Resorts World plays host to MWBE forum

Last week, Councilwoman Adrienne Adams hosted a forum for small businesses and minority and women-owned business enterprises (MWBEs) at Resorts World Casino NYC.

The panelists included SBS Commissioner Gregg Bishop, Jonnel Doris, director of the Mayor’s Office for MWBEs, QEDC Deputy Director Ricardi Calixte, Queens Chamber of Commerce’s Tom Grech and Dr. Simone Lord of the Southeast Queens Chamber of Commerce.

The event focused on networking and resources for the small business community, particularly MWBEs.

“Small businesses and M/WBEs are the backbone of our community,” Adams said, “and our thriving economy so it is important to understand the challenges these business owners face and help provide the resources that allow them to thrive.”


Ulrich to host food drive benefitting local pantries

Stock photo courtesy of

Councilman Eric Ulrich’s office is organizing a food drive to support local pantries and families in need.

During the Lenten season, his office will collect donations for the food pantry at St. Mary Gate of Heaven Roman Catholic Church in Ozone Park, as well as the pantry at St. Camillus-St. Virgilius Roman Catholic Church in Rockaway and Broad Channel.

These are the food items needed at the churches’ food pantries:

  • Canned meats
    • Chili with beans
    • Corn beef hash
    • Vienna sausage
    • Tuna fish
  • Soup
    • Chicken noodle soup
  • Pasta
  • Italian sauce
  • Beef ravioli sauce
  • Spaghetti and meatballs
  • Macaroni and beef
  • Macaroni and cheese (boxes)
  • Bread
  • Canned vegetables
    • Carrots
    • Spinach
    • Sweet peas
    • Corn
  • Canned beans
    • Kidney beans
    • Baked beans
  • Rice
  • Boxed Potatoes
  • Canned fruit
    • Peaches
    • Pears
    • Fruit cocktail
  • Cereal
  • Peanut butter
  • Jelly

The canned/non-perishable food donations can be dropped off at Ulrich’s district office at 93-06 101st Avenue (Ozone Park), or the Rockaway Park district office at 114-12 Beach Channel Drive, Suite 1.

Both offices are open Monday through Friday, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Donations will be taken until April 9.


Richard David announces bid for State Assembly

Community activist Richard David has announced his candidacy for the New York State Assembly.

David will run for the vacant seat in District 31, which encompasses the southeast Queens neighborhoods around JFK Airport: Arverne, Brookville, Edgemere, Far Rockaway, Hammels, Richmond Hill, Rosedale, South Ozone Park, Springfield Gardens and Wakefield.

The position was vacated after former Assemblywoman Michele Titus was elected as a Queens Civil Court judge earlier this year. Titus has served in the Assembly since 2002.

Governor Cuomo is expected to declare a special election in the next few days. The regularly-scheduled primary is set for June 23rd.

David has lived in southeast Queens for 25 yeas, and is currently a district leader for Assembly District 31.

He spent 10 years working in government, and was at one point one of the youngest members of his local community board.

He co-founded a youth-led social justice organization, and led the nonprofit desk of a private government relations firms.

David is also an adjunct history professor at York College.



Gillibrand to bring airport worker to State of the Union

For tonight’s State of the Union address in Washington D.C., Senator Kirsten Gillibrand is bringing an injured airport worker as her guest.

Hacheler Cyrille, a young mother, was 17 weeks pregnant when she fell on a baggage conveyor belt while working at JFK Airport for American Airlines contractor Eulen America.

Eulen America has been accused of endangering workers’ health and safety in the past.

Cyrille said Eulen made it difficult to get her job back after the incident. The New York City Human Rights Commission is currently investigating her pregnancy discrimination complaint.

By bringing Cyrille to the State of the Union, Gillibrand will highlight the need for responsible contractors and prioritizing safety for workers.

“Women like Hacheler are essential to ensuring that workers have the right to join together and fight for the pay and protections they deserve,” Gillibrand said.


Queens bus network redesign workshop comes to Jamaica

The MTA is redesigning the entire bus network in Queens, and they want the public to chime in on the changes.

Specifically, the redesign will result in fewer turns, fewer bus miles and better, more direct connections to subways.

There will be longer distances between bus stops and straighter paths for each route.

You can see examples of the changes in the map above for southeast Queens, a transit-starved area that relies heavily on buses to get around.

The new routes will run along highly-used thoroughfares like Linden Boulevard, Jamaica Avenue, Guy R. Brewer Boulevard and Hillside Avenue.

They all converge on the Jamaica Center-Parsons/Archer station, a transit hub that connects multiple train lines (E, F) and LIRR.

To get a better sense of how your current bus line will be rerouted, check out the MTA’s route profiles here.

As part of their effort to solicit feedback from the public, the MTA is hosting a series of public workshops with tabletop maps for attendees to pinpoint their routes.

On January 23, the MTA will host a workshop at the Queens Educational Opportunity Center, located at 158-29 Archer Avenue in Jamaica, from 6 to 8 p.m.

If you’re a regular bus rider and your commute will be changed by the redesign, be sure to attend the workshop to give your feedback on the proposed routes.


New affordable industrial center opens in Ozone Park

A new affordable industrial center has opened in Ozone Park, thanks to funding and support from state agencies.

Last week, the nonprofit industrial developer Greenpoint Manufacturing and Design Center (GMDC) marked the site’s opening along with Lieutenant Governor Kathy Hochul and a slew of government officials.

The 85,000-square-foot facility will provide affordable space to more than two dozen local small and mid-sized manufacturing businesses.

The 113-year-old factory site was renovated with $11 million in investments from the state.

The industrial center is spread over three buildings and spans an entire city block. It will be leased to woodworkers, artisans, custom fabricators and other entrepreneurs.

Officials estimate it will provide about 80 jobs at the facility.

Read more about the industrial center in this week’s Leader-Observer.


Young constituents donate hair to Butterflies by Blaq

On Tuesday, Councilman Adrienne Adams hosted a hair donation event where young people donated their locks to a local nonprofit.

Thanks to free haircuts and styling from Aracelis Unisex hair salon, every young person was able to donate hair to Butterflies by Blaq, which provides high-quality wigs to children with medical conditions.

The group was formed in 2012 by Erna Blackman, a former volunteer at American Cancer Society, to assist children coping with hair loss.

At the event, Saaya Kanhoye, 14, donated 14 inches of her hair. Her 9-year-old sister, Shaila, donated 35 inches of hair.

“Hair donors like Shaila and Saaya are important to us because longer hair donations are the building blocks of wig creation,” Blackman said. “Most of the girls that request our services now want longer hair. Although we accept and are grateful for 10 inches, the desired lengths are 12 inches or more.

“We love it when we meet young people who feel the need to give back,” she added. “People helping people makes the world a better place.”


“Punjab Way” and “Gurdwara Street” coming to Richmond Hill

Two thoroughfares in Richmond Hill are being co-named next year to pay homage to the neighborhood’s growing Sikh and Punjabi communities. Councilwoman Adrienne Adams announced last week that 101st Avenue between 111th Street and 123rd Street will be renamed “Punjab Way.” Punjab is the region in India where Sikhism originated. In addition, the two-block stretch on 97th Avenue from Lefferts Boulevard to 117th Street will also be known as “Gurdwara Street.” A gurdwara is a Sikh place of worship. We have a beautiful multicultural mosaic not only in my district but the city as a whole and believe that it should be celebrated,” Adams said. “It is important that diverse communities see themselves and their varying cultures represented in the landscape.” According to Annetta Seecharran, executive director of Chhaya CDC, Punjabi and Sikh communities have been part of Richmond Hill for over half a century. “From construction sites and yellow cabs, to hospitals and our government, Punjabis and Sikhs help run this city, and are part of its fabric,” she said. “We are excited to see that our community is finally being represented for its contributions.”

Frank M. Charles Memorial Park is renovated

Photo courtesy of JBRPC

A beloved park in Old Howard Beach has recently completed a much-needed renovation project.

The entrance, central pathway and handball court at Frank M. Charles Memorial Park have all been redone, thanks to funding from Councilman Eric Ulrich in partnership with the Jamaica Bay-Rockaway Parks Conservancy (JBRPC), the Charles Park Conservation Society, Wildcat and National Park Service.

The councilman allocated $45,000 for a number of improvements at the park. Work began this summer with the removal of 15,000 square feet of turf along the park’s central pathway.

The space was transformed into a landscape with 9,000 new plantings, including new perennials.

Photo courtesy of JBRPC

Two patios were installed near the entrance of the park to allow better access to pollinator gardens.

The basketball courts also received new nets, and the handball court was rehabilitated and painted.

More improvements are expected in the spring as part of the multi-phase project. Expect more plantings, beautification of the former horseshoe court and infrastructure improvements to plumbing systems.


Resorts World Casino leads Queens Chamber’s new committee

Resorts World Casino has taken an even more active role within the Queens Chamber of Commerce.

Michelle Stoddart, RWC’s director of public relations and community relations, is the founding co-chair of the chamber’s newest member committee: Arts and Entertainment.

Along with Jayson Simba from Festival of Cinema NYC, Stoddart will lead the committee whose goal is to make Queens the premiere destination for arts and entertainment in the city.

Other members of the committee include the Queens World Film Festival and the New York Mets.

Stay tuned to learn more about the chamber’s Arts and Entertainment Committee, and how you can get involved to promote the most diverse borough in New York City.