Former Astoria councilman now represents Queens at NYC Economic Development Corporation

Former City Councilman Costa Constantinides continues his public service by taking a seat on the Board of Directors of the city’s Economic Development Corporation. (Photo courtesy of NYC City Council)

The architect of the city’s Green New Deal and the Renewable Rikers proposal has taken a role on the agency that would implement many of these policies in the future.

Queens Borough President Donovan Richards nominated former Councilman Costa Constantinides, who was sworn in Tuesday, Sept. 28 to succeed Melva Miller, who will continue focusing on her role as the chief executive officer of the Association for a Better New York.

“Costa Constantinides is a real ‘King’ of Queens, always ensuring Queens has gotten our fair share throughout his career,” Richards said. “Although we are sad to no longer see Costa serve in the New York City Council, I am honored and thrilled to nominate him to the NYCEDC Board of Directors. Costa’s track record clearly shows his devotion to Queens’ economic growth and success, which will continue as long as Costa has a seat at the table.”

Richards thanked Miller for her work, and said he’s grateful that Constantinides will continue that work.

Constantinides represented the Council’s 22nd District — which includes Astoria, Rikers Island and parts of Jackson Heights, East Elmhurst and Woodside — before he stepped down in March to become the CEO of the Variety Boys and Girls Club. As chairman of the Environmental Protection Committee since 2015, he was committed to fighting the effects of climate change.

In April 2019, Constantinides led the effort to pass the Climate Mobilization Act, the largest carbon emissions reduction ever mandated by any city in the world, while also passing the Renewable Rikers Act earlier this year. In his nearly eight years on the City Council, Constantinides passed 44 bills as the lead sponsor to combat climate change and its effects on the city.

“I am proud to serve on the Board of Directors of the NYCEDC. As our city recovers from the pandemic, fights for a more just and fair economy, battles the effects of climate change and strives to become more sustainable, EDC is a critical agency in achieving a stronger city,” Constantinides said. “Thank you to Queens Borough President Donovan Richards for this appointment and your continued strong leadership of our borough. Representing Queens on this board is an honor and I will follow your lead in ensuring Queens has a strong voice at EDC.”

Miller is no stranger to Borough Hall. Prior to taking over ABNY, Miller served as the Deputy Borough President during the Melinda Katz administration.. She has also been a passionate and dedicated community organizer since 1993.

“I am grateful to EDC for the opportunity to have served the City of New York for the last 13 years. Our work together has touched several communities across the five boroughs and has helped to enhance the quality of life for all New Yorkers,” Miller said. “As I step aside to offer this privilege to another representative from my home borough, I am pleased to see Costa answer the call to serve. A Queens native, I am confident Costa will act on behalf of all of our neighbors with his penchant for public service, forward-thinking views on the environment, and passion for progress.”

Constantinides attended P.S. 84 and P.S. 122, both in Astoria, before graduating from William Cullen Bryant High School. He graduated from Queens College, where he now teaches as an adjunct lecturer in both the Political Science and Urban Studies departments.

“We are delighted to have Costa Constantinides join the NYCEDC Board representing Queens as we move forward helping build a recovery for all New Yorkers. His role as CEO of the Variety Boys & Girls Club of Queens brings a unique perspective, helping us consider the needs of youth in our neighborhoods as we look for equitable solutions for all New Yorkers,” NYCEDC President and CEO Rachel Loeb said. “I look forward to working with Costa to build a better future.”