Queens Assemblyman Mike Simanowitz dead from illness at the age of 45

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Flushing-based Assemblyman Michael Simanowitz died on Saturday, according to a published report.

The Yeshiva World first reported on Sept. 2 that Simanowitz succumbed to an unspecified illness that he had been battling for the last few years.

The 45-year-old lawmaker was elected in 2011 to the seat previously held by his mentor, former Assemblywoman Nettie Mayersohn, whom he served as chief of staff for 15 years. His district covers a swath of central Queens stretching from College Point and Whitestone down through Flushing and into Forest Hills, Kew Gardens and Richmond Hill.

Simanowitz grew up in Forest Hills and attended Yeshiva Tiferes Moshe; he graduated from Queens College in 1993. Before joining Mayersohn’s office, as noted in his biography, he worked at the city’s Department of Housing Preservation and Development and was involved in several major Brooklyn developments including MetroTech and Atlantic Terminal.

He was also active with the 107th Precinct‘s Auxiliary Unit and eventually became its commanding officer. In that role, Simanowitz was honored for his role in assisting police in the wake of the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks and the Blackout of 2003.

Simanowitz lived in the Electchester Co-ops with his wife, Jennifer, and their four children. The Yeshiva World described him as “a tremendous voice for the Jewish community.”

Tributes from his Queens colleagues in government began pouring in on social media.

“Just learned that my good friend Assemblyman Mike Simanowitz (D-Queens) passed away,” wrote City Councilman Eric Ulrich on Facebook. “He was a remarkable guy who loved his family and the people he was so proud to represent. May his memory be a blessing now and forever.”

“My sincerest and heartfelt condolences to his wife, Jennifer and their four wonderful children, his blessed parents Sherman and Sheila, his brothers Alan and Barry and his entire extended family,” added Assemblyman Barry Grodenchik in a Facebook post. “May his good deeds live on forever. May the thousands and thousands of people he helped in his all too short life remember his kindnesses and may they be multiplied many fold.”

Queens Borough President Melinda Katz called Simanowitz “a great public servant” who cared “deeply about the people of Queens and fought tenaciously on their behalf throughout his distinguished career in public service.”

Congresswoman Grace Meng remembered Simanowitz as “a wonderful human being,” adding that “he had a heart of gold and was among the warmest, friendliest and most down-to-earth individuals I have known.”

Governor Andrew Cuomo issued a statement calling Simanowitz someone who believed “in public service as a vehicle for positive change” and “was widely respected by his peers and partners in government.”

“Assembly member Michael Simanowitz worked every day to make life better for his constituents and I join them and all New Yorkers in mourning his sudden passing,” Cuomo said.


According to The Yeshiva World, funeral services for Simanowitz were scheduled for Sunday, Sept. 3, at noon at Schwartz Brothers Funeral Chapels in Forest Hills.