Today I watched that head in Socrates park, an installation by Tanda Francis, called “Take Me With You,” get taken away.
And not just the head, but the whole body of work that graced the park since October 1 is out of the park, from what I could see. The next installation will be Virginia Overton’s solo-set called “Built.” According to the website, “The show’s largest piece is a crystal-shaped sculpture made of industrial architectural truss systems and angle iron spanning 40 feet.”
Sometimes I wonder if Astoria (not Jackson Heights) is actually the most diverse neighborhood in the United States. In any case, it’s diverse for sure and has a lot of immigrants. And maybe that makes State Assemblywoman Aravella Simotas suited for fighting the U.S. Commerce Department’s decision to include a citizenship question on the 2020 Census.
In a letter to Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross, Simotas writes:
“As a representative of a diverse community in New York that is home to a large population of immigrants, I am deeply concerned that a citizenship question would deter many of my constituents from participating in the census and prevent them from receiving critically needed resources over the next decade.”
I’m not sure where other Queens lawmakers are on this. Mayor Bill Bill de Blasio and Attorney General Eric Schneiderman protested the concept in February. Googling the World’s Borough on the issue, I found a quote from Queens College professor Andrew Beveridge, who told the Washington Post the citizenship question would shift representation to Republican districts. “All of the districts with non-citizens in them and all of the districts with kids in them would have less representation.”
Simotas argues in her letter that most people in her district live in “hard-to-count” neighborhoods and only 68.4% of households returned their questionnaires for the 2010 census.
Secretary Ross has argues it will be worthwhile. “The citizenship data provided to DOJ will be more accurate with the question than without it, which is of greater importance than any adverse effect that may result from people violating their legal duty to respond,” Ross said, The Hill reported.
Simotas argues that her district, with it’s history of already low questionnaire turnout, will be worse off. “With heightened fears of immigration enforcement and anxieties over the confidentiality of census data, it will be even more challenging to collect and complete, accurate information.”
Joelle, 17 (orange vest), one of the organizers of today’s Women’s Ride in Queens: “As a woman being a cyclist, there’s a lot of gender discrimination” in the form of mansplaining or street harassment, she says. “So we wanted to say women should feel strong & impowered to ride.” pic.twitter.com/3Ym5A6Gw0K
City Council Speaker Corey Johnson and Councilman Jimmy Van Bramer will be at LaGuardia Community College tomorrow for the opening reception of “The Lavender Line: Coming Out in Queens,” an exhibit on the last 25 years of LGBT activism in Queens.
At this month’s Community Board 1 full meeting, members said they’d be sending out a survey for Ravenswood area residents. The idea, apparently, is to have some measure on how residents feel about changes happening in the area in regards to all the development going on. This should help the board in future land use reviews and all that kind of stuff. The same survey will go out throughout CB1 but it will start in Ravenswood because there’s so much development happening here. I think I can name some of it:
The twin Alma towers at 34-46 Vernon Boulevard. It looks finished, doesn’t it? But someone pointed out to me recently the fences weren’t on the balconies yet.
The survey will go out to tenants association type groups CB1 members said but be on the lookout for it in local newspapers, if you guys read those things.
A few notes:
$450,000 year-round exercise equipment at Queensbridge park, a $500,000 soil science lab at the Ravenswood Houses? These are a couple of the eight ideas that are up for a vote in the 26th council district at the 4th round of participatory budgeting.
A 7 Train Coalition launched to fight gentrification along the 7 line but I wish they’d call it Occupy the 7 Train.
Business owners are anxious for construction on the elevated N/W line in Astoria to wrap up. So a pause in the work sounds like a potential delay of the June deadline but that might be a good thing?
Construction on the 30th and 36th avenue stops will pause for the Passover and Easter weekend next week, it was revealed at a Community Board 1 meeting tonight. Florence Koulouris, the district manager, said she was aware of a letter from the MTA to the NYPD stating the pause. Naturally someone at the meeting asked if that meant a delay on the timeline. Koulouris said that detail was not in the letter.
Koulouris told me she really didn’t know if the pause would delay the timeline. But even if it does get delayed, she said, it might be better to have a construction pause during the spring holiday season and potentially delay the timeline than to have construction during the Easter/Passover weekend when people will be going to the businesses. She said June might be slower for business anyway. I asked if she could share the letter with Corner and she said with NYPD’s permission maybe later.
The city council is investigating Jared Kushner’s company for falsely claiming that buildings it owned and sold in Astoria didn’t have rent-regulated tenants.
Rep. Carolyn Maloney dismissed the campaign funding of her primary challenger, Suraj Patel by saying “it’s mainly from Indiana, where he’s from… mainly a huge amount of the name Patel, which is his name.” Patel told BuzzFeed that not all Patels are related, suggesting that Maloney is racist. “I guess I didn’t realize Rep. Maloney hired Steve Bannon as her campaign strategist,” he said.