Queens Lawmakers on the Move Jan. 19, 2021

Queens County City Council News

Van Bramer Holds Cultural Affairs Hearing

City Council Member Jimmy Van Bramer/Facebook

City Councilmember Jimmy Van Bramer (D-Sunnyside, Woodside, Long Island City, Astoria, Dutch Kills), Chair of the Committee on Cultural Affairs, Libraries and International Intergroup Relations, and the rest of the committee are holding a hearing on Tuesday. 

The hearing will include an oversight hearing on the impact of COVID-19 on NYC artists and the perspective of working artists during the pandemic. The committee will also discuss two bills, one which would require the Department of Cultural Affairs to study real estate issues impacting cultural spaces and another which would create a certification process for artists and issue identity cards for certified artists.

For more information, see the agenda.

The remote hearing will take place on Tuesday, January 19 at 10 a.m. in Virtual Room 1.

Holden Holds Hearing on Smart City 

City Council Member Bob Holden

City Councilmember Robert Holden (D-Glendale, Maspeth, Middle Village, Ridgewood, Woodhaven, Woodside), Chair of the Committee on General Technology, and the rest of the committee is holding a hearing on Smart City. 

For more information, see the agenda.

The virtual hearing will take place on Tuesday, January 19 at 1 p.m. in Virtual Room 2.

Sanders Honors MLK Jr.

State Senator James Sanders Jr. Photo from nysenate.gov

State Senator James Sanders (D–Laurelton, Rosedale, Springfield Gardens, Edgemere, Bayswater, Arverne and Far Rockaway) sent out an email to constituents on Monday about Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. He wrote:

“Today we honor the life and accomplishments of the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., an important figure in the civil rights movement, who advocated for nonviolent means of protest in an effort to end racial segregation and discrimination in the United States. From leading the Montgomery Bus Boycott to his “I Have a Dream,” speech at the March on Washington, Dr. King taught us many lessons about courage, strength and determination.

Although civil rights issues continue to plague oppressed people around the world, there is no denying that Dr. King laid a foundation for progress for his generation and generations to come. His message embodies a true humanitarian spirit, one of peace and sacrifice.

It is fitting then that Martin Luther King Day is also a national day of service, an opportunity to give back to the community in which we live and beyond. It should not be regarded as just a day off from school or work. As Dr. King famously said: “Life’s most persistent and urgent question is: What are you doing for others?”

This year is the 26th Anniversary of the MLK Day of Service, which empowers individuals, strengthens communities, creates solutions to social problems, and moves us closer to Dr. King’s vision of a harmonious society.”

Grodenchik Remembers MLK Jr.

City Councilmember Barry Grodenchik

City Councilmember Barry Grodenchik (D-Bayside Hills, Bellerose, Douglaston, Floral Park, Fresh Meadows, Glen Oaks, Hollis, Hollis Hills, Holliswood, Little Neck, New Hyde Park, Oakland Gardens, Queens Village) released a statement on Martin Luther King Jr. Day:

“This year, it is especially important to honor the life of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.  His is a profound legacy of bringing people together and always standing up against injustice and oppression. Since Dr. King’s last birthday, our country has struggled with a pandemic that has highlighted sharp racial inequities. We have seen a powerful movement for racial justice and police reform in the wake of the murders of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, and far too many others. And just this month, we witnessed a devastating assault on the United States Capitol by attackers with Confederate flags and Nazi symbols. Here in Queens, among the most diverse places on the planet, Dr. King’s birthday reminds us of his message of fairness, equity, and progress at a time when it is desperately needed.”

Dromm Honors Late “Mayor of Jackson Heights” Steven Knobel

City Council Member Daniel Dromm/via Facebook

City Councilmember Daniel Dromm (D-lmhurst, Jackson Heights) released a statement honoring Steve Knobel, a community leader and the “Mayor of Jackson Heights”: 

“I join thousands of Jackson Heights residents in honoring the memory of Steve Knobel, a beloved civic leader and ‘Mayor’ of Jackson Heights,” said NYC Council Member Daniel Dromm (D-Jackson Heights, Elmhurst). “As long-time president of the Jewish Center of Jackson Heights, he understood the importance of community service.  Under Steve’s leadership, the Jewish Center was a safe space for all and a true microcosm of Jackson Heights. As a Conservative Jewish congregation, LGBTQ nonprofit organizations, a law firm and a Pentecostal church were all welcomed there. I will miss Steve’s roguish sense of humor and, most of all, his spirit of service. My heart goes out to his surviving wife, Suzanne Knobel, who herself is a mainstay of the neighborhood.”

Raised in Far Rockaway, Steven “Steve” Knobel moved to Jackson Heights in 1973 after marrying his surviving wife, Suzanne. Knobel became active with the Jewish Center of Jackson Heights and served as its president for over 20 years. Though there were many challenges throughout to maintain the building throughout those years, Knobel was determined to sustain the Jewish Center and its important work. He worked tirelessly to secure tenants and other sources of sorely-needed revenue. For Knobel, saving the Center was a labor of love.

He was proud of the many programs the Jewish Center offered over the years: piano lessons for kids, ESL classes, tutoring sessions for young people, “Broadway & a Bagel” performances, lectures, opera concerts and more. A strong supporter of the LGBTQ+ community, Knobel was especially proud that the Queens Center for Gay Seniors is housed at the Jewish Center.

Knobel died earlier this month after a long battle with cancer.