Van Bramer opposes Con-Con

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On November 7th, which is Election Day, the toughest vote won’t be for mayor, comptroller, public advocate, borough president of City Council member.

It’s likely the ballot question for the proposed Constitutional Convention, a once-in-20-years opportunity to open up the New York State Constitution to make changes.

The debate has intensified as Election Day nears. Good government groups and some progressive advocates, such as those pushing for ethics reform, are pushing for a “yes” vote.

Most elected officials and labor unions, who have poured in significant funds into this vote, are completely opposed to it.

Councilman Jimmy Van Bramer declared last week that he’s strongly opposed to the “Con-Con.” Here’s why:

“A constitutional convention raises deep concerns to me about the possibility of lowering and diminishing workers’ pensions, something I would never stand for. A constitutional convention would open up governance in our state to special interests and extremely wealthy individuals and would see the delegate selection process rigged by the same Republican gerrymandering we have seen from Albany in our legislative and congressional districts. Simply put, a Constitutional Convention would run the risk of rolling back decades of progress on environmental protections, workers’ rights, civil rights and more.”

Celebrate the renaming of Lily Gavin Place

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This Saturday afternoon, elected officials, community leaders and neighbors are gathering at Queens Boulevard and 40th Street to celebrate the renaming of Lily Gavin Place.

Gavin, the late owner of Dazie’s Restaurant and a longtime community leader, passed away last July.

She opened Dazie’s in 1972, and remained active in her neighborhood. She served as the president of the Sunnyside Chamber of Commerce and was a founding member of the Sunnyside Shines BID.

She helped relocate and expand the local YMCA to Queens Boulevard. She was involved with the LaGuardia Community College Foundation and the local Kiwanis club.

And when the Sunnyside arch was scheduled to be torn down, Gavin worked with Luke Adams to restore it.

Read more about Gavin here.

Shedding truck is coming to Woodside this weekend

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Woodside and western Queens residents can personally unload their unwanted personal and business undocumented into the shredder this weekend.

Congressman Joe Crowley, State Senator Mike Gianaris, Assemblyman Brian Barnwell and Councilman Costa Constantinides are teaming up to bring a shredding truck to the Boulevard Gardens complex on 30th Avenue and 57th Street this weekend.

You can shred all those documents for free from 12:30 to 2:30 p.m.

Enter the 4th annual Veterans Day Student Essay Contest

Photo courtesy of Twitter/@JoeCrowleyNY
Photo courtesy of Twitter/@JoeCrowleyNY

It’s time to show off your writing chops.

Congressman Joe Crowley is hosting his 4th annual Veterans Day student essay contest to pay tribute to our armed forces.

The contest asks students to write about what it means to commemorate the holiday.

The winning essay will be entered into the Congressional Record, while the second and third place finishers will receive congressional recognition.

“The sacrifices made by our men and women in uniform are not lost on our youth,” Crowley said. “Each year, I’m moved by the personal stories shared by students who come from military families, as well as the deep appreciation they have at such a young age for the work our service members do to keep us safe.”

“This contest encourages students to pause and reflect on the contributions of our armed forces and it gives our youth a platform to express their gratitude.”

The competition is open to students in grades 6 through 8 who live in Crowley’s congressional district.

Essays are due in his Jackson Heights district office (82-11 37th Avenue, Suite 402) by 5 p.m. on Tuesday, October 31.

Guidelines for the contest include:

  • Essays should be no longer than 500 words
  • Essay must be typed or written in black or blue ink
  • Students must include their name, school, grade and contact information
  • Essays should be emailed to crowley.events@mail.house.gov or mailed/delivered to:
    • Office of Congressman Joseph Crowley 82-11 37th Avenue, Suite 402 Jackson Heights, NY 11372

For more information, call their office at 718-779-1400.

Van Bramer’s office serves as IDNYC pop-up site

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If you’re looking to get your hands on a New York City municipal ID card, here’s your change.

For two weeks, Councilman Jimmy Van Bramer’s office will serve as a pop-up site for IDNYC. From October 2 to October 13, New York City residents ages 14 and older, regardless of immigration status, can apply for the ID.

The site at 47-01 Queens Boulevard, Suite 205, will be open from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.

“For Sunnysiders and residents of Western Queens, applying for an IDNYC card will be easier than ever with this two week pop-up is right here in my Sunnyside district office,” Van Bramer said. “I’m thrilled to partner with the administration to offer this convenient option for the people of my district to sign up for the IDNYC card, which provides many benefits to New Yorkers, especially those who may not have been able to obtain another form of identification.”

Benefits include discounts and free one-year memberships to more than 40 cultural institutions citywide. The ID can also be used as a library card or to open a bank or credit union account at several financial institutions.

A full list of benefit partners are on the IDNYC website at nyc.gov/IDNYC.

According to Bitta Mostofi, acting commissioner of the Mayor’s Office of Immigrant Affairs, more than 1.1 million New Yorkers already have IDNYC.

All applicants must have documentation that proves identity and residency in New York City.

Gianaris collects donations for victims in Puerto Rico, Mexico

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During a time of great need, Sunnyside State Senator Michael Gianaris is coming through for the victims of Puerto Rico and Mexico.

The pol collected and donated items to help those recovering from the aftermath of Hurricane Maria and Hurricane Irma, as well as the victims of Mexico’s seismic and fatal earthquake.

The materials were donated to Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz, Jr., who sponsored the relief drive. Donated items include batteries, diapers, feminine hygiene products, non-perishable food and cases of water.

“The residents of Puerto Rico and Mexico are hurting. I am deeply saddened by the destruction and damage that occurred,” Gianaris said. “It is up to us to help them get back on their feet and rebuild.”

Neighborhood assemblies for participatory budgeting announced

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The participatory budgeting process has begun again!

Residents of District 26 can help decide how to spend $1 million on public projects on local parks, schools or libraries.

“For the fourth round of participatory budgeting, we’re building on the record breaking turnout and enthusiasm we saw the last time around,” Van Bramer said. “When neighbors from all walks of life come together to brainstorm ideas to improve their community, good things happen.”

The process begins local neighborhood assemblies, where residents brainstorm and share ideas for projects. Volunteers then break into groups and transform ideas into fully-formed project proposals with details and costs.

Voting will be this spring, both online and at sites across the district. The top projects are funded up to $1 million.

Here’s the remaining schedule for this cycle’s neighborhood assemblies:

  • Wednesday, September 27, 6:30 p.m. – Jacob A. Riis Settlement House (10-25 41st Avenue)
  • Monday, October 2, 6 p.m. – Broadway Library (40-20 Broadway)
  • Tuesday, October 3, 6:30 p.m. – Ravenswood Community Center (35-40 21st Street)
  • Wednesday, October 4, 6:30 p.m. – Woodside Community Center (50-19 Broadway)
  • Tuesday, October 10, 6:30 p.m. – Woodside Library (54-22 Skillman Avenue)
  • Thursday, October 12, 6:30 p.m. – MoMA PS1 (22-25 Jackson Avenue)

Mayor’s Office of Immigrant Affairs to hold office hours at Borough Hall

Screen shot via Google Maps
Screen shot via Google Maps

Beginning this Friday, the Mayor’s Office of Immigrant Affairs (MOIA) will hold monthly office hours inside Queens Borough Hall.

City officials will begin to provide residents easier access to information and services for the Queens immigrant community.

“Nearly half of our borough’s 2.3 million people were born abroad, and their many contributions to our community are a source of strength and a vital part of the Queens identity,” said Borough President Melinda Katz. “More immigrants and more DACA-eligible immigrants call Queens home than any other borough, and in this increasingly uncertain climate, we want immigrant families to know that New York has their backs.”

The upcoming deadline for enrollment renewals for DACA (Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals) program is on October 5.

According to the Migration Policy Institute, approximately 28,000 DACA-eligible immigrants live in Queens.

The MOIA team will be in Borough Hall the last Friday of every month. Residents can meet with representatives one-on-one between 10 a.m. and 6 p.m.

No appointments are necessary and walk-ins are welcome.

“In the world’s borough, where nearly half of all residents are immigrants, holding monthly office hours at Queens Borough Hall will allow MOIA to be even more accessible to Queens residents,” said Bitta Mostofi, acting commissioner for MOIA. “Immigration status should not be a barrier to accessing resources, and through our legal services programs, IDNYC, access to Know Your Rights forums, among other resources, Mayor de Blasio’s administration is working every day to make New York City a more inclusive city for all.”

Sunnyside Restaurant Week begins October 1

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It’s finally here!

The 5th annual Sunnyside Restaurant Week, organized by Sunnyside Shines BID, is taking place from October 1st to October 7th.

Nearly 30 restaurants throughout the neighborhood are expected to participate in the event, which features great deals at local eateries.

Each participating restaurant will serve a three-course dinner menu for $25. Some establishments will offer an additional lunch special, while others will offer the $25 dinner menu for two people.

Menus for each participating restaurant will be posted online and updated at www.sunnysideshines.org/sunnyside-restaurant-week.

Given Sunnyside’s diverse population, there’s no doubt the selection will include cuisines from Italy, Japan, Peru, Mexico, Ireland, Colombia, Tibet and France.

This year’s Sunnyside Restaurant Week encourages diners to eat out multiple times during the week. Each time you order a Restaurant Week deal, you will receive a sticker for your Restaurant Week card.

Customers with three stickers can return their card to any participating restaurant and be entered to win dinner for four at a participating restaurant with a $250 gift certificate.

Cards are available at all participating restaurants and will be distributed throughout the neighborhood.

“Sunnyside Restaurant Week is a great opportunity for everyone,” said Jaime-Faye Bean, executive director of Sunnyside Shines. “It makes for a great date night for ur local residents, but we also want New Yorkers from outside the neighborhood and even visitors to the city to come discover one of the city’s best neighborhoods while having a delicious and memorable meal.”