Queens Lawmakers on the Move September 25, 2020

Queens County City Council News

Vallone Bill Creates NYC Office of Tourism Recovery

City Council Member Paul Vallone

Councilmember Paul A. Vallone’s (D-Auburndale, Bay Terrace, Bayside, Beechhurst, College Point, Douglaston, Flushing, Little Neck, Malba, Whitestone) legislation seeking to create an Office of Tourism Recovery was supported and discussed by fellow councilmembers, industry leaders and advocates at a joint hearing of the Economic Development and Cultural Affairs, Libraries & International Intergroup Relations Committees on Thursday.

Vallone and Councilmember Jimmy Van Bramer (D-Sunnyside, Woodside, Long Island City, Astoria, Dutch Kills) co-chaired the joint hearing focused on the recovery of New York City’s tourism industries and arts and culture during the ongoing COVID-19 crisis on Thursday. 

“The prolonged fallout from the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic continues to leave its mark on every sector of the city’s economy, but nowhere is it more pronounced than in our once-vibrant tourism, arts and entertainment sectors,” said Vallone. “Acknowledging the difficult recovery ahead, my bill seeks to create a dedicated office that would report directly to the Mayor and support tourism recovery throughout the city over the course of the next five challenging years. Proactive efforts like these will ensure the “City that Never Sleeps” stays dynamic, vibrant and wide awake in this new reality.”

Tourist numbers have plummeted since Governor Andrew Cuomo declared a state of emergency on March 7th, 2020. Since March, the city’s tourism economy has shed over 200,000 jobs. Hotel occupancy rates fell to just around 15% in late March, and as of earlier this month those rates improved to just around 38%, well below the industry standard. Broadway, a massive economic driver, has been shuttered since March, and our restaurants have been limited to takeout or outdoor-dining. Vallone acknowledged that long term economic recovery planning now is critical to ensure success in the years ahead.

Currently, NYC & Company functions as the city’s tourism bureau and handles marketing to maximize travel and tourism in New York City, build economic prosperity and spread the image of NYC around the world. Vallone’s bill seeks to complement and further this work by creating an Office of Tourism Recovery which, led by a director, would serve as a conduit between city agencies and the public on tourism-related issues and coordinate on tourism recovery. 

The office would also be charged with a quarterly report analyzing tourism revenue, recovery efforts and relevant successes or recommendations. In line with estimates that tourism is not expected to return to pre-COVID levels until 2025 or 2026, this new office would cease to exist after five years.

Constantinides Announces BioBus Site at Astoria Houses

City Council Member Costa Constantinides

Councilmember Costa Constantinides (D-Astoria, East Elmhurst, Jackson Heights, Woodside) and western Queens community leaders joined with BioBus today to announce the science education non-profit would set up a permanent installation at the NYCHA Astoria Houses. 

The announcement represents years of partnership between BioBus and the Astoria Houses, where it has focused on connecting young people with the health of the neighboring East River. BioBus will be able to purchase a new mobile lab for the site thanks to a $304,000 allocation secured by Constantinides in this Fiscal Year’s budget. 

“BioBus has already been an amazing partner here in western Queens, to introduce more people to the wonders of science,” said Constantinides. “I am so excited we can mark Climate Week by making BioBus a permanent fixture at the Astoria Houses. This will continue the Hallets Point peninsula’s revolution into a leader on sustainability.”  

BioBus has in the last few years brought one of its mobile labs to the Astoria Houses and other western Queens locations, offering public events, classes for school groups, and after school classes. Students of all ages have been empowered to take science into their own hands, especially when it comes to the health of the East River. This has been a bridge in connecting Astoria Houses youth with the historically inaccessible waterway and the historically exclusive scientific community. 

The new lab is to be set up permanently at the Astoria Houses and become a living classroom. BioBus plans to install a solar array on the lab, powering it exclusively with renewable energy. This will set a new example in western Queens, a neighborhood long blighted by dirty power plants.  

Addabbo Brings Cardiovascular/COVID-19 Antibody Testing Van to Maspeth

State Senator Joseph P. Addabbo, Jr.

State Senator Joseph P. Addabbo, Jr. (D-Howard Beach, Ozone Park, Woodhaven, Glendale, Middle Village, Maspeth and parts of South Ozone Park, Ridgewood, Woodside and The Rockaways) is partnering with community leader Kenichi Wilson to bring the Advanced Cardiovascular Diagnostics van to Maspeth for residents to receive a plethora of free tests, as well as COVID-19 antibody testing.

“Getting a clean bill of health is vitally important, especially now during the time of COVID,” Addabbo said. “Cardiovascular health becomes more important as we age and getting tests regularly can help identify a potential issue before it becomes a larger problem. The COVID-19 antibody testing can help determine if you have had the Coronavirus and if you can help save others if you have the antibodies.”

On Saturday, October 10, the Advanced Cardiovascular Diagnostics van will be parked outside of Maspeth Federal Saving Bank located at 56-18 69th Street in Maspeth from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. to intake constituents who would like to get the free testing.

Appointments and walk-ins are welcome. All guests are asked to please bring their government ID and insurance card if they are insured. Strict social distancing measures will be in place.

When guests arrive, there will be an administrator to check them in. The guests will then see a doctor for an initial consultation. Following that, they will receive an EKG reading that will determine what additional test may be needed. The Advanced Cardiovascular Diagnostics van is equipped to perform many tests including echocardiograms, stress tests, Doppler’s, aortic aneurysm ultrasounds, and more.

Guests can decide that they only want the COVID-19 antibody test as well. That will be a blood test, and they will receive their results in 3 to 7 days.

Those interested in making an appointment can visit: https://wilsonaddabbo1010.youcanbook.me/

They may also contact Rebecca of Advanced Cardiovascular Diagnostics at 516-329-4556. For other questions and test results, call the office of Advanced Cardiovascular Diagnostics at 516-488-5050.

For more information on this event by email, contact the office of Advanced Cardiovascular Diagnostics at [email protected].