Mayor Signs Bill Creating Flushing BID, Spotlights Liu
In a well-timed move that will probably help City Councilmember John Liu in next Tuesday’s primary in Flushing, Mayor Michael Bloomberg tomorrow is scheduled to sign into law the bill creating the Downtown Flushing Business Improvement District (BID).
Liu (D–Flushing) put a great deal of effort into organizing the BID, which is aimed at improving Flushing’s business climate. Tomorrow he will be joined at City Hall for the bill signing by members of the Steering Committee that supported Liu in creating the BID.
Liu is being challenged in the 20th Council District primary by another Flushing resident, Isaac Sasson. Liu should win nomination to another two-year term.
In another primary related development, Councilmember Hiram Monserrate (D–Corona) was endorsed in the 21st District primary by Assembymember Jose Peralta (D–Corona). Monserrate’s council district includes the area represented by Peralta in the Assembly.
Joined by community activists and other Latino officials, Peralta declared, "Monserrate has been committed to changing the status quo by improving the quality of health care and ensuring jobs that pay living wages for a hard day’s work. Monserrate has not only the experience, but [also] the dedication to deliver for our community and all of New York’s working families."
Monserrate is opposed by Luis Jiminez of Corona.
Yesterday Monserrate joined with Queens Library officials at the Corona branch, 38-23 104th St., to announce a $500,000 expansion plan for the facility with funds he secured in this year’s capital budget.
RAGUSA OPENS CAMPAIGN HQ: Phil Ragusa, the Republican/Conservative/Independence Party candidate challenging Councilmember Tony Avella in the November election, will open his campaign headquarters at 150-39 14th Ave., Whitestone, this Saturday at 3 p.m.
Radio talk show host Curtis Sliwa will join state Senator Frank Padavan (R–C, Bellerose), former Councilmember Mike Abel and other Northeast Queens Republican Club members in officially launching Ragusa’s campaign effort.
Ragusa, an accountant and longtime Northeast Queens GOP leader, hopes to regain the 19th District seat formerly held by Abel, who had to give it up because of term limits in 2001.
Avella won the post at that time and is seeking another two-year term in a contest mandated by the redistricting done after the 2000 Census.
Meanwhile, Avella (D–Bayside) has received another endorsement, this one by SEIU Local 32 BJ, which represents 70,000 members. Previously, he was endorsed by the New York City Central Labor Council, the United Federation of Teachers, District council 37 and the Civil Service Employees Association, all municipal labor organizations.
Yesterday, Avella called for city enforcement of business signs that are not printed in English. He made his demand at the intersection of Northern Boulevard, Crocheron Avenue and 162nd Street in Flushing in front of a large sign written entirely in a language other than English.
KATZ SINGS AT TENNIS OPENER: Councilmember Melinda Katz (D–Forest Hills), who also is unopposed for re-election in November, helped get the USTA National Tennis tournament underway on Labor Day by singing the national anthem at the event’s evening session at the tennis stadium in Flushing Meadows-Corona Park.
Another councilmember who is unopposed for re-election in November is Dennis Gallagher (R–C, Middle Village), the only Republican in the Queens delegation. District Attorney Richard A. Brown is running in November unopposed, too.
HILLARY IN HILLCREST: Supporters of United States Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton continue to urge her to run for president of the United States next year, giving her appearance at the Hillcrest Jewish Center on Sunday, September 14 an added bit of spice.
The Senator will present the Saul Weprin Memorial Lecture in honor of the late Assembly Speaker and beloved Northeast Queens Democratic leader.
"The Weprin Family and the Continuing Education Committee invite all Hillcrest members and members of the community to attend this very exciting lecture," according to the event announcement. Seating will be on a first come, first served basis.
We’ll wager that there’ll be an SRO crowd spilling out in front of the center at 183-02 Union Turnpike as the scheduled 5 p.m. start approaches. Almost surely there will be chants of "Hillary for president," as well.
Clinton, of course, routinely shuts the door to these entreaties to enter the race, but we’re not entirely convinced that she’s not keeping her options open. Several polls have her clearly ahead of all democratic hopefuls, so the race is hers for the asking. If Bush’s numbers start to drop and he looks beatable, we think she’ll jump in. In fact, we hope she does. It would be a historic and exciting race.
FERRER IN QUEENS: Former Bronx Borough President Fernando Ferrer will speak at the Hillcrest Jewish Center tomorrow night at a forum on "Resources for Schools and Educational Outcomes" sponsored by the Northeast Queens Jewish Community Council (NQJCC), Corey Bearak, chairman of the NQJCC, will welcome his former boss back to Queens. Ferrer remains a top prospect to run for mayor again in two years.
MASPETH GOP MEETS: The first Maspeth Republican Club meeting of the fall political season, President Frank Messano announces, will be held next Wednesday evening at 7:30 p.m. at the Kowalinski Post, 61-57 Maspeth Ave.
Water Taxi Saves Queens Ferry Service
New York City-based New York Water Taxi (NYWT) will begin ferry service between East 90th Street, Manhattan, Hunters Point, Queens, East 34th Street and Pier 11, Wall Street on Tuesday Sept. 2, 2003. NY Waterway had run the service until September 1, stating that the route was not financially lucrative for the Jersey-based company. The Port Authority of New York and New Jersey awarded the ferry route to New York Water Taxi on August 28.
"We are honored that commuters from Queens and Manhattan’s Upper East Side contacted New York Water Taxi when ferry transportation to Downtown Manhattan was in jeopardy," Douglas Durst, chairman, New York Water Taxi, said. "We founded NYWT as a ferry service for the people of New York City, and, we are meeting those needs accordingly."
According to Tom Fox, president, NYWT, "It took a lot of hard work from Governor [George] Pataki, Mayor [Michael] Bloomberg, Charles Gargano, chairman, Empire State Development Corp, the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, New York City Department of Transportation, and elected officials, including City Council Speaker Gifford Miller, City Council Waterfront Chair David Yassky and Councilmembers Peter Vallone Jr., Eric Gioia and Alan Gerson, Assemblymember Mike Gianaris, Congressmember Joseph Crowley, Senator Liz Krueger and Queens Borough President Helen Marshall to ensure that ferry service from the Upper East Side of Manhattan and Hunters Point, Queens would not be interrupted. One more example of how New Yorkers, when faced with a problem, cross party lines and borough boundaries to work together to solve it."
NYWT commuter service will run from East 90th Street to Pier II/Wall Street, between 6:30 and 9:30 a.m. and from 3:30 to 7:30 p.m., with boats on the half hour. The trip is 30 minutes long with stops at Hunters Point and East 34th street. During 10 a.m. to 3 pm. NYWT will run every hour on the hour between East 90th Street and Pier II.
For a complete schedule visit www.nywatertaxi.com.