of the Q19 and the streamlining of the Q102 are welcome improvements for western Queens residents. Western Queens was hit hard by the drastic MTA service cuts of 2010, and I've fought since then to get the MTA to see that our growing community needs more public transit options, not less. I'm glad to see we are regaining some service we never should have lost, but even happier to see the MTA taking steps to keep up with our fast-growing neighborhoods."
Senator Michael Gianaris honored World War II veteran, Queensbridge resident and community fixture John D. Smith Sr. as an inductee into the New York State Senate Veteran’s Hall of Fame, which is designed to pay tribute to New Yorkers whose gallantry in the U.S. Armed Forces is complemented by service to their communities. Senator Gianaris presented Mr. Smith with a commemorative plaque at the Jacob A. Riis Neighborhood Settlement house in Queensbridge Houses.
(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.”
Following the news that the Steinway Mansion has been sold, Senator Gianaris told the TimesLedger that “the Steinway Mansion is an integral part of our neighborhood’s rich cultural history. Like many of my neighbors in Astoria, I hope that whoever made this purchase has an appreciation for the Steinway Mansion’s importance to the community and bearing that in mind, finds a way to allow public access to the neighborhood landmark.”
(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.”
Senator Gianaris applauded the State Liquor Authority's decision to deny an alcohol permit for the Knockdown Center following months of working with local residents to help voice their concerns over planned shows and concerts. "I am glad the SLA listened to our community and denied this application. The residents of Ridgewood and Maspeth deserve to have their questions answered and their concerns addressed before the Knockdown Center is ever granted a liquor license, and I thank the SLA for preserving the community's quality of life with this decision," said State Senator Michael Gianaris.
Senator Gianaris joined the Senate Democratic Conference in introducing a comprehensive ethics reform package with the goal of cleaning up Albany. Senator Gianaris, who sponsored a bill regarding campaign finance reform, said “for too long the voices of everyday New Yorkers and the candidates that seek to represent them have been drowned out by campaigns that rely on enormous donations from wealthy donors acting in their own best interests. To preserve the integrity of democracy in New York State campaign contribution limits must be dramatically reduced.”
(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.”
Mr. John D. Smith, Sr. is 86 years young and a long-time engaged and committed resident leader in the Queensbridge, Long Island City area. He is a veteran and a great-great-grand father who continues to serve as a role model for the generations that have followed him. He has been living in the New York City Housing Authority’s Queensbridge development for over 60 years.
Earth Day Poster Contest. This year we received many outstanding posters that exemplify the creativity of the young people in the 12th Senatorial District.
Each entry from my District displayed tremendous originality and vision as well as obvious concern for the ecological future of our communities and our state. I am proud of your work and that of your classmates, and encourage you to continue to study and learn more about the serious challenges that face our environment.
I am pleased to announce that the winner of the 2014 Earth Day Poster Contest from my District is:
(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.”
Following recent revelations regarding questionable spending and a lack of effective oversight at the Queens Borough Public Library, Borough President Melinda Katz, Senator Michael Gianaris and Assemblyman Jeffrion Aubry today announced they have crafted and introduced legislation to reform the operations of the Library’s Board of Trustees and improve the Library’s overall governance (A.9217/S.6893).
Senator Gianaris joined transit safety advocates and local leaders to enlist the public's help in tracking down a hit-and-run driver who took the life of Kumar Ragunath and fled the scene. Senator Gianaris also doubled down on his calls to improve traffic safety on Northern Boulevard and bring reckless drivers to justice.
Each year the residents of western Queens, and Long Island City in particular, wonder anxiously how many weekends the MTA will shut down the No. 7 train. In past years, the MTA did not even provide advance warning, adding insult to injury. All the prior notice in the world, however, cannot ease the pain of the 22 weekend closures we face in 2014.
Western Queens is home to the fastest-growing, most exciting neighborhoods in the five boroughs, and Long Island City continues to set the pace. People from all over flock here to live and raise their families, visit our wonderful cultural attractions, sample our world-class restaurants and enjoy our beautiful green spaces. Long Island City, and all of western Queens, deserves increased mass transit options, not ones that are being slashed.