Statement from CM Constantinides
“For the past 7+ years I have woken up everyday to make our community a better place. I gave my all each day and did my best to honor the confidence you had shown in me in making me your representative.
We have passed 44 bills in my time in the Council, including landmark legislation such as the Climate Mobilization Act, the largest emissions reduction policy enacted by any city in the world and the Renewable Rikers Act, setting us on a path to transforming an island that has stained our city history into a renewable energy hub for the 21st century. We’ve invested in Mount Sinai Queens, helping to bring over 10 million dollars to our local hospital including a state of the art stroke center. Together we have improved our open spaces. We’ve invested in our parks, including a 30 million dollar reimagining of Astoria Park, creating a soccer field and rebuilding Charybdis Playground. We’ve helped create truly affordable senior housing, improved our transportation network, and made true investments in our schools adding technology, hydroponic science labs and solar power to our schools. Lastly, and perhaps most importantly, we invested over 25 million dollars on the Hallets Cove Peninsula bringing some measure of equity to residents of public housing who had only known underinvestment and neglect before. I’m proud of the work we have done on behalf of the community.
Today I announce a profoundly difficult and personal decision. I must resign from the New York City Council on April 9th. I have been asked by the Variety Boys and Girls Club of Queens to become their new Chief Executive Officer and have accepted this role. There are many ways to be a public servant that are not in elected office. Many times that truth is forgotten by too many. I have committed my life to serving this community and have been searching for a way to continue this service.
The Variety Boys and Girls Club has served the young people of Western Queens for over 65 years. Their deep commitment to investing in our young people and providing them with critical services is a mission of unbelievable importance. As CEO of the VBGCQ, I will seek to continue this long tradition of excellence to benefit all of our youth, but especially those young people west of 21st Street. I asked at my inauguration to have my time as a Council Member judged on what happened west of 21st Street and today I am recommitting to that request even further. The VBGCQ will continue to be a beacon of hope for the youth of western Queens and our new building will be a lighthouse burning bright signaling to our young people that this is home.
I am grateful to Walter Sanchez and the entire board for this wonderful opportunity to continue my service in the place where my mother worked 30 years ago as she re-entered the workforce after many years of being home raising her family. Though she worked there for a short time, I have always understood their mission and their important place in our neighborhood’s heart.
This past year has been a trying one for so many including my family. COVID has taken a deep and harrowing toll on all of us but especially our young people. I hope our work can help see their way through this pandemic and ignite their spark for the greatness inside each of them.
This decision is not one I take lightly or without a heavy heart. I love this community and will always be eternally grateful for the time you have given me as your public servant. I know I wasn’t perfect but just know I tried my best every day.
Thank you to my colleagues including my speakers Melissa Mark-Viverito and Corey Johnson. My gratitude and deep admiration to my unbelievable staff of amazing public servants Nick Roloson, Niki Arvanitis, Nick Widzowski, Josephine Germosen, Terence Cullen, Shachar Sharon, Michael Corbett, Brian Barnwell, Mercedes Jennings, and Joy Chowdhury.
My time in office has not been without heartbreak and challenges at home. My wife has not been well for a long time and her condition has deteriorated over the last seven years. I am thankful for her love and support despite the challenging personal health struggles she has gone through. All of my family’s love has sustained me and I feel so lucky to have them.
Lastly, I just say thank you again to my constituents. It has been the honor of my lifetime to serve as your Council Member. My service to this community is far from over and I am excited for this next chapter as we move forward together.”