FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
The Council of the City of New York
Council Member Costa Constantinides, District 22

September 25, 2020
Contact: Terence Cullen
tcullen@council.nyc.gov

Recognizes Community Work Through Pandemic, New Investments at Hallets Point Peninsula

Astoria, NY — Bishop Mitchell G. Taylor, CEO of Urban Upbound, and Council Member Costa Constantinides today joined with members of the Astoria Houses community to celebrate Climate Week, distribute food to those in need, and announce recent improvements on the Hallets Point Peninsula. 

“I am so happy to have finished Climate Week with my friends, Bishop Taylor, Claudia Coger, and the Astoria Houses community,” said Council Member Costa Constantinides, District 22. “While there is so much to celebrate this week, COVID-19 and its economic fallout remind us there’s still so much work ahead. We’re committed to this fight for clean air, good jobs, and vital services on the Hallets Point Peninsula.” 

“Astoria has so much to celebrate this Climate Week, from the new ferry crossing to Manhattan to the permanent installation of BioBus. I am so glad to partner with Council Member Constantinides and the entire Astoria Houses community to make our neighborhood stronger,” said Bishop Mitchell G. Taylor, CEO of Urban Upbound.   

They were joined by Claudia Coger, President of the Astoria Houses Residents Association, and Anju Rupchandani and Andre Stith of Zone 126. 

They also noted a proposed power plant in Astoria would continue to pollute areas like the Astoria Houses. For decades, Astoria has generated more than half the City’s power — paying a steep environmental price with asthma rates higher than the boroughwide average. Today, as Climate Week winds down, they called for more investment in clean energy instead, which will guarantee zip codes no longer determine one’s air quality.  

The community leaders celebrated the recent announcement that BioBus, a mobile science lab, will set up a permanent installation at the Astoria Houses. This will empower young people to discover a love of science and pursue good-paying careers in the field. BioBus will now focus on connecting people with the neighboring East River. 

It’s the latest investment on the peninsula, which historically saw underinvestment. Today recognized a recent improvement to link Astoria with the Upper East Side via ferry for the first time in a century. This will significantly improve transit times to Manhattan, especially in terms of accessing the East Side’s specialized medical facilities. 

Constantinides also called on the City to finish its other commitments on the Hallets Point peninsula. More than $25 million has been allocated to this area since 2014 for library renovations, a state-of-the-art ecodock, and other infrastructure. But work has slowed on those projects, depriving the community of promised public works. 

Urban Upbound has distributed food through its Astoria Houses office since the start of this pandemic. Through efforts that include volunteer work and community organizing, they have helped guarantee Astoria residents have access to nutritious food. 

Council Member Costa Constantinides represents the New York City Council’s 22nd District, which includes his native Astoria along with parts of Woodside, East Elmhurst, and Jackson Heights. He serves as the chair of the City Council’s Environmental Protection Committee and sits on three additional committees: Sanitation, Resiliency, and Technology. For more information, visit council.nyc.gov/costa.

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