St. Pats for All parade scheduled for March 5

St. Pats for All

This year’s St. Pats for All parade is scheduled for Sunday, March 5 at 43rd Street and Skillman Avenue.

The assembly and remarks will begin at 1 p.m., and the parade will step off officially at 2 p.m. The parade route ends at 58th Street and Woodside Avenue in Woodside.

This year’s parade grand marshals are Phil Donahue and Anastasia Somoza.

Check out more coverage and photos from last year’s St. Pats for All parade.

To register for the march, visit their website at stpatsforall.org.

Pols host town hall on Calamus Ave. sewer project

69th Street and Calamus Avenue/Screen shot via Google Maps
69th Street and Calamus Avenue/Screen shot via Google Maps

Elected officials are hosting a town hall meeting to discuss the Calamus Avenue sewer project on the border of Woodside and Maspeth.

The $25 million infrastructure upgrade along Calamus Avenue has left many residents frustrated for three years. They’ve had to deal with potholes, uneven sidewalks, flooding, detoured bus service and more.

Councilwoman Elizabeth Crowley, Councilman Daniel Dromm, Assemblyman Brian Barnwell, city agencies and the 104th Precinct will host the town hall meeting at St. Mary’s of Winfield, located at 70-20 47th Avenue in Woodside.

It’s scheduled for tonight at 7 p.m.

At the meeting, residents will be given an opportunity to speak to agency representatives from the Department of Transportation (DOT), Department of Environment Protection (DEP) and Department of Design and Construction (DDC).

The project is intended to increase sewer capacity to better manager storm water and reduce flooding in surrounding neighborhoods.

The existing sewers located under 69th Street and Calamus Avenue serve as major conduits in the drainage network. They will receive significant upgrades to ensure proper drainage of storm water from the streets, officials said.

Woodside legislators want to change AMI calculation

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State Senator Michael Gianaris, center.

Two state lawmakers from Queens are introducing legislation to reform the way affordable housing is calculated in New York.

State Senator Michael Gianaris and Assemblyman Brian Barnwell are pushing a new bill that would change the way area median income (AMI) is measured.

The law, if passed, would require the state to calculate eligibility for affordable housing projects using the median income from a zip code of a building, rather than the current AMI measurement, which uses incomes from all of New York City and its surrounding suburbs.

The legislators argued that the current AMI measurement inflates what is considered affordable for residents.

“There is a noticeable lack of affordable housing for low and moderate income families in our city,” Gianaris said. “As rents are skyrocketing throughout our communities, we must improve policies that will allow for all individuals to attain a sustainable quality of life.”

The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) determines the AMI annually. In New York City, the pols say, AMI calculations are inaccurately reflected, which prevent new developments from being actually affordable.

“It shouldn’t matter what is affordable in Westchester to determine what is affordable in Queens,” Barnwell said. “This legislation will mandate affordability be based on the zip code where the project is located in. This proposal will help lifelong residents of the area to be better able to actually afford the new housing. No longer will lifelong residents be forced out due to gentrification.”

Assemblyman Brian Barnwell
Assemblyman Brian Barnwell

EDC releases Sunnyside Yards study

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Photo courtesy Flickr/MTA/Patrick Cashin

Last week, the city Economic Development Corporation finally released the feasibility a plan to build thousands of housing units on top of Sunnyside Yards.

Officials concluded that 80 to 85 percent of the rail yard can be capped on to build housing. They estimated that the project could cost up to $19 billion in total.

The city hopes to construct between 14,000 to 24,000 new units, a portion of which would be considered affordable. The project would also bring open space, new schools and community facilities to the area.

Local elected officials said any project like this should have the approval of the community.

Read more about the Sunnyside Yards feasibility study here.

Van Bramer to rally against fake ICE agents

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Councilman Jimmy Van Bramer is teaming up with local organizations today to denounce people who take advantage of others’ immigration fears.

Van Bramer will be with Make the Road New York, Emerald Isle Immigration Center and other community groups for a rally today at 5 p.m. at Roosevelt Avenue and 65th Street.

Over the weekend, there were reports of raids by federal immigration officials. More than 40 people were detained in the New York City metropolitan area, including several in Staten Island.

That’s when scammers come in. Some fakers have claimed to be ICE (Immigration and Customs Enforcement) agents and stop individuals who appear to be Latino.

The scammers then ask for money, and tell the victims that if they don’t pay, they will be deported.

Today’s rally will send a message to those opportunistic scammers about their wrongful actions.

Sunnyside UP open house this week

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Learn more about Sunnyside UP’s free, full-day pre-kindergarten program by attending a free open house this week.

You’ll get a chance to take a tour and have help with your application for the fall.

The open house dates for the rest of the week are Wednesday, February 15 at 1 p.m. and Friday, February 17 at 6 p.m.

Open house sessions will meet at Sunnyside Community Services at 43-31 39th Street.

For more information or RSVP, call 718-784-6173 extension 420 or email ssukhraj@scsny.org.

City issues hazardous travel advisory

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As the city prepares for a snowstorm tomorrow, the city has one message for residents: clear the road!

The city’s Emergency Management Department issued a hazardous travel advisory for Thursday. The National Weather Service has already issued a Winter Storm Warning in effect tomorrow from midnight to 6 p.m.

If the forecast’s prediction becomes reality, conditions on the road will be slick and dangerous, especially during the morning commute.

“Although the weather is warm today, winter will return quickly on Thursday with dangerous conditions for the morning commute,” said Emergency Management Commissioner Joseph Esposito. “New Yorkers should be prepared for snowfall and slippery roads and plan to take mass transit where possible.”

The precipitation will start tonight, but snow will come down early in the morning, falling heavily at times. Officials expect six to 12 inches of snow, but some places may have even more.

Of course, it won’t be like the blizzard of 2016, pictured above. But you get the message. Avoid driving if you can and use mass transit on Thursday.

To prepare for the snow, the Department of Sanitation is deploying 689 salt spreaders across the five boroughs. The PlowNYC app will be activated and 1,600 plows will be dispatched.

DSNY will assign 2,400 workers per shift, each working 12-hour shifts beginning at 7 p.m. tonight.

Keep this in mind: garbage and recycling collections will be suspended tomorrow once snow operations begin. Alternate Side Parking will also be suspended Thursday, but parking meters are in effect.

Here are some travel safety tips on behalf of the city:

For motorists:

  • If you must drive a vehicle, monitor weather and traffic reports for the latest road conditions. Use mass transportation whenever possible.

  • Drive slowly. Posted speed limits are for ideal weather conditions. Vehicles take longer to stop on snow and ice than on dry pavement.

  • Use major streets or highways for travel whenever possible.

  • Four-wheel drive vehicles may make it easier to drive on snow-covered roads, but they do not stop quicker than other vehicles.

  • Keep the name and phone number of at least one local towing service in your car in case you break down or become stuck in snow.

  • If you get stuck on the road, stay with your car and contact a towing company.

For pedestrians:

  • Exercise caution and avoid slippery surfaces; some ice may not be visible.

  • Use handrails when using stairs.

  • Wear layers including a hat, gloves/mittens, and a scarf to stay protected from the cold. And keep clothes and shoes dry, if a layer becomes wet, remove it.

  • Keep fingertips, earlobes, and noses covered if you go outside.

  • Have heightened awareness of cars, particularly when approaching or crossing intersections.

  • Wear sturdy boots that provide traction to reduce slipping. Use handrails when using stairs.

  • Seniors should take extra care outdoors to avoid slips and falls from icy conditions.

DREAM Act passes Assembly

Assemblyman Francisco Moya led the passage of the NY DREAM Act.
Assemblyman Francisco Moya led the passage of the NY DREAM Act.

For the fifth year, the New York DREAM Act passed the State Assembly. It now heads to the State Senate, where Republicans have stalled the legislation in the past.

If passed and signed into law, the bill would expand the Tuition Assistance Program (TAP) for young undocumented immigrants brought to the country at a young age, also known as DREAMers.

Queens Assemblyman Francisco Moya, who represents East Elmhurst and Corona, led the passage of the bill. He hopes this will be the year it is signed into law.

“Young DREAMers who came to the U.S. through no fault of their own, often too young to have ever known any other country as home, go to school and pledge allegiance to the flag, just like their peers,” Moya said in a statement. “Unlike their peers, after graduating, the next step towards a college degree is entirely out of reach without financial aid available to help finance their education.”

He said it’s “shameful” that his Assembly colleagues couldn’t “look past the politics” and the talking points. He clarified that expanding the TAP program wouldn’t take away funds from students of legal residency or citizenship.

“A point that my colleagues repeatedly chose to ignore,” he said, “and one that I hope is not lost on the other chamber when it comes time to vote.”

Moya said he believes just like the minimum wage increase, marriage equality, paid family leave and other progressive items, the DREAM Act will eventually pass through both chambers.

“New York will become a state where any student, regardless of their immigration status, can earn an education and follow their own American dream,” he said.

Chase Bank on Woodside Avenue robbed

346-17 108 Pct Bank Robbery 1-30-17 photo #1 of individualPolice are looking for a man who robbed a Chase bank earlier this week.

Authorities say that on Monday, at approximately 10:10 a.m., the unidentified individual entered the bank located at 59-26 Woodside Avenue.

As seen in the photo above, he was wearing a blue surgical mask that covered half his face.

He passed a note to the teller stating that he had a loaded gun and then demanded money.

The teller complied, and the suspect left with about $908.

There were no injuries reported.

Anyone with information in regards to this incident is asked to call the NYPD’s Crime Stoppers Hotline at 800-577-TIPS or for Spanish 1-888-57-PISTA (74782). The public can also submit their tips by logging onto the Crime Stoppers Website at WWW.NYPDCRIMESTOPPERS.COM or texting their tips to 274637(CRIMES) then enter TIP577.

Applications open for city’s Neighborhood Revitalization Program

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If you’re interested in gaining on-the-ground experience with neighborhood revitalization, here’s your shot.

The NYC Department of Small Business Services (SBS) launched its application for the Neighborhood 360º Fellowship program earlier this week.

The program supports commercial revitalization projects across the city. It pairs fellows with community-based organizations, such as Sunnyside Shines BID, that offer dedicated support for the projects.

The full-time, paid fellows will work on the revitalization project for over 10 months.

The deadline for the second cohort of the Neighborhood 360º Fellowship is Sunday, March 12th.

“Vibrant neighborhoods help make New York a dynamic and exciting place to live,” said SBS Commissioner Gregg Bishop. “These fellows will lead impactful commercial revitalization projects in small business corridors across the five boroughs that will benefit our communities and our residents.”

Here are the community organizations hosting Neighborhood 360º Fellows:

  • Jerome-Gun Hill BID, Bronx
  • WHEDco, Bronx
  • FAB Alliance, Brooklyn
  • LDC of East New York, Brooklyn
  • Chinatown Partnership, Manhattan
  • Lower East Side Partnership
  • Asian Americans for Equality, Queens
  • Sunnyside Shines, Queens
  • Northfield Community LDC, Staten Island