By Naeisha Rose
Many people cheered as Mayor Bill de Blasio spoke about the positive changes to the borough of Queens and New York City during his first term Thursday at the Queens County Democratic Organization’s annual spring dinner at Antun’s in Queens Village.
“This administration is proud of what it did for Queens starting with a new ferry service in the Rockaways. That ferry is here to stay in the Rockaways. Ferry service will soon be reaching Long Island City and Astoria,” de Blasio said.
The mayor came out to Queens to rally Queens Democratic lawmakers for this year’s elections and to bolster the prospects of incumbents across the borough. As mayor he has made significant investments in Queens, particularly in the last couple of years.
De Blasio mentioned the changes made to make the treacherous Boulevard of Death safer.
“We took another crucial front — we took what was a stain on the name of this borough and I was with Karen Koslowitz [D-Forest Hills] the other day and we talked about something that is a past that we needed to get rid of. When Queens Boulevard was called the Boulevard of Death,” said the mayor. “We made a lot of changes through Vision Zero and for 2 1/2 years not a single person has died on Queens Boulevard.”
The crowd responded with applause.
The mayor also brought up additional improvements to the southeast Queens region.
“To all of my friends from southeast Queens who talked for so many years about how the government did not hear you about the flooding problem, we are spending billions of dollars to fix that,” de Blasio. “I think [Councilman Donovan Richards D-Laurelton] told me it’s been about 40 years that people have been asking for a new police precinct. A new police precinct is coming to southeast Queens. At City Hall, Queens is at the front of the agenda.”
The Democrats clapped enthusiastically about both initiatives.
The mayor also highlighted the rise of job creation in the outer boroughs, how crime has dropped for the third year in a row and a 93 percent decline in stop-and-frisk was down 93 percent. He went on to say that 99.6 percent of municipal workers are under a labor contract today and New York City police officers won’t “be turned into enforcement agents for ICE.”
“Now I want to talk about a magical place recognized all over the world for its diversity, for its amazing restaurants, for its passionate people. I call this place Queens,” de Blasio said. “We are still a beacon to this whole country and we show that as a society every kind of person can work in New York City — everybody is together. It does not matter what faith or country you came from. We manage to make it work together and the whole world watches this miracle everyday. We have to keep that fire burning no matter what happens in Washington, D.C.”
Reach reporter Naeisha Rose by e-mail at nrose