AOC says goodbye to Community Board 2, which she will no longer represent after redistricting is implemented on New Year’s Day

Community Board
Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez said goodbye to her constituents on Queens Community Board 2 during their monthly meeting. (QNS/File)

With the U.S. House of Representatives on recess during the month of October, U.S. Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez spent more than an hour on a virtual public meeting with Queens Community Board 2 on Oct. 6, bidding them farewell since it will become part of Rep. Nydia Velázquez’s Seventh District at the start of the new year.

Ocasio-Cortez has represented the area encompassing Queens Community Board 2 since 2018, when she upset longtime Congressman Joe Crowley in District 14.

“I’m heartbroken that I’m going to be losing this community board after redistricting. It really does tear me up to lose neighborhoods like [Sunnyside and] Woodside from this district,” she said. “It’s really tough but I know you all are going to be in very, very excellent hands with Rep. Velázquez. She is excellent. She always lands on the right side of the issues and she’s just very connected to the community.”

She made no mention of Republican candidate Tina Forte or Desi Cuellar of the Conservative Party who are on the ballot for CD14 in the Nov. 8 general election.

Ocasio-Cortez commended the community board for the way they welcomed a number of shelters to the district in recent years and how they dealt with the city installing bike lanes along the commercial corridors on Skillman Avenue and 34th Avenue. CB2 voted against the project, due to the elimination of 120 parking spaces, but the city moved forward with the installations.

“I remember in Sunnyside, when there was a really strong debate about the bike lanes there, there was a very real concern for small businesses that they would lose traffic if they lost parking spots in front [of their stores], it was very contentious,” Ocasio-Cortez said. “But ultimately, what we’ve seen in the data in retrospect is that a lot of those small businesses have actually seen their sales increase and that a lot of these mom-and-pop shops are actually doing better than they were before because of the increased traffic through bicycles.”

She was referring to a Streetsblog analysis of sales tax data from the New York City Department of Finance that showed since the Skillman Avenue bike lane was installed by the DOT in 2018, revenue increased and new businesses began to open. The data also showed sales in the stores, bars and restaurants on a seven-block stretch of Skillman rose by 12% collectively.

“I always want to make sure that we’re empathetic to those concerns, but the more data that we’re starting to get after these projects, the better,” Ocasio-Cortez said. “I’m very proud of Sunnyside for making that decision because it was a really hard one to make because there was less information then than there is now. I’m glad it turned out for the best of everyone in the community.”

She added that she still represents Community Board 2 until the end of the year and her office will still listen to constituency concerns.

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