Queens Lawmakers on the Move Dec. 18, 2020

Queens County City Council News

Constantinides, Gianaris Laud Street Co-Namings for Astoria Heroes

City Council Member Costa Constantinides
Senator Michael Gianaris

City Councilmember Costa Constantinides (D-Astoria, East Elmhurst, Jackson Heights, Woodside) and Senate Deputy Leader Michael Gianaris (D-Astoria, Long Island City, Sunnyside, parts of Woodside, Maspeth, Ridgewood, Woodhaven) lauded the passing on Thursday of an omnibus package of street co-namings which included co-naming the northeast corner of 21st Street and 34th Avenue Lt. Paramedic Edith Elida Torres Way, and the corner of 43rd Street and 25th Avenue Pfc. Luke N. Gasparre Way.

“In a year where we recognize the service of uniformed workers and the devotion to their communities, I am especially honored to have co-sponsored the street co-namings for Lt. Paramedic Edith Torres and Luke Gasparre,” said Constantinides. “Each one displayed the selflessness and courageousness we should all aspire to in our daily lives, and they brightened the lives of all of their friends, neighbors, and loved ones. We will miss them both dearly.”

Gianaris said, “Luke Gasparre and Lt. Edith Torres both lived lives of service and made Astoria proud. Luke was a friend and neighborhood institution who shared with us his love for his country, his community, and his beloved Mets. I was proud to induct him into the State Senate Veterans Hall of Fame. Lt. Torres made the ultimate sacrifice for her community and her bravery will continue to inspire us all. Astoria will never be the same without them.”

Lt. Paramedic Torres, like many of her fellow Bravest and Best, rushed to the World Trade Center despite being off duty on the morning of September 11, 2001. She spent the rest of the day working the pile, rescuing survivors. She died of 9/11-linked cervical cancer on February 8, 2017.

Pfc. Luke Gasparre fought in the Battle of the Bulge. For his service, he received seven medals including the Purple Heart and the Bronze Star. After the war, Gasparre returned to Astoria, where he started a family and took a job with the U.S. Postal Service. In 1964, he took a second job with the New York Mets and became one of the most familiar, beloved faces at Shea Stadium and Citi Field. Gasparre passed away on February 13, 2020.

BP Richards Announces Black History Month Scholarship

City Council Member Donovan Richards

Queens Borough President Donovan Richards announced that he is inviting talented Queens high school seniors interested in pursuing a post-secondary education to apply for the African American Heritage Scholarships that will be awarded by the Borough President’s African American Heritage Committee during Black History Month early next year.

“Queens is home to some of the best and brightest high school seniors in the country, so it is great that our African American Heritage Scholarships give us the opportunity to support some of them financially as part of our continuing effort to ensure equal opportunity and give all of youth a chance to succeed,” said Richards. “There is no better way to celebrate African American history than to help promising students who are destined to make history of their own.”

All of the scholarship winners will receive monetary awards they can use to cover expenses related to their post-secondary studies. Eight students won scholarships during last year’s edition of this competition, with each student receiving a $1,000 scholarship.

Only Queens residents are eligible for the scholarships. Any Queens high school senior seeking to apply for an African American Heritage Scholarship must submit a completed application and an official high school transcript by 5 p.m. on January 11, 2021. Those who win the scholarships will be notified by February 1, 2021 and will be recognized during Richards’ virtual Black History Month Celebration on Wednesday, February 24, 2021.

Students interested in applying for a scholarship can do so by completing the application form online

Vallone Announces Street Co-Naming in Honor of Late Whitestone Monsignor

City Council Member Paul Vallone

City Councilmember Paul A. Vallone (D-Auburndale, Bay Terrace, Bayside, Beechhurst, College Point, Douglaston, Flushing, Little Neck, Malba, Whitestone) lauded the passing of his bill at Thursday’s Stated Meeting to co-name the intersection of Clintonville Street and Locke Avenue, in front of St. Luke Roman Catholic Church, as “Msgr. John C Tosi Way.”

An official ceremony is currently slated to take place sometime in the spring.

Monsignor John C. Tosi was a priest for over 45 years and a monsignor for 23 years within the Diocese of Brooklyn and Queens. Monsignor Tosi passed on May 23 after suffering from a coronary condition for the past several years. He was 73 years old.

“I’m proud to announce this much-deserved honor for Monsignor Tosi, who was regarded as a local stalwart and a man of deep faith,” said Vallone. “I look forward to joining together as a community in the new year to celebrate his life and legacy in Northeast Queens.”

Born in Flushing, Tosi attended St. Ann’s School, Msgr. McClancy H.S., Cathedral College, Douglaston, and Immaculate Conception Seminary, Huntington. He was ordained in May 1973 by Bishop Francis J. Mugavero at St. James Pro-Cathedral, Downtown Brooklyn. Tosi was named a Monsignor in 1997, and in January 2005, was named pastor of St. Luke’s, where he remained until his death.

Msgr. Tosi rebuilt St. Luke’s Church and made many renovations to the Queens parish based on his experiences with the Diocesan Liturgical Commission. He was a member of the Knights of Columbus in Whitestone and supported the Veterans of Foreign Wars and many other local organizations, such as the Whitestone Taxpayers Association. He also worked hard for quality education in St Luke School, where students, parents and faculty were blessed to have had his guidance and support over the years.

Dromm’s Gas Line Bill Passes in Council

City Council Member Daniel Dromm/via Facebook

City Council Finance Chair Daniel Dromm (D-Jackson Heights, Elmhurst) passed Intro 2151-B in Thursday’s Stated Meeting which will extend the gas line inspection and certification deadline set by Local Local 152 of 2016 to June 30, 2021.

Intro 2151-B will give a much-needed reprieve to the tens of thousands of property owners in Queens community districts 1, 3 and 10 who –– like the rest of the city –– are still reeling from this pandemic. Intro 2151-B will also require the NYC Department of Buildings to conduct thorough outreach to the public, and solicit public comments related to the implementation of Local Law 152.

“Intro 2151-B spares thousands of Queens homeowners from having to scramble to comply with Local Law 152, with its looming December 31, 2020 deadline,” said Dromm. “It would be difficult to expect our constituents to bring inspectors into their homes in the middle of a pandemic or face thousands of dollars in fines.”

The goals of Local Law 152 are laudable, he said: to ensure that gas lines in buildings throughout the city are sound. However, the initial deadline, set well before anyone could foresee this pandemic, was not practicable at this point.

“As a responsible policymaker, I am simply interested in ensuring compliance with any legislation that is passed and enacted. When circumstances change and call for reassessment, we have to respond. That is exactly what my colleagues and I have done today,” Dromm said. “I want to thank NYC Council Housing and Buildings Chair Robert Cornegy for working alongside me on this important effort. I also want to thank my constituents for bringing this issue to my attention. You initiated the legislative process that has culminated in today’s vote. Even during this challenging time, democracy is alive and well at the NYC Council!”

To read the text of the legislation, visit the council website. 

Reynoso, Koo Hold Joint Hearing About Composting

City Councilmember Antonio Reynoso. Photo from Reynoso’s City Council Page
City Council Member Peter Koo/via Facebook

City Councilmember Antonio Reynoso, Chair of the Committee on Sanitation and Solid Waste Management (D-Ridgewood and part of Brooklyn), and City Council Member Peter Koo, Chair of the Committee on Parks and Recreation (D-Downtown Flushing, Murray Hill, Queensboro Hill), and the rest of their committees are holding a joint hearing on Friday about composting.  

The two committees will hold an oversight hearing on community composting as well as discuss a resolution for the NYC Dept of Sanitation and the Department of Parks and Recreation to continue to engage and collaborate with local communities to encourage and allow community composting to be carried out on parkland.

See the agenda for more details.

The remote hearing will be held on Friday, December 18 at 11 a.m. in Virtual Room 1.