2005-12-14 / Features

Press Need For Affordable Housing In Queens West

by john toscano


Councilman Eric Gioia joined local leaders, housing advocates from around the City, and Long Island City residents recently to call for the addition of a bold affordable housing initiative to the quickly developing waterfront in Queens, giving every New Yorker the opportunity to rent or own a home in this fast-growing neighborhood.  Here, Gioia stands outside a new residential tower being built on the Queens waterfront to call for an affordable housing initiative to be added to the Queens West development.
Councilman Eric Gioia joined local leaders, housing advocates from around the City, and Long Island City residents recently to call for the addition of a bold affordable housing initiative to the quickly developing waterfront in Queens, giving every New Yorker the opportunity to rent or own a home in this fast-growing neighborhood. Here, Gioia stands outside a new residential tower being built on the Queens waterfront to call for an affordable housing initiative to be added to the Queens West development. Elected officials in Queens and housing advocates from around the city, citing the need for affordable housing in this borough, called for a major construction initiative on the Queens West development site in Long Island City.

Queens Borough President Helen Marshall declared: “The need for affordable housing is not a new idea, but an old one that needs to be brought to fruition. Our borough continues to attract a new generation of immigrants and others in search of quality housing within reach of hardworking families.”

Assemblymember Catherine Nolan (D–Ridgewood), whose district includes the Queens West site, stated: “Let us work together to make condos, co-ops and rental properties available for the middle and working class New Yorkers, particularly Queens residents.”

City Councilmember Eric Gioia (D–Long Island City), whose district also includes Queens West, said, “Every New Yorker deserves to live in a great neighborhood, one that they can afford and be proud of. In Long Island City, we have an extraordinary opportunity to get it right and to set an example for the entire city. My vision is that by building middle-income and affordable housing on our waterfront, we can create a neighborhood that is vibrant, exciting and diverse. We can fulfill our city’s potential, make good on the claim that if you’re willing to work hard and do right, there’s a place for you in New York.”

Presently, two major high rise buildings containing luxury condos have been completed and are occupied in the Queens West development.

One building containing affordable housing for seniors, called River View Gardens, has also been completed and is occupied.

While the New York City bid for the 2012 Olympics was alive, part of the plan called for construction of a 15,000-unit Olympic Village to be built at Queens West to house athletes and officials.

After the Olympics were over, plans had been made to convert the village to affordable housing. But that plan died when New York City lost the Olympic bid.

Long Island City is presently in the midst of an economic, cultural and residential renaissance, Gioia said. The area, just across the Queensboro Bridge from Manhattan, is acknowledged to have great access to mass transportation, a blossoming cultural scene and “nearly limitless potential for growth,” Gioia noted.

“However, the current plan to develop the waterfront’s premier acreage lacks a serious plan to provide affordable housing for middle class New Yorkers,” Gioia said.

Among others joining in the call for more affordable housing, Brad Lander, director of the Pratt Center for Community Development, stated: “While it’s wonderful that Queens is growing and has become a vibrant place where people from New York City and all over the world want to live, the borough has actually very little new affordable housing available.

“If Queens is to continue to grow and provide sustainable living for future generations of New Yorkers, we need to take dramatic action and add thousands of units of affordable housing in our communities.”

A local housing advocate, the Rev. Mitchell Taylor, chairman of the East River Development Alliance, added:

“We need to do everything we can to build a Long Island City for everyone. Quality affordable housing and homeownership is central to building a sustainable neighborhood, expanding our community’s middle class, and giving everyone the opportunity to live the American dream.”

Gerry Walsh, president of the Dutch Kills Civic Association and a longtime Long Island City resident, stated: “Affordable housing is very important to the quality of life in New York City. We need it to keep people here in our neighborhoods and to create a stable community.”

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